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Book Review: The Necromancer's Reckoning by S.J. Himes

The Necromancer's Reckoning (The Beacon Hill Sorcerer, #3)The Necromancer's Reckoning by S.J. Himes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Newton's Third Law states: "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction". Lord Acton, the British historian, was the first to say: “All power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

What do these two famous quotes have in common? Angelus Salvatore, sorcerer, teacher, leanan of First Elder Simeon of the Boston Bloodclan, and perhaps the most powerful Necromancer to have ever lived. Add to that, Angel's unquestionable ability to attract trouble of all forms, his smart mouth and his ability to hold a grudge... well some days it just doesn't pay to wake up early.

For as long as he can remember, Angel has been the only necromancer in all the Northeast. He is unarguably one of the most powerful, battle-hardened sorcerers in generations. He and his brother, Isaac, are the last remaining Salvatores in North America, the last two Salvatores standing in the aftermath of the the Blood Wars; and it was Angel's death magic that had ended it. So to say he was powerful and fearsome would be an understatement. And then he went and fell in love with, and became mate to, Simeon, first Elder of Boston's only bloodclan, second only to Constantine Batiste, Master of the city. Ancient and powerful - and an unending ocean of death magic for Angel to access.

And now the High Council of Sorcery has taken notice, and returned to Boston. And they want Angel. The High magister arrives with (not so) trumped up charges of violating practioner laws and using proscribed magics. She is willing to use everything within her power to get her hands on Angel, setting her sights on his apprentice, Daniel, as the weakest chink in Angel's armor. Isaac is fighting his own demons of guilt and addiction and is vulnerable but is protected so long as he stays in the magical rehab facility. Simeon is vowing death to anyone who tries to take Angel from him and Bridgerton is being an ass.

But the bloodclan towers, while sovereign soil and the only place where Daniel isn't vulnerable to the magister's ire, isn't a safe haven for the young apprentice. The events that led him to becoming Angel's apprentice have left him traumatized and not even Constantine, the vampire master can keep the horrors of Daniel's past from reemerging... although a certain wee beastie has a few tricks up his wing to keep the last free Macavoy safe, as well as a few unexpected allies.

And if that isn't enough on Angel and Simeon's plate, there's the matter of a missing ghost, a group of graverobbers, and creatures of unimaginable horror to deal with. Oh, and another necromancer decides to crash to the party. Angel and Simeon have their hands full, fighting for their freedom, future and their very existence in this amazing wrap-up to their story. Everyone has a part, no mystery is left unmentioned, and, best of all, there's another Salvatore waiting in the wings with a story of his own.

This book was so well worth the wait. It was smart, sassy, full of action, adventure and romance. And S.J. Himes threw in a couple life lessons that everyone needs to remember. Be polite, ask for pronouns when you're unsure, treat everyone with respect - unless they've proven they don't deserve it. And never assume a wee beastie is, well, wee!

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Blaze by Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott - Book Review

Blaze (Unbreakable Bonds, #5)Blaze by Jocelynn Drake
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I never knew how much I needed this book until I turned the last page. This was... perfection. This book lifts the veil to the past and lets you really see, know, and understand where Lucas Vallois and Ashton Frost (aka Snow) came from as well as the events that shaped their earliest lives and drove them to be the men they are today. And it wouldn't be a Jocelynn and Rinda book without mystery, attempted murder, high speed chases, and MASSIVE explosions. So yeah, perfection.

The book opens with Lucas Vallois and Andrei Hadeon mere days from walking down the aisle. The love story that started in Shiver has finally reached it's happily ever after. The two men burn hotter and brighter for each other than ever before. But the course of true love never runs smooth, everyone who reads romance novels knows this. And with these particular men... enter Hurricane Taylor. Lucas's niece. A teenaged girl, daughter of Lucas's sister Nicole, independent, smart as hell, and with a penchant for finding the worst sort of trouble - the kind that involves murder. Sound familiar?

Lucas and his lifelong best friend, Snow, had both left Collinsville, Oklahoma, in their past decades ago. But both men were still haunted by their childhood in very different ways. Had it been any other family member than the niece he'd never known about, Lucas would have told them to go bleep themselves and never look back. But his niece was innocent of the events that shaped his and Snow's past and she was in a world of trouble.

