Review: Better Than Suicide (The Yakuza Path #2) by Amy Tasukada

Better than Suicide

A stash of drugs. A twisted cop. A mob on the verge of self-destruction…

Nao Murata is the new godfather of the Matsukawa syndicate. When Detective Yamada confronts Nao over a dead drug dealer, Nao knows his organization isn’t responsible. The Matsukawa doesn’t deal drugs… or does it?

When Nao discovers drugs in a locker owned by his syndicate, he no longer knows who to trust. With the police bearing down on the Matsukawa, Nao must make unlikely allies to find out the truth. Can he discover who is betraying him before time runs out, or will everyone suffer for a crime he didn’t commit?

Purchase: Amazon.com

Goodreads: Better Than Suicide (The Yakuza Path #2) by Amy Tasukada


Review

Rating: 5 stars

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

Better Than Suicide picks up where the events in Blood Stained Tea left off. Nao has been chosen as the new godfather of the Matsukawa and this presents challenges like he has never faced before. When Nao discovers that someone in the family is dealing drugs, he resolves to find out who is responsible. Being new to his position, friends and trust are in short supply, but without support Nao will be hard pressed to find the culprit before time runs out.


Better Than Suicide is an excellent follow up to Blood Stained Tea. I really enjoyed seeing Nao’s rise to power and his early weeks as the Matsukawa godfather. His values on traditions and different outlook on life to his father and predecessor will take his family in new directions that are not welcomed by all. Nao is naturally suspicious of those around him and finds it difficult to place his trust in anyone. Who truly wants to support him and who just wants to replace him? Nao finds friendship in a new recruit, whom is also a potential love interest. However, Nao is resolved not to allow himself to fall in love again. I am sure I am not alone in hoping that Aki can find somewhat to change Nao’s mind!


I think I enjoyed this second book more than the first. Nao really gets into his stride, and you learn even more about his character as well as his supporting cast. The author also included a lot of Japanese culture into her story, which I absolutely loved as it created such a rich and detailed backdrop for the events of the novel. I cannot wait to read book three in this series.

Monthly Reading List

Happy September! Autumn is arriving fast but let’s hope we can still have a few nice sunny days this month!

I have quite a full monthly reading list this month! And I am really looking forward to getting started!


Better than Suicide

A stash of drugs. A twisted cop. A mob on the verge of self-destruction…

Nao Murata is the new godfather of the Matsukawa syndicate. When Detective Yamada confronts Nao over a dead drug dealer, Nao knows his organization isn’t responsible. The Matsukawa doesn’t deal drugs… or does it?

When Nao discovers drugs in a locker owned by his syndicate, he no longer knows who to trust. With the police bearing down on the Matsukawa, Nao must make unlikely allies to find out the truth. Can he discover who is betraying him before time runs out, or will everyone suffer for a crime he didn’t commit?

Better Than Suicide is the second book in a Japanese mafia thriller series. If you like complex plots, gripping suspense, and a splash of romance, then you’ll love the next installment in Amy Tasukada’s Yakuza Path series.

One Thousand Cranes

When a body goes missing, a young Yakuza’s life hangs in the balance…

Aki Hisona’s latest promotion is a cause for celebration. But because his new job is working as the personal secretary for the Yakuza’s Kyoto-based godfather, it’s also a cause for dangerous envy. He takes an invitation from a friend for congratulatory drinks, but Aki never thought the night would end with a deadly knife fight…

Aki is tasked with disposing of his friend’s corpse, but there’s one problem: the body is missing. As body parts surface around town, it’s only a matter of time before the police piece together the clues. But keeping one step ahead of the cops may not matter if Aki can’t solve the mystery before his cold, unforgiving godfather boss does…

Caught

Rakurai hunts demons. He doesn’t consort with gods. Until he meets Tenzen.

Tenzen cares for souls. He despises the callous, self-absorbed Yuvine. Until he meets Rakurai.

A rescue and a sacrifice make a death god and a hunter fall in love, but a life of bliss is not on the cards. Someone is disturbing the balance of magic, leaving two worlds in danger. And while desire draws Rakurai and Tenzen together, duty, assassins, and clan politics keep them apart.

Who will Tenzen and Rakurai save in the end? Two worlds or each other?

No Flag

Captain Mike Kelley does not ignore his intuition, so when sexy bartender Will Hayes captures his heart, Mike embarks on a mission to win him over to a Domestic Discipline relationship. Will accepts with one caveat: Mike must promise not to renew his army contract.

Mike agrees, until the army invokes the stop-loss military policy to involuntarily extend his commission and send him back overseas, rendering him powerless and threatening everything he and Will have built. Will, left alone to cope with a new café, must rely on the support of old friends who may no longer be trustworthy.

A horrific terrorist attack on Mike’s outpost changes everything, leaving them both at a loss.

Mike awakens in a hospital with a devastating injury and no recollection of the attack. As the only survivor, his memory may be the key to national security. Mike struggles to cope with his injury and Will struggles with his new role in Mike’s life.

For Mike and Will, “No Flag” meant “come home alive.” Will has Mike back rather than a folded flag, but in the aftermath of war, can they rebuild the life they had before?

Aeterna

Vampires have conquered the living world, eradicated human society, and rule an undead empire from their underground palace of Aeterna. No longer forced to hide in the shadows, they build a luxurious metropolis of epicurean excess, savage rituals, and royal lineages, all existing in perfect eternal harmony.

Of Aeterna’s byzantine rites, the Bloodlet is the greatest: a spectacular hunt held once a century to choose which royal house will ascend the throne. But for Marcus Atreidae, the last vampire to be created before the annihilation of mankind, the Bloodlet offers a chance to explore the ruins of a dead city and learn all he can about those creatures of myth and legend: humans.

Barred from participating as punishment for his curiosity, Marcus sneaks to the surface but, when catastrophe strikes, he finds himself trapped amid the dystopian ruins with an unlikely ally — a beautiful and fearless clone named Bo. Together, they discover a web of lies that stretches all the way to Aeterna’s putrid core. Will the truth of Marcus’ own mysterious past set him free? Or will it destroy an empire?

Review: Order of the Void by Robert Vaughn

Order of the Void

Internet vlogger Jeffery Bailey, attends the funeral of his dead best friend. While at the funeral Jeffery is given a package from his friend’s mother. After looking through the contents of the package, Jeffery learns that it was more than just a simple home invasion that took the life of his friend.

Purchase: Amazon.com

Goodreads: Order of the Void by Robert Vaughn


Review

Rating: 5 stars

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

When internet vlogger Jeffery Bailey starts investigating the death of his friend who was believed to have been killed in a home invasion, he soon learns that this is far from the truth. His friend was looking into a cult who worship a demonic entity called Rojachar. A visit from two mysterious operatives who claim to be working to bring down the cult adds to his intrigue and Jeffery soon finds himself drawn into a darker world than he could ever imagine.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Order of the Void. It is a thrilling and fast-paced horror/mystery with so many twists and turns that I could not guess what was going to happen next. The author has built and established an interesting and dark lore, that continued to be developed as Jefferey discovered more about the cult and its aims. The use of the first-person narrative was a great decision as it felt even more chilling somehow to read directly from Jefferey’s point of view.


I knew that the ending would be surprising, but I really didn’t see it coming. It was a more than satisfying conclusion to a darkly thrilling read. I look forward to reading further novels by this author in the future.

Book Blast and Review: The Yakuza Path: Blood Stained Tea by Amy Tasukada

BOOK BLAST

Book Title: The Yakuza Path: Blood Stained Tea

Author: Amy Tasukada

Publisher: Self-Published

Release Date: November 28, 2016

Genre: Gay thriller (NOT ROMANCE)

Tropes: Forbidden love, bad boys, tragic hero

Themes: Mafia

Heat Rating: 1 flame

Length: 350 pages

It is the first book in the series and does not end on a cliffhanger.

Goodreads

Buy Links – FREE to read on all platforms

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Kobo | Google Play | Apple Books

Barnes and Noble | Books 2 Read

A bloody past haunts him. A devastating present lures him back…

Blurb

Nao hides from his violent past in the Japanese mob by opening a teahouse in Japan’s cultural center, Kyoto. His past comes flooding back when he discovers a gravely injured man with a tattooed chest, a bloody knife, and a Korean business card.

Saehyun would’ve died if not for Nao’s help. He knows nothing of his savior’s connection with the local mafia, but Saehyun has his own secrets. He commands the Korean mafia, the mortal enemy of Nao’s former syndicate.

As Nao and Saehyun grow closer, so does the strength of the Korean mob. A shocking murder pulls Nao back into a past he’d all but abandoned. War is looming, and Nao must choose between protecting Saehyun or avenging the honor of his old mafia family.

Blood Stained Tea is the first book in the The Yakuza Path series. If you like complex characters, blood-soaked violence, and twists you won’t see coming, then you’ll love Amy Tasukada’s gritty crime masterpiece.

