Keeper of the Shadows (The Keepers: L.A. #3) by Alexandra Sokoloff

KeeperOfTheShadowsAncestral Keepers Rhiannon, Sailor Ann, and Barrymore Gryffald keep the peace between the supernatural communities in the shadowy Otherworld of Hollywood, where the mortals can be as strange—and dangerous—as the paranormals.

When a teenage shifter is found dead on Hollywood Boulevard on the same night as a studio head dies in suspicious circumstances, Shapeshifter Keeper Barrymore Gryffald is sure the deaths are connected. She discovers an eerie parallel to a fifteen-year old tragedy: the mysterious death of an iconic teenage movie star on the set of a cult movie about the Otherworld. Barrie reluctantly teams with the gorgeous and enigmatic Mick Townsend, a rival journalist on her paper, to dig into the movie’s history and a cast of suspects that range from teenage runaways to international movie stars. As more victims surface, Barrie can trust no one, least of all Mick, who may well prove to be as inconstant as the shifters Barrie is sworn to protect.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1This is one series that I can honestly say got better with each installment. Each book, starting with the Prequel (The Gatekeeper) got more intense, more cohesive and the characters gained more depth. I started out reading it just to find out where the story was going. By the time I got to Keeper of the Shadows I not only wanted to know more, I was so invested in the characters I need to know more.

I’ve liked Barrie from the beginning. She always seemed to be the most grounded of the cousins. Not that they other Gryffald girls weren’t serious about their position as Keepers, but Barrie seemed to adjust to the responsibility thrown on them a lot more comfortably than Rhiannon and Sailor. She was also the more serious of the trio. Getting to know a different side of her in Keeper of the Shadows.

Then there was Mick… who just about broke my heart. I really don’t want to say too much because there were so many crazy twists and turns in Keeper of the Shadows that I’m afraid I’ll let something slip. Once I thought I had things figured out, Sokoloff took things in a whole new direction. I think it’s safe to say that nothing and no one was exactly what they seemed…. right up until the last chapter. I love it when authors take things up a notch and that’s exactly what this author did. The Keepers: LA may have started slow, but it ended with a definite bang.

One thing that was consistent throughout this series was the obvious love and devotion that the Gryffald girls had for each other. As each girl found their significant other, the level of support increased to include the new men in their lives as well. The sense of family was a really big reason why I enjoyed this series and it seemed even stronger in Keeper of the Shadows.

As the series progressed the city of LA became an even bigger part of the story. It was especially true for Keeper of the Shadows and it won’t take long to figure out why once you start reading. This series took a little bit of patience in the beginning, but I am so glad that I stuck with it.

DragonFlyRating4

Walking Disaster (Beautiful #2) by Jamie McGuire

WalkingDisasterFinally, the highly anticipated follow-up to the New York Times bestseller Beautiful Disaster. Can you love someone too much

Travis Maddox learned two things from his mother before she died: Love hard. Fight harder.

In Walking Disaster, the life of Travis is full of fast women, underground gambling, and violence. But just when he thinks he is invincible, Abby Abernathy brings him to his knees.

Every story has two sides. In Beautiful Disaster, Abby had her say. Now it’s time to see the story through Travis’s eyes.

I knew going into this book that it was going to be intense. After all, readers already knew what was in store for Travis and Abby. Regardless, seeing it all from Travis’ POV was eye opening and I found myself just as engrossed in Walking Disaster as I was when I read Beautiful Disaster. It didn’t take long to pull me in, especially since I was reduced to tears before I even finished the Prologue. *sigh* It was also just as aptly titled. Travis was a ‘walking disaster’ no matter whose POV you got the story from. The difference is that when you got the story from Travis’ POV you became aware that no one was more painfully aware of that fact than Travis himself.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Did Walking Disaster change my opinion of Travis? No, but I didn’t expect it to. It did give me a better understanding of why he did some of the things he did. It also gave me an idea of where he came from and the people and events that shaped him into who he was. For all his faults, rages and crazy actions, he really wasn’t a bad kid. I knew that when I read Beautiful Disaster. Getting the same story from Travis’ POV just confirmed it.

