Review: Magic Mourns (Kate Daniels #3.5) by Ilona Andrews

Magic MournsThis novella takes place between Magic Strikes and Magic Bleeds in the Kate Daniels universe, but the point-of-view character is Kate’s friend Andrea Nash instead. We’ve already been introduced to Andrea and know secrets about her character from previous books in the series, but this time, she’s the hero of her own adventure.

Once again, Andrews shows how the werecreatures in their books are not all sexy. In fact, Andrea’s backstory is rather tragic and disturbing, but it doesn’t stop Andrea from being just as amazing as her friend Kate.

It’s also interesting that Andrews doesn’t just rely on the tried-and-true trope of werewolves as the default shifters. In this novella, we delve into the world of werehyenas, a very different breed from werewolves in more ways than one.

And as usual, we’re treated to a story line that revolves around yet another flavor of mythology. This time, Greek mythology is the source of our monsters. Andrea’s character arc in this tale is completely satisfying, and it was fun to cheer her on as she learns to embrace her own inner beast.

Rating: 5 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.

Review: The Lion Mistress (Eburosi Chronicles #5-#7) by R.A. Steffan

Because of how much I enjoyed each installment of The Horse Mistress, my first experience with the world of the Eburosi Chronicles, I went ahead and bought the full collection of the next adventure as one book. I have no regrets about that decision. This world gave me one of the most intense book hangovers of my life, and I now consider myself a solid fan of the author.

Kathrael, Favian, and Ithric’s story continues the saga of the city of Rhyth, with interesting tie-ins to events in previous tales. Each character experiences a complete character arc, against the backdrop of an epic quest. Magic, politics, and religion combine to create a fantastic female-driven epic fantasy that is not to be missed for fans of epic fantasy who are bored with the typical treatment of female characters.

Steffan does an amazing job balancing the world-building with the smaller moments between the characters. The sex, when it does occur, is quite steamy, but the focus always remains on the connections between the characters rather than erotica for erotica’s sake.

Though it’s possible to read this without reading The Horse Mistress first, I think you’d miss out on some great details because Carivel, Senovo, and Andoc make more than token appearances. Instead, be prepared for a deep dive into some fantastic epic fantasy that breaks all the molds.

Rating: 5 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.

Review: Noelle by Night (Dommes by Night #3) by Rachell Nichole

Noelle by NightDisclaimer: I am friends with the author; however, I purchased this ebook for full price.

The final installment of the Dommes by Night series once again flips the script on its head. Nichole heightens the tension on multiple fronts, from the relationship between the main characters, to the hidden secrets, to the drama of the town where the story takes place.

There is an amazing “OH SNAP!” moment right at the beginning of the story, which changes everything about how the reader views the interactions between the hero and heroine. (Luckily, since I am friends with the author, I was able to immediately send her a text that consisted entirely of exclamation points.)

But perhaps my favorite element to this story went beyond the domination/submission tropes that are inherent to this series. Nichole does not hesitate to delve deep into her characters’ relationships with their emotions, proving that real masculinity also means acknowledging vulnerability.

I can honestly say that I might not have tried out this series had it not been for my friendship with the author. But I’m so glad that I did. This might not be your initial flavor of erotica tea or romance in general, but you won’t regret expanding your horizons and checking it out.

Rating: 5 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.

2019 Resolution Project: Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels #3) by Ilona Andrews

Magic StrikesMy 2019 Resolution Project over at my other blog, Speculative Chic, is to read the entire Kate Daniels urban fantasy series by Ilona Andrews, finishing up with a first read of the final book in the series.

I’ve read the third book, Magic Strikes, before, but never officially reviewed it. You can find my full review here.

An excerpt:

“Kate might think of herself as a thug, but we readers know that she’s a genuine hero. Her power may be the result of an accident of birth, as is the fate she knows is coming for her, but we care about her (and her friends!) because she’s more than just a bundle of power with some skills with a sword.”

Rating: 5 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.

Review: The Horse Mistress: Book 4 (Eburosi Chronicles #4) by R.A. Steffan

Horse Mistress 4Now that our three heroes are in a solid relationship, it was time to shake things up a bit. It would have been easy for the author to focus on a more character-driven story, but I love how they don’t let the readers forget that war is coming. Times are changing, and our heroes have to grow up and adapt along with them.

Family is a major theme in this installment, and Carival travels to her old home to face her mother. This reunion was equally painful and poignant. Steffan balances it wonderfully with the introduction to Andoc’s mother.

The handfasting ceremony in this book felt a little self-indulgent on the part of the author, but in retrospect, that’s an issue on my part and stems from what is traditionally “normalized” in fiction. Steffan does excellent work in breaking the mold, both in the world of the Eburosi Chronicles and our own.

The shapeshifter plotline culminates with the political plotline, and both are resolved to my great satisfaction. I’m completely in love with this world, and while I know Carival, Andoc, and Senovo’s story is over, I’m looking forward to exploring more Steffan has to offer. Continue reading

Review: “A Lord to Love” by Sara Dobie Bauer

Lord to LoveDisclaimer: I received a free electronic copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

I read a much earlier draft of this story, but it was just as much of a pleasure to read the final product a second time around. Bauer features the best of both worlds here: despite this being a short story that manages to feature two explicit sex scenes, the tone is still that of a swoon-worthy slow-burn romance.

Lord John Morgan starts off as kind of a jerk, but it becomes obvious that a traditional courtship with Lord Harrison Price is not possible. Both men are not your typical heroes, and they fit together anyway. Neither man could ever be called adorable, but the way they combine makes for an adorable story.

And finally, I love the short and sweet explanation of why a same-sex marriage is acceptable in this time period. This is the best type of alternate history storytelling. Continue reading