A Caryn Review: No Fae is an Island (Endangered Fae #4) by Angel Martinez

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Yes, this series just keeps getting better, and this is my favorite story so far.  These characters, and the world they live in, are all just so engaging, despite being lifted from various world mythologies.  There may be some spoilers for Semper Fae in this review, but I will try to keep them minimal…

At the end of the last book, Diego had been banished from the human world for 3 years and 3 days, and he spent that time with the wild fae, picking up knowledge and wisdom wherever he could, but he was also trying to forgive himself for all the chaos and pain he unwittingly caused while he was spellbound.  He wasn’t the one who cast the spell, so shouldn’t have tried to shoulder all the responsibility for the repercussions, but, well, that’s just who Diego was.  He still hadn’t come to peace with his role in the violence when the 3 years were up and he had to return – and for Diego, there was never the option to just walk away.  But he knew that he was too broken to resume leadership of the Fae Collective, thus leaving Zach, who had become the de facto interim Consul, to continue in that role.  Diego was still an important political figure though, and he felt he could best contribute to the general good of the world by acting as a diplomatic liaison.  In the 3 years of his banishment, tensions between the growing number of magic users and regular humans had escalated, and the Fae Collective had taken on the role of international mediator, and occasionally launched covert rescue operations when situations were especially dangerous.

When three Canadian students with magical ability were taken captive in the nation of Shere’alej (very reminiscent of Saudi Arabia, to me), Diego and Finn took a small contingent of guards to meet with the prince and negotiate their release.  When the meeting turned into an ambush, Diego and Finn were taken, shackled in iron (for Finn) and lead (for Diego) to nullify their magical abilities, and imprisoned at a hidden, remote facility, and their guard sent back to Tearmann island.  With their magic out of reach, Diego and Finn had only their wits to use to escape.  Fortunately, one of their guard was Theo Aguilar, the vampire that had briefly served as Diego’s lieutenant while Diego was out of control – and Theo was determined to rescue them no matter what.

Theo was a conflicted soul who thought he had become basically evil after being changed to a vampire and rejected by his religious family.  His soul, however, was moral, honorable, and kind, but he couldn’t seem to see past how others were frightened and suspicious of him because of his vampire nature.  I think Ms. Martinez did an amazing job of describing his inner conflict and how it informed his choices.  He had a constant need to prove himself – to others, but also to himself.  The one person who truly saw through his prickly facade was the selkie Limpet.  Limpet was an innocent, curious, at times almost childishly naive, but also brave and devoted.  At first that devotion was focused on Diego and Finn, but he quickly transferred that dedication to Theo, despite Theo’s intense efforts to dissuade him.  Limpet’s sincerity and affection ended up being the perfect antidote to Theo’s abhorrence of who he had become.

The story progressed in two concurrent arcs – Theo and Limpet developing first a friendship, and then a romance as they searched for Diego and Finn, as well as Diego and Finn’s efforts to break out of the prison and bring all the prisoners with them to safety.  I found this book to be much easier to follow than Semper Fae, with a smaller cast of characters and a tighter scope and plot line, as well as a clear ending (although there is definitely room for further sequels!).  In addition to an engaging narrative, with relatable characters and plenty of character development, the pacing of this book was so much better than the others in the series, and it was a great read.  I am impressed with how the series is progressing, and looking forward to more…

Cover art by Emmy@studioenp remains consistent with the others in the series.  To me, the model represents Theo, although I guess it could also be Limpet, and the hawk flying over the desert sand dunes was perfect for the plot line.

Sales Links:  Pride Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 281 pages
Published January 15th 2019 by Pride Publishing (first published September 5th 2014)
ISBN 139781786517029
Edition Language English
Series Endangered Fae #4

A Lila Review:Yule Planet: Escape from the Holidays by Angel Martinez

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Sofia Cancino is tired of her mundane life, her artificial environment and her large, boisterous family descending every holiday season. She’s promised herself this year will be different and books a stay on the exclusive—and expensive–holiday-themed resort, Yule Planet. She looks forward to being pampered while reconnecting with Old Earth traditions steeped in the magic and mysticism of nature. Everything will be perfect and she’ll leave as a more authentic human, better connected to her roots.

