2013 reading goal:
15 new-to-me authors.
1) Stacy Gail
2) Heather Massey
3) Sidney Bristol
4) Ann Mayburn
5) Thea Harrison
6) Virna DePaul
7) Mary Quast
8) Molly Harper
9) Eleri Stone
- ► 2013 (189)
- Review: Blackhearted Betrayal by Kasey MacKenzie
- Review: Blade Song by JC Daniels
- Sunday Snippet #114
- Contest Winner - Must Be Magic
- Review: Defiant by Pamela Clare
- Review: Double Dragon Seduction by Kali Willows
- Review: Amethyst Moon by Ann Mayburn
- Review: Ravishing the Heiress by Sherry Thomas
- Review: Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews
- Review: Too Hot To Handle by LC Dean
- Must Be Magic Giveaway
- Sunday Snippet #113
- Contest Winner - Shadow of Night
- Review: The Darkest Day by Britt Bury
- Contest Winner - Tin Swift
- Review: Dangerous Proposal by Jessica Lauryn
- Guest Post: Jessica Lauryn
- Review: Because of You by Jessica Scott
- Review: The Carnality Series by DL Jackson
- Review: Opal Moon by Ann Mayburn
- Review & Giveaway: Shadow of Night by Deborah Hark...
- Sunday Snippet #112
- Review: My Lady Mage by Alexis Morgan
- Review: Liquid Lies by Hanna Martine
- Review: Tin Swift by Devon Monk
- Devon Monk Tin Swift Blog Tour & Giveaway
- Contest Winner - Shirley Wells
- Review: Grave Memory by Kalayna Price
- Review: One Hot Night by Tatum Throne
- Sunday Snippet #111
- Quickie Review: Dead Calm by Shirley Wells
- Author Guest Post & Giveaway: Shirley Wells
- Review: Carolina Home by Virginia Kantra
- Review: A Hunger So Wild by Sylvia Day
- Review: Blood Before Sunrise by Amanda Bonilla
- Review: Goddess in the Middle by Stephanie Julian
- Review: The Opportunist by Tarryn Fisher
- Sunday Snippets #110
- ▼ July 2012 (38)
- ► 2011 (368)
Books I've Read
Authors I Enjoy
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Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Author: Kasey MacKenzie
Release Date: June 26, 2012
Shades of Fury #3
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format(s): Paperback (294 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher
About the book:
As a Fury, Marissa Holloway belongs to an arcane race that has meted out justice since time immemorial. As Boston’s Chief Magical Investigator, she’s responsible for solving any crimes committed by or against supernaturals. But now that she’s going home, Riss has no idea just how dangerous – and personal – the crimes have become.
Riss has taken a leave of absence from her mortal job for the Boston PD. Right now she’s determined to focus on her Fury duties, like assisting her mother with an unsettling friction brewing in the Sisterhood – a faction of Furies sworn to serve all the deities equally. Until now.
Someone is playing favorites. As a result, Riss is ushered into a tumultuous civil war – one that’s not just tearing apart the Sisterhood but embroiling every god and goddess in the chaos as well. For millennia, the Furies have policed arcanekind as a united whole, but now they have been divided by something Riss never imagined – and choosing sides could be the most dangerous move she’s ever made.
What G & U are talking about:
Gikany and Una are thoroughly enjoying the Shades of Fury series. The latest release, Blackhearted Betrayal continues to be enthralling, full of twists and surprises that keep you guessing up until the end.
In Blackhearted Betrayal, questions as to what has happened to Riss’s grandmother and the rifts in the fury sisterhood are answered. Other questions raised in the previous novels are as well. Gikany has read all three books while Una jumped in on the second one, Green-Eyed Fury. There is a substantial amount of carry-over from the plot of the first book. Several things are finally understood or come to light. We recommend that you read this series from the beginning as it will have a greater significance and make much more sense.
