A Free Dreamer Review: Dark Blood by Caleb James

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Dark BloodHandsome, brilliant, and surrounded by good friends, twenty-three-year-old medical student Miles Fox has a secret—and it’s not that he’s gay. Though he harbors a crush on his straight best friend, Luke. Miles, like his grandmother, Anna, possesses the healing gift, an ability she’s made him swear never to use or divulge, lest horrible things befall those he loves. It happened to her when Nazis butchered her family.

But it all goes to hell when Miles heals a terminally ill man on a New Orleans cancer ward and wakes locked in the psych unit. Worse, news of the healing miracle spreads. For millennia, its carriers have been hunted by those who would steal it. Dr. Gerald Stangl and his teenage son, Calvin, know what Miles possesses. They, like their predecessors, will stop at nothing to take it, including kidnapping, torture, and murder. As the Stangls’ noose tightens, Miles and Luke are trapped in a death match with stakes higher than they could ever imagine.

The first sentence of the blurb pretty much made up my mind that I had to read this book. While there’s nothing wrong with a closeted MC, I tend to find stories that solely revolve around coming rather boring a lot of the time. And Miles really doesn’t make a secret of being gay. His love interest, however, is so very deep in the closet he won’t even really admit to himself that he might just be attracted to his very male best friend. While the romance definitely isn’t the driving factor to this story, I still couldn’t help but be a little disappointed by that.

“Dark Blood” does get rather gory. There was talk of vivisection, heads in jars and other atrocities like infecting somebody with a deadly virus on purpose and watching them die. It was a little too gory for me, to be honest. I really didn’t need quite such vivid descriptions.

I quite enjoyed the general idea of the story. Miles has a secret healing power that runs in his family. But his (damn scary) grandmother made him swear that he’d never use it and never, ever reveal it to anybody. Her reasons go back to WW2 and what she witnessed in a concentration camp. That’s where the gore really started.

There’s tons of action and I was most definitely never bored. Everything about Miles’ gift is a big mystery and the unravelling is intriguing.

“Dark Blood” features a set of truly unique characters.

Miles’ grandmother was an awesome secondary character. She’s a kickass woman, who doesn’t hesitate to drive halfway across the country to rescue her grandson. She’s fiercely protective of Miles, even if her methods are a bit questionable at times. I really liked her.

Then there’s the psychopathic Doctor Stangl and his very creepy son. Dr. Stangl was definitely the villain of the story. But his son was a different matter. Yes, he did commit some pretty bad crimes, but he did also show regret and only committed those crimes because he was terrified of his father. He was intriguing.

That brings me to the one thing I genuinely didn’t like about this book: the “villains”. They were Nazis. I hate it when a book set in modern times has Nazi villains. I don’t like reading about WW2 and I definitely don’t want to have Nazis and concentration camps and all the horrors dumped in my lap in the middle of a supernatural story set in the year 2015. And those horrors were described in vivid detail.

It always makes me doubt the author’s creativity. Nazis are such obvious villains. Nobody will question their evilness. Maybe Dr. Stangl wasn’t strictly a Nazi, but he definitely sympathized with them. And to me, he read like one anyway.

I’m not saying there shouldn’t be any stories with Nazis in them or about WW2, I’m only saying that I, personally, don’t like to read them and that I’d like a warning, if it’s not obvious from the period the book is set in.

Overall, though, I did enjoy the book. It was intriguing and full of action, with quite a few surprises. If it weren’t for the gory parts and the Nazi villains, this book could have been truly brilliant.

If you can stomach the gore, I’d recommend this book to any fan of supernatural m/m. Just don’t expect an epic romance. This is a DSP title, so the romance is not the most important part of the story.

I’m not entirely sure if I will read the sequel when it comes out. The ending did make me curious, but I’m worried there’ll be even more gore and Nazi conspiracies. I guess it all depends on the blurb.

Cover: The cover by Alan M. Clark shows Miles surrounded by heads in jars. It’s kind of gross, but really fits the story.

