5 Stars, Reviewed by Jennifer, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Wayward Ink Publishing

Review: Of Heaven and Hell – An Anthology From Wayward Ink Publishing

Title: Of Heaven and Hell

Authors: Anthology

Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 253 Pages

At a Glance: An anthology that offers a delightful mix of good, evil, and everything in between.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: Whether you like your angels and demons naughty or nice…
Whether you like them angelic or demonic, we have a story for you.
Our authors have tuned up their harp strings, and let loose their inner demons.
We have demons with inner angels itching to be let loose.
And angels teetering on the brink.
We have dark. We have light.
We have angst. And forbidden love.
We have happy endings and not so happy endings…
We have the stories OF HEAVEN AND HELL.

CORRUPTION by Kim Fielding
Tenrael was once a proud demon who carried nightmares to humans. Now he exists in miserable servitude to men who plunk down ten dollars to fulfill their dark desires. Agent Charles Grimes figures a captive demon is just another assignment… That is until he meets Tenrael.

PURGATORY by M.C. Rayne
Bailey discovered that losing the person you love can do more than break your heart. It can shatter it into a million different pieces. And have you stepping into darkness. All he wanted was to be reunited with Greyson. He didn’t know his actions would lead him to his nightmare.

SIN TO GET SAVED by Michael P. Thomas
Earnest anti-gay evangelical Hubert dies in a freak accident. When a handsome angel named Bartholomew makes brazen overtures in the Afterlife, humble Hubert realizes his soul may have taken a wrong turn. But turning back to the straight and narrow isn’t quite as easy as he hopes it will be.

CARDINAL SINS by Mann Ramblings
Black magic, angels, and decadence bind Jacob and Ozzie together in a twisted web of fascination with each other. Now a new element has risen to test them: Danger.

A TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY DEMON by Asta Idonea
It should have been an easy job: a contract signed and a new soul earmarked for Hell. But when suave demon deal-maker Saul chooses nerdy Thomas Ives as his next target, little does he know what lies in store.

PURGATORY PINK: A FABULOUS FABLE by Eric Gober
A fable with no morals . . . About an angel with desires . . . For the demon who torments him. Will they both burn in hell?

FADE TO LIGHT by Nephy Hart
One of them has no past. One has no future. Loss is inevitable, but when demons come calling, a soul is too high a price to pay.

GUARDIAN by Eddy LeFey
A Guardian Angel’s whole being is controlled directly by God. Callum trusts in that. So when he meets his new human charge—a special college student named Rory—he doesn’t count on feeling attraction. And he certainly doesn’t expect Rory to change his life… forever.

DRAWING DEAD by S.Zanne
Devin is a demon. James is merely human. But who holds the winning hand is still in question…

A WOLF IN THE FOLD by Jana Denardo
For centuries Carduus followed his incubus nature. Joyfully seducing and draining the life force of his lovers. That is, until the day he met Mark, a lover Carduus didn’t want to kill. Before he knew it, Carduus found himself helping the detective by taking out criminals. But can a demon really work for the side of the angels?

DRIPPING IN SIN by Kassandra Lea
Finding an appropriate outfit to wear for an important date is never easy. Not even for a demon Flynn is trying but it’s a hard task… Especially when encounters with his angel usually involve no clothing at all…

Dividers

Review: It’s very rare for me to like every single story in an anthology, but that has happened in Of Heaven and Hell. I was a bit wary, to be honest, going into it because Wayward Ink is a fairly new-to-me press, and anthologies are so difficult, even with presses I’m familiar with. But, the premise behind it intrigued me. I’m so glad I gave it a chance because every story is unique and offers a different perspective on the themes of Heaven and Hell.

Part of me wants to review every story in this anthology, but I can’t. There are eleven and this review would easily pass twelve pages. Instead, I’ll pick out some of my favorites, which isn’t easy to do. I will say this: the blurbs given for each story don’t do them justice. They are so rich and complex, and the book blurb shortened them to barely recognizable.

