Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews

Burn for Me is the first book in a new Hidden Legacy series by Ilona Andrews.  This came highly recommended (thanks to Danya at Fine Print!) and I’m certainly glad of the recommendation as I think the cover would probably have put me off reading this one as it looks more like a paranormal romance which is not really something I read a lot of.  Don’t be distracted by the cover though as this is more Urban Fantasy with the hint of a potential romance.

The setting is an alternate world where during the 1800s a serum was developed that basically unlocked previously unknown of magical capabilities in regular, everyday people.  Eventually use of the serum stopped but the damage had already been done and the magical capabilities unleashed passed down amongst families.  Powerful magical families arose and marriages between those with strong capabilities sought in order to increase magical capability.

Nevada is a private detective and whilst some members of her family have magical capabilities they are not powerful and do not have a high social standing and Nevada is believed to be without any magical talent at all.  This is of course incorrect as she is capable of detecting lies which is an incredibly useful ability given her line of work.  She keeps this capability secret in order not to become sought after by those who would use her as an interrogator and take over her life.

At the start of the story Nevada is strong armed into taking a case that she has little hopes of achieving success with.  To bring in a highly powerful magical man who is wanted for murder.  Nevada isn’t the only person searching however.  It seems that this young man’s family are anxious to find him before the police do so and have asked for help from one of the most powerful, unstable and notorious magic users – Mad Rogan.   Of course it’s sort of inevitable that the two will become embroiled together in the search and as they spend more time together it appears that Mad Rogan begins to develop a new interest in Nevada, an interest that although she tries to ignore she can’t deny her own underlying attraction to this man who is so totally out of her league and social standing not to mention incredibly dangerous and ruthless.  There is undeniable chemistry between the two and although, as I said above, this isn’t a paranormal romance, I can’t deny that the sexual tension between the two makes for compelling reading.

I won’t elaborate further on the plot.  What I will say is this was a very entertaining and quick read.  I really liked the character Nevada and will enjoy reading more of her exploits.  The world building is not overpowering and the plot keeps you focused.  I will definitely read the next in series and in fact enjoyed this so much that I’m more than tempted to go and back read some of this author’s previous works.  And, here is the cover!

Seasonal Doodles…

Posted On 19 December 2014

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Art it Up.  This is a weekly meme hosted by Tabitha over at Not Yet Read.  The idea being to see if you can come up with some inspiration for a little sketch or doodle from your last week’s reading or just anything else in general. this week I’ve read Brave Men Die by Dan Adams and currently reading The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon.  I haven’t got any art from those two books.  I’ve come up with a seasonal Dude Doodle (Dudle!)  Don’t forget to stop over and check out Tabitha’s post :D


‘Oh the posh posh travelling life, the travelling life for me…’

Every week at the Fantasy Review Barn we go a travelling through the tropes of fantasy.  This is a whole bunch of fun and I love seeing what everyone comes up with! This week the topic for discussion is Travelling Folk:

TRAVELLING FOLK are quite common.  They are of two kinds: Land travellers and River travellers.

These people are merry, colourfully dressed, dishonest, and knowledgeable…they will cheat you, cure your wounds, and hustle you off to the cart of their oldest lady who will tell you something about the future you need to know.

  1. Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Dracula has a whole bunch of travelling people, they’re tough no nonsense, characters.
  2. Philip Pullman, His Dark Materials – this has a group of nomadic people who go from place to place upon barges on the water.
  3. Joanna Harris, Chocolat – similarly – travelling people who use barges, sell things and mend things.
  4. Mark Lawrence’s Prince of Fools – okay, not sure if this counts but there are a group of performers in Prince of Fools and I’m also fairly certain that amongst their group is a fortune teller?? Tah Dah!
  5. Smiler’s Fair by Rebecca Levene – the name gives it away.  This is basically a huge travelling carnival where any pleasure or vice can be sought.  Basically this world doesn’t lend itself to any structure that stays still for too long (unless its based on rock that is) – otherwise nasty critters come from out of the earth!
  6. Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere – i could be wrong with this one but it has a floating market that is in a different spot all the time.  I’m kind of assuming they’re may be travellers but that could be wrong.
  7. Neil Gaiman’s Stardust – again – well, there’s a fair.  There’s also a witch who travels around in a caravan!!
  8. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss – travelling entertainers!

That’s it for me – I’m sure I should be able to get LoTR and Harry Potter in there somewhere but my mind is a blank!  So everything normal over here then.

Brave Men Die by Dan Adams (part 1 of 3)

Posted On 16 December 2014

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Recently finished reading Brave Men Die but needed a little time to collect my thoughts before writing a review.  Brave Men Die certainly seems to be a fitting name for this novel as the author isn’t taking prisoners!

Whilst I wouldn’t say I loved this it was fairly short and I admit that I am curious to know what exactly is going on here.  I just haven’t quite made my mind up whether my curiosity, which was, to be honest, only piqued in the last few chapters of the book, is strong enough to make me continue with the series.

Set in a faux mediaeval world we start the story with three characters stealing an ancient and seemingly well protected artefact whilst killing copious amounts of people along the way, including the king’s son.  These three are mysterious characters – they almost seemed celestial and they certainly seemed to wield strong magic.

This theft and slaughter leads the Kyzantines to believe that the Murukans have attacked them and in retaliation they declare war.  And so the battles begin.  And, really, I’m not kidding.  There is plenty of action!  At this point in the story there is no resolution as to why the artefact was stolen.  Whether this was a ploy to start war between the two countries or whether this artefact will be the start of a whole new bunch of troubles for the people of this world remains to be seen.

The main characters we’re introduced to at this stage are Castor and Pollux.  Two brothers, both seemingly adept at fighting and swordsplay.  I will warn you to not form too many strong attachments to the other characters as the author is rather ruthless.  We’re also introduced to a couple of female characters who have magical abilities.  One the teacher, one the student, they’re about to go in search of a book that will put them directly in the path of war.

So, why the mixed feelings.  Well, at the moment this is predominantly a book about warfare which I don’t have a problem with per se, but, whilst the pace is fast and the action fairly relentless I didn’t feel that I really got a good feel for the world itself and, up until almost the end I wasn’t really connecting with any of the characters in particular.  In fact the characters have a tendency to come across a little smug in a ‘I laugh in the face of war, and tweak the nose of danger’ sort of fashion.  Plus, certain elements of the story are just too easy.  For example at the start, I struggled to understand why these three ‘people’ went to the trouble of engaging with the soldiers in order to steal the artefact – it just seemed pointless given how strong their magic seemed to be?  It was pretty obvious that they could take exactly what they wanted after all.

Now, I don’t want to seem overly negative.  Like I said, I did read this very quickly and it held my attention and to an extent I am intrigued to know what is going on.  But, whilst there is definitely no shortage of action I personally like to have a little more flesh on the bones, a bit more depth to the characters and maybe a bit more knowledge of the world/politics/history.  I can see how this would appeal to those who are not quite as enamoured with that style. For me, it feels as though something essential has been lost from the story in order to accommodate what at the moment seems to be lots of warfare and a fast pace.  Part of me wonders whether this will be rectified in the next installment and that’s why I’m so curious.  On balance I will probably continue with No.2 in the hopes that the plot becomes a bit more apparent as at the moment this is a more of a mystery to me than anything else.  I certainly wouldn’t discourage others to read – if you like a real action packed book with super fast pacing then this could be right up your street.

I received a copy of this from the publishers through Netgalley for which my thanks.  The above opinion is my own.

The best of the best of the best!!! 2014

b2bf5-toptentuesday2Over at The Broke and the Bookish this week the Top Ten Tuesday topic for discussion is

Top Ten Books I Read In 2014

And my list is:

Okay, I’m just teasing.  I’m not taking part in this week’s topic – purely because I have this crazy notion that I might still fit in one more excellent read before the clock counts down on New Year’s Eve!!! (Maybe even two – come on let’s be optimists!)  Also, I always struggle with this and this year I’ve been very lucky and read a lot of good books which means plenty of tooing and froing and oohing and aahing before I find a list I’m happy with.

What I can say is that on my list there will probably be warriors, cowards, fighting, dragons, slaying, wild and unruly countries, witty repartee or plain grim and downright nasty banter!!

The other thing I will definitely be doing is checking out the other lists – well, I wouldn’t want to miss any possibilities to go on the tbr now would I!!

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