Unbreakable (The Legion #1) by Kami Garcia

Kami Garcia/UnbreakableI never believed in ghosts. Until one tried to kill me.

When Kennedy Waters finds her mother dead, her world begins to unravel. She doesn’t know that paranormal forces in a much darker world are the ones pulling the strings. Not until identical twins Jared and Lukas Lockhart break into Kennedy’s room and destroy a dangerous spirit sent to kill her. The brothers reveal that her mother was part of an ancient secret society responsible for protecting the world from a vengeful demon — a society whose five members were all murdered on the same night.

Now Kennedy has to take her mother’s place in the Legion if she wants to uncover the truth and stay alive. Along with new Legion members Priest and Alara, the teens race to find the only weapon that might be able to destroy the demon — battling the deadly spirits he controls every step of the way.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Kami Garcia is half of the Garcia/Stohl duo that created the Caster Chronicles and Dangerous Creatures worlds. Even though I’ve only read the first book in both of these series (Beautiful Creatures and Dangerous Creatures) I’ve now become a fan of this duo, whether they are writing together or independently.

I liked Kennedy. She grew up not knowing anything about the world of ghosts and demons, magic and pure evil. She did know loss though, even before her mother’s death. She also wasn’t quite normal, but she fit in the best she could regardless. The moment that Lukas and Jared walked into her shattered world, nothing would ever be the same…. for any of them.

Her rescue introduced the rest of the Legion. I’m not sure which one of the crew I liked more. I think Priest may have been my favorite, but with each scene each one of them revealed a hidden part of themselves that made me like them even more. Their stories were heartbreaking. In a way I could totally understand why Kennedy’s mom had kept the world that Priest, Alara, Lukas and Jared had grown up in hidden from her. The trust that bonded these kids together came from that past, but it grew with each dangerous task that they had to complete.

The story was fast paced and the mystery kept the pages turning. The 300+ pages went by way too fast. Before I knew it, the story was over and the end…. Yikes! My short review as soon as I finished was ‘I want Unmarked now!’ and that wasn’t an exaggeration. There’s a lot left unknown and the fate of everyone is left hanging. It’s a good thing that readers only have a couple of weeks to wait as of the date of this post.

I supposed for those who are totally turned off by love-triangles, I should mention that Unbreakable does contain one. They aren’t usually a deal breaker for me, so this one didn’t bother me. Maybe because I felt like there was never any doubt who would win Kennedy’s heart. It might have also been because I saw it more as left over animosity between the boys than ‘who’s going to get the girl.’ That’s just my opinion though, so consider yourself warned. :)

DragonFlyGreen4-5

 

Anchored: A Belonging Novel (Belonging #1) by Rachel Haimowitz

AnchoredNetwork news anchor Daniel Halstrom is at the top of his field, but being at the bottom of the social ladder—being a slave—makes that hard to enjoy. Especially when NewWorld Media, the company that’s owned him since childhood, decides to lease him privately on evenings and weekends to boost their flagging profits. 

Daniel’s not stupid; he knows there’s only one reason someone would pay so much for what little free time he has. But dark memories of past sexual service leave him certain he won’t survive it again with his sanity intact. 

He finds himself in the home of Carl Whitman, a talk show host whose words fail him when it comes to ordering Daniel into his bed. Carl can’t seem to take what he must want, and Daniel’s not willing to give it freely. His recalcitrance costs him dearly, but with patience and some hard-won understanding, affection just might flourish over fear and pain. Carl holds the power to be an anchor in Daniel’s turbulent life, but if he isn’t careful, he’ll end up the weight that sinks his slave for good. 

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1I knew that Anchored was going to be a tough read before I even started it. In fact, I avoided requesting the ARC for just that reason. I skimmed over the synopsis a couple of times and still shied away from it. Then the reviews started popping up and even though I didn’t really read them, I could tell that this was a book that needed to be read, so here we are. I wasn’t wrong about it being a hard book to read. What I wasn’t ready for was how powerful it would be.

