EJ Frost-Gabe’s Girl

Did I read every word of Gabe’s Girl on Vella? Yes. Did I stay up late on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights so I could read the episodes at 12:01 am? Yes. Did I read this as soon as I got it? Also yes. Will I do the same thing with the next book? Well duh!

There are going to be spoilers for Teddy’s Boys in this review. Sorry, not sorry. I’ll try to keep them down, but it’s kinda hard to miss them.

So, Darwin has forced Gabe to publicly dump Teddy and date him. Teddy isn’t going to let this stand, but she has to figure out how this is going to happen. Meanwhile, Charlie is there, supporting Teddy and secretly speaking to Gabe. Charlie is going to help Teddy to get their boy back, no matter what, and all three of them can have their relationship together.

Teddy sneaks into Gabe’s room and finds out what she needs to do to break the deal that he made with Darwin. She gets to talk to him for a little while and figures out what she needs to do. She doesn’t tell Gabe too much, but he figures it out. Then she and Charlie create the engagement rings for the three of them, and Teddy goes to ask Gabe on a day when Darwin is there. The plan is that her greater claim of engagement of marriage will supersede the claim that Darwin has. So she asks, it works, and Darwin absolutely fucking loses it. I mean, not just loses it, but LOSES IT.

He loses it to the point that he fully manifests a firebird and tries to burn Gabe and Teddy to death. They are able to merge their magic and cover him in Earth and Water, and try to protect themselves. It mostly works. Gabe is pretty much unhurt, but Teddy does take a beating. But the plan works. Gabe is free of Darwin and engaged to Teddy and Charlie.

I didn’t think that there was anything that would make me like Darwin. I was totally set to despise him forever. But… Never say never. EJ did a great job of starting the redemption process on Darwin. We get to see a different side of him, a more vulnerable side of him. We don’t necessarily learn more about his backstory, but we get hints of it. I really want to find out more than just those hints. I think that we will probably get that in this next book, but I really can’t wait.

I really like Charlie in this one. I mean, I liked him before, but I think that he really came into his own in this one. He has become the steady rock that both Gabe and Teddy can lean on. Gabe and Teddy are both strong characters, but even the strongest person needs to have someone to lean on so that they can continue to be strong. He is just a great guy to have on your side.

Poor Gabe. He has gone through so much, and it is really obvious in this one. I’m so glad that he has Charlie and Teddy there to support and shield him.

Teddy is really getting stronger magically in this one. She’s doing a lot of research into various things, and is learning so much. I can’t wait to see what is going to happen with her.

The end knocked me over, and I can’t wait for the next book. I mean, damn.

OK, that’s all for this one. Go check it out! Happy reading!

EJ Frost-Blood Yellow

Today, we’re discussing the long awaited 2nd book in EJ’s Demonsongs series, Blood Yellow. I was so excited to see this one, and now I’m back in the same place with the 3rd book. Of course, I need Gabe’s Girl first, but at least that’s on Vella, so I can read it that way. Just as a warning, there will be spoilers for the last book, because the action picks up basically from where it left off. Well, 3 months later, but not a whole lot happened in that time. So, let’s get to it.

Tsara has spent the last 3 months feeling all kinds of not good ways. She banished Jou, which she felt was necessary, but then spent some really bad days after that. She’s just now starting to come out of it, but things are still not good. To compound it, the therians and vampires have called her in to act as a mediator. Toby, a therian who she was friendly with, has been killed, and in nasty ways. He was partially devoured. The shifters think it’s the vamps, the vamps say it’s not them. Both sides don’t want to go to war, so they are depending on Tsara to find the culprit. She really doesn’t want to. She just wants to go home, take care of her sick salamander, and live her life. Maybe she’ll dream about Jou, maybe she won’t. And the worst thing about that? She doesn’t know if she does or doesn’t want to dream about him.

Outside of all that, she’s about to meet a cousin she never knew. Her Romany grandmother kept her away from half of her family after Tsara’s parents died, and this cousin is on her mother’s side. It’s a new thing for Tsara, since she doesn’t really have any living family around her. It turns out that they’ve been only a little apart this whole time, and Tsara thinks that she could get to like this cousin. She also has best friends who are telling her that she could call her ex, Jou, so that she can get closure or maybe get back together.

