A BJ Review: Human Choices (Guardians of the Leythe #2.0) by Jaye McKenna

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Rating:  4.5 stars out of 5

Human Choices coverKhy has been held prisoner for years, drugged, bound with a collar around his neck that keeps him from using his leythe energy, and forced to serve Master Rikard. Treated like a slave during the day and enduring agony at night as his power is ripped from him for Rikard’s nefarious use, Khy has little memory of any other life. Until one day his master is called away on urgent business, and Khy is left alone. When the drugs wear off, he makes a break for freedom while he can.

He meets Jaedin, a former ranger who is still mourning the loss of his beloved Talon five years after his death, in the town of Rosefire. When Jaedin steps in to help Khy, he finds himself haunted by voices and in an attempt to rid himself of them, sets off in search of Khy thinking he has cursed him.

This was written from a photo and prompt for the Love’s Landscapes series of DRitC. The author did an absolutely amazing job with incorporating the prompt and the photo so truly perfectly into the story that was written. I initially read this story (which is second in a series) before having read the first book. I enjoyed it then, but this past week I went back and read it after reading book one, and it came to life much fuller and more completely since I now had a background on Varien and Tor.

The world building in this series is excellent, and all of the characters are well drawn. I cared about them and what would happen to them immediately. Plenty of angst (this author’s guys tend to go through the wringer a bit, which I love!) Totally rooting for Khy to have a HEA although the whole thing with Jaedin near the start did piss me off while at the same time I found it interesting. This story is tagged as non-con, but its a different take on the non-con trope. Almost a reversal. I won’t spoil that by explaining, but give it a read and see.

So back to the world building. There are so many elements of this series that I find pretty damn cool about its world, well, I mean in addition to the magic and the hot long-haired guys, of course.

* The Fireskye, made me think of the Northern Lights (which have always fascinated me)! Only even more cool. 

* The Black? Is it death? Hell? Both? Something else. 

* The leythe itself and how it runs through what is turning into quite a complex history.

I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting Tor and Ash from book one. And while I loved the new guys (especially Jaedin), I am still most drawn to Ashnavayarian, I hope he continues to appear in this series as I find him quite fascinating as he grows and changes—which he’s done a lot of from book one to this story! And I loved the little bits of him and Tor’s continuing relationship that peek through in this near the end.

An engrossing fantasy with magic, angst, and a fascinating world. I highly recommend this, but must say I think you might enjoy it even more if you read Human Frailties, Human Strengths first. I know I did.

The cover by Cinchbug is nicely representative of the story.

Sales Links:  Free here at Goodreads M/M Romance Group

Book Details:

ebook, 141 pages
Published June 7th 2014 by M/M Romance Group @ Goodreads
edition languageEnglish
series: Guardians of the Leythe #2.0, Love’s Landscapes, Don’t Read in the Closet Events , more
characters: Jaedin (Human Choices), Khy (Human Choices), Ashnavayarian “Ash/Varian”, Tor MacAran

A BJ Review: Human Frailties, Human Strengths (Guardians of the Leythe #1.0) by Jaye McKenna

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Human Frailties Human Strengths coverAshnavayarian was a powerful, god-like being of the leythe, the place from which magical energies emanate. But Ash has been a bad boy. His thoughtless, selfish meddling and manipulating has led to a war and disturbances within the leythe. Ash needs to be taken down a peg or two, so the goddess Jhara punishes him by forcing him to live in human form with most of his power stripped from him. She hopes he’ll learn that using other creatures for his own amusement isn’t right and that some of the things he considers human frailties (like compassion and love) are just what he needs to learn. Of course, that doesn’t go over well with Ash, and he’s determined to thwart Jhara by any means necessary and break his exile. Jhara throws Ash another curveball when she leythe-bonds him to Toryn MacAran, a human!

Tor has never fit in and always harbored a painful emptiness inside, like something is missing. When a strange encounter at a bookstore one night ends up landing him at the feet of the handsome Ash, he may have found the answer. Ash’s touch takes his emptiness and pain away and makes him feel compete.

Both main characters are well developed and interesting in their own right, but when they come together, oh boy! The chemistry goes off the charts. I adored the interaction between these two. An emotional rollercoaster.

Ash is a self-centered, full of himself ass at the beginning of this story, but he’s so damn fun. Tor is the broken boy that I always adore. And I do adore him… except that by the end, I’m so in love with Ash that even Tor’s delicious brokenness cannot compare. These guys go through hell and back in this story, but the growth of the characters throughout is such a treat to read.

This is a complex fantasy that takes place on another world separate from the earth (from which Tor came). The world building is quite intricate and yet so smoothly woven that it never felt cumbersome as some fantasies do for me. Fast-paced, lots of wit, smoking hot sex, angst, sexy long-haired men (my fav!), and some freaky bad guys to hate from Lucano in the first section on to some of his horrible creations in the second.

And then there’s Carrik Tarn, a very interesting and pivotal secondary character. I won’t say much about him for fear of it being a spoiler, but I’d really like to know more of his background. Maybe that will come out in a sequel. Oh, and there’s this one scene where I just wanted to kick him in the nuts so bad I could taste it. Except, well, that would have been impossible even if I were there at the time.

So much happens in this book, much more than I’d expect for the number of pages. It has the depth of a much longer read–almost like an epic. I read the first half, Human Frailties, about a year ago as a freebie. Since I’d enjoyed the first half of the story quite a lot, I really have no idea why I waited so long to read the full story. But very glad I finally did because the second half took the tale into awesome territory. The second half made me fall in love.

So if you’ve read Human Frailties and never went on to read the rest, don’t wait! It only gets better.

Ash and Tor need a sequel, and actually, I’m pretty sure there is one currently in the works. I can’t wait. And one last thing–I have to mention how much I love the name Ashnavayarian and all its interesting variants!

The cover by Cinchbug depicts both characters just as I’d pictured them along with the other important elements of the story. The dark, mysterious mood is perfect.

Sales Links: All Romance (ARe)Amazon    Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, Smashwords, 272 pages
Published September 30th 2013 by Jaye McKenna, via Smashwords
ISBN139781301308873
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.smashwords.com/books/view/363010
seriesGuardians of the Leythe #1.0

A BJ Review: Burn the Sky by Jaye McKenna

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Rating:   4.5 stars out of 5

Burn The Sky coverTwenty year-old Prince Garrick is eldest son and heir presumptive of the Kingdom of Altan, but he can’t be crowned until his latent Wytch power awakens. Pressure comes to bear on his father, the Wytch King, when the much younger Prince Jaire’s Wytch power awakens instead. But Jaire, a bookish dreamer, is completely unsuited for the role of king. With his father becoming impatient, Garrick agrees to allow his Wytch power to be forced awake by the Wytch Master Tevari in order to protect Jaire. But secrets have been kept about the history and powers that lurk within the family line. When the power of the dragon within Garrick is forced awake, he’s painfully torn apart and unable to control his rage and urge to burn the sky.

Wytch Master Ilya is a century old dragon shifter and the only one with the power to try and help Garrick learn to control his own dragon. And if Ilya cannot teach Garrick to harness the beast within him before it destroys the whole kingdom, it will fall upon his shoulders him to destroy him instead. But when the two men meet, the sparks begin to fly in more ways than one. 

Prince Garrick grew so much during this story from the rebellious youth goofing off from his studies & getting off in the corridors with his friend to a strong leader fighting to control his dragon power and take on the mantle of responsibility for an entire Kingdom. Excellent characterizations throughout. Kian was sweet, down-to-earth, and witty almost despite himself. Poor young Jaire, frail and not suited to rule, disliked by his father for reasons outside his control, yet he shows both courage and strength.

But beautiful Ilya with his tragic past and wounded heart steals the spotlight for me, since I’m a huge sucker for wounded men.

Intricate and quite nuanced world-building. Interesting power struggle between the Wytch Council and Wytch King, because even though the Wytch Kings governed their kingdoms, the Wytch Council seemed to hold power over who was allowed to take the throne. Individual intrigue also comes into play in this fast-paced story.

I thoroughly enjoyed this. It had wit, heat, angst, intrigue, and lots of long-haired men! And I love the contrast between Ilya’s ice dragon and Garrick’s more traditional fire-breathing dragon. I’d easily recommend this well-written fantasy! It’s my new favorite dragon shifter story.

Cover Artist: Chinchbug created a stunning depiction of dragons in flight that grabbed my attention with color contrast and captured motion.

Sales Links:     All Romance (ARe)         Amazon             Buy It Here

Book Details:

195 pages, eBook
Published January 12, 2015

Mythe Weaver Press