Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
You really need to read this as a trilogy, and I would highly recommend them if you like epic fantasy/erotic romance with graphic violence. I was so excited for this third book to come out. If I rated the trilogy as a whole, I would rate it 4.5 stars. This is the end of the story arc for our heroes’ journey.
As the magic is draining from Demonside turning it into desert, Humanside is becoming covered in ice. Book two showed the escape from Vinland to the Mayan Empire for Angus, Saka, Terrance, Wek, Lizzie, Reese, and Emma. Everyone gets separated right away. Priest Cadmael has been questioning everyone to make sure they aren’t Vinland spies. He summons up everything I didn’t like about Terrence quite nicely. But what Angus, Terrance, and Saka fell into naturally, here is ritualized. Cadmael wants to get rid of Terrance and force Angus and Saka to bond with a Mayan priest as an anchor. Forcing humans and demons as partners against their will doesn’t seem that much different to me than the College. In fact, the Mayan way might seem better, but there are still ways in which humans are exerting control over demons in everyday life.
The Mayan Empire has a much higher level of magic and are devotional about rebalancing. In the city of Uxmel, demons seem to walk the streets freely. Meanwile Saka gets to see trees, flowing water, and permanent settlements in this part of Demonside. The demons are completely different, antlered, scaled, or feathered. Mage Iktan has put Saka to work in the healer’s building, when humans crossover for help. Lest you think everything is so much better, rebalancing takes on a whole new form here with the introduction of pitz, played in large arena matches. It was previously established that emotion in the blood made it more potent, although why that isn’t being funneled into something renewable instead of beheadings, seems strange. For instance, everyone in the crowd could donate blood rather than just killing a few players. As magical attacks from Vinland increase and their system starts to break down, they are lost–not used to thinking outside the box. They also don’t care about the whole world, just on saving their tiny part of it in the controlled way they want for as long as possible.
There are also doorways created that control the flow of magic between the worlds, as well as where people can come and go–both a good and bad thing. Still, this knowledge could help the Lifeblood tribes being summoned and killed by Vinland. Cadmael askes Angus to speak to World Council of Demonology; they then decides to ban demon magic except for rebalancing. But Saka is sick of waiting for humans to do something, so the demons will try to stop the flow of magic by closing the doors. Angus has a plan to find and take all the stolen magic from Vinland and return it to Demonside. The surprise here is that after all the distrust shown to the defectors, Cadmael just goes along with this plan? After Cadmael being a central character the whole time, he is now just shuffled to the background and no longer seems in charge.
This has always been heading towards the showdown with Angus and the College to restore the magic stolen from Demonside in order to save the world. Overall, I am very happy with how I got there. I would say, I wouldn’t have minded this actually being four books. I feel there was so much detail in the first two books, that when details started to get skimmed over, especially in the last third of the story in order to rush to the conclusion, I felt a little disappointed. After waiting all this time for a love scene between Terrence, Angus, and Saka it was rushed and not quite what I hoped for. I have been a bit hard on Terrence during the course of these books and I will say, while he redeems himself here, he’s still the weak link. I finally decided that is alright; his role is not just the anchor to bring Angus back to Humanside, but to remind Angus of his humanity. He is the only one who wants Angus for Angus, not his magic. Still, I had an expectation that this would be a true triad, and I had to let go of that. There is a lot at the end that we don’t get to see, like what happened to the Lifeblood tribes? What happens when Saka goes back? So, I was left with questions and wondering if they will be told in flashbacks in another book that shows us the rebuilding. If they could take what was good about the Mayan Empire and Vinland (and what about the other nations) and merge them to make a new worldwide system, what would that look like? That’s really the highest compliment I can give: that I don’t want to let go of this world and the people in it. I will reread these.
Cover art by Catt Ford is great and I love how it connects with the story.
ebook, 280 pages
Published: November 27, 2018 by DSP Publications
Edition Language: English
Series: Studies in Demonology #3
Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
This is a delightful Christmas anthology to indulge in if you love romances in every combination. While the stories here are mostly het, there are three great M/M romances to lose yourself in for the holidays. All of them focus on hockey, hockey teams and their players in their search for HEA. Another bonus? All proceeds are donated to charity, 100 percent.
Even TJ Oshie of the Washington Capitals tweeted about the Anthology as the proceeds benefit the “USA Warriors Ice Hockey who operate sled and standing hockey programs for wounded combat veterans and service-disabled vets”.
**100% of the proceeds from sales of this anthology will be donated to charity.** I will say the others
While the Anthology itself does not indicate which story is M/M or M/F, I have pulled them out for you below. While all the others were fun, I’m just going to review the 3 LGBT stories here written by RJ Scott, V.L. Locey, and, a new author for me, Susan Scott Shelley.
