Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Review: Charmed and Dangerous Anthology: Ten Tales of Gay Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy

charmed and dangerous

Title ~ Charmed and Dangerous Anthology

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

Publisher ~ JCP Books

Published ~ 25th August 2015

Genre ~ Paranormal M/M Romance, Urban Fantasy



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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.

Macky’s Review

A stellar cast of authors make up this brilliant set of magical, urban fantasy short stories that certainly charmed me! Anthologies can be hit and miss but I've got to say there wasn't one of these enchanting tales that didn't make me fall under it’s spell and I can wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone who loves to take a walk in the realm of the paranormal.You’ll get a chance to read stories from your firm favourites, but like me, you'll probably discover new authors to get excited about too. Awesome value for money, this diverse mix of ten, really decent length short stories will keep you entranced for hours… Go Buy now!

Dim Sum Asylum by Rhys Ford

Fantastic start to the anthology from Rhys Ford, and her Urban Fantasy set in and around the Chinatown of an alternate San Fransisco; where fae, otherworldly fantasy creatures and humans live alongside each other in a not always so comfortable existence! A really vivid, well set up world that wouldn't disgrace the big screen (I'd definitely watch this if it was a TV series) and a high octane story that kicks off with a real sense of excitement as we meet half fae, half human Arcane Crimes Detective: Roku MacCormick, and his new human partner Detective Trent Leonard, who's paired with Roku after his first partner turns out to be a dirty cop.

Fast moving fun, hot and sexy times with a touch of pathos surrounding Roku; I wouldn't be surprised if these two more-ish characters and the rest of its interesting cast, don't get their own series soon, because the premise of this is far too good to not get more airtime. Really enjoyed this one a lot. I'd happily read a full novel.

Swift and the Black Dog by Ginn Hale

Deeper and much darker than the first story, Ginn Hale weaves a cautionary tale of revolutionary wizards, tyrants, questionable saviours, vengeance and retribution. Beautifully crafted, classily written and hauntingly atmospheric, this truly was a real surprise! A jaded 'hero' and an idealistic radical with hidden depths of his own; I loved this unpredictable, cleverly plotted, multi layered short story. Not so much about the sex, but a sensual, unexpected connection, it may be my first Ginn Hale but it definitely won't be my last if this is anything to go by. Wow, this is turning out to be a great anthology.

A Queer Trade by KJ Charles

Ye Olde London Town, a 'molly' magician’s apprentice, a working man of colour, out of control magic and much mayhem! It can only be KJ Charles, bringing it to the table yet again with this fun, fast paced, frolicking magical adventure set in her most excellent 'Magpie' universe. For anyone who's already a fan of her amazing arcane magic series it's a fabulous mini addition, but if you're not familiar yet with the Magpie books it still works as a standalone. So I reckon this is a win win pick. Definitely one of my favourites in the anthology, but then again, I didn't expect any differently!

Magically Delicious by Nicole Kimberling

Gorgeous goblins (who'd a thunk it!), leprechauns with attitude, three wishes and a perplexing pixie mystery!! This one was a really fun read. Nato's Irregular Affairs Division (NIAD) was a great take on a contemporary agency keeping an eye on the hidden paranormals living among a world of humans clueless to the existence of their preternatural neighbours. The world building was pretty complex, and because of that I did feel I was on catch up slightly by not having read the original short story that introduced Gunther the hot goblin, his human lover NAID operative Keith, and the set up of the detailed universe Nicole has cleverly created...but apart from that it was still très cool!

Everyone's Afraid of Clowns by Jordan Castillo Price

A short story from Jordan's Psy Cop series I think this will be a huge favourite for fans of Victor and Jacob who have followed them through all their trials and tribulations. They've obviously gone through a lot together and there were a few times when I felt that more in depth knowledge of their past and dynamics together, would have personally made the story tighter for me as a reader who hasn't read the long standing series, but it's still a really engrossing read.

A Halloween ghost story, with sinister clown (eek!) and old theatre, that holds spooky memories from a younger, less experienced Victor's past, it was suitably creepy and steamy at the same time and it's certainly made me want to push the series (which is actually sitting in my TBR list) up my reading list.

The Thirteenth Hex by Jordan L Hawk

Failing the magicians test, Dominic becomes the next best thing he can...a Hexman. More pencil pusher than action man, he works with the Magic Witch Police (MWP), using his mathematical skills to draw up hexes that only work once they've been infused with magic from a fully fledged witch. It's his job to ensure the hexes are precisely drafted so they're a hundred percent safe to use. So when one of his fellow Hexman is accused of altering a hex to murder twelve people, and a gorgeous Crow witches familiar—the wonderful Rook—seeks his help in clearing the innocent mans name… it's time to step out from behind the desk and find out exactly where his true destiny lies.

I absolutely adored this story from Jordan. It was something fresh and unexpected from an author who never fails to have me doing that embarrassing happy clappy dance when I finish one of her stories! Lol. I want more of Dominic and Rook and the enticing alternative, arcane historical world Ms Hawk has created for them. Another possible full length series on the horizon? Oh I hope so!

The Soldati Prince by Charlie Cochet

A sassy human, kick ass tiger shifter warriors, demented demons, a hidden fantasy style kingdom hidden from our contemporary world and a banter filled love/hate relationship. This engaging addition to the anthology is a slice of paranormal fun that has Charlie Cochet’s trademark action and humour stamped all over it, and it was a fun, sexy read.  

I'd loved to have seen the initial snark and will they/won't they dynamics between Khalon and Riley played out a bit longer before they succumbed to the pull of their mate bond; but I'll put that down to length constraint and greedy reader syndrome, because like all these fantastic stories I could have read on happily! Really entertaining and another winner.

One Hex Too Many by Lou Harper

A proper, honest to goodness murder investigation, from its shady inception, to it’s satisfyingly not so obvious finish, with some nice solid detecting. Only this happens to involve magic, the not always solid citizen practitioners who wield it and the specialised arcane cops who police it. Another contemporary urban fantasy set in a world where magic is an accepted part of life and you're either born to it...or in the case of M-negatives… not, but fall under the influence of the black arts and that's where the Extramundane Crimes Division comes in to its own. Full of dry, self deprecating humour and a very easy laid back writing style that melds nicely with the more serious undertones of the crime itself, I loved this segment of Charmed and Dangerous.

Lou Harpers well plotted crime story is probably the one that was the most 'believable', as its world building pretty much mirrored ours, but with just enough of a clever, funny at times twist (loved the witty police acronyms) to pull it out of the norm. The romance is a slow burn relationship that might not have been overly graphic in the sex stakes but I still felt, and loved, the heat and attraction between it’s MC's; making the two 'Extra's'...Detective Mike Mulligan and his new partner, Hugh Fox...two of my favourite characters in the whole anthology.

Josh of the Damned vs The Bathroom of Doom by Andrea Speed

Just another night shift at the Quicki Mart with the portal to 'hell' around the back!

Omg, just give me a minute to stop laughing...

LOL...that was an absolute hoot! Psycho killer bathroom appliances, a horde of Cheeto eating zombie hamsters, two hot vamps (one the boyfriend; the other a not so successful evil minion), Doug, the stoner roommate, Mr Kwhan: store owner but pretty crappy necromancer, and of course the man of the moment ...night store clerk Josh! Adorkable guardian of the between worlds hell portal and magnet for the weirdo monster wackiness that comes through it! *snort* I am now a total Josh convert!

Hahahaha, still giggling.....

The Trouble with Hexes by Astrid Amara

An ex with a hex! Now there's a state of affairs, and if the hex isn't lifted ASAP then it's lights out for private investigator and former mystical disbeliever, Tim Keller, who hasn't got long to live if he doesn't find out a way to nullify the death spell. So, it's a good job that his ex boyfriend, tattooist Vincent, is a hexbreaker...only that was the bone of contention that split them up in the first place. Will his plea fall on deaf ears? And if Vincent does still feel something for him, will they have time to find the perpetrator, put the hex right and finally get their love life back on track? Phew, this one had me on pins as they waded through the many suspects on the list of grudge holders, and I got a bit touched too by Tim’s predicament and Vincent’s devotion to his hexed lover!

What a fabulous end to what has been one of the best anthologies I've had the pleasure to read for a long time! Now I also need to go search out more from Astrid Armara!



