A Caryn Review: Tested in Fire (Art Medium #2) by EJ Russell

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This is book two in the Art Medium series.  In book one, The Artist’s Touch, Stefan Cobbe was possessed by the ghost Giacomo “Jeremiah” Arcoletti, but Luke Morganstern was able to rescue him, though Luke was seriously injured in the process.  In this installment, they’ve moved to Sarasota, Florida, where Luke’s art investigation company is based, and Stefan found a studio and is back to painting.  Life seems good.

Although the two men are committed to each other, Stefan is still struggling with the debt he incurred years ago by allowing himself to be completely dependent upon a boyfriend, and this time around, he wants to be able to stand on his own.  Luke just wants Stefan to be by his side, and doesn’t understand why Stefan won’t move in with him.  They can’t seem to get past this impasse, and and things only get worse when Luke is unexpectedly detained in Italy following up on a commission.  When he comes home, they have a fight, and then…

At first I wondered how these two men could be so unlucky as to run across the supernatural – and the evil side of it at that – twice in such quick succession, especially when they are now on the opposite side of the country.  Well, turns out it is more than just bad luck, and I will leave that comment as a teaser for you to learn about when you read the book!  Once again, spirits from the past are interfering in Stefan’s and Luke’s lives, and once again they have to rely on their connection with each other, and their love, in order to make it through alive.

I thought this was a wonderful continuation of the series, because the depth of Luke and Stefan’s love for each other was seriously challenged, and they truly rose to face it.  There was no hesitation in their defense of each other, and this time Stefan was the one to come to the rescue.  A good thing for both of them to realize how strong Stefan truly is, and how able to stand on his own, but unfortunately quite a blow to Luke who is left confused and ashamed by what has happened to him.

I am assuming that there will be at least a third book in the series at some point in the future (and hopefully more, I really love this couple!), but I think there will be a bit of a hiatus while things in the publishing world shake out.  However it happens, I will be eagerly looking forward to it!

Cover art by L.C. Chase is even better than the first book.  I like Luke’s (Giacomo’s?) expression as he holds the mask…

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing

Book Details:

ebook, 192 pages
Published April 2nd 2018 by Riptide Publishing (first published March 31st 2018)
Original TitleTested in Fire
ISBN 1626497575 (ISBN13: 9781626497573)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesArt Medium #2

New Release Tour and Giveaway: Tested in Fire (Art Medium #2) by EJ Russell

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Tested in Fire (Art Medium #2) by E.J. Russell

Riptide Publishing
Cover Art: L.C. Chase

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

 

About Tested in Fire

 

Six months ago, Stefan Cobbe was at rock bottom: grief-stricken, guilt ridden, debt laden, artistically blocked, and living on charity in an isolated mountain cabin. But after reconciling with his first love, Luke, and moving to Sarasota with him, Stefan is preparing for his first major show. Yes, he still has debts, and no, Luke doesn’t understand Stefan’s desire for independence. But compared to last year? No contest.

 

Luke Morganstern ought to be happy. After all, his art-investigation business has recovered and he’s got his boyfriend back. But Stefan stubbornly refuses to move in with him or accept Luke’s financial help, and it’s really starting to bug him. Who knew that the biggest test of their relationship wouldn’t be time or distance, but his own insecurities? After Luke’s next job—a trip to Italy to retrieve a mysterious artifact—he plans to convince Stefan that it’s time to totally commit.

 

But when Luke returns, he changes, and Stefan begins to suspect that the person in Luke’s skin isn’t Luke at all. He can hardly go to the police and claim his lover is the victim of a supernatural hijacking though. He needs alternative help to find Luke and get him back, because he refuses to let anyone—or anything—come between them again.

About the Art Medium Series

 

Artists use all manner of materials to express their vision, to interpret the world around them, to affect the hearts and minds of their audience.

 

But what if the artist himself were the medium? And what if artistic inspiration weren’t the only force at work?

 

If painter Stefan Cobbe and art investigator Luke Morganstern don’t answer those questions fast, they stand to lose their reputations, their relationship—and their lives.

About E.J. Russell

 

E.J. Russell holds a BA and an MFA in theater, so naturally she’s spent the last three decades as a financial manager, database designer, and business-intelligence consultant. After her twin sons left for college and she no longer spent half her waking hours ferrying them to dance class, she returned to her childhood love of writing fiction. Now she wonders why she ever thought an empty nest meant leisure.

 

E.J. lives in rural Oregon with her curmudgeonly husband, the only man on the planet who cares less about sports than she does. She enjoys visits from her wonderful adult children, and indulges in good books, red wine, and the occasional hyperbole.

 

Connect with E.J.:

 

Website: ejrussell.com

Blog: ejrussell.com/bloggery/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/E.J.Russell.author

Twitter: twitter.com/ej_russell

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/ejrussell/

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of both books in the Art Medium series, E.J. is giving away a $25 Amazon credit and an ebook copy of both titles in the Legend Tripping series! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Contest closes at midnight, Eastern time, on April 7, 2017 and is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Don’t forget to leave your contact info!

A Caryn Review: The Artist’s Touch (Art Medium #1) by E.J. Russell

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Do you like ghost stories?  Do you like creepy ghost stories?  I have to say I didn’t think I did, but this book (and maybe the others to follow in the series) changed my mind.  The review, though, was kind of hard to write without giving significant spoilers, and although as you read you can guess what’s going to happen on the next page, I couldn’t predict the outcome from the beginning.  You can read this book in one evening, so just sit back and enjoy….

