Best Books I’ve Read So Far In 2017

The first half of 2017 has come and gone! I’ve been meaning to write this post since June ended but we all know how real life gets in the way of things so I’m only able to do this now, when we’re already halfway through July. Better late than never! I’ve shared best books I’ve read for the first half of the year in 2016 as well as 2015, and wanted to do it again this year. While I haven’t been blogging that much, I’ve still been reading a lot. And it’s nice to look back on what titles have stood out for me. Also, it makes things easier for me at the end of the year when I share my Best of 2017 list. Here the books that I’ve read and loved in the first half of the year:

White Hot Clean Sweep One Fell Sweep

A Crown of Bitter Orange pretty face

thick-as-thieves Hunted

Four titles by Ilona Andrews (the Innkeeper Chronicles got me out of a bad slump in April), three contemporary romances from authors I love, and two YA fantasy titles. Of course THICK AS THIEVES is here… we’ve only waited SEVEN YEARS for this latest installment to be released! All of these books except for Hunted were written by my trusted authors so it’s not surprising that they’ve become favorites for this year. Hunted is a beautifully written, Russian-inspired retelling of Beauty and the Beast and my introduction to Meagan Spooner’s writing. Note to self: I need to try more new-to-me authors in the second half of the year to see if I’ll love any of them. Also, I need to read more books written by Filipino authors because I only have one on my list so far.

What about the rest of you, what have been the best books that you’ve read in 2017 so far? 🙂 Do you have some of my picks in your own list? I would love to check out the books that would come highly recommended by bookish friends so please feel free to leave a comment.

May 2017 Update

May has come and gone and I just realized that I had zero blog posts for that month. When I first started blogging, I’d blog everyday. Then eventually when real life started getting in the way of things, I’d be happy if I’m able to blog every week. And now apparently I can’t even do one blog post a month! Sigh, that’s what happens when too many real life stuff needed to be taken care of. It’s not that I’ve stopped reading (although I’ve had a bit of slump in April), it’s just that I haven’t been able to update my blog because it’s more difficult for me to open up my laptop to type up posts than to update apps that I have on my phone. So my Instagram, Litsy (username: Chachic) and Twitter accounts are constantly update but not WordPress. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Litsy posts can become embedded on WordPress soon, because I will have more updates to share then! In the meantime, below are some Instagram updates.

As mentioned earlier, I found myself in a bit of a slump in April and I was got over it by reading Ilona and Gordon’s books:

I inhaled the three books that are currently out in the Innkeeper Chronicles and hopefully I’ll get to write a review for the series at a later date (not making any promises though!) Another major bookish event for me in May was the book release of Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner:

But I didn’t read Thick as Thieves right away! Because I wanted the earlier books to be fresh in my mind before diving into the new one – sort of prolonging the whole reading process. So I reread the earlier books first, and it took me a while to get through them.

Those are mostly pics of The Queen of Attolia because my updates for The King of Attolia and A Conspiracy of Kings are mostly on Litsy. Unfortunately, I can’t embed them here. I have finished rereading them though, and have started on Thick as Thieves:

Looks like it will take me a while to get through this too, we’ll see how it goes. I plan to reread both Burn for Me and White Hot after I finish with the Queen’s Thief series. Although I’m eyeing a certain Beauty and the Beast retelling because of reviews from two good friends, Angie and Holly. If they both loved it, then I have a feeling I will as well. I would have one-clicked it but the Kindle edition is still pricey.

So, so, so. How have you all been? Hope you’ve had a less hectic May than I did. As always, please feel free to leave a comment if you’ve come across a book that you think I’ll enjoy reading.

Holiday Book Haul

I think I may be allergic to the office. I went back to work on Tuesday and then I got a fever and a sore throat that evening. I kept going to the office and just slept as early as I can at night but I lost my voice yesterday evening so today, I gave in and went to the doctor to get a medical certificate so I could take the rest of the day off to rest.

.