What I liked about Walking Disaster most was not only getting inside Travis’ head but seeing characters through his eyes. He had a unique take on people and what made them tick. I loved his family and their devotion toward each other. Their methods and actions may not have been conventional, but it worked for them and they were there for each other when they needed to be. I also loved learning where ‘Pigeon’ came from. For as tough and non caring as Travis seemed at times, he really did have a big heart. His thoughts and actions were so much less random when you saw where they were coming from. I also realized that if I would have read this book first I wouldn’t have liked Abby nearly as much as I did. Getting her POV first was definitely the right order for this series.

As much as I liked both books, I still don’t think that this series is for everyone. Both Abby and Travis came from very tough backgrounds. Their relationship wasn’t healthy by any stretch of the imagination but they proved time and again that regardless of how crazy they were together they were much worse apart. There are parts that were hard to read and there were so many times that I wanted to reach into the book and comfort all of them. There were also times that I wanted to grab them and shake them. Basically, these books really brought out the ‘mom’ in me.

I think my favorite part of this whole book was the Epilogue. I’m not going to give anything away but those few pages made all the ups, downs and craziness so worth it.

DragonFlyRating4

Bout-of-Books 7.0 Goals (May 13-19, 2013)

BoutOfBooks-880x400-03

It’s that time again! I honestly love this week of reading mayhem. Sure I don’t get much sleep and I put myself into a reading/review frenzy, which ironically isn’t a lot different than the norm. The difference is that I’m doing it with a whole bunch of great bloggers and readers that are doing the same thing. Plus, there’s no competition, no pressure and a whole lot of silliness and shenanigans thrown into the mix. I get to visit blogs, meet new bloggers and even find new reads to add to my TBR list. What could be more fun?

Just in case you’re new to Bout-of-Books, here’s the official Blurb direct from Kelly and Amanda:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 13th and runs through Sunday, May 19th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 7.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

Now for the fun part! I get to list my goals 😉 Okay, it’s confession time (once again.) I may have just a couple of books left over from my Bout-of-Books 6.0 list still chilling on my shelves. I did a good job of getting rid of leftovers on my list last time, so I’m going to attempt to do the same thing this time. Therefore, the first 3 books on my list will be read first. Everything else will be read in no particular order. Of course, there’s always a chance that something totally different will show up here as well. It’s Bout-of-Books week so anything can happen!

  1. No Rest for the Wicked (Immortals After Dark #3) by Kresley Cole (384 Pages)
  2. Where She Went (If I Stay #2) by Gayle Forman (264 Pages)
  3. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey (404 Pages)
  4. The Hunt (VV Inn #2) by C.J. Ellisson (300 Pages)
  5. My Soul to Keep (Soul Screamers #3) by Rachel Vincent (296 Pages)
  6. Fade Out (Morganville Vampires #7) by Rachel Caine (215 Pages)
  7. Deadlock (Southern Arcana #3) by Moira Rogers (264 Pages)
  8. Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels #3) by Ilona Andrews (310 Pages)
  9. Tempted (Eternal Guardians #3) by Elisabeth Naughton (400 Pages)
  10. Kiss of Crimson (Midnight Breed #2) by Lara Adrian (387 Pages)
  11. Ecstasy Unveiled (Demonica #4) by Larissa Ione (400 Pages)
  12. Enemy Within (Vampire Born #2) by Angeline Kace (341 Pages)
  13. Ethan’s Mate (The Vampire Coalition #1) by J.S. Scott (57 Pages)
  14. Two Weddings (And One Near Funeral) (Southern Arcana #3.5) by Moira Rogers (31 Pages)

Yes, that’s a lot of books and no, I don’t plan on reading them all. A lot of these books (actually all but 4 5) are on my Seriously Series Challenge list. If the mood hits or if I’m in need of a short, sweet late night read I might even throw in a book or two for my Why Buy the Cow? Challenge too. I love multi-tasking!

