Magic in the Blood (Allie Beckstrom, #2) by Devon Monk – Book Review

1

I couldn’t stop thinking about book one, Magic to the Bone, and decided to jump into the next book in the series. This book was a fun one to read and packed full of emotions. With close to 7,000 ratings and over 300 reviews, Magic in the Blood is holding solid at 4 stars. If you haven’t already, check out my review of book one. This just might be the series for you 🙂


1

Author: Devon Monk
Published: May 5th, 2009
Pages: 368

Stars: 4 out of 5

Add to GoodReads

Other books in the series:
Magic in the Bones (Allie Beckstrom, #1)

Where to buy:
Amazon
Barnes&Noble

 

Synopsis:
In the second book in Devon Monk’s Allie Beckstrom series, when the police’s magical enforcement division asks Allie to consult on a missing persons case, she finds herself drawn into an underworld of criminals, ghosts, and blood magic.

Working as a Hound—tracing illegal spells back to their casters—has taken its toll on Allison Beckstrom. But even though magic has given her migraines and stolen her recent memory, Allie isn’t about to quit. Then the police’s magic enforcement division asks her to consult on a missing persons case. But what seems to be a straightforward job turns out to be anything but, as Allie finds herself drawn into the underworld of criminals, ghosts, and blood magic.

Review:
I feel for Allie! Losing important memories and walking around fearful of losing more would be terrible. I am also saddened by the loss of what could have been and what was between her and Zayvion. Ugh, starting over would suck, especially when you can’t remember anything but the other person can. But in all honesty, it was kind of fun watching Allie fall in love with Zayvion again. I am a sap for a good romance.

I really do like Zayvion’s character. But he is just as mysterious as ever. I was really hoping the author would give us more information about him. Don’t get me wrong, there is something sexy and fun about a mysterious guy. But by book two, there should be some known aspects about him. I mean, he doesn’t have to be an open book but he shouldn’t be a complete mystery either. And what is with the constant flip-flopping of moods?!?! One moment, he’s acting all cute and is determined to date Allie.. then the next moment, he’s dangerous, cold, and holds too many secrets. I feel like this is getting old and it why the book lost one star.

Allie is really outside her element and in way over her head in this book. She has all this Magic but constantly struggles to control it. She has this huge gap in her memory, conflicting feels for Zayvion, and so many people are after her. She just can’t catch a break! And not to mention her ‘Daddy’ issues continue to haunt her. Even in death Allie can’t seem to catch a break from her Dad.

Allie isn’t one to have a lot of friends. Add in her trust issues and you can see how this might complicate things in the friends department.  Which makes it all the more worse when one of the few people she has in her life that she calls a friend is hounded and found to be using blood Magic. But of course not everything is as it seems…

And in case you were wondering, this book has some good twists that keep the pages flying by. Wouldn’t expect anything less from Devon Monk 🙂

I really like this series. Allie is strong, stubborn, and has a beautiful heart. If only she valued her life more. The risks she takes are too high and are always life threatening. Does that make her brave or stupid.. I don’t know.

And the ending, holly hell, the ending is awesome. I promise not to give anything away, but let me say it’s not so much a cliff hanger but your reaction to it is all the same. I don’t think I’ll be able to pick up book three fast enough.

Magic to the Bone (Allie Beckstrom, #1) – Book Review

This is one of a couple books a store clerk talked me into buying. Unlike the others, this one was actually a pleasant surprise 🙂 For me, this book was a page turner – didn’t want to put down and stayed up way too late kind of book. I love a good series that you don’t want to put down.


1

Author: Devon Monk
Published: November 4, 2008
Pages: 355

Stars: 4.5 out of 5

Add to GoodReads

Where to Buy:
Amazon

 

Synopsis:
Allie would rather moonlight as a Hound than accept the family fortune – and the strings that come with it. All magic use has costs — hers include migraines and memory loss. She finds a boy dying from a magic Offload with her father’s signature, then her father is murdered. Allie’s search for the truth calls on her country friend and the handsome man originally assigned as her bodyguard. Someone is forging magic signatures — and hers is on her dead father.

