Getting Past One’s OVERSIGHT–A Review

Hi there! Happy Halloween, y’all! Today I’m sharing a review for a new M/M paranormal mystery/romance from Santino Hassell. OVERSIGHT is the second book in his The Community series and features an empath on the hunt for answers about his brother’s disappearance. We met Holden Payne INSIGHT, when he sort-of helped Nate Black learn the truth of his twin’s death. I’ve loved Hassell’s contemporary romances, SUNSET PARK, FIRST AND FIRST, and INTERBOROUGH, and I”m glad I jumped into this new series.

About the book:
Spoiler Alert! The following blurb contains spoilers for Insight, book one of The Community.
Holden Payne has it all . . . or so he thinks. As heir to the founder of the Community—an organization that finds, protects, and manages psychics—he’s rich, powerful, and treated like royalty. But after a series of disappearances and murders rock the Community, he’s branded the fall guy for the scandal and saddled with a babysitter.

Sixtus Rossi is a broad-shouldered, tattooed lumbersexual with a man-bun and a steely gaze. He’s also an Invulnerable—supposedly impervious to both psychic abilities and Holden’s charms. It’s a claim Holden takes as a challenge. Especially if sleeping with Six may help him learn whether the Community had more to do with the disappearances than they claimed.

As Holden uncovers the truth, he also finds himself getting in deep with the man sent to watch him. His plan to seduce Six for information leads to a connection so intense that some of Six’s shields come crashing down. And with that comes a frightening realization: Holden has to either stand by the Community that has given him everything, or abandon his old life to protect the people he loves.

My Review:
Holden Payne’s world view got skewed when he realized his father had placed people in his club, a supposedly safe space for LGBTQ psychics, in order to spot their powers and take them for experimentation. And now he fears his father, the highest member of the Community’s organization, is going to frame him for the problems. Holden’s friends were murdered, and his half-brother Chase was picked up for “realignment” at The Farm, and Holden’s beside himself.

It doesn’t help that his father has placed another spy in his club to keep his eyes on Holden. Sixtus Rossi spent a decade as a guard up at the Farm, a place Holden remembers going as a youth. It was supposed to be another safe space, where young psychics could learn their craft and become more adept to blending into society, but –Holden is now learning–it’s really a reprogramming center where undesirables are sent to have their outlook rewired through torture. And Chase, as well as HOlden’s mother, is there.

Through mutual friends of Chase and Holden, Holden learns of the true nature of the Community, to amass power by psychic means, and Six is always watching his back. Is he reporting back to Holden’s father? Or, is he just curious. Six has an Invulnerable mind, one even Holden’s empath charms cannot work on, so the attraction that seems to develop must be all-natural. And that’s unsettling. Holden first wants to trade favors with Six for any information he can provide on Chase, but Six disabuses him of this possibility. Six might be inexperienced, but he’s not a prostitute. And, he’s noticed Holden for years–mostly because Holden noticed him, first. They have a complicated history that’s only further complicated when Holden falls into the thinking of Ex-Comm members, psychics and their family survivors who aren’t happy with the way the Community is/has treated them. While it blows Holden’s mind, he’s also convinced it’s truth, what the Ex-Comm people have to say. And, when Chase’s boyfriend is taken to The Farm, Holden knows he can’t sit idle any longer.

There’s some daring rescues in Holden’s future, but this is the second book in what appears to be a trilogy. I loved how Holden really took his time to be won over by Ex-Comm. How he made his own investigations and tried to find reasonable channels for pursuit of Chase, before recognizing that he wasn’t dealing with a rational situation. That made this all the more real for me to believe. Six is a good foil for HOlden’s emotional extremes, as he’s a rock-solid guy who tells it EXACTLY like it is. Their courtship seemed brief, but they are working against a clock: Chase’s life is at risk, as is his mother’s life, too. There’s some great misdirection and interesting character positioning on the two factions going on here, which made the story that much more interesting. I don’t want to say too much more about the resolution, but I will say that Holden and Six come out of it a strong couple determined to defeat Holden’s father and release the iron control he’s built over the psychics of NYC.

I’m so looking forward to the next book in the series!!

Interested? You can find OVERSIGHT on Goodreads, Riptide Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iTunes. I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.

About the Author:
Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into an unlikely romance author.

Santino writes queer romance that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.

