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 😉

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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.

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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. 🙂

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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. 😉

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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.

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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.

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