Review

Magic Binds Review

With less than a day until its official release (although I got my copy in the mail today), Monika sent over her review for Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews, the ninth book in the Kate Daniels series. Doug already sent over a review a couple of weeks back (which can be found HERE), now let’s check out another POV.

magic bindsWhat Monika said…

Fate and Father issues: Turning inward.

To readers familiar with the series it does not come as a surprise that Kate Daniels is having father issues; after all the overarching story arc has been all about finding ways and the means to defeat Roland, who in the past has seemed far too powerful to go up against. Now dear old dad has relocated to outside of Atlanta and is building a residence there, right outside the territory that Kate has claimed (quite unwillingly) as her own in order to protect it from his grasp. For a short time Kate and her dad had an uneasy ceasefire going, that is, until Roland has Saiman abducted. Although Saiman is no particular friend of hers, Kate cannot have people taken from her sphere of influence if she wants to appear credible as a leader.

Her father troubles are all the more inconvenient as Kate is trying to plan her wedding with Curran. In fact, that is were the book starts: Kate and Curran are trying to gain entrance into Roman’s magically protected home to ask him to officiate at their wedding. Roman is delighted as normally – because of his position as a priest of the Dark God Chernobog – he never gets asked to officiate at happy occasions. When it turns out that Kate is busy with other stuff he takes over as the wedding planner, with hilarious results.

And if that weren’t enough the Oracle has a vision of Kate’s future if she does indeed go through with her marriage to Curran and it is bleak, though not marrying him could be even worse. Thus faced with two impossible choices Kate tries everything to change her destiny and the outcome the Oracle predicted. The question whether one’s fate is ordained or whether one can shape one’s own destiny is at the core of many belief systems. Kate seems to be more on the side of taking fate into her own hands, even if the consequences turn out to be unpredictable.

Having broken off from the pack Kate and Curran also have to establish their new roles and redefine the parameters of their relationship, thinking about the lines in the sand that cannot be crossed. Kate is also trying to strengthen the bonds with her allies and to gain new ones in order to have a chance at defeating her father.

But between all the the myriad responsibilities, her relationships with Curran, family and an ever growing circle of friends and planning the wedding, the most important struggle that Kate has to fight is an internal one. As her quest to cheat fate progresses she comes to realize that the greatest danger does not lie in being defeated by her father, but in becoming like her father: a powerful godlike being that cares nothing for the lifes and emotions of others and rationalizes his actions, even the most heinous ones, as serving the greater good…

Verdict: a great UF read, fast-paced, full of action and urgency, at times hilariously funny and displaying quite some philosophical depth.  I cannot wait to see where Ilona Andrews will take this series next!

I managed to get most of my crap done today so I can dive into Magic Binds tonight and read right through. Can’t wait.

Challenge

Magic Binds Predictions and Spoilers

Hey everyone. Today, I thought we could try something new and maybe see how a predictions and spoilers post would work out, focusing on next week’s Magic Binds. I figure from now until release day, we can theorize and prophecize about what Ilona Andrews‘ has come up with this time, and after that we can re-hash and discuss.

Like, for example, I have been trying to figure out who is going to die.

Yep, morbid as that sounds, you just know someone is going to get taken out. I just can’t quite put my finger on who. You know (hope/pray) that Kate and Curran are ok (or at least alive at the end. Ditto Julie. And I refuse to believe Derek will die. Just no. But it still has to be a character that will make an impact not just on the other characters but on us readers, too. I figure the rat alphas and Desandra should be safe just because one of them dying would be sad but not traumatic. The same goes for George, Eduardo, and that type. And surely people like Andrea/Raphael and Jim/Dali are safe, because it would be evil to kill characters who have had their own book. I think. And I am still on the “Roman gets his own book” train, so I refuse to think it is him.

The next level up would be those like Doolittle, Barabas, Christopher, Ascanio, Mahone. Any one of them dying at this point would be even more impactful than when Aunt B was killed, and leave an even bigger hole. Doolittle has probably suffered enough in the last couple of books, so I am going to call him safe (ish). Ascanio is young, so I am going to skip him, too. I don’t know if Christopher has reached his full potential yet, so I am going to call him safe as well. That leaves me fearing for the future of Mahone and Barabas – and as much as I hate to think it, I am going with Barabas dying in Magic Binds. And if I am right, which I hope I’m not, that will hurt.

Dammit! I just realized I agreed to go to movies this Tuesday night. What the holy hell was I smoking? Did I not have a clue that this is supposed to be delivered on Tuesday? Duh.