Sales Links:  DSP Publications | Amazon

Book details:

ebook, 294 pages
Expected publication: June 28th 2016 by DSP Publications
ISBN139781634768405
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: They Called Him Nightmare (2016 Daily Dose – A Walk on the Wild Side) by Deja Black

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

they-called-him-nightmareFrom the 2016 Daily Dose package – A Walk on the Wild Side

This short story is my first from this author, and I was pleasantly surprised by the story. It opens with high school student Alec assessing all the others in his class for who will taste the best. A young vampire, he has the ability to put people in thrall, so they have no idea he has had sex with them and drunk their blood. But when the young man nicknamed Nightmare is around, Alec loses his ability to think straight. He’s attracted to the boy whose real name is Kai, and when he reaches out and touches him, sparks literally fly. Both recoil from the shock, but Alec wants more and Kai, wanting nothing to do with Alec, disappears shortly after the encounter.

Flash forward ten years and Alec has finally found the location where Kai has been hiding from him all this time. Excited to finally set out to meet the man he feels attracted to, he has no idea that Kai’s mother, or at least the woman he calls mother, is dying of cancer but wants nothing more than to see her boy settled before she goes so is willing to help him get his man.

There’s much more, including some very good character development, considering the brevity of the story, and there’s a surprise in store for readers who are wondering what type of being Kai might be. Let’s just say he’s the last of his kind. When the two men come together this time, they ignite in passion and finally fulfill their destiny.

I really like this story as I said at the beginning of this review. It had all the ingredients of a longer story, including a unique otherworldly perspective, and I’m looking forward to more from this author in the future.

Catt Ford is the cover artist for this series and this particular cover shows a figure in the center of a clearing lit by bright blue light and surrounded by wild animals in a darker shadowed border. It’s very appealing.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 26 pages
Published June 1st 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634775023 (ISBN13: 9781634775021)
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series2016 Daily Dose – A Walk on the Wild Side
CharactersKai Bennu, Alec Vasilios settingSouth Carolina (United States)

A Lila Review: Elemental Love (Warlocks #1) by L.M. Somerton

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Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5

Elemental LoveAn untrained warlock is a dangerous man to love.

On his twenty-first birthday, Evrain Brookes discovers he is an elemental warlock. The spell suppressing his talent lifts and he has to get used to a whole new existence. The protection that kept him safe during his childhood is gone, his skills are wild and uncontrolled and there are those that seek to use him for their own gain.

Evrain’s grandmother is a witch, his godfather another warlock. Between them they do their best to keep Evrain on the right path. He learns that in order to gain control of his formidable powers he will need to ‘channel’ through a life partner, a process that only happens with consent and through love. But how will he ever find a man prepared to put up with a Dominant warlock for a boyfriend?

Dominic Castine has no idea that Evrain’s grandmother sees him as a prospective partner for Evrain. He tends her garden and she teaches him about herbs–a trade off they both enjoy. He is drawn to Evrain’s charismatic presence but doesn’t understand why he wants to drop to his knees and submit to him.

When Agatha is murdered, Evrain and Dominic are thrown together as she manipulates them from beyond the grave. Dominic becomes the pawn in a terrifying game between warlocks whose powers he barely comprehends.

In the end, lives will depend on his courage, his willingness to grant Evrain control and the power of love.

Elemental Love is a complex story with several plot lines fighting to be the focal point. The prologue is a nice addition, but unnecessary since the events in it are discussed in its entirety later on. The beginning of the story, on the other hand, did an excellent job establishing Evrain’s personality and his relationship with his family, especially his grandmother and his godfather.

The mystery, the romance, and the elemental abilities are the main topics in the story, but instead of working cohesively, they clashed, resting relevance from each other. Perhaps and extended version would have taken care of all the small bits trying to be solved at the same time.

Personally, I wanted more time for Evrain and Dominic to be together, in-page. I like Evrain most of the time, but when he was with Dominic, the D/s relationship made him looked like a different character. Almost as if he flipped a switched every time Dominic was involved. The BDSM elements took away from their day-to-day life. Maybe we needed to see more of Evrain growing into his powers before he had to use them to defeat his opponent.

One thing I definitely enjoyed was the characterization of everyone involved. Every character in the story had a purpose and was multi-dimensional. Even characters that were only present for a small amount of time, like Evrain parents, made an impression. All the settings, smells, and foods were crafted to play a role and add to the plot. The secondary relationships were also important and interesting. Gregory and Coryn were my favorite pair.

Overall, an interesting start to the series. I’m looking forward to knowing more about this world in the next installment.

The cover goes perfectly with the story. It has several elements showed in different scenes and depicted Dominic well.

Sale Links: Pride | Amazon | ARe

Book Details:

ebook, 165 pages
Published: March 29, 2016, by Pride Publishing
ISBN: 9781786513953
Edition Language: English

Series: Warlocks
Book #1: Elemental Love

In the Spotlight: They Called Him Nightmare (2016 Daily Dose – A Walk on the Wild Side) by Deja Black

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they-called-him-nightmare

They Called Him Nightmare (2016 Daily Dose – A Walk on the Wild Side)

by Deja Black

RELEASE DATE:   June 1st, 2016              

AUTHOR(s): Deja Black

PUBLISHING: Dreamspinner Press

LENGTH: 29 pages

CATEGORY/TAG: M/M Paranormal Romance

HEAT LEVEL: 3/5 flames

Buy Links: Amazon  | Dreamspinner Press

BLURB:

Growing up, Kai Bennu was taunted for skin dark as midnight and his otherworldly appearance. They called him Nightmare, but Alec Vasilios, a wealthy and powerful businessman, wants to call Kai his own. Kai’s past has left him with little trust in others and even more reluctance to surrender himself to Alec’s power. With both men harboring supernatural secrets, finding common ground won’t come without sacrifice.

EXCERPT:

They never asked him his name. They ran from his shadow. He was alone. Always alone. He was Nightmare.

To me he was everything I wanted. To me, he was beautiful. I needed to run my fingers along his skin, to cherish him. In the heat of the blazing sun, I wanted to taste his sweat. I wanted him beneath me, a part of me, a part of my soul. He didn’t frighten me. He entranced me. He called to me.

AUTHOR INFORMATION

Author Bio:

Deja Black had fantasies of men loving men, men who felt strongly, loved hard, and needed a hero. Then one great day she came across a book and discovered the world of m/m writing, encountered others who shared her obsession as much as she did, and found a world where she could not only be accepted for the lives and loves she envisioned, but she could create them too. So why not? Why not take the stories she would write and throw away as a teenager, grow them, dream them, and make them a reality where she could know her own characters, let them live their story, and make them real for someone else? And she did. Now, with the support of her hubby and some intense time management, she is learning to balance her family of two energetic children and a very needy shitzu at home along with the many students she teaches each and every day with her passion of writing what she loves to read.

LINKS:

Cover Reveal of The Orchard of Flesh By Christian Baines

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The Orchard of Flesh

The Orchard of Flesh

The Orchard of Flesh By Christian Baines
B
old Strokes Books

Release Date  August 1, 2016

Pre-order/Read An Excerpt Here


Reylan’s last assignment for The Arcadia Trust brought a rebellious human servant under his roof, and a volatile werewolf lover named Jorgas into his bed, leaving the self-reliant Blood Shade—known to the outside world as vampires—in no hurry to risk his immortality for them again.

But when a new terror starts disappearing humans from a bad part of town, Reylan must do everything in his power to keep Sydney’s supernatural factions from the brink of war. Having an ambitious, meddlesome human in the mix is only going to make things worse…especially when that human is Jorgas’s father.
Reylan will need all his determination and cunning to keep the peace under his roof, between the night’s power brokers, and in his lover’s troubled heart.

Genres Paranormal & Urban Fantasy

Words   85000

Pages   264

ISBN-13  978-1-62639-650-0

About the Author

Christian Baines

Christian Baines was born in Toowoomba, Australia. He has since lived in Brisbane, Sydney, and Toronto, earning an MA in creative writing at University of Technology, Sydney along the way. His musings on travel, theater, and gay life have appeared in numerous publications in both Australia and Canada.

Dual passions for travel and mythology (both of which he attributes to growing up in Australia’s bible belt) have sent him chasing some of the world’s most feared monsters, including vampires in New Orleans, asuras in Bangkok, and theater critics in New York. His first novel, The Beast Without, was released in 2013, followed by his erotic short story, “The Prince and the Practitioner.”

Puppet Boy is his second novel.

This is a continuation of the story that started with The Beast Without
by Christian Baines* A Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Highly Rated Novel.