Review: Justified (Magnified #2) by Mell Eight

Justified

The world of vampires and werewolves is in upheaval. The magical community is under attack by a great evil force set to destroy them all and Aaron, their strongest fighter, is oblivious to all around him, his nose glued to his spell book. Yani has given up hope in getting Aaron back on track. He knows he instead has to focus on his own future and the lives of those he loves, even if it means losing Aaron, the love of his life, forever.

But, Yani’s life isn’t the only one in flux. As the battle heats up and lines are drawn, the rest of his friends must fight for their own survival in a world with no answers to the terrible magic attacking them.
 

Purchase: Amazon.com

Goodreads: Justified (Magnified #2) by Mell Eight


Review

Rating: 4 stars

*I received this novel for free in exchange for an honest review*

When a powerful and evil force starts attacking magical creatures, Yani and his friends find themselves drawn into the investigation. Disheartened by Aaron’s lack of interest in their relationship, Yani struggles to deal with the emotion and physical strain that the distance between them brings. Aaron is oblivious to Yani’s suffering and his ignorance ends up pushing Yani away. When one of their friends falls victim to the attacks, they must somehow work together to overcome the evil that threatens their community.

I really enjoyed the second instalment of the Magnified series. As a new reader, I found that due to the careful descriptions and world-building included meant that I did not become lost for not having read the first book in the series.

There was an array of interesting characters with their own magical abilities. My favourite was the dragon Khan as the author provided a unique take on dragon lore and one that completely fitted the character that they had created.

I also enjoyed how the author combined all the different lores and religions to create their world and its inhabitants. There is plenty of action as well as tender moments and I was disappointed once I reached the final page. I am definitely going to go back and read book one and cannot wait for more in this series.

Blog Tour & Review: Darkness Hides by JC Gatlin

Darkness

Twelve months after a violent injury ended her career with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, Kate Parks discovers a corpse washed ashore in Tampa Bay. Then another. And another. What’s worse: the bodies all seem to have one thing in common: a connection to the tragedy that took her young nephew’s life.

Now, as the Florida west coast braces for an approaching hurricane, Kate launches an off-the book investigation into the mystery. And in a brewing storm of rage, guilt, and childhood secrets, someone watches. Someone stalks. Something hides in the darkness.


_DSC0853a-EditAbout the Author

JC Gatlin is an award-winning author with Millford House Press, the mystery-suspense imprint for Sunbury Press. His 2019 mystery H_NGM_N: Murder is the Word won “Gold – Top Mystery or Crime Fiction of 2019” at the Florida Royal Palm Literary Awards. Prior to that, he wrote three Indie mystery-suspense novels set in Florida, including 21 Dares, which went to Number One on Amazon’s Top Mystery Suspense and Top Young Adult charts. His newest book, Darkness Hides, was published in April 2021. JC lives in Tampa, Florida and is a member of the Florida Writer’s Association and a board member of the Florida Writer’s Foundation.

Amazon: Amazon.com/JC-Gatlin/

Facebook: Facebook.com/AuthorJcGatlin

GoodReads: Goodreads.com/JC_Gatlin

LinkedIn: Linkedin/in/JCGatlin

YouTube: Youtube.com/channel/jcgatlin

Instagram: Instagram.com/JCGatlinAuthor 


Darkness_Hides_KindleExcerpt:

Kate found a battery-operated Coleman lantern discarded on the kitchen floor and flipped it on. It lit up the room, and she carried it upstairs, where Elise sat alone in Noah’s bedroom.

“I want to be alone,” Elise said, sitting in the rocker.

Kate didn’t respond, listening to the rain and wind pummel the house. The walls creaked so eerily in the gale-force winds that she wondered if they could collapse around them. Stuffed animals above the bed trembled. Her pet squirrel, Doc, raised up on her shoulder, swishing his bushy tail. The lantern cast a pale glow around the bedroom. With the windows boarded up, any area outside the lantern light was lost in thick, inky blackness. Though she couldn’t see the lightning, she could hear the angry thunder compete with the rain beating the roof.

The bookcase rattled, keeping her on edge. She glanced at Elise, huddled in the rocking chair. Her sister wrapped the afghan tighter over her shoulders and locked her arms around her knees.

