Sapphire Flames Spoiler Thread

I promised a while back that I would set up a thread where we could discuss the latest release from Ilona Andrews, Sapphire Flames. I haven’t kept my love of this puppy under a rock, so I am completely biased. Unfortunately, because of time constraints, I am STILL on the re-read for it for the character guide. I figured I would have it done in the first day or two, but nope. Sigh.

What did you think? What direction do you see things going? When I first got my ARC way back when, I hinted a bit that I doubted many people would guess the direction Alessandro’s storyline would take – was I right? Favorite part? Least favorite part? What did you think of how Catalina became Head of Household? Sound off below!

Pick of the Week

So, I am pretty sure that absolutely no one is hanging off of the edge of their seats just waiting to see what I could possibly have as my pick of the week. The suspense! The drama! Er, no. Sapphire Flames from Ilona Andrews is in solid running for my pick of the year, to be honest, so this one is a no-brainer. I am so excited for my re (re-re-re-re?) read, and I hope everyone loves it as much as I did.

sapphire flamesSynopsis…

In a world where magic is the key to power and wealth, Catalina Baylor is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, and the Head of her House. Catalina has always been afraid to use her unique powers, but when her friend’s mother and sister are murdered, Catalina risks her reputation and safety to unravel the mystery.

But behind the scenes powerful forces are at work, and one of them is Alessandro Sagredo, the Italian Prime who was once Catalina’s teenage crush. Dangerous and unpredictable, Alessandro’s true motives are unclear, but he’s drawn to Catalina like a moth to a flame.

To help her friend, Catalina must test the limits of her extraordinary powers, but doing so may cost her both her House–and her heart.

Feel free to share your thoughts on this one in the comments section, but maybe leave it spoiler free for the first few days. Enjoy!

Sapphire Flames Review

Sometimes, I try to pretend that I am a fully-functioning adult. Other times? My inner fan-girl just rears her ugly head and won’t be denied – and this is one of those times. To anyone who has ever stumbled across this blog, it isn’t news that I love Ilona Andrews. And of all of Ilona Andrews’ work, the Hidden Legacy series is my number 1. In fact, it became number one with the very first book, which is saying something. Everything about the world, the characters, action, all of it just works for me. But as much as I loved Nevada and Rogan’s story, I had high hopes that Catalina’s first book would match it – and I was right.

Glad to know I am not alone, too. Doug Meeks sent over his review of Sapphire Flames, and he loved it as much as I did.

sapphire flamesWhat Doug said…

Sometimes it just seems so redundant to keep giving these 5 Star rating to Ilona Andrews, this was just another riveting, “can’t-put-it-down” novel, add it to the string of 5 star + novels they write. there was no way I could go to sleep after starting this so at 2 AM I finally finished and it was worth every minute of lost sleep .

This one about Catalina and to a a slightly smaller extent Alessandro was unbelievably entertaining and the things that happen that you don’t expect plus the bits of humor thrown in at unexpected times just make these books exceptional.

We have finished mainly with Nevada and Rogan but the family has to go on and while the main plot is taken care of (no cliffhangers) the romance part is definitely in the “WTF now?” category. I wonder where this series (trilogy?) is going to go now but the only thing I know for sure is that I will be there to grab a copy as soon as I can get my hot little hands on it, they are still in a class to themselves.

Just so you understand, there is humor, action, evil, romance (sorta) and a lot of soul searching and surprisingly not a lot of political BS subtle or otherwise which seems to be the bane of many good authors. So once again, 5 Stars because that is all I can give.

I have read my ARC of this one…oh, I think three times now, and I have another re-read scheduled for the official release day so I can update the character guide. In fact, it just might call for a re-read of the whole series…you know, just to be sure. Yeah, that.

Ok, hit me. On a scale of 1 to 10, how revved are you for Sapphire Flames?

 

Pick of the Week

Yep, this one is a no-brainer. Today is the official release day for Ilona AndrewsSweep of the Blade, the former serialized story offered for free on the author’s website. I let myself read some of it as it is released because I have no control, but not all of it because I want to still be excited when the book version is released. I got my copy of this around 4:00 this morning, and devoured it in one setting. So much love. I don’t usually like books where one of the main characters already has a kid, but this one is a big exception. Helen is an absolute favorite of mine – I would go so far as to say my favorite kid in a series, period. So, so much fun.

sweep of the bladeSynopsis…

Maud Demille was a daughter of Innkeepers. She knew that a simple life wasn’t in the cards, but she never anticipated what Fate would throw at her.

Once a wife to a powerful vampire knight, Maud and her daughter, Helen, had been exiled for the sins of her husband to the desolate planet of Karhari. Karhari killed her husband, and Maud had spent a year and a half avenging his debts. But now all the debts are paid. Rescued by her sister Dina, Maud had swore off all things vampire. Except she met Arland, the Marshal of House Krahr. One thing led to another and he asked for her hand in marriage. She declined.

Try as she might, she can’t just walk away from Arland. It doesn’t help that being human is a lot harder for Maud than being a vampire.

To sort it all out, she accepts his invitation to visit his home planet. House Krahr is a powerful vampire House, and Maud knows that a woman who turned down the proposal from its most beloved son wouldn’t get a warm reception. But Maud Demille never shied from a fight and House Krahr may soon discover that there is more to this human woman than they ever thought possible.

 

Sweep of the Blade

Soooo, I might’ve just added Sweep of the Blade by Ilona Andrews to the new release pages, complete with finished cover-art and blurb and pre-order links. The best part? It really is coming out on July 16th…only a few weeks away. And when I was double-checking the info on Amazon, I noticed this…

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

Yes! For something that was offered as a free, serialized read, that is awesome. Even for something that wasn’t already available for free, it is still awesome. Nice!

sweep of the bladeSynopsis…

Maud Demille was a daughter of Innkeepers. She knew that a simple life wasn’t in the cards, but she never anticipated what Fate would throw at her.

Once a wife to a powerful vampire knight, Maud and her daughter, Helen, had been exiled for the sins of her husband to the desolate planet of Karhari. Karhari killed her husband, and Maud had spent a year and a half avenging his debts. But now all the debts are paid. Rescued by her sister Dina, Maud had swore off all things vampire. Except she met Arland, the Marshal of House Krahr. One thing led to another and he asked for her hand in marriage. She declined.

Try as she might, she can’t just walk away from Arland. It doesn’t help that being human is a lot harder for Maud than being a vampire.

To sort it all out, she accepts his invitation to visit his home planet. House Krahr is a powerful vampire House, and Maud knows that a woman who turned down the proposal from its most beloved son wouldn’t get a warm reception. But Maud Demille never shied from a fight and House Krahr may soon discover that there is more to this human woman than they ever thought possible.

Honestly, I don’t usually look at rankings and sales – I just want my favorites to do well. But I was happy to see Sweep of the Blade get that extra recognition, anyways.

 

Cover Lover – Sapphire Flames

Many thanks to Lidy, who sent over word that Ilona Andrews had upped the cover for the next Hidden Legacy book, Sapphire Flames. It is by a long, long way my most anticipated book of 2019, and it will be released on August 27th.

sapphire flamesSynopsis…

In a world where magic is the key to power and wealth, Catalina Baylor is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, and the Head of her House. Catalina has always been afraid to use her unique powers, but when her friend’s mother and sister are murdered, Catalina risks her reputation and safety to unravel the mystery.

But behind the scenes powerful forces are at work, and one of them is Alessandro Sagredo, the Italian Prime who was once Catalina’s teenage crush. Dangerous and unpredictable, Alessandro’s true motives are unclear, but he’s drawn to Catalina like a moth to a flame.

To help her friend, Catalina must test the limits of her extraordinary powers, but doing so may cost her both her House–and her heart.

What is your most anticipated book for the year so far? Anything you are counting down the days on? I have a few, like the two Nalini Singh releases, but this one tops them all.

 

New Year’s Pick of the Week

Happy New Year, folks. Hope things go well for you in 2019. My first pick of the week really doesn’t follow many of my usual “rules”, but I am going to live on the edge. Ilona Andrews has bundled their Kinsmen stories into one collection, called The Kinsmen Universe, and it releases today with all new artwork. So, it isn’t new, it isn’t even one book, but it is my pick of the week.

kinsmen universeSynopsis…

Family is everything. Talent is power. And revenge is sweet.

In a distant, future world Kinsmen-small powerful groups of genetically and technologically advanced families-control vast financial empires. They are their own country, their own rulers, and their only limits are other Kinsmen. The struggle for power is a bloody, full-contact sport: in business, on the battlefield…and sometimes in the bedroom.

Silent Blade
Old hatreds die hard. Old love dies harder.

On the planet Rada, Meli Galdes’ family is of minor rank, and were relying on her marriage to Celino, the razor-smart, ruthless leader of the powerful Carvanna empire. When he abruptly breaks their engagement, he ruins her family and guarantees that Meli will never marry, as no suitor will oppose the rich and influential Carvannas.

