A Caryn Review: A Tiny Piece of Something Greater by Jude Sierra

Standard

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

I actually had a hard time rating this book, because there were pieces I loved, and pieces I hated.  Mental illness and mental health – I think its very important to mention that, since the MC is actually in successful therapy and making progress at controlling what has to be understood as a chronic illness – are the predominant themes of the book, much more so than romance.  Personally I like reading about that, but it might turn some readers off.

Reid is a 20 year old young man who had been struggling with mental illness for years before he was finally diagnosed and started receiving proper treatment.  He was a cutter – a behavior that left him increasingly isolated.  The years he went untreated, and his eventual breakdown that led to inpatient treatment, created an increasingly difficult environment at home, where he was constantly reminded of his failures, and could not find a way to break out of that mold while living at home with his parents in Wisconsin, near his on again, off again dysfunctional boyfriend.  His grandmother owned a condo in the Florida keys, and offered it to Reid so he would have a place to stay away from all the unhealthy influences at home, and have a chance to continue his recovery.

In Key Largo, Reid met Joachim who was teaching dive classes.  Both men were instantly attracted to each other, but dating, much less forming a relationship, was incredibly difficult due to Reid’s illness.  The fact that Joachim was a wanderer at heart and only in Florida temporarily compounded those difficulties.  When they did commit to each other and admit they were each in love – way to soon as far as I was concerned – they continued to work through issues.  The ending however, was pretty abrupt and unsatisfactory.

The author mentions at the beginning that this is an #ownvoices book, and I will be honest that I wasn’t quite sure what that was in relation to – was it ethnicity or mental illness?  Although there are two MCs, Reid – white, American – is clearly the predominant character in the book.  Joaquim is Brazilian, but to a large extent I felt that his character existed primarily to offset and highlight the struggles Reid went through, and that his character was not very well developed.  The descriptions of Reid’s mental illness – cyclothymia – how it affected his behavior, his perceptions, and his interactions with others was detailed, but sensitive, and definitely one of the aspects I loved.  Those descriptions were so well done, in fact, that it felt like the author must have lived through them – if not personally, then perhaps witnessing cyclothymia in a family member or friend.  I don’t know if it was because there was so much focus on Reid’s condition, but I found that I couldn’t connect well with either of the MC’s, and the romance did not feel convincing to me.  The fact that the book was written in present tense, however, is what really turned me off.  I find present tense obnoxious, a little pretentious, hard to read, and it brought my rating down, but if other readers don’t mind alternating POV in present tense, this would probably be a more highly rated read.

Cover art by CB Messer is just lovely, and I thought the small size of the divers in a wide expanse of ocean really played up the title.

Sales Links:

Interlude Press: store.interludepress.com

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2FbYh4V

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/791892

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/a-tiny-piece-of-something-greater/id1348808986?mt=11

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/a-tiny-piece-of-something-greater

Indiebound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781945053603

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1 edition, 264 pages
Published May 17th 2018 by Interlude Press
Original TitleA Tiny Piece of Something Greater
ASINB079YZ6XKW
Edition LanguageEnglish

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

Standard

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

Book Details:

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

Books in the series include:

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