Rounded up to 4 stars, only because of Nicholas. This book managed to hit multiple pet peeves of mine, but I still found myself caught up in the situa...moreRounded up to 4 stars, only because of Nicholas. This book managed to hit multiple pet peeves of mine, but I still found myself caught up in the situation of the MC, Nicholas, wanting to know what would happen to him, even if it was going to be mostly sex, or pain, or pain and sex. I don't know if I'll read the sequel, but I might, because he was a vivid character.
The story begins with an info-dump world-building prologue that might have made me put it down, but gets much better after that. Nicky is a young man with magical abilities, both of his own and in his ability to support another mage's power. On a world with an indigenous magic-using population, under subjugation by an invading more-technological group who want to take control of that magic, everyone fights for survival and a place.
Nicky is smart, cunning, a good fighter and able to use his magical talents fairly discreetly. He makes a good place for himself amid local street gangs, until his abilities bring him the wrong sort of attention. He is clever, loyal, mouthy, snarly, short-tempered, and fun to be with as a narrator. And his past is as rough as his present. I really liked Nicky. The secondary characters were also interesting and fleshed out the story.
Now as for the pet peeves. First, the prologue. Second, it really needed an editor. Lots of typos, and several malapropisms of simple phrases ("it is mute" rather than "moot", "in lue" rather than "in lieu", "wailed on" for "whaled on") and other errors. And then the content one. (view spoiler)[ Falling in love with your rapist. This is my big NO NEVER peeve, but it almost worked here for several reasons. First, because Nicky killed his first rapist almost in the act. Made a bargain with his second. And had a magical-power bonding experience during sex, with the third whom he might possibly be falling in love with, so by then perhaps being used sexually was less of a shock to him. And also because mixing the magic in makes it... possible, in this case. It still irks me to see this, but in the violence-plus-magic context of the story it didn't make me walk away. (hide spoiler)] The story is also as much sex as plot, which isn't my usual. But the author succeeded in pulling me through to the end and wanting more of Nicky, so I can't go less than rounding up to 4 stars in the end.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Short, cute conversation for fans of the wonderful free novel. It's was fun to get another quick look at the guys, a little bit down the road. The Stu...moreShort, cute conversation for fans of the wonderful free novel. It's was fun to get another quick look at the guys, a little bit down the road. The Student Prince is one of my go-to comfort reads - wonderful, sweet, funny, a little emotional, long and free. (And there is no need to know anything about the TV series although a tiny bit of familiarity with the Arthurian legends helps recognize the names.) If you loved the book, this will provide a little warm fuzzy for you.(less)
Another outing for a great pair of characters from this author. Simon the ghost hunter, and Robert who had a brief encounter with him in the first sto...moreAnother outing for a great pair of characters from this author. Simon the ghost hunter, and Robert who had a brief encounter with him in the first story, are now brought together again in the pursuit of paranormal evil. I would love to see a longer story about these two someday. Simon has a bitter edge, and Robert is his ideal foil; they work well off each other. There is sexual tension, creepy death, and we learn a little more about both men. Well done.(less)
3.5 stars, rounded up for the pleasure of the series as a whole.
This was my least favorite of the series, but it was still good to see Seregil and Al...more3.5 stars, rounded up for the pleasure of the series as a whole.
This was my least favorite of the series, but it was still good to see Seregil and Alec, and to watch them work together again. I loved having Micum with them once more, although his strengths were underused. This whole series is well worth the read for fantasy fans.
Seregil, Alec, Klia, Theo and company are sent forth to deal with the mysterious and probably supernatural murder of the governor of a recently-annexed island territory. The story begins with a little more exposition than might be ideal, as the history of the situation is laid out. But there is the promise of real adventure. Over the series, we've been introduced to a host of secondary characters, and the writing follows the adventures of at least six main characters, with an omniscient fourth voice. The result is an intriguing, complicated and magical plot with many twists and turns. The flip side is less emotional investment in the point of view of any one character or pair of characters. I found myself racing through this, following the course of events to see how the guys could manage to get out of this mess. But the various moments of injury and peril sat more lightly on the story than in some past books.
The biggest addition to the familiar crew here is the character of Mika, Theo's young wizardly apprentice. I enjoyed some of his contributions. I liked that he sometimes messed up, got lost, and couldn't keep a secret to save his life. But his presence sometimes irked me, suggesting a trope of powerful-young-magic-user who may potentially save the day for his elders. He felt very young in many ways for how the adults treated him, especially in his constant lack of supervision, and the resulting tangling of the plot.
This was very much a tale of discovering, comprehending and dealing with a perplexing and arbitrary-seeming magical threat. The author brought the threads together quite skillfully at the end, but I missed a bit more of the human conflict from earlier tales. (view spoiler)[There was a thread of the islanders worrying that Seregil, in giving refuge to any 'faie who chose to live there, was amassing a mob or a threat to local order. (hide spoiler)] I'd have liked to see more of the human side of the story like that play out, with more non-magical opponents to be dealt with. But that's just me, and my love of watching Seregil play politics. Or leapfrog over politics.
This series is wonderful high-adventure fantasy, with two excellent main characters and good secondaries. I enjoy the battles against concentrated evil, and even more the times they are dealing with corrupted humans, mysteries and magic in a more corporeal realm. Seregil's style in mixed company is always a pleasure. This is the last novel, and I will miss Alec and Seregil. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This book has three short stories, tied together by the ongoing question of why Denton keeps seeing images of frogs out of the corner of his eye. Each...moreThis book has three short stories, tied together by the ongoing question of why Denton keeps seeing images of frogs out of the corner of his eye. Each section has a little paranormal situation for the guys to solve. Although there are hints of both jealousy and affection that keep things interesting between the guys, these stories are fairly light and superficial. I enjoyed meeting Bran's father, and learning more about Bran. The quirks and humor were fun, and this makes a nice addition to the series. (less)
This was fun - a chance to see four of our favorite historical paranormal sleuths from outside of their usual first-person narratives. It probably doe...moreThis was fun - a chance to see four of our favorite historical paranormal sleuths from outside of their usual first-person narratives. It probably doesn't stand alone all that well, because the pleasure of it is hearing Robert call Griffin an "American popinjay" or depict Whyborne as having a "withered and corroded necromantic heart". The adventure plot is worth a read but the real entertainment is in the characters.
I did feel like I had missed a "Caldwell & Feximal" casebook, between Butterflies and this one. I don't see it listed, but clearly things had changed between the two men in the interim, and occasionally I wished I knew that story.
A lot of fun for fans of both series, and over all too soon.(less)
A cute look at Griffin's side of the relationship, shortly after Widdershins. The two men have only been together two months at this point, and Griffi...moreA cute look at Griffin's side of the relationship, shortly after Widdershins. The two men have only been together two months at this point, and Griffin is sweetly unsure of his own appeal. The little paranormal thread doesn't really go anywhere, so this is notable mainly as a chance to see Ival Whyborne through his lover's eyes.(less)
I had to get past my initial disappointment of finding myself in a different POV than Spencer's and two years further down the road from Coyote's Cree...moreI had to get past my initial disappointment of finding myself in a different POV than Spencer's and two years further down the road from Coyote's Creed. At the end of the first book, I'd thought we might see the gradual evolution of the relationship of Spencer and Rourke through the series, but this is pretty much a new story with only a tangential relationship to the first. Spencer appears briefly, but not in his relationship at all, and the stories are not headed where I expected. This is not necessarily a bad thing.
