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Magic Steals by Ilona Andrews {5 Stars}

Magic Steals by Ilona Andrews {5 Stars}

Magic Steals by Ilona Andrews (Kate Daniels #6.5)
Published by Penguin on Aug. 16th, 2016
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Page Length: 83 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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lona Andrews—#1 New York Times bestselling author of Magic Shifts—once again pulls readers into the dark and dangerous world of the Kate Daniels novels...

Shapeshifting tigress Dali Harimau may be a powerful healer and magic user, but she’s far from what might be called “normal”. She dislikes the violence and bloodshed that are a way of life for most of her kind, even going so far as to become a vegetarian. The last thing she wants is trouble...

Jim Shrapshire is an original, hardcore badass. A jaguar shifter, he’s been tasked with keeping Atlanta’s Cat Clan in line, which he does with swift and lethal force when necessary. His only soft spot is for the petite Dali, whose kindness he calls upon when he is injured.

When Dali is approached by a desperate woman whose grandmother has vanished, Jim is concerned enough to help investigate. But what they find may just be the end of them—an enemy whose skill in the dark arts is matched only by their willingness to kill anyone in their way...

Magic Steals was originally published in the anthology Night Shift.

5 Stars

Strengths:
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Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George eARC {2.5 Stars}

Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George is the first in a new historical fantasy series from one of my favorite middle grade authors. However, my expectations came back to bite me because Silver in the Blood ended up being rather slow with a fairly predictable plot and characters switching personality traits as often as dresses. Maybe historical fantasy just isn’t for me?

Note: I received an advanced copy of Silver in the Blood from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George eARC {2.5 Stars}

Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George (Silver in the Blood #1)
Published by Bloomsbury on July 7th, 2015
Genres: Historical Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 358 pages
How I got my copy: NetGalley
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
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Society girls from New York City circa 1890, Dacia and Lou never desired to know more about their lineage, instead preferring to gossip about the mysterious Romanian family that they barely knew. But upon turning seventeen, the girls must return to their homeland to meet their relatives, find proper husbands, and—most terrifyingly—learn the deep family secrets of The Claw, The Wing, and The Smoke. The Florescus, after all, are shape-shifters, and it is time for Dacia and Lou to fulfill the prophecy that demands their acceptance of this fate . . . or fight against this cruel inheritance with all their might.

With a gorgeous Romanian setting, stunning Parisian gowns, and dark brooding young men, readers will be swept up by this epic adventure of two girls in a battle for their lives.

2.5 Stars

Strengths:
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Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews eARC {4 Stars}

Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews is the seventh in the Kate Daniels series and things are seriously heating up. After the insane emotional torment of the previous book, Magic Rises, Magic Breaks is a bit heavier on adventure on less on dehydrating you through crying, though of course now we know that no one is safe. Kate and Curran continue to develop as strong characters, and I especially liked that Kate once again had to figure things out without Curran’s assistance for a while. I think my favorite part about Magic Breaks, however, is the short story at the end, which is from Julie’s point of view: Magic Tests! Since this is a seventh book, there are of course going to be massive spoilers below! Check out Magic Bites to start from the beginning :D.

Note: I received Magic Breaks through Netgalley for review consideration. Some things may have changed in the final version.

This book has adult content.
Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews eARC {4 Stars}

Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews (Kate Daniels #7)
Published by Ace on July 29th, 2014
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Page Length: 302 pages
How I got my copy: NetGalley
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
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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…

4 Stars

Strengths:
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Fragile Brilliance by Tammy Blackwell eARC {4 Stars}

Fragile Brilliance by Tammy Blackwell is the start of a new series set in the same world as her Timber Wolves books. This means more awesome werewolves, werecoyotes, and Seers, plus new characters and college :D. I read Fragile Brilliance at the perfect time since it’s pretty heavy on the romance and I was very much craving happy relationship feelings ;-). I like that Blackwell is branching out from her original style and I think that Fragile Brilliance will appeal to YA readers looking for more of a paranormal romance feel with witty writing and female characters with backbones (shocking right??)! I very much recommend that you read the Timber Wolves series before Fragile Brilliance though, since otherwise you really won’t have a good grounding in all the heavy events the characters are dealing with.

