Tag: Ace

Sunday Spotlight: Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews

Posted May 31, 2020 by Rowena in Features, Giveaways | 0 Comments

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. 🙂

I seriously love this series and I really, really love this book. We’re all reading this series right now and loving it so we’re flooding the blog with lots of Kate Daniels content and this week’s Sunday Spotlight features just one of the many reasons I love this series. Kate and Curran have amazing chemistry and they’re such a kick ass couple right now but man did I enjoy them together even before they started dating. Gah, this short excerpt from Magic Strikes showcases the kind of humor between them that I freaking love.

If you haven’t read this series, I highly recommend it. Start at book 1, obviously, but don’t worry by the time book 3 rolls around, you’ll be hooked!

Sunday Spotlight: Magic Strikes by Ilona AndrewsMagic 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 Strikes, Magic Mourns, Magic Bleeds, Magic Dreams, Magic Slays, Gunmetal Magic, Magic Gifts, Magic Rises
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: March 31, 2009
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 322
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
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…

Excerpt

“As he passed me, he leaned to Curran and handed him a paper fan folded from some sort of flyer.

Curran looked at the fan. “What?”

“An emergency precaution, Your Majesty. In case the lady faints.”

Curran just stared at him.

Raphael strode toward the Pit, turned, flexed a bit, and winked at me.

“Give me that,” I told Curran. “I need to fan myself.”

“No, you don’t.”

Kate Daniels

Giveaway Alert

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

Sunday Spotlight: May 2020

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 Ilona Andrews

“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 four NYT and USAT bestselling series, the urban fantasy of Kate Daniels, rustic fantasy of the Edge, paranormal romance of Hidden Legacy, and Innkeeper Chronicles, which they post as a free weekly serial. For complete list of their books, fun extras, and Innkeeper installments, please visit their website at Ilona-andrews.com.


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Joint Review: Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews

Posted May 14, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Joint Review: Magic Rises by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly and Rowena
Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews
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 , Magic Rises , Magic Strikes, Magic Mourns, Magic Bleeds, Magic Dreams, Magic Slays, Gunmetal Magic, Magic Gifts
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: July 30, 2013
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 368
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Rowena's 2020 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’ve been after Rowena to read this series for years. I’m so glad she’s finally getting into it.

Kate and Curran, the Beast Lord of Atlanta, are facing a crisis. The children of the Pack keep going loup – meaning their human side isn’t able to take control of their animal side and they turn into mindless beasts. So when they’re offered Panacea – the only known cure/preventative for loupism – in exchange for bodyguard duty in Europe, they know they can’t refuse, even though they’re 100% sure they’re walking into a trap.

Holly: Magic Rises really steps things up in Kate’s world and gives us more insight into her background and what she’s going to be facing in the future. What did you think of it?

Rowena: This book definitely keeps the Kate Daniels party going for me. It was super good and even though I got mad a couple of times while reading it, alls well that ends well and I still love the Beast Lord.

The story really cemented my love for both Kate and for Curran. But also the pack members that traveled with them to Europe. From Derek to Andrea to Doolittle and hell, even the Bear and his daughter, I loved them all and holy hell my heart hurts for both Raphael and for Andrea. This book was jammed back with action, with angst and loads of other emotions that I’ve come to expect from an Ilona Andrews book and I was super happy with the end product here. This was a damn good book.

Holly: I got super mad a couple times while reading this one, too. Let’s talk about Hugh for a minute. Hugh and Kate were raised by the same person, her step-father Voron. They share a certain kinship because of it, but Hugh wants to bring Kate to her biological father and Kate knows that’s a death sentence. Hugh should be a bad guy, but I could never hate him. He makes me angry sometimes, yes, but I never wanted him to go away. What about you?

There was definitely a lot of action. My heart hurt for them at the end.

Where does this book rate for you vs the previous books in the series?

Rowena: Hugh, to me, is that annoying older brother that is more of a pest than evil. Does that make sense? I don’t hate him but I don’t exactly like him either. I’m curious about him and I’m curious to see the Roland that he knows and I’m mighty curious about who is right about Roland. I never wanted him to go away either and I actually low key trust him to get Kate’s back but only if they’re not fighting against each other.

So much happened in this one and I was right there for each and every single page of it. Not once did I want to browse and skip ahead. I was fully invested in what was going on, trying to figure out what Curran was up to and remembering every character that was introduced. I think that’s why I’m so drawn to this series. There are so many aspects to this world and I’m just really enjoying every new thing that I learn. This is one of the more compelling series that I’ve read in a while and I’m not ready for this series to end.

