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!

Book Review: Warrior’s Way (Coulter and Woodard #1) by M.J. Calabrese

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Hello, tall, dark and handsome.’ Out and proud gay Albuquerque Homicide Detective Eagle Woodard studied Dr. Adam Coulter, criminal profiler, with a clinical eye. ‘Slender build…narrow waist, but nicely muscled underneath that Hugo Boss suit. People think you work out, Kemo, but you don’t.’ Eagle’s dark eyes narrowed. ‘You know I hate that day old beard look, but you were probably too wasted to bother. Nice eyes, green when they aren’t blood shot. Flawless tanned skin except for that tiny scar through your left eyebrow.’ The former Army Ranger grinned. ‘I gave that to you accidentally when we were 8 years old. When you stood up for this Navajo kid in an all white school. We both got our asses kicked.’ Eagle sighed and shook his head. That was the day he’d fallen in love with 4 times married, 4 times divorced, current roommate, Adam Coulter.

Eagle and Adam are faced with their toughest challenge yet. They must find an active serial killer before he strikes again. With the powers that be not cooperating and the killer proving to be elusive, will Eagle and Adam be able to stop the murderer while navigating their changing relationship? 

Purchase: Amazon.com

Goodreads: Warrior’s Way (Coulter and Woodard #1) 


Review

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

Rating: 3.5 stars

When Detective Eagle Woodard and criminal profiler Dr Adam Coulter pose as a gay couple with an upcoming fake wedding in order to catch a serial killer, it reawakens feelings that they both struggle to leave in the past. Eagle has always been in love with Adam, but Adam’s always insisted that he’s straight. However, as their fake relationship involves into something more real, they must put their feelings to one side in order to catch the killer or risk becoming their next victim.

I was very undecided as to how to rate this novel. There were parts I liked and parts that I didn’t like as much. I enjoyed the characterisation throughout the novel. Each character was well-crafted and had likeable and not so likeable traits as all good characters do. Eagle and Adam definitely had chemistry between them, however there were times when the relationship seemed a little forced, which was a shame as it really didn’t need to be.  It also felt quite rushed. One moment Adam was adamant that he was straight and the next minute they are flirting, kissing…it just seemed way too random how he’d change his mind so quickly, especially after getting so upset that the majority of his work colleagues already thought that he was gay.  More time could have been taken to develop the relationship naturally whilst properly exploring Adam’s denial.

The other trouble I had with this novel was how the author jumped back and forth between calling characters by their surname and then first name or nicknames. There was no logic to this and it just confused me.

The serial killer plot was great. The parts written from the killer’s point of view were quite graphic, but it was good to get inside the killer’s mind and their reasoning for doing what they did. The confrontation between the killer and the main characters took an unexpected twist which really took me by surprise.

Overall, I did enjoy it and I do want to read further books in the series as I am curious to see what happens next.

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 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: 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: 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: 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: Daddy Monster by Kevin Berg

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Life couldn’t get any better.

A new baby, the promotion, the new house – everything is finally going his way. A happy family and the comfortable life don’t last long, though, once they start receiving visits from something that he does not understand. Or even believe.

His daughter, Little Olivia, is troubled by visions of a monster that only she can see.

He lurks in the shadows and lives on the edge of their perception, just out of sight, and sneaks in to steal the happiness from their dreams. But their frightening encounters with the unexplained serve only as a distraction, a break from the uncomfortable truth, will it be too late for him to realize what he has so easily forgotten?

Sometimes the things we need to fear most are closer than we expect.

Purchase Link: Amazon.com

Goodreads: Daddy Monster


Review

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

Rating: 2 stars

One family’s suburban dreams are shattered when their young daughter starts being tormented by nightmares that are seemingly a little too real. Desperate to protect his daughter, a father must face the monsters that terrify his little girl.

I was really drawn by the summary of this novel. It sounded like a really great horror story, just the kind of book that I like to read. The author is a good writer. There was a wealth of description and vocabulary use. The style was dark in keeping with the genre.

However unfortunately I did not enjoy it at all. For me there were several things that meant that I just couldn’t get into it. One was the lack of names of the main characters. Only the daughter, Olivia, was named. The mother and father were not. For me a name is so important for forming an attachment to a character or even just being able to relate to them. This put me on the wrong-foot with this novel to begin with. The second thing was it was just so confusing. It went on and on with drawn out events that added no real value to the plot and just served to confuse. It jumped about all over the place and I could not follow what was going on at all, which was incredibly frustrating. The lack of names (and some characters were only referred to with unpleasant nicknames!) just added to this confusion and I nearly didn’t finish the book as a result.

When I finished it, I was left feeling rather disappointed that unfortunately this book was not for me.

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.