So, what do you predict will happen in Magic Binds? Or, what would you like to see? Roland taken down? Some word on Hugh? More development for Julie and Derek? Do you figure someone is due to die, and if so, who? Doug has already sent over his spoiler-free review, which can be found HERE, and Monika seconded the love in a recent comment. The lucky ARC people already know what happens, but now it is your turn.

Just remember…

Spoiler Free Until Release Day!

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This and That and Book of the Month

book of the monthI know it is a total shock, but Magic Binds has been chosen for the book of the month for September. Rather than asking which book was going to be chosen, it would’ve been a better question to ask what margin Ilona Andrews was going to win by. This was completely a race for second place, which went to the next ever popular In Death installment from J.D. Robb, Apprentice in Death.

On a side note, I have gotten a few emails over the last couple of days, ever since I got rid of the author sections, where people have been asking me if I am quitting blogging. Nope, I am sticking around. I am just trying to streamline things, and get rid of what doesn’t really work or doesn’t come in handy. I am the worst person for dumping things that I don’t need or use, even in my “real life”. I am not a big fan of clutter, or holding on to things that don’t serve a purpose – hence my many, many book unhauls, things like that. So, just to verify, I am still chugging along. Just in a bit more streamlined fashion.

But even though I have rearranged things a bit, if you have any suggestions as to things you would like to see added, changed, or refined here, let me know in the comments section. I might not be able to do it, but I can look into whatever suggestions you might make.

I am getting a lot done on my time off – a lot which should’ve been done a while ago, but whatever. I have two major vacations a year, and I take the opportunity to rip my entire house apart, donate/throw out what I don’t use, and clean. And it is the only time when I so wish I made the switch to e-books. Honestly. I take all of the books out, vacuum each one to get out the dust and cat hair, clean the shelves and then drag them out to clean behind for all of the hidden treasures, then rearrange everything. All together, it takes about 5 hours (and a bunch of Tylenol). And what scares me is that I have fewer books than I used to have. This is about 1/3rd of the bunch…

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You know, it never fails, I get to this point in something – books all over the place, closet ripped apart and everything flung all over the place – and then I don’t feel like doing any more. I really wanted a nap, but unfortunately didn’t have any place to have one so I had to finish it. The good news is that as of this point, I think I have done my very last un-haul. I dropped another 15 books during the course of my clean up, and now I am at the bare minimum for my TBR. There are probably a few already-read books I could pull since I have moved on from the series, but for right now I am about as efficient as I am going to get.

Review

Magic Binds Review

Yes, we are on the final countdown for Magic Binds, the next installment of the Kate Daniels series from Ilona Andrews, which is due out on the 20th. Doug Meeks sent over his early review, and it sounds like it doesn’t disappoint. Not that any of us thought it ever would.

magic bindsWhat Doug said…

My head is still trying to grasp all the things that happened in this book and more importantly the question of “What happens next??” As for the question, I don’t know and trying to guess what the authors will come up with would be the textbook definition of “exercise in futility”.

OK, to get things started and to raise the stress level of the reader, we get an oracle who sees all kinds of horrible things in Kate’s future and almost no way to avoid them which sets this book off on a series of small adventures leading up to a middle sized adventure which leads to an epic battle, so what could we add?

Did you forget the wedding? Yes, the wedding which they choose the most unlikely priest who has never been asked to do a wedding and becomes a “wedding planner” and he and others pursue Kate all through the book to add some serious humor to a very stressful story. It is things like this that make this book rise above almost every other series in this genre, they can make you laugh at the best and worst times.

Let’s not forget about Roland, the loving Father and homicidal megalomaniac that has been the monster since book 1 pretty much but has become a mixed bag over the last few books. Is he the horrible monster or just a misunderstood psychopath? Well, you get a lot more information in this book and just when you think you know all the answers The Andrews Mafia give it a twist to make you run for your Advil. We do get a LOT more history of Roland in this book than we have in this whole series up until now.

One of the things in every almost every novel in this genre I have ever read is any character with enormous powers has to fight their own inner demons to avoid becoming a monster and this happens with Kate a lot in this book but it is SO subtle at the time that you don’t realize she has crossed a line until it is pointed out to you and THAT folks is just plain old good writing.

Another thing I have noticed in recent books is that a few characters I really liked have become somewhat unlikable but still remain uneasy friends. They take this small tidbit of a plot twist and blow it into the stratosphere in this one, you will not believe who Kate is bringing home for a visit.

You been wondering about Christopher you say? Answers will be forthcoming and it is just one of MANY surprises in this book.

I keep wondering about Julie and what the future plans for her are, she is still a bit of an unknown power and she is still spending time with Roland. When I think of this series ending it is more than a bit depressing but I can see this carrying on with Julie as the lead character in the future.

