Tag: Ilona Andrews

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)
Published by Ace
Publication Date: April 1st 2007
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 260
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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

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), Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, #1)
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: April 1 2008
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 260
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Goodreads

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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Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

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.

Review: Silver Shark by Ilona Andrews

Posted March 14, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Silver Shark by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Silver Shark by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kinsmen Series #2
Published by NYLA
Publication Date: September 16th 2011
Genres: Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 96
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Goodreads
three-stars

Claire Shannon is a killer. She uses no weapons, only her mind.

Born on a planet locked in a long war, Claire is a psycher, a woman with the ability to attack minds and infiltrate a biological computer network where psychers battle to the death. But when the war abruptly ends, Claire must hide her psycher's ability to survive. She is deported to a new planet, a vivid beautiful place, where she meets Venturo Escana, a powerful psycher, whose presence overwhelms both her mind and her body.

She thought she had left war and death behind, but now she must fight for her new life and this battle might just cost her everything...

Claire Shannon was born on the war planet Uley. For eons two companies fought over the right to use the planet’s resources, which meant nothing existed there but war and death. It was a gray planet with very little to do but fight, prepare and sleep. Claire is a trained Psycher, someone who can enter the bionet (think psychic plane, like the internet, Matrix style) and navigate through to access data and/or kill enemies. She’s a soldier. All comforts have been given up for the sake of the war. When the war suddenly ends, Claire hides her true self so she isn’t killed on sight (psychers are considered much too dangerous to be allowed to live) and ends up getting deported. Her new planet is filled with light and color, sounds, textures and strange flavors. For someone who lived with nothing but gray, it’s a lot to take in. But she’s determined to fit in and do her best.

She’s given housing, clothes and a job at the outset. She becomes the personal assistant to Venturo Escena, a  self-made businessman and psycher himself. She needs to fly under the radar so she isn’t killed for being a psycher herself, but she’s a true leader, she can’t help but push for more – for herself and others. It isn’t long before she’s indispensable to Venturo…or before she’s half in love with him. When one of her countrymen comes to her for help, she knows she can’t turn them away, even though it means possible exposure of who and what she really is.

The romance is secondary to the rest here, but it really worked. Andrews’ excels at building complex, multi-layered worlds. Both planets were easily imagined, as was Claire’s determination to live and succeed in her new life. I do wish this had been longer, or that there were more books in the series. At 96 pages, this ended much too soon. The conflicts were resolved, but I wasn’t ready for it to end.

3.5 out of 5

three-stars

Sunday Spotlight: Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews

Posted February 12, 2017 by Holly in Features | 2 Comments

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

Sunday Spotlight

I discovered this series while book three was still being written (the author published it as a free weekly(ish) serial). I adored book one and dove right into book two, then had to suffer until the third was finished. The world is so imaginative and fresh, I was pulled right in. The banter and wit of the characters, the overall storyarc and the world make this a must read.

Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews
Series: Innkeeper Chronicles
Also in this Series: Sweep in Peace, One Fell Sweep
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Fantasy
Release Date: December 2, 2013
Publisher: Self-Published

On the outside, Dina Demille is the epitome of normal. She runs a quaint Victorian Bed and Breakfast in a small Texas town, owns a Shih Tzu named Beast, and is a perfect neighbor, whose biggest problem should be what to serve her guests for breakfast. But Dina is…different: Her broom is a deadly weapon; her Inn is magic and thinks for itself. Meant to be a lodging for otherworldly visitors, the only permanent guest is a retired Galactic aristocrat who can’t leave the grounds because she’s responsible for the deaths of millions and someone might shoot her on sight. Under the circumstances, “normal” is a bit of a stretch for Dina. And now, something with wicked claws and deepwater teeth has begun to hunt at night….

Feeling responsible for her neighbors, Dina decides to get involved. Before long, she has to juggle dealing with the annoyingly attractive, ex-military, new neighbor, Sean Evans—an alpha-strain werewolf—and the equally arresting cosmic vampire soldier, Arland, while trying to keep her inn and its guests safe. But the enemy she’s facing is unlike anything she’s ever encountered before. It’s smart, vicious, and lethal, and putting herself between this creature and her neighbors might just cost her everything.

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Dina runs an Inn for otherworldly beings. In order to keep Earth safe from other races with superior technology, it was made a neutral stopover point and Inns were set up to house travelers. The first priority of Innkeepers is to keep their guests safe, while keeping their existence a secret from the outside world. Gertrude Hunt is Dina’s inn. It’s a fledgling inn that was dormant for a long time and doesn’t have a lot of power. She has one permanent guest and not a lot else going on. As the series develops so does the story and the list of regular characters. We even see some crossover from The Edge series.

It’s an inn, a neutral ground. An abnormality in the ordinary reality of this planet or whatever passes for it. I’m an innkeeper. Here I’m supreme. If you are accepted as a guest, you fall under my protection and as long as you stay here, you will enjoy the right of sanctuary. For various reasons, Earth is a way station for many travelers. We’re the Atlanta of the galaxy: many beings stop here for a layover. Some are alien and some are not. The innkeepers maintain the order, provide them with a safe place to stay, and minimize the population exposure and the bloodbath that could result. Nobody wants a worldwide panic. It has been so for hundreds of years.”

Dina crosses paths with Sean Evans, her neighbor and an alpha-strain werewolf. They start a mild flirtation, which is entertaining and fun. There’s a lot of humor.