Review:
The book opens with a very much down on her luck Allie and the death of a young boy. For Allie, being twenty-five, broke, and in debt does not make for a comfortable life. Add a crazy and powerful – very powerful – father into the mix, and Alli’s life isn’t great.

All Ailli’s ever known and associated her father with is hate. I can’t imagine having such strong and negative feelings for someone whose supposed to love and care for you. That makes me so sad and I mourn the missed relationship that could have been.

Allie’s character is strong and by far imperfect. In fact, she makes a LOT of really stupid decisions based on some impractical logic of hers. But she has a big, loving heart… that can also get her into trouble. Allie is a hound with an impressive ability to trace a spell back to the person who sent it. The downside is every time she or anyone uses magic, it comes at a cost. For every spell cast, there is an Offload of equal measure. Small magics might result in a migraine; large-scale magics might mean death for the caster. As you can imagine, Allie uses a lot of magic in this book and is constantly battling the Offload.

Allie’s character is complicated and honestly has a continual string of bad luck. She is accused of murder, discovers magic isn’t black and white but can do many improbable things, gets betrayed (A LOT) and is constantly fighting for her life. Her life is tough, she has been through a significant amount of trauma, and at times she can come off a little jaded. To say the decisions she makes doesn’t always makes sense, is an understatement but one that makes sense considering the amount of trauma she has been through.

Okay, I will be the first to say I hate the instant attraction kind of story plots. But there is something about the writing and the way the author describes the passionate kiss between Allie and Zayvion, that makes me want more. To be honest, I think their connection is part of why I like this book so much. Zayvion’s character is strong, sexy, and so very complicated. It’s almost like Allie and Zayvion are both broken and work so well together because of it.

The book is written in third person, passed tense, which for some reason makes this book stand out from the rest of the books I’ve recently been reading. I will say the author added twists within the plot I didn’t see coming and that’s refreshing. One of the things that stands out from the plot is Magic and the mystery behind it all. I find it all very fascinating and my curiosity is peaked.

This book really caught me by surprise. I am interested in this series and wondering where the author will take it. I loved the connection between Allie and Zayvion. I still don’t think we’ve gotten the full picture of who Zayvion is, but I am looking forward to finding it out. This might become one of my new favorite series. Time will tell 🙂

Dying Bites (The Bloodhound Files, #1) – Book Review

1

This book has come highly recommended but I just couldn’t get into it. Maybe it’s the timing or maybe the book is just as horrible as I think.. who knows, that’s up to you to decide 🙂


1
Author: D.D. Barant
Published: June 30, 2009
Pages: 304

Stars: 1 out of 5

Add to GoodReads

Where to Buy:
Amazon
Barnes&Noble

Synopsis:
Her job description is the “tracking and apprehension of mentally-fractured killers.” What this really means in FBI profiler Jace Valchek’s brave new world—one in which only one percent of the population is human—is that a woman’s work is never done. And real is getting stranger every day…

Jace has been ripped from her reality by David Cassius, the vampire head of the NSA. He knows that she’s the best there in the business, and David needs her help in solving a series of gruesome murders of vampires and werewolves. David’s world—one that also includes lycanthropes and golems—is one with little knowledge of mental illness. An insane serial killer is a threat the NSA has no experience with. But Jace does. Stranded in a reality where Bela Lugosi is a bigger box office draw than Bruce Willis and every full moon is Mardi Gras, Jace must now hunt down a fellow human before he brings the entire planet to the brink of madness. Or she may never see her own world again…

Review:
This book is pretty catchy and starts off on an interesting note. The writing style is easy to follow and sucks you in right away. The details provided aren’t over the top, but just the right amount to allow you to get a solid picture of what’s happening. This is the first book I’ve read from this author but I’m not sure if it’s what I’m looking for. I think if you are really into those criminal shows like CSI or Bones, this book would be right up your alley. Although I don’t mind reading books like this, they aren’t really my thing and I tend to get a little a board while reading them.

