Book Review: Bloodless (Serial Investigations #1) by Rhiannon D’Averc

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How do you solve a murder…

… When you’re the prime suspect?

A body cut up into pieces and left in Highgate Wood. It sounds like the most exciting case that private detectives Ram and Will have had to deal with since leaving their FBI training and returning to London.

As each new body is piled up amongst the trees, the stakes get higher – and Serial Investigations London embraces their first real challenge.

But Ram’s lifestyle – staying out all days of the week, drinking too much, and having sex with a different man every night – soon catches up with him when the police realise there’s just one link that connects the bodies.

And it’s him.

Will faces a battle around the clock to prevent his best friend from being put away for life – and while the two of them face their own demons, there’s a secret hanging over their heads that might just bring it all crashing down.

Purchase: Amazon.com

Goodreads: Bloodless


Review

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

Rating: 5 stars

When private detective duo Will and Ram return from America to set up Serial Investigations London, they quickly find themselves involved in a murder investigation, just not in the way that they expected. Ram’s out of control lifestyle of drinking and one-night stands places him firmly in the frame for the murders and it is up to Will to prove his innocence before it’s too late. However Will has his own demons and both of them are still struggling with what happened to cause them to leave their FBI training in America behind.

I was really excited to begin reading the first book in this series and Bloodless did not disappoint. I enjoyed trying to decipher the clues to the murder mystery alongside the two protagonists and piece it together with them as the novel progressed. The characters of Will and Ram were really great. They complemented each other perfectly and you could really sense the chemistry between the two of them. They also had their flaws, as all great characters do, but these were not unlikeable ones and I found myself really relating to them. The romance between them is going to develop gradually, which I really like as it feels like a natural progression between the two of them rather than hurried or forced in anyway.

I cannot wait to read book two and see where their investigations take them next.

What Day is it Anyway? Thursday, 11th June 2020

My day: My book proof for Demon’s Life arrived! I am so happy with how it turned out and it looks so good alongside Demon’s Blood too! I’m going to go through them both at the weekend and approve them so they will hopefully go live next week. I can then also order myself final copies! Then it will be on to Perfect World!

DB and DL Proof

I had a call from my bank this afternoon to inform me that an unauthorised charge had been made on my credit card for the grand total of 81p! And thanks to that idiot I now have had my card cancelled and have to wait 5-10 working days for a new one!

I’m still getting on really well with my review backlog! I am now four novels away from clearing it which is amazing seeing I was so far behind!


Linda G. Hill came up with this great idea to keep track of the weeks and months ahead. For those who already are, and will be isolated in the coming weeks, it is important to all come together and support each other.

New Release Blitz: Only Love is Deathless by Sita Bethel

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Title: Only Love is Deathless

Author: Sita Bethel

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: June 8, 2020

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 78900

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, royalty, witches, mares, wizards, demons, magic/magic users, weddings

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Synopsis

Sreka’s younger brother, Dobrina, is in love. The only problem is that the law forbids him from courting until Sreka is married. Sreka hires the local adventurer, Košmar, to marry him so Dobrina can wed his love.

Even if he has to sleep on the couch, instead of with the crown prince on their farce wedding bed, Košmar will get to live like a king for a year. And once Dobrina is married, Sreka will quietly divorce him and send him on his way with gold for his services.

Nothing says destined romance like a battle with a dragon, so Sreka and Košmar stage their first public encounter to fool the royal court. However, as fate would have it, the dragon that was supposed to be as fake as their love is real.

Continue reading

Book Review: Only Love is Deathless by Sita Bethel

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Sreka’s younger brother, Dobrina, is in love. The only problem is that the law forbids him from courting until Sreka is married. Sreka hires the local adventurer, Košmar, to marry him so Dobrina can wed his love.

Even if he has to sleep on the couch, instead of with the crown prince on their farce wedding bed, Košmar will get to live like a king for a year. And once Dobrina is married, Sreka will quietly divorce him and send him on his way with gold for his services.

Nothing says destined romance like a battle with a dragon, so Sreka and Košmar stage their first public encounter to fool the royal court. However, as fate would have it, the dragon that was supposed to be as fake as their love is real.

Pre-order Link: Amazon.com

Goodreads: Only Love is Deathless


Review

*I received an advance copy for free in exchange for an honest review*

Rating: 4 stars

Sreka’s younger brother is in love. The only trouble is that as heir to the throne, Sreka must marry first before Dobrina can wed. So Sreka hires Košmar, the son of a famed adventurer, to become his husband for a year. For Košmar it is a pretty good deal. He gets to live in luxury for a year and then paid handsomely at the end of it.  In order to stage the perfect meeting to fool the court and his family, Sreka decided to ‘rescue’ Košmar from a dragon. Unfortunately the ‘fake’ dragon turns out to be real.

I really enjoyed reading Only Love is Deathless. It’s a fun and imaginative fantasy adventure set against a different backdrop and meeting for the two heroes. When I first started reading it, I was expecting it to focus primarily on the growing attachment between Sreka and Košmar, and I was delighted that it evolved into much more too. The two of them not only realise that they are developing genuine feelings for each other, but they must embark on a mission to save the entire kingdom.

Only Love is Deathless is a really great fantasy story filled with mythical creatures, dark magic and romance!

Book Review: Daddy Monster by Kevin Berg

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Life couldn’t get any better.

A new baby, the promotion, the new house – everything is finally going his way. A happy family and the comfortable life don’t last long, though, once they start receiving visits from something that he does not understand. Or even believe.

His daughter, Little Olivia, is troubled by visions of a monster that only she can see.

He lurks in the shadows and lives on the edge of their perception, just out of sight, and sneaks in to steal the happiness from their dreams. But their frightening encounters with the unexplained serve only as a distraction, a break from the uncomfortable truth, will it be too late for him to realize what he has so easily forgotten?

Sometimes the things we need to fear most are closer than we expect.

Purchase Link: Amazon.com

Goodreads: Daddy Monster


Review

*I received a copy for free in exchange for an honest review*

Rating: 2 stars

One family’s suburban dreams are shattered when their young daughter starts being tormented by nightmares that are seemingly a little too real. Desperate to protect his daughter, a father must face the monsters that terrify his little girl.

I was really drawn by the summary of this novel. It sounded like a really great horror story, just the kind of book that I like to read. The author is a good writer. There was a wealth of description and vocabulary use. The style was dark in keeping with the genre.

However unfortunately I did not enjoy it at all. For me there were several things that meant that I just couldn’t get into it. One was the lack of names of the main characters. Only the daughter, Olivia, was named. The mother and father were not. For me a name is so important for forming an attachment to a character or even just being able to relate to them. This put me on the wrong-foot with this novel to begin with. The second thing was it was just so confusing. It went on and on with drawn out events that added no real value to the plot and just served to confuse. It jumped about all over the place and I could not follow what was going on at all, which was incredibly frustrating. The lack of names (and some characters were only referred to with unpleasant nicknames!) just added to this confusion and I nearly didn’t finish the book as a result.

When I finished it, I was left feeling rather disappointed that unfortunately this book was not for me.

Book Review: The Dreamer by Travis McBee

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Oak Grove, Georgia
It’s a tiny mountain town where nothing ever seemed to happen.

Until dreams began to come true. Dreams that could more aptly be called nightmares. Monsters, wild animals, nefarious traps, anything is possible. No one is safe. The only thing they have in common is a teenage girl, Natalie Mullin, who dreams about each new horror as they happen. But why does she dream of them? And can she stop them before she dreams of everyone she loves?

For when she lays her head to rest, it’s your life that’s put to the test.

Purchase Link: Amazon.com

Goodreads: The Dreamer


Review

*I received a copy for free in exchange for an honest review*

Rating: 4 stars

A series of strange incidents and unexplained deaths have a small town’s police department baffled. Unable to explain what is going on, they struggle to find a rational explanation or solve each case. The only thing that the events all have in common is that a teenage girl claims to have dreamed about them before they happened.  At first Natalie Mullin discounts her strange and disturbing dreams. However when she realises that they are a foreshadowing of events, she desperately searches for answers and a way to stop them before it’s too late for everyone whom she cares about.

The Dreamer is a really suspenseful and page-turning horror novel. Rather than focusing primarily on one character’s point of view, you see events through the eyes of victims and protagonists. The author took their time to develop each character and I really enjoyed the dark humour added in, which gave even more life to each personality.

I enjoyed how the events unfolded slowly with the right amount of building up to the finale. I thought I knew what direction it would take, but I was proved wrong in the last act. The ending caught me by surprise and left me with that feeling that I sometimes get in cinema after watching a really good horror film. Slightly shocked and unnerved, but in a good way.

I definitely recommend The Dreamer to horror fans.

What Day is it Anyway? Tuesday, 2nd June 2020

My Day: I’ve been reading so much more since lock-down began and as I think about what has changed since before, I definitely want to keep reading as much as I have done.  I finished another book today and am half way through another which never happened before.

At the weekend I submitted the print version of Demon’s Life so I am now waiting on the proof. I’m really excited to see it and also see it alongside Demon’s Blood. Once they have both been approved I just need to finalise the print versions of Perfect World and New Era and then all my published works, apart from Never Change, will be available in print format! I don’t even have printed copies so I’m really looking forward to being able to get them and put them on my bookshelf.

It’s suddenly got really hot the last few days. I get the sun in my front room in the afternoon/early evening so I have been putting my fan on when I’m on my laptop or watching the TV. I do feel a bit bad though as Tash is scared of it. She sits in her TeePee and watches me and when I go to turn it off she runs out and sits on me the minute I do!


Linda G. Hill came up with this great idea to keep track of the weeks and months ahead. For those who already are, and will be isolated in the coming weeks, it is important to all come together and support each other.

Book Review: Stalked by the Zozo Demon: Real Life Paranormal Experiment by Celina Summers

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During the summer of 2017, LiveSciFi paranormal investigator Tim Wood and author Celina Summers conducted a real-life experiment where Wood contacted the demon known as Zozo every night for a month. Wood believed Zozo was a demon; Summers believed Zozo was a myth. The Zozo experiment was to be the first paranormal experiment live streamed to thousands of witnesses. Its purpose? To determine the validity of the Zozo entity once and for all.

But the experiment didn’t end. Demonic influence pursued both researchers through their subsequent investigations…and their daily lives. As the activity heated up, the questions grew more difficult to answer. Was there really an entity named Zozo? Or was Zozo a smokescreen for something more sinister? At the end of the day, they had to confront the most terrifying question of all: were they stalking the Zozo demon? Or was Zozo stalking them?

The Zozo experiment is not your normal paranormal.

Purchase Link: To be advised

Goodreads: Stalked by the Zozo Demon


Review

*I received a copy for free for an honest review*

Rating: 4 stars

I was drawn to this book because it is very different from the books that I normally read. I’ve always had a fascination with the paranormal and occult, so for me I was really interested to see how the experiment worked out and the conclusions that it would bring.

The style of writing is light considering the material, which is a good thing as if it was too heavy it would have struggled to keep my interest. It is told from the author’s point of view and through her you get a good idea of the personality of the investigator. The subject of the Zozo demon is controversial. From reading the book, and my own experiences and knowledge, I believe that they certainly summoned something of a sinister nature and that it enjoyed playing games with them.

The book slowly builds on tension. The presence of the demon increases as the experiment continues. Both the investigator and author begin to feel its impact even outside of the sessions. There was no conclusive conclusion as to what it was that they were communicating with, but this is not a criticism as due to the subject matter I believe there are things that we will never fully explain. Stalked by the Zozo Demon does do a great job of trying to shed some light on the entity and provides its own conclusions and theories. I think it would make an excellent film too!

New Release Blitz: The Loyal Whispers by Katherine Sommerlot

Title: The Loyal Whispers

Series: The Life Siphon, Book Three

Author: Kathryn Sommerlot

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: May 25, 2020

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 78900

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, Contemporary, sports, romance, lesbian, bisexual, demisexual, ice hockey, coach, teammates, slow burn

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Synopsis

Ravee: a pious Rad-em merchant’s daughter sailing with her family’s goods

Mairi: the Runonian king’s advisor seeing the outside world for the first time

Alesh: an alchemist’s apprentice in Joesar with a past rapidly catching up to her

Three women find themselves caught in the threads of change as the world threatens to fall apart around them. From across the Oldal Sea, the southern kingdom of Dusset has declared war, and if anyone is going to survive it, the alliance between Runon, Chayd, Rad-em, and Joesar must be solidified.

But there are forces at work that could undermine all the progress King Yudai and Tatsu have made. Peace treaty negotiations between the four realms could crumble at any time beneath the building tension.

As the women’s paths converge, they must navigate the true meaning of loyalty to themselves, their countries, and their families, while at the center of it all, a shattered king, hellbent on revenge, threatens the world balance.


Excerpt

The Loyal Whispers
Kathryn Sommerlot © 2020
All Rights Reserved

One: Ravee
Choked with debris, the waves lapped at the fire-blackened hull boards left behind, and worse yet, bodies bobbed in the spaces between splintered wood. They quivered up, bobbing with each crest, clothing billowing around motionless limbs, and Ravee had to turn away with one hand pressed to her mouth to keep her meager breakfast down. The air smelled of burning softwood and singed flesh interwoven into an overpowering and inescapable tang which did nothing to help her constantly queasy belly.

“Gods above,” Captain Wret hissed under his breath. When Ravee peeked over her shoulder, she couldn’t miss how his knuckles had blanched white, his fingers clamped around the deck rail. “What happened here?”

The answer seemed very obvious: the worst. The lingering fear of anyone who took to the seas was a shipwreck, whether it be by pirate attack or by the unforgiving elements, and the evidence of just such a tragedy lay strewn around their vessel in the whitecaps. But no storms had darkened the sky in the past week, only a clear blue horizon with favorable winds. Pirates tended to strip the ships of both treasure and hostages before destroying them. Broken shards of porcelain dishes floated among the wood, and anyone searching for profit wouldn’t leave something of value like that behind. The knowledge should have helped to ease Ravee’s nerves, for they were far less safe with their trade cargo if pirates roamed the Oldal Sea. Still, the uneasiness was slow to dissipate.

As her stomach settled and stopped roiling at the grisly aftermath, Ravee turned back to peer over the ship’s side. If it hadn’t been pirates and couldn’t have been the weather, few other possibilities made sense. Ships didn’t simply spontaneously break apart, and the sea serpents had already entered their dormant months. A horrible stillness settled over the remains, as though not even the sun’s bright rays could touch the bloody mess.

“Look!” one of the deckhands yelled. “Rad-em colors!”

The man’s outburst prompted a scrambling of boots across slick boards as the sailors searched for something to reach the silk with. Eventually, the cloth floated near enough for a man to fish it out with one of the long deck mops, and while Ravee’s heart skipped at the sight of her countrymen’s flag, the shock paled in comparison to what came up after it. More silks, strung together on the single rope line, tangled together in a mess of clumped, torn fabric. Ravee had never heard of the countries sailing under a united banner, not even in the oldest orated history lessons. She whispered a prayer under her breath as the crewman struggled with the cord, grateful her hands weren’t visibly shaking.

Captain Wret pushed the sailor aside to grab at the bulk, and his hands were steadier than the deckhand’s had been. He pulled the Rad-em colors free, and then the rest one at a time, peeling the sopping layers apart until four flags lay spread across the deck. Four silk banners, fraying and burned on the right side as though they’d caught fire as the ship went down and only the briny seawater had stopped them from being completely devoured.

Four silk banners representing the kingdoms of the southern coastline.

Ravee’s stomach twisted again with a painful throb.

“Rad-em,” Wret said, pointing, “Chayd, Runon, and Joesar.”

“Impossible,” one of the men argued. “They’d never sail together like this, and under united colors?”

All the flags had been displayed on a single vessel, and to have such a bold showing could mean only one thing.

“They were on official business,” Ravee whispered, speaking before she could stop herself. Wret’s head snapped in her direction, his eyes sharp, but he didn’t stop her from continuing, which was something. “In an official capacity.”

“Yes,” Wret said. “They were traveling as ambassadors. Peaceful ones, likely, given the treaty negotiations.”

“Who would attack a ship containing peaceful representatives from all four of the coastal kingdoms?” the sailor nearest to Ravee asked.

Wret’s gaze shifted to the broken, charred pieces of the ship still floating out on the sea. “The easiest way to answer that is to figure out where they were going.”

Then his expression morphed, cycling through surprise and shock before hardening in resolve. He crossed to the rail with long steps and hesitated only for a moment, scanning the water before shouting, “Get a lifeboat dropped! Someone’s alive down there.”

In the resulting chaos, Ravee was pushed back, shoulders bumping into her arms with such force her skin would bruise. She couldn’t see around the sailors to confirm for herself, and she knew better than to try to fight it; Captain Wret was displeased enough already to have her aboard his ship accompanying her family’s goods and hadn’t bothered to keep his feelings quiet. Making her presence known could result in banishment to the belowdecks sleeping quarters afforded to her.

A lifeboat splashed down into the sea and a few of the sailors started up nervous muttering, but it wasn’t until several moved to the rigging that Ravee felt confident enough to slip through the small crowd to the railing again.

The sailors in the lifeboat were pulling a body out of the water, and despite Wret’s earlier outcry, the man looked very dead to Ravee. He didn’t so much as twitch as the sailors rowed toward the ship’s side and prepared the dinghy to be lifted back up. When one of the crew hauled the man over the rail and deposited him onto the deck, his head lolled lifelessly to one side. Bits of his shirt had been eaten away by the flames and a nasty-looking cut sliced across his forehead, the red of the still flowing blood mingling with the sea water clinging to his skin. The sailors spent a long moment staring at him in silence.

In the stillness, the air above the ship’s deck shimmered as shivers ran the length of Ravee’s spine in a familiar tremble. Bithlad, God of healing, appeared behind her with all four of his hands ghosting over her biceps as he whispered, He’s alive. Help him.

Ravee darted in between the sailors, nostrils burning with the lingering smell of the less fortunate passengers and her feet propelled by the murmured command. She pressed her head to the injured man’s chest, shoulders sagging at the muffled breath sounds. He was alive, but only barely so.

“How did you know?” she asked Captain Wret, who had advanced to hover uncomfortably over her shoulder.

“He was clinging to one of the bigger pieces of the ship’s hull, and his position was too unnatural to have been the result of post-death rigor.”

Ravee studied the man’s body. “I doubt he would’ve lasted much longer out there in this state.”

“He may not be the only one. The lifeboat’s already prepared—we should search the area for more survivors,” Wret said, and he walked away to bark the orders at his crew.

Ravee stayed where she was kneeling with one hand on the man’s shoulder, wishing she could will him to wake up. His eyes stayed closed, though it was comforting to see his chest rise and fall, even if the breaths were shallow. The lack of movement gave her a better opportunity to check him for injuries. Though bleeding steadily, the cut on his head wasn’t deep, but as she peeled back the soaking layer of clothing from his torso, she exposed a fresh wave of crimson. Along his side darted a dark gash, and it seemed his shirt had been the only thing holding what remained of the skin together. Ravee clasped her hand against the wound in shock.

“Please!” she called, and one of the crewmen thrust a rudimentary first aid kit into her open hand.

At least she had a needle and thread, even without time to sterilize the metal. Ravee sent up a quick prayer to Urutte, God of fate. Her family sold leather goods, and while she’d never had to sew flesh before, her needlework skill ranked high. Her hands trembled so badly she pricked her own finger trying to stitch the wound, and all she could think of was how thankful she was the man remained unconscious. It would’ve been agony if he’d been awake to feel the needle threading through his already flayed skin.

She wanted to vomit, and somehow managed to keep all the bile in until she’d finished. Running to the railing took two heart-pounding moments, and she only barely made it in time to avoid her breakfast splashing across the deck. Her cheeks warmed, but there wasn’t time to be embarrassed; the lifeboat was hauling another body from the sea, and Ravee wiped her forehead with her shirt sleeve before moving to the newest one. Bithlad’s presence behind her faded, but she murmured a prayer the God might watch over the rest of the poor souls fished out from the brine.

By the time the entire area had been scoured, the sailors had found two more survivors, and Captain Wret called the search off as the sun set bright behind the wreckage. Fewer pieces of the unfortunate ship remained than had floated earlier along the whitecaps, and even many of the dead had been pulled beneath by the undertow. Wret’s men found four survivors total, including the first man: two more men and one woman. The crew carried the limp bodies to the bulkhead closest to the rudder and did what they could with the extra bedding supplies. But it wasn’t much, and as Ravee stood looking over the remnants of the ship’s unfortunate passengers, she could hardly breathe.

The man whose side she’d stitched closed seemed to have stabilized, and the woman had surface burns seemingly unrelated to her head trauma, but the last one, an older male whose arm had been severed at the wrist, was unlikely to make it through the night even with the tourniquet and linen wrapping they’d employed. Knowing the background of their survivors was impossible. They could have been crew on the ship, servants accompanying the envoys, or the dignitaries themselves, but until one of them woke with a clear enough head, Wret’s Sheersilk was sailing blind.

An entire ship destroyed, with nothing stolen and the passengers left to bloat.

“Where was their course?” Ravee asked as Captain Wret’s heavy footsteps sounded down the wooden stairs behind her.

“This far south? Dusset, probably, the same as us.”

Ravee swallowed hard. “You said earlier we’d know who did this by studying their heading. What does this mean?”

Wret’s face, almost unrecognizable without its usual sneer, was grim. “It’s possible someone has declared war on us all.”

The man missing his hand let out a low moan, and Ravee wrapped her arms around her chest to try to fight the sudden chill sweeping through the bulkhead.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Kobo

Meet the Author

Kathryn Sommerlot is a coffee addict and craft beer enthusiast with a detailed zombie apocalypse plan. Originally from the cornfields of the American Midwest, she got her master’s degree and moved across the ocean to become a high school teacher in Japan. When she isn’t wrangling teenage brains into critical thinking, she spends her time writing, crocheting, and hiking with her husband. She enjoys LGBTQ fiction, but she is particularly interested in genre fiction that just happens to have LGBTQ protagonists.

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What day is it Anyway? Saturday, 23rd May 2020

My Day: There is a bank holiday on Monday so I have another 3 day weekend! The postman arrived first thing with my Tofu Cute order which was great as I wasn’t expecting that until next week! So it means I now have snacks for the weekend!

Treats

I’m especially excited to try the sakura mochi!

I sorted out some home bits and pieces in the morning and at lunchtime I sat down to watch BUCK-TICK’s YouTube Premier for this week! This week it was The Parade –  High Side which was awesome! I really need to go to Japan and see them live once everything returns to normal again!

This evening I’m playing a bit of Animal Crossing and am also going to work on my books. I also did the cover for Demon’s Life earlier which looks so good! I cannot wait to get my hands on the printed copies!


Linda G. Hill came up with this great idea to keep track of the weeks and months ahead. For those who already are, and will be isolated in the coming weeks, it is important to all come together and support each other.