I just finished Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews. Can I say HOLY COW?!
For those who haven't read this series, which is about Kate Daniels, a woman with some serious trust issues (for very good reasons), a big heart and some powerful badass fighting skills. When the series first begins, Kate is dealing with the loss of her mentor. She's tough and alone. And then she meets Curran, the Beast Lord, head of the shapeshifters and Julie, a young girl whose mother is missing. Curran is...well, lets just say he takes alpha male to the extreme and yet he has this inner core that makes Kate want to know him better.
The world that Ilona Andrews (who are really Gordon & Ilona - a husband & wife writing team) create is clever and unique. Magic and technology are battling for control. Magic comes in waves and when its up, technology doesn't work. Not only that, it eats buildings, makes forests grow overnight and causes havoc. All manner of creatures have shown up from the shifters to the People - a group of necromancers who use magic to navigate vampires. And vampires? Freaking scary. Shifters are created by the Lyc-V virus, but vampires are people who sell themselves to the necromancers. Only they become these scuttling, loping, vicious, violent creatures with no mind and an uncontrollable blood lust. If the necromancer loses control of the vampire's mind, well lets just say bad things happen.
I don't want to give away too much of this series because I think it should be a staple in every UF reader's library and I don't want to spoil the experience of discovering it. I will say this - this latest installment doesn't disappoint. Things have become very complicated for Kate. She learns information about her upbringing that makes her question everything - including whether Curran really loves her or is using her, dealing with Julie who isn't happy, trying to keep a teenage bouda shifter out of trouble, and facing a group of zealots on a mission to destroy magic. Some really awful things happen and the end left me very worried about certain characters (geez this is hard -- I want to TALK about it) and what will happen to them. I don't think everyone is going to get their happily ever after. (And its going to be torture waiting for the next book.)
One of my favorite things about Gordon and Ilona is the way they interact with their fans. They regularly post snippets of upcoming books and allow readers into their lives. And Gordon has written several scenes from the series from Curran's point of view, which are just phenomenal - and which you can buy as e-reader books for cheap. (Okay, I admit, I love Curran. I want to curl up in his big bed with him and...never mind - lol.)
If you like strong heroines with issues, smokin' hot shapeshifters with attitude, humor, emotion, awesome fight scenes, and a story that will have you talking to your book then you have to read these.