Deadly Curiosities (Deadly Curiosities #1) by Gail Z. Martin

Welcome to Trifles & Folly, a store with a dark secret. Proprietor Cassidy Kincaide continues a family tradition begun in 1670 – acquiring and neutralizing dangerous supernatural items. It’s the perfect job for Cassidy, whose psychic gift lets her touch an object and know its history. Together with her business partner Sorren, a 500-year-old vampire and former jewel thief, Cassidy makes it her business to get infernal objects off the market. 
When a trip to a haunted hotel unearths a statue steeped in malevolent power, and a string of murders draws a trail to the abandoned old Navy yard, Cassidy and Sorren discover a diabolical plot to unleash a supernatural onslaught on their city. 
It’s time for Kincaide and her team to get rid of these Deadly Curiosities before the bodies start piling up.

I suppose I introduced myself to this world created by Gail Z. Martin/Morgan Brice a little backwards. (For the record, that’s not an usual thing for me…) Although this is the first book in the Deadly Curiosities series, it was not my first introduction to Teag, Sorren or Cassidy. Aside from the fact that I listened to the audio version of this book a few months ago and have read several books/series written under Morgan Brice, I also read Trifles & Folly 1 and Trifles & Folly 2, which are collections of short stories that fit between the full length books in the series. About time I officially start from the beginning, don’t you think?

The mystery builds in Deadly Curiosities as it becomes obvious that there’s a connection between seemingly unrelated items. It’s up to Teag, Sorren and Cassidy to figure out what that connection is before whatever or whoever’s behind it gets even more dangerous. They end up calling in reinforcements with the own set of unique talents.

I love the premise of this series. Each of the characters brings something unique to their “side” business and Charleston is the perfect setting. The relationship between the characters is much more than a business one, it’s more like family. There’s action, danger, demons, ghosts, magic and a vampire – what’s not to love?

Although my precarious relationship with audio books is getting better, after reading the ebook version of Deadly Curiosities, I realized that there was a lot that I missed or maybe didn’t retained when I listened. *sigh* That’s not a reflection on the audio version at all, because I actually liked the narration. So please don’t hesitate to pick it up if audio is your preference 😉

This is Not a Horror Movie by Sara Dobie Bauer

Emory Jones loves two things: horror movies and Connor Nichols.
For the past four years, Emory, Connor, and their families have vacationed side by side on Longboat Key, Florida. Eighteen-year-old Emory has pined for his neighbor from behind the covers of Stephen King books, but college boy Connor has never noticed him. Probably because Emory looks like Jack Skellington with good hair.
Emory anticipates another predictable summer of sunburn and disappointment. Instead, he ends up with a mystery on his hands when a beloved beach bum goes missing, and Connor volunteers to help with the search. Turns out it’s not just scary movie cops who are worthless, so the boys start an investigation of their own—leading them straight to an abandoned beach resort.
Despite the danger, Emory and Connor grow closer, but as Emory’s gay dreams start coming true, so do the horror movie tropes he so loves. Even though he knows that sex equals death in slasher flicks, Emory can’t keep his hands off the guy of his teenage dreams.
This is Not a Horror Movie is a 78,000-word new adult gay rom-com… with a monster.

There was so much to love about This is Not a Horror Movie. It was a grand mix of a sweet young romance, laced with humor and a touch of B-Movie campiness.

Emory was adorable. He was a little geeky and totally clueless about his growth-spurt turning into someone both girls and guys were staring at for reasons he didn’t quite understand. He had admired Connor from somewhat of a distance for years. His family knew all about his attraction to their yearly vacation neighbor, but since Connor was way out of his league, most likely straight and too reminiscent of the jocks at his school – Emory kept his feelings to himself. This was destined to be a summer of change though.

Both Emory and Connor were the kind of teenage boys that were refreshing to read about. They were far from perfect, but they were good, thoughtful, caring kids. The kind of kids who walked an older woman’s dog, or went in search of a homeless Vet – and put themselves on the line when they could have just turned away.

