Friday Book Club #16

Friday, September 7, 2018

Read & Have Opinions On:

Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews
Mercenary Kate Daniels must risk all to protect everything she holds dear in this epic, can't-miss entry in the thrilling #1 New York Times bestselling urban fantasy series.

Kate has come a long way from her origins as a loner taking care of paranormal problems in post-Shift Atlanta. She's made friends and enemies. She's found love and started a family with Curran Lennart, the former Beast Lord. But her magic is too strong for the power players of the world to let her be.

Kate and her father, Roland, currently have an uneasy truce, but when he starts testing her defenses again, she knows that sooner or later, a confrontation is inevitable. The Witch Oracle has begun seeing visions of blood, fire, and human bones. And when a mysterious box is delivered to Kate's doorstep, a threat of war from the ancient enemy who nearly destroyed her family, she knows their time is up.

Kate Daniels sees no other choice but to combine forces with the unlikeliest of allies. She knows betrayal is inevitable. She knows she may not survive the coming battle. But she has to try.

For her child.

For Atlanta.

For the world.

My Thoughts: I'm just going to own up to the fact that I'm probably not going to be able to be objective about this book. I feel like Ilona and Gordon (the husband and wife team behind Ilona Andrews) has created this incredibly world of characters that we've been rooting for for what feels like forever. Ending something like that has to be incredibly difficult and I don't have it in me to quibble too much about the details. They managed to find a solution to what felt like an unsolvable problem, and wrote an ending that is so much more than just that. I'm looking forward to whatever they write next in the world (or in any other worlds TBH), because while Kate and Curran have their HEA, I feel like there are a few other people in play who deserve to get theirs too.

Tsumiko and the Enslaved Fox by Forthright
Tsumiko inherits an ancestral home, a vast fortune, and a butler who isn’t exactly human.

Humanity is rocked by the Emergence of a people who call themselves the Amaranthine. They are our myths and legends come to life. Neither human nor animal, yet embracing qualities of both, the inhuman races inspire both awe and fear. Every newsfeed is clogged with updates about the peace process, but some places don’t concern themselves with worldly affairs. Like the girls’ school run by Saint Midori’s of the Heavenly Lights, where Tsumiko Hajime grew up.

A letter from a long-lost aunt names Tsumiko heiress to an ancestral estate and its accompanying fortune. Only the legacy comes with an aloof heirloom: an inhuman butler. Argent has served the Hajime family for centuries, and Tsumiko must renew the generational bond or he’ll die. Argent hates her for the hold she has over him, but he craves her soul almost as much as he craves his freedom.

My Thoughts: This was actually a recommendation from Ilona Andrews herself, and I'm very glad she shared it. I'm not sure this story would have ever crossed my eyes and it's a wonderful one about love, family, and freedom. It's a romance with twists and turns and navigates the thorny issue of consent in a way that demonstrates how much Forthright considered the question of agency. Plus it has some great supernatural elements that use familiar faces - and beings - within a different magic system, resulting in an incredibly interesting story. Plus all the characters are great and I can't wait to spend more time with them (hopefully!).

Captivated by Tessa Bailey and Eve Dangerfield
Secret aspiring comedian Autumn Reynolds is a girl gone...not wild exactly. More like lazy. Since her boyfriend abandoned her in New York City for a bunch of improv groupies she’s had two priorities; sucking the nitrous out of whipped cream cans and making sex comics about her mysterious landlord.

Blake hates people—and sunlight—with good reason. Imagine his surprise when he finds himself lusting after his upstairs tenant, a sunny, Australian people pleaser down on her luck. Turns out his ability to terrify with a single scowl comes with an advantage. Autumn seems to like it. A lot. As evidenced by the prisoner-captive comic Blake was never meant to see.

As they embark on a three-date arrangement the rules are clear; filthy, ground breaking sex, no feelings or commitment required. When chemistry is this strong, though, attachment follows. As Blake and Autumn attempt to negotiate their New York romance, their prior histories and secret dreams come to the foreground. How long can these polar opposites remain Captivated, when all signs point to disaster?

My Thoughts: This was a Twitter recommendation, and I think that while it doesn't rank up there with my all-time favorite romances, it is definitely one worth reading. Bailey and Dangerfield have crafted a sexy, fun story, exploring role-play in a way that I think humanizes a sometimes tricky fetish. And while doing that they wrote characters whose HEA you root for, and supporting characters you life with. I've reread multiple parts - especially the end - many times since finishing, which is a part of why I had to make sure to mention it here.

I'm Looking Forward To: 

Phoenix Unbound by Grace Draven (September 25th, 2018)
A woman with power over fire and illusion and an enslaved son of a chieftain battle a corrupt empire in this powerful and deeply emotional romantic fantasy from the USA Today bestselling author of Radiance.

Every year, each village is required to send a young woman to the Empire's capital--her fate to be burned alive for the entertainment of the masses. For the last five years, one small village's tithe has been the same woman. Gilene's sacrifice protects all the other young women of her village, and her secret to staying alive lies with the magic only she possesses.

But this year is different.

Azarion, the Empire's most famous gladiator, has somehow seen through her illusion--and is set on blackmailing Gilene into using her abilities to help him escape his life of slavery. Unknown to Gilene, he also wants to reclaim the birthright of his clan.

To protect her family and village, she will abandon everything to return to the Empire--and burn once more.

Rebel Hard by Nalini Singh (September 18th, 2018)
New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh continues her Hard Play series with a sweet, sexy romance featuring big, fat, OTT weddings, a meddling grandma, and a too-serious hero who needs to be unbuttoned…

Nayna Sharma agreed to an arranged marriage in the hope it would heal the fractures in her beloved family… only to realize too late that a traditional marriage is her personal nightmare. Panicked, she throws caution to the winds, puts on the tiniest dress she can find, and ends up in the arms of a tall, rough-edged hunk of a man who has abs of steel—and who she manages to mortally insult between one kiss and the next.

Abandoned as a child, then adopted into a loving family, Raj Sen believes in tradition, in continuity. Some might call him stiff and old-fashioned, but he knows what he wants—and it’s a life defined by rules… yet he can’t stop thinking about the infuriating and sexy woman who kissed him in the moonlight then disappeared. When his parents spring an introduction on him, the last woman he expects is her. Beautiful. Maddening. A rule breaker in the making.

He’s all wrong for her. She’s all wrong for him. And love is about to make rebels of them both.

Hazard by Devon Monk
Random Hazard has a stupid name and a terrible secret: he’s a wizard.

Wizards aren’t allowed to play in the NHL, but Random Hazard will do anything for a chance to play pro hockey. When his teammate is about to get brained by a puck going fast enough to kill, Random has no choice but to use magic.
Yes, he saved the guy’s life, but he destroyed his own.
Kicked out of the NHL, the only thing left for him is West Hell, a freak league of shifters and drifters more blood sport than hockey.
Being the first wizard in a league full of monsters might get him killed. Or it just might finally prove that magic and hockey do mix...

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