So, with just days before the wedding, Lucas and Snow return to the place where their brotherhood started; to confront their demons and save a young woman's life. But will _they_ survive the small town that had made their growing years a living nightmare? Will Snow get Lucas to the church on time? And who told Rowe and Noah what they were up to?

I adore the writing partnership of Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliott. Their style is so perfectly in tune with one another that I can't tell where one left off writing and the other picked up. They flow seamlessly together to create a series that has become one of my go-to's whenever I want the comfort of an old literary friend. I have read their series... a fair few times... from start to finish and this book was the absolutely _the best_ way to close the circle on Lucas and Andrei. It had all the elements of a classic Drake & Elliott story - mystery, murder, HUGE explosions, fast cars, and smoking hot love scenes.

Now ladies... about Snow. Can we talk?

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Book Review - Witchbane by Morgan Brice

WitchbaneWitchbane by Morgan Brice
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Supernatural mystery and murder meet M/M romance!

This was an exciting read from start to finish. The premise of this book could be ripped from the script pages of a long standing TV show about the Supernatural.

This book starts on All Hallows Eve (aka Halloween) with brothers Seth and Jesse about to embark on a bros camping trip to debunk a local 'hellgate' legend that they grew up listening too. Younger brother Jesse is a partial believer while older brother Seth, an ex-military man looking for a little stress relief and to reconnect with his younger brother after his return to civilian life. But sometimes the things that go bump in the night are real and the legend of the local hellgate takes a supernaturally fueled murderous twist that leaves younger brother Jesse dead, his body mutilated, and Seth scarred and changed for life. He has become a believer.

Fast forward two years later and Seth has become a hunter of those things that go bump in the night, has developed a network of teachers, researchers and other hunters doing the same sort of thing, and has pieced together the real reason why his brother was killed. It had been a mistake, he should have been the one dead as the first born male of his family. And there was a pattern to these grisly supernatural murders that affected not just his family but eleven others, now it was just a few days to Halloween and another first born son is about to die. Problem is, he's gone to ground and if Seth can't find him he won't be able to protect him and stop the supernatural cycle of murders, getting justice for his brother at last.

Sonny is a bartender at a popular local Richmond Virginia bar called Tredegar's, or Treddy's as it was known. He's a bit of a loner, a bit of a geek and he's got a past he's on the run from. A stalker ex-boyfriend, a religious family who was anti-gay to the point where they were going to send him to conversion therapy when he ran far and fast, changing names and identities until he landed in Richmond. Was finally safe, or so he thought. And then Seth walks into his bar. Hot, nice, and just his type. Sonny finds himself doing what he _never_ does, taking Seth home the night after meeting him. Their connection was immediate, the sex was smoking hot, and taking Seth home actually saved his life. Because Sonny - Evan - was one of the first born sons and the next victim of the occultists.

Trouble is Evan doesn't believe in all that mumbo jumbo, even when he's shown real magic, comes face to face with ghosts and grims. His past plays into the hands of those hunting him and Seth is made out to be another crazy stalker like the last boyfriend. So Evan bolts right into the hands of those who Seth has been trying to keep him safe from.

Will Seth save him in time?

Read the book and find out!

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Book Review: Romancing the Prince by Felix Books and Andrea Dalling

Romancing the Prince (Poor Little Billionaires #2)Romancing the Prince by Felix Brooks
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An interesting take on boy meets prince!

We start this book meeting Lucas Burson, youngest son of a Texas senator, who thinks he's in love for the first time in his life. Lucas is gay and deep in the closet he chose to live in because he didn't want to hamper his father's political ambitions in conservative Texas. Unfortunately the person Lucas thinks he fell for was an unscrupulous so and so and made a video of them having sex in order to blackmail Lucas's father from running for state senator again.

Skip forward one year, Lucas' father has been appointed ambassador to the small Mediterranean island nation of Kalyphos. Lucas has been pulled from school in order to spend the next two years with his parents in Kalyphos, a fate he considers punishment for his indiscretion. He is blind to the beauty of the island nation until he meets Prince Nicolo of Kalyphos, youngest son of King Felipe, at a reception the palace holds in honor of the new American ambassador. The sparks are instantaneous.

Nico has spent his entire life hiding his own sexuality for fear of bringing down the constitutional monarchy. He's cultivated an image of a playboy prince by being seen with one supermodel after another, never mind that each model had to sign a non disclosure agreement saying they wouldn't talk about their time with Nico - time which was spent as friends only. Meeting Lucas at the reception held for the American's ambassador father strikes a spark in Nico, and the two connect on multiple levels.

Friendship soon become romance, passion turns to love and the two begin a secret affair. But Lucas's sex tape is still out there and Kalyphos doesn't acknowledge same sex unions. The odds are not in their favor, but Lucas and Nico have to decide if their love is worth fighting for despite things being stacked against them.

I enjoyed this book a lot. It was fun, light read, a cinderfella type romance that was equal parts sweet and hot. The plot was a little jumpy and contrived at times and the 'turn for the worse' was rather obvious but other than that it was well written. I'm probably going to look up the other books in this series because it makes for a feel good read.

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Book Review - In the Requiem by Hailey Turner

In the Requiem (Metahuman Files, #5)In the Requiem by Hailey Turner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh MFG!!! This book. THIS BOOK!

Where do I begin? How about with Hailey Turner is an evil genius. This book, the last full book for Alpha Team (that she says, but come onnnn Hailey, we need to see weddings and things like that, plus one got away! - nope, not telling, that would be a spoiler) and she KILLED it! It still baffles me that she's a pretty much a newbie writer, that this series is her first, because she writes like a seasoned pro.

So for those of you who've become a stalkerish fan (like me) you've probably followed the series from the beginning. Alpha team has been pitted for the past two years against a Russian precog , Stanislav Pavluhkin, bent on owning the world through manipulation of the wealthiest families in the world. His ultimate target - the Callahan family which means Captain Jamie Callahan, code name Apollo and team leader of the MDF's premier heavy hitting metahuman team, is directly in his sights, along with the rest of Alpha team. And then there's Declan Wolcott; in a previous story Apollo had stopped Declan's wife, Victoria Wolcott, from detonating a Splice bomb with a bullet. Declan wants revenge for his wife's death. And to make matters even more complicated, a top CIA official has ties to the Pavluhkin crime family and Declan Wolcott and has been waging a secret war to discredit the Callahan presidential campaign. Oh yeah, Jamie's father is running for the Republican party leadership.

Jamie has been torn between duty to country and his military family and his father's ambitions and his father's for Jamie to come out from behind his secret identity of Apollo. In in the Requiem everything comes to a head in a full out urban guerrilla battle for nothing less than the safety of the entire country. At stake? Jamie's very soul. The price? one that may be too steep for him to pay.

This book was a full on scorcher with the hottest sex scenes, the most action packed sequences fraught with tension and a plot that left me a sobbing wreck but what a way to go out. I can't wait to see what Hailey does next. One of my go to authors from now on.

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Book Review - The Hotshot by Myra Scott

The Hotshot (Vegas Heat, #1)The Hotshot by Myra Scott
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Myra Scott is a new to me author. This is the first book of her new series, Vegas Heat, which is a spin off of another series I hadn't read called Sin City Sentries. The book revolves around the characters Luke and Casey. Luke works for the guys from Sin City Sentries as head of marketing for the Sentry Casino, Casey is a small town firefighter from just outside of Vegas. Both are workaholics but Casey's work ethic comes with baggage from his father and an injury on the job that has left him scarred as well as scared to get involved for fear of being judged by his scar.

Put on a mandatory 2 week leave by his fire chief, Casey ends up hooking up with Luke in an extremely hot interlude in the back of an SUV. The little taste Luke has of Casey leaves him intrigued as well as gives Casey a new outlook on life. Luke tracks Casey down through a dating app and the two set about building a relationship even as Luke is working on the marketing deal of his life. There is some intrigue, some drama and a happily ever after to this book.

