A Stella Review: Neon White Episode 5 by Wulf Francu Godgluck

Standard

Rating:  5 out of 5 stars   ★★★★★

Neon White 5To gain something substantial, you need to sacrifice something of equal worth.”

As Bla’Gar rushes to save his beloved pet, the possibility of a grim future might be waiting for him. Will he be forced to repeat the mistakes of the past…again, or will he be allowed to make another choice… Exchange one eternity for another Hell?

Jessy can’t foresee a world without Raven. In a time when enforcers like him are the very fibers that hold together the future of this new world, she will do everything in her power to help save him. But there will be a cost… There is always a cost.

As Seth struggles within his own personal Hades, the mate he always wanted, but felt he never truly deserves, comes to save him. But the darkness is vacuous and beautiful at the same time, and it might just be the end of all of them… If the Beast doesn’t get what he came for.

Raven is lost to all now, fading out of existence, yet Death may be his only salvation.

Some actions speak louder than words, and some will be immortalized forever. Some wars are never won, they are simply…forgotten.

What if you had one chance? One opportunity to change the past? What would you be willing to sacrifice for it?

I can think of one word for this season finale: unexpected. Of course I should have known better and don’t be surprised, cause the author is one of the few able to make me love stories so dark and full of twist. Stories I would have never enjoyed if he didn’t write characters who are impossible to not like.

As I already said in the reviews of  the A Tooth Claw and Horns Chronicle series, the series is not for everyone, it’s violent and often too hard to take. Plus it needs to be read in order, so if you haven’t done yet, pick the first one, it’s still free.

Back to Neon White Episode 5, I have to admit I divoured this book in a couple of hours and I had to start it again the day after, cause I was so overwhelmed by everything happened, I was a little confused and wanted to give it a second try. And it was better then the first time.

I really don’t feel to talk about the plot cause I don’t want to spoil a series so rich in characters, events and unbelievable endings. And in my opinion the book ended in the perfect way ever because it gave the series a very deserved closure, exactly where everything started, back at the origins with my loved Raven and Chetlér. I was on the edge through all the book and the ending was balm for my soul. At the same time it saddened me, knowing I won’t meet them again but the author left open so many routes to follow in a coming (soon I hope) new season. I can’t wait for more.

I want to highly recommend the whole series, if you’re looking for something different, quick and startling you want to read Neon White Episodes by Wulf Francu Godgluck. To me it was a huge success. Really well done, Wulf!

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, 75 pages
Published April 22nd 2016
ASINB01EG4BE50
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesA Tooth Claw and Horns Chronicle #5

A MelanieM Review: Diamond Draw: Ace of Diamonds #2 (Pulp Friction 2015: Altered States Book 8) by Laura Harner

Standard

Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Diamond Draw coverNico Sanzio da Urbino stays busy with his Odd Squad job investigating paranormal crimes, but he’s still haunted by the idea that the usurper he killed at Jet’s pack meeting was familiar. As an ancient enforcer, it’s always possible the werewolf was a relative of someone from Nico’s past, but if he wants to make sure the local Alpha keeps his head, Nico needs to find the connection before revenge comes calling.

Running background checks as part of the upgraded security measures for his pack, Alpha Jet Gorman discovers not everyone can be accounted for in the usual manner. In fact, several of the young rogue wolves he’s ordered to his pack are from human families…with no history of a bite to account for their wolfy tendencies. No wonder they were runaways. Before he can verify they pose no danger to the other werewolves, he must first discover the secret of their existence. A secret worth killing for.

Despite their differences, there is an undeniable connection between the ancient vampire and the young Alpha that seems to go beyond the blood they’ve exchanged—and keeps them circling around their very obvious mutual attraction. But while one man is looking for a way to move their relationship into the bedroom, the other is searching for a reason to stay true to his past.

I love it when a book veers off into a direction I hadn’t anticipated.  That is what happened with Diamond Draw by Laura Harner, the 2nd story in the 2nd group of stories from this year’s Altered States Pulp Friction 2015 series (yes, I know, what a mouth full).  That it happened at the end of what was already a marvelously sexy and intriguing installment…well, that was the cherry on top of a deliciously satisfying sundae of a narrative.