My favorite book in the series remains Magic Strikes but this was definitely in the top 5 for sure. You?

Holly: Hugh is definitely the annoying older brother.

This is in the Top 5 for me as well. Magic Breaks isn’t my favorite book of the series, but this is a solid read. I can’t wait for you to finish the series!

I give this one 4.25 out of 5.

Rowena: I’m super excited to continue. I sincerely hope that Ilona Andrews never stops writing great books like this one. I give this one 4.25 out of 5 as well.

Final Grades

Holly: 4.25 out of 5
Rowena: 4.25 out of 5

Kate Daniels

four-half-stars


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Review: Magic Gifts by Ilona Andrews

Posted May 12, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Magic Gifts by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Rowena
Magic Gifts by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #5.4
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, Magic Slays, Gunmetal Magic, Magic Rises
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 24, 2011
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 100
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-half-stars

Dinner date after a hard workday should be heavenly. Of course, dates between the Beast Lord and Kate Daniels don’t always go as planned. Undead run amok, heads are chopped off, lawyers are deployed with extreme prejudice, and drunk vikings call people out.

Novella is after Magic Slays, same time as Andrea in Gunmetal Magic, both intersect.

Note: This novella can be found at the end of the Kindle edition of Gunmetal Magic.

This was a short read that takes place during Andrea and Raphael’s book, Gunmetal Magic. Instead of following Andrea and Raphael, this one is all Kate and Curran. They’re trying to go on a date but being who they are, they can’t just go on regular dates like normal people. Trouble follows them around like the plague and it found them before their dinner order could be delivered.

These little short stories shouldn’t be as good as they are. They’re too short but holy cow does Ilona Andrews find a way to make things work and make them good. This was another read that I ate right up. I just adore this series and reading it all in order, while everything is fresh in my head is the way to go. It’s one of the only reasons that I haven’t kicked myself for waiting so hot damn long to read this series. All of the books are out so I can read the heck out of them, one right after the other without any waiting. This is great, you guys!

This book features all of the reasons that I love both Curran and Kate. They’re such great characters on their own but I really enjoy seeing them together. There is nothing boring about them or their lives and I will probably be re-reading these books over and over again for the rest of my life. This was another great addition to an already fabulous series so I definitely recommend it.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

Kate Daniels

four-stars


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Featured Review: Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews

Posted April 30, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 5 Comments

Featured Review: Gunmetal Magic by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Casee, Holly, and Rowena
Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews
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 , Gunmetal Magic , Magic Rises , Magic Strikes, Magic Mourns, Magic Bleeds, Magic Dreams, Magic Slays, Magic Gifts, Magic Rises
Publisher: Penguin, Ace
Publication Date: July 31, 2012
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: None
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 443
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

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…

Andrea and Raphael’s romance started earlier in the series. Raphael pursued her pretty heavily and they ended up moving in together, but then Raphael thought Andrea chose her job over him, and it pissed him off. Then she disappeared without a word and made things worse. Now she’s back, and her best friend, Kate Daniels, has hired her to work with her as a PI. 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. To top it all off, Andrea has a new case that needs her attention.

This is a .5 book. It’s set in the world of Kate Daniels, but Kate doesn’t play a very large part in the series. Andrea is dealing with things in this book while Kate is dealing with something else.

Holly: I’ll be honest, this isn’t a favorite of mine. I really like both Raphael and Andrea as Kate’s friends, but I didn’t love reading about them as the main characters of the novel.

Casee: I didn’t particularly enjoy this book. I don’t know if I would have felt different if I hadn’t listened to it on audio. It was the southern drawl that Andrea had when she was trying to get information or act menacing that really annoyed me.

Holly: I think that’s funny, since I know you’ve enjoyed other audiobooks in the series and they’re all narrated by the same person.

Rowena: I liked this one. Sure, I didn’t like it as much as I liked some other of the other books in the series but I still enjoyed it.

Holly: There were parts I liked, but as a whole this isn’t one of the better books in the series.

Casee: I found Andrea to be extremely annoying. Raphael was just meh.

Rowena: I thought the romance between Raphael and Andrea was nice and angsty. I thought Andrea’s struggles made sense for her background and when she got her revenge against what Raphael did to her house? I loved it.

Holly: Both Andrea and Raphael got on my nerves at different times in the story, but I do like them as a couple.

Casee: Ascanio was actually my favorite character in this book. I am really enjoying how his character is developing.

Holly: Ascanio definitely does some growing up in this book. I liked him a lot. I really liked the scenes with Aunt B, too.

Rowena: Ascanio is really growing up and I’m liking what I’m seeing with his growth. You can see that he really respects both Kate and Andrea. I also really enjoy the friendship between Kate and Andrea.

Casee: My favorite part was when Kate showed up toward the end.

Rowena: I think the weakest part of this story was the whole Anapa thing. I can’t say that I was all that invested or even interested in all of that. I was just there for Andrea and Raphael, seeing Kate and Curran and our other friends. Still, it was good.

Casee: I’m with Wena on this one. I wasn’t invested in the actual plot. I was there for the same reasons. I love the friendship between Kate and Andrea. Kate won’t let Andrea get away with anything, not even her own emotions. I enjoyed the romance between Raphael, but they were both such dicks about it at the beginning that I had a hard time. I expected to be annoyed with Rapahel (Holly), but I was surprised to be annoyed by Andrea since she’s so kickass in the previous books.

If the book was half as long as it was, I would have been good.

Rowena: Oh and in the beginning when Raphael brought Rebecca to Andrea’s office, I wanted to kick him in the dick. I was super mad at him for a lot of the beginning of this book. I spent more time annoyed with him than I ever did with Andrea. When Andrea finally comes clean about everything to him, I felt how stupid he felt. LOL.

Casee: I wanted to junk punch Rafael when he brought Rebecca to the office too. How old are we? Seriously.
I did find it incredibly amusing when Andrea played the carpet prank on him. Lol.

This one gets a 3 out of 5 from me.

Rowena: This was a nice little appetizer before I jump right back into a Kate and Curran story. I’m ready for Kate and Curran again. I’m ready for some Derek and Julie goodness too. I’m also very interested in getting to know Ascanio more too. This one gets 3.5 out of 5 stars from me. It was a solid read but not a favorite.

Holly: I agree this is a good in-between novel, though. As much as I love Kate, it’s good to step outside her head for a minute. Speaking of, I love how we get to see Kate from a different perspective here.
I’m giving it 3.25 out of 5.

Casee: 3 out of 5
Holly: 3.25 out of 5
Rowena: 3.5 out of 5

Kate Daniels

four-stars


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Joint Review: Smoke Bitten by Patricia Briggs

Posted March 26, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Joint Review: Smoke Bitten by Patricia BriggsReviewer: Holly and Rowena
Smoke Bitten by Patricia Briggs
Series: Mercy Thompson #12
Also in this series: Frost Burned , Night Broken, Shifting Shadows, Blood Bound, Fire Touched, Silence Fallen , Moon Called, Blood Bound , Iron Kissed, Bone Crossed , River Marked , Frost Burned, Storm Cursed , Night Broken, Fire Touched, Storm Cursed
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: March 17, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 352
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Mercy Thompson, car mechanic and shapeshifter, faces a threat unlike any other in this thrilling entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling series.

I am Mercedes Athena Thompson Hauptman. My only “superpowers” are that I turn into a thirty-five pound coyote and fix Volkswagens. But I have friends in odd places and a pack of werewolves at my back. It looks like I’m going to need them.

Centuries ago, the fae dwelt in Underhill–until she locked her doors against them. They left behind their great castles and troves of magical artifacts. They abandoned their prisoners and their pets. Without the fae to mind them, those creatures who remained behind roamed freely through Underhill wreaking havoc. Only the deadliest survived.

Now one of those prisoners has escaped. It can look like anyone, any creature it chooses. But if it bites you, it controls you. It lives for chaos and destruction. It can make you do anything–even kill the person you love the most. Now it is here, in the Tri-Cities. In my territory.

It won’t, can’t, remain.

Not if I have anything to say about it.

Smoke Bitten is the 12th book in the Mercy Thompson series.

Since Mercy claimed the Tri-Cities as Pack territory, and the Fae and Vampires called a truce with them, things have gotten interesting. Since fighting a coven of black witches, things have been strange between Mercy and Adam. Things come to a head when his ex-wife causes trouble for them, so of course, that’s when they discover something has escaped from Underhill- the magical lands the Fae used to inhabit before she kicked them out – and it’s causing havoc for Mercy and the pack. Now Mercy needs to figure out how to kill the Smoke Demon, and how to fix what’s wrong between her and Adam…before it’s too late.

Holly: Another stellar novel in the Mercy Thompson series. I love how the relationships she has with Adam and Bran continue to evolve as the series progresses. Mercy’s relationship with the members of the pack is interesting. Sometimes I want to beat them over the head, and yet I love them all. I’m really looking forward to seeing how things change in the future with them.

Rowena: I agree that this was another stellar novel. I just keep right on adoring Mercy with each and every single book. I love that she’s not a dramatic person but she doesn’t shy away from the drama that finds itself at her doorstep. She’s such a laid back, mellow person but whoa boy if you come for her or anyone she loves. She’s much different than Kate Daniels but no less kick-ass, IMO.

I was all over the place, emotionally, in this book. I was pissed off for Ben, pissed off at Adam for being a raggedy ol’ bitch ass and then hurt for both Mercy and Adam once I realized that he wasn’t being a raggedy ol’ bitch ass on purpose. Haha. Hell, I even hurt for Stefan but I was also super happy to get some Bran and everyone. This book just made me happy for the most part. I freaking love this world.

Holly: I was so angry at Adam at first, and the pack, too. Like, “really, this again? Ugh!” Like you, I ended up hurting for them all once I realized why they were acting the way they were.

Rowena: I love that Mercy never gives up on anybody in the pack, Adam included.

Holly: What did you think of Aurielle? I never really liked her in the previous books, but she grew on me here.

Rowena: At the beginning of this book, I wanted to karate chop Aurielle into next week. I could not stand that she takes Christy’s side each and every single time. I’m glad that she got over herself and did what was right in the end because if she continued to treat Mercy the way that she did, I would hate her and hold a grudge against her, no matter how much she was redeemed. I loved that Jesse enjoyed making her squirm. And I love how loyal Jesse is to Mercy.

Holly: I love how loyal and strong-willed Mercy is, too. I’m wondering more about Aurielle’s reason for freaking out. Do you feel for her nah?

Rowena: To be honest, no. I’m not feeling for her because I cannot stand it when teenagers lash out at others when they’re hurting and I hate it even more in grown-ass adults. Aurielle annoys the shit out of me and the way that she handled all of this shit at the beginning of this book pissed me off so I’m pretty meh toward her right now. I don’t hate her because she did eventually come around but other than that? Meh. She not only put herself at risk, but she also put Daryl at risk, against his wishes and that pisses me off too.

Holly: I don’t have a lot of sympathy for Aurielle, either, because she’s been pretty awful to Mercy from the beginning. Her extreme protectiveness toward Christy is not only misplaced but makes her a liability to the pack, IMO. It’s not that I don’t feel for the overall plight of the female wolves, but Aurielle just makes me angry. Still, by the end of the book I was less mad at her. She grew on me over the course of the novel.

Rowena: I’m really liking the lengths that Mercy and Adam are taking to make Aiden a part of the family. When Mercy called him, her son, I smiled and enjoyed seeing Aiden’s reaction to it. Ahhh, have I told you how much I love this book?

Holly: I love how Aiden has become part of the family. I just love how Mercy continues to collect people. Joel, Aiden, etc.

Rowena: Am I missing something with Wulfe? I still don’t understand what he’s doing with Mercy?

Holly: I’m not sure yet what’s going on with Wulfe. I have a feeling this will turn into something in the future.

What do you think of Underhill?

Rowena: Underhill is smart as hell, and the lengths she went to get what she wanted in this book show us how dangerous she is. I’m curious if we’ll see more from her in future books.

Holly: I have a feeling we’ll see a lot of Underhill in the future. There are obviously things working with the Fae and I’m sure that will come up later.

Rowena: The villains continue to be interesting in me. There are so many different monsters to take out with every book and they’re all so different. They all have different motives and different backgrounds and I’ve been interested in every single book so I think Briggs is doing a great job with keeping me invested in what goes on with her characters…even when they piss me the hell off.

Holly: I love how wide and varied all the villains are, and how fresh the series is even after all these books. I’m excited to see where things go from here.

Rowena: Tad and Jessie, huh? Thoughts on that?

Holly: I don’t think Tad and Jesse are a thing. They’re more like siblings than anything else. I’m curious what Gabriel’s note to Jesse said.

Rowena: I read somewhere that people were shipping them and I didn’t really see why everyone was doing that while reading this book so I was curious if I was the only one or not.

Holly: I don’t ship them. They’ve always been more like siblings to me. Plus Tad feels too old for Jesse. She’s just out of high school and he’s in his mid-20s in age, but his life experience makes him seem a lot older. Maybe in a few years I would buy it, but not right now.

Rowena: Overall, this book was another great addition to this series and after 12 books, I’m STILL hyped for this series so I’d say this was a good one. I give it 4.25 out of 5 stars. You?

Holly: Like you, I’m still invested in this series after 12 books, so Briggs is obviously doing something right. I’m going to give it 4.25 out of 5 as well.

Holly: 4.25 out of 5
Rowena: 4.25 out of 5

Mercy Thompson

four-stars


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