Review: Master of the Game by Jane Kindred + Giveaway

master of the game by jane kindredFormat read: ebook provided by the publisher
Formats available: ebook
Genre: paranormal romance; m/m romance
Series: Demons of Elysium, #3
Length: 285 pages
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Date Released: August 5, 2014
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo

Now that his lover is back in his arms, Belphagor is taking his own sweet time to say the words Vasily longs to hear: “You’re my boy.” And savoring the sweet torture of driving the firespirit into a frenzy of unfulfilled need.

As the undisputed master of Heaven’s gaming tables, Belphagor never plays unless he’s certain of winning. But this time, political machinations send the game—and Vasily—tumbling to the brink of even his formidable control.

Vasily can’t deny enjoying their delightfully edgy play—until the airspirit auctions him off for a night to the one demon with a gift for taking things too far. Seductive Silk, tight-lipped about the end of his relationship with the sweet submissive Phaleg, may also be involved with a new faction threatening the pregnant queen of Heaven.

Belphagor couldn’t be less interested in the games angels play, but when angelic and demonic intrigues overlap, he’s drawn in against his will. And forced to break his one inviolable rule: Never gamble what you can’t afford to lose.

Warning: Contains more than a mouthful of m/m ménage, with intense D/s situations featuring intricate rope work, balaklavas, and a flurry of snow.

My Review:

king of thieves by jane kindredMaster of the Game is a story on multiple levels; it’s the continuation of Bel’s attempt to rid Raqia of the child slavery ring from King of Thieves (reviewed here), it’s the foreshadowing the dynastic war among the supernal realms that blows into full eruption in The Fallen Queen (reviewed here), and it’s first and foremost the love, sex and domination story between Belphagor and Vasily.

Considering the Vasily is a fire-spirit, it would be correct to call Master of the Game one very hot mess, in a completely captivating way. Everything boils over into delicious decadence.

Master of the Game is still (and always) Belphagor’s story, no matter who might be occupying center stage on any particular page.

After three books of the Demons of the Elysium series, I still see these as the story of how Bel changes from the selfish bastard he presents himself to be (and clearly used to be, based on his history) and the demon who saves the supernal realms in The House of Arkhangel’sk trilogy. There had to be a transformation, and this is the way it went.

prince of tricks by jane kindredThe first story, Prince of  Tricks (reviewed here) was mostly about Bel finally admitting to himself that he actually loved Vasily, and that they weren’t just mutually using each other. The second showed him rescuing a bunch of demon children who had been sold into sexual slavery, meanwhile risking his relationship with Vasily in the process.

Bel does the right thing using some of the wrong methods. And doesn’t learn his lesson, because he does it again in Master of the Game. The difference is that this time Vasily calls him on it when he’s gone too far.

But the stakes are even higher this time. A group of Angels from the higher courts is planning to assassinate the queen, before she gives birth to yet another baby, but one who might be male and cement her husband’s rule.

fallen queen goodreadsInstead, the wrong woman is killed and the events that follow set the stage for The Fallen Queen. The child that the queen bears is the daughter who falls.

But the trick is to try to get the King to let go of his idealism about demons, so that he can survive and not be overthrown. At least not now. Later will happen, well, later. Everyone hopes much later.

In the middle of the politics, a very personal quest surfaces. Bel needs to rescue the demon children that he failed to save in King of Thieves from a fate that isn’t worse than death, because it is death.

A very long, painful and drawn out death.

Bel uses everyone and everything around him to get the results he wants. He nearly loses Vasily, again. Vasily nearly gets killed, again. It’s what they do.

But the story that hurts the heart is that of the Angel Phaleg, who admits that he loves the demon Silk so much that he will risk his career and his life for a man that he is not supposed to be seen with on the streets, let alone love.

Angels are allowed to play with demons. Male angels are allowed to play with male demons. But letting it get serious is dangerous and forbidden and everything that Phaleg isn’t supposed to want. But still needs.

He uses his rank to save them all. And loses everything but the man he loves.

Escape Rating A: The world of Raqia and the Devil’s Doorstep is a place that is dangerous and seductive and will steal your soul.

Belphagor is not a good man. He’s not a good demon. But he seems to be what everyone needs to solve every crisis and patch up too many people’s broken places. He’s a savior who always sees himself as a tempter and a player.

He plays to win, but no outsider ever seems to realize that the stakes he is playing for are not the ones on the table. He’s not someone that anyone would be eager to meet in a dark alley–unless he’s their only answer to a prayer. Or a curse.

If you love the darkest of darks in your antiheroes, introduce yourself to Belphagor. He’ll steal your soul and your wallet, and possibly save your life. Or at least put you inside an awesome story.

JaneKindred_72dpi-optAbout Jane Kindred

Jane Kindred is the author of The House of Arkhangel’sk trilogy, the Demons of Elysium series, and The Devil’s Garden. Born in Billings, Montana, she spent her formative years ruining her eyes reading romance novels in the Tucson sun and watching Star Trek marathons in the dark. She now writes to the sound of San Francisco foghorns while two cats slowly but surely edge her off the side of the bed.You can find Jane on her Twitter account and Facebook page and on her website,


Jane is giving away a Diamond Accent Devil Heart with Wings Pendant in Sterling Silver and a $25.00 Amazon gift card! To enter, use the widget below:


Masters of the Game

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money or borrowed from a public library and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

Review: King of Thieves by Jane Kindred + Giveaway

king of thieves by jane kindredFormat read: ebook provided by the publisher
Formats available: ebook
Genre: paranormal romance, M/M romance, fantasy
Series: Demons of Elysium #2
Length: 386 pages
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Date Released: April 29, 2014
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo

Belphagor can seduce demons with a look and bring angels to their knees with a single motion, but when it comes to being in love, the Prince of Tricks is out of his element.

