The second volume of ‘Mannies Incorporated’ offers the same kind of magical combination of a devoted gay manny and a somewhat frazzled, widowed fatherThe second volume of ‘Mannies Incorporated’ offers the same kind of magical combination of a devoted gay manny and a somewhat frazzled, widowed father of three little girls that I loved so much in the first book. The issues are different, but the “manny magic” is the same, and the slow pace of the developing relationship was just right for me—especially considering everything else that was going on in everyone’s lives. And, of course, the kids stole the show with the three-year-old Carolyn heading the charge. What a cutie!
Benji is a great guy who has studied hard to get all the qualifications he needs as a caretaker of small children. He has had a few jobs, but hasn’t been very lucky in keeping them—one boss got fired and could no longer pay him, the other got remarried, and the new dad didn’t want a male nanny near his kids. Benji just wants a family of his own, really, but the closest he thinks he can come is taking care of other people’s children. Then he gets the call from Mannies Incorporated about an urgent job they have for him, goes to the interview, and never looks back. Yes, there are days he is exhausted and just wants some rest, but on the whole? He could not be happier. His way with the children wins them over quickly, and their father isn’t far behind…
Will does not have it easy. He is a widower, having lost his partner in a car accident. Dale was the biological father of the three children they were going to raise together, he stayed at home with them, and Will thinks he just isn’t suited to being a good dad. He works at all hours in a very stressful job, thinking his only purpose in life is to make money so he can give his daughters all they need. He also has diabetes, so there are health implications that catch up with him when he forgets to take care of himself. Like Benji, I just wanted to shake Will and make him see what he is missing, and that life isn’t all about the money. Especially since Dale had life insurance and nobody is about to end up homeless.
Will does learn, but it takes all of Carolyn’s and Benji’s charms and determination to get him there. The slowly blossoming romance between the men also does its bit to pull Will out of his grief and make him remember that being alive is not all bad. If you like stories about everyday life and the challenges it offers, if you enjoy reading about the things three small children and their manny can get up to (the cooking scenes are adorable!), and if you’re looking for a super sweet read with a wonderful, gentle romance and some hot bedroom activity thrown in for good measure, then you will probably like this novel as much as I did.
The third book in the ‘Mating Season’ series is about a new triad between two dragon warriors and their human mate. Krakken and Deimos have looked forThe third book in the ‘Mating Season’ series is about a new triad between two dragon warriors and their human mate. Krakken and Deimos have looked for their third for a long time, so they are more than ready when they find Cloud. Cloud never seriously expected to find his mates when he added his name to the lottery, he just desperately needed some money. After the murders and legal issues in books one and two, at least Cloud is being treated better than Jason – initially. But then someone tries to kill him and things get serious. ‘Pleasure of Two Dragons’ starts out like a romantic fairy tale but changes into more of an action movie later on, and one filled with suspense at that.
Cloud is an orphan who lives with his cruel uncle. He has to try to make ends meet for himself and his much younger cousin, but since the evil uncle takes all the money he makes washing dishes, Cloud has a very hard time of it. Getting some money for adding his name to the dragon lottery is a way to help him buy some clothes and a few Christmas presents for Elliot. So Cloud is shocked when five dragons appear at his workplace one day to tell him he has been selected to spend the summer mating season among those dragons looking for mates. Cloud worries more about Elliot than his safety, but when the first two warriors who approach him lie abut Cloud being their third, Cloud is in urgent need of rescue.
Krakken and Deimos can’t believe their third was almost swindled into spending the summer with two warriors under false pretenses. They quickly free him and set about showing him what being mated is really like. They make sure Cloud enjoys himself and take care of him in the best way. The attempt to kill Cloud does not sit well with them, and they are determined to investigate who is behind it with everything at their disposal. And since Deimos is related to the president, those means are considerable.
If you like powerful dragon warriors coming to the rescue of their human mate, if you prefer your stories to be like fairy tales but with a large dose of action thrown in, and if you’re looking for a read that is as hot as it is suspenseful, then you might like this novella. You don’t have to read the first two stories to understand what is going on (although it might help), but you’ll want to read the next one - the mystery of who is after Cloud is left unresolved in this book. It makes me anticipate book four even more.
While this story begins with a seemingly strict alpha werewolf finding and then abducting his mate, both men eventually manage to figure out that therWhile this story begins with a seemingly strict alpha werewolf finding and then abducting his mate, both men eventually manage to figure out that there are other ways of dealing with each other than "pure caveman". There are a few well-known elements in this story, such as Revel, who is a weaker human mate rescued from a bad/abusive past and Heath being a strong alpha werewolf who takes over and deals with everything bad. I found the callousness with which Heath treats the ex a bit much, and some things just fell into place so easily, there was hardly any tension.
If you're looking for an easy read with werewolves who act as you'd expect, then you might like this short story.
NOTE: This book was provided by Evernight Publishing for the purpose of a review. ...more
The combination of an openly gay manny taking care of a newly widowed then deployed Army medic, a deeply closeted ex-cop, three super-cute and utterlyThe combination of an openly gay manny taking care of a newly widowed then deployed Army medic, a deeply closeted ex-cop, three super-cute and utterly exhausting kids, and a wonderful sense of humor that shone on every page made this book a total winner for me. Add to this the slowly building relationship as Drake struggles with admitting to anyone that he's gay and Slayde's inner fight against falling for the sudden intruder in his safe world, and you've got some interpersonal conflict that will keep you entertained for pages. And once they do discover that "post 8:30 time" when the kids are in bed can be a lot of fun, there is a lot of very hot bedroom activity as well.
Slayde is a "super manny" in its truest sense. Everything is home made, the kids schedules are varied, fun for them, and (almost) always on track, he knows what to do in an emergency, and he loves them to pieces. They call him Uncle Slayde, and he keeps them safe and gives them the love and care they need. He is also very, very out and definitely doesn’t want to fall for the "big, mean leather daddy", his best friends' initial description of Drake. Not that he has a say, he is soon lost to the man's charms and I suffered with him as he realizes it will all be over once the kids mother returns to being a full-time mother.
Drake is a bad-ass undercover cop, and he wasn't only undercover in his job. He's also so deeply in the closet that "he doesn’t know there's a door". He is also very loyal; even though he hasn't been around his sister and her kids a lot, when she is deployed after being recently widowed by losing her also military husband he quits his job to be with the kids. By the way, I found the thought appalling that the military would be heartless enough to send her off, forcing her to leave three kids behind after they already lost their father; I mean, really! Anyway, Drake starts off pretty clueless about the actual work it takes to take care of three kids under six, and learns by doing. He jumps right in, and the humor and banter between him and Slayde, when they weren't trying to posture and win the "I am closer to the kids" battle, made me laugh out loud quite a few times.
Without much drama, containing almost no angst, and with some very funny and sweet moments, this book isn’t for those looking for an action/adventure, lots of BDSM (yes, Sean Michael can write a great story without a touch of D/s) or page-turning suspense. But if you're looking for a very human story with mishaps that happen to parents every day, if you want to know what it feels like to take care of three young kids 24/7, and if you’re looking for a sweet read with a wonderful, even meaningful ending, then you will probably adore this book as much as I did.
If the category workplace mystery - analogous to murder mystery - existed, this book would be a great example of what that looks like. Corruption in gIf the category workplace mystery - analogous to murder mystery - existed, this book would be a great example of what that looks like. Corruption in governments, large corporations, and even international sports organizations exists and is more or less well known since regular accusations and cases are well covered by the press. I admit that I am not very familiar with law firms and their potential dark machinations, so this book was fascinating for that reason alone. Lawyers are supposed to help uphold the law and make sure justice prevails, but they are also human beings and just as susceptible to crookedness as the rest of us. The other great things about ‘Whistle Blower’ are that it has wonderfully complex characters, an interesting plot with lots of twists, and a moral dilemma that is not easy to solve. Add a deliciously slow-burning romance between two men who are an entirely unlikely match, and I was one happy reader.