I also loved the family connections in This is Not a Horror Movie. They had their moments, like all families do, but both Connor and Emory’s families were super supportive. I also adored the twin connection between Liz and Emory.

Basically, This is Not a Horror Movie is the perfect vacation read, especially if you’re headed to the beach. 😉

Rise of Heroes (Artifact Hunters #3) by S.M. Reine

With his secrets exposed and his partner-in-crime gone, renowned thief Shatter Cage has only one target in mind: Silverclaw, the fallen Hero responsible for destroying Cage’s life. He’s teamed up with his sometimes-enemy-current-fiancee Brigid Byrne to destroy Silverclaw’s organization piece by piece, no matter how long it takes.
The Oracle who canonized Silverclaw wants a more absolute type of revenge. Like, Silverclaw’s head on the end of a legendary sword. She’s willing to pay for the job done right. And if Cage will kill Silverclaw, she’ll make Cage into a Hero.
Becoming Hero is all Cage ever wanted, but he’s never murdered before. He can have his dreams at the price of blood on his hands. And hey, why not? There’s no reason an old were-squirrel can’t learn new tricks…

Shatter Cage has come a long way since readers first met him in Race of Thieves. He’s found love and suffered loss and he’s learned a lot along the way. I have to admit that I was kind of curious about how an alpha squirrel shifter was going to fit into the Descentverse but Cage lived up to the challenge. What he lacked in size, he more than made up for in determination, loyalty and heart.

On the surface, Brigid and Cage were a very unlikely couple. Their love/hate relationship worked for them though – and it was so much fun to watch.

There were a lot of familiar “faces” in Rise of Heroes. As always, it was interesting spending time with them outside of their own personal story lines. That’s one of the things I love about the Descentverse – it’s all so intertwined. It gives readers a whole new perspective – especially because you’re “seeing” them through another character’s eyes.

Rise of Heroes brought Cage and Brigid’s story to a satisfying end, but I hope that we get to see them again in future stories. It wasn’t the outcome I (or Cage) expected, but in a lot of ways it was so much better. I even almost forgave the #evilauthor for what she put readers through in Reign of Monsters. Almost. Oh, and the ironic twist that was thrown at Brigid and Cage at the end was priceless. ❤

Dire Blood (Descent #5) by S.M. Reine – Narrated by Kate Udall

Elise Kavanagh died while killing the mother of all demons, and her fight should be over. But nothing is ever that easy where the Godslayer is concerned. Elise has been resurrected–and she came back as a demon.
Now the most powerful witch in the world, James Faulkner, has been dragged to Hell and accused of violating an ancient treaty. The punishment is eternity in Hellfire. Elise is the only one who can save him. But it means following him into Hell to face inhuman urges, the secrets in her past, and the horror in her future.
The Godslayer’s fight isn’t over yet. It’s only just beginning…

It’s been almost exactly 5 years since I read Dire Blood the first time as an ebook and I forgot how intense it was. I think listening to it this time instead of reading it upped that intensity…

Even given the length of time that’s passed since I last read Dire Blood, I was still kind of surprised about how much I forgot. I honestly shouldn’t have surprised me that much though because a LOT happens in this book. There’s also a lot of back story, which I really loved. It gave readers a glimpse of where Elise and James came from and how they got to where they were.

Dire Blood is a book of loyalty and betrayal. It’s also about love and family and how the two don’t always go hand in hand. There’s also not a lot of down time. Elise, James and everyone around them spends most the book literally fighting for their lives.

If you haven’t read Dire Blood yet, brace yourself for one heck of a cliff hanger. This book was kind of a turning point in the Descent series for me. It made me admire one character even more than I did before and it was the beginning of my extreme dislike of another. That character eventually won me over – but it took a couple more series in the Descentverse for that to happen.

Once again, if you haven’t read any books by this author, there’s pretty much something for everyone. If you’ve been here before, you probably already know that I started with the Seasons of the Moon series and have read pretty much everything in the Descentverse and beyond. Next up in the Descent series is Defying Fate, which I picked up again. If you want to see what else S.M. Reine has to offer readers, she has a complete printable list and reading order on her website. You’re welcome! 😉

The Transylvania Twist (Monster M*A*S*H #2) by Angie Fox

A shaky truce. A pregnant Medusa. And a dedicated doctor who keeps legends alive.
Even during a truce, I have my hands full as a MASH surgeon to an army of warring gods—especially when Medusa herself turns up pregnant. I frankly have no idea what to expect when a Gorgon’s expecting, but I have an even bigger problem when my presumed-dead former-fiancé sneaks into my tent with enough emotional baggage to fill a tank.
He’s been fighting for the other side, which technically makes him my enemy, and now he needs me and the power I’ve kept secret for so long: I can see the dead. It’s a blessing and a curse. Literally. Because the gods will smite me in a second if they suspect.
But the other side is developing a terrible new weapon, and the only person who can stop the carnage was just murdered in a covert lab behind enemy lines. So I have no choice but to pull on my combat boots and go AWOL with my ex and a moody berserker to confront a ghost with a terrible secret.
Too bad uncovering the truth could make me enemy #1…

This is one of those books that I really liked, but I’m still not sure about the direction that it took. *sigh* I don’t like giving things away, but since it was mentioned in the description… I was not happy about Mark’s return…. for a lot of reasons.

The rest of the story was just as good as Monster M*A*S*H, the first book in the series. I just really liked Galen and Petra’s relationship in the first book. He brought out the best in her or at least made her feel that things that she doubted were totally possible. I didn’t get that same feeling from Mark. It felt like he was using her most of the time and I just really didn’t like him. Petty, I know… *sigh*

As for the rest of the story, it was just as full of action, mystery, loyal friends and humor as readers have come to expect – not just from this series, but from Angie Fox books in general. Werewolves in London is next and I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

Ghost of an Enchantment (Wickwood Chronicles #2) by J.E. McDonald

Something extraordinary hides beneath Wickwood’s picturesque façade… and this time it’s not staying buried.
Stella Campfield might be having a string of bad luck, but she has her witch’s intuition telling her it will turn around. That is until her best friend accidentally opens a portal to another dimension!
When the police arrive, she’s dismayed to learn the officer she’s been obsessing over is on the case. As an energy reader, she’s drawn to him like no other, but she can’t explain why.
And that changes everything.
When Lucas Martinez ends up on the alluring lady’s doorstep because of a noise disturbance call, he is unexpectedly pulled into the world of the paranormal.
Burn marks on the floor and floating books? Nothing is as it seems.
As his attraction for the secretive witch grows, and as he digs into the mysteries surrounding her, he’s even more convinced Stella is at the center of it all.
Can the unlikely pair learn to trust each other or will the sinister forces surrounding them tear their burning romance—and the world—apart?

I realized when I started reading Ghost of an Enchantment that I have a thing for characters that are clueless. Actually beyond clueless when it comes to the existence of the unexplained. To be honest, I probably realized it before I read Ghost of an Enchantment, but Lucas and his adamance against anything that couldn’t be explained by anything outside the norm reinforced it.

Lucas and Stella are drawn together regardless of how hard they try to deny it – and they tried really hard. Fate had different plans for them and it became to hard to fight the inevitable. It also became harder for Lucas to explain the strange things that were happening without admitting that there were things beyond the normal world that he thought he lived in.

As for Stella, she’d been brought up to not trust the police. Those warnings were centered around secrets- some that she was purposely keeping from Lucas and some that had been kept from her all her life. There were a lot of strange things happening in Wickwood and as the secrets were revealed, the more those strange things seemed to be totally related.

Ghost of an Enchantment was full of twists, turns, mystery, magic and danger. It also included a sweet romance and a strong sense of family. Everything I like in a new series.

Even though this is the second book in the Wickwood Chronicles, it’s the first book that I’ve read in the series. I wasn’t confused at all, but there are definitely some characters that I now want to get to know better. I’m pretty sure that I’ll be catching up with the rest of the series soon. 😉

Bjorn Cursed (Forgotten Brotherhood #4) by N.J. Walters

Lucifer is up to his old tricks, causing problems for the Forgotten Brotherhood. This time, he’s had a woman removed from the Norse afterlife and placed her right in the path of Bjorn Knutson. After the slaughter of his wife and family centuries ago, tortured and broken, Bjorn was cursed as the first Norse werewolf. Now he’s been tasked by Odin himself with killing the woman who escaped. Failure is not an option.
Before he can track her, he stumbles across a woman being accosted by three men in the middle of the night. Even though she’s human, he intervenes and is shocked to recognize the face of the one woman he could never kill — his wife Anja.
She’s also the one he’s hunting…and if he doesn’t kill her then both their lives are at stake.

The members of the Forgotten Brotherhood once again find themselves being used as pawns to entertain the Gods and Goddesses. At least that’s what it seems like. This time it’s Bjorn that they’re toying with and the situation that they have put him in is beyond cruel. As if his hasn’t tortured him enough, he finds his long lost wife, only to be charged with the task of killing her.

I’ve only read two books in this series, so my opinion might change, but as of right now, Bjorn Cursed is my favorite. It’s not just because of Bjorn and Anja though. The Forgotten Brotherhood is a formidable force mainly because they consider themselves family. If one of them is threatened, they don’t stand alone. That sense of family is what has really pulled me into this series.

The odds seemed stacked against Anja or Bjorn. If Anja was taken away from him again, Bjorn wouldn’t stop seeking revenge and his friends wouldn’t be able to bring him back this time. This was a fast paced story with danger pretty much around every corner – as well as a few surprises.

I’m not sure what’s next for the Forgotten Brotherhood, but I still have some back tracking to do. Fury Unleashed and Arctic Bite are the first two books in the series so maybe I can pick up at least one of them before the next book is released. 😉

The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy #3) by Deborah Harkness – Narrated by Jennifer Ikeda

In The Book of Life, Diana and Matthew time-travel back from Elizabethan London to make a dramatic return to the present—facing new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home, Sept-Tours, they reunite with the beloved cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches—with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on even more urgency.

So I think I’m getting the hang of this audio book thing. 😉 The Book of Life marks the 3rd I’ve listened to in the past few weeks and I’ve made an important discovery. I can’t just sit and listen. I have to be doing something while I’m listening. I’ve learned the hard way that if I just concentrate on the book, I’ll be read to sleep. Weird, I know, but what fun would normal be?

My initial reaction when I finished The Book of Life was that it was the perfect conclusion to the series, and that’s still true. Foes were fought, surprising discoveries were made, loose ends were tidied up, mysteries were solved and yet… *sigh*

There were still things that I want to know and I doubt that I’m the only one who just wonders… what happened to… where did a certain character end up… will Diana ever know… So many questions that I would love to have been answered. I loved the final story, I really did, but as often is the case with books I love, I still wanted more.

The Beautiful Ashes (Broken Destiny #1) Jeaniene Frost

Sometimes, falling in love really is the end of the world… 
Ivy has always seen things that she cannot explain. Strange things. Otherworldly things. But when her sister goes missing, Ivy discovers the truth is far worse—her hallucinations are real, and her sister is imprisoned in a realm beyond Ivy’s reach. The one person who can help her is the dangerously attractive rebel who’s bound by an ancient legacy to betray her.
The fate Adrian has fought to escape is here – but he never expected the burning need he feels for Ivy. With destiny on one side and desire on the other, Adrian must help Ivy search for the powerful relic that can save her sister. Yet he knows what Ivy doesn’t: the truth about her own destiny, and a war that could destroy the world. Sooner or later, it will be Ivy on one side, Adrian on the other, and nothing but ashes in between…

A while back I decided to make a real concentrated effort to pick up books from my physical book shelf on a regular basis. It’s taken a while, but I’ve gotten back into the “habit” of switching between my ebooks and my physical books. I had no idea how many of my physical books I had neglected over the years. Which brings us to The Beautiful Ashes. Not only has it taken me a while to pick this one up, I’ve pretty much had it in my possession since its 2014-15 release. *sigh* ( FYI- If you look at my Goodreads account, please ignore the length of time it took me to read The Beautiful Ashes. It doesn’t reflect how much I enjoyed this book at all. I tend to read mostly at night with my Kindle and don’t always find time to snuggle into a cozy corner with a “real” book. I’m working on it though, so no judging. 😉 )

