Book Highlight: The Forgotten Ones by Laura Howard

Title: The Forgotten OnesAuthor: Laura Howard

Genre: New Adult Fantasy

Series: The Danaan Trilogy #1

Published: April 28, 2013

Allison O’Malley’s plan is to go to grad school so she can get a good job and take care of her schizophrenic mother. She has carefully closed herself off from everything else, including a relationship with Ethan, who she’s been in love with for as long as she can remember.

What is definitely not part of the plan is the return of her long-lost father, who claims he can bring Allison’s mother back from the dark place her mind has gone. Allison doesn’t trust her father, so why would she believe his stories about a long forgotten Irish people, the Tuatha de Danaan? But truths have a way of revealing themselves. Secrets will eventually surface. And Allison must learn to set aside her plan and work with her father if there is even a small chance it could restore her mother’s sanity.

Laura Howard lives in New Hampshire with her husband and four children. Her obsession with books began at the age of 6 when she got her first library card. Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High and other girly novels were routinely devoured in single sittings. Books took a backseat to diapers when she had her first child. It wasn’t until the release of a little novel called Twilight, 8 years later, that she rediscovered her love of fiction. Soon after, her own characters began to make themselves known. The Forgotten Ones is her first published novel.

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By creativedeeds

Bout-of-Books 9.0 Goals (January 6-12, 2014)

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, January 6th and runs through Sunday, January 12th 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 9.0 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 😉 I’m doing something totally different this time. I’m reading only Indie books. Yep, I’ve got so many of them that need to be read and the list is growing all the time. I love my Indie authors and devoting an entire week to them just seemed to be the thing to do. A couple of the authors are new to me, but most are part of series that I’ve started or by authors that I’m already familiar with. Here’s what I plan to read during Bout-of-Books 9.0:

  1. Endure (Protector #4) by MR Merrick (380 Pages)
  2. Burned (Donovan Circus #2) by Liz Long (303 Pages)
  3. The Third Kiss (Dorian’s Dream #1) by Heather Killough-Walden (269 Pages)
  4. Wicked Thing by Angeline Kace (220 Pages)
  5. Long Night Moon (Seasons of the Moon #3)* by SM Reine (183 Pages)
  6. Asylum (Causal Enchantment #2)* by KA Tucker (252 Pages)
  7. Crimson Midnight (Crimson #1) by Amos Cassidy (397 Pages)
  8. Death’s Hand (Descent #1)* by SM Reine (336 Pages)
  9. Hell Bent/Heaven Sent by Megg Jensen (181 Pages)
  10. Dirty Deeds by S.E. Jakes (83 Pages)

Yes, that’s a lot of books and no, I don’t plan on reading them all. The books aren’t in any particular order, but several are long over due in being read and at least one is a promised Bout-of-Books read. They are the first four on my list, so they are guaranteed to be read. (Five is my number… so I should be good.) Three books are on my Seriously Series Challenge* list, so hopefully I will get to them too. I love multi-tasking! 🙂

This is my 9th Bout-of-Books and I’ve learned a lot. Up until Bout-of-Books 7.0 I had always given everyone a specific number of books that I planned to read. During the last 2 Bout-of-Books I decided to take the ‘whatever happens, happens’ kinda read-a-thon approach and it worked. I read more during Bout-of-Books 7.0 than I have read in any previous Bout-of-Books so far. I didn’t do quite as well during Bout-of-Books 8.0 but I was still pleased with my progress. So, once again I will 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 real goal 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 (or more importantly remember what exactly I read.)

So, are you participating in Bout-of-Books 9.0? Do you have goals? If you are and you do, run over to the Bout-of-Books home page and link them up!

Caged in Bone (Ascension #4) by S.M. Reine

CagedInBoneAbel Wilder, werewolf Alpha, has gone missing, leaving his mate and the pack in a panic. His captor magicked his scent out of the sanctuary so that his mate can’t track him down. Only one witch can cast a spell that powerful. James Faulkner has finally crossed a line that Elise Kavanagh can’t ignore. Elise is going to have to hunt James down before the werewolf pack loses its Alpha and Rylie loses her mate. And Elise will have to find a way to make sure that James never bothers the pack-or anyone else-ever again.

