Category: Urban Fantasy

Review: “Outcast” by J.S Frankel

TITLE: Outcast
AUTHOR: J.S Frankel
PUBLISHER: Devine Destinies
COVER ARTIST: Martine Jardin
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
LENGTH: 217 pages
RELEASE DATE: Feb 16, 2018
PRICE: $4.99 e-book


Mitch Kessler, teenage high school dropout, jobless and mostly friendless, lives a life of solitude, but not by choice. Endowed with the ability to bring wings out of his body as well as claws, and transform himself into a fierce creature of the night, he’s picked up a nickname from the general public that he hates: gargoyle.
However, that’s the least of his worries. His girlfriend, Callie, can’t keep her genders straight, his best friend is a spinning top, and his other acquaintance is made of rock. It’s obviously a government plot, but Mitch doesn’t know who’s behind it or why. Worse, various and sundry creations have now appeared out of the woodwork and are out to kill him.
Aided by his friends, the four outcasts attempt to find out who’s running the show. They’re out to stop the forces of evil before they can do more damage. That is, if they survive.

Mitch is different. He can change into a creature that looks like a gargoyle. Since he had his first change, Mitch was outcast by everyone, except his mother.
But he’s not alone, his best friend Joe is a spinning top, his girlfriend Callie can’t keep his/her gender and switches from male to female, and Neil is made of rock.
They try to be normal, to have a normal life, but people don’t trust them, they fear them and want to chase them out of their town, and worse, some weird creatures/monsters, try to kill them.
How do you live like an average teenager when you’re not? That’s what Mitch and his friends will have to figure out, if they survive.

I liked this book.

Mitch lives with his mother, spent all his free time with his best friend Joe and wants to be the new quarterback of his football team. But suddenly, he changes into a creature of the night with claws and wings, and his face changes into a kind of monster face with red eyes, and his life changes forever.
Joe is Mitch’s best friend; he also changes with him. He’s a human spinning top, he has a fast metabolism too, and he’s a great support for Mitch when they don’t argue.
Callie is born Cal. She’s born male, but she’s always felt like a girl. At sixteen, Cal changes and becomes Callie… without any treatment or surgery. Like Mitch can fly, Callie can change her gender. Great! You’d think she can finally be who she truly is, but nope, because Callie can’t keep her gender straight and can’t control her change.
Neil is the rock man. He has a human face with a rock body. Yep, rocks, stones, he eats them too.
I had a good moment with these four outcasts. I liked it a lot.

The author doesn’t write a story with super-mutants against super-villain with a lot of explosions and epic battles. In this book, we follow them, especially Mitch who tries to have a normal life. How he’s judged, excluded, and mistreated by people. How those kids are cast out. The plot is focused on Mitch and his team, and the government’s conspiracy against them in the background. I love the way the author, with this story, treated the difficult subject of the exclusion. How people can judge you, how they can hurt you because you’re different. Callie’s character express what transgender people must be feeling every day. I really like all the messages that the author put in his book.

I recommend this book for you but also for your young ones.

4 OptimuMM’s for this band of misfits.

***I would like to thank the author for the privilege and opportunity of reading this ARC. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Stone the Crows” by TA Moore

TITLE: Stone the Crows
SERIES: Wolf Winter
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Urban Fantasy; Shapeshifters
LENGTH: 240 pages
RELEASE DATE: May 29, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 – e-book/ $14.99 – paperback


When the Winter arrives, the Wolves will come down over the walls and eat little boys in their beds.
Doctor Nicholas Blake might still be afraid of the dark, but the monsters his grandmother tormented him with as a child aren’t real.
Or so he thought…until the sea freezes, the country grinds to a halt under the snow, and he finds a half-dead man bleeding out while a dead woman watches. Now his nightmares impinge on his waking life, and the only one who knows what’s going on is his unexpected patient.
For Gregor it’s simple. The treacherous prophets mutilated him and stole his brother Jack, and he’s going to kill them for it. Without his wolf, it might be difficult, but he’ll be damned if anyone else gets to kill Jack—even if he has to enlist the help of his distractingly attractive, but very human, doctor.
Except maybe the prophets want something worse than death, and maybe Nick is less human than Gregor believes. As the dead gather and the old stories come true, the two men will need each other if they’re going to rescue Jack and stop the prophets’ plan to loose something more terrible than the wolf winter.

