Magic Burns, Magic Strikes, Magic Bleeds – Ilona Andrews

So I went on a bit of binge over the past weekend, into the past few weeknights. (It was hot and humid, and doing things outside just didn’t seem fun.) So I read the first two books in a day each, and the last one over a couple nights. BF is suspicious I don’t actually remember anything from them, but I enjoyed the heck out of all of them.

These are set in an alternate version of Atlanta where waves of magic will take out tech for days at a time. There are vampires and shapeshifters, and assorted other magical creatures. Kate Daniels clearly has some very special abilities above most of those other magical creatures. (The exact nature of it is covered in Magic Strikes.) I love these books – Kate is a fantastic heroine.

Magic Burns deals with Celtic mythology – there’s a flare in the magic waves, which can allow gods to manifest, and there’s a particularly bad god that’s trying to come through. This is also the book where Kate manages to adopt an orphaned girl (her mother’s gone missing, and the initial brief if to find her). By her own admission, Kate’s much better as a crazy aunt than a mother, so I really love Julie’s place in the stories as they continue on.

Magic Strikes concerns some gladiatorial style games, and the shapeshifter community. This is also where Kate cements having a best friend, Andrea, who also happens to be a werehyena. It’s also the beginning of the complications of Kate’s relationship with the Beast Lord, Curran. (He’s a werelion.)

Magic Bleeds start to deal with Kate’s family, and has she and Curran cement their relationship. There’s also a were-crocodile and a hell hound involved. (Love the attack poodle!) I love Kate and Curran’s relationship. She’s probably more alpha than he is in a lot of ways, so it’s delightfully combative. And they do a really good job showing that it’s a struggle for these two people to mesh, considering all the alpha baggage he has to deal with, and her family baggage. It could easily be way over the top, but it works well.

I’m really glad the BF discovered this series – I have several more I can fly through. I’m just trying to be good and finish something else first. I may have put three other books aside during this binge…

Crescent Beach State Park – Cape Elizabeth, ME

I had taken this Friday off a few weeks ago (had to work in a few days so I don’t lose them at the end of the year), so this was a planned visit to Crescent Beach.    I lucked out by getting there at high tide with tropical storm Jose offshore.

I have never seen the tide this high.    (I’m forty.    I’ve been coming here all my life.)   There’s a stream that flows out through the beach that’s normally pretty much dry this time of year.    It was completely full (to the point where there was no way you could get across without getting wet – also something that never happens- it’s a bit lazy normally).    If you head back behind the beach and the dunes, there’s a large fresh water pond that feeds that stream.    The water was pushing in so hard that you could actually see a current spreading out over the pond.    I don’t think it’s gotten a salt water infusion in years.    The sound of the waves at that point (behind dunes and a stretch of forest) was still positively percussive.

I didn’t go on either beach.   I usually bypass the main beach, but I always go down to the pebble beach closer to Richmond Island.    It was reduced to a thin strip – and there were occasional waves breaking over that.

In other news, I found Indian pipe on the back path, so really, it was one of my favorite Crescent Beach walks ever.


Hollingsworth Trail, Petit Manan Wildlife Refuge – Stueben, ME

This was an amazing walk.    It’s a loop through the forest, which was just starting to get fall color, to a beach.   Off that beach is Petit Manan Lighthouse, except it was so foggy, we can only see it intermittently.     But you could hear the foghorn for the entire walk, which is one of my favorite sounds in the world.

The trail is the only way to the beach, so there were four other people there besides us.  (It’s a flat trail, but it has a lot of roots, so I can’t say it’s truly easy.)     After the beach, it keeps along the shore for a bit, where we got very up close to a young porcupine, and a bit later, a squirrel gorging himself on huckleberries.

It was just a great walk.    Dad and C had never been down that far before, so it was new to all of us, and we all want to go back.

Corea Heath Trail, Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge – Corea, ME

Cool find for walking #1 while we were out and about on Saturday: the Corea Heath.    The above pictures are from the portion in the National Wildlife Refuge, which is a very easy trail that goes to the edge of the heath.     There’s another area across the road that belongs to a more local preservation group that actually gets out over the heath that we’d love to go back to someday.

Corea, Maine

This past weekend, we headed Downeast to visit my father and C.    For Saturday’s adventure, we headed up Route 1, and started with lunch at the Wharf Gallery and Grill in Corea, where we watched the fog come in and out of the harbor.    (We pretty much played chicken with the fog all day.)


Continuing my unintentional survey of Maine lighthouses, here’s the Prospect Harbor Lighthouse, which is unfortunately on Navy-owned land, so you can’t get very close to it.

The other really cool thing we did (well, other than a couple awesome walks that are getting their own posts)  was visit US Bells – I’m just sad we missed one of the scheduled pours they do in the summer.    It’s a cool store though – the family also has a potter, a woodworker, and a quilter, so there’s plenty to see.

P. S. from Paris – Marc Levy

b713009cc1f942f597344526f67434f414f4141Continuing this year’s apparent comfort reading theme, when I saw this book come up on the Prime Firsts list, I grabbed it. It was as pure escapist fun as the description implied.

Mia is a famous British actress who’s just completed a film with her husband. Just in time for the publicity junket, she finds out he’s been cheating on her. She flees to Paris, where her childhood best friend runs a restaurant.

Paul is an American novelist. His first novel, which he only published because friends sent if off to a publisher, was a wild success. He moved to Paris, figuring it was the best place to write more. He’s never written another book as successful, though oddly enough, his books do well in Korea. He’s in a sort of relationship with his Korean translator – the one time a year she comes to see him to translate his books. His best friends (the same ones that sent the original book out) , come to visit him, and enroll him in an online dating site to try to jolt him into changing his life.

You can pretty much see where this is going. There’s really nothing in the book that’s a surprise, but it was a very enjoyable read.