Review: Captivated by A.C Thomas

Captivated

Dr. Theophrastus Campbell leads a comfortable life, along with his twin brother, buried in academia. His unique gift for obscure languages goes unnoticed as he teaches University students to conjugate Latin. Everything in his world is just as it should be; restrained, understated, boring. He would give anything to break away. In all his daydreams of adventure, Theo never expected it to arrive in the form of an outrageously attractive Outlier covered in intriguing tattoos. And Theo never thought the price he might pay for adventure would be his own freedom.

Captain Park Jun-Seo leads a dangerous life, running a Crew of misfits through Restricted space as he desperately searches for the key to completing his parents’ work. Work that could mean the difference between life and death for countless others. In all of his frantic searching, Jun never expected to find the key in the form of a beautiful professor with more brilliance than good sense. And he never thought the price he might pay for knowledge would be his own heart.

Stoic Jun and irrepressible Theo must work together to break the code before their time is up. Falling into bed together is effortless, but their growing connection wasn’t in the plan. Theo charms his way beneath Jun’s skin with every nonsensical move he makes. Jun must decide if he can make room in his harsh, goal-driven life for the unpredictable force of love. Theo begins their journey as a lighthearted adventure—until he cracks Jun’s tough facade to reveal the hero within. Theo must decide if he can risk his battered heart when Jun is risking everything.

In the lawless depths of space, can two captive hearts set each other free?

Purchase: Amazon.com

Goodreads: Captivated by A.C.Thomas


Review

Rating: 5 stars

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

Latin teacher Dr Theo Campbell leads a rather mundane life. He secretly longs for something exciting to happen. Needless to say being kidnaped wasn’t quite what he had in mind, but Theo takes it in his stride as he is suddenly thrust into the adventure of a lifetime. His captor, Captain Park Jun-Seo isn’t what he imagined either, but as Jun’s motivations for Theo abduction become clear, he quickly realises that Jun isn’t as bad as he likes to make himself out to be. Quickly the two of them find themselves working together and becoming closer. Jun makes it clear that he is not interested in a more meaningful relationship, but Theo rapidly falls for his captor and realises that despite what he says, Jun has come to care for him too. However, Jun’s feelings for Theo may well lead him into more danger.

This is the second novel in The Verge series but can be read as a standalone which is what I did. I absolutely loved Theo. His way of saying things and the language he uses is beautiful and even though some of the characters find it extremely frustrating at times, I loved every second of dialogue. On numerous occasions I found myself smiling even though the situations that he was in were quite serious. Jun is a complete contrast. He is often serious and expresses his frustration, but he has a kinder side that Theo’s opposite personality slowly manages to draw out. The two of them balance the other well and it is easy to see how they fall in love.

The world building in Captivated has been well-crafted and thought out. The technology created is very believable and I like how the author’s simplistic explanations of how it works does not leave you bogged down or lost. The plot moves at a steady pace and Theo’s unique way of viewing the world make the actions scenes even more compelling.
I cannot recommend Captivated enough and will certainly be checking out the first novel in the series!

Review: Bloodlaced (Youkai Bloodlines #1) by Courtney Maguire

Bloodlaced

Kanjin hardly view their servants as human. Even less so when they are different.

Asagi is different. Both a man and a woman.

In the wake of his failure to protect a boy he saw as a son from their abusive master, Asagi is sold into the house of a young nobleman, Mahiro, who is the opposite of everything Asagi has ever known—gentle, kind, and generous.

Mahiro bonds with Asagi and their friendship blooms into a deep and profound love. But when Asagi is poisoned out of jealousy, Mahiro reveals himself to be youkai, a demon who feeds on blood, and he has no choice but to turn Asagi to save their life.

Asagi awakes reborn, strong, and eternally youthful. But the price for Asagi’s new life is high.

The blood of the innocent. Just as Asagi’s trust in Mahiro falters, the boy he failed to protect, now a man, reappears.​

New master, same threat.

With both a literal and proverbial monster at the door, Asagi must decide what it means to be human to protect what they love most.

Content Warnings: physical abuse, sexual abuse (off-page), self-harm, blood, graphic violence

Purchase: Amazon.com

Goodreads: Bloodlaced (Youkai Bloodlines #1) by Courtney Maguire


Review

Rating: 5 stars

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

Asagi is born into a life of slavery. He is abused not only for his low position, but also for being different. When he and a young boy, Tsukito, are sold to a new master, Asgai resolves to protect the child that he quickly begins to view as his son. However, events rapidly spin out of his control and Asagi is devastated when he sold again, leaving Tsukito behind. Asagi’s new master is unlike any that he has ever known before. Mahiro is gentle, kind and treats him as an equal. Quickly feelings develop between them, but Mahiro is hiding a dark secret. One that ultimately costs Asagi everything.

 

First of all, I have to say how much I loved this novel. It is a dark, beautifully written Japanese vampire novel with an array of different characters to love or loathe! The first half of the novel is setting the scenes and you learn a lot about Asagi as a character and his struggles. To begin with he lacks belief in himself and that there can ever be something better for him. It was beautiful to read how he came into his own as the novel progressed.

The second half focuses on Asagi learning the truth about Mahiro and the fall out from this. It is here when things become a lot darker. I very much enjoyed how the vampire lore was incorporated but also interweaving Japanese legends into this. The author has a very sound knowledge of Japan, the mythology and the culture, which shines through in their work.

I loved this novel so much and cannot wait to read further books in the series.

Release Blitz and Review: This is Not a Horror Movie by Sara Dobie Bauer

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: This is Not a Horror Movie

Author: Sara Dobie Bauer

Publisher: Self-published

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow Designs

Release Date: May 13, 2021

Genres: m/m new adult, gay paranormal romance, LGBTQ, romantic comedy

Trope: Friends to lovers

Themes: non-explicit, humorous, teens, Florida, summer vacation, hauntings, evil spirits

Heat Rating: 2 flames

Warnings: Scenes of graphic violence, death of minor characters, mentions of bullying, alcohol use

Length: 78 000 words

It is a standalone story.

Add on Goodreads

Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Blurb

Emory Jones loves two things: horror movies and Connor Nichols.

For the past four years, Emory, Connor, and their families have vacationed side by side on Longboat Key, Florida. Eighteen-year-old Emory has pined for his neighbor from behind the covers of Stephen King books, but college boy Connor has never noticed him. Probably because Emory looks like Jack Skellington with good hair.

Emory anticipates another predictable summer of sunburn and disappointment. Instead, he ends up with a mystery on his hands when a beloved beach bum goes missing, and Connor volunteers to help with the search. Turns out it’s not just scary movie cops who are worthless, so the boys start an investigation of their own—leading them straight to an abandoned beach resort.

Despite the danger, Emory and Connor grow closer, but as Emory’s gay dreams start coming true, so do the horror movie tropes he so loves. Even though he knows that sex equals death in slasher flicks, Emory can’t keep his hands off the guy of his teenage dreams.

Continue reading

Review: Dances of Deception (The Dragon Songs Saga #3) by J.C. Kang

Dances of Deception

The world knows Kaiya as the Dragon Charmer.

After vanquishing the Last Dragon with the power of her voice, all she wants is to return to a quiet life of anonymity. Instead, the Emperor tasks her with an onerous task: negotiating with the aggressive Teleri Empire for the extradition of her cousin, who tried to murder the imperial family and usurp the Dragon Throne.

The mission reunites her with her childhood friend Tian, now an assassin-spy who loathes killing. He is no longer the adorable, gullible boy from her memories, any more than she is the adventurous, sweet girl from his. Instead of rekindling nostalgia for a youthful innocence they both yearn for, their reunion ignites a mutual hatred.

When the Teleri Empire breaks off negotiations, Tian must help Kaiya escape. Orcs, Ogres, and enemy soldiers stand between them and home, and their volatile relationship could get them captured… or killed. 

Purchase: Amazon

Goodreads: Dances of Deception (The Dragon Songs Saga #3) by J.C. Kang


Review

Rating: 5 stars

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

When Princess Kaiya is tasked with negotiating her treacherous cousin’s extradition, she finds her own life and freedom in danger at the hands of the Teleri Empire. Her reunion with her childhood friend Tian is cast into shadow by this new threat and that they are both not the same as they recall from their youth. Will Kaiya and Tian be able to mend their relationship and will Tian be able to keep the Princess safe from their enemies.

I really enjoyed the third instalment of The Dragon Songs saga. Plunged into a completely different world, Kaiya is out of her comfort zone and as a result you see her grow very much as a person. As strong willed as she is, she is also vulnerable, and this novel shows all sides of her. You also get to explore Tian’s character in further detail. Torn between duty and love, he also comes into his own as he protects Kaiya and also the village that has given them sanctuary.

The world building in Dances of Deception is incredible. Everything is so richly detailed but without being confusing for the reader. A great novel should transport you into the world that you are reading about, and this saga definitely does that. As a result, I was reluctant to put it down and cannot wait to read the next book in the series.

Review: Altered Tides (The Galactic Captains #5) by Harry F. Rey

A malfunctioning STAR drive strands Captain Ales in a new galaxy. Trapped on a dry, dusty red moon where the rains fall only once every forty years, the restless population barely survives on a teardrop ration of water. Now, the rains are years overdue, and the ruling clerics view Ales as a savior—or a devil. Just as Ales and the She-King’s brother discover a secret the clerics have been hiding for far too long, this world is invaded and torn apart from a most unlikely source.

The blue moon is a world covered in water—water that flows over to the red moon as rain every forty years, thereby drying up the domain of King Sarlord. He’s finally had enough and gathers an army to sail into the sky on the waterspout, land on the red moon, and defeat the god who steals his ocean. His son, Prince Malar, will do anything to avoid staying behind, but even he gets much more than he bargained for when the world as he knows it is swept away on altered tides.

Purchase: Amazon.com

Goodreads: Altered Tides (The Galactic Captains #5) by Harry F. Rey


Review

Rating: 4 stars

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

When Captain Ales crash lands on a red moon which is in the grips of a drought that has lasted forty years, he finds himself hailed as god and the one who will finally bring the rains to the dying world. Suspicious of the clerics who appear to control even the King, Ales and the King’s brother Suni make a discovery that will challenge the very order of this dry world.

Malar is the Prince of the blue moon, a world covered in water of which the red moon is dependant on for the rains to come. Malar is captive to his father’s desire to rule and conquer the red moon that he claims is stealing their water. When Malar defies his father’s orders to stay behind, he soon finds himself drawn into something much more than Sarlord’s war.

Altered Tides is the fifth novel in The Galactic Captains series. I have not read the previous instalments but I had no problems following the plot as this novel can be read as a standalone.

I really liked the concept of the two moons depending on each other for survival. I thought it was a really unique and interesting concept. It was also explained in a plausible way that made perfect sense without being too heavy or confusing for the reader. This idea contrasted nicely with how different the plants were from each other.
The main characters were interesting and both very likeable. Ales’s character was slightly harder to read as I did not know him from the previous instalments, but he came across as a good man who was determined to help the inhabitants of the red moon. Malar I really liked and could emphasise a lot with. He is somewhat overshadowed by his father when the novel begins but he soon comes into his own and is my favourite of the two.

I really enjoyed reading Altered Tides. It is a gripping, fast paced and enjoyable science fiction novel, and I would definitely like to read the other books in the series.

Release Blitz and Review: The Case of the Boy in Blue by Amanda Meuwissen

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: The Case of the Boy in Blue

Author: Amanda Meuwissen

Publisher: Amanda Meuwissen Books

Cover Artist: Amanda Meuwissen

Release Date: February 14, 2021

Genre: Noir M/M Romance

Trope/s: Age gap, private investigator, noir, mystery & detective

Themes: Hidden agenda, revenge

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Length: 33 pages

It is a standalone story.

Add on Goodreads

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

This kid was going to be trouble, I just knew it.

“Have a seat, Mr. Valentine. What can I do for you?”

Blurb

Leonard Quill, private investigator, never expected a case to walk through his door quite like this one, complete with murder, a frame job, blackmail, and powerful players, especially coming from a man with bright blue eyes behind his glasses, a crooked bow tie, and an impossible smile.


Excerpt

Mr. Valentine—call me Westley—looks the part of bumbling fool, who’s too naïve to know he’s walked into the lion’s den even being near this neighborhood without packing some heat but turns out he has a few secrets even darker than mine. His old man is in the clink, doing time for killing his mother. Only Westley swears the real culprit is someone else and his father has been framed.

