Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Review: Magic Bleeds

Magic Bleeds Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

OK, consider me completely addicted to these stories now. I definitely recommend starting from the beginning of this series, but no matter how you get here – enjoy!

This book is a little bit of a shakeup for a lot of things. While the previous books have been steadily building to this, I was still a little shocked. We join Kate, still working for the Order, still hiding her link to a big bad, still warring with Curran over their mutual attraction, but somehow making it all work (kind of). All of that gets thrown out of whack when a mysterious big bad rolls into town with plagues and the ability to turn shifters wild. Obviously Kate gets the call (while still moping about Curran) and that puts her firmly as a target for this evil doer.

Yes, Kate once again sustains an insane amount of physical and magical damage during the entirety of the book. It’s becoming a bit predictable in that sense. I know she will inevitably be horribly injured yet push through. In this case, it felt a little more… real. She genuinely has to deal with her human shortcomings (sometimes). While this book primarily focuses on Kate’s past, there is also a lot to do with Kate setting up what her future might look like. Sure, there’s some romantic interests thrown in for good measure (which I always enjoy), but it also has to do with how long she can balance what she wants to do with her life and what the Order wants from her.

All of these things mash together in lots of blood, some kissing, and another really great ending. This author certainly knows how to keep you coming back for more without actually making you stabby with cliffhangers.

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Review: Ride the Storm

Ride the Storm Ride the Storm by Karen Chance
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don’t even know where to begin. First, if this is where you are thinking of beginning your journey with Cassie, STOP! Go back to the beginning, because we just dive right in with the first page and don’t look back.

These books are jam-packed with non-stop-action. Usually when I say that, there are still nice quiet scenes that don’t end in mayhem and destruction but that’s really not true with this book. It goes from one urgent emergency where things go crazy to another exploding mess of a battle scene without letting you decompress at all. I was torn between never wanting to put the book down and drowning in anxiety while reading. Cassie’s life is certainly not easy. While she doesn’t sustain life threatening injury as much as your Dresden or female equivalent, her exhaustion from power exertion is certainly on par. So, ultimately if you can through the mayhem and enjoy watching Cassie stumble through her duties, you will obviously pick this book up.

So, what’s the story? Gah, so much. Cassie and Rosier are still trying to catch and put back Pritkin’s soul with a counter curse which means much insanity of the old world style. It is pretty much exactly what you’d expect when an incredibly magical person and head ruler incubus demon guy team up. Just for good measure, though, Cassie doesn’t just have that to worry about. There’s also her relationship drama with Mircea coming back to bite her (and him). Who is the woman she found? Who’s trying to attack the vampires? How are they going to get into faerie? All of this is still crawling by while Cassie time jumps to other drama-filled worlds.

Some good we get out of this? There’s a conclusion to the counter curse storyline. That’s pretty much the only conclusion we get out of this book, even though it was pretty lengthy. That doesn’t mean we didn’t progress things along. There’s still big bad gods out there, but there’s also people fighting them. There’s still a lot of sizzle between Cassie and Pritkin, but don’t expect this book to be filled with romance. There’s even more revelations about Cassie’s past and Mircea’s secrets, but I’m sure we’ll still get more in future books. So while I love living in this world, the ending left me a little stabby about the lack of wrap up. That won’t give me any ounce of hesitation about reading the next one, though.

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Friday, August 11, 2017

Review: The Lost Vampire

The Lost Vampire The Lost Vampire by Kate Baxter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was everything I wanted from a book about the broody and (maybe) crazy Saeed. I started the story unsure of how I felt about that particular character but he ended up being a pretty good guy.

When we last saw Saeed, he was going insane, falling into the Collective, and determined to find the mystery woman he was convinced was his mate. Having only seen her in the visions from the Collective, he obviously had nowhere to start looking. That was remedied by the helpful young seer, and off he went. He abandoned everything he cared about (some with pretty hurt feelings) and began his chase.

Cerys is an enslaved fae who has the deadly power to steal someone’s soul. The power isn’t infinite, and she convinced that any time now might be her last. The mage that owns her has little regard for her safety and keeps her on a short leash. It is through this connection that the two soul mates finally meet. It isn’t really with sparks and fireworks, since they are both missing their souls, but instead tests both their faith in the tether.

The other larger story revolves around the hunt for a dhampir who began the berserker’s downward spiral. All of our favorite side characters make an appearance, slowly progressing things to their inevitable conclusion (hopefully soon in the upcoming books). I’m completely addicted to this story and each of the unique love stories contained therein. I will devour each one until there are no more left to read!

