An Alisa Review: Demon on the Down-Low by EJ Russell

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

After decades of unrequited love, this kangaroo will jump at the chance for a date. Any date.

 

Lovelorn kangaroo shifter Hamish Mulherne, drummer for the mega-hit rock band Hunter’s Moon, waited years for the band’s jaguar shifter bassist to notice him. Instead, she’s just gotten married and is in a thriving poly relationship. How is Hamish supposed to compete with that? But with everyone else in the band mated and revoltingly happy, he needs somebody. Since he can’t expect true love to strike twice, he signs up with Supernatural Selection. Because what the hell.

 

When Zeke Oz was placed at Supernatural Selection through the Sheol work-release program, he thought he was the luckiest demon alive. But when he seems responsible for several massive matchmaking errors, he’s put on notice: find the perfect match for Hamish, or get booted back to Sheol for good. The only catch? He has to do it without the agency’s matchmaking spells, and Hamish simply will not engage.

 

But Zeke starts to believe that the reason all of Hamish’s dates fizzle is because nobody in the database is good enough for him. And Hamish realizes that his perfect match might be the cute demon who’s trying so hard to make him happy.

 

This series has been so great and I love how it was tied up, I’m probably going to have to go back and read the Fae out of Water series because I liked these characters so much and if the author ever makes another series references these characters it will be on my tbr immediately.  Hamish has resigned himself to a life without love and just hopes to find some companionship with the help of Supernatural Selection and against all odds gets registered.  Poor Zeke, he’s just trying to escape Sheol and the hell he lives there but seems to have just traded it for another with the restrictions put on him.

 

I loved that we got to see the couples from the previous books in this one and how great everything was for them even though everyone thought they were mistakes.  The twist of how everything was getting mixed up was interesting but I was so glad to see the culprit get what he deserved along with Zeke being able to break free from the prison his life was.

 

I felt for Zeke from the beginning, all the way from the bullying from the AI and the bullying from his Sheol master, he is just trying to survive and be able to stay in the upper world.  Hamish took a little to connect with but that was mostly because he was lying to himself about being able to find love but he quickly grabs onto the idea when he realizes that Zeke would be the perfect one for him.  I was so happy for these two to find a happily ever after, especially Zeke as we have seem how much he was struggling in the first two books.

 

Cover art by LC Chase is great and I love the visual of Zeke with Hamish’s drums and how it is similar to the others in the series.

 

Sales Links: Riptide Publishing | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 320 pages

Published: February 25, 2019 by Riptide Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-62649-858-7

Edition Language: English

Series: Supernatural Selection #3

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A Caryn Review: Demon on the Down-Low (Supernatural Selection #3) by E.J. Russell

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 Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

This is the third and final book in the Supernatural Selections series.  I have truly enjoyed the ride on this one, but I wish Ms. Russell had not limited herself to only 3 books in the series.  I posed several questions in my review of Vampire with Benefits, as the first two books were building up towards some complex and sinister plot, and I couldn’t wait to see who, or what, was behind the series of inexplicable mistakes that ended up with two improbable, but extremely successful pairings.  This book does indeed answer those questions, but in an incredibly hasty and disappointingly superficial way.  The resolution fell flat after all the foreshadowing in the first two books.  I wish there had been a more substantial villain and motive, but I don’t think that was possible with the length of these books.

Zeke Oz was the front man, and seemingly only visible employee, of the supe dating service, Supernatural Selections.  He showed up multiple times in the previous two books, of course, and was always adorably flustered when everything kept going wrong.  His back story – a demon on the Sheol work-release program – is fleshed out a bit here, as well as the conditions of his life in Sheol that made him so anxious to do the right thing by his clients.  Adorable and innocent are perfect descriptions of him, despite that fact that he is a demon and should by rights be evil and ugly.  He was caught up in an impossible situation between his superiors in Sheol, his bosses at Supernatural Selections, and his AI – angel interface – and was guaranteed to piss off someone, and doing so would probably land him back in Sheol.

And then Hamish walked into Supernatural Selections, complicating Zeke’s predicament even more as his contract was the result of another baffling glitch in the software.  The spells guaranteeing a perfect match were offline, so the witches just told Zeke to make Hamish happy, or else.