Maybe that’s true, wouldn’t put much past this city, but if Westley is right about who’s behind the frame job, this isn’t a case I can take lightly.

“Sorry, kid, but you think James Deckard is behind all this? He’s not the type of man you bring down legally.”

“I know that. That’s why I came to you. The cops laughed me out of the precinct.”

“I ain’t a hitman either,” I snarl, wondering if sweet and innocent was an act and this kid has it in him to get all murdery and scuffed up, so long as someone else does the killing.

But those blue eyes go wide, and I know that if there is a darker side to him, it’s buried much deeper than trying to pull one over on me. “I don’t want a hitman, Mr. Quill. But I need someone willing to go the extra mile the cops turn their noses at. Someone who’ll take the risk to get real evidence and finally put this monster away. Even the worst of the worst for all the crooked cops in this town can’t cover up Deckard’s deeds if we have proof.”

An optimist. Great.

Westley isn’t wholly off base though, with the right judge, the right amount of ammunition, but it would be life or death with my hide on the line to get it done. Usually, that’s par for the course, half the fun of the job is getting a little lost in the muck, but Deckard is the type to make you disappear real quiet like—to the outside world. You wouldn’t be gone right away; you’d stay breathing for weeks, screaming where no one could hear you.

“You tell my secretary all this?” I ask, already knowing the answer given Roxanne’s response to the kid.

“Of course. She was sure you’d agreed. Please, Mr. Quill, won’t you help me?”

Damn this kid, and damn Roxanne too. She knows the stakes involved, but she has it out for Deckard’s business partner, Jeffrey Yacobian, who she’s suspected for a long while had a hand in her sister’s murder. This opens another avenue to investigate the scum of our city with me as the point man.

Roxanne also knows I can’t say no. I promised her we’d catch Yacobian someday. Bringing down Deckard could pave the way for that and ease the potent grief of this kid in front of me who might be the last sunny disposition left in these dank streets.

“The risks involved ain’t gonna come cheap. How much is all this worth to you?”

Westley looks me square in the eyes, that blushing virgin routine set aside as he sits up taller—maybe all that light was a clever mask after all. “Everything I have, Mr. Quill.”

“Leonard. You’re either turning over your life savings when this is over or paying for my funeral if it flops, so call me Leonard.” Might as well be on a first name basis considering we’re both gonna end up on ice. “Now let’s start at the beginning, and you tell me everything you know.”

About the Author

Amanda Meuwissen is a bisexual author, with a primary focus on M/M romance. As author of the paranormal romance trilogy The Incubus Saga and several other titles with various publishers, Amanda regularly attends local comic conventions for fun and to meet with fans, where she will often be seen in costume as one of her favorite fictional characters. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with her husband, John, and their cat, Helga.

Author Links

Blog/Website | Facebook | Twitter

Instagram | Pinterest | Newsletter Sign-up

Giveaway

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Review

Rating: 4 stars

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

I really enjoyed reading this short mystery by Amanda Meuwissen. The atmosphere of the story had this gritty, dark feel to it which contrasted against Westley’s seemingly innocent characteristics. Leonard is a seasoned PI who finds himself not only drawn to the case but the man who brought it to him. The two of them have instant chemistry and work well together.

The case is full of intrigue and twists and turns that you won’t see coming. The ending wraps everything up nicely, but I hope that this is the start of a series.

If you like short, compelling mysteries then you’ll enjoy reading The Case of the Boy in Blue.

Review: The Boss (Under Red Sky #1) by J. Calamy

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The Boss

Nicholas Erickson is happy to be the smallest cog at the US Embassy in Singapore, a big step up from prison. Nick lives with a terrible secret: he killed a family of three in a traffic accident, for which he was imprisoned and became a pariah back home. The only threat to his second chance is the truth—and Nelson Graves.

Shipping Magnate Lord Nelson Graves is secretly the head of crime syndicate Red Sky, making him the biggest arms dealer and drug boss in Southeast Asia. Graves is tired, lonely, addicted to opium, and trying to get his imploding crime syndicate back to business. There is a traitor in his organization and an old enemy is back on his tail.

A romance builds between hot-headed, reckless Nick and unhappy, ruthless Graves. But nothing is that easy. Shoot-outs, bombings, and vindictive exes prove Nick’s past and Graves’s present may be a lethal combination.

Purchase: Amazon

Goodreads: The Boss (Under Red Sky #1) by J. Calamy


Review

Rating: 4 stars

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

Nick Erickson tries to keep a low profile both in his job and his personal life. With mistakes from his past still haunting him and coupled with the fear of anyone finding out, he keeps himself somewhat closed off from those around him. Nick just wants to keep his life quiet. And that all changes when he meets Lord Nelson Graves. Graves is the owner of a shipping firm and also secretly the head of the crime syndicate Red Sky. Circumstances find the two drawn together and as Nick gets to know Graves he also begins to discover a lot about himself too.

I enjoyed reading this first installment of the Under Red Sky series. I liked the Singapore setting and being immersed in the location and culture. The Boss is gritty and unflinching in the descriptions of violence which really captures the genre and mood of the story well. Nick and Graves are both flawed, but human and each have likeable and not so likeable qualities. The two main characters go together well. Nick’s hot-headedness means he is unafraid to stand up to Graves’ more domineering and ruthless personality. The supporting cast are interesting and I hope to learn about them in later books in the series.

If you like a gritty, action-packed novel with a building romance between the two main characters you will certainly enjoy The Boss!

Review: Blood Diamond (Serial Investigations #6) by Rhiannon D’Averc

book review banner copy

Blood Diamond

When a private client asks Ram and Will to track down a stolen yellow diamond, they quickly realise the suspects may be closer to home than he expects. Two adult children with serious issues, a jilted wife, and a young lover – and that’s just the beginning.

As what should be a straightforward case turns into a murder investigation, Serial Investigations London have to team up with their old friend Alex Heath – and an old enemy…

With Will in recovery and Ram staying on the wagon, everything seems to be looking up in their personal lives. They’ve even finally managed to admit their feelings for each other, but that doesn’t mean the road ahead is without rocks.

After an uncomfortable confrontation for Will, and with calls from their families becoming harder to ignore, the boys are going to need to work harder than ever to ignore their own issues if they want to get to the bottom of this crime – in which nothing is as straightforward as it seems.

Purchase: Amazon

Goodreads: Blood Diamond (Serial Investigations #6) by Rhiannon D’Averc


Review

Rating: 5 stars

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

After months apart, Will and Ram are back together and are ready to take on their first case together since the events of Blood Sport. The case appears straightforward. A diamond belonging to a wealthy family has gone missing and Will and Ram have been hired to find it. From the beginning they suspect an inside job but when theft turns to murder, Will and Ram find themselves in the middle of a much bigger investigation than they intended.

I really enjoyed reading the next book of this series. The mystery this time is different from previous ones and I enjoyed the change as well as trying to figure out who was responsible! Will and Ram are an adorable couple! They still have some issues to work through, but they have a very sweet and tender relationship, and I am glad that they finally got together! I have a feeling that their relationships with their parents might be explored further in later books and I am looking forward to this (although Will and Ram may not be so much!). The diamond theft turn murder plot was very intriguing and kept me guessing right until the end. Also, if Will and Ram think that they have seen the last of JM Coil then they are mistaken! It looks like he’s still running things from the inside and the boys will be seeing more of him in the future too.

A great next instalment of the series and I cannot wait to read further books in the Serial Investigations series!

Favourite Reads of 2020

I’ve had a lot more time for reading this year and have been able to read 40 books and clear the majority of my review queue which is great! I have read so many great novels in 2020 and have listed below the standout ones for me. I recommend you checking them out!

The Life Siphon series by Kathryn Sommerlot

The Life Siphon (The Life Siphon #1)

The Mage Heir (The Life Siphon #2)

The Loyal Whispers (The Life Siphon #3)


Serial Investigations series by Rhiannon D’Averc

Bloodless (Serial Investigations #1)

Blood Evidence (Serial Investigations #2)

Blood Alcohol (Serial Investigations #3)

Blood Sucker (Serial Investigations #4)

Blood Sport (Serial Investigations #5)

Blood on Poinsettia (Serial Investigations)


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The Gemini Connection by Teri Polen


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Born to Liberty (Light from Aphelion #3) by Martine Carlsson


Blood Winter

Blood Winter by S.J. Coles