Let us get back to the wedding planning, it is pure chaos and in addition to all the “girly” stuff that Kate must suffer through Roland wants to attend and make it into a feast for the ages. Ya gotta love family LOL. If all the monsters and evil villains can’t kill Kate, this wedding might do it.

I think I will end this horribly long review with a question …. where is Hugh, we don’t see him at all in this book and I don’t believe for a minute that he is really gone. Is that April Fool joke about him getting his own book going to become a reality?

Bottom Line: WTF can I say that has not already been said, I get tired of saying how this one is better than the last. I have already run out of superlatives and to repeat how awesome/exceptional/amazing/[ fill in the blank ] this series is just makes me look inept. Let’s just call it in a class with maybe 3-4 other series at most and give it 5 Stars only because they don’t allow more.

My Favorite Line (and you have to read it in context to enjoy it): “My impersonation of a peacock is proceeding as planned.”

Since it would be stupid to ask if you are looking forward to this one, I will ask instead what you would like to see after this series wraps up. The mysterious Hugh book? More Derek stories? How about a Roman-centric series?

Book of the Month

September’s Book of the Month

Yep, I do this post fully aware that it is a foregone conclusion as to which book will be the pick of the month. Hell, Magic Binds is probably the pick of the rest of the year if I am being honest. But we will go through the motions to choose which book is the most anticipated release for September. I have chosen 10 titles to list in the poll, but if you have a different book you are most looking forward to just select “Other” and leave your choice in the comments section. A complete list of September’s releases can be found HERE.

I have to admit, while I am chomping at the bit to get Magic Binds, I am almost equally as excited to get Blood Red Kiss. I have been waiting for Gena Showalter to write Dallas’s story for what feels like forever, and I am so grateful I don’t even mind it is a novella. You know those stories that you just don’t think you will ever get, then years later they are written? That is Dallas’s story for me. So excited.

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Spotlight Wednesday – Elizabeth Hunter

Because there is always so much good buzz around Elizabeth Hunter, and to celebrate her new release, Monika has put her up as this week’s spotlight author. As I have said anytime I have done a post about her work, I have never heard anyone say they weren’t a fan (and I can’t even say that about Nalini Singh or Ilona Andrews, which is something).

Elizabeth Hunter has quite a few releases under her belt, with her Cambio Springs books, the Irin Chronicles, and three separate series set in the Elemental World. But for this spotlight post, we are going to go way back to the beginning and the Elemental Mysteries series featuring Giovanni and Beatrice. The book that started it all is called A Hidden Fire, which was published in 2011.

a hidden fireSynopsis…

“No secret stays hidden forever.”

A phone call from an old friend sets Dr. Giovanni Vecchio back on the path of a mystery he’d abandoned years before. He never expected a young librarian could hold the key to the search, nor could he have expected the danger she would attract. Now he and Beatrice De Novo will follow a twisted maze that leads from the archives of a university library, through the fires of Renaissance Florence, and toward a confrontation they never could have predicted.

I did look around and try to find an excerpt, but I didn’t have any luck. It turns out, though that you can check this book out for free through Amazon right now, just click HERE. I have the paperback version on the TBR, but I am going to download the freebie in hopes that I will finally be able to move it up the reading list.

Also to consider:

elizabeth hunter banner
I nabbed the banner from google, so credit goes to whomever created it.

. . . . .

5251202About the author: Elizabeth Hunter is a contemporary fantasy and romance author. She is a graduate of the University of Houston Honors College and a former English teacher. She currently lives in Central California with her son, two very ineffective canine assistants, and a pitifully empty fish tank. She is the author of the Elemental Mysteries and Elemental World series, the Irin Chronicles, the Cambio Springs Mysteries, and other works of fiction.

Ok, everyone. It’s up to you. How many other Elizabeth Hunter fans are out there, and if you haven’t tried her before do you think you will? What hidden gem of an author would you like to share with your fellow readers? Just send me an e-mail under the “Contact Me” button and we can maybe spread the word.

Uncategorized

Looking Ahead

We are speeding towards the half-way point of 2016, and my most anticipated release for the first half of the year just came out (Nalini Singh‘s Allegiance of Honor). I thought maybe we could take a look ahead and share what we are all looking forward to in the back half of 2016. I have one or two biggies, but I thought I would go top 5, in no particular order:

Darynda JonesThe Curse of Tenth Grave: This is always a solid series for me, and I am really intrigued to see what direction things go in after the events of the previous book. If I was going in order, though, this one would probably come in at #5.

Kelley ArmstrongBetrayals: I am a huge fan of this series, it is one of my absolute favorites. And it is about the only adult series I can think of that has a love triangle that doesn’t make me want to gag. This is the second to last book, so I must enjoy every moment.

Ilona AndrewsMagic Binds: Yeah, like I have to explain this one.

Nalini SinghArchangel’s Heart: Probably don’t need to explain this one either.

Kresley Cole/ Gena ShowalterBlood Red Kiss: My dark horse pick, and solely based on the Gena Showalter entry. To finally, finally get Dallas’s story from the Alien Huntress/Otherworld Assassin after all these years? Priceless.

That is how my list shapes up, but what does yours look like? I figure Singh and Andrews will be on most people’s lists, but I am interested to see what comes up for the other three.

Release Info

White Hot Excerpt

Last year, Ilona Andrews started up her Hidden Legacy series, which with only one book became a huge, huge favorite of mine. Like top reads. Unfortunately, life got in the way of them being able to publish the second book on time, and things were pushed quite a ways back. We might still have to wait over a year for the release of White Hot, but there is an awesome – and long – excerpt up over at Ilona’s blog, HERE. Walk, don’t run. But be warned…it will make jonesing for the book much, much worse.

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Spotlight Wednesday – Amanda Bouchet

Well, for something a little different, today’s spotlight Wednesday author is one who is recommended by…me. Yep, I am jumping in with a completely blind rec for a debut author, Amanda Bouchet, and her Kingmaker Chronicles.

It was on one of my updating binges that I came across the cover for A Promise of Fire, and while it was pretty it was the glowing author blurb from Darynda Jones that made me take a second look. A little bit of independent digging has turned up pretty much stellar reviews across the board for this fantasy romance, with one Goodreads reviewer even putting it in the league of an Ilona Andrews story. High praise indeed. I am not usually huge on the fantasy stories, but I will be picking this one up for sure. If you would like to check out an excerpt, one can be found HERE.

a breath of fireSynopsis…

Catalia “Cat” Fisa is a powerful clairvoyant known as the Kingmaker. This smart-mouthed soothsayer has no interest in her powers and would much rather fly under the radar, far from the clutches of her homicidal mother. But when an ambitious warlord captures her, she may not have a choice…

Griffin is intent on bringing peace to his newly conquered realm in the magic-deprived south. When he discovers Cat is the Kingmaker, he abducts her. But Cat will do everything in her power to avoid her dangerous destiny and battle her captor at every turn. Although up for the battle, Griffin would prefer for Cat to help his people willingly, and he’s ready to do whatever it takes to coax her…even if that means falling in love with her.

There will be at least two more books in the Kingmaker Chronicles series, as well. Breath of Fire will be out on January 3rd, and Heart on Fire will follow later in 2017.

amanda bouchetAbout Amanda Bouchet: Amanda Bouchet grew up in New England where she spent much of her time tromping around in the woods and making up grand adventures in her head. It was inevitable that one day she would start writing them down. Drawing on her Greek heritage for the setting and on her love of all things daring and romantic for the rest, her debut trilogy, The Kingmaker Chronicles, took form. She writes what she loves to read: epic exploits, steamy romance, and characters that make you laugh and cry.

Has anyone picked up one of the ARCs for A Promise of Fire yet? How big are you on the Fantasy Romance genre?

Release Info

So, Are You Ready For Hugh?

For a while now, I have heard talk about Ilona Andrews writing a book about Hugh D’Ambray. Or rather, I heard whispers of rumors of a book about Hugh. And I took it as just that…a rumor. Turns out that the rumors are true, and it looks like a Hugh book is in progress as we speak. As in, being written. With real words. Now. Wow, ok. Deep breath. If you would like to check out a brief snippet, it can be found HERE.

As I was reading the snippet, I kept thinking “is this Hugh? Nah, can’t be. But…not Innkeeper, not Hidden Legacy…must be KD. Nah, can’t be…Hugh?” I actually made a weird squeaky noise when I realized it was indeed baby Hugh. And I am pretty sure I am not alone.

We all know this will be epic, but it going to be a monster task to try and redeem Hugh. Personally, I loved him (and hated him, but whatever), and I can’t wait to see what makes him tick, how he is when not under Roland’s control, and how what he has done in the name of Sharrim affects him after he is “free”.

The only other series I have read where the “big bad” was given his own story is Kresley Cole‘s Immortals After Dark. Lothaire was awesome, and I so enjoyed getting to know the backstory of why he did the things he did that it became one of my favorites of the whole IAD series. I really can’t wait to see how Ilona handles things.

So, who else is ready for Hugh? What direction do you see his story going? Personally, I have no idea, other than it will be great. Have you followed any other series where the decidedly bad boy (or girl) gets a story of their own?