Review: “Dim Sum Asylum” by Rhys Ford

TITLE: Dim Sum Asylum
AUTHOR: Rhys Ford
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Anne Cain
GENRE: Mystery/Suspense; Urban Fantasy
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 240 pages
RELEASE DATE: June 9, 2017
PRICE: $6.99 -e-book / $14.99 –paperback
  

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.


When I started Rhys’s books, I always need like 60 pages to get in the right mindset to read her stories. Her style is unusual, and me not being a native English, I struggle a bit about the author’s poetic metaphors.
That said, I must be honest, I spent a lot of time researching on Google for this story, in order to know what certain terms meant.

The story takes place in San Francisco’s Chinatown, where Roku is an investigator. Roku’s mother was a fairy (well it’s not clear, but I suppose) and his father was the son of the head of the China Mob in San Francisco. This book has a lot of Chinese/Japanese/Korean terms. It wasn’t an easy read, half of the time I spent on Google. For all those who have more knowledge about China/Japanese culture, maybe wouldn’t be as difficult as it was for me.

This is a slow read for all those who are not familiar with those terms, but at the same time, Rhys’s sweet way of telling it makes you keep reading the book.

As I said, Roku is an investigator, and after he’s forced to shot his partner, he gets another one. Insta-desire is an understatement. Trent is an ex-solider, who was working for a secret-not-so-secret organization. Trent is tall, and muscle-built, dark-blonde, very Nordic. But Roku knows that acting on this desire is wrong.

The story is a fantasy, with fairies who are not always good. They’re either pushed by sexual desire or the desire to kill. We’ll have the chance to navigate in this mythical world oh Rhys’s. There will be Gods, and temples also will see the ins-and-outs of the low-life of Asylum.

Rhys has this cunning way of inserting romance in the middle of an angst scene. And by romance I mean lyric. I have no other world to subscribe her…lyrical…

I suggest this book to those readers who have knowledge about Chinese and Japanese mysticism.

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book***

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Review: “Gone by the Board” by August Li

TITLE: Gone by the Board
AUTHOR: August Li
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Anne Cain
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: NO
LENGTH: 98 pages
RELEASE DATE: May 24, 2017
PRICE: $4.99 -e-book
   

BLURB:

The sea is full of jealously guarded secrets, but everything washes up eventually….

Betrayed by a trusted partner, Nathan figures he might as well be lost and heartbroken in the sunshine, and he heads to the coast of South Carolina, to stay with a friend and find a new direction for his life. But despite his efforts, he is lost in the fog, unable to find a guiding light and sometimes unable to find a reason to go on. His only respite from depression and anxiety is the soothing rhythm of the tides and the comfort he draws from proximity to the water.

When the sea sends a lifeline in the form of a strange and beautiful man, it’s easy for Nathan to ignore all the things that don’t add up about his new friend. But the tides can turn without notice, and it’s those mystical traits that will either finally lead Nathan safely to shore or drown him in confusion and despair.


Gone by the Board by August Li was a book that made me feel but not always in a happy way. It has two scenes of attempted suicide so if this is a trigger for you as it is for me then I would probably pass on this book. I wish I had known about it because having lost a brother to suicide I would have passed on it also.

Nathan and Brume go through a lot of pain and heartache, feelings of despair, worthlessness, and loneliness both together and separately. It had me crying on more than one occasion. The book was well written, but it was a little heavy on the purple prose at the beginning for my taste, but it tapered off toward the middle, so that was good, either that or I finally got invested enough in the characters not to notice it anymore. The story was nicely edited and had a good flow to it. There wasn’t a lot of passion in this book. It was more like a PG movie. There was some hand holding and kissing but nothing graphic or lewd. However, the author did do a good job conveying the feelings that the main characters felt for each other. I do tend to judge a book by its cover and then the blurb, and so I was pleasantly surprised that the book wasn’t about mermen as I had figured it would be. I had never heard of the In-between People before, but I found them to be intriguing.