There is quite a lot of not only Fury politics in this novel but arcane politics as well. The connections between different minor characters and various deities are interesting. Especially considering that power among these deities is partially related to the number of worshipers. Not only the subject of gods but also the hierarchy of the arcanes and gods are fully explained, which was incredibly fascinating. What we find so pleasurable is that all of what could be very dry material (not to offend, but Una’s not a big fan of researching politics or history in general) was woven into the fabric of the novel seamlessly. Ms. MacKenzie did it in such a way that made it not only enriching but also fascinating.
Although it appears that the mystery is cut and dry, appearances are often deceiving -- something that is illustrated perfectly in Blackhearted Betrayal. There are clear clues that the evidence points to a particular character, but we enjoy that Riss never accepts things until she has concrete proof. This contributes to the nail-biting suspense until the end when the shroud is lifted and everything is revealed.
At the end, even though the overall conflict is resolved, we are left with ripples that hold so much potential for the next novel. Gikany and Una were drooling over the possible repercussions. In fact, it was difficult to pick up our next book because we didn’t want to let go of the ruminations running though our minds. Shades of Fury is poising itself as a contender on our must reads list. Anyone that loves urban fantasy done well with a detective twist should really enjoy this series. Blackhearted Betrayal is a more than a transitional book, allowing for such possibilities in the future, but also wraps up questions from the previous novels while also giving us another quarry.
Loved it - enthusiastically recommend (A)
Reviews in the Series:
Monday, July 30, 2012
Author: JC Daniels (Shiloh Walker)
Release Date: Aug. 1, 2012
Colbana Files #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Book Source: NetGalley
About the book:
Kit Colbana—half breed, assassin, thief, jack of all trades—has a new job: track down the missing ward of one of the local alpha shapeshifters. It should be a piece of cake.
So why is she so nervous? It probably has something to do with the insanity that happens when you deal with shifters—especially sexy ones who come bearing promises of easy jobs and easier money.
Or maybe it’s all the other missing kids that Kit discovers while working the case, or the way her gut keeps screaming she’s gotten in over her head. Or maybe it’s because if she fails—she’s dead.
If she can stay just one step ahead, she should be okay. Maybe she’ll even live long to collect her fee…
What I’m talking about:
In a world where shifters, witches, and vampires exist in the open with humans, Kit Colbana fits somewhere in between. She is half-human and half-aneira (think magical Amazon warrior). She was disowned and abused by her family, and after running, has settled down and works as an investigator, helping the paranormals and humans in the Orlando area. Her weakness: children. Knowing this, cat-shifter Damon seeks out Kit's services to help locate the Alpha Cat's missing nephew. Kit knows its not an ideal situation, but takes the job anyhow. Soon she discovers she's gotten way more than she bargained for, including a 24/7 bodyguard in Damon.
Kit is not your typical kick-butt heroine. Kit can hang with the best of them, but she knows she can't win all the fights. Yet, she continues to pick fights time and time again. She is reckless. She has a chip on her shoulder. She has ghosts in her head (not actual ghosts) and skeletons in her closet. And she gets hurt, a lot. I have to admit, I didn't click with Kit in the beginning. Maybe because I had just finished reading Gunmetal Magic immediately prior to Blade Song, which featured a uber-messed up, ultra kick-butt heroine, and by comparison, Kit seems too reckless and immature. Kit makes some bad choices... including allowing a powerful vampire (Jude) have a taste of her, knowing it may strengthen his hold over her. I was literally yelling at my kindle saying “Stupid choice there, Kit.” However, somewhere along the way, Kit grew on me, and I felt like I was right along side of her, celebrating her victories and wallowing in the sorrows.
After agreeing to take the job to find Doyle, Kit meets the Alpha Cat, fondly dubbed “Kitty-cat Barbie.” But this Barbie has claws and immediately sees Kit as a disposable means to an end. She goes after Kit, and if not for Damon’s interference, the search for Doyle would have ended before it began. The Alpha has it out for Kit, which becomes an unneeded added pressure.
The Alpha assigns Damon, one of her inner circle, to make sure the job is completed. Kit and Damon have an intense relationship. They do not get along at all. At one point Damon slams Kit into the hood of a car, face down, arm over her neck. She is damaged to the point that she can’t eat. He only gets more angry with Kit, until he finally realizes the extent he hurt her, and she's not as tough as he thinks. The two cannot get along, yet they seem to need each other.