At every turn, Vasily rebels against the discipline he claims to want, even refusing to use his safe word. But when Belphagor uses a scheme to shut down an underage brothel to test Vasily s limits, he loses Vasily s trust along with the boys he intended to set free.

Uncovering a smuggling ring that spans two worlds, Belphagor calls on a team of Nephilim mercenaries to rescue the Lost Boys from earthly gangsters. But his relationship seems beyond repair and a heartbroken Vasily beyond his reach in the arms of a sensual demon named Silk.

Belphagor has more than enough grand schemes up his sleeve to bring down the smuggling ring for good. But when it comes to putting things right with Vasily, his bag of tricks is empty. Except for trust and a plan to teach his boy a lesson neither will soon forget.

Warning: Contains two strong-willed lovers who will test the theory that without air, there can be no fire. Expect plenty of smoke, more than a few mirrors, and an old-fashioned Russian duel. You may need a shot of vodka when you re done reading this one!

My Review:

prince of tricks by jane kindredKing of Thieves continues the emotionally explosive prequel to Jane Kindred’s amazing House of Ark’hangelsk trilogy. I don’t think it is possible to read King of Thieves, or you certainly lose the emotional impact, if you haven’t read Prince of Tricks. It’s even better, although not strictly necessary, to read the fall of the House of Ark’hangelsk, as told in The Fallen Queen, The Midnight Court and The Armies of Heaven.

But if you enjoy fantasy romance, particularly on the erotic side, why ever would you deny yourself such a marvelous treat?

The story that underlies King of Thieves is in the concept that nobility can be found in the darkest of places, and that evil can be discovered where there should be nothing but light. A grand game of not judging the book by its cover.

master of the game by jane kindredBelphagor is the demon whose heart lies at the center of all the books in this series so far. Prince of Tricks and King of Thieves, along with the forthcoming Master of the Game, are the story of how the demon becomes the person who saves the House of Ark’hangelsk, and with it, the supernal realms.

By the time of King of Thieves, we have someone who uses everyone and everything around him to achieve his ends. But those ends are not as selfish as they often appear to be.

He is also not used to having anyone he cares about enough to worry about their opinion of him or feelings about him. Even though in Prince of Tricks, he admits that he loves the firespirit Vasily, Bel has no understanding that loving someone means considering their feelings and letting them in.

A lot of the time that the story of King of Thieves is taken up with the mess that Bel makes of his relationship with Vasily, and vice versa. They both work together and against each other as they tug violently at the intensity of the bond between them, something that neither of them has ever experienced before and that they can’t seem to find a good way of working out.

And sometimes Bel really is an ass.

But there are much bigger fish to fry, and in a way that forcibly reminds the readers that the supernal realms are not the world we know, and the morals and prohibitions that hedge the human world do not exist in Raqia.

The sex trade is quite legal, as long as all the parties are of the age of consent. It is also quite legal for demons to sell their children. But those two things are not supposed to work together. Someone is selling children into sexual slavery, and Bel is determined to put a stop to the traffic.

No matter what it costs him in reputation, money or even Vasily’s trust. Something that he doesn’t realize he can lose, or that it’s a price that will be much too high to pay.

Escape Rating A: Belphagor says in the story that “There are worse things to lose than one’s good name.” Not that he has much of a good name, but there are some things he will not consider. Leaving demon children in slavery is one of those things.

The plot to expose the ring of slavers and the angelic purchasers who support the trade is long, convoluted and utterly fascinating. Even though Bel only reveals his inner self in very tiny bits, we see that the core is utterly protective of those he considers as under his protection–something that seems to include more of the demon enclave of Raqia than anyone who knows him would imagine.

He lies, manipulates, steals and nearly gets himself killed in order to save those children. But he’s so busy with his plots that he almost loses the love that makes life worth living.

What fascinates about Bel’s relationship with Vasily isn’t necessarily the sex, although that is plenty hot and laced with a kind of exchange of loving punishment that both consumes them both. It’s watching the way that trust, and the lack of it, drives them to both excesses of pride and intense doubt. The many variations of the ways that they love and hurt each other is riveting, but it’s the exchange of trust that turns out to be everything.


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Jane is giving away a Bath & Body Gift Set: Heavenly Spa Retreat valued at $50 and a $50 Amazon Gift Card to lucky US commenters.

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***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money or borrowed from a public library and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

Review: Slam Dance with the Devil by Nico Rosso

slam dance with the devil by nico rossoFormat read: ebook provided by NetGalley
Formats available: ebook
Genre: paranormal romance
Series: Demon Rock #2
Length: 203 pages
Publisher: Carina Press
Date Released: March 10, 2014
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, All Romance

All those wild rock stars you hear about? Some of them really are demons, sustained by the energy pouring off the audience…

Wild, destructive and immortal, rocker Kent Gaol has given up the search for his Muse—a demon’s one true source of inspiration, his forever partner. After losing the one woman he thought might be his, he’s convinced she doesn’t exist.

Hard-as-nails private investigator Nona Harris has been hired by a mysterious client to track Kent. She knows nothing of his truths, until one night when Kent tricks her on stage during one of his concerts. Amazingly, she not only senses the energy around the demons, she feeds from it…and it turns her on.

Kent never expected Nona’s response to be so intense, nor that she could enter his world and so thoroughly rock it. This is beyond a tumultuous love affair—this is a sexual and emotional bond that will change them both forever. A bond strong enough that now Nona’s shady client wants them both dead…

My Review:

How many demons does it take to make a rock and roll band? In Slam Dance with the Devil, the hit band Arc Map has three, Kent on bass, Isis on guitar and Unger playing the drums. They go from concert to concert, playing gig after gig so they can soak up the energy from the audience.

