Unconventional in San Diego

Title: Unconventional in San Diego
Author: Carol Lynne, Amber Kell, T.A. Chase, Jambrea Jo Jones, Devon Rhodes
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Release Date: July 11, 2015
Genre(s): Paranormal, Contemporary
Page Count: 198
Reviewed by: Jewel
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.3 stars out of 5

‘Fate’s Bridge’ by Carol Lynne

Is it possible for a soul to be reborn inside another?

What would you do if you discovered someone harboring a soul you recognized as one from a deceased loved one? For vampire Roman Gschwind, the scenario becomes a reality when he meets Bodi Rain.
Unfortunately, it soon becomes clear that Roman must share Bodi with another vampire if he has any chance of rekindling the love that he’d lost so long ago.

‘Coming in Third’ by Amber Kell

Love sometimes comes in threes.

With his mother plotting to have him wed, Niall decides to sneak out of the fae palace and fulfill one of his greatest fantasies. At the Unconventional bar, he finds a pair of lion shifters looking to spice up their love life. Unable to resist the strong attraction between them, Niall lets the persuasive pair take him home.

Jovan and Luka have been searching for their third for years. When Niall stumbles into the bar, their shifter instincts tell them the innocent fae could be their long sought mate. After a sensual night together, they’re certain the beautiful man was fated to be theirs.
His guards fetch him from the shifters’ bed and Niall is taken away from the pair. Upset about Niall’s return to the palace and a possible arranged marriage, the lion shifters battle to decide their future—should they go and fetch their mate or let it only be the one-night stand Niall promised them?

Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of M/M/M ménage.

‘The Unicorn Said Yes’ by T.A. Chase

When an innocent human virgin meets the king of the unicorn herd, it’s not just legends that come true.

Ivan Brusilov goes to Unconventional to get a drink and let off some steam. Little does he realize he’ll be meeting his destiny when he walks in.

Carney Ferguson goes to the paranormal bar to celebrate his twenty-fifth birthday. Maybe he’s looking for some fun as well, considering he’s still a virgin. He doesn’t like admitting it, but when he meets Ivan, he discovers that being a virgin can bring opportunities that being experienced might not.

As the unicorn king and the virgin begin to fall in love, there are darker forces working behind the scenes to take advantage of the unicorn legends for their own evil purpose. Neither Ivan nor Carney are safe alone, but together, they just might be strong enough to keep Ivan alive.

‘Blood on the Moon’ by Jambrea Jo Jones

Be careful what you wish for, especially when you’re a witch.

Montague Ramey wanted something to happen in his life. He thought when he found out he was a witch that his life would become more exciting, but it was the same thing every day. His coven was nice and boring, as was his job with the television station anchoring the news. The only excitement he got was going to the local bar, but there weren’t very many men who wanted to play. That was, until the moon turned red and his life changed.

After Kishar Nichelson’s motorcycle stalled on the highway with no traffic in sight, he stumbled into a small town around midnight, the red moon guiding his way. On the run and weak, Kishar needed to figure out where he was and who was after him before lack of sex killed him.
Can a witch and an incubus solve the mystery before one of them dies? The blood on the moon wasn’t the only thing they had to worry about. Meddling family, close calls with death and a missing witch are enough to keep anyone busy, but can Kishar and Montague still find time for love?

‘A Sliver of Sunset’ by Devon Rhodes

From one-night stand to nurse and patient—is it crazy to expect more?

Angelo has somehow developed leukemia—the only paranormal ever known to do so—and the doctors are mystified as to the cause. The cure requires him to repress his shifter side with a chemical inhibitor and be entirely human while he goes through chemotherapy, which contributes to some interesting situations he never would have foreseen—things like ‘misplacing’ his favorite bar, Unconventional, and getting picked up by a human without realizing it’s his mate.

Dominic can’t believe his luck when bravely striking up a conversation with the hottest guy he’s ever seen leads to the best sex he’s ever had. When he wakes up—no surprise—Angelo is gone. A week later, he’s shocked when he walks in to meet a new oncology patient to find Angelo fighting for his life and dependent upon his care.

Will their timing ever improve, or will Angelo’s time run out before they get a chance?

Unconventional in San Diego is a collection of paranormal stories that take place in and around a paranormal bar in San Diego, called “Unconventional”. Sounds fun, yeah? I’d go there, for sure! And while all the stories in this anthology were not to my liking, I do like getting the variety of authors, some of whom I had never read before. The only story that didn’t feel like “insta-love” was A Sliver of Sunset, by Devon Rhodes. And that one was my favorite of the bunch.

Fate’s Bridge, by Carol Lynne – 2.5 Stars

I liked the concept of the story, a lot, but the execution wasn’t as interesting as I had hoped. I didn’t really feel for any of the characters. Roman Gschwind, a vampire, is in San Diego looking for the man that is the reincarnated soul of his former human lover, Julian. We meet the characters and basically jump into sex, which was, unfortunately, not that interesting. And Alexi’s role in the story felt rather contrived. This story might work better with a longer format, so that character and world building could happen more easily.

Coming in Third, by Amber Kell – 4 Stars

I loved this short story! Niall is fae and he wants to live a little. His mother is an evil bitch of a fae with political ambitions and is set on marrying Niall off to someone that could help her gain power. She’s abusive and all around an awful awful person.

After overhearing a conversation between his mother and uncle, Niall decides that tonight is the night his fantasy of a ménage will happen, at last. Niall sets off for the paranormal bar, “Unconventional”, to see if he can find a suitable couple. And, boy, does he!

Luka and Jovan are both lion shifters. They’ve been together for twenty years and have been looking for a permanent third – their mate – for ages. One sniff of Niall and they know they have found their destiny.

There’s only one sex scene in this short story, and it is hot! And I rather liked the ending, which I, of course, won’t talk about here.

The Unicorn Said Yes, by TA Chase – 3 Stars

Cute story about a unicorn shifter finding a 25 year old virgin when he went to “Unconventional” for a drink. And virgins are irresistable to unicorns, so Ivan is totally Mr. Wanty with Carney. I found the story to be quite enjoyable and fun, but Carney was a bit “too” innocent and the conflict was way over the top.

Blood on the Moon, by Jambrea Jo Jones – 2.75 Stars

My second to least favorite story in this anthology. Witch paranormal isn’t all that interesting to me, apparently, but more than that the story felt like it happened too quickly with too little background. I mean, one moment Kishar is passed out in Montague’s entry way and the next, they are having sex. It just didn’t feel organic. After the impossibly insta encounter, I warmed up to the story and ended up liking it more than I thought I would. The big-bad was eye-rollingly over the top, but lessons were learned and we do get our happy ending.

A Sliver of Sunset, by Devon Rhodes – 4.5 Stars

The best was saved for last! A Sliver of Sunset was my favorite story in this anthology. I loved the build up from ‘hey, I think you’re hot, lets fuck’ to ‘you’re my mate’. Angelo is a shifter who has cancer. Illnesses like that are pretty much unheard of in shifters, so he is pretty well blindsided by the diagnosis. Right before starting treatment, Angelo meets Dominic and they have a very hot one night stand. But, of course, Angelo cannot pursue a relationship right now because of his treatment. But the fates won’t let a little thing like cancer to stand in the way of true love.

This story did not have a ‘short story’ feel at all. We get to know the characters and I felt their bond. It was beautiful. I would love to see this story continued or expanded. I want more Angelo and Dominic!

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Advanced Review Copy

ARC of Unconventional in San Diego provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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