A VVivacious Review: For a Glance (The Serpent’s Throne Trilogy #1) by Dan Ackerman

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Rating: 4 Stars out of 5

I am conflicted, terribly conflicted. I picked this book for all the wrong reasons and therefore I ended up putting off actually reading it till the very last moment. One of the reasons that I was put off by this book was Lucifer himself. There was a time when the Devil was elusive but now he is all over my TV, it just doesn’t hold the same appeal but I knew I had to read it and I did and I was kind of swept up, up and away.

I don’t know what to categorize this book as, since it takes place almost exclusively in Hell with a few forays into Earth, so it is definitely fantastical and we deal with a lot of demons and angels so definitely paranormal and there are elements of love scattered all throughout and  in-between the never-ending introspection of the Satan. It is a weird book and if someone had described it to be, I could have probably never imagined myself liking it but I really enjoyed reading it.

“I don’t know, I can’t decide. There’s a litter of kittens in my bedroom, sweetest little things you can imagine, wobbly on their legs, prancing around but as soon as I lie down to sleep, I’m Everest and they have to climb me.”

Reading this book made me feel like for a very short time I got a whiff of a story that came as quickly as it disappeared leaving me bereft and hungry for more. It’s kind of like a day in the life of Satan kind of thing except we are with him for more than a few days. It was really interesting having this take on the world-weary Satan in love with so many around him but unable to keep them close. It was weird how much he loves so many of his children, his demons, the Fallen and the very concept of love.

“Love can do things to you, it’ll have you doing things you never thought you’d do.”

“Ah, love is one thing. And it always meant more to you than it did to us. But we were Hell-born and you were an angel.”

This was such a novel concept, a Satan that loves at times I would even forget who he was and just accept this take on him but then he would turn around, all the darkness hiding beneath would seep around surrounding you like a dark damp cloud. For a character I had thought was done to death the author managed to make him so much more interesting, the Devil capable of devouring any and all but, as he tells his father, “Ever your creation—as much as it chafes me, Lucifer”.

This story follows Lucifer as he interacts with the lives of five other characters:

1.      Jack – Jack is a human in love with a demon named Eodus, and Lucifer agrees to give Jack permanent residence in Hell if he were to kill someone for him in return.

2.     The boy trapped in the Fourth – The Fourth is the part of Hell where the souls that damn themselves go. The boy is trapped in an endless cycle of reliving his torment and he finds himself in Hell because his parents always said he would end up there.

3.     Mercy – The woman who tries to assassinate the Devil so that she will be accepted into her family again.

4.     Ira – The whore on Ninth who looks just like Eodus and fascinates the Devil from the moment he lays eyes on him.

5.     Junius – Oh! Junius is special. “Everyone knows it. Junius, the one who leaped after you. Your most trusted and faithful, all the way up on that pedestal where you keep him.”

Though my most favourite character of this story after Satan himself was Imogen. She was amazing. I just really liked her and I don’t know why because as I sit here typing these words I realise that we actually don’t know anything about her but I like her, I really do. Sometimes you fall in love with a person for the words they use even though their words never reveal anything about themselves but sometimes they end up revealing more than we realise.

I loved how Hell was structured and how it works and I loved a whole lot more characters than I realised as I type up this review. I need to talk about how much I love Rema and Inri both characters I hope we get to see more off.

Though I loved how this story was told as if you are travelling with a storyteller in a caravan and you start hearing the story after its already begun and have to leave the caravan before the story is over. It feels that way although I think I must confess that it doesn’t appear or feel incomplete. It is very much a whole story but it gives the feeling that it is part of so much more. I don’t know where this story is supposed to go but I am not opposed to finding out.

I loved the cover. I liked the colours used and the fonts and how the front is actually a map of the Ninth and actually gives a lot of details relevant to the story.

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: October 1st 2018 by Supposed Crimes, LLC
ISBN139781944591779

A Free Dreamer Review: Incubus Honeymoon (Arcana Imperii #1) by August Li

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

As the so-called magical creatures go, I’m low on the hierarchy, and my powers aren’t much good to human mages. I’m a lover, not a fighter, through and through. I’m also selfish, lazy, and easily bored. But I’m damned good at what I do.

