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The Phoenix Illusion by Lisa Shearin

Another adventure with cast and crew of SPI.  It’s Mac’s birthday and what an unexpected surprise!

Title:  Phoenix Illusion
Author: Lisa Shearin
Series:  SPI Files #6
Publish Date:  November 6, 2018
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Narrator: Johanna Parker
Source: purchased audio and print by reviewer

Publisher’s Description: The agents of Supernatural Protection & Investigation (SPI) are used to dealing with the weird and the wacky, but even they are stunned when a building from another world suddenly appears on an empty lot in New York. . .

I’m Makenna Fraser, seer for SPI, and it’s just my luck that my birthday party is literally crashed by a building from another planet. And it’s not just any building—it’s my goblin boyfriend’s house from his home world. SPI’s mission, to keep the public clueless about the supernatural, has us scrambling to find who did this and why, not to mention how.

The deeper we dig, the more we realize this incident is the opening gambit to a much larger event. Old enemies have combined forces with an even older nemesis to develop the means to kidnap an entire building and everyone in it. But who, or what, is their ultimate target? Finding out and getting to the mark before they do will require all hands on deck, including some extraterrestrial help from the goblin home world. We’re running out of time, and if we can’t get our act together, we’ll have front-row seats for the end of the world as we know it.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words …SPOILERS. *BEWARE*


Nervous Nellie says…

Humans had an unfortunate tendency to go all torchy and pitchforky when they discovered inhumans anywhere in their immediate vicinity.

Lisa Shearin does it again.  Am I surprised? No. Not at all.  She makes it look easy to sit down and put story to paper or computer or whatever.  SPI files is one of my all time favorite series and once a book is released I do my best to get a copy tracked down and in my library as soon as possible.

This story is a puzzle of who and why are buildings disappearing all over the world.  Oh, not many buildings, just 8 – 10 or maybe 15.  Isn’t a big deal, right?  Well, kind of is when one of them is Rake’s house from Regor, the capitol on the goblin home plane, and it’s on fire.  And there is a dead guy inside.  Duh Duh Daaaahhhh! (That’s all we can afford here at One Book Two for special effects.)

That dead guy and Rake’s burning house transported from the goblin capitol is enough to get SPI’s attention.  The story evolves from there to include goblin nazis and crystals that have a lot of power.  The case isn’t difficult once it’s boiled down, but to get to the boiled down version it took a lot of luck and less investigation.  Rake didn’t hide anything like the super spy he is and Mac and Rake’s relationship grew.  I gotta say I enjoy that part, a lot.  I mean really? What girl wouldn’t like to have her significant other be romantic, thoughtful and protective (on occasion)?   I felt like Mac felt like the third wheel during this investigation.  It felt like Ian and Rake were partners instead of Ian and Mac.  That part I was a little sad about.  I really like Mac and she shined toward the end, but it felt like she was somewhat dissed in regard to her experience and knowledge.  I mean she doesn’t know it all, but she should get a little more credit.  She was frustrated about Ian and Rake’s behavior.  I feel like she felt all that was missing was Rake patting her on the head and telling her to go make dinner and let the men handle it. But maybe that’s the way goblins roll?

Like other installments of the SPI Files, there is no sex, no foul language and no graphic gore.  There is wizards (mages, sorry!), goblins, elves, vampires, werewolves and dragons (Oh, my!) The book didn’t take long from start to finish and it was hard to put down.  I’m looking forward to the next one already.

Our reviews in this series…

Other recommendations…

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Nell’s Gossip and Book Hunt 7/8/18

Welcome to my Sunday book hunt and author gossip.  Keep coming back for updates on book releases and news from favorite authors.

Back with new releases again… they keep writin’ them, we keep readin’ them!

Thirty years ago, the gods of Greek legend returned to the world. imprisoned in Tartarus, the Olympians now reside in Néo Vasíleio, formerly known as California.

