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review 2018-09-17 03:08
First comes marriage
Iron and Magic - Ilona Andrews

That was an entertaining "love you/hate you" romp. To be honest, I was not sure about attempting this, because trying to redeem magnificent bastards tends to make them decay, but had to after his show up on Magic Triumphs. I had fun, even if the format resembles a medieval romance with arranged marriage type of thing more than standard Urban fantasy fare (though to be fair, Andrews does usually veer more into the romantic as volumes pass).


Most interesting part for me was him analyzing why he failed in Magic Rises.


You can not tell me the amount of dogs left is not a 300 allegory.


Badass crown for that "Hi, honey" at the end.


There was a lot set up here and questions raised as befits a pilot to a new series, but they don't intrude that much if you want to read it as a stand alone.



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review 2018-09-16 02:31
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown - Holly Black
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown - Holly Black

  Clever chicks who kick ass and go back to save people and are kind to smaller children...I love Tana. There's plenty of creepy atmosphere, and vampire slaying, and gore for days, but there's no swearing or sex (if that's something you look for) and in its own way it's rather wholesome. Tana and Buffy would get along well together.


Library copy

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review 2018-09-15 22:05
A Discovery of Witches / Deborah Harkness
A Discovery of Witches - Deborah Harkness

Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.


I read this to fill the Spellbound square of my 2018 Halloween Bingo Card.

I know there is a fandom out there for this particular flavour of Paranormal Romance, but I am not among them. I guess that life experience shapes these tastes and mine have shaped me to reject being a fragile flower type of woman and to abhor bossy, controlling men. Diana is my nightmare as a main character, someone who thinks she is strong but in reality is always tired, hungry, injured, pale and otherwise needy. 

I also had issues with the vampires. They are a pretty namby-pamby kind of vamp--able to eat food, sometimes sleep, and exist happily by hunting deer. Essentially, they are humans with cold skin and long life expectancy. They spend an awful lot of time snarling and growling, but Matthew "purrs" rather a lot. I don't even have an idea of what that would sound like.

Then there's Matthew specifically, who's supposed to be over 1000 years old, but still acts like an adolescent. He's moody and angry for no apparent reason, full of secret sources of angst. And he's met everyone--Christopher Marlowe was his pal, Shakespeare signed a book for him, he corresponded with Charles Darwin. It's like all those folks who go for regression hypnosis and emerge thinking they are reincarnated Robert the Bruce or Cleopatra, never a pig farmer from Finland.

On top of all that, there's the relationship between Diana and Matthew. Once she decides he's the one, she keeps inviting him to bed and being astonished when he turns her down. Science says that she can't get pregnant because they are different species, but Matthew always has some lame excuse. There's some ancient covenant that forbids interspecies relationships or his mother wouldn't approve (!) or they've got all the time in the world, on and on. I don't know about other women, but if a man turned me down that often, I wouldn't be hanging around for further humiliation. Then, all of a sudden, Matthew kisses her and declares his love in front of his mother. Poof, they're married now. (That reminded me so much of a scene in Harris' Sookie Stackhouse novels where Sookie is persuaded to take some object & present it to Eric Northman, and poof! They're married) Despite this official marriage, he still won't consummate the relationship. 

Can vampires suffer erectile dysfunction? 

It's 579 pages long and they still haven't done the deed.

(spoiler show)


This is like a cross between the Mayfair Witches of Rice, Outlander by Gabaldon, and Twilight. It reminds me strongly of the work of Christine Feehan and Kresley Cole, two authors that I now avoid. Fans of these franchises will no doubt enjoy this book more than I did. Govern yourselves accordingly.

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review 2018-09-14 15:59
Magic Triumphs - Ilona Andrews

Really, what else is there to say about the closing of a saga worth it's salt?


Ok... Fast paced wrap up choke-full of badass moments, everyone gets a scene bit or at least a name check and the last solution reeked of poetic justice with a good dose of deus-ex-machina (heheh). Plus all the mommy moments that were hilarious, dysfunctional, messed up and all around weird, or awesome, or blood-thirsty, or all of the above, lol.


Now, for all the bits that I can't comment without spoiling


I'm never, ever, no matter how many times the books name him, will stop grinning at Teddy Jo's name.

Luther. And Roman. And Beau Clayton. Come on, they are so awesome.

Kate's "we are a family of monsters" acceptance moment, when she gives up on trying to shield Conlan from violence and decides to go with "but we are the most violent BAMFs around, so you are safe".

Hugh having a second Conclave crashing moment.

Kate and Hugh having their "yeap, we are siblings indeed and dad sucks" chat.

On that vein, Kate and Nicks vaguely siblingly but even more combative relationship too (seriously, this family!)

The muggle Lt stepping up with "what do you need?" and all the muggle forces showing.

Saiman, why?

Julie and Erra leaving to have their own adventures after a visit to grandma? So want to see

(spoiler show)


Oh, lookie, I just busted my yearly challenge


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review 2018-09-11 17:32
First Book in Series is a Letdown; Keep With It Though, Book Three is Pretty Great
Magic Bites - Ilona Andrews

Yikes. I forgot how much I didn't like Curran or how Kate was portrayed in book #1. I really wanted Kate to take a fire extinguisher to his head and beat him to death. At one point he grabs her by the throat and tries to beat her cause she disobeyed him. How did I forget this??? The world building wasn't that great either. Things jumped around too much and did I mention I hated Curran? Like a lot. 


"Magic Bites" is the first book in the Kate Daniels series. I know that I ended up reading this book back when I was in Iraq and I think I started reading the other two books after this while in Afghanistan and when I was permanently stay side. I don't know why I kept with them since the re-read brought back all of my disgust with the  first book in the series. 


Kate Daniels is a mercenary who starts investigating when her guardian is murdered. Kate who resisted being part of the Order or Knights of Merciful Aid. Now she is taking on a job in order to see justice done. Bodies are piling up on the People's side (humans who navigate vampires) and Shapeshifters side (the Pack led by the Beast Lord Curran). Kate isn't doing a great job navigating that mess and also seeing about dating a random guy she meets named Crest. 


Kate is  not the Kate that I am used to in this one. She stumbles around and tells people things they shouldn't know and or taunts them. She also seems to be a barely functioning alcoholic at times depending on the scene. We see glimpses of the Kate we are used to when she's working along side Derek or using her knowledge to fight. We don't know what secrets Kate has, but it seems big enough for something big and ugly deciding that it plans on taking her against her will. We know that her guardian and his ex-wife were close to her father and mother. But then again a lot of things said in this book doesn't match with what I know now, so part of my brain started to hurt trying to track all of this. 


Curran is an asshole. He purposely tries to intimidate Kate, puts his hands on her, and then accuses her of liking attention when she refuses to do what he says. I wanted someone to beat the mess out of him. 


I also hate how in the end he's the one that takes out the bad guy.

(spoiler show)

The Derek in this one sucked. He tells Kate that she needs a stronger man to tell her no. And talks about how not pretty she is. How did Kate not murder everyone?


We get our first glances at Mahon (who is not written consistently I am seeing from this book through the rest of the series) Jim, Dr. Doolittle, Ghastek, Saiman and others. And even Kate's reactions with these people isn't how we have seen her in the books in the rest of the series. Mahon is freaking reasonable which made me laugh. Dr. Doolittle si the same though at least in personality so that was nice to see. I still don't like Jim, but that's nothing new. 


The writing was just okay in this one. Not a lot of things make sense due to the world building not being that clearly defined. We had dialogue, a murder mystery, and then you would read about power words and wonder where did they come from. I think the biggest issue is that Andrews hid stuff from the readers that made it hard to know what was going on with Kate and why Curran was so interested in finding out. 


The ending has Kate on a slightly new path with her being a friend of the Pack. I would have passed on that last thing. 


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