‘… but Cassius only smiles. It’s a boyish, engaging smile, and I bet it makes all the sorority girls go all weak and giggly. I seriously considered putting a big whole into it.’

Ha! I love this. Jace is a… lot. Her character is funny but very flawed. She is also dense, hard headed, and more than a little rude. Jace works for the FBI in their Behavior Analysts Unit. She uses her criminal psychologist degree to get in the heads of psychos and helps bring them down.

The thing I don’t get about Jace is her negative outlook on romance and in particular relating it to heroin. Maybe I’m missing the connection there…  Jace  considers romance as self destructive, demeaning, and stupid. Bitter much? I mean wow. I think another adjective to describe Jace might also be bitchy. She’s also a little dense in the sense that her reactions and how she goes about her job is the same way she would do it on earth/her demention. Which probably sounds really odd until you get into the book and then you’ll get it. Jace still thinks she’s a hard ass with a big bad gun. Well, her gun doesn’t work and all she does is isolate herself from the people who are trying to help. Being strong is having the ability to know your weaknesses, accept help, and admit when you’re in over your head. Jace does none of those things and it’s irritating to read.

I’m always amused how vampires are always slightly different in each series I read. Some are ‘allergic’ to the sun while others aren’t. Some are describe as dead, some can be hurt by bullets.. you get the idea. In this series, vampires can be harmed by the sun but they only drink the blood of animals. Same goes for werewolfs. It’s all kind of bizarre and not at all what I was expecting. I’ll let you dig into the book to discover what else is  different.

I don’t like doing this, but I must admit defeat. Reading this book makes me want to fall asleep. What started out as reading each page, turned into skimming paragraphs and eventually skipping pages. This book is just not for me. Jace’s character drives me crazy with how annoying she is. Her character is so bitter yet everyone wants to have sex with her. I don’t get it.  This book is too much and not in the good way. I’m sorry, but this book falls into the DNF Graveyard…

3

Silence Fallen (Mercy Thompson, #10)

3

This is the second time reading this book. I can count on one hand how many authors have the ability to not only get me to read their entire book without taking one single note, but to get to do this without even realizing it. I open the book and somehow get sucked in. Before I know it, I’m turning the last page oblivious to the time or what’s happening around me. But I will say, reading the book for the second time was so much fun! Already knowing the ending, I was able to pick up far more hidden treasures than I did the first time around. I don’t think there is any way to have caught them without knowing the twist at the end. My recommendation is read this book twice. You won’t regret it!!!


silence_fallen_layout.indd
Author: Patricia Briggs
Published: March 7, 2017
Pages: 371

Stars: 5 out of 5

Add to GoodReads

Other books in this Series:
Fire Touched (Mercy Thompson, #9)

Where to Buy:
Amazon
Barnes&Noble

 

Synopsis:
Attacked and abducted in her home territory, Mercy finds herself in the clutches of the most powerful vampire in the world, taken as a weapon to use against alpha werewolf Adam and the ruler of the Tri-Cities vampires. In coyote form, Mercy escapes only to find herself without money, without clothing, and alone in the heart of Europe…

Unable to contact Adam and the rest of the pack, Mercy has allies to find and enemies to fight, and she needs to figure out which is which. Ancient powers stir, and Mercy must be her agile best to avoid causing a war between vampires and werewolves, and between werewolves and werewolves. And in the heart of the ancient city of Prague, old ghosts rise…

Review:
The book opens on a light note with games and chocolate chip cookies. That is until Mercy finds herself in a car accident and abducted. With her connection to Adam temporary lost, she finds herself up against unknown vampires, very powerful ones. All of this seems to be one big misunderstanding. A misunderstanding that Wulfe created.