Twenty-four-year-old Derek Aerios is a war scion, a descendant of Ares, the God of War. He and his brother, eighteen-year-old Liam, capture mythological creatures and rogue scions as part of Ares’s elite military force. As he struggles to cope with his violent powers and the scars of a traumatic childhood, Derek tries to keep the two vows he has made: protect his brother, and never kill a human again.

But when Ares forces him to hunt and kill four rogue scions under Athena’s control—by threatening Liam’s life—Derek chooses to go after the scions in order to save his brother and keep his promise to himself.

Yet the closer Derek gets to the scions, the more he realizes that his orders are part of a deeper conspiracy that put him at odds with his mission and his conscience. Athena may not be the enemy, a traitor could be in their midst, and the Titans could be closer to freedom than ever before.

Nell can draw magic from the land around her, and lately, she’s been using it to help the Psy-Law Enforcement Division, which solves paranormal crimes. Joining the team at PsyLED has allowed her to learn more about her powers and the world she always shunned–and to find true friends.

Head agent Rick LaFleur shifts into a panther when the moon calls him, but this time, something has gone wrong. Rick calls Nell from a riverbank–he’s naked, with no memory of how he came to be there, and there’s a dead black cat, sacrificed in a witch circle and killed by black magic, lying next to him.

Then more animals turn up dead, and the team rushes to investigate. A blood-witch is out to kill. But when it seems as if their leader is involved in the crime, the bonds that hold the team together could shatter at any moment.

 

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Nell’s Gossip and Book Hunt 4/22/2018

Welcome to my Sunday book hunt and author gossip.  Keep coming back for updates on book releases and news from favorite authors.

 

Such up to the moment news that there isn’t even a book cover yet…or a description.  Well, that’s how we roll here at One Book Two.

Anyway, you know I rave about Lisa Shearin (New York Times Best Selling Author) and her SPI Files series.  If you haven’t read them, you like monstrous bad guys and a little tiny, itty bitty romance – dig this series.  Each book is one that I have to clear an afternoon for because if I sit down, I ain’t getting back up til it’s done.

Back to the subject.  Lisa Shearin is going to release The Phoenix Illusion sometime this fall. I can’t think of a better thing to look forward to!  Author Shearin is gracious to let me post a snippet from The Phoenix Illusion.  Be careful…don’t let it suck you in because it’s only a snippet!

THE PHOENIX ILLUSION (SPI Files #6) BY LISA SHEARIN (A snippet from the author)

The mirror with its sturdy metal frame was nearly seven feet tall and three feet wide. It wasn’t a mirror to admire yourself in, though we all could see our reflections just fine. This mirror was for transport. Mirror mages could connect two specially constructed mirrors, enabling a person to step into the mirror on their end, and step out of the destination mirror, covering distances between worlds in one step.

That was the extent of my knowledge of how this thing worked, and I was pretty sure I didn’t want to receive enlightenment on what went on in between. Rake had mentioned that last year there’d been a bit of a giant spider infestation in the Void, which was what the space between mirrors was called.

Nope.

I didn’t need to know anything else, since Satan would be serving snow cones in Hell before I’d ever step through one.

Rake’s portal mage stood about five feet in front of the mirror, one arm extended, palm out, fingers spread wide, his stance one of casual readiness.

“My lord, Chancellor Nathrach’s mage has activated the mirror on their end and is ready when we are.”

Rake nodded once. “Bring him through.”

The mage straightened his stance, facing the mirror, now with both arms extended toward a surface that began to ripple, then swirl, picking up speed.

I quickly looked down at my feet. There wasn’t enough Dramamine in the world for me to be able to look at that mirror and not lose lunch. A pulsing light reflected on the polished floor, and then thankfully, the light show stopped.

I looked up at the new arrival.

Chancellor Tamnais Nathrach wore black, and he wore it well, from his leather-armored chest and arms, snug leather pants, down to the toes of his over-the-knee boots. He was also wearing blades everywhere there was room.

