I am so incredibly behind on reviews. I decided that with the limited time I have had this year, that I would read and review later. It has not worked out well for me as far as getting reviews written but I Have read a lot of great books.
I have told this story before but I will share it again. I first heard Angel Martinez at GRL in Atlanta a couple of years ago. One of the features they have is Author readings. Angel read from her yet to be published book, Rarely Pure and Never Simple. I was hooked. When the book came out I read it then searched for more. I was not disappointed. She writes Science Fiction, some light, some more serious, has paranormal, well, her home page states “Space, Altered Humans, Gods, SF Humor, Fae, Spots of Dark, Tilted Fairytales and Futuristic Imaginings.
This blog post covers her Tilted Fairytales and Gods – well Greek ones and a few others thrown into the mix too.
I will start with Boots.
Willem’s father never approved of his artistic talents, his choices in life, or the fact that he’s gay. When the only thing Horst leaves to his son is the family cat, Willem thinks it’s his father’s last insult from the grave. That is, until the cat starts talking to him.
Though Willem’s lost his boyfriend, his home, and his job, Kasha, who claims to be a magic cat, reassures him that all will be well. All he needs is Willem’s trust and a good pair of boots. But giving boots to a talking cat has unexpected consequences when odd events ambush Willem at every turn, such as the appearance of a handsome stranger in his arms at night.
While Willem begins to suspect Kasha’s plans might be dangerous for all involved, how can he distrust such a charming kitty in cowboy boots?
Genres: Gay / Fantasy / Fairy Tale / Shapeshifter / Witchcraft / Magic
Heat Level: 3
Length: Extended Novella (30k words)
Review: I admit that I am not as familiar with the Puss in Boots fairytale as maybe I should be. I am sure it was read to me as a child and of course there was Shrek. lol. When I saw that Angel Martinez had taken this and gave it her own special flavor, I knew I had to read it.
Willem is a sweet artistic man at a very low point in his life when we meet him in the story. He has lost so much, his home, his father, his job and had his heart broken by his cheating lover. When he inherits Puss, he finds out that he is not just the family cat. Pasha (aka Puss) tells Willem to bring him boots and a hat. Willem does this, not understanding the significance of the act. From here, Ms Martinez weaves a lovely fantasy tale filled with hope and love, mixed with regrets for past mistakes, sacrifices, and redemption. This is definitely not a children’s fairytale and I enjoyed way the cat demon/human shape shifting was portrayed. This was fun, sweet and sexy. There is a wonderful, more in depth review by one of my favorite author/reviewers, T.A. Webb on Goodreads. You can find it here:
You can purchase it here:
Next up is her Brandywine Investigations series
I stumbled on this series in the middle. The second entry into the series, No Enemy But Time (Brandywine Investigastions #2) was a part of the Goodreads MM romance Groups Love’s Landscapes series, a free read.
Blurb: Zagreus (Zack), the son of Hades, and his former guardian angel, Michael, live a quiet life of gardening, animal rescue, and playful sexual experimentation. They have a house near the beach, family close by and each other. This should be the happily ever after of every god’s dreams.
But lately, strange misgivings have plagued Zack, a sense of something dark and powerful approaching. Since he can’t pin down a source, he dismisses his instincts. Why borrow trouble? That is, until Michael begins to have strange mood swings and a dark stranger appears in the garden one night. Zack will need to battle time itself or lose both his hard-won peace and the love of his immortal life.
Review: This review was written for the blog on September 2, 2014
I always enjoy the “Don’t Read in the Closet” events that the Goodreads M/M Romance Group hosts every year. This year’s theme is Love’s Landscapes. I have found many new authors through these events and it is fun to get free short stories from some of my favorite authors too.
Which brings me to No Enemy But Time by Angel Martinez. I am a fan of Angel’s writing. She writes M/M sci-fi and fantasy. She can be light and humorous or deliciously dark. This story is a little mix of both. Zack and Michael have been together a while, a committed couple, very much in love. Michael is an angel that fell when he fell in love with Zack (Zagreus), son of Hades. It seems that many fallen angels succumb to a darker side over time. The love between Michael and Zack has been strong enough to keep him stable so far, but Zack notices changes in his lover and is worried but dismisses it. The first part of the book really gives the reader a feel for the depth of love these two have for one another. There is also a very erotic scene between them (something I had not read about before) that I thought was well written and portrayed the love and trust between them.
That said, this is not an easy story. When someone we love is going through something that we would rather believe is not happening, sometimes we hesitate to take action. In No Enemy But Time we can see this happening and matters become much worse before Zack realizes he must act to save Michael. There are heart-wrenching scenes and I felt the ending was not exactly happy, but hopeful. I read this story without reading Ms Martinez’s Canines, Crosshairs And Corpses, Book # 1 in the Brandywine Investigations universe. It is now on my tbr list and I am hoping we get more of Zack and Michael’s story too.
You can find it here:
So, I read Canines, Crosshairs and Corpses (Brandywine Investigations #1). It does not have Zack and Michael but we get Hades, Charon and Tiberius.
