Review: When The Gods War (A Kingdom Divided #2) by S.C. Stokes

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Drought, desperation, deliverance.

Yaneera is the youngest Empress in the history of Andara. With her land in turmoil, she must use her wit and cunning just to stay alive. Severe drought has brought with it famine, starvation and death. As her people waver on the verge of open rebellion, Yaneera must deliver them or perish at their hand.

Andara’s struggles have not gone unnoticed. Neighbouring kingdoms stand ready to deliver the killing blow.

As chaos erupts across the land a stranger appears in the Empress’ court. Preaching the presence of a new God, Mythos, the newcomer promises deliverance for Yaneera and her people.

Mythos power is not without price, and Yaneera soon finds herself facing a crisis of conscience. . .

Will she sell her soul to save her people?

Purchase: Amazon

Goodreads: When the Gods War 


Review

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

Rating: 4 stars

Yaneera, the young Empress of Andara, faces a dilemma. With drought, starvation and death ravaging her Kingdom, she must choose between aligning herself with a stranger who brings promise of salvation or risk a rebellion of her own citizens. With neighbouring Kingdoms’ seeking to turn Andara’s crisis into their opportunity, no matter what Yaneera does war will be an inevitable outcome.

When The Gods War surprised me when I first started reading it. I expected it to pick up with the characters from book one but instead I was drawn into the struggles of Andara and its empress. The author’s world is incredibly in-depth and developed. A lot of time is taken to set each scene and explain the Kingdoms that have been created. I really felt for Yaneera and the crisis that she was facing. Her choices were impossible and all she really wanted was to do the best for her people.

As much as I enjoyed reading the second book from different perspectives, I was also happy to see more from Tristan, Syrion and Elaina. The latter two characters have their own storylines which unfold alongside the main theme of the novel. Both characters continue to develop and I look forward to reading more about them in future instalments of the series.

If you enjoy a rich, well-crafted fantasy novel with an interesting and complex array of characters then I recommend When the Gods War!

Blog Tour and Review: In Strange Woods by Claire Cray

BLOG TOUR

Book Title: In Strange Woods

Author: Claire Cray

Publisher: Self-Published

Release Date: August 28, 2020

Cover Artist: Sneaky T

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romantic Mystery, M/M Gothic Romance

Trope/s: Instant attraction, Hurt comfort, Tortured protagonist, Family secret,

Long lost relative, Country boy/City boy, Rural romance, Fish out of water

Themes: Healing, Found family, Redemption, Heritage, Belonging, Homecoming

Heat Rating: 3 – 4 flames

Length: 71 370 words /204 pages

It is a standalone book.

Goodreads

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

In the stormy coastal woods of the Pacific Northwest, roots run deep and passions run wild.

Blurb

Reeling with grief after the mysterious massacre of his wealthy family, moody New York photographer James Worthington Crane decides to take his downward spiral somewhere far away: to the rural Oregon Coast, where he’s just inherited a random piece of property hidden somewhere in the woods upriver.

But when James pulls into the decaying seaside town of Brooks, everyone thinks he’s someone else—an elusive local outlaw named Beau. Now James must fight through his grief to unravel a tangled web of family secrets and forgotten history…with help from a soft-spoken local hunk named Hunter Quaid.

Hunter’s been on his own since he left his fundamentalist family at the age of fifteen. It’s taken years of hard work to build the steady life he has now, fixing up seaside houses while living alone in a trailer by the river. Then James blows in like a winter storm, disturbing the peace and stirring up a hunger like nothing he’s ever felt.

As Hunter helps James search for the truth, their lives intertwine in unexpected ways—and they begin to discover what it means to find out where you really belong.

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Blog Tour and Review: Their Dark Reflections by Amanda Meuwissen

BLOG TOUR

Book Title: Their Dark Reflections

Author: Amanda Meuwissen

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Tiferet Design

Genre: Dark Paranormal M/M Romance

Trope/s: Friends to lovers, vampire/victim, boss/employee,

thief with a heart of gold, hidden agenda, kind but vicious vampire

Themes: Self-discovery, finding light in the darkness,

embracing one’s darkness, love against all odds

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 70 096 words/204 pages

It is a standalone book.

Goodreads

Buy Links

Dreamspinner Press | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Everyone has a second face.