While I was able to take a nap this afternoon, I wasn’t able to get any reading done. In fact, I should be getting ready for bed now but I wanted to squeeze in a quick post about my book haul during the holiday season. The order is kind of a mess but these were the books I acquired:

.
Last Friday's brunch meet up with Filipino readers and authors: Celina, Chris, Mina, Honey and Kim

Brunch meet up with Filipino readers and authors: Celina, Chris, Mina, Honey and Kim

.
.

Some other books I bought/downloaded for free, but were only posted on Litsy and not Instagram so I can’t embed them here:
Dark Horse by Michelle Diener
The Future Chosen by Mina V. Esguerra
Big Rock by Lauren Blakely
The Art of Deception by Stephanie Burgis
Alex + Ada Volume 3 by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn

I was also very excited to receive these review copies of my anticipated books:

Not my usual bookstagram, I initially posted this on Litsy then Ilona Andrews herself shared retweeted my tweet about this so I thought might as well share it here: I'm a small time blogger so I rarely get approved for review copies. It was such a surprise when I got approved for an advanced copy of White Hot! It was like receiving a Christmas present. Devoured it, loved it, got a book hangover. I didn't want to leave the world so I went back and reread Burn for Me (again). One of my favorite reads in 2017, full review closer to the release date.💖📖 . . . #WhiteHot #IlonaAndrews #HiddenLegacy #BurnForMe #AvonBooks #romance #urbanfantasy #bookhangover #bookblogger #reviewcopy #bookstagram #instabooks #bibliophile #IGreads #IGbooks #Litsy

A post shared by Chachic (@chachickenpie) on

.

A new Laura Florand is always something to be happy about. She's one of my favorite romance authors. I've loved all of the other titles in her La vie en Roses series set in Grasse, France, featuring a family in the perfume business. I'm pretty sure I'll enjoy this one too. I couldn't resist taking a pic of A Crown of Bitter Orange with this bottle of orange blossom EDT (I bought the cologne version). Maybe I should have done this for Once Upon a Rose and A Wish Upon Jasmine too? 📖🌹 FYI, Once Upon a Rose is on sale for just 0.99usd now. Such a good bargain! . . . #LauraFlorand #ACrownofBitterOrange #LavieenRoses #romance #bookblogger #reviewcopy #bookstagram #instabooks #bibliophile #IGreads #IGbooks #booksPH #Litsy #ChristineLhuillierParfumerie #fragrance #perfume

A post shared by Chachic (@chachickenpie) on

.
.

When I woke up this morning, I saw the notification that @berkleyromance approved my NetGalley request for Julie James' latest novel. Thank you!!📖🎉 One of my most anticipated titles in 2017 because she writes the best romantic banter.💖 I'm always surprised (in a good way) whenever I'm approved for a review copy because as an international reader/blogger, my default expectation is to be rejected.😂 @fantaghiro23, we were just talking about this book yesterday! . . . #JulieJames #TheThingAboutLove #BerkleyRomance #romance #bookblogger #reviewcopy #bookstagram #instabooks #bibliophile #IGreads #IGbooks #booksPH #Litsy #NetGalley #Kindle #bookandlunch #CafeBreton #cafehopping #foodstagram #Manilafoodie #foodieManila

A post shared by Chachic (@chachickenpie) on

.
.

I feel like this moment of my book blogging experience should be highlighted because I have review copies by my favorite authors: Ilona Andrews, Andrea K. Host, Julie James, Laura Florand and Lucy Parker! 🙂 I’ve already read White Hot and In Arcadia (short review on Litsy) but I’m having a difficult time choosing which one to prioritize among the remaining three. Now I just need Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner and The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein and I’ll be all set. 😀

I was also able to pass on some of the physical books that I have in my Manila bookshelf to friends when we had a get together. I really feel bad that my books have just been sitting neglected on my shelf and they’re aging fast because of heat and humidity. I feel better that they’re now with people who would potentially enjoy reading them. I think I’ve culled like half of my bookshelf back home, I’ve mostly kept signed books and the ones that I plan to reread.

