Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Mini Reviews: Sweep With Me, American Demon and Poison & Honey



Sweep With Me by Ilona Andrews 

Description:
A charming, short novella in the Innkeeper Chronicles, from #1 New York Times bestselling author, Ilona Andrews.

Thank you for joining us at Gertrude Hunt, the nicest Bed and Breakfast in Red Deer, Texas, during the Treaty Stay. As you know, we are honor-bound to accept all guests during this oldest of innkeeper holidays and we are expecting a dangerous guest. Or several. But have no fear. Your safety and comfort is our first priority. The inn and your hosts, Dina Demille and Sean Evans, will defend you at all costs. [But we hope we don’t have to.]

Every winter, Innkeepers look forward to celebrating their own special holiday, which commemorates the ancient treaty that united the very first Inns and established the rules that protect them, their intergalactic guests, and the very unaware/oblivious people of [planet] Earth. By tradition, the Innkeepers welcomed three guests: a warrior, a sage, and a pilgrim, but during the holiday, Innkeepers must open their doors to anyone who seeks lodging. Anyone.

All Dina hopes is that the guests and conduct themselves in a polite manner. But what’s a holiday without at least one disaster?

My Thoughts:
Oh, it’s been too long since we had a catch up with Sean and Dina! And that’s exactly what Sweep With Me is - a catch up. It’s a novella-length visit to Gertrude Hunt during an Innkeeper holiday.

It picks up not long after the events in One Fell Sweep and is a basic story of Sean and Dina going about their business just being innkeepers. Obviously, there’s action and excitement and all the usual fun things you’d expect from an Ilona Andrews story but the novella doesn’t really move the overarching plot forward any. There are no Maud and Arland developments (I get the impression the timelines between the novella and Maud’s book overlap) and there are no developments on the mystery of what is corrupting Ad-Hals (Innkeeper enforcers) and no new developments with regards to the mystery of what happened to Dina’s parents.
Everything is just, nice, sweet and fun. Exactly what you’d expect from a holiday novella, even one featuring a fictitious holiday!

It’s a good read for those who are fans of the series but if you haven’t read the previous three books featuring Dina and Sean there isn’t much point in you starting here.

American Demon by Kim Harrison


Description:
Rachel Morgan is back--and The Hollows will never be the same.

What happens after you've saved the world? Well, if you're Rachel Mariana Morgan, witch-born demon, you quickly discover that something might have gone just a little bit wrong. That the very same acts you and your friends took to forge new powers may have released something bound by the old. With a rash of zombies, some strange new murders, and an exceedingly mysterious new demon in town, it will take everything Rachel has to counter this new threat to the world--and it may demand the sacrifice of what she holds most dear.

My Thoughts:
I adored the original Hollows series and I loved the ending (especially the epilogue set 25 years later) so I was both super super excited to return to the world of Rachel Morgan but also terrified that it would be diminished... That by returning, the author would somehow un-pick the happy ending and change things in a way that would ruin the original series for me.
I shouldn't have worried.
Rachel and the gang are back and are as awesome as always! The relationships are just as strong, the characters as fierce and funny (and slightly annoying), the story just as action-packed and engrossing, and even though they're mixed up in a new world of hijinks and chaos, I'm sure they'll end up right where they are supposed to be. (Although, I'm nervous about Bis! *sobs*)

American Demon is perfect for fans of the original series and for new fans to join the fun. There is a nifty little "case file" at the beginning that recaps characters, relationships, key plot points and lots of other bits and pieces to help navigate the series from this point out. You may not want to begin here if you're super spoiler adverse and plan on reading the first 13 books but if you don't welcome back to the Hollows!

Poison & Honey by Kristen Brand 


Description:
Leigh Morgan has known that magic existed ever since an unearthly monster abducted her sister. It’s why she’s in Otherworld now, posing as a servant in its dark, decadent palace. She’s gathering intelligence and working with a small band of allies to bring down the Others and free their human captives. Her mission depends on blending in, so the last thing she wants is to attract the attention of a cunning prince.