Blurb

Personal assistant Sam Coleman can do it all: housekeeping, groundskeeping, bookkeeping. The catch? It’s a con.

Ed Simon, his newest millionaire boss, doesn’t know Sam Goldman is a Robin Hood for hire who targets rich jerks. Sure, Sam keeps the money for himself, his crew, and his real employers, but at least they only steal from bad people.

Until sweet, fumbling Ed, who doesn’t seem to have a single vice. Too bad the people who hired Sam won’t let him back out. They want Ed’s money, and they’ll hurt Sam and his friends to get it.

For years Ed has kept people at arm’s length, but Sam’s charms wear down his defenses—just as he learns their budding relationship was an act. Sam isn’t who Ed thought he was, but Ed has a dark secret too: he’s a vampire. And someone is framing him for a series of bloody murders.

When the real villains force their hand, Sam and Ed must choose: work together, trust each other, and give in to the feelings growing between them… or let what might have been bleed out like the victims piling at their feet.

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Review: The Vanishing by Arjay Lewis

Former NYPD detective Liliana Slavik is still recovering from a nervous breakdown, after a shooting that killed her fiancé and ended her career. Seeking refuge in her peaceful hometown, she soon discovers hundreds of people have disappeared in the Pine Barrens nearby. She becomes determined to fight through her panic attacks, team up with the man who betrayed her, and solve the sinister secret.

Liliana uncovers information about the famed Jersey Devil as well as Native American lore which tells of monsters which haunt the vast New Jersey forests. But, the anxious investigator knows there’s only one way to reveal the truth. She must enter the woods herself…

Can Liliana face and defeat the terror before she becomes the next missing person?

Purchase: Amazon

Goodreads: The Vanishing


Review

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

Rating: 5 stars

When former NYPD detective Liliana Slavik returns to her hometown after losing her fiancé in the shootout that ended her career, she finds herself becoming involved in investigating a series of strange disappearances in the town. Teaming up with her ex-boyfriend who is now on the local force, Lil soon starts to suspect that there may be a more supernatural explanation for the missing people. That it could be the work of the Jersey Devil.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Vanishing. I’m not familiar with the Jersey Devil story and I went online to find out more before starting to read The Vanishing. I loved how the author weaved the tale into the novel, but with their own spin on it as well.

It has all the ingredients needed to make a truly terrifying tale; a mysterious creature, local legends, missing people, a brave lead with her own inner-demons to overcome and an epic final showdown. This was all put together flawlessly to create one of the best horror stories I have read in recent years. I knew it was going to be good – no great – from the opening scene. A classic horrifying opener in which a man is carried off by the Jersey Devil. It had me gripped from the start and I had to read more.

This is an excellent horror story based on local legends and I highly recommend you putting this on your Halloween TBR list!

Review: The Demons Beneath (D.I. Graves #1) by W.D. Jackson-Smart

When a bloody corpse is discovered in a North London park, Detective Inspector Daniel Graves is the man tasked with finding the killer. With no clues and no suspects it seems like a dead end. Then another body turns up and this time it looks like it could be his fault. Has his investigation caused the murderer to strike again? Is he dealing with a serial killer?

As case one gets ever more complicated, a report comes in of another suspicious death but this is nothing like any other Graves has dealt with. All involved are convinced that something supernatural is to blame. A demon. Daniel is no believer but could he be wrong?

With two cases on his shoulders and the truth behind each beyond his grasp, Graves must race against time before both killers, human or otherwise, strike again.

Purchase: Amazon

Goodreads: The Demons Beneath (D.I. Graves #1) by W.D. Jackson-Smart


Review

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

Rating: 4 stars

D.I Daniel Graves is in the middle of investigating a series of murders that may or may not be the work of serial killer when he is called in on a very different kind of case. An exorcism of a demon that has gone wrong and claimed the life of a husband and father. Quickly Graves finds himself drawn into the supernatural world as he tries to keep a cool head and discover the truth. After all, demons aren’t real. Are they?

I really enjoyed reading the first novel in the D.I Graves series. Both investigations were very different from each other, running concurrently and contrasting nicely. There were plenty of twists to both cases and I couldn’t see the endings coming for either of them. I did prefer the supernatural investigation and I liked how Graves kept a level head throughout his investigations. His approach was calm and logical despite the evidence that he was presented with. As his investigations continued you also got some insight into his background, why he became a policeman and some information his personal life. He is a likeable main character with some insecurities and flaws which make him all the more interesting and I look forward to learning more about him throughout the series.

The novel itself was well-paced. Everything flowed well and there wasn’t any moment of lag. There was a good balance between routine investigation and action. This is a solid first instalment and I look forward to reading further books in the series.

Release Blitz and Book Review: Nightway Chant (Coulter & Woodard 3) by M.J. Calabrese

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Nightway Chant, Coulter & Woodard 3

Author: M.J. Calabrese

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: Jessica Henshall

Release Date: September 1, 2020

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romantic Suspense

Trope/s: Murder and mayhem

Themes: Detective and Criminal Profiler

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Length: 60 000 words

This is a trilogy and should be read in order

Goodreads

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Universal Link | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Blurb

There was a time in Detective Eagle Woodard’s life that he would like to forget, but Eagle’s past catches up with him and it’s threatening to destroy everything and everyone he holds dear.

Dr. Adam Coulter is recovering from a cancer diagnosis and Adam and Eagle’s relationship is stronger than ever, but the continued disappearance of their son, Michael, overshadows their happiness. A new threat appears in the form of a man Detective Eagle Woodard thought dead. Sergeant Dean Kessler aka ‘The Viking’ is on a mission to destroy his old Black Ops team mate. Secrets held in silence by Eagle for over a decade come to the surface, threatening his relationship with Adam and with Eagle’s family.

Not only is The Viking after Eagle, but when Dean Kessler finds his younger brother is in Albuquerque, he becomes a target for his older brother’s revenge as well. Eagle wants to deal with Dean on his own, but the people who care for Eagle the most aren’t about to let him do this by himself.

The question is, will Eagle be able to keep the worst part of himself locked away or will he need ‘The Skinwalker’ to help him defeat ‘The Viking’?

Author’s Note: This book begins about six months after the end of Book 2 in the Coulter/Woodard series. This is the third planned book in the Coulter/Woodard series. No others are planned at this time, but who knows if the muse will strike. There are secondary characters who might need to have their stories told, but if they do, then the stories will be standalone novels.

PLEASE NOTE: This story contains some scenes of BDSM, drug abuse, and violent death. If these are triggers for you, this book may not be for you.

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Book Review: Born to Liberty (Light from Aphelion #3) by Martine Carlsson

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Born to Liberty (Light from Aphelion #3)

by Martine Carlsson

Lissandro is in danger in the Windy Isles. To rescue their closest friend that they haven’t seen since their dispute, Louis and Selen must leave the safety of the progressive capital. Louis requests a diplomatic visit to King Dywel, a man he publicly humiliated when he spurned Howell’s beautiful daughter to crown Selen—a man—as his queen.

From their arrival in the Howells’ castle in the coastal city of Kilcairn, the tension between the royals is on the edge. But beyond the nonstop petty humiliations that Louis and Selen have to endure, a far greater threat is being hatched in the Isles. When young girls go missing, Selen is resolute to expose the mysteries hidden within the castle’s walls.

Purchase: Amazon.com

Goodreads: Born to Liberty (Light from Aphelion #3) 


Review

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

Rating: 5 stars

The Kingdom of Trevalden is thriving under King Louis’s rule and the changes that he is introducing to the medieval society to guide it towards a republic. However when Louis and Selen fear that their old friend Lissandro is in danger they do not hesitate to depart the capital on a rescue mission to the Windy Isles disguised as a diplomatic visit.

King Dywel has not forgotten how Louis rejected his offer of his daughter’s hand in marriage and subsequently crowned a man as his Queen. From their arrival Selen is subjected to humiliation at the hands of their hosts, however this is only the beginning. Soon the royal couple is forcibly parted and each has their own mission. Reuniting with former friends and allies, they soon realise that the Howells are not the only and greatest threat to everything that they have built and hold dear.

I literally could not wait to start reading book 3 in the Light from Aphelion series and it did not disappoint. The first novel in the series combined two genres; historical and fantasy and book 2 and 3 added a supernatural element which I absolutely love. This is expanded on so much more in Born to Liberty. You learn so much more about Lissandro, his past and his complicated relationship with Grimmr. Grimmr is the antagonist in this story, however, I felt as though he was as much of a lost soul as the other main characters in some respect and I could feel some empathy with him. You could still feel how much he cared for Lissandro despite of everything.

The author’s decision to part Louis and Selen for the majority of the novel was right one as it gave both characters a chance to stand on their own independent from each other. Due to the stereotype of his title and the mind-sets of many of the supporting characters, Selen was beginning to lose himself in Louis’s shadow, and it was great to see how he overcame this. He was never the weak person that he feared he was and it was so good that he got the chance to prove it to himself. His relationship with Louis is as strong as it always was, but deep down Selen had his doubts. These are finally put to rest and it was done in the most touching way possible. I think that scene was possibly my favourite of the entire series. And of course I was overjoyed when they were finally reunited once more.

The world that author created was expanded upon much further in book 3. The rich and vivid detail that she compiles into her work is without fault and I found myself easily immersed into their world. I won’t say too much about the ending as I do not want to spoil it, but it is absolutely perfect for Louis and Selen given what they had been through. Despite it being the end of the series, the door is left open and I would love for the author to revisit them in the future or perhaps even a prequel!

Book Review: The Gemini Connection by Teri Polen

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Planet Tage is dying, and the best hope of saving it is gone.

Seventeen-year-old identical twins Evan and Simon share an extraordinary bond, a trait that’s both useful and invasive. They use their connection in their work at Scientific Innovations. Evan is a Mindbender, someone who enters the minds of scientists to spark ideas, join thoughts, and battle nightmares. Simon is a science prodigy and Tage’s best chance of survival.

Unfortunately, their unusual link often bleeds into their private lives. When Evan discovers his brother is keeping a secret from him, he lashes out and ignores requests to talk, and even pleas for help. By the time Evan tunes back in, he finds their connection severed and Simon missing.

He suffers a terrible case of survivor’s guilt. Moreover, he’s desperate. The fate of the world rests on Simon’s return, and Evan is willing to do anything to get him back—even working with his greatest rival, who also happens to be Simon’s boyfriend.

Evan finds allies among enemies and adversaries among friends. When nothing is as it seems and everything is depending on him, he must explore a dangerous aspect to his twin connection he never knew he had.

If he fails, he’ll lose both his brother and his world.

Purchase: Amazon.com

Goodreads: The Gemini Connection by Teri Polen


Review

Rating: 5 stars

Twins Evan and Simon are complete opposites. Evan is a mindbender. Someone who can enter the thoughts and dreams of others. He is the best that Scientific Innovations has yet his parents are more focused on his brother’s more academic gifts. Yet this doesn’t come between them, if anything it makes their bond stronger. Evan and Simon are also linked to each other’s minds, but when Evan learns that Simon has been keeping a secret from him he shuts his brother out when he needs him the most. A year later Simon is missing and Evan is tormented by his guilt at not heeding his twin’s calls for help. He then finds himself having to put aside his grievances with Simon’s boyfriend in order to bring his brother home and also save their entire world.

I was lucky enough to win a copy of this novel from the author and I am so happy I did as its one of the best books I’ve read this year!

The Gemini Connection is a fast paced and extremely imaginative science fiction novel. It switches between brothers’ viewpoints focusing the events occurring now and also one year ago. I really liked that the author wrote the novel in this way as you learn more about both Simon and Evan as the story progresses, and also how events from the past year connect into the present storyline. The technology is very well imagined and explained so you’re not trying to work out how some of the futuristic inventions could work practically. The story was an emotional one too and you really got to feel how much the twins cared for each other and their partners too.

I highly recommend you picking up a copy of The Gemini Connection, you won’t be disappointed and I look forward to reading more books by the author!

Book Review: Mountainway Chant (Coulter and Woodard #2) by M.J. Calabrese

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Adam Coulter has returned and is coping with the horrific events of sixteen months ago as best he can, but not everyone is happy about it. His best friend and new husband, Detective Eagle Woodard, doesn’t want to speak to him and it’s starting to look like his fifth marriage isn’t going to be anymore successful than his other four.

FBI Agent Rick Kessler and Navajo Reservation Police Lieutenant Carlos Aiello, Eagle’s cousin, have pulled a reluctant Adam into another case. Five bodies discovered at the site of a planned casino, all dressed and painted up as Native American mythological characters offer confusing clues. Are they dealing with another serial killer?

Fighting to stay clean and sober, Adam’s 12 step sponsor is murdered. At first it seems unrelated to what he saw in the desert, but evidence comes to light that says otherwise. Revelations concerning Adam’s past and his father, Richard Coulter’s, connections to the local crime syndicate boss, Nelson Greybill come to light.

Can Adam repair the damage he’s done to his relationship with Eagle so he can help him solve this case? Can he win back the only man he’s ever truly loved, or will the demons of his past win the battle for his soul?

 

Purchase: Amazon.com

Goodreads: Mountainway Chant (Coulter and Woodard #2) 


Review

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

Rating: 3 stars

When Adam Coulter returns after 16 months he is determined to get his life back on track, however he is soon drawn into another murder investigation. Forced to work together once more with his husband, Eagle Woodard, Adam soon realises that this case is tied to him in ways that he couldn’t have realised. Can Adam and Eagle reconcile in time to solve the case and if so is there a hope for a future together after all?

I liked the second instalment in the series a little less than the first book hence the slightly lower rating. As with the first novel there were aspects I really liked and aspects I didn’t.

I do love a good murder mystery and for that Mountainway Chant does not disappoint. I enjoyed reading how the plot unfolded and how all the connections to the main characters were made. The final showdown was gripping and kept me turning the pages to find out what happened next. The writing seemed to have been tightened up in this book as well, with less confusion over the names and nicknames of the characters.

What I didn’t like was some of the reactions of the characters as they still seemed really random and emotions seemed to change at the drop of a hat and with no warning or reason. So much so I almost got whiplash. As well it seems that everyone has slept with everyone else at some point (or still is!) and I cannot keep track of who has what relationship with whom. A lot of this seems needless drama and it would have been a lot better to have been cut out of the book completely. The novel would have benefitted from less side complications that seemed to have been only put in for drama, which it didn’t need as it has plenty of that already!

I am interested to see what happens in the third instalment of the series, but I’m slightly less enthusiastic about it than I was at the end of book one.

Book Review: After Vertigo by Amanda Meuwissen

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In a flash, the world changed. A solar flare—later dubbed Vertigo—activated the DNA of more than half the world’s people, granting them special abilities. Brilliant scientist Benjamin Krane might be Powerless, but his inventions are the only thing giving the police a fighting chance against super-powered evil. Ben doesn’t have much of a life beyond work, and when he gets wind of a robbery one evening, he decides to test his newest invention personally….

A thief, rogue, and shameless flirt, Grey Miller—aka the Streak—likes shiny things, but he doesn’t hurt people. When Ben catches him—and proposes they team up against the real bad guys—Grey doesn’t know whether it’s the offer or the man he can’t resist. But one thing’s for sure—they’re an ideal match in more ways than one.

With a psychotic supervillain’s catastrophic plan moving forward and everyone he cares about in danger, now might not be the best time for Ben to give in to Grey’s seduction, no matter how tempting. Grey is a man of secrets, and if Ben wants a future with him, he’ll have to learn to trust Grey—and himself.

Purchase: Amazon.com

Goodreads: After Vertigo


Review

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

Rating: 5 stars

When a freak event alters the DNA of over half of the world’s population, the police find themselves in danger of becoming overwhelmed against those with their newfound abilities and bad intentions. Scientist Benjamin Krane creates inventions to combat these powers. When he decides one night to test out a new invention in person, he finds himself teaming up with a super, despite having no powers himself. However his unexpected teammate Grey Miller – the Streak – seems more interested in flirting with Ben than saving the day. Yet when a supervillain emerges, Ben and Grey must learn to trust each other if they want to thwart the villain’s evil plan.

This a really fun and fast-paced superhero novel. The two main characters, Ben and Grey, are very likeable and intriguing in their own ways. Ben is extremely intelligent, but he struggles to make connections with people and before meeting Grey he kept mainly to himself. Grey is self-assured and extremely outgoing, however he has his secrets. The two of them are complete opposites, but this is why they work so well together. Each personality complements the other.

The writing itself is great. Everything flows well and I love Grey’s wit and sense of humour, even if Ben sometimes doesn’t appreciate it! The pace is quick enough to keep the story moving, but not at all rushed. It’s extremely clever how seemingly insignificant events feed into the plot and contribute to it until it all fits together at the end. The final confrontation is on the edge-of-your-seat stuff and it had me guessing right up until the last second!