Tag Team Review: Finn (Endangered Fae #1) by Angel Martinez

Finn’s been asleep for centuries. He’ll need to catch up fast to survive.

Diego’s impulse to rescue a naked bridge jumper starts as just that—talk the man down and get him to social services. But there’s something odd about this homeless person, more than just his delusions of being a pooka, and something so vulnerable that Diego’s determined to help him stabilize rather than see him institutionalized or deported.

Finn went into the Dreaming centuries ago to escape a heartbreak he couldn’t bear. Now that he’s back, he finds the Veil to the Otherworld closed. The fae courts have abandoned him in a poisoned human world where a displaced pooka has little chance of survival. His human rescuer is kind and compassionate—and shockingly familiar. One thing at a time, though. He needs Diego to believe he’s not human first.




Averaged!

Ann - 4 Hearts

Finn charmed me greatly right from the beginning and while I’d heard of a Pooka before, it wasn’t a definition that came readily to mind, so I was super happy to basically be introduced to a new kind of fae. Especially a fae that could shift into any critter imaginable depending on his needs and one of said critters was a dragon! So, yes. I love him.

Diego, our human MC, is a man who has a heart bigger than his brain at times but damn it’s a beautiful heart though. While it’s gotten him into some dangerous (and violent) situations in the past, he can’t stop helping everyone he comes across that needs a hand up. From homeless street kids to homeless adults to homeless animals, Diego can’t abide by seeing someone in need and just passing on by, which is how he meets Finn to begin with. Finn is sickly, naked and standing on the edge of the Brooklyn Bridge when Diego drives by and of course Diego turns around, talks Finn down and takes him home to give him some care he desperately needs. His plan is to take him to a doctor and then get him some mental health treatment.

Welllll, things didn’t go that way, Finn stays with Diego and soon Finn has laid all his Fae cards on the table and Diego is introducing him to the human world. This setup and getting acquainted time was a significant portion of the book and I enjoyed it very much! At this point I wasn’t sure where the story was going to go, I mean it’s a multi book series, some paranormal drama has to be coming down the road soon, and it did, in spades, but this quieter part of the book was great for me. It made me buy into the two of them together in the long run because they did spend a lot of time together well before the proverbial shit hit the fan.

The city isn’t good for Finn, there’s just too much city-ness there and he needs some wide open, unpolluted place to let his Pooka self run free. Diego doesn’t really see himself leaving the city, but when push comes to shove, he can’t see himself without Finn either so he takes his editor up on her offer to stay at her cabin in Canada for a bit.

I’m going to digress a bit about Diego’s editor here. Miriam was an awesome character! She was just the kind of person Diego needed in his life and she was someone I would love to grab cocktails with. Of course we’d have to invite Tia Carmen too. She could be all full of sage wisdom and she’d feed us and it would be amazing.

Anywho, the guys head to Canada and it was beautiful and relaxing and wonderful right up until it wasn’t. Shit got real in Canada. Like, really real. There’s more than trees and squirrels in those woods. There’s a wendigo who’s set his sights on Diego and his lightening. See, Diego has some latent powers that he is just now coming into with Finn’s help and he’s a helluva lot more powerful than even Finn realized. Angel Martinez is really great at writing apocalyptic showdowns and the days long battle between Finn and Diego against the wendigo. I googled wendigo and they are very scary. VERY SCARY. I mean, goddamn. And I loved it.

Finn is a great foray into a unique paranormal world that gave a good balance between action, romance and suspense. I would highly recommend Finn to fans of all those things for something different and very enjoyable.


Fantasy Living - 3 Hearts


This story started off really strong. The concept was really interesting, and the introduction of the main leads, Finn and Diego went well. The writing style worked and I had no problem following along.

Somewhere around 70% is where this fell down for me. I don’t even know why. I don’t know if it was just me, or whether something in the story bothered me, but I definitely lost interest and it started to drag. It may even be because it changed direction to where I thought it was going. Nevertheless, I really struggled to finish it.

Up until that point I was really enjoying it. I loved the difference between Finn and Diego. I enjoyed their dynamic together when they started out as friends and when it developed into more. Finn was a fun character, and having him in the city, exploring and remarking on the surroundings was very entertaining. Diego was a fairly serious character, but a really good guy, and he put himself out there to help Finn while he recovered.

Once they moved locations to the wilderness, that is when the story took an unusual turn and confused me. It felt like a really wild swing into a new plot line and I just didn’t get it. But I have been having a hard time with reading lately so I completely own my reaction and don’t think it is a good measure on whether this book is good or not.

I would encourage readers of PNR to give it a chance or at least read other reviews to help decide if this is for you. I will definitely try this author’s other work, but will ensure I’m in the right frame of mind to go on an adventure.

A review copy was provided for an honest review


Giveaway + Blog Tour: Building Forever (This Time Forever #1) by Kelly Jensen


Celebrate the release of Building Forever with author Kelly Jensen and Riptide Publishing. Read an exclusive excerpt of this contemporary romance below and be sure to leave a comment to be entered in a giveaway of a $25 Riptide gift card! Good luck!



Building Forever Excerpt
In this excerpt from Building Forever, Charlie is at Philcon chatting with a fan. I love this scene because while Charlie does spend a fair amount of time in his head—he’s a writer, after all—this is the first time he actively considers his sexuality.

