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Melanie's Best Books of 2014


 Melanie's Best Books of 2014


Melanie's Best Books of 2014
Dawn's Early Light by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris

I absolutely love the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series and Dawn's Early Light was another fantastic instalment in this series. My favourite agents - Books and Braun - find themselves across the pond and joining fellow agents from the Office of the Supernatural and Metaphysical to stop the dastardly Thomas Edison and the evil House of Usher. This book (and series) has the perfect balance of action, character development and steampunky coolness. I also have a secret crush on Books so enjoy everything and anything to do with my favourite hero. (See Melanie's Review here.)



Melanie's Best Books of 2014
Gemsigns by Stephanie Saulter

Gemsigns was one of those big surprise books for me in 2014. I wasn't expecting to like it quite as much as I did. Saulter writes very convincing science fiction with likeable heroes and baddies who you aren't sure are going to get caught which makes it all the more gripping. This book is so well written and chapters that explain the 'science' are exceptional. It's hard to believe that this is Saulter's debut novel. (See Melanie's Review here.)




Melanie's Best Books of 2014
Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews

Magic Breaks is the 7th in the Kate Daniels series and Andrews made a very brave decision. The authors' change the format and make some very bold decisions for their characters. I have enjoyed this series and some books are stronger than others but this one stands out for me not just for how it is written but for what happens to the characters. Kate is one of my favourite heroines and can hardly wait to find out what happens next. (See Melanie's Review here.)





Review: Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews


Magic Breaks
Author:   Ilona Andrews
Series:  Kate Daniels 7
Publisher:  Ace, July 29, 2014
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages
List Price:   $25.95 (print)
ISBN:  9780425256220 (print)
Review Copy:   ARC provided by the Publisher

Review: Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews
No matter how much the paranormal politics of Atlanta change, one thing always remains the same: if there’s trouble, Kate Daniels will be in the middle of it…

As the mate of the Beast Lord, Curran, former mercenary Kate Daniels has more responsibilities than it seems possible to juggle. Not only is she still struggling to keep her investigative business afloat, she must now deal with the affairs of the pack, including preparing her people for attack from Roland, a cruel ancient being with god-like powers. Since Kate’s connection to Roland has come out into the open, no one is safe—especially those closest to Kate.

As Roland’s long shadow looms ever nearer, Kate is called to attend the Conclave, a gathering of the leaders from the various supernatural factions in Atlanta. When one of the Masters of the Dead is found murdered there, apparently at the hands of a shapeshifter, Kate is given only twenty-four hours to hunt down the killer. And this time, if she fails, she’ll find herself embroiled in a war which could destroy everything she holds dear…

**Includes the bonus Kate Daniels story Magic Tests**



Melanie's Thoughts

Magic Breaks is a topsy turvy love story. It's a story of romantic love, parental love, love felt for friends and family but more importantly it is a story of the love of power. Kate finds herself pulled in almost every direction with a killer to track down, the inevitable politics of the pack and Hugh on her doorstep bringing her closer and closer to her overlord of a father, Roland. Curran has left Atlanta on another mission and his absence is felt in almost trial Kate has to face. Her love for him is palatable on every page. Hugh is pursuing Kate for the power she represents and how her capture will demonstrate his value to his boss Roland. The man himself, Roland takes centre stage in this the 7th book of the series. Kate's whole life has been about avoiding her father but that time has ended as she comes face to face with the god-like tyrant who has the ability to destroy everything and everyone Kate has grown to love. It's not all hearts and roses as Kate does have a murder to solve and the Pack to save. Needless to say a lot happens in this book but I don't want to give too much away.

Andrew's has effectively re-booted the Kate Daniels series with book 7, Magic Breaks. The format of the story is different and the plot takes so many unexpected turns it was like wearing a blindfold on a roller coaster. I never knew where Andrews' was going to take Kate next. It made for a very exciting read and has made me start to look forward to book 8, even though it's release is over a year away. In many ways this book seems like the end of series and you could almost be fooled into thinking it was if I didn't already know the authors have been contracted for 3 more books. It is very much a book of endings and new beginnings and not just for the characters. Andrews' also slightly changes the format of the book. They added two features to this book that I have mixed feelings about - one was a diary piece written by Barabas and the other was a 'Who's Who'. The diary I am a bit ambivalent about as I am a loyal fan and didn't need the back story but this gives the opportunity for new readers to catch up on what has been happening over the last few books. I thought the 'Who's Who' gave to much away as then I knew exactly who was going to feature in the plot. Having said that I like the fact that Andrews' decided to keep the format fresh and not stick to a formula.

I felt that Andrews focused much more on characterisation in this instalment of the series. I really liked the further development of Gastek and Kate's relationship and the story of how he became a navigator. More was divulged about Hugh and I think he is one best villains around. He is makes me want to jump inside the page and give him a nice hard slap. Roland almost comes across as a pussy cat in comparison to Hugh but I am sure that Roland is just biding his time before he turns super evil. In fact, this instalment has bad guys galore. I am sure that there was a secret competition happening in Atlanta over who could be the meanest to the feisty heroine, Kate.

I could spend much longer explaining how much I enjoyed Magic Breaks but that would be too spoilery and the one of the best things about this book are all the surprises in store for my favourite characters. This is a great book and yet another in a series that keeps delivering excellent characterisation, exciting action and a plot that keeps you gripped from the first word until the last. A definite must read.


Melanie's Week in Review - April 27, 2014


Melanie's Week in Review - April 27, 2014


I started the week on a reading roll but have rather limped in towards the end of the week. This is mainly due to the fact that I read such a great book at the start of the week and then nothing else could compare to it and I couldn't find anything to catch my interest afterwards. So what did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - April 27, 2014
I was  really lucky when my request for an ARC of Magic Breaks was granted by the publisher (Ace). I was really trying to avoid reading it until June as I want to respect the publisher's request not post a review until about a month before the release date which is July 29th. I always prefer to write my review as soon as possible after finishing a book and I don't usually have the luxury of writing them months before they can be posted. I couldn't resist this time as it was like the book cover was taunting me every time I opened my Kindle. I really like this series and Kate is one of my all time favourite heroines. Unfortunately, for you dear reader I can't give too much away about Magic Breaks as I will be writing a full review and you will have to wait until late June/early July to read it. All I can say is that if you haven't had a chance to read any of the other books in the series then you have almost 2 months to catch up because its a cracker!

Melanie's Week in Review - April 27, 2014I bought The Digital Wolf by Jon Rosenberg a few months ago not realising it was the second book of The Academy series. I don't really like skipping books if I don't have to so went and bought book 1 - The Unicorn Crisis. This first book in the series starts with the Summoner David Ash chasing a mad unicorn around a field in Stratford-upon-Avon. Ash didn't think his day could get any worse until he learns that a fellow Summoner has been killed and with the King of Fairy enraged that someone effectively stole his favourite pet Ash is charged with finding the murderer and stopping anyone or anything else escaping from Fairy. Ash has not one but two side kicks to help him with this case including Llewellyn the Welsh elf with a fondness for bitter and soap operas and the fellow Summoner and American, Jenny who has come bearing a grudge. The unlikely trio uncover that there are plans afoot to bring down the Hidden Academy and its up to them to ensure that they don't succeed. Unicorns, flying monkeys and drunk university students, Ash has his work cut out for him!

I enjoyed this book and thought that Rosenberg has a gift for humour and a fantastic imagination. David Ash reminded me a tiny bit of Ben Aaronovitch's Peter Grant series. Both authors have the ability to mix humour with murder and/or mayhem without making their heroes sound like wise cracking jerks. Not an easy feat! I thought it was quite effective how Rosenberg teased out Ash's background and then wove this into the plot. Not everything was spelled out at the start which made it really easy to engage with the story as you wanted to find out meaning or importance of certain events from David's past that are regularly referred to throughout the novel. My only one very tiny criticism was that I thought it as a little bit too long. By about 3/4 of the way through I wanted Ash to have solved the case already. All in all a great start to the series and I am looking forward to The Digital Wolf.

Melanie's Week in Review - April 27, 2014After one super exciting book and one rather hefty book I needed something light and short to finish off my week. I was trawling through my Kindle recommendations and found Devil to Pay by Jeaniene Frost. I have mixed views of Frost's books. I wasn't fond of the Night Huntress series but sort of like the Night Prince series. This novella is part of the Night Huntress world and even for a novella it was pretty short. In retrospect I was glad that it was as it was pretty dull. For vampires and demons they were all  pretty much goody-two-shoes and not at all engaging. I should have read a few more reviews before I decided to buy a book from a series I quit reading after book 2.

That is all for me for this week. I am keeping my fingers crossed for getting through some good books this week. We have a 48 hour tube strike next week and I will need to work from home which means I have less concentrated reading time. Wish me luck!  Until next week Happy Reading.


Melanie's Best Books of 2014Review: Magic Breaks by Ilona AndrewsMelanie's Week in Review - April 27, 2014

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