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Thursday, July 24, 2014

ARC Review: Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews

MAGIC BREAKS


Kate Daniels Series #7


by Ilona Andrews


Publisher: ACE Hardcover (July 29, 2014)
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Adult
Format: Hardcover ARC (381 pages)
Source: Free book from publisher for honest review
Find It: Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)
Summary
No matter how much the paranormal politics of Atlanta change, one thing always remains the same: if there’s trouble, Kate Daniels will be in the middle of it…

As the mate of the Beast Lord, Curran, former mercenary Kate Daniels has more responsibilities than it seems possible to juggle. Not only is she still struggling to keep her investigative business afloat, she must now deal with the affairs of the pack, including preparing her people for attack from Roland, a cruel ancient being with god-like powers. Since Kate’s connection to Roland has come out into the open, no one is safe—especially those closest to Kate.

As Roland’s long shadow looms ever nearer, Kate is called to attend the Conclave, a gathering of the leaders from the various supernatural factions in Atlanta. When one of the Masters of the Dead is found murdered there, apparently at the hands of a shapeshifter, Kate is given only twenty-four hours to hunt down the killer. And this time, if she fails, she’ll find herself embroiled in a war which could destroy everything she holds dear…
At A Glance
I just, I just, I don't know what to say about perfection.

The Good
All the feels. All the action. All the love. All the violence. All the EPICNESS!!!! Ilona mentioned that this book reads like the final book of the series (Don't panic, this is not the last book of the series. We at least get two more.), and it did in the way. So much happens and so much changes. Things come to a head, final battles are fought, but there is so much still to do, well, that is, if you are Kate Daniels. But I loved how 'complete' this book felt. The direction of this series is perfect.

Kate, how I want to be you. To me, she is perfect. Her humor, her compassion, her decisiveness, her strength, her technique, and her attitude, all of it is amazeballs. She is someone you can always rely on and who would drop everything to save your ass but never ask for anything in return. She handled herself amazingly well for the crap she went through in Magic Breaks. Curran goes missing for a bit, some of the pack doesn't want to support her, and her evil, d*ckhead father finally comes into the picture. But Kate handles one crises at a time with grace, determination, and sarcasm. Classic Kate.

Curran is the same badass Beat Lord that I want to lick every inch of. He makes decisions in this book that shocked but excited me. His love for Kate is endless. He will and often does move heaven and earth to save/get/find her when she needs him.

The action is non-stop, but not in an annoying way. You will NEVER get bored with this book. The writing and dialogue are flawless. I laughed my ass off half the time while biting my nails in excitement the other half. We see all our favorite characters again. Old rivals come back and long awaited bad guys finally pay Kate a visit. I never realized how screwed Kate is until this book. Roland is one creepy, powerful mofo.

The ending was perfect. I was shocked at first. I didn't know I wanted this certain thing to happen until it did. However, nothing will ever be the same. Which is scary but awesome.

The Bad
NOTHING! Okay, wait, there was one thing. WHERE WAS MY CURRAN? I missed him in this book. He is absent for most of the middle.

The Snuggly
Wow, that sex scene. Ilona did not hold back this time. It's pretty detailed though a little short. But I was pleasantly surprised since Ilona usually glosses over sex most of the time. I don't need sex or even romance in urban fantasy, but when it comes to Kate and Curran, I am greedy for everything. These two are in such a great place it's insane. They have the romance all of us wish we did. That obsession, that need, that undying love. So effing beautiful.

Final Thoughts
If you are not reading this series, then you are crazy. The concept that this series could not work for someone doesn't even register in my brain. Ilona writes perfection, and Magic Breaks is no except. I already want more!. Very, highly recommended.
Excerpt
Can't post quotes for this ARC, but I did find this excerpt on Ilona's website:

“You still haven’t told me what you want for Christmas,” Curran said.

“Time,” I said. “For you and me.”

“Check the glove compartment?” he asked.

I opened it and pulled a piece of paper out. Cordially invited… thank you for your reservation… “Is this…?”

“The Black Bear Lodge,” he said.

Two weeks ago we had to go to Jackson County, North Carolina to remove a loose troll of campus. The Appalachians had a large shapeshifter population and many of their kids went to Western Carolina University. We had stayed in the Black Bear Lodge, a newly built, timber lodge with good food and cozy rooms with huge fireplaces. We’d spent two glorious days there, hunting the troll, drinking wine in the evening, and making love in a giant soft bed. I didn’t want to leave so much, it almost hurt.

He got the reservation for me.

“How long?” I asked.

“Two weeks. We could leave as soon as I get back and stay until Christmas. We’d have to come back for the holidays or they will scream and howl, but with the leyline it’s only a two day drive.”

“What about the petition hearing?”

“I handled it,” he said. “Remember that emergency session that ate up the last Thursday? I cleared everything.”

“The Gardner law suit?”

“Handled it too.” Curran leaned over and looked at me. His grey eyes glowed with tiny golden sparks. He slowly furrowed his blond eyebrows and moved them up and down.

“Is that your smoldering look?”

“Yes. I’m trying to communicate the promise of nights of ecstasy.”

I laughed. “Did you read that pirate book Andrea left for me?”

“I might have leafed through it. So how about it? Will you do me the honor of accompanying me to the Black Bear Lodge, so we can lay in bed all day, get drunk, fat, and not have to think about anything related to Atlanta for the entire time?”

“Will I get nights of ecstasy?”

“And days. Ecstasy all the time.”

Two weeks, just Curran and me. It sounded heavenly.

“Deal, Your Majesty.”


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Review: The Collection by Shannon Stoker

THE COLLECTION


The Registry Series #2


by Shannon Stoker


Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (Feb 2014)
Genre: Dystopia, Young Adult
Format: Paperback (368 pages)
Source: Free book from publisher for honest review
Find It: Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: ★★★½ (3.5 stars)
Summary
How far would you go to control your own destiny? Mia Morrissey has escaped: America, the Registry, and the role she was raised for— a perfect bride auctioned to the highest bidder. She’s enemy number one to the world’s largest power, and there’s no turning back now.

From the moment she and her friends Andrew, and Carter cross the border into Mexico it becomes clear their troubles are only beginning. The young men are immediately picked up by a violent and omnipotent militia—The Collection—and it’s Mia’s turn to rescue them.

With time running out, her ex-fiancé’s henchman on her trail, and a dangerous tide shifting back in America, Mia will do whatever she has to. Even if that means risking everything and putting herself back on an auction block. The price of freedom is never too high…but what if the cost is her life?
At A Glance
I loved this book, but the believability was not there.

The Good
Let's bullet point it out!

- I just love Mia. She is so strong and is growing stronger with each book. She has come far from the accommodating, vain girl she once was. She is a straight up fighter now with her own means of defense. Even though she loves Andrew and Carter, she doesn't need them to survive.

- The storyline interested me. Mia, Andrew, and Carter have just escaped from America into Mexico, and right away the boys are captured and forced to become soldiers, while Mia must train her mind and body for what's to come when she rescues them. I loved the role reversals, and I loved experiencing the brainwashing both Andrew and Carter had to go through in the militia. I could feel their minds being messed with. Eventually they finally get to the 'safe place' in Guatemala and that's just makes thinks more interesting.

- Grant is his same nasty, evil self. I have never loved a bad guy as much as I love him. He is straight up monstrous. We learn a lot about his past and why he is the ways he is. We alternated between his, Mia's, Andrew's, and Carter's POV and it really added something to this book.

The Bad
- I found a lot of the book to be unbelievable. Too many convenient scenarios, like an Irish chick saving Mia just in time and training her in a couple weeks to break out her boys from a well guarded town/army base. I mean, really? How am I suppose to believe Mia could do all that by herself with so little training? And then when we get to Guatemala, Mia kind of loses some of her badassery and I couldn't understand why.

- Thing are too oversimplified in this book. Like, "If we could just take down the Registry, then all of America would be saved." Ummm, no, the government is still corrupt so.... Or how about, "If we just make it to the Guatemalan border we will be saved." Um yeah, things don't work out like that. Even though that's exactly what this book wants us to believe, that the 'safe place with the good people' are right there to save the group in the nick of time. No searching for them, just poof! Okay, we are back to the believability. I guess all my issues tie into that.

The Snuggly
Mia and Andrews grow closer as Carter and her grow further apart. There's not much romance, but it was not needed.

Final Thoughts
I loved The Collection as much as I loved The Registry. They both have their problems, but together they are making up one hell of a series. I am sucked in every time I start these books and never lose interest. Recommended.
Excerpt
“I need to find my friends,” Mia said.
Mia pulled the blanket off of her and saw that her knees were covered with bandages.
“What’s your plan?”
“What do you mean?” Mia said. “You can’t keep me here.”
“Nobody is keeping you anywhere,” she said. “But if you need to find your friends, what is your plan?”
“I don’t know,” Mia said. “Follow the tracks from the car that took them?”
“Is that a question?” she asked. “Because the answer would be, what time did the car leave? What direction did it head?”
“I don’t know,” Mia said.
“Well, sit and have some tea,” she said. “What’s your name?”
Mia was uncomfortable. She didn’t know how to respond. She didn’t understand so much of what had happened.
“Where’s your husband?” Mia asked.
The woman let out a small laugh. “Are you a mind reader?” she asked.
“No,” Mia said.
“I’ve never seen an unmarried woman live like this.”
“In a one- bedroom shack?”
“Alone,” Mia said.
“You are an American refugee,” she said. “That’s what I thought. In most parts of the world— not all, but most— women can live with or without whoever they want.”
“Are you from Mexico?” Mia asked.
“Ireland,” she said. “Where women aren’t equal to men— they’re slightly better."
 


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Release Day Review: Poison Promise by Jennifer Estep

POISON PROMISE


Elemental Assassin Series #11


by Jennifer Estep


Publisher: Pocket Books (July 22, 2014)
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Adult
Format: eARC (400 pages)
Source: Free book from publisher (NetGalley) for honest review
Find It: Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: ★★★½ (3.5 stars)
Summary
In book eleven of her New York Times bestselling Elemental Assassin series, author Jennifer Estep continues “one of the best urban fantasy series going on the market” (Fresh Fiction).

Gin Blanco is hard-nosed, sexy, and lethal. Nicknamed “The Spider,” she’s a stone elemental assassin who brings her unique mix of magic and tact to every assignment, no matter the target.

There’s a new drug on the streets of Ashland, and its name “Burn” sums up the potent effect it has on its users. When one of her restaurant employees is threatened by dealers of the drug, Gin steps in to set things straight…
At A Glance
Good book but I find myself getting bored of this series.

The Good
This review is hard for me to write because even though I enjoyed the book, there is not much to say that I haven't said before. Gin is awesome. Gin kills awesomely (doesn't seem like it should be a word but it is). Gin has a heart but is also badass enough to keep me interested. She keeps these books going. Her voice is one of a kind. I love how her mind works and how precise her actions and plans are. I want Gin to have her HEA and she deserves it. That's why I will continue reading this series until the very end.

The fight scenes were awesome, like always. The final battle was effing epic. I was so pumped when Gin went all out with her performance, and it was a performance. Gin is not holding back anymore. Gin is all like, "I am The Spider, hear me roar!!!!

I hated/loved the drama between Bria and Gin. It was interesting to see the tables turned a little bit. It broke my heart to see them fight but I think it was a long time coming. There has always been tension there and it needed to be aired out.

Though the bad guy was generic, Poison Promise finally makes a move to the real fight to come. We finally meet MM Monroe and we find out their motives and intentions. Can I say scary! I am excited to read the next book because I know sh*t is going down.

The Bad
I hate myself for saying this, but I just don't have the same zest for this series anymore. I feel like I am reading the same book over and over again. It's like cookie cutter Gin Blanco. Someone she loves/cares for is in trouble, threaten bad guy, bad guy retaliates, plan to kill bad guy, fail first time, succeed the second time, the end. I am just so over it. This series needs to be refreshed.

I think it's pretty late in the series to introduce new characters, but Poison Promise does just that and I found myself not caring. We waited forever for the Mab Monroe fight, now we have this MM Monroe person being dangled in front of us for a few books now and the fight is taking forever to come once again. I don't care about these side bad guys, can I just have the big fight please!

The Snuggly
Gin and Owen are doing good. Nothing new with them though. Just a normal relationship, a bit boring but I still adore them.

Some sex so this book could be read by a new adult audience and up.

Final Thoughts
I will read this series until the very end, I just wish the journey was a little more unique and exciting. I love Gin and I will always love Gin. Hardcore fans will love this book, but for others, it will be average. But still recommended.
Quotes
“Actually, I love pissing people off. Important people, rich people, dangerous people. I’m an equal-opportunity pisser-offer.”  


“You have reached the always awesome, ever charming, and obscenely handsome Finnegan Lane,” he chirped in my ear. “How may I be of service to you today?”  


"Well," he said, "I thought we would stay in and have a quiet evening. You, me a nice dinner, perhaps some quality time watching
TV in my bedroom."
"Watching TV? Really?"
"Well, if you absolutely insist, we can skip the TV-viewing portion of the evening,"