On top of all of the drama from "Kitty-cat Barbie" and the trouble Kit continues to find herself in, there is Jude. Jude is a vampire, and in the beginning I couldn’t determine if he is friend or foe. Jude apparently saved Kit from a big mess a few years prior to this story, and has been semi-stalking her since. He can break into her dreams, and does so without invitation. When he finds out that Kit is working for the Alpha cat, he worries for Kit’s life, and presses Kit to allow him to taste her blood so he will be able to help her in a time of need (see stupid decision comment, above).
The book seemed to be shaping up as a potential love triangle, and for a while, I didn’t know where the story was headed (with respect to a love interest), or if there would be any at all. I am not a fan of love triangles (and this isn’t one), but the potential was an interesting draw for me. Ms. Daniels writes an engrossing story with regards to these two men in Kit’s life.
Witches are another group of paranormals that help drive the plot throughout the book. The women are strong and not always one hundred percent sane, but they have a lot of heart. Two of my favorite characters in this story are witches: Colleen, one of Kit’s few close friends, and Es, house mother of the Green Road Witches. Colleen has a tragic past, which helps demonstrate Kit’s compassion and her affinity for helping kids. Es is strong, yet compassionate, showing Kit what it’s like to have a family.
As the book progressed, I was absolutely hooked. The unfolding mystery of what happened to Doyle and several other paranormal youth was completely gripping. I enjoyed watching Kit piece together the puzzle until she figured out the big picture. In addition, as Kit’s relationship with Damon and the Green Road Witches develops, we witness a stronger, more powerful Kit. There were some things that happened involving Damon that I’m not sold on (leaving spoiler-free), and it will be interesting to see how it plays out in the next book, Night Blade.
In the end, Blade Song grabbed me and didn't let go. Although I had slow start, after about the 33% mark I was hooked. Suddenly Kit didn't seem so reckless, and I needed to know that she could solve the case and survive. In addition, the suspense over what happened to the kids and the building tension with Damon and Jude were completely engaging. In the end I found myself desperate for the next book.
Enjoyed - strongly recommend (A-)
Sunday, July 29, 2012
Author: Lee Roland
Novel of the Earth Witches #2
Released: June 5, 2012
I rode the bus wasn't crowded, only a couple of older women and a woman holding a baby. A little boy sat on the seat beside her. I sat behind them on a worn brown vinyl seat with bits of foam thrusting from the separating seams.
I watched the passing shops as they began the decline into blight and wondered what it would be like to live here. A miserable foul-smelling jail cell in New York and the silent halls of Justice had been forced upon me by my own carelessness. But my original home was suburbia, a bright sunny house behind the shop where my mother practiced her gentle magic and sold handmade soaps, oils, and earth-centered jewelry. Daddy's restaurant was next door. I could picture living nowhere else, at least not by choice.
The little boy turned to watch me. children often start at me, at the scar. They are usually guileless little creatures, innocent of the tyranny of good manners. This boy was different. Something troubled him, and his face was as solemn as a mourner at a funeral. His dark eyes held questions. He slipped out of the seat and came toward me. I judged him to be about six. His clothes were clean ut worn. He stood in the aisle and leaned toward me like a conspirator.
"Did your daddy hurt you?" he asked softly. "Your face."
"My daddy?" I hid my surprise with a smile. "No. It was an accident."
His eyes darted around. "My daddy hurt me."
He lifted his shirt. My mouth dropped open. Burns. Round cigarette burns, and ... shit, the monster had heated a knife blade and laid it to this innocent child's tender skin. I touched it gently with my fingers as if I smooth it away. It felt hot and fevered, as if had occurred only moments ago.
The woman holding the baby realized the boy had left her. She turned to face me. I guess she saw the horror on my face.
"I left the bastard," she said. Desperation filled her voice. I think she felt the need to explain that she was a good mother. "They arrested him," she went on, "but he made bail. I have a restraining order, but I think he has people watching me. I should be down here where he is, but I wanted to see my mother. She's been sick."
