• book,  Uncategorized

    REVIEW: Prophesy Book II: Bringer of Wrath by A.E. Via

    45168748. sy475

    King & Alpha: Prophesy Book II: Bringer of Wrath – A.E. Via

    Shifter and Vampire True Mates story.

    Alek’s older brother, Justice—the Alpha Zenith—was the first shifter to mate with a vampire in many generations, and it was believed the rare, fated pairing would stop at him. But, it hadn’t. Aleksei ‘Alek’ Volkov was second beta, next in succession to the most powerful shifter in the world. He was proud of his title and he took his duties seriously. It was all he had. Until his true mate literally showed up on his doorstep.

    While his brother—the overachiever—excelled at having a vampire as a mate, Alek wasn’t that optimistic he would. He wasn’t averse to love, and he’d often thought of how different his life could’ve turned out if he’d ever experienced the emotion. His life was a mess and he’d worn a mask of stability for a majority of that time, only showing his siblings and pack what they needed to see—a strong Volkov alpha. Not the damaged man he was, with a tortured soul and a rogue wolf.

    Alek dropped his heavy head in his hands.Now, for some reason, I’ve been granted a true vampire mate.And not just any vampire.The intimidating Belleron Liatos.Lord High to the King and the leader of his army.

    Belleron ‘Bell’ Liatos had come to the states for one reason—his best friend and Vampire King, Chadwick Bentley. He certainly didn’t come to be pounced on by a wolf that could act independently of its master. Not only was his destined cherished a complicated and confused man; but he was also unaware of the powerful presence that lurked in the shadows of his soul. Bell didn’t know he’d be the key to unlocking an exceptional triad that would play a critical role in fulfilling the prophesy.

    This story DOES NOT contain or even mention MPREG.
    No multiple pairings. No cliffhangers. Ends with a very HFN.

    Warning:This book is M/M paranormal:If you DO NOT like alpha men shifting into large wolves, or vampires feeding from their destined beloveds, than this may not be the novel for you.


    I liked this better. I wanted to like it more.

    The second book of the King & Alpha series brought together the second-in-commands. Belleron is the bestfriend of King Bentley and Lord High of the Vampires. He is always impeccably dressed and strove to excel at all things. Aleksei was the second beta and next in line to the Alpha Zenith. He’s a genuine, down to earth guy who has a lot of inner conflict. Their story had more things happening compared to the first book, starting with Alek having multiple personalities.

    Alek has his human self, his wolf self and something much darker within him. He can transition seamlessly between all three if they so willed. This created an interesting dynamic with his mate. It was, in a way, an MMMM love story involving two individuals. I totally loved how Bell embraced all of Alek’s selves unconditionally. Though, I kind of suspect his favorite is the dark one because that’s my favorite too.

    Back in book one, Prophesy, Alek lost control of his wolf and latched on to Bell when the vampire showed up at their doorstep. Alek was filled with shame and was too embarrassed to meet Bell again. The second book started with Alek and Bell trying to get to know each other.

    The first quarter of Bringer of Wrath was the exciting part. Bell had to go on a mission to London to apprehend rogue vampires raiding their tombs. His troops were overwhelmed and he was captured. Alek decided to go rescue him despite his natural shifter fear of flying. His younger brother and sister went with him. Things were pretty intense here.

    I liked that this first quarter brought focus to bigger issues in the vampire/shifter world. But sadly, the rest of the book fell short. I wasn’t exactly bored but I wasn’t that excited either. It wasn’t a Mating 101 thing, like Wick and Justice. The romance was actually sweet and enjoyable but it took over the book and completely overshadowed the politics and the world-building.

    Some work could have done to make the world-building much more solid, like providing more details on what exactly are these antagonists fighting for? Because for all appearances, Wick was a good king and so is Justice as the AZ. What is the say of humans in this scenario? Since gods were mentioned, what kinds of pantheons exist and how do they influence the world? And that damn prophesy. The book only paid lip service to it. You can take it out of the story and it would still work just fine. I’m guessing there’s a huge endgame in store so here’s hoping the prophesy aspect will be put to good use.