So much happens in this book, within every chapter, it’s impossible to talk about it all. So I’m not going to try. I have said this with few other books and this book falls into that category: I’m not going to write a normal review because if you’ve made it this far in the series, you know how amazing the book is going to be. Patricia Briggs packs so much into her books, there aren’t any dull page fillers. Everything she writes has a purpose and if you aren’t paying close enough attention, then you’ll miss the point of the book.
Most, if not all, of the books in this series are told through Mercy’s point of view. Getting Adam’s, Mercy’s mate, point of view was fun. I think the author made the right choice in bringing in duel POV. It would have been impossible to have kept with the same plot line and conveyed that amount of emotion. And Matt Smith, wow, was that not fun or what? I know you will hate me for this but I’m not saying anything else besides you will want to pay attention. Patricia Briggs, you are a very gifted writer!
In some ways, you get a better look into Wulfe’s mind and how he thinks. If I had to describe Wulfe, the words that come to mind are crazy, psychotic, and very much broken. Even though there is this part of him that is detached from reality, his motives behind what he does is kind of genius. Sending Bonarata after Marcy instead of Adam was ingenious. Although I do wonder if in fact she is more ‘powerful’ than Adam. Physically, no way. But Mercy has political strength, her mental strength is impressive and let’s not forget about how many powerful people she has who care about her.
I almost laughed out loud when Stefan told Mercy to hide and wait to be rescued. Like that is something she would ever do. I mean come on, her father is Old Coyote who is a trickster and father of chaos. So would we expect anything less from his daughter…
This book in particular showcases the amount of support and love Mercy has in her life. It’s remarkable really. So many people are willing to risk it all to help rescue her and bring her back home. I can’t help but think this is what everyone deserves in their life. Everyone deserves an Adam, someone who is devoted and completely in love with them. Everyone deserves friends who are willing to love you regardless of your faults and mishaps.
I love how much history is packed into Patricia Briggs books. She certainly does her research and it really does add to the book. While Mercy wonders around Europe, lost and attempting to avoid Bonarata, what she describes has just the right amount of detail to allow the reader to know what it looks and feels like without bombarding you with too much history. Briggs really did think of everything down to what a coyotes paws would feel like walking on the unfamiliar cobblestone.
‘Six hundred years old (old synagogue). I stared at it and tried to imagine how it would feel to be Bran or the Moor and look at such things and remember before they were built. To look around the city and realize that the oldest thing in this old city was probably you.’
In every book, Mercy runs into some kind of new monster/creature. This book is no different with the Golem of Prague. The story behind this character is fascinating.
“I looked like a victim. I was done, really done with being a victim” 
The end of the book left me with one thought, completely satisfied. This book is so amazing, I love it! But because of this, I’m doubtful I’m able to review this book (this series) with the same critical eye I normally use. So make what you will of this review.

‘I’m asleep with my face plastered against the top of a metal table. Being sophisticated like this just comes naturally to me – what can I say?’ – Mercy Thompson

Unraveling Destiny (The Fae Chronicles, #5)

1

The books in this series have amazing covers!! There is just something irresistible about them.


1
Author: Amelia Hutchins
Published: September 26, 2017
Pages: 388

Stars: 1 out of 5

Add to GoodReads

Other Books in this series:
Fighting Destiny (Fea Chronicles #1)

Synopsis:
I knew Destiny wasn’t done with me. I knew that she was just getting warmed up, but I had no clue just how hard my world was going to come crashing down on me.
I had thought that I was going to get my fairytale wedding and marry the man of my dreams.
I was wrong.
Now, faced with having my world torn asunder and Faery exposed, I have to make choices I never thought I’d have to make.
I’m divided between two worlds, and I have to decide just how far I will go to get back what was stolen from me.
Old enemies are closing in, new enemies are being revealed, and surprising allies are entering the playing field. War is on the horizon, and it’s coming right for us.

Review:
It’s been a long while since I’ve read books 1-4 in this series. So it took me a while to remember the plot line, who everyone is.. But that didn’t seem to help. I really struggled getting into this book which surprised me because I enjoyed reading the other books in this series.

Ultimately I couldn’t do the writing style. I’m no prude to fowl language but for some reason all the cursing in this just turned me off. Isn’t there another way to describe your feelings.. I don’t know.
I’m not done with series and maybe starting over with book one will help me get back into it. But until then, this books falls into the DNF Graveyard
3

Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3)

1

I was a little hesitant going into this book. I wasn’t sure if this was one of those series that is best enjoyed with breaks in-between or if there was a possibility of burning out on this series.. But let me reassure you, this series has proven to be absolutely captivating. Wildfire is a page turner that you don’t want to put down. I really hope the fourth book doesn’t take long to publish!