Anchored is set in a world very different from the one we currently live. It’s unbalanced and beyond scary. Daniel is a slave, nothing more than property and that point is driven into him on a daily basis. He is a lesser being. The Masters believe that those beneath them have an inability to feel. They are to be used, to serve and are easily discarded and punished severely when they fail to perform to the standards that the Masters and Handlers set for them. Those punishments far out weigh the ‘crimes.’

Carl is different than most Masters. He treats his slaves almost as friends. I liked him, but I still got frustrated with him. Even though he lived as a Master he was really clueless about how cruel Daniel’s owners really were. He put Daniel in a lot of danger without even realizing he was doing it. Basically, he didn’t belong in the world that they lived in any more than Daniel did. Once he got it, his determination to change things just a little for Daniel made me like him even more.

Anchored was more than a romance…. actually in a lot of ways it was far from a romance. It was more a lesson in humanity. When today’s society thinks of slavery they fall back on history where one race was deemed to be inferior and property. In Daniel and Carl’s society a gene – that scientists couldn’t even isolate – determined whether or not you were a slave. It encompassed all races and generations of those families. There was no rising above it. No chance of freedom unless you were born a Freeman.

Daniel held a spark that touched a lot of people and made them doubt what they had gone through life just accepting. His story can’t be read without making you feel… angry, scared, heartbroken…. Anchored definitely didn’t have a HEA, but it came as close as it could get. There are things, people and circumstances that this book will make me look at in a totally different way for a very long time.

Just a little warning, those punishments are written in detail. Daniel suffered both mentally and physically and no one should go into this book lightly. 

DragonFlyGreen4-5

Inferno Park by J.L. Bryan

InfernoParkCarter was only twelve when he witnessed the disaster that killed more than a hundred people at Starland Amusement Park. Five years later, Carter’s hometown is no longer a busy Florida panhandle resort, but a slowly dying town full of empty motels and attractions rusting behind chains and padlocks.

Now something evil stirs in the ruins of the old amusement park…something with an alluring siren song drawing visitors into the dark mysteries of the forbidden world behind the gate. Something with an appetite for restless, yearning souls. 

Carter reluctantly returns to the old park in the company of a new girl in town, who is obsessed with urban decay and pop-culture ruins, and discovers the evil at work. To stop it, and protect the children of the town, Carter will have to face his oldest and deepest fears.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1You know when you watch a scary movie and you yell at the stupid characters to not go in that abandoned house, not look out the window into the shadows, not to leave their safe and warm bed to see what was making that eerie noise outside? Then, when they do it anyway, you cover your eyes and hope that they aren’t going to end up dead… or worse? Yeah, I spent a lot of time mentally yelling at the characters in this book. If I could have closed my eyes I would have, but that would have made it kind of difficult to read.

It came as no surprise to me that J.L Bryan did scary well. That’s actually part of the reason why I drug my feet in finally reading Inferno Park. His vivid descriptions and his talent at making readers squirm is evident in both his dark Paranormals series and his lighter Songs of Magic series. I had no doubt that the same vivid descriptions and attention to detail would take the horror factor in Inferno Park over the top. I wasn’t disappointed.

Besides spending a lot of time trying to mentally coax characters into doing the smart thing and stay away from the creepy abandoned amusement park, I enjoyed the story and the characters. Carter was a sweet kid at 12 and had grown into an impressive teen. He was pretty level headed as well as compassionate. He could have easily given up, especially with all he had been through. He had a goal to work his way out of town and for a lot of reasons, he took it very seriously.

Victoria was great too. I think I liked her most for bringing a spark back into Carter’s life. She shook things up. I liked her outlook and the unique way she looked at things.

