Moonshadow (Moonshadow #1) by Thea Harrison

Her past is a blank, her future uncertain….
Recovering from a shooting, LAPD witch consultant Sophie Ross leaves her job and travels to the U.K. to search for answers about her childhood. When she encounters a Daoine Sidhe knight of the Dark Court, she becomes entangled in an ancient hatred between two arcane forces.
He has given his body and soul to fight for his people….
Barred from his homeland along with his surviving brother knights, Nikolas Sevigny is embroiled in a conflict that threatens everything he holds dear. Only by uniting his people’s resources can they hope to prevail against Isabeau, the deadly Queen of the Light Court. He will do anything and use anyone to return home to Lyonesse.
When Nikolas encounters Sophie, he sees a tool to be used. The insouciant witch might be the key to unlocking every passageway that has been barred to the knights of the Dark Court, even as a fascination for her takes root in what’s left of his soul.
Sophie has no intention of becoming anyone’s pawn, yet the fierce Nikolas is so compelling, she can’t deny the temptation that endangers her guarded heart.
As magic threatens Lyonesse, Queen Isabeau unleashes her merciless Hounds, and Nikolas and Sophie become embroiled in a race for survival. Meanwhile, the passion that ignites between them burns too hot to be denied and quickly turns into obsession.
Thank goodness they both know better than to fall in love…

Strangely enough, I missed Moonshadow when it was first released, but once I noticed Spellbinder, the second book in the Moonshadow series, was available for review, it definitely got my attention. Why’s that so strange, you may be asking? Because it’s not only the first book in a brand new Thea Harrison series, it also introduces readers to some new members of the Elder Races. Enough said…

Sophie was amazing. I fell in love with her from the very beginning. She was slightly broken because of the shooting she barely survived, but she was brave, loyal and alone. When she was approached by someone offering her a way to acquire a mysterious property. She figured she has nothing to lose. She ended up getting a lot more than she bargained for – including maybe some insight into her past.

Nikolas was a little harder to read, but the more I got to know him, the more I liked him. He wasn’t used to someone as kind and genuinely caring as Sophie and her willingness to help kind of threw him. Just another reason to fall in love with her… that’s if he had the ability to fall in love. His one and only priority was to keep what’s left of his brotherhood safe and find a way home.

Action, magic, mystery and more… I’m thinking I’m going to like this Elder Races spin off series. Not surprising at all. As I mentioned, Spellbinder is next and it’s already way up on my TBR list. Stay tuned!

Spectacle (Menagerie #2) by Rachel Vincent

When their coup of Metzger’s Menagerie is discovered, Delilah and her fellow cryptids find their newly won freedom brutally stripped away as they are sold into The Savage Spectacle, a private collection of “exotic wildlife.” Specializing in ruthless cryptid cage matches, safari-style creature hunts and living party favors, the Spectacle’s owner, Willem Vandekamp, caters to the forbidden fetishes of the wealthy and powerful. At the Spectacle, any wish can be granted—for the right price.
But Vandekamp’s closely guarded client list isn’t the only secret being kept at the Spectacle. Beneath the beauty and brutality of life in the collection lie much darker truths, and no one is more determined than Delilah to strip the masks from the human monsters and drag all dark things into the light.

The second book in Rachel Vincent’s Menagerie series was just as intense and thought provoking as the first. In some ways, even more so. The members of Metzger’s Menagerie had a small respite from their captivity and that taste of freedom made what came next even harder to take.

The description only touches on the horrors that Delilah and her friends and other cryptids had to endure when purchased by the Savage Spectacle. Willem Vandekamp was the perfect villain and his sweet, spoiled wife was even worse. Just like Menagerie, there was a loud and clear message just below the surface. The creatures in Spectacle were much more humane than the humans that not only kept them captive, but used them in horrific ways. The captors also played on their weaknesses and it didn’t take long for Willem to figure out how to play the connection between Delilah and Gallagher to his advantage.

As hard as parts of Spectacle were to read, the intensity, imagery and action kept the pages turning. Delilah never stopped trying to find ways to escape. She refused to give up, even when her punishments came close to breaking her. Watching what her fellow captives were forced to endure was the only motivation she needed. That and her vow to destroy Willem and everything he stood for.

The ending of Spectacle didn’t seem as abrupt as the end of Menagerie, but it still left me wanting the next installment sooner rather than later. The fate of many characters were left hanging in the balance and then there’s the interesting twist…  Needless to say, the last book in the Menagerie trilogy is already on my TBR list 😉

Surrender the Dark (Dark #1) by Tibby Armstrong

Benjamin Fuller is a hunter, born and bred. Blinded as a child by the vampire who slaughtered his family, he’s blessed with a second sight that allows him to catch and kill his quarry. What his gift can’t help him see coming is his fierce, almost carnal attraction to the mystery man who claims to be a fellow hunter and whose touch triggers both lust and revulsion. When he gains the upper hand, Benjamin vows to bring his enemy to his knees.
After many years spent in exile, the only one who can help restore Tzadkiel Dragoumanos to his rightful place as War King is a blind hunter with golden curls, a lithe dancer’s physique, and distinctive facial scars—scars Tzadkiel gave him two decades ago. The mere scent of Benjamin Fuller provokes an unwelcome rush of insatiable desire. Yet to win an all-out supernatural war, Tzadkiel must resist the ravenous hunger to possess his prey—for now.

I honestly can’t believe that Surrender the Dark is the first book by Tibby Armstrong that I’ve read. I’ve been following her for a while now and I really did think that I’d read at least one of her books, but I was wrong. There’s obviously nothing I can do about that now, but after finishing the first book in her newest series, I’m hooked and anxiously waiting the next book in the Dark series.

Not surprisingly, it was really easy to sympathize with Benjamin. I’ve got to admit that I was wondering exactly how the author was going to bring these two characters together after all the pain that they caused each other. Tzadkiel was the enemy. He was a monster that had tricked Benjamin, caused him to lose his sight and killed his family. Things aren’t always exactly as they seem though and there were a lot of interesting twists in Surrender the Dark.

Once I started to understand Tzadkiel’s history and how things really played out I wasn’t sure who to sympathize with because I found my heart breaking for both of them. So much so, that I wasn’t disappointed at all to find that the real enemy in Surrender the Dark wasn’t who I expected.

Beyond the story, the writing in Surrender the Dark drew me in. The descriptions were almost poetic, but not over the top. The characters were well developed and there was even humor laced within all the pain, anger and danger. Just a few of the reasons why I’ll most definitely not only be following the rest of this series but I’ll also be searching out more books by this author.

The conflict was over between Tzadkiel and Benjamin by the end of Surrender the Dark, but there’s still more to come. More than one character’s fate was undecided. Even though the next book, Taste the Dark, centers around at least one of those characters, I’m pretty sure readers haven’t seen the last of the King and his mate. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to it. 😉

Bitter Thirst (Preternatural Affairs #8) by S.M. Reine

Things are changing in the secret government organization known as the Office of Preternatural Affairs. There are whispers of plans to go public. Special Agent Cèsar Hawke fears a thread of poison in the OPA–a poison seeded by a cult called the Apple. They’ve already hurt friends, blown cases that should have gone smoothly, and even destroyed cities. If Cèsar can’t excise the corruption before the OPA blows itself open, then the poison may spread to all of the government–and maybe the entire world.

Well… I never saw that one coming. Another ‘how in the heck am I gonna review this’ masterpiece. *sigh*

Things got crazy… people who have been absent suddenly showed up… the good guys and the bad guys switched places regularly… something that I’ve been waiting to happen since this series began finally did and then… You get the picture, right? Just another crazy tour through the multi-level/series world created by S.M. Reine.

I’ve always known how interwoven this world is, but for some reason it hit me hard in Bitter Thirst. The timeline between all these series goes back and forth so much, I’m amazed that Reine can keep it straight. As it is, I know I’ll have to do a re-read to get the full scope of what’s happening when, and to who not to mention by who… I know, it sounds confusing, but it’s really not. There are just a lot of ‘oh yeah’ and déjà vu moments thrown into the mix. Those are the moments that you feel the need to back track to the point that other characters experienced the same moments in time.

The thing is, I have my favorite characters in this world and somehow their perspective is always going to win out. Cèsar just happens to be one of those characters. What I didn’t expect was where he ended up and the alliances he chose by the end of Bitter Thirst. I gotta trust him though because he’s Cèsar, right? I should have learned by now that when it comes to this author, it’s best to expect the unexpected… 😉

 

The Herald of Day (The Boar King’s Honor Trilogy #1) by Nancy Northcott

A wizard’s misplaced trust
A king wrongly blamed for murder
A bloodline cursed until they clear the king’s name
In 17th-century England, witchcraft is a hanging offense. Tavern maid Miranda Willoughby hides her magical gifts until terrifying visions compel her to seek the aid of a stranger, Richard Mainwaring, to interpret them. A powerful wizard, he sees her summons as a chance for redemption. He bears a curse because an ancestor unwittingly helped murder the two royal children known as the Princes in the Tower, and her message uses symbols related to those murders.
Miranda’s visions reveal that someone has altered history, spreading famine, plague, and tyranny across the land. The quest to restore the timeline takes her and Richard from the glittering court of Charles II to a shadowy realm between life and death, where they must battle the most powerful wizard in generations with the fate of all England at stake.

I’ve got an issue with historical fiction. It’s not that I don’t like them, because I do. I just have a hard time getting my head wrapped around books set in a historical setting, at least until I’ve spent a little bit of time in the world. That doesn’t stop me from picking one up from time to time, especially when it’s written by an author I already know and love. I’ve read several of Nancy Northcott’s paranormal books and I’ve been a fan for a while, so when I saw that she was offering something new in a new genre I didn’t hesitate. Although I had the same slow start issues (totally my issue, not the writing), I ended up totally intrigued by her first book in The Boar King’s Honor trilogy.

I loved both Richard and Miranda from the time they were introduced. One of the issues that I had in the beginning was that there were a lot of characters to keep track of. Again, my issue, not the writing. It’s worth mentioning though because this isn’t a book that you can skim through. You have to pay attention. There are varying POV as well, but I enjoy that in a book. Especially when you’re not seeing things strictly from the main characters’ POV. It’s always kind of fun when you get a glimpse into what’s going on in the heads of the ‘bad guys’ and Nancy Northcott gives readers just enough to keep things interesting.

There’s plenty of romance, magic, suspense and mystery between the pages of The Herald of Day along with some interesting history that made me want to learn more when I was done. The next two books in the Trilogy are from different time periods. The Steel Rose takes place during Napoleon’s time and The King’s Champion is set in 1940. Although the characters obviously change, the books are all centered around the cursed Mainwaring bloodline. I can’t wait to learn more about this family and the mystery of the Princes in the Tower.

Unbreakable: Heroes of Arcania #3 by Liz Long

unbreakableTrue heroes refuse to be broken. 
Nova started the fight against Fortune for simple revenge, but now it’s turned into something much bigger. Arcania’s criminals are at each other’s throats, putting the city right in the middle of a warzone. She’ll have to work with a few unlikely allies to end Fortune’s games once and for all. Nova thought she understood what it meant to be a superhero, but will she have to lose herself to truly defeat Fortune? 
Fortune has given Cole a choice, one with unbearable consequences. When Cole takes matters into his own hands to save his sister Penelope, he realizes too late he’s another pawn in Fortune’s games. Fortune will use Cole’s gift against his enemies…including Nova. Cole will have to become the hero he always wanted to be if he’s going to protect the love of his life. 
Nova and Cole could finally save Arcania from Fortune’s deadly games, but are they willing to sacrifice each other?

All good series must come to an end… or in this case trilogies. That doesn’t mean that I have to like it though. *sigh*

The Heroes of Arcania trilogy was intense, emotional, action packed and Unbreakable did in fact bring the trilogy to a satisfying conclusion, but I still wasn’t ready to say good-bye. That’s nothing new for me though. The two books that came before this one, Supernova and Fortune’s Favor, pretty much insured that I would become emotionally attached to not just Nova, but Henry, Cole and even Penelope. Now that I ‘know’ them, saying goodbye isn’t easy. *double sigh*

Unbreakable started pretty much where Fortune’s Favor left off. Penelope’s fate hangs in the balance and Cole has some pretty big decisions to make. The odds seemed impossible and Cole’s solution wasn’t the greatest, but he didn’t have many choices. Not if he wanted to keep everyone he cared about safe.

I can’t say a lot more because I don’t want to risk giving anything away. Just know that it was intense, suspenseful and at times heartbreaking. (Yes there were tears…) And in case anyone is wondering, Liz Long is still on my 2016 Evil Author list. Oh, and it probably will surprise no one that I wouldn’t be opposed to a reappearance from any of these characters in the future. There is a connection between this series and Long’s Donovan’s Circus series, so anything’s possible, right?