Nathan’s going on 40 and has been married to Brian for 15 years. However, Nathan’s been having problems that he doesn’t want to acknowledge or get help for. He’s afraid that people will judge him for his problems, so he does his best to hide them. And yes, I can understand that feeling. But it also ultimately costs him his marriage as Nathan’s social anxieties and bouts of depression make him want to stay home all of the time instead of going out with his extrovert husband. After finally taking a stand, Nathan packs all of his stuff and moves to be with his college friend Rachelle. Rachelle lives in the small village town of Garden City Beach about 20 minutes away from South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach. Nathan’s still not doing any better with his problems and continues to hide them. And I hate that Nathan’s silently crying for help and nobody notices or tries to help. Nathan’s first attempt wasn’t a planned decision. He just kept wandering out further and further into the ocean and liked how peaceful he felt and decided just to let go. He’s saved by Brume, an In-between Person whose job is to help guide lost people back to shore.

The In-between People only have a solid form after the sun goes down. When the sun is up, they’re drops of water and are part of the ocean, and all of their thoughts and feelings are one big consciousness. Brume has just lost his best friend that has been his companion for over a couple of hundred years. She has made the decision to no longer have a body after dark, so they will still have a connection during the day, but he will no longer have a companion after dark. And Brume’s feeling lost and alone, and it is perfect timing for him when he races to help Nathan who he can feel is lost. He manages to save Nathan and get him home, but he’s been told by his elders that humans can’t handle finding out what they are and so they generally observe from afar.

But Brume and Nathan fill a hole in each other and end up spending a lot of time together over the next couple of months. And Nathan finally starts getting the help he needs by going to a therapist. But a misunderstanding while at dinner will damage their relationship and send them both spinning back to feelings of depression and worthlessness. Will they be able to work out their misunderstanding or will it be too much for both of them?

I did like the ending of the story, but I wasn’t a fan of how they got there. This book unfortunately just kept triggering me, and so it just wasn’t for me.

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book***

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Review: “Darkest Hour Before Dawn” by Charlie Cochet

TITLE: Darkest Hour Before Dawn
AUTHOR: Charlie Cochet
SERIES: THIRDS
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: L.C. Chase
GENRE: Mystery/Suspense; Sci-Fi; Urban Fantasy; Shapeshifter
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 224 pages
RELEASE DATE: April 25, 2017
PRICE: $6.99 -e-book / $14.99 -paperback

  

BLURB:

THIRDS Team Leader Sebastian Hobbs and Chief Medical Examiner Hudson Colbourn are as much in love now as they were nearly seven years ago when a tragic event on the job destroyed their relationship. The two drift together only to be pulled apart time and time again. When Hudson draws the interest of dangerous enemies, both within and outside the organization, Seb wants nothing more than to protect the man who still means everything to him.

As life and death events, an uncertain future, and startling truths draw Hudson and Seb to each other yet again, they must make a choice: trust their love and take strength from what they share, or lose what matters most for good this time.


levilogooptimummFinally!

Since when were we waiting for Seb’s and Hudson’s story? It seems decades…but finally, it’s here…and I loved it! Every single word of it!

We know our sweet Hudson from quite the beginning of this series. He was always present, in the background, in almost every book, if not in all. We knew him as an English bloke, always calm, always with two feet on the ground. But we knew little about his background. Now, in this book, we will find out more…much more. Then with time, we learned that actually, Hudson is Sebastian Hobbs marked mate, but unfortunate events set them apart. Well, actually, Hudson set them apart, and we will learn why.

Even though Hudson decided to go separates ways, he can’t, he just can’t have anybody else in his life. He can’t move on, because…well…Seb is his mate!

The Doc’s relationship with Ninna is straggled too. She’s lying to him about her relationship with Seb’s brother Rafe the oldest of the Hobbs siblings, and it spoils his trust toward his best friend. Hudson is lonely…

Sebastian Hobbs, Team Leader for Theta Destructive, is tired of being apart from Hudson. He’s going out of his mind that he can’t be there 24/7 to protect his mate from the possible threats. Then when he gets called by Lieutenant Sonya Sparks, who offers him an interesting deal, Seb, very Therian like, told her to shove it. He doesn’t want to become a puppet of hers. But the threats are there, Hudson is in danger and the knowledge that his mate is stalked by Wolf, who tortured and almost killed Dex, doesn’t help either.

Events bring them together, events I know you wanna know but I’m not telling you…what?! Me?! mean?! Wow…I never expected from you to hear that…I’m offended!

No spoilers guys, but I promise you, you will not be disappointed. Although tissues needed! So go to your favorite shop and stock yourself with it…you’ll cry…a lot…the book is amazing. The story of these two is the most emotional of the series.

We learn about more characters too like Dom or Wolf. The Hobbs family…and the end…oh my, the end…tissues guys, tissues!

****The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book****

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Review: “Brush with Catastrophe” by Tara Lain

TITLE: Brush with Catastrophe
AUTHOR: Tara Lain
SERIES: The Aloysius Tales
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Reese Dante
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: April 14, 2017
PRICE: $ 6.99 -e-book / $14.99 -paperback
  

BLURB:

An Aloysius Tale

Sammy Raphael is a crappy witch, and on top of that, he can’t seem to get a boyfriend. Where other supernaturals can bring down lightning and manifest wealth, Sammy can paint. Granted, the “prophetic” paintings he creates at night always come true, but they never predict anything important. Sammy feels like a total loser with a worthless ability.

One night he paints a gorgeous guy who turns out to be his secret crush, the human Ryder, but Ryder’s changed so much he’s almost unrecognizably beautiful. Then Sammy paints an angel who turns out to be a witch. But is that witch also a devil—a devil who can bring down Sammy’s whole community and everyone he loves? And why the hell does Ryder keep changing? Aloysius, the black cat familiar, always backs a winner. So why is he backing Sammy?


Brush with Catastrophe by Tara Lain is part of the Aloysius Tales series and it was absolutely amazing. I have become a huge fan of Tara Lain, and the way she writes has a way of keeping me energized, focused, invested, and guessing on how the storyline is going to go and then being proved completely wrong as she throws in a twist that I didn’t see coming.

Brush with Catastrophe had so much emotion and passion, and I love when the main characters are allowed to cry. So many books are still going with the age old saying that it isn’t manly to cry and I love that Sammy and Ryder are secure enough in their masculinity to show how they are truly feeling at all times.
Sammy is a great character and has some very realistic insecurities. He is a witch, but he feels that the power that he has received is pretty worthless. He would rather be able to call down lightning and manifest wealth. However, he is a prophetic painter, and although what he paints always comes true, he hasn’t painted anything that’s very important. He has also been in love with his straight, human best friend Ryder. And of course, humans aren’t allowed to know about the paranormal world let alone date one.

But Ryder isn’t what he seems. Come to find out, he isn’t straight or human and he is on a quest of his own. He has also been forbidden to have a relationship or interfere with the people around him. He is there only as an observer before having to go home. He has also been in love with his best friend Sammy for a while. However, he hasn’t been able to physically act on his feelings until his body has entered into adulthood. Ryder is there to put Sammy back together after his relationship with Lucien goes bad. And although it was sad that Sammy had to go through what he did with Lucien, I did like that it was the catalyst that was needed to get Ryder to confess his feelings to Sammy.

Brush with Catastrophe has everything that I look for in a book. It had friends that will do anything for you, a lover turned villain (Lucien), a straight best friend (Ryder) that isn’t as straight as you thought and suddenly isn’t as unavailable as you thought when he confesses that he’s wanted you just as much, a glorious battle between good and evil, and some very, very steamy passion-filled scenes.

I recommend Brush with Catastrophe to everybody who likes a little magic with their happily ever after. I can’t wait to read my next Tara Lain book and get swept away on my next adventure.

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book***

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Review: “Jerricho’s Freedom” by Jake C Wallace

TITLE: Jerricho’s Freedom
AUTHOR: Jake C Wallace
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: AngstyG
GENRE: Paranormal; Urban Fantasy; Mpreg;
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 334 pages
RELEASE DATE: February 13, 2017
PRICE: $4.89 -e-book
  

BLURB:

Jerricho never expected to fall in love with Rex, the sexy, construction foreman, but he did. Too bad tradition forbids Jerry from marrying for love. Prince of the clandestine Anzuni demon clan, a Baelso (bearer of children), and a virgin at twenty-four, tradition dictates that Jerry marry a man chosen for him. Despite his soul-deep love for Rex, Jerry has no choice but to follow through with his obligation as prince and marry someone he doesn’t love.

But Jerry isn’t prepared for his dominant, aggressive fiancé who is interested in marrying him only for the future title of king. Facing the reality that he will lose his virginity to the cold man, Jerry flees to Rex for one night of passion. When Jerry finds himself pregnant with Rex’s baby, however, the actions of his enraged fiancé release Jerry from his marriage obligation.

But just when Jerry believes he will marry for love, he and Rex are ripped away from life as they know it. Betrayals, kidnappings, cruel experiments, pregnant men, and the reappearance of the Anzuni’s greatest enemy force Jerry and Rex to fight for their lives, their love, and their unborn child…


jologooptimummWhere do I start with this book? It starts out as though it’s going to be a run of the mill, demon based, paranormal romance, and that would have been OK, but half way through it ‘shifts’, pardon the pun, and becomes a lot more complex. The plot expands to encompass science fiction, conspiracy theory, slavery and world domination for starters.

Jerricho, Jerry, is a librarian and he’s also an Anzuni Demon Prince. He’s approaching his 25th birthday which is when he’s expected to marry an obnoxious man of his parents choosing, Ty, and bear his children. Oh, and he’s expected to be a virgin when it happens! Jerry loves his parents and knows he must obey the laws of the Anzuni clan, but he would love to keep the hard-won freedom he’s had for the last few years. After meeting his ‘fiancée’ for the first time, he also desperately wants just one night with the human man he’s fallen in love with, Rex. Thanks to his friend Keith, he gets that chance. Jerry must leave after their one night and return home to his parents, and it breaks his heart and also Rex’s, but more importantly he later finds out he’s pregnant, and of course, Rex is the father.

Jerry’s world descends into chaos; he’s rejected and beaten up by his, so called, fiancée for not being submissive enough and for being pregnant. He also has to tell Rex the truth, not just about the baby but about demons and his royal status as well.

It’s at this point that the book shifts direction! There are forces at work against Jerricho and Rex who want to see the heir to the throne removed and are not beyond murder and kidnapping to achieve their goals…but that’s not all they want. These people are taking and using demons for their own profit. Imprisoning them and experimenting on them, turning them into sex slaves and worse!

In the second half, the pace of the story ratchets higher, and there’s no let-up. There’s always something happening, and the last few chapters are so fast paced I had to stop and remember to breathe. More than once the story could have been tied up, but thankfully it wasn’t. As a result, the book is quite long with lots of plot twists and just when you think everything will be alright something else bad happens.

I liked it a lot, but I can imagine it would be too much for some. Jerry and Rex are adorable, and the love they obviously share shines out. However, this isn’t a cosy afternoon read, it’s a dash from one ‘hold your breath’ moment to another. It takes some concentration, but the story itself pulled me along and made me read on until I knew how it ended and the ending is a very satisfying HEA.

 4.5 OptimuMM's

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book***

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Review: “Jaeger” By Evelise Archer

TITLE: Jaeger
AUTHOR: Evelise Archer
SERIES: Order of the Black Knights
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Paul Richmond
GENRE: Mystery/Suspense, Urban Fantasy
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: February 10, 2017
PRICE: $6.99 -e-book / $14.99 -paperback
  

BLURB:

US Marshal Jaeger Tripp is assigned to the Federal Witness Protection Program. The hurt and destruction he’s seen—along with protecting criminals who are only cooperating with the authorities to keep themselves out of jail—have left him with a bleak and jaded view of both life and people. His current assignment is Wren O’Riley, a computer wizard who witnessed a high-profile cartel hit.

To Jaeger, Wren is the same as any other job. He must protect him long enough to get him to testify at trial, and his personal feelings have no place in his work and must be set aside. But that’s easier said than done. On the run and fighting for their lives, Jaeger and Wren can’t help but grow closer. And Jaeger can’t help seeing beyond Wren’s nerdy exterior to a man who might be just what Jaeger needs to settle his soul and capture his heart—if they survive long enough to get that chance


This is an intense and sexy read. The chemistry between Jaeger and Wren is so intense and realistic. Jaeger has issues because of who Wren is related to and also, he’s there to keep him alive. Wren is very attracted to Jaeger’s type but is holding back why he’s really testifying. I was rooting for these two from the get-go. Their attraction to each other is so exciting.