But Meli has a rare, secret, lethal-and valuable-talent. As a melder of energy, she’s capable of severing anything in her path. So she ‘leaves’ her family and trains to become one of the best and most lethal of assassins, all the while covertly guarding her family’s interests. Now she’s ready to quit; but she has one more assignment.

To kill the man who ruined her life.

Silver Shark
Claire Shannon is a killer…and her weapon is her mind.

Born on a planet torn by war for over 300 years, Claire is a soldier: a psycher, with the ability to read, control, and destroy the minds of enemy psychers and to infiltrate the biological network where they battle to death.

When Claire’s faction loses the war, she barely escapes extermination from both sides, as her talent brands her as too dangerous to society. By so-deeply burying her ability that she avoids detection, Claire is instead deported to Rada as a refugee, where she must find work to remain. She finds a job as personal assistant to Venturo Escana, a premiere kinsman; one of Rada’s most wealthy entrepreneurs—and most powerful psychers.

She thought she had left war behind, but now she must hide her skills and her growing feelings from Venturo…and this battle might just cost her everything…

A Mere Formality
The leader of the fierce Reigh people expires during an intergalactic summit, putting 30 million colonists’ lives and livelihoods in jeopardy. When the new heir to the Reigh throne, Lord Nagrad, demands restitution, the phrase “‘a life for a life” turns the intergalactic calamity into an arranged marriage contract between Lord Nagrad and sharply intelligent diplomatic analyst Deirdre Lebed… and the negotiation of terms becomes anything but formal!

 

This and That…and a Couple of Other Things

Once again, it seems I am doing a post that covers a bit of this and a bit of that. Where to begin?

  • Oh, yeah. The official blurb is out for Sapphire Flames from Ilona Andrews. I am not ashamed to admit that I have checked every single day for the blurb and the cover since I first saw the book listing. Every one. It is going to be a long, long wait until it is released on August 27th.

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrew comes an enthralling new trilogy set in the Hidden Legacy world, where magic means power, and family bloodlines are the new currency of society…

In a world where magic is the key to power and wealth, Catalina Baylor is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, and the Head of her House. Catalina has always been afraid to use her unique powers, but when her friend’s mother and sister are murdered, Catalina risks her reputation and safety to unravel the mystery.

But behind the scenes powerful forces are at work, and one of them is Alessandro Sagredo, the Italian Prime who was once Catalina’s teenage crush. Dangerous and unpredictable, Alessandro’s true motives are unclear, but he’s drawn to Catalina like a moth to a flame.

To help her friend, Catalina must test the limits of her extraordinary powers, but doing so may cost her both her House–and her heart.

  • Nora Roberts‘ third Chronicles of the One book will be called The Rise of Magicks, and it will be out next November 26th.
  • Oh, and G.A. Aiken is starting up another new series. The Blacksmith Queen is the first book of The Scarred Earth Saga, and it will be released on August 27th. Here’s the blurb…

When a prophesy brings war to the Land of the Black Hills, Keeley Smythe must join forces with a clan of mountain warriors who are really centaurs in a thrilling new fantasy romance series from New York Times bestselling author G.A. Aiken. 

The Old King Is Dead
 
With the demise of the Old King, there’s a prophesy that a queen will ascend to the throne of the Black Hills. Bad news for the king’s sons, who are prepared to defend their birthright against all comers. But for blacksmith Keeley Smythe, war is great for business. Until it looks like the chosen queen will be Beatrix, her younger sister. Now it’s all Keeley can do to protect her family from the enraged royals.

Luckily, Keeley doesn’t have to fight alone. Because thundering to her aid comes a clan of kilt-wearing mountain warriors called the Amichai. Not the most socially adept group, but soldiers have never bothered Keeley, and rough, gruff Caid, actually seems to respect her. A good thing because the fierce warrior will be by her side for a much longer ride than any prophesy ever envisioned …

  • And, there has been a bit of a push-back on the next Mercy Thompson book from Patricia Briggs. Storm Cursed was originally scheduled for a March 5th release, but the new date is May 7th. I’m not actually mad about that, since there are already a crap-ton of great March books and I like to spread out the happy-happy.

I feel like I am forgetting something, but I am sure it will come to me the moment I publish this post. That is pretty much how things roll. I am of course drooling for Sapphire Flames, but I’m a bit iffy on the new Aiken series. Not that I’m not looking forward to it, but I was hoping for another Dragon Kin book and with a new series, I don’t know when (or if) that will happen. But it does sound interesting, though.

Reading Wrap Up

It’s been a while since I was around, so I thought I might do up a reading wrap up post to see what you thought on some recent releases from the last month or so.