As for the story itself… it was intense. No, the author held nothing back. The gore, the terror and the suspense were all there. Thankfully, there were tiny breaks in the in those moments where things seemed almost normal. There were even a couple of moments that made me smile, but not a lot of them. The different POVs that were divided between most of the characters gave the story a different kind of flow. I liked it. Well, ‘like’ may not be the correct word since most of those POVs didn’t end well…. but you get the idea.

No one came out of this one totally unscathed and there was more than one moment where I wanted to read ahead just to make sure that everyone made it out alive… but I didn’t… and you shouldn’t either. If you’re looking for something scary to read with an intriguing story line, Inferno Park is perfect.

DragonFlyGreen4-5

Sins & Needles (The Artists Trilogy #1) by Karina Halle

SinsAndNeedlesEllie Watt is used to starting over. The daughter of a grifting team, Ellie spent her childhood being used as a pawn in her parents’ latest scam. Now she’s much older, wiser and ready to give her con artist life a rest. But returning to the dry desert town of Palm Valley, California means one more temptation than she bargained for – Camden McQueen. Once known as the high school weirdo, Camden is bigger and badder than the boy he used to be and a talented tattoo artist with his own thriving business. Ellie’s counting on Camden still being in love with her but what she’s not counting on is how easily unrequited love can turn into obsession over time. When Camden discovers Ellie’s plan to con him, he makes her a deal she doesn’t dare refuse, but her freedom comes with a price and it’s one that takes both Ellie and Camden down a dangerous road.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1This book… yeah… well… I don’t even know where, much less how to begin. It was like standing on the sidelines watching a catastrophe about to happen and not being able to do anything about it. Without the ability to help, you know you should look away, but you just can’t help yourself from taking it all in…. yeah, Sins & Needles was a lot like that.

I’ve only read one other book by Karina Halle, but I love her style. It’s unique and gives her characters a realistic edge. I loved that edge in Darkhouse, the first book in her Experiments in Terror series. Experiencing it again in Sins & Needles has planted her firmly on my TBR list.

Ellie was not your normal heroine. She would have actually made a pretty decent bad guy (or girl) because that’s exactly what she was. Without her back story, she would have been really easy to dislike. That back story though was heartbreaking. It was so easy to see how she could have been a totally different person if…  But then readers wouldn’t have been introduced to the Ellie that was created from all that heartbreak. The more I got to know her, the more I liked her and the harder it was to watch…

And then there was Camden. He was no angel either. There were times that I both loved and hated him as well. Honestly I don’t think I’ve ever read a story that kept me ping-ponging between love and hate for the main characters as much as Sins & Needles did.

To say that this book kept me on the edge of my seat would be an understatement. The connection between these two was explosive, electric, at time destructive and surprisingly beautiful. The story itself contained twists, turns, danger, revelations and ultimate choices that changed everything. And then there was the ending …. yeah, pretty much like the rest of the book. I’m both anxious and terrified to read Shooting Scars.

DragonFlyGreen4-5

The Littlest Cowboy (The Texas Brand #1) by Maggie Shayne

LittlestCowboySheriff Garrett Brand has raised his entire brood of siblings single-handedly, and he’s done his best to teach them some values, to mold them into honorable, responsible, and trustworthy human beings. So when a baby lands on the doorstep of the Texas Brand, his first question is which younger brother is in for a butt-kicking? But the little fellow isn’t named after Ben, or Wes, or Adam, or Elliot. The little feller is named after him–Garrett Ethan Brand–according to the note his mama left behind. 

He’s still racking his brain to figure it all out, when a woman shows up at the ranch in the dead of night, spitting, fighting mad, and accusing Garrett of murdering her sister and stealing the baby! 

Chelsea is confused, heartbroken, and too mad to think straight, and the same trouble that found her poor sister is right on her tail. But of all the places she and the baby could’ve wound up, Garrett thinks this ranch is the best one. 

Because this is one family that knows how to pull together and trouble doesn’t stand a chance against The Brands of Texas.

I’ve been a fan of Maggie Shayne for a while, but somehow I’ve missed all her earlier work. I started reading her Portal series and since then she has found a permanent spot on my TBR list. To be honest, I didn’t even know that she had written a Cowboy Romance until this cute little cover popped up on my TL.

If you’re a frequent visitor to my blog, you know that Contemporary Romance isn’t my ‘go-to’ genre, but I do enjoy a little diversion from time to time and that’s exactly what I where I would categorize The Littlest Cowboy. It was a quick read and even though it was an early Maggie Shayne selection, there were still familiar elements that pulled me in.

This one had a little bit of everything. Alpha male cowboy siblings with a snarky little sister thrown into the mix, a sweet baby, mystery, danger and a couple of twists. Maggie Shayne does have a tendency to throw her female heroines into dangerous situations that I want to yell at them for, but that keeps things interesting.

Since I’ve discovered the Texas Brand series, I thought I might as well give at least one more book in the series a try. The Littlest Cowboy was still free at the time of this post, so it’s a no risk introduction. The next book in the series is The Baddest Virgin in Texas, and given the characters that it involves, it’s sure to be a fun one.

DragonFlyRating4

Coyote Home (Coyote Hunger #1) by Rhian Cahill

CoyoteHungerComing home was never going to be easy for Rowan Wilder, but after six years she didn’t think it would be this hard. First she can’t control her inner coyote, then she has to deal with her mate and the madman out to get them both. Determined to take her rightful place in the pack, Rowan must face each hurdle and succeed. To fail could mean losing her life.

Quinn MacClellan is more than ready for the return of his mate and he’ll do anything to keep her safe and by his side. He couldn’t protect her years ago, but things are different now and he won’t let anything or anyone separate them again. Together they’ll confront all obstacles and ensure the future they both deserve.

Short, sweet and intense. There was no search for a HEA in this one. That had already been established. The tension in this one came from bringing Rowan back to Quinn. Actually, it was bringing Rowan back to herself as well.

There was a history behind this book and I knew that going in. The previous book, Coyote Run, was even shorter and was basically the set-up for Coyote Home. It’s probably wise to read the prequel first, but even missing the ‘why’ of Rowan’s escape, her struggle to return wasn’t hard to understand. The back story is filled in gradually so it’s pretty easy to fill in the blanks.

The story itself is fast-paced and perfect for a quick in-between or late night read. I loved the characters and even though it was just a little over 100 pages, it wasn’t lacking. It also provides the perfect set up for the next book in the series, Coyote Wild.

DragonFlyRating4

Double Full (Nice Guys #1) by Kindle Alexander

DoubleFullUp and coming football hero, Colton Michaels, makes a Hail Mary pass one night in the college locker room that results in the hottest, sexiest five days of his young life. However, interference after the play has him hiding his past and burying his future in the bottom of a bottle. While Colt seems to have it all, looks can be deceiving, especially when you’re trapped so far in a closet that you can’t see your way out. When ten years of living his expected fast-lane lifestyle lands him engaged to his manipulative Russian supermodel girlfriend, he decides it’s time to call a new play.

Jace Montgomery single-handily built the largest all-star cheerleading gym in the world, driven by a need to forget a life-altering encounter with a handsome quarterback a decade ago. His reputation as an excellent coach, hard-nosed business man, and savvy entrepreneur earned him respect in the sometimes catty world of competitive cheerleading. When Jace learns of his ex-lover’s plans to marry, his heart executes a barrel roll and his carefully-placed resolve tumbles down without a mat to absorb the shock. Can his island escape help him to finally let go of the past and move his life forward?

Double Full was absolutely not what I expected. It also wasn’t the typical way romances normally flow. None of that is a bad thing. It caught me off guard and made me sit up and take notice. I love it when an author shakes things up.

So what was different. Most romances spend time with characters in search of their ‘Happy Ever After.’ Jace and Colt got their’s in the beginning. It wasn’t immediate. Jace spent a lot of time in denial and not trusting Colt. On the flip side, Colt bent over backwards to prove he really cared for Jace. Then… it was all ripped away.

I spent a fair amount of time in ‘Momma Bear’ mode in this book. If I could have reached in and flogged the people that were supposed to be looking out for and supporting Colt, I would have. And poor Jace…. *sigh*

Needless to say, Double Full was an emotional roller coaster. There were characters that I loved and characters that I hated. I wanted to tell Jace that it was okay, but for a long time it wasn’t. I wanted to wrap a protective bubble around Colt so no one could hurt him anymore than they already had. Yes, this book made me feel… a lot.Both good and bad.

Besides Colt and Jace, one of my favorite characters came in late, but made quite an impression. The next book in Kindle Alexander’s Nice Guys series, Full Disclosure releases soon and I can’t wait to get more time with Mitch.

DragonFlyRating4

 

Through the Veil (Through the Veil #1) by Christi Snow

ThroughTheVeil58 years ago a gorge opened up from Mobile, AL to Quebec City, Canada to split the United States into the Western States (WS) and the Eastern States (ES)

40 years later a fog rolled in on the WS that they called the Veil. Within twelve hours it formed an impenetrable wall between the two sides.

It’s been 18 years since anyone has known what’s happening on the other side of the Veil.

Now, Lori, an Other, in a desperate attempt at escape from the ES’s torture and experimentation, has crossed the Veil and found a world beyond belief.

Marcus is a Warrior, but when Lori collapses at his feet wounded and exhausted, he knows he has to protect her. But seeing that she’s the first person he’s seen in 18 years without wings, he’s worried about what her appearance means for his people and the world they’ve created since the Veil fell.

Two new societies: one built on a respect for the natural order of nature and the world, the other built on mistrust and corruption. Can they learn to co-exist once again?

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Christi Snow has had me as a fan since I read the prologue in Operation Endgame, her first book in the When the Mission Ends series. That was several books ago and even though I knew that I was going to like Through the Veil, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. See, When the Mission Ends is a Contemporary series. It was actually one of the first Contemporary series that I read. Through the Veil is a PNR series. Not only that, it’s also apocalyptic. Although I love PNR – it is, after all, my g0-to genre – apocalyptic books go kind of slow for me. It usually takes me a while to wrap my head around the world so I get a little nervous each time I pick one up – especially when it’s from an author I already love. So, when I picked up Through the Veil I did so with just a little bit of trepidation. I should have known better. Lori’s introduction pulled me in. Marcus’ introduction broke my heart. The world building had me totally intrigued. Needless to say, I’m hooked.

Through the Veil is actually comprised of two totally different worlds. The Eastern States and the Western States went through totally different transformations after the shift that caused the Veil. The Eastern States had a Dystopian feel, while the Western States were almost magical. Things weren’t perfect in the Western States, but people faired a lot better there. It was definitely the side of the gorge that I would have wanted to end up.

Then there were the characters. Of course Marcus and Lori took center stage but the supporting characters were just as interesting. The society within the Western States was so tight knit that it didn’t take long to get to know them and get totally wrapped up in their relationships. I can’t wait to get to know them all just a little bit better.

As for the story itself… there was plenty of romance, lots of mystery, plenty of danger and a touch of humor. It’s one of those stories that’s hard to put down and you’re sad when it ends. If I had one complaint it would be that I wanted more… but that’s a normal reaction with this author. Even though the next book doesn’t center around Lori and Marcus I’m pretty sure we haven’t seen the last of them. I have a few predictions where they are concerned and I can’t wait to find out if any of my hunches are right. ;)

DragonFlyGreen4-5

Possession (Fallen Angels #5) by J.R. Ward

PossessionWhen Cait Douglass resolves to get over her broken heart, throw off her inhibitions, and start really living, she’s unprepared for the two sensual men who cross her path. Torn between them, she doesn’t know which to choose–or what kind of dire consequences could follow.

