Hidden Legacy

Dynamite Review Best of 2018

Each year I try to make a list of all my favorites for the year. Most years I don’t see or read or play much that came out in the actual year, but for once I was able to make lists of stuff that exclusively came out in 2018.

Black Panther

Movies
I feel like I should place a warning here before anyone can read my list. It is going to be heavy on the Superhero films. I watched Hidden Figures and Girls Trip for the first time in 2018 and loved them, but because they didn’t come out in 2018 I decided not to include them. So I apologize for the following boring list of movies.
1. Black Panther
Holy shit I still love this movie. I watched it recently, wondering if it would hold up from my original viewing and it did. If anything I like it more than I did the first time around.
2. Deadpool 2
I really need to re-watch this. I was finally able to get ahold of the unrated cut and I haven’t yet watched it. Still, the first viewing was incredibly memorable and I’m looking forward to seeing what was added. Also, they fucking made a PG-13 version with a tie in to my favorite movie, The Princess Bride!
3. BlacKkKlansman
This movie stands out like a sore thumb on my list, but I can’t help it. It was a great movie and hit me right in the soul.
4. Ant-Man and the Wasp
I loved the Wasp, she was such a badass.
5. Avengers: Infinity War
I’m still not sure about this movie. It was great, hit all the right notes, and got me super excited for the 2019 Marvel movies, but my final opinion of it is not going to be settled until those come out.

Honorable Mentions
Incredible 2
Oceans 8
The Hurricane Heist

Magic Triumphs

Books
The wonderful Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is not on the list since it didn’t come out in 20118, but it is definitely one I loved reading. Sadly, this will also be the first time I’m not including a Patricia Briggs book on my list, Burn Bright just did not cut it for me. I debated whether or not I should add Diamond Fire by Ilona Andrews to my list since it’s a novella, but ultimately decided I liked having a nice round number for my total.
Like my movie list, my book list is kind of heavy on one side, namely Ilona Andrews’s book. Often in the past I’ve just listed them as one entry, but I did not read much this year, and my list would be bare without them.
So without further ado, my best of 2018 books!
1. Magic Triumphs (Kate Daniels #10) By: Ilona Andrews
This was THE climactic conclusion of possibly my favorite series. It was well worth the wait.
2. A Princess in Theory (Reluctant Royals #1) By: Alyssa Cole
This was my favorite find of the year. I freaking LOVED this book and I’m so excited for the books to come.
3. Ocean Light (Psy-Changling Trinity #2) By: Nalini Singh
Nalini Singh is such a great author and I was so happy to finally have a human love interest in this series. It was all so sweet.
4. Diamond Fire (Hidden Legacies #3.5) By: Ilona Andrews
This may have been a novella but it packed a lot into the limited pages. I’m beyond exited for the books coming up and looking forward to seeing more of Catalina.
5. Iron and Magic (The Iron Covenant #1) By: Ilona Andrews
Before I read this I was not excited that Hugh was getting his own series, but I have now been converted. I never should have doubted Ilona Andrews.

murphy-brown-season-11-cast-photo

TV Shows
I watch a LOT of TV. I also, rarely write reviews for what I watch. I try to do season recaps after I binge, and I succeed at that about fifty percent of the time. I do better reviewing pilot episodes.
Like everything else, I’m going to limit myself to seasons that aired in 2018, which means that one of my favorites, Dramaworld, won’t be on the list. I’ll also try and include shows that I wrote reviews for, but sadly I haven’t gotten around to writing a review for The Good Place and I have to include it on my list.
So here we go!
1. Murphy Brown
You have no idea how much I love this series. I honestly had no idea how much I loved it until it came back and I actually set my little rabbit ears up and watched it live. I know the likelihood that I’ll actually get another season is slim to none, but I can’t stop myself from hoping for more.
2. The Good Place
Holy shit this show does not fail to deliver. Every episode I have no idea what the fuck is going to happen and it does not disappoint. It’s one of the best TV shows I’ve ever watched.
3. Westworld
Just when I think I’ve got a handle on what’s going on I’m thrown for a loop. Then they have an episode that shows an entirely new side of the hosts and I learn even more. It’s an interesting and beautiful show.
4. Jane the Virgin
Apparently, I love twists. That’s what my list is teaching me this year. Jane the Virgin gave me the biggest twist of the year with the season finale and I’m still on the edge of my seat to find out what happens next.
5. 12 Monkeys
The final season wrapped up a complicated story very well. It gave me closure and had me guessing right up until the very end. It was a fitting conclusion to a great time travel sci-fi TV show.

Honorable Mentions

Timeless

Doctor Who
Anne with an E
Sense 8

20180924183849_1
Games
I love playing games, but it is one of my hobbies that ends up getting pushed aside for other things, so I don’t play as much as I would like. I also, don’t review many games, but here’s a list of my 2018 favorites.
1. No Man’s Sky: Next (PC)
I’ve enjoyed No Man’s Sky since the beginning, but the Next expansion brought me back to the game. The added content was amazing, and was quickly followed by more expansive updates. I spent well over 100 hours playing it this year and had so much fun doing it.
2. Smash Bros Ultimate (Switch)
Smash Bros Ultimate just came out and I haven’t had much time to play it. I’ve definitely not beaten the “story mode” yet, but I’m having a blast. I haven’t liked a Smash game since the original on N64 and I’m so excited to finally be enjoying the franchise again. There is so much content that it’s going to take some time before I’m able to finish it, if I’m able too.
3. Splatoon 2: Octoling Expansion (Switch)
It honestly feels like this came out forever ago. I downloaded it day one and somehow ended up beating it. The Octoling Expansion felt like the story we should have gotten with Splatoon 2 originally. It was fun and creative, several times infuriating, and just an all-around pleasure to play.
4. Civilization VI (Switch)
I love the Civilization franchise. I’ve been asking for it to come back to consoles ever since I moved away from playing on the XBOX 360 and I finally got my wish this year. I’ve only had it for about a month, but I’ve already spent over 60 hours playing. It’s so easy to say just one more turn and since I can play in bed, instead of at the PC, I’m playing it more than ever. It doesn’t have as much as the PC version, but so far I’ve been incredible happy with all that’s been included and with how it runs. I tend toward the Standard map, so I’m not sure how well it goes on larger maps, though.
5. Overcooked 2 (Switch)
My husband and I beat the original Overcooked together and for Christmas we started the sequel. Overcooked 2 is everything that I love about the first, but with polish. It looks nicer, the mechanics are better, and it still has all the fun and frustration of the first. It’s been a great game to coop with my husband and we’ve both been enjoying it.

Diamond Fire

Diamond Fire

Diamond Fire (Hidden Legacies 3.5) By: Ilona Andrews

Plot:

Catalina Baylor is looking forward to wearing her maid of honor dress and watching her older sister walk down the aisle. Then the wedding planner gets escorted off the premises, the bride’s priceless tiara disappears, and Rogan’s extensive family overruns his mother’s home. Someone is cheating, someone is lying, and someone is plotting murder.

To make this wedding happen, Catalina will have to do the thing she fears most: use her magic. But she’s a Baylor and there’s nothing she wouldn’t do for her sister’s happiness. Nevada will have her fairy tale wedding, even if Catalina has to tear the mansion apart brick by brick to get it done.

Review:

I devoured this novella. The world that has been created in the Hidden Legacy series is so interesting and complicated. The Baylor’s are such capable strong women and I love reading about them

This story was basically just an introduction to Catalina. We’ve, of course, seen her before, but we’ve never had her point of view on things. She is protective of her family, but also shy and more reserved than Nevada. She is scared of her power, for understandable reasons, and she doubts what her future holds.

The story was fun. There were moments of righteous outrage that I loved. A whole plethora of characters that may or may not show up later. Tons of family secrets revealed. It was a highly entertaining short read and I cannot wait for the next book in the series.

5/5

Wildfire

Wildfire (Hidden Legacy #3) By: Ilona Andrews

Plot:

Just when Nevada Baylor has finally come to accept the depths of her magical powers, she also realizes she’s fallen in love. Connor “Mad” Rogan is in many ways her equal when it comes to magic, but she’s completely out of her elements when it comes to her feelings for him. To make matters more complicated, an old flame comes back into Rogan’s life…

Rogan knows there’s nothing between him and his ex-fiance, Rynda Sherwood. But as Nevada begins to learn more about her past, her power, and her potential future, he knows she will be faced with choices she never dreamed of and the promise of a life spent without him.

As Nevada and Rogan race to discover the whereabouts of Rynda’s kidnapped husband and are forced to confront Nevada’s grandmother, who may or may not have evil motives, these two people must decide if they can trust in each other or allow everything to go up in smoke.

Review:

Just to go ahead and get it out of the way this book gets a 5 star rating from me. Ilona Andrews will always have 5 stars from me, unless they really fuck shit up, because I honestly love them that much.

I know that the second book in this series only came out a couple months ago and that I recently re-read the first book, but before reading Wildfire I went ahead and re-read them both. It was nice to have that refresher even though I didn’t need it and be able to jump right into the newest installment.

I love the world in the Hidden Legacy series. The Houses and the powers and everything around them. The dynamic is interesting and not something I read a lot. I should really do some history research on the system.

