A Alisa Release Day Review: Jacked Cat Jive (The Kai Gracen #3) by Rhys Ford

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Stalker Kai Gracen knew his human upbringing would eventually clash with his elfin heritage, but not so soon. Between Ryder, a pain-in-his-neck Sidhe Lord coaxing him to join San Diego’s Southern Rise Court, and picking up bounties for SoCalGov, he has more than enough to deal with. With his loyalties divided between the humans who raised him and the Sidhe Lord he’s befriended and sworn to protect, Kai finds himself standing at a crossroads.

When a friend begs Kai to rescue a small group of elfin refugees fleeing the Dusk Court, he’s pulled into a dangerous mission with Ryder through San Diego’s understreets and the wilderness beyond. Things go from bad to downright treacherous when Kerrick, Ryder’s cousin, insists on joining them, staking a claim on Southern Rise and Kai.

Burdened by his painful past, Kai must stand with Ryder against Kerrick while facing down the very Court he fears and loathes. Dying while on a run is expected for a Stalker, but Kai wonders if embracing his elfin blood also means losing his heart, soul, and humanity along the way.

Urban fantasy is my favorite genre and I’ve found it’s difficult to find a true UF with a m/m romance subplot.  As a result I was really excited when I read the first Kai Gracen book all those years ago.  I was over the moon when the author released the second book in the series and had high hopes for this newest installment.  The author sticks to a traditional UF plotline with a romance weaved throughout.  This newest book is my favorite one so far.
The blurb does a good job explaining the overall plot.  Kai, Ryder and Ryder’s cousin head down to Mexico to rescue some elfin refugees and along the way they run into all kinds of trouble.  There are underground tunnels and caves filled with monsters, black dogs, fires, stabbings, betrayals and new friends.  The entire thing was a wild ride from beginning to end.  Each of these books is fast paced and filled with twists and turns.  They’d make fantastic action movies.
One of my favorite things about this series is the world building and the area it is set in.  If you are familiar with the San Diego, Ca area you will recognize a bunch of things and their very creative twists in this new landscape.  I also find an extra joy when I know the area a book is set in well.  Even more so when the author knows it well too.
The best part of this book for me though was the relationship development.  The UST between Kai and Ryder has been jumping off the pages since they met in the first book.  This thing between them is a very slow burn but Ryder steps it up a notch here.  He knows Kai has a bunch of complicated issues and his acceptance and patience lead to some very tender moments.  Ryder brought his romance A game here and I admit I was a bit swoony in places.  His gestures may not seem big in a traditional romance, but for Kai they were perfect.  I loved Ryder even more by the end of this one.
The story ends with a bang.  I flipped to the last page and immediately thought “I need the next book NOW!”.  If you are a fan of this series I highly recommend this.  You need to read it as soon as it comes out.  If you have not read this series before you could follow this plot. You would enjoy the mission they’re on but you would be missing out on the emotional impact of the relationship. I recommend that you start with book one.
Cover:  The cover was done by Chris Mc Grath.  I like the cover and think it fits well with the first two in the series.

Sales Links:  DSP Publications | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 253 pages
Expected publication: March 5th 2019 by DSP Publications
ASIN B07L8LZSLK
Edition Language English
Series Kai Gracen #3

Mad Lizard Bites(.05)

Black Dog Blues

Mad Lizard Mambo

Jacked Cat Jive

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: No Fae is an Island (Endangered Fae #4) by Angel Martinez

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

This is book four and you need to read these in order as it starts three years after the previous book. It took me a while to warm up to this series, but by book three I was completely sucked in. As Diego and Finn return to the world after Diego’s exile, everyone is still dealing with the aftermath of what he did. Zack is acting Consul and will have to remain so as having Diego return to the job might not be in their best interests. Magic legislation is still very much as issue. Neither Diego nor Theo have forgiven themselves. It has become unsafe in certain parts of the world to be magical. Trying to be useful and help rescue three Canadian students arrested in a country that is anti-magic, Diego and Finn find themselves also taken prisoner. The social commentary is about bigotry and the corruption of power. How are we still here fighting issues we thought had been addressed and dealt with?

