Burn For Me Review

I don’t think anyone who stumbles across this blog has missed the fact that I am super looking forward to Ilona AndrewsBurn For Me. Ever since I heard that there was a new series in the works from them, I have been excited, and the brief teasers and snippets that have been released have justified that excitement. Well, while we have just under two weeks to wait, Doug Meeks got his hands on an early copy and was kind enough to share his review.

burn for meWhat Doug said…

Ok, let me start by just saying it was freaking awesome, if you are surprised by this this must be your first novel by Ilona Andrews (or you are terribly slow)

This is a world similar to our own but different due to magical powers being discovered during the 1700/1800 period which has changed the course of the world drastically in places and less so in others. The magical world is broken up into “Houses” which kind of divide up almost any chunk of real estate (in this case it is Houston).

Nevada Baylor runs her own private investigations company and prides herself on having some honor and client loyalty, a trait not as in demand as you might think which is part of the reason her company is mortgaged to the hilt to one of the “houses” which plays into the plot in them being able to assign her a case she is most likely to fail if not die in the process. The person they want her to bring in is a magical person with pyromaniac tendencies and he is powerful.

Enter Mad Rogan, scourge of Mexico (they will tell you why) and arrogant and self centered as they come because he is one of the most powerful magical beings on the planet, I won’t bore you with how they get together (read the book) but they are NOT a match made in heaven or any place else but their evolving relationship is entertaining beyond belief. I wondered several times if I should go back and read book 1 of Kate Daniels and see if Curran was this bad when they first met.

The crux of the plot (outside of any romance or lack thereof between Nevada and Mad Rogan) is that her assigned target for capture can set almost anything on fire and has plans to do exactly that a LOT more and they have to stop him somehow. Throw in some near death experiences (USUALLY a good ice breaker for a romance) and some magical discoveries, this is an exciting story that never really allows you to get bored other than possibly the reader being more forgiving of Mad Rogan than Nevada is, although it should be mentioned she has valid reasons. (Suspecting him of government sanctioned mass murder ranks high on the list)

This is a story you are never quite sure where it is going and trying to guess will only make your head hurt. Excellent job of hiding some things until the epilogue, imagine my surprise, very nice touch. Never saw it coming at all.

Bottom Line: Exceptional story, multi-layered plot, intriguing characters that you really want to see more of, add all that to some nice little perks for veterans and you have a story that is hard to beat with enough similarity to our own world to make you feel at home just a bit (well a small bit minus the magic). 5 Stars, highly recommended which is actually more than I think I gave the first Kate Daniels book (but to be fair she had a horrible job of building a totally new world we had never seen). So go buy this book as soon as you can, no cliffhangers either I should mention.

Who else is on board for this one? It is my most anticipated read for the rest of the year, and most of the reviews I am allowing myself to peek at are overwhelmingly positive. Did I mention less than two weeks now?

Reading Roundup…

Time again to bore everyone with what I have been reading, and what I thought of it. I have been a bit more eclectic than usual, even branching out into non paranormal (god, been a while since I can say that).

the beautiful ashesThe Beautiful Ashes – Might as well start with the hard one. I picked up the first book of Jeanine Frost‘s new Broken Destiny series as soon as it was released, but I didn’t really have any burning desire to dive right in. As I took a non-spoilery peek at some reviews, I found they veered wildly from “OMG Awesome!!!!” to “DNF”. I fall somewhere in the middle.  Well, it was…ok. I should say up front that I was not one of those looking for another Cat and Bones, either – it didn’t have to “live up” to the Night Huntress books, for me. I didn’t hate it, I made it through to the end, but I finished more out of duty than desire to see how it all ended. I guess the easiest way to say it is that I didn’t connect to it – characters, world-building, none of it drew me in. Will I pick up the next book? Probably, just because I already have the first one. If I had read it on my i-pad and didn’t have the physical copy of the first one? Probably not. Unless the reviews were stellar. All in all, a disappointment. On a ratings scale, I would say…2 out of 5.