Blurb: What’s a Lord of the Dead to do? Hades’ bride of several thousand years has served him with divorce papers and she doesn’t just want him out of her life, she wants the palace and the dog, too. Hades’ nephews and his faithful ferryman, Charon, are determined to find their uncle something to distract him before he expires of brooding misery.
Tiberius Snyder had a good future, until his mother dies and his employer shuts down. When he finds himself alone with nowhere to live, he turns to panhandling and to drink, depression slowly killing him.
He just wants a place to sleep out of the cold wind, but Death finds him in a dirty alley. Odd. Ti never thought Death would be so hot…
Genres: Gay / Contemporary Fantasy / Action / Adventure / Mystery / Detective
Length: Extended Novella (40k words)
ebook, 183 pages
Published May 19th 2013 by Amber Allure
Review: This one is much lighter than No Enemy But Time. We are still mixing Greek mythology with contemporary settings and it works wonderfully. Imagine Dionysus, Hermes and Orpheus in a band. Good start right, but that is minor. They find their Uncle Hades face down on one of the tables in the club. It becomes clear why their Uncle is in the shape he is in when they retrieve divorce papers from under his passed out body. Not just divorcing him but taking the palace and his dog , Cerberus. This is just cruel. Like the good nephews they are, they take him home and then set out to find him a place to live and something to do to get his life back on track. Thus Brandywine Investigations is born.
I absolutely adored this story. Hades is so out of touch with the modern world and it is so much fun watching him discover things like the internet, laptops, sports cars. His best friend Charon is hands down my favorite character. He has embraced the modern world, owns a funeral parlor (how fitting), and has a delightfully dry wit.
While investigating a series of deaths, they discover a young man in an alley where a shooting has just occurred. Not wanting to leave him to be falsely accused of the crime, Hades decides to take him home with him instead. Tiberius Snyder is a young man down on his luck. Homeless, depressed and drinking himself to death. He brings out feeling in Hades that Hades did not know he could feel. It takes Ti a while to believe that Hades and Charon are who they say they are (and wouldn’t have known who they were if Hades didn’t keep slipping up on his identity :-). As they search for the killer the attraction between Hades and Ti grows.
The story has a mystery, a wonderful cast of characters and just the right amount of romance. It is a fun entertaining book and I have added it to my favorite reads list.
Next in The Brandywine Investigations series is Dragons, Diamonds and Discord (Brandywine investigations #3)
Blurb:The most valuable pieces of jewelry are vanishing from the god Hermes’ Manhattan stores and the security feeds pick up only clouds of smoke. While the god of thieves, messengers, and commerce doesn’t appreciate someone stealing from him, he’s intrigued by this thief’s ingenuity and skill. When Hermes enlists his family to trap his burglar, he gets the surprise of his immortal life.
Fafnir just wants to be left alone. Doomed over the centuries to a never-ending cycle of violent death and painful rebirth, he had hoped to find an escape in the quiet life of author and illustrator. But there are forces at work he doesn’t understand, and his peace is shattered by the return to old cycles and the sudden interference of a beautiful and incredibly irritating Greek god.
ebook, 150 pages
Published March 15th 2015 by Amber Allure
Even if I were not an Angel Martinez fan, I would be drawn to this book because of the dragon. In this book, Hermes is having very valuable jewelry stolen form his stores. No easy feat when you consider he is the god of thieves, messengers and commerce and would have the best security available. When it continues to happen, he joins forces with his family and they set a trap for the burglar.
Hermes is shocked and intrigues to find that it is a dragon. He tracks him to his penthouse and set up a meeting with him. What he finds is not what he expects. He meets Fafnir B Dreki. An author and illustrator of children’s books. Fafnir is grumpy, suspicious and As Hermes speaks with Fafnir he senses something is not as it should be in the dragons home.
From here the story moves into a mystery with quarreling deities and evil plans. We also revisit Michael and Zack and get to see how Michael is coping. There is a lot happening in this book and a large cast of characters. It is fun and fast paced. The humor was different from the first book and not as dark as the second book. I admit I am not as enamored of Hermes (it’s just me) but Fafnir is a wonderful character (not just because he is a dragon – but that helps). He is grumpy, likeable and surprisingly vulnerable for a dragon. When I was finished reading the book, I wanted to know when we would be getting to read Fanir’s children’s series about Captain Calico. (You have to read the book) 😉
Overall, I enjoyed this entry in the Brandywine Investigations series and I am looking forward to Dionysus book.
I must add one more title that I did not read in the last couple of months but I have to share. It is the darker side of Angel Martinez and hauntingly beautiful.
By Angel Martinez
An ESTO Universe Story
Release Date: June 2, 2013
Word Count: 10,360
While the cell is sparse and cold, at least this one has a bed. The figure resting there is too thin; too still, the prominent bones the result of long starvation, the stillness the product of too much anguish and abuse. He watches, though. An anxious, intelligent mind still occupies this frail and failing body, one that watches and wonders about the new guard occupying his cell each night.
This is an amazing, powerful short story. Dark and intense. The writing is vivid and pulled me in to this desolate place but gradually gave glimmers of hope and an ending that was soothing and satisfying after such an emotional experience.
Please search my blog for other Angel Martinez books and reviews. She is a wonderful author and so very talented.