Cover Reveal for The Summoner’s Path (D’Vaire #10) by Jessamyn Kingley



Book Title: The Summoner’s Path (D’Vaire, Book 10)

Author: Jessamyn Kingley

Cover Artist: LJ Anderson, Mayhem Cover Creations

Genre/s: M/M Urban Fantasy Romance

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Release Date: January 17, 2019


Some paths we choose. Others are chosen for us.


Grand Summoner Dre’Kariston D’Vaire understands firsthand the brutal reality of war. Barely surviving a gruesome battle, he is one of the few remaining warlocks. After recovering from his wounds, he returns to the castle of his birth only to find his entire race annihilated. For centuries he disguises his power and appearance, refusing to be another victim. When he reunites with his twin, his life changes from barren to beautiful. For years he follows his brother’s example of scrying for his mate, but it is not until they join their power that Fate answers, leading him to Court Ethelin.

Prince Somerly Ethelindraconis is stunned as he races to an appointment and runs into a crowned sorcerer standing on his father’s land. His only parent hates magickind and keeps them far from home, but Somerly cannot deny the attractive man his name and number. King Ethelin has his son’s life planned out for him, and Somerly is willing to sacrifice his freedom to help his court—until he falls for Dre’Kariston. He is soon caught between the promises he’s made and what his heart desires. There’s no way to please everyone, and Somerly finds himself teetering on a precipice that forces him to decide where his future lies.

With infinite paths twisting ahead, Dre’Kariston and Somerly must follow the truth in their hearts to make the right choices if they wish to forge an enduring love. Fate brought them together, but will they run out of chances before it’s too late to save their matebond?

About the Author 

Jessamyn Kingley lives in Nevada where she begs the men in her head to tell her their amazing stories which she dutifully writes it all down in what has become a small mountain of notebooks. She falls in love with each couple and swears whatever book she wrote last is her absolute favorite.

Jessamyn is married and working toward remembering to start the dishwasher without being distracted by the scent of the magical detergent. For personal enjoyment, she aids in cat rescue while slashing and gashing her way through mobs in various MMORPGs. Caffeine is her very best friend and is only cast aside briefly for the sin better known as BBQ potato chips.

Visit her website at:

Follow her on Facebook at: She loves to engage with readers there.

Author Links








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New Book Release Blitz for BURN (Witchbane #1.5) by Morgan Brice (excerpt and giveaway)



Book Title: Burn (Witchbane #1.5)

Author: Morgan Brice

Cover Artist: Lou Harper

Release Date: September 30, 2018

Genre/s: Urban Fantasy, MM paranormal romance

Sexy, satisfying supernatural suspense.


One hundred years ago, a sheriff’s posse killed dark warlock Rhyfel Gremory, but his witch-disciples escaped, and their magic made them nearly immortal. To keep their power, each year one of the witch-disciples kills a descendant of one of the men in the posse, a twelve-year cycle that has cost dozens of lives, including that of Seth Tanner’s brother, Jesse.

Seth uncovers the cycle of ritual murders that feed the witch-disciples’ power, and he saves Evan Malone, one of the warlock’s potential victims. Neither Seth nor Evan expected to fall in love, but when the dust settles, they find themselves on the run and on the road together, heading toward Pittsburgh, on the trail of the next killer.

Seth wonders whether Evan will come to regret his choice to stay together, now that he’s living the reality of Seth’s nomadic life and the risks that come with it. He wants Evan to stay, but he’s afraid that Evan would be better off without him, living a normal life. Evan’s whole world has been upended, but there’s one thing he’s sure of, his love for Seth. Evan worries that he’s a liability, not yet able to hold his own in Seth’s rough-and-tumble world, but determined to do whatever necessary to have Seth’s back. On the way to face the next warlock, supernatural threats abound, forcing them to learn to fight as a team.

Fate and danger threw them together. But once the adrenaline fades, will love last?


Chapter One


“What do you mean, you’ve got a surprise for me?” Evan Malone’s tone was wary. “The last big surprise involved armed men shooting up my apartment before they burned it down.”

His boyfriend, Seth Tanner, winced a bit at that, and Evan wished he could take back the words. “I didn’t mean—”

Seth managed a smile. “It’s okay. And…it’s true. But this is a good surprise. Even if it’s kind of connected to that other time.”

Now Evan was really confused, but he let Seth lead him from the bedroom of the fifth-wheeler RV they shared out to the living room. With an electric fireplace, flat screen TV, and cushy leather furniture, it was easy to forget that their home was on wheels. On the table in the dining area was a large box and two smaller ones.

