Reviews

Gypsy Blood by Jeff Gunhus

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Synopsis

When Corbin Stewart, a down-on-his-luck writer living in Paris, witnesses the brutal attack of an old gypsy, he rushes to help. He chases off the attackers, three albinos wearing porcelain tragedy masks, but not before they stab the old man repeatedly. While Corbin tries to keep the man alive until help arrives, blood gets on his skin, in his eyes, into his mouth. The old man dies, but Corbin soon discovers that death isn’t the end for the powerful gypsy, and that the blood in his body carries part of the man’s tortured soul with it.

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Review

This is the first I’ve read by Jeff Gunhus, and has intrigued me enough for it to not be the last.

The horror aspect of how this book has been marketed spoke to me, but I found it wasn’t quite as horror-oriented as I was expecting. The first few chapters were certainly spooky, and there were some parts so thick on emotion that I clung to my Kindle, desperate to see what would happen.

Gunhus’ writing was solid, a delicious romp through subterranean Paris, which was described so thoroughly I could honestly put myself in Corbin’s shoes and imagine I was there. Completed with an unsettling focus on skeletons, blood, and just a little bit of gore, it was the sort of book to read in one sitting on a cold winter’s night, accompanied by a glass of wine (or two).

The characters had a fantastic depth to them—even the antagonists, whom I actually felt some sympathy fore, which is always a pleasure—and I was very much rooting for Corbin and his companions. This wasn’t a five-star read for me simply because I felt the ending was a little rushed and unbelievable, especially considering the long build-up to the climax.

Despite this, it was great fun, if not a little sobering at times. Well worth a read.

~Evelyn (4/5)

Reviews

The First Sin by Jillian Quinn

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Synopsis

Once upon a time, I fell in love with a blue-eyed boy who promised me forever.
We fell hard and fast, even though our relationship was forbidden.
Loving Angelo Morelli wasn’t my first sin.
It wouldn’t be my last.

Our families were friends before they were enemies, fighting for power in the city.
I was their bargaining chip, a pawn to be used by the most powerful men in Philadelphia.
I just didn’t know it.

Angelo was my white knight in a world full of darkness.
But someone had to pay for the sins of the past.
Too bad that person was me.

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Review

All consuming and enthralling….

I am currently going through a mafia reading spree, and I am always eager to find my next favorite series in the genre…. This first in a duet is a strong contender…..The premise is intriguing and the characters who are all morally bankrupt exhibit bonds of loyalty and love that somehow make the inexcusable more acceptable.

The relationship between the two main characters Angelo and Gia is both passionate and obsessive; they have been together since childhood and there is no one else for them… but they exist in a world of violence and criminality and even the strongest bonds can be broken under relentless brutality…..

The perspective of both Angelo and Gia is provided… in the case of Angelo this is particularly insightful because it demonstrates the spiralling path he is being led down and the effect it has on his demeanour and personality…. Angelo and Gia are products of their upbringing both smart, tough and in love… he has secrets and his hands are ‘dirty’..and she is a thrill-seeker and desperate to be part of Angelo’s life….the supporting cast provide shades of light and dark and whilst many are truly wicked and avaricious they all bring more breadth and depth to the story….

This is the first book I have read by this author and I have to say I was completely engrossed in the plot…. the author’s voice makes for easy reading, and the book is well written: filled with intrigue, great plot development, and plenty of heat….

I do have one niggling criticism: I was not a fan of the prologue, which described events that were to play out later on…this to me was an unnecessary spoiler and eliminated some of the growing suspense….it was a bit like a television programme where key highlights are broadcasted in the introductory titles…

That said…this story was all consuming and enthralling…as the first in the series, a cliffhanger concludes the book, but thankfully the next in the series follows close behind, and the fates of our characters, whilst hanging in the balance, will be determined imminently…

~Sheena (5/5)

Reviews

The Dirty Dozen by Shannon Youngblood

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Synopsis

Take a journey down the submissive rabbit hole, as Shannon Youngblood receives twelve writing prompts from twelve Dominants, to form one epic collection of short stories. From a young girl living out her secret dark desires, to the story of a brutal slave killer finding out that not only is his heart still beating, it is only beating for the one he must kill.

Experience the true power of submissiveness as you delve into the taboo world of BDSM in, The Dirty Dozen.

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Review

Compelling smorgasbord 4.5 stars….

