Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Review & Giveaway: NIGHTSIDE by V.L. Locey (An Erie Vampire Tale)

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Cover Design: Meredith Russell
Length: 50,236 words

Erie Series

An Erie Collection - Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link


Being a new member of the undead sect has its ups and downs, something that newly embraced Akio Lee is finding out first hand. Being able to spend eternity with his beloved Vincente, the man who introduced him to life in the nightside, is a definite up. Having to feed on strangers? That’s one of the downsides, and something that Akio is finding difficult to swallow. But what other option is there for a recently wed vampire couple who need blood to survive?

Finding a new donor perhaps? One who comes into the lifestyle willingly, as Akio had done, and is open to the unique and sensual relationship that develops when three men have a blood bond. A man who can exist in both the nightside and the dayside worlds. A man like Ian O’Keeffe, the handsome caretaker of the manse Akio and Vincente now call home? Ian seems to tick every box Akio and Vincente have—he’s comfortable around vampires, he’s obviously into men, he’s drop-dead gorgeous, he’s more than a little mischievous, and he’s human. Mostly.

But will the outgoing handyman be willing to offer two vampires his vein, his body, and his heart?

Carra's Review

All the other books I’ve read by this author were hockey romance, so this one was definitely a departure from those.  While I haven’t read the other stories in this series, I was still able to follow along just fine and understand everything going on…so yes, this can be read as a standalone.  That said, I may have been more invested in the characters had I read the prior books since they do have some history in the series.  This story is told from Akio’s point of view which worked well, though as I usually do I was wishing at least some of it could have incorporated Vincente’s and Ian’s too.

I did enjoy the characters—Akio was a trip when he had too much to drink, whether it was alcohol or Ian’s blood, and Ian was a fun flirt.  Vincente was a bit staid at times, something that could be chalked up to how and when he lived while alive and then first turned into a vampire.  There was obvious chemistry between the three of them with their banter and ease with each other, and once things became physical that chemistry was elevated to another level.

There was more than just their developing relationship going on with the mystery of some very disturbing objects they find in the attic of their new home.  This does eventually lead to a major conflict of violence and drama, but for me this aspect of the story felt a bit detached from the rest of it.  Me personally?  I could have traded that for more time spent on the relationship development between the three men.

Overall though Nightside was an enjoyable read, and these guys made me smile and laugh, and my rating is somewhere between 3.5 to 4 stars.  With the adult language and sexual content, this book is meant for readers 18+.

About the Author

V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, Dr. Who, Torchwood, walking, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, two Jersey steers and a flock of assorted domestic fowl.

When not writing lusty tales, she can be found enjoying her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in hand.


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Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Book Review: THE MAGICIAN'S APPRENTICE by J.A. Jaken (Prequel to the Dragon Mage Chronicles)

Author: J.A. Jaken (

Length: 108,000 words
Genre: Fantasy/Adventure, M/M Romance

Jander Teregnan has never wanted anything more than to become a mage--to serve his king and defend his country as he explores his natural talent at commanding the strange power known as magic. Of course every apprentice needs a master, which comes with its own set of challenges...especially when the master he's chosen for himself is none other than Andrei Teresh, personal advisor to the king and master mage of the city of Vallerin. Andrei, however, has more pressing problems on his mind than dealing with the unsolicited advances of one untrained mage-apprentice. A fierce and merciless army of unknown intent is sweeping across the land, threatening the kingdom he has sworn to protect. Even worse, dragons--long thought to have withdrawn from the world of mankind--are emerging once again and spreading chaos in their wake. Somehow, Jander must find a way to help; not only to prove that he can be of use in the defense of his kingdom and become a mage, but also to secure his place at the side of the man he hopes to claim as master both of his magic and his heart.

Purchase Links

Carra's Review

I’m going to preface this by saying this is the first time I’ve read this author, and after finishing The Magician’s Apprentice I’m keeping a close eye out for the Dragon Mage Chronicles to follow.  I was completely pulled into this world the author created, and can’t wait to follow Jander and Andrei on the rest of their adventures.

The matchup of the young, magically inexperienced (but promising) and dedicated Jander with the older, skillful but gun-shy when it comes to taking on an apprentice mage that is Andrei…it’s opposites and age-gap and teacher-student all wrapped up in an interesting fantasy world.  It’s also a recipe for slow burn romance, mostly due to Andrei’s reluctance to start anything with Jander being his apprentice (and yes, there’s more than that but I don’t want to spoil anything).

