A Free Dreamer Review: Shinigami (Takamagahara Monogatari #2) by Xia Xia Lake

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

A coming-of-age love story between an orphan and the heir of the richest family in the Land of Yamato. The human world meets the yōkai in a power struggle for the fate of Fujiwara no Hirotsugu.

While he battles to find his own path, Hirotsugu finds solace in a boy who will become his secret friend, then his salvation, and then as they become adults together, the love of his life.

After the good first part of the series, I was really curious about the actual novel. And I was not disappointed.

Shinigami” is part two of the series, even though it’s set before the events of “Kogitsune”. You should read “Kogitsune” before you pick up this book. It’s a free short story, so there’s nothing to lose and it will definitely help you understand this book.

I’m not sure if the blurb quite does this amazing book justice. It sounds a little trivial, when this story is anything but. I probably wouldn’t call it a “coming-of-age love story” either, more like historical fantasy steeped in Japanese mythology with a healthy dash of heartbreaking romance.

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Japan and it’s folklore and mythology.  After the very good first part, I had very high expectations of this second installment. And “Shinigami” did not just live up to them, it actually exceeded them.

I’m somewhat familiar with Japanese mythology, but not an expert by any means. There’s a dictionary at the end of the book, so you can always cross check if you don’t understand something. You should still be familiar with the most common Japanese titles, though. I actually felt like I now know more about Japan than I did before starting the book, but it never felt like the author was writing a lecture.

The romance itself is rather slow burn, since the book essentially starts with Hiro’s birth. So it takes a while for Hiro and Ryu to meet and it takes even longer for a romantic relationship to develop. But that allowed for a natural growth of their feelings and it was wonderful to witness it. There’s not a ton of sex either and it’s not very explicit, but it was definitely very sensual.

The setting of ancient Japan was extremely well written. The author clearly did a lot of research and knows what she’s writing about. I loved all the details and it made it all very real to me. It’s not always an easy read, so you might not want to read while half asleep. Unless you know your Japanese history and mythology in your sleep, then you’re all set. If not, it does require a bit of concentration, because it’s a rather complex story.

I was happy to get a background story for a few characters of the first part. Biko-san makes another appearance and he’s so adorable. I’m totally naming a cat after him, if I ever get one.

There were some very emotional moments, both happy and sad. It never felt sappy or over the top, though. The ending was both heartbreaking and wonderful and I’m eagerly awaiting part three. That one will be about a minor character who only got one scene in the entire book, but I’m still curious to learn more about him.

Overall, “Shinigami” is a truly brilliant book. If you love historical fantasy, Japanese mythology and folklore and don’t mind a slow-burn, non-traditional romance, you must read this series. One of my highlights of the year.

That cover. Oh my god. So cool. I love it. I’m totally having a fangirl moment just because of the cover. It’s perfect and makes me sad I don’t own a print version. It would look great in my bookshelf.

Book 2 – Shinigami 

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK 

 

Book details:

Kindle Edition,245 pages

Published October 1st 2019 (first published August 13th 2019)

Takamagahara Monogatari Series

Kogitsune

Shinigami

A Free Dreamer Review: Royal Rescue by A. Alex Logan

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

At age eighteen, when they become marriageable, all royal children in the Thousand Kingdoms must either go questing to rescue another royal or be hidden away to await rescue themselves. Some go the traditional route of princes rescuing princesses, but not all princes want to be rescuers…and some would rather rescue other princes.

Then there’s Prince Gerald, who has no interest in getting married at all. When he refuses to choose a role as either rescuer or rescuee, his royal parents choose for him and have him magicked away to a distant tower to await a spouse.

Gerald, however, is having none of it. He recruits his guardian dragon and a would-be rescuer and soon the trio is dashing to all corners of the united kingdoms on a quest to overturn the entire system.

“Royal Rescue” presents a delightful twist on the common damsel in distress trope and since I love tropes turned on their head, I jumped at the chance to read this book. I’m happy to say it was a very enjoyable experience.