What I enjoy even more than the world, though, are the characters, specifically Nevada’s family. Nevada is great, and Rogan has grown on me, but her sisters, cousins, mother, and grandmother are the ones that I really love. I’m happy we finally know what everyone’s power is. I felt so sorry for Leon when he finally realized what his power was and I really hope that Andrews doesn’t do to him what was mentioned in the book.

I have a hard time being critical of Ilona Andrews books because I just love them so much, but this time around there were a couple things that I wished had been different. Maybe it’s because I basically gorged myself on this series that I’m able to look at it with a more critical eye, I don’t know.

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

I wish that there had been more about them becoming a House and the after affects. This was all about the week before and the conspiracy that they uncovered in the previous books and yet that is still not resolved. So we got no conspiracy resolution and no insight into what it was going to be like for them now that they’re a House. They were attacked almost constantly in the week leading up to their trials, but they kept saying that they would have a reprieve for three years so I’m guessing that doesn’t continue. So what happens next?

Reading the blurb and definitely the covers make this series out to be a Paranormal Romance or Fantasy Romance and by far the least interesting part of the series is the romance part. I want more about the world, about the magic, about everything else but Nevada and Rogan doing it.

This was originally announced as a three book series and as of writing this review there has been no announcement of more books, but the story isn’t complete, the conspiracy is still very much in play, and there’s a lot of interesting things to come for the Baylor’s. I think Andrews has mentioned that even if Avon doesn’t contract them for another book they’re going to write it anyway and self-publish, but I don’t know that for certain. I’m kind of disappointed that the conspiracy wasn’t at least resolved.

Overall I loved the series and I still loved this book, but I want more and it’s not just because it’s an Ilona Andrews book, it’s because the series isn’t complete even though I was lead to believe it would be.

5/5 normal stars 4/5 Ilona Andrews Stars

White Hot (Hidden Legacy #2) By: Ilona Andrews

Horrible cover

White Hot (Hidden Legacy #2) By: Ilona Andrews

Plot:

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 . . .

Review:

Oh my god!!! Ahhhhh!!!! Why is it over already? Why? Arghhhhhhhhhhh

I’m going to try and pull myself together, but I’m finding it difficult. When White Hot came out I decided to re-read Burn For Me again since it had been a few months. It actually came out way back in 2014 but due to a missed deadline and a packed scheduled the sequel, White Hot didn’t get released until May 30th 2017. That’s a pretty big gap, especially for Ilona Andrews, because of that the third book, Wildfire, is coming out in July. So I don’t have long to wait, which is nice, but still I’m already thinking about re-reading them both all over again.

I really, really like this world. I like the magic system, love Nevada, and I really love the supporting cast. Mad Rogan grew on me, though, he’s still the weakest part, in my opinion. He’s getting fleshed out, but I’m kind of getting tired of the supreme badass thing. He’s a not as cool Curran, which is the main dude in her Kate Daniels series. Maybe given a few more books he’ll really grow on me, but this is currently only planned as a trilogy so who knows.

Man, I really hope this is more than three books. I really love the characters and world a lot and don’t know if I’ll be done with them after three books. We’ll see. I vaguely remember Ilona Andrews saying they’d write more books whether Avon, their publisher, published them or not. I’ll have to go back and find where I read that to make sure it’s not just wishful thinking.

Once again, I’m sorry, Ilona Andrews book reviews for me are pretty horrible. For whatever reason reading their books is like taking a hit of cocaine, or so I imagine, and I just can’t think of anything other than holy fucking shit that was awesome!

5/5

Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy #1) By: Ilona Andrews

Burn For Me

I don’t know what they were thinking with this cover

Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy #1) By: Ilona Andrews

Plot:

Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile situation. Nevada isn’t sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.

Then she’s kidnapped by Connor “Mad” Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run and wanting to surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.

Rogan’s after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she’s getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world.

Review:

I can only read an Ilona Andrews book for the first time once and I always feel a little sad because of that. I know I can re-read it and I do, I just don’t get to experience the same wonder and not knowing what’s going to happen next.

Anyway. Love the whole hierarchy system with Primes being in control and owning districts and such. It reminds me of her Kinsmen series, which is awesome by the way and you should totally check it out.

Unlike her Kinsmen series, though, people have powers because of a magical serum that was created and now years later there are powerful, rich Primes that pretty much rule everything. Obviously since they’ve been rich for generations they’re completely out of touch with the everyman so when Nevada comes along and turns down not one, but two Primes she’s an oddity.

I liked Nevada, and I really liked her family, I look forward to seeing what happens next. I’m also curious to see if Andrews can change my opinion of Rogan and make me think he’s worthy of love.

5/5

Side note: Not a fan of the cover or the blurb. I feel like they cheapen the quality of the story that Ilona Andrews has created. Just an opinion