Follow Me Into Darkness: Five Tales of Carnivale Romance by J.R. Gray, Santino Hassell, J.C. Lillis, Roan Parrish, Kris Ripper ~ Book Review by Mel

28577622Title: Follow Me Into Darkness: Five Tales of Carnivale Romance

Author: J.R. Gray, Santino Hassell, J.C. Lillis, Roan Parrish, Kris Ripper

Publisher: *Not Listed

Cover Artist: angstycg.com

Rating: 4.00 of 5 Stars

Publication Date: 02/04/2016

Length: Novella (~ 15K-50K)

Genre: Contemporary, Fantasy, Historical, M/M Romance, Paranormal, Romance, Trans*

Blurb:

Carnivale is a time for decadence, for revelry, and for mischief. A time when we shed the figurative masks we wear in everyday life in favor of new ones… ones that allow us to be a little bolder, a little more adventurous, and perhaps a little truer to ourselves. Follow Me Into Darkness is a compilation of original tales of queer romance by five of the premier authors of contemporary romance.

My View:

This is the second anthology by these authors and, like the first one, it has some really great stories that I highly recommend reading. The first antho, Lead Me Into Darkness, is even available for free.

Connected through the theme of carnivale, this time the authors focus on the masks we wear every day or just on some days and how valuable it is to let them slip or get rid of them all together.

As with every anthology, there are stories that I like more than others, and that’s perfectly all right.

Hurricane by Santino Hassell

Oh… This was surprising! Let me tell you why:

The plot was unpredictable. From the meeting in the bar, over the visit to the Voodoo Queen’s tomb, to the ending, with all it’s revelations and turns in between. Loved that! There wasn’t an uninteresting minute through-out the whole story.

The characters surprise themselves and also us. While we get to know Zay from the start, since he tells the story, we only slowly get more information on Kee. While Zay has to throw his protective mask of reclusiveness away, Kee is revealed to us bit by bit, in a way I’d never expected.

To be impressed with a short story is something rare. Seriously, the format worked so great for this story. It feels complete, but still teases us to think about the future and meanings. The pacing, the dialogue, the charming characters, they all were perfectly balanced, enhanced each other, and brought together a wonderful story that I highly recommend reading.

5 stars

If We Be Friends by J.C. Willis

This kinda wasn’t my story. It’s well written, like I’ve come to expect by now from the author, but I just couldn’t connect with it.

It’s kinda sad and just too much Shakespeare for me. I can’t believe I’m bold enough to say this.

I think this is a good story, just not for me.

No rating

Masked by J.R. Gray

sigh what a cocktease…
If you like to be teased endlessly and interrupted permanently, this is your book. The writing is decent, the characters as well. Not enough for me to put myself through this, though.

I was irritated with the pacing and the development of the story, but after 50% of the book I realised this was simply what the author was going for, so…

No rating. (I feel like giving 1 star based on my liking, but I think this isn’t entirely fair.)

The Queen’s Reflection by Kris Ripper

This was great! Set in a high fantasy world, that seriously needs a ton of more stories and books, Kris shows us how to be true to oneself.

I especially loved the scene where the transgender protagonist learns to accept his body as it is. That was quite powerful.

As is to be kinda expected from Kris, this short is kinda super hot, too 😀

The format also fit really well. But seriously, there could be so much more in this universe. I need to work my magic on Kris to make this happen 🙂

4 stars

Touched by Roan Parrish

Wow. I’m kinda speechless with how amazing this was. I devoured it and I can’t get enough, I think.

Roan has a wonderful way with words and creates such wonderful settings, characters and stories. I loved the supernatural element in this story.

Though the book ends bittersweet, it tells us to enjoy every moment to the fullest.

5 stars

Links

Follow Me Into Darkness: Five Tales of Carnivale Romance on Goodreads
*Not Listed
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA

This review is based on a copy purchased by the reviewer independent of any review copies offered.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

Brandilyn
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