Hearts of Magic (Chevalier #3) by Kay Doherty

A moment of quiet was all Theran was looking for. He was not looking to be nearly decimated when he stumbled across a sorcerer near the pack’s hunting grounds. He’s certainly not looking for his mate when the pack congregates at Elysium for a meeting, but that’s exactly what Theran finds when he runs into the sorcerer a second time.
Colby has been the bartender at Elysium for a year, and he’s been relatively happy. He hides his paranormal identity well, flirting for tips while using sarcasm to keep others away. When he first saw the wolf in the forest, he was stunned. Learning the wolf he’s been dreaming about is real is only compounded by learning the wolf is his mate.
With the Sorcerer’s Enclave now interested in the Chevalier Pack, Colby attempts to protect Theran by kidnapping him, which only results in a deeper involvement with the pack. Despite managing the Enclave, dealing with increasing threats from the McBane Pack, and forging new alliances, Theran and Colby are determined to find their happy ever after.

This is one of those series that I get more emotionally invested in with each book. It also seems like each fated mated pair gets just a little bit more complicated. There was absolutely no way that having Theran and Colby be destined made sense. Colby was on a mission to find out more about the Chevalier Pack, he had no idea that he would find out more about them than he bargained for.

Theran was more than ready to find his true mate, but even so, he was kind of shocked to find out who it was. Regardless, once they figured it out there was no denying it and no turning back. Because of the threat to the Chevalier Pack, Colby’s main concern was protecting Theran, which didn’t go over too well with the rest of the pack.

There are still a few pack members who need to find their mate, along with at least one mated pair that is complicated? I can’t wait to see how Kay Doherty finds a way to finally get them together. Danger, mystery and plenty of heat… everything I love in a shifter series.

The Spellslinger (A Fistful of Daggers #4) by S.M. Reine

Lincoln Marshall has failed. The Godslayer is trapped in her worst nightmares. His only chance of repairing the timeline is dead. He’s stuck a decade in the past with Sophie Keyes, and the world is falling apart.
Held captive by the Union, Lincoln and Sophie must fight to repair a timeline rapidly unraveling.
James Faulkner has survived, but he’s not whole. He’s divided into angel and demon–his ambition and obsession severed from his power and passion. His angel side wants to rescue Elise. His demon side wants to rescue the world, at any cost–even if it means letting Elise die. Between their brilliant minds, they’ve conceived a plan that can repair the timeline. The only price is their lives.

My initial reaction when I finished Spellslinger? “OMG or gods? Doesn’t really matter in the long run I suppose. The old adage, “be careful what you ask for” still applies. I need the next book sooner rather than later…” I also promised that I would soon be writing my usual rambling, incoherent review, so here it goes…

That “be careful what you ask for” comment? Yeah, that’s real – fans were given a choice in a poll a while ago. The choices included a list of characters that readers would be interested in reading more about in their own series. Lincoln was one of those characters and he was my choice. To be fair, it wasn’t because he was one of my favorite characters, it’s just that he was featured in at least two other series and his character peaked my curiosity. If you know anything at all about S.M. Reine’s Decentverse, you know that her characters go through a lot AND their development from series to series sometimes takes a strange turn. Lincoln was one of those characters. A major transformation had obviously taken place and I wanted to know what happened to turn him into the character he had become in Dana McIntyre Must Die.

So much happened in Spellslinger… so much! There were a lot of characters pulling strings, a lot to love and just as much to hate. There were also a lot of twists and turns. Fair warning, it’s not an easy book to put down and it’s also one that demands your full attention. Although all of the books in the Fistful of Daggers series have been intense, I’ve got to say that Spellslinger has been the most emotionally intense one so far. I was not expecting tears and they fell more than once. I think who those tears were shed for at times was what shocked me most.

Spellslinger also proved to me that time travel is not for the faint of heart. Things that happened in the past escalated and shifted and the things that happened because of those shifts were devastating. Many things need to be “fixed”, many, many things. Beyond that craziness, Lincoln has a little farther to go before he gets to where he needs to be in the future and I can’t wait to see how he gets there.

If you haven’t started the Descentverse, you really need to. You can start with the Fistful of Daggers series, but since there is so much character and world building that takes place before this series starts, I wouldn’t recommend it. You can find the order of series and books on S.M. Reine’s website. A lot of the early books in the Descentverse are free, so there’s really no excuse to not start from the beginning 😉

Graveyard Shift (Not Dead Yet #3) by Jenn Burke

Shifting Into High Fear
Ghost/god Wes Cooper and his not-life partner, vampire Hudson Rojas, have settled into cohabitation in an upscale part of Toronto. So what if their hoity-toity new neighbors haven’t exactly rolled out the welcome mat for the paranormal pair? Their PI business is booming, and when a suspect they’ve been tailing winds up in the morgue, it’s alongside a rash of other shifters in apparent drug-related fatalities.
Now Wes and Hudson must connect the dots between the shifter deaths and an uptick in brutal vampire attacks across the city. Throw in a surprise visit from Hudson’s niece—who may or may not be on the run from European paranormal police (who may or may not exist)—and guardianship of a teen shifter who might be the key to solving the whole mystery (if only she could recover her memory), and Wes and Hudson have never been busier…or happier.
But when a nightmare from Hudson’s past comes back to haunt him, their weird, little found family is pushed to the brink. Mucking this up would mean Hudson and Wes missing their second chance at happily-forever-afterlife…

First and most importantly… this cannot be the end of this series. However, if this truly was the end of the Not Dead Yet series, then I seriously hope that there is a spin-off series in the works because some things were not totally okay at the end of Graveyard Shift.

To say that there was little down time in Graveyard Shift would be a HUGE understatement. The description of this book is accurate when it says that Wes and Hudson’s “family” was pushed to the brink. There was danger around every corner. At times it was hard to tell the good guys from the bad. And… there were tears, at least for this reader.

There were so many twists and turns that I don’t want to take a chance on giving anything away. The only thing that you really need to know is that if you’ve already read Not Dead Yet and Give Up the Ghost, you’re really going to want to read Graveyard Shift. Be prepared though, because nothing these guys go through is easy and their HEA is bittersweet, but well earned. ❤

 

Into the Fire (Night Prince #4) by Jeaniene Frost

For nearly six hundred years, Vlad Tepesh cared for nothing, so he had nothing to lose. His brutal reputation ensured that all but the most foolhardy stayed away. Now falling in love with Leila has put him at the mercy of his passions. And one adversary has found a devastating way to use Vlad’s new bride against him.
A powerful spell links Leila to the necromancer Mircea. If he suffers or dies, so does she. Magic is forbidden to vampires, so Vlad and Leila enlist an unlikely guide as they search for a way to break the spell. But an ancient enemy lies in wait, capable of turning Vlad and Leila’s closest friends against them…and finally tearing the lovers apart forever.

Although Vlad and Leila aren’t my favorite couple in the Night Huntress Universe (I blame Cat and Bones) I still enjoyed getting to know them. I also think that Jeaniene Frost did a great job of wrapping up their story line. She also did an amazing job of setting the stage for Ian’s, but that’s another story. 😀

One of the things I liked best about Into the Fire was the supporting characters. The good and the bad – and there were plenty of both. There little or no down time in this installment of the Night Prince. Emotions were all over the place and yes, there were tears – more than once – and not always from where you would expect.

Although Vlad and Leila’s story is over, I doubt that we’ve seen the last of them. And yes, Ian is next and I can’t wait to pick up Shades of Wicked. From the way things were left for him in Into the Fire, it’s sure to be interesting.

The King of Hearts 3 (Undercity Chronicles #4) by Savannah Skye

Lies and betrayal have cost her Ryder’s love, and it’s eating her alive, but Cassie’s got a job to do. Looking back when she’s got to plan for the battle ahead could prove deadly, and not just for herself. The Undercity of Milan is as corrupt as New York, and if she’s to stop an all-out vampire war, she’ll have to move mountains to mend fences.
But in a world of ultra-powerful kings and queens who will destroy anyone who gets in their way, her heart might not be the only thing that winds up broken.

Cassie pretty much broke me by the end of The King of Hearts 2 and that trend continued through most of The King of Hearts 3. She was doing what she knew in her gut was right and Ryder walked away. It was hard to get really mad at Ryder though. He was doing what he thought was right too and he saw Cassie’s defiance as a betrayal to him and everything he believed. Cassie understood that, but it didn’t make his reaction any easier to take.

Meanwhile, even though her heart was broken, the fight was still on and things were even worse than she first expected. Add to that the fact that she had lost Ryder and the very people she had lost him for didn’t trust her either… yeah, Cassie wasn’t in a good place through most of The King of Hearts 3. I knew in my heart that Ryder would eventually come around and that’s what Cassie was hoping for too. It was just a matter of when…

Things for Cassie, Ryder and the rest of their crew aren’t great even at the end of The King of Hearts 3. It’s obvious that there’s much more to the Undercity Chronicles, which will continue with The King of Clubs. From the description of the first book, it will be centered around a new couple. I’m really hoping that we haven’t seen the last of Cassie and Ryder though. There were more than a few loose ends at the end of their story that I’d like to see wrapped up.

