Review: “A Triad in Three Acts (The Complete Forester Trilogy)” by Blaine D. Arden

TITLE: A Triad in Three Acts (The Complete Forester Trilogy)
AUTHOR: Blaine D. Arden
SERIES: Tales of the Forest
PUBLISHER: Cayendi Press
COVER ARTIST: Simoné
GENRE: Fantasy; Mystery/Suspense; MMM;
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 340 pages
RELEASE DATE: August 15, 2016
PRICE: $4.99 – e-book/ $12.99 – paperback

BLURB:

There is always a way.”
Kelnaht, Taruif, and Ianys are meant to be together, but old promises and the decree of the elders prevent them from claiming each other openly at Solstice. Kelnaht can investigate murder and foul play, but he can’t see how he can keep both his lovers without breaking the rules. But if he believes in the guide’s words and trusts his faith in Ma’terra, they will find a way to clear the fog and puddles from their paths.
The Forester
Kelnaht, a cloud elf, is a truth seeker caught between love and faith, when a murder reveals an illicit affair between two tree elves he desires more than he can admit. Kelnaht’s former lover Ianys once betrayed him, and the shunned forester Taruif is not allowed to talk to anyone but the guide, their spiritual pathfinder.
Lost and Found
A stripling goes missing from the tribe, and heavy rainfall hides all traces of his whereabouts. With days creeping by without a lead, it’s hard to keep the tribe’s spirits up, more so when Kelnaht’s own future depends on the elders. Taruif has been shunned for almost twenty turns, but now that a possible forester’s apprentice is coming of age, the elders consider reducing his sentence. Taruif could be set free.
Full Circle
When several children fall ill with more than a summer bug, truth seeker Kelnaht is assigned to investigate. What he finds is deadly and threatens the life of every underage child in the tribe, including Ianys’ daughter Atèn. Then a wounded traveller is found in the forest, left to die after a vicious attack.
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I grew up reading fantasy books like Piers Anthony, Terry Brooks, and so many other wonderful fantasy authors and so I was thrilled when I got the opportunity to review a book that has two of my favorite genres combined—Fantasy and all male triads. This book was a joy to read, and since it is the complete series put together, I didn’t have to wait for the next book in the series to come out. And another plus in my book is that I didn’t have to wait until the book was half over to get to the first hot sex scene. I also loved the world that Blaine D. Arden has built for his elves. It sucked me in, and I found myself eagerly reading into the early morning to find out what was going to happen next. The characters were all loveable and unique, and yet they all fit together like puzzle pieces in an intricate puzzle. The author had me rooting for Kelnaht and his former lover, Ianys, and his current object of forbidden desire due to his being shunned, Taruif. Each of the stories has different tasks that the three main characters have to work through before they can get to their happily ever after at the end of the third book.

Kelnaht is a truth seeker and is kind of the private detective of their tribe. He’s also a cloud elf and has wings, so he can fly. One of his abilities as a truth seeker is being able to touch a person to find out what they are hiding and glean the truth. Which sounds cool but in reality, instead of watching what happened, Kalnaht actually experiences what happened as the person he is interrogating. He can also use his magical ability to track while communing with the earth. He also has an apprentice that he’s training to take over his position when he retires.

Ianys is a tree elf and a blacksmith. He was the childhood friend and lover of Kelnaht. However, Ianys wanted kids and so was seeing a female elf at the same time, and Kelnaht didn’t know about her until Ianys left to be her mate when she became pregnant, a stipulation from his baby’s momma since she didn’t want to share him or be in a triad. Kelnaht was heartbroken, but there wasn’t anything that he could do. Another of her stipulations was that Ianys had to promise that Kelnaht wouldn’t be able to raise her daughter if anything happened to her. So even when Ianys became available again later in life, they still couldn’t be together because of the promise. So Ianys found another tree elf to fall in love with although they had to keep their love hidden since the tree elf, Taruif is shunned and is serving a 40 moon sentence for killing his mate.

Taruif is a tree elf and forester. He takes care of the forest and keeps it healthy. He can also talk and feel what the plants are feeling. Because of his abilities, he is only shunned instead of banished when he kills his mate (it sounds like a horrible thing to do but it was what the mate wanted. You’ll just have to read it to understand what happened and why). He’s not allowed to talk to anybody but the guide, their spiritual pathfinder. He’s having a secret relationship with Ianys, but he’s also attracted to Kelnaht and has noticed Kelnaht’s attraction to him also.
When a sapling goes missing, Taruif and Ianys secret affair is brought to Kelnaht’s attention to prove that Taruif didn’t have anything to do with the saplings disappearance. And the three of them will be drawn together again to help find him. And as the guide keeps telling Kelnaht, “Your path is muddy, Kelnaht, but don’t think avoiding the puddles will make it easier to travel.” Kelnaht, Taruif, and Ianys are meant to be together, but old promises and elder elves are keeping them from openly claiming each other during the Solstice. But if he believes in the guide’s words and trusts his faith in Ma’terra, they will find a way to clear the fog and puddles from their paths.