In each Pulp Friction year, I end up switching back and forth as to who are my favorite couples/trios of the moment.  This year the authors have made it especially difficult because each pairing is so unlike the others.  It feels more like comparing apples or oranges, or in this in series, vampire or succubus, ghost or werewolf, seer or what exactly? So many possibilities and variables. But with this story, Harner’s grief stricken Jet and the ancient, powerful vampire Nico inched ever so slightly ahead in the pairings.  Man, are those two hot together!  Their scene on the dance floor is positively incendiary.  Underneath that sexual heat generated exist two men with complex, pain-filled pasts, convoluted present lives, and the intelligence to question every moment of the strange bond pulling them closer by the minute.  And that’s the hook that has me completely enthralled.  I suspect it has you hooked as well.

Diamond Draw moves the series and overall group plot forward with some new twists and turns, including one that I never expected at the end.  We see bits of what is occurring with the other  couples but it’s the horrific turn of events happening within Jet’s pack that sets the stage for the major drama that unfolds and potentially lethal plot twists ahead. And I can’t reference any of it, because each is a spoiler on its own.

Harner’s characters are beautifully crafted.  They pull you in, let you feel both their pain and their joys.   This is true as much for her secondary characters, such as a brother and sister werewolves found here, as it is for her main characters.  That attention to the well rounded personas, combined with a narrative that never falters in its swift pace makes this one of my highly recommended reads this year.

Start at the beginning and read as each story is released or as one major binge read at the end, its just the order that matters in order to understand the characters and plot development.  No matter your approach, just make sure this story and series are on your TBR list!  Its one you won’t want to miss.

Cover art by Laura Harner.  Love this cover.  At first the covers for PF2015 were a little “light” in tone for me.  But as each new group of stories rolls out, you can see the covers getting darker in tone and  design.  This one really does it for me.

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

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 61 pages
Published May 31st 2015 by Hot Corner Press
ASINB00YM4SU2U
edition languageEnglish

About Pulp Friction 2015

Lee Brazil ~ Havan Fellows ~ Parker Williams ~ Laura Harner

The Pulp Friction 2015 Altered States Collection.
Four authors.
Four Series.
Twenty books.
One supernatural finale.

Spend a year with the creatures that go bump in the night…fighting for their rights to exist and protecting the innocents of The Big Easy. A diverse group of friends trying to find their place in a world they never had to “fit” into before.

Although each series can stand alone, we believe reading the books in the order they are released will increase your enjoyment.
Round One:
Drawing Dead (Jack of Spades: 1) by Lee Brazil
Blind Stud (King of Hearts: 1) by Haven Fellows
The Devil’s Bedpost (Four of Clubs: 1)  by Parker Williams
Diamonds and Dust (Ace of Diamonds: 1) by Laura Harner

Round Two:
Dead Blind (Jack of Spades: 2) by Lee Brazil
Stud Player (King of Hearts: 2) by Haven Fellows
Up the Ante (Four of Clubs: 2 ), Parker Williams
Diamond Draw (Ace of Diamonds: 2) by Laura Harner

 

Review: Battle of Will by Sasha L. Miller

Standard

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Battle of Will coverSkirfallan mage Ackley, newly deposed as one of Prince Taceo’s private guard, is attending the memorial service of those warriors and mages  of both nations killed during the Skirfall/Morcia war when he notices something very wrong.  One of Skirfall’s infamous Interrogators, Daralis Litwick,  is not where he should be, close to their Prince.  Instead the Interrogator mage  is hiding in the woods near the Morcian Royal Prince, Beorn Ealdwin, and his party.  The Royals and their entourages are present for the memorial to honor the dead of both nations and signal the beginnings of the temporary truce.   But Ackley knows Prince Taceo’s hatred of Morcia runs deep after the death of his brother and suspects that the Prince is about to attempt an assassination of the  Morcian Prince during the ceremony.  When the attempt is made by Daralis, Ackley intervenes by trying to block the killing spell.  He succeeds in preventing Prince Ealdwin’s death but the spell goes awry in a manner he never expected.

Now Ackley is not only magically bound to the enemy Prince whose land holds archaic beliefs about the use of magic ,he is also considered a traitor to his country.  With the assassination attempt, the truce is broken, Ackley must travel back with the Prince and royal party back to Morcia, a land that finds magic and its use abhorrent.  Now Ackley must try to break the spell that binds them.  But will success mean his freedom or his death?

The Battle of Will is an imaginative, expansive fantasy story from the mind of Sasha L. Miller.  Miller has created two conflicting nations, battling over everything from territory to their views of magic.  Ackley’s kingdom, Skirfall, has embraced magic in all its uses.  Whether the mage is a battle mage or one that sees to more domestic chores, magic forms the base of the Skirfallan nation. Their long-time enemy is Morcia, a nation that values physical endeavors over the magical ones. In fact Morcia fears the use of magic to the point of outlawing its uses in most instances which has culminated in only a few mages to counteract the battle tactics and mages of its foe.  From such a great foundation, Miller then creates two diametrically opposed characters and binds them together through an act of mercy and a spell gone wrong.  It’s a tantalizing plot and Sasha L. Miller uses it to bring us a whopping great tale of intrigue, misplaced loyalties, treason, magic and of course, romance.

Miller’s descriptions of her universe and warriors are both vivid and intricate in detail.  Her soldiers are rank, caked in blood and mud and her battles and action are as realistic as they come.  And that same rich, graphic narrative  carries over to the mages and the use to which their use their powers, both evil and good.  I love the way the author plays with several levels of her story at the same time, giving it a depth and texture that brings the story and the reader together in an intimate melding of fantasy, suspense, and romance.  On one level we have Ackley and Beorn dealing with not only a binding that ties them together in startling ways but also the fact that they are national enemies with philosophical differences.  It is such a pleasure to watch the men slowly adjust to their situation, learning about each other as their trust and attraction grows.  Beorn and Ackley are great characters, living, breathing warriors who are more similar in outlook than they appear. It’s a joy to watch suspicion and mistrust dissolve into friendship and then something more. Trust me when I say there is no instant love, no fast track to sex and the bedroom here.  For some readers this snail like crawl to the first kiss will be frustrating, but for me and many others when that kiss does occur, it is all the more satisfying for having been made to wait.

And while the men are making their emotional as well as physical adjustments to their state, Ackley and Beorn, as well as other trusted characters, must uncover the person or persons behind the treachery occurring within the Morcian castle as one death after another brings the court closer to shambles and the destruction of a nation.  Miller builds her mystery, with layer upon layer, each so dense that the true traitors are hard to pick out from those just invested in typical court politics.  The anticipation, the suspense is wonderful and the final denouement when it comes is as action packed as you could want.  I loved Miller’s ability to create a dangerous atmosphere everywhere the main characters go, whether to a dusty library full of vile tomes of poison and torture to a dark deserted hallway that should have been full of guards.  She keeps us as well as her characters tense with suspicion and stressed to the max.  There is such an amazing depth to her  plot and characters that all with stay with you long after the story has been finished.

My only quibble with Battle of Will is that I wished there had been a little more of a romantic connection between Ackley and Beorn, not flirting so much as perhaps a little more recognition of the building attraction to each other.  Everything else about this story is colorful, beautifully detailed and rich in layers.  I wish their romance had been equal to the power of the rest.  I highly recommend this story to all lovers of fantasy, magic, and epic battles for power.

Cover Artist Megan Derr.  The cover is the two heraldic flags of each nation, simple but effective.

Book Details:

Approximately 293 pages, 132,000 words

Originally posted as a serialized fiction
Published December 19th 2012 by Less Than Three Press LLC
original titleBattle of Will
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.lessthanthreepress.com/fiction.ph