Jim Heron, fallen angel and reluctant savior, is ahead in the war, but he puts everything at risk when he seeks to make a deal with the devil–literally. As yet another soul is unwittingly caught in the battle between him and the demon Devina, his fixation on an innocent trapped in Hell threatens to sidetrack him from his sacred duty…

Can good still prevail if true love makes a savior weak? And will a woman’s future be the key, or the curse, for all of humanity? Only time, and hearts, will tell.

This one took me a while to read…. and not just because it’s over 550 pages. I have to admit it took me a while to get into. But, once I did, there was no putting it down.

J.R. Ward’s angels are not your typical white winged, reverent, harp playing variety. At least not the fallen ones. Especially not Jim. To say that Jim was a reluctant savior was putting it mildly. He was in this war because he had no choice. Even so, he took the game seriously up until this point. In Possession, he let it all slide because of the one soul he felt responsible for losing. That one act changed everything.

I’d love to tell you what the turning point was for me, but I can’t. That would give too much away. Just know that at about half-way through you need to start paying attention. I totally didn’t see it coming, so wait for it. There wasn’t a whole lot of interaction between the soul that needed to be saved in Possession and the fallen angels. That’s partially because Jim just wasn’t focused. Readers did get to spend a lot more quality time with Adrian though and that’s never a bad thing.

The romance was great and I liked Cait and her guy…. sorry, can’t tell you which was my favorite. You’ll just have to read to the end to find out. ;) Things got twisted in a drama filled way for pretty much everyone. There were unexpected losses and there’s more to Sissy than I expected and more to come. Devina was her usual evil, neurotic self and there were some unexpected appearances… and transformations that made things interesting. I also enjoyed the reactions and descriptions of unknowing characters when they interact with some BDB characters that appear from time to time.

The last book in this series is going to be released soon. Immortal has a lot of ground to cover and a lot of loose ends to tie up. I’ll probably wait until the paperback is released to read it. I will pick it up though. Not only do I have to keep my set complete, but I just have to know how this all plays out.

DragonFlyGreen4-5

Tommy Nightmare (Paranormals #2) by J.L. Bryan

AssassinWhile Fallen Oak recovers from the Jenny pox, someone new is hunting Jenny. 
Like Jenny, Ashleigh Goodling belonged to a pair of opposites with powers that mirror each other. 
Now Jenny and Seth must face the opposite of love… 

Yeah, so I am WAY behind on this series. I read Jenny Pox eons ago…. well, not quite that long ago, but long enough. Then I was gifted the audio version and listened to it. That experience was just as mesmerizing. So what’s taken me so long to pick up the rest of the series? I have absolutely no idea. *sigh*

Tommy Nightmare picked up pretty much where Jenny Pox left off…. eventually. First readers had to take a little side trip and get introduced to Tommy. In the beginning I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to be sympathizing with him or not. Honestly I’m still not positive even after reading the entire book. Tommy’s background wasn’t easy. The lines between good and evil in Tommy Nightmare. Well, except when there was no question about the evil….

Okay, so I know that this review is vague and seems to be going back and forth, but it’s one of those books that you have to read and experience to understand. There’s nothing simple about this series. The lives of these characters are interwoven in so many different ways it’s impossible to explain. Just know that not everything is as it seems, there is no true ‘good’ or ‘evil’ just a lot of gray and not everyone is who or what they appear to be. The POV changed. Characters that I once liked I started to doubt and some new ones were thrown into the mix that I’m still not sure about. J.L Bryan definitely knows how to keep readers on there toes.

Alexander Death is next and I’m not exactly sure how I feel about his character. So much happened between Seth, Jenny, Tommy and other characters in Tommy Nightmare. Alexander’s character adds a whole new layer, and complication, to the mix.

DragonFlyRating4