This series is not for the faint of heart. Wow! I expected an intense  book, none of them have been light and fluffy, but this installment took that intensity to a whole new level. I’m not quite sure where to start and I’m positive that I won’t come close to doing the book justice, but here it goes…

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Everyone is still in recovery mode when Caged in Bone opens. The pack is trying to get back to normal, at least as normal as things can be when they don’t know when the next attack is coming or even where it’s coming from. They’re all dealing with their grief and rapidly changing world in their own way. Unsurprisingly, some are dealing better than others.

Caged in Bone covered a lot of ground. More than one character’s POV was given and not a moment was wasted with any of them. They all had their own personal battles going on and their interactions with each other were more tense than in any book in this series so far. Decisions were made that were more often than not the wrong ones, but for the right reasons. I felt like shaking more than one of them throughout Caged in Bone.

This is a book that you need to be in the right frame of mind to read. Mainly because you need to pay attention to every detail. I might have to go back and read a few sections again before the next book is released. If you’ve been following the series, you know how complicated just Elise’s background is. Caged in Bone makes her history even more intricately woven with other characters. Some of those connections I should have noticed before. Some of them were expected and some of them totally floored me.

There were also more than a few twists and turns. Some characters made some painful discoveries and lives – once again – were left dangling precariously – emotionally and physically. There were also some smexy moments between a couple (kind of) unexpected characters.

It’s been a while since I’ve become this emotionally invested in a group of characters. I care about them and want to see things turn around for all of them – as impossible as that may seem right now. I’ve even started to gain a new respect for a few of the characters that I’ve wanted to hate. That, along with a very long list is what has put this author on my auto-read list. I’ve even forgiven her for the now expected cliff hanger. Yes, the intensity lasted until the very last page… in this case, the very last sentence. It’s a good thing that S.M. Reine writes fast….

DragonFlyRating5

Death Times Two by Brux Boone and C.J. Ellisson

1477713_3736214339733_675921960_nThe V V Inn has a ghost problem, one that requires the help of Lisa Carron, resident Alaskan grim reaper. Tasked with helping her, fledgling vampire Asa soon realizes that not only can she provide the dead a peaceful passing, but offer him solace in a way no other woman can.

This novella combines not only two authors’ talents but also two series. It not only reminded me that I need to continue reading C.J. Ellisson’s VV Inn series, but it introduced me to the characters in Brux Boone’s Grim Reality series. That in itself was enough to make this a treat. The fact that the story was fun and intriguing was an added bonus. 🙂

The story was told from both Lisa and Asa’s POV and I enjoyed getting inside both of their heads. It kept things interesting, that’s for CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1sure. I loved Lisa’s character. She was fun and witty and ‘real.’ Since I’ve already read a couple of books in the VV Inn series, I was familiar with Asa, but I loved getting to know him better and seeing a different side of him. These two were perfect together. The attraction between them was strong, but the inevitable romance wasn’t rushed. Even though this one was short, it wasn’t lacking in action or romance.

There’s always a danger in picking up a novella that falls in the middle of a series. I didn’t feel lost or confused. It helped that a lot of what was referred to in the VV Inn series happened in early books and even though Death Times Two made me want to get to know Lisa better, readers were given enough of her back story to be comfortable with it. I suppose it also helped that Asa was just meeting her too. Regardless, it’s made me put the Grim Reality series on my TBR list. It also made me hope that somewhere down the road these two characters meet again. *sigh*

ParanormalNightsSetI read this separately, but this novella is part of the Paranormal Nights set that includes 7 more stories. This set is not only on my TBR list, but it’s waiting for me on my Kindle. I can’t wait to see what the other authors have to offer in this collection. From the descriptions I see a few more authors and series added to my overflowing pile of books that are begging to be read.

