Review: The Dead Don’t Lie (Dead Generations #1) by Anne Russo

The Dead Don't Lie

While young doctor Adam Morrow resigns himself to an uninformed existence, world-weary assassin Ian Abbott struggles with a life he never asked for. When the two strangers meet by chance, the attraction is immediate. And deadly, as Adam walks in on Ian in the middle of a hit.

The situation spirals out of control once Ian discovers he and Adam share a connection far more profound than either imagined. Shocked by the discovery, Ian makes the hasty decision to kidnap him.

Overnight Adam is torn from his promising career and a family who believes him dead. Things go from bad to worse when he finds himself reunited with a mother he never knew who is now head of a covert and shadowy group of killers for hire. Forced into joining their ranks, with Ian as his reluctant trainer and handler, Adam is given a series of impossible tasks to complete.

To survive, he must fight with everything he has to keep his life, his sanity, and his very soul from being swept up in a violent and chaotic world even as he battles his unwanted and complicated feelings for Ian.

For his part, Ian, a man with dark secrets of his own, has a past he isn’t ready to share with Adam even as the other man worms into his life in more ways than one. The two grow closer and lines blur — between good and evil, friend or foe, enemy or lover. But something, or someone, plots against them, determined to do everything in their power to keep them apart. Even if it means destroying them both.

Trigger Warnings: This story contains a brief scene of sexual assault and features an unresolved ending/cliffhanger.


Goodreads: The Dead Don’t Lie (Dead Generations #1) by Anne Russo


Rating: 4 stars

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

When Doctor Adam Morrow stumbles in whilst assassin Ian Abbott is carrying out a hit, both men’s lives change forever. Instead of killing Adam, Ian makes the decision to kidnap him. Forced into training as an assassin, Adam struggles to deal with his new reality as well as his complicated feelings for Ian. Little does he know that Ian has his own secrets. Secrets that may destroy any chance they have of being together.

The Dead Don’t Lie is the first novel in the Dead Generations series. It is a dark, gritty novel filled with suspense, violence and death. The two main characters at first seem to contrast starkly from each other. Adam is kind and compassionate and tends to wear his heart on his sleeve, whilst Ian is cold and ruthless. However, as the story progresses you get to see different sides to both of them. Ian does have feelings and the fleeting moments when these are on display make for very tender scenes between them. Adam possesses an inner strength that he did not know he had, and when he finds it, he becomes much stronger and able to deal with his new world better. To begin with, Adam hates that Ian stole his life from him and is forcing him to become someone that he is not. Ian hates that Adam is awakening emotions in him that he is afraid to confront. Over time the two of them start to become closer, however there is a lot of ‘will they won’t they’ due to external conflicts as well as their own reluctance.

Much of the novel focuses on Adam’s training and his complex relationship with his kidnapper now trainer. However, his new skills are soon put to the test when he finds himself a target of a man who has a score to settle with Ian.

I really enjoyed the dark world of assassins that this first book in series introduced me to. There was plenty of twists and turns as well as action and romance and I look forward to reading further books in the series.

Release Blitz & Review: Sun, Sea and Small-Town Secrets by S.J. Coles


Book Title: Sun, Sea & Small-Town Secrets

Author: S. J. Coles

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Release Date: July 6, 2021

Genre: Contemporary M/M Mystery/Holiday Romance

Tropes: Forbidden Love / Small Town / Holiday

Themes: Healing / Hurt/Comfort / Travel / Self-discovery

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 48 634 words/ 193 pages

It is a standalone story.

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Buy Links

Universal Link | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Pride Publishing

Small towns are full of secrets, some harder to keep than most.


Sebastian Conway is a professional psychologist and accomplished criminal profiler, but when one of his patients is sentenced to life in prison for a crime she didn’t commit, he simply cannot let it go. His borderline obsessive behaviour has embarrassed his boss and lover, Gerrard Wilson, and the relationship has come to a bitter end.

Seb has now grudgingly taken Gerrard’s advice and come to the small coastal town of Ruéier in the South of France to get some distance and clear his head—but he cannot sit by and do nothing.

He has started writing a book he believes will address the failings in the case, but when he gets swept up in a local investigation into suspected drug trafficking, which is led by the enigmatic and strangely enticing Antoine Damboise, the book—and Seb’s intentions to avoid active criminal cases—take a back seat.

He knows it’s a bad idea to get involved, but he can’t seem to help himself. And when it seems Damboise is tempted to make their relationship more than professional, Seb finds it easier than ever to ignore his better judgment. But when a local drug dealer is murdered and Seb is implicated, everything gets a whole lot more complicated.

Can the two men set aside their personal feelings long enough to figure out what’s really going on before Seb ends up in prison? Or worse…

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of murder and drug use.

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Review: Beyond the Ruby River (Immortal Jewels #3) by Lee Colgin

Beyond the Ruby River

In Ancient Egypt when the pharaohs ruled the banks of the Nile, Mahu led a simple, if somewhat melancholy, life. Making papyrus filled his days. His needs were provided for, but deep in his soul, Mahu longed for companionship.

Dakarai, born of a demon mother and a human father, craved independence. A young incubus constantly in the shadows of his full-blooded siblings, Daka set out for a new city and a life of his own.

While a starving Daka roams the streets hunting for a meal, the sight of a beautiful man walking alone stops him in his tracks. Just what he needs to quench his spiraling thirst.

But Mahu turns out to be more than Daka bargained for, and his heart falls for the lonely man.

What happens when one lover is immortal and the other seeks contentment in the afterlife? Betrayal shatters their foundation. Can Daka and Mahu find their way back to each other, or is each soul destined to long for the other for all eternity?



Goodreads: Beyond the Ruby River (Immortal Jewels #3) by Lee Colgin


Rating: 5 stars

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

When half-human, half-incubus Dakarai leaves home determined to make his way independently he meets and falls for a human called Mahu. Consumed by grief and burying himself in his work, Mahu is surprised to capture Daka’s attention, but quickly their blossoming friendship turns into much more. However, when Mahu’s mortality threatens to part them, Daka makes a choice that costs them both everything.

Beyond the Ruby River is the third novel in the Immortal Jewels series but can be read as a standalone. I adored the setting of ancient Egypt. This time period is one that I love, and the author clearly did their research in making such an amazing world come to life through the pages.

I loved Daka’s character. His personality and innocence set him apart from most of his kind, and his desire to find the one is adorable. His feelings and actions are so raw and honest, despite not always having the outcomes that he intended. Mahu is a perfect complement to him. He is calmer and sees more realism in the world than Daka does. You can see why each falls for the other and the relationship develops very naturally as the story progresses.

I also enjoyed the inclusion of other supernatural beings, especially vampires and the author’s take on them. It was a refreshing and different take on the vampire lore, and one that I would love to learn more about through the other books in the series.

If you love supernatural loves stories set in beautiful ancient Egypt, then I highly recommend that you read Beyond the Ruby River!

Review: Flowers Under My Pillow by Nell Iris

Flowers under my pillow

Smiling brown eyes. A dark beard. Dandelions. Sunny, happy dandelions.

For thirty years, Frode’s had the same dream. Every Midsummer’s Eve since he was a kid accompanying his sister to pick flowers to put under his pillow, he’s dreamed of the same man. A dream he never shares with anyone, that makes him wish for impossible things…like true love.

“It’s you.”

Then one Midsummer’s Eve, the man of Frode’s dreams stands before him in the flesh. Both men recognize each other despite never having met in real life. Both men are instantly drawn to each other and want to know more.

“Who are you, Viljar? Are you even real?”

Their questions are many but do the whys and the hows matter? Or should they allow the Midsummer magic that brought them together to lead the way into each other’s arms? Into each other’s hearts?

Traditional Swedish folklore tells you that if you pick seven kinds of flowers in silence and put them under your pillow on Midsummer’s Eve, you’ll dream of the man you’ll marry.


Goodreads: Flowers Under My Pillow by Nell Iris


Rating: 5 stars

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

According to Swedish folklore, if you pick seven kinds of flower in silence on Midsummer’s Eve and place them under your pillow, you will dream of the man that you will marry.

One summer, a young Frode joins his sister and her friends in picking flowers. That night after he has put them under his pillow, he has what will become a reoccurring dream of a man. Is this coincidence or is there some truth in the tale after all?

Flowers Under My Pillow is a retelling of the traditional Swedish tale. I am not familiar with the original version myself, but I did not need to be to enjoy this short story.

It is told in a very descriptive and almost melodic way so you really get the sense of the magic within the tale. Frode’s dreams and his reality entwine so cleverly that at first I was not sure what was real. When he finds Viljar, their connection is instant and beautiful. I was afraid for a moment that it was another one of Frode’s dreams as I wanted him to find happiness.

If you like short stories and folklore retellings you will enjoy this beautiful tale!

Review: Courting Nightfall by Amanda Meuwissen

Courting Nightfall

Zen is a darkling — half human, half dark elf — in a world that hates him, protected only by having been raised by the Order of the Sun to become a priest. He continues to fail to rise above being an acolyte despite having come of age and longs for a different life, one he only glimpses in dreams when he is with a mysterious, beautiful man he wishes was real.

After encountering an adventuring party made up entirely of other half-races, Zen is drawn to accompany them on their quest to find and destroy a fabled vampire lord. However, the pull he feels toward those lands might be more fated than he realizes.


Goodreads: Courting Nightfall by Amanda Meuwissen


Rating: 5 stars

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

Being half-human and half dark-elf, Zen is shunned by most around him including the priests that took him under their protection. Never fitting in, Zen secretly longs for more than the life that he has and when he meets a band of adventurers, Zen decides to accompany them on their quest to kill a vampire lord. However, there are other forces at work, including a mysterious man haunting Zen’s dreams and soon his reality too.

I really enjoyed reading Courting Nightfall. It has action, adventure, paranormal, romance and fantasy – all of which are favourites of mine – in one novel. Zen and his friends’ adventures take them across the land, and you learn so much about the world that the author had created along the way. This is done by cleverly weaving it into the plot, so you learn a little at a time and are not overwhelmed by too much information.

I loved Zen’s character from the start. Despite never being shown much kindness himself, he is a compassionate individual who always strives to do the right thing. Given his treatment by most others, he could have easily gone down another path and even when this is offered, he stays true to himself and the goodness inside of him. The supporting cast are great. Each have their own motivations for going on the quest, but the one thing that unites them is how much they care for each other. True friendship is something that Zen has never experienced before and having this gives his character more strength. Strength that he will need when he learns the truth about vampire lord Gaian and himself.

If you enjoy any, or a combination, of the genres that I mentioned above then you will love reading Courting Nightfall!

Review: Karma’s Brutality (Scorned Gods #4) by Mychael Black

Karmas Brutality

When word reaches Jason and his bandmates about several defectors who escaped Harlan Yates, the group realizes it’s time to act. With their allies from Abaddon — including the newly-turned demon, Daniel — the band makes their move to get rid of Yates once and for all.

Led by the demons Gabriel and Haez, the others take the fight directly to Yates, aided by the defectors. Jason and his bandmates have never been in battle, and they’re going to discover it’s not for the faint of heart. Not everyone comes out unscathed, but that’s the nature of war. For one of them, a single bite changes life forever.


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Goodreads: Karma’s Brutality (Scorned Gods #4) by Mychael Black


Rating: 3 stars

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

With the final confrontation drawing near, the members of Scorned Gods and their allies get ready to face Harlan Yates in a battle that will decide the fate of all vampires.

I had mixed feelings about this last story in the series. I liked that everything came together and wrapped up nicely, so you weren’t left with any loose ends. However, I was left feeling rather disappointed that their main adversary through the entire series was killed by another character. I felt a bit cheated that it had all been working up to this moment and then there was no big confrontation with the enemy. It was a shame and a missed opportunity after so much build up.

I enjoyed the characters and the concepts explored in the series as whole, but I finished it feeling that the entire thing was somewhat rushed. This is a shame as it had some unique ideas that I would have loved to have been explored in further detail.

Review: Shackled (Scorned Gods #3) by Mychael Black


Time is swiftly running out for the members of Scorned Gods… and the mortal, Daniel.

All hell has broken loose. A psychopathic vampire, Harlan Yates, has waged war on mortals and vampires alike, and the band Scorned Gods is caught in the middle. With help from an Abaddon ally, Jason and his bandmates will have to act quickly to stop the enemy.

But Harlan Yates has one advantage that no one can erase: his ability to find the escaped mortal, Daniel. Despite finding safety with the band, Daniel is the unwilling beacon that can bring destruction upon them all.


Goodreads: Shackled (Scorned Gods #3) by Mychael Black


Rating: 3 stars

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

With Harlan Yate’s and his vampire cult waging war on other vampires and now mortals, the members of Scorned Gods and their allies must find a way to stop him. When infiltrating the cult, they find themselves a new ally in mortal Daniel. However, with his presence brings the danger of Yates’ ability to track him.

Shackled continues right on from the last book in the series. This time it focuses more on Daniel and his lover, Nick. Their reunion gives you some insight into Nick’s past and the secrets that he has been keeping. Although I was glad that Daniel forgave him, it did feel little rushed, and I think taking more time to redevelop the relationship would have been better. The group want to protect Daniel from Yates, but by doing so they put themselves in danger. This leads to Daniel having to make a decision that will change him forever.

Shackled builds up to the final battle that they all know is coming. I look forward to reading this and finding out what happens to all the characters involved.

Review: Delirium (Scorned Gods #2) by Mychael Black


With his new band, Jason Summerfield and his partner Julian Kristados acquired a new lover. But just as they’re beginning to figure out how to function as a trio with Scorned Gods’ bassist, Saul, things take a dramatic turn for the worse.

A cult of vampires is hell-bent on starting a war between mortals and vampires. Its first prime targets are psychic vampires like Jason’s bandmates. But the cult may have help… from the demonic realm of Abaddon.


Goodreads: Delirium (Scorned Gods #2) by Mychael Black


Rating: 3 stars

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

The conflict between vampires has now become an all out war. The leader of the vampire cult behind the violence is on a mission to rid the world of all impure vampire bloodlines. Jason and Julian must find a way to protect Jason’s bandmates as they learn more about the cult and that it may have help of the demonic kind.

Delirium picks up where Iconoclast left off and is a similar length story to the first book in the series. I enjoyed the second book more as it answers some of the questions that I was left with in Iconoclast and focuses more on the bigger picture. More of the plot-critical events happen on-screen, however I still feel that it has been somewhat rushed. Better pacing would have allowed for expansion of the world.

I like the main characters. They work well together and seem to really care about each other. I’m also enjoying getting to know some of the side characters better as the series progresses and have a feeling that they will play a bigger part in later books too.

Review: Iconoclast (Scorned Gods #1) by Mychael Black


Five years have passed since Firestarter disbanded. The former members went their separate ways, leaving lead singer, Jason Summerfield, band-less. Now he and his lover Julian Kristados are back in the United States, and Jason is itching to get back on the stage.

Nationally known melodic death metal group, Scorned Gods, needs a new singer. When Jason answers the ad, he’s welcomed with open arms. He wants to play music. What he gets, however, is far more than that — and not all of it is good.


Goodreads:  Iconoclast (Scorned Gods #1) by Mychael Black


Rating: 3 stars

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

When vocalist Jason Summerfield signs up with the band Scorned Gods as their new vocalist, both he and his lover Julian are quickly drawn into an escalating conflict between different species of vampires. The two of them have to not only protect Jason’s new band mates, but find out who is behind the violence before it is too late.

Iconoclast was a mixed bag for me. Some aspects I liked and others not so much. It is a short story and is the first in a series. The idea of different species of vampires drawn into conflict with each other is one that I have not seen used too much before. Being a fan of the genre, I was excited to see where the author would take this. Unfortunately you don’t get to see too much of it in this first instalment.

The decision to focus too much on the relationships between the three leads was at times frustrating when there was a bigger picture here. Other side characters discovered much of the critical information and this happened off-screen, with information just being passed to our leads. I found this frustrating and would have preferred for them to be in the middle of this. The incident at their concert happened so quickly that I didn’t even realise what had occurred and again there was not enough description or focus on this. This is a short story but I think it would have benefitted from being slightly longer. That being said, there are some interesting characters and concepts here and I am interested in reading more to see where the author takes this in further stories.

Review: Justified (Magnified #2) by Mell Eight


The world of vampires and werewolves is in upheaval. The magical community is under attack by a great evil force set to destroy them all and Aaron, their strongest fighter, is oblivious to all around him, his nose glued to his spell book. Yani has given up hope in getting Aaron back on track. He knows he instead has to focus on his own future and the lives of those he loves, even if it means losing Aaron, the love of his life, forever.

But, Yani’s life isn’t the only one in flux. As the battle heats up and lines are drawn, the rest of his friends must fight for their own survival in a world with no answers to the terrible magic attacking them.


Goodreads: Justified (Magnified #2) by Mell Eight


Rating: 4 stars

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

When a powerful and evil force starts attacking magical creatures, Yani and his friends find themselves drawn into the investigation. Disheartened by Aaron’s lack of interest in their relationship, Yani struggles to deal with the emotion and physical strain that the distance between them brings. Aaron is oblivious to Yani’s suffering and his ignorance ends up pushing Yani away. When one of their friends falls victim to the attacks, they must somehow work together to overcome the evil that threatens their community.

I really enjoyed the second instalment of the Magnified series. As a new reader, I found that due to the careful descriptions and world-building included meant that I did not become lost for not having read the first book in the series.

There was an array of interesting characters with their own magical abilities. My favourite was the dragon Khan as the author provided a unique take on dragon lore and one that completely fitted the character that they had created.

I also enjoyed how the author combined all the different lores and religions to create their world and its inhabitants. There is plenty of action as well as tender moments and I was disappointed once I reached the final page. I am definitely going to go back and read book one and cannot wait for more in this series.