Publisher: Jove

Review: Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews

Posted October 17, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Magic Strikes by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels, #3) by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #3
Also in this series: Magic Shifts, Magic Shifts, Magic Binds (Kate Daniels, #9), Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, #1)
Published by Ace
Publication Date: March 31st 2009
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 310
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four-stars

When magic strikes and Atlanta goes to pieces, it’s a job for Kate Daniels…
Drafted to work for the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid, mercenary Kate Daniels has more paranormal problems these days than she knows what to do with. And in Atlanta, where magic comes and goes like the tide, that’s saying a lot.
But when Kate’s werewolf friend Derek is discovered nearly dead, she must confront her greatest challenge yet. As her investigation leads her to the Midnight Games—an invitation-only, no-holds-barred, ultimate preternatural fighting tournament—she and Curran, the Lord of the Beasts, uncover a dark plot that may forever alter the face of Atlanta’s shapeshifting community…

Magic Strikes is book 3 in the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. This is a multi-layered story that progresses over many books. The series should definitely be read in order.

Reading these books back-to-back has really driven home the progression of the writing and story-arc. I really think this is the book where the series picks up steam and settles into itself. I really enjoyed it. The storyline is intense and I really loved the development of the main and secondary characters.

My heart broke for Derek and I really felt Kate’s rage and pain. Kate’s determination to take responsibility for every single thing that happens to her friends can be frustrating. She really skates that “becoming unbearable” line. She hasn’t quite crossed it, but her constant guilt and the quickness in which she claims responsibility for everything is frustrating at times.

The interesting world and character development has me hooked.

3.75 out of 5

four-stars


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Joint Review: Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs

Posted May 29, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Joint Review: Blood Bound by Patricia BriggsReviewer: Holly and Rowena
Blood Bound (Mercy Thompson, #2) by Patricia Briggs
Series: Mercy Thompson #2
Also in this series: Night Broken, Shifting Shadows, Blood Bound, Fire Touched, Silence Fallen (Mercy Thompson, #10), Moon Called
Published by Ace
Publication Date: January 30th 2007
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 292
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four-half-stars

Under the rule of science, there are no witch burnings allowed, no water trials or public lynchings. In return, the average law-abiding, solid citizen has little to worry about from the things that go bump in the night. Sometimes I wish I was an average citizen...
Mechanic Mercy Thompson has friends in low places-and in dark ones. And now she owes one of them a favor. Since she can shapeshift at will, she agrees to act as some extra muscle when her vampire friend Stefan goes to deliver a message to another of his kind.
But this new vampire is hardly ordinary-and neither is the demon inside of him.

Rowena: This month’s buddy review book is Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs. Blood Bound is the second book in the Mercy Thompson series and it delves into the vampire side of Mercy’s supernatural world.

When Mercy’s vampire friend drags her into the middle of a vampire problem, Mercy learns a whole lot about the supernatural predators and the danger that surrounds them.

What did you think about this one?

Holly: I thought this was a good follow up to the first book. Briggs introduces us further into her world and we get to know the characters better. We especially get to know Mercy, Adam and Samuel better in this book. I really enjoy being in Mercy’s head. Sometimes first person can get tiresome, but I’m never tired of Mercy.

Rowena: I’ve had that happen to me when the protagonist gets on my nerves and I’m not sure about finishing the book or not. Mercy is a great protagonist though. She’s interesting and she’s got a certain kind of charm that I like. I can see why everyone likes her and are drawn to her. She’s supernatural but she’s also normal. I’m digging her and will definitely keep reading this series because of her.

Adam and Samuel were a lot of fun in this one. I’m loving all of the tension they’ve got going because they both love them some Mercy. I also really like how protective of Mercy they are…whether she wants their protection or not, she’s got it.

So are you team vampire or team werewolf?

Holly: Definitely team werewolf. The only good vampire is Stefan, and even he has his questionable moments. I love Adam, Samuel and The Marrok. The way his relationship with Mercy develops over the series is great. Are you team Adam or team Samuel?

Rowena: Adam. As much as I love Samuel, I love Adam for Mercy. I also love Jessie for Mercy. I’ve got my fingers crossed that Samuel will find his true love and live happily ever after.

Holly: I’m team Adam, too. As much as I believe Samuel cares for Mercy, he wants her for his own reasons too. Adam wants her for her, not for what she can do for him.

What did you think of the vampire politics? This world is so well-drawn. I was easily able to imagine the scenes.

Rowena: I didn’t think I’d be that interested in the vampire side of this world but Briggs did a great job of drawing me in. I’m still Team Werewolf but I did enjoy reading about the way things are done on the vampire side of things. You can see that there could be potential for good within the vampire community but so far, only Stefan seems to want to be good. I thought that was interesting.

So what do I have to look forward to?

Holly: The next book, Iron Kissed, is my favorite. It’s the hardest to read, I think, because of things that happen to Mercy. We see more of Adam and Jesse, plus Adam’s pack. I’m anxious for you to read it so we can discuss.

Rowena: Oh yay then I’ll definitely make sure to get it read soon. I’m looking forward to it.