DragonFlyRating5

Bound by Faerie (Stolen Magic #1) by W.B. McKay

boundbyfaeriecoverSophie Morrigan inherited many magical gifts from her death goddess mother. Most of them inflict torture, except the most beautiful. That one kills.
As an agent for the Faerie Affairs Bureau, Sophie loves retrieving dangerous magical objects. The job lets her indulge her covetous nature, and most importantly, it pays the bills. But when a routine job goes south, she finds herself struggling to keep her deadly magic in check while fleeing the wrath of an enraged dragon.
In a desperate search for answers, Sophie stumbles across Owen, a fae nightclub owner who’s as sexy as he is irritating, but just happens to hold the key to her problems.
Sophie wants nothing more than to get her magic under control and return to her normal life, but first she’ll have to face off with all the dangers Faerie can throw at her. Can she fight her way back home? Or will both she and Owen fall prey to a crazed death cult?

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Bound by Faerie is the first book written by a husband and wife writing duo in their Stolen Magic series. I don’t always accept review requests, but the premise of this one was intriguing. I’m really glad I took a chance on it, because now I can’t wait for more from this series.

I don’t like to compare authors and series, so I’m not going to. What I will say is that if you like Urban Fantasy or PNR on the lighter side, this is a series that you are going to want to give a try. Bound by Faerie is light, but not silly. The characters are fun and they had a personality that made me want to get to know them better. There was also plenty of action, danger and mystery to keep the pages turning. I also enjoyed the authors’ twist on some familiar mythology. They did a great job at not straying too far, but making the characters unique enough to call their own.

I’m not sure when the next book is due to be released, but I’ll most definitely be watching for it. 🙂

DragonFlyRating4

Rejecting Destiny (Through the Veil #3) by Christi Snow

rejectingdestinyShe has one final chance to embrace her destiny or lose it all.
Twenty years ago Bethany Harris fell in love with Aaron Vaughn, but then she shattered his heart. When the Veil fell two years later, she became the leader of the Western States. She wasn’t ready for the job, but she stepped up and did it. She couldn’t have done that without Aaron’s friendship and support.
Since then they’ve become lovers in the physical sense, but Bethany continues to keep her distance. She lost the right to Aaron’s love a long time ago.
Now things have changed. What once defined their world may no longer be true. With the turmoil that follows, Bethany must lead her people into a terrifying new era. She’s reeling and doubting herself more than ever. But when Aaron brings home her biggest challenge, it may be one too many.
To succeed she has to face her biggest fear…trusting the strength of the relationship between her and Aaron, or else risk losing it all. She could lose her job, her people, but most of all the man she’s loved almost her whole life.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Oh Bethany and Aaron… readers may not have learned much about these two up until Rejecting Destiny, but this book definitely made up for that.

I have to warn you, this one made me just a little bit teary… well maybe more like a lot teary. Which kind of took me by surprise. Not that I didn’t already know that Christi Snow was capable of making me shed a tear or two. She’s proven that more than once. Let’s just say she pulled at all my vulnerable heart strings in this one. I think the real reason I was caught off guard was because as emotionally distant as Bethany seemed, I didn’t expect her to break my heart, but she did… big time.

On the other hand, having Aaron break my heart came as no surprise at all. I loved him from the beginning. So, how did these two break my heart? There were so many little twists, turns and surprises in Rejecting Destiny I don’t want to spoil it for you. Just know that every tear was totally worth it.

Beyond what was going on between Aaron and Bethany, there was a lot going on in the Western States. Changes were happening that no one could explain. People were shaking things up and pulling strings while forces were at work that were totally unexpected. Some were positive and the jury’s still out on the others.

Oh, and for the record, I sorta fell in love with a couple of new characters along the way and I’m hoping that readers will get to know them a lot better. Needless to say, I can’t wait for the next book in the Through the Veil series.

