Categories
4.5 stars Action/Adventure adult - 18+ angels Angst Level Audiobook Book Contemporary Demons Dreamspinner Fairies Fated Mates Gay Heat Index m/m Magic Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal Part of a Series Shifter

Audiobook: Finder’s Keeper (A Heart’s Gate Story #1) by Shira Anthony Narrated by Kenneth Obi

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Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/finders-keeper-by-shira-anthony-8812-b

Blurb

When Zane moves into an old gothic brownstone, he discovers the house comes equipped with a caretaker—Kit, who lives in the basement. Zane is immediately drawn to the charming and attractive Kit. But Kit is much more than he seems. He is a two-hundred-year-old half-human, half–red fox spirit who guards a Gate between the mortal and spirit worlds—a fact Zane should recognize, but doesn’t.

Orphaned at a young age, Zane never learned he comes from a long line of mystical Keepers. Kit needs Zane’s help to protect the Gate, but how can he tell Zane of his legacy when that will crush Zane’s dreams of traveling the world? If he takes up the mantle, Zane will be bound to the Gate, unable to leave it. But when Zane realizes Kit’s true nature, and his own, he’ll have to make a choice—fight to protect Kit and the Gate, or deny his destiny and any chance of a future with Kit.

Review
(Book reviewed here previously)

This was really, really, really good.

I’m a sucker for a lot of magic and make believe in my science fiction and this has it in spades! First, we have the magic holder who doesn’t know how special he is, then we find out his mentor is another “undervalued” magic holder and the situation seems to unmanageable but with only a bit of imagination – it’s all managed!

The world building is fantastic and I hope we get to see more from this world as there was so much time spent creating it. We also get to meet a lot of interesting people and I hope to re-visit them in the future as well.

The chemistry is very sweet between Kit and Zane and while I wasn’t always super keen on all the tails, for the most part, it really works!

Highly enjoyable fated mate romance with a lot of great world-building and creativity!

5 of 5 stars

Audio

Kenneth Obi is a new to me narrator and he does a pretty good job. That’s what I kept thinking as I was listening to this audiobook. He does a nice enough job, but there was SO MUCH he could have done that I was a bit disappointed with the relative lack of drama. The voices he chose for Kit and Zane were opposite of how I’d pictured them and that kept me off balance for a bit as well.

He nicely differentiates all the many characters and he does give them unique voices, but he didn’t do as much as he could have with all the wildly creative members of this cast.

It was a nice way to enjoy the story however and recommended overall.

4 of 5 stars

Overall 4.5 of 5 stars

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Categories
5 stars Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Alternate World Angst Level Audiobook Book Contemporary Demons Dreamspinner Enemies to Lovers Fairies Fated Mates Gay Heat Index Homophobia m/m Magic Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Mild/low level heat Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Opposites attract Paranormal Part of a Series Race/Species Difference Shifter Standalone vampire Witches/Warlocks/Wizards

Audiobook: Out of the Ashes (Asheville Arcana #1) by Ari McKay Narrated by Andrew McFerrin

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Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/out-of-the-ashes-by-ari-mckay-8594-b

Blurb

In their differences, they’ll find strength—and love.

Alpha werewolf Eli Hammond returns from a fishing trip to discover a nasty surprise—five members of his pack murdered and the rest missing. He needs help locating and rescuing his pack mates, but the supernatural council in Asheville, North Carolina, turns him away.

Except for one man.

As they work together, Eli is stunned—and not especially thrilled—to discover half-elf Arden Gilmarin is his destined mate. But as Arden and his friends struggle to help Eli in his quest, Eli surrenders to the demands of his body—and his heart. They’ll need to bond together, because the forces opposing them are stronger and more sinister than anyone predicted. The evil has its sights set on Arden, and if Eli wants to save his mate and the people he is entrusted with protecting, he’s in for the fight of his life.

Review

(Book Reviewed Here Previously)

OMG this was so unexpected! I’m not sure what I thought this was going to be – exactly – but what it is is a “city boy meets country boy” mixed with a bit of “fated mate but, I can’t have him”. There’s a terrific mystery – it’s actually pretty sad at times- and I’m usually not that interested in the mystery!

I loved all the various fantasy elements like the dryads and the very spiritual qualities that overlaid the basic philosophy – especially of Arden.

The smexy times are smokin’- definitely a hotter than usual story for this line of books!

(My only complaint was that Eli’s language got a bit tedious – it was a bit too “good ol boy for me.)

I’m super excited to see more from this series!

Highly Recommended!

4.5 of 5 stars

Audio

Andrew McFerrin rocked this! He did a fantastic job matching characters with voices and providing an entire CAST with unique and appropriate accents. This was a delight to listen to and absolutely added to my overall enjoyment!

Highly recommended!

6 of 5 stars

Overall 5 of 5 stars

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Categories
3.5 stars Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Alternate World Angst Level Book Demons Fairies Fantasy Fated Mates Gay Gay Heat Index High but not hopeless m/m Mid level steam/heat Morgan NetGalley Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal Part of a Series

Stone Cold (SoulShares #8) by Rory Ni Coileain

GoodReads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36271771-stone-cold?from_search=true

 

Blurb

In Stone Cold, the eighth title in the Rainbow-Award-nominated M/M paranormal Soulshares series, Maelduin Guaire is a Fae with a mission. An obsession, really. He’s trained his entire life to become the greatest scian-damhsa, blade-dancer, the Fae have ever known, for the sole purpose of killing the blade-dancer who murdered his father and gave House Guaire its reputation as the Cursed House. Now he’s followed Tiernan Guaire through the Pattern to the human world, to fulfill his oath or die trying… but the passage has cost him all his skill with a blade.

Terry Miller, Josh LaFontaine’s business partner at the Raging Art-on Tattoo and Piercing Parlor, has the worst luck with men since… well, since ever, as far as he’s concerned. Years ago, he walked out on a great thing with Josh, when Bryce Newhouse offered to play sugar daddy for Terry’s ballet company; then Bryce kicked him to the curb, and Terry ended up relying on big-hearted Josh to help him get back on his feet. And now a too-good-to-be-true stranger has turned up in Terry’s half-built dance studio, with a beautiful sword and a bloody nose.

In order to regain the grace and skill he needs to keep his vow, a Fae cursed with the inability to love must SoulShare with a human convinced that love runs screaming when it sees him coming. All with the Marfach looking over their shoulders. No pressure…

Review

I had started this series and gotten up to Book 4 but then I apparently lost track of it. When I saw this – Book 8 – I was psyched! I haven’t gone back to read Books 5, 6, or 7 and I think it would have been better if I had.

A lot has changed since I was in this “world” (reviews here: https://www.goodreads.com/series/94084) and it’s a very complex world.

If you’ve not heard of this series – here’s the basics:
There’s a very bad guy – Marfach – and he’s trying to take over everything. The Fae need to find their soul mate and bond with them to be strong enough to fight him.

There are a lot of obstacles in the way, lots of magic and a fair amount of sex – though that isn’t overwhelming.

If you love high fantasy and other dimensions and the Fae – this is something you should look into. The books are long and very complex and detailed.

Since I’d not been following along I found myself skimming through all the back and forth which involved characters I’d not read about yet.

I didn’t particularly care for either MC in this story and though I loved the magic and seeing some of the MCs from earlier books, I wasn’t invested in this relationship very much.

It’s a great series for those fans of fantasy/urban fantasy/ Fae .

3.5 of 5 stars

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Categories
3.5 stars Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Angst Level Book class difference Contemporary Dreamspinner Fairies Gay Heat Index Hurt/comfort Insta Love m/m Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Opposites attract Paranormal Part of a Series Standalone vampire

Ante Up by Kim Fielding

release day review 

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/ante-up-by-kim-fielding-8952-b

Blurb

Love is a high-stakes game.

A century and a half ago, Ante Novak died on a Croatian battlefield—and rose three days later as a vampire. Now he haunts Las Vegas, stealing blood and money from drunken gamblers and staying on the fringe of the powerful vampire organization known as the Shadows. His existence feels empty and meaningless until he meets beautiful Peter Gehrardi, who can influence others with his thoughts.

An attraction flares instantly, bringing a semblance of life to Ante’s dead heart. But the Shadows want Peter too, and they’re willing to kill to get him. As Ante and Peter flee, they learn more about themselves and each other, and they discover that the world is a stranger place than either of them imagined. With enemies at their heels and old mistakes coming back to exact a price, how can Ante and Peter find sanctuary?

Review

I’m a huge Kim Fielding fan and I’ve really been enjoying these Dreamspun books so I was really looking forward to this.

I think that if I hadn’t had such high expectations for a story from this author – I know what amazing things she can do – I would have given this more stars. But… and maybe this is unfair – I didn’t resonate with this like I have so many of her other stories.

On the one hand it was pretty interesting and fairly light, the two MCs are not exactly what you’d expect – which is refreshing. On the other hand I wasn’t really ever bowled over by their chemistry and I was a bit disappointed by the ending.  I liked that none of this was predictable, but I’ve come to love the sweetness Kim can deliver with her MCs and it was missing here.

However – if you’re in the mood for a paranormal story written by an excellent author with a somewhat unique twist on the trope – give this is a try – you won’t be disappointed!

3.5 of 5 stars

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Categories
4 stars Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Alternate World Angst Level Book Demons Established Couple Established Couple/Sequel Fairies Gargoyle Gay Gay Ghost Heat Index m/m Magic Mary D Merpeople Mild level angst Mild/low level heat Monthly Theme Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Paranormal Part of a Series Purchased Rating Shifter Spooky! vampire Witches/Warlocks/Wizards

Spooky! The Case of the Guilty Ghost by RJ Scott and Amber Kell

Amazon Link

https://www.amazon.com/Guilty-Ghost-Street-Detective-Agency-ebook/dp/B06XKX9N3X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1508955535&sr=8-1&keywords=case+of+guilty+ghost

Blurb

The End Street Detective Agency #6

Bob is lost in grief, Sam is fighting for his life, and there is no middle ground. Can their love survive?

Bob is grieving over his brother’s sacrifice. Guilt-ridden and devastated, he buries himself in vampire mourning and pulls away from Sam.

Magic tears Sam from the vampire castle and he has to face new adversaries alone, when all he wants is Bob at his side.

Ettore is in the Aset Ka waiting room, next in line for the ceremony for his soul to be torn from his body. Aset Ka has other plans, and Ettore finds himself reunited with a lost love and fighting alongside his brother.

A forgotten past binds Theodore ‘Teddy’ McCurray Constantine III to Ettore, and with the curse tied to Ettore broken by his death, Teddy’s past returns to him with a vengeance.

A royal family in denial, a battle between gods, and long forgotten love leaves no time for Sam and Bob to take a breath. Is it too late to save the supernatural world

Review
The Case of the Guilty Ghost is the last in the End Street Detective Agency series. It’s a lovely paranormal world in which Sam slowly comes to terms with having magical powers and meets his mate Bob the Vampire. There is a wonderful array of creatures in this series, a gargoyle called Hal, dragon shifters, a cat familiar called Smudge and a moody ghost called Teddy. Although each story is an individual case you do need to read all the stories to follow the thread Sam’s building power and the strengthening of his relationship with Bob.

This is mainly Teddy’s story. He turns out to be Ettore (Bob’s brother) lost love who was killed by the evil younger brother. Ettore sacrifices himself for Bob at the end of book 5 and in this book the Vampire god Aset Ka sends Ettore’s soul back to carry out a task. Circumstances bring Ettore and Teddy back together but for how long? There is a lot going on in this finale, an evil brother, lovers reunited, vampire politics, kidnapping and the fulfilment of a prophecy. I liked the use of dry humour in the story to lighten the mood. A very enjoyable paranormal series with added mystery and lovely characters.

4 of stars out of 5

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(Don’t forget – commenters on this month’s “spooky reviews” will be entered to win some Jordan L Hawk swag or $15 from Dreamspinner!)

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
5 stars Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Alternate World Angst Level Author Provided Book Dee Fairies Fated Mates Gay Heat Index Humor m/m Magic Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Opposites attract Paranormal Race/Species Difference Shifter Standalone

By Fairy Means or Foul by Meghan Maslow

release day review

Amazon Link

https://www.amazon.com/Fairy-Means-Foul-Starfig-Investigations-ebook/dp/B074M4WNTV/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1503806287&sr=1-1&keywords=by+fairy+means+or+foul

Free on KU!

Blurb

 The last thing half-dragon, half-fairy private investigator Twig Starfig wants to do is retrieve a stolen enchanted horn from a treacherous fae, but there’s no denying the dazzlingly gorgeous unicorn who asks Twig to do just that. Literally, no denying, because compelling the reluctant detective is all part of a unicorn’s seductive magic.

To add to his woes, Twig is saddled with the unicorn’s cheeky indentured servant, Quinn Broomsparkle. Dragons are supposed to want to eat humans, but Twig’s half-dragon side only wants to gobble up Quinn in a more . . . personal way. Making matters worse, it’s obvious the smokin’ hot but untrustworthy sidekick is hiding something. Something big. And not what’s in his trousers. In the PI business, that means trouble with a capital Q.

Throw in gads of zombies, a creepy ghost pirate ship, a malfunctioning magic carpet, and Twig’s overbearing fairy father’s demands to live up to the illustrious Starfig name. Naturally, an old but abiding enemy chooses this time to resurface, too. Those inconveniences Twig can handle. The realization he’s falling for a human who isn’t free to return his affections and whose life may hang on the success of his latest case?

Not so much.

Review:
I absolutely loved this story! It has everything I love – 1st person POV, humour (snarky, sly), fairytale fantasy (the character names are so good- Broomsparkle, Rainbowpebbles, Brandsome), engaging storyline, wonderful characters and a HEA. There is so much to love about this book. On the heroes side we meet Twig and Quinn. Twig is a half dragon-fairy private investigator with a slight chip on his shoulder (he’s small for a dragon, but large for a fairy, so he doesn’t fit into either world). Quinn, is an indentured servant, and belongs to Brandsome, (a shady unicorn). Brandsome needs something of his recovered and asks Twig to retrieve it for him.

The initial interaction between Twig and Quinn is very funny, and only gets better throughout the book. On the villain side, we have Brandsome, Rainbowpebbles and Twig’s bylaw-spouting dad. Believe it or not, the ‘villains’ were also funny in their own way.

The story isn’t all rainbows and fun, there are issues involving indentured servitude/slavery, discrimination (when you don’t fit in) and trust. But these are addressed and the situations blend in to give the story substance. Add the odd assortment of other characters- a ghost parrot, a red demon and a host of giants and you’ve got a fantastic story.
This is one of my favourite books already. I’d describe it as a fairytale romp and recommend this without reservation.

5 out of 5 stars!

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Categories
3 stars Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Alternate World Angst Level Book Contemporary DA Demons Enemies to Lovers Fairies Gay Heat Index High but not hopeless Hopelessly Crying Hurt/Abuse Hurt/comfort m/m Mid level steam/heat Mild/low level heat Misunderstanding Morgan NetGalley Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal Part of a Series Riptide Publishing second chance at love Unrequited Love

Bad Boy’s Bard (Fae Out of Water #3) by E.J. Russell

release day review

Riptide Presents

https://riptidepublishing.com/titles/bad-boys-bard

Blurb

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.

Review

First, let me say that I’m not a fan of “reunion or second chance” romances – so this already had a mark against it.

Second, I wasn’t ever too keen on Gareth and didn’t quite warm up to him as a romantic interest.

Third, it was long and the slow burn got tiresome and the reward wasn’t enough of a pay off for my patience to feel rewarded.

Fourth – amnesia as a plot device – blech! I hate soap operas and this felt like that.

I’ve really enjoyed the others in this series and the writing and world-buidling are still great, but this wasn’t my favorite.

3 of 5 stars

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Categories
4 stars 5 stars adult - 18+ Alternate World Angst Level Audiobook Author Provided Book Brian Cherry Cop/Crime DA Established Couple Fairies Fated Mates Gay Gay Heat Index Hurt/Abuse Length m/m Magic Mary D Mid level steam/heat Mild level angst Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal Part of a Series Witches/Warlocks/Wizards

Audiobook: Necromancer’s Dilemma (The Beacon Hill Sorcerer #2) by SJ Himes Narrated by Joel Leslie

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Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/The-Necromancers-Dilemma-Audiobook/B0742JFP89/ref=a_search_c4_1_3_srTtl?qid=1502389883&sr=1-3

Blurb
Even love can die without trust.

Angel’s brother, Isaac, has returned home, and the pair begin to make slow and awkward attempts back to each other. Learning how to be a brother to a grown man instead of a parental figure has Angel adjusting his behaviors and habits, and Isaac still remains a mystery. Was it merely entering adulthood that turned Isaac away from an overprotective Angel, or does Isaac carry a secret that will keep them from finally being a real family?

Daniel Macavoy, Angel’s new apprentice, is torn between his bond with Angel and the grasping machinations of his father. Dealing with a traumatized apprentice with dangerous holes in his magical education, saving Daniel may be harder than Angel first thought—especially since the biggest problem is not revenge, but guilt.

The one shining beacon in his life is Simeon, Elder vampire of Boston’s only Bloodclan. Four hundred years old and sexy as sin, Simeon is warrior and sage, patient and cunning. The strength Angel draws from Simeon’s devotion and the newborn mate-bond between them is steadfast and true…and the fount of death magic that animates the undead lord places Angel in the midst of a power struggle for control over himself, his lover, and his family.

Through it all, Angel is beleaguered by the unwanted attention of a troll-hybrid, the adventures of a dragon in the city, and a serial killer has decided to hunt the back alleys and midnight streets of Boston.

Review by Mary
What can I say to do justice to this story. I loved book and this sequel was just as great. Angel and Simeon are now in a relationship, Isaac (Angel’s brother) is living with them along with Daniel Angel’s apprentice. A lot is captured in this book. The bond between Angel and Simeon becomes clearer and I can’t wait to see where it goes from here. Daniel’s father comes back into the story as a side thread to the main mystery of the murders and catching the serial killer. So much to keep me entertained and left me wanting more. There is a cliffhanger at the end and I really want to know what happens next. My favourite character is Angel’s dragon familiar Eroch. It is brilliant the way he is sentient and is at war with the pigeons.

Joel Leslie’s narration is superb. Beautiful deep Irish tone for Simeon and the non nonsense Boston accent for Angel is wonderful. When Joel narrates I can close my eyes and be transported into the story. While the main characters are outstanding it’s the attention given to the side characters that makes Joel such an awesome narrator.

5 of 5 stars

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Review by Brian

A worthy sequel in the great Beacon Hill Necromancer series, the story
picks up where the last book left off. Angel, still scrappy and snarky, is
falling deeper in love with sexy, powerful vampire Simeon. He’s attempting
to rebuild his relationship with his troubled brother Isaac, while taking
on a more parental role with his promising young student Daniel. Daniel’s
family resents him for his gifts that outshine his favored older brother,
and fabulous, witty Millie, Angel’s business partner, is stalked by a
dangerous ex.

There’s a lot going on, and a strong supporting cast kept me engaged.
Angel in particular is a very appealing lead. He’s delightfully original;
he avoids the tropes of snarling alpha male or hapless twink. He’s
parental to his brother and student, a concerned friend, and a force to be
reckoned with.

The world building continues to be superb. It all feels very bright and
shiny and very fresh. Just enough is explained to show how the world works
without getting bogged down in unnecessary details.

Isaac is a character I find really interesting. I look forward to seeing
him develop more in future books. As much as I love Angel as our lead I’d
enjoy getting a novella or full length novel from Isaac’s point of view
someday.

Simeon comes across a little better this time around, maybe just because
he’s been around for two books and I’m used to him. He’s hot, commanding,
romantic, but I still feel like there’s a spark missing, some
understanding of him I’m just not getting, which is a shame as he’s such a
prominent character surrounding by other interesting characters. Maybe
what I’m interpreting as not understanding the character is supposed to be
an intriguing mysteriousness. He fulfills the role of hunky vampire
boyfriend well enough, and I am warming up to the character.

Joel Leslie is a great narrator as always. He gives distinct voices to the
cast creating a performance that goes beyond just a reading. I
particularly love his tough guy Jersey accent for Angel.

I’m already looking forward to the next installment in the series.

4 of 5 stars

 

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Categories
2.5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Book Contemporary Extasy Books Fairies Fated Mates Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Homophobia Little to no angst m/m Magic Mild/low level heat Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal Part of a Series Shifter Single Parent

Shawn (Gillham Pack #24) by Catherine Lievens

Extasy Presents

http://www.extasybooks.com/shawn/

Blurb

Life’s curve balls aren’t always a bad thing.

Shawn has been alone since his wife passed away. He has his three kids, and he loves them more than anything, but he misses having a partner to share his life with. He’s not looking for one, though, not while the kids still live with him. That’s one of the reasons he’s so surprised when he ends up being a Nix’s mate.

Jarah hadn’t expected to meet his mate when he went to talk to Neriah. He has more than enough problems to deal with—Titus still acting crazy, the fight between the rogue shifters and the humans in town getting worse. And now he has to learn how to be a stepfather, even though Terry, Shawn’s oldest child, hates his guts.

Shawn and Jarah learn to mesh their lives together, but when Shawn and his children are threatened for associating with shifters, Jarah decides to take matters into his own hands. Will he manage to keep his mate safe, or will he lose him before he can even get used to having a family?

Review

I’ve read most of the books in this series, but have been reluctant to lately because it feels as if we’ve sort of run out of steam.  However…

I picked this up because I thought we’d get some great “I was married to a woman and now I’m mated to a man” angst. But we don’t.

Shawn already knew about paranormals and had been attracted to men in the past so there was nothing new here at all.

There’s a struggle because Shawn’s kids don’t necessarily want to accept Jarah and some waffling about where to live, but most of this was not very exciting and I was disappointed.

Another problem I had was the ending. It’s very abrupt – so abrupt I thought maybe I was missing some pages! Our MCs are in a big kerfuffle about a kidnapped shifter and then suddenly that gets “solved” and our MCs decide that’s that, everyone’s safe and they love each other. I was like “What just happened???”

I hate to say it, but I think maybe this series has run it’s course…

2.5 of 5 stars

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Categories
4.5 stars Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook Book Bullying co-workers to lovers Contemporary Cop/Crime Dreamspinner Dystopian Dystopian Dystopian Enemies to Lovers Fairies Fantasy Gay Heat Index Hurt/Abuse m/m Magic Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal Speculative Fiction

Audiobook: Dim Sum Asylum by Rhys Ford Narrated by Greg Tremblay

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Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/dim-sum-asylum-by-rhys-ford-8556-b

Blurb

* Novel-length expansion of original short story found in Charmed & Dangerous anthology. *

Welcome to Dim Sum Asylum: a San Francisco where it’s a ho-hum kind of case when a cop has to chase down an enchanted two-foot-tall shrine god statue with an impressive Fu Manchu mustache that’s running around Chinatown, trolling sex magic and chaos in its wake.
Senior Inspector Roku MacCormick of the Chinatown Arcane Crimes Division faces a pile of challenges far beyond his human-faerie heritage, snarling dragons guarding C-Town’s multiple gates, and exploding noodle factories. After a case goes sideways, Roku is saddled with Trent Leonard, a new partner he can’t trust, to add to the crime syndicate family he doesn’t want and a spell-casting serial killer he desperately needs to find.
While Roku would rather stay home with Bob the Cat and whiskey himself to sleep, he puts on his badge and gun every day, determined to serve and protect the city he loves. When Chinatown’s dark mystical underworld makes his life hell and the case turns deadly, Trent guards Roku’s back and, if Trent can be believed, his heart… even if from what Roku can see, Trent is as dangerous as the monsters and criminals they’re sworn to bring down.

Review

While we’ve reviewed this book on the site before, I feel that – with the listening – I wanted to amend some things.

First, as was said before – this is another great example of how Rhys Ford has a crazy wonderful imagination and an absolutely awe-inspiring talent for description.

She has created a fully developed, intricate and unique new world here and manages to give the reader/listener the set up without an “info dump”. This is a rare and wonderful gift.

Rhys is also amazing at metaphors and descriptions that make the reader/listener hear, feel, smell, taste and touch the story she is creating. I can think of few writers who match her in this skill.

What I didn’t focus on as I was reading it – and that is the magic of audiobooks – they really can change your impression of a story – is how DARK it is. Every day it rained, every day poor Roku got injured again and again – every day we were reminded of the death and destruction in Roku’s world.

The other part I didn’t quite “see” when I was reading this was how little the relationship between Roku and Trent really develops – even by the end.

I guess, when I was reading this, I must have skimmed all the violence and focused on the very cute and funny relationship parts and my brain gave them more weight. Upon re-visiting this, the main story is really about Roku and his struggles in the world and his relationship with Trent is a small part of this.

If this were to be expanded to a series I could see the relationship deepening and becoming more of a “thing” but as it stands I think I’d call this Romantic Fiction more than a romance – because the mystery and the main character development supersede the romance – IMHO.

It was still an amazing story that absolutely enthralls the reader/listener – but it wasn’t as romantic as I’d remembered.

Audio

Greg and Rhys are a powerhouse team and he was absolutely the best choice for this narration! He’s got all those Chinese and Japanese words down and they flow effortlessly off his tongue. I had to keep reminding myself that this wasn’t Rhys’ other series – Cole McGinnis – because Trent reminded me so much of Bobby – both in voice and characterization! In a way this is kind of a paranormal Cole McGinnis – and I don’t mean that in a bad way at all!

In any case, this was an amazing way to experience this fantastic story and highly recommended to fans of the author, urban fantasy and romantic crime stories.

4.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review