Hearts of Fire (Chevalier #1) by Kay Doherty

Luca Duray has been quite happy living a solitary existence for decades. But when a steel trap around his leg catches him when he’s weak and hungry, his life is irrevocably changed. He knows the wolf shifter who offers him assistance is more than he appears and immediately makes plans to keep the pup close.
Disowned by his pack for being gay, Tanner McBane is forced to become a lone wolf. While on a hunt, he stumbles upon an injured dragon shifter and provides aid. It’s not easy surviving on his own and when money gets tight, he finds himself face-to-face with the dragon shifter once again during an interview. Tanner isn’t sure a wolf should be working for a dragon, but he accepts the job and unknowingly creates a bond to his new boss. Soon, Tanner learns Luca isn’t just his boss—he’s his mate.
The mating of a wolf and dragon shifter is uncharted territory for both Luca and Tanner, but they are determined to make it work despite widespread prejudice, death threats, and the untraditional pack Tanner finds himself leading. Tanner only hopes that the bond he forms with Luca will prove to be unbreakable.

This one was short (less than 150 pages) but it wasn’t lacking. It started with Tanner helping Luca in the forest and didn’t slow down from there. From their initial meeting to discovering what they were to each other, a lot happens in Hearts of Fire. Tanner was a true alpha, but since he was disowned by his pack, he could easily lose himself without that pack connection. When he lost his pack, he never expected to find a new one who needed him as much as he evidently needed them.

Hearts of Fire was a great start to what promises to be an interesting series. A lot was revealed in this first book, but even more was left unanswered. Without the support of either of their families as well as the threats coming from Tanner’s former pack, things aren’t going to be easy for Luca and Tanner. I can’t wait to see what the author has in store for them in the next book in the Chevalier series. This is my first book by Kay Doherty, but it obviously won’t be my last. 😉

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Demon on the Down-Low (Supernatural Selection #3) by E.J. Russell

After decades of unrequited love, this kangaroo will jump at the chance for a date. Any date.
Lovelorn kangaroo shifter Hamish Mulherne, drummer for the mega-hit rock band Hunter’s Moon, waited years for the band’s jaguar shifter bassist to notice him. Instead, she’s just gotten married and is in a thriving poly relationship. How is Hamish supposed to compete with that? But with everyone else in the band mated and revoltingly happy, he needs somebody. Since he can’t expect true love to strike twice, he signs up with Supernatural Selection. Because what the hell.
When Zeke Oz was placed at Supernatural Selection through the Sheol work-release program, he thought he was the luckiest demon alive. But when he seems responsible for several massive matchmaking errors, he’s put on notice: find the perfect match for Hamish, or get booted back to Sheol for good. The only catch? He has to do it without the agency’s matchmaking spells, and Hamish simply will not engage.
But Zeke starts to believe that the reason all of Hamish’s dates fizzle is because nobody in the database is good enough for him. And Hamish realizes that his perfect match might be the cute demon who’s trying so hard to make him happy.

I’ve lost count of how many series finales I’ve read in the past few months. *sigh* It’s always sad to say good-bye, but I’ve loved the Supernatural Selection series and I’ve also loved Zeke since he was first introduced in Single White Incubus. If the series had to end, Demon on the Down-Low was the perfect way to wrap it up… even though I wasn’t really ready.

I’ve said before that I’m a huge fan of E.J. Russell, but my absolute favorite characters are her quirky ones. The characters that make me giggle and fall in love with them, just for being who they are. This series was full of them and Zeke was one of my favorites. Hamish and Zeke together were adorable. The other thing I loved about this series was getting to see characters from the Fae Out of Water series. They jumped in to help “save the day” on more than one occasion.

There was a bit more intrigue in Demon on the Down-Low, mainly because readers (and the characters) finally discovered who the “bad guy” was in Supernatural Selection. It wasn’t exactly who I expected, but I wasn’t surprised either. The wrap-up actually involved the characters from the previous books in this series, as well as the characters from Fae Out of Water, so it was like a big homecoming 😉 I loved every minute of it. Since Hamish was first introduced in the Fae Out of Water series, it’s the perfect excuse to start a re-read from the beginning with Cutie and the Beast (one of my favorites from that series.) Actually, it doesn’t take much to convince me to re-read a series I loved the first time around. 😉

Love at Long Last (Trillium Creek #1) by Silvia Violet

Silas had always expected to find his fated mate early in life, like most pack leaders do. But as he nears his fortieth birthday, still single, he begins to accept that maybe he’s not meant to have a mate after all. When he finds an intruder in his territory, a young cop who smells human but also like everything he’s longed for, Silas can’t help but feel a spark of hope. Could this man be part shifter? Could he be Silas’s mate?
Cory’s conservative family believes shifters are evil, but when he meets Silas, he’s shocked by the pack leader’s gentleness and hit with feelings of desire beyond anything he’s ever experienced. All of Cory’s fantasies center around older men who take charge and take care of him, so when Silas asks if he needs a Daddy, all he can say is yes.
Torn between his family’s expectations and the pull he feels toward Silas, Cory knows he’ll have to give up his career if he follows his heart. Silas wants Cory, not fate, to decide if they should be together, so he fights his protective instincts. But an unexpected pregnancy forces their hands, and the two men have to figure out how to fit their lives together. And maybe have love at long last.

Readers were introduced to Silas (and a couple of other key characters) in Love at Lupine Bakery. That was the novella that started Silvia Violet’s Trillium Creek MPreg series. That taste was just enough to make me want to get to know them all better, especially Silas. It was obvious that he was an alpha who deserved to find his true mate. I’m so glad that Love at Long Last was the first official book in the Trillium Creek series.

Cory was adorable and his his family… not so much. In his world, humans knew all about shifters. Not all of them were prejudice, but the members of Cory’s family had a very narrow view when it came to them and found every reason they could to cause them trouble. Rather ironic considering what Cory discovered about his heritage.

Silas earned my respect in Love at Lupine Bakery, but it grew with Love at Long Last. He was a great leader and compassionate enough to put his own needs second, even when it wasn’t what was necessarily best. Which, his pack wasn’t afraid to call him out on. 😉

MPreg isn’t my “go-to” genre, but I’m kinda falling in love with the members of the Trillium Creek pack. The next “couple” is going to be interesting. I can’t wait to see how Silvia Violet makes things finally work out for a very special pair in Love Times Three. 😉

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 😉

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 ❤

Race of Thieves (Artifact Hunters #1) by S.M. Reine

You’d never know that Shatter Cage is a were-squirrel by looking at him. Between fake fire charms and his impenetrable confidence, everyone believes he’s the phoenix he claims to be.
The lie is a necessary part of his branding. He’s determined to become a Hero, blessed by the Oracles and venerated by legions of followers. For now, he’s just one more thief slinging magical artifacts on the black market, hoping for infamy to strike like lightning. But he’s never going to become canonized if Gutterman, demon and loan shark, gets his pound of flesh from Cage first.
A job offer from the biggest Hero cult in America lights a path to fame—and enough money to repay Gutterman. Unfortunately, Cage’s ex-girlfriend, Brigid Byrne, wants the job as bad as he does. Whoever steals an artifact named Nábrók will be hired. And Brigid doesn’t mind kidnapping, poisoning, and back-stabbing Cage to win…
The race of thieves is on. And Cage is bent on scoring Nábrók before all his bad decisions catch up with him.

Okay, so how can you take a book centered around a were-squirrel competing with his crazy ex girlfriend after a pair of demon underpants seriously? I’ll admit that Race of Thieves isn’t what you might expect from a book in S.M. Reine’s Decentiverse, but it’s not what it may seem at first glance. Except for the silliness – there’s definitely a lot of silliness in Race of Thieves, but there’s also a lot more.

Cage is pretty full of himself, but in a fun way. He has more self confidence than I’ve seen in a character in a long time. Sometimes that works for him, but sometimes it comes back to bite him. He was a pretty good thief, but he was also a pretty lucky one…

He’s also taken deception to a whole new level. Very few people know his true were form. He’s got a surprisingly amount of people convinced that he’s actually a phoenix. That should give you a pretty good idea of his over the top confidence level.

I may have also gained a couple of new favorite characters in this world. Of course I loved Cage. It was kinda hard not to. The jury’s still out on how I feel about Brigid… but Vex? I absolutely adored him. He is the perfect best friend.

This is just the beginning. There’s more to come in the Artifact Hunters series and by the end of Race of Thieves, Cage is already chasing after his next treasure.

SpellSmoke (A Fistfull of Daggers #2) by SM Reine

It’s not much of a life, taking bounty hunts on vampires. But as a disgraced former deputy, Lincoln Marshall’s not exactly knee-deep in job offers, and airplane tickets are expensive after the apocalypse. His dying father is all the way across the country in Northgate. It’s Lincoln’s last chance to see him, and he’ll do whatever it takes to get there – even though the werewolf pack in Northgate is still out for his blood.
Sophie Keyes, the one and only Historian, needs Lincoln’s help. She fears the gods may be out to kill her. So Lincoln drags her back home despite his better instincts – only to learn that home’s not exactly safer than Reno. Some preternatural monster is killing hospice patients in Northgate.
Sheriff Noah Adair is convinced the killers are werewolves. The werewolves are convinced Lincoln Marshall is the killer. And Lincoln thought surviving the post-apocalypse had been bad enough before all this crap.

Before I started writing this review, I went back and read my review of Lonesome Paladin. I do that from time to time, just to refresh my memory. I didn’t really need to this time, it hasn’t been that long since I read the first book in A Fistful of Daggers. I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t repeating my self too much… 😉

Needless to say, I’m loving this series so far. There were a couple of surprising appearances in Lonesome Paladin. The additional characters in A Fistful of Daggers were expected, but that doesn’t mean that the way readers saw them in SpellSmoke was. Abel and Rylie are adjusting to being new parents while still being the Alpha mates. Abel is trying to take on most of the Alpha duties while Rylie recovers and adjusts. The fact that he needs his mate just as much as Rylie needs him isn’t making things any easier on anyone. Adding Lincoln to the mix isn’t helping. I loved spending time with Rylie, Abel and even Summer again. I may be a bit partial because Seasons of the Moon was my first introduction to this crazy, amazing world created by SM Reine. So you may want to take my infatuation with the pack with a grain of salt.

Aside from Lincoln’s unintentional involvement with the pack, there was a lot more going on in SpellSmoke. I may or may not have mentioned in my review of Lonesome Paladin that I wasn’t sure about my feelings about Sophie. That’s changed… I fell in love with her in SpellSmoke -awkward nerdiness and all. Her sincerity, her unique view on the world, pretty much everything about her… even the way she continually put Lincoln in his place… I loved it all.

Then there were the unexplained hospice deaths. Lincoln’s family, (that, incidentally, explained so much about the man he was). The mysterious assassin who was after Sophie. And a brand new group of shapshifters (kind of)…  SpellSmoke was pretty much non-stop action and craziness and I loved every minute of it.

Oh, and if you’re not a fan of cliff hangers, consider yourself forewarned. Just one more reason why I can’t wait for the next book in A Fistful of Daggers

Blood & Thunder (THIRDS #2) by Charlie Cochet

When a series of bombs go off in a Therian youth center, injuring members of THIRDS Team Destructive Delta and causing a rift between agents Dexter J. Daley and Sloane Brodie, peace seems unattainable. Especially when a new and frightening group, the Order of Adrasteia, appears to always be a step ahead. With panic and intolerance spreading and streets becoming littered with the Order’s propaganda, hostility between Humans and Therians grows daily. Dex and Sloane, along with the rest of the team, are determined to take down the Order and restore peace, not to mention settle a personal score. But the deeper the team investigates the bombings, the more they believe there’s a more sinister motive than a desire to shed blood and spread chaos.
Discovering the frightful truth behind the Order’s intent forces Sloane to confront secrets from a past he thought he’d left behind for good, a past that could not only destroy him and his career, but also the reputation of the organization that made him all he is today. Now more than ever, Dex and Sloane need each other, and, along with trust, the strength of their bond will mean the difference between justice and all-out war.

I’m so late to the THIRDS fan train that it’s almost embarrassing to add my review to the mix. I’m still not sure why it’s taken me so long to pick up this series, but I’m hooked now, so I’m having fun playing catch up 😉

Blood & Thunder was a roller coaster. Dex and Sloane were growing closer, but there was still some emotional distance between them. Sloane’s past was a big obstacle. He thought that his secrets would destroy everything, including his relationship with Dex. Distancing himself wasn’t working. He still had no idea exactly how tenacious, stubborn and loyal Dex really was. He understood a lot more than Sloane gave him credit for.

As intense as what was going on between Sloane and Dex, the side characters in Blood & Thunder had a lot going on themselves. I loved getting glimpses into the other members of Team Destructive Delta.

Sloane and Dex still have a lot to work through and it looks like Rack & Ruin will continue their story… and the drama…

Magic Runs Deep by Alex Whitehall

For the last five years, Veier has been chained to a king’s throne in his bear form. When a neighboring kingdom overthrows the crown, Veier’s imprisonment ends, but true freedom is not so easily earned. With blood on his hands, he needs someone with patience, strength, and trust to help him become the person he was before and prove to the invaders that he isn’t the monstrous king’s loyal pet.
Elrid, the invading king’s brother and a powerful mage, is everything Veier despises. He’s also the only thing between Veier and execution, because he thinks he can help Veier change from an aggressive bear shifter into a reasonable man. While the pair have a rough start, with long talks and mutual leaps of faith, they begin to care for each other.
However, the closer Veier gets to his freedom, the closer he is to losing Elrid. He must find balance in his heart and his life if he wishes to truly claim the freedom he’s been given—and the man he loves.

I had no idea what to expect from Magic Runs Deep, but I was pleasantly surprised. One thing that you need to be aware of before you pick it up is that it’s labeled as PNR, but it’s not heavy on the romance. There is a romantic thread and a strong connection between Veier and Elrid, but the actual story is more focused on Veier and his journey.

I have to admit that Magic Runs Deep took me a little while to get into, but once I got to know Veier and Elrid, the more wrapped up in it I became. Veier did some things that he wasn’t proud of, but he did them to survive. By the time Elrid and his brother found him, he barely recognized himself. He had spent so much time under the King’s control that it was hard for him to tell right from wrong. He knew that if he wanted to gain his freedom he had to agree to the terms of the new power and most importantly to trust Elrid. Not an easy task when he had spent years controlled by magic and Elrid was a powerful mage.

Elrid kind, compassionate and patient. He saw beyond the monster that they found when they first overthrew the previous king. Veier hadn’t always been a beast who had to fight for his life and somehow Elrid recognized that.

I’ve only read one other book by Alex Whitehall and that was Second Skin, which I really liked, but it was also one of those books that was cut too short. Not only was Magic Runs Deep about twice as long, the characters were much more developed, which makes me really happy that I didn’t pass this one by.