MelanieM’s Best Books of 2014

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Best Books of 2014

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MelanieM’s Best Books of 2014

 

Winnowing down my list of Best Books is always a near impossible project.  To me it always feels like trying to leave a book shop during a particularly wonderful sale.  My arms are full to overflowing with books, with ones toppling off the pile here and there as I totter over to the sales counter.  My impulse is to go back and get more because all are books I loved and need to have near me.  Sigh.  And this year makes it particularly hard.  So many great books came out this year,  terrific short stories,, fabulous endings to series I love…..so this is as close as I got…check it all out below:

Best Series:

 Best Holiday/Whatever Time of the Year Anthologies:

Best Contemporary Fiction:

 

Best Science Fiction:

Best Fantasy:

 

Best Supernatural/Paranormal:

 

Author & Book Spotlight-Angel Martinez, Endangered Fae and No Fae Is An Island! (contest)

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I have invited Angel Martinez back today to talk about her latest release, No Fae Is An Island, and the Endangered Fae series in general.  

Contest:  I’m offering up an ebook copy of No Fae Is An Island today to help celebrate the release.  To enter, leave a comment (list Angel Martinez’ favorite myth), an email address where you can be reached.  Contest ends 9/13.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

 Angel Martinez Interview – Take 3

STRW:   What happened to Diego in the last story was heartbreaking. Had you planned on that happening all along?

Angel Martinez: From the very beginning, when I wrote the first lines of Finn? No. I had no inkling that this would happen. But Diego’s character, like most people, was more complex than I had originally envisioned. There are hints in the second story of an underlying arrogance – not a huge, egomania kind of arrogance, but the sort that makes a man think his solutions are the best ones. Sometimes a good man, one who wants to do the best for everyone, forgets to do the right things for the people closest to him and ends up running roughshod over their feelings. That sort of arrogance.

So the underpinnings were there. But the question occurred to me as I wrote the second book: what if Diego wasn’t such a compassionate soul? With someone so powerful, what would happen? So not all along, no, but before the writing of the third book began. What happens becomes inevitable, but not irretrievable.

STRW:. A theme here seems to be wrapped up with identity, what a being/person is versus what they appear to be. The outer self, the inner person….what is their true nature? Or does there have to be a difference. This can apply to so many issues. Is that what you wanted to get across?

Angel Martinez: That’s an undercurrent probably in all my stories. Who are we versus who does someone see when they look at us? What is it that makes us who we are? Is there an essential part of our personalities, and are we still the same if that’s removed? We all play a number of roles in life, whether we claim to or not. We adjust our outer selves to surroundings, situations, the people we’re around. How much of that outer self is play-acting and how much of it is us? If we play a role long enough, does it become us?

You’re absolutely right that I toy with questions of identity in a lot of ways in this series. Zack needing to discover that he’s still himself after being infected with lycanthropy. Lugh coming to terms with how his projected image affects those around him. Finn’s gradual evolution from a fairly self-centered though kind-hearted being into a true hero. Diego…oh, my poor Diego…but he had things to learn as well. Diego’s role in No Fae Is An Island shows both how much he’s learned and how much he still needs to understand about himself.

STRW:  We now have a vampire coming into our close-knit company. What other beings are central to the new story?

Angel Martinez:  Oh, we have some fun people this time ’round. Of course, the vamps were in the last story too, but as secondary characters—the dark, brooding Theo and the more tentative, misplaced pastry chef, Jasper. Theo’s one of the reasons for No Fae. I had a lot of questions about him as his author that he wasn’t ready to share in Semper Fae. Seems he was ready to start talking for this one, about his past, his family, why he is the way he is, and what really happened in that Los Angeles alleyway.

Another principle character, Limpet the selkie, is brand new, as are Nusair the djinn, who plays an important role in the story, and some other minor characters including a basilisk and a ghoul.

STRW:   Why choose them?

Angel Martinez:  Limpet came into being because I wanted to explore more of the wild fae, those fae who live outside the sidhe and Fomorian court systems. While I toyed with a bane sidhe character briefly, I needed someone a little more humanly accessible for this book and someone who would be more likely to interact with the human world.

The other new beings, like Nusair, were chosen because of geography. Much of No Fae Is An Island takes place in the Arabian desert. It only made sense to have magical beings that would be native to the area.

STRW:  Will our dragons be back? Love those dragons.