This is my 7th Bout-of-Books and I’ve always given everyone a specific number of books that I plan to read, but I’m not doing that this time. Basically, this will be a ‘whatever happens, happens’ kinda read-a-thon for me. I want to read as much as I can. Visit as many blogs as I can. Do as many Challenges as I can but most importantly, have as much fun as I can. If I happen to read more books than last time or tear through more pages, that’s great. In the mean time though, I’m not going to sweat it. The only goal from previous Bout-of-Books that I am going to stick to is my promise to review books as they’re read. I have to stick to that or I’ll go totally crazy and worry about whether I’ll get the reviews done or not.

So, are you participating in Bout-of-Books 7? Do you have goals? If you are and you do, run over to the Bout-of-Books home page and link them up!

By creativedeeds

Passion Unleashed (Demonica #3) by Larissa Ione

PassionUnleashedFORBIDDEN TEMPTATIONS 

Serena Kelley is an archaeologist and treasure hunter-and a woman with a secret. Since she was seven, she’s been the keeper of a powerful charm that grants her health and immortality . . . as long as she stays a virgin. But Serena isn’t all that innocent. And when a dangerously handsome stranger brings her to the brink of ecstasy, she wonders if she’s finally met the one man she cannot resist. 

FATAL DESIRES 

Wraith is a Seminus demon with a death wish. But when an old enemy poisons him, he must find Serena and persuade her to give him the only known antidote in the universe-her charm. Yet, as she begins to surrender to his seductions and Wraith senses the cure is within his grasp, he realizes a horrible truth: He’s falling for the woman whose life he must take in order to save his own.

So much happened in this book… SO MUCH! I’m not really sure where to begin. *sigh*

Wraith has always been the ‘bad boy’ of the brothers. Shade and E spent a lot of time protecting him from himself more than anything. Readers just thought they knew Wraith’s history. In Passion Unleashed we realized just how torturous and cruel that history was. It’s no wonder he had a death wish. Serena’s background wasn’t all happy either, but she was surrounded by people who loved her. The more they got to know each other the stronger the attraction between the two of them became. The tension between this couple was compounded by the fact that neither one of them could be totally honest with each other, no matter how much they wanted to be.

Larissa Ione did a wonderful job of not making this union an easy one. There were so many obstacles and trust issues and pain. It’s one of those books where you know everything is eventually going to turn out okay, but you have no idea how. You also never quite know exactly who you should and shouldn’t trust and because no one ever really trusts Wraith, including himself, even he was a wild card in Passion Unleashed.

As I mentioned before, a lot happened in this book. There were some pivotal moments in Passion Unleashed that set the scene for not only this series, but also for the Lords of Deliverance. Since I started reading that series first, I already knew a lot of the characters that have been featured so far. That hasn’t hurt my enjoyment of the books though. In fact, it’s made me want to continue reading through the Lords of Deliverance series again just to see if my perspective changes with the background information that I have now. I’m sure it will.

There are two more books in the Demonica series before it continues with the Lords of Deliverance. The main character in Ecstasy Unveiled was introduced in Passion Unleashed and his connection to the series was just one of the jaw dropping moments in this book. Passion Unleashed was full of twists, turns, action, romance and more than one moment of heart breaking sacrifice. As much as I loved the moments between Wraith and Serena, there were a couple of moments between one of my favorite couples that I really enjoyed too. The world that Larissa Ione created in this series turns our normal take on good and evil upside down. I love it when that happens 😉

DragonFlyRating5

SeriouslySeries2013Plug

Let’s Talk! (Week #26 – 4/26/13)

We’re up to week 26 of Let’s Talk! It’s sparked some very interesting and lively conversations and given us all something to think about. That’s always a good thing. Here’s what Smash and Kt have to tell us about the weekly meme.

Originally hosted by Melissa from i swim for oceans, Smash & Kt took her original inspiration, and made it their own, expanding it to more than just books. Let’s get personal (but respectfully so) and learn more about one another!  Each week, a different question will be posted along with a place to link up your posts and visit other people’s responses. This meme is definitely meant to bring out conversation and meet new people. So, Let’s Talk!

