Burning Dawn (Angels of the Dark #3, Lords of the Underworld #10.5) by Gena Showalter

A tormented past has left Thane with an insatiable need for violence, making him the most dangerous assassin in the skies.
He lives by a single code: no mercy. And as he unleashes his fury on his most recent captor, he learns no battle could have prepared him for the slave he rescues from his enemy’s clutches—a beauty who stokes the fires of his darkest desires.
Elin Vale has her own deep-rooted scars, and her attraction to the exquisite warrior who freed her challenges her every boundary.
But Thane’s unwavering determination to protect her means she must face her greatest fears—and enter a world in which passion is power, and victory means breathtaking surrender.

I’ve neglected this world way too long, but I’m slowly making up for it. 😉

Both Thane and Elin are more than just a little bit broken. It’s pretty safe to say that normal beings would have been crushed by just a fraction of what each of these characters had been through. Through strength and more than a little stubbornness, they’ve survived but the cost was high. So high that it was hard for them to trust and left them with a few emotional and physical scars.

They were an unlikely pair for a lot of reasons. They both had their secrets and some of those secrets made them an even more unlikely pair. Things aren’t always what they seem though and some prejudices – regardless of how personal they are – are worth letting go of…

One of my favorite parts of an ongoing series are the supporting characters and Burning Dawn was no exception. Since I’m way behind, I know that I’m not going to get more from a few characters that I really want, at least not for now, but there’s still hope. Since I’m reading these in order and Burning Dawn seems to be the last of the Angels of the Dark series available, next up is The Darkest Touch, Torin’s book in the Lords of the Underworld series.

Tempting the Dragon King (Dragon Lords #1) by Kiersten Fay

On his way to reestablish an old alliance, Tristan Okora, king of the dragon shifters, discovers a beautiful human female aboard an enemy vessel. He offers his protection until she can be safely returned to Earth. But the more time he spends with Juniper Jacobs, the faster he falls for the little mortal. Meanwhile, amidst the trouble brewing in his kingdom—a terrible rumor that threatens his crown—Tristan must make a difficult decision; accept an arranged marriage with a neighboring princess, or risk everything for the beguiling human.
TEMPTING THE DRAGON KING is the first book in this Shadow Quest spin-off series. And while this series will focus on hunky dragon shifters and witches, there are plenty of cameos from the original series.

And… here I go again. As mentioned in the description, Tempting the Dragon King is a spin-off of the Shadow Quest series. I’ve only read The Demon’s Possession, the first book in the Shadow Quest series. The good news is that it didn’t make a lot of difference in reading Tempting the Dragon King from a confusion standpoint. One of these days I shall follow the rules! (Obviously that day will not be today.) *sigh*

Tempting the Dragon King isn’t a fairytale dragon story. It’s more of a shape-shifter alien story, where the kingdom is ruled by a dragon king and his family. Tristan took over as king after the unexpected death of his father. He had planned on going through with an arranged marriage until June showed up. That’s when everything changed. The attraction took them both by surprise, but it was too strong for them to ignore. Things got even more complicated when rumors were spread in the kingdom that about more than the new king’s love interest. Needless to say, Tempting the Dragon King was more than just a sweet romance, although that was front and center.

There were a few loose ends at the end of Tempting the Dragon King, which means I can’t wait to continue the series.

 

The Demon’s Possession (Shadow Quest #1) by Kiersten Fay

As captain of the merchant ship Marada, Sebastian has only one goal: keep his family and his crew safe while they deliver a curious parcel to a ruthless pirate. But when a bewitching young woman mysteriously appears on his ship, he finds it impossible to focus on the job…and to keep his hands off her.
Analia has known only one life: enslavement. In a bid for freedom, she escapes onto a craft led by a fearsome demon captain. If she is to maintain her freedom, she must gain Sebastian’s trust while concealing her true nature.
Together they contend with the hazards of open space, but what no one knows is her secrets are more dangerous than anything they have encountered before.

This is another book/series/author that I “stumbled” upon in my search for something new to read. I liked the premise, who doesn’t like a good demon hero? Especially one who has no intention of finding his one true mate? Those are my favorite. It’s so much fun watching them fight the inevitable. 😉

Analia had been through so much and she was more than a little broken. She had lost her will to survive more than once, but she always found a way to fight back. When the opportunity came to finally escape, she took it. She had no idea what she was escaping to, but it had to be better than the captivity she had lived in so far. What she found when she ended up on Sebastian’s ship was a family. Of course, it didn’t happen immediately, they weren’t an easily trusting bunch. There attraction was powerful, but they fought it as long as they could. Everyone around them knew they were destined to be together long before they did.

Another thing that I’m a sucker for is strong supporting characters and The Demon’s Possession had plenty. There was also plenty of action, suspense and a bad guy who everyone was ready to defend Analia against. I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of the demons find their HEA. Net up is The Demon Slave and it features Marik, who was one of my favorite support characters in The Demon’s Possession.

Blood Kiss (Black Dagger Legacy #1) by J.R. Ward

Paradise, blooded daughter of the king’s First Advisor, is ready to break free from the restrictive life of an aristocratic female. Her strategy? Join the Black Dagger Brotherhood’s training center program and learn to fight for herself, think for herself…be herself. It’s a good plan, until everything goes wrong. The schooling is unfathomably difficult, the other recruits feel more like enemies than allies, and it’s very clear that the Brother in charge, Butch O’Neal, a.k.a. the Dhestroyer, is having serious problems in his own life.
And that’s before she falls in love with a fellow classmate. Craeg, a common civilian, is nothing her father would ever want for her, but everything she could ask for in a male. As an act of violence threatens to tear apart the entire program, and the erotic pull between them grows irresistible, Paradise is tested in ways she never anticipated—and left wondering whether she’s strong enough to claim her own power…on the field, and off.

It’s been a while since I’ve read any books in this world… well, actually it’s been a couple of months since I read The Chosen, but I had a LONG BDB dry spell before then. *sigh* I’ve also had this book for what seems like forever and it was one of the first that I picked up once I realized how long it had been since I had read a physical book. Now I make it a habit to read at least one book off of my actual shelves along with whatever I’m currently reading on my Kindle, but that’s another story.

Blood Kiss is the first book in J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood Legacy series and I love the concept. Along with new recruits, each book in this series revolves around a couple from the Brotherhood. This one revisits one of my favorite couples, Butch and Marissa. ❤

Paradise doesn’t take the easy way of rebelling against the aristocratic way of life. The initiation into the BDB’s program is NOT for the faint of heart. The only way that she thinks this will work is if she’s not recognized as an aristocrat to the rest of the recruits. Which is the only reason that she has a chance with Craeg. He has a good reason not to trust anyone with Paradise’s background. He may not be what her father would expect or want for his daughter, but he’s proven more than once that he’s a male of worth, which is all that matters to her.

As for Marissa and Butch? They’re suffering for a lack of communication and a need to protect each other. Nothing new, but it was great spending some time with them, even under stress. They both still had baggage from their past that they needed to unravel, they just needed to figure out that it was easier to do that together, rather than apart.

Although this series isn’t technically part of the main series, events overlap, so J.R. Ward has a reading order to follow. (Which I’ve already screwed up, BTW) You can find it on her website, if you want.  I’m going to make a valiant attempt to follow it from now on… maybe?

DragonFlyRating5

Unforgotten (The Fallen Guardians #2) by Cassie Laelyn

Fate offers no mercy. Especially not to those who betray her.
Lethal Guardian Aric’s loyalty never falters. Not even when Fate exiled him and his brothers from the Heavens, separating Aric from his soulmate. He’ll do anything to reunite with her. But when Willow suddenly appears in the mortal realm, Aric’s greatest fear comes true—she’s no longer the angel he left behind.
Since Aric abandoned her, the Heavens have become Willow’s personal Hell. Centuries of bitterness and hurt is a toxic combination. It even affects her angelic powers. When a Fallen offers Willow a chance to escape, she accepts. But shunning her connection to the Heavens comes at a cost.
In a twisted battle of loyalty, trust and hope, what price will two soulmates pay for a second chance at love?

I knew from the moment I finished Unforsaken that The Fallen Guardians was going to become a new favorite. If possible, I think I may have liked Unforgotten even more, and not just because of Willow and Aric.

Of course if you’ve read Unforsaken, (which you totally should before you pick up Unforgotten) you’re already met Aric. I only thought that he broke my heart in the first book. Having him know that Willow was in the mortal realm and he still couldn’t be near her was pure torture. There were things about their time apart that neither one of them knew. Willow thought that she was abandoned and Aric thought he was keeping her safe. It seemed like repairing the damage between them was impossible. And Blaine wasn’t helping any…

Speaking of Blaine, readers were treated to a lot more time with him and the more I got to know him the more curious I became. There’s a lot more to him and his “fall” than anyone knows. There’s also a lot more to him and what drives him than meets the eye. He’s one of those characters that kind of grows on you whether you want him to or not. Hmm…

I loved spending time with these characters and I can’t wait to see what happens next. 😉

Unforsaken (The Fallen Guardians #1) by Cassie Laelyn

Hidden deep in the Snowy Mountains, lives a brotherhood of immortal Guardians, banished from the Heavens.
​After centuries of exile, Head Guardian Raven can taste Hell. One wrong move could destroy his soul. When Fate assigns him a female mortal to protect, his forbidden desire becomes a distraction he can’t afford. Giving in to temptation risks plummeting into the fiery pits of Hell, dragging her along with him.
​Tayla Eason is on the run, escaping a horrific attack on her life. When she lands in the arms of the sexy, alluring man who saved her, the shadows of her past swiftly close in. But when Fate throws a twist, Tayla’s forced to choose between saving Raven’s soul or fleeing before the creatures strike again.
​In an ultimate test of love, the two must battle against the almighty Fate. But will it be enough to save them both?

Every once in a while, I realize that I’ve locked myself into a reading rut. I stick with the same authors, genres and/or publishers without even realizing it. It’s not exactly a comfort zone, I strayed away from that a long time ago. It’s more like a force of habit. I have to consciously do a different search when I’m looking for ARCs or new reads. It was during one of those searches that I found the second book in The Fallen Guardians series. On a whim, I checked out the publisher and found out that the first book was also available for review. So… here we are…

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I should probably mention that I’m very happy that I stumbled upon Cassie Lealyn’s new series. The world building included a refreshing take on fallen angels with a mythological twist. Even though this was the first book in a new series and there was a lot of background to cover, it wasn’t a distraction from Tayla and Raven. Raven’s brothers, their connection to the woman he was sworn to protect and other forces just added to the story. The fact that Raven was “broken” and Tayla was the one person who could make him whole. The only problem was, she shouldn’t have been.

This story had pretty much everything I love about PNR. The supporting characters were intriguing, not to mention witty. There was enough danger and mystery to keep the pages turning. The take on fallen angels was unique and the romance was both hot and sweet. Unforgotten is next and after meeting Aric in Unforsaken, I can’t wait to read what happens next.

His Unexpected Mate (His Unexpected Mate #1) by T.L. West

Living in a small wooden cabin at the edge of a forest and working to solve the mystery of recent murders, young Eli Bright learns the locals believe a man-beast is responsible.
As an outsider, he is watched very closely as he works with the young local sheriff, Stanley Blake. But Eli knows there has to be a proper explanation. Paranormal creatures don’t exist, right?

I’ve read one other book by T.L. West and unfortunately, I came away from His Unexpected Mate feeling much the same way as I did when I finished reading A Fated Bond. *sigh*

I think a lot of my issue with His Unexpected Mate was that it was too short to give readers a chance to wrap their heads around what was happening between Eli and Stanley. Never mind all the supernatural danger, family drama and world building that was just as much a part of the story. If more pages were devoted to all the elements of the story, I might have enjoyed it more, because the premise was great and the writing flowed nicely. As with many, many short stories/novellas, I just needed more.

 

Tyger, Tyger, Burning Bryght (Orion #1) by Cathryn Cade

He’s an alpha beast, trapped on the space ship Orion in mating shift … with only her between him and madness.
Tryon Jag is handsome, wealthy and arrogant. With good reason–he’s one of the elite Tyger navigators trusted to bring ships like Orion through the deadly asteroid belts around his home planet, and he’s the best … until he shifts into a feral half-man, half-cat with only one thing on his mind.
They’ll never make it to safety, unless they bring him the one woman who ran from him.
Calla Fellura is a novice interpreter. The young Tyger loves her job on this state-of-the-art space cruise ship, but she’s in uncharted territory when it comes to Jag. The virile alpha can have any woman he wants–why would he choose the naïve, shy female who turned their first hookup into a snarling disaster, humiliating him in front of his entire planet? Unless she’s the only one of his kind available.
This time, she’ll have to stay… and let him take her any way he wants.