I was slightly put off at first with Jander’s casual attitude about sex, as it made me wonder how he could have feelings for Andrei.  While I wasn’t totally okay about that (though this also may be due to my own personal views regarding sex and relationships), once Jander was on track to becoming an apprentice and his focus shifted so Andrei was more front and center, I became more comfortable.

There are times when the story does seem a bit sluggish, but this is mostly balanced out by the developing romance and the elements that lead up to the major conflict near the end.  Yes, there are dragons to be found here—I just wish there was more page time for them.  But the kitling (a likely dragon evolutionary relative) that Jander has for a companion helps make up for this, while also giving some insight into Jander’s burgeoning magical abilities.  It should be interesting to see how Jander’s talents develop from here.

As a prequel, this story does have a lot of setup going on, and there are still areas that need to be filled out more which I expect we’ll see once the Dragon Mage Chronicles start releasing.  The Magician’s Apprentice is a good start, and definitely has my interest piqued for more.  I’m wavering between 4 and 4.5 stars for my rating, but I will say that if you’re a fan of M/M fantasy/adventure romance stories, you’ll likely enjoy this book.  Be aware though that there are some scenes that may disturbing for some readers including attempted rape and assault.  That and the sexual content mean this book is meant for readers 18+.

About the Author

J.A. Jaken has been writing fictional stories and novels for more than ten years, most frequently in the fantasy and science fiction genres. She got her start in the profession writing slash fanfiction, where she has published numerous stories under the pen-name Rushlight. Over the years she has written short stories and novels in genres ranging from science fiction/fantasy to gothic horror to modern detective mysteries, most with at least a touch of m/m romance to them. She lives at home in the southwestern U.S. with her college-aged son, a cat, and the family Rottweiler. Outside of writing, her interests include studying foreign languages, practicing martial arts, riding horses, and collecting medieval weaponry.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Review & Giveaway: SOMETHING WILD by Anna Martin

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Length: 67,000 words
Cover Design: Alexandria Corza
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press


The South Pacific Archipelago is home to a tiny island community of around three hundred scientists… and twenty thousand dinosaurs. As a paleogeneticist, Kit Sterling leads a team studying the dinosaurs to unlock the unanswered questions of evolution.

But there is something more dangerous than dinosaurs on the islands.

Head ranger Logan Beck discovers evidence of poachers, while rumors of a black market for dinosaur leather swirl around the community. Kit and Logan haven’t always gotten along professionally, though that has nothing to do with their attraction to each other. So when they’re thrown together to save an injured infant dinosaur, their professional disdain turns into a clandestine romance.

With not just the injured dinosaur at risk, but all of the precious dinosaurs on the islands too, Kit and Logan have to figure out how to balance their budding romance without letting their careers go extinct.

Carra's Review

First off, if you’re a science type like me, you need to step out of that headspace and embrace the suspension of disbelief—not just because this story has dinosaurs in modern day, but also to make Kit and Logan’s actions easier to accept.  Remember y’all, this is fiction and entertainment ;-)  With that out of the way, I did really like the romance between the two of them, especially since things between them weren’t rushed.

My educational background is in biology, which made it very easy for me to identify with Kit.  The setup between him and Logan was very similar to your classic nerd/jock pairing…without all the tediousness of school and school cliques going on.  Though they might have different approaches, what was very clear was they both cared about the dinosaurs, and about keeping the animals safe and in their natural surroundings.

The injured dinosaur, Dizzy, definitely steals the show multiple times during the story.  You know, in the way where you wind up wanting one of your own.  Maybe two.  Okay, you’re own little herd.

The baddies of the story made things tense for a bit, but I did feel that the conflict was wrapped up too neatly at the end without enough information for it to feel satisfying.  So while yes, I was happy with how things ended up for Kit, Logan, and of course Dizzy, I still felt that emptiness of not getting the whole story.

Overall though, Something Wild just grazes the 4 star mark for me and I’d recommend it to anyone who likes M/M romance with sci-fi roots.  This story is for readers 18+ for adult language and sexual content.

About the Author

Anna Martin is from a picturesque seaside village in the southwest of England and now lives in the Bristol, a city that embraces her love for the arts. After spending most of her childhood making up stories, she studied English literature at university before attempting to turn her hand as a professional writer.

Apart from being physically dependent on her laptop, Anna is enthusiastic about writing and producing local grassroots theater (especially at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where she can be found every summer), going to visit friends in other countries, and reading anything that's put under her nose.

