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: 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!

Series Review Tour and Book Review: Serial Investigations by Rhiannon D’Averc

SERIES REVIEW TOUR

Serial Investigations by Rhiannon D’Averc

Serial Investigations follows a private detective duo, Will and Ram, through tricky cases, mortal danger, and the horror of (maybe) unrequited love for your best friend – with plenty of demons to battle along the way.

The stories need to be read in order.

Overall Heat Rating for the series: 2 flames

Goodreads Series Link

Warning: All books contain depictions of alcoholism, anorexia, and violent crime/murder.

BOOK 1

Book Title: Bloodless

Length: 70 000 words/ 240 pages

Release Date: April 29, 2019

Genre/s: M/M Crime/thriller

Trope/s: Slow burn friends to lovers

Themes: Identity struggle, murder, unrequited love

Goodreads

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

How do you solve a murder…

… When you’re the prime suspect?

Blurb

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

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

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

And it’s him.

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

If you’re a fan of BBC’s Luther, Jo Nesbo’s Harry Hole, or sharply witty gay men, you’ll love Serial Investigations. Jump into the action from the very beginning with Bloodless, the first book in a series you won’t dare to put down.

Continue reading

Book Review: Blood Sucker (Serial Investigations #4) by Rhiannon D’Averc

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A dead body posted on social media. A vampire stalking the streets of London?

Will and Ram’s private detective partnership seems to be unravelling. After they ended up sleeping together, the tension between them is at an all-time high – and the unsolved Simon Shystone case is haunting them and their police contacts.

DI Alex Heath normally wants their help, but when a murderer posts images of his victim on social media, the chase is on to trace his digital footprint. With his superiors breathing down his neck, he might not be able to bring Serial Investigations London in on one of the biggest cases of their career.

They should be focusing on the artist who seems to have disappeared without a trace from his home studio. Could his latest commission have something to do with it? And will they be able to handle finding another client turned up dead?

Things are spiralling out of control for Will and Ram – and this time, they might not have each other to rely on. 

Purchase Link: Amazon.com

Goodreads: Blood Sucker (Serial Investigations #4)


Review

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

Rating: 5 stars

Will and Ram have another missing persons case to solve when local artist and recluse Jack Motterhead goes missing. His older brother Ben hires them to look for him and they are both hoping for a better outcome than their last missing person’s case. There is also the possibility that the so-called London Vampire is another serial killer when he posts about his murder online. Frustratingly Will and Ram find themselves shut out of this investigation, however it still manages to distract them from their original case.

Ram is finally getting some help with his drinking and is doing really well, despite one or two setbacks. Will’s eating disorder is getting worse as things between him and Ram continue to deteriorate. Both of them are filled with conflict over their night that they spent together and instead of talking about it, they just push each other away at a time when they need each other the most.

Book 4 definitely has a darker tone than the previous book in the series. Will’s problems are getting much worse and I really felt for what he was going through. He truly believes that he is worthless and has convinced himself that Ram couldn’t possibly love him, which is so sad as it is obvious just how much Ram cares for him. Ram in comparison is getting better, but he’s convinced himself that Will isn’t interested in him romantically. Several incidents occur which drive them further apart and by the end of the novel it looks as though they are going their separate ways for good.

The main case itself was not as bleak as the ones that they’ve undertaken in previous books which was a nice change and even though their relationship was in tatters Will and Ram still came together to solve it.

It looks like Coda is now ready to reveal his true plans for them and I cannot wait to read book 5 to find out who he is, what is going to happen and if Will and Ram can reunite after everything that has happened.

Book Review: Blood Alcohol (Serial Investigations #3) by Rhiannon D’Averc

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A horrific torture case with a ticking clock.

All he can see is the bottle.

Private detectives Ram and Will thought they’d wrapped everything up when they found Ray Riley’s body in Sevenoaks. But it turns out that things aren’t what they seemed – and Riley may be the latest victim of a torture-happy murderous duo.

For the second time, Serial Investigations London are called in to assist as civilian consultants with DI Alex Heath’s team at the Met – but they have their own personal problems getting in the way of clear thinking.

Will has something to get off his chest, and it’s related to that kiss they shared – the one they both tried to forget. But Ram can’t stop drinking to push away the confusion, and this time he’s going to land himself in more trouble than ever before.

Can they get over their issues for long enough to stop another murder – or even keep themselves alive?

Purchase: Amazon.com

Goodreads: Blood Alcohol (Serial Investigations #3


Review

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

Rating: 5 stars

When Will and Ram are brought in by the met police to consult on the murders of Ray Riley and Simon Shystone from the previous novel, they are soon drawn into a much bigger case than either of them expected.

Ram’s drinking is getting more and more out of control and puts him in serious danger. It also blinds him somewhat to just how unwell Will is becoming. The two of them are trying to move on from ‘that kiss’ between them however forgetting about it proves more difficult than either of them could imagine.

As with the first two books in the series, I really enjoyed reading Blood Alcohol. This time the murder mystery continued from the previous book and they are also working a possible infidelity case alongside it. When events spiral out of their control, Will and Ram finally talk about San Francisco which has only been hinted about up until now. One of my favourite scenes in the novel was when Ram wakes up to the consequences of his latest night out and he finally admits he has a problem. From Will’s reaction and how he handles it you can see just how much they care for each other.

I also love how Will’s friendship with Harry is developing. Ram painted a rather negative picture of Harry but he’s actually a genuinely sweet and nice guy who really cares about Will. I look forward to seeing more of Harry in future novels in the series.

Their relationship progresses somewhat in Blood Alcohol although from how the novel ends I have a feeling it’s just going to lead to more regrets and hurt.

The two-novel mystery wraps up at the end as well however it uncovers more questions than answers. I really want to know what kind of game the mysterious Coda is playing and I’m really looking forward to reading book 4.

Book Review: The Muse: A Novel of Unrelenting Terror by Arjay Lewis

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His pen and his sword are both mighty. When he loses his inspiration, he’ll drench the town in blood to get it back.

Hugely successful horror author Jack Court has a chilling secret. When he’s not writing bestsellers, he murders the innocent to satisfy the twisted whims of a symbiotic creature who lives within him. But after a sheriff out for justice chases him into the path of an oncoming car, the beast escapes the writer’s injured body in search of another host…

Harry Goodwine’s words have never supported his family the way he knows they deserve. Just when he’s given up hope, he suddenly receives inspiration from something new inside of him. Harry’s unexpected success may just mean a new life for the ones he loves, as long as he can ignore the unfamiliar internal voice and the endless dreams of blood…

Without the symbiont to maintain his vitality, Jack becomes something different. Something not quite human. Something that’s willing to kill anyone in his path to reunite with the creature who will help him fulfill his darkest desires…

Purchase: Amazon.com

Goodreads: The Muse: A Novel of Unrelenting Terror


Review

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

Rating: 5 stars

Successful horror author Jack Court is living a double life. Whilst writing countless bestsellers he is also a prolific serial killer who murders to satisfy the cravings of the creature living inside him. However, when Jack is hit by a truck and hospitalised, he not only loses his muse but the county Sherriff, who believes that Jack is the man who murdered his wife, uses the opportunity to investigate.  When aspiring author Harry Goodwine finds himself the new host for Jack’s muse, Trajan joins forces with the FBI to track down Jack, who has absconded from hospital with the intention of reclaiming what he believes is rightfully his. However, Jack Court is changing as the monster on the inside begins to truly show itself.

The Muse is an excellent horror story. The chapters are written from different characters’ perspectives which I really like as you get a feel for what they are all going through. As well this paces the novel extremely well and moves it along in a way that has you hurriedly turning the page for more.

This has to be one of the best stories in its genre that I have read all year. It keeps you on the edge of your seat and is a genuinely chilling story. Jack’s gruesome metamorphosis into the beast that he would become was horrifying yet done believably so. The entire story was crafted this way. The author set out plausible reasons for events that the characters otherwise would never have been able to explain.

If you are looking for an incredibly chilling and terrifying read, I definitely recommend The Muse. It really is a novel of unrelenting terror!

Book Review: Blood Evidence (Serial Investigations #2) by Rhiannon D’Averc

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A missing person’s case…

… A murder investigation?

Private detectives Ram and Will got their name in the news by catching a high-profile serial killer, and now they’re getting more clients. When they’re hired to find a missing person, all they’re worried about is having to spend a night away from home. They go to check his last known sighting in Kent, staying in a quaint country inn.

Little do they expect that Serial Investigations London are about to get thrust into a new murder investigation – one that happens right under their noses.

A confession seems to solve the case, but is it genuine? With suspicions running high, the duo still have to find time to sniff out the whereabouts of their client – and avoid getting arrested themselves.

With Ram hitting the bottle harder than ever and Will fighting to stay in control, they might be about to lose more than just the case.

Purchase Link: Amazon.com

Goodreads: Blood Evidence (Serial Investigations #2)


Review

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

Rating: 5 stars

When Will and Ram are hired to find a missing fiancé, they assume that the groom has just got cold feet. However what looks to be an open and shut case soon takes a sinister turn as they find themselves in the middle of a new murder investigation. The both of them are still battling their inner demons and Will’s feelings for Ram are becoming harder for him to ignore.

I really liked book 1 in the series and was excited to start book 2 and it didn’t disappoint. I enjoyed the murder mystery at the hotel and the shifty bunch of guests all with their own secrets. They were all hiding something so at one point I thought any one of them could have done it.

Ram and Will are still struggling with what happened in San Francisco and their different coping mechanisms threaten to drive a wedge between them. Added to this is Will’s difficulty in accepting he’s gay and also that he has feelings for Ram. I liked how the author has addressed the anxieties that he feels about coming out. It was portrayed as very realistic and I liked Will’s new friendship with Harry – even if Ram didn’t!

I think my favourite aspect of the series so far is the bond between Will and Ram. They already have a great rapport and I’m looking forward to seeing how their relationship progresses further in the series.

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

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How do you solve a murder…

… When you’re the prime suspect?

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

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

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

And it’s him.

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

Purchase: Amazon.com

Goodreads: Bloodless


Review

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

Rating: 5 stars

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

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

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

Book Review: The Forgotten by M. Stringfield

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Evelyn Moore hasn’t seen her children since the day they were born. No one in Felicity has.

From the moment a child is brought into the world they are placed into the arms of a patrol, and sent to live on the other side of the bridge. This is the way it has been for as long as anyone can remember. The water in Felicity is too tainted for the children to survive. They say it started with a war so ravenous that it split the land in two, creating what is now known as The Chasm – a giant crack in the earth that serves as the divider between Evelyn’s world, and her children’s.

On one side of the bridge is a city named Felicity, with beautiful high-rise buildings that can be seen from all the way across the divide. Those that live in Calloway can see the silhouette of the other city if they stand close enough to The Chasm. Every child wants over that bridge. Their city is riddled with violence, and the homes that are still standing are nothing better than shacks. It doesn’t help that those that live in Felicity are oblivious to the squalor that surround their children. Everything about the cities must always remain separate.

Now that Evelyn’s daughter, Char, is old enough to reenter Felicity she has chosen to become one of the patrols whose job it is to keep the cities safe, and separate. It was the only way she could ensure her brother, Alexander, stay safe in Calloway. Except, things begin to unravel the moment Char crosses over. Between the cryptic messages that Evelyn begins to receive, and the strange radio broadcast that Alexander discovers in Calloway, it becomes clear that someone out there is desperate for the truth to come forward.

Everything they thought they knew about their cities will turn out to be a lie. Unfortunately for them, some things are better left forgotten.

Purchase: Amazon.com

Goodreads: The Forgotten


Review

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

Rating: 5 stars

The Forgotten was nothing like what I was expecting when I first started reading and I mean this in a really good way.

When war ravages the land and the water becomes poisonous for children to drink, the residents of Felicity make the heart-breaking decision to send them away across The Chasm to Calloway so that they might live. Thus starts a grim tradition that has been in place for as long as anyone can remember. Each parents longs for the day that their child becomes old enough to cross the bridge and return to them.

When Char Moore crosses back into Felicity, she is reunited with her mother Evelyn whom she struggles to form a bond with. Evelyn is jaded and haunted by past events, however she had always longed to see her children again.

When Char begins to unravel the mysteries of Felicity and Calloway, she learns the devastated truth of all that she had been brought up believing. Together with her mother and younger brother Alexander, she has to find all the answers before it is too late.

The Forgotten is one of these novels that you cannot tell what direction it will take next. There is no second guessing, which makes it an especially gripping and intense read. The characters were so raw with their emotions and you could really feel everything that each of them had gone through.

There were so many plot twists and surprises at every turn. I cannot recommend The Forgotten enough. Dystopian science fiction at its best!