Human Enough by E.S. Yu

When Noah Lau joined the Vampire Hunters Association, seeking justice for his parents’ deaths, he didn’t anticipate ending up imprisoned in the house of the vampire he was supposed to kill—and he definitely didn’t anticipate falling for that vampire’s lover.
Six months later, Noah’s life has gotten significantly more complicated. On top of being autistic in a world that doesn’t try to understand him, he still hunts vampires for a living…while dating a vampire himself. Awkward. Yet Jordan Cross is sweet and kind, and after braving their inner demons and Jordan’s vicious partner together, Noah wouldn’t trade him for the world.
But when one of Jordan’s vampire friends goes missing and Noah’s new boss at the VHA becomes suspicious about some of his recent cases, what starts off as a routine paperwork check soon leads Noah to a sinister conspiracy. As he investigates, he and Jordan get sucked into a deadly web of intrigue that will test the limits of their relationship—and possibly break them. After all, in a world where vampires feed on humans and humans fear vampires, can a vampire and a vampire hunter truly find a happy ending together?

Human Enough includes an autistic main character and an asexual vampire… what’s not to love? Seriously though, I love how both these characters are written.

Noah’s character gave readers a candid view of the discrimination that he faced on a daily basis – both purposefully and unknowingly. Jordan was held in an abusive relationship from the time he was turned. He thought he was “broken” until he broke free of his creator and realized that there were other people out there just like him. Finding each other was the best thing that could have happened for both of them.

Their relationship wasn’t exactly orthodox though. Noah was a hunter, but his objective was only to destroy rogue vampires. He started second guessing things though when some of their targets didn’t quite feel right. Something was going on and it ended up being Noah’s job to figure out who was behind some of the possibly false information the teams were being given.

Human Enough turned out to be a pretty sweet romance wrapped up in a suspenseful, action packed battle between a good and evil that Noah never saw coming. This is my first E.S. Yu read, but I’ll definitely be looking for more.

The King of Hearts 2 (Undercity Chronicles #3) by Savannah Skye

Cassie’s had some pretty close calls in her life, but now that she’s gotten her official bad-ass badge as an integral part of the Old Guard, she feels sort of invincible. That doesn’t seem to keep anyone from trying to prove otherwise, though, because everyone wants a piece of her.
The King of Hearts needs her help, even while the resistance tries to sway her, and the Old Guard has its own plans for her. And then, there’s Ryder. Sexy, strong, stubborn Ryder, who will accept no less than everything, including the one piece of Cassie she’s not sure she can bear to offer any man…

The more I get to know Cassie, the more I like her. This series is both fun and intense. Cassie is witty, fun and loyal. She’s also torn between her new responsibility to the Old Guard and her gut feeling that something isn’t quite right.

Cassie would trust Ryder with her life, but not her secret doubts – only because of his loyalty to the Old Guard. They both work for the Old Guard, but it’s something that Cassie just fell into. For Ryder, it’s his life.

In The King of Hearts 2, things get even more intense and Cassie has to make a decision and pick a side. Once again, I’m really glad that I’m reading these books as part of a full set because I don’t have a long wait between installments. Let’s just say, things didn’t end on a positive note and I’ll be picking up The King of Hearts 3 sooner rather than later…

The Chosen (Black Dagger Brotherhood #15) by J.R. Ward

Xcor, leader of the Band of Bastards, convicted of treason against the Blind King, is facing a brutal interrogation and torturous death at the hands of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Yet after a life marked by cruelty and evil deeds, he accepts his soldier’s fate, his sole regret the loss of a sacred female who was never his: the Chosen Layla.
Layla alone knows the truth that will save Xcor’s life. But revealing his sacrifice and his hidden heritage will expose them both and destroy everything Layla holds dear—even her role of mother to her precious young. Torn between love and loyalty, she must summon the courage to stand up against the only family she has for the only man she will ever love. Yet even if Xcor is somehow granted a reprieve, he and Layla would have to confront a graver challenge: bridging the chasm that divides their worlds without paving the way for a future of even greater war, desolation, and death.
As a dangerous old enemy returns to Caldwell, and the identity of a new deity is revealed, nothing is certain or safe in the world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, not even true love . . . or destinies that have long seemed set in stone.

It’s been a while since I read The Beast, which was the 14th book in The Black Dagger Brotherhood series. To be honest, I probably should have gone back for a quick re-read before I picked up The Chosen, but it didn’t take me too long to catch up.

Layla was in an impossible position. She loved her life for the most part. She had two beautiful, healthy children and two supportive males who loved them as much as she did. Plus she had the entire brotherhood, their mates and the staff as well. Yet, her heart belonged to the enemy and there was no way to be with him and keep her family together. That’s basically the gist of the story. It’s how Xcor and Layla overcome all these odds that keeps the pages turning.

As with most Black Dagger Brotherhood stories, Layla and Xcor aren’t the only focus, although even the side stories revolve around them to an extent. There are a lot of crazy revelations and some surprising outcomes. Hopefully it won’t be 2+ years before I get a chance to pick up The Thief and The Savior because I really, really want to read Where Winter Finds You… *sigh*

As for The Chosen… here are some of the things that struck me the most:

  • More than one Brother needed a LONG time-out
  • Wrath is still the biggest, baddest of them all and will remain one of my favorites
  • What in the h*ll is V thinking?!?
  • The females in the brotherhood are the only ones with level heads (most of the time)
  • Qhuinn… I have no words… none
  • Blay pretty much broke me
  • Trez… Where Winter Finds You can’t come soon enough
  • Thor… I haven’t been this frustrated with him in a VERY long time

I think that about covers it. Of course, there were quite a few other things going on and some added craziness on the sidelines that will be coming to a head soon. I know that there are lots of readers who think that this series has gone on long enough, but I’m not one of them. I love the BDB and will continue following them as long as J.R. Ward choses to write about them. 😉

Trifles and Folly 2 (More Deadly Curiosities Novellas & Short Stories) by Gail Z. Martin

Cassidy Kincaide runs Trifles & Folly in modern-day Charleston, an antiques and curios shop with a dangerous secret. Cassidy can read the history of objects by touching them and together with Teag (a hacker and weaver witch) and Sorren, a 600 year-old vampire, they get rid of cursed objects and keep Charleston and the world safe from supernatural threats.
An extension of the Deadly Curiosities urban fantasy novel series, this collection contains three full novellas and four short stories: The Final Death, Predator, Fair Game, Fatal Invitation, Redcap, Bloodlines, plus three bonus stories: Among the Shoals Forever, The Low Road, and Steer a Pale Course.

If I ever had any doubts about whether or not I should start the Deadly Curiosities series, they were squelched after reading Trifles and Folly 1 and obliterated by the time I finished this collection.

You know that you’re hooked when you can’t even pick a favorite character between the cast of friends. Even the supporting characters are amazing. From one story to the next, I couldn’t wait to see what happened next. This series seems to have everything I love about a good urban fantasy. Strong main characters whose abilities grow as the series progresses. Lots of suspense, a hint of romance, danger, great supporting characters who add to the story and so much more. I say “seem” because I have yet to pick up a full length book from this series, but I need to remedy that soon. The shorts have been great, but it’s obvious that a lot happened in between each story. Plus, I haven’t spent nearly enough quality time with Sorren, Cassie and Teag. 😉

The King of Hearts 1 (Undercity Chronicles #2) by Savannah Skye

Cassie’s had a rough few months. Being a vampire came with its own risks. Being a con-artist vampire was even tougher. Being forced to fake one’s own death to keep from getting thrown in the slammer or murdered and then resurrecting oneself? Really takes a lot out of a girl. Frankly, she could use a little down time. But, true to form, she’s skipped that and opted to jump straight from the frying pan into the fire as a new recruit-in-training for the Old Guard. They think she’s got the skillset to help them ferret out some troublemaking vampires in the Undercity, and she’s just interested enough to agree.
But when she struggles with the whole “obedience” portion of her training and decides to make a break for it, she’s suddenly thrust into the center of a centuries’ old battle for power. A battle that will pit the world’s strongest, most revered vampires against one another…and Cassie herself.

I really liked Hanna and Avery in A House of Cards, which was the intro to this world created by Savannah Skye. I’m loving Cassie though. Her snark, wit and unique background make for the kind of character I love getting to know. Throw in Ryder, a “by the books” member of the Old Guard along with a superior who stays both exasperated and impressed with Cassie’s methods and I’m finding this series hard to put down.

The action, suspense, mystery and heated moments keep the pages turning. I can’t wait to see what happens next and since I’m reading this as part of the Undercity Chronicles anthology, I don’t have to wait long. In fact, I’ve already read King of Hearts #2, so stay tuned. 😉