A Free Dreamer Review: Blood Echo by L.E. Royal

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

When her abusive father finally goes too far, shy seventeen-year-old Rayne Kennedy finds that her savior is far from an angel. Lost and alone she is completely enraptured by the beautiful but murderous, Scarlett. Taken on an adventure by the vampire’s well-intentioned sister, Rayne is drawn into Vires, a dark and dangerous vampire world, where humans are little more than natural resources to be exploited.

In a society that has been turned upside down while learning to live inside its constraints, Scarlett Pearce may not be much more than a slave to a power-hungry Government and the violent bloodlust that consumes her may be all her own. Before she loses herself in a world unlike anything she has ever known, Rayne needs to find Scarlett and the answers to those questions.

Vampires aren’t necessarily my favourite fantasy creatures, but every now and again I like to read a vampire novel. And “Blood Echo” promised a rather unusual take on vampire romances.

Before I start with my criticism, I want to say that it’s entirely possible I read the book at the wrong time. I was already in a bad mood and feeling down and “Blood Echo” made me feel even more depressed and grumpy. So my judgment is probably coloured by that.

First of all: This books comes with a warning for “torture, bloody violence and death” . And that warning is there for a reason, so don’t ignore it.

Like I already said, this story didn’t make me feel good. And that’s fine, I like dark stories, but something about “Blood Echo” just rubbed me the wrong way. It all seemed so bleak and hopeless and there was so much senseless violence and tragedy, I always dreaded having to keep reading a little bit.

Rayne was an okay character, if a little naive and awfully innocent at times. But that was understandable, her teen years weren’t exactly easy and didn’t give her much opportunity to do normal teen stuff. Though I must admit I mostly felt sort of indifferent about her.

Scarlett was… complicated. I like complicated MCs who blur the line between “good” and “evil”. I’ve read plenty of MCs who do horrible stuff but who were still somehow redeemable. Scarlett did plenty of awful things, but I never quite got the “redeemable” bit. Yes, she has her reasons, but still. It was the little things that made it so hard to believe there was anything good in her. She broke Rayne’s arm and while it was an accident and she healed it, she never even apologized for it., for example. I feel like an apology every now and then would have gone a long way to making me think of her as anything other than purely evil.

I didn’t really feel the romance. Rayne is very insecure and I have to agree with her. Why would gorgeous Scarlett pick a simple mortal girl, when she has so many other options? And they barely even knew each other, so it couldn’t have been because of Rayne’s character. Rayne’s “love” felt more like an unhealthy obsession to me, especially since Scarlett seems to be the first ever person she’s felt any sort of attraction for.

The publisher has tagged this with “sex content: explicit” and I actually feel kind of cheated. There was exactly one explicit sex scene, which was interrupted. When Rayne loses her virginity, it’s completely fade-to-black and other than that, we barely even get kisses. The author isn’t shy about explicitly depicting bloody violence, so why no explicit sex?

There were parts of the book that I found interesting. I liked the idea of a vampire city with very strict rules. Scarlett’s younger sister was a great supporting character and added a little variety to the otherwise rather evil vampire society.

I feel like the book got better towards the end, so I will read the next part, in the hopes that this upward trend continues.

The cover by Natasha Snow shows a hand with blood dripping from the fingers. I like the concept of it, I think it fits the tone of the story pretty well. But I find the execution a little lacking, the bloody fingertips look a bit like gloves.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book details: ebook, 299 pages

Published December 3rd 2018 by NineStar Press

An Ashlez Audio Review: Road of No Return: Hounds of Valhalla MC (Sex & Mayhem #1) by K.A. Merikan and Wyatt Baker (Narrator)

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Rating – 2 stars out of 5

— Don’t talk to strangers. —

Zak. Tattoo artist. Independent. Doesn’t do relationships.

Stitch. Outlaw biker. Deep in the closet. Doesn’t share his property.

On the day of Stitch’s divorce, lust personified enters the biker bar he’s celebrating at. Tattooed all over, pierced, confident, and hot as hellfire, Zak is the bone Stitch has waited for life to throw him. All Stitch wants is a sniff, a taste, a lick. What follows instead is gluttony of the most carnal sort, and nothing will ever be the same. Forced to hide his new love affair from the whole world, Stitch juggles family, club life, and crime, but it’s only a matter of time until it becomes too hard.

Zak moves to Lake Valley in search of peace and quiet, but when he puts his hand into the jaws of a Hound of Valhalla, life gets all but simple. In order to be with Stitch, Zak’s biker wet dream, he has to crawl right back into the closet. As heated as the relationship is, the secrets, the hiding, the violence, jealousy, and conservative attitudes in the town rub Zak in all the wrong ways. When pretending he doesn’t know what his man does becomes impossible, Zak needs to decide if life with an outlaw biker is really what he wants.

As club life and the love affair collide, all that’s left in Zak and Stitch’s life is mayhem.

 I had a few issues with this book, overall it was nice and filthy – lots of loving.  There were some points I hated .. the use of the word “fag” was very prominent and I found it a huge turn off.  I can’t express that enough, I get that it’s a hardened biker book but the CONSTANT use of the word was just too much for me.  The warning says homophobia which like I said, expected in this context but the WORD always used, downer.
I listened to this book in audio format, for which I’m both grateful and not, perhaps the previous word that was used to often wouldn’t have been as strong had I read the words instead of heard them – I didn’t mind the narrator, he had a few moments of over the top biker growling going on, but overall was well read!
Cover – 100% fitting , and very nice.. who doesn’t like leather
Sales Link:  Amazon | Audible
Audio Book Details:
Length: 11 hrs and 25 mins
Audible Audio, 12 pages
Published January 19th 2019 by Acerbi&Villani ltd. (first published July 17th 2014)
Original TitleRoad of No Return
ASINB07MWHTTWF
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesSex & Mayhem #1, Sex & Mayhem (DE editions) #1, Serie Sex & Mayhem (IT editions) #5 , more
CharactersZac Richardson, Thor ‘Stitch’ Larsen

An Alisa Review: Hidden Hearts (Bad Valentine #3) by Clare London

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Accident-prone Ethan has a dating history that reads like a disaster movie script. Strong and silent Kel can’t seem to master the necessary small-talk on a proper date. When they both get signed up anonymously for a Valentines’s night event—”for those with an adventurous spirit but an open diary”—they never imagined they’d be matched. They never imagined the romantic sparks would fly. To be honest, they never imagined they’d survive the week.

A catalogue of disasters dogs the footsteps of their blossoming romance, including a coffee date with food allergies as an added extra, an intimate dinner that strays too close for comfort to chopped chillies, and a sensual massage with hot wax candles that threatens to alert the local fire brigade.

But if they can hold tight to their sweet, surprising, yet single-minded attraction – they might just survive this Valentine’s Day with something very special to look forward to.

Oh gosh, I loved this story.  Ethan isn’t who Kel would have usually gone for but they connected immediately on their blind date.  Kel is everything Ethan has dreamed about but never thought he could have.

I liked how this was a bit opposites attract but they connected so beautifully.  I loved how Kel didn’t even blink at Ethan’s clumsiness and wouldn’t let it scare him away.  And the best part an epilogue, it always wraps a story up nicely to me.

The cover art by Jordan Castillo Price is cute and I love the visual of Ethan.

Sales Link: Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 68 pages

Publication: February 1, 2019

Edition Language: English

Series: Bad Valentine #3

A MelanieM Review: Old Sins (Lindenshaw Mysteries #4) by Charlie Cochrane

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

Detective Chief Inspector Robin Bright and his partner, deputy headteacher Adam Matthews, have just consigned their summer holiday to the photo album. It’s time to get back to the daily grind, and the biggest problem they’re expecting to face: their wedding plans. Then fate strikes—literally—with a bang.

Someone letting loose shots on the common, a murder designed to look like a suicide, and the return of a teacher who made Robin’s childhood hell all conspire to turn this into one of his trickiest cases yet.

Especially when somebody might be targeting their Newfoundland, Campbell. Robin is used to his and Adam’s lives being in danger, but this takes the—dog—biscuit.

The books in this series are not meant to stand alone but rather read with the understanding that you already know Robin, Adam, and their wonderful Newfie Campbell and all the events and history that has gone on before.  Trust me, that’s considerable, both in their backgrounds and in the small village in which they live and work. Or did work.  Now the cozy cottage where they live (it was Adam’s) and the village is both a distance from their new jobs and they are planning both a move and wedding when the new story opens.  How I love this series!

 

So yes, a lot has gone before Old Sins (Lindenshaw Mysteries #4) by Charlie Cochrane  and quite a lot is beginning to happen.   For things are never dull for long for these two who have just gotten back from a long needed holiday before the school year starts up again for Adam and the criminals start a wave for Robin and his crew.  Plus there is that wedding to be planned, pesky details and all.

For those new to the series, I do recommend heading back to The Best Corpse for the Job, the first story in the series. 

That is where Adan and Robin meet, and it all begins, including our love affair with Campbell, Adam’s Newfoundland.  There are many secondary characters that appear , in varying stages of narrative importance depending upon the plot, book after book.  So meeting them and being able to identify them early is a great thing.  Then seeing them again is like greeting old friends, ornery or otherwise.  In these villages, the personalities swing widely!

Cochrane’s characters are so beautifully crafted that it’s  sometimes hard to tell which way the plot will fall, who will be the villain or the victim?  Sometimes both have the same personality traits!  You can emphasize with both or neither, an element I really love.  It makes them so human.

Here once again Robin’s tortuous childhood is involved, one he is still dealing with and this case brings it back with an immediacy he never expected.  Plus a connection to Adam, as it always happens with these cases.  Throw Campbell into the mix, and things turn frightening, mysterious, and downright murderous.

I will admit to guessing part of the plot (the person partially) but got the motive all wrong!  No, the author kept me guessing on the twists and turns on that until the end.  There was a couple of things I wanted more neatly tied up  but that’s just me.

On the whole, I found this extremely satisfying, it took Adam and Robin’s relationship to a deeper place, and at least moved their wedding plans forward ! lol  Plus i got more Campbell which is always a wonderful thing.

If you love cozies like I do, this is one mystery series for you.  Start at the beginning and make your way here!  i highly recommend them all.

Cover art: L.C. Chase.  I really like the covers for the series.  I wish it had Campbell on the cover, but that was the last one.  Oh well.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 209 pages
Published February 11th 2019 by Riptide Publishing
Original Title Old Sins
ISBN 139781626498723
Edition Language English

Series Lindenshaw Mysteries :

The Best Corpse for the Job

Jury of One

Two Feet Under

Old Sins

New Release Blitz and Giveaway for Eagle In The Hawthorn (Rowan Harbor Cycle #7) by Sam Burns

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK – Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited
 
Length: 45,000 words approx.
 

Cover Design: Melanie Farlow @ Clause & Effect

 

The Rowan Harbor Cycle Series


Book #1 – Blackbird in the Reeds – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – Wolf and the Holly – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 – Fox and Birch – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #4 – Hawk In The Rowan – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #5 – Stag and the Ashe – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #6 – Adder and Willow – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #6.5 – In Any Light – Amazon US | Amazon UK
 

Blurb

Rowan Harbor has had a tough winter, and Devon Murphy wants nothing more than to make it better. When he proposes a solution to the town’s low morale, it creates a rift in his relationship with his boyfriend, Wade. They’ve hardly ever argued, and when things get tense, Devon has no idea how to handle it.


But an evil presence in his town targets the people Devon loves, he has to put his personal worries aside and face danger down again. Will he be able to protect his town, and if he can, will Wade be waiting for him when it’s done?
Sam wrote her first fantasy epic with her best friend when she was ten. Like almost any epic fiction written by a ten year old, it was awful. She likes to think she’s improved since then, if only because she has better handwriting now.



If she’s not writing, she’s almost certainly either reading or lost down a Wikipedia rabbit hole while pretending to research for a novel.


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Cover Reveal and Giveaway for Becca Seymour’s Realigned

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Realigned by Becca Seymour

Hot Tree Publishing
Expected publication: March 30th 2019

 

Escape with Shaun and Mitch in outback Australia as they discover it sometimes takes time, distance, and interfering family to help them realign.

Giveaway

Giveaway: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ea80a6ed346/

Escape with Shaun and Mitch in outback Australia as they discover it sometimes takes time, distance, and interfering family to help them realign.

Blurb

After eight years of living in America, it’s time for Shaun to return home to his family’s farm in outback Australia. He has a decision to make: continue working his dream job with NASA or move back for a corporate job and his family.

He thinks his decision is easy.

He thinks he’s going to have a fun two weeks at home catching up.

He also thinks seeing his best friend, Mitch, will finally allow him to move on from that one hot kiss they shared the day he left.

Shaun realises he’s truly screwed as what he thinks and what he knows don’t always align.

Realigned is a fun and steamy M/M novella in Becca Seymour’s Coming Home series. Stand-alone romances complete with heat, wit, and happily ever afters.

#Realigned_Reveal #GayRomance #MMRomance #hotcowboy