“So what do you do for fun?” Aaron asked.
This would be where Charlie mentioned his daughter—and perhaps a fictitious wife. Well, one that hadn’t sadly departed five years ago. The bio in the back of his books was brief. His abbreviated name—C.R. King—and a bit about the awards he’d won for previous books in the series. That was it. No location, no family. If it’d been up to him, he’d have used a picture of Herbert, and a paragraph about how his master had taught him to use the computer so he could tell the story of his people.
Charlie didn’t always mention his daughter and fictitious wife. Sometimes he flirted. Sometimes he went upstairs with the person he flirted with and got six months of sexual frustration out of his system.
Never with a guy, though, and he couldn’t figure out if Why not? or Why now? was the more important question. The answer to the first was easy enough. Fear of the unknown, or maybe even a sort of complacency. He knew he clicked with women. Men he wasn’t as sure about. As for why now? Heh. That answer was easy too. Simon. Meeting Simon had changed something within him. What he wanted and who he wanted it with.
But he was supposed to be thinking about what he did for fun. Two images immediately popped up. Phil’s face was one, Call of Duty frozen on the TV behind him. Simon’s face was the other. Simon in quiet moments, tending the cut under Charlie’s thumb, or poring over the collection of plans for the house.
Charlie cleared his throat. “Ah, Call of Duty?” Why had his voice risen at the end? Fun shouldn’t be a question. “We’re still playing Advanced Warfare. We played with Infinite Warfare for a while and I know everyone’s raving about World War II, but the campaign in AW is so fu—freaking amazing.” Aaand now he was geeking out.
“I totally agree! So many cool mission objectives too. How did you find the WASP drone?”
“Frustrating as hell. And the highway mission. Jumping from truck to truck?”
“God, yeah.”
“Phil and I spent hours on that one.” Mostly because one kept jostling the other right when they were supposed to jump.
“Is Phil your partner?”
“Huh?” No beer, spit, or choking. Just plain old confusion.
Aaron’s eyebrows crooked together. “Sorry, you kept saying ‘we’ and the whole thing with Jory, I made a leap.”
“Phil’s a friend. Um, my best friend.” And brother-in-law. “We started kindergarten together. I’m . . . I’m single.”
“Oh.” Aaron’s body language changed, the shift both subtle and obvious. He leaned forward, sliding the arm he had resting along the bar toward Charlie until their fingertips almost touched. “You know, we could borrow an Xbox from the hotel. They got a bunch in for the con—a couple too many.”
“You want to play Call of Duty?” Even as he asked, Charlie knew the question was stupid—because of course Aaron wanted to play Call of Duty. For five minutes.
What do I do? What do I do!
Swallowing, Charlie pulled his hand back along the bar, the small pink scar at the base of his thumb tingling. “I, um . . .” He glanced up at Aaron, trying to read his expression.
Why hadn’t he hooked up with a guy at one of these cons? He’d looked. He could remember thinking and wondering. Exchanging handshakes with men like Aaron, knowing on some level that he could ask them back to his room. It would have been the perfect situation in which to check his fear. Instead, he’d gone for the girl. Every time.
In the protracted silence, he studied Aaron’s features. Blue eyes, pale skin, red lips. Simon’s face, but not. He remembered again what Simon had looked like the day he’d bandaged Charlie’s hand, and the long moment when they’d stood there, touching, gazing at each other. When Charlie had nearly leaned in and kissed him.
Something inside clicked, and barely formed thoughts tripped from the end of his tongue. “Um, there is sort of someone. We’re not, ah, he . . .”
Okay, words weren’t working for him right now.
Also, he’d given his interest a pronoun.
He’d given voice to his interest.
This time his blush didn’t confine itself to the back of his neck. Was it possible to die of embarrassment with a side of confusion?
Aaron huffed out a soft laugh. “Oh, yeah, there’s someone.” He grinned. “How about if we stick to Call of Duty, then?”
Charlie relaxed. Breathed as though he’d forgotten what air tasted like. “Yes. Yeah, thanks. I’d like that.”
Aaron pushed back from the bar. “Just so you know, you’re still making all my dreams come true.”
Charlie blinked.
“I’m playing Xbox with C.R. King!”
Charlie laughed. “I could be really, really bad at Call of Duty. You could spend your whole evening teaching me how to actually play.”
“Even better. I can brag that I showed you how to get Maximum Overdrive.”
“Wait, you’ve gotten Maximum Overdrive? What are we standing around here for?”

Building Forever is the first in a series of standalone novels focused on older characters who think love has passed them by. I loved writing these second chance romances, and I hope you enjoy reading about the books—especially this one because Charlie and Simon will forever be the characters who started me on this journey.

