Tag: Ilona Andrews

Review: Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews

Posted June 7, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Magic Rises by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews
Narrator: Renee Raudman
Series: Kate Daniels #6
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
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: July 30, 2013
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 327
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-half-stars

Atlanta is a city plagued by magical problems. Kate Daniels will fight to solve them—no matter the cost.

Mercenary Kate Daniels and her mate, Curran, the Beast Lord, are struggling to solve a heartbreaking crisis. Unable to control their beasts, many of the Pack’s shapeshifting children fail to survive to adulthood. While there is a medicine that can help, the secret to its making is closely guarded by the European packs, and there’s little available in Atlanta.

Kate can’t bear to watch innocents suffer, but the solution she and Curran have found threatens to be even more painful. The European shapeshifters who once outmaneuvered the Beast Lord have asked him to arbitrate a dispute—and they’ll pay him in medicine. With the young people’s survival and the Pack’s future at stake, Kate and Curran know they must accept the offer—but they have little doubt that they’re heading straight into a trap…

Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews is the 6th book in the Kate Daniels series. I love Kate, Curran and all the rest. I’m always excited to fall back into this world.

This book really brought Kate’s past to the forefront and gave us insight into what she’ll be dealing with when the fight with her father finally comes to fruition. I probably shouldn’t, but I really like Hugh. I love how he needles Kate and Curran.

Speaking of Curran..I wanted to beat him in this book. I knew there had to be a reason for him to act the way he did, but it didn’t make it easier to read. My heart broke for Kate. It isn’t often I truly want to smack Curran, but it happened here.

Her sparring session with Hugh was one of the highlights of the book.

And I cried toward the end. Sniffle.

The world and these characters are so complex and well-nuanced. My emotions were engaged from the first page. This series is not to be missed.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Kate Daniels

four-half-stars


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Joint Review: Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews

Posted June 5, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 3 Comments

Joint Review: Clean Sweep by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Casee & Holly
Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews
Narrator: Renee Raudman
Series: Innkeeper Chronicles #1
Also in this series: Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #1), Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #1), Sweep in Peace (Innkeeper Chronicles, #2), One Fell Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #3)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 2, 2013
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 235
Length: 7 hours and 55 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

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.

Clean Sweep is the first book in the Innkeeper Chronicles by Ilona Andrews. It’s my favorite of all their series (maybe), and I forced Casee into reading it because. Just because.

Dina Demille 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 or a high rating among other Inns, but she’s determined to change that. Her parents, and their Inn, disappeared and she’s determined to find them. The more travelers that come by her Inn, the better chance someone will recognize her parents from the photo that hangs in the front room and can tell her what happened to them.

Dina crosses paths with her neighbor, Sean Evans, an alpha-strain werewolf, when something starts killing the neighborhood dogs. She asks him to take care of it and he blows her off. She decides to handle it herself, but she and Sean keep butting heads.

When a group of vampires show up and it turns out they’re connected to the thing killing the neighborhood dogs, Dina and Sean must work together, along with Arland, the vampire Lord Marshall, to figure out what’s going on, keep the neighborhood safe and protect the humans from finding out what’s happening.

Holly: So, what did you think? Are you glad I forced -ehem- gently encouraged you to read it?

Casee: You call that “gently encouraging”? I call it severe harassment.

I am glad that I finally listened to Clean Sweep. I truly love Ilona Andrews. They are a spectacular writing duo. The world building here is really wonderful because it doesn’t bog down the book (see: Magic Bites). You learn about this world without being bored to tears. I found Dina to be an amazingly strong heroine and I really admired her. She hasn’t given up on finding her parents which is a great burden to bear on its own and she’s also running what is basically a brand new Inn.

Did you like Dina from the beginning?

Holly: I actually wasn’t sure about her in the very beginning. But I warmed up to her quickly.

Casee: I loved the dynamic of her relationship with Sean from the start. How Sean played dumb, how Dina wouldn’t let him. Really, really amusing.

Holly: I love how her relationship with Sean progresses over the novel. When she starts insulting him and he doesn’t get it, I laughed out loud. I like how they come to rely on each other. I get all melty every time I read the Costco scene when he comes to rescue her.

Speaking of the Costco scene, how amazing was that? Dina, her magic, the whole scenario. I loved it.

Casee: I effing loved the woman in Costco that helped her kill the stalker. Classic Costco crazy right there. Holy shit, she opened concrete. Concrete for shit’s sake. Dina knew she would most likely die, but she did it anyway because she knew she had to protect the secret of magic. That was another reason I loved her. She had such loyalty to the cause (for lack of a better word).

Holly: When they dump bleach on the creature and then the woman who’s helping Dina says “Don’t mess with Texas” I about died laughing. Dina is pretty amazing.

Casee: What did you think of Arland? It was hysterical when he drank the coffee. I was really laughing out loud. So funny.

Holly: I love Arland. It’s hard for me to talk about this book without considering the rest of the series. I’ll say I loved Arland here – he was hilarious – but I love him more as the series goes on.

Casee: Holy mothereffing shiitake mushrooms. You just gave me a mothereffing spoiler. Arland is in the subsequent books? I’m excited to hear that.

Holly: Yes, I gave you a spoiler. We see Arland again.

Casee: I am giving this a 4 out of 5. You?

Holly: I’m giving this 4.25 out of 5. I loved the world-building, the Inn, Dina and her guests, Sean, Arland..all of it.

Final Grades

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

Innkeeper Chronicles

four-stars


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Review: Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews

Posted June 4, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Gunmetal Magic by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews
Narrator: Renee Raudman
Series: Kate Daniels #5.5
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 , Magic Rises
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: July 31, 2012
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 326
Length: 12 hours and 43 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-half-stars

Some people have everything figured out—Andrea Nash is not one of those people.

After being kicked out of the Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid, Andrea’s whole existence is in shambles. All she can do is to try to put herself back together, something made easier by working for Cutting Edge, a small investigative firm owned by her best friend Kate Daniels.

When several shapeshifters working for Raphael Medrano—the male alpha of the Clan Bouda and Andrea’s former lover—die unexpectedly at a dig site, Andrea is assigned to investigate…and must work with Raphael. As Andrea’s search for the killer leads her into the secret underbelly of supernatural Atlanta, she knows that dealing with her feelings for Raphael might have to take a back seat to saving the world…

This is set in the Kate Daniels world but told from Andrea’s point of view. I’ve been chomping at the bit to see what was going on with her and Raphael.

Andrea and Raphael have been circling each other for months. They started dating and fell deeply in love, but Raphael thought Andrea chose her job over him, and it pissed him off. Then Andrea disappeared without a word and made things worse. Now she’s back, and Aunt B, Raphael’s mom and Alpha of Clan Bouda, is after her to join the Pack; Raphael turns up with a bimbo in tow; Kate, her best friend, has a fledgling detective agency to get off the ground with Andrea’s help and they have a new case that needs her attention. Basically, her life is kind of shit. But she’s getting a handle on being Beastkin, and accepting her animal form, and she’s done taking shit from everyone in her life.

Andreas’s kind of a mess, and really needs support, but Raphael’s feelers were hurt so he acted like an ass. Then Andrea acted like an ass because he acted like an ass. That could have been really annoying, but the plot was interesting and kept me invested in the story even when I wanted to knock them both upside the head. Plus, there was a lot of humor.

I really enjoyed seeing Kate from someone else’s perspective. I think we learned a lot more about her because, for the first time, we were outside her head and inside someone else’s. I love Kate and Andrea’s friendship, and the way they interact with each other. I just love the world, period. It’s so well-drawn I immediately fall into it.

Although they both frustrated me, I can’t deny I was pulling for Raphael and Andrea. Seeing her come into herself and start kicking ass as Beastkin really worked for me.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Kate Daniels

four-stars


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Review: Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews

Posted June 3, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Magic Slays by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews
Narrator: Renee Raudman
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 , Gunmetal Magic , Magic Rises
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: May 31, 2011
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 308
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-half-stars

Plagued by a war between magic and technology, Atlanta has never been so deadly. Good thing Kate Daniels is on the job.

Kate Daniels may have quit the Order of Merciful Aid, but she’s still knee-deep in paranormal problems. Or she would be if she could get someone to hire her. Starting her own business has been more challenging than she thought it would be—now that the Order is disparaging her good name. Plus, many potential clients are afraid of getting on the bad side of the Beast Lord, who just happens to be Kate’s mate.

So when Atlanta’s premier Master of the Dead calls to ask for help with a vampire on the loose, Kate leaps at the chance of some paying work. But it turns out that this is not an isolated incident. Kate needs to get to the bottom of it—and fast, or the city and everyone dear to her might pay the ultimate price…

Magic Slays is the fifth book in the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. As its the fifth book in the series, it’s nearly impossible for me to write this review without including spoilers from previous books. Fair warning.

Kate has set up her own investigative firm, Cutting Edge, and she’s all settled in with her faithful attack poodle, Grendel, for help. Unfortunately, business is sparse.

So far Cutting Edge was turning out to be one of those pet businesses rich men gave to their wives to keep them busy. I wanted it to succeed, God damn it. I wanted to be profitable and stand on my own two feet.

The residents of Atlanta aren’t exactly busting down her door, begging to hire her. So she isn’t exactly in a position to say no when a new case pops up. One that looks to be dangerous and dirty.

Rene looked at Grendel.
“What in the world is that?”
“That’s our mutant attack poodle,” I told her.
“Is he chewing on a gun?”
“It’s not a real gun,” Andrea said.
Rene sighed. “Of course not. That would be irresponsible of you, wouldn’t it?”