Short, sweet and hot… that pretty much sums up Tyger, Tyger, Burning Bryght.

Tryon needs Calla and she’s more than happy to help, but what Tryon doesn’t know is that they have a history.

Although Tyger, Tyger, Burning Bryght was a bit heavy on the smexiness level, there’s a lot more to the story than just a Tyger shifter in heat. There was a mystery to be solved, lives were in danger and even the bad guys had no idea whose side they were on.

Her Commander is the next book in the series and even though I’m late jumping into this series, I plan on playing catch-up… eventually. 😉

Some Girls Bite (Chicagoland Vampires #1) by Chloe Neill

They killed me. They healed me. They changed me.
Sure, the life of a graduate student wasn’t exactly glamorous, but it was Merit’s. She was doing fine until a rogue vampire attacked her. But he only got a sip before he was scared away by another bloodsucker–and this one decided the best way to save her life was to make her the walking undead.
Turns out her savior was the master vampire of Cadogan House. Now she’s traded sweating over her thesis for learning to fit in at a Hyde Park mansion full of vamps loyal to Ethan Sullivan. Of course, as a tall, green-eyed, four-hundred-year-old vampire, he has centuries’ worth of charm, but unfortunately, he expects her gratitude–and servitude.
But an inconvenient sunlight allergy and Ethan’s attitude are the least of her concerns. Someone’s still out to get her. Her initiation into Chicago’s nightlife may be the first skirmish in a war–and there will be blood.

Well, I’m WAY late to this party. It seems that every blogger/reader/author that I follow and trust for solid recommendations has read this book/series. And I have sat here oblivious – for YEARS. I think I picked this one up earlier this year when it was either offered free or really cheap. Either way, it doesn’t matter because I’ve FINALLY started the Chicagoland Vampire series and there is no turning back.

As series openers go, Some Girls Bite definitely covered a lot of ground. It also left the door wide open for a crazy amount of scenarios to play out. Along with more than a few characters that can go either way as far as loyalties lie. Merit never fit into the “mold” that her parents expected and it looks like the same will be true with her new vampire “family.” Needless to say, things are going to get more than a little interesting and I can’t wait to continue this series. Friday Night Bites is next and I’m pretty sure it won’t be long before I pick it up. Stay tuned!

 

Fury (Menagerie #3) by Rachel Vincent

1986: Rebecca Essig leaves a slumber party early but comes home to a massacre—committed by her own parents. Only one of her siblings has survived. But as the tragic event unfolds, she begins to realize that other than a small army of six-year-olds, she is among very few survivors of a nationwide slaughter.
The Reaping has begun.
Present day: Pregnant and on the run with a small band of compatriots, Delilah Marlow is determined to bring her baby into the world safely and secretly. But she isn’t used to sitting back while others suffer, and she’s desperate to reunite Zyanya, the cheetah shifter, with her brother and children. To find a way for Lenore the siren to see her husband. To find Rommily’s missing Oracle sisters. To unify this adopted family of fellow cryptids she came to love and rely on in captivity.
But Delilah is about to discover that her role in the human versus cryptid war is destined to be much larger—and more dangerous—than she ever could have imagined.

My initial reaction when I finished Fury, the last book in the Menagerie series was torn between heartbreak and… well, I’m still not sure. Yet, there’s no way that I could rate this book with anything less than 5 stars. Given the direction that Rachel Vincent had taken the characters and events in Menagerie and Spectacle, I shouldn’t have been surprised. I wanted these characters that we’ve gotten to know, respect and love to get the happiness that they deserved – just like Delilah did. *sigh*

There’s really not a whole lot more I can say without giving things away, and trust me, Fury is one of those books that you have to experience for yourself. There was also a big difference between Fury and the rest of the books in the series. The chapters flipped between “1986″ and “Present Day.” At first it was a little confusing, especially since the book began with “1986.” It didn’t take long to not only get used to, but to actually look forward to each POV. Eventually both POVs catch up with each other and surprising connections are made.

I loved these characters and the world that Rachel Vincent created. Parallels between “fiction” and “non-fiction” weren’t hard to recognize, but the message wasn’t forced. I suppose it’s possible to read the Menagerie series without making the connection, but it would be nice if people paid attention to the details…

Then there was the ending… not what I expected and definitely not what I wished for, but there was a spark of hope, which is always nice to walk away with in a series as powerful and emotional as this one. ❤