Spider’s Trap (Elemental Assassin #13) by Jennifer Estep

SpidersTrapKeep your friends close but your enemies within stabbing distance.
One important lesson I’ve learned in the assassination business is that to be the best you have to roll with the punches. Now that I’m queen of Ashland’s underworld—by default, not by choice—a lot more punches are being thrown my way. But I suppose that’s the price of victory for taking down some of the underworld’s top dogs. Good thing I have my Ice and Stone magic to help me survive my volatile new position. Just when I think things are finally settling down, someone tries to murder me during a hush-hush underworld meeting. But the real surprise is how strangely familiar my shadowy assailant seems to be.
My job is to maintain order among killers, crooks, and thieves, and soon I’m embroiled in a bloody game where the ability to keep secrets could be the greatest superpower of all. My enemies have all sharpened their knives and laid their traps, waiting for me to fall. But this Spider weaves her own webs of death…

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure113 books in and my love of Gin and company hasn’t faded one bit. If anything, my commitment to this series has gotten even stronger.

Gin’s standing in the Ashland underworld has taken a strange twist. She’s now the reluctant ‘boss’ of the underworld, but that doesn’t mean that she’s gained more respect. The opposite’s probably true. There’s a twist to the turn of events in Spider’s Trap though. One that brings out her unique sense of honor among assassins.

Once again, the family aspect of the Elemental Assassin series drew me in. Like it or not, Gin’s makeshift family is growing and her goal is to keep everyone safe. The stakes grow even higher this time around and when one of those members is almost lost, someone has to pay. It’s no surprise that Gin has no problem collecting.

The end of Spider’s Trap isn’t an end at all. It’s actually a rather intriguing intro to the next installment, Bitter Bite. Given what Gin uncovers, things are about to get even more interesting in Ashland. I can’t wait!

DragonFlyRating5

Fatal Pursuit (Aegis #3) by Elisabeth Naughton

FatalPursuitFive years ago, Aegis Security op manager Marley Addison’s lover died in a South American raid gone horribly wrong…or so she thought. When she receives a phone call telling her that he is still very much alive and in danger, she vows to bring him home safely, even if Aegis CEO and former Navy SEAL Jake Ryder has kept her out of the field for the last few years. Then Jake shows up in Colombia to help her, leaving Marley annoyed…and more than a little distracted by her alarmingly handsome boss.
As things between Marley and Jake heat up in the wilderness, they discover their rescue mission is filled with treachery. Now the domineering Jake has to rely on Marley for survival. But can she depend on him when their mission takes a shocking and deadly turn?

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1I hate to admit it, but Fatal Pursuit started out being the least favorite of all the books I’ve read so far in the Aegis series. Notice I said ‘started out’ – that means that if you feel the same way as you begin this book, just wait. I’m pretty sure your opinion will change.

So, I’m sure you’re wondering what I didn’t like in the beginning… In a nutshell, it was pretty much the way that both Jake and Marley acted. Jake was a domineering jerk most of the time. At least that’s the way Marley saw it. He didn’t recognize her ability and strength. He purposely kept her out of the field and away from danger without taking into consideration her background. In her eyes, he was pretty much a pompous ass.

The way Marley just jumped to her former lover’s rescue… no questions asked, almost made me agree with Jake. It was pretty obvious that things weren’t exactly as they seemed and as capable as Marley obviously was, it was still pretty reckless to take on the mission by herself. Honestly, before I was halfway through Fatal Pursuit I was ready to shake them both.

By the end of the book I was more frustrated with Marley than Jake. That didn’t mean that I wasn’t quietly routing for them. It was obvious that these two were meant for each other. I understood both of them a lot better when some of their past was revealed and Jake finally opened up. I just wish that it didn’t take risking both their lives to get to that point. But then… what fun would that be?

