The Smoke in His Eyes: A Magical Realism, Musical NovelREVIEWED BY DEBBIE

I have to say, this is a new kind of werewolf tale. Sure, there’s a moon and a guy that becomes a wolf when it’s full but that’s where this story goes on it’s own path. I am new to this author and though I started this series with book 4, I didn’t feel lost.
The book is told in first person by the main character, Michael Andrews, who is a famous author and the werewolf in the story. I love that he admits to being a beta male and as uncomfortable as I found some of his worries and especially his crying jags, they made his admission to being beta more defined.
His relationships with the 2 women in his life were well written and I especially liked many of the humorous moments thru out this tale.
The story and narration of this book, I would give a strong rating of 4 star. The reason I needed to rate overall a 3 was the 3 areas of the book where I felt Leslie went off topic and flat in explaining things that were not necessary and did not advance the plot in anyway.
That said, I feel that Mark Leslie did a great job of taking a fictitious story and addressing the real world problems of the hate and prejudice that have been growing in America today, showing the time bomb that is brewing and the importance of keeping vigilant to in these unsettling times.
I believe this book would appeal to readers of paranormal, action and romance novels.
Headlines, Deadlines, and LiesREVIEWED BY SUSAN

This story is about slavery and piracy with a great romance
Love, love, love this book. Very articulate with creative usage of language. It was easy to get caught up in the characters since they were so vividly described – their emotions and physical aspects. Even descriptions of the surroundings – the seas and islands – made you feel you were actually there experiencing it.
The author stayed true to the era, using old-fashioned words that added to the experience of the book. It was a stellar depiction of what it might have been like in the 1600s era of slavery and piracy. I was enthralled through the entire book, especially with the romance between Dinny and Lei which was poignant and poetic. It was very erotic at times, but well-written, almost poetic, and it made you feel the true love between the couple. The storyline kept you involved with all of the numerous characters and how they would all fit together in the end.
The contrasts between when life was good and when it was not showed the starkness and hardships of life in those times, especially for the slaves and orphans. There was brash and brazen language about the mating lives of the pirates, and their propensity to take whatever was there, “be it lass, lad, or man” but seemed to go along with the type of story line at the time. I was elated at times, shocked at other times and totally crying at others. I can’t wait to read the next in this series and would give it a six if I could.

Flirty, Fun, and Fabulous!
This is the first book I have read by this author. It was entertaining and light, but also introspective. We join Dana as she mourns the final end of her longest – and only – relationship, and embarks on a journey of self discovery. I loved the relationship between Dana and her best friend, Kelly. With her raw, sensual energy (Kelly is a professional dominatrix) she helps Dana let go of her hang-ups and discover the freedom of abandoning shame and embracing her power.
I enjoyed the structure of the book. Each chapter represents a month in the year following the end of Dana’s long-term relationship. It breaks up the story nicely, and gives the reader a firm sense of the passage of time. The main characters are engaging and easy to empathize with. And the parade of Dana’s partners – from casual encounters to budding romances – are entertaining and recognizable. Occasionally Dana’s inner monologue is a bit repetitive. As a reader, this caught me up a couple times. But as a human, I know all too well the circuitous nature of self-evaluation, so it is most definitely easy to overlook.
I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a humorous, flirty love story full of self reflection and discovery.

This is the first book I have read by this author – and I am HOOKED! This title is the first in a series – the Awakenings series – and I will definitely be reading them all.
I was taken in – hook, line, and sinker – from the opening to the last sentence of this story. The relationship of the main characters is beautiful and simple – they love each other, no matter what, and would do anything to help each other. Genie, Beth, Whit, and Mei are dedicated to each other in a way that seems fleeting in today’s fast paced, online world. I was invested in their adventure from page one.
As a lover of magical and fantasy fiction, the appeal of this story is immediate. It is not so much a modernization of the King Arthur tales, but a continuation of the story. The world of Avalon has been alive and well through the centuries, and the author melds the modern world of the four young women into the tales of knights and wizards with an ease that makes it feel not only plausible, but natural as well. This is not a sugary story of magic and heroes, nor is it dark and foreboding. There is a balance between the light and the dark – a theme throughout the book.
There is much discussion among those from the “first world” and those from Avalon about the discrepancies and outright embellishments of historians as they recorded the histories. I found this entertaining and thought provoking. How often do the recorders of history get it completely wrong? This may or may not attract King Arthur enthusiasts from being able to dive in to the world as easily as I did. But I would recommend this book to anyone who likes adventure, magic, and tales of unbreakable bonds of friendship and love.
I really can not say enough about this book, and I will be downloading the next adventure ASAP!
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