This holiday season unwrap a brand-new collection of hockey romances that includes humor, drama, love, and – of course – hockey!
Each book is EXCLUSIVE to the anthology and NEVER BEFORE PUBLISHED by USA Today, New York Times, and all your favorite bestselling hockey romance authors.
Dallas Christmas by RJ Scott (M/M) Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Logan knows lusting after his captain’s brother can only lead to trouble. But when fate throws them together, it’s hard not to fall in love.
It’s what I’ve come to expect of RJ Scott, a lovely hockey romance. The angst here is in the closeted Logan, fearful for his career, loss of friends and standing with the fans, while very much in love with a man he thinks he can’t have. It’s very well done, you feel like you know these men and their situation, and the resolution isn’t one of ease but love won out. Loved it.
Holding On Tight by Susan Scott Shelley (M/M) Rating 5 stars out of 5
For defenseman Vince Forsberg and his boyfriend Joseph Parelli, the pressure to make their first Christmas together perfect leads to a lot of chaos, holiday mishaps, and some unexpected results.
Susan Scott Shelley is a new author for me and I’m very happy that after each story, there is a section on each author and their novels so I can start a new TBR list for her. This one my top favorite, a tale of a “perfect Christmas” gone off the rails in every way possible and yet it became the one to remember. Here a couple, newly moved in together (one giving up a job, house, and state), tries too hard to give the other the perfect Christmas to make up for the stress and strains of the move and the things going not as smoothly as expected. That they aren’t talking to each other about their fears isn’t helping.
Shelley makes us feel this couple bending under the pressures of the holiday, the high expectations they’ve placed upon themselves, and the love that acts as a support and bridge when everything keeps crashing down. It’s shows everything that’s wrong and right about the holidays. Just terrific. I need more from this author.
A Star-Crossed Christmas by V.L. Locey (M/M) Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Two years ago, Mitch shared an explosive kiss with his childhood friend Shaun. Will Christmas be the time for the two men to find a future together that works?
When I think of hockey romance, VL Locey name jumps to mind and this is the reason why. Her ability to mix her love of sports and romance realistically along with great characters. I’m not talking about just the main ones, but the supporting cast like families as well. Their past history as friends, the town, it all comes across as authentic, and you feel for these men both as the young boys they were and the people trying to find a path to each other now. Heartwarming and perfect for the holidays.
When You’re Ready by Toni Aleo (M/F)
He knew she was the one, she wasn’t so sure, which is why Grace and James’ love story is one for the ages.
Of the ones below they ran the gamut from 2.75 stars to 4 stars out of 5. Some connected to already established series I was unfamiliar with, others were standalone. I thought they were cute, quick warm-hearted holiday stories and only made one notation.
A Second Shot by Shannon Stacey (M/F)
She was the one who got away, but when their paths cross once again, all he wants for Christmas is the chance to take another shot at love.
A Wolfe Brothers Christmas by Jami Davenport (M/F)
Spending their first Christmas together in years, the Wolfe brothers fumbling attempts to create good memories go awry.
Christmas Crosscheck by Jaymee Jacobs (M/F)
Bryan’s planning to propose to Georgiana on Christmas Eve, but will the chaos of their families’ first holiday together ruin their special moment?
Final Slapshot by Jean C. Joachim (M/F)
Harry “Deke” Edmonds hides his secret, hoping for a Christmas miracle. When confronted with the truth, will his heart-breaking decision cost him everything?
Lucky Holiday by Jennifer Lazaris (M/F)
Tyler Quinn made the biggest mistake of his life when he broke Ella’s heart, and he’ll need more than an ace up his sleeve to win her back in time for Christmas.
Dmitri’s Christmas Angel by Kat Mizera
Two women. Two surprise pregnancies. Dmitri Papadakis is screwed.
His Christmas Cinderella by Kate Willoughby (M/F) Rating: 2.75 stars out of 5
When Gideon Aguilar mistakes Bailey Peng for his Uber driver it leads to a night he can’t forget. But after she disappears the next morning will he be able to find his perfect fit?
I’m rating this one for a reason. At first I thought it was adorable but then I thought about the idea of someone impersonating an Uber driver and if the sexes were reversed. If the driver is a female, oh that’s so cute. If the driver is male, then we have issues. Big ones. Yep, think it needs to be dinged for that element alone. Could have met cute another way. Instead this is just creepy.
Red-Hot Trouble by Lily Harlem (M/F)
Sophie Delaney never intended to walk into ‘that’ locker room, at ‘that’ moment, but she did, and now she’ll never be the same again.