Literally. They are demons who feed on that energy, and they’ve been feeding on their audiences since humankind made music by beating on rocks.

It’s a nomadic life, and has been for millennia. They’ve played every kind of music that has ever been. The demons that don’t manage to reinvent themselves and change with the audiences, die of hunger.

Every demon is supposed to have one Muse that changes everything. Once they find their Muse, they can only feed from that one person. They live together, or they die apart.

Heavy Metal Heart by Nico RossoIn Heavy Metal Heart (see review), Trevor Sands finds his Muse. His music gets better, but the revelation that Muses are real and not just myth strikes ripples through all of the other demons, and their enemies, the Philosophers.

That’s where private investigator Nona Harris comes in. She’s been sent by a client she’s never met to follow Arc Map and particularly Kent Gaol. She’s been told that a family wants to make sure he is paid back for the heartbreak he dealt to their child Lorena. Nona figures that if she follows the band, eventually Kent will trip up and do something illegal, and she’ll be there to nab him.

She’s had cases like that before, where someone thinks they are too rich and famous to be held accountable. Nona usually proves otherwise.

But when she catches up with Kent, she discovers that he’s not like her other cases, and not just because she finds him intensely sexy. Even as he challenges her, something about the darkness she sees in him makes her think that her case isn’t what she thought it was.

She sees grief and not guilt, and finds herself filled with doubt as well as distraction.

Then she is lured onstage during one of Arc Map’s concerts, and she sees the energy of the audience raining down on the band; and on herself. Her world is not what she thought it was.

And she discovers that she’s been searching for Kent all her life. She just never knew what he was–until now.

Escape Rating B: Like Heavy Metal Heart, Slam Dance with the Devil is a very erotic love story. If you’ve read any of Olivia Cunning’s Sinners on Tour series, it’s that hot, without the threesomes. This is totally Kent and Nona’s story.

Both of them resist the almost gravimetric pull they have towards each other. Nona because she starts out believing that Kent is scum, and Kent because he believes that the woman who should have been his Muse is already dead–murdered by the Philosophers.

The war between the Philosophers and the demons is all about order vs chaos. While that may sound like good vs evil, it’s actually not. Order can be so rigid as to suppress life, and chaos, in the right dose, is more about change and growth.

Because Nona’s life is all about delivering justice, she starts out being all about order and rules. The Philosophers use that to get to her, and it almost works. They lose in the end because Nona is all about truth, and they lied to her to get her to do what they wanted.

Kent’s always told her the truth, even when it was one that she couldn’t believe. Even when it was one she didn’t want to believe. The truth that they belonged together saved them both.

This world of demon rockers and their muses puts a whole new spin on rock and roll. As an alternate version of history, let’s just say it gives a whole different beat, and a compelling one, to alt-rock.

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money or borrowed from a public library and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

Guest Post by Jane Kindred on Loving Russia + Giveaway

jane kindredMy special guest today is Jane Kindred, the author of the absolutely fabulous House of Arkhangel’sk series, as well as the book of the day, the decadently delicious Prince of Tricks. Jane’s guest posts always pack one hell of a punch, and this is no exception. So do her books!

On Loving Russia When it Doesn’t Love You Back
by Jane Kindred

If you’ve spent any time at all on social media in the past six months, or own a television, you’re probably aware of the controversy surrounding the upcoming Winter Olympics in the city of Sochi in the Russian Federation. Following the passage of similar local laws throughout Russia in 2012, Putin’s government passed a Draconian law in 2013 that criminalizes the public discussion or support of “non-traditional sexual relations.” Anti-LGBT human rights abuses and crimes have been on the rise, with hate groups abducting and filming the torture of alleged gay youths to “teach them a lesson,” while authorities look the other way or actively encourage such crimes, even when they result in death.

Many LGBT groups have called for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics and of its sponsors. Others, including the International Olympic Committee and sponsors such as Visa, McDonald’s, and Coca-Cola, have dismissed the concerns, despite the fact that the Olympic charter stresses human dignity and disavows “discrimination of any kind.” For better or worse, the Sochi Olympics go on.

And for better or worse, so does my Russian-based series featuring a pair of gay and bisexual demon protagonists whom I like to call my “Russian leather demons.”

prince of tricks by jane kindredMy erotic m/m fantasy novel, Prince of Tricks, takes place in Russia and in the celestial city of Elysium, patterned after St. Petersburg of the early 20th century. Russia has never been a particularly friendly place for men who love other men, so it hasn’t been easy for my boys, even before the recent political developments. Belphagor has been in and out of the gulag system over the past 100 years, so he’s experienced the country’s worst. And yet, like me, he still loves Russia. And loves it enough to share it with his Vasily, despite the danger.

Having spent the last eight years of my life falling in love with Russia and writing these books (the Demons of Elysium series and the related epic fantasy series, The House of Arkhangel’sk), I’m extremely disheartened by the path this country I love has been taking. It’s hard to maintain that love in the face of increasing hatred. I can no longer travel to Russia (my choice, for reasons of personal safety as well as taking a moral stance), and my books cannot be sold there.

As things began to escalate in Russia over the past year, I found it increasingly difficult to keep writing the Demons of Elysium series, to keep celebrating Russian culture and my love for it. I wondered if it was time at last to let these books and these characters go. But I believe the only positive act I can take is to continue my love affair with (almost) all things Russian by continuing to write my now subversive stories.

