A Chaos Moondrawn Release Day Review: Devil Take Me Anthology by authors Rhys Ford, Ginn Hale , Jordan L. Hawk, T.A. Moore , C.S. Poe , Jordan Castillo Price

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Infernal Affairs by Jordan L. Hawk
I would rate this 4.5 stars.
We meet Ralgath on his first day on the job as a crossroads demon summoned by Chess. In exchange for his soul, Chess gets powers to hunt monsters and vampires. Poor Ralgath never stood a chance against them. Three years after getting demoted, Ralgath gets an opportunity to redeem himself, but he needs Chess to help him since they can track Otherworldly beings as part of their contract. Two demons are missing, but things are not what they seem. Between tracking missing humans and demons, escaping a rabid fan, thwarting an assassin, and fighting an epic battle scene, they fall in love. This made me laugh. Although the sexy times are not explicit and mostly off page, it was clever, well written and has almost everything you could want in a fun short story.
Collared by T.A. Moore
I would rate this 4.25 stars.
This one starts out as hardboiled detective with some Preacher mixed in. It’s gruesome and written well enough to picture it, so be warned. When you watch T.A.’s videos, she sounds so nice. This is really intriguing world-building. Math is the demon who owns Jack’s soul and someone stole something from him so he uses Jack to help him get it back. Imagine the bittersweet torture of having your worst mistake ever, and something you still crave, controlling you forever. This one is as explicit as the last one was circumspect. Jack is now a private detective whom a policeman named Ben comes to for help on the weirdest of his cases–they have their own history. A man is dead, and his wife and daughter are missing. Of course, these are the same case. There are some great plots twists here, and some that didn’t work as well, in my opinion. If you are a horror fan, this will be right up your alley. I enjoyed it, but it was so gross, I’m not sure I would read it again. I would have rated it higher, but what I liked about the writing style of the first part, didn’t seem to be there in the second half.
Counterfeit Viscount
I would rate this 4.25 stars.
The Visount Archibald is leading a double life. Since he’s sold his sold to Nimble, he becomes Archie and descends into the underbelly of the town to pay his due every three months. This allows him to keep his title and have his revenge against his uncle. This is alternative history where Prodigals, the descendants of fallen angels who have been converted by the Church, live alongside humans. A prodigal boy in service to a lord is afraid a fellow servant who’s gone missing was murdered at the Dee Club after its Sunday fights. This was difficult for me to get into; I’m going to chalk this up to the writing choices at the beginning. I started to warm to the MCs and became intrigued by the plot about halfway through. As the author reveals more about Archie’s upbringing, we understand his motives. Although I did see the plot twists coming, I enjoyed reading them. This is not my usual genre and it charmed me in spite of myself, so if it’s your type of thing, I imagine you will be as well.
11:59 by C.S. Poe
I would rate this 4 stars.
Asuka is tricked by the Devil when he sells his soul to help save people from the monsters that come from a world full of nightmares. His world is bleak. One day the Devil needs a favor, and Asuka will risk much to reclaim his soul. Meeting Merrick has shown him how much he has lost from his deal. It is a cold realization, of logic and comprehension rather than a messy emotion. It’s difficult to see how Merrick retains any innocence or hope in this world. He also must seriously like the brusque, strong type. The story is intellectually intriguing though. The Greek mythical elements allow fate (or the Fates?) to give us an epic ending. I missed the emotional elements though.

Wonderland City by Rhys Ford
I would rate this 4.5 stars.
This version of Hell is through the looking glass–think Alice in Wonderland turns into Sin City. After Xander Spade loses his soul to a fallen angel named Az, he gets trapped there as the Queen’s Ace. After the death of the Queen of Hearts, the place goes feral. With the help of the Knave of Hearts, Jean Michel, Xander has to find a missing girl whose presence threatens chaos and his chance to finally go home. This is a clever retelling rich with imagination, with flashes of dark humor.

Dark Favors by Jordan Castillo Price.
I would rate this 4.5 stars.
Johnny Lockheart has been offered the chance to get his soul back from the Devil if he murders a TV star, but her bodyguard Adam is going to have something to say about that. Both of them are Chosen, which means that they trade favors for power and know how the world really works stripped of illusion by the Sight. The flashbacks help us understand how Johnny ends up the way he is, and are well timed to pack a punch. This book makes better use of the idea of evil being seductive, whereas the other books focus on the grotesque, or horror elements. This HEA leaves you with a dreary feeling and will get you in the Halloween mood and reminds me of the feeling I get when I watch a movie called Angle Heart.

I really enjoyed this whole anthology. Of course, anthologies are always a mixed bag and some stories you will always favor over others, but that is subjective for each person. I found this anthology to be pretty even on quality, more so than many anthologies. If you like dark fantasy and horror, I would highly recommend it. What grounds each story is love or something worth fighting for.

The cover art is by Reece Notley. There are so many delightful characters in this, I am not sure why this picture was chosen. It seems a little bland for the subject matter. I believe it fits a scene from the C.S. Poe story.

Sales Links:  DSP Publications | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 450 pages
Expected publication: October 16th 2018 by DSP Publications
Original Title Devil Take Me
ISBN13 9781640808874
Edition Language English

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Texas Charm (Aberrant Magic #6) by Lyn Gala

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

The sixth book in the series focuses on the policemen in El Paso from book three, Art and Zach–partners both on and off the job. We know that the local council had misallocated or openly stolen federal money instead of using it for a Djedi Center, so Salma comes to see what facilities and resources are available for local people with Talent.

