LeeAnn Reviews: Pyro’s Accidental Shooting by Toni Griffin

Title: Hounds of the Hunt, Book 2: Pyro’s Accidental Shooting

Author: Toni Griffin

Publisher: Mischief Corner Books

Word Count: 90,000

Characters: Pyro, Callum

POV: 3rd

Sub-Genre:  Paranormal, Series

Kisses: 5+

Blurb:

Winter in Melbourne makes the hunt for supernatural beings gone bad harder than usual during the cold foggy nights. A chill has settled deep in Pyro’s bones. One he can’t shake loose. More than anything, Pyro wishes for a heart mate of his own to come home to after the long nights of a hunt, one who understands him and his desires, who can hold him together when he needs to let go.

Life has always been planned out for Callum. His family of cops expected him to be a cop, so that’s what he became. But Callum isn’t so sure about being a detective for the Melbourne police. Not many people understand the demands of being a cop, and it’s been the downfall of more than one of his relationships. Why should his chance of loving someone get sidelined for a job he isn’t even sure he wants?

One fateful encounter on a fog-shrouded night changes both their worlds forever. Now Pyro just has to convince his heart mate they belong together while Callum tries to come to terms with a world he never knew existed and does his best to make up for accidentally shooting the unusual and intriguing hellhound.

Review:

I thoroughly enjoyed this story from word one. Who doesn’t like a hot, sexy Hellhound ? Pyro is all that and more. He , like his fellow Hellhounds ,spend their lives trying to rid  of evil that has escaped to terrorize the world.

Pyro may be  big and tough  but he longs for his mate. A mate that will have no problem dominating him in the bedroom. Callum is a sexy, hot cop. Smaller in stature than Pyro but a man who knows what he wants in a man and how to control him in the bedroom.

To say Pyro was surprised to find out that not only was Callum his mate but a dominating one..well that just made it so much better. These two characters are so enjoyable to read about. The things they see, feel and encounter in this book make for a great read. Problems arise as they do in a great story but the author did an amazing job laying it all out so I, the reader, was able to see it all as it happened. The intimate scenes are amazing with a little kink on Pyro’s side spicing things up. I will give no more away as I don’t want to take away from the  readers experience.

I highly recommend this book!

Reviewed By: LeeAnn

Click HERE to purchase Pyro’s Accidental Shooting by Toni Griffin

 

 

 

 

Anne Reviews: Watermelon Kisses by Freddy MacKay

TITLE: Watermelon Kisses

Author:  Freddy MacKay

Publisher: Mischief Corner Books

Pages:  58

Characters: Amir/Esmail

POV: 3rd

Sub-Genre: Contemporary, Holiday

Kisses: 5

Blurb:

Life hasn’t been easy for Amir since he fled Iran after a brutal imprisonment. The trauma experienced at the hands of the guards left a dark spot on his soul. The one constant in his life since relocating to Chicago has been his lover—now husband—Esmail, whose steadfast love and support has soothed his wounded heart.

But this Shab-e Yalda, Amir wants to be the one giving his husband something special, because even after the darkest nights, the sun will rise again.

Review:

For a short story, Watermelon Kisses packs a lot of emotional punch. I loved the glimpse of another culture, and could really feel the love between the two men who have been through so much to be together.  Amir’s PTSD came across very well and realistically, and I really felt for him and his worry that he is broken.  I loved that although he’d been through a horrific experience, his husband is his light.  The watermelon kisses were very romantic.

This is the first story I’ve read by Freddy MacKay but it won’t be the last. I finished reading, thought ‘wow,’ and was very impressed. An added bonus is an explanation about Shab-3 Yalda at the end of the book plus recipes!

I’d recommend Watermelon Kisses to readers who enjoy a glimpse of another culture, three-dimensional realistic characters, and a beautiful romance.