And here’s Today’s Question:

Do you accept review requests? If not, why? If so, then how many review requests do you get in a month? How many do you accept? How do you balance between review requests and reading your own books? Have you ever gone out of your way to reduce your incoming review books? With so many review books being offered (solicited or not) to book bloggers, have you ever emailed a publicist to reduce the number of books sent? Do you ever feel guilty over receiving these review books that you know you won’t be able to get to knowing other book bloggers could benefit from them? How do you deal? (Thanks, KT and Na)

From the length of this week’s question I’m guessing I should be thankful that I don’t receive a lot of review requests. Most of the review books that I have are ones that I have requested. The handful of requests that I have gotten are either from authors who ‘know’ me or have actually taken the time to look at the books I’ve reviewed and base their requests on genres that they see on my blog. So yeah, I guess I consider myself lucky. For the most part, I’m still reading for pleasure.

That doesn’t mean that I’m not aware of the issue. Even though I’m not overwhelmed with requests, I still handle the ones that I receive with care. I don’t have a lot of scheduling issues on my blog as of now, but when I do receive a request I ask for a time frame. If I have a conflict I let them know and tell them what I can do. It’s worked for me so far but I know that the longer I’m a part of this world the more inevitable the risk of becoming overwhelmed will be.

So what about you? How do you keep yourself from becoming overwhelmed by review requests? Do you still get the chance to read books just because you want to? Join this week’s discussion and Let’s Talk!

Bare It All (Love Undercover #2, Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor #5) by Lori Foster

BareItAll“A cop’s craving to know more about the woman next door could prove fatal in the steamy new novel from New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster”

As the person responsible for taking down a brutal human trafficker, Alice Appleton fears retaliation at every turn. No one knows about her past, which is exactly how she prefers it…until the sexy cop next door comes knocking.

Detective Reese Bareden thinks he knows what makes women tick, but his ever-elusive neighbor keeps him guessing like no other. Is his goal to unmask Alice’s secrets? Or protect her from a dangerous new threat? One thing is certain: their chemistry is a time bomb waiting to explode. And with no one to trust but each other, Reese and Alice are soon drawn into a deadly maze of corruption, intrigue and desire-and into the line of fire.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1I read Run the Risk and really liked it. It was full of action and I loved the connection between Logan and Pepper. Reese was introduced in the first book in the series and I couldn’t wait to see what Lori Foster had in store for him and Alice. I didn’t feel the same connection between Alice and Reese that was so intense between the first couple, but I wasn’t disappointed either.

Alice was an introvert to the extreme. At least it seemed that way on the surface. Reese was determined to find out what was behind all that secrecy and timidness. Her secrets were just the tip of the iceberg though. There was a lot more to Alice than met the eye.

I liked Reese from the beginning. He was tough on the outside but his soft side was right on the surface and the longer he spent with Alice the closer it came to breaking through that tough exterior. I loved his patience with Alice coupled with his determination to gain her trust enough to open up.

There were bumps along the way and a lot of secrets and denial, but that was expected given what Alice had been through. She had a lot of support along the way though and that was one of the reasons I like this series. I guess I’m a sucker for books that give different POVs and not just from the featured characters. It just seems to give each of the characters more depth and breaks away from the main couple enough to ease some of the tension as well as add to it for the reader. And these side characters are worth some page time of their own, trust me.

Speaking of supporting characters, Rowdy has turned into my favorite character in this series. He was introduced in Run the Risk and a lot of time was spent in that book not knowing which side he was on (then again – Reese was portrayed that way as well.) He’s still not totally above the law, but he is definitely one of the good guys. He played a huge part in Bare it All, which is only fitting since the next book in the Love Undercover series, Getting Rowdy, is all his 😉

On a side note, this book is considered part of two series. It’s not only the second book in the Love Undercover series but it’s also the fifth book in Lori Foster’s Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor series. My history with the second series is a little unorganized, as in I read the fourth book in the series (A Perfect Storm) before I read any of the others. I still haven’t caught up and before I realized it, I picked up Bare it All. I’m doomed! The good news is that I’m playing catch up, just not fast enough evidently. The connection between this book and the  Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor series happens in Trace of Fever, the second book in the series. Not only is Alice first introduced in that book, but Trace makes an appearance in Bare it All. Just another reason for me to get busy back tracking my way through this series.

DragonFlyRating4

SeriouslySeries2013Plug

A Corner of White (The Colors of Madeleine #1) by Jaclyn Moriarty

CornerOfWhiteThis is a tale of missing persons. Madeleine and her mother have run away from their former life, under mysterious circumstances, and settled in a rainy corner of Cambridge (in our world).

Elliot, on the other hand, is in search of his father, who disappeared on the night his uncle was found dead. The talk in the town of Bonfire (in the Kingdom of Cello) is that Elliot’s dad may have killed his brother and run away with the Physics teacher. But Elliot refuses to believe it. And he is determined to find both his dad and the truth.

As Madeleine and Elliot move closer to unraveling their mysteries, they begin to exchange messages across worlds — through an accidental gap that hasn’t appeared in centuries. But even greater mysteries are unfolding on both sides of the gap: dangerous weather phenomena called “color storms;” a strange fascination with Isaac Newton; the myth of the “Butterfly Child,” whose appearance could end the droughts of Cello; and some unexpected kisses.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1This is the most unique book I’ve read in a very long time. I have to admit that it took me a while to get into it and an exceptionally long time to read it. It wasn’t that I didn’t like it. It just seemed to drag. Now that I’ve finished it, I think I understand why. I may be reading a little bit more into it than there is or I may be over analyzing it, but here’s my take on A Corner of White.

If I would have had to rate this book as I read it I would have given it maybe 3 stars in the beginning – and that would have probably been generous. I wasn’t really attached or intrigued by either the characters or the subject. Everything seemed kind of disconnected and the characters were not necessarily flat but kind of shallow. They didn’t seem to have any real purpose other than being there. Madeleine was depressed because she didn’t want the life she was living with her mother, she wanted the life she had before she ran away with her to Cambridge. She felt cheated and frankly came off as a little spoiled. Her friends were a bit strange at first glance. Even the dialogue seemed to bounce all over the place and the descriptions seemed to be choppy or run together. It was hard to keep up. Even though Madeleine’s world was the ‘real world’ in some ways it was just as much of a fantasy as Cello.

Elliot’s world was unique to say the least. There were things about it that were fairly normal and familiar, yet there were obviously things that were beautiful and dangerous. I liked Elliot, his mother and his friends. Most of the people in the town I liked too. In some ways, they seemed more ‘real’ than the characters in Madeleine’s world. I liked the uniqueness of it and the strength of the characters. Once these worlds came together through Madeleine and Elliot’s letter exchanges things started to get a little more interesting.

The more I read this book the more connected it became. I don’t think that was accidental. The writing and cohesiveness of the story became clearer as things became clearer for the characters. There are a lot of mysteries, twists and turns in this book. The characters not only learn a lot, they grow a lot. When I first started reading A Corner of White I was wondering how it could possibly develop into a series. Once I reached the end I realized I couldn’t wait to find out what happens next. Those characters that you thought you knew were totally different people by the end of the book. Frivolous characters had a depth that you didn’t even notice until it was revealed and then you gained a whole new understanding. This is definitely a book that you could look at an entirely different way if you read it a second time.

Like I said, I may have totally missed the mark on this one and I may be seeing something that isn’t there at all. Regardless, A Corner of White turned into an entirely different experience than I expected when I started. I can’t wait to get to know these characters even better in the next book in The Colors of Madeleine.

DragonFlyRating4

Twice Tempted (Night Prince #2) by Jeaniene Frost

TwiceTemptedDating the Prince of Darkness has its challenges…

Leila’s psychic abilities have been failing her, and now she isn’t sure what the future holds. If that weren’t enough, her lover, Vlad, has been acting distant. Though Leila is a mere mortal, she’s also a modern woman who refuses to accept the cold shoulder treatment forever–especially from the darkly handsome vampire who still won’t admit that he loves her.

Like choosing between eternal love and a loveless eternity…

Soon circumstances send Leila back to the carnival circuit, where tragedy strikes. And when she finds herself in the crosshairs of a killer who may be closer than she realizes, Leila must decide who to trust– the fiery vampire who arouses her passions like no other or the tortured knight who longs to be more than a friend? With danger stalking her every step of the way, all it takes is one wrong move to damn her for eternity.