I recommend this book to anybody that loves fantasy books about elves and triad relationships.

***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 ***

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Review: “Snow Balls” by Tara Lain

TITLE: Snow Balls
AUTHOR: Tara Lain
SERIES: Balls to the Wall
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Reese Dante
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 121 pages
RELEASE DATE: December 6, 2017
PRICE: $4.99 – e-book

BLURB:

JJ LaRousse looks like a quarterback but acts like a queen. He’s trying to be proud of who he is—until a robbery at the famous Laguna Winter Fantasy brings JJ face-to-face with tough cop Ryan Star. JJ hears Ryan likes manly men, so he drops his voice an octave, colors his pink hair, and tries to pass as a football fan.
Ryan Star may be tough, but he keeps his sexuality to himself at work. He learned in New York that being a gay cop can be deadly. His attraction to JJ threatens his secret, but he’s finding it hard to back away from a guy who’s so totally his type. Then, during a ski trip and a confrontation with JJ’s biggest nemesis, all the façades come crashing down. In the aftermath, can Ryan love JJ for who he really is? More importantly, can JJ?


First Edition published by Etopia Press, 2012.


Snow Balls is another fabulous book in the Balls to the Wall series. Snow Balls is the sixth book in the series by Tara Lain. The story is well written, nicely edited, and has great flow. The characters are loveable and complex. I loved the storyline and getting to see cameos of the other characters in the series. I adore this series, and I was so excited when I found out that Snow Balls was going to be about JJ LaRousse.

JJ LaRousse is such a loveable queen. He has the biggest most outgoing personality. He will do anything for his friends. He works for David at his gallery and during the winter at the famous Laguna Winter Fantasy. JJ’s personality doesn’t match his looks, however. He looks like a quarterback, and if he were to take out the pink highlights in his hair and stop speaking with his hands, he could pass as a straight guy. And it has taken him a long time to become comfortable with who he is and not who his father wishes him to be. JJ hates sports and anything physical.

His idea of a good time is to go to the theater or socialize with his artist friends. I loved his excited manners and how everything he says or does has an extra helping of drama. The only thing missing from his character is that he isn’t a drag queen. However, he’s still young, and I could see him as a drag queen as he gets older. When the Winter Fantasy gets robbed, JJ is one of the few witnesses that both got a good look at both robbers and talked to them also. The officer assigned to the case is tough cop Ryan Star. JJ hears from a coworker that Ryan likes manly men, and so he drops his voice, hides his hair under a sports team baseball cap from a friend, and tries to pass as a football fan.

Ryan Star keeps his sexuality to himself at work. He learned in New York that being a gay cop can be deadly. He’s out to his captain only and his group of friends. Since he’s in the closet, he prefers to date manly men who he can pass as straight friends should anybody question why he’s out with a guy. When he’s assigned the case to question the witnesses at the Winter Fantasy robbery, he meets the perfect guy for him. JJ is everything he is looking for or so he thinks. He’s built like a quarterback, manly, and is into sports. They start off a relationship on the down low which looks like hanging out with a new straight friend to everybody else. But all good things have to come to an end. And when Ryan and JJ go on a ski trip, and his biggest nemesis confronts JJ, all the facades come crashing down. In the aftermath, can Ryan love JJ for who he really is? Can JJ?

I know the answer, but you’re going to have to read the book to find out. If you are a fan of Tara Lain books and this series in particular, then you don’t want to miss this story. I loved it, and I know you will too.