Naturally, things go horribly wrong. Sofia’s landing pod goes off course and instead of stepping out on the landing pad at the resort, she finds herself in the snow-swept perpetual winter of the planet’s hinterlands. If that wasn’t bad enough, she’s “rescued” by a band of criminals on work release who run deliveries to the resort from far-flung shuttle delivery sites. They refuse to take her, a paying customer, to the resort and insist on dragging her along on their parcel run. Riding giant monsters. In frigid weather. Not to mention, Marta, who handles the monsters, obviously hates her.

If Sofia survives her vacation, she’s definitely yelling at someone’s supervisor until she gets a refund.

Yule Planet is one of those stories in which the romance element seems irrelevant. The world-build for such a short story is amazing, as well as the visualization. It’s easy to feel like part of the action and get involved with all the characters. The relationship between Sofia and Marta would have been better if they have stayed as friends. By the time we get a hint of them looking forward to more, the story is halfway through. I had to re-read the blurb to check if Sofia’s HEA was Marta or Shara.

I did enjoy the amount of diversity in the story and how not all the characters were likable. All their hard backstories added to the overall story. Each individual had a reason to be part of the events, including the chionisaurs. How they related to each other, as couples or co-workers was another unique fact.

This is a very good Holiday story. Very different from traditional Christmas stories, but perfect for the season. Once again, the author shows why she’s one of the best in her genre.

The cover by L.C. Chase goes with the story but feels a bit too contemporary. I wanted a little grit on it.

Sale Link: Amazon | Nook | Mischief Corner

Book Details:
ebook, 154 pages
ASIN: B07LGH3DBT
Published: December 22, 2018, by Mischief Corner Books
Edition Language: English

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Semper Fae (Endangered Fae #3) by Angel Martinez

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

The is book three in the Endangered Fae series. While you could probably read this alone, it would be best if you started from book one. Having said that, this is the best book so far and shows what could have been possible in the first two books. This is just more fun and action packed, with layers. It also introduces many new characters. All of the sudden weird paranormal phenomena is happening all over. Human magic is different from fae magic, but they are connected. Just as the shifter fae start to get a magical illness, humans start turning into vampires and werewolves, or developing new powers. I love the idea that all of the legends and lore are real, and are now alive because the Veil is open again.

While this book still has a lot of Finn and Diego, Finn is sidelined a bit with an illness and Diego has bigger problems. The main romance is between Zach, the marine medic from book two, and Lugh. Zach is working as the head of Lugh’s security detail. Lugh is, of course, a shifter fae and part bull. This book is more explicitly bestial than the previous books. There is also an element of dubcon. They seem to find their footing at the end and know what works for them. There were two times in the book when something is a huge emotional deal, and all is quickly forgiven when someone is injured, once with Zach and his parents and once with Lugh and Zach. There could be a better way of working out these conflicts.

As mentioned there are several new characters but the main five are The Silver Adepts, a human coven: Kara, Nate, Brandon, Will, and Minky. Will has awful premonitions, so Minky tries writing to Diego for help, but he isn’t taking them seriously. They have a plan to kidnap him and things go horribly wrong. There was a hint of dragons in book two, so I was waiting for the dragons! Diego and Zach go to find them for help with knowledge about human magic. The dragon lord eventually comes to help train the coven in how to better access their magic. The final showdown and rescue mission, in fact much of the book, reminds me of a comic book. This is no bad thing.

Zach becomes the human Consul for the fae now that Diego is ill. The book leaves some of our characters in the Otherworld making it possible for future books to take place on either side of the Veil. There is now so much magic in the world, these stories could go anywhere or even have spin-offs, so I’ll have to wait and see where the series goes.

The cover art is by Emmy @ studioenp. All the covers in the series are eye catching and fit together.

