Review of Captive Magic

Cryselle reviewed Captive Magic had some nice things to say:

The story seems to start off a bit slowly, but it’s an introduction to the world if you’re starting here, and a slow burn of Manny and Breck developing interest in each other and context for their skills. Their families variously encourage or discourage them. Real life problems are more important than constant smexing, which is a refreshing change from a lot of mm. These guys can stay on task and they can stay on task together, once they come to trust each other enough to be clear on what’s going on. No insta-anything here, they have to work for each smidgen of trust.

One recurring idea in this universe is that humans aren’t the biggest, baddest magic-wielders around—smarts, negotiation, and guile make for more intriguing reading anyway. While magic isn’t hidden in this world, sometimes a talent doesn’t want to admit what he can do, and sometimes mere talent isn’t enough to solve a problem.

The sister and the niece are especially charming characters, Manny and Breck each have a teen girl to love, cherish, and be exasperated by. The rest of their families felt real enough to invite to dinner. Not all the action takes place in our plane, and the other dimensional setting was strange and unique.

I’m glad she enjoyed it. 🙂 Read the whole thing at Cryselle’s Bookshelf.


Paperbacks, And Another Captive Magic Review

Paperback editions of Captive Magic are available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble, although B&N still doesn’t have the electronic edition for whatever reason. But anyone who prefers reading hardcopy can get CM in paper now.


Sirius reviewed Captive Magic over at Reviews by Jessewave and seemed to like it a lot, giving it 4.75 out of 5.0. Sirius said:

This book starts slow, in fact for the first five-six chapters I was wondering whether I indeed was reading the book three of the same series, so slow it felt. However as the story progressed the more I thought that the writer made a very wise choice to start slow, because characters were established so clearly that I could see and hear them in my mind. I was especially pleased to see how real supporting characters felt and I loved Breck’s mother and little sister a lot. I thought that giving supporting characters their voices, by describing the neighborhoods where Breck and Manny lived, they acquired more depth. I mean, when I read about the character with firmly established roots, such character becomes much more realistic and believable to me and I thought this was what happened here.

So, bottom line is I have no problems with slow start of the book. When the magical issue both of the guys have to deal with takes more and more priority , the tension slowly increases, because it becomes really important for everybody’s involved to get the creature off Breck’s back and make sure that his sister will not die and as blurb hints Manny is also having problems because of his involvements.

I have to say though that while I never doubted the grave consequences for Breck, his sister and Manny for not figuring out how to deal with demon thing, for quite some time while I was reading I did not think that the ethical issues in this book rose to the level of the ending of the second book. I mean who would not have stolen anything in order to save a loved one dying from any illness? Now, if Breck would have been asked to kill in exchange for his sister’s life, that could have been something to wonder whether he would really do it and whether the means are worth the ends. And then BOOM – suddenly the stakes (ethical and others) went up and then the stakes went up again and I completely stopped complaining 🙂

Thanks to Sirius for a great review! Click through to read the whole thing.


Great Review for Captive Magic

Pixie at MM Good Book Reviews gave Captive Magic four hearts and said:

I really enjoyed this story with its dimension jumping and puzzle solving, watching as Manny and Breck begin to enjoy a relationship and how they save the day. I liked how they worked together to figure a way out for Breck and how they managed to fix things when everything went wrong. Their relationship was forged during a really difficult time for Breck, and you can see him being pulled in two when the demon gets impatient and begins pulling his strings…. do what the demon wants or be there for his mother and sister? Manny being with him and helping him really saves Breck in more ways than one. While Manny is a large part of this story, I couldn’t help but feel that it was really Breck’s story and although their relationship is special, it is really Breck’s trials that make this story great.

I recommend this to those who love paranormal abilities, dimension jumping, interesting beings, a relationship forged in hard times and a great ending.

Thanks to Pixie! I’m so glad she liked the dimension-hopping and all — it’s a bit different from what I’ve done in the earlier books, so I was hoping people who’ve been reading along would enjoy it. 🙂


Review and Giveaway

Pattycake at Mrs. Condit Reads Books reviewed an ARC of Captive Magic and seemed to like it a lot:

Captive Magic by Angela Benedetti is a wild ride of a story that starts out with a touch of the paranormal, then takes a left turn into the Twilight Zone! The blurb covers the bare bones of the tale, but to really appreciate the unique and original twists that this story takes, you need to check it out for yourself.

Click through for the rest.

There’s also an interview where I ramble on for a while about such things as how I got into writing fantasy romance, which had to do with the early mainstream fantasy and “futuristic” romances falling so far short of the mark, in my opinion as a long-time SF and fantasy fan.

If you leave a comment on the review post, you’ll be entered in a drawing for a complete set of the Sentinels books — three novels and a short story.

Thanks to Pattycake — I’m so glad she liked the book! — and to Mrs. Condit for hosting the review and giveaway.

Captive Magic will be release on 4 September.


Review of Emerging Magic

Lisa at Joyfully Reviewed did a great review of Emerging Magic. She said:

Multiple layers within a complex, explosive character driven storyline comes together in Emerging Magic. The various plotlines are carefully woven in and out, converging at points before going on another twist in this fantastical tale. Rory is dealing with almost overwhelming feelings of betrayal while also exploring his first real relationship. Low on sex, high on drama, it’s never dull, though the outcome is expected. Regardless, Emerging Magic delivers the goods.

Many thanks to Lisa — I’m glad she enjoyed it. 🙂


Great Review of Emerging Magic

Sirius over at Jessewave’s posted a great 4.5 star review of Emerging Magic:

I thought the second book delivered with gusto. I thought it mixed the relationship stuff and magical stuff perfectly, and while in this book I felt that the romance was playing a more major role, it still felt as if the romance was happening in the well developed world and the fantasy stuff was not just a window dressing for the romance, but was providing a strong sense of who the characters were as human beings, as personalities and of course created a lot of stuff for them to do.

I loved how amongst fighting various magical threats Rory and Paul were figuring each other out, learning to negotiate their relationship. I was really happy to read about them getting to know each other better and figuring out what makes each other tick;- it was very believable, because in real life people who have known each other for a week could not know everything about each other and be perfect partners right away IMO.

I liked that IMO there were no villains in this book – just human beings making bad choices and suffering the consequences. I, however, actually was quite uneasy with the ending and I get a feeling that I was supposed to feel that way, but I cannot help but feel that the punishment was too harsh for the “villains”, even though I totally understand the reasoning. I just cannot help but wonder if Paul could find a less harsh punishment for them (especially when he did not even bother to offer something worth of value in a similar bargain of the sorts in the first book). It just felt as an ultimate violation of somebody for whom magic is a part of who they are. I do get a feeling that it will be addressed in the next book of the series in some way, if the next book will come, because I thought that Rory also was feeling the same unease as I did, or I guess the more correct way to describe it would be that I felt the same unease that Rory did 🙂

I love that Sirius enjoyed the book, that so much worked for her, and even that she had mixed feelings about how the bad guys were dealt with; that’s exactly how I was hoping readers would react. 😀

Thanks to Sirius, and to Wave as the site host, for the awesome comments!


Review — A Hidden Magic

[I’m in New Orleans! More about that later.]

Kenra over at Grave Tells reviewed A Hidden Magic today. She gave it 3.5/5.0, and declared it Worth A Look.

Ms. Benedetti gives an intriguing glimpse into a world where people are either “normal” or mages, and magical creatures slip back and forth from their own realm into ours, carrying out all sorts of mischief. She gives enough physical detail to allow the reader to see her world quite well, without the description being intrusive or over-done.

Click through for more. Thanks to Kenra for the review; I’ll be doing a Q&A session at Grave Tells next week; watch for a link then.


Great Review(s) of “Hell Is in the Details”

Val Kovalin is the M/M reviewer for ARe, an e-book retailer, and does a review column for their newsletter once a month. This month, she chose my story Hell Is in the Details as the Top Pick of the month (scroll a little more than halfway down) which is pretty darned awesome. 🙂 “Hell” is my story about the Demon of Laziness, who has a very short deadline to corrupt a soul, which he didn’t know about because he never reads his memos.

Val said, in part:

This 8K-word story should delight fans of m/m romance who enjoy witty fantasy fiction, specifically stories centered upon demons. It had me chuckling throughout at the observations of the stressed-out demon Benioth. Meanwhile, its subtle literary allusions to Paradise Lost and historical references add an intriguing layer of depth to the satire.

The story’s suspense centers on its ending. A romance story needs a romantic and happy ending. At the same time, Benioth feels extreme pressure to corrupt his young lover’s soul, which would doom poor Andy to the eternal flames of Hell. All this would seem mutually incompatible, but the story makes it work with a clever resolution. Find out how in this comical gem that is my Top Pick for the month.

It’s always hard to know in advance whether humor is going to work for anyone but me, so I love hearing that someone else actually found a funny story I wrote to be funny. 🙂

In the same column, she named PD Singer’s story Storm on the Mountain as a Recommended Read, which it well deserves. Pam Singer has become one of my favorite m/m writers, and not just because she’s also become a friend. Her Mountain series, which includes both novels and short stories, is excellent, and only gets better as you read through. In “Storm,” a blizzard at a ski resort where the POV character works is the setting for some great character and relationship development. In many cases, a short story sequel to a novel is just an excuse for a sex scene. In “Storm,” we see Mark working on reining in his instinct to take care of his lover Allan, who doesn’t at all appreciate being fussed over, and made that clear in their novel, Fall Down the Mountain.

One of my common complaints about romances of all kinds is that too often one character will have a habit or view or tendency that aggravates the other character, often to the point of being a make/break issue in their relationship. In the end, the first character will say, “Okay, I won’t do that anymore,” and they kiss and that’s the end — we’re just supposed to assume that the first character will successfully do a one-eighty on some habit or opinion that’s been a major component of their personality for however many years or decades. I’ve never really bought that, and it makes it hard to believe in the HEA. In this case, though, Pam shows us that Mark really is working on his impulse to protect Allan in ways that are insulting or belittling, whether he means it that way or not. He knows it’s a fault, and we get to see him controlling it, and his relationship with Allan growing stronger in consequence. This short story is a significant addition to the series, not at all fluffy or trivial. Great stuff.

Val also reviews on Jessewave’s blog, where she posted a similar but not quite identical review of “Hell Is in the Details” there including:

This short story is flawlessly written and has a droll, mischievous tone that should delight fans of comic fantasy, specifically fiction centered upon demons, which plays with historical and literary references. Benioth is a good character, an appealing mix of stressed-out and resourceful. Andy is a sweet kid, a wide-eyed innocent eager to be corrupted, and their sex scenes are hot. The story had me turning pages in the sheer entertainment of wondering how the author would manage a classic HEA ending while not stepping outside the logic of the plot, and I found her resolution very clever. Highly recommended!

She gave it 4.75/5.0, which is pretty awesome. Thanks to Val for all her kind words in both venues; I’m glad she enjoyed the story. 😀


February Stuff

Submissions — 2pts
Writing 14,176 words — 6 pts
Editing 9196 words — 2 pts
TOTAL = 10 pts

That’s 2/2 toward my 2011 goal of being on Koala Approves every month, yay. 🙂

Koala Challenge 9

Also, A Hidden Magic is a Recommended Read on Jessewave’s site, which is pretty darned awesome. 😀


Review of “Chasing Fear”

Cole at Jessewave’s reviewed the last (so far) of the Hidden Magic stories, Chasing Fear. He gave it 4.25/5.0 stars and seemed to like it quite a lot.


I really enjoyed this story, which is set in the same verse as the Hidden Magic series, but deals with two characters we have not met before. I thought this was truly a story worthy of being a Halloween sip, because the mood that was set was definitely spooky, not to mention Martin himself — who it seems, right from the start is playing the part of the disciplinarian. Through much of the story, I was a little bit scared for Emilio, no matter how much he said that he wasn’t scared of his lover, but that what they were doing was in public, where anyone could walk upon them. It wasn’t until I got further into the story that I could see that Martin was doing this for Emilio, to help him see that he would always be safe with him, especially in the setting they were in — deep in the park, where the vines and trees are like an extension of Martin himself.

The sex scene is incredibly steamy in this story. If you like binding or public sex, you will very much like this story and its characters as I did. Emilio, who is tragic, yet sweet, and Martin, who one could call Nature’s Dom. I would love to read another story with these characters, as I got the feeling that here they were playing out a scene that was not indicative of their everyday lives together. I would love to see how they are together in a more domestic setting, as it seems to me that the tides might turn between our two characters depending on which setting gives which character more power in their games. Obviously, this story takes place outdoors, so Martin is in his element. Definitely Recommended, especially to fans of the series.


I’m so glad Cole enjoyed this one, and the whole series enough to review them all. 😀

If you’ve read “Chasing Fear” and enjoyed it, there’s a free sequel on my web site called Catching Courage you might also like.