Note: I received Fragile Brilliance from the author in exchange for an honest review. I read an advanced copy and some things might be different in the final version.

Purchase on Amazon: Fragile Brilliance

Fragile Brilliance by Tammy Blackwell eARC {4 Stars}

Fragile Brilliance by Tammy Blackwell (Shifters & Seers #1)
Published by Author on Nov 26th, 2013
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 339 pages
Book Depository - Goodreads
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Maggie McCray has worked her whole life for the opportunity to attend Sanders College. It’s her one chance at becoming a world-renowned artist, and she’s determined nothing will get in her way. But when a murder brings Maggie and her powers to the attention of the Alpha Pack and the tragically handsome Charlie Hagan, her carefully planned future hangs in jeopardy.

Charlie Hagan isn’t happy when the Alpha Female assigns him as Maggie McCray’s personal bodyguard. Just being near the Thaumaturgic threatens to unleash the primal instincts he’s been suppressing for so long. Charlie knows if the coyote is uncaged, then the person he’ll most need to protect Maggie from is himself.

4 Stars

Strengths:

  • Maggie is our new MC and I loved her so much. It’s great to see a POC as a lead character first of all, but Maggie is so much more than her ethnicity obviously. She has her own fashion style, loves her grandmother, is an amazing artist, and, oh yeah, has magic powers :D. She’s also strong in her own way, too smart for all the rich kids at her college, and determined to make her own way in life. Love this girl!
  • If you’ve read the Timber Wolves books, you’ll know Charlie is a severely broken person at this point. Even if you haven’t read the other series, Fragile Brilliance makes this clear right away. While at first he freaked me out a bit, I quickly transitioned to wishing so badly that I could help him somehow. Blackwell captured the profound lack of emotions that goes along with deep depression quite well. I enjoyed the fact that all the characters from Timber Wolves, including Charlie, were obviously deeply affected by previous events and didn’t just get over it all, which seems to happen in a lot of series.
  • We’ve heard very little about Thaumaturgics previously and we finally get to find out more in Fragile Brilliance :D. How you ask? Mwahahaha, just wait ;-).
  • The feels! Fragile Brilliance has a very central romance plot line and while I’m normally not all that into romance-heavy stories, I ate this one up! Charlie and Maggie felt like friends of mine and at times I just wanted to lock them in a room together, but it was that connection that made me happy to boot up my eReader and sink a couple more hours into their story each night. Maggie is a very different character than Scout and I loved cheering her on.
  • Speaking of Scout! Scout is of course in Fragile Brilliance as a side character and she still is always able to entertain me. There is a whole lot going on for her given the events of the Timber Wolves books and it was interesting to see her new life from an outsider’s perspective. I hope things work out *sniffles*.
  • I freaking love ceramics for the record. When I realized that Maggie was a ceramics specialist, there might have been some bouncing. I have only gotten to throw pots once in college, but it was a lot of fun reading about Maggie’s studio work and living vicariously through her work >.>.

Weaknesses:

  •  I normally enjoy Blackwell’s pop culture references, but there were a few too many for me in Fragile Brilliance and I feel old because I didn’t get some of them >.>.
  • Fragile Brilliance is much more of a romance story than the Timber Wolves series was, so just be warned that it has a different feel than those previous books. I hadn’t quite been expecting this, so I don’t want others to be blindsided.
  • I get kind of annoyed when all the characters are beautiful…. At one point when Maggie is first encountering all the shifters and seers, she’s describing all our old friends and basically declares every single one beautiful. Is this a shifter and seer thing? I mean, I love that Tally isn’t model thin and is still considered beautiful by Maggie and everyone else, but can’t we have some not gorgeous characters that are awesome for their strength and charisma?

Summary:

Fragile Brilliance is an excellent paranormal romance in that it has a romance-heavy plot but still introduces us to new aspects of this world and has a deep and disturbing mystery to solve. I really enjoyed being in Charlie and Maggie’s heads while they figured things out, though I’m hoping that we get to find out more about Maggie and her family in the subsequent books. Definitely pick up Fragile Brilliance if you enjoyed the Timber Wolves series, but be in the mood for a romance ;-).