Christmas Interference by Lisa B. Kamps (M/F)
Shane Masters no longer believes in happy-ever-afters. Can the woman who knew him best thaw his heart with a little holiday magic before it’s too late?
The Devoted Father and the Introvert by Mary Smith (M/F)
Elexis Dunaway loves Twitter and work. Dag Limon loves his twin boys and playing professional hockey. Soon their worlds will collide with one simple tweet.
Her Best Worst Boyfriend by Melanie Ting (M/F)
This Christmas, Em Davis is bringing Mr. Wrong home to prove a point to her parents, but Ian Reid might turn out to be Mr. Right.
Icing isn’t Only for Cookies by Melody Heck Gatto (M/F)
Avery James wasn’t looking for love when tall, dark, and deliciously handsome hockey player Kyler Wilson walked into her bakery.
The Playboy by Stephanie Julian (M/F)
Kyle is back in the minors to rehab his career but that’s not all he’s hoping to fix. Convincing the girl he left behind to take another chance on this former playboy will be harder than resurrecting his career.
All I Want by Stephanie Kay (M/F)
When fate brings first loves Maggie and Alex back to the same city, will Maggie be brave enough to give the relationship she never forgot a second chance?
Cover art: Kim Killion. Perfect cover for an anthology. He’s adorable and has the right props, and I mean that in every way possible.
Sales Links: Amazon
Published November 13th 2018
Edition Language English
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
The holidays are usually a whirlwind of busy activity for Anson—decorating, baking for friends—but this year, his heart isn’t in it. He’d hoped coming out to Daly as asexual would be the right thing to do. Since then, he hasn’t heard a word from the handsome photographer.
Now Daly’s suddenly shown up at his front door, asking Anson to trust him, to come with him. He doesn’t dare hope in case this is just another build up to a bigger heartbreak.
The story starts with Anson, drinking hot cocoa and feeling heartsick. His cat, Noodles, is his only company right now. He’s been waiting for some kind of message from his boyfriend, Daly, and so far hasn’t received one, until Daly shows up at the door. Apparently, it’s been weeks since he heard anything from Daly and now Daly starts out by enthusing about the pie Anson made. That was a little odd, but Daly wants to show Anson something.
I was excited to see this holiday book featuring an asexual MC and I was curious to see how the sex aspect would be handled. It is a short story at 33 pages and so there isn’t time to fit everything in. We get the flashback of Anson and Daly’s about-to-be first kiss, which is followed by “And that was the moment he chose to blurt it out, the words popping out of his mouth. “I’m asexual.” So that was how Daly finds out, except I can’t help but think he had to have some idea when you’ve been with a guy for months and haven’t even shared a kiss.
While I liked what was here, I felt like I had been dropped into the middle of a chapter. We are told Daly needed time but we aren’t shown that, or what his actual reaction was, or how that conversation went after Anson’s blurt out. I needed that to better connect with these guys. The end also seemed a little too easy, needing more of a conversation.
So it’s a very short, sweet scene of Anson and Daly.
Kindle Edition, 1, 33 pages
Expected publication: November 28th 2018 by Mischief Corner Books, LLC
Edition Language English
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Tis the season to be jolly, but romance writer Matt Darcy is feeling anything but festive. With a pile of rejection letters as high as his latest manuscript, Matt is questioning whether his career as an author will ever take off. And while his perfect husband Cal has planned a week-long trip to a mountain chalet for Matt, Mrs. Mulroney, Mr. Banks, Tilly and Angus—so that everyone can be together and enjoy the lead-up to Christmas—Matt can only hope his feelings of worthlessness and self-doubt won’t ruin the trip.
But when a bump on the head knocks Matt out and he wakes up miles from the chalet, the journey he must undertake is not a trek through the snow, but an eye-opening insight into the lives of those he loves most if he, Matt Darcy, had never, ever existed.
Will Matt let his feelings of uselessness and self-doubt lead him forever into the Forest of Darkness… or will this Christmas open his eyes to the magical truth that it is indeed a wonderful life?
The Billionaire’s Wish is the most recent installment in this series. I did read the previous books but this story can be read as a standalone. As with any other series, it’s best to take the time to read the previous books. It would help the reader understand the characters best, as well as their reactions.
This is definitely a comedic romance to the style of I Love Lucy, The Odd Couple, etc. If you are not ready for the absurd, this story is not for you. It is funny, odd, sexy, and a little disconcerting, but overall, it works. It gives us a small taste into an established couple’s future and how they adapted after the first two books.
All these, mix with the A Christmas Carol story is a nice start to the holiday season. The topics shaped the story, bringing the characters from a contemporary standpoint to a classic, seamlessly.
