The Spellslinger (A Fistful of Daggers #4) by S.M. Reine

Lincoln Marshall has failed. The Godslayer is trapped in her worst nightmares. His only chance of repairing the timeline is dead. He’s stuck a decade in the past with Sophie Keyes, and the world is falling apart.
Held captive by the Union, Lincoln and Sophie must fight to repair a timeline rapidly unraveling.
James Faulkner has survived, but he’s not whole. He’s divided into angel and demon–his ambition and obsession severed from his power and passion. His angel side wants to rescue Elise. His demon side wants to rescue the world, at any cost–even if it means letting Elise die. Between their brilliant minds, they’ve conceived a plan that can repair the timeline. The only price is their lives.

My initial reaction when I finished Spellslinger? “OMG or gods? Doesn’t really matter in the long run I suppose. The old adage, “be careful what you ask for” still applies. I need the next book sooner rather than later…” I also promised that I would soon be writing my usual rambling, incoherent review, so here it goes…

That “be careful what you ask for” comment? Yeah, that’s real – fans were given a choice in a poll a while ago. The choices included a list of characters that readers would be interested in reading more about in their own series. Lincoln was one of those characters and he was my choice. To be fair, it wasn’t because he was one of my favorite characters, it’s just that he was featured in at least two other series and his character peaked my curiosity. If you know anything at all about S.M. Reine’s Decentverse, you know that her characters go through a lot AND their development from series to series sometimes takes a strange turn. Lincoln was one of those characters. A major transformation had obviously taken place and I wanted to know what happened to turn him into the character he had become in Dana McIntyre Must Die.

So much happened in Spellslinger… so much! There were a lot of characters pulling strings, a lot to love and just as much to hate. There were also a lot of twists and turns. Fair warning, it’s not an easy book to put down and it’s also one that demands your full attention. Although all of the books in the Fistful of Daggers series have been intense, I’ve got to say that Spellslinger has been the most emotionally intense one so far. I was not expecting tears and they fell more than once. I think who those tears were shed for at times was what shocked me most.

Spellslinger also proved to me that time travel is not for the faint of heart. Things that happened in the past escalated and shifted and the things that happened because of those shifts were devastating. Many things need to be “fixed”, many, many things. Beyond that craziness, Lincoln has a little farther to go before he gets to where he needs to be in the future and I can’t wait to see how he gets there.

If you haven’t started the Descentverse, you really need to. You can start with the Fistful of Daggers series, but since there is so much character and world building that takes place before this series starts, I wouldn’t recommend it. You can find the order of series and books on S.M. Reine’s website. A lot of the early books in the Descentverse are free, so there’s really no excuse to not start from the beginning 😉

The Marked Prince (The Darkest Court #2) by M.A. Grant

MarkedPrinceTorn between two worlds, desperate to save one love.
The Summer Court is nothing like Sebastian remembers. The oppressed lower classes are drained of their magick, and around every corner political intrigues threaten an already unstable regime. Sebastian’s only hope of surviving the Court and bringing home Prince Lyne’s traitorous brother lies with Duine, a magickless Unseelie servant desperate to win his freedom. A servant for whom Sebastian, an estranged Seelie royal himself, is developing a dangerous and deepening affection.
But behind the mask Duine wears are secrets as dangerous as what’s smoldering between them. And the more Duine helps Sebastian navigate Court life, the more it becomes clear the servant is not who he appears to be. How he came to be the whipping boy of one of the most powerful and corrupt faeries in the Summer Court is a truth Sebastian is determined to uncover, even if it puts him at odds with the very people who can lead him to the missing Unseelie prince.
When a powerful enemy steps from the shadows, it could spell the end not just for the Unseelie, but for both faerie Courts. Sebastian must choose: complete the mission and earn his place among the Unseelie who took him in, or risk his very life to ensure freedom for the man he loves.

One fear that all readers have when they start a new series is that the rest of the books won’t live up to first book. That was most definitely not the case with The Marked Prince. This is one of those rare times that the sequel was even better than the first book in a series. I really enjoyed The Prince of Air and Darkness, but The Marked Prince not only continued the action and intrigue of the first book, but added so many layers that it was pretty much impossible to put down.  

Sebastian was introduced in The Prince of Air and Darkness and even though I liked him, readers weren’t given a clue as to how involved he was with both faerie courts. Then there was Duine, who was even more involved. Just when I thought I had things figured out… well let’s just say, nothing was exactly how it seemed.

I loved the relationship between Sebastian and Duine, but their relationship with the supporting characters was just as satisfying. Sebastian had no intention of claiming his place as a royal, but when he returned, he wasn’t given much choice. His relationship with those who served him and his subjects wasn’t typical, but the mutual respect that they shared was refreshing – and annoying to those who didn’t understand.

Some questions that I had at the end of The Prince of Air and Darkness were answered, but by the end of The Marked Prince there I still wanted more. There’s at least one book left in the tale of Mab’s three sons and I can’t wait to see how M.A. Grant wraps things up in The Iron Crown.

The Midspring Rebellion by Doreen Heron

MidSpringRebellionThings are amiss in the fairy court, made worse one spring morning when King Oberon’s wife decides to leave him. His decision to gather his thoughts in the human realm lead him into the path, and arms, of workaholic human Nick Chandler. But when Oberon’s throne is threatened, will he be able to retain his kingship and his newfound love?

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1This was a quick, fun read.

Nick was the kind of person who liked everything in order. He was also a work-a-holic and didn’t have time for a Fae king literally popping in and out of his life on a whim. But he was also a great diversion from the grief he was almost drowning in after loosing his last boyfriend.

Then there was Oberon. He was dealing with his own issues and nothing was as he remembered from his last trip to earth. He was also a Fae king who wasn’t used to doing things for himself. He had subjects who took care of everything for him. There was something about Nick though that made him want to try.

The time that these characters spent on earth was sweet and fun. Things started to unravel for me a little bit though when all the characters traveled back to Fae.

Midspring Rebellion was still a fun little read. I think it would have been more solid if the second half of Nick and Oberon’s story wouldn’t have felt so rushed. *sigh*

DragonFlyGreen3-5

Priest of Skulls (Tarot Witches: The Raven Knights Saga #2) by S.M. Reine

Allene Whelan is trapped in the True Kingdom, held captive by their cruel leader Macsen. It’s her job as the newest Raven Knight to assassinate him by any means necessary. As a sylph whose greatest weapon is her body, that means seducing him…all the way to the grave.
But the closer Allene gets to Macsen, the more she realizes he’s being played by a crueler enemy: Morgause, the manipulative sidhe he regards as mother. And Macsen doesn’t seem interested in hurting Allene. The closer they grow, the less she wants to kill him.
Trapped by passion in a shadowy labyrinth of lies, Allene forces Macsen to make a choice. Does the Priest of Skulls want to rule through death, or through love?

My initial reaction when I finished Priest of Skulls was – GAH! I suppose now I need to take the time to write a semi-coherent review without giving anything away. #EvilAuthor #CanYouSayCliffHanger

I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone who hasn’t started this series, so if that’s you – STOP here. Also, this is not a great place to start The Raven Knight Saga. If you’ve already read (and survived) Knave of Blades, you’ll totally understand. Just an FYI – this book does not end with our characters in any better circumstances than they were at the end of the first book. In fact, things are even more bleak – hence the GAH!

Allene should be terrified to be in the clutches of the enemy. She had planned on facing them – especially Macsen – but on her terms. The thing is, she feels safe with Macsen and eventually strangely protective of her captor. To make things even more complicated, another tarot card shows up and the Priest of Skulls has a striking resemblance to Macsen.

As crazy as it sounds, I found myself sympathizing with Macsen. He’s torn between his loyalty to Morgaues and his growing feelings toward both Allene and Leander.

Unsurprisingly, things get a little crazy, which is putting it mildly. Leander has no idea what’s going on and how much danger Allene is in and Keane spends a lot of his time talking him down. They have no idea that she not only considers herself safe, she’s not ready to leave Macsen’s side. That doesn’t mean that her feelings for Leander have changed, if anything, they’ve grown. Obviously, there’s a lot more going on than just a simple kidnapping and when the true plan is revealed… GAH!

So… as usual with any of this author’s books, I’ll be waiting not so patiently for the next book in this saga. There are more questions need answering, more smexiness to be had, more characters to get to know better, and a prophecy that needs to be broken… GAH!