About Building Forever
A new town, a new neighbor, and a new chance to build a forever.
Charlie King is doing fine. Sure, he’s a widower raising a teenage daughter who just got her first boyfriend, his book series isn’t writing itself, and he has a crush on his new neighbor — the guy next door. But everything’s just fine.
Simon Lynley is doing better. He moved to Bethlehem to fall out of love and rebuild his career. An affair with his neighbor isn’t part of the plan, but the attraction between them is too hard to ignore.
But when Simon’s ex follows him to Pennsylvania seeking reconciliation, and Charlie’s life starts to feel like a video on repeat, everything comes apart. Charlie worries that he’s failing as a father, and Simon is a distraction he can’t afford. Meanwhile Simon doesn’t know if he could survive being left again, and he hasn’t come all this way to make the same mistakes. But despite their fears, it’s only together that they’ll find the strength to slay old foes and build the forever they’ve been waiting for.
About the This Time Forever Series
Small towns and second chances.
Simon, Frank, and Brian think love has passed them by. Each is facing down his fiftieth birthday—Simon in a few years, Frank next year, and Brian soon enough. Each has loved and lost. But for these men, everything old really is new again, and it’s only when they return to their roots that they’ll find their second chances and the happily ever after they’ve been waiting their whole lives for.
This time it’s forever.
This series includes:
1.    Building Forever — releasing October 15, available now!
2.    Renewing Forever — releasing November 12, available for preorder!
3.    Chasing Forever — releasing December 10, available soon!

About Kelly Jensen

If aliens ever do land on Earth, Kelly will not be prepared, despite having read over a hundred stories about the apocalypse. Still, she will pack her precious books into a box and carry them with her as she strives to survive. It’s what bibliophiles do.
Kelly is the author of a number of novels, novellas, and short stories, including the Chaos Station series, cowritten with Jenn Burke. Some of what she writes is speculative in nature, but mostly it’s just about a guy losing his socks and/or burning dinner. Because life isn’t all conquering aliens and mountain peaks. Sometimes finding a happy ever after is all the adventure we need.
Connect with Kelly:
      Website: kellyjensenwrites.com
      Facebook: www.facebook.com/kellyjensenwrites/
      Twitter: twitter.com/kmkjensen
      Tumblr: kmkjensen.tumblr.com/
      Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/kmkjensen/
      Instagram: www.instagram.com/kellyjensenwrites/

To celebrate the release of Building Forever one lucky person will win a $25 Riptide Publishing gift card and a swag pack of stickers, art cards, and bookmarks! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 20, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Review: Calculated Magic by S.J.D. Peterson

Never too late for love.

Three-hundred-and-fifty-year-old warlock Tikron must find his true love or forfeit his immortality. But if he hasn’t found his ideal mate in all these centuries, the prospects don’t look too bright.

That is, until he sees mathematician Richard Beaumont. It’s love at first sight and Tikron’s future just go a whole lot brighter.

Except Richard doesn’t believe in love at first sight. He doesn't believe in love at all. He certainly doesn’t believe in magic. His life is ruled by statistics and logic, and they tell him a relationship with Tikron has only a 10 percent chance of success. That’s unacceptable—even if the attraction between them is off the charts.

With his powers waning and the clock ticking down, Tikron’s last hope is showing Richard the true meaning of magic.



What a delightful and yeah, magical story this was. I had so much fun reading this opposites attract story of a centuries old warlock looking to break the curse of an unrequited love placed on him and finding the most extraordinary man of logic to fall for. Soul mates of any kind is a weakness trope for me and this was a pure pleasure to read.
“How is this possible?”
“Magic.”
“Impossible. There is no such thing as magic,”
“Nothing is impossible if you believe.”
Told in the dual POV’s of our fated couple, we meet our Warlock Tikron first as he is looking through old texts and obscure manuscripts to find a way to break the curse Mysdus (the leader of a clan of immortals and an extremely powerful warlock) put on him when Mysdus couldn’t hook up with Tikron’s mother. Tikron has until his 350th birthday which is in 30 days to break the curse or he loses his immortality. When Tikron’s friend with sometime benefits, Ry, decides they need a break from their search and get some food, Tikron’s life gets turned upside down. On their walk to get their grub on, Tikron feels a pull to walk into a bakery and finds himself drawn to a man inside. He can’t explain why he is smitten, yes smitten, by this guy because he is not Tikron’s usual type, but he knows he has to meet him.

Richard Beaumont is Tikron’s exact opposite when we first meet him. He’s steadfast in his routine and being a mathematician, is all about numbers and logic, but Richard is lonely. Richard doesn’t realize that Tikron has been staring at him until Andrea (who works at the bakery) sits down and tells him and Richard goes into what I now call, Richard Mode. The guy is sweet, but so lost in his logic that he dismisses the first attempt Tikron makes at hitting on him. He also blows the second opportunity with Tikron and with this Dreamspun Beyond line, I wasn’t ready for him to be so stubborn and starchy. Yet, when Richard makes a call to his mom to ask about flirting, it all makes sense with the parental responses he gets. Just trust me when I saw Richard’s family are all on the same page.
How could someone not believe in magic? […] One only had to watch a sunset or a baby take its first breath to know that magic happened every second of every day. It was in the wind, the trees, the ground, the very breath taken.
What makes this book fun though is the fact Richard doesn’t believe in magic when magic is exactly what Tikron is. I loved that Tikron didn’t realize who Richard was and what he could represent even though he was searching for the very thing; to find his true love. Watching the slow progress Tikron makes as he begins to basically woo Richard was sweet and when he finally gets to show Richard the magic he can perform, the relationship moves forward. Watching Richard bloom with acceptance of magic was wonderful and seeing him fall for Tikron was beautiful.

