A MelanieM Review: Faith (Graphene #2) by Archie Hellshire

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Rating 3.75 stars out of 5

 

Tuck is switching dorms. He’s had enough of his roommate’s odd hours, strange behavior, and teasing from his football teammates, who think there’s something more between them. He’s just put the last pad into his duffel bag when the campus goes on lockdown and the police swarm in.

They say that Tuck’s roommate, Sam, is a wanted man, but Tuck knows better. Sam is no criminal; he won’t even let Tuck kill spiders. Tuck takes a risk and helps Sam escape from the clutches of the authorities, and together they try to make it off the campus. As they try to evade the search parties, it becomes clear that they’re after something more than Sam; a secret project Sam’s been working on that has billion-dollar implications.

Tuck’s not sure what’s going on. He’s not sure what the truth is or who to trust. He’s not sure they’re going to make it out of this. And as the night wears on, he’s not sure how he really feels about Sam anymore. Sam is always sure about Tuck, though, and Tuck isn’t going to let him down.

For all that is packed into this story, Faith (Graphene #2) by Archie Hellshire is a short novel.  it feels that you are no sooner deeply involved in the characters that its ending on a somewhat wavering note and this chapter of the characters lives is done.  It’s a very much an installment story with the  characters HFN but everything else seems so shaky.

I admit I didn’t read the first story and even now I’m not sure how important that is here.  Yes Daniel becomes an important factor here but his boyfriend is  nothing but a will o the wisp at the end.  The focus here shines brightly on Tuck, Sam, and the cause at the heart of all the action/intrigue here.

The relationship between Tuck and Sam is a special one and I can’t help but wish we had more of that revealed here to us.  What is we was endearing and heartwarming.  It was so easy to love this pair.  And still relate to the issues Tuck was having at the   beginning of the story.

I think the ending was a little shocking in that there was no foundation laid for that sort of element in this story.  Perhaps it exists in Chance, the first in the Graphine series.  I do want want to read the next in this series so it looks as though I will be going back to pick up that one as well.

Also if you are looking for lots of hot sex, uh no, not the book for you.  Sweet kisses is about it.  Remember boys on the run, low, low heat, But soo much sweetness. That makes up for  it. Trust me.

I found the characters able to tug on your emotions, the story well written, and enough loose ends to be considered a minor cliffhanger for the next addition.  If you love your contemporary romance with more than a hint of danger and intrigue but your characters of college age, here is a series made for you.  Especially with those with a hint of the environmental/scientific bent.

Cover Art: Natasha Snow is on point for the story and characters right down to the differences in sizes. Love it.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 102 pages
Published October 15th 2018 by NineStar Press
ISBN139781949340952
Edition Language English
Series Graphene

Chance

Faith

An Ashez Review: An Erie Collection by V.L. Locey

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
This was surprisingly funny.  I didn’t know what to expect going in but this turned out to be an extremely entertaining book.
Templeton – a skunk shifter – honestly, so original I had never read anything like this before – if the traits hold true to skunks it’s quite a fascinating read.
Mikel – kind of run of the mill wolf shifter, though more entertaining in wolf form than I would have thought.
You follow each as they get to know each other with a bunch of action plots and betrayals thrown in – such an easy read due to the excitement and fast paced nature of the book.
I think all of the novellas could have been combined into one pretty epic book – I found myself losing focus after the first book – I loved reading more of Templeton and Mikel, but I also wished they were all one cohesive story.
It stayed true to the action adventure and humour aspects but it fell flat in character development, Templeton and Mikel felt static as the stories progressed and more people were introduced and more action was had.

That being said, reading one story every few months would actually be preferable than binging the collection in one sitting!

Cover Design: Meredith Russell.

Buy Links: 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 408 pages
Published October 22nd 2018
ASINB07JLVM37V

A Free Dreamer Review: Roam (Roam #1) by Dez Schwartz

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Ethan Roam suffers from night terrors and vivid daydreams, which lead him to the doorstep of the eccentric Dr. Grady Hunter, who thrusts him into a world of supernatural misfits. Ethan quickly learns that there’s more reality to his dreams than he suspected.

As Ethan unravels the truth behind his nightmares and falls into his first experience with love, he also finds himself the target of a sinister plan.

Ethan’s trust in his new companions will be tested and he’ll have to decide who he can rely on and who he must defy in order to survive a fatal Halloween night.

„Roam“ promised some really interesting and unusual fantasy ideas. Sadly the actual book was kind of disappointing.

But let’s start with the good parts. I found Ethan’s night-terrors/super vivid daydreams fascinating. It takes a while till we learn what exactly his abilities are, so that made for an interesting plot arc. And I really liked the reveal of his true powers.

Sadly,  Ethan himself wasn’t all that interesting. He really only has two modes: incessant cheerfulness and doe-eyed hero worship. He’s incredibly naive, far too trusting and has his occasional TSTL moment that made me roll my eyes in disbelief. He was also this weirdly perfect guy who everybody immediately likes and who has some serious self-worth issues at the same time. There’s also a scene where he magically develops an amazing singing voice and piano skills. It wasn’t mentioned ever again, neither before nor after that one weirdly specific scene.

I’m not entirely sure what to think about Grady. I don’t think I particularly liked him, though. He’s creepily obsessed with killing supernatural beings that don’t follow his rules. We get some backstory that sort of explains his obsession but he still didn’t feel like a very healthy person.

Then there’s Dacey, Grady’s vampire lover of sorts. He struck up a very weird and very instantaneous friendship with Ethan that made absolutely no sense to me. Both MCs lacked depth and felt pretty shallow.

I had some serious issues with the romance in this book. It was pretty much insta-love on Ethan’s side and I really didn’t get that. I never felt that spark of attraction that makes a love story interesting to read. Then there was of course this HUGE secret Grady kept essentially the entire time. It really, really bothered me how forgiving and understanding Ethan was about that.

While the idea of the fantasy parts had great potential, the worldbuilding was lacking. Once again, there was no real depth to it. I guess there might be more to come, as this is only the first part in a series, but it still just wasn’t enough for me.

Overall, “Roam” was an okay read. The entire story and all the characters could have used way more depth. Everything was just a little too shallow for me. There’s a chance that there’ll be more depth in the following book(s), but I won’t be reading those. This first part was more than enough for me.

The cover by Natasha Snow is alright, if a bit generic. And it promises a spookier read than the book delivers.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book details:

ebook
Published October 1st 2018 by NineStar Press (first published January 2016)
ISBN139781949340839
Edition Language English
SeriesRoam #1

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: A Dance of Water and Air (Elemental Magicae #1) by Antonia Aquilante

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 Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

Due to rising tensions with their neighbor, Tycen, the King of Thalassa is pushing an alliance with Aither on their western border. The king’s son Prince Edmund is to marry Aither’s Queen Hollis and conceive within two years. The author nicely sets up some political intrigue at court in an understated way that will germinate in later books. The prince and his secretary, Peregrine, travel to Aither for the wedding to take place in three months time. Since the Queen’s father died and she is still in mourning, the wedding can’t take place any faster. This allows the author to also set up political intrigue for this court.

The queen’s brother, Prince Arden, is told to spend time with Edmund–time the queen should be spending to get to know her betrothed, but is avoiding. We meet Arden’s best friends, Larkin and twin brother Ciaran, who are the eyes and ears for court politics. The alternating POV between Arden and Edmund allows the reader to know he is unhappy about being attracted to Edmund and that Edmund don’t really allow himself to admit or understand he might feel it too. As they get to know each other better, the ways of Aither being open to people of all elements, challenges everything Edmund has learned from his father and the way he rules Thalassa. This also plants seeds for future books. We get to know a little bit about Edmund’s affinity with water and Arden’s affinity with air and how that magic can be used. Their common enemy Tycen is know for their affity with fire. We know little about the earth affinity, so I guess that will be in future books.

This author is known for high fantasy and political intrigue so I expected the world-building to be good and it was, but I have hopes there will be a lot more detail later. I was enjoying the story, the court, the politics, the slow burn as they were getting to know each other, yet nothing is in great detail. When someone with an affinity with water tries to kill the Queen, Edmund is arrested and after spending so much time with him, Arden is in a precarious position. We are told Hollis and Arden were close once, but we never see it. There could have been more done with that plot-wise. We only get a glimmer of Arden’s feelings of muted hurt. If fact, we know little of the queen or any of the characters beside Arden, Ciaran, Peregrine, and Edmund.

Once they flee the castle, it was like the author no longer knew what to do with them. Edmund and Arden are suddenly stumbling around when they already know how they feel about each other. It was all handled in an awkward, drawn out way. I liked the depictions of Edmund as a demisexual, and Arden, who reads as non-binary (the publisher’s tag is trans). Their love scenes were sweet, yet circumspect and while explicit, were not really erotic. At this point even Ciaran, who has grow up in political intrigue and has a spy network, starts to act childish. He shouldn’t be failing apart about something he knew would happen. Then, all of the sudden they start writing in code as he communicates with his sister. As if this had never occurred to him before whilst they are fleeing for their lives? Ciaran and Peregrine are also in a relationship now which seems to consist of a lot of handholding. For me, this read as high fantasy that turned into YA.

As Tycen prepares for war, Arden and Edmund meet with Queen Hollis along the border, whereupon she acts like an unreasonable child. This is the most we get to see of the queen and I was not impressed. Unless we get to see her POV in future books and a lot more backstory, I am not sure how this character can be redeemed for me at this point. Maybe she won’t be, but everything is so sweet and slots into place so easily, I expect the sister and brother will eventually make up, somehow.

The end of the book really points to learning more about the various magics and how they can be utilized together. Right now, they are like kids studying and playing with magic. We’ll see if that changes if war actually happens. I would have liked a lot more of the elements and their creatures that magic wielders can communicate with. I wanted this to have more detail and depth about everything. While I liked the MCs, I didn’t feel emotionally attached to them. This is a nice, sometime sweet, easy read for a couple of evenings and I recommend it be enjoyed as such.

The cover art by Natasha Snow is fitting for the story, showing a blend of the two main elements covered in this story and a castle. The color palette fits with the dark intrigues. Although most of the story takes place in Aither, this seems to be the palace in Thalassa, where the story starts and finishes.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Published October 1st 2018 by NineStar Press
ISBN139781949340853
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Lucy Release Day Review: Embracing Fate (A Series of Fates #2) by C.C. Dado

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

This is the second  installment of the Series of Fates books set in the town of Easter Valley, where you have to fill out an application and pass a background check and interview process to live there.  “We created Easter Valley so we could be part of the world without risking our people.”  The shifters mostly work in town and live in the commune, but Seth is one of the few town dwellers.  He moved there because his best friend, Max, had trouble in the commune and needed to get away and after Max found his mate (book one), he just stayed.  He owns and operates a baker, Sweets and Meats, with Max. 

I think I’ll need to go read the first book because Max is something else.   This book opens with Max moving out of Seth’s house in order to live with his mate, the Alpha Christian.  Max is having a hard time with it and Seth is pushing him to do what’s right.  “Oh my God,” Max gasped in outrage.  “You’re not doing this to be supportive of my relationship. You don’t want me to live here anymore, do you? And here I was worried about leaving you alone.”   They are besties, these two. “I am the most self-centered friend alive.”  That’s Max’s opinion of himself.  “You are not,” Seth assured him, even though sometimes he kind of was.”

Seth is conscious of his looks, with one bright blue and one brown eye.  He wears his bangs long and sometimes is convinced he won’t ever find his mate. When a new neighbor, the dog-trainer Jack, moves in Seth is smitten and knows finally, this is his mate.  The moment when he first hears Jack is hysterical and made me laugh out loud.

Seth is super shy, though, so his brilliant (snort) plan is to have Max take him over in wolf form for training and that way he can get to know Jack.  This of course can’t end well, whether it is from Christian finding out the plan; Max not only taking Seth to Jack’s on a leash but informing Jack his wolf’s name is Nancy; “…an 8×10 photo of Seth in a collar, running naked, covering his crotch with branches…” ; or worst of all, the way Jack finds out the truth about shifters.

We also get to see beta Zeus, a seven foot gentle giant who is lovely.  When he thinks Max is pregnant (due to a Seth lie), the foot rubs and care for Max were adorable.  I want him to find someone special and I hope his book is next.

This is a cute series and I will go back and read the first one to see how Max and Christian got together. 

Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 1st edition, 91 pages
Expected publication: October 26th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN13 9781640807303
Edition Language English

Release Blitz – Dark Rivers (Witchbane #2) by Morgan Brice (excerpt)

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Dark Rivers (Witchbane #2)

Author: Morgan Brice

Publisher: Darkwind Press

Cover Artist: Lou Harper

Genre/s: Urban Fantasy, MM paranormal romance

Length: approx. 85 000 words

Buy Links

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Kobo

B&N

 

Add on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42433862-dark-rivers

 

Blurb

One hundred years ago, a sheriff’s posse killed dark warlock Rhyfel Gremory, but his witch-disciples escaped, and their magic made them nearly immortal. To keep their power, each year one of the witch-disciples kills a descendant of one of the men in the posse, a twelve-year cycle that has cost dozens of lives, including that of Seth Tanner’s brother, Jesse.

Seth uncovers the cycle of ritual killings that feeds the power of the witch-disciples, and he’s hell bent on getting vengeance for Jesse and stopping the murders. His fledgling romantic relationship with Evan Malone complicates his mission, but Seth can’t walk away. Seth and Evan are learning to navigate their partnership—as lovers and monster hunters—while they chase the next witch-disciple and avoid attracting the wrong kind of attention.

When the hunt takes Seth and Evan to Pittsburgh on the trail of the next killer, they’ll have to save the intended victim and take down the powerful witch. If the skills they possess and the bond between them isn’t enough, the evil will remain unchallenged, and more people will die…

 

Excerpt

“If the sun hasn’t set yet, and there’s no moon, where’s that blue glow coming from?”

Clouds covered the sky, blotting out the dull, late-afternoon sun, and the overhead branches dimmed the light even more. Yet beneath the trees, the snow reflected a twilight indigo, and the shadows all around beneath the trees seemed to have grown darker.

Seth wasn’t a medium, and he had no talent for seeing or hearing the dead. But his experiences hunting supernatural creatures attuned him to the presence of things that went bump in the night, and now he was certain that they weren’t alone.

“We mean you no harm,” Seth said to the blue glow and the empty forest around them. “We’re just looking for information about the witch. Can you help us?”

A sparkling haze gradually filled in between the leafless trees, and as it shifted on the wind, Seth thought he saw forms and faces. Evan was already laying down a salt circle around where they stood, reinforcing it with iron filings. Both substances interfered with ghosts’ ability to manifest and sapped their strength to cause harm.

“Seth, look.” Evan pointed toward the hanging tree. Where only moments ago, it had been nothing but bare branches, now, a shadowed form swung slowly, suspended by a rope around its neck, the head tilted at an unnatural angle.

“We’re here to end the killing,” Seth said, forcing himself to look away from the hanged man, pushing back the memories of Jesse’s body, suspended like that, soaked with blood. As if he could guess Seth’s thoughts, Evan placed a hand on Seth’s forearm, grounding him to the here and now. “We want to stop the witch that caused your pain, keep him from hurting anyone else.”

Overhead, a cold wind stirred the branches, and the trees creaked and rattled. Seth shivered as the temperature dropped. Figures now stood amid the headstones in the old cemetery, and their stance suggested that they were ready for a fight.

“Give me something I can use to stop the witch,” Seth begged the ghosts. “He went by many names—Thane. Carmody. Brunrichter. Wiegand. Whatever he called himself—we want to make him stop.”

The wind carried the whispers of spectral voices, and the blue mist roiled with internal energy. Evan yanked off his gloves, then withdrew a small slate writing board and a piece of chalk from the pocket of his parka. As Seth continued to talk to the ghosts, he saw out of the corner of his eye as Evan carefully drew one of the sigils he’d been practicing, a bit of rote magic that was likely to come in handy.

Seth feared they might need to fight their way clear since the ghosts seemed more interested in intimidation than supplying information.

Seth’s eyes widened as he saw movement. An invisible hand traced shaky block letters on a snow-covered embankment beside the road. W-A-T-C-H.

“Watch?” Seth repeated aloud. “Watch out?  Watch for something?”

He could feel the press of spirits all around them, and Seth remembered that the ghosts of Blue Mist Road had a reputation for being unfriendly to intruders. Whatever their cryptic message meant, Seth had the feeling they had worn out their welcome.

The mist grew thick around them. Seth realized that the ominous figures from the cemetery had moved closer and that the hanged man was no longer suspended from his noose. He and Evan were safe for the moment within the salt circle, but they were also trapped inside their sanctuary.

“Ready?” Evan asked. He’d been practicing the small magicks that involved drawing arcane symbols and activating them with concentration; those had come more easily to him than the spoken spells Seth had learned. Seth recognized the drawing Evan made on the slate and hoped to hell the banishment sigil worked.

“Go for it,” he said, crossing his fingers.

Evan closed the last line on the sigil and placed his fingertips on the magical symbol, imbuing it with his will and life energy. The drawing flared gold and then white, so bright Seth and Evan had to avert their eyes as a blast wave of light radiated all around them.

When they opened their eyes, the blue mist and the spirits it harbored were gone, as was the writing in the snow.

“Come on,” Seth said, grabbing Evan by the arm and pulling him toward the truck. “Let’s get out of here before they decide to come back.

 

 

About the Author

Morgan Brice is the romance pen name of bestselling author Gail Z. Martin. Morgan writes urban fantasy male/male paranormal romance, with plenty of action, adventure and supernatural thrills to go with the happily ever after. Gail writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy, and together with co-author hubby Larry N. Martin, steampunk and comedic horror, all of which have less romance, more explosions. Look for her other books—Witchbane, Burn (a Witchbane novella #1.5 ), and Badlands.

 

Author Links

Blog/Website

Facebook Group: The Worlds of Morgan Brice 

Twitter: @MorganBriceBook 

Pinterest:  Morgan Brice board

 

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