Angel Martinez:  I do want to get back to the dragons. While they’re mentioned briefly in No Fae, this really wasn’t the story to explore their world further. I’d have to think long and hard about having them interact more in the human world. Just don’t think it would be something they’re willing to do. So when I do a dragon-heavy story, it will have to have a plotline largely centered in the Otherworld.

STRW:  When writing these stories do you ever waver in what you are doing to some of the characters?

Angel Martinez:  Waver? Yes. Sometimes it’s as hard for me to write terrible things happening to my characters as it is for the reader to read them. I know that’s probably hard to imagine. Readers think we’re sitting with our cup of evil bark tea across the table from Lucifer, laughing about how to torture our characters next. Once in a while. Maybe. But I love my characters – most of the time it’s hard to do the things you know the plot needs.

Yes, there’s wavering, but you have to look at the plot point and ask “Do we need this? Does this make the most sense for where we’re going?” If the answer’s yes, it’s time to pull on the big-author pants and write the terrible thing.

STRW:  Where will the next book take the series?

Angel Martinez:  Well, No Fae took us across the world into the desert. I’m not entirely sure where I want to go with the next one. There probably will be more Otherworld interaction, possibly with some folks who aren’t as human friendly as some of the ones we’ve met.

STRW:. Favorite myth as a child or grownup.

Angel Martinez:  Oof. That’s hard. I love myth desperately. So much myth involves betrayal, lost love, death- tons of depressing stuff. I think if I had to pick one myth that caught my attention most as a kid, it would be the Epic of Gilgamesh. Here’s a guy who just couldn’t lose. At anything. Heroic and partially divine, the gods throw harrowing trial after trial at him, and he wins every time. They send a wild man, rumored to rival him in strength, to kill him and they become best friends instead, most likely even lovers.

But the gods finally catch up to him and kill his beloved Enkidu. All of Gilgamesh’s strength, all of his arrogance and bravado can’t defeat death. He realizes before the end of the story that he is mortal, like everyone else, and he has to accept it. It’s one of the few myths where the hero, who was admittedly sometimes a jerk, actually learned something.

STRW:  Thank you, Angel, for such a great and thoughtful interview.  Endangered Fae has become one of my favorite fantasy series and I can’t wait for this one to release!  For more about Angel Martinez, check out her bio and contact information below.  

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!

No Fae Is An Island,Endangered Fae 4
NoFaeIsAnIsland_200Author: Angel Martinez
Cover Artist: Lex Valentine

Buy Links to follow: MLR Press    All Romance eBooks (ARe) Amazon

No Fae Is An Island Blurb:

Three years ago, Danu banished Diego for a time from the human world. Three years and three days doesn’t seem that long to be away from home but living among the wild fae can change a man and the human world returns the favor by changing while he’s gone. There’s a vampire on Tearmann Island’s security force. A curious selkie’s followed him home. So much to do to keep the world safe…but Diego’s no longer sure he has the right to interfere.

Theo Aguilar started his vampire life on the wrong side of the law. He’s killed and knows he’s dangerous if he doesn’t stay in control every moment. But the fae took him in and Prince Lugh has given him a position of trust. So when Diego and Finn are arrested on a diplomatic mission far from home, he knows his duty. He’s striking out on his own to rescue them, a lone vigilante once again, this time for the good guys. The only glitch? The selkie, Limpet, can’t seem to understand the alone part.

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.

 

Author Bio:

While Angel Martinez is the erotic fiction pen name of a writer of several genres, she writes both kinds of gay romance – Science Fiction and Fantasy. Currently living part time in the hectic sprawl of northern Delaware, (and full time inside the author’s head) Angel has one husband, one son, two cats, a changing variety of other furred and scaled companions, a love of all things beautiful and a terrible addiction to the consumption of both knowledge and chocolate.

Author Contact:

Website: Erotic Fiction for the Hungry Mind
Facebook 
Goodreads 
Email: ravenesperanza@yahoo.com

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

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Semper Fae coverAs the Fae settle into their life on Tearmann Island, a Fae nation now established on Earth, Diego and the Fae are busy attending to the new state of affairs and international negotiations on the Fae’s behalf. Fae Collective Ambassador, Prince Lugh mac Ethnenn, and his bodyguard and personal aide, Zachary Morrison, who retired from the U.S. Marine Corps, are in New York City at the Fae Embassy established there to promote Fae Awareness while Diego Sandoval, the Human Consul for the Fae Collective and his Pooka lover, Fionchadd or Finn, remain on the island.

But things are never calm for long.  Finn comes down with an “uncommon cold” which makes him change shape with every sneeze.  Diego is trying to comfort his ill lover and deal with all incoming requests, including one from a group that says they can work magic, and want  Diego to mentor them. But these messages turn ominous when Diego ignores them.  At the same time, Prince Lugh not only kisses Zach, outing him to his family when the picture is posted, but Zach is critically injured when he is attacked in New York City  by a being that looks remarkably like a werewolf. In fact all sorts of supernatural beings are appearing all over earth, from vampires, to ghouls to werewolves….an occurrence that shouldn’t be happening.

That’s just the beginning.  A new love is fraught with problems, misunderstandings and stress,  while an old love pushed to its limits by an evil that is close and familiar. The recently established nation of Fae on Earth is threatened with new sanctions and laws that might making living together with humans forbidden once more.  And the one man they need to help save the situation has lost a piece of his mind.  Now they need to save Diego in order to save them all.

Angel Martinez’s Semper Fae (Endangered Fae #3) elevates a series that was already marvelous and complicated into a saga that is rare in its layers of mythology and whose intricacies of plot astonish at each new twist and turn of the author’s pen.   Angel Martinez has a multitude of important plot threads running through her story and its how the author intertwines them with each other with a richness and depth that is truly amazing.  It really doesn’t seem to matter whether Martinez is dealing with the day to day relationship dynamics of an established couple, even a couple where one is a Pookie and the other a hugely powerful mage or revealing the wider ranging complications that arise when the magical meet the mundane, its how Martinez is able to fold reality into mythology and have the final product feel so real and alive that is an amazing quality all of its own.  I really can’t get  enough of this series or its addicting characters.

The first tale, Finn (Endangered Fae #1) introduced Finn, a lost and ailing Pookie, to Diego Sandoval, a romance author of hispanic heritage.  It laid a solid foundation for the next story and for the love between Finn and Diego, who turns out to be a powerful mage.  Diego (Endangered Fae #2) brings all the other Fae into play and a new cast of characters is established, along with the idea of malignant interference from the American military.  As Angel Martinez has already established the “normal” threats that might appear to Diego and Finn’s happiness as well as that of the Fae now living on Tearmann Island, a new entity is revealed to crush all that they have worked hard to create.  The entity that Martinez creates is both ingenuous and heartbreaking.  And its arrival is on top of  other perilous situations created by the attack on Zach and outside forces is totally unexpected.

It’s frustrating to write a review here because almost any mention of any part of this story can unintentionally bring a spoiler or two.  But Semper Fae is both a recounting of deeply felt love stories as well as a powerful and convoluted tale of mythic beings and a struggle for survival at the most basic level.  Here Martinez brings into question what makes a person or being who they are? What happens if one of the basic building blocks of that person’s character is removed? This haunting idea forms the basis of one of the most important plot threads here.

Martinez also deals with the nature of identity on more than one level.  Zach has been hiding his homosexuality from his family.  A paparazzi’s photograph outs him and then a physical assault changes Zack forever but do either of those events change who Zach is on the inside? Questions upon questions, and not just for the new romance is between ex Marine Zach Morrison and Prince Lugh.   Finn and Diego are also in trouble, one that starts off quite funny as a Fae common cold. Even the recently established state of Fae on Tearmann Island comes under attack.  The problems mounting here are internal as well as external, subtle and outright.  And some are caused by the very people and beings we have come to love.

In Semper Fae, there be dragons (oh how I loved these dragons) with a propensity for Rubic’s Cube and Silly Putty and vampires who lack the taste for blood.  As I said the complications build from the beginning of the story and there will be no easy resolution even at the end. That’s as it should be as this story will feed into the fourth tale of this saga. The issues and complications that Martinez has raised here have huge implications for all and the reverberations will continue to spread through relationships of all types and creature bonds.

I will tell you I cried like a baby at times here.  This story has its lighthearted moments, and its scenes of darkness and terror.  All are beautifully written with vivid descriptions vying with charismatic characters for your attention and heart.  You will want to be there with Zach in the dragon’s lair and flee with Finn and other others from a city street flowing with blood.  In fact, you won’t want to miss a single sentence from Finn to Semper Fae and beyond.  Endangered Fae is one of ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords Best of 2014!  Don’t pass it by.  But start at the beginning and work your way through an amazing series and characters that are easy to love.

Cover Art by Winterheart Designs.  Love the cover.

