5 STARS Halfway to the Grave starts off bloody. With a murderous chip on her shoulder, Catherine Crawfield spends her evenings luring and eventually blissfully killing vampires. She's scary in a serial killer kind of way, a lovable serial killer. We meet Bones at the very beginning. He loves long necks and idiots foolish enough to get in his way. Cat (or Kitten) gets in his way and we're all the better for it. I absolutely loved reading this book. Cat has a ways to go with her prejudice against vamps (which seems reasonable enough to have, right). Bones is an island, yet he tangles his world with Cat's from the start. I love that they're both unrepentant killers. I enjoyed Cat's transformation from the girl with poor social skills to a confident woman. And I laughed. So much. No one does jealous like Cat. There's mystery and adventure. The breakneck speed never slows down, even the steamy scenes leave you breathless and dizzy. I'm on book 2, with 3 waiting for me at the top of my library stack.
5 STARS Magic Bites is a fantastical read like no other. Magic has eaten away the flashy modern world, leaving behind a wrecked landscape full of underworld baddies, wonky electricity, dilapidated cities, and hunters like Kate Daniels. Oh the beasts she hunts. And let me tell you, author Ilona Andrews creates vampires you never want to cuddle with! Puppets with teeth and skin-wrapped bones. They crawl up walls. They open their mouths only to have the voice of their puppet master speaking. Ack! There is so much gore and fantasy, I gave this book 4 stars originally, but really it's a 5 star read. I can't stop thinking about it. The characters are perched on my shoulder, teasing me that I don't know enough about them. I want more. More! And never once did I step out of the world Andrews created. I loved that cars were unreliable and mostly for the rich. I loved that Kate has no qualms with riding a horse or enduring intense pain. She's scared all the time and whenever that happened, the woman opened her mouth and practically made her death a certainty. There wasn't enough romance in the first book, but that's my preference. I was scared often, grossed out just as much. The monsters were terrifying. The good guys were borderline insane. How can you resist a series like that? I cannot wait to read the next book!