You can find Santino online on his website, Facebook, and twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Cephalopod Coffeehouse October 2017: Fates Align…BLOOD GUARD–A Review

0ed81-coffeehouseHi there! Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the tomes they enjoyed most over the previous month. Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.

This month, and in keeping with the pre-Halloween weird-spooky theme I’ve had going, I’m sharing a newly-released vampire romance from Megan Erickson. BLOOD GUARD is the first book in her Mission series and features a prophesy, a duty-bound vampire and a woman willing to sacrifice herself to ensure her love is avenged.

About the book:
Enter a world of immortal danger and desire—and discover an incredible fate borne of blood.
Tendra: One minute, I’m a bartender in gritty Mission City; the next, I’m whisked away by a vampire named Athan who tells me that I’m the lifeblood of his clan. It sounds unbelievable, but he’s got evidence I can’t deny. Turns out, Athan belongs to an underground society of vampires who feed only on humans with their consent. Their enemies have no such qualms, and they want me dead. The only thing standing in their way is strong, sexy Athan. And the closer we get, the more tempted I am to let Athan feed. . . .

Athan: How could I have known when I snatched this snarky, beautiful human off the streets that she would change my destiny? As a loyal soldier, I must deliver Tendra to our future king—my brother. Empowered with the blood of ten generations of the Gregorie breed, she is fated to rule as our queen. But there’s something between us that’s so intoxicating, so carnal, I can’t help wanting Tendra for myself . . . even if it’s treason.

My Review:
This is an interesting twist on the “fated mates” trope and I really enjoyed this rich new world.

Tendra is a 20-something young woman newly-alone as her mother had just died in a car wreck, leaving her adrift in Mission City, New Jersey. She’s a cocktail waitress and deeply unsettled by a swarthy customer one evening. She’s even more unsettled when he kidnaps her and tells her she must come with him if she wants to live! At least he’s packed her most precious belongings from her barren apartment, including her cat, Brex. Even more unbelievable is what this dude, Alain, tells her: her blood has mystic properties and will help transform his brother Idris, sworn king of the Gregorie clan…of vampires. In their prophesy, they’ve been waiting ten generations for a Sanguivita–Tendra–and with the powers her blood holds Idris will be able to effectively combat the warring Valerian clan.

Yeah, she’s not buying it. But, she has little choice but to accept Athan’s aid when the bad guys come calling. Learning about the hidden vampire culture lurking just below Mission City has Tendra mixed up–and aroused. Those vamps are some seriously kinky folk. Plus, the more time she spends with Athan, the more she admires and desires him. And the feeling is very mutual. Their escape to the Gregorie compound is complicated by several attacks, some of which are thwarted by Brex the wonder cat. There is a good mix of danger, intimacy and downright delicious sexytimes. Athan falls hard for Tendra, yet holds back on tasting her blood, knowing that to drink from her could void the prophesy and Idris’ expected boon. Unfortunately, it’s not in his hands when the treachery extends far beyond what had been expected.

I liked Tendra, who is a take-no-shit kinda gal. Her life has been weird, and she finally realizes why once she meets Athan and learns about her place in their world. Honorable Athan’s confused by his compulsion toward Tendra; shouldn’t he not be attracted to his brother’s promised? But, the more he puzzles over it, the more he knows deep down: it doesn’t matter. He will do anything to have Tendra for his own. While this might seem cavalier, he knows his brother has no interest for Tendra beyond the desire for her blood to transform him for battle. And, neither he nor Idris expected the depth of their own father’s manipulation. There’s a lot more going here than clan clashes, the entire human race is at stake, literally, as the Valerians have plans to reveal themselves and take control of the populace to feed and frenzy. Together, Athan and Tendra have the ability to stop it. And, while the war isn’t over, a key battle is won before the end. I’m expecting Idris to find his fated mate in the next book, and I look forward to it!

Interested? You can find BLOOD GUARD on Goodreads, Amazon (US and UK) Barnes & Noble, iBooks and Kobo. I read a review copy via NetGalley.

About the Author:
Megan Erickson is a USA Today bestselling author of romance that sizzles. Her books have a touch of nerd, a dash of humor, and always have a happily ever after. A former journalist, she switched to fiction when she decided she likes writing her own endings better.