I’m glad the author went with a more serious route, instead of comic relief. Gerald’s experiences aren’t always easy or happy, but they make sense.

I might not be asexual, aromantic or live in a world full of royals and magic, but society still expects me to marry and have kids, which I don’t want. The way A. Alex Logan described Gerald’s feelings on the matter were exactly the same as mine. It’s just so frustrating to have to explain yourself over and over and over again to each and every single person who has no business sticking their nose in your affairs in the first place. So, even though Gerald and I might not have much in common on a superficial level, I found him to be extremely relatable and likable.

Also, there’s a dragon. A sentient dragon, that’s capable of human speech and complex thought processes and yet its personality is completely different from humans. That was a prime example of a very well developed secondary character right at the beginning of the book. And the dragon didn’t remain the only three dimensional secondary character. Gerald’s eventually surrounded by a group of people and each and every one of them felt like a real individual. There was really only one person who didn’t get enough on-page time for my liking. Mikkel, one of the other royals, seemed like a very interesting person.

I absolutely loved the actual story of “Royal Rescue”. The marriage system is actually quite liberal for royals. The young people can choose if they want to be rescued by someone or go rescuing somebody themselves and the gender of the rescuer/rescuee doesn’t matter at all. Homo- and bisexuality is just as normal as heterosexuality and no problem at all. In fact, Gerald has two mothers and one of them actively asks him which gender he’d prefer to be rescued by. There are no arranged marriages, everybody gets a choice. You might even get away with marrying a commoner, as long as it’s True Love. But as the story progresses, we learn that it’s actually still quite restrictive and doesn’t account for people who aren’t interested in marriage at all.

The author did a really good job at unfolding a wild adventure with real depth and pretty solid world building. I still would have liked just a bit more world building and a bit more focus on the guardians of the towers.

Overall, “Royal Rescue” is a truly brilliant book, not only for lovers of YA Fantasy. Just don’t go into this expecting a “normal romance”. Gerald is aromantic and that doesn’t change.

There is potential for a second part, but the book also works as a standalone. I, for one, would love a sequel.

The cover by Natasha Snow looks good and fits the story, even if the flying creatures remind me of dinosaurs and not dragons.

Sales links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: April 8th 2019 by NineStar Press
ISBN 139781950412419
Edition Language English

A Free Dreamer Review: Horizon Points (The Galactic Captains #3) by Harry F. Rey

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

The problems of the Outer Verge are stacking up for Ales, now a commander of the Union fleet. From rebellious priests on Jansen to terrifying rips in space sucking matter out into the unknown, not to mention jealous lovers scattered across space, Ales is pulled in infinite directions. Disrupting the Galactic Balance isn’t so simple, and Admiral Turo is also a hard man to please.

While trying to secure a crucial trade deal on the heterosapien world of Nelu, Ales struggles to ignore the stark inequalities cutting through life in the galaxy. If he’s not fighting for a future free from the horrors that blighted his past, what’s the point of living?

With the Outer Verge bitterly divided and factions readying for war, the new horizons Ales dreamed of feel galaxies away.

I was thrilled to see “Horizon Points” pop up in my inbox and couldn’t wait to get back to Ales and everybody else. Needless to say, I wasn’t disappointed.

First of all, this is part three of the“The Galactic Captains” series. As such, it really doesn’t work as a stand-alone at all. You definitely need to read the first two parts in order to understand and enjoy this one.

If you have read parts one and two, you know what to expect: Great SciFi with a lot of hot, kinky sex and the author once again delivers all that and more.

Ales has changed and grown and continues to do so during this book. He seems less bitter and hateful and  I think I liked him better than before. He also seems a bit more mature, though he’s still thinking with his dick most of the time, even if said dick is caged. And that’s really the only issue I continue to have with this series. Ales has sex or thinks of sex at the craziest moments, when there should be other, more important, things to worry about.

I was surprised to actually find some hints of a possible blossoming romance. Previously, there was only sex, but no love. Of course it really didn’t turn out the way I’d expected. There were a couple of twists I really didn’t see coming.

