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

 

The Beast (Black Dagger Brotherhood #14) by J.R. Ward – Bout-of-Books 18 Review

thebeastNothing is as it used to be for the Black Dagger Brotherhood. The slayers of the Lessening Society are stronger than ever, preying on human weakness to acquire more money, more weapons, more power. But as the Brotherhood readies for an all-out attack on them, one of their own fights a battle within himself 
For Rhage the Brother with the biggest appetites, but also the biggest heart life was supposed to be perfect. Or at the very least, perfectly enjoyable. But he can’t understand or control the panic and insecurity that plague him. Terrified, he must reassess his priorities after suffering a mortal injury. And the answer, when it comes to him, rocks his and his beloved Mary’s world… 

Gotta tell ya, Rhage scared me in this one. To be honest, he scared pretty much everyone who cared about him, including himself. He wasn’t quite sure where his head was or his heart, which was totally not like him since his Mary came into his life. So yeah, he scared me. Mary scared me and then they both totally broke me. *sigh*

It’s kind of hard not to know where things are going from pretty early on, but the journey is so totally worth it, I don’t want to spoil it for anyone else. Just know that a LOT happens in The Beast and not just to Mary and Rhage.

One of the things I like most about this series is something that some readers complain about, which is the multiple POVs. I love spending page time with familiar characters and the introduction of new characters. To me it gives this series a ‘family’ feel, which is exactly what the Brotherhood is. More than once in The Beast, the entire family was there physically for whoever was in need of their support.

There were tears – both happy and sad, life or death situations, more than a few nail biting moments, some jaw dropping revelations and alliances that were unexpected. Pretty much what faithful readers have come to expect from the BDB and more.

Needless to say I can’t wait until the next book in the series is released. I’ve been patiently waiting on the paperback versions for the last couple of books, but but I don’t think I can put off The Chosen (Layla & Xcor) that long. Plus, there are so many other loose ends left hanging at the end of The Beast. Waiting until April will be long enough.

DragonFlyRating5

 

Fangs & Lullabies (The Demons Age #1) by Kallysten

FangsAndLullabiesA child’s birth. His first teeth and first steps. School friends and bullies, recess, school plays and science projects. A girl, a crush and a broken heart. These childhood experiences are shared by countless little boys from different horizons.
And yet… Jacob is anything but average. For as long as he has been able to understand, a secret has shaped his life, kept even from his closest friends: his father, Andrew, is a vampire. And so is his other father, Nicholas.
In a strange era when demons are beginning to appear all over the world and threaten humans and vampires alike, the three of them form quite an extraordinary family. And yet, at the same time, they could hardly be more normal.
Two fathers raising a son neither of them ever thought he would have. A Sire and Childe resuming their relationship after years of estrangement. Through snapshots covering Jacob’s life from birth to adulthood, discover this unusual family, and how, in the end, all it takes is love.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Fangs & Lullabies is only the second book that I’ve read by Kallysten. The first was Baby Steps and I can honestly say that I loved them both.

This story began with heartbreak. In the world that Kallysten has created for her vampires, they can’t conceive a child. Jacob’s mother found a way through science and magic, but she didn’t survive his birth long enough to even hold her son. And yes, that’s where the story opens. Andrew is obviously devastated, but he’s determined to love and protect his son from that moment forward.

Nicholas comes back into Andrew’s life soon after Jacob’s birth. Together with Jacob they form a family like no other. I loved the snapshots from year to year as Jacob grows. For me they got even more interesting when Jacob’s POV came into play. The author did a great job of capturing Jacob’s personality even from a very young age, and anyone who has read any of my reviews knows how I love it when that happens.

As the description states, this is a book of ‘snapshots’ that give readers a glimpse into a unique, yet normal family. They have their secrets and things aren’t perfect, but together Andrew and Nicholas managed to raise an amazing young man. There’s a lot more to their story and I can’t wait to get to know them better in the next installment, Demons & Lullabies.

DragonFlyRating4

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

Blood Curse (Dragon Heat #5) by Ella J. Phoenix

BloodCurseDescendant of a Cherokee shaman, Dyam is one of the vampire king’s personal guards and closest advisers. He has seen the worst of mankind and has vouched to stay away from personal entanglements and focus on serving his king. His resolve is shaken when Naiah, the water witch, finds her way into the busy vampire castle’s life and straight into his heart. But before he can nurture his feelings for her, she is killed in battle, causing Dyam to return to his self-imposed seclusion for good.
Little does he know that Naiah has been brought back to life by his kind’s most infamous enemies. She is their ultimate weapon in a final battle that will rupture not only the balance of the supernatural world, but Dyam’s loyalty to his race.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1I finished Blood Curse about a week ago… would you believe me if I told you I’m still trying to wrap my head around everything that happened?

To say that a lot happened in Blood Curse would be an understatement. The story opened with the birth of Zoe, the daughter of Tardieh and Zoricha. As happy as that moment is for the king, his queen and their friends, it also casts a shadow over them all because of the curse that is predicted from her birth. Through a crazy turn of events it all connects back to Naiah and Dyam.

Zoricha’s return should have been a time to rejoice and some people do, but it also brings about fear and a danger that no one expected. Not to mention the tension that it causes between all the characters.

This installment of the Dragon Heat series was packed with emotion. Some expected and some not so much. There were more than a few secrets revealed. Some really heated moments and… yeah, I really can’t say a lot more because I don’t want to give too much away.

As happy as I was for Naiah and Dyam, I was heartbroken for other characters. Yes, tears were shed and I’m not entirely sure I’ve actually forgiven the author for how things ended. *glares at evil author* – especially since this is not just a cliff hanger at the end of a book, but the end of the Dragon Heat series. Since there’s a possibility that she may redeem herself with the next series, I’ll cut her a little bit of slack. 😉

DragonFlyRating4

Night’s Honor (Elder Races #7) by Thea Harrison

NightsHOnorOn the run from her former employer, Tess knows that she’s vulnerable on her own amongst the Elder Races. That’s why she decides to audition to become the human attendant of a powerful Vampyre of the Nightkind demesne. But while her position affords her the safety she seeks, her protector turns out to be more than she bargained for.
The right-hand man of the Nightkind King, Xavier del Torro is both terrifying and alluring. While his true nature frightens Tess, she can’t ignore the appeal of his innate sense of integrity and self-restraint. Thrown into Xavier’s world, Tess must quickly learn to navigate the dangers—both to her life and to her heart. But the biggest threat comes from her own past….

I’m a huge fan of the Elder Races, but this is the first book that I’ve read that didn’t include the Wyrs and to be honest, at first I wasn’t sure exactly how I felt about it. The more I got into the politics and dynamics of the Vampyre community though, I stopped worrying. It’s not that I didn’t miss the Wyrs and the characters that drew me into this series. It was more because I found a whole other group of characters that I wanted to get to know better.

Speaking of getting to know someone better, Xavier wasn’t an easy guy to get close to… not that Tess had any intention of trying. She was there keep herself hidden and hopefully protected. Plus, she was totally repulsed by vampyres in general. Not exactly a normal start for a romance, but it was also kind of an interesting twist in the genre, for me anyway.

Even though Xavier was more than a little private and at times withdrawn, it was obvious that there was more to him than what he showed people on the surface. Tess slowly began to notice that he may not be as bad as she once thought, but she still wasn’t willing to give everything she asked for.

There were a lot of characters introduced in Night’s Honor. I loved the dynamic between Xavier and his attendants. Tess tried his patience, but he still respected her. How he treated those who served him and stood beside him was part of the reason why he gained my respect, and eventually Tess’s as well.

I’m kind of hoping that we see more of Xavier and Tess in the books that follow in the Elder Races. That’s entirely possible, since the next book in the series features a couple of my least favorite vampyres from Night’s Honor. I’ve already started reading Midnight’s Kiss and I’m kinda warming up to Julian, but Thea Harrison has her work cut out for her to get me to get me to really care about him. (I have no doubt she’s up to the task 😉 )

DragonFlyGreen4-5

 

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

Magic Slays (Kate Daniels #5) by Ilona Andrews

MagicSlaysPlagued by a war between magic and technology, Atlanta has never been so deadly. Good thing Kate Daniels is on the job.
Kate Daniels may have quit the Order of Merciful Aid, but she’s still knee-deep in paranormal problems. Or she would be if she could get someone to hire her. Starting her own business has been more challenging than she thought it would be now that the Order is disparaging her good name, and many potential clients are afraid of getting on the bad side of the Beast Lord, who just happens to be Kate’s mate.
So when Atlanta’s premier Master of the Dead calls to ask for help with a vampire on the loose, Kate leaps at the chance of some paying work. Turns out this is not an isolated incident, and Kate needs to get to the bottom of it fast, or the city and everyone dear to her might pay the ultimate price.
 

I have a couple of authors who are my favorites when it comes to Urban Fantasy. Ilona Andrews is pretty close to the top of that list. I can’t pinpoint it to anything specific. The world building, the mythology behind the different ‘species’, the hierarchy and politics, along with the witty, well developed characters combine to make this series one of my favorites. I may be taking my time reading it, but consider it savoring, not ignoring 😉

A lot happened in Magic Slays. Some things about Kate’s heritage were revealed. Old friends were reunited. Some very strange alliances were made and some new enemies came into play. Needless to say, there was very little down time. Along with the danger, there was a lot of emotion. Kate had to make some very tough decisions and she also found herself dealing with just a little bit of self doubt. Just another one of those things that makes me love this series. Those moments make the characters ‘real’. Speaking of characters, I love the witty banter between them. That’s not just limited to Kate and Curran, because there’s lots of back and forth between the two of them… not to mention the sexiness… Even though a lot of serious, dangerous craziness happens in Magic Slays, the true family aspect between the characters is there and it’s laced with a lot of humor and more of that ‘realness’ that I love about them.

The events that take place in Magic Slays change things for a lot of characters. I can’t wait to see what happens next and I’m still not sure if I’m going to try to slip in the some of the novellas (Magic Tests, Magic Gifts – Curran POV shorts) and Andrea’s story (Gunmetal Magic) before I pick up Magic Rises.

DragonFlyRating5

The Good, the Bad and the Vampire (Dead in the City #4) by Sara Humphreys – Bout of Books 15 Review

GoodBadVampireHe wants eternity?
Dakota Shelton is a vampire cowboy with a penchant for cinnamon lollipops and Johnny Cash. Though highly skilled and deadly dangerous to his enemies, he’s still a Texas good ol’ boy at heart. And he has that heart set on wooing Trixie LaRoux-the most badass punk rock chick in town-the old-fashioned way.

Over her undead body…
Trixie is tough as nails and sharp as a silver stake-the last thing she wants is a man to sit on a porch and not grow old with. So it’ll take going to hell and back fighting a new threat to vampires before she admits Dakota’s courtship makes her blood hum. Turns out chivalry’s not dead after all.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1I probably say this after every new installment to a series, but I think this one was my favorite book so far in the Dead in the City series. Of course, I also have to mention that I still have to read the 2nd book, Vampire Trouble, but that’s not anything that any of you haven’t heard me say either.

As much as I loved this one, I can’t say a whole lot about it. There were more than a couple of revelations made in The Good, the Bad and the Vampire and since I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone else. Just know that both Trixie and Dakota got what they deserved in the end. 😉

Just because there was a lot revealed doesn’t mean that things are over for this crazy mismatched family of vamps. There’s a couple more members of New York’s unconventional coven that need to find their bloodmate. I can’t wait to see who’s next.

DragonFlyRating4

Bound by Flames (Night Prince #3) by Jeaniene Frost

BoundByFlamesPlay with fire, pay the price.
Leila’s years on the carnie circuit were certainly an education. What she didn’t learn: how to be a vampire, or how to be married to the most famous vampire of them all. Adjusting to both has Leila teetering on a knife edge between passion and peril, and now the real danger is about to begin…
Vlad must battle with a centuries-old enemy whose reach stretches across continents and whose strength equals his own. It isn’t like Vlad to feel fear, but he does…for Leila, because his enemy knows she is Vlad’s greatest weakness. As friend and foe alike align against him—and his over protectiveness drives Leila away—Vlad’s love for his new bride could be the very thing that dooms them both…

Bones and Cat will always be my favorite, but Leila and Vlad are coming in at a close second. Regardless of where my initial loyalties lie, I can’t help but love any couple that Jeaniene Frost writes. I have to admit though, some of Leila’s insecurities about Vlad seeped through just a little. Just like Leila, I should have known better.

Bound by Flames was intense, graphic and more often than not, totally heart breaking. It also made me gain a whole new respect for Vlad. Yes, he was arrogant, seemingly selfish at times and totally unreasonable, but his love for Leila was unwavering. The methods to his madness weren’t transparent, but he honestly had a reason for every move he made and every person he threatened.

There were times that I thought I had things figured out and just as many times that I was proved totally wrong. A couple of cameo appearances were made by some familiar characters and a couple of new characters were thrown into the mix. I love surprises and Bound by Fire didn’t disappoint. There was even a surprise confession thrown into the mix. *giggles* Needless to say, this book kept me on the edge of my seat and made me anxious for the next one, but a little sad too because the series is coming to an end. Into the Fire is the 4th and final book in the Night Prince series. There’s at least one vampire that I’d still love to find his HEA, so hopefully there’s at least a little bit more to come. 😉

DragonFlyRating5