Kill Game (Dana McIntyre Must Die #2) by S.M. Reine

Someone’s importing illegal metals into Las Vegas. Iron, to be specific: the only substance that can instantly kill one of the deadly sidhe. But there are no sidhe in Las Vegas. Not anymore. Dana McIntyre killed the last of them two weeks earlier.
Importing the iron seems to be a matter of life and death, though. Mostly death. People are being slaughtered over these imports, and Dana can’t figure out why. It’s a puzzle that must be solved quickly and quietly. If the Office of Preternatural Affairs realizes how destabilized Las Vegas has become, they’ll shut down vampire hunters like Dana.
She has no choice but to partner with Nissa Royal, the right hand of the city’s master vampire, to hunt down the iron’s buyer. Nissa’s interested in a lot more than a functional partnership from Dana, though. She won’t settle for anything less than Dana’s soul…

Did that just happen? Well, of course it did… this is a SM Reine book after all – so why am I so surprised???

If you’ve been following my reviews of Dana McIntyer Must Die, you know that I wasn’t originally a fan of Dana. This isn’t the first character that SM Reine has made me like who I originally didn’t, but I can honestly say that it’s the most surprising. She’s obviously growing on me. That’s just one of the things in this series that I didn’t see coming.

For the record, I also had no intention, after reading Drawing Dead, to have any sympathetic feelings at all toward Nissa. I have to admit, I came close, but for the most part, I was internally screaming at Dana not to let her guard down. Just like Anthony and Lincoln and Brianna. There are times that I wish I could jump into a book and prevent the inevitable – even if I have no clue exactly what the inevitable is.

So, a lot happened in Kill Game. More layers of Nissa were revealed. The schemes of the Las Vegas Vampires became even more complicated. Dana and Penny… so yeah, there was heartbreak, danger, mystery and… there’s not much more I can say without giving too much away.

One of the things I’ve always loved about any of the series in this crazy world created by SM Reine is the interaction between the characters. They’re witty, smart and have a LOT of personality. That’s not lacking in Dana McIntyer Must Die. I’m kinda falling in love with the banter between Dana, Brianna and Anthony. I also totally didn’t see that coming either. When Lincoln and Penny are thrown into the mix, it gets even better. (FYI – Lincoln is one of the only characters in this mix that I actually liked going into the series. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I want MORE of Lincoln’s story since Genesis. 😉 )

Again, even though this series can be read as a standalone, I still don’t recommend it. Since I’ve been reading this series since Seasons of the Moon was relatively new, I guess you could consider me just a little partial. It also means that I know what you’ll be missing if you skip the background that the rest of the series is built on.

The next book in the series is Cashing Out and after the finale of Kill Game, trust me, it can’t come soon enough.

Drawing Dead (Dana McIntyre Must Die #1) by S.M. Reine

The vampire slayer is turning into a vampire? Over her dead body.
Dana McIntyre has been bitten by a master vampire. She’s infected with the venom. And after killing hundreds of vampires to keep Las Vegas safe, she’d rather die than turn.
There might be a cure. But the only way to get it is through Nissa Royal, a vampire with close ties to the masters of Las Vegas. Nissa is dangerous — too dangerous to be allowed to live, much less work alongside.
But if Dana dies, vampires win Vegas. If she doesn’t die, she becomes one of the bloodless. The cure’s her only chance. In this deadly game of hold ’em, Dana’s drawing dead, and whatever happens next, there’s no changing her losing hand. Dana only knows one thing: If she’s going down, she’s taking as many vampires as possible on her way out…

I’ve got to admit that I haven’t been a fan of Dana since Genesis. Which brings up the point that even though each series in S.M. Reine’s crazy, creative world can be read as a stand alone, I still don’t recommend it. That’s probably because I’ve read pretty much all the books in all the series (I still have a couple in the Descent series that I need to read.) I’m honestly not obsessed, I just love these books and will continue to strongly suggest to anyone who will listen… READ THEM ALL… but, I digress. Readers met Dana when she was just a little girl. She’s come a long way since then and she’s not so little and in many ways, not so nice. I wasn’t really excited about an entire series devoted to Dana. There was another character that I really wanted to get to know better, but that’s another story, for hopefully another time. *sigh* Anyway, I should have known better. I should have trusted this author to give me a whole new perspective once she let us in Dana’s head. Not only did she semi-change my negative opinion toward Dana, she gave me a totally different feeling toward at least two other characters in the process.