Andrea turns back up in this book, and we see quite a bit with her and Kate. I love their friendship and how solid it is, despite not being very old.

Andrea blew her nose. Her voice came out slightly hoarse. “Do you even have anything to shoot the PAD with?”
“I have an armory upstairs. The Pack gave me some guns and ammo. It’s in boxes to the left.”
Andrea paused. “In cardboard boxes?” “Yeah.” Andrea groaned.
“Hey, guns aren’t my thing. If they had brought me swords, that would be different. That’s where you come—”
Andrea got up and hugged me. It was a split-second hug, and then she was off, going upstairs, handkerchief in hand. This best friend thing was seriously kicking my ass.

I also love seeing Derek, Ascanio, Aunt B, and all the rest again.

Every time Kate turns into a hardass I cheer. She’s so badass. I can’t even with her.

[..]He wouldn’t slice a man’s throat and step over his twitching body while the hot blood spurted on the ground. I would. And it wouldn’t bother me much. In fact, I’d been out of action for over two months now. I missed it, missed the edge and the fight.
We stared at each other.
I would kill you in an instant with no hesitation.
A slow recognition rolled over Henderson’s face. “So it’s like that,” he said.
That’s right.

The series is really picking up steam now. I feel like Kate has settled into herself more and is beginning to accept her future. I like the progression of her relationship with Curran and the rest of her band of merry men. I like the story here, too.

Yes, Consort?”
“Why is everyone calling me Consort?”
“Jim designated you as Consort in official papers. You don’t want to be called Mate, calling you Alpha is confusing, and ‘Beast Lady’ makes people laugh.”

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

Kate Daniels

four-half-stars


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Joint Review: Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews

Posted May 31, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Joint Review: Magic Strikes by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews
Narrator: Renee Raudman
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 Slays , Gunmetal Magic , Magic Rises
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: March 31, 2009
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 322
Length: 10 hours and 50 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-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…

Casee: Lets get this party started. Where does Magic Strikes fall for you in terms of rating out of the all the books in the series?

Holly: It’s hard for me to talk about this one without spoilers, but some major things happen that influence decisions Kate and Curran make for the rest of the series. In terms of the entire series, this is one of my favorites. The emotional punch, along with the exciting action, really had me hooked.

Casee: I really liked this one, too. I listened to it on audio and was glad to be traveling at the time. I really felt like we got to know the characters better.

Holly: I like Renee Raudman as a narrator. She did all of this series (and most of IA’s other books as well).

What did you think of Derek in this book? My heart really broke for him. He’s one of my favorite characters and seeing him like that? Oh man. It killed. I totally got why Kate, Jim and the others did what they did because of him.

Casee: I love Derek and loved him even more in this book. He is truly a hero and it was really showcased in this book. That said, he is still young. Kate and Jim still feel protective of him and that need to protect him really drove a lot of this book. Oh Lord, but when Kate found him? I can’t even tell you the emotions that were going through me at the time.

Holly: What do you think of Dali, the vegetarian tiger?

Casee: Dali comes across as so meek and weak, but she is anything but. I think she’s going to be a force later in the series.

Holly: Dali is a force. I love her. Are you going to read her novella?

Casee: Yes, I’ll definitely read her novella. She’s fascinating. Especially as the series goes on. Although I have only read four (??) of the books.

What did you think of Saiman in this book? We really get to know him a lot better.

Holly: Saiman is interesting. I don’t want to say too much because I’m not sure how much of what I’m feeling about him is because of later books.

Casee: I’m not sure how I feel about Saiman now. He’s mostly treats Kate in such a degrading way even as he admires her. It’s a very odd combination. And uncomfortable.

Holly: What did you think of Kate and Curran in this book? The romance really heated up, and I loved the way things are progressing for them.

Casee: I think this was the turning point for Kate when it came to her feelings for Curran. Obviously Curran had been dropping hints for while when it came to his feelings for Kate, but she was pretty slow on the uptake. I love how they’re both such strong characters, but they don’t clash. Am I making sense?

Holly: I agree this is a turning point for Kate. She realizes some things about herself and Curran, and I like how their relationship progresses from here.

Casee: What did you think of Jim in this book? How he defied pack law?

Holly: I have kind of a love/hate relationship with Jim. I understand why he does the things he does (Pack is everything, blah blah), but I don’t like how he constantly throws Kate under the bus.

Casee: I agree about Jim & this is only the third book. Considering the fact that Jim & Kate were partners, the way he disregards what may or may not happen to her is pretty messed up.

I would rate this one a 4 out of 5. At the time I finished this book, it rated as my favorite of the series.

Holly: I’d rate it 4 out of 5.

Final Grades

Casee: 4 out of 5
Holly: 4 out of 5

Kate Daniels

four-stars


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