The Wicked Merman (Monstrous Tales #4) by Kelly Apple – Bout of Books 13 Review

WickedMermanWhen her friend drags her off to the lake for some much needed R&R, Ari thought she’d be getting away from supernaturals for a few days. Sunning and swimming sound divine and it might help her shake off the funk of being parted from her beloved Guardian.
But when a girl who loves monsters ends up at a lake housing a merman, she’s going to end up doing a lot more than swimming.
Ari can’t resist trying to find the answer to the age-old question: How do mermen have sex?
This wicked merman is more than happy to give her some hands-on experience.
Warning: This book contains a lake, a midnight swim, and an unexpected hard-on. Don’t let the fins fool you, this merman has all the right stuff to get Ari where she needs to go.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1So Ari does have a life outside of obsessing over monsters and school… kinda. Her best friend is trying to convince her of that anyway. Unfortunately, her best friend is also trying to mend fences between Ari and someone that betrayed her in high school. Her effort to get away from the drama threw Ari in the arms of her latest monster.

As usual, Ari’s curiosity gets the best of her and after setting some pretty definite rules and boundaries, she finds out everything she ever wanted to know about mermen… and more. Was it enough to make her forget her green lover? You’ll have to treat yourself to Wicked Merman to find out ;)

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Blood Street by Carl Alves

BloodStreetAlexei chose the wrong neighborhood to claim his latest victim. Now Philadelphia mob boss Enzo Salerno is determined to hunt down the man who killed his associate in such gruesome fashion in his South Philly row home.
Perplexed by this unnatural murder, Salerno uncovers clues that lead him to believe that this was not a mob hit, and that a vampire was responsible for this death. Magnus, the leader of Alexei’s brood, must now use all of his resources to save them from both the mafia and the FBI.

I’ve been introduced to a couple of new authors lately. I don’t take every review request I receive, but when the description of one piques my interest, I can’t turn it down. That’s what happened when I received the request for Blood Street. It wasn’t because it was a book like all the others I had been reading lately. It was more because it wasn’t.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Vampires are one of my favorite entities when it comes to supernatural beings, but most of the vampire books I read are PNR. There was nothing romantic about Blood Street… at least not much. The story was basically about a mob boss and the FBI agent whose soul agenda is to catch him teaming up to fight against a ruthless group of vampires. It was full of blood, gore, broken loyalty and shaky alliances. Not a light read by any stretch of the imagination, but a good read nonetheless.

Blood Street was also a book that pushed me into a totally different perspective. Not that the vampires I usually read about are less ruthless than Carl Alves’ version. It’s just that I usually find myself picking a side and forming a connection with one group or character. There were characters that I liked in Blood Street, but none that I really loved. Each one had moments that I sympathized with them, but they also had moments when they made me see the darker side of them and totally understand why they were the villain. For the record, I liked having my perspective shaken a little.

It’s kind of hard to say whether or not good won out over evil by the end of Blood Street. It was definitely a stand alone book, but there was enough left open at the end to make way for the story to continue. Enough that I think I’ll probably be checking out more of Carl Alves’ books just so I don’t lose track of what else he may have in store.

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Monstrous Tales Vol. 1 by Kelly Apple

The first volume of Monstrous Tales includes 3 novellas and one short, short Interlude. I picked up the first 2 free before I was given the series in volumes by the author. Truth is, I would have eventually purchased them all anyway. They’re perfect hot, steamy, fun little reads. Here’s a little bit about each one in the first volume.

Wicked Woods (Monstrous Tales #1)

WickedWoodsAri’s always had a thing for monsters. Big ones, small ones, and all the ones in between. They turn her on like no human can. She’d be an ordinary girl if not for that one little quirk.
Since monsters aren’t real, she’s resigned herself to loving them in her imagination.
But, as Ari is about to find out, monsters are real and now one of them has her in their grasp. Will reality be better than fantasy? Or will she walk away and lose her one chance at fulfilling her wildest dreams?
Warning: This book contains a girl who isn’t afraid of monsters and a monster who wouldn’t mind a special lady friend. You’ll never look at those all-night monster marathons on TV the same way again.

You can check out the review I posted earlier here.

