Deadly Curiosities (Deadly Curiosities #1) by Gail Z. Martin

Welcome to Trifles & Folly, a store with a dark secret. Proprietor Cassidy Kincaide continues a family tradition begun in 1670 – acquiring and neutralizing dangerous supernatural items. It’s the perfect job for Cassidy, whose psychic gift lets her touch an object and know its history. Together with her business partner Sorren, a 500-year-old vampire and former jewel thief, Cassidy makes it her business to get infernal objects off the market. 
When a trip to a haunted hotel unearths a statue steeped in malevolent power, and a string of murders draws a trail to the abandoned old Navy yard, Cassidy and Sorren discover a diabolical plot to unleash a supernatural onslaught on their city. 
It’s time for Kincaide and her team to get rid of these Deadly Curiosities before the bodies start piling up.

I suppose I introduced myself to this world created by Gail Z. Martin/Morgan Brice a little backwards. (For the record, that’s not an usual thing for me…) Although this is the first book in the Deadly Curiosities series, it was not my first introduction to Teag, Sorren or Cassidy. Aside from the fact that I listened to the audio version of this book a few months ago and have read several books/series written under Morgan Brice, I also read Trifles & Folly 1 and Trifles & Folly 2, which are collections of short stories that fit between the full length books in the series. About time I officially start from the beginning, don’t you think?

The mystery builds in Deadly Curiosities as it becomes obvious that there’s a connection between seemingly unrelated items. It’s up to Teag, Sorren and Cassidy to figure out what that connection is before whatever or whoever’s behind it gets even more dangerous. They end up calling in reinforcements with the own set of unique talents.

I love the premise of this series. Each of the characters brings something unique to their “side” business and Charleston is the perfect setting. The relationship between the characters is much more than a business one, it’s more like family. There’s action, danger, demons, ghosts, magic and a vampire – what’s not to love?

Although my precarious relationship with audio books is getting better, after reading the ebook version of Deadly Curiosities, I realized that there was a lot that I missed or maybe didn’t retained when I listened. *sigh* That’s not a reflection on the audio version at all, because I actually liked the narration. So please don’t hesitate to pick it up if audio is your preference 😉

A Bargain of Blood & Gold (Midnight Guardians #1) by Kristin Jacques

A novice hunter with a mission. A five-hundred-year-old vampire with a strong sense of irony. A town plagued by creatures in need of saving.
When Johnathan Newman arrives in Cress Haven, the last thing he expects is for his life to be irrevocably changed. Sent by a clandestine league of vampire hunters to investigate a string of murders, signs point to a vampire lurking amid the townsfolk. Johnathan’s attempt to enlist the locals leads him to an unlikely partnership with Vic, the town’s most eligible, enigmatic bachelor.
As the pair work to solve the mystery, Vic’s secrets come back to bite him. Revealed, the vampire fights his attraction to a man trained to destroy him, while Johnathan’s emotions land him in the middle of forbidden desires. Even if Vic isn’t the murderer, how can Johnathan yearn for his natural enemy?
As Vic leads Johnathan into encounters with terrifying beings straight from children’s nightmares, Johnathan learns that not only is the world stranger than he knew, but that those he once trusted have far darker intentions that will place hunter and vampire at the center of a conflict between realms.
Cress Haven holds more sinister secrets than its resident vampire, a secret so great, it could unleash Hell itself.

So, historical fiction is not my go-to (hmm… for an eclectic reader, it seems I have a LOT of “non-go-to” genres, but that’s a conundrum for another day.) That being said, something has to pique my curiosity to make me pick one up, especially from a new to me author. In this case, it was the vampire vs. vampire hunter. With that combination, how could I resist. A Bargain of Blood and Gold turned out to be so much more than I expected. I love it when that happens 😉

Nothing about Johnathan’s first solo mission turned out to be what he expected. From the time he set foot in Cress Haven it seemed that the mission, as well as Johnathan, was doomed. The only bright spot in his arrival was Vic, but nothing that’s going on in the isolated town was exactly as it seemed and the experience was destined to turn Johnathan’s orderly life upside down.

There was plenty of action, mystery, danger and more to keep the pages turning. Add to that a strictly forbidden romance and the fact that it was hard to tell exactly where loyalties should lie, A Bargain of Blood and Gold was a hard book to put down. The adventure was far from over at the end, so it goes without saying that I can’t wait for the Midnight Guardians series to continue.

Rare Vigilance (Whitethorn Agency #1) by M.A. Grant

Former marine Atlas Kinkaid knows not to ask questions about the clients he protects at the behest of the elite Whitethorn security agency. Just like he doesn’t like anyone asking about his scars—scars left by a mysterious attack that haunts his every waking moment.
Consumed by the need to find out what happened to him, Atlas takes a job providing security to Cristian Slava, the indolent—and gorgeous—son of a notorious businessman. Cristian seems to be just another entitled client, but when nights at the club turn into secret meetings and people start going missing, Atlas realizes there’s more to Cristian—and to protecting him—than meets the eye.
But the same people who are after Cristian have something Atlas desperately craves: they know exactly what happened the fateful night he was attacked—and are willing to tell him everything…
For a price.

I love it when the author of a series I loved comes out with a brand new series. M.A. Grant first showed up on my TBR list with the first book in her Darkest Court series, Prince of Air and Darkness. As much as I grew to love that series, I have to say if Rare Vigilance is any indication, I’m going to love the Whitethorn Agency even more.

Atlas Kinkaid was the kind of broken character that it was hard to not sympathize with. He had been through a horrific ordeal that was so crazy he soon learned to be careful who he shared the details with. His sister was his rock though and she believed him, but she couldn’t keep the haunting terror away. All she could do was be there for him, including giving him a job with the security agency that she ran.

His newest assisignment wasn’t an easy one, mainly because the man he was in charge of protecting had run off most of the other agents assigned to him. Atlas was determined though and he found ways to out maneuver Cristian and his seemingly childish antics – most of the time. Nothing was quite what it seemed though and soon Atlas had to decide if keeping his job was worth losing himself.

There were a lot of twists and turns, danger, suspense and at times it was hard to sift out the good guys from the bad. Atlas had to figure out who to put his trust in, which wasn’t always easy.

One word of warning, if you’re not a fan of cliff hangers, prepare yourself. The final chapter is a jaw dropper – but it also left me smiling. Needless to say, I can’t wait until the Whitethorn Agency continues.

Unholy (Witchbane #5) by Morgan Brice

A cycle of ritual murders. A coven of dark warlocks, drawing their immortality from the magic of their dead master. Two men sworn to stop the deaths, destroy the warlocks, and avenge the victims. Except this time, the killer flips the script. 
Seth Tanner swore vengeance on the dark witches who killed his brother, Jesse. He rescued Evan Malone from one of the witches, and they’ve fallen in love despite the danger and chaos, going on the road to complete the quest and bring an end to the ritual murders. Their relationship is still new, tested at every turn by danger and magic. 
Seth and Evan head to Charleston to stop the next warlock and save his intended victim. But this time, they’re too late. The warlock has already powered up, and he’s determined to destroy the two hunters one way or another. A deadly curse on Seth and Evan means time is running out. Can they find a way to turn the tables, or is Charleston their final destination? 

Seth started out his battle against the dark warlocks on his own, but that changed once he rescued Evan. Even though the hunt to destroy the warlocks and save the sacrifices put them both in danger, it was easier than doing it alone. They both found out along the way that there is strength in numbers. This time, they needed all the strength they could get from allies both new and familiar. The next warlock was one step ahead of them. Not only did he beat them to his sacrifice, he found their greatest weakness – keeping them apart.

There was little or no down time in Unholy, which made it a pretty quick read. I think that this may have been my favorite book in the series so far. Honestly, that may have been because of all the crossover characters that were included in this story. Their trip to Charleston brought them to Cassidy, Teag and Sorren (Deadly Curiosities). Seth and Evan had called on them for help before, but this was the first time they had met in person. It also brought them face to face with “people” they were used to fighting instead of trusting. Needless to say, the new experiences, wrapping their heads around a new reality and the constant danger kept the pages turning.

