Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night (Immortals After Dark #3) by Kresley Cole

Her breathless kiss haunts him…
Bowen MacRieve of the Lykae clan was nearly destroyed when he lost the one woman meant for him. The ruthless warrior grew even colder, never taking another to his bed—until a smoldering encounter with his enemy, Mariketa the Awaited, reawakens his darkest desires. When sinister forces unite against her, the Highlander finds himself using all his strength and skill to keep her alive.
His slow, hot touch is irresistible…
Temporarily stripped of her powers, Mari is forced to take refuge with her sworn adversary. It’s rumored that no one can tempt Bowen’s hardened heart, but soon passion burns between them. Though a future together is impossible, she fears he has no intention of letting her go.
No deed is too wicked for her seduction…
If they defeat the evil that surrounds them, can Mari deny Bowen when he demands her body and soul—or will she risk everything for her fierce protector?

So, ironically, I started my last review of a book in this series with: “I really need to stop putting so much time between books in a series.” That was for No Rest for the Wicked, which I read in… 2013. *sigh* One of these days, I’ll start taking my own advice. In my defense, I just recently started picking up my long neglected physical books, so I have a lot of catching up to do.

This was one of those books that I couldn’t put down, while constantly wanting to punch some sense into the thick-headed hero. Not that I didn’t sympathize with him at times, I really did. He had been through a lot. On the flip side of that sympathy, it seemed like every time he was getting his act together, he’d royally screw things up all over again. I couldn’t see how this was going to work. Granted, Mari had her own set of screw-ups, but I found myself thinking more than once that she could do so much better. Which really isn’t the way you’re supposed to feel with two people trying to reach their HEA.

I guess my point is that if you find yourself feeling this way through most of Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night, don’t give up on them. Their HEA is totally worth the frustration. Hopefully there won’t be a 7 year stretch between my finishing this one and picking up Dark Needs at Night’s Edge, but with me you never know 😉

I Buried a Witch (Bedknobs & Broomsticks #2) by Josh Lanyon

Cosmo Saville adores his new husband, but his little white lies—and some very black magic—are about to bring his fairytale romance to an end. Someone is killing San Francisco’s spellcasters—and the only person Cosmo can turn to—the man who so recently swore to love and cherish him—isn’t taking his phone calls.
The only magic Police Commissioner John Joseph Galbraith believes in is true love. Discovering he’s married to a witch—a witch with something alarmingly like magical powers—is nearly as bad as discovering the man he loved tricked and deceived him. John shoulders the pain of betrayal and packs his bags. But when he learns Cosmo is in the crosshairs of a mysterious and murderous plot, he knows he must do everything in in his mortal power to protect him.
Till Death do them Part. With their relationship on the rocks, Cosmo and Commissioner Galbraith join forces to uncover the shadowy figure behind the deadly conspiracy…
Can the star-crossed couple bring down a killer before the dark threat extinguishes true love’s flame?

Funny story… this is my second read of I Buried a Witch. I read it at the end of last year, but it showed up on my TBR list on GoodReads. Now, I know that I could have backdated the read, because I definitely did read it, but I thought what the heck? It definitely wasn’t a hardship on my part to read the book again, so here we are. (This time I double checked to make SURE it was marked correctly on GR.)

You probably already guessed that I considered I Buried a Witch a great addition to Josh Lanyon’s Bedknobs & Broomsticks series. I have to admit that I went into this one a little leery after reading Mainly by Moonlight. Not because I didn’t like the book, but because John and Cosmo’s relationship was sorta doomed from the start and this book’s description is kinda ominous. I wasn’t wrong to be hesitant, but I’m glad I decided to dive in (twice). 😉

The mystery from the Mainly by Moonlight continues in I Buried a Witch, in a round about way. Much to John’s dismay, Cosmo finds himself playing amateur detective. John started growing on me by the end of the last book, but he lost some major points in I Buried a Witch. He had some definite old fashioned ways of thinking how marriage worked. Cosmo took it for the most part, mainly because he felt guilty for the secrets he was keeping from John. Eventually enough was enough and the inevitable blow-up happened.

Beyond the break-up, there was a mystery to solve and the danger was coming way too close to home. There were also some revelations about John’s family that threw and extra twist or two in the story. Things were looking a little bit better by the end of I Buried a Witch, so I’m not as worried about starting Bell, Book and Scandal. Even so, I’m also pretty sure that John and Cosmo haven’t gotten past all of their relationship hurdles. *sigh*

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.

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1) by Deborah Harkness

Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve had this book sitting on my bookshelf for a couple of years – which means that I’m way late to the All Souls Trilogy party. I have no idea what took me so long to pick this one up, but now that I have, there’s no turning back.

This wasn’t one of those books that took a while to get into. From the opening chapter I was hooked. A Discovery of Witches had an interesting twist on vampires, witches and other paranormals. It also had danger, suspense, a slow burn romance and more than a touch of mystery. I loved delving into this world and I can’t wait until I get my hands on Shadow of Night so I can continue the All Souls Trilogy. 😉

SpellSmoke (A Fistfull of Daggers #2) by SM Reine

It’s not much of a life, taking bounty hunts on vampires. But as a disgraced former deputy, Lincoln Marshall’s not exactly knee-deep in job offers, and airplane tickets are expensive after the apocalypse. His dying father is all the way across the country in Northgate. It’s Lincoln’s last chance to see him, and he’ll do whatever it takes to get there – even though the werewolf pack in Northgate is still out for his blood.
Sophie Keyes, the one and only Historian, needs Lincoln’s help. She fears the gods may be out to kill her. So Lincoln drags her back home despite his better instincts – only to learn that home’s not exactly safer than Reno. Some preternatural monster is killing hospice patients in Northgate.
Sheriff Noah Adair is convinced the killers are werewolves. The werewolves are convinced Lincoln Marshall is the killer. And Lincoln thought surviving the post-apocalypse had been bad enough before all this crap.

Before I started writing this review, I went back and read my review of Lonesome Paladin. I do that from time to time, just to refresh my memory. I didn’t really need to this time, it hasn’t been that long since I read the first book in A Fistful of Daggers. I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t repeating my self too much… 😉

Needless to say, I’m loving this series so far. There were a couple of surprising appearances in Lonesome Paladin. The additional characters in A Fistful of Daggers were expected, but that doesn’t mean that the way readers saw them in SpellSmoke was. Abel and Rylie are adjusting to being new parents while still being the Alpha mates. Abel is trying to take on most of the Alpha duties while Rylie recovers and adjusts. The fact that he needs his mate just as much as Rylie needs him isn’t making things any easier on anyone. Adding Lincoln to the mix isn’t helping. I loved spending time with Rylie, Abel and even Summer again. I may be a bit partial because Seasons of the Moon was my first introduction to this crazy, amazing world created by SM Reine. So you may want to take my infatuation with the pack with a grain of salt.

Aside from Lincoln’s unintentional involvement with the pack, there was a lot more going on in SpellSmoke. I may or may not have mentioned in my review of Lonesome Paladin that I wasn’t sure about my feelings about Sophie. That’s changed… I fell in love with her in SpellSmoke -awkward nerdiness and all. Her sincerity, her unique view on the world, pretty much everything about her… even the way she continually put Lincoln in his place… I loved it all.

Then there were the unexplained hospice deaths. Lincoln’s family, (that, incidentally, explained so much about the man he was). The mysterious assassin who was after Sophie. And a brand new group of shapshifters (kind of)…  SpellSmoke was pretty much non-stop action and craziness and I loved every minute of it.

Oh, and if you’re not a fan of cliff hangers, consider yourself forewarned. Just one more reason why I can’t wait for the next book in A Fistful of Daggers

Surrender the Dark (Dark #1) by Tibby Armstrong

Benjamin Fuller is a hunter, born and bred. Blinded as a child by the vampire who slaughtered his family, he’s blessed with a second sight that allows him to catch and kill his quarry. What his gift can’t help him see coming is his fierce, almost carnal attraction to the mystery man who claims to be a fellow hunter and whose touch triggers both lust and revulsion. When he gains the upper hand, Benjamin vows to bring his enemy to his knees.
After many years spent in exile, the only one who can help restore Tzadkiel Dragoumanos to his rightful place as War King is a blind hunter with golden curls, a lithe dancer’s physique, and distinctive facial scars—scars Tzadkiel gave him two decades ago. The mere scent of Benjamin Fuller provokes an unwelcome rush of insatiable desire. Yet to win an all-out supernatural war, Tzadkiel must resist the ravenous hunger to possess his prey—for now.

I honestly can’t believe that Surrender the Dark is the first book by Tibby Armstrong that I’ve read. I’ve been following her for a while now and I really did think that I’d read at least one of her books, but I was wrong. There’s obviously nothing I can do about that now, but after finishing the first book in her newest series, I’m hooked and anxiously waiting the next book in the Dark series.

Not surprisingly, it was really easy to sympathize with Benjamin. I’ve got to admit that I was wondering exactly how the author was going to bring these two characters together after all the pain that they caused each other. Tzadkiel was the enemy. He was a monster that had tricked Benjamin, caused him to lose his sight and killed his family. Things aren’t always exactly as they seem though and there were a lot of interesting twists in Surrender the Dark.

Once I started to understand Tzadkiel’s history and how things really played out I wasn’t sure who to sympathize with because I found my heart breaking for both of them. So much so, that I wasn’t disappointed at all to find that the real enemy in Surrender the Dark wasn’t who I expected.

Beyond the story, the writing in Surrender the Dark drew me in. The descriptions were almost poetic, but not over the top. The characters were well developed and there was even humor laced within all the pain, anger and danger. Just a few of the reasons why I’ll most definitely not only be following the rest of this series but I’ll also be searching out more books by this author.

The conflict was over between Tzadkiel and Benjamin by the end of Surrender the Dark, but there’s still more to come. More than one character’s fate was undecided. Even though the next book, Taste the Dark, centers around at least one of those characters, I’m pretty sure readers haven’t seen the last of the King and his mate. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to it. 😉

Cast in Balefire (Mage Craft #4) by S.M. Reine

castinbalefireHalf-angel mage Marion Garin has become Queen of the Unseelie, but she can’t hold the faerie courts without convincing everyone she’s in love with her cheating, abusive husband—the beloved King ErlKonig. Rumor says Marion’s in love with the God of Death. The unseelie are revolting. And it wouldn’t be so hard to fix if the rumors weren’t true…

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Wow… we’re almost there. One more book to go… All I’ve gotta say is it’s a good thing that Ms. Reine writes fast and how in the heck am I supposed to review this without giving something away? The answer is that I shall ramble… as usual.

A lot happens in Cast in Balefire. That’s not an exaggeration. There is also a lot of deception. No one is being totally honest and that trend continues right up until the very end. As for the end… we’ll get to that later.

Cast in Balefire takes up pretty much where Cast in Faefire left off. Marion is married to Konig with some very defined stipulations. The Unseelie are still reeling after the death of Konig’s mother. They are totally loyal and devoted to Konig and they expect their new queen to feel the same… only Fae magic proves to them that that may not be the case. It doesn’t take much to set the Fae off and because of their lack of trust where Marion is concerned, she ends up on more than one hit list. To make things even worse, Konig proves once again what a pompous… well, you get the picture. There’s definitely no love lost between this reader and the current King of the Unseelie.

As if Marion doesn’t have enough to contend with, her mother proves once again that she has a single minded agenda and caring for Marion’s welfare isn’t anywhere near the top of her list of priorities. There was a lot revealed in Cast in Balefire, but there are still a lot of things that need to be cleared up… Marion and Seth aren’t the only people whose future hangs in the balance by the end of this book… but I can’t really talk about that in this review, because, you know… the #evilauthor threw so many twists, turns and craziness into Cast in Balefire that I don’t want to risk giving anything away. Let’s just say that my jaw dropped more than once and leave it at that.

I know that S.M. Reine has said that you can read any of her series as stand alone, but I personally don’t recommend it. There’s a lot of back story that goes into these books. I’m not saying that you have to read all of the books prior to the Mage Craft series, but I’d recommend having at least read the Ascension series first. You won’t be lost if you don’t, but it will give you the background that you need for quite a few of the characters that you’ll meet in this series. Of course if you want the full affect, especially when it comes to Seth and Rylie’s history, you need to start at the beginning with Six Moon Summer. I’m a little biased though and if you’ve read any of my other S.M. Reine reviews you’ve probably heard this before so…

As for the ending? Yeah… did I mention that S.M. Reine is evil? Well, she is. In a brilliant sort of way, but evil none the less. I never saw it coming and I still have no idea how she’s planning on turning things around, but I trust her… sort of. *sigh* Needless to say, Cast in Godfire can’t come soon enough.

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

Once Darkness Falls (Preternatural Affairs #7) by S.M. Reine

OnceDarknessFallsThe worst case scenario has happened: Reno NV has fallen to demons.
Someone at the Office of Preternatural Affairs fucked up.
As the lead of a secret internal investigations team, Agent Cesar Hawke needs to discover who is responsible.
And then he needs to kill them.

There isn’t a book in this world created by S.M. Reine – regardless of which series I’m reading – that I haven’t absolutely loved. I’ve also, unsurprisingly, fallen in love with a lot of the characters that inhabit said world. If I’m honest though, I have to admit that I’ve fallen out of love with them just as often, but that’s another topic entirely. The point I’m trying to make, in my usual round-about rambling way, is that I love them all for very different reason. I have to say though that Cesar falls right behind Rylie in my rank of favorites. Once Darkness Falls hasn’t changed my opinion one bit. If anything, I fell more in love with him in this latest addition to the Preternatural Affairs series.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1The cards were pretty much stacked against Cesar from the beginning, but he had a couple of pretty firm objectives. Keep the people he cared about safe and come out of it alive. As usual, nothing is easy and more importantly, nothing is quite what it seems. The lines between good and evil can blur in a heartbeat. It makes it really hard to tell the good guys from the bad from a reader’s standpoint. It’s almost impossible for the characters. But that’s what makes these books so much fun to read.

One of the things that I love about these intertwining series is the chance to look at familiar characters from a different character’s POV. Seeing Rylie through Deirdre’s eyes was interesting in War of the Alphas, and not always in a good way. But seeing Elise from Cesar’s POV was… well, I’m not exactly sure. Elise crossed a lot of lines in her life… she came closer to obliterating them than blurring them… but Cesar’s opinion of her still made me want to jump in and defend her. Which wasn’t really fair because he didn’t have the whole story. Speaking of which, I still have more books to read in the Descent series…

As for the rest of Once Darkness Falls? This book is a huge turning point for Cesar. Fritz made some startling revelations, more than a few characters made some cameos from previous series, Cesar makes new enemies and some shaky allies, and more than a couple lives hang in the balance. Just a normal day at the office, right?

DragonFlyRating5