The walls trembled with another thunderclap, shaking the bookcase, and knocked the worn copy of Where the Darkness Hides to the floor. Kate jumped at the loud thump. Doc jumped too and leaped to the floor to investigate. She raised the lantern and looked around the room. Many of the stuffed animals had fallen onto the small bed. A model airplane dangled from the ceiling, swaying violently from the turbulence. A toy box sat positioned under the window.

Letting out a breath, she shut her eyes and focused on the rain thumping the roof. It intensified, then quieted. The sound was hypnotic, and she didn’t even hear Doogie enter the bedroom. He shined a flashlight in her direction and paused in the doorway.

“Sebastian made landfall”—his voice rose above another loud boom of thunder—“south of Sarasota.”

Kate couldn’t see him behind the blinding light in his hands, and when he lowered the flashlight, it still took a moment for her eyes to adjust. She sensed him stepping beside her. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Doc dash across the floor toward him.

“We’ve just got to make it through the night.” He walked over to the rocking chair and put a hand on Elise’s shoulder.

Doc followed, cautiously investigating the cuff of his right pant leg.

“It’s about to get worse,” Kate said.

A corner of Elise’s mouth turned upward, but her smile was without humor. She turned to Doogie. “Why didn’t you sell her to gypsies or leave her in the woods somewhere?”

The wind howled at the window, and a sudden gust ripped the plywood from the casing. The glass shattered. Wind and rain blew into the room.

Elise screamed. The rocker overturned, spilling her to the floor. Kate and Doogie rushed to the bed, flipped the mattress off it, and forced it to the open window. They fought the incoming wind. The force bent the mattress, folded it like a sheet of paper, and pushed them back. Doogie shoved the mattress against the window and held it there. He yelled at Kate to move the bookcase. She got to one side of it and scooted it across the carpet to the front of the mattress.

The mattress shuddered in front of the broken window. The wind squealed and screamed like a dying thing. Kate and Doogie were silent for a couple of minutes, staring at each other.

“It’s not going to hold,” Kate yelled to him over the wind.

“We need to go downstairs.” He pointed toward the bedroom door. “It’s not safe in here.”


Review

Rating: 4 stars

*I received this novel for free in exchange for an honest review*

I really enjoyed reading Darkness Hides. It is a solid mystery novel built around the tragic death of Kate’s nephew. A lot of time is taken to build the backstories and work on character development, which I really liked as it completely draws you into the world and the people inhabiting it.

Kate is a likeable and flawed character who I’m sure we can all relate too. With her future uncertain, she focuses on her job and helping her sister. The mystery surrounding the murders quickly draws her in due to both her personal connection and want to retain the life that she had before. What I liked as well about this novel is that you learn about the other characters not just through Kate, but they have their own points of view shown too.

The identity of the killer kept me guessing until towards the end when the storm closes in and everything starts to unravel in front of Kate’s eyes. The only thing I felt was that there could have been a bit more at the end as I was left feeling that Kate lacked some resolution.

Overall, Darkness Hides is a compelling and well-written mystery that I recommend to fans of the genre.

Book Tour and Review: Whispers for Terra by Nancy Houser-Bluhm

WHISPERS TOUR

Suffering from job fatigue, Mary, a speech pathologist, finds herself at a crossroads.  Feeling a diminished sense of purpose, she finds solace in a nearby woods.  It’s in these woods she discovers she is more than she knows.  The earth spirits sense her ability to communicate and choose her to deliver a message that will influence our earth’s soil and everything that comes from it.

 

Seeking to enlighten humanity, an initially reluctant Mary is emboldened by a ninety-seven-year-old patient to embark on a journey of inner healing and outer discovery.  Mary soon encounters others who have also been marked to carry the earth’s message. As their collective efforts turn into an expansive movement, the impact of the earth’s message amplifies, and the earth begins to sense something new: relief.

 

Whispers for Terra is a story of hope, inspiration, and finding one’s path, showing us the impact individual and small group actions can make to heal our earth.

 

All we have to do is listen. Continue reading

Shari Reviews Stuff: Rebor Dinosaurs

Rebor Dinosaurs

image13

I have recently started collecting Rebor Dinosaur models. These models are beautiful hand-painted replicas of how dinosaurs may have looked like. Honestly, the detail is amazing! I often stop by my collection shelf just to stare at them!

image12The first one I bought was the Compsognathus and then I quickly purchased the Velociraptor, Tyrannosaurus Rex and Stegosaurus as well. The Stego comes in several different finishes. The one I bought is the woodland version.

If you want to get into collecting dinosaur figures, I recommend you check Rebor out as these are very high-quality models. I’m going to get them their own cabinet eventually (they are currently sharing a space with my Sailor Moon collection!). When I do I will post some photos of them in there as I’m planning on making background scenes and neat things like that too!

image3image1

Disclaimer: These are my own thoughts on the above products and I have not been asked or paid by the company to provide a review. These are collectables and are not suitable for younger children due to small parts.

 

Audio Blitz: Stylite: Mystery by Tag Gregory and Lily Mari

Title: Stylite: Mystery

Series: The Stylite Chronicles – Book One

Author: Tag Gregory & Lily Marie

Narrator: William Pierre

Publisher: Self-Published

Release Date: 5/1/21

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 05 Hours 48 Minutes

Genre: Romance, Mystery, History, LGBTQ, Contemporary Gay Literature

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Book One of the Stylite Chronicles. A curious art history student disturbs a lonely recluse holed up in an historic building in downtown Pittsburgh’s “Golden Triangle”. Together, they investigate the mystery behind the building and in the process unearth evidence of a long-dead, illicit love affair. Will that ancient romance help kindle a modern one for our history sleuths at the same time?

It’s a Mystery, History, Romance.


Continue reading

Review: Captivated by A.C Thomas

Captivated

Dr. Theophrastus Campbell leads a comfortable life, along with his twin brother, buried in academia. His unique gift for obscure languages goes unnoticed as he teaches University students to conjugate Latin. Everything in his world is just as it should be; restrained, understated, boring. He would give anything to break away. In all his daydreams of adventure, Theo never expected it to arrive in the form of an outrageously attractive Outlier covered in intriguing tattoos. And Theo never thought the price he might pay for adventure would be his own freedom.

Captain Park Jun-Seo leads a dangerous life, running a Crew of misfits through Restricted space as he desperately searches for the key to completing his parents’ work. Work that could mean the difference between life and death for countless others. In all of his frantic searching, Jun never expected to find the key in the form of a beautiful professor with more brilliance than good sense. And he never thought the price he might pay for knowledge would be his own heart.

Stoic Jun and irrepressible Theo must work together to break the code before their time is up. Falling into bed together is effortless, but their growing connection wasn’t in the plan. Theo charms his way beneath Jun’s skin with every nonsensical move he makes. Jun must decide if he can make room in his harsh, goal-driven life for the unpredictable force of love. Theo begins their journey as a lighthearted adventure—until he cracks Jun’s tough facade to reveal the hero within. Theo must decide if he can risk his battered heart when Jun is risking everything.

In the lawless depths of space, can two captive hearts set each other free?

Purchase: Amazon.com

Goodreads: Captivated by A.C.Thomas


Review

Rating: 5 stars

*I received this novel for free in exchange for an honest review*

Latin teacher Dr Theo Campbell leads a rather mundane life. He secretly longs for something exciting to happen. Needless to say being kidnaped wasn’t quite what he had in mind, but Theo takes it in his stride as he is suddenly thrust into the adventure of a lifetime. His captor, Captain Park Jun-Seo isn’t what he imagined either, but as Jun’s motivations for Theo abduction become clear, he quickly realises that Jun isn’t as bad as he likes to make himself out to be. Quickly the two of them find themselves working together and becoming closer. Jun makes it clear that he is not interested in a more meaningful relationship, but Theo rapidly falls for his captor and realises that despite what he says, Jun has come to care for him too. However, Jun’s feelings for Theo may well lead him into more danger.

This is the second novel in The Verge series but can be read as a standalone which is what I did. I absolutely loved Theo. His way of saying things and the language he uses is beautiful and even though some of the characters find it extremely frustrating at times, I loved every second of dialogue. On numerous occasions I found myself smiling even though the situations that he was in were quite serious. Jun is a complete contrast. He is often serious and expresses his frustration, but he has a kinder side that Theo’s opposite personality slowly manages to draw out. The two of them balance the other well and it is easy to see how they fall in love.

The world building in Captivated has been well-crafted and thought out. The technology created is very believable and I like how the author’s simplistic explanations of how it works does not leave you bogged down or lost. The plot moves at a steady pace and Theo’s unique way of viewing the world make the actions scenes even more compelling.
I cannot recommend Captivated enough and will certainly be checking out the first novel in the series!

Shari Reviews Stuff: McFarleyMakes – Splat Rat Bookmark

Another new thing I am trying for my blog is to review some of the cute things that I purchase. This will be done as and when I buy things and when I buy something that I think is super cute or interesting to review! I’m going to be trying to vary my content a bit to cover some of my interests (shopping being one of them!). Please let me know what you think of the varied content. I’d love to hear your opinions!

The first item I’m going to review is a new bookmark that I purchased on Etsy last week. I either use random bits of paper or fold the page corner (I know, that’s terrible!) so I decided to look for a cute bookmark. I am so happy with my choice. It’s so cute and really well made!


McFarleyMakes – Splat Rat Bookmark – grey

Splat Rat 1

Purchase Link: https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/854641070/splat-rat-bookmark-grey

Seller Page: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/McFarleyMakes

This bookmark is absolutely adorable! It is super cute and so well made! It is just perfect for keeping my place! My cat adores it too and several times I have found her pulling it out of my book to play with!

It was sent really quickly and packaged in a small box and tissue paper to protect it. The seller also left a really nice handwritten note hoping that I enjoy it!

Splat Rat 2

Disclaimer: These are my own thoughts on the above product and I have not been asked or paid by the seller to provide a review.

Review: Bloodlaced (Youkai Bloodlines #1) by Courtney Maguire

Bloodlaced

Kanjin hardly view their servants as human. Even less so when they are different.

Asagi is different. Both a man and a woman.

In the wake of his failure to protect a boy he saw as a son from their abusive master, Asagi is sold into the house of a young nobleman, Mahiro, who is the opposite of everything Asagi has ever known—gentle, kind, and generous.

Mahiro bonds with Asagi and their friendship blooms into a deep and profound love. But when Asagi is poisoned out of jealousy, Mahiro reveals himself to be youkai, a demon who feeds on blood, and he has no choice but to turn Asagi to save their life.

Asagi awakes reborn, strong, and eternally youthful. But the price for Asagi’s new life is high.

The blood of the innocent. Just as Asagi’s trust in Mahiro falters, the boy he failed to protect, now a man, reappears.​

New master, same threat.

With both a literal and proverbial monster at the door, Asagi must decide what it means to be human to protect what they love most.

Content Warnings: physical abuse, sexual abuse (off-page), self-harm, blood, graphic violence

Purchase: Amazon.com

Goodreads: Bloodlaced (Youkai Bloodlines #1) by Courtney Maguire


Review

Rating: 5 stars

*I received this novel for free in exchange for an honest review*

Asagi is born into a life of slavery. He is abused not only for his low position, but also for being different. When he and a young boy, Tsukito, are sold to a new master, Asgai resolves to protect the child that he quickly begins to view as his son. However, events rapidly spin out of his control and Asagi is devastated when he sold again, leaving Tsukito behind. Asagi’s new master is unlike any that he has ever known before. Mahiro is gentle, kind and treats him as an equal. Quickly feelings develop between them, but Mahiro is hiding a dark secret. One that ultimately costs Asagi everything.

 

First of all, I have to say how much I loved this novel. It is a dark, beautifully written Japanese vampire novel with an array of different characters to love or loathe! The first half of the novel is setting the scenes and you learn a lot about Asagi as a character and his struggles. To begin with he lacks belief in himself and that there can ever be something better for him. It was beautiful to read how he came into his own as the novel progressed.

The second half focuses on Asagi learning the truth about Mahiro and the fall out from this. It is here when things become a lot darker. I very much enjoyed how the vampire lore was incorporated but also interweaving Japanese legends into this. The author has a very sound knowledge of Japan, the mythology and the culture, which shines through in their work.

I loved this novel so much and cannot wait to read further books in the series.