Hamish was a member of Hunter’s moon, the band introduced in Bad Boy’s Bard of the Fae Out of Water series.  He was a kangaroo shifter – Australian, of course – and had been hopelessly in love with one of the other band members for decades.  When she found her bliss in a poly relationship, Hamish was devastated.  Everyone around him seemed to be paired up and happy, and in a fuck-it-all type of mood he signed up with Supernatural Selections, hoping they could accomplish what he clearly was a total failure at.  When Zeke told him that the spells were not working and he would have to actually date – well, it wasn’t what he hoped for, but nothing else worked, so why not?

As Zeke worked to make Hamish happy, several things became clear:  Zeke was exceptionally dedicated and smarter than he realized, and Hamish had a depth of compassion and protectiveness that he had never tapped into before.  Both men recognized that what would really make them happy was each other – but how could Zeke stay in the upper world when he was a demon, and freedom and happiness were things he was categorically denied?

The depth of characterization in this book wasn’t as deep as in the others, and I felt that Hamish especially fell in love just a little too easily, given that his heart was supposed to have been so broken in the beginning.  And Zeke was just a little too good.  And then the ending wrapped up just a little too neatly, and on a much smaller scale than I was expecting.  So maybe my relative disappointment in this book was just because I had such great expectations after reading the other two.  All that being said, though, I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and the series, and I probably will reread them in the future.  And I hope the author is not tired of writing in this universe, because I think there is still tremendous potential for more stories there, and I would love to see more of all of of these characters!

Cover art by L.C. Chase again fits perfectly with the series, and Zeke is very cute in his glasses and hoodie, but don’t you think he looks like the same model for Single White Incubus??

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon | Kobo

Book Details:

ebook, 320 pages
Published February 25th 2019 by Riptide Publishing
Original Title Demon on the Down-Low
ISBN 139781626498587
Edition Language English
Series Supernatural Selection #3

E.J. Russell on Fashion, Characters and her new release, Demon on the Down-Low (Supernatural Selection #3) (author guest blog and giveaway)

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Demon on the Down-Low (Supernatural Selection #3) by E.J. Russell

Riptide Publishing
Cover Artist: L.C . Chase

Published February 25th 2019

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have E.J. Russell here today talking about fashion, choices, characters, and her new story,Demon on the Down-Low. Welcome, E.J.

✒︎✒︎

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Fashion impaired

by E.J. Russell

I am not a fashion-forward kind of person. In fact, “fashion” is probably a word that could never be paired with me, unless “victim” were also part of the sentence. Since I’ve worked from home for over fifteen years—first at my left-brain tech day job and then in my writer cave—I’ve definitely embraced the “comfort over style” paradigm.

This hasn’t always set well with my children, particularly when they were teenagers and had ideas about how their parents’ appearance reflected on them. LD once told me flat out: “Mommy, you dress badly.” She was, I think, in sixth grade at the time, and I was wearing sweat pants (because of course I was). She had embraced her own sense of style quite early, as I recall. My Curmudgeonly Husband and I had decided before she was born that we wouldn’t go for the “girls::pink, boys::blue” model, so we bought pants and shirts for her in bright colors (the late, lamented Mervyn’s department store had great toddler clothes!), and if there was any any pink in the lot, it was dark fuchsia rather than pastel. Then, when she was about two and a half, she suddenly refused to wear anything but dresses. Pink dresses. Pastel pink dresses. (Although CH and I had shunned the frilly and overly feminine, my mother was not on board, and her gifts infiltrated LD’s wardrobe.) 

With DS A and B, CH and I pretty much said, “Screw it,” because if we wanted anybody to be able to tell the boys apart (especially from a distance), we needed a color code. DS A’s outfits were predominantly red; DS B was the blue guy. Not only did it assist in people outside the family being able to identify them, but it was a huge help in sorting laundry.

The twins weren’t quite so dismissive of sweatpants either. Until they were in seventh grade, their entire fall-to-spring pants wardrobe consisted of Target sweatpants in red (DS A), navy (DS B), or black (both of them, dang it, and I had to buy a handful of laundry markers). Since Target  put their boys’ sweats on sale at regular intervals, back-to-school clothes shopping for the twins was a snap—even more so because, unlike LD, they didn’t want to have anything to do with choosing their own outfits. I bought ‘em; they wore ‘em. Easy peasy.

Who would have believed that those same boys would one day become absolute clothing snobs—especially DS B. Moving to Manhattan for college (and then remaining there to work as professional dancers after graduation) might have had something to do with their evolving sense of style. DS B, for instance, has worked in at least three different higher-end mens’ clothing stores, and usually smoked the other clerks in sales.

