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

Tempting the Dragon by Karen Whiddon

TemptingTheDragonInvestigative reporter Rance Sleighter had promised to prove the mythical Lake Creature existed. But its protector had already given him a heap of trouble, as well as inspired one too many hot fantasies. If Rance was going to get some answers, he’d have to get on the gorgeous Jade Burnett’s good side…and keep her away from his bed! 
For generations, Jade’s shape-shifting pack had kept the Creature safe. Now Rance’s appearance had her rethinking all her vows. She’d seen him in her dreams, knew he was a shifter and that they possibly shared a life-changing bond. Yet could she find the courage to trust the dragon with the truth…and her own fragile heart?

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1As much as I love, and usually pick up, Harlequin Nocturne books, they can be kind of hit or miss for me. Tempting the Dragon went back and forth on that spectrum through much of the book. *sigh* That doesn’t mean the I didn’t enjoy it for the most part though.

Karen Whiddon gave a unique perspective to dragons in the world she created for Tempting the Dragon. Both Jade and Rance had secrets to keep. I understood Rance’s urgency in his search, but I also understood Jade’s unwillingness to give away her secret. As a couple, they didn’t seem to be a very good match, but they kind of grew on me as the story progressed.

A couple of loose ends, timeline issues and some other tiny blips are responsible for a lower rating, but since I read this as an ARC, I don’t want to be too critical. All in all, Tempting the Dragon was a unique paranormal romance with a few unexpected twists, more than a little suspense and just enough heat to keep things interesting.

DragonFlyGreen3-5

 

Cast in Faefire (The Mage Craft #3) by S.M. Reine

CastInFaefireMarion has agreed to something personally painful to further her political goals. But her sacrifice isn’t enough to make it go smoothly. Between Konig’s betrayal and a gaean revolt, Marion will be lucky to escape with her life intact, much less save the ethereal species from extermination.

I feel like this review should be prefaced by a warning. Something like “Read at Your Own Risk” or “Be Prepared to Walk Away Totally Confused.” Not by the book. The book was amazing. I’m referring to my lack of ability to convey how amazing books that I love are and how crazy talented the authors who pen them are.  I guess if you’ve been here before, you already know that so consider yourself warned.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1So, here’s a contradiction for you. As much as I love S.M. Reine’s books, she’s driving me nuts with these newer series in her ‘Descentverse’. That uneasiness first happened for me with War of the Alphas. My history with Reine’s books started with the Seasons of the Moon series. Seth and Rylie were the foundation of my love for this crazy, intricate world. Sure, there were moments where they both aggravated me just a little. Neither one of them were angels (not a great comparison given the true nature of angels in Reine’s world – but you get the picture.) The point is that I was right there with them through all the good and the bad and I respected who they became. Deirdre Tombs blew into this world in War of the Alphas with an entirely different perspective. A perspective that had me at odds with the heroine in the series because of her hate for Rylie.

So, what does my little vent about War of the Alphas and my love for Seth and Rylie have to do with the Mage Craft series and more importantly, Cast in Faefire? I’m getting there, just remember that warning I gave you. 😉 S.M. Reine found a whole new way to gain an alternate perspective in Mage Craft. She took a character that was familiar (at least to most readers) and took away her memories. That made her free to not see Rylie as the mother figure she grew up with, but as the woman who broke Seth. Not only that, but Marion stumbled on some revelations that added fuel to her growing distrust of Rylie in Cast in Faefire. Granted, those revelations were most likely taken totally out of context, but Rylie still has some serious explaining to do. This series is also stirring up those initial pangs that occurred when Rylie first left Seth for Abel. To say that Cast in Faefire was an emotional roller coaster would be a huge understatement.

Beyond the fact that I wanted to defend Rylie, sympathize with Seth and help Marion make sense of everything, there was a lot more going on in Cast in Faefire. Seems that everyone had something to hide and some were better at it than others. Sacrifices were made by more than one character. New enemies were discovered and more than one strange alliance was made. You know, just a normal day in the life of Reine’s characters.

Oh, and did I mention the cliff hanger and events that happened just before said cliff hanger? And the fact that I didn’t think I could loathe Konig more than I did at the end of Cast in Hellfire, but that happened too? I kind of liked catching up with characters from previous series, but they, more often than not, added to the drama. Oh, that reminds me of the conspicuous absence of some key characters who really need to make an appearance. There are at least two more books in this series and after all that’s happened and needs to happen I’m not sure that it can all be ‘fixed’ in Cast in Balefire and Cast in Godfire. I’m not going to complain if it takes more books though… there can never be too many books in the Descentverse. Okay, I’ll stop before I have to remind you of that warning again.

Once again, I’m going to urge you to pick up at least one of S.M. Reine’s series. Notice I didn’t say ‘books’ – because I honestly believe that if you pick up one, you’re going to want to read more. Also, the author will tell you, as well as a few devoted readers, that you can read any of the series as stand alones. Which, I suppose, is true. Just in case you find yourself wanting to embrace yourself in all aspects of Reine’s Descentverse, you can find the suggested reading order at smreine.com.

DragonFlyRating5

The Rise of Genesis (Ash Lawson #1) by M.R. Merrick – Bout-of-Books 16 Review

1102c-theriseof_finaleebookthumbIn a world where being Supernatural means you’re in danger, Ash Lawson is front and center. After years of helping others escape ATOM—a government entity known for abusing Supernaturals—he’s captured, and saving himself will prove to be the most difficult task he’s undertaken.
Tryst Rivera is a Succubus and veteran at the Academy, a facility tasked with converting underage Supernaturals into cooperative ATOM soldiers. She’s endured her time mostly unscathed, but when Ash arrives and their lives are tethered to one another, she’s placed in immediate danger.
With escape at the forefront of his mind, Ash struggles with the idea of life under ATOM’s thumb. He’ll die before he converts, but his life isn’t the only one he’s responsible for, and he already has more blood on his hands than he can bear. When a chance for freedom arises, Ash needs to decide how much—and who—he’s willing to risk for a second chance.
 

I can honestly say that I’ve missed M.R. Merrick’s fantastic world building and descriptive writing. I can also honestly say that I didn’t miss the torture he puts his characters through. Unfortunately, you can’t have one without the other and it only takes reading the first chapter of The Rise of Genesis to prove my point.

Ash Lawson is a hero, or at least he tries to be. He lives in a world where few know about the existence of supernatural beings and those that do want to harness their power. He also deals with the fact that his particular brand of supernatural being is hated by the others. To make matters worse, shortly after he’s introduced to readers, his entire world is shattered and he ends up captured… and worse. Yeah, M.R. Merrick wins the #evilauthor prize for not wasting any time. Things are intense in The Rise of Genesis from the beginning to the end.

Of course I loved Ash, but the author didn’t stop at him when it came to amazing characters. Tryst and Soren were among my favorites. They gave Ash a reason to fight as well as protect. Even the characters I hated in the beginning had their moments. Not enough to forgive them entirely, but Gage and Gareth had a few redeeming moments. There were those that I could never forgive though and I don’t even have to mention them. Once you meet them, you’ll understand.

As for the rest of the story… I can’t do it justice by trying to explain. There were so many levels to this world, but then that came as no surprise. Merrick is a master at world building, which he proved in The Protector series. His supernatural beings have their own twist and the different levels of the world he created look on a life of their own in The Rise of Genesis. The characters, with a few exceptions, are not entirely good or evil. Just like the human race, they cross the line.

There are moments that broke my heart, but also moments that made me smile. And in true M.R. Merrick form, the ending made me want to scream. (Can you say cliff hanger???) Needless to say I’ll be stalking this particular author on a regular basis to try to find out when the next book in the Ash Lawson series is expected. The fate of more than one character was left hanging at the end and I need to know what happens next… sooner rather than later. o.O

DragonFlyRating5

Cast in Hellfire (Mage Craft #2) by S.M. Reine

CastInHellfireMarion Garin is the teenage daughter of Metaraon, the former Voice of God. Now she’s also the steward of the Winter Court, which has been in anarchy since a revolution five years earlier. 
Problem: Marion still doesn’t remember anything that happened before two weeks ago. 
Seth Wilder has a lead on her memories. Whoever stole them and sold Marion’s essence to a demon lord in Sheol. Marion wants to help steal them back, even though that means abandoning the Winter Court to war. And Seth can’t seem to tell Marion no. 
He wants Marion nearby. Very nearby. Possibly in his teeth. See, Seth has this little problem where he’s developing a killing urge, and it seems to be centered primarily on the half-angel girl who adores him. It conflicts with everything Seth believes himself to be: a moral man, a doctor who heals instead of hurts. Yet he’s obsessed with Marion. She wants her memories, and he wants her to have them as much as he wants her blood. 
They’ll work together to make Marion whole, come hell or high water. Even if it means war. Even if it means Seth might hurt Marion. And damned be the consequences…

Well… I didn’t see that coming. And no, I can’t tell you what I didn’t see coming for more than one reason. First, it would spoil it for you and second… there was more than one thing that I didn’t see coming. And that dear readers is the beauty of most books that S.M. Reine writes. 😉 (See how she turns me into a rambling mess?)

So technically, you could start this series as a stand alone. I still wouldn’t recommend it. Even though I’ve read almost all of S.M. Reine’s books up to this point, the more I read, the more I want to go back and see what I’ve missed. Plus, a lot of characters from the past are introduced. It’s not really necessary to know who they were in the past, but the connections are interesting and sometimes helpful, at least I think that they are. I guess the real point I’m trying to make is that if you haven’t yet introduced yourself to this world of S.M. Reine’s, please do. You can thank me later.

My personal emotions were all over the place in Cast in Hellfire. The main reason for that was that I wasn’t sure who I was going to be angry with next. There are a lot of people who have personal agendas, and not all of them were totally revealed. It was easy to tell who the really bad guys were. But since not everything is exactly as it seems, at least at first glance, it was easy to hate a character one minute and sympathize with them the next. And more than one person has at least one secret, and sometimes more. So yeah, those lines between good and evil got pretty blurry. Plus, Marion had some pretty strong negative reactions to people that I didn’t expect. To make matters even more complicated, the closer that she got to getting her memories back, the more I didn’t really want her to because I wasn’t sure I was going to like the person she discovered.

I can’t really say I’m surprised that Cast in Hellfire ended in a cliff hanger. It honestly wouldn’t have made sense for things to end any other way. On a side note, there are people that I really want to see in Cast in Faefire. Some of them have some serious explaining to do. Oh, and personally, Seth has been one of my favorite characters since he was introduced way back in Seasons of the Moon. He’s gotten kind of a raw deal for a while now and it would really make me happy if things turned around for him. Not that I’m begging or anything….

DragonFlyRating5

Cast in Angelfire (The Mage Craft Series #1) by S.M. Reine

CastInAngelfireEighteen-year-old Marion can’t remember anything before waking up in the hospital. All she knows that a lot of people want to kill her. And her would-be assassins are not human…
Vampires are real. So are faeries and angels.
They all want Marion dead.
Surrounded by enemies, Marion turns to Lucas Flynn: a mysterious doctor who seems to know more than he’s letting on. He’s as good with a gun as he is with a scalpel. He fights like a demon but claims that he’s human. And he’s hellbent on protecting Marion.
Lucas claims that Marion is a mage: half-witch, half-angel with terrifying powers that could crack the world. But Marion can’t remember how to cast magic any more than she can remember where she comes from.
Marion must find her identity and her power…before the forgotten sins of her past catch up with her.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1If you are a frequent visitor to Creative Deeds Reads, you already know that I’m a fan of S.M. Reine. That’s probably an understatement and not earth shattering news by a long shot. You all pretty much know, if this author writes it, this reader will be reading it and in the process, trying to convince other readers to do the same. That’s what makes the next thing I’m going to tell you really hard. Don’t panic, this isn’t a lead in to tell you that this is the first book in this world I hated. It’s actually the opposite. I absolutely loved the introduction to The Mage Craft Series. What I need to tell you, even though the author herself has said that you can pick up any series in this world and not be lost regardless of where you start, just don’t. Well, I can’t exactly tell you that, because I actually wouldn’t (and haven’t) listen(ed) to that advice. What I’m trying to say, in my usual rambling, nonsensical way, is that this series would be much more enjoyable, and probably make a lot more sense, if you had, at the very least, read the Ascension series prior to picking up Cast in Angelfire. (It would be even more enjoyable if you started from the very beginning with Seasons of the Moon and Descent, but I’m not going to push it.)

So, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I suppose I can get on with the review… yeah, about that. There’s a lot about Cast in Angelfire that I can’t really talk about. That is, not without giving anything away. What I can tell you is that just as much is revealed as there is hidden. Since Marion lost her memory, she has no idea who she was or is or who she should trust or know and Lucas is absolutely no help. He’s obviously hiding something and more clues are given to readers than to Marion. Yet, even though I knew from the beginning who he was and what he was hiding from Marion, there was still a lot that still needs to be revealed. I may have to go back and read Sins of Eden (the final book in the Ascension series) to see if I can figure out if there’s anything I missed, but I have a feeling that readers have been kept in the dark for a reason. *sigh*

Since this is just the beginning, there is obviously more to come. There are also more characters to return, which I’m looking forward to. A lot’s happened since Genesis and there are several people who readers are curious about. I’d name them, but what fun would that be? Just know that this is the beginning of another amazing series. As usual, my recommendation stands. If you haven’t delved into this world that S.M. Reine’s created, no more excuses. My only suggestion is that you don’t start here…but it’s only a suggestion. 😉

DragonFlyRating5

Cipher (Southern Arcana Book #4) by Moira Rogers

CipherKat Gabriel’s empathic ability is no gift–it’s a deadly weapon. She’s used it once, in a bloody confrontation to save Andrew Callaghan’s life. Now she bears the inescapable weight of those deaths—and aches for the loss of the easy relationship she once shared with Andrew. Unleashing her power may have saved his life, but it couldn’t save his humanity. Or their friendship. 
Since the attack that turned him into a werewolf, Andrew’s sole focus has been on making himself stronger. Pushing Kat away hurt like hell, but she doesn’t need a friend. She needs a protector strong enough to shield her from the supernatural world that forced her to kill. Strong enough to resist their volatile connection. 
As Kat’s quest to understand the violent legacy of her past leads her into the darkest underbelly of the psychic world, Andrew is at her side. Yet every step forward rips open old emotional wounds and shakes his control. Where they’re headed, distractions of any kind can be fatal—especially when the greatest threat they pose is to each other.

So, it’s been a while. Since 2013 to be exact… Yikes! Yep, that’s when I read Deadlock, the third book in Moira Roger’s Southern Arcana series. I could come up with an excuse for that time lapse I suppose, but honestly, there isn’t a good one, especially since I love this series. *sigh*

Saying that Kat and Andrew have a history is putting it mildly. Kat has had a crush on him since before the tragedy that tore them apart. Kat was afraid to be near anyone and so was Andrew. They were both afraid that they couldn’t keep an handle on the power that they spent 24/7 keeping in check. The down side was that they were making each other and themselves miserable trying to keep their distance. In Cipher, they had no choice and Andrew was determined to keep Kat safe, whether he was ready to be close to her or not.

Yeah, this romance was a long time coming, but there was a lot more to this story than that. Politics, mystery and an unexpected enemy that proves to be more dangerous than any of them could imagine. Kat learns more about her past and her heritage and not everyone makes it out in one piece, physically or emotionally. Which means I really need to get my hands on Impulse sooner rather than later. I don’t think I can wait another three years to find out what happens next.

DragonFlyGreen4-5