I nodded. I grasped the boy's shirt and slid it down to cover the scars. I'd seen some of the girls at Justice who had been brutalized like him before they arrived. I kissed him on the forehead. He smiled and went back to his mother.
The bus stopped for another passenger. I didn't pay attention until the little boy rushed by me toward the back of the bus. The high-pitched keening sound coming from him was of purest terror. He tripped and scrabbled along the floor to crawl under one of the seats behind me, still wailing in mindless panic.
The source of that panic stalked down the aisle toward us, grinning like a demon that had found something to kill. He wore a dirty white T-shirt over low-cut jeans. Several chains hung around his neck, and one thick set of links held a devil's head - obviously some gang affiliation.
He stopped and towered over the woman. He snatched at the baby. She tried to turn and hunch over it to protect it.
"What are you doing here?" she screamed. I guessed he'd been following her since she boarded the bus. Probably had his friends keeping tabs on her.
"Gimme that little bastard. It ain't mine, so it belongs in the trash."
Oh, no. This wouldn't happen on my watch. I hadn't spent years training to ignore a bloodthirsty animal like this one. Excitement rose in me. Only two days from Justice and I'd missed my daily exercise in violence. I wanted to do this.
"Hey, asshole." I got his attention in my usual delicate way.
Saturday, July 28, 2012
I would like to thank everyone for stopping by That’s What I’m Talking About for the giveaway of Must Be Magic by Patricia Rice. I want to thank Sourcebooks Publishing for graciously donating two (2) copies of the book for the giveaway.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
I also want to thank each of you that tried out RAFFLECOPTER with me. What did you think? I’d love your feedback as I decide whether or not to continue to use this option for giveaways. I know that there were problems with FIREFOX users, and I’ve attempted to reach the company for help, but no one has replied. I’m on the fence right now, so I’d love feedback.
The Winners (as selected by Rafflecopter):
I am emailing the winners. Please email me at twimom227 (at) gmail (dot) com with your full name and mailing address so that the publisher can mail you the book directly. If I do not hear from the winners by Friday August 3, 2012 by the end of the day, I will select another winner.
Thank you all so much for coming by and Happy Reading!
Friday, July 27, 2012
Author: Pamela Clare
Release Date: July 3, 2012
MacKinnon's Rangers Book #3
Genre: Historical Romance
Format(s): Paperback (367 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher
About the book:
Major Connor MacKinnon despises his commander, Lord William Wentworth, beyond all other men. Ordered to rescue Wentworth's niece after the Shawnee take her captive, he expects Lady Sarah Woodville to be every bit as contemptible as her uncle. Instead, he finds a brave and beautiful lass in desperate peril. But the only way to free Sarah is for Connor to defeat the Shawnee warrior who kidnapped her-and claim her himself.
What VampBard’s talking about:
What's not to love about a man speaking Gaelic? Defiant, my first venture into Pamela Clare's writing, has definitely been an excellent experience. With a phenomenal plot and expertly-crafted writing, Ms. Clare draws her reader back to the days of pioneers, wars on the frontier, petticoats and gowns. While relaying the historical aspect of the time period, Ms. Clare doesn't perseverate on the historical aspect; rather, she seamlessly blends her plot, peppered with historical facts to create a story that rings true.
Connor, our hero, has been forced to lead a troop of soldiers in the name of the British. The first two installments of Ms. Clare's MacKinnon's Rangers series probably gave us much background as to how the family became indentured to the crown, agreeing to serve in the King's Army. We catch a snippet in the introduction that gives us enough background to begin the story with a working knowledge of the world created. As I haven't read either of the first two titles in the series, Surrender and Untamed, I didn't feel as though I was missing out on any backstory. Defiant could be read in isolation, although after reading, I'm surely intrigued as to the stories of the other two brothers MacKinnon.
As far as Connor goes, he struggles throughout the story with his inner conflict regarding actions from the past. This made him a truly believable character, and a hero worthy of respect. His prowess in battle, and his honor during interpersonal interactions endeared him to the reader. Mostly, his tenderness and commitment – they left me weak in the knees. Mmmmhmmm. I fell in love with Connor.