The author's style is a bit rough around the edges for me and I found myself noticing a few inconsistencies in both dialogue and voice. There were a few minor plot holes that I noticed and I also found the drama plot of the book a little obvious and contrived - but that may be because I love to read thrillers so I've seen a lot of plots. The author's use of characters from previous books was well explained so I wasn't left scratching my head when they were introduced. But the author does bring the heat with some pretty steamy scenes and I enjoyed how the book ended.

Overall I found this book an enjoyable read. It's a definitely worth a read.

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader’s copy.

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Book Review - His to Cherish (Tea and Empathy #2)

His to Cherish (Tea and Empathy, #2)His to Cherish by Jessie Pinkham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I just finished reading the 2nd installment of the Tea and Empathy series.

This was a sweet and gentle book and an easy read. If you enjoy books with little drama or suspense but love sweet relationship building this is the book for you. In this book we meet a character who was only touched on the previous book in this series, Cole's friend Gabe. In the last book we learn Gabe Thorne is from one of the rich and powerful families of Tusnua, the planet on which these books take place. Gabe's sister was in the middle of 'buying' an empath, something which disgusted Gabe to no end. Of course it was presented as a dowry to the empath's family, but she was in essence buying someone.

This book opens with Gabe finding out his sister was dead, killed in a freak accident, and Gabe's father expecting him to deal with the empath. Gabe goes to meet the family and is immediately disgusted by the parents who are more interested in getting the rest of the money than what is in the best interest of their son, Ignacio, a 19 year old empath. Gabe immediately goes into 'hero mode' and agrees to complete the contract and take Ignacio, or Nacio as he likes to be called, as his empath and be his anchor. He pays off Gabe's parents and sends them on their way.

The rest of the story is about Nacio growing into his own, from the idea he was 'compensation' to his mother and step-father, someone who was supposed to bend to the will of his anchor, to an independent but still gentle man who is very much in love with his anchor.

From start to finish this was a sweet, gentle story and I enjoyed it very much.

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Book Review - All Kinds of Tied Down (Marshals #1) by Mary Calmes

All Kinds of Tied Down (Marshals, #1)All Kinds of Tied Down by Mary Calmes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So I admit to being on the slow side getting around to jumping on this bandwagon but boy am I on it now. Wow. This was a phenomenal read!

So where do I begin this review? I know, I'll start with the comparison I made to the bff to get her to try the series - This book is like the original Lethal Weapon movie with all the crazy, none of the suicidal and some HAWT m/m loving. Deputy US Marshals Miro Jones and Ian Doyle have been partners for the last three years. When newly minted Marshal Jones joined the Chicago branch of the US Marshals office he was the envy of the branch - he'd been partnered with 'Captain America' himself, Ian Doyle, former (still in the reserves) Green Beret. Doyle was bad _ass_. Soon, however, people stopped being jealous and started wincing at the number of injuries that Miro was collecting as Doyle's partner - because Doyle did nothing by the book and was a little - well - crazy.

Not that Miro minded in the least, because he trusted Ian with his life. Trouble was, somewhere along the line Miro's partner had gone and wormed his way into M's heart - he was gonzo for his super straight, dating a really great woman until they busted her brother and she broke up with Ian, partner. So Miro consigned himself to being the awesome bestie that he was as well as the guy who always had Ian's back - except when Ian got the call to deploy.

It was during one such deployment that everything went fubar and everything changed. Oddly enough it wasn't Ian who'd been hurt - Miro ended up shot twice and in hospital due to blood loss while Ian came home without injury but not unscathed. Hearing that Miro had been seriously injured while he wasn't around to protect his partner shook something loose in Ian and Miro finally saw the other man's behavior for what it was. Want. Desire. And most of all, need, need to be reassured, to give up control, to know that Miro was there, always there, part of him.

Now they just had to deal with people constantly trying to kill them because -hello, marshals - and figure out how to balance their personal and work live and then everything would be perfect. Oh yeah, did I mention the seriously crazy creepy 'Prince Charming serial killer' sociopath who was obsessed with Miro? All in a day's work for the US Marshals. Unh hunh.

