Tag Archives: magic

sapphire flames emarald blaze titles

Book Reviews: Sapphire Flames AND Emerald Blaze, by Ilona Andrews

I borrowed audio versions of Sapphire Flames and Emerald Blaze through Hoopla. While these are books 4 and 5 of the Hidden Legacy series, they are also books one and two of the Catalina Baylor Trilogy.

I’m just going to write the one review for the two of these, since I listened to them back to back and they come to a satisfying stopping point.

Catalina Baylor books

catalina baylor blurbs

Oh boy, I’ve taken my time with this series. I read the first book in 2015, second one in 2017, third in 2018, the novella that comes between the third and fourth book in 2019, and now the fourth and fifth in 2021. Who knows when I’ll make it back for the sixth. Not until next year, at least, since that’s when it’s scheduled for release.

If you want to read the actual reviews, you can find them here:

Burn For Me / White Hot / Wildfire/ Diamond Fire

Luckily this was largely doable since the series changes focus and picks up with the second Baylor sister, Catalina, instead of the older Nevada (books 1-3). So, I mostly only needed to remember the events of Diamond Fire and could be hazy on the previous three books. Honestly, I think you could follow them well enough even if you hadn’t read any of the previous books, though you’d sense you were missing history.

I like Catalina a lot. I was so-so on Alessandro. I don’t feel like he was particularly well defined outside of Catalina’s longing for him and I found his arrogance annoying (even when it was clearly an act). However, as always, the writing is fabulous and I love the world Andrews has created here. I’ll be back for more.

magic thief

Book Review: Magic Thief, by C.C. Sommerly

I borrowed an audio version of Magic Thief, by C.C. Sommerly through Hoopla.
magic thief c.c. sommerly

Stolen magical artifacts, missing girls, and a hot partner I don’t want, what could possibly go wrong?

Paranormal Private Investigator (PI), Rayne Martin races against the clock to solve a case that is becoming more complicated by the moment. What started as a simple missing grimoire and stolen ancestral necklace has now morphed Into a potentially debilitating new reality for magic users.

Now, young women are missing. Others are turning up stripped of their magic and raving about monsters. Stealing magic once seemed inconceivable, but it is now a very real threat. It’s up to Marty to find out who is stealing magic.

Just when she has things in-hand, a partner is forced on her. Marty never learned to work well with others, so this is the last thing she wants. He is a straight play-by-the-rules guy. There is no rule she wouldn’t break. If they can’t learn to work together, then they will fail.

When her closest friend is taken, time is running out for Marty and Lochlan to crack the case. If they can’t find the magic thief, there may be nothing left of Marty’s friend to recover.

This was a bit of a fail for me. It was almost something good, but just seemed to miss the mark. The writing was pretty good, but there were some continuity issues in the plot, quite a lot of pointless drama that just seemed like filler (I’m thinking of the whole trip with the bone man, for example), and what felt like missing bits. For example, two characters would have a conversation and one would react to something the other very obviously was meant to have said. Except, that the one hadn’t said the thing being reacted to. The scene seemed to have a chunk missing from the middle. Then, later, the narrative would act as if the information hadn’t been shared at all. It’s hard to tell in an audio, when you’re not looking at text. But I can only assume this is a matter of editing.

I did like the characters and the man theoretically being position as a love interest. Though I wouldn’t say this is a romance, certainly none develops here. All in all, a pretty mediocre experience. I might be tempted to see if the next book gets better. But unless it does, I can’t see continuing the series.

magic thief photo


my luck

Book Review: My Luck, by Mel Todd

I was initially offered Mel Todd‘s Twisted Luck series for review, but I declined since I’m pretty much off YA books lately and NA books have an about 50/50 chance of feeling very YA (in my experience). There is a very thin line between a late teen and an early 20-year-old, after all. However, after Inherited Luck (book 4 of the series) was promoed on Sadie’s Spotlight. I decided to give the series a shot after all and borrowed and audio version of My Luck (book one) through Hoopla.

My luck mel todd

I’m not a mage, but that won’t stop me.

Cori Catastrophe. They call me that sometimes, and I hate to admit it, but it isn’t wrong. Things go weird around me. Electronics die, things break, and if something odd happens, I seem to find it. Finding another dead body just made me late to work.

Nothing will stop me from getting my degree, getting a job, and getting away from this tiny town – though leaving my best friend will hurt more than anything else. Reality seems determined to make reaching my goals impossible. The dead guy had my name in his pocket, my best friend emerges as an archmage, and my parents – well let’s just say leaving them behind is one of the best parts of getting away.

So be it. Not being a mage means I’ll have to struggle to succeed. No matter how weird things get, I’ll make it. I lost my brother and I’ll probably lose my best friend to the world of magic. All I can do is depend on myself.

my review

This might be a little spoilery. I don’t think I say anything that you wouldn’t guess from the blurb, but be warned.  Plus, I make a few assumptions. But I’m fairly confident in my assertions.

I am struggling to figure out how to describe my experience with this book. The writing is perfectly readable. I listened to an audio version, so I can’t comment on editing, but I didn’t catch any obvious mishaps. So, the book isn’t a mess. But it’s 359 pages long and literally moves the plot forward zero percent. The character is in the exact same position (in the larger plot) at the end of the book as she was in the beginning. We follow all her personal dramas and accomplishments, from class to internships to work, but not the VERY OBVIOUS magical issue that is the larger plot and mystery. Cori hasn’t really even acknowledged that there is a mystery, not really! And these are my biggest issues, lack of plot progression and the obviousness.

There is a really interesting magical world here, complete with bureaucracy and international standards. What is happening around Cori is VERY OBVIOUSLY not normal. Her own reluctance to acknowledge this is hard to believe, even when she has her emotional outburst about it. But that everyone around her, several of whom basically tell her to her face she’s magical and almost all of whom suggest she get tested for magic, also just ignore this is beyond the pale. She is surrounded by mandated reporters, people who are legally obligated to report unregistered magic (and child abuse/neglect, but that’s another issue). That not one of them called and reported her, forcing her to get tested, is 100% not believable.

So, the whole premise of the book, that she doesn’t know she has magic, is unsteady and compromises the whole thing. In fact, I’m stating here she has magic, but even by the end of the book neither she nor anyone around her has acknowledged it. It got to the point that I literally rolled my eyes every-time something obvious happened, another person said, “get tested,” and Cori responded with I’m not magic, end of story.

I’m actually interested in knowing what happens. But I’m not willing to commit to reading another book knowing that the author is willing to dragggggggg the plot out as long as she has. Will I read the next book  only to find Cori and everyone around her with their head STILL in the sand? That would be too frustrating to handle. I almost can’t handle this book ending with them still sucking soil.

So, as I said, I’m struggling. I don’t think the writing is bad. I like the world. But this 359 page book functions as little more than a prequel to the series and that’s a structural decision I’m not wiling to submit myself to further.

As for the narration, it started out pretty rough, honestly. But Juliet eventually seemed to find her stride and it smoothed out.

my luck mel todd

I’m trying this new thing where I link other reviews of books for comparison’s sake.

My Luck by Mel Todd – A Book Review

Declan Finn