She lives in Pennsylvania with her very own nerdy husband and two kids. Although rather fun-sized, she’s been told she has a full-sized personality. When Megan isn’t writing, she’s either lounging with her two cats named after John Hughes characters or… thinking about writing.

For more, visit Megan on her website, Facebook, and twitter.

Thanks for popping in, and be sure to check out reviews for my fellow Coffeehouse bloggers if you have the chance!

Deeper and Darker: NOCTURNE–A Review

Hi there! In keeping with my pre-Halloween “it gets weird” posts I’m sharing a review for a contemporary M/M paranormal romantic suspense novel from the writing team of Irene Preston and Liv Rancourt. NOCTURNE is the second novel in their Hours of the Night series that features Thaddeus, a devout Catholic vampire who works to aid the White Monks in ridding his corner of Louisiana of demons, and Sarasija (Sara) Mishra, the Indian assistant who provides Thad with needed nourishment…and sexytimes. I loved VESPERS (book 1) and BONFIRE (book 1.5) and think this series is best enjoyed in order.

About the book:
It’s Mardi Gras, cher, but this year le bon temps kick off with murder…
For generations, the White Monks have treated the vampire Thaddeus Dupont as a weapon in their battle against demons. However, when a prominent matron drops dead at a party, Thaddeus and his lover Sarasija are asked to find her killer. Their investigation leads them to an old southern family with connections everywhere: Louisiana politics, big business, the Church, and an organization just as secret as the White Monks.

Meanwhile, an esoteric text containing spells for demon-summoning has disappeared, Thaddeus is losing control of le monstre, and Sara is troubled by disturbing dreams. These nightmares could be a side-effect of dating a vampire, or they could be a remnant of his brush with evil. As the nights wear on, Sara fears they are a manifestation of something darker – a secret that could destroy his relationship with Thaddeus.

My Review:
Thaddeus Dupont has been a dutiful servant of the White Monks for eighty years. He abstained from his unnatural carnal desires and only fed, as needed, from women–so he wouldn’t be tempted. His assistant Nohea hired “Sara” sight-unseen to be Thad’s source of blood for a year-long contract, unknowing that Sara was a man. An out-gay man of Indian heritage. And Thad found Sara irresistible. They now work together on Thad’s mission to rid the world of demons, and they are carnally aware of each other in many of the ways that Sara desires and Thad…well he desires it too, but the Catholic inside him is still a bit shamed…

This case is different–it’s a personal favor to Brother Michael, a White Monk, for Thad and Sara to track down whomever murdered his boisterous Aunt Berta at her own Mardi Gras party. It’s clear from the moment they arrived at Berta’s residence that they were being ensorcelled by the charismatic family. Sara’s nearly charmed by Jo-Jo, the double team twin grandchildren, Josefine and Josef, of Berta, and these two do not let up. They want Sara, and Thad, in their powers, it seems. This night also marked the beginnings of a series of nightmares for Sara. Thad thinks the nightmares stem from Sara finding Berta’s body, but it definitely runs deeper than shock.

Meanwhile, Sara wants to continue hunting a grimoire that is sure to hold secrets to the demon-summoning issue they’d investigated previously, and Nohea’s frustrated they still haven’t found her missing niece–lost in while in the White Monks’ care. Are some of these issues linked? Sara’s sure they must be when he’s sent on a fool’s errand to locate the grimoire and is nearly killed–all while Jo-Jo had been trying to dissuade him from the mission. What is up with Jo-Jo and their family? Why do the wiccans of New Orleans give them a mile-wide berth? And what’s happening with Thad? Is his rapid shifting into vamp mode an indication of jealousy, or something deeper?

This is a well-paced romantic suspense that goes far deeper into the murk of demon-hunting and magic than either of the two previous books. Thad is recognizing he has more human feelings than he’d expected after 80+ years of vampirism. And, he’s far more aggressive a lover than he’d been previously. Sara loves that, and loves Thad, so he’s troubled by his attraction responses to Jo-Jo, particularly Josef. It’s hard for him to sort out all the riddles of these interactions, but he’s sure there’s magic involved–if only he could parse out what’s happening with his dreams! The more he digs, however, the more dangerous this web he’s caught in becomes–which nearly puts Thad over the edge, again. I really enjoyed getting to know Thad and Sara more and watching their relationship deepen in this book, and I’m totally on board with finding out what happens next!

