White Collared (Wicked Pride #3) by Kelly Apple – Bout of Books 20 Review

Kane Mayhew, Alpha of the cat shifters and all around surly guy, has never been one to walk away from a challenge. So when a full-human walks into his business and asks for help, he gives it to her. He never expected to find himself in the middle of a possible inter-species war. Or trying to figure out how to keep the pretty human with him once he’d done as he said.
He was a cat, after all, and cats looked after themselves.
But Carrie Sato is intriguing. She calls to his beast and she’s fierce enough to stand up to him when he’s at his worst. When the help she asked for leads them into the territory of one of the meanest shifter breeds around, Kane knows he’s going to have to be as quick and deadly as his kind are known for.
Not only when it comes to keeping her safe, but also so he can stake a claim on her heart.
Because when a lion finds his mate, nobody better get between them.

It’s always fun when a big bad alpha gets unexpectedly tamed. It’s even more fun when the person doing the taming is a timid human, who isn’t quite as timid as they seem.

Kane’s most definitely got his hands full with Carrie, but he’s up to the challenge. Then there’s the tiny little matter of some disgruntled (and growly) bear shifters. Needless to say, things got interesting by the end of White Collared.

So yeah, it was a lot of fun, a lot of heat and plenty of smexiness… of course it was a Kelly Apple read, so I would expect no less. Needless to say, Laid Bear just moved way up on my TBR pile. 😉

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Cashing Out (Dana McIntyre Must Die #3) by S.M. Reine – Bout of Books 20 Review

With the previous master vampire out of the way, and Dana McIntyre presumed dead, there’s nothing standing between Nissa Royal and her vision for Las Vegas: a city of vampires where humans serve as no more than cattle.
Except that someone keeps killing the vampires who are sweeping the streets for victims. A mysterious killer that nobody can seem to find. Someone bent on stopping Nissa…
Police Chief Charmaine Villanueva is losing control of her city to the Office of Preternatural Affairs. She hopes to appease them with a preliminary cure for vampirism–her last shot at reassuring them that she can keep her citizens safe. Except someone has broken into Holy Nights Cathedral to steal the Garlic Shot, even though the church should be impossible to burgle. She can only think of one person with the ability to steal from the cathedral. But Dana McIntyre’s been dead for hours. Hasn’t she?
Torn between OPA control and vampire control, Las Vegas is a city on the brink of war missing its guardian angel. It’s a high stakes game with no limit. But the house isn’t letting any of its players cash out yet…not when the game is just getting hot.

I can’t even… I really should deduct at least half a star for the gut wrenching events near the end… Oh, and I thought the last book ended with a crazy twist? o.O Trust me when I say that S.M. Reine is most definitely holding onto her #EvilAuthor title.

Things took a strange and unexpected turn at the end of Kill Game. So strange and unexpected that everyone (except readers) in the beginning of Cashing Out knew that Dana was dead. There were a few that held out a little bit of hope, but it was a long shot. There were too many things that she would have had to overcome to actually survive, but this is Dana we’re talking about and she obviously wasn’t finished yet.

Needless to say, a lot happened in Cashing Out and not all of it was great. Dana was kinda awesome (I told you, she’s growing on me) and her friends/family were great, whether they actually liked her or not. A key mystery was solved (I can’t say that I was surprised). On the flip side, the OPA showed up (which wasn’t all bad…). Nissa became even stronger when she became a full fledged vamp and the absolute worst was that there were losses… on both sides. *tear*

So, this is turning out to be another vague review, and I’m sorry about that, but I just don’t want to give anything away. I will say that I have a sudden urge to go back and read Bitter Thirst, because seeing one of my favorite OPA agents appear in Vegas was one of my favorite parts of Cashing Out 😉 Well, maybe not my favorite, because this is Dana’s book after all, but Cèsar is just… well, he’s Cèsar, enough said.

