Historical Romance

Release Day Launch for An Unseen Attraction by KJ Charles

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My favourite author of queer historical romance, KJ Charles, is releasing a new series, starting today with An Unseen Attraction. She stopped by for a quick chat on her inspiration for these stories, favourite characters and some amazing art for the series.

Blurb

Lodging-house keeper Clem Talleyfer prefers a quiet life. He’s happy with his hobbies, his work—and especially with his lodger Rowley Green, who becomes a friend over their long fireside evenings together. If only neat, precise, irresistible Mr. Green were interested in more than friendship...

Rowley just wants to be left alone—at least until he meets Clem, with his odd, charming ways and his glorious eyes. Two quiet men, lodging in the same house, coming to an understanding... it could be perfect. Then the brutally murdered corpse of another lodger is dumped on their doorstep and their peaceful life is shattered.

Now Clem and Rowley find themselves caught up in a mystery, threatened on all sides by violent men, with a deadly London fog closing in on them. If they’re to see their way through, the pair must learn to share their secrets—and their hearts.

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Purchase links: Publisher / Amazon.com / Kobo


Interview

1. Your new series is coming soon. Can you share what inspired you to write these stories specifically?

KJ: As always, a lot of things kind of bubble away together. I love Victorian Sensation novels (the ones with complicated plots, coincidences, secrets and murder and often a lot of Gothic touches) and I’ve wanted to try my hand at one for ages. I also really wanted to write a series that reflected the real diversity of Victorian London—people of colour, disabled people, nonbinary people, immigrants from all over Europe as well as the back and forth with India, and of course working people with the kind of jobs Victorians had. We tend to have a vague idea of the late Victorians as either putting covers on their piano legs or murdering prostitutes in a dark alley with very little in between. Plus I’ve done a lot of historical romance about lords and earls and gentlemen, and they’re always huge fun, but I was itching to get into the streets a bit more. 

So this series is very much trying to give a flavour of Victorian London outside the drawing rooms but not down in the gutters. We have a lodging-house keeper, a taxidermist, a private detective, a journalist, as well as some more...unconventional professions. It was a lot of fun.

Oh...and the fog. I read an entire book about London fog, including the 1873 fog that was the worst on record and shut down the city for a week, and was immediately compelled to centre a lot of the action around it. How could I not?

2. Speaking of inspiration, contemporary romance writers often have Pinterest boards with celebrities who are their visual inspiration for the characters they create. It must be different for historical romance, so I'm wondering where do you get the ideas for your characters' appearance?

KJ: There are a lot of visual records—paintings, engravings, and the like—as well as a good amount of early photos to use as reference for clothes and general demeanour. I have only once had a celebrity in mind for a character’s appearance (Dominic from A Seditious Affair, a dead ringer for Rufus Sewell). I sometimes find a random photo that looks right, but mostly the characters exist in my head, which is why I am shockingly bad at fan casting. 

3. It's an unfair question but do you have a favourite book/character in the series, whose story are you most excited to share with your readers?

KJ: Hah! Um. I am really fond of Clem in An Unseen Attraction. He’s dyspraxic, which is all too often unrecognised now, let alone in 1873 where the condition was completely undiagnosed, so writing him as a neurotypical person was a lot of work, and I hope I’ve done him justice. He’s basically the heart of the trilogy for reasons which I hope will unfold as we go. 

I also really wanted to write his and Rowley’s relationship. We hear a lot about ‘alpha males’ in romance, and I wanted to write a romance without an alpha male in sight. No posturing and shouting, but strength through kindness and consideration. 

(I am also very fond of Justin Lazarus, the fraudulent Spiritualist in book 2, because he is an absolute stone cold vicious bastard. Bit of a mood change for that one.)

4. You have shared some great art for this series. Can you tell us more about it? 

KJ: The trilogy is based round a pub, the Jack and Knave. I didn’t come up with that name—I offered my Facebook chat group the chance to name it, and reader Darla Sharp had the flash of brilliance. But having got it, I decided that the pub sign was playing cards, and at that point I realised that the extensive cast of characters actually divided pretty much perfectly into face cards of a standard pack. So Clem is the King of Hearts (as above, he’s the heart of the trilogy) with Rowley as his Jack; Justin Lazarus, who lies to people for money, is the Knave of Diamonds. And so on. (I’m not telling you who the Joker is...)

