“Burn For Me” by Ilona Andrews. Avon, 2014. $5.99.

Nevada Baylor only cares about her family. After her father died, she took it upon herself to look after her family and keep their detective business alive. She finds herself facing one of the toughest cases of her life.

She knows it’s a suicide mission, but she has to take it on in order to keep the ones she loves most alive. She has to bring a high-power magic-user, Adam Pierce, back to his family alive, while he intends to set the entire city on fire.

While working on this case, Nevada ends up kidnapped by Connor “Mad” Rogan. This man can bring buildings down with his magic, and his powers are stronger than anyone has ever seen. He’s on the same mission as she is, only he doesn’t care whether Adam stays alive.

After realizing they are working toward the same goals, Nevada reluctantly teams up with her kidnapper and the two of them start trying to piece together what Adam Pierce’s game plan is and how they can take him down. They find each other attractive, but Nevada knows that Rogan is too dangerous to get involved with and doesn’t care about anyone other than himself. She may find a way to get under his skin, though, and make him change his ways of thinking.

Ilona Andrews starts her new series off right and proves once again that she deserves a place on the best-seller list. This is a must read for paranormal romance and urban fantasy lovers!

— Juliette Brandt, Baton Rouge

“Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel. Knopf, 2014. $24.95.

“Station Eleven” is a post-apocalyptic novel, but don’t let that scare you away if you are not a fan of the genre.

It is a remarkable study of characters united by a single, ordinary event on the same night that civilization is “brutally interrupted” by a virus that wipes out 99.9 percent of humanity. St. John Mandel travels back in forth in time, from character to character, and yet the story is never confusing. Glimpses into the characters’ pasts, presents and futures (though not necessarily in that order) lead you to care more deeply about them with every chapter, despite their flaws. The novel also examines what life would be like decades after the end of civilization, after people begin the intimidating task of rebuilding.

St. John Mandel manages to convey a sense of the vast emptiness of the world after most of the people are lost and explores how the citizens of this new world fight, sometimes literally, for a new normal.

The traveling symphony — a group of musicians and actors who walk the long roads between settlements after the collapse — borrows a motto from a Star Trek episode: “Survival is insufficient.” The book is thought-provoking and will make you proud of the resilience of the human race.

— Ellen Zielinski, ezielinski@theadvocate.com