The Beautiful Ashes begins with Ivy knowing nothing about where she came from, other than she was adopted. She spent most of her life thinking she was crazy, turns out that all the strange things that she saw were wrapped up in her destiny. Learning about who she was didn’t make anything any easier. All she wanted to use her new found powers for were to rescue her sister and then go back to her normal life. “Destiny” had other plans for her though and they were all wrapped up with someone she found hard to resist, even though he wanted to have nothing to do with her. Trust was also an issue that neither her or Adrian gave easily.

There was a lot to love about The Beautiful Ashes. Witty characters, a forbidden romance, mystery and danger around pretty much every corner… and dimension. Even though it took me a while to read, before I knew it, their story was over – for now. The Sweetest Burn is next and given the fact that Adrian and Ivy left readers in a fairly tense cliff hanger, I can’t wait to continue the Broken Destiny series.

On another note – I love it when authors leave readers “Easter Eggs” from other books/series in their current books. There was a rather comical nod to The Night Huntress Universe that made me giggle…

“You want to save your sister?” he asked evenly. “You’ll need something strong enough to kill demons.”
This was too much too fast. “Like holy water? Or crosses?” I asked numbly.
His look became pointed. “Those are for vampires, and they don’t exist…””

Cat, Bones and company may have a few things to say about that… 😉

Burning Ash (Forgotten Brotherhood #3) by N.J. Walters

No one is more surprised than Asher, one of the oldest vampires on Earth, that he’s attracted to vamp hunter Jo Radcliffe. She’s smart, a talented slayer, and she’s gorgeous. Something about her pulls at him, like no one ever has before. For a man, whose name strikes fear in everyone—this is something new and intriguing. And quite possibly deadly, if she discovers his secret.
Jo has two things in common with the handsome Asher—they are both slayers and someone is messing with them in a very-much-trying-to-kill-them way. She’s not so happy about joining forces with a dude she doesn’t know. But he’s sexy as hell and really good at his job as one of the Forgotten Brotherhood, whose business it is to execute misbehaving paranormals.
She knows she’s bait in a larger plot to harm Asher and the Brotherhood. And there is nothing he won’t do, no line he won’t cross, to keep her safe—which may be the weakness that destroys them both.

This is the first book that I’ve read by N.J. Walters. Yes, you read that correctly. I picked up a book from a new to me author that is the third book in a new series. Stick around long enough and you’ll discover that this is a not so rare trend with me. *sigh* The good news is that you can definitely read Burning Ash as a stand alone and not be totally lost, but if you’re like me, you will finish it wanting to know how the series started – which I plan to do – especially before I pick up the next book. Just in case anyone’s curious, the series begins with Fury Unleashed (Maccus & Morrigan – who play a role in Burning Ash) and continues with Arctic Bite (Alexei & Cassie – who are just mentioned in Burning Ash). Now that we’ve gotten my much too frequently repeated confession out of the way…

Asher and Jo were amazing together. The fact that Asher was a vampire and Jo was a vampire hunter with a personal vendetta against ALL vampires was bound to cause issues, but their attraction was hard to ignore. Besides, Asher wasn’t an average vampire and Jo wasn’t an average hunter. There was also the issue of someone trying to destroy them both – working together made more sense than working apart. Asher didn’t have as much trouble working with Jo, he was actually determined to protect her from anyone and anything. The attraction for him was pure instinct at first, but it turned in to much more the longer they were together.

There was much more to this story than the budding romance between vampire and hunter. Teaming with the allusive Maccus and his mate, Morrigan, added another layer to the story. There was also mystery, action and a lot of action to keep the pages turning. Much more than I expected. One mystery was solved by the end of Burning Ash, but not another one that affects all the Forgotten Brotherhood and their mates. I’m not sure what comes next, but I’m sure that it’s not over. That’s okay though, I obviously have some catching up… or backtracking to do. 😉