Ry, Tikron’s best friend is the ultimate scene stealer and I found myself wanting more and more of him and wouldn’t mind reading his book one day. I wish we could have seen a bit of the dude who placed the curse on Tikron but the end was delightful and wrapped the story up nicely.



An ARC was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.




Check out the Calculated Magic blog visit HERE!

Release Blitz + Giveaway: Boy Shattered by Eli Easton


Celebrate the release of Boy Shattered with author Eli Easton and Signal Boost Promotions! Enter in the $25 Amazon gift card giveaway!




Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Length: 85,000 words approx.

Cover Design: Tiferet Design

Blurb

Brian

You’ll make it out of here, Brian. I swear.

I had everything—school quarterback, popular with girls, and my dad was proud of me. I told myself it didn’t matter no one knew the real me. And then I nearly died. Landon saved my life. He’s the bravest guy I know. He came out a few years ago, proud and fierce, and he ran into gunfire to help others. Me, I’m a mess. Can’t even stand to be in a room with the curtains open. But here’s the thing about losing it all: You get a chance to start over and be someone new. Only how can I move on when the two shooters who attacked our school were never caught? And why do I feel like I’m still in the crosshairs?


Landon

Will you kiss me?

When I came across Brian Marshall,the hottest guy in school, dying on the cafeteria floor, I did what anyone would do. I tried to save him. His request surprised me, but I figured he needed comfort, so I kissed him on the forehead. When he survived and came back to school, he was broken in body and mind. He still needed me, and soon we were unlikely besties. But what I saw at school that day woke me up. I want to demand action on gun control, lead protests, raise my fist. I’ll tear the world down if I have to. And if I can get the man of my dreams and save the world at the same time? I’ll take it. Only I didn’t understand that the horror at Jefferson Waller High wasn’t over.





About Eli

Having been, at various times and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, a game designer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a fan fiction writer, and organic farmer, Eli has been a m/m romance author since 2013. She has over 30 books published.


Eli has loved romance since her teens and she particular admires writers who can combine literary merit, genuine humor, melting hotness, and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, bulldogs, cows, a cat, and lots of groundhogs.


In romance, Eli is best known for her Christmas stories because she’s a total Christmas sap. These include “Blame it on the Mistletoe”, “Unwrapping Hank” and “Merry Christmas, Mr. Miggles”. Her “Howl at the Moon” series of paranormal romances featuring the town of Mad Creek and its dog shifters has been popular with readers. And her series of Amish-themed romances, Men of Lancaster County, has won genre awards.


In 2018 Eli hopes to do more of the same, assuming they reschedule the apocalypse.


Her website is www.elieaston.com

You can email her at eli@elieaston.com




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Review: Handle With Care by Cari Z.

A fragile heart needs extra care.

Burned-out social worker Aaron McCoy is on vacation for the first time in years--boss's orders. Road-tripping to his brother's wedding with his best friend, Tyler, seems a fun way to spend the mandatory two-week leave, and they set out for Kansas--and a difficult homecoming.

Aaron's mother was a drug addict, and his adorable younger brother was quickly adopted, while Aaron spent his childhood in foster care. As Aaron mends fences, Tyler hopes to show him that this time, he won't be left behind to face his problems alone.

Aaron's opening up to how right it feels to be with Tyler and to the possibility of taking the leap from friends to lovers. But along with the wedding celebration comes a painful reminder of the past. Aaron's heart is still breakable. Can he put it in Tyler's hands?


There are all sorts of romance stories to tell. Some are full of over the top romantic gestures from start to finish, some are the classic formula of meet cute, date, fall in love to HEA and some begin as friends and quietly grow over years of friendship and unrequited feelings until the big talk/reveal. This book falls in the latter and it was like a warm cup of soothing tea on a blustery day for this reader.

I adored this book. I love who Aaron has become as a man. That he took his dark childhood in the foster care system to become a social worker who cares so much about the kids assigned to him than even his own well-being. Aaron knows what’s it’s like to be in their shoes and he always wants to make sure they don’t fall through the cracks on his watch. Aaron is also a bit of a workaholic and without his best friend Tyler making him take a break every now and again, Aaron might as well live at his office. It’s not unnoticed by his boss how hard he works and when she notices Aaron spending weekends at work to get his paper work in early, she imposes a two week vacation on Aaron to get him some much needed down time.

[…] the intense rush of having exactly what he wanted, exactly as he wanted it. God, it was everything and barely anything, just the start, just the beginning….
That right there sets this story up because when Aaron goes to Tyler’s house to tell him, Tyler reminds Aaron that it’s perfect timing because Aaron’s younger brother is getting married and Aaron was invited. The only thing is; Aaron and his younger brother Zach haven’t seen each other in years since Zach was adopted and Aaron was left to fight alone. Aaron isn’t sure about seeing Zach after all these years nor seeing Zach’s adopted mom Chrissy who at the time, also had Aaron in the house but chose Zach. It’s a tough trip to make but Tyler convinces Aaron it’s one he would regret missing and so we have a road trip to a wedding to take.


I really liked this story. It was bittersweet in a lot of ways learning about how Aaron grew up and how he finally found a family when he was placed with Tyler’s. It makes sense the boys would grow to be friends and stay that way as adults and the attraction as well as the affection between them was obvious from their first time on page together. The only thing you really have to wait for is who would make the first move from friends to more and when it happens, it was slow and sweet just like everything else in this book.

The wedding and everything leading up was interesting. I can’t say that I understand the placement of Owen and his homophobic ass because I think we could have got Zach being okay with Aaron’s sexuality without Owen doing the crap he did at the bachelor party. I don’t regret a drunk Tyler and his speech to Aaron nor the rehearsal and what happens then either, but Owen could have been left out and this story would have survived.

I love stories like this, the friends to lovers and how well they know one another. They know one another as best friends but that learning how to be lovers is something so romantic and in this, pretty freaking hot. I mean, look at the author and you have to know that even in a Dreamspun book, we’re gonna get some hot Cari Z. sex, and it was delivered. I loved being there for their first moments and that epilogue was everything Aaron and Tyler could be. It was definitely perfect for them.


An ARC was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Series Release Blitz + Giveaway: Roads Series by Garrett Leigh


Celebrate the Roads series release (Slide #1) & (Rare #2) with author Garrett Leigh and Signal Boost Promotions! Learn more today and enter in the giveaway to win your own ecopy of the Roads series!

Plus, Garrett put Slide on sale last night so it's now going to be free through Thursday on Amazon!







Roads Series - Available Exclusive to Amazon and on Kindle Unlimited

Book #1 - Slide - Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 - Rare - Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 - Circle - Amazon US | Amazon UK

Cover Design: Black Jazz Design

Slide

Don’t look back. Don’t you ever look back…


Shy tattoo artist Ash has a troubled past. Years of neglect, drug abuse, and life on the streets have taken their toll, and sometimes it seems the deep, unspoken bond with his lover is the only balm for wounds he doesn’t quite understand.


Chicago paramedic Pete is warmth, love, and strength—things Ash never knew he could have, and never even knew he wanted until Pete showed him. But fate is a cruel, cruel mistress, and when nightmares collide with the present, their tentatively built world comes crashing down.


Traumatic events in Pete’s work life distance him from home, and he doesn’t realize until it’s too late that Ash has slipped away. Betrayal, secrets, and lies unfold, and when a devastating coincidence takes hold, Pete must fight with all he has to save the love of his life.


Rare

Paramedic Pete Adams lived through the year from hell watching his lover, Ash, fall apart, and the precarious balance between work and home is becoming more strained. His heart is always home, with Ash, but the dark side to his job is weighing him down.


Tattoo artist Ash Fagin is recovering from a nervous breakdown triggered by revelations about his traumatic childhood. His battle with mental illness is far from over, but with Pete by his side, he's feeling good again, so good he doesn’t notice something missing until it walks right into his living room.


Ash believes he’s had enough coincidence in his life, but when a voice from the past comes looking for him, it takes the devastating injuries of the one he loves most to convince him to let a ghost become the family he never knew he wanted.



Garrett Leigh is an award-winning British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Fox Love Press.


Garrett's 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.


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 sitemoonstockphotography.com with renowned LGBTQA+ photographer Dan Burgess.


Website: http://www.garrettleigh.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/garrettleighauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Garrett_Leigh




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Tag Team Review: Devil Take Me Anthology by Various Authors


Temptation lurks around every corner in worlds sometimes dark, sometimes lurid. Giving in is both dangerous and satisfying, though never in the ways one expects. While these enticements offer a vast range of benefits and boons, the cost is a soul and the devil expects his due. Sometimes suave and charming or calculating and cruel, these devils have schemes and desires of their own. They can be creatures to run away from… or toward.

Join the most unique and celebrated authors of LGBT urban fantasy and paranormal fiction for a fast-paced and unpredictable ride, from a city on the other side of reality, to a world suspended in dusk, to a twisted version of the 1960s and 70s.

Meet devils in top hats and waistcoats, a defrocked motorcycle-riding priest, and a genderfluid antihero—among many more. Full of humor, romance, horror, action, intrigue, and magic, these stories have one common element….

They’re one hell of a good time.



Infernal Affairs by Jordan L. Hawk

Optimist ♰King's Wench♰ - 4 Hearts

Cheeky Fun!


My first experience with this author and I snortled my way through it, but before I knew it I had invested in Ralgath and Chess, too. The author's voice shined through especially with Fluffpaw. Fluffpaw kinda stole the show for me. Cute widdle pooch.

The suspense element held my interest and kept me rooting for them to find a loophole so they could be together. There was quite a bit of action but the overall theme was lighthearted and fun or maybe tongue in cheek is a better descriptor. There were genuine feelings that were developed between these characters along with mounting chemistry as the story evolved. The ending was super sweet and I *may* have even aww'd aloud.

Peachy - 4 Hearts

This one was a pretty fun read and the “lightest” of the collection. The author knows how to make characters come to life by showing them rather than just describing them and that was pretty important for this story. Ralgath and Chess are very unique and their distinctive voices made their banter fun to read. Ralgath’s demotion to “customer service” and his descriptions of his underworld workplace, as comparable to top side, were pretty amusing. Chess is a treat, they are badass and sentimental at the same time.

I really wanted these two to end up together and find a loophole somehow to make it be a thing. It’s a pretty romantic story actually. The two MC’s are obviously in love and even though they haven’t completely figured it out, it’s obvious to the reader. Fluffpaw is truly the standout here though, I have to say, that hellhound was the absolute best and I was just as invested in her as I was Chess and Ralgath.

Collared by T.A. Moore

Peachy - 5 Hearts

Collared is fascinatingly dark and and takes the reader on one hell of a ride. It’s the kind of story where you know there isn’t going to be any kind of traditional HEA, happiness is relative here, so the scale of satisfaction for the MC’s is completely skewed.

The backstory of Jack, the ex-priest, and Math, his personal demon is doled out in small bits throughout the story, so if you pick this one up and put it down more than a couple of times you’re going to get lost. It’s definitely one to read in one sitting so that you can follow and appreciate the flow of the story and the language.

The world building is top notch and is reminiscent of Derry, Maine where everyone’s favorite clown resides. Everything about the town is just “off” and while an outsider might see the obvious strangeness, the evil itself is able to mask it to the residents, so no one questions why the neighbors have disappeared or why entire blocks of businesses are now shuttered. They just are and people go on with their lives. Questioning things takes its toll, mostly on law enforcement and that’s where Jack comes in. He helps with the cases that don’t have logical answers and takes the burden off those who still have souls.

I was totally sucked into this story and I love when an author can make me care about a character who is completely flawed or born from evil. This is a true halloween story that will make you uncomfortably committed to its outcome.

Counterfeit Viscount by Ginn Hale

Peachy - 4.5 Hearts

I would categorize Counterfeit Viscount as a character driven romance above the plot based action/adventure that took center stage in the first two stories of the anthology. Nimble and Archie are so well crafted and even though the story is told through Archie’s POV, I felt like I knew Nimble just as well as I read him through Archie’s eyes. I was enamored of Nimble as much as Archie was. And even though I didn’t have Nimble’s POV I could see his affections for Archie clear as day (even if Archie couldn’t).

The world building is great and this could be an amazing series if the author ever decided to go that direction. There’s so much to work with as the Prodigal devils venture away from Hell’s Below and begin to live alongside the natural borns. It was a pretty fascinating setup and I would love to read more about it all.

The ending was perfect and gave me some much needed traditional romance after reading Collared, so the balance was perfect.

11:59 by C.S. Poe

Optimist ♰King's Wench♰ - 4 Hearts

The start of this story drew me in immediately what with Asuka falling to his death at 11:59. Asuka is an enforcer in this dystopia (possibly post-apocalyptic?) world that's plagued by nightmares. I don't really understand how this came about but the more the story evolved the less I cared. It's about the journey and the destination rather than the genesis.

The world building was top-notch and I believe heavily influenced by Dante's Inferno, though I've never read it so I couldn't say with certainty. What I liked about it, besides the sumptuous visuals, was that even though Asuka has to go it alone Merrick, through his dedicated bookishness, lent his knowledge to Asuka which played a pivotal role in his successfully navigating the underworld.

The romance between them could've been stronger but it had a lot of ingredients that I liked: age and size difference, ginger protag who is very persistent, a grump and opposites attract. Side note: I loved that Merrick, though totally impractical, totes around a stack of books. So cute.

Peachy - 4 Hearts

I feel like I keep saying this, and I’m not even sorry a little, but this is another story where the world building is aces. All of these authors are so strong in that regards and it makes for some great atmosphere when the devil is the theme you’re working with.

11:59 brings in some Greek mythology alongside the devil and also makes the city a character in its own right. Dreams can be deadly here as a nightmare can follow its dreamer to the conscious world and turn into a monster of apocalyptic proportions. Asuka sold his soul years ago to save his life so that he could continue to help others. Selling his soul had more consequences than he realized though, he literally couldn’t dream but he also couldn’t dream conceptually and I loved how the author worked that into the story and his character.

Asuka became a shell of a hero, going through the motions of slaughtering monsters but with zero hopes for the future. Until he meets Merrick. Merrick was a delightful bit of sunshine in all the doom and gloom. Asuka didn’t have to have a soul to recognize that and for the first time in a long time, he wants to dream again.

The resolution is very Greco in it’s stylings and I had flashbacks to Clash of the Titans with Asuka as Perseus battling demons to save his world from Hades. The twist is that by slaying the demon Asuka not only saves the mortal world, he saves the underworld as well and restores balance to both. I would have loved more between Asuka and Merrick, but what I did get actually balanced well with the story overall so I have enough to know they are together and in my head got their HEA.

Wonderland City by Rhys Ford

Optimist ♰King's Wench♰ - 5 Hearts

A feast for the imagination!

If you thought Tim Burton's telling of the classic Alice in Wonderland was freaky, try this on for size. It's really just set in Wonderland rather than a retelling. Ford took liberties to create this lush and vivid landscape to make it uniquely hers. And wonderful. I cannot overstate how incredible the world building is; everything from the pawns uniforms to the usage of magic by the Red Queen was vibrant and folded seamlessly into the narrative rather than being info-dumpy.

Another girl (Naomi) has made her way into Wonderland City accidentally and the devil strikes a bargain with Xander: find her and he'll return his soul. I loved how this world was woven together to include the devil and the soul selling aspect that pervades this anthology as well as his limitations within this Wonderland City. However, retrieving Naomi proves to be a tall order that requires the aid of Xander's trusty pooch, Blue, as well as his ex, Jean Michel.

It's focused primarily on the adventure but the romance snuck up on me and punched me right in the feels. I'm a sucker for second chances and it seems Jean Michel has been biding his time waiting for a chance at not only reconciliation but redemption. Nonetheless, the action sequence at the end was a battle royale! Literally. Somewhat gruesome but so worth it. Every time I turned the page something more awesome was happening!

There wasn't anything I didn't like about this story other than when it ended. If there were to be a continuation, I would be over the moon about that.

Dark Favors by Jordan Castillo Price

Optimist ♰King's Wench♰ - 4.5 Stars

One of my mom's favorite movies is The Big Chill. If you've never seen it, it's worth a watch if for no other reason than to get some insight into the 60s, 70s and 80s as college friends reunite for a friend's funeral via suicide. Had my mom not made me watch this repeatedly introduced me to this film I probably would never have known what a quaalude was. But she did so when this story started off in 1961 then jumped to 1979 and JCP threw in a quaalude reference I was feeling smug. Thanks mom! The usage of flashbacks to 1961 did their job in developing Johnny and fleshing him out.

I loved this story not just because of the quaaludes and associated smugness, but because it really built something between Adam and Johnny. I could wax on and on about them but the bottom line is I liked all the intricacies of these two characters and how their differences draw them together and forge a bond against all odds. This was also the sexiest of the stories I read; their chemistry was off the charts!

The concept of the favors and how those affect the Chosen I found very interesting especially when it cropped up at the end, an end which I found not just heartwarming but honest. Were there to be a follow up I would be all over it.



ARCs were provided by the publisher in exchange for honest reviews.

Blog Tour: Calculated Magic by SJD Peterson


Help author S.J.D. Peterson and Dreamspinner Press celebrate the release of her new Dreamspun Beyond novel, Calculated Magic! Find out more about the paranormal romance below!

See our review HERE


DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC?

     As I wrote the title to this blog, that song popped into my head. “Do you believe in magic,” La La La. “Young boys heart” La La La. Don’t you hate when a song you don’t even know all the word to gets stuck in your head? “Do you believe in magic?” UGH it’s going to be there all day, but I’m totally off topic *Focus Jo*

     I can’t remember at what age I stopped believing in magic. I don’t mean the seeing your child take its first breath or a beautiful sunset kind of magic. I’m talking the wand-waving, nose-wiggling, genie in a bottle kind of magic.

      At six, I was sure I could fly. Superman did it all the time. All I needed was a cape and a running start. Unfortunately, the towel around my neck as I jumped off the garage roof taught me, I was no superman. I was eight or nine when I gave up rubbing on the old lamp my grandmother kept on the shelf. I nearly rubbed my fingertips raw and not so much as a puff of smoke. Teenage years were a blur and I’m pretty sure by the time I had my children, Bewitched, was nothing more than an entertaining show.

      In my new novel, Calculated Magic, I am a lot like Richard. Except, I suck at math, my dog’s name is not Albert (Agnes is a girl) and I don’t avoid people or hate small talk. Okay, I’m nothing like Richard except we share a disbelief in magic. We both look for the logical explication when something strange or eerie happens. Yet, unlike Richard, I want to believe and still holding out hope that one day, I’ll wiggle my nose and suddenly be sitting on the beach with the sun beating down on me in the dead of winter.

     What about you? Do you remember at what age you stopped believing in real magic? If you could cast a spell with the twitch of your nose, what kind would it be?

~Hugs~
Jo



Never too late for love.

Three-hundred-and-fifty-year-old warlock Tikron must find his true love or forfeit his immortality. But if he hasn’t found his ideal mate in all these centuries, the prospects don’t look too bright.

That is, until he sees mathematician Richard Beaumont. It’s love at first sight and Tikron’s future just go a whole lot brighter.

Except Richard doesn’t believe in love at first sight. He doesn't believe in love at all. He certainly doesn’t believe in magic. His life is ruled by statistics and logic, and they tell him a relationship with Tikron has only a 10 percent chance of success. That’s unacceptable—even if the attraction between them is off the charts.

With his powers waning and the clock ticking down, Tikron’s last hope is showing Richard the true meaning of magic.

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SJD Peterson, better known as Jo, hails from Michigan. Not the best place to live for someone who hates the cold and snow. When not reading or writing, Jo can be found close to the heater checking out NHL stats and watching the Red Wings kick a little butt. Can't cook, misses the clothes hamper nine out of ten tries, but is handy with power tools.

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Blog Tour + Giveaway: Savor Me (Kitchen Gods #3) by Beth Bolden


Author Beth Bolden and Vibrant Promotions visit on the Savor Me (Kitchen Gods #3) blog tour! Learn more about the contemporary romance and enter in the $20 Amazon gift card giveaway!

Savor Me Tour Banner
SAVOR ME
KITCHEN GODS, BOOK 3
BETH BOLDEN
M/M ROMANCE
RELEASE DATE: 10.02.18
Savor Me Cover
COVER DESIGN: AngstyG
BLURB
When Chef Xander Bridges leaves the warmth and safety of his car on a cold, stormy night and approaches a stranger, the last thing he expects to find is a future. He’s wanted to leave his job for a while, but with no good opportunities on the horizon, he’s been stuck in a long, painful rut. But when he befriends the stranger viciously tearing up his own vineyard, Xander discovers something inexplicable. Maybe he’s not the bitter, sarcastic man that everyone, including himself, has endured for years.
Maybe, with someone like Damon in his life, he could be something more. Something better.
Damon Hess doesn’t just want more, he demands it. With his alcoholic past, there are no gray areas for him. Only black and white. In love or not. Sober or drunk. But the chance meeting with Xander opens Damon’s eyes, and gives him a vision full of something he hasn’t experienced in years: hope.
Hope that he can expect companionship and affection, hope that he doesn’t have to grapple with his family’s questionable Napa legacy any longer, and most importantly, hope that there’s a future worth believing in. But the longer he and Xander spend cultivating that future, the more Damon realizes that the key is so much simpler than he ever imagined--it’s Xander.
Savor Me is an 80,000 word contemporary m/m romance starring an irascible man with a soft, gooey marshmallow center and another who knows he likes men, but has never been with one before. It is third in the Kitchen Gods series, but can be read as a standalone. 
 
Universal link: mybook.to/kgsavorme

best of series
good luck
perfectly imperfectly
EXCERPT
Hands down, it was one of the best meals Damon had ever eaten. Even though he’d watched Xander prep it with his own two hands, it was a marvel that he’d done it with only those hands. It was a far better meal than any he’d ever had at Terroir, and that was prepared by an entire staff and countless pieces of expensive equipment.



Xander had come to his house with a bag of groceries and a knife, borrowed a pan and a pizza cutter, and had made an astoundingly delicious meal. It was talent and drive, all wrapped up in one package.



A cute package.



Damon had been telling himself not to notice—or if he was going to notice, then he should just ignore the attraction. But sitting across from Xander, staring at him in the candlelight, it was much harder than he’d imagined. Especially when he looked relaxed and much more at peace than he had that night a year ago.



At first he’d been too worked up himself to notice the anxiousness that Xander wore like a cloak. Or a very difficult-to-scale wall complete with archers equipped with fiery arrows and soldiers pouring boiling oil.



But tonight his guard had fallen a little, and despite everything, Damon wanted desperately to believe it was more than just quitting a job he’d really hated.



Damon wanted to believe the smile on Xander’s face had something to do with him.



“Thank you,” Damon said. “If that was an audition, you nailed it.”



“I know.” He was a little smug, and it was more than a little adorable. The way his nose scrunched up, the eye crinkles, the expressive look in his dark brown eyes.



Damon had imagined he might be in danger, hanging around Xander all the time, especially considering the impression he’d made on him in such a short time, but this was Trouble with a capital t.



“You’d better watch yourself. Not sure your head’s gonna fit back through the back door,” Damon teased.



“You wanted a chef,” Xander said, spreading his arms. “You got one.”



“They’re sort of thick on the ground in Napa,” Damon softly insisted, “but it turns out I’m particular.”



“Imagine that, a Hess particular.” The sarcasm in Xander’s voice cut through the dreamy romantic quality of the candlelight and let in a little of the real world. Specifically his family.



He couldn’t exactly tell Xander he didn’t ever want to talk about his family. After all, this land was their legacy, and his trust fund was making the restaurant a reality. Truth was, he really didn’t want to talk about them, and it felt like Xander brought them up as some sort of defense mechanism. Damon still didn’t understand why, and this was definitely not the first time it had happened.



“What’s your deal with the Hesses?” Damon asked. Might as well be honest, at least before Xander walked back in the house and signed the contract that would tie them together for the near future. Of course, that also meant the question had barely made it out of his mouth.



Something ugly churned deep in his stomach, exactly the opposite reaction he should have had after that incredible meal.



What if he changes his mind?



“Nothing,” Xander said, but his chin was jutting out again, and his fingers were drumming anxiously against the wood tabletop. It sure didn’t look like nothing.



There was a definite voice in his head, begging him to leave it, to make sure he didn’t drive Xander away with his insistent questioning. After all, Xander wasn’t signing with Hess Vineyards, he was signing with Damon, who stayed as far away from his family as possible.



But Damon’s last name was still Hess, and it wasn’t going to change.



“Really?” Damon asked.



Xander sighed. “I said it was nothing, and it is. It’s stupid.”



“I don’t want it to interfere,” Damon offered. “Not with what we’re about to build.”



“It won’t. I promise. I know you’re not your family. And to be honest, that’s what it is. I’ve had a few run-ins with Hess employees. But you’re not like them.”



The thing Damon had discovered before coming back to Napa, and definitely after returning to the Valley, was that he could run as far and as hard as he could, but his family was still his family. Time and distance couldn’t alter his blood, no matter how much he wished otherwise.



Beth Bolden Logo 2 

Beth Bolden lives in Portland, Oregon with her supportive husband. She wholly believes in Keeping Portland Weird, but wishes she didn’t have to make the yearly pilgrimage up to Seattle to watch her Boston Red Sox play baseball. She’s a fan of fandoms, and spends too much of her free time on tumblr.
Beth has been writing practically since she learned the alphabet. Unfortunately, her first foray into novel writing, titled Big Bear with Sparkly Earrings, wasn’t a bestseller, but hope springs eternal. She’s published eight novels and two novellas, with Catch Me, the next novel in the Kitchen Gods series, releasing in May 2018.

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