Of Swine and Roses by Ilona Andrews

I’ve not really been on many dates, so I don’t have terrifying first date stories like many of my friends, but, Of Swine and Roses is kind of exactly how I picture some of those more horrific first dates. Awkward, unpleasant and just one disaster after another. It kind of makes me grateful that I fell in love with my best friend! Having said that, this great and uplifting short story is in no way a deterrent from finding someone to spend your time with. In fact, the ending is so damn sweet that it reminds you that sometimes the most awkward clouds have a silver lining.

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Grace of Small Magics by Ilona Andrews

Grace of Small Magics is a fantastic reminder that “offense is the best defense”. Grace’s quiet strength and stability in the face of overwhelming odds is inspiring, and her ability to take control of her future admirable. I love the way that Andrews uses this to poignantly remind us that just because someone appears mousey and weak, they are still capable of great feats.

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A Delusion of Satan by Frances Hill

I don’t often read non-fictions, and I rarely read historical books, something that I am slowly changing. So reading A Delusion of Satan was a nice change of pace and a very pleasant surprise. Unlike a lot of research that I have done previously into the Salem Witch Trials, this book provided an in depth, logical insight into the hysteria and actions surrounding such a dramatic and horrific period in America’s history.

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Small Magics by Ilona Andrews

This is a beautiful collection of short stories – five tales sweet tales that left me with a huge smile across my face. Three of these stories are from the Kate Daniels series, but the other two are completely new tales. I would actually love it if they were each part of a much larger series, the heroines are so relatable.

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Magic Gifts by Ilona Andrews

Magic Gifts is a cute little aside that occurs while Andrea is running around town in Gunmetal Magic. It also helps to fill in some of the gaps to the interactions between Andrea and Kate. I love the way that Andrews is able to fill in the backstory to Håkon and why Curran was so terrified of Kate’s return.

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Magic Tests by Ilona Andrews

Julie is probably the cutest and sassiest of the Kate Daniels characters, which is saying something – most of the women in the Kate Daniels universe are sassy and have an attitude problem. Her cheekiness and contrary attitude translate beautifully into the narrative’s voice and left me giggling quietly throughout the story.

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Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews

Kate has slowly developed and changed throughout the Kate Daniels series, but it is in Magic Slays that this change is most obvious. At the beginning of the series she is prickly and difficult, and has no close people in her life. However, as she slowly lets people in, these walls dissolve around her. Andrews does this so naturally that it is easy to picture this character evolution, and this great character development was so gradual that it is difficult to pinpoint an exact moment in which this change occurred.

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Chicago Fire Season One – Review

Chicago Fire is a new type of procedural – at least for me, and it is fantastically done. I may also be a little biased due to the constant presence of hot firefighters and stunning paramedics. Regardless, from the first moment that I watched this series, I was in love. Not only are there great characters and unique drama, but the action sequences throughout this show are so realistic and I’ve had to cover my eyes numerous times in anticipation of future pain and agony.

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Wickedly Powerful by Deborah Blake

So far, this is my favourite Baba Yaga novel. It’s the combination of two severely damaged leads (both physically and emotionally), and fire that seems to claw at my heart and make me want to read this story again and again and again. Being terrified to get close to someone is something that I am all too familiar with, and working through this self-constructed barrier is something that Bella does amazingly well throughout the story.

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Wickedly Wonderful by Deborah Blake

This is a fantastic sequel to Wickedly Dangerous. Beka is a starkly different heroine to Barbara and this contrast between two sister Babas was brilliantly done. Not only did Wickedly Wonderful take me on a whole new adventure, but it also let me fall in love with a new, and striking female lead. I love chief protagonists that are full of self-doubt, I think that it makes them all the more real and relatable. So to go from Barbara’s cocky self-assurance (and total lack of social skills) to Beka’s open and vulnerable persona was endearing and refreshing.

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