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: No Fae Is An Island (Endangered Fae #4) by Angel Martinez

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

TNoFaeIsAnIsland_200hree years ago Diego Sandoval was banished from the human world as punishment for the crimes he committed while out of his mind.  With him went his Pookie lover, Finnochad.  Now the time of their banishment is up and Diego and Finn are returning to Tearmann Island, and to all the friends they left behind.  Living amongst the wild Fae has taught Diego many lessons he needed to learn and time to assuage the pain deep inside himself.  But has it been enough?

The human world and Tearmann Island has moved on in Diego’s absence.  Theo Aguilar, the rogue vampire, is now head of Prince Lugh’s security while Zack moved into Diego’s spot as Chief Liaison for the Fae Collective.  What will happen when Diego and Finn return?  It’s not just Diego who is uncertain about what happens next for them all.

To further complicate an already complicated situation, a number of Fae and gifted humans have been imprisoned by country who sees magic as dangerous and forbidden.  A  diplomatic mission mounted to save them turns deadly and its left to  Theo and a surprise stowaway to save the day.  And the stowaway?  Well, that would be a young curious selkie who followed Diego and Finn home from the wild Fae lands.  He wanted to see the world and got far more than he ever expected.  When the world goes crazy once more, its up to the inhabitants of Tearmann Island to find a way out of the precarious position Diego and Finn find themselves in and save them all.

No Fae  Is An Island, the fourth story in the Endangered Fae series by Angel Martinez, picks up three years after Danu’s banishment of Diego to the wild lands of the Fae.  Its been 3 years and 3 days and now its time for Diego and Finn to return home.  During that time Diego has listeneed and learned from many of the Fae in the Otherworld.  From the counsel of dragons to learning about the singular joys of laughter and living in the moment from a pod of selkies, Diego finds himself older, wiser, and finally more at peace with himself and the damage he caused while temporarily deranged.   From the darkness of Semper Fae emerges a quieter, more uncertain Diego and that change in character translates realistically and beautifully here in the opening chapter.

I have been eagerly awaiting this story since I finished Semper Fae, an outstanding novel at every aspect but one that was darker in scope than the previous stories.  Like the rest of the inhabitants of Tearmann Island, the Fae nation locale on the human world, I have waited to see what the banishment and time has done for Diego and his lover, Finn.  I was teary eyed as I “watched” them go, so I was overjoyed to find this story opens up on a sandy beach in the Otherworld with Diego watching Finn play with a pod of selkies in the ocean.  It’s joyful, peaceful, and the Diego found here is the one I was hoping to see.  He’s not yet fully healed but clearly on his way.  I love how believable Diego and his journey towards becoming the man/mage he is capable of being.  Each book has seen Diego become a more nuanced and layered being, complete with moments of depression, pride and arrogance vying with guilt and humility to arrive at a person who acknowledges he is still a work in progress.  I believe in Diego wholeheartedly, and with that, comes a belief in Finn, his Pookie lover who has also made some important transitions of his own.  They change, their relationship changes and deepens and so does their place in the world they have had a share in making.

Angel Martinez manages to temper her moments of seriousness and angst with those of laughter and joy.  Attaining that balance can be tricky but Martinez handles that beautifully here in the form of Limpet, a young selkie (150 years young) who is one of the most endearing characters of recent memory. Limpet is the levity and heart of innocence of this story.  It’s his pod that’s playing with Finn in the opening chapter but the pod’s life has gotten too small for Limpet who wishes to see the human world of Finn’s stories and tall tales.  Limpet is the balm to Theo’s pain and watching those two beings connect and establish a relationship is one of this story’s strengths and delights. He may come across as simple at first but nothing in this series is ever as simple as it appears.  The author does a tremendous job in providing layer upon layer to her story and characters, The characters change and grow as the plot twists and turns in a pattern as complex as a mandala.

To all the other mythic lore Martinez has introduced in the previous stories, in No Fae Is An Island adds yet another culture’s myths, this time those of the Middle East and Tales of the Arabian Nights.  Here it makes sense and brings a whole new cast of characters to fold into her universe and Fae collection.  And what a startling group it is.  Especially Nusair but I will let you discover him on your own.

The author’s on-going themes of identity, self awareness, and the journey towards a completeness of being continues in No Fae Is An Island and not just in the character of Diego.  Others are on that path too.  Its a tortuous journey but a believable one.  Is it tough to suspend our belief in our universe to take in all the mythical creatures Martinez brings to her world?  Not at all.  You slide into this world and universe building with an ease and pleasure that never lets up. I love this story and series.  And I can’t wait to see where it goes next, some place dark if any of the portents I read here are an indication. I will be waiting to see where these amazing characters and series go next.  It’s an astonishing trip, make sure you come with us every step of the way.

No Fae Is An Island is a story I can highly recommend as I do the entire Endangered Fae series.  Pick them all up today but make sure you read them in the order they were written, a must to understand the characters, their growth and relationships.  I will leave you an excerpt at the end of this review.  Succinct and charming…meet Limpet!

Cover art by Winterheart Designs.  Love that cover.  That is Theo and Limpet to perfection.

Sales links:   MLR Press        All Romance eBooks (ARe)       Amazon          No Fae Is An Island

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 255 pages
Published September 5th 2014 by MLR Press
ASINB00NBI2UP6
edition languageEnglish
seriesEndangered Fae #4

I have listed all the Endangered Fae stories in the order they were written and should be read to understand the events and character development. Put all on your must read list today!

Finn (Endangered Fae #1) (includes Finn’s Christmas)
Diego (Endangered Fae #2)
Semper Fae (Endangered Fae #3)
No Fae Is An Island (Endangered Fae #4)

No Fae Is An Island Excerpt

“You don’t need to come with me.” Theo fought clenched teeth. The selkie was a friend of Mr. Sandoval’s and Finn’s, too—Finn who had been so kind to him after accidentally squashing him in dragon form. No need to be rude.

“Quite all right. I’ve nothing better to do.”

“You can’t come with me,” Theo said in the chilliest, sternest tone he could muster.

“Oh, of course I can. I see quite well at night.”

Theo squeezed his eyes shut against the headache. It shouldn’t have been there. He’d fed that morning and napped the rest of the day in lethargic, sated bliss. Fine. He’ll get bored and leave soon. “All right. But you have to be quiet.”

“Yes, yes, of course. In case something bad is here. A pack of nixes maybe. Oh, they’re bad. Or a kraken tries to swim close and ambush you, yes? You’re a real warrior, then? Have you seen many battles? Do you have scars? I have scars, but only because I was very young—”

“Limpet.” Theo stopped and took the selkie’s chin in his hand, holding his head still. “Whispering is not being quiet.”

“Right you are. Sorry. You have beautiful eyes.”

Theo dropped his hand and walked away, shaking his head. It was going to be long night.