Old Blood (Experiment in Terror #5.5) & The Dex Files (Experiment in Terror #5.7) by Karina Halle

Old Blood

A haunting novella from the Experiment in Terror Series…
From her harrowing introduction in Darkhouse, the spectre known as “Creepy Clown Lady” has been a constant fixture in Perry Palomino’s life. But beyond the horrid makeup and piercing stare lies Pippa, a woman just like everyone else.
Well, not quite.
When Perry discovered Pippa’s message to her and Dex on the EVP recordings, she thought she heard the last of the old woman’s message. She was wrong. In the novella Old Blood, Pippa relays the tale of her troubled and tortured past, revealing how an aspiring actress and loving mother fell into madness and how an unfathomable betrayal led to her untimely death.
For Perry, the repercussions of her message are life-shattering.
Old Blood is #5.5 in the series and occurs between books #5 On Demon Wings and #6 Into the Hollow

Okay, so I really didn’t think I could dislike Perry’s mother any more than I did when I started this novella, but I was wrong. I also didn’t think that I’d miss the Crazy Clown Lady if Perry and Pippa managed to get rid of her, but I was wrong about that too. Don’t yell, because there’s not a whole lot more I can say about Pippa, Perry, her mother and Dex without giving something away. 😉

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TheDexFiles

The Dex Files

The truth is out there…
The Dex-Files is a compilation novel that accompanies the Experiment in Terror Series and is not to be-read as a stand-alone. In the Dex-Files we find a variety of scenes and chapters from the enigmatic Dex Foray’s POV from books #1-6 in the series. Some of these scenes have been previously published, albeit from Perry’s POV, while other scenes are completely new.
In addition to it not being a stand-alone, the novel also contains some major spoilers and should be read only by those who have read all the published books in the series.
Book #1 – Darkhouse
*Lighthouse Meeting
*Pie Scene
*Jenn and Dex
Book #2 – Red Fox 
*Bar Scene – extended
*Playing Nurse
Book #3 – Dead Sky Morning
*Strippers
*Truth or Dare
*Tent Scene
Book #4 – Lying Season
*The Big Question
*The Xmas Party
Book #5 – On Demon Wings
*A Phone Call
Book #6 – Into the Hollow
*Bailout

Oh Dex… Dex, Dex, Dex… By the end of Lying Season, I wasn’t sure whether I was more frustrated with how Perry handled things or Dex. I wanted to hug them both as much as I wanted to knock some sense into them. After being in Dex’s head for just a little while in each book, I fell in love with the crazy guy. There was a lot revealed in these short little snippets, so take my advice and don’t skip them as you read through the series. And please, don’t read them before you’ve gotten to On Demon Wings. I did read it before I picked up Into the Hollow, but that was actually kind of helpful. What happens in Bailout kind of leads into Into the Hollow.

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The One You Want (The Original Heartbreakers #0.5) by Gena Showalter

TheOneYouWantIn small-town Oklahoma, reputation is everything, and Kenna Starr will do anything to overcome hers. The supposed bad girl is determined to walk the straight and narrow, a seemingly impossible task when Tall, Dark and Sexy shows up…
Rich and powerful, Dane Michaelson is every woman’s dream. When he returns to Strawberry Valley after a sixteen-year absence, he is unprepared for the redheaded girl he’s never been able to forget. She’s all woman now—and he’s never wanted anyone more. But to have her, he’ll have to break through her defenses… and surrender his own.

I love novellas, I really, really do. Especially this time of year when I have more time to read and knock a whole bunch of short reads off my TBR list in hopes of meeting my lofty reading goal… but I digress… The point is, even though I love novellas, they can either be hit or miss for me and it boils down to one simple reason. Not enough story…

This was such a sweet romance, with a great couple that I can’t fault it too much, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I wanted more. I know, you’ve heard that from me before, even from reviews of full length novels, but I wanted more from The One You Want because there was a lot left hanging and I wanted those nagging questions answered. I also felt like Kenna and Dane deserved more for their story.

Other than that, The One You Want was an amazing intro to Gena Showalter’s The Original Heartbreakers. Characters were introduced that will continue the series and definitely piqued my curiosity. I loved the back story between Dan and Kenna, as well as their individual back stories during their time apart. Norrie was adorable and was written exactly like I love to read kids in fiction… smart, witty and in her case, a overflowing fountain of sometimes inappropriate, but well timed information.

