Beginning Life As THE PRINCE’S CONSORT–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new paranormal M/M romance from Antonia Aquilante. THE PRINCE’S CONSORT is the first story in her Chronicles of Tournai series, and it’s off to a great start!

Scroll down for an excerpt, my review and to enter the $10 GC giveaway.
About the book:
Legends tell of large cats defending the principality of Tournai, but such creatures are only myth.
Or are they?

Prince Philip inherited the throne of Tournai at a young age, and since then his life has centered around ruling his country and resisting those pressuring him to do as they want both in matters of governance and those more personal. He’s become isolated and lonely. Amory is the second son of a wealthy merchant who has never approved of anything about him or had any use for him. Until now.

When kind-hearted Amory is offered to the prince in exchange for more time for Amory’s merchant father to complete a commission, both Philip and Amory are horrified. But Philip agrees to keep Amory at the palace, where they gradually become friends, then lovers. For the first time in his life, Philip is free to share not only his heart, but the magical shape-shifting ability that runs in the royal bloodline—something the royal family has kept secret from all but those closest to them for generations.

Neither Amory nor Philip imagined falling in love, and they certainly don’t expect what those who oppose their relationship will do to keep them apart—maybe even resorting to murder.

How about a yummy taste?

He didn’t know what to think about what they’d done. He’d enjoyed it, but the uncomfortable feeling still plagued him. Before he could begin to analyze it, Tristan was chuckling, low at first, quiet in Amory’s ear, his body shaking against Amory’s chest. Tristan pulled back enough to look at him. His eyes sparkled with happiness, and Amory’s laughter bubbled up to join his friend’s.

The laughter eased the way as they fumbled for handkerchiefs, cleaned themselves up, and neatened their clothes again. Then they leaned against each other and the tree, still laughing a little. It was Amory who moved for another kiss. Both of them were grinning when their lips met, and they couldn’t seem to stop laughing as they kissed, as they kept kissing. But the laughter was soft and light, like the kisses, and Amory relaxed into them, wrapping his arms around Tristan. Telling himself he would think about everything later.

“Good afternoon, brother.”

The unexpected voice and its snide tone had Amory jerking away from the kiss. The back of his head thunked into the tree trunk behind him. Tristan jumped back, separating them much more effectively. Amory almost wished he hadn’t. The short distance between them seemed like a vast gulf, and Amory felt very alone as he straightened away from the tree and turned to face his older brother.

Alban’s handsome face was twisted in a sneer even more disgusted than the one he habitually wore when looking at Amory. He studied Amory and Tristan in silence while Amory struggled not to squirm. No use saying anything to Alban, he knew from bitter experience.

“Now I know why you wanted no part of that pretty little maid last week.” Disdain dripped from Alban’s every word. “You’re more of a disappointment than I thought. Worthless. How are you even my brother?”

With a shake of his head, Alban turned and strode away, likely heading directly for the house. Amory remained frozen for a long moment, not even blinking.

“He’s going to tell your father.” Tristan’s voice was flat, so different from its usual exuberant, almost musical quality. The shock of it broke Amory’s paralysis, and Amory turned to face him. Tristan still stared at the spot where Alban had stood.

“Yes, he is.” Amory ran a shaking hand through his hair and slumped back against the tree. Alban hadn’t hit him, which was a pleasant surprise, but the consequences were still going to be bad. How would Father react? With disappointment, certainly, but that was nothing new. Most likely with anger as well. However disgusted Alban was, their father would be ten times more so.

“Do you think they’ll tell my father?” Tristan turned fear-filled blue eyes on Amory.

“Tris.” Amory reached out. He couldn’t bear seeing him so afraid, and though he couldn’t say much to reassure him, he couldn’t stand by while Tristan was upset either.

But he stepped out of Amory’s reach. “Do you?”

Amory tried to hold back a flinch. “I don’t know.”

Tristan groaned and scrubbed his hands over his face. “He can’t. I don’t know what my father will do if he finds out I prefer men. I’m his oldest son. I’m supposed to take over for him in the business, get married. Have sons to take over the family business after me.”

“You still can. All right, the children part would be difficult if you don’t marry someone who can carry them, but you can still take over the family business.” He didn’t bother mentioning that Tristan had four younger brothers and a younger sister. Surely at least one of them would have children someday who could inherit the family’s business if Tristan never had any of his own and his father insisted on an heir of their blood. But Tristan took his responsibilities as first son seriously. Too seriously. He wouldn’t want to hear that at the moment.

“Not if he disowns me.”

“Now you’re being dramatic. Preferring men is not illegal. It’s not wrong. Your father loves you. He’s proud of you, and you’ll be the same son he’s proud of after he finds out.”

“You don’t know that, Amory.”

No, he didn’t. But Tristan had a better chance of everything working out fine than Amory did. Tristan’s father was proud of his accomplishments, which was more than Amory could say.

“I may not, but I believe it will be all right. Don’t borrow trouble. My father and brother might be too busy killing me to remember to tell your father.”

Tristan huffed out a half laugh and whacked him on the shoulder. “Don’t joke about that.”

“Who’s joking?” Amory smiled crookedly. “Seriously, though, I do think everything will be all right with your father.” He took Tristan’s hand and squeezed and then let go before Tristan could pull away.

“Maybe. I need to go.”