Because I’m not particularly interested in fashion, most of my characters dress pretty plainly. But in Demon on the Down-Low, I had a secondary character—Olli, Hamish’s first date—who needed to be fashionable. I knew just who to contact for advice, and had this text conversation with DS B:

As it happens, Olli is Finnish, not Swedish, but I hadn’t figured that part out yet. DS B pointed me to several websites, and I was able to dress Olli from the Paul Smith site.

In case you’re wondering about the coat, here it is (with DS B inside it). He designed the coat and had a friend of his make it.

It’s hard to tell from the picture, but it’s got two different fabrics, plus a lining, all of them super soft.

Lucky for me (when it comes to character wardrobe research), he’s come a long way from navy Target sweatpants!

 

 

Hello, everyone, and thank you for joining me on blog tour for Demon on the Down-Low, the third (and final) book in the Supernatural Selection trilogy! Follow along with the tour and comment for a chance to win the tour grand prize, a $25 Riptide gift card and your choice of either Single White Incubus or Bad Boy’s Bard. Winner chosen randomly at the end of the tour from comments across all tour stops.

 

About Demon on the Down-Low

After decades of unrequited love, this kangaroo will jump at the chance for a date. Any date.

Lovelorn kangaroo shifter Hamish Mulherne, drummer for the mega-hit rock band Hunter’s Moon, waited years for the band’s jaguar shifter bassist to notice him. Instead, she’s just gotten married and is in a thriving poly relationship. How is Hamish supposed to compete with that? But with everyone else in the band mated and revoltingly happy, he needs somebody. Since he can’t expect true love to strike twice, he signs up with Supernatural Selection. Because what the hell.

When Zeke Oz was placed at Supernatural Selection through the Sheol work-release program, he thought he was the luckiest demon alive. But when he seems responsible for several massive matchmaking errors, he’s put on notice: find the perfect match for Hamish, or get booted back to Sheol for good. The only catch? He has to do it without the agency’s matchmaking spells, and Hamish simply will not engage.

But Zeke starts to believe that the reason all of Hamish’s dates fizzle is because nobody in the database is good enough for him. And Hamish realizes that his perfect match might be the cute demon who’s trying so hard to make him happy.

Now available from Riptide Publishing!

 

About Supernatural Selection

Are you a shifter who’s lost faith in fated mates? A vampire seeking a Second Life companion? Or perhaps you’re a demon yearning to claim a soul (mate)?

Congratulations! Your search is over!

Welcome to Supernatural Selection, where our foolproof spells guarantee your perfect match.

Until they don’t.

Check out Supernatural Selection today.

 

About E.J. Russell

E.J. Russell holds a BA and an MFA in theater, so naturally she’s spent the last three decades as a financial manager, database designer, and business-intelligence consultant. After her twin sons left for college and she no longer spent half her waking hours ferrying them to dance class, she returned to her childhood love of writing fiction. Now she wonders why she ever thought an empty nest meant leisure.

E.J. lives in rural Oregon with her curmudgeonly husband, the only man on the planet who cares less about sports than she does. She enjoys visits from her wonderful adult children, and indulges in good books, red wine, and the occasional hyperbole.

Connect with E.J.:

Website: ejrussell.com

Blog: ejrussell.com/bloggery/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/E.J.Russell.author

Twitter: twitter.com/ej_russell

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/ejrussell/

 

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Demon on the Down-Low one lucky person will win a $25 Riptide Publishing gift card and an ecopy of either Single White Incubus (first in the Supernatural Selection series) or Bad Boy’s Bard (the book from the Fae Out of Water series that influences this one). Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on March 2, 2019. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

An Alisa Review: Vampire with Benefits (Supernatural Selection #2) by E.J. Russell

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

A match between a vampire and shifter could be deadly—but this broken beaver doesn’t give a dam.

 

Silent film actor Casimir Moreau had imagined that life as a vampire would be freewheeling and glamorous. Instead, he’s plunged into a restrictive society whose rules he runs afoul of at every turn. To “rehabilitate” him, the vampire council orders him mated to an incubus with impeccable breeding who’ll mold Cas into the upstanding vampire he ought to be. Or else.

 

As an inactive beaver shifter, construction engineer Rusty Johnson has fought—and overcome—bias and disrespect his entire life. But when his longtime boyfriend leaves him for political reasons, Rusty is ready to call it a day. Next stop? Supernatural Selection and his guaranteed perfect mate, a bear shifter living far away from Rusty’s disapproving clan.

 

But then a spell snafu at Supernatural Selection robs both men of their intended husbands. Rusty can’t face returning to his clan, and Cas needs somebody on his arm to keep the council happy, so they agree to pretend to be married. Nobody needs to know their relationship is fake—especially since it’s starting to feel suspiciously like the real thing.

