Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Review: Gunmetal Magic (Kate Daniels #5.5) by Ilona Andrews

Release Date: July 31, 2012
Source: Library Copy
Publisher: Ace
Author Links: Goodreads | Website | Twitter

The New York Times bestselling Kate Daniels novels have been hailed as “top-notch urban fantasy” (Monsters and Critics). Now, Ilona Andrews delves deeper into Kate’s world, and reveals its untold stories…
After being kicked out of the Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid, Andrea’s whole existence is in shambles. She tries to put herself back together by working for Cutting Edge, a small investigative firm owned by her best friend. 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. Now she must work with Raphael as her search for the killer leads into the secret underbelly of supernatural Atlanta. And dealing with her feelings for him might have to take a back seat to saving the world…

Since I decided to hop on the Kate Daniels train a few months ago, I've gobbled up every book in the series.
Now what do I do?
Sit patiently, and wait till some unknown time in 2015 for the next book to come out?
I don't think so!
There are a plethora of novellas to keep me occupied in the meantime. I will read them ALL!

Gunmetal Magic is listed as Kate Daniels #5.5, so when I requested this one from my library, I was fully expecting to get handed a shorty. You know, something I could read in an hour or two.
A little sumpin' sumpin' to take the edge off...
Whoa! This sucker was HUGE!
All this shock goes back to my refusal to read blurbs properly. 
300 plus pages does not equal a novella.
Anyway, I did my awkward Happy Dance, and the librarian (God bless her) didn't call security, so I was able to walk out of there with my prize.

This story takes place before Magic Rises (Kate Daniels #6), so you finally get to find out how Andrea and Raphael kiss and make up.
I lovedlovedloved them both in this one! They have that over-the-top psycho shifter thing going on, and while it got a bit crazy at times, it was never dull.

The plot is just as good as any of the books about Kate. Same high-energy pace, and filled to the brim with magic, mystery, and mayhem.
Andrea is such a solid female character! She goes about doing her job to the best of her abilities, regardless of the mess in her personal life. Yes, it has an effect, but it doesn't stop her.
*fist pump*
There's a few cameos with Kate and Curran, but they don't steal the limelight away from Andrea.
Along with the mysterious deaths, you'll get the skinny on her childhood. And while it's touched on it the series, this time around you get the full story.
Trust me, it's totally worth it!

The breakout star of the show is Roman, though.
Where is his book? Cause I'd certainly read more about that guy!
Dark, mysterious, and funny as hell! As far as I'm concerned, he's the highlight of the story, and not to be missed. I know I've seen his character around in some of the other books, and liked him, but this took things to a whole new level. I'm really hoping Team Andrews decides to do a spin-off with this guy!

Awesome characters, interesting plot, and great writing.
And Roman. Don't forget Roman....
Highly recommended for fans of Kate Daniels!

Monday, October 20, 2014

[Blog Tour - Review and Giveaway) Burn For Me (A Hidden Legacy Novel #1) by Ilona Andrews

I am very excited to be hosting a blog tour stop for the amazing Ilona Andrews' and their newest book, Burn for Me.  This is a fantastic book and one that I urge all lovers of urban fantasy to check out!  Keep reading for a review and a giveaway!

Release date: October 28, 2014
Published by: Avon
Source: Publisher

Pre-Order:  Amazon 
Author links: Facebook 

Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile case. Nevada isn’t sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire. Then she’s kidnapped by Connor “Mad” Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run or surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.Rogan’s after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she’s getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world.

Burn For Me is an action packed, exciting new book from the author duo of Kate Daniels fame.  This book is based on the idea that in 1863, scientists discovered the Osiris serum which brings out one's magical abilities.  Since that time, magical families have been honing and hoarding their power and have formed Houses, or business like entities run by the most powerful families.  The strong houses do everything to obtain more magic, including marrying for magical abilities.  

This is the story of Nevada Baylor and her investigation firm.  Nevada's magic allows her to discern immediately if someone is lying to her.  For various reasons, she has kept this information out of public knowledge.  She runs this firm with her family, including her gun toting, ex military mother and her hoot of a grandmother.  Her father passed away a few years previous to this story, and Nevada acts as the head of the family.  A Prime (the name used for the most powerful magic users) is on the rampage and the company that owns Nevada's mortgage forces her into an investigation that will most likely end with her dead.  Nevada is charged with bringing in Adam Pierce, Prime magic user with the power of fire, alive and delivering him to his family.  

Unbeknownst to Nevada, another man is implicated in Pierce's crimes - the cousin of Connor "Mad" Rogan.  The Scourge of Mexico!  Rogan and Nevada's first meeting is intense and terrifying.  They don't get off to a very good start, and this lays the foundation for Nevada's distrust of him.  Rogan seems to have lost a lot of his human-ness.  After spending time in the military, Rogan had become a sort of dehumanized and without much of a purpose in his life.  The more time Rogan spends with Nevada, the more charismatic and human he seems.  Rogan is roguish, charming and highly intelligent.  He's crazy hot and he likes a challenge.  

Move over Beast Lord.  There's a new Ilona Andrews hero in town and he isn't taking shit from anyone.  Well, at least anyone not named Nevada Baylor.  

The world building and the plot of this story are perfect.  I love the world Nevada and Rogan inhabit.  It seems on first glance very similar to the present day real world, but then you find it is completely different with its own set of rules and its own motivations.  There are quirky characters that live in some interesting places.  The plot is very well done and exciting.  Andrews' kept me guessing, wondering what was coming next.  I loved the interplay between characters and the relationships that developed.  

Burn for Me is full of fun and intense action scenes, interesting characters, lovely world building and a sizzling hot sexual tension that jumps off the pages.  I'm not going to say that this is my favorite Ilona Andrews book....because Kate Daniels.  But this book is ever bit as good, every bit as addictive and every bit as well written.  This is what I've come to expect from these amazingly talented authors, and they always deliver.

If you are a fan or urban fantasy, this is a must read book.  If you have enjoyed Ilona Andrews' previous work, then this book won't disappoint you.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a new story with magic, action and a bit of twisted romance!   I cannot wait for the next book in this series.  This series will be an auto-buy for me!  Well done, as always, Ilona Andrews! 

“Ilona Andrews” is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team. Ilona is a native-born Russian and Gordon is a former communications sergeant in the U.S. Army.

Contrary to popular belief, Gordon was never an intelligence officer with a license to kill, and Ilona was never the mysterious Russian spy who seduced him.

They met in college, in English Composition 101, where Ilona got a better grade. (Gordon is still sore about that.) They have co-authored two New York Times and USA Today bestselling series, the urban fantasy of Kate Daniels and the romantic urban fantasy of The Edge and are working on the next volumes for both.

They live in Texas with their two children and many dogs and cats.

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[Coffee Shop Talks] What Groups or Clubs Do You Belong To?

What groups/clubs/etc do you belong to?

Surprisingly, I'm not a member of any book clubs. Not online or in real life. I've actually never even tried finding any book-related groups or clubs. I'm not even a part of a street team. I should probably change that soon..

The only group I belong to is an animal rescue group, Last Chance Pet Rescue, Inc. I'm a foster, volunteer, and manage their Facebook page. 

We had an adoption event over the weekend that went amazingly well. We had 7 adoptions and met a lot of really nice people. 


So what about you? Are there any groups or clubs that you belong to? 


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Review: Into the Still Blue (Under the Never Sky #3) by Veronica Rossi

Release Date: January 28, 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Library Copy
Author Links: Goodreads | Website | Twitter

The race to the Still Blue has reached a stalemate. Aria and Perry are determined to find this last safe haven from the Aether storms before Sable and Hess do—and they are just as determined to stay together.
Within the confines of a cave they're using as a makeshift refuge, they struggle to reconcile their people, Dwellers and Outsiders, who are united only in their hatred of their desperate situation. Meanwhile, time is running out to rescue Cinder, who was abducted by Hess and Sable for his unique abilities. Then Roar arrives in a grief-stricken fury, endangering all with his need for revenge.
Out of options, Perry and Aria assemble an unlikely team for an impossible rescue mission. Cinder isn't just the key to unlocking the Still Blue and their only hope for survival--he's also their friend. And in a dying world, the bonds between people are what matter most.
In this final book in her earth-shattering Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi raises the stakes to their absolute limit and brings her epic love story to an unforgettable close.

