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

Artists and Book Covers Spotlight: Meredith Russell. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Artists and Book Covers Spotlight: Meredith Russell

If you’ve read a book by RJ Scott or V.L. Locey to name two authors quickly off the top of my head, well, then you’ve seen the covers of Meredith Russell.  If you read some or all of the stories  in The Christmas Angel series by various authors, then you’ve seen the covers of Meredith Russell.  And of course, if you’ve read Forever In The Sun (co authored with RJ Scott) or Fallout,  you’ve seen a cover created by the artist for a book she’s written.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plus if you are a follower of either RJ Scott or VL Locey or the MM Hockey Romance Group, then you are familiar with the adorable chibis that Meredith Russell draws of the characters of the Harrisburg Railers hockey players and their mates and families.  I’m hoping she will extend it to the Rush soon.  Here is the first chibi she drew.  It’s Tennant Rowe! The others can be found here at

Railers Chibi-style promo pieces

Adorable, right?  If you are a fan of the Harrisburg Railers series by RJ Scott and VL Locey, then you know Ten is featured in a very special story that’s to be released this summer, June 30th 2019.  Here’s a look at the cover by Meredith Russell, of course|
Now onto our interview….

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interviews Meredith Russell on Art, Book Covers and Much More

  • How long it takes to put together a cover draft and whether or not they make multiple drafts to show authors/publishers?

Making a draft varies author to author for me. Some come with ideas, or a set style they’ve adopted, or images they’ve found themselves and so we go down one route and a single draft, and it’s a rather painless process. Then others need to see something to help decide what they actually are after from a cover. I’ve never really paid a lot of attention to exactly how long I spend on a draft. There are various stages I go through – getting any info or ideas from the author, looking at what images are available and which might work together, some back and forth with the author as to whether images fit with what they’re after, and finally the cutting/pasting/making etc of the draft. The time adds up but usually after a few days I have something to show them and a starting point to tweak into something final.

  • How much of your covers are original art and how much do you rely on using content purchased elsewhere (like Shutterstock

I work pretty much exclusively with images from stock sites so I am limited in some ways to what I can find on them and how I can maybe manipulate them into what we need. However, I would love to venture into digital art but I haven’t found the time to devote myself to figuring it out or getting the resources I’d need. I’ve had fun creating some simple drawings for RJ Scott, and a couple of others, who have had me turn their characters into little cartoon people though.

  • How much input comes from the author and/or storyline?

Again it varies. Some authors have a set idea of what they want. Some (naming no names lol) come to me requesting a man with brown hair and give me a couple of details about the story’s setting. I do like to know about the storyline or at least key moments or places that can be incorporated into the cover.

  • How did you get to become a cover artist?

What feels like a long time ago now, I used to do bits of fan art, mostly fanfiction banners for myself and some other writers. When RJ Scott went on to self-publishing she asked me to create her a cover and it went from there.

What mediums do you use? 

I work on a pc. I do have a pen and tablet that I use for drawing the cartoon characters (see above), but also a lot of those do actually start out as pencil and paper sketches that I then digitize and use as a guide.

Do you have a favorite cover you have done? 

Oh that’s a tough one. I recently did a set of seven covers for a series called The Christmas Angel. I liked how they turned out along with the challenge some of them offered considering they were all set in different time periods. A few others I really like include Liam Livings’ And Then That Happened, RJ Scott’s Boy Banned, KC Wells’ A Christmas Promise, and an as yet untitled merman cover I created as a premade that Amber Kell bought off me. Somebody should poke her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you have a favorite cover artist yourself?

I do. I really love Jay Aheer’s work. She does some beautiful pieces.

Did you look at book covers or were influenced by book covers as a child?

I don’t think so much as a child. I was more about the title and blurb, particularly considering what was popular in way of covers back then, or at least for the kinds of books I was reading. It wasn’t until maybe early twenties where I started being tempted by pretty covers, quite a few being the YA type books, or having a striking female model on them.

What do you find most rewarding as a Book Cover Artist?

I just really enjoy getting to work with the authors. I enjoy the sharing of emails, building a working relationship and even friendships.

If you could ask yourself a question, what would it be?

It would be, ‘Have you remembered about that request you got over on Facebook?’ Seriously, I have a terrible memory and am constantly emailing myself or telling people to send details in emails as my inbox is something I have open all day whilst on my computer and can easily check on my phone when I’m not at my desk.

From the Christmas Angel series…

For both the Author and Cover Artist:

  • What or how do you see the role of the Book Cover?

Firstly, as an attention grabber. If you’re looking for something beyond the regular authors you read, the title and cover are the first things you’re exposed to so it helps if they make an impression. And secondly, covers can be a way of making a brand for authors. It might be they all have a set look – so maybe a single model on the cover, or simply keeping the font for their name consistent for all their books.

  • How has the eBook format changed that , if any?

I don’t think it’s changed it too greatly, in that whether you’re walking a row of books in a store or scrolling through online pages of somewhere like Amazon, covers are there to grab your attention.

  • What trends do you see in Book Covers in the industry? Past, present, and future?  {for example the rise of the naked half male torso, model overuse, generic covers ,etc.)