While Diego was in exile, he learned as much as he could from the dragons and studied the wild fae. A young selkie, Limpet, follows Diego across the veil when he comes home. His POV keeps this fresh as he is innocent, curious, and naive about the human world. The pairing of Limpet with Theo is unlikely, but seems to be because Theo needs that kind of outlook to help him move forward and enjoy life again. I have to admit I didn’t like that Theo tends to tune Limpet out and not really listen to what he is saying, or worse tells him to not talk. That’s fine when they are in danger or hiding and Limpet doesn’t know any better, not so fine the rest of the time. Being excited, talking a lot, and being curious (which means asking a lot of questions) is part of who Limpet is. While the sexual compatibility isn’t in question, for me, the communication left something to be desired.

While Diego and Finn are in captivity, Diego gets everyone to band together, reminding them that they are stronger as a community rather than individuals living in fear. Finn, who is not my favorite character, spends much of this book subdued by steel. He does get to be a hero here, and there is none of the melodrama of previous books. Maybe being with Diego during his banishment in the Otherworld calmed him a bit. The author establishes a djinn character called Nusair, and a half human/fae named Asif, both of whom I expect to see in the future. Nusair is by far the more intriguing of the two. It’s a shame that the The Silver Adepts coven is left simmering in the background, but this book is about Diego finding his footing again. It’s a necessary step to make the whole series more cohesive. I’m hoping now that Diego and Theo are sorted, the next book will go back to some of the previous characters on new adventures.

The cover art is by Emmy @studioenp. It features Diego, the desert, and Finn as the bird. It’s in keeping with the rest of the series and I really like the golden color.

Sales Links:  Pride Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 281 pages
Published January 15th 2019 by Pride Publishing (first published September 5th 2014)
ISBN 139781786517029
Edition Language English
Series Endangered Fae #4

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

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

For those of you who thought this would be Zach and Lugh’s story, you are right, but it is so much more….  This book takes our heroes from the upper echelons of the United States government, to a perilous journey to the realm of dragons and wild fae, and they are confronted with danger from within and without, and face a sorcerer powerful enough to control and corrupt all the magical forces in the human world.  I’m so pleased with this series, and how it just keeps getting better!  I’m not sure that there will be another book in the series, but I am hoping!

At the end of the last book, the Fae had established a permanent presence in the human world, declared themselves an independent country, and Diego was the diplomatic liaison between the two realms.  Zach was head of security for the fae, especially for Prince Lugh.  Everything was supposed to be straightforward from there, but opening a gate between the two worlds had some very unexpected repercussions.

It all started when Finn developed a magical malady – what the fae healers described as their version of the common cold – that made him miserable and also made him shift uncontrollably.  Then other unusual things started occurring, humans developing magical skills, but also the appearance of mythical monsters, vampires, werewolves, and the like.  While Zach was struggling with his attraction to Lugh, he was accidentally outed to his parents and went to do damage control, and was bitten by a werewolf as he was defending a couple of kids.  Even the fae had no cure for that.

Initially, the story focussed on Zach and Lugh as they worked through the fact that Zach was now a monster dangerous to fae as well as humans, and what that meant for the growing relationship between the two of them.  Diego was increasingly concerned by the evidence that magic was getting out of control in the human world.  But the story took an unexpected twist that left everyone reeling, and Zach was thrust into the role of leader of the combined fae and human forces to combat the sudden appearance of a belligerent, tyrannical sorcerer who could quite possibly take over the world.

At first I was a little frustrated that I was missing some background elements, and it wasn’t clear exactly where the story was going.  But with a little patience, the pieces started coming together and the story took on an urgency that made it a real page turner.  And though in retrospect I find myself wondering “Why did that happen like this?  Why didn’t they do that instead?  Why did the author go in this direction?”, while I was reading I had no such qualms.  There was an incredible amount of detail and new information added to the basis set in the first two books, and to be honest at times it was too much.  New characters came into the story, some fully fleshed out, and others left me wondering why they didn’t have more to say or do, or why they were there at all.  I guess that is one reason I am hoping for more, but I believe Ms. Martinez will have to tighten up what could easily turn into an overly vast and sprawling cast of characters.  I got the impression that the world of Diego and Finn and their human and fae friends is much more complete and coherent in Ms. Martinez’ mind, but is so complex that it is hard to put it down on paper in a way that makes it totally clear to the reader.

