The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

51jpv68vvzl-_sx333_bo1204203200_Rating: 4 stars

New York City was surrounded by a barrier called the brink. It prevented anyone with magic from leaving the city. It would strip them of their magic and at best cause considerable pain and at worst cause death. The order, a group of humans, created the brink. Those with magic wanted to be free and were trying to find a way to take down the brink and the order.

It took a little while to get into it, but it was so damn good. Esta had the rare ability of being able to travel through time. Her guardian used her ability to go back in time and steal items from the order. There was a bit of an info dump in the beginning. It complicated matters more that Esta was sent back to the past and the world building of that time period had to be introduced also since what was going on in the world magically was quite different.

The whole cast of characters was interesting. I liked Esta. Her ability was useful and got her out of a few tricky situations. Her actions in the past were important because the butterfly effect was a major possibility. She was loyal and trustworthy which made her more unpredictable as the story went on because it was hard to tell if she’d be loyal to the people of her time or to the ones in the past she’d grown close to. I loved Harte Darrigan. He and Esta had good chemistry from the first time they met. For most of the book I wasn’t sure how to feel about him. I genuinely felt that he was a good guy at heart, but part of him was incredibly selfish. His main concern was always getting the best possible outcome for himself even if it screwed everyone else over. It was his connection to Esta that made him think of others more, but I hadn’t been sure where his loyalties would lie in the end. Dolph was the leader of a magical mafia. It was obvious he was trying to do the right thing all along. He had a rat in his midst and was going to get screwed for trusting the wrong person. I wanted him to be more proactive and figure things out.

The end was shocking! I was really surprised at how far the bad guy was willing to take things to achieve his goal. I did not see that coming at all. The truth about Esta’s past was revealed. I probably should have pieced that together, but so many other things were going on that I didn’t even give it any thought. The only thing that truly disappointed me with this book was that I didn’t know it was the first in a series. A lot of things still need to be resolved, but I can’t wait to read the next one!

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Ride the Storm by Karen Chance

25962913-_uy200_Rating: 4.5 stars

Series: Cassie Palmer #8

Three things happened that I have been desperately hoping would happen since book 4, and it was about damn time. I would love to discuss those things in detail, but it would give away some major plot points. I was beginning to lose my faith and thought that some of these issues would be dragged out forever, but good things come to those who wait!

I’ve got to be honest the first half was aggravating and too chaotic without any real progress being made. Cassie was time jumping from one place to the next and dealing with many issues. All of those issues were the same ones from the last book. I really didn’t think it was necessary for two books to be devoted to Pritkin’s sojourn in the past.

The other pythias were irritating. They didn’t add much to the story and were a constant distraction causing the resolution to Pritkin’s situation to take too long. Cassie never had formal training with her pythia powers, but shouldn’t she be more powerful than the average pythia? One parent was a goddess and the other was a necromancer. She should be a badass from that alone. Throwing pythia powers into the mix should make her extremely powerful. Despite her ability to do things others can’t, it always seems like other pythias can overtake her too easily.

Finally the time came for Cassie and Mircea to have a talk. Cassie found out something about him, and he was forced to explain the situation. It turned out much better than I thought it would have. He revealed much more than I would have expected. Well it turns out what I always thought about him was true.

The end was great! The final showdown with Ares happened. The way that got settled was completely unexpected and fantastic! The best part was that Cassie finally made a choice, and it was the one I wanted her to make. No more love triangle drama, hopefully anyway. The other guy isn’t going let Cassie go easily. There was a cliffhanger at the end, but it was one I can deal with.

Thanks so much to Netgalley for giving me this in exchange for an honest review!

The Operator by Kim Harrison

31572148Rating: 2 stars

Series: The Peri Reed Chronicles #2

I tried to like this. Kim Harrison wrote one of the best UF series ever, so I had to give this series a chance. The Drafter was okay. I was hoping this would be better. It was more disappointing. It felt aimless and repetitive. It’s amazing that a book with lots of action can be so boring. Halfway through I realized I just don’t care about anything. The plot, the characters, none of it interests me.

Peri Reed is a character who is hard to relate to. Her mind has been so damaged from drafting that she has no idea what has happened to her. She doesn’t even know what she likes or what responses of hers are genuine or manufactured by her anchors. It’s hard to root for her. She’s not a bad person, but she’s done enough bad things that she’s not good either. Her desire to be her own person is admirable but constant self doubt makes her convictions less convincing. The biggest problem with Peri is that she’s a tool. She didn’t let others manipulate her as easily as she did in The Drafter, but when backed into a corner (which happens a lot) she reacts exactly how the enemy expects her to. She tends to be impulsive and gets stuck in one bad situation after another. The worst part is most of the time she is completely aware the situation is bad and walks right into it anyway.

