Monday, May 7, 2018

Review Tour: Forged In Fire by Ari McKay

Cover Design: Aaron Anderson

Length: 59,473 words

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Ashville Arcana Series

The magic touch.

Ever since Harlan Edgewood was bitten by a possessed werewolf, his monthly shifts have been agonizing. When he meets Whimsy Hickes—a mage who specializes in transformation—the attraction is mutual. But Harlan believes his curse is too great a burden to inflict on any romantic partner.

Fortunately, Whimsy thinks he can help.

When Harlan is provoked into an unexpected change, Whimsy uses his magic to help ease Harlan’s pain, but with an unexpected consequence. While he’s shifted, Harlan’s wolf claims Whimsy as his mate.

As they draw closer, suspicious events in the Asheville magical community escalate. Shifters are disappearing, others are murdered, and Harlan’s curse makes him an obvious target. It will take all of Whimsy’s magic to force back the rising evil—and if he fails, Harlan will lose not only his life, but his very soul.

Karen's review:

More mysterious goings on in the town of Ashville…
You may remember or not…it doesn’t really matter that my first encounter with the residents of Ashville was via audio book and I loved it so much that when the second book came out I didn’t want to wait for the audio book…you see, this book is about Whimsy!!!!!! That’s right if you saw my review for the first book in this series or possibly anyone else’s for that matter, they may have made mention of Whimsy Hickes…Arden’s best friend and lover to him and the vampire Julian but that all ended when Ander found his mate in the alpha werewolf, Eli Hammond and now we have Whimsy feeling somewhat adrift about his romantic life as Arden is with Eli and Julian…well…Julian seems to have buried himself in some research and left sweet, adorable Whimsy feeling someone alone and adrift.
Thankfully not only is Arden, Whimsy’s best friend, he’s also not the type to leave things alone and he’s sure that he has just the cure for Whimsy in the form of one Harlan Edgewood, a lycanthrope…which in the world of Asheville Arcana is a werewolf that was created when they are bitten by another werewolf rather than being born as one, and of course the werewolf that bit Harlan was cursed…some people have all the luck…it seems that Harlan’s not one of them.
In the first book as well as Arden and Eli’s romance we had a bit of a paranormal mystery happening and while things seemed to be resolved for the most part in ‘Forged In Fire’ we find out that things aren’t always what they seem to be and the events from ‘Out of the Ashes’ weren’t an ending but a beginning and there’s more to come, that’s right there’s a big ole cliffy here folks and I’m sitting at the edge looking over and wondering… what in the name of all that’s unholy is going to happen next?
As Whimsy and Harlan get to know each other we also get to learn more about the mystery that began in ‘Out of the Ashes’ as well the progress that’s made in the battle against the demons and possessed werewolves and maybe a bear shifter or two, but things aren’t finished with this mystery yet and we’ll need at least book #3 to find out what’s going to happen so let’s go back to Whimsy and Harlan because…so cute and adorable…these two are totally delightful.

Harlan’s a 300-year virgin? I know? Who knew these even existed? But sadly, I must tell you, I think Harlan might be the only one and he’s totally besotted with Whimsy…guaranteed no one else has a chance and yes, I know ‘besotted’ is such an old-fashioned word well trust me, Harlan is such an old-fashioned guy.
Now as for Whimsy it seems that Arden’s not the only one who got more than his share of nurturing instincts. While Arden thought that Whimsy with his mage powers…and folks these are serious kick-ass mage powers that Whimsy has going on here…as in if you value your life don’t mess with his friends and unless you want a one way ticket to…well, sorry you’ll have to read the book to find out where that ticket takes you…just suffice it to say do not mess with Whimsy’s man because you will not like what happens next.
I found Whimsy and Harlan to be a totally delightful pairing…Whimsy with his nurturing and caring ways making him seem so deceptively harmless and Harlan while he seems strong and fiercely independent it turns out that he’s also filled with his own insecurities and a strong desire to have someone to love and to be loved. Not to mention that these two may not have rushed into the bedroom but when they get there things are hot…very, very hot!!!
At the end of it all we’re left with a happily mated Elf and his werewolf from ‘Out of the Ashes’ and a newly mated mage and his lycanthrope from this story and one lonely vampire who thinks that no one sees how lonely he is but Arden and Whimsy see and I’m curious to see how far they’ll go in their efforts to see Julian as happy as they are because as stand-offish as he tries to be Julian is their friend and they’re not prepared to abandon him just because they’ve each found their own happily ever after…that’s just not what friends do for friends.

An ARC of “Forged in Fire” was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Ari McKay is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who have been writing together for over a decade. Their collaborations encompass a wide variety of romance genres, including contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, gothic, and action/adventure. Their work includes the Blood Bathory series of paranormal novels, the Herc’s Mercs series, as well as two historical Westerns: Heart of Stone and Finding Forgiveness. When not writing, they can often be found scheming over costume designs or binge watching TV shows together.

Arionrhod is a systems engineer by day who is eagerly looking forward to (hopefully) becoming a full time writer in the not-too-distant future. Now that she is an empty-nester, she has turned her attentions to finding the perfect piece of land to build a fortress in preparation for the zombie apocalypse, and baking (and eating) far too many cakes.

McKay is an English teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She also enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and playing video games. She has been known to knit in public. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Arionrhod to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.


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