Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

About Kati

I've been reading romance for more than 30 years and reviewing regularly for the last five. My first romance was Irish Thoroughbred by Nora Roberts, and once I read it, I was a goner. I read most subgenres of romance (except inspirational and steampunk) but focus mostly on contemporary and paranormal, with a sprinkling of historical thrown in for flavor. I am an avid sports fan, so I have a special place in my heart for sports themed romances. I'm a sucker for old skool romance, which is probably most evident in the fact that The Windflower is my favorite romance of all time.

Posts by Kati :

REVIEW:  The Promise by Kristen Ashley

REVIEW: The Promise by Kristen Ashley

TP

Dear Ms. Ashley:

Your ‘Burg series is among my favorites, with At Peace (Joe and Vi’s story) being a routine re-read for me. During the course of At Peace, we meet the Bianchi’s, Joe’s very Italian cousins who own a successful pizzeria in Chicago, among them is Benito Bianchi, son, and Italian Hot Guy. We also meet Francesca Concetti, who ends up being involved in At Peace’s climax and is forever tied to Violet. It’s clear from At Peace that Benny and Frankie have a history and a lot of chemistry, so I was really looking forward to their love story.

The Promise picks up days after the end of At Peace. Frankie is in the hospital healing from her gunshot wound. She’s been in for about a week and has been avoiding the Bianchi’s, who have all visited multiple times wanting to thank her and make amends for a seven year long rift they’ve had. She’s been avoiding them by faking sleep. The most persistent of the Bianchi’s is Benny. She and Benny have history. Frankie was with Vinnie Jr., Benny’s brother for years. But Vinnie was killed after getting himself involved with his uncle, who is a mob boss. The Bianchi’s have held hard feelings towards Frankie for years, thinking that she should have somehow been able to lead Vinnie down a better path. Needless to say, Frankie putting her life on the line for Joe’s woman has erased all hard feelings and the family is now anxious to mend the rift.

Frankie has absolutely no interest in mending fences. Before the rift, the Bianchi’s were Frankie’s shelter from her incredibly messed up family. They encapsulated everything that she wanted in her life. And when they shut her out, it devastated her. In particular, Benny’s neglect. She and Benny had always been close, and after Vinnie died, Frankie made a drunken pass at him. He reacted badly and shut her out completely after that. She’s hurt and angry and unwilling to swing her emotions out on the line for any of the Bianchi’s again. Unfortunately, Benny has other plans. Frankie nearly dying has pulled his head out of the sand and he’s going to finally take action to rectify the rift and to establish the two of them as a couple. He picks up Frankie from the hospital and takes her to his house, where he commences with the wooing.

Frankie spends alot of time being outraged at Benny’s high-handedness and irritated at the way he insists on caring for every little detail of her life. He’s overbearing, confrontational and determined to get his way. He’s also at times very sweet and solicitous, and between that, and the other members of his family being so anxious to mend the rift, soon he and Frankie are a couple and quickly falling in love.

All of this happens in the first third of the book, which was fun, compelling reading. Problem is, after a few fits and starts, Frankie and Benny are together. And there’s still two-thirds of the book to go. The rest of the book involves an industrial espionage plot that involves the heroine making a number of very risky decisions that I think are moronic. And some family drama with Frankie’s side.  But it also involves the birth of Vi and Joe’s baby as well as their wedding, both of which I loved reading about.

I found the book to be what I’d term a trademark Kristen Ashley self-pub. It’s over-long, features an overbearing alpha hero and a heroine whose character is mostly derived from throwing alot of attitude around and generally being a pain in the ass. There are also the expected details descriptions of hair/makeup and clothing and the heroine does alot of whispering. So, basically, all of the things that make up your authorial voice. This was a book that I read relatively compulsively although not with the absorption of some others. But, if your fans are looking for a Kristen Ashley fix, this will do, and certainly it gives great glimpses of past, beloved characters. In the end it’s not my favorite, or even in my Top 5 favorite Kristen Ashley books, but I think those who read you regularly will enjoy it. Final grade: C+

Best wishes,

Kati

AmazonBNKoboAREBook DepositoryGoogle

REVIEW:  Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews

REVIEW: Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews

MB

SPOILER WARNING – Because Magic Breaks is Book 7 in the Kate Daniels series, there are unavoidable series spoilers found within this review. I’d also highly encourage readers new to the series to begin at the start of the series.  Below are links to Dear Author reviews of all previous books.

  1. MAGIC BITES
  2. MAGIC BURNS
  3. MAGIC STRIKES
  4. MAGIC BLEEDS
  5. MAGIC SLAYS
  6. MAGIC RISES

Dear Ilona Andrews:

I’m what we’ll call a “late bloomer” to your Kate Daniels series. I bought the first in the series, Magic Bites, when it first came out, but tried it and didn’t like it. But over and over when casting about Twitter asking for a great series to read, other trusted readers would recommend the Kate Daniels series.  When I confessed that I couldn’t get into the first book, Mandi from Smexybooks encouraged me to just skip it and start with book 2. About a month ago, I did, and it began a week-long glom of the highest order. I consumed all six books in the series within that span, barely stopping to eat, sleep or work. To no one’s surprise, Mandi was right. The series features a fantastic heroine, a dandy hero and more than that, a fully realized world that features fantastic creatures, court intrigue and power struggles galore — what’s not to love??

In Magic Breaks you bring a resolution an overarching storyline that has been strongly featured the entire series: the impending confrontation between Kate Daniels (our heroine) and her father, Roland, an ancient wizard who is more powerful than any other creature on Earth.

Kate and her mate, the Beast Lord, Curran, are looking forward to some alone time. First, Curran needs to travel for a short time to negotiate with a silver miner who he knows is selling to Kate’s father and mortal enemy, Roland. He’s promised Kate two weeks away from the Pack as soon as he returns from his visit with the miner. In the meantime, as Curran’s mate and alpha of the Pack, and overseer of all pack alphas in Atlanta, Kate will have to handle the dreaded Conclave with with People (Atlanta’s undead). Kate agrees to attend Conclave and hopes to get in and out without incident so she and Curran can get away. To her dismay, her father’s second in command, Hugh d’Ambray shows up at Conclave with the dead body of one of the two local leaders of the People in tow. He accuses the Pack of murder and demands that the killer be handed over to the People for retribution.

Kate determines that she and a designated team from the Pack will have to go to speak with one of the Rats’ spies who watches the Casino (the People’s stronghold). They set out through Unicorn Way, a place where magic never dies and is particularly unpredictable. Once Kate and her group has discovered the details of the killing, and apprehended the killer, she must devise a way to avoid turning the killer over to the People. During her double cross of the People, she is kidnapped by Hugh d’Ambray and teleported to Mishmar, along with Ghastek, the remaining of the two vampire leaders, who she’s had a cautious working relationship with. On top of that, during the kidnap, Kate’s most prized possession, her sword Slayer, is broken. Now Kate is in a real pickle. She’s in a bottomless pit of water, with Ghastek, a broken sword and no way out. She knows that Curran will come for her, she just has to stay alive while she waits.

I’m hesitant to say too much more about the plot, as it’s truly exciting and I think the best of the series, in terms of developments that will move the upcoming books forward. It also provides what I felt like was a very credible partial resolution to the Roland issue while also setting up intriguing new possibilities for the series.

There are so many things to like about this series. Kate is an incredibly strong heroine, one who reminds me very much of Mercedes Thompson from Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series. She’s self-sufficient, smart, more powerful than she knows, and bears the weight of responsibility incredibly well. The series as a whole offers a truly wonderful romance between Kate and Curran, who also carries the weight of responsibility heavily. This books features Kate growing more and more comfortable with her power and also introduces some exciting new dynamics within the city of Atlanta on all sides.  Generally speaking, I’m not a fan of urban fantasy, and while this probably falls more into the UF genre than paranormal romance, I find Kate and Curran’s romance to be satisfying enough as a romance reader to always want more. The writing itself is very tight and the worldbuilding is stupendous.

While the book does have at the beginning a brilliant “journal entry” by Barabas, one of Kate’s trusted advisers, which summarizes the plot and the positioning of the various groups within the world, I’d highly encourage readers to start at the beginning of the series (or book 2, as I did). It’s among the best written UF/PNR books I’ve read in ages, and from now on the series will be a much coveted and often re-read one. I can’t wait to see what happens next. Magic Breaks gets an A, and a highly Recommended Read from me.

Sincerely,

Kati

 

 

 

 

 

AmazonBNSonyKoboAREBook DepositoryGoogle