What makes this so unique is the duality of the book. Some stories focus on Heaven, some on Hell, and some on both. Some of the stories are explicitly Heaven and Hell, while others just have terms that make it seems as if it fits those categories (“Purgatory Pink”). Some have angels, some demons, and again, some both. Some have explicit sex, others have none. It’s such a broad range of ideas that, really, every facet of the subjects are covered. Well done!

First up, “Drawing Dead” by S. Zanne: I think this was my favorite in the volume because immediately after reading it, I took to Twitter and asked the author of there was more. I didn’t want the story to end, but it did. This story focuses on a demon, Devin, who returns to earth to look for a new victim to play with. His victims always follow the same pattern, though, and it’s hinted at that it is because when he was human, his husband looked like them. When Devin runs into James, he thinks he’s found a fun, easy target to pull the screams from.

This story isn’t for everyone because it’s dark. I would say the top two in terms of darkness in the anthology for themes of pure evil. Devin is a demon and he thrives on pain. It’s very apparent in this story. However, James is not the easy target he appears to be at first. In fact, there’s a lot going on with him, and readers see glimpses of his childhood scattered throughout the story, while his and Devin’s history is slowly revealed.

Honestly, it was brilliant and by the last page, I was dying to know what came next. The author painted a vivid world set in the near future.

Next is “Corruption” by Kim Fielding. This is another dark one that deals with demons, however Tenrael is not that evil. He’s been taken captive and put in a circus, where men can view him and, for the right price, abuse him. All he wants is to be free to bring nightmares to sleeping humans. When a human agent is sent to kill the demon, he quickly realize Tenrael is not the evil creature he’s supposed to be, and the human is drawn towards him.

I felt for Tenrael in this story. It heavily features abuse, so trigger warning for some people, but of all the characters, the demon Tenrael seemed the most human.

Finally, I’ll review a story with angels: “Guardian” by Eddy LeFey. While some of the story seemed a little too perfect, I enjoyed the idea of guardian angels popping in during a trying time in our life to help us make the best decisions. Of course, it goes a little past that in this story, when Callum is assigned to Rory and reveals his true name and nature to the enigmatic college student. What follows is a change for both of them, and they must trust in each other and God in order to overcome the trials they face.

I would have liked to read more to see what’s in store for Rory and his angel, but the story is a great length and perfect for the anthology, and it introduced me to a new author I would like to read more from.

I highly recommend this anthology. Whether you love angels or demons, there is something for everyone in here.

TNA_Signature_Jennifer

 

 

 

You can buy Of Heaven and Hell here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
5 Stars, Barbara Elsborg, Loose Id, Reviewed by Sammy, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: The Demon You Know by Barbara Elsborg

TNA Page Turner Resized

Title: The Demon You Know

Author: Barbara Elsborg

Publisher: Loose Id

Pages/Word Count:

At a Glance: The Demon You Know was an incredible story with fascinating worlds and impossibly rich characters.

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: A good demon?

Ezra is a timekeeper in Hell, responsible for building and maintaining the clocks that tick away eternal torment. He’s never believed he deserves to be in Hell, and when the reason he’s there is revealed, he’s horrified…yet filled with hope. But is this just another form of torture? When Ezra’s given a chance to go to the surface, he’s determined to uncover the truth, but his fellow demons seem just as determined he won’t survive the journey.

A bad angel?

Roman doesn’t understand why an angel who failed his training the first time round has been given the job of policing paranormals in the UK’s capital city. He’s consumed by unhappiness. He might not be in Hell, but sometimes it damn well feels like it.

When Roman meets Ezra his failings come back to haunt him. Ezra makes him want to break the rules, but an angel protecting a demon? Discovery would bring an eternity of suffering, and with a boss none other than the archangel Michael, it’ll take more than a miracle for the lovers to stand together.

Dividers

Review: Barbara Elsborg is a new author for me, and I must gladly admit I will be purchasing this author’s back work based on the strength of this novel, The Demon You Know. I found it to be an incredible story that made me hungry for more about this alternate world and the demons and angels who inhabited it.