Jacob may have reached partner level in his firm and be financially secure, but the price he pays for staying at this level is considerable. Long workweeks, following corporate policy and billing to ensure they make a profit, no personal life, and no friends other than his personal assistant, Seong. He has never really thought about doing anything else, but when the manila envelope arrives with photos of an environmental disaster caused by one of his firm’s multimillion-dollar clients, Jacob’s world begins to unravel. He isn’t sure what is going on at first, but his curiosity is piqued, and he begins to dig for details, ending up in a northern Wisconsin fishing resort during his investigation. The decision he has to make about staying true to himself and doing the right thing by exposing one of his colleagues on the one hand and staying silent to keep his career intact is not an easy one.
Ben is a very different man. About fifteen years older than Jacob, he has lost his lover to cancer and is more than reluctant to start a new relationship. The thought of making someone else go through losing him has stopped him so far. Jacob may be a jaded New Yorker, a city boy on a mission to find the truth, but he gets to Ben in a way that makes it hard for Ben to resist. Opening up and becoming vulnerable (again) is not easy, but Ben is so lonely that I kept hoping he’d be able to let go of his worries and dive in again.
‘Whistle Blower’ is a good mystery about a couple of things. Who keeps sending Jacob information? How corrupt is his boss? Can Jacob uncover it all before it's too late? But it is also a journey for Jacob and Ben - both as individuals and as a couple. Jacob challenges the way Ben thinks about relationships, and Ben prompts Jacob to be honest about what is going on at work and enables him to deal with the mess. The addition of quirky secondary characters like Jacob’s assistant, Seong, and Ben’s sister-in-law, Miriam, provides depth and relief from the tension.
If you like stories about corruption and those who feel a calling to fight it, if a slow-burning romance between men who don’t seem to be a good match are your thing, and if you’re looking for a read that is suspenseful, a little out of the ordinary, and full of emotion and passion, then you will probably like this novel.
Different from the first two books, the couple here doesn't involve any royals or princes, instead we have an ex-slave (Zall, freed in book one) and aDifferent from the first two books, the couple here doesn't involve any royals or princes, instead we have an ex-slave (Zall, freed in book one) and a starship captain. They have just as much trouble getting together though, and with Zall's determination never to belong to anyone again, it didn’t look like they'd make it for quite a while. A common cause and sheer determination on Danner's part help them see there may be more to their relationship than that of captain and cabin boy.
Danner comes aboard the ship with an agenda. He needs to discover who has used the ship to smuggle contraband, and doesn't know whom to trust. The attraction to one of the crew members he feels from the start could be a problem, but Danner finds he can trust the man. He also knows Zall is his mate, but until Zall can overcome his reluctance to be more than his cabin boy (and even that only in name, to fool the smugglers), Danner won’t be happy.
Zall has had enough of being abused, beaten, and handed from one owner to the next. He is determined to establish himself as an independent man, and since Chalice has set him up to be protected, he need not fear becoming a slave again. His battle to be his own person almost stops him from recognizing how different Danner is, and it takes him a while to come around and trust again. Not that I can blame him!
There is no real BDSM here, the topic is more one of subtle D/s. Danner and Zall are pretty much equal partners who like to role play to liven up their sex life. If you’re looking for a light read, a few laughs, and a touch of mystery as Danner and Zall try to figure out who the smugglers are, you will probably like this book.
This second book in the series continues the trend of mated royals. This time a poor prince needs to sell himself so he can survive. He doesn’t expectThis second book in the series continues the trend of mated royals. This time a poor prince needs to sell himself so he can survive. He doesn’t expect to gain his magical abilities, which is only supposed to happen when he finds his mate. The surprise when he not only discovers his talent but also has the ‘king tattoo’ is significant and the fact his new master doesn’t even believe in magic promises a lot of fun right from the start.
Orlin discovers he is more self-sufficient than he believes. He doesn’t even know how to behave as a pet, and I laughed at his tentative attempts; no real Master would have believed him either. He tends to overreact and get himself into more trouble than should be possible, but that makes for a very entertaining read.
