Review: Tears of Winter (Light from Aphelion #2) by Martine Carlsson

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Tears of Winter (Light from Aphelion #2)

by Martine Carlsson

Paradise is an illusion, and the progressive, experimental city of Nysa Serin was living on borrowed time. The winter festivities that should have warmed everyone’s heart take the contorted face of a feast of fools. Despite their knowledge, Selen, Louis, and Lissandro are swamped by events. Falling one after the other, the sick litter the streets of Nysa Serin. A natural pestilence? The vengeful hand of the gods? Turned to ashes, Louis’s dreams slip through his fingers like a shattered cathedral of sand.

Jeopardizing its fragile stranglehold on the crown, the royal couple leaves for a desperate mission while, trapped inside the walls, the citizens strive to survive. Though the clock ticks on, in sickness and fear, the tensions surface and friendships are tested.

The line is thin between cowards and heroes. Should the rescuing party even make it back, the capital will never be the same again and neither will their lives. Therefore, why not haste into darkness… till death do us part?

Purchase Link: Amazon.com

Tears of Winter on Goodreads


Review

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

Rating: 5 stars

Tears of Winter is the second instalment of the Light from Aphelion series. After the events of book 1, Louis and Selen have begun making Louis’s visions for Nysa Serin a reality. All children have a right to access an education, city infrastructure is vastly improved and all citizens are treated equally and fairly. However the society is built on the fragilities of the system before it and an epidemic of plague threatens to destroy all that they have accomplished so far. Louis, Selen, Lissandro and their allies set off to find a cure whilst desperately hoping that not only is their mission is successful, that they make it back to the city in time.

Book two is a lot darker in tone than the first novel in the series, which really fits giving the setting and just what is at stake. I very much enjoyed seeing more of the Kingdom and also the addition of new characters, all of whom have their own motivations for joining the heroes on their mission. The description is as rich as ever and so immersive that you are immediately pulled into the world. There is no lag and plenty of action to keep you turning to the next page. However my favourite aspect of Tears of Winter has to be the characters.

On their quest Louis and Selen find themselves tested in ways that they could never imagine and even the bond between them is stretched to almost breaking point. When Selen voices a desire for something that is seemingly impossible as well as something that Louis would never contemplate, it creates a rift between them at a time when they need to be united more than ever. I really felt for both characters in these moments. I could see where they were both coming from and whilst neither of them were really at fault, it took them a long time to reconcile and come to an understanding. This rift really shows how they have both developed, but despite wanting something different their love for each other means that they can find a way to resolve this. The character development was especially great to see in Selen as I was worried that he would become more of a supporting character, but he just goes from strength to strength in Tears of Winter. He complements the head-strong, and at times reckless, Louis perfectly.

You also learn more about Lissandro’s character and the truth about who he really is. I had suspected in book 1 and I was thrilled to have my suspicions confirmed. It makes a very interesting twist and one that I hope is expanded on further in book 3.

Tears of Winter is the perfect follow up to Rising from Dust and if you haven’t checked the series out yet then I definitely recommend that you do so!

Review: Saints and Curses by Alexis Lantgen

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Saints and Curses by Alexis Lantgen

The short stories in Saints and Curses explore fantasy and magic from a wide variety of perspectives and settings. The stories range in tone from lighthearted modern fantasy in stories like Elven Carols, to the dark and ominous stories like Erlkonig, and in time from the late antiquity to the modern day. Magic, like all forms of power and like human nature, has two sides, light and dark. Whether we find (or become) a saint or a curse depends on our circumstances. And, of course, our choices.

Purchase Link: Amazon.com

Saints and Curses on Goodreads


Review

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

Rating: 5 stars

Saints and Curses is an extremely well-written collection of short stories with magic and curses as the theme running throughout them. I really enjoyed the mix of modern and historic fantasy tales, each with plenty of twists to keep the reader guessing as to how they will end.

My favourites in the collection are:
Grackle – a poignant tale with a lovely ending.
Cinnamon Ultra Pumpkinator – an amusing tale of the perils of addiction with a fun and very relatable main character
The Rats – An excellent and original retelling of The Pied Piper of Hamelin

The collection has an outstanding array of very different tales with something for everyone. I highly recommend checking them out!

Review: Rising from Dust (Light from Aphelion 1) by Martine Carlsson

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Rising from Dust (Light from Aphelion 1) by Martine Carlsson

FIGHT FOR JUSTICE. DIE FOR LOVE.

War is raging in the kingdom of Trevalden. Up north in the Frozen Mountains, the amnesic hermit Selen survives as the pariah in his community. Drawn by a mysterious call, he travels to Trevalden and meets Louis, an enigmatic archivist. Together, as Selen remembers his past, they face the desolation of war with a group of misfits. For the sake of the people, they fight back the king’s armies, prepared to meet death…or a new dawn. As Selen and Louis understand that their feelings for each other may be their undoing, they are torn between their emotions and the greater good. But in the end, what is the greater good?

While they try to find their place in an unknown world, they carry a secret that will shatter the society and make them realize that the hardest fights are not against dragons but within oneself.

Rising from Dust is an epic journey where gritty fantasy and history cross paths. A graphic story of loyalty, violence, magic, court plots, and unwavering love where no one is what they seem.

Purchase: Amazon.com

Rising from Dust on Goodreads


Review

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

Rating: 5 stars

When strangers Louis, Selen and Lissandro are mysteriously drawn together they find themselves not only fighting for the land that they have been re-born into but also piecing together their former lives. Each is terrified that the tragedies that befell them the first time will repeat themselves once more.

Louis is a heroic warrior who does not hesitate to put his friends’ lives above his own. Driven by his strong ideals and desire to make the world a better place, his determination sometimes prevents him from seeing the truth in how things are vs how he wishes to see it.

Selen, whilst also a warrior, is a gentler character and his sense of compassion is also a positive influence on Louis. He is fiercely loyal to his friends and shares Louis vision for the future of their world.

Selen and Louis are in a relationship which, if discovered, would get them both killed. Their relationship is one of my favourite aspects of the novel. It is beautifully written and you can really feel just how much they care for each other.

Lissandro’s character has a more accepting and practical view of the world that they now live in. His advice and guidance to Louis is more practical and he’s not afraid to speak out if he feels his friend is making a mistake. I feel that perhaps his character was not explored fully in book 1 and look forward to seeing much more of him in book 2.

I absolutely loved this first novel in the Light from Aphelion series. It combines two of my favourite genres; fantasy and history. The immersive world and wonderful main characters draws you in right from the beginning and I just didn’t want to put this book down. I enjoyed slowly uncovering the details of the characters previous lives and how they were linked to world-history. The detail in the battle scenes, whilst quite graphic in places, was brilliantly written and I really could imagine that I was right there along with them.

There is never a dull moment in this novel and there are plenty of twists and turns that I did not see coming. The finale of book 1 is beautiful and couldn’t be more perfect.
I can’t recommend Rising from Dust (Light from Aphelion 1) enough and cannot wait to read book 2 in the series.

 

Review: Harkworth Hall by L.S. Johnson

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Harkworth Hall by L.S. Johnson

35510328“Ask him about his wives.”

Caroline Daniels must marry, and marry well. But in her remote corner of England eligible suitors are few and far between, and none hold a candle to her closest friend, Diana Fitzroy.

When Sir Edward Masterson arrives, he seems the answer to Caroline’s financial worries, though she instinctively dislikes the reticent, older merchant. Soon Sir Edward has set his sights on acquiring both Caroline and the decaying Harkworth Hall.

Caroline’s future seems secure, save that his enigmatic secretary hints at a dark secret, and Sir Edward shows an unusual interest in tales of monsters … and the blood in Caroline’s veins.

Purchase Link: Amazon.com

Goodreads: Harkworth Hall by L.S Johnson


Review

Rating: 5 stars

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

Set in nineteenth century England, only child Caroline Daniels is under pressure to marry to secure her future. When the wealthy Sir Edward Masterson appears to take an interest in her, Caroline is torn between accepting the match or following her instincts that Sir Edward is not all that he seems. Opting to do the later and together with Sir Edward’s secretary Mr Chase, who has a secret of his own, Caroline begins to uncover why Sir Edward has arrived in her remote corner of England and just what his obsession is with the derelict Harkworth Hall.

Harkworth Hall is a very atmospheric, gothic tale. Caroline is a likeable and unconventional heroine who defies the stereo-types of her time. Uncovering the secrets of Harkworth Hall fuel her secret desire for adventure and a life that in her time would normally be out of reach for her. I enjoyed Caroline’s blossoming romance with Chase amongst the mystery and look forward to seeing their unconventional relationship for the times progress further.

The author brought together a wonderful combination of historical and mythological fiction together with a female-female romance to form an intriguing and thrilling tale and I cannot wait to read more of Caroline and Chase’s adventures in the future.

Series Review Tour: Blood Sealed series by Jet Lupin

SERIES REVIEW TOUR

BOOK 1

Book Title: Nasu (Blood Sealed Book 1)

Author: Jet Lupin

Publisher: Self-Published

Genre/s: M/M Paranormal Romance

Length: 83 000 words/ 156 pages

Release Date: November 25, 2017

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This story can technically be read alone, though there are unsolved things that are further explored in the next book

Blurb

Go to work. Come home. Repeat. Phil’s life is boring and he loves every second of it. No excitement, no boyfriends breaking up with him over cereal in his underwear. When everything’s predictable, nothing bad happens. But nothing good does, either.

One night, when his best friend forces him to step outside of his comfort zone, he meets Shige who’s too enigmatic to really be interested in him. He’s trouble, but Phil can’t help ignoring his own advice.

Decades have gone by while Shige’s kept himself locked away. He’s tired of the world, of humans and vampires. He was happy collecting dust until one day he wasn’t. On a whim, he ventures out and meets Phil, setting them on a path that’ll change them both.

Whatever this is between them, it won’t come easy. Plagued by distrust and danger from within and without, but if they survive, it just might be worth it

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Universal Link

Amazon US

Amazon UK

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Book Blitz and Review: Escaping Mortality by Sara Dobie Bauer

Title: Escaping Mortality

Series: The Escape Trilogy, Book Three

Author: Sara Dobie Bauer

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: January 28, 2019

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 33100

Genre: Paranormal, LGBT, bisexual, gay, vampires, polyamorous, British nobility, established couples

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Synopsis

Their ocean journey was successful, and Andrew and Edmund found an Elder just in time. As they wished, Edmund is now a vampire like Andrew. They have eternity together, but first, they must visit Edmund’s ailing mother in the English countryside with their flock of immortals, including the Elder, who has taken an ominous liking to his new creation.

When they arrive at Edmund’s family estate, his sick mother and her loathsome best friend await them. While ducking religious curses, Edmund struggles to harness an unexpected power gifted him by the Elder. Andrew fears for his beloved as Edmund becomes more and more monstrous—but vampires have always been monsters, haven’t they?

A battle is coming, for Edmund’s heart and his soul, and Andrew will lose neither. He escaped island exile and a near tragedy at sea to be with Edmund, the beautiful young sailor he loves. Andrew will do anything to keep Edmund by his side, but his most dangerous adversary may be Edmund himself.

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Review Tour: The Man Inside Me by Sean Kerr

REVIEW TOUR

Book Title: The Man Inside Me

Author: Sean Kerr

Publisher: SGK Publications

Cover Artist: SGK Publications

Release Date 31st September 2018

Genre/s: MM Romance, MM Historical, MM Gothic Romance, MM Paranormal Romance

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 202 Pages

It’s a standalone story.

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Blurb

Victorian London is a difficult place to be when you are gay, as Henry and Gabriel know all too well.

When they were young at Oxford University, Henry and Gabriel’s love burned hot and bright, and they thought to change the world together until a devastating tragedy ripped them apart.

Now, as youth fades away, Henry can no longer stand to see his own reflection in the mirror. All he sees is a sad, tired old man whose body has betrayed him. He craves the touch of another, to feel attractive and vital once more but his obsession with finding a cure for insanity has stolen his life away, and now his work has taken on a dark and sinister dimension. How far will he go to recapture the passion of his lost youth?

Gabriel fears that Henry is losing his mind, and when a brutal killer invades their lives, they are thrust into the dark depths of Victorian London in a fight for their very lives.

As their friendship is tested to its limits, Gabriel cannot help but wonder if there is still a chance for love. Can they move beyond the friendship that has spanned over thirty years and find the love that once made their hearts beat as one?

You may never be too old to find love, but will you be able to survive it?

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US

Amazon UK

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