I think that Jou and Tsara have even more chemistry this time around than they did before. I think that they are both more comfortable with who they are in themselves and who the other one is. A lot of the things that were problems for them before just aren’t this time around. Jou and Tsara have each grown in the time that they have been apart. That time wasn’t necessarily all that nice, especially for Jou, but growth did happen. They are both more accepting of each other, I think too.

When it comes to Jou, I think that he is giving a lot more than he did before. He’s willing to listen to Tsara more, and take her concerns into account, at least more than he did before, IMO. I think that’s good. I mean, he’s still pretty damned set on certain things, but he’s more willing to give Tsara time and to listen to her side of the story and her thoughts, and then take those things into account. He’s also more likely to actually talk. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a lot of spicy bedroom, backyard, bathroom, alley, kitchen, etc, action, but that’s not just all it is.

I think that Tsara spent the time apart from Jou realizing the difference in having him there and having him not. When Jou isn’t there, her life is dull, cold, dusty, and just not it. Jou brings color and life to her life and makes her feel all the good things. On her part, she’s also taking more time to listen to Jou, to figure out what he wants, and what is going on in his life. And OMG, is there ever a lot of it.

I really can’t wait for the next book. The end of this one dropped my jaw.

OK, that’s all for today. Go check it out! Happy reading!

Minette Moreau-Wicked Rage

Minette Moreau may sound like a new author to me and the blog, but she’s not. She’s actually a new pen name from Raisa Greywood. Minette is Raisa’s paranormal nom de plume, so if you go looking for the previous 2 Wicked Magic books, make sure that you are looking under the right name. But, we’re not here to talk about those books, we’re here to talk about the newest one, Wicked Rage. And check back later on this week to catch Raisa’s other release.

This is the 3rd book in the series, and it’s Rizan and Feather’s story. Feather is a half bear/half mage young woman, and Rizan is an ancient dragon, and brother to the current dragon king. And oh yeah, he’s Feather’s mate. But, he made a deal with everyone that he would let Feather go to college before they sealed their mating and their familiar bond. So far, all he really does is lurk around her to keep an eye on her. But the book starts out on Feather’s prom night, and she’s helping her best friend get ready. Feather isn’t going, for many reasons, but one of which is the fact that Rizan would do grievous bodily harm to any male touching Feather. Somehow, Rizan finds out how important prom night is as a milestone, so he surprises Feather at her house with a beautiful dress, jewelry, shoes, and a 1951 Jag. (BTW? Somehow=Feather’s parents)

That night, Feather and Rizan do alllllll the traditional prom activities, and it is magical, quite literally. Then it’s time for graduation and for Feather to leave. She’s leaving her tiny town in Arizona to go to college in England and Rizan is counting down the hours. She also suggests to Rizan that he figures out something to do while she’s at school for the next 5 years.

College isn’t all that Feather thought it would be, and there are troubles in the UK. Feather finds out about the problems, and moves to do something about it, but before she can, bad things happen.

Meanwhile, back in the US, Rizan has decided that he’s going to join the Army. He does, and joins two natured unit, headed by a kick ass tiger, who promptly kicks his dragon ass, which I loved altogether. A few weeks into training, he found out that his mate has disappeared. He goes to find her, along with a crack team.

Five years later, Feather is still missing, and Rizan is now counting down the days until his stint in the Army is done so that he can go search for her. He and his team have searched for her, but nothing yet.

I like Rizan. He’s got a really interesting journey through this. I think that the military was good for him. It knocked sense into him when no one else really had yet. Feather made some impressions on him, but Kali made more. I think that he really grew up, which yes, is weird to say about a dragon that has been alive for millennia and survived hundreds and hundreds of years in a hellscape, but that doesn’t change my opinion.

Feather is really smart, really powerful, and incredibly fierce. She has strong allies, apart from Rizan, and she did a lot in the big war. I think that some of that gave her a slightly lowered sense of personal danger. So far, between her own power and all of the powerful beings she knows and loves, there hasn’t really been anything that she can’t handle, so she feels like she can handle just about everything. Which, TBF, is also a trait of a teenager, and she’s only 18, no matter how much she’s been through and what she’s done. She just doesn’t have the same amount of life experience behind her. She has a lot of loss from the war, but there’s still a weird spot that she falls in.

Feather’s journey is a particularly painful one, and I teared up about it more than once. Raisa is occasionally mean to her characters. Well, I say occasionally… I’m not going to say that good things came out of the pain, because I think that it diminishes both the sheer level of pain she went through as well as the results thereof. I know that growth needs struggle and often pain and all, but I feel like it dishonors her suffering. Does that make sense? It does in my head, at least.

Anyway, that’s all for this one. You really should go pick it up and give it a read. Happy reading!

EJ Frost-Teddy’s Boys

Yes, I live! Life is interesting, to say the least. But, I never stopped reading, and I’m always around. And now I’m coming to you from my comfy bed, using my new bed tray and back pillow. I have made all kinds of comfy workspaces lately, and I’m almost done. Tomorrow I have some plants I need to switch to the hanging pots and get hung up, and some crystals to hang in the windows to make rainbows. With the dark season coming, I need the rainbows in the early morning. Anyway, that’s not what you came here for. You’re here, theoretically at least, for my reviews, and I actually have one today.

Have you tried Kindle Vella? I haven’t tried to figure it out yet, because I think I have to read it through Amazon.com and that’s just more than I tend to deal with, but I will be figuring it out this weekend. What brings this up is that today’s book, Teddy’s Boys by EJ Frost, started out on Vellaand then got put out as an ebook, and the sequel, Gabe’s Girl, will be following the same path.

So, this is a dark academy RHish. The world is a magical one, where magic is just a normal thing. I don’t know that everyone in the world has magic, but it is an important part of this world. Magic users can have the power of earth, air, water, fire, or a combination thereof. There are also fae and other magical types running around. The book primarily takes place in the US, but two of the main characters, Teddy and Charlie, are from Manchester, England, so there is a Manc dialect going on. Most of the time, the phrases are pretty explanatory, but there is a glossary in the back, just in case.

Teddy is an earth mage. She specializes in making powered gems and stones. She’s very powerful and very talented. She’s also very unlucky in her family. Her dad is a prick and so are most of her brothers. Instead, she runs her own crew and sells her work. But, her dad and uncle want her patch in Manchester and want her money. So, she ends up banished to a school in the US. Luckily, her old friend Charlie is at Bevington, so that’s where she ends up.

Charlie is super happy to have Teddy there. He’s always figured that they would end up together, and has even saved his virginity for her. She didn’t, and that does run into problems. But, they are still good friends.

Then there’s Gabe. Teddy doesn’t like bullies, one bit. One day she heard some guy getting beat up, so she popped up and made it stop. Mostly by kicking ass and not asking names. She tells Gabe that they are going to be “bezzies” and that she will always be with him. She makes sure that the guys who are beating on him, one of which is named Darwin, know it too. And they become more than just best friends. They end up boyfriend and girlfriend. Their relationship is something special, and Gabe really just gets Teddy in a way that no one else does, I think. He really sees her, and she sees him.

The final boy is Darwin. He’s part fae and a right asshole. He’s also Gabe’s ex, and he continues to cause Gabe no end of problems, including getting him beat on. He also likes to poke and prod at Teddy. He keeps trying to get a reaction from her, he wants something from her, and she’s just not willing to give anything to him. Like I said, she doesn’t like bullies.

I will freely admit that this book made me ugly cry. It broke me, a lot. I have actually gone back twice now and reread the last couple chapters. It’s not that I missed anything, it’s that the events lived in my head and I just had to live them again. I may reread the entire thing this weekend. Like I said, it’s not that I missed anything, it’s just that Teddy, Gabe, Charlie, and Darwin (boo hiss) live in my head so much. It is not often that I do that with a book. In fact, I think that in 45 years of reading, I can only come up with maybe 5 books that I have ever done that with. The book has to have a real effect on me to get me to do that.

I can’t wait to read Gabe’s Girl. Since this book killed me right down dead, I’m hoping that Gabe’s Girl will resurrect me. According to EJ, it is supposed to be on Vella sometime after the middle of this month, which is why I need to figure out it.

Really, go read this. You won’t regret it.

Hailey Turner-A Veiled & Hallowed Eve

This is the 7th book in Hailey’s Soulbound series, and it is absolutely, positively NOT a standalone. You 110% have to have read the other 6 books in the series before you read A Veiled & Hallowed Eve. I highly recommend this series, I mean, very highly. It’s an MM series that has shifters, dragons, mages, and gods who walk among us. The world that Hailey created is beautiful, deadly, and feels oh so very real.

OK, so we have Patrick. He’s a combat mage who survived a previous god war. Because of damage taken in that war, he is no longer in the military, but works for a branch of the government now. It’s like the FBI, but for supernatural things. He’s based in NYC, with his boyfriend, wolf shifter Jono.

The past 6 books have been one battle after another. Each book has had its own unique battle, but they are all tied together in one overall storyline. And now, we have come to the end. I am going to be very careful with spoilers here, because pretty much everything I say could be a spoiler, so the synopsis is going to be really broad. Go read the books, trust me, all the ins and outs are worth it.

It’s nearly Samhain, the day that the veil between this world and all others is thinnest. It’s also the time that the Dominion Sect is going to make their big move. It has to be Samhain when it happens, because the bad guy wants to turn himself into a god and bring all the hells to Earth, and the hell dimensions will be closer that day.

Jono and Patrick are both exhausted. They’ve been fighting for such a long time, and right now they are fighting a war of attrition against hunters and demons. And it’s still weeks until the big day.

I really like Patrick and Jono, together and apart. Patrick is a very good man who has had a bunch of shit handed to him in his relatively short life. He’s been taught and trained as a weapon, and been used as that for the majority of his life. He’s self-sacrificing and the majority of the higher powers and authorities in his life have taken advantage of that fact. People have lied to and for him for most of his life. There are reasons why many of those lies have been told, but that doesn’t mean that the truth isn’t going to hurt him when if/when he finds out about it. I understand the reasoning behind why they have done what they have done, but it doesn’t mean that they ever had Patrick’s best interests at heart. Frankly, I think that there is only one adult in Patrick’s younger life who had his interests at heart, and I think that person kept him centered as much as they were able to.

Then there’s Jono. Jono will always make sure that he has Patrick’s best interests first. He will make sure that Patrick will take care of himself even if he doesn’t want to. Jono makes Patrick a better person, in all the best ways. Jono’s life hasn’t been perfect, but he had a better start than Patrick, and he’s determined to make sure that Patrick knows how valued and valuable he is and how much he is loved. Jono is a loving, caring person, who is very loyal to his friends. He will make decisions based on that loyalty so that he can protect those who are important to him. I think that he and Patrick really complement each other quite well.

I have loved every book in this series. They have all kept me right on the edge of my seat, and I gobbled them up. I was really sad to see this series end, because of just how good it was. Because we follow one main couple and their friends and family through the whole series, we really get to know Patrick, Jono, and all their associates.

This one has a lot going on. But it’s not an overwhelming, even though there is a lot of action. It does nicely tie everything up in a very satisfying way. When I was done reading it, I just sighed a very happy sigh, because I was really happy with what happened.

Jessica Gadizala-The Sacrifice

Jessica is a first time author for me, but after reading The Sacrifice, I don’t think that will continue. I’m going to be keeping my eye out on this series, because I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next with these guys. I’m going to have to go back and read her other books too. This is a PNR MC book, and it’s a really interesting combination, and one that I thought worked really well.

So, we have Lenore. She’s part of a hidden coven of witches. She’s a little rebellious, doesn’t like to do what she’s told, has a hard time with meditating and doing parts of being a witch. Her coven has an arrangement with a group in the outer world. Each generation, one witch must act as a sacrifice and go to this group. No one knows what happens to the sacrifices, all they know is that they are never seen again. Lenore has just become this generation’s sacrifice. She was told the night before so that there’s no chance of her running away. She undergoes the rituals, and then climbs into the coffin-like box in a van to be taken away.

Lycus and his brothers are a motorcycle club. But that’s not all they are. They are also demons who have been stuck on Earth for eons. Several generations ago, they managed to make a pact with a coven of witches. Each generation they get one of the witches to use her as they need. This time, they have Lenore, and she’s getting Lycus’ brother Ace’s nerves, because she makes it rain all the time, so he told Lycus to fix the issue.

I really enjoyed this one. It’s not a mindfuck, not precisely, but it is very twisty, and it did leave me guessing, which we all know that I really like. I think that Jessica did a really good job with making people guess what was happening and then changing everything up all over the place.

Lenore is really interesting. She has a real otherworldliness, which, well, makes sense because she’s lived in a hidden enclave all her life. She isn’t familiar with all the little things that make life up these days. But she has a very etheral look on life as well, mostly because she sees it from a magical point of view. I think that it really colors everything. I have to wonder if the other sacrifices had that same kind of POV. She also has an insatiable curiosity, which makes her want to learn everything possible.

Lycus may be a biker demon, but he’s not what you might think of when you imagine a biker demon who has been stuck on Earth for millenia. I think that probably comes from the fact that he’s been stuck around humanity for so many years. Even a demon is going to lose their evil edge eventually. Now, he’s still a demon and he’s still evil, but I think that there is a real human edge to him as well.

OK, that’s all for this one today. Nothing below the picture today. Go check it out!

Cassandra Faye-Dangerous Magic

Dangerous Magic is a re-edited version of a book that Cassandra put out under her Jennifer Bene pen name. It wasn’t called that back then, it was called The Rite. The book hasn’t changed significantly, other than just being polished and edited. I totally recommend rereading it under the new name, but then again, I love to reread, so it works well.

Here’s the story. Heather is a member of a magical and witchy family. She doesn’t have her power though, because to get their power, the women in her family have to do a special rite in order to appease their patron, a Valkyrie named Harja. When they do this special rite, they get their magic. Of course, that rite includes sex, and well, the guys don’t come out the better for their experience. She’s now 24, and most of her family would’ve done the rite by now and gotten their magic. Heather’s under pressure now to get the rite done, because there’s a big event coming up, and she needs to have her magic for it. When her cousin shows her the leaflet for a speed dating thing coming up, Heather decides that she’ll do it then.

Neil is one of the men Heather meets at the speed dating thing. They have a connection immediately, so Neil, of course, does what guys do, and asks her out for another date. Of course, if that’s all that happened in this story, it would be a really short story, and while this is a pretty quick book, it’s not that short.

I like Heather. She tries to do the right thing, or at least the right thing as she sees it. I don’t think it’s necessarily that she’s squeamish when it comes to performing the ceremony, but I think that she really just doesn’t want to have that magic all that much. The magic takes different forms for different people, and she’s seen good and bad. I have to wonder if she sees that and worries that she could end up with not so good magic.

Neil isn’t anyone that I would really want to be around, but maybe that’s because I’m seeing that after reading the book. During the story, he seems like he’s nice enough.

This is a fun little story, full of sexiness. I barely touched on any of that, so if you want to have more info about them, go read the book.

There aren’t any spoilers today, because it’s such a short book. Definitely go check it out.

Off topic, on a personal note, you might remember I had a car fire 3 weeks back. Yeah, it’s been that long. Well, I got everything worked out with insurance and all, and after spending the last 10 days looking, I finally got a car. Well, I own a 2014 Kia Soul. It will be to me sometime in the next 5-15 business days, and they will deliver it directly to my house, which ought to be interesting coming down my small dirt road, lol.

 

Cassandra Faye-One Crazy Bite

Jennifer Bene’s magical alter ego Cassandra Faye is back with a new book, One Crazy Bite. You would think with a title like that this book would be a romcom. It is a total romcom type title, right? Well, if you looked at the author’s name, you can probably guess that this isn’t a romcom. There are some rather amusing moments in it though. And it is romantic, in places. But nope, still not a romcom. As a side note, do you know that when you type “romcom” a bunch of times, it starts to look really weird? Also, Grammarly doesn’t like it and keeps trying to autocorrect it.

Anyway, enough about that, let’s talk about the story. We start with Grace. She’s on the way to meet with a friend for lunch. As happy as she is to see her friend, she is slightly frustrated by the fact that she’s running a little late. They arrange to meet in front of the museum, and while Grace is waiting, she looks at pictures for an exhibit that the museum is running, featuring monstrous statuary. A week later, Grace is back at the museum, once again waiting for her perpetually late friend. This time, she is drawn into the exhibit, where she sees a huge demonic statue with an enormous schwanstucker. First thing she does is to take a pic of said member to her friend, and then take a selfie with the entire statue, which she touches.

Then we have Nicomachus. He’s been a statue for hundreds and hundreds of years. A statue with a ginormous schwanstucker, to be precise. He’s alive and aware in there, but can’t do anything about it. Then, all of a sudden, he senses his other half. She’s only there for a moment or two before he loses her. After some time, she comes back and he uses his powers to draw her to him, where he manipulates him into touching him and breaking his curse.

Grace seems to be very nice and I tend to like her. I say seems because for a good part of it, she’s pretty sure that she’s having a psychotic break, and I don’t blame her. I totally would be positive I was too, if I had a naked invisible man just pop up in front of me at work and then disappear into nothingness. She’s positive that she’s hallucinating, and for the evidence that she’s got, it seems like a perfectly reasonable conclusion, you know? I think that she is pretty strong, because she manages to keep going, even while she thinks she might be in a padded cell somewhere. I think that she needs to be strong in order to balance Nic.

I love Nicomachus. He makes me laugh. I’m pretty sure that’s not supposed to be my reaction to him, but it is. I think that he’s funny. Dangerous, but funny. There’s just ways that he says things that tickle my funny bone. I also think that he’s amoral, but that’s probably because of the length of time he’s lived and the time he spent trapped in a statue. That’s got to do something to you, you know?

OK, no spoilers today. Go check it out! Happy reading!

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2019 Round Up-Top 10 MM Pt. 2

As a totally off-topic notification, I’m now an Amazon Affiliate, and any qualifying purchases can give me a commission. 

If you missed the first part of this list, go check it out here. And now, on to the second part of the list.

AJ Sherwood-Jon’s Downright Ridiculous Shooting Case

Jon’s Downright Ridiculous Shooting Case is a totally fun title, and it’s a great book. Before you read the book, you need to make sure that you read the trigger warnings, because they are hilarious. This is the TW and tags from this one.

“Trigger Warnings:
Your average cop show violence and criminals

Tags:
Companionable snark, Flirting, Kissing, Jon needs a hug, Donovan gives the best hugs, Getting together, Self-esteem issues, Explicit content, Anal Sex, Romantic Sex, Random shooting, Which Donovan isn’t happy about, Donovan is a gentleman, Sort of, Jon just makes it REALLY REALLY HARD Okay?, Bisexual character, Public displays of affection, Muscles, Communication, Healthy relationships, The fluff might kill you, Supernatural elements, Modern with Magic, Feels, All the Feels, Mostly accurate medical stuff, Multiple electronics died in the creation of this story, blame Jon”

Anyway, I would probably put this in the urban fantasy because it has a heavy paranormal side. Jon is a psychic who has some serious strong powers. He helps to solve crimes for the police and for anyone who hires the agency he works for. He is in need of an anchor, someone who can help him shield. He also needs a bodyguard, which is where Donovan comes in. This is a slow burn, but a good one. There are also 2 direct sequels, and a spinoff novella. So worth reading.

Adara Wolf-Blue Storm

Adara tends to write on the heavier end of kink and dub/noncon. Blue Storm does dabble into that side of the pool, but not as much as some of her other books. In this one, people have some basic magic, which lets them know their true names, which protects their souls. Then, there are the Nameless, who don’t have magic, and have to be bound as slaves, and named as their owners or they basically splinter into painful pieces. Blue Storm was named by his owners, and the book is about his struggle with his name and with what his owners want.

Barrie Farris-Ingenious

Ingenious is a dystopian story. The way that it works is that women have taken over the world and currently run it. Men rise and fall by the women that they marry and if they can breed children. Enter Quiggs who is a bloody genius, Einstein and DaVinci mushed up together. There is great world building in here, and the relationships between Quiggs, Max, and Beau are really interesting. I am eagerly waiting for the next book, but it is taking its own sweet time.

Susan Hawke-How Not to Tuck

How Not to Tuck is a novella in the Lovestrong series. This is the story of Larry, AKA Honey Combover, a drag queen we meet in the first book. Mama Honey is hilarious, especially when it comes to the descriptions of her tuck failing and her python. Yeah, it’s just that big and that funny. For an even better description, and one that goes on for several pages, check out How Not to Blend, the first book in the series. It’s a quick read, and one that’s just a lot of fun to read.

K Webster-The Glue

Yup, The Glue is K’s second appearance on this list. And this one isn’t technically an MM book, it’s an MMF, but I’ve decided that it counts. This is one of K’s taboo treats, starring Aidan and married couple Vale and Vaughn, one his boss, the other his professor. Like all of the other taboo treats, it’s a standalone, but it is all interconnected with other books. I loved watching Aidan figuring out who he was and what he wanted. It’s a very sexy story, and I am always looking forward to K’s new books.

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Charlie Godwyne-Equinox

I get ARCs from all over the place, PR companies, authors, Booksprout, and various teams I’m on. I get almost all my MM ARCs from LesCourt Author Services. I love working with LesCourt because I get a chance at a huuuuuge selection of ARCs. Also, the team is just awesome. So, why the big shout out to LesCourt in this post? Well, because without the ARC opportunities I get from them, I would likely not have found Equinox by Charlie Godwyne. And that would’ve been a total loss, because this book blew me the fuck away.

So, here’s our story. It takes place in Augarten, which is a huge park in the second district of Vienna. It’s a real place, with an amazing history, including morning concerts by Mozart and Strauss, and you should definitely go read more about it. I did. And Charlie is from Vienna and wanders around Augarten on the regular, and it’s incredibly obvious that Augarten is a place they love so much.

There is a man who wakes up in the garten, right at the base of a tree. He thinks that trees are talking to him. He can see the magic of the garten, the trees, the sky, and everything, and starts to see all kinds of things. He passes out again and wakes up to a priest praying over him. He was praying to High Archangel Gabriel to protect our first man.

When the first guy starts to talk to the priest, he realizes that he has no clue who he is. He has no memory, doesn’t know his name, nothing. So, the priest decides to call him Gabriel. Turns out that the priest’s name is Solomon, and the head of his order had a dream and sent him out to find Gabriel. Apparently, Gabriel lit up all kinds of magical and spiritual warning systems when he showed up in the garten.

Solomon takes him to the woman who runs part of Augarten, who ends up letting Gabriel stay there, as long as he’s willing to work. Solomon tells him that he’s going to help Gabriel do everything he can to help him get his memory back. Meanwhile, Gabriel does everything he can do to help out at Augarten and starts to make friends. Solomon teaches him to meditate, sings Latin prayers over him, takes him to appointments, and shows up regularly. Then there’s Florian.

Gabriel runs into Florian one night at the garten, when Florian is praying. He worships Welsh gods, and prays in Augarten. Gabriel hears him, and the language sounds familiar to him. This ends up with them being friends.

We also have Ian, who is really important to Gabriel and Solomon. We learn a lot of things from Ian. Of course, he knows so much he doesn’t share. The asshole.

Charlie is a debut author. This is their first book. And it’s not often that a debut author writes something that is so incredibly mindblowing. The book is very cohesive, and the world is incredibly detailed. There is a very tricky mix of time periods, to the point where you aren’t exactly sure what the time period is, which is fabulous. There is also a big mix of spirituality, religiousity, magicalness, and realism. Charlie managed to put it together seamlessly. It all fits in together easily, like that’s the way that the world really works and the way that the world really should. All of our main characters have that mix inside of them, in their own particular mix, and they each have their own way to express that and express that mix. That spirituality is a huge part of the book, but it’s not shoved in your face or anything. It’s just part of the ebb and flow of the book and the book would be lesser to take that part out of it.

This is a slow burn, a pretty slow burn. I love how the romance builds up the way that it does. If the romance had been just jumped into, I don’t think it would’ve worked as well, because Gabriel needed a better understanding of himself. The slow burn was necessary, and it works perfectly for this one.

I really, truly, deeply hope that Charlie Godwyne has an Augarten #2 in the works, because I’m dying to find out more.

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Ian’s angelic ass is sitting on so many secrets. I really want to know what all he knows. I have suspicions about him that I’m not telling.

OK, that’s all for this one. I can’t recommend it enough, I really can’t. Go check it out. Happy reading!

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