Anna claims her entire career is due to the love, support, prereading, and creative ass kicking provided by her best friend Jennifer. Jennifer refuses to accept responsibility for anything Anna has written.


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Friday, October 25, 2019

Review & Excerpt: MASTERING THE FLAMES by SJ Himes (The Beacon Hill Sorcerer Series #4)

Mastering the Flames
The Beacon Hill Sorcerer Series
S.J. Himes
M/M Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 10.04.19

Guilt-ridden after the massacre of his family, Isaac Salvatore turned to binge drinking to escape the pain. Now twenty-four years old, Isaac is a recovering alcoholic woefully out of practice in the magical arts, leaving his fire affinity hanging on the edge of disaster. After a month of rehab, he returns to Beacon Hill and his family, determined to remain sober, learn to control his magic, and figure out a plan for his life that doesn't involve drinking.
Constantine Batiste is the oldest, most powerful vampire in the city. Born in ancient Gaul, the bastard son of a Celtic king, his long life has been shrouded in tragedy and horrors. Recent mistakes have left him wary and determined to guard his clan from all foes. When two of his clan members fall victim to an ancient evil, he summons the Necromancer of Boston for aid. Accompanying his older brother to the Tower is the handsome young fire mage once wounded by Constantine's arrogance, and their encounter reignites an attraction that burns within both Constantine and Isaac.
The answer to who is targeting the vampires of Boston is buried in the dark, early days of Constantine's transition to an immortal life. Isaac finds himself saddled with a painful insight into the evil cutting a swath through the supernatural population of Boston. While his brother, Angel, takes over the hunt to find and stop the threat to the city, Isaac struggles to find a balance between helping his brother and finding his own purpose and place in the world, free from his brother's shadow.
Falling in love wasn’t part of his plan, but mastering the flames that burn between him and Constantine soon becomes the most important thing in his life, even as an ancient evil seeks to destroy them.
Mastering the Flames is the fourth book in The Beacon Hill Sorcerer series and is not a standalone. The series should be read in order for maximum enjoyment and understanding of the plot and characters.
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 Isaac woke to an incessant pounding in his head. He groaned, sat up, and realized his mistake. Someone was pounding on his door and he wasn’t hungover. Being back in his bedroom in the apartment after so long was f*cking with his mind.
He tossed back the covers, brushed his long brown hair out of his eyes, and got out of bed. The sun poured through the bedroom window, warming the floor beneath his bare feet as he went to the door. He flung it open and scowled at the impish grin on his best friend’s face. Daniel flung himself forward and Isaac caught him, hugging the apprentice tightly. They were nearly the same height, and both were built lean with similar frames. If not for the hair and skin coloring, they could pass for brothers. Daniel was fair and bright, and Isaac had naturally darker skin that was tanned as if he spent his days under the sun, his hair dark brown with remnants of fire-red highlights.
“You’re home! I’m so glad!” Daniel cried, and Isaac chuckled.
“Hey, Danny,” Isaac replied in greeting. “Angel said he made you go out last night. Lemme guess, Rory was lonely again?”
Daniel pulled back, Isaac’s teasing making him blush. Daniel was a pretty man. Isaac suspected Daniel was entirely unaware of just how gorgeous he was, as there wasn’t even a hint of vanity to be seen in his personality. 
“I wanted to stay and see you when you got home, but Angel said you were probably going to crash.” Daniel hedged, biting his lip. “Rory is all alone out there. He still refuses to stay in the Mansion, sleeping in the greenhouse instead. I feel bad for him.”
“I’m sure that’s all you feel,” Isaac teased, and Daniel’s blush went inferno. “My first night home and my best friend bails to hang with a super-hot fae.”
“Hey!” Daniel glared, but his eyes were twinkling. “I am glad you’re home. Going to Nevermore to visit was awkward.”
After the chaos of the first week of his stay, and when his horrific withdrawal was over, Daniel came to visit three times a week, bringing news from home. The High Council was booted from New York City, Portland, Seattle, and Miami, after those cities refused to cooperate with the consulates and magisters stationed therein. They took the chance after Angel defeated the High Magister, forcing the Council to abandon their footholds in Montreal and Boston. In two weeks’ time, half a dozen American cities declared their independence, and rumors swirled that New Orleans was next, with a certain female necromancer and her undead army leading the charge. Angel was being credited with a major shake up in world governments, and he was grumpy about it. 
Isaac grabbed his shower kit and a towel and left his room for the bathroom down the hall. He and Daniel shared the hall bath, since Angel had his own in the master bedroom. Daniel followed him in and sat on the sink while Isaac used the toilet then stripped, turning on the shower and waiting for the hot water to start. They didn’t really have any boundaries, not like Isaac and Angel did. Angel was big on personal space and privacy. Isaac really didn’t care. Daniel chatted away, sharing that he’d taken Rory to the City Museum, watched the Marathon at the finish line, and convinced the fae to let Angel front him some money and a credit card. 
Isaac hopped in the shower, but left the curtain partially open, listening to Daniel. “I’m with Rory in the bank, and he drops a pouch of gold on the counter, and the teller’s eyes get huge! Some nuggets were bigger than a tennis ball! It was a mess though, since the bank manager thought Rory was his crazy brother, then the cops got called and I had to use the SOS on my phone and Angel came and made everyone leave us alone….” Daniel was excited and his run-on sentence was a non-stop adventure from beginning to end. “Angel puts his foot down, though by this time O’Malley has shown up, the cops are all like, ‘Where did all this gold come from, how’d ya get it?’ Some of them seemed to think Rory was suspicious—he told them his last name, and tons of the police know what Cian looks like, so things got really tense. Rory got all haughty and declared he’d got it from a Roman Caesar for dispatching an orc raid pillaging through a province over 1,800 years ago.”
Daniel shook his head, sighing. “When Angel arrived, I’d never seen humans get so quiet before. Everyone shut up, let Rory gather up his gold, and Angel gave Rory an account in his name from the Salvatore fund and the bank gave him a debit and credit card and a pile of cash.” Daniel was animated, talking with his hands, heels kicking against the cabinet under the sink. 
Isaac laughed while he washed, dunking his head under the spray. Watching Daniel talk with so much emotion was enjoyable. His friend was blooming. There was a huge difference in him even in the last month. 
Isaac rinsed, then hopped out, Daniel tossing him the towel. He dried off while thinking about the shenanigans his family experienced while he was going through boring group therapy and meditation sessions. “How did Angel get Rory out of the bank?”
Daniel grinned and flipped back a strand of bright blond hair from his eyes. “Eroch saw the gold, curled up on the pouch in Rory’s arms, and hissed at anyone who got too close. No one wanted to piss off the fire-breathing dragon, so Angel declared we were leaving. We went out to eat then took Rory home. Angel refused the gold in exchange for the modern currency, saying the currency was payment for restoring the gardens and the greenhouse. Rory gave Eroch a huge nugget of gold in thanks, and Eroch has it stashed in Angel’s bathroom on a stack of towels in the corner behind the toilet.”
“What? Oh, I bet Angel loves that!” Isaac laughed at the image of Eroch nesting on a gold egg, grumbling whenever Angel went in to use the toilet. Isaac stopped laughing, a sudden thought worrying him. “Wait. Eroch doesn’t think it’s an egg, right?”
Daniel shrugged, and his face fell with sympathy. “No idea. That would be sad, though. Maybe Angel knows. Poor Eroch, if he does.” Daniel paused, eyes wide in alarm. Isaac stopped drying himself, wondering what was wrong. Daniel leaned in and whispered, “What if we got Eroch’s gender wrong? What if he isn’t a he? What if he’s a girl?”
Isaac wrapped the towel around his waist. “We’ve been calling him a male for a year, Danny. If he cared at all, he would have made it known. I think we’re okay.”
“I don’t wanna assume. We’ve been so rude.”
“If he were humanoid and had human ideas of gender, then yes, we’ve been rude.” Daniel rolled his eyes at Isaac then slid off the sink. “Ok, fine. We can ask him at breakfast.” Daniel waved at Isaac over his shoulder as he left the bathroom, dismissing him. “What did I say? Make me some tea!” Isaac called after Daniel who grumbled back at him about being rude, but the water running and the clicking of the stove burner told him Daniel heard him.
Hopefully they didn’t make anything explode this time.

