The Wolf and the Sparrow by Isabelle Adler

Derek never wished to inherit his title as a result of a bloody battle. With the old count dead and the truce dependent on his marriage to the rival duke’s son, Derek has no choice but to agree to the victor’s terms in order to bring peace to his homeland. When he learns of the sinister rumors surrounding his intended groom, Derek begins to have doubts—but there can be no turning back from saying I do.
After the death of his wife, Callan of Mulberny never expected to be forced into another political marriage—especially not to someone like the new Count of Camria. Seemingly soft and meek, it’s only fitting that Derek’s family crest is a flighty sparrow, worthy of nothing but contempt.
Another war with the seafaring people of the Outer Isles looms on the horizon, and the reluctant newlyweds must team together to protect those caught in the circle of violence. Derek and Callan slowly learn to let go of their prejudices, but as they find themselves enmeshed in intrigue fueled by dark secrets and revenge, their tentative bond is all that keeps their world—and their lives—from plunging into chaos.

The last book I read by Isabelle Adler was Irises in the Snow. At the end of that book, there was a chapter from The Wolf and the Sparrow and if it was meant to be a tease, it worked because I knew as soon as I read it that it would be next on my request list. Although I have to admit it took a little while to get into, I wasn’t disappointed.

Nothing is ever quite what it seems on the surface and it took a little while, but Derek and Callan eventually realized that – about each other. The both had preconceived opinions about each other. Along the way, they even discovered things about themselves that they never considered either.

There wasn’t a lot of down time in The Wolf and the Sparrow. There seemed to be danger lurking around every corner and the source of the danger was much closer than either one of them realized. At times it was a little much, but it kept the pages turning.

Needless to say, I’ll be keeping an eye out for more from this author. There’s at least one series that I hope she continues sooner rather than later 😉

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

Rise & Fall (Thirds #4) by Charlie Cochet

After an attack by the Coalition leaves THIRDS Team Leader Sloane Brodie critically injured, agent Dexter J. Daley swears to make Beck Hogan pay for what he’s done. But Dex’s plans for retribution are short-lived. With Ash still on leave with his own injuries, Sloane in the hospital, and Destructive Delta in the Coalition’s crosshairs, Lieutenant Sparks isn’t taking any chances. Dex’s team is pulled from the case, with the investigation handed to Team Leader Sebastian Hobbs. Dex refuses to stand by while another team goes after Hogan, and decides to put his old HPF detective skills to work to find Hogan before Theta Destructive, no matter the cost.
With a lengthy and painful recovery ahead of him, the last thing Sloane needs is his partner out scouring the city, especially when the lies—however well intentioned—begin to spiral out of control. Sloane is all too familiar with the desire to retaliate, but some things are more important, like the man who’s pledged to stand beside him. As Dex starts down a dark path, it’s up to Sloane to show him what’s at stake, and finally put a name to what’s in his heart.

Sloane and Dex have come a long way, but they’re not quite where they need to be… yet. Even though Dex has promised to not take things in his own hands, it should come as no surprise to anyone that he can’t sit back and let other people defend his team and his partner.

A lot happened in Rise & Fall that included a lot of twists and turns. A lot of emotions came into play as well and some scary moments that I totally didn’t expect. I’m also loving the dynamic between the characters on the team.

There were just as many light moments as tense in Rise & Fall, which is a good thing. Dex is still Dex and he has no problem pushing Ash’s buttons, but even their relationship takes a few unexpected turns.

I know I’m late to the THIRDS party, but like I’ve said before, it has its advantages. I’ve already read the next book in the series – Against the Grain – and trust me when I say that Charlie Cochet made the wait for Ash and Cael totally worth it 😉

Vampire with Benefits (Supernatural Selection #2) by E.J. Russell

A match between a vampire and shifter could be deadly—but this broken beaver doesn’t give a dam.
Silent film actor Casimir Moreau had imagined that life as a vampire would be freewheeling and glamorous. Instead, he’s plunged into a restrictive society whose rules he runs afoul of at every turn. To “rehabilitate” him, the vampire council orders him mated to an incubus with impeccable breeding who’ll mold Cas into the upstanding vampire he ought to be. Or else.
As an inactive beaver shifter, construction engineer Rusty Johnson has fought—and overcome—bias and disrespect his entire life. But when his longtime boyfriend leaves him for political reasons, Rusty is ready to call it a day. Next stop? Supernatural Selection and his guaranteed perfect mate, a bear shifter living far away from Rusty’s disapproving clan.
But then a spell snafu at Supernatural Selection robs both men of their intended husbands. Rusty can’t face returning to his clan, and Cas needs somebody on his arm to keep the council happy, so they agree to pretend to be married. Nobody needs to know their relationship is fake—especially since it’s starting to feel suspiciously like the real thing.

I knew that I was going to love Supernatural Selection not long after I started Single White Incubus. No surprise since I may have mentioned once or twice that EJ Russell’s quirky characters are some of my favorites. I fell in love with the series just a little bit more after spending time with Cas and Rusty. (Don’t tell Ted & Quentin but I think I liked Cas & Rusty even more…)

Most of this book runs parallel to the the events in Single White Incubus, which was fun because readers kind of knew what was coming for Cas and Rusty while they didn’t have a clue. They also had more in common than they realized. Both of their “governing bodies” wanted to control them in an attempt to do what was best for them and their species as a whole.

The Supernatural Selection agency got Cas and Rusty caught up in the same snafu that brought Ted and Quentin together. I was kind of disappointed that we didn’t get to see as much of Zeke in Vampire with Benefits, but I loved the appearance of Bryce and Mal from The Druid Next Door as well as the roll they played. The connection between this series and Fae Out of Water makes Supernatural Selection even more fun. 😉

Demon Down-Low is next in the Supernatural Selection series and since this is Zeke’s book, things are sure to get more than a little interesting.

 

Monster Till Midnight by E.J. Russell

What if you staged the best haunted house in the history of the holiday, but nobody came?
Brady is prepared with mounds of treats, stellar special effects, and an extraordinary welcome for the throngs of trick-or-treaters he expects in his first year at his new place—a gloriously gothic house with the reputation for really being haunted! But the trick’s on Brady: Halloween is almost over and not one person has knocked on his door.
Once a top Interdimensional Law Enforcement agent, Rej was busted down to Creature Control after a run-in with his arch-nemesis. When he tracks a non-sentient construct across the dimensional barrier, he’s sure he’s about to confront Gorvenath again. But the person who bursts onto the porch in a swirl of tuxedo coattails is a monster of a very different sort—but is he Gorvenath’s accomplice or his victim?
Monster Till Midnight is an 11,000-word gay romance featuring a hopeful samhainophile, a suspicious LEO, gratuitous candy corn, and a relationship that threatens to be really, really, really long distance.

What a great spooky read! I don’t think I’m the only reader who will be longing for more after finishing this one 😉 Though I have to admit that I’m a sucker for E.J. Russell’s quirky, sometimes adorably awkward characters.

Rej was adorable in a gruff, all business sort of way and so was Brady. The twist that this one took was fun and the world building with such a short story was fantastic. Also, I’m not a “judge a book by its cover” reader, but this one is such a perfect fit for the story that I couldn’t NOT mention how much I love it. ❤ This was another one that I picked up as a Halloween freebie and it was perfect… just wish there was more 😉

A Fated Bond by T.L. West

Joseph Roth, a young member of the Rockfort Paranormal Department which is in charge of keeping vampires, shifters, fairies, and all kind of supernatural creatures in check, finds himself facing more than he bargained for when he is assigned to investigate a mysterious murder. Not only is Joseph stuck between his department and a prestigious vampire family, he’s unaware of the target on his back. With the department keeping secrets from him, Joseph decides to uncover the truth on his own, unaware that dark forces are on the rise. Will Joseph be able to find the truth in time or is his search allowing the enemy to come close enough for a kill?

My initial reaction when I finished A Fated Bond…. “3.5 – 4… maybe? I’m still not sure how I feel about this one.” And that’s still how I feel. The premise was great and the world created by T.L. West was intriguing, but this book was all over the place.

The story centered around Joseph, but there are so many players in this world that have ties to each other in sometimes very obscure ways that it got pretty hard to keep track. I did like what I could follow though and I’m definitely not giving up on this potential series… it has to be a series because there were WAY too many loose ends left at the end. 

Love at the Lupine Bakery (Trillium Creek #0.5) by Silvia Violet

Finn is focused on continuing the success of his family’s bakery. Eventually, he’ll settle down with an alpha and start a family, but for now, he’s content to satisfy his needs with casual hook-ups. Then a gorgeous stranger walks into the bakery, and Finn’s whole world shifts.
Levi’s father was a wolf shifter, but he was raised by his human mother and—like most hybrids—has never shown any wolf characteristics. That all changes when he enters Lupine Bakery and every instinct tells him the omega behind the counter is his.
Both Finn and Levi try to ignore what their hearts and bodies are telling them, but an unexpected pregnancy may force them to face what fate has in store.

If you’ve spent any time at all perusing this blog you may have noticed (if you didn’t guess by the tag-line) that I’m an eclectic reader. I have my favorite genres and authors, but I’m not afraid to take a step outside my comfort zone. That’s exactly how I stumbled into the M/M genre to begin with. I started with a book that had a paranormal/fantasy aspect because it’s one of my favorites and the rest, as they say, is history. So, why the segue into this review? I know that I’ve read at least one other MPreg story, but I can’t remember which one. It’s obviously not one of those genres I seek out. But, when an author I follow that has written both contemporary and paranormal books that I love, I’m willing to give something I might otherwise shy away from at least a shot. Silvia Violet is one of those authors. I loved her Wild R Farm series, so when I found out that she was starting another Shifter series, I was intrigued. Since Love at Lupine Bakery was a free short offered during a Halloween Giveaway, I thought, why not? Turns out I think I may have found a new favorite Silvia Violet series 😉

Finn was adorable and so was Levi – in an Alpha sort of way. They were the perfect couple to start this series with since all the world building was naturally explained to readers by way of filling Levi in on a world he knew little or nothing about. The supporting characters were just as interesting as Finn and Levi and I can’t wait to get to know them better as the series continues. I really hope that readers get more of Finn and Levi though because as much as I loved Love at the Lupine Bakery, I wanted more. *sigh*

Oh, and if you picked up Love at the Lupine Bakery during the Halloween Giveaway, you may have noticed a cover change. As the series continues, this book will be available for purchase and the cover’s been updated to match the rest of the Trillium Creek series. FYI – the new cover’s as adorable as Finn and Levi’s story ❤

Surreal Estate by Jesi Lea Ryan

Sasha Michaels is a psychic with an affinity for houses. And he’s homeless. Go figure. After months of sleeping rough, he stumbles upon an abandoned house, and the lonely place beckons him inside. He’s finally safe . . . until someone comes blundering in to his hideaway.
House-flipper Nick Cooper lost everything in the recession. Desperate to revive his business, he turns to a loan shark to fund his comeback project: flipping an abandoned house full of potential. But it turns out the house has an unexpected occupant.
Nick and Sasha make a deal: Sasha can stay in exchange for helping with the renovation. To both of their surprise, the closer they get to the loan shark’s due date, the stronger their feelings for each other grow. Problem is, Nick isn’t the only one with feelings for Sasha, and now the house doesn’t want to let Sasha go.

I read a lot of fantasy/paranormal books, so it’s really exciting when I find one with a unique twist. Surreal Estate was just that kind of book. I loved the way Sasha’s connections to buildings worked. I also really liked Sasha. I liked Nick too, but Sasha definitely brought out the “mom” in me… for a lot of reasons.

Then there was Nick… like I said, I liked him and I know he was desperate to handle his money problems on his own, but a loan shark? Really?!? Sasha had his own problems, but none of them were his own doing. When he lost his only real family support he was at the mercy of a mother who was beyond selfish.

It may not have seemed that way in the beginning, but Sasha helped Nick (not with just the physical labor) as much as Nick helped Sasha (not with just a place to stay.) I really liked these two together. There were some really great supporting characters in Surreal Estate too… there were some not so great ones as well, but they all added to the story.

This is the first book I’ve read by this author, but I’ll definitely be checking out some of her other reads. 😉

Rack & Ruin (THIRDS #3) by Charlie Cochet

New York City’s streets are more dangerous than ever with the leaderless Order of Adrasteia and the Ikelos Coalition, a newly emerged Therian group, at war. Innocent civilians are caught in the crossfire and although the THIRDS round up more and more members of the Order in the hopes of keeping the volatile group from reorganizing, the members of the Coalition continue to escape and wreak havoc in the name of vigilante justice.
Worse yet, someone inside the THIRDS has been feeding the Coalition information. It’s up to Destructive Delta to draw out the mole and put an end to the war before anyone else gets hurt. But to get the job done, the team will have to work through the aftereffects of the Therian Youth Center bombing. A skirmish with Coalition members leads Agent Dexter J. Daley to a shocking discovery and suddenly it becomes clear that the random violence isn’t so random. There’s more going on than Dex and Sloane originally believed, and their fiery partnership is put to the test. As the case takes an explosive turn, Dex and Sloane are in danger of losing more than their relationship.

I’m still kicking myself for waiting so long to pick up this series, but the good thing is that I don’t have to wait between books. Trust me when I say that’s a very good thing, because when you finish Rack & Ruin, you’re going to make sure you have Rise & Fall handy. I can usually put some distance between books in a series and be fine with it… that was definitely not the case when I finished Rack & Ruin. You can thank me later 😉

There was so much happening in Rack & Ruin it was impossible to put down. Tension is rising between partners and team mates and some pretty startling discoveries are made. It’s getting harder and harder to know who to trust.

Through all the twists and turns and the personal issues within the team coming to a head, the cliff hanger ending shouldn’t have really surprised me. Stay tuned for my review of Rise & Fall. 😉