Just so you know, it’s not unusual for this author to reduce me to using one syllable words or writing rambling reviews. If you haven’t checked out any of S.M. Reine’s books yet, you need to delve into the Decentverse for yourself. I personally started with Seasons of the Moon, but you can start anywhere… as long as you start. Visit SM Reine’s website to check them all out. You can thank me later 😉

Blood is Forever by Asta Idonea

As a fae-vampire hybrid, scorned by all, Holden’s life has never been easy. The one bright spot is his job testing blood at supernatural crime scenes. It’s routine work, until the day he finds a victim he can’t read.
When one murder becomes two, and then three, it’s clear there’s a serial killer on the loose—one with a penchant for collecting hearts. Finding the bad guy could cement Holden’s career, but he’s drawing a blank. And it doesn’t help that the expert his boss calls in to assist him is the man Holden’s been crushing on for years.
With lives hanging in the balance, Holden and Val must solve the case before the killer strikes again. But will they come out with their hearts still intact?

Standalone books are great, but every once in a while, I read a book that isn’t a part of a series that I really wish was. That’s how I felt when I finished Blood is Forever. I loved getting to know Holden and Val and their story came to a satisfying end, but I couldn’t help thinking that it would be great to get more from them. *sigh*

Holden was one of those characters that I just wanted to hug. He was treated as an outcast by pretty much everyone. His only true friend was someone who didn’t even come into his life honestly. He became a friend because he took the time to really get to know Holden and not judge him because of his parentage.

Val wasn’t someone who was easy to like, especially since he treated Holden just as bad as everyone else during their first encounters. He was arrogant and rude, but not everyone or everything is exactly what they seem at first glance. There was a lot more to Val than he let others see and it didn’t take long for Holden to become even more enamored with him.

There were a lot of unexpected twists and turns in Blood is Forever and at times the situation that Holden and Val found themselves in seemed hopeless. Love has a way of turning things around though, even when betrayal comes from some unexpected sources.

Demon on the Down-Low (Supernatural Selection #3) by E.J. Russell

After decades of unrequited love, this kangaroo will jump at the chance for a date. Any date.
Lovelorn kangaroo shifter Hamish Mulherne, drummer for the mega-hit rock band Hunter’s Moon, waited years for the band’s jaguar shifter bassist to notice him. Instead, she’s just gotten married and is in a thriving poly relationship. How is Hamish supposed to compete with that? But with everyone else in the band mated and revoltingly happy, he needs somebody. Since he can’t expect true love to strike twice, he signs up with Supernatural Selection. Because what the hell.
When Zeke Oz was placed at Supernatural Selection through the Sheol work-release program, he thought he was the luckiest demon alive. But when he seems responsible for several massive matchmaking errors, he’s put on notice: find the perfect match for Hamish, or get booted back to Sheol for good. The only catch? He has to do it without the agency’s matchmaking spells, and Hamish simply will not engage.
But Zeke starts to believe that the reason all of Hamish’s dates fizzle is because nobody in the database is good enough for him. And Hamish realizes that his perfect match might be the cute demon who’s trying so hard to make him happy.

I’ve lost count of how many series finales I’ve read in the past few months. *sigh* It’s always sad to say good-bye, but I’ve loved the Supernatural Selection series and I’ve also loved Zeke since he was first introduced in Single White Incubus. If the series had to end, Demon on the Down-Low was the perfect way to wrap it up… even though I wasn’t really ready.

I’ve said before that I’m a huge fan of E.J. Russell, but my absolute favorite characters are her quirky ones. The characters that make me giggle and fall in love with them, just for being who they are. This series was full of them and Zeke was one of my favorites. Hamish and Zeke together were adorable. The other thing I loved about this series was getting to see characters from the Fae Out of Water series. They jumped in to help “save the day” on more than one occasion.

There was a bit more intrigue in Demon on the Down-Low, mainly because readers (and the characters) finally discovered who the “bad guy” was in Supernatural Selection. It wasn’t exactly who I expected, but I wasn’t surprised either. The wrap-up actually involved the characters from the previous books in this series, as well as the characters from Fae Out of Water, so it was like a big homecoming 😉 I loved every minute of it. Since Hamish was first introduced in the Fae Out of Water series, it’s the perfect excuse to start a re-read from the beginning with Cutie and the Beast (one of my favorites from that series.) Actually, it doesn’t take much to convince me to re-read a series I loved the first time around. 😉

The Prince of Air and Darkness (The Darkest Court #1) by MA Grant

The only human student at Mather’s School of Magick, Phineas Smith has a target on his back. Born with the rare ability to tap into unlimited magick, he finds both Faerie Courts want his allegiance—and will do anything to get it.
They don’t realize he can’t levitate a feather, much less defend the Faerie Realm as it slips into civil war.
Unseelie Prince Roark Lyne, Phineas’s roommate—and self-proclaimed arch nemesis—is beautiful and brave and a pain in the ass. Phineas can’t begin to sort through their six years of sexual tension masquerading as mutual dislike. But Roark is also the only one able to help Finn tame his magick.
Trusting Roark’s mysterious motives may be foolish; not accepting his temporary protection would be deadly.
Caught in the middle of the impending war, Phineas and Roark forge a dangerous alliance. And as the walls between them crumble, Phineas realizes that Roark isn’t the monster he’d imagined. But their growing intimacy threatens to expose a secret that could either turn the tide of the war…or destroy them both.

