Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Review: Magic Steals

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

This short story was another installment of the Jim/Dali romance. I am absolutely in love with these two and their quirky relationship so I quickly gobbled this book up when the time came.

In the main set of books, we only get to see Jim, the paranoid, tough, unstoppable head of security. He’s good at what he does, and is oftentimes the voice of reason to the two rather crazy alphas (or alpha and consort… whatever). In these Jim/Dali shorts, we get to see how Jim lives the rest of his life (if he has one...) and we also get to see Dali be a super awesome magic wielder! To be honest, she kind of blew me away, probably as much as she did Jim. I’m getting ahead of myself, though.

This story is about Jim and Dali’s growing relationship (yay) but it is also about how Dali conducts her “job” as her culture dictates. With her massive magical powers, she can remove all badness from curses of her lineage. It’s super crazy that this little mostly blind vegetarian girl can go in there and knock around the baddies. I loved it! I also really enjoyed Jim being playful. He and Dali are such a wonderful combination. I wish we saw more of it bleed into the larger books.

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Review: An Ill-Advised Rescue

An Ill-Advised Rescue An Ill-Advised Rescue by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I listened to this short story after completing the emotional rollercoaster that is Magic Rises. I’m usually one to read things in order and complete all the little short stories in a row. I couldn’t find this book without having it attached to Magic Rises, so I begrudgingly read it “out of order.” I’m glad. After all the drama jammed into the book, it was nice to see Kate just… be Kate. She gets a call from the guild about Saimon being kidnapped and swings into action. It was also very satisfying to spend some time with Kate’s dog after him being so very absent in the larger book. Definitely a welcome addition to the Kate-verse.

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Review: The Road to Helltown

The Road to Helltown The Road to Helltown by S.M. Reine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

OK, I’m not sure what I expected out of the last Cesar book, but it totally wasn’t this! This author knows how to make me feel so safe in the knowledge of oodles of previous books and then just pulls the rug out from under me! I expected a bloody, gory, fight to the end and instead I got the most satisfying book of the series!

Cesar is still... Cesar. If you were annoyed with him before, his participation in the events leading up to the apocalypse will not make you love him more. His actions afterwards are just… the best. I’m getting ahead of myself, but in a world where I know what happens years after, years before, and to other people at the same time, where to draw the spoiler line gets confusing. We are still rapidly approaching what people know will be a drastic change for the world as everyone knows it. Cesar is the saddest, reluctant participant in the apple, but he’s still going along with their plans. Can you feel me shaking my head at him? That’s what I’ve done through most of the series.

As things start looking worse and worse, he is actually forced to make some tough decisions. He can no longer stay on the sidelines or be pulled along by either his girlfriend or his boss’s wife. As far as his storyline goes, he certainly gets the best of all endings available. We know where he has to end up (or at least anyone who has read the surrounding books knows) but the path is totally uncertain. There will be a re-making of sorts, so all bets are totally off. What someone ended as before that can be undone, essentially meaning no one is safe anymore. As the last book of this series, I guess I expected it to be darker. The fact that it left me smiling and happy was a pleasant surprise. It gets dark, don’t worry, but it is 100% worth it to get to the end.

Do we get all the answers we want? I think we do. We get to find everyone’s path forward while watching the pieces get in place for Dana’s series to pick up. I even wanted to hug Fritz! Who wants that before this book? Nobody! Now I’ve got soft and fuzzy feelings for everyone (you know, except the big bads). This book was surprising in the best way possible and gave probably the most satisfying end I could have hoped for in the Cesar storyline.

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Friday, October 27, 2017

Review: Magic Rises

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

I’m reviewing this only a few hours after finishing this book in audiobook format so I’m probably a little closer to this one than my usual review. That being said – damn! You always know that these books make no guarantees that everyone ends the book in good shape (or even alive) but I’m pretty beat up here.

