A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Master Of Obsidian (Master Chronicles #1) by Jamie Craig — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5 This is a dark erotic romance, with urban fantasy elements, set in Chicago. Jesse is a human who works for a vampire named Gideon doing private investigations. They’ve been hired to solve a murder that may tie to a dangerous new demon drug. This shows alternating points of view, […]

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Master Of Obsidian (Master Chronicles #1) by Jamie Craig — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Dead Man Stalking (Blood and Bone #1) by T.A. Moore — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5 This story features Agent Luke Bennett, aka Took, a member of the BITERs unit of the Anakim (vampire) police known as VINE. The reader is thrown into the action two years after Luke was Taken and turned. He’s been in therapy and is acting as a P.I. His case […]

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Dead Man Stalking (Blood and Bone #1) by T.A. Moore — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Wounded Soul by Annabelle Jacobs — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Rating: 4 stars out of 5 Ian has feelings for his best friend Blake, who doesn’t reciprocate. In a moment of impulsiveness, he takes home a stranger named Jesse. But Jesse isn’t who he seems to be and suddenly Ian and Jesse are thrown into circumstances that will change their lives. While the general population […]

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Wounded Soul by Annabelle Jacobs — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Review: Pendulum by Joel Abernathy, Kingdom of Night 1

Pendulum Cover
I would rate this 4.25 stars.

This is a trilogy and the first two books end with cliffhangers, so you have been warned. If you follow my reviews, you know I hate cliffhangers, but there is a definate story arc and these have already been written since this is a rerelease under a new pen name, so I decided to take the plunge. This series has dark themes and explicit content so pay attention to the trigger warnings and tags. (As an aside, there is nothing hardcore in this book in terms of BDSM, but I have used the author’s tags which may be for the whole trilogy.)

Remus is looking to start over in Washington after having left Texas, to get away from his rich controlling ex-boyfriend. He meets Arthur, who is a member of a high class BDSM club run by the Wolf Pack. There is a contest to be Alpha’s Pet that Remus enters without meaning to and quickly gets in over his head. The whole situation is odd and gets more odd by the minute. It’s also a lot of fun as both Remus and I tried to figure out what is happening. Remus meets the twins Sebastion and Victor, sparking angst and jealousy in Victor as Sebsatian has marked them as mates without telling Remus or giving him a choice.

Although Victor seems creepy at first, in many ways he would be a better match for Remus. The love between Sebastian and Remus is too soon and unbelievable. The sex scenes between them are lacking something. The author does a good job of seesawing between the three of them in a love trangle, but it would have been a great job with more time devoted to figuring out why Sebastian and Remus fall in love in the first place. Having more depth here would have really given an emotional oomph to what happens later in the story. The author is great at building the tension like a horror novel. Also the sexual tension between Victor and Remus is well done in places, but could have been better developed with more scenes. Here, the short looming deadline could be seen as working against the story, but a few more scenes with Victor as Master would have gone a long way. This may be a personal preference as some readers may like the fast pacing, which does add urgency. By the time the extent of Remus’s past is revealed, there is yet another impediment to them being together.

This brings us to the vampires. The origin myth for the wolves and vampires is completely awesome. It also helps develop the mythos of both cultures which we’ll see more of moving forward. I feel like there is a little hypocrisy about the way the wolves view the vampires in terms of death and violence although the wolves do seem…saner, mostly. The last part of the book is OTT (Over The Top). It is both horrifying and fun. No one is left untouched and the readers’ perception of each charcter will completely change by the end. I think I know what will happen–there is plenty of foreshadowing. For me to be happy about Remus ending up with Sebastian in any fashion, there will have to be some major character development. Having said that Remus has some problems of his own to fix. I had wondered why the author spent so much time on Remus’s professor and roommate, only to seemingly drop that portion of the story, but they popped up later when I least expected it and will definitely be more involved in the next books. My last little thing is that I didn’t actually like the switch in POV in the Epilogue, even though I acknowledge that it helps set up a dilemma for the next book. Without giving away too much, there is a good reason that Remus’s POV may not be desirable at this point in the story arc. It’s a good thing I only have to wait a few weeks to see what happens.

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Review: Not Yet Dead by Jenn Burke

Not Dead Yet cover
Book covers at Carina Press are done in house.

I would rate this 4.25 stars.

An immortal, Wes Cooper is technically dead, but able to travel between this world and the otherplane. Lexi Aster is his best friend and a witch; it was her great grandmother’s spell to resurrect Wes after he was killed. He’s not a ghost since he has a living body, but he can make himself disappear, so that resurrection went a bit wonky. When he witnesses a murder, he is frozen and doesn’t act in time. His guilt motivates him to try and help with the investigation. Except for the first time, the killer actually sees Wes while he’s invisible. Now his ex from 33 years ago, Detective Hudson Rojas, gets assigned the case and Wes’ life gets complicated.

The author takes a huge risk giving the POV to an amoral character who is not terribly mature and so self-absorbed that he has spent no time getting to know or understand the magic that allows him his life. Over the course of the book, it becomes obvious that Wes isn’t a bad guy, that he cares for his friends. Knowing the time period and how he dies explains why he is the way he is, but he is so much more as he starts to care more for others and things outside of himself. Hudson has his own growth that needs to happen for them to get their second chance. As with most of the books I have been reading lately, most of their issues come down to lack of communication, but timing in life is everything. In the end, these guys are sweet together. Wes reads as demisexual, although that word isn’t used. The final love scene was hot and funny at the same time–quite an accomplishment and it helps to make the whole thing real.