Sales Links:     MLR Press             All Romance eBooks (ARe)            Amazon            Semper Fae

Book Details:

ebook
Published July 11th 2014 by MLR Press (first published January 13th 2013)
edition languageEnglish
seriesEndangered Fae #3

Series in the order they were written and should be read for the events and relationships to be understood:

Finn (Endangered Fae #1)
Finn’s Christmas (Endangered Fae #1.5) folded into Finn.
Diego (Endangered Fae #2)
Semper Fae (Endangered Fae #3)
No Fae Is An Island (Endangered Fae #4) not yet released

Finn_432(1) coverDiego Endangered Fae coverSemper Fae cover

In the Author Spotlight: Chatting with Angel Martinez on Writing, Endangered Fae and Much More! (contest)

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spotlight on booksDiego Endangered Fae coverFinn_432(1) coverSemper Fae cover

ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords Sits Down with

Angel Martinez to chat about  her Endangered Fae series, writing, and 

much more!

 

 

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I fell in love with Angel Martinez and her Endangered Fae series from my first introduction to Finn, the Fae in question, and his lover Diego in Finn (Endangered Fae#1).  A first interview with the author followed, as did the second book, Diego (Endangered Fae #2).  By now I was captured up in the universe Martinez had built for her series and the characters involved.  So  when I heard the third  novel was coming out, I knew that a second interview was needed to learn more about the author and the series as it evolves.

Contest: Angel Martinez has brought along a copy of  Finn (Endangered Fae #1) to give away.  To enter to win an eBook copy of Finn, leave a comment below, along with an email address where you can be contacted.  In addition, STRW is offering up a eBook copy of Semper Fae as a prize as well.  Two Endangered Fae books, two winners! You must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Contest ends midnight EDT on July 25th.

 

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STRW:  Endangered Fae combines a number of mythologies. Native American, Irish…what prompted that combination and which ones to choose from?

Angel Martinez: Myth and folklore are passions of mine, from when I was very young. Part of that probably stems from the leftover bits of the old ways in my mother’s and grandmother’s kitchen wisdom, (Stir that in one direction! You’ll upset the kitchen spirits!) and partly from a fascination with fairytales that morphed into something more.

The Irish/British Isles mythology stems right from the pooka himself, who is a mostly Irish spirit. In the second book on, Finn’s associations extend to more of the creatures of that myth/folklore region since those would be the people he knew. Later on, the world expands further as we travel further, so we run into creatures of Arabian myth as well.

The Algonquian mythology was also a matter of geography. Finn and Diego travel to Nova Scotia, so what they met there needed to be local as well.

STRW:  The Fae continue to fascinate and they appear in many forms from the elegant “human” type to the alien and frightening “Good folk” in the old tradition. Which appeals to you?

Angel Martinez: I actually like both, and pookas, while they can appear as handsome humans, are more “good folk” than Tolkien elvish. For the purposes of romance, the fae I’ve chosen throughout the series as love interests are ones who are more humanoid and beautiful, but our heroes encounter many different types along the way, some lovely, but some alien and strange.

STRW:  Did or do you have a muse for this series? If so, what was it? Or who?

Angel Martinez:  I don’t often have muses, but Finn insisted on taking the job. He’s more real to me some days than the people in my neighborhood (and often more sensible.) Authors often talk about characters communicating with them or demanding things. It often seems a silly conceit, but Finn’s been beside me, whispering in my ear, for many years now.

STRW:  You write in a number of genres. Do you feel that is important for you as a writer to continue to do so? Do you have a favorite?

Angel Martinez:   I think it’s important for an author to have a recognizable milieu. You pick up Anne Rice, you’re pretty sure what you’re going to get. While I’ve done a couple of short contemporary pieces, I concentrate on Science Fiction and Fantasy because that’s what I love, as a reader and as a writer. I’ve set myself up so that readers (I hope) will see the name and make that instant connection (Oh, yes! She writers SFF.)

Mind you, I’m adamant about the fact that Science Fiction and Fantasy are *not* the same thing. There are distinct differences that shouldn’t be muddied if you want a believable story and when I write, I feel that they use different parts of my brain. SF uses that more rational side of the brain, even when I’m writing SF humor, and Fantasy uses that more fanciful, surreal side of the brain. (SF = plan, build, measure Fantasy = wheeee!)

I do write both adult SF and all ages (under my given name) as well, though I don’t really consider those different genres, just different focuses of story arc.

STRW:   How long have you been writing?

Angel Martinez:  Writers get asked this a lot. Most of us will tell you we’ve been telling stories all our lives, whether we wrote them down or not. I’ve written stories from the time I could write, but didn’t finish my first novel (that will never see the light of day) until the late 1990’s. My first published work was picked up in 2006 and my first gay romance published in 2007. So I’ve been around the block a few times 😉

STRW:. How long does it take you to research a story? Have you ever traveled for your research or folded your experiences into a story?