I asked illustrator Mila May to create art for the series as a thank-you extra to readers, and also because I adore her visions for my characters. Plus, the cast of characters is gigantic (I’m doing a family tree and a cast list to help) so I figured a visual aid or two couldn’t hurt...


Author Bio and Links

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.

Find her on Twitter @kj_charles or on Facebook, join her Facebook group, or get the very occasional newsletter.

Author Interview

New and Debut: Lucy Parker

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Here is another New and Debut post and I'm delighted to introduce to you Lucy Parker, author of contemporary romance. I read her debut novel, Act Like It (review), a romantic comedy set in the theatre world of London and I enjoyed everything about it. I was lucky enough to get an ARC of her next novel, Pretty Face, which comes out on Feb 20 and which in my opinion is even better than her first book. Read on to learn more about Lucy Parker, her upcoming book and a short excerpt from Pretty face. 




Meet Lucy



1. Tell us about yourself and why did you become a romance writer?


I’m probably similar to a lot of people in that I started writing stories at a young age. I was always terrible at maths and science (in fact, I was so bad at science that after an…incident, my high school chemistry teacher had to watch over my shoulder when I was doing practical work, to make sure I didn’t accidentally blow up the lab), but I loved reading and I loved writing. And I was a romance fan from the beginning. Even my long-suffering Barbie and Ken dolls were put through an epic romantic saga. At one point, Barbie had a terrible fall off a cliff (my bed), lost her memory and temporarily dumped Ken. The amnesia trope: never gets old.

It was watching the Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle version of Pride & Prejudice, though, that really directed me toward romance novels. I loved the miniseries so much that I read the book, my teacher saw me with it at lunchtime and gave me a copy of Jane Eyre to try, then my mum’s best friend showed me her shelf of Georgette Heyer novels, and that was that. I was about twelve when I realised there was an entire section of romance novels at the library, and at that point I might as well have packed a bag and moved in, because I pretty much lived there.

Again, like many people, writing and publishing a novel was my biggest dream, but it took me quite a long time to make that push and think “I can keep saying ‘I want to do this’ forever, but it’s never going to happen if I don’t actually sit down and try.” You really just have to decide one day: “Now. I’m starting it right now.”

2. Can you share some of your favourite books and authors?

I have so many, and different favourites for different times in my life. There are the books that I turn to when I’m stressed and need a laugh, the books that I’ve read so many times that the characters feel like real people to me, the books that have got me through some very difficult times. To name just a tiny few, in a total mix of genres and no order whatsoever: Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, P.G. Wodehouse, Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, Nalini Singh, Laura Florand, Julia Byrne, Julia Spencer-Fleming, Laurie R. King, Robin D. Owens, Lois McMaster Bujold, J.K. Rowling, Elizabeth Hoyt, Penny Reid, Eileen Wilks, Susanna Kearsley, Laura Kaye, Kresley Cole, J.D. Robb, Carla Kelly, Pamela Clare, Jenn Bennett, Sarah Mayberry and Julianne Donaldson.

In terms of specific titles, a handful of my all-time favourites: Nalini Singh’s Kiss of Snow, Laura Florand’s The Chocolate Rose and The Chocolate Touch, Julianne Donaldson’s Edenbrooke, and Susanna Kearsley’s The Shadowy Horses.

3. Who/what do you consider your writing influence/inspiration?

I don’t know if I could say any one particular author here. I honestly think that the books you read and love become such a part of you that they do shape your personality as you grow and age, and it’s everything you read and see and hear that channels into your own voice.

4. What kind of stories can the readers expect from you (contemporary/historical/sci-fi, adult/NA/YA, etc)?

Adult contemporary romance, but I’d love to try other genres as well in the future.

5. Please, introduce your latest/upcoming release.

My new release, Pretty Face, is out on February 20. It’s a standalone contemporary, but set in the same world as my previous book, Act Like It—the West End theatres of London. The heroine, Lily Lamprey, is an actor on a primetime period drama/soap opera, where she plays one of the villains of the show and is hopelessly typecast as a man-stealing half-wit. Her dream is to make the move into theatre and prove to the skeptics that she can actually act. She sees an upcoming production as her big chance—if she can put up with the bad-tempered director. Meanwhile, iconic director Luc Savage is appalled that he’s being stuck with the “Marilyn Monroe impersonator” who probably needs direction to tie her own shoes. They don’t expect to like each other. They certainly don’t expect to fall in love. And their relationship has the potential to ruin both Lily’s career and Luc’s reputation.