So, I’m going to end this review (before I give anything away) with my usual disclaimer. If you haven’t read a S.M. Reine book yet, pick one sooner rather than later. Start wherever you want, but I suggest either with Six Moon Summer or Descent. The world building is phenomenal and so interwoven between the series it’s a wild ride. I’ve got my favorites, so now it’s time for you to choose yours… you’re welcome! 😉 

 

Dangerous Curves (Wicked Pride #2) by Kelly Apple

Samuel Delaney’s had a rough couple of months. Not only did he find out his mom works for the government in a job she stubbornly refuses to speak about, now he’s helping his alpha deal with a sudden influx of wolves after their alpha mated with one of the cats from his pride.
Most importantly, the leopardess he’s been half in love with his entire adult life is actively looking for a mate.
And Sam isn’t even a footnote on her list of potentials.
Convincing the lovely Luna North to give him a chance would be a hell of a lot easier if he didn’t get tongue tied whenever she was around. He’ll have to rely on his cat’s instinctive ability to land on its feet if he hopes to make any headway with the stubborn beauty.
Because when a lion chooses his mate, he doesn’t back down.
Ever.

Wow! That was a fun addition to the Wicked Pride series. After meeting Sam and Luna in No Reservations, I wasn’t surprised. Besides, this is a Kelly Apple book which means that witty characters, an abundance of snark and plenty of heat between the sheets – or wherever else her characters may end up – is pretty much guaranteed. 😉

So yeah, I kinda loved Sam and Luna. Sam was adorable… he knew Luna was his mate, but she didn’t have a clue. He sat on the sidelines, waiting for his chance and growling under his breath every time she made it clear she wanted nothing to do with him. Luna was utterly clueless and never even considered Sam as a friend, much less a potential mate. Watching these two squirm until they FINALLY got their act together was perfect. My only complaint – which is extremely minor – is that I wish we had more time with them. Dangerous Curves was short and … well not exactly sweet, but oh so much fun!

The next book in the Wicked Pride series is White Collared, which is on my Bout-of-Books 20 reading list, so stay tuned! 

The Alpha’s Claim by Holley Trent

Jim West, the New York Coyote pack alpha, has successfully defended his territory from external threats for almost fifteen years. Pack politics may be a pain in his ass, but his command has never been doubted, his authority never questioned.
Until Teddy, an argumentative pancake-house server, challenges more than his patience. The lithe, pretty human calls to Jim’s baser instincts. He knows instantly Teddy is his mate – but the timing couldn’t be worse. Tension within his pack is growing, and adding a human mate to the mix could spark an uprising, with Teddy as the target.
Teddy’s smart mouth may heat Jim’s blood, but with a full moon only days away, getting Teddy to let down his guard and accept him – the man and the beast – is his main priority.
There’s no fighting the pull of a mate, but learning his lover is a literal predator might make Teddy run right into the danger Jim’s desperate to control.

Okay, so I try not to read reviews before I read a book – I’ve been burned by spoilers a few too many times so I consider avoidance the safest way to go. However, I do look at ratings. I don’t always make decisions based on those ratings, but I kind of like to know what I’m in for. This book had a LOT of low ratings, but there were a couple from trusted readers that I know have the same taste in books as I do that rated it higher. Those couple of reviews/ratings are what made me decide to take a chance on Alpha’s Claim and I’m really glad that I did.

I’ve never read any other book by Holley Trent, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Alpha’s Claim wasn’t perfect, but I really liked the story and I liked Trent’s writing style. Teddy was a fun character. He had no idea how crazy it was to be talking back to an alpha. He was human and basically thought that Jim and his friends were jerks. The fact that he didn’t back down and actually stood up to Jim was just one of the things that attracted him to Teddy.

I also liked the dynamic of Jim’s pack. You’ll have to read the book to understand what I’m talking about. I’ve read a lot of shifter books and series and the sense of family in Alpha’s Claim was one of the strongest I’ve read in a while. Yet, just like in every family, there were a few members who weren’t quite as loyal to the pack as the rest.

The only real complaint that I have about Alpha’s Claim is that I wanted more. There were things that I wanted to know and spending more time getting to know Jim and Teddy wouldn’t have been a bad thing. 😉

No Reservations (Wicked Pride #1) by Kelly Apple

Cami Patterson has the worst luck with men. Everyone in her pride knows it and they steer clear of her so they don’t end up with a broken bone or two or, even worse, dead. Needless to say, when her best friend sets her up on a blind date with a werewolf visiting from out of town, she doesn’t expect anything to come of it.
She certainly doesn’t expect a night of non-stop excitement including thwarting a robbery, getting chased by the police, and almost causing an international incident. Who has time to enjoy themselves with all that going on? Or of hooking up with her sex-on-a-stick date?
Cami just might have met her match in the wolf who laughs in the face of danger and doesn’t hesitate to jump in when there’s a damsel in distress. Who knew it would take a wolf to brave this cat’s run of bad relationships?

Well, that was fun… but that’s one thing I know I can always count on when I pick up a book written by Kelly Apple. Doesn’t matter whether the focus is on shifters, monsters, or even demons, the characters are going to be witty and they’re going to make me want to spend some time getting to know them. As a matter of fact, the only complaint that I can come up with for No Reservations is that I wanted more. 😉

I think it goes without saying that I loved Cami and Bran. Their connection was amazing and yeah… they were fun. I think I’m going to like this romp through Wicked Pride. Dangerous Curves is next and I can’t wait to see what the author has in store for Luna and Samuel. 😉

Cat Scratch Fever by Sarah O’Rourke – Bout of Books 19 Review

Beau LaForte felt an internal pull to the beautiful, innocent Alexa Davidson. Oh, this was not the typical boy-meets-girl story. This was anything but typical. You see, Beau was a shifter – a panther – and the alpha of the pack. What his panther wanted, his panther got. And together, they wanted Alexa.
But when Alexa finds the pretty kitty lolling on her bed, she is determined to get him out — before he sheds more on her brand new sheets!

Full disclosure here. There have been some really exceptionally emotional books on my reading list lately. I’m not complaining, I’ve chosen all of them and was fully aware of what I was getting myself into. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t need a break and Cat Scratch Fever was the perfect, fun distraction.

It’s also been a while since I’ve read a Sarah O’Rourke book and this was a great reminder of what I’ve been missing. The characters were witty, the smexiness was hot and heavy and the insta romance was kinda sweet. Pretty much every thing I needed to break my overly emotional reading streak 😉

Cast in Godfire (The Mage Craft #5) by S.M. Reine

castingodfireThe gods are rallying to take down Marion, their ally and voice in the mortal worlds. She’s gotten her memories back to disastrous results. She’s destroying the faerie courts, and the rest of the universe is next. The other deities want Seth—also known as the God of Death—to stop Marion before she breaks something that can’t be fixed.
Unfortunately, when Marion looks at Seth with those eyes and insists that she’s not doing anything wrong, he wants to believe her. Marion claims she isn’t trying to rewrite history. She’s protecting it.
Seth wants to trust Marion. It’s only the universe that’s at stake, after all. And some women are worth shattering worlds over…

Reading the last book in a series is always bittersweet. The Mage Craft series is no exception, not by a long shot. I couldn’t be happier with the way things worked out FINALLY for Seth, but as they say, it’s not always the destination, but the journey and S.M. Reine didn’t skimp on Seth and Marion’s journey at all…

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Okay, so if you’ve read all the other books in this series and you’re getting ready to start Cast in Godfire, you need to know something going in… pay attention! It’s true that a lot has happened so far, but you’ve got no idea… trust me.

I don’t want to give anything away, but things got a little crazy. It was made even more crazy by the fact that S.M. Reine has a knack of making you doubt your loyalty to some characters while making you fall in love with characters that you never expected to, depending on whose head she allows you in at the time. Of course, there are some characters that she’ll never make me turn my back on, no matter how hard she tries. Trust me, she’s tried really, really hard. I’m loyal like that 😉

She’s also really good at making you laugh and cry… One of my favorite lines in Cast in Godfire? “…you crazy colostomy bag of a half-angel!”  There were more, but this one was hard to forget.And of course, less than a page later she had me shedding tears. One of the many, many reasons the author has me ALWAYS coming back.

So, long story short, there’s a lot that happens in Cast in Godfire and Marion and Seth’s story comes to a satisfying end… kind of. However, this crazy world that S.M. Reine has drawn us into is far from over. I’m pretty sure we haven’t seen the last of Seth and Marion. They may not be front and center, but they’ll still be around. There were also just a few loose ends at the end of their story that I’m kind of anxious for her to resolve. (Mild understatement.)

Once again, if you haven’t introduced yourself to this crazy universe, you really need to fix that. You can pretty much start anywhere because all of her series are written to be stand alone. But… they’re all intertwined… check out her timeline. You’re welcome 😉

DragonFlyRating5

A Venetian Vampire by Michele Hauf

venetianvampireSome games are better without rules…especially when it comes to seduction.
Vampire Dante D’Arcangelo enjoys diversions. Especially those that involve seducing beautiful women, like newly made vampiress Kyler Cole. The curvaceous ingenue stirs Dante’s deepest desires. But they share more than blistering chemistry. Dante and Kyler each seek possession of a priceless Fabergé egg containing a spell that would annihilate thousands of vampires while granting only one eternal life.