I think like with everything styles come in and out of fashion. There was the time of the headless models, shirtless torsos, two models, touched up single image covers,  Recently, for me at least, it’s been focusing on a single model on covers, for example The Christmas Angel series and having just one of the characters on there. And unfortunately, because cost is a factor for many authors when paying for cover art, repeated use of models from stock sites is difficult to avoid, but it offers artists the challenge to try and use them differently.

  • How do you feel about them?

Personally, I think the only trend I didn’t like was the headless men one. I know it was a way to make use of limited models in the earlier days, plus allows readers to form their own image of the character simply from whatever descriptions the authors wrote about them, but for me, I just wasn’t a fan. Otherwise, each trend has its place and does its job. There’s a risk of all books looking the same, but that’s then up to the artists, and also the authors and their input, to put their own twist on what’s popular.

  • Anything you would like to share with our readers?

If you’re interested in my work both as an author and cover artist you can view details at my website meredithrussell.co.uk, or find me over at Facebook https://www.facebook.com/meredithrussellauthor. Thank you.

 

About Meredith

Meredith Russell lives in the heart of England. An avid fan of many story genres, she enjoys nothing less than a happy ending. She believes in heroes and romance and strives to reflect this in her writing. Sharing her imagination and passion for stories and characters is a dream Meredith is excited to turn into reality.

Meredith Russell’s Media links
I hope everyone enjoyed this week’s spotlight with Meredith Russell.  It has been a joy getting to know her further.  Please check out more of her artwork and stories at her website listed above.
We have more Artist Spotlights Scheduled. The schedule to date (with links in case you missed one):
February 09:  Aisha Akeju
February 10:   Garrett Leigh
February 17:   Meredith Russell
February 24:  Reese Dante
March  3           Paul Richmond

Cover Artist Giveaway:

Please don’t forget to leave comments or questions for our artists to be entered into our Book Cover Artist Giveaway, a Gift Certificate for $10 the person chosen.  Please leave a email address where you can be reached.  Open until St. Patrick’s Day.
Now for this week’s reviews and tours.  Happy Reading and Listening!

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, February 17:

  • Artists and Book Covers Spotlight: Meredith Russell.
  • This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • A MelanieM Review: Hat Trick (Harrisburg Railers #8) by R.J. Scott and V.L. Locey

Monday, February 18:

  • Release Blitz Milo by Lily Morton
  • Amy Lane Author Guest Post
  • Harmony Ink YA John Goode
  • An Alisa Review: Port in a Storm (Kitten and Witch #1) by K.L. Noone
  • A MelanieM Review: Wolff (Redemption #1) by J.J. Harper
  • A Lucy Review: Shine (Uncorked #4) by Shea Balik
  • A Free Dreamer Review: For the Clan by Archer Kay Leah

Tuesday, February 19:

  • Book Blitz for Blood Lust by L.E. Royal
  • Cover Reveal – Broken by Colette Davison
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Diplomatic Relations (The Sci-Regency Series #4) by J.L. Langley
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Ithani (The Oberon Cycle #3) by J. Scott Coatsworth
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: My Fair Brady by K.C. Wells
  • A Lucy Audio Review: Rocking the Cowboy by Skylar M. Catesj and  Colin Darcy (Narrator)

Wednesday, February 20:

  • Ostakis by Angelica Primm
  • Review Tour – Sam Burns – Eagle In The Hawthorn (Rowan
  • Cover Reveal,- The Rising by Morgan Brice
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Diplomatic Relations (The Sci-Regency Series #4) by J.L. Langley
  • A Lucy Review: Sweet (Uncorked #5) by Shea Balik
  • A Free Dreamer Review:  Eagle In The Hawthorn (Rowan Harbor Cycle #8) by Sam Burns
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: No Fae is an Island (Endangered Fae #4) by Angel Martinez

Thursday, February 21:

  • BLOG TOUR Salute to the Stud by Beth Laycock
  • An ALisa Review: The Romantic by Elodie Parkes
  • A MelanieM Review: Gage (Redemption #2) by J.J. Harper
  • A Lila Review The Mercenaries of the Stolen Moon by Megan Derr
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Foreign to You by Jeremy Martin

Friday, February 22:

  • OLD SINS by Charlie Cochrane Tour by Charlie Cochrane
  • Release Blitz – Jay Northcote – Better Place (Rainbow Place #3)
  • DSP PROMO Andrew Grey on Reunited
  • Book Blast – Apple Boy (The Quiet Work #1) by Isobel Starling
  • An Alisa Review: Ace of Hearts by Caitlin Ricci
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Broken Alpha (The Alpha/Omega Verse #1) by D.C. Juris
  • A Caryn Review: Salute to the Stud by Beth Laycock

Saturday, February 23:

  • Release Blitz Signal – Kris Jacen – Step Up With Me
  • “Ithani” by J. Scott Coatsworth Mark (OWL) Tour
  • A MelanieM Review:  Step Up With Me by Kris Jacen
  • A MelanieM Review Waiting on the Rain by Freddy MacKay

A Lila Review: The Faeted: Box Set By Caitlin Ricci

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Rating: 3.3 stars out of 5

The Faeted Series

Joshua

There’s only one place to go for a guaranteed happily ever after…

Joshua, a dragon shifter, hates having to go to the Faeted Matchmaking Agency, but he’s running out of time to find a mate, and he’s failed everywhere else. He only has a few more months before he enters the next stage of his life, and he’s getting desperate. Dragon tradition states that he must have a partner to help him transition into independence from his clan. A long-time friend would be sufficient, but Joshua doesn’t have any of those, either. Faeted is his last hope.

Rex expected Faeted to set him up with someone fun and sexy, but he was never expecting a dragon. As Rex is an eagle shifter, a dragon would be a good match for him, since they’re both born to fly. Joshua is far more cautious than Rex expects a dragon to be, but Rex knows he can get Joshua to loosen up with a bit of a push.

Adrian

There’s only one place to go for a guaranteed happily ever after.

Finding a Faeted match is always supposed to lead to true love, but Adrian doesn’t believe that anymore. After six months of perfect bliss with his fire mage Corrin, Adrian caught him kissing someone else at a party. Now he wants a new match, and he never wants to see Corrin again. A matchmaker at Faeted gives Adrian another mate and tells him to go to a hotel to find him.

But when Adrian gets to the hotel room, he finds Corrin there, waiting for him. Naked and bound, Corrin has served himself up as a perfect peace offering, if only Adrian is willing to take a second chance at love with him.

Caldren

There’s only one place to go for a guaranteed happily ever after.

Caldren has been looking forward to having his own Faeted match for a long time. It’s what all the brownies do, and Faeted has always taken good care of them. As a brownie, he’s a gentle person who just wants to help his mate out and keep things clean. He likes honey, books and a tidy house.

He’s surprised when his mate turns out to be a dragon, at least, according to Faeted. They’re aggressive and powerful, so Caldren doesn’t think he would be a good match for someone like that, but his kind have always trusted Faeted to do what is best for them.

Bannock is a scary dragon, just as Caldren expected him to be. But he’s also fair and firm. He appreciates what Caldren is and what he needs. It isn’t long before Caldren realizes that sometimes a little brownie needs a dragon to be whole.

Faeted includes three very short erotic stories:

Joshua: 4 stars

This story has the most plot of all three in the series. Perhaps since it’s the first one and it’s the readers introduction to the Faeted Matchmaking Agency.

It has a nice premise but Joshua changes drastically as soon as he meets his mate. Gone is the shy dragon trying to find a companion. Lust takes over him and everything he mentioned wanting at the beginning of the story.

Definitely an erotic short for those with an exhibitionism fetish.

Adrian: 3 stars

I’m guessing Adrian is the least favorite story for many people. If you don’t tolerate cheating, this story is not for you. Even when it’s an intoxicated misunderstanding in the end.

The sex scene is a bit tedious with many stops and goes. It was nice, just not great.

Caldren: 3 stars

This was an insta-lust submissive story. The characters were interesting and the sex scenes well thought. Unfortunately, not enough to make it memorable.

The cover by Posh Gosh is for Joshua, and it matches the main concept of the story. The Sepia color gives it an old feel.

Sale Links: Amazon | Nook | Pride

Book Details:
ebook, 106 pages
ISBN: 978-1-78651-714-2
Published: November 20, 2018, by Pride Publishing
Edition Language: English

More On Book Covers And Cover Artists ~ This Week Garrett Leigh! Our Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Author and Artist: Garrett Leigh

More On Book Covers And Cover Artists

 This Week the Fabulous Garrett Leigh!

Cover Artist: Garrett Leigh

When I am looking at book covers, I can spot a Garrett Leigh cover just at a glance.  It has a certain style, a tone, a composition that states that yes, this cover was created by Garrett Leigh, and no other.

When sending out Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words questions, Garrett Leigh not only snapped immediately to mind because of the instant recognition factor in her covers but because Leigh is also an author as well.  Leigh is in a unique position in that a Garrett Leigh novel can have (although not always) a Garrett Leigh cover, one perfectly tuned to the story and characters within.

I can think of only a few other author/artists off the top of my head in a similar position.  Meredith Russell, LC Chase are among them.

So we are lucky to have Garrett Leigh here today answering our questions about books, cover artists, the future of covers, and much more.  Check it all out below.  Also the link to Garrett Leigh’s design website, Black Jazz Design.  Don’t miss out on the gallery there and all the many book covers.  Such a delight!

From Garrett Leigh:

Cover Book and Cover Artist Questions:

  • How long it takes to put together a cover draft and whether or not they make multiple drafts to show authors/publishers?

The time frame varies from job to job. For example, I’ve worked on a series cover today, book 6, that took me half an hour, as we already knew which model we were using, and exactly how the cover would look. Over the weekend, I did a job for a publisher that required three markedly different drafts, before one was chosen to work on further.

  • How much of your covers are original art and how much do you rely on using content purchased elsewhere (like Shutterstock)

I’m a photographic artist, so most of images come from stock sites, or my husband’s collection (he is a pro photographer/videographer). Stock sites are invaluable, though.