I hope this post wasn’t too confusing with its mix of Instagram and Litsy links. As you can see, I’ve tried to be active on other social media sites but I know it’s also a good idea to consolidate all of those posts here on WordPress. I’m off to rest! What about you, have you received or bought any books recently? 🙂

Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews

I have been an Ilona Andrews fan ever since I read the Kate Daniels series in 2010. I think that’s pretty obvious if you take a look at my current blog header because the design was partially inspired by the series. I can still remember devouring the first four books in the series that were out at that time. I read the first two books and thought the story and the characters were interesting. Then I picked up Magic Strikes and BOOM! I fell in love with the series and I haven’t looked back. I’ve tried reading other urban fantasy series and Kate Daniels is still my favorite. There’s just so many things to love in this series – from the flawed characters who are so easy to love and care for to the magic vs. tech world they live in. So of course, I wanted to read Magic Shifts as soon as it was released. Unfortunately, I was swamped with work during the week so I had to wait until the weekend before I can dive back into this world. It’s been a few weeks since I finished reading the book but I haven’t been able to catch up on reviews until now. Spoiler warning: this review will contain spoilers for the earlier books.

Reading order, with the thumbnails linked to my reviews:
Magic BitesMagic BurnsMagic StrikesMagic BleedsMagic SlaysGunmetal MagicMagic RisesMagic Breaks by Ilona Andrews

Magic ShiftsHere’s the summary from Goodreads:

After breaking from life with the Pack, mercenary Kate Daniels and her mate—former Beast Lord Curran Lennart—are adjusting to a very different pace. While they’re thrilled to escape all the infighting, Curran misses the constant challenges of leading the shapeshifters.

So when the Pack offers him its stake in the Mercenary Guild, Curran seizes the opportunity—too bad the Guild wants nothing to do with him and Kate. Luckily, as a veteran merc, Kate can take over any of the Guild’s unfinished jobs in order to bring in money and build their reputation. But what Kate and Curran don’t realize is that the odd jobs they’ve been working are all connected.

An ancient enemy has arisen, and Kate and Curran are the only ones who can stop it—before it takes their city apart piece by piece…

Reading a new book in a series that you love is similar to coming home. That’s how it feels like whenever I pick up a Kate Daniels novel. I’m familiar with the world, with the characters and I trust Ilona and Gordon enough to know that I’ll enjoy whatever they write. The main story arc of the previous books was concluded with Magic Breaks, with Kate and Curran giving up the leadership of the Pack. I was curious what direction the story will take after that. In that aspect, I was wholly satisfied with the changes that Kate and Curran have made in their lives because I felt that they remained true to themselves. It felt realistic and in keeping with their personalities. As the series has progressed, the characters and their relationships have also developed. Even though Kate has been with Curran for several books now, their relationship still has its ups and downs and I like seeing them deal with their problems together. I also enjoyed seeing all the other characters I’ve come to love like Julie, Derek, Andrea and Raphael, Dali and Jim, Dolittle, etc. It’s nice that we still got to see Pack members even if Kate and Curran are technically not members of the group anymore. I also liked seeing more of Roland! I think he’s a really good complex character, and it will be very interesting to see what will happen to him in the last two books in the series.

The magic in each Kate Daniels book has been inspired by a different mythology. In Magic Shifts, the focus is Arabian mythology. I really feel like the authors research the subject matter intensively and it shows in their writing. While I didn’t feel like Magic Shifts is one of the stronger books in the series, it was still a lot of fun for me to read it. Like I said earlier, diving into a favorite series is always a good idea. After finishing the book, I immediately wanted the next one in the series. There were hints about what can happen in the near future and I’m really looking forward to finding out more about Kate and Curran. Just two more novels until the whole Kate Daniels series ends! I can’t wait to see how things will unfold. Of course I want these characters to have their happy ending and I will be keeping my fingers crossed for that.

Book Haul: August 7

Just a quick book haul post at the start of this long weekend. We’re having a four-day weekend to celebrate Singapore’s 50th year of independence. Happy Birthday, Singapore! 🙂 I would have loved to take advantage of this long weekend by traveling but flights are so expensive because I wasn’t able to book anything months in advance. So I’m looking forward to a weekend of just relaxing and reading books.