“It’s not Christmas—or my birthday,” Evan said, glancing at Seth again, who shooed him on with an expression Evan didn’t quite understand, something between pleased and sad.

“Open them.”

Evan saw that the boxes weren’t taped shut, so he went for the big one first, indulging his inner ten-year-old. The new laptop inside made him catch his breath. “Seth—”

“You still have two more.”

Biting back a comment, Evan opened the next biggest box to find a good quality, SLR digital camera, definitely capable of taking professional photographs. Knowing Seth would object if he didn’t finish his task, he opened the smallest box to find a cell phone.

About the Author

Morgan Brice is the romance pen name of bestselling author Gail Z. Martin. Morgan writes urban fantasy male/male paranormal romance, with plenty of action, adventure and supernatural thrills to go with the happily ever after. Gail writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy, and together with co-author hubby Larry N. Martin, steampunk and comedic horror, all of which have less romance, more explosions. Look for her other books—Witchbane and Badlands. Coming soon—Dark Rivers (Witchbane novel #2) and Lucky Town (a Christmas Badlands novella).

Social Media Links


Facebook: The Worlds of Morgan Brice 

Twitter: @MorganBriceBook 

Pinterest:  Morgan Brice board

Amazon Author page



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A Lila Review: Faeted by Shiloh Saddler


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Love is never easy and Blaze is faced with a difficult choice: Turn his back on his lover or the fairy realm.

John Butler is a lonely chandler’s apprentice in colonial Williamsburg. He doesn’t think that he’ll ever be respected let alone be loved. Trying to forget his troubles, he buries himself in his work and focuses on making candles.

Blaze Greymedow is a fire fairy. At first he was drawn to John’s candles, but is quickly smitten with the tall, muscular apprentice. He watches John from afar all the time wishing they could form a more intimate connection. It is unsafe for fairies to get too close to humans. If he breaks that rule, he knows there will be dire consequences.

Faeted is an interesting short set in a time when few stories take place. I’m familiar with colonial Williamsburg, and it was easy to see the references the author used to bring the reader into the story setting–from small details like their clothing to the differences between classes.

The characters are simple and the backstory doesn’t go as far as it could be, but it works in this case. We get to know the MCs well and we see why they were pulled to each other. They were both lonely and misunderstood, but small acts of kindness created a connection between them.

The consequences of John and Blaze getting together might seem dire to those in the fairy realm but it was the perfect ending for them. It allowed them to be together, filling that empty space in their lives.

A good story to read between longer books; with the right about of spice and love to make the reader smile at their HEA.

The cover by Melody Pond shows John and one of his candles. It goes nicely with the book description and the book’s feel.

Sale Links: MLR | Amazon | NOOK

ebook, 53 pages
Published: August 4, 2017, by MLR Press
ISBN: 9781370904563
Edition Language: English

A Lila Review: Conned By Jana Denardo


Rating: 4 stars out of 5


Detective Roy Connolly never expected to find real elves and murder at his local anime convention.

Seeking a bonding experience with his formerly estranged son, Sion, a crown prince of the elves, takes him to something they both enjoy: a human anime convention. They both like humans and all their geeky creations so Sion anticipates an enjoyable weekend. He never expected an enemy assassin, armed with only a description of Sion’s cosplay, to start murdering his way through the convention.

Detective Roy Connolly, a closet geek, heads to the same anime con without his friend, Amelia. He’s surprised to find one of the most handsome men he’s ever seen cosplaying in the same anime style as his own, and even more delighted that Sion can’t keep his hands off him. Throwing caution to the wind, Roy jumps into a whirlwind relationship only to find himself in the cross hairs of an assassin.


Conned is a short, quirky read about a geeky police detective and an elven prince. The story goes directly into the action as we meet the characters, get the basics about them and move into the moment they meet for the first time.


All the events happened quickly and the MCs formed an easy connection that gives us the direction of their HFN. When I first read the blurb, I expected Sion’s son to be a child and not an adult. This added to an extra layer to the story, and how they work together shows Sion’s depths.


The plot, the situations, and fast romance suits the short story but aren’t enough to carry a full story. There’s a lot more to learn about the worlds, their present, and the possibilities of a future. Overall, this is a perfect story to read for a short, enjoyable distraction.


The cover by Melody Pond is beautiful and matches the world-built and Sion’s description.


Sale Links: MLRAmazon | Nook


ebook, 47 pages
Published: July 6, 2017, by MLR Press
ISBN: 9781370776726
Edition Language: English

Tray Ellis on Writing, Books and her latest release, Pyresnakes (author guest blog and excerpt)


Pyresnakes by Tray Ellis
Dreamspinner Press
Cover art by Christine Griffin

Available for Purchase at Dreamspinner Press

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Tray Ellis here today talking about writing, books and her latest story, Pyresnakes from Dreamspinner Press.  Welcome, Tray.



Hello! My name is Tray Ellis and I’m excited to be here today to discuss my new story Pyresnakes, available through Dreamspinner Press, and for an author interview. So, let’s get on to those questions!

Q: How much of yourself goes into a character?

A: Every character has a little bit of me hidden in them somewhere. It’s nearly impossible not to draw upon one’s own preferences. But, even more of the characters are drawn from all sorts of things I’ve seen or heard. There are plenty of times where I’ll see someone do something and think to myself that I should remember that detail and give it to a character.

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

A: Research is endless and ongoing. Every day is an opportunity to learn something new or pay attention in a new way to something you’re very familiar with. I’d rather make up something and put it into a structure than make up something entirely new. I envy those writers who can think so deeply and keep whole new worlds straight.

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

A: Absolutely.  I spent at least a decade reading a lot of mystery novels, particularly series that followed a central character through many different stories.  I haven’t written a straight up mystery, but I love putting in elements of mysteries. Pyresnakes has one in it and I loved being able to work out the puzzle of how to present it.

Q: Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

A: I like both HFN and HEA, but I gravitate more to HFN.  I feel like once you reach HEA then that’s the end of the story and you get this deep wistful feeling about that.  If you’re really engaged with characters and a story, with HFN, there’s always hope that there’s more romance and adventure on the way. 

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

A: I read some romances while growing up, but most stories had romance as a secondary element. It wasn’t the focus. The older I got, the more romance found its way into my reading pile.  There’s so much hope and excitement in romance and I’m drawn to that.

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

A: I love the ebook format. It offers a lot, including the ability to read stories that are amazing, but perhaps aren’t exactly the length that make it to books. Having an electronic reading device means you can carry multitudes of books around with you at a fraction of the weight. I think we haven’t really seen exactly how ebooks will come to fill our lives. As humans we love stories and ebooks make it so much easier to share those stories, but there are still advancements that ebooks can make.

Q: How do you choose your covers?  

A: I’ve mostly been a participating author in anthologies, so a lot of my covers were already chosen for me around a central theme.  I’ve really been impressed with those, and how the one cover was able to be meaningful for so many different types of stories within an anthology.  The cover for Pyresnakes was a joint effort.  I was able to make suggestions, offer preferences, give a nebulous sort of insightful vision of what I saw in my head, and talk endlessly about the story components. The wonderful artist who created my cover did all the rest. And all the hard work.

Here is my gorgeous and evocative cover, by the talented artist Christine Griffin:

Pyresnakes is available through Dreamspinner Press.

And here’s the Pyresnakes story summary to get you up to speed:

There is another world existing alongside the one most see everyday, and although it is a place of magic and wonder, the dangers are very real. 

Aran, an artist, grew up on his grandmother’s tales of the Side-by-Side world. He never expected his knowledge of folklore would aid his boyfriend, Brandon, in an arson investigation, but the snakes that burst into flames when agitated are something he recalls from those childhood stories. 

When Aran vanishes, Brandon knows his time as a State Trooper won’t help find him, so he enlists the aid of Aran’s grandmother, Ruth, and they venture into the Side-by-Side world.  

But Aran has no memory of his life prior to crossing between worlds, and he’s enjoying the company of his handsome new companion, Ren. Even if Brandon and Ruth reach him, convincing him to return to his former home won’t be easy. In a contemporary fairy-tale adventure set among forests and trails, Aran must choose between a mystical fantasy world and the man he loves.



The larger of the two snakes at the bottom of the recessed area became more active, coiling over itself, its eyes fixed in Brandon’s direction. He took a step backward, wanting even more distance between himself and the danger, but his careful maneuver caused the snake to roil forward.

He desperately wanted to bolt from the cellar, but he forced himself to remain calm. He had on thick jeans and sturdy steel-toed boots. If he were careful, there should be no problem.

Except the snake continued moving forward, and as Brandon watched, its dark skin began to transform. The black of its scales bled into brown, and the brown kept growing deeper until it turned a dark red. The mahogany red of the snake’s skin lightened until it brightened into russet orange, and as Brandon stared transfixed at its shift of color, he realized one more thing.

Small flames surrounded the snake. Yellow and orange fire licked over its skin, and then the snake blazed hotter. Brandon could now see an intense white burn, and when he blinked, spots of color shadowed against his retina, lingering. The miasma of concentrated heat was extraordinary, and he could feel it against his skin as if he were standing too close to a smelting forge.

He stepped back quickly, gauging the distance to the staircase. The cellar design gave only one way out. No other exit was available. He needed to return the way he’d arrived.

As he pivoted and began to stride, he caught sight of images that sent fear coursing through him. Several more sinuous lengths of heat and flame writhed stark against the dark gray of the solid granite blocks. All the snakes were on fire.

Brandon sprinted. The heat of the burning snakes baked the skin at his nape and the backs of his arms.


About the Author

Tray Ellis grew up across from an empty field, where she spun a lot of imaginary adventures, helping to prepare her for a lifetime of writing. When she isn’t writing, she stays active by hiking, cooking, stacking the odd cord of wood in the shed, baking, and being too busy to keep her home in any semblance of order. Currently she tries to find a balance between the logical way she thinks and the flights of fancy she often daydreams about. Mostly, the daydreams are winning.




Twitter: @TrayEllisWrites

A MelanieM Pre-Release Review: Dim Sum Asylum by Rhys Ford


Rating: 5 stars out of 5

* Novel-length expansion of original short story found in Charmed & Dangerous anthology. *

Welcome to Dim Sum Asylum: a San Francisco where it’s a ho-hum kind of case when a cop has to chase down an enchanted two-foot-tall shrine god statue with an impressive Fu Manchu mustache that’s running around Chinatown, trolling sex magic and chaos in its wake.

Senior Inspector Roku MacCormick of the Chinatown Arcane Crimes Division faces a pile of challenges far beyond his human-faerie heritage, snarling dragons guarding C-Town’s multiple gates, and exploding noodle factories. After a case goes sideways, Roku is saddled with Trent Leonard, a new partner he can’t trust, to add to the crime syndicate family he doesn’t want and a spell-casting serial killer he desperately needs to find.

While Roku would rather stay home with Bob the Cat and whiskey himself to sleep, he puts on his badge and gun every day, determined to serve and protect the city he loves. When Chinatown’s dark mystical underworld makes his life hell and the case turns deadly, Trent guards Roku’s back and, if Trent can be believed, his heart… even if from what Roku can see, Trent is as dangerous as the monsters and criminals they’re sworn to bring down.

Dim Sum Asylum by Rhys Ford is an ‘glued to your seat~ that just did not happen”great action-packed urban fantasy.  What makes it so intriguing and darkly addicting are her labyrinthine character relationships and dynamics built into the story.  Some are revealed immediately, some are built up throughout the story as the characters get to know one another and a level of trust is achieved.  Then there are the convoluted, messy tapestry of lives that Ford has been surreptitiously weaving throughout Dim Sum Asylum that explodes like narrative grenades at certain points at the story that just leaves you and the characters totally astonished and sometimes  shattered.  Ah, I love it when that happens!

Roku MacCormick is a tortured soul as he has lost so much.  His background and history is dark and pain filled yet he works for order as a police officer in the Chinatown Arcane Crimes Division, an unusual division all its own.  He’s about to get a new partner under circumstances you will need to read for yourself.  Trent is someone who will grow on you as he does on Roku.  He is also a reason (well one of them anyway) that I would love for Rhys Ford to write a sequel. I will let you discover the puzzle that is Roku and Trent together.  I will say that I love Roku and the character grows, healing a bit by the end of the novel. Together?  Roku and Trent start to form something extraordinary.

Roku is half fae/half human in a world that still considers anything fae something that should be “put down” because of the wars and their “insect” strangeness.  Yes, these aren’t your usual fae which I adored.  Ford has gone to species of insects for Fae Clans, from Mantids to Dragonflies, for her fae and it works beautifully.  This universe is so unusual and so appealing in its strangeness that I really need to know more. Especially about the “splices”, those genetically created beings made from fae and human DNA, think parents who wanted kids with wings, or some such nonsense.  No not Roku as he will tell anyone that asks, and yes, people ask him all the time. He was made the “normal” way. Rhys Ford has a universe here that cries out for a series as it full of magic and mysteries for ten novels, maybe more (that includes characters too).

Extraordinary world building, Odonata Fae, Mantid Fae, Crime lords, Ford’s magical, messy maze like relationships,  love, and characters I can never get enough of…Dim Sum Asylum is all that and so much more.  There’s mysteries, hate, love and romance.  And now if I can figure out how to bribe this author, I need a sequel because this is so much bigger than just one story.  It’s amazing!

And yes, it’s one I highly recommend you pick up and start reading when it’s out in June!

Cover art is wonderful.  Works for the story and characters.

Links coming soon

Book Details

Kindle Edition, 240 pages
Expected publication: June 9th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition LanguageEnglish
CharactersRoku MacCormick, Trent Leonard

settingChinatown, San Francisco, California (United States)

A MelanieM Review: Black Dog Blues (Kai Gracen, #1) by Rhys Ford


Rating: 5 stars out of 5

black-dog-bluesEver since being part of the pot in a high-stakes poker game, elfin outcast Kai Gracen figures he used up his good karma when Dempsey, a human Stalker, won the hand and took him in. Following the violent merge of Earth and Underhill, the human and elfin races are left with a messy, monster-ridden world, and Stalkers are the only cavalry willing to ride to someone’s rescue when something shadowy appears.

It’s a hard life but one Kai likes—filled with bounty, a few friends, and most importantly, no other elfin around to remind him of his past. And killing monsters is easy. Especially since he’s one himself.

But when a sidhe lord named Ryder arrives in San Diego, Kai is conscripted to do a job for Ryder’s fledgling Dawn Court. It’s supposed to be a simple run up the coast during dragon-mating season to retrieve a pregnant human woman seeking sanctuary. Easy, quick, and best of all, profitable. But Kai ends up in the middle of a deadly bloodline feud he has no hope of escaping.

No one ever got rich being a Stalker. But then few of them got old either and it doesn’t look like Kai will be the exception.

Black Dog Blues is another mashup of gritty fantasy, action/adventure and pure adrenaline rush from Rhys Ford, a favorite author of mine.   The first in a new series, Black Dog Blues introduces us to Kai Gracen, a fae mutt the likes  no one has ever seen before or wants to.  Considered an abomination because Kai is both a sidhe and unseehlie, a genetic mixture that shows on his face and body, his was a nightmare that started at his creation and only stopped when he was won at a poker game by a Stalker.

What a crazy, hard bitten wonder of a character Ford has in Kai Gracen.  When it says tortured childhood, here its in all caps and dripping in Kai’s blood. A survivor of the past, anything other than getting through the present times is never taken for granted in this imaginative and wildly speculative new world order of recognizable and fae caused by the merging of human and Underhill.  The vivid descriptions of how the earth and San Diego now look are wondrous as they are dangerous.  The creatures bounding over lava fields and cracked roadways?  A mixture of old world, new world and fantasy all thrown together.  Dragons hunting antelope?  Yes indeed.  And it feels so real.  Not that anyone with any common sense would want to actually be there. OK maybe a tad.  Truly, the scenes  as wildly scary as they are draw you into the world and Kai’s place in it.

Oh Kai.  Snarly, competent…he belongs in such a wildly uneven and unpredictable world.  You never know what you will meet or where your next enemy or perhaps friend (if that’s possible) will come from.

Kai’s world consists of the people who helped bring up a feral mixed race fae and who helped make him one of the toughest Stalkers out there.  We get to meet them all here and what an amazing lot they are.  Ford makes them all believable and unforgettable, flawed tough, and hardscrabble.

But the scariest of the lot?  The Fae and the Fae court and politics.  This will include Ryder, the sidhe lord who hires Kai and who has his own agenda and motives in mind.  I liked Ryder but he’s so smooth (intentionally so) that it took me a while to warm up to him.  I far preferred the rude, often snarly Kai…especially when he’s poking at the imperious Ryder.

There are some stomach churning moments as  well as ones guaranteed to make your heart race.  Its Rhys Ford’s story afterall and these Fae are the true Fae of the old Tiernan Og.  Those to be feared, with little care for the human world.

And there are dragons, beautiful, fire breathing, fast flying dragons.

Be still my heart.

There’s a sequel out.  And more to come.  Oh happy, happy, reading times ahead.

If you love fantasy, gritty, sometimes scary, wonderful heart stopping, action packed, fantasy packed with memorable characters,then look no further than Black Dog Blues.  I highly recommend it.

Cover art shows Kai Gracen with his dark features.  Its perfect.

Sales Links

DSP Publications





Book Details:

ebook, Second Edition, 246 pages
Published February 3rd 2015 by DSP Publications (first published May 10th 2013)
ISBN 1632163543 (ISBN13: 9781632163547)
Edition Language English
setting San Diego, California(United States)

Note from DSP Publications: Spend your weekend with Kai Gracen! Mad Lizard Mambo by Rhys Ford will be released on the DSP Publications website 3 days before other retailers, on September 10. Additionally, eBook one in the Kai Gracen Series, Black Dog Blues, will be 99 cents September 6-13, 2016.

An Alisa Release Day Review: Never Lose Your Flames by Frances Gideon


Rating:  5 stars out of 5


Never Lose Your FlamesCop-turned-bounty-hunter Gabe Dominguez is hired to capture firestarter Nat Wyatt. For a dragon-shifter like Gabe, apprehending Nat is easy, but transporting him involves more time, energy, and blood loss than he envisioned. An attack from a band of fairies, an out-of-control forest fire, and a showdown at an auction don’t faze Gabe, but Nat’s innocence might stop him entirely.

Since discovering his abilities, Nat’s lost a best friend, a boyfriend, and trust in his brother. Only his love of concerts and card games get him through life without a home. Rumors of the Judge, a giant dragon who once destroyed half of Canada avenging those he loved, provide Nat with hope of vindication. When Nat discovers his captor is the Judge, he thinks he’s finally caught a break. Through late-night conversations and a shared love of music, Nat tries to convince Gabe he’s not guilty.

Can Gabe continue his cutthroat lifestyle, or will he run away with his dragon hoard like he’s always longed to do? Can Nat escape his legacy, or will his be another spark snuffed out by people who don’t understand? The Oracle, the most powerful wizard in Canada, might be the only one who can provide answers.


This was my first book by Francis Gideon and I loved it.  Gabe thinks that capturing Nat will be easy, but soon learns there is a lot more to his story.  Nat has been running from his brother since he discovered his abilities.


Gabe isn’t sure what to think of Nat, no matter what evidence his boss feeds him.  They both share their pasts with each other which goes a long way towards earning each other’s trust.  Working together to save others and solve the mystery of why Gabe’s boss wants Nat brings them even closer together.


In this story I could feel how confused Gabe was.  Nothing he was being given about Nat was adding up to the man he was with.  I loved Nat and felt horrible that even when things were going well for him he was resigned to the fact that he would be going back to his brother no matter what while Gabe had resigned himself to a life alone without happiness.  Gabe’s friendships with the others in the story really goes a long way towards humanizing him a bit because he tries to keep himself so closed off.  I loved these characters and the different premise of this story.


Cover art by AngstyG is great and eye-catching.


Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | ARe


Book Details:

ebook, 310 pages

Published: August 1, 2016 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 9781634775410

Edition Language: English

A MelanieM Review: Cardinal Sins (Hidden Gems #2) by Lissa Kasey


Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Cardinal Sins coverParis Hansworth, star whore turned senator and the most powerful man in City M, has been hiding his terminal illness for years. Searching for a way to reverse the toxic environment that’s killing him, Paris stumbles upon a lost research facility, and a merman named Rain.

Years alone have made Rain long for companionship, and the beautiful man on the other side of the glass intrigues him. But Rain speaks the wrong language, and is decades out of touch. He isn’t quite sure what to think of the new environment he’s been thrust into.

As a virus spreads through the city targeting City M’s most private residents—A-Ms—Paris realizes he’s out of time. He’s willing to sacrifice everything, even his own life, to stop it. But Rain might just be the missing DNA link to explain the mutations created in the last plague, maybe even the cure.

Watching Paris race to save his friends, Rain knows he’s found someone special and will do anything to stay by his side. But the past Paris thought he’d escaped is seeking revenge, and he’s forced to adapt yet again, possibly even becoming a monster. He only hopes Rain will still want him.

Hidden Gems, the first novel in this series, was also my first introduction to this wonderful author.  That story, a dystopian novel full of dark flights of fancy, fallen chemically engineered angels of your nightmares and so much more captured both my mind and my heart.  Now Lissa Kasey has returned to that pain, disease wracked world with a new story Cardinal Sins and I am more than delighted with what she has  delivered.

Hidden Gems is the name of a fancy whore house in City M, operated by Paris Hansworth.  A former whore, turned powerful senator and businessman, Paris has found a long abandoned gambling casino called the Cardinal Sins (think along the lines of Las Vegas, maybe it is Las Vegas, we never know) on the outskirts of the city.   Paris intends to bring the Cardinal Sins back to life, including the major feature of enormous fish tanks with tunnels that go from gambling hall to hall throughout the looming old construction.  No matter there may be no more salt water fish to fill it after the disaster, still Paris has plans and only a short amount of time in which to complete them.

The power of Kasey’s stories lies not only in her plots but in her almost magnetic descriptions that, from scene to scene, make you lean closer and closer towards your tablet, pulling you towards the story…into the story itself.  From the eerie feel of the gambling hall to the icy cavernous research lab where mysterious things flashed behind dirty glass walls, I felt I needed to be there.  Don’t be surprised to find yourself nose to nose with your Kindle in no time!  Her images filled my mind, dancing there, long after the story was finished.

Kasey picks up her story after the events of Hidden Gems, so it does help to have  read that story.  Why? Well, the first book is a wonder and should be read. But also because no matter how much background the author gives you here it can not give you all the intricacies of the politics, or the layers of the events that took place for you to get the full picture.  You will enjoy it, don’t get me wrong. But you will love it more with more knowledge about the people, places, and their relationships.  Plus that first book is so good you just need to read it.

In Cardinal Sins, Kasey expands on her initial (and beautifully done) world building to go beyond the chemically engineered A-M’s, people cruelly experimented on by the government for weapons warfare and extends her universe into something new.  I won’t include any spoilers but it is a natural progression and one I thought was so smart to include here.  I hope she goes further with this element in the next  story or stories because its such a great one and has so much potential as far as characters and plot.  We still have people that turn into wolves, big cats, winged taloned beings and now a whole buried research facility designated towards sea creatures. Its a great mixture of all the old and new  elements here, blending into a great new dynamic.  This is fluidity is wonderful in a story where the atmosphere and environment is toxic, the chemical nature of the population is unstable and nothing is certain, not even their form.  Just wonderful.

Lissa Kasey’s characters are more than a match for her narrative.  I love Paris, such a complicated man.  Here he has never been so  vulnerable then here at the end of his life as the virus is taking hold and killing him.  Its heartbreaking to all around him. This includes Rain and Paris because of the new plans Paris formed, especially when he finds Rain under all that ice and Paris doesn’t think he will have time to complete his plans for him.  That’s another astounding piece of this story I won’t spoil for you. How I loved that element of this story.  Magic!  Rain holds so many mysteries within his tank, including that of his origin.  That is not completely solved during this story…a thread I hope to follow to another book.  Other characters from the previous story return. Aki and his mate,a private investigator as well as Candy, a whore without boundaries finds that he may have a new role in life and someone to love after all.  Kasey remembers all her characters and keeps them in play at all times.  She also continues to add several more important ones, beings I can  wait to see again in a new novel.

Romance and relationships.  Its there and probably more subtle than you might expect when dealing with a book full of whores and whore houses.  There is talk of whipping and knot work but that’s it, talk.  There is romance and love but its on equal par with the action, and suspense and mystery.  There are so many elements here.  Assassination, plague, military experimentation on children…so yes, romance and love is so desperately needed when things get so dark and deadly. Love and hope.   Lissa Kasey remembers to give us and her characters both. Eventually.

If you are looking for hot, hot sex, this is probably not the book for you.  But if you are looking for mystery, outstanding world building, suspense, a little heartbreak, and yes, romance, wrapped up in a dystopian thriller, than I think you should look no further than Lissa Kasey’s  Hidden Gems series.  Start with Hidden Gems and run direct here and start reading Cardinal Sins.  Rain and Paris will make their way into your heart!  I can’t wait to see where this series is going next.

I highly recommend them both.

Cover artist Shobana Appavu delivers a gorgeous cover.  interesting and in tune with the story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 290 pages
Expected publication: November 13th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN13 9781634765817
edition language English
Hidden Gem (Hidden Gem, #1)


A MelanieM Review: Flax’s Pursuit (AURA Series #2) by Angel Martinez and Bellora Quinn


Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Flax's Pursuit coverA murderer haunts the city, turning the unwary to stone. Between hunting this evil and corralling new arrivals, Flax struggles to guard both his life and his heart.

Quinn and Valerian have come through the trials of facing an undead lich queen and the perils of falling in love. Now they work to restore AURA to its previous strength and efficiency while navigating their new life with each other. Fortunately, they’re not in this alone.

Kai Hiltas has taken over as the head of the research department at AURA and has become everyone’s favourite workaholic, everyone except his lover Tenzin, who has had enough of his late nights and broken promises. As Kai tries to salvage his relationship, he finds a teacher for Quinn, who also happens to be one of Valerian’s new officers, Flax Wolfheart, a sexy elf with trouble written all over him.

Flax has motives beyond simply teaching Quinn to control his magic. He’s trying to recover from his own losses and failures, but he has a plan. The two newest elvish crossovers, Ash and Sage, are sizzling hot and might even like him. With them as backup as he tracks a deadly stone mage and figures out how to teach Quinn, Flax sees his chance to impress Val and snag a place by his captain’s side. On the hunt for both danger and redemption, Flax’s pursuit leads him ultimately down trails he never expected.

Angel Martinez and Bellora Quinn’s AURA series continue’s its marvelous saga with Flax’s Pursuit.  The world has been made unstable by a magical explosion, causing tears in the fabrics of the universe to heartbreaking effect.  Beings are snatched from their worlds without notice, torn from their worlds, loved ones, family and all things familiar, and sent tumbling into the human one often with the worst repercussions you could imagine.  A mermaid falls through a tear in the fabric, appears over the Mojave desert, despairs and commits suicide, all without ever knowing why.  For others, the death is slower, achieved through addiction or other means of self destruction when the idea of never being able to return home becomes unbearable.

Martinez and Quinn bring not only this new world in a constant state of flux to vivid life but makes it carry with it the aroma of misery, shock, and depression that surrounds those who are unable to adjust to their new circumstances.  Magic has returned everywhere and people now aren’t quite sure how that is going to affect the things or beings around them. I love that these authors have a whole world and any number of mythologies to pull from when gathering ingredients for these stories.  You never know what type of being or universe the authors will pull from when the next “event” occurs to bring another creature into the human world.  It creates a level of  suspense that rolls over from moment to moment throughout the story, a anticipatory narrative note that helps to make each tale sing with surprise, delight and sometimes sorrow.

Val and Quinn return from the first story.  In fact, its Quinn’s wild powers and a need for control that bring Flax into the picture.  Quinn needs a teacher and Kai Hiltas has determined that the elf Flax is the one to teach him, willing or not, mostly not.  Flax is one of those who has not adjusted well to life within human laws or society, nor does he find human Quinn particularly suitable for the majestic Val.  Flax reeks of unhappiness and arrogance, never a good combination but the authors also make us taste the bitterness of life as he sees it.  The stench of the air pollution, or the smell from the garbage in the alleys, all an anathema to a woods elf who remember the purity of the life he can never  return to.

Then two  more elves fall into the city, taken from their lives and world mid battle. The manner in which these two will complicate everyone’s lives is lively, layered, semi-sweet, and ultimately satisfying.  At one point it looked as though the authors were taking it (the m/m/m relationship) in one direction, but didn’t.  But it was the way the story line flowed in that direction, the reasons and emotions behind  the plot twists that swirled, eddied and then moved on, and felt so natural doing so, was just one more narrative gift from Martinez and Quinn.  It was right in very aspect of the story and relationships.  Yes, this is a m/m/m but there are cultural reasons behind it.  It feels natural and in many respects, healing.  And so damn sexy.

Another moving aspect of  this story?  The murders and the culprits behind them.  For every evil, there is an explanation and accompanying pain, a blackness you can watch grey out with understanding by the end of the storyline.  That happens here.  That’s really another of the facets about this story that I love, one that the authors both bring to the story and series.  A sense of depth, an openness of attitude towards all sorts of beings…drows…yetis…trolls…there is something good in every being if you look for it. I wonder what or who  will fall to earth next?

There is a secondary love story between Kai and his yeti lover, in fact there are all manner of relationships or would-be relationships going on here at AURA headquarters.  I can’t wait to see who is up next.  This is one amazing series.  It has heroes of every variety, it has quests both small and large,  personal and for all beings involved.  It has first loves, established partnerships teetering, and lost loves mourned.  It really has it all.  Grab them up and get started today.  This is a series you won’t want to miss.

Cover artist Posh Gosh does a nice job with adding the ears and with the characters, especially as one is so young in age.

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

Book Details:

Published June 16th 2015 by Totally Bound Publishing
edition language English

AURA Series

AURA, the Agency of Unnatural Resettlement and Assimilation: it’s a weird job, but somebody’s got to do it.
A magical catastrophe tears the fabric of reality, causing unpredictable holes between worlds through which anything might fall—elves, centaurs, trolls, yeti. The brave officers and employees of AURA struggle daily to help the lost and injured, and contain the irretrievably violent while their research staff scramble to find a way to reverse the effect.
Anything can and does pop through into the human world, sometimes with disastrous and deadly results. It’s a race against time to see if the AURA mages can repair reality and stop the inter-dimensional flood before something crosses over that proves strong enough to destroy the world.