Ilona Andrews-Sapphire Flames

Sapphire Flames is the latest book in Ilona Andrews’ Hidden Legacy series. While it is a continuation of the overall series, it is not a continuation of Nevada and Rogan’s story. This one is the first book that focuses on Catalina, the oldest of Nevada’s younger sisters. She is a Prime talent, but not one that most people are aware of. She is classified as a siren. In other words, she is going to draw you to love her. And you want to love her to death. Her family are all immune to her because they love her just for who she is. Turns out that there is another person who is immune to her. But don’t worry, we’ll get to him shortly.

SF takes place 3 years after Wildfire, the last Nevada/Rogan book, and there have been a lot of changes in Dallas and House Baylor. Nevada is no longer the Head of the House, but Catalina is instead. And Catalina has taken some epic lessons from Rogan’s mother, which is really good, since their 3 safe years are over now. Catalina knows that people are going to be coming for them, since they are a brand new house, and they are going to be looking for weaknesses. She doesn’t really talk about her power much because of the way it works, and her records are all sealed. To top all that off, she is trying to keep the detective agency going without ending up as a vassal house to anyone and still adhering to the rules that her parents set out back when they started out. That’s what gets them into the case that they are in right now.

And then, there is Alessandro. He is Italian and gorgeous. He was part of the trials that Catalina had to go through in order to be declared a Prime. He came to the warehouse to try and get her to go with him on a ride, which she turned down. But that doesn’t stop her younger sister and cousins teasing her about him. Of course, that’s only payback, if you ask me. They did the same thing to Nevada, so what goes around comes around, you know? Alessandro has his own motivation here, and no one knows what’s going on, including Catalina. They do like each other though, so it’s really interesting to watch.

I like Catalina. We get to see all kinds of sides to her in this. She changes a lot, depending on what needs to happen and who she needs to be at the time. She’s a chameleon, but she’s what House Baylor needs at the moment. Nevada would never be able to do the things that Catalina has to do for the House. It’s not that I think that Nevada is weak or anything, I just don’t think that she has the same core that Catalina does, which is what is going to make it possible for her to make painful decisions, and ones that might come right up to the line that her family has drawn over the years.

I am up in the air about Alessandro. There’s a lot of saying about revenge, and I think that several of them will fit in here. I’m looking forward to seeing how the thing between the two of them is going to work.

Nothing under the pic today either. Go check this one out, and in fact, read everything written by Ilona Andrews. I can’t recommend the books enough. Happy reading!

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Macy Blake-The Chosen One

We all know that I love to read just about anything, and I take great joy in sharing the wonderful reads I find, right? Well, today I’m going to share Macy Blake and her Chosen One series. There are currently 5 books and 2 novellas, I think, I might be wrong on the novella numbers, set in the universe. There are 3 in the main series, All or Nothing, Nothing Ventured, and Next to Nothing. Then there is a prequel, Sweet Nothings. And a spinoff with the Hellhounds, Hell on Earth. The books are all MM, but not mpreg, mostly. I think that the Hellhounds books are more Omegaverse with some mpreg going on, but I’m not going to say for certain until I read it in the book. I do know for sure that there alphas and omegas, so there’s that.

Now, Macy calls this a reverse harem story, because even the first one starts out with 5 guys, and they add in more guys as each book goes on. But, I wouldn’t call it reverse harem at all. In an RH, generally it’s Person A and they have a lot of lovers who are only lovers to Person A. Other reviewers have said, and I agree, that this is an excellent example of a polyamorous relationship. That’s because all the guys have a relationship with each other and are all mates. There is the larger relationship and then each of them have their own relationships within that large group. And there are sexcapades galore. Pretty much, if you can think of any combination that 5 guys can get into, then they get into it. It’s pretty damn hot, and I don’t even have all the right pieces.

So, here are our base 5 guys. We have Sawyer, who has lived next to Draco for years, and who has crushed on him for most of that time. Then we have Henry, Eduard, and Andvari, who showed up in Sawyer and Drake’s neighborhood, in a McMansion they had built.

The way that the stories work is that long ago, an oracle foretold that there would be a chosen one who would bring back the magic, which has been going missing or being messed up for centuries now. Since that time, there have been 8 guardians called from the various clans to guard the Chosen One when they show up. No one knows anything about the Chosen One or who they are going to be. All they know is that each time a guardian dies, another is chosen.