DragonFlyGreen4-5

 

Fortune’s Favor (Heroes of Arcania #2) by Liz Long

LizLongNova will learn it takes more than sheer strength to be a superhero. Her world implodes when Fortune strikes back for all the trouble she’s caused. His dangerous games put everyone around her at risk, especially when he decides to turn Arcania against its precious Heroes. Nova wants to protect Arcania, but how does she save a city that doesn’t want her help?
Cole has no idea how to deal with his sister Penelope, especially now that she’s learned the truth about their family secret. Thanks to Fortune, she’s headed down a dark path, one with no return. Torn between helping Nova and protecting his sister, Cole will be forced to make a choice. Tensions rise as Cole and Nova discover war will come to Arcania if they don’t get Fortune off the streets…or preferably six feet under.
Nova and Cole might have each other, but will they lose everything else in their mission to save Arcania?

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Well, I’m just a little bit behind, but since I’m posting this the week after the last book in Liz Long’s Heroes of Arcania series, I’ll just pretend it was planned that way. 😀

Fortune’s Favor picked up exactly where Super Nova left off. After Penelope’s seemingly betrayal and Henry’s kidnapping, Nova and Cole are both left devastated. Now they each have even more reasons to want to end Fortune’s reign of terror on Arcania.

Needless to say, a lot happens in Fortune’s Favor. More secrets are revealed. Crazy alliances are made and the danger never slows. Henry finds himself caught in the middle in more ways than one, but that doesn’t stop him from taking more crazy chances. Both Nova and Cole are suffering from guilt as well as an urgency to find a way to stop Fortune.

From the beginning I’ve loved the connection between Nova and Cole. Nova started her fight against Fortune because of Star, but as the story’s processed, it’s turned into much more than that. Cole’s goal has always been to do the right thing, regardless of the danger to himself, but the strength in those convictions and his alliances are put to the ultimate test by the end of Fortune’s Favor. The jury’s still out on exactly how far Penelope will go to prove her point… Things should be extremely interesting in Unbreakable, the final book in the Heroes of Arcania series.

On a side note, I’m kind of embarrassed to admit that I didn’t even consider a connection between Liz Long’s Donovan Circus series and Heroes of Arcania until this book. It’s sad to say that I’m afraid I may have never really ‘gotten it’ but the author made it blatantly obvious in Fortune’s Favor. *face palm* That’s okay, oblivious or not, I love the connection and hope I notice even more. 😉 As I mentioned, Unbreakable was released last week, so if you’re one of those people who doesn’t like to start a series until it’s complete, you’re in luck.

DragonFlyRating5

Summer Court (The Tarot Witches #4) by SM Reine

SummerCourtHalf a year ago, Samita Madin shared one steamy night with a friend – what she thought would be just a fling with that firefighter her mom didn’t like. But she couldn’t stop thinking about Slater Reinhard in the weeks that followed. Especially once she realized she’d gotten pregnant from their tryst.
Samita had every intent of staying in Toronto, keeping the baby a secret from Slater. But then demons attacked North America in a massive catastrophe known as the Breaking, which let Hell pour onto Earth. Separated from her family, and injured in a collapsing building, she has no choice but to let Slater protect her – and their unborn baby – from the preternatural onslaught.
But now Slater’s one of the preternaturals. He’s been bitten by a werewolf since the last time they saw each other. He’s changing from a hero firefighter into a monster with urges that he can’t control.
A lot of those urges have to do with Samita.
He only needs one glance from Samita to vow he’ll get her and their baby through the end of the world. And Slater has every intent of claiming Samita as his mate.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1This series in SM Reine’s world needs to come with a warning for some readers, even those who have read most of her books. The Tarot Witches is a lot more sexually explicit than any of her other series. I feel like I have to mention this because some readers have found it too much. The irony in Summer Court is that Samita is just as turned off by the sexual laden magic that the Tarot Witches an their mates thrive on.

I’ve got to admit, I got kind of frustrated with Samita in the beginning. It was obvious she loved Slater, but she held back. She almost had a ‘greater than thou’ attitude that kept me from really connecting with her, but she eventually grew on me… eventually.

There’s something else that bears mentioning… be prepared to gain a different and possibly unflattering perspective on previous characters. SM Reine is turning into a pro with this little ploy, which may have been why it took Samita a while to grow on me.

Summer Court wraps up the Tarot Witches but, as with the other books in this world, it adds just another layer. And… if you’re someone who skips prologues and epilogues, don’t. Not with this book anyway. Connections are made, questions are answered and for me anyway, there were a couple of ‘duh’ moments.

DragonFlyRating5