Cover art by Emmy@studioenp is very pretty, and I love the model for Zach.  The font still seems a little odd though…

Sales Links:  Pride Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published October 23rd 2018 by Pride Publishing (first published January 13th 2013)
ASINB07HQ4DXQQ
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesEndangered Fae #3

 

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

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RELEASE BLITZ

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.

Blurb

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?

Excerpt

Chapter One

Evan

“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

Blog/Website

Facebook: The Worlds of Morgan Brice 

Twitter: @MorganBriceBook 

Pinterest:  Morgan Brice board

Amazon Author page

Goodreads

Giveaway

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win one of three $20 Amazon gift cards

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RELEASE BLITZ SCHEDULE

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

Blog Tour for A Ferry of Bones and Gold by Hailey Turner (excerpt and giveaway)

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A Ferry of Bones & Gold by Hailey Turner

Series: Soulbound 1

Publisher: Self-published

Release Date (Print & Ebook): Ebook: September 12, 2018; Print: 1-2 days after

Length (Print & Ebook): 114,700 words

Subgenre:  M/M Urban Fantasy

Order here: https://haileyturner.com/a-ferry-of-bones-gold-01/

Synopsis of A Ferry of Bones & Gold:

When the gods come calling, you don’t get to say no.

Patrick Collins is three years into a career as a special agent for the Supernatural Operations Agency when the gods come calling to collect a soul debt he owes them. An immortal has gone missing in New York City and bodies are showing up in the wake of demon-led ritual killings that Patrick recognizes all too easily from his nightmares.

Unable to walk away, Patrick finds himself once again facing off against mercenary magic users belonging to the Dominion Sect. Standing his ground alone has never been a winning option in Patrick’s experience, but it’s been years since he’s had a partner he could trust.

Looking for allies in all the wrong places, Patrick discovers the Dominion Sect’s next target is the same werewolf the Fates themselves have thrown into his path. Patrick has been inexplicably attracted to the man from their first meeting, but desire has no place in war. That doesn’t stop Patrick from wanting what he shouldn’t have. Jonothon de Vere is gorgeous, dangerous, and nothing but trouble—to the case, to the fight against every hell, and ultimately, to Patrick’s heart and soul.

In the end, all debts must be paid, and Patrick can only do what he does best—cheat death.

Magic, murder, and mayhem! You won’t want to miss the first book in a brand new, pulse-pounding m/m urban fantasy series!

Teaser :

Patrick let go of the whiskey bottle and reached for his handgun instead, clicking the safety off. The weak threshold wrapped around the apartment hadn’t been tripped, but someone else was in here with him now. The second he acknowledged that fact, Patrick heard the television in the living room turn on.

“Fuck,” he said under his breath.

Patrick got unwanted visitors that were not the demonic variety from time to time. Nothing ever stopped them from showing up, but it never hurt to be prepared. Magazine locked in place and a spelled bullet in the chamber worked for him. Patrick walked out of the bedroom, weapon in hand, and the moment he saw who was sprawled on the couch, he seriously thought about pulling the trigger, lack of suppressor be damned.

“What the hell are you doing here?” Patrick demanded.

“Watching baseball, what does it look like? We don’t get cable past the veil,” Hermes said, not taking his eyes off the flat screen television mounted on the wall. “Do you know you’ve got something like eight hundred channels? At least one hundred of those have to be porn.”

Patrick scrubbed a hand over his face, thinking longingly of his whiskey and the fact he had hours to kill before needing to be at Tempest. “I’m way too fucking sober to deal with you.”

“Still traveling with alcohol? You really shouldn’t—”

“Touch my whiskey, get shot.”

Hermes flipped him off. “Wouldn’t kill me. Sit down, Pattycakes. We’ve things to discuss.”

Patrick glanced down at his weapon and sighed. Hermes was right. Not even spelled bullets could kill an immortal. “I hate that name”

Hermes just smiled. It didn’t reach his gold-brown eyes.

“You’re still fucking creepy,” Patrick told him.

About Hailey Turner:

Hailey Turner is big city girl who spoils her cats rotten and has a demanding day job that she loves, but not as much as she loves writing. She’s been writing since she was a young child and enjoys reading almost as much as creating a new story. Hailey loves stories with lots of action, gritty relationships, and an eventual HEA that satisfies the heart.

Connect with Hailey:

Newsletter:  You can keep up with Hailey’s future projects by joining her newsletter, where you can instantly download the free Metahuman Files short story A Distant Devotion and the Soulbound short story Down A Twisted Path: http://eepurl.com/cAEejL

Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/haileyshellions/

Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100014824811406

Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorHaileyTurner/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/haileyturnerwriter/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16473068.Hailey_Turner

 

Giveaway: Win one of three e-copies of any back catalog book by Hailey Turner! Open International.

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A MelanieM Release Day Review: Soul Bond by JS Harker

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Stealing his heart.

As a thief and a warlock, Noah survives by using his wit and charm to prey on the privileged. His dangerous criminal boss wants an enchanted dagger belonging to a family of wealthy mages, including their pampered—but handsome—son, Ben. Failing to complete the job will be hazardous to Noah’s survival.

Noah bumps into Ben at a lavish party, and as soon as they meet, the connection’s undeniable, and it goes much further than ordinary attraction. Their bond reaches into their souls, entwining and changing their magic.

Which Noah thinks he can use to get to the dagger. After all, he isn’t sure this soul bond Ben seems so obsessed with is even real.

He also doesn’t count on being caught red-handed…. Or falling in love.

Soul Bonds by J.S. Harker is another first for me.  New story by a new author, something I have always enjoyed.  It was a easy tale to dive into, starting immediately with its great characters and intriguing plot.  Thieves and warlocks?  Fae and wizards?  A divided society and tight social strata?  All great elements and Harker combined them to wonderful effect here.

On one side is our thief, Noah. He’s on the job to steal a special dagger at the fancy ball when we first meet him.  He moving through the crowd and his plan, sharp, furtive, and totally appealing in every way.  I’m on his side from the get go, and its totally due to his engaging personality.  I’m totally drawn into his situation and Noah.

The introduction of Ben, that dash of sex, danger, and high society comes shortly after.  And starts ramping up the action and suspense. As well as adding in the element of the soul bond.

Harker has many layers to her story.  The divided society, the line between warlock and mage, the history which also includes that of the soul bond.  Its enough for a series in order to completely round out the world building.  It’s too much really for one book to carry here.

Ben’s side gets most of the history background.  The top families unification, their tight control via marriage and powers, governing etc.  On the wild, poor side which is Noah?  Not so much.  How the warlocks were left out in the cold so to speak and how their loose associations came to be is never addressed. Which is a shame becaise I found that side  highly interesting considering the part they play in the story…which is huge.

It’s as though there is this huge gap in the narrative where back histories for Noah’s friends and colleagues belong.  It’s noticeable because they make such an impact.

I did like how the soul bond link was instigated…those flashes of power.  Neat touches all and the uses found throughout the storyline.

The development of the romance between Noah and Ben worked, because  despite all Noah’s lies (constantly), Ben accepted that there was more going on under the surface and continued to press forward.  And Noah too struggled against his past, his poor judgement and present entanglements to have faith n Ben.  I really liked it.

I guess it was that ending that I wished has more substance.  It just sort of ended with no real conclusion as to what the parties would do next.  And I like a definitive solution with the villains and didn’t get that either.

I could really see this turned into a series very easily.  I hope the author returns to it after a while.  I’ll be right in line to pick up that release.

The cover art by Aaron Anderson is nice and I liked the visual of Noah.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 208 pages

Published: July 17, 2018 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 978-1-64080-593-4

Edition Language: English

Series: Dreamspun Beyond

An Alisa Release Day Review: Soul Bond by JS Harker

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Stealing his heart.

As a thief and a warlock, Noah survives by using his wit and charm to prey on the privileged. His dangerous criminal boss wants an enchanted dagger belonging to a family of wealthy mages, including their pampered—but handsome—son, Ben. Failing to complete the job will be hazardous to Noah’s survival.

Noah bumps into Ben at a lavish party, and as soon as they meet, the connection’s undeniable, and it goes much further than ordinary attraction. Their bond reaches into their souls, entwining and changing their magic.

Which Noah thinks he can use to get to the dagger. After all, he isn’t sure this soul bond Ben seems so obsessed with is even real.