Dredarion Rath wants one thing: to disgrace his older brother and prove himself the worthier heir to the throne. And out of all the servants in the palace, he chooses Leigh to help him. Just her luck.

Now Leigh has to keep her work a secret from a bewitching man who sees right through her--and who's not nearly as cold and inhuman as he seems. She can't screw this up, or the humans forced into servitude will never go home. But juggling two conspiracies at once, it's only a matter of time before it all comes crashing down, and the man she's falling for has her executed for her betrayal...

My Thoughts:

This was an interesting read. The novella isn't quite Urban Fantasy as it's set in "the Otherworld", a world full of magic, castles, medieval clothing and a whole host of strange creatures but the "mud people" are humans kidnapped from our world and taken to the Otherworld to be slaves. Given how things play out, I assume it will flip back and forth between the human world and the Otherworld as the series unfolds... But I get ahead of myself.

There is a lot of information to absorb in this novella. You meet the characters, you learn their motivations, you learn a little about how the world works and there are power plays and politics galore! It was interesting and absorbing and kept me turning the pages wanting to see how Leigh and Dredarion's relationship would develop and how their personal feelings would mix with their respective goals.

Despite being interesting throughout, it does have a relatively slow start but it doesn't change the fact that I was on the edge of my seat as the story slowly built to an explosive conclusion that left me desperate to read the next book.
Word of caution: The ending isn't quite a cliffhanger but it flirts with the edge sufficiently to irritate.

My main complaint - and I can't believe I'm saying this - was that the relationship between Leigh and Dredarian went from something teasing and promising to serious feelings, in the blink of an eye. It felt rushed and slightly unsatisfying but even so, I'm not going to lie about being stupidly excited to see how things evolve between them given the events of this book.

I'm also curious as to how Dredarian's relationship with his brother plays out... The pair of them give me Thor and Loki vibes (with Dredarion being the Loki-esqe character) and I thought they were awesome.

Kristen Brand is a new to me author and Poison and Honey is book one in a new series. I had no idea what to expect when I started this book and I'm still not entirely sure what to expect going forward but I'm excited to read more of the series just the same!

12 comments:

  1. I’m glad to know American Demon is in keeping with the original series. Thanks for sharing your thoughts

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    1. It's very much so! Some authors after a huge gap miss the mark with the tone of the books or there's changes to the characters personalities but not so with American Demon. :)

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  2. Fabulous reviews! I love everything Ilona Andrews and I really enjoyed American Demon. I haven't read Kristen Brand. Often a novella is too rushed if you don't know the world and characters I think. Not always, but too often.

    Anne - Books of My Heart

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    1. Kristen Brand was a new to me author. I'm always hit or miss when it comes to novellas but this was enjoyable. I hope the next book in the series is full length (as I want more of the characters) but I'll take whatever comes. :)

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  3. I haven't read any of these but they are definitely the kinds of books that I usually like.

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    1. If you get the chance to read them you totally should! :)

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  4. Sounds like some good reads! I'm glad you enjoyed them all, especially from the authors you've read and loved before. I used to read more urban fantasy years ago - I really need to get back into it.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. Urban Fantasy is my favourite. I think I read more UF than anything else at the moment which is a shame as I have a mountain of contemporary romances waiting for me!

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  5. I'm not sure if I'll read the Innkeeper series-I'll decide once I get through Kate Daniels! I was sad to give up reading The Hollows but Ivy still trying to chew on Rachel got boring very fast for me and I quit the books, which I had been enjoying.

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    1. The Inn Keeper series is VERY different from Kate Daniels... But I adore it.

      The Ivy / Rachel dynamic in the Hollows got on my nerves too in the early books... I hated how Ivy wouldn't take the hint that Rachel didn't view her that way. However, I love how the series progressed including the romantic interests of both of them so I was happy in the end.

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  6. I'm always a little wary when an author continues as series after a long gap. I don't want to be disappointed if the same magic isn't there. So glad that wasn't the case with American Demon!

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    1. I was amazed that everything felt just right! She did a good job.

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