    The strength of this series lies on the characters. Many characters stood out. I liked them all enough to make me want to follow their stories. The villains were throwaways though but I’m okay with that.

    I was disappointed with the ending. I wanted Bell to have his moment but sadly his much awaited revenge was pre-empted by the introduction of a new character. Said character had the third brother, Mac’s hackles up. Their butting of heads almost made up for Bell’s lost moment.

    Overall, Bringer of Wrath is a much improved sequel to Prophesy. It has similar issues when it comes to balancing the elements of the plot but it has more substance and more developments. I do wish the author strengthen the plots and the overarching threads because the backbones of the series is interesting. I want to find out more about what’s happening in the King & Alpha world so I’m still here for the next one.

    P.S.

    Prophesy review here

    Rating:
    3 Stars – not exactly setting my world on fire but I liked it

    Soundtrack: You Belong To Me
    Artist: Cat Pierce
    Album: CP1

  • book,  Uncategorized

    REVIEW: Prophesy by A.E. Via

    35839947. sy475

    King & Alpha: Prophesy – A.E. Via

    An Enemies to Lovers
    Shifter, Vampire True Mates story.

    Justice Volkov is the youngest Alpha Zenith to ever lead the wolf shifters. Following in his father’s large paw prints was a responsibility he met head on. Now at age thirty-three, he is alpha of the alphas. As a direct descendant of the original Siberian pack, his wolf is bigger and stronger than Justice, himself is sometimes able to control.

    His wolf howled long and hard but Justice kept it inside. It felt like a bass drum beating against his rib cage. The harsh breaths, angry snarls and the determined pacing inside him was overtaking him.

    Justice takes his role of leadership and his legacy very seriously. He has little time for romance, not to mention a true mate. His packs are his priority. With a human government trying to regulate them, an uprising of rogue shifters, and a violent team of scientists trying to experiment on them, Justice has his hands way too full.

    Chadwick ‘Wick’ Bentley is not enthusiastic when the captain of his escort tells him he has to leave his comfortable London home and go back to the States. As the Vampire King, he has no choice but to get his species back in line before they cause anymore chaos. At over one-hundred years old, Wick is no one to trifle with, but his smooth, charismatic manner makes him quite unique, despite the negative reputation vampires have. Wick has had nothing but time up to this point. He doesn’t feel the need to make issues pressing. Nothing is urgent in his life. Until he meets Justice. His beloved.

    “Natural enemies can’t be mates.” Or so Justice thought. He knows his skepticism and rejection is hurting his mate, so while he fights their connection, Wick gets help from a source very close to Justice to help him win his beloved’s heart. Wick is a force all on his own, but when he’s blessed with a special gift from the Mother herself, not even Justice’s powerful wolf can prevent the prophesy from being fulfilled.

    This story DOES NOT contain/mention MPREG.
    No multiple pairings. No cliffhangers. It ends with a very HFN.

    Warning: This book is MM paranormal: If you DO NOT like hot, alpha men shifting into large wolves, or vampires feeding from their mates, this may not be your read.


    Tsk! This could have been epic. This could have been the vampire/shifter series of my dreams.

    Instead, it was so focused on Mating 101, it lost sight of the much bigger picture. That of the prophesy and IMHO, the more interesting vampire/shifter politics. I was mentally urging Justice and Wick to hurry up, sate their mate lust and focus on their duties at hand. As the Alpha Zenith and the King, they have jobs to do, for fuck’s sake.

    Don’t get me wrong, I signed up because I wanted to see a vampire mate with a wolf. I was all hyped up for those hate-filled USTs. Their first meeting, holy hell, that was something! But after they got along and started resolving their tensions, I got bored. And that was practically what 90% of the book was about. It felt like nothing was happening.

    It also felt like going through a checklist of shifter mating rituals. The sniffing, the mating, the marking, the possessiveness, the challenging and so on. This is fine. I get it. I could appreciate it. But can they please do something else too? Like deal with the threats to their world?

    The ‘things that were happening’ were unfortunately crammed in the last 10% of the book. There were humans who were experimenting on shifters and vampires and rebel packs working with them. It irked me that these were barely talked about at all, practically almost an afterthought. They were dealt mostly off-page. Meh.