Stone the Crows is the second book in the Wolf Winter series by TA Moore. I liked this book much better than the first book in the series, Dog Days. It did start off slow, and it took me about thirty percent of the book to figure out what was going on and become invested in the book. I did have an easier time connecting with the characters in this book and the author even got me to cry a couple of times.

I loved Jimmy. He’s a supporting character, but he was one of my favorite supporting characters. He was one of the children that were rejected for transfer to the big city because he had leukemia and had a low survival rate. I also liked his dad who was the sheriff. He made questionable choices in the book, but he did them for the right reason, trying to save his son’s life. I was happy that Jimmy survived all that happened to him and I hope to see more of him in the next book. I also liked that I was able to connect with the main characters, Gregor and Doctor Nicholas Blake. I liked the interactions and chemistry between Nicholas and Gregor, and I became invested in their relationship. I liked that Gregor doesn’t treat Nicholas as a lesser being just because he happens to be human.

I like how Nicholas starts out seeming like a minor character with not a lot of important duties (he gets to record the dead so that they can be identified by family members later on). He’s used to working in the morgue and doesn’t have the best social skills when forced to interact with his fellow doctors. He grew up with a harsh grandma that filled his young head with stories about gods, prophecies, and monsters—of Wolves that will come down over the walls when winter arrives and eat little boys in their beds. How was he to know that the monsters his grandmother tormented him with as a child were real? But when he finds a half-dead man bleeding out while a dead woman watches, he starts to believe. Now his nightmares are encroaching on his waking life, and the only one who knows what’s going on is his unexpected patient.

I also liked Gregor. Between Gregor and his twin brother, Jack, he’s supposed to be the bad twin, but I actually like him more than Jack. But Gregor has lots of challenges in this book. The main one which will affect his getting his brother back is that the treacherous prophets mutilated him and stole his wolf half. He still has his faster healing ability and his connection to the Wild, but he no longer has the ability to change into his wolf. But he is determined to get his brother and his mate back from the prophets.

I’m still not sure how Gregor wasn’t captured with his brother and his mate. It was probably in the first part of the book when I was trying to figure out what was going on. I also wasn’t sure why the prophets were using skin grafts to make their monsters instead of just biting them like they had in the first book maybe it will be explained more in the next book. Maybe each prophet has their own way of making their monsters. I don’t know.

I do know that there are lots of twists and turns in this book and most of them I didn’t see coming. And now that I’m invested in Gregor and Nicholas, I can’t wait for the next book to come out so I can find out what happens on their journey to the Numitor and what happens to the prophet that got away.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Nudging Fate” by E.J. Russell

TITLE: Nudging Fate
AUTHOR: E.J. Russell
SERIES: Enchanted Occasions
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Aaron Anderson
GENRE: Urban Fantasy; Paranormal
LENGTH: 224 pages
RELEASE DATE: May 15, 2018
PRICE: $4.99 – e-book/ $9.99 – paperback


Not exactly a match made in Valhalla.
Half-norn event planner Anders Skuldsson is under strict orders from Asgard not to meddle with Fate. But with Enchanted Occasions’ latest booking—a competition for the hand of Faerie’s one true prince—crashing around his ears, it’s really difficult to toe that particular line. But if Andy pretends to be a contender for the prince…. It’s only temporary, so Odin can’t blame him. Right?
Conall of Odstone’s half-brother, Prince Reyner, was supposed to choose a mate before being crowned and wed. But the idiot left Con to impersonate him. Again.
When Con meets Andy, his anger turns to desire… and despair. Even if Andy forgives him for his imposture, how could someone eligible for a prince’s hand settle for the court outcast? And the double-deception isn’t their only obstacle. Unless Andy makes the right choice, their fates could be sealed by…well… Fate.

Nudging Fate is the first book in the Enchanted Occasions series by E.J. Russell and the twentieth book in the Dreamspun Beyond series. For me, this book was a collection of all the pieces making the book the success that it was. You know how some books only focus on the main characters and then there are the supporting characters that sometimes enhance a story. Well with this book I loved the supporting characters just as much as I loved the main characters and I don’t think the book would have been as entertaining without them. I do have to say that I wasn’t expecting what happened at the end of the book, but I loved how the book was resolved.

Anders Skuldsson is Half-norn (half human-half paranormal or as the purebloods call them aitchers), event planner who is related to the big three, the Norns who tended Yggdrasil, who have forbidden him from interfering with fate. However, if he’s caught nudging fate, then he has to answer to Odin and return to Asgard. He works for Enchanted Occasions and has a whole staff of half-norns. After a mishap with their last event, they haven’t been hired in over a year. Then the Faerie Queen hires Enchanted Occasions for the Courting, Coronation, and Handfasting of his Royal Highness Reyner of Maidencourt, the One True Prince of Faerie and specifies that Andy is to be the person in charge. Andy will do anything in his power to make the event a success. And he will be tested at every turn with the special requests and limitations made by the candidates for being the Prince’s Consort. When something happens that makes all of the candidates indisposed for the first date with Prince Reyner, Andy does the only thing that he can think of—he pretends to be one of the candidates and goes on the date with the prince. He had no idea that the prince would be so handsome and that they would have such powerful chemistry. It’s only supposed to be one time, but circumstances keep pushing them together, so what’s an event planner supposed to do? You’ll have to read it to find out.

Conall of Odstone is the half-brother of Prince Reyner, but his life has never been as easy or fun as his half-brother’s life. Conall is a half-norn, which means that he is pretty much beneath anyones notice and makes him the court outcast. He’s the product of the Faerie Queen’s consort and the court herbalist. Conall and Reyner were conceived on the same day, born on the same hour, and named in the same ceremony. Although Reyner’s naming day gifts of charm, wit, and beauty were a far cry to Conall’s inconvenient gift of responsibility. However, he wouldn’t even have gotten that one if it wasn’t for a wand’s misfire.

Conall did get three things out of his birth, his mother, Reyner, and Talus (an old world Knight made of squeaky Iron who will make you laugh). With the help of a spell, Conall can look like his half-brother and impersonate him and go to the functions that Reyner doesn’t want to go to. Which just happens to include the event that his mother has planned. Reyner is supposed to pick out his consort from the candidates that his mother has picked, but as Reyner is a bit of a playboy and has already slept with all of them except for one, he tells his brother just to pick whichever one he wants. Reyner doesn’t care since he doesn’t love any of them and doesn’t have much of a choice. So posing as the prince, Conall goes on his dates, but he isn’t expecting to be so attracted to the candidate, Andy. Conall didn’t plan on falling for Andy and even if Andy forgives him for his imposture, how could someone eligible for a prince’s hand settle for the court outcast? And unless Andy makes the right choice, their fates could be sealed by, well, Fate.

I can’t wait to read more books in the Enchanted Occasions series. And I still haven’t been disappointed yet by any of the books in the Dreamspun Beyond series.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Mage of Inconvenience” by Parker Foye

TITLE: Mage of Inconvenience
AUTHOR: Parker Foye
SERIES: Dreamspun Beyond
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Aaron Anderson
GENRE: Paranormal;Shapeshifter; Urban Fantasy
LENGTH: 212 pages
RELEASE DATE: March 20, 2018
PRICE: $4.99 – e-book/ $9.99 – paperback


Can they find the magic in a practical union?
West is on the run from his werewolf pack, but if he cannot renew his magical defenses, he won’t get far. What he needs is a mage….
Julian is part of a wealthy and ancient family, and one day, his legacy will include his mother’s vast library of spell books—and the knowledge he needs to correct his past mistakes. But his inheritance comes with a stipulation: he has to be married before he can collect. What he needs is a husband….
West and Julian can help each other, and at first they don’t want anything further. But as they dodge meddling cousins, jealous rivals, and an insidious drug, it becomes clear that their lives are entwined in ways they never imagined—and they’re in greater danger than they thought possible.

Mage of Inconvenience is the first book that I’ve read by Parker Foye, but I liked the blurb, and I’ve loved the books in the Dreamspun Beyond series. And since this is the sixteenth book in the series, I figured I would give it a chance. I liked the book. I liked the author’s writing style and the plot. I also liked the characters. And while by the end of the book I could feel the love that the two main characters had for each other, I would have loved to have seen more passion in the book. However, the lack of sex isn’t going to keep me from reading more books from Parker Foye since I really did enjoy the book even if it only had kissing and a self-pleasuring scene.

West is a werewolf or as they are now called a “Meta” and has left his pack to live among the humans. He works at a dinner and keeps his head down and stays out of trouble. He found an abandoned cabin in the woods near town and is blessed that it has been protected by mage symbols. West is full of secrets which we learn about as the story progresses, although I would have liked more detail about why West ran away from his pack. The author glosses over the details, and we get bits and pieces of what happened. When something disrupts his defense system, he will need to find a mage to renew his magical defenses before his pack can find him. He calls the only person from his pack that he can trust. His best friend, Dana. Dana recommends the mage Julian.

Julian is part of a wealthy and ancient family and is a bit of a playboy. He doesn’t do relationships anymore after one resulted in a magical mistake that he needs his mother’s spell books to fix. However, in order to get his mother’s inheritance, he has to get married. So when West comes in to have his magical defenses renewed, it seems like the perfect fix to all of his problems. He gets a husband so that he can inherit and West gets a place to stay while his defenses are being renewed. Now doesn’t that sound easy? I bet they wished that it had gone so easy, but unfortunately it didn’t. And you’re just going to have to read the book to find out all of the things that they had to go through to get their happily ever after.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Lover, Lover” by Liv Olteano

TITLE: Lover, Lover
AUTHOR: Liv Olteano
SERIES: Dreamcatchers Tale
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Aaron Anderson
GENRE: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
LENGTH: 202 pages
RELEASE DATE: Februry 20, 2018
PRICE: $4.99 e-book / $9.99 paperback


A Dreamcatchers Tale

Twin souls reunited.
Drew’s always been a fighter: first in martial arts competitions, and now as a dreamcatcher—keeping the people of Seattle safe from spaga attacks that would drain their life force in their sleep. All he has to do to become a full member of Team 32 is complete his first mission.
But the first person he must defend is his ex, Angelo… the only man Drew ever loved, even if he was the one to leave. Drew never got over Angelo, and it seems Angelo might feel the same, despite the heartbreak he suffered at Drew’s hands.
As the chase after a powerful and resourceful caster hits close to home, old feelings resurface. But if Angelo learns of the dreamcatchers, he’ll be a target for the spaga. And how can he trust Drew now that Drew’s keeping bigger secrets than ever?

Drew is the new member of team 32. A team of “Super beings” who fights spagas (demons) who drain people of their life force during their sleep.
In order to become a full member of the team, Drew has to succeed on his first mission. Protecting an innocent and kill the spagas.

But when the innocent is Angelo, Drew’s ex-boyfriend, and love of his life, Drew realizes that he can’t be full without Angelo. But how to convinced Angelo that Drew is here for good when his life is full of danger?
I liked this book.

The story is from Drew’s pov. He’s funny, smart, fierce, and blunt. He’s also completely in love with Angelo and feels guilt for breaking his heart 5 years ago. However, Drew fights for Angelo and to prove to him he’s sorry and really wants to be with him for good, until the end of their lives. I liked it about Drew, the fact that he acknowledges his wrongdoing, and tries to make amends, pleased me.

Angelo is sweet, smart and very kind. He loves Drew, never stopped, but he can’t send him away, he can’t turn his back on him. I love Angelo. He’s so sweet and adorable, but not weak. He’s a good match for Drew.

There’s also Taka and Claw the other two hot members of the team that I want to know better. And Aashi, their boss, a spider/woman, or a woman/spider, I’m not really sure actually, but she’s scary and funny, but terrifying.

The plot was good, but a little bit confused and messy. We cleary understand their universe and what they are and what the spagas are, but the plot itself was a little bit hasty. Everything was fast without really being developed. But it’s book 1 of the series, so the basis is settled, and I think the series will get better and better.
Anyway, I’ll look forward to the other books, because even if everything wasn’t perfect, the story was still good and the characters loveable.
3.5 stars for Team 32

***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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