Tuesday, August 15, 2017

"White Hot (Hidden Legacy #2)" by Ilona Andrews

White Hot is the second in the Hidden Legacy series, and this review contains some spoilers for the first book, Burn For Me. My review of Burn For Me is here.

This book contains some of the elements that made Fate's Edge one of my favorite Ilona Andrews' books- animals, ingenuity, and a lot of creative thinking. While the returning characters did sweeten the book, I love the fact that Cornelius returns with his animal menagerie to make this book even more Litha-approved. As you may know, a heavy helping of critters with personality goes a long way in terms of improving my reception to books.

Of course, I must discuss the cover, which basically gives some of the book away: Nevada and Rogan were (1st book spoiler) separated in the first book by Rogan's offer which Nevada refused. Obviously, something romantic is happening in this book. I think a lot of my fears about Rogan and Nevada's dynamic were answered in this book, because they get to know each other a bit more than in Burn For Me.

The Plot (As Seen on Goodreads):
'Nevada Baylor has a unique and secret skill—she knows when people are lying—and she's used that magic (along with plain, hard work) to keep her colorful and close-knit family's detective agency afloat. But her new case pits her against the shadowy forces that almost destroyed the city of Houston once before, bringing Nevada back into contact with Connor "Mad" Rogan.
'Rogan is a billionaire Prime—the highest rank of magic user—and as unreadable as ever, despite Nevada’s “talent.” But there’s no hiding the sparks between them. Now that the stakes are even higher, both professionally and personally, and their foes are unimaginably powerful, Rogan and Nevada will find that nothing burns like ice …'

One of my favorite things about the Hidden Legacy series is Nevada's family, and her grandma, Frida continues to hold a special place in my heart with her mad vehicular modification skills. You get to see more of Catalina and Arabella (Nevada's sisters) in this book, and not just in the annoying lil' sis ways you'd expect of them (although there's more than enough of that too). There is definitely more of a focus on the Baylor clan than there was in Burn For Me, because although Nevada lived and worked with her family then there was less of their input on her everyday activities with Rogan.

I was impressed with the plot of this book probably even more than Burn For Me which was more of a typical series introduction book. Although there are some hodge podge action scenes, the overall story was impressive (especially the bit that involved the animals). This is supposed to be paranormal romance, but there is a lot more urban fantasy-ish situations than I recall a lot of Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance mixes having.

White Hot is the type of paranormal romance that brings me out of a bad mood with ease. I enjoyed it so much I decided to reread it before writing up a review- the Hidden Legacy series is quickly becoming one of my favorites. If you like action-packed books with realistic characters and a side of romance, this series might be for you.

Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars for an exceptional sequel that exceeded my magical expectations!

Age Advisory: Ages 18+ for violence, animal burglars, and sexual content.

Page Count: 389 pages

Saturday, August 12, 2017

"Naked in Death (In Death #1)" by J.D. Robb

I don't know about you, but I tend to have little trust in the writing skills of popular authors. The more books a certain writer has written and sold well, the more I suspicious I feel about them- I guess that is why I seldom pick up any books by James Patterson or Dan Brown (also, I tend to dislike thrillers). So when I saw this in my invisible-pile with the name Nora Roberts on it, my eyes went very narrow- why would I pick up a romance book with thriller in the title, even if it has sci-fi, if it's written by such a popular *narrows eyes even more* writer?

Let me tell you- I was wrong. This book is a gem of sci-fi romance that even I (the notoriously picky about romance reader) can enjoy, even with my thriller-aversion. It's always interesting to read a book set in a future time when a lot of time has passed since its publication, but somehow this one doesn't seem at all far fetched (this was published in 1995, 22 years ago). There are some elements that are a more than a tad off track (they say because prostitution is legalized, rape is very uncommon. I doubt that X1000), but in 1995, I was three years old and considered dirt a delicacy. Needless to say, things have changed.

The Plot (As Seen on Goodreads):
'In a world of danger and deception, she walks the line--between seductive passion and scandalous murder... Eve Dallas is a New York police lieutenant hunting for a ruthless killer. In over ten years on the force, she's seen it all--and knows her survival depends on her instincts. And she's going against every warning telling her not to get involved with Roarke, an Irish billionaire--and a suspect in Eve's murder investigation. But passion and seduction have rules of their own, and it's up to Eve to take a chance in the arms of a man she knows nothing about--except the addictive hunger of needing his touch.'

J.D. Robb/Nora Roberts manages to portray Eve Dallas in a beautifully complex manner. She is a survivor of childhood sex abuse who has made her job into her life when in steps Roarke. I wasn't too sure the author would be able to make me like him at first- he's overbearing and a billionaire (I don't find wealth that attractive, thanks very much), but the way he cares for Eve won me over. This is written in the third-person omniscient perspective, which means there are jumps in point of view during the same scene from character to character. It's hard to believe, but it actually works in this book's favor- if I never saw the book from Roarke's end of things in certain moments, I would've never liked him.

Although this book is set in a sci-fi future, it is a romance, the steam of which may not suit all readers. With most books with this level of steam, I can usually label it mainly a romance, but without the murder mystery and sci-fi elements this book probably wouldn't work- Eve's job is essential to her character, and the sadistic sexual aspects of the murders seem to break down her barriers. You should definitely skip this one if you find those types of things in books distasteful because although it isn't as bad as many other books I've read, it's still on the gruesome side.

Naked in Death is a futuristic romantic thriller with a heroine who can cry and still kick your ass ten seconds (or less) later. I was more than thrilled to find that this one breached the four star barrier, something that has been difficult for many other books I've read in the past few months to do. If you like the lighter side of sci-fi with romance, murder, and a heroine to cheer for, you should pick up Naked in Death for your next read.

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars for an excellent sci-fi romance that kept me guessing!

Age Advisory: Ages 18+ for violence during sexual situations, murder, and sexual assault.

Page Count: 316 pages

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Month in Review for July 2017

My Star Wars themed b-day cake, complete with purple lightsaber chopsticks
July was rather kind to me compared with the beginning of August- there is a wildfire four miles from my house that was burning absurdly fast for about a week, which left me trapped inside due to the smoke and downstairs due to the heat. Luckily, it is cooler now and I am able to get back upstairs and blog again- I have a nifty but bulky desktop that I write at for fear of my tablet's autocorrect.

 Total Posts: 5
  Total Critiques: 2
    Fantasy: 1
    Contemporary Fiction: 1
    Part of a Series: 1

Most Popular Posts of the Past Month:
Month in Review for June 2017
New Release Review: "Hello, Sunshine" by Laura Dave

Flashback Post (From a Previous Year):
"Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy #1)" by Ilona Andrews

Pageviews for the Month: 958
Comments: 13

Reading Challenges Updates:

My Goal: 6 Books
What I've Read So Far:
Firstborn & Defending Elysium by Brandon Sanderson (Sci-fi Short Stories, 160 pages [June])
Parable of the Sower (Earthseed #1) by Octavia E. Butler (Dystopian, 345 pages [July])
The Mirror by Marlys Millhiser (Time Travel, 303 pages [July])
Naked in Death (In Death #1) by J.D. Robb (Sci-fi Thriller/Romance [July])

Reading Stats:

Books read this Month: 7

Book Stats:
Has a Diverse Main Character: 1
Doesn't Have a Diverse MC: 6
Female Main Character: 5
Male Main Character: 0
Pair and/or Group of Female/Male Main Characters: 2
 Sci-fi: 3
 Historical Romance: 2
 Fantasy: 1
 UF/Paranormal Romance: 1
Published in 2017: 3
Published in 2000-2016: 1
Published in 1990s: 2
Published in 1970s: 1
Self-Published, Small Press, or Other: 0
Traditionally Published: 7
Series Books: 6
Standalones: 1
Ebook Version: 6
Paper Version: 1
Favorite of the Month: Wildfire (Hidden Legacy #3) by Ilona Andrews because they are my favorite authors who create my favorite characters (even a grizzly bear with the smarts of a human who is a pacifist). I liked it so much I'm rereading it right now.
Least Favorite of the Month: Rules for a Rogue (Romancing the Rules #1) by Christy Carlyle- with historical romance, I'm hard to please. I really liked the second book in this series (which I read first).
Most Interesting of the Month (or Book I Learned the Most From): Parable of the Sower (Earthseed #1) by Octavia E. Butler- it's the most interesting and frightening book I've probably read all year- not for the squeamish among us or those who avoid dark topics.
From the-pile: 0
From the-invisible-pile: 3
Recently acquired: 4
Added to the-invisible-pile: 10
Books bought: 1
Pages Read in 2017 Thus Far (according to Goodreads): 14,452 pages

5 Stars: 0
4-4.5 Stars: 3
3-3.5 Stars: 3
2-2.5 Stars: 1

Author Stats (1 = 1 book read by x author):
Male: 1
Female: 5
Male/Female Team: 1
Diverse: 1
Not-so-Diverse: 6 :(
Living: 6
Deceased: 1

Planning to Read This Month:

I am rereading Wildfire (because Ilona Andrews' books make me happy). I plan on sneaking in some sci-fi at some point, but other than that I don't have any plans.

Upcoming Posts:

Naked in Death (In Death #1) by J.D. Robb
For a while, my Blogger image archive wasn't working, so this review from July will appear in August. I really was pleasantly surprised by this one- and I didn't anticipate that.

I hope your August is amazing!

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