Zach has found a spirit guide in one of the old ifrit–an Aztec hummingbird named Pochi. So, like Darren, he has no powers of his own, being neither a shaman nor a trained magic user, but now has some power at his disposal, which is not really a lot of help at this point. In fact, it is difficult not to compare Zach and Darren, so it’s also difficult not to compare Art and Kavon. I did laugh as Art visits Zach’s version of the spirit plane. It’s a good way to drive home that though these couples are similar in some regards, they are their own people, so it’s unfair to expect them to act the same. Their banter and the ways they like to irritate each other are part of their charm.

The point of this book is to fix the political problems locally and rally the magical community in order to oust the corrupt council members. Art has always made it very clear he doesn’t want to be involved, so it’s no surprise when Zach can’t convince him to challenge for a seat when hundreds of shamans and adepts meet on the spirit plane to discuss the situation as everyone picks a side. It is both difficult and easy to see Art’s side of things and while I might not agree, it’s an accomplishment of the author to make Art such a complicated character. At this point, I have to admit that Art was not my favorite character in this series. However, Art has many good reasons to have a few chips on his shoulder. This book helps establish why his personality may not be that inviting. In the middle, he made me laugh out-loud. By the end, I wanted to both hug him and punch him out at the same time. We finally get some differences between the way the Vatican, the Egyptians, and Native Peoples train people who have a spirit guide. I also enjoyed seeing the psychological aspect of a guide’s relationship with their shaman.

Art and Zach are called to the scene of a murder. Their victim is actually a famous rapist. I enjoyed the parts about them working the case, although the subject matter is disturbing. The emotions are also difficult to handle as his father is questioned by police and the author creates some empathy for everyone involved. There is a good job of juxtaposing the awful case they are working on and the private lives of the detectives. This is an established couple so we walk in on the middle of their story and get to share in their intimate moments and their journey to their HEA. Adding in family dynamics was a great way to add depth to this story.

This book really puts us forward in the overarching plot, whilst showing new allies for the fight ahead in a more nuanced depth. This also takes us structurally back to the first few books, while stylistically it has some things in common with book five. I liked having Art’s POV (third person limited) for most of the book, because he would come across unfavorably if we didn’t know his thoughts and motives. We need to like him, so this was a smart move. Now, in hindsight, I wish we had gotten to know one of the shaman in Toronto the same way in book three. I am so excited to have the links between this book and book five explained. This is a great addition to a series that has been uneven in many ways. Still, there is always something in each book that draws me back.

The cover art is by Natasha Snow and is in keeping with the rest of the series. I believe it shows Art and Zach in the meditation room of the police precinct going to the spirit plane.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:
ebook, 187 pages
Published August 20th 2018 by Lyn Gala (first published August 16th 2018)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesAberrant Magic #6

A Chaos Moondrawn Release Day Review: Savior (415 Ink #2) by Rhys Ford

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This is the second book in a series about five men who have forged a family and own a tattoo business. I would recommend reading these in order. Mace, a firefighter, has made himself Bear’s right hand man in helping raise the family, but it’s time he got some help, whether he asks for it or not.

We start by seeing 10 year old Mason, abandoned and locked in a closet by his father, being rescued by a firefighter. We understand why Mace becomes a firefighter, and why he always checks the closets while on the job and our hearts are already broken. It’s that crack that allows Rob, a tattoo artist at 415 Ink, to see a part of the real Mace. Being bossy, a tad controlling, and concentrating on the brothers’ personal lives is a way to keep the wolves at bay and maybe prove he deserves to be in this family. He still seems unsure, unable to ask for what he needs–afraid of what the answer will be. It’s ok though, because his brothers know and they have his back.

Rob’s best friend is Lilith, but we don’t get to see a lot of her. As with the first book, the tattoos are lovingly described. I can’t help but feel a little bit of a missed opportunity to learn more about tattoing since we get Rob’s POV as he’s learning while doing. In fact, I wish we knew a little bit more about everything. We get a little slice of Chinatown and the culture there. We get a slice of Rob’s disagreement with his father and his relationship with his family. We get slices of Ivo, but not with as much depth as our slice of Luke in the first book and that’s still just a slice. In the first book we see how close Luke and Gus are. Here we get that dynamic with Mace and Ivo, except Mace didn’t share with Ivo about, well, anything–not his father, not Rob, not his past. Actually, I am really starting to like Luke and he occupied all of two pages. The next book will likely be about Ivo and the cop he meets in the aftermath of Mace’s injuries.

There is more action in this one, although you would expect that due to his problems being in the present (which I won’t tell you about because of spoilers) rather than just past wounds, although those are also shown. You know that thing that should happen when you crack yourself open and show someone your scars? That actually happens here. That’s the best thing about this book: that moment you find your person. We get to see Rob and Mace fit together and weave their families together. And if it happens a little too easily, that Rob’s wealthy family just slot into Mace’s rough and tumble one, we need that after the horrors going on here because the abuse and violence don’t get glossed over. Mace certainly deserves some happiness and we do too.

There is a little nod to the Sinner’s series at a party that is nothing to worry about if you’ve not read them. Overall, this is a solid follow-up to the first book and I enjoyed it. I hope the author continues to layer in more depth to the world and all the characters with each new book.

The cover by Reece Notley is gorgeous, but this is not quite how I pictured Mace since he has some scars from childhood, as well as some minor gouges and burns from firefighting, however the abs are as described.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 220 pages
Expected publication: September 18th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640808614
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series 415 Ink :

Rebel
Savior