Too bad that won’t get my arse out of this sling.

Do one—granted, uncharacteristic—good deed, and now I’m held hostage to an arrogant faerie prince, trying to track down the one who summoned him while dodging gangbangers, gun runners, and Nazis. Add the powerful mage guilds scrambling to gather firepower for some doomsday event they’re sure is around the corner, and my cushy life of leisure might be nothing but a memory. On top of that, something’s compelling me to change on my most fundamental level. I’m not sure what I’ve got myself mixed up in, but nothing will ever be the same.

Bloody hell.

===

Featuring a new twist on urban fantasy combined with fast-paced action and intrigue, the Arcana Imperii series books are standalone adventures, each completely accessible to new readers.

I probably wouldn’t have picked up “Incubus Honeymoon” if it hadn’t been published by DSP. The title kind of leads you to expect lots of sex and not much of a plot. But since this is a DSP title, I knew there would be mostly plot and little to no romance in it. And that’s exactly what I got. This is, first and foremost, a fantasy novel that also has some elements of romance and sex in it.

The blurb promises “a new twist on urban fantasy”. That’s almost an understatement, if you ask me. While the elements the story is made up of aren’t exactly new, the combination of said elements was what made this book truly unique.

We have three very different protagonists in this story. Blossom is your typical Fey of the old stories: a ruthless bastards who only ever does what suits him best. Then there’s Dante, a normal human who knows nothing about magic but who’d do everything to keep his little sister safe and happy. And finally we have Inky, an incubus and the only one of the trio who has something resembling a human conscience. I don’t think I actually liked either Blossom or Dante, but that was fine. I definitely understood Dante’s motivations and Blossom is Fey and Fey are always jerks.

The plot itself is truly breathtaking. There’s so much action and drama and so many hidden layers, it was really hard to put the book down. This is an urban fantasy setting and the author does a brilliant job of combining the fantasy elements with current events. Climate change, Trump, terrorism and nationalism were cleverly interwoven with the magic of the story. That’s one of the things that really stood out to me and me absolutely love this book.

As I’ve mentioned above, there really isn’t much of a romance to be found. There’s an established couple that becomes quite important but their love is not a main focus at any time. There are a few semi-explicit sex scenes and a few more off-screen, which makes sense, considering Inky is an incubus. But again, the sex was not a focus point.

Oh, and there were cats. I love cats and well-written cat characters are always a huge bonus for me.

This was shaping up to be a 5-star-read for me. But there were just too many POVs throughout the story. Sometimes it actually got a little confusing because of that. Ultimately, that’s the thing that made me knock off half a star.

“Incubus Honeymoon” is the first part of a new series by this author and it shows. While the story doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, the plot quite clearly isn’t fully resolved. And I’m really looking forward to what happens next.

I can’t believe this is my first book by August Li. He’s obviously a brilliant author and I’ll need to check out his other works.

I think this book will appeal to all fans of urban fantasy. It’s definitely an interesting new twist on well-known fantasy elements. Read it, I’m sure you’ll like it.

The cover by Blake Dorner is perfect. Inky looks exactly like I’d imagined him and he has his super cute cat with him.

Sales Links:  DSP Publications | Amazon

Book details:

ebook, 274 pages

Published July 17th 2018 by DSP Publications

A Lila Audiobook Review: Stand by Your Manny (The Mannies #3) by Amy Lane and Peter B. Brooke (narrator)

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Learning to trust and falling in love.Sammy Lowell has his hands full juggling his music, college, some pesky health problems, and making the uncles who raised him proud. He needs help fulfilling his after-school duties with his siblings. Nobody can be in two places at once—not even Sammy!

An injury puts Cooper Hoskins in a tough spot—if he can’t work, the foster sister he’s raising can’t eat. But years in the foster system have left Cooper short on trust, and opening up to accept help isn’t easy.

Luckily, family intervenes—Cooper needs a job so he can care for Felicity, and Sammy needs someone who can see past his illness to the wonderful things he has planned for his life. Each heals the damaged places in the other’s heart. But falling in love is a big responsibility for young men deep in family already. Can the two of them get past their fear of the immediate future to see forever with each other?

Stand by Your Manny brings another chapter to a series that stands aside from others due to the timespan between installments. It is necessary to read, at least, book one in this series to have a better understanding of the characters. It’s refreshing to see a young character turn into an intelligent young man between stories.

This is a story of discovering, not only of love but of what a family constitutes. Due to Cooper’s and Sammy’s age, it’s easy to think about this book as a YA story. We get to see how hard they worked to accept help without losing their independence. They become a team without realizing it, and shortly after, start a relationship based on honesty and innocence.

I enjoyed the UST in the story. It turns into part of the characters and their slow discoveries. The enjoyment of their new found relationship and their love for their families it’s an integral part of their path. We get to experience a range of emotions that felt real, not only for the characters but for the readers.

Getting to see the previous couples is an added bonus. They played a special part on Sammy’s and Cooper’s relationship and it’s exciting to see how much they have grown and learned about each other. I really love how Channing and Tino dealt with a growing Sammy. It was adorkable.

It was disappointing that John Solo was not the narrator of this story. He did an excellent job bringing the previous two books together. In this volume, we get Peter B. Brooke as the narrator. He adds that young tone to Sammy and Cooper without jeopardizing the previous characters we love.

The cover by Bree Archer follows the pattern of the series as well as the collection, giving us a peak of Sammy and his music room.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner | iTunes | Audible

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Peter B. Brooke
Length: 6 hours 01 minutes
Published: July 17, 2018 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B07FMF4BG4
Edition Language: English

Series: The Mannies
Book #1: The Virgin Manny
Book #2: Manny Get Your Guy
Book #3: Stand by your Manny 

An Alisa Review: Hybrid Reset (A Darker Hollow #3) by Shannon West and TS McKinney

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

“If vampires had yearbooks, I’d probably be listed as “Lucas, the Least Likely to Succeed.” After all, I’m living in the basement of a spooky old house about to fall down around my ears and a blood thrall named Liam brings me the blood of small game, so I won’t starve to death. It all started when some werewolves attacked our coven and killed off all the vampires, except for a few of us who managed to escape the bloodbath. But as the youngest, I still didn’t know how to hunt or even survive the sunlight, so I was stuck here in this old mausoleum of a house.  That is, until the werewolves came back. They found me right away, of course, and to my shock, they had Valerian, the leader of my old coven, living with them as the mate of the alpha wolf, Finn. Valerian and Mason, the beautiful blond mate of both Finn and Valerian—don’t ask; it’s way too complicated—both begged Finn to let me stay. He did, but he put me under the control of a big, mean, gorgeous, sexy wolf named Connor.

Don’t get me wrong. My old sire, Tolan, the sadist, trained me to do as I’m told. But sometimes, I forget and that really gets on Connor’s nerves. I see the relationship with Valerian and his mates and I want something like that for myself. I want to belong to someone. I want someone to love me. And more and more I think I want that someone to be Connor. But that may be something he can’t ever give me.”

A new pack, a new beginning, a little betrayal, some frequent fighting, a lot of sex and even some spanking, and you have a rousing and romantic adventure with the Hybrid wolves.

This series is continuing to intrigue me.  I liked getting to see Mason, Finn and Valerian continuing to build the trust in their relationship.  Connor has been mourning his dead mate for a long time and has trouble accepting his pull to Lucas.  Lucas hasn’t had the best life since he was turned into a vampire and he still has trouble knowing what to do.

They are beginning a new pack that will be welcoming and it’s going to be a little bit of an adjustment.  Finn and Valerian are still trying to feel accepted by their mates and for different reasons and Mason’s open defiance doesn’t help matters.

