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    SERIES REVIEW: Spellbound & Edge Lines by Ava Marie Salinger

    The thing with most urban fantasy/paranormal series is that the premise pique my interest, but actually putting in the work to read them or finish them, well, most of the time, I never see the end. It happened with Whyborne & Griffin (the last book! gah!) and Soulbound. It gets to the point where so many things are happening for a prolonged period that it becomes a toss-up between laziness and boredom.

    So far, Fallen Messengers is doing a great job of keeping me riveted. If this keeps up and hopefully wraps up soon, I can complete the series. I’m giving major props to narrator Alex Kydd. My first impression was he spoke too slowly. It turned out to be an advantage because his slow even delivery helps me through the info-dumps without brain overload. And he gave the million and one cast their distinct voices and personalities, which is impressive given that there are numerous female characters.

    This is a review of Books 2 and 3.

    Fallen Messengers: Spellbound by Ava Marie Salinger

    Can Cassius and Morgan overcome an elusive enemy and save a young girl’s life?

    Eden Monroe has spent her entire existence believing she has no magic. Shunned by her mother Brianna and the magical bureau Hexa, she runs away from home when she is forced to embrace a future she never chose, only to fall into the hands of ghastly monsters from the Nine Hells. After being rescued by a mysterious Dryad with secrets of his own, Eden realizes there is more to her past and future than she could ever have imagined.

    When San Francisco PD asks Argonaut to assist them in solving a series of strange bank robberies, Cassius Black and Morgan King uncover a disturbing plot that points to an unknown artifact hidden somewhere in the city. Their investigation soon has them crossing paths with a desperate Brianna, who seeks their help in finding her missing daughter. When the witch reveals the shocking circumstances surrounding her daughter’s birth as well as the deadly magic sealed inside the young girl’s body, the Argonaut agents realize their case is linked to Eden and the weapon of devastating power the bank robbers are after.

    Can Cassius and Morgan defeat the malevolent organization behind it all and save Eden from her cursed fate? Or will the young girl suffer a destiny worse than death itself?

    Spellbound is the second novel in the gay urban fantasy romance series Fallen Messengers. This is an MM paranormal adventure full of action, magic, snark, and a host of steamy angels and demons.

    Spellbound is the second book, introducing new characters and multiple POVs. I’m assuming each book will focus on one supernatural agency. Book 1, Fractured Souls, has the MC, Cassius the imperial, joining the Argonauts, the agency overseeing otherworldlies. This book features Brianna Monroe, head of Hexa, the organization of witches. She has a rather complicated relationship with her daughter Eden. The teen ran away after having had enough of her mother’s controlling ways.

    What I love most about this series is that whenever people use magic, they go BIG! Even those who just discovered they have the ability don’t start small, which makes the fight scenes super mind-blowing. Although here, it’s a tad bit less intense than in Book 1, but still awesome. Possibly because a chunk of the plot is Eden struggling to survive the streets while being hunted by monsters. Reading about people on the run isn’t my favorite thing. Also, I had to wait for events to connect to Cassius, Morgan and their team. It’s a me problem because, objectively, this sequel rocks!


    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Bound Together
    Artist: Kate York feat. Vanyo

    Fallen Messengers: Edge Lines – Ava Marie Salinger

    The Gods have come to San Francisco…

    Cassius Black and Morgan King’s trip to Ivory Peaks to uncover clues about their past takes an unexpected turn when a rift materializes and war demons attack the capital. Having saved one world by the skin of their teeth, they return to Earth, only to find it has been rocked by ominous quakes bearing a close resemblance to the phenomenon that nearly destroyed the Dryad kingdom.

    After defeating demons that emerge from a crevasse in San Francisco, Cassius and Morgan rescue the Wild God Pan from the bottom of a rift with the help of Victor Sloan and the city’s otherwordly. But instead of thanking them, Pan makes a startling demand: rescue his lover and prevent the Spirit Realm from being destroyed, and he will reveal the truth about who Cassius and Morgan are.

    Help comes from an unexpected source when a pair of Reapers visit the city and Cassius, Morgan, and Victor soon go hunting for a missing deity who may hold the key to saving all the realms. Can they free the immortals from their prisons and find the powerful artefact that can bend the mind and will of even a God? Or will the enemy who has long manipulated them from the shadows win this war and destroy everything they have come to care for?

    Edge Lines is the third novel in the gay urban fantasy romance series Fallen Messengers. If you like your paranormal adventures full of action, magic, snark, and a host of steamy angels and demons, then you’re not going to want to miss this enthralling, fun-filled ride!

    Edge Lines is the highly anticipated 3rd book because Victor Sloane!!!

    The story also has multiple POVs but the majority is from Cass and his angel boyfriend, Morgan. This is where gods and demi-gods make themselves known. The team, along with Victor, has to deal with rifts and war demons appearing in various realms. It has something to do with the disappearance of the winter god and Pan’s lover, the winter god’s nephew.

    As mentioned in my review of Fractured Souls, I’m not a fan of Morgan. His brand of assholery doesn’t appeal to me. Here, I go back and forth because, yeah, he’s super protective of Cass, but also an inconsiderate horndog who wouldn’t let his perpetually sleep-deprived boyfriend get proper sleep.