“All right. I’ll see you soon.”

“See you.” Tristan slipped out of their little corner of the garden and was gone before Amory could get another word out. He tried not to think about how unsure Tristan’s parting words sounded. He didn’t want to lose Tristan. Not when he would likely need his friend more than ever.

He didn’t think Father would kill him, but he couldn’t rule out Father hitting him. It was partly why he was so surprised Alban hadn’t—his older brother was a perfect replica of their father in every way. But even without actual murder, Father could make Amory’s life miserable, and Amory wouldn’t be able to do anything until he came of age next week. A week seemed like a short time but was long enough for his father to…

He needed to think about his options. Father would never accept his preferences. Once his father knew, Amory’s time in his family’s house was limited. He hated to leave his younger siblings, especially Adeline, but he doubted he would have much of a choice. It might be best to leave before he was thrown out.

Sighing, he pushed himself away from the tree and started for the house. He hoped he could avoid Father long enough to spend a little time with Adeline and make some plans. And to get his hands to stop shaking.

My Review:
Amory is the second son of a prominent glassmaker, and a consummate failure in his father’s eyes. He prefers men, and is caught having a liaison with his oldest friend, Tristan, by his older and abusive brother at the opening of the story. Amory is sure he’ll be cast out of his family and is bewildered why he is not. It turns out, that his conniving father has deeper plans, offering Amory’s virginity to the crown prince of Tournai, Philip.

Philip detests the glassmaker, and is frustrated that his commissioned piece is late, but he’s intrigued by the offer of Amory–not for his virginity but for his wholesomeness. Philip is a lonely man–young to his rule, he’s given everything he has for his subjects, and he desires a partner. A prince can have a lover in the palace, even a male one, and innocent Amory seems like he could become a friend and a lover. Amory’s own feelings are of shame, at first. He’s ashamed to be bartered like a discount, but he sees a beautiful, lonely prince offering far more than a single night and he jumps at the chance to build a friendship and a relationship. HE immediately moves into the palace as the prince’s lover, and they begin to get to know one another–keeping it barely phsyical while they develop a true rapport.

Philip find the confidante he needs, enough so that within weeks he’s able to share his deepest-held secret: he’s able to shift into a big black jaguar as are many of his immediate family. It’s a latent Talent of the royal family, and Amory is enchanted by the magic of it. Amory has a healing Talent that Philip helps him develop with the royal healers. Months go by, and Amory’s familiar at court, having fully bonded with Philip, and sad because of the pressure Philip seems to be constantly under to marry and produce an heir. Philip finally agrees to marry–Amory. It seems a ludicrous choice, but it’s the only one to make Philip and Amory is convinced by Philip’s dedicated wooing to accept the proposal. Amory has some biological secrets that may pan out in the heir-making department, but only if he makes it to the wedding. It seems there’s a plot to remove the prince’s beloved lover before he can become the official husband and consort.

I really liked all the relationship building that happens here. We see Amory and Philip slowly develop their initial attraction by constant steps toward intimacy. Philip has the right to take what he first desires, but he’s methodical and just in his personal life, as well as in his professional station. He’s a doting elder brother, and his compassion is something that really wins over Amory–who cannot believe his good fortune. I really enjoyed getting to know these characters and their quirky/scheming family members. There was good misdirection regarding the source of danger for Amory, and I was glad to say it took me some time to figure out the hidden villain. The shifter and healer Talents gave and interesting twist into the fantasy realm, and allowed for magic to be a part of the everyday life of this story, as well as being available at the climax. I really liked how it all turned out, and look forward to reading on in this series.

Interested? You can find THE PRINCE’S CONSORT on Goodreads, NineStar Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $10 NineStar Press gift card!
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Antonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent—they all end in happily ever after.

She has a fondness for travel (and a long list of places she wants to visit and revisit), taking photos, family history, fabulous shoes, baking treats (which she shares with friends and family), and of course, reading. She usually has at least two books started at once and never goes anywhere without her Kindle. Though she is a convert to e-books, she still loves paper books the best, and there are a couple thousand of them residing in her home with her.

Born and raised in New Jersey, Antonia is living there again after years in Washington, DC and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.

Catch up with Antonia on Facebook, and twitter.

Finding One’s Mate–DRAGON LOST: A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new dragon-shifter romance from Donna Grant. DRAGON LOST is a novella in her Dark Kings series, Book 16.5 for those keeping count, and really best enjoyed when read in order. I’ve enjoyed SMOKE AND FIRE, FIRESTORM, BLAZE, and DRAGON BURN, DRAGON CLAIMED, DRAGONFIRE and IGNITE. I’m SO eager to reach the “climax” of this sexy series.

About the book:
Destinies can’t be ignored. No one knows that better than Annita. For as long as she can remember, it’s been foretold she would find a dragon. A real-life dragon. She’s beginning to think it was all some kind of mistake until she’s swimming in one of the many caves around the island and discovers none other than a dragon. There is no fear as she approaches, utterly transfixed at the sight of the creature. Then he shifts into the shape of a thoroughly gorgeous man who spears her with bright blue eyes. In that instant, she knows her destiny has arrived. And the dragon holds the key to everything.

All Royden wanted was to find an item his brother buried when they were children. It was supposed to be a quick and simple trip, but he should’ve known nothing would be easy with enemies like the Dragon Kings have. Royden has no choice but to trust the beguiling woman who tempts him like no other. And in doing so, they unleash a love so strong, so pure that nothing can hold it back.

**Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you’ll enjoy each one as much as we do.**

My Review:
This is a book deep in a series of adult paranormal romances that all feature strong women falling for sexy Dragon King shifters.

Royden is a Dragon King looking for a talisman in Crete that was taken from him and hidden eons ago by his brother–before all the dragons were sent away from this realm. The talisman was a claw from his grandfather, who’d been dragon king before Royden. It had been buried in the crypt-like caves surrounding the isles around Crete, which had been Royden’s ancestral domain before the war with humanity.

Annita Dragoumis is a homebody of a woman, living in her sister’s estate in Crete, an historical home that has acres of private beaches. She swims the caves, looking for solitude, and never looking for a partner. Annita had been told by her great-aunt Chara, a famous seer, that she would be important one day–and would meet a dragon. It seemed silly, but Chara’s prophesies came true on many occasions, and her Yaya also warned her to be vigilant to find the dragon–that this would surely come to pass. So, Annita is curious how Royden came to be inside the private caves on her family’s estate. The connection is immediate, and Annita is sure this “man” is the dragon of Chara’s prophesy.

Royden isn’t so sure about Annita, but he’s rattled that Annita knows about dragons–believes them to be real. He knows he should abandon his quest, but he’s drawn to the beautiful human woman who seems to see through his ruses. He makes excuses to stay longer, and Annita’s able to solve the mystery of the talisman–which is unsettling but resolved for Royden. And so his attraction for Annita. He doesn’t want to take her from her family, which is so close knit, but his place is truly in Scotland with the other Dragon Kings, so he gives Annita the option to join him there–and he reveals his full dragonness to her. She’s eager to join him, but she’s conflicted. It’s the counsel of her dear family that makes the decision for Annita–and it causes a small amount of pain for Royden, at first, but their fated mate bond is strong enough to weather a bit of conflict.

It’s a novella, so things happen fast. It’s also really centered on Annita and Royden, so we don’t have a lot of other peripheral plot arcs impinging on this story. There’s a little bit of sexytimes, but it’s brief. I was mixed on the conflict/separation, not sure why it needed to be there. It seemed convenient and untenable, but it all got resolved really quick after that.

Interested? You can find DRAGON LOST 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!

Now Available! GE-MI: Part One Review and Giveaway!


Hi there! Today I’m spreading the word for a M/M paranormal romance from Mell Eight. GE-MI features a young Ge-Mi, animal-human hybrid, trying to pass his way without getting torn to bits for being an “outlaw”. It’s an alternate-reality future with a suspenseful plot–but just the beginning of a romance.

Scroll down for an excerpt, and to enter the giveaway for a $10 GC.
About the book:
A hundred years ago, evil scientists spliced human genes with those of animals, creating a genetic mutation passed on through the generations. Hated because of their differences, these Ge-Mis live on the fringes of society where they scrounge and scrape to get by.

Nevada is half Ge-Mi and hides that fact behind baggy clothes and by keeping distance between himself and everyone around him. One day, his peaceful life is shattered by an explosion and the arrival of a pack of wolves to sniff out the culprit.

Wolves have excellent noses and as Alpha, Taylor can sniff out every one of Nevada’s secrets—and the harder Nevada tries to resist, the more difficult staying away from Taylor becomes.

How about a little taste?

In the waiting room, people milled about restlessly. There weren’t any chairs provided for the supplicants, nor for the onlookers who were only there to enjoy the show. Handing over a bribe wasn’t supposed to be a comfortable experience, after all.

Nevada stood in a corner, the backpack containing the only thing he had that would suit as a bribe clutched carefully in his arms. Rosto stood next to Nevada, one shoulder pressed indolently against the wall. He was older than Nevada by at least twenty years, his hair grayed at the temples, but his back still strong and unbent. Rosto had done this before—brought a supplicant with his bribe—and he had a personal connection with the lord of the city. Rosto wasn’t worried, but Nevada was.

It had only been six months since Mom had died. They hadn’t had the money or the resources to get her proper health care, and her cold had turned deadly far too quickly for Nevada’s three part-time jobs to pay for a doctor’s bill. It wasn’t just that the doctor was expensive, but payoff money for his silence was too much. Nevada would have risked it for Mom’s sake, but Mom had put her shaking and weak foot down and the matter was settled.

After that, Nevada hadn’t been able to stay in that house or city. The hiding was a fact of life, but he hoped the melancholy could be alleviated with a new home and a new start. Nevada had arrived in Kensey three days ago and found an apartment whose owner didn’t mind pets. The down payment had sapped the last of his hastily scraped-together funds, so Nevada had gone job hunting.

Rosto’s café was quaint and in need of a full-time waiter. The pay was decent and the hours reasonable. But in Kensey, things worked differently than Nevada’s old home. The lord in Kensey wanted a direct bribe from every citizen; the previous lord didn’t pay any mind to peons like Nevada. Had Nevada known he had to meet with the lord directly and provide a bribe that, if accepted, was his ticket to having any sort of life in Kensey, he might have chosen to settle in a different city with a different lord.