Luke Morganstern is an art fraud investigator who had been at the top of his field until one big mistake, and he’s been struggling ever since.  He can’t afford to turn down a job anyway, but when a mysterious client contacts him about a possible forgery, he can’t resist when he finds out the artist being imitated.

Jeremiah Arcoletti.  He was a rising star of the American realism movement, until he disappeared without a trace, taking with him his last 13 paintings.  Paintings that he meticulously described in letters to friends, but were never seen.  Paintings that Luke has been able to picture in his mind after studying Arcoletti for so long.  Paintings that were inexplicably starting to turn up in a remote gallery in Oregon.

Stefan Cobbe is an artist with a very promising start to his career, until a tragedy destroyed his paintings and left him with literally only the clothes on his back.  Worse, he found he was completely unable to produce any art at all.  Homeless and destitute, he was taken in by a man who provided him with room, board, art supplies, and a studio.  And Stefan produced finished canvases, miraculously complete in hours – hours that Stefan had no memory of.

Luke and Stefan have a complicated history together, with guilt and blame on both sides that led to their separation years ago.  Stefan is now the most likely suspect for the forgery, and Luke has to decide what exactly he is going to do about that, especially when Stefan claims innocence.

The pace of the story was constant and the tension just kept building and building, with a few surprise twists, and I couldn’t put the book down until I finished (fortunately it’s not too long!).  Well written, great plot, outstanding characterization with significant growth of both MCs and excellent secondary characters, and throughout a perpetual sense of foreboding.  There are definitely some dark places in this book, and seeing Luke and Stefan struggle to escape those places – some of which were in their own minds – was exciting, and a little scary.

Highly recommended, and I’m looking forward to the next in the series!

Cover art by L.C. Chase is fine, though I’m not quite sure which character the model is supposed to represent…

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

book, 2nd edition, 130 pages
Published February 12th 2018 by Riptide Publishing (first published September 23rd 2013)
Original Title Northern Light by E.J. Russell
ISBN13 9781626497580
Edition Language English

Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway for The Artist’s Touch (Art Medium #1) by E.J. Russell

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The Artist’s Touch (Art Medium #1) by E.J. Russell
Riptide Publishing
Cover art: L.C. Chase

Read an excerpt/Buy it Here

Thank you , Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words,  for inviting me to stop by today! Hello, intrepid internet adventurers, and welcome to the blog tour for The Artist’s Touch, the first book in my Art Medium series. After the release of book two, Tested in Fire, in April, I’ll be giving away a $40 Riptide gift card, so please leave a comment for a chance to win.

About The Artist’s Touch

Two men haunted by more than the past.

Painter Stefan Cobbe was homeless and debt-ridden after the death of his wealthy partner, but the worst loss of all was his artistic inspiration. After two years of nothing, he’s offered patronage by an eccentric gallery owner and starts to produce again, canvas after canvas. The only problem? He can’t remember painting any of them—not one single brushstroke.

Luke Morganstern’s reputation as an art-fraud investigator is in tatters. He can’t afford to turn down any job, even a lousy one for an anonymous client who sends him after an unidentified forger in a remote cabin in Oregon. When the alleged forger turns out to be Stefan, the man he never stopped loving, Luke’s professional ethics are stretched beyond the breaking point.

As the two men take tentative steps toward reconciliation, evidence begins to mount that they’re not alone in the woods. Someone—or something—is watching. Something with sinister plans for them both. To escape, Luke must overcome his suspicions and Stefan must trust Luke with his deepest fears. Otherwise they could forfeit their relationship, their sanity—and their lives.

Publisher’s note: This is a heavily revised and significantly expanded reprint of Northern Light. The second book in the Art Medium series, Tested In Fire, is a first edition. Both are sold together in both ebook and print collections.

Available now from Riptide Publishing!

About the Art Medium Series

Artists use all manner of materials to express their vision, to interpret the world around them, to affect the hearts and minds of their audience.

But what if the artist himself were the medium? And what if artistic inspiration weren’t the only force at work?

If painter Stefan Cobbe and art investigator Luke Morganstern don’t answer those questions fast, they stand to lose their reputations, their relationship—and their lives.

Check out the Art Medium series now!

About E.J. Russell

E.J. Russell holds a BA and an MFA in theater, so naturally she’s spent the last three decades as a financial manager, database designer, and business-intelligence consultant. After her twin sons left for college and she no longer spent half her waking hours ferrying them to dance class, she returned to her childhood love of writing fiction. Now she wonders why she ever thought an empty nest meant leisure.

E.J. lives in rural Oregon with her curmudgeonly husband, the only man on the planet who cares less about sports than she does. She enjoys visits from her wonderful adult children, and indulges in good books, red wine, and the occasional hyperbole.

Connect with E.J.:

Website: ejrussell.com

Blog: ejrussell.com/bloggery/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/E.J.Russell.author

Twitter: twitter.com/ej_russell

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/ejrussell/

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of both books in the Art Medium series, one lucky winner will receive a $40 Riptide credit! Winner will be pulled from entries to both blog tours. Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Contest closes at midnight, Eastern time, on April 7, 2017 and is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following The Artist’s Touch tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!