I was glad to see Mason, Finn and Valerian recognizing the work their relationship needs and taking some of the steps they need.  I could feel Connor and Lucas’s pain and worries regarding their situation and how to act.  I don’t always like when it takes a life or death situation for someone to completely accept how they feel for someone.  I feel bad that Lucas wasn’t able to get the closer he hoped for and how what happened may affect his mother.

I liked cover art by E Keith it gives a nice visual of the house and of Connor and follows the style of the first book.

Sales Links: Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 184 pages

Published: July 18, 2018 by Painted Hearts Publishing

Edition Language: English

Series: A Darker Hollow #3

Series Review Tour and Giveaway for Shadow Unit Series by Jamie Lynn Miller

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Shadow Unit Series
 
Book #1 – Broken Soldier Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – Rogue Solder Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 – Hunted Soldier Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #4 – Dying Soldier Payhip
 

Series Blurb

Meet Sergeant Connor Finley and Sergeant Shawn Weller – elite covert ops soldiers with Shadow Unit – a joint UK/US anti-terrorism task force.

Connor and Shawn’s harrowing missions take them across the globe from London to Kuala Lumpur to India to Pakistan to Bangladesh and Sierra Leone. Fighting to stem the flow of ever-increasing terror attacks and to protect innocent civilian lives, they battle arms dealers, drug smugglers, biological weapon threats, and a madman hell-bent on revenge, facing death at every turn. Their private lives are fraught with struggles as well, both Connor and Shawn battling personal demons from their past that threaten their future.

Amidst a backdrop of guns, bloodshed and violence, Connor and Shawn’s love and dedication for one another never wavers, standing resolutely side by side, drawing strength from each other to continue their never-ending fight.

 

Author Bio

Jamie Lynn Miller has been writing fiction since childhood and decided to take the plunge and go pro in 2008, finding to her amazement that people truly enjoyed her love stories. She’s a romantic at heart, and her tales reflect the desire we all have to find “the one,” persevering through trials and heartache for that happy ending.

Jamie has a degree in fine arts and has spent the last twenty years working as a graphic designer, though she’d much rather be writing. She was born in Chicago and still lives there today with her husband and their two furry, four-footed children, er… cats.

If she’s not brainstorming story ideas, you can find Jamie at a sci-fi convention, in front of a furnace doing glass blowing, or on a mat twisted into a yoga pose.

Email: jamielynnmiller@live.com
Blog: http://www.jamielynnm.wordpress.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jamielynn.miller.3

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Release Blitz – Promises by Ruby Moone (excerpt and giveaway)

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Length: 32,000 words approx.
 
Publisher: JMS Books
 
Blurb
 

Captain Charles Hawkins has returned from the Napoleonic wars desperate for solitude. When the man who saved his life asks a favour, he feels honour bound to agree, but the request fills him with horror.


Sebastian Farrah knows the only useful thing he can do with his life is join Wellington’s army. He has tried everything else and failed. He agrees to his brother’s ridiculous request to spend a month in the country because it is the only way his brother will agree to purchase him a commission.


Charles and Sebastian clash but quickly form a bond that deepens into much more. However, they are running out of time. Charles begs Sebastian to stay, but Sebastian knows to do so he will be forced to reveal what it is that stopped him from succeeding in everything. The shameful secret he carries from the schoolroom.

 
Excerpt
 

Another week passed, and Farrah had become an integral part of the household. He was everywhere. Working in the garden, eating with him, accompanying him when he left the house to tour around the estate, working with him with the shipping company, although he was still curiously resistant about that. Charles watched him apply himself to his evening meal with gusto. The man ate like a horse but hadn’t a spare inch on his frame. All the physical work meant that he had arrived in reasonable shape for someone who did nothing but gamble and drink, but now, now he was bursting with good health, humour, and a physique that made Charles want to weep with envy as he thought about his own skeletal frame. There was a warmth to his companionship that made getting up in a morning easier. He realised just how much he was enjoying having him in the house. As they talked, he hoped that he was helping Farrah to see that there were options open to him that didn’t involve him risking his life on the continent. To see that there were a whole host of things that he was good at. Farrah’s comment about the army being all he was good for had stayed with him and it surprised him how annoyed it made him that his family had allowed him to feel that way, and constantly surprised that Farrah seemed to believe it.


Coulson arrived with the tea tray and Charles smiled as he realised Farrah had lost that slightly frantic look he’d had on realising there was no port or brandy on his arrival. When Coulson had retreated, Charles raised his cup in a toast.


“Congratulations on another sterling week Mr Farrah.”


Farrah laughed and raised his cup in response. “Congratulations on putting up with me for another week. You deserve a medal, Captain Hawkins.”


“Nonsense. No medals required.”


Farrah tilted his head on one side and observed him. “You really are the best of men. I know I’m not easy to have around. Too loud, too … much.” He laughed again.


And there he went again. He really seemed to believe that his company would not be valued. That he would be some sort of burden. Charles was stunned when he realised that in that moment he wanted nothing more than to take him in his arms and tell him in no uncertain terms that having him in the house was no hardship, and not only that, he discovered he wanted to hunt down the people who had told him that he was a burden, or a nuisance, and hurt them. It was a disconcerting.


He had to fight to retain his composure and answer in kind. “Piffle. You’ve brightened the place up no end. Once you’d sobered up, that is.” He kept his tone light, but his heart was thumping.


“Really?”


For a big, handsome, seemingly confident man sometimes there was a hint of such wistfulness about him, and it was there full force in that softly spoken word. It was filled with such fragile hope it hurt something inside Charles.


“Really.” Charles spoke softly and something in Farrah brightened. “Now, stop fishing for compliments and tell me what the plan for tomorrow is.” He had to resume his usual brisk tone because if he didn’t, he would have … Charles’ heart stopped in his chest. Oh God. Oh God.


He wanted to kiss him.

 

My name is Ruby Moone and I love books. All kinds of books. My weakness is for romance, and that can be any kind, but I am particularly fond of historical and paranormal. I decided to write gay romance after reading some fantastic books and falling in love with the genre, so am really thrilled to have my work published here. The day job takes up a lot of my time, but every other spare moment finds me writing or reading. I live in the north west of England with my husband who thinks that I live in two worlds. The real world and in the world in my head…he probably has a point!


Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/RubyMoone/?ref=bookmarks
Twitter – @RubyMooneWriter
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/rubymoone/

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Release Blitz and Giveaway – Burning Fall (Hot Seasons #1) by EJ Smyth

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Length:
31,443 words.

Cover: EJ Smyth

Blurb

Opposites attract, but can they ever work together?

Damien is an ambitious young lawyer. After moving to Germany, he doesn’t expect to feel quite so out of his element. Apart from hating his job, a rumor spreads that he is a homophobe.

To redeem himself, he is put in charge of the firm’s signature event Burning Fall. He has no choice but to hire Yannik, a gorgeous yet unconventional event manager.

But from their first disastrous meeting, everything possible goes wrong.

Can the two men find a way to work together, or will Damien’s career, Yannik’s future, and the most important client event of the year go down in flames?

Find out in this steamy and fun short novel, the first book in Frankfurt Hot Seasons.

Author Bio

Hi there! My name is EJ Smyth, I live in Frankfurt, Germany and I’m passionate about romance. Not luffy-duffy romance, but stories with other elements mixed in. Paranormal romance, romantic thrillers, gay romance, if it’s got two difficult characters finding each other, I’m on board!

I write at my living room table, usually covered with folded laundry because I couldn’t be bothered to tidy before sitting down. And my kids are teenagers, so not much help there either <eye roll>. I do love having them around and I’ve gotten used to writing with a background noise of Grand Theft Auto and teenage histrionics. Maybe that’s why I prefer writing action scenes over descriptive settings! Except for the 18+ scenes which I have to write in a separate room, because, well, embarrassing…

I’m currently working on a series of short stories Keith is Awesome about a young man exploring his sexuality. Not something I’ve ever written before but the research alone was quite a bit of fun Check out my Pinterest account to see my inspiration. I love to talk to my readers, online and offline, so please feel free to drop me a line!

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