Dragon Consultant (Supernatural Consultant #1) by Mell Eight

Dane, a supernatural consultant, is hired by the FAA to look into a series of reported dragon attacks on their planes. What Dane finds in the wooded area where the attacks took place is not quite the problem he expected: a group of dragon kits and their sick father hiding from the authorities.
When he learns the real reason the family was in the woods, his case grows more dangerous, and though Dane is experienced at both crime solving and watching his own back, taking care of baby dragons and their ill father makes everything else look easy.

Since there seems to be some confusion… yes, I did tag this book as a M/M Romance. No, it has no explicit content at all, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not a romance. There’s no better way to categorize it than that though. I considered Dragon Consultant a sweet romance because two people found each other and fell in love. Sometimes less is more when it comes to the written word – the important part in Dragon Consultant is that love is love, it takes all forms and sometimes a found family is the very best kind. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way…

Dragon Consultant was adorable. The dragon kits, from the youngest to the oldest, were witty, cute, smart and not easily won over. They had experienced a lot in their short lives and they didn’t trust easily. Dane was determined to find out what happened to them though and then he was willing to fight to make sure it never happened to them, or any other dragon, again. He was a pretty great hero.

It didn’t take long to figure out that Dane and Mercury were made for each other. They were cautious though and neither one of them had a lot of self confidence in the romance department. In some ways, they were as adorable as the kits.

Dragon Consultant wasn’t a long story, but it wasn’t lacking. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t want more and since it’s part of a series, I’m in luck. The re-release of Dragon Deception is coming soon!

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.
Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.
When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.
But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.
An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.

For the record, I should probably give you a heads up by letting you know that this will be a rambling review. If you’ve been here before, you already know that I tend to do that when I review a book by an author I adore. For the record, T.J. Klune is one of those authors and unsurprisingly, The House in the Cerulean Sea is most definitely one of those books. Consider yourself forewarned. 😉

I have to admit that Linus didn’t win me over in the beginning. The more I got to know him though, the more I realized that the real reason I couldn’t connect with him was because he couldn’t connect with himself. He was lost and didn’t even really realize it. He wasn’t really living, but simply surviving. It took me a while, but in true T.J. fashion, once I connected with this amazing story it wouldn’t let me go.

I was as leery as Linus when readers were first introduced to Arthur and his charges. It didn’t take long to figure out that these kids were much more than their “classification.” It also didn’t take me long to pick a favorite. (I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in my adoration of Lucy. ❤ ) Only T.J. Klune could make me fall in love with the Anti… well, that name or label just isn’t used in reference to one of Arthur’s charges.

Kids are a soft spot for me and The House in the Cerulean Sea pulled on all my heart strings. It did more than that though. there was more than one message. Without spoiling anything, but to give you just a taste of why this author is a must read for me…

“It’s not fair,” Linus said, staring off into nothing. “The way some people can be. But as long as you remember to be just and kind like I know you are, what those people think won’t matter in the long run. Hate is loud, but I think you’ll learn it’s because it’s only a few people shouting, desperate to be heard. You might not ever be able to change their minds, but so long as you remember you’re not alone, you will overcome.”

So yeah, Linus grew on me, just like he grew on Arthur and his charges. And then there was a theme that is front and center in a lot of T.J.’s books and one that I adore…

“A home isn’t always the house we live in. It’s also the people we choose to surround ourselves with.”

The House in the Cerulean Sea was much more than I expected. Sure, it was a little bit corny at times, but it made me smile. And yeah, the inevitable tears were there, even when I didn’t quite expect them. If you’ve never read a book by T.J. Klune, this is an amazing place to start.

“Don’t you wish you were here?”