This book was good. It had fun moments sprinkled among the intense moments with chasing down the bad guy down and Mercy being on her own for a lot of the tracking stuff. I thought that this book showcased just how strong Mercy is, despite not being an alpha or even a wolf. She’s smart and she’s strong and she really made this book for me. I can’t say anything else other than this was a great addition to the Mercy Thompson world and I was happy with the writing, the story and the characters. All around win for me.

You?

Holly: I love the humor sprinkled throughout. This was a great installment in the series and really opens things up for future books. I definitely call this a win.

I’m giving it a 4.25.

Rowena: Me, too. 4.25.

Final Grade

Holly: 4.25 out of 5 
Rowena: 4.25 out of 5

four-half-stars


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Guest Review: Love Me Again by Jaci Burton

Posted May 10, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Love Me Again by Jaci BurtonReviewer: Tracy
Love Me Again by Jaci Burton
Series: Hope Series #7
Also in this series: Hope Flames, Hope Ignites, Hope Burns, Love After All, Make Me Stay

Publication Date: May 2nd 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
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four-stars

When Loretta Simmons returns to Hope, Oklahoma, after a disastrous marriage, she’s determined to remain independent for the sake of her daughter. The only thing standing in her way is Deacon Fox—the man she loved and walked away from years ago.

Since Loretta owns the bookstore right next to his current renovation project, Deacon can’t escape the woman who broke his heart. Throw in her adorable little girl and one ridiculously oversized dog, and they’re almost a family. Only he can’t be that guy—what they had was once in a lifetime.
But love has a funny way of re-opening a door you thought was firmly closed…

Loretta and Deacon were in a relationship in high school and even talked about their future life together.  Loretta’s parents had other ideas for her future and being the dutiful daughter she’d always been she ended up dumping Deacon and getting married to another man, Tom. Loretta’s life with Tom was anything but fun but she got a wonderful daughter, Hazel, out of her marriage.  When she divorced her cheating, controlling husband she wanted nothing more than to be an independent woman and show her daughter how strong women could be without a man involved.

Loretta moved back to her hometown of Hope after her divorce.  The bookstore she started is next to a building that Deacon’s construction company is working on.  Deacon first meets Hazel and loves her personality.  When Hazel gets a dog Deacon offers to help her with the training.  When he’s out at the farm that Loretta bought he offers to give her a bid for some work that needs to be done around the farm.  This puts him on the farm quite a bit between the training and the work.

Deacon was heart-broken after Loretta broke up with him but he moved on. He dated some and started his own construction company with his friend Reid.  He didn’t hold a grudge against Loretta for breaking up with him and while things are awkward with her when she first returns to town he can’t stop staring at the beautiful woman she’s become.

Deacon falls in love with Hazel and would do anything for Loretta’s incredible child.  Deacon and Loretta get closer and soon start a relationship. Neither are sure it’s the best idea but they just can’t stay away from each other.

Another great addition to the Hope series.  I loved both Deacon and Loretta and I really loved the fact that this was a pretty light and airy story with little to no angst.  The author gave us a lovely second chance romance.

I mentioned little to no angst and one of the things I loved about this book was that Loretta and Deacon were so…adult.  I mean that in the best way.  There were no ridiculous misunderstandings and when it came to Loretta being upset with Deacon, he knew it.  He also said to her that she needed to talk to him about what was bothering her rather than sitting at home by herself being mad at him and him not being about to defend himself if necessary.  I mean, geez, what a novel concept, right?  Two people talking things out and communicating – what is the world coming to? 🙂  That was one of my favorite parts of the book.

Another favorite of mine in the book was, you guessed it, the dog…Otis.  Burton loves animals in her stories and this was a good one.  Otis was a gigantic goofy great dane who was a big love-bug.  Hazel had picked him up at the pound when her mother said she could get a dog.  Loretta was hoping for a small dog like a chihuahua but no, Hazel picked the biggest dog she could find.  It was adorable and so was Otis.  I loved him to pieces and wanted him for my own.

Overall the story was great.  We got to interact with characters from previous books and catch up with them so if you’ve read all of the books in the series you’ll enjoy that part.  The book has a lot going for it – adorable little girls, love, romance, a goofy dog and some pretty hot sex scenes.  It’s definitely a book I recommend as it was just fun to read.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Joint Review: Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

Posted May 8, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Joint Review: Moon Called by Patricia BriggsReviewer: Holly and Rowena
Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
Series: Mercy Thompson #1
Also in this series: Night Broken, Shifting Shadows, Blood Bound, Fire Touched, Silence Fallen (Mercy Thompson, #10), Blood Bound (Mercy Thompson, #2)

Publication Date: January 31st 2006
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 288
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four-stars

Mercedes "Mercy" Thompson is a talented Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. She also happens to be a walker, a magical being with the power to shift into a coyote at will. Mercy's next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she's fixing a bus for a vampire. This is the world of Mercy Thompson, one that looks a lot like ours but is populated by those things that go bump in the night. And Mercy's connection to those things is about to get her into some serious hot water...

