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Tag Archives: Warriors

AL_TheBattleForGalerirTitle: The Battle for Galerir (The Galerir Saga #2)
Author: Anna Lee
Publisher: MLR
Length: 68k words
Genre: m/m Fantasy Romance
Heat: 4 – Spicy & Smutty (1 really hot scene!)
Sex Frequency: 2 – Few and Far Between
Keywords/Tags: Series, Dragons, Sweet & Light, Battles/War, Warriors, Knights, Royalty, Death, Established Couple, Meet the Parents, Magic, Mages/Sorcerers, gods, Secrets & Lies, Middle Book
Rating: Pretty Good

**Review contains spoilers for those who have not read the first book in the series**

BLURB

Sword against sword, magik against magik, dragon against dragon, the Battle for Galerir is being waged and victory will come with great sacrifice.

A traitorous plot seals King Antony’s fate and the enemy is days away from reaching the kingdom of Galerir. Prince Tomas must become regent and ensure Galerir is prepared for war. Tomas must also learn to balance duty and love when he lifts the ban on magik and fights for the chance to openly love his knight, Griffin. Together, he and Griffin face their destiny.

REVIEW

After reading and reviewing the first book in this series, The Prince of Galerir in February of this year, I was excited and interested to see where Anna Lee would take this story. I had quite a bit of criticism for her then, even though I really enjoyed reading the story, and I was particularly interested to see the writing in this sequel. I wasn’t disappointed 🙂

We left Tomas and Griffin in the end of the first book in the capital city of Galerir and in the castle. Tomas has been accepted by the people and crowned as Crown Prince Tomas, nephew of King Antony of Galerir. Tomas didn’t know his uncle for all of his life, and only learned about his real heritage and family in the first book, after the events were set in motion for war for Galerir from a lost descendant eager for the throne and the weakened health of Antony. Until then, he was the son of a lord and his best friend is Griffin, now his knight. The two grew up together and fell in love. And only when it was the choice of a life married to a girl he doesn’t care about (and he’s gay) or running away with Griffin did the two admit their feelings — with a little help from a baby dragon they found and bonded with that helped them share their true emotions. But then, Tomas found out that King Antony was really his uncle and that he’d been hidden away until he was needed to secure the lineage and the throne.

This sequel carries forward in the outside plot more than the romantic plot. Tomas and Griffin are quite in love and committed to one another. They are engaged, and ready to change the laws that say one man cannot marry and love another, and eager to come out to the people themselves. Until that time however, they have a lot to deal with. Galerir is preparing for war from the lost descendant of one of the past kings and the rogue, evil dragon named Ator that he convinced to help him in his cause. King Antony is growing weaker and may be dying if they cannot find a cure to what is ailing him. And that means that Prince Tomas has even more duties than normal, acting as interim Regent while his uncle Antony is bedridden. Can they find those across the border that once had to flee Galerir when magik was made illegal? Will the elves, centaurs and dragons there help them in trying to unite Galerir as it once was? And will it be in time to stop the war that is coming?

I was really, really pleased with the writing in this story. I thought that Anna Lee’s writing grew leaps and bounds between the first book and this book. Perhaps it is also that Griffin and Tomas have been together a while and now are committed rather than very new lovers, but I also felt that the overly sweet and constant declarations of love were way toned down. Their relationship is still very sweet, but most of the tension and conflict in this series is not internal, but rather external. However, I really liked that their relationship grew in this book, and that was partly done because they, at times, but heads and argue. I loved that. I liked seeing a more dynamic relationship between them. The other reason that they grew together was the appearance of Griffin’s family, especially his father whom he has a rocky and abusive relationship with.

I got confused a few times. I’m not going to really spoiler you here, but I will tell you that this book ends with the end of the war. At least, I assume that’s the case unless the next book is going to introduce an even bigger villain that we didn’t know about. But, a few times I wondered if I had it wrong and this wasn’t the second book in a three-part series. Was this a duology and the battle and the end of the war was the end of the series? That is typically the end of the series arc in fantasy stories. But, according to the info at the end of the book, the third book Reuniting Galerir is to continue and I assume finish the series with Tomas and Griffin’s adventures to visit the magikal creatures I mentioned earlier to reunite the country. If that’s the case, then I’m really excited for the third book. The structure of the overall plot arc was not what I was expecting at all, but I’m excited by it. The forte of this story isn’t the politics of the world and the war, those act simply as a catalyst to explore the magikal world, creatures and people and mostly the relationship between Tomas and Griffin. It is, if I could describe it well enough, a more sweet and gentle exploration of a fantasy. I like that. I liked the first book okay, but after reading the second one I’m really interested and hooked on the series.


wordsofdivinityTitle: Words of Divinity
Author: Kayla Bain-Vrba
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Length: 42,500 words
Genre: m/m Fantasy Romance
Heat: 3 – Sexy & Mild
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Sex to Story
Keywords/Tags: Enemies to Lovers, Quest, Second Chances, Street Kid, Magic, Warrior, Alternate Worlds, Gods/Demigods, Fey/Elves, Demons (uh… sorta)
Rating: Pretty Good

BLURB

Daniel is a sorcerer, good at magic and taking all the credit—or so it seems to Liam. In Daniel’s eyes that’s vastly preferable to being Liam, a hunter who excels at killing beasts and sleeping with everything else. They cooperate only to keep their country safe—until a new and greater danger calls for desperate measures that takes them to the land of gods, and the only way home again is by facing monsters, gods, and truths they’ve been avoiding.

REVIEW

In many ways this was just the kind of book that I love. A solid fantasy (not high fantasy) that plays with alternate worlds, gods/demigods, demon-like creatures, a magical war, and a quest between worlds and back. Though I had a few problems with the book as a whole, for the most part I really enjoyed it.

Words of Divinity is told from the opposing viewpoints of Daniel and Liam, a mage and a hunter. We first meet Liam on the streets of the capitol. He’s been living on the streets since the age of fourteen, a runaway from an abusive alcoholic father. While wandering the streets at night, Liam is attacked by a giant rat that nearly kills him. But in his fight for his life, Liam is able to kill the rat barehanded, an almost impossible feat that is witnessed by another man who takes Liam to the local regiment’s barracks. Liam is extremely distrustful of authority, but he soon learns that he’s there to recount his impressive tale and immediately offered into the ranks of a new group of warriors, a special subset of the country’s military that has been organized to fight a new menace — the demon spawn called up from the Underworld by the dark mages of a neighboring country.

Liam finds a place among the hunters. Completing training faster than any of the others, he finds that he’s exceptional at something and the center of a group of warriors that look up to him. Maybe it’s this new respect that inflates his ego, or more likely just part and parcel of how his experiences so far have molded him — his abusive father, his early sexual experiences and his casual disregard of how he’s been used by both people and authority. Whatever it is, this new and cocky Liam is the epitome of a bad boy — sleeping his way across the regiment, and then into the group of mages traveling with them and the local boys at every village they pass as they march from battle to battle.

Liam soon finds that not everyone is susceptible to his charms. Daniel is a mage that the other mages avoid. He’s held in high esteem by the Crown Prince Erik who accompanies their ragtag company, and they soon grow a friendship, though Daniel shuns any other company. He’s secretive, and for good reason. Daniel is their biggest asset because of his ability to hear the thoughts of the demons they hunt. He has more secret abilities, however, that seem to have a mind of their own, constantly wanting to be used. While he’s fighting the demon spawn with the other mages and hunters, he’s also waging a war among his own powers and his own history, which he keeps locked away among his deepest secrets. When Daniel first meets Liam, he’s taken by his charisma, confidence and sexy swagger. Their friendship, though, is brief when Daniel sees some of his worst qualities — his endless meaningless conquests and his loose tongue. Liam likes to brag about his conquests and getting prudish Daniel to give it up for him is his goal, including spreading the tales afterward to anyone that wants to listen.

Now pitted against one another, they spend quite a long time at odds, only growing in animosity. They’re soon thrust into a quest where they have to open up to one another and rely on each other to survive. And even more than that, they are forced to reevaluate their preconceived notions about the other.

What Kayla V-B did best in this novella is in these two characters. At times I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about them. In fact, for probably the first half of the book I really hated Liam. We don’t quite get a lot of his history until much later in the book so even though we know about his asshole father, we don’t quite understand his vulnerability, which just makes him seem like an asshole. I think that Daniel (at least for me) is a bit easier to get close to. It’s easier to understand him and to really pull for him because his vulnerability is on the surface… he’s extremely tormented. The format of the book (the quest is like an obstacle course they have to maneuver, with tests that manipulate them and their feelings) makes the two come together because, honestly, I doubt they would if they weren’t forced to. They’re so opposed to one another. In fact, I don’t know that I’ve read an m/m romance in recent history that deals with the enemies to lovers trope where the characters hated and misunderstood the other more. And with the world around them manipulating their actions, they constantly seem to come together to be torn apart. It makes for some nice angst that I didn’t feel was too overdone. And I really liked the fact that the characters are who they are with a real fierceness, if that makes sense at all. They’re both passionate, and that makes them alternately rub each other the wrong way, while at other times they can co-exist.

I had a bit of a difficult time getting into the story, though. The first few chapters traverse several years in order to set up the story, introduce both characters and a bit of their history, and then show the few years they travel together and how Liam and Daniel grow to hate one another. I think that it all comes down to pacing. At the start of the story the pace is extremely fast. We’re given a lot of information while time speeds forward every few paragraphs to chapters and then when the characters are forced on their journey together the pace changes. Also, while this part of the story is interspersed with skirmishes and battles that we’re shown in present time, there’s a lot of narration to fill us in on the world and the characters. It wasn’t until I finished the book that I could see the jog in the pace and I started to think about the beginning. Rather than telling us about their past, I would have rather been shown those scenes. It would have meant adding quite a bit more pages, but I think there would have been more balance.

But, in all, this was quite the enjoyable read and I’d definitely recommend it to fantasy fans. I’m not sure whether the author plans to extend the story at all, but I’d definitely be there, in line to read it if she wanted to. The story definitely ends with a pretty solid HFN, on the line to an HEA. I only doubt the HEA because of their past history and we don’t see where their adventures are headed. It’s nicely done to either let the story rest or open it again at a future point.


GravemenTitle: The Gravemen
Author: Melissa North
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Length: 48k words
Genre: m/m Fantasy Historical Romance
Heat: 1 – Sweet/None
Sex Frequency: 1 – None
Keywords/Tags: Enemies to Lovers, Warriors, Kidnapping, Opposites Attract
Rating: Really Liked It

BLURB

THE BANAM-HIN: An elite guard of the royal palace and city, they are seldom seen beyond them. Asdelar is a Blade of marked skill, but also a man who lives loud—flirtatious, teasing, open and free with affection. Life is not meant to be dull, even for a Blade.

THE IMALT-WOR: The notorious strong arms of the king, they maintain his law across the land. They are highly disciplined, respected and feared. Hinego is as strict in his personal life as he is maintaining the king’s law. He has no time or patience for careless wastrels.

Forced to work together to locate the king’s missing niece, neither man sees the journey ending in anything but disaster.

REVIEW

I was already somewhat interested in this story from the blurb, but I was really excited to read it after I read Melissa’s guest post here on the blog yesterday. So, when I had time last night, I decided to read it. And I’m glad I did! It was the perfect length for starting a book at night (I just can’t seem to make myself start a long[ish] novel anytime after 5pm) and I was drawn right into the story, literally from the first few sentences. Instead of a lead-in to the first real scene, maybe some narration to ease us into the story like I usually find in romance, The Gravemen starts in the middle of a conversation and immediately shows how the two main characters are set against one another. The tension is there from the beginning. And oh, how exciting! I love enemies-to-lovers stories 🙂

Asdelar and Hinego are thrown together to carry out a mission in the name of the King: search out his great-niece and bring her home. The only thing they have in common is that they’re both Gravemen — members of one of the two warrior sects that serve under the King — in all the rest they’re firmly opposites. Asdelar is a Banam-Hin, one of the warriors known as Blades for their skills with the sword who stay in the capital city as a guard. He’s also incredibly handsome and free-spirited, easy with charm and sexual innuendo and quick to laugh. Leaving the city is an adventure for him, he’s rarely seen anything but the capital and the palace, but he’s always wanted to travel and see the country. Hinego is one of the Imalt-Wor, warriors called Reds because of the color of the sash they wear to assert their authority. The Imalt-Wor travel the country and assert the King’s law among the many towns and villages. They’re most known, though, for their fighting style that eschews weapons in any form. While Asdelar is a young prodigy with the sword, Hinego can take down a group of mercenaries with just his hands, using precisely placed blows to cause the most harm, even death.

As they travel behind the lost girl, searching for clues of her whereabouts, the two seem to grate on each other’s nerves more and more. Because while Asdelar’s natural friendly affinity for meeting new people and making new friends has him talking Hinego’s ear off trying to get to know him and enjoy his first adventure away from the city, Hinego grows more contemptuous about having to work with him, seeing him as weight he has to carry. Hinego is in his element while traveling the countryside, but he’s a natural loner. Often surly and ill-tempered, Hinego holds his duty to his King above all others and see’s Asdelar’s choice to seize opportunities to enjoy the trip (whether an evening at a village tavern or a night in bed with a woman, or man, he’s not picky!) as out of order. And even more than angering Hinego, it makes him undervalue his worth to commit and see their job through to the end. It doesn’t help that Asdelar has little skills to make it on the road.

Clues to the whereabouts of the King’s niece are thin on the ground, and though Hinego is apt to think along the lines of kidnapping, Asdelar is used to the bratty royal and her frequent attempts to run away to get her way because of his familiarity with the palace and is pretty sure that they’ll find the girl in no time at all. Asdelar is trying everything he can think of to try to get to know Hinego, but nothing seems to be working. He’s going to have to do something to prove to the Red that he’s capable and takes his job and their mission seriously. Sooner rather than later, that opportunity comes when fording a river swelled with spring runoff. Being rather shorter than the tall Banam-Hin, Hinego is swept away and is rescued by the impetuous man, whose quick thinking sees them both to safety. Though things between them are never easy after that, they start to get to know one another.

I think what I liked so much about this story was just how easy it was to read. There’s not a whole lot of worldbuilding, so even though this is technically fantasy, the story is character driven and the details (political, cultural, geographical, etc.) are limited only to what it takes to fill out the story satisfactorily. Likewise, while the relationship between the two is never downright chummy, they also aren’t constantly at each other’s throats. There’s quite a bit of gentle banter and a few small arguments, but mostly it’s a subtle dance of attraction and camaraderie and bonding that they play, and it is often humorous to watch Asdelar’s flirting and Hinego’s seemingly prudish embarrassment. Yes, for the most part, this story is really about these two men getting to know one another while traveling through the countryside. And I thoroughly enjoyed it.

While I wasn’t wowed by the ending, I wasn’t entirely disappointed either. There’s a fair bit of action in the last quarter of the story as the two come closer and closer to their quarry and face the inevitable confrontation. I think it depends on whether you wanted more worldbuilding and external story (outside of the relationship, I mean) during the first three-quarters or if you were satisfied, like I was, if you’ll really enjoy the ending. Because while it wasn’t heart-stopping and it was pretty obvious what had happened to the girl, I didn’t really care as much about that part of the story as I did the relationship anyway, so all I really cared about was how they would come to together. On that front, I did wish that it had happened a little bit earlier, so that we could see them together and getting to know each other with all the cards on the table. As for the lack of any sexual scenes, that didn’t bother me at all.

This author is new to me, but I really hope that she continues to write and publish. This story was perfect for Less Than Three press, so if you know that publisher as well as I do and like what they consistently publish then this will be perfect for you. I would encourage you to give it a try, though, especially if you’re in the mood for something that’s light but not without substance or good characters that aren’t of stock romance quality. And if you do read it, I hope you enjoy it as I did.


thewarrior400Title: The Warrior
Author: S.S. Skye
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Length: 5,400 words
Genre: m/m Fantasy
Heat: 1 – Sweet/None
Sex Frequency: 1 – None
Keywords/Tags: HEA, Kiss Me at Midnight Collection, Magic, Fire Mage, Mate Bonding, Short Story, Warriors
Rating: Pretty Good

Reviewed by Nikyta

BLURB

Edander has been at the Conservatory for twelve years, ever waiting and hoping for the day he finds a warrior with whom he can bond. But hope and opportunity are running out, and even the arrival of a promising stranger cannot quite convince him that perhaps his chance has come at last.

REVIEW

Twelve years ago, Edander went to the Conservatory to try and control his fire power. Now that he can, he’s stuck at the Conservatory until he finds a bondmate, that one person who can stabilize his power so that he doesn’t spiral out of control. When a stranger, Ignifer, shows up at the Conservatory unannounced, he’s slightly curious of the man but doesn’t really take a notice of him until later. It’s not long before the two are forced to take on a brigade and then strike up a friendship filled with stories and all the information Ignifer can give Edander about the war. Ignifer is leaving soon, though, so that begs the question, will he take Edander with him and ask to be bondmates?

The blurb is a little misleading in the sense that while I was reading, I didn’t necessarily get the feeling that Edander was desperately waiting for his bondmate nor did he think of the stranger becoming his right from the start. It is more in the way that Edander finds a kindred spirit in Ignifer and how easily they seem to work together and get along. With that said, I really enjoyed this one because of the characters.

Edander is a bit melancholy because he hates the winter at the Conservatory, which seems to consist of rain and wind. Regardless of the fact he can manipulate fire, he’s always so cold until he meets Ignifer. Ignifer, on the other hand, is like a ray of sunshine. He has a very scarred face but that doesn’t stop him from taking enjoyment and amusement wherever he can and, with Edander, he seems to get that. The two work very well together in fighting but also seem to be a perfect fit in getting along.

This is one of those stories that had a lot of potential but because of the length of the book doesn’t go in as much depth as it could have. We get a sense for the world they live in (which I found fascinating) and even a slice of fighting. We see how the two start their relationship and get a brief taste of how it blossoms. I really enjoyed all of it but I think the biggest problem is how short it is. This story could have been very good if it had been longer, expanding on not just the developing relationship but also how Ignifer and Edander work outside the safety of the Conservatory as they get closer to war.

Overall, this was an enjoyable story. For such a short book, the author did a good job of making the characters shine and even giving the reader a good sense of how the world operates. It’s well-written and easy to read but a longer and more detailed story would have made this story much more entertaining. Hopefully there will be a sequel so that we can see how Edander and Ignifer handle life together and what all happens when Ignifer meets Edander’s family.


heaven400Title: Something Happened on the Way to Heaven
Editors: Samantha Derr
Authors: Isabella Carter, Sylvia Winters, Elizah J Davis, Kayla Bain-Vrba, Evie Kiels, Megan Derr, Debora Day, May Ridge & Sasha L Miller
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Length: 208k words
Genre: m/m & f/f Contemporary Paranormal, Fantasy, Romance
Keywords/Tags: Anthology, Short Stories, Angels, Demons
Rating: Pretty Good

BLURB

Archangels. Guardians Angels. Cherubim. Angels of death, wrath, vengeance, love, peace, and hope. Fallen Angels. Nephilim. The lore of angels is wide and varied, from battles lost and won, to duties fulfilled and failed, from men raised up to their ranks, and angels banished forever from the heavens. They can be fierce warriors and gentle guides, heralds of joy and tragedy. They are beings of fearsome power, and the highest of servants.

But what else can angels be? What happens when they soar too high or dive too low? Are they flawless in their servitude, or cursed and blessed with free will? Come read these tales of angels in some of their many incarnations…

REVIEW

I meant to post this review this morning, but I forgot. Sorry about that! So, here it is now. I usually have a very specific format for reviewing an anthology, and it can be very taxing to review. Essentially, I review each story separately, and it’s like doing however many reviews all in one, which takes a lot of time. Since I’m not actually contracted for a review for this one, I just wanted to share my thoughts with you, I’ve cut them a lot shorter, but I still put all the details down for each story so that you get that individual information and ratings for each one. With 10 stories, that was just too much to write as much as I normally do!

In all, I really enjoyed this anthology. I wasn’t quite sure I would at first. I read the first story as a serial (this anthology has been being published chapter by chapter for a LONG time now) and sadly, the first story wasn’t my favorite of the lot, though it’s not a bad story. Angel stories tend not to be my favorite, but I was really surprised and delighted by the sheer diversity of stories, themes, plots and uses of angels in this story.

The anthology is $9.99, which is a pretty steep price, but for some readers I think the price is well worth it. For fans of these authors, fans of Less Than Three Press, or fans of angel stories, I think that you’ll like this. It’s over 200,000 words, well over 600 pages in PDF format, and has ten stories, some novellas by some really wonderful authors. Some of these stories were really wonderful, one in particular, “On Wings Not My Own” by Evie Kiels, which I just really loved. I read it twice. A few others were really wonderful. Sasha Miller’s addition, capping off the anthology, is a similar type story we get from her and the type that I love. The angels are very non-traditional in this historical, magical mercenary story. Megan Derr brings us back into the Dance series (which I love and I know many of you do as well). And Kayla Bain-Vrba gives us a very dark tale of fallen angels in a post-apocalyptic, post-Rapture world of broken civilization and the worst of human nature.

Now, here’s the individual information for each story, with just a bit of summary for each.

**Note: The third story in the anthology, “One for Sorrow” by Sylvia A Winters, is f/f, which I didn’t read. So it isn’t included in the review.


Sunburnt Country by LJ LaBarthe (So So)
Genre: m/m Paranormal Romance
Heat: 3 – Sexy & Mild
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Story to Sex
Keywords/Tags: Angels, Demons, Australia, Good vs. Evil

This wasn’t my favorite of the anthology, but it’s a good story to start off with and we get to see a type of angel in this story which is traditional in a way, yet larger than life and really powerful. The setting here, the far west of Australia, was perfect.

James has finally gotten over the death of just about everyone in his life, including his lover, after moving to the far west of Australia. He’s become part of the family of the small town and works various jobs for them all. He’s accustomed to having a life of migraines, but the one that starts at the beginning of this story is the worst he’s ever had, and he doesn’t understand why until a beautiful man with wings shows up and explains to him that he has an ability to hear the speech of demons, several of whom are inhabiting the area after stealing a very dangerous book.


A Better Ending by Isabella Carter (Really Liked It)
Genre: m/m Paranormal Romance
Heat: 3 – Sexy & Mild
Sex Frequency: 2 – Few and Far Between
Keywords/Tags: Fallen Angels, Demons, Nephilim, Good vs. Evil, Mystery

Isabella Carter is an author who I’ve really grown to like. Her serialized novel, A Shadow of a Dream also just finished at Less Than Three Press and was released today, and I really liked it. This story was another in this anthology that stood out, and gives us a very interesting take on the process of angels falling and the sometimes inexplicable unfairness of Heaven.

Ainsley is mortified when he catches a story on the nightly news while cooking himself dinner. An unidentified woman has been found murdered in an alley and police are looking for anyone who can identify her. He can’t believe that the woman could be his friend Eleanor, but it is. Now, he has to explain what he knows about her to the police. One of the detectives assigned to the case is intense, and Ainsley seems to have some sort of connection to him. As they get to know each other, Ainsley starts to learn more about the detective, who is much more than he seems and is harboring a personal history and connection to the killer.


One for Sorrow by Sylvia Winters
Keywords/Tags: f/f


The Lost Angel by Elizah J Davis (Really Liked It)
Genre: m/m Paranormal Romance
Heat: 3 – Sexy & Mild
Sex Frequency: 2 – Few and Far Between
Keywords/Tags: Angels, Nasty Exes

Alex has been able to see and talk to angels since he was five years old. But the world has changed and angels aren’t needed as much anymore. Through is life, Alex seemed to reveal a talent for finding people that needed angelic intervention, so he bought a bar, named it The Lost Angel, and every night a whole host of angels show up to make bids for those that walk through the door. The bar seems to have a knack for attracting people who need help, and they’re never seen again — that’s the mark of a job well done. When Finley shows up, newly dumped by an asshole boyfriend who stole all his money, Alex seems someone that he wants to help, despite his angels’ feelings.

This was a very cute story and I really liked these characters. Seeing Alex and Finley get to know each other slowly and fall in love while working at the bar together was really nice and this came out as one of the stories I remembered best.


Watch as My World Ends by Kayla Bain-Vrba (Really Liked It)
Genre: m/m Paranormal Romance
Heat: 3 – Sexy & Mild
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Story to Sex
Keywords/Tags: Angels, Post Apocalyptic, Religion, Mythology, Dictators, Rent Boys, Slaves, Dub-Con

I mentioned this story earlier in the main part of my review, and it’s definitely the darkest story of the lot. It also has some of the very best worldbuilding. Growing up in a southern Baptist church, a lot of emphasis was given to the Rapture and the Apocalyptic Literature of the Bible. I always found the thought of the world and people left behind rather interesting, and I was delighted to see a story that really explored that thought, but not from a human perspective (though there is a small part from a human POV), but from two angels. This was another really great story in the collection.

Nathan (“Ephraim”) was created in the third generation of angel creations by God, but fell when he questioned his orders to slaughter and kill humans, including children. As such, they tore out his wings and he was left at the mercy of the civilizations created after the Rapture. Falling up on the mercy of the leader of such a city, while waiting for the seven years of plagues to end before all were sentenced to death, Nathan becomes the town’s whore, not allowed to do any other job and adamant that he pay his own way, even if that way is the most degrading way possible. Another angel is the leader’s assassin, but he has hope for redemption, and as such sets his eyes on helping Nathan. But Nathan won’t accept handouts, and a stalemate is created when the other angel, now called Dakota refuses to sleep with Nathan in order for Nathan to accept his help. But, Dakota won’t give up his mission — but is it because he is falling in love with Nathan, or because he’s obsessed with being redeemed?


On Wings Not My Own by Evie Kiels (Loved It)
Genre: m/m Fantasy Romance
Heat: 1 – Sweet/None
Sex Frequency: 1 – None
Keywords/Tags: Angels, Alternate World, Religion, Second Chances, Amnesia

This story was my favorite in the whole collection. I’m not sure why, honestly, because I normally really don’t like amnesia stories and it had a few problems near the end (I thought). The world, however, really swept me up and I loved the idea that the two men, even though one can’t remember the other, are still completely in love and will do anything to escape the religious madmen who have taken them away from one another.

Aive can’t remember the last year of his life, but has the feeling that he’s missed something big. It drives him crazy that he doesn’t know what me missed but also why he can’t remember. And with the encouragement of his sister, he journeys from his home, walking hundreds and hundreds of miles to the ocean, following the prophetic dreams that come to him every night from the perspective of a beautiful, winged man that Aive feels he must know. When he gets to the city on the ocean, he finds people that seem to know him and wonder where he disappeared to. And when he follows the dreams to their very end, he finds an angel in a cell deep in a cave, left to starve and almost dead.

When he takes the angel to the Angel Embassy, he finds that not only is Sobal the one that sent him the dreams, but that they fell in love, were married, and were soon to travel to Sobal’s home, a city high in the mountains where the angels come from. But they waited, because Aive wanted to see a little more of the world knowing that once they journeyed there they could never leave. And in that time, a zealot devoted to God took his faith too far, possibly separating the two forever. Will his memories of falling in love never return? And will Sobal ever wake from his ordeal?


Made For You by Megan Derr (Pretty Good)
Genre: m/m Fantasy Romance
Heat: 2 – Romantic & Tame
Sex Frequency: 2 – Few and Far Between
Keywords/Tags: Dance With the Devil series, Angels, Magic, Demons, Captive/Kidnapped

It was wonderful to return to this series. I love the Dance with the Devil books, I even re-read Dance with the Devil recently, as well as The Glass Coffin and I’m currently reading the newest book, Dance Only for Me as a serial. I seem to slightly remember this couple that was mentioned in one of the books, I think the first one, so seeing their story was interesting.

Charlie was brought to life and made into form by his master Jed, a descendant of Solomon, holder of the Solomon Ring, and a world-renowned sorcerer. Charlie is an angel, the best of his kind brought to life from the ether with only the power of Jed. He’s in love with his master, and set to protect him. He’s waited for Jed to realize that they belong together in love as well as in life and work, but Jed won’t accept it. They’ve been on the run for months from the men trying to kill of the last remaining descendant of Solomon and to take the ring, and they almost succeeded. Six months prior, they overpowered Charlie and kidnapped Jed. Now Charlie is searching everywhere he can, on the trail of the kidnappers, and he stops into Brennus territory to talk to the demon.


Angel Eyes by Debora Day (Pretty Good)
Genre: m/m Paranormal Romance
Heat: 2 – Romantic & Tame
Sex Frequency: 2 – Few and Far Between
Keywords/Tags: Fallen Angels, Angels, Demons, Warriors/Bodyguards

This wasn’t one of my favorites of the anthology, but it is a well written story. I just, for some reason, couldn’t really feel the romance.

Uriel wakes up naked in the snow with no wings. He’s always been faithful and never failed his Creator’s orders, so why does he find himself fallen and unable to remember how he got there, how he could have made the worst mistake available? He’s rescued by Stephen, a man who lives in a cabin nearby. They get to know one another, Stephen disbelieving of Uriel’s story and thinking he’s just some crazy guy, while Uriel is nursed back to health. For the first time, Uriel feels human emotion, and starts to understand what makes angels fall, or want to fall — the addiction to feeling. But there is actually a reason that Uriel is here, with Stephen, and surprisingly it isn’t because of a mistake he made. He, the protector of the Garden of Eden, is set to protect Stephen against the hosts of hell who would kill him before he can enact a change in someone in the future, which will change the world.


Angel Fever by May Ridge (Really Liked It)
Genre: m/m Fantasy Romance
Heat: 1 – Sweet/None
Sex Frequency: 1 – None
Keywords/Tags: Angels, Priests, Guardians/Bodyguards, Magic, Healers, Adoption, Family Issues

“Angel Eyes” is another story that I liked because of the world building. That, also, was the reason that it didn’t get even higher marks. I would have liked to have just a bit more information, or maybe history of how the angles and the church came to be working in a leading partnership of sorts. While I liked the story and romance within the world, and I got just enough for it to make sense, I didn’t get a sense of why, or a larger picture of the world, and because I was intrigued by it, I really wanted to know those things and to understand.

Malachi (Mal) grew up in the angel orphanage, like most angels do. He’s just turned 18 and can finally access his records. He found out that his father is a very prominent angel, on the Council, but he still doesn’t know who his mother is. He is a healer, and because he is male and has a different nature of magic, he is one of the best healers in a long, long time. When he returns to the orphanage, he meets with the priest in charge, a new one from when he was there and a very young priest by the name of Tobias. It seems, however, that Tobias cannot access Mal’s records either, which is very curious indeed. They begin to form a relationship out of their partnership to find out the details of why Mal’s files have been hidden away and what secrets they hold, learning about one another and each one’s secrets along the way. Why is Mal’s mother such a secret? And why do the priests regard Tobias with contempt?


The Book of Judgement by Sasha L Miller (Really Liked It)
Genre: m/m Fantasy Romance
Heat: 1 – Sweet/None
Sex Frequency: 1 – None
Keywords/Tags: HFN, Magic, Warriors, Assassins/Mercs

And last, one of the stories I was most eager to get to. I had to make myself not skip again and read out of order. I’m a big fan of Sasha’s work and this story definitely lived up to my expectations. I admit that I was getting a bit tired of angels by this point (I did say that I wasn’t really an angel story fan!), so this story was a nice diversion from the typical angel mythology and a story along a similar vein to the stories that I’ve liked in the past by this author. Unfortunately, the rushed ending and even somewhat shaky HFN, IMO, made it unable for me to give this story top honors.

Reza is one of the most powerful magic users at the university, and also a professor. While clearing out a crate filled with books left to the college from an estate, Reza discovers a very powerful and dangerous book of magic called The Book of Judgement. It is the true book, not a recreation, and the possibility of it getting to the wrong hands is very real and very terrible to imagine. So, at the behest of the Chairman of the college, Reza travels with EdmĂ© on a month long journey to the place where the book can be hidden in a tomb, protected and never to be lost into the hands of the greedy or malevolent. But someone else already knows about the book. Reza is getting death threads and dangerous spells snuck into his mail even before he has left on the journey. And as the two travel, they’ll learn to trust one another even while almost sentient book tries to tear them apart and tempt Reza with the knowledge of what is inside.


AL_The_Prince_of_GalerirTitle: The Prince of Galerir (The Galerir Saga #1)
Author: Anna Lee
Publisher: MLR Press
Length: 65k words
Genre: m/m Fantasy Romance
Heat: 2 – Romantic & Tame
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Story to Sex
Keywords/Tags: Series, Friends to Lovers, Dragon Shifters, Magic, Royalty, Warriors/Knights, Secrets & Lies, Sweet and Light
Rating: Pretty Good

BLURB

Dragons, a usurper, a sickly king, and a hidden prince with his beloved knight all have plans for the fate of the kingdom of Galerir…

Long ago, magik was banished from the kingdom of Galerir. Yet when two young men who share a forbidden passion discover a dragon hatchling, they unwittingly set a course of events in motion that will change the kingdom and their lives forever. All Lord Tomas Roland wants is a life where he is free to love his knight, Griffin Dalison. Yet the chains of responsibility wind tighter around Tomas when it is revealed that he is the heir to the kingdom of Galerir. Tomas and Griffin must reach Galerir’s ailing king before a usurper has the chance to seize the throne. With Griffin as his touchstone, Tomas delves into the unfamiliar worlds of politics and magik. But will Tomas be able to keep his love by his side once he becomes the prince of Galerir?

REVIEW

I’ve been sitting on this one for a while, needing to get some other reviews done before I could read it, but when I finally got to it and started it, I fell into it right away. I was a little unsure of the direction at first, but once it really started moving, I could feel the momentum and I started to really enjoy reading it. It swept me right through the book and I never felt a lull. That doesn’t mean it’s perfect, I had several things that bothered me some, but I still enjoyed the book and I’m looking forward to reading the sequel whenever it comes out.

Griffin and Tomas grew up together as boys, then teenagers and now men, being prepared to soon accept their adult roles and responsibilities. Throughout, they’ve remained each other’s best friend, even though one is a lord and the other an orphan. Griffin, sent away as a boy to live and work for the nobility, has grown up with an aptitude for swordplay, and is poised to become Tomas’ personal knight. Tomas must do his duty as well. As heir to the estate that constantly keeps the border and magical threat from the other side at bay, he must marry and continue the lineage, something he’s been trying to put off in any way he knows how.

Both Tomas and Griffin harbor feelings for one another, but they’re not known to the other until Griffin finds a baby dragon in the forest where they played as boys. Dragons are supposed to be extinct and they’re afraid for her if they turn her over to Tomas’ father. Dragons are beings of magic, from across the border and were eradicated along with magic by decree of the King of Galerir one hundred years ago. So, they make a plan — they’ll convince Tomas’ father that he’ll marry the girl he was destined for if he can have one last adventure. Secretly, they mean to take the little dragon to the border in order to save her, and then run away together.

Their plans change when Tomas’ father reveals a very big secret, his mother was the sister of the current King, which leaves Tomas as the only remaining heir, kept away from the court after a blood rebellion almost ended the line of succession.

This was a very easy to read novel. At times I felt it was a little too easy, but its a stylistic choice and certainly there are readers who will like that the story takes a somewhat easier path in general than others. The characters don’t really have any angst, though the situation may seem like it calls for it. I would normally be happy about that, but I did get a little bit tired of how often these two reaffirm their love to each other. They’re constantly saying “Love You”, “Only You”, things like that and it felt a bit like any difficult parts for the characters were just diverted, rather than the characters having to experience them — or, I should say the reader having to experience them. Still, this was something that just wasn’t to my taste, and may be to others. Whenever the characters were alone, at the end of the day just talking, for instance, it got to be a little too sweet for me.

The plot itself really gets underway when the secrets come to light from Tomas’ father and it doesn’t let up throughout the whole book. There’s a nice pace and progression that kept me interested. I was waiting for … not violence or battle or anything like that, even a skirmish. But what I was waiting for from the first book was some sort of capping point, of climax in the story. Instead I felt like the story neither declined or inclined, but moved steadily towards the end, then stopped to be (I assume) picked up immediately in book two. That made this feel like one book that was maybe only cut into pieces so it wouldn’t be too long, and I wished, while reading it, that there had been a more natural ending. It felt like the story ended in the middle, rather than at an intermission, but as a fully functioning novel itself. I think I’m fudging up trying to get my point across, but I was waiting for some sort of tension that never came, and I’m hoping that it doesn’t carry on in the same way throughout the next book.

Most of all, that made me excited for the next book because I was left with a bit of a wanting, waiting to see what would happen. Besides that, I am excited to see what is next with the plot. Readers who like a sweeter and lighter fantasy would be interested in this, and I think that it is so far the best work I’ve read by Anna Lee 🙂