A MelanieM Review: No Fae Is An Island (Endangered Fae #4) by Angel Martinez

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

TNoFaeIsAnIsland_200hree years ago Diego Sandoval was banished from the human world as punishment for the crimes he committed while out of his mind.  With him went his Pookie lover, Finnochad.  Now the time of their banishment is up and Diego and Finn are returning to Tearmann Island, and to all the friends they left behind.  Living amongst the wild Fae has taught Diego many lessons he needed to learn and time to assuage the pain deep inside himself.  But has it been enough?

The human world and Tearmann Island has moved on in Diego’s absence.  Theo Aguilar, the rogue vampire, is now head of Prince Lugh’s security while Zack moved into Diego’s spot as Chief Liaison for the Fae Collective.  What will happen when Diego and Finn return?  It’s not just Diego who is uncertain about what happens next for them all.

To further complicate an already complicated situation, a number of Fae and gifted humans have been imprisoned by country who sees magic as dangerous and forbidden.  A  diplomatic mission mounted to save them turns deadly and its left to  Theo and a surprise stowaway to save the day.  And the stowaway?  Well, that would be a young curious selkie who followed Diego and Finn home from the wild Fae lands.  He wanted to see the world and got far more than he ever expected.  When the world goes crazy once more, its up to the inhabitants of Tearmann Island to find a way out of the precarious position Diego and Finn find themselves in and save them all.

No Fae  Is An Island, the fourth story in the Endangered Fae series by Angel Martinez, picks up three years after Danu’s banishment of Diego to the wild lands of the Fae.  Its been 3 years and 3 days and now its time for Diego and Finn to return home.  During that time Diego has listeneed and learned from many of the Fae in the Otherworld.  From the counsel of dragons to learning about the singular joys of laughter and living in the moment from a pod of selkies, Diego finds himself older, wiser, and finally more at peace with himself and the damage he caused while temporarily deranged.   From the darkness of Semper Fae emerges a quieter, more uncertain Diego and that change in character translates realistically and beautifully here in the opening chapter.

I have been eagerly awaiting this story since I finished Semper Fae, an outstanding novel at every aspect but one that was darker in scope than the previous stories.  Like the rest of the inhabitants of Tearmann Island, the Fae nation locale on the human world, I have waited to see what the banishment and time has done for Diego and his lover, Finn.  I was teary eyed as I “watched” them go, so I was overjoyed to find this story opens up on a sandy beach in the Otherworld with Diego watching Finn play with a pod of selkies in the ocean.  It’s joyful, peaceful, and the Diego found here is the one I was hoping to see.  He’s not yet fully healed but clearly on his way.  I love how believable Diego and his journey towards becoming the man/mage he is capable of being.  Each book has seen Diego become a more nuanced and layered being, complete with moments of depression, pride and arrogance vying with guilt and humility to arrive at a person who acknowledges he is still a work in progress.  I believe in Diego wholeheartedly, and with that, comes a belief in Finn, his Pookie lover who has also made some important transitions of his own.  They change, their relationship changes and deepens and so does their place in the world they have had a share in making.

Angel Martinez manages to temper her moments of seriousness and angst with those of laughter and joy.  Attaining that balance can be tricky but Martinez handles that beautifully here in the form of Limpet, a young selkie (150 years young) who is one of the most endearing characters of recent memory. Limpet is the levity and heart of innocence of this story.  It’s his pod that’s playing with Finn in the opening chapter but the pod’s life has gotten too small for Limpet who wishes to see the human world of Finn’s stories and tall tales.  Limpet is the balm to Theo’s pain and watching those two beings connect and establish a relationship is one of this story’s strengths and delights. He may come across as simple at first but nothing in this series is ever as simple as it appears.  The author does a tremendous job in providing layer upon layer to her story and characters, The characters change and grow as the plot twists and turns in a pattern as complex as a mandala.

To all the other mythic lore Martinez has introduced in the previous stories, in No Fae Is An Island adds yet another culture’s myths, this time those of the Middle East and Tales of the Arabian Nights.  Here it makes sense and brings a whole new cast of characters to fold into her universe and Fae collection.  And what a startling group it is.  Especially Nusair but I will let you discover him on your own.

The author’s on-going themes of identity, self awareness, and the journey towards a completeness of being continues in No Fae Is An Island and not just in the character of Diego.  Others are on that path too.  Its a tortuous journey but a believable one.  Is it tough to suspend our belief in our universe to take in all the mythical creatures Martinez brings to her world?  Not at all.  You slide into this world and universe building with an ease and pleasure that never lets up. I love this story and series.  And I can’t wait to see where it goes next, some place dark if any of the portents I read here are an indication. I will be waiting to see where these amazing characters and series go next.  It’s an astonishing trip, make sure you come with us every step of the way.

No Fae Is An Island is a story I can highly recommend as I do the entire Endangered Fae series.  Pick them all up today but make sure you read them in the order they were written, a must to understand the characters, their growth and relationships.  I will leave you an excerpt at the end of this review.  Succinct and charming…meet Limpet!

Cover art by Winterheart Designs.  Love that cover.  That is Theo and Limpet to perfection.

Sales links:   MLR Press        All Romance eBooks (ARe)       Amazon          No Fae Is An Island

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 255 pages
Published September 5th 2014 by MLR Press
ASINB00NBI2UP6
edition languageEnglish
seriesEndangered Fae #4

I have listed all the Endangered Fae stories in the order they were written and should be read to understand the events and character development. Put all on your must read list today!

Finn (Endangered Fae #1) (includes Finn’s Christmas)
Diego (Endangered Fae #2)
Semper Fae (Endangered Fae #3)
No Fae Is An Island (Endangered Fae #4)

No Fae Is An Island Excerpt

“You don’t need to come with me.” Theo fought clenched teeth. The selkie was a friend of Mr. Sandoval’s and Finn’s, too—Finn who had been so kind to him after accidentally squashing him in dragon form. No need to be rude.

“Quite all right. I’ve nothing better to do.”

“You can’t come with me,” Theo said in the chilliest, sternest tone he could muster.

“Oh, of course I can. I see quite well at night.”

Theo squeezed his eyes shut against the headache. It shouldn’t have been there. He’d fed that morning and napped the rest of the day in lethargic, sated bliss. Fine. He’ll get bored and leave soon. “All right. But you have to be quiet.”

“Yes, yes, of course. In case something bad is here. A pack of nixes maybe. Oh, they’re bad. Or a kraken tries to swim close and ambush you, yes? You’re a real warrior, then? Have you seen many battles? Do you have scars? I have scars, but only because I was very young—”

“Limpet.” Theo stopped and took the selkie’s chin in his hand, holding his head still. “Whispering is not being quiet.”

“Right you are. Sorry. You have beautiful eyes.”

Theo dropped his hand and walked away, shaking his head. It was going to be long night.

A Barb, the Zany Old Lady, Review: Sweetwater by Lisa Henry

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Sweetwater coverElijah Carter is the adopted son of the local doctor in the mining town of South Pass City, Wyoming Territory, in 1870. Elijah was adopted by Carter about fifteen years earlier when the wagon train carrying his family west was befallen by Scarlet Fever, and young Elijah was not only left homeless, he was left partially deaf.

Even though Elijah couldn’t hear well, what he could hear were the taunts of his boss and other townsfolk calling him names and taunting him about the way he spoke. You “simple deaf cunt” translated in his mind to: you stupid dumb kid. He knew he wasn’t stupid, but he also knew he held a deep, dark secret so he didn’t confide in his adoptive father, preferring to keep a low profile and stay out of trouble.

When he catches the attention of Harlan Crane, saloon owner and Dom, Crane makes short work of Elijah’s virginity. Elijah had been told to bring an envelope to Crane from Elijah’s boss, Mr. Dawson, the town butcher. The envelope contained payment for cattle that four rustlers brought into town late the night before, cattle that were now no more than slabs of meat in the butcher shop. Unknown to Elijah as he follows Crane up to the bedrooms in the saloon, he’s also caught the attention of Grady, one of the rustlers, and Grady is pissed when he sees Crane got to the young man first.

Several situations combine to bring Elijah to loneliness and despair and to seek revenge for a tragedy that has deeply affected him. Late one night, after being turned away by Crane, he stumbles into Grady’s path right when he strongly feels the need to be dominated. Grady easily sees Elijah’s need to submit, but he also sees his need for love and acceptance, and he uses a gentler, more loving approach to bring Elijah under his control. After several days spent in Grady’s care, Elijah no longer wants Harlan, until he’s back in Crane’s presence and Grady’s no longer there for him to rely on. He, of course, submits to Harlan’s will again.

I liked the way the author developed Elijah’s self-awareness of both his need to be dominated and his own strengths. He’d spent so many years being taunted and ridiculed that he had started to own the simple deaf cunt description. But when he allowed his inner strength to finally come out and be seen by others, he shocked a few people— Dawson and Crane included.

Harlan Crane was a cruel man, however, in his own way, due to circumstances we see unfold later in the book, it appears that he cared for Elijah, at least a little. Grady wants Elijah for more than sex, and whether he’s willing to vocalize it or not, he feels drawn to the young man, protective of him, and he admires Elijah’s strength. Two men, seemingly completely different, yet both see something in Elijah that he never saw in himself.

While I liked the authenticity and feel of the time period, I never got fully engaged with Elijah or Grady. I expected to feel deep empathy or compassion for Elijah and get heavily involved in caring about his circumstances, as I have with most of the MCs in Lisa Henry’s other books, but my heart didn’t connect this time.

And I didn’t connect with Grady at all. I’m not sure if that is due to the setting, or if it was the fact that circumstances in the story didn’t bring the two together until the second half of the book, and even then, Grady wasn’t present enough for me to get to know him well. I also never felt any deep emotional bond and commitment between the two men. At least the story ends with a HFN, so there is hope for a long term relationship for them.

And, Sweetwater? Sweetwater is the name of the River near the town. It snakes over the plains causing the wagon trains to have to cross it nine times before getting to the town. Other than that, it’s incidental to the storyline.

Overall, I’d recommend this book to those who might like a historical piece, with more of a dark than a sweet romance. And, of course, I’d recommend it to Lisa Henry fans because I’m sure that we’ll all have our own opinion on how well we like this one. Really, for me, Lisa Henry books are like candies, and I can’t imagine disliking any, though some I love more than others.

Cover Art:L.C. Chase – The picture on the cover is the perfect period piece to match this tale. One of ScatteredThougthtsandRogueWords Best of September 2014.

Sales Links: Riptide Publishing  All Romance eBooks (ARe)   Amazon     Sweetwater

Book Details:

ebook, 240 pages
Expected publication: September 29th 2014 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN139781626491502
edition languageEnglish
url http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/sweetwater

Book Tour & Contest: Starling by Erin McRae & Racheline Maltese

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STARLING COVER Maltese McRae

Whistle Stop Tour for Erin McRae & Racheline Maltese’s

Starling!

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Erin McRae and Racheline Maltese have stopped by to talk about Starling, their latest release from Torquere.

We’d like to do a giveaway of a free e-copy of “Lake Effect,” our short story from the wedding-themed anthology They Do, also from Torquere.  To enter to win, leave an comment with your email address included.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Contest ends 9/20.

Erin McRae and Racheline Maltese Talk About Inspiration and their latest book, Starling!

Starling was inspired by a question, and then by our own fascination with the unglamourous parts of fairytale of fame.

Racheline and I started writing together more or less by accident. We met through mutual friends and share loves of television, backstage stories, and romances that are a little dark and a little messy.

But loving backstage stories when one of you is a SAG-AFTRA actor and the other has a long history of working crew in school shows can be hard. There’s so much to fantasize about, people don’t always get the reality right.

But what if? We asked each other. What if a guy who never wanted to be famous, became famous? And then, email by email, we started telling each other a story. And once we started, we didn’t stop. A year later, we’ve sold two novels — including Starling — a short story, and a novellete, have a half-dozen projects currently in progress, and several currently out with publishers for submission.

For Starling and its sequels, we wanted to tell a story about the wonder and the terror that is fame. Starling may be a fairytale — that discovered in a diner narrative always is. But it’s not a the Disney fairytale. Rather, it’s much more Hans Christian Andersen or Brothers Grimm.

Since Starling is a contemporary romance, it’s not that there are monsters lurking under the bed, but we are huge fans of magical realism and wanted to see how we could bring those ideas to a story, both magic and real, set in Hollywood.

As Alex, our guy who becomes famous, and Paul, the guy he falls for, navigate their way to their happy ending, things are hard and occasionally dark. Because life, after all, isn’t easy, and fame and success don’t make figuring out how to get, and keep, what — and who — you want any easier.

STARLING COVER Maltese McRaeTitle:  Starling
Authors: Erin McRae & Racheline Maltese
Publisher:  Torquere Books
Cover artist:  Brandon Clay

Sales Link: Amazon

 “Starling” Blurb:

When J. Alex Cook, a production assistant on The Fourth Estate (one of network TV’s hottest shows), is accidentally catapulted to stardom, he finds himself struggling to navigate both fame and a relationship with Paul, one of Fourth’s key writers. Despite their incendiary chemistry, Alex’s inexperience and the baggage they’re both carrying quickly lead to an ugly break-up.

Reeling from their broken hearts, Alex has an affair with a polyamorous co-star and Paul has an ill-advised reunion with an old flame. Meanwhile, the meddling of their colleagues, friends — and even the paparazzi! — quickly make Alex and Paul’s real life romance troubles the soap opera of the television season.

But while the entertainment value may be high, no one knows better than Alex and Paul that there are no guarantees when it comes to love in Los Angeles.

Authors Bios:

Erin McRae and Racheline Maltese’s gay romance series Love in Los Angeles, set in the film and television industry, is published by Torquere Press. The first novel, Starling, was released September 2014; its sequel, Doves, is scheduled for January 2015. Racheline is a NYC-based performer and storyteller focused on themes of sex, gender, desire and mourning. Erin McRae is a writer and blogger based in Washington, D.C.

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