This one… grew on me? I wasn’t sure at first and it took me a lot longer to get into than it normally takes me, but once it grabbed me, it wouldn’t let go… Like “staying up until 1 am so I could finish” not letting go…

I’m not sure why it took me so long to get into Prince of Air and Darkness, other than the fact that the story went in a lot of directions. I didn’t have a problem with the characters though, at least not Finn. I liked him from the beginning, Roark… not so much. Things weren’t exactly as they seemed though – for the record, those are my favorite kinds of stories.

There were a lot of twists and turns and secrets… One of the major twists came at the very end – which I’m still a little confused about because… well, for a lot of reasons. Even though The Marked Prince, the next book in The Darkest Court series centers around another couple, I’m hoping that readers haven’t seen the last of Finn and Roark… for well, reasons. 😉

Owned by Fate (Dragon Soul #5) by Sean Michael

Dr. Mike Beteferoce turned his back on magic long ago. His heart broke and his desire for a soul mate disappeared. When he sees his family crest branded above Corryn’s heart, his first instinct is to flee. The last thing he wants now is a Fae interfering in his life—especially one who has already rejected him.
But fate has other plans.
Corryn knows Mike is his soul mate, has known since the sigil was branded on his skin centuries ago. Long before Mike came to him as a studly young dragon just entering his prime. It was far too early for them to be together then, but now their time has come.
But despite their draw to each other, Corryn doesn’t believe Mike can accept him for who—and what—he is. Mike must breathe life into their bond—loving Corryn as both soul mate and Fae—if they are to fulfill their destiny.

Mike & Corryn’s story was both sweet and heartbreaking, which I didn’t expect. Corryn had lived with the pain of knowing what he did to Mike for centuries. Because of his denial and rejection, Mike turned to another Fae who broke him in more ways than one. Corryn never stopped loving him though. He had very good reasons for turning Mike down all those years ago, but he also knew he could have handled it a lot better than he did. For that reason, he went to great lengths to try to make things right, but Fate had other plans.

Their destiny brought all the Beteferoce brothers and their mates together in Owned by Fate. Since Corryn had finally found what he thought he had lost – at least in this lifetime, he wasn’t anxious for things to end quite so soon.

This series had its ups and downs and there was a LOT of sex, so if that’s not what you’re used to, prepare yourself. I admit that there were times that I skimmed through parts of all of these books, but I still loved the story and the world that Sean Michael built around these dragons and their mates.

Wretched Wicked (Preternatural Affairs #9.5) by S.M. Reine

Cesar Hawke works for the Office of Preternatural Affairs. He’s an agent in the Magic Violations Department, hunting down witches who break the law, saving lives, and getting caught up in a lot more trouble than he’s paid to deal with.
Fritz Friederling is his boss. The director. The heir of the Friederling fortune, earned by mining in Hell with human slaves. A man who puts away witches for life without trial. Inheritor of his father’s legacy, and his grandfather’s, and all the ruthless men who came before.
But they didn’t always work together. Not before, and not after. Once they were strangers, and now they’re something else. More fatal than family, more permanent than marriage, closer than the oldest friends, until death do they part…
This novella tells the story of the early years of their partnership from Fritz Friederling’s perspective. It contains spoilers and should be read after the rest of the Preternatural Affairs series. It also includes a new, exclusive afterword from the author!

Ah Cesar *sigh* Have I mentioned that he’s at the top of my favorite Decentiverse male character list? Fritz, not so much and since Wretched Wicked is told from his POV I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to like it. Honestly, getting to know Fritz just a little bit better wasn’t so bad. Those of us who have read through the Preternatural Affairs books already know what happens. Getting the same story from Fritz’s POV wasn’t really surprising but it was enlightening enough to make me want to go back and reread Preternatural Affairs from the beginning. (I’ll use any excuse for a reread 😉 )

There was more to Wretched Wicked though. It wasn’t a total retelling. We learned more about Fritz’s personal life before he met Cesar. I might have even ended up liking him a little bit more by the end. To be honest, Fritz is a much more likable person when he’s with Cesar and for some reason, these two really care about each other. Their relationship works – even with the rest of their motley crew.

