Tag: Ace

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

Giveaway: We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

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About the Author


WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | TUMBLR | GOODREADS

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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Review: Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs

Posted March 20, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Silence Fallen by Patricia BriggsReviewer: Holly
Silence Fallen (Mercy Thompson, #10) by Patricia Briggs
Series: Mercy Thompson, #10
Also in this series: Night Broken, Shifting Shadows, Blood Bound, Fire Touched
Published by Ace Books
Publication Date: March 7th 2017
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 371
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four-half-stars

In the #1 New York Times bestselling Mercy Thompson novels, the coyote shapeshifter has found her voice in the werewolf pack. But when Mercy's bond with the pack and her mate is broken, she'll learn what it truly means to be alone...
Attacked and abducted in her home territory, Mercy finds herself in the clutches of the most powerful vampire in the world, taken as a weapon to use against alpha werewolf Adam and the ruler of the Tri-Cities vampires. In coyote form, Mercy escapes only to find herself without money, without clothing, and alone in the heart of Europe...
Unable to contact Adam and the rest of the pack, Mercy has allies to find and enemies to fight, and she needs to figure out which is which. Ancient powers stir, and Mercy must be her agile best to avoid causing a war between vampires and werewolves, and between werewolves and werewolves. And in the heart of the ancient city of Prague, old ghosts rise...

Mercy runs to the local convenience store for some last minute baking items when she’s run off the road and kidnapped. She wakes alone, in Europe, with no way to contact the pack. Mercy is no stranger to saving herself, but she’s never been completely alone and cutoff from everyone she knows and loves.

When Adam discovers Mercy’s wrecked vehicle and can’t contact her through their mating bond or by more mundane means, he nearly loses it. Thankfully cooler heads prevail and the pack starts hunting for Mercy. Once they realize she’s been whisked away to Europe as some kind of power-play between the vampires, Adam is able to settle enough to make plans to retrieve her. Unfortunately, Mercy escapes before he’s able to get to her. But Adam trusts Mercy to take care of himself, so he continues on his diplomatic trip to see the Master of Milan.

In the meantime Mercy finds herself in Prague, dealing with a Golem and a not-quite-enemy werewolf alpha who grants her sanctuary, but seems to have a vampire problem himself.

More from Adam’s POV!!

We have to hunt, Adam whispered to the wild spirit who shared his body, the wild spirit he both despised and gloried in. We have to hunt, find Mercy, and destroy the one who took her from us. And teach them that Mercy is ours.
And inside him, the wolf paused, considering Adam’s argument. After a moment, the beast agreed.

One of the things I love best about this series is the progression of the relationship between Mercy and Adam. They’re a solid couple who rely on each other, but also trust one another enough that they don’t need to live in each other’s pockets. Now that things have settled down with Mercy and the pack, the strength of their relationship really shines through.

Briggs took us into Adam and another’s points-of-view, which was a nice change from the previous books. I feel like we got a better sense of Mercy for having seen her from an outside perspective (the books are generally told first person from Mercy’s point-of-view). This from Marsilia, Mistress of the local vampire seethe, especially stood out for me.

“It doesn’t do to underestimate Mercedes, Jacob, something that I had to learn, too. Did she give you the spiel she likes to bring out now and again, about how she’s mostly no more powerful than the average human? It is a most effective speech because I think she actually believes it.”

We learned quite a bit about Bran and Mercy in this book. It was good to get another perspective when it comes to some of the relationships Mercy has formed. We see more how Marsilia, Bran, and others view Mercy.

“Bran could not love Mercy more if she were his own daughter. He’s funny about family. The last person who hurt one of his children was his own mother … you do know the story of Beowulf?”

Although the tone of the series tends to be kind of dark, there’s some levity. I actually laughed out loud a few times.

“So,” he said softly, “where is your pet werewolf whose job it was … to keep Mercy here, I think you said?”
There was a pause, then the beautiful male vampire to his left said, a hint of amusement in his voice, “She was hit by a bus and is currently recovering.”
And just that easily, Adam’s equanimity was restored.
Adam nodded. “People who stand in the way of my mate’s ability to get herself out of trouble often feel like they were hit by buses. I think this might be the first time it is literally true, though.”

The story jumps around quite a bit and Briggs does a lot more head-hopping than usual, but it really worked. The story was gripping. I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen next.

4.5 out of 5

four-half-stars

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Review: Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews

Posted January 19, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Magic Binds by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Magic Binds (Kate Daniels, #9) by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #9
Also in this series: Magic Shifts, Magic Shifts
Published by Ace
Publication Date: September 20th 2016
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 384
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four-half-stars

Mercenary Kate Daniels knows all too well that magic in post-Shift Atlanta is a dangerous business. But nothing she’s faced could have prepared her for this…

Kate and the former Beast Lord Curran Lennart are finally making their relationship official. But there are some steep obstacles standing in the way of their walk to the altar…

Kate’s father, Roland, has kidnapped the demigod Saiman and is slowly bleeding him dry in his never-ending bid for power. A Witch Oracle has predicted that if Kate marries the man she loves, Atlanta will burn and she will lose him forever. And the only person Kate can ask for help is long dead.

The odds are impossible. The future is grim. But Kate Daniels has never been one to play by the rules…

Kate and Curran have finally set a date for their wedding, but planning a wedding is hard work, especially when you’re trying to grow a business, defend land you never meant to claim and deal with your soon-to-be husband’s former pack.

Now that Kate’s father has moved in at the edge of her land and called a truce, he keeps poking at her, hoping to incite a reaction. She’s mostly able to resist going after him directly until he kidnaps Saimon, a demi-god and former sort-of friend of Kate’s. Roland is bleeding him dry in his bid for more power, and Kate knows she can’t leave Saimon to his fate..especially since that would mean giving dear old dad power over her. The witch oracle has warned Kate she has devastation in her future, but she can’t sit back and do nothing. Plus, she’s changing. Since she claimed Atlanta as hers, she can feel pieces of herself slipping away. She doesn’t like the person she’s becoming, but she isn’t sure how to stop the change from happening.

Of course Curran still has her back. No matter how she acts or what challenges they face, Curran accepts Kate as she is. She also has a lot of support from her friends and psuedo-family. Despite herself – or maybe in spite of herself – Kate has formed stronger bonds and attachments than she ever expected.

These characters are so multifaceted. Take Roland for example. He is Evil Incarnate. The Killer of Innocents. The Scourge of the Earth. The Builder of Towers. Yet he has flashes of goodness, too. It’s clear he cares for Kate in his own way, and wants a relationship with her. I know there’s no way he can ever be redeemed, but a small part of me holds out hope I’m wrong, while another part anxiously awaits the day Curran rips him to pieces for hurting Kate.

This was such a fantastic read. I can’t believe how fresh and exciting this book was, considering we’re 9 books into the series. I was sucked in from page one. There was a surprising amount of humor considering the darker overtone of the book. I literally laughed out loud several times.

My heart hurt, my blood pumped and I was on the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading. I can’t wait to see what Andrews has in store for us next.

4.5 out of 5

 

four-half-stars

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Review: Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs

Posted August 22, 2016 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Fire Touched by Patricia BriggsReviewer: Holly
Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs
Series: Mercy Thompson #9
Also in this series: Night Broken, Shifting Shadows, Blood Bound, Silence Fallen (Mercy Thompson, #10)
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: March 8th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Urban, Romance, Paranormal, General, Action & Adventure, Contemporary
Pages: 352
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four-half-stars

Mercy Thompson has been hailed as “a heroine who continues to grow and yet always remains true to herself.”* Now she’s back, and she’ll soon discover that when the fae stalk the human world, it’s the children who suffer...   Tensions between the fae and humans are coming to a head. And when coyote shapeshifter Mercy and her Alpha werewolf mate, Adam, are called upon to stop a rampaging troll, they find themselves with something that could be used to make the fae back down and forestall out-and-out war: a human child stolen long ago by the fae.   Defying the most powerful werewolf in the country, the humans, and the fae, Mercy, Adam, and their pack choose to protect the boy no matter what the cost. But who will protect them from a boy who is fire touched?   *Library Journal
From the Hardcover edition.

When last we left Mercy and Adam, his ex-wife, Christy, had spent several weeks making Mercy’s life hell, they’d fought a volcano god and Mercy brought a Tibicena (a mythical dog that guarded the volcano god) into the pack.

I was fairly frustrated with Adam and Mercy both by the time I finished Night Broken, the previous entry in this series, so I started Fire Touched with caution. I’m happy to report all my concerns were addressed well before the halfway mark. This entry brings new trouble to the Pack, but also clears up some lingering issues from previous books.