Roman is a conflicted angel. Hyperaware of his own failings, and tied to a past that left him emotionally scarred, unable to trust, and reluctant to love, he metes out justice to paranormals of all kinds and loathes himself for doing it. When he stumbles upon a homeless young man at the shelter where he volunteers, his curiosity is aroused. You see, Roman can read people, but there is something different about Ezra, and Roman is inexplicably drawn to the man, sexually and more. There is something so right about being near to Ezra, and Roman can’t seem to pinpoint why.

Ezra thinks he is a demon—albeit a poor one. He doesn’t like Hell, but then, who does? He suffers endless abuse there, both physical and sexual, and hides most days, simply trying to avoid conflict that follows him everywhere. But, he is also unique among the demons in that he can recall going to Hell as a child, something that is totally unheard of in any realm. Yet Ezra is sure of it, and that is why he holds fast to the idea that somehow he is not meant to be there. When he’s chosen to be sent on a soul gathering on the surface, Ezra is determined to spend his days there not hurting others and gathering their essence but living a “normal” life for those brief days he’s above ground. Little does he count on meeting an angel who may be both his salvation and his one-way ticket back to Hell.

This novel was stunning in the way alternate worlds were built. Hell was an amazing place, raw and evil, one could almost feel the heat and grit that existed there. Ezra had no hope there and the despair, along with the violence done to him, was so real that you are immediately drawn to this character and wanted so badly for him to somehow succeed in escaping his plight. Ezra was not just a victim, though. That would have merely made him one-dimensional. No, Barbara Elsborg introduces a fascinating twist that makes Ezra so much more than just a weak character we should pity and, in doing so, she reveals the inner strength that has allowed him to do more than just survive the horrors of Hell.

This author cannot only craft fascinating worlds but peoples them with interesting characters that all play a part in the eventual solution to Ezra’s personal dilemmas. Side characters are rich and appealing, even when they are ones you want to punch in the face! I so appreciated the idea that Roman was a flawed angel, and not always due to his own faults. The idea that Heaven and Hell manipulate their occupants in order that they may gain that which they desire most was a second fascinating twist to this action packed novel. Roman was so determined to be better, to be the angel he knew was expected of him and yet, he was so very human in so many ways. Roman and Ezra together were both amazingly erotic and beautifully tender.

The Demon You Know was an incredible story with fascinating worlds and impossibly rich characters that made me hunger for more story by novel’s end. I am excited to have found this author, and encourage you to check out her work. She is a fascinating storyteller with a rich imagination.

TNA_Signature_Sammy






You can buy The Demon You Know here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
3 Stars, Fairy Tale/Mythology/Folk Lore, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Rena, S.R. Carrillo, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Self-Published

Review: The Soul by S.R. Carrillo

Title: The Soul

Author: S.R. Carrillo

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 165 Pages

Rating: 3 Stars

Blurb: Evil has flourished since the beginning of time, but at long last it has come to pass – that the world should end at the hands of the divine. A Lesser Earth thrives in the ashes of the old world.

As does an unnamed lost boy, the abandoned effigy of evil, who wanders the globe without a clue and without a purpose. Continue reading

Standard
Dreamspinner Press, GayRomLit, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Sophie Bonaste

Countdown to GRL: Death Gets a Boyfriend by Sophie Bonaste

1932351_743789965674212_7424193368683138988_n

Hello everyone! My name is Sophie Bonaste and I am guest posting today as part of the GRL Blog Tour. But before I begin I want to send a big thanks to Lisa Horan and all of the great bloggers helping to promote all of us authors attending this year’s conference.

As I write this, there are less than three weeks until GayRomLit 2014! It’s crazy to think that I’m going to Chicago not as a reader, but as a Supporting Author. I didn’t even have one book released at this time last year and now I have that title. I am so honored to stand next to some of the best authors in the genre and I can only hope that I will be able to do GRL proud. Continue reading

Standard