The young and innocent Sarah, exiled from London due to circumstances beyond her control, served as an excellent damsel-in-distress, while maintaining her self-assured and brave facade. Sarah also battled her own inner-demons, reluctant to release herself from responsibility for the previously mentioned circumstances, Sarah's initial self-esteem issues were rectified through the course of the novel. Coming from a loveless family, Sarah never showed her true self to those that were supposed to love her unconditionally. Her musical talents were chastised and hidden, causing Sarah to surreptitiously seek out opportunities to play. Sarah, however, came into her own. She fought battles to be with the man she loved, rather than be relegated to a loveless marriage with a treacherous man she couldn't stand. Fortunately, we're reading a historical romance and happily-ever-after is the name of the game! Though Sarah faced many trials and tribulations, she battled valiantly to be with Connor. Ultimately, she was true to herself, and that is all we can wish for those we love.
Lord William Wentworth proved to be quite the villain in this story, as I surmised he was in prior installments of the series. While Lord William felt he was following the path of honor, he ultimately searched his heart and found the true path of honor in a final, selfless act, rooted in his love for Sarah.
While we didn't see much of Joseph, I feel that he was an integral part of the story. Without the aide of the Native Americans, the British would have failed miserably in the French-Indian War. Much as the Native Americans were important through the course of history, Joseph and his warriors impacted the direction of this tale in a positive, tender, and honest manner. While Joseph fought valiantly for Sarah's freedom, I think that I find the best parts of the story involving him center on his brotherly connection with Sarah.
As Ms. Clare states in her Afterward in this title, much of the story is historically accurate. The French – Indian War was a hard-fought battle that claimed the lives of many. Ms. Clare did an excellent job of re-creating life during that time period, bringing history alive for her reader.
Loved it - enthusiastically recommend (A)
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Author: Kali Willows
Release Date: April 17, 2012
1 Night Stand Series
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Erotic, Novella
Book Source: Publisher
About the book:
Gwen Trembley is disturbed by the upcoming wedding of her reprehensible ex, and coping with her emerging fiery talent. Gwen seeks the services of 1NS for a night where new carnal knowledge will revive her damaged soul. Madame Eve has the perfect arrangements, but perhaps twice what she bargained for.
Twin brothers Tatsu and Yong Li, are in desperate need of a unique woman who can accept them as inseparable. They carry not one, but two secrets. These exotic brothers can’t be with just any woman, and if Gwen is willing to try, she will face the most passionate, lust-filled night of her life, but will she survive? Will they? 1NS finds a match they never expected possible.
What I’m talking about:
The story opens with our heroine, Gwen, reading the society pages of the paper, where she discovers that her ex is getting remarried on her birthday. Obviously the news is upsetting to Gwen, because she causes the newspaper to spontaneously combust. Best friend Cindy helps console Gwen over a bottle of amaretto, and we discover that although Gwen and Jamison spent 10 years together, things weren’t all that great, and Gwen doesn’t want Jamison back. But in order to move on, Gwen has enlisted the help of Madame Eve’s 1 Night Stand service, where she has request a m/f/m menage.
Twin brothers Tatsu and Yong have sought out the help of Madame Eve because their lives depend on it. No spoilers here, but let’s just say that the brothers, descendants of dragon shifters, are under a time constraint to find a date - sex - and Madame Eve assured them Gwen is their match. The trio agree to meet at Niagara Falls for their special rendez-vous at the same time (and same hotel) as Jameson’s wedding.
I have mixed feelings about this story. The first half to three-quarters was a good mix of story-telling, action and plot development. Jameson is an abusive bully, which we get to witness first hand. I really like how bold Gwen is after 10 years of abuse. She's not a meek woman. She is a fighter. She's a take charge woman. We also learn about the twin’s dragon heritage and why sex is critical to them at this juncture. It’s not an easy story to digest for any woman about to have sex with the pair, but when it comes to the twins, Gwen's not going to run. So I have to wonder why she agrees to meet the men at the same time and place as her ex’s wedding. Yes, it causes a lot of tension and allows for some compelling plot development, but to me, it just doesn’t seem the smart thing to do for a woman who is so confident.
As I said, I enjoyed quite a lot of the beginning and middle of the story. However, the switch from discussing the brothers’ dragon heritage to the getting busy, menage time is awkward. The whole transition and the sex scenes didn’t feel sexy to me. Since the twins are virgins, Gwen must teach them. The sex comes across almost clinical, and honestly, I lost interest in the trio. In addition, there is some mid-sex shifting which turned me off.
In the end, Double Dragon Seduction just didn’t keep my interest throughout the whole story. Although I enjoyed the start and set up of the book, and I felt the mythology was worth investigating, the ending fell flat and left me wishing things had gone differently.
Finished it - take it or leave it (C)
Author: Ann Mayburn
Release Date: Dec. 27, 2011
Publisher: Decadent Publishing
Prides of the Moon #5
1 Night Stand Series
Genre: GLBT, Paranormal Erotic Romance, m/m/m, Novella
Book Source: Publisher
About the book:
Noah Braxton's world has been turned inside out and upside down ever since the fateful moment six months ago when he was turned into a shifter by a dying college girl. She made him promise to look after her sister, Giselle, and in an effort to sooth the dying girl he promised her that he would, not realizing the sacrifices he would have to make to keep that promise. Bound by his oath, Noah struggles to fulfill his role of beta to Giselle, an Alpha female, but he can't be everything she needs. He's gay and in order to bond properly with his Alpha female they would have to have sex. Without that bond with an Alpha he is slowly going crazy but he can't force himself to be attracted to a woman. His last hope at saving his mind and his soul lies with Madame Eve of the 1 Night Stand matchmaking service being able to find him a male Alpha that can bridge the gap between himself and Giselle.
Marcus and Vashan have come to Morgantown, WV in the hopes of finding an Alpha female to complete their Pride. Instead they find Noah, a man on the edge of insanity who is also a natural dominant. Despite this both men are instantly drawn to Noah and decide to help him. Marcus will have to use all his strength as an Alpha to dominate Noah and show him that submission to his Alpha doesn't make him weak.
What B is talking about:
Noah has a problem. As a newly-turned werepuma, a rarity in the shifter world, he has a lot to learn, but the human that he was and the beta he’s expected to be are warring within him. His Alpha, Giselle, has tried to help him, but there’s only so much she can do without a full bond with Noah, and he’s becoming increasingly unstable. With the help of the 1 Night Stand dating service, they finally have a chance at a bond through Markus and Vashan that would lead to Noah’s salvation as well.
As a fan of Ms. Mayburn’s Prides of the Moon series, I was very excited to be able to read Noah’s story. Markus and Vashan are two of my favorites from the series so far, and the glimpse I got of Noah when reading Giselle’s story in Opal Moon made me even more eager to find out about him. As always, the omniscience of Madame Eve is right on target, and she sends Noah exactly what he needs, not only for his Alpha, but also for himself.
Finally understanding Noah’s origins and the resulting precarious situation he and his Alpha find themselves in was very satisfying. The sexual interplay between the three shifters, however, was even more so. There was one potentially disturbing moment when Noah fought his status within their threesome, but it was brief, and was a reminder of the dynamics present in the idea of “pack.” Ms. Mayburn’s characters seek out and fulfill a true hierarchy, as pack animals do, and in the case of Markus, Noah, and Vashan, the need to find the place where they belong takes quite a bit of exploration. Which I ended up enjoying a good deal.
Although it’s fairly concise, Amethyst Moon has a lot going for it. Even knowing that Noah would be all right, reading about his history still made me feel hopeful that his connection with Markus and Vashan would work out. These three men are gorgeous together, and Ms. Mayburn’s explicit scenes are successfully descriptive without being weighed down by flowery prose. Amethyst Moon is a strong, extremely sexy addition to the Prides of the Moon series, and I very much hope there are more to come.
Enjoyed - strongly recommend (A-)
Books in the Series:
Amethyst Moon #5
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Ravishing the Heiress
Author: Sherry Thomas
Release Date: July 3, 2012
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Fitzhugh Trilogy #2
Genre: Historical Romance
Format(s): Paperback (304 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher
About the book:
Millicent understands the terms of her arranged marriage all too well. She gets to be a Countess by marrying an impoverished Earl. And in return, the Earl Fitzhugh receives the benefit of her vast wealth, saving his family from bankruptcy. Because of her youth, they have agreed to wait eight years before consummating the marriage—and then, only to beget an heir. After which, they will lead separate lives.
It is a most sensible arrangement. Except for one little thing. Somehow Millie has fallen head over heels in love with her husband. Her husband, who has become her very best friend, but nothing more… Her husband, who plans to reunite with his childhood sweetheart, the beautiful and newly widowed Isabelle, as soon as he has honored the pact with his wife…
As the hour they truly become husband-and-wife draws near, both Millie and Fitzhugh must face the truth in their hearts. Has their pact bred only a great friendship—or has it, without either of them quite noticing, given rise to a great love?
What Ang is talking about:
Anyone who has read any of my reviews knows I appreciate a good story line. I want a romance novel that is engaging, well written and beautiful. Very few of late have met my expectations, so Ravishing the Heiress was a wonderful surprise. It was insightful and fun, exploring difficult topics like a marriage of convenience and remaining true to oneself without becoming heavy and preachy. The use of an alternating timeline although frequently problematic in most novels was executed flawlessly in this one.
All the characters were memorable but revolved around Millie beautifully allowing her to be the standout. Her character is tender and vulnerable while remaining strong, passionate and quick-witted a perfect mix for a romantic heroin.
I also loved that Thomas allows us to get to really know the characters, helping us to understanding their struggles and mindset before throwing them into bed with one another. The reader is made to understand the self-sacrifice of the time and the struggle of doing what is expected verses what one desires in a well-written, almost lyrical way.
I have to agree with, All About Romance when they say "There are writers who can tell a great story, and writers who can tell a great story with beauty and artistry. Thomas is in the latter category, and her writing is, quite simply, a cut above.” She pulls you in on the first page and keeps you turning page after page until the end. I can't wait to share it with my friends.
Loved it - enthusiastically recommend (A)
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Author: Ilona Andrews
Release Date: July 31, 2012
Kate Daniels #5.5
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format(s): Paperback (448 pgs*), e-book
*includes novella, Magic Gifts
Book Source: Publisher
About the book:
After being kicked out of the Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid, Andrea’s whole existence is in shambles. All she can do is to try to put herself back together, something made easier by working for Cutting Edge, a small investigative firm owned by her best friend Kate Daniels.
When several shapeshifters working for Raphael Medrano—the male alpha of the Clan Bouda and Andrea’s former lover—die unexpectedly at a dig site, Andrea is assigned to investigate…and must work with Raphael. As Andrea’s search for the killer leads her into the secret underbelly of supernatural Atlanta, she knows that dealing with her feelings for Raphael might have to take a back seat to saving the world…
What I’m talking about:
Note: although the book is 434 pages, Gunmetal Magic is only 326 pages, and the rest of the book (108 pages) is the novella, “Magic Gifts”, which is told from Kate's POV and overlaps in time with some of Gunmetal Magic. “Magic Gifts” was offered as a free novella on the authors' website in December 2011, and our review is HERE.
When I found out that Ilona Andrews was going to write a book in her Kate Daniels series from the POV of Kate’s best friend, Andrea, I was SOOOOO excited. Andrea and Raphael were my introduction to the Kate Daniels world via the novella, “Magic Mourns” found in the anthology Must Love Hellhounds. I’ve held a soft spot in my heart for the couple since the start, and boy have they had some tough times lately.
Andrea is a hyena-shifter (bouda), but she had a father that was an animal who turned human, making her a “beastkin.” Most beastkins are killed immediately; however, Andrea was kept around to be tortured for entertainment purposes by her sadistic pack. Once she escaped her clan, she dedicated her life to the Order - protecting mankind from the magic that has taken over the Earth. The only thing - she had to hide her true self, so when the Order discovered Andrea was a shifter, she was “retired.” Andrea went into hiding, and Raphael apparently moved on. Let’s just say the opening of this book not only ripped out my heart, but stomped on it with very large boots.
