Magic Binds (Kate Daniels #9) by Ilona Andrews

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I follow two UF series – Kate Daniels and Mercy Thompson. I love both, Mercy for the Fey and Kate for the Gods. Shapeshifters are meh to me, but I take them in with the rest.

The thing about this series is that most books have been fillers to the Kate/Roland storyline, and I didn’t expect anything else from this one, especially after the bomb drop of book 8. Don’t get me wrong, I like the filler books. The end of 7 left me with happy tears. This book?

I loved it.

I felt like Magic Binds really pushed the development of every single character. We are finding out everyone’s true intentions, the sides they are going to be on for the final battle, and the powers they will wield. This is the ‘getting ready for the big finale’ book and boy does it ever.

Roman and Christopher really shine here, and Kate’s internal struggle is done incredibly well. We see her shift in and out of the power’s grasp and I just love that she’s not infallible. I’ve never liked the Keep’s shifter mentality and their actions here solidified that even more.  Even Saiman and Ghastek are given their dues. I seriously love the characters in this series and it’s going to hurt when it finally ends. I have a feeling we will lose quite a few of them in book 10, just because it’s the final book.

There are so many wonderful surprises in store for us in this book. I’d hate to ruin them in spoilers so I’ll try not to. Kate figures she needs help and gets it from the most unlikely of places – and persons. Her father has an army, and now she does too. Also, Curran does something nuts, and I can’t wait to see what it means for him. I want to squeal like a child when I think about it all coming together.

As always, the book feels way too short because it’s written so well that I fly through it in a matter of hours. It’s like watching an episode of your favorite tv show and the next one is the series finale. Even the banter takes it up a notch, giving us the much needed comic relief in the midst of incoming war and death.

Overall, probably one of the most enjoyable and important books in the series because everything comes together and everyone is in it to win it. Of course we all want Roland to just say ‘kidding!’ and leave Kate alone but we know that won’t happen (or could it? please? pretty please?). So we just have to wait and see exactly how Kate ends up defeating him and live happily ever after (or face the wrath of all the readers of this series). No pressure.

Cross-posted to My Trending Stories.

Waking Up Dead by Margo Bond Collins

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There’s something about this cover that screams ‘cool’, doesn’t it?

I think so.

Waking Up Dead is a book about a ghost who wants to catch a killer – except she’s a ghost and the only people who can see her don’t want anything to do with her. She has to convince them otherwise, or the killer goes free and a man is going to get framed for his wife’s murder.

First things first, I hated Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz and prayed this wasn’t the same type of book. It wasn’t! Yay! It was actually interesting and witty and had amazing characters. Actually, the supporting characters were the best part about it. The ghost herself was a bit unlikable, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. If a writer can make us feel, that means he or she is doing something right.

The plot itself started out great, and evolved into a full blow mystery. I liked going step by step through it, and sometimes I was surprised while other times I wanted to reach into the book and shake them for not seeing the obvious. I felt like some of the time the characters were played catch-up to the readers, which is my only gripe with the book.

Also, it had random colored periods throughout, which was weird and made me laugh. They’re probably just a result of post-editing without the ‘accept changes’ button being pressed, but it was amusing. The book was very well edited so no problems there.

Overall, I enjoyed this story and I would love to see another, though it was published in 2013 and there isn’t a second one even scheduled on Goodreads. Still, a great standalone and I would recommend it to anyone into supernatural mysteries. This is also adult, not YA, so be prepared for liberal usage of cursing and a lot of racism.

 

Cross-posted to My Trending Stories.

Justice Calling (The Twenty-Sided Sorceress Book 1) by Annie Bellet

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My kids are on spring break, which means it took me an entire week to read 100 pages. And writing? HAH.

Someone save me. Please.

Anyway. In my excitement for the release of Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs (Mercy Thompson #9) I decided to read a shifter book – and what’s better than a geeky witch?

Well, a lot of things, but that’s besides the point.

This book is definitely one of those guilty pleasures. You don’t read it for the deep reflections, but for entertainment, pure and simple. Justice Calling definitely delivered on that front. Sexy shifter who is dark and mysterious? Check. Strong female protagonist who is super special and running away from a big bad? Check. Obscure heritage and daddy issues? Double check.

Sound familiar? There’s a reason for that. This is one big Urban Fantasy potluck, and everyone’s invited. Couple that with great witty writing, and it’s hard not to pick up the second one.

I definitely enjoyed the read, but there were plenty of cringe-worthy moments. Mostly I felt like it was trying too hard on the geek front, and not in the cheeky Big Bang Theory way, but just unnecessary. I’m pretty immersed in geek culture so half the time I’m smiling and the other half I’m rolling my eyes.

Really, if you want a quick entertaining read with shape-shifters and all the other Urban Fantasy goodies, pick this up. If you want something more original, go read Kate Daniels and Mercy Thompson.

Dying for a Living (Jesse Sullivan #1) by Kory M. Shrum

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So here’s the thing. If you like urban fantasy, you will probably like this book. Very unique plot, modern characters, and just a touch of fantasy.

The premise is Jesse comes back to life after dying (unless it’s decapitation), and when someone dies she can ‘replace’ them. Even though it doesn’t heal the body of said person, but I guess death only comes once? Not really sure how that worked but oh well.

There are lots of scientific explanations for it all, and it makes the book seem very sophisticated in that sense. And then we see angels and it all goes to hell (pun not intended). The book has a lot of crazy stuff happening, and you really just have to go with it.

I liked the main character’s narration. It was quirky and fun, making the book easy to read.

I also liked the bisexual love triangle. It felt real, with actual issues instead of the usual whining and pining.

The thing that bothered me most is that death replacement agents actually feel the pain of dying. There is no amount of money that can make up for jumping in front of a bus or getting shot. So what if you come back? I just can’t imagine anyone doing it of their own free will. But then again, it’s one of those ‘can’t read too much into it or your head will explode’ type of books.

If you’re willing to take this book as is, no questions asked, it’s worth the read. It’s fun and unique. But for me, I just can’t, and even though I didn’t dislike the book I won’t be continuing. My brains just can’t take it!