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.

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Capitol Danger Anthology

Add texIt_s Inauguration Night.As I mentioned in a previous review… I’ve read quite a few anthologies this year and while I love the experience, I was kind of getting bogged down. So… that’s why I only read the prologue (which is quite the set-up and clues readers in to exactly how fanatical this sect is…) and one full story. I promise to go back and read the rest of them because the premise is really great and the characters are intriguing, plus, I’m always looking for more books to add to my TBR pile (crazy, I know.)

Below are the descriptions of each story as provided by Goodreads listed in the order that they fall in the anthology, along with my full review of Danger’s Edge. Why did I pick this one out of all the others? Because I’m a fan of Nancy Northcott’s writing and her ‘never afraid to cross the line to get things done’ characters… both male and female.

UNMASKED: An Edgars Family Novella-by Suzanne Ferrell
Abigail Whitson and Luke Edgars are working an undercover operation during the inaugural ball in an attempt to discover who has stolen land to air missiles before they can be sold to a broker—their target for the night. When the playboy arms dealer arrives at the ball, his bodyguard turns out to be someone from Luke’s past.
That isn’t the only surprise of the night. When the ball is invaded by terrorists, Abby and Luke find themselves trying to extract the arms dealer from the fray to protect their mission, while they also risk their lives to protect innocents from the carnage.

DEATH UNDER GLASS, A Faithful Defenders Novella by Jeanne Adams
Edward Millner and his girlfriend Retta Geminous, are celebrating a glittering inaugural. When Red Mantle terrorists take the ballroom, both bullets and glass start flying. Edward and Retta help the agents still standing retake the ballroom, but casualties are high. Can Edward face his demons and use his former Special Forces medical skills to save the night? Can Retta and Edward overcome their troubled hearts in the face of certain death?

DANGER’S EDGE, An Arachnid Agency Novella by Nancy Northcott
When terrorists disrupt the inaugural ball, new Arachnid Agency operative Kelsey Mitchell tables her planned undercover operation and works to bring help into the hotel. Her only ally is Greg Reed, an FBI agent on medical leave after being shot during a robbery. Kelsey dreads making a novice mistake, and Greg is afraid he’s lost his edge.
Attraction flares between them though Kelsey knows the Feds disapprove of people who work for her freewheeling agency. Together, she and Greg must fight their demons and the terrorists to gather intel for the FBI and create a safe landing zone for a rescue force. Can they succeed against overwhelming odds, or will the battle cost one or both their lives—or their hearts?
Review: My go-to when it comes to romance is PNR. That doesn’t mean that I don’t read contemporary romance, I just have a preference. When it comes from an author I already love, there’s no question. Having said that, it’s no surprise that Danger’s Edge did not disappoint.
Kelsey was on assignment for a totally different undercover op and Greg was on medical leave from the FBI. Who better to take on a bunch of suicidal maniacs? Even though they didn’t start out exactly trusting each other, it didn’t take them long to get over that obstacle and as a bonus, discover an attraction that was totally unexpected and poorly timed.
I can’t wait to see how this all pans out. This novella is listed as part of a series so I’m really hoping that there’s more to come. 😉
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LETHAL TARGET: An Armed & Deadly Novella by J.D. Tyler
FBI Special Agent Dalton McCoy is playing a deadly game, working undercover for Methan, leader of the extremist terrorist group, the Red Mantle. He’ll stop at nothing to keep Methan and his men from achieving their goal of bringing down key members of the government. When Dalton’s plans come to an unexpected head at the glittering inaugural ball, he doesn’t count on tenacious reporter Jolie Montfort placing herself in Methan’s line of fire as well. Now the agent must take out the terrorist leader and get them both to safety before it’s too late…

Warrior (Light Mage Wars #1) by Nancy Northcott

WarriorA Woman Tormented by Darkness

Archaeologist Audra Grayson hopes the dig in the Okefenokee Swamp will save her career. But that hope is dashed when she finds out-of-place relics and brilliant, sexy consultant Will Davis comes to investigate her for fraud. Worse, working on the site strengthens the evil shadow that has haunted her since childhood, and she knows he will think she’s crazy and unfit for the job.

A Mage Who Must Oppose it At All Costs

Mage Will Davis senses the darkness in Audra when they meet. Wondering whether she’s in league with dark forces, he vows to ignore his growing attraction to her. Then deadly ghouls target her dig, and Will discovers they want the ancient bronze pieces to open a portal for demons from the Void between worlds. If they succeed, everything on Earth is an endangered species.

The Fate of the World at Stake

With ghoul attacks escalating and mage traitors in league with the enemy, time is running out for Will to stop the portal from opening. The chemistry between him and Audra threatens to combust, but the darkness within her may give the enemy its chance. Must Will choose between the fate of the world and the love of his life?

First, even though this book is listed as the first book in the Light Mage Wars, it’s not the first book in Nancy Northcott’s magical world. Her previous series, The Protectors, started with Renegade. Even though you can start with Warrior, the actual recommended reading order is:

Regardless of where you start, the important thing is that you DO start. This series of books just gets better and better. The world building is unique and the characters are perfectly flawed. Okay, now on to the review 😉

Will was the poster boy for confirmed bachelors. Even though he was slightly envious of his friends and their solid relationships, he’d been burned before and wasn’t taking any chances.

Audra longed for a relationship, but for totally different reasons, she wasn’t taking any chances either. There was too much at stake for both of them to get attached. It’s too bad that their hearts weren’t on board with that plan. I love it when fate takes characters in a totally different direction. 😉

The story may have centered on Audra and Will, but there was a lot more going on. Things that involved the other characters as well as the fight against evil. There were also more than a couple of mysteries to solve. Some things were wrapped up at the end, but it’s obvious that there’s still a lot more to come, and I consider that a very good thing.

Warrior was full of action, suspense, magic and romance. I love getting to know the previous characters a little better with each installment. There are several layers to all the characters and their interactions with each other add so much to the story. I’m looking forward to seeing what Nancy Northcott has in store for these characters next. Hopefully the wait won’t be too long. 😉

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Sentinel (Light Mage Wars #0.5) by Nancy Northcott

SentinelHe’s on a Quest for Justice
Her Secrets are his Only Hope

When mage investigative reporter Rick Moore gets the unexpected chance to clear his father’s name, it looks like a dream come true. But there’s a price. He must first uncover the truth about the mage world’s most wanted fugitive.

Caroline Dare knows her beloved brother had a reason for killing a member of the mages’ governing council. Real heroes don’t go rogue on a whim. Burned by shady reporters, she pours her devastating worry for him into her fabric art career and maintains stony silence about him. But when her art is panned as a fraud because she’s blind, she’s forced to seek help from Rick, a man she knows only as a sexy arts writer.

Helping beautiful, determined Caroline prove her art is her own gets Rick inside her well tended walls. But as he wins her trust, he finds he’s losing his heart. Now he has a choice–give up his dream or betray the woman he loves.

Have you ever picked up a story simply because it was by an author you really liked? Yeah, that was a pretty silly question… Ever since I picked up the first book in Nancy Northcott’s The Protectors series I was hooked. Renegade, Protector and Guardian quickly became some of my favorite PNR books. The world building was fantastic and the characters were amazing. I found myself anxiously awaiting each new installment. When I saw that she had a new novella out that was a prequel to a new series I didn’t hesitate. Even though it wasn’t a new installment of The Protectors I knew that I would like it just as much as the others. I obviously wasn’t paying attention because not only is Sentinel the prequel to Nancy Northcott’s Light Mage Wars series, it’s also a sort of sequel to The Protectors series as well. That is definitely a win/win as far as this reader is concerned. 😉

As far as series introductions go, Sentinel did an amazing job. I’ve pretty much made it clear before that novellas can be either hit of miss with me. The misses happen when the story is so short that I’m left wanting more… and not in a good way,  but in a cheated way. Rick and Caroline’s story wasn’t rushed or forced. The story wasn’t long, but no time with them was wasted and readers were given a perfect introduction into the mage world and it was the perfect set up for things to come. I got so wrapped up in the story that I almost forgot that I already knew where things would inevitably lead. For that reason I have no qualms about recommending Sentinel to readers who haven’t been introduced to Nancy Northcott’s writing yet. It’s enough of a taste that you will be left wanting more… in a very good way. If you have read The Protectors, you’re in for a treat. Once I finished I was ready to schedule an impromptu re-read of Renegade.

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Guardian (The Protectors #2) by Nancy Northcott

GuardianA POWER TO KILL FBI agent Camellia “Mel” Wray is no stranger to violence but when an old friend is brutally murdered, she takes it personally. The case hits even closer to her heart when the best person to help with the investigation is Dr. Stefan Harper, the only man she ever loved-and lost. One look at the gorgeous medical expert and Mel realizes he’s still impossible to resist-and still harboring a secret after all these years . . . 

A POWER TO LOVE Afraid Mel wouldn’t accept him, Stefan never revealed his study of magical medicine or his abilities, instead allowing her to believe he’d been unfaithful. Now she’s back in his life-and their mutual attraction burns hotter than ever. But when something dark and otherworldly threatens humans, Stefan must summon his mage powers to keep everyone safe. Will Mel be able to trust him again? Or will their love cost him even more than it did the first time?

This series is getting  better and better.  I stumbled on Renegade, the first book in The Protectors series, last year, and I was pleasantly surprised. Not only by the world building and the mythology, but also by the depth of the characters and the emotional whirlwind that Nancy Northcott’s writing took me on. These characters have intensity, power, loyalty and humor. They are a close knit group of friends and family that definitely live up to the series’ name.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Guardian features Stefan, who played a major role in Renegade. He was actually one of my favorite characters from the time he was introduced. He was a friend who was both loyal and compassionate. He was also lonely, even surrounded by his friends. He envied the close relationships of those around him who had found their mates. Readers found out exactly how much he envied them in Protector, the novella that falls between the first two books in The Protectors series. It seems that Stefan not only envied the love that his friends had found, he also was mourning the loss of the love that he had let out of his grasp. *sigh*

Camellia wasn’t just a random FBI agent. She was the love that Stefan thought he had lost. Her coming back into his life was either fate or cruel. Camellia wasn’t sure how she felt about the reunion either. What they both learned is nothing is quite what it seems and love has a way of winning out… the path is never easy though and definitely not in this series.

One of the things I like best about this series is the interaction between the characters. There are a lot of relationships interwoven in each of these books and those threads become even stronger and envelope more characters as the series progresses. I love getting to know the characters introduced in the previous books better and watching their story lines progress even further. It keeps things interesting and fresh.

As much as I loved this book and the characters I was torn at the end. Not because of the outcome, that was a given. I just felt like they got there a little too fast. There was plenty of drama leading up to it and enough tension to keep readers on the edge of their seat, but then it was over. To be fair, I think it may have been just me – and for totally selfish reasons. You see, I really liked Stefan and always have since the moment he was introduced in Renegade. Even though Camellia’s feelings and sense of betrayal were totally justified I was still mad at her for doubting Stefan’s sincerity and is character. In my opinion he forgave her much too quickly. Crazy, I know, but that also proves how well Nancy Northcott has done her job in bringing to life these characters. The world is amazing, the mythology is a huge draw for me and the characters are full of depth laced with wit and an undying loyalty to one another. What’s not to love?

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Protector (The Protectors #1.5) by Nancy Northcott

ProtectorWhen firefighter and paramedic Edie Lang arrives to battle a wildfire in southeast Georgia’s Okefenokee Swamp, she’s dismayed to encounter the man who ruined her life in just one night. Their reunion doesn’t make helicopter pilot Josh Campbell any happier than Edie is. Despite their efforts to ignore each other, the sparks between them have not diminished, but neither intends to let them flare again.

When one of them is gravely injured, the two discover their passion runs deeper than either of them could have imagined and they have Dr. Stefan Harper to thank for that chance.

Dr. Harper is happy to have given the couple a second chance, but realizes through Josh and Edie, as well as his good friends Val and Griff, that what’s missing from his life is love.

Now this is a novella that didn’t hold anything back. I’m all for short and sweet, especially when I’m expecting it. When a story is short, sweet and packed full of drama, romance and adds to the overall story arc in the series, that’s even better. Protector delivered that and then some.

I was totally enthralled with both this series and Nancy’s writing when I read Renegade, the first book in her The Protectors series. Protector takes place a little while after Renegade ends. There’s a lot more to the story than is covered in the book description, but you’ll have to read it for yourself to understand. Josh and Edie’s story is worth the time, honest. They are both really strong characters that fit in perfectly with the characters that have already been introduced. You won’t be lost if you don’t read Protector first, but you’ll be missing out on meeting a great couple. Not to mention a few important things happen in Protector that you might want to learn about before you start Guardian. (Trust me, it’s another one of those ‘do as I say, not as I do’ moments.)

Even though this is Josh and Edie’s story, it not only gives us a few updates on Val and Griff, it’s also the perfect lead in to Stefan and Mel’s full length book, Guardian. This is one series that I have definitely put on my radar.

For a glimpse of The Protectors and a taste of Nancy Northcott’s writing, you can check out her free reads that are part of the series on her website. Enjoy!

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Renegade (The Protectors #1) by Nancy Northcott

SHE FOLLOWS THE RULES

As the Collegium council’s top sheriff of the southeastern United States, Valeria Banning doesn’t just take her job seriously, she takes it personally. So when a notorious traitor wanted by the authorities suddenly risks his life to save hers, she has to wonder why.

HE BREAKS EVERY ONE OF THEM

As a mage, Griffin is sworn to protect innocents from dark magic, which is how he finds himself fighting side by side with the beautiful Valeria Banning. But when the council finds out the two have been working together, they’re both left running for their lives-from the law, the threat of a ghoul takeover, and a possible Collegium mole.

Wow… yep, that pretty much sums it up…. wow! I’m guessing you’re expecting more from a review, huh? Okay, if you insist. 😉

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1‘Not. Dead. Yet. Valeria Banning panted behind the sour-tasting gag. She still had half a chance to survive.’ Honestly, when the first line in a book packs that much of a punch, how can you not continue reading?

This book came to me out of the blue. It wasn’t on my radar, the author is brand new and I hadn’t seen much about it anywhere. Trust, me when I say that when Renegade is released in November, 2012, you need to pick it up. I can’t remember the last time I read a book that started off with as much action as this one did. There were some lulls here and there, but it pretty much had me on the edge of my seat throughout the entire book. It’s one of those reads that grabs you and doesn’t let go.

Talk about your tortured and broken heros. Griffin was about as broken as they come as far as trust went. He had spent the past 6 years of his life on the run from the very people he was trying to protect. Val was one of those people who had him on her hit list. He was the enemy, plain and simple. Neither one of them trusted the other but then they were forced to. It was the perfect scenario for a PNR.

Not only were Val and Griffin great together, the supporting characters were witty, brave and just as loyal as they were. Then there were the sacrifices that both Val and Griffin were forced to make. Parts of this book were heart wrenching and there were moments that I was ready to scream because of what these characters were faced with. The world building, magic and mythology alone were fantastic. Yep, Renegade pretty much had it all.

I will say that there were times that I had a hard time keeping up with all the characters, but given the fact that this is the first book in a series it wasn’t a big issue. A lot of ground needed to be covered and it was accomplished very well. The character development that was created with the main players more than made up for it, honestly.

Guardian is the next book in the series and it scheduled to be released in May of 2013. From the glimpse into book 2 that readers are given at the end of Renegade I can guarantee that The Protectors Series is going to be a series I will have no problem following.