I loved this book from start to finish. Miro was a thoroughly likeable and _fun_ character. Ian was sexy and taciturn with a heart that belongs to Miro. Miro and Ian's coworkers are fully formed and you became invested in their friendships. If I had one complaint, it was Miro's coven - his 4 female besties - were super women and just a little too perfect, but hey, maybe I'm just jelly ;-) The writing is clean, it conveyed the story perfectly with no excess verbiage and unnecessary exposition. The story was fast paced and kept interest. The partnership and then relationship between Miro and Ian was thought out, logical in it's progression, and lovely to read.

I'm already 85% through book 2 and books 3 and 4 are purchased and waiting for me. Good job Mary Calmes. Good effing job.

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Book Review of Deadly Dorian by Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliott

Deadly Dorian (Ward Security, #3)Deadly Dorian by Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliott
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

OMG where do I begin with this book? Other than Guhhhhhhhh, that is!

This book is definitely going to be one of my 'read over and over and over again' books. I've enjoyed the entire Unbreakable Bonds/Ward Security books from writers Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliot, some more than others. This may be one of my all time favorites. The only book to beat this is Shattered coz I love me some Snow! But Royce Karras.... oh my GAWD, Royce Karras! That man does _things_ to me! Naughty things.

In Deadly Dorian someone is trying to kill art gallery owner Mark Foster. He was 'accidentally' given peanuts in a meal his housekeeper prepared for him at home and all his epi pens had mysteriously disappeared, his heart medication had been swapped out for placebos and now someone had cut the brakes on his baby - his brand new porsche. Yup someone definitely wanted him dead and the prime suspects were related to him. His life officially sucked. To add insult to injury he had to ask Lucas Vallois for help. He and Vallois had a past and their relationship could be described as 'frenemies', but he needed help and Ward Security was the best in the biz, so that meant swallowing his pride and asking them to protect him.

Enter Royce (sigh) Karras, Ward Security bodyguard, inked bad boy with a rough past and a mangled heart that he protects more fiercely than his clients. But Royce has a type and Marc is it. which works for the protection scheme they come up with. Royce will pose as Marc's live-in boyfriend while Ward Security tries to figure out who's trying to kill the man. Neither expects the heat between them, neither can fight it. But Royce's past is darker and more deadly than Marc knows and soon he's targeted by Royce's criminal family because of his connection to Royce and the fact that he's a wealthy art dealer. So now the men have to fight for their lives on two fronts while they try and figure out if the heat between them will become an eternal flame or leave them in a pile of smoldering ashes.

This book grabbed me from the opening line. And held my attention to the point where I finally looked up at 2:46 am and went 'crap, gotta go to work in 5 hours!' then went back to finish the last few pages because I really couldn't put it down.

Drake & Elliott have a way with words that sucks you in, sinks claws into you, and doesn't let go until you find out how it all ends. The action is fast paced and fraught with tension, the love scenes are high-octane combustion that leaves you panting, the writing style is clean, crisp and makes sure you have all the description and prose you need with as little verbiage as possible. There's a reason why I one-click their books without thought, because I'm always in for a good time when I do and am left with an emotional catharsis as well as the warm fuzzies of a happily ever after.

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Shield by Max Hawthorn - Book Review

Shield (Men of Hidden Creek)Shield by Max Hawthorn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Max Hawthorn has delivered a Five-alarm read!!!

We start the story in Aleppo Syria - okay my interest was piqued right there - a CIA intelligence nerd (read their best hacker) named Fox Walker sent to a war zone to retrieve intel and so very obviously in the DEEP end and out of his comfort zone. He's described as a lithe, lanky redhead, and so very obviously out of place in the desert. Enter Spec Ops Captain Axel Ford, yes that IS his real name, the Green Beret in charge of making sure Fox gets in, gets his info, and gets out alive. Extra smoking HOT Captain Ford, the kind of guy that makes Fox sit up and bark! Except he's military, Fox is CIA and Fox is there to do a job. Things go squirrelly, as things are wont to do, and Fox finds himself getting shot at and blown up but he does get out of there alive, thanks to sexy Captain 'Probably Straight' Ford. But not without some battle scars in the form of unacknowledged PTSD.

Eight years later Fox is still the CIA's best hacker and he's currently in a little town outside of Houston, Texas, called Hidden Creek, trying to track down yet another terrorist - this one of the variety that likes to make things go BOOM - through his data trails. Hot in pursuit of his bad guy who does Fox run into but Captain Axel Ford - now Special Agent in Charge of the local FBI office. And don't the sparks just fly? or was it the building exploding? Turns out they're both after the same guy, Axel's domestic terrorist is Fox's international terrorist.