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

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Review: “Savage” by Kelex

TITLE: Savage
AUTHOR: Kelex
SERIES: Project Zeb
PUBLISHER: Twisted E-Publishing
COVER ARTIST: Covers by K Designs
GENRE: Paranormal; Shapeshifter
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 236 pages
RELEASE DATE: April 30, 2017
PRICE: $3.99 – e-book/ $8.99 – paperback

BLURB:

Six years of working for Project Zed showed MSgt Cutler Morrison all he thought he needed to know about the shifter world. He’d pledged his life to fight back the evil savagery of the wild creatures threatening to kill all humankind… until he realized that the heroes he was fighting with weren’t much in the way of heroes and the ones they were fighting against didn’t seem so hellbent on world domination, after all. Disillusioned, a fateful plane crash brought him down in the middle of shifter territory, and there he saw another side to the beasts he thought were evil.
On Cutler’s first mission with the shifters, they take down one of the weaponized creatures the project imprisoned and bring him to safety. He’s always had an odd connection to Subject Z-620. Cutler’s like a moth to the monster’s flame.
As more secrets about Project Zed come to light, they both have to come to terms with who they were, what they’ve done, and where the road leads…


I loved Savage by Kelex. This is the second book in the Project Zeb series which is a spinoff of the Bear Mountain series. You don’t have to read the Bear Mountain series to read the Project Zeb series. Project Zeb series is set in the Bear Mountain world but mostly focuses on the Indian land owned by Sebastian that is next to Bear Mountain.

We met Sebastian and his mate, Cal, from the first book in the series, Beast. We get to see more of their relationship in the second book also, with Cal having nightmares and finally giving into going and seeing a therapist. We are also introduced to a new character Dario, who is a fire elemental. He didn’t realize that he was anything but human until he was attacked and his new powers protected him. Since then he has been compelled to travel to Bear Mountain. He’s taken in by Sebastian who is going to help him with his powers since he’s an elemental also.

This book mostly focuses on Staff Sargent Culter Morrison and Subject Z-620, otherwise known as Cyprian. Culter was recruited by Colonel Lore to help with Project Zeb. While moving up through the various jobs that he was given over the six years he was there, he had always had a connection and fascination to Subject Z-620 and wanted to help free him. But it wasn’t until he went down in a plane crash over Bear Mountain that he realized that shifters weren’t the monsters he was lead to believe. As a result, he has joined the team of shifters who have made it their mission to bring down Project Zeb one beast at a time and help put them back together again.

During Cutler’s first mission with the shifters, they bring down one of the weaponized creatures the project had imprisoned and brought him to safety. Using a serum that their two shifter healers have perfected to help control and calm all of the shifter voices fighting for control, they are able to help Subject Z-620 reclaim his life and reunite him with Culter. Culter has always felt a connection to Cyprian (Z-620), but he doesn’t know why but with Deacon’s help, he’s able to unlock some of the memories that were hidden from him. Lots of twist with Culter that I didn’t see coming.

I really enjoyed the chemistry between Cyprian and Culter and Sebastian and Cal. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book in the series. The author has hinted that it might be about Dario and his mate Arnaud and I can’t wait to read it.

***The ARC was provided by Twisted E Publishing. My review is an honest opinion of the boo ***

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Review: “Fangs and Catnip” by Julia Talbot

TITLE: Fangs and Catnip
AUTHOR: Julia Talbot
SERIES: Dead and Breakfast
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Aaron Anderson
GENRE: Paranormal; Shapeshifter
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 220 pages
RELEASE DATE: December 1, 2017
PRICE: $4.99 – e-book/ $9.99 – paperback

BLURB:

A romance worth fighting for—tooth and claw.
Solitary vampire Fallon Underwood gets all the social interaction he needs being the silent partner at the Dead and Breakfast B and B high in the Colorado mountains. Change is hard for Fallon, so when his business partner, Tanner, suggests hiring a new manager for the inn, he’s adamant that they don’t need help, especially not in the form of bouncy werecat Carter Hughes.
Carter is a happy-go-lucky kitty, and he loves the hospitality industry, so the D and B ought to be a great place for him. He falls for Fallon as soon as he picks up one of Fallon’s novels and begins to woo the vamp with gifts. When Fallon finally succumbs to Carter’s feline charms, the results are unexpected, to say the least. Their mating will have irreversible consequences—for their bodies and their hearts.


Fangs and Catnip by Julia Talbot is the first book in the Dead and Breakfast series and the ninth book in the Dreamspun Beyond series. I have to say I am greatly enjoying the books in the Dreamspun Beyond series. I love the paranormal aspect of them and how they have a slightly darker and more explicit storyline than the Dreamspun Desire series, both of which are exclusive to Dreamspinner Press.

I greatly enjoyed reading Fangs and Catnip. I found the story to be original with a storyline that hasn’t been overdone. The story had great flow and was easy to read and had been nicely edited. The characters were developed and had characteristics and mannerism that fit with their paranormal selves.
I had no problem figuring out and believing that Tanner’s a bear shifter who would rather be hibernating for the winter instead of being the day manager. He has a snarky, gruff personality, but he’s also very protective of his friends and those he considers family. Sometimes his protective instincts get in the way and do more harm than good, but it’s always with the best of intentions.

Fallon’s also true to form with how he’s described in the blurb. He’s the perfect description of a solitary introvert focused on writing his books to the exclusion of anything else. He’s a silent partner in the Dead and Breakfast Inn and lives in the attic. If it weren’t for Tanner bringing him his meals and keeping him up to date on what’s happening at the D and B Inn, he probably wouldn’t have any interactions with anybody.

Fallon has a very hard time with change, and Tanner has the devil’s own time getting Fallon to agree that they need more help and to allow Tanner to hire a day manager for the winter season. But Fallon finally caves so long as Tanner does all of the interviews and nothing changes for Fallon.
Tanner ends up hiring a bouncy, happy-go-lucky mountain lion shifter named Carter. Carter loves the hospitality industry and is ecstatic about getting a coveted job at the exclusive Dead and Breakfast Inn. Carter loves the diverse clientele that the inn gets and enjoys working with his new boss Tanner.

My favorite client was Tom the bitten werewolf that’s having a hard time controlling his shifting. I liked how Carter and Tom bond as friends and play in their shifted forms out in the snow.
Carter, however, didn’t expect to find his mate in the silent partner of the inn, or that Fallon would be a vampire. But Carter has his work cut out for him with Fallon, who doesn’t feel the pull of the mate bond the same way that Carter does and doesn’t want anything to do with Carter. After having been rejected by his mate, Cater begins to woo his mate with gifts to try and win him over.
And it works, but their bonding will not be a walk in the park, and unless they can figure out what’s going wrong it may just kill them.

Pick up the book and find out for yourself just how they work out their problems and misunderstandings. I really enjoyed it and you probably will too.

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

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Review: “The Secret of the Sheikh’s Betrothed” by Felicitas Ivey

TITLE: The Secret of the Sheikh’s Betrothed
AUTHOR: Felicitas Ivey
SERIES: Dreamspun Desires
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Bree Archer
GENRE: Contemporary Romance; Crossdresser
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 212 pages
RELEASE DATE: November 15, 2017
PRICE: $4.99 – e-book/ $9.99 – paperback

BLURB:

A billionaire and a Bedouin girl—each with a shocking secret.
Billionaire Fathi al-Murzim is a workaholic businessman, too busy running the family’s companies to even think about marriage. Too bad he never told his grandfather he’s gay, because Grandfather just announced a childhood betrothal—to a Bedouin girl Fathi never heard about before.
Ikraam din Abdel was raised as a woman by his avaricious and abusive older sister, who didn’t want him to be their father’s heir. He’d never thought to be married either, and is surprised when his sister informs him of his betrothal.
When Fathi and Ikraam meet, they are drawn to each other in a manner neither of them expected. As the plans for their wedding progress, they both realize they need to tell the other the truth. But can they, with both cultural taboos and family pressures to deal with?


The Secret of the Sheikh’s Betrothed by Felicitas Ivey is the forty-sixth book in the Dreamspun Desires Series. This is my first book by Felicitas Ivey, and I have to say that I very much enjoyed reading it. I also can’t wait to read more books by Felicitas Ivey. This book had secrets, action, drama, verbal and physical abuse from an older sibling that forced her sibling to dress and act like a woman so that there wouldn’t be a male heir to take over the Bedouin tribe. I adored the whole story, and I was intrigued until the end. I just couldn’t put it down. Which for me is surprising because I have found from reading other Dreamspun Desire books that they are a little on the tame side for me. A little too sweet and not enough passion to balance it out. But I didn’t have that problem with this book.

I absolutely loved both Fathi and Ikraam. I loved when they first met and how confused Fathi was to find that he desired a female for the first time or so he thought. It really had him questioning his sexuality since he was gay and had never been attracted to a girl before. Ikraam played the perfect Bedouin girl, and he had been forced to play the role for his whole life, so he was actually more comfortable being completely covered as a proper Bedouin then not being covered when with his betrothed even after Fathi found out that Ikraam was a male instead of a female. Which works out perfectly for Fathi since he needs to get married to a female in appearance but wants a male in his bed. This also works for Ikraam who never thought to find somebody that would accept him for who he is and still want to marry him. But for everything to work out perfectly Fathi’s grandfather will have to outwit and outplay Ikraam’s abusive and manipulative older sister and rescue Ikraam’s underage cousin from an abusive male that she is betrothed to. But you just know that Grandfather is up for the challenge.

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

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