A Paul B Review: Wooing the Lighthouse Keeper (Tales of the Briny Nyx) by Charlie Richards

Standard

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Wooing the LIghthouse KeeperCharlie Richards has begun a new paranormal series.  This time, her focus is on briny nix, or mermen.  The first book is Wooing the Lighthouse Keeper.

Wayne Thorpe has enjoyed being a high school teacher.  He is shocked when he is accused of inappropriate behavior with an ex-lover.  While the allegations are being looked into by the school board, Wayne decides to get away from the controversy.  He decides to fill in for a friend’s father who happens to be a lighthouse keeper, who is attending his daughter’s wedding.   

Zarek Rudiman is about to celebrate his birthday.  With this birthday, he can petition the nix court to change how relations with the human world are dealt with.  However, someone does not want this to happen.  The royal guard has come to arrest Zarek for treason to the crown, even though he is a distant relative of the king.  With the help of his valet, Zarek narrowly avoids arrest at the house but he is followed by the guards.  Through the help of a friend in the guard, Zarek escapes through a cave.  As he escapes though, one of the guards strikes his tail with a trident, severely injuring him.  As he swims out the other side, he must avoid the sharks that will sense blood in the water.  Exhausted, Zarek finally washes ashore beneath a steep cliff.

Wayne and a friend have just finished dinner one night when they notice a naked man below on the beach, obviously injured.  Wayne feels an instant attraction to this man, who is bleeding from both legs.  When the man wakes up, Zarek recognizes that Wayne is his Adelfi Psychi, his soul mate.  However, Wayne is not buying his story of how he landed up naked on the beach.  Zarek must convince Wayne that not only is he not in danger but also not to call the police.  Zarek is worried about undercover nixes who serve as spies in the human world, reporting to the court on the current condition of the human world.  Will Zarek be able to convince Wayne that mermen exist and that he is Zarek’s mate?

I feel that this new series is off to a good start.  Unlike the author’s other paranormal series, which featured scientists as the primary antagonist, this series starts off with internal turmoil within the briny nix.  It will be interesting to see how Zarek is able to return to the world of the nix.  Meanwhile, he bides his time with Wayne on shore.  Tran and Easton’s unintended initiation to the world of the nix set up future mating for this series.  This sets up what looks like another enjoyable series from Ms. Richards.

The cover art by Angela Waters shows a shirtless Zarek coming out of the surf with a lighthouse in the background.  It is a perfect cover for this book.

Sales Links:  eXtasy Books | Amazon

Book Details

EBook, 76 pages

Edition Language:  English

Published:  May 15, 2016 by eXtasy Books

ISBN:  978-1-4874-0709-4

Series:  Tales of the Briny Nix

Wooing the Lighthouse Keeper (Tales of the Briny Nix #1)

Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review: Clockwork Tangerine by Rhys Ford ~ Audiobook narrated by Greg Tremblay

Standard

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Clockwork TangerineWhen Marcus Stenhill, Viscount of Westwood, set out to purchase a specialty tea for his mother, he had no idea his life was about to change. Walking along the streets of St. Francisco, a major city rivaling London during Queen Victoria’s reign, he encounters a group of thugs beating up a young man and immediately stops them before they kill him.

When he discovers that the person he saved is Robin Harris, the man who invented the mechanical stinger that killed his father, he’s taken aback. The man is much younger, and much more handsome, than he would have thought. In fact, Robin must have only been a child during the uprising in which his father was killed. The battle between those who believe in science and those who believe in the arcane was waging strong at that time. Now, all Marcus wants to do is take the young man someplace safe where he can get him treatment for his wounds. As far as Marcus is concerned, the past is the past.

He discovers that Robin has found a way to combine the use of arcane and mechanical elements to provide artificial limbs and eyes to those in need. In fact, Robin was returning from fitting artificial legs on a young boy when he was attacked. Though it takes a while, Marcus is finally able to convince Robin that he is friend, not foe. In fact, one of the unexpected supporters in Marcus’s case is his mother, who not only can forgive Robin for his inadvertent role in her husband’s death, but embraces his abilities and becomes a staunch supporter of his efforts.

This is a very short audiobook. Too short—I wanted more, more, more of this couple and their world. Maybe we’ll be lucky and Rhys Ford will revisit it someday, expanding on this little tidbit of goodness. Narrated by Greg Tremblay, the story unfolds magically. Between Rhys Ford’s inimitable writing style, and Greg Tremblay’s beautiful and varied vocalizations, this audiobook was a real treat.

The characters were wonderfully described, including the secondary characters. The dowager was actually my favorite of all. What a great woman she was! The romance between Marcus and Robin built slowly, or as slowly as it could in a novella. When they finally got to the point where Marcus made love to Robin, the scene was romantic and brought new joy to Robin’s life in a way he had never anticipated.

I highly recommend this one, especially to those who enjoy steampunk. A delicious afternoon treat—and no calories!

~~~

Cover art by Reese Notley depicts the inner workings of a clock with a young man superimposed in the forefront, looking up at a mechanical insect. The artwork creatively depicts all the main points of the story.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Audiobook Details:

Audible Audio, 3 pages, 2 hrs 10 mins
Published May 12th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press LLC (first published February 18th 2014)
Original TitleClockwork Tangerine
ASINB01FIA7N4C
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Jeri Review: A Good Enough Reason by C.M. Lievens

Standard

Rating: 4 Stars out of 5

A Good Enough ReasonComing of age/teenage romance stories can be tough. Too much can be….icky, but not enough leaves you wanting so much more. Just as teenagers skate a fine line between being children and adults, stories based on them can skate that line as well. But this book did that really well.

Ellis is your typical nerdy loner with one friend. Well, he had two but one of them moved away.  Dale is Mr. Jock Popularity in school. We all knew him, that guy that everyone loved and he loved everyone back. So when Ellis and Dale are paired together for an English topic to debate for and against a topic, Dale thinks he is being cool by suggesting they debate if gay teens should get the same perks as straight teens as far as prom goes. Ellis assumes Dale is mocking him and it takes a while to convince Ellis that even though he is popular, Dale is a good guy. He even wants to find him a prom date.

Dale and Ellis grow closer, with Dale pushing the boundaries of friendship. And while this could have come off as supremely cocky of him, it didn’t. He genuinely seemed like a kid who wanted to explore his bisexuality with someone he not only considered a friend, but someone he was really attracted to.

Ellis is wary, but doesn’t throw up walls of “stay away seemingly straight dude”! He has a sounding board in his friend who moved away and best friend who is witnessing it all.

The author also does an amazing job of dealing with bullying. Not only how easily and often it happens, but how it is so overlooked by teachers. They just don’t take it seriously until it goes too far. And usually the person being bullied doesn’t want to come out and say anything because ultimately that makes the bullying worse. One scene, which I will call “the locker incident”, when Ellis is just dumbfounded that he is getting in trouble for something that happened TO him, I was heartbroken. Because it happens every.single.day.

This was a really great young adult romance story with a lot of meat to it. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would actually love to read more about Dale and Ellis.

Cover art by Bree Archer is lovely and works for the story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 220 pages
Published May 23rd 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634772520 (ISBN13: 9781634772525)
Edition LanguageEnglish

An Ali Review: Mongrel Trilogy Bundle by K.Z. Snow

Standard
Mongrel Trilogy Bundle CoverOne day a shadow is cast on the Mechanical Circus, a rollicking seaside carnival where imagination meets machinery, when a tall, cloaked figure approaches the stand of Will Marchman, a young patent-medicine salesman. Thus begins the adventures of Will; Fanule Perfidor, commonly known as the Dog King; vampire Clancy Marrowbone; and Clancy’s former lover, the mortal Simon Bentcross.
book one:  Mongrel
 Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Hunzinger’s Mechanical Circus, a rollicking seaside carnival where imagination meets machinery, shines as the only bright spot in the dreary city of Purinton. A shadow is cast there one day when a tall, cloaked figure approaches the stand of Will Marchman, a young patent-medicine salesman. Fanule Perfidor, commonly known as the Dog King, isn’t welcome at the Circus. No resident of Taintwell is; they’re all Branded Mongrels, officially shunned. But Will is beguiled by the stunning, mysterious Perfidor. Their mutual wariness soon gives way to desire, and a bond forms.Soon the naive but plucky pitchman becomes embroiled in a dangerous quest. Fanule suspects Alphonse Hunzinger and Purinton’s civic leaders are responsible for the disappearance or incarceration of countless Branded Mongrels. But why? As Will’s passion and regard for his tormented lover grow, he’s determined to help Fanule get answers and prevent any further persecution… or worse. They just have to stay together-and stay alive long enough-to see their plan through.
I enjoyed this and found the world building really good.  The author created a really unique and creative steampunk world here.  The writing was so descriptive I could easily imagine it in my mind.  I liked the main couple and their friends.  It was a bit of insta-love but it still worked for me.  My only issue was the dialogue was a bit stilted in places.  The writing style when it came to their conversations was just a bit simplistic.
book two:  Merman
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

When vampire Clancy Marrowbone returns to Purin province after nearly two years, he intends only to visit with his dear friend, Fanule Perfidor, and find out how his former lover, the unfortunately mortal Simon Bentcross, is faring. But two developments change Marrowbone’s itinerary: the appearance of a drastically altered man from his past, and the reawakening of his passion for Simon.

Both of these unexpected reunions become increasingly complicated. The connection between Simon’s new creation, a bathysphere-like submersible, and a clandestine underwater-research project results in Marrowbone and Bentcross becoming hunted men. But sometimes, it takes danger to make a star-crossed affair seem worth saving.

I really enjoyed the plot in this story.  Again the world building was excellent.  The main couple here were the side characters in book one but there is still a lot of Fan and Will in this one.  I never really felt the attraction between these two so the romance aspect was just ok for me but the overall plot was good.
book three:  Machine
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

The closing-day flea market at the Marvelous Mechanical Circus always draws a colorful crowd, but salesman Will Marchman doesn’t expect to see a large, elaborate gold wagon on the plaza—especially one called the Spiritorium. The wagon’s exotic looking owner claims he can perform “cleansings and siphonings” via a miracle-working machine housed within. He can supposedly flush the wickedness out of people and places.

The Spiritorium appears in the Mongrel village of Taintwell the next day, setting off a potentially tragic chain of events that begins with a shocking revelation. To make matters worse, Fanule Perfidor, de facto mayor and Will’s lover, has been neglecting to take the tonic that stabilizes his moods. Besieged by his illness, Fan drives Will away. Then Fan’s best friend, vampire Clancy Marrowbone, vanishes, causing a rift between him and his mortal lover. Then Will disappears.

As Fan regains control of his mind, he knows what he must do to save his village and the people most important to him. He must solve the mystery of the Spiritorium and confront a man he’d hoped never to see again.

This story was back to Fan and Will and they are going through a difficult time due to some evil forces that come in to their village.  Their relationship is put to the test as is their friend’s Clancy and Simon’s relationship.  Through the course of the story the guys all end up working together to rid their town of the bad guy.
Overall I really enjoyed this trilogy.  I had some minor issues with the relationships being insta-love and the dialogue not being as good as I would have liked in places but the good things outweighed the bad in my opinion.  There is great world building in the series and really interesting plots and characters.  I would read other books in this series if the author ever wrote any more and they would make a great movie or television show.  These are a recommend for those who enjoy the steampunk genre and I also think these would be a good starter place for those who haven’t read steampunk before but would like to try it.
Sales Links: Dreamspinner PressAmazon
 
Book Details:
ebook, 475 pages
Published April 29th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634774493 (ISBN13: 9781634774499)
Edition LanguageEnglish
URL