Angel Martinez:  It depends what I’m trying to do. If the subject matter is something I have a lot of experience with and a lot of source material lying around, research might take a couple of days. If it’s something I’m struggling with, it could take weeks to hammer out the basic points (as in a new interstellar spaceship propulsion method.)

I wish I had the money to travel just for research. That would be lovely. But I do often use places I’ve been in stories: New York, Nova Scotia, Los Angeles, Wilmington. I sometimes do rough sketches of things I see to get the details right later. All of us pick bits and pieces of our experience out of our brains and use them for our stories, whether it’s conscious or not.

STRW:   What’s next in the series?

Angel Martinez:  Semper Fae, the third Endangered Fae book, just released from MLR Press on 7/11/14. That one’s Zack’s story, for all my readers whoSemper Fae cover said the Marine needed his own story. But never fear, Diego and Finn (especially Diego) play a huge part in the plot still.

After that, I’ve just finished No Fae Is An Island, in which we have Diego and Finn traveling farther than ever and getting into just as much trouble as usual, and some new characters, one of whom we’ve met in Semper Fae, get to be the heroes.

Here’s a sneak peek blurb for No Fae Is An Island:

“Three years ago, Danu banished Diego for a time from the human world. Three years and three days doesn’t seem that long to be away from home but time among the wild fae can change a man and the human world returns the favor by changing while he’s away. Human governments haven’t all had humane reactions to magic users. There’s a vampire on Tearmann Island’s security force. A curious selkie’s followed him home. So much to do to keep the world safe…but Diego’s no longer sure he has the right to interfere.

Theo Aguilar started his vampire life on the wrong side of the law. He’s killed and knows how dangerous he can be if he doesn’t stay in control every moment of every day. But the fae took him in and Prince Lugh has given him a position of trust. He owes them more than gratitude, so when Diego and Finn are arrested on a diplomatic mission far from home, he knows his duty. He’s striking out on his own to rescue them, a lone vigilante once again, though this time for the good guys. The only glitch? The selkie, Limpet, can’t seem to understand the alone part.”

STRW: Do you write one story at a time or have several at different stages at one time?

Angel Martinez:  Ideally, I have one at a time. I’m not one of those writers who can switch back and forth from one story to another. But I do, sometimes, start a story and then have to set it aside for another deadline. At one point this year, I had three stories started and had to work on a fourth. We’re now down to one at the edit stage, one started and set aside and one that needs immediate attention.

STRW:   Finally, why do you write?

Angel Martinez:  *tortured, dramatic sob* Because I must! Seriously, though,I enjoy it. It’s what I love best. And if you find something you love, why would you do anything else?

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Thank you, Angel Martinez, for stopping by and sitting in the Author’s Spotlight chair for a moment.  I can’t wait to read the next two stories in the Endangered Fae series.

For those of you new to the series and, perhaps, the author as well, be sure to leave a comment below and be entered to win an eBook copy of Finn (Endangered Fae #1) from Angel Martinez and a second winner will be chosen to win a eBook copy of Semper Fae from ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords.  Happy Reading!

Stories in the Endangered Fae series are to date:

Finn (Endangered Fae #1)
Diego (Endangered Fae #2)
Semper Fae (Endangered Fae #3) released 7/11 (5 stars review to follow!)
No Fae Is An Island (Endangered Fae #4) to be released

Author Bio:

Angel Martinez currently lives part time in the hectic sprawl of northern Delaware and full time inside her head. She has one husband, one son, two cats, a love of all things beautiful and a terrible addiction to the consumption of both knowledge and chocolate.

Angel’s alter ego writes the all-ages science fiction – Sandra Stixrude.

You can contact//follow Angel Martinez at:

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

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Diego Endangered Fae coverDiego Sandoval’s life changed utterly the day he rescued an ailing Fae under the Brooklyn Bridge.  From dumped lover and struggling author, Diego’s life is now filled with the love of Finn, his Pookie lover and the book Finn inspired has gotten Diego a league of fans and followers.  Now relocated to a remote area of Montana, life is good but change is in the wind once more….

A misunderstanding between Finn and Diego shatters their happy lives when in a fit of jealous rage, Diego’s uncontrolled power rips a hole in the Veil which seals his universe away from the Otherworld.  The Otherworld is the place where all Fae fled in the face of humankind proliferation and despoiling of the Earth.  Pulled unwittingly into the Otherworld, Diego must learn how to use his powers, find Finn and make their way back home.

But so many obstacles stand in their way, including a mysterious disease that is slowly killing all the Fae, a disease that all Fae are sure Diego can cure.  And if that is not enough to contend with, then the appearance of the US Army with its own assumptions might be the biggest problem of all….

When a book and characters are able to pull me into their story to the point that I forget the time and other things I need to be doing then I know that the author has accomplished their mission as a craftsman of tales, a first rate storyteller that would be welcomed at any fire or table around.  That’s how I felt about Diego (Endangered Fae #2) when I finally put down the Kindle and looked at the clock.  I couldn’t believe how late it was or how absorbed I had been in Diego, the second book in the Endangered Fae series by Angel Martinez.  I loved the first story, but this one built on that and became so much better….

This is a complex story with numerous characters, locations and worlds involved. Once again, Martinez pulls from a number of mythologies to build her two universes and multitude of Fae species.  Diego follows months, perhaps a year, after the events of Finn.  They have moved into a cabin in the wilds of Montana,  and Diego has become a successful author based on his first published story about a fictionalized Finn.  But a state of happiness is an unknown territory for both man and Fae and Martinez is wise to include the points of view of both Diego and Finn here to highlight their feelings and insecurities about their relationship and each other.

Finn, while long lived or even immortal, has not had a happy history with relationships, especially his last one which ended in his dismemberment and his lover’s torture and burning.  And lurking underneath a traumatic history with love or because of it, is a case of poor self image and enough insecuritiesto fill a canyon.  He wants to be worthy of Diego, but is not sure exactly how to accomplish that.  He fears that Diego will abandon him even as Diego tries to reinforce the depth of his own feelings towards the Fae.  Diego too has a bad history of romance behind him.  Two insecure new lovers must balance their new relationship with the needs of each other, different species included.  That’s a heavy task that Martinez has placed in front of her two main characters and that is only the beginning as well as the foundation for most of their issues.  A stable, loving relationship is so new to both that neither understands how to communicate their fears or feel secure enough in their love for each other to question the firmness of the foundation upon which they base their feelings.  That an impressive fracture to overcome for any new couple, let alone a human and a Fae.  Plus both have a history with Diego’s prior self, Taliesin and the power that Diego has yet to harness.  More issues still for the couple.  I mean Martinez has these two on such shaky emotional ground (believably so) that its a wonder each gets out of the bed they are so fond of.

But an emotional jealous rage shatters a barrier raised by a Fae Queen and both are drawn into an ancient feud that has dire consequences for all.  Here Martinez delves deep into Fae mythology and comes up with some astonishing characters.  From Dana to Balor, ancient enemies with a common sorrow between them, and Lugh, half kin, ex lover and soldier, such amazing characters of immense gravitas and magic await the reader on the other side of the Veil.  And none of them even remotely come across as human.  This element of the story is incredibly compelling and magnetic in its pull.  I loved Martinez’ ability to continue with her relationship dynamics between Finn and Diego while building on Finn’s history and complex relationships with others in the Otherworld.  This will just add to the problems they face, trust me.

One aspect of this story will be the arrival (I won’t say where) of a top secret US Army detachment.  Their impact upon our beloved characters and story isn’t for the squeamish.  While Martinez is not as graphic as she might have been, my imagination supplied far too many details on top of the ones the author already delivered.  Vivid, traumatic, scary….just what you might expect from such an encounter.  The detachment fills much the same role as the Wendig0 did for the first story.  It shakes everything up, provides a enemy to thwart, and makes the ending of the story that much more satisfactory for all everyone went through to get to the resolution.  Not a easy element to read but so worthwhile once you get to the other side.  Don’t flinch…move smartly forward.  Trust me, its worth it.

So many wonders to be found here in this story and series.  I loved the Fae, all of them, and the Otherworld. I loved that Diego’s cultural identity is as important as Finn’s Fae one, a lovely touch that adds spice to the Endangered Fae melting pot of a series.  I absolutely fell in love over and over again with character after character, no matter the species and how much fun is that?

I am getting ready for the third book in the series, Semper Fae (great title).  It deals with the romance between a soldier who plays a major role in this story and another great chacracter found here too.  No spoilers as yet.  It won’t be out for several months.  Until then, get started on this series.  Start with Finn, and then go on to Diego.  I will meet you back here for Semper Fae.

Consider Diego (and Finn) definite recommendations from ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords.  Such happy findings….I can’t wait to see where Angel Martinez takes us all next….

 

 

Cover art by Winterheart Designs.  Nice  cover, love the models standing in for both characters.

Buy Links:              MLR Press        Diego: Endangered Fae Series ” title=”Amazon buy link”> Amazon            ARe

Book Details:

book, 3rd, 296 pages
Published June 6th 2014 by MLR Press (first published September 16th 2010)
original titleDiego
ISBN 1608209342 (ISBN13: 9781608209347)
urlhttp://www.mlrbooks.com/ShowBook.php?book=AM_DIEGO
seriesEndangered Fae #2
charactersDanu, Finn Shannon, Diego Sandoval, Lugh, Balor
settingMontana (United States)
Otherworld ,Tearman Island

Books in the series include:

Finn (Endangered Fae #1)
Finn’s Christmas (Endangered Fae #1.5) (note: this was folded into Finn as the last chapter in the latest edition)
Diego (Endangered Fae #2)
Semper Fae (Endangered Fae #3)

 

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

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Finn_432(1) coverStruggling writer Diego Sandoval spots a thin naked man from the rail of the Brooklyn Bridge, the pain and desperation inherent in that figure spurs Diego to action.  An advocate for the homeless, he wants to get the man help and then to a shelter.  But when Diego takes the man home to get cleaned up he gets the biggest surprise of all.  The man, Finn,  is in fact a Pooka,  a being left behind when the Fae closed the doors between worlds.  Worst of all, the city’s pollution and modern day chemicals are killing him. When Diego’s agent suggests he borrow a friends home in the woods up in New Brunswick to write, he jumps at the chance to get the Pooka, Finn, out of the city and into a more pristine environment where he can start to heal. But its not just Finn who needs healing but Diego as well, fresh off an abusive relationship.  Diego is not sure what to expect from their adventure in the woods but what happens is both more wonderful and horrific than anything he can imagine.

Fionnachd, a Pooka, awoke to a new modern world where nothing is the same as he left it and all the changes are ones that have the power to kill him, even the water and the air he is breathing is making him sick.  Rescued by a human who seems to glow with the light of compassion and something more, Finn slowly comes to care for Diego as he recovers from his centuries long sleep and illness.  When Diego takes Finn to Canada’s remote woods, Finn finally feels healthy and at home in the wild natural setting.  But something else lurks deep in the darkness, something that Finn accidentally awakes.  Like calls to like, so magic calls to magic, only this magical being is an ancient, evil spirit: the wendigo.

As Finn and Diego struggle to find a way to kill the wendigo before it can possess Diego and return to the the city, they find themselves falling in love.  Can a Pooka and a Human find love together or will the wendigo kill them first?

The púca (Irish for spirit/ghost) or pooka is an ancient Irish fae being, feared for its ability to assume all types of animals forms as it creates mischief and harm, usually after nightfall.  And while the pooka may be best known here in the US because of a large pooka rabbit called Harvey, trust me when I say, this is not your  parents pooka!  This fae being, Finn, is sinfully sexy, with long black flowing hair, and once healthy, a body to die for.  In Diego’s case, perhaps literally.  How I love this story!

It didn’t take me long to fall under the magical spell that Angel Martinez creates for Finn, the first in her Endangered Fae series.  With her first setting the melting pot that is Brooklyn, Martinez starts to spin a yarn that will incorporate a number of different mythologies into a romance with supernatural overtones.  There is the Irish púca (also pooka, phouka), the Wendigo from the Algonquian Nation, and Taliesin, a wizard and bard who acquired the gift of prophecy, found in Welsh mythology.  Layered onto such a fantastical foundation, Martinez brings in a main Hispanic character steeped in his own culture and language until this story just simmers with a richness of traditions, folklore, and diversity.

The story is told, in part,  from Diego’s point of view, a gentle city dwelling writer whose daily jaunts through the streets of Brooklyn include stops to check in on various homeless people who have become friends.  Diego delivers food, clothing and kindness and receives their trust in return.  Martinez manages to reveal Diego’s personality not through a summary of his character traits but through his actions.  And that’s a method that almost guarantees our affection and understanding of his nature and generosity of spirit.  Diego’s support system includes Tia Carmen,his wonderful landlady whose friendship, acceptance, and wisdom will be necessary for the events to come.  Through Tia Carmen, the story is peppered with bits of their language, cooking recipes and herbal medicines that Finn will need to recover.  I wanted to taste her chicken and stuffed poblanos, red beans, and rice along with Finn as he licked his fingers and asked for more.  It is this attention to detail and the layer upon layer that Martinez adds to her stories that make this such a multidimensional tale that will resonate with many.

There are so many characters to love here.  From the most important ones such as Finn (such a lovely construct of a Fae) and Diego, a warmhearted, heart torn, generous soul to Tia Carmen, literary agent Miriam, or even such fleeting characters as Tiff and Rodney West, homeless,discarded street people, Martinez has taken great care to make each and every one a believable individual, one character as well rounded as the next.   It’s the reason why you come to care for them all and remember their names long past the scenes they were mentioned in.  In Marinez’ world, there doesn’t seem to be any such thing as a “throwaway” person, whether they be real or fiction.  All matter, all count.  That just deepens my appreciation of her talents as a writer as well as my admiration for her stories.

Both the romance and the Wendigo are great elements here.  The romance is a slow build to love, especially as it has so many obstacles to overcome.  Diego’s ex boyfriend, the very nature of the pooka himself, and finally the absolutely scary Wendigo, a horrific delight for those who enjoy a little fright with their m/m love stories.  The Wendigo and its actions might gross out a few readers but the vivid descriptions and the manner in which Martinez gets her characters out of the wild situations they find themselves in is more than worth some of the gore found here.  Really not bad at all by some of the standard stuff I see or read these days.

Martinez throws hints and clues here and there, scattered about her plot, that point to the next story in the series, Diego (Endangered Fae #2).  I can’t wait to see what’s in store for my favorite pooka and his human love.  This is the second edition for Finn, and as I am unfamiliar with the first, it is the only edition for me.  I definitely recommend Finn for all lovers of m/m romance, the Fae, and the wild unknown.

Cover Art by Winterheart Design.  Nice cover, love the model who stands in for Finn.

Buy Links:    MLR Press        Amazon          ARe

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 205 pages
Published May 2nd 2014 by MLR Press (first published July 2nd 2009)
original titleFinn
ASINB00K3496AS
edition languageEnglish
seriesEndangered Fae #1
charactersFinn Shannon, Diego Sandoval
settingNew Brunswick (Canada)

 

Books in the series in the order they were written and should be read are:

Finn (Endangered Fae #1)
Finn’s Christmas (Endangered Fae #1.5)
Diego (Endangered Fae #2)
Semper Fae (Endangered Fae #3)

Winner Announcements, Knitting with Amy Lane, and the Week Ahead in Reviews

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Books, reading clipart 090

Its Father’s Day today. And that combined with my M/M DC Metro luncheon yesterday means I am already running behind this morning.  So again, this Sunday’s post is quick and sweet.  Check out all the great contests and reviews this week.  Something for everyone, including knitters.

Now for our weekly announcements…..

 

Book Contest Winner Announcements:

Announcement clip artWinners of  L.C. Chase’s Let It Ride Contest are:

Let It Ride:
Lori M – signed print copy of LTD
Jill P – 1 ebook from backlist
Jen CW – pencil drawing
(extra winner, Lorena – 1 book from backlist)

 

I have a great week ahead for ScatteredThoughts.  A new series, Endangered Fae by Angel Martinez, a new book in Abigail Roux’s Cut & Run side  series, Sidewinder is here.  Get ready for a cut excerpt from Cross & Crown.  Amy Lane is here on Wednesday to talk about the latest story in the Granby Knitting series, Blackbird Knitting in a Bunny’s Lair.  Amy is giving away your choice of either fabulous yarn from her personal stash or a copy of the first book in the series.  I have a printed copy of The Granby Knitting Menagerie to go along with it to giveaway as well.  Books with bondage and sexy men along with adorable puppies and their owners.  It’s all here.   Don’t miss out on a day this week!

The Schedule This Week:

Monday, June 16:                       Finn (Endangered Fae #1) by Angel Martinez

Tuesday, June 17:                       On the Hunt for Cross & Crown with Abigail Roux and her Sidewinders (Cut Excerpt and contest included)

Tuesday, June 17:                       Review:  Cross & Crown (Sidewinders #2) by Abigail Roux

Wed., June 18:                            My Amy Lane Interview and The Granby Knitting Menagerie Giveaway

Thurs, June 19                            On Tour with KC Wells and Dance for Domination (contest)

Thurs., June 19:                          Review: Diego (Endangered Fae #2) by Angel Martinez

Friday, June 20:                          The Dog Trainer by Owen Keehnen

Sat., June 21:                               Book Blast with L.M. Somerton’s The Edge Series Book Tour & Contest