Review: Magic for Nothing by Seanan McGuire

MAGIC FOR NOTHING is the sixth book in the InCryptid series. Readers can jump right into the storyline although spoilers for the previous book, CHAOS CHOREOGRAPHY, are given. MAGIC FOR NOTHING switches narrators as we start to see the life of Antimony “Annie” Price, the younger sister of Verity Price who was featured in CHAOS CHOREOGRAPHY.

Annie is forced to go undercover in the very organization her family has spent generations avoiding- the Covenant of St. George. Fortunately, her stint with a circus gives her an edge and Annie soon finds herself in the midst of a diabolical Covenant plot, with no help immediately available. Can Annie find a way to save herself and the lives of the people she’s grown to love?

I didn’t expect to like Annie. Prior books featuring her older siblings have painted her in a less than appealing manner and Annie initially does nothing in MAGIC FOR NOTHING to dispel that impression. However, Seanan McGuire isn’t a master in the urban fantasy genre for nothing as a different view of Annie starts to emerge. By the concluding chapters, I was cheering for Annie and hoping against hope that Seanan McGuire was not going to leave me hanging.

And oh, does Seanan McGuire leave us hanging! The cliffhanger in MAGIC FOR NOTHING is perhaps one of the most heart breaking ones I’ve ever read. Why, oh why, must I wait for the next installment rather than digging right in and seeing what happens next? Seanan McGuire, please hurry with the next book as I must know what happens!

MAGIC FOR NOTHING introduces us to a whole new aspect of the InCryptid world and I’m eager to see what ensues with Sam, Leo, and the Covenant. Even better, we learn more about the Aeslin mice. Seanan McGuire never fails to deliver a phenomenal tale and MAGIC FOR NOTHING is yet another example of her stunning talent.  Highly recommended!

Review: Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs

It all started with cookies and chocolate….

Mercy Thompson Hauptman has been abducted from a convenience store after running out to buy more eggs for the cookies she is baking. Unfortunately, the kidnapping isn’t part of a local plot but instead involves the head of the Milan seethe and ultimately the leader of all the European vampires. Iacopa Bonarata, also known as the Lord of Night, intends to use Mercy against her mate and Alpha werewolf, Adam Hauptman. Cut off from the pack bonds that allow Mercy and Adam to sense one another, Mercy will have to survive in a different world where the rules and relationships are very different from the ones she is used to.

SILENCE FALLEN is the tenth book in the Mercy Thompson series and wow, this is a series that never gets stale! SILENCE FALLEN is best appreciated in the context of the series as a whole, particularly since the relationships have already been established and the strength of those bonds is part of what makes SILENCE FALLEN so gut-wrenching. Readers familiar to the series should note that the narration in SILENCE FALLEN is slightly different as the story alternates between the points of view of Adam and Mercy, with the time line not staying strictly linear.

SILENCE FALLEN takes the Mercy Thompson series in a whole new direction as we see the world continuing to broaden. We are beginning to see the worldwide impact of Adam’s deal with the Fae that made the Tri-Counties a safe zone. The politics are starting to get sticky and it’s going to be interesting to see where these new developments take us in future books.

I love that we get to see Mercy’s independence and determination shine through. She is on her own for most of SILENCE FALLEN and we are reminded of how she survived without a pack prior to her relationship with Adam. Mercy is a fighter but she also knows her own strengths and weaknesses.  Mercy is perhaps my favorite urban fantasy heroine as Patricia Briggs shows us what a strong, resilient woman can do, both with her mate and on her own.

SILENCE FALLEN is yet another stunning installment in the Mercy Thompson series. Patricia Briggs is without a doubt one of the masters of the urban fantasy genre. Highly recommended!

*copy of ebook provided courtesy of Netgalley*

Review: Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews

magicbinds

Kate Daniels and Curran Lennart, the former Beast Lord, are making wedding preparations, starting with who will officiate their ceremony. Unfortunately, Saiman has been kidnapped and Kate can’t allow the challenge from her father to go unnoticed. Worse yet, a Witch Oracle sees a vision that the end of the world- or at least Atlanta- will occur if they follow through with the wedding. Can Kate change the future and keep the man she loves by her side?

MAGIC BINDS is the ninth book in the Kate Daniels series and I highly suggest reading this series in order. The world building and character development have been building over the course of the series. MAGIC BINDS continues the story arc involving Roland’s encroachment on Atlanta and thus is best appreciated in the context of the series as a whole. Besides, the Kate Daniels series is one of the best urban fantasy series out there so missing out on reading even one book is just sad!

Kate is one of my favorite urban fantasy heroines. I love her feisty attitude, even when odds seem firmly against her. MAGIC BINDS shows Kate with a new challenge- she has to fight her own urges to rule as her father does. Curran’s love for Kate and his willingness to help her through the moments when she’s not quite so human make me love him even more.

And oh… how could I talk about MAGIC BINDS without at least mentioning Christopher and Roman. Roman may be my new favorite character in the series (second to Kate, of course). I love his snarky comments and hope we get to see at least a short story featuring him. As for Christopher, I won’t reveal spoilers but oh my! The revelations we get about Christopher alone would have made MAGIC BINDS a hit!

If you haven’t read a book by Ilona Andrews, stop what you are doing now and read the Kate Daniels series. You won’t regret it. Ilona Andrews is one of THE best urban fantasy authors out there and the Kate Daniels series is proof. Highly recommended!

Review: Blood of the Earth by Faith Hunter

BloodOfTheEarthNell Ingram is forging her own path as a “widder-woman”, free from the cult she grew up in. Unfortunately, some of the men from God’s Cloud of Glory Church just won’t leave Nell alone on her land, particularly after she helped Jane Yellowrock free a missing vampire and save more than a hundred children from the cult (see the Jane Yellowrock series for more details).  Now, Rick LaFleur and his team from PsyLED want Nell to help them with yet another investigation as a paid member of the team. Nell will have to face her past if she hopes to move forward with her future.

BLOOD OF THE EARTH is the first book in the Soulwood series, although it is loosely tied to the Jane Yellowrock series. Unlike some spinoff series, you don’t have to be familiar with any of the Jane Yellowrock series in order to appreciate BLOOD OF THE EARTH. Faith Hunter gives new readers (like me!) all of the necessary back story in order to thoroughly enjoy BLOOD OF THE EARTH.

Faith Hunter does a marvelous job with character development! I love how Faith Hunter drops us little pieces of Nell’s story rather than giving us one giant info dump. Instead, we get to know Nell and her past gradually while watching her step out into her future. Nell is an intriguing character, and one I look forward to seeing more of in the future. However, I have to admit that I have a soft spot for Occam, the wereleopard, and how gentle he is with Nell, even as he allows her to stand on her own.

Atmosphere is key to the success of BLOOD OF THE EARTH. Soulwood is a very unique land and I love how Faith Hunter makes it practically a sentient being. BLOOD OF THE EARTH shows us the mysterious connection Nell has with her land and it will be interesting to see how this develops as the series progresses.

BLOOD OF THE EARTH is a stunning and exciting start to the Soulwood series. I have to admit that I’ve had friends telling me I need to read Faith Hunter for a while now and after finishing BLOOD OF THE EARTH, I’m convinced! Faith Hunter’s BLOOD OF THE EARTH is urban fantasy at its finest. Spectacular world building, superb character development, and a whole host of intriguing paranormal beings make BLOOD OF THE EARTH a must-read for urban fantasy fans. Highly recommended!

*A copy was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Review: Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews

MagicShiftsKate Daniels had to walk away from her life as Consort in order to keep the peace and avoid an instant conflict with her father (see MAGIC BREAKS for more details). Her mate and Beast Lord, Curran Lennart, followed her and now they are adjusting to life outside the Keep. Unfortunately, things are never quiet in Atlanta as Kate and Curran are dealing with two mysteries- why the ghouls are attacking and what has happened to Eduardo? Meanwhile, Curran has been offered the Mercenary Guild as part of his terms for leaving the Pack. Can Kate and Curran survive this latest series of onslaughts?

One of the things that I love about Ilona Andrews is that the writing never gets stale. Instead, our characters continue to grow and change while the world building continues to develop. Each new installment offers up something new and refreshing. MAGIC SHIFTS is no exception as we see Kate in several tenuous situations that had my heart practically stopping in fear.

MAGIC SHIFTS is the eighth book in the Kate Daniels series and I highly suggest reading it in the context of the series as a whole. There are a ton of threads coming together in MAGIC SHIFTS, even as we see Kate and Curran transitioning to life outside the Keep. Besides, I can’t imagine anyone not wanting to read each and every book of this phenomenal series!

I love the Kate Daniels series as Kate is one of my favorite urban fantasy heroines! MAGIC SHIFTS takes readers on a new, exciting venture as I can’t wait to see how the Mercenary Guild will look after tangling with Curran. If you haven’t read a Kate Daniels book and you love urban fantasy, what are you waiting for? Drop everything and start reading this series now! Highly recommended!

*A copy of this book was provided free by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*