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REVIEW: “Charmed And Dangerous” by Jordan Castillo Price

ABOUT:

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.

BOOK INFO:
charmedanddangeTitle: Charmed & Dangerous
Author: Various Authors
Publisher: JCP Books
Pages: 480
Release Date: August, 24, 2015
Purchase Links: Amazon

REVIEW:

Ever since I was younger I’ve enjoyed paranormal stories a lot! Give me a bunch of ghosts, mosters, wizards, warlocks. A couple of hexes here and there, spells that I can mutter along as I read, and a magical descriptive story with amazing characters, and a unique world, and chances are… I will be yours. Forever.

So when I heard about this anthology I went all crazy. I’ve read at least half of the authors here, and most of them are in my list of favorite, auto-buy writers. None of them disappointed.

This anthology is full of amazing creatures. Some stories are dark, some other have a very particular humor. Some of them are even sweet. Some have a gore element. All of them have magic in them. From wizards, to zombies, to clowns, to shape shifters, this book will totally give you the most amazing ride.

Below, you will find a mini review of each one of the stories… Sorry, it ended up being longer than I expected! But, if you decide not to read the whole long thing, let me assure you that you will not regret reading this!!!

  1. Dim Sum Asylum by Rhys Ford 3.5 Stars

I must confess that this was my first Rhys Ford… I know, I know, I have no shame… but know that it will not be the last.

This is a great fantasy story that takes place in San Francisco. There is an amazing, and vivid description of Chinatown and fantastic creatures. I confess that it took me a bit to understand what was happening, but once I got into it it was all much more easier to get.

Here we meet Roku, a detective that works in the Arcane Department, and that after having shot his partner is assigned a new one, Trent Leonard.

The build up is slow, and I loved it. The attraction is there from the very beginning and it comes off very clearly as one reads. I think that Trent has a kink, really, for people like Roku.

The story is compelling, the writing is amazing, and the characters are very easy to like.

2. Swift and The Black Dog by Ginn Hale 4.5 Stars

So, if I told you that this, too, was my first Ginn Hale, would you hate me forevah? … Well, it was… And I just ordered the first three paperbacks of the Rifter series… so you can imagine just how much I loved this.

This is a story about Wizards, it’s very entertaining and beautifully written. Here we learn about Jack, a young wizard who, while in a quest to find an object that plays quite a part in this story meets Finch, a young guard that is part of the security body of a sanitarium.

The story has a wonderful flow, and the characters are amazing. I didn’t always like Jack, but I think he’s definitely a very strong, and unique character. If saying that I love him, despite not having liked him all the time makes sense, then take it, because that is the truth.

Also, *clears throat* Dear, Ginn Hale, we do need more of this. Please!

3. A Queer Trade by K.J. Charles 4.5 Stars

Bloody hell! I think this is my favorite story of the anthology so far!

Yet again, we encounter a story about Magicians.

Crispin is a young warlock that just found out that his master (another powerful warlock) just died and that the house he lived in had been cleared up of most of his masters belongings… Including notes. Important notes…. And Crispin needs to find them.

In order to take back those important notes he needs to find the guy who is in charge of the paper that goes to waste, this guy’s name is Ned.

I loved how honest they were with each other, and I loved how supportive Ned was despite all the horrific possibilities. I loved how they were attracted to each other from the moment their eyes met, and I loved how they worked with and through that attraction.

All the stars for having included a POC in this short! This made me so very happy.

4. Magically Delicious by Nicole Kimberling 3 Stars

This was good. I found this story entertaining but if I’m really honest, I didn’t love it.

Here we meet Special Agent Keith Curry, who i is in a relationship with another agent, Gunther.

Gunther is very peculiar. He’s actually a goblin that has been modified to look more like a human. He’s absolutely gorgeous, and Keith adores him.

There have been attacks with in the Agents’ community. The attacks consist in Agents being incapacitated by a spell that is kind of irrecognizable. No one knows what it is, where it comes from, or what is causing it.

When Gunther is attacked Keith makes it his job to find the one who’s behind that magic.

A tale of goblins, fairies, and other magical creatures.

5. Everyone’s Afraid Of Clowns by Jordan Castillo Price – 4 Stars

I’m not afraid of many things, but there are things that I most certainly dislike, or that at best, make me… uncomfortable. 

Enter clowns.

Gaby is not a fan of clowns. Gaby doesn’t hate them, but she… Avoids them.

So you can imagine my face when I read the title of this story… I literally put down my kindle, groaned and said “A fucking clown? Really?” I skimmed through the first lines and the voice telling the story sounded oddly familiar… And because it was Vic telling me this story I thought Feck It! I’m gonna read this and no clown will sour my reunion with the boys!

The story is fun to read, and it has certain creepy ingredients. You’ll see a haunted house business ruled by a bunch of men that I wanted to kick so so so badly, an old cinema, memories of a 16 year old Vic, a very horny Jacob.. And.. A clown.

I don’t want to get too much into this except for telling you that this is an amazing short. Also, I’d like to say that if you manage to make me have all the creeps followed by warm fuzzy feelings you’ve done something right. So, JCP, you did it all right. As usual.

6. The Thirteenth Hex by Jordan L. Hawk – 4.5 Stars

This was such a wonderful read! It had the exact amount of humor, mystery, and sexy that I look for in PNR stories.

Dominic is a hexman that works for the government. He’s one of the best in his area, and his expertise is praised by many. This is how Roof, who is a familiar (Familiars are magical creatures that can shape shift into different animals, his shape is a crow), finds Dominic when he needs assistance with a case that is closed but he’s sure needs a second look over.

The spark between them is easy to see from the moment their eyes meet. I love how Mrs. Hawk wrote Dominic. I love how she writes her rather awkward characters. I love it because they have this shade of awkward that makes them real.

After investigating a bit more about the hexes that have killed twelve and left one alive, our boys realize that there is something that doesn’t add up… And so the adventure begins.

I guess that, in some way, this is the most romantic of all the stories I’ve read to this point. It has a certain air of magical around it, a certain air of here’s where we belong, and I loved it. I also liked the idea of Dominic unlocking things that he didn’t know he had, and doing it because of Roof. It was delightful, and sure made me smile.

7. The Soldati Prince by Charlie Cochet – 3.5 Stars

This was overtly sweet. It was a lovely change in the narrative of the book so far.

Riley works in  a cafe. After his evening shift when he’s about to close the shop, a bunch of demons (very zombie like, in my opinion) try to kill him. As he tries to escape and finds himself in an alley. As he’s there, practically wating to be eaten, four tigers appear and save him.

Yes, this is another Shifters story by Mrs. Cochet.

And this is where we meet Khalon.

I really enjoyed this. It’s the first enemies to lovers that I’ve read in this Anthology, so it was a surprising and very welcome change. It was also sexy, and the bantering between the MC’s was dead fun to read.

I have to confess, though, that I think that both MC’s had some traits (if only very vaguely) of Dex and Sloane. Their relationship dynamic was also very similar to that of those T.H.I.R.D.S Agents. I liked it, but I confess I would have liked to see something different.

My only niggle was when the Priestess appeared. I felt like from there it all moved to quickly, so what I was savoring so slowly and deliciously was just shoved into my mouth and I was forced to swallow… And… Yea. It was still a nice ending, and I understand why it was written the way it was, but yes… In the end it didn’t quite come toghether for me.

I do have to say one thing, though, that if Mrs. Cochet decides to make this a longer story I would totally read it.

8. One Hex Too Many by Lou Harper  4 Stars

This was a very enjoyable story. I’d like to point out that the writing is great and the flow is also wonderful. This is yet again, another case of a new author for me. I’d never read a Lou Harper before, and now I can assure you that I will be reading more in the future.

Here we meet Mike, a gay detective with magical perception powers. Mike is supposed to be cursed, and the curse reflects in him losing his partners, either because they move, are transfered or… well, die. When Mike is partnered up with Fox, his first reaction is like, bloody hell! you know this ain’t gonna last.

Fox, is… Hot… *wink wink* … attraction happens when while spending tons of time togehter, the two agents start getting to know each other.

I enjoyed the paranormal side of this way too much. I think it was well constructed, and I loved how it was worked out. So, to sum it up: here you have hexes, murder, dark magic, great action, and two agents fighting the attraction they have for each other. Great short read!

9. Josh of the Damned Vs. Bathroom Of The Doomed – 3 Stars

Yes. There is a hexed toilet. 

This was a short comedy, really. I have to say that while I did enjoy it, in the end this wasn’t my favorite. You should know that this story is a short this part of a series. In my very personal opinion, I don’t think that not having read the books affected my understanding or perception of the story at all.

Enjoy this little short with monsters and creatures that pretty much defeat anything you know about their nature until now.

10. The Trouble With Hexes by Astrid Amara – 4 Stars

I enjoyed this tremendously!

Tim is hexed, and no matter what he does he can’t get rid of the hex… I think it’s important to say that he just didn’t believe he was hexed until that was the only thing left to make sense of…

So, when Tim finally comes to terms with the idea that he might have been cursed, he goes to his ex boyfriend Vincent, who is  a tattoo artist, and hexbreaker.

I enjoyed the mystery magic part of the story a lot, but what I loved the most was the relationship between the two MC’s. I loved the build up, and I adored the sexual tension between them. There were also so many wonderful details between them to pick out all through the story.

Like in other cases, this was my first read by this author, and like in other cases with this same Anthology, you can bet I will be reading more soon. I enjoyed the writing style a lot, and I loved how well shaped the main characters were. This is particularly awesome in a short story, mainly because it’s rare that so much can be captured in so little. 

About Gaby

Mexican. Caffeine addict. Book lover. Early mornings enemy. Wanna be cook.

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