I dedicated Prince of Tricks to Pussy Riot (two members of the Russian feminist punk group were imprisoned in 2012 for staging a protest performance against Putin’s government in a Moscow church) and others in Russia whose voices are being silenced by these laws. I wish I could do more. But as the Human Rights Campaign says, Lyubov Pobezhdaet Nenavist…Love Conquers Hate.

About Jane:

Jane Kindred is the author of The House of Arkhangel’sk trilogy, the Demons of Elysium series, and The Devil’s Garden. Born in Billings, Montana, she spent her formative years ruining her eyes reading romance novels in the Tucson sun and watching Star Trek marathons in the dark. She now writes to the sound of San Francisco foghorns while two cats slowly but surely edge her off the side of the bed.

Prince of Tricks Button 300 x 225


caviar-gift-basketJane is giving away a fabulous Caviar gift basket from the House of Caviar, or one $150 gift card to one US winner. Ten winners will receive their choice of a $10 gift card from either Amazon or B&N. Wow!
To enter, just fill out the rafflecopter below.
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Review: Prince of Tricks by Jane Kindred

prince of tricks by jane kindredFormat read: ebook provided by the publisher
Formats available: ebook
Genre: Paranormal romance, M/M romance, fantasy
Series: Demons of Elysium #1
Length: 375 pages
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Date Released: January 7, 2014
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, All Romance

When desire rises, angels will fall. One, by one, by one…

Demons of Elysium, Book 1

Over the past century, Belphagor has made a name for himself in Heaven’s Demon District as a cardsharp, thief, and charming rogue.

Though the airspirit is content with his own company, he enjoys applying the sweet sting of discipline to a willing backside. Angel, demon, even the occasional human. He’s not particular. Until a hotheaded young firespirit steals his purse—and his heart. Now he’s not sure who owns whom.

A former rent boy and cutpurse from the streets of Raqia, Vasily has never felt safer than in the arms—and at the feet—of the Prince of Tricks. He’s just not sure if Belphagor returns those feelings. There’s only one way to find out, but using a handsome, angelic duke to stir Belphagor’s jealousy backfires on them both.

When the duke frames Vasily for an attempted assassination as part of a revolutionary conspiracy, Belphagor will do whatever it takes to clear his boy’s name and expose the real traitor. Because for the first time in his life, the Prince of Tricks has something to lose.

Product Warnings
Contains erotic sex: m/m, m/m/m, m/m/m/m…oh hell. Let’s just say “mmmmmm!” and be done with it. Also one m/f scene. Smart discipline meted out with a great deal of love and charm. Erotic sex acts requiring copious amounts of elbow grease.

My Review:

midnight courtIf you’ve read Jane Kindred’s House of Arkhangel’sk trilogy (Fallen Queen, Midnight Court and Armies of Heaven) then Prince of Tricks serves as a even more decadent backstory to the action in that series.

If you haven’t read the Arkhangel’sk series, then Prince of Tricks is the start of something amazing. It’s an erotic love story between two demons in a world where Heaven is nothing like what we imagine.

When angels and demons fall, they fall to Earth. Our Earth. A place where history either presages or parallels the courts of Heaven, but in a way that both surprises and haunts.

The story is Belphagor’s. He is the Prince of Tricks of the title. Bel is an airspirit who has lived his life in the lowest places of the supernal realms. Once he was a rent-boy, now he’s a gambler who reigns over a table at a dive in Raqia, the demons’ quarter.

It’s clear that Bel has spent most of his life using other people, generally to their mutual satisfaction, so that he can survive a life where any vulnerability will be exploited.

His life has also been much longer than appears. At least a century, for all that he looks to be in his mid-twenties. Demons (and angels) don’t age while in Heaven. But Belphagor has fallen to earth more than once, and it’s marked him.

But someone has made him vulnerable, and that’s where this story begins. Bel has been in love with Vasily since the first time the younger demon attempted to pick his pocket. But he felt that he needed to wait until Vasily grew up. At least chronologically. A lot of this story happens because Vasily still needs to figure a few things out emotionally. He uses the wrong man to make Belphagor jealous.

Wrong not because of any jealousy Bel might finally discover that he feels, but wrong because Vasily sets himself up to be used in political maneuvering by an politically ambitious (and morally corrupt) angel. Vasily becomes the scapegoat for something much bigger than he or Belphagor imagined.

And Belphagor goes to surprising lengths to rescue the man he has finally managed to admit that he loves.

Escape Rating A: If you’ve read the Arkhangel’sk trilogy, Prince of Tricks is a must-read. Although the trilogy is about the fall and rise of the imperial family, Belphagor is often the prime mover of events, and he and his tempestuous relationship with Vasily are a big part of that story. If Vasily had not found a way into Bel’s heart, Bel wouldn’t become the demon who saves the queen.

But this story is about the beginning of the relationship. It can be read without having read the trilogy, but it cannot be read without fans and cooling drinks!

Not just because Bel and Vasily push each other to their sexual limits (Bel is extremely dominant, Vasily is not just defiantly submissive, but emotionally needy), but because Belphagor is an expert at using others’ sexuality both to prove his dominance and to seduce or beguile them into assisting with his own game. Or sometimes just for fun.

The combination is explosive.

Prince of Tricks Button 300 x 225

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money or borrowed from a public library and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

Guest Post by Author Rebekah Turner on Creating the Applecross + Giveaway

chaos bound by rebekah turnerMy guest today at Reading Reality is Rebekah Turner, the author of the marvelously inventive Chronicles of the Applecross series, Chaos Born and this morning’s featured review, Chaos Bound. The world she has created is a fantastic borderland mixture of fantasy, myth and legend where her kick-ass heroine, Lora Blackgoat, both casts spells and occasionally crosses into our “Outlands” to buy boots and coffee.

