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Charmed and Dangerous

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Magic takes many forms. From malignant hexes to love charms gone amok, you’ll find a vast array of spells and curses, creatures and conjurings in this massive collection—not to mention a steamy dose of man-on-man action. Charmed and Dangerous features all-new stories of gay paranormal romance, supernatural fiction and urban fantasy by ten top m/m paranormal authors.

Rhys Ford - Dim Sum Asylum
For Detective Roku MacCormick, working Arcane Crimes is his passion. Now cleared of any wrongdoing for shooting his last partner, MacCormick is given back his badge… as well as a new case and partner. Trent Leonard isn’t exactly what he’d expected, but then nothing in San Francisco’s Chinatown ever is.

Ginn Hale - Swift and the Black Dog
When Jack Swift killed a tyrant and won the revolution he became a national hero. But someone in the new government prefers dead heroes to living, swearing, cynical wizards. Caught between bullets, revenge and desire, Jack had better be swift indeed.

KJ Charles - A Queer Trade
Apprentice magician Crispin Tredarloe returns to London to find his master dead, and his papers sold. Papers with secrets that could spell death. Waste paper seller Ned Hall can’t resist Crispin’s pleading—and appealing—looks. But can the wasteman and the magician prevent a disaster and save Crispin’s skin?

Nicole Kimberling - Magically Delicious
Occult attacks against NIAD agents aren’t remotely Keith Curry’s department. But when his lover, Gunther, is assaulted, Keith refuses to just sit back and fill out paperwork. He’s on the case—even if that means enraging powerful mages, crossing leprechaun picket lines, or braving dinner with Gunther’s goblin parents.

Jordan Castillo Price - Everyone's Afraid of Clowns
Psychic medium Victor Bayne can spot a ghost any day of the year, but Halloween holds some special surprises. His psych-groupie boyfriend Jacob coaxes him to the location of an old spirit sighting, but they can’t ghosthunt without enduring a cheesy “haunted house” that’s even more disturbing than they realize.

Jordan L. Hawk - The Thirteenth Hex
Hexman Dominic Kopecky doesn’t understand why dashing crow familiar Rook wants his help investigating murder by patent hex. For one thing, Dominic isn’t a witch. For another, the case is already closed—and someone is willing to kill to keep it that way.

Charlie Cochet - The Soldati Prince
Riley Murrough goes from serving lattes to being chased by demons. If that wasn’t bad enough, he bears the mark of a shapeshifter king from a magical realm. Riley’s determined to get answers, but if the demons out for his blood don’t kill him, the urge to strangle the arrogant king might.

Lou Harper - One Hex Too Many
Veteran detective Mike Mulligan is an expert on violent crimes—of the occult variety. He might even be cursed. Detective Hugh Fox is eager to partner up and prove himself, but Mulligan is accustomed to flying solo. Can they trust each other enough to track a killer who’ll stop at nothing, not even summoning a demon?

Andrea Speed - Josh of the Damned vs. the Bathroom of Doom
It's a boring night at the Quik-Mart for Josh and his friend Doug. Until a vampire with a grudge—and the most adorable backup ever—crashes the store. Can Josh survive the Bathroom of Doom?

Astrid Amara - The Trouble With Hexes
P.I. Tim Keller has a problem. And the only person who can solve it is his ex-boyfriend, Vincent, whose job as a hexbreaker was the reason they broke up. It’s hard admitting he was wrong, especially when coughing up organs. But there’s a missing person to find, a hexmaker to hunt down, and a romance to repair before Tim breathes his last.

480 pages, ebook

First published August 25, 2015

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About the author

Jordan Castillo Price

140 books2,062 followers
Author and artist Jordan Castillo Price writes paranormal sci-fi thrillers colored by her time in the Midwest, from inner city Chicago, to various cities across southern Wisconsin. She’s settled in a 1910 Cape Cod near Lake Michigan with tons of character and a plethora of bizarre spiders. Any disembodied noises, she’s decided, will be blamed on the ice maker.

Jordan is best known as the author of the PsyCop series, an unfolding tale of paranormal mystery and suspense starring Victor Bayne, a gay medium who's plagued by ghostly visitations.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 256 reviews
Profile Image for Julio Genao.
Author 9 books2,013 followers
July 15, 2016


an adventurous selection of spec-fic deliciousness with what turns out to be the most diversity goodness i've gotten in one place since prosperity gave me a braingasm for having a rapscallion black MC.

as far as individual stories:

Dim Sum Asylum, Ford.

oh my word. what a dreadful choice to open with. kinetic and full of intriguing details, but in prose so painfully jarring it was like a sack of pots kicked down a flight of stairs. one star.

Swift and the Black Dog, Hale.

ah, now we're talking. hale is in typically fine form here, but i found the language a little unpolished and the density of imagery too high. i'd have liked this to be a little longer and the themes and movements to have been a little more spread-out, because all in a torrent like this it felt too grim, melodramatic, and intense, only to suddenly pivot at the very last moment into an HEA that felt unearned. but maaaaaaan the elements are all here, otherwise—a terrific novelette in a fascinating world. three stars.

A Queer Trade, Charles.

let's face it, i'm pretty much a diversity whore at this point; flash me a bit of brown skin and my legs just fly right open. which is not to say that i enjoyed this story just for that reason—it was also an effortlessly pleasant read with lines that flowed beautifully from one joke to another, sliding into sexual tension so natural and effective i found myself unconsciously fingering my butthole. four stars.

Magically Delicious, Kimberling.

bright, funny, and charming. a bit too much exposition now and again, but overall a wonderfully engaging mini-mystery with a sweet and sure touch. the leprechauns were my favorite. three stars.

Everyone's Afraid of Clowns, Price.

wistful and nostalgic, and full of those wonderful little details that make her psycop series such a joy to read. it was especially good to see jacob's character on display and having a role in the plot. fun, tense, and satisfying. four stars.

The Soldati Prince, Cochet.

childish, silly, senseless, and that sex scene at the end was indifferent, at best. and then the whole affair was preempted by a chunk of clumsy exposition. i wasn't going to say this, but i wanted to—and then somebody even more horrible than me did us all a favor. one star.

One Hex Too Many, Harper.

another cozy mystery spiced with a bit of dark magic. lusciously moody, fun, and engaging. i may have missed something, but the question of fox's sexuality had no satisfactory answer. three stars.

The Thirteenth Hex, Hawk.

a light and airy bonbon with lots of delightful characterization and very little sense. sparkly historical fun so long as you don't happen to know that a trip to the beach from manhattan can take up to two hours by train—not an hour by horse. a willful miscommunication in the early going drove me up a wall, but the explicit connection between magic and geometry was truly inspired. three stars.

Josh of the Damned vs. the Bathroom of Doom, Speed.

this story annoyed me, as it was clearly intended as a between-novels-in-an-existing-series bonus vignette, but without any of the courtesies one might reasonably expect towards people who have not read the series. that's fine—to be honest, the prose and the characterization were both well above par—but there appeared to be no plot whatsoever. i deduce i am simply unaware of the ins and outs and dogwhistle easter eggs for those as what read the series, because the writing itself was assured and polished. i just had no idea what it was all for. two stars.

The Trouble With Hexes, Amara.

a fine selection to close out the anthology. measured and fully developed, with lovely pacing and a bit of chew to the mystery. some odd lapses in tone and prose now and again, but overall an engrossing read with a nice denouement. three stars.

anthology rating for highest-rated contributions. rating is not an average.
Profile Image for Lila.
845 reviews9 followers
August 27, 2015
3,5 stars

This anthology came to life when JCP picked up the phone and said...


Yup, this is how it went down in my head.

You know that Forrest Gump/Marukami line where he compares life with chocolate box?
Well, I always thought same analogy fits perfectly for anthologies. Opening anthology is exactly like opening a chocolate box- you have variety of chocolate assortments stories and you like some and other not so much.

I'll start with a story that stood above the rest for me.

Ginn Hale - Swift and The Black Dog - 5 stars

That's it.
I want 1234567 pages more of that.
The story is mash of several genres, but it reminds me the most of those adult superhero novels, where authors put a twist on usual heroic template and write about heroes as cynical people (think Watchmen or Ex-Machina or Darker than Black). Except, in this story superheros are called Wizards and their superpowers are called Way(s).
Bare bones: Years after he and his fellow wizards defeated Tyrant and started revolution, Jack Swift is a jaded man with a drinking problem. A publicity nightmare. He receives message about his friend Rachael not being well and goes to Godscliff to investigate since wizards are tough to die and she is one of the best.
I can sing praises to suspenseful plot with a twist, to world-building and imagination behind description of Godscliff/Bone Ledge or the fact there is a magical system to talk about, or the fact it has a great characterization that fits the darker theme or romance you actually want to see happen. It's all of that and I loved it.
For a short story, it really packs a punch. Definitely my favorite.

Rhys Ford - Dim Sum Asylum - 3 stars
Several stories in anthologist is following the formula of police/detective inspectors working in some kind of paranormal police division on unusual crimes. Ford's is one of them.
There were some genuinely good ideas in this story, like ambient descriptions with all the clever ways she incorporated supernatural elements in urban look of San Francisco. I also liked how Fae/human dynamic isn't perfect and there are tensions in the city because of it.
Thing is, Ford used too much space on setting, developing a base where her story is happening, while story itself was underdeveloped, imho. Romance was rushed and crime Roku and Trent investigated ended up being less interesting to me than entire opening scene of chase.

KJ Charles - Queer Trade - 3,5 stars

Formulaic. This is KJ Charles doing what she does best.
Set in the same world of her Magpie novels, she is once again proving it's a world she has a firm grip on and feels most comfortable writing.
I liked moc hero and description of waste business, but characters didn't really grow on me the same way Crane did. I missed her trademark humor here.

Nicole Kimberling - Magically Delicious - 3 stars

Nicole is revisiting her characters from Irregulars anthology, goblin Gunther and his lover Keith. Compared to "Cherries Worth Getting", this story is less dark since we are more focused on Keith than eating preferences of goblins (which is still my favorite thing about these stories), but her signature writing of snarky dialogue and humor is here.
I liked going back to NIAD world. :D

Jordan Castillo Price - Everyone's Afraid of Clowns - 4,5 stars

I am huge PsyCop fan and this story reminded me why.
Vic and Jacob still have a well written, steady and genuine relationship; they are still hot; Jacob still has the weirdest kink ever, Vic is still such a smartass and he will always be one of the most relatable characters ever because he will find a way to ruin his clothes. + The subtle sparkling vampire joke? Priceless. :)

Since theme of anthology is Sympathetic Monster, I liked that JCP played with this a bit and inverted the trope making reader question who is the scarier monster in the story, a ghost clown or men with ingrained prejudices.

Jordan L. Hawk - The Thirteenth Hex - 3 stars

Jordan L. Hawk is one of the most consistent authors in genre. If you like her Whyborne & Griffin series, there are big chances you will like this story since she used same approach to worldbuilding ( with different rules of magic), romance and characters. Ending was wrapped a bit too neatly for my taste.

Charlie Cochet - The Soldati Prince - DNF

This kind of stories just isn't my cuppa.:\
Shapeshifter romance between fated mates and with scowling alpha hero whose size of dick is only threatened by size of his ego.

Lou Harper - One Hex Too Many - 3,5 stars

I was pleasantly surprised by this story. It's not that Harper introduced something new to detecive-in-paranormal-division trope- it's how well rounded her story felt. Mike and Fox are following interesting case with not so predictable outcome; hints about Mike's past were not there just to make me more invested in his character, but ended up making sense at the end. It suffered on romance aspect, mostly because Fox was in denial and short format of the story doesn't leave place for character to process it in believable way.

Andrea Speed - Josh of the Damned vs. the Bathroom of Doom - 3 stars

I love my Speed more dark and serious, with some blood and carnage. And this is as silly as it gets. :)

Astrid Amara - The Trouble With Hexes - 3,5 stars

Amara's story probably balanced romance aspect and supernatural aspect of the story the best comparing to others with same formula in anthology.
Tim Keller, P.I. looks his ex who is a hexbreaker for help because he thinks he is hexed and has days to live.
I wasn't really surprised by ending since it was telegraphed early on, but this has Second Chance romance and I was intrigued because mcs have to work through their problems while trying to keep Tim alive. I liked the additional pressure. :)

All in all, good anthology with some of the best authors in genre attached to it and I hope to see more projects like this one in the future.

Profile Image for K.J. Charles.
Author 59 books8,630 followers
July 30, 2015
I am so pleased to have a story in this anthology. Only massive self control has stopped me glomming the whole gigantic thing in a sitting. Well, no, it was deadlines and being super busy. And I may have read two of the stories anyway. Ahem. (Jordans Hawk and Price; they were both fantastic.)

My story, A Queer Trade, is set in a version of Victorian London. An apprentice magician finds his master dead, and his papers sold to a waste-man (a real Victorian street trade, these were people who bought and sold used paper). Unfortunately, these papers were used for illegal magical writing, and Crispin needs to get them back before anything terrible happens. Which is how he meets Ned, waste-man, who has the papers, and after that everything is pretty much fine*.

*That isn't actually true.

I had a lot of fun with this story, I just hope it stands up with its company!

Profile Image for LenaLena.
370 reviews151 followers
September 9, 2015
Anthology with really decent and even some really good stories. With one, big, glaring exception that made my eyes bleed...

Dim Sum Asylum – Rhys Ford 3.5 stars

An exciting romp through a San Francisco full of dragons, fae, and other supernatural beings. It could have done with a slower build, but that would have been difficult with the action as fast paced as it was. I would have welcomed a longer story here.

Swift and the Black Dog – Ginn Hale 4.5 stars

It is amazing how much story -and back story- Hale can put into a short story. It doesn’t feel info dumpy at all and yet this world seems fully realized. Jaded freedom fighter Jack complex and interesting, his love interest not as much, but that is where we run into the limits of the short story format again. Nevertheless: Lovely story.

A Queer Trade – KJ Charles 5 stars

Great story, set in the Magpie universe, about an apprentice magician trying to save his master’s legacy. Both Crispin and Ned are meticulously drawn characters. There is enough action, intrigue and unexpected twists to satisfy the reader, despite the short format. One story that was fine at the length it was.

Magically Delicious – Nicole Kimberling 3 stars

The established couple was a nice break from the Meet, Greet & Fuck stories we’ve had so far. It was light and humorous and utterly readable, but the mystery was paper thin and the story a bit forgettable. Apparently, she’s written about these characters before. I am not familiar with that book, but I don’t feel I needed to have read that to get this.

Everyone’s Afraid of Clowns – Jordan Castillo Price 3.5 stars

This story features the couple of the Psycop series. I read the first one of that and barely managed to finish it. So with this story I had the feeling there were things I was supposed to know about the MC (like his aversion to hospitals) that I didn’t. I might have liked it better if I had. However, Jacob is a life size card board cutout as far as I am concerned, and this story didn’t change my mind about not going back to Psycop.

The Thirteenth Hex – Jordan L Hawk 4 stars

Started a lot stronger than it finished. I loved the magic system and the ‘historical’ setting, but once the case was solved, what should have been the best part of the story petered out with awkwardly earnest confessions that seemed a bit out of character to boot. Pity. Still good, but could have been great.

The Soldati Prince – Charlie Cochet 0 stars

I have no idea what this story is doing in this anthology. I’ve read better fanfic written by tweens. In fact, I don’t know if Cochet writes in the Teen Wolf fandom herself or if she is just “heavily inspired” by it (cue exaggerated air quotes and eye rolls), but either way, this is virtually undiluted Sterek fanfic. There’s Riley, the frail human whose only defense is sarcasm and witty one-liners, as Stiles, and Khalon, who is all inability to communicate and eyebrows, as Derek. Raylen the friendly shifter as Scott, with his love interest Toka, the fox dude, so hey there’s Kira! And the character that passes for Boyd appears for all of two sentences (so I have forgotten his name), but to make things totally obvious, it is pointed out that he is quiet, but wise. The shifters change into tigers instead of werewolves, but come on, it’s like the serial numbers are barely filed off. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Sterek, but this one is so bad I would have DNF’d it on AO3. It is so full of pomp and pathos and words like brethren and impudence and impertinent and incorrigible (the latter all Derek/Khalon describing Stiles/Riley, of course), and it has such a hard on for royalty with the my prince’s hitting left and right. And it has glowing soul bonds and super-super-human powers when one’s mate is threatened, and it just tells and tells and tells and shows nothing. Blech.

One Hex Too Many – Lou Harper 4.5 stars

Not entirely sure if this one was as good as it was, or if it just shone because of how well it compared to the previous story. Anyway, I liked this one a lot and restored my faith in this anthology as a whole. The mystery wasn’t as transparent, and the main characters were well drawn. Very enjoyable.

Josh of the Damned vs The Bathroom of Doom – Andrea Speed 3.5 stars

This one was light and really funny. I haven’t read anything of this series, but that didn’t seem to be a problem. There wasn’t a whole a lot of plot, which is fine in a short story, it was just an ever more ridiculous parade of supernatural assassins. Not sure if this enticed me to start reading the series, though, I think it might get tiresome if it were novel length.

The Trouble with Hexes – Astrid Amara 5 stars

Solid and intriguing. I enjoyed both the mystery plot and the exes-getting-back-together story. This was a good story to end this anthology on a positive note with.

As a whole, one of the better story collections I’ve read. If only someone would have had the guts to tell Cochet to trash that sorry excuse for a story and try again.
Profile Image for Kaje Harper.
Author 76 books2,537 followers
September 4, 2015
A collection of paranormal/fantasy short stories, by some of my favorite authors:

Rhys Ford - Dim Sum Asylum - 4*
Fun and imaginative world-building, and a main character who is both flawed and sympathetic. Detective Roku MacCormick, half-fae, half-human, had to make a difficult call when his previous partner went bad. Now he's assigned a new guy who is inexperienced, but willing to listen and learn. Their relationship builds fast, (although I have a bit of a prejudice against police partners who quickly become lovers before their emotional connection demands it - a bad idea) but they are an amusing match, the writing is great, and the flavor is unique. I'd love to see a longer sequel with these two guys in this world, and time for their relationship to develop.

Ginn Hale - Swift and the Black Dog - 4.5*
Ginn Hale is so good at creating worlds, finding the simple, telling details that sketch out a clear scene with a minimum of fuss. In this post-revolutionary world, Jack Swift is a wizard and one of the heroes of the revolution, growing older and watching, half in amusement, half in irritation, as the violence, heroics, and failings of his group become legend and public entertainment. But when he's called to the bedside of one of his old comrades, he discovers that slaying one Tyrant doesn't guarantee that his replacement won't go bad too. Jack has a new mission, and meets a young man with a mysterious reason to help him.

The romance of this story happens minimally and late; as a story goes, I'd have been fine without it. Jack has a mountain of potential regrets by the end, and I could have seen him needing more time before letting anyone close. But I had no objection to a sweeter ending. Anything Ginn Hale writes tends to be worth a read.

KJ Charles - A Queer Trade - 5*
This story stands alone just fine, but one minor character gives us a delightful little connection to the Magpie Lord universe. Crispin Tredarloe is a young magician who returns to London to find his master dead, and his papers sold.Unfortunately in a world of spells and charms, where scrap paper is reused, those lost works could have serious consequences. Waste paper seller Ned Hall is taken aback when Crispin shows up trying to find one special load of paper in the reams he has collected. But Crispin is appealing, and despite Ned's dark skin, seems friendly. And so the adventure to retrieve the spells before they cause harm begins.

I really enjoyed this story - Ned and Crispin are a vibrant pair, the magic was both amusing and serious enough not to turn the whole story to farce. There was some emotion, some wit, and a building relationship with a bit of heat. KJ Charles is totally an auto-buy author for me by now.

Nicole Kimberling - Magically Delicious - not rated
Humor is aways less universal than angst, and I'm often struck the wrong way by humor that has some ongoing silliness to its style. Unfortunately that happened at the start of this one. So I skimmed this story, and won't rate it.

Jordan Castillo Price - Everyone's Afraid of Clowns - 4*
This story is part of the PsyCop universe - it's hard for me to judge whether you could read it first, because this is a favorite series for me. Psychic medium Victor Bayne and his boyfriend Jacob end up revisiting a location where teenage Vic once saw a ghost clown. Maybe. The funfair set-up in the old theater's location turns out to be a bit different from what they were expecting, and ghosts are not the only thing to worry about. I love these two guys, and enjoyed this outing with them. Not earth-shattering, but a few exciting and snarky and sweet moments with Vic and Jacob.

Jordan L. Hawk - The Thirteenth Hex - 4*
Hexman Dominic Kopecky always wanted to be a witch, but he failed the test. He uses his hex-drawing talents to assist the police, but he's not an investigator. So he's not sure why the unpartnered familiar Rook wants his help on a case. If you're familiar with stories of this kind, the resolution won't come as a big surprise, but it's a fun, fast adventure. I enjoyed Dominick's good-hearted, slightly stolid point of view, and Rook and the secondary characters added fun.

Charlie Cochet - The Soldati Prince - 3.5*
Riley Murrough is the star of this fated-mates story. As a human who suddenly finds himself rescued from demons by were-tigers, Riley keeps his snark and humor. He has some great one-liners, in what is otherwise a predictable arc.

Lou Harper - One Hex Too Many - 4*
Veteran detective Mike Mulligan has lost partners for so many reasons over the last few years, he figures he's going to go solo forever. Instead, he's partnered with Detective Hugh Fox, a rookie investigator eager to prove himself. When they catch a case involving a man killed in a bathtub by black magic, there's plenty of scope for investigation. I enjoyed a lot of the little touches, including Leslie, the genderqueer and possibly fae office assistant, and all the details of the investigation. This was another case of police partners who shouldn't be jumping in bed together (and Fox's initial claim to be straight kind of disappears) but it was an enjoyable mystery with lots of good touches. Mike's backstory hinted at a deeper emotional content, and I wished it had been pursued a little more. Over all the tone was fairly light, and the world-building was well done.

Andrea Speed - Josh of the Damned vs. the Bathroom of Doom - not rated
I don't think you would need to have read other Josh of the Damned stories to read this - it's pretty self-explanatory. But once again, the light and slapstick-style humor just didn't click with me, and I skimmed it. Andrea Speed is a favorite author, but Josh's antics and setting don't quite fit with my particular sense of humor. (Now Roan, of the Infected books..? Roan's snark totally makes me chuckle.)

Astrid Amara - The Trouble With Hexes - 4*
P.I. Tim Keller didn't believe in paranormal or hexes, and when his ex-boyfriend, Vincent insisted that stuff was real, and worth risking his health over, they broke up. But now Tim is coughing blood, dying inch by inch, and doctors can't tell why. He's beginning to think Vincent may have been right. And if so, and if Vincent doesn't hate him too much, maybe something can be done to keep him alive.

I really enjoyed this tale of two men battling deadly magic, and trying to come back together beyond past hurts and old arguments. It wasn't angsty, but there was some real emotion, in with the adventure and the world-building.

- the editing/proofreading on this book was not quite up to the standards of the authors. A few unintentional gems, like "security breeches" and "A saw in her face", took me right out of the story here and there, and overall I noticed more typos than there should have been. But that's a minor complaint. Anyone who enjoys the combination of paranormal/fantasy with adventure and law enforcement will find stories to enjoy in here. There was a lot of imaginative world-building and some memorable characters.
Profile Image for Emma Sea.
2,191 reviews1,077 followers
September 21, 2015
Swift and the Black Dog - Ginn Hale - 5 stars
Oh, thank fuck. Finally a story worth buying the anthology for. Praise be, Ginn Hale. I loved this; loved the world, loved the language SO SO MUCH, loved the characters - even the ones who died before the story started.

I'm quitting the anthology at this point. Everything else can only take me downhill after Hale's brilliance.

Dim Sum Asylum - Rhys Ford - two stars
*shrugs* meh

The Touble With Hexes - Astrid Amara - three stars -
Some of the backstory was kinda clunky, and the sex felt shoehorned into the middle, but I enjoyed the tale and the characters.

One Hex Too Many - Lou Harper - one star -
This is not a terrible story or anything, it just had zero appeal for me. Which is weird because I like Lou Harper usually.

The Soldati Prince - Charlie Cochet - a single star that collapsed at the horror of the story's prose and became a black hole
holy fuck! *giant facepalm* I blame the editor. Someone needed to tell Cochet this story was not, uh . . . cooked.

Josh of the Damned yaddayaddayadda - Andrea Speed - one star
Not Speed's fault I didn't like this one - I have read none of this series, and the humor is not my cup of tea.
Profile Image for Adam.
611 reviews313 followers
October 10, 2015
BR with Mishyjo. Because I won't let her read an anthology without me.

This anthology was a mixed bag, but still good enough for me to give it 4 stars. It's a compilation of a range of genres, including contemporary UF, sci-fi, and historical, so there's bound to be something in here for everyone.

Overall, a fun anthology.

'The Trouble With Hexes' by Astrid Amara
Date read: Oct. 10, 2015
Rating: 4 stars

'One Hex Too Many' by Lou Harper
Date read: Sept. 27, 2015
Rating: 3 stars

The Soldati Prince' by Charlie Cochet
Date read: Sept. 26, 2015
Rating: 1 star

'The Thirteenth Hex' by Jordan L. Hawk
Date read: Sept. 13, 2015
Rating: 4 stars

'Everyone's Afraid of Clowns' by Jordan Castillo Price
Date read: Sept. 12, 2015
Rating: 2 stars

'Magically Delicious' by Nicole Kimberling
Date read: Sept. 7, 2015
Rating: 4 stars

'A Queer Trade' by KJ Charles
Date read: Sept. 6-7, 2015
Rating: 4.5 stars

'Swift and the Black Dog' by Ginn Hale
Date read: Aug 31, 2015
Rating: 4.25 stars

'Dim Sum Asylum' by Rhys Ford
Date read: Aug 28-29, 2015
Rating: 3.5 stars

'Josh of the Damned vs. the Bathroom of Doom' by Andrea Speed
*No rating.

I haven't read the Josh of the Damned series, so I decided to skip this one.
Profile Image for Mir.
4,869 reviews5,034 followers
August 25, 2019
I am reviewing these as I read them, which is not in the order they appear in the collection.
All in all, a pretty solid collection, I enjoyed most of them quite well.

I started with Astrid Amara because I've been wanting to try her work for years. This was really good and I hope there's more in this setting. 4 stars, even though this is one of those books where the characters' scruples make me wonder if I'm a bad person. You can't turn a hex back on the maker, even to save the victim's life? and you can't end it by killing them, again, even to save the victim? Because I don't find either of those actions particularly problematic, morally speaking. As far as the romance goes, this is a second-chance-at-love story where the couple split for a real reason, and yeah maybe they should have worked it out, and they do.
I liked the prose enough that I immediately ordered something else by Amara (the Aztec mythology-themed "No Life But This") which I liked even more.

Second, I'm reading a PsyCop Halloween story. It's fine, although I feel like it wouldn't work very well if you hadn't read any of the books before. If this was your introduction to Vic and Jacob you'd be like, who are these guys and why are they buying a painted pumpkin and then going to a haunted movie theater that one of them was at once years before? So, go read Among the Living, at least. You can thank me later.
3 stars

Jordan Hawk's "The Thirteenth Hex" is set in a story world that I only read the first book of, and I think some other things happened between Book 1 and this story, but I had no trouble following the plot. The Witch Police/familiar relationship might be a teeny bit confusing at first if you haven't read Hexbreaker but it gets filled in quickly enough. This was fun, if a tad slight. I'll have to read more of this series after I finish the Widdershins ones, which I think are better.
3.5 stars

Lou Harper's "One Hex Too Many" I liked the world-building and mystery a lot, and the main character despite his admitted poor impulse control (not a great trait in a cop, but if you have to have officers with magical ability I guess you take what you can get). There wasn't really a romance per se, and the attraction seemed added on to fit the theme of the volume, but it wasn't bad, just unneeded for the plot. I would read something else with these characters.
3.5 stars

"The Soldati Prince" makes me think Cochet is just not for me, even though I disliked it for (mostly) different reasons than the Thirds book I read -- although now that I think about my complaints for both boil down to "people wouldn't act/talk/think like this". In her novel highly trained law enforcement specialists romp around like bratty teens, bantering and having drama. Here we have a super-powerful warrior king with no self-control or inside voice (okay, maybe plausible, although not romantic or admirable) and a regular Joe with enough composure to make geeky jokes while about to be horribly killed by demons in an alley. Maybe worth reading if you're a big fan of fated mates, although there isn't much chemistry. If it had been longer I wouldn't have bothered finishing it.
1.5 stars

Kimberling's contribution also appears to be a sequel. I'm going to save it for last and see if I can track down Cherries Worth Getting before then.
[Edit: I did get it, and enjoyed it.]
I appreciated the role of bureaucracy in this story. Keith's investigation was fun to follow. From a romance-genre perspective, there wasn't really enough interaction between the two, but Kimberling does an excellent job depicting a normal relationship between people who have been together for a couple years and are love each other, but not in a new and exciting way, and are annoyed by things like each other's weird habits and how the one's parents show up for uninvited visits.
Beware of weird food additives. 4 stars

Was this the entire text of Dim Sum Asylum? Because it felt like 1/3 of a story. In draft form. Very choppy, and the New Partner's personality seemed contradictory, and the attraction is just... there. Also, dim sum is not relevant to the story. This was disappointing, but I did like the idea of the alt-San Francisco setting and would maaaaybe read more here, if it got better reviews. 2.5 stars
[Edited to add, yes, looking at reviews in appears the stand-alone version of Dim Sum Asylum is longer and reworked, so I guess if it sounds appealing, skip this story and get the finished work.]

"Swift and the Black Dog" by Ginn Hale is a bit of a slap in the face in this collection -- all danger and no charm. It's an amazing story: dark, angry, despairing, painfully realistic in its political and human evils. It's great and I give it 5 stars, but don't expect upbeat fluff or post-coital cuddling. 5 stars

"A Queer Trade" is a prequel to Charles' Rag and Bone. It was very enjoyable even though I knew all the plot parts from Rag and Bone. I wish I had read this before Rag and Bone. 4 stars

Andrea Speed's story occurs in the middle of a series I'm not familiar with. It wasn't one of may favorites but it was light and funny. I'll check out the first Josh of the Damned book. 3.5 stars
Profile Image for Ami.
5,865 reviews496 followers
May 11, 2016
Took me a week to finish this anthology. It ranges from "I loved it" to "I don't bloody care" about it.

The Trouble With Hexes by Astrid Amara

Least Favorite
The Soldati Prince by Charlie Cochet



Dim Sum Asylum by Rhys Ford : 2.75 stars
Started: Sept 21, 2015 --- Finished: Sept 21, 2015

It offers standard urban-fantasy actions, all right, but I never felt connected to the characters. Roku has tragic past (with him losing his partner and two daughters) but it felt like the tragedy is just a 'background' and doesn't do anything to his character. The partner is still a huge mystery for me, and I have no idea why he's drawn to Roku (especially the writing is only for Roku's perspective). In fact, the only characters here I liked is Roku's Captain. With similar vibe to Lou Harper's (stronger UF element compared to romance), this one was not as satisfying for me.


Swift and the Black Dog by Ginn Hale : 2.75 stars
Started: Sept 21, 2015 --- Finished: Sept 21, 2015

I know that Ginn Hale has a LOT of fans -- but I always struggle connecting to Hale's writing. Duly noted, I was able to finish her stories in Hell Cop anthology, but afterwards, I always feel distant to her stories. Resulting in my DNF'ing them early on. It's the case of me not the author.

This is another story in the anthology that I read perfunctorily manner. In addition, I felt like I was suddenly put in the middle of an on-going story, and I never like that feeling. Especially in urban fantasy/paranormal stories. I guess I'm a lazy reader, I like being ease into the different world by the author *shrugs*


A Queer Trade by K.J. Charles : 4 stars
Started: Sept 16, 2015 --- Finished: Sept 16, 2015

Oh, this is delightful! I think I had more fun reading short story in comparison to the last story of Charles that I read.

Crispin is a practitioner who is on a mission to look for magical papers of his departed Master, only to found those papers have been sold by his inheritors. This brought Crispin to Ned Hall, a waste-man (who buys waste papers and sell them for other purposes). It feels like an 'finding an item" kind of adventure. There is time limitation in which Crispin and Ned need to find those papers before the magical words on the papers are making havoc. And making havoc they do!! I was very much amused when I read about the rising deads *lol*.

In addition to the quick partnership, the 'fun' at the market, some actions and magic, Charles also wrote Ned Hall as a black man, with a occupation uncommon in a romance story. I found those aspects to be wonderful indeed :). Oh, and I LOVED Ned's endearment for Crispin.

PS: The story is set in Charles' Magpies universe, and we have Esther Gold (Stephan's justiciar partner and friend) makes an appearance. However, you don't need to read those novels beforehand to enjoy this.


Magically Delicious by Nicole Kimberling : 4 stars
Started: Sept 18, 2015 --- Finished: Sept 19, 2015

Kimberling revisits her characters from Irregulars, NIAD (NATO’s Irregular Affairs Division) agents Keith Curry and his goblin boyfriend Gunther in this short story. I don't know if reading their initial story will be necessary (but you should read that anthology anyway!) because this one has pretty straight mystery rather than progress on their relationship (except for the update that Keith has finally moved in with Gunther).

Gunther is the 8th NIAD agents 'attacked' by pixie-dust effects, and Keith finds out what really causing it. It gives focus on Keith and the chance for him to shine. Loved the 'temporary' partnership with the leprechaun. And I truly hope they keep the cat ^^.

I definitely wouldn't mind if Kimberling returns to this couple from time to time :)


Everyone's Afraid Of Clowns by Jordan Castillo Price : 2.25 stars
Started: Sept 19, 2015 --- Finished: Sept 19, 2015

It's not that I didn't like it. It's just that I didn't care (much like Andrea Speed's story that I read first). I guess this snippet of Jacob and Victor from JCP's most popular series, PsyCop will satisfy hardcore PsyCop fans better. Unfortunately, I think I have fallen out of love with the couple, the series, and JCP's writing *cringe*

So yeah, this didn't make me feel anything and I read it it in perfunctorily manner because I wanted to reach the ending. If you ask me what this story is all about, I won't remember.


The Thirteenth Hex by Jordan L. Hawk : 3.5 stars
Started: Sept 20, 2015 --- Finished: Sept 20, 2015

I thought the combination of witches, familiars, and non-magical officer like hexmen was interesting set-up. I enjoyed that part most definitely. However, the 'mystery' was just okay, and it was solved quickly. It didn't have the complex and complete world-built feel like Lou Harper's story. Plus everything between Dominic and Rook also happened pretty fast in a kind of 'soulmate / soulbond' kind of manner (which not always a favorite trope of mine)


The Soldati Prince by Charlie Cochet : 2 stars
Started: Sept 21, 2015 --- Finished: Sept 21, 2015

When I read this story, I had this song "One of these doesn't belong to the other" in my head -- because truly, the tone of this one just didn't fit with the other eight I read. Which is sad, since I used to enjoy Cochet's stories. I think THIRDS ruined everything for me. I still claimed that I loved book #1 of that series but then it went downhill and I started to see the weaknesses of Cochet's characters and writing. Not to mention I despised the silliness and the incompetence of the THIRDS team.

Unfortunately, this one has a resemblance to it. Motor mouth Riley, with arrogant Khalon. And every time I read the word my prince or mate, my eyes twitched. Uhm, No. JUST NO. You know what, maybe I should stay away from Cochet's stories for awhile.


One Hex Too Many by Lou Harper : 3.75 stars
Started: Sept 14, 2015 --- Finished: Sept 14, 2015

For a short/novella length story, I thought Lou Harper's One Hex Too Many is able to deliver a strong mystery plot and a well-built universe filled with magic (including dark ones), hexes, and even demon. I did think that this is predominantly mystery rather than romance though, so I wonder if a more prone-to-romance reader will enjoy this.

As for me, I grew up with Agatha Christie stories. I love mystery -- this I was pretty satisfied with this one. Harper writes down the investigation process and it moves forward with an answer that doesn't come out of empty air. I was pretty intrigued with Mike Mulligan as well as his new younger partner Hugh Fox. I wonder if this is a start of a new series because there was still a lot of things that were not explained about both Mike's and Fox's past.


Josh of the Damned vs. the Bathroom of Doom by Andrea Speed : 2.25 stars
Started: Sept 15, 2015 --- Finished: Sept 15, 2015

While it was another wacky offering in the Josh of the Damned universe -- we got zombie rats this time -- but again, I didn't see any improvements whatsoever in terms of plot, characterizations, or the romantic relationship. I skimmed this story pretty fast because IMHO, I just didn't see this series going anywhere. It is a pale comparison to her "Infected" series, heck even The Little Death is better.

Sure, some readers might appreciate the humor and the imagination. But for me, the series lost its appeal a long time ago. In addition, I wonder if readers who never read the series will be able to enjoy this short *shrugs*


The Trouble With Hexes by Astrid Amara: 4.25 stars
Started: Sept 15, 2015 --- Finished: Sept 16, 2015

This is only the third story I read from the whole book, but I can guarantee that this is one of my favorites of the whole collection. Within the limitation of the length, Astrid Amara is able to offer a solid story about love and second chances while dealing with an evil hex.

I have always love second chance story (*sigh*) and to me it was clear how much Tim and Vincent love each other. The lingering feeling is still there. Despite the direness of the situation, with Tim withering away because of the hex, I also felt that this story was very romantic. It makes me wish that I know them before the story starts; I want to be there from the beginning. I want to read about them playing with Bogart. And I want to be there when everything falls apart.

Nonetheless, I thought the conflict that set them apart was believable and despite that it might have the touch of martyrdom when it comes to Vincent's hexbreaking and saving people, I guess I could understand both of their's perspective. Vincent couldn't stop healing people but Tim couldn't also let his lover exhaust himself in the process. I'm glad that they are working things out after Tim gets hexed himself. Oh, and the mystery is pretty good -- though I had a feeling about the villain early on but I enjoyed the investigation process as well.
November 1, 2020
This anthology joins 10 paranormal and urban fantasy m/m romance stories! I’m not really into these genres and I wanted to give them a try by reading this anthology. I definitely have to say that there were some great and very catching stories. However, there were also a few stories I had trouble finishing, as they just weren’t able to catch my attention. The following were my 3 favorite shorts: A Queer Trade, The Thirteenth Hex and The Trouble with Hexes. Detailed reviews can be read further down. All in all, 3 stars for the anthology!

Dim Sum Asylum
In this short story, we meet Roku, a young half-fae half-human police officer working in Chinatown. His police division is responsible to solve unusual and paranormal crimes. After shooting his partner, who stole dragon eggs, Roku is set up with Trent and they are hunting a Shrine God trough the city in order to protect the citizens from its terrible lust charm. One of the positive aspects of this story was the setting and the great description of the paranormal creatures. However, the detailed description of the setting left not enough space for character and relationship building. Roku’s painful past is mentioned, but it doesn’t seem to really affect the character; it felt more like mere background information. The romance felt extremely rushed and felt thus not very credible. All in all, Dim Sum Asylum was entertaining, but it might not have been the best choice to open this anthology. It has too many world building details and it was very hard to connect with the MCs. 3 stars!

Swift and the Black Dog
Swift and the Black Dog tells us the story about a number of wizards, which have been part of a successful revolution in order to defeat Tyrant. Their powers are described as Ways and I really liked that concept. Many years after the revolution, Jack Swift – who has been part of the revolution – has become a bitter man facing a still tyrannical and corrupt government with too much alcohol. He is called to see one of his former comrades in the revolution and is confronted with a painful truth. The setting is very dark and had great paranormal elements. However, I had the feeling that I had been put in the middle of an ongoing story and I wasn’t able to get the complete picture. The romance was a side element in this story and while I liked Finch the story would have worked without him. 2.5 stars!

A Queer Trade
After the unexpected death of his master, young practitioner Crispin is looking for magical papers that have been sold by his master’s inheritors. In order to get the papers back, Crispin meets waste-man Ned Hall. Together they start the hunt for the lost papers, but time is running short. Some have already been sold to a market salesman and he might wrap his food in them. Crispin and Ned try to avoid all possible magical consequences and are suddenly confronted by a very dark truth. The attractive between the two MCs felt very natural and I loved their interaction. A very entertaining read, one of my favorites in this anthology. 4 stars!

Magically Delicious
Keith Curry is working in the Food department of NIAD, while his boyfriend Gunter – a goblin altered to look human – is part of the strike force. When the strike force agents are suddenly attacked by pixie-dust, Keith tries to solve the mystery and risks losing his badge due to his intervention. With the help of a very entertaining leprechaun, Keith is tracing the responsible down. I really enjoyed the description of Goblin eating habits! 3 stars!

Everyone’s Afraid of Clowns
This short story is part of the PsyCop Series and I have to say that I felt incredibly lost. While other stories in this anthology are also part of a bigger series and it was easy to get along, the PsyCop universe was apparently too complicated to work in a stand-alone short story. The romance elements were minor in this story; I wasn’t able to connect to the MC’s as there was too much background information on their relationship missing. However, I definitely liked the setting. The trip through the Haunted House was entertaining and I liked the paranormal elements. All in all, I can only give 1.5 stars!

The Thirteenth Hex
First of all, I loved this story! It’s definitely one of my favorites of the anthology! Dominic always wanted to work as a witch in MPW, but unfortunately he fails the test and doesn’t seem to have magical abilities. He thus decides to work for the MPW as a non-magical officer. One day, he is contacted by Rook, a familiar who need advice in a special case. The world-building was interesting and I definitely liked the mystery. The relationship between the two MC’s might have been insta-love, but due to the paranormal aspect their interactions and wanting felt very credible. A lovely and very well written short story! 4.5 stars!

The Soldati Prince
One night, when Riley is about to close the diner he is working in, he is attacked by a bunch of demons. Luckily, a group of tiger shape-shifters is there to save him. The leader of the so called Soldati warriors, Khalon is however not saving a simple human, but his mate. An alpha male with a big ego, mate-due attraction and of course lots of danger. I’m not such a big fan of shifter stories, but I have been reading better ones. 2.5 stars!

One Hex Too Many
Considering the plot side, One Hex Too Many is very well-written. It was fast-paced, catching and set in an interesting world with fantasy elements. Mike Mulligan is working as a police officer and he seems to be cursed – he is losing his assigned partners quickly and to very different reasons. Together with his new partner Hugh Fox, he is trying to solve the murder of Dan Robert. While the mystery is well-done, the romance didn’t feel credible at all. It could have gone without it instead. 3 stars!

The Bathroom of Doom
Being a part of a series I haven’t read, it was rather difficult to get into this universe. The humor was ok and the monsters certainly creative, but I just didn’t get into the story! I really can’t say much about this one, the writing was okay, but I just didn’t get the plot. It felt totally strange and can’t give more than 2 stars!

The Trouble with Hexes
The Trouble with Hexes is not only the longest, but by far my favorite story of the anthology. Tim, a private investigator, is visiting Vincent, his ex-lover, due to an evil hex he is fighting with. Getting more and more sick, Tim desperately tries to find the hexmaker and is due to Vincent’s help able to get one suspect after the other from his list. This story is about love and second chances and I couldn’t stop reading! A very solid mystery and strong interaction between the MC’s made this one so perfect! 5 stars!
Profile Image for Tully Vincent.
Author 3 books83 followers
March 12, 2018
Overall 4.25 stars

Dim Sum Asylum by Rhys Ford
Rich with description and detail, and since I’ve actually lived in San Francisco for a while, that was pretty cool for me. I felt a bit lost at first, like I’d been thrown into the middle of an action movie, and the overall fast pace made it hard for me to connect with the characters until closer to the end. The imagery, imagination and details are amazing and vibrant. A kick ass story that goes from zero to sixty in five seconds flat with a flaming hot sex chaser!

Swift and the Black Dog by Ginn Hale
Well-written, superb imagery. The beginning of this story was slow to pull me in—until suddenly it grabbed me by the throat. I didn’t like Jack much—and then it was made vividly clear that neither did he. There’s a romance here, but it’s neither sexy nor sweet. Mostly this story is an eloquent, twisted tale of betrayal and revenge.

A Queer Trade by KJ Charles
Well-written with a beginning that pulled me into it quickly. I enjoyed that it was written from both character’s POV as it gave me a connection to them both. Two likable main characters. Nice plot that picked up speed as it went along with a satisfying resolution.

Magically Delicious by Nicole Kimberling
This one was so much fun. Mages, goblins, leprechauns, and pixies, oh my! The beginning just sucked me in immediately. Such interesting characters that I wanted to know all about them.

Everyone's Afraid of Clowns by Jordan Castillo Price
Well-written with ghost exhibitionism, glitter and goo, painted pumpkins and lots of spooky imagery. I’ve always found anything close to clowns and fun houses to be extremely creepy, but I do love this series. Victor and Jake are so darn hot together—wherever they are.

The Thirteenth Hex by Jordan L. Hawk
I loved this one right from the start. Well-written, well-paced, intriguing characters, and a very unusual world set up. I thought it was funny that the familiar was a crow and Dominic's last name was KoPECKy. Made me laugh. As did some of lines like ‘keep your beak out of it’ and a bunch of others. A lovely sweet romance, some nice heat, and a fun story. Overall, it just hit all the right notes for me.

The Soldati Prince by Charlie Cochet
At first witty, snarky fun with some really interesting side characters, but then things begin to shift. Within a chapter, there was a sweet romance that made me swoon and events that had me in tears and I completely loved Khalon and Riley. I really want to read more about this world and especially about the side characters Toka and Rayner as well. Loved those guys, too. The way Khalon and Rayner (best friends) bickered rocked. And the ending line was perfect Riley!

One Hex Too Many by Lou Harper
I enjoyed this new to me author’s writing style, quick paced, witty and fun, but with close attention to details of world building as well as the mystery elements. I would love a story about Leslie.

Josh of the Damned vs. the Bathroom of Doom by Andrea Speed
I’m not familiar with this series, so right off that put me at a bit of a disadvantage going into this. Overall well-written story, but I was rather lost some of the time. Honestly this story squicked me out, including how Josh described and thought about things—I’m pretty sure this had to do with my total lack of background reference.

The Trouble With Hexes by Astrid Amara
Wow, this one grabbed me by the throat. The writing in this last and lengthiest story is excellent as is the pacing. The characters are well-drawn and sucked me right into their life and world. Plenty of heat, some “aww” moments, and some parts that made me teary. And even a sweet little dog. My favorite of this anthology..
Profile Image for Vanessa North.
Author 42 books514 followers
September 8, 2015
I have only read four of the stories in this anthology, and my rating is based upon those four.

I read Ginn Hale's Swift and the Black Dog, which was a standout for me. As far as I'm concerned, Ginn Hale can do no wrong. She's an exceptional writer with an exceptional vision for the fantasy worlds she creates.

A Queer Trade, by KJ Charles, was that gleefully gross sort of paranormal I can just eat up with a spoon. Icky, gross magic! Dead things! And of course, Esther Gold. <3 So fun.

Magically Delicious was a visit back to The Irregulars, and while not as "eww, gross, MORE PLEASE" as Kimberling's story in THAT antho, it gave me all the happy paranormal-reading memories of that AND a brand new adventure. Good stuff.

Everyone's Afraid of Clowns by Jordan Castillo Price. C'mon. It's Vic and Jacob. Of course I loved it. It's also sweet, and humane, and filled with that snarky-Vic voice I love so much. Bonus, after enjoying the Psycop series in audio, I now read it and hear Gomez Pugh's voice, which is basically reading perfection.

Even though I did not read the other stories in the collection, I have plans to read them when my professional obligations die down a little and I can get some quality reading time in. For now? I feel confident recommending the anthology on the strength of these four stories. :)
Profile Image for Chris, the Dalek King.
1,168 reviews148 followers
May 4, 2016
A group of us reviewers at Love Bytes kinda all wanted in on this anthology, so we split up the stories between all interested parties. While I only reviewed two stories for this collection, I will say that I enjoyed every single story and a few of them surprised me in how much I liked them. I would totally recommend you pick up this anthology.

The two stories I reviewed are below:

Nicole Kimberling – Magically Delicious (4 stars)

Kieth Curry has a not-so-glamorous job as a food inspector for NIAD (NATO’s Irregular Affairs Division). Let’s just say he is not being drowned in all the excitement. Then someone starts messing with the agents in NIAD–and more importantly with his boyfriend, Gunther–leaving Kieth to makes some rather dangerous investigations involving sweet-toothed pixies, striking leprechauns, and vicious cat that only wants a cuddle.

Gosh, but I do wish this was longer. One thing I have noticed while reading this anthology is that there never seems to be enough to satisfy my endless fascination with these stories and these characters. So many great stories here, but man I do wish they could all be novels. I loved Kieth and Gunther (even Gunther’s parents, who made eating a rather interesting experience). There were just so many good characters in this story. And the mystery was good enough that I didn’t figure it out till almost the end.

I very much recommend you read this one. It was a cute bit of fun with a great little mystery. Though is will make me think twice before I pick up my next energy drink.

Jordan L. Hawk – The Thirteenth Hex (4.5 stars)

Dominic Kopecky is one of the best Hexmen for the MWP. It is as close as he will ever get to his childhood dream, since he tested negative for magical powers as a teenager. Still, even if he can’t make his hex’s actually work, at least he can give those who can the best hex’s to work with. Then the familiar, Rook, flies into his life asking for help on a case everyone thinks is closed and Dominic starts to see all the things he could have had at his fingertips.

*happy dance*

I loved this. Cops, witches, shape changing familiars that I just want to lick. Yep this story has it all. I adore Jordan L. Hawk, and she has once again given us a great story full of magic and the men who wield it.

Dominic might not be everything he wished to be, but he is pretty awesome. And I love the magical theory that blends in seamlessly with the world in which it resides. It made this story so believable, even if there was magic all over the place.

And the ending…*sigh*

This story was a lot of fun. You MUST read it.

This book was provided free in exchange for a fair and honest review for Love Bytes. Go there to check out other reviews, author interviews, and all those awesome giveaways. Click below.
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Profile Image for Tamara.
982 reviews30 followers
July 16, 2017
Overall, this is one hell of an anthology. I'm really glad I've read it and I wish there were more stories.

Dim Sum Asylum by Rhys Ford - 3*
Interesting urban fantasy world, but the writing seemed a bit off, and I grew tired of the chase pretty fast.

Swift and the Black Dog by Ginn Hale - 3*

A Queer Trade by KJ Charles - 5*
Loved it! Now I can't wait to read the sequel.

Magically Delicious by Nicole Kimberling - 4*
This one was fun! Revisiting of the characters from Irregulars, but it can be read as a stand-alone.

Everyone's Afraid of Clowns by Jordan Castillo Price - 4*
Oh how I missed Vic and Jacob.

The 13th Hex by Jordan L. Hawk - 4.5*
Read it for the 2nd time... still great!

The Soldati Prince by Charlie Cochet - 2.5*
In all it's an entertaining story, if a bit childish. I got a "Dex" vibe from Riley and it did not sit well with me. I get the feeling the humor/snark is used to distract from the (tbh pretty cliche) story.

One Hex Too Many by Lou Harper - 4*
Lou Harper is turning out to be a great author. I loved the story and the characters, and it needs a sequel asap!

Josh of the Damned vs. the Bathroom of Doom by Andrea Speed - 3.5*
This was fun. It's my first Josh of the Damned book and now I'm curious about the rest of the story.

The Trouble With Hexes by Astrid Amara - 4*
Profile Image for Mónica BQ.
776 reviews119 followers
October 30, 2015
EDIT October 31st, 2:12 am
I have now read everything. The ups in the anthology were great, the downs were awful lows.

October 30:
I have one more story to read and one I'll give a second shot at, and that might bump my rating, since I do believe the stories that I like were amazing.
Unfortunately the stories that I didn't like were so bad that this book took me ages to read because I kept putting it aside to read fan-fiction.

Dim Sum Asylum
2 stars

2 way too long action scenes comprises the extent of the story, too much backdrop, not enough time to world-build what promises could have been a fascinating paranormal, turned into info dump. Coupledom unbelievable.

Swift and the Black Dog
3 stars

Fabulous, maybe even genius concept. Really good writing. But it still took me awhile to get into the story, too many secondary characters that only took away from the main plot and the main conflict. HEA completely implausible, but cute.

A Queer Trade
5 stars

Finally, I story I absolutely adored.
Sadly, I don't know if that is because this is set in the same world as The Magpie Lord.
But, I loved Ned and Crispin and can't wait to read them again. Even if it goes against some of my usual gripes with anthologies.

Magically Delicious
4 stars

Ridiculous, but FUNNY, and highly entertaining. Loved the established relationship. Loved the world and the goblins and the leprechauns and the pixies!

Everyone’s Afraid of Clowns
3 stars

Had I not read PsyCop in it's entirety I would've hated this one. It tries (and fails) to explain the whole death-mojo-thing in a short story that took us readers SEVEN books to understand.
"Victor & Jacob forever" are not enough to make this a rewarding story. The writing is fantastic though. And obviously, Vic is fucking phenomenal.

The Thirteenth Hex
4 stars

Sappy ending, but otherwise interesting premise and entertaining story.

The Soldati Prince
minus one star


One Hex Too Many
2 stars

Not that bad, but honestly, not that good either. The ending was rushed and I was left with a thousand questions.

Josh of the Damned vs.
The Bathroom of Doom

I couldn't get past the first part, I didn't understand a thing. It was well written, but I think you should be a reader of the series it's part of to understand it. Which I'm not.

The Trouble With Hexes
4 stars

Interesting, managed to convey it all about hexes and the job. And I really liked the former partners theme.
Profile Image for Scarletine.
433 reviews43 followers
August 23, 2015
ARC supplied by author for an honest review.

Generally, I’m not drawn to anthologies, because when it comes to books, the bigger, the better! I love long, twisty, layered stories. I love finding out about characters histories and how the affect their present. And I get frustrated when a short story terminates, and I can feel it’s got the legs to keep going. And so I approached these ten tales of Gay Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy knowing I was going to be to be tantalized, and possibly left wanting. I was not disappointed.

The author line up is fantastic, for starters, and the diversity of the stories-ranging from urban fantasy, to historical, fantastical and contemporary, has a little something for everyone…witches, wizards, warlocks, vamps, goblins and humans. I think the best way to deal with a review of ten individual stories is by it’s best to giving a brief review of each story and then my feelings on the anthology as a whole.

The anthology kicks off with the spirited ‘Dim Sum Asylum’ by Rhys Ford.
Starting with an all action chase through a Blade Runner style Chinatown, by Detective Roku of the Arcane crimes squad. Dragon eggs have been stolen and he is on the case. The story really clicks into gear when Roku meets his new partner Trent Leonard. “he was good looking, in a thunder god kind of way and my unruly dick was more than happy to make his acquaintance.”I really enjoyed this story. It was well written, pacey, funny and hot.

Story 2 ‘Swift and the black dog’ by Ginn Hale.
Wizard and revolutionary poster boy Jack Swift is out for revenge against his former comrade, Peter Tyber, a wizard who, after the revolution, has eased his way into the ruling class and mishandled his power. This mission leads to Jack meeting Finch and with that fated meeting, finding more than he bargained for. I love Ginn Hale’s work and once again she delivers with a story was just wonderful. The characters were so enticing and the story was brimming with fantastic world building detail, and a crackling romance. It was frustrating that it was short, as I would definitely read a novel about Jack and Finch.

Story 3 ‘A Queer Trade’ by K.J Charles.
In this wonderful historical, an Apprentice magician is alarmed to arrive at the home of his master to find out he has died, and his house contents are in the process of being swiftly stripped and sold on. His alarm increases when he realises that papers of a ‘dangerous nature’ were sold on to a waste merchant, papers he must retrieve at all costs. This is a wonderful historical romp, set in old Victorian London, with many laugh out loud moments and wizardly shenanigans. It also has an adorable multi-cultural romance thrown in.

Story 4-‘Magically Delicious’- Nicole Kimberling.
I was previously unfamiliar with Nicole Kimberling, but this was a really well written, fun twist on the law enforcement/ paranormal storyline. This time, with pesky leprechauns and pixies getting up to all kinds of law breaking shenanigans. NIAC agents are being targeted in pixie dust attacks and, when agent Keith Curry’s partner is attacked, he is hot on the case. Another funny, entertaining read.

Story 5: ‘Everyone’s Afraid of Clowns’-Jordan Castillo Price.
Yes, the title is correct, clowns freak me out and I’m not mad into ghost stories either, so I approached this story with caution! But there was no need to be afraid. Psycop Victor Bayne and his partner Jacob take a little detour on the way to a Halloween party and end up doing a Scooby Doo, and searching for a Clown ghost in an old movie theatre. Naturally, this was well written and great fun.

Story 6: ‘The Thirteenth Hex’- Jordan L Hawk.
As one would expect with Jordan L Hawk, ‘The Thirteenth Hex is a quirky historical, but set in magical old New York. Dominic Kopecky is working as a Hex-man for the Metropolitan Witch Police. He is asked by a police ‘familiar’, named Rook, a tall dark handsome man who can shift into a crow, for his hex-pertize on solving a case. During the investigation sparks fly, and Dominic learns the truth about himself. I loved this story; I love Hawk’s beautiful language, the tender connection between Dominic and Rook, and the heart-warming end. An absolute delight.

Story 7: ‘The Soldati Prince’ by Charlie Cochet.
Charlie Cochet plays an absolute blinder with her story ‘The Soldati Prince’. Barista Riley Murrough has no idea he is fated to be claimed as the mate of a king who lives ‘beyond the veil’. So when demons enter the café he works in and try to kill him he is, naturally alarmed. His rescuers come in the form of tigers, who, when shifted back in to human form realise how special Riley is. I loved this story, Charlie’s characters always appeal to my irreverent sense of humour, and in this story it was no different. She made me laugh, and cry and laugh again…please don’t let the ending be the end!

Story 8: ‘One hex too many’- Lou Harper.
Again, another author I am unfamiliar with, and now suitably impressed. Extramundane Crimes agent Mike Mulligan believes he comes with a curse, so has been flying solo since his last partner’s unfortunate accident. Then his boss lands with rookie named agent Fox and a case… I really enjoyed this story. It was a well-written, solid, magical cop based adventure…and the ending was super- hot!

Story 9: ‘Josh of the Damned vs. the Bathroom of Doom’ by Andrea Speed.
Doug works nights at a Quik- Mart that caters for all kinds of paranormal customers-vamps, necromancers, zombies, werewolves…But his night gets a little tricky after he is inundated with zombie hamsters, and then gets a visit from a rogue vampire with an agenda. The goofy style of this story was different from the rest of the anthology, and it contained little romance. To be honest, it was not the kind of story I would generally choose, however, it was still an entertaining read.

Story 10: ‘The Trouble with Hexes’: Astrid Amara
This story ends the anthology on such a high-note. A Hex-breaker named Vincent gets a visit from his Private Investigator ex-boyfriend Tim, who is in a whole heap of trouble. He has been hexed and they have to find out the whom, why, and where the hex root is, before the effects kill Tim. A really fantastic, thrilling story, riddled with angst of lost love, misunderstandings and a beautiful heart warming ending.

Well, I am delighted to have read this impressive anthology. There were authors whose work I knew well and some I did not, and the quality of writing did not wane at all. If I had to choose my favourites they would be Ginn Hale, Jordan L. Hawk and Charlie Cochet and Astrid Amara- who I really hope write novels about these characters. A fantastic collection of Gay Paranormal and fantasy stories.
Good job everyone. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for ♣ Irish Smurfétté ♣.
711 reviews152 followers
January 3, 2016
I started out thinking I'd read all the stories in this antho, so I started at the beginning. That plan fell to pieces quickly, so I skipped to the ones I wanted to read and did so. At this point, I probably won't read the others because they either don't interest me or appear to be related to series I haven't read. I'll add a rating to each story I did read but won't rate the antho itself. Cheers.

Rhys Ford - Dim Sum Asylum: nope, didn't work for me. Scattered thoughts and actions that just didn't connect. I mean, I was squinting in confusion and concentration while reading, trying to work out what exactly was the point. So many creatures, and AU rules and regs tossed around, with scant context. The prose does work in some spots, giving me clearer glimpses, but they were far and few between, mere glimpses. Messy.


Ginn Hale - Swift and the Black Dog: didn't read.

KJ Charles - A Queer Trade: magic and blood and blood magic, oh my! Crispin and Ned are distinct characters with different strengths and they use them. No hiding from or downplaying of them. Refreshing, I say.

There were a few times when it seemed like one character was narrating but it was actually the other, an odd brand of head hopping? Difficult to say.

What's not difficult to say:

"Jumping Judas!"


Ned thinking: Because you shook my hand. Because you need someone to help you, and I don’t see anyone else lining up. Because those freckles are killing me.

and the most definite retelling/homage/who knows, some kinda channeling of the SW scene of the Emperor telling Luke they would rule the galaxy if he'd just join him on the dark side.

I do like the twists and the diversity and the potential.


Nicole Kimberling - Magically Delicious:

Jordan Castillo Price - Everyone's Afraid of Clowns: This is mostly a JCP-level trip through a haunted house, meaning her writing makes it a good read but, still, a trip through a haunted house. Vic's voice is as strong as ever and I 100% identify with him.

Even though I’m pushing forty, I’m still as much of a sucker for a leather jacket as I’ve ever been.

Jacob is also front and center, carrying his equal share of the story load. These two are in sync, well made for each other, and still learning about each other. What's most delicious about that is they know each other so well already, so every discovery is treated with the weight it deserves.

Vic n Jacob, you make me happy even if your jaunt through a haunted house is related to a bunch of a-holes whose story remains unresolved.

Nothing earth shattering but it's aaaaaalways enjoyable to spend time with these guys. Always.


Jordan L. Hawk - The Thirteenth Hex: didn't read.

Charlie Cochet - The Soldati Prince: didn't read.

Lou Harper - One Hex Too Many: didn't read.

Andrea Speed - Josh of the Damned vs. the Bathroom of Doom: didn't read.

Astrid Amara - The Trouble With Hexes: didn't read.

shhhhhhhhh, I totally copied this from Rosa's in-progress review, since she laid out the list so loverly. ;)
Profile Image for Kasia Bacon.
Author 15 books341 followers
October 31, 2015
Spoiler free review by KASIA BB (ARC provided in exchange for an honest review)

For a serial long-distance reader like myself there is nothing better than a deliciously extensive novel, overflowing with convoluted plots and vigorous head hopping. On the flip side, however, I hugely enjoy a well executed short story. I am a massive fan of Guy de Maupassant, a master of the short story form. His writing is much about “compressing”; making every word crucial and engaging the reader’s imagination by providing hints and clues rather than spoon-feeding them elaboration and explanation. Undoubtedly, a short story is a difficult and demanding form. To my mind, it is also way less forgiving than a full-length novel. It takes a lot of skill and craft to develop a complete story with a good twist and a satisfying finale within a short space. An iron discipline, meticulous planning and relentless focus definitely come in handy here. It doesn’t meet every author’s ability.

Due to the above, anthologies can be very much a hit-and-miss affair with me. I was left frustrated and disappointed on a few occasions before, when out of the whole collection only two or three stories proved worth my while. Let me assure you – it is NOT the case here. Charmed & Dangerous is holistically excellent throughout. It is the best anthology I’ve read in a very long time. I was deeply impressed with its diverse content and riveted by the overall exquisite level of writing and the marvellous world-building skill on show.

This romantic anthology contains ten enthralling standalone tales by different M/M paranormal authors, the majority well known to me, with a few new names thrown into the mix. All the stories are linked by a common theme of the “sympathetic monster” – an insignificant often ostracised character, usually relegated to the fringes, finally gifted with an opportunity to shine. Moreover, there is quite a bit of sizzling hot man-on-man action featuring in every story.

Rhys Ford – Dim Sum Asylum

This is a great cop story featuring a half-fae, detective Roku MacCormic from Arcane Crime Department, who as a bi-species experienced ill treatment from both humans and faerie. After his former partner breaks bad, he is assigned a new sexy replacement. Trent Leonard might just be who Roku needs to start caring again and let go of his tragic past. There is an action film quality to this fast paced story, filled with police chases across Chinatown and miscellaneous magical creatures out and about. There is also an issue of equality, civil rights and tolerance lurking somewhere between the lines. The writing is witty and laced with dry humour. The sex scene it hot with a tangible spark between the characters.

Ginn Hale – Swift and the Black Dog

This is a story about wizards who did it their Way, tyrants going down and a revolution. Ginn Hale took a bit of a gamble with submitting a slightly darker, almost dystopian tale for this romantic anthology and it totally paid off. I loved Jack Swift, a somewhat disillusioned national hero and a burnt out wizard (the joke will become apparent upon reading.) The connection he forms with a younger, genuine and idealistic Finch on the opposites attract basis, seems touching and endearing. I loved the manner in which Ginn wrote her sex scene, leaving lots to imagination, yet revealing plenty. Her ability to world build is overwhelming – seamless, effortless and executed with great finesse. Characters are powerful and introduced with a punch. In my eyes, this is a perfect example of how a good short story should be written.

KJ Charles – A Queer Trade

This is a perfectly charming and well-developed historical set in London. It involves a naïve apprentice, an evil power hungry magician and some dangerous spells going horribly wrong all over the place. The unexpected death of Crispin Tredarloe’s master leads to some important papers being sold to a waste paper dealer, Ned Hall. The consequent disaster needs to be contained, while the two men are trying to deal with the obvious and intense attraction blooming between them. I loved the fact that Ned is portrayed as a proud attractive black man. It’s impossible not to comment on the language used here – gorgeously elegant and familiarly British. There’s also a good measure of humour thrown in.

Nicole Kimberling – Magically Delicious

This is an amusing story about Special Agents from Irregular Affairs Division – a human Keith Curry and his lover, an attractive reconfigured goblin Gunther. When Gunther becomes the eighth victim of the occult pixie-dusted attack, Keith embarks on the mission to investigate the security breaches and find the culprit, while trying to deal with Gunther’s parents, some very annoying foul-mouthed leprechauns, imprisoned pixies and illegal pixie dust manufactures. It is a humorous story about love and acceptance overcoming cultural and inter-species differences, dietary ones included. I found the sex scene well written and both characters extremely likable.

Jordan Castillo Price – Everyone’s Afraid of Clowns

A minor detour on the way to a Halloween party results for a medium Victor Bayne and his cop boyfriend Victor Marks in executing a little “psycoping”, combined with some hot sexy action in the dark. This story was a real treat for me. I’ve been an admirer of the Psycop series for a long time and Jacob is one of my favourite characters. The strength of this piece lies primarily not as much in the world building, as within the nature of Vic and Jacob’s relationship. I loved the visual versus tactile bond they share and how fantastically compatible they are. Things get boiling hot between them on both a physical and metaphysical level. It is enticing and believable, although supernatural.

Jordan L. Hawk – The Thirteenth Hex

This highly entertaining story involves some Metropolitan Witch Police shenanigans. Magic is definitely in the air when during the course of an investigation an expert hexman, Dominic Kopecky meets Rook, an unbounded and charming bird shifter, in need of finding his destined witch. It is a story about discovering one’s true nature. The dramatic events flow quickly, the sex is intense and the whole mythology is consistent and interesting. One of the side characters, a very intriguing cat shifter called Cicero, seriously caught my eye. I smell a great potential for a sequel here.

Charlie Cochet – The Soldati Prince

I loved this delightful emotion inducing shifters story, set somewhere between the human reality and the Soldati warriors’ world. Riley Murrough, a likable but ordinary guy and a dessert lover working at the Tiger Tails Café (funny), unwillingly and amidst dramatic circumstances comes face to face with his destined mate in all his furry glory. I found the arrogant and moody personality of Khalon, a tiger shifter and Soldati king adorable. This story registered to me as extremely visual. My brain kept supplying manga style images of shadow-like demons crawling out from the darkness. The ability to write in such a clever manner cannot be underestimated. In addition, the story is really funny in some places and touching in others. It also contains a fantastic pair of side characters. It unquestionably demands a follow-up.

Lou Harper – One Hex Too Many

This is yet another story involving magical crimes. This time detectives gifted with acute perceptive ability are investigating a deadly use of prohibited dark magic. A seasoned investigator Mike Mulligan works alone, convinced there is a curse attached to him. Cops, magical or not, are superstitious and the truth is he simply can’t keep a partner. But there comes Hugh Fox, a talented rookie who claims to be straight… at least for a while. I loved Leslie, a fascinating and sensual genderqueer side character, hilarious and hot as hell. It is a very witty, well-written mystery with a strong plot, full of crackling sexual tension and crowned with an adequately satisfying sexy conclusion. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I would happily read about those characters again.

Andrea Speed – Josh of the Damned vs. The Bathroom of Doom

A paranormal anthology without a vampire story would feel incomplete. In this one, we also encounter lizard guys, slightly disgusting werewolves, necromancers and Cheetos loving hamster zombies. Josh, a regular non-supernatural guy and his stunning vampire boyfriend must deal with a case of bathroom appliances trying to take over a Quick Mart store in order to gain control over the way to and out of Dev. If it sounds completely bonkers, that’s because it is. It’s a slightly unusual but very funny read.

Astrid Amara – The Trouble with Hexes

After a happy two year relationship private investigator Tim Keller broke up with his heavily tattooed boyfriend over a dangerous activity of hexbreaking Vincent got involved in. Ironically, six month later it is precisely Vincent’s help and expertise he requires to dismantle a malicious terminal withering hex placed on him that it slowing killing him. Both men aim to figure out who’s hell bent on harming Tim, while attempting to rebuild bridges, sort out previous miscommunication and restore the wonderful connection still burning brightly between them. I loved the goosebumps inducing emotional sex scenes. This is a skillfully executed and beautifully bittersweet story on relationships with all the angst, regret and longing attributed to them and a great uplifting finale that made me tear up a little. What a great closure to the entire anthology.

In conclusion, it was a spellbinding (pun intended), greatly varied and hugely enjoyable collection. I was simultaneously satisfied and left yearning in a good way. I need to mention briefly the fabulous cover designed by JCP – simply stunning! If pressed to pick a favourite, I’d say Ginn Hale’s story resonated with me the most. The writing is simply Ginn-ius (sorry, I felt compelled to do it). A novella on Jack Swift’s early days or further adventures of Jack and Finch would make me beyond ecstatic.

I happily award Charmed & Dangerous the rating of 5 – it’s an absolute must read for the paranormal romance and urban fantasy lovers. I usually consider an anthology a success when upon finishing the book I proceed to check out the authors’ other work and end up purchasing hundreds (or in this instance five) of their other novels. What a fitting title, indeed! The collection charmed the pants off me. It also proved dangerous to my finances.
Profile Image for Molli B..
1,514 reviews44 followers
September 17, 2015
All done! Woohoo! At some point, I'll reorder the reviews to their order in the book. Soon. But not today.

As a whole, I enjoyed this anthology. The Astrid Amara is still my favorite. I have my fingers crossed for the day she writes more about those two guys. Jordan L. Hawk, JCP, KJ Charles, and Nicole Kimberling didn't disappoint. The Lou Harper (my first of her stories) was enjoyable; the Rhys Ford, less so. I found both the Ginn Hale and Andrea Speed disappointing, probably because I'd had high expectations going into them (and my opinion is very much in the minority for both of those). And the Charlie Cochet was out of place in this anthology.

My overall score, averaged, is a 3.55, which I'm rounding to a 4. I think the good far outweighs the not-as-good in the book as a whole.

"Everyone's Afraid of Clowns" - Jordan Castillo Price - 4.25 stars As a huge PsyCop fan, I really enjoyed this. I thought the setup was a bit slow, hence the 4.25 rather than higher, but it had all of the good PsyCop elements—namely Vic, Jacob, and a ghost. :) There was also some tension, along with some sex. Really, the only thing missing was Crash ♥ I also thought the thing with the . So that could have been a bit more obvious, maybe.

I have to say that I am not sure how a non-PsyCop fan would feel about this. I have no real sense about whether it would work as a standalone. I think if the series were new to me, I'd enjoy the story as a whole but I'm not sure how I would have felt about the setup; I worry I might have gotten bored. I'm hopeful that ultimately this will bring in more PsyCop readers. Who wouldn't want to read about a smart-aleck medium? :)

"The Thirteenth Hex" - Jordan L. Hawk - 4 stars My biggest complaint about this story is that it wasn't longer. I really would have liked to have seen Dominic . I do understand the limitations of the short story/novella format—you have to pick an end point that is reasonable and sensible, and I think Jordan did that, but I feel like she could have squeezed in . Anyway, not a huge deal, and overall, I really liked the story. I thought the world was very interesting, and I'd absolutely read more set within it. I'd love to see how Dominic and Rook work together going forward and how Dominic learns...everything. I have to say that it took me a while to figure out what the title meant, and the editing could have been a little better. Haha, that seems like a lot of gripes, but they're all small! And it was still a 4-star read for me :)

"Josh of the Damned vs. the Bathroom of Doom" - Andrea Speed - 2.5 stars. I am a huge fan of Andrea Speed's other series, "Infected." I even have a stuffed lion I named Roan. ♥ I haven't started this series yet, although I've downloaded a few of the free stories from it, so this was my first experience with Josh.

While the stories in this anthology are intended to be standalones, even those that are part of an existing series/universe, this one utterly fails to be readable on its own. Like...the world seems interesting and funny, but reading this was like sitting down to watch the last twenty minutes of a movie, and the movie is the fourth in a series, so you see what's going on but don't understand a thing. Maybe it has a good storyline, maybe it's well-acted, but it doesn't matter because you don't understand any of it, are not invested in the characters, and have absolutely no way of picking up any of the hints that might make the "mystery" of the story interesting. No bueno. Noooooo bueno. Reading this was like sitting in on a conversation between people who've been BFFs for twenty years—you get the generalities but miss the big picture. I got bored pretty fast and almost DNFed despite the story being only 5% (4.7% to be specific; I used a spreadsheet) the length of the whole book. 4.7%!

On top of that, it felt like Speed spent about forty-five minutes writing this, and thirty-five of them were devoted to writing bad exposition via dialogue, so maybe even if I understood it, I'd still think it was a half-assed effort. I hate that this didn't work for me, but it really didn't. Particularly a bummer since I was excited when I saw that Speed's name was among the list of authors.

(In looking at other reviews for this story, I am in the way, way minority; even those totally new to the series liked it. So I think this is an it's-just-me case.)

"The Soldati Prince" - Charlie Cochet - 1.5 stars. This one didn't work for me, unfortunately. Her writing, while not terrible, is very flat. This story is basically Dex (THIRDS), the bumbling human, running around with a bunch of feline shifters (yup). The story has potential, but (and to borrow an excellent line from a review I read earlier today) there's no attempt to do anything more than just tell what happens—stuff just happens, happens, happens, and it's all shallowly described and flat and boring. And it's poorly edited, as her stuff often is. Her writing isn't bad, it's just dull and eyeroll-inducing. I skimmed the last 20%.

ETA: I'd originally given this a 2.5, but in my memory, this story is not a 2.5 and I don't know why I did that. Lowering accordingly.

"One Hex Too Many" - Lou Harper - 4 stars. My first Lou Harper, and I enjoyed it. The mystery story element is definitely the focus here—there's not a lot of time spent on the romance angle (which, actually, is the case for most of the stories I've read so far from this book). I actually liked the mystery so much that I'm not sure we even needed the romance stuff.

The magic world she created was really interesting and creative. I'd love to read more from it, actually—this was kind of like a really good tease for the potential of the world. I hope she writes more!

"The Trouble with Hexes" - Astrid Amara - 5 stars. This was awesome. I’m pretty sure this whole book would be worth it for just this story. Don’t you love when you find one of those?? This is all it takes: post-breakup/reunion between regretful parties, tattoos, a tattoo artist, a cop-turned-private-detective, and magic—voilà, I’m the happiest girl around. Then throw in completely competent and enjoyable writing (including subtle and fun humor), and yup, pretty much perfection. This story is about Tim Keller (of the opening “Hey, beautiful” line) and his ex-boyfriend, hex-breaking tattoo artist Vincent. Six months after Tim kicks Vincent out of their house for being reckless and secretive, Tim turns up for help because he thinks he’s been hexed. Tension (sexual and otherwise) and a little mystery ensue. Lots of innuendo, lots of good backstory and history between the guys, and I just really, really want more of them—they’d make the perfect MCs for an awesome series. Loved!!

"A Queer Trade" - KJ Charles - 4.5 stars. Ah, this is more like it. My favorite of the collection so far. Written with KJ's usual style and deftness, this story was a pleasure. A quick read but an enjoyable introduction to two new characters, Crispin and Ned. Ned is a waste-man (he collects old paper and sells it, which is a bit amusing given that I read Con Riley's Salvage earlier today—two books about salvaging in one day!), and Crispin is magic. He uses his magic unlike I remember any of the rest of them using it in the other Magpie books, so that was fun. The story has a little tension, a little humor, a little love—basically a shorter version of one of her longer novels, and it does a great job telling a complete story. On top of the normal KJ awesomeness, Ned is black, so she delves a little bit into race issues, which was interesting and also felt very organic to the story, not like something she wrote because she wanted to check some box somewhere. Anyway, ramble ramble, good story!! Very much enjoyed revisiting this world, even for just a little while.

"Swift and the Black Dog" - Ginn Hale - 3.5 stars. I have to say that this one disappointed me, because I was really looking forward to it. The world is interesting—complex, creative, ambitious—but I had an impossible time connecting with the writing, which meant I had a very hard time getting into the story. I really liked the idea of wizards having a "Way"—some specially way each manifested/harnessed his or her magic. But the writing felt choppy and rough, and I couldn't get into it. And I know people bitch and complain about commas—too many, too few, too many rules, too much attention—but honestly, they exist for a reason. They're used to help clarify language so the reader knows what to expect from what he or she is reading. And when you leave commas out in unexpected places, it can pull your reader right out of the flow of the story. Whenever a reader has to reread a sentence not to enjoy the prose but to figure out what the hell is going on, it's bad. And that happened so many times in this. I was legitimately confused. Maybe I'm just too simple, who knows, but Ginn's writing failed for me in ways that I don't remember from The Rifter (which I loved but read when it came out, so it's been awhile). So, at least half a star here for sheer creativity, but I honestly couldn't enjoy the badass protagonist or the earnest love interest because I just couldn't connect with the story.

"Dim Sum Asylum" - Rhys Ford - 2.5 stars. This is my first Rhys Ford. It was very action heavy. The first 15% (hmm, that doesn't sound like a lot, now--but it felt like a lot at the time) is all description of a street chase in San Fran, and it took me a while to get into it. I did like the main character, Roku, who is half human, half fairy, and the world in which this takes place was really interesting and full of possibilities. But Ford's writing is a little description-dense for my tastes, the editing wasn't fabulous, there isn't much time spent on Roku and his partner/love interest, and near the end, in the penultimate chapter, there was the super confusing line , and I have to admit that took some of the wind out of my sails and left me feeling kind of flat through the rest of the story. Maybe there just needed to be more time to build up the story and relationship--I'm not sure. Decent read but...just but.

"Magically Delicious" - Nicole Kimberling - 3.75 stars. This was an entertaining follow-up to "Cherries Worth Getting" from 2012's excellent anthology, Irregulars . I don't think I've read that story since it came out, so most of the details are lost to my crappy memory, but I enjoyed catching up with Keith and Gunther, anyway. And since that story wasn't fresh in my mind, I think I can safely say this works as a standalone (and if you liked it, definitely go check out "Cherries" and the rest of that anthology).

I enjoyed the second half of this story more than the first, but I honestly don't know if that's because I was more settled when I read the second half at the end of yesterday or if the story itself picked up. The stuff with Keith and Carrot Beard in North Dakota was priceless.

This is a good slice-of-life tale covering a short case and peeking into Keith and Gunther's life together.
Profile Image for Elena.
848 reviews92 followers
March 11, 2018
Rhys Ford - Dim Sum Asylum - DNF

Read a few pages, couldn’t get into it.
Rhys Ford doesn’t seem to be the author for me.

Ginn Hale – Swift and the Black Dog - 3.5 stars

The world-building was a little confusing at the beginning and it took more than a few pages for me to really sink into the story. Once that first stumbling block was dealt with, though, I really liked the magic and vaguely dystopian feeling of the world Ginn Hale created. The MC, Swift, was a really interesting character, with an almost anti-heroic quality to him.
The major plot twist wasn’t entirely surprising, but the story flew well and it didn’t really matter that I guessed where it was headed.
Ginn Hale might just have graduated to my list of “authors to keep in mind” with this short story.

KJ Charles – A Queer Trade - 4 stars

Read previously, review here

Nicole Kimberling – Magically Delicious - DNF

When the plot is just kicking off and you’re wondering how long it’ll be until the story ends, it’s not a good sign.
Probably a case of it’s-me-not-the-book, because objectively it wasn’t so bad.

Jordan Castillo Price – Everyone’s Afraid of Clowns - 4 stars

Read as part of PsyCop Briefs: Volume 1
I don’t have an individual review for this story, but it’s Vic and Jacob, what else do you need to know, really?

Jordan L. Hawk – The Thirteenth Hex - 3.5 stars

Read previously, review here

Charlie Cochet – The Soldati Prince - 2.5 stars

My reaction to this author’s work seems to be an ongoing case of “I like the premise, not the execution”.
Too bad, I usually love the ideas behind her series.
If you’re among whose who love her other works, though, I think you’ll like this too.

Lou Harper – One Hex Too Many - 3 stars

I liked the MC and the story, but the writing was a little too clinical and I couldn’t connect as much as I wanted. The romance felt also pretty contrived.

Andrea Speed – Josh of the Damned vs. the Bathroom of Doom - no rating

First thing I read by this author and I might have liked it more if I was already acquainted with the series it’s part of.
On second thought, probably not, this kind of humor doesn’t really do much for me.

Astrid Amara – The Trouble with Hexes - 4 stars

Ironically, I picked this anthology specifically because I wanted to try Astrid Amara’s writing, I’ve read her story a few months ago and then put the rest aside to finish later. Now I’m here and I don’t remember enough about The Trouble with Hexes to write an actual review, but I remember the writing was good and the plot and characters engaging, with a well-done second-chance romance.
Profile Image for Macky.
1,864 reviews232 followers
October 6, 2015
4.5 Stars overall star rating

Absolutely LOVED this anthology, they can be hit and miss but this is one of my favourites up to now. Great line up made up of some amazing authors and stories. A winner for me.
For full review on each seperate story follow Link->http://bit.ly/1JvmdKy

Profile Image for Love Bytes Reviews.
2,529 reviews36 followers
August 26, 2015
Rhys Ford – Dim Sum Asylum

4.5 Heart Review by Donna

By the time I’d finished reading one chapter I’d already sent a message to a friend, telling her that although I was only just starting the first story, she totally had to buy this book. I’d also scrawled across the top of some note paper – I want a dragon.

This story throws you into the action from the moment it begins as the author skillfully builds the picture around our main character, who is barreling through the streets of Chinatown in pursuit of his partner turned bad guy. The world we’re thrust into is a fascinating blend of contemporary and fantasy, humans mixing with mythical creatures such as dragons, fairies and mermen. But fairies and water-horses don’t necessarily equal sunshine and rainbows because of course, being a Rhys Ford tale, by the time the first scene is played out we’re already counting bodies.

Roku, our main character, obviously requires a new partner and he finds himself saddled with newly minted detective Trent Leonard. Poor Trent surely didn’t expect that his first day on the job would see him chasing down a naughty fertility statue who is running wild in Chinatown, flashing his ceramic bits at unsuspecting citizens and causing spontaneous instances of horniness. What’s a cop to do but run after it.

This story is classic Rhys Ford, despite the paranormal elements sprinkled throughout. It’s definitely more action than lovin’ but I honestly have no problem with that. Now I have to wait with fingers crossed to find out if she decides to set any more stories in this attention-grabbing world that she has created. If I was the author, I know that I’d find it too tempting to ignore for long.

Ginn Hale – Swift and the Black Dog

4 Heart Review by Donna

Jack was young, barely a man when he killed the Tyrant and became a hero. But he hadn’t fought for any noble purpose. He’d fought and killed because he was good at it and he had such anger at the whole world. By the time the revolution ended he was broken, but wiser, and now years later he just wants to be left alone. But someone is killing his fellow revolutionist heroes and it appears that the killer could be one of their own.

I’ll be honest with you, this story was terribly difficult to sink in to. The world that the characters inhabit is vast and intricate, though undeniably interesting. I felt that such a complicated setting, with such a complicated history deserved to be shown off in a much longer story. There was a lot that I needed to take in before I could concentrate on getting a handle on the plot. At first I floundered, feeling as though I’d been dropped somewhere in the middle of the story but trust me, any struggle was worth the effort.

I loved each character in this story – the good, the bad and the barely mentioned. I can only assume that the author put a lot of thought and planning into this story, considering all aspects, the characters, the setting and the plot, are so complex and well developed. While I struggled with the beginning, I became so caught up in this fantastic tale that I was annoyed when it ended. I wasn’t done hearing about Jack and Finch and I really really need to know what’s going to happen next.

This is the first story I’ve read by this author but I’d definitely be open to checking out some more.

KJ Charles – A Queer Trade

5 Heart Review by Vicki

What a great story! I love anthologies that have a theme, and this group of stories are just so cool.

A Queer Trade is set in a familiar world for KJ Charles fans, but features new characters. Crispin, a young magician comes home from a family situation to find his Master has died, and the landlords are in the process of packing his belongings up. Unfortunately they have sold all of his magical notes and papers to a waste collector. They don’t get how this could be an issue, and aren’t even sure who they sold it all too. Crispin heads off to find the seller. After several attempts, he finds Ned Hall, collector and reseller of papers.

Ned is surprised to find a pretty young man looking for some specific papers, but he’s happy to have him paw through the stacks he has, as long as he gets to look at the man. The two chat as the time goes by, but Crispin gets more and more anxious. Finally we learn why he’s concerned, and it all goes as badly as he feared…

I loved this story. It’s fast paced, as it needs to be with a story this length, but a lot is packed in there. We get some history of Crispin anyway, a nice bit of drama and some action, great characters, and a good connection between them. There is quite a lot of contrast between Ned and Crispin, which adds to the interest of the story. Just enough magic to keep it fun and paranormal, but it’s got a great historical feel to it. No on page sex, but that’s ok, I still got the emotional connection between them clearly.

If you are a KJ Charles fan, this world will feel very familiar, and you’ll love this little short story. If you aren’t a fan yet, this will give you a taste of her writing, and you should go get her Magpie books immediately!

Nicole Kimberling – Magically Delicious

4 Heart Review by Carissa

Kieth Curry has a not-so-glamorous job as a food inspector for NIAD (NATO’s Irregular Affairs Division). Let’s just say he is not being drowned in all the excitement. Then someone starts messing with the agents in NIAD–and more importantly with his boyfriend, Gunther–leaving Kieth to makes some rather dangerous investigations involving sweet-toothed pixies, striking leprechauns, and vicious cat that only wants a cuddle.

Gosh, but I do wish this was longer. One thing I have noticed while reading this anthology is that there never seems to be enough to satisfy my endless fascination with these stories and these characters. So many great stories here, but man I do wish they could all be novels. I loved Kieth and Gunther (even Gunther’s parents, who made eating a rather interesting experience). There were just so many good characters in this story. And the mystery was good enough that I didn’t figure it out till almost the end.

I very much recommend you read this one. It was a cute bit of fun with a great little mystery. Though is will make me think twice before I pick up my next energy drink.

Jordan Castillo Price – Everyone’s Afraid of Clowns

4.5 Heart Review by Donna

I’m going to have to start this review with a confession. I have never read a Jordan Castillo Price book before today. Phew, glad I got that out in the open. But now that you’re all screaming “She calls herself a reviewer? She’s not worthy!!” well, there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation that will give you a glimpse into the irrational landscape that is my mind. The way I see it, some authors are just too talented and too prolific. I’ve seen the long list of this author’s books. I’ve seen the crazy good ratings. I knew if I allowed myself one hit from that crack pipe I’d be selling myself to feed my book addiction because I would need to read all of them. I figured a short story would be safe, until I was only two pages in and read the word PsyCop. Mother. Fucker.

Obviously I had no prior knowledge of who Victor and Jacob were, so I’m qualified to say that you don’t need to have read any of the PsyCop series to enjoy this story. But for those legions of JCP fans out there, well I’m sure I don’t have to sell you all on the idea of a psychic dude and his decidedly horny boyfriend setting off on a ghost hunt through an old movie theatre in search of a previously sighted ghost. And not just any ghost, but the most terrifying of all ghosts, the dreaded hobo clown.

I must admit, I can see why so many readers love this author. It may only have been a short story, but it didn’t take a whole lot of words to convince me that that Jordan Castillo Price can immerse you in a setting, can create a captivating atmosphere, can deliver a steamy sex scene and can hook you into a series.

See you on the street corner fellow suckers. I’m off to Amazon.

Jordan L. Hawk – The Thirteenth Hex

4.5 Heart Review by Carissa

Dominic Kopecky is one of the best Hexmen for the MWP. It is as close as he will ever get to his childhood dream, since he tested negative for magical powers as a teenager. Still, even if he can’t make his hex’s actually work, at least he can give those who can the best hex’s to work with. Then the familiar, Rook, flies into his life asking for help on a case everyone thinks is closed and Dominic starts to see all the things he could have had at his fingertips.

*happy dance*

I loved this. Cops, witches, shape changing familiars that I just want to lick. Yep this story has it all. I adore Jordan L. Hawk, and she has once again given us a great story full of magic and the men who wield it.

Dominic might not be everything he wished to be, but he is pretty awesome. And I love the magical theory that blends in seamlessly with the world in which it resides. It made this story so believable, even if there was magic all over the place.

And the ending…*sigh*

This story was a lot of fun. You MUST read it.

Charlie Cochet – The Soldati Prince

5 Heart Review by Dan

Wow, did I just become a huge fanboy of Charlie Cochet! I never get any of her books to review, because the ladies at the blog always beat me to them. Now I know why! The Soldati Prince reads like a novel, and I was so very sad to flip to the page that said simply:


But I will have to live with it, and start imbibing a lot more of Charlie Cochet’s works. But I digress…on to the story.

Riley Murrough is your run of the mill art major who isn’t making it far in the real world now that he has finished art school. He is currently working as a barista if that tells you anything about his art career!

One day after the shop closes, two strange men come in and ask him if he is Riley Murrough. When he answers yes, one lets out a huge scream which shatters all the glass in the shop and then both shift into some sort of putrid stinking monsters who try to grab him. When he runs, many more show up. But just in time some big ass tigers show up to save him. What the heck is up with that? And when one shifts into a human the adventure really starts. But why is the guy such a conceited jerk?

What will happen when Riley awakens in another realm, chained up, and apparently a prisoner of this rude man?

I loved this little adventure. I would so like it to have been a novel so I’d still be reading!

Lou Harper – One Hex Too Many

4.5 Heart Review by Vicki

Nice world building! I liked this one….

This is a modern urban fantasy story, involving a murder mystery and cops. Magic cops. Mike Mulligan is a detective in the magic division of the local police department, and he has an issue with partners. They keep leaving him, six in the last five years, but not all are dead! He is given yet another one, newbie Hugh Fox. They are given a suspicious murder to look in to as their first case together. It looks like an accidental drowning, but turns out to be much more than that.

The mystery part of this story was quite complex considering the length. We get a whole background story that is very interesting, all coming together with a big bang! I liked that. Lou gives us a great world, lots of magic and some cool characters. This really felt like the beginning of a story or series for Mike and Hugh. I enjoyed the mystery and the world, but the romance was lacking a bit. I see that Mike and Hugh work well together, especially considering how new they are as a partnership, but I didn’t get a lot of emotional feelings between them. Hugh is straight as far as we know, one kiss and he freaks out. Then suddenly at the end of the book, we get nookie. With not a lot in between.

So good story, good mystery, good characters, creative world, but not as much “romance” as I like in a story. None the less it was a very enjoyable story!

Andrea Speed – Josh of the Damned vs. the Bathroom of Doom

4 Heart Review by Cindy

When I started this story I was a little skeptical. The name made me a little leery, like maybe it was trying too hard but it didn’t take long before I was hooked and laughing my ass off.

Josh is just an ordinary guy who finds himself in extraordinary circumstances. He’s surrounded by the supernatural in so many ways, yet he’s just a plain human….with a goddess looking out for him.

Doug is Josh’s friend and roommate and Colin is Josh’s hot vampire boyfriend. Beware of a few spoilers here. Not for this story but for the books that come before. I loved this universe so much that I went out and bought the whole series and I can’t wait to read it.

This story has hilarious twists and turns and had me giggling almost from the start. Josh is endearing and Doug turns out to be more than just a stoner and Colin’s dry wit is fantastic.

There isn’t much to say that won’t give up the whole plot, but if you’re looking for something funny that will leave you smiling, this is the story for you.

I mean, come on, it inspired me to buy a whole series, right? Easy to read without having read the others, but I have a feeling that once I do, it will only make this story better.

Astrid Amara – The Trouble With Hexes

4 Heart Review by Tammy

Six months ago Tim Keller told his partner of two years Vincent to pack his bags and leave. Tim had had enough of watching Vincent hurt himself so that he could help his crazy aunt Charlotte remove hexes from people! Vincent had become that bad that he was having severe convulsions after each removal. But to be honest Tim wasn’t really sure Vincent wasn’t on drugs what with the way he looked more often than not. When Vincent refused to stop his nonsense about hexes and spells Tim told him to leave.

When Tim shows up at his tattoo parlour Vincent is more than a little shocked. Tim looks awful; he looks like he’s aged ten years in the last six months! When Tim comes out and tells Vincent he’s sure he’s been hexed Vincent isn’t sure what to think, after all, hexes and their removal were what had split them apart before.

Tim can’t for the life of him think who out of his many enemies would actually want him dead, with a mortality hex! It scared the crap out of him when Vincent explained he was at the end of the hexes life span. What he didn’t expect was Vincent’s crazy aunt Charlotte helping him the way she did. The two of them have a long way to go but at least once the hex has been removed and the culprit has been bound they will have a very long time to get back to being a very in love couple.

The Trouble With Hexes is a very well written short story that has a bit of angst, hatred, attempted murder and most of all love. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the story and wished it was a full-length novel. I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending this story to everyone.

This book was provided free in exchange for a fair and honest review for Love Bytes. Go there to check out other reviews, author interviews, and all those awesome giveaways. Click below.
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Profile Image for Lori.
Author 2 books98 followers
September 27, 2015
3.8 average stars, rounded up to 4

Rhys Ford, Ginn Hale, KJ Charles, Nicole Kimberling, Jordan Castillo Price, Jordan L. Hawk, Charlie Cochet, Lou Harper, Andrea Speed and Astrid Amara.

Wow!! What an author line up! It reads like a who's who of MM paranormal authors. I was privileged to be able to read and review this book. Each story will have the blurb pasted below and I'll add my rating. I'll add reviews for my favourites. I have to say, this book is absolutely worth reading - such a selection of authors and stories.

Rhys Ford - Dim Sum Asylum  

Ginn Hale - Swift and the Black Dog

KJ Charles - A Queer Trade

This story drew me into the strange world of Crispin's London. Old time London with a magical twist that  owned me and left me dazed when I returned to 21st century Norfolk. such talent to create a world like this in a short story. I understood it, I became part of it and I wanted to know everything about Crispin and Ned. I loved that this was an interracial relationship. I loved that the world of magicians apprentice and waste paper seller were so different - and yet so connected in this story. I'd definitely read more about these two characters. 

Nicole Kimberling - Magically Delicious 

Jordan Castillo Price - Everyone's Afraid of Clowns 

It's Vic and Jake. If I need to say any more than that then you're reading the wrong books. Okay? 

Jordan L. Hawk - The Thirteenth Hex 

As with KJ Charles, Jordan L. Hawk made me love a world, and characters, in just a few short pages. Dominic - a hexman who is good at what he does but manages to somehow undervalue himself, let himself settle - is drawn into the hunt for criminals by familiar, Rook. I adored both Rook and Dominic. They sold this story to me, and the setting and mystery were the icing on the cake.

Charlie Cochet - The Soldati Prince

Lou Harper - One Hex Too Many

Lou Harper - an author I've not read before, but I definitely will be again. I loved this story and the world and characters created. Throughout this story there were touches of humour that tickled me, it was well paced and well written.

Andrea Speed - Josh of the Damned vs. the Bathroom of Doom

Astrid Amara - The Trouble With Hexes 

Trust and romance is what this story was about. I loved the relationship between Tim and Vincent - again I could read more about them quite happily. The benefit of hindsight is a wonderful thing. The love between these two was tangible, and like so many  relationship,s  it wasn't that the love waned but more that the problems suddenly  seemed  too big. The lack of  communication , the attempt to save oneself from pain - it all added up to a failed relationship, until Tim needed Vincent more than fear of hurt. A twisting turning tale of love I adored from beginning to end.

A copy of this anthology was given in exchange for an honest review.

review previously at BMBR.

Profile Image for Teresa.
3,368 reviews36 followers
February 24, 2019
****Reviewed for Prism Book Alliance®****

4.25 Stars

As soon as I found out this anthology existed, I had to read it! Some of my favourite authors are in here as well as a few new to me ones. I loved most of the stories and they all fit the theme of Gay Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy. From dark and gruesome to humorous, fans of the genre will find a favourite story. Many of these introduced new worlds that I would love to see grow into full novels or sequels of these stories. Below are some of my thoughts on each story.

Rhys Ford – Dim Sum Asylum, 4.5 Stars
I loved the world Rhys created. Although we don’t get a lot of back story as to why the world is the way it is, I still liked the blending of fae and human, magic and mundane. The action was fast paced and I loved the chases through the city. I could feel the atmosphere and was right there with the characters.
Roku was a sympathetic character and I liked his pairing with Trent. I would love to see more of them together.

Ginn Hale – Swift and the Black Dog, 4.5 Stars
I haven’t read a lot of Ginn Hale’s work so I don’t have much to compare to, but I found this story to be quite engaging. I liked the dystopian feel of the world, a new government that is trying to not be corrupt but seeds are there. There were a few story threads that got lost and I would have liked to delve into the story more, but I liked what was there. I would definitely read more!

KJ Charles – A Queer Trade, 4.25 Stars
Set in the world of A Charm of Magpies, we are once again faced with arcane rights and magic gone awry. I liked that the characters had varied backgrounds and racial profiles, but that race wasn’t an issue dwelt upon. The story was entertaining and I liked seeing Mrs. Gold again, however briefly.

Nicole Kimberling – Magically Delicious, 4 Stars
This tale features the characters from Cherries Worth Getting in the Irregulars anthology, Keith and Gunther. It was nice knowing some back story on them, but reading the previous story is not necessary to appreciating this one. I liked seeing the established couple although this story focused more on the magic goings on than the relationship. It was an interesting mystery with some humour to it.

Jordan Castillo Price – Everyone’s Afraid of Clowns, 4.25 Stars
It was great to see Vic and Jacob again! This book takes place sometime later in the series, I’ve read up to GhosTv and this didn’t spoil anything. It was a great spooky interlude set at Halloween. Don’t worry if you are afraid of clowns, you’ll still enjoy this!

Jordan L. Hawk – The Thirteenth Hex, 5 Stars
I loved this story! I loved the unique world and would love to see more stories set in it. Rook and Dominic felt so right together and the mystery was sound. The combination of familiars, witches and hexmen was intriguing and I wanted to know more, but there was enough to be satisfied. I especially liked the flying scene. It was so detailed.

Charlie Cochet – The Soldati Prince, 3.5 Stars
Though the beginning was a little on the horror side, I felt the rest ventured into shifter novel territory. The difference being the mate, Riley, wasn’t totally weak and helpless as many in that trope are. Charlie Cochet does write some good characters. Despite the plot, I really liked Riley and Kahlon’s team. Kahlon himself wasn’t my favourite person but I did warm up to him in the end. The end is left open for more stories in this world and it felt a little “to be continued”.

Lou Harper – One Hex Too Many, 3.5 Stars
Good mystery to the story. I had my suspicions as to the culprit, and I liked the resolution. Pacing was good, and there are some new and different terms for the magic world that show some thought. I wasn’t as enamoured with the relationship. The culmination didn’t feel quite right. However, it was good addition to the anthology over all.

Andrea Speed – Josh of the Damned vs. the Bathroom of Doom, 4.5 Stars
I haven’t read any of the other books in the Josh of the Damned series but this story makes me want to. It was hilarious! It was so much fun, with witty dialog and colourful characters. It brought to mind Clerks, by Kevin Smith, but paranormal edition (perhaps because of the setting).

Astrid Amara – The Trouble With Hexes, 3.5 Stars
This story was slower than the rest and definitely more character driven. While I like both characters well enough, I wasn’t totally engaged with either of them. The mystery and magic was suitably creepy and dangerous, but I had the culprit figured out early on. Never the less, I did enjoy it over all.

Prism Book Alliance®
Profile Image for Ulysses Dietz.
Author 13 books655 followers
September 20, 2015
This wonderful anthology of stories with paranormal themes embraces the finest writers in this genre and offers substantial, beautifully written tales of romance and magic.

I’m not a big anthology fan, mostly because I like long works – but these are no mere snippets. Each story is a fully developed narrative, rich with all the things we readers care about. The bonus, of course, is that they all feel connected to each other by their shared paranormal themes and characters.

Rhys Ford’s fast-paced and compelling “Dim Sum Asylum” shows us a gritty but recognizable future San Francisco, in which Roku MacCormick, a mix-race (meaning part human, part fae, part Japanese, part Irish) detective works a strange cursed-object case with a new partner, Trent Leonard. Roku’s back story is dark and as complex as the city he calls home.

Ginn Hale’s “Swift and the Black Dog” shows us a world that is more like a post-apocalyptic Dune, grotesque and beautiful by turns, in which we meet a young wizard named Jack Swift, who was once the leader of a band of revolutionary teenagers. Swift is forced to face some harsh realities in the world he and his friends helped create. Hale, in her typical fashion, creates visions of exquisite beauty and desperate violence.

KJ Charles’ “A Queer Trade” takes us to her world of the Magpie Lord series, where an unlucky apprentice, Crispin Tredarloe, must try to retrieve some misplaced papers in the shop of London wastepaper merchant Ned Hall. The author’s uncanny ability to create an authentic Victorian world in which magic is part of the landscape is slyly acknowledged by the opening line: “Marleigh was dead, to begin with.” Her homage to Dickens made me laugh, just as her tale of bone and blood feels both true to period in tone and engagingly modern in sentiment.

“Magically Delicious” presents a contemporary Washington, DC, in which federal bureaucracy attempts to regulate all manner of imaginary creatures from goblins to leprechauns. Keith Curry, restauranteur turned magical food infraction specialist for the government, gets caught up in a series of mysterious hexings that involves his boyfriend, half-goblin Gunther Heartman. There are some truly hilarious moments with Curry’s in-laws, and a plot that feels like a mashup of a sitcom and an episode of “Mission: Impossible.”

Jordan Castillo Price’s Psycop hero Victor Bayne and his FBI boyfriend Jacob take us on a psychological tour of Bayne’s first ghostly encounter in “Everyone’s Afraid of Clowns.” What I found particularly appealing about this story is that, at its heart, it’s really about Victor’s desire to make things better for the ghosts in his life.

In “The Thirteenth Hex,” I’m pretty sure that Jordan L. Hawk intentionally evoked Caleb Carr’s “The Alienist” by using that term in the same paragraph in which she introduces Theodore Roosevelt as NY’s police commissioner in the late 19th century. The magical subdivision of Roosevelt’s police department, made up of witches, their shifter familiars, and non-magical paper pushers known as hexmen, are faced with what seems to be serial killer using over-the-counter patent hexes. Dominic Kopecky dreams of being magical, but has settled for being a hexman, until he meets Rook, a crow shifter without a witch to call his own.

Riley Murrough is an over-educated barista loser until he’s confronted by a swarm of demons in an alley and rescued by a leather-clad stud named Khalon who is under the unhappy impression that Riley is his prince intended. Most of Charlie Cochet’s tongue-in-cheek romance, “The Soldati Prince,” takes place in Khalon’s world, which, we are told, is somewhere in Upstate New York.

Lou Harper, the queen of gay noir fiction, takes the reader on another magic murder hunt in “One Hex Too Many.” A world-weary detective, Mike Mulligan (of the Extramundane Crimes Division) is assigned a new partner in detective Hugh Fox, and once again they have to track down a murderer by magic. This is the one story in the book that seemed to be the beginning of a potential series.

Andrea Speed’s “Josh of the Damned vs. the Bathroom of Doom” is actually part of a series: a spoof with paranormal teeth, making me think of Rick Riordon’s Percy Jackson novels mixed with Kevin Smith’s cult film “The Clerk.” Somehow the title “Convenience Store of the Damned” kept running through my mind.

Astrid Amara gets the last-but-not-least position with “The Trouble with Hexes.” Tim Keller, a private detective who threw his tattooed boyfriend Vincent out for messing around with magic, finds himself in a deadly predicament, and has to turn to Vincent to save his own life. This is a very personal story, as much about the two men as it is about the race to find the root of the hex.

Every reader will find his or her favorites among this group of ten winners. For anyone who follows paranormal fiction, this is a must-read.
Profile Image for farmwifetwo.
429 reviews11 followers
August 28, 2015
I've finished Rhys Ford's book and I suspect the rest will be along the same "theme". There are 2 problems with writing paranormal shorts... 1 - world building and 2 - emotion. I will comment on each story as I read them.

1. Rhys Ford - world building for a paranormal story is something that Rhys forgets rule #1 - KISS. She remembers it for her RS books but I think she has big visions in her head and a team that doesn't like to tell her it's too much, too soon. So, as usual, I ended up a combination of bored and lost. The emotions of our main character were tossed in here and there and then it ended with a bang. She always writes a good story, but like Black Dog... I got lost in the world building and by then cared little for the rest of the story.
2.5 stars

2. Ginn Hale - I didn't completely follow the world building but the basic blocks were there and she used it as background so the story was easy to follow. The romance, although quick, was an HFA but we'll see where it goes and it worked well for the story.
3.5 stars

3. KJ Charles - A rinse and repeat. I have found all of these stories follow a basic format for romance and plot. Considering all MF romances do the same, that's not a complaint, just something I've noticed probably because I've read them in batches not months apart. Saying that, the world building was good, the magic fit the plot, the romance ended with a HFA and the plot with a "maybe I'll write more about them later". It ended in a good spot in the story line.
3.5 stars

4. Nicole Kimberling - A "paranormal cozy" is what I'd call it. I'm not a big cozy fan but it was ok. World building was easy to follow. The down side was the characters harping about his relationship uncertainties and I wasn't certain why??? It didn't add anything to the plot. I kept waiting for something... but it was just a long term couple that ended up in a situation... that was all.
2.5 stars

5. Jordan Castillo Price - I just checked and as I wondered, the characters in this story were the same in the other books. That's wonderful if you've read the rest of them, but I've only read the first. To actually have an opinion I'm going to have to go and reread it. I skimmed it to the end, and moved on to the next story. Will reread it later, I was tired enough that I moved on to a reread afterwards.
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