DragonFlyRating4

The Professional: Part 1 (The Game Maker 0.1) by Kresley Cole

TheProfessionalHe makes the rules . . .
Mafiya enforcer Aleksandr “The Siberian” Sevastyan’s loyalty to his boss is unwavering, until he meets the boss’s long-lost daughter, a curvy, tantalizing redhead who haunts his mind and heats his blood like no other. Ordered to protect her, Sevastyan will do anything to possess her as well—on his own wicked terms.

Rules are made to be broken . . .
PhD student Natalie Porter had barely recovered from her first sight of the breathtakingly gorgeous Sevastyan before the professional hit man whisks her away to Russia, thrusting her into a world of extreme wealth and wanton pleasures. With every day she spends under his protection, she falls deeper under his masterful spell.

Are you ready to play?
Yet all is not as it seems. To remove Natalie from an enemy’s reach, Sevastyan spirits her into hiding. From an opulent palace in Russia to the decadent playgrounds of the mega-wealthy in Paris, the two lovers will discover that even their darkest—and most forbidden—fantasies can come true.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1I may have been just a teensy bit nervous about reading this one. Not because it was contemporary, but because it was contemporary written by a PNR author whose books in that genre I love. I’ve only read the first 3 books in Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series, but I like what I’ve read. When any author jumps into a new genre it can either be hit or miss. I’d say that The Professional: Part 1 was a hit.

From the moment Natalie was introduced I knew I was going to like her. She was smart, witty and that was only part of the reason why I loved the way her mind worked. Her unique take on things was fun and I enjoyed her inner dialogue through most of the book. Sevastyan was about the most alpha of any male I’ve read in a contemporary book. That might be why this genre switch wasn’t as extreme as it could have been for fans of Cole’s writing. It may have also been why their instant attraction to each other didn’t bother me either.

This was one novella that wasn’t lacking in any department. By the end I felt connected to the characters… well as connected as anyone could get to Sevastyan anyway. There was a touch of danger, plenty of intrigue, more than a couple of characters that were a mystery and plenty of heat to keep things interesting. I loved it all… until the end. Yikes!

Can you say CLIFF HANGER?!? Yes, I know this is Part 1 of a series of novellas and I knew that things weren’t going to be wrapped up at the end, but seriously. I kept trying to ‘turn’ the page on my Kindle when I was done. I can’t believe how things just…ended… This might be a good time to mention, once again, AUTHORS ARE EVIL!  How can I not look forward to the next book in this series? At least we don’t have to wait long for the next installment. The Professional: Part 2 & 3 are both scheduled to be released in January, 2014.

DragonFlyRating4

By creativedeeds

Beauty’s Beasts (Stonebrood Saga #2) by Tracy Cooper-Posey

Family history can be fatal.BeautysBeasts

Riley Carson Connors is yanked out of Pittsburgh and coaxed to New York by two tall, sexy strangers. Nicholas Sherwood and Damian are the only people in the world who know anything about her parents, and what they know is terrifying. She must face a powerful enemy who killed both her parents, who were the best demon hunters of their era.

But while the truth about Riley’s family history is a powerful magnet, Damian and Nicholas prove to be even more compelling. Former lovers and brought together only because they gave their word to her mother to protect Riley, the two powerful vampires play erotic mind games with her. Each has a hidden sexual agenda that Riley can’t begin to guess, but seems to involve driving her out of her mind with the sort of pleasure only a centuries-old lover would know how to give.

Warning: This story features two super hot alpha vampire heroes, multiple sex scenes, including anal sex, MM sexual play, MMF sex and the use of sex toys. Do not read this book if frank sexual language and sex scenes offend you.
No vampires or demon hunters came to harm in the making of this book. Gargoyles have been added to the official hunt list, however…

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1I can honestly say that I liked Beauty’s Beasts better than Carson’s Night. I kind of expected that though. Carson’s Night was technically the first book in the series, but it really felt me like a prequel. I think I got that impression since it took place more than 20 years before Beauty’s Beasts began. This one added a lot more depth to the story and even though Carson and Talla are no longer in the picture, my hope that readers would get to know the characters a little better came true.

