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    SERIES REVIEW: To Kill A King by Sam Burns & W.M. Fawkes

    To Kill A King: Dragon’s Dawn – Sam Burns & W.M. Fawkes

    For nineteen years, I have carved myself into a dutiful son, a courtier of unimpeachable wit, and a genuine delight at a tea party. Now that my success in society has planted me in the path of Mikhail Vasiliev, it’s clear I’d have been better off keeping my head down.

    Prince Mikhail is the second son of a traitor. Third in line to the throne, he has a reputation for violence, debauchery, and being a thorn in the side of his cousin, King Dmitri. That is, until the king decides to get him out of the way—by marrying him off.

    To me.

    Suddenly prince of a brutal, frozen land, I have no choice but to spy on my father’s behalf. From the morning of our wedding, my beastly husband and I have been at odds, but if I cannot win him over, I’ll find myself in the jaws of his colossal red dragon.

    By the time I realize there is more between us than hostility and mistrust, it is too late. The die has been cast, the knife thrust, and our private battle is set to topple the whole kingdom.

    Beauty gets tied to a real beast in this MM high fantasy romance, featuring: the cutest companion mink to ever bite the hand of a prince, two reluctant husbands who hate each other everywhere but between the sheets, and a heap load of court intrigue to ensure things go perfectly wrong for our murderhimbo and his slinky courtier beau.

    2 Stars – it’s a struggle to finish the damn book

    Soundtrack: Stole My Heart
    Artist: Beasts With No Name
    Album: Pretty Fool

    To Kill A King: Dragon’s Dusk – Sam Burns & W.M. Fawkes

    I have been a runt, a disappointment, and a monster. Now, I am simply a man.

    This wouldn’t be so strange, if yesterday, I weren’t a dragon.

    Locked away and isolated after a vicious attack left a princess blind, my greatest joy has been my bonded rider, Kostya.

    My Kostya is a prince with the weight of a kingdom on his shoulders. When his world begins to crumble, a witch offers me the chance to escape my cell and stand beside him.

    But on two legs, without my scales and claws, Kostya doesn’t recognize me. He fears his dragon was stolen, and when suspicion turns my way, I learn that there are prisons darker and more dangerous than a dragon pen.

    A little very big dragon finds his voice, two legs, and some delightful human appendages beyond in this MM high fantasy romance, featuring: one forlorn dragon-riding prince, a dragon who just wants to kiss the boy, two incredibly self-sacrificing doofuses, a road to pain paved with all the best intentions, and a plot to upend a kingdom.

    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: With Me All Along
    Artist: Bronze Radio Return
    Album: Entertain You

    To Kill A King: Dragon’s Descent – Sam Burns & W.M. Fawkes

    In my life, I have loved a boy, a prince, a king, and a madman. Now, I must let him go.

    King Dmitri was once a prince of flowers, but when his father was murdered in a treasonous plot by his own family, all of Dima’s hope and innocence shattered. At his lowest point, he took the crown and bonded the land, and in the process, he lost himself.

    Now, the boy I once loved is brutal and cruel, and the best I can do for his kingdom is to put us both out of our misery before he destroys it all.

    Join our valiant knight as he fights to thaw the icy heart of a mad king in this MM high fantasy romance, endless pining, so much trauma, a griffin-rider with a heart of gold, a wilting flower prince, more than a little fire, and the end of a kingdom.

    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Feel Alive
    Artist: Half Alive
    Album: Now, Not Yet

    To Kill A King is another fantasy series by acclaimed writer duo Sam Burns and W.M. Fawkes. Set in the harsh lands of Veronyesh(?), a kingdom ruled by the silver-haired dragon-riding Vassilievs, Russian Targaryans, if you will, minus the incest.

    In this world, people are soul-bonded to various creatures, the more powerful the creature, the greater the power, with dragons being the most powerful. The kingdom is ruled by the mad King Dmitri, bonded to a dragon, and the very land itself.

    And so on the king’s mercurial moods depended the well-being of the Veronyesh(?). Which right now is reflecting his bleak mood.

    The backstory of the Vassilievs, much like the Targaryens, is rife with intrigue and drama. The king’s cousins are Prince Mikhail, a.k.a. Misha, Prince Konstantine, a.k.a. Kostya, and their sister, Princess Zoya, a blood witch. Their father, Prince Piotr, killed the former king and, in turn, was executed by King Dmitri.

    Dima’s twin sister, Princess Dasha, was accidentally blinded by Kostya and his dragon, Kirian. The king held a deep grudge against them and would rage at the mention of Kirian.

    Dragon’s Dawn opens the series, dropping us right in the middle of an arranged marriage forced down the throats of Prince Mikhail and Yevgeny, a 19-year-old courtier from a prominent family. There is minimal world-building here, just enough to know about soul bonds, the mad king, and that the two would-be grooms were strangers to each other.

    A very intriguing set-up but to my surprise, this turned out to be my least favorite series opener. The plot runs on miscommunication, a trope I hate. If handled correctly, it would have been tolerable, but it ran for almost the entire story, the characters cycle from bad thoughts about each to fucking then back again with barely any development.

    To make matters worse, both MCs were completely uninteresting. Genya was vapid, self-absorbed, and spectacularly naive. The story insists he is clever and witty while showing no evidence of such. Misha was a boor and a brute, an alphahole without the charm.

    I would have DNF’ed this, but I wanted to see this series through because I was super curious about Dima.

    Dragon’s Dusk picks up immediately after the events of Book 1, And thank the gods, it’s a complete turnaround!

    Here we have the most adorable, most precious cinnamon roll puppy dragon I’d protect with my life!

    Kostya is the eldest Vassiliev, a morose man with the weight of the world on his shoulders and the guilt of hurting the sweet Princess Dasha, despite the princess already declaring she forgave him and his dragon Kirian.

    After that tragic incident, Kirian is not allowed out of the stables, feared by the stable hands as a crazy, feral beast. In truth, the dragon was the sweetest, gentlest creature made of pure sunshine and Kostya’s only joy in life. So much so that Zoya decides to use her blood magic and turn Kirian into a human to be with his Kostya. Because the mutual pining between these two…!!!

    A heart-wrenching use of the miscommunication trope but hell of a lot more compelling. I was hanging on to every scene!

    Kostya found Kirian in his human form but didn’t recognize him. At the same time, the prince was devastated to discover his dragon was missing. And because Kostya is one of the kindest people in the kingdom, he housed, clothed, and fed the stranger and kept him by his side. While searching high and low, calling his dragon’s name.

    Human Kirian hasn’t gain human speaking abilities yet and could only speak with his eyes and action. That scene in the snow where he was silently beseeching Kostya, holding the man’s hand to his heart, that he, Kirian, is right here! here! will forever live in my memory.

    These two dorks blame themselves for everything going wrong in the kingdom. And some more suffering before Kostya realizes his Kirian is there all along. Their story isn’t perfect but it’s unforgettable.

    Dragon’s Descent is why I started this series. I was curious about the loyal knight who helplessly watched his beloved flower prince descend into madness.

    In the first two books, Dima is portrayed as the villain. First forcing Misha’s marriage and then punishing Kostya and Kirian for the accident, then the slew of executions. Whenever Dima’s harsh actions are shown, his loyal bodyguard’s reactions are also mentioned. A pained, heartbroken expression of a man hopelessly in love but could do nothing.

    Arkadii was assigned to then Prince Dmitri when they were both teenagers. He is the son of the captain of the royal guard and his mother instilled her strong sense of duty into him. He and the prince became lovers, the prince was a carefree, joyful creature that flowers bloom wherever he goes.

    Things took a turn when the old king was murdered, along with Arkadii’s mother, who died on duty. Dima was hit hard and barely recovered. After he bonded to the land with blood magic that went awry, he became worse, and Veronyesh(?) slowly began to decline.

    This is also a difficult read, the mad king’s thoughts full of dismal paranoia, frequently hurting Arkadii who’s already at his wit’s end, but still doggedly performs his duties. Dima tends to circle the same dark topics, making the writing repetitive. It’s quite a challenge to redeem this character, and it doesn’t happen quickly.

    But Dima’s recovery did happen, a slow uphill battle but gaining ground nonetheless, giving Arkadii hope that his flower prince is still there. The thing with Arkadii and Dima is that everyone knows they are a unit and assumes they will always be a unit. No one ever brought up the topic of the king marrying a woman and producing heirs.

    Stoic, steadfast Arkadii devoting his life to his Dima almost to the point of martyrdom is hella romantic. I loved this type of seme in BL manga, and Arkadii cut a striking figure in his armor. That closing scene of him and Dima surrounded by springtime flowers is dreamy and magical. A hard-won, much-awaited HEA!

    To Kill A King should be read in order. The books are not standalone. While Dragon’s Dawn might be a struggle to finish, Dragon’s Dusk and Dragon’s Descent are both highly entertaining and better executed. There are threads of betrayal running across the series, but the real villains are deployed like afterthoughts so meh. However, we get two swoony romances, so it’s still a win.

    Overall, a moving saga of royals, dragons, lost souls, and unbreakable bonds.

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    REVIEW: Fool’s Gold by Ki Brightly & M.D. Gregory

    Fool’s Gold – Ki Brightly & M.D. Gregory

    The Bad Boy from the Trailer Park

    There are certain unwritten rules in the Lakeview Trailer Park, and number five is clear—No Gay Stuff.

    Ethan “Shep” Shepherd has grown up hiding his true self so he doesn’t get kicked out of the only home he knows, but that doesn’t mean he can’t dream of a better life with the beautiful man who lives across the river. As a criminal, Ethan knows Jonas is too good for him, but when another one of the trailer park guys decides to attack Jonas, Ethan steps in and changes the course of their lives.

    The Good Boy from the Religious Family
    Jonas Nomikos is trying to survive his parents and their conservative views until he gets to college, where he can finally be himself. It isn’t an easy task to pretend to be the son they want, and when his best friend tells the truth to Jonas’s parents, he’s sure his life is over. Until Ethan. Ethan gives him hope and makes him smile, and Jonas wants to be with him, even if it means saying goodbye to the only life he knows.

    The Road to Being Who They Are
    If Ethan and Jonas want to be together, they’ll need to make sacrifices. The journey to happiness is filled with surprises, and Ethan isn’t sure Jonas is ready to accept the reality of his life—which includes motorcycle clubs, breaking the law, and living payday to payday. Jonas might shock him, though.

    Fool’s Gold has a theme of overcoming prejudice and contains depictions of homophobia and discrimination, including scenes in a conversion camp. The authors do not condone homophobic behavior or discrimination of any kind.

    New Gothenburg is a sprawling New York-based universe created by writer duo Ki Brightly and M.D. Gregory. It spans a multitude of interconnected, though frequently standalone, books and series usually involving motorcycle clubs, mobsters, sex workers, and even lawyers and law enforcement officers.

    I have this vague urge to read all of them, but it’s a hit or miss. Many times, I am more enamored with the premise as the actual book left much to be desired. Then, there are times I struck gold.

    Fool’s Gold is one of those that panned out. And fabulously at that! This is also a standalone.

    It’s a new adult tale of the boy from the wrong side of tracks crushing on the boy on the right side. Ethan ‘Shep’ Shephard is a trailer park bad boy who rescued Jonas Nomikos from a thug. And that was how Ethan finally spent some time with his crush, whom he has been making heart eyes for years from across the river.

    Jonas is from an ultra-conservative Methodist family, his father the pastor. A friend outing him to his parents had him sent to a conversion therapy camp. And it sparked a series of events that led him and Ethan to crime, violence and unlikely allies.

    First, I really loved the YA-ish vibe of the book. It felt like I was reading a cute manga about high school boys and adorably awkward first love moments. The fluff is tempered by the more somber scenes of homophobic people doling out the don’ts and the cannot’s. Ethan and Jonas’s relationship is forbidden on both sides of the river.

    Second, the Good Omens dynamic never fails to make me swoon! Who doesn’t squee at bad boys who hate the world being soft for no one but their angelic boyfriends! Ethan is crazy about his angel and has no qualms giving anyone who hurt his Jonas their just desserts. Well, the bad guy got served his, and I was surprised, Jonas didn’t make much fuss given who it is and how it was given.

    Third, the duo’s writing was particularly effective here. Most of their books have BDSM-ish or daddy/boy relationships, and while I loved some of them, the rest are repetitive and cringey. Here, the relationship is between two older teens. The plot moved steadily, and there were no lulls at all. I loved the anticipation whenever Ethan and Jonas are about to meet or when Jonas did something unexpected.

    The darker second half was a suspenseful hunt for the missing Jonas, a fateful meeting with the notorious motorcycle club, Kings of Men, and a tender night of firsts. It was action-packed, exhilarating, and sweet, a roller-coaster of feels!

    Ethan being uber protective of Jonas and giving the big bad bikers attitude was endearing and amusing the way a puppy might snarl. Thing is, puppies are cute, yet their bite has more rabies. Ethan gathering an army and storming enemy camp was complete badass! Jonas riding in his sidecar is adorbs! This angel is not meant for the bitch seat.

    The only reason why this is not a 5-star read is because of one glaring error. There was a scene where Ethan and Jonas were chased by a rival biker, and Jonas dropped his cellphone. It was even mentioned it cracked or broke. Then some time after, they were chased by more bikers, and Jonas was magically trying to call the police using his phone. There were no mentions that he picked up his dropped phone beforehand.

    Fool’s Gold is a thrill ride, a swoony romance, and a blushy BL manga. It’s a story of forbidden love and a coming-of-age tale of two teenagers caught in a world of bad bikers and worse pastors. This has some dark moments, so heed the trigger warnings. All in all, genuinely brilliant!

    4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away

    Soundtrack: Gold
    Artist: Loi
    Album: Gold

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    SERIES REVIEW: Kage Trilogy by Maris Black

    Kage Trilogy – Maris Black

    *** KAGE (Book 1)

    My name is Jamie Atwood, and I’m an addict. I never thought I’d say such a thing. Never had a problem being overly-attached to anything in my life. I came from a perfectly middle-class family, made good grades, and had a hot cheerleader girlfriend… but the truth is, nothing ever really moved me. So how did a guy like me become an addict?

    I met Michael Kage.

    Kage is an MMA fighter. A famous one. I like to think I helped him get that way.

    He’s charming as hell, with looks to rival any movie star and talent to back it up. So why did he need to hire me as an intern Publicist? Simple. He has a darkness in him– like a black hole so deep it could swallow him, and me, and everyone we know– and that’s not good for business.

    The first time I met him, I felt the pull. I think the addiction began at that very moment. And even if I’d known then what I know now, I would have fallen for him. How could I not?

    For me, Kage is everything.

    5 Stars – absolutely perfect

    Soundtrack: Stay In My Corner
    Artist: The Arcs
    Album: Yours, Dreamily

    *** KAGE UNLEASHED (Book 2)

    In a battle of the heart, who will be the first to submit?

    My name is Jamie Atwood, and I am an idiot. Against all odds, I got the attention of Michael Kage, the hottest MMA fighter on the planet. To say he rocked my world would be an understatement. He transformed me completely, made me depend on him, and made me love him. And the sex? Let me put it this way: I’d never been with a guy before I met Kage, but I’d gladly spend the rest of my life on my knees for him. He is my obsession and my addiction. But I did something stupid, and now I’m paying for it. I don’t know if I’ll ever see Kage again.

    Being Michael Kage was never easy. Too many demons, too much anger, and not enough to live for. And then I met Jamie Atwood. He’s got this innocence about him that speaks to something deep down inside me- in a place that’s never been touched by anyone. He’s beautiful, smart, and courageous, and he hasn’t been tainted by the darkness that’s ruled my life. I wanted him from the first second I laid eyes on him. It’s selfish, I know. Because you can’t bring an innocent thing into the darkness and not expect something to rub off.

    5 Stars – absolutely perfect

    Soundtrack: Teleport 2 Me, Jamie
    Artist: KID CUDI
    Album: Teleport 2 Me, Jamie

    *** KAGE UNMASKED (Book 3)


    SEXY COLLEGE SENIOR Jamie Atwood has fallen hard for MMA dark horse Michael “the Machine” Kage. With his hot muscled body, intoxicating green eyes, and proclivity for rough sex, Kage is a potent aphrodisiac to the innocent boy-next-door. The danger, the intrigue, the feel of his strong hand around his throat, the knowledge that his fighter would kill or die for him. From the moment Kage grabbed onto his hips and channeled all that masculine aggression into claiming his body, Jamie was ruined for anyone else.

    PASSIONS RUN HIGH as the lovers try to assimilate into each other’s lives: coming out to family and friends, blending into the high-profile MMA world, dealing with Kage’s sketchy uncle. But behind Kage’s mask of strength and indifference lies a crippling vulnerability, and a devastating secret. As the mask comes off, past traumas surface, dark desires spin out of control, and the damaged fighter is driven to hurt the man he loves more than life itself.

    5 Stars – absolutely perfect

    Soundtrack: Forget the Past
    Artist: The Irrepressibles
    Album: Mirror Mirror

    Kage Trilogy by Maris Black is an intense, angsty, frustrating, compelling, and hella swoony sports romance between an MMA fighter and his publicist.

    Journalism major and college senior Jamie Atwood scored a summer internship as upcoming MMA fighter Michael ‘The Machine’ Kage’s publicist. This after the dork blustered his way through his first interview with Kage. The man was so impressed (and smittened) that he demanded the college boy work for him. Thing is, Jamie is straight and has a girlfriend.

    Did it stop Kage? Hell no!

    Meanwhile, Jamie couldn’t help but be magnetized by enigmatic Kage. And I couldn’t blame the boy because, damn, the man has quite the presence!

    I came into this series blind. The first two books end in cliffhangers, so the trilogy must be read in order. Kage, book 1, is written solely in Jamie’s POV. We see a bumbling, naive college student playing the sports publicist, pretending to know what he’s doing and boldly declaring he’s going to make Michael Kage famous.

    In fairness to Jamie, our boy did work hard, building a website, social media presence, and Kage’s image as a sexy MMA fighter. Multi-tasking as the photographer, some of his picture-taking sessions has Kage in temperature-raising poses that led to our boy questioning (and lowkey denying) his sexuality.

    Jamie could be spectacularly oblivious to the fact that Kage was doing a slow but thorough wooing. Kage was obsessed from that first interview and proceeded to wine, dine, and splurge, but our boy remained clueless (or in denial). And it wasn’t until, a very provocative pose and Kage spelling it out for him that our boy fell on his knees and willingly swallowed the truth, among other things.

    Kage Unleashed and Kage Unmasked are written in both Kage’s and Jamie’s POVs. The two sequels chronicle Kage and Jamie’s struggles as a secret gay couple and how they navigate publicly coming out while they introduce Kage to Jamie’s family and try to outmaneuver Kage’s evil uncle.

    There are scenes that might be disturbing to some, like the dubcon-ish scene in the gazebo or that minors were forced to fight to the death. Kage also has PTSD and childhood trauma cause by his abusive uncle.

    When I say frustrating, I’m mostly talking about Jamie and the villain, Peter Santori. Jamie is impulsive and makes stupid decisions. I could forgive him. He’s young and still has lots to learn.

    Kage and Jamie’s relationship is tested by misunderstandings and miscommunications made worse by separations caused by Kage’s uncle’s evil schemes. This asshole is mostly absent, but his presence and machinations can be felt through their negative impact on Kage and/or Jamie. He’s a psychopath who uses Kage to further his own goals and has no qualms attempting to kill his nephew when he proved too much trouble.

    Kage the man is why Kage the trilogy packed a punch. The Machine is highly skilled, unbeatable and hyper-focused on his targets, whether it be winning Jamie or the MMA championship belt. Life threw one challenge after another, first losing his family as a young child, then living under his evil uncle’s thumb and forced to toe the line by pretending to be in a relationship with a woman.

    Kage still managed to come out on top, fighting for his and Jamie’s lives. And there is always a fight and a separation. Then Kage getting Jamie back through sheer willpower and two middle fingers to the world and his uncle. Arrow right in my kokoro every time!

    Here’s a little spoiler why Kage is everything. Whenever I read somebody’s reaction to a book saying, “I’m a sobbing mess,” I tend to roll my eyes at such hyperbole. Well, there was this scene where Jamie and Kage were forcibly separated and had no contact for some time (evil uncle in action). Jamie convinced his friends to watch Kage’s fight on TV because he missed his boyfriend badly.

    Jamie was bragging he helped choose Kage’s entrance song, Kanye West’s I Am A God. But when Kage entered, Jamie was surprised it was a different song playing. His friend googled the song and showed him the title: Teleport 2 Me, Jamie.

    You guessed it, I was a sobbing mess! Songs are my krytonite and Kage just had to pick the perfect song!

    Kage Trilogy ends with a HFN, a cliffhanger really. I’m glad I read it now and not when it was first released because now I know the story continues with Santori Trilogy. Kage and Jamie aren’t perfect, but with the distinct honor of being the third book to make me cry in all my reading life, I’m giving them 5 stars. These boys hit me with a knock out punch!

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    REVIEW: The Reanimator’s Heart by Kara Jorgensen

    The Reanimator Mysteries: The Reanimator’s Heart – Kara Jorgensen

    A reluctant necromancer, a man killed before his time, and the crime that brings them together.

    Felipe Galvan’s life as an investigator for the Paranormal Society has been spent running into danger. Returning home from his latest case, Felipe struggles with the sudden quiet of his life until a mysterious death puts him in the path of the enigmatic Oliver Barlow.

    Oliver has two secrets. One, he has been in love with the charming Felipe Galvan for years. Two, he is a necromancer, but to keep the sensible life he’s built as a medical examiner, he must hide his powers. That is until Oliver finds Felipe murdered and accidentally brings him back from the dead.

    But Felipe refuses to die again until he and Oliver catch his killer. Together, Felipe and Oliver embark on an investigation to uncover a plot centuries in the making. As they close in on his killer, one thing is certain: if they don’t stop them, Felipe won’t be the last to die.

    This year, I developed a soft spot for underdog necromancers, with books such as Malum Discordiae and The Necromancer’s Light showing that the much-maligned death magic, like any ability, can be used for good, too. As Cassius from Malum Discordiae said, among magic users, necromancers are the most respectful of the dead.

    The Reanimator’s Heart introduces us to another cinnamon roll necromancer, Oliver Barlow, a neurodiverse medical examiner for the Paranormal Society. A lover of solitude and quiet, Oliver is also lonely, socially awkward, and acutely aware of people’s unflattering opinions of him. His only friend is Gwen Jones, a telekinetic who works in the library.

    Oliver has been secretly crushing on veteran investigator Felipe Galvan for ten years. They don’t have much interaction at first but are soon prompted to work together on the case of the mysterious death of a nun.

    Later, after many encouragements from Gwen, Oliver gathered courage to ask Felipe to dinner only to find him dead in his room the same way the nun died. In his shock, he accidentally reanimated Felipe. Now, they were tethered to each other and must remain close at all times.

    The book opens The Reanimator Mysteries. The series is set in an alt-New York where some people have magical abilities. Many of them work for the Paranormal Society, an organization that handles cases relating to anything supernatural. This is a world where anything from vampires, shifters, demons to magic users exist.

    There are some very light steampunk touches, such as steamers, which are their cars, and the presence of pneumatic tubes as means of communication. The Paranormal society is housed in a huge building with dormitories, archives, offices, and a fantastic magical library I would LOVE to explore!

    Homosexuality is still considered taboo, but members of the Paranormal Society pretty much do as they please. Women also hold positions of power within the its ranks. Other than these liberties, it’s stays true to a vague 18th?19th?-century setting.

    The story is written in dual POV in an omniscient third person style, where Oliver’s perspective is presented, and then immediately shifts to Felipe’s in the same paragraph or section. I liked this style a lot because I don’t have to wait for the next chapter to know the other character’s thoughts. The pacing might be a tad too slow for my liking, but there are no info-dumps, the need-to-knows flow seamlessly with the narrative.

    I am also glad we get experienced magic users from the get-go. Although I’m mildly disappointed there are no bombastic displays of magic here, the kind that makes your jaw drop. Magic is used sparingly and are mostly muted affairs deployed when murder is being committed or the dead is being raised.

    Oliver is especially careful not to show how strong his powers really are, knowing full well the stigma. He has a very nuanced code of morality when it comes to using his necromancy following rules he set up for himself. At the same time, Oliver doesn’t actually know much about his magic because of lack of books on the the topic and because he doesn’t use it enough to test its limits.

    Felipe is a healer, a skill useful only to him because he can only do it to his body. Much, much later, he was able to channel his healing abilities to help Oliver. It’s only the first book, so I’m expecting more spectacular magical developments in the later installments.

    And I’ve got to say, Oliver and Felipe are two of the most endearing people you could know! I just loved them individually and together! I’m happy Oliver finally found the person who understood him and let him be himself. And Felipe finally have someone worth staying home for and introducing to his unconventional family.

    Majority of the plot focused on Oliver and Felipe’s magical connection and their blossoming romance while they investigate the murder. The mystery was very intriguing, especially as the opening scene shows the murder happening. It was a phenomenal opening, and it set my expectations high. The book delivered most of its promises and made me excited for the next one.

    My favorite part was how Oliver, ostracized for being different and strange, grew in confidence and strength with the help of a loyal friend, the love of a good man, and most of all, the indomitable spirit of a lone wolf. As a solitary creature myself, I find our boy pretty inspiring and relatable.

    One thing, though, the conclusion wasn’t clear on what the bad guys’ goals were. Was it to raise an undead army? Open a portal to another world? Or control people through magic?

    While I’m glad there are no villain monologues, I was hoping Oliver and Felipe would have a dialogue about what exactly were the bad guys’ endgame. Also, I’m not sure whether this thread is connected to the sequels or if it was all wrapped up.

    The Reanimator’s Heart is a sweet story of love and friendship, an uplifting portrayal of understanding and acceptance, and a gripping tale of magic and death. Don’t mind my juvenile wish for magical flash and bang, overall, this book is suspenseful, fascinating and deeply heartfelt!

    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Alive
    Artist: Zeds Dead & MKLA

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