ARC Review: Mad Lizard Mambo, by Rhys Ford

Advance Review Copy generously provided by the author
in exchange for an honest review.


cover-rhysford-madlizardmamboKai Gracen has no intention of being anyone’s pawn. A pity Fate and SoCalGov have a different opinion on the matter.

Licensed Stalkers make their living hunting down monsters and dangerous criminals… and their lives are usually brief, brutal, and thankless. Despite being elfin and cursed with a nearly immortal lifespan, Kai didn’t expect to be any different. Then Ryder, the High Lord of the Southern Rise Court, arrived in San Diego, Kai’s not-so-mundane life went from mild mayhem to full-throttle chaos.

Now an official liaison between the growing Sidhe Court and the human populace, Kai is at Ryder’s beck and call for anything a High Lord might need a Stalker to do. Unfortunately for Kai, this means chasing down a flimsy rumor about an ancient lost Court somewhere in the Nevada desert—a court with powerful magics that might save Ryder—and Kai’s—people from becoming a bloody memory in their Merged world’s violent history.

The race for the elfin people’s salvation opens unwelcome windows into Kai’s murky past, and it could also slam the door on any future he might have with his own kind and Ryder.


Dates read:
Edition read:
September 13, 2016
DSP Publications
Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Bi-M/M, LGBT+
220 e-book pages
1st person
Kai Gracen, book 2
August 6-8, 2016
Kindle Edition
See the book on GoodReads.

Rating:     ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

Ratings are 1 to 5 stars and based mostly on GoodReads standards.
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It’s no secret that I just adore Rhys Ford. Even when she skeeves me out and scares my pants off. Even when she describes scents so odiferous they affix themselves to the back of my throat and make me gag. Even when she blithely tosses dragons and other horrifying creatures in my path.

One of my most favoritest things that I recently realized is that I get the biggest kick out of the beginnings of her books. Seriously. The hooks are sublime. A lot of her adventurous/high action stories start with a hilarious chase situation the likes of which give me a stitch in my side from all the laughter. I’m sure there are more…but these are just a few of the most memorable off the top of my head.

  • A BDSM-leather clad granny chasing the hero through the yard with a shotgun. (Dirty Kiss — Cole McGinnis, book 1)
  • A chase across a fairground by a psycho clown ending in with someone landing in llama poo. (Dirty Heart — Cole McGinnis, book 2)
  • A hungry gator lurching after a ghost hunter through the darkness of a flooded basement. (Duck Duck Ghost — Hellsinger, book 2)

This story was no different in its comically precarious beginning. I don’t want to give it away, so I’m just gonna say DRAGON, DRAGON EGGS, DRAGON TEETH, and DRAGON SLOBBER. And Holy Cow, I almost peed myself with the laughing.

That’s just the launching point into the fantastical misadventures involving the elfin-hybrid/Stalker Kai Gracen and Ryder, High Lord of the Southern Rise Court, as they seek out a lost elfin civilization that may or may not hold the ancient answers to elfin procreation.

Their quest carries them over the dangerous merged terrain where the cities of humans and elves collided, mashing and rearranging the landscape into something barely navigable. Dragons, Black Dogs, and a thing called a Wyrm threaten to make a meal of them.

Every bit of information was spun slowly—and much like a spider, out of his ass—but his web was never clear until I stepped away. And only then did I see I’d been trapped.

It’s a world where neither the humans or elves are at the top of the food chain. And every time I got comfy in this world of danger and mayhem something would happen to shift the axis and give it a sadistic spin for good measure. More problems, baddies out to get them, creatures that shouldn’t exist wreaking havoc, and the past rearing its ugly head.

Karma had parked its fat ass on my shoulder and was laughing so hard, tears were coming out of its skin, but there I was, hoping the lizard would grab the egg and go.

This isn’t precisely romance…more like a growing, mostly undeniable interest between Kai and Ryder. I knew that going in, though of course, I held out a little hope that the romance would crank up a few more notches. Well, the interest did become a touch more undeniable so…

He was growing on me, this sidhe, Useless as hell, but still, growing on me.

It’s a slow-burn romance. Really slow. Like…the heat is on but don’t expect steady simmering bubbles and steam just yet. But, that ended up being quite all right. There was plenty of other action that held my rapt attention and kept me on the edge of my seat along with the belief down to my bones that they’ll get there eventually.

I adore Kai, though. He won my heart in book one. He’s full of attitude, mistrust, and snark — my kind of character through and through. Because underneath that cranky veneer is a heart of gold. Kindness and care that reaches out when called upon to do the right thing.

Side characters offer comic relief, humanity, and nefarious twists that round out the story in magnificent ways along with craggy landscapes and descriptions that tickle all the senses — everything in which Rhys excels.

This series, even though just a few steps out of my comfort zone, has been a ton of disgusting fun. It’s not to be missed. Actually, none of Rhys Ford’s books are to be missed. There’s something for everyone in all of them.

This review also posted on GoodReads.

Other Books in the Series:

1) Black Dog Blues

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