The room fell silent quickly, almost suddenly, as a side door opened. The man who stepped into the room first was clearly a guard. He was wearing a light layer of armor, the bluish metal vibrant against his dark skin, and a large laser gun at his hip. His hard eyes surveyed the room once before he stepped aside. The second man who walked into the room looked like he was Rosto’s age, somewhere in his late fifties. His blond hair disguised whatever gray may have been present, but the crow’s feet around his blue eyes revealed his true age.

“Where is Taylor?” the lord asked his guard. They both walked to the front of the room where a very large desk built of thick, dark wood was positioned. It was intimidating, but that was probably the point.

“Off with his wolves,” the guard replied stiffly.

“That boy,” the lord grumbled. “All right, let’s get started.”

A third man stepped forward from where he had been standing off to the side of the desk. He was holding a datapad from which he read out the first name.

A woman and her two young children approached the foot of the desk. She needed help finding her layabout husband. He owed her back wages for childcare, and she wanted him to pay up. Her bribe was a gold necklace with a ruby in the center, which would have paid for the childcare handsomely.

“She’s after revenge,” Rosto explained under his breath. “Her husband was a cheat, and she wants what’s rightfully owed to her because she knows he’ll suffer for it. Lord Reyes prefers supplicants ask for something meaningful, instead of straight out asking for something purely selfish. He’s a good man.”

Nevada hoped so because he didn’t have anything nearly as nice as a ruby necklace in his bag.

For the next half hour, he watched as fancy watches, jewelry, and other expensive items were offered to Lord Reyes in return for favors. Some of them Lord Reyes agreed to, like the woman looking for childcare money, but others he denied. He didn’t return the bribes either way.

“Rosto Gregorio,” the steward called.

“That’s us,” Rosto grunted as he pushed off the wall. He strode forward, unconcerned, and Nevada hurried to follow.

They reached the desk and stopped a few feet away. Rosto bowed, and Nevada copied him a beat too late.

“How’s the café?” Lord Reyes asked, a smile on his face. It was the first smile Nevada had seen from him. He apparently was interested in what Rosto had to say.

“We’re expanding the kitchen at the moment,” Rosto immediately began to explain. “Putting in four ovens so we can sell fresh-baked goods as well. We’re also adding outside tables for the summer, which means I need additional waitstaff. I’m looking to hire Nevada here.”

Lord Reyes turned his attention to Nevada, and Nevada fought not to squirm. He needed the job, which meant Lord Reyes had to like him.

“New to the area, too, I believe,” Lord Reyes said. “Has all the appropriate paperwork been filed?”

“As of last night,” Rosto replied. “All it needs is your seal of approval.”

Lord Reyes nodded. “You’ll have to come over for dinner and tell me about your renovations,” he said to Rosto. His attention switched back to Nevada. “What have you brought to entice me to allow you to live and work in my city?”

Nevada gulped and reached into his bag. He knew what he looked like. He had a ragged bandana tied tightly over his head, his long-sleeve shirt was threadbare and unraveling at the cuffs, and his loose jeans had a darned hole in one knee. The clothes were baggy, too, but Nevada had to hide a pair of cat ears and a tail beneath his outfit. He looked poor, but hopefully that meant Lord Reyes wouldn’t look any deeper at what Nevada was hiding. Hopefully, it also meant he wasn’t expecting anything extravagant as Nevada’s bribe.

Nevada pulled the fluffiest, whitest cat he had ever fostered out of the bag and gently placed her on the desk.

“This is Princess Pea. She likes big houses and lots of attention. She’s also very particular about what blankets she sleeps on. I thought you might like to have her company.”

The waiting room had gone silent. It was even quieter than when Lord Reyes had first walked into the room. Yes, it wasn’t a ruby necklace, but surely a beautiful cat wasn’t so bad. Nevada fought to keep from turning to look around the room.

Lord Reyes’s eyes had frozen in a hard glare. “Is this a joke?” he snapped.

Nevada bit his lip, wondering how to answer that. Maybe live animals weren’t acceptable as a bribe? Before he could formulate an answer, Princess Pea took over. She sauntered across the desk toward Lord Reyes and hopped down into his lap where she promptly began to purr furiously. One of Lord Reyes’s hands involuntarily drifted to his lap where he began to pet her soft fur.

“Fine,” Lord Reyes snapped. “Six months’ probation. Rosto will come report to me then, and I’ll decide whether to accept you in my city. I’ll even make sure Princess here isn’t eaten,” he added cryptically.

Rosto bowed, one of his hands pushing on Nevada’s shoulder to force Nevada to bow also. Then that hand pushed Nevada toward the door.

“I can’t believe you got away with that!” Rosto breathed once they were out of the waiting room and headed toward the building exit.

“Got away with what?” Nevada asked, glad to be away from Lord Reyes.

Rosto laughed, but he didn’t sound amused. “You gave Lord Reyes a cat. That’s practically the ultimate insult.”

“Oh,” Nevada mumbled, feeling his shoulders droop. He had six months, at least, which was enough time to save up before he had to move to another new city.

“Where did you find that cat anyway?” Rosto asked as they reached the main doors and headed out into the parking lot.

“I find cats everywhere,” Nevada replied with a shrug. “I have a beautiful tortoiseshell looking for a new home, if you’re interested.”

Rosto unlocked the car without answering. Nevada got in and buckled his seat belt. The engine whirred to life, and the hydraulics bounced them gently into the air. The car flew toward the city down the hill, Rosto guiding them along in silence. They stopped a few minutes later outside Nevada’s apartment building.

“No more cats where Lord Reyes is concerned, okay?” Rosto said. The car idled in the air for a few seconds as the hydraulics engaged and the car drifted to the ground. “You start on Monday, 9:00 a.m. sharp.”

Nevada got out of the car and stepped onto the curb. Rosto waved goodbye before sending the car streaking upward again.

My Review:
Nevada is a Ge-Mi, a human-animal hybrid, living in a post-apocalyptic world. All the major cities crumbled following the Great Wars, and warlords–or just Lords–rule the territories that remain. Ge-Mis were the result of scientific experimentation about 150 years prior. The object of the gene splicing was to eradicate human illness with enhanced animal genes–though some entities took this way too far, trying to create supersoldiers.

Nevada has hidden his snow leopard characteristics–a bushy tail, round, furry white ears, and a stripe of fur running down his back–not to mention the black rosettes that dot his shoulders and his scalp–for his whole life. At the beginning of the story his mother had just died and Nevada ran for a new territory to save his own skin–the doctor caring for his mother surely would have turned them in for being Ge-Mis. He’s applying (aka bribing) to Lord Reyes to live and work in his territory. Nevada has a powerful sponsor, Rosto, who’s willing to hire him to work at his cafe. Despite Nevada offending Lord Reyes with his bribe–a snowy white cat Nevada calls “Princess Pea” Nevada is granted a temporary permit to remain and work.

Years pass, and Nevada is well-settled into his job for Rosto. He also keeps a tiny apartment filled with the stray cats he finds and adopts. It’s a decent life, but there are complications. He still keeps his Ge-Mi status on the down low. There is more unrest in the town right now, with marauding hyena Ge-Mis staging deadly attacks. Lord Reyes’ Ge-Mi grandson, Taylor Reyes, and his band of wolf Ge-Mis are diligent at protecting the town. They pop into Rosto’s cafe when a bomb nearby rattles the foundations. Taylor senses Nevada’s cat-side, but is immediately put off the scent by the stray kitten Nevada had been sheltering in his pocket.

Nevada isn’t sure if he should run for it–in the territory where Nevada was born and raised Ge-Mis were exterminated, but it’s not true here. He doesn’t want to leave his life behind again. Taylor’s interest doesn’t seem to be waning, however. And, inexplicably, Nevada’s cat isn’t innately scared of Taylor’s wolf/dog. This is just the first book of the adventure, but Nevada makes choices here that reveal his true self, and bring him closer to Taylor. There isn’t any steam here, but the rapport is growing, especially as Nevada uses his power to help Taylor out of some situations with the hyenas. Nevada is afraid the humans he’s befriended will turn away from him, and he’s ready to deal with the fall out. It’s a sweet and funny adventure, and I’m eager to read on and find out how Taylor and Nevada build their relationship further.

Interested? You can find GE-MI: Part One on Goodreads, NineStar Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Smashwords.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $10 NineStar Press GC.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
When Mell Eight was in high school, she discovered dragons. Beautiful, wondrous creatures that took her on epic adventures both to faraway lands and on journeys of the heart. Mell wanted to create dragons of her own, so she put pen to paper. Mell Eight is now known for her own soaring dragons, as well as for other wonderful characters dancing across the pages of her books. While she mostly writes paranormal or fantasy stories, she has been seen exploring the real world once or twice.

You can catch up with Mell on her website, Facebook, and twitter.

EIGHT SIMPLE RULES FOR DATING A DRAGON–A Throwback Thursday Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a throwback Thursday review of an adult paranormal romance from Kerrelyn Sparks. EIGHT SIMPLE RULES FOR DATING A DRAGON is an adventure for an outcast elf trying to save her dear friend’s child from a marauding dragon. It’s the third book in a series, but read fine as a standalone.

About the book:
From the brilliant imagination of Kerrelyn Sparks comes a bold new fantasy romance series in which passion and magic collide. Behold the Embraced…

Gwennore has a talent. An Elf able to track down the cause of an illness and heal it, she’s a valuable asset to her people. When the kidnapping of a young girl thrusts Gwennore into the very heart of the realm of the dragons, she discovers not only a place of power and magic, but also a haunted land, plagued by an ancient curse that all but ensures extinction to the royal family. But when she meets the smoldering General Silas Dravenko, they strike a bargain—save the country from its cursed illness, and he will return the kidnapped girl. She’s been raised never to trust a dragon, but never did making a deal with the devil feel so good…

Silas has no way of curing the family he’s loyally served for years. But when a beautiful elf, long considered the enemy of the dragons, comes bursting into his world, Silas is awakened to passion and desire in a way he’s never felt before. But can he trust a sworn enemy to save the very existence he holds dear? And can their love survive those that threaten to tear them apart?

My Review:
Gwennore is an outcast elf living on a remote Isle of Moon with other women who were also outcast for being born on the eclipse of the planet Aerthlan’s twin moons. These “embraced” women seem to hold the key to peace and prosperity of the four kingdoms of Aerthlan. They have made a bit of a society, and two of her “sisters” have recently found love.

While celebrating one of the two feast days of Moon, a child of one of Gwennore’s adoptive sisters is kidnapped by a marauding dragon, and she demands that the dragon who was chasing the first bring her in pursuit to save her “niece”. Gwennore’s journey is frightful, but she lands safely in Norveshka and immediately learns of the strife at court. It seems the queen of Norveshka is gravely ill, and thinks her dead daughter is still alive–she’s had the dragons off stealing replacement “princesses” which is what the dragon had been doing. General Silas Dravenko has been trying to prevent such occurrences, knowing it threatens the peace between nations, and he’s eager to return the little girl to her parents–who happen to be the monarchs of a neighboring nation. He’s not so eager to return Gwennore, however. Not only does he find her very attractive–a novelty for Gwennore as she’s been an outcast her whole life–but Gwennore’s ability to find the source and cure of a disease is especially appealing. Perhaps she can find a cure for the disease the Queen suffers.

It doesn’t take long to find out the Queen is being poisoned, but how, and by whom? Posing as a lover to the general, Gwennore is in a good position to stay close to the queen, and help her recover. In the meantime, Silas and Gwennore are steadily falling for one another. This is dangerous, because the elves are staunch enemies of the dragons of Norveshka. Having been raised on Moon, however, Gwennore doesn’t have any prejudice against the dragon land, or its people. And Silas knows this. He also expects she won’t stick around once she learns the heart of the long-held secrets in Norveshka. As a member of one of the three “cursed clans” Silas has shifter abilities he’s not eager to share with the class–or an elf who might become a sympathizer to Norveshka’s enemies.

It’s a bit of a slow burn romance, and there’s not much sensuality on the page. I liked the themes of overcoming prejudice, and fighting for what’s right, even when it’s uncomfortable and unappreciated. Having started in the middle of the series, I didn’t feel like I missed much, as this romance for Gwennore was really contained and explored in only this story–all the other “sister” characters had side parts. We get a decent amount about Sorcha, as she is an “Embraced” from Norveshka–Silas’ born sister in fact. I wondered if she would star in the next book, but I haven’t checked on that just yet.

For me, it was a fun read. I think I had two major issues: the anachronistic dialogue and baby talk. The world here seems lush and lively, a bit old-fashioned and steeped in lore and mystery. But, the common use of English slang would snap me out of the fantasy. And, the girl who’d been dragon-napped spoke with that ear-grating, nerve-stretching lispy-talk that I can’t tolerate. Having had four kids with varying phoneme emergence, I just get stabby about making kids sound like eenie-weenie-babies, and that’s how her dialogue sounded as I read it. I was glad she didn’t stay on the page long. I’d definitely read on in the series.

Interested? You can find EIGHT SIMPLE RULES FOR DATING A DRAGON on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo. I read a review copy via NetGalley.

About the Author:
Kerrelyn Sparks apparently has issues with reality. After writing more than a dozen books about vampires, she has now completely gone off the deep end and wound up on another planet. But how thrilling that she can share this magical new world with her readers! Although she is best known (so far) for the Love at Stake series, which has hit as high as number 5 on the New York Times list and 22 on the USA Today list, she hopes her readers will love The Embraced as much as they did her merry band of vamps and shifters.

To learn more about her paranormal, historical, and upcoming out-of-this-world fantasy romances, please visit Kerrelyn on Facebook, Twitter, or her website.
Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Finding Love MAINLY BY MOONLIGHT–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a contemporary M/M paranormal romance from Josh Lanyon. MAINLY BY MOONLIGHT is the first book in the Bedknobs and Broomsticks series, and I absolutely couldn’t resist it for that fact alone. I loved that children’s story as a kid!

About the book:
A gay high-society wedding. A stolen book of spells. A love-threatening lie. Can a witch avoid a murder rap without revealing the supernatural truth?

Cosmo Saville guiltily hides a paranormal secret from his soon-to-be husband. Thanks to a powerful love spell, uncertainty threatens his nuptial magic. But when he’s arrested for allegedly killing a longtime rival, he could spend his honeymoon behind bars…

Police Commissioner John Joseph Galbraith never believed in love until Cosmo came along. Falling head over heels for the elegant antiques dealer is an enchantment he never wants to break. So when all fingers point to Cosmo’s guilt, John races to prove his fiancé’s innocence before they take their vows.

As Cosmo hunts for the real killer among the arcane aristocracy, John warns him to leave it to the police. But with an unseen enemy threatening to expose Cosmo’s true nature, the couple’s blissful future could shatter like a broken charm.

Can Cosmo find the lost grimoire, clear his name, and keep John’s love alive, or will black magic “rune” their wedding bells?

Mainly by Moonlight is the first book in the sexy Bedknobs and Broomsticks romantic gay mystery series. If you like spellbinding suspense, steamy fun, and a dash of paranormal, then you’ll love Josh Lanyon’s charming tale.

My Review:
Even though he hasn’t practiced his magic in a couple of years Cosmo Saville is a powerful witch. Duc of Westlands and second behind his mother in the succession line to the Abracadantes craft tradition, Cosmo’s just not that into all the traditions. It’s easier for him to blend into the non-magic world if he doesn’t use his magic for everyday tasks, and he’s mostly successful with the exception of portal traveling–that’s just plain practical magic, so he can avoid traffic and what-not. Cosmo owns an antique shop in San Francisco and he discovers a grisly murder of a competitor in his field–who’d revealed he’d found an ancient grimoire. Cosmos barely escapes the scene, but is definitely under suspicion.

He inadvertantly encounters Police Commissioner John Galbraith as they duel for the top bid on an antique bed with craft markings. John, an avowed non-believer in all magical arts, wants it as a whimsical gift for his younger half-sister Jinx, who fashions herself a “witch,” though Cosmo can detect no craft within her. John is rather rude to Cosmo, and his friend thinks it a lark to put a love enchantment on them. Soon, they run into one another more and more frequently, and each time the tension is more of the sexual than avaricious kind. It’s not long before they both fall head over heels, and that’s when Cosmo learn the truth about the love spell–only John’s already proposed and the wedding is mere weeks away. Cosmo hasn’t even told John about his abilities in witchcraft–how can he possibly explain about the love spell?

Also, it seems that John’s intervention is the only thing keeping Cosmo from being arrested for murder–so, will he throw Cosmo to the wolves if he thinks Cosmo enchanted him? For all the complicated twists, there’s a lightness, and a hope to the story. Both Cosmo and John never thought they would fall in love, and yet their hearts and minds are so in tune. Their sexual chemistry is another kind of magic, though, and it’s bound these men tighter than their impending marriage vows.

This is by turns taut and whimsical. The mystery is meant to develop over at least three stories, so we get some immediate resolution to Cosmo’s current problems but new issues are on the horizon to keep the major plot arcs in motion. John’s mother, to whom he is very close, is a bigoted, magic-hating woman, and her antics upset Cosmo and his mother. Cosmo’s mother is unhappy about this marriage, because it means Cosmo is further distancing himself from the “craft” realm. Keeping all the magic antics from John’s consciousness is difficult, and upsetting to Cosmo, especially when there’s a witch seeking revenge casting spells at Cosmo. I like the storyline, and the characters. It’s fun start to a series, with mismatched lovers who may just turn out to be star-crossed.

Interested? You can find MAINLY BY MOONLIGHT on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iTunes. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

About the Author:
Josh Lanyon is the author of over sixty titles of classic Male/Male fiction featuring twisty mystery, kickass adventure and unapologetic man-on-man romance.

Her work has been translated into eleven languages. The FBI thriller Fair Game was the first male/male title to be published by Harlequin Mondadori, the largest romance publisher in Italy. Stranger on the Shore (Harper Collins Italia) was the first M/M title to be published in print. In 2016 Fatal Shadows placed #5 in Japan’s annual Boy Love novel list (the first and only title by a foreign author to place). The Adrien English Series was awarded All Time Favorite Male Male Couple in the 2nd Annual contest held by the 20,000+ Goodreads M/M Group. Josh is an Eppie Award winner, a four-time Lambda Literary Award finalist (twice for Gay Mystery), an Edgar nominee and the first ever recipient of the Goodreads Favorite M/M Author Lifetime Achievement award.

Josh is married and lives in Southern California. Catch up with Josh’s new on her website, Facebook or twitter.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Wrapped Up in IRON & VELVET–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a recently re-released contemporary F/F paranormal mystery/romance from Alexis Hall. IRON & VELVET is the first book in the Kate Kane Paranormal Investigator series, and I was really intrigued. I’ve only read M/M romance from this author before, including FOR REAL, LOOKING FOR GROUP, and WAITING FOR THE FLOOD and PANSIES. This mostly-girl showdown is smart, sassy and little bit sexy.

About the book:
I like my women like I like my whiskey: more than is good for me.

Name’s Kane, Kate Kane. I’m a paranormal private investigator, which is like a normal private investigator except—and stop me if you’re having trouble following this—more paranormal. This business comes with a few basic rules: don’t start drinking before noon, don’t get your partner killed, don’t sleep with the woman who killed him.

Last year I broke all of them.

The only rule I didn’t break was the one that said don’t work for vampires. But then a dead werewolf showed up outside the Soho shag palace of Julian Saint-Germain—a bloodsucking flibbertigibbet who’s spent the last eight centuries presiding over an ever-growing empire of booze, sex and hemoglobin.

I shouldn’t have taken the job. The last thing I needed was to get caught in a supernatural smackdown between a werewolf pack and a vampire prince. Even if the vampire prince was dangerously my type. But what can I say? I was broke, I’m a sucker for a pretty face and I gave up on making good decisions a long time ago.

My Review:
Kate Kane is a take-no-shit PI who totally drinks whisky for breakfast. Her specialty is in paranormal cases, and she’s particularly suited to this being half-Fae. Her mum is the Queen of the Wild Hunt and Kate can draw on her mother’s strength and power when necessary. She’s had a bad year, what with her ex-girlfriend murdering her investigation partner and then getting locked up for it. She’s desperate for a little cash, though, which is why she agrees to investigate the suspiscious death of a young werewolf at the Velvet, a vampire-owned hedonism bar.

Julian St. Germain is one of the four vampire princes–despite being female. She was once a nun on a mission to kill paranormal creatures, but a lot happens in 800 years. While Julian is strong, ancient and powerful, she also doesn’t want to risk a war breaking out all over London between the vampires and werewolf clans, and Kate seems like a sexy morsel who could solve the mystery and satisfy Julian’s…appetites. While Kate normally stays away from bedding vampires–and clients–there’s an undeniable pull between them. Also, Kate is definitely a master at bad decisions.

This is a fun and engaging read with a lush paranormal subculture set into London’s urbanity. I loved the class between the contemporary and the historical physical spaces here, which plays a counterpoint to Kate and Julian’s deepening attraction. There are so many intriguing characters, from the female werewolf alpha, who is a lingerie model who wouldn’t kick Kate out of bed for eating chips, to a genderqueer vamp ready to wreak havoc in stiletto heels, or a female golem who just wants to be useful, but not in a sexual way. Plus, the intricate politics of the different paranormal entities is vast and shrouded in arcane traditions only immortal beings could remember.

A second murder and a direct attack on Julian leads Kate, plus an unlikely collection of vamps, werewolves, and mages, into the bowels of London. They also probe Julian’s ancient history to find what could be stalking her. Wow, was the culprit not pretty. The pacing was brisk and Kate’s deadpan narration was spare and self-deprecating. I think I nearly wet myself coming across one of Kate’s million epitaphs–she mentally composes one each time she’s in deep crap with little chance of survival–so, like 7 a day while on the case. They are almost like tiny refrains, bringing humor in at the darkest moments.

The resolution brings some tragedy, but Kate survives to fight again, and she’ll need Julian’s protection if she’s going to make it any longer in this world. After all, Kate’s a “Beloved daughter,” and doesn’t particularly care to be “Sorely missed.” There’s a dash of sexytimes here and there, while Kate and Julian learn about one another, and try to figure out who could be hunting Julian. It felt like enough, and I didn’t want the romance to slow down the investigation, so I’m glad it didn’t.

Interested? You can find IRON & VELVET on Goodreads, Carina Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes. I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.

About the Author:
Alexis Hall was born in the early 1980s and still thinks the 21st century is the future. To this day, he feels cheated that he lived through a fin de siècle but inexplicably failed to drink a single glass of absinthe, dance with a single courtesan, or stay in a single garret. He did the Oxbridge thing sometime in the 2000s and failed to learn anything of substance. He has had many jobs, including ice cream maker, fortune teller, lab technician, and professional gambler. He was fired from most of them.

He can neither cook nor sing, but he can handle a 17th century smallsword, punts from the proper end, and knows how to hotwire a car. He lives in southeast England, with no cats and no children, and fully intends to keep it that way.

Catch up with him on his website, twitter and Facebook.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

The Climax Nears! IGNITE

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a dragon-shifter romance from Donna Grant. IGNITE is the 15th novel in her Dark Kings series, and really best enjoyed when read in order. Particularly, you should read DRAGONFIRE before this one. Others that I’ve enjoyed include SMOKE AND FIRE, FIRESTORM, BLAZE, and DRAGON BURN, and DRAGON CLAIMED so I’m eager to reach the “climax” of this sexy series.

About the book:
Every inch of him was molded as if from granite…and her blood ran like fire…
For centuries, V has waited to awaken from his doomed sleep and reclaim his destiny. But this Dragon King—one among a legion of legendary warriors sworn to protect the human race from darkness—must first find a way to win back his sword. Wield its power. And try not to fall prey to his own illicit desires.

Claire may possess the beauty and soul of a goddess but V knows better than to mess with a mere mortal. Still, he instinctively knows that Claire is The One who can help him regain the use of his sword and restore his place at Dreagan. But if she learns the truth about who—and what—he really is, her memories of him would be erased forever. How can V love Claire truly, madly, deeply…and protect her from the forces of fire and darkness that could destroy them both?

My Review:
This is a book deep in a series of adult paranormal romances that all feature strong women falling for sexy Dragon King shifters.

Vlad is a Dragon King hailing from the Carpathian Mountains. He possessed a magic sword that enabled him to open bridges to other realms–like where the remaining dragons were sent eons ago when the human population became large enough to become a threat. The sword was lost centuries before and each time Vlad goes looking for it, a catastrophic disaster occurs–like the burning of Rome and the Black Plague. He and Roman, another King recently recovered the sword buried deep in an Icelandic mountain. Unfortunately, Vlad is struggling to hear and feel the magic of his sword. It seems to be gone, and with it any connection to the lost dragons.

Claire is a dear friend and co-worker with Sophie, a mate of another Dragon King. Claire knows about the Dragon Kings, though she isn’t supposed to–the Kings thought they had wiped her memories of being attacked by Dark Fae, but they had survived. Claire is a lady who’s been crapped on by love. And Vlad is a super helpful around the clinic. He’d been admiring Claire for a while, but finally makes a move when he’s despondent about the sword.

Things click, and escalate–because the mates are all being drawn close to Draegan. They are circling their wagons expecting an attack from Usaeil, the Queen of the Light Fae, who seems to pulling the strings of The Others against the Dragon Kings. Constantine, King of all the Kings, has inexplicably gone missing and all the Kings and their mates are on the edge of frustration. It makes for fertile ground for a bond to grow between Claire and Vlad. It’s a lightning strike of love, and it brings it’s own magic–an unheard of pregnancy.

This book really brings the conflict of the overarching series to a fever pitch, while introducing a new couple of fated mates. I liked both Claire and Vlad, and the twist at the end really got me thinking about the lengths Usaeil will go to to have her way…with Constantine. We seem to be nearing the climax of the series, and I’m glad to see how it’s all resolving. I’m eager to read on.

Interested? You can find IGNITE on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, Google Play.

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!