Audiobook Review: Never Lose Your Flames (New Canadiana #1) by Francis Gideon

Series:
Narrator: Kevin Chandler
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I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: Never Lose Your Flames by Francis Gideon
Series: New Canadiana #1
Release Date: August 1st, 2016
Format: Audiobook (11 hrs and 9 mins)
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links: Dreamspinner Press Amazon USAudible

Cop-turned-bounty-hunter Gabe Dominguez is hired to capture firestarter Nat Wyatt. For a dragon-shifter like Gabe, apprehending Nat is easy, but transporting him involves more time, energy, and blood loss than he envisioned. An attack from a band of fairies, an out-of-control forest fire, and a showdown at an auction don’t faze Gabe, but Nat’s innocence might stop him entirely.

Since discovering his abilities, Nat’s lost a best friend, a boyfriend, and trust in his brother. Only his love of concerts and card games get him through life without a home. Rumors of the Judge, a giant dragon who once destroyed half of Canada avenging those he loved, provide Nat with hope of vindication. When Nat discovers his captor is the Judge, he thinks he’s finally caught a break. Through late-night conversations and a shared love of music, Nat tries to convince Gabe he’s not guilty.

Can Gabe continue his cutthroat lifestyle, or will he run away with his dragon hoard like he’s always longed to do? Can Nat escape his legacy, or will his be another spark snuffed out by people who don’t understand? The Oracle, the most powerful wizard in Canada, might be the only one who can provide answers.

two-stars

This one was a pretty dry audiobook. The narrator’s voice wasn’t engaging enough to save this plot or make it interesting.

Gabe Dominguez was a bounty hunter hired to capture Nat Wyatt for his crime of arson. Gabe at first seems like a stoic character but clearly certain things about Nat chipped away at Gabe’s façade. As Gabe made his way with his captured prisoner in tow, Nat revealed more and more truths to where Gabe began questioning his sponsor’s intel.  There was a lot of world building as well as various supernatural characters but I didn’t feel the romance enough amongst the plot. I was hoping to “feel” instead of being told about their attraction. There were too many creatures and the author could have gradually introduced them in subsequent books.

I liked Gabe more than Nat but both characters were likeable. The story just wasn’t smooth and engaging enough and I had to really push myself to finish the audiobook. The premise was interesting but execution was a fail for me.

About Francis Gideon

Francis Gideon is a writer of m/m romance, but he also dabbles in mystery, fantasy, historical, and paranormal fiction. He likes to stay up late, drink too much coffee, and read too many comic books. He credits music, especially the artists Patti Smith, Frank Iero, Gerard Way, Florence + the Machine, and The Pixies as his main sources of inspiration, but the list grows every day. Since age twelve, he’s been trying to figure out what genre is best suited for a strange, quiet kid like him and so far, he’s happy to be where he’s ended up.

When not writing fiction, Francis teaches college English classes while he studies for his PhD. He has published several nonfiction and critical articles on everything from the Canadian poet and artist P.K. Page, transgender identity in the YouTube community, using fanfiction as a teaching tool, and character deaths in the TV show Hannibal. Those are all under different his “real” name, though. He writes his novels using his middle name, Francis, so that his students don’t Google him and ask too many questions.

Both Francis and his partner live in Canada, where they often disagree about TV shows and make really bad puns. To talk more about books, bad horror movies, LGBT poetry, or anything else, please drop him a line!

Sleight of Heart by Aisling Mancy

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

SLEIGHTOFHEARTFRONT - FINAL1311Sleight of Heart by Aisling Mancy
Series: Morality of Magic, Book One
Release Date: March 14, 2016
Pages: 194 • Format: eARC
Published By: CoolDudes Publishing
Purchase Links:
CoolDudesAmazonARe • Smashwords

A vampire mage, a Romani young man, and a forbidden love that won’t be denied.

Lord Taliesin Solitaire was born albino, cursed mute by the fey, and betrayed by a vampire lover. For two hundred years the vampire mage has vowed never to love again and has only used sex as a means to a meal. Until a palm-reading gypsy finds himself in peril and Taliesin can’t resist rescuing the beautiful young man.

Pesha is the eldest but smallest son of King Vaida Sinclair, the oppressive ruler of the Kåle Romani Compania. Deemed impure by his father, Pesha is shunned and mistreated by his band and six half-brothers, and one brother in particular wants him dead. His pale, silent savior gives him safety, security and a love he never could have imagined. As Pesha falls in love with his handsome white knight, his half-brother does the unthinkable.

Can Taliesin rescue Pesha from the cruel clutches of his half-brother a second time?

four-half-stars

A sleight of heart cannot be taken back. These things cannot be undone…

Wow. What an amazingly rich, beautiful and deeply magical story this was. I am at a loss for words to describe what I just read but I will give it a try. 

We meet Taliesin, a centuries old vampire as he watches a young gypsy do what he does best, make money off the masses believing in his tricks. As Taliesin watches, we get glimpses into his life and begin to learn about him; we know he was in love once, we know he was born an albino with lavender eyes and we know he thinks the young gypsy boy is possibly the most beautiful thing he has ever seen.

The beginning pages of the book lead us through head-hopping between Taliesin and the gypsy boy, aks Pesha, while they navigate their night and have an eye on one another. You see, unbeknownst to either man – the other has felt and visualized their presence more than once and simply because introductions aren’t formally made, doesn’t mean they aren’t known but when someone tries to cheat Pesha, Taliesin steps in and the sweetest moments between the two begin. Now while head-hopping usually fails for me, this worked well as the scene played out and you are IN the scene… just as you should be.

I loved Taliesin and his back story. How he became a father to the lovely Feather and the feelings he holds toward her mother though it left him cursed. The curse, ugh I was worried how it would be dealt with and how it would all play out with Pesha – I am still new to the world of magic/fantasy – but I loved how it happened. I mean, how romantic is it that you are cursed to be mute but the man you are attracted to has the ability to hear your thoughts? *swoon*

Pesha is the type of character I want to cuddle and coddle. He lives the way he does because he’s told to and he believes the things he wants are wrong. He internally fights with his desire of men sexuality yet yearns to be loved and wanted. He is on his own mostly as he works and one night when the ones who should protect him – his own family – attack him and Taliesin steps in as the… well white knight and rescues him.

Yeah. Once the rescue happens things start to heat up and I just adored these two together. When Pesha asks Taliesin how old he is I chuckled and well done my Lord with the technicality on that fact. But while the men get swoony and sexy, their quick banter had my heart singing.

“Dinilo pirano, close your eyes. Go to sleep.” 

Now what did you call me?

 “Idiot sweetheart.” 

Wonderful. 

This story is so detailed and involved I am afraid to give too much of it away. The side characters in the story are amazing and I am so happy to learn that Sax is indeed real though he seems to share similarities of another of his kind named Elliot who protected Pete but that is just my brain remembering too much of silly things…

But this was a gorgeous story with all it brings to the table. The woven worlds of mages and gypsy’s, dragons, fey, Romani and all the other preternaturals that are present. It was intense and vivid and I am rambling so I will stop now.

Sleight of Heart is an enchanting, romantic tale of choices and fate and never repeating your same mistakes. It’s a romance written in beautiful, classic prose that engages you immediately as it emerges you into the depth of the story and holds you tightly until the end. I can’t wait to see where they series goes next…

About Aisling Mancy

Ash is an author who lives, most of the time, on the West Coast of the United States. Ash writes adult fantasy, science fiction, adult romance, and fiction for gay young adults as C. Kennedy.

Raised on the mean streets and back lots of Hollywood by a Yoda-look-alike grandfather, Ash doesn’t conform, doesn’t fit in, is epic awkward, and lives to perfect a deep-seated oppositional defiance disorder. In a constant state of fascination with the trivial, Ash contemplates such weighty questions as If time and space are curved, then where do all the straight people come from? When not writing, Ash can be found taming waves on western shores, pondering the nutritional value of sunsets, appreciating the much-maligned dandelion, unhooking guide ropes from stanchions, and marveling at all things ordinary.