Earlier this week, the latest installment in my favorite urban fantasy series was released: Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews!

book haul - Magic Shifts

I had to take a pic of this book with my blog header because the Kate Daniels series was one of the inspirations for my current header’s design. I’ve been really good about waiting to read Magic Shifts because I knew that once I start, I wouldn’t be able to stop. I’m going to devour it this weekend!

Before the long weekend started, I got book mail from the distributor Pansing yesterday:

Pansing book haul - Aug 7

The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil
A Thousand Nights by EK Johnston

An Aussie YA novel and an ARC of a retelling of Arabian Nights! I haven’t tried both of these authors and I’m looking forward to doing so. I also have Melissa Keil’s other novel, Life in Outer Space, which I grabbed from the SG Book Deals warehouse sale. I really think it’s pretty cool that some Aussie titles pop up in SG. As I mentioned in a recent TTT post, I love reading retellings so it would be interesting to see what A Thousand Nights will be like.

What about the rest of you, have you acquired any new books lately? What are you planning to read this coming weekend?

Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews

Ever since I fell in love with the Kate Daniels series, Ilona and Gordon have been auto-buy authors for me. So of course, Burn for Me was one of my most anticipated releases this year. I’ve been eagerly waiting for it especially when Ilona mentioned that the set-up of the world is similar to their Kinsmen novellas, Silent Blade and Silver Shark (which I both loved). I did a book swap with my lovely friend Holly and she sent me her review copy of Burn for Me. I read it as soon as I opened the package. I would have devoured the whole thing in one sitting if I didn’t have to stop and get some sleep because I had to go to work the next day. It’s been a few weeks since I got the package and I’ve already reread the book – it was that good of a read for me.

Burn for Me and a mocha

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile case. 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 or 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.

First off, I want to highlight that Burn for Me is the first book in a trilogy that focuses on Nevada and Mad Rogan. For some reason, I thought it was a trilogy that would feature different couples in each book, similar to the Edge series by the same authors. The Hidden Legacy trilogy is more like the Kate Daniels series in the sense that it has a slow burn romance spanning several books. This is more than okay with me because I love a good romance that has a slow build up. Especially one that starts with both parties not trusting each other, as was the case with Rogan and Nevada. Rogan is rich, extremely powerful and used to getting his way. This doesn’t go so well with Nevada and they clash when they first meet. But they’re also insanely attracted to each other so there’s a lot of tension and banter. Some of the back and forth teasing made me laugh out loud. Nevada tries to ignore the attraction because she’s a sensible and practical person who doesn’t want complications in her life. She has enough on her plate as the main breadwinner for her eccentric family (grandma, mom, sisters and cousins). Nevada’s family is hilarious, basically a bunch of quirky characters who constantly argue but really love each other to death. Hijinks ensue when Nevada is forced to work together with Rogan to achieve a common goal. Her family also gets involved in all the fun.

The Hidden Legacy world is very similar to our own, with the exception of the discovery of a serum that activated people’s magical abilities. Power, instead of money, has become the measure of one’s worth in the world. Alliances and marriages are made based on magical prowess. Powerful magical families are the ones who control and govern cities and countries, kind of like magical mafias. The worldbuilding has echoes of the Kinsmen and Kate Daniels novels but still remains very much its own. I’m amazed at how Ilona and Gordon are able to create such interesting worlds for their books. Nevada’s personality also reminds me a bit of Kate Daniels because they’re both no-nonsense individuals who are working in similar fields – investigative work. Plus they both have magical abilities and are more than capable of defending themselves in a fight. Nevada is still in the process of coming into her powers and it would be interesting to see how that develops in the next books. Reading (and rereading) Burn for Me was a real pleasure for me and I wanted the sequel the moment I finished the book. I feel like Burn for Me is a good introduction to Ilona Andrews for anyone who hasn’t read their work because it’s the first in a new trilogy, which means it doesn’t require that much commitment from a reader. Also, I think it has all of the things that I enjoy in their books – solid worldbuilding, great characters, romance and banter. Recommended for fans of adult urban fantasy, Burn for Me has made it to my best of 2014 list. It’s going to be a long wait for next year’s releases for both Kate Daniels and Hidden Legacy.

Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews

The Kate Daniels series by Ilona and Gordon is my favorite adult urban fantasy (UF) series. That may not be saying much since I currently only follow two adult UF series: Kate Daniels and World of the Lupi by Eileen Wilks. I have, however, tried other series but didn’t feel compelled to continue beyond the first few books. I read more epic fantasy than UF prior to falling in love with the Kate Daniels novels but I’ve been more willing to try UF after that. I can still remember when I was first introduced to the series, there were only four books out at that time. I’ve been eagerly anticipating each new novel every year since then. If you feel like we have similar tastes in books, I think you should give this series a try. Also, see my blog banner with the huge lion and the warrior girl? That was totally inspired by Kate and Curran.

Here’s the reading order:
Magic BitesMagic BurnsMagic StrikesMagic BleedsMagic SlaysGunmetal MagicMagic Rises

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

Magic Breaks by Ilona AndrewsAs the mate of the Beast Lord, Curran, former mercenary Kate Daniels has more responsibilities than it seems possible to juggle. Not only is she still struggling to keep her investigative business afloat, she must now deal with the affairs of the pack, including preparing her people for attack from Roland, a cruel ancient being with god-like powers. Since Kate’s connection to Roland has come out into the open, no one is safe — especially those closest to Kate.

As Roland’s long shadow looms ever nearer, Kate is called to attend the Conclave, a gathering of the leaders from the various supernatural factions in Atlanta. When one of the Masters of the Dead is found murdered there, apparently at the hands of a shapeshifter, Kate is given only twenty-four hours to hunt down the killer. And this time, if she fails, she’ll find herself embroiled in a war which could destroy everything she holds dear…

It’s always such a comfort to dive into a new installment of a favorite series, books that are set in a familiar world and have characters who feel like old friends. Magic Breaks was one of my most anticipated releases for this year and I was super excited to read it. The authors also announced that this book will conclude the main arc and conflict that has been building up in all the previous books. So I was also a bit nervous going in because I had no idea what would happen. I shouldn’t have worried. Ilona and Gordon are great storytellers and I had so much fun reading Magic Breaks. The humor that I’ve come to love in the series is present in this one. Certain scenes with back and forth banter cracked me up.

I also like seeing how much Kate has changed and matured since the series started. She’s a much better leader now and is more level-headed. I like her development as a character, the way she started as a lone wolf (figuratively speaking since she’s not a shapeshifter) to someone who is now in charge of a huge shapeshifter Pack and has a handful of people she trusts. She’s willing to go through so much to keep these people safe and they are willing to do the same for her. I also liked seeing the growth and transformation of secondary characters – this far into a series, we’re all bound to have our own favorites. Some of the ones I really like are Andrea, Raphael, Jim, Derek, Ascanio and Dolittle. Even the villains have such interesting personalities that it’s hard not to like them even if I know they’re evil, they come in shades of gray and we see the motivations behind the things that they do. I missed seeing certain characters but then it’s expected that not all of them will get page time in each novel. I have always been a big fan of the slow burn romance in the series and I love seeing Kate and Curran’s relationship develop over time. Even after they got together, it wasn’t always smooth sailing for them. As both of them continue to grow, so does their relationship. I’m happy to announce that their romance is on much better footing in Magic Breaks compared to Magic Rises.

It’s difficult to discuss how much I enjoyed Magic Breaks without going into details and spoilers. Let me be vague and just say that I was satisfied with how the main arc was resolved because I found it believable. I was thinking that if it went in a different direction, I might not have felt that it was realistic for the characters. Magic Breaks just really worked for me and I loved it. The Kate Daniels series remains my favorite urban fantasy series and I can’t wait to find out what the last few books will have for its fans. I felt a bit lost after finishing Magic Breaks and kept discussing it with friends who have read the book. I had a book hangover and some of my favorite scenes from the series kept running through my mind. It took a few days for me to start another novel (which is rare for me unless I’m in a slump) since I wasn’t in the mood to leave the series behind. It’s a good thing the authors have another book scheduled for release this year, Burn For Me, so I still have something to look forward to.

Other reviews:
Fantasy Cafe
The Nocturnal Library
Smexy Books

Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews

I’ve been saying this a lot recently: the Kate Daniels series by Ilona and Gordon is my favorite urban fantasy series. The latest installment, Magic Rises, was one of my most anticipated releases this year. When a title I’m excited about becomes available, I usually read it as soon as I can. But since I haven’t reread this series since I first discovered it, I thought it would be a better idea to reread the earlier books instead of diving right into Magic Rises. I crammed as much reading time as I can during the past few days. I was hoping that I’d have time to catch up on reviews and other blog posts while rereading but no, I was sucked into Kate’s world again and ignored the blog while I was rereading. If you haven’t read the series, then please skip this review because I wouldn’t want you to see any spoilers.

Here’s the reading order:
Magic BitesMagic BurnsMagic StrikesMagic BleedsMagic SlaysGunmetal Magic

Summary from Goodreads:

Magic RisesAtlanta is a city plagued by magical problems. Kate Daniels will fight to solve them — no matter the cost.

Mercenary Kate Daniels and her mate, Curran, the Beast Lord, are struggling to solve a heartbreaking crisis. Unable to control their beasts, many of the Pack’s shapeshifting children fail to survive to adulthood. While there is a medicine that can help, the secret to its making is closely guarded by the European packs, and there’s little available in Atlanta.

Kate can’t bear to watch innocents suffer, but the solution she and Curran have found threatens to be even more painful. The European shapeshifters who once outmaneuvered the Beast Lord have asked him to arbitrate a dispute — and they’ll pay him in medicine. With the young people’s survival and the Pack’s future at stake, Kate and Curran know they must accept the offer — but they have little doubt that they’re heading straight into a trap…

It feels great to be immersed in a make-believe world that I love, one that is filled with characters I’m fully invested in. When it comes to good storytelling, the authors continue to build upon an established setting as the series progresses and that is exactly what Ilona and Gordon have been doing with the Kate Daniels world. In each book, a different kind of mythology is presented and we get introduced to new (good and bad) characters. What sets Magic Rises apart from the other books in the series is that Kate, Curran and company travel to a different region and the readers get a glimpse of how things are like outside the United States. The beautiful Mediterranean setting was like a breath of fresh air and it was interesting to see how different European shapeshifter packs are compared to the Atlanta Pack that we’re used to. I love how relationships got explored and developed further in this novel. After a couple of books into the series, we already know some of the characters quite well and yet there are some aspects of their personalities that were shown in a different light. I may not have been a fan of the actions of certain individuals in this one but I had a feeling that they were being done for a reason so I didn’t let it bother me. I was just going with the flow, waiting for the story to unfold.

There was one scenario that occurred in the book that I was able to predict beforehand and I had so much fun reading about it. I found it funny, especially because it made things more complicated. Yes, I am being very vague on purpose. I don’t want to ruin the reading experience for those of you who haven’t had a chance to read this yet. Magic Rises managed to surprise me in different ways and as a result, kept me glued to the screen of my Kindle – it is an action packed story peppered with the humor and wit that we’ve come to expect from the series. The fight scenes in this one were made of pure win, I really enjoyed reading them even though I know next to nothing about physical combat. They were the kind of scenes that I would love to see on a movie screen. On the night that I started reading Magic Rises, I stayed up late to go through as many chapters as I can. I would have kept going if I didn’t have to worry about getting up in the morning to go to work. When I got to the office the next day, I couldn’t wait for the work day to end so I could get back to reading this and I was distracted for most of the day, thinking about the book. Definitely one of my favorite reads this year. I can’t wait for the next novel! For some reason, I thought the next one will be the last in the series but apparently we will be getting more Kate Daniels books. I look forward to reading all of them.

