Ilona Andrews

Dynamite Review Best of 2017

Movies

1.      Thor: Ragnarok – I don’t get to watch new movies much as they come out, but I was so lucky to get to see this in theaters. It was AWESOME! I’ve already pre-ordered the steelbook from Best Buy, I got the theatrical poster off of Disney Movie Rewards and it’s framed and in my kids bathroom, and I can’t wait to watch it again and again.

2.     John Wick 2 – Great action movie and addition to the series. Awesome world, I’m interested in the Stars series that’s potentially coming out.

3.     Kingsman: The Golden Circle – In your face, over the top action.

4.     Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – While not as good as the previous one I loved so many things about this movie. The colors, the characters, the relationships. I’m so glad that this is part of the Marvel Universe.

5.     Spider-Man: Homecoming – I really enjoyed this movie but what’s potentially more important, my daughter loves this movie.

6.     Moana – This is more an honorable mention since it came out in 2016 not 2017. Love the music and the story, reminds me of the Disney I grew up with.

Books

1.      White Hot by Ilona Andrews – The long awaited sequel to Burn for Me, so good.

2.     Wildfire by Ilona Andrews – Love this series so much, want more. Wasn’t too happy with the ending, but still love.

3.     Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan – Beautiful art, interesting story, need some answers though. The only comic I pre-order.

4.     The Rosetta Man by Claire McCague – Picked this up randomly and I ended up loving it. So happy when that happens.

5.     Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs – Not my favorite Patricia Briggs book, too many Doctor Who references, lots of other little things, but still a Patricia Briggs book so it’s going on the list!

6.     Heartstrikers Series by Rachel Aaron – This series didn’t come out last year, though they did have a book release that I haven’t read yet, but I had to put it on the list because I enjoyed it so much.

7.     The Guardians Trilogy by Nora Roberts – This is the kind of Nora Roberts series that I love. It didn’t come out in 2017, but after being wary of starting it because of her more recent books I got to it late.

TV Shows

1.      The Crown – I resisted watching this because I heard so much praise, but I’m glad I finally did. I destroyed the second season that recently aired and I honestly think it might be better than the first. Amazing show.

2.     Sense 8 – I love this idea so much and the second season wasn’t as slow as the first. The ending killed me and then when they canceled it, ugh, I never do TV show petitions but I signed them all. I canceled Netflix for the first time in years. I was furious. I’m hoping that the movie will be able to wrap things up but I seriously don’t see how that’s possible. I’ll probably never keep Netflix running continuously because of how they did this show.

3.     The Good Place – I had no desire to watch this last year, it just didn’t seem that funny to me. I ended up having the end of season one spoiled for me and that changed everything. I was able to binge the first season on Netflix and I’ve watched every episode of the second as it’s aired. So freaking funny.

4.     The Orville – Wow, I had no expectations for this show. I had hopes, but because of Seth MacFarlane I didn’t have many. I was certainly surprised and this has ended up being one of my favorite shows of the year. It’s like getting new episodes of Star Trek, only instead of the Enterprise team we’ve got the D tier crew. The jokes don’t always land and they’re reusing a lot of Star Trek plots, but I don’t care. I’m so glad that this has been picked up for a second season and I’m hoping that they continue to find their footing.

5.     Future Man – Loved this, it was so crude and hilarious and just came out of nowhere. Time travel, video games, the 80s, James Cameron’s AI, a terrible future, so many things that add up to funny. So glad we’re getting a second season.

6.     Legion – This is not my usual type of show. It’s wild and out there and very trippy. The only reason I watched it was because I needed something to keep me up during late night feedings and I ended up staying up just to finish episodes. Half the time I’m not sure what’s going on, but I honestly didn’t care. They gave just enough answers not to drive me crazy, but still left me needing to know more.

7.     Black-ish – I just discovered Black-ish this year and thank goodness Hulu has all of the episodes. Most episodes are nice, funny episodes, but the episodes that aren’t, the episodes where they “teach” you something are so good. This year there was one about postpartum depression that really resonated with me.

8.     Life in Pieces – I laugh in every single episode of this show. Love it.

9.     The Librarians – The third season was probably the weakest so far and I’m not overly thrilled with all that’s going on in the fourth season but I seriously can’t think of anything that would have me stop watching this.

 

Games

1.      Splatoon 2 (Switch) This was hands down my favorite game of the year. In an alternate universe I went pro, built a brand, and lived the life of the rich and famous.

2.     Stardew Valley (Switch) After putting in 160 hours on the PC version you’d think I’d be done with this game, but nope. As soon as it came out on the Switch I bought it and started all over again. Aided by the amazing guide my husband bought me for Christmas 2016 I’ve been chipping away at all the in game achievements.

3.     Lego City Undercover (Switch) I beat this once, then got halfway through beating it again before Splatoon 2 came out. I still plan on going back and working on unlocking everything, though, it’s not a priority because I certainly got my money out of this.

4.     Delicious Emily Home Sweet Home (PC) Really liked the story in this one, young married couple with a little kid get their dream house and fix it up. If I was crazy and didn’t mind construction around toddlers I could totally do this too.

5.     Horizon Zero Dawn (PS4) I’m stretching things a bit including this to my list. I got it for Christmas after trying it out at Red Box and finding it interesting enough to try more. I didn’t start playing it until December 31st and at this point I’m only a couple hours in, however, I love the idea a lot. I love that she’s a real looking woman and she’s kicking ass. So far they haven’t put her in super revealing clothes which is nice too. The world is interesting, however, I wish I didn’t have to use a bow and arrow. If I ever beat it, or put a significant amount of time in I’ll write a review.

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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

One Fell Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles #30 By: Ilona Andrews

one-fell-sweep

One Fell Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles #30 By: Ilona Andrews

Plot:

Dina DeMille may run the nicest Bed and Breakfast in Red Deer, Texas, but she caters to a very particular kind of guest… the kind that no one on Earth is supposed to know about. Guests like a former intergalactic tyrant with an impressive bounty on her head, the Lord Marshal of a powerful vampire clan, and a displaced-and-superhot werewolf; so don’t stand too close, or you may be collateral damage.

But what passes for Dina’s normal life is about to be thrown into chaos. First, she must rescue her long-distant older sister, Maud, who’s been exiled with her family to a planet that functions as the most lawless penal colony since Botany Bay. Then she agrees to help a guest whose last chance at saving his civilization could bring death and disaster to all Dina holds dear. Now Gertrude Hunt is under siege by a clan of assassins. To keep her guests safe and to find her missing parents, Dina will risk everything, even if she has to pay the ultimate price. Though Sean may have something to say about that!

Review:

The Innkeeper Chronicles is posted piece by piece on Ilona Andrew’s blog and this was the first one I read that way. It’s probably the last too if I can resist. I love Andrews books and I really love this series, however reading a book that slowly piece by piece is excruciating and I’m not sure if I could handle it again.

Thankfully once the books are complete they release them on kindle and anyone not able to take the blog route can just buy it and enjoy it like normal. Once I could I pre-ordered and with my Christmas vacation time I read this like a normal Ilona Andrews book, meaning I stayed up until almost four in the morning and I’m eternally thankful that my husband was home that week and I didn’t have to wake up with our daughter.

In book form the story has been edited and little things were added, not really enough to make someone who read on the blog feel cheated, but enough to tighten up the story and make it feel more polished. I don’t completely remember the ending on the blog, but the ending in the book really set up the next and it’s going to be difficult (impossible) for me not to read it online again.

I love Dina and the person she is. She’s nice and caring and even though she’s surrounded by excellent fighters she still brings a lot to the table in a battle situation. Sean is a wounded soul that you just want to cuddle and he hasn’t fallen into the much used trope of feeling he’s unworthy of love. There was a lot of character development for both of them and we got to meet more family which was awesome.

This is really such an awesome treat of a series and I feel so blessed that Andrews keeps writing more.

5/5

2016 Favorites

Movies

Wow, so I did not see many new movies this year. I re-watched a lot of old stuff and caught up on some 2015 stuff. Overall, though, apart from the re-watches of favorites, I didn’t like many movies this year.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens– I liked the new characters a lot, but was disappointed by the story so I’m not sure if I would call it a favorite. It was nice to see a new Star Wars, though.

Deadpool– I didn’t write a blog for this movie, at least I don’t think I did. I went through a period there where sitting in front of a computer screen made me physically ill so there were a few movies and books I missed. Joys of pregnancy. Anyway, I really liked Deadpool and was lucky enough to pick it up Black Friday and re-watch. So I guess that’s a favorite for this year.

The Big Short– Really liked this movie, even though it made me mad. Enough that I read the book, then read more by the author, and then purchased the movie even though it was on Netflix at the time.

Star Wars: Rogue OneThis might be my favorite movie of the year, I need to watch it a few more times to decide exactly how much I loved it though.

Books

Book wise I also did a lot of re-reading but I was lucky enough to read several books I loved that were new to me.

Lois Lane: Double Down– This series has become such a surprise favorite of mine. Once again I gave this book as a Christmas present and I’m excited for the next to come out. I rarely find a YA book that isn’t filled with whinny emotional stupid teens and this really fills that void for me.

Carry On– Rainbow Rowell is now a must buy author for me. I’ve loved every book she’s written even though none of them are in a series or like the books I normally read. Her characters are awesome and this book was just perfect.

Stars of Fortune– I was really surprised by this Nora Roberts book. It was like reading an old favorite of hers but for the first time with no knowledge of what was going to happen.

Fire Touched Magic Binds & One Fell Sweep– It wouldn’t be a list of mine without Patricia Briggs and Ilona Andrews on it. I’m so happy with the speed that Ilona Andrews is able to write at and wish that Patricia Briggs would pick up the pace. I read One Fell Sweep as it was posted on their blog and don’t have a review written, however I did buy the book and plan on re-reading it so I’ll post a review then.

The Last Dragonslayer– Loved finding this Jasper Ffrode series, wish it didn’t seem to end with a cliffhanger, but the first book is awesome.

TV

I didn’t have much patience with TV the second half of the year. These things happen when your hormones are in overdrive though. There were still a few shows that I really enjoyed.

Agent Carter– It still makes me sad that this was canceled. Peggy Carter is such an awesome character and a wonderful role model for women/girls everywhere.

Fuller House– Sometimes you need a junk food show. Something that is fun and doesn’t make you think at all. First episode of the first season was bad, but they eventually found their feet and the second season was really good.

Marvel’s Jessica Jones– Jessica Jones is not a character to look up to, but I thought the show was great. She’d been through a lot and still kept fighting. Hope things get better for her, but if Daredevil is any indication of what happens with a second Marvel season on Netflix probably not.

Marvel’s Luke Cage– This is my favorite Marvel show on Netflix. It was so good. Loved pretty much everything about it.

The Librarians– I wish there were more shows like this out there. It’s like Eureka and Warehouse 13, it’s fun and light and I know that things are going to work out. I really just love it and I’m so glad that it keeps getting renewed, I dread the day it doesn’t.

Dark Matter– This was such an awesome find for me. I miss SciFi that isn’t about the world ending or after the world has basically ended or just a constant sink hole of depression. Dark Matter isn’t light by any means, but it doesn’t fill me with a sense of dread.

Video Games

Stardew Valley– I spent so many hours playing this it’s kind of crazy. I love Harvest Moon and Rune Factory games and this was a perfect version of both with a little bit of Animal Crossing thrown in. It’s like this game was made for me and I loved it. It just came out on PS4 and XB1 in case anyone doesn’t want to purchase it on Steam. There’s also a freakin adorable guide available.