Publisher: Penguin

Sunday Spotlight: Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews

Posted April 16, 2017 by Holly in Features | 1 Comment

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be  raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

I came late to the Kate Daniels series. Though it had been recommended to me for years, I didn’t read much urban fantasy and skipped it. I’m so sorry I waited so long to start it. A friend suggested I reserve judgement until book two, Magic Burns, as Magic Bites (book 1) wasn’t nearly as good. Having now read the series, I agree. This week I’m spotlighting Magic Burns. While I think it’s necessary for the world-building to read book one, I highly suggest reserving judgement until book two.

Sunday Spotlight: Magic Burns by Ilona AndrewsMagic Burns (Kate Daniels, #2) by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #2
Also in this series: Magic Shifts, Magic Shifts, Magic Binds (Kate Daniels, #9)
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: April 1 2008
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 260
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Down in Atlanta, tempers – and temperatures – are about to flare…
As a mercenary who cleans up after magic gone wrong, Kate Daniels has seen her share of occupational hazards. Normally, waves of paranormal energy ebb and flow across Atlanta like a tide. But once every seven years, a flare comes, a time when magic runs rampant. Now Kate’s going to have to deal with problems on a much bigger scale: a divine one.
When Kate sets out to retrieve a set of stolen maps for the Pack, Atlanta’s paramilitary clan of shapeshifters, she quickly realizes much more at stake. During a flare, gods and goddesses can manifest – and battle for power. The stolen maps are only the opening gambit in an epic tug-of-war between two gods hoping for rebirth. And if Kate can’t stop the cataclysmic showdown, the city may not survive…

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Some series are made by the hero, or the heroine, or the world. This series is a combination of all of that, and then some. Kate Daniels is an amazing, kick-ass heroine. Curran is an excellent hero, and the perfect counterpart for her. The world – where magic comes in waves and knocks out tech – is fabulously drawn. The secondary characters are engaging and interesting. There is no part of this series that doesn’t work, and work well. If you haven’t, you really must read it.

Excerpt

Kate is a serious badass. She kicks asses and takes names all day long.

Jim raised his hand and touched his fingers to his thumb a few times, imitating an opening and closing beak. Negotiate. He wanted me to engage a lunatic who had already turned four people into smoking meat. Okay. I could do that. “Alright, Jeremy!” I yelled into the night. “Give me the salamander and I won’t cut your head off!

They kept coming, enclosing me in a tight ring of flesh. I killed without comprehension, not knowing whom I had dispatched to the cauldron’s depths. They were shapes, obstacles in my way to Morfran, and like a well-tuned machine, I mowed them down, unthinking, unrepentant. Every maneuver I tried worked. Every cut found its victim. A curious elation came over me—they were so many and I hoped they wouldn’t end. This was what I was born for. I could go on killing forever.

Her romance with Curran, the Beast Lord, develops slowly over several books, but it’s extremely satisfying.

“He handed me a bowl of soup, that’s as far as we got.”

“He fed you?” Raphael stopped rubbing Andrea.

“How did this happen?” Aunt B stared at me. “Be very precise, this is important.”

“He didn’t actually feed me. I was injured and he handed me a bowl of chicken soup. Actually I think he handed me two or three. And he called me an idiot.”

“Did you accept?” Aunt B asked.

“Yes. I was starving. Why are the three of you looking at me like that?”

“For crying out loud.” Andrea set her cup down, spilling some tea.

“The Beast Lord’s feeding you soup. Think about that for a second.”

I moved to shake his hand and he reversed it and kissed my fingers instead, singeing me with a look that was pure smolder.

I took my hand back. “That woke me up.”

He smiled a picture-perfect smile. “Been a while?”

For some reason, I felt like answering. “Two years. And if you could tone down that smile, I’d appreciate it. Getting weak in the knees.”

Is Curran serious?” Aunt B asked. She wanted to know if she now had to walk on eggshells around me. For once, I was happy to disappoint.

“No, he’s just being an asshole. Apparently every time he calls me ‘baby,’ I look like a red-hot poker is stuck up my butt. Causes him no end of fun.”


Seriously. Read the series.

Kate Daniels

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About the Author


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Ilona Andrews is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team. Ilona is a native-born Russian and Gordon is a former communications sergeant in the U.S. Army. Contrary to popular belief, Gordon was never an intelligence officer with a license to kill, and Ilona was never the mysterious Russian spy who seduced him. They met in college, in English Composition 101, where Ilona got a better grade. (Gordon is still sore about that.)

Gordon and Ilona currently reside in Texas with their two children, and many dogs and cats. They have co-authored two series, the bestselling urban fantasy of Kate Daniels and romantic urban fantasy of The Edge.

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Retro Review: Angels’ Blood by Nalini Singh

Posted April 5, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 9 Comments

Retro Review: Angels’ Blood by Nalini SinghReviewer: Holly
Angels' Blood by Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunter #1
Also in this series: Archangel's Kiss, Archangel's Consort, Archangel's Storm, Archangel's Legion, Archangel's Legion, Archangel's Shadows, Archangel's Shadows, Angels' Blood, Archangel's Heart, Archangel's Heart, Archangel's Heart (Guild Hunter, #9), Archangel's Kiss (Guild Hunter, #2)
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: March 3rd 2009
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Paranormal, General
Pages: 368
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four-half-stars

FIRST IN THE GUILD HUNTER SERIES from “a major new talent” (CHRISTINE FEEHAN).
View our feature on Nalini Singh’s Angels' Blood.
Nalini Singh introduces readers to a world of beauty and bloodlust, where angels hold sway over vampires.

Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux is hired by the dangerously beautiful Archangel Raphael. But this time, it’s not a wayward vamp she has to track. It’s an archangel gone bad.
The job will put Elena in the midst of a killing spree like no other—and pull her to the razor’s edge of passion. Even if the hunt doesn’t destroy her, succumbing to Raphael’s seductive touch just may. For when archangels play, mortals break.

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

This review was originally posted on September 11, 2009.

As many of you know, I have an aversion to vampires. A big one. I kind of have a mental block in place when it comes to them, as a matter of fact. So I put off reading this for quite some time. I’m sorry for that now. What an amazing story. The world-building and characterizations were fabulous. Casee already reviewed this book here, so I’m not going to go into the plot too much.

Elena was strong and witty. I might want to be her when I grow up. I love that she was independent and strong, but not the point of stupidity. I understood her fierce need to be in control of her own life and appreciated the way she stuck to her personal values and morals. I love that her attraction to Raphael didn’t stop her from standing up for herself, or doing what she felt was right.

Is there anything better than seeing an (arch)angel fall? Raphael started out cold and harsh, but really melted as the story progressed. Even though he was obviously dangerous and his motives were murky I still adored him right from the beginning. I think Singh really did an excellent job of writing him so he was the perfect anti-hero; Dark and dangerous, but lovable in spite of that.

I think one of the best things about this was how subtle the changes in their feelings for each other were. It’s obvious from the beginning that Raphael is attracted to Elena. But that doesn’t really mean anything to us as the reader, because we know he thinks of her as a toy. Watching his feelings slowly morph and change into something more was truly wonderful to watch.

I enjoyed the storyline, too. It was a different take on an old theme (angels and vampires) and I was drawn in from the first page. I do have questions about the Archangels and the major conflict of this novel, but I have a feeling the answers won’t be revealed until later in the series. I’m reserving judgment for now.

This was a fresh and amazing start to a new series. Singh has proven herself to be a master storyteller already, and this novel just secures her status.

4.5 out of 5

four-half-stars

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Guest Review: Ever My Love by Lynn Kurland

Posted April 3, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Ever My Love by Lynn KurlandReviewer: Tracy
Ever My Love by Lynn Kurland
Series: MacLeod series #10
Also in this series: Till There Was You
Published by Jove
Publication Date: April 4th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Medieval, Time Travel
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three-half-stars

Two people are caught up in love—and in time—in the latest novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Stars in Your Eyes.

In search of a fresh start, Emma Barton has traveled to Scotland to try to forget her rocky love life. Luckily, the gorgeous Highlander who owns the house up the path from her rental cottage might be exactly the kind of distraction she needs. But there’s more to his intriguing qualities than she can explain—and she certainly isn’t buying into the local legends of Highland magic.

Nathaniel MacLeod is a man adrift, all thanks to the unwanted gift that forces him to continually jump between centuries. He never knows if he’ll wind up in the present day or the fourteenth century, but when Emma follows him back through time, he suddenly has more to worry about than keeping his separate lives straight…

Someone has started to notice Nathaniel’s travels and now, no time period is safe, for him or for Emma.

Nathaniel MacLeod has been traveling back in time off and on for the past 5 years.  When he hears or sees a certain date he feels the time portal open and he knows that he must get back to medieval Scotland as soon as possible.  He doesn’t know why it’s him that has to go or what the purpose is of him being there but he’s determined to figure it out.