Axel and Fox find themselves working together yet again, and the heat from the desert country of Syria flares even hotter in good old Texas - everything is bigger there, after all. But they're also working to stop a man with an agenda and a link to Fox's past before he hurts more people. How many more lives are on the line? How many more buildings will he blow up before they find him? And when they do, will they be forced to lay it all on the line, lay their lives down, to stop him just as they're discovering what they have is worth living for.

I thoroughly enjoyed Max Hawthorn's no nonsense writing style. I felt like I was in that tent in Syria, the burning building in Hidden Creek, the speeding car as it was being shot at, in the bedroom when things _really_ combust. Their action sequences were exciting and fun, their writing crisp and clean. Definitely going to read more by this author as it comes out!

Book series blurb:

Welcome to Hidden Creek, Texas, where the heart knows what it wants, and where true love lives happily ever after. Every Men of Hidden Creek novel can be read on its own, but keep an eye out for familiar faces around town!

It's a collection of shared world novels with authors Ed Davis, HJ Welch, Avery Ford, Max Hawthorn, and Ian Lewis. The books are stand alones with HEA that don't have to be read in any particular order.

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Book Review - Zero Day Exploit by Tami Veldura

Zero Day Exploit (The Robin Hood Job, #1)Zero Day Exploit by Tami Veldura
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

White hats, bodyguards and grifters, oh my!

I really enjoyed this book! REALLY enjoyed it. Asher Hunt, aka The Hunter is a white hat hacker with a grey past, but he's trying to stick to the straight and narrow now. Being busted by the FBI and coping a deal made Asher reevaluate his priorities and a broken heart made him reevaluate his loyalties so now he takes legit IT jobs where he hacks a client's security to find the holes in their system. Totally legit right? There's nothing shady about being set up in a mobile hacking center in an RV in the middle of no where with a bodyguard babysitter, is there? Mortgage companies are completely above board right? And Asher isn't noticing that the bodyguard, Connar James is totally drool worthy and just his type. Nope, he's here to do a job - a white hat job; except that it really isn't and their 'boss' is setting Asher and Connar up to take the fall for his shill game.

But Asher's past is closer to his present then he might like and his old friends from The Den, a network of hackers who live in the grey/black zone, might be the only ones who can help him clear his and Connar's names, give back the stolen money, and get justice against the man who tried to play them all.

And where does Connar fit in to all of this? He's a soldier without a mission, a man who lived for war even though he'd left the war behind him. He's a man who played fast and loose with the protection jobs he' taken, skirting the line of legality. So why was a bruiser hired to babysit a hacker? Why were they both being set up? And why was he feeling white hot lust for an annoying geek with horrible taste in music and a scary love of cheap Asian food?

Asher's past and his present collide with a man who could be his future. Now all he has to do is rob from the rich and corrupt, give back to the poor and maybe get what his heart desires in the process.

Tami Veldura's writing is fast, sharp and full of tension. Sie leaves you on the edge of your seat in the fast paced sections and hir attention to detail is phenomenal. Sie can convince you that you're sitting in the room full of hackers and computer geeks or in a boxing ring watching two ex-military men beat each other good naturedly. Very Impressed. Looking forward to the sequel.

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Skim Blood and Savage Verse - Offbeat Crimes #3 Book Review

Skim Blood and Savage Verse (Offbeat Crimes, #3)Skim Blood and Savage Verse by Angel Martinez
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really do like this series. It's just so gosh-darned wonderful and fluffy; like being wrapped in your favorite blanket on a snowy day with your fav hot chocolate spiked with something creamy and boozy.

Angel's 3rd book in the Offbeat Crimes focuses on Carrington Loveless III, the 77th's very own skim-blood drinking vampire as the leading man and the the lead officer for the investigation. And what an unusual crime. Feral books that literally fling words as weapons. But where did they come from, who set them on the loose, and just who is the mysterious Ms. Hunter Green Pea Coat, other than LJ's (Leather Jacket's) love on the lamb. Angel's characters simply come to life with wit, humor, and heart.