This may have been a short read (less than 100 pages), but it didn’t lack any of the usual punch connected with S.M. Reine’s stories. And then there was the Epilogue… don’t skip the Epilogue, whatever you do. I may not be a huge fan of Fritz on his own, but paired with Cesar?… those moments are priceless ❤

Lonesome Paladin (A Fistful of Daggers #1) by SM Reine

Ever since the gods died, lapsed Catholic Lincoln Marshall has been drowning at the bottom of a tequila bottle and picking fights with non-believers. One of those fights ends in a man dead and Lincoln arrested. Nobody’ll give a bail bond to a flight risk like Lincoln, and he hasn’t a penny to his name, so he can’t pay his own bail. But Dullahan Daith can. He’s willing to buy the freedom of anyone who’ll skip town with him to the Middle Worlds, where a high price has been placed on the heads of trolls…and where rumor says God is reborn.
Lincoln and a mysterious prisoner named Sophie Keyes are the only ones crazy enough to sell themselves on this suicide mission. Sophie doesn’t talk much, but she’s got something that Lincoln no longer has: faith. And between the two of them, they might be able to bring God back to a godless world.

I have absolutely no idea where to start with this review – other than my normal SM Reine disclaimer… if you have yet to pick up a book by this author, do it now! Seriously, sooner rather than later. I don’t recommend that you start with Lonesome Paladin though. The world that this book and future books in the series belong to is way too vast to jump into with Lincoln Marshall. Trust me… you’re going to want to get at least a little bit of background before you meet him in all his crotchety, grouchy, self loathing glory. The Lincoln that readers are introduced to in A Fistful of Daggers is the product of EVERYTHING that came before this point. Fair warning, the volume of books in this world created by SM Reine may seem daunting at first, but I can pretty much promise that once you’re hooked, there will be no turning back. Here’s a link to help you navigate through the “Descentverse” . I’ve jumped around a little, but I did start with Seasons of the Moon – AND if you need even more incentive, you can pick up the entire series FREE from Amazon (Six Moon Summer, All Hallows’ Moon, Long Night Moon & Gray Moon Rising). Now that I’ve gotten the disclaimer out of the way…

I’m obviously a fan of this author and I’ve read pretty much all the books in this universe, but I do have my favorite characters, which naturally means that I like some more than others. A while ago, readers were given a chance to vote on which character SM Reine should base her next series on and Lincoln was one of those characters. I was, unfortunately, in the minority and Dana McIntyre won that round. I was NOT a Dana McIntyre fan… until Dana McIntyre Must Die kinda blew me away. I was one of the few that wanted to get a series wrapped around Lincoln and I wanted it even more after reading Dana’s series. I’m not exactly sure what drew me to him, but I knew I wanted more, so I was obviously excited when I found out that he was indeed getting his story. After reading Lonesome Paladin I can honestly say it was totally worth the wait and as a bonus, I’m getting a lot more than I bargained for… so much more.

So, now comes the time that you have to promise me not to shoot me for being vague. You’ll thank me in the long run, honest. This book was SO much more than I expected. There were new characters and others that readers know pretty well, or at least they think they do… (here’s where that vagueness REALLY comes into play.) If you’ve followed my reviews you know that I have a couple of characters in the “Decentverse” that I love more than others. Well, one of my absolute favorites had a LOT of face time in Lonesome Paladin and I think I may have done an actual happy dance when they made their first appearance. Little did I know…

A lot happened in Lonesome Paladin… way more than I expected. Sophie Keyes was an interesting addition, but shrouded in her own mystery. She’s chipping away at Lincoln and I haven’t really decided if that’s a good or bad thing. Even if you’ve read all the books in the “Decentverse” up until this point and you know where Lincoln ultimately ends up, the how and why are still a mystery and Lonesome Paladin is only the beginning of the journey.

Oh, and I would be totally remiss if I didn’t mention that Chapter 22 was PERFECTION! I can’t say why and I can’t mention any names, but when you get there, you’ll know. If I could give this book more than 5 stars on most platforms I would and the extras would go to that moment ❤