A Free Dreamer Release Day Review: Lust and Other Drugs (Mytho #1) by TJ Nichols

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Police officer Jordan and dragon shifter Edra might have to work together, but they don’t trust each other—even if sparks do fly between them.

If anyone finds out Jordan’s a mytho sympathizer, it could kill his career. No one can know that he frequents the satyr dens and uses the drug Bliss. A dead satyr might not get much attention, but two dead humans who appeared to overdose on Bliss? That shouldn’t even be possible.

And it might not be an accident.

Edra, Mythological Services Liaison, has been covering up mytho crimes to protect the community’s reputation. With a mayoral election looming, the last thing his people need is a scandal like this one.

To get a murderer off the streets, Jordan and Edra will be spending a lot of time together, and it won’t be easy to keep up with their deceptions. Or keep resisting each other.

While I love Fantasy, I’m usually not big on crime/mystery novels, so I was a bit unsure whether I wanted to read “Lust And Other Drugs” or not. In the end, it was the cover that convinced me to give this a try. And I’m so glad it did, because this book was absolutely brilliant!

As I said above, I’m not a big Mystery reader, so I can’t really judge the quality of the crime solving part of the novel. I can only say that I enjoyed it and was glad it didn’t take up a huge part of the book. It’s essential to the plot, but it’s just one essential part among others.

The romance is a very slow burn. There’s an instant spark between our MCs, but they don’t tumble into bed or into a relationship right away. It takes time and it’s not easy. While relationships between a mytho and a human might not be forbidden, it is most definitely taboo. And very bad for Jordan’s career in an anti-mytho police force. And Edra has good reasons to be wary of humans in general, especially the human police. I really enjoyed the slow dance of attraction and the UST was so scorching hot.

The Fantasy part was actually really interesting. While a lot of the elements aren’t exactly new (dragons, collapsing worlds, magic,…), the author managed to give it a very unique twist. For once, the end of the world isn’t caused by evil magic, but by a mundane human experiment gone wrong. And it’s not the end of the human world, but the end of another realm. All our fairy tales and myths are based on the mythos, that used to visit our human world. The world building was very well done and made perfect sense to me.

I loved the politics, the way the world reacted to the sudden appearance of mythological creatures and how the daily life works now, 10 years later. Again, it all made sense. Humans are always wary of anything that’s “different” and after such a huge upheaval, it only follows that humans want to go back to what’s “normal”. They become more intolerant and humans that don’t fit in are also viewed with hostility.

Jordan was rather surprising. He loves wearing lingerie and likes to put on eyeliner and lipstick every now and then. I’m usually not really into femme MCs, but the way the author described the feeling of the silk against skin was incredibly sensual. And the way Edra reacted was just hot as hell.

Overall, I really, really loved “Lust And Other Drugs”. The ending is a very open HFN and it’s obvious there’s more to come. The love story doesn’t really have a satisfying result and the crime isn’t fully solved either. But it didn’t end on a cliffhanger. I’m really looking forward to the next book in the series. I want to know what happens next!

The cover by Tiferet Design most definitely did it’s job. It’s what caught my attention in the first place and what ultimately made me decide to read the book. I think it looks really great and totally fits the story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book details:

ebook, 1st edition, 203 pages
Expected publication: April 2nd 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN1 39781644051887
Edition Language English

Series Mytho #1

A Lila Advent Calendar Review: The Legend of Gentleman John by TJ Nichols

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Banyn, a fae, escorts the souls of children to Magh Meall, but one Christmas, he comes for a lad who isn’t quite dead, and he breaks a rule rather than wait while John fights a battle he’ll ultimately lose. So begins a long-running affair that crosses the border between life and death, the human and fae realms, and even oceans to strange countries with different gods and rules.

John Rourke renounced a religion that had no place for him and returned to the old ways. Convicted of theft, he is sentenced to transportation and suffers brutal punishment—until he escapes to live on his own terms as a bushranger. When vengeance against his tormentor consumes him and threatens his life, John finds he has only one holiday wish—to see his fae lover one last time.

The Legend of Gentleman John is not a traditional Holiday story. It does take place at the end of December and the dates are important to the story, making it relevant to the season.

I did enjoy both main characters, John and Banyn. They were unique and complemented each other paths.  Following the timeline takes a couple of pages, but it’s easy to spot the changes in time and the need for them. 

