Read in November

Number of Books Read: 13

Below are the books I read in November but didn’t have time to review this month.


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Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Series: Hidden Legacy #1

Rating: A

A brand new series from the Andrews’ writing team. Nevada Baylor is hired to bring a dangerous fire-starter in to his family before he causes more damage to the city. This is a wonderful start to the Hidden Legacy series. I loved that Nevada’s powers were more defensive, which is different from Andrews’ other heroines who typically have more offensive powers. I look forward to the next book in the series which is slotted to come out sometime next year.


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Tiger Magic by Jennifer Ashley

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Series: Shifters Unbound #5

Rating: C

Carly Randal gets pulled into the world of Shiftertown after accepting help from the cat shifter, Tiger. Not the greatest installment in the series, but not bad either. Everything was just too easy for Carly and Tiger, which made reading the book a little boring.


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The Winter King by C.L. Wilson

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Series: Weathermages of Mystral #1

Rating: C –

After conquering the summerlands in the name of vengeance Wynter takes one of the Summer King’s daughters as his bride. This is one of those books where the heroine spends almost the entire story being neglected and abused by everyone around her. Everyone hated her because of where she came from and they made their opinions really clear, even Wynter. I hate martyr story-lines and this was definitely that. Despite this, CL Wilson’s writing style is engaging and I might eventually pick-up the next book in the series just for that.


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Tethered by Meljean Brook

Genre: Steampunk Romance

Series: Iron Seas #2.5

Rating: A

Yasmeen and Archimedes are blackmailed into helping a friend find a missing relative.  I absolutely loved this short story featuring the main characters from Heart of Steel. They are both dealing with their emotional hang-ups while trying to take care of one another as they head into a dangerous job. I would love to see more of this pair together and I’m hoping that Brook will eventually decide to give them another book to themselves.


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Tarnished Knight by Bec McMaster

Genre: Paranormal Romance/Steampunk Romance

Series: London Steampunk #1.5

Rating: B

Esme is devastated when she finds out that vampire John Doolan has no plans to make her his thrall. The two spend the length of this short story circling each other. I read this to see if I’d be interested in starting the series.  The world here wasn’t anything especially new, but the writing was interesting enough that I’ll give one of the full length books a shot.


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Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Series: Kate Daniels #6

Rating: A

Kate Daniels and crew venture overseas in a bid to get medicine to stop shifters from going loup. I loved this book to pieces. The setting outside of Atlanta was a breath of fresh air for this addition to the series. I loved how vulnerable Kate is with everything that is going on with Curren and the pack. It was also great to see a ramp-up in tension centered around Roland. It feels like the stakes are finally raising in the series and I can’t wait to see how it all plays out.


RIVETED, A Novel of the Iron Seas

Riveted by Meljean Brook

Genre: Steampunk Romance

Series: Iron Seas #3

Rating: B+

Annika is from a hidden village in Iceland and has spent the past four years searching for her sister when she runs into David. David is bent on fulfilling a promise to his mother that threatens to expose Annika’s people. While set in the same world as the rest of the Iron Seas series, this book can stand firmly on its own. There are no connections between the other books in the series so this would be a good introduction to the series if you’re not wanting to start with The Iron Duke.

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Night Shift

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Night Shift

Authors: Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, Lisa Shearin, and Milla Vane

Publish Date: 2014

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

Series: Psy/Changeling 12.1, Kate Daniels 6.5, SPI Files .5

Rating: B+


Night Shift is one of the best anthologies I’ve read in a while with contributions from three powerhouse writers in their respective genres.

It says something when the “worst” story in a collection is from Nalini Singh. Secrets at Midnight is her contribution and it’s pretty boring. Leopard shifter, Bastien Smith, has scented his mate but quickly finds out that not all is well with her. Singh can write some compelling short stories, so I was surprised at how she seemed to have sleepwalked through this one. The conflict is non-existent and it’s painfully obvious what is going on with his mate from the minute Bastien starts talking about her. If I had to rate this one on an individual basis it would be a C –.

Magic Steals by Ilona Andrews was the reason I had been so anxious to get my hands on the anthology. The story takes place in the Kate Daniels world and follows the characters Jim and Dali who were featured in Magic Dreams, which I had adored. This story completely lived up to my high expectations. Dali is approached to look into the case of a missing person and Jim tags along for the ride. It was great to see Dali take the lead and I loved getting a little more of these two working together. I’m still holding out hope that we’ll eventually get a full-length novel featuring Jim and Dali, as they’re just fantastic. A+

Lucky Charms by Lisa Shearin was the only author in the collection who was new to me. Makenna Frazier is a seer who gets pulled into a high profile case involving leprechauns on her very first day of work. I’m guessing this is a prequel to Shearin’s Urban Fantasy series starring Makenna because the story works to set-up a much more involved plot. All in all, this was a good contribution and I was intrigued enough by the characters to potentially read the first book in the series. B+

The Beast of Blackmoor by Milla Vane (aka Meljean Brook) was my second favorite contribution in the anthology. Mala is on a quest for her goddess to tame the beast of Blackmoor in a corrupt kingdom dominated by a tyrant. I really loved how different interpretations of words and personal perceptions influenced this short story. I’m not a huge fan of medieval settings but this one worked for me. I’ll be looking forward to the first full length book set in the world. A-

All in all a great anthology that is well worth the money.

Bayou Moon

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Bayou Moon

Author: Ilona Andrews

Publish Date: 2010

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Series: Edge, book 2

Rating: A


After being disappointed by the first book in Ilona Andrew’s Edge series (On the Edge), I went into Bayou Moon with some hesitation. Luckily, the things that annoyed me in On the Edge (mostly the overbearing and overly powerful male protagonist) were not present here. In fact, it seems like the Andrews’ writing team have found their footing with this installment. Bayou Moon is rich in world building, includes some intriguing new characters, and has quickly become one of my favorite books.

Cherise Mar’s parents have gone missing, leaving her in charge of an extended family group and their estate. In a race to get back home with some much needed paperwork, Cherise runs into William, a wolf shifter. William has been hired to discover what a notorious killer is searching for and turn it over to an elite intelligence agency calling itself the Mirror. As luck would have it, what the killer is seeking has something to do with the Mar family. So, William and Cherise must work together to stop the killer from cutting a bloody path through the family to get what he wants.

I really loved the atmosphere of Bayou Moon. Andrews’ dedicated a lot of time to building the world of the Edge and the part we see throughout this story is reminiscent of hardcore Cajun country. It’s a very swampy, remote, and muddy setting that the characters are working with, which is one of the favorite types of atmospheres.  The downside to this is that at times it slowed down the pacing of the story down at times as there were a lot of details that needed to be covered about the general set-up of the world and understanding the Mar family dynamics. At the center of all the action is William and Cherise who are trying to deal with holding off a killer and settling some bloody family feuds.

One reason why I always love to pick-up an Andrews book is because I know the heroine will be well-rounded and dynamic character. Cherise was not a disappointment on this front. She handles all the chaos thrown at her with as much sanity as she can but still has justifiable worries, mistakes, and breakdowns throughout the story to make her human. One of the things thrown in her path is William who is a wolf shifter. In this universe shifters are looked at as unstable and often prosecuted just for existing. So, William tries his best to hide what he is from those around him in fear of being hunted down. The way Andrews writes William is one of the highlights of the story for me. There’s something slightly off about his mannerisms and how he just can’t seem to completely grasp all the nuances of normal social interactions that makes him fascinating.

All in all, a really fantastic read and I can’t wait to pick-up Fate’s Edge, the next installment in the series.

Kinked

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Author: Thea Harrison

Publish Date: 2013

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Series: Elder Races, book 6

Rating: C+


I love Thea Harrison’s Elder Race’s series because the world building and unique mythological characters featured in the books are a breath of fresh air to paranormal romance genre. Unfortunately, Kinked (the sixth installment in the series) didn’t work as well as the previous books for me.

The story follows Aryl, a harpy and Wyr Sentinel, as she is forced by her employer to go on a mission with the newest Sentinel, Quentin. For months, Aryl has been convinced that Quentin has nefarious reasons for becoming a Sentinel and she has made it her life mission to uncover whatever he is plotting. Aryl’s obsession and Quentin’s mutual antagonism toward her has driven everyone insane. When their employer loses his temper he gives them an ultimatum before sending them on the mission; learn to play nice or else.

The biggest issue I had with Kinked was that I could not get into Aryl and Quentin’s relationship dynamics. This could largely be attributed to the BDSM elements going on, which I’m not a fan of. If I remember correctly, this book was published around the time of the 50 Shades of Grey craze. So I can’t help but wonder if the popularity of that trilogy influenced the reason why this book was so focused on that aspect. Despite not enjoying BDSM in books, I will give Harrison props for doing it better than some other authors I’ve ran across. With the exception of an oddly placed riding crop scene near the end, it didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would here.

Typically, if I couldn’t get into the relationship at the center of an Elder Races novel, this wouldn’t be a huge problem for me as usually the main plot is enough to keep my interest. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case here as the plot didn’t start gaining ground until the second half of the book. Instead the first half concentrates on Aryl and Quentin’s long hike/camping trip towards their destination where the main source of conflict is them hating each other or having sex. So, not being interested in their relationship, this section of the story dragged a lot. Luckily, the plot started picking-up in the second half of the story with a mystery involving shadow wolves and a witch. All in all, this would’ve been a more engaging story if the first half of the book hadn’t been watching Quentin and Aryl traveling or if, while traveling, they had conflicts outside of themselves that they needed to deal with. Instead, it’s about 100 pages of watching them bicker or molest each other while hiking.

For fans of the series, I would recommend reading this book as Harrison’s world and mythology are still extremely enjoyable here. However, if you’re someone who is looking to get into this series, I would recommend beginning with Oracle’s Moon, which is where I think Harrison started to hit her stride with these novels.