Once I realized I needed to set Spencer and Rourke aside, I was drawn into the story of James, the abused guy whom Spencer sent off on the bus in book 1. That wasn't just a chance meeting, and James isn't just any guy. He turns out to be a sorcerer, and a powerful one. And in the process of making that discovery, he meets up with dragons, and the Recluse himself, Cale, the sorcerer whom the rest of the supernatural world is gunning for. But Cale is nothing like the overlord James would have expected. And there is a lot more to James than he realized.
This is a darker, tougher book than the first. There is abuse and loss, both emotional and real. There is growing love, but again this is not headed for a romantic HEA. The characters are intensely drawn and interesting. The plot is a bit convoluted, and the motivations sometimes seemed murky. This is a series that might improve on a second or more close reading, with better attention to detail than I'm giving it. I've tended to skim over details and read for the gestalt. But even at that level, it was an absorbing read, with an ending that again completed an arc but frustrated the romantic in me, and I immediately plunged into the third one.(less)
I enjoy this series and will continue to read it, but this one felt like an extended episode without much movement or development in either overarchin...moreI enjoy this series and will continue to read it, but this one felt like an extended episode without much movement or development in either overarching plot or characters. It could have been trimmed a lot, and made part of a book with other things happening. I still like Kitty, though, and will look forward to her next, hopefully less isolated and static, adventure.(less)
Kendras is now the Officer of the Scorpions. And although their numbers are small, and half of them are new, he feels that heart-deep loyalty to his m...moreKendras is now the Officer of the Scorpions. And although their numbers are small, and half of them are new, he feels that heart-deep loyalty to his men that has always been the Scorpion way.
Adrastes has claimed the throne of Dalman. And he is once again moving in the halls of power to which he was born and bred. As his lover and bodyguard, Kendras is at his side watching, seeing the machinations and schemes, the plans and power, that are so different from when this man was Kendras' own Officer. Little things begin to rankle, like the way Adrastes still tries to command the Scorpions over Kendras' head. Or his growing revelation of how far his ambitions lie. And while enemies must be dealt with, there is a ruthless streak appearing that Kendras isn't comfortable with.
For Kendras, these are murky days. Scorpions have always had open relationships, lying with whomever they pleased, but loyal to the death in their fighting. Now that he is lover to a king, Kendras isn't sure where he stands. If he looks at another man, will that man be in danger from this new Adrastes? What about when he takes a new Scorpion in with the usual ceremony. The arrival of people with ties to his past, and information about his parents further unsettles him. And he finds himself watching everyone's back, and faces with choices. By the end of the book, his future is only more unclear, when his friends may be enemies, and everything he has loved and counted on is becoming quicksand under his feet.
And excellent gay fantasy read. And the wait for the next book will be too long. Just a few hours now, and it's already too long. Recommended to fantasy-lovers who don't need happy romance endings.(less)
The stakes continue to escalate in the arenas which Harry faces. I liked the return of Michael in this book, and the progress of Butters. There were g...moreThe stakes continue to escalate in the arenas which Harry faces. I liked the return of Michael in this book, and the progress of Butters. There were good lines, but it felt less funny than most of the series, and the quest was slightly impersonal which took away some of the intensity. I do adore Mouse, and this sets up the next book to be more related to family and friends, which always brings out the intense in Harry. I missed Thomas in this one, but the cast is big enough now that you can't fit everyone in every book. I'll read the next when it comes out, but this doesn't leave me quite as impatient.(less)
An interesting pair of MCs come together here. Miguel is a New York City cop, trying to come back from having shot a man who was armed only with a rea...moreAn interesting pair of MCs come together here. Miguel is a New York City cop, trying to come back from having shot a man who was armed only with a realistic toy gun. He is being hounded by the media, and is dealing with his own guilt for both that incident, and past experiences in the military. Nikolai Adelman is a local shaman, de facto guardian of the poor community in which he lives, whose Jewish and anthropology backgrounds flavor his speech and outlook.
The men meet over the case of several missing children in the community. They antagonize each other at first, but gradually come to see that each has strengths that the other lacks. The urban fantasy aspect of the story gradually builds, as Miguel moves further toward a forced belief in things unseen. Solving the case of the missing children will turn out to require both of them working together.
I really liked Miguel, and the flavor of his relationship with Nikolai. I had a bit of a harder time getting a handle on Nikolai, as my perception of his age, abilities and personality seemed unstable. It felt almost like he'd taken on a persona that was a camouflage, larger than life, but it remained with him through to the end. The mystery solution was interesting, and not pat, although perhaps a bit abrupt and unsatisfying in the end. I really like Miguel's interactions with his police partner, Rob, learning to see beneath his bulldozer approach to truth and justice. No BDSM in this book, and little sex - it's a slow-building paranormal romance wrapped in a police procedural plot more than a mystery. (less)
A short, fast, well-written story that is mostly one scene, half of it sex, but which sets up two intriguing characters, leading into the two longer s...moreA short, fast, well-written story that is mostly one scene, half of it sex, but which sets up two intriguing characters, leading into the two longer stories which follow it. This author truly knows how to write historical romance and sex that feels real, and vivid, not too modern and yet full of heat. (less)
4.5 stars. This was a different book from the first, and I loved it for and in spite of those differences.
It's a more emotional book, with more heart...more4.5 stars. This was a different book from the first, and I loved it for and in spite of those differences.
It's a more emotional book, with more heart. Crane and Stephen matter to each other now, not as two men in the first brilliant flash of mutual attraction, but with a bond that is deeper than they sometimes care to admit. The funny little foretaste in the free short, Interlude with Tattoos, has become a melding of talents and desires. They are still living apart, having separate but sometimes intensely intersecting lives. But that's taking self-control from both of them, as they resist a deeper relationship for different reasons. I love emotion in my books, and liked feeling the heart of the story more intensely here.
On the other hand, this is a less-tightly-crafted book. The crystal polish of language in the first one seems a bit more muted, and the mystery is simpler. That's not all bad - I found the climax of this book easier to follow and more concrete, which I personally prefer. Crane's banter was also less sharp, perhaps because love was mellowing him (although he would no doubt be very dismayed at that thought.) At least, without Stephen as a fully deserving and ready target, he had slightly fewer beautifully-cutting lines here.
In this book we meet important secondary characters with enough detail for us to get a better feel for them. In addition to the inimitable Merrick, we meet Stephen's fellow justiciars and get to see them at work. The historical setting plays a strong role, reminding us that we have come far, if not far enough. There is more sex, and it's well done, with heat and desire that also moves the story forward.
I enjoyed this, devoured it in one reading, and will happily reread when the next one comes out.(less)
This book is a romp, but with a dark undertone. Vorgell, the horny (literally after that unicorn-horn episode) barbarian with the heart of gold and th...moreThis book is a romp, but with a dark undertone. Vorgell, the horny (literally after that unicorn-horn episode) barbarian with the heart of gold and the cock of iron, rescues Maddog the witch from a prison cell, and assumes responsibility for him like some ancient Chinese curse. Maddog has a slave collar on his neck, and until he rids himself of it, he is tied to the nobleman who raped, tortured and enslaved him. He's also at risk from the wizards who are the nobleman's allies, and who hunt witches. The initial premise and Fafhrd-and-Gray-Mouser-with-sex story seem amusing and light-hearted. But the torture Maddog went through was intense, and the bad guys are not fooling around. I enjoyed this story a lot, and thought the author found a nice balance of tone between the serious and the comic. I would happily read more about these two guys.(less)
This series continues to be one great ride, with a nice blend of adventure, paranormal, and period romance. This installment brings Griffin face to fa...moreThis series continues to be one great ride, with a nice blend of adventure, paranormal, and period romance. This installment brings Griffin face to face with an echo of his greatest nightmares, an insane asylum like the one in which he was unjustly imprisoned before coming to Widdershins. As he works on the case of a murdered man, despite the looming shadows of that experience, he encounters one of the very men who kept him there, and must face difficult memories.
Whyborne has troubles of his own. New nightmares chase him, puzzling dreams of undersea buildings and creatures, and a sense of doom that he can't explain. As those dreams begin to spill over into the waking world, he needs Griffin's support just as much as the reverse.
This is a more emotional installment in some ways, as both the MCs battle fears, for themselves and for each other. The arrival of Griffin's parents throws a bit of mundane stress in the middle of the paranormal. And once again Christine is there, to provide her own indomitable assistance and unquenchable desire for equality based on her abilities and not her sex.
Whyborne is changing, becoming more sure of himself on the adventure and magic front, although still at times self-deprecating. His willingness to embrace violence is more practical than ever, and occasionally more blase than I would have expected from him, but his talents are shaping up nicely. The plot had some surprises, and the action moved swiftly. There were some sweetly romantic moments too. The period details are well done, and the asylum setting was almost more chilling than the paranormal threat, based as it was in the reality of the day. I'll look forward to another adventure from these wonderful characters.(less)
This remains one of my favorite M/F paranormal series. The mix of werewolves, fae, vampires, gods and more is complex, but grounded in the personal st...moreThis remains one of my favorite M/F paranormal series. The mix of werewolves, fae, vampires, gods and more is complex, but grounded in the personal story of Mercy and the Pack. It's Mercy, and her relationships with all the people she cares about and considers hers who provides the heart, the humor and the warmth. Her courage, protectiveness, inventiveness and spirit make the books a pleasure to read.
In this installment, her husband Adam, the local Alpha, is contacted by his ex-wife who is in a panic, because the guy she just slept with is turning into a dangerous stalker. Neither Adam, nor Mercy herself, is going to turn away someone they know who might be in danger. Even after Christy, the ex, starts trying to fit herself back into the pack and Adam's life, they focus on keeping the peace and keeping everyone safe.
I liked the way that was handled, neither over-dramatic cat-fights, nor long-suffering angst. Mercy is justifiably snappish about things, but keeps her sense of humor and her sense of priorities,(view spoiler)[ and Adam doesn't loose sight of who he loves through all of it. He has his protective instincts, and sometimes gets busy or distracted, but I never felt that he was inconsistent with supporting his wife over his ex, or unaware of how much Mercy has become his life. (hide spoiler)] It made me enjoy the story even when I wanted to drop an anvil on Christy. I enjoyed learning more about some of the pack, seeing the dynamics shift, and the glimpses of Warren and Kyle.
The bad guy was interesting; the side plots with Stephan, Coyote, Tad, the fae and all, meshed well with the whole story, but left some open threads. But I found the end... emotionally lacking somehow. Not bad, just set up to be stronger than it turned out. Still a great read, and it left me eager as always for the next one.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Some books strike me right from the start with the uniqueness of their world-building, the vividness of their characters, or the pleasure of the writi...moreSome books strike me right from the start with the uniqueness of their world-building, the vividness of their characters, or the pleasure of the writing style. This story did all three.
This is about a Victorian England in which the practice of magic and warlockery is an ominous undercurrent to life. Against this imaginative backdrop, the author brings together two wonderful MCs. Stephen Day is a magician, small in stature and unassuming in appearance, but powerful enough to take on warlocks and wreak justice upon them. Unless they turn out to be unusually strong... Lucien Vaudrey is now Lord Crane, an inheritance from his deceased loathed father, and subsequently deceased even more loathsome brother. After years in China, he intends to be back in England just long enough to wind up the affairs of his estate. Unfortunately, it appears that someone is trying to kill him by magic. And Stephen Day, his one hope of survival, is the son of a man ruined by Lucien's father.
Lucien's dry wit is one of the joys of this book. There are so many great lines in his comebacks, with comments scathing or trenchant or self-mocking in wonderful ways. I would like to quote a dozen, but will refrain because they have the most impact in context. His manservant, Merrick, is a great foil for him. And Stephen is honorable and strong in most ways, and weak in some interesting ones. The sexual attraction between Lucien and Stephen smolders nicely, and occasionally flames, while their gradual meeting of the minds is satisfying. This book isn't perfect - for instance, I lost the action thread slightly in the climactic moments - but it is damned good. I'll buy the sequel as soon as it releases, and will happily reread this before plunging on in the adventures of these characters.(less)
This is a very cute story about August, a 31 year old man, who is a Chinchilla shifter, and has dreams of being a private detective. When a relative l...moreThis is a very cute story about August, a 31 year old man, who is a Chinchilla shifter, and has dreams of being a private detective. When a relative leaves him a little money, he quits his job and sets up an office, but it's hard to make ends meet. His landlord, Sam, is a big, older guy who seems intimidating at first. But it turns out Sam just might have a thing for younger, chubby men with nice smiles...
I liked the fact that these guys were physically imperfect, and yet found each other very attractive. The POVs were nicely distinct, and the men fit together in spite of their differences. August seemed a bit young and clueless for his age, both about people and about his chosen job, although perhaps one could attribute that to the prey-species in him. And the sexual dynamic seemed to move unexpectedly for their personalities, experiences, and ages. Unexpected is good, but there were moments that didn't quite feel real to me, like they were trying too hard.
Nevertheless, this was a fun, light story, with a few little twists, some nice funny moments, and two guys you had to cheer for. (less)
This book could be subtitled "Changes." Although the whole PsyCop series has been about Vic's journey through the complexity of his life, this one mor...moreThis book could be subtitled "Changes." Although the whole PsyCop series has been about Vic's journey through the complexity of his life, this one more than the others heralds some sea changes in Vic, both in internal growth and in his relationships with friends and enemies. I very much enjoyed the plot and watching Vic become more than he has been, although a little corner of me missed the anxious mess that I'd wanted to hug in past installments.
**This review may contain untagged spoilers for previous books in the series.
I reread the whole series, going into this book. They are addictive, and follow so closely one on the other that they shape an ongoing narrative without real breaks. That doesn't mean they have cliffhangers, but the "for now" part of the HFN endings has a very short time frame, although by this point the concern is not the romantic relationship between Vic and Jacob, but whether they will survive the next plot events intact. I was glad I'd done the reread, and would encourage at least a skim of GhosTV if it's been a while, to get up to speed on all the characters and events.
In Spook Squad, we see Vic and Jacob rock solid in their relationship. The inferiority complex that in the past made Vic insecure, wondering whether Jacob will stay with him, is gone. The out-of-body experience in GhosTV where he found out that Jacob had his own similar insecurities no doubt helped. Plus Vic, while still neurotic and anxious, is much more secure in his own abilities and even in his own body. This puts a small shift into the romance relationship part of this book. The love is solid, the sex (although more rare in this one) is hot. But all the angst comes from facing the outside world and worrying about each other. And even that is slightly muted, as Jacob's own abilities are better known, and they begin to work together. I did miss the edge of desperate protectiveness from Jacob, although this is a more mature relationship now. There were some very sweet moments of caring between them, but the focus shifted off the relationship just a bit more than in the past.
The plot was interesting, and kept me guessing for quite a while. Vic's world has become wider, including more people, more friends and colleagues and enemies. His ability to be social, and even sometimes to empathize, is improving. His background issues, from childhood, Camp Hell, and ongoing paranormal exposures, are still there in the background, but limit him less.
A couple of threads nagged at me a bit. (view spoiler)[ I wished there was a better reason for Lisa to limit the si-non; I could easily see some major problems quickly solved by more appropriate questioning. This power is so omniscient that using it to its full could definitely deflate a plot, but her choices to use it or not are very arbitrary. Some mechanism by which it was physically or psychically limited, beyond her simple capricious choices, would have made me less impatient with her. I can understand not wanting to know everything, and being scared of her own ability, but the lines she drew didn't feel well-motivated to me.