Beauty’s Beasts was also a heart breaking story, which went way beyond just the loss of Carson and Talla. There was plenty of action, a few twists that caught me totally off guard and more than enough eat to totally warrant the warning in the description, so pay attention! There were also times that the story kind of lost me (I blame that on trying to keep up with two sexy vamps – so the author’s forgiven. 😉 ) I also thought more than once the circumstances and actions of the characters were a little too convenient, but the story itself more than made up for it.

The next book in the Stonebrood Saga is Sabrina’s Clan and the set up at the end of Beauty’s Beasts was perfect. Tracy Cooper-Posey has me hooked now and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

DragonFlyRating4

By creativedeeds

Dragon Awakened by Jaime Rush Release Week Blitz

DragonAwakenedDecember 17, 2013
Forever Mass Market
$6.00; 978-1-4555-2322-1

Ruby Salazaar wants answers . . . and revenge. Her uncle has just been murdered before her eyes and the name he utters with his final breath –  Cyntag – leads Ruby into a world beyond her wildest imaginings. She soon learns that the dark, sexy Cyntag Valeron knows more about her than she does herself. 

Ruby changed Cyn’s life before she even knew who he was. Now she charges into his life, a beautiful woman full of fire and questions. Cyn knew this day would come, yet he couldn’t foresee the danger –  and desires – Ruby would bring with her. He can teach her how to harness her newly awakened powers. But there is one force neither of them can control . . .

“From the time this story opens readers are drawn into a whirlwind of action, drama and intense emotion.” – That’s the statement that I started my review of Dragon Awakened and it wasn’t an exaggeration. This series promises to be amazing and I’m so excited to be a part of the Dragon Awakened Release Week Blitz! I get to share some more book love and give you the opportunity to win even more cool prizes.

Just follow the link to the Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win one of 15  Hidden prize packs, featuring a bound flip book of the first two novellas DRAGON MINE and DRAGON AWAKENED, a print copy of DRAGON AWAKENED, advanced copies of the next two books in the series, MAGIC POSSESSED and ANGEL SEDUCED, plus a series bookmark and a special Jaime Rush dog tag!

While you’re here, care for a taste of Dragon Awakened? Here you go…

Cyntag slowly waved his hand in front of her face, his eyes staring straight into hers between his long fingers. “Crescents can identify one another by our eyes. Some are icy glitter, some swirling mist, and others burning embers.”
Her heart hitched. Hadn’t she seen a glow in his eyes?
He lowered his hand. “Moncrief cast an illusion spell to hide the magick in your eyes. You looked like a Mundane, a regular human. Now that he’s gone, the spell is wearing off. Soon it will be obvious to every Crescent who sees you.”
She walked over to a gilt-framed mirror on the side wall and stared at herself. No glow. He was full of it. “I don’t see anything like what you described.”
“Because you cannot see.” He came up behind her. “You have not been Awakened. Crescents are initiated in a ceremony at thirteen, when their powers begin to appear. It’s similar to those of many native tribes to celebrate a coming of age. But much more comes with being an Awakened Crescent.”
Thirteen. She remembered a gnawing hunger deep in her belly and vivid dreams filled with colors and longing and…dragons.
Cyntag brushed her bangs from her forehead, his thumb grazing the skin near her burn. “The orb did this?” She nodded, and anger shimmered over his face. “Unacceptable.”
“I thought so.”
He’d said it as though the attack on her was a personal affront to him. Like he owns you.
“Right now you’re like a baby chick fallen prematurely from the nest, without feathers developed enough to fly from danger or any way to fight enemies. Unable to even see them. You might get a glimpse now and then, but that won’t be enough.”
“You’re saying I have powers?” Could her disbelief be more clear? “Can I make one of those orb-lightning-bolt things?”
Another twitch of a smile. “Sorry, no. However, you are much more magnificent than mere magick.”
“I’m magnificent. Yeah.” She couldn’t help but glance down at herself. “Fine, how do I get…what’d you call it? Awakened?” Let’s play along.
“Considering the circumstances, only I can awaken your powers.”
Did his arrogance know no bounds? Dumb question, Ruby. “What do I have to give you for that?”
“You assume there’s a price?”
“There’s always a price.” She could see that he had one too.
He stepped closer, again breaching boundaries. She wouldn’t move away. If only she didn’t have to look up at him. Even being five-foot-eight, he was way taller. His heat reached out, beckoning her. She stiffened her stance. The dragon tattoo eyed her, but no, she did not see it move.
He waited until she drew her gaze back to his face. “The price is that once you see, you can never go back to being blind. Once you know, you can never forget. Once you experience your true nature, you can never ignore it.”
“Ignore what?”
He released a breath. “We’d better start with the small stuff.”

RushDRAGONAWAKENED JaimeMeet the Author
Things that go bump in the night have always fascinated Jaime Rush. Sometimes those things are human; other times, not so much. Now she has twisted them all together in the Hidden, a trilogy about humans with the essence of gods who walk the knife’s edge between the glamour of Miami and a place filled with dark magick and dangerous beauty. 
Jaime is the author of the Offspring series and also writes under the name Tina Wainscott. She is the bestselling author of eighteen romance novels. She lives in Southwest Florida with her husband, daughter, and cat.

Where to Find Jaime Rush
Website • Facebook • Twitter • Goodreads

 Where to Purchase Dragon Awakened
Amazon • Barnes & Noble • IndieBound • Bookish

By creativedeeds

Reaver by Larissa Ione Release Week Blitz

reaver

December 17, 2013
Grand Central Publishing Mass Market
$8.00 • 978-1-4555-2697-0
Reaver is an angel with a past, a record, and a less-than-heavenly attitude. Powerful enough to fight alongside the fiercest battle angels-and crazy enough to risk his wings on a one-way mission to hell-he’s agreed to go where no angel has ever gone before . . . to steal the most seductive and dangerous prize of Satan himself.|
Harvester is one of the Fallen, a once-heroic angel who sacrificed her wings to work as an undercover agent in hell. But now her cover has been blown, and she’s doomed to an eternity of agonizing torture. Even if Reaver can snatch her away from Satan’s lair, even if they can fight their way out of the underworld’s darkest depths, there is one thing Harvester can never escape-her newfound thirst for an angel’s blood. . .

I couldn’t wait for this book to come out! When I was given opportunity to take part in the Reaver Release Blitz, I jumped on it. I started reading the Demonica series after I had gone through the first for books in the Lords of Deliverance series. Reaver has played an important role in both series and he so deserved his own book. Now I get to share mega amounts of book love and give you the chance to win some really cool prizes. What kind of prizes you may be asking? Well, 1 winner will get the grand prize of a Kindle Fire and 4 winners will get a signed set of Larissa Ione’s Lords of Deliverance Series: Eternal Rider, Immortal Rider, Lethal Rider & Rogue Rider! Pretty cool, huh? All you have to do to enter is follow the link to the Rafflecopter drawing.

In the mean time, how would you like a taste of Reaver to hold you over? Here you go:

Reaver“R-Reaver?”
Reaver held Harvester’s frail body tight against his as he navigated the final steps of a winding ledge that dropped them into a world of weird. “It’s me. It’s okay. We’re safe.”
Relatively safe, anyway. Relative meaning that they weren’t dead. Yet. He just hoped the same could be said for Tavin, Matt, and Calder. When he’d left them to sneak into Satan’s realm, they’d been engaged in a battle they’d initiated as a diversion. It had been a risky move, and Reaver could only pray they’d make it to the rendezvous point.
A hunter’s horn sounded in the distance and was answered by another, closer horn signal. Satan’s minions hadn’t gained ground, but they were spreading out. Damn.
He scanned the landscape of thorny plants, hills of blackened earth and trees, and twisted, abandoned structures. Nothing moved.
He looked down at Harvester, and as before when he first saw her hanging over a pit of acid, he felt sick to his stomach. He didn’t like Harvester even though he was grateful for the things she’d done, but she didn’t deserve this; her naked body too thin and mottled with bruises and ligature marks, her once silken black hair tangled and dull, and worst of all, missing her gorgeous green eyes.
Under ideal circumstances, an angel could heal from even the most heinous injuries within hours. But these were far from ideal circumstances, and Harvester’s source of power, her wings, had been severed. Without wings or medical assistance, it could take weeks, even months, for an angel’s body to fully heal.
“I can’t risk healing you more than I did,” he said. “My power isn’t reliable right now, and I could do more harm than good.”
“Reaver,” she croaked, as if he hadn’t spoken. “Why…how…”
“Shh.” He tucked her face into his chest, quieting her. “We’re going to meet up with some friends, and then I’ll answer all your questions.”
Reaver and the assassins had worked out a plan A and a plan B. Plan A had been shot to hell when iron gates had prevented Reaver from getting out of Satan’s realm to the south, where his companions would have been waiting. Now, with demons in pursuit, they were on their way to plan B. Hopefully Tav, Matt, and Calder had realized quickly that Reaver’s escape route had gone bad.
Inhaling the stench of rotten vegetation that permeated this section of Sheoul, he started away from the skeletons of some burned-out buildings and toward a mountain range as expansive as the Rockies. He moved swiftly, outrunning the sounds of pursuit and pausing once to blast a group of imps with a ball of lightning. The sphere struck the leader, and from there sent electrical strikes at each of the surrounding imps, frying them all in a handy eight-for-one.
Harvester slept in his arms, barely stirring when he stopped to listen for anyone following them. By the time they neared the plan B meeting site, Reaver was sure they’d lost the demons—temporarily. Reaver wasn’t naive enough to think they were off the hook. The demons chasing them were only the first wave, the security detail unlucky enough to be guarding the dungeon Harvester was kept in.
Once Satan got wind of this, if he hadn’t already, Reaver and Harvester were going to have legions of minions on their heels.

Larissa Ione_smallMeet the Author
A former meteorologist and EMT, Air Force veteran Larissa Ione now gets her daily dose of excitement from vampires, werewolves, demons, and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. She lives in wintery Wisconsin with her U.S. Coast Guard husband, her teenage son, a rescue cat, and her hellhound, a King Shepherd named Hexe.

 Where to Find Larissa Ione
Website • Facebook • Twitter • Goodreads

Where to Purchase Reaver
Amazon • Barnes & Noble • IndieBound • Bookish

By creativedeeds

Free Falling by SE Jakes

FreeFallingLgSometimes falling in love is the most dangerous thing of all…

Blue’s a thief who lives for adrenaline and danger. When he meets Mick, a mercenary and a hitter, he feels an immediate attraction. But Mick reneges on a bet they’ve made, leaving Blue pissed and confused.

When they meet again a year later, Blue’s in terrible danger after having walked into the middle of one of Mick’s jobs. Mick saves him, and although the two men have fallen for one another, they have no idea how to handle that kind of intimacy that’s been forced on them. 

But when Mick goes missing on a job, Blue’s the one to go after him, determined to save the man he loves no matter the cost.

Reading novellas is tricky. (Granted, this one’s a little longer than some I’ve read, but at 150 pages I still consider it a novella.) I feel differently almost every time I read one. Sometimes I feel like I need more of everything – just to connect with the characters. Sometimes an author can make a story go full circle and I feel satisfied at the end regardless of the length. And then there are times when I simply want more just because I connected with the characters to such an extent that I didn’t want the story to end. Guess where I was at the end of Free Falling?

