Shadow of the Fox (Shadow of the Fox #1) by Julie Kagawa

One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos.
Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn.
Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll.
There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart.
With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself.

It’s been a while since I’ve picked up a series by Julie Kagawa. I practically devoured The Iron Fey series and I loved Blood of Eden. When I saw Shadow of the Fox, I didn’t hesitate. Once I started reading, it didn’t take me long to remember why I love this author’s world building so much.

My first love in the Fantasy genre is mythology, mainly because I loved it as a child. It’s familiar, but every author has the ability to put their own spin on it, so the stories are also fresh. Shadow of the Fox was centered around Japanese mythology, a first for me. I have to admit that it took me a little while to wrap my head around this unfamiliar world, but not too long.

There was a lot to take in, but I loved all the twists and turns. The POV switched between not only Tatsumi and Yumeko, but some unexpected characters were given a voice. I loved the magic and legends that were woven into the story. There was danger everywhere and both Tatsumi and Yumeko kept secrets from one another – which didn’t make things easier for either one of them.

I also loved the twists and turns and the unlikely alliances that were formed along their journey. Yumeko’s perspective on pretty much everything was the polar opposite of Tatsumi’s, which was both confusing and frustrating for the warrior.

There are a lot of reasons why I can’t wait until the next book in Shadow of the Fox is released. First and foremost is that, things take a major turn near the end and then… yeah, you’ll just have to read Shadow of the Fox to find out and then join me in waiting not so patiently for Soul of the Sword. *sigh*

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The Monster Museum (Ellie Jordan Ghost Trapper #10) by JL Bryan

Just outside the small but colorful mountain resort town of Foxboro, Tennessee lies Dr. Weirdman’s Mountain Museum of Monsters, Curiosities, and Ancient Mysteries. Once a major tourist attraction, it offers travelers the amusement of touring unusual underground caves and pseudo-scientific exhibits ranging from strange creatures to the supposed artifacts of lost civilizations.
Now the museum is a crumbling relic of an older age, fallen into disrepair. Its longtime owner has died, leaving it in the hands of a younger distant relative who knows nothing of how to run a failing tourist trap of a museum, but who is desperate to make a living and provide for his own children.
The museum has a serious ghost problem, though, and Ellie Jordan is called in from Savannah to help. An unexpected old friend joins Ellie at the last moment so that they can spend a snow-filled Christmas together in the mountains…if the ghosts of the restless dead don’t turn the holidays into a horrific tragedy.

Have you ever read a book and had the urge to jump in and warn the characters because you figured something out before they did? A life or death something? Something that they really, really needed to know? Yeah, that’s pretty much how I felt at least halfway through The Monster Museum and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. That realization was almost as terrifying as the monsters Ellie was attempting to protect her clients agains. *sigh*

Running head long into danger is nothing new to Ellie Jordan. She pretty much does it all the time, but this time was different. This time she had no back-up. At least no back-up that she felt comfortable taking advantage of. That “old friend” that is hinted at in the description is Michael. And before you get upset about me “spoiling” anything, it’s revealed in the first chapter. Those of you who have followed the series know that Michael and Ellie aren’t exactly on the best of terms, at least they haven’t been. I know that when things were good between them, he was good for Ellie. I’m still not sure how I feel about him though. He was pretty hard on Ellie, but there’s also no one who’s harder on her than Ellie herself.

There was a lot going on even beyond the ghost trapping in The Monster Museum. We get a lot of Ellie’s personal feelings in this story that readers don’t normally get. Ellie would be the first to tell anyone that she doesn’t do relationships. Her job is too dangerous and it’s not the kind of thing she can leave at the office. Her emotions are jumbled and she doesn’t even trust them most of the time. She spends a lot of time in this story doing some self analysis and readers got to see a whole different side to her.

Heart stopping danger and an atmosphere that was more than a little spooky kept the pages turning and then… well, you’ll just have to read The Monster Museum to find out. This series is not for the faint of heart, so consider yourself warned. And even though you can’t really call the ending of The Monster Museum a cliff hanger, the danger is far from over and there’s a lot more in store for Ellie and company. Although I liked the one on one time spent with her, I’m hoping that the rest of the cast of characters returns for the next installment. FYI, if you haven’t started this series yet, the first book, Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper is currently FREE at Amazon. 😉

Possessed (When Worlds Collide #1) by Kelly Apple

When she bought her new house, Char James didn’t plan to also take on a ghost. It’s rude, creepy, and a downright terrible roommate. Despite that, she’s determined to show it they can live in harmony. Hopefully.
But Char’s entire perspective changes when a surprise encounter rocks her world. She learns that sometimes pranks can be helpful, sometimes a ghost isn’t really a ghost…
And sometimes the scariest creature of all is the most protective.

I love smexy ghost stories… even though this isn’t exactly a ghost story. Hence the title, Possessed. Trust me when I say that When World’s Collide is off to a great start.

Char got more than she bargained for when she moved into her new home. Mal… At first he was an annoyance, then he turned into a lot more… way more… Did I mention that this was a smexy read? He also turned out to be really helpful in more ways than one. Turns out that sometimes the bad guys aren’t exactly who you might expect them to be.

Yeah, Kelly Apple is really good at creating really smexy times with paranormals. I’m kinda looking forward to see what she has planned for the next books in this series. 😉

The Tower (Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper #9) By J.L. Bryan

Ellie’s new case takes her far out of town, to an historic but crumbling nineteenth-century skyscraper in downtown Atlanta. The reclusive, once-prominent family living at the top of the tower are experiencing paranormal disturbances that grow more threatening by the day.
Ellie and Stacey must unravel the hidden history of the tower and the ancestors of the family who occupy it—a history full of crime, corruption, wealth, and power. With floor after floor of dark, haunted spaces, the labyrinthine antique tower presents one of the greatest ghost-trapping challenges that Ellie has ever faced.

Having Ellie and Stacey travel out of their ‘comfort zone’ made things interesting. It didn’t make a difference in how they operated though.

The tower included some of the most interesting ghosts in this series yet. The family that Ellie and Stacey were working for had a lot of history. Some of it even they didn’t know about.

Sometimes the intrigue behind who the ghosts are and why they are still hanging around is as interesting as the haunting itself. The ‘bad guy’ in The Tower was really bad. He had a lot of power and a lot of time to find ways to seek revenge – over and over and over again. You could almost kind of respect his tenacity, if he wasn’t so evil.

The thing about The Tower was that there were a lot of ghosts. Figuring out who the mastermind was wasn’t easy, but if any ghost hunter could figure it out, my money would be on Ellie and Stacey. It wasn’t easy and there was plenty of danger involved, but Ellie and her friends never back down, especially when people’s lives depend on it.

I kind of liked the change of venue and Ellie probably needed it, but I also kind of missed her being in familiar territory. She still has some things to deal with and I can’t wait to see what J.L. Bryan has in store for her next.

Southern Spirits (Southern Ghost Hunter Mysteries #1) by Angie Fox

southernspiritsOne simple mistake… 
For a girl who is about to lose her family home, 
Releases the ghost of a long-dead gangster, 
And opens Verity Long’s eyes to a whole new world. 
When out of work graphic designer Verity Long accidentally traps a ghost on her property, she’s saddled with more than a supernatural sidekick—she gains the ability see spirits. It leads to an offer she can’t refuse from the town’s bad boy, the brother of her ex and the last man she should ever partner with. 
Ellis Wyatt is in possession of a stunning historic property haunted by some of Sugarland Tennessee’s finest former citizens. Only some of them are growing restless—and destructive. He hires Verity to put an end to the disturbances. But soon, Verity learns there’s more to the mysterious estate than floating specters, secret passageways, and hidden rooms. 
There’s a modern day mystery afoot, one that hinges on a decades-old murder. Verity isn’t above questioning the living, or the dead. But can she discover the truth before the killer finds her?

Sometimes, you just want something sweet that’s a fun, quick read and Southern Spirits definitely was all three and then some. 😉

Verity is kind of down on her luck when readers first meet her. She’s about to lose her family home, the town she grew up in hates her because she left her fiancé at the alter (for a VERY good reason, but she can’t tell anyone why) and she accidentally trapped a ghost by her side and he’s not exactly happy about it. Add to that the fact that the only way to save her home seems to be becoming employed by her ex’s brother… yeah, things got interesting really quick in Southern Spirits.

Verity was an easy character to root for. She was smart and witty and she got the raw end of the deal with her ex. Ellis, on the other hand, took a while. He did eventually grow on me though and I can’t wait to see how things develop between this pair as the series progresses.

Basically, Southern Spirits was a sweet little romance with plenty of humor mystery and a hint of danger. And of course, ghosts. Some good, some bad and some just misunderstood. I have a feeling that the Southern Ghost Hunting Mysteries is going to be a series I’m really going to enjoy.

