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

The Rise of Genesis (Ash Lawson #1) by M.R. Merrick – Bout-of-Books 16 Review

1102c-theriseof_finaleebookthumbIn a world where being Supernatural means you’re in danger, Ash Lawson is front and center. After years of helping others escape ATOM—a government entity known for abusing Supernaturals—he’s captured, and saving himself will prove to be the most difficult task he’s undertaken.
Tryst Rivera is a Succubus and veteran at the Academy, a facility tasked with converting underage Supernaturals into cooperative ATOM soldiers. She’s endured her time mostly unscathed, but when Ash arrives and their lives are tethered to one another, she’s placed in immediate danger.
With escape at the forefront of his mind, Ash struggles with the idea of life under ATOM’s thumb. He’ll die before he converts, but his life isn’t the only one he’s responsible for, and he already has more blood on his hands than he can bear. When a chance for freedom arises, Ash needs to decide how much—and who—he’s willing to risk for a second chance.
 

I can honestly say that I’ve missed M.R. Merrick’s fantastic world building and descriptive writing. I can also honestly say that I didn’t miss the torture he puts his characters through. Unfortunately, you can’t have one without the other and it only takes reading the first chapter of The Rise of Genesis to prove my point.

Ash Lawson is a hero, or at least he tries to be. He lives in a world where few know about the existence of supernatural beings and those that do want to harness their power. He also deals with the fact that his particular brand of supernatural being is hated by the others. To make matters worse, shortly after he’s introduced to readers, his entire world is shattered and he ends up captured… and worse. Yeah, M.R. Merrick wins the #evilauthor prize for not wasting any time. Things are intense in The Rise of Genesis from the beginning to the end.

Of course I loved Ash, but the author didn’t stop at him when it came to amazing characters. Tryst and Soren were among my favorites. They gave Ash a reason to fight as well as protect. Even the characters I hated in the beginning had their moments. Not enough to forgive them entirely, but Gage and Gareth had a few redeeming moments. There were those that I could never forgive though and I don’t even have to mention them. Once you meet them, you’ll understand.

As for the rest of the story… I can’t do it justice by trying to explain. There were so many levels to this world, but then that came as no surprise. Merrick is a master at world building, which he proved in The Protector series. His supernatural beings have their own twist and the different levels of the world he created look on a life of their own in The Rise of Genesis. The characters, with a few exceptions, are not entirely good or evil. Just like the human race, they cross the line.

There are moments that broke my heart, but also moments that made me smile. And in true M.R. Merrick form, the ending made me want to scream. (Can you say cliff hanger???) Needless to say I’ll be stalking this particular author on a regular basis to try to find out when the next book in the Ash Lawson series is expected. The fate of more than one character was left hanging at the end and I need to know what happens next… sooner rather than later. o.O

DragonFlyRating5

Blood Curse (Dragon Heat #5) by Ella J. Phoenix

BloodCurseDescendant of a Cherokee shaman, Dyam is one of the vampire king’s personal guards and closest advisers. He has seen the worst of mankind and has vouched to stay away from personal entanglements and focus on serving his king. His resolve is shaken when Naiah, the water witch, finds her way into the busy vampire castle’s life and straight into his heart. But before he can nurture his feelings for her, she is killed in battle, causing Dyam to return to his self-imposed seclusion for good.
Little does he know that Naiah has been brought back to life by his kind’s most infamous enemies. She is their ultimate weapon in a final battle that will rupture not only the balance of the supernatural world, but Dyam’s loyalty to his race.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1I finished Blood Curse about a week ago… would you believe me if I told you I’m still trying to wrap my head around everything that happened?

To say that a lot happened in Blood Curse would be an understatement. The story opened with the birth of Zoe, the daughter of Tardieh and Zoricha. As happy as that moment is for the king, his queen and their friends, it also casts a shadow over them all because of the curse that is predicted from her birth. Through a crazy turn of events it all connects back to Naiah and Dyam.

Zoricha’s return should have been a time to rejoice and some people do, but it also brings about fear and a danger that no one expected. Not to mention the tension that it causes between all the characters.

This installment of the Dragon Heat series was packed with emotion. Some expected and some not so much. There were more than a few secrets revealed. Some really heated moments and… yeah, I really can’t say a lot more because I don’t want to give too much away.

As happy as I was for Naiah and Dyam, I was heartbroken for other characters. Yes, tears were shed and I’m not entirely sure I’ve actually forgiven the author for how things ended. *glares at evil author* – especially since this is not just a cliff hanger at the end of a book, but the end of the Dragon Heat series. Since there’s a possibility that she may redeem herself with the next series, I’ll cut her a little bit of slack. 😉

DragonFlyRating4