THIS ANTHOLOGY was superb, and a must-read for any MM Fantasy or Paranormal lover. The writing was crisp, the characters were authentic, and the plots were compelling. The stories featured detectives, or other arcane crime fighters, and usually had a mystery component to them. They also had just enough of the sexy to keep you hungering for more, which was cool, because that’s my bag in a nutshell, baby.
Dim Sum Asylum by Rhys Ford
A story about a fey-human hybrid, Roku, who works in arcane law enforcement, and has to take on a new partner. Roku is prickly, to put it mildly, so he’s not overly enthused about having a new partner, until he meets Trent, and they start mixing pheromones. I really enjoy watching tough guys slowly succumb and bend over to pleasure and passion. I think you will like it too.
Swift and the Black Dog by Ginn Hale
A favorite story. The world-building was oh-my-god-amazeballs, the plot was holy-cow-awesomesauce, and the characters were fuck-me-with-a-spoon rad.
*clears throat* I’m sorry, if that wasn’t clear, then let me say it plainly: This story was fucking boss. Done. End of review. Go read it now.
But seriously. Hale used all of our senses to bring her world to life, and all of her skills as a brilliant writer to make us believe that Jack Swift, war hero turned renegade, was a real person.
The government is picking off Jack’s old military buddies one by one, and it looks like Jack is the last. As the layers to the plot and world-building were peeled back, besides my overwhelming wonder of it all, my only thought was, “Is it terrifying to be Hale, with her incredible imagination, or is it phenomenally transcendent?” I don’t know, and never will. But you can get a bit closer to answering that question if you read this story.
A Queer Trade by K. J. Charles
Another favorite. Crispin’s mentor died, leaving behind potentially dangerous grimoires in special ink and on special paper, paper that somehow got picked up by the waste man before Crispin could collect it.
Ned is a waste man. Always has been, always will be. Who else is going to do it? Well, when he gets paper with these weird markings on it, he doesn’t think twice—he sells it, because that’s what a waste man does. When the harried apprentice, Crispin, comes to his waste shop, little does Ned know that they’re both about to be thrown into a harrowing adventure.
The characterizations in this piece were fantastic. I knew exactly who Ned was as a person, and who Crispin was. There were funny, suspenseful, and super sexy moments. Charles did a fantastic job of taking me deep into all of them.
Magically Delicious by Nicole Kimberling
A spin-off of a world from Cherries Worth Getting. I’m a huge Gunther and Keith fan, and mostly because of Gunther, who is a goblin with a human male model body. He eats cigarettes—yes, eats them—drinks kerosene, has some really weird (and bloody) religious rituals, and yet through it all, he is probably the most normal of all the characters. His parents—also goblins with model bodies—love him more than anything, and he’s in love with Average Joe Keith, just your typical arcane crime-fighting vegetarian homosexual. Keith doesn’t have a rocking bod, nor is he particularly talented at anything but cooking and crime-fighting. It’s an odd, but pleasant, mix of insanity and normalcy, and I think that pretty much sums up the plot too. There are leprechauns and pixies and all manner of weird creatures, and in all that chaos is a wholesome little who-done-it crime story. Perfect.
Everyone’s Afraid of Clowns by Jordan Castillo Price
A spinoff from the PsyCop series. Who doesn’t love Victor and Jacob? If you aren’t familiar with PsyCop, and you enjoy MM Paranormal Mystery/Horror, then you may have to reexamine your life choices (as in go read Among the Living right now). Victor is an incredible character, so believable I feel as if I could reach out and touch him, and he and Jacob crack me up.
The Thirteenth Hex by Jordan L. Hawk
This story was great! So, there are these familiars (for witches and wizards and stuff), and they are basically people that can turn into animals, like cats and dogs and birds. Rook, who can turn into a crow, needs the help of a hexman to unravel the secrets of a mystery that’s stuck in his craw, so the two of them work together. A really cool aspect of this novel is that the familiars have a hint of the personality of the animal they can turn into, which made reading about these characters super fun.
The Soldati Prince by Charlie Cochet
This one started off as almost a horror story—super creepy and horrifying—and then ended up as a cute mix-up of a one true mate situation. Scary! And sweet! What a mind fuck. And yes, there was some definite sexy time. Meowz.
One Hex too Many by Lou Harper
I like a mystery I can’t figure out, and that’s what you’ll get here. I also really liked the characters, Fox and Mulligan. They were authentic, interesting, and had sizzling tension.
Josh of the Damned vs. The Bathroom of Doom by Andrea Speed
A spinoff of Josh of the Damned. Funny as hell. I’m glad I was reading this alone, because my guffaw is truly horrifying. People would have thought I was dying, or something.
The Trouble with Hexes by Astrid Amara
Another favorite. There are so many good things to say about this story, the fantastic second-chance at love main characters, or even the world-building, but I think my favorite part of it was probably a little odd. You don’t read many MM Romance books with sick characters, and not just sick, Tim Keller is dying—of a hex. The sickness itself was an interesting way to evoke sympathy for the protagonist, put a timer on the plot, and it helped characterize those who interacted with Tim. I mean, what would you do if some dude just keeled over and started vomiting blood all over the sidewalk in front of you? Me? I’d run the other way—ain’t gonna get that shit on me!—but I loved reading about it. Call me cruel, call me crazy, but this was a great story.
One of my favorite reads of the year—check it out: Amazon Link: Charmed and Dangerous
Astrid Amara lives in Bellingham, Washington. She’s a former Peace Corps Volunteer, an advocate for animal rights, and a bureaucrat by day. After work she can usually be found writing, riding horses, hiking, or else sleeping. Her novel The Archer’s Heart was a finalist for the 2008 Lambda Literary Award.
K. J. Charles
KJ Charles is a writer and freelance editor. She lives in London with her husband, two kids, an out-of-control garden and an increasingly murderous cat. KJ writes mostly romance, gay and straight, frequently historical, and usually with some fantasy or horror in there. She specialises in editing romance, especially historical and fantasy, and also edits children’s fiction.
Charlie Cochet is an author by day and artist by night. Always quick to succumb to the whispers of her wayward muse, no star is out of reach when following her passion. From adventurous agents and sexy shifters, to society gentlemen and hardboiled detectives, there’s bound to be plenty of mischief for her heroes to find themselves in, and plenty of romance, too! Currently residing in Central Florida, Charlie is at the beck and call of a rascally Doxiepoo bent on world domination. When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading, drawing, or watching movies. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers.
Rhys Ford was born and raised in Hawai’i then wandered off to see the world. After chewing through a pile of books, a lot of odd food, and a stray boyfriend or two, Rhys eventually landed in San Diego, which is a very nice place but seriously needs more rain. Rhys admits to sharing the house with three cats, a bonsai wolfhound, and a ginger cairn terrorist. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird, a Toshiba laptop, and a red Hamilton Beach coffee maker. But mostly to the coffee maker.
Ginn Hale resides in the Pacific Northwest with her wife and three cats. She spends many of the rainy days tinkering with devices and words and can often be sighted herding other people’s dogs, bees and goats. Her novel Wicked Gentlemen won the Spectrum Award for Best Novel and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award.
Under a prickly, cynical surface Lou Harper is an incorrigible romantic. Her love affair with the written word started at a tender age. There was never a time when stories weren’t romping around in her head. She is currently embroiled in a ruinous romance with adjectives. In her free time Lou stalks deviant words and feral narratives. Lou’s favorite animal is the hedgehog. She likes nature, books, movies, photography, and good food. She has a temper and mood swings. Lou has misspent most of her life in parts of Europe and the US, but is now firmly settled in Los Angeles and worships the sun. However, she thinks the ocean smells funny. Lou is a loner, a misfit, and a happy drunk.
Jordan L. Hawk
Jordan L. Hawk grew up in North Carolina and forgot to ever leave. Childhood tales of mountain ghosts and mysterious creatures gave her a life-long love of things that go bump in the night. When she isn’t writing, she brews her own beer and tries to keep her cats from destroying the house. Her best-selling Whyborne & Griffin series (beginning with Widdershins) can be found in print, ebook, and audiobook at Amazon and other online retailers.
Nicole Kimberling lives in Bellingham, Washington with her wife, Dawn Kimberling, two bad cats as well as a wide and diverse variety of invasive and noxious weeds. Her first novel, Turnskin, won the Lambda Literary Award for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. She is also the author of the Bellingham Mystery Series.
Jordan Castillo Price
Author and artist Jordan Castillo Price writes paranormal sci-fi thrillers colored by her time in the midwest, from inner city Chicago, to rural small town Wisconsin, to liberal Madison. Her influences include Ouija boards, Return of the Living Dead, “light as a feather, stiff as a board,” girls with tattoos and boys in eyeliner.
Andrea Speed was born looking for trouble in some hot month without an R in it. While succeeding in finding Trouble, she has also been found by its twin brother, Clean Up, and is now on the run, wanted for the murder of a mop and a really cute, innocent bucket that was only one day away from retirement. (I was framed, I tell you–framed!) In her spare time, she arms lemurs in preparation for the upcoming war against the Mole Men. Viva la revolution!
B. A. Brock is a reviewer for DSP and QSF. He enjoys reading, writing, running, family and food, and fills his life with bent bunk. He especially loves to discuss LGBTQ+ literature. His website is http://www.babrockbooks.com. You can find him on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/BABrockBooks.