  • How much input comes from the author and/or storyline?

Again, it depends on the job. Some authors have a clear idea of what they want, and the book is already written, and some have no clue and want their art before they start writing the book. When working with publishers, you also have to consider house style.

As far as the story itself is concerned, the most important aspect is the tone. I wouldn’t want to make a super gritty thriller cover for a cute holiday romance.

  • How did you get to become a cover artist?

Entirely by accident. I wanted something specific for a book of my own, so I made it myself and went from there.

  • What mediums do you use?  

Photoshop, Illustrator, Daz, Wacom.

  • Do you have a favorite cover you have done?

That’s like asking me to choose between my children, but I do have a few I don’t like. And no, I’m not saying which ones, haha.

  • Do you have a favorite cover artist yourself?

Loads. We’re super lucky in the romance genre in that there are dozens of stellar artists to choose from. And I’m good friends with a few too—Kellie Dennis, Jay Aheer, Meredith Russell.

  • Did you look at book covers or were influenced by book covers as a child?

Not that I can remember, but I mainly read Enid Blyton, so…

  • What do you find most rewarding as a Book Cover Artist?

When a job “clicks” and the author is over the moon. It makes the trickier jobs worthwhile.

  • If you could ask yourself a question, what would it be?

Where the hell did you put the spare laptop you bought for camping last year?

For both the Author and Cover Artist:

  • What or how do you see the role of the Book Cover?

The cover is equally, if not more, important as the blurb. I choose my books with my eyes first, and if a book has a crappy cover, I’ll scroll on by unless it’s been specifically recommended to me.

  • How has the eBook format changed that, if any?

eBooks have been around as long as I’ve been a professional artist, so I honestly couldn’t say.

  • What trends do you see in Book Covers in the industry? Past, present, and future?  {for example the rise of the naked half male torso, model overuse ,generic covers ,etc.)

Chalkboard cursive fonts are still in, with warm happy colours. But the moody black and white hero is a long time favourite in the romance genre.

  • How do you feel about them?

Naked torsos? I’ve produced many covers with torsos, and read many books with them on the cover. I think they’re awesome if they suit the book.

  • Anything you would like to share with our readers?

I bought a cheap laptop last year so I could write on a camping trip. If anyone has any ideas as to where I might have put it, that would be amazing.

About the Author/Artist:

Bonus Material available for all books on Garrett’s Patreon account. Includes short stories from Misfits, Slide, Strays, What Remains, Dream, and much more. Sign up here: https://www.patreon.com/garrettleigh

Facebook Fan Group, Garrett’s Den… https://www.facebook.com/groups/garre

Garrett Leigh is an award-winning British writer, cover artist, and book designer. Her debut novel, Slide, won Best Bisexual Debut at the 2014 Rainbow Book Awards, and her polyamorous novel, Misfits was a finalist in the 2016 LAMBDA awards, and was again a finalist in 2017 with Rented Heart.

In 2017, she won the EPIC award in contemporary romance with her military novel, Between Ghosts, and the contemporary romance category in the Bisexual Book Awards with her novel What Remains.

When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible, all the while shouting at her menagerie of children and animals and attempting to tame her unruly and wonderful FOX.

Garrett is also an award winning cover artist, taking the silver medal at the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards in 2016. She designs for various publishing houses and independent authors at blackjazzdesign.com, and co-owns the specialist stock site moonstockphotography.com with photographer Dan Burgess.

Contact Garrett Leigh at:

Website
Twitter

 

 

 

 

More to come next week with author/artist Meredith Russell .  Meanwhile keep checking out our reviews and our covers below.  What do you think of them?  Do they grab your attention?  I love quite a few this week.  Have a great week.  Happy reading to all!  And Happy Valentine’s Day!

This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

 

 

Sunday, February 10:

  • More On Book Covers And Cover Artists ~ This Week Garrett Leigh!
  • Our Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • A Lucy Review Full Bodied (Uncorked #2) by Shea Balik

Monday, February 11:

  • Release Blitz NOBLE HOPS by Layla Reyne
  • Release Blitz – Outlaw Girls – Miss Merikan
  • PROMO Foreign to You by Jeremy Martin
  • An Alisa Review: How Not to Blend  (Lovestrong #1) by Susan Hawke
  • A Lucy Review: Snowed In: Jonah and Cooper by Kris T. Bethke
  • A MelanieM Review: In Case You Missed It (#lovehim #3) by S.M. James
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Battle of Will by Sasha L. Miller

Tuesday, February 12:

  • TOUR Kicking up My Heels by Liam Livings
  • Release Blitz – In Case You Missed It by S. M. James
  • Andrew Grey on Rebound
  • An Alisa Review: Stepbrother’s Secret (Men of Meadowfall #6) by Anna Wineheart
  • A Stella Release Day Review: Rebound by Andrew Grey
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Release Day Review: How to Be a Movie Star (How to Be #2) by TJ Klune
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Familiar Demon (Familiar Love #2) by Amy Lane

Wednesday, February 13:

  • Release Blitz – Damaged by Tricia Owens
  • PROMO The Vampire’s Quest by Damian Serbu
  • Blog Tour – Darkness Dawns by Zakarrie Clarke
  • An Alisa Review: Square One by Dale Chase
  • A Stella Release Day Review: How to Be a Movie Star (How to Be #2) by TJ Klune
  • A Jeri Review: Damaged by Tricia Owens

Thursday, February 14: Happy Valentine’s Day ❤️

  • Release Blitz for Sam Burns – Eagle In The Hawthorn
  • An Ashlez Audio Review: Road of No Return: Hounds of Valhalla MC (Sex & Mayhem #1) by K.A. Merikan and Wyatt Baker (Narrator)
  • An Alisa Review: Hidden Hearts (Bad Valentine #3) by Clare London
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Blood Echo by L.E. Royal
  • A MelanieM Review Old Sins (Lindenshaw Mysteries #4) by Charlie Cochrane

Friday, February 15:

  • Tour and Giveaway:Old Sins (Lindenshaw Mysteries #4) by Charlie Cochrane
  • Release Blitz – Apple Boy (The Quiet Work #1) by Isobel Starling
  • A MelanieM Review: Peony Lanterns by Patricia Correll
  • A Lucy Review Blush (Uncorked #3) by Shea Balik
  • A Lila Review: Faeted Box Set By Caitlin Ricci
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review :Royal Guardian (Rise of the Symbionts #1) by Jo Tannah

Saturday, February 16:

  • A MelanieM Review: Little (Trenton Security #2) by J.M. Dabney
  • Release Blitz – Nell Iris – Snowed In: Nen and Anani

 

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

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Yes, this series just keeps getting better, and this is my favorite story so far.  These characters, and the world they live in, are all just so engaging, despite being lifted from various world mythologies.  There may be some spoilers for Semper Fae in this review, but I will try to keep them minimal…

At the end of the last book, Diego had been banished from the human world for 3 years and 3 days, and he spent that time with the wild fae, picking up knowledge and wisdom wherever he could, but he was also trying to forgive himself for all the chaos and pain he unwittingly caused while he was spellbound.  He wasn’t the one who cast the spell, so shouldn’t have tried to shoulder all the responsibility for the repercussions, but, well, that’s just who Diego was.  He still hadn’t come to peace with his role in the violence when the 3 years were up and he had to return – and for Diego, there was never the option to just walk away.  But he knew that he was too broken to resume leadership of the Fae Collective, thus leaving Zach, who had become the de facto interim Consul, to continue in that role.  Diego was still an important political figure though, and he felt he could best contribute to the general good of the world by acting as a diplomatic liaison.  In the 3 years of his banishment, tensions between the growing number of magic users and regular humans had escalated, and the Fae Collective had taken on the role of international mediator, and occasionally launched covert rescue operations when situations were especially dangerous.

When three Canadian students with magical ability were taken captive in the nation of Shere’alej (very reminiscent of Saudi Arabia, to me), Diego and Finn took a small contingent of guards to meet with the prince and negotiate their release.  When the meeting turned into an ambush, Diego and Finn were taken, shackled in iron (for Finn) and lead (for Diego) to nullify their magical abilities, and imprisoned at a hidden, remote facility, and their guard sent back to Tearmann island.  With their magic out of reach, Diego and Finn had only their wits to use to escape.  Fortunately, one of their guard was Theo Aguilar, the vampire that had briefly served as Diego’s lieutenant while Diego was out of control – and Theo was determined to rescue them no matter what.

Theo was a conflicted soul who thought he had become basically evil after being changed to a vampire and rejected by his religious family.  His soul, however, was moral, honorable, and kind, but he couldn’t seem to see past how others were frightened and suspicious of him because of his vampire nature.  I think Ms. Martinez did an amazing job of describing his inner conflict and how it informed his choices.  He had a constant need to prove himself – to others, but also to himself.  The one person who truly saw through his prickly facade was the selkie Limpet.  Limpet was an innocent, curious, at times almost childishly naive, but also brave and devoted.  At first that devotion was focused on Diego and Finn, but he quickly transferred that dedication to Theo, despite Theo’s intense efforts to dissuade him.  Limpet’s sincerity and affection ended up being the perfect antidote to Theo’s abhorrence of who he had become.

The story progressed in two concurrent arcs – Theo and Limpet developing first a friendship, and then a romance as they searched for Diego and Finn, as well as Diego and Finn’s efforts to break out of the prison and bring all the prisoners with them to safety.  I found this book to be much easier to follow than Semper Fae, with a smaller cast of characters and a tighter scope and plot line, as well as a clear ending (although there is definitely room for further sequels!).  In addition to an engaging narrative, with relatable characters and plenty of character development, the pacing of this book was so much better than the others in the series, and it was a great read.  I am impressed with how the series is progressing, and looking forward to more…

Cover art by Emmy@studioenp remains consistent with the others in the series.  To me, the model represents Theo, although I guess it could also be Limpet, and the hawk flying over the desert sand dunes was perfect for the plot line.

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 Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: A Late Summer Night’s Dream by Eleanor Harkstead and Catherine Curzon

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

What a wonderfully sweet, old-fashioned romance between an older man, who happens to be a professor and a widower, and a younger man, who happens to be pursuing his doctorate. They meet at the theater when Simeon mistakes his seat for one already taken and disputes it earnestly just as the curtain is about to go up.  When he realizes he’s in the wrong, he attempts an apology at intermission and is shocked to see the gorgeous older gent, dressed to the nine’s for the theater, with silver in his blond hair—everything that pushes Simeon’s buttons.  Afterward they go for a meal and both men realize they may have just had an encounter they will remember for a very long time. 

Anthony is enjoying his first evening out since his husband died several years before, and he’s even more excited by his, er, excitement with the younger man.  But even though they both agree to take it slow, and kissing is enough for now, Anthony has second, and third, thoughts and realizes he can never make such a good-looking younger man happy, so he puts a quick stop to their evening.

Is that the end of the story?  The end of their attraction? The end of this wonderfully humorous, sweet, tender-hearted romance? No way.  I actually slowed down to take my time as I was reading because every page, every moment in this story was filled with hope and love and energy.  I wish I could describe it better, but suffice it to say, this was a grand romance, worthy of the stage, no doubt a play on A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and it deserves to be read and enjoyed.  Slow burn, age gap, recovery from grief, humor, romantic dinners, sweet kisses, and more.  I absolutely adored it.  And therefore, I highly recommend it.

The cover by Cherith Vaughn features a young man wearing a denim jacket in the foreground with an older silvery blond haired man in the background.  Though they represent the MCs in theory, they certainly aren’t an exact match and the cover isn’t necessarily one that would grab my attention.

Sales Links:  Pride Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 79 pages
Expected publication: February 19th 2019 by Pride Publishing
ISBN 139781786517067
Edition Language English

A Caryn Review: Trysts and Burning Embers (Lijun #2) By Freddy MacKay & Angel Martinez

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

I have to say, this series is growing on me, and though I still have issues with some of the writing, the pacing, and am still getting bogged down in the unfamiliar Japanese elements of the book, I am now in that happy/unhappy limbo of being so completely immersed in a story that when I reached the end of the book I just wanted to get to the next one NOW!!  The ending of this one was incredibly sweet and satisfying – even though the forces trying to bring down the Bastille clan are just as strong and mysterious as ever…

At the end of Fireworks and Stolen Kisses, Haru and Tally were married, and had become parents of 3 orphaned opossum lijun children.  They were just starting to understand and trust each other, Haru was gaining the respect of the Bastille clan, and was coming to understand the American culture as Tally was learning how Haru’s traditionalist upbringing informed his actions and thoughts.  Tally was cautiously hopeful that he was breaking through Haru’s walls, and all he needed was time and patience and his em’halafi would grow to love him as Tally loved Haru.

Time, unfortunately, was something they were not to have.

Although most of the elements that set up the conflict in this book were introduced in the first of the series, there were some new ones that were a little jarring.  There were extremely dark elements of Haru’s past introduced (although not exactly explicitly, so there is still a little revelation that may come later) that I truly did not pick up on in the last book, so I wonder if the authors created them after the first book was written.  The plot also took a decidedly violent turn that I did not expect, and though it was shocking, from that point on I could hardly set the book down – prior to that point, it was moving really slowly, to the point that I might have DNF’ed it had I not committed to the review.

I think what engaged me so much in this book was the focus on how Tally and Haru continued to function in the limbo of excruciating waiting after the initial tragedy and violence.  It was truly heart-wrenching.  In so many action novels, the characters are moving so quickly from one event to the next that they never have the chance to react and absorb what just happened.  Tally had spent his entire life learning to temper the extremely threatening power of his Uktena (snake) nature with restraint in order to fulfill his role as leader of the clan in a way that fostered trust and cooperation.  Violence had become anathema to him, so his reaction was as much bewilderment as it was grief.  Watching Tally find the balance between violence and restraint in response to the threats to his family was also fascinating to read.  At the end of the book, I might have been a little frustrated with Haru, but Tally was my hero.

The cast of characters is still quite large, but seemed a little more comprehensible in this book than they did the first.  I felt like I finally had them all straight, which was a definite improvement over the first book!  And though the players and the setting are much more defined than they were at the end of the first book, there is still a wide scope of possibility for the next one.  Which I am anxiously looking forward to reading now!  Overall, a slow start, but well worth the time to read this second installment of an epic series.

Cover art by Emmy@studioenp uses the same models from the first book of the series, but the poses have a deeper meaning this time.  The models are still excellent representations of Tally and Haru.

Sales Links: Pride Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 1, 444 pages
Published November 20th 2018 by Pride Publishing
Original Title Trysts and Burning Embers (Lijun, #2)
ISBN 139781786516978
Edition Language English
Series Lijun #2

An Alisa Review : Kink Aware (Kiss of Leather #9) by Morticia Knight

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

Cruella can’t wait to show Ray the ropes…

Working at Rogue Ink is a dream job for Cruella, especially being around the hunky co-owner, Ray. Even though the money isn’t great, the eye candy and Ray’s caring heart make it all worthwhile. When Cruella risks rejection by inviting Ray to be their partner for a shibari class at Kiss of Leather, they’re thrilled when Ray accepts.