Reviewed By:  Anne

BUY LINK: https://www.mischiefcornerbooks.com/store/p125/Watermelon_Kisses.html

Anne Reviews: RE.NEW.AL a Queer Sci-Fi Anthology

Title:  Re.new.al

Author:  A Queer Sci-Fi Fourth Annual Flash Fiction Contest

Publisher:  Mischief Corner Books

Pages: 252

Characters: Various GLBTQ

POV: 1st & 3rd

Sub-Genre:  Anthology, SF, Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal

Kisses: 4

Blurb:

Re.new.al (noun)

1) Resuming an activity after an interruption, or
2) Extending a contract, subscription or license, or
3) Replacing or repairing something that is worn out, run-down, or broken, or
4) Rebirth after death.

Four definitions to spark inspiration, a limitless number of stories to be conceived. Only 110 made the cut.

Thrilling to hopeful, Renewal features 300-word speculative fiction ficlets about sexual and gender minorities to entice readers.

Welcome to Renewal.

Review:

I usually try to comment on each story in an anthology but because of the number of stories in this one, I’m going to focus on my overall impression instead.  I love reading anthologies as I find them a good introduction to new authors, and a way in which to catch up with those who are already favourites.

It’s not easy to write a story in 300 words, and I was impressed by the way in which these authors managed to world build and give an in depth sense of characters in these flash fiction stories.  Although they stand alone, I also got a sense of something bigger than what was present in the 300 words I read.

This anthology contains a mix of very different stories, yet all with the common theme of Re.new.al.  I loved how the authors’ imaginations ran in different directions with stories about gamers, androids, eternal life with a twist, and so much more in between. I found that some stories engaged me more than others, although there were several that made me think ‘wow’ and stayed with me long after I’d read them.  There are also quite a few stories with interesting twists. All of the stories have interesting premises, and they cover a range of SF and fantasy genres so I think every reader will find their own favourites amongst them.

I’d recommend Re.new.al  to readers who enjoy Sci Fi and Fantasy inspired flash fiction with in depth world building and interesting characters.

Recommended!

Reviewed By:  Anne

Click HERE to purchase Re.new.al

Check out Renewal-A Queer Sci-Fi Anthology!

QSF Renewal-Print

QSF has a new book out, the latest in our series of flash fiction anthologies:

Re.new.al (noun)

1) Resuming an activity after an interruption, or
2) Extending a contract, subscription or license, or
3) Replacing or repairing something that is worn out, run-down, or broken, or
4) Rebirth after death.

Four definitions to spark inspiration, a limitless number of stories to be conceived. Only 110 made the cut.

Thrilling to hopeful, Renewal features 300-word speculative fiction ficlets about sexual and gender minorities to entice readers.

Welcome to Renewal.

Mischief Corner Books (info only) | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads


Renewal Banner

Excerpt

Because these stories are only 300 words each, we’re not supplying long excerpts, but here are the first lines of several of the stories. Enjoy!

“Griselda pulled the weeds from between the rows of Valerianella locusta plants in the garden, careful not to disturb the buds that would grow into the babies that were her only real income-producing crop.” —The Witches’ Garden, by Rie Sheridan Rose

“I didn’t know how truly the world was in trouble until I went journeying to look for Anisette’s bluebonnets.” —Bluebonnets, by Emily Horner

“The ship’s drive malfunctioned at the worst possible time.” —The Return, by Andrea Speed

“Before we continue, there’s a rather macabre fact about me I should share.” —Rejuvenation, by Christine Wright

“When I died they buried me at the bottom of the garden and returned to the fields.” —Below the Hill, by Matthew Bright

“The world is ending and I can’t look away from your eyes.” —Sunrise, by Brigitte Winter

““Losing one’s superpowers to your arch nemesis sucks donkey nuts, I tell ya. And trust me when I say I suck a lot of them.” —Rainbow Powers,

Publisher: Mischief Corner Books
Author: Various – see Authors section below
Cover Artist: Gus Li
Length: 196 pages
Format: eBook, Paperback
Release Date: 9/13/17
Pairing: Various – covers many pairings and identities
Price: 4.99, 16.99 paperback (b/w illus); 28.99 (color illus – avail 9/16)
Series: SF Flash Fiction Anthologies – Book Three
Genre: Sci Fi, Paranormal, Fantasy, Horror, Romance, Mainstream

Blurb:

Re.new.al (noun)

1) Resuming an activity after an interruption, or
2) Extending a contract, subscription or license, or
3) Replacing or repairing something that is worn out,
run-down, or broken, or
4) Rebirth after death.

Four definitions to spark inspiration, a limitless number of stories to be conceived. Only 110 made the cut.

Thrilling to hopeful, Renewal features 300-word speculative fiction ficlets about sexual and gender minorities to entice readers.

Welcome to Renewal.

Excerpts:

Because these stories are only 300 words each, we’re not supplying long excerpts, but here are the first lines of several of the stories. Enjoy!

“Griselda pulled the weeds from between the rows of Valerianella locusta plants in the garden, careful not to disturb the buds that would grow into the babies that were her only real income-producing crop.” —The Witches’ Garden, by Rie Sheridan Rose

“I didn’t know how truly the world was in trouble until I went journeying to look for Anisette’s bluebonnets.” —Bluebonnets, by Emily Horner

“The ship’s drive malfunctioned at the worst possible time.” —The Return, by Andrea Speed

“Before we continue, there’s a rather macabre fact about me I should share.” —Rejuvenation, by Christine Wright

“When I died they buried me at the bottom of the garden and returned to the fields.” —Below the Hill, by Matthew Bright

“The world is ending and I can’t look away from your eyes.” —Sunrise, by Brigitte Winter

““Losing one’s superpowers to your arch nemesis sucks donkey nuts, I tell ya. And trust me when I say I suck a lot of them.” —Rainbow Powers, by Dustin Karpovich

“The day I was born again was damp, rainy—a good day for rebirth, all things considered.” —The Birthing Pod, by Michelle Browne

“Intwir’s twelve eyes roved over the container, taking in the cracked outer lock and the elasticated fabric stretched tightly over its exterior.” —In a Bind, by S R Jones

“‘You’ve reached Androgyne HelpLine. Press one to start service. Press two to interrupt or cancel service. Press three—’” —Auto-Renew, by Ginger Streusel

“The doctor tells me that my wife is dying, but I already know.” —I Will Be Your Shelter, by Carey Ford Compton

“‘San Francisco was the first to go dark, followed by Los Angeles.’” —When Light Left, by Lex Chase

“My fingers lingered on the synthetic skin, trailing soft patterns across my work.” —Miss You, by Stephanie Shaffer

Buy Links Etc:

Mischief Corner Books (info only): http://www.mischiefcornerbooks.com/renewal-qsfs-fouth-annual-flash-ficiton-contest.html

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074ZPB4ZM/

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/renewal-j-scott-coatsworth/1127042522?ean=9781975654368

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/renewal-27

iBooks: Coming Soon

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36113415-renewal

Anne Reviews: The Great North by J. Scott Coatsworth


TITLE: The Great North
Author: J. Scott Coatsworth
Publisher: Mischief Corner Books
Pages: 110
Characters: Dwyn/Mael
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Sci Fi, Fantasy, Myths, Legends, Gods, Post-Apocalyptic
Kisses: 4.5

Blurb:

Dwyn is a young man in the small, isolated town of Manicouga, son of the Minstor, who is betrothed to marry Kessa in a few weeks’ time.

Mael is shepherding the remains of his own village from the north, chased out by a terrible storm that destroyed Land’s End.

Both are trying to find their way in a post-apocalyptic world. When the two meet, their love and attraction may change the course of history.

The Great North was inspired by St. Dwynwen’s Day, also known as Welsh Valentines Day:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dwynwen

Review:

One of the things I love about J Scott Coatsworth’s writing is his world building. The Great North didn’t disappoint. Set in the future after an apocalypse, I enjoyed the attention to detail such as subtle language changes and how individuals had warped religion for their own purposes. Sadly the latter shows that despite what has happened in the past, the human race repeats its mistakes, something SF stories have long reminded us of. The societies of those in the Circle Lake community and the group from up north showed very well the different ways in which beliefs, and what is necessary for survival, can be used for good or to further an agenda. I loved the way Mael’s explanation to Dwyn about balancing the need to procreate with following one’s heart—so be with the one you want and the one you need.

I became invested in the characters very quickly. Both Dwyn and Mael are likeable characters, and I liked how the author developed the supporting cast. It would have been very easy to have some of them follow a stereotypical path, but instead the author took another direction with a lovely curve ball I wasn’t expecting. I love MM fiction with strong women characters.

I found the link to an earlier folktale intriguing, and enjoyed the way the author used it. My only complaint with this story is that I would have loved it to continue. A bargain is made, but the price of it isn’t really explored in depth. Hopefully the author is planning a sequel as I’d enjoy catching up with these characters again and learning more about their world.

I’d recommend The Great North to readers who enjoy post dystopian stories with hope for the future, and likeable characters who work together to move forward, both as individuals and part of a community.

Reviewed By: Anne

BUY LINK: http://www.mischiefcornerbooks.com/the-great-north.html

Anne Reviews: This Wish Tonight by Wendy Rathbone, J. Scott Coatsworth and Gregory L. Norris


TITLE: This Wish Tonight
Author: Wendy Rathbone, J. Scott Coatsworth, Gregory L. Norris
Publisher: Mischief Corner Books
Pages: 137
Characters: Shin & Remi; Zeke & Nathan; Lucius & Oscar
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: SF; SF/Post-Apocalyptic: Contemporary
Kisses: 4.5

Blurb:

Eve of the Great Frost by Wendy Rathbone:

Remi has prepared for over a year to be the king’s gift at the annual celebration of the Eve of the Great Frost on the planet Niobe. Twelve men, taught under the tutelage of the Pleasure Master, hope to be the one (or one of several) chosen to spend an erotic night with the mysterious alien king who always wears a mask. But when Remi’s turn comes to be presented to His Majesty, everything goes wrong from a costume malfunction to breaking protocol. What happens next is a shock, and a night he will never forget.

Wonderland by J. Scott Coatsworth
Zeke is a loner his late forties, living in a small cabin in rural Montana. Nathan has been traveling across country on foot since the zombie apocalypse, dealing with his OCD in an empty world. Zeke just wants someone to love. Nathan just wants to be home again.
Fate brings them together in a winter wonderland, but their own fears and baggage may tear them apart.

Fear of Fire by Gregory L. Norris
Glass Artist Lucius Price works desperately to create a holiday symbol intended to help the town of Villatopia heal from a rash of unsolved hate crimes against gay men. When he is targeted next and his studio set ablaze, handsome firefighter Oscar Ramos rescues Lucius from the flames, creating a different kind of fire during an unforgettable Christmas.

Review:

This anthology from Mischief Corner Books is a collection of three very different stories with the shared theme of Christmas. I love reading anthologies as they’re a great way to find new authors. I’d already read and enjoyed another story by J. Scott Coatsworth—Through the Veil—but the other two authors in this collection are new to me.

Eve of the Great Frost by Wendy Rathbone
This story is SF and I loved the descriptive world building and the exploration of another culture. I enjoyed the way the author used POV to play with perspective. The story is from Remi’s POV rather than Shin’s who is from Earth. It was interesting watching Remi trying to understand Shin’s motivations without the insight he discovers as the story progresses. It gave a nice glimpse of a man behind a mask although Shin had his own mask in a way. I also really liked that the story revisited the characters with an epilogue set much later rather than just finishing once the main part of the story was over.

Wonderland by J. Scott Coatsworth
This is also SF, but very different from the previous one as it is set on Earth in the not so distant future after a rather nasty plague has decimated the population. Both Nathan and Zeke need to do some serious soul searching and I liked that one of the MCs is dealing with OCD as it gave the story more of a realistic edge. I prefer to read about characters who have an internal struggle as well an external one. The descriptions of the setting were very vivid and it made it easy to imagine the desolation and loneliness of their surroundings. I enjoyed the world building and how the decisions the characters make highlight what it important to life. I also liked Andy as a character—I thought he was well used, and the explanation of who he was left me with hope for the future of not just the characters in this story, but humanity as well.

Fear of Fire by Gregory L. Norris
Although it appears have a few supernatural elements at the beginning, this story is really a contemporary romance, and as such rounds out the anthology nicely. I liked the two main characters—Lucius and Oscar—and thought they complemented each other well. Lucius is a glass artist which was something I wasn’t familiar with, and I enjoyed the descriptions of his work. The supporting characters were a little more stereotypical, but that didn’t detract from the story which left me with a happy fuzzy feeling at the end of it as Lucius and Oscar come together with their community to celebrate the season and hope for the future.

I’d recommend This Wish Tonight to readers who enjoy reading shorter stories with engaging characters and descriptive world building. Although there is a Christmas theme running through these stories, I think they can be enjoyed at any time of the year, especially with the hope they leave the reader with for not just the characters, but humanity itself.

Reviewed By: Anne

Click HERE to purchase This Wish Tonight

Pippa Reviews: Uncommonly Tidy Poltergeists by Angel Martinez


Title: Uncommonly Tidy Poltergeists
Author: Angel Martinez
Publisher: Mischief Corner Books
Pages: 92
Characters: Taro, Jack
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Paranormal
Kisses: 4.5

Blurb:

A poltergeist haunts Taro, dogging his international travels. It washes glasses, puts dishes away, and even dusts. At least he hopes it’s a cleaning-obsessed poltergeist and not his own anxieties burbling over into neat freak fits he doesn’t remember. When his property manager suggests he call paranormal expert, Jack Montrose, Taro’s skeptical but desperate enough to try even a ghost hunter.

Jack’s arrival crushes Taro’s hopes of a dashing Van Helsing-style hero. Instead of an invincible hunter, he gets Ichabod Crane. As the paranormal puzzles multiply and Jack begins to suggest the entity might not be a ghostly one, Taro adds a budding friendship with Jack to his pile of anxieties. It’s a race to see whether Taro’s poltergeist or his relationship with the obviously-not-ace Jack will reach maximum strangeness first.

Review:

Have you ever read a book where you want to cuddle the characters and take them home with you? This is the cuddle book for me. Right from the start, as Taro sits at the dining room table and waits for his family to listen to him, I could relate to him so well. I’m the youngest too and it’s a position only the youngest sibling will understand. Then there is Jack. Where you expect Jack to be the alpha male, that isn’t who you get. He’s wonderful, in a bumbling, completely awkward kind of way. He has his own issues too and Taro must deal with them. This is a book about two awkward people fitting together in the most bizarre of circumstances. And it was lovely.

I was bemused by way they mentioned asexuality in the blurb. Not why they mentioned it, but how, as they referenced the non-ace character. I don’t have much experience reading ace characters, but I appreciated the way the explanation was skillfully slotted into the developing relationship between Taro and Jack, rather than info-dumping and preachy speeches.

I won’t spoil the paranormal element, beyond saying I wish the ‘entity’ would visit me. Once a week would be great. Once a month even. This was a lovely tale from Angel Martinez, which made me laugh out loud more than once, and go for the warm and fuzzies in all the right places.

Definitely recommended.

Reviewed By: Pippa Wood

Click HERE to purchase Uncommonly Tidy Poltergeists by Angel Martinez