The author did an excellent job creating this cover. It goes perfectly with the story and it’s engaging. Something I will stop to look at before reading the blurb.
Sale Link: Kindle Unlimited
ebook, 114 pages
Published: November 1, 2018, by Geoffrey Knight
Edition Language: English
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Santa has big plans to release a story about himself right before Christmas, revealing his true nature as a vampire. He decides the best advanced publicity comes from reality stories and enlists Simon the Elf, a captive former human, to hit Chicago for the holidays and strike up a romance.
Santa wants Simon to document the whole thing, so they can give people a taste for life under Santa’s enslavement before the main story hits. Forced to the Second City against his will, Simon at first resists Santa’s orders, knowing a romance would be short lived at best, and at worst bring some innocent victim into Santa’s evil orbit.
But Simon failed to reckon with the charm and wit of Jonah, a hot guy he meets his first night on the town. Falling hard, Simon takes up with his new love despite knowing the awful choice ahead of him. Santa’s Kinky Elf, Simon, tells you this tragic love story in the elf’s own words.
So this is apparently a prelude to Santa is a Vampire that comes out later this month and Santa wants people to like Simon before his book comes out. That is probably that what I am waiting for the most to see if it continues anything from this story at all.
Santa hasn’t put himself in a good light in this book but doesn’t really mean to but I do like Simon. I see him struggle to do Santa’s bidding and how he doesn’t want to hurt Jonah but I loved their instant connection. I don’t know if it’s quite the tragic love story Santa had wanted but you can still see Simon’s hurt at having to leave Jonah.
I like the cover art by Natasha Snow is great and the standard for holiday shorts this year.
ebook, 11,400 words
Published: November 5, 2018 by Nine Star Press
Edition Language: English
Series: Simon the Elf
Lysander Winterbourne and Adam Freeman have been living happily at Edgeley Park for the last eighteen months. By day Lysander is Adam’s estate manager, by night, his lover, but neither man has spoken of their deeper feelings. Is this a happy-ever-after or just a convenient arrangement?
When the two men are invited to Winterbourne Abbey for a family Christmas, matters quickly come to a head. Snowed in at the Abbey with a house full of guests, they have to face up to shocking revelations, long-held secrets and a choice Lysander never expected to have to make.
Published November 19th 2018 by Joanna Chambers
Edition Language English
Series Winterbourne #2
Lysander Winterbourne has been living happily at Edgeley Park for the last eighteen months. By day he is Adam Freeman’s estate manager, by night, his lover…but Adam never speaks of his feelings and Lysander has no idea whether their relationship is any more than a convenient arrangement for Adam.
When the two men are invited to Winterbourne Abbey for a family Christmas, matters quickly come to a head. Snowed in at the Abbey with a house full of guests, Lysander has to face up to shocking revelations, long-held secrets and a choice he never expected to have to make…
November 19 – Boulevard des Passions, My Fiction Nook, OMGReads, November 21 – Diverse Reader, November 23 – Mirrigold, November 26 – Romantic Reads & Such, Amy’s MM Romance Reviews, November 28 – Drops Of Ink, Bayou Book Junkie, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, We Three Queens, November 30 – Kimmers Erotic Book Banter, Lillian Francis, BooksLaidBareBoys
Read Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words review here. We definitely recommend it.
Joanna Chambers always wanted to write. She spent over 20 years staring at blank sheets of paper and despairing of ever writing a single word. In between staring at blank sheets of paper, she studied law, met her husband and had two children. Whilst nursing her first child, she rediscovered her love of romance and found her muse. Joanna lives in Scotland with her family and finds time to write by eschewing sleep and popular culture.
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BUD/S: six months of the most intense training there is. It’s survival of the toughest, and Matt Knytych is determined to come out the other side a navy SEAL.
Distraction is life or death. And just the sight of former marine Shane Hovland is enough to shake Matt’s concentration.
Shane came to BUD/S training ready to prove himself—again. Semper Fi is forever, but he needs a new start. Not this dangerous heat with a man he barely knows.
Everything they’ve ever wanted is riding on a thin, punishing line. And they’ll have to fight for more than just each other if they want to make it through intact.
After all, the only easy day was yesterday.
Melanie Hansen doesn’t get nearly enough sleep. She loves all things coffee-related, including collecting mugs from every place she’s visited. After spending eighteen years as a military spouse, Melanie definitely considers herself a moving expert. She has lived and worked all over the country, and hopes to bring these rich and varied life experiences to the love stories she gets up in the wee hours to write. On her off-time, you can find Melanie watching baseball, reading or spending time with her husband and two teenage sons.
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