81 Books Read in 2014

What. A. Year.

Looking back at all of the A-mazing books I've read this year, from Sherrilyn Kenyon's League series (which I am still obsessed about) to actually falling for a few cyborg stories from Eve Langlais and getting totally wrapped up in SciFi to the point that it nearly eclipsed my love for good old paranormal romance... Seriously, what a year!

Only a mere 81 books.. Doubtful that I'll ever top a hundred again but at this point, with memories like those to look back on, who cares?

32 Paranormal | 32 SciFi | 05 Contemporary | 07 Young Adult | 02 Philosophy |
02 Fantasy | 01 Other

Code Word Storm
Morgan's Fate
A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose
The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom
A Devil Named Desire
Free Four: Tobias Tells the Divergent Story
Brighid's Cross
Photo Opportunity
Taming the Darkness
Burning Alive
First Dimension
Best Kept Secrets
Hard as a Rock
My Lady Mage
Accidental Abduction
Planet X
Captive Surrender
Take Your Pleasure


Trial and Temptation (The Mandrake Company #2)

Why was he always holding something when they were close like this?

Trial & Temptation
Ruby Lionsdrake
Mandrake Company, book two
ebook, 250 pages
Published October 17th 2014 by Ruby Lionsdrake

After ten years of flying freighter ships from planet to planet, Val Calendula never thought she would apply for a job as a combat pilot in a mercenary outfit. But her brother has gotten himself into financial trouble, and he’s heading to a mining prison if Val can’t pay off his debts. Mercenaries don’t always live long... but they make good money while they’re alive. A few combat bonuses, and Val could earn what she needs. The problem? She might have graduated from the military flight academy, but she hasn’t fought anything more dangerous than dust bunnies on the bridge lately. To make matters worse, the man in charge of hiring pilots was her instructor back at the academy. Commander Thatcher was almost as brilliant as he was arrogant and condescending, and he never seemed to think Val was smart enough to be there. She has no idea if she’ll be able to convince him otherwise now... or if she’ll be able to stand working with him.

When Gregor Thatcher left the military, he never expected to run into any of his former acquaintances, much less the one he admired and mooned over during his two years teaching at the academy. Back then, he never told Val Calendula he cared for her, partially because officers weren’t supposed to have relations with cadets, but mostly because he didn’t know how to speak of his feelings. He might not have any trouble grasping navigational mathematics and astrodynamics, but people are more problematic. Gregor is elated that Val has entered his life again, but he’s fairly certain she hates him. Worse, he’s responsible for deciding whether she’s qualified to be a combat pilot. How can he judge fairly when his tongue tangles and idiotic words come out of his mouth whenever she’s around?

When the captain sends Val and Gregor on a mission to pick up a military advisor and deliver him to a planet at war, Val hopes she’ll have an opportunity to prove herself capable of the piloting position. Gregor hopes he’ll have the opportunity to improve Val’s opinion of him. But when the military advisor goes missing, and they’re forced to divert to a dangerous moon base, the mission turns into a fight for survival. Val may learn too late that there’s more to Gregor than that aloof exterior… and that inside is a man she could love.

The lord god of SciFiRomance geeks is alive and well in this book. And I luvs him.

The author of this series reminds me so much of Sherrilyn Kenyon in regards of character descriptions. Kenyon's are based purely on the perceptions of the other surrounding characters, just as Lionsdrake uses the perceptions of her characters to bring you closer to her own leading ladies and gents. Even if that perception varies drastically from the actually truth. Let me attempt to explain...

Gregor is a stoic, detached, cyborgish character who, quite simply, does not relate well to other people. This demeanor brings Val, and so many others, to view him as an arrogant, self righteous prick while in reality, he's just operating on another level. Their reactions, specifically their sarcasm, doesn't translate well to his way of thinking and in those moments where he's processing or going over the conversation as to why she responded in such a way... what could he have said differently... what her true meaning had been.. it all clashes so beautifully with Val's own take. In his silence, as he stares blankly, she is left wondering what she said wrong. What more was he expecting?

The author has an amazing talent for getting inside the minds of her characters and using that to bring them off the paper to the point where, if it was movie, you would lose out on so much of who the character truly is. Some things are just better in books. And it's people like Lionsdrake that make me so thankful for the written word. As silly as that may be.

As far as Gregor and Val go.. I can't say this is a happily ever after. These two have way too many differences separating them. But that's the good thing about this series. There are no promises that things will last forever. There are no I Love Yous. No proposals of marriage. There's simply two people who make a connection and, in maturity and curiosity, allow it to grow.

4 out of 5 stars.

Book one... Ah-mazing. Grab it right here, right now.

*My copy of Trial & Temptation was received from the author.

Previously in the series:


Hunter (Soul Warriors #1)

Kiss me like you own me.

Cynthia Lucas
Soul Warriors, book one
Kindle Edition, 299 pages
Published October 24th 2014 by CreateSpace
Read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited

Nyx Leron is a Hunter. A demon hunter. The thing is....demons aren't what fairy tales or religious texts say they are and reality is only a matter of which reality you happen to perceive.

After being sentenced to serving a term in Reality Level 3 on the prison planet known as Earth for a galactic 'crime' he didn't commit, the Hunter soon learns that the balance of power and the control of Sacred Knowledge that can free all souls from endless cycles on prison planets like Earth are in the hands of corruption.

After his targets escape, losing him his bounty and his debt payoff, he barely escapes with his life and unexpectedly lands in the apartment of librarian and sometime tarot card reader, Lyra Hall. With a coven of soul-sucking demons now on his tail and traces of his energy in her living space and on her person, the Hunter has no choice but to take the human woman with him as he makes his escape to another galaxy, dimension and reality level where he will try to figure out how to protect the billions of souls that are now in danger.

Lyra Hall is a librarian with a vision....literally. Since childhood she's been able to 'see' things in the dark that others couldn't; shadows that come to her when she's on the verge of sleep. Are they real? Or just an overactive imagination from reading too many books on the occult? Lyra's about to find out when she wakes up in the middle of the night to what she thought were two demons standing beside her bed, only to discover instead the most handsome blue eyed man she's ever seen, accompanied by a snow white wolf. When he tells her that in order to save her life he must take her with him on a journey across reality, dimensions and galaxies, she thinks he's a delusional psychotic who may be dangerous...that is until the demons that are hot on his tail begin to materialize in her apartment!

As she and the Hunter make their escape Lyra has no idea how deep the 'rabbit hole' goes , but she soon discovers she's about to embark on not only an adventure beyond any she could have imagined...but an awakening of who she really is and the real meaning of the word 'soul mate'.

Demons...they're not who you think they are, and sometimes possession by one is your only salvation.

I found this book in the Kindle Lending Library and assumed it to be a paranormal romance when in actuality, it so much more.

My husband is a seeker of knowledge. A ponderer of religious ideals. And a student to achieving higher consciousness. Now, I won't pretend to even understand a fraction of what is downloaded into his brain from his readings or the many theories he surrounds himself with via books or internet ramblings, but our two worlds of interest definitely found common ground in this book by Cynthia Lucas.

Hunter Nyx Leron exists in a world made up by a number of levels of reality, numerous lifetimes, and countless perceptions. Charged with hunting the demons of this place, dimension jumpers that they are, he is accompanied by his spirit animal and guide, Vega, whose link to him has elevated his level of consciousness far beyond what he has otherwise earned. Just as he's about to take down two such bounties, Nyx is summoned by the Chancellor himself who is none too pleased at the tip of balance Nyx was so close to bringing about. Words are exchanged. Tempers flare. Threats are issued. In the end, Nyx flees and suddenly he is one of the jumpers. The hunter has become the demon.

As he evades those seeking to take him in, Nyx appears in the bedroom of Lyra Hall, a woman who has experienced a number of paranormal happenings, leaving her a very open minded individual. One who awakens to find what appears to be Biblical demons in her bedroom. Not her first time, mind you.

Instinct implores Nyx to take Lyra with him as he makes another jump, in part to save her from those on his heel and also, because it just feels right. They end up on a primitive planet in a low level reality where cannibals thrive. With Nyx's bracer out of commission, the two are left to their own to survive. And as Nyx shares with her the truths of the multiverse, he becomes aware of her familiarity to his person. They've known each other in lifetimes past.

And although Lyra has no memory of him at first, it is she who makes the ultimate connection. She is the daughter of the Chancellor, a pawn in his game of power and control. And Nyx is her husband.

Married in secret, the two were torn from one another. She, her memory wiped, was returned to Earth and reduced back to the age of a young girl. Nyx, meanwhile, without his memory of her, was returned to his place as a Hunter, in another time and in another place.

God is you... me.. it is everyone, everywhere. It is a life force, and a collective conscience. Not a singular entity with some grand power. You've heard the expression 'love thy neighbor' ...well, that is because your neighbor is more than just someone to have compassion for. Your neighbor is actually a part of you, and when you damage them, you are damaging yourself to that degree in the larger scope of things. They are a part of the collective conscience that you are.