Rowena: Thank goodness for you because without you, I wouldn’t read nearly as many of these books as I do. I’m SO glad that I finally got around to reading this book because it was hella good. Not just good, but hella good. I need more Mercy and Adam in my life…and it was good to see Samuel, Bran and Charles (from the Alpha & Omega series) and to see why Samuel was the way that he was in those books.

How was your re-read of the books?

Holly: I didn’t think I’d like this series at first. It took me ages to finally read it. I’m sorry I waited so long. Mercy, Adam and his pack, Jesse…They’re all amazing. I love how the world combines Magic with the Fae, Werewolves, etc.

My re-read this time was just as good. I love how normal Mercy is. She isn’t a super badass, despite the fact that she can turn into a coyote. She’s practical and down to earth, which makes her easy to relate to.

Rowena: I agree. As much as I adored both Adam and Samuel (you know I’m all about the heroes), Mercy was my favorite character in this series. Ames told me that she had such a huge girl crush on Mercy and I can totally see why. She’s really easy to relate to and she knows herself as well as her strengths and weaknesses. She’s not too stupid to live but she is brave and I just loved the hell out of her. I can’t wait to read more of these books.

I now see what you meant when you said that both this series and the Alpha & Omega series are kind of weaved together. Some of the things happening in here reminded me of stuff going on in the other series with Charles. I like that. It kind of reminds me of the Chicago Fire, PD, Med and Justice shows on NBC. I love how there’s this one world of characters that cross over to each different show. If done right, having so many different aspects of a world in different books and series is great and I think that Briggs does a wonderful job of that here.

What was your favorite part of this book?

Holly: It’s hard to say what my favorite part is, because now that I’ve read the entire series (and the A&O series) things have different meaning for me. I think it might be Adam demanding Mercy help him find Jesse. She’s weak by comparison to him and the other wolves, but he still wanted her to find his daughter because he knew she wouldn’t give up. I also love her interactions with with Bran. They have such a complicated relationship.

What about you?

Rowena: You’re right. Since everything is so fresh for me and I don’t know what’s to come, I see things differently. One of my favorite parts were Adam demanding Mercy help him find Jesse but more so because he knew that Jesse meant something to Mercy and he knew that she cared far more than Samuel did and wouldn’t give up. He knows her strengths and her weaknesses and …he claimed her to his pack. sigh I’m really looking forward to seeing their relationship grow.

It was nice to see Samuel learning of Adam and Mercy’s complicated relationship and really, the characters were well written and well rounded. No two dimensional characters in this series. I love how Mercy cared so much about a wide variety of people. People who didn’t get along with other people and yet, Mercy did. I could go on and on about how much I like Mercy but I think you get it.

I was invested in this story from the jump. This world is colorful and vivid and I’m so here for it all. I’m late to the party but what’s new? This was good stuff.

Holly: You’re right, he did know Mercy cared about Jesse and wouldn’t stop until she was found. That’s one of the things I like about Adam, period. He’s willing to set aside his own personal feelings in any given situation. It’s kind of a nice change for an alpha-male.

I really love how Mercy is sort of the glue that brings all these different elements together. We see this more as the series goes on, of course, but she’s like a neutral third party. I love it.

The world is my favorite thing about this book. It’s very well-drawn and immediately pulls you in.

I’m giving this a 4 out of 5.

Rowena: Same. This one gets a 4 out of 5 from me. Thanks for making me read this book!

four-stars


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Review: Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

Posted May 1, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Magic Bites by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, #1) by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #1
Also in this series: Magic Shifts, Magic Shifts, Magic Binds (Kate Daniels, #9), Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels, #3)
Published by Ace
Publication Date: April 1st 2007
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 260
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars

Atlanta would be a nice place to live, if it weren’t for the magic…
When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it arose, leaving all kinds of paranormal problems in its wake.
Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up these magical problems. But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, her quest for justice draws her into a power struggle between two strong factions within Atlanta’s magic circles.
The Masters of the Dead, necromancers who can control vampires, and the Pack, a paramilitary clan of shapechangers, blame each other for a series of bizarre killings—and the death of Kate’s guardian may be part of the same mystery. Pressured by both sides to find the killer, Kate realizes she’s way out of her league—but she wouldn’t have it any other way…

People have been recommending the Kate Daniels series for years. Several times it was suggested I skip Magic Bites and start with book two, Magic Burns, because this wasn’t an accurate representation of the series or the author. Recently a friend read the series and pushed me to try it. She said I should read in order because most of the world-building is done in this book. Let me just say..she lied. Ha! I should have taken the advice of others and started with book two.

The story moved very slowly. I had a hard time slogging through all the descriptions and, to be perfectly honest, I didn’t really care for Kate. I didn’t dislike her necessarily, but I didn’t connect with her and her monologues were frustrating and, often, boring. I found the world to be a bit chaotic and kind of confusing.

I didn’t dislike the story so much as I just didn’t fall into it. Had I not had book two already waiting (and all those friends encouraging me to continue) I probably wouldn’t have moved on with the series.

The good news is, I did move on and really ended up enjoying book 2.

For those who are on the fence about the series after this book, I encourage you to continue. The series only gets better as the books go on.

3 out of 5

three-stars


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