This may not be one of the hottest YA titles out there right now, but it's certainly well-written and interesting.
Into The Still Blue is the conclusion to the Under the Never Sky trilogy, and it doesn't disappoint.
Perry and Aria have brought the remaining Dwellers and the Tides tribe together, but they now have to fight Sable and Hess for a chance to enter the Still Blue.

If you haven't read these yet, the premise is that (at some point) Earth's environment went nuts, and Aether storms made the outside world uninhabitable. Dwellers (like Aria) are people whose ancestors were selected by a lottery, and brought into Pods to live. Most of their lives have been spent in a virtual reality-like world called The Realm, due to lack of actual moving around space.
Outsiders (like Perry) are the remnants of the people left behind to face the harsh conditions of the...well outside. They have adapted somewhat, and some of them have mutations that give them to have extra senses (heightened hearing, ability to tell what people are feeling, etc.).
Perry and Aria met in book one, fell in love (eventually), and uncovered a conspiracy that has led them to this point in the book.
I mean, there's lots more to it, but that's the short version.

This one starts off with Aria waking up to a damaged arm from the previous book's ending. She, and a ragtag group of survivors from the Pod, must team up with Perry's Outsiders to try and rescue Cinder from Hess and Sable. They intend to use Cinder's power to try and open a hole in the Aether, and escape to the Still Blue, leaving Perry's tribe an Aria's friends trapped with the killer storms.
But with Roar still reeling from the death of his true love (and Perry's sister), his feelings about Sable (who killed her) may endanger the mission.
Dum, dum, dum...

This is a pretty darn good little dystopian trilogy.
Especially if you're looking for a young adult title that doesn't do the insta-love, and steers clear of the romance taking full control of the story. It's got a great love story, but it's a slow-burn kinds thing.
The ending is quite satisfying. Not everyone survives, but it won't make you want to throw the book across the room, either.
I'm not saying it's a must-read, but it's definitely something I'd recommend to fans of the genre.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Release Day Review: Batman, Vol. 5: Zero Year - Dark City by Scott Snyder

Release Date: October 15, 2014
Publisher: DC
Source: NetGalley
Author Links: Twitter | Goodreads

Before the Batcave and Robin, The Joker and the Batmobile, there was ZERO YEAR. The Riddler has plunged Gotham City into darkness. How will a young Dark Knight bring his beloved hometown from the brink of chaos and madness and back into the light? This final ZERO YEAR volume collects BATMAN #25-27 and 29-33.

Origin of the Giant Penny!
Ok, maybe nobody else cared, but I thought it was cool of Snyder to give that massive Penny that Bruce keeps in the Batcave, a fresh start.
Dear Mr. Snyder,
Could you do the Dinosaur next?

This is the second arc of Zero Year, which is Snyder's New 52 origin story for Batman.
It's not as dark as some of the previous origins, but it's not exactly light and fluffy, either.
This is a younger version of the Dark Knight. He's fallible, relatively inexperienced as Batman, and more mouthy than what we're used to seeing.
He sort of reminds me of Dick Grayson, with the snappy comebacks during fight scenes, you know?
Did I just say Snappy?
Holy shit. I did.
Did you know, that every time someone uses snappy in a sentence...
Somewhere an angel gets his AARP card?
That's deep, man. DEEP.

Anyhoo. Edward Nigma (last seen abandoning Wayne Industries) has returned as a full-fledged super villain.
The Riddler!
He's planning on taking Gotham hostage, and cleansing the earth, so to speak.
Can Batman unravel the clues fast enough to stop him?
Surprisingly...not at first.
Butbutbutbutbut, you say. He's the goddamn Batman!
Yeah, not so much. Or at least, not quite yet.
Butbutbutbutbut, you say. Batman is too well-prepared to be caught unawares!
Yeah, but nobody is born with Bruce Wayne's level of paranoia. That sort of thing is learned.
I mean, unless you're schizophrenic, of course.
So, I'm thinking that by showing Batman pull an epic fail, Snyder is giving us a solid reason for his wildly detailed contingency plans.
And also the Penny. Because, really, that was a highlight for me.

There were a couple of scenes I raised my eyebrow at, but, on the whole, this was another solid Snyder/Capullo team-up.
And if you're not reading this title, then you need to turn in you Cool Kid card.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

5th Annual Spooktacular Giveaway Hop (10/15-10/31) INT

For the 5th Annual Spooktacular Hop I'm giving away one of the spooky novels I've read this year. Please make sure that the Book Depository ships to you before entering the Rafflecopter. You can also choose the ebook edition from Amazon or B&N.

Thanks for stopping by!



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Release Day Review: Earth 2, Vol. 4: The Dark Age by Tom Taylor

Release Date: October 14, 2014
Publisher: DC
Source: NetGalley
Author Links: Twitter | Goodreads

Once thought dead, Superman now returns to Earth to do the destructive bidding of Darkseid!
The Wonders of Earth 2 have struggled to keep the forces of Brutal and Darkseid at bay. But now with the return of Superman, they can no longer stand up to the wake of destruction he brings. But now, with the emergence of a new and mysterious Batman, comes the hope that he may know how to defeat the rogue Man of Steel before Earth 2 is destroyed completely.
Collects Earth 2 #17-20, Earth 2 Annual #2

There are a lot of books that I like, but don't love. And, usually, I'll say something like, "I have hope that this title will get better."...but I don't really mean it.
Once a title starts on that downward slope, it takes a lot to get it back on track.
And Earth 2 was one of those titles.
I thought the first volume was pretty cool, but volume 2 started sliding down a bit, and then by volume 3?
Awww. Too bad. It coulda been a contender!
So when I got this sucker from NetGalley, I wasn't all that thrilled to start reading it.
But wait! Is Tom Taylor writing this now?! I love Injustice...so maaaaaybeeee?
And guess what?
Earth 2 is one of those rare unicorn comics that actually managed to leap up from mediocrity, and make a stunning about-face!
This volume made for some damn fine reading!
Everything about the tone of the book changed, and by doing that, it pushed it back into Wow! territory.

In this world, the biggest and the baddest of Earth's heroes died fighting Darkseid, and now the second-stringers are stepping up to the plate. We'll call them, The Leftovers.
Some of these heroes peaked 40 years ago, and some of them are still around, but not widely known. And then you have characters like Mr. Terrific, who used to belong to our world, but got swapped out. Kind of like Power Girl and Huntress were thrown into our Earth via Boom Tube explosion?

But, apparently, not everyone originally thought dead on Earth 2...is dead.
This is the volume that answers the Who the hell is the new Batman? question.
I'm honestly up in the air about how I feel about the backstory on that one. I liked it, but something didn't sit right with me.
Whatever. Guess we'll see where that goes.
Red Tornado's introduction was awesome, and so was Jimmy Olsen's! These characters are so totally warped from their original incarnations, that I was blown away by it!
And speaking of being blown away...

Any of you who know me will not be surprised that I stood up and did an awkward fangirl shimmy, when this lovely lady was introduced!
*screaming like a tween at a [insert No-Talent-Boy-Band name here] concert*
I love you Arthur! I'll have your merbabies! 
*holds lighter in the air...sways*

I really don't want to spoil any of the plot, so I'm not going to give any details out, but I will say that the twists and turns were spectacular.
If you're a fan of Injustice: Gods Among Us, I'm not kidding, you're going to want to get your hands one Earth 2 ASAP!
I would, however, recommend that you also go back and read volumes 1-3, since this is a continuation of those stories (albeit, a better on). It's not like they're some horribly crap books, so you shouldn't have a problem getting through them.
And it would probably be very confusing to read this, without knowing what had already happened.

Highly Recommended!