2
Author: Ilona Andrews
Published: July 25, 2017
Pages: 391

Stars: 5 out of 5

Other books in the series:
Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1)
White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2)

Add to GoodReads

Where to Buy:
Amazon
Barnes&Noble


Synopsis
:
Just when Nevada Baylor has finally come to accept the depths of her magical powers, she also realizes she’s fallen in love. Connor “Mad” Rogan is in many ways her equal when it comes to magic, but she’s completely out of her elements when it comes to her feelings for him. To make matters more complicated, an old flame comes back into Rogan’s life…

Rogan knows there’s nothing between him and his ex-fiance, Rynda Sherwood. But as Nevada begins to learn more about her past, her power, and her potential future, he knows she will be faced with choices she never dreamed of and the promise of a life spent without him.

As Nevada and Rogan race to discover the whereabouts of Rynda’s kidnapped husband and are forced to confront Nevada’s grandmother, who may or may not have evil motives, these two people must decide if they can trust in each other or allow everything to go up in smoke.

Review:
This book starts on a heavy note – Nevada has to inform her family that not only is her grandma trying to either kill her or use her, her family’s only hope is to expose themselves and form their own House. But before Nevada can even contemplate how to begin to have that conversation, Rynda Charles walks back into Nevada’s life. Not only is she Rogan’s ex-fiancĂ©e, she is also the daughter of Olivia Charles. In case you don’t remember from book two, Olivia Charles is the woman who killed Cornelius’s wife and later ended up being eaten alive by a swarm of rats. 

Rynda is a prime empath and keeping your emotions from her is impossible. She is also a dangerous woman, especially to Nevada. Not only is she beautiful and rich, but she plays a convincible damsel in distress, looking for someone to save her. And it doesn’t take her long to begin looking in Rogan’s direction. 

The dynamic between Rogan, Nevada, and Rynda is the perfect storm of jealousy and fear. On the one hand, there’s the uncertainty that is in every new relationship. That voice in the back of your mind always doubting the others feelings or if this relationship will last. Then throw in an attractive ex who is constantly throwing herself at your man. Perfect storm. I love how Nevada is always trying to take the high rode, trying not to read into things and truly trying to have faith that her and Rogan will make it through this hump. Andrews nailed this dynamic perfectly and I absolutely love it. 

One of my favorite passage:

She (Rynda) fell silent, then glanced at Bug. “Could you get me some coffee?”
“No” Bug said.
She blinked
“I’m a surveillance specialist, not a waiter,” Bugsaid, his dictation perfect, his voice flat. “The coffee is on the kitchen counter over there. Help yourself.”
She opened her mouth and closed it.
“Nevada?” Bug said.
Don’t do it, don’t do it…
“Would you like some coffee?”
“No thanks.” Ass
“Because I’ll totally get it for you.” 

Honestly the entire scene is amazing. This scene is just one example of Nevada taking the high road.

 I’ve read a few books by Andrews and all the heroines within her books have a similar yet unique voice. They are all strong, feisty, determined individuals. But they aren’t perfect, they make mistakes. They are all human and that’s the key. Andrews characters are easily relatable. You can see parts of yourself, your insecurities, in each of her books. Looking at Nevada’s character, she is everything listed above but she’s vulnerable, especially when it comes to Rogan. She tries hiding it but there’s no denying that it’s there. And I think this is part of what makes Andrews books so addicting. That and she’s a very gifted writer.

Here’s another quote I love:
“Come to dinner with me tonight and I’ll consider it.” Yes! “No, I don’t negotiate with terrorists.” “If you don’t go to dinner with me, I’ll have to do something drastic like stand by your window with a boom box blasting some idiotically sappy song.”

One of the things Ilona Andrews does best is character development. She doesn’t just create a surface character. No, she creates a character with such depth that there is no doubt you will either love or hate them with everything you’ve got. One of my favorite side characters is Grandma Frida. She is so feisty and protective of her family. I can’t help but think that everyone needs at least one person like Grandma Friday in their lives. 

Victoria, Nevada’s paternal grandmother, is savage and cruel. She can easily break anyone’s mind and leave them in pieces. She is feared and known as a monster. But things aren’t as cut and dry with Victoria. And honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about her. Yes, she is scary but I think she did what she thought she had to do. Was it right, no. But I think there is another side of her that we will see in the next book. Or at least I hope so.. 

One of the complicated issues that came up in this book is the sacrifice one makes when choosing love over the possibility of genetic incapability. When marring for love, you run the high risk that your genetics will create a child with sub-par to no abilities. Having a child with sub-par magical ability is devastating to any House. But having a child who doesn’t manifest any magical ability can destroy any house’s future. Rogan continues to bring this concern up with Nevada, insisting she will care if their children are less than Primes. This is just one of the many ways Rogan continues to try and protect Nevada. It takes a strong man to say and the very thing that will (in his mind) inevitably make the person he loves walk away from him.  

“He (Rogan) viewed this as the beginning of our end, but he came anyway.”

I just love Rogan’s character! The end of the book is, as expected, action packed and marvelous! And I’m pretty sure I know who Caesar is. Ilona Andrews didn’t spell it out for you but if you’re paying attention, I think it’s easy to connect the dots. Don’t worry, I’m not going to ruin anything by giving away spoilers.  

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. I can’t wait for the next one to come out!

White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2)

1

As you can imagine, after reading book one in the Hidden Legacy series, I couldn’t help but pick up the next book in the series. And I was not disappointed!! This series is quickly becoming one of my new favorites 🙂


1
Author: Ilona Andrews
Published: May 30, 2017
Pages: 389

Stars: 4 out of 5

Other books in the series:
Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1)

Add to GoodReads

Where to Buy:
Amazon
Barnes&Noble

Synopsis:
Nevada Baylor has a unique and secret skill—she knows when people are lying—and she’s used that magic (along with plain, hard work) to keep her colorful and close-knit family’s detective agency afloat. But her new case pits her against the shadowy forces that almost destroyed the city of Houston once before, bringing Nevada back into contact with Connor “Mad” Rogan.

Rogan is a billionaire Prime—the highest rank of magic user—and as unreadable as ever, despite Nevada’s “talent.” But there’s no hiding the sparks between them. Now that the stakes are even higher, both professionally and personally, and their foes are unimaginably powerful, Rogan and Nevada will find that nothing burns like ice …


Review:
Nevada has one rule that no matter what, she has to follow- At the end of the day, you have to be able to live with yourself, your choices. So when Cornelius comes asking for help in finding his wife’s murderer, Nevada couldn’t say no. Soon she finds herself once again working with Connor (aka Mad Rogan) and discovering a surprising new ally, Augustine. I enjoyed Augustine’s character more in this book, especially the bickering between him and Rogan. Although he still had his moments of greed, I no longer hate him. 

Nevada’s character continues to grown throughout the book. She’s still the strong independent woman we all fell in love with, but now she’s taking taking responsibility over mastering her powers. But does she go too far? When using her power, what’s the line between becoming a monster and getting the information she needs? 

Ilone shows us the side of Rogan we only saw small glimpses of last time. He’s still the dangerous dragon, but like Nevada said, we get to see his more human side. In the first book, we saw Connor’s form of courting Nevada. It doesn’t take long to realize Conner is done with the passive romantic gestures and ready to take control. Except his need of control is a far cry from normal.

As the sexual tension between Rogan and Nevada builds, the quick stolen moments between them are intense, hot,and leaves you starving for more. Just as Nevada is allowing herself to be open to love, the monstrous side of Rogan shows itself. Is this side of him enough to destroy everything between them?

This is one of those books I wish I could talk about every detail. But giving away that many secrets would ruin the book for you. My leaving thought is that this book was a delight to read! The epilogue definitely leaves you wanting more! I can’t wait to read the next book in this series.