Well what a compelling smorgasbord of submission and dominance. This was an original concept..told from the point of view of a young woman being gently introduced into the ‘lifestyle’… Jared is her lover and teacher and educates her by relating a series of stories illustrating a variety of relationships…with the aim to instruct and entice..although to be fair I am not sure Jared always chose very wisely, if his plan was to encourage her unerring involvement…

Each story is short but packed with interesting plots and diverse characters.. whether from the past, present or future they all have a tale to be told. My favourite story was Crazed..I loved the concept but will say no more because it has to be read without any spoilers…Right from the start of this book I was captivated by the relationship between Jared and his lover/ ‘would be’ student; they were only centre stage for a short while but they made a big impression, and my only disappointment was that there was no epilogue or conclusion to their story..I would love to have known their endings…

This is a compendium of delights and dark temptations and I loved every minute spent in the company of these fascinating characters as they navigated their imagined worlds and found their ever afters, whether happy or otherwise…princes and princesses in fairy stories; wicked Madams; sweet submission; love, hate, indifference; murder and mayhem, this book gives a tantalising taste of it all….

~Sheena (4/5)

Reviews

Sinister Love by T.L. Smith

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Synopsis

He was a drug I couldn’t kick. I’d overdosed on him before. It didn’t turn out well.
I was stupid enough to let him crack my heart, in hopes we would fall off the same cliff together.
No matter how much my idiotic heart wanted to love him, my head knew better.
He didn’t choose me.
He chose her.
That’s where the problem started.
Maybe that’s how it should end.

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Review

Dark, suspenseful and addictive..

The first book in the series took me well out of my comfort zone, and this concluding book started right back up where the last finished… there are some truly evil and crazy, mixed up individuals in this series; they are all back in action and I found myself feeling angry and frustrated by every last one of them, even the two main characters…Ryken because he seems so conflicted at times and Saskia because there are moment when she seems weak when she should be strong and vice versa…. but the truth is, despite all the angst and the to’ing and fro’ing, this story continued to pull me in…From the moment I stepped back into their dark, dysfunctional worlds I was once again hooked…

The narrative is provided from Saskia and Ryken’s point of view…and thank goodness for that because I am not sure my heart could have coped with not knowing where both of them stood in terms of their mind sets; for better or worse… There are so many fascinating characters the good, the bad and the ugly; I particularly loved Quinn who is totally ruthless and comfortable in his skin and the world he inhabits….in my book world, I love men who own their badassness..

I do think there were some loose ends left at the end of the story, which, I sincerely hope, means there will be more books in the future, that follow other characters stories more closely and also tie up the worlds of Ryken and Saskia; if not then I will be disappointed…

This is a brutal and immoral world where only the strong survive…no doubt there will be those that find it too upsetting….my honest advice is…read the warning signs in this and other reviews and avoid if darkness and amorality is not your book thing…. as for me: there were elements that should have made me stop reading, but, ultimately, I fell in love with it all and was obsessed right until the end ….I received an advanced copy of this book from the author

~Sheena (5/5)

Reviews

Sergio by Natasha Knight

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Synopsis

I’m the first born son of the mafia king. The favorite. Destined to rule, I’m a dangerous man, a ruthless one. But in my world, you have to be.

Then Natalie stumbles into my life. Wrong place. Wrong time.

Twice, fate put her in my path.
Twice, fate placed the innocent lamb at the mercy of the monster.

I gave her a chance to walk away. Told her it would be better for her if she did.
But she didn’t listen.
And now it’s too late.
Because I’m not good. I never wanted to be. And I won’t let her go anymore. See, I’m not the hero. When I touch her, it’s with dirty hands.

I know my reckoning is coming though. I know I’ll burn for the things I’ve done, the sins I’ve committed. And I don’t deny hell is where I belong, but I want my time first. I want my time with her.

She’s mine.
Forever.
No matter what.

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Review

The world described within these pages is cruel and violent; the men are powerful and ruthless… there is no room for the innocent and once they are dragged in there is no escape….

Sergio is a chilling antihero he is unapologetic for the life he leads; I love his forthright and unrepentant outlook on the homicidal world in which he and his family rule…and yet he also has his own twisted moral code; he is beguiled by the young, bright and strong, Natalie..and whilst their beginning is inauspicious ..they discover within each other an unexpected raw and brutal kind of love.

The writing is excellent;….I was intrigued by the premonitions/omens that the main characters experience, contributing to the overall foreboding that builds slowly throughout the book…I have thought long and hard about what rating to give this book; I felt there were a few loose ends and some events brushed over, but in the end it all comes down to the fact that I was totally immersed in the story from the very first page, and I never wanted it to end; that for me, right there, is why it deserves 5 stars…

I was gripped by the unravelling of the plot; there is a certain inevitability about the path down which this story takes the main characters…..both seem masters of their own fate but, whether by birth or chance, these two star-crossed lovers are just pawns in a bigger, undisclosed, destiny…….and as the epilogue concluded I found myself intrigued to learn what the future holds…

~Sheena (5/5)

Reviews

Wheeler by Ker Dukey

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Synopsis

I am dark. Calculating. A single father.
I have secrets that would horrify most people.
Stalking is a habit I refuse to break—and what happens after is a sweet reward.
My life is exactly the way I have designed it.
But an undeserving, sick monster is dating my only daughter.
Until I deal with my problem, I can’t truly enjoy everything I’ve created.
My name is Jax Wheeler.
I’m a twisted, evil, insane man.
People may be afraid of me, but it doesn’t stop them from wanting me.

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Review

Unexpected and unnerving from beginning to end….

Well this already dark series has just taken a more menacing and twistier direction in the hands of this author…Jax Wheeler is a single parent and on the face of things he is a perfectly normal guy, and a loving, devoted parent, but appearances can sometimes be deceptive…

There are trigger warnings so don’t be shocked when the story takes the characters on a more sinister and less well travelled path….this is a most unconventional love story …I was fascinated by Jax’s alternative point of view; he is a beguiling character and I loved the incidental twisted humour that stems from his reactions to the other characters that he encounters..

It isn’t often that I learn anything of particular value to me in the real world from my fictional book world, but I am fairly certain, having read this book, I could spot someone with Wheeler’s particular disposition and proclivities, if he or she were ever to cross my path…well, for my sake, I hope I can….

This is a disturbing and compelling read…the story dovetails perfectly into the other books in the series and provides answers to events and assumptions from the previous storylines…when the ending comes it is just as unexpected and unnerving as the rest of the book….nothing is quite what it seems, and almost every page adds a new perspective on the events being played out…

~Sheena (5/5)

Reviews

Coveted by Grace White

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Synopsis

Terra Materson knew moving to Atchison College would take some getting used to. But she didn’t expect to discover she had the spirit of an ancient goddess inside her.

It’s a lot to process. Not to mention the four overprotective guys who have made it their mission to take Terra under their wing. But as her connection to Ross, Cael, Endo, and Sol intensifies, so too does her need for the truth.

Her protectors want to keep her safe. The witches need her power. And her new friends just want her to live a little. But as her hidden memories slowly return, Terra is left questioning who she can trust. Because with magic in the air, anyone could be an enemy and nothing may be as it seems…

Coveted is the second book in The Gaia Chronicles, an urban fantasy reverse harem series, and must be read after book #1: Cursed. Recommended for readers 17+

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Review

Things are hotting up in this 4.5 star read….

I am really becoming obsessed by this young adult, paranormal reverse harem story…this is a classic story of good versus evil, and the power of love and the sacrifices that are made in its name….at its centre is a slow burning romance with Terra and her four protectors; although things certainly do hot up in this book….now that the introductions have been made the plot is beginning to pick up and more and more secrets are being revealed; in particular, through the device of Terra’s dreams, the reader is drip fed snippets from the past that resonate in the present and for the future….

The author expertly creates shades of light and dark there is some tantalising foreshadowing of a menacing voyeur, right from the start, bent on revenge and the destruction of Terra and her guys….Ross, Cael, Sol and Endo I love that each of them has a distinct personality and the gradual reveal of past hurts, misunderstandings and secrets makes them all the more intriguing and real…. I am not too sure if I am supposed to have a favourite..I certainly don’t want Terra to choose…but there is something attractive about a brooding, strong male and Sol is that in full measure…. I always imagined it would be magical to be treated like a goddess by a man, or men for that matter, but the reality for Terra is not quite as liberating or perfect….

This is a carefully constructed alternative universe; an epic story in which the characters experience a myriad of feelings switching from fear and anger to joy, laughter and happiness in a heartbeat; another cliffhanger left me excited to continue the journey…

~Sheena (4/5)