DragonFlyRating4

The Keeper (Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper #8) by J.L. Bryan – Bout-of-Books 18 Review

thekeeperThe South Channel lighthouse is a crumbling antique at the mouth of the Savannah River, abandoned and forgotten for generations. Local stories still tell of a mysterious woman in white who often stood at the old lighthouse, watching the sailors come into port…even long after she died.
Now the property by the lighthouse is owned by a famous movie star in search of a remote beach getaway on sleepy Tybee Island. Unfortunately, old ghosts haunt her new retreat, stirred up by the construction of a luxurious new mansion. Ellie, Stacey, and their team must remove the ghosts, who grow more dangerous and aggressive every night, threatening the lives of the client and her family and personal staff.
The lighthouse has a dark history, with many ghosts, and mysteries to unravel before Ellie can send them on to the other side.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Things didn’t end well for Ellie in Lullaby, the last book in the Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper series. The Keeper started where Lullaby left off and unfortunately, things hadn’t gotten much better. Ellie felt betrayed by more than one person and the list of people she felt she could count on was getting smaller and smaller. *sigh*

The danger was ramped up even more in The Keeper and the tension was even higher because Ellie had some personal history with the location. She kept that to herself though, which may have made it easier for her to tell that their client was doing the same. Add to the official ghost trapping drama on Tybee Island the fact that Kara is still a danger and Ellie & Stacey’s side ghost hunting endeavors, it’s no surprise that there was little or no down time in The Keeper.

There were more than a couple of mysteries solved, twists and turns that kept you wondering who the good guys were vs. the bad guys and more than just a little emotional drama. All in a day’s work for an evil author pro like J.L. Bryan. Not sure what he has planned next for Ellie, but there’s definitely more. Even though The Keeper didn’t end in a cliff hanger, there’s still a lot of loose ends that need tying. 😉

DragonFlyRating5

Lullaby (Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper #7) by J.L. Bryan

LullabyLife is more difficult than ever at Savannah’s only ghost-hunting detective agency. While Ellie copes with her mentor’s departure and other unwelcome developments, she also worries about the supernatural injuries keeping her boyfriend caught in an endless slumber. 
At the same time, Ellie and Stacey are called in to investigate an eerie entity haunting a baby’s nursery room. The ghost appears late at night, its face barely visible on the baby monitor, and sings a chilling song. 
Soon, Ellie learns there are more ghosts in the house, and at least one of them is a dangerous, child-hunting monster who must be stopped before it kills again.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1My list of authors that I currently have a love/hate relationship with is steadily growing. J.L. Bryan holds a fairly comfortable place on this list because Lullaby is far from the first book that bestowed him that honor. He’s getting really good at leaving readers hanging at the end of books in the Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper series and even though I’m not giving the author a compliment, but I’m pretty sure he’s going to take it that way.

Lullaby began pretty much where Maze of Souls left off and as much as I hoped things would get better, I should have known better. Not only was Michael still in a coma, but his sister was blaming Ellie for his condition. The heartbreaking part was that Ellie wasn’t arguing with her. The fact that she felt betrayed by Calvin for selling the business to PSI just added to her depression. Things were definitely not changing for the better. If not for her obsession with Anton Clay, Ellie may have given up on the company all together.

The ghost that Ellie and Stacey were assigned to take care of in Lullaby was scary and dangerous, but an even bigger threat turned out to be a lot closer to home. Turns out Kara was a lot more evil and manipulative than they could have imagined. Working with the PSI crew is not going to be easy and Ellie and her friends are going to have to watch their backs.

As low as things were for Ellie, readers were given a bit of hope by the end… almost. In true J.L. Bryan fashion he had me turning the page to see what happened next and the story was over. Finished. Done. There’s definitely more to come so I’ll just sit here and wait patiently for the next installment. (Yeah, right.) *runs off to stalk evil author*

DragonFlyRating5

Rock N Soul (Soul Seekers #1) by Lauren Sattersby

RockNSoul_600x900I’m Tyler Lindsey, and until recently, I had an okay apartment, an okay girlfriend, and an okay job as a bellboy at a respectable Boston hotel. Then rock star Chris Raiden died right before I brought his room service—stiffing me on the tip, by the way—and my life went to hell. My fifteen minutes of fame was more like five seconds, and my girlfriend left me in disgust.
But even worse—Chris is haunting me. Not the room where he died, like a normal ghost. No, somehow he’s stuck to me and is insisting on taking care of a bunch of unfinished business in California. So now I have to traipse across the country with the world’s most narcissistic ghost.
But . . . I keep having these weird thoughts. Thoughts about how much I like the way he makes me laugh. Thoughts where I kind of want to kiss the emo-narcissist, even though he’s a ghost and an asshole and I can’t touch him anyway. And even if I could, what will happen when he finishes his business and nothing’s keeping him here anymore?

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Alright, honestly? I spent the first half of this book (maybe not quite half…) wondering exactly where the romance was coming from. Tyler was a guy who settled for being verbally abused by his girl friend and settling for a job that was going nowhere because it was easy. Chris was a spoiled, entitled rock star who OD’d in his hotel room. The guys couldn’t stand each other from the moment they met. This was an impossible story from the very beginning… but then the walls started coming down. The masks that these two hid behind were off and once that happened I was a goner.

Typical of a ghost who didn’t seem to be able to move on, Chris had some unfinished business he needed to take care of. There were three people he needed to see for some very different reasons. That journey brought the two of them closer together and they both grew a lot in a very short time. Which was heartbreaking. I’m not gonna lie, I was reduced to tears more than once. Not just the tears that quietly leak down your cheek. No, these were the ones that blur your vision so bad that you have to put the book down and compose yourself before you can go on and once you do, it starts all over again. This was the kind of book that you didn’t want to finish because you knew how it was going to end and you didn’t want it to be over for these guys. I was so emotionally invested in them that it practically broke me…

To keep it simple, let’s just say that Lauren Sattersbury hit a home run with her debut. She is most definitely on my reading radar. She turned what was a heartbreaking scenario into a beautiful love story and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. Needless to say, I was super excited to see that Rock N Soul is part of a series.

DragonFlyRating5

The Lying Season (Experiment in Terror #4) by Karina Halle

LyingSeasonAmateur ghost-hunter Perry Palomino has battled ghosts, fought off skinwalkers and skirted the fine line between life and death. But can she survive bunking down in Seattle for a week with her partner (and man she secretly loves) Dex and his perfect girlfriend, Jennifer? And can she do so while being tormented by a malicious spirit from Dex’s increasingly shady past? With love and life in the balance, Perry must discover the truth among the lies or risk losing everything she’s ever cared about.

I spent a lot of time in Lying Season not quite sure how I felt about Perry. For the record, that’s nothing new when it comes to this series. It’s not that I don’t like her, it’s more like I don’t really understand her. She does some really sketching things in Lying Season… but they’re for the right reasons… kinda, Dex, on the other hand… I gained a whole new insight on him. He kind of broke my heart just a little bit.

Lying Season dealt a lot more with Perry and Dex than actually delving into a spooky mystery. That doesn’t mean that there weren’t some spine chilling moments… like gaining a whole new respect for wasps. *shivers* Readers were also ‘treated’ to experiencing Dex and Jennifer together… (can you hear the sarcasm from there?) Jennifer was, well… you’ll have to ‘meet’ her to totally understand. Let’s just say that regardless of how I felt about Perry and Dex’s little tryst in Dead Sky Morning, by the end of Lying Season I was all for Perry and Dex being together. (For the record, that little tryst didn’t bother me so much as it gave me hope.) Even though they seem to try to sabotage that happening every single time. *sigh*

As much was revealed in Lying Season as new mysteries were brought up. Readers learned a little bit more about Dex’s past as well as Perry’s. Not enough to be satisfying though. Most of the revelations just made me want to know more.  Also, things were really left hanging for both of them at the end. And that’s where my reading procrastination comes in really handy. I don’t have to wait to pick up On Demon Wings. As a matter of fact, I loaded it on my Kindle by the time I was half-way through Lying Season. Right after that I also picked up Old Blood and The Dex Files because I was told NOT to miss the novellas in between the main novels.

 

DragonFlyRating4

Ghost of a Chance (Pinnacle Point #1) by Kelly Apple

GhostOfAChanceKellyWhen he was alive, Chance Harker was stuck in a boring job and a relationship that was going nowhere. Now that he’s dead, a whole new world has opened up for him.
He has a challenging job with a PI firm, his run of a swank hotel, and plenty of interesting people to keep an eye on. The only thing missing from his afterlife is great sex. Hell, he’d settle for mediocre sex at this point. Any sex at all, in fact.
Finding out the research facility run by Pinnacle Point Pharms is looking for those with strange and unusual sexual issues, Chance decides to check it out. Because if a sex clinic with supernatural ties can’t help him get a little nookie, he’ll have to resign himself to an eternity of unfulfilled desires.
And no self-respecting ghost wants that.
Warning: This book contains a horny ghost who tends to go invisible at the worst possible moment, a woman with exceptional flexibility, and a box of powdered donuts. The break room will never be the same again.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Oh the warning… if you heed it, you’re good. 😉 In all seriousness… well as serious as you can be when reviewing a Kelly Apple erotica read… this is the first book that I’ve requested for review that I had to admit that it was partially because of the cover. The truth is that the cover caught my eye before I even realized who the author was. Honestly, another blogger told me that it was available and that’s when I realized who the author was. That almost never happens. Really, I NEVER pick a book based on its cover… NEVER! (And for the record… this confession is coming from a graphic artist.) Even so, I didn’t make the request to review it until I realized it who the author was… but honestly… that cover is really hard to pass up, right?

So, on to the important stuff.. the actual book. As expected, Ghost of a Chance was a fun romp into a new Kelly Apple series. There was plenty of smexiness and funny banter between witty characters to make the first installment of the Pinnacle Point series a quick, entertaing read. And then there’s also the interesting use of powdered donuts… Let’s just say I’ll never look at them the same way again… or at least not giggle the next time I see them… which may or may not be difficult to explain. 😉

I can’t wait to see what’s next in store for the next set of characters in Pinnacle Point...

DragonFlyRating4