Release Blitz and Book Review: Nightway Chant (Coulter & Woodard 3) by M.J. Calabrese

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Nightway Chant, Coulter & Woodard 3

Author: M.J. Calabrese

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: Jessica Henshall

Release Date: September 1, 2020

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romantic Suspense

Trope/s: Murder and mayhem

Themes: Detective and Criminal Profiler

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Length: 60 000 words

This is a trilogy and should be read in order

Goodreads

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Universal Link | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Blurb

There was a time in Detective Eagle Woodard’s life that he would like to forget, but Eagle’s past catches up with him and it’s threatening to destroy everything and everyone he holds dear.

Dr. Adam Coulter is recovering from a cancer diagnosis and Adam and Eagle’s relationship is stronger than ever, but the continued disappearance of their son, Michael, overshadows their happiness. A new threat appears in the form of a man Detective Eagle Woodard thought dead. Sergeant Dean Kessler aka ‘The Viking’ is on a mission to destroy his old Black Ops team mate. Secrets held in silence by Eagle for over a decade come to the surface, threatening his relationship with Adam and with Eagle’s family.

Not only is The Viking after Eagle, but when Dean Kessler finds his younger brother is in Albuquerque, he becomes a target for his older brother’s revenge as well. Eagle wants to deal with Dean on his own, but the people who care for Eagle the most aren’t about to let him do this by himself.

The question is, will Eagle be able to keep the worst part of himself locked away or will he need ‘The Skinwalker’ to help him defeat ‘The Viking’?

Author’s Note: This book begins about six months after the end of Book 2 in the Coulter/Woodard series. This is the third planned book in the Coulter/Woodard series. No others are planned at this time, but who knows if the muse will strike. There are secondary characters who might need to have their stories told, but if they do, then the stories will be standalone novels.

PLEASE NOTE: This story contains some scenes of BDSM, drug abuse, and violent death. If these are triggers for you, this book may not be for you.

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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: Mountainway Chant (Coulter and Woodard #2) by M.J. Calabrese

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Adam Coulter has returned and is coping with the horrific events of sixteen months ago as best he can, but not everyone is happy about it. His best friend and new husband, Detective Eagle Woodard, doesn’t want to speak to him and it’s starting to look like his fifth marriage isn’t going to be anymore successful than his other four.

FBI Agent Rick Kessler and Navajo Reservation Police Lieutenant Carlos Aiello, Eagle’s cousin, have pulled a reluctant Adam into another case. Five bodies discovered at the site of a planned casino, all dressed and painted up as Native American mythological characters offer confusing clues. Are they dealing with another serial killer?

Fighting to stay clean and sober, Adam’s 12 step sponsor is murdered. At first it seems unrelated to what he saw in the desert, but evidence comes to light that says otherwise. Revelations concerning Adam’s past and his father, Richard Coulter’s, connections to the local crime syndicate boss, Nelson Greybill come to light.

Can Adam repair the damage he’s done to his relationship with Eagle so he can help him solve this case? Can he win back the only man he’s ever truly loved, or will the demons of his past win the battle for his soul?

 

Purchase: Amazon.com

Goodreads: Mountainway Chant (Coulter and Woodard #2) 


Review

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

Rating: 3 stars

When Adam Coulter returns after 16 months he is determined to get his life back on track, however he is soon drawn into another murder investigation. Forced to work together once more with his husband, Eagle Woodard, Adam soon realises that this case is tied to him in ways that he couldn’t have realised. Can Adam and Eagle reconcile in time to solve the case and if so is there a hope for a future together after all?

I liked the second instalment in the series a little less than the first book hence the slightly lower rating. As with the first novel there were aspects I really liked and aspects I didn’t.

I do love a good murder mystery and for that Mountainway Chant does not disappoint. I enjoyed reading how the plot unfolded and how all the connections to the main characters were made. The final showdown was gripping and kept me turning the pages to find out what happened next. The writing seemed to have been tightened up in this book as well, with less confusion over the names and nicknames of the characters.

What I didn’t like was some of the reactions of the characters as they still seemed really random and emotions seemed to change at the drop of a hat and with no warning or reason. So much so I almost got whiplash. As well it seems that everyone has slept with everyone else at some point (or still is!) and I cannot keep track of who has what relationship with whom. A lot of this seems needless drama and it would have been a lot better to have been cut out of the book completely. The novel would have benefitted from less side complications that seemed to have been only put in for drama, which it didn’t need as it has plenty of that already!

I am interested to see what happens in the third instalment of the series, but I’m slightly less enthusiastic about it than I was at the end of book one.

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.

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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.