    And that titular prophecy. It should have been a big deal but the impact was minimized due to the aforemention non-events. Again, meh.

    Rant, I did but I will read the rest of the series. This is me hoping things will get better as it progressed. And like I said, I do get a kick out of a vampire+shifter couple. I love enemies-to-lovers stories. Add paranormal elements and I am all heart-eyes.

    So yeah *sigh*, I wanted to like this so much.

    Rating:
    2.5 Stars – far from hate but not quite a like

    Soundtrack: I Found
    Artist: Amber Run
    Album: 5AM

  • book,  Uncategorized

    REVIEW: The Vampire’s Club 2 by X. Aratare

    44013294. sy475

    Lucas Daniels is mine!

    That is what vampire Count Konstantin “the Wolf” Volk declares to his Vampire House, and even to his Sire, the ancient, dangerous vampire known only as the Nomad. His Sire wants Lucas dead. His closest advisers want Lucas enslaved. Because Lucas is no ordinary human. 

    Lucas finds himself eager to start work at Club Dyavol, even though his memories of his time there are hazy. There is one image burned into his memory: a set of brilliant green eyes that turned red. But no matter what awaits him at the elegant club, he is certain it is better than being around his overly attentive stepfather. 

    But is Lucas running from potential danger to a certain one? 

    These books come with a warning but still, gad, those cliffhangers!!!

    Konstantin is still feeling the effects of Lucas’ blood and imagining a passionate night in the shower with Lucas that seemed oh so real. Meanwhile, Lucas is having one hell of a dream where he claims his Wolf and then a mysterious stranger appeared outside his window. The stranger tried to enter but was repelled by a ward. Lucas wakes up, not sure if it really happened. He goes to the club to start his job and while crossing the street he was nearly hit by a car. Konstantin, who was standing outside the balcony anticipating his arrival, saw the accident and collapsed.

    Totally loved where this is going!

    It was Lucas’ turn to get possessive. He wouldn’t even let anybody touch Konstantin, not even Xavier. Lucas and Konstantin talked. It was heartfelt and sweet. My heart turned to mush ♡( ◡‿◡ )

    Lucas was introduced to Konstantin’s vampire family. It was super adorable the way Lucas and Lizzy bonded. I want more cute scenes from the two of them.

    On the flip side, Lucas’ stepdad is a creep. I hate people who make unwanted physical contact and I get the heebie jeebies from him touching Lucas. I’m hoping he’ll just go away but I expect he’ll cause trouble later on. Like, really BIG trouble.

    Konstantin gets a visit from his Sire, The Nomad, who was concerned about Lucas’ effect on his fledgling. There’s angst coming from Konstantin and some events and people were alluded to that hopefully would be explored later on. All very mysterious and enticing which only sucked me deeper into this immersive paranormal universe.

    Also, once again, it needs to be mentioned, outstanding narration from Ethan Holtan! I loved how he made everything come alive. I hope he narrates more books.

    Book 2 ended with the arrival of the Council who demanded to speak to Konstantin and Lucas is right there! How will The Wolf explain a human working in Club Dyavol? How will he keep Lucas safe? Lucas appears to have some magical connections but is he the key?

    I need answers stat! The suspense is killing me!

    P.S.

    The Vampire’s Club Book 1 here

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

    Soundtrack: Temptation Waits
    Artist: Garbage
    Album: Version 2.0

  • book,  Uncategorized

    REVIEW: The Vampire’s Club by X. Aratare

    43396552. sy475

    The Vampire’s Club – X. Aratare

    Find the Wolf.

    What is that supposed to mean? Those are the words Lucas Daniels hears before stumbling through the brass doors of the elegant Club Dyavol, a club that seems to appear out of nowhere. The club is his last hope of getting a job to escape his predatory stepfather’s home. 

    Who would dare enter a vampire’s sanctuary uninvited?

    Count Konstantin “the Wolf” Volk may be weakened by a curse, but he is still a primal predator. And when he sees a young man venture into his club, bypassing all of his magical and physical protections, more than just his curiosity is aroused. 

    Is there more to this meeting than simple chance? 

    This is the first book of a serial and as per author’s warning, it ends with a cliffhanger.

    I listened to the audiobook version and Ethan Holtan was amazingly good. He’s one of those narrators who actually acts as oppose to just reading the lines with feelings. And I love the special effects they did on “Find the wolf.

    The story is set in Arkham, inside the fascinating world of Club Dyavol, a sanctuary for vampires. The club is visible only to vampires and their guests but for some reason, Lucas was able to see and enter the place. He was looking for a job and decided to try his luck at the club. He could have easily ended up a vampire’s meal that night but Konstantin sensed there was something about Lucas, something that allowed him to breach all the wards and spells so he saved him from Marius, a vampire who was trying to lure Lucas. Lucas was then taken to Konstantin’s private quarter to be interviewed and when Konstantin had a drink of his blood, something unexpected happened.

    Fated ones + vampire/shifter combo could be a hit or miss with me. Either I find it a crap ton of cheese too gooey for my taste or a delicious treat that sizzles and zings. The Vampire’s Club leans toward the latter, the whole mysterious insta-attraction magic done just right. I’m living for the intensity and the air-crackling-between-them feels.

    Konstantin is a great seme. He got that dominant, possessive growl down pat and the wolf thing just added to his appeal. Lucas is perfect as his uke. He submits without being passive and he’s got those big innocent eyes that Konstantin adores. Lucas’ mom is wonderful but his stepdad, from the looks of things, the guy is a creep. Konstantin’s vampire family were all intriguing characters especially Lizzie and Xavier who needs his own book ASAP! A great cast all in all.

    I love reading about vampire politics and this one promises a clash between vampires in high places so I’m definitely looking forward to the power plays. The pacing was good but the world building was a little confusing at some points. There were some histories and people mentioned that were assumed to be known to the reader so I’m guessing this serial is part of a bigger universe. However, it did not significantly affect my experience of the story. I was completely hooked from the beginning.

    Overall, The Vampire’s Club is a great opener. It is dark, enigmatic and oh so seductive, exactly how a vampire should be.

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

    Soundtrack: Threshold
    Artist: Dead Can Dance
    Album: Garden of Arcane Delights

  • book,  Uncategorized

    Green Creek: Ravensong – T.J. Klune

    Gordo Livingstone never forgot the lessons carved into his skin. Hardened by the betrayal of a pack who left him behind, he sought solace in the garage in his tiny mountain town, vowing never again to involve himself in the affairs of wolves.

    It should have been enough.

    And it was, until the wolves came back, and with them, Mark Bennett. In the end, they faced the beast together as a pack… and won.

    Now, a year later, Gordo has found himself once again the witch of the Bennett pack. Green Creek has settled after the death of Richard Collins, and Gordo constantly struggles to ignore Mark and the song that howls between them.

    But time is running out. Something is coming. And this time, it’s crawling from within.

    Some bonds, no matter how strong, were made to be broken

    T.J. Klune wasn’t kidding when he said that Ravensong was “bigger, more hardcore, darker and shit blows up”.

    In the first book, Wolfsong, we meet Ox and Joe, and the Bennett pack. The boys grew up together then fell apart. The book closed with the pack once again united. Now it’s Gordo’s story to tell. 

    Once, there was a boy.
    Once, there was a wolf.
    He had sat with his back against a tree.
    His bare feet were in the grass.
    The boy leaned forward and kissed the wolf.
    And knew then that nothing would ever be the same.

    Ravensong is Gordo’s past, present and future. The first several chapters jumps back and forth from his childhood, growing up with his dad inking magic into his skin, running with the pack, his adventures with Rico, Chris and Tanner, and his encounters with Mark up to his life on the road with Joe, Kelly and Carter on the trail of Richard Collins.The rest of the book deals with the town’s lockdown and the war with Elijah. 

    The hurt. The grief that never entirely goes away. The rage. The hate. The push and the pull. The love. SO.MUCH.FEELS.

     

    The funny thing about hate is the razor-