DragonFlyRating4

Until I Found You by B.G. Thomas

UntilIFoundYouChristopher Morin is unlucky in love. The only male worth anything in his life is his sweet dog Frost. Christopher is devastated when, shortly after his breakup with the worst boyfriend ever, his dog vanishes without a trace.
Doyle Schilbrack was lucky at love, until his wonderful partner of many years passed away, leaving Doyle lost and lonely. The solution? He adopts a sad little abandoned dog, a dog he names Jack. Together, man and dog come back to life.
Then one day, a year later, Christopher encounters Doyle in a park—walking his dog! Now the two men are faced with a dilemma. They want to do what is best for their dog, but it will break their hearts to let him go.

But then a rambunctious white Pomeranian takes matters in his own paws. There might be a way for both men to keep the dog, and find something else that’s been missing from their lives.

I was looking through my news feed on Facebook and saw someone mention this book and since I’m a sucker for a sweet love story, I decided to give it a try. I wasn’t disappointed.

Until I Found You is the first book I’ve read by B.G. Thomas. It turned out to be a sweet story between an older man who thought he’d met and lost his only love, a younger man who lost hope in love and a match-making dog. Tears, smiles, second chances and adorable dog? What more could you want from a summer read?

DragonFlyRating4

Immortal (Fallen Angles #6) by J.R. Ward

ImmortalThe Creator invented the game, and the stakes are nothing less than the fate of the quick and the dead: seven souls, seven crossroads. Reluctant savior Jim Heron has compromised himself, his body and his soul, and yet he’s on the verge of losing everything…
…Including Sissy, the innocent he freed from Hell. Jim’s determined to protect her—but this makes her a weakness the demon Devina can exploit. With Jim torn between the game and the woman he’s sworn to defend, evil’s more than ready to play dirty.
Humanity’s savior is prepared to do anything to win—even embark on a suicide mission into the shadows of Purgatory. True love is Jim’s only hope for survival—and victory. But can a man with no heart and no soul be saved by something he doesn’t believe in?

I admit, I put off reading Immortal for a while. The main reason was I didn’t know if I was ready to say goodbye to Jim and crew. I shouldn’t have been worried.

I’ve loved these characters from the beginning and since it’s been running for 6 years, it’s hard to believe that the events took place in just a few weeks. Especially since so much happened. There was love, lust, pain, loss and tears… Good didn’t always win out over evil, but sometimes there was a fine line between the two.

More than one person got their HEA in Immortal and there were more happy tears than sad ones this time around. Even though Jim’s story came to a satisfying close there was a hint that we may not have seen the last of a character or two… Regardless, I’ll be seeing all of them again because Fallen Angels has definitely made it to my re-read list ;)

DragonFlyGreen4-5

Focus on Me (In Focus #2) by Megan Erikson

FocusOnMeColin Hartman can now add college to his list of failures. On the coast-to-coast trek home from California, Colin stops at a gas station in the Nevada desert, and can’t help noticing the guy in tight jeans looking like he just stepped off a catwalk. When he realizes Catwalk is stranded, Colin offers a ride.
Riley only intended to take a short ride in Colin’s Jeep to the Grand Canyon. But one detour leads to another until they finally find themselves tumbling into bed together. However there are shadows in Riley’s eyes that hide a troubled past. And when those shadows threaten to bury the man whom Colin has fallen in love with, he vows to get Riley the help he needs. For once in his life, quitting isn’t an option…

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1In Focus is quickly becoming one of my favorite 2015 series. So far these books have been overflowing with emotion… humor, heart break, love, confusion, pain. At times the intensity of those feelings is crushing. I can’t imagine anyone walking away from these books not feeling something. The characters grab you while your reading and don’t let go for quite some time.

Colin put everyone’s feelings ahead of his own. He also didn’t have a very high opinion of himself. He felt like a failure, which wasn’t how other people saw him at all. He was compassionate and caring. He just hadn’t found himself yet.

Riley was broken. There really isn’t any other way to put it. He was in search of something… anything that would make him feel. With Colin’s help he came close, but it still wasn’t enough.

The relationship that formed between Riley and Colin wasn’t exactly healthy. Riley wasn’t being honest with anyone, including himself and Colin wasn’t prepared for the emotional roller coaster that was Riley, but he loved him regardless. He wanted to be there for him, to support him and to love him. Sometimes love isn’t enough, but it’s a start. Sometimes asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s the first step finding a way to help yourself.

The book is definitely focused on Riley and Colin, but the supporting characters are just as amazing. Conlin’s family was amazing, especially his sister. Riley’s parents were not what I expected. The prologue was a fun introduction and insured readers that Justin and Landry from Trust the Focus would make an appearance or two… which brings up another point…

One thing that I really love about this series so far is the author’s unique POV approach. Although the story is told completely by Conlin, readers still get bits and pieces of Riley’s POV. I know that some readers don’t like more than one POV in a story, but I personally enjoy more than one. In Justin and Landry’s story, readers got Landry’s POV from his blog entries. In Focus on Me, readers got Riley’s POV from his messages to Landry. I loved that little twist and it broke up the story nicely.

Colin and Riley’s story was hard to read at times, but it was honest and real. There were tears, but there was laughter too and most of all hope. The best kind of HEA <3

DragonFlyRating5

Finding Their Way (Restoration #2) by A.M. Arthur

FindingTheirWayThanks to an abusive father and a string of bad relationships, Riley McCage learned the hard way that people are not kind without a reason. Now, after landing a job at popular gay bar Pot O Gold, Riley is on the right track–until the night Boxer finds him drunk and drugged in the back room of an exclusive sex party.

Donald “Boxer” Boxwood wasn’t looking for anything beyond some casual kink until he peeled Riley off the floor and gave him a safe place to stay. But there’s something compelling about the guy crashing on his couch, and the two forge an instant friendship that eases into unmistakable attraction. Despite Riley’s hesitancy, Boxer knows one thing to be true: he needs Riley in his life.

Riley risked everything to run away and build a new life for himself, and his secrets aren’t something he’d ever wish upon his kind, gentle new friend. But when the past comes to call, he’ll have no choice but to put his trust in Boxer…and believe people can change enough to deserve a second chance.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Even though Finding Their Way is only the second book in A.M. Arthur’s Restoration series, a few of the characters were originally introduced in her Belonging series. Although it’s not necessary to read one to understand what’s going on in the other, it’s worth mentioning because of the connection. Regardless, you definitely want to read Getting it Right before picking up Finding Their Way. There had been a bit of a time lapse between the time I read the two, but once the connection clicked, my jaw dropped. Not in an ‘I can’t believe that happened’ shocking way. More like an ‘I love the way the author tied these books together’ way. :)

Needless to say, I’m becoming a quick fan of A.M. Author and her characters. Riley wasn’t exactly broken, but he was definitely bent. He had escaped from his past, but the shadows were still there. He protected himself physically and emotionally, but as careful as he was, he put his trust in the wrong person. That made trusting Boxer even harder.

And then there was Boxer. I loved this guy. He never thought twice when it came to helping a friend. He would drop everything to be by a friend’s side and it killed him when he couldn’t make things better. That kind of protectiveness is what drew him to Riley in the beginning, but the connection he felt toward him was more than either one of them bargained for.

As with all the books I’ve read so far in these series, the story goes beyond the couple the book is centered on. All the characters play an important role and I love the way this author pulls them all in and doesn’t forget about a previous couple just because they got their HEA. There’s a huge support system between these characters that’s just as strong as a family bond. It was also a great way to show Riley what that dynamic is supposed to be like and give him the strength to face his past demons and build a future that isn’t quite as hopeless as he once thought.

It should be no surprise that I’m looking forward to more from A.M. Arthur and her Restoration characters. In the mean time, I’m still planning on catching up with the books I missed in the Belonging series.

DragonFlyRating4

Scandalous (Finn Factor #2) by R.G. Alexander

ScandalousWill it be Scandalous?
If Natasha Rivera is involved, the answer is usually yes. The owner of The Twisted Tart bakery has never been shy about expressing her opinions or her desires. The only secret she ever kept had to do with her feelings for a certain Finn and the details of their unusual relationship.
When reformed bad boy Senator Stephen Finn asks her to join him for a week of political intrigue and kink, there’s no way she can say no. Nothing has changed. His star is still on the rise and she is still too wild to be tamed. Once they get their hands on each other they’re bound to cause a scandal…but it might just be worth it.
Recipe of Warning: Take one outspoken, sexually confident woman and a repressed former bad boy. Combine until sparks fly. Add voyeurism, exhibitionism, spanking, excessive quantities of explicit sex, a kinky house party and whatever pervertible you have on hand…thoroughly shake the mixture until your wrists hurt or your batteries run low. Mmmm. Yummy warning.

I’ve gotta be honest here. I picked up the first book in this series, Curious, because the M/M genre caught my eye and another blogger who I follow had read it and loved it. That’s basically all it took for me to fall in love with the entire Finn clan. So, even though BDSM isn’t one of my ‘go-to’ reads, because it was part of this series I knew that it was a must read. I wasn’t disappointed. ;)

Readers were introduced to Tasha and Stephen in Curious. Actually, their affair tied into Jeremy and Owen’s story and I was more than excited when I found out their story was next. It seems that the only two people that didn’t know that Tasha and Stephen were meant for each other were Tasha and Stephen… at least within the Finn clan.

Natasha took whatever interaction from Stephen she could get, so when he asked her to help him she didn’t hesitate to tell him yes. She had loved him forever and even though she knew her lifestyle wasn’t good for his squeaky clean reputation, he needed her. What she didn’t realize was that Stephen felt the same way.

So… yeah, the story was kind of predictable… and yeah, I spent a lot of time ‘yelling’ at both Stephen and Tasha, Scandalous was still a really great story. There was humor, heartbreak, some really bad guys, plenty of heat and in the middle of it all a really sweet love story.

Next comes Dangerous and it’s another M/M romance. I’m pretty sure I can guess who the next Finn will be. I can’t wait to see if I’m right ;)

DragonFlyRating4

For Real (Spires Universe) by Alexis Hall

ForRealLaurence Dalziel is worn down and washed up, and for him, the BDSM scene is all played out. Six years on from his last relationship, he’s pushing forty and tired of going through the motions of submission.
Then he meets Toby Finch. Nineteen years old. Fearless, fierce, and vulnerable. Everything Laurie can’t remember being.
Toby doesn’t know who he wants to be or what he wants to do. But he knows, with all the certainty of youth, that he wants Laurie. He wants him on his knees. He wants to make him hurt, he wants to make him beg, he wants to make him fall in love.
The problem is, while Laurie will surrender his body, he won’t surrender his heart. Because Toby is too young, too intense, too easy to hurt. And what they have—no matter how right it feels—can’t last. It can’t mean anything.
It can’t be real.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1This is a book that I passed up several times before requesting it for review. The person who recommended it to me had the same reservations before they picked it up that I did. I’m always a little hesitant when it comes to books labeled BDSM, but it was the age issue that really stalled me on For Real. Once I started reading it though, it didn’t take me long to realize that it wasn’t as much of an issue as I originally thought.

There was something that drew Laurie to Toby. It was instant and it was scary and the fact that Laurie had the same trepidation that readers did about the age gap made me respect him as a character. He was guarding his heart and trying his best not to feel. Yeah, he was one of those broken characters that I can’t help but love.

Toby knew what he wanted, but didn’t know how to get it. He was searching for the right person to help him feel mentally good about what he desperately wanted to feel emotionally and physically. Laurie would be the perfect mentor, if he wasn’t such a jerk in the beginning.

For Real was an emotional roller coaster. It definitely wouldn’t have worked if readers were only given one of the characters POV. Getting in Toby’s head let you know how much he cared for Laurie and how he wished Laurie would return those feelings. Laurie’s POV let readers know how much he was fighting those feelings that Toby wished for. They both spent a lot of time preparing themselves for the inevitable. The moment when one of them would realize that this was just a fling and would walk away. The simple truth of this book is that love is love and you never know where it’s going to come from.