Emma Baxter is in England to get away from her life in England.  She’s pretty much hiding from her ex-boyfriend an trying to figure out what she needs to do next in her life.  She meets Nathaniel because his is a neighboring home to the cottage she’s staying in.  They are instantly attracted to each other but Nathaniel seems to have so many secrets.

When Emma ends up stepping through a time gate and ends up in a dungeon it’s Nathaniel that has to save her.  When she does it again and the exact same events occur Nathaniel knows that he needs to figure out what part Emma plays in his time traveling but he’s not sure he can fix it and keep her with him at the same time.

This was another good book by Kurland.  I’ve only read a few books in the MacLeod series but I think after reading this one that I might have to go back and take care of that lack as meeting Nathaniel’s relatives, Patrick, Ian and Jamie was awesome. They helped both Emma and Nathaniel in many ways and seemed to be very good men.

While I really liked Both Emma and Nathaniel in this book and liked watching their relationship develop, there was a certain disconnection I felt with the book.  I’m not sure if the term is “disjointed” but I felt like the story was all over the place.  It may have been the lack of information we received about Emma and her situation back home as well as the secrets that Nathaniel was keeping about his work and family.  This issue definitely got better as the book went on and we got more info on them.  The latter part of the book was what saved this one for me.

I also was a little disappointed in the physical contact between Emma and Nathaniel.  Yes, I know that Kurland’s books are clean – no sex – but this one had them kiss once.  Once!  And that was a peck if I remember correctly.  I don’t mind clean books but I definitely think the H/h need to have a bit more contact throughout the book – at least more than a peck. But that’s just me. 🙂

While definitely not my favorite book in the series it was a good one that I found entertaining.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Review: Bound Together by Christine Feehan

Posted March 13, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Bound Together by Christine FeehanBound Together (Sea Haven/Sisters of the Heart, #6) by Christine Feehan
Series: Sisters of the Heart #6, Sea Haven #13
Also in this series: Water Bound, Spirit Bound, Air Bound, Earth Bound, Fire Bound, Turbulent Sea, Hidden Currents, Magic in the Wind, The Twilight Before Christmas, Oceans of Fire, Dangerous Tides, Safe Harbor, Turbulent Sea, Hidden Currents
Published by Jove
Publication Date: March 21st 2017
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
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four-stars

The Sea Haven series comes to a climactic end as the mysterious man from Blythe Daniels’ past re-enters her life. Don’t miss the final Sea Haven novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling “queen of paranormal romance” (J. R. Ward).
For five years, Viktor Prakenskii has put his life on hold in order to take down the world’s most feared motorcycle club from the inside. But carrying out the insane violence and seeing the club’s exploitation of the innocent has brought his traumatic past roaring back. And there’s only one cure: to see the wife he left behind...
Blythe Daniels thought she’d never see Viktor again after he murdered her stepfather and left without a word. She rebuilt her life without him, becoming a personal trainer and physical therapist...becoming strong enough for others to lean on. But when Viktor comes back to Sea Haven, he’ll make Blythe question everything she thought she knew about good and evil—and the dark desires of the heart...

This is the final book in Feehan’s Drake Sisters/Sea Haven spin-off, Sisters of the Heart.

Five years ago Blythe Daniels married Viktor Prakenskii after knowing him a week. Then he busted her step-father as a pedophile and left her to deal with the aftermath without a word. Although she’s never been able to get over him, she doesn’t consider them married and wants nothing to do with him. So when he unexpectedly shows up in town and lays claim to her in public, she’s pretty furious. And confused. Especially since he claims he left her a letter explaining everything – and his excuse for disappearing is pretty damn good. Still, opening herself up to him after the trauma she suffered because of him isn’t high on her priority list.

Viktor always intended to return for Blythe, but he had to finish his undercover op first. He didn’t expect it to last as long as it did, but he knew she’d be waiting for him. He had no idea the trauma she suffered while he was gone. While dealing with their final target, he also needs to win Blythe back and convince her they’re meant to be.

This wrapped up some loose threads from the previous books in the series, and we got to see all the previous couples again, which is nice. I really liked the action and the MC element. I’ll be curious to read more about them in the future. Viktor and his MC had become a family. I really enjoyed their interactions with each other, and watching them warily begin to accept his blood-brothers.

As for Blythe and Viktor, I liked them as a couple, but something about their romance didn’t work for me. I think it was the rushed feeling as they came back together. I would have liked to see more of them alone, discussing their past issues and getting to know each other again.

There was a good amount of humor. I cracked up several times. Especially when it came to Blythe and the MC. I’ve always enjoyed the relationship between the sisters, and now the brothers as well. Feehan writes great family relationships.

I’m sad to see the series come to a close, but I’m happy to see Feehan is continuing on with Viktor’s Torpedo Ink MC brothers.

Feehan finishes the series on a high note. I was definitely left wanting more.

4 out of 5

four-stars

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Review: Satisfaction by Lexi Blake

Posted February 10, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Satisfaction  by Lexi BlakeReviewer: Rowena
Satisfaction by Lexi Blake
Series: Lawless Series #2
Also in this series: Ruthless, Satisfaction
Published by Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: January 3rd 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 384
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four-stars

The sizzling second novel in a sexy new contemporary romance series featuring the Lawless siblings—from New York Times bestselling author Lexi Blake.

Brandon Lawless is a man on a mission: obtain the information that will clear his father’s name. He’s willing to do whatever it takes—even seduce his enemy’s personal assistant, the beautiful and innocent Carly Hendricks. But with her beguiling smile and captivating intelligence, Brandon soon realizes he doesn’t want to deceive Carly, he wants to win her over—both in the boardroom and the bedroom.

Then a twisted crime leaves Carly vulnerable and Brandon finds himself reeling. The stakes of his mission are now life or death—Carly’s life. And Brandon realizes he’s lost his heart to an amazing woman and his plan must succeed, because the stakes are no longer just revenge, but a once in a lifetime love.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Satisfaction is the second book in the Lawless series and it follows the youngest brother, Brandon as he journeys to that elusive happily ever after. A happy ending that he does not believe he deserves. When we first meet Brandon is the first book, Ruthless, he is a happy go lucky kind of guy until he gets into a fight and the brothers plus Hatch have to go and bail him out. You get a sense that of all the Lawless siblings, Riley and Bran are still dealing with issues from when they were in the foster care system.

Riley has trouble sleeping with the door open. It’s got to be locked and he has to sleep alone. Bran, Bran has nightmares about a night he’d rather forget. About a girl he cared about and couldn’t save.

Riley is the charming brother. Andrew is the vengeful brother. But Bran? Bran is the protective brother. He’s Captain Save a Hoe. You can find him at the strip club beating on guys that think strippers are their personal property. In the first book, Riley got in a lot of trouble because 1) he fell in love with his mark and 2) he lied through his buck teeth about everything under the sun. Bran is determined that they learn from their mistakes so when the next phase in their revenge plot calls for getting close to the personal assistant of the next person on their hit list, Bran sneaks in and steals Drew’s spotlight.

Carly Fisher is Patricia Cain’s personal assistant and overall grunt. Patricia Cain is next up on the Lawless siblings hit list. They need Carly’s assistance in getting close to Patricia so that they can take her down. Drew’s plan was to seduce Carly into letting him get close so that he use her to handle his business but Bran’s idea was to bring Carly into the plan. Make her an ally. Present her with the truth, with the facts and let her decide if she wants to help them. Drew is not a fan of Bran’s plan and he’s not a fan of allies.

Bran and Carly’s romance was sweet. I really enjoyed seeing them get to know each other and getting to know the both of them myself. They were great characters, and I loved Bran. I loved how honest he was, how hard he worked to take care of those he loved and I really loved how he went toe to toe with Drew. Drew has a tendency of being so narrow-minded that he can be hard to be around. His personality is very off-putting but for those that know him, that love him, they understand him. Bran is the opposite of Drew. He’s very easy to be around. He’s quick to smile. He’s loyal and even when he was being a dumbass, I loved him.

Carly was the newbie on the scene, so she had a lot of catching up to do on making me like her. I enjoyed her character as a whole but she did get on my nerves from time to time. Her reasoning drove me nuts but in her heart of hearts, she was a good person. I liked that she was smart, she was loyal to her sister and when she stopped letting her insecurities get to her, she was a great partner for Bran.

Overall, this was a great story with characters that rocked my socks and I’m really thirsty for Revenge, Drew’s book. I called his heroine right when we met her in this book. The ending for this book has me super anxious for the next one because I just know Drew is going to piss everyone off in the name of protecting his family and I just know it’s going to be good. I’m so here for it.

4 out of 5

four-stars

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