Sales Links:  Pride Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published October 23rd 2018 by Pride Publishing (first published January 13th 2013)
ASINB07HQ4DXQQ
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesEndangered Fae #3

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Diego (Endangered Fae #2) by Angel Martinez

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

I almost don’t know where to begin with this. So much happens, it almost feels like different stories cobbled together. Diego and Finn are living in their new house in the Montana forest. Diego has to take a business trip to New York. While he’s gone, Finn saves a drowning women and tries to keep her warm. When Diego comes home and catches them together, his jealousy rips the Veil to the Otherworld open. Here the sidhe and fomorian courts are at odds. There is a wasting disease and the fae are dying because they have been cut off from the earth magic of the world. They need to find a safe place, with unpolluted air and water to cross over. It’s difficult to read stories regarding mythology or folklore, because to some these are their religious beliefs ripped apart by poetic license. I am at a loss as to what to say about the book when the U.S. government comes to deal with the “invaders.” This part feels like she had something left over from Prisoner 374215 (another book by this author), and adapted it and inserted it here. Then, we have the modern ending to the hostilities with a press conferences and good PR.

Instead of grounding this story, Diego and Finn’s relationship is just another agitator. The author uses the plot device of lovers in multiple lives, rather than actually developing their relationship in the here and now. They are each jealous of others and I’m not sure the lack of trust is ever dealt with effectively. They teeter between insecurity and desperation. There is a lot of sex, but why is it always when Finn is injured? They keep swearing their undying love with pet names, but then they hurt each other–Diego with his need to help everyone and not prioritizing Finn, and Finn with his insecurities that send him running away. Then, we have the wedding epilogue. Wow. I got whiplash from reading all that. One would hope now that they are married, all this OTT angst will stop.

It’s strange in a book filled with fae characters, that the people who stand out are the humans: Zach the marine, Miriam the agent, and Tia Carmen the wise woman. I have a feeling Zach and Lugh will be in book three. I also felt that the book kept me running from one emergency to another to cover up any deficiencies. I would say if you would like to see one version of how it might go if fae were real (misunderstood and friendly) and came out to the world, then you might like to read this.

The cover art for this edition is by Emmy @ studioenp. It matches the first book in style and shows when Diego opens the veil in New York to get Tia Carmen’s help.

Sales Links:  Pride Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:Kindle Edition, 328 pages
Published August 14th 2018 by Pride Publishing (first published September 16th 2010)
Original Title Diego
ASINB07FCT4SVR
Edition Language English
SeriesEndangered Fae #2
Characters Danu, Finn Shannon, Diego Sandoval, Lugh, Balor…more settingMontana (United States)
Otherworld
Tearman Island

A Caryn Review:Semper Fae (Endangered Fae #3) by Angel Martinez

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

For those of you who thought this would be Zach and Lugh’s story, you are right, but it is so much more….  This book takes our heroes from the upper echelons of the United States government, to a perilous journey to the realm of dragons and wild fae, and they are confronted with danger from within and without, and face a sorcerer powerful enough to control and corrupt all the magical forces in the human world.  I’m so pleased with this series, and how it just keeps getting better!  I’m not sure that there will be another book in the series, but I am hoping!

At the end of the last book, the Fae had established a permanent presence in the human world, declared themselves an independent country, and Diego was the diplomatic liaison between the two realms.  Zach was head of security for the fae, especially for Prince Lugh.  Everything was supposed to be straightforward from there, but opening a gate between the two worlds had some very unexpected repercussions.

It all started when Finn developed a magical malady – what the fae healers described as their version of the common cold – that made him miserable and also made him shift uncontrollably.  Then other unusual things started occurring, humans developing magical skills, but also the appearance of mythical monsters, vampires, werewolves, and the like.  While Zach was struggling with his attraction to Lugh, he was accidentally outed to his parents and went to do damage control, and was bitten by a werewolf as he was defending a couple of kids.  Even the fae had no cure for that.

Initially, the story focussed on Zach and Lugh as they worked through the fact that Zach was now a monster dangerous to fae as well as humans, and what that meant for the growing relationship between the two of them.  Diego was increasingly concerned by the evidence that magic was getting out of control in the human world.  But the story took an unexpected twist that left everyone reeling, and Zach was thrust into the role of leader of the combined fae and human forces to combat the sudden appearance of a belligerent, tyrannical sorcerer who could quite possibly take over the world.

At first I was a little frustrated that I was missing some background elements, and it wasn’t clear exactly where the story was going.  But with a little patience, the pieces started coming together and the story took on an urgency that made it a real page turner.  And though in retrospect I find myself wondering “Why did that happen like this?  Why didn’t they do that instead?  Why did the author go in this direction?”, while I was reading I had no such qualms.  There was an incredible amount of detail and new information added to the basis set in the first two books, and to be honest at times it was too much.  New characters came into the story, some fully fleshed out, and others left me wondering why they didn’t have more to say or do, or why they were there at all.  I guess that is one reason I am hoping for more, but I believe Ms. Martinez will have to tighten up what could easily turn into an overly vast and sprawling cast of characters.  I got the impression that the world of Diego and Finn and their human and fae friends is much more complete and coherent in Ms. Martinez’ mind, but is so complex that it is hard to put it down on paper in a way that makes it totally clear to the reader.

Cover art by Emmy@studioenp is very pretty, and I love the model for Zach.  The font still seems a little odd though…

Sales Links:  Pride Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published October 23rd 2018 by Pride Publishing (first published January 13th 2013)
ASINB07HQ4DXQQ
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesEndangered Fae #3

 

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Finn (Endangered Fae #1) by Angel Martinez

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 Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5

Finn is awake after centuries of Dreaming with no way to get back to the Otherworld now that the Veil is closed. Diego rescued him as it appears he’s preparing to jump off a bridge. Finn is a fae and the city, with all its iron and steel, is killing him. Diego is a kind soul, one who helps people and animals. He also doesn’t believe in the supernatural, even though he writes about it. After a breakup with his jerk of a boyfriend Mitch, Diego tries to be just friends with Finn whilst helping him adapt to the modern world. When his agent lets him stay at her cabin to get away from the city and write, it’s a great way to help Finn get back to nature. This is a fish out of water story that made me laugh out loud several times. Diego is as out of his element in the woods as Finn is in the city. Neither of them seem to take very good care of themselves, so they both need a keeper. As Finn sparks Diego’s creativity, helping him with his book, he heals now that he is free to roam in nature. But not all magical creatures are pleasant and evil awaits in the woods. Diego battles to accept his new reality and Finn’s love.

So many things fall into place when they need to, I think it would be best if I chalk this up to the “luck of the Irish.” This was an easy read and not too scary even though there is violence. If you like when the couple are overly sweet with pet names, you might like this. There are some sex scenes but they are not very long, actually there are so many, they are also skipped over by the author near the end. I think the issue is that it is actually too long. The conflict is resolved, but the story still goes on. (Apparently this was a Christmas story that had originally been separate, but was edited into the end of this edition of the book.) While Diego’s agent and landlord helped move the story along, they are not full fleshed out. I enjoyed the story, but I wasn’t super attracted to it.

The cover art is by Emmy @ studioenp. It is very striking and shows Finn as imagined on the bridge where he meets Diego. I also like the symbolism of the bridge: as him bridging the world between fae and human, also the bridging between corporeal and incorporeal. The crow flying gives a hint at where the story will go. Finn likes bright colors, as they speak to him.

Sales Links:  Pride Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:Kindle Edition, 226 pages
Published May 22nd 2018 by Pride Publishing (first published July 2nd 2009)
Original TitleFinn
ASINB07C3MH4X8
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesEndangered Fae #1
CharactersFinn Shannon, Diego Sandoval setting New Brunswick (Canada)

A Caryn Review : Diego (Endangered Fae #2) by Angel Martinez

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I am having so much fun reading fantasy books that incorporate ancient mythology!  Diego, the sequel to Finn, is all about Celtic mythology, mixing Irish deities with the Welsh, along with a bit of reincarnation and earthly as well as fae magic.  The end result is pure enchantment!

The first book introduced Diego, a human who is much more than he realizes, and Finn, a pooka who rose from a long hibernation to find a modern human world that was slowly poisoning him.  Through a series of adventures that reveal they are much stronger together than apart, Finn and Diego forged a relationship that was more than just a rekindling of the love they shared in previous lifetimes.  I didn’t expect a sequel because the story arc was complete, but I was really happy to see this book pick up just where the first left off.

Despite all they’ve been through, Diego is still a bit of a puritan, and has a hard time believing that Finn would ever give up his life of sexual freedom and adventure to settle down.  So when he came home to find Finn in a compromising position – even though there was a perfectly innocent reason – he allowed his anger to overtake his reason, leading to an explosion of magic that ripped a hole in the world, and he woke up on the other side of the veil, in the Otherworld, kingdom of the Sidhe.  Finn was also unwittingly transported to the Otherworld, but in the land of the Fomorians, enemies of the Sidhe.  I remember as I was reading through the adventure where Finn and Diego got caught between the Danu/Balor feud that this was enough for a novella all on its own, especially when our heroes managed to bring the two kingdoms together.  Next came a mysterious illness, for which again, Diego and Finn managed to find the cause, and provide the cure.  Once again, the story could have ended here!  But our intrepid author managed to push it yet further, and the culmination of the story involves clandestine government agencies capturing and experimenting upon the fae who were with Diego and Finn at their house in Montana.  I loved how the story went from fairy tale to X-Files!

It was clear in the first book that Diego, AKA Taliesin, was powerful, and probably the most magical human that ever existed.  His power was never really manifested though, and he was first and foremost a humble and gentle man.  In this book, he finally came to believe in and even embrace that side of himself, which made him more sure of his worthiness to be with Finn, but unfortunately made Finn feel that he did not deserve Diego.  A great deal of the book was the push and pull between the two of them wondering if they were indeed right for each other, and facing new jealousies related to old relationships.  Diego was revealed not to be as kind and forgiving as he thought he was, while Finn found humility.  They both made mistakes, but as in every good fairy tale, true love wins in the end.  I have to admit that the ending was cheesy in a lot of ways (and I had to laugh when the US lost out to Canada as the host for Faerie’s chosen earthly location!) but that is part of the author’s charm.

Very enjoyable, with some surprising twists, and a whole lot of learning to love your neighbor despite differences

Cover art by Emmy @ studioenp has a very nice representation of the hole in the veil, with the ubiquitous headless torso.

Sales Links:  Pride Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 328 pages
Published August 14th 2018 by Pride Publishing (first published September 16th 2010)
Original TitleDiego
ASINB07FCT4SVR
Edition Language English
Series Endangered Fae #2
Characters Danu, Finn Shannon, Diego Sandoval, Lugh, Balor…more settingMontana (United States)
Otherworld

A Caryn Review: Finn (Endangered Fae #1) by Angel Martinez

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I love this author!  This book is primarily a paranormal contemporary, but there is still a little bit of the fairy tale in it that this author does so well.

Diego is an unsuccessful writer barely keeping a roof over his head in NYC.  He has a compulsion to help those in need, human or animal, which not only got him a serious head injury with resultant seizures at some point in the past, but more recently led to his lover leaving him.  When he saw an emaciated man crouching on the edge of the Brooklyn bridge, he couldn’t just drive by – he went up to the man hoping to talk him out of jumping.  And proceeded to bring that man, filthy, malnourished, and more than a little strange, back to his apartment to care for him.

Finn was strange – every object in Diego’s life, no matter how mundane, was a puzzle to him.  Cars, machines, street food… it all seemed to be completely new to him.  His speech was delightfully formal and archaic and hinted at someone completely foreign (one of my favorite lines, when the doctor wanted to get some tests:  “What does he mean, drawing blood?  Has he issued challenge?”  I loved how he spoke, and I think if this book is made into an audiobook with a talented narrator it would be even more amazing).  Eventually, Finn admits to Diego that he is not human, that he is a pooka who slept for 700 years and awoke to the modern world, and found that he was unable to return to the world of the Fae.  And he is being slowly poisoned by the air and the water of this world, and he doesn’t know how to stop it.

These two characters just fit together.  Diego, humble, extraordinarily generous, exceedingly kind, and stronger than he acknowledges; and Finn, adventurous, spontaneous, artistic, with a charming combination of naivete and worldliness.  Finn is open about love and sexuality, and freely admits his admiration and attraction for Diego, though Diego is more guarded about how he feels about Finn.  They travel to an isolated area of Canada where Finn is finally able to regain his health, but they find that he is not the only supernatural being who has been sleeping…

This book really was shaping up to be a five star read for me.  I fell in love with both of the characters, and I was drawn into the danger and the adventure in the wilds of Canada.  The mystery of Diego’s true nature, and how Finn gradually helped him to acknowledge and embrace it, fascinated me.  I felt like the excitement was building and building, and I couldn’t put the book down, but the climax ended up falling a little short of the buildup.  And then the story meandered on for another few chapters that seemed irrelevant and even after I finished the book, I still didn’t know what the point of those chapters was.  So, I ended up taking off a star.  Regardless, I really enjoyed this book, and I will read it again, and I am very much hoping it is the beginning of a series!

Cover art by Emmy@studioenp is pretty but doesn’t say much about the book.

Sales Links:  Pride Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 226 pages
Published May 22nd 2018 by Pride Publishing (first published July 2nd 2009)
Original TitleFinn
ASINB07C3MH4X8
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesEndangered Fae #1
CharactersFinn Shannon, Diego Sandoval settingNew Brunswick (Canada)

A MelanieM Review: Family Matters (Brandywine Investigations #4-5) by Angel Martinez

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

With his career firmly established and his reputation as a successful PI growing, Hades should have the perfect life with his human lover, his faithful ferryman, his dogs and the parts of his family still speaking to him. But murder and chaos are never far away for death lords as his nephew Dionysus and his oldest friend Charon are drawn into the maelstrom.

Includes: Books, Bulls, & Bacchanals: Brandywine Investigations #4 Midwinter Dancing: Brandywine Investigations #4.5 Pack Up the Moon: Brandywine Investigations #5

With Angel Martinez’s fertile imagination, she has created a universe in which Lord Hades gets a divorce, gets kicked out of the underworld and starts a detective agency.  Of course, there’s so much more to it than that.  It involves so many gods and goddesses hanging out in the “real world” as well as on the Olympic plain, all doing their thing.  It’s fun, it’s a madhouse of murder and mystery and the author often turns well-known mythology on it’s head time after time.  Yes, it’s also absolutely marvelous great times.

I’ve taken the two stories that make up Family Matters separately.  They both take place in the Brandywine Investigations universe and have some of the same characters, in that Dio and Leander, along with Hades and Ti makes appearances in Pack Up the Moon.

Books, Bulls, & Bacchanals: Brandywine Investigations #4: Rating: 5 stars

Everyone assumes life’s one big party for Dionysus, but even the god of wine and orgies has problems. His anger management issues are out of control, and his siblings suggest a visit to the Eternal Library to find a cure. The library of the gods is a strange and confounding place, though, one that Dionysus has avoided for centuries, and his certainty that the library hates him is confirmed when a killer strikes during his visit.

Life as the only librarian is blissfully peaceful for Leander, giving him the security and quiet he so desperately needs. Considered a monster as a child, Leander’s memories of his imprisonment in the Labyrinth left deeply carved emotional scars. But when a young woman is murdered in his library, he needs to emerge from his self-imposed seclusion to help find the killer who might still stalk the hallways.

Forced to keep company with Dionysus, Leander swings between whether the unpredictable and charming little god will keep him safe or drive him to distraction before the killer is found.

