Angel Martinez on Influences, Writing, and her new release The Mage on the Hill (The Web of Arcana #1) (author guest blog and excerpt)

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The Mage on the Hill (The Web of Arcana #1) by Angel Martinez

Dreamspinner Press

Published May 7th 2019

Cover Art: Tiferet Designs

Buy links:  

Dreamspinner Press eBook and Paperback | Kobo | iTunes | Barnes & Noble | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interviews Angel Martinez…

  • How much of yourself goes into a character?

It depends on the character. Basing a character entirely on me would be uncomfortable, but since every character comes out of my brain of course there’s some of me in every one. There are characteristics of mine that I’ve drawn on – certain insecurities and failings. Because I live them, they make good character fodder.

  • Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character?

Oh sure. But a Mary/Gary character are those where the author’s self-insertion is sort of a wish fulfillment. Yes, that’s the author, but the character gets to be the author without the author’s issues and struggles. Therein lies the important difference: drawing on life experience, good or bad, allows an author to share what they know of that experience in a deeply felt, honest way, while Mary/Gary characters draw on aspects of the author through rose-colored glasses.

  • Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

Yes. All of that. Both. I don’t stray too far from science fiction and fantasy. That’s what I write. The story chooses the genre rather than any research concerns and from there, no story is ever without research. Even when dealing with a completely fictional environment – an alien planet, for instance – I still might need to research what’s possible. How far can the planet be from its star to be this climate or that? How big is this star? Where am I placing this in the galaxy? How would this type of atmosphere influence the development of life? And so on. In real world environments, which urban fantasy is to some extent, I need my maps, my historical data, and sometimes really specific things like what flowers are blooming in a certain month in a certain state park.

  • Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

Yes. I haven’t changed one jot. The only difference is there are some genres I still enjoy reading that I’ll probably never write, like historicals and horror.

Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it?  You were hurting with the characters or didn’t know how to proceed?

Never. Mwahahahaha. I will sip tea while my characters suffer. No, that’s not quite accurate. I do hurt with them and sometimes even cry over them, but I’m more likely to stop writing over an external issue that’s simply so overwhelming that I can’t write, like the death of my mother last year.

  • Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I like HFN and HEA when I read romance, though there are some bittersweet endings I’ve enjoyed too. In other genres, no, I don’t need them. In some genres, I don’t expect them at all. But in romance, often I like that warm, smishy feeling that everything turned out well. The world is a hard place these days and the warm smishies help with that.

  • Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

I didn’t read romances until well into my forties. Yes, I was something of a genre snob. But I started reading them in critique groups and when I worked for review sites and have never looked back.

  • Who do you think is your major influence as a writer?  Now and growing up?

Probably C. J. Cherryh, then and now. She was the first author I encountered who could create truly alien minds. I wanted to be her when I grew up.

  • How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?

It’s here to stay, for one thing. Readers have shown that there’s room for multiple book formats – print, ebook, audio – and I think that’s entirely a good thing for the industry. People need choices. The proprietary ebook services and formats may go away some day. One can only hope.

  • How do you choose your covers?  (curious on my part)

I don’t, generally. But I have worked with some amazing artists over the years who’ve taken my vague “here’s what the book is about and I sort of have this in mind” and have made my vague hand waving into amazing things. Sometimes they let me pick models and that’s quite the rabbit hole to go down.

  • Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why?

Ah, the pick your favorite child question. Don’t tell the others, but my favorite is probably always the latest one. I’ve grown as a writer and I recognize that when I look back. Not that I love those stories any less, but the latest one is always the newest, the freshest, and I get to be proud of how far this journey has taken me.

  • Have you ever put a story away, thinking it just didn’t work?  Then years/months/whatever later inspiration struck and you loved it?  Is there a title we would recognize if that happened?

I have had stories that took a terribly long time to finish because of other writing commitments and lack of inspiration. Because I tend to work on one thing at a time, unfinished manuscripts are always a niggling guilt at the back of my brain. Pack Up the Moon, the last Brandywine Investigations story, was two years in the making since I started it and then had other contractual things to fulfill. And there it sat and scowled at me. But I do think I understood where the story had to go better when I came back to it.

What’s  the wildest scene you’ve imagined and did it make it into a story?

Hmm. There’ve been some pretty wild things. Probably one of the most out there involved flying books of bad intent who spat physical, harmful words at people, an animated leather jacket, and well, it just gets stranger from there. Yes, that did come about in Skim Blood & Savage Verse, which is the third Offbeat Crimes story.

  • Ever drunk written a chapter and then read it the next day and still been happy with it?  Trust me there’s a whole world of us drunk writers dying to know.

I tipsy write sometimes, but never drunk write. Not in a serious, whole scene kind of way. However – you knew that was coming – I do have some interesting conversations in my head when drunk and more than one good piece of dialogue has been written on a cocktail napkin and shoved in my purse.

  • With so much going on in the world today, do you write to explain?  To get away?  To move past?  To widen our knowledge?  Why do you write?

Because I write science fiction and fantasy, I often write to illuminate. Non-real world genres allow us to look at issues from one remove, and often from different angles. There are recognizable stand-ins in much of my work for current issues. It’s certainly not the only reason I write, but it slides in every time. Being queer is in itself a political statement, especially now, and as a bi person, I’m constantly aware of that.

Also, if I didn’t write, the voices in my head would eat me.

  •  What’s next for you as a writer?

Probably the next Arcana book, though there are several irons on the fire right now.

Blurb:

A young magic user who wants desperately to live. A jaded recluse who has forgotten what living means. They’re each other’s only chance.

Toby’s wild magic is killing him. The mage guilds have given up on him, and it’s only a matter of time before he dies in a spectacular, catastrophic bang. His only hope is an exiled wizard who lives in seclusion—and is rumored to have lost his mind.

The years alone on his hilltop estate have not been good for Darius Valstad. After the magical accident that disfigured him and nearly drowned Pittsburgh, he drifts through his days, a wraith trapped in memories and depression. Until a stricken young man collapses on his driveway, one who claims Darius is his last chance. For the first time in fifteen years, Darius must make a choice—leave this wild mage to his fate or take him in and try to teach him, which may kill them both. The old Darius, brash and commanding, wouldn’t have hesitated. Darius the exile isn’t sure he can find the energy to try.

Excerpt:

It’s killing him. We have to end this.

Too cruel to force him to keep struggling.

I don’t understand. He should be finding a minor channel at least. Something. He shouldn’t be at this level of physical distress and still be able to throw so much.

We can’t condone pushing on. Dangerous for him and for everyone in a five-mile radius. We’ll have another Darius situation on our hands.

You’ll tell him?

As soon as he’s able to hear it, yes.

Toby drifted from gray misery to scarlet agony, the voices floating to him in fits and starts. His instructors, the director—they were talking about him and they sounded done with him, just like the previous six guilds that had tossed him to the curb. Wild magic. Unplaceable on the web of Arcana. Unsustainable and eventually deadly. The only remaining bets anyone could make now were how many people he took with him when he went out with a catastrophic bang.

Hands lifted him. The familiar sensations of stretcher and rolling followed him down into the dark.

“What’s this?” Toby peered at the papers on the rolling tray, not quite up to focusing through his pounding headache.

The director pulled a chair close and cleared his throat uncomfortably. “We discussed that this might be a possibility someday, Tobias.”

“We’ve talked about a bunch of stuff.”

Director Whittaker let out a sharp sigh.

“Not saying it to be a smartass, sir. I can’t get my eyes to read this just yet.” Toby shifted on the infirmary bed. His fifth stay in this wing of the guildhall and the mattresses hadn’t managed to grow any more comfortable. “Couple hours I should be able to.”

“Ah. My apologies.” The director returned to a concerned parental pose, hands clasped between his knees as he leaned forward. “These are your separation papers from the Montchanin Guildhall.”

Toby swallowed hard. “You’re giving up on me? Already?”

“I’m so sorry, Tobias.” Director Whittaker patted his arm. “The Kovar method is nearly infallible—”

“Nearly. You said nearly.” Despite his pounding head, Toby sat up, hanging on to the director’s hand as hard as he could. “Please don’t do this. You said you’d help me.”

“We said we would do the best we could. Wild magic…. It’s unusual, certainly, but cases of unplaceable wild magic like yours aren’t unheard of. We should have seen some sign of channeling by now. Some directed trickle that would have let us help you find your place in the web.”

Toby let go to fall back against the pillows, hurting, nauseated, and dizzy. His uncontrolled magical explosions, each one harder on him than the time before, had only been getting more volatile and unpredictable. “I don’t have anywhere else to go. Can’t I stay here? Until, well, until….”

“It’s too dangerous for the other students. For the staff and other guild members.” Director Whittaker took his hand again. “Tobias, you blew a hole in the guidance room’s wall today.”

Ten feet of weapons-grade Kevlar and steel—that shouldn’t have been possible. Holy crap. “Did I hurt anyone?”

“Not today. But I can’t risk lives any further. It’s reached that point where we’ve tried everything we could. When you feel up to it, read the packet. There are several wonderful hospice options nearby. Beautiful places where you’ll be cared for and made comfortable. The guild will take care of you and cover any expenses.”

Drugged to the eyeballs so I won’t do any more damage. Allowed to starve to death in the nicest possible surroundings. Toby closed his eyes, his exhausted brain banging up against walls of possibility, trying to find him a way out. All this time he’d been sure one of the guilds would find a way. They were the experts. Now? Now he was terrified. The experts were telling him he needed to accept his impending death. No, no, no, fuck that. “Sir, who’s Darius?”

“Ah, you heard that, did you?” The director sat back and pulled out a microfiber cloth to give his glasses a meticulous cleaning before he went on. “Darius Valstad caused one of the greatest magical disasters in recent memory. He nearly destroyed Pittsburgh. He pulled magic too far from his channelings, the result much like a wild magic accident. The catastrophe was narrowly averted.”

“Oh. That sounds about as bad as it gets. What happened to him?”

“He nearly died. His guild status was revoked, his teaching of any more students forbidden.”

Toby turned that over a few times, his brain fumbling and dropping concepts along the way. “So, but he’s still alive?”

“As far as I know. He lives in isolation, oh, not far from here, with the promise that he will no longer attempt anything beyond personal magic.”

“But he was once like me? And he lived?” Toby knew it was conclusion jumping, but he was desperate enough to reach for anything.

The director’s sigh was slower this time, more melancholy. “Tobias, he found his channels long ago, both his major and minor Arcana. Yes, he lives because as long as he respects the web, his magic won’t tear him apart. He had some early success with teaching unplaceables, but Pittsburgh was the ultimate result of his unorthodox methods.”

“Yes, sir. Of course.”

Director Whittaker rose with one last pat to Toby’s shoulder. “Get some rest. We’ll talk again in the morning. Please keep in mind we’re not simply turning you out onto the street. We want to be certain you’re looked after properly.”

Toby nodded, no longer trusting his voice. He didn’t turn his head to watch the director leave, staring at the white ceiling tiles instead. Ugly ceiling tiles. Places where you have to lie in bed like hospitals and infirmaries should have nice ceilings with meadows and bunnies painted on them. I don’t want to die. Oh gods… I don’t want to die.

About the Author

Building worlds. Constructing Fantasies. Angel Martinez, the unlikely black sheep of an ivory tower intellectual family, has managed to make her way through life reasonably unscathed. Despite a wildly misspent youth, she snagged a degree in English Lit, married once and did it right the first time, (same husband for over twenty-five years) and gave birth to one amazing son (now in college.) While Angel has worked, in no particular order, as a state park employee, retail worker, medic, LPN, call center zombie, banker, and corporate drone, none of these occupations quite fit. She now writes full time because she finally can, and has been happily astonished to have her work place consistently in the annual Rainbow Awards. Angel currently lives in Delaware in a drinking town with a college problem and writes Science Fiction and Fantasy centered around queer heroes.

Website: https://angelmartinezauthor.weebly.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amartinez2

Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/angelmartinez

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AngelMartinezrr

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1010469.Angel_Martinez

A Caryn Release Day Review: The Mage on the Hill (The Web of Arcana #1) by Angel Martinez

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Rating : 3.5 out of 5 stars

Another new fantasy from one of my favorite authors, and another new world.  This is a present day alternate reality, where magic is real, but only those born to it have the power to manipulate it.  But those in authority, the guilds, hold almost absolute domination over all magic users; their overt reason is to protect the non-magic public, but privately, it is to keep control of their dominion.

Toby Jones was a young man who was just starting to come into his powers.  Unfortunately, the guild officers were unable to find which element of the Arcana his magic fit, and unable to identify the correct channel, his wild magic literally exploded out of him, causing destruction to everything around, and eventually would destroy him as well.  He was being treated with a painful last ditch attempt to find his  element, and when that was unsuccessful, the guild gave up on him, and assigned him to euthanasia for the safety of the community.

Toby was not going to accept his death that easily.  He heard a name, Darius Valstad, mentioned by the guild officers while in the near-unconscious state from his last explosion.  He escaped from the guild complex, and, using a little google-fu, he tracked the man down to his house on the hill, and showed up in the last throes of exhaustion, literally collapsing at Darius’s front door.

Darius is older, perhaps in his early 40s (I don’t think it was specifically mentioned).  He was a celebrated mage, one of the best of his generation, and he knew it.  He was a teacher, a mentor, and was known for taking on difficult cases, like Toby’s, and bringing them safely to the knowledge of their element so they could function in the wider magical society.  Until his hubris led him to work with one extremely powerful, but extremely disturbed young woman, and when her magic exploded, it killed her and almost destroyed the entire city of Pittsburg.  Attempting to stop the destruction almost killed Darius, and left him scarred both physically and mentally, and also led to his expulsion from the guild.  The last thing he wanted was to go through all that again with a young man who might easily be more powerful and destructive than his last student.

Toby, however, was both determined and persuasive, and convinced Darius to take him on as a pupil through a combination of kindness and service and appealing to Darius’s innate desire to protect.  They were in danger both from Toby’s magic, and from the guild, who were not about to let a rogue mage put the city in jeopardy again.  As Darius emerged from his self-imposed exile, he found old friends who joined in his mission, as they worked against the clock to channel Toby’s magic before the guild could capture him.  The final showdown was dramatic and satisfying, and clearly points to a sequel.

The relationship between the two men was extremely complicated.  Darius was older, more powerful, and took on the role of protector and teacher, although unwillingly.  Toby was young and fairly immature, but with an innocence and lust for life that Darius could only admire, and it eventually brought Darius back to life as well.  But the age and power gap made me feel uncomfortable with their romance, and I had a hard time believing in it.  I think I would have preferred if there was no romance in the book at all, I would have enjoyed it just as much.  I also felt the characters were not fully developed, or at least not enough for me to connect with them.  The major and minor arcana were interesting, and there was some explanation of how they worked, but not quite enough, and also not enough about how magic was used in the world.  And finally, the apparently common practice of sexual relations between mentors and students was a little off-putting to me.

Despite that, I did enjoy the book, and I will be looking forward to the next one.  I hope that this world will be more fleshed out so I can connect with it better, and that I will come to believe in Toby and Darius relationship more than I did with this one.

Cover art by Tiferet Design is exactly how I imagined Toby to look while caught up in his wild magic

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 194 pages
Expected publication: May 7th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 139781644052648
Edition Language English
Series The Web of Arcana #1

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)