Purchase Links



Meet the Authors

Astrid Amara Astrid Amara lives in Bellingham, Washington. She’s a former Peace Corps Volunteer, an advocate for animal rights, and a bureaucrat by day. After work she can usually be found writing, riding horses, hiking, or else sleeping. Her novel The Archer’s Heart was a finalist for the 2008 Lambda Literary Award. www.astridamara.com

KJCharles KJ Charles is a writer and freelance editor. She lives in London with her husband, two kids, an out-of-control garden and an increasingly murderous cat.

KJ writes mostly romance, gay and straight, frequently historical, and usually with some fantasy or horror in there. She specialises in editing romance, especially historical and fantasy, and also edits children’s fiction. www.kjcharleswriter.com

Charlie Cochet Charlie Cochet is an author by day and artist by night. Always quick to succumb to the whispers of her wayward muse, no star is out of reach when following her passion. From adventurous agents and sexy shifters, to society gentlemen and hardboiled detectives, there’s bound to be plenty of mischief for her heroes to find themselves in, and plenty of romance, too!

Currently residing in Central Florida, Charlie is at the beck and call of a rascally Doxiepoo bent on world domination. When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading, drawing, or watching movies. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers. www.charliecochet.com

Rhys Ford Rhys Ford was born and raised in Hawai’i then wandered off to see the world. After chewing through a pile of books, a lot of odd food, and a stray boyfriend or two, Rhys eventually landed in San Diego, which is a very nice place but seriously needs more rain.

Rhys admits to sharing the house with three cats, a bonsai wolfhound, and a ginger cairn terrorist.

Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird, a Toshiba laptop, and a red Hamilton Beach coffee maker.

But mostly to the coffee maker. www.rhysford.com

Ginn Hale Ginn Hale resides in the Pacific Northwest with her wife and three cats. She spends many of the rainy days tinkering with devices and words and can often be sighted herding other people’s dogs, bees and goats. Her novel Wicked Gentlemen won the Spectrum Award for Best Novel and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. www.ginnhale.com

Lou Harper Under a prickly, cynical surface Lou Harper is an incorrigible romantic. Her love affair with the written word started at a tender age. There was never a time when stories weren’t romping around in her head. She is currently embroiled in a ruinous romance with adjectives. In her free time Lou stalks deviant words and feral narratives.

Lou’s favorite animal is the hedgehog. She likes nature, books, movies, photography, and good food. She has a temper and mood swings.

Lou has misspent most of her life in parts of Europe and the US, but is now firmly settled in Los Angeles and worships the sun. However, she thinks the ocean smells funny. Lou is a loner, a misfit, and a happy drunk. www.louharper.com

Jordan L Hawk Jordan L. Hawk grew up in North Carolina and forgot to ever leave. Childhood tales of mountain ghosts and mysterious creatures gave her a life-long love of things that go bump in the night. When she isn’t writing, she brews her own beer and tries to keep her cats from destroying the house. Her best-selling Whyborne & Griffin series (beginning with Widdershins) can be found in print, ebook, and audiobook at Amazon and other online retailers. www.jordanlhawk.com

Nicole Kimberling Nicole Kimberling lives in Bellingham, Washington with her wife, Dawn Kimberling, two bad cats as well as a wide and diverse variety of invasive and noxious weeds. Her first novel, Turnskin, won the Lambda Literary Award for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. She is also the author of the Bellingham Mystery Series. www.nicolekimberling.com

Jordan Castillo Price Author and artist Jordan Castillo Price writes paranormal sci-fi thrillers colored by her time in the midwest, from inner city Chicago, to rural small town Wisconsin, to liberal Madison. Her influences include Ouija boards, Return of the Living Dead, “light as a feather, stiff as a board,” girls with tattoos and boys in eyeliner. www.jordancastilloprice.com

Andrea Speed Andrea Speed was born looking for trouble in some hot month without an R in it. While succeeding in finding Trouble, she has also been found by its twin brother, Clean Up, and is now on the run, wanted for the murder of a mop and a really cute, innocent bucket that was only one day away from retirement. (I was framed, I tell you – framed!)

In her spare time, she arms lemurs in preparation for the upcoming war against the Mole Men. Viva la revolution! www.andreaspeed.com

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