We meet Erasmus, shy unassuming library expert on all things Beatrix Potter from fluffy rabbits to dapper ducks. He starts off as Carr's literary consultant on the case and then his friend but Carr has a type, a hot, studly, absolute train-wreck of a type. Enter Heath... the train-wreck waiting to happen. Will Carr be sucked into yet another train-wreck or will he realize that there's something much much better hiding in the shy, literary wings? And how will they catch the feral books and contain them? Who unleashed them on the city? Will LJ and Hunter Pea Coat reunite?

Sooo many questions - read the book to find the answers!

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Blended Whiskey by Layla Reyne - Book Review

Blended Whiskey (Agents Irish and Whiskey, #4.5)Blended Whiskey by Layla Reyne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sweet, romantic, blisteringly hot. What a way to wrap up Aiden and Jamie's story! Layla Reyne does it again!

This was a perfect St. Patrick's Day finale to tie the story of Irish and Whiskey (although I truly hope we'll catch glances of their lives being continued in Layla's upcoming Craft Brew series. The blending of Southern and Irish, of the coming together of Aiden and Jamie's families to celebrate their love, their wedding, was beautiful. Katie writing their vows - over the top romantic; Mel presiding over the wedding - a lovely tribute to Gabe, who we only knew through memories and flashbacks; it was, in the end, a seamless coming together for two guys who overcame some horrific and painful obstacles to get their happily ever after.

Layla gave each major character their own chapter and their own POV and blended them all seamlessly into a lovely wrap-up of the Barrel Proof series even as she gives us a sneak peak of the upcoming relationship of Nic and Cam in Craft Brew. Have I mentioned I can't wait for Craft Brew 1? No? Well I can't wait!

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Book Review - Lime Gelatin and Other Monsters

Lime Gelatin and Other Monsters (Offbeat Crimes, #1)Lime Gelatin and Other Monsters by Angel Martinez
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

OMG I loved this book! It was just so darned cute... and hot... and really freaking adorable!

So I should start my review by saying my bff said 'read these books'. The bff and I tend to like the same books so I said, okay I'll give it a try. So glad I did! The premise of the series is an interesting new twist on both paranormal fics and cop stories.

Philadelphia PD cop Kyle Monroe had a strange encounter with a strange, lime green, gelatine like creature in a back alley that leaves his hands severely scarred and changed forever. That change has him transferred into the 77th precinct, where all the paranormal 'freaks' go. Just one catch, they're all defective.

Just as Kyle is learning to work with his fellow misfits he is assigned a partner - tall, gorgeous, zen and pretty much perfect in every way (including his talent - or so he claims) - Vikash Soren both irritates and attracts Kyle in equal measure. But there's something about his abilities that just meshes well Soren's and produces 'explosive' results - both in their partnership and in their burgeoning relationship.

And they may need that explosive combo to save the city, and possibly themselves, from a mysterious killer that is hunting its prey along the banks of the Schuykill River, leaving strangely mutilated bodies behind and it's presence casting a malevolent pall over the once safe and friendly riverwalk.

Kyle, Vikash, and the misfits of the 77th precinct put everything on the line to save their city from the monsters... and leather jackets with severe attitude.

I have to say I really enjoyed Angel's playful style of writing. It was just a fun, amusing read. The cast of characters she created were so much fun. I can't wait to dive in to book 2.

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Love and Empathy - Scifi style!

His to Hold (Tea and Empathy Book 1)His to Hold by Jessie Pinkham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

spoiler alert ** What an interesting premise! I'm really enjoying this book, but then I'm a sucker for both sci-fi and m/m :D

It's also interesting in mirroring of human rights throughout history. In this future world where humans have populated the stars, empaths started out as test tube creations with no rights who bonded to an 'anchor'. They were tools, much like drones, human tools to be used by politicians and the unscrupulous because when an empath bonded to an anchor they became so invested in the anchor that they would do anything to please them. And humans are nasty and brutish and more than willing to take advantage of that so there was a huge black market to buy and sell empaths for all sorts of things, including as sex slaves.
But as those first generations of empaths had children and the genetic trait was passed on and eventually, humanity was forced to recognize that empaths were human beings with autonomy and not just a tool to be used.

