Read Irregulars by Nicole Kimberling Josh Lanyon Ginn Hale Astrid Amara Online


It’s a secret international organization operating in cities on every continent. It polices relations between the earthly realm and those beyond this world, enforcing immigration laws, the transfers of magical artifacts, and crimes against humanity.The agents who work for the NATO Irregular Affairs Division can’t tell anyone what they do, or how hard they work to keep us sIt’s a secret international organization operating in cities on every continent. It polices relations between the earthly realm and those beyond this world, enforcing immigration laws, the transfers of magical artifacts, and crimes against humanity.The agents who work for the NATO Irregular Affairs Division can’t tell anyone what they do, or how hard they work to keep us safe. It brings a colorful collection of men together:Agent Henry Falk, the undead bum. Agent Keith Curry, former carnivore chef turned vegetarian; Agent Rake, Babylonian demon with a penchant for easy living; and Agent Silas August, uncompromising jerk.Four cities, four mysteries, four times the romance. Is your security clearance high enough to read on?...

Title : Irregulars
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781935560166
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 476 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Irregulars Reviews

  • Julio Genao
    2019-02-12 23:24

    Not that kind of irregular.Cherries Worth Getting, by N. Kimberling: Snappy dialogue and tight pacing. 3 starsGreen Glass Beads, by J. Lanyon: Sexy and tantalizing, with compelling leads. 2 starsNo Life But This, by A. Amara: Fresh ideas, but stupid plotting choices and occasionally clunky prose. 1 starThings Unseen and Deadly, by G. Hale: Novel and compelling, with lovely imagery and appealing leads. 4 starsOverall: three stars—no probiotic yogurt necessary!

  • MwanamaliMari
    2019-02-10 00:40

    I only read Josh Lanyon's Green Glass Beads. I don't care how awesome the others are. I only wanted to read Lanyon's story. So technically this is a dnf. But it's a selective dnf. I will write the review for Green Glass Beads when I am so inclined. Dealing with too much shit right now to come up with anything coherent. Going to submerge myself in another book. Peace.

  • Feliz
    2019-01-22 20:36

    As Wave once put it, this is royalty writing here indeed. I've enjoyed each of these author's works separately, but together, they created a world so multi-faceted and unique that someone could easily write dozens of stories inside it without repeating themselves once. Fantastic, alluring, and simply awesome. All stories are set in the same universe, and each story contains a mystery, a romance, an aspect of worldbuilding, and a message. This setup, and of course their shared universe, connects the stories to make four pieces an almost seamless whole, but there's also a distinct individuality to each novella which I'd attribute mostly to each author's personal preferences and style. Mind you, we've got four masters of their craft at work here, so each novella contains all aspects, and all stories are beautifully woven, but each story focuses on one particular aspect of the basic scheme. In order of appearance: Cherries Worth Getting by Nicole KimberlingBeing in the forefront, this story had to paint the backdrop for the other three, which it did with subtle perfection by using bold strokes. Sounds contradictory? Well it isn't. The key was using a normal place - Portland, in this case, - and a normal activity - buying food from a food cart - and then dropping a bomb smack in the middle of this peaceful scenery - human meat as contraband. From there, I felt irresistibly sucked into a world where blissfully oblivious humans live side by side with beings from other realms, where everybody could be wearing a disguise and next to nothing is quite like it seems. Human meat is a traditional dish among otherworldly races like for example goblins and vampires, but recently it has become a sought-after delicacy for food-crazy humans, too. Of course, if you want to serve human meat, you need a fresh corpse first. And since we're still in the human world here, killing of people is considered murder. This is where the Irregulars come in. Former chef turned agent Keith Curry and goblin expert Agent Gunter Heartman used to be lovers once, but their antagonistic parentage drove them apart. Now forced to work together, they slowly find their way back to each other.The focus here was on the mystery. Hunting down leads, some of them false, questioning witnesses, perpetuating evidence - the story had all the elements of a genuine murder mystery, and a very good one at that. It was also, at least to me, the most hair-rising of the four. Cannibalism, just for the thrill of it? Oh.My.God. Weaving an actually rather sweet romance into something like this, and coming out with a positive message like don't let your preconceived notions stop you from falling in love with someone, that's quite an achievement.Green Glass Beads by Josh LanyonAh, the master did it again - wove a story so full of subtle romance and sophisticated character development I couldn't help falling in love with age-old Rake, seemingly detached and single-mindedly unscrupulous investigator, and half-faery Archer, quick-witted, passionate intellectual. This story may have some exciting cat-burglar action, magic-wielding and bloodshedding, but first and foremost, it's a tender, poignant, heartwarming, and yes, VERY sexy love story. It's the most character-driven story of the four, and its message is the simple ancient wisdom that love comes with true care and consideration, and anything else is just so much noise. No Life But This by Astrid AmaraIn regard to cruelty, bloodshed and outlandishness, this was the darkest and most sinister of the four stories, in the truest sense of the word, since the world of Aztaw it introduced literally has no light. This story was also something of a maverick - although it was still set in the Irregulars universe, it created a distinct subsphere with a different set of rules. Which was also this story's biggest forte. The worldbuilding took my breath away with imagination and colorful weaving. And then, the character of Deven - an assassin who kills as easily as he breathes but still somehow managed to retain his innocent soul, which makes him something like a feral child. He's slow to trust, but once he does, he's loyal to his own death. Gruff and aloof agent Silas August balances Deven perfectly. Those two found each other slowly, almost reluctantly while the story moved around them and pulled them along with breathtaking speed to an explosive finale. Things Unseen and Deadly by Ginn HaleWhile the first story set the foundation, this last story wrapped everything up nicely, though still standing very much on its own. TO me, this story was the most intellectual of the four, from the whacked-out cookie jamboree where all characters of the other storys make cbrief cameos, to the many hidden hints and references at literature, Sidhe lore, music, Talmudian mystery and contemporary history. This story had also the most memorable character for me in Henry, the Half-Undead bum, a man forcefully stripped of all his humanity who's still the epitome of a decent considerate being. The story took a classic plot, the lost prince and his world-weary, self sacrificing knight in shining armor, and turned it into something unique and new, something very tender and touching as those two lost souls connect and ultimately save each other. Every single one of those storys was a treat on its own, but together they were just perfect. They entertained me and touched my heart, they made me think and flattered my intelligence, they made my skin crawl and my heart race in excitement and had me laughing out loud more than once. Books like this one are rare gems that stand out like lighthouse beams from the fog of mediocrity. Books like this one are the reason I read.

  • Emanuela ~plastic duck~
    2019-02-14 02:26

    This anthology is remarkable first of all for the awesome world building, but also for the impressive characters and the great quality of writing. Even if there are the hands of four authors, there is no prominent voice, and each one of them put their craft at the service of the anthology. In a contemporary setting, NIAD - the Nato Irregular Affairs Division - handle what happens in the earthly realms when they involve extrahuman beings and activity.In Cherries Worth Getting, Nicole Kimberling introduces us to the Irregulars and their tasks and cases. The main couple is made of two agents from the Irregulars. Keith is an ex-cook which was recruited by NIAD after cooking an unusual meal. As a consequence he is not able to eat meat anymore. Gunther is sent to help him investigate unusual killings which seem to involve the Goblin community. Gunther and Keith were lovers, but Gunther called off their affair, leaving Keith - in whose point-of-view the story is told - feeling a bit of regret. Keith is biased against goblins, since they were involved in his fateful meal, but Gunther, behind his human appearance, is a goblin. As the case unfolds, the two men learn something new about each other, and they learn to understand what didn't work for them the first time, the preconception and deception that kept them apart. Even if the story is short, we can see the characters change and become closer, and their relationship develops and breathes in a very satisfying way.Even if this is the intoductory story, the author is able to smooth the reader into this complicated world easily, with no info-dumping, describing an alternate Portland. The Goblin market was an incredible place that came alive on the page. There is a wonderful sense of place that made my mind travel in a virtual map inside my head together with the protagonists. In the second story, Green Glass Beads, Josh Lanyon expands this universe with two fascinating characters that are not really enemies, they're two people with contrasting interests and goals. Archer Green is the half-fairie/half-human curator of the MoSSA, the museum which stores otherworldly magical artifacts, exorcised before being put away. Archer has a complicated past. The just-appointed Commander Rake is keeping a not so discreet eye on him, because Archer was in his youth a member of a radical group which advocated the return of these magical artifacts to their realms instead of nullifying their magic. Archer is also looking for the green glass beads his faerie mother lost, causing her banishment from the faerie realm, the abandonment of her lover and lately her death. Since then Archer lived in human foster-care, feeling that he didn't belong to the realm he was confined to. He collects all the objects which belonged to his family. The green glass beads have become his obsession, something that could give him peace, and maybe justice. He turned his need for a family, for a heritage, into objects. Objects are something you can hold, you can see, but sometimes what they stand for is this bundle of memories and wishes that almost hold a life energy.In their confrontations Archer and Rake dance around each other, turning the words they say against each other, they flirt. Even if they have different goals, Rake respects Archer, he can see that he's a man of principles, even if they're misguided. Archer feels something special for Rake, but what the Commander wants is strictly defined by what he is, even if the blossoming feeling which transpires from Rake's eyes is so rare that it's difficult to believe the Commander would be able to let it go. At one point the objects of desire - the beads, Rake, Archer - seem impossible to reconcile, and the readers know that something will have to give, to make their story work.In the third story, No Life But This, Astrid Amara pairs up two humans: Deven, who has recently returned from the realm of Aztaw, and Agent Silas August, who has the reputation of a stern and cold man. They have to investigate the death of August's colleague in Mexico City, a murder which is linked to the almost unknown Aztaws. Deven is called as a consultant. He lived in the dark Aztaw for years, taken and relegated there by his (crazy) father. He survived there as a warrior, a servant to Lord Jaguar. WHile he was there, the Aztaw realm was going through a period of civil war and dissolution, and Deven fleed taking with him the magical object of power of his lord.I think Deven is awesome. He still feels out of place among the humans, because his staying in Aztaw left him a sight defect and no clue about the way people behave socially, so much so that he mimics what he sees others do to feel less awkward.August seems cold, but we can see glimpses of his attraction to Deven from the off-handed remark about his "green pretty eyes" to the ogling of the other man.The story, with its many turnings, is a real ride, where the Aztaw world and magic bleed into the human realm. Deven's character has a fascinating growing arc, because he had to change his vision of life, to override his instincts and to question his loyalties in order to solve the case and protect Silas. I don't know if Silas changed, but the constant exposure to Deven was very beneficial, because it brought out the best in him, even if he was maybe trying to resist it, but he had to learn to love again.In the fourth story, Things Unseen and Deadly, Ginn Hale writes about two outcasts. Jason is a talented musician, who has spent years under medication since when he saw monsters killing his father. Since he is barely surviving and can't afford his medicines, he is convinced that's the reason why he continues to see monsters and strange creatures. It's hard for him to keep a job, and unfortunately the first steady job he finds suddenly disappears in a mist.Half-dead Henry is one of the most experienced Irregulars, with a reputation of a man of power but also hopelessly drunk. He is a revenant, he can open the Shade Lands, the place of the restless dead.When they meet, Henry immediately realizes there's more in Jason than meets the eye: Jason can see the truth at the core of people; there's something soothing and enthralling in him; he can heal with his songs. It doesn't take long to find out that Jason is the most coveted being in the realm of fairies.Both Henry and Jason were betrayed, Henry by his lover, Jason by his family. They don't really belong in the world they're living in, but they are good for each other. Jason can see the real, decent, caring, loving man hidden behind Henry's wasted persona, Jason can heal him, but also Henry becomes a harbor for Jason. I was riveted by the way they entered each other's life. It was as if Henry was able to fuel Jason's power and self-awareness, while Jason gave back to Henry hope and maybe his humanity.I hope the authors will play again with this world, because it's full of possibilities. I also hope the characters will return sooner or later, they were all fascinating, and since we didn't hear the voices of all the characters, I'd like very much to see stories from Gunther, Rake and Agent August, and meet Henry and Jason again. Highly recommended!

  • Jenre
    2019-01-22 19:33

    Wow, wow, wow, I LOVED this book!The book is made up of four stories all based around the same fantasy setting. The real world as we know it is only one of many realms. Each realm has its own peoples and some of them live among us, disguised by glamour or changed in the womb to look human. The Irregulars are a branch of NATO whose job is police these other-realm people. Each story follows at least one Irregular officer as they are drawn into various mystery cases and an unexpected romance.Each story is individual but also retains a similarity in terms of overall world-building, despite being set in different locations. I honestly can't pick out a favourite story because I liked all of them for different reasons. Some were more gruesome than others, for example the first story by Nicole Kimberling deals with cannibalism and ought not to be read whilst eating - it made me feel a little green about the gills and I don't usually mind horror stories. Some kept the setting fairly low key, such as Josh Lanyon's story which focused more on character detail and tense action scenes, than vivid and fantastical other realms, whereas Astrid Amara and Ginn Hale's stories contained scenes set outside the 'real' world or described in detail other realms as well as the character detail. All the stories contained characters who were fresh and interesting, unique in their personalities. I particularly liked the goblin theme than ran through many of the stories. In fact, much of my pleasure in reading this book came from all the tiny, incidental details we learn, sometimes not really connected to the main characters, which built up a clear and coherent picture of the world and the Irregulars. This is fantasy writing at its best.However, these stories are more than just fantasy as a they have a strong romantic core. Each story contains a different type of romantic pairing but some of the characters crop up in other stories, either as secondary characters or mentioned in passing. Actually, if I have a complaint it's that I wished there were footnotes in the book because I found myself having to scan back through the stories to work out where a character had been referenced earlier. That's only a minor niggle though because the romantic elements were very satisfying.This publisher is one of my favourites and once again Blind Eye Books haven't disappointed. I highly recommend this book to those who love fantasy with a strong dose of romance.

  • Ami
    2019-02-03 21:40

    Cheries Worth Getting (Nicole Kimberling) ~ 3.5 starsKeith Curry is a ex-chef turned Irregular Agent, who is investigating culinary-related crime (humans are being murdered and their flesh are, well, being served as meat on restaurants *yuck*). Enters Gunther Heartman, an agent who is also goblin expert, and one time Keith's ex friends-with-benefit. They now must work together, while navigating around the 'case of the heart' as well.It's an interesting set-up to the world of Irregulars agent. I think Keith is appealing, because he actually starts as a professional chef, rather than directly interested with Irregular's world (his reason for joining is interesting). The romance is subtle -- and there are some tender moments. So, though the ending is not HEA (it's more Hopeful For Now), I think the story is pretty good.=========Green Glass Beads (Josh Lanyon) ~ 3.5 starsArcher Green is a half-faerie who works as a curator of the Museum of State-Sanctioned Antiquities in Vancouver. All his life, he is a bit obsessed of finding green glass beads, magical items that is part of his family heritage. Commander Rake is an Irregular Agent, Vancouver Division, and he is certain that Archer has a connection with the illegal acquisition of a highly dangerous magical artifact. Definitely not love at first sight for these two :). Aaah, Archer and Rake -- why do I keep remembering Adrien and Jake :P.The story is strictly from Archer's point of view, so we get why he wants the green glass beads so much and how his perception of Rake slightly changes. I have to say it's classic Josh (you know, one of his heroes is always a bit of a jerk, yes, I'm looking at you, Rake!) though the ending is heavenly sweet (with something out of romance movie, with rains and all). Considering that this (might be) the only new Josh Lanyon's title out this year, I wholeheartedly savour it. =========No Life But This (Astrid Amara) ~ 4 starsDeven is an Aztaw expert, working for NATO Irregular Task Force, Mexico City, as a consultant to help a murder of an agent and his sister on what seems to be caused by Aztaw magic. Agent Silas August is the one in charge, since the victim is his partner. This story is the longest in this anthology, and pretty complex with Aztaw culture and magical creatures; and I also think this is the most round-about story; feels more like a short novel. Strictly written from Deven's perspective (3rd person), I find him as very likeable character. He used to be an assasin for one of the Aztaw's Lord, but at the same time, he was also a victim. Deven was taken to Aztaw land when he was only 10 years old and he survived sacrifice from the Lord that ended up being his Master. Stockholm syndrome? Or just a different perspective on loyalty? Unfortunately, I don't feel like I know much about Agent August though -- except that he seems lonely. But that's okay, Deven is interesting enough for the two of them. The relationship builds slowly as both actually carry their own baggages. Sexual wise, it's pretty "clean". I actually think this is more on the urban-fantasy element rather than the romance; however, it is nevertheless satisfying.============Things Unseen and Deadly (Ginn Hale) ~ at the moment DNFSorry, I cannot rate this one yet. I'm just not pulled into the story, cannot get passed the first chapter. Not interested with the characters. Maybe I'm not in the right mood. Please note, from all the authors here, Ginn Hale is the one that I'm less familiar with. Even if I read her stories before, but I couldn't remember it being spectacular for me to remember any of them. That is why hers is not a priority. I might visit this later, but for the moment, it's a DNF for me.

  • ttg
    2019-02-19 23:33

    Anthologies can be a mixed bag and I mostly don't go for them, especially since it can be hard to keep momentum up through the whole book.Project concepts like the Irregulars though is a great way to do it. As other reviewers have discussed, the anthology is based in the same setting--our world, but skewed, with the existence of other realms and supernatural beings, and an international police organization that helps maintain order and minimize "incidents" between the humans and other beings.By having the authors "play" in the same world, using the same rules, and even bringing in characters from other stories in the anthology, they're building individual pieces that contribute to an overall rich reading experience. It's a lot of fun, and I definitely recommend reading the stories in order. You'll get more of the side jokes and references.The Irregulars didn't suffer from the other big issue that anthologies can suffer from--inconsistency. All four stories were great reads. The author styles are not identical, but they flow well together. I enjoyed all four immensely, but I would say that my favorites were Lanyon's Green Glass Beads and Hale's Things Unseen and Deadly, since I've already gone back and reread them.This book also got me interested in checking out Hell Cop, which several of this book's authors contributed to--same anthology style of one world, different stories. I just started, but so far, that's also good.This is a neat model to do these shared author projects. I would definitely be up for reading more from the Irregulars universe, and I recommend this book for anyone looking for a m/m read that features fantastical elements, excellent writing, and really wonderful characters (and of course, romance. :D)

  • Vanessa North
    2019-02-05 01:37

    this was... pretty good.Yeah.The worldbuilding was good. Creepy, but also cool. The paranormal aspects were really well done. And as far as mixed-author shared worlds go, I felt these authors worked really well to tie their stories together cohesively.If I were to rate the individually, Ginn Hale's story would be the standout 5 star read of the bunch. Imaginative, emotive, really well written, and it could stand alone without the others, but it was enriched by the details from the other stories.Plot-wise, I found Astrid Amara's piece excellent, but the execution not as strong. Hottest sex scene of the antho though.Josh Lanyon's story was atmospheric and really sexy, but felt less paranormal than the others, which seemed odd since both MCs were otherworldly creatures. *shrug*Nicole Kimberling's story was gross. And fun. And really gross. It was a great start to the anthology.And I know I just reviewed them backward, but you know, that's how it goes.Solid anthology. recommended.

  • Mandapanda
    2019-01-24 02:24

    I loved all the stories in this anthology. All rated between 4 - 5 stars. My favourites were Astrid Amara's for spinning such a unique and imaginative tale, and Ginn Hale's for the brilliantly complicated hero, Half-Dead Henry. Most of the endings were HFN and I'm really hoping that the authors will return to this world for a second go around, like they did with Hell Cop and Hell Cop 2.

  • Natasha
    2019-02-02 02:46

    Well.I'm not going to lie. I've only read Green Glass Beads by Lanyon.And that shit is 5/5. Or, like, 10000/5.Hot shit.

  • Em
    2019-02-04 22:28

    This was a lot of fun. I don't read that many anthologies, I often find them a disappointment as I prefer to get my teeth into a bigger book. However, I've been meaning to read this one for a long time as I'm a huge fan of Ginn Hale's and knew one of the entries was hers -Things Unseen and Deadly . All the stories were of a good standard and very enjoyable, although as expected Ginn's was the best of all!

  • Xing
    2019-02-06 18:26

    This is the first anthology I have read, and boy was it a good one! All I can say is that if you are a fan of science fiction, fantasy and paranormal, then you should give Irregulars a shot. I am familiar with two of the authors involved (Josh Lanyon and Ginn Hale) and was thoroughly impressed with Nicole Kimberling and Astrid Amara.In my opinion, each story gets better and better. The world building is rich, with the paranormal and fantasy elements having become part of scientific protocol and regulations of the NIAD. The characters are varied with each story consisting of a pairing of NIAD employee/agent with a non-NIAD or paranormal character. There is some conflict or mystery with each story that comes to a satisfying end. I would recommend reading the story in order (or at least leaving Ginn Hale's story for the end); the reason being that by Things Unseen and Deadly (TUAD), you have the return of an agent as a secondary character, mention of the other agents, and mention of an ancient artifact from another story. In a way, TUAD is a nice way to tie up the stories that precede it.

  • M
    2019-02-21 19:41

    I think I dreamed this book. No, really. It cannot be possible that four MM titans have come together to write a spectacular alternative-world anthology that is so awesome, so creative, so coherent and unputdownable that I've been awake for 36 hours gobbling it up. Like, that just does't happen. It's too good to be true. It's all of my birthdays at once (and Christmases too - if I wasn't agnostic). So, I have, in a wonderful, wonderful dream, created this book and enjoyed it immensely. I generally don't like anthologies, they're choppy and disjointed and if the stories are any good, they're mostly too short for my liking. But what a brilliant idea this was. It's really four novellas about a secret agency that polices magical stuff on Earth, each story is distinct but themes and characters recur throughout and that's what makes the whole thing work. Even the perspective shifts are interesting and well-thought out. The romance aspect is not central to any of the stories, in fact, it kinda feels like the icing on the awesome-cake. Okay, I think I've gushed enough. I have one more word and it is more. Please.

  • Leanne
    2019-01-29 01:35

    I read this slowly, deliberately savouring it in little self-controlled bites when I really just wanted to devour the whole thing in one go. I'm glad I did. What an astonishing world! What a thrilling ride!Would it be presumptuous to ask for more, please? ;-PAs Feliz puts it in her much more eloquent review, ... Books like this one are the reason I read. Highly, highly recommended!

  • Deeze
    2019-01-31 02:43

    Cherries Worth Getting by Nicole Kimberling Interesting idea. I loved Gunther and the little oddities he had like chewing cigarettes and drinking lighter fuel. Keith was also a good guy. I totally understand his eating habits although I think I'd worry about all foods not just meats. Overall this was a good read with plenty of scope to turn it in to a series4 stars Green Glass Beads by Josh LanyonLeave it to Josh to give me an interesting story with chemistry between the guys but in a slow build. I loved the whole dynamics of this one. Rake was everything I could of wanted and Archer was interesting and sweet. I loved pretty much all of this one.4 stars No Life But This by Astrid Amara This was my favorite. Everything was so well executed. Deven was so lovely despite his outward cold appearance. August was pretty perfect too. I loved their slow build relationship. Their first kiss was swoon worthy. As for the Supernatural part, boy was that well thought out. The Aztaws were fantastic. I shuddered at the thought of Deven being left in that place as a child. Theclimax was gripping and I just enjoyed the hell out of this one5 stars Things Unseen and Deadly by Ginn HaleOK this ties with Astrid Amaras story. Fantastic world building. Swoon worthy characters and just an all round gripping read.Such interesting characters and definite chemistry between Henry and Jason. I loved Jasons sweetness and vulnerability. The ending was the stuff of dreams LOL. Perfect.5 starsOverall I loved this book. I wish there were more like it. Well done to all the authors. They really brought these characters together as a whole story rather than just different stories lumped together.

  • Kathleen
    2019-02-17 01:29

    All the freakin' stars. Best. Anthology. Ever. Stellar world building. Colorful, well drawn characters. Brilliant storyline. Four of the best writers in our genre come together to give us four fantastic novellas set in the same world of urban fantasy. Highly recommended!

  • Kyra
    2019-02-21 21:34

    I picked this up because of Josh Lanyon. He's my favorite writer and before I started reading I was only truly interested in his story from this anthology. I'm so very glad I decided to read the other stories as well because this whole universe sucked me in and when I reached the very last page I was sad to see it end. Not to mention that as the anthology progressed the stories just kept getting better and better.Cherries Worth Getting by Nicole Kimberling3.5 stars It would have been a mistake to skip this one and start with the one I wanted to read the most because this story introduced us to the world of the Irregulars and set the tone for the rest of the anthology. Without reading this a lot of things would have made much less sense. It was also an enjoyable read. I loved Gunther's strange eating habits. :)Green Glass Beads by Josh Lanyon4 starsI've been craving a new story from Josh Lanyon and this had everyting I love about his writing. The ending was sweet but I would have liked to spend a little more time with Rake and Archer at the end of the story.No Life But This by Astrid Amara4.5 starsDeven was my second favorite character in the whole anthology. His backstory was both horrifying and fascinating and it was interesting to see him trying to re-adjust to the world he had been taken from as a child. And he was so adorable the way he got excited over a milkshake or a watermelon. :) I also loved the slow way August and Deven realized their attraction to each other.Things Unseen and Deadly by Ginn Hale5 starsThis was my favorite story in the whole anthology and Henry was my favorite character. He was a hoot! I loved his sense of humor, he made me laugh out loud several times. The reason why he became half-dead was heartbreaking and I'm so glad he got his HEA as well. It was great to see the characters from the other stories make an appearance in this one way or another (although I was a bit disappointed that Archer wasn't mentioned, just Rake). So far I've only read a short story from this author and if this story is any indication of how she usually writes, then I'm very much interested in her other books.

  • Sara
    2019-01-27 00:27

    Reading this one out of order. Green Glass Beads by Josh LanyonLeave it to Lanyon to make me fall in love with a man who is half faerie and swoon over Commander Rake of the Irregulars. Good lord. I really, really enjoyed being in this world of magical artifacts as Archer does his job as curator of the Museum of State-Sanctioned Antiquities in Vancouver. I mean, gold tears, Hermes winged sandals and a naga snake skin shed by an Indian demon... I want to see these things behind their glass cases - secured of course because shit can happen in this story and I don't think my redheaded ass would be good for a snack. Ya know? Anyhoo, this is total classic Lanyon that I love with a magical twist that was really easy to get into. Not a lot of world building and thank goodness for that, I could see Archer from page one with the son of a whoring goblin as he waits for the Moth Man *cringes* and blends into the shadows to save his own ass. The romance? Again, classic Lanyon with the witty banter and the over the top tension you feel between the men but this time with the sex? That. Was. Hot. Unexpected and hot. Natasha can give me a big fat "I told you so", because she told me so. Unf. Just unf to that. I came her for Lanyon but I like the deal of the Irregulars so I think I'll give the other stories a go too. But Rake.. rhymes with Jake and I'll leave it at that. *nods*

  • Heather C
    2019-02-02 20:25

    Interesting worldCherries Worth Getting by Nicole Kimberling ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆I really liked this story and thought the premise was interesting...but i wanted more. Biggest complaint is that the writing was a bit stilted and choppy. Green Glass Beads by Josh Lanyon ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆I thought this story was kinda boring. I didn't care about the characters at all, but I thought it had a sweet ending. Still, I was glad when it was over. No Life But This by Astrid Amara ★ ★ ★ ★ ★Loved! Loved! Loved this story. It's my favorite in the anthology for sure. Really liked the mystery and the imagery and the characters. Things Unseen and Deadly by Ginn Hale I started this one and it was too confusing for me to follow. May revisit later.

  • Wandering Reader
    2019-02-13 00:44

    Upgraded to five stars. Truly one of the best anthologies I've read in this genre. I loved how although each story stood alone, they all existed in the same fictional realm(s) and that there were brief mentions/glimpses of the other MCs in each book. Wonderful storytelling and interesting plots.I enjoyed each story so very much and loved the codas each author so kindly shared as well,

  • ⚣❣☙ Michaelle ❧❣⚣
    2019-02-14 18:41

    4.3 StarsBrilliant and engaging - I did NOT expect to like it as much as I did. And I have to say I absolutely loved the last one. The way Ginn Hale wove together strings from the other three, incorporated small details mentioned in the other stories, was flawless. And honestly, I think I loved her characters best. Especially Henry.

  • Barb ~rede-2-read~
    2019-02-17 23:41

    This was quite a long anthology but each story was interesting and different while keeping the theme of being about crime solving by members of the NATO Irregular Affairs Division (NIAD), aka The Irregulars. This law enforcement agency deals with those "other world" creatures who reside here on earth alongside humankind, though most humans aren't even aware of their existence. Cherries Worth Getting by Nicole Kimberling was one of the darker stories as the two investigators, Harry and Gunther, investigated a human cannibalism crime. I liked it but it unfolded at a slower pace than some of the others and I found myself looking forward to the end. Green Glass Beads by Josh Lanyon was a gripping adventure about Asher, a museum curator, half-human, half-fairie, and Rake, the new commander of the local chapter of the Irregulars, who is apparently also a demon. This is a great story of the adventure Asher takes to reclaim his heritage and the demon who helps him do it. This was one that I couldn't put down until I finished. No Life but This by Astrid Amara is about Deven, an expert in Aztaw magic, and August an Irregulars Agent who is assigned to work with him to solve the murder of August's partner. Deven lived among the Aztaw for ten years and has only been back to this world for the past year. This one is a very long story with lots of “other world” detail. I found it interesting and exciting. The last story is Things Unseen and Deadly by Ginn Hale. This one is about Jason, a young man who is apparently the missing prince of a sidhe clan and Henry, aka Half-Dead Henry, an Irregulars Agent resurrected from the half-dead world he's inhabited for the past 94 years. The initial crime leads to the discovery that Jason is the missing prince and Henry takes it upon himself to be Jason's principal protector. I really enjoyed this one as well. The world building was terrific and I liked the fact that the author was able to weave in the characters from the other stories at the end of this one. It made a nice wrap-up to the anthology.

  • Mandi
    2019-01-26 21:31

    This was just really, really good. I guess with these authors, you really can't go wrong. And my first read from Ginn Hale! I'll have to check out the author's backlist because I think I liked that story the best.Individual ratings;Cherries Worth Getting by Nicole Kimberling - 4 stars. Great introduction to the world and I liked Gunther. Green Glass Beads by Josh Lanyon - 4 stars. Really just loved both these characters and the ending was very sweet.No Life But This by Astrid Amara - 5 stars. I loved Devon. Deadly, but so innocent in other ways. Things Unseen and Deadly by Ginn Hale - 5 stars. My first read from this author and it was amazing! I liked seeing characters from the other stories make an appearance. And Henry's backstory was heartbreaking so it's great to see him get his HEA.Really cannot recommend this enough! Well worth the read :)

  • K.J. Charles
    2019-02-08 01:44

    Great idea, four authors I like very much. I find this story length really frustrating as a reader, as it's long enough for me to want a full book, which would have made me happy in all cases. The Astrid Amara story was the one I particularly wanted a lot more of.

  • Aiko
    2019-01-25 02:41

    Best anthology I've ever read. It's brilliant. Go go read it!

  • Sammy Goode
    2019-01-31 20:23

    “…he’d found glory an overrated commodity. Didn’t keep a body whole or even make for good company through the lonely evenings that followed its capture.”Things Unseen and Deadly, Ginn HaleJust a brief note before you begin reading the individual reviews of the stories from the anthology, Irregulars. This is a stunning collection of stories that carry us into a fantasy world complete with mythical creatures, fascinating humans and sweet romance. Literally, this book has it all. Impeccable writing, devilishly good story telling and some wry humor that would make the most stern amongst us chuckle. The creative talents housed within these pages have prepared for a feast for the imagination! I invite you in to their remarkable world, kick back, pull up a chair and escape for just a short while into the delightful world of the Irregulars! I promise you will never want to leave!Cherries Worth Getting By Nicole KimberlingThe first story in the anthology Irregulars is Cherries Worth Getting by Nicole Kimberling. Here we are introduced for the first time to the branch of NATO called NIAD (NATO Irregulars Affairs Division), which polices any “other realm traffic, beings and artifacts”. Therefore, it stands to reason that some of the agents working for NIAD would themselves be “irregulars”. This is certainly the case with one of the two main characters (mc) in our first story, Gunther Heartman. Gunther is a transmogrified gobbling. In other words while still in-utero his parents were able to make the decision to change his appearance. According to our other mc, Keith Curry, this was indeed a wise decision. It seems that most goblins are made entirely of “bone, talons, and teeth” and are quite terrifying in appearance. They also enjoy eating cigarettes and washing them down with a lighter fluid chaser---just brilliant! But Keith has another reason for avoiding goblins—one that affected his life in a rather gruesome and disturbing way. But let me get to that in a moment.These two agents are sent to investigate a series of cannibalistic killings—where creatures, not always human, are skinned, butchered and served in a variety of savory dishes—lovely! (Note sarcasm, please!) Their investigation leads them into various dining rooms and food suppliers including a creamery where vampires raise goats for milk production. Are you beginning to get just a glimpse of the subtle and sometimes not-so-subtle tongue-in-cheek humor here? Anyway, one thing leads to another and they find that the investigation eventually leads them to discover that a certain cookie and its production are key clues in unraveling just who is behind the cannibalistic ritual-like killings that are taking place in the Pacific Northwest. Couple this with the discovery that a hereditary market place stall (a valuable commodity) is the real impetus behind the killings and you have all the makings of a darn-good old-fashioned who-dunnit murder mystery wrapped in a fantasy world so remarkably well drawn that you expect to walk into NATO and find an office door bearing the sign, Irregulars Branch!Before I heap more praise on author Nicole Kimberling for her rendering of such a witty and imaginative world that inhabits characters that immediately feel like friends you have known all your life, let me tell you just a bit about the relationship between Gunther and Keith and the rather unsettling (read horrifying) event that led Keith to work for NIAD.Gunther and Keith are former fly by lovers. Drawn to one another out of a mutual attraction, they had a series of one-night stands that terminated rather abruptly when Gunther told Keith that he was most certainly not the man for him! Unfortunately this occurred right as Keith wanted to take their relationship or lack thereof to another phase. When we meet them, Keith becomes increasingly aware that his past has left him more than a little bigoted about goblins as a race and has affected any relationship dreams he might have had for he and Gunther. This does not stop the two men from falling for one another all over again, however. What we do discover is that Keith was once a chef—a meat-eating chef, who while preparing a dish from mysterious meat provided by a customer, realizes that in fact he has been handling human flesh. If this is not gruesome enough, he admits to Gunther, as he is retelling his story, that on several occasions he tested the dish by tasting the meat. Upon discovery of it’s actual history, the fact that it was human flesh, Keith called NIAD to investigate and swore off meat for good. Can you blame him?I could go on and on about how humorous and satisfying a read this little story was for me! But, since I have 3 more to talk with you about today, I will leave you with the hearty recommendation that you step into this complex and crazy world Ms Kimberling has created and “feast” upon its goodness! (Pun intended!)Green Glass BeadsBy Josh LanyonGreen Glass Beads by Josh Lanyon carries us out of the States into the neighboring country of Canada and into the life of Archer Green, half-faerie, and curator of MoSSA (Museum of State Sanctioned Antiquities). However, there is more than meets the eye in this young fey, as we recognize upon the start of our story where we find him hobnobbing with goblins and a shady character referred to as the Moth Mann searching for the elusive green glass beads. To understand their importance one must first know Archer’s ancestry. He is the last of his line, a descendant of the wood nymph Thalia, of the Greenwood Clan. In fact, the beads once belonged to Thalia herself, making them priceless, particularly to Archer. His “obsession” with any artifacts related to the Greenwood clan stems from his Mother’s suicide and his subsequent years of shuffling through human foster care. Left without a tether to the faerie realm, never able to return home, he is adrift and clings to any ancestral antiquities he can discover. To further add to his mystique, in his younger years, he was a member of the radical SRRIM (Society for the Rescue and Restoration of Indigenous Magic). While the organization was always radical in nature, in recent years it has turned to methods that are both unsavory and illegal and Archer has removed himself from association of the group. His mother, after giving birth to Archer lost the ancestral beads and it is here where our story begins.Into Archer’s life comes the new boss of the Irregulars, Commander Rake. Archer finds himself immediately drawn to Rake, eventually allowing himself to be seduced and, during their steamy sexual encounter, Rake is revealed to be a demon. (A quick aside here: Apparently Archer is fond of a batch of rather pornographic demon postcards that he keeps by his bedside. This little discovery makes the coming together of Rake and Archer even more delicious!) Through a series of events, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the law. When Archer attempts to steal the beads from an extortionist (Gaki), who is attempting to blackmail Archer into working for SRRIM again, it is Rake who rescues him and then turns him over to the authorities. With the aid of his friend and boss, Barry Littlechurch, Archer is able to relocate to a country where no one knows him and escape prison time. While I would love to divulge the end of this fast-paced, rather winsome romantic fantasy tale, I will suffice it to say that I ended this novella with a smile on my face and a sigh of contentment. It hardly needs saying but Mr. Lanyon is a consummate storyteller. His ability to weave a tale that captures both your heart and invigorates the mind is almost always a certainty and this gem never fails to deliver! I fell just a bit in love with Archer Green. My heart went out to this young man who had lost so much in his life. This story had such bittersweet moments, and such fine details, down to the novella opening with the Harold Monro poem about the story’s namesake. However it was the dance between Rake “a poetry spouting demon” and Archer that warmed the heart and stirred the soul. With a sigh, I moved on to the next story in this amazing anthology.No Life But ThisBy Astrid AmaraThe Irregulars anthology next leads us to Mexico in Astrid Amara’s story No Life But This. While I found many of the other characters in this anthology both fascinating and, at times, downright fun to be around, Deven Shaw is thus far the most compelling character written to date. Taken by his father to the world of Aztaw as a young boy, he is exposed to such atrocities that it is difficult to believe he manages to survive. At the age of 10, his father, the Irregulars ambassador to this alien land, is murdered and Deven is scheduled to be the next human sacrifice for Lord Jaguar. The use of human blood sacrifices was actually the very reason that Deven’s father was sent to Aztaw. Because the almost feudal system (Lords and vassals, or in this case, soldiers) was essentially run on the exchange of blood donation in order to keep the Lords alive, the Irregulars found it necessary to negotiate a treaty of sorts that would halt the outright kidnapping and slaughter of humans. However, Deven’s father was betrayed and murdered and his son Deven slated to be sacrificed. Indeed some 13 years later Deven bears the scar from having his throat slit during the ritual. It was his own courage, grasping the ankle of the soldier attempting to kill him that moved Lord Jaguar to halt the ritual. However the next 13 years spent in the total darkness that marked the land of Aztaw and acting as an assassin for Lord Jaguar, left Deven without any idea how to act in the human world. Upon the supposed death of Jaguar, Deven returns to the human world and becomes a consultant for the Irregulars. A ritualistic killing with all the hallmarks of an Aztaw bloodletting ritual finds him in Mexico and partnered with Agent Silas August. The story then follows these two men as they race against time to destroy yet another rogue Lord—Night Axe from taking over and destroying the feudal society to set himself up as the lone ruler. I could go on and on with details from this story. Suffice it to say that watching these two men, Silas and Deven, forge a bond that simultaneously strengthens and heals them both was a beautiful thing to behold! This was a complex, multilayered story that delved into many areas. Ms. Amara explores, through the character of Deven, the assimilation of what is tantamount to a feral child who is fighting his way back into normal society. We watch with fascination and sadness as Deven goes through levels of despair and frustration while re-learning how to accept being touched, adjusting to the noise, the light, and most shockingly, the idea that his first reaction to kill is not the best solution to a problem. Along the way he learns what is it to be in love with another man, Silas August. She explores the idea of the mysticism surrounding a society that uses spells and rituals that allow them to bend and freeze time in order to travel from one dimension to another. The incredible array of otherworld creatures that Ms. Amara develops is nothing short of stunning. The author takes the basic thread of the Irregulars and creates an entirely new world to compliment the one she and her fellow authors have already established. This story is, simply put, pure genius when it comes to character and world building within a story!Things Unseen and DeadlyBy Ginn HaleMeet half dead Henry. His former lover stabbed him in the heart and unwittingly created a man who could virtually live forever. A man whose purpose in life is to help those lost souls who cling to life in the Dark Lands find their rest. He himself is a wounded man, a shell of a former self who walks alone…until he meets Jason. Jason has the ability to transform the simplest of melodies into magical commands. He holds within the secret that can either destroy an entire race (Sidhe) or set them free from their tyrant King (Greine). Of course Jason is totally unaware he holds this power. He has seen his father murdered by strange and horrifying creatures after losing his mother at an early age. Tossed from one psychiatric ward to foster home after another, he is certain the monsters he sees cannot be real. He is simply one small dose of an anti-psychotic medicine from finding they really don’t exist at all. Until he meets Henry and the world turns upside down and for the first time he hears the music of love.The story takes us to the far off realm of Tuatha De Danan where a vile and hateful king is slaughtering rebels indiscriminately while searching frantically for the Stone of Fal. The stone will give him unlimited power. When a young man (Jason) happens into a musical antiquities shop, the owner discovers he is the vessel in which the stone had been placed. The story then chronicles Jason and Henry’s attempts to survive and outwit all those set on killing Jason to retrieve the stone of power for themselves.And so unfolds the adventure that is Things Unseen and Deadly by Ginn Hale. Once again we are treated to the creation of a far off realm and a new yet very familiar cast of Irregulars. In fact one must doff their hat to Ms. Hale for including former friends such as Gunther, Silas August, and even Kale makes a brief appearance! But this story is not theirs. No this is a tale that belongs strictly to Henry and Jason and their remarkable journey together. Ms. Hale draws such sensitive and sweet characters. They draw you in, capturing your heart for just a brief while. This was indeed a most fitting end to a remarkable anthology!I took great delight in reading each of these works. I highly recommend Irregulars to you dear readers!

  • Emilia Barnes
    2019-02-05 21:42

    I didn't finish this anthology yet, but might do at some point. For now, however, I'm exhausted with it, and want to get it off my currently reading list. It's not a bad anthology, by any means. In fact, you do get your money's worth. And if you like paranormal thrillers/urban fantasy sort of stuff then this might actually very well be for you (provided you don't mind some M/M love in there, of course, though that is largely in the background). In my case, I'm not a fan of the former, and so I got this mostly because two authors in here I quite like. Short story 1: Cherries Worth Getting by Nicole Kimberling3/5This was an interesting concept, which ultimately failed to deliver on both the thriller/crime and the romance front. On the former, where we spent most of our time, suspects are introduced one after another, dozens at a time, all unremarkable, so you forget them, and then when they reappear, and one of them turns out to be the bad guy, you're lost, because you completely forgot them and/or mixed them up with three other characters. The investigation doesn't follow a logical line, where you can make guesses and anticipate the results. In terms of romance, I'm not super wild on the ones where the connection between the two people is mainly sexual. I mean, it's fine as these things go, but I prefer for two people to meet and get on and have good chemistry. Whether or not they get it on in the end is just not that interesting to me. However, if that's your jam, you might be into this.Short story 2: Green Glass Beads by Josh Lanyon5/5It was a cohesive short story, with a decent romantic sub-plot. Did not overstay its welcome and I would be happy to read a follow up if one was ever written.Short story 3: No Life But This by Astrid Amara1.5/5So this is the one that defeated me. For one, it is by far the longest of the anthology, and it really didn't have the umph to do it. Eventually, I gave up on it, just because it lost my interest and I was slogging through it. From the point of view of writing, this would make an interesting case study, because I cannot put my finger on what it was that lost me. I mean, stuff was happening, all the time. And the stakes were, apparently, high. And yet, I couldn't care less. Perhaps it was because the stakes regarded something that was happening in another world, a world we hadn't even visited? Perhaps it was because the characters were paper thin? I wasn't thrilled with the fact that as the only non-US set story, it still featured white American men as heroes. One of them is meant to have had a Mexican mother, but that doesn't count, since he's, in every aspect in which he was written, American. It commits one of the cardinal sins of romance writing: putting in romantic/flirty moments in inappropriate places. To give you an idea what I mean, if you're writing a romance, and your main character just had a terrible car accident in which he only survived and all the other passengers died, he better not be flirting with the paramedic, because it will make me, the reader, think he's a psychopath. Or perhaps suffering from some severe brain damage that affects personality. So here, August, whose partner (work partner) has just been killed in a gruesome, mysterious manner (and the death is meant to have affected him greatly), says to a man he has just met at the actual crime scene to "use [his] pretty eyes." In every possible circumstance this would have been awkward anyway. In this particular one, it's just bizarre. This happens at other moments too, August saying things which are just inappropriate, and which would (should) have got him reported for sexual harassment. Similarly, Deven, the hero of this story, is also much more open and unguarded than seems appropriate with a man he'd just met. Especially, because August, though flirty, is overall fairly hostile towards him (and everybody.)Which brings me neatly to the next point: I quite liked Deven, as a hero. He had a nice balance of strengths and weaknesses, and was the only well-rounded person for whom it was easy to care. I credit him with getting me through as much of the story I managed to read (and with earning this story the extra 0.5 score). August, on the other hand, was terrible. Just a terrible person, terribly written. Overall, there were too many improbabilities, too many developments which felt like the author going "Oh! I know what I'll do now!" which had the effect of making the whole feel like a second draft. Like something that needed polishing and ironing out still. Short story 4: Things Unseen and Deadly by Ginn HaleThis is the one I haven't read. I like Hale as an author, which is why I said I might return to the book and finish it one day. For now I'm giving this anthology a rest.

  • Shelby
    2019-02-02 22:34

    The “Irregulars” compiles a series of short stories all set in the same dark and twisted paranormal world. Each book builds on the previous one adding more and more layers to this complex picture. Cherries Worth Getting by Nicole Kimberling - ★★★So I’m a fan of the paranormal genre, but starting out a book with our hero Keith trying to track down goblins who trade in human flesh was a little well, ewwwww. Then to find out he got into his job because he used to be a chef and in a similar situation unknowingly was eating human flesh…yeah, I kinda draw the line at forced cannibalism being fun. Though I did enjoy the idea of him being the food expert working for NATO’s Irregular Affairs Division, dealing with all things paranormal. Also this book is much heavier on the mystery aspect than the romance. In fact I hardly felt any sort of romantic chemistry between Gunther and Keith despite their past history. There wasn’t any difficulty working together or anything, and ultimately very little talk before it was basically understood that they were back together. All in all this would have worked much better for me in a different medium. It would have made a fantastic episode of a show like “Grimm!” There I could have enjoyed the mystery aspects, even the slightly nauseating ones, and we could have had enough backstory for these characters to feel like we were getting a pay off of them now being together. It works as a short story, but isn’t as engrossing or captivating as I would have liked.Green Glass Beads by Josh Lanyon - ★★★★Ok now I know some people have had problems with this story, often feeling like it’s just another rote Josh Lanyon story, but I really enjoyed it. Now that might entirely be because I really haven’t read any of Mr. Lanyon’s books before so I have no bias going in. I enjoyed the characterization of both the main characters, Archer the young, mostly reformed fae obsessed with his family history, and with a penchant for bad boys, and Rake the demon in human clothing hiding who he is and working for the Irregulars. While the past history in the previous book worked against it I felt, here it made it more believable that Rake could have fallen for Archer while trying to catch him in illegal activities for over a year. I quite enjoyed Archer little problem with the rules when they stood between him and something he’s wanted, especially because in the end he’s really a truly good soul. These two are on opposite sides of a theoretical debate, but there’s common ground for them to stand on. And come on, demon sex is hot!No Life but This by Astrid Amara - ★★★★I really enjoyed this one. It’s a fabulous play on the ancient Aztec/Mayan gods. There was a prevalence of blood sacrifice in those cultures and the expansion of the idea of the underworld into a separate race of people was brilliantly done. Deven’s discomfort being thrust back into the real world after having been raised in the dark and violence of that other realm felt so real. His growing relationship and first real human connection with Agent August was a believable tumble and gave strength to the idea that he was considering staying here and not trying to find a way to go back to the only life he’s ever known. The plot twist at the end was a little over done and trite, but in this type of story you expect your hero to have to confront the thing he’s always relied on most and destroy it in order to grow. His final attachment to the Aztaw realm needed to be seen for what it was and he alone would have to fight against it. Still, the reveal in Aztaw was kinda silly, especially when for all their violent tendencies the Aztaw don’t attack them like the sitting ducks they were. In the end though I like the potential I feel for these two. I have hope that Deven can bring August out of the dark place he’s existed in since the death of his first lover and now his partner. Also that August truly has given Deven a reason to stay and to learn to enjoy this bright world he’s now a part of.Things Unseen and Deadly by Ginn Hale - ★★★★★Oooooh best one yet! Loved, loved, loved this story! The unknowing prince of the fae and the half-dead societal outcast were the perfect foil for each other. I loved how young and innocent Jason is and the way his magic manifests itself was just lovely. Such an interesting perspective on how not knowing magic exists could make one’s life miserable and nothing truly be their fault. I couldn’t imagine seeing crazy things every day and having no other explanation than that you’re crazy. Watching Henry open his heart for Jason over time was just perfect. Henry has had so much betrayal and pain in his life, something as bright and fresh as Jason couldn’t possibly have a place in his life. Keeping Jason safe from his lost family and every other faction that wants a piece of him may be more than one person can handle. Henry’s sacrifice in the end was so fitting for the person he is. The mystery and missing person’s case here builds quickly to the reveal and while it wasn’t anything too surprising it was so perfectly executed one can’t help but love the writing and story. I enjoyed the way every other story was brought back into this one in some way. I really felt like the world building grew even more here, and was a great culmination of the entire book. This was such a fun compilation. I really enjoyed the multitude of characters and paranormal creatures within these books. The whole book felt like it built on itself with each story getting stronger and stronger. While the books focused more on the mystery/crime aspects of each story with the romance as a sub-plot each relationship helped move the story along. All of the characters were interesting and I generally found myself wanting to more after each story finished. Such a fabulously fun read! If you’re into the paranormal genre definitely put this one on your must read shelf.

  • Kaje Harper
    2019-01-28 01:45

    These connected stories happen in an intersection of mystery and fantasy/paranormal with the central theme being the NIAD (NATO's Irregulars Affairs Division ) - a law enforcement and immigration agency that deals with all the visitors from other non-earthly realms. There is a small overlap of characters, and a good level of continuity in world-building, and all the stories are worth a read.Cherries Worth Getting by Nicole Kimberling :It's hard going first in a collection like this, because you have to do the biggest part of the world building. Kimberling does it well, with imagination, an interesting plot, and a coherent paranormal world. The romance here feels muted, and there is less emotion and more fantasy, which will please the less-romantic readers.Green Glass Beads by Josh Lanyon :A fast, smooth story about obsession, and love. Rake is a fun character, and the ethical dilemmas faced by the MCs made their story tenser and more interesting. More romantic than the first one, with a somewhat familiar Lanyon dynamic, but one that I enjoy.No Life but This by Astrid Amara :I liked the back-story here, the MCs and the set-up. I enjoyed Deven's struggle to reconcile the things that kept him alive in a dark and brutal realm, and the human world in which he now found himself. I was drawn into the fast-moving suspenseful plot (while at the same time had a couple of plot issues with it. (view spoiler)[ eg. No one tried a transfusion to see if it gave more energy to an agent being psychically drained of blood? And the action plot faltered a little. (hide spoiler)] But this still was my favorite out of the first three, because I am a romantic. This pairing and their emotions felt more intense and I was more invested in their love story than in the first two stories.Things Unseen and Deadly by Ginn Hale :This was the 5-star story of the collection for me, and a great way to end. I hesitated a little at first, because there is a big age and experience gap between Harry, long half-dead magician, and Jason, young and innocent musician. But as the story went along, revelations of both plot and back-story made me see that Harry, for all his age, really needed the simple goodness of Jason in his life. And Jason was much more than he seemed. There are a couple of fun cameos that hark back to the previous stories, and in all this was a wonderful smooth paranormal tale with a sweet ending.

  • Trix
    2019-02-19 01:42

    Quite the interesting collection of stories.(view spoiler)[I loved how gradually each story propelled me further into the world of the supranatural. We had Keith and Gunther sneakly working around the human world, trying to solve a mysterious series of murders. I found it very realistic and slightly frightening (it was hard to enjoy dinner after reading that story).I kind of liked Archer and Rake more out of all the couple presented because they had a bit more romantic development than the rest of the cast. However, as standalones, Rake didn't get a lot of characterisation and Archer was a bit selfish. Though, I felt that I was slowly moving from the human world towards the other realms.Deven and August made another step towards the supranatural world, as half the story took place on other worlds or presented other alien beings. I liked Deen for his shy nature and clumsy meas of getting accustomed to the human world. He and August made a nice couple, perhaps because of their differences. However, I felt the story dragged a bit. There was just a hint of exasperation as Night Axe, then Lord Jaguar kept getting the upper hand. And after the serious injuries both characters endured, I found it unbelievable that they would still be able to defeat their enemies.Henry and Jason were the last pair to be introduced. Their story was even more plunged into the supranatural with more than half the scenes taking place somewhere other than the human world. I felt bad for the suffering Henry had to endure and found it fitting that he should end up with Jason, prince of Tuatha Dé Dannan. And their skills and abilities were vry original and fascinating. It was a pleasure to discover what they could do. (hide spoiler)]I was biased about the stories and if hard pressed, I'd say the first 2 and the last were the nicest that I liked, with Amara's book coming in second place. But all of them are worth reading for the world building, solid characters and fantastic plot that keeps you hooked to the last word.P.S.: Thanks Akansha for suggesting me this story! :)