Toby’s past as well as Laurie’s friends played an important role in For Real. I loved the interactions between the characters and the way Laurie’s friends simply stated the obvious. I haven’t read any other books in Alexis Hall’s Spires Universe, but I have my eye on a couple of the previous books and I’ll definitely be keeping my eye out for any that may be coming in the future.

DragonFlyRating4

Tide of War (Defending Epsilon) by Lori A. Witt

TideOfWarLieutenant Commander Kyle West is one of Earth Fleet’s greatest fighter pilots. Every day, he leads his squadron into battle over Earth’s cities in a seemingly endless war against a vicious alien race, defending his home and his loved ones.
Millions of miles away, the Fleet’s Elite Squadron attacks from another angle, engaging the enemy on its home turf. Casualties are high, and the Squadron needs more of the Fleet’s very best. But joining the Elite is a death sentence—a surety Kyle isn’t willing to face. Until a devastating attack wipes out the family he refused to leave.
Commander Andrei Dezhnyov, an Elite Squadron gunner, isn’t sure what to make of the cocky new American pilot. Kyle is equally uncertain about the snarly Russian, but as they warm up to each other, their tentative alliance becomes a deep bond—one that endangers them both when a daring and disobedient rescue reveals secrets that call into question everything they’ve ever believed about their enemy. Secrets that their superiors would kill to protect.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1I’m not exactly sure how to review this… I’ve honestly started it three times… at least. You’re just going to have to forgive me for being vague. Without giving anything major away, there’s just no other way to review The Tide of War, so here it goes…

This is a book of love, loss and betrayal… but not in the conventional sense. Honestly, romance takes a back seat to the real story, but it’s still an integral part of what happens. The twists and turns, hints of what’s really going on and several moments of complete and utter heartbreak… All of that and more comprise this story.

There’s very little down time, lots of suspense and some touching, heated moments laced within the mystery of Epsilon. I loved the interaction between not just Kyle and Andrei, but all the other characters as well. I also like the not so subtle message that was delivered within the story. In other words, this is a book that makes you think… and those are some of my favorite.

The Tide of War is the first in a series and that’s a very good thing. Even though the story doesn’t end in a cliff hanger, the story is obviously far from over. I can’t wait to see what happens next in Defending Epsilon.

DragonFlyRating4

Ready to Were (Shift Happens #1) by Robyn Peterman

ReadytoWereI never planned on going back to Hung Island, Georgia. Ever.
I was a top notch Were agent for the secret paranormal Council and happily living in Chicago where I had everything I needed – a gym membership, season tickets to the Cubs and Dwayne – my gay, Vampyre best friend. Going back now would mean facing the reason I’d left and I’d rather chew my own paw off than deal with Hank.
Hank the Tank Wilson was the six foot three, obnoxious, egotistical, perfect-assed, best-sex-of-my-life, Werewolf who cheated on me and broke my heart. At the time, I did what any rational woman would do. I left in the middle of the night with a suitcase, big plans and enough money for a one-way bus ticket to freedom. I vowed to never return.
But here I am, trying to wrap my head around what has happened to some missing Weres without wrapping my body around Hank. I hope I don’t have to eat my words and my paw.

I love these short, fun reads. I’m not a ‘judge a book by its cover’ kind of reader, but I just know when I see this style cover it’s going to be a light, happy read. ;)

Of course, along with being a short, happy read there has to be some conflict somewhere and Ready to Were was full of it. Conflict, tension, total miscommunication, a crotchity grandma and a gay/vampire best friend as well as some really bad (in a totally evil way) shifters and meddling drama queen weres who needed to be put in their place.

I do believe that Shift Happens is going to turn into another ‘go-to’ on my ‘fun to read’ list. ;)

DragonFlyRating4