A MelanieM Review: Blowing Smoke (SoulShares #5) by Rory Ni Coileain

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Blowing Smoke coverLasair Faol, Master of the Fade-Hounds to the Royal court of the Demesne of Fire in the Fae Realm, has been exiled to the human world by the Princess Consort for failing to catch her son’s kidnapper. Bryce Newhouse, Greenwich Village investment banker, is universally loathed by all who know him. Generally, he’s perfectly cool with that, but he discovers what he’s been missing—literally — when he finds Lasair chained in his basement.

Bryce was supposed to receive half of Lasair’s soul at his birth, but thanks to the Fae of Purgatory, the Pattern — the portal between the worlds — has been damaged, and Bryce’s soul arrived 31 years too late. Now the exiled Fae is the shunned human’s only hope of healing his broken past. And with the fate of two worlds riding on that healing, Lasair is going to have to overcome both his race’s innate mistrust of genuine emotion and his own very unFae awkwardness, to have any chance of reaching Bryce’s impenetrable heart.

Rory Ni Coileain’s SoulShares series has always been a favorite of mine. It takes  magic, hot sex, lovers, the Fae, a malevolent monster to make the strong shudder and combines them all into a gritty urban fantasy series I just can’t get enough of.  Luckily for me, the author just released another SoulShares novel with another on the way.

Blowing Smoke (SoulShares #5) by Rory Ni Coileain may be my favorite of the series, something that kind of shocks me. The other stories had more than their share of unbelievable angst and in one case torture (see monster), plus a world building and Fae culture that was fantastic.  And then there were those marvelous couples, the SoulShares, each couple  contains a Fae soul split in two, each holding a half.   The men/Fae or Fae/Fae relationships are so complex and the men involved so different from each other, that each book was a true joy to read.

One common element in each story?  A well-off jerk named Bryce who figured largely as a boyfriend from hell for one of the main characters, Terry.  His interactions with all were not only disastrous  emotionally but physically as well.  His actions almost proved lethal several times over.  Bryce was that character you loved to hate.  And when combined with the Marfach (the evil),  well, that was a team to make your stomach churn and your heart hurt.  So guess who is a main character here?  Yes, that would be Bryce.  Blowing Smoke is all about redemption, second chances,  and the fight to become someone better, someone worthy of love.  Powerful stuff, indeed.

Someone else needing a second chance?  That would be Lasair Faol, Master of the Fade-Hounds to the Royal court of the Demesne of Fire in the Fae Realm.  He and his Hounds failed twice to keep the Prince of the Realm safe.  For his failures, the Prince’s mother (now a Consort) threatens to kill all his beloved Fade-Hounds.  Instead, Lasair agrees to take the blame to save them, ending up thrown through the portal and having his soul severed in two.   The anquish of that scene would be bad enough but just  prior to the Princess Consort’s arrival, Lasair has found a newly birthed Fade-Hound, blind and seemingly dead.  But the pup blinked back to life when Lasair picked him up.  Immediately a connection is formed between the pup and Lasair, and the reader.  How do you not love a character who saves a blind puppy and his hounds from death?  That pup, named Setanta, becomes as much a main character as any of the other Fae in the series. How?  That is such a wonderful element here I wouldn’t think of spoiling it for you. I adore that hound and want more, so much more of Setanta in his adult form.

Now  you have three characters all in precious need of second chances, the one they’ve just been given.  And the obstacles in front of any possibility of happiness includes not only their own fears but the other Fae couples (from the previous novels) and the monster returning for another  battle.  This story has so many layers that it would make a onion  weep with envy.  Or just weep.  I know I was reaching for the tissues several times while reading the story.  And its Rory Ni Coileain’s writing that makes it all spring to life, with battle scenes of breathtaking action and movement, tender moments of heartbreak and pain, and finally sexy and soft ones of joy and acceptance.  Yep, this wowser of a story has become my favorite.  And Bryce and Lasair (and Setanta) my top couple.  Amazing and such an unexpected delight.

I was still sighing with contentment at the end of the story when I noticed this:

Sneak Peek: Mantled in Mist
Prologue July 17, 1913 (human reckoning) The Realm

Yes!  There’s another SoulShares story coming.  And that teaser?  Made me want to find Rory Ni Coileain and find out when I can expect this story.

New to the SoulShares series?  What a great series awaits you!  The books should be read in the order they were written and released.  That’s really the only way to understand the characters, plot development and overall series timelines.  Each book builds on the other and while the author includes some past history, it won’t be enough for some readers to understand everything that has/is occurring.  That’s the only  reason this book isn’t a 5 star rating that my heart says it deserves.

Love the   Fae and fantasy?  Love a little hurt/comfort with your romance?  And puppies too?  Blowing Smoke has it all!  I highly recommend this series and author.  Now I’m settling in to wait for Mantled In Mist (SoulShares #6), read them all and come wait with me.

 

Cover Artist: Insatiable Designs.  The men are certainly handsome and close to my idea of the characters.  But where is that magical element?

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

Book Details:

ebook
Published July 12th 2015 by Smashwords Edition
ISBN139781626012110
series SoulShares #5

 

SoulShares Series in the order they were written and should be read (add them to your Goodread list):

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