Wicked Games (Monstrous Tales #1.5)

Wicked Games is the Interlude story included in Volume 1. It’s a fun little segue between stories that gives a whole new meaning to ‘Game Night.’ ;)

Wicked Wolf (Monstrous Tales #2)

WickedWolfAfter several months with her monstrous lover, the unthinkable has happened—Ari’s Guardian is being called upon to mate with others of his kind. Not wanting to put her in danger, her Guardian sends her away, promising they will reunite once he’s fulfilled his duty.
Now Ari has a choice—she can pine for her monster as he lies with compatible females or she can seek out other supernaturals and see if what she feels for her Guardian is true.
Is it love or only lust? There’s a wicked wolf who’s willing to help her find the truth.
Warning: This book contains lovers (metaphorically) torn apart and a girl determined to experience the supernatural. Timid creatures need not apply.

Ari’s first escapade with a monster other than her green love is easier to find than she thought. Kelly Apple’s witty humor came shining through in The Wicked Wolf. I can’t even tell you the funniest part because that would reveal too much and some things are just better experienced first hand. *giggles* Michael was sweet, in a monstrous sort of way but was he enough to make Ari forget her Guardian?

Wicked Dragon (Monstrous Tales #3)

WickedDragonIt’s been five days since Ari and her green Guardian were forced apart. Ari’s determined to ride out the storm of sexual longing she feels whenever she thinks about him, but it’s hard.
When a dragon appears in her backyard, Ari is faced with a dilemma—send him on his way and continue pining or follow him into the woods to see what he can do for her. She’s already tried out a werewolf, is there anything a dragon could possibly offer to keep her mind off her missing beloved?
As it turns out, this wicked dragon might have a trick or two up his sleeve.
Warning: This book contains a dragon with an impressive package and a girl who likes getting gifts. No flight plans were filed (or interrupted) during their interlude.

It becomes fairly clear that word has gotten out about Ari’s affinity toward monsters when Max, the dragon, shows up in her back yard. He’s sweet and honest and most of all, lonely. He kind of pulled at my heartstrings by the end of The Wicked Dragon. I hope one day he finds his true mate. *shakes head* Yeah, only Kelly Apple could make me want to hug and console a dragon. On a side note: who knew anatomy lessons could be so… interesting? ;)

DragonFlyRating4

Damnation Marked (Descent #4) by S.M. Reine – Bout of Books 13 Review

DamnationMarkedThere’s something in the earth deep below Elise Kavanagh’s territory. A shadow is devouring demons and harvesting their souls, and it’s coming for Elise next.
The Union has an easy way out. They want to send Elise into hiding again with James Faulkner, a powerful witch and the man she’s loved for most of her life. All she has to do is surrender the territory and trust that the Union can protect the ethereal ruins, the dark gate, and the city she’s come to know as home.
Greater powers have other plans for Elise and her fabled power as Godslayer–plans that mean surrendering her life and blood to the most powerful demon alive. But if she descends, there’s no turning back. Once she gazes into the abyss, it will gaze back into her…and Elise will be damned forever.

So yeah, you already know that I’ve read the books in this world totally out of order. I didn’t pick up the Descent series until I started the Ascension series. For the record, I don’t recommend reading the books that way. I see a major re-read in my future – from beginning to end. So much happens in each and every one of these books and they all intertwine with each other. My bad reading habits can’t be done though, so I’ll just keep plugging along discovering what I missed. ;)

I think it’s safe to say that Damnation Marked changed pretty much everything. I’ve read a few books in other series since I finished the Ascension series and I forgot how intense things got when Elise and James were together. I doubt if I forget that again.

Damnation Marked switched POVs between several different characters, but the focus was Elise and James. It also switched back and forth between time frames. That may sound confusing, but it wasn’t. For one thing, both James and Elise were totally different people in their present than they were in their past. The story follows Elise and James in a time that they formed a magical bond that made them stronger to a time that that same bond was pulling them apart and making them weaker with the distraction.

There were several revelations in Damnation Marked. James discovered a secret hidden from him for years and it became pretty clear that he’s hiding something dark from everyone he’s close to. Elise spent most of the book dealing with the guilt she carried for causing so much pain and destruction. She also discovered secrets from a past that she really didn’t want to remember. Her final decision on how to make things better for everyone was gut wrenching… and then….

Okay… so can you guess which book I purchased as soon as I could once I was finished Damnation Marked? You guessed it. Dire Blood is now ready and waiting for me on my Kindle. Once again, if you haven’t read any books by S.M. Reine, you need to. Especially if you’re a fan of Urban Fantasy. Descent is dark, violent and intense and Reine sugarcoats, NOTHING. Don’t expect a HEA either… at least not yet. The writing is smart, the descriptions are detailed and the characters are as witty as they are intense and broken. Definitely broken… My first love in this world were the wolves in Seasons of the Moon, but it didn’t take me long to discover why James and Elise fans are just as loyal to them.

