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

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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 🙂


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

Stars: 4 out of 5

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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.


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

Stars: 4.5 out of 5

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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

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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 🙂


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

Stars: 1 out of 5

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Amazon
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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…

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My Year – 2018 – in Books

Happy New Year and welcome to 2019!! I am happy to report this year has been better than the last. But it has been far from easy. Discovering and adjusting to my new norm after the accident has been difficult but a consistent theme in my life. Luckily, one thing that has remained a constant is my love for books! This year I read 26 books and around 8,135 pages.

Although I wish I would have read more, I am satisfied with what I did accomplish.


Silent Blade by Ilona Andrews
Img rulerIced by Karen Marie Moning
The shortest book I read in 2018 was Silent Blade by Ilona Andrews at 42 pages in length. The longest book I read was Iced by Karen Morning at 520 pages in length.
The average pages I read per book amounted to be 312

The book I read that has had the most popularity in 2018 is Can You Keep A Secret? by Sophie Kinsella with 354,850 other people reading this book. Unfortunately, I only gave this book 1 star. Probably would not recommend it..
Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella

The book I read that has the least popularity is Good Girls Don’t Date Rock Stars by Codi Cary with 1,313 other reviewers. I gave this book 4 stars and thought it was a good read.  Let me know if you thought the same 🙂
Good Girls Don't Date Rock Stars by Codi Gary

The average rating in book reviews was 3.2 out of 5…. I am glad it wasn’t 2 🙂 I think I am in need of some book recommendations. Any suggestions? 


A book I HIGHLY recommend and has the highest rating on GoodReads is Wildfire by Ilona Andrews. The average rating is 4.56 and I absolutely love this series!!
Wildfire by Ilona Andrews

Here’s a look at the books I have read this year! Click on the titles to jump to my review 🙂
1    Angel's Blood    Phantom Kiss    Blade Bound  Iced  Forever Black  Silent Blade  Good girls don't date rock stars  1  Priceless  1p
billionaire next door  1  1  1  1  1  1  1    1  2  1     11            1    11
silence_fallen_layout.indd

 


I am looking forward to 2019 and the many books I will hopefully read. Let me know what you think of this years books. Until next time, Happy Reading!!

Silence Fallen (Mercy Thompson, #10)

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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!!!


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Author: Patricia Briggs
Published: March 7, 2017
Pages: 371

Stars: 5 out of 5

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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

Rev It Up (Black Knights Inc. #3)

I’m not too sure which cover’s better… maybe the one on the left.. But in case you find yourself wondering why would someone read another book in a series they obviously didn’t enjoy? The answers rather simple, a very convincing book seller sold the damn book to me. What else am I supposed to do? I already bought the book, might as well read it.


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Author: Julie Walker
Published: October 2, 2012
Pages: 321

Stars: 2.5 out of 5

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Other books in the Series:
Hell on Wheels

Where to Buy:
Amazon
Barnes&Noble

 

Synopsis:
He’s the heartbreaker she left behind…

He Never Misses a Target

Jake “the Snake” Sommers earned his SEAL code name by striking quickly and quietly—and with lethal force. That’s also how he broke Michelle Carter’s heart. It was the only way to keep her safe—from himself. Four long years later, Jake is determined to get a second chance. But to steal back into Michelle’s loving arms, Jake is going to have to prove he can take things slow. Real slow…

She Aims to Make Him Beg

Michelle Carter has never forgiven Jake for being so cliché as to “love her and leave her.” But when her brother, head of the Black Knights elite ops agency, ticks off the wrong mobster, she must do the unimaginable: place her life in Jake’s hands. No matter what they call him, this man is far from cold-blooded. And once he’s wrapped around her heart, he’ll never let her go…

Review:
This book starts off heavy. Right away you learn Jake (aka the snake) pushes the one woman he loves, Michelle, into his friends, Preacher, arms. Surprising to Jake, they end up getting married. Not so surprising, Preacher dies on a mission. Also not so surprising, Jake blames himself. But I will say there is a heaviness at the end of chapter one that sticks with you.

Michelle is the sister to the head of the Black Nights Elite ops. She has a long and hurtful history with Jake. Fast forward a couple years and Jake comes back to town wanting to be apart of Michelle’s life. But considering the way Jake treated her, I’m not sure I could get past that very easily. And then there is Michelle’s betrayal.. Wow! Now that would be hard to get over. I wish I could say more but that would be giving away a huge twist in the plot. Besides, where would the fun be in that?

With that said, I have zero sympathy for Michelle. What she did and her reasons for doing them, unforgivable! And maybe there might have been a way I could overlook all this and enjoy the ending of the book, but I couldn’t. Not when the author was trying to play the sympathy card with her.

The writing style is much better than it was in book one. The author is able to jump between character perspectives much smoother. Overall the book is so much easier to read. But Jake’s surfer dialect was annoying. It almost felt like the author threw random words like ‘yo’ and ‘word up’ in and it just didn’t work. It made his character sound more like a wannabe gangster or thug than a surfer boy. And please tell me this, how does one smell like the beach? It’s not like he’s putting sun block on everyday.

Overall, the book was okay. Again, not one that I will ever read again. The book will actually be going in my next garage sale. But I think I would have enjoyed this book if it wasn’t for Michelle and what she did. That just really hits a cord with me and makes me angry. Not a response I want while reading a romance book.

Hell on Wheels (Black Knight Inc. #1)

I am really glad they switched covers. The cover on the left is just ridiculous, more silly/funny than anything else. There are a lot of character voices  in this book. It took me a little bit to keep up because I felt almost like a ping pong ball, bouncing from one characters point of view to the next. I’m not really a fan of books like these. I find myself wanting to skim ahead just so I can read from my preferred character’s POV.


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Author: Julie Walker
Published: August 7, 2012
Pages: 349

Stars: 1 out of 5

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Where to Buy:
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Synopsis:
He’s the bad boy she’s always wanted…

Nate “Ghost” Weller has loved Ali Morgan nearly half his life. But he’s done something so heinous he’s convinced she’ll never forgive him if she discovers the truth, so he keeps his feelings and his secrets to himself. Then she blows into town with a mother lode of bad guys on her tail and Nate can’t deny she’s in serious trouble. Unfortunately, he’s the only one who can help her.

She’s the good girl he’s kept at arm’s length…

Ali knows Nate as the most solemn, aloof man on the planet. Sadly, he’s also the sexiest. For years she’s avoided him, unable to stomach his dark scowls and brooding silences… especially when she secretly yearns for his touch. Now she must rely on him to save her from the malevolent shadows ghosting her every move. When the bullets explode, so does their passion. But can love really conquer all? Or are some things just too terrible to forgive?

Review:
The book is kind of heavy on the military talk, which also isn’t really my thing. I’ve read a couple special ops romance books in the past and they always end up being alright. Never something I love or something I would read again. With that said, how did I find myself buying three books from this series? A damn good sells-person… never again..

As I’m digging into this book, I’m having a hard time connecting this plot with any sense of reality. Supposedly no one suspects this ‘biker’ shop to be anything more than that, yet they have a guard at the gate and top security? And then they not only let the baby sister of one of their fallen into the compound, but they’re also straight forward about who they are .Even though the first handful of chapters stressed the point that no one can ever know that they are more than just a biker shop… And who in their right mind does missions while riding a motorcycle? Does this make sense to anyone else or am I the only one struggling with this plot line?!?

But regardless of the not at all plausible plot line, I continued to read the book.  Alisa, aka Ali, is off limits. As Nate’s best friends baby sister, she is the forbidden fruit that can never be touched. Ali is a sweet, innocent kindergarten teacher who wears risky lingerie and has a belly ring. I don’t hate her character but I also don’t like her. The author created her character as something between a damsel in distress meets strong heroine. I felt like her character was in constant contradiction of itself. One moment she is so scared that she’s frozen in place and then the next she’s asking and handling a gun like it’s second nature. And let’s not forget her constant puking because she can’t stomach the exact same things she demanded. Really, Puking?

Nate, known as Ghost in the special ops community, is kind of a dick. He is constantly push Ali away and then pulling her close. Figure it out man! Either man up or walk away.

This book is not one I would read again. If I wasn’t home sick with nothing else to do, I’m not sure I would have even finished the book. The sexist comments and demand that women can only fit into this column (caretaker, housewife) while men are the protectors, blah blah blah. Reading stuff like that makes me want to vomit. And the comment in the book about a mans greatest weakness is a woman’s tears, can we be any more stereotypical? I mean come on!