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: 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 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.

Book Review: Caligation by Brhi Stokes

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A city of the bizarre and the unfamiliar, inhabited by monstrous beasts and people with unnatural gifts. A city of tall glass spires mingling with old gothic architecture, where wild animals roam alongside the populace.

This is where Ripley Mason finds himself.

University dropout, casual drinker, and newly fledged hitchhiker, Ripley is tired of the daily grind of study, drink, repeat. Only halfway done with a degree he never chose, Ripley heads north to see if life won’t throw him something less monotonous.

Early into his journey, Ripley suffers a brutal car accident and awakens in a rundown hospital. Nervous, he ventures into dark, unfamiliar streets and comes face to face with horrific beasts. Thrown into a world of supernatural fantasy, Ripley fights to discover where he is, how he came to be here and, most importantly, if he can even get home.

All he knows of this place is a single word: C A L I G A T I O N

Purchase: Amazon.com

Goodreads: Caligation


Review

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

Rating: 4 stars

When university dropout Ripley hitches a ride, he is involved in a serious car accident. Upon waking in hospital he finds that he has somehow been transported to the city Caligation. A city filled with supernatural beings and a reality that Ripley does not believe can be real. As he navigates his new surroundings, Ripley finds himself reluctantly drawn into a world that he is trying to leave.

Caligation is an extremely imaginative and clever urban fantasy novel.  The author creates a dark and complex world full of shifters, vampires and other supernatural beings. The characters are paired with an animal that they can talk with telepathically and I very much enjoyed the banter that Ripley had with his owl, Athena. Each different supernatural species has their own politics and agendas, and Ripley finds himself put in the middle of all of this as he is trying to find his way home. I really liked the character of Ripley. He’s not a bad person, but he never set himself up to be a hero either. He does his best with the situations that he finds himself in.

The writing style is quite heavy and I had to read it in smaller chunks so not to miss what was happening. Whilst the style suited the novel and the tone perfectly, it was something that I did struggle with at times, but not enough that it detracted anything from my enjoyment of the novel.

I enjoyed reading Caligation, and whilst I had my ideas about what the place really was for Ripley, I never saw the end coming.

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: 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.

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!

Book Review: You Only Get One Shot by Kevin J. Kennedy and J.C. Michael

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What would you do if someone demanded you write the best story of your life, to be judged online? That your life depended on it. Four well-known authors receive an email telling them they are responsible for a suicide. Their antagonist makes it clear she is out for revenge and they have no option but to comply. Their task is to post the best story they can imagine online and await judgement. Filled with guilt, anxiety, and even a few murderous tendencies, each writer weaves their tale and hopes for the best. It’ll be the competition of their lives. Who’s story will win? Will anyone survive?

Purchase: Amazon.com

Goodreads: You Only Get One Shot


Review

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

Rating: 4 stars

When four authors receive an anonymous email claiming that they are responsible for a suicide, the sender demands that they post their best story online for judgement. The prize? The winner will get their life.

You Only Get One Shot is a clever and thrilling read. Each part is broken down into chapters from each other’s point of view and then their stories. The stories and characters are all very different and well-developed, making them each credible and deserving winners.

Once the stories are posted the waiting game begins and I did not see the ending coming at all. Staying true to the horror genre, there is an unexpected and gruesome finale and the final twist at the end is brilliant. Well worth a read!

Book Review: Lament of the Fallen (Hero of Darkness #2) by Andy Peloquin

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Can a killer escape the evil inside him?

The Hunter has fled his home and the suffering left in his wake. Hoping to cleanse the stain of blood on his hands, he aids travelers beset by bandits only to discover those he saved are warrior clerics on a holy mission to kill him.

Left for dead, he must hunt down the priests to reclaim his stolen birthright and silence the relentless whispers in his mind that hunger for blood and death.

From feared assassin to wretched outcast, the Hunter journeys toward the truth about his forgotten past and the demons he pledged to hunt. But will his discoveries be his salvation, or will they cost him his sanity and even his life?

Purchase: Amazon.com

Goodreads: Lament of the Fallen


Review

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

Rating: 4 stars

In the second instalment of the Hero of Darkness series, the Hunter sets out on a quest to discover the secrets of his own past. Along the way he again faces adversity from those he meets, as well as his own internal struggle with the demons that threaten to consume him.

I really enjoyed reading the second novel in this series. It is more focused on the character of the Hunter and his personal struggles. Delving into his mind, you learn more about his motivations and also how he fights against his own destiny as an assassin. Through the people that he meets on the road, you learn how the Hunter really craves companionship and acceptance although forced to hide the true nature of what he really is for fear of attack or rejection. These fears are often proved founded however there is also hope for him that he can forge some relationships with those open and willing to look beyond and see the man that he truly wants to be.

His internal struggle makes for some compelling reading and you really get a sense of who wants to be. Even in his darkest moments, you can really feel for the man fighting the demon and this invokes an empathy that on a less well developed character you might feel does not deserve it.

The Hunter’s path inevitably leads to conflict and his compassion at the end of the novel fits in well with who he has developed into as a person.The world-building is as rich and vivid as the previous novel, as is the description. The fight scenes are realistic and as brutal as they need to be, contrasting against the Hunter’s reluctance to engage in the violence that he is forced into.

This a really great, character-driven story and I am very much looking forward to finding out the secrets of the Hunter’s past in further novels in this series.

Release Blitz and Review: Handsome Death by Sara Dobie Bauer

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Handsome Death

Author: Sara Dobie Bauer

Publisher: Carnation Books

Release Date: April 10, 2020

Genre/s: Paranormal M/M romance, contemporary M/M romance

Trope/s: Vampires, bondage, hurt/comfort, age gap

Themes: explicit sex, past abuse, dark, immortal, graphic violence, stalking

Heat Rating: 5 flames

Length: 72 000 words

It is a standalone story.

Add on Goodreads

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Blurb

I’m not hunting him; I’m protecting him.

At least, that’s what I tell myself.

In New York City, a beautiful creature like Tristan Clement should not be walking the streets alone, and I’m the perfect vampire to watch his back.

But what if keeping him safe isn’t enough anymore? What if I want to touch? And taste?

I need him. But I’ve never needed anyone.

In a world where paranormal creatures live amongst us and must follow certain laws, living life as a dangerous loner works for vampire Ethan. Inhabiting his gleaming apartment, wearing his designer suits, jetting around the world as a fanged killer-for-hire, Ethan does it all alone.

That is, until he literally runs into Tristan. Tristan, who is clearly trouble wrapped in skinny jeans and an oversized sweater. Tristan, with his shock of angelic blond curls. Tristan, who plays piano more beautifully than the old masters– and Ethan would know; he saw Beethoven.

Tristan is gorgeous, a little sassy, and irresistible. Also, Ethan is horrified to note, Tristan has no idea how incredibly tempting he is to things that go bump in the night.

Overcome by the urge to keep Tristan safe, Ethan begins to… well, stalk is such a strong word. What starts as an obsession quickly becomes something more, something that Ethan needs. And to his surprise, Tristan seems to need him, too…

*This darkly romantic tale delivers steamy passion and a happily ever after. Be advised that Handsome Death includes explicit m/m content, stalking, mentions of past abuse, and graphic violence.*

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