Before you visit the Applecross, and if you love urban fantasy you really, really should, let’s hear from Rebekah on how she created this universe where angels and demons may both be the best kind of bad boys.

Creating the World and Characters of Chaos Bound
by Rebekah Turner

chaos born by rebekah turnerThe initial idea that grew into my first published novel, Chaos Born and now the second, Chaos Bound, originated with the main protagonist, Lora Blackgoat. She limped into my imagination one day; the cranky heroine of a few short stories I hammered out in between looking after my first baby.

While I enjoyed writing the short stories, Lora was a difficult character to get a handle on at first, as she steadfast refused to reveal her inner thoughts. But she stuck in my imagination and soon I was writing a longer story, with her as the star. After the book was finished, I realised Lora’s motivations seemed ambiguous and that I still didn’t have a hold on who she was. The answer came when I wrote the story again, but this time completely through Lora’s point of view. Within a few chapters, she bloomed for me and it was like I’d known her all my life.

My male characters; Seth, Captain of the City Watch and Lora’s ex-lover, and Roman, a half-angel warrior and her new love interest, were much easier to write and I had a complete ball writing the Roman scenes. Of course, I enjoyed Seth’s company just as much, though I sensed he had a rich and dangerous history I’d only just started tapping into.

When expanding further on the world Lora inhabited, I wanted the city to be dark, moody and with elements of the fantastic, but with a realistic baseline. It was to be influenced by our modern world, but with factions in power still clinging to the old ways, almost forbidding access to ours.

I’ve always written Lora’s stories with a mystery at their core, along with a dollop of romance and a sprinkling of horror, fused together by her wry view point. Lora is the anti-heroine with a bleak sense of humour that slices through her best and worst times equally and while this doesn’t always garner her new friends, she’s loyal to the ones she has and that’s a quality I love to write and explore, for as far as Lora will take me.

About Rebekah:

Rebekah TurnerRebekah lives in sunny Queensland and has worked in the past as a graphic designer. She now does freelance work when her kids are looking the other way. An avid writer since she could scrawl in her dad’s expensive encyclopedias, she has progressed from horsey stories to tales of dark fantasy with lashings of romance and a sprinkling of horror.

Her vices include eating overpriced ice cream, over analyzing 80s action and horror movies and buying stationery she just doesn’t need.


Rebekah is giving away an ebook copy of Chaos Bound to one lucky winner. This giveaway is open to ALL! To enter, use the Rafflecopter below.

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Review: Chaos Bound by Rebekah Turner

chaos bound by rebekah turnerFormat read: ebook provided by NetGalley
Formats available: ebook
Genre: urban fantasy
Series: Chronicles from the Applecross #2
Length: 177 pages
Publisher: Escape Publishing
Date Released: December 1, 2013
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, All Romance

Lora Blackgoat — mercenary and smuggler — has only just recovered from the last threat on her life and hasn’t even begun to sort out the mess of having both a nephilim warrior and a reborn hellspawn as potential lovers. Work should be a refuge, but a job finding missing persons puts her in the crosshairs of a violent gang and a merchant with a taste for blood sport.

Reluctantly, Lora turns to the two men in her life for help. Roman — the nephilim — professes to be her soul mate and turns to her when he feels the darkness of nephilim madness descending. But though Lora is drawn to Roman, it is Seth, ex-lover and reborn hellspawn, who Lora must ultimately ask to protect those she loves. Can she trust Seth to save Roman and her adoptive family, or will this be a fatal mistake?

My Review:

The Chronicles from the Applecross is a series where it really helps to get in at the very beginning. Fortunately, the beginning is not far away, and is also excellent. If you enjoy multi-faceted urban fantasy starring complicated kick-ass female protagonists, get a copy of Chaos Born right now. Lora Blackgoat is a whole world of fascinating.

chaos born by rebekah turnerChaos Bound picks up right where Chaos Born left off. Lora Blackgoat is a mercenary and an all-purpose “fixer” for the Blackgoat Guild in the magical borderland called the “Weald”. From there, it is possible to cross into our own non-magical world, the “Outlands” and bring back luxury goods. Lora is particularly fond of sports bras and expensive boots.

She also has the unique ability to make mechanical items function in the Weald, and make magic spells work in the Outlands. Lora doesn’t know why, but then, Lora doesn’t know her own heritage, either. She was a foundling, adopted and raised by the satyr Gideon Blackgoat and the otherkin Orella Warbreeder, but she’s never known what she herself is. She looks human, but knows she probably isn’t.

She also looks like a Witch Hunter, but doesn’t have the talents that go with that appearance. Lora also detests the practices of the Witch Hunter Guild. They have a tendency to massacre suspected dark path practitioners first, and ask questions later, if it all.

In Chaos Bound, Lora finds herself trapped between multiple sets of opposing forces. A competing mercenary company tries to muscle Gideon out of business. This sounds like simple business competition, but it sparks a blood-soaked chain reaction that nearly leads to a purge of all magic practitioners.

Lora is contracted to bodyguard a young actress, and the consequences of her assignment start a blood feud between the shapechanging griorwolves and a drugrunning gang of cuthroats and slavers.

In the middle of all of this, Lora discovers that the reason she has such unusual magical abilities is that she is something that has not been seen in millenia, if ever; she is a female nephilim. And that too many people (using loose definitions for the word “people”) want to control her power for their own ends. Not that she is remotely willing to let them.

Unfortunately, one of those people is her ex-lover. Who neglected to mention his own past as ex-hellspawn. Or that he is in the center of several of the recent power plays, trying to decide which one will benefit him the most.

The Applecross is a very complicated, and deadly place. It is awesome to read about, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

Escape Rating B+: Chaos Bound (and also Chaos Born) are totally Lora’s show. Both books are told from Lora’s first-person perspective, and it’s her voice all the way. In other books this device falls flat, because the head you’re stuck in has to be an interesting head, and the perspective has to be informed enough that it doesn’t feel naive or stupid.

Lora is completely awesomesauce. Even when she doesn’t know what she’s doing, she’s still kicking ass and taking names.

Yes, she has low moments, and sad moments, and times when she gets overwhelmed, but she picks herself back up. She doesn’t wait to be rescued. She also goes off in the complete wrong direction a few times, but she keeps moving forward. Or occasionally ass-backward. But moving.

This is urban fantasy rather than paranormal romance. However, there is what feels like an obligatory romantic triangle in here, and I kind of wish it had been played down even more than it was. It feels like there’s going to be a showdown at some point, but I wish that the romance wasn’t tied into it. Or that the triangular aspects of the romance weren’t tied into it. Not every urban fantasy needs a romantic triangle. There is more than enough tension building in Lora’s life without one.

But, about the two “gentlemen” and their history, outside the nascent romance? Seth Hallow is ex-hellspawn, and he seems to have been in the Applecross and the Outlands since he got his ejection notice, a looooong time ago. Lora (and this reader) would love to know how many fingers he’s had in how many pies since the dawn of time. He’s been a busy boy.

Her other suitor is the nephilim, Roman. He’s probably been around a few decades, or maybe centuries, too. There’s serious history waiting to be explored.

But the story is all about Lora. Where did she come from? It’s more than obvious that Gideon and Orella are keeping secrets about her origins. (So is Seth) Every time Lora finds out more, it’s because one of those secrets has just bitten her in the ass.

I would love to know why the cover picture is the guy in torment? The Chronicles of the Applecross are absolutely Lora’s story from beginning to end. And it’s one hell of an absorbing story! I hope we get some more soon, because while this installment came to a definite conclusion, Lora’s journey is far from over.

Chaos Bound Button 300 x 225

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money or borrowed from a public library and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

Interview with Eve Langlais on Demonically Tempting Heroes

Today’s guest at Reading Reality, Eve Langlais,  is here to tempt you to read, not just her latest book, A Demon and His Witch, but all of her her previous forays into the lighter and sexier side of the Underworld, alien abductions, cyborg sex, and every other this or other-worldly variation her mind can think of.

A Demon and His Witch was my first trip to one of Eve Langlais’ laugh-out-loud, good time rides, and I’m already hooked. Take a look at my review and see if you’re not demonically tempted by this demon. (Just look at that cover picture. He’s temptation enough) Me, I’ve already started on another one of Eve’s books, The Geek Job.

Now let’s hear a few worlds from the temptress herself…

Marlene: Eve, can you please tell us a bit about yourself? What happens to Eve in her non-writing life?

Eve: In my non writing life I’m usually reading or wrangling kids lol. My ‘mom’ duties take up most of my free time, but I love it!

Marlene: In your bio you manage to use the words “Walmart”, “werewolves” and “aliens” in pretty close proximity. Help us all understand how that even works?

Eve: I love Walmart, even if my credit card doesn’t. For a family of five, it’s the place to shop for everything from clothes, to toys at Christmas, to just about everything. My heroines are often normal, just like me . They have to shop on a budget. They’re not quite perfect, maybe a little chunkier than society deems acceptable. My heroines might have differing self confidence levels and ways of dealing with the world, but they all have that special something about them that makes aliens and werewolves fall head over heels in love. Is there anything sexier than a male realizing that despite the fact a woman has a few extra pounds and maybe a prickly exterior, she’s his soulmate – whether she agrees or not? LOL.

Marlene: Describe a typical day of writing for us. Are you a planner, or do you just let the story flow?

Eve: I write Monday to Friday from about 9am until about 2 pm. The only outline is in my mind, although I do have notes about my characters and the world scattered all over my desk. My writing space is not neat by any means.

Marlene: Your books could be described as erotica with plot. What made you choose to focus on the erotic side of the romance equation in your writing?

Eve: Sex is a big part of romance. When I read a story where the characters are connecting on several levels, I don’t just want to read about the emotional changes they undergo, I want to see the sexual seduction. I want to recapture that first moment you fall in love with someone. I want to feel  the awareness, the hot connection that comes from a budding relationship where everything from how he looks at you, to how he touches you makes you feel so alive – and aroused. That to me is one of the best parts of falling love which is why I like my sex scenes to be explicit, hot, and squirm-in-your-chair worthy.

Marlene: On the other hand, the lovers in your trysts are not shy about breaking any of the rules or boundaries. Not just shapeshifters, but aliens, demons, cyborgs, (and any number or combination of any of the above) everything floats someone’s boat in your worlds. What’s your inspiration? Or who? 😉

Eve: My inspiration? LOL. I write what I think is hot. Alien abduction? Awesome (and possible!) Demons with attitude? Wicked – and who doesn’t love the idea of reforming a bad boy like that. Do some of my hot males share some of my hubby’s characteristics? Absolutely, which is why they’re not perfect and often drive my heroines batty.

Marlene: Could you tell us a little bit about A Demon and His Witch? Tempt everyone to read the book!

Eve: A Demon and His Witch is a humorous romp into my version of Hell. You’ve got Remy, a panty dropper of a male, who is paired with a witch who’d rather see all men die. But she’s got good reasons. Her ex boyfriend watched her burn at the stake and she never got over it. When Lucifer pairs her up with Remy to find some missing souls, when she doesn’t want to kill him, she remembers what it’s like to feel like a woman. She doesn’t have a choice because Remy is the king of sexual innuendo, and he throws corny pickup lines, one after another at Ysabel. She wants to hate him, she really does, but in the end, he chips away the armor around her heart and in the end, she can’t help but fall in love.

Marlene: Since I have a demonic feeling you love all the characters in A Demon and His Witch (or possibly just love tormenting them), what’s your favorite scene?

Eve: I can’t tell my favorite scene, because it’s a pivotal turning point in their relationship, but my second actually is between the heroine and Remy’s mother. Poor Ysabel gets caught in Remy’s bedroom, wearing next to nothing by Remy’s mom. Most people would find that awkward, but add in a mother who’s lost a few marbles and rips off her undies so she’s in style and you’ve got snort out loud hilarious.

Marlene: What was the first moment you knew you wanted to write?

Eve: When I was a kid, I loved to scribble down stories. I excelled in my creative writing class and had dreams of writing something epic. Then real life interfered for 20 years lol. But, I think that break gave me the life experiences I needed to make my stories believable –  and hot.

Marlene: What book do you recommend everyone should read and why?

Eve: Depends on what you like. If I’m looking for great urban fantasy, I go to Jim Butcher. Horror, early Stephen King. Mystery is Tess Gerritsen. Hot hunks written by someone else, Laurann Dohner. A giggle with your romance, ME! LOL

Marlene: You’ve already said that there will be more books in this series. So can you give us a hint or are you just going to torment us more? What is next on your schedule??

Eve: Book three for Welcome To Hell is currently stewing in my brain, but it’s got to wait as I’m finishing up work on Already Freakn’ Mated, third in my Freakn’ Shifter series. Then, I might just tackle Freakn 4 because I’ve already got a great storyline in mind LOL. Then, I have to do an alien story! I’m feeling sci-fi withdrawal. But after that, we’ll probably see Welcome to Hell 3 (with a Scottish demon lol) and a third Cyborg book.

Marlene: Now can you tell us 3 reasons why people should read your books?

Eve: Funny. Hot. And most of all, romantic.

Marlene: Morning person or night owl?

Eve: Morning! I’m lucky if I  can sleep in until 6 am lol.

Eve, it is so completely appropriate that your name is Eve! You absolutely are a temptress–tempting everyone to read your wonderfully sexy, naughty, and funny (very funny) stories. (Yes, the scene with Ysabel and Remy’s mother was both hilarious and cute at the same time.) Lots of people think they have the in-laws from Hell, but in Hell, everyone does! 

For a good time, read Eve!

Review: A Demon and His Witch by Eve Langlais

There are absolutely no great literary themes or deeper meanings to be found in A Demon and His Witch by Eve Langlais. And frankly, if all the demons look like the one on the cover of the book, who the hell cares? Seriously, that man has got something, and if Hell can just bottle it, they’ll have a fortune in souls. Yum. Make that YUM!

When I said there were no deeper themes, I lied. Just a little. (What can you expect in a story where Lucifer, Prince of Lies, is the big boss?)

Ysabel is Lucifer’s assistant. When I say assistant, I mean his administrative assistant. Because Hell mostly works like the worst bureaucracy you’ve ever seen. (What did you expect?) Lucifer really, really needs an Admin to deal with the paperwork!

Why is Ysabel in Hell? Because she’s a witch. A spellcasting witch. One who was burned at the stake in ye olde Dark Ages. These things happened. But the folks who burned her at the stake, well, let’s say they really honked Ysabel off. Her lover’s mother didn’t want to let go of her not-so-little boy, so she led the torch-wielding brigade. The boyfriend didn’t just let it happen, he stood around and watched. With her last breath, Ysabel sold her soul to damn the whole lot of them to Hell.

She didn’t read the fine print in the contract. No one ever does. Five of the a**hats escaped, and Ysabel’s true torments began. It turns out that working in Lucifer’s office isn’t all that bad compared to re-experiencing your own personal burning-at-the-stake every single day.

Of course, if she recaptures her tribe of escaped miscreants, her little fire-show will go away again. But Ysabel is a witch, not a tracker. Lucifer has just the tracker in mind. Of course he does.

Ysabel doesn’t trust men. Not after her first and only lover let his mother burn her at the stake. Would you? So who does Lucifer send her? Hell’s best-known stealer-of-hearts and female panties, the name and number on every female restroom wall in Hell, “For a good f*** call Remy”.

Remy is one of Lucifer’s best trackers. A half-human, half-demon warrior with a string of commendations and a sweet but totally insane demon mother.

And a man who spouts some of the worst and funniest pick-up lines in history. But they work. Even on Ysabel. And isn’t she one surprised witch.

Especially when he brings her home to meet his mother.

Escape Rating A-: This is sweeter than you might expect from the story premise. Which doesn’t mean that it isn’t every bit as snarky, funny and sexy as you do expect from the blurb, because it absolutely is all of those things. But the love story between Ysabel and Remy has it’s surprisingly touching moments.

In order for love to work, even a demon and a witch in Hell need to trust each other for true love to blossom. They have to work pretty hard to get to their happily ever after. Even writing that seems strange–a happily ever after in Hell? But it happens for Ysabel and Remy. Since this is Hell, there’s a miserably ever after for others.

But the twisted way that Lucifer justifies his matchmaking is screamingly funny. After all, he can’t be good without explaining why his good time is going to be bad for someone else…eventually.

Pick this one up expecting a Hell of a good time. And a sequel, because Lucifer has matchmaking plans. Now that he’s been such a terrific success out-cupiding Cupid, he’s got another couple in mind. Look out for A Demon and his Psycho. I know I will.