Also, I was disappointed that Jacob and Vic didn't run off and find Crash before the final party. He was obviously traumatized, and now homeless other than appealing to a new boyfriend they haven't met. Granted there weren't many hours available in there, but I wanted something immediate - for that to be their next priority after surviving the morgue, before showering and dressing up. (hide spoiler)]
All in all, another excellent installment in a series that is imaginative, unexpected, with a hot, loving and growing relationship at its heart. So.... when's the next one :)["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This book is just a fun, light, amusing read with a sweet, lovely, established relationship at its heart. Lucas is adorable - distracted, a little awk...moreThis book is just a fun, light, amusing read with a sweet, lovely, established relationship at its heart. Lucas is adorable - distracted, a little awkward, so busy taking care of everyone else that he can't see his own needs or his own worth. Thank goodness he has Alex, who found him, seduced him and somehow moved into his life as his lover and partner, although Lucas still seems a bit confused about how that miracle happened. (And Carole, if you ever feel inclined to write us that story - the one where Alex comes along to court a girl, and instead finds the wonderful man that is Lucas, and manages to convince him that he's truly wanted...? I'd read that one in a heartbeat.)
The fantasy plot is interesting, and the resolution is amusing. The dog and cat are excellent supporting characters, and the world-building is satisfying without needing a whole lot of detail and exposition. The story lost a little momentum plot-wise in the last third, but plot wasn't really the attraction here. Lucas and Alex will go on my list of favorite couples, and this book immediately goes into my comfort-reread shelf. Just... awwww. Finished with a big smile on my face.(less)
These connected stories happen in an intersection of mystery and fantasy/paranormal with the central theme being the NIAD (NATO's Irregulars Affairs D...moreThese connected stories happen in an intersection of mystery and fantasy/paranormal with the central theme being the NIAD (NATO's Irregulars Affairs Division ) - a law enforcement and immigration agency that deals with all the visitors from other non-earthly realms. There is a small overlap of characters, and a good level of continuity in world-building, and all the stories are worth a read.
Cherries Worth Getting by Nicole Kimberling :
It's hard going first in a collection like this, because you have to do the biggest part of the world building. Kimberling does it well, with imagination, an interesting plot, and a coherent paranormal world. The romance here feels muted, and there is less emotion and more fantasy, which will please the less-romantic readers.
Green Glass Beads by Josh Lanyon :
A fast, smooth story about obsession, and love. Rake is a fun character, and the ethical dilemmas faced by the MCs made their story tenser and more interesting. More romantic than the first one, with a somewhat familiar Lanyon dynamic, but one that I enjoy.
No Life but This by Astrid Amara :
I liked the back-story here, the MCs and the set-up. I enjoyed Deven's struggle to reconcile the things that kept him alive in a dark and brutal realm, and the human world in which he now found himself. I was drawn into the fast-moving suspenseful plot (while at the same time had a couple of plot issues with it. (view spoiler)[ eg. No one tried a transfusion to see if it gave more energy to an agent being psychically drained of blood? And the action plot faltered a little. (hide spoiler)] But this still was my favorite out of the first three, because I am a romantic. This pairing and their emotions felt more intense and I was more invested in their love story than in the first two stories.
Things Unseen and Deadly by Ginn Hale :
This was the 5-star story of the collection for me, and a great way to end. I hesitated a little at first, because there is a big age and experience gap between Harry, long half-dead magician, and Jason, young and innocent musician. But as the story went along, revelations of both plot and back-story made me see that Harry, for all his age, really needed the simple goodness of Jason in his life. And Jason was much more than he seemed. There are a couple of fun cameos that hark back to the previous stories, and in all this was a wonderful smooth paranormal tale with a sweet ending.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)