So, back to Dana. She’s pretty much larger than life… and I’m not just referring to her physical appearance. Everything about her is over the top, unapologetic and most of the time, inappropriate. Still, there’s something about her. Something that makes those few she’s close to care enough to want to protect her, mainly from herself. Dana’s her own worst enemy and that trait becomes even worse when she gets bitten. It may even cause one of the people she cares about most to pull away. The thing about Dana is that she loves as hard as she fights and when one of her family suffers, she takes it personally. Her safety and well-being don’t matter as long as the people she’s trying to protect are safe from harm. She takes unnecessary risks that drive her crew nuts, but they stand behind her regardless. I kinda love that about all of them now… yeah, I didn’t see that one coming.

Then there were the bad guys. Some were worse than others and that designation switched back and forth. Sometimes it’s the most unassuming character that you need to watch out for and Nissa was one of them. Being in her head, even for a little while, was a very scary place to be.

Just a couple more things worth mentioning. First, in true S.M. Reine form, holds nothing back – the good, the bad and the gore… her descriptions are notorious, but I gotta say, the “expulsion” description was a bit over the top, even for her. *shivers* Then there’s the cover. I’m not someone who judges a book by its cover. I hardly ever mention covers when I review a book, but this one… it’s so perfect. Too often covers don’t even come close to depicting the character within the book. This cover doesn’t just come close, it is totally Dana. I kinda love that.

I didn’t go into Drawing Dead expecting to want to get to know Dana better, but I shouldn’t be surprised that’s exactly what happened.

Snared (Elemental Assassin #16) by Jennifer Estep

Irony 101—The Spider herself snared in someone else’s web…
Another week, another few clues trickling in about the Circle, the mysterious group that supposedly runs the city’s underworld. Gathering intel on my hidden enemies is a painstaking process, but a more immediate mystery has popped up on my radar: a missing girl.
My search for the girl begins on the mean streets of Ashland, but with all the killers and crooks in this city, I’m not holding out much hope that she’s still alive.
A series of clues leads me down an increasingly dark, dangerous path, and I realize that the missing girl is really just the first thread in this web of evil. As an assassin, I’m used to facing down the worst of the worst, but nothing prepares me for this new, terrifying enemy—one who strikes from the shadows and is determined to make me the next victim.

I can honestly say that I have never ‘met’ an Elemental Assassin book that I didn’t like and Snared was most definitely no exception. If you’ve read any of my other reviews in this series, you’re probably getting tired of hearing some of the same things over again. Trust me, it’s not because the books are all the same, not by a long shot. It’s because they all have the same elements that I love and that consistency – knowing that what’s always drawn me into Gin’s world is going to be there – keeps me coming back.

Things started heating up for Gin and company in Snared because she was getting close to identifying members of the Circle. She knew who a few of the key members were, which was helpful, but she really wanted to get to the top of the organization. When she’s asked to help find a mob boss’s missing sister, she has to change her priorities, but only for a little while.

I have to admit, I figured out who the bad guy was before Gin, but that didn’t lesson the mystery. There was a lot more going on behind the scenes and one character in particular that I really want to figure out. So does Gin…

As usual, one of my favorite aspects of the Elemental Assassin books is the sense of family. It seems like that family just keeps growing and new ‘members’ find their way into this tight knit group in some unexpected ways. There’s definitely more to come in the series and I can’t wait to see what happens next because I have a feeling things are about to get even more interesting in Ashland. 😉

Unbreakable: Heroes of Arcania #3 by Liz Long

unbreakableTrue heroes refuse to be broken. 
Nova started the fight against Fortune for simple revenge, but now it’s turned into something much bigger. Arcania’s criminals are at each other’s throats, putting the city right in the middle of a warzone. She’ll have to work with a few unlikely allies to end Fortune’s games once and for all. Nova thought she understood what it meant to be a superhero, but will she have to lose herself to truly defeat Fortune? 
Fortune has given Cole a choice, one with unbearable consequences. When Cole takes matters into his own hands to save his sister Penelope, he realizes too late he’s another pawn in Fortune’s games. Fortune will use Cole’s gift against his enemies…including Nova. Cole will have to become the hero he always wanted to be if he’s going to protect the love of his life. 
Nova and Cole could finally save Arcania from Fortune’s deadly games, but are they willing to sacrifice each other?

All good series must come to an end… or in this case trilogies. That doesn’t mean that I have to like it though. *sigh*

The Heroes of Arcania trilogy was intense, emotional, action packed and Unbreakable did in fact bring the trilogy to a satisfying conclusion, but I still wasn’t ready to say good-bye. That’s nothing new for me though. The two books that came before this one, Supernova and Fortune’s Favor, pretty much insured that I would become emotionally attached to not just Nova, but Henry, Cole and even Penelope. Now that I ‘know’ them, saying goodbye isn’t easy. *double sigh*

Unbreakable started pretty much where Fortune’s Favor left off. Penelope’s fate hangs in the balance and Cole has some pretty big decisions to make. The odds seemed impossible and Cole’s solution wasn’t the greatest, but he didn’t have many choices. Not if he wanted to keep everyone he cared about safe.

I can’t say a lot more because I don’t want to risk giving anything away. Just know that it was intense, suspenseful and at times heartbreaking. (Yes there were tears…) And in case anyone is wondering, Liz Long is still on my 2016 Evil Author list. Oh, and it probably will surprise no one that I wouldn’t be opposed to a reappearance from any of these characters in the future. There is a connection between this series and Long’s Donovan’s Circus series, so anything’s possible, right?

DragonFlyRating5

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

Unraveled (Elemental Assassin #15) by Jennifer Estep

UnraveledAfter the shocking revelations of the previous book, Bitter Bite, the world of Ashland’s become even more sinister, and Gin Blanco (aka Ashland’s most fearsome assassin, the Spider) no longer knows who—or what—she can count on. Only one thing is for certain: danger and new enemies await Gin in Unraveled, Book 15 in the New York Times bestselling Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series that RT Book Reviews calls “unbeatable entertainment!”
What could go wrong when you’re trying to unravel a decades-old conspiracy?
As the current queen of the Ashland underworld, you would think that I, Gin Blanco, would know all about some secret society controlling things from behind the scenes. I might be the Spider, the city’s most fearsome assassin, but all my Ice and Stone elemental magic hasn’t done me a lick of good in learning more about “the Circle”. Despite my continued investigations, the trail’s gone as cold as the coming winter.
So when Finnegan Lane, my foster brother, gets word of a surprising inheritance, we figure why not skip town for someplace less dangerous for a few days? That place: Bullet Pointe, a fancy hotel resort complex plus Old West theme park that Finn now owns lock, stock, and barrel. At first, all the struttin’ cowboys and sassy saloon girls are just hokey fun. But add in some shady coincidences and Circle assassins lurking all around, and vacationing becomes wilder—and deadlier—than any of us expected.
Good thing this assassin brought plenty of knives to the gunfight …

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1The more that Gin Blanco’s eclectic family experiences and grows, the more I fall in love with them. So yeah, we’re up to the 15th book in the Elemental Assassin series and it’s still going strong.

After everything that happened in Bitter Bite and Unwanted, I kinda agreed with Finn in thinking that they all needed a break. The only problem is that trouble seems to follow this crew where ever they go, so R&R is totally out of the question. Good thing that Gin never lets her guard down. I really love that about her. 😉

Aside from the danger – because when it comes to Gin and crew, danger is a given – there was a lot of ground covered in Unraveled. Secrets were revealed, more than a few revelations were uncovered and a couple of mysteries were left to discover.

As usual, with pretty much every book in this series, the family connection is the best part. From the beginning to the end, they count on each other, which is just one of the reasons why this series never gets old. It pretty much goes without saying that I can’t wait for Snared, the next book in the Elemental Assassin series. Oh, and it looks like there’s even a new novella to look forward too – Nice Guys Bite is coming around December 😉

DragonFlyRating5

Where There’s a Will (Panopolis #3) by Cari Z

WhereTheresAWillBeing a Hero in Panopolis means living the high life: parties, money, influence, even reality television. And I’m one of the most powerful Heroes in the city. I have plenty of fans, a manager who looks out for me (after himself), and a job that pays the bills. I should be enjoying myself.
Unfortunately, the downside of my superpower means I can’t touch anyone, which tends to puts a damper on things. I probably don’t deserve all those perks anyway, since I’m working in secret with two of Panopolis’s biggest villains to undermine GenCorp—my main sponsor and the company that controls what gets through my force field.
I obviously don’t trust my corporate overseers, but they’ve hired a new scientist who actually seems interested in helping me. Dr. Mansourian might have the answers to all my questions—not to mention a starring role in most of my dreams—but he’s hiding something big. If I let him have what he wants, I might not live to regret it.
Then again, the way things are going in Panopolis these days, I might not live either way.
 

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Freight Train (Craig) since the beginning of the Panopolis series. The world that Cari Z created for her characters is twisted. A world where heroes aren’t always the good guys and villains aren’t always the bad. Craig has slowly proven himself to be one of the exceptions in the hero category and getting inside his head in Where There’s a Will confirmed it.

This is the third book in the series and the first where Raul and Edward weren’t the main characters. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about that, but it didn’t take long for Craig to win me over. On the surface, he was someone who had it all, but he did a pretty good job of hiding how broken and alone he really was. He didn’t really trust the people he depended on. His only remaining family member seemed to care more about herself than him and he was risking his life by putting his trust in people he was supposed to be fighting against. Add to that the fact that he couldn’t touch anyone and they couldn’t touch him. He couldn’t even eat food and was dependent on GenCorp for pretty much everything keeping him going.

Dr. Mansourian is different from the other doctors who poke and prod at Craig when he goes to GenCorp. There’s something about him that draws Craig in, but it’s also obvious that he’s hiding something. Craig has secrets of his own and keeping Dr. Mansourian close may not be smart, but he’s the only person besides Edward who acts as if he truly cares about the man behind the hero. As things heat up in the war that’s escalating, Craig finds himself in more danger than he ever expected. People are shutting him out and the lines between who he should and shouldn’t trust get blurrier by the minute.

As usual, the message behind this story is as intriguing as the story itself. I can’t wait to see what Cari Z has in store for the residents of Panopolis next.

DragonFlyRating4

Bitter Bite (Elemental Assassin #14) by Jennifer Estep

BitterBiteWhich is stronger: blood ties or a battle-tested friendship?
It’s not easy being queen bee of an underworld abuzz with crooks and killers. Wielding my potent Ice and Stone elemental magic will only get me so far—my real secret is my tight-knit makeshift family, a motley crew of cops and criminals, dwarves and playboys. My foster brother Finnegan Lane is my right-hand man, but when his suddenly not-dead relative comes back into the picture, I’m the one on the outside looking in. 
It’s funny how life works: one minute your best friend is rock-steady, and the next he’s doe-eyed and buying into this whole loving-relative routine to the point of ignoring you. I’d like to be happy for Finn, I really would. But all of my instincts are telling me that beneath the syrupy sweet demeanor and old-fashioned charm, this sudden interloper is planning something. The whole shtick leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. This person might have avoided the grave once, but I’ll put anyone who hurts Finn in the ground—for good.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1This was a hard one… The thing that I love most about the Elemental Assassin series is the family aspect. As makeshift as they appear to be, Gin’s family is stronger than most conventional families. Any time that their relationships are threatened in any way, it makes me nervous. Bitter Bite made me very, very nervous.

Readers found out at the end of Spider’s Trap that Finn’s mother was still alive. Bitter Bite opened pretty much right after Gin had made that discovery. Gin’s protective instincts flare initially because of warnings that Fletcher left her to find. Those feelings intensified the more she got to know and distrust the woman. I spent a lot of time being mad at Finn in this book, which really wasn’t fair, but it was hard to watch him  push aside Gin’s feelings but the rest of his family as well. As much as he loved his family, he wanted to have his mother’s love so bad he was blinded. I wanted to shake him, but I wanted to hug him too because… well, because he was Finn and sooner or later he was going to be crushed. *sigh*

I think I loved Gin just a little more for her undying devotion to Finn even though he was being selfishly blind. She would be there to pick up the pieces. The rest of Finn’s family felt the same way, which gave me hope that things would turn out okay for all of them. No, Bitter Bite wasn’t an easy book to read. The emotional roller coaster was pretty much nonstop and my heart broke for Finn more than once. He had a lot of support though and in the end, that makeshift family that I’ve grown to love so much came through just a little bit stronger. ❤

DragonFlyRating5

A Kiss of Silver (Tales from Beyond the Veil #2) by Amos Cassidy

AKissOfSilverAn Ebony Forest.
A woman on the run.
A curse that becomes a destiny.
 

Silver’s life is unremarkable. No special talent, no real friends, just the respect and pampering that comes with the position of clan leaders’ daughter. The life of a Dryad is simple, peaceful, but for Silver it just isn’t enough. With a betrothed that gets her pulse racing, and her nuptials imminent, she should have everything to look forward to, but danger is on the horizon and Silver is soon running for her life. Little does she know that her path leads directly into the arms of a destiny she could have never envisioned. 
Silver is left with a choice. Break a curse or perish trying…

I love twisted fairy tales and the series of novellas in Tales from Beyond the Veil, so far has twisted some of those familiar tales splendidly. 😉

As with most tales, nothing is quite what it seems and Silver learns that the hard way. She ends up running away from people she’s trusted all her life. Not only that, but she’s running in the direction that most people, including herself, avoid at all costs.

There’s more than one ‘hero’ in A Kiss of Silver and it’s hard to be happy for one and against the other. I have a feeling that neither of their stories are quite over. Speaking of which, I suppose you don’t have to read the novellas in order, or even read all of them, but I’d recommend doing it anyway. Start with Scarlett’s Path and follow the progression. One of them builds on the other, which becomes obvious once you get to Ash Rising… stay tuned.

DragonFlyRating4