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

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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

A MelanieM Review: The Pinch of the Game by Charley Descoteaux

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

PinchOfTheGame[The]FSBeing a witch doesn’t mean one can beat the devil forever.

Jeffrey Overton, unemployed IT professional turned poker player, pushes his luck once too often and runs afoul of the host of an illegal card club. The man sent to escort Jeffrey to a “meeting” about his supernatural winning streak arrives at Jeffrey’s crappy North Portland apartment, lock-picking tools in hand and a charm to block Jeffrey’s magick.

Head muscle for said host, Mike Wells, is a Daisy from Daisyville. He isn’t a witch. What he lacks in magickal talent he makes up for in brawn, so he doesn’t expect the guy he’s after to overpower him. But once Mike renders Jeffrey helpless, he’d rather seduce him than bring him in.

Jeffrey and Michael ditch the “meeting” and end up hunting some of the same people they ran from, trying to get Jeffrey back into his own body. And that’s only part of the adventure. The pair travel halfway across the country on the quietest road trip in history and find missing people, empire-building witches, and maybe even the families they’d both thought lost to them.

I really like Charley Descoteaux because even as sections of this story had me grinding my teeth in frustration her characters of Jeffrey Overton and Mike Wells are so endearing and charming that they swayed me over to their side and kept me there for the duration of The Pinch of the Game.  No matter how many times along the narrative path I wanted to stop due to poor universe construction or illogical character traits, their engaging ways and winning natures carried me through one bumpy writing obstacle after another.

We start off in an alternate universe that’s never really given any explanation or foundation.   There are  witches, but of what type and magical basis we just don’t know.  There are non-magical humans as well, like Mike, but again, little background or history is given.  At first (I missed the note at first), I thought The Pinch of the Game must be part of a series I had missed.  As a stand alone that lack of foundation and grounding in world building leaves this story feeling as though it is the middle part of a much larger story.  What’s worse?  The knowledge in the foreword that this story started out as a short story and was enlarged to this version.  *shakes head*

Jeffrey is a Stumptown witch and “A Stumptown witch doesn’t go far from the source of his power”, except when he does.  In search of his mother, another witch in a bad situation that is never quite explored and whose resolution comes far too quickly for the buildup.  There is some stomach churning body switching and more, none of which really makes any sense which is probably ok because neither does the plot.  I just liked reading about Jeffrey and Mike and their developing relationship.  That saved this story for me.

Of course, the whole thing came close to being derailed one more with a little scene at the end where unexpected and sort of jaw dropping facts came out about Jeffrey.  With no basis laid anywhere in the story for this and no way to substantiate their truthfulness or weigh the impact upon Mike and Jeffrey’s relationship because the story just ends, the reader is just left hanging, wondering again what they had just read.

Only Charley Descoteaux’s terrific imagination and two main characters saved this story from a lower rating.  I love this author but this story was just too disorganized and jumbled to make any sense.

Cover art by AngstyG is wonderful.  I love the design and 20’s feel.  Great job.

Sale Links:  Dreamspinner Press | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon |The Pinch of the Game Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 98 pages
Published June 24th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781632169068
edition languageEnglish

A Mika Review: Ink and Shadows (Ink and Shadows #1) by Rhys Ford

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Kismet Andreas lives in fear of the shadows.

Ink & Shadows coverFor the young tattoo artist, the shadows hold more than darkness. He is certain of his insanity because the dark holds creatures and crawling things only he can see—monsters who hunt out the weak to eat their minds and souls, leaving behind only empty husks and despair.

And if there’s one thing Kismet fears more than being hunted—it’s the madness left in its wake.

The shadowy Veil is Mal’s home. As Pestilence, he is the youngest—and most inexperienced—of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, immortal manifestations resurrected to serve—and cull—mankind. Invisible to all but the dead and insane, the Four exist between the Veil and the mortal world, bound to their nearly eternal fate. Feared by other immortals, the Horsemen live in near solitude but Mal longs to know more than Death, War and Famine.

Mal longs to be… more human. To interact with someone other than lunatics or the deceased.

When Kismet rescues Mal from a shadowy attack, Pestilence is suddenly thrust into a vicious war—where mankind is the prize, and the only one who has faith in Mal is the human the other Horsemen believe is destined to die.

More solid writing from Rhys Ford in Ink and Shadows. I love her writing style. I think this is the lowest rating I’ve given one of her books. Well it’s not the writing or the story, it was me. I could not get into it, and I’m sad that I wasn’t able to grasp it like I would have liked to. I went into this book knowing UF  (urban fantasy) is not really my thing. I liked a lot of the story. I loved the introductions of all the characters. I liked the religious aspects of some of it. I wish the world building and I would have gotten along more. I don’t have the patience for UF, and a lot of this story was slow paced, and just reading about the foundation of how everything has come about.

At the 50% I felt an inkling of joy for the romance portion of this book. Just inkling. There NO romance in the story. I really like Rhys Ford and picked this story up expecting some romance but didn’t realize that DSP Publications is an imprint that doesn’t publish romance stories. Being that this is not a romance story I felt like the emotional part was lacking a lot in the story. Kismet and Mal both had the potential that I like when it comes to her guys, but again it’s UF and that was  the focus for the story. I know she wrote the characters to be built up for a series. It makes sense to have the introductions, and characters relationships out in the opening. I just wanted a smidge more.

I think for myself when it comes to Rhys Ford I’m very biased about her characters. I want them all to have that Cole & Jae love aspect, but it doesn’t work like that. My favorite thing about this book was Mal. Reading about him, he just seemed so young, and innocent in the beginning, but he has this protective streak a mile long with Kismet. I love that name as well. I thought the Four is a really good concept; it’s something I’m familiar with. I loved Death; his entire persona had me thinking of Supernatural’s Death who is my favorite Horseman ever. I’d recommend this to readers of UF. This is a perfect book for them. Great intro to the story, as well as characters.

Cover Art by Anne Cain: This cover is definitely one of my favorite out the year. I loved it, such a in your face representation of what Kismet is in the book. Very beautiful.

Sales Links:  DSP Publications |  Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 304 pages
Published July 7th 2015 by DSP Publications
original titleInk and Shadows
ISBN139781634760171
edition languageEnglish
seriesInk and Shadows #1