Yes, the view was nice; but I think what dropped my jaw was that Tam Nathrach could have been Rake’s nearly twin brother. The only big difference was that Rake’s hair was shoulder length, and Tam wore his to the middle of his back.

Rake gave his cousin a quick up-and-down glance and grinned. “Expecting trouble?”

Tam responded with a crooked grin of his own. “Forever and always.”

The two men hugged, Rake being careful to maneuver around his cousin’s portable arsenal.

No, this wasn’t gonna be awkward in any way, shape, or form.

 

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The Myth Manifestation by Lisa Shearin

Lord Rake Danescu has his hands full.  Mythological creatures are attacking.  His hotel is hijacked.  People are dying. His magic is… not as it should be.  He does, however, have Mac and Ian and the whole SPI commando contingency working with him to figure out what in the fresh hell is going on.

Title: The Myth Manifestation
Author: Lisa Shearin
Series: SPI FIles #5
Publish Date: January 16, 2018
Genre: Science Fiction/Urban Fantasy
Narrator: Johanna Parker
Source: Purchased by reviewers

Publisher’s DescriptionThe agents of Supernatural Protection & Investigations (SPI) protect people from predatory supernaturals. This time, we’re the ones who need protection.

New York is one of the most popular convention destinations in the world—for humans and supernaturals. Every hundred years, rulers of the world’s supernatural races come together to negotiate and renew a peace treaty. Meeting in the same hotel are the governors of our world’s goblin and elf colonies. SPI is saddled with the security nightmare of keeping the living delegates alive and the undead delegates from becoming permanently deceased. We’ve got our work cut out for us.

I’m Makenna Fraser, seer for SPI. Our security nightmare becomes real when monsters from the delegates’ mythologies begin mysteriously appearing in the flesh to hunt delegates from every side of the debate. And when the hotel gets sucked into another dimension, there’s no escape.

We discover that we’re all pieces in an elaborate and deadly game. A game about to spill out into the real world. Failing to escape is game over and not an option. We have to save the world—but first, we have to save ourselves.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words…spoilers.  *BEWARE*


Nervous Nellie says…

This book has no sex, no graphic blood and gore, no swearing since Mac edits it out of her ongoing dialog.  This has got a tiny little bit of romance that includes one very rich and charming goblin courting our protagonist.  SPI is made of a team of agents that will do their share of kicking asses and taking names while protecting the mundanes from learning about the supernatural.  There is a tiny cliffhanger, but it’s the overarching relationship stuff – not the story itself.  It’s easy to handle.  Don’t worry.

I love Mac and the gang.  I also love Mac and Rake’s relationship.  He’s under Mac’s skin and Mac has got Rake swooning.  Okay, maybe the other way around.  Anyway, there is a supernatural summit taking place and anywhere there are a bunch of supernaturals trapped together you know there will be trouble.

Goblins and Elves do NOT have a harmonious vibe going on.  All other attendees also have problems intermingling, so security for this event is beyond difficult.  It’s not enough that it’s all races and creeds of creatures attending this summit, it’s their political leaders that take the spotlight and create a ton of drama.  SPI is on high alert but all the special drills they could go through would never cover this problem.

This is a good old “Clue” episode.  Who did it in the ballroom or the bedroom or the beer keg with a big ol’ knife? Yeah, I said beer keg. You caught that, huh?  That’s what’s fun about the supernatural culture differences in this book.  There are so many variations between cultures that anything goes but one wrong step or a simple action or comment could be construed as offensive and then watch out!  With the caliber of individuals attending this convention, we have political fallout first and foremost to worry about. After that, then we could have not only an international incident but an interdimensional incident that could very well incite a war.  Tread carefully and walk on eggshells. But we still gotta figure out who’s killing whom and why.

You want details on the story?  Well, ok… I can give you this.  Rake’s impossibly above high class, ten-star hotel has been hijacked.  Yes, that’s right.  Hijacked.  At first, it looks like a security issue, but then it evolves.  Boy, does it evolve. It involves mythological creatures materializing out of nowhere.  And Rake has no answers.  Can you imagine? He’s got no “clue” as to what’s going on.

I can also give you a small detail on the romance between Mac and Rake.  It’s moving very, very slow. I like that Lisa Shearin is making their relationship a gradual thing.  It builds anticipation.  I love that a nice southern seer girl can capture the attention of a suave, sexy, interdimensional uber rich playboy.  Makenna is all sassy common sense if not skill. She is not Rake’s type, per se.  You’d expect him to be with fussy, glossy, supermodel bombshells in tight dresses with 4-inch heels and coifed hair.  Except… he’s choosing Mac.  She has her own style, no-nonsense woman that knows her limits and tries very hard to be an asset to the SPI crew.  She loves her job and I love her unique personality.

Johanna Parker is the narrator for this book as well as all the other SPI novels.  She gives the story that much more depth and complexity.  Another 5 star hit if you ask me.

Invested Ivana says…

Toward the end of negotiations for a massive treaty among outworld species and Earth, the delegates come together for a summit to celebrate and sign the treaty. Someone isn’t happy, though, and traps the delegates in their hotel with monsters … and a killer. Maybe more than one.

Though the Myth Manifestation has plenty of monsters — one of the signatures of this series — it’s primarily a political drama. Though the focus wasn’t on the monsters, this story was as much fun as any of the others in the series. Readers get to see old friends, such as the Vlad the vampire and the Norweigan SPI agents. And we learn a little more about other species, like dwarves, giants, and a race that makes love with their fingers, making waving and handshakes MUCH more exciting!

Fans of the Raine Benares series will see some familiar names and maybe faces. I did wonder if, had I been reading the Raine Benares series, I would have followed the politics between the elves and goblins a bit better. There is some massive political upheaval on their homeworld that, I’m guessing, is forefront in Raine’s series.

Regardless, I followed the story fine and really enjoyed it. As always, Johanna Parker does a fabulous job narrating. This is one of those series I much prefer to hear than read. She really brings Mac and all the other characters to life. 5 stars.

Our reviews in this series…

Nell’s Gossip and Book Hunt 2/25/18

Welcome to my Sunday book hunt and author gossip.  Keep coming back for updates on book releases and news from favorite authors.

 

Hi everybody! I’ve been busy searching out news for you and without any more delay, lets get at it.

  • Myth Manifestation by Lisa Shearin went live on January 16, 2018.  I have my review done and I’ll be posting it very soon.  Just a preview:  I loved it.  I love Mac and the whole team.  Even Ms. Sagadraco – even though she’s scary!Oh – get to the point.  Ok. Well, the audio version of Myth Manifestation is available.  If you don’t have time to read, but love to listen and work at the same time – here you go.

Title: The Myth Manifestation
by: Lisa Shearin
Narrated by: Johanna Parker
Series: SPI Files, Book 5
Length: 7 hrs and 54 mins
Unabridged
Release date: 02-13-18
Language: English
Publisher: Audible Studios

Publisher’s Description:  The agents of Supernatural Protection & Investigations (SPI) protect people from predatory supernaturals. This time, we’re the ones who need protection.

New York is one of the most popular convention destinations in the world – for humans and supernaturals. Every hundred years, rulers of the world’s supernatural races come together to negotiate and renew a peace treaty. Meeting in the same hotel are the governors of our world’s goblin and elf colonies. SPI is saddled with the security nightmare of keeping the living delegates alive and the undead delegates from becoming permanently deceased. We’ve got our work cut out for us.

I’m Makenna Fraser, seer for SPI. Our security nightmare becomes real when monsters from the delegates’ mythologies begin mysteriously appearing in the flesh to hunt delegates from every side of the debate. And when the hotel gets sucked into another dimension, there’s no escape. We discover that we’re all pieces in an elaborate and deadly game. A game about to spill out into
the real world. Failing to escape is game over and not an option. We have to save the world – but first, we have to save ourselves. 