The lovers reunited element works well in the story. Lexi and Evan (to avoid spoilers, I’ll say he’s Hudson’s friend) are fleshed out enough to care about what happens to them, but I did want a little more. The mystery and the murders are interesting with enough action to keep the suspense going. If witches, vampires, secret societies and ancient artifacts sound exciting, this is the book for you. I’d be happy to read more in this world.

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Review: An Erie Collection by V.L. Locey

An Erie Collection jpg
Cover by Meredith Russell

I would rate this 4 stars.

This is a m/m paranormal romance collection of short stories with a lot of humor, sexy times, and some violence. The urban fantasy stories are set by Lake Erie, in case you wondered. The stories are told from our plucky hero Templeton’s point of view. Although these stories are a lot of fun, in the way of science fiction, this has some rather pointed points to make about society with serious social commentary woven through each story. So, each story has its own plot–usually murders–and an overarching plot about politics in the magical community. There are graphic sex scenes in each book between the fun and violence. I really enjoyed these tales; you just kind of have to roll with each new thing that gets thrown in and laugh. Each story is written in a different season until we come full circle over a year later.
An Erie Halloween
This is an interesting take on wolf shifters as well as adding a nontraditional shifter character, which is fun. It’s not all fun and games because shifters are being murdered. Mikal and Templeton get thrown together as someone tries to kill Templeton. It’s a good thing things go bump in the night to hide paranormal activity at this time of year. Sexy times, political intrigue, and an attempted coup later, the story has a sweet ending.
An Erie Operetta
This continues our adventures with the werewolf Mikal, and his lover Templeton. The rogues are rising and shifter civil war threatens if the strong and those in power don’t start to make concessions to modernity. Of course, they have to go to the opera because that is what one does when bored in winter weather. It’s fun to see more magical beings. Did I mention this is a murder mystery? After the crime is solved, they continue building their dream to have a safe haven for LGBT shifters as the vampire Vincente, and his human partner Akio come to live at the manor.
An Erie Garden Party
It’s finally Spring and hibernation is over. Mikal’s cousin Haval comes for a visit and all of the sudden, there are dead bodies. With the full moon making Mikal much more aggressive than usual–the sex is rougher in this one. As the Council investigates the deaths, will Mikal and Templeton get found out? Cross species dating and being gay are forbidden after all. Then there is Haval’s secret. Of course what one does when there have been humans murdered on the property is take one for a walk along the lake, at night. An old friend from the Halloween book shows up to wrap up lose ends so they can finally have their garden party with Rugby, the majordomo, in fine form for the comic relief.
An Erie Uprising
The ongoing shenanigans come full circle back from Halloween to Christmas in this tale. The pack has been away at a werewolf gathering of the east coast packs. The bear shifter Margaret now lives at the manor with Haval. The rebellion that has been brewing is here as species choose sides: to maintain the status quo, or fight for a more equal society with equality. The author lured us in with all the fun and sex, but this is a much more serious book and was fully foreshadowed, so not a surprise. Don’t worry, a happy ending is had by all who don’t get killed.

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A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Italian Weddings and Funerals (Italian Stallions #1) by A.J. Llewellyn — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5 Luca Dell’Oro is the owner of an event planning business in California. He takes a job in Italy to cater a funeral for an Italian opera singer. The client is a grieving widower, the man Luca loved in sixteenth-century Italy. Luca is a vampire, but how is Francesco still […]

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Italian Weddings and Funerals (Italian Stallions #1) by A.J. Llewellyn — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Review: Bitter Blood By Lyn Gala

Bitter Blood Cover
Cover by Lyn Gala with stock art by Dreamstime.

I kept having a deja vu feeling whilst reading this and when I checked, I had actually read an earlier version under a different title. This has been revised and re-edited. Lyn Gala is know for her M/M writing so this is a rare M/F for me.

The book has a logical, strong, no nonsense heroine. When Paige’s rookie partner shows up on her doorstep, bleeding and confused, having been kipnapped, she’s not sure what to do. Brady has no pulse, so calling their colleagues doesn’t sound like a good plan with dissection and rubber rooms in their respective foreseeable future. Before Brady was kidnapped, tortured, and killed, they had been working on a case to find victims of a serial rapist and killer who was targeting illegal immigrants. Suddenly, this small, quiet town is filled with vampires, demons, and hunters. Brady is not quite Brady anymore and Paige doesn’t know who to trust. When she runs into an ex-military hunter named Jim, she learns a little about vampires/demons, but Jim has his own agenda. He also drives a blue sedan, just like the one seen at several of the rape/murders and outside Brady’s apartment the night he got kidnapped.

In the end, Paige doesn’t trust what all the various men are telling her, she trusts herself. She trusts her own interactions with people and her own judgement about them. As the trauma of the events and the emotion spills over, Paige is more emotionally vulnerable and susceptible to Brady’s seduction. I love the horror elements in this and it wins hands down for the creepiest post-coital scene ever. I am also completely freaked out that the sex scenes are hot…with a possibly dead guy (Buffy and Angel aside). Also, the way to distract the demons is hilarious. There is actually a lot of action, described well. The author creates great tension in many scenes. I like that we struggle to figure everything out as they do. There are layers to their communities, not just the demons, but the demon hunters. There are different types of demons and vampires mentioned (pijavica, vrykolakas, jiangshi, blajiji, strigoi, vârcolac) so feel free to fall down the internet rabbit hole. Actually, one little criticism is these words seem used interchangeably sometimes and they shouldn’t be. Brady is quite clear he is a demon.

The plot twists near the end are great. I didn’t see them coming, yet I didn’t feel sideswiped or tricked. They seemed like natural progressions to the book and the only way out of the situations that had no other good way to end. I would have liked a little more information in the end about the demon Gavril, and where this might go. It did seem a strangely abrupt ending, but I would have no hesitation recommending this for a fun cross genre read.

I would rate this 4 stars.

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