Then there’s Sac Chase, Jaeger’s boss. His character is just mind blowing. He’s such a money grubbing pig that I wanted to slaughter him myself.

Then with the Chino/Rincon family, they are brutal and have no love for anyone. It doesn’t matter that Wren is their family. They want him dead. This is heart breaking but a reality with families in this line of work. I love how they aren’t very smart especially for some like Jaeger.

Speaking of Jaeger, his leather band on his knife scar is something that was kind of confusing. It keeps burning him and giving him the need to kill. Definitely read the prologue so you get an idea of what’s going on. It all makes sense now. I don’t want to give spoilers, so be prepared…

I was pulled right into this story and had trouble putting it down. This is the fourth installment of Order of the Black Knights, and I’m definitely going to read the first 3.

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book***

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Review: “Thick & Thin” by Charlie Cochet

TITLE: Thick & Thin
AUTHOR: Charlie Cochet
SERIES: THIRDS
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: L.C. Chase
GENRE: Mystery/Suspense; Sci-Fi; Urban Fantasy; Shapeshifter
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 95 pages
RELEASE DATE: February 1, 2017
PRICE: $3.82 -e-book

  

BLURB:

In a matter of days, Dex has been kidnapped, tortured, killed, revived, become half Therian, offered the chance to become a spy, and accepted a proposal to marry his jaguar Therian boyfriend, Sloane Brodie. It’s been a lot to take in, and although Dex is still trying to wrap his head around everything that’s happened, he knows he has to move forward.

After the events of Smoke & Mirrors, Dex and Sloane find themselves in one of the most frightening situations of all: revealing the truth to their Destructive Delta family. When the dust settles, nothing will ever be the same, and it’s up to Dex to prove that in the face of change, the one thing that will always remain the same is family.


levilogooptimummWell…well…well… sigh THIRDS! I said it all, right?! There are no more words needed but if this is the first time hearing about this awsomeness of series called THIRDS lemme give you some introduction.
The storyline is placed in a world, where Therians, are common knowledge. Therians are shifters. They are very strong. But the shifting back let them be vulnerable and weak. Therian-Human Intelligence, Recon, Defense, Squadron -or- the aka THIRDS. And this series is about them…

Thick & Thin is book 8 of the series, the sequel to Smoke and Mirrors.

Dex was kidnaped, died and came back as half Therian. Tony, his father, got shot in his chest but he’s recovering. Dex fears every moment of telling his family that he and Sloan are going to join TIN, the Therian secret intelligence. He wasn’t wrong, Cael wants to kill Sloan after he finds out that his brother, Dex died and now, Cael is going to lose him. Tony is outraged, he doesn’t want to hear a word about it. Seems that the mention of Dex and Sloan getting married eases the tension, just a bit.

While Dex talks to his family, Sloan does the same with his family, Ash. Well, he wanted to tell all, but Ash just opens up to him about his feelings, scary feelings, toward Cael. Even though they are together, the love Ash feels toward the cheetah Therian makes him feel vulnerable. Sloan let the other man talk, but he accidentally let it slip out about his and Dex’s engagement. I’m not going to tell you about Ash’s reaction! No Sir…but oh man!!! Well, I see Ash differently now wink, wink.

Dex plans to tell everything to the team, but things, as always with Dex, don’t happen smoothly. They get called for an emergency situation, where Dex is forced to show his fangs and claws, literally. The team is shocked, and more shocked when they find out that they join Tin and they are more shocked that Dex and Sloan are getting married. Hobbs, the sweet Therian tiger, reacts as Dex feared.

Through finding out the name of Letty’s Dimple’s, facing his family and team, they got a message, quite an original one, from Wolf, to keep Hudson alive.

I can’t wait for the next of the series, Darkest Hour Before Dawn, where, finally, we’ll get Seb and Hudson’s story. At the end of Thick & Thin, we get to read the first chapter of the next book.

****The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book****

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