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Friday, August 4, 2017

Review: Magic Mourns

Magic Mourns Magic Mourns by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a really quick short story that takes place exactly where you want one – with Andrea and Raphael. It was not a straightforward romance, as I was expecting, but is its own little mystery. Yes, you get a bunch of romantic elements along the way, and you ultimately get some big changes, but it all revolves around a death in the family and a really big dog. It was nice to see Andrea in her element and get a little look at her internal workings.

I’m not sure how much else I can get in to without giving away too much, but this story is certainly wrapped up neatly in one book, although the ending is a bit of a mystery. I can’t wait to read more in this world, and really enjoyed this little “bonus.”

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Review: Stefan's Salvation

Stefan's Salvation Stefan's Salvation by N.J. Walters
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This third book in the series picks up with the broody one – Stefan. He’s the holdout of the brothers and was due for a nice HEA.

Stefan is prowling around the US trying to follow where his instincts lead him, which is hopefully to his one true mate. While grabbing a drink in some nowhere bar he ends up drawn to the sound of a woman’s name – Laurel Rose. The ones speaking it, however, have some foul intentions. Laurel Rose is the town’s oddity. She’s got a slight deformity and she has some mental powers that she’s probably not hiding well enough, so that’s enough to make her a little feared in town. Some locals are particularly stirred up because she won’t give up her land to a local developer who could bring in a big resort (and jobs, and money, etc. etc.).

On this night, Laurel ends up being saved by Stefan in wolf form, which begins their paranormal courtship. At least she has the benefit of being exposed to these types of things before, but that doesn’t mean she just jumps right into his arms. I was glad she made him work for it, because he could use a little blow to the ego. The larger story in town ends up interrupting their romance, but it also gives Stefan a chance to prove exactly how much he cares for Laurel. These two were a fun couple to read and it was particularly satisfying to see the brooding guy shake off his funk.

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Review: Never Dare a Dragon

Never Dare a Dragon Never Dare a Dragon by Ashlyn Chase
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These stories have officially moved from dragon-centric to phoenix-centric and I am totally enjoying them. They have a mix of smut, action, and romance that give you a good intro to this world, even if you’re picking up from this point in the series.

Jayce is the latest Fierro to get the focus of their own story. We met them all in the previous book, but we get to see it all happen from his (and Kristine’s) perspective. Who knew that meeting a girl at your brother’s fake funeral could start off an epic romance? Kristine is a dragon shifter who happened to be attending said funeral without any understanding of the paranormal undercurrents. Sure, she was appalled by the fact that Jayce wanted to flirt at his brother’s funeral, but she ended up writing it off as his own way of processing grief. She is, however, very happy to see him walk into her firehouse without warning.

These two have some sizzling chemistry (haha, fire paranormals, haha) but that part of the story can kind of be predicted. I liked the general lightheartedness you can practically feel jumping off the page when Jayce and Kristine interact. Yes, there are some darker stories at play, where Kristine is forced to do some not-really-good things, but the overall story is their budding romance. Can two paranormals from firehouses in different states make it work? Well, yeah, this is a solid HEA, but well worth the trouble it takes to get there. I especially liked watching them try to cross their paranormal divide.

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Review: Blood Gamble

Blood Gamble Blood Gamble by Melissa F. Olson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have a really hard time deciding whether I love or hate Scarlett. She’s definitely made herself difficult to love, but that might be what draws me to her.

In this latest installment, we join back up with Scarlett, still trying to find her footing in a world that treats her as something between a freak and a monster. They either love or hate what she can do and there really is no in between. Through a really weird set of events, Scarlett is somehow forced to take a girl’s weekend in Vegas to see a vampire-run vampire show on the strip. Coming off the heels of the origins of a Dracula tale, it looks like we’re going to see this thing out to its conclusion. Now we get to meet up with the real Arthur and Lucy from the story? Weird.

Of course, nothing ever goes smoothly for Scarlett and here we see her confronted with familiar faces and making all sorts of tough choices. While ultimately, we end up with a doozy of a cliffhanger and some new characters thrown into the mix, the way we get there never stops being baffling. Scarlett is starting to accumulate Dresden-levels of injuries and, jeez, just let her take a normal vacation for once! There was a very minimal amount of the usual players, so this was almost exclusively a Scarlett tale. We could really use a visit with her support system, especially after the trauma she endured in this one.

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