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review 2018-07-16 13:10
Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews
Iron and Magic - Ilona Andrews

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

Of course I love this book! How could I not? I have been really eager to get my hands on this book and love the fact that the whole concept started out as an April Fool's joke. Being the awesome people that the writing team of Ilona Andrews are, they decided to make this book happen when their fans showed a desire to read it. I did wonder how I would feel reading an entire book about Hugh. Hugh is one of the bad guys! I can tell you that I enjoyed every single moment reading this book.

This book is set in the same world as the Kate Daniels series. I do think that readers could enjoy this book without reading this series but I think it would work best if read in order. If you were to read this book before reading Kate Daniels, there would be quite a spoilers for the series. Plus Kate Daniels is awesome and you don't want to miss those books. 

Hugh is one of Roland's men in the Kate Daniels series and as I said earlier one of the bad guys. As I read this book, I started to understand Hugh and some of the things he has done made more sense. At the start of this book Hugh is pretty much at rock bottom. His men are doing well and he knows that he needs to do something to improve the situation. He makes a deal with a village to offer protection in exchange for food and shelter by marrying Elara who has her own set of abilities.

Hugh and Elara were so much fun together. They bickered constantly and I have to say I loved every moment of it. I don't know if I have ever had so much fun watching two people fight. Despite their disagreements they grow to have a mutual respect for each other. They also quickly prove to be very honorable and committed to making their agreement work. 

This book had everything I was looking for. There were some pretty comical scenes with great banter. The characters were wonderful and I really getting to see a few favorites from the main series make an appearance. There were some exciting action scenes and a finale that blew me away. I can't wait to read more about this group of characters.

Initial Thoughts
Of course, I loved this book! I wasn't sure that it would happen but Hugh won me over before the end of this book. Elara was great and I loved watching her interact with Hugh and take care of her people. This book had a whole lot of excitement and kept me guessing until the very end. I thought that the way that Elara and Hugh bickered with each other really added to the overall charm of the book.

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review 2018-07-14 13:50
"Magic Shifts - Kate Daniels #8" by Ilona Andrews - THIS is how you reboot a series
Magic Shifts - Ilona Andrews

 

I delayed reading this book for a while as I knew the previous " I am your Father and I may need to kill you" story in the last book,"Magic Breaks" was originally meant to be the end of the series and I didn't want to spoil what I'd already read with a faint-hearted extension requested by the publishers. I was also a little disappointed in and frustrated by the last book.

 

I should have had more faith in the writers. "Magic Shifts" does exactly what the title implies, it shifts the series to a new level - completely rebooting it.

 

So how do you reboot a series?

 

You don’t wallow in nostalgia, repeat storylines, make things a similar as possible to the original but with a few decorative twists.

 

You do make the present valuable and the future something to hope for; introduce new threats, new uncertainties and new opportunities to collaborate; dare to let your characters grow, let their actions have consequences, let their lives have meaning beyond kill-the-bad-guy save-the-world try-not-to-die.

 

When we first met Kate as a misfit mercenary, calling “Here, kitty, kitty” to the werelion Beastlord in "Magic Bites", she was alone and in hiding, taking on all-comers because she had nothing to lose and she knew her doom was coming for her one day. She was afraid of her blood and ashamed at being good at nothing but killing.

 

At the start of "Magic Shifts" as Kate rides home through the Atlanta night, sword on her back, blood on her clothes, we immediately see how she's changed: she's comfortable in her own skin, reconciled to her power and happy to use it. 

“…the night shadows watched us and I watched them back. Let’s play who can be a better killer. My sword and I love this game.”

She's also not alone. She now has a family, friends and a city to protect. At the end of the last book, she has turned her whole world upside down - a truce of some sort with her father, a responsibility of some sort for the city she claimed, a life completely outside of the Pack, even a house in the suburbs. She and Curren have gotten past the will we won’t we? stage into the more interesting how will we stage. Of course, she still has this I-have-to-save-everybody reflex, she still behaves as if she's invulnerable, although the evidence shows she isn't and she still worries about the monster she might become. I guess that's what makes Kate Kate.

 

Curren is having fun in the suburbs, free from the politics of being Beastlord and enjoying being underestimated by strangers who see him as Kate's muscle.

 

This is a fast-paced action-packed book that starts with a battle that's really more of a slaughter - two against thirty isn't really fair when the two are Kate and Curren - and the violence escalates from there. We get new monsters, a new baddy an interesting new ally, all wrapped up in a puzzle that uses characters from earlier books in new ways. One of my favourite pieces was Kate meeting her I'm-the-most-dangerous-being-in-the-world father at Applebees for a family dinner. That started off as funny and became quietly menacing.

 

Although the pace is fast, it's always perfectly controlled. .When I reached the penultimate chapters I thought “Oh no - cliffhanger ending” I should have known better. What I got was a perfectly executed, action-packed, denouement that delivered a satisfying conclusion to the puzzles in the book, followed by an epilogue that deepened the emotional impact of ending and opened intriguing possibilities for the next book.

 

This is how you do Urban Fantasy when you’re at the top of your game.

 

I won't delay in reading book nine.

 

 

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review 2018-07-12 08:56
Sloe Screw (River Street Bar Series, #3) by Nazarea Andrews
Sloe Screw - Nazarea Andrews

 

Sloe Screw focuses on what's important. Andrews is a puppet master when it comes to pulling heartstrings. Vivian and Matteo discover there are three sides to every story. Heartache, regret and the hope for a brighter day. Vivian is running from heartbreaking disappointment. Matteo has suffered through tragic loss. What begins in obligation becomes a game changer for a couple of lost souls. Vivian is searching for adventure. Matteo needs a reason to hope. Can they step away from the pain and take a risk on forever? A courageous tale of healing that tempts it's way into the heart.

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text 2018-07-11 22:38
Reading progress update: I've read 47%.
Magic Shifts - Ilona Andrews

I delayed this book for a while as I knew the previous " I am your Father and I may need to kill you" story in the last book was originally meant to be the end of the series and I didn't want to spoil what I'd already read with a faint-hearted extension requested by the publisher's.

 

I should have had more faith in the writers. This post-Pack episode is energetic and full of renewed vigour.

 

The fight scenes are strong.  The enemies seem to be new and the dynamic between Kate and Currently is changing in interesting ways.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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review 2018-07-09 04:18
Review: Playing Dirty by Amy Andrews
Playing Dirty - Amy Andrews

4.25 stars - Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

The first rule any player for the Sydney Smoke learns is this: Stay away from the coach’s daughter. That’s all well and good for newly-traded hotshot Kyle Leighton. He’s come to be coached by Griffin King and no woman would ever take precedence over rugby. Only when Kyle goes to a bar and has a blazing hot one-night stand with the mysterious Val, he has no idea that she’s the one woman in all of Sydney he’s supposed to stay away from. One mistake like that could jeopardize his career – not to mention Val’s already strained relationship with her father. It’s clear to both Val and Kyle that they should stay away from one another. Except some passions burn too hot to ignore…

Playing Dirty is smoking hot and a whole lot of fun. Where can I put an order in for one of Amy Andrews’s Sydney Smoke players? Ms. Andrews has a gift for penning insanely hot athletes who are seriously sexy, incredibly talented on the pitch and in the bedroom, and yet they’re never full of themselves. In other words, the whole team is made up of perfect book boyfriend material and Kyle Leighton is no exception. Kyle is talented, fun, and has a big heart. He isn’t flawless and it drove me nuts when he made decisions in Val’s interest without talking to her, but when he makes mistakes they’re made with good intentions and a kind heart. Val is a blast to read about and I’ve been looking forward to her story from the very first book in the series. Like Kyle, she’s a funny and kind protagonist and it’s easy to adore her. She and Kyle have a red hot romance that made the pages of Playing Dirty fly by and I was rooting for them every step of the way.

Kyle and Val’s romance shines, but there’s an equally important secondary plot in Playing Dirtythat will just tug on your heartstrings. Val carries a lot of hurt buried not-so-deep beneath the surface and it’s due to her relationship with her father. She desperately wants her father’s love, but there’s so much grief and guilt in their past that Griff can’t see past to give it to her. Kyle, the outsider in this situation, gets involved because he can’t bear to see Val hurting. The result is a messy, emotional journey that’s intertwined with the romance and I loved it.

Playing Dirty is the sixth book in the Sydney Smoke Rugby series but it can easily be read as a standalone. Every book in this series is a great mix of humor, heat, and heart and Kyle and Val’s story is no exception. I adored Playing Dirty and by the time I finished it I was grinning like a loon (it doesn’t hurt that Ms. Andrews’s heroes excel at incredibly fun, over-the-top displays of affection). I can’t wait to see what Ms. Andrews has in store for readers in the next Sydney Smoke book!


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

 

Source: witandsin.blogspot.com/2018/07/review-playing-dirty-by-amy-andrews.html
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