Cruella’s invitation both excites and terrifies Ray. He wants Cruella, but does he also want to become more kink aware? Still, he could kick himself for not already making a move on the sweet and beautiful Cruella, so maybe this is his chance. His protective instincts have gotten him into serious trouble before, so he’ll be sure not to make the same mistake with Cruella. They’ve made it clear they can take care of themself.

Cruella fears that Ray won’t accept their genderqueer identity and Ray aches to be the strong man Cruella needs. However, when Cruella’s dark past intrudes on their blissful present, Ray’s definition of strength might turn out to be harsher than Cruella is willing to accept.

 

Ugh, I feel frustrated because I am not sure what to say.  I have loved the series so far but this one fell pretty flat for me.  Cruella would act shy and maybe a little unsure but it seemed like more of an act to me than their true feelings.  Ray seems pretty genuine but I feel he gets in trouble for Cruella’s inexperience as a dominant.

 

The story was as well written as all the others but I just didn’t feel like this couple was actually ready for a D/s relationship and didn’t feel much connection to the characters.  I love how Ray was trying to take care of Cruella in regards eating but that seemed to just disappear part of the way through the book and the suddenly Cruella was in charge all the time but never actually placed any rules or restrictions with it.  I don’t want to feel like all I am doing is dissing the book but my frustration with their relationship overrode much of my enjoyment. I am hoping future stories in the series work better for me.

The like cover art by Erin Dameron-Hill and the visuals of the characters and that it follows the pattern for the series.

Sales Links: Pride Publishing | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 226 pages

Published: December 18, 2018 by Pride Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-78651-710-4

Edition Language: English

Series: Kiss of Leather #9

Release Blitz – Kink Aware (Kiss of Leather 9) by Morticia Knight

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Kink Aware (Kiss of Leather 9)

Author: Morticia Knight

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Genre/s: Gay/Genderqueer BDSM Contemporary Romance

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 58 500 words/184 pages

It can be read as a standalone story, although part of a series.

If it is part of a series are the other books also available for review? Yes

Release Date: December 18, 2018

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Blurb

Working at Rogue Ink is a dream job for Cruella, especially being around the hunky co-owner, Ray. Even though the money isn’t great, the eye candy and Ray’s caring heart make it all worthwhile. When Cruella risks rejection by inviting Ray to be their partner for a shibari class at Kiss of Leather, they’re thrilled when Ray accepts.

Cruella’s invitation both excites and terrifies Ray. He wants Cruella, but does he also want to become more kink aware? Still, he could kick himself for not making a move yet on the sweet and beautiful Cruella, so maybe this is his chance. His protective instincts have gotten him into serious trouble before, so he’ll be sure not to make the same mistake with Cruella. They’ve made it clear they can take care of themself.

Cruella fears that Ray won’t accept their genderqueer identity and Ray aches to be the strong man Cruella needs. However, when Cruella’s dark past intrudes on their blissful present—Ray’s definition of strength might turn out to be harsher than Cruella is willing to accept.

Excerpt

I don’t know why I torture myself like this.

Cruella slid each delectable garment along the new arrivals rail in the Rags & Rhinestones vintage clothing store, almost drooling over the spectacular collection of goodies that Heath had picked up at an estate sale over the weekend. Their rather limited clothing allowance of the past couple months had gone to purchase rope for the shibari class. They sighed. It would be so worth it if Ray would let them tie him up in bed.

It certainly seemed to turn him on the other night when I suggested it.

If they were being honest, the idea had them rather hot too. When they had originally signed up for the class, the eroticism of the art hadn’t been the strongest attraction to learning shibari. At least not in terms of tying up a partner for sex. Their thought process had been more along the lines of the visual appeal, not necessarily using it as a prelude to, or as part of, making love.

They stepped behind a round rack to conceal their arousal as their mind wandered to Saturday morning when Ray had kneeled before them in the shower and sucked them to completion. While they’d never viewed themselves as someone who wanted to dominate a partner, they’d begun to consider that the desire to do so had been there all along but hadn’t been allowed to flourish.

That sure as hell was the case with Tucker.

Ray on his knees, Ray tied up and at their mercy, Ray beneath them as they fucked him into the mattress—all those scenarios had been playing on a loop in their head ever since they’d last seen him. They knew one thing for sure, when they got together with Ray that night to finally work on their class project, they were going to get a little rope action in bed if nothing else.

“Hey, Cruella. See anything you like?”

Cruella glanced up at the shop owner, Heath. “Hi, hon. Trust me, I see plenty I like.” Cruella let out another mournful sigh. “But I’m broke this month.”

Heath tsked, shaking his head. “I keep telling you, come work for me. You have a better sense of style than anyone who’s ever worked here, and you’d get an employee discount.”

Cruella barked out a laugh. “And never come home with a paycheck. No, they pay me well at Rogue, at least a couple more bucks an hour then I would get for that type of job. Especially since I’m not a manager or anything.”