DragonFlyRating5

Bout of Books 13 Cover Color Challenge

Wishful Endings is sponsoring today’s Bout of Books 13 Challenge and since it’s a fairly creative and simple one, I decided to participate. All you have to do to complete the Challenge is:

Find four books with covers almost completely in that color/those colors (they need to be at least 2/3 similar – basically they need to match or be the same color – i.e. all green’s, all yellow’s, or match.

I’ve never really looked at color on a book cover before, which is kind of odd coming from a graphic designer, but I usually zero in on images. The colors just kind of happen. For this challenge I chose black and red. What do you think?

LightsCameraCupid_400x600RedAndWolfeDeadlyWrongBlackWidowTempest

By creativedeeds

After the War (Homefront #2) by Jessica Scott – Bout of Books 13 Review

AfterTheWarA terrible loss…
Captain Sarah Anders lost her husband to the Iraq war and has nearly lost the career she loves. Sent to Fort Hood, she only wants to do her job and take care of the daughter she’s raising on her own. She never counted on running straight into a memory she’d tried to forget.
A love he never forgot…
Captain Sean Nichols never got over Sarah. He simply tried to forget her amidst the war and the chaos of combat. But when she’s assigned to investigate his unit, he comes face to face with the woman no war or any amount of time could make him forget.
A dark secret…
As Sarah gets closer to the truth, Sean must accept that actions he took during the war may end the tentative love building between them. And even if Sarah can forgive him, Sean may never be able to forgive himself.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1I have a short list of authors who are a must read when it comes to contemporary romance. As far as military romance, Jessica Scott is at the top of that list. I’ve read all but a couple of books in her Coming Home series and I’m looking forward to continuing that along with her new Young Adult Fallen series. Homefront is also turning into one of my favorites.

She pulls no punches when it comes to what affect war has on soldiers and their families. Homefront puts the fear, pain, heartbreak, loss and all the other after affects front and center. The situations are real and the feelings are raw. The author’s first hand knowledge and experience is evident in what her characters feel and go through. Coming home is almost as hard as being deployed. There are feelings that can’t be turned off, nightmares that continue to haunt and memories that can’t be buried.

Sarah and Sean’s story is no different. They both lost people that they cared about. Sarah lost her husband and was still dealing with grief. Sean lost friends and fellow soldiers and was dealing with guilt. In a way, they had also both lost each other years before. After the War was a story of love, loss, tragedy and hope. I think that’s why I love Jessica Scott’s stories so much. Her characters are broken, but they pull themselves together and become even stronger in the process. Along the way they learn to deserve the love and support that they didn’t even realize they were searching for.

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Vampire Legacy (Dragon Heat #4) by Ella J. Phoenix – Bout of Books 13 Review

VampireLegacy_SmashWords2015_1600x2400When Tardieh discovers a letter from his late father, he opens a door to old memories. The letter from Petran is a tale of intrigue, attempted murder, and betrayal, but leaves more questions than answers in its wake.
Petran, the King of Vampires, an ancient monarch known for his cunning ploys and many lovers, knows the animosity between draconians and vampires is brewing in Romania. Upon discovering his draconian neighbor has fallen ill with a strange Curse, Petran is determined to discover the cause, and a cure. In doing so, he finds an unexpected ally in his neighbor’s daughter, a striking Draconian Duchess.
All Lady Natalia, the Duchess of Moldavia, wants is to save her people from a Dragon Lord’s tyranny but she’s only a woman, who has no place meddling in politics. With his health failing, her father has big plans for her, so when the King of Vampires agrees to help her find a cure for the Curse plaguing her people and her father, Talia begins to see him as more than an old family friend. He awakens desires in her she knows she should not have but cannot resist, or deny him.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Vampire Legacy was a bitter sweet read. It’s a tale of love and loss. As Petran and Talia got closer, I was expecting the story to get harder to read. After a while though, I got wrapped up in the story and forgot about the inevitable.

Petran and Talia’s story was full of betrayal and heartbreak. There were few people that either could trust and there seemed to be danger around every corner. They still found time to fall in love and even though Petran was a married man, the more I got to know his Queen Hillia, the less that little fact bothered me. Even though the relationship seemed doomed, I found it hard to give up on them. *sigh*

I have to admit that there were times that the dialogue between the characters seemed a little modern for the time frame. It didn’t distract me from the story though. I loved the way the tale was woven and brought everything back to Tardieh and Zoricah. It also was the perfect way to show Tardieh exactly how much his father really cared about him. Getting a glimpse of their past made me want to go back and read Dragon Heat all over again.