the iron trialThe Iron Trial – This one is the first book of a new middle grade series from authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare called The Magisterium. The most common thing I have heard about this one is “Harry Potter rip-off”. In fact, some were quite up in arms about that. Well, since I am about the last person in the world who hasn’t read Harry Potter, I can’t comment on that. Personally, I liked it. It was a fast, fun read with quite a bit of action and a few twists and turns that should lead to some very interesting storylines in coming books. Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Rock Addiction coverRock AddictionNalini Singh is my favorite author, and I have never made a secret of that (along with Ilona Andrews, but that is a debate for another day). That said, however, I still really wasn’t driven to pick up Rock Addiction for one strange reason…I have never liked books where one of the characters is supposed to be famous. Models, actors, athletes, race car drivers…rock stars…they have never done it for me. And the strange reason is that I find them unrealistic. Yep, I said it. A chick who reads pretty much all PNR and UF finds a book about famous people more unrealistic than vampires and dragon shifters. If it was written by anyone other than Nalini I wouldn’t have given it a second look even if it was free. But because it is Nalini, I did take the plunge – and I liked it. I know that a lot of people didn’t like the insta-love or the abundance of sex scenes, but neither bothered me. I think, for me, there was enough story to balance that out. I didn’t even mind the rock star angle, which for me was a big hurdle. I do have to admit, though, that I thought Gabriel and Charlie completely stole the show, and I cannot wait to get my hands on their story. That one is going to be fun. So, I can say I am glad I overcame my bias against famous characters and tried this one, and I am first in line for Charlotte and Gabriel’s turn. Rating: 4 out of 5.

How has your reading been stacking up? Any standouts, good or bad? What was your take on any of these relatively new releases?

Double Giveaway Winner…

winner bannerWow, the response to this giveaway was, I think, the biggest to date with 57 entrants. It won’t be long now before we all get a chance to pick up both Nalini Singh‘s Archangel’s Shadows and Ilona AndrewsBurn For Me, and I can’t wait. The randomly chosen winner (through Random.org) is #40…

Terri

Congratulations, Terri. I will be contacting you shortly for your info.

October BotM…and a Double Giveaway

giveaway bannerOctober had just too many good books to pick from for the Book of the Month, but Nalini Singh once again takes the title with her Guild Hunter release, Archangel’s Shadows (as she does every month she has a new book come out). But, October is also the month for Ilona AndrewsBurn For Me, which I absolutely cannot wait to get my hands on.

So, I thought that this month, I would offer BOTH Archangel’s Shadows and Burn For Me for the giveaway. If you would like to win a paperback copy of each of these great books, just leave a comment in the comments section. Contest open to all, winner to be chosen at random through random.org. Let’s end this Friday night at midnight (Atlantic time). Good luck!

archangel's shadowSynopsis…

In the wake of a brutal war, the archangel Raphael and his hunter consort, Elena, are dealing with the treacherously shifting tides of archangelic politics and the people of a battered but not broken city. The last thing their city needs is more death, especially a death that bears the eerie signature of an insane enemy archangel who cannot— should not—be walking the streets.

This hunt must be undertaken with stealth and without alerting their people. It must be handled by those who can become shadows themselves…

Ash is a gifted tracker and a woman cursed with the ability to sense the secrets of anyone she touches. But there’s one man she knows all too well without a single instant of skin contact: Janvier, the dangerously sexy Cajun vampire who has fascinated and infuriated her for years. Now, as they track down a merciless killer, their cat-and-mouse game of flirtation and provocation has turned into a profound one of the heart. And this time, it is Ash’s secret, dark and terrible, that threatens to destroy them both.

burn for meSynopsis…

Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile case. Nevada isn’t sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.

Then she’s kidnapped by Connor “Mad” Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run or surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.

Rogan’s after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she’s getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world.