The Yakuza Path Series

BOOK 1 – Blood Stained Tea

BOOK 2 – Better Than Suicide

BOOK 3 – One Thousand Cranes

BOOK 4 – The Deafening Silence

BOOK 5 – Flowers of Flesh and Blood

BOOK 6 – Releasing in November

Continue reading

Release Blitz and Review: The Prince and the Ice King by Amanda Meuwissen

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: The Prince and the Ice King

Author: Amanda Meuwissen

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Kris Norris

Release Date: August 3, 2021

Genre: Fantasy M/M Romance

Tropes: Fated love, enemies to lovers, cursed, slow burn

Themes: Destiny, fate, redemption, legend, overcoming prejudice

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 300 pages

It can be read alone but is the first book in a series.

This is book 1 of Tales from the Gemstone Kingdoms.

Goodreads

Buy Links

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Dreamspinner

Only true love can melt a frozen heart.

Blurb

Every Winter Solstice, the Emerald Kingdom sends the dreaded Ice King a sacrifice—a corrupt soul, a criminal, a deviant, or someone touched by magic. Prince Reardon has always loathed this tradition, partly because he dreams of love with another man instead of a future queen.

Then Reardon’s best friend is discovered as a witch and sent to the Frozen Kingdom as tribute.

Reardon sets out to rescue him, willing to battle and kill the Ice King if that’s what it takes. But nothing could prepare him for what he finds in the Frozen Kingdom—a cursed land filled with magic… and a camaraderie Reardon has never known. Over this strange, warm community presides the enigmatic Ice King himself, a man his subjects call Jack. A man with skin made of ice, whose very touch can stop a beating heart.

A man Reardon finds himself inexplicably drawn to.

Jack doesn’t trust Reardon. But when Reardon begins spending long days with him, vowing to prove himself and break the curse, Jack begins to hope. Can love and forgiveness melt the ice around Jack’s heart?

Continue reading

Monthly Reading List

August already! I hope everyone is going to be able to get some time to chill and relax at home  if a vacation away isn’t possible at the moment where you are. I have a week off from work from 9th August and I’m going to go out to a few covid-secure places as well as working on the last of my edits for Perfect World 3! 

Of course, I am also going to be reading and here’s my reading list for this month!

Sympthony of Fates

Kaiya escapes her ordeal at the hands of the Teleri Emperor, only to return to a homeland beset by enemies on all sides, and crumbling from within.

As a teenager, she quelled a rebellion with the Dragon Scale Lute. As a young adult, she vanquished a dragon with the power of her voice.

Now, robbed of her magic by grief, Kaiya must navigate a web of court intrigue to save the realm before it falls. Only she can lay claim to the Dragon Throne on behalf of her unborn sons—whether the father is the lover who perished rescuing her, or the hated enemy who killed him.

In the final story in Kaiya’s saga, she must rally a nation, repel invaders, and prove to the world why her family alone holds the Mandate of Heaven.

 

The Prince and the Ice King

Every Winter Solstice, the Emerald Kingdom sends the dreaded Ice King a sacrifice—a corrupt soul, a criminal, a deviant, or someone touched by magic. Prince Reardon has always loathed this tradition, partly because he dreams of love with another man instead of a future queen.

Then Reardon’s best friend is discovered as a witch and sent to the Frozen Kingdom as tribute.

Reardon sets out to rescue him, willing to battle and kill the Ice King if that’s what it takes. But nothing could prepare him for what he finds in the Frozen Kingdom—a cursed land filled with magic… and a camaraderie Reardon has never known. Over this strange, warm community presides the enigmatic Ice King himself, a man his subjects call Jack. A man with skin made of ice, whose very touch can stop a beating heart.

A man Reardon finds himself inexplicably drawn to.

Jack doesn’t trust Reardon. But when Reardon begins spending long days with him, vowing to prove himself and break the curse, Jack begins to hope. Can love and forgiveness melt the ice around Jack’s heart?

 

Order of the Void

Internet vlogger Jeffery Bailey, attends the funeral of his dead best friend. While at the funeral Jeffery is given a package from his friend’s mother. After looking through the contents of the package, Jeffery learns that it was more than just a simple home invasion that took the life of his friend.

Review: Dark Summer by S.J. Coles

Dark Summer

Is a human lifetime long enough to learn to love a vampire?

The tumultuous events of the Blood Winter are a fading nightmare, and Alec and Terje are trying to build a life together at Alec’s newly restored ancestral home of Glenroe. There’s just one problem… Terje doesn’t appear to be committed—constantly called away on mysterious errands and seemingly unable to forsake his own kind. Alec begins to wonder if Terje is capable of loving anyone, let alone him.