This book is another road trip-type. Kate and a select few from the pack end up making a trip across the ocean into what everyone agrees is a big trap. Everyone knows that there can be no good reason that Curran was selected to negotiate and protect a disputed pregnant woman. Everyone knows that they will walk right into this trap with the promise of a magical lupism cure at the end of it. How can they not? At the same time, soon after arriving, it’s like everyone forgot. People are playing their own secret games hidden within games, but (again) it’s like nobody remembers that this is a gigantic trap.

I’m not even really sure what of the plot I can talk about without getting into some serious spoilers, but overall, this trip to a castle ends up being (shockingly) a bad idea. Yes, they might come out slightly ahead (definitely stronger) but there are some big checks in the “loss” column that some might argue outweigh the wins. That being said, Kate is still… Kate. There is a lot of unbearable girlishness thrown in here, but she’s still the non-stop killing machine we’ve come to know and love. This book also gave us some good, in-depth time with some of the more supporting characters. At one point I even found myself appreciating how much more I know and love a certain character because of the actions of this book. This was a bad omen.

So what happens that I can talk about? Kate’s secret is a big player in this book. What starts as a book that seems about Curran ends up (of course) actually being about Kate really. All of her work has been leading up to a big confrontation in this book (no, not *the* big one, but still, a pretty epic battle). While I’m happy where we end up here, at least as far as Kate and Curran go, I spent most of the time in this book dreading coming back to it. The relationship drama was so unbearable, but eventually works itself out (thank god). I look forward to a book where everyone is back at home and the Kate/Curran team can be strong again.

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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Review: Enthrall Me

Enthrall Me Enthrall Me by Tamara Hogan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow, I joined this series wayyyyyyy after I should have. There is a very detailed and comprehensive world already built and set up for this story, but I managed to muddle through. The author certainly does a good job of catching up even the most uniformed reader (like me).

This book follows the blissfully beautiful romance between Tia and Wyland. Tia is a young vampire, an investigative journalist, and a friend to most of the higher up muckidy mucks of the Underworld Council. In this universe there are all sorts of paranormals and each of them have representation on the council by a first and second. For vampires, the second is Wyland. That means he’s responsible for representing and governing the vampire race and also being super-duper old and powerful. This, for Wyland, also comes with crippling guilt over perceived faults and overworking himself to Dresden-like levels of fatigue.

So how do these two manage to get into a relationship? Well it certainly wasn’t Wyland’s preference to bring such a young and seemingly fragile woman into his life. If he had his way, he’d be brooding, alone, and sleep deprived for the rest of his never-ending life. Tia, however, has a way of shaking things up. After ending up on the short list of people granted access to the archives, she starts to become a close friend to the vampire first, putting her square in Wyland’s line of sight. It seems impossible, the amount of work he takes on, but he somehow manages to add a simmering obsession with Tia to the mix rather quickly.

The blend of these two characters was one I really enjoy. Tia’s “live life to the fullest” attitude constantly forcing Wyland to push outside is comfort zone was really great to watch. Oh, and the sizzle between these two was great, too! Even if you’re not familiar with the world (like I was), I still recommend this book as a solid paranormal romance read with oodles of mystery and action thrown in, too!

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Review: Relentless

Relentless Relentless by D.B. Reynolds
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As a novella, this book certainly over delivers! There is enough drama, intrigue, and romance to be a full-length novel and then some.

We join the North American vampire gang as they continue to battle against the Europeans. While a full scale war is not yet in effect, there have been so many small battles they are essentially there. Raphael has finally reached his breaking point. We get to watch Cyn be her usual awesome self, Raphael go into super vampire mode, and everyone else die. If you’re looking for a truly great “novella” that should most certainly be read in order of the series, this is a stand out book. While this is definitely a Cyn/Raphael book, we get hints of Quinn’s story and how things will eventually take shape in Europe.

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Review: Wolf in her Soul

Wolf in her Soul Wolf in her Soul by N.J. Walters
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Remember Reece when we first met him? Even if you don’t, this story is a really great addition to the world of werewolves. This book can probably be read as a standalone, but would be better appreciated as part of the larger world.

Reece is a detective, a werewolf, and he’s also a closet romantic. After dreaming of a mystery for most of his life, he has been hoping for her arrival for years. When he finally reaches his breaking point, ready to head home to be with his twin and pack again, she stumbles right into his world. Hannah, the mystery woman, doesn’t have the most wonderful introduction to Reece. She’s stalked, attacked, and is in the hospital when they finally meet one another.

While Reece is ready to dive right into a relationship, Hannah has a little bit harder time adjusting to this world where she’s not somehow “less” because of her partial werewolf heritage. Who knew an abandoned young girl could somehow end up inheriting such a wonderfully protective mate and family? The romance is somewhere between fated mates and regular paranormal romance levels, but don’t worry – these two light up the pages! As a standalone or companion to the series, this book is definitely a great read.

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Review: Levi

Levi Levi by Bailey Bradford
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This sexy and suspenseful paranormal romance gave a great introduction to the world of cat shifters and their hunt for a mate.

Levi is the dutiful son, hosting his family reunion with a smile while he secretly longs for some more personal companionship. Being a larger guy has made it hard for him to find what he needs in a mate and in the bedroom. A chance encounter with a cougar shifter suddenly shows him how great a perfect match this stranger could be. If only he had stuck around to cuddle, maybe he wouldn’t find himself in such a strange predicament – lusting after someone who he doesn’t even know.

Lyndon has been on the run most of his life, dodging a stalker who has been silently escalating his approach. Having lived with abuse for so long, he finds it very hard to accept that he might have something real with the snow leopard shifter he’s smitten with. While they might have reservations about their relationship, everyone around them appears to be significantly more clued in to their mate status. Being accepted as one of Levi’s large family seems so far out of reach for Lyndon that they might just end up sabotaging their relationship before it starts. Lucky for them both, his instant support system won’t let that happen.

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Review: Dreaming of a White Wolf Christmas

Dreaming of a White Wolf Christmas Dreaming of a White Wolf Christmas by Terry Spear
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a wonderful little Christmas story! While I’m not really up to date on all the wonderfully intersecting stories of this author, I found it incredibly easy to dive in here and enjoy this relatively standalone tale.

Candice was an average woman, writing in her free time until she goes on the camping trip that changes her life. A small bite from what she assumed was a lost puppy ends up transforming her into a werewolf. Being forced to essentially push everyone away has left her alone but eagerly throwing herself into her writing career. Writing about werewolves is suddenly even more relevant.

While Candice was out on her inaugural shift/run, she happened to see another arctic wolf. Said wolf, Owen, has become convinced that this mystery wolf will be his mate and is even more dumbstruck when his most recent case takes him right to her door. The two of them might have a confusing history, but their future is definitely looking good. As long as she can accept the instant introduction of a pack, some estranged family, some conniving con-men/women, and more shifters than she can shake a stick at, they should be fine! As a nice introduction to the world, this book was more than I expected. We meet so many interesting characters that I’m eager to dive right back in.

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Review: Drop Dead Gorgeous

Drop Dead Gorgeous Drop Dead Gorgeous by Juliet Lyons
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This second installment was filled with just as much quirky romance as the first one and leaves me eager to see where this series heads next.

Mila is this book’s focus. She starts the story going on a v-date with a serial killer. No worries, though, because Vincent the vampire is on the case! Vincent is the “by the books” vampire you hope would be the cop assigned to your case, but Mila certainly tests his resolve. Aside from their blistering attraction, these two also have to work together to make sure the serial killer can’t continue his work.

Vincent has oodles of baggage, but trust the very open and rambling Mila to push all his boundaries. Forced to live together, these two play a game of who can ignore their attraction more. When they finally break, it’s epically hot. If you’re looking for a murder-mystery with paranormal romance throughout, this is definitely a smutty good time.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Review: Demon Hunting with a Sexy Ex

Demon Hunting with a Sexy Ex Demon Hunting with a Sexy Ex by Lexi George
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Okay, full disclaimer – I didn’t realize this was a later installment of an already in progress series. I dove right in, quickly realizing that I was missing some initial books, but plowed through anyway. While this might not be the optimal introduction, it was still a nice intro.

Cassandra has an ex-boyfriend who has hunted her down, hundreds of years later, and he won’t take no for an answer. They’re both magical (her a witch and he a magical demon hunter) and they’ve already had the big “you’re something I should be hunting” fight, so things should be smooth sailing, right? Wrong. Cassie is still very much holding a grudge, Duncan (the ex) is still trying to win her back, and the both of them are trying to navigate in a magical world.

There’s also something magically big going on. An orb is changing hands, there might be some big betrayal in the Dalyhani, and there’s also big and lovable creatures out there. All of this combined to make for a really great, magic-packed book. Oh, and there’s a solid love story underneath it all, too.

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Review: Bittersweet Blood

Bittersweet Blood Bittersweet Blood by Nina Croft
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

While this is the first of a series, it certainly throws you into a well-established world of vampires, demons, and fae assassins.

Tara is out on her own in a world that she has always been taught to be afraid of in one way or another. She was raised knowing very little of the world, so now that she’s on her own, she’s more determined than ever to figure out her shady past. She’s hired a PI who just happens to be a vampire (and ex-demon hunter) and that’s just where the weirdness starts. Christian, said vampire, is immediately intrigued. After saving his new client in the alley outside his building, he’s determined to take the risk and look into her past. It doesn’t hurt that her blood calls to him, either.

From there, things just keep getting stranger and stranger. Turns out, Tara has a very important mom and dad and somehow she’s about to bring about some big war. Oh, and she’s also got to navigate her growing feelings for Christian and her surprise in the form of a pet/friend. Throw all this in the blender, combine with paranormal madness and you’ve got one engaging start to this new series. I was pleasantly surprised with Tara and how she embraces her new life.

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Review: Forsaken by Night

Forsaken by Night Forsaken by Night by Larissa Ione
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is a short companion to the series I’ve already been reading. It’s short, but worth the read.

Lobo, a vampire adrift without companionship due to a miscommunication years ago discovers Tehya, who he assumes is a wounded animal. He nurses her back to health and finds in her the companion he’s always needed. The only thing missing? If she were a female vampire. Lucky for him, fate seems to be on his side. Sadly, for Tehya, she’s been stuck in wolf form because she accidentally shifted years ago. She’s found companionship in Lobo but she’s unable to be with him the way she ultimately dreams of.

After a horrible accident, Lobo is forced to sneak in and get help from his old friends, breaking all the rules along the way. By risking his life, he ends up somehow triggering Tehya shifting back and starting all sorts of other drama. These two are well matched and made for some good entertainment. Even if you’re not familiar with this world, it’s a good read.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Review: Fracture

Fracture (Midnight Ice #3)Fracture by Kaitlyn Davis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Holy moly! This series has so many twists and turns that I never know what to expect! What was starting to feel like the last of the series suddenly threw me for a loop with its shocking ending. While I’m not sure it qualifies as a true cliffhanger, this book will definitely have you desperate for more from the world of Pandora Scott.

We meet back up with Pandora and Jax in their hideout with the conduits. There is obviously still some massive tension between the two of them. Jax still feels super guilty about having betrayed Pandora to who he thought were the good guys and Pandora isn’t quite sure where she stands with any of the men in her life. Sure, there’s the wonderfully tormented Jax who is desperate for every shred of emotion she can give him, but there’s also the king of the bad boys, Sam, who has suffered lifetimes in the hopes of getting her back.

I have to admit to being a little bit on Team Sam, but this book completely turned me around. Along with this love triangle drama, there is also the larger end of the world storyline (I guess that should really be the primary story in my head, but I’m a romance addict). Pandora is more determined than ever to end this cycle of rebirth and murder one way or another. One thing we know for sure – when Pandora sets her mind to something, don’t get in her way. As I said before, the ending blew my mind and I’m sure you’ll be stunned, too. I cannot wait to see where the story takes us next!

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