This book leaves you with a lot to think about in the philosophical sense. As far as the paranormal romance aspect... you'll have to wade through a lot of buildup and explanation until things manage to get interesting. Much to my disappointment, it never really took off. The most thrilling moment, as far as romance goes, was the few short paragraphs wherein they remembered their first meeting. Even their one and only sex scene fell a bit flat. The vows were a nice touch though.

Read it for the philosophy factor, not so much the lovey stuff.

3 out of 5 stars.


Running Scared (Sentinel Wars #3)

I'm not dying until I get to kiss you.

Running Scared
Shannon K Butcher
Sentinel Wars, book three
ebook, 286 pages
Published May 1st 2010 by Onyx Books
ISBN 9781101404416

They are the Sentinels. Three races descended from ancient guardians of mankind, each possessing unique abilities in their battle to protect humanity against their eternal foes: the Synestryn. Now one Sentinel's survival determines the fate of them all.

Lexi Johns has one purpose: to free her best friend from the hands of the Sentinels. And Zach, the Sentinel she has been running from for months, has one goal: to convince her that their destinies are entwined. For the magic that Zach has absorbed could destroy him if he doesn't find the woman who can channel it for him. And he knows Lexi is the one.

From an early age, Lexi has been taught to fear the Sentinels. And now she is an agent of a group out to destroy them. So when Zach finds her, it is Lexi's chance to strike at the heart of the Sentinels. But, as Lexi sees Zach's courage, selflessness, and honor, she begins to doubt her beliefs — and is faced with an unbearable choice.

Zach and Lexi's story began in book one of this series and touched back in book two where we found a very desperate Zach still searching for his runaway lady. Actually, 'desperate' doesn't even cover it.


Excerpt from Burning Alive review: As a Theronai, Drake, along with Thomas and Zach, have lived centuries fighting against Synestryns (demons and monsters) in a never ending effort to protect humankind. Earth is but a gateway to the world Athanasia, and the Synestryns want in. The Theronai bear a "lifemark" which resembles a tattoo of a tree that covers their torso that was but a seed at their birth and grows as they age. Until, ultimately, it withers. And as the leaves fall, they know their soul will wither and fade as well.

Their only hope is to find a Theronai female that can channel the power that they spend their entire life harvesting and storing. They themselves cannot use the power, only their bonded mate. Who can also ease the pain of their long lived existence and the battles and loss that have come with it.

Zach... has never ceased to make me smile. It's his "Baby, where are you?" mantra that just ever so seductively brushed against my good side. His "I need you, honey" hope filled cry that kept me going in their story even as Lexi was pushing me off and out and just... away.

Lexi was raised by a single mother who filled her head with a surplus of lies that have kept Lexi on the run since childhood. And it's only gotten worse since meeting Zach way back in book one where she hightailed it faster than the centuries old warrior could keep up. For her, the Theronai are the enemy and the Synestrians are their pets. They capture women, brainwash them, and drink their blood until leaving them a dried up corpse. All the while, leaving behind tainted lands that refuse to grow crops.

On the run from Zach, Lexi returns to her now deceased mother's old allies, the Defenders of Humanity, and is given the mission to be bait long enough to get her C-4 filled Honda to the Theronai's stronghold and blow them all to hell, and save Helen in the process. And the oh so desperate Zach falls hook, line, and sinker.

While Zach is being his good ol' selfless warrior self, slowing enlightening Lexi to the truth, we follow the developing back stories of Madoc and Nika, Torr and Grace, and reunite with Drake, Helen, Paul, and Andra as well while getting into the truth behind the Theronai's sterility, a glimpse into the forces working against the Theronai, and witness the slow division of Gilda and Angus. Shocking fact: Gilda is a hell of a lot more powerful than I had assumed.

Torr suffered an attack in book one that has left him paralyzed from the neck down. After weeks of the Sanguinar's failed attempts to heal him, Torr is convinced that his existence has become worthless. He can't fight the Synestrians. Can't seek out his lady. He wishes, simply, for death. A death that no one will allow him. A victim of circumstances, saved by the same attack, Grace takes it upon herself to take care of Torr even as he pushes her away with brutal honesty, in all forms of crass and vulgar threats. Truth is, she's fallen for the goodness still inside him. And Torr is equally drawn to her.

Madoc, meanwhile, is determined to put space between he and Nika despite the constant need she expresses for him. Unfortunately, while his mind and body have every noticeable reaction to her presence, his ring is lifeless. No glowing. No swirling. And to a Theronai, that's the only response that matters.

After eight years of fighting true, soul shattering madness, Nika is slowly coming back to life. And she needs Madoc to keep her stable. Her mind suffers out of body experiences, being pulled into the heads of Synestrians over and over, living their bloodlust and their deaths, while her own body withers as a sack of bones. A body Madoc can't bear to hold nor touch lest he break her further.

So he spends his time slaying each Synestrian he can find and fucking prostitutes in the between. Damn you, Madoc. You're awesome but you suck.

This series... is like one big puzzle. Each book has a number of pieces. Some that fit. Some that will fit eventually. It's a mindfuck, pure and simple. And you have to keep going. You have to know where it leads or you won't know how it ends.

And I *have* to know how it ends.

I also need a break. =)

4 out of 5 stars.

Previously in the series:


Finding the Lost (Sentinel Wars #2)

Can't you feel me shaking?

Finding the Lost
Shannon K Butcher
Sentinel Wars, book two
ebook, 276 pages
Published November 3rd 2009 by Penguin Group
ISBN 9781101155790

They are the Sentinels: three races descended from ancient guardians of mankind, each possessing unique abilities in their battle to protect humanity against their eternal foes–the Synestryn. Now a young woman must put faith in a warrior whose power frightens her even as it draws her in.

Andra Madison knows that monsters are real. She’s been fighting them ever since her family was victimized by the Synestryn eight years ago. Now she’s devoted to finding children who’ve been abducted by the Synestryn. When she gets a call about a lost little boy, she tracks him to a warehouse on the outskirts of town, where she’s aided by a trio of human men…or so she thinks.

Paul has been searching for centuries for a woman like Andra. To find her, he strikes a bargain with a bloodhunter that could cost him his life. Now his desire for Andra threatens to destroy his much-needed control. Against her wishes, Andra agrees to join Paul on a journey fraught with danger–one that leads directly to the Synestryn.

Almost instantly, I was bespelled by this vivid, danger driven world of Butcher's. Moreso here than even the last book. From the moment, Paul, ...the loner and photographic memory gifted, Madoc, ...and the much loved and equally loathed, Logan, stepped into the scene, my heart went pounding. Logan charmed me from the first time he ever spoke and while Paul was a curve ball no one saw coming into the picture, much less expected to stick around, he made an impression strong enough to make me sit back and.. well, drool.

Excerpt from Burning Alive review: As a Theronai, Drake, along with Thomas and Zach, have lived centuries fighting against Synestryns (demons and monsters) in a never ending effort to protect humankind. Earth is but a gateway to the world Athanasia, and the Synestryns want in. The Theronai bear a "lifemark" which resembles a tattoo of a tree that covers their torso that was but a seed at their birth and grows as they age. Until, ultimately, it withers. And as the leaves fall, they know their soul will wither and fade as well.

Their only hope is to find a Theronai female that can channel the power that they spend their entire life harvesting and storing. They themselves cannot use the power, only their bonded mate. Who can also ease the pain of their long lived existence and the battles and loss that have come with it.


Paul, with but a few leaves left, is in desperate search for the Therani female that could save him, having lost the chance with Helen when she chose Drake. Thank your lucky stars, Paul. Andra is sooooo much the better option. And yet, ..hold that thought.

The trio find Andra at the beginning of a battle with Synestrians who've managed to take captive a little boy named Sammy. The fight is quickly over, but in the aftermath they soon lose sight of Andra as she rushes the lad to the hospital and to his parents. When she arrives home, it's to find a semi-rested Paul sitting on her couch. He tries talking. She's not in the mood. So he's forced to plan B. And with one touch, expecting God knows what and finding nothing, Paul is left baffled. She's not his One. Andra, on the other hand, has a completely different response and, in a blink, goes from sleep deprived to a lust driven seductress that can't get close enough to her sword-wielding hero.

And a shell shocked Paul is left wondering what the hell just happened. Was happening. Was about to happen.

Logan is adamant that Andra belongs to Paul. And as much as Paul doubts, he finds hope in Logan's insistence. Soon enough, the rush he was waiting for slams into him at a casual but stressful meeting of Andra's skin. Delayed much?!

Meanhwile, Madoc has his own problems. He lost the last of his leaves some time ago. Living on borrowed time and waiting for a death that he feels quick in coming, Madoc succumbs to hiring out prostitutes in order to find a release of... everything. Even as Logan lies passed out on the couch with Paul guarding over a sleeping Andra in the bedroom. Needless to say, I was so not expecting that scene. Nor was I expecting Madoc to actually carry the backstory with none other than Andra's sister, Nika, who's been in and out of the psychiatric hospital for the past eight years and is currently on death's door for fear of demons and people forcing her to eat blood. Needless to say, Madoc has one wacky trip ahead of him.

What if it's now or never. What if I don't let you go?

Paul has *the worst* luck when it comes to getting a woman's commitment. First Kate, who walked away from him and chose someone else. Now Andra, who takes his luceria (with little else but gut instinct and Logan's cryptic coercion to guide her), which leads to Paul swearing his life to her. To live for her. To kill for her. To die for her. To share the rest of his existence with her. And what does she give him? Three days. She swears THREE DAYS.

I didn't need the author's descriptive detail of the look on Paul's face. I only needed a mirror. The man finds his soulmate after centuries of waiting, searching, hunting, and the bitch promises him three fucking days. Can't even give the guy a whole week! Oh wait,... three days and an hour!!

And the man doesn't learn. He's off proposing to a woman that hasn't even told him she loved him yet.

Are we still holding that thought?

Back when I read book one, I was freaking out over Zach and Lexi's story. That which won't come until book three. Here, I was dying to dive into Madoc and Nika's--which won't come until book four. And now there's Torr and Grace, which begins here but doesn't conclude till book eight? Hey, but Logan gets book five! How did I get so addicted to this hopscotch series??

So much love. So much anxiety. 5 out of 5 stars.

Previously in the series:


Mercenary Instinct (Mandrake Company #1)

Whoever wanted to kiss me on a sofa.

Mercenary Instinct
Ruby Lionsdrake
Mandrake Company, book one
ebook, 152 pages
Published October 10th 2014 by Smashwords Edition
ISBN 9781310599910
Free Read at Amazon.com

Skulking around in the ruins on a planet swarming with treasure hunters, slavers, and bounty hunters isn’t good for one’s health. But Ankari Markovich needs a few archaeological samples for her latest business venture, a venture that might prove lucrative enough to move her family off the impoverished planet where she grew up. Unfortunately, she has no sooner collected her samples than she’s captured by a band of brawny mercenaries. The captain might be handsome, but he’s intent on turning her over to some finance lord who has, for reasons unknown, put a bounty on her head, a ridiculously large one at that. If she can’t figure out a way to escape before she’s delivered to the lord’s home world, she could be forced into a life of indentured servitude—or worse.

Captain Viktor Mandrake doesn’t usually take on piddling bounty hunting gigs, but when his intelligence officer informs him of a criminal on a nearby planet, he decides it wouldn’t hurt to take a shuttle down to collect the woman. But Ankari Markovich is trouble from the start, nearly eluding his elite forces, then fighting and tricking his people left and right. He finds himself admiring her spirit, but according to her warrant, she’s a criminal. The safest thing is to keep her in the brig and ignore her until she can be handed off to the man who wants her.

But the situation grows more complicated when other bounty hunters show up, wanting to claim Ankari for themselves. Thanks to this woman, Viktor’s ship is in danger, his crew members are going missing, and he’s fighting enemies he never asked for in a jungle in the middle of a hurricane. He’s either going to strangle Ankari… or fall in love. Either scenario could get him killed.

I was recommended book two. Book one was free. So, here we begin:

First off, this book was *way* too good to be free. Go, grab it, love it! ...Because I, for one, couldn't get enough.

Ankari Markovich and her three woman team (including a work obsessed scientist and a self taught pilot) are busy collecting fossilized alien feces for medical research when they are suddenly taken hostage by a team of mercenaries playing bounty hunters. The price on their head is not only incredibly high, but also insane in its placement. Who the hell would put a bounty on an entrepreneur digging up alien shit?

Viktor Mandrake, once called "Willow", is an ex-Crimson Ops soldier, who went out on his own with a strict code he manages to carry into the life of a mercenary. He's not deluded. Only sometimes does he manage to find a job that sides with his own beliefs, but so far he's managed to never betray an innocent. Something he begins to truly suspect his newest prisoner happens to be. As far as the charges against her anyway.

Ankari grew up with her family struggling to survive after her birthworld was destroyed. A pickpocket when necessary, and damn if it was ever necessary, it is now, Ankari's quick hand manages to help her escape her captors more than once. Her never shutting mouth, however, lands her in even more trouble. Thankfully, Viktor is only endeared by her feisty, survival attitude and emotionally forms a connection with her. His own home world was destroyed, too, by the same villains that took hers.

This... is one realistic love affair unfolding in a very true SciFi setting. Moon hunting, prehistoric dinosaur-like creatures, and a man-eating plant collection are just a few of the classic facets pulled together to bring two amazingly well written characters together. And if you're not into lust fueled, tripping-all-over-themselves-in-love protagonists but still crave an all consuming fall into a future of love, then this one's for you!

No pledge of undying affection. No curve ball marriage proposal. And yet, I'm still over the moon for this story.

I can't say it enough. It's free. It's REALLY good. Get it here while you can!

5 out of 5 stars!