He also doesn’t count on being caught red-handed…. Or falling in love.

I really liked this story.  Noah has had to survive on his own for a long time and that causes him to take a bit too big of a risk.  Ben has been looking for his soul bond forever and refuses to settle for anything less than true love.

Noah tries to deny the connection between himself and Ben but every time they are near each other it continues to grow stronger.  Ben jumps in with both feet determined that Noah has to feel the same as him even if he doesn’t say so.  I liked getting to know these characters through their telling of the story.

I really liked how the soul bond connection worked with these characters and how it drew them together.  When Noah didn’t know what to do Ben jumped in to help but it was Noah actually relying on his community that helped them the most.  I felt as though there was quite a bit of background I was missing for this story,  I don’t know how the warlocks and mages got to the point that they were at but the class system they had going on didn’t seem to be working all that well.  I think this story begins to set up a nice world for a series and it would be nice to see what the events of this book does to their lives.

The cover art by Aaron Anderson is nice and I liked the visual of Noah.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 208 pages

Published: July 17, 2018 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 978-1-64080-593-4

Edition Language: English

Series: Dreamspun Beyond

A MelanieM Review: The Case of the Man Eater (Kanaan & Tilney #2) by Jenna Rose and Katey Hawthorne

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Wolf-Beast and ex-cop Lowell Kanaan recently brought his boyfriend, Elementalist and mystery author John Tilney, into the PI business with him. They’ve been solving cases for Boston’s varied praeternatural communities ever since. So when a young Terran feels that the brutal murder of his Beast boyfriend isn’t being treated seriously enough by the police, he brings the case to Kanaan & Tilney for a second opinion.

Similarly defiled corpses pop up around Boston as they race to find the killer. All the victims are packless Beasts, like Lowell, and the vicious nature of the killings stir up old prejudices in the praeternatural community, Beast and otherwise. Throw a personal vendetta and some ugly family history for Lowell in the mix, and the trails are as muddy as ever.

This case will test Kanaan & Tilney’s strength, both as a PI team and a couple. It’ll take all they have to keep each other alive—and stop a serial killer.

Private investigators Lowell Kanaan and boyfriend John Tilney are back with another heartbreaking case of murder that hits close to home.  This time they are called in to investigate the murder of a packless lion, torn and cut up in an alleyway, parts of him missing.  That the lion-beast was packless like Lowell was enough for them to take the case…then more are killed, and it looks like Lowell could be a target.

In this story more of Lowell’s history and the nature of the pack organization/culture comes to light, and not in a good one. Those that are packless are looked down upon by others, said that their state will make them feral without the structure of the pack.  Their “second class citizenship” is made evident through their self help groups and troubled lives within the stories.  Easy prey for a murderer.

While investigating the crimes, the authors dive into the evolving relationship of Kanaan and Tilney, progressing as work partners as well as  romantic ones.  I loved them as both and enjoyed the dynamics between them, hot, sexy, and in one instance, where they impersonated tourists, very funny.

I wish there had been more about the actual murderer.  That seemed a bit fuzzy at best.  The action was swift and suspenseful but the actual person behind it and who they were?  That needed more groundwork and a better foundation here.  That actually would be the only thing that people coming at this story new would find fault with.  It’s not a stand alone.  You need to read the first story and then come here.  I loved the coroner and look forward to more investigations where he and other continuing characters resume their roles.

Cover art by Dar Albert.  I like the intense cover.  The old typewriter font and the story elements,  Nice!

Sales Links:  Loose id  | Amazon

Book Details:

Published December 26th 2017 by Loose Id
Edition LanguageEnglish
URL http://kanaanandtilneyinvestigations.com/
SeriesKanaan & Tilney #2

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Pyresnakes by Tray Ellis

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

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.

Pyresnakes by Tray Ellis has a very neat premise, some elements of fascinating world building and an execution in the storytelling that just doesn’t rise to meet either of those to the potential indicated.  It comes close at points and the author’s imagination really soars with the creation of the Pyresnakes and the Side by Side world.  Those snakes are a magical touch, combusting into flames when threatened and called, lying harmlessly about when not.  I especially loved the reason behind their name and their role in the Side by Side universe.  Made perfect poetic sense as did their reason for being in the “normal” one.

What didn’t make sense?  Brandon’s reaction to the whole “snakes on fire” thing. Even after seeing them in action, he’s almost lackluster about such an astonishing creature.  Even after Aran tells him about their mythology.  In fact, Brandon’s easy acceptance and lack of incredulity, amazement, any believable reaction here made me quickly lose interest in him as a character.  I didn’t believe in his relationship to Aran simply because it felt as though the man had no honest emotions.  The word I’m looking for is cardboard.

I adored Ruth and the denizens of the Side by Side world.  Far more interesting than this one, including Ren and his brand of revenge and justice.  Just couldn’t understand by Aran wanted to return to Brandon myself.  Ellis didn’t ever deliver a real relationship between the two of them before Aran disappears so again the reader is at odds to figure out why we should root for Aran to return to Brandon when everything in the Side by Side world is far more interesting and in tune with Aran then the one he left behind.

How he finds Aran is a neat little tale on its own but the reunion?  Bland and sort of anticlimactic.  The romance alone would get 2 stars because there just doesn’t feel like any connection between the MCs. What saves this story is the world building and creations here.  Told from both povs, we travel with Aran in the Side by Side world as well as with Brandon in the ‘regular” universe, keeping tabs on both as the search for Aran continues, Aran’s memory loss deepens and Ruth and Brandon get increasingly desperate to find Aran.  Aran’s journey is magical as is everything he sees.  There’s the story, it’s his road we want to be on, his and Ruth his grandmother.  A wonderful thing in a fantasy, a sad thing to say in a romance.

If this sounds like something you would enjoy, grab it up.

Cover Artist: Christine Griffin is dramatic and covers a scene in the story. Well done.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 143 pages
Expected publication: June 28th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ASINB071WR7SJC

A MelanieM Review: Wytch & Prinze by Kassandra Lea

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Medium Jacob Wytch lives in the forest with his fluffy dog Gruff and his ghostly fairy godmother Amelie. When he gets a call from his friend Renwick Prinze, he panics. Jacob has been pining for Renwick longer than he cares to admit. Instead of admitting, however, he listens to Amelie and begins to sabotage Renwick’s beds in hopes of inviting his dashing friend to sleep with him.

Wytch & Prinze by Kassandra Lea is a retelling of the Princess and the Pea fairytale turned M/M romance and it’s a fun one. Successful medium Jacob Wytch and his dog Gruff live alone in the forest, an outcast in town due to the nature of his gifts and his name which is of no comfort at all to his superstitious townspeople.  His best friend, living that is?  Renwick, a chef gaining favor and success, due in part to Jacob’s help.  But there’s more to it, Jacob’s fallen in love with Renwick but is too scared to change the status quo of their current friends relationship.

In a cute turn, Lea has his fairy godmother be a ghost, Amelie, a young girl killed during a fire at a Rave.  I really loved the character of Amelie.  She’s quirky, determined and I honestly wanted to know so much more about her.  I could actually see an entire series built around Amelie and the people she decided to help.

Which brings me the reason why a story I found so charming wasn’t rated higher.  I loved the premise, the setting, the dog, and absolutely adored Amelie.  Jacob Wytch, who was a wreck when we meet him, I liked him too.  Not adored, liked.  Ditto Renwick.  I wish I had more of a feeling of them together, their friendship prior and who they really were as people.  As characters, the author didn’t give me enough of a connection to them as I would have liked to have had.

There are some missed opportunities to do just that here.  The author brings the characters together, but the readers only get a few scenes (not talking of sex but connectivity) to see any chemistry.  Instead it’s more conversations with Amelie or internal arguments with themselves, which would work if the story itself had been much longer.  Which it isn’t.

Those are the places where I feel the author missed the mark.  Overall, the story is a sweet, cute, romantic fairy tale.  I enjoyed it and wish the author would revisit the characters and universe again to give us an update on them and of course, Amelie!

Cover artist Natasha Snow: Cover art tells us immediately we’re in fairy-tale land.  I liked it.

Sales Links

Less Than Three Press LLC

Book Details:

ebook, 10,000 words, 20 pages plus
Published April 19th 2017 by Less Than Three Press
ISBN139781620049969
Edition LanguageEnglish