If you haven’t read the Kate Daniels series, stop right now... go buy Magic Bites, and you can thank me later. I will say one could pick up Gunmetal Magic without having read the series and enjoy it quite a lot, but the book is so much more because of the well-written, richly detailed series. The fact that this book is told from someone other than Kate's point of view makes it even easier for new people to pick up the series. However, you would really be doing a disservice to yourself if you didn't read the entire Kate series from the start. It's just that incredible.
Gunmetal Magic has two primary tales to tell. First (and foremost for me) is the story of Andrea and Raphael. They are in a very low place, and the book chronicles their efforts to work through the pain and find a happy place-whether together or alone. Second, the book outlines a mystery to be solved. Raphael’s reclamation company is working a building when four shifters are killed. Pack security hires Andrea to find out what happened. Unfortunately, the murders appear to be related to some deadly supernatural beings no one has seen before - and someone will stop for nothing to possess Andrea.
Once again, I find that the writing team of Ilona Andrews has created a story full of of wit, sarcasm, action, friendship, love, and put it all together with amazing detail and description. Yet the weight of the world-building details never bogs down the plot. The flow of the story is seamless; each scene building upon the last. Their ability to create such a richly detailed world will draw you in and not let go.
Did I mention the humor? There are so many places where I found myself chuckling. One perfect example is this exchange between best friends, Kate and Andrea:
“Your horse looks pink.”
“If you paste some stars on her butt, you’ll be riding My Little Pony.”
“Bugger off.” I patted the mare’s neck. “Don’t listen to her, Sugar. You are the cutest horsey ever. The correct name for her color is strawberry roan, by the way.”
“Strawberry shortcake, more like it. Does Strawberry Shortcake know you stole her horse? She will be berry, berry angry with you.”
I looked at her from under half-lowered eyelids. “I can shoot you right here, on this road, and nobody will ever find your body.”
At the heart of this book is the story of Andrea and Raphael. Forced to work together after things have fallen apart, their love story is woven into the plot and around the murder mystery perfectly. Andrea is hurting beyond words, and her pain reaches the depths of my soul, causing more than a few tears during the book. She is tough and struggles to find her place in her new, post-Order world. Her fierceness is incredible, and she rivals Kate for the best “kiss-a$$ chick.” I don’t want to give any spoilers, but let’s just say that both Andrea and Raphael make both good and poor choices during the story. I love that the writers push you right to the emotional edge, but then make it better. There are so many paths their story could have played out, and the writers chose not to use overplayed cliches and plot devices.
For long-time fans of the series, Kate, Curran, Doolittle, Jim, Aunt B and others all play rolls in this book. By far, my favorite side character is Roman, the black volhv (think dark priest with magical abilities.) Roman was first introduced in Magic Slays when the Pack needed to disarm an anti-magic bomb. His humor is the ideal contrast to the severity of the situation. I hope to see more of Roman in upcoming novels.
Gunmetal Magic is an amazing story and wonderful addition to the Kate Daniels series. Andrea and Raphael go through so much and just when you want to scream, kick and cry, the world turns out okay. But the things that happen are not contrived. Every detail, whether painful or joyous, is honest and exciting. The book takes you to highs and lows. It is pretty perfect in that way. The story flowed and action never stopped. It rocked my emotions and warmed my heart.
Personal favorite - a must read (A+)
and Gunmetal Magic is one of...
Books/Reviews in the Series:
Review: Deadly Desires by Shiloh Walker & Sydney Croft
Review: Portrait of a Crossroads by Kelly Rand
Review: Generation V by ML Brennan
Review: Fall of Night by Rachel Caine
Cover Reveal: Dawn's Early Light
Review: Bronze Gods by AA Aguirre
Author Guest Post: Ursula Sinclair (AKA LaVerne Thompson)
Review: Demon Crossings by Eleri Stone
Interview with Nalini Singh
Review: Josh of the Damned Vols. 1 & 2 by Andrea Speed
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WELCOME to my blog! At That's What I'm Talking About, we discuss romance books and generally review the paranormal and urban fantasy genres, with some other fun topics tossed in. I hope you will stay and visit for a while!
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