Interested? You can find NOCTURNE on Goodreads and Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and Kobo. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

About the Authors:
Irene Preston has to write romances, after all she is living one. As a starving college student, she met her dream man who whisked her away on a romantic honeymoon across Europe. Today they live in the beautiful hill country outside of Austin, Texas where Dream Man is still working hard to make sure she never has to take off her rose-colored glasses.

You can find Irene on her website and twitter.

About Liv Rancourt…

I write romance: m/f, m/m, and v/h, where the h is for human and the v is for vampire…or sometimes demon. I write funny. I don’t write angst. When I’m not writing I take care of tiny premature babies or teenagers, depending on whether I’m at home or at work. My husband is a soul of patience, my dog is the cutest thing evah(!), and we’re up to three ferrets.

I can be found on-line at all hours of the day and night at my website & blog Liv Rancourt, on Facebook, or on Twitter. Come find me. We’ll have fun!

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Life Out of Tune BAD BOY’S BARD–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new M/M contemporary paranormal romance from EJ Russell. BAD BOY’S BARD is the final book in the Fae Out of Water trilogy, and connects the last true bard of the Seelie court with his long-lost love. Each book follows the love story of one of the three Kendrick brothers, high-ranking Fae of the Seelie court. It all started with CUTIE AND THE BEAST and THE DRUID NEXT DOOR

About the book:
As far as rock star Gareth Kendrick, the last true bard in Faerie, is concerned, the only good Unseelie is . . . well . . . there’s no such thing. Two centuries ago, an Unseelie lord abducted Gareth’s human lover, Niall, and Gareth has neither forgotten nor forgiven.

Niall O’Tierney, half-human son of the Unseelie King, had never lost a wager until the day he swore to rid the Seelie court of its bard. That bet cost him everything: his freedom, his family—and his heart. When he’s suddenly face-to-face with Gareth at the ceremony to join the Seelie and Unseelie realms, Niall does the only thing inhumanly possible: he fakes amnesia. Not his finest hour, perhaps, but he never revealed his Unseelie heritage, and to tell the truth now would be to risk Gareth’s revulsion—far harder to bear than two hundred years of imprisonment.

Then a new threat to Gareth’s life arises, and he and Niall stage a mad escape into the Outer World, only to discover the fate of all fae resting on their shoulders. But before they can save the realm, they have to tackle something really tough: mending their own broken relationship.

My Review:
Gareth Kendrick is the last true bard of the Seelie. His voice has the power to command people to fall in love, heal, or commit themselves to their doom. He’s always been wary of his power, and scared of the voices of the dead that haunt him ever since his tutelage by the ghost of Gwyddion, the most recently deceased bard before Gareth.

Gareth loved only one man in his long-spanning life: Niall. Niall was a human, or so Gareth thought and they met “by chance” nearly two hundred years ago in the human realm where Gareth chose to live the bulk of his life. For Gareth, Niall was all and everything, and he dispaired greatly when he saw an Unseelie escort Niall through the realms to Faerie. HE was sure Niall was lost to him forever.

The true was much different. Niall was a half-Fae Unseelie prince sent to kill Gareth, but he fell in love with the man instead. His brother learned of the situation and escorted Niall back to their father as a favor, so Niall could plead his love and ask a boon to be released from his oath. Their father refused and sent Niall into one of the hells of their realm, Govannon’s forge, to toil for the past two hundred years in retribution for his treachery. Niall endured the punishment because it ensured that Gareth would not be murdered by another of his father’s minions.

Fast-forward: Faerie is dying and a powerful Mage is planning to rescue it with a remaking spell, but it requires all of the Fae to be present. This includes Niall, whose brother–now the King of the Unseelie–has rescued from Govannon’s forge. And, when Niall sees Gareth he knows he can’t tell the truth. Gareth, instead of performing his part in the new magic, steals Niall away from the ceremony, sure that a “human” could not withstand the magic of the rite.

Unfortunately, when they flee Faerie they upset the balance and the spell to fix Faerie goes awry. Oh, and it’s not cool when Gareth learns his ‘dead Human’ lover is really a living Unseelie Prince. It’s hard going for a bit, but a reconciliation is brokered by David and Bryce, the non-Seelie mates of Gareth’s brothers. By connecting with those men, Gareth sees the folly of condemning interspecies mating, and Niall is able to win his heart back. Oh, and save all the realms from the power-mad Mage who had a whole different plan in mind. Expect high stakes, mad love and healed hearts by the end. There’s a wee bit of sexytimes, but it’s more emotion than motion.