It all ends with a horrible cliffhanger, so I’m eagerly anticipating the next installment of this great series.

The cover by Natasha Snow works well for the story. It’s unique enough to be easily distinguishable and yet similar enough to the others to create an overall aesthetic for the series.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book details:

ebook, 167 pages

Published March 4th 2019 by NineStar Press

The Galactic Captains Series:

Siege Weapons

Forbidden Pursuits

Horizon Points

A Free Dreamer Release Day Review: Showers, Flowers, and Fangs by Aidan Wayne

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Darren is your average half-human, half-fae trans teenager, busy figuring out his powers and puberty while trying to survive finals. When Vlad, a newly turned vampire, moves in with the witch down the street, he and Darren get off on the wrong foot. Darren is always one to give somebody a second chance, though, and as they become friends, he realizes Vlad is just lonely and struggling with his new powers. That’s something Darren can definitely relate to, and he’s happy to lend his support. But while he coaxes Vlad out of his shell, Darren ends up learning about Vlad’s past… and the danger Vlad is in. Darren only wants to help—help Vlad feel comfortable in his own skin and help him feel safe.

He hadn’t planned on falling in love.

The blurb of Showers, Flowers and Fangs sounded extremely promising and I had quite high expectations. And I’m happy to say the author certainly didn’t disappoint.

I loved the world this book is set in. There are all the supernatural creatures you’ve ever heard of – and more. They live peacefully with the humans and half-breeds are far from unusual. That’s not a concept I’ve come across before. Darren got a bit unlucky with his abilities. He’s trans, but human medicine doesn’t agree with him and his fae powers aren’t all that strong either. So while he can pass with the help of a glamour, actual transitioning isn’t going to happen quite so easily. The author obviously put a lot of thought into their universe and how the rules affect the MCs. The world building was really well done and flowed naturally into the plot.

Darren and Vlad were adorable together. This is very much a coming-of-age story about the first experiences with romance, which are complicated by Vlad’s past. There are a few darker moments, but overall it was an absolutely heartwarming read, without it ever getting cheesy and overly fluffy. Just a feel-good story, with great depth and a bit of humour.

I liked both our MCs. Darren is extremely likable from the beginning and while it might take a while for Vlad to warm up, he’s still a wonderful person. Even though this is a Fantasy book, it just all felt very realistic to me.

We get quite a few surprising reveals and the book was very addicting. It was a super fast read and I enjoyed every single second of it. It’s quirky, unique and absolutely adorable. It’s also suitable for younger readers. I’d probably recommend this to kids aged 13 and above. Of course it also works for adults, like me. I hope there’ll be more books set in this wonderfully imaginative universe.

The cover by Tiferet Design is very pretty. It reminds me of a fairy tale and I love the blue background.

Sales LInks:  Harmony Ink Press | Amazon

Book details:

ebook, 190 pages

Expected publication: December 11th 2018 by Harmony Ink Press

A Free Dreamer Advent Calendar Review: Tulsi Vivah by Anna Kaling

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

A Story from the Warmest Wishes: Dreamspinner Press 2018 Advent Calendar

The festival of Tulsi Vivah ushers in the Hindu wedding season and tears away the love of Kristopher’s life. Three years of passion and tenderness are reduced to a shameful skeleton in the closet as Arjuna submits to the marriage his parents have arranged for him. His family has never even heard Kristopher’s name.

The festival, a ritualistic wedding between the holy basil plant, Tulsi, and her eternal lover, Vishnu, is as much of a play-act as Arjuna’s upcoming nuptials, but he believes the wedding will honor his parents and please Vishnu. So why is his Tulsi plant—whose leaves heal and bless the devout, who is Vishnu’s representative on earth—dying? Arjuna tends to her with all the care of a concerned parent, but it might take more than his devotion to save her. She might need Kris, with his clever green-fingers—and maybe a revived Tulsi can heal two hearts.

I usually like neither short stories (they tend to feel unfinished to me) nor holiday stories (too fluffy), so Tulsi Vivah was a very pleasant surprise.

This isn’t really a Christmas story, it’s more about the Hindu holiday Tulsi Vivah. I’m an not an expert on Hinduism, but I do think I’m not completely clueless. Still, I’ve never heard of this holiday or the Goddess Tulasi. The author did a great job of explaining the holiday and I found it all very fascinating.

The romance was lovely, if a bit sad. It was obvious how hard the separation was on both Arjuna and Kris. It was heartbreaking, even if I could understand Arjuna’s decision. The two MCs showed a surprising amount of depth and growth, considering how short this book is. The ending felt perfect and quite realistic.

I really, really enjoyed this story. I haven’t seen all that many M/M books with a Hindu MC out there, so bonus points for an original idea. I hope there’ll be more stories like this to come from this very promising debut author.

If you’re looking for the usual Christmas fluff, however, then this story probably won’t make you happy.

Cover Artist: Adrian Nicholas. Love this cover, just perfection. It’s just right for the character and story.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book details:

ebook, 56 pages

Published December 1st 2018 by Dreamspinner Press

A Free Dreamer Review: Adder and Willow (The Rowan Harbor Cycle #6) by Sam Burns

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Fletcher Lane has a problem. His boyfriend’s parents are coming for a visit, and they want to meet up. He’s ready to commit, so what happens if his prospective in-laws don’t like him? And how is he supposed to keep Rowan Harbor’s unique nature a secret when he might be the worst liar ever born?

To make matters worse, when he finds and helps two strangers stuck on the road, it leads him to a new threat: the man who’s been terrorizing the town has set events into motion that endanger more than just Rowan Harbor. Can Fletcher and his friends stop him before there’s nothing but a smoking crater where the Oregon coastline used to be?

In case you’re wondering, no, “Adder and Willow” is not a standalone. You have to start with book one to fully understand and enjoy all the other books in the series.

So far, Sean and Jesse were my favourite couple of the series. But after this book, Fletcher and Conner are definitely giving them a run for their money. They’re so wonderful together and I really love their dynamic. And Fletecher’s fox form is so adorable.

Their first book ended with them just starting to date and “Adder and Willow” starts with them as an established couple of a few months. I can see how some people might be disappointed by that but personally, I really like established couples. And there’s still a lot of serious relationship building happening. Meeting the parents is always an important turning point and there were also a few other things happening with serious impact on their relationship.

We get a lot of Fantasy action this time around and I absolutely loved it. I was so hooked, I just couldn’t put the book down and finished it in two sittings. It would have been one, if I hadn’t started reading so late at night. And we get to see more of Oak, so yay! I won’t go into any more details to avoid spoilers. Just know that you’re in for one hell of a ride this time around.

There’s quite a bit of character development happening as well. Fletcher has some serious growing and changing to do and by the end, he’s well on the way to overcoming his troubles. Conner is such a wonderful boyfriend and together, they’re absolutely perfect.

Honestly, “Adder and Willow” is easily my favourite book of the entire series so far. It felt like a whole new level of worldbuilding happened and we get a pretty detailed look into how magic works in this universe. I like how this series doesn’t just focus on the couples but also keeps showing us glimpses into the lives of the other residents.

So, yeah, this was awesome. If you liked the fantasy elements in the previous books, you’ll love “Adder and Willow”.

The cover by Melanie Farlow is pretty awful. It looks horribly fake and just really doesn’t fit the awesome story at all. I don’t think there are any mountains around Rowan Harbor to actually go hiking in, like the cover seems to imply.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book details:

Kindle Edition,155 pages

Published October 11th 2018

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

 

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 Free Dreamer Review: Bones and Bourbon by Dorian Graves

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Half-huldra Retz Gallows is having an awful day. First, he wakes up in the middle of driving to who-knows-where with an angry unicorn head in his passenger seat. This is almost normal, thanks to a lifetime of sharing a body with Nalem, a bone-controlling spirit with a penchant for wicked schemes and body-stealing joyrides. It’s probably a bad idea to ask what else could go wrong.

Jarrod Gallows left home with plans to rescue his little brother from possession. Instead, he got saddled with a dead-end job as a paranormal investigator, a Faerie curse, and a daredevil boyfriend who might be from another world. At least he’s got a new job—except why is his brother Retz here and why does this sudden reunion feel more like a bane than a blessing?

This day’s going to get worse for the Gallows brothers before it gets better. To survive, they’ll have to escape the forces controlling them, as well as the wrath of carnivorous unicorns, otherworldly realms, and even their own parents. Only time will tell if they’ll make it out alive…or sober.

I’ll be honest, “Bones and Bourbon” had me sold after the first paragraph of the blurb. That sounded so weird and crazy, I knew I just had to read it. And the book definitely delivered.

First of all, this is not a romance. Jarrod is in a relationship with a very interesting young man with a penchant for crazy ideas but that’s really not the focus of the plot at all. Rather, “Bones and Bourbon” is a wild Urban Fantasy with a protagonist who happens to be in a relationship.

The world building was excellent. I have a thing for myths and fairy tales of any kind. I’ve never heard of huldra (and some of the other creatures) before but there are actual myths about them. It was so fascinating. The author does a great job of describing their individual oddities. I’ve never met a character who’s literally only skin and bones. No blood, no internal organs, no nothing. And Jarrod has a cow tail, which is all kinds of weird and awesome at the same time. There were so many different creatures from all sorts of different cultures and I’ve heard about maybe half of them. Dorian Graves definitely deserves extra credit for creativity and uniqueness.

Nalem is probably one of the most interesting people I’ve met in a book in a very long time. His abilities are intriguing and also pretty creepy. We really don’t know anything about him and that makes him all the more fascinating.

All four of our protagonists are actually really interesting. And likable, with the exception of Nalem. Though even he has his moments. Oh, and they take “daddy issues” to a whole new level.

I’m Austrian, born and raised, so it added another layer of awesomeness that our protagonists were named after Austrian places. Retz is a tiny village I’ve never heard of before, even though it’s actually not that for from where I live. I’m always thrilled when authors remember little Austria exists.

The whole story was an incredibly wild ride of insanity and blood and violence. Definitely not for the faint of heart. Or unicorn fans. Because they’re actually vengeful bastards and extremely hard to kill. Which is all kinds of awesome, if you ask me. I think I’ve found my inner unicorn thanks to this book! And the best thing about this? This is only the first part in what promises to be a truly amazing series!

If you’re on the hunt for something a very different fantasy novel, and don’t mind dark and twisted stories that can get pretty gory and a little gross, then this is the book for you.  “Blood and Bones” will very likely make it under the top five books of 2018 for me. I’m not easily impressed, but this book did it. I can’t believe it only has less than 300 pages.

I’m not sure if I like the cover by Natasha Snow. It’s a bit generic, tbh.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 268 pages
Published April 23rd 2018 by NineStar Press
ISBN139781948608527
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Free Dreamer Review: Salt Magic, Skin Magic by Lee Welch

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Lord Thornby has been trapped on his father’s isolated Yorkshire estate for a year. There are no bars or chains; he simply can’t leave. His sanity is starting to fray. When industrial magician John Blake arrives to investigate a case of witchcraft, he finds the peculiar, arrogant Thornby as alarming as he is attractive. John soon finds himself caught up in a dark fairytale, where all the rules of magic—and love—are changed.

To set Thornby free, both men must face life-changing truths—and John must accept that the brave, witty man who’s winning his heart may also be about to break it. Can they escape a web of magic that’s as perilous as love?

While I’m not big on normal historical fiction, I absolutely love historical fantasy and Salt Magic, Skin Magic had me sold at “dark fairytale”. I had high expectations and was not disappointed.

The setting as such is quite unique. I’ve read lots and lots of fantasy of all sorts, but never before have I come across a combination of all the elements Lee Welch came up with. I loved how magic was such a normal part of life and yet still remained somewhat mysterious. There was just the right amount of world-building and I really enjoyed the whole set-up.

Both Thornby and Blake were immediately likable. They come from very different backgrounds and it was very interesting to watch them overcome those differences. There’s a huge gulf between nobility and working class, even if Blake has some rather important friends.

I liked the minor characters as well. Thornby’s aunt seemed like a fascinating woman and I’d have loved to find out more about her.

The attraction between Thornby and Blake has a delightful air of forbidden romance. Lots of sneaking about and avoiding discovery had me constantly on my toes. It gave the love story a certain amount of suspense that I liked very much. The romance unfolds slowly and is anything but rushed. I loved how these two gentlemen get all rough and dirty with each other.

The ending was completely unexpected. Of course I had my theories as to why Thornby couldn’t leave his father’s grounds, but I certainly did not expect that. There were no easy solutions to be had and I was quite satisfied with what the author came up with.

Long story short, “Salt Magic, Skin Magic” is brilliant. It’s highly unique and extremely well written. If you’re a fan of unusual fantasy with gentlemanly lovers, I’m sure you’ll love this book.

I really, really hope Lee Welch will write more fantasy. She clearly has a talent for it. It’s so hard to find really well written fantasy with a well written love story, where neither takes away from the other.

The cover is quite the eye catcher and really fits the story.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book details:

ebook, 241 pages
Published August 9th 2018 by Lee Welch
ISBN139780473444518
Edition Language English

A Free Dreamer Review: Armistice (The Amberlough Dossier #2) by Lara Elena Donnelly

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Armistice returns to Donnelly’s ravishing 1930s Art Deco-tinged fantasy world of Amberlough with a decadent, tumultuous mixture of sex, politics, and spies.

In a tropical country where shadowy political affairs lurk behind-the-scenes of its glamorous film industry, three people maneuver inside a high stakes game of statecraft and espionage:

Lillian, a reluctant diplomat serving a fascist nation,

Aristide, an expatriate film director running from lost love and a criminal past,

and Cordelia, a former cabaret stripper turned legendary revolutionary.

Each one harbors dangerous knowledge that can upturn a nation. When their fates collide, machinations are put into play, unexpected alliances are built, and long-held secrets are exposed. All is barreling towards an international revolt…and only the wiliest ones will be prepared for what comes next.

First things first: “Armistice” is NOT a stand-alone story. At all. If you haven’t read the first book yet, don’t read this review, as it contains spoilers for book 1.

While “Amberlough” was set in a world similar to Europe, “Armistice” is largely set in a world that’s similar to India. With significant differences, however. The society is mostly matriarchal. Not extremely so, but women are definitely the ones with more power. I always find that an interesting concept and love to explore matriarchal worlds. And once again, the author did not disappoint. The setting was extremely well developed, with lots of little details that made the atmosphere all the more real. As soon as I read the first sentence, I immediately fell into the setting and found it extremely hard to resurface.

The feel of this book is very different from the previous one. It’s still intense, but there’s less action and drama. That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy this book any less than the first one, it’s just different, quieter somehow. Which is a weird thing to say about a story that features Cordelia Lehane… I loved getting to know her better. Lillian, Cyril’s sister, also made for a very interesting MC. We do get a bit more of Ari, but really, this book is all about the women.

Just like “Amberlough”, we get yet another cliffhanger ending. Endings are hard for me. It’s so easy to ruin an otherwise good book with a crappy ending. And usually I despise cliffhangers, especially if it’s not the first part of a series. But Lara Elena Donnelly writes perfect endings and I actually like her cliffhangers.

Honestly, there’s so much more to say about “Armistice” but somehow I lack the words to express just how awesome this series is. Like, seriously, these two books are among the best I’ve read in a very, very long time and I have a feeling the author might become one of my favourites. Read it. It’s so, so, so worth it. And I might just die from sheer anticipation till part 3 FINALLY gets released.

The cover is gorgeous and matches the first part perfectly. I might just buy book three as a paperback because I finally want one of these amazing covers in my physical bookshelf.

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book details: ebook, 384 pages

Published May 15th 2018 by Tor Books

The Amberlough Dossier Series:

Amberlough

Armistice

Amnesty coming in 2019