A Stella Review: Neon White E4 (A Tooth Claw and Horns Chronicle #4) by Wulf Francu Godgluck

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RATING  5 out of 5 stars             ★★★★★

Neon White Episode 4Is the path to vengeance truly worth the secrets it will reveal? Everyone is seeking answers and, more importantly, retribution for those responsible.

Raven’s life is dangling between fine lines. Being forced to face his own demon, one he never knew existed, is proving more deadly than anyone could have predicted.

Jessy works against the clock to keep Raven’s condition hidden from the Caption, but when an acquaintance pays the precinct a visit, she finds time has run out. It’s a man both she and Landon had hoped never to lay eyes on again.

Meanwhile, Bla’Gar seeks out an old friend in hopes of gaining answers to help Raven, wondering if  she might leave a very nasty bite of her own instead.

And Niko reflects on his past, that has brought him to the present; one he could never have foreseen.

Some truths are better left unsaid; others…might be too painful to face.

Some warnings before I give you my thoughts on Neon White Episode 4 by Wulf Francu Godgluck.

First of all, if you haven’t read the series or even the last episode, and you are planning to do it, don’t read this review, it will spoil your reading.

Please be aware the A Tooth Claw and Horns Chronicles series is not for everyone. As I had already said in the reviews of the previous episodes, it’s very dark, violent, hard to understand and complicated. If you are not comfortable with these triggers, don’t buy it. BUT the first book is still free, so if you want,  you can give the series a chance and not make your wallet cry.

This 4th episode seemed to me more complex and full than the previous ones. There is a lot going on, not just in the MCs couple but in the secondary characters too.

Detective Raven is been bitten at the end of episode 3, he has no sire, he is not a human anymore, but a vampire, not a normal one because he burns in the moonlight and not sunlight. Bla’Gar has no idea how to help Raven, he tried everything he knew but nothing worked. He should have killed Raven since his first drink of demon blood, but he couldn’t. He needs to save his Raven before he loses him to the darker nature that will just kill him.

Raven’s point of view broke my heart, I could read his thoughts and see him suffering through a deep agony. He can’t fight it, he’s struggling through two parts of himself, where the Strigoi virus is feeding the darker part. The dualism in Raven is hard to witness till the the ending, unexpected.

This is not only Raven and Bla’Gar’s story, here you can find out how Nick and Bruce met, and  let me tell you, in so much darkness, their scenes were so welcome. Plus there’s still the mystery of the disappearance of Seth, the alpha of Bla’Gar’s Lycan clan, to solve (we get just a glimpse of him and I can’t wait to know more). Then we know a little more of what it is going on into Jessy’s life too.

Just a note on the writing, there are multiple PoVs, a lot, and I’m not a fan of them, but in this case they aren’t  a negative choice because they worked perfectly and were necessary for a plot like this.

The next episode will be the season finale, I can’t wait for it to come out and I really hope the evil author will give a HEA to these troubled characters.

The COVER ART by Wulf Francu Godgluck follows the style of the whole series and it’s well done and different from the usual.

Sales Links:  ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 78 pages
Published March 19th 2016 by Wulf Francu Godgluck
ASIN B01D04CNIO
Edition Language English

A Tooth Claw and Horns Chronicle series (with links to Stella’s reviews)

A MelanieM Review: The Intersection of Purgatory and Paradise (Least Likely Partnership, #3) by A.J. Thomas

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

The Interseciton of Purgatory and Paradise coverA year has passed since ex San Diego homicide detective Christopher Hayes’s brother committed suicide. Christopher is still recovering from the injuries he sustained when attacked by the main suspect during the investigation.  The closing of the case saw more changes in Christopher’s life as he moved in with his lover, Montana police officer Doug Heavy Runner.  But instead of the wonderful life Christopher thought he would be living, instead he finds himself deeply depressed by his isolated new location, surrounded by a small town’s  blatant racism and homophobia. No one will hire him, he has made the seething racism his lover Doug Heavy Runner faces at work worse by adding homophobia to the mix, and his most recent jog through town ends when two gay-bashing teenagers hit him in the head with a rock.

Deputy Sheriff Doug Heavy Runner has never overcome the abusive relationship that traumatized and shattered him as a young cop. The memories, the lingering shame, and the fear he has never acknowledged have left him resigned to endure the discrimination he faces in Elkin. But he can’t stand it when Christopher becomes a target for that same hatred even as he is blind to the other issues Christopher faces in town.

A vacation in San Diego is cut short when the mutilated body of one of the boys who assaulted Christopher is found in Doug’s garage. Christopher and Doug return to Montana to find they must uncover a tangle of secrets, lies, and tragedy lurking beneath Elkin’s small-town façade. With their relationship at a crossroads, they’ll have to work together to catch the killer and maybe find a paradise of their own.

The Intersection of Purgatory and Paradise by A. J. Thomas returns the reader back to the hidebound small town in Montana, and the lingering aftermath of the original case that brought Christopher Hayes, Doug Heavy Runner, Elliot Belkamp and Ray Delgado together in a series of related, horrific cases.  The story opens a year later with Christopher and Doug still dealing with the consequences of that case and their decision to move in together.  And none of it has turned out as either had hoped it would.

Elkin, Montana is that typical small minded town that exists all over America.  Mired in the past and the tight incestuous connections that small town living breeds, Elkin is the last place in the world to welcome a gay couple in their midst, especially one where one partner is a Native American and the other a gay ex SDPD detective.  Add to that unpalatable combination (to the townspeople) the fact that Christopher’s pedophile brother committed suicide there, a horrific case whose aftermath is still causing reverberations throughout the community, and you have a recipe not only for rejection but outright shunning and hatred.  A. J. Thomas brings this putrid little town alive in all its homophobic, racist, closed down ways.  From glares from citizens who cross the street rather than walk near Christopher to the acts of hatred such as thrown rocks when Christopher runs,  its feels nauseatingly believable and authentic in every way.  Yes, there are a few individuals that are bright spots of acceptance and friendship, but they are few indeed.

Living in this town has not helped either Doug or Christopher come to grips with the horror of the case or their past history that’s getting in the way of their relationship.  Doug won’t talk about his trauma from his time in Miami, and Christopher is still using running to race away from his issues with Doug, the town’s treatment of Doug and himself, and the blatant racism and homophobia that no one seems to want to do anything about.  He’s deeply depressed, a condition he knows he’s prone to and it’s getting worse because he can’t get a job, no matter his outstanding credentials because of the town’s prejudice against him.  This is a complicated, angst driven couple in trouble and each is hiding their fears about their situation and relationship from the other.  Is this an explosive situation?  Absolutely!  And Thomas makes us feel every shiver of dread and stomach turning bit of angst as the characters proceed through the story.

Christopher and Doug have fallen from one emotional precipice only to end up on another.  It’s painful, its sometimes hard to read, but the promise and endurance of Doug and Christopher as well as Christopher’s ability to work through to the truth, will keep you glued to this story and the rocky path in front of them both.   You want these two to succeed but the chances of that happening is never clearly set.  Even when they finally acknowledge some of the issues facing them, its clear that love may not be enough to keep them together unless drastic changes occur.  Thomas understands relationship dynamics in the manner in which Doug and Christopher have to work through the past and present problems in order to have a future.

A highlight here is the trip they take to San Diego.  I don’t want to spoil it but it brings Ray Delgado and Elliot Belkamp back into the picture (not that they ever left).  This section was the icing on a cake, the bubbles in the champagne.  And I loved it!

 The Intersection of Purgatory and Paradise (love that title and the way its explained) also contains another series of horrific murders and suicides.  That they come about due to the festering attitudes and influences of small town bigotry will surprise no one.  However, the cases are gripping, the action quick and surprising, and the ending explosive.  I wouldn’t expect anything less from this amazing series and author.

Thankfully, this is not the last of the series.  On the author’s website, Thomas states that an as yet untitled fourth story is in the works.  Be still my heart!  I can’t wait.

Are you new to this series?  Run and pick up the first story, A Casual Weekend Thing, and work your way through books 2 and 3.  All are on my Must Have, Must Read list and will end up on my Best of lists this year.  Love complicated, angst driven men?  Love layers, twists and turns to your romance and stories.  Already a fan of this series?  Then be prepared to love this story. The Intersection of Purgatory and Paradise and the other books in the Least Likely Partnership series (listed below) are written for you.  I highly recommend them all!

Cover artist Brook Albrecht.  I really like this cover, its my favorite of the three so far.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press       All Romance (ARe)      Amazon        Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 204 pages, available also in paperback
Expected publication: March 27th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781632169785
edition languageEnglish
url http://ajthomasromance.blogspot.com/p/the-intersection-of-purgatory-and.html
seriesLeast Likely Partnership #3

 

Books in the Least Likely Partnership Series in the order they were written and should be read to understand the characters, timeline and relationships: