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

Series Recap Tour for K.A. Merikan’s Guns n’ Boys Series (excerpt and giveaway)

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Series Recap Tour & Giveaway

Guns n’ Boys Series 

K.A. Merikan 

 

Author: KA Merikan
Series Links
 
Guns n’ Boys: He is Poison (Book #1) Amazon US  Amazon UK
Guns n’ Boys: He is Mine (Book #2) Amazon US  Amazon UK
Guns n’ Boys: Paris (Book #2.1) Amazon US  Amazon UK 
Guns n’ Boys: Homicidal Instinct (Book #3) Amazon US  Amazon UK 
Guns n’ Boys: Swamp Blood (Book #4) Amazon US  Amazon UK 
Guns n’ Boys: Chokehold (Book #5) Amazon US Amazon UK 


Blurb
 

‘Guns n’ Boys’ is a twisted, dark erotic romance mixed with a crime thriller. It’s a long, turbulent journey of one couple deeply entrenched in the dealings of their mafia family. Behind the morbid humor and extreme violence hides the intense love affair of Domenico Acerbi, the mafia’s best hitman, and Seth Villani, the Don’s son.

Together, they have to deal with their blooming affection for each other, their familyís homophobia, their own prejudice, lust, jealousy, and violence. In true anti-hero fashion, they do so in most morally ambiguous ways. 


Author Bio


K. A. Merikan is the pen name for Kat and Agnes Merikan, a team of writers, who are taken for sisters with surprising regularity. Kat’s the mean sergeant and survival specialist of the duo, never hesitating to kick Agnes’s ass when she’s slacking off. Her memory works like an easy-access catalogue, which allows her to keep up with both book details and social media. Also works as the emergency GPS. Agnes is the Merikan nitpicker, usually found busy with formatting and research. Her attention tends to be scattered, and despite pushing thirty, she needs to apply makeup to buy alcohol. Self-proclaimed queen of the roads.


They love the weird and wonderful, stepping out of the box, and bending stereotypes both in life and books. When you pick up a Merikan book, there’s one thing you can be sure of ñ it will be full of surprises.


Website: http://kamerikan.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KA_Merikan
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KAMerikan/
Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/KAMerikan/

Giveaway

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A MelanieM Review: A Taste for Poison (Memory of Scorpions #3) by Aleksandr Voinov

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Even a king gets stung when he reaches for a scorpion.

ATasteForPoison_200x300Once the leader of the band of mercenaries known as the Scorpions, Adrastes is now King and a changed man.  Ruler of two countries, along with his sister/wife, King Adrastes has just survived an assassination, just barely.  In poor health and still recovering, Adrastes trusts no one and is determined to find the assassin and make the individual pay.  Wary of everyone now, including allies and friends, King Adrastes prepares his kingdom for war against the only kingdom and ruler outside his control, the Elder of Vededrin.  But not everyone supports Adrastes, including the man who loved and rescued him, Kendras.

Kendras, former lover to Adrastes and leader of the Scorpions, no longer blindly supports his king.  He’s watched Adrastes change and the orders from the King are making him uneasy and reluctant to obey.  And to go to war with Adrastes against Vededrin just might mean the end of the Scorpions for all time.  And replacing Adrastes in Kendras’ bed and heart is Graukar, newly appointed general to the king, an event the King is not happy with.  Kendras must figure out how to balance responsibilities and loyalties in a world gone increasingly complex and grey.  And quickly before someone he loves is injured.

As Kendras tries to work through his thoughts and feelings, a new threat arises to King Adrastes rule.  An anonymous outrider wearing a mask calling himself Death foments rebellion in the mountains, aided by a prophecy that promises he’ll stop the Black King.   Ordered to find and kill the man called Death, Kendras leaves feeling unsettled, uncertain and sure of only one thing…his love for Graukar.

From the moment I read the first book in this series, Scorpion (Memory of Scorpions #1), I knew that Kendras and the Scorpions would lead me on a remarkable journey.    It’s been a brutal, raw, and violent saga and one of the best in its genre.  The life of a mercenary is a hard and savage one, unsparring in the injuries and deaths that come as part of the profession.  Only the loyalty to each other and the tight rules and rich history of the Scorpions, make this band of soldiers a family.  Voinov’s saga begins with Kendras, his entrance into the Scorpions, his scant memories of his childhood, and the heartbreak and pain of finding and then losing Adrastes, not to another lover, but to the kingship itself.  Told from Kendras’ point of view, the character grows from a soldier with a single minded focus and goal to one floundering amongst the political seas at court.   It’s a mesmerizing and arduous scramble as Kendras rises up the social scale, pulled along by Adrastes, whether he wants to go or not.  Kendras must grow as a character and Voinov delivers that mental and emotional growth in spurts that come with despair along with great joy.

A Taste of Poison (Memory of Scorpions #3)  finds Adrastes suffering the effects of an assassination attempt, one that profoundly changes the King’s outlook on those around him and accelerates his goal of expanding his rule to all three kingdoms.  The man who rules is not the man Kendras followed and loved.  That dichotomy is cause for depression, and uncertainty, along troubling thoughts of disloyalty  is adding to unrest among the Scorpions and Kendras.  Voinov has made Kendras a man of honor and depth and to see and feel him floundering and pulled by this faction and that both enriches this story and ups the suspense for the welfare of all involved.

Everything is heightened here in A Taste of Poison.  Goals, loyalties, love, trust…the bar is now so high and the repercussions of any deviation or conflict are swift, exacting, and devastating.  Voinov reveals more of Kendras’ past, unknown even to Kendras  Also revealed are hidden alliances, and schemes to depose one ruler or another.  There are no black and white sides, only grey as Kendras has been slow to learn.  And with every startling exposition and shattering event, we are pulled deeper into the lives of all the Scorpions and their leader, Kendras.

Voinov has delivered a saga rich in character development, alive with action and battle sequences, and complete with the horrors that love and jealousy can and does inflict on all involved.  Aleksandr Voinov has said that the quote from Leo Tolstoy: “The best stories don’t come from “good vs. bad” but “good vs. good.” helped shape not only the characters of  Adrastes and Kendras but the stories themselves.  Only a tilt of the prism or a slight change of perspective will make either character “good” or “evil”.  Is it evil for Adrastes to want to solidify the 3 warring kingdoms into one for the betterment of all?  At what price is that not acceptable?  Is Kendras’s feelings and actions betrayal or loyalty?  Whose goals are the ones that should be honored by personal sacrifice and love?  That Voinov is able to bring all facets to life in each of these strong personalities is not only a marvelous achievement but makes this a series worth reading and remembering.

The Memory of Scorpions series is astonishingly inventive, beautifully crafted and fiercely passionate. From the bloody sands of battle to the lethal layers and complex rituals of court, Alexandr Voinov brings his world and characters to life word by word, page by page using vivid imagery and an attention to detail that leaves no construct of person or kingdom feeling shallow or undone.  Just masterful.

I don’t know if this is the end of the Scorpions.  Voinov is silent about future stories.  I hope not.  There is so much here I still need to know.  The Black King still lives…if the prophecy is correct, who will bring him down?  What is ahead and possible for Kendras and the Scorpions?  This amazing story and series begs the questions.  Hopefully Aleksandr Voinov will answer.  Meanwhile, pick up this wondrous series and get acquainted with some of the most powerful and engaging characters around.  One of Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words “must reads” and highly recommended stories of 2014.

Cover art by Reese Dante.  Love that cover, powerful and perfect image that speaks to the story within.

Sales Links:   Riptide Publishing    All Romance eBooks (ARe)     Amazon      A Taste of Poison

Book Details:

alternative world, gritty fantasy, warrior mercenaries

ebook, 265 pages
Expected publication: October 13th 2014 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN139781626491557
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/a-taste-for-poison
seriesMemory of Scorpions #3

Books in the Memory of Scorpions series in the order they were written and should be read:

Scorpion (Memory of Scorpions, #1)
Lying with Scorpions (Memory of Scorpions, #2)
A Taste for Poison (Memory of Scorpions, #3)

Scorpion coverLying with Scorpions coverATasteForPoison_200x300