This is the end of the trilogy, which I think is best read in order, but there’s a window to new adventures left open, where Niall and Mal can hit the road to find lost Fae in the human realm. I’d tag along for that…

Interested? You can find BAD BOY’S BARD on Goodreads, Riptide Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

****GIVEAWAY****

There’s a three-tour wide giveaway of a $50 GC to Riptide Publishing, and you just need to head on over to my friends at Boy Meets Boys Reviews and comment on their post in order to be entered!
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
E.J. Russell writes romance in a rainbow of flavors — from M/F stories grounded in absurd contemporary reality to M/M tales splashed with the supernatural — but you can be sure that while the couple makes their way to HEA, they’ll never stray too far into the dark.

You can catch up with Ms. Russell on her website, Goodreads, Facebook and twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Near the Climax–DRAGON BURN-Review and Excerpt

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a newly published dragon-shifter romance from Donna Grant. DRAGON BURN is a novella in her Dark Kings series, (Book 11.5!) and really best enjoyed when read in order. I’ve liked SMOKE AND FIRE, FIRESTORM, and BLAZE, so I’m eager to reach the “climax” of this sexy series.

About the book:
Marked by passion
A promise made eons ago sends Sebastian to Italy on the hunt to find an enemy. His quarry proves difficult to locate, but there is someone who can point him in the right direction – a woman as frigid as the north. Using every seductive skill he’s acquired over his immortal life, his seduction begins. Until he discovers that the passion he stirs within her makes him burn for more…

Gianna Santini has one love in her life – work. A disastrous failed marriage was evidence enough to realize she was better off on her own. That is until a handsome Scot strolled into her life and literally swept her off her feet. She is unprepared for the blazing passion between them or the truth he exposes. But as her world begins to unravel, she realizes the only one she can depend on is the very one destroying everything – a Dragon King.

In this scorching Dark Kings novella, New York Times bestselling author Donna Grant brings together a determined Dragon King used to getting what he wants and an Ice Queen who thaws for no one.

How about a little taste?

Sebastian was there.

She turned her head to look at him. He met her gaze, his clear eyes holding some kind of emotion she couldn’t quite name, but through it she saw the fires of desire as if he were lit from the inside with them.

It caused her stomach to flutter in excitement and her feet to stop working. She stumbled, which caused his arm to wrap around her waist as he drew to a stop and hauled her against him. They stared silently into each other’s eyes as the crowds parted and walked around them. The steady thumping of his heartbeat could be felt beneath her palms.

What was it about Sebastian that made her forget herself? She was a different person with him, one that not only enjoyed his touch—but craved it.

The problem was, she liked how she felt around him. She enjoyed how he made her feel, and how she wanted to feel. The desire, the need, the hunger. She reached for it, accepted it.

Embraced it.

She didn’t know how long they stood there lost in each other’s eyes. For a brief moment, she wondered if it was one-sided. Could Sebastian feel the same as her? Did she dare allow herself to follow wherever this road led, no matter how many doorways she walked through?

No matter what it might expose within herself?

No matter what longing it might reveal?

No matter if she found herself walking alone?

She was standing on the edge of a precipice while he stood on nothing but air, holding out his hand and urging her to jump. Never one to take such a chance, she found herself wanting to do just that.

Even if it meant that she could hit the ground so hard she might never get up again.

It was strange to even consider any of this. Yet here she was. There should be more fear, more concern. Perhaps it was the desire overshadowing those other emotions.

“Gianna,” he began.

Her cell phone vibrated in her purse, causing her to jump and shattering whatever had held them enthralled. She couldn’t help but wonder if destiny was trying to tell her something. It was the second time they’d been interrupted that day when she’d felt sure he was going to kiss her.

My Review:
Sebastian is a Dragon King who promised to help Ulrik no matter what centuries ago, and he regrets having to bind Ulrik’s magic to prevent the destruction of humanity centuries ago. He doesn’t believe that Ulrik is the menace behind the troubles facing the Dragon Kings of Dreagan. So, he’s off to Venice to investigate a lead in the search for Ulrik. It seems there’s a man who looks quite a lot like Ulrik operating there under the name of Oscar Cox, and Seb believes him to be Ulrik’s disgruntled uncle Mikkel in disguise. Seb positions himself to meet Cox’s beautiful American assistant, Gianna Santini, in order to gain access to her boss and discover his true identity.

Gianna is done with relationships. Divorced and bitter, she eschews meeting men and prefers to be solitary–filling her time with her work for “Oscar Cox,” a powerful British man to whom she’s an assistant. She loves Mr. Cox’s power and how quickly she’s risen within his company. Still, the man seated beside her for the past two nights at her favorite tavern is quite attractive. And, when she strikes up the nerve to chat with him, Seb’s brogue is tasty, too.

They begin a tentative acquaintance, and Gianna is intrigued by Seb’s sensuality and chivalry. Both are drawn to the other, and this is odd for many reasons; Gianna’s not interested in having alover after her disastrous marriage and Seb’s sworn to not take a human lover. Still, they have an easy-going day sharing breakfast and sightseeing. Gianna, wanting to experience more of the thrill of Seb, invites him to the masquerade ball she’s arranged–hosted by Oscar–and that’s when things get hinky.

Seb’s as attracted to Gianna as he’s ever been to any being. And, he’s conflicted about setting himself in her path, because she’s clearly in trouble. At the ball Seb’s suspicions are confirms, and Gianna’s boos recognizes that another Dragon King has been in contact with her. Expect capture, torture and potential casualties. Okay, definite casualties of you count Dark Fae henchmen in the body count. Seb’s connection to Gianna and Constatntine, King of the Dragon Kings, enables him to find out the truth behind Ulrik’s betrayal and Mikkel’s role in their millenia-old feud. Seb also meets the powerful Druid who’s been summoned to destroy both Ulrik and Constantine.

 

There’s still plenty of plotlines to weave together; this novella is a rather self-contained romance for Seb and Gianna, though it adds some critical pieces to the mix…if only Seb and Gianna could remember what those were. Dang Druids and their memory stealing charms. If my count is correct, partnering Seb with Gianna means that only Constantine and Ulrik are single Dragon Kings–and I expect they will find mates and settle scores in the final book, which I’d expect to come out in the coming months.

Interested? You can find DRAGON BURN on Goodreads and Amazon.

donna_grant_newAbout the Author:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Donna Grant has been praised for her “totally addictive” and “unique and sensual” stories. Her latest acclaimed series, Dark Kings, features a thrilling combination of dragons, Fae, and immortal Highlanders who are dark, dangerous, and irresistible. She lives with her two children and an assortment of animals in Texas.

Catch up with Donna on her website, Facebook, twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, Tumblr, Audible, and Tantor.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Strange Bedfellows: THE DRUID NEXT DOOR–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new M/M contemporary paranormal romance from EJ RUSSELL. THE DRUID NEXT DOOR is the sequel to CUTIE AND THE BEAST, and the second book in the Fae Out of Water series. Each book follows the love story of one of the three brothers, high-ranking Fae of the Seelie court. In this cal Lord Maldywn (or Mal) find love with his tree-hugger neighbor—who turns out to be a druid.

About the book:
Professor Bryce MacLeod has devoted his entire life to environmentalism. But how effective can he be in saving the planet when he can’t even get his surly neighbor to separate his recycling?

Former Queen’s Enforcer Mal Kendrick doesn’t think his life could get any worse: he’s been exiled from Faerie with a cursed and useless right hand. When he’s not dodging random fae assassins in the Outer World, he’s going toe-to-toe with his tree-hugging neighbor. And when he discovers that the tree-hugger is really a druid, he’s certain the gods have it in for him—after all, there’s always a catch with druids. Then he’s magically shackled to the man and expected to instruct him in Supernatural 101.

All right, now things couldn’t possibly get worse.

Until a mysterious stranger offers a drunken Mal the chance to gain back all he’s lost—for a price. After Mal accepts, he discovers the real catch: an ancient secret that will change his and Bryce’s life forever.

Ah, what the hells. Odds are they won’t survive the week anyway.

My Review:
Mal Kendrick was cursed while saving his brother’s life. He lopped off the hand of the Fae Seelie Queen’s consort–rotten though he was–and won’t gain the use of his own hand until he’s restored the Queen’s consort in full–not that she wants him back. So, he’s cut off from Faerie in the human realm, and feeling rather sorry for himself. Plus, he’s having the devil of a time fending off the lesser Unseelie Fae who seem to delight in tormenting him, the former Enforcer of the Queen, now that he’s got a bum right hand.

Bryce MacLeod has devoted hsi life to caring for the earth and building sustainable living spaces that allow development to accentuate nature, not obliterate it. Thus, he’s right torqued off when he sees his attractive but surly neighbor, Mal, tossing a bottle at the coyote taking refuge in the wetland that borders the gardens at the rear of the properties. What he doesn’t know is that the “coyote” was a glamour-sporting Unseelie polluting their land, and Mal’s about to open Bryce’s eyes in more ways than one. Turns out Bryce is an undiscovered druid, unknowingly raised in the arts by his grandmother, who passed several years before. When Mal’s brother-in-law David, from CUTIE AND THE BEAST, gets word of Bryce’s latent powers he enlists his dear friend, a Druid priestess, to help train Bryce.

And these life lessons are necessary because it seems the Unseelie and the Queen’s consort are now after the both of them. To hasten Bryce’s learning in all things supernatural, he and Mal are magically tethered to stay in close proximity. This makes things both awkward and sexy. For example, they gots to share a bed, because the distance from the sofa to the bed exceeds their tether length. When they do that, well, it hurts, bad. Awkward because Mal’s been recruited to aid another Fae in gaining his freedom from a different curse–and this dude, let’s call him Steve, claims to have he’ll have the power to undo Mal’s curse once his own curse is lifted. But, Mal’s sworn to secrecy over this opportunity, and he needs to connive and convince Bryce to walk into Faerie with him to complete Steve’s tasks.

So, it’s complicated, as is the attraction between Bryce and Mal. Mal’s usually a dominant lover, but Bryce has Druid Voice which can compel most any person to do his bidding. Is their kinky-times the result of true desire, or compulsion? That was a real dilemma and one that both Mal and Bryce faced together and alone. They seem to burn the sheets up, but neither man wants to continue if it’s not a real connection. Though, Mal’s super charmed by Bryce’s Mr. Fix-it nature, and how he helps Mal gain the ability to defend himself, and protect them both, from the Unseelie invaders. Their adventures to gain Steve’s tokens are dangerous and revelatory; Bryce gains a lot of power and insight when he steps into Faerie. His mission to stave off the pollution in his world and the rot growing in Faerie seem to be linked through the Queen, and he’s afraid Mal’s chicanery on behalf of Steve will lead to destruction of both realms. Yet, he can’t not trust Mal. He’s developed a real rapport over the course of their adventures, and he wants to see Mal returned to his uncursed state, even if it means Mal walks away.

For me, this second book really brought a lot more of the supernatural and lore into the world-building. The first book was fun and quirky, but Faerie was a realm to avoid. This time we’re in Faerie at least half of the book, so we get to understand the politics of the space, and the inter-relatedness of the human and Faerie realms. I did see the path the ending would take rather early, and was gratified that it came together in the manner I was anticipating. Mal and Bryce have some real discussions that lead to a strong bond, and a mutually beneficial relationship in the end. This book has more sexytimes than the first, and they were pretty randy. O.O I’m a fan, and I needed a fan. Speaking of fans, the third book features the third Kendrick brother, a revered bard of Faerie who sings in a band in the Human realm. Looking forward to seeing that stalwart soul find a new mate.

Interested? You can find THE DRUID NEXT DOOR on Goodreads, Riptide Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

****GIVEAWAY****

There’s a three-tour wide giveaway of a $50 GC to Riptide Publishing, and you just need to head on over to my friend Joyfully Jay and comment on her post in order to be entered!
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
E.J. Russell writes romance in a rainbow of flavors — from M/F stories grounded in absurd contemporary reality to M/M tales splashed with the supernatural — but you can be sure that while the couple makes their way to HEA, they’ll never stray too far into the dark.