    I am team Victor. Cass’ demon ex is a nicer guy than Morgan. That teeny tiny glimpse inside Victor’s thoughts revealed dark possessive desires of owning Cass, mind, body, heart, and soul. I suppose this was meant to show Morgan as the better man but Victor has the goodness in him to know doing so would kill the light in Cass that he loves. If Morgan has to stay go poly, please! Love triangles are never ever fun and tiresome as fuck! This could kill the series for me if it continues.

    I’m wondering how much more epic the series could get because this one brought it up another notch! There are the crazy level-ups we love, long-awaited identity reveals that got me hyped for future events, and of course, the action scenes that always go nuclear. The writing strikes a great balance between info dumps, character progression, plot, imagery, and fight scene choreography. And with a talented narrator, this tale of the fallen and the otherworldly continues to be a spellbinding experience that kept me enthralled.

    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: The Curse
    Artist: Agnes Obel


    Fallen Messengers has a cute custom of giving many supporting characters their little happy endings. Cheesy but fun! So Victor might get one too, if he doesn’t end up throupling with Cass and Morgan. Can the angel and the demon share the imperial, please?

    Fallen Messengers should be read in order. The adventure stars with Fractured Souls.

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    Fractured Souls: US | UK
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    Edge Lines: US | UK
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    REVIEW: Taking His Confession by P.J. Friel & Saffron Hart

    Cloth & Stone: Taking His Confession – P.J. Friel & Saffron Hart

    Sparks fly when a man of the cloth teams up with a cursed creature of stone to save a troubled teen from a ruthless drug lord. 

    Gideon Fawkes longs to meet the handsome young deacon who teaches at St. Anthony’s Boys Academy. There’s just one problem. Gideon is a gargoyle, and he’s pretty sure Deacon Cruz only dates humans.

    Cordero Cruz knows a lot about forgiveness. It’s the cornerstone of his calling. Too bad he can never offer it to himself. Because of him, people died, and there’s no redemption for that kind of mistake.

    But a lack of humanity and a heart filled with guilt are nothing compared to a young man’s life. When a merciless criminal threatens Cordero and one of his students, Gideon will have to risk more than his stony hide to protect them. Cordero must do the unthinkable to prove he’s deserving of the gargoyle turned guardian angel. But when their road to hell is paved with good intentions, they must learn only trust and redemption can pave the way for love.

    Among the various supernatural boyfriends found in paranormal romance, gargoyles are a rarity. The Cloth & Stone series immediately grabbed my attention because of its gargoyle MC.

    Taking His Confession opens the series from the 1st person POV of Deacon Cordero Cruz. He just saw the little brother of his late best friend talking to the city’s most notorious mob boss. Alarmed, he tried to get answers from the young man and learned he owed the mobsters a huge sum of money for a failed drug run. Money they couldn’t afford, barely having any to support his mom and siblings.

    Unknown to the people in St. Anthony’s, a watcher sat perched on its rooftops. Gideon Fawkes was cursed to be a gargoyle for almost a century. He has a special interest in the young deacon. Special enough for him to break cover when mobsters were out to get the Cordero.

    I have had this on my TBR since last year. I was hesitant to start on this because I usually steer clear of religion-themed books. Cordero’s internal dialogues are examples of why I do.

    Most of it boils down to “I am not worthy. I don’t deserve to be happy.” I wasn’t too keen on the self-flagellation, but happily, the authors managed to avoid crossing over to miserable. They were still able to let Cordero’s brighter personality shine through.

    And Cordero might angst over his so-called unworthiness, but there was no angsting over his sexuality. I loved that he was totally comfortable with it and had no hesitations about sleeping with Gideon.

    The deacon is the kind of man who bears all the world’s troubles on his shoulders. A selfless individual who prays for everyone else’s well-being except for himself. It’s why he stood out among the sea of prayers that the gargoyle hears everyday.

    Gideon used to be a rum runner back in the 1920s. He turned into a gargoyle one day after committing a crime. I found some of his thoughts on a divine being echoing some of my own. I wondered why he still believed. But then, turning into a stone at sunrise and back into a man by sunset is divine punishment if ever there was one.

    The plot interweaves the romantic development of Cordero and Gideon’s relationship with that of them teaming up to to protect Cordero’s students from the mobsters. Cordero and Gideon are compelling characters who very effectively drove the story forward, sweeping me along effortlessly with their woes and insecurities, joys and triumphs, and the occasional streak of humor. Usually from Gideon. I love this gargoyle! His POV is more fun than Cordero’s.

    The romance was sweet. I would even say it was kinda cute. It was a tender and fragile relationship filled with fears, misunderstanding, and also, love. Alas, it imploded after Gideon’s ridiculous decision to storm the mob boss’s mansion by himself without careful reconnaissance.

    Cordero was a complete mess for a while there, plus an even more ridiculous decision by Gideon to push the love of his life away. Fortunately, the two came to their senses and started working together for real. The story moved faster at this point, more action-packed and suspenseful with lotsa things going bang!

    Even with the negative thoughts and the bad decisions, Taking His Confession is a well-written book that kept me riveted. It ends with a cliffy HFN, so it’s best read when you have all three books on hand. This dramatic tale of the deacon and his gargoyle boyfriend is dark and full of heartache, but it’s also sweet, even hopeful, and most definitely gripping.

    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Holy Trouble
    Artist: Christian Cohle
    Album: Holy Trouble

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