“I’ll match what they’re giving you right now, with an eye toward making you a manager here eventually.”

Cruella blinked repeatedly as they stared at the tall, blond-haired cutie they’d come to know over the past few years of being a regular at the shop. Heath had teased them more than once about coming to work for him, but had never made such a serious offer. Cruella hadn’t been kidding, though, about never coming home with a paycheck. The killer clothes, shoes and handbags that regularly filled the shop to the brim would suck the cash right out of their pocket. Their buyer resistance was next to non-existent.

“You can’t be serious, hon. Why would you do that? And why do you need a manager?”

Heath draped an elbow over the rail and leaned against the rack. “So fucking serious, doll, you have no idea. Look, to begin with, most of the staff who come through here are either clueless and couldn’t give two shits about fashion or chose this job by wandering down the street until they spotted it and thought, ‘gee, this looks like a great place to steal from.’ I can’t even with these losers anymore.” Heath glanced around the shop, the few other customers in the large, rectangular space seemingly lost in their own perusing. He leaned in closer. “I love this shop. I’m flippin’ proud of what I built up over the past five years. But damn, honey. I haven’t had a social life since I turned twenty-two.” Heath huffed. “And I was only out and proud for two years before that, so this girl hasn’t had nearly as much fun as she should’ve by now.”

Cruella fingered the nineteen-twenties mauve velvet coat that they could totally picture themselves in and considered Heath’s words. “Wow, I guess I never thought about how much work it must take to run this place on your own. Although, the owners of Rogue seem to work nonstop. But at least there’s three of them to handle the responsibility.”

Heath furrowed his brow. “Is that little sweetheart who was kidnapped still doing okay?”

After the dust had settled from the horrible events surrounding Liam’s kidnapping, Cruella had been able to work out that Heath’s shop was where Neal had called the police from.

“He’s doing fine. I think in his case having the responsibility of a new business has done wonders at keeping him distracted and dwelling on what happened.” Cruella chuckled. “Of course, his fiancé keeps him more than distracted enough anyway.”

Heath smiled. “That’s good to hear.” Heath glanced over his shoulder as someone approached the register. “Listen, you think about what I said.” He squeezed Cruella’s arm. “I meant every word.”

Cruella let their finger run down the beaded edging of the coat until they found the price tag. They sucked in a sharp breath as they absorbed the amount of the vintage item. Two hundred and twenty-five dollars. They whimpered. I wonder how much of a discount?

About the Author

Author Morticia Knight spends most of her nights writing about men loving men forever after. If there happens to be some friendly bondage or floggings involved, she doesn’t begrudge her characters whatever their filthy little hearts desire. Even though she’s been crafting her naughty tales for more years than she’d like to share—her adventures as a published author began in 2011. Since then, she’s been fortunate enough to have several books on bestseller lists along with titles receiving recognition in the Rainbow Book Awards, Divine Magazine and Love Romance Café.

Once upon a time she was the lead singer in an indie rock band that toured the West Coast and charted on U.S. college radio. She currently resides on the North Oregon coast and when she’s not fantasizing about hot men, she takes walks along the ocean and annoys the local Karaoke bar patrons.

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

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

The is book three in the Endangered Fae series. While you could probably read this alone, it would be best if you started from book one. Having said that, this is the best book so far and shows what could have been possible in the first two books. This is just more fun and action packed, with layers. It also introduces many new characters. All of the sudden weird paranormal phenomena is happening all over. Human magic is different from fae magic, but they are connected. Just as the shifter fae start to get a magical illness, humans start turning into vampires and werewolves, or developing new powers. I love the idea that all of the legends and lore are real, and are now alive because the Veil is open again.

While this book still has a lot of Finn and Diego, Finn is sidelined a bit with an illness and Diego has bigger problems. The main romance is between Zach, the marine medic from book two, and Lugh. Zach is working as the head of Lugh’s security detail. Lugh is, of course, a shifter fae and part bull. This book is more explicitly bestial than the previous books. There is also an element of dubcon. They seem to find their footing at the end and know what works for them. There were two times in the book when something is a huge emotional deal, and all is quickly forgiven when someone is injured, once with Zach and his parents and once with Lugh and Zach. There could be a better way of working out these conflicts.

As mentioned there are several new characters but the main five are The Silver Adepts, a human coven: Kara, Nate, Brandon, Will, and Minky. Will has awful premonitions, so Minky tries writing to Diego for help, but he isn’t taking them seriously. They have a plan to kidnap him and things go horribly wrong. There was a hint of dragons in book two, so I was waiting for the dragons! Diego and Zach go to find them for help with knowledge about human magic. The dragon lord eventually comes to help train the coven in how to better access their magic. The final showdown and rescue mission, in fact much of the book, reminds me of a comic book. This is no bad thing.

Zach becomes the human Consul for the fae now that Diego is ill. The book leaves some of our characters in the Otherworld making it possible for future books to take place on either side of the Veil. There is now so much magic in the world, these stories could go anywhere or even have spin-offs, so I’ll have to wait and see where the series goes.

The cover art is by Emmy @ studioenp. All the covers in the series are eye catching and fit together.

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