You can catch up with Ms. Russell on her website, Goodreads, Facebook and twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Reality Shattered: CUTIE AND THE BEAST-A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a recently published M/M paranormal romance from EJ RUSSELL. I’ve reviewed CLICKBAIT, a contemporary romance, from this author before, but I first read and reviewed her ghosthunting romances on Joyfully Jay, so I was eager to check out her new Fae out of Water series, beginning with CUTIE AND THE BEAST. It’s a snarky Beauty and the Beast meets Fae legends, and I really enjoyed it.

About the book:
Temp worker David Evans has been dreaming of Dr. Alun Kendrick ever since that one transcription job for him, because holy cats, that voice. Swoon. So when his agency offers him a position as Dr. Kendrick’s temporary office manager, David neglects to mention that he’s been permanently banished from offices. Because, forgiveness? Way easier than permission.

Alun Kendrick, former Queen’s Champion of Faerie’s Seelie Court, takes his job as a psychologist for Portland’s supernatural population extremely seriously. Secrecy is paramount: no non-supe can know of their existence. So when a gods-bedamned human shows up to replace his office manager, he intends to send the man packing. It shouldn’t be difficult—in the two hundred years since he was cursed, no human has ever failed to run screaming from his hideous face.

But cheeky David isn’t intimidated, and despite himself, Alun is drawn to David in a way that can only spell disaster: when fae consort with humans, it never ends well. And if the human has secrets of his own? The disaster might be greater than either of them could ever imagine.

My Review:
David Evans is a nothing-special kind of guy who loves his dear aunt–the woman who raised him–and works as hard as he can to support her, especially as she is ill. Trouble is, though he’s a fantastic assistant and office keeper, he can’t seem to keep a position. He’s been doing off-site transcription, but it doesn’t pay all the bills, so he takes advantage of the one opportunity he’s given: temp work for Dr. Alun Kendrick. David heard Dr. Kendrick’s voice once, for a transcription, but it did seriously naughty things for David. He can’t wait to meet the man in person!

Alun Kendrick is a cursed Fae. Years ago his lover, a type of rare healing Fae, was murdered and he’s never forgiven himself. His punishment for not being there to save his beloved is a horrifying facial disfigurement that startles nearly everyone. Still, he works a a counselor to supernatural beings who find his grotesque appearance to be disarming enough to allow themselves to be vulnerable and accepting of treatment.

Alun isn’t prepared for his temp assistant to be human, and he’s outraged that the placement agency sent David, despite him being a sunny, beautiful, thoughtful young man and conscientious employee. Alun tries to find fault in David’s colorful adjustments to his office and solicitous treatment of his clients, but David’s seeming missteps actually result in inadvertent breakthroughs for several of the supers that come in for counseling. And, Alun’s not been tempted to find sexual pleasure since his last lover was killed, nearly two hundred years before. That David turns his crank to eleven? It cripples Alun.

Unfortunately, there’s unrest in the Fae realm and David’s help is needed to assist Alun to return and set things to rights–and that brings on a whole new series of problems. David, unknown even to himself, is harboring a secret of his true self and this results in worsening of the conflict. Not to mention David becoming a target for the worst elements of the Fae.

There’s really a lot going on here, and I’m only scratching the surface plot lines. It’s a sweet and engaging story with a tender romance that is born from David’s ability to see Alun’s true heart beneath the layers of emotional armor and his gruff and misshapen exterior. There’s the tiniest bit of heat, and a slow burn to reach it, but that was fine. I really enjoyed the mismatch of characters, and how David makes himself indispensable to Alun, and his clients. David’s got such a lovely and cheerful way about him, and yet he’s not a pushover. He stands up for so many people, and rolls with the waves of supernatural lore that he finds himself swimming within. There’s lots of comedic elements, and the pace was fantastic. I never felt like I was getting bored, because I constantly wondered: what’s coming next? From helping vampires survive their blood aversion, to teaching young dragons to hoard, David’s patient and caring attitude wins over everyone, including Alun, in time. Fun fact: Alun’s one of three brothers, and it looks like the other two will have their own love-story books in this new series. I’m looking forward to reading on!

Interested? You can find CUTIE AND THE BEAST on Goodreads, Riptide Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

About the Author:
E.J. Russell writes romance in a rainbow of flavors — from M/F stories grounded in absurd contemporary reality to M/M tales splashed with the supernatural — but you can be sure that while the couple makes their way to HEA, they’ll never stray too far into the dark.

You can catch up with Ms. Russell on her website, Goodreads, Facebook and twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!