I adore this world that Morgan Brice/Gail Z. Martin has created. It’s especially fun when the series characters cross over and their was obviously quite a bit of that in Unholy. If you’re a fan of Urban Fantasy you can pretty much start anywhere in any of the series in this intertwined world.

All Fired Up (Ashes & Dust #1) by Jenn Burke

Once bitten. Twice burned. Forever bonded.
Paranormals are dying. All over the city, with no explanation and only one thing in common: their magic is missing.
Vampire and private investigator Evan Fournier isn’t supposed to be taking on paranormal cases, but when the murderer hits close to home, he agrees to look into it. The last thing he expects is to become a target himself—and then to become irrevocably bonded to the man who just tried to kill him.

With his memory gone and his soul bonded to a stranger, former firefighter Colin Zhang wants to be anywhere else. He doesn’t have a damn clue why he just tried to kill Evan, and he didn’t even know about magic until just now. The sooner he can get back to his real life, the better.
But every time either of them tries to leave, pure agony stops them short. Forced to work with Evan or suffer the consequences, Colin must excavate the secrets buried in his missing memories while battling two rising threats: the conspiracy behind the murder, and his mutual attraction to the bond mate he never wanted.

I was one of those readers that was not at all happy with the fact that Jenn Burke’s Not Dead Yet series had come to an end. I may have even voiced that opinion in my review of Graveyard Shift. Although I felt that Wes and Hudson’s story came to a satisfying, yet bittersweet end, there were still things that needed to be resolved. Namely, the way things were left for Evan. For that reason alone, you can imagine how happy I was to find out that not only were things not quite over, Evan was getting his own story. 🙂

You can read All Fired Up without reading the Not Dead Yet series first, but there’s a lot of back story in the previous series that Ashes & Dust builds off. Wes and Hudson make a few well timed appearances and so do other familiar characters. This is most definitely Evan and Colin’s story though and it was a great start to their series.

Both Evan and Colin are broken characters. Evan suffered a devastating loss and still battles with emotional scars he suffered in his past. Colin has to come to terms with the fact that the life he thought he had is over. He “woke up” to a world he had no idea existed – one that he’s now a part of whether he likes it or not.

The tenuous relationship between Colin and Evan is only part of the story. There’s a new threat to paranormals the evil behind it needs to be stopped. Colin may not understand what’s going on, but he’s at the center of the conspiracy and once Evan gets him away, they both end up with targets on their back. Needless to say, I can’t wait for this series to continue. House on Fire is next and it can’t come soon enough. 😉

Magnified (Magnified #1) by Mell Eight

On her deathbed, Yani’s great-grandmother reveals she has one last story from her past to tell: that of his great-uncle Yakov, who helped her survive the Nazis. It’s a story of vampires and werewolves he can scarcely believe—and in the wake of his great-grandmother’s death, Yani discovers the story is far from over.
The world of vampires and werewolves isn’t a safe place for a human, even one with Yani’s unusual family history. With danger at his door, the smart thing would be to run, but much like his great-grandmother, Yani has never been very good at running away—especially with his loved ones and the whole world at stake.

I’m becoming quite the Mell Eight fan lately. Other than the fact that I like her writing style, I think a lot of that has to do with the variety of stories she’s written. From her adorable dragons in her Supernatural Consultant series to the mysterious and sometimes dangerous Fae in her Out of Underhill series, I know I’m always going to find a unique and entertaining story. The Magnified series is off to a good start and promises more of the same.

I’ve always been moved by stories of the Holocaust. It’s such a dark part of world history and it’s hard to believe it happened not so long ago. That was enough to draw me into Yani’s story. Add to that the paranormal aspect and I found Magnified hard to put down.

Readers were swept into the past as they learned about Yani’s family history, both their time surviving the Holocaust and the paranormal link that they shared. Honestly, their family history would have been intriguing enough without their tie to vampires, but it made their story even more interesting. Eventually Yani’s past caught up with his present and the mystery and danger continued. It soon became clear that nothing was exactly as it seemed and reality changed. It also became clear that Yani was more tied to that supernatural aspect than he ever expected.

Yani and his friends’ story is far from over by the end of Magnified, although the first book does come to a satisfying end. The next book in the series is Justified, which will hopefully be re-released soon because I can’t wait to find out how the story continues.

Werewolves of London (Monster M*A*S*H #3) by Angie Fox

In The Heat Of Battle
The hard-won cease-fire between the battling immortals doesn’t last long. In the blink of an eye, human surgeon Dr. Petra Robichaud is back on the frontlines, and starring in yet another of the oracle’s prophesies. As the only healer who can talk to the dead, Petra doesn’t have much choice about her role—even when her breathtaking ex-lover shows up at exactly the wrong time…
Two Hearts Fight To Survive
Petra may have moved on when Commander Galen left her, but she never forgot him—and the passionate moments they shared. Seeing him again is a distraction she really doesn’t need with both armies honing new weapons, and wounded all over her M*A*S*H unit. But how can she resist him? It’s now or never for the demi-god Galen to become Petra’s mate…but with the fate of humanity at stake, will their desire be worth the cost?

I’ve got to admit, I was kind of apprehensive about finishing this trilogy. Mostly because I really didn’t like the direction the #EvilAuthor (aka Angie Fox) took things in Transylvania Twist. No spoilers, but I have to say that Werewolves of London brought the Monster M*A*S*H trilogy to a very satisfying end. 😉

There was a lot going on in Werewolves of London. Petra was still dealing with prophesies and the cease fire wasn’t going to last forever – especially when new weapons were being honed. It would have been different if Petra and her comrades had a vested interest in the progress of the battle. They were all pawns in a war between what amounted to spoiled, bored Gods who only cared about themselves. It was more than a little frustrating.

Galen coming back didn’t make anything easier. It actually added to the stress. That didn’t stop the attraction, but there wasn’t much time for romance, especially since Galen was basically AWOL and he was hiding from both armies.

Even with all the stress and danger, Werewolves of London was still full of the same wit and humor that readers have come to expect from this author. It was also full of friends and support coming from unexpected places. It was kind of bitter sweet saying goodbye to these characters. Getting to know them was fun, but knowing that they all ended up with their well deserved HEA was even better.

Leather and Lace (Southern Gothic #1) by Magen Cubed

Falling in love with a vampire bites—and sometimes loving a human bites back.
Dorian Villeneuve is an unlucky vampire from the slums of Devil’s Row. He makes ends meet for himself and his emotional support Chihuahua by working sleazy bars and nightclubs, doing what it takes to get by. Cash Leroy is a monster hunter from East Texas with a golden voice and an unrivaled devotion to Stevie Nicks. Hunting does not leave time for friends, let alone love.
When their paths cross during a bloody run-in with the vampire mob, Cash upends Dorian’s life—and takes Dorian under his wing to teach how to hunt monsters.
The unlikely pair become partners, and soon, best friends. However, their deepening bond grows complicated when Dorian falls in love with Cash. Their friendship is too important to throw away over an interspecies attraction, especially in a career that is already nasty, brutish, and short.
And things become even more complicated when Cash finds himself returning the vampire’s affections.
When an unusually deadly case lands in the hunters’ laps, their ill-fated affair takes a backseat. A pair of man-eating weredeer are on the loose taking victims’ hearts. With the pressure on to end the killing spree, Dorian and Cash must set aside their feelings and hunt down the blood-thirsty deer.
Can Dorian and Cash’s friendship survive this monstrous romance, or will they lose their hearts in the process?

What a different spin on vampires! I think that was my favorite part of Leather and Lace. I also liked the relationship between Cash and Dorian – even though they took a while to figure out that they were both on the same page.

Honestly, the only issue I had at all with Leather and Lace was the back and forth in the story telling. I’m actually a fan of multiple POVs and I usually don’t have a problem with getting characters’ back stories through flashbacks. In this case though, the combination was a little much. Not enough for me to not enjoy the story, but just enough to make me notice it and be just a little distracting. Other than that minor detail, I liked getting to know Cash and Dorian and I found myself rooting for them to find their HEA even with everything stacked against them.

Since this is the beginning of a series, I’m looking forward to getting to know Cash and Dorian even better, as well as some of the supporting characters. 😉

The Transylvania Twist (Monster M*A*S*H #2) by Angie Fox

A shaky truce. A pregnant Medusa. And a dedicated doctor who keeps legends alive.
Even during a truce, I have my hands full as a MASH surgeon to an army of warring gods—especially when Medusa herself turns up pregnant. I frankly have no idea what to expect when a Gorgon’s expecting, but I have an even bigger problem when my presumed-dead former-fiancé sneaks into my tent with enough emotional baggage to fill a tank.
He’s been fighting for the other side, which technically makes him my enemy, and now he needs me and the power I’ve kept secret for so long: I can see the dead. It’s a blessing and a curse. Literally. Because the gods will smite me in a second if they suspect.
But the other side is developing a terrible new weapon, and the only person who can stop the carnage was just murdered in a covert lab behind enemy lines. So I have no choice but to pull on my combat boots and go AWOL with my ex and a moody berserker to confront a ghost with a terrible secret.
Too bad uncovering the truth could make me enemy #1…

This is one of those books that I really liked, but I’m still not sure about the direction that it took. *sigh* I don’t like giving things away, but since it was mentioned in the description… I was not happy about Mark’s return…. for a lot of reasons.

The rest of the story was just as good as Monster M*A*S*H, the first book in the series. I just really liked Galen and Petra’s relationship in the first book. He brought out the best in her or at least made her feel that things that she doubted were totally possible. I didn’t get that same feeling from Mark. It felt like he was using her most of the time and I just really didn’t like him. Petty, I know… *sigh*

As for the rest of the story, it was just as full of action, mystery, loyal friends and humor as readers have come to expect – not just from this series, but from Angie Fox books in general. Werewolves in London is next and I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

The Monster Mash (Monster M*A*S*H #1) by Angie Fox

The day I was drafted into the army of the gods, all I knew about being a MASH surgeon was what I’d learned from Hawkeye Pierce and Hot Lips Houlihan. Now here I am, Dr. Petra Robichaud, in the middle of an immortal war, assigned to a MASH camp with a nosy sphinx, a vegetarian werewolf, and an uptight vampire who really needs to get a life.
At least they’re all too busy with their own dramas to discover my secret: I can see the dead. It’s a forbidden gift, one that can get me killed, so I haven’t told a soul.
Until the arrestingly intense Galen arrives on my operating table, half-dead and totally to-die-for. When his spirit tries to slip out of his fatally wounded body, I impulsively slip it back in. Call it a rash resurrection. One I’ll live to regret.
Now Commander Galen of Delphi knows my secret, and he’s convinced I’m part of an ancient prophecy—one that can end the war for good. But taking a chance could cost me everything. And it would be easier to convince him to leave me alone, except now the prophecies are starting to come true…

Full disclosure, I may have been drawn to this book because I was and still am a huge fan of the popular TV show. Of course, I’m also a fan of Angie Fox, so I knew going in that picking up The Monster Mash was bound to be a win/win. I wasn’t disappointed.

The world building in The Monster Mash was unique and the story was fast paced. The characters were well developed and even though they were living in horrific circumstances, there was just enough lightness to break through it. Petra was a character that was easy to like and the supporting cast of characters added a lot to the story. They were fun, quirky and in the same inescapable situation as Petra.

There was more going on with Petra than being trapped in a never ending war. She had a secret that keeping was a matter of literal life and death. If that wasn’t enough, she was part of a prophecy that she wanted nothing to do with. It became more and more obvious that it wasn’t something that she could run away from, no matter how much she tried. Especially since one of the only other people who knew her secret wasn’t about to let her walk away from him or the prophecy.

I missed Monster M*A*S*H series the first time around, but I’m kind of glad because now I have a new to me Angie Fox series to catch up on with a fresh new look. Transylvania Twist is next and it’s already on my TBR pile. Stay tuned!