Interview with Author Jane Kindred on Angels, Demons and Overlords + Giveaway

Today’s extremely special guest at Reading Reality is Jane Kindred, the author of the dark (and decadently marvelous) epic fantasy tale of angels, demons and heavenly court politics about The House of Arkhangel’sk. I had the pleasure of reviewing the first book in the trilogy, The Fallen Queen, over at Book Lovers Inc. and my review of the book two, The Midnight Court, is here. Jane also wrote an amazing guest post “A Few Select Shades of Black and Blue” (about the current BDSM bandwagon and demon sex in particular) over at Book Lovers Inc.

Now, let’s get to those questions…

Marlene: Before I get into the really tough questions, would you like to tell us a little bit about yourself? Your bio says you started writing in the wayback of a Plymouth Fury? Is there a story in there?

Jane: Didn’t everybody have a wayback growing up? Er…I guess I’m showing my age. For those who don’t know, it was the rear-facing third row of seats in the back of a station wagon. (And a station wagon was a car that forced you to go on family vacations, and played 8-track tapes.) Ours happened to be a Plymouth Fury, which is the same model as the car Christine. Just sayin’. I spent a lot of my adolescence writing love stories and fantasies on the way to and from church…and during church. Which may explain why I ended up writing about angels and demons having sex.

Marlene: Who or what were your inspirations for The House of Arkhangel’sk?

Jane: Grand Duchess Anastasia of Russia—or rather, the fictionalized version of her—was the inspiration for the basic idea behind the series, and then I stuck my Anastasia in the middle of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen. C.S. Lewis’s The Silver Chair was another influence; I’ve always loved the idea of a prince enchanted by a wicked queen. And for Belphagor’s character, the germ of him started with an episode of Firefly called “The Message,” about a small-time con man who ended up gambling his own body.

Marlene: Were you seriously into Russian history before you started on the series? And how much research goes into each book to make the historic parallels?

Jane: No, I wasn’t into it at all before the idea came to me, although I’d always wanted to learn Russian, which I did (sort of) as part of my research. The research for the historic parallels was mostly done in one big chunk when I took a Russian Culture class and then read several books on Russian history and the Romanovs. Most of that stayed in my head. (The story of the Romanovs, particularly; it feels like it happened to people I knew.) I still refer back to those sources while writing the other books in the series, and I’m now completely obsessed with Russia.

Marlene: What do you say to readers and reviewers who might see the relationship between the demons Belphagor and Vasily as jumping on the current BDSM bandwagon?

Jane: I haven’t read the book that seems to have caused so many people to imagine BDSM is something that was recently invented. Plenty of books containing BDSM elements have been published since long before the current trend. I can’t imagine why anyone would jump on any kind of publishing bandwagon, anyway, given the speed at which traditional books are published. By the time you write something you think is “in,” it’s not, so it’s never a good idea to write to trends. I started writing The House of Arkhangel’sk in early 2006 and finished the first draft of the trilogy in 2009. Took another year to polish it and find an agent, then another five months before it was sold, and the first book came out seven months later. I’d have to have been extremely prescient to have timed my first novel to be released just before the rest of the world “discovered” BDSM in order to capitalize on it.

Marlene: People usually equate being on “the side of the angels” with goodness. But your angels aren’t necessarily good. And your demons aren’t necessarily evil. How would you define the difference?

Jane: Essentially, my angels are the celestial nobility, while the demons are the peasant class. I decided to use the idea of this class system to reflect conditions in pre-revolutionary Russia. Since no one in that equation is all good or all bad, neither are my characters.

Marlene: Now that they’ve been teased a bit by the first few questions, can you tell readers what they can expect of The Fallen Queen and The Midnight Court?

Jane: They’re epic fantasy on the darker side with a little bit of urban fantasy thrown in. Add an angelic imperial family, a wicked fairy queen, murder, mayhem, love, two naughty leather demons (“leather,” incidentally, is code for BDSM, for those who don’t know), and some dirty Russian words, and there you have it. Oh, plus a bizarre game of dice and cards that nobody could ever possibly win, except my tattooed demon scoundrel.

Marlene: Now can you tell us 3 reasons why people should read your books?

Jane: Belphagor, Vasily, and more Belphagor. 😉

Marlene: Turning the tables a bit, what book do you think everyone should read, and why that book?

Jane: The Princess Bride, because it’s the best romantic fantasy ever, and because there’s even more Fezzik and Inigo than in the movie.

Marlene: What are your upcoming projects? What comes next in the House of Arkhangel’sk?

Jane: The Armies of Heaven. And after that…I’m currently working on a second Arkhangel’sk trilogy, and I have another series that began with my novella, The Devil’s Garden, that I hope to find a home for someday soon.

Marlene: What do your two feline overlords think of all this? Do they interfere much with your writing? What are their names?

Jane: The photo I’ve included answers most of that. The one in the photo is Neo. He thinks he owns my lap. The other is Urd, an extremely round calico who demands hourly pettings. I feed these little overlords four times a day (first and second breakfast, first and second dinner—I have to divide up their meals into separate courses). If I didn’t, I’d have no peace.

Marlene: And for anyone else who happens to be going, where and when will you be at Dragon*Con next month?

Jane: I don’t have any particular plans. I’m not on any panels and haven’t looked at the schedule yet to see what I want to attend, but anything Joss Whedon or Star Trek related, and I’m there.

Anything Joss Whedon or Star Trek related sounds like a perfectly good plan to me…assuming that any of our feline overlords let us out of our houses!


Are you teased? Good! If you are just itching to start reading The House of Arkhangel’sk, or if you’ve read The Fallen Queen and can’t wait for The Midnight Court, the Rafflecopter is waiting. The lucky winner will get their choice of an ebook copy either The Fallen Queen or The Midnight Court.

What are you waiting for?

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