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I am not a suck up!, authors Ilona Andrews


But today, I want to talk about one of my favorite author duo’s.  Ilona Andrews.  A husband and wife writing team of Urban Fantasy, which I think is just all kinds of awesome.  I would love if my husband shared my love of books and wanted to write with me, but alas, twas not meant to be.

There could be minor spoilers, but I tried to keep it spoiler free!

So, onto the goods.  Well, first I should point out that I don’t personally know Ilona and Gordon, aside from being a blog stalker obsessed fan reader {OK facebook stalker, twitterpatted, and goodreads too!}, and loyal book buyer {audio, ebook and paperback}.

I read the first Kate Daniels book, then immediately drove all the way to Barnes and Noble with the kids (I think I had two at the time and was pregnant with my third) and bought the next ones.  It was love at first read.  The unique writing voice, the protagonist, the world building, the characters–it hooked me and hasn’t let go since.

Laugh along with me here: Kate to Curran

“How much are you lifting?”
“Seven hundred.”
Alrighty then. I will just stand over here, out of your way, and hope you don’t remember to kick my ass.
He grinned. “Wanna spot me?”
“No thanks. How about I just scream verbal encouragements at you?” I took a deep breath and barked, “No pain, no gain! That pain is just weakness leaving your body! Come on! Push! Push! Make that weight your bitch!”

Part of what I think makes the series so awesome, is the world building.  It’s very complex, fresh, and totally interesting.  It’s not a cliche, or half-assed world.  It’s fully fleshed and thought out.  It’s also pretty dark.  I like dark books.  But they make me laugh too. Kate makes me laugh.  I love her inner wittyness.

She is snark personified.

“I gave him my best cryptic smile. He did not fall down to his feet, kiss my shoes, and promise me the world. I must be getting rusty.”

I love that she doesn’t always think before she speaks, because sometimes I have that problem too, and part of creating lead characters is making them relateable on some level to the reader.  You need to be able to identify with the characters you read about in order to stay involved in the story, and care what happens to them.  I care about Kate.  Sometimes I will tell my husband about a scene I read; he just rolls his eyes at me along with the look of “why are you telling me this, don’t you know these aren’t real people?”   To which I reply, “they are real to me!” and storm off, usually laughing.  He just doesn’t get it.  That’s OK.  Not everyone is a reader or enjoys reading, but personally if I didn’t have a book with me wherever I go, I tend to get panicky  My kindle, Nook or a paperback can be found on me somewhere at all times.  You just never know when you will get the chance to read a few more pages!

Good authors will do that to you.  Force you to tote that book around with you, just so you can sneak time to read a bit more.  While sitting at the doctors office, while making supper (Kindle comes in handy here :lol:) while waiting at a red light {don’t go calling the cops on me, it’s only if I’m at a pivotal point, or a dire moment!  As a side note, I never read while actually driving.  THAT would be dangerous.  But I have incurred a few horn honks because I missed the light turning green. Woops!

Moving on.  Before I find myself on the verge of a D.S.S call.  Plotting.  I enjoy the plots of the Kate Daniels series.  I love that I don’t know who the Villain is.  Book one, Magic Bites I had no idea who the bad person was.  Then I laughed when it was revealed.  In a good way.  The second novel, Magic Burns I was completely intrigued in the Mythos Ilona and Gordon brought to the table.  The third book, Magic Strikes is what cemented Ilona Andrews awesomeness in my brain permanently.  Magic Strikes is such an amazing book.  I laughed more in that book than I had in a long time.  The telephone conversation alone keeps me in giggles whenever I think about it.  The climax was fan-freaking-tastic.  The bloody battle in the arena was just ROCK ON!!  Magic Bleeds was an emotional book for me, and for Kate.  I was lucky to win an Advanced Reader Copy from the contest on their blog, and I was simply blown away and humbled by it.  The villain in Magic Bleeds was wicked.  The conversation between the Villain and Kate at the table in her apartments was just… there are no words for the coolness of it.  The battle in that book was just off the hook.  Don’t even get me started on the ending.  Her and Curran at the end.  I was glued to my seat, riveted reading the words on the page as fast as I could so I would know how they fared.  It was fantastic stuff.