Carra's Review

This series has so far been riveting and kept me hanging on every word.  After three books focused primarily on Angel and Simeon, it’s time for Angel’s brother Isaac to take center stage—and it turns out his story is just as fascinating, just as consuming, and just as exciting as his brother’s was. 

It’s one thing to be bonded to a vampire like Angel is to Simeon.  It’s quite another thing altogether to develop a connection with not just a City Master, but with a vampire as old as Constantine Batiste.  We not only get to see the relationship between Isaac and Constans (as Isaac gets to call him) evolve, but we also get a look at some of the inner workings of the clan as well as Constans’s connection between the clan members.  Plus there’s the added intrigue of finding out just what Constans is capable of thanks to his age and standing.

Constans is an excellent complement to Isaac, something we see more and more of as the story progresses.  I really liked how they naturally came together as if there was no question of the bond forming between them (quite literally)…much to Angel’s chagrin of course.  But it would be difficult to argue against Isaac and Constans being together given how easily they gravitated to each other, and how innate their pairing was.

The author not only delivered on the relationship aspect of the story with a gradual but still intense buildup, but once again gave readers a compelling conflict in the sorcerer world to threaten what the characters hold dear—something that is complicated by a tie back to Constantine before he became a vampire.  Bet that piqued your interest ;-)

Do you need to read the other books in the series first before starting this one?  Well, I suppose you could get away without it, but you’d lose out on the incredible world building and backstory for the characters.  There’s also one particular scene with Isaac and Constans that you’d miss out on that plays into their relationship development.  So take my advice and read the books in order (don’t worry, it’s not going to be a hardship for you).

This story has only been out a couple of weeks as of the time I’m writing this review, and I’ve already read it twice…so the fact that I’ve given Mastering of the Flames 5 stars shouldn’t be a shock.  SJ Himes is uniquely talented in writing M/M urban fantasy, something that is on full display once again in this book.  Get ready for some sweet and spicy romance, some nasty baddies who keep on coming, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Eroch gets some page time that might leave you all “awwww” inside.  Oh yes…let’s not forget this story is meant for readers 18+ for adult language, sexual content, and some serious subject matter regarding Isaac’s alcoholism.

About the Author
My name is Sheena, and I have more pen names than I probably should. I write as SJ Himes, Revella Hawthorne, and Sheena Himes. I reside in the mountains of Maine (closer to Canada than I am to fresh lobster) on a 300-year-old farm beside a river in the woods.
My companions are my furbabies: Micah, my large dog who hates birds; and Wolf and Silfur, two cats who love me but hate each other. I write romances with an emphasis on plot and character development, and almost all my characters are LGBTQ+ and that's on purpose.
To keep current on what I'm working on and where to find me on social media, go to my website:

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Re-Release with Excerpt: KINDRED SPIRIT by Sloan Johnson

Kindred Spirit
by Sloan Johnson
M/M Romance
Re-Release Date: 10.24.19


Family secrets, a surprise inheritance, and a sweet employee he can’t help falling for. Sunset Beach was only supposed to be a quick trip…

Dane learned early to not rely on anyone. He has a good job and a decent life in the city. Granting his father’s request to visit the family he didn’t know existed, the last thing he expected was to find out he’d inherited a share in his grandfather’s inn.

Brook has only known romance through notes left in a mailbox at the end of the beach. When he’s tasked with showing his boss’s gorgeous nephew what makes Sunset Beach and Bird Island special, he’s compelled to take Dane to his favorite place.

Dane never wanted the inn, but when it’s threatened, he steps up to defend it… and keep the man he’s coming to love by his side and in his life.


You’d think all the walking and fresh air would’ve made me sleep like the dead , but you’d be wrong. When my phone rang the morning after dinner with Brook, I could’ve sworn it’d only been a couple of hours since I’d lain down on the luxurious mattress in my room. 

I’d tossed and turned all night, trying to figure out how I’d read Brook so wrong. He’d been fun and flirty all night, until the end, when his face had gone blank and he’d pulled away when I leaned in to kiss him. 

And what in the hell was that all about, anyway? I wasn’t a kisser. I mean, I didn’t have anything against kissing, but it wasn’t part of my standard operating procedure when it came to hookups. Time making out like teenagers was much better spent getting naked and on with the main event. But with Brook, it was different. The stress had melted away as we walked along the beach. I’d enjoyed the way he fit against my side, the little sighs he made when he was happy. When he fell , I wanted nothing more than to take care of him. Hell, I barely recognized myself when we were together, but I wasn’t certain that was a bad thing.

About the Author

Sloan is a non-binary ace author of LGBTQ romance. Despite growing up in a liberal area of the Midwest, they always thought there were limited identities a person could claim, but none of them fit. It was partly through the LGBTQ book community online that they began to realize there was more to life than being cisgender and straight, gay, or bi.

Throughout everything, the one constant in Sloan's life has been writing. It’s the piece of their life they’ve never questioned. It’s their safe harbor, sometimes their escape from everything that’s worrying them. Sloan Johnson is the softer side of author Quinn Ward.

Stay In Touch With Quinn: