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review 2018-01-16 21:53
I ADORED this book. It was slow, sweet, and so very much in the vein of a Victorian romance.

A Most Unusual Wedding (The Mage and the Leathersmith #1)A Most Unusual Wedding by Nancy M. Griffis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I ADORED this book. It was slow, sweet, and so very much in the vein of a Victorian romance.

I first met Lord Leo Harris and Master Leathersmith Gerald Smithson in the .5 intro novella called A Most Unusual Courtship.... and I was smitten with them. The love continues in the first full novel by Nancy M. Griffis about these two wonderful men.

Leo and Gerald are getting marries... in less than three weeks! But Gerald really is a trouble magnet and Leo... well, Leo manages to find himself embroiled in a race to cure a magical plague sweeping through London.

Gerald's best friend, Harry, the sailing mage arrives in town for the wedding. There's Leo's nasty bastard of a prejudiced uncle, Mark Harris, who looks down his nose at Gerald and is determined to see that his heir 'comes to his senses' and doesn't marry below his station. Daniel, Gerald's beloved Grandad, is more than meets the eye, and somehow, once again, Gerald has come to the attention of someone of the 'wrong' sort. Gerald has a stalker who can circumvent wards and is apparently a mage.

So Leo must contend with best friends, stalkers and a plague to rival the Black Death - oh my! He has his work cut out for them. And then.... dun dun dun (cue dramatic music) Gerald becomes the latest one to catch the Plague. Time is running out for Leo,

Here's the book blurb:

Adventure brought unlikely lovers Lord Leonard “Leo” Harris and Master Leathersmith Gerald Smithson together. Now it threatens to tear them apart. Three weeks before their wedding, a plague strikes Victorian London—the worst to engulf the city in five hundred years. The symptoms are eerily reminiscent of the Black Death with boils, a horrific death, and immunity to magical cures. As one of the most powerful mages in the country, Leo searches for a cure and the person behind the scourge all while Gerald must finalize wedding plans and try to thwart a persistent—and unwanted—“admirer.” It’s a race against time as Gerald shows symptoms, and Leo must fight a powerful Dark Mage to get the cure before he loses the love of his life, possibly at the cost of his own soul thanks to this plague being driven by the dark.

Will Leo solve the mystery of the plague in time to cure Gerald? What secret is Grandad Daniel hiding? Who is the mysterious mage stalking Gerald? Will Uncle Mark ever NOT be a bastard? And what going on with Harry?

Read the book to find out!

PS... I just found out today that the sequel comes out in February. HUZZAH!!!

View all my reviews

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review 2018-01-13 23:54
A Most Unusual Courtship (The Mage and the Leathersmith .5)

I LOVED this Novella!

So I wasn't sure what to read and then I happened across this short little novella that takes place in an alt-realty Victorian England where mages and magic are an every day occurrence and gay marriage has been legal since the time of the Greek empire. So I figured what the hey, I'll give it a shot.

I'm so so so glad I did! I loved loved loved it!

We start the novella - which is a prequel to the next book but can totally be read alone - in the workshop of leathersmith Gerald Smithson. In walks a bright peacock of a man, Lord Leo Harris, mage. Trouble is the master leathersmith doesn't like mages. He avoids them, refuses their commissions and generally distrusts them. Leo tries charm, tries sweet talk and is flatly refused. Does this stop our Mage Lord? Noooo... Challenge accepted.

Problem is, that one extremely brief interaction brings Gerald to the attention of someone out to do Leo ill. A Dark mage. Cue ominous music. Gerald is kidnapped by the dark mage and its up to Leo to save him and then convince him to work together with Leo and maybe take a chance on a romance.

Gerald's grandfather is the comic relief in this - a cantankerous old curmudgeon with a heart of gold who only has Gerald's best interests at heart.

Seriously. Read this book!


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review 2013-08-19 00:00
Mutual Release (Stewart Realty)
Mutual Release - Liz Crowe Rating: 1 out of 5.I did not enjoy this novel. This novel hit several of my pet peeves in the worst way possible.The story mostly consisted of the characters’ sexual history, which was very stereotypical. As in the hero was obviously very free with his body, went to clubs, did BDSM and slept with just about a different woman (if not more) every night that he went to those clubs. Whereas the heroine has never been pleasured properly and has been abused.Of course, the story basically goes on to show how such a promiscuous man like Evan can help a woman like Julie with her life. He introduces the inexperienced her - inexperienced with regards to kink - to the BDSM life. They fall in love…I do have to say, that the secondary plot line about Evan’s sister Olivia made for a slightly different story, but regardless, such stereotypical features of the characters’ sex life is a huge pet peeve of mine and as such, I just couldn’t enjoy the novel.Give this novel a try if you don’t mind the characteristics of the main characters.ARC Courtesy of NetGalley and TriDestiny Publishing.
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review 2013-07-18 00:00
Mutual Release - Liz Crowe The overall story was done really well, Liz Crowe did a great job in the slow build up of the plot, with both protagonists'stories starting during their teenage years, more so for Evan than Julie. It gives that detailed look into their livesand how the events then influenced their choices later on. The overall tone however is dark, depressing to the pointthat you start questioning how everything will end. The story is more serial like in the pacing, there was a lot of timejumps and some initial confusion with the timeline but still engaging enough to find out what the ending was.
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review 2013-04-20 00:00
Mutual Release - Liz Crowe Advance copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley.

“’You have no idea what you’re missing.’ Damian’s voice stayed low, conversational. ‘I think you should let me show you.’” ---Mutual Release, Part I

Evan Adams is a classic golden boy, athletic, good looks and charming. Life is pretty normal for him & his twin sister, Olivia until an unexpected phone call changes the course of their lives forever…one riddled with pain, betrayal, guilt and self-loathing.
Evan & Olivia were always close, until Damian came into their lives. The son of Amanda’s college best friend came to live with the Adams family after his mother’s death, easily manipulating his way into the hearts of Evan’s family. Even with his entire family refusing to acknowledge or believe what was happening to their daughter, Evan knew there was something incredibly dark and evil about Damian. The problem was that Evan was fighting his own dark secret, his need to control, cause pain for pleasure...how can he out the one person who helped him realize what he truly was, a Dom.

“Stuffing down a flicker of guilt at her own craven manipulation she reminded herself she was the one who’d been manipulated for too long. It was her turn to have the f**king upper hand.” --Mutual Release, Part II

Julie Anderson Dawson, a beautiful bombshell who hides her hourglass figure under baggy clothes and golden tresses in tight ponytails. She likes to blend, be invisible, keep to the background, and with an acute sense of smell, she can’t stand to be close to people anyway. All her life, she has had “keep your knees together” lectures from her resentful mother, every day being reminded of how she ruined her figure and future by being born. Jealous of her daughter…I think so. Julie’s mother is a classic gold-digger and when she convinces the owner of the restaurant she works at to marry her, Julie hopes that her mother will finally be happy and the creepy stares from her step-father will cease. Julie now has options she never thought she would have; she has a car, lives in a big house, never has to worry about food, all the clothes she wants, even gets to go to a large University. She never thought she would be the one to pay the ultimate price, one higher than any girl should have to pay…with her innocence.

So, you have two broken pieces to a very complicated puzzle. A man with dark urges and a past filled with guilt and regret. A woman determined not to be a victim, to turn the tables in her favor after an ultimate betrayal. Can they find what they really need in each other; an outlet, a way to be whole, a mutual release from the shackles of their pasts?

Fast forward to present day:

“’So, enough of my personal true confessions. Here is the deal. I’m interested in you.’ She blushed at his grin. ‘Not you, you over eager a**h*le – your company, your brewery.’” –Julie Dawson, Mutual Release, Part III

Evan is persistent, domineering, and cocky, she hates him. Julie is cold, confident, and likes control, he wants her. She holds the key to his success, she also wants nothing to do with him…but yet, he brings calm to her mind that she cannot deny, maybe even needs. He changes her, and in turn she changes him. Together, they embark on a journey of lust, control, pain, pleasure, submission, trust, and ultimately, love. Even helps Julie to feel again, to allow her to be vulnerable, cherished, loved without conditions and how to forgive…but she’s not the only one learning.

“This is nuts. You can’t do this, not with him. Something about him will change you, make you different. And you have spent too many years crafting this strong persona out of the ashes of your shitty beginning. Don’t do it.” –Julie Dawson

In Julie, Evan met his match, his mate, his heart. He learned that being a Dom is in fact a two-way street. If she was to trust him, he had to trust her.

UGH!!! What a rollercoaster! I felt like this story pulled me through a series of emotions…most of which I did not like. I felt the fear, the pain, and the guilt. I couldn’t believe how much Evan and Julie mirrored each other. My heart broke for this couple as they struggled with their own demons all the while pasting on a strong, stone façade to those around them. Trying to be strong and in control all the time is exhausting. *sigh* I’m so drained after reading this; the extensive back stories, the change in point of view, the constant power struggle, wow, it’s a lot to absorb. With that being said, I enjoyed reading it. The dialog is witty, even laugh out loud funny at time, and there is a lot of depth to every character (even some I didn’t mention). There is an intimacy about this tale that kept me turning pages even though it confused me more times than I care to think about because I couldn’t keep up with whom was doing the narrating. It definitely kept me engaged, which I suppose is the point, right?

**** I give this book 4 very high strung stars. ****
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