BLURB

Highly acclaimed, award-winning author of Act Like It Lucy Parker returns readers to the London stage with laugh-out-loud wit and plenty of drama 

The play's the fling 

It's not actress Lily Lamprey's fault that she's all curves and has the kind of voice that can fog up a camera lens. She wants to prove where her real talents lie—and that's not on a casting couch, thank you. When she hears esteemed director Luc Savage is renovating a legendary West End theater for a lofty new production, she knows it could be her chance—if only Luc wasn't so dictatorial, so bad-tempered and so incredibly sexy. 

Luc Savage has respect, integrity and experience. He also has it bad for Lily. He'd be willing to dismiss it as a midlife crisis, but this exasperating, irresistible woman is actually a very talented actress. Unfortunately, their romance is not only raising questions about Lily's suddenly rising career, it's threatening Luc's professional reputation. The course of true love never did run smooth. But if they're not careful, it could bring down the curtain on boththeir careers… 

Purchase links: Amazon / B&N / Carina Press


Excerpt

Luc Savage looked like Gregory Peck, circa some dapper time between Roman Holiday and To Kill A Mockingbird. There was more bulk in the shoulders, silver in the hair and darkness in the soul; otherwise, the resemblance was uncanny. Lily had seen him once before, at an opening night for another director’s play. The theatre had been full of famous faces that night, and the production distractingly bad, and she hadn’t paid him any particular attention. Her mental image of him had been formed more closely and recently by Jamie’s faithfully repeated insults, so she’d been expecting something more along the lines of an orc.

Any resemblance to Old Hollywood charm ended at his bone structure.

He stood in the doorway to his office, surveying her. When she’d arrived, his secretary had also done a head-to-toe sweep, and then shaken her head in apparent disbelief, which hadn’t built Lily’s confidence.

She stared back at him, directly into his unimpressed grey eyes. She had put a stranglehold on her nerves during the long wait, dialling back from jiggling knees to a bit of subtle nail-picking.

Yet all of a sudden, she wasn’t nervous at all.

This was Luc Savage. Award-winning, career-making, ego-curdling Luc Savage. Get-in-my-way-and-I’ll-crush-you-like-a-bug Luc Savage. And her driving instinct was to touch the tips of her boots to his—and then stand her ground until he stepped back first.

Her spine prickled.

After a long pause that was too charged to be awkward, he stepped forward and extended a hand. “Luc Savage.”

She glanced down at his fingers wrapped around hers. “Lily Lamprey.”

They released each other’s hands; their eyes met again.

Game on.


Author Bio and Links

Lucy Parker lives in the gorgeous Central Otago region of New Zealand, where she feels lucky every day to look out at mountains, lakes, and vineyards. She has a degree in Art History, loves museums and art galleries, and doodles unrecognizable flowers when she has writer’s block. 

When she’s not writing, working or sleeping, she happily tackles the towering pile of to-be-read books that never gets any smaller. Thankfully, there’s always another story waiting. 

Her interest in romantic fiction began with a pre-teen viewing of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (Firth-style), which prompted her to read the book as well. A family friend introduced her to Georgette Heyer, and the rest was history.


Author Interview

New and Debut: Daria Defore

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New and Debut feature is back, on Friday and today it's my pleasure to introduce to you Daria Defore, author of LGBT romance. Her debut novel, The Trouble, was published in the end of last year by Less Than Three Press. Read on for a short interview with her,a s well as an exclusive excerpt from her upcoming queer fantasy Sparkwood, coming out on Feb 15.



Meet Daria

1. Tell us about yourself and why did you decide to become a romance writer?
Hi! I’m Daria, and I’m a Washington state transplant who recently moved to New York City. I came into writing romance from writing — or reading, really — fanfiction. I am drawn to romance because of those elements it shares with the fanfiction I grew up with: whatever the heck kind of plot you want, plus scintillating tension between interesting characters.
Growing up, I thought the only avenue for publishing queer fiction would be self-publishing, or writing fanfiction. Then I went to the Gay Romance Northwest conference in Seattle and realized the world was exploding with queer publishing houses. My best friend (Austin Chant!) and I were writing stories together at the time, and I think we both just realized, hey, we could make a go of this.
It feels wild now to look back on that time when we literally thought there were no other options for queer romance. Like, what were we thinking? But that just speaks to the need for more visibility for these presses, because I know there are tons of people out there, like me, who want to read these books and just don’t know they exist.


2. Can you share some of your favourite books and authors?

So this is no surprise if you've ever spoken to me, but I adore KJ Charles. I got into her by consuming Think of England over the course of one night (I am not a fast reader by any means, so for me this remains A Feat). After I finished Sparkwood, I reread Think of England as a treat to myself, and my God—every piece of dialogue in that book is fantastic. It took me twice as long to read because I was lovingly doubling over every paragraph, making sure I had read it with the exact right inflection in my mind.
Jackdaw is another favorite from KJ Charles, because it's ultimately about flawed characters making homes for themselves. It's brimming with emotion and I flail when I reread it.
Be My Fantasy by Alisha Rai is painfully, stupefyingly hot. It has a couple exploring D/s-based fantasies and it's just exquisitely filthy, no shying away from it. Loved it.
In the same vein, Straight Shooter by Heidi Belleau has a bi MC who is turned on by humiliation. He's also, you know, figuring out that he's not straight and going about it in the worst, most self-destructive way. I love garbage-fire main characters, and this one is out to ruin his own life. I love the balancing act that Belleau pulls off here, writing a really fraught story that's still very sexy.
The Enlightenment trilogy by Joanna Chambers, which starts with Provoked, is an epic Scottish regency romance that had me yelling and flailing as I devoured page after page, too eager to find out what would bring the main characters together — or push them apart.


3. Who/what do you consider your writing influence/inspiration?
Agatha Christie’s mysteries are legendary, and I love them. I still can’t believe one person could write so many books in their lifetime. I’ve been reading Agatha Christie since I was a tween, and I’m nowhere near close to reading her whole bibliography. I admire her ability to balance huge casts of characters, while writing such snappy, concise murder mysteries. A lot of them scared the crap out of me!
On the fantasy side, I love Garth Nix’s Abhorsen series. His world-building grabbed me, and I absolutely ripped him off when I was fifteen and writing (bad) fantasy. I want to create settings as fascinating as Nix’s Old Kingdom, and creatures as horrifying as… well, all his horrible creations.
When it comes to marrying all this together, I have to call out KJ Charles again. I love what she does with mystery and romance in Think of England, and fantasy and romance (and mystery!) in her Magpie series.


4. What kind of stories can the readers expect from you (contemporary/historical/sci-fi, adult/NA/YA, etc)?
Ooh boy, a year ago I would’ve had a totally different answer to this! I’ve been writing contemporary for a long time. It's easier for me to find comedy in contemporary scenarios, I think (and being funny is Very Important to me). But I grew up reading fantasy and murder mysteries, and those themes have become a focus of my planned projects.
My upcoming books could both be summarized as, “oh no, I have a magical boyfriend.” One is a contemporary fantasy murder mystery (Sparkwood! More on that later), and the other is a historical fantasy with ghosts and demons. Uh, no literal demon-kissing in this one though. Maybe. Kinda.
I’m not totally done with straight-up contemporary (I have an aromantic contemporary F/F story on the back-burner), and of course my fantasy projects will still have comedy. I guess that’s the common thread between them. That and throwing together characters who are polar opposites and watching the chaos that ensues.


5. Please, introduce your latest/upcoming release.
My upcoming book, Sparkwood, is about a guy named Finn who just wants an aggressively normal life. Of course, that’s practically impossible. He grew up in Sparkwood, a small town that shares its forest with a city of fairies. He’s bisexual. And he’s a twin—only, his twin brother has just been found dead.
It’s a contemporary fantasy murder mystery, with a cis m/m romance plot. Finn goes looking for someone to hold responsible for his brother’s death, and along the way he runs into Robin: an equally prickly, angry, queer guy who also happens to be a fairy. Together they conduct a rather inept murder investigation, strike unbreakable deals, get into magical trouble, and more shenanigans.
Sparkwood is coming out on February 15, 2017! It’s part of LT3’s enemies-to-lovers collection, My Dearest Enemy (along with Peter Darling, from my friend Austin Chant!).


Blurb

Finn has never trusted faeries, so it's no surprise to him when his twin brother turns up dead, probably by magical means. What he doesn't expect is an invitation to the funeral—in the faery realm—and a chance to find out who killed him.

Investigating Luke's death is probably the stupidest thing Finn has ever done, and soon he's up to his neck in faery trouble. In the midst of it all is Robin, the faery who's supposed to be watching out for him—but who just might have had something to do with Luke's death.

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Pre-order links: Less Than Three Press





Excerpt

At one in the morning, Finn woke to a figure standing over him. It was completely dark, minus the red light of his digital clock, and Finn was sure he was going to die.

He had spent most of his life facing off against people who wanted to hurt him on the football field. He couldn't count the times he'd charged headlong into guys his size or bigger and taken them down with pure momentum.

Yet somehow, his first instinct was to grab his pillow and throw it. It hit the dark silhouette square in the head. A muffled yelp followed, and Finn gathered his legs under him and launched.

They both dropped like sacks of potatoes, with Finn pinning the smaller person underneath him and provoking a clear cry of pain. In football, that would've been the end of it. The ref would whistle and they'd all get into position for the next play. 

Finn lashed out with his fist.

It hit skin with a smack. Then he scrambled to his feet and raced to the living room.

Julie was still asleep on the couch, and she didn't even twitch when Finn tripped to his knees and shook her.

"Julie, wake up!"

She didn't move, her face slack with sleep. A hand closed on Finn's shoulder and he struck out, fists swinging.

"Mr. Bricket—" Whatever the intruder was going to say was stopped short as Finn's fist collided with what must have been his sternum. He grunted. Finn's knuckles hurt like hell, but he powered to his feet. 

This time, the intruder caught Finn's swing in a surprisingly tight grip. Finn lunged forward, trying to use his weight to bring them back to the floor, but instead found himself being dragged across the room and slammed into the wall so hard that the air whooshed from his lungs. Pain blossomed in his wrist, where the intruder was now squeezing him with icy fingers. 

"Keep still—"

Finn didn't.

His fist stopped in mid-air. He couldn't move it anymore. Then a real hand, a cold one, grabbed him and pinned that wrist to the wall, too. Finn's size advantage seemed to count for nothing.

"Listen to me," the intruder insisted. His voice was soft, and it made Finn's skin crawl.

"Did you kill her?"

There as a notable pause before the intruder asked in disbelief, "What?" Something popped, like wood in a fireplace, and light shone straight into Finn's eyes. 

Finn's lip curled. The man pinning him to the wall was indeed a good foot smaller than him, with a delicate face and hair that glinted red in the flickering ball of light hovering next to his raised hand. The fairy from the diner. His glassy black eyes sent chills down Finn's spine.

"What did you do to my friend?" Finn croaked. "The girl on the couch."

"She's asleep. This needs to be a private discussion."

"Private? You could privately murder me in my sleep if it's so fucking important."

"I didn't kill her, and I'm not going to kill you." The fairy's narrow brows furrowed in annoyance. Perfect. Didn't all the kidnapping stories start with saying the wrong thing to a fairy? And Finn had hurt him, too. A purple bruise was starting to show on the fairy's right cheek. 

"You're hurting my wrist." As Finn's adrenaline faded, the ache became clearer. His wrist pulsed under the fairy's cold grip. It was like being restrained by an ice pack. 

But the fairy ignored him; he was taking in the unholy mess that surrounded them. Julie and Finn had added empty beer bottles to the junk that filled the house. The fairy nudged a fallen book with his foot, then glared at Finn.

"What were you doing with his things?"

"Throwing them in the garbage."

The fairy bristled, whether at Finn's tone or his words, he couldn't tell. "Clem, come in here."

He had barely raised his voice, but the front door opened and the fairy woman—Clem, whom he also recognized from the diner—came in. Her eyebrows rose at the sight of Finn pinned to the wall.

"Robin, that's a bit unnecessary."

"He hit me."

"I'm sure he won't do it again."

"I thought you were here to kill me," Finn gritted out, "because that's what people think when you break in in the middle of the night and watch them sleep." Robin let go of his wrists, and Finn fell to his knees with a thud. A heavy, invisible pressure settled on his legs. "Ow—"

"I think I would like him questioned after all," Robin said. 


Author Bio and Links

Daria Defore is a writer by night, and a video producer by day. She's been writing ever since she was a kid, and vividly remembers that her first story was about visiting Santa Claus and getting a pet dinosaur. Now she writes filthy romance instead.

Daria is a Washington transplant living in New York City. She has a tendency to set stories in her beautiful home state. She loves reading, cups of coffee in multiples of ten, and being bullied to write more.


Elves

Review: The Mutt: An Order Short Story by Kasia Bacon

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Title: The Mutt: An Order Short Story
Author: Kacia Bacon
Date of publication: 20 Jan 2017
Genre/themes: Fantasy mm romance, elfs, short story

Author's links: Website Twitter / Pinterest

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My rating: 4 stars


Blurb

I, Ervyn Morryés of the Black Mountain clan, know all about control.

As the only fair-haired Dark Elf in the Highlands, I had to learn to control my fists and my temper in the face of derision. 

To become the best archer amongst my peers, I had to learn to control my breathing and my movements.

But the day the half-breed called Lochan Féyes arrived at the training camp, my discipline faltered. Because—sweet gods—when I am around that aloof, blue-eyed assassin, my need is uncontrollable.

Review

This is the debut work of Kasia Bacon, a short story introducing the fantasy world inhabited by elves and humans of her upcoming mm fantasy The Order.

It's a quick read which I found rather engaging. The world building is really detailed and atmospheric. I likes the easy flow of the story and found the writing really beautiful. We don't see much of the characters but what we do see makes me excited learn more about them. Things between then start off mostly as sexual attraction but there is the promise of a lot more happening in the future.

I have a minor quibble with certain elements in the sex scene but it's more a matter of personal preference and not any fault on the author's side.

The glimpses in the side characters, as well as potential conflicts in the upcoming novel are lovely and intriguing.

Overall, this is a great introduction into an interesting mm romance set in an intriguing and richly developed (even withing the confines of the small size of a short story) which I'm intrigued to read.

Purchase link: Amazon

M/M

Review: From the Ashes by Xen Sanders

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Title: From the Ashes (Fires of Redemption #1)
Author: Xen Sanders
Genre: Paranormal romance, M/M, dark
Release Date: 2 Jan 2017
Author's links:
Add on Goodreads

My rating: 4.5 Stars


Blurb

Sociopath. Killer. Deviant.

Monster, devoid of morals, incapable of human emotion. The villain known as Spark has been called this and more, and as a super-powered aberrant has masterminded countless crimes to build his father's inhuman empire. Yet to professor Sean Archer, this fearsome creature is only Tobias Rutherford--antisocial graduate researcher, quiet underachiever, and a fascinating puzzle Sean is determined to solve.


But one kiss leads to an entanglement that challenges everything Tobias knows about himself, aberrants, and his own capacity to love. When his father orders him to assassinate a senator, one misstep unravels a knot of political intrigue that places the fate of humans and aberrants alike in Tobias's hands. As danger mounts and bodies pile higher, will Tobias succumb to his dark nature and sacrifice Sean--or will he defy his father and rise from the ashes to become a hero in a world of villains?

Review

This story is such an unusual read and I enjoyed it so much. It's Xen Sanders' second book, and in a way there are some similarities with Shatterproof which I also loved.

We have Tobias, a dark and broody antihero, supervillan who hides a human heart who tells the story and I found his voice was powerful and absolutely fascinating. It's not easy to make the reader fall in love with someone like him, he's killed millions, is (for most of the story) a tool for mass destruction in his father's hand, yet Xen Sanders gives us an insight into his soul (yes, he does one). His inner doubts, the small questions that keep piling up, the chance of a different life, the hope that he can be human, can love and be loved in return, all those little things add up make him more human that even he thought possible. And all this turmoil and questioning of his own self and his perception of the world comes from meeting and getting involved sexually and romantically (much to his surprise) with another person, professor Sean Archer.

The reader is led to believe for most of the story that Sean is just that, am ethics professor who falls for his student. Avoiding spoilers I will just say, there is much more to him, most of it coming out unexpectedly and it was brilliant both in terms of plot twist and romantic perspective. 

From the Ashes has an action-packed plot, full of twists, a rich background to a story of finding yourself, your humanity and fighting to be a better person. It's never too late to change if you really want/believe in this new self of yours.

The story reads far too real and human for a paranormal romance. For me it reads like one big metaphor for our present day wold - power struggles, fear/hatred of anyone who is different, and the tender intimate connection be ween two human beings which makes all the hardships bearable and all the struggles worth for the potential of happiness.

I loved the tension, the dynamics between Tobias and Sean. Their relationship stands out to me with its richness and depth of feelings, never crossing into being cheesy, never opting for the easy solution of I love you and i forgive you everything.

This is yet another impeccably written story by Xen Sanders. His witting is powerful fill of poetry and drama, dark and hopeful at the same time. Definitely I recommended read for fans of paranormal romance and for anyone who like a complex story with intricate characters inhabiting the gray area between good and evil.

Purchase links: Amazon / B&N

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