Tag: Holly’s Reviews

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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Review: Full Moon Rising by Keri Arthur

Posted October 16, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Full Moon Rising by Keri ArthurReviewer: Holly
Full Moon Rising (Riley Jenson Guardian #1) by Keri Arthur
Series: Riley Jenson Guardian #1
Published by Random House
Publication Date: December 26th 2006
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 372
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three-half-stars

In this exciting debut, author Keri Arthur explodes onto the supernatural scene with a sexy, sensuous tale of intrigue and suspense set in a world where legends walk and the shady paths of the underworld are far more sinister than anyone envisioned.

A rare hybrid of vampire and werewolf, Riley Jenson and her twin brother, Rhoan, work for Melbourne’s Directorate of Other Races, an organization created to police the supernatural races–and protect humans from their depredations. While Rhoan is an exalted guardian, a.k.a. assassin, Riley is merely an office worker–until her brother goes missing on one of his missions. The timing couldn’t be worse. More werewolf than vampire, Riley is vulnerable to the moon heat, the weeklong period before the full moon, when her need to mate becomes all-consuming.…

Luckily Riley has two willing partners to satisfy her every need. But she will have to control her urges if she’s going to find her brother….Easier said than done as the city pulses with frenzied desire, and Riley is confronted with a very powerful–and delectably naked–vamp who raises her temperature like never before.

In matters carnal, Riley has met her match. But in matters criminal, she must follow her instincts not only to find her brother but to stop an unholy harvest. For someone is doing some shifty cloning in an attempt to produce the ultimate warrior–by tapping into the genome of nonhumans like Rhoan. Now Riley knows just how dangerous the world is for her kind–and just how much it needs her.

Full Moon Rising is the first book in Keri Arthur’s Rile Jenson Guardian series. I’m not really sure how I feel about this series. I read the first four books back-to-back and here are some observations:

1) Riley doesn’t seem to have a lot of common sense/street smarts. She’s intelligent, but she makes a lot of questionable decisions and trusts way too easily. There were giant red flags that came from the actions of many people in her life, yet she ignored them and merrily continued on her way. I would have liked to see her be a little less trusting and a little more wary.

2) There’s a lot of sex in this book, but I wouldn’t consider it an erotic romance. Most of it is off page. In this world, werewolves have to answer the moon’s call for one week every month (which means have sex non-stop). They burn with sexual fever and, if their needs aren’t met, they turn crazed. That’s the way this world is written and that’s fine, but the point was all but hammered into the reader. The Fever was mentioned every other page, I swear. I’d rather have had less focus on that and more on the suspense plot.

3) This speaks more to the four books as a whole, rather than this book in particular, but the storyline really seemed to drag on. What starts here isn’t resolved until book four, and even then there are loose ends that still need to be tied up. It may be because I read them back-to-back, but it ended up feeling like one, long drug out story, rather than a continuing story-arc I wanted to keep reading. The same goes for the romance angle. What seemed promising in book one was just tired by book four.

4) For all that, I do like Riley. I think she’s an interesting character facing some hard battles not of her making. She keeps a good attitude and does her best to power through, regardless of what life throws at her. I also really like the secondary characters. Especially her twin, Rhoan, and his sometimes boyfriend Liander.

After binge-reading four books, I’m not sure i want to continue the series. I may set it aside and come back to it after I read some other books.

Full Moon Rising has an interesting premise and characters, but it wasn’t as engaging as I thought it would be.

3.25 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: Shadow Reaper by Christine Feehan

Posted October 12, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Shadow Reaper by Christine FeehanReviewer: Holly
Shadow Reaper (Shadow, #2) by Christine Feehan
Series: Shadow Riders #2
Also in this series: Shadow Reaper, Shadow Reaper
Published by Berkley
Publication Date: May 30, 2017
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 400
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three-stars

THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Christine Feehan returns to her scorching-hot series starring a Chicago crime family that has built its empire in the shadows...

Billionaire playboy Ricco Ferraro knows no other life. Being a shadow rider is in his blood--but so is a haunting desperation stemming from the secrets of his dark past. His recklessness puts not only his life at risk, but also the future of his entire family. To save them all, he must find a woman who can meet his every desire with a heat all her own...

Just when Ricco has given up hope, he meets her--a mysterious woman whose shadow connects with his. She's someone looking for a safe haven from the danger that has stalked her over the last several months. In Ricco's embrace, she finds one. But the darkness in which they so often find sanctuary can also consume them...

Shadow Reaper is the second book in Feehan’s Shadow series, featuring the Ferraros, a Chicago family who are Shadow Riders – they’re able to slide and travel via shadows. They’re thought to be a crime/mafia family, but in truth they’re vigilantes. As Shadow Riders, the Ferraro brothers and sister can only mate/marry someone who can also ride the shadows, otherwise they won’t be able to produce shadow-riding children.

Ricco is one of the wilder brothers. He’s known as a playboy who races cars and often goes crazy partying. He’s into the art of Shibari – Japanese erotic bondage. After a terrible crash takes him out of commission for awhile, he reevaluates his life and decides to focus more on Shibari and finding a mate, and less on acting the playboy. When the perfect woman answers his ad for a rope model, Ricco figures it’s too good to be true, but he can’t stop himself from falling for her.

I enjoyed the first book more. This one was slower paced and didn’t hold my attention as much. I really like the Ferraro family, along with their neighborhood. I liked the heroine and her backstory, but the romance wasn’t as exciting. Nor was the overall story. I wanted to like it, but I was mostly just bored.

Although this one didn’t work as well as the first, I’m hopeful the next book will pick up.

3 out of 5

three-stars


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Lightning Review: Trouble at the Wedding by Laura Lee Guhrke

Posted October 10, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Lightning Review: Trouble at the Wedding by Laura Lee GuhrkeReviewer: Holly
Trouble at the Wedding (Abandoned at the Altar, #3) by Laura Lee Guhrke
Published by Avon
Publication Date: December 27th 2011
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
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three-half-stars

Annabel is about to marry the perfect man…

The last thing Miss Annabel Wheaton desires is true love. She learned the hard way that love makes a woman foolish and only leads to heartache. That’s why she agreed to marry an earl who needs her money. He’s got a pedigree and a country estate, and he won’t ever break her heart. There’s only one problem…

Christian isn’t about to let her marry that pompous prig…

Christian Du Quesne, Duke of Scarborough, thinks this stubborn heiress is about to make the biggest mistake of her life, and he’s determined to stop her. Tempting beautiful women is Christian’s forte, after all. When her family offers him a nice sum of money to stop the wedding, he’s happy to accept. Falling in love with Annabel wasn’t supposed to be part of the bargain…

Trouble at the Wedding by Laura Lee Guhrke is book 3 in the Abandoned at the Alter series. I didn’t read the other books in this series. I don’t feel I missed anything by reading out of order.

I enjoyed the setting and unconventional heroine. With the flood of regencies on the market, its refreshing to read about something different. This was a quick read for me. I enjoyed both Annabel and Christian. She’s an heiress with a fiance she know she’ll never love..something she’s quite happy about. Unfortunately, Christian knows she’s making a huge mistake marrying the pig she affianced to, so he sets about trying to convince her she’s wrong.

Ghurke writes fun, fast-paced historials. I really enjoyed the setting, the characters and the sweet romance.

3.5 out of 5

The series:

Book CoverBook CoverBook Cover

This book is available from Avon. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

three-half-stars


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DNF Review: Soul’s Blade by Eva Chase

Posted October 5, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

DNF Review: Soul’s Blade by Eva ChaseReviewer: Holly
Soul's Blade (Legends Reborn, #2) by Eva Chase
Series: Legends Reborn #2
Also in this series: Magic Waking (Legends Reborn, #1)
Published by Ink Spark Press
Publication Date: August 16th 2017
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 275
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dnf

Find the magic sword or die. Just another day in a reincarnated wizard's life...

After being chased across the country by a faerie mercenary, reborn wizard Emma Hale is shocked she's still alive. But victory doesn't mean she can slack off on her mission to protect the current incarnation of her liege and sometimes lover, the legendary King Arthur.

Now that Arthur's soul is awakening, every creature of darkness in a thousand-mile radius is slavering for a taste. Worse, a merciless adversary from Emma's past has reappeared, leaving Emma scrambling to save not only her king but all their loved ones as well.

Surviving the week may depend on a blade only Arthur can wield. Too bad Emma lost it centuries ago on the other side of an ocean. And any quest to retrieve it will unearth secrets Emma isn't yet prepared to face—secrets that could destroy her and her king before their enemies even have the chance.

Soul’s Blade picks up right where Magic Waking left off. Emma Hale (the current reincarnation of the great wizard Merlin) was able to defeat the dark fae mercenary who was after her leige, the reincarnation of King Arthur, but just barely. Now, with Arthur’s soul waking up, creatures of darkness are swarming, ready to steal his soul for themselves (though why they’re so eager for it Emma still hasn’t figured out). Plus, one of her greatest enemies seems to be waking. Trying to protect Arthur turns out to be an even worse job than usual, since it seems this time he’s determined to save her….which normally wouldn’t be a problem except she wields magic and he doesn’t. Something he’ll need to defeat the dark creatures who keep popping up after him. If only she hadn’t lost his magically imbued sword some 1000 years past.

I started this right after finishing the first book in the series, hoping the story would take off. Sadly, that didn’t happen. If anything, Soul’s Blade seemed to move even slower than Magic Waking. For a wizard who’s been reborn every few decades for 1500 years, Emma isn’t very sharp. She keeps making the same mistakes again and again. She doesn’t seem to have grown or changed at all from the first time she lived as the great wizard Merlin. If there’d been some discussion about things she’d tried in the past that hadn’t worked, or her quest to find answers to why dark forces are after Arthur, I probably would have enjoyed this more.

As it is, it’s mostly filled with Emma’s internal angst over Arthur not wanting a sexual relationship with her when she’s reborn as a man (something she has no control over and seems to happen at least half the time). If that had been a central theme in the first book, I could have overlooked it here, but it seems to crop up out of nowhere.

It’s explained that Emma always wakes knowing who she is and what her purpose is, but Arthur is oblivious until he comes into direct skin-to-skin contact with Emma. Then, as his soul starts to reawaken, he regains his memories of their previous lives. That being the case, I would have thought both Emma and Art would deal better with each other. Instead they’re secretive and don’t communicate with each other. As they’re both in their early twenties I guess I could understand their lack of maturity..if not for the fact that they’re supposedly both 1500+ years in the making.

All that aside, I really like the flashbacks to their first life together as Arthur and Merlin. I would probably have continued reading just for that, but I can see the writing on the wall that this will end in another cliffhanger. Since book 3 isn’t out yet, I’m going to set this aside for now. I’ll come back to the series when the next book is available (Dragon of Destiny, coming November 2017). Hopefully both Emma and Art will grow up a little in the meantime.

DNF

The series:

dnf


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