Five Star Reads: TEMPEST by Cari Z

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a link to a review I wrote for Joyfully Jay Reviews for a book that came out yesterday. I’ve been reviewing there for a year now, and every now and again I come across books that I just adore and want to share with my readers, too.

For those who are not familiar with Joyfully Jay, the site pretty much exclusively reviews LGBTQ books, with a heavy emphasis on M/M romance.

I’ve chosen TEMPEST by Cari Z, a high fantasy adventure, to share because it knocked my socks off with fantastic world building and a compelling plot.

TempestAbout TEMPEST by Cari Z:

Love can change a soul. But can it save one life?

Colm Weathercliff is a simple fisherman with an uncanny (some might say preternatural knack) for his trade. He thought leaving his small village to take his father’s ashes to the capital city of Caithmor for a proper burial would be the grandest adventure of his life.

At first, all his hopes seem to be fulfilled. He finds a home where he s accepted without question, the freedom to use his talent to its fullest effect, and love with Nichol, a man with a longing for the sea as powerful as Colm’s.

But Caithmor holds as many dangers as it does attractions. Colm’s greatest secret turns out to be a dark revelation that gets him and his family shunned and changes everything he thought he knew about himself.

The truth about his parentage, his gift, even his physical form could poison his chance for love. And doom both him and Nichol to a gruesome, inescapable fate.

Warning: Contains graphic violence, explicit sex, and scenes of torture that may not be for the faint of heart. These mermen bear no resemblance to those you might have seen in a certain animated film

My entire review can be found here, but these are the highlights:

This is a fantasy and adventure with a romance that grows naturally. I was so intrigued throughout, because the world building is excellent. The elements of magic are considerable, with selkies and mer and curses and priestly charms. I think everyone will know the secret of Colm’s magic from the blurb, but the reveal is so different from my expectations that I was completely blindsided by the next several plot turns. I found the juxtaposition of religion and magic to be unique, with the priests and royalty full practitioners of magic, while even innate magic was forbidden to the regular folk.

It’s an HEA, mostly, and I hope to see another book set in this beautifully-written world.

Interested? You can find TEMPEST on Goodreads, Samhain Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and All Romance.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!


Love Within The FLUKES–Review and Giveaway

Hi there! Today, I’m sharing a contemporary paranormal romance from Nichole Chase. FLUKES is a sexy New Adult story featuring a shy mermaid and the bad boy who falls for her…

Make sure to scroll down and enter the $50 gift card giveaway.

Flukes CoverAbout the book:
Meena has a secret guarded closely by her family—a secret as dangerous as the sea and buried just as deep. When court-appointed community-service workers are assigned to Flukes, the family-owned animal sanctuary, everyone is on high alert. It doesn’t help that Meena finds herself attracted to sexy-as-sin Blake Weathering, one of the new workers. If he wasn’t so distracting, she might be able to land Flukes a much-needed cruise-line contract.

Blake Weathering, the first in his family to attend public school, has developed a tough image. Unfortunately, it lands him in trouble. Now banned from his high school graduation ceremony, getting his diploma is dependent upon a community-service gig cleaning up fish crap. No diploma, no trust fund fortune—and no way to escape his overbearing father. The last thing he needs is the distraction of a mysterious girl with teal eyes who pulls at his heartstrings.

When Blake discovers Meena’s secret, they are both thrown into a desperate search for information about her past. Two worlds pull them in opposite directions, and they will have to fight to hold on to all that really matters.

How about a little taste?

“He’s friendly.” Blake’s voice was amused and he automatically scratched under Mitch’s chin. She squee’d loudly and spit water at his face.
“Mitch is a girl.” He held his hands up to ward off her wet assault and I couldn’t help but laugh. He didn’t seem irritated by Mitch’s antics, just amused and wet.
“My apologies, Mitch. I did think it was weird that you were so pretty if you were a boy.” Blake reached out a hand and scratched her chin again. He looked at me from the corner of his eyes. “Did you tell her to do that?”
“What? Oh, the splashing? No. She’s just sensitive.” Jallia came over and rolled onto her side. I traced my hands over her belly and cooed under my breath. The baby was healthy and happy. He was going to be a big boy. “Not long now, Jallia. You’re going to have your son out and playing in no time.”
Mitch nosed her mother for a minute, checking the baby as well. After a minute, Stormy started making noises about being hungry and I laughed. I set the fish bucket between Blake and Ime. “Here, feed them, but don’t let them knock the bucket over.” Mitch rose out of the water and flopped onto the decking between us. “Mitch! You got my clothes wet!” I yanked the bucket out of the way and pushed Mitch back into the water.
Stormy darted through the water and opened his mouth for Blake to deposit some fish. It didn’t take us long to empty the bucket and I enjoyed answering Blake’s questions. He was smarter than I had given him credit for.
“Are these markings from the other dolphins? They look like teeth scrapes.” Blake leaned close to Stormy and peered at the teeth rakings on his melon.
“Yeah. Some of them are from playing, roughhousing. Some of them are from being irritating. He is a nosy guy.” I ran my hand over Stormy’s head. “Most of them fade pretty quickly. They shed their skin every two hours.”
“Wow. Didn’t know that.” Blake looked down at the water and frowned. “So my legs are covered in dead dolphin skin. Nice.”
He was so engrossed at looking at his legs in disgust, I couldn’t help myself. It was the perfect chance to get payback for his insulting Flukes. I shoved his shoulder, pushing him into the water. “Now it’s all over you.”
Mitch laughed her dolphin laugh, but Jallia scolded me. When Blake came up sputtering, he glared at me. Mitch spit water at him, but he ignored her and swam to the platform. I thought he was going to sulk until he got closer. He looked up at the last minute and his mischievous smile pulled at the corners of his mouth. His brown eyes twinkled and I knew I was in trouble. I tried to get up and out of the way quickly, but he was faster than I thought. His strong hand closed around my ankle and dragged me into the water. Mitch darted down to me and I grabbed onto her dorsal fin. She surfaced quickly and scolded Blake with sharp whistles.
“She had it coming!” Blake held his hands out in front of him and laughed. He splashed water at me and I returned the favor. Mitch and Stormy joined in, but Jallia swam away, not in the mood for playing. His smile was infectious as he played with the dolphins, not minding when they dunked him or pushed him around. I found myself watching more than playing because I liked seeing him look so happy.
“You had it coming first. Calling Flukes a hellhole.” I laughed at his fake hurt look.
“I apologized! And it’s not like I didn’t notice that I was getting all the crap jobs last week.” He pretended to hold his heart. “I’ve paid my dues. What else can you want from me?”
“Fine. We’re even.” I rolled my eyes and shifted a little farther away from him. There was something compelling about him, something that made me want to be closer. He was dangerous.
“Looks like you lost something.” He tapped his head and I frowned.
“Ugh. My hat.” I looked around and saw it floating toward the sandy bottom. I took a deep breath that I didn’t need and dove after it. When I came back up, Blake was looking at me with wide eyes. “What? It’s my favorite.”
“How deep is this part of the cove?” He looked down and frowned. “What? Eighteen, twenty feet?”
“Something like that.” This part of the cove was twenty-eight feet. Mentally, I berated myself for being so stupid. I should have sent Mitch or Stormy after my hat, but I didn’t want teeth marks on it.
“Heh.” Blake looked at me, his eyebrows drawn together.
I hauled myself onto the platform and felt his eyes following me, making my heart jump in my chest. He pulled himself out of the enclosure and peeled his shirt off. The boy was gorgeous and he knew it. The exact kind of guy I should avoid at all costs. He twisted the shirt in his hands, wringing as much water out as he could.
“What next?” Blake slung the wet shirt over his shoulder.
The water droplets that ran down his chest drew my attention like a moth to flame. My fingers itched to touch him. I scrambled to my feet and backed away from him slowly while squeezing the edge of my shirt. Needing a distraction, I picked up the bucket and turned toward the ladder.
“The others should be here soon. I need to go help Dad with the assignments and then we can come up with a plan for the crews.” I didn’t look back at him after climbing the three short rungs, trying to shake the weird spell he seemed to have on me.

My Review:
Um. In case it’s not clear, ahem, this is a mermaid book. I would not consider it to be a spoiler, as we learn Meena is a mermaid within the first five pages. What is clear from the disclaimer is that this mermaid book is more than a little sexy. Not for young kiddos, sorry. (Not ACTUALLY sorry! It was a cool surprise for me… )

Meena lives in the Bahamas with her adopted parents, and works in their animal sanctuary, Flukes, in a prized cove. They don’t have a lot of spare cash and need to spruce up the place for tourism dollars so they contract work via the community service program on the island–essentially bringing low-risk offenders to the sanctuary to paint, scrape and fix the cosmetic blemishes. One of these ne’er-do-wells is an actual well-to-doer, Blake Weathering, whose father owns several hotels on the island. Blake was sentenced to community service after he assaulted a fellow student (with good reason, but still…)

Blake’s not excited about shoveling seal crap for six weeks, but he’s more than attracted to Meena–who holds a grudge over Blake’s nasty comments regarding Flukes. He has struggled with his father’s highly detailed plans for his life and eagerly awaits the release of his trust fund as soon as he receives his diploma. In the meantime, he enjoys rubbing Meena in all the wrong ways.

They have an adversarial thing going, at first, until Blake makes apologies for his tactless comments, and helps Meena’s parents with the design of a new logo and resort-style improvements to entice new visitors. Blake loves working with Meena and her parents who truly value his input and help him feel welcomed in a way his father never did.

Meena has a lot of special abilities besides her mermaidishness. She can communicate with many of the animals at the sanctuary. She is stronger than she appears, and heals quickly in her mermaid form, too. On the other hand, her feet are extremely tender and her skin is very sensitive to chemicals and synthetic fibers. Blake can’t pinpoint why he’s so intrigued by Meena, but part of it is her work ethic. She never tires of helping out. And she’s beautiful, and smart. She doesn’t fawn or feign anything, which he respects.

Other guys in the work crew? They don’t respect Meena nearly as much. One of them, Devin, is a known sex offender, and he’s got some dirty deeds planned. Expect big-time badness and more than one rescue. I didn’t expect his transformation, and it was an interesting development.

The romance does develop rather quickly, and this has a lot to do with Meena’s magic, as she learns from some traveling merfolk. Meena and Blake are both 18, and Blake is Meena’s first boyfriend. If you are expecting some chaste kissing here, well, you’re going to get a lot more bang for your buck. And I mean that literally. Some pretty delicious/graphic sexytimes. Made me curious how the merfolk get it on when they are water-bound…

The book ends on an HEA, and with more sexy. Yay!
Interested? You can find FLUKES on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks.


Click the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win $50 gift card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble–winner’s choice.
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Good luck, and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Nichole Chase is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Suddenly Royal, The Accidental Assassin, Flukes, The Dark Betrayal Trilogy, and several short stories.

Nichole lives in Georgia with her husband, energetic daughter, superhero dog, Sulcata tortoise, and two cats. When not writing, you may find her reading, painting, crafting, or chasing her daughter around the house while making monster noises.

You can catch up with Nichole online on her website, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.
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