Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews

Magic Breaks by Ilona AndrewsMagic Breaks by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #7
Published by Recorded Books on July 29. 2014
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
four-stars

No matter how much the paranormal politics of Atlanta change, one thing always remains the same: if there’s trouble, Kate Daniels will be in the middle of it…

As the mate of the Beast Lord, Curran, former mercenary Kate Daniels has more responsibilities than it seems possible to juggle. Not only is she still struggling to keep her investigative business afloat, she must now deal with the affairs of the pack, including preparing her people for attack from Roland, a cruel ancient being with god-like powers. Since Kate’s connection to Roland has come out into the open, no one is safe—especially those closest to Kate.

As Roland’s long shadow looms ever nearer, Kate is called to attend the Conclave, a gathering of the leaders from the various supernatural factions in Atlanta. When one of the Masters of the Dead is found murdered there, apparently at the hands of a shapeshifter, Kate is given only twenty-four hours to hunt down the killer. And this time, if she fails, she’ll find herself embroiled in a war which could destroy everything she holds dear…

Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews had a different feel to it than its predecessors. I don’t know if it was the disclaimer the authors chose to include at the beginning of the story or what, but Magic Breaks definitely had its own thing going on.

Something that really made the beginning portion of Magic Breaks hard to digest and latch on to was the abundance of Kate’s sarcastic quips. I’m used to her having one-liners throughout each installment in this series, but it felt like every action of hers or someone else’s needed a punch line and she was the designated comedian. The one-liners felt over the top and were seriously cheesy. Not only that but Renee Raudman’s narration worked my nerves early on too! It was weird since I’ve always enjoyed her take on the Kate Daniels series. I don’t know if it was because Kate spoke so much within the earlier action scenes and her inner dialogue moments that just hearing the story told in her perspective became boring or what, but I found myself almost begging for someone else to take over telling the story. But once we got past the beginning portion me and Raudman’s narration was back on the same page.

With all of that being said, it was the last few chapters before the ending where I found myself on the edge of my seat and glue to my headphones regardless of what was going on around me. The curve balls that these authors chose to throw at their readers were some of the best that I have read! There was no way that I could’ve seen the progression of this series going the way it did, and I am glad that we finally got the Roland v. Kate Daniels meeting/almost show down. Whew!

Everything that happened in Magic Breaks came at the perfect time, in my opinion, because there was only so much I could take of the building up of Roland’s premiere before I either became bored or started to feel cheated. With this transition of the Kate Daniels series the fire that this series has ignited in me for the urban fantasy genre, or the fantasy genre as a whole, has gained new life! I really don’t know what to expect with the remainding books in this series now that circumstances for Curran and Kate aren’t the same as we’re used to seeing them from the previous stories.

Third Grave Dead Ahead by Darynda Jones

Third Grave Dead Ahead by Darynda JonesThird Grave Dead Ahead by Darynda Jones
Series: Charley Davidson #3
Published by Macmillan Audio on January 31, 2012
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Paranormal private eye. Grim reaper extraordinaire. Whatever. Charley Davidson is back in Darynda Jones' Third Grave Dead Ahead! And she’s drinking copious amounts of caffeine to stay awake because, every time she closes her eyes, she sees him: Reyes Farrow, the part human, part supermodel son of Satan. Yes, she did imprison him for all eternity, but come on. How is she supposed to solve a missing persons case, deal with an ego-driven doctor, calm her curmudgeonly dad, and take on a motorcycle gang hellbent on murder when the devil’s son just won’t give up?

Beginning Third Grave Dead Ahead I almost reached my tolerance level towards the Charlie and Reyes back-and-forth, not-really-a-relationship dance. I was so close to saying heck with this series because these two were working my nerves something fierce! But the duo that is Charlie and Cookie are what saved Third Grave Dead Ahead and this series for me; almost like Stephanie and Lula did for me in Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series.

I love, love, love Lorelei King’s narration of Darynda Jones’ Charley Davidson series. Between the story and her narration I so easily get sucked into each book and hate when it ends. At this point I no longer hear Stephanie Plum’s voice in my head because the writing of Charley’s character is finally able to speak for itself and show the distinctions.

As I stated before Cookie and Charley really saved Third Grave Dead Ahead for me because with the way things were going with Reyes I was so over their ‘romance.’ My hope when it comes to these two is that they finally realize that the world doesn’t revolve around either of them outside of them being mythical creatures and that they either choose to be together or figure out a way to work together to deal with the chaos that has been hinted to coming their way.

Outside of a few character issues I thoroughly enjoyed Third Grave Dead Ahead. Quite a few scenes at the end have to go down as my favorite, especially the moment when Charley expressed to Reyes that she no longer wanted to play the never ending game between them. This was the moment I started to get what all the hype about Charley’s character was about.

Preserving Will by Alex Albrinck @TantorAudio

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Preserving Will by Alex Albrinck @TantorAudioPreserving Will by Alex Albrinck
Series: The Aliomenti Saga #5
Published by Tantor Audio on August 16, 2016
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
four-stars

He's provided for each of them the opportunity to lead a life of health, wealth, and power far beyond their imagination. He's showed them, by personal example, that such gifts are meant to be shared, used to make the world a better place. And he's never asked them for anything in return, showing a willingness to risk even his own life to live to his own ideals.

Now Will Stark needs their help. He's helpless, he's uneducated, and he's about to meet men who can utterly destroy him.

And they'll need to make sure that's exactly what happens.

Prodded by memories and with the aid of future hindsight, they'll work tirelessly, take on alternate personalities, and ensure that the plan is carried out in its entirety. In the process, they'll learn that selfless sacrifice can demand a heavy price. They'll know that even high technology can't overcome the human spirit.

And they'll understand that, even with perfect hindsight, surprises beyond expectation can -- and do -- occur.

Yes!

Even though I didn’t read/listen to Birth of the Alliance I am glad that Preserving Will didn’t continue on the same thread that made the series feel unfamiliar, as I felt was happening with Ascent of the Aliomenti. I’m no science fiction buff yet, but I really enjoyed the world building and series set up that encompassed the first two books of The Aliomenti Saga. The third book shifted the foundation of the series, but Preserving Will definitely brought everything back to the basics in my opinion.

While Preserving Will was still all about Will Stark (duh!) he didn’t dominant it like in the earlier reads, maybe it was because of his current state in Preserving Will but I found his character much more likable. That’s weird that I found the story more interesting because the main character didn’t dominate a book in his own series but I can’t help how I feel. So many crazy things took place within this series, heck this book, that I feel placing a character – Hope, Will’s wife – in a more prominent role was the right move.

Todd McLauren’s narration of the females, and just everything going on in Preserving Will was so much better. I feel like I’m repeating myself, but everything seem to have gotten better story, character, and flow wise for Preserving Will. I do think that I would’ve probably gotten more out of this series if I’d read it myself but I’m also glad that I got to experience it dramatized via Todd McLauren’s narration.

With Hope’s character taking a more of a leadership role I was able to get a better sense of her character and her connection to Will. In the earlier installments all that was ever known about her was from Will’s perspective and then from her character in another time (crazy I know), but in Preserving Will the emotional connection was there, maybe it was the intensity of the earlier books that overshadowed the relationship between Will and Hope but I never saw them as husband and wife. Even in the first book I couldn’t sense the connection, but since romance isn’t the focal point of this series I will make some allowances lol.

The science fiction element of Preserving Will seriously had me fascinated! As I stated before I’m no science fiction buff but I’m glad The Aliomenti Saga was amongst the first that I read that introduced me to the genre.

Mercy Blade by Faith Hunter @HunterFaith

Mercy Blade by Faith Hunter @HunterFaithMercy Blade by Faith Hunter
Series: Jane Yellowrock #3
Published by Audible Frontier on January 4, 2011
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Jane Yellowrock, a shape-shifting rogue-vampire hunter-for-hire, is now taking blood money from the very vamps she used to hunt. But things start heating up in the Big Easy when weres announce their existence to the world, and revive the bitter tensions that run between them and their old enemies -- vampires. Jane finds herself caught in the crossfire.

The only goal I had in continuing on in this series with Mercy Blade was to figure out what the heck happened between Rick and Jane. I totally blame the fact that I stopped reading the Jane Yellowrock series to start Faith Hunter’s Soulwood series, but it’s awesome that both series criss cross and pump up the interest of each other.

In being caught up with Hunter’s Soulwood series I knew I couldn’t go any further without finding out how Rick and Jane hooked up and become a ‘them,’ as well as finding out what were the circumstances that split them apart. I do believe it was the spoiler that Rick and Jane became a item that made me pause on this series and try the Soulwood series for more of what I was looking for out of an Urban Fantasy series. I passionately disliked Rick LaFleur so I wasn’t excited to see Jane partnered up with him, and also at the time I was reading about Gin Blanco hooking up with her cop and investing all these feelings when he wasn’t worth it, so I just wasn’t too keen on seeing another great heroine being brought low because of her ’emotions.’

With all that said I am officially hooked into the Jane Yellowrock series based off of Mercy Blade alone. There was action, there was suspense, and there was romance, but not in the sense that you would think or that I would’ve even imagined from what others have said about this series. Since I am such a goober when it comes to audiobook I most definitely skimmed over the hot and steamy stuff because it seriously icks me out to hear them being read to me lol. Instead of the series dulling for me, which is something you can usually tell right around the 3rd or 4th book, I have a good feeling that I will be just as invested in the future books as I was in Mercy Blade.

While I wasn’t sold on the Rick and Jane’s romance since I’ve always been a Bruiser fan, I started to become a believer throughout Mercy Blade and became kinda iffy about Jane possibly choosing Bruiser in the end. Bruiser seriously has too much baggage attached to him; Leo, his background, his loyalties, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. With all that Jane is going through I don’t think that Bruiser would be a good fit for her, and I just don’t see a compatible match between them in the near future because of the things each needs to work through.

At this point in Jane’s storyline and especially, I think, with all that went down in Mercy Blade, she needs to stop tiptoeing around who she is because there were numerous moments during Mercy Blade where there were some close calls, and also where Beast (or some other animal) might’ve been helpful. I’ve never been a big fan of secrets within a storyline, especially if the series or book is built on a complex world with delicate parts, so there’s only so much of Jane keeping Beast a secret that I will be able to tolerate before this aspect of Jane’s character gets old. With each book it seems that we’re introduced to new supernatural beings and it’s only a matter of time before Jane runs up against someone or something that will know what she is and expose her if she doesn’t reveal things soon.

It was great that Hunter introduced the werewolves but didn’t incorporate them only for them to steal the show. As much as I love me some werewolf stories,  I seriously think that werewolves get entirely too much spotlight across the paranormal board.

I’m excited to see what Jane will be up against in the next installment, but it’s both tragic and relieving to know how Rick got turned as well as the possible factors that broke him and Jane up.

About Faith Hunter

Faith Hunter, fantasy writer, was born in Louisiana and raised all over the south. She writes three Urban Fantasy series: the Skinwalker series, featuring Jane Yellowrock, a Cherokee skinwalker who hunts rogue vampires. The Soulwood series, featuring earth magic user Nell Ingram. And the Rogue Mage novels, a dark, urban, post-apocalyptic, fantasy series featuring Thorn St. Croix, a stone mage. (There is a role playing game based on the series, ROGUE MAGE.)
Under the pen name Gwen Hunter, she writes action-adventure, mysteries, and thrillers. As Faith and Gwen, she has 30+ books in print in 29 countries.
Hunter writes full-time, tries to keep house, and is a workaholic with a passion for travel, jewelry making, white-water kayaking, and writing. She and her husband love to RV, traveling with their rescued Pomeranians to whitewater rivers all over the Southeast.

The Medium by C.J. Archer @TantorAudio @CJ_Archer

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Medium by C.J. Archer @TantorAudio @CJ_ArcherThe Medium by C.J. Archer
Series: Emily Chambers Spirit Medium Trilogy #1
Published by Tantor Audio on November 15, 2016
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Seventeen-year-old spirit medium Emily Chambers has a problem. Actually, she has several. As if seeing dead people isn't a big enough social disadvantage, she also has to contend with an escaped demon and a handsome ghost with a secret past. And then there's the question of her parentage. Being born an entire year after her father's death (yes, a year) and without the pale skin of other respectable English ladies, Emily is as much a mystery as the dead boy assigned to her. Jacob Beaufort's spirit has been unable to crossover since his death. It might have something to do with the fact he was murdered. Or it might not. All he knows is, he has been assigned by the Otherworld's administrators to a girl named Emily. A girl who can see and touch him. A girl who released a shape-shifting demon into the mortal realm. Together they must send the demon back before it wreaks havoc on London. It should be a simple assignment, but they soon learn there's nothing simple when a live girl and a dead boy fall in love.

I requested The Medium purely on what I hoped the story contents would hold, and I totally blame the synopsis for my imagination running wild. I am a serious sucker for ghosts, and necromancers and I guess it all stemmed from Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series lol.

I’ve never listened to a Gemma Dawson narration since I am still a newbie to the audiobook world, but I can’t help but shout it from the rooftops that she seriously did an amazing job with The Medium. Right off the bat I was pulled in and I wasn’t even really sure what was happening within the story (the same thing happened when I listened to Dragonfly in Amber so maybe I have a fascination with English narrators…IDK). I knew as soon as I clicked play that I was going to enjoy this listen, and my prediction proved true.

Other than the romantic element, the irritation I had with certain characters, and the hard time I had with connecting to Emily I really enjoyed The Medium. The supporting characters, mostly the ghosts and those associated with them, were really entertaining and I found myself more fascinated with them than the main characters. If the romance was taken out of the story I have a feeling that I would’ve liked The Medium just a tad bit more because it seriously felt unnecessary and muddled up the flow of the story for me.

I have The Possession to listen to next and I find myself excited because I know there’s going to be more entertaining ghosts that we’ll be introduced to. My only hope is that if the romance continues that it’s more inducted into the storyline and not sticking out like a sore thumb.

Gemma Dawson has easily made my favorites list with her narration of The Medium. Ugh! I can’t wait to start listening to anything else she’s narrated.