Caught up in a wickedly sexy game of cat and mouse, Dante and Kyler try to outmaneuver each other as thieves and as lovers. But when a rival steals the egg, they form a wary alliance to recover it…knowing that their delicate bond must eventually end in betrayal.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1I have to admit, it took me a while to really connect with either Dante or Kyler. That didn’t keep me from enjoying the intrigue of this story though. I’m happy to say that after a while, both of them won me over. Once that happened, things moved along even faster.

Kyler was a new vampire, versus Dante, who had been around for a very long time. Kyler held a certain allegiance to her maker and that was her driving force. Dante knew that whoever had sent Kyler after the egg wasn’t telling her the whole truth. Neither one of them expected the connection between them to get in the way of the prize that they thought they were after.

There were some twists and turns and unexpected betrayal on both sides that kept the pages turning. I’ve read several books from Michelle Hauf as well as several under the Nocturne brand. I’ll admit that I’ve found them to be both hits and misses. I have no problem tossing this one into the hit category.

DragonFlyRating4

 

Bound by Faerie (Stolen Magic #1) by W.B. McKay

boundbyfaeriecoverSophie Morrigan inherited many magical gifts from her death goddess mother. Most of them inflict torture, except the most beautiful. That one kills.
As an agent for the Faerie Affairs Bureau, Sophie loves retrieving dangerous magical objects. The job lets her indulge her covetous nature, and most importantly, it pays the bills. But when a routine job goes south, she finds herself struggling to keep her deadly magic in check while fleeing the wrath of an enraged dragon.
In a desperate search for answers, Sophie stumbles across Owen, a fae nightclub owner who’s as sexy as he is irritating, but just happens to hold the key to her problems.
Sophie wants nothing more than to get her magic under control and return to her normal life, but first she’ll have to face off with all the dangers Faerie can throw at her. Can she fight her way back home? Or will both she and Owen fall prey to a crazed death cult?

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Bound by Faerie is the first book written by a husband and wife writing duo in their Stolen Magic series. I don’t always accept review requests, but the premise of this one was intriguing. I’m really glad I took a chance on it, because now I can’t wait for more from this series.

I don’t like to compare authors and series, so I’m not going to. What I will say is that if you like Urban Fantasy or PNR on the lighter side, this is a series that you are going to want to give a try. Bound by Faerie is light, but not silly. The characters are fun and they had a personality that made me want to get to know them better. There was also plenty of action, danger and mystery to keep the pages turning. I also enjoyed the authors’ twist on some familiar mythology. They did a great job at not straying too far, but making the characters unique enough to call their own.

I’m not sure when the next book is due to be released, but I’ll most definitely be watching for it. 🙂

DragonFlyRating4

Cry Wolf (Alpha & Omega #1) by Patricia Briggs

CryWolfAnna never knew werewolves existed, until the night she survived a violent attack… and became one herself. After three years at the bottom of the pack, she’d learned to keep her head down and never, ever trust dominant males. Then Charles Cornick, the enforcer—and son—of the leader of the North American werewolves, came into her life.
Charles insists that not only is Anna his mate, but she is also a rare and valued Omega wolf. And it is Anna’s inner strength and calming presence that will prove invaluable as she and Charles go on the hunt in search of a rogue werewolf—a creature bound in magic so dark that it could threaten all of the pack.
It is recommended you read the prequel “Alpha & Omega” before reading Cry Wolf.

Well, since I’m getting ready to read the next book in the Alpha & Omega series, I figured it was about time that I reviewed this one. *sigh*

Anna and Charles are a unique couple. Mainly because they barely know each other, but they’re mated. They met in the prequel to the series, Alpha & Omega and Cry Wolf pretty much takes up where the introduction to the series left off. Their relationship may not have started conventionally, even by werewolf standards, but was obvious by the end of this book they were made for each other.

Although I’ve just started the series, which coincides with the Mercy Thompson series, I can already tell that it’s going to turn into one of my favorites. The reading order can get a little tricky, so if you want to follow the timeline (which a LOT of people have suggested) you can find it on Patricia Briggs’ website. Now, on to Hunting Ground. 😉

DragonFlyRating5