I absolutely loved this story.  Here again the author takes two well known mythological figures Dionysus and the Minotaur and puts her own spin on their characters, personalities, and back histories.   Personally, I like her take on them  better.  Dio as he’s called is a slightly damaged, loving chaos god whose brain was scrambled by what you might call an acid trip.  He wants to be loved and accepted for who he is.  Hard when part of that includes orgiastic events that he needs to feed his life force.  For too many lovers, that’s been  breaking point along with a certain impossible to contain destructive anger.  One that explodes when he finds his human assistant dead in the Underworld Library.

Leander, head librarian at The Eternal Library, is the Minotaur.  However, here, instead of a fierce monster, he was an abused teenager, unjustly imprisoned by his family and betrayed by Theseus.  He’s a figure of utter shyness, poignancy, with a good measure of PTSD thrown in.  All in a huge minotaur’s body.  All he wants is his books, his garden, and to be left alone with his red panda assistants (so  fantastically  adorable).   But one murder, several robberies, and that’s quite impossible.

The authors characterizations, wonderful plot, sweet romance, and all the suspense make this a 5 star romp that both endearing and edge of your seat exciting.  Loved it.

Pack Up the Moon: Brandywine Investigations #5 Rating 4.5 stars out of 5

Charon, Hades’ ferryman of the Dead across the River Styx, has watched Hades himself and several of Hades’ nephews all find love.  And quietly wished for love himself.  To pass in the normal world, he runs Stygian Funeral Home when he isn’t helping solve mysteries with Lord  Hades.  Then it happens, he has a run in with the raccoon demi god Azeban and his crow Kaukont and everything starts to go terribly wrong.  Or right after a very mixed up fashion even for a Chaos god.  With the world and all its souls hanging in the balance, can love and a ton of goddesses and Chaos gods save the day?

Chary, that wonderful Chaos god who has appeared in all the stories, now gets his own romance.  Long overdue and I’m so happy with the results.  No less than the utter end of the Death Lords and the World could be at stake here.  And the resolution and unlikeliest of heroes is also a Raccoon.  Well, a raccoon god and a crow.  There’s  the Martinez humor, a great deal of pathos in two characters who never thought they’d find love and do with each other, near death experiences, and a wonderful drum dance of goddesses and this story came very close to perfection.    Perhaps I wanted a little more comeuppance for the evil deeds done but maybe that ‘s not possible when you are talking about gods.

If you love mythology, Angel Martinez and her wild takes on everything from murder mysteries to every known god pantheon there is, this is the universe and stories for you.  Grab them all up while you are at it.  I highly recommend them all.

Cover art: Rebeckah Murray.  I like this cover.  Clearly different from the norm.  That Leander and Dio on the front.  I liked it.

Sales Links:  Mischief Corner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 502 pages
Published February 28th 2018 by Mischief Corner Books
ASINB079QZG71P
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Brandywine Investigations #4-5

Please note: Books, Bulls & Bacchanals has been re-edited with a few story adjustments for this edition.

A MelanieM Review: All The World’s An Undead Stage (Offbeat Crimes #6) by Angel Martinez

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Rating:  5 stars out of 5

Old actors never die shouldn’t be literally true.

Carrington Loveless III, skim-blood vampire and senior officer of Philly’s paranormal police department, has long suspected that someone’s targeting his squad. The increasingly bizarre and dangerous entities invading their city can’t be a coincidence. So when a walking corpse spouting Oscar Wilde attacks one of his officers, Carrington’s determined to uncover the evil mind behind it all.

As a rare books librarian, Erasmus Graham thought he understood some of the stranger things in life. Sharing a life with Carrington’s shown him he didn’t know the half of it. They’ve survived attack books and deadly dust bunnies together and got through mostly unscathed.

Now his world and his vampire’s appear ready to collide again. Books are missing from the rare books’ collection—old tomes of magic containing dangerous summonings and necromancy. He’s certain whoever’s been stalking the Seventy-Seventh is composing their end game.

It’s going to take a consolidated effort from paranormal police, librarians, and some not-quite-authorized civilians to head off the impending catastrophe.

As I said before, I’m sort of running out of superlatives here.  Angel Martinez and this series, Offbeat Crimes, has given us wildly imaginative and perfectly wonderful in every way characters, over the top creatures like ginormous pills bugs from space and lethal flying verse spitting books, an overall arc and villain to literally die for.  Of course, some of the main characters here are already dead, including Carr, aka  Det. Carrington Loveless III, a vampire who has a real distaste for blood and lives off a “blood lite” version that he still finds barely edible.  Oh and he’s in love with a rare books librarian Erasmus Graham.  What a couple, a great one among quite a few memorable ones with this series.

In All The World’s An Undead Stage (Offbeat Crimes #6) Angel Martinez brings this  particular arc to an end, although I’m hoping with all my heart not the series.  A evil mage has been targeting the Seventy-Seventh Precinct and we are soon to find out who and why.

And it involves  zombie actors spouting verse coming to kill them.  Nods.  Of course it does.  Makes perfect sense.  In an Angel Martinez world.

And that’s just the opening act as they say.

Because there are layers and layers to these stories.  It’s never just about the villain and his nefarious plans for…well…whatever.  It’s also about relationships, romantic ones, working dynamics, interspecies communication, even something beyond that here as the Precinct is made up of all types of intelligent beings even if we aren’t quite sure of their origin.  All The World’s An Undead Stage is about the beings inside of it, working together to survive, go forward, and yes, thrive while loving each other and keeping the world safe.

That’s a tall order when you are facing evil of this magnitude.

And I’ve come to care deeply about everyone, every character here due to the author’s superb characterizations and writing skills.  How else do you explain me sobbing away here:

Carrington took a quick glance back at Hunter and LJ.  They held each other tight–strange orphans abandoned on the darkest possible of nights. LJ lifted a sleeve in a wave and Carrington returned it with a salute.  They were, without a doubt, the bravest jackets he had ever met.

We are talking about animated clothing here.  Two jackets…a couple, (LJ a leather jacket and Hunter, a pea coat) who have become two of the characters I’m fondest of.  At that imagery?  I’m bawling like a baby.  Especially if you knew the rest of the context.  The author has over the course of this series given these jackets life and personality.  Oh, yes, love and a relationship. You forget you are crying over flying bits of linen and leather but recognize them as beings that levitate and love each other, that have pride in being part of the Seventy-Seventh Precinct and show fear of loss.

Extrapolate that depth of characterization to the cast of beings, the humans with quirky “talents”, the wolf cursed to be a human, the vampire who can’t stand blood, the firestarters, the shakers and quakers, all the couples and the ‘animals’ who make up the Seventy-Seventh.  They are all here in amazing detail and dimension, alive, vivid and believable.

Carrington and Erasmus are at the top of this story as they focus on their relationship while adding up clues, hunting missing books, and dealing with Carrington’s mother.  All the various story threads flow easily together, weaving in and out, like some weird, wonderful supernatural tapestry.  I arrived at the end far too quickly, a little shaken, counting all the characters to make sure everyone arrived safely (still not sure I counted right).  And now I’m squinting at some of those lines of the authors.

Hmmm.

I mean, it’s quite all right for 42 to be the answer to life, the universe and everything.  But really, “Someone feed the gouramis!”  Damn pesky fish.  More books, Ms Martinez, more books are definitely needed because as we all know carp are never to be trusted!

Read it…it will make sense..I promise you.  But if you are new to the series, don’t start here.  Read them all in order.  It’s such a pleasure watching the men, women, beings of the Seventy-Seventh learn to come together from a shaky beginning to the solid unit they are here that depends and yes, feels deep affection for each other (more for the couples).  For me this is a must read series.  I highly recommend it.

Cover art: Posh Gosh.  I like the covers and the way it brands the series.

Sales Links:  Pride Publishing | Amazon

Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Published January 2nd 2018 by Pride Publishing
Original TitleAll the World’s an Undead Stage
ISBN139781786516602
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Offbeat Crimes – Add it to your Goodreads now: