Magic Strikes

This review contains spoilers.

Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews

 4345498

  • Genre : Urban Fantasy
  • Date Started :  July 22, 2015
  • Date Finished : July 23, 2015

Description: You can read the full description from the author’s website. This is the 3rd book in the Kate Daniel Series.

I am in love with this series and I’m finding it incredibly hard to not read ahead of my book club. Everything about this series has me hooked and ready for more. I’m usually that person who would skim the fighting scenes but not in this book. There is so much action in this book and it flows well. This book is about Kate getting pulled into a world of underground arena/gladiator style fighting.You read that correctly, gladiator style fighting, and apparently this is not her first time in this style of fight.

Much to Kate’s frustration she finds herself caring for a lot of people. I don’t mean caring for a sickly relative, I mean friends. Kate’s always been told to trust only herself and to not make friends. This is a constant struggle for Kate, especially as her bond grows with Andrea, Derek and the pack. Kate has a big heart, she can’t help it. So when she gets a call to help with a pack death and is told they don’t need her help, she is slightly uneasy. It’s not her job and if they needed help they would ask. After one of the longest days ever, she goes home and is in fairly good spirits because she knows she has 1 slice of pie left. Kate’s super excited about the pie, it’s sort of hilarious.

Kate gets a call from Saiman, informing her that Derek broke into his house. It’s Kate to the rescue and she finds out that Derek is after tickets to the Midnight Games. Kate negotiates Derek’s release but is then pulled into going with Saiman to the games to help him evaluate a team competing. Derek uses this chance to ask Kate to give someone at the games a note, a girl someone. Kate is suspicious but thinks Derek just has a crush on some girl.

During the first night at the games, Kate learns that the girl Derek is looking for wants to leave the cult/group she joined, the same group that Saiman wanted Kate to evaluate. The girl will give the pack information if they help her escape. Kate reads the note after the girl throws it away and discovers that Derek has arranged a spot to meet. Too bad the girl turns on him and Derek is left outside one of the packs properties and is severely beaten. It’s really bad and it made me feel so strongly for this kid and so much anger to the ones who hurt him. Derek may act like a man but before this incident, he was just a teenage smart ass with lots of confidence.

Jim and his group of guards hide Derek and the other bodies from Curran. Derek is in bad shape and they think he might go loup. Kate learns that the pack has been hiding it all from Curran. Turns out that Curran’s rule number 1 is the pack is forbidden from participating in the Midnight games after what happened when he took over. Jim has been investigating and has an inside man in the games and thought Curran would not understand.

Things are super tense and Kate, because she is awesome, makes a comment to Curran telling him that her and Jim are running away together. Of course, Curran gets pissed and it’s hilarious. The tension between Kate and Curran was fantastic in this book. Curran and Kate make a bet, if he can find her and the pack members before the pack grace period is up, she has to cook him dinner, naked. So much tension! Curran does find them, of course but she traps him in a loup cage and tells Julie not to let him out before the hour is up.

The pack wants revenge on the group that has been killing pack members so Jim, a few pack members, Kate and Saiman entering the Midnight Games. Lot of great fighting scenes happen when they are at the games. We discover Saiman’s true form, get to see Jim, Derek, Kate, Andrea, Raphael and Dali (a clumsy partially blind tiger) fight together. Shit hits the fan though when Curran, Mohan and Aunt B. show up at the Games. Curran replaces Saiman on the team and they end up kicking major butt.

We end up learning that they are dealing with mythological figures from India, who somehow have tricked M-scanners to think they are human. The bad guys in this book eat the pack members they take and want to steal the prize gem from the Midnight Games. This gem can cause the shifters to not shift and they want to use it to destroy the pack. We find out a little more about Roland and how he is connected to this group of mythological creatures and how the pack is growing too large for Roland to ignore anymore. We also learn Kate’s big secret and exactly why she is so worried about her blood. She shatters a weapon that can only be destroyed by Roland himself, which basically announces who she is.

Everything that happens to Derek in this book made my heart melt and you know his character has been forever changed. Julie’s school experience and how Kate handles what the kid is going through is completely heart warming. And now we just need to wait to see how Kate and Curran’s naked dinner turns out. Oh wait, I think Curran said she could wear underwear that he picks out.

This book had me hooked. We learned so much and experienced a lot of important story building events.  It was really hard not reading ahead so I’m giving this book 5 stars. I would read it again and again and it only reinforces my love for all things Kate Daniels.

Tangled Taurus Book Review Rating 5 Stars

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Burned

This review contains spoilers. 

Burned by Karen Marie Moning

12444297

  • Genre : Paranormal Romance – Urban Fantasy
  • Date Started :  July 5, 2015
  • Date Finished : July 10, 2015

Description: You can read the full description from the author’s website. This is the 7th book in the Fever series.

Not a lot happens in this book and it was a let down compared to all of Moning’s other books. I still love the characters and the world and had a blast reading the dialog between characters and internal dialog but the story was just sooooooo boring. I kept reading thinking, is something going to happen and when is Dani coming back? We hear more about the story of the Unseelie King, the song of making and his concubine, but nothing worth knowing, yet.

Dani disappears into the mirror world or Shadows or whatever they call it pretty early in the book and stays gone for 75% of the book. I never realized how much I would miss Dani’s annoyingness, is that a word, until she was gone. Dani made things interesting and exciting because she was always rushing into things. Yes it was frustrating early on but it kept the story moving and me hooked. As soon as the smart ass, fast talking fast paced kid was gone, the plot slowed down to a slow crawl. I knew that Moning had to age Dani and had wondered how she would do that. I NEVER expected Moning to do it this way. I feel like the new character introduction was not surprising at all but multiple personalities, really? I miss Dani and while I’m starting to like Jada, I want a nice mix of them both and not straight Jada.

While Dani is lost in the other realm, Mac gets a huge entourage she can’t get rid of and then literally disappears. Yes she becomes invisible. I have to say, Mac becoming invisible was one of the best parts about this book. It’s Mac, you know she is going to do things she should not and see things she should not. Sneaking around Chesters and following Ryodan around, watching certain someone’s making out and getting it on. I enjoyed Mac in this book, she was fantastic. Her and Barrons bickering back and forth at the most inappropriate time. They were great. Still a little mad at Barrons for what he did to Mac and hope they make up.

Other happenings, Unseelie Princesses, who should not exist pop into town. Jada takes over the abbey when Kat disappears. Kat’s being helped by Ryodan and Kasteo. Lor pretends to be pri-ya in order to get laid. Jada doesn’t have her Sword, still have no idea what happened with that. They rescue Christian from the hag who he sacrificed himself to in ICED. In the process of rescuing Christian, one of the druids is killed. Towards the end of the book, Mac is sneaking around Chesters and discovers the druid being brought back to life and wonders if they made him like the nine.

Overall I still enjoyed Burned and Moning’s ability to bring her characters to life. I’m over the switching character point of views every chapter though. I understand it makes it easier to immediately know who the voice is of the chapter but it seemed unnecessary. I’m giving Burned by Karen Marie Moning a 3.5 stars because it was good and I might read it again, just in the distant, way off and out there future.

Tangled Taurus Book Review Rating 3.5 Stars

Monster

This review contains spoilers. 

Monster by A. Lee Martinez

7159704

  • Genre : Urban Fantasy – Supernatural – Paranormal – Fantasy – Humor
  • Date Started :  April 23, 2015
  • Date Finished : May 1, 2015

Description: You can read the full description from the author’s website.

Based off the book description, I was expecting a very different book.

Monster is a human who works for Cryptobiological Containment and Rescue Services, basically he traps mythological creatures. Judy is a human who has horrible luck and works at a grocery store. They don’t really like each other but Monster seems to hate everyone and Judy just seems unhappy with life and takes that out on others. They end up meeting each other due to yetis destroying the grocery store that Judy works at. She calls animal control and they send Monster and his sidekick, Chester. Chester is a paper gnome who is the only voice of reason and logic, even though he is not from this world and does not understand puny little human thoughts.

They end up running into each other again after Judy’s apartment is destroyed by trolls. Lots of bad things happen to Judy and she asks to do a ride along with Monster. Judy’s thinking of maybe having a career change. Problem is, Judy’s ability to remember and understand what’s going on with the mystical world is fleeting because some human brains don’t accept it as magic. She has to wear a rune on her forehead that helps her remember what she has been through and who Monster and Chester are. The book explains this and how magic is dying in this world and making it harder for most humans to recognize a mythological creature as what it is vs just a dog.

We find out later that Judy is a special human who is the universes plan to stopping Lotus, the leach, who has been abusing the power of the stone (the universe) for billions of years. Essentially Judy is the key to saving the world. This explains why Judy has always had such bad luck. The universe and her subconscious try to help her but the universe is sort of stupid and does not quite understand the way the human mind works. It sends Judy or Monster creatures to help but tends to only make things worse. Of course they figure out what’s going on and after Monster joins with the stone to absorb some of its knowledge, they are able to defeat Lotus and right the world. They stop Lotus from destroying humans and turning them all into cats.

Overall I was expecting a story about hunting monsters and that’s not what you get at all. While the story was a good idea and could have been something entertaining, it fell flat for me. Up until about 75% of the book, it was slow going. Instead of a thrilling and humorous monster hunt I got a boring story about a guy who only cares about himself and hates his job, a woman who is content with her life of unlucky living and a plot to destroy the world that was just meh. The book is not bad it’s just rather slow and not what I wanted.

I’m giving Monster by A. Lee Martinez a 2 star.

Tangled Taurus Book Review Rating 2 Stars

*Spoilers* First Grave on the Right

First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

8788554

  • Genre : Paranormal – Supernatural – Urban Fantasy – Romance – Chick Lit
  • Date Started :  March 9, 2015
  • Date Finished : March 9, 2015

Description: You can read the full description on the author’s website.

Charley can see dead people and has been able to since birth. Yes, that’s right, she remembers this because she can remember being born. Not like you and I know we were born because we have pictures or video and we are alive, but she can remember the doctors cutting her cord. Life is different for Charley and she is not your average human. She also happens to be a grim reaper, THE grim reaper, and the dead come to her because she is bright. Charley is also a Private Investigator and a consultant for the local police force.The dead come to her for help crossing over and if solving a murder helps get her father and uncle a promotion, why not right?

I enjoyed the story, the evolving case and how it wrapped everything up. I was not expecting that the case the police, Charley and Garrett were working on would intertwine and evolve into the big case it became. I liked that through her own abilities and her uncle believing her, they could work together and solve the case. In the forefront you have the cases they work and the dead clients that Charley helps, then in the background you have a much larger issue. The larger issue, a war between Heaven and Hell that the author barely touched on, that is bubbling to the surface.

Charley’s interactions with her dead clients are hilarious and great. It was interesting and kind of cool to see how they helped with her cases. Although I was surprised that the dead were not in denial about being dead for longer. I mean with the exception of the one ghost who would not leave his body, but even he got over it pretty quickly. Her interactions with real people on the other hand are a little less friendly, except with Cookie and her daughter. Charley’s reactions to people are totally understandable though since they tend to look at her weird or funny because of the rumors about her. I mean, look at how Garrett and Tate treated her. Garrett stopped being friendly toward her and Tate verbally attacked her. I do think her reactions are a tad extreme but I guess after the dozenth time of the same reactions, you get short with people. The woman has created some sweet sarcasm retorts though to cover up her insecurities. Her sarcasm spoke to me, probably because I’m pretty sarcastic too but it had me laughing out loud with how outrageous she is. It makes me want to get to know Charley even more and pick at her brain!

Now for the good part, her love interests. Obviously Reyes is the main love interest here, but I think this might either turn into the “can’t have them” sort of relationship or they recklessly love one another while Heaven and Hell battle it out and they live with death at their heels. I like their intense, sort of relationship, where they don’t really know each other all that well but are extremely lustful. I mean he’s like smoke most of the time and in a coma, so it’s not like they’ve had the opportunity to get to know one another. Yep, that sounds as weird as it does while reading the book but this book is filled with odd paranormal activity, so just go with it. Then we have Garrett. Charley thinks he is hot but it doesn’t seem like she is into him at all, maybe if he was not such an asshole, her words. Jones drops a few giant hints that Garrett is into Charley, flirting, getting jealous and worrying about her safety. I’m not a fan of either love interest yet but I look forward to learning more about each of them.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book and was not expecting so much humor. First grave on the right is a witty, paranormal, chick lit novel with some heavier undertones. If you like slightly raunchy humor, over-confident females (pretty sure this is just covering her insecurities), witty banter and mysteries, you will like this book. My only real irritation with this book is that there are so many attempts at jokes. I found some of them hilarious but it almost felt like Jones was trying too hard to make you laugh. I gave this book a 3.5 stars because it was a great read but book 1 is just not purchase worthy for me.

Tangled Taurus Book Review Rating 3.5 Stars