Silas is the only character I like and the only one who isn’t heartless. Most of the other side characters are self serving and bad. There are no fascinating shades of gray to their personalities. Silas’s page time was minimal although his relationship with Peri was stronger. Peri’s relationship with Jack is aggravating. The way she feels about him reminds me of a woman in an abusive relationship because he’s done awful things to her and she tries to justify his actions since she still cares about him.

I won’t be reading anymore books in this series. There was some character development, but Peri’s situation didn’t change much from the beginning of the book. These books are too long to get through when the plot barely advances.

Thanks to Netgalley for giving me this in exchange for an honest review.

Hold My Heart by Esther M. Soto

22698577Rating: 2 stars

Series: The Heart Series #1

Too much pointless drama. Ileana and Tommy were FBI agents. Just like every other book with characters who are in law enforcement, they had bad childhoods. They were trying to catch a serial killer although this was forgotten about for large portions of the book. In the first third of the book it alternated between Ileana’s and Tommy’s POV. She was attracted to him but was in denial about it. He wanted to be with her although he mainly thought about how sexy she was. Of course neither of them would express their feelings so there was lots of drama all due to miscommunication. That alone was enough to make me want to DNF this.

Then Ileana went back in time to 1940’s. Unfortunately time travel didn’t make this book more exciting. It was even more boring in the past. All of the characters there were too similar and nice. I would have expected her to be more driven to find her way home. Most of the time her FBI case and partner Tommy were forgotten about. She did meet some relatives in the past, but none of that revealed anything interesting.

When she went back in time, she met Will. She was instantly attracted to him for no other reason than he was gorgeous. They barely knew anything about each other but had strong feelings for each other. Will was boring. I didn’t like him because he wanted her to conform to what he expected a woman to be like rather than letting her be herself. Then she was torn between wanting Will and Tommy although they weren’t in the same time period. I hate love triangles. I never would have read this if I had known there was one. It ended with a dramatic cliffhanger, which ensured I will not read the rest of this series, not that I would have anyway.

I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Waylaid by Kim Harrison

waylaidRating: 4 stars

Series: Peri Reed Chronicles & The Hollows

Rachel Morgan is back! She and Peri made an awesome team. Peri is serious, and it was fun to see her work with someone as quirky as Rachel. The blending of their two worlds worked out well. Rachel was summoned into Peri’s alternate reality, and there wasn’t enough magic for Rachel to get back to her own world. Each of them had to use their own talents to devise a way to help Rachel. I just wish this had been a novel. I would have loved to get a glimpse into Rachel’s mind while in Peri’s world. Although this was from Peri’s POV, it isn’t necessary to read The Drafter before this. Waylaid is a good intro to Peri’s world.

Netgalley gave me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Reap the Wind by Karen Chance

Rating: 3 stars

Series: Cassie Palmer #7

Everything was completely chaotic and action packed, but nothing really happened. I mean nothing. I knew before reading this that it was initially a long book that got divided into two, and that’s exactly what it fucking felt like. It felt like the book ended halfway through the story because there was no resolution. The major problem at the end of Tempt the Stars is still a goddamned problem at the end of this. In fact every problem Cassie had at the beginning she had at the end.

The scenes with Pritkin were good, but it wasn’t the same. I like him better when he is a cynical hardass. He was still stubborn, loyal, and brave, but it was weird to see him carefree. His memory loss made everything different since he didn’t actually remember Cassie. They still appeared to connect no matter when they met in time.

Mircea finally made an appearance although not by choice. Nothing changed with him. He did what he always does and used sex to try to divert Cassie from getting any answers from him. I don’t hate Mircea, but man he pisses me off. He’s a great vamp, but he is all wrong for Cassie. Outside of sex they don’t connect. Most of Cassie’s feelings for him really come from their history. She certainly doesn’t have any warm and fuzzy feelings based on how he treats her now.

In Tempt the Stars, Cassie finally started to show growth and realized that very few people were on her side without any selfish motives involved. For a good portion of this book she seemed to forget most of that and reverted back to the vampires are my family line of thought. The vampires are her family since they did raise her, but just because they are family doesn’t mean they’re a good family for her. Vampires are inherently selfish. When is she going to realize they kept her around for a reason? She has always been a pawn in someone else’s game. Towards the end she was coming to grips with this, but she is still in denial in many ways.

The next book which was supposed to be out in the spring has already been delayed. I’m really hoping it is only delayed by a few months because at the very least I’m dying to know what the hell happens to Pritkin.