 

This is another great story in this series, with a very interesting turn.  Cas is dreading his sentence of being married to who the council has chosen and jumps at the chance to throw it back in their faces.  Rusty just wants someone to actually care about him and basically not be a jerk, he isn’t expecting much just to get away from his ex.

 

This story is taking place at the same time as the first book which was interesting.  Cas and Rusty work together from the beginning and grow closer over time.  When they discover how Rusty could help Cas get his life back and help fix something from Cas’s past they jump right in.

 

I easily connected with Rusty, he has always been the outcast and never expects more than that but he is so caring and fierce at the same time.  Cas took a bit to grow on me, but once he stopped trying to defy everything it’s easy to see that he isn’t happy and deeply regrets even becoming a vampire but he would never have gotten to meet Rusty.  I loved the connection these two have and the twist at the end to get a happily ever after was great.

 

Cover art by LC Chase is adorable and I love the style an how it matches the first book too.

 

Sales Links: Riptide Publishing | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 300 pages

Published: November 26, 2018 by Riptide Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-62649-856-3

Edition Language: English

Series: Supernatural Selection #2

A Caryn Review: Single White Incubus (Supernatural Selection) by E.J. Russell

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

I am soooo happy to read and review another book from EJ Russell set in the universe of the “supes” – the supernatural, from all realms.  And as a bonus, this book had cameos from David and Alun of Cutie and the Beast, as well as Mal from The Druid Next Door.  The dedication is to the readers “who fell in love with the Kendrick brothers and wanted more stories in their world”, and all I can say to that is YES! And MORE!

This is the story of Ted Farnsworth – your average lumberjack kinda guy, who also happens to be a bear shifter.  But unlike most bears, he’s generous and actually enjoys being social and interacting with humans, and that desire has gotten him into trouble with the shifter councils and the secrecy pact.  He also seems to have a bit of ADHD, with impulse control and difficulty thinking through to the natural consequences of his actions.  He’s staged a few “sightings” while mid-shift, because the photographer is his friend and down on his luck, and Bigfoot photos pay well.  When the council started threatening him with more severe consequences if he didn’t settle down and act more like a bear, he decided the best way to behave was to get married to a solid, steady kind of guy.  So he contacted the matchmaking service Supernatural Selection which guaranteed marriage to a perfect partner.  Rusty, a beaver shifter with his own construction company, was ideal.

This is also the story of Quentin Bertrand-Harrington, an incubus with a conscience who didn’t want to ever take a lover again after feeding off a boyfriend to the point of near death.  His family was pushing him to marry a human, and he figured the best way to make sure that never happened was to choose a husband from the undead – zombies are gross, but Supernatural Selection found his perfect match with a vampire.  He’d been taking suppressants to tamp down his urges to feed on humans for decades, and they left him weak, and unfortunately, a little bit mentally fuzzy – too impaired to truly pay attention…

With the contracts sealed in blood, all Ted and Quentin had to do was meet their fiancees – but that is when the comedy of errors began.  Turns out they both didn’t pay enough attention to the final drafts of the contracts, and neither noticed that the names were changed in the final contract, and it matched the two of them.  They were married!  And when you sign a contract in blood with the witches council, getting out of it isn’t easy.

There was a delicious slow burn to their romance.  Not quite enemies to lovers, but they both had to overcome a lot of preconceived notions before they were able to really and truly see each other.  And it turned out that a clumsy but good hearted bear was actually a perfect foil to a jaded and withdrawn sex demon.  How they got to that point was the majority of the book, and it was funny, well written, and made me fall in love with both of them.  Both men learned to see their strengths and weaknesses in a different way, and learn that they were indeed valuable and worthy of love.  Their unlikely pairing really brought out the best in each other.

I took off half a star because the final part of the book was a bit rushed, confused, left a lot of strings hanging, and I felt was a little too easily resolved.  The mystery to be solved in the rest of the books in the series was introduced (just who was that sneaky AI and why was he smirking?), but it seemed a bit sudden, and I thought everyone should have been questioning how Ted and Quentin’s first contracts had different names on them in the first place….

Cover art by L.C. Chase is great – clearly defines the book as a comedy, and the bear paw was a great representation of Ted.

Sales Links  Riptide Publishing  |  Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Published October 20th 2018 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitleSingle White Incubus
ISBN139781626498501
Edition Language English
Series Supernatural Selection