Mercy gets a call from her human cop friend Tony asking for help with a “huge monster” that’s perched on a bridge, eating cars and people. The pack races over there and discovers it’s a Troll. After battling it and sustaining heavy injuries to many pack members, Mercy claims the city as pack territory and vows to defend it. As the Fae are still trying to prove their power to the humans who refused to see them as anything more than meek pushovers, this causes major issues. Especially after Mercy grants sanctuary to a child the Fae desperately want, as he’s been living in Underhill for years and seems to be accepted their in a way they no longer are.

Mercy has settled into the pack now, and people are beginning to look toward them more for support and protection. Claiming the Tri-Cities as pack territory was the right move, but she gets a lot of flak for it from the pack, since they weren’t consulted (and neither was Adam) before she made her declaration. I really enjoyed seeing Mercy take on more leadership in the pack. Not that she wasn’t hands-off before, but her place in the pack seemed more secure, as did her role as Adam’s mate and Alpha.

The plot featuring the Aiden, the Fire Touched boy was especially intriguing. The twists and turns of the plot made for an engaging read.

One thing did make me very sad, however.

View Spoiler »

Aside from that, there was quite a bit of humor. I laughed out loud several times while reading, especially in the beginning.

Fire Touched was a fascinating, thrilling tale from start to finish.

4.25 out of 5

four-half-stars

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Review: Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews

Posted August 17, 2016 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Magic Shifts by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #8
Also in this series: Magic Shifts, Magic Binds (Kate Daniels, #9)
Published by Penguin Publishing Group
Publication Date: February 23rd 2016
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Contemporary, Urban, Romance
Pages: 384
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four-half-stars

Magic is coming and going in waves in post-Shift Atlanta - and each crest leaves danger in its wake . . .
After breaking from life with the Pack, mercenary Kate Daniels and her mate - former Beast Lord Curran Lennart - are adjusting to a very different pace. While they're thrilled to escape all the infighting, Kate and Curran know that separating from the Pack completely is a process that will take time.
But when they learn that their friend Eduardo has gone missing, Kate and Curran shift their focus to investigate his disappearance. As they dig further into the merc's business, they discover that the Mercenary Guild has gone to hell and that Eduardo's recent assignments are connected in the most sinister way . . .
An ancient enemy has arisen, and Kate and Curran are the only ones who can stop it - before it takes their city apart piece by piece.
Praise for Ilona Andrews and the Kate Daniels novels
'Ilona Andrews's books are guaranteed good reads.' Patricia Briggs, #1 New York Timesbestselling author of Fire Touched
'Kate is a great kick-ass heroine.' Locus
'Andrews's edgy series stands apart.' Library Journal
'One of the brightest voices in urban fantasy . . . Ilona Andrews delivers only the best.' Jeaniene Frost, New York Times bestselling author of Bound by Flames

A couple months ago I binge-read the first 7 books in this series (including novellas) then decided to take a break before I burned out. I’m glad I came at this fresh. Magic Shifts was a great story. It may be my favorite of the series to date.
Since Curran and Kate have left the Pack and Kate magically claimed Atlanta as her own, they’ve been focusing on building Kate’s PI business and raising Julie, Kate’s adopted daughter. Curran is still missing the constant challenges he faced as Beast Lord. He doesn’t necessarily miss the Pack or the position of Beast Lord, but he misses the constant action that came with it. When he’s given the opportunity to run the Mercenary Guild, he jumps at it. That the Guild wants nothing to do with him just makes it a more fun challenge for him.
Kate is still learning just what claiming the city means, and waiting for the other shoe will drop with her father. She’s also still stressing the fact that Curran gave up the Pack for her and what that’s going to mean for their future. They aren’t allowed to visit the Keep for 30 days (per pack rules), but that doesn’t stop the Pack from coming to them.
When George, one of the bear shifters, asks for help finding her mate, Kate and Curran realize they can’t say no. When Kate’s forced to fight a giant outside the Guild and realizes some ancient evil magic is invading their home, she realizes the two cases might be related. And they need to figure out what’s going on before their entire city is destroyed.
This book picks up pretty much where book seven, Magic Breaks, left off. Kate and Curran have moved out of the Keep and into their own home. They aren’t allowed to visit the Keep for 30 days, but they’re still visited by many Pack members. They’re still waiting to see which members of the pack are going to leave with them and they’re in a holding period with Kate’s dad.
Despite how much is going on in this world, the story flows seamlessly. The Pack, the People, Julie, Curran and Kate, Kate’s dad, the Mercenary Guild…they all come to life. There’s action, adventure, intrigue, romance, epic battles, strange magic and a world so bright and vivid it’s like watching it on a movie screen.
4.5 out of 5
four-half-stars

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