Oh Vlad, how I’ve missed you. *sigh*  I do have to agree with others who have commented on this spin-off series though. This isn’t the Vlad that we first met in the Night Huntress books. I’m kinda okay with that though. Let me see if I can explain…

The Vlad that we met before was sharp tongued and witty. He was loyal to his friends and you could always depend on him to have a wry comment and even act on those comments from time to time. The thing about that Vlad though was that he was guarded. You never saw the ‘real’ Vlad. The one he kept hidden. The one who had a heart that could be broken. That Vlad is the one we see in the Night Prince and I can’t honestly tell you which one I like more.

Of course Leila is the reason why we finally see this side of Vlad. He spends a lot of time hiding it from her as well. The bad part is that she knows that side of him exists. She just can’t get him to reveal it, even to himself. He says all the wrong things and gives her everything except for what she really wants and eventually pushes her away. Because of that there were some pretty scary moments in this book. This couple was on the brink of disaster more than once and a couple of times I wasn’t really sure which direction Frost was taking them. Talk about your emotional roller coasters. Yikes!

I know that having these books told from Leila’s POV has taken a couple of readers by surprise, but I kind of like Leila’s voice. I think that keeping us out of Vlad’s head adds to the mystery. Plus, Vlad’s head would be a very scary place to be. *shivers* Finding out where Vlad was coming from and how he really saw himself revealed slowly and on his terms actually added a lot to the romance.

As for the rest of the story? Well, it was definitely full. There was a little bit of mystery, a lot of danger, some funny moments, plenty of action and a chapter that will give Cat & Bones a run for their money. *fans self* I can’t even give you a clue about this one because it will give too much away. I knew it was coming and still wasn’t prepared. Let’s just say that everything that happens up until Chapter 36 is well worth the wait. Honestly!

Once Burned ended with things up in the air for Leila and Vlad. Twice Tempted doesn’t end with that much frustration, but there is definitely more to come. That’s a very good thing though. We’ve got more Night Huntress stories to look forward to, but I really love these spin-offs that have developed. Cat and Bones are still my favorite, but getting to know everyone else a little bit better has been fun too 😉

DragonFlyRating5

 

Creative Deeds Gets a Face Lift ;)

CreativeDeedsBC2013FinalSo I’m a little embarrassed. I was asked for my business card the other day and realized that not only did I not have any in my possession, but I was running dangerously low on the stash that I had at home. What made it worse was that I was at our local Chamber of Commerce at the time and the only cards that they had on hand were the ones that I had given them two years ago. Sure the information was the same, but I have totally changed the design since then. One of my ‘friends’ proceeded to tell me that she could give me the name of a graphic designer who could probably help me out. She was of course referring to me, but that little conversation gave me just the nudge I needed to finally order my cards.

CreativeDeedsReadsLogoIf you know me you probably can guess what happened next. Once I started updating my business cards I decided to finally design and order some bookmarks for myself. I honestly started with my current design, but then one thing led to another and before I knew it I had changed my Creative Deeds Reads blog and my Creative Deeds Reads Facebook page headers. Once I did that I had to make sure everything matched, right? So now I have a new Twitter background, header and icon (which incidentally, I don’t think I’ve changed since I started frequenting Twitter.) I also have a whole new look here and I have a new Creative Deeds Reads Facebook look as well. All because I decided to do bookmarks for myself. So, what do you think?

Bookmark Front

CreativeDeeds2013FrontBMFinal

Since a lot of my business comes from bloggers and authors who want bookmarks themselves I decided to feature my business on the front and my reading blog on the back. I’ll let you know how it works out. I can use my business cards for regular, local advertising and I can give bloggers, authors and local bookstores my bookmarks to remind them where they can get bookmarks of their own. 

Bookmark Back

CreativeDeeds2013BackBMFinal

Facebook Header

I’ve already changed this a couple of times and I’m still adding to it. The pirate ship may make an appearance here, but I haven’t decided yet. I love ships, but I also love wolves, and big cats and the moon in this background is gorgeous. 

BlueMoon

I’ll be sure to let everyone know when my bookmarks come in. By then I’ll have some other goodies that I’ve done for some other people ready to show off 😉

By creativedeeds