DragonHeat_SmashWords2015_1600x2400Speaking of which, Ella J. Phoenix has offered to allow me to give away a copy of both VampireVampireLegacy_SmashWords2015_1600x2400 Legacy and Dragon Heat to two lucky commenters. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment, along with your email address and which book you would prefer. Good luck!

DragonFlyRating4

Dissident (Bellator Saga #1) by Cecilia London

dissident new coverShe once was important. Now she’s considered dangerous.
In a new America where almost no one can be trusted, Caroline lies unconscious in a government hospital as others decide her fate. She is a political dissident, wanted for questioning by a brutal regime that has come to power in a shockingly easy way. As she recovers from her injuries, all she has are her memories. And once she wakes up, they may not matter anymore.

I’m not exactly sure what I expected when I picked up Dissident. Whatever those expectations were, it definitely went beyond them. Although it started a little slow (minus the prologue… there was nothing slow about that) once I got into the story, I couldn’t put it down.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1One thing that you have to understand about Dissident is that you will walk away with more questions than answers. That’s not a bad thing, at least it wasn’t for me. When the author asked me if I’d like to read and review Dissident, I was totally honest with her. It takes me a while to get into a Dystopian book. I just have a hard time wrapping my head around the alternate worlds. She explained to me that there was a lot of back story in Dissident with flashbacks that ease readers into the world she created. Once I started reading, I thought I was going to be totally confused. The chapters alternate between the present and the past. Turns out, it was the perfect way to draw me in.

DissidentMost of the book is focused on the past. It’s Caroline’s personal story and you get to know her and her friends very well. It makes what’s happening in the present hard to understand. That’s the scary part. There’s enough reality in Dissident to make the future that Caroline faces totally believable.

Like I said, there are a lot of unanswered questions at the end of Dissident. Readers still don’t know exactly what events took place to bring Caroline to where she ended up. Her fate and others hang in the balance at the end. One book under her belt and Cecilia London already has the evil author thing down. Conscience, the next book in the Bellator Saga is scheduled to release in August… Needless to say, I can’t wait.

DragonFlyRating4

Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1) by Patricia Briggs

MoonCalledMercedes “Mercy” Thompson is a talented Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. She also happens to be a walker, a magical being with the power to shift into a coyote at will. Mercy’s next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she’s fixing a bus for a vampire. This is the world of Mercy Thompson, one that looks a lot like ours but is populated by those things that go bump in the night. And Mercy’s connection to those things is about to get her into some serious hot water.

I have just one question… am I the last one to pick up this series? The funny thing is that when I checked out who among my friends had read it, they basically thought that they were behind in picking up Mercy Thompson. Most of them are at least a year ahead of me (with one noted exception that I will get to later.) That must mean I’m the last one, right? On the off chance that there are a few of you out there that haven’t been introduced, this is one Urban Fantasy that you need to add to your TBR list. You can thank me later ;)

The world that Patricia Briggs built for these characters is interwoven with several different supernatural beings. Some have ‘come out’ to the humans, but not all. Mercy is the odd one in her group of friends. She’s a walker/shifter, but the wolves don’t claim her. Most of them have basically shunned her. Regardless, she has connections to basically all the supernatural entities. It not only makes her life interesting, but pretty complicated at times. Saying not all of them play ‘nicely’ together is putting it mildly.

I gotta say, I love this character’s attitude. She’s not a killer and avoids violence, but she’ll do whatever it takes to protect those she feels loyal to. She’s smart, witty and just a little bit broken, but that doesn’t slow her down.

Basically, there’s nothing not to love about this book. The supporting characters are just as interesting and witty as Mercy. I love the supernatural world that they inhabit. There’s plenty of action and the potential for romance… if only we knew who with? Yeah, there’s a potential triangle, which is sure to keep things interesting. There’s also a fair amount of ‘snarkiness’ which I love in dialogue…

Unexpectedly, he laughed. “Trust you to quote Lancelot rather than Guinevere.”

“Both of them were stupid,” I told him. “Arthur should have let them marry each other as punishment and gone off to live happily on his own. I only like Camelot for the music.” I hummed a bit.

Yeah, I think I’m gonna love this series. You should also know that this series is closely related to Patricia Briggs Alpha and Omega series. If you’re serious about starting this series, here’s a handy timeline that Patricia Briggs has provided for readers. Some of the characters overlap and events in one play into the other. I learned this from that other reader I mentioned earlier. I may have ignored this series for a little while longer until I noticed Laura at Little Read Riding Hood plowing through both series one book after another. When she is that caught up in a series, I pay attention. ;)

DragonFlyRating5