Review: Clean Sweep (The Innkeeper Chronicles #1) by Ilona Andrews

December 10, 2013 5 Stars, alpha male overload, ARC, ebook, Fantasy, hated love triangle, Paranormal Romance, self published, series, spunky spitfire heroine, Urban Fantasy, vampires, weres, witches 4 ★★★★★

Review: Clean Sweep (The Innkeeper Chronicles #1) by Ilona Andrews five-stars
Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews
Series: Innkeeper Chronicles
on December 2, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 227
Format: eBook
This is a short novel, about 60,000 words.

On the outside, Dina Demille is the epitome of normal. She runs a quaint Victorian Bed and Breakfast in a small Texas town, owns a Shih Tzu named Beast, and is a perfect neighbor, whose biggest problem should be what to serve her guests for breakfast. But Dina is…different: Her broom is a deadly weapon; her Inn is magic and thinks for itself. Meant to be a lodging for otherworldly visitors, the only permanent guest is a retired Galactic aristocrat who can’t leave the grounds because she’s responsible for the deaths of millions and someone might shoot her on sight. Under the circumstances, “normal” is a bit of a stretch for Dina.

And now, something with wicked claws and deepwater teeth has begun to hunt at night… Feeling responsible for her neighbors, Dina decides to get involved. Before long, she has to juggle dealing with the annoyingly attractive, ex-military, new neighbor, Sean Evans—an alpha-strain werewolf—and the equally arresting cosmic vampire soldier, Arland, while trying to keep her inn and its guests safe. But the enemy she’s facing is unlike anything she’s ever encountered before. It’s smart, vicious, and lethal, and putting herself between this creature and her neighbors might just cost her everything.

I loved this book! Loved it!

I first read this book a while ago. It’s available – in its organic form – as a serial on the Andrews’ website. I knew what to expect but boy was I surprised!

I hate squeeing. I swear, it’s rather undignified. But there’s really no way to truly explain how much I enjoyed this new and updated edition. This updated version of Clean Sweep has been copy edited and four beautiful color illustrations added. I can’t emphasize enough the need to read this on something that has color. I read it on my computer once I realized there were illustrations. The Illustrations…really gave me fond memories. My first few hard and trade fantasy books were illustrated – here and there but illustrations still. The copy-edit is seamless (as it should be) and has given more back story and detail to an already rich world. Dina, the heroine, has had some additional background filled in and the ending is less abrupt.

This book is written in a flavor you’re familiar with if you read Ilona Andrews: strong characters, new and fascinating magic systems/worlds, real alpha males instead of Alpholes and female characters that aren’t doormats.

I love Dina. Dina is young and slightly unsure of herself – this is her first inn – but she isn’t a damsel in distress. She doesn’t dither about, waiting for someone to make decisions for her or to help her out of a jam. She is also resolute: once she makes a decision she follows it through. Dina is, like her parents before her, an Innkeeper. Innkeepers maintain secret sentient Bed and Breakfast Inns that serve as neutral (and safe) ground. Innkeepers form a symbiotic relationship with their Inns and you can tell Dina thinks about her Inn in a caring way. Dina came about her Inn after a great tragedy in her life and the Inn is a comfort to her as well as a place of magic. The male characters are both rather…pushy and alpha but they do not have a chance to run roughshod over Dina, especially in her Inn:

I’d wanted him to handle it because I hadn’t wanted to break my neutrality and he was uniquely suited to killing things. But now that ship had sailed, and given his attitude, I was better off without his so-called help. I leaned forward so we were eye to eye. “It’s being handled. Your involvement isn’t necessary. You’re free to continue on your serial urination spree.”
“I don’t think so.”
“Sean! Go. Away.”
He locked his jaw. “I don’t know what the hell is going on here, but I’m not leaving until I get it sorted out.”
Of all the rude, arrogant morons… “Is that so?”
“Yes. You will show that thing to me and from now on, I will deal with them.”
I opened my eyes really wide and fluttered my eyelashes at him. “I’m sorry, I must’ve missed your coronation ceremony. Silly me.”
Ha! He remembered my name. I waved my fingers in the direction of the door. “Shoo. Leave, and don’t slam the door on your way out.”
He planted himself, arms crossed, muscles bulging. “Make me.”
He didn’t deserve a warning, but I gave him one anyway. “I’ve had about enough. I’m serious, Sean. Leave or there will be consequences.”
“Give me your best shot.”
Fine. “Your welcome is withdrawn.”
Magic smashed into Sean. He went airborne. The side door swung open just in time and he flew through it and into the orchard. The orchard was a safer bet. The bulk of the house shielded it from the passersby and traffic, which would hopefully let us avoid pain-in-the-butt questions.
I heard a solid thud, then got up, and looked out through the open door. Beast joined me.
Sean lay unmoving on the grass. Ouches.
I glanced at Beast. “I did warn him.”

The reader gets to know Dina fairly well while Sean and Arland are a bit more mysterious. Sean is a specialized type of werewolf and this is only briefly touched upon. Arland is a very high ranking vampire, a noble of his race. There are hints that more of their history will possibly come but the book focuses on the problems at hand and Dina. This is one of the high points of the book for me. I greatly appreciate the fact that Dina is not immediately shackled to a person who might want to bark orders at her. I love the fact that the series is going to allow Dina her own emotional growth arc.

The book ends on a hopeful note and without Dina being bunned up. Thank God. So often now UF is actually PNR in disguise but not here. Yet again Ilona Andrews has given the reader what she wants: a real Urban Fantasy.

This book. Soooo good.

If it’s not obvious, I highly recommend this book!

Note: I received this book free from Ilona Andrews in exchange for an honest review. More information about Clean Sweep and other books by New York Times Best Selling Author Ilona Andrews can be found at Ilona Andrew’s website.

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