4 Stars
Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

– Anya

 

 Fragile Brilliance by Tammy Blackwell

4 Stars: All We See & Seem by Tammy Blackwell

All We See & Seem by Tammy Blackwell is a novella set concurrently to the final book in her Timber Wolves trilogy (Fate Succumbs), so there will be spoilers for the Timber Wolves trilogy! All We See & Seem tells the story of a certain young couple in college *ahem* and how they get out of their silly heads to realize they are both crazy about each other (awwwwww!). We also get filled in on how other friends joined the picture, so All We See & Seem is a great novella to pick up to help you with your withdrawal until we get another book in December :D. Also, the eBook is only $2 on Amazon!

Note: I received All We See & Seem from Tammy Blackwell in exchange for an honest review.

4 Stars: All We See & Seem by Tammy Blackwell

All We See & Seem by Tammy Blackwell (Timber Wolves #3.5)
Published by Author on May 18th, 2013
Genres: Urban Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 117 pages
How I got my copy: Author
Amazon - Book Depository - Goodreads
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Jase Donovan always knew exactly what to expect from college: frat parties, coeds, and a spot on one of the most prestigious college basketball teams in the world. It was the life he was destined for... until his sister became the Alpha Pack's Most Wanted. Now he's playing a dangerous game of espionage and subterfuge with the most powerful Shifters and Seers in the world, and if he loses, his life won't be the only one on the line.

Talley Matthews has always been able to look on the sunshine-and-rainbows side of life, but it's getting harder and harder every day with the knowledge that one friend is on the run and another is barely clinging to life. To complicate matters even more, after being pegged as an Alpha Pack Potential, she's having to fend off advances from Shifters who want to use her to gain a little power. The attention might be nice if her heart didn't already belong to someone else.

4 Stars

Strengths:

  • Omg Jase and Talley! Sorry *breathes* I’m better now. I have always loved this couple partially because it’s great to see a heavier female character get the guy and because Jase develops so much over this trilogy. Since All We See & Seem is about Jase and Talley’s relationship, we finally get some holes filled in as to how exactly they realized they did love each other after that whole pretend mates thing.
  • More holes are filled in, including how Joshua enters the picture. Remember that crazy guy with special powers who was Jase’s roommate? Can you imagine how that conversation actually goes to finding out one of them is a shifter and the other is an Immortal? Well now you get to find out!
  • I just recently graduated from college and so had a lot of fun reliving the amusing aspects of dorm life, especially the problem of random roommates your freshman year!

Weaknesses:

  •  You really need to have recently read Fate Succumbs to get the full enjoyment out of All We See & Seem. I had some trouble remembering what exactly had been going on and it took me some thinking in order to get caught up.
  • Jase really angers me at times with how controlling he is; I just wanted to slap that boy!

Summary:

If you are a fan of Tammy Blackwell’s writing and world, you have to pick up All We See & Seem! It’s a great novella in that it isn’t required reading to enjoy the trilogy, but it adds another layer of detail and fun to what we already know. It also made for a great stop-gap while I patiently await the opportunity to read Fragile Brilliance, haha. I had such a great time remembering why I love the Timber Wolves books so much :D.

4 Stars

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings – A

 

 All We See & Seem by Tammy Blackwell

Four Stars: Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews

Read and Review HopA monster without any family and a young woman suddenly forced to lead her family when her parents are kidnapped are thrown together in a plot much thicker than either of them could guess in Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews. Fortunately for them, they are both pretty darn attractive, so once this annoying villain thing is taken care of, things look promising ;-).

I think it’s been established that I’m a huuuuge Ilona Andrews fan. I love her Kate Daniels series and I love the first book in the Edge series, On the Edge. What’s that you say? Haven’t read On the Edge? No worries! The Edge books are not a sequential series and each book is nearly a standalone. The only spoilers that you’ll get are if the first pair gets together and what ends up happening to them (both of which are pretty obvious since it’s a romance ;-) ). You can read Bayou Moon and still enjoy On the Edge’s plot. However, if you want to be completely pristine, you should start with On the Edge.
Bayou Moon Goodreads Amazon
Title:
Bayou Moon
Author: Ilona Andrews
Pages: 447 (paperback)
Genre-ish: Urban (swamp?) fantasy
Rating★★★ – really fun, minor flaws

The Edge lies between worlds, on the border between the Broken, where people shop at Walmart and magic is a fairytale–and the Weird, where blueblood aristocrats rule, changelings roam, and the strength of your magic can change your destiny…

Cerise Mar and her unruly clan are cash poor but land rich, claiming a large swathe of the Mire, the Edge swamplands between the state of Louisiana and the Weird. When her parents vanish, her clan’s long-time rivals are suspect number one.

But all is not as it seems. Two nations of the Weird are waging a cold war fought by feint and espionage, and their conflict is about to spill over into the Edge—and Cerise’s life . William, a changeling soldier who left behind the politics of the Weird, has been forced back into service to track down a rival nation’s spymaster.

When William’s and Cerise’s missions lead them to cross paths, sparks fly—but they’ll have to work together if they want to succeed…and survive. — Goodreads

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Four Stars: Fate Succumbs by Tammy Blackwell

In the harrowing third book of the Timer Wolves series, Blackwell tells a tale of duty, fate and love of all kinds. Fate Succumbs puts Scout through the ringer, but also shows just how many allies she has on her side.

I’ve said this before, and it’s worth saying again: Tammy Blackwell is a fantabulous author, especially considering she is an indie author. She is proof that indie authors can have well polished and riveting books. Fate Succumbs is the third book in the Timber Wolves series, so there may be spoilers for the first or second books below. Also, check out that cover! Isn’t it gorgeous??
Fate Succumbs by Tammy Blackwell Goodreads Amazon
Title:
Fate Succumbs
Author: Tammy Blackwell
Pages: 296 (Kindle)
Genre-ish: Urban (very rural?) fantasy
Rating★★★★☆ – awesome plot, but not quite enough
Setting: All over? There is a cross-country escape from evil people trip that ends with the Canadian woods in winter, which proceeds to Ely, Minnesota :D. All in an alternate world where shifters (coyote and wolf) exist alongside seers (people with various powers).
Premise: Time Mends ends with Scout being pulled from a death sentence by her friendly neighborhood wolf. Fate Succumbs opens with her proceeding to travel across America in an attempt to stay under the FBI and Pack radar. All of this occurs with the company of Liam, the surly big brother from the earlier books. Scout finds unexpected allies, truths she couldn’t begin to imagine a year ago, and a destiny even though she doesn’t believe in fate.

Strengths:

  • We find out so much more about the shifter and seer history in Fate Succumbs and it just left me wanting to know more!
  • Blackwell also starts revealing much more about the other supernatural aspects of the world, including the Immortals that were hinted about in previous books. There is definitely a lot more to build on for future books.
  • Epic battles and horrible villains getting their just dessert ;-). So satisfying.
  • Liam develops a lot as a character and we find out so much more about what makes him and Alex who they are. While I wasn’t a fan of all the development that happened (see below), it definitely expanded the secondary characters, which can be hard to do with a first person narrative.
  • Also yey for popular boy falling in love with heavier nerdy girl!

Weaknesses:

  • Ick, I’m super not a fan of the romance that occurred in Fate Succumbs. Blackwell does a fair job of showing that Scout is also not super sure about who she is falling in love with, but seriously, why can’t any male-female relationship just be friends??
  • It seems fairly obvious that Timber Wolves is not a trilogy, because there was a whole lot left unresolved at the end of Fate Succumbs. This was a bit disappointing, since strings being cleverly tied up just makes for a much more satisfying book.
  • The epic battle that everything was leading up to just wasn’t all that epic…. It seemed to go by pretty fast, and I honestly don’t think it was supposed to be the climax, which seemed weird. There was a sense of something not being completed to 100% satisfaction.

Summary:
Fate Succumbs and the Timber Wolves series so far, is a really fun read. The characters are fun, the dialogue is witty, the setting is interesting. While they are lacking depth at times, and tend to give in to romantic elements a little too often, the writing of Blackwell makes them fast reads and wonderful brain candy. Also I’m completely in love with these covers! I might have to get the physical copies even though I have the Kindle editions…. I’m very much hoping that Blackwell continues the Timber Wolves series, since there is a lot left untied at the end of Fate Succumbs, and Blackwell is definitely on my insta-read list.

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Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings – A

 

 Fate Succumbs by Tammy Blackwell