This book starts with an interesting debate on the practice of 'buying' an empath between the main character, Cole, and his friend who happens to be from a wealthy family. The friend's sister is shopping around for an empath, a practice Cole finds disgusting. The friend, being the black sheep of a wealthy industrial family, finds his family's attitude amoral as well. The conversation ends and Cole thinks nothing of it... until approached by another co-worker who overheard the conversation for a private discussion.

The co-worker has a cousin who is an empath in need of an anchor and he wants to find his cousin a _good_ anchor. The very fact that Cole was disgusted by the behavior and had no desire to be an anchor was what brought him to the man's attention. Out of courtesy Cole agrees to meet the cousin, Aiden, and finds himself falling for the other man _despite_ him being an empath, not because he was; and the attraction is mutual. But Aiden is on a timeline. He has to bond to an anchor with months or go mad.

The couple slowly falling for each other, Cole always aware of the ever-looming timeline. He spends his time away from Aiden pondering the weighty responsibility of becoming an anchor but an unscrupulous friend of a friend causes that timeline to speed up drastically when Aiden is kidnapped and an injected with a drug meant to force an empath into bonding prematurely.

It is only when he receives the news that Aiden has been kidnapped that Cole realizes all his worry and self-doubt was unnecessary. He was in love with Aiden, empathy and all. Now he can only hope he gets the chance to tell him.

It was a well-written and thoughtfully thought out book. I love how the rights of empaths mirrored struggles of previous generations - the emancipation of women, the end of slavery and the struggles of segregation. I will definitely be reading book 2!

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Book Review - Knight of Flames by Amelia Faulkner.

Knight of Flames (Inheritance, #2)Knight of Flames by Amelia Faulkner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Knight of Flames is the second of Amelia Faulkner's Inheritance books and dayam, it was even better than the first!

The book takes up almost immediately after Jack of Thorns. Laurence Riley has killed a god, and not just any god, Jack, or Jack in the Green (the god, not Myriam's flower shop), was The Green Man, one of the aspects of Cernunnos, the Celtic god of fertility, life, animals, wealth, and the underworld. But the fight had literally been to the death and Laurence, despite his fast healing abilities, was six weeks in healing. And during this healing the dream Myriam told him about finally came. Turns out Laurence isn't your average run of the mill psychic, oh no, he's descended from Herne the Hunter, and is a demigod. Just another day in the life of Laurence Riley, right? And then there's Quentin.

Quentin has his own demons to struggle with. Jack had used his weakness against him in the fight to destroy the god and to Quentin that was entirely unacceptable. He needed Laurence more than air, more than his own life. Laurence is... everything good and wonderful and wholesome to Quentin so he works with single minded purpose to overcome his fears, control his burgeoning abilities and be worthy of the man who is _his_. That means he needs to conquer his fear of sex, of physical intimate touch. But it's worth it if it means he gets to keep Laurence.

As if that isn't enough on his plate, a chance encounter reveals there are more psychics in San Diego, including one who can control other people through words alone. Well not Quentin, but Laurence definitely. The fact that Quentin is immune is mystery and one that Kane Wilson, one of the new psychic, is most troubled by. Oh and then Freddy, Quentin's twin shows up from home. Quentin's first instinct is flight but that would mean leaving Laurence and that is entirely unacceptable. So he must start to face the fears that chased him from his home and his country head on.

Kane invites Quentin to help teach control the psychic children he's gathered to him. But what is the man's end game? Laurence doesn't trust Wilson, and nor does Freddy. Laurence's visions reveal the man to be a murderer and one with an agenda that includes outing all psychics so it's up to Quentin, Laurence, and Freddy to thwart his end game. But are they playing Kane or is Kane playing them?

And what is Laurence going to do about his urges to hunt down prey? Things never run smoothly in the course of love and for these two men, well they've got a tsunami of troubles coming at them.

Amelia has done an amazing job of building up this world and populating it with rich, powerful, emotionally evocative characters. I get sucked in more and more and I can't wait to see where Book 3, Lord of the Ravens, goes with this storyline!

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