There’s nothing quite like the collision course that takes place when you throw two alpha males together. Blue and Mick definitely fall into that category. The thing is, as macho, strong and independent as these two are on the surface, they are both extremely vulnerable. Even thought they were both attracted to each other, this relationship had plenty of hurdles overcome. The biggest was lack of trust. Mick had already proven to Blue that he couldn’t and shouldn’t be trusted. Mick had his reasons, but keeping Blue at a distance was safe – for everyone. It would take something extreme to bring these two back together… it’s a good thing that S.E. Jakes is a pro at extreme… 😉

I love the characters in these books. The good guys aren’t all good, but the bad guys are lethal. This one wasn’t long enough to bring a whole lot of side characters in, but Prophet was front and center. (That’s always a good thing.) I can’t wait to get to know all these guys better. They’re strong, smart, witty and regardless of how much they pretend to not care, they’ve got each other’s backs. Plus, they’re all alpha to the core. What’s not to love?

Free Falling isn’t marked as part of a series, but it includes characters from both S.E. Jakes’ Men of Honor and Hell or High Water series. You don’t have to read both of these series to understand what’s happening in Free Falling (I haven’t read the Men of Honor series yet.) In fact, I kind of wish I would have read this one before I started the Hell of High Water series, especially since Blue and Mick make an appearance in Long Time Gone. Of course, now I can go back and start the series over again before the next book comes out. You know, just to see if I’ve gained a different perspective during the re-read. It has nothing to do with spending more time with Prophet and Tommy. Nope, none at all. I’m nothing if not a conscientious reader. 😉

DragonFlyRating4Thanks to S.E. Jakes for my copy of Free Falling which I won in a random Giveaway 😉 

Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles #1) by Ilona Andrews

CleanSweepOn the outside, Dina Demille is the epitome of normal. She runs a quaint Victorian Bed and Breakfast in a small Texas town, owns a Shih Tzu named Beast, and is a perfect neighbor, whose biggest problem should be what to serve her guests for breakfast. But Dina is…different: Her broom is a deadly weapon; her Inn is magic and thinks for itself. Meant to be a lodging for otherworldly visitors, the only permanent guest is a retired Galactic aristocrat who can’t leave the grounds because she’s responsible for the deaths of millions and someone might shoot her on sight. Under the circumstances, “normal” is a bit of a stretch for Dina.

And now, something with wicked claws and deepwater teeth has begun to hunt at night….Feeling responsible for her neighbors, Dina decides to get involved. Before long, she has to juggle dealing with the annoyingly attractive, ex-military, new neighbor, Sean Evans—an alpha-strain werewolf—and the equally arresting cosmic vampire soldier, Arland, while trying to keep her inn and its guests safe. But the enemy she’s facing is unlike anything she’s ever encountered before. It’s smart, vicious, and lethal, and putting herself between this creature and her neighbors might just cost her everything.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Clean Sweep was totally not what I expected. That’s not a bad thing, honest. I’m not exactly sure what I expected but I think it may be because I’m familiar with the Kate Daniels series. If you’ve read any of those books you know that the world that was created in that series is dark, dangerous and among other things, at the mercy of magic. The world that Dina inhabits is no less dangerous but the story is lighter and the magic is hidden from ‘mundanes.’ It isn’t really fair to compare the two, but I honestly say that I like them both.

Dina was a great heroine. She was smart, funny, strong and capable. I also liked Sean… eventually. Arland, I’m still not sure about. Which works, because I don’t think that Dina was sure about him and his intentions by the end either. I loved the interactions between the characters and the way they developed. They not only learned a lot about each other but about themselves as well.

As great as the characters were, it was the world building in Clean Sweep that impressed me most. Mainly because it never stopped. The story opened with a simple innkeeper living in a small town who wanted to stay out of the trouble that was brewing around her. From there it took a life of its own and it’s something that you will have to read to understand. Among other things, the whole concept of vampires and werewolves was totally unique. I can’t wait to see where the rest of the story leads.

Some of you probably read this when it was posted on Ilona Andrews’ website. They posted it as installments and readers were treated to a new story in increments. I think this is one case where showing up late to the ‘party’ worked in my favor. I’m glad that I got it all at one time and I’m even happier that there is more to come.

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