Tag Archives: Magic

3 Star Review for Fractured Souls (Elemental Lovers #2) by Alana Ankh #MM #Fantasy @dreamspinners

Cover
Title
: Fractured Souls (Elemental Lovers #2)
Author Name & Publisher: Alana Ankh (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: January 23, 2015 – 276 pgs

Synopsis

Centuries ago, a group of Aranken mages left their homeland and became the ancestors of the Nikari. Now a Nikari prince will return, seeking truth and finding far more than he expected.

Shuri Fezenda has one goal in mind when he departs for A’rankin—to identify the culprit behind the conspiracy targeting Ivy, his brother’s consort and a man Shuri cares for deeply. But when he meets Prince Tynare’Or’Therar, Shuri’s world is turned upside down.

Beautiful and mysterious, Tynare draws Shuri like no other. The secrets he whispers taunt and tease, but Shuri’s treacherous heart races and his body responds when Tynare shoots him a knowing smile. And then Shuri meets Tynare’s twin brother, Nari, and in Nari’s kindness and blind eyes, he finds refuge and a love beyond anything he thought he could feel.

Torn between duty and confused emotions, Shuri faces an A’rankin on the brink of civil war and a foe he didn’t count on—the neighboring land of Shyrn. At the heart of the conflict, one question remains. Who is Tynare really, and who is Nari? Shuri is almost afraid to learn the answer.

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Review

ThreeStar

Huh. It was an okay read, but there were too many WTF moments. Moments when things didn’t make sense that the character’ logic was no where to be found. Book two centers on Shuri, the emperor’s half brother. I don’t get why he liked Ivy, his brother’s consort, so much. They really haven’t spent too much time with each other in the other book, so his love wasn’t convincing to me. Don’t tell me the character is in love, show it to me. Write the scenes to convince me.
I wasn’t as into this one as I was with book 2. I pretty much guessed what was going on between Nari and Tynare. The cover is great though, just like the first one. Would I read book 3 if there was to be one? Depends…
Cookie

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3.5 Star Review for Beyond the Rift (Elemental Lovers #1) by Alana Ankh #MM #Fantasy @dreamspinners

CoverTitle: Beyond the Rift (Elemental Lovers #1)
Author Name & Publisher: Alana Ankh (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: October 27, 2014 – 260 pgs

Synopsis

Across the centuries, the Nikari, a race of vicious elemental mages, have built an empire, bringing an entire continent to its knees. The course of history seems set… until one innocent Andari mage changes everything and claims a greater prize—the heart of the Nikari emperor.

Behnivyr ‘Ivy’ Erethe knows his duty is to wed another Andari Pure-Blood. Craving one moment of freedom before his loveless bonding, he escapes his father’s suffocating protection and goes to a masquerade ball, only to unexpectedly meet a mysterious Nikari named Kris. Kris makes Ivy ache with a need he barely dares to acknowledge. One kiss, one dance—and Ivy’s life changes forever. Unbeknownst to Ivy, Kris is actually Kristelien Fezenda, the Nikari emperor. Forced to make a difficult choice, Ivy picks love over duty and becomes Kris’s concubine.

Poorly prepared for the whirlwind of emotion Ivy summons inside him, Kris now faces the hardest battle of his life. In a ruthless world where all weakness is exploited, where allies become enemies in the blink of an eye, where love can mean death, he will have to defeat more than his own personal demons to breach the rift between him and Ivy.

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Review

ThreeandHalfStars

Ok, the back story was kind of confusing to me in the beginning, but I went with it. Plus there’s a glossary for terms in the book to help guide you.
This story is about Ivy, who is being forced to marry someone he doesn’t want, but he’ll do his duty anyway. One night, as a last Hurrah, he goes off to play in a festival that he’s been forbidden to attend. There he meets Kris, a warrior he shouldn’t be around but is drawn to. They share a moment and promise to meet each other again, one way or another.
Kris of course is the emperor and gets what he wants. I liked the story well enough. I even liked Kris and Ivy’s interactions. I’m not so sure about the story line though. Kris was too blind for my taste. He jumped into too much conclusions, which drove distance between him and Ivy. I know there’s gotta be drama now and then, but it left me feeling like Ivy could have done better.
In the end, it was an okay read and would read book 2.
Cookie

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3.5 Star and 4 Star Reviews for The Assassin’s Pet by Nana G. #MM #Paranormal @NanaGAmazon

CoverTitle: The Assassin’s Pet
Author Name & Publisher: Nana G.
Publication Date & Length: January 3, 2016 – 189 pgs

Synopsis

Gay erotic fantasy. Camille is a vampire who cannot kill, no matter how desperate his situation becomes. Faced with starvation and shunned by his natural family, he finds a solution to his problems in Damien, a professional assassin who belongs to the legendary Sulis Brotherhood. Camille offers Damien his services, his loyalty and his submission in exchange for regular meals and protection that the assassin will surely have no trouble providing for. Damien accepts the proposal, not realising how the vampire will change his life forever.

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Review

ThreeandHalfStars

Unfortunately, this book just didn’t really do it for me.  It had an intriguing plot and some twists in there that I didn’t expect, but the story as a whole was not my favorite.

Camille was almost too docile throughout the story and despite his family shunning him, etc. he never really learned to live on his own.  He was constantly checking to make sure everyone around him was OK, but never really looking out for himself.  His character was just blah for me.

Then you have Damien.  While I liked his character more, again, he was almost too predictable.

The chemistry between the two was not great for me.  Sure, they had sex, but I never truly felt that they had a great connection.  It was a forced connection that kind of turned in to something more, but not in an organic way for me.

Sadly, I did not really like this one.

AvidReader

FourStars

Camille started out as a very pathetic vampire. He couldn’t even drink blood from a live person cause it made him queasy to kill anyone. Just as he was about to starve to death, he meets Damien, who is an assassin. I actually liked this story. The romance between Camille and Damien wasn’t shoved at our face, but gradually happened.
Camille made Damien softer, and Damien made Camille stronger. They complimented each other well. The plot was so-so, but I was drawn to the couple enough to ignore that it wasn’t a problem. They were certainly hot together. The ending kinda sucked for me though cause I feel like they didn’t get a HEA. They were together in the end, but it was a “happy for now” feeling.
Cookie

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4.5 stars for Family of Lies: Sebastian by Sam Argent #MM #Fantasy @dreamspinners

CoverTitle: Family of Lies: Sebastian
Author Name & Publisher: Sam Argent (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: March 18, 2015 – 324 pgs

Synopsis

Sebastian Orwell did the only thing a smart wizard could do when he stumbled upon the wounded Crown Prince: he healed him and dumped him in a tavern where he could continue not being Sebastian’s problem. Unfortunately, the prince isn’t content with being alive, and he hunts Sebastian down to thank him personally. Not only is Sebastian stuck with the prince’s unwanted affections, he’s also confronted by growing evidence linking the assassination attempt to someone from his father’s past.

Lord Orwell is a lot of things: thief, liar, drunk, and all around horrible father, but Sebastian knows he’s no murderer. In order to prove it, Sebastian has to keep the prince alive long enough to discover the truth—a task made considerably harder because the idiot prince prefers wooing Sebastian over securing his own survival. On top of everything, Sebastian needs to save the day without revealing his magical powers and the real reason he hides his appearance.

Sebastian had no intention of playing the hero, but whoever is stirring up shit in his country will pay for destroying his quiet life.

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Review

 FourandHalfStars

This is a very fast-paced and entertaining story with great world development.

Sebastian is a great character. He is witty and sarcastic while also being brave and honorable. Turren is a perfect Prince Charming, romantic and brave, but it was fun to see his sneaky naughty side come out as he worked to woo Sebastian. Their romance is amusing and sexy.

I love the way the plot twists and turns. It isn’t predictable at all, and that is very refreshing. By the end I came to love the whole bickering, devious Orwell family, and that surprised me.

I have a small complaint about the book. At times I felt like clarity was sacrificed in order to keep up the fast pace. There is s fairly large cast of characters and I felt myself lost a few times. This got easier as I got further along into the story.

This is a complete stand-alone story, but I truly hope there will be a sequel. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a M/M romance with a strong high fantasy plot.

~Amanda

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4 Stars for Snowmancer by Olivia Helling #MM #Fantasy @KatsuBite

CoverTitle: Snowmancer
Author Name & Publisher: Olivia Helling (MM Romance Group)
Publication Date & Length: June 24, 2015 – 131 pgs

Synopsis

A partner he could trust. That’s what Prince Heir Ilyas wanted most in the world. Instead, he spent his days alone defending his future throne from his younger brothers and reaping the rewards of their estates. But when he receives his latest conquest, a slave named Jem, he’s abducted to the far reaches of a frozen wasteland to be sacrificed to Jem’s backwater god.

Someone who would see him. The one thing Jem knows he can never have. Instead, Jem walks the world searching for the sacrifice that will save the people who fear and shun him — the beautiful and proud Ilyas. Capturing Ilyas might have been simple, but keeping him safe for his god is another matter.

Trapped in their struggle and tight quarters, they’re both haunted by the whisper in each other of the warmth they dared not dream for. But nothing can stop the Dark God from coming. Nothing short of death. Can one kill the other? Or will they both be destroyed?

This story was written as a part of the M/M Romance Group’sLove is an Open Road” event. Group members were asked to write a story prompt inspired by a photo of their choice. Authors of the group selected a photo and prompt that spoke to them and wrote a short story.

Dear Author,
It’s been seasons since I last saw this place. It feels good to be home, the crisp smell of frost and the vast expanse of ice still lonely, but familiar companions. I’ve been away for far too long, seeking a way to heal my people, a way to prove myself. When I was ready to give up, I finally found it, in that place where the earth scorches and the sun never sets. He rides beside me now, my kingdom’s last hope, a prince from that land of fire. His posture is regal, proud, oblivious to the fact that he is a captive and his days are numbered. Something in me twists painfully at the thought, but I ignore it, stare determinedly ahead. My people’s fate hangs in the balance and I must not falter. I cannot afford any weakness.

Photo Description:
Photo 1: An ornate gold sarcophagus glints in the firelight.
Photo 2: In the midst of an eternal ice-land and at the edge of an ocean; two travellers hike towards a city made of ice.

This story may contain sexually explicit content and is intended for adult readers. It may contain content that is disagreeable or distressing to some readers. The M/M Romance Group strongly recommends that each reader review the General Information section before each story for story tags as well as for content warnings.

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Review

FourStars

This was an… interesting story.. I was pretty confused for some parts of the book as there were secrets being kept hidden (and for good reason), but that didn’t help me early on. Like trying to figure out who is the slave and who isn’t.. it was just.. oddly written I suppose.
But after that it was actually a really really good story. There are some crazy things going on that we don’t find out the explanations for until the end, but it was a really cool book to read. I was very excited to read as the two characters battled wills against each other.
And the farther into the story you get the more you learn about this poor village they are in and why it is the way it is. Then you get to learn all sorts of other little treats (or what felt that way to me as the reader) about the characters in the story.
I very much so enjoyed the story except for the heavy confusion early on and the whole how the prince came to be a slave thing at first (which was better explained later on).
Renee

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5, 4, 3.5 and 3 Star Reviews for Son of Santa (Sleigh Ride – 2015 Advent Calendar) by Kate Sands #MM #Magic @KateSandsWrites @dreamspinners

1.5

Title: Son of Santa (Sleigh Ride – 2015 Advent Calendar)
Author Name & Publisher: Kate Sands (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: December 1, 2015 – 53 pgs

Synopsis

Noel Nicholas is on a sabbatical from the North Pole realm. Back home he’s known as the Son of Santa, but in the human world, he’s a university student and he likes living in anonymity. Only Ruby, his cupid friend from the Eros realm, knows his true identity. That is, until Fannar, the gorgeous ice-sprite from the Pole, shows up unexpectedly. This causes Noel’s suppressed and unrequited crush on Fannar to return full force. However, there are more pressing matters at hand—Noel’s father has taken an extended vacation but cannot be found, and there’s only a month until Christmas.

As Noel is finishing his semester at school and he hasn’t seen his father in months, Mrs. Claus has tasked Fannar with finding Santa. Fannar keeps in touch with Noel but comes around far more often than necessary. It’s not helping Noel’s ability to hide his feelings… but as it turns out, they may not be as one-sided as Noel originally believed.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2015 Advent Calendar package “Sleigh Ride”.

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Review

FiveStars

I really loved this book. What first drew me was the cover and the title. The cover art was great and I’ve always loved son of Santa movies so I thought a son of Santa book would be very interesting.

The author takes a different spin on the Christmas spirit and how Santa works. Her concept and ideas were brilliant. I really loved it and it was easily understandable. She weaves this realm in the North Pole so well it comes to life and you feel like you’re there. Even though the story does not take place in the North Pole you get a real feel for it. Put on your parka when you read this story – it does get chilly. Must be that North Pole Arctic wind.

The idea of the son of Santa wanting to take a sabbatical and basically put Christmas on hold for four years while he’s at university is hilarious. It’s so funny and such a great idea. If you put yourself in his shoes having to live with Christmas 24/7 all your life, yeah, I would want to take a sabbatical for a while too.

The relationship of the main characters was very sweet. It was wonderful and breathtaking and suspenseful. You are left not knowing, until the end, if Noel was going to say yes to a relationship or not.

I also love how the author describes Winnipeg. She really makes it come to life I thought I could see my own breath.

I highly recommend this book. I wish I could give it more than 5 stars. It was a wonderful holiday story. If you too love son of Santa movies, holiday movies or Santa movies then you will definitely love this book.

Ariel

ThreeStar

So to be honest this story really did not grab me at all unfortunately and parts of this really dragged for me sadly. Noel is Santa’s son and he leaves home to attend a university. Now I have to say I really was not a fan of his character at all. He just came across as a jerk to me for some reason, especially with the way he treats Fannar. I did really like Fannar’s character though, which made me feel so bad for him with the way Noel treated him.

I did really like the authors pretense of this story and this world the author created.

So I will leave this review with…I am sad to say this novella was just not for me.

~Kara

ThreeandHalfStars

This is my first book by this author and I’m not usually one for fantasy and magic but I enjoyed this book. Ms. Sands writing style was very easy to read and the characters amazing. Yes, Noel was very grumpy and rude but it just added to the story. My biggest complaint was that I felt there were many things left out of the story. This was overall a pretty good book. I would defiantly like to see what this author could do with a full length novel.

~Lynn

FourStars

This was in interesting little novella with a holiday spin. I liked they way we learn about Santa’s unmentioned son and the way he is tired of the high standards expected of him in the North Pole.
Watching Noel take on some of his responsibilities and seeing the joy it brought him was really sweet and fun.
I felt like the story could have easily been expanded into a longer one because there were dynamics between the two main characters that came off a bit harsh at times, but I think it was simply because we didn’t get to see more of the story from life on the Pole and what caused the hardship between them more descriptively.
I did like the way Noel was a bit rough and jaded because of his position that he didn’t particularly want, but had no way to really get away from at the same time. The way he sort of softened for Fannar was sweet even though it took a bit to get there.
I would read more from this author for sure.
Renee

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4 Stars for Inhibitions by D.H. Starr #MM #Paranormal

1.5

Title: Inhibitions
Author Name & Publisher: D.H. Starr (MLR Press)
Publication Date & Length: October 29, 2015 – 52 pgs

Synopsis

Let the mask unleash your inhibitions!

All it takes is mask to release your deepest inhibitions.

Mich and Rhett are best friends, each comfortable with the way their lives have developed from teenage years and into adulthood. Sure, they’d had thoughts about each other, but friendship persevered and Mich hadn’t given too much thought about why they hadn’t taken things to the next level.

That all changes when Rhett pushes Mich into attending a masquerade ball. Once he purchases a mask for the event, he discovers he can control what others do. Rhett quickly masterminds a plot to give a few of the members of the A-crowd a taste of humility and the plan goes smoothly. At least until Rhett convinces Mich to hand over the mask.

What had started as a game turns into something which could change Mich’s life forever. The question is, will it change his life for the better or the worse?

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Review

FourStars

First off, I would not categorize this as a true story.  Maybe it could be a few chapters of a larger story about Mich and Rhett. That being said, it was a very short, very sexualized read.
Mich and Rhett have been friends forever, but I wish that we have more of a back story than just that.  While I loved how they knew each other so well, I felt that the mask was just tool in the story to create, what the author wanted to be substance.  When the ball is taking place, the “pranks” that are being played, first of all, are just starts of pranks.  Nothing is ever really done to them – but the end result is one giant love fest.
Then, when you get the two main characters alone – really, what it came down to was communication.  The characters’ ability to truly voice what they want.
I think the message of this story was good – do what is true to yourself and don’t follow the storyline someone else writes for you.
AvidReader

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