When an old uni friend Jay Singh, recently out of the closet and looking rather too good to be true, returns to Alec’s life, he becomes more conflicted than ever. Things only escalate when Alec is forced into the social and political issues still surrounding the haemophiles’ tumultuous integration into human society and soon it is more than just his relationship on the line.

Can Alec figure out what kind of future is possible with a vampire—and if it can ever be enough for either of them—before it’s too late?

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of violence, murder, alcohol abuse and blood drinking.

Publisher’s Note: This story is best read as a sequel to Blood Winter.

Purchase: Amazon.com

Goodreads: Dark Summer by S.J. Coles


Review

Rating: 5 stars

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

When I learned that there was going to be a sequel to Blood Winter, I was so excited as it is one of my favourite vampire novels. I couldn’t wait to read Dark Summer and it did not disappoint.

After the events of Blood Winter, Alec and Terje are rebuilding their lives together and away from the political fallout and unrest from the previous novel. Alec is growing frustrated as Terje does not seem to want to commit on the same level that he does, and he is always going away, sometimes for months at a time. When an old university friend comes back into Alec’s life, he finds himself conflicted and in part yearning for a more human relationship. Then he learns that Terje’s former Magister is back and they are both unwillingly thrust into a world that they had sought to escape from.
This sequel has a darker tone than the previous novel, which suits it perfectly given events. It is told from Alec’s point of view, and you can really feel just how conflicted and troubled he is by his inability to understand Terje, and in turn Terje’s difficulty in reading him. For the two of them the relationship presents different complications but what brings them together is the willingness to try. I really love them as a couple and really wanted them to work through their issues.

Much of the novel is about their relationship, but this is interwoven perfectly with Evgeniya’s return. This time the threat that she presents is different and the confrontation forces both Alec and Terje to face their problems head on.

The writing style is raw and powerful, with a dark tone which also has its lighter moments. This and the descriptions crafted the world perfectly and I felt as though I was living the entire novel rather than reading it. The end does wrap up many of the loose ends, but I would love to see a continuation in the future!

Review: The Dead Don’t Lie (Dead Generations #1) by Anne Russo

The Dead Don't Lie

While young doctor Adam Morrow resigns himself to an uninformed existence, world-weary assassin Ian Abbott struggles with a life he never asked for. When the two strangers meet by chance, the attraction is immediate. And deadly, as Adam walks in on Ian in the middle of a hit.

The situation spirals out of control once Ian discovers he and Adam share a connection far more profound than either imagined. Shocked by the discovery, Ian makes the hasty decision to kidnap him.

Overnight Adam is torn from his promising career and a family who believes him dead. Things go from bad to worse when he finds himself reunited with a mother he never knew who is now head of a covert and shadowy group of killers for hire. Forced into joining their ranks, with Ian as his reluctant trainer and handler, Adam is given a series of impossible tasks to complete.

To survive, he must fight with everything he has to keep his life, his sanity, and his very soul from being swept up in a violent and chaotic world even as he battles his unwanted and complicated feelings for Ian.

For his part, Ian, a man with dark secrets of his own, has a past he isn’t ready to share with Adam even as the other man worms into his life in more ways than one. The two grow closer and lines blur — between good and evil, friend or foe, enemy or lover. But something, or someone, plots against them, determined to do everything in their power to keep them apart. Even if it means destroying them both.

Trigger Warnings: This story contains a brief scene of sexual assault and features an unresolved ending/cliffhanger.

Purchase: Amazon.com

Goodreads: The Dead Don’t Lie (Dead Generations #1) by Anne Russo


Review

Rating: 4 stars

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

When Doctor Adam Morrow stumbles in whilst assassin Ian Abbott is carrying out a hit, both men’s lives change forever. Instead of killing Adam, Ian makes the decision to kidnap him. Forced into training as an assassin, Adam struggles to deal with his new reality as well as his complicated feelings for Ian. Little does he know that Ian has his own secrets. Secrets that may destroy any chance they have of being together.

The Dead Don’t Lie is the first novel in the Dead Generations series. It is a dark, gritty novel filled with suspense, violence and death. The two main characters at first seem to contrast starkly from each other. Adam is kind and compassionate and tends to wear his heart on his sleeve, whilst Ian is cold and ruthless. However, as the story progresses you get to see different sides to both of them. Ian does have feelings and the fleeting moments when these are on display make for very tender scenes between them. Adam possesses an inner strength that he did not know he had, and when he finds it, he becomes much stronger and able to deal with his new world better. To begin with, Adam hates that Ian stole his life from him and is forcing him to become someone that he is not. Ian hates that Adam is awakening emotions in him that he is afraid to confront. Over time the two of them start to become closer, however there is a lot of ‘will they won’t they’ due to external conflicts as well as their own reluctance.

Much of the novel focuses on Adam’s training and his complex relationship with his kidnapper now trainer. However, his new skills are soon put to the test when he finds himself a target of a man who has a score to settle with Ian.

I really enjoyed the dark world of assassins that this first book in series introduced me to. There was plenty of twists and turns as well as action and romance and I look forward to reading further books in the series.

Release Blitz & Review: Sun, Sea and Small-Town Secrets by S.J. Coles

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Sun, Sea & Small-Town Secrets

Author: S. J. Coles

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Release Date: July 6, 2021

Genre: Contemporary M/M Mystery/Holiday Romance

Tropes: Forbidden Love / Small Town / Holiday

Themes: Healing / Hurt/Comfort / Travel / Self-discovery

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 48 634 words/ 193 pages

It is a standalone story.

Add on Goodreads

Buy Links

Universal Link | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Pride Publishing

Small towns are full of secrets, some harder to keep than most.

Blurb

Sebastian Conway is a professional psychologist and accomplished criminal profiler, but when one of his patients is sentenced to life in prison for a crime she didn’t commit, he simply cannot let it go. His borderline obsessive behaviour has embarrassed his boss and lover, Gerrard Wilson, and the relationship has come to a bitter end.

Seb has now grudgingly taken Gerrard’s advice and come to the small coastal town of Ruéier in the South of France to get some distance and clear his head—but he cannot sit by and do nothing.

He has started writing a book he believes will address the failings in the case, but when he gets swept up in a local investigation into suspected drug trafficking, which is led by the enigmatic and strangely enticing Antoine Damboise, the book—and Seb’s intentions to avoid active criminal cases—take a back seat.

He knows it’s a bad idea to get involved, but he can’t seem to help himself. And when it seems Damboise is tempted to make their relationship more than professional, Seb finds it easier than ever to ignore his better judgment. But when a local drug dealer is murdered and Seb is implicated, everything gets a whole lot more complicated.

Can the two men set aside their personal feelings long enough to figure out what’s really going on before Seb ends up in prison? Or worse…

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of murder and drug use.

Continue reading

Review: Beyond the Ruby River (Immortal Jewels #3) by Lee Colgin

Beyond the Ruby River

In Ancient Egypt when the pharaohs ruled the banks of the Nile, Mahu led a simple, if somewhat melancholy, life. Making papyrus filled his days. His needs were provided for, but deep in his soul, Mahu longed for companionship.

Dakarai, born of a demon mother and a human father, craved independence. A young incubus constantly in the shadows of his full-blooded siblings, Daka set out for a new city and a life of his own.

While a starving Daka roams the streets hunting for a meal, the sight of a beautiful man walking alone stops him in his tracks. Just what he needs to quench his spiraling thirst.

But Mahu turns out to be more than Daka bargained for, and his heart falls for the lonely man.

What happens when one lover is immortal and the other seeks contentment in the afterlife? Betrayal shatters their foundation. Can Daka and Mahu find their way back to each other, or is each soul destined to long for the other for all eternity?

 

Purchase: Amazon.com

Goodreads: Beyond the Ruby River (Immortal Jewels #3) by Lee Colgin


Review

Rating: 5 stars

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

When half-human, half-incubus Dakarai leaves home determined to make his way independently he meets and falls for a human called Mahu. Consumed by grief and burying himself in his work, Mahu is surprised to capture Daka’s attention, but quickly their blossoming friendship turns into much more. However, when Mahu’s mortality threatens to part them, Daka makes a choice that costs them both everything.

Beyond the Ruby River is the third novel in the Immortal Jewels series but can be read as a standalone. I adored the setting of ancient Egypt. This time period is one that I love, and the author clearly did their research in making such an amazing world come to life through the pages.

I loved Daka’s character. His personality and innocence set him apart from most of his kind, and his desire to find the one is adorable. His feelings and actions are so raw and honest, despite not always having the outcomes that he intended. Mahu is a perfect complement to him. He is calmer and sees more realism in the world than Daka does. You can see why each falls for the other and the relationship develops very naturally as the story progresses.

I also enjoyed the inclusion of other supernatural beings, especially vampires and the author’s take on them. It was a refreshing and different take on the vampire lore, and one that I would love to learn more about through the other books in the series.

If you love supernatural loves stories set in beautiful ancient Egypt, then I highly recommend that you read Beyond the Ruby River!