Aester, the king who hopes to find his mate when he buys Orlin, doesn’t quite know what to think of his new pet. He is also rather trusting, and has no idea what really goes on in his own palace. Thankfully, Orlin’s adventures, as much as they upset him, also lead to some realizations for Aester. This really is a case of the two mates needing each other more than they thought.
The series tagline: “Being strong doesn’t mean you don’t need anyone.” goes into a slight variation here. The best way to describe this story is “Being a born ruler doesn’t mean you don’t need anyone.” There is no real BDSM here, even though Aester tries to act like a dominant, he longs for an equal partner. If you’re looking for a light read, a few laughs, and a touch of magic, you will probably like this book.
The first book in this futuristic series is the story of a prince, supposedly destined to rule, who needs a Master (ideally, a sexual Master) to contrThe first book in this futuristic series is the story of a prince, supposedly destined to rule, who needs a Master (ideally, a sexual Master) to control him. The fact that he is also a magic user needing someone to balance him to avoid losing control makes the whole setup a little more volatile. Who, after all, wants - or can afford to have - magic running amok?
Chalice is a prince running out of time. Significant damage has already been done to his father’s castle because he cannot control his magic. Different from other royal magic users, he needs a Dom to balance him, not a sub. Not something his father, the king, wants to even contemplate. The whole situation is rather funny, but when Chalice runs into a normally sour and almost evil emperor who is looking for a new pet, a corner is turned.
Terrin Hawk, the emperor who mends his ways almost upon catching sight of Chalice, is somewhat of an enigma to me. He has clearly been cruel before, using and discarding subs left and right, but suddenly wants more with Chalice. I put it down to Chalice’s magical abilities because it certainly can’t be anything else; not within the timeframe of this story, which is only a few days!
It is too bad that the emperor changes his views so quickly, much more fun could have been had with the conflict between Chalice ‘topping from the bottom’ and the emperor not knowing what hit him. But then again, the series tagline: “Being strong doesn’t mean you don’t need anyone.” and the whole idea behind it sounds more like fun than serious BDSM. If this first installment is anything to go by, it is all about the light touch, some occasional humor, and very gentle D/s themes. Definitely a fun, quick read.
After the exciting events of ‘Challenge the Darkness’, I was looking forward to finding out more about the Old Faithful pack, alpha couple Denton andAfter the exciting events of ‘Challenge the Darkness’, I was looking forward to finding out more about the Old Faithful pack, alpha couple Denton and Mikael, and the consequences of their victory over Alpha Anton. At the end of the previous book, I was sure the members of the evil alpha’s pack, disbanded as it may have been, would make some sort of comeback. They do indeed find a way to make more trouble, and, this time, Mikael’s younger brother, Christopher, ends up right in the middle of fighting what is becoming a more significant threat than anyone thought. He also finds his mate in Fredrik, who is one of Anton’s sons – and that has more than one unexpected consequence. This story about the aftermath of binding two packs together, the new incarnation of evil, and a darkness that is spread more widely than expected is suspenseful and action-packed, but also has some great emotional moments giving me hope that family and love are stronger than fear and terror – even in the world of the Yellowstone Wolves.
Fredrik is one of many of Anton’s sons, and it makes him miserable that he is related to such an evil wolf. He has managed to stay away for a long time by going to college, but with Anton dead the money stops coming, and Fredrik returns only to find one of his half brothers in charge. Juneau is as bad as Anton and has even more grandiose plans, but Fredrik will have none of it. Once he rescues Juneau’s latest prisoner and escapes, Fredrik has some tough decisions to make. He wants to run as far as he can to escape the evil of his family. But once he meets Christopher and realizes they are mated, things get complicated. Two pups who are clearly related to him appear, Fredrik discovers some of Anton’s evil power inside him, and ends up torn between running to keep the others safe and staying to help them fight for their right to live.
Christopher has also been away to get a college education, but even though his return to his pack is far less traumatic than Fredrik’s, he has his doubts and believes he no longer fits in. Finding out that Fredrik is his mate changes things a little, but Christopher’s struggle to find his place within a hierarchy he is no longer used to keeps him mentally busy. Christopher is ready to compromise, but that doesn’t make things easy and straightforward. Figuring out how he fits into the pack, what his role is regarding Frederik, and what he wants out of life now that he is mated makes for an interesting journey.
I was happy to see Mikael and Denton take an active role in the proceedings, and having many of the other secondary characters return as well increased my enjoyment of this novel significantly. The developing balance of power with an alpha pair in charge of a pack made for some interesting situations, as did the addition of a few more kids who take an active role. The growing understanding of the rules, these wolves’ religion, and what “being in the light” means added another level and provided a dimension of world building that made the situation even more interesting.
If you like the Yellowstone wolves, if the power struggle between the children of the light and the encroaching darkness keeps you fascinated, and if you’re looking for a somewhat darker novel full of action, tension, passion, and two mates who need to learn how they fit together, then you will probably like this novel. I certainly did and look forward to the next installment!
What a setup! An inventor who is a reclusive billionaire, bitter about life, and spends his time in a wheelchair hiding from the world. A curious newsWhat a setup! An inventor who is a reclusive billionaire, bitter about life, and spends his time in a wheelchair hiding from the world. A curious newspaper reporter, who is desperate for a story to save his failing career and cannot leave well enough alone even if his life depends on it. Add a detective out to uncover some shady deals with possible mob connections, and an informant who is more than he seems. This is a mystery of the complicated kind and a very suspenseful yet entertaining story all in one.
Walter is facing serious trouble and the potential end of his career as a newspaper reporter, yet he can't stay away from a story on corruption and the mafia in New York. Not even threats to his life seem to matter, he is determined to uncover the truth. He is stubborn and possibly suicidal, but without men like him, a lot more criminals would be able to sleep easy. Walter's observations and thoughts, chaotic as they were at times, made me laugh and kept me entertained.
Chase lost his parents years ago, he had an accident, and is in a wheelchair. He initially spends a lot of time feeling sorry for himself and drinking. I can’t say too much about him and his secrets because discovering what drives him is a big part of the mystery and makes the story more interesting. Watching him slowly unthaw and then fall for Walter was a fascinating process. Neither he nor Walter are very social, but they are drawn to each other despite the challenges a relationship between them has to offer. The resulting growth - in fits and starts – is very rewarding.
If you like a good mystery with a heavy side of romance, political backstabbing, and lots of dangerous situations, if two loners who learn to trust each other are your thing, and if you’re looking for a read that is as tension-filled as it is action-packed, then you will probably like this novel.
‘The Shattered Door’ is a phenomenal book and a deeply emotional experience all at once. Its honesty and heartfelt directness left me feeling overwhel‘The Shattered Door’ is a phenomenal book and a deeply emotional experience all at once. Its honesty and heartfelt directness left me feeling overwhelmed, raw, and in need of some reflection before I was able to put together my thoughts for this review. As I was reading Brooke’s story, I kept thinking about the title. A shattered door is a pretty strong visual, and depicted perfectly on the cover. Even though I didn’t fully understand the connection to Brooke’s life until the last few pages, one thing was clear to me throughout. As much as a door symbolizes both an entrance to something new and an exit away from something old, and many other things as well, the spiritual meaning of a door is communication. In this case, shattered or broken communication. While that describes part of Brooke’s problems very well, there is more to him and his situation than that.
Only now that I finished this book can I see how all of the symbolic meanings of a door apply in describing Brooke’s life, his struggle with being gay, and his search for an understanding of what it means to be Christian. Stories about people’s struggle with their faith can be boring and preachy, but nothing could be further from the truth in this case. Even if you are not particularly religious, I think this story may give you an insight into what life is like for someone who is. Of course, that is only one layer of the story. Above all Brooke is human. Following him through a truly messed-up youth and a mother who doesn’t deserve that name, to his reconciliation with who he is, only to find everything shattered yet again and him having to go back home to face his past, deal with his present, and try to build a future, was nerve-racking at times. The teeny-tiny sliver of hope at the end of the book was a nice respite from the harrowing journey Brooke was on.
