Book Review: The Bandalore (Pitch & Sickle #1) by Danielle K. Girl

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1885 London, England
Silas Mercer died once. He’d rather not do it again.

On his return to the world of the living, Silas finds himself in the hands of the mysterious Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.
The Order has London society clamouring for their services, with tarot readings, seances and exorcisms among their arcane specialities.
Now they seem intent on making Silas their newest recruit.
But they want far more from him than cheap parlour tricks.
When the Order partners him with the scandalous rake, Tobias Astaroth, Silas’s new life is turned on its head in more ways than one.
Tobias is quick-tempered, dangerously charming, and far more than the man he seems.

For Silas, surviving what the Order has planned for him will be a challenge.
But finding a way to survive Tobias Astaroth could prove impossible.

Purchase Link: Amazon.com

Goodreads: The Bandalore (Pitch & Sickle #1) by Danielle K. Girl


Review

Rating: 4 stars

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

When Silas Mercer is rescued from death, he soon learns that his saviours brought him back for a purpose. He is to join the mysterious Order of the Golden Dawn and assist them in their otherworldly activities. With no memory of his past life, Silas must not only put together who he was as a man and who he is now, but the new world around him that is such a departure from everything that he has ever known. When he is partnered with the seemingly obnoxious and non-human Tobias Astaroth, Silas learns that his role in The Order is much more important than he could ever have imagined.

The Bandalore is a great read and introduction to the version of 1800s London that the author has created. They have combined many different lores and cultures (including Japanese!) to flesh out this unique world. Taking place from Silas’ POV we learn about The Order at the same pace as the protagonist, which I preferred as it avoids an information dump and things are revealed naturally and in pace with the story.


I enjoyed meeting the characters that inhabit the world and their unique abilities. Tobias seems to do his best to alienate all those around him, but you occasionally see another side to him. A side that is in pain and is the reason for much of his behaviour. The romance is very much slow burn and there only subtle hints in this first novel. Again, due to the complexity of the series and characters, I feel this pacing is right and I look forward to seeing how their relationship develops, as well as what secrets Tobias is forbidden from speaking of.


The Bandalore is a great first installment of the series and I am very much looking forward to reading book 2.

 

Release Blitz and Review: Captured (Cold Love 1) by Scarlet Blackwell

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Captured (Cold Love, Book 1)

Author: Scarlet Blackwell

Publisher: Scarlet Books

Cover Artist: B4Jay

Release Date: August 8, 2022

Genre: Contemporary small-town m/m romance, crime/thriller

Tropes: Enemies to lovers

Themes: Forced proximity, hurt/comfort, angst

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 46 000 words

It is book 1 in the Cold Love series, but does not end on a cliffhanger. (HEA)

Goodreads

Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

“I’m not going anywhere until I’ve slept in your nice warm bed. If you haven’t got an electric blanket, I’ll expect you to warm me up personally.”

Blurb

Who is the man with the gun? Friend or foe? Enemy or lover?

Ethan

I saw my way out and took it. I never dreamed it would be complicated by someone as distracting as Gabriel.

Gabriel

I thought my cabin was safe in a snowstorm until he arrived. Shivering, blue with cold and armed with a gun. The hottest thing to ever happen to me.

Horror writer Gabriel’s worst nightmare is about to come true…

Alaska is home to Gabriel Black two months of the year when he retreats to his isolated cabin to write. But with his relationship on the rocks, life is treating him badly. He doesn’t think things can get any worse when a storm strikes, keeping him snowed in, but he’s wrong.

His solitude is invaded by armed intruder Ethan, his origin a mystery. Ethan is an enigma, a man surely on the run, maybe a dangerous criminal, but Gabriel is drawn to Ethan’s broken spirit and damaged soul. Ethan is so much more than he first appears and Gabriel wants to know what he hides.

Heat ignites between Gabriel and Ethan and the lines between captive and captor soon start to blur. What secrets is Ethan keeping and will Gabriel be prepared to risk all for him?

Trigger warnings: Scenes of violence and murder. Mentions of rape. Homophobic language. Strong language and sexual scenes.

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New Release Blitz and Review: The Devil You Know by S.J. Coles


The Devil You Know by
S.J. Coles

Word Count: 98,131
Book Length: SUPER NOVEL
Pages: 402

Genres:

BILLIONAIRE
CELEBRITIES
CONTEMPORARY
CRIME
CRIME AND MYSTERY
EROTIC ROMANCE
GAY
GLBTQI
THRILLERS AND SUSPENSE

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Book Description


The law is about how you represent the truth. Love is no different.

Hilary Whyte believes that he has left his teenage troubles—and the person who embodied them—in the past. He has spent a decade building his career as a defense solicitor, believing that despite his troubled past, even the worst human beings deserve justice.

Now he has a promotion on the horizon as well as a fairytale wedding to his film star fiancé. On paper, life couldn’t be better.

But now he is being made to represent Dom Gosford, the boy who made his adolescence a living hell, on a double murder charge, and Hilary can’t be sure he is innocent. As the trial approaches, the two men are forced to travel a road of discovery, only to find that the truth of their connection goes much deeper than the question of who killed Lizzie and Dean Wood.

Reader advisory: This book contains a graphic description of murder and references to suicide, pedophilia, blackmail, pre-marital infidelity, and child pornography.

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New Release Blitz and Review: In The Trap by Jessica Cranberry

Title: In the Trap

Series: Hazel & Maeve: The Campus Mysteries, Book One

Author: Jessica Cranberry

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 05/10/2022

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: No Romance

Length: 67500

Genre: Contemporary, campus drama, college, contemporary, drug and alcohol use, HFN, lit/genre fiction, murder mystery, new adult, no romance, self-harm, students

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Description

For Hazel, an introvert with a knack for people watching, campus life is awkward and hard and…lonely. That is, until she starts to let her guard down around her roommate, Maeve—who’s fun and has a wicked flair for drama. Could there be more than just a friendship here? Maybe. But Hazel has a lot of family trauma to work through before figuring out the other big parts of her life. For now, she’s just happy to have someone to talk to.

All seems to go well until a night in the Trap—the university’s green space—leads to a tense encounter with some drunk guys. When one of the guys ends up dead, Hazel is implicated, and she and Maeve set out to solve the crime before police can connect either of them to it. But how can two amateur sleuths put together a solid case to hand over to the police in time? By following the campus online diaries, that’s how.

Set at the beginning of the internet age, people are just starting to share all their deepest, darkest secrets via the World Wide Web, yet the assumption of online anonymity may be a critical mistake. As the perpetrator posts their criminal diary for public consumption, Hazel and Maeve scramble to use technology to piece together the murderer’s identity. Can they hack their way out of becoming suspects? And if so, could they ever go back to their boring majors? Continue reading

Release Blitz and Review: Ambiguous by Leslie McAdam

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Ambiguous

Author and Publisher: Leslie McAdam

Cover Artist: Black Jazz Designs

Release Date: April 13, 2022

Genre: Contemporary m/m romance

Tropes: Rock star, forbidden love, opposites attract, lawyer/politics, fake relationship (with a twist)

Themes: Coming out, being true to yourself

Heat Rating: 5 flames

Length: 75 000 words

It is a standalone story and does not end on a cliffhanger.

Goodreads

Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Blurb

Love is for other people, not for me.

At least that’s what I believed, until I met him.

Julian Hill.

The most famous rock star on the planet. A music god with untidy hair and the voice of an angel.

I’ll never be anything but out, and he has very good reasons to stay in the closet.

After all, every move he makes is dissected, critiqued, and posted on social media, so he just wants a little privacy.

I understand that. Truly.

But no one makes me feel the way he does, and I’m pretty sure he has feelings for me as well.

Which is inconvenient since his record label hired me to sue him.

I should’ve sorted things out before I kissed him.

Oops.

Ambiguous is a forbidden mm rock star romance about a fashion-forward singer who hates labels of all kinds (except for clothing), a dapper attorney who already has a (fake) boyfriend for a very good reason, and the possibility of love saving the day.

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Release Blitz and Review: Safe Harbour (Jagged Shores Book 2) by Thom Collins

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Safe Harbour (Jagged Shores Book 2)

Author: Thom Collins

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Release Date: November 9, 2021

Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance, Thriller and suspense

Tropes. Small town, holiday/coastal romance

Themes: Divorce, fresh starts, jealousy

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 58 382 words/ 229 pages

It is the second book in a linked series (Jagged Shores) but can be read alone.

It does not end on a cliffhanger.

Goodreads

Buy Links

Universal Sales Link | Publisher | First For Romance

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AUS

Kobo | Barnes and Noble

Two lovers seek shelter in a storm of jealousy and passion

Blurb

Matt arrives in the seaside town of Nyemouth for a much-needed vacation. As a successful lawyer, Matt has a hectic career, and with an ex-husband still pestering him for money, he is long overdue a break. A holiday home perched above the town and its breath-taking harbour seems like the perfect place to unwind. Matt can’t wait to explore the beautiful, jagged shorelines and lose himself for a couple of weeks.

Jake has made a home in Nyemouth. After growing up in the city, living on the coast is everything to him. Running a business with his sister and volunteering on the crew of the local lifeboat, he is exactly where he wants to be. But Jake’s life is far from peaceful. Though he left his domineering husband Vince a year ago, Vince refuses to consent to a divorce or loosen his controlling hold on Jake.

On Matt’s first night in town, he encounters the couple having a blazing row. When Vince turns violent, Matt intervenes and takes Jake inside to escape his angry ex. Despite what happened, Matt feels a powerful attraction to the younger man. Jake is bright, endearing and unbelievably attractive, but the young man’s life is complicated. Matt already has enough problems of his own. He came away looking for an escape, not a starry-eyed distraction. As Matt and Jake get to know each other better, the gamble on a holiday romance becomes hard for either of them to resist. They have both been unlucky in love before. Maybe this time will be different.

Vince will not be shaken off so easily. He has no intention of letting Jake go…ever. As Matt’s and Jake’s emotions deepen, they do not understand how far Vince will take things to keep his husband. As far as Vince is concerned, they made a vow to each other… “till death do us part.”

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Release Blitz: The Tea House by Amanda Meuwissen

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: The Tea House

Author: Amanda Meuwissen

Publisher: Amanda Meuwissen Books

Cover Artist: Amanda Meuwissen

Release Date: October 1, 2021

Genre: Horror Paranormal M/M Romance

Tropes: Secret identity, secret powers, first love

Themes: Starting over

Heat Rating: 4 flames

***Note that this contains graphic blood and violence. Dubious consent could also be called out, since one of them is a monster in disguise, but the couple does end things on a HFN, even really a HEA.

Length: 18 112 words

It is a standalone story and does not end on a cliffhanger.

Goodreads

Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Every rose has its thorns.

Blurb

Jaime is looking for sanctuary and a new start after escaping his stepfather. With little money to his name, he doubts he can afford the gorgeous bed and breakfast he stumbles upon, surrounded by tea roses inside and out. Then Logan, the handsome young concierge, surprises Jaime with a ‘pay what you can’ policy, and Jaime is instantly smitten.

Little does Jaime know the Tea House is plagued by rumors of monsters and disappearances and is known by another name.

Hollow House.

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Review: The Tea House by Amanda Meuwissen

The Tea House

Jaime is looking for sanctuary and a new start after escaping his stepfather. With little money to his name, he doubts he can afford the gorgeous bed and breakfast he stumbles upon, surrounded by tea roses inside and out. Then Logan, the handsome young concierge, surprises Jaime with a ‘pay what you can’ policy, and Jaime is instantly smitten.

Little does Jaime know the Tea House is plagued by rumors of monsters and disappearances and is known by another name.

Hollow House.

Purchase: Amazon.com

Goodreads: The Tea House by Amanda Meuwissen 

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Review: No Flag (After Everything #1) by Liz Borino

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?

 

Purchase Link: Amazon.com

Goodreads: No Flag (After Everything #1) by Liz Borino 


Review

Rating: 4 stars

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

When Will Hayes enters into a DD relationship with Captain Mike Kelley he has only one condition; that Mike does not return to the army when his current term comes to an end. Mike agrees but he could not have predicted being forced into another year’s deployment in Afghanistan. Being parted so soon after marriages takes its toll on both of them and when Mike’s base is attacked, the two of them are reunited to face Mike’s life changing injury together. Mike had promised Will ‘no flag’ but despite keeping this the army might just tear them apart after all.


I really enjoyed reading No Flag. I had not read a DD novel before, so I was unsure if I was going to like this aspect of the relationship. Whilst I don’t understand the want for it, I found that it did not prevent a loving relationship between the two men. I loved Will and Mike’s commitment to each other and how they faced each challenge together, either from Mike’s injuries or Will’s jealous friend who takes it upon herself to try and destroy their marriage.


Mike’s OCD and then PTSD had clearly been researched and was well-written, and Will’s handling of this made me love this couple more. Even in the most difficult moments they came through for the other. I would definitely be interested in reading further books in the series.

Review: Caught (A Balance of Magic #1) by Jackie Keswick

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?

Purchase Link: Amazon.com

Goodreads: Caught (A Balance of Magic #1) by Jackie Keswick


Review

Rating: 4 stars

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

Caught is the first novel in the A Balance of Magic Trilogy. When hunter Rakurai answers death god Tenzen’s calls for help, the two of them form an unexpected bond that transcends between worlds. Together the two of them take on the demon that had held Tenzen captive for eighteen years and by doing so they form a partnership both in duty and in love. Their new bond is quickly put to the test when unrest and betrayal amongst the Yuvine not only threaten Rakurai and his son, but both realms too.

Caught is an imaginative and action-packed novel. It incorporates Japanese mythology together with the author’s own lores to create a detailed world of hunters, demons and gods. I loved both the characters of Rakurai and Tenzen. Rakurai’s dedication to his duty as a hunter and his son is the motivation that drives him, so when his feelings for Tenzen conflict with this you see a man torn between this and his own heart. Tenzen has been alone so long that it would have been easy for him to try to keep Rakurai for himself, but caring for the souls in his garden has given him a selfless nature and as much as he wishes for Rakurai to remain with him, he understands his lover’s conflicts.

Before they meet each other, they both have preconceptions about the other. Rakurai believes that death gods are cold and detached whilst Tenzen believes that all hunters have become self-serving. With both preconceptions challenged in each other, they learn and grow as characters as their relationship develops.

I really enjoyed reading this first book in the series and cannot wait to read book two.