Magic Bleeds: 

“Ready to put your claws where your mouth is, or are you going to cringe behind the big boys and yip all day?”
His eyes flared yellow “Is that a challenge?”
“Yes it is.”

I simply cannot wait for Magic Slays, which should hit stores at the end of May.

Now, you can’t talk about Ilona and Gordon without talking about the EDGE series.  The Edge is soooooo different from the Kate Daniels series.  The voice is different.  First off, it’s third person instead of first person.  Second, the world building in the Edge series just KNOCKED MY SOCKS OFF.  I have no idea how on earth a mind comes up with some of the characters and situations that arise in this series.  There are two books out currently,  “On the Edge” and “Bayou Moon“.  For those of you not familiar, the Edge is a magical place set between the Broken and the Weird.  The broken is like how we live now in real life.  The Weird is a Magical Realm, and the Edge is in between, people who live there have some magic.  Too much to live in the Broken, but not enough to be welcomed by the Weird.   Bayou Moon was one of the most horrific books that could make you laugh.  It sounds odd, but the combo really works for me.  I can laugh while I cringe, and that is totally freaking awesomsauce writing right there!

Funny Quote from “On the Edge”  and why I love Ilona Andrews:

Rose to her brother:

“Yes, I’m too mad to punish you right now. We’ll talk about it when we get home. Go brush your teeth, comb your hair, put on dry clothes, and get the guns. We’re going to Wal-Mart”

Rose to Declan from “On the Edge”

“It’s awful to be rich and mind-boggingly handsome and have women fawn over you. My heart bleeds for you. Poor dear, how do you manage?

Bayou Moon, William to Cerise:

“William leaned forward and pointed at the river. “I don’t know why you rolled in spaghetti sauce,” he said in a confidential voice. “I don’t really care. But that water over there won’t hurt you. Try washing it off.”
She stuck her tongue out.
“Maybe after you’re clean,” he said.
Her eyes widened. She stared at him for a long moment. A little crazy spark lit up in her dark irises.
She raised her finger, licked it, and rubbed some dirt off her forehead.
Now what?
The girl showed him her stained finger and reached toward him slowly, aiming for his face.
“No,” William said. “Bad hobo.”

So, what on earth are you waiting for?  If you haven’t already picked up an Ilona Andrews book, run out and get one!  Or download one, here let me help you to the Amazon Ilona Andrews Page, or at Barnes and Noble.

So, continuing on, another facet of Ilona Andrews is their accessibility to the fans.  They have an extremely funny blog, a forum, and they answer emails!  I love that they are real people.  Sometimes I think J.D Robb/Nora Roberts is a robot (I  mean Come on!  How can you write like 10 books a year!) Gordon writes amazing little Curran tidbits and Points of View, which he doesn’t have to do, but does because the fans demand beg ask for it.

Oh.My.God! I went this whole post so far without talking about CURRAN!  How could I let that happen?  Curran is the Beast Lord, and hello?  He’s a LION! Rawr!  Ruler of thousands of Shape Shifters in the Atlanta area.  As alpha as they come, crazy to boot, and in love with Kate (Of course, the readers aren’t privy to his crazy love, except through Gordon’s Curran Point’s of view) and until Magic Strikes, he keeps his feelings mostly to himself, with subtle hints here and there.

Alpha Curran to Mercenary Kate: Magic Bites

“I turned to leave and paused before the gap in the ruined wall. “One last thing, Your Majesty. I’d like a name I can put into my report, something shorter than typing out ‘The Leader of the Southern Shapechanger Faction.’ What should I call you?”
“Lord.”
I rolled my eyes.
He shrugged. “It’s short.”

Curran to Kate:

“I’ve had a lot of practice. The Pack contains thirty-two species in seven tribes, each with their own hang-up. Jackals and coyotes pick fights with wolves, because they have an inferiority complex and think they’ve got something to prove.
Wolves believe themselves to be superior, marry the wrong people, and then refuse to divorce them because they cling to their ‘mating for life’ idiocy.
Hyenas listen to nobody, screw everything, and break out in berserk rages at some perceived slight against one of their own.
Cats randomly refuse to follow orders to prove they can.
That’s my life. I’ve been at this for fifteen years now.
You’re easy by comparison.”

Before I wind this post down, I wanted to point out that Ilona Andrews has some Novella’s and Short story books as well.  A little bit of Sci-fi, a little bit of magic and very cool.  You can see the list here, be sure to check them out.

And just because I find this hysterical, and Ilona is so fantastically funny: Ilona made this as a parody for Magic Slays.  See what I mean?  Funny Authors!~

So, come out of lurkdom yon blog readers, and tell me why you love Ilona Andrews!

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MAGIC BLEEDS… By Ilona Andrews


Ilona Andrews

Magic Bleeds

I was a lucky Reader and won an ARC of Magic Bleeds, which is Kate Daniels series book 4, which comes out May 25, 2010

For over a month I have been writing and re-writing my review of Magic bleeds in my head. Last night as I was trying to sleep, I had the perfect review written, it was unfolding beautifully, words dancing around in my head with little effort. I should have gotten up to write it then, instead of waiting until it disappeared… Pregnancy insomnia at its finest, leaving you unable to sleep, but also, reluctant to physically get out of bed.

Magic Bleeds is essentially the turning point, the pivotal book in the Kate Daniels Series. It’s a will they or won’t they book. {Speaking of Kate and Curran of course}

Ilona and Gordon crafted a well written, strong plot, with a very prominent relationship storyline. The Villain of Magic Bleeds was a welcome surprise. I never guessed, nor could figure out who the bad villain was until I was told, and then I was all like “WOAH! Totally AWESOME!!!” I love when an author can surprise me. Too many times lately a book or series is very predictable, and it is so refreshing to have authors who just GET IT. They get how to write a crafty plot without giving us who it is, they put out little red herrings, and then bash you over the head with the real deal. It’s fun, exciting, and appealing to the reader.

Let’s talk about Kate for a minute. Kate is one of my favorite heroines of all the book series I have read to date, and that is quite a few, especially in this genre of Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Fantasy/Romance. Kate is fierce. She is fiercely loyal to those she cares about, despite her fathers warning to remain closed off and to become a sociopath. She is fiercely independent, although she longs for companionship and love. She is fiercely private, to a fault; where she can’t trust anyone with her secrets, her heart, or her life. She is a master with her saber, will kick your ass if you threaten her or what she considers hers. She is all the things a quality leading lady should be, despite her ‘not being a lady’ Her mouth get’s her into trouble, and she often takes the approach of kill now, ask questions later. She has earned the right to claim that she is a walking, talking, bad ass, but she won’t. She knows she is, but she’s not egocentric which is nice to read. She does what she feels she has to do. To protect. Protect herself, protect her friends, and protect humanity.

One of the themes I found most prevalent in Magic Bleeds is love. Despite Kate feeling like she will never have the kind of love she desperately wants, she can’t help but be hurt at Curran’s no-show for their dinner. As she tries to put him out of her mind and move forward, he is constantly creeping into her thoughts, intruding in her life. He invades her privacy. She grieves for the man she wants, and feels she will never have. At the same time she is royally pissed off and humiliated and she does not know how to deal with these emotions. She’s quite volatile. I wanted to give her a hug, but didn’t want to get my eye jabbed by her sword.

When Kate and Curran first see each other, it’s, well, it’s hard to read, and awkward and you can feel the energy leaping off the page. The way Kate handles it is classic, and sort of funny, but not in a good way funny. But funny nonetheless because of who Kate is and how her mouth works. You know the expression… Insert foot? Well, Kate obviously doesn’t 🙂

Fans of the series will be engrossed, enraged, and enthralled with the Kate and Curran storyline. Have faith that Ilona and Gordon know what they are about. They do. And they do it brilliantly.

The battle scenes are great. The plot is interesting without being crazy. The death toll rises. Kate does indeed lose much in this book.

The end pages are killer. The last 50 pages or so are gut wrenching, jarring, sad, and finally bow down at Ilona and Gordon’s feet and proclaim them your masters 🙂 I jest, but seriously, the ending is fantastic. Just the right amount of everything. Grief, Pain, Hope, Love, and Future.

The book is amazing. I can’t wait for Kate Daniels 5.

I have no negatives with regards to this book. The pace is on par with all the other books, the writing is superb, the angst is real, the battles are bloody, hope is alive.

On the Bad-Ass scale I give Magic Bleeds a huge 5/5 stars

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