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!

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!

Authentic Love? Or, CLICKBAIT–Review and Giveaway

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary M/M romance from EJ Russell. CLICKBAIT is an odd-couple interracial romance for two younger men who really need a strong connection.

clickbaitAbout the book:
After the disastrous ending of his first serious relationship, Gideon Wallace cultivated a protective — but fabulously shiny — outer shell to shield himself from Heartbreak 2.0. Besides, romance is so not a priority for him right now. All his web design prospects have inexplicably evaporated, and to save his fledgling business, he’s been compelled to take a hands-on hardware project — as in, his hands on screwdrivers, soldering irons, and needle-nosed pliers. God. Failure could actually be an option.

Journeyman electrician Alex Henning is ready to leave Gideon twisting in the wind after their run-ins both on and off the construction site. Except, like a fool, he takes pity on the guy and offers to help. Never mind that between coping with his dad’s dementia and clocking all the overtime he can finagle, he has zero room in his life for more complications.

Apparently, an office build-out can lay the foundation for a new relationship. Who knew? But before Alex can trust Gideon with the truth about his fragile family, he has to believe that Gideon’s capable of caring about more than appearances. And Gideon must learn that when it comes to the heart, it’s content — not presentation — that matters.

My Review:
I’m going to call this a redemption romance, because one of the main characters is a brilliant dope at Humans 1.0, and he learns how to interface well with others by the end.

Gideaon Wallace is a prima donna web content designer. He freelances web design, and has a knack for building tasteful, engaging content. Unfortunately, in his personal life he’s all about the flash, the appearance, and content isn’t always important. HE never dates a man more than twice, and most hardly get that much of his time. He’s cultivated close friendships with his two roomies, but one is moving out and the other’s really occupied with her family, of late, so he’s a bit lonely. And, when his freelance clients begin to delay on their contracts, Gideon’s in danger of not making his rent. He bids on a hardware install job, as a last-ditch effort to make a positive cash flow, and is almost disheartened to win it. Because it’s a bad job. And the contract is a rotten. If he doesn’t complete the installation in time for go-live in three weeks, he doesn’t get paid. And, he can only work certain hours of the day, due to access restrictions. Gideon is in big, big trouble.

Alex Henning. He’s a stand up man, who feels like he let his adoptive family down. While he was gallivanting around with a new beau instead of doing his assigned chores, his father fell off a ladder and had a severe head injury. No one has said that led to his dad’s early-onset dementia, but Alex is sure it played a big part. Though he’s thirty, Alex still lives at home. He’s a burly man, and is able to physically restrain his father when fits of rage take over. Being black, unlike his adoptive family, Alex’s father confuses Alex for a recollection of an old work mate named Hank. It’s a heartbreaking scenario, but they don’t want to commit him to an institution, because a good one is too expensive. And a bad one is too dismal. So Alex dedicates himself to earning as much money as he can to meet the family’s many bills.

Alex met Gideon a few years back at his younger sister’s, Lin’s, birthday party. Lin has spoken about her svelte roomie many times, and Alex has always been intrigued, but not in Gideon’s two-date policy. He wants a steady man, so he can build a family. But, when Gideon turns up on his jobsite, wholly unprepared for dealing with a fresh build-out, Alex strikes a bargain. Frazzled Gideon’s unable to refuse Alex’s help prepping and installing servers if he’s going to fulfill his ridiculous contract. Even if it means having THREE dates with the behemoth electrician. Gideon’s a bit of a priss, too, so dating a working class man is a hard blow for him. Especially when he finds the company boss so attractive.

I loved Alex, and all his overwhelming selflessness. He’s a good man, and he’s in a bad spot. The anguish of his home life is really severe, and I think readers who have ever had to manage care for a demetia patient will find his plight so relatable. Gideon, on the other hand, is arrogant, and snobby. He’s a self-involved hipster techgeek, but there’s substance behind that veneer, thank goodness. I really liked how he changed his tune, by working hard, and seeing Alex’s hard work. Plus, Alex is a surprising date. He’s not the rough-and-tumble man Gideon mistakes him for. And admitting his prejudices and took a lot of Gideon’s sharp edges off. I loved how he grew into being a stronger man, one who’s willing to invest deep relationships, and to be part of a family, even if it’s hard. Gideon hasn’t had the easiest life, and I loved how he reached out to his estranged father to cope–and got an even bigger surprise. While Gideon got an upgrade, Alex got a partner. And, unexpected help for his father–that made the whole family better. The ending is sweet, and there are some nice sexy moments, including jobsite shenanigans.

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

****GIVEAWAY****

Hop on over to my good friend Tammy at TTC Books and More who has some more deets about this book, and leave a comment there to be entered to win $25 in Riptide Books cash.
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.