5 Stars, Angel Martinez, Bellora Quinn, Pride Publishing, Reviewed by Jennifer, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: Flax’s Pursuit by Angel Martinez and Bellora Quinn

Title: Flax’s Pursuit (AURA: Book Two)

Author: Angel Martinez and Bellora Quinn

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 294 Pages

At a Glance: Fantastic second book in the series with returning favorites and new characters.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: A murderer haunts the city, turning the unwary to stone. Between hunting this evil and corralling new arrivals, Flax struggles to guard both his life and his heart.

Quinn and Valerian have come through the trials of facing an undead lich queen and the perils of falling in love. Now they work to restore AURA to its previous strength and efficiency while navigating their new life with each other. Fortunately, they’re not in this alone.

Kai Hiltas has taken over as the head of the research department at AURA and has become everyone’s favourite workaholic, everyone except his lover Tenzin, who has had enough of his late nights and broken promises. As Kai tries to salvage his relationship, he finds a teacher for Quinn, who also happens to be one of Valerian’s new officers, Flax Wolfheart, a sexy elf with trouble written all over him.

Flax has motives beyond simply teaching Quinn to control his magic. He’s trying to recover from his own losses and failures, but he has a plan. The two newest elvish crossovers, Ash and Sage, are sizzling hot and might even like him. With them as backup as he tracks a deadly stone mage and figures out how to teach Quinn, Flax sees his chance to impress Val and snag a place by his captain’s side. On the hunt for both danger and redemption, Flax’s pursuit leads him ultimately down trails he never expected.

Dividers

Review: If you haven’t read Quinn’s Gambit, the first book in the AURA series, you need to. The events from the first book are referred to, and the characters present, for the most part, are established in the first book. There are a few new additions which are great, but the book focuses just as much on Quinn, Val, and Kai as it does on Flax and the new crossovers.

Set after the incident with the Lich queen, Quinn and Val are settling into their new lives with each other and at AURA. Val is the new captain and Quinn works for them. Kai wants him trained, though, and he sets him up with Flax, a talented elf fairly fresh from the academy. Quinn and Flax don’t like each other at first for many reasons, and their relationship starts off rocky. Flax wants the captain, and he doesn’t think Quinn is worthy enough of him. He needs a relationship, and it becomes clear that what happens to Val in the first book is starting to happen to him. But will he find someone to bond with before it’s too late? And what about Kai and Tenzin? Kai stays at work late and breaks promises, and it pushes Tenzin to his limit.

My heart broke for half the book. The authors are really good at portraying characters that make me feel for their situation. I felt as if I was there with Flax as he realized the fading was starting, and when Kai watched Tenzin walk out the door.

As far as new characters go, Flax, Sage, and Ash are great. Their bond with each other grows throughout the book, and they plot to get both Val AND Quinn in their beds to form a senrist with them, because of Val’s heritage. I won’t lie, I really, REALLY wanted it to happen the more the book went on. I was with Quinn thinking about it, and while at first I was put off by it like he was, the more he thought, the more I did, and then the more I wanted it. It just seemed like a really good idea, and I wanted Flax to be happy. I love Quinn and Val alone, but Flax needed someone to love him. Thankfully, he does find that.

I look forward to the next book in this series. I have no idea what will happen, but I know I’ll love it just as much as the first two books.

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You can buy Flax’s Pursuit here:

Pride Publishing Buy Link

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5 Stars, Angel Martinez, Bellora Quinn, Reviewed by Jennifer, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Totally Bound

Review: Quinn’s Gambit by Bellora Quinn and Angel Martinez

Title: Quinn’s Gambit (AURA: Book One)

Authors: Bellora Quinn and Angel Martinez

Publisher: Totally Bound

Pages/Word Count: 246 Pages

At a Glance: A fun read with an intriguing urban fantasy concept.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: An unregistered, human con wizard and a duty-bound, straightlaced elf cop. As New York explodes with dangerous creatures, their passion goes nuclear.

After a terrible magical accident at Berkeley created unpredictable holes between realities—all manner of non-human creatures started popping into our world. These displacements, called RARE—Random Anomalous Reality Events—have taken magic out of fiction and relocated it firmly in reality, resulting in a great deal of chaos and confusion. Displaced elf Valerian works with AURA—the Agency of Unnatural Resettlement and Assimilation—to intercept these beings as they appear in the human world, helping the peaceful ones and subduing the violent, malevolent ones. It’s good, satisfying work, and Val would be happy if he wasn’t so lonely.

Quinten is a young mage just trying to get by, but New York isn’t the easiest city to make a living. If his methods are sometimes morally dubious, his heart is still in the right place. Of course for Quinn, the right place means firmly locked away, protected at all costs. Living by his wits and sometimes magically-induced luck, he works as a ‘free-lance magic user’, or unregistered mage and small time con—according to the authorities. The last thing Quinn wants is to draw the cops’ attention, but when an Event happens right on top of him, he’s forced to turn to AURA for help. Valerian isn’t at all what he’d expected in an AURA cop, and he certainly wasn’t expecting to join forces with the sexy elf, a snarky drow and a bitter incubus when certain individuals in power try to stop the RARE by any means necessary.

Things are not all what they seem at AURA headquarters, and a greater evil lurks at the top than anyone could have imagined.

Dividers

Review: Urban fantasy was awesome when it first came out because it was so new. I devoured everything I could find. As the years have gone by, however, the newness has worn out, and while I still enjoy urban fantasy, more often than not I find the same ideas repackaged over and over. That is not the case with the first in the AURA series. While it does have the magic set in a major city, it’s a little different than the others. Due to a scientific accident, magical beings are pulled from their world into ours through a rift, and it’s a one way ticket.

I loved all of the characters in this novel. Each is unique and has their own personality that just shines on the page and adds to the plot. There’s Quinten, an untaught young mage who resorts to tricks to make a living. Then there’s Valerian, one of the AURA agents displaced through the rift. He’s struggling to live in our world and daily becomes darker and darker, even to the point where he contemplates suicide to escape the pain he’s suffering.

Even when the magic isn’t being used—or can’t be used—the novel just works. When there isn’t action, the authors spend the pages character building. I grew so attached to Quinten and Valerian that I cried several times through the book, aching as I saw them trying to just get by in a world that was beginning to reject them.

As an added bonus, there are interesting relationships and characters that will just make you laugh hysterically. The gay incubus who just wants to be left alone (anyone who knows what an incubus is will realize why this is just an utter fail for the poor guy), a centaur, and a drow and yeti in a relationship (bizarre, but too adorable for words, really).

If you’re a fan of urban fantasy, you absolutely must read this book. I know I cannot wait for the next book in the series to see where Quinten and Valerian’s relationship goes next!

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You can buy Quinn’s Gambit here:

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