Review of: The Mage on the Hill by Angel Martinez

TITLE: The Mage on the Hill
AUTHOR: Angel Martinez
SERIES: The Web of Arcana
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
RELEASE DATE: May 7, 2019

BLURB:

The Web of Arcana: Book One
A young magic user who wants desperately to live. A jaded recluse who has forgotten what living means. They’re each other’s only chance.
Toby’s wild magic is killing him. The mage guilds have given up on him, and it’s only a matter of time before he dies in a spectacular, catastrophic bang. His only hope is an exiled wizard who lives in seclusion—and is rumored to have lost his mind.
The years alone on his hilltop estate have not been good for Darius Valstad. After the magical accident that disfigured him and nearly drowned Pittsburgh, he drifts through his days, a wraith trapped in memories and depression. Until a stricken young man collapses on his driveway, one who claims Darius is his last chance. For the first time in fifteen years, Darius must make a choice—leave this wild mage to his fate or take him in and try to teach him, which may kill them both. The old Darius, brash and commanding, wouldn’t have hesitated. Darius the exile isn’t sure he can find the energy to try.


Toby is a young wizard with wild magic. The guilds can’t help him, and Toby will be sent to a hospice to finish his days peacefully full of drugs to indulge him in sleep until he dies. But Toby wants to live, he doesn’t want to die like that, and he’s ready to fight hard and try everything to live, even reach an old hermit wizard, Darius Valstad.
Darius doesn’t want another student, not after what’s happens with the last one, and what he lost–his job, his eye, and his self-esteem. But Toby is desperate and on the verge of dying if Darius doesn’t help him.
Darius and Toby will start a journey between past and present to find a future together.

The mage on the hill is book one of The Web of Arcana series by Angel Martinez. I adored this book.
In the Web of Arcana, every wizard has a major or minor arcana (meaning affinity), that helps them to settle and control their magic and the guilds teach them how to do that. Some wizards can’t channel their abilities and end up in a hospice where they are drugged until they die.

Toby is a young wizard with a wild magic, meaning he couldn’t channel his ability and his magic is out of control, which makes him unplaceable. His only hope is Darius Valstad, a hermit wizard, who had helped other unplaceables in the past. Toby didn’t expect to find a man broken by his past, barely able to talk after fifteen years in complete isolation, but Darius reaches something deep in Toby’s heart other than hope. I adored Toby. He’s funny, smart and sassy. He’s also a fierce fighter and refuses to accept his faith as certain death without putting up a good fight. I loved him a lot.

Darius is broken by his past and his guilt. He’s lived alone for fifteen years without any help, friends, or human beings around him. He’s completely isolated and in a deep depression. He doesn’t want Toby in his life. He doesn’t want to have another student who he can’t help, and he refuses to have to lose a part of himself again. I loved Darius too. He’s confident in his ability but so fragile about his past that, at first, he’s scared to lose Toby until he doesn’t have another choice than to channel who he really is—a brilliant and genius teacher who can really help others starting with Toby. Then Darius is fierce and fights back.

I adored this book. It was well written, funny with good pop culture references that made me smile. The main characters are awesome as well as the secondary. I was hooked on the story from the beginning, and Angel Martinez kept me captivated with Toby and Darius’ road-trip. The end was awesome and promising for the next book. It was a good start in the series, and I look forward to knowing more about the Web of Arcana.

It’s 5 stars for the hermit and his student.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

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Review of: Jacked Cat Jive by Rhys Ford

TITLE: Jacked Cat Jive
AUTHOR: Rhys Ford
SERIES: The Kai Gracen Series
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
RELEASE DATE: March 5, 2019

BLURB:

Stalker Kai Gracen knew his human upbringing would eventually clash with his elfin heritage, but not so soon. Between Ryder, a pain-in-his-neck Sidhe Lord coaxing him to join San Diego’s Southern Rise Court, and picking up bounties for SoCalGov, he has more than enough to deal with. With his loyalties divided between the humans who raised him and the Sidhe Lord he’s befriended and sworn to protect, Kai finds himself standing at a crossroads.
When a friend begs Kai to rescue a small group of elfin refugees fleeing the Dusk Court, he’s pulled into a dangerous mission with Ryder through San Diego’s understreets and the wilderness beyond. Things go from bad to downright treacherous when Kerrick, Ryder’s cousin, insists on joining them, staking a claim on Southern Rise and Kai.
Burdened by his painful past, Kai must stand with Ryder against Kerrick while facing down the very Court he fears and loathes. Dying while on a run is expected for a Stalker, but Kai wonders if embracing his elfin blood also means losing his heart, soul, and humanity along the way.


Kai Gracen is a bounty hunter but not just ANY bounty hunter. He was trained by the best to be the best. But “bounty hunter” is only a title. Kai is also the thing he hates the most, a monster. He’s fearless and loyal to a fault. He refuses to be chained down, and his rebel nature gets him into all kinds of trouble. In this installment, Kai keeps his promise and seeks revenge. But the handsome bounty hunter would never have been able to plan, not to mention have contingencies, when his heart comes in to play.

Kai is a badass. He’s one of my favorite fantasy characters. He’s gruff and fearless and makes no apologies for either. He knows his reputation, and it’s well earned. He’s the fiercest bounty hunter ever in existence right next to the man that raised him. He has so many contradictions that make him such an entertaining main character.

I thoroughly enjoy everything about this series. Rhys Ford is so different from any author, and her uniqueness makes her stories some of the best. These are not light reads. You really have to pay attention, or you’ll miss key components that make up the story. The vividness of the descriptions and the world building is phenomenal. This is the third installment of the Kai Gracen, Urban Fantasy series. This series is fast paced and must be read in order. It’s told from Kai Gracen’s POV. It’s a slow burn with very little traditional romance. The romance in this series is background and is so infused in the story that it happens almost organically. The romance is definitely not in your face, and these are not erotic tales. But magical nonetheless. Join Kai on his adventures. You will most certainly not be disappointed.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review of: Lust and Other Drugs by TJ Nichols

TITLE: Lust and Other Drugs
AUTHOR: TJ Nichols
SERIES: Mytho
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Urban Fantasy/ Shapeshifters
RELEASE DATE: Apr 2, 2019

BLURB:

Police officer Jordan and dragon shifter Edra might have to work together, but they don’t trust each other—even if sparks do fly between them.
If anyone finds out Jordan’s a mytho sympathizer, it could kill his career. No one can know that he frequents the satyr dens and uses the drug Bliss. A dead satyr might not get much attention, but two dead humans who appeared to overdose on Bliss? That shouldn’t even be possible.
And it might not be an accident.
Edra, Mythological Services Liaison, has been covering up mytho crimes to protect the community’s reputation. With a mayoral election looming, the last thing his people need is a scandal like this one.
To get a murderer off the streets, Jordan and Edra will be spending a lot of time together, and it won’t be easy to keep up with their deceptions. Or keep resisting each other.


Jordan is a police officer and a human who has to work as a liaison agent with a dragon shifter, Edra.
Both men don’t trust each other, but they both have one goal, make sure that the peace and justice between humans and mythos are served.

Lust and Other Drugs by TJ Nichols is book 1 of a new series Mythos. I loved The Studies in Demonology series and was happy to start this new one.
After human scientists had made Terakon on Earth (a parallel planet where all the mythological creatures of our tale lived) collapse, Mythos and humans have to live together. It’s not easy, humans being humans they hate mythos and refused to integrate them into our world, even if it’s them who have destroyed their world. Mythos all suffered from the collapse, they lost their magic, their home, family, they also lost some of their abilities, and with all of that, they now have to fight to have a decent life. In this tense climate, Jordan and Edra try to work together and to trust each other.

Jordan is a human who loves to wear lingerie and addicted to Bliss. Bliss is a kind of drug created by Satyrs that give a powerful orgasm. Jordan is a pro-mythos rights, and he believes that they are human (at least the ones able to talk) and should have rights. He’s lonely in this fight, but he has the support of the mythos’ community and the help of Edra.

Edra is a shifter Dragon, a knight. Back then, in his world, he was like a police officer, and he served justice. Now, on Earth, he works at Mythos-Service, and helps the mythos to settle with houses, school, work and every problem they can have. He’s also the liaison agent with Jordan and hopes to help his community to finally have justice and respect by humans.

I liked the book even if, at first, it was confusing. The plot and the story are original, and I love fantasy when two worlds collide. The MCs are interesting, but something was missing with them. I found them empty even if they’re very complex…I don’t know how to explain it.

It’s the first book of the series, so it’s the book where the background is set, and the characters and universe are introducing to us. It was a little bit too long, too repetitive and sometimes I had the feeling of reading the same thing with different words.

I’m curious about the next book. Now I know the universe, the MCs, the background, I’m curious to see how it will be developing.

It’s 3 stars for the Dragon and The “Elf”

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Quenched in Blood” by Ari McKay

TITLE: Quenched in Blood
AUTHOR: Ari McKay
SERIES: Asheville Arcana
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Aaron Anderson
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 228 pages
RELEASE DATE: Nov 20, 2018
PRICE: $4.99 e-book / $9.99 -paperback

BLURB:

Will love mean rebirth… or death?
Vampire Julian Schaden has been warning the Asheville Paranormal Council of an impending demonic incursion for more than two decades. Over the past two years, he and his friends have fought as hard as they can with little help, since Micah Carter, the demon hunter who should have led them, shirked his responsibility and then perished.
Desperate for anything that might aid the fight, Julian enters the Carter property and finds something he never dared hope for: young Thomas Carter, the heir to a long line of demon hunters.
Thomas knows nothing about the supernatural world. But the prospect of a real life, outside the sheltered, isolated farm where he grew up, calls to him, and the idea of fighting the Unholy feels right.
Julian agrees to train Thomas even as he struggles against an unexpected, unwanted attraction. Thomas is too young and innocent to get involved with Julian, but opposites attract, and this is one battle Julian seems fated to lose. A prophecy from a dying mage comes with a bleak warning: the upcoming battle will claim Thomas’s life. To keep his home and friends safe, Julian may have to sacrifice the only love he’s ever known.


Julian Schaden is a reclusive three-hundred-year-old vampire and a member of the Asheville paranormal council. For the last two years, with his two best friends, Arden and Whimsy and their mates, Eli and Harlan, they fight against evil forces who want to bring a powerful demon to earth.

Thomas Carter is the last heir of a long line of demon hunters, but he doesn’t know that. He was raised by his grandfather, Micah, a demon hunter too, who had to hide the truth to Thomas. Micah raised him on an isolated farm, without friends, TV, Internet…nothing. Thomas was completely cut off from the outside world.

Julian agreed to train Thomas and to teach him everything about the paranormal world and his legacy. Thomas is eager to learn with Julian, and not only about his destiny. But when a prophecy reveals that Thomas must die in order to save the world, Julian will have to choose between the world’s safety or his only real chance of love.

Quenched in Blood by Ari McKay is the third and final book in the Asheville Arcana series.
Julian is a vampire—a broody vampire. He’s fought against the evil forces for centuries now, and with the help of his two best friends and former lovers, Arden and Whimsy, Julian tries to protect the world. He has a lot of guilt in him, and he blames himself for Thomas’ parents and grandfather’s deaths, that’s why he tries to trained him to be the best.

Thomas is eager to discover the world or the worlds around him—the human world and paranormal world. He’d lived sheltered from the outside all his life, and he has a lot to discover. He also wants Julian, not only as a mentor, but also as a lover. He’s young, but eager to learn, he’s brave and kind and accepts his destiny even if it’s terrifying.

I loved these two characters. Julian is the archetype of the broody, moody vampire who reveals himself only to the people he cares about. He can be technically undead, but he’s more human than what people think. He’s strong, brave, fierce but also sensitive, kind and very smart, I loved that about him. Thomas is young but not stupid. He takes his duty as demon hunter seriously, and he’s also brave and doesn’t hesitate to speak his mind when necessary. I liked that he wasn’t a little puppy following and obeying his master.

This book is the last one in the Asheville Arcana Trilogy. We finally know who the demon is, how they’re going to fight it, and if they’ll survive. It was captivating, and I was a little bit sad to have to say goodbye to them.
I had a great time with them, and this final episode was super good.

4 OptimuMM’s for the Vampire and his angel.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Blood and Ghosts” by Shira Anthony

TITLE: Blood and Ghosts
AUTHOR: Shira Anthony
SERIES: Blood
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Reese Dante
GENRE: Urban Fantasy; Vampires
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 230 PAGES
RELEASE DATE: Apr 20, 2015
PRICE: $6.99 – e-book/ $14.99 – paperback

BLURB:

Sequel to Blood and Rain
With vampire Nicolas Lambert’s marriage to a rival clanswoman only weeks away, Adrien Gilbert struggles to come to terms with his defeat at the hands of Verel Pelletier, a vampire hunter and an immortal like himself. Adrien and his former teacher, Roland Günter, begin to explore his newly acquired abilities. But without his soul’s sword, Adrien flounders.
On Nicolas’s wedding day, a two-hundred-year old secret is revealed, sending the wedding party into a blazing battle between hunters and vampires. Once again Adrien finds himself facing Pelletier’s superior strength. Just as Adrien believes all hope of a future with Nicolas is lost, he finally learns his true gift—he can turn back time. But time travel comes with a high cost. To save Nicolas, Adrien must become strong enough to use his power without descending into madness.


Book two in the Blood series and I was on the edge of my seat. This book was incredible. I was so enthralled I dared anyone to interrupt me while reading this. Once I started it, I couldn’t put it down. This installment was much faster-paced than the first, so you really have to pay attention. This book will start tying things together that happened in book one. The time travel can be a little hard to follow at times. There’s just so much happening that a few times I had to go back and reread a page or two so I didn’t get lost. The storyline again in this is fantastic. The world building and the character development is top notch.

Adrien is now an immortal hunter. Secrets about his family history are beginning to be revealed. Adrien is starting to discover truths, and it’s only a matter of time before he breaks from all the changes that are being thrust at him. He has matured a lot in this book. He’s a jealous lover but also becoming his own man. He understands Nicolas’ need to follow the path he set for himself but did it have to come at the price of Adrien’s heart? While Nicolas is spending time with his betrothed before the blood bond that will tie them together for eternity, Adrien is training with his former hunter mentor, Roland. Roland is trying to get Adrien to learn that he has powers beyond his soul sword, but Adrien is struggling. He’s lost faith in his abilities and with the upcoming nuptials, he has no reason to continue as a hunter.

Francois is Adrien’s brother whom we met briefly in book one. He’s traumatized by what happened at the hands of the hunters. The nightmares haunt him, and all he wants is for Charles to let him go. Charles is finally learning that he deserves happiness and Francois is it for him. He knows he’ll seek revenge on those who hurt Francois… he’s just biding his time.

Nicolas, that sweet, sweet vampire. He believes in sacrificing his happiness for the good of the clans and the vampires as a whole. Bringing the two rival clans together for the sake of peace he feels is his duty. Secrets not only unfold for Adrien but for Nicolas as well. Nicolas discovers who he really is and about a past that only his brother Jean and his enemies are privy to. We don’t see a lot of Nicolas in book two. Not the way we know him in book one, and that’s where the time travel comes into play. He’s still formidable as an ancient, but he’s not the same Nicolas we’ve come to love.

This book has a lot of twists and turns. The characters and plot are getting more complex, but the way the author expertly weaves it, you’ll be hooked. Definitely a page-turner and I couldn’t wait to get to book three. Highly recommend. This book is not a stand-alone. You most definitely need to read book one first. Happy reading.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis