Reading Challenge: Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge

Featured Review: Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews

Posted March 25, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Featured Review: Magic Slays by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Casee, Holly, and Rowena
Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #5
Also in this series: Magic Shifts, Magic Shifts, Magic Binds, Magic Bites, Magic Strikes, Iron and Magic, Magic Triumphs, Magic Bites, Magic Bleeds , Magic Burns, Magic Strikes , Magic Slays , Gunmetal Magic , Magic Rises , Magic Strikes, Magic Mourns, Magic Bleeds, Magic Dreams
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: May 31, 2011
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-half-stars

Kate Daniels has quit the Order of Merciful Aid, but starting her own business isn't easy when the Order starts disparaging her good name. And being the mate of the Beast Lord doesn't bring in the customers, either. So when Atlanta's premier Master of the Dead asks for help with a vampire, Kate jumps at the chance. Unfortunately, this is one case where Kate should have looked before she leapt.

Casee: I finally went into reading mode today and was able to finish this book. Holy cow. I think it’s my favorite in the series so far. Everything about it was amazing. Kate is such an awesome heroine. I just can’t get enough of her.

Holly: I feel like the series really picks up with this book. I liked book 3, but this is the first book in the series I really loved. The way the relationships develop, the plot, all of it was stellar.

Casee: I agree. There was a cohesiveness to this book that really stuck with me. I loved seeing Kate’s relationships with all the people in her life. It’s funny because she started out a loaner and now she has all these people in her life.

Rowena: For me, the series really picked up with book 3, Magic Strikes but this was another great addition to the series. I’m really liking how Kate’s circle of loved ones keeps growing and growing. I’m also really enjoying seeing her business grow from one employee to four. Do we see more from Ascansio? He got on my nerves in the beginning but he really grew on me.

Casee: Ascansio got on my nerves too. He really redeemed himself when he protected Julie.

Holly: Ascanio got on my nerves at first, too, but I loved how he protected Julie. I also loved how she kicked his ass. Ha. Serves him right.

Rowena: Yes!! I forgot all about how much he annoyed me until Julie showed up and gave him the verbal smackdown. As much as I’d love to see more between Ascansio and Julie, it’s Derek and Julie that I’m much more invested in. I can’t wait to read more between them.

Casee: Speaking of Julie, holy hell! I can’t even imagine what will happen if she finds out what Kate did.

Holly: Julie. Dude. I can’t even with that whole thing.

Rowena: My heart hurt for the choices that Kate had to make and it continued to hurt seeing Curran try and fail to be okay with her choices. Ilona Andrews does a great job of pulling the feels right out of me. From beginning to end, I was invested in every single thing in this book.

Holly: My heart hurt for Kate, too. Do you really think it was necessary for her to do what she did, though? It’s hard, but maybe she should have let that go. You know what I mean? (I’m trying not to include spoilers)

Rowena: I kept wondering if maybe there was something else they could have done to save Julie but everyone was panicked and I honestly believe that Kate did the best she could to save her kid so I’m not mad about it. I hope that Julie is able to forgive Kate when she finds out because I know she’s going to find out. Right?

Holly: Derek and Julie are both awesome alone. I can’t wait for you two to get farther along in the series so we can discuss more!

Casee: I was happy to see more of Derek. I heart him. I love how he protects Julie. As for Julie, I’m sure she will find out. That’s going to be interesting for sure.

Rowena: Overall, this story really worked for me but it wasn’t my favorite of the bunch so far. I’m really happy that I’m reading this series and each book so far has gotten better and better. I am loving Kate, I am loving Curran and I’m loving everyone else that we meet that is a part of Kate’s family. I thought that Curran handled the pack shit where Kate is concerned a whole lot better than Adam did in the Mercy Thompson series so Curran is my number one boo thang right now. Haha. I’m really enjoying the different aspects of the Kate Daniels world and I thought there was a lot of interesting things covered in this one so I definitely recommend it.

Casee: I loved Kate and Curran in this book. There are so many things to love. Their interactions just make me laugh. They are both two very strong individuals, but they still make it work.

Holly: There are so many things I want to talk about with you two, but you need to read farther into the series. We’ll talk more next month.

Rowena: I can’t wait to discuss all of those things with you but yeah, it’ll have to wait until next month.

Holly: This isn’t my favorite book in the series, but it is a really good book. I love how Kate’s world keeps expanding, and how she and Curran come together. This is a series I think everyone should read, and I’m thrilled you two are finally getting caught up.

Rowena: I’m giving it 4.25 out 5 stars. What about you guys?

Casee: I give this one a 4.25.

Holly: I’m going to give a 4 out of 5.

Final Grades

Casee: 4.25 out of 5
Holly: 4 out of 5
Rowena: 4.25 out of 5

Kate Daniels

four-stars


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Joint Review: Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews

Posted March 12, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Joint Review: Magic Strikes by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly and Rowena
Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #3
Also in this series: Magic Shifts, Magic Shifts, Magic Binds, Magic Bites, Magic Strikes, Iron and Magic, Magic Triumphs, Magic Bites, Magic Bleeds , Magic Burns, Magic Strikes , Magic Slays , Gunmetal Magic , Magic Rises , Magic Mourns, Magic Bleeds, Magic Dreams, Magic Slays
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: March 31, 2009
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 322
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
five-stars
Series Rating: four-half-stars

When magic strikes and Atlanta goes to pieces, it’s a job for Kate Daniels…

Drafted into working for the Order of Merciful Aid, mercenary Kate Daniels has more paranormal problems than she knows what to do with these days. 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 the third book in the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. The trouble really starts to heat up when Kate’s friend Derek is found almost dead and she is forced to catch the bad guys by putting a team together to fight in the Midnight Games, a supernatural Hunger Games like tournament. It’s a fight to the death and Kate and her team, the Fools, need to win the biggest prize of all to make sure it doesn’t fall into the hands of the bad guys.

Rowena: Holly and I are a little late with our February joint review and that’s all my fault. I fell behind on my buddy reads and my review pile so here we are, a month late but better late than never, right?

This month, we are reading Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews and I’m super stoked about that since I’ve been meaning to read this series for ages and Holly was nice enough to read it with me. I enjoyed this book heaps more than I enjoyed the first two books in this series. It’s like the series is finally hitting its stride with me and I couldn’t get enough.

Holly: I’m so glad you’re finally digging into this series. I knew if you powered through the first two books you’d fall in love.

Rowena: I went through it all emotionally in this one. I ugly cried like a baby, I laughed like a hyena and I happy sighed all over the place because omg, everything was so good.

What did you think, Holly? Did it hold up for you?

Holly: This one really packs a punch. It held up very well for me. Kate is such a kickass heroine. I love how badass she is. When she gave Jim that verbal smackdown after he shut her out about Derek, I cheered.

Speaking of Derek…my heart broke for him here. What about you?

Rowena: Same. This book really picks the series up and I just loved it to pieces. When Kate was too late getting to Derek, and the guilt she felt over it all? OMG, I felt that shit. I felt every single emotion possible while reading this book. There was a lot going on but there were small moments that just hit me in my feels and I couldn’t get enough. Seeing everyone come together for Kate, and for Jim and Derek? Man, I loved it. Jim trying to save Curran from doing things nobody should have to do? I felt that. Doolittle naming Kate’s team “Fools”, Curran showing up and everyone being scared out of their pants but ready with their excuses, and Curran shooting all of their excuses down? Haha, I freaking loved it. I laughed out loud when Kate comes back to the team room and Andrea is spilling the tea on what everyone was saying? Hahaha, oh man. So good. Don’t even get me started that first match when Jim told Curran and Kate to dumb down their fighting and they’re arguing afterward about how the fight turned out.

Holly: Like you, I felt all the emotions while reading this book. Curran’s anger, Kate and Jim’s determination to spare him, their sense of responsibility for Derek. Lord. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time I read this book. Like Kate, I wanted vengeance. I hurt so much while reading this one. It definitely got me in the feels.

Rowena: One of the big things for me was finding out more about Kate’s background and seeing what she’s capable of. I mean, I had a sneaky suspicion that Kate was a little more than the puny little human that she was making herself out to be in the previous books but man, I wasn’t expecting what she did in that last match. Kate Daniels is a freaking bad ass boss!

Holly: I love how Kate’s background is slowly revealed. Every time you think you know what’s up with Kate, something new happens and you have to rethink everything. I will say, the way Kate takes everything on herself drives me crazy, but I understand that’s just part of her. She feels responsible for the world.

What do you think of Jim and Dali?

Rowena: I enjoyed Jim and Dali. Jim can ride my nerves from time to time, but overall, I enjoy his character. I liked the dynamic between him and Dali and holy cow, Dali is hilarious. She’s a lot of fun. Her magic and spells had me cracking up through it all.

Holly: Dali is hilarious. A blind vegetarian tiger? Ha!

Rowena: Man, Derek! Pretty boy, Derek! So, something brewing between him and Julie or what? When she was scanning his body with her magic? My heart hurt so much and when Derek forces his way onto the team to save that girl? I’m telling you, my heart!! OMG when Kate and Raphael went to get Julie from school? I about died laughing. The bad guys are getting worse and worse, huh?

Holly: You’ll have to read Magic Stars when you get a little further into the series. It’s a Julie novella. And that’s all I’m saying about that. I loved it when Kate and Raphael showed up at Julie’s school. There’s so much good stuff here. It’s was a pleasure to re-read.
As much as I loved this book, I don’t think the series really finds its feet until the next book, so you have much to look forward to.

Rowena: From beginning to end, I enjoyed this one. Ilona Andrews continues to shine and I had hella heart eyes while reading this. There isn’t anything that I can think of that I didn’t like about this book. I thought it was well written, action packed, and the way that it ends with Curran and Kate? Oh hell yes, this book gets 5 stars from me. What about you?

Holly: This isn’t my favorite book in the series, but it’s so damn good that’s not saying much. I love the humor, the angst, the drama…all of it. I’m giving it 4.5 out of 5.

Holly: 4.5 out of 5
Rowena: 5 out of 5

Kate Daniels

five-stars


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Featured Review: Chasing Cassandra by Lisa Kleypas

Posted February 27, 2020 by Casee in Features, Reviews | 2 Comments

Featured Review: Chasing Cassandra by Lisa KleypasReviewer: Casee, Holly & Rowena
Chasing Cassandra by Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Ravenels #6
Also in this series: Cold-Hearted Rake, Devil in Spring, Devil in Spring, Hello Stranger, Devil in Spring (The Ravenels, #3), Devil's Daughter (The Ravenels #5), Devil's Daughter
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: February 18, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

Everything has a price...
Railway magnate Tom Severin is wealthy and powerful enough to satisfy any desire as soon as it arises. Anything—or anyone—is his for the asking. It should be simple to find the perfect wife—and from his first glimpse of Lady Cassandra Ravenel, he’s determined to have her. But the beautiful and quick-witted Cassandra is equally determined to marry for love—the one thing he can’t give.
Everything except her...
Severin is the most compelling and attractive man Cassandra has ever met, even if his heart is frozen. But she has no interest in living in the fast-paced world of a ruthless man who always plays to win.
When a newfound enemy nearly destroys Cassandra’s reputation, Severin seizes the opportunity he’s been waiting for. As always, he gets what he wants—or does he? There’s one lesson Tom Severin has yet to learn from his new bride:
Never underestimate a Ravenel.
The chase for Cassandra’s hand may be over. But the chase for her heart has only just begun...

Casee: Let’s get this party started.

I’ve only read two historicals in the last few years and they were both in the Ravenels series. I knew I would like this book, but really dragged my feet about reading it. I’m so glad that I read it because I loved it. I loved Cassandra and Tom. I loved Bazzle. I loved the Ravenels. Tom is more of a memorable hero than most because he is so analytical and leads his life based on logic, not feelings. The pairing with Cassandra was an interesting one as they are completely different.

What did you two think?

Holly: I always love Kleypas’ novels, so I had high expectations going in. I thought the early chapters were a bit slow, but I really fell into the story at about the 1/4 mark. I loved Tom and Cassandra, and how they supported each other. Every time Tom encouraged Cassandra to be herself, or pursue her dreams, I got a little melty on the inside.

Rowena: I’m SO glad that you guys have finished the book and I’m even more glad that you both enjoyed it. I loved this book so much! I loved Tom, I loved Cassandra, and I really loved Bazzle.

I didn’t have any trouble getting into this story, and that surprised me because when I first found out that we were getting Tom Severin’s story, I was like, meh…cause I was still mad at him from the whole railroad thing. I’m glad that I didn’t let that get in the way of me reading this because, as I said, I loved it!

Holly: Speaking of that whole railway thing…do you think he honestly would have given the rights back after the negotiations were done? I’m not sure if that was in keeping with his character.

Casee: This is the first time I’ve ever read about him, so the railway thing didn’t bother me.

Rowena: Yeah, I think he would have. Mostly because everyone was mad at him and not because he felt honor-bound to do so. I did see him grow to understand where everyone was coming from.

Holly: I’m not sure I believe that. The Tom at the end of this book? Yes. He learned a lot over the course of the novel. But the Tom at the beginning? Eh..I’m not sure I buy that. Still, it was a minor quibble and didn’t take away from the story for me.

Casee: What did you think about Bazzle? I loved him. He was a real delight. I liked how Tom just couldn’t let it go with him. He obviously saw himself in Bazzle. I found it amusing that for as smart as Tom was, he was so clueless about some things. Including why he was helping Bazzle.

Holly: I loved Bazzle. I thought he was adorable. Tom was great with him, and you’re right, it was funny how Tom was such a genius at so many things, but was really clueless about others.

Rowena: When they take him to Dr. Gibson for lice treatment, I laughed so much. Lisa Kleypas writes such fantastic historicals and I’m glad that she’s still writing them.

Casee: What about the negotiations? I died laughing, especially about the dog. Then this:

“Are the negotiations almost finished?” he asked in a husky voice. “Are there any important questions left? I’ve already spent too many days of my life without you, Cassandra.”

AWWWW.

Rowena: I liked the influence that Cassandra had over him. She was a good one for him to have around because he didn’t see the world the way that everyone else did and she helped him understand the world that everyone lives in.

Can you imagine being so rich that you can buy a whole ass newspaper company, just because they wrote something that pissed you off? I can’t even imagine that. I guess this is a historical billionaire romance, huh? Haha.

Holly: I loved how Tom decided he only had 5 emotions. Hilarious.

Casee: Where does it rate in the series for you two? It’s my favorite book so far. Lol

Rowena: LOL, it’s not my favorite of the bunch but it’s not my least favorite either. My favorite is still Devil’s Daughter and this is probably my second or third favorite or it’s tied with Devil in Spring. You should read them all. 🙂

Casee: I’m planning on reading Marrying Winterborne after I finish my current book. I’m about to have a lot of reading time!

Holly: The whole time we were reading this and discussing the series, I’ve completely forgotten about Devil’s Daughter. West! I loved that book. SO MUCH. I think Devil in Spring is still my favorite because PANDORA, but man do I love me some West.

I was cracking up over the “Ask me what I did today” thing and then Pandora being like “WHAT DID YOU DO TODAY?!” hahaha. It’s good to be king.

Rowena: I loved the way that they were with each other. There was so much that had me laughing, tearing up and just in love with everything going on. Seeing Tom come to love both Bazzle and then Cassandra, the way that Cassandra wanted more for Bazzle then what Tom had planned, their negotiations over their contract, gah, I really enjoyed everything. Tom may have not been my favorite character before this book but boy did he win me over to his side from early on in this book.

Casee: I give this book a 4.25. What about you guys?

Rowena: I give this book a 4.25 out of 5 too.

Holly: I agree, I loved how Tom came to love both Bazzle and Cassandra, and I absolutely adored how supportive he was of her. Tom was Cassandra’s champion from day one.

4.25 out of 5.

Rating

Casee: 4.25 out of 5.
Holly: 4.25 out of 5.
Rowena: 4.25 out of 5.

Overall: 4.25 out of 5.

The Ravenels


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