Trust me, once you read The House in the Cerulean Sea, you’ll totally understand. 😉

 

 

 

the Ball Boy by Luca Guard

Devastated by the death of his father, Gage, an artist with a secret life, struggles to find his way back to “normal”. When rising baseball star Caleb arrives at his door, an unlikely romance simmers between them, but a cowboy coach, with major league ambitions of his own, will stop at nothing to keep them apart. Tempers flare as their deepest secrets are unearthed and the two must choose between chasing their dreams or embracing their newfound love.

Gah! I absolutely HATE giving negative reviews. I really, really do, but sometimes you just can’t escape it. Unfortunately, that’s the case with the Ball Boy. *sigh*

I really wanted to like this one and to be honest it had promise. On the other hand, this one came close to a DNF for me, but because it was so short, I didn’t give up on it. The bad part about that is that the shortness of this book was its ultimate downfall. There was way too much going on to cover in less than 100 pages. WAY too much.

On a totally different note, there was way too much… um… vulgarity? brashness? I’m not a prude by any stretch of the imagination – you can take a look at my reading list to prove that, but the Ball Boy was one of those books that was just a little bit over the top.

Like I said, the Ball Boy did have promise and I think that if it had a little bit more length, if the story was developed just a little bit more…

Love on the Spectrum by Alec Nortan

LoveOnTheSpectrumHervé has Asperger’s, a specific kind of autism that makes him unable to interact with other people.
Luc has been severely scarred by fire and flees human presence to avert the way people glare and frown when they see him.
It was impossible for them to meet, but life sometimes likes to cheat the odds. Is it just a trick or a way to bring together two men who could be each other’s lifeline?

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Such a sweet, sweet story. Both Hervé and Luc have the cards stacked against them. Luc is broken and Hervé is resigned. Neither one of them is looking for love, they’re basically trying to live as normal a life as they can by simply trying to fit in as best they can.

I fell in love with both of these characters immediately. They were just trying so hard to be “normal” – whatever that is. Both of them spent their lives on the outside, looking in. On a chance meeting their lives and their outlooks changed. It wasn’t easy and they had to really work at it, but they saw in each other what no one else really did.

This is my first read by Alec Nortan, but I will definitely be checking out more of his work.

DragonFlyRating4

I Buried a Witch (Bedknobs & Broomsticks #2) by Josh Lanyon

Cosmo Saville adores his new husband, but his little white lies—and some very black magic—are about to bring his fairytale romance to an end. Someone is killing San Francisco’s spellcasters—and the only person Cosmo can turn to—the man who so recently swore to love and cherish him—isn’t taking his phone calls.
The only magic Police Commissioner John Joseph Galbraith believes in is true love. Discovering he’s married to a witch—a witch with something alarmingly like magical powers—is nearly as bad as discovering the man he loved tricked and deceived him. John shoulders the pain of betrayal and packs his bags. But when he learns Cosmo is in the crosshairs of a mysterious and murderous plot, he knows he must do everything in in his mortal power to protect him.
Till Death do them Part. With their relationship on the rocks, Cosmo and Commissioner Galbraith join forces to uncover the shadowy figure behind the deadly conspiracy…
Can the star-crossed couple bring down a killer before the dark threat extinguishes true love’s flame?

Funny story… this is my second read of I Buried a Witch. I read it at the end of last year, but it showed up on my TBR list on GoodReads. Now, I know that I could have backdated the read, because I definitely did read it, but I thought what the heck? It definitely wasn’t a hardship on my part to read the book again, so here we are. (This time I double checked to make SURE it was marked correctly on GR.)

You probably already guessed that I considered I Buried a Witch a great addition to Josh Lanyon’s Bedknobs & Broomsticks series. I have to admit that I went into this one a little leery after reading Mainly by Moonlight. Not because I didn’t like the book, but because John and Cosmo’s relationship was sorta doomed from the start and this book’s description is kinda ominous. I wasn’t wrong to be hesitant, but I’m glad I decided to dive in (twice). 😉

The mystery from the Mainly by Moonlight continues in I Buried a Witch, in a round about way. Much to John’s dismay, Cosmo finds himself playing amateur detective. John started growing on me by the end of the last book, but he lost some major points in I Buried a Witch. He had some definite old fashioned ways of thinking how marriage worked. Cosmo took it for the most part, mainly because he felt guilty for the secrets he was keeping from John. Eventually enough was enough and the inevitable blow-up happened.

Beyond the break-up, there was a mystery to solve and the danger was coming way too close to home. There were also some revelations about John’s family that threw and extra twist or two in the story. Things were looking a little bit better by the end of I Buried a Witch, so I’m not as worried about starting Bell, Book and Scandal. Even so, I’m also pretty sure that John and Cosmo haven’t gotten past all of their relationship hurdles. *sigh*

Old Sins (Lindenshaw Mysteries #4) by Charlie Cochrane

Detective Chief Inspector Robin Bright and his partner, deputy headteacher Adam Matthews, have just consigned their summer holiday to the photo album. It’s time to get back to the daily grind, and the biggest problem they’re expecting to face: their wedding plans. Then fate strikes—literally—with a bang.
Someone letting loose shots on the common, a murder designed to look like a suicide, and the return of a teacher who made Robin’s childhood hell all conspire to turn this into one of his trickiest cases yet.
Especially when somebody might be targeting their Newfoundland, Campbell. Robin is used to his and Adam’s lives being in danger, but this takes the—dog—biscuit.

I really love this series… just putting that out there… in case anyone hadn’t gotten that impression yet. 😉

Adam and Robin find themselves right in the middle of another mystery, but this one comes a little too close to home. Not that that hasn’t happened before, but this time Campbell comes way too close to being in the cross fire and that is totally unacceptable to both Robin and Adam. This time it’s personal from the beginning – even before there’s a connection between the mysterious murders and a teacher who made Robin’s life miserable in grade school.

There were a lot of “connections” in Old Sins, some more obvious than others. I can honestly say that I had no idea exactly “who” did “what” to “who” and “why”… until I was actually supposed to… The mystery was only part of the story though and that’s just one of the reasons why I love this series. (Did I already mention that?)

Old Sins is definitely not the end of the Lindenshaw Mysteries series… at least I hope not. After all, readers still have to make sure that Adam and Robin finalize their HEA. 😉

Perfect Day by Sally Malcolm

First love conquers all in Perfect Day, a captivating contemporary male/male retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion.
Love doesn’t burn out just because the timing’s wrong. It grows. It never leaves.
When Joshua Newton, prodigal son of one of New Milton’s elite, fell in love with ambitious young actor Finn Callaghan, his world finally made sense. With every stolen moment, soft touch and breathless kiss, they fell deeper in love.
Finn was his future…until he wasn’t.
Love stays. Even when you don’t want it to, even when you try to deny it, it stays.
Eight years later, Finn has returned to the seaside town where it all began. He’s on the brink of stardom, a far cry from the poor mechanic who spent one gorgeous summer falling in love on the beach.
The last thing he wants is a second chance with the man who broke his heart. Finn has spent a long time forgetting Joshua Newton—he certainly doesn’t plan to forgive him.
Love grows. It never leaves.

I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t read a lot of classics… not that I never wanted to – I just never got around to it. So, I can’t really compare Jane Austen’s Persuasion to Sally Malcolm’s Perfect Day. What I can tell you is that this story is a very good rendition of the familiar “second chance” story.

There’s all sorts of reasons why a “perfect” family would deem someone not worthy to associate with. Joshua knew that Finn had a couple of strikes against him, regardless of how much he cared about him. Finn’s family didn’t come from money – he was actually working for Joshua’s family at the time they met. That, coupled with the fact that Finn was gay or bi – which meant that Joshua was gay – left him with no other choice but to let him go. Finn had no idea that decision crushed Joshua just as much as it crushed him. Joshua ended up breaking both their hearts at the end of that summer.

Fate brought them back to where their story began in an interesting way. Neither man was ready to face the other and neither was ready to admit that they still had feelings for each other. Finn definitely didn’t want to – but some things you can’t hide from and eventually they couldn’t hide it from each other.

There was a lot to like about Perfect Day. I loved both Joshua and Finn. They were both young when they met. Who knows if what they had would have even lasted if they had stayed together then. I think that’s one reason why second chance romances work for me. I like to think that past mistakes help us grow. I also loved Finn’s family. His brother and sister-in-law were great and supportive – of both Finn and Joshua. I think I adored them as much as I loathed Joshua’s family. Even his aunt, who I suppose tried to be caring, went about it in all the wrong ways.

Perfect Day was the first book published by Sally Malcolm and I’m looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next.

Murmuration by T.J. Klune

In the small mountain town of Amorea, it’s stretching toward autumn of 1954. The memories of a world at war are fading in the face of a prosperous future. Doors are left unlocked at night, and neighbors are always there to give each other a helping hand.
The people here know certain things as fact:
Amorea is the best little town there is.
The only good Commie is a dead Commie.
The Women’s Club of Amorea runs the town with an immaculately gloved fist.
And bookstore owner Mike Frazier loves that boy down at the diner, Sean Mellgard. Why they haven’t gotten their acts together is anybody’s guess. It may be the world’s longest courtship, but no one can deny the way they look at each other.
Slow and steady wins the race, or so they say.
But something’s wrong with Mike. He hears voices in his house late at night. There are shadows crawling along the walls, and great clouds of birds overhead that only he can see.
Something’s happening in Amorea. And Mike will do whatever he can to keep the man he loves.

I’m always very careful about avoiding spoilers when I write reviews. There are times that I find it difficult to give potential readers a sense of the story without giving anything away, but in the case of Murmuration… I’m stumped. How do I convince people to read this amazing, thoughtful, crazy and beautiful creation? Is just that statement enough? Yeah, I didn’t think so…

The thing is, there is so much to experience in this book, giving even a little bit of it away would be criminal. And no, I’m not exaggerating. There were times that I thought I had everything figured out, but I wasn’t even close. There were times that I was in awe of a character and the next moment that same character all but disgusted me with their actions. There were times that… well… Needless to say, Amorea was an interesting place to get lost in.

I honestly apologize for being so vague, but there’s not much more I can say. Just know that Murmuration is probably not like anything you’ve ever read, it will make you consider things that you never thought possible and if you’re anything like me, you’ll be ready to recommend it to anyone and everyone as soon as you’re done.

Risk Aware (Saugatuck) by Amelia C. Gormley

RiskAware_600x900Tattoo artist Geoff Gilchrest is convinced his life is some sort of cosmic joke. Why else would a hemophiliac also be a masochist? He’s given himself more than one elbow bleed since puberty just doing what guys do when alone and bored, so forget about whips and chains. How many partners would contemplate playing with someone even a mild flogging could kill? 
Gallery owner Robin Brady knows he can deliver what Geoff needs: to be taken to the edge of danger but never beyond. But Robin came to Saugatuck to get away from the leather scene and heal from a betrayal by his former sub, so he’s not sure he should get involved with Geoff. His ambivalence isn’t helped by the fact that Geoff’s unwillingness to communicate about his well-being hits Robin in some very raw places.
Geoff’s hemophilia isn’t the obstacle he thinks it is. Instead, a lack of trust—on both their parts—is what could end them before they have a chance to begin.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1My mini pre-review on Goodreads went something like this… “Finally! An author who writes a series in the crazy mixed up way I usually read them!” If you look through my previous reviews, you probably won’t have to go back very far to see that I’m notorious for reading books out of order in a series. I don’t do it on purpose… most of the time. Sometimes a book catches my eye and I request it for review or pick it up without actually knowing that it’s a book that falls later in an existing series. I actually did this with the Saugatauk series. I read Saugatuck Summer before the prequel to the series, The Field of Someone Else’s Dreams. Even though Risk Aware isn’t listed as a part of this series, it definitely is, at least in my mind. Not only that, the timeline of this book falls before Saugatuck Summer because in that book both Geoff and Robin are already a couple. Now, of course I’m going to have to go back and re-read Saugatuck Summer… sneaky author. (But one I can totally relate to 😉 )

Risk Aware took the BDSM lifestyle to a totally unique level. Because of Geoff’s condition, he knew he could never have what he craved. Robin knew he could give him what he wanted, but not without Geoff’s trust that he wouldn’t go too far as well as Robin’s trust that Geoff would be totally honest with him about his condition. They were walking both a physical and emotional tight rope.

I’m not sure which one of this pair I felt for most. Geoff had his reasons for keeping things to himself. His mom kept him in a bubble – or tried to. He longed for normal. Robin had been burned by his former sub and couldn’t put himself in that position again, but he knew he could help Geoff. They had more than a few obstacles and almost lost it all… Throw in people jumping to the wrong conclusions – regardless of how well meaning they were –  and things became even more complicated.

I have to admit that I almost passed this one up because BDSM books aren’t my normal go-to. I’m really glad that I took a chance Risk Aware though. The life-style is a major part of the book, but the way the characters learn to trust and work through the obstacles that they’re faced with made it so much more than that. It also made me realize that I need to search out more books by Amelia C. Gormley.

DragonFlyRating4

 

Where There’s a Will (Panopolis #3) by Cari Z

WhereTheresAWillBeing a Hero in Panopolis means living the high life: parties, money, influence, even reality television. And I’m one of the most powerful Heroes in the city. I have plenty of fans, a manager who looks out for me (after himself), and a job that pays the bills. I should be enjoying myself.
Unfortunately, the downside of my superpower means I can’t touch anyone, which tends to puts a damper on things. I probably don’t deserve all those perks anyway, since I’m working in secret with two of Panopolis’s biggest villains to undermine GenCorp—my main sponsor and the company that controls what gets through my force field.
I obviously don’t trust my corporate overseers, but they’ve hired a new scientist who actually seems interested in helping me. Dr. Mansourian might have the answers to all my questions—not to mention a starring role in most of my dreams—but he’s hiding something big. If I let him have what he wants, I might not live to regret it.
Then again, the way things are going in Panopolis these days, I might not live either way.
 

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Freight Train (Craig) since the beginning of the Panopolis series. The world that Cari Z created for her characters is twisted. A world where heroes aren’t always the good guys and villains aren’t always the bad. Craig has slowly proven himself to be one of the exceptions in the hero category and getting inside his head in Where There’s a Will confirmed it.

This is the third book in the series and the first where Raul and Edward weren’t the main characters. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about that, but it didn’t take long for Craig to win me over. On the surface, he was someone who had it all, but he did a pretty good job of hiding how broken and alone he really was. He didn’t really trust the people he depended on. His only remaining family member seemed to care more about herself than him and he was risking his life by putting his trust in people he was supposed to be fighting against. Add to that the fact that he couldn’t touch anyone and they couldn’t touch him. He couldn’t even eat food and was dependent on GenCorp for pretty much everything keeping him going.

Dr. Mansourian is different from the other doctors who poke and prod at Craig when he goes to GenCorp. There’s something about him that draws Craig in, but it’s also obvious that he’s hiding something. Craig has secrets of his own and keeping Dr. Mansourian close may not be smart, but he’s the only person besides Edward who acts as if he truly cares about the man behind the hero. As things heat up in the war that’s escalating, Craig finds himself in more danger than he ever expected. People are shutting him out and the lines between who he should and shouldn’t trust get blurrier by the minute.

As usual, the message behind this story is as intriguing as the story itself. I can’t wait to see what Cari Z has in store for the residents of Panopolis next.

DragonFlyRating4