Other reviews:
The Nocturnal Library
Ivy Book Bindings
Adina’s Book Blog
Fantasy Cafe
Lurv ala Mode

Kate Daniels: My Favorite Urban Fantasy Series

There was a time when I used to think that the only kind of fantasy that I enjoy reading is epic fantasy. I believed that urban fantasy wasn’t for me. That changed when I was introduced to the Kate Daniels series, written by power couple Ilona and Gordon. I still remember my reading experience – I was interested enough in the first two books, Magic Bites and Magic Burns, but it was Magic Strikes that made me fall in love with the series. There was no looking back after that. There’s so much to love about the series – kickass characters, the worldbuilding including the different types of mythology in each of the novels, the swoon-worthy romances. When my friend Kim Bartolome was working on the design for my current header, I described Kate and Curran as one of my favorite fictional couples and he used that as the basis for his artwork. The huge lion and the lady warrior can represent them, except that the latter is in medieval attire (to also stand for some of the other fictional characters I love).

If you haven’t read the series and you feel like we have similar tastes in books, then you must check it out. Here’s the reading order:

Magic BitesMagic BurnsMagic StrikesMagic BleedsMagic SlaysGunmetal Magic

I’ve tried to read other urban fantasy series but aside from the Edge series (also by the same authors), I haven’t found another one to really follow. I started rereading Magic Bites last week because I was hoping to reread all the books that are currently out before the release of the latest one, Magic Rises on the 30th of July. I had a pretty busy weekend so unfortunately, I’m still not done rereading Magic Bites. I’m so excited for the next Kate Daniels novel and I have no idea if I’ll be able to continue with my rereading plans or if I’ll drop everything and just read Magic Rises as soon as it’s available. Let’s just see how it goes. How about the rest of you, what is your favorite urban fantasy series? Are you a fan of Kate Daniels as well? Did you reread the rest of the series in preparation for the next book?

Curran / Lion shirt

I call this my Curran shirt, got it from the Singapore Zoo

Top Ten Books When You Need Something Light and Fun

Top Ten Tuesday2

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is such a good one. I love light and fun reads because I feel like they come in handy whenever I feel like a book slump is about to occur. Or when I want to cleanse my reading palate after reading a dense fantasy novel or an emotionally heavy book. I don’t have to be in a certain mood to read books like the ones I’ve included here, I can just pick them up whenever I want to read something that’s easy to get into. In no particular order, here are my top ten light reads:

I Do and At First Sight by Elizabeth Chandler – Bantam’s Love Stories series was the YA series to follow back when I was a teen. These two by Elizabeth Chandler are my favorites. I can’t even remember the number of times I’ve reread these.

Fairy Tale Fail by Mina V. Esguerra – I feel like I’m a broken record because I keep saying this but Mina is my favorite Filipino chick lit author. I could relate to her novels because they’re about young Filipino women and her books are set in the Philippines.

Something About You by Julie James – All of Julie James’ romances are filled with a healthy dose of humor, which is why I enjoy reading them. Something About You is the first in her FBI/US Attorney series and my favorite so far. There’s just something about main characters who keep bickering to hide their attraction.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins – Such a swoon-worthy novel set in one of the most romantic cities in the world. Really enjoyed the tension between Anna and Etienne.

The Chocolate Thief by Laura Florand – Another novel set in Paris! But adult contemporary romance instead of YA. Couldn’t help but feel good whenever I read Laura Florand’s novels – I’m a fan of how she combines romance with delicious food.

Laduree macarons

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen – This one might not be considered light because the main characters have to deal with some pretty serious issues but there’s something magical about the writing that makes it so much fun to read.

A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson – The first Eva Ibbotson novel that I ever read and it’s still one of my favorites. I love the fairy tale feel of this historical fiction novel.

Silent Blade by Ilona Andrews – I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed reading this since I’m not a sci-fi girl. I didn’t get confused by the details of the sci-fi setting and I really liked the romance

The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley – I could relate to Harry’s thirst for adventure and I loved living vicariously through her (and all other strong female characters I admire).

The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner – I know, I know. A book riddled with political intrigue isn’t usually considered light fare but I’ve reread this book so many times that it has just become a comfort read. Plus, Gen is always good for some laughs.

I’ve noticed that most of my picks for light reads are contemporary novels and that ALL of them have some kind of romance in them. It sure looks like I enjoy a well-written love story in my feel good reads. Do you agree with some of my choices? What are some of your own favorite light reads?