As much of a struggle as Brooke faces in most of the areas of his life, the relationship with Jed is almost too perfect. I say almost because they do have their issues, but there is never any doubt that Jed loves him and supports him in whatever Brooke needs to do. Jed comes from a loving family, and while he is shocked when he gets to know the circumstances in which Brooke was raised, he has the strength to deal with it and be there for Brooke. Jed also has a great sense of humor, seemingly endless patience for Brooke, and no tolerance for nonsense from anyone else.
The way the story is written is also fascinating. There are a few flashbacks, but they are placed so that the mystery about what happened in Brooke’s past unravels slowly. As happens in real life, events trigger memories, and the way it was done made me feel closer to Brooke and gave the novel a more life-like feeling, As if Brooke were sitting in front of me and telling me his story, remembering to fill in some of the blanks only as he understood he had missed a piece needed for my understanding. It was an interesting effect. Luckily there were moments of happiness and laughter strewn in with the misery and hatefulness Brooke had to deal with. I don’t think anyone could have survived without them, including me when I read it.
If you like realistic accounts of people who have suffered a great deal before they come out the other side, if you want to read an honest story about one gay man’s struggle with his sexuality and his faith, and if you’re looking for a read that is multi-layered, sometimes painful to read, and as horrific as it is hopeful, then you will probably like this novel as much as I did. One thing is certain – Brooke’s story will stay with me for quite a while.
A supernatural rodeo with werewolves, vampires, and loads of other paranormal beings? All doing what cowboys do best – except in a supernatural way? YA supernatural rodeo with werewolves, vampires, and loads of other paranormal beings? All doing what cowboys do best – except in a supernatural way? Yee-haw and bring it on! With a unifying theme of “homecoming”, all three stories show characters who find a home. In the first story it’s a return to an old place long missed, in the second story it’s finally finding a group of people to belong, and in the third story it’s all about finding the mate and home you’ve always wanted, even though it may be a little unexpected. I totally enjoyed all of them!
Welcome to the Pack by BA Tortuga This story proves that supernatural beings can be just as selfish and nasty toward their fellow beings as humans. Actually, this makes sense since it is humans who “think them up”, but bear with me here. Even though it is fiction and all make-believe, the sense of “reality” is great when all these creatures behave just like humans – or worse!
Denver is a werewolf, the younger of twins, who left years ago so his older brother Denton could rule the pack. Unfortunately, that brother is killed by a demon bull (under very suspicious circumstances, I must add), and now Denton is suddenly called back from the human rodeo to run the pack and work in the paranormal arena. Luckily he remembers how everything works from before he left, but he has his work cut out for him!
Blaine is an outcast werewolf who is treated pretty badly, just because he was not born into the pack. He is bullied all the time, never has enough to eat, but has nowhere else to go so he perseveres. He also loved Denton – a love that remained unrequited since Denton was straight. I loved how Blaine suddenly has hope for a better future when Denton turns up and makes it very clear his sense of justice is pronounced and someone’s origins don’t matter to him half as much as their work ethic.
If you like the idea of a supernatural rodeo where all the bulls are far more dangerous than normal, and some of the other rodeo workers are vampires, ghost riders, etc., and if you’re looking for an entertaining and suspenseful read full of hot cowboys, then you will probably like this novella.
Oklahoma Rain by Kiernan Kelly What I really liked about this story is how it shows the danger and effects of reverse discrimination. For once it isn’t humans who reject supernatural beings, or Supes, instead it shows how Supes deal with a human suddenly in their midst. Granted, he is only a child, and that helps, but some of them still have an issue accepting him.
Blaze is a psychic, a Supe who shows no visible signs of his talent. He supports the wizards who set up the protective spells (so humans never find out the rodeo is full of paranormal talent – that made me laugh), but looks human. When he finds another psychic and the boy he rescued, Blaze wants to help them, but knows he has an uphill battle to fight with the rodeo owners. Not that this stops him, he is determined to help Zack and the kid.
Zack has a very rare psychic talent, and a need to protect Mikey ever since he rescued him from being beaten up after he was stolen from an orphanage. Zack himself used to live on the streets, so he is more determined to help the kid than most. His talent is needed by the supernatural rodeo, so he is allowed to stay and gradually begins to trust that he has finally found a home. I loved watching him open up and learn to trust Blaze, to the point where they work together to solve the crisis they find themselves in.
If you like the idea of a supernatural rodeo and want to explore more of the paranormal talents needed to make it run smoothly, and if you’re looking for a suspenseful read full of hatred from a bigot on the one hand and a developing romance on the other, then you will probably like this short novella.
Big Bear, Little Bear by Julia Talbot The third story in this wonderful collection tackles the topic of finding a true home with a lover, as opposed to the home you grew up in. Ben has been hoping for Ozzie to notice him for a very longtime, but it takes him being hurt and needing help to recover before Ozzie gets over his hesitation.
Ben, the horse trainer and a black bear, is attracted to Ozzie, but thinks he is not enough for the big grizzly to notice him. After he gets hurt badly in an accident involving hell hounds and his horses, his road to recovery is much longer than he expected. But one good thing happens: Ozzie finally shows an interest in him.
Ozzie is the rodeo’s clown (at least in summer, since he hibernates in winter) and a huge grizzly bear. He is interested in Ben but wants him to grow up a little. After the accident he can’t hold back any longer, especially when he gets suspicious about Ben’s medication and the fact that Ben is no longer able to shift. Ozzie won’t rest until he gets to the bottom of what is wrong, and I am very happy he is so persistent! Ben needs all the help he can get.
If you like the idea of a supernatural rodeo and want to explore more of the paranormal talents needed to make it run, and if you’re looking for an emotional read full of great food and naps (these are bears, after all) on top of developing love, then you will probably like this short novella.
‘Potions & Prisons’ is a slightly odd name for a fairy tale, even one that reimagines things and pretends the people inhabiting this world are rea‘Potions & Prisons’ is a slightly odd name for a fairy tale, even one that reimagines things and pretends the people inhabiting this world are real. But it’s a perfect description of the essence of this story about John the woodcutter and Mathias, who goes by Mat, the wicked witch. As in ‘Let Down Your Hair’, the first story in this series, there is a mix of several fairy tale elements that, by the time the author added her imagination and stirred everything, creates a new story with a slightly different flavor. While I loved the characters, what I liked was the way they ended up dealing with the curse. Not at all what I expected, and since I like surprises, this was a good thing.
Remember the wicked witch who tried to lure Hänsel and Gretel into her oven? Well, in this version of events she not only survived but was punished by an unknown enchantress – the result of which was that her cottage vanished into a desolate wasteland, only reappearing in the Enchanted Forest on Midsummer Day each year. She also had a daughter, who, in time, managed to lure a man into her cottage and they had a son, Mathias. Mat is now an accomplished witch in his own right, but he refuses to use magic with evil intent. He can’t escape the curse, and has been alone for many years.
John is desperate to obtain a love potion to make his lover, Bryce, return to him. Bryce has left him to marry a woman, but John isn’t ready to give him up. He ends up at the wicked witch’s door late at night and refuses to heed her warnings to leave. Imagine his surprise when he ends up in the wasteland with the witch, and discovers there is no way out.
These two men are total strangers when they meet, yet are forced to spend a whole year in close proximity. Watching them get used to each other and deal with the simple life they have was interesting. They come from very different backgrounds, but soon figure out there is fun to be had when you’re sharing a prison. There is only one problem: John knows he can leave at the end of the year, but Mathias can never follow him. That is one tough situation for both of them.
If you like reinterpreted fairy tales, if you're looking for something to make you think and give you hope, and if you’re looking for a read that is both entertaining and a great love story, then you will probably like this novella.