• book,  Uncategorized

    REVIEW: Igni Ferroque by Ashlyn Drewek

    Tennebrose: Igni Ferroque – Ashlyn Drewek

    Despite being branded as an outcast amongst outcasts, Phelan Oliver devotes his life to helping his fellow Necromancers. But even with his vast knowledge, nothing prepares him for the day he comes face to face with a demon he didn’t summon—one who embodies everything he has been taught to hate, whose wickedness sparks sinful feelings Phelan can’t ignore no matter how much he tries.

    Taken captive by a prince of Hell, Phelan strikes a desperate bargain. In exchange for his soul’s freedom, he’ll give his captor what he wants, even if it means betraying his own family.

    But demons aren’t the only ones with secrets and Phelan’s might end up costing them both more than they’d ever imagined. 

    IGNI FERROQUE is a dark MM paranormal romance about a pious Necromancer and an incorrigible demon and what happens when their paths intersect. There’s scorching steam and brutal violence in this enemies-to-lovers tale, wrapped up with plenty of intrigue and betrayal. It is intended for a mature audience and reader discretion is advised. A full list of triggers can be found in the front matter of the book and at my website under Tropes & Triggers. 

    This book can be read as a standalone, but it is highly suggested to read the series in order, as the history of Winslow and its witches builds on itself with each book. 


    Igni Ferroque is a book that comes with a long list of trigger warnings: non-con, dub-con, blood play, torture, mental illness, occult practices, mentions of animal and human sacrifices, controversial commentary on religion, particularly Catholicism, and more listed in the book.

    Author Ashlyn Drewek excels at darkly delicious enemies-to-lovers romances and pulled no punches in this sequel to Malum Discordae, Book 1 of Tennebrose. I definitely enjoyed this book more than its predecessor.

    Tennebrose is a secretly magical university in Winslow, where witches trace their family histories to the past 400 years. The university is where their sons and daughters study among unaware non-magical students.

    Phelan Oliver is a necromancer from a renowned family of necromancers currently working as a research librarian at the university. The necromancers of Winslow have been systematically summoning demons listed in the Book of Lazarus, only to kill them once they appear. Phelan is one of those involved in the rituals, though his powers barely exist.

    The fun started when Demon Prince Remiel spotted him and took a liking to the necromancer. After stalking Phelan for a while, only to find out how blah the man’s life is, he whisked the necromancer to his domain in hell and had his wicked way with him.

    On her website, the author admitts that writing the non-con parts was difficult.

    “Given all the other horrible things Remiel does, why should that one thing stop him? So even though I knew some readers would hate me for it, I left my human morality at the door and wrote my demon prince as authentically as I could. Did I say it was ok? No. Does Phelan say it’s ok? No. In fact, he brings it up to Remiel on two different occasions to let him know he hasn’t forgotten. But Phelan (and I) also realized Remiel would never apologize for something he didn’t feel bad about because he doesn’t see right/wrong the same way we do. “

    And yes, Remiel is the best character here. Sardonic and sauve, he was always true to his demon nature. He was both the dastardly villain and the charming prince sweeping our boy off his feet. He resorts to torture and seduction to weaken Phelan’s resolve, he could be so amoral and cold in some situations, then be a source of comfort and subtle but heartfelt affection.

    And always, Phelan’s most fiercest protector.

    Complicated he may be, there are no doubts about his deep, unspoken feelings for the necromancer. The tender feather caresses were my favorite!

    Phelan, on the other hand, behaves as most ultra-religious MCs I’ve read. This is a man who lives like a 14th-century monk, denying himself pleasure, remaining completely celibate throughout his 30 years, and even whipping himself with those nasty whips used by flagellates.

    Initially, he proved quite resistant to Remiel’s methods of seduction because our boy is nothing if not stubborn. He even outwitted the demon prince once. At times, I wasn’t impressed with his actions and reactions, always with the woes, the blame, or begging for punishment from God because he was in complete denial of who he is

    Phelan shines best when he’s going toe to toe with demons. Our boy can be quite ballsy and surprisingly wily, outwitting yet another demon prince to save his demon prince. The necromancer even challenged the king of hell in a gutsy move that completely won me over.

    This is a long book about the ever-evolving and hella nuclear relationship between Remiel and Phelan. The sexual tension burns like the flames of hell, leaving our virgin hero scorched, conflicted, and then later, became Remiel’s most feral savior. The evolution of their romance was well-paced, convincing, and deliciously satisfying!

    Interwoven with the romance are fascinating twisty-turny threads of family secrets, dark pasts, demon wars, town conspiracies, deadly grimoires, and powerful arcane relics bestowed by God himself. Tennebrose lore was already rich and here it brought the series to another level!

    There are minor hiccups, things the editor might have missed. Like how one body part was able to reach a certain body part when they were already in a certain position. Or a couple of reactions that seemed confusing or out of character.

    Also, just a heads up if you are sensitive about religion, the story might appear to have a grim view of Catholicism and religion as a whole. This is usually voiced through Remiel, who continuously challenges Phelan to be honest with himself and embrace his true nature.

    But, however tumultuous and dark the journey is for Phelan, in the end, it’s all in God’s plan. And it was the most bombastic, genius coup de etat + coup de gras + literal deus ex machina climax, I could only shake my head in amazement!

    It turned Phelan’s world upside down and inside out, and just like that, he found his place in the grand scheme of things. I could imagine the Almighty giving Phelan and Remiel a big, cheeky wink across the cosmos.

    Igni Ferroque is a potent brew of occult and romance told with the skill of a born storyteller. Overall, unapologetically dark and incendiary!

    Rating:
    4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away

    Soundtrack: Sanctify
    Artist: Olly Alexander (Years & Years)
    Album: Sanctify

    P.S.

    Tennebrose books can be read as standalones but get to know the discordant town of Winslow in Malum Discordiae.


    If you like my content, please consider using my Amazon affiliate links below to buy your copy of Igni Ferroque. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying Amazon purchases at no additional cost to you.

    IGNI FERROQUEKindle I Audiobook

    If you like my content, please consider supporting me on Ko-fi or PayPal. Your donations will help keep this website going. Thank you so much!

  • book,  Uncategorized

    REVIEW: Gentlemen Prefer Villains by C. Rochelle

    Villainous Things: Gentlemen Prefer Villains – C. Rochelle

    Simon

    I needed to get the hell out of Big City.

    The only reason I was living in this American wasteland was because my mother insisted I reconcile with my estranged father. That the idea came to her while drunk on the French bubbly should have been my sign to stay right where I belonged.

    Anywhere but here. Certainly somewhere more fabulous.

    When an international job opportunity arises, I jump on board. It’s just a bonus that I’ll be traveling with the epitome of tall, dark, and handsome.

    Make that muscular, morally gray, and hopefully, my next conquest.

    What’s a casual fling between coworkers, after all? I’m ready for my next big adventure—far from Big City—so if whatever we’re up to is vaguely illegal, I’ll simply turn the other cheek.

    It’s not like some superhero is going to swoop in and stop a couple of humans like us.

    Wolfgang

    I may have orchestrated my villainous parents’ deaths, but that doesn’t mean the crushing weight of my responsibilities is easy to bear.

    My sister was the only one of my siblings who knew how badly they treated me. The only one I told how much I despise my powers. Now she’s on the run—leaving me to carry this alone.

    But then I meet him. I may have hired Simon Alarie as my assistant, but it’s instantly apparent he’s much more than that. He’s not only intelligent and business savvy, but fiercely loyal, and the tastiest—most forbidden—little thing I’ve ever seen.

    Nothing can come of it. Because if I touch him, he dies.

    That doesn’t stop me from claiming him as mine. Whether or not this normie knows it, every inch of him—every breath he takes—belongs to me. And anyone who thinks otherwise will meet the Hand of Death.

    Gentlemen Prefer Villains is an MM romance between a villain and a “normie.” Our men find other men in tight supersuits incredibly attractive. Sometimes, they keep these supersuits on while engaging in explicit extracurricular activities with each other (and sometimes they even use bad words!). This is not your kid’s superhero book. This is Sin City and The Boys having a love child with extra spicy Spideypool and is meant for 18+ adults who can handle such things.

    The Villainous Things series contains standalone books (each with HEAs) that feature interconnected characters and an overarching plot. You should read them in order (starting with Not All Himbos Wear Capes)

    IF YOU LOVE (full list of CW/TW coming soon to the authors’ webpage)

    • Superheroes/villains (and the “normies” who love them)

    • Big skerry boss + his sassy li’l assistant (SIZE DIFFERENCE)

    • Mafia vibes

    • Touch Him & Perish vibes too

    • Casual psychopaths with mutual obsession

    • SO MUCH TENSION

    • Leather

    • Extra spicy extracurricular activities

    • Naughty dark humor + sweary dialogue

    • MM romance (in case you missed that part)

    • A James Bond meets Catch Me If You Can international romp

    Then shake your martini and power up!


    It boils down to this: I loved the book, I didn’t like Simon.

    Gentlemen Prefer Villains, Book 2 of Villainous Things, picks up after the events of Not All Himbos Wear Capes. Violencia is missing, and Wolfgang, now head of the Suarez family and currently using his civilian identity, is looking for a personal assistant to help look for his sister.

    Simon Alarie, spoiled son of a serial gold digger, is being interviewed. Wolfgang walks in to gauge his reaction since the notorious villain is used to being feared even out of uniform. To his surprise, not only Simon didn’t show any signs of fear, he outrageously flirted with him. He was hired on the spot.

    This is why I didn’t warm up to Simon. He was so annoying!!! Too pushy and rude!! And being spoiled, he started bossing Wolfie around, thinking the bigger man was a bodyguard. I didn’t like Wolfie being bossed around, not even if Wolfie claimed to like it.

    Wolfgang was the most enigmatic Suarez in Not All Himbos Wear Capes and one of the most powerful villains in Big City. He can absorb the power of any supe he touches or the lifeforce of a normie. One touch means instant death. No one has voluntarily touched Wolfie since he accidentally killed his nanny as a toddler.

    He was raised as a weapon by his abusive parents. As a child, his father, Apocalypto Man, ordered him to run while he hunted him in the middle of the Argentinian forest. If Wolfie is caught, he’d be killed. He was only eight years old then. This is only one of the many “trainings” he had to endure.

    As the Hand of Death, Wolfie killed whoever his parents wanted dead. As the eldest Suarez sibling, he did all he could so that his siblings were spared a similar fate. Wolfie is a born protector and carer.

    So I wasn’t thrilled about him being bossed around. After a lifetime of taking orders, I wanted him in charge.

    As the story progresses, it becomes more apparent that Simon is a psychopath. His dynamics with Wolfie are pretty similar to Julian Castellani and Leo Bernardi (His Fatal Love). Murder husbands is a favorite trope, and I wanted to like Simon, but I’m sorry, the man lacked Julian’s charm.

    The closest thing I came to liking Simon was when he went beast mode and bit everyone’s head off when Wolfie went missing. At least we know this bratty psycho will burn the world for his man. Wolfie deserves that level of devotion.

    The world-building in Villainous Things gives us enough details to imagine the scenarios, but it’s not as tightly constructed or as richly conceived as the more hardcore superhero stories. The series tends to focus more on sexy times, particularly the BDSM aspect. I’m not a fan of BDSM, so I’m neutral about the couples.

    Part of the plot is a fascinating glimpse of supe history, going back thousands of years. I hope it will be explored further because it would give the series a rich lore that could spawn more stories. It also helps with the world-building. 

    My favorite part is The Rabble, as Wolfie calls the Suarez group chat. Xander is The Mouthy One, and Butch is The Token Hero. The twins, Andre and Gabriel, are Thing One and Thing Two, while Baltazar is The Dumb One. The sibling interactions are hilarious, and I think it’s a missed opportunity not to have them together in more scenes, ala war room scenes in Necessary Evils.

    The most poignant part is Wolfie’s relationship with V. She’s closest to him, his sounding board, and the only one who knew about the abuse he suffered. Not knowing what state he will find V in or that he might be forced to kill her, since V’s berserker power makes her both deadly and also susceptible to other’s control.

    I am aware I am reading Gentlemen Prefer Villains wrong. The book is all about bratty, bossy, and BDSM, while I wanted supe lore, sibling banter, and superhuman fight scenes. Still, I got enough of the parts I wanted that I am looking forward to the next Suarez, which is Balti!

    Overall, gentlemanly villains are much preferred!

    Rating:
    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Villain
    Artist: Missio
    Album: Villain

    P.S.

    Villainous Things should be read in order. Watch The Mouthy One and The Token Hero shake things up in Big City and in the bedroom in Not All Himbos Wear Capes.


    If you like my content, please consider using my Amazon affiliate links below to buy your copy of Gentlemen Prefer Villains. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying Amazon purchases at no additional cost to you.

    GENTLEMEN PREFER VILLAINSKindle | Audiobook

    If you like my content, please consider supporting me on Ko-fi or PayPal. Your donations will help keep this website going. Thank you so much!

  • book,  Uncategorized

    SERIES REVIEW: Necromancer Rising Books 1 & 2 by Richard Amos

    Necromancer Rising: Death Eternal – Richard Amos

    Death is supposed to be the end.
    Not in my world.

    The dead never move on, not since Death walked off the job and disappeared. As a necromancer, it’s my job to police the spirits while they remain stuck and, well, problematic a lot of the time.

    Death really needs to take his head out of his backside and get back to work, wherever he might be.

    After a horrible incident in the tunnels of the London Underground, my life takes a sharp turn. It’s all my fault and I’m sent off to a small town, a move to keep me out of sight and mind for the time being. Shamed, reputation dragged through the dirt.

    I’m not getting that promotion anytime soon.

    On my first day in the town, I get caught up in a strange murder case, and Death saves my life.
    Yes, the Death. The delectable, mysterious Death.

    Goodness, he is hotness personified. But what happened to make him walk away from his responsibilities? And why is he so deliciously tempting, my desire a raging inferno every time he looks at me with those incredible eyes?
    I shouldn’t be thinking of an immortal being like this, but with every passing hour I can’t stop myself from falling deeper into infatuation.

    I want him.

    Resistance is… impossible.

    Death Eternal is the first book in an M/M Paranormal Urban Fantasy Romance series packed with mystery, danger, a knitting necromancer, a delectable immortal being, plenty of sizzle, and rather disgusting liquid mushrooms.


    Rating:
    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Cosmic
    Artist: Benjamin Carter
    Album: Self_Portrait: Vol. 1


    Necromancer Rising: Death Enraptured – Richard Amos

    Follow my heart and make a mess…
    That’s putting it mildly.

    My life has really taken a complicated turn here in Oakthorne. I keep hoping some fairy godmother will show up and offer me a nice bit of time reversal. Not too much, just enough to ease this pain.

    Yeah. Right.

    Anyway, as much as there’s hurt, there’s also Death. He is the complication, but a beautiful one I can’t resist when I really, really should. He consumes my every waking moment, submerges me in raging desire I never want to break free of.

    Damn.

    On top of that messiness, there’s a mystery to solve, a bad guy to defeat, and other new developments within myself to deal with.

    So much to do.
    So much danger to face.

    Where the hell is that fairy godmother?

    Death Enraptured is the second book in an M/M Paranormal Urban Fantasy Romance series packed with mystery, danger, a knitting necromancer, a delectable immortal being, plenty of sizzle, and rather disgusting liquid mushrooms.


    Rating:
    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Enter The Mirror
    Artist: Everything Everything
    Album: Mountainhead


    In the graphic novel Sandman, Lucifer quit his job and handed the keys to Hell to Morpheus. Then, he went on to have fun. The world went on spinning.

    Necromancer Rising, an urban fantasy by Richard Amos, sets a world where Death quit. Which begs the question, WHY?

    Death hanging up his scythe means ghosts. Lots and lots of ghosts and people acquiring necromantic powers to handle them.

    Necromancers are easily identified by their silver hair. They have five threads of magic that can be used to bind or release ghosts to sanctuaries, a place made specially for them since without Death, they cannot move on to the afterlife.

    Marcel August is a London-based necromancer suddenly transferred to Oakthorne after a mission gone awry that left his bestfriend, Jenn, severely injured. On his way to the town, he encountered a ghost that led him to the famous caves, where there were some trouble. He got injured and was rescued by a mysterious man.

    Later, Marcel met his new boss, the High Warden, a friendly man named Nicholas West and his taciturn husband, Leon. Nick was a stark contrast to the stone cold High Warden of London, Emma. Marcel has the worst luck in bosses as it later turned out.

    Marcel is tasked to look for a missing ghost. Then the mysterious man who rescued him turned up his door bearing gifts.

    This is where things get dicey and hell of a lot swoonier.

    The overarching plot is to stop the lich from taking over the world. As an urban fantasy, this is a twisty-turn-y, action-packed necromancer procedural, a.k.a. murder mystery, with plenty of magic spells thrown about. I loved how the events of Death Eternal and Death Enraptured go from grim to complete clusterfuck to freakin’ catastrophic. No rest for our weary boy, Marcel.

    Marcel goes from dreaming of a promotion to pretty much exiled to a small town to being lulled into a false sense of security to being lich fodder, only to evolved into something more. Add to that his forbidden romance with Death that has apocalyptic consequences, this series has all the mellow drama and the epic awesomeness!

    So, Death. Hmm, I don’t know. The immortal is conflicting mix of drool-worthy and cringe. That he’s gorgeous is pretty much a given. But the fashion sense, ew!

    The lich is right in criticizing his lame style. Tight leather pants, satin shirt open at the chest with multiple piercings? That screams sleazy rather than sizzling. I’d rather he go the John Wick route in tailored suits or a 70s punk in plaid bondage pants with distressed sweater.

    But as a love interest, the immortal is a master of seduction and muffins. Death could be a cheesy mofo but mostly, he says the most romantic things.

    At first doing the hot/cold dance, then later a steadier presence in Marcel’s life, Death fights a secret battle against the forces that kept him and Marcel apart. Been doing so for centuries, he and Marcel are cursed to repeat the cycle of love and destruction.

    In Death Eternal, it took a while for the book to get to the meat of things, taking its time to establish the world and have Marcel interact with the secondary characters. Death lacked depth as a character since he was presented as a mysterious entity.

    In Death Enraptured, the lovers work to circumvent the curse. They make questionable decisions, suffer betrayals, and just plain suffer. High Warden Emma is the worst character here, absolutely heartless.

    The books in the series end in cliffhangers so they must be read in order.

    Necromancer Rising is an entertaining series I’ll be reading till the end. The romance is one for the ages, heartbreaking but so fun to root for. The characters are a mix of intriguing and abysmal. The fight scenes pulled no punches. Overall, a bit all over the place, but worth hanging up the death scythe.


    If you like my content, please consider using my Amazon affiliate links below to buy your copy of Necromancer Rising. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying Amazon purchases at no additional cost to you.

    NECROMANCER RISINGKindle | Audiobook

    If you like my content, please consider supporting me on Ko-fi or PayPal. Your donations will help keep this website going. Thank you so much!