There’s a lot of world-built for such a short story. It’s interesting to see how John grows and how Banyn tries not to interfere with his life. I wanted a chance to see more of the times they were together, happy, before the end of the story. 

Which brings me to a heart-melting ending. I wish everyone that lived before us had a chance to redeem themselves and be loved & remember as John did. 

The cover by Brooke Albrecht follows the 2018 Advent Calendar | Warmest Wishes template. The picture within could be John’s.

Sale Link: Amazon | Nook | Dreamspinner

Book Details:
ebook, 40 pages
ISBN: 9781644050644
Published: December 1, 2018, by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language: English

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Blood for the Spilling (Studies in Demonology #3) by TJ Nichols

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

You really need to read this as a trilogy, and I would highly recommend them if you like epic fantasy/erotic romance with graphic violence. I was so excited for this third book to come out. If I rated the trilogy as a whole, I would rate it 4.5 stars. This is the end of the story arc for our heroes’ journey.

As the magic is draining from Demonside turning it into desert, Humanside is becoming covered in ice. Book two showed the escape from Vinland to the Mayan Empire for Angus, Saka, Terrance, Wek, Lizzie, Reese, and Emma. Everyone gets separated right away. Priest Cadmael has been questioning everyone to make sure they aren’t Vinland spies. He summons up everything I didn’t like about Terrence quite nicely. But what Angus, Terrance, and Saka fell into naturally, here is ritualized. Cadmael wants to get rid of Terrance and force Angus and Saka to bond with a Mayan priest as an anchor. Forcing humans and demons as partners against their will doesn’t seem that much different to me than the College. In fact, the Mayan way might seem better, but there are still ways in which humans are exerting control over demons in everyday life.

The Mayan Empire has a much higher level of magic and are devotional about rebalancing. In the city of Uxmel, demons seem to walk the streets freely. Meanwile Saka gets to see trees, flowing water, and permanent settlements in this part of Demonside. The demons are completely different, antlered, scaled, or feathered. Mage Iktan has put Saka to work in the healer’s building, when humans crossover for help. Lest you think everything is so much better, rebalancing takes on a whole new form here with the introduction of pitz, played in large arena matches. It was previously established that emotion in the blood made it more potent, although why that isn’t being funneled into something renewable instead of beheadings, seems strange. For instance, everyone in the crowd could donate blood rather than just killing a few players. As magical attacks from Vinland increase and their system starts to break down, they are lost–not used to thinking outside the box. They also don’t care about the whole world, just on saving their tiny part of it in the controlled way they want for as long as possible.

There are also doorways created that control the flow of magic between the worlds, as well as where people can come and go–both a good and bad thing. Still, this knowledge could help the Lifeblood tribes being summoned and killed by Vinland. Cadmael askes Angus to speak to World Council of Demonology; they then decides to ban demon magic except for rebalancing. But Saka is sick of waiting for humans to do something, so the demons will try to stop the flow of magic by closing the doors. Angus has a plan to find and take all the stolen magic from Vinland and return it to Demonside. The surprise here is that after all the distrust shown to the defectors, Cadmael just goes along with this plan? After Cadmael being a central character the whole time, he is now just shuffled to the background and no longer seems in charge.

This has always been heading towards the showdown with Angus and the College to restore the magic stolen from Demonside in order to save the world. Overall, I am very happy with how I got there. I would say, I wouldn’t have minded this actually being four books. I feel there was so much detail in the first two books, that when details started to get skimmed over, especially in the last third of the story in order to rush to the conclusion, I felt a little disappointed. After waiting all this time for a love scene between Terrence, Angus, and Saka it was rushed and not quite what I hoped for. I have been a bit hard on Terrence during the course of these books and I will say, while he redeems himself here, he’s still the weak link. I finally decided that is alright; his role is not just the anchor to bring Angus back to Humanside, but to remind Angus of his humanity. He is the only one who wants Angus for Angus, not his magic. Still, I had an expectation that this would be a true triad, and I had to let go of that. There is a lot at the end that we don’t get to see, like what happened to the Lifeblood tribes? What happens when Saka goes back? So, I was left with questions and wondering if they will be told in flashbacks in another book that shows us the rebuilding. If they could take what was good about the Mayan Empire and Vinland (and what about the other nations) and merge them to make a new worldwide system, what would that look like? That’s really the highest compliment I can give: that I don’t want to let go of this world and the people in it. I will reread these.

Cover art by Catt Ford is great and I love how it connects with the story.

Sales Links: DSP Publications | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 280 pages

Published: November 27, 2018 by DSP Publications

ISBN-13: 978-1-64080-882-9

Edition Language: English

Series: Studies in Demonology #3

An Alisa Release Day Review: Blood for the Spilling (Studies in Demonology #3) by TJ Nichols

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Rating:  5 stars out of 5

Sheets of ice are spreading across the human world, ushering in an ice age as the magic drained from Demonside turns that world into a desert. Angus and reluctant warlock Terrance have defected from Vinland to the Mayan Empire—a land of dark and potent magic. But the Mayans aren’t offering sanctuary for free.

Nor is the world willing to stand back as Vinland attacks, and the backlash will affect all magic users.

Mage Saka has no tribe. He is now just another refugee fleeing the dying Demonside. He knows the conflict brewing now will be worse than the first demon war. Countries are banding together—not just against Vinland, but against all magic. Where will the powerful Mayan Empire stand?

Angus might have the power to fight Vinland and the Warlock College, but the cost will be terrible. Saka is torn between helping Angus and stopping him. And Terrance would do anything for Angus, but he’s terrified of the man Angus is becoming, even as Saka is warming to the idea of a relationship between the three of them.

No matter what choice they make, victory will be bittersweet, and when the ash settles and the snow melts, nothing will be the same.

I have been waiting for this book ever since I finished the last one, it ended with such a cliffhanger.  Angus, Saka and Terrance are trying to navigate their new normal while dealing with the suspicions of the Mayans.

The story continues to focus on rebalancing the magic in Demonside and how to fight Vinland.  Angus accidentally finds out that he can survive a “clean sweep” which no one with any magical powers has been able to do.  He finds a way to end the problems in Vinland but it’s going to take the support of Saka and Terrance along with many other mages and priests.

We get to see all three of the main characters’ points of view which doesn’t leave me guessing as to how they feel.  Terrance does a lot to redeem his actions from the previous books and it actually gives us a chance to get to know him.  I loved watching Angus and Saka continue to push against the status quo for what others think magic should be.  I could feel for them as they pushed back and tried to find the right solution.  Angus’s sacrifice was huge and changed him forever, I would love to see how this will change things in the world.

Cover art by Catt Ford is great and I love how it connects with the story.

Sales Links: DSP Publications | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 280 pages

Published: November 27, 2018 by DSP Publications

ISBN-13: 978-1-64080-882-9

Edition Language: English

Series: Studies in Demonology #3

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Advent Story Review: Elf on the Beach by TJ Nichols

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Sleigh Ride Advent StoryRoone is an elf who is on his one year elf mission during which he gets to decide if he wants to remain human forever, or if he wants to return to the North Pole to work in the “family business.”  It’s two weeks before New Year’s Eve, the last day of his mission, when he finds himself on the beach in Australia, taking surfing lessons from his gorgeous instructor, Kyle.

Roone has the hots for Kyle and is determined to learn how to surf. He’s equally determined to put a smile on Kyle’s face and help him find the magic of Christmas. Raised in foster homes, Kyle has no recollection of Christmas being anything but lonely and sad. He was never given anything he wanted, especially the gift of his mother coming back for him.

But Roone’s happiness and belief in the magic of Christmas is contagious, and Kyle begins to have little glimpses of what might be when Roone reveals he’s an elf.  The untrusting side of Kyle is dominant, however, and that may mean the end of Roone’s chance for a little more happiness before he leaves.  Or is it the end?  Readers will enjoy this tale as we see just how powerful belief can be.

I like the twist the author gave to the elves having their chance for a one year mission before deciding to work at the North Pole.  And I love the way the magic slowly happened in the story, and the ending was surprising and fun.  I also enjoyed the engaging characters and the non-traditional (no snow) setting.  This is a great little stocking stuffer to put a little magic in someone’s heart.

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

Book Details:

ebook, 41 pages
Published December 1st 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781634769594
edition languageEnglish
series Sleigh Ride – 2015 Advent Calendar