Title: Bits of Magic
Series: Hidden Magic Collection
Author: Angela Benedetti
Length: 68 pages
Publisher: Torquere Press (May 6th, 2015)
Heat Level: Low
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥3 ½ Hearts
Blurb: There’s magic in the world and its hiding in plain sight. Your friends, your neighbors, the guy who runs your favorite restaurant — any of them could be more than they seem. A man trick-or-treating with his son finds the courage to go after what he wants when he confiscates and eats some unwrapped candy. A park ranger who’s afraid of outing himself in public is reminded that his lover will — and can — protect him, no matter what. An apprentice mage learns that his master never forgets when he has a lesson to finish, and will always come for him when he gets himself lost in magic. And a boy from a mage-gifted family learns that life isn’t over just because the gift has passed him by.
Return to the world of Hidden Magic.
Product Link: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=4384
General Review: I found myself a little underwhelmed by this collection and I think part of the reason is that this would have made sense with the stories in a different order. These are shorts set within the universe of Angela Benedetti’s Sentinel series. But I’ve decided to give the benefit of the doubt and I am going to assume to get the full effect of the story, I should probably go back to the start of it all to get a real sense of the goings in on in this world.
Chasing Fear ♥♥♥♥3 ½ Hearts
Review: This one has an interesting setting – feels rather mystical and spooky. We meet Emilio and his lover Martin. Maybe I’m a little bit jaded when it comes to my MM book, but what this essentially boils down to is that on Halloween Martin wants to have sex in public but there’s this shady area of consent because of Emilio’s fears. Sure, it’s good, but I personally found it difficult to connect to the characters. Despite being set in the universe of the Sentinels series, I felt I needed a broader introduction about these guys who were otherwise unknown to this universe.
Catching Courage ♥♥♥♥ 3 ½ Hearts
Review: In this second short we are back with Emilio and Martin. I think to some extent my comments of a broader introduction for the guys being needed still applies here, but this story was much easier to get into the characters. After having difficulty connecting to especially Martin in Chasing Fear I was more than relieved that I was finally able to connect to his character and relate. Now the guys are spending New Year’s Eve with Martin’s family in this charming vignette.
Reach Out and Touch ♥♥♥ 3 Hearts
Review: Third story and we now move onto a second couple, this time apprentice mage Cal and master mage, Aubrey, who is also Cal’s master. Okay, this is a different and certainly interesting story, but it is told by Cal because Aubrey is elsewhere and Cal decides to cast some magic he isn’t ready to do. In a funny way, it comes down to me thinking, this couple needs to communicate.
I wish there could have been more Aubrey because he appears at the end and other than being thought/ spoken of by Cal he doesn’t really get a good introduction. There’s some intriguing interacting between the couple, where Cal describes Aubrey as amazing I feel that we just don’t get enough time to see him beyond being a grumpy mage.
Unfinished Business ♥♥♥♥ 4 Hearts
Review: And we are once again back with Cal and Aubrey. Once again, this story is told by Cal for the most part. It is cute and sexy and, unlike the previous story, it was really easy to see the dynamics in their relationship. An interesting bit, I’ve discovered that this story is based on a scene in the novel that set up this universe, Hidden Magic, where it has now been expanded for the purpose of this story and now told from Cal and Aubrey’s POV.
Candy Courage ♥♥♥♥ 3 ½ Hearts
Review: This is fun Halloween short. This time we meet Glenn, he’s divorced and wants to spend some time with his son, so takes him trick or treating. Glenn, like any adult, wants a bit of the lollies too, so swipes some of his son’s without the knowledge that they got it from alchemist who likes to add a bit of extra something. It’s the added courage that leads to the MM portion of the story, hence the title of the story.
It’s certainly a fun read especially once we meet Neal and see Glenn come out of his shell. I think it might be charming especially those that can relate to the shyness of flirting with someone they like.
Birthdays Suck ♥♥♥♥ 4 Hearts
Review: In this final story we meet Paul MacAllister, it is like a prequel intro to the novel Hidden Magic. In this, it’s Paul’s birthday and he doesn’t like them because he has not developed any magical powers which means he cannot be a Sentinel, protector of the mortal realm. Everyone has had a horrible birthday where things don’t go your way and that made it really easy to relate to.
One criticism though, this collection would have been better off if this was the first story and acted as the introduction to the piece. Not only is it a prequel to the novel these shorts are based around, it is also a really helpful prequel to the world that we meet in the rest of the short. After reading this all of a sudden things fell into place and the previous five stories finally made sense to me.
* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through http://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com *