Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews

Title: Burn For Me: A Hidden Legacy Novel

Author: Ilona Andrews
Information on series: First in series
Audience:  Adult
Rating (scale of 1-5, with 5 being highest): 4.5

TL/DR: Nevada Baylor is a small time PI faced with the most challenging case of her career.  In modern day Houston, many humans have been blessed with magical powers.  It is common knowledge and some are more powerful than others.  Can Nevada work with her unlikely ally, Mad Rogan, to bring in a dangerous being?  The first book in this Urban fantasy series pairs a smart, savvy female protagonist with a dark, brooding anit-hero.  Burn for me is fun and engaging, with a dash of romance. 

Longer Review: I must confess, my favorite sub-genre of Fantasy is Urban Fantasy.  I’m a sucker for well written fantasies that take place in real world settings, with strong female characters, magic, and some romance.  Ilona Andrews (the husband and wife writing team of Ilona and Gordon Andrews) is one of my top 3 favorite authors in this genre.

In Houston, Nevada Baylor has taken over her family’s detective business that is mortgaged out to a much larger firm.  In this modern day alternate world, magic equals power and none are more powerful than Mad Rogan.  Nevada is tasked with bringing in a fire mage and she needs to work with Mad in order to complete her assignment.  Nevada isn’t powerful, but she is essentially a human lie detector.  A skill that comes in very handy in her line of work.  She is smart, scrappy, loyal, a very well rounded woman. 

Thoughts on Mad Rogan:  Is he a good guy? Is he a bad guy?  I just don’t know!  I mean, he helps Nevada, but is he putting her in more danger?  Is he even capable of real feelings?  There is a bit of romance in this book, but as this is the first in a series the main characters are really just getting to know one another.  No insta love in this book (yay)! 

Thoughts on Nevada’s rag-tag family:  Her cousins seem like normal teenagers caught in a not so great situation.  Nevada is barely older than her cousins, yet she seems to be in charge of the entire family, including her mom and grandmother. Speaking of her grandmother,  I LOVE this women! She kind of reminds me of the grandmother in the Stephanie Plum books, but not quite as wacky.  She is a weapons expert so I guess the two grannies do have the love of guns in common. I suspect we will be getting more back story on Nevada's family in future books. 

The twist at the end, wow!.  I totally did not see that coming.  I read an advanced readers copy of Burn for Me before its October, 2014 release date.  Fortunately the new book in the series "White Hot" will be out in October of this year, I honestly can't wait to read the continuing saga of Nevada and Mad.   

I would call this a gateway book to Urban Fantasy.  Light on the world building because it takes place in modern times, and no vampires, werewolves, shape shifters etc.  If you've wanted to try Urban Fantasy but have been hesitant for some reason or another, this is a great choice for your first book.  

Read A-likes:

The Grendel Affair by Lisa Shearin
When a serial killer descended from the fiend known as Grendel is let loose on the world, Makenna Fraser and Ian Byrne, who work for Supernatural Protection and Investigations, must race against time to stop him before more innocent lives are lost.

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
While trying to live a so-called normal existence, mechanic Mercy Thompson, a shape shifter raised by werewolves, gets into trouble with the gremlins, witches, and vampires with whom she deals on a daily basis.

Bitten by Kelley Armstrong
On the eve of her marriage, Elena Michaels learns that her fiancé has been concealing his secret life as a werewolf, and, as a bonus, he has made her into one also.

Amy Muchmore, Carnegie-Stout Public Library

Review: Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire

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Title: Rosemary and Rue
Author: Seanan McGuire
Series: October Daye
Rating: 5 stars
TL;DR: October Daye, a changeling P.I., is compelled under threat of death to solve the murder of Countess Evening Winterrose.

Longer review: Half-fae private investigator October “Toby” Daye is building her life with her husband and daughter in the mortal world, when a case she is working for her liege goes south, and the bad guys turn her into a fish.

Fourteen years later, the spell has worn off and Toby has reappeared in the mortal world. Her mortal husband and daughter want nothing to do with the wife and mother who they think abandoned them, and Toby wants nothing to do with the Summerlands.

Understandably bitter, Toby is keeping her head down and just trying to readjust to life. But when Countess Evening Winterrose, one of Toby’s few friends from Fairie, is viciously murdered shortly after she calls Toby begging for help, Toby is drawn back into a world she hates.

What makes this book incredible is McGuire’s easy writing style, her well-developed characters, and the depth of her world-building. Once you sink into this book, you’ll have to be dragged out of it. Better yet, there are currently eight books in the series, with at least five more planned.

McGuire is a prolific author, with two series under her own name, and another two under her pen name Mira Grant.

Author’s Websitehttp://www.seananmcguire.com

Read alikes:

Marie Brennan’s Onyx Court series: Set in Elizabethan London, the first book in this series, Midnight Never Come, follows Michael Deven, a mortal courtier in Elizabeth’s court and Lune, a fairie lady sent to manipulate Queen Elizabeth’s spymaster. Although this book is set in a different time and place than McGuire’s series, there are similarities in the court politics and the interaction between the Fae and mortal worlds.

Kat Richardson’s Greywalker series: Set in Seattle, this series features P.I. Harper Blaine, who, after a near fatal accident, develops the ability to see and move through the Grey – the realm of ghosts, witches, vampires and magic. Like October Daye, Harper Blaine is a tough woman dealing with both real and otherworldly problems.

Kim Harrison’s The Hollows series: Set in a post-epidemic Cincinnati, bounty-hunter and witch Rachel Morgan must contend with elves, vampires, werewolves and demons. This series has a lighter feel than McGuire’s, and is a little faster-paced, but both series have a strong and resourceful female protagonists.

Teresa Dahlgren
Waterloo Public Library