“He’s not repressed,” I said. “He’s spent the last two months marking every inch of what he considers his territory.”
Caldenia raised her eyebrows. “You saw him?”
I nodded. Even in the dark Sean Evans was difficult to mistake for anyone else. It was the way he moved –a supple, powerful predator on the prowl.
“Did you get a glimpse of his equipment?”
“Honestly, now…”
Caldenia shrugged. “I just want to know if it’s ample. A natural curiosity.”
Sure, curiosity. “I have no idea. He was relatively modest about it and I didn’t linger.”
“There is your mistake.” Caldenia sipped her tea. “Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero, my dear.”
“I’m not interested in seizing any of Sean Evans’ days.

Caldenia is a fugitive who signed a treaty with Dina to remain a permanent guest of the Inn. Dina will keep her safe inside the sanctuary of the Inn, as long as Caldenia doesn’t kill another guest. As a living entity, the Inn needs guests go flourish and thrive.

You’ve had no unusual guests?”
“Only Caldenia.”
“Ahh, yes. Not many people would’ve taken her in. I imagine she pays well, but the trouble she brings can’t possibly be worth the fee.”
“It’s wasn’t the money,” I told him. “Although it was welcome. The inn needed a guest.”
Brian smiled. “Ahh. Your parents would be proud. People of your age don’t always understand that simple truth: the inns require guests to flourish.”

The Inn itself is where Dina gets her magic from. It’s capable of rearranging itself, and providing security when needed.

I looked into the wolf’s eyes. “I’ve never considered killing you.”
“Aha.”
“But now I’m tempted.”
{…}
“I’ve got your broom and you’re not going anywhere,” Sean said. “I’d like to see you try.”
“You sure about that?”
“Yeah. Give it your best shot.”
I pushed. The bubble of metal chomped on Sean’s fist, fusing it to the broom. His eyes went wide. I patted his shoulder. “Take him inside and hold him.” The broom jerked him back and dragged him across the grass. The house doors swung open like the cavernous mouth of a colossal beast, gulped Sean down, then closed.
{…}
Sean was stuck to a wall like a fly to the flypaper. The broom had melted into dozens of narrow, elastic metal filaments that stretched across Sean’s body, holding him tight and pulsing with blue every time he tried to break free. Smooth wooden roots as thick as my arm curved around his limbs, melting back into the wall. The house had decided to get in on the action. Only Sean’s face was clearly visible, but his eyes told me he was determined to find a way to free himself.
Caldenia descended down the stairs and saw him. “Ooo. Planning a kinky morning?”
“No, just dealing with a pesky intruder.”
“Oh well. If you kill him, do save me his liver. Werewolf liver is a very tender delicacy.” She licked her lips. “Especially when sautéed in butter.”

Even Dina’s dog is more than she seems. She’s a Shih Tzu by day, but you don’t want to make her angry.

Beast growled. The undertone of her growl changed, gaining a vicious edge.
Sean squinted at her.
Beast’s long fur stood up like hackles on a cat. Claws slid from her feet. Her mouth gaped, wider and wider, as if her entire head had split in half. Four rows of fangs gleamed inside.
“What the hell…?” Sean backed away.
Beast jumped, covering ten feet in a single leap.

The world is amazing. It’s like watching a movie unfold.

The gauzy lavender-and-blue curtain on the right parted, and a creature stepped into view. He walked upright but stood barely four feet tall, including the six-inch lynx ears. Short, silver-blue fur covered his frame like soft velvet, dappled with pale golden rosettes on his back and fading to almost white on his stomach. His face would’ve been feline if it weren’t for an elongated muzzle that resembled a fox’s snout. He wore a silk apron and jewelry made from small cream and blue shells. His large round eyes were bright with vivid turquoise irises.


Needless to say, this book – and the entire series – is fantastic. You need to read it. Really.

Innkeeper Chronicles

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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About the Author


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

Ilona Andrews is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team. author2smIlona 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.

Lightning Review: Alphas: Origins by Ilona Andrews

Posted February 9, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Lightning Review: Alphas: Origins by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Origins (Alphas, #0.5) by Ilona Andrews
Series: Alphas #0.5
Published by InterMix
Publication Date: April 19th 2016
Pages: 157
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars

From Ilona Andrews—#1 New York Times bestselling author of Magic Shifts and the Kate Daniels novels—comes a stark, seductive tale of a world torn asunder by supernatural gifts and irresistible passions...
Karina Tucker is driving a van of children home from a field trip when an unplanned detour to a seemingly ordinary rest stop changes her life. There, she witnesses a world beyond humanity’s sight, of frightful powers and chaos, where she is in death’s grip... before an irresistibly dangerous male saves her—only to take her captive.
For she is a rare commodity in the shadowy realm she’s entered.
Karina soon finds herself caught in a violent civil war where those with inhuman powers strive to destroy each other without mercy. And it becomes all too clear that she must make a choice: submit and become a pawn, or take hold of her own destiny and fight for survival against impossible odds.
Alphas: Origins originally appeared in Angels of Darkness.

Karina is on her way home from a field trip with a car full of kids when she unwittingly stumbles into a parallel universe. In order to save her daughter and the other kids she’s carpooling, she agrees to stay and be a blood donor for the Alpha Beast. The Alphas are genetically modified men who have superpowers. Some can move things with their minds, other can shapeshift. Karina is soon wrapped up in their struggles for survival and power.

Andrews has such an amazing ability to build worlds. The creativity and imagination in each novel is astounding. Alphas: Origins is no exception. The world is fantastically built. The premise was interesting, but the story suffered for being short. There was a lot crammed into a small page count, which made the story feel rushed while also suffering from info-dumps that bogged it down. If it had been longer, or a prequel to a longer story, it may have worked better.

3 out of 5

three-stars