At the beginning of the series, we have Draco, a dragon, Eduard, a gryphon, Andvari, a vampire, and Henry, a seer, who are all guardians. Then there is Sawyer. Sawyer who has loved Drake forever, but not known his secret until now. Drake has wanted Sawyer forever, but knew that he might be called away to be a guardian elsewhere, so has never given way to that desire. He knows that he wouldn’t survive being away from Sawyer that way. Sawyer, who is also a magical null, who can help Henry through the terrible pain he gets from his vision and who everyone is drawn to.

I really love this series and this world. I really like all of the characters that Macy has given us so far. I have favorites, of course, who doesn’t. Sawyer, Henry, and Meshaq are my favorites out of the entire world, so far.

The world building is great. Macy has really created a universe where things all make sense within the ‘verse, and the world is very rich and detailed. You can tell that she has put a lot of work into it. The story has a lot of love and a lot of sex, but there is also a lot of politicking, danger, conspiracy, and adventure. It’s really pretty much a perfect combination.

OK, that’s all I have to say on this series. The entire series is on KU, so it’s easy to check it out. Happy reading!

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Seanan McGuire-Night and Silence

I love Urban Fantasy, and there are a few authors that are auto reads for me. Seanan McGuire is one of those, especially when it comes to her Toby Daye series. She has a couple of other series under her name, as well as one under Mira Grant. That one is a zombie series, and the first book freaking devastated me. But, today we’re here to talk about the latest Toby Daye book, Night and Silence. I haven’t reviewed the entire series here, but I did review the previous book, Brightest Fell here, so there is some history on the blog.

Toby and Tybalt and May and Jazz are trying to put their lives back together after her mother Amandine captured Tybalt and Jazz in order to make Toby look for August, her older sister. As a reminder, Toby is a changeling, her mother, Amandine is one of the First, the progenitor of a species of Fae, a very exclusive species, consisting of Amandine, August, and Toby. Toby’s father was human, but she and her mother left when Toby was 7. These days, Toby has very little human blood, because as part of her innate magic, she can change the balance of her blood and pull out her human-ness.  Tybalt is her Cait Sidhe lover, and the local King of Cats. He has two forms, he can be a cat or he can be a man. They are engaged to be married. May is Toby’s Fetch. A fetch is an omen of death, and yeah, Toby has died, but she got better. May is nearly Toby’s clone, sharing the same memories up until the moment that she was created to be Toby’s Fetch. Now, they are sisters, sharing their lives together. Jazz is a Raven Maid, which means she has two forms, a woman and a raven. Amandine kept Jazz and Tybalt in their animal forms while she kept them captive, and now both of them are having a hard time dealing with it, and haven’t been able to shift back to their animal forms since. They have some serious PTSD going on.

All of a sudden, Toby’s ex and his new wife burst into Toby’s house and accuse her of stealing her daughter, who is now college age and going to Berkley. She’s disappeared, and they want to blame Toby. However, Toby has had nothing to do with it, but being who she is, a private investigator and a knight and hero of the Kingdom of The Mists of Faerie, as well as a mother, even if Gillian hasn’t wanted to see her in years, she will go out and do what she can to find her daughter. And she’ll do what she can to try and help Tybalt get better and hopefully bring him back to her.

Tybalt has been one of my favorite characters from the very first time he burst onto the scene in the first book. Even before he and Toby became lovers, he was always there for her, even when she thought that he hated her. He has always just been a steadfast being, and flamboyant in all the best ways. There’s a novella about him in one book or another, and it’s the history of Tybalt in London in 1666. It was fascinating. This book made me happy and sad for several reasons, but only in the best way. It has brought about a lot of changes and revelations, which ought to be really interesting in the books to come. But now I have to wait for a year to find out what is going to happen. That is so sad. Oh well, Seanan McGuire is totally worth the wait.

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I’m going to be very interested to see how Gillian’s new circumstances are going to work out. I mean, everyone has worked hard to keep her out of Faerie, and now she’s right smack dab in it. And the fact that her step-mother is her immortal great-grandmother and the mother of one of the First? Yeah, that’s going to be so fascinating.

I can’t wait for Tybalt and Toby’s wedding. I hope it is so fantastic! And I hope it’s in the next book.

OK, that’s all I have to say about this one. Go check it out! Happy reading!

Ilona Andrews-Iron and Magic

Ilona Andrews is a husband and wife team, Ilona and Gordon Andrews. They write one of my all-time favorite urban fantasy series, the Kate Daniels series. The last book in that world comes out later this year. I’ve had it on pre-order for nearly a year. That’s how much I love this series. So, when they announced that they were writing a story around Hugh D’Ambray, I was excited, because it meant that we would get more of that world, but also I was interested to see how they would take one of the baddies from Kate’s world and make him likable in any way. I have an interesting relationship with Hugh. I both hate him and love him. Hate him because he wants to hurt my Kate and love him because he’s a great bad guy. Horrible things have been happening to Hugh lately, and I wanted to see how well he could manage them. Well, let me tell you, I was not disappointed at all. Iron and Magic was all that I could’ve wanted and even more.

So, here’s where we start. Hugh is drinking himself to death. He’s been abandoned and all he can do is drink to try to feel better, to try to forget, to try to feel anything. The remaining leaders of his Iron Dogs track him down and tell him that he needs to man up, stop drinking, and help them. The Iron Dogs are being hunted, are hiding, running, and starving. When Hugh is sober enough to listen to them, they decide that they need a base, and one of his advisors has found one for him.

Deep in Kentucky, Elara is queen of her castle. She watches over her people to make sure that they are OK and does everything she can to keep them that way. But when Roland’s Legatus keeps trying to buy her castle, she knows that she needs an army to fight him. She doesn’t have an army, but Hugh does. Hugh doesn’t have a base, but she does. It’s a perfectly incovenient marriage made in purgatory.

When I say marriage, I speak literally. In order to bring everything together, they marry to seal the deal, just like alliances have been made over thousands of years. It doesn’t mean that they love each other or that they even like each other. As long as they are married, it’s all good.

The female characters written by Ilona Andrews are generally strong, fearsome, devious, and delicious. See Kate, Nevada, Andrea, Aunt B, etc. Let’s add Elara to that list. She is very strong, both as a character and as a magic user. She knows who she is, what she is capable of, and what she will do in order to keep her people safe. That makes her even stronger, in my opinion. She’s very smart and tends to have plans within plans. She doesn’t let her right hand know what her left hand is doing, or let Hugh know everything she knows. Elara is definitely going in my favorite female characters list.

Hugh is different from the Hugh D’Ambray we know and loathed/loved in the previous books. He’s rebuilding himself, and figuring out who he really is and what he really wants to do. Elara makes him think certain things through and figure certain things out, which I didn’t even see until Elara shoved them in Hugh’s face, and then I was like damn, how’d I miss that.

Their marriage is like a crazy monkey knife fight sometimes. It’s awesome to watch. I can’t wait to see where it is going.

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Oh so many things that I could say down in my lovely spoiler section. Hmmm… What shall I say?

I need to know more about Elara. She’s hiding so much. Who and what is she?

OMG, Erawan. That was fucking awesome. Just so fucking awesome.

Hugh and Roland. Wow!

I want to see Hugh and Kate and Curran get together and talk somehow. I think that would be epic. Especially after the epiphanies that he’s had.

OK. That’s all for this one. If you love Kate Daniels, urban fantasy, sword and sorcery books, this is a must have. Go check it out. It’s available at all the booksellers. Happy reading!

Parker Sinclair-A Darker Fall

This is one of the stories from the anthology The Aching Darkness. Full disclosure, I haven’t read the entire anthology, but it has been added into 234879805 book long TBR. I have different lists of them. I mean, how else is a girl supposed to keep track of her books? You should see my TBR collection on my Kindle, which I’ve decided to alphabetize by author. I like a nice organized library. Anyway, that doesn’t get us to our review of the day. It’s a novella, so it’s not going to be anything long since I don’t want to give anything away. So, without any further digressions, or too many, at least, let’s get to A Darker Fell.

Parker has described ADF as a dark fantasy, and I’ll agree with that. If you ask me, it also fits in with paranormal and urban fantasy. There are romantic parts to it, so I think it also fits in the romance categories too. I like stories that defy simple classification, and in my opinion, this does that.

Ilese is a Dark Angel. Her job is to fight the powers of evil and the spawn of the Fallen. I bet you can guess who the Fallen is. Could it be… Satan? Those Fallen come in different categories, Queens, S2, and S1. The latter two are also called the Walking Hollow by Ilese and her team.

Ilese is stronger than human and her Dark Angel-ness lets her disintegrate her enemies after she’s killed them. If a Queen is able to get to a human, they are able to turn that human into a Walking Hollow. That has happened to too many of her team. When her second-in-command, Josh, is captured by one of the Queens, Ilese runs to the rescue. Luckily, she’s able to get to him before the Queen can do anything to him, but something else happens, something potentially dangerous.

And that’s where I’m going to leave you because you need to go read this story. The book is on KU and it’s only 99 little pennies, so it’s not going to break the bank for you to buy it. I don’t know if it will stay available for a long time since I know Parker is going to continue to the story, so I don’t know who holds the rights to the story and all that. I know that this may give you the wrong idea when I say this, but for me, the end of the story was what made the entire story. That doesn’t mean that the rest of the story was bad, in fact, it wasn’t, but the big final fight is what really makes it.

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OK, she may not look like a traditional angel, but every time I look at this picture, I see her as a fallen angel, so in my head, Ilese looks similar to this. If she doesn’t look like this to you, I don’t want to know. Except, since she’s a fighter, maybe not the dress, but you get the idea, right?

There really isn’t too much I can day down here since it’s a novella and I don’t want to spoil anything. However, there were some mysteries brought up that I have theories on. Of course, I’m not going to tell you my theories, go read the story yourself, and then we can talk. However, one of the Queens tells Ilese that they want something she’s created, and I wonder if it’s something that she may have had help creating this particular something. That would be really, really interesting, in my opinion, especially in relation to things said earlier in the story.

I also have a theory that Ilese’s basic nature may change because of certain events, so I will be looking forward to the rest of the story.

So, we have fun stuff coming up in the next few days, including a new SEAL story, and hopefully something from the twisted brains of Lee Savino and Renee Rose. Meanwhile, happy reading!

Haven Handel-Princess of the Pack

Haven Handel is a pen name for Shanna Handel. She’s writing paranormal romance under this name. Of course, just because she’s writing in a new genre with a new pen name doesn’t mean that she got rid of the spanking and domestic discipline that go along with her other books.

In Princess of the Pack, we meet a new cast of characters. There’s Cassandra and Deo, her husband, and all of his family. Deo’s family are interesting, but we’ll get to them later. Right now all you need to know is that they are Greek and they all look like they stepped down off Mount Olympus.

So, Cassandra and Deo have been married for 10 years. In fact, the story starts out the day before their 10th wedding anniversary. However, in the past few months, their marriage hasn’t been good. They have been fighting and arguing and just pulling away from each other, in general. During a big argument that night, Cassandra tells Deo that she is leaving. It’s that exact point in time when everything changes. Deo tells her to go to his office, tells her to get undressed, and then takes her over his knee, after she laughed in his face, which meant she got spanked even worse.

The next day she goes to work late, so she wouldn’t have to sit down at her meeting, and tells her friend Cynthia what happens. Then she goes out to lunch with her friend Andrew, when Deo shows up. Bye-bye Andrew. When she gets back from lunch, another Greek god looking dude, Baal, is waiting in her office and tells her that Deo sent her and she needs to leave.

OK, this is a good place to mention all the names of the hot guys. Whenever anyone meets them, they always tell the new person what their name is and what it means. Deo means godlike. Baal is short for Balthazar, meaning protect the king, he’s Deo’s couisn. Alekos is Deo’s brother, and his name means defender of mankind. Draco, another cousin, means the dragon. Xander, yet another relative, means protector. Then there was Cassandra, who was an unheeded prophetess.

Here is where the paranormal bit comes in. When Baal and Draco get Cassandra to Deo at the castle, he starts to tell her what’s the what. Turns out he and his family are shifters who have to fight against dark spirits. They are all wolves, but Draco has a second, more powerful, form. Gee, guess what it is? Not that we see it in this book, but we will, I’m sure.

Alright, here’s where you choose which path to follow, my little ducklings. There is spanking and romance. Not so much sex, and not a whole lot of bad language. Shanna/Haven writes rather tame stories, sex-wise, but very entertaining otherwise, so I’m not complaining in any way. I enjoy reading them. Shanna came up with a good premise in this and an interesting way to turn the people into wolves, which is a way I’ve not heard of before, and I’ve read a lot of paranormal and UF, so that was exciting.

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OK, so here’s how they become shifters. You know, in most stories, they are bitten or they are born to be a shifter. In this one, Deo’s family was cursed many, many, many years ago. Now, when the men make a sacred vow, whoosh, the curse activates and they turn into shifters. Until they do that vow, they have no clue what’s going. So, when Deo married Cassandra, he made that vow, and he found out about the curse and was able to turn into a wolf.

There are always dark spirits around, but they multiply when vows and promises get broken, and they like to attack a lot more people when that happens.

I like that Cassandra stays a strong woman even after her husband starts with his domestic discipline. She’s a high powered lawyer outside of their marriage and is pretty Alpha herself, so Shanna did really well not letting that part of Cassandra disappear. Sadly, it earns her a lot of punishment, but you know, this happens. But, Cassandra also gets to be a BAMF and a kickass fighter, which is good.

Outside of telling you to go check this out, I think I’ve said quite enough. It’s a fairly short story, which is amazing that I was able to talk this much about it, and it’s a great start to a new series in an interesting world.

Parker Sinclair-Truth

So, we’re into book two of Parker Sinclair’s Alex Connor Chronicles. Sticking with the one word title, book two is called Truth. In book one, we got to meet Alex AKA Lex AKA Elia, an Earthen Protector and Healer. She’s super-duper powerful and has been hiding all her life, even though she didn’t really know it. The Council has been looking for her, but they don’t know who she is or what her name is, they are just looking for someone with her powers. She defeated a big bad with the help of Ryan, an Earthen Protector who was supposed to be looking for the powerful person for the Council, befriended Dana, a friend of her grandmother, and learned all kinds of secrets. We also met Justin, who is her boyfriend. There is a whole weird triangle setting up with Ryan, Justin, and Alex. I also said that I was mad at Ryan in the last review based only on the first book, but that I wasn’t going to say anything about how I felt about him in later books until I got to those reviews. So, let’s get started.

Truth starts around a month after Trust ends. Alex is off in the desert training with Dana to enhance her Protector powers. She’s got really nifty hairsticks that turn into staffs, Serenity and Chaos. I so totally want hairsticks like that, mostly because I have more than 3 feet of hair hanging down my back and I use hairsticks and forks pretty much daily, but none of mine turn into magical staffs. I feel cheated. Anyway, Justin is doing work in Mexico not all that far away from where Dana is training Alex, and he comes to visit frequently. During one visit, Alex gets a call that her good friend and partner Shane has been injured in an accident and she has to go back to San Diego to try to heal him. Ryan is going to be there too. That makes Justin rather unhappy.

When she gets to San Diego, she and Ryan go to heal Shane and figure out that her foster brother has been fucking with him. They manage to get him taken care of and get him healed. Once they do some healing and such on Shane, they start arguing. She is mad at secrets he didn’t tell her. He is mad because she went off without telling him and has been ignoring him for a month. But, they are still madly and wildly attracted to each other. They are like really strong magnets. You just get them somewhere near each other and they are drawn together.

We also find out that Alex’s mom isn’t as out of Alex’s life as we thought she was, and they are working with each other to find Alex’s father, who was supposed to be dead but isn’t.

OK, we’re going to split off here. Remember how I said that we had the start of a really good adventure story? Well, we definitely have a great adventure series going on here. There is minimal sex, but maximal action and adventure. Most of the chapters start with journals again, which I really like. We also get information about Alex’s dreams in her journals and how they are affecting her current life. There are Dreamwalks which give us more info on the past. There is another book, as well as a novella about Sandra, Alex’s Seer friend. Those will show up sometime in the next few days, Friday probably, since this week is packed full of ARCs.

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Ryan has gone a long way to redeeming himself over where I was mad at him before. I was mad because Dana told Alex that the Council has said that Earthen Protectors and Healers should marry ordinary humans to help spread the powers since they are so important. Except Alex doesn’t give a good goddamn about what the Council says, and that’s not going to stop him from being with Alex if they want that to happen.

I’m glad to find out more about Stacy, Alex’s mom. Her history was tragic for so many, many reasons. We get a good look as to what caused her to go off the rails why she did and why she did it to protect Alex. She’s a BAMF though, and a BAMF who has a Demon who is into her.

Poor Alexander, Alex’s father. He’s been through hell, probably literally. But, we also see where he’s been popping in and out of Alex’s past.

And the end? Yeah, that’s going to make you yell WTF?!?!?!

OK, that’s all I have to say about this today. We have a really big week coming up, all kinds of ARCs, a new book from Candace Blevins, and of course, more Parker Sinclair. Meanwhile, happy reading!