I can’t wait to see what Showalter has in store for the rest of the Heartbreakers

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Dragos Goes to Washington (Elder Races #8.5) by Thea Harrison

DragosGoesToWashingtonDragos Cuelebre, Lord of the Wyr, needs to throw a party without maiming anyone. That isn’t exactly as easy as it might sound.
After the destructive events of the last eighteen months, the Elder Races are heading to Washington D.C. to foster peace with humankind. Not known for his diplomacy skills, Dragos must rely on his mate Pia to help navigate a battlefield of words and polite smiles rather than claws. With Dragos’s mating instinct riding close to the surface, his temper is more volatile than ever and the threat of violence hovers in the air.
Then the human spouse of a prominent politician winds up murdered and Dragos and Pia must race against time to hunt down those behind it before they are held responsible for the crime.

For fans of DRAGON BOUND and LORD’S FALL, the latest novella in the Elder Races holds passion, peril, political intrigue, and revelations that will change Dragos and Pia’s lives forever.
Dragos Goes to Washington is the first part of a three-story series about Dragos, Pia, and their son Liam. Each story stands alone, but fans might want to read all three in order as they will be released: Dragos Goes to Washington, Pia Does Hollywood, and Liam Takes Manhattan.

I love series that introduce new characters with each installment. It’s a great way to keep a series fresh. I have to admit though, I’m really loving these mini novella series that Thea Harrison has devoted to Pia, Dragos and Liam. I enjoyed the first set a lot (Dragos Takes a Holiday, Pia Saves the Day and Peanut Goes to School) so I was really excited when I found out readers were going to get to spend some more quality time with the couple that started it all and their not so little Peanut 😉

For being a novella, these stories aren’t lacking in mystery, action, tension and plenty of smexiness. As much as I love the rest of the Wyrs and Elder Race, nothing quite compares to the heat between Pia and Dragos. There’s definitely a lot more in store for not just Pia and Dragos, but there’s plenty of tension brewing between all the Wyr and the humans. Plus Pia and Dragos have their own personal drama going on… the rest of this mini series within the series promises to be interesting. The rest of the novellas include Pia Does Hollywood and Liam Takes Manhattan. I can’t wait!

On a side note, I realized that there are two books in the Elder Races series that I missed. *gasp* I need to rectify that immediately! Therefore, Night’s Honor and Midnight’s Kiss are ready and waiting. Time to play catch up!

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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…

Bayou Noël (Bayou Heat #8.5) by Alexandra Ivy & Laura Wright

BayouNoelTis the season for new beginnings:
Molly has spent her last Christmas alone. After waiting five years for Garrick to notice her as more than his mother’s caregiver. The aggravating male might always have a place in her heart, but she’s determined to find someone who wants to build a family with her. She had no idea that writing a letter of resignation would bring Garrick back to the Wildlands.

It will take a Christmas miracle to bring them together:
Garrick can’t believe that Molly is willing to walk away. She’d not only become irreplaceable to his mother, but he’d become addicted to her letters when he was far away from home. He’d be damned if he was going to let her slip away. But once back in the Wildlands, Garrick is forced to choose between opening his heart to the female he loves or risk losing her forever.

My favorite kind of novella is one that can stand alone from a series, but makes me want to know more enough to track down the full lengths books. Bayou Noel is that kind of novella, and obviously my introduction to the Bayou Heat series.

I loved these characters. There was an obvious attraction between the two of them from the beginning, whether Garrick wanted to admit it or not. It seems that he was the only one who didn’t know it… on the surface.

This one was short, sweet with just the right amount of heat. A perfect Holiday read. I can’t wait to see what else there is to discover in the Bayou 😉

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Bound to be a Bride by Megan Mulry

BoundToBeABrideIn 1808 tempestuous Isabella, daughter of the Duke of Feria, unites with rebellious Javi, a highborn aristocrat practiced in the art of hojōjutsu, Japanese rope binding. They meet in the forest of western Spain, where both are on the run from an arranged marriage…to each other.

This one was short, sweet and cute. Kind of predictable, but I still liked it. I picked up Bound to be a Bride after I finished Bound to be a Groom. They aren’t marked as a series, but there are some common characters, both actually introduced and at least one just referred to. It’s also worth mentioning that Bound to be a Bride isn’t nearly as risque as Bound to be a Groom. It’s also not a full length novel, so if you just want a taste of historical romance, this one should be just right. 😉

Red & Wolfe (Red & Wolfe #1) by Ella James

RedAndWolfeWhen Sarah “Red” Ryder loses her job as an art critic for a Boston newspaper, she’s brokenhearted. Worse than that? She’s broke. Her boyfriend recently left her, so she’s stuck paying her hefty apartment rent alone. After two months unemployed, there’s no money left. With no immediate family to turn to, Red reaches out to her estranged grandmother, a reclusive writer living on an island off the coast of Charleston. Several days later, Red receives $30,000 and an invitation to visit.

James Wolfe is not Red’s grandmother – but he’s the only person waiting for her at the boat dock. Red has something he needs. He won’t take “no” for an answer, and he doesn’t mind screwing her over to get it. He lost his conscience six years ago, when he went off the grid. Since then, life is about him – and the renowned oil paintings he does under the mysterious pseudonym “W.”

Until the moment he sees her. Then Red is all he wants. And Wolfe will have her – any way he can.

I’m still not sure about this one. I liked it, but it took me a while to get into it. That sounds kind of ridiculous when you’re referring to a novella, but it’s true. Things started to pick up once James was introduced.

Since Red & Wolfe is actually a serial, not a lot was revealed in this first installment… except for the instant attraction between James and Sarah. (Almost too instant, but not surprising for a novella.) It’s obvious that there is more to James than meets the eye, but readers will have to wait to find out. Needless to say, once I finished the first installment it didn’t take me long to pick up the second. I’ve also picked up the first installment in each of the other twisted fairy tales by Ella James.

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Dragos Takes a Holiday (Elder Races #6.5) Thea Harrison

DragosTakesAHolidayThe Bermuda Triangle. Pirates. The Peanut. What could possibly go wrong?

Dragos Cuelebre needs a vacation. So does Pia, his mate. When the First Family of the Wyr head to Bermuda for some much needed R&R, it’s no ordinary undertaking – and no ordinary weekend in the sun. Between hunting for ancient treasure buried beneath the waves and keeping track of their son, Liam—a.k.a. Peanut, whose Wyr abilities are manifesting far ahead of schedule—it’s a miracle that Pia and Dragos can get any time together.

They’re determined to make the most of each moment, no matter who tries to get in their way.

And did we mention pirates?

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Yes, pirates – but more importantly Pia and Dragos and Peanut. Honestly, I can’t get enough of these characters. Dragos Takes A Holiday is the perfect treat for devoted readers of this series. Not only do we get more of the intense heat that exists between Pia and Dragos, but we also get inside Liam’s (a.k.a. Peanut) head. Honestly, I’m not sure which POV I loved more.

Dragos Takes A Holiday takes the characters on a well deserved vacation. Pia baits Dragos into taking a short vacation with the possibility of a treasure hunt. Their vacation turns into more of an adventure than they expected. To add a little excitement to the trip, Liam becomes more than a handful, but he’s adorable. We get to see a side of Dragos that not many people see and I like that side. I love his devotion to his family and how he lets Pia ‘control’ him, to an extent. I love the tender side of him when he’s with Liam. I also love it when Pia tells him to go for it. You’ll understand when you read Dragos Takes A Holiday and if you’re a Mom – you’ll really understand. 😉

I also felt like Thea Harrison depicted Peanut perfectly. I loved his voice and his naiveness. He was sweet and precocious. His voice was perfect and his reaction to what was going on around him was priceless.

This may have been a short read, but it wasn’t lacking in content. It was the perfect short segue. That doesn’t mean that I can’t wait for the next book or it didn’t leave me wanting more. It just means that it was the perfect short bonus glimpse into the Elder Races world and a perfect diversion while readers anxiously await the next installment.

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Death’s Avatar (Descent #.05) by S.M. Reine

DeathsAvatarFor five years, Elise Kavanagh and James Faulkner have policed relations between Heaven, Hell, and Earth with blood and blade. They’re notorious as heroes and killers—the greatest demon hunting team to ever live. But they’re getting tired of fighting.
Now a Goddess of Death is driving the world toward destruction. When her doomsday clock reaches twelve, the barriers between Hell and Earth will be ripped away and bring humanity to extinction.
The clock just struck nine.
The world is running out of time.

For such a short book, this 79 page novella packs quite a punch. However, from S.M. Reine, that is no surprise.

This was just a taste of what’s to come in the Descent series and not a page or a word was wasted. This was more than an introduction, it was impossible to put down. The action was intense, the characters were layered, the world building was amazing and nothing about any of it was sugar coated, which is what I’ve come to expect from S.M. Reine.  She doesn’t pull any punches with her characters or what she puts them through. I kinda like that 😉

Elise and James are definitely characters that I want to get to know better and there’s 7 books in this series that will help me do just that, plus one more novella, Deadly Hearts. The first full length book in the series is Death’s Hand.

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I picked up Death’s Avatar as a free download from Amazon on December 6, 2012.

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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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