LionheartI picked up Lionheart from Thea Harrison, and it feels like it has been forever since there was anything new from the Elder Races world. I liked this one way more than I thought I would, which is always a plus. It wasn’t a book I was particularly excited for, for whatever reason, but it was another good, solid story that had a few decent cameos from the original Wyr gang back in New York. I just wish that we knew what was coming next.

shadow and iceAnd then there was Shadow and Ice from Gena Showalter. I mentioned this one before, and sadly things didn’t change. I had to DNF this one, which is something that I might do to a book maybe twice a year. The whole tone of the book rubbed me wrong. Quip quip quip. More quips. Hair flip. Growl. Quip. It was just a big no. What did surprise me when I looked on Goodreads to see if I was just being bitchy about is was how divided people were in their reactions. It seems like it is all either 5 star reviews…or DNF’s. And there are a lot of DNF’s for it, which I haven’t really noticed for a Gena Showalter book before. The sad thing is is that I really wanted to like it, but I guess you can’t win them all.

Shades of Wicked CR: Avon

So, Shades of Wicked from Jeaniene Frost. To say I was excited for Ian’s story would be a bit of an understatement, and I wasn’t disappointed. Sometimes, for me, when a side character I really like gets their own story it can become too much of a good thing, and some of the charm can wear off. Or their character gets watered down. Thankfully, that didn’t happen here at all – Ian was Ian, and it was great. Loved Veritas, too, which is a bonus. Now starting the countdown to Wicked Bite.

USA_Archangels_Prophecy_Cover_-_CopyArchangel’s Prophecy was a bit tricky. I know some were a bit miffed by the cliffhanger ending – that didn’t bother me. And I can’t say that I didn’t like it – but I didn’t love it, either. I can’t put my finger on why, but it felt like there were things going on that I just couldn’t get interested in. Like the Favashi and Harrison arcs – they weren’t bad, but I just wasn’t invested in them. Which meant that I big portion of the book didn’t really grab me. I didn’t skim, but there were times I was tempted. Still a solid book, but just not my favorite from Nalini Singh.

36188722_10157537628422598_9214164022109143040_nI also read the latest Leopard People book from Christine Feehan, Leopard’s Run. Not much to say about this one. It was ok. Maybe I was just in a mood, but there wasn’t much in way of story going on, just lots of mating issues. I did LOL at the cats having names – well, not the cats. Ashe’s cat – Godiva. Godiva? Seriously. I did a serious eye-roll every single time someone referenced Godiva. Lord. It was good for a cringe-laugh, though.

39320167And finally, there is my hands-down winner, Diamond Fire. This is only a novella, but it works so well as a transition from Nevada to Catalina’s story. Ilona Andrews‘ Hidden Legacy series is probably my favorite series going, which is saying something, but even so this was a great story. If this little story is any indication, I might even like Catalina’s character more than Nevada’s…and her powers are awesome. During the first three books, I kind of thought she got the dud magic, but that is a big no. Not at all. My most anticipated book by a long, long way for next year? Catalina’s first full book, Sapphire Flames.

Your turn. What did you think of some of the recent releases? Did anything stand out to you – good or bad?

Pick of the Week

As usual, I have to start a post like this with a disclaimer. I love the Hidden Legacy series. Right from the first book, I had a weird, slightly over-the-top love for it. At this point, I would even go so far as to say that it is my favorite series. Period. All of what Ilona Andrews writes is a favorite, which is amazing in its own right, but Hidden Legacy tops them all. So, I might be (so totally am) biased, but my pick of the week is the Hidden Legacy novella, Diamond Fire.

39320167Synopsis…

Nevada Frida Baylor and Connor Ander Rogan cordially invite you to join their wedding celebration. Summoning, weather manipulation, and other magical activities strictly forbidden.

Catalina Baylor is looking forward to wearing her maid of honor dress and watching her older sister walk down the aisle. Then the wedding planner gets escorted off the premises, the bride’s priceless tiara disappears, and Rogan’s extensive family overruns his mother’s home. Someone is cheating, someone is lying, and someone is plotting murder.

To make this wedding happen, Catalina will have to do the thing she fears most: use her magic. But she’s a Baylor and there’s nothing she wouldn’t do for her sister’s happiness. Nevada will have her fairy tale wedding, even if Catalina has to tear the mansion apart brick by brick to get it done.

This novella, honestly, was awesome. It was a sweet “end” for Nevada and Rogan, and it served as a great introduction for what is to come. Catalina has a different voice, different personality and different set of challenges to face than her sister did, and we get a little taste of that here. And guess what? Hidden Legacy #4 is my most anticipated book for next year, bar none. Let my stalking begin.