  • You saw the announcement from Brad Magnarella’s new series, right?  Well, he’s got it out on audio now too!!Blue Curse
    Blue Wolf, Book 1
    By: Brad Magnarella
    Narrated by: James Patrick Cronin
    Length: 7 hrs and 49 mins
    Unabridged
    Release date: 01-31-18
    Language: English
    Publisher: Brad MagnarellaAND he’s working on #2 in the series of Blue Wolf.  The book will be called Blue Shadow.  It’s scheduled to be released on March 5, 2018.  I am listening to Blue Curse right now, so my review is coming.

  • Now we are talking about Gary Jonas.  I read the first book in the Jonathan Shade series, Modern Sorcery, and here is my review.  I really liked it and I’m ready to charge into the next book.  While scoping out book #2 in the Jonathan Shade series, I happened upon a novella that Mr. Jonas wrote that features Esther, the ghost who helps Jonathan Shade.Title:  Dying to Live
    Series: Jonathan Shade series #10.5
    Publisher’s Description:  On a dark highway, a creature from the Void confronts a lonely ghost, ready to feed on her memories.The ghost is Esther Carmichael, and she’s been through so much anguish since she died. She’s ready to bid farewell to her existence until the creature awakens something inside her.

    Now she’s dying to live.

    Esther is a beloved character from the Jonathan Shade urban fantasy series, and while this short story takes place soon after the events of the novel Timeless Gods, you don’t need to have read the books to enjoy the ride. However, if you have read the Shade books, you definitely don’t want to miss this one.

    And then I found other books that Mr. Jonas writes.  They all look so good, I don’t know which to choose first but, seriously, how could I resist a book called The Half-Assed Wizard.  The title in itself sounds like it’s a good time! Then we have book 2 in the series:  The Big-Ass Witch and #3 – The Dumbass Demon.  I swear, with titles like this they are just beggin’ to be read.

Title:  The Half-Assed Wizard
Series: The Half-Assed Wizard, book 1
Released: June 4, 2017
Publisher’s Description:  A couple of jerks wake me up at the crack of noon. Seems my klepto uncle stole an ancient deck of Tarot cards from a high-powered wizard, and too many losers want to ruin my day to get them back.

The cards are cool, so I check them out, but my magic-happy cousin, Sabrina, tells me I’m not supposed to touch them. Oops. Too late. Now the damn cards are tuned to me, and if someone else wants to use them, I have to die. Why couldn’t she have led with that information?

Magic was never my scene, but my dad is one of the most powerful wizards in the world, so I’ve got unrealized potential if I ever bother to apply myself. I’d rather power nap, but with wizards, gunslingers, and cannibalistic shark dudes coming at me, that’s not gonna happen.

They say I’m a half-assed wizard, but if I don’t play my cards right, I’m gonna get my whole ass killed.

The other series that I’ve got on my TBR pile is also written by Gary Jonas.  It’s the Kelly Chan series.  This character makes an appearance in Modern Sorcery.  She is really a no nonsense powerhouse.  Here’s the deets on book #1:

Title: Vampire Midnight
Series: Kelly Chan, #1
Released: February 17, 2016
Publisher’s Description:  Kelly Chan, the magically engineered assassin you know from the Jonathan Shade series in her first solo adventure!

Picking up a package for a friend should be easy, but when the package is at Tally’s, a shop that caters to things that go bump in the night, and that package is a woman, things can go south fast.

Of course, if the person picking up the package is Kelly Chan, when things go south, bad guys die.

But what happens when the bad guys are already dead? Or more specifically, undead.

Kelly finds herself face-to-face with an actual vampire who has the power to issue commands Kelly has no choice but to follow.

So how do you kill something when you’ve been commanded to protect it?

 

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