Since I was lucky enough to get an ARC of Archangel’s Shadows, Burn For Me is my biggie. And the little teasers Ilona has been posting have been great fun. Nalini and Ilona are my two absolute favorites, so October is a great month, for sure.

October’s Book of the Month…

book of the monthI have been looking forward to October 28th ever since I realized that it was the day that both Nalini Singh‘s Archangel’s Shadows and Ilona AndrewsBurn for Me were being released (among some other great ones). I will be doing my annual get-away where I hit the book store, a pizza joint, and a hotel room and settle in all night to read. Can’t wait.

Anyways, it is time again to vote for your most anticipated book for October. The title with the most votes will then be the next giveaway book. I have listed 10 upcoming releases, but as always if your choice isn’t there just select “Other” and leave your pick in the comments section. A complete list of October’s releases can be found HERE.

Since I already got my ARC of Archangel’s Shadows (thanks to the kindness of Nalini Singh), my absolute must-read is Burn for Me. Actually, it is my pick for the rest of the year, to be honest. I can’t wait to dive into a new Ilona Andrews world, and the teasers I have read have gotten me even more excited for it.

Reading Roundup…

It has been a while since I did a reading roundup post, so I thought maybe we could go over what we thought of the good, the bad and the ugly of some recent releases. Spoilers are possible, so proceed with caution if you haven’t read any of these.

night's honorNight’s HonorThea Harrison‘s latest Elder Races book almost read like a stand-alone title to me. We have only briefly seen Xavier in the past, and next to nothing about the Nightkind demense has been featured in previous books, so it was interesting to see inside another branch of the Elder Races. I liked the world-building, but I found myself a bit underwhelmed by the romance side of things, and dare I say it, but I found the characters a bit on the dull side. I didn’t really connect with them, especially with Tess, who was just too bland to hold my interest. Final Thoughts: Here’s hoping that things pick up again for the next one, Midnight’s Kiss.

dark bloodDark Blood – Hm, this one is a bit tricky. Christine Feehan is one of my guilty pleasures, but you go into her books knowing exactly what you are going to get (and this one was no different). I am glad to see this Lycan angle wrap up. I didn’t enjoy is the whole Carpathian language thingy (which grates on my nerves every book now), but it was especially distracting here. I don’t mind a small phrase or two in the Carpathian, but whole sentences followed by their translations gets awkward and takes me out of the flow of the story. Also, believe it or not, I found myself thinking a time or two that things were, well, unrealistic (ha!). I rolled my eyes at the Xavier/Xavion/Xav-something triplets angle, and the whole climactic battle scene actually struck me as funny. But I did like the characters, the acceptance of their mating early on, and I liked seeing so many old favorites, no matter how briefly. Plus – no flower scene! Bonus. Final Thoughts: Ok, not bad, not great. Hopefully on to another angle for the Carpathians.

shifting shadowsShifting Shadows – This collection of short stories from the world of Mercy Thompson is actually turning out to be quite interesting. Not all, or even most, feature our well known leads of Mercy, Adam, Charles or Anna, but they are set within the same world and have the same tone. I am enjoying reading one here and there before bed when I don’t want to get too involved in a full book and then stay up all night reading. The short story Alpha and Omega is what got me reading Patricia Briggs in the first place, and I loved reading it again in Shifting Shadows (for something like the 5th time, I’m sure). Final Thoughts: A nice collection, which looks great on the shelf with its pretty cover. Now, if only we could get a Kate Daniels world collection like this, I would be extra happy.

visionsVisions – The second book in Kelley Armstrong‘s Cainsville series was one of my most anticipated reads, and it lived up to my excitement. Book one read like a mystery with some paranormal aspects, but book two has much more of a supernatural feel to it. I liked the slow progression of the story, the development of the characters, the growing bond between Olivia and Gabriel (and, well, I like Gabriel). Final Thoughts: Great book. Great series. Looking forward to the re-read, and can’t wait for the next one.

We are now heading into the last few months of 2014, but there are some much-anticipated books that should keep me warm this winter. The absolute top pick for me is Ilona AndrewsBurn for Me (since I already read Archangel’s Shadows, that is). Seventh Grave and No Body from Darynda Jones should be intense, and Gena Showalter‘s long-awaited Torin story, The Darkest Touch, is also on the list. And while anthologies are not usually much to get excited about for me, the Ilona Andrews and Nalini Singh entries in Night Shift make this a biggie, too. Add in a few young adult titles that I am eying, and the rest of the year isn’t shaping up too badly at all.

Which of these have you read, and what was your take on them? Did you come across anything exciting (or disappointing, for that matter) recently, and what are you most looking forward to for the last quarter of the year?

Love Them, Love Them Not…

question markFor the last little while, I have been noticing a slight change in my reading habits – or rather, in who I have been looking forward to reading. As I have bored everyone with for the last few weeks, my total disinterest in Kresley Cole‘s Dark Skye is something that I never, ever would’ve saw coming. Kresley Cole was always, ALWAYS tied for my favorite author, along with Nalini Singh. That was just a given. Now? I still like her work, but I have found myself not as excited as I once was.

Alyssa Day and Lara Adrian are two more that I find myself drifting away from. I was never a rabid fan of their stuff, but it was something that I enjoyed while reading then promptly forgot (with the exception of Lara’s Darker After Midnight, which was a brilliant, game-changing book). I have gotten to the point where I am happy saying goodbye to both the Warriors of Poseidon and the Midnight Breed, so I probably won’t be picking up any more of their books.

But, on the other side, my adoration for Ilona Andrews has only continued to grow, and now I can honestly say that Ilona has supplanted Kresley as tied for my favorite author. Like Nalini, I haven’t yet read anything by them that I didn’t love, and that shows no signs of changing soon. Burn for Me is my most anticipated book for this fall (since I have already read Archangel’s Shadows, that is), and Magic Breaks was one of the best reads of summer.

And a recent development is my obsession with all things Kelley Armstrong. The Cainsville books have me completely hooked, and when I finally took Amber’s recommendation to start the Women of the Otherworld series I was pleasantly surprised. I have even been reading her middle grade Blackwell Pages written with Melissa Marr, and liking that (sort of like Percy Jackson).

How about you? What authors have risen, and which have fallen, in your must-read list? Are any old favorites losing their shine, or is there any new author you can’t get enough of?

Reader Reaction…Magic Breaks

magicbreaksI am pretty sure by now that everyone who is going to has already devoured the latest Kate and Curran book from Ilona Andrews, Magic Breaks. It is the first of the series to hit the shelves in hardcover, and from what the authors have said over on their site it has done really, really well in sales. That has to be a big relief for them, since from what I understand changing format like that can sometimes be stressful. But, on to the good stuff.

What did you think of Magic Breaks? To say that this one is a game changer is a bit of an understatement, and a lot of it I didn’t see coming (which I totally love). I thought it was one hell of a book, and I think I enjoyed it even more because I had just finished a re-read of the entire series heading into it so past events were really fresh in my mind. Sound off in the comments section below, spoilers welcome. Oh, and if you are waiting for the paperback version to match up to the rest of your collection, it now has a due date of February 24th.

Pick of the Week…

There were a few books that were in the running for my pick of the week. Magic Breaks is the obvious one, but since it has already been pick of the month I figured I would let that one slide (although it is terrific, if you haven’t gotten it yet you are in for a hell of a ride). It is also the week that C.L. Wilson‘s The Winter King comes out, which I have been looking forward to, as well. But I think I am going to have to go with Richelle Mead‘s Silver Shadows, which is the fifth book in her Bloodlines series. I also got that one a week early (along with Magic Breaks), but I haven’t been able to start it yet.

silver shadowsSynopsis…

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.

In The Fiery Heart, Sydney risked everything to follow her gut, walking a dangerous line to keep her feelings hidden from the Alchemists.

Now in the aftermath of an event that ripped their world apart, Sydney and Adrian struggle to pick up the pieces and find their way back to each other. But first, they have to survive.

For Sydney, trapped and surrounded by adversaries, life becomes a daily struggle to hold on to her identity and the memories of those she loves. Meanwhile, Adrian clings to hope in the face of those who tell him Sydney is a lost cause, but the battle proves daunting as old demons and new temptations begin to seize hold of him. . . .

Their worst fears now a chilling reality, Sydney and Adrian face their darkest hour in this heart-pounding fifth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where all bets are off.

Purchase at Amazon.com

What was your big one for this week? Did you get your hands on Magic Breaks yet, or are you still waiting?

Magic Breaks Review…

review iconIt won’t be long now until we get our hands on the next Kate Daniels book from Ilona Andrews, Magic Breaks. It was by far the most anticipated book of July for most people, and seeing the series make the jump to hardcover makes it even better. Doug Meeks got his hands on an early review copy, and sent over his thoughts. From everything I have heard, it is a pivotal book in the series, and I am just left hoping that all of my favorites survive it.

magicbreaksWhat Doug said…

OK, I am tired of typing “The best one yet” on every one of these Kate Daniels reviews so just act like I never said that …… again.

I loved this book, it starts out with a bit of a character guide including a bit of info on who they are and what part they play/played.  Then there is a bit of a “the story up until now” in a narrated Chapter 1 and combined with the detailed character guide which is written in such a manner as to be part of the story it is a unique and exceptional way to catch us all up without the chore of rereading past books, wonderfully done and make me wonder “why doesn’t everybody do this?”.

OK, assuming you read Magic Rises (and if you have not then you need to stop and read it before you go any farther) you know that a ton of stuff hit the fan last book and there are debts to be paid and blood to be shed and my revenge junkie is almost in a coma from all this drug of choice.

Roland is coming but first she has to head off Hugh (who really needs killing) who is now trying to start a war with The Pack and that is just not going to happen if Kate has anything to say about it.  Curran is off on a mission and not here to advise her so Kate tried to handle things in her own unique fashion, start the fun-o-meter.

The thing about these novels is that there is always a main plot and several very interesting secondary plots going, all of which lead to a great reading experience, the same applies to this book, we know Roland is coming (yes we will get to meet him), we know Kate has to do something about Hugh, let us not forget a date she has promised Hibla (revenge junkie is really cheering about this one), the wolf Alpha needs to be replaced and is causing problems, throw in a couple more small plots and you have a very busy book.  I was really too sick to be reading during this time but once I started it was impossible to put it down.

The fact that with all the plots and violence going around, one of the things I will always remember and reread is Kate purchasing a donkey, no way I can explain it to you, it actually caused me physical pain to read it since I was laughing so hard.

That is why these books are always auto-buys for so many of us, there is no other Kate/Curran clone to read.  There are other great stories and other great authors but there is only 1 Kate Daniels and she is just another heroine without Curran to balance her out, together they are always exceptional and unstoppable.

Bottom Line:  Exceptional as always, plots that never go exactly the way you thought, stories that bring it home to the reader in emotional ways that only great writing can do, no 2 dimensional characters you love them all.  This is a series many of us had to struggle through the first two books because there was so much there but almost all of us were hooked for life by the end of book 3, this is another breaking point in the series, not really sure where it goes from here but I can already see it will never be dull or lackluster, 5 Stars only because they don’t allow more, well done once again Ilona and Gordon.  I can’t wait to see where this goes.

NOTICE:  There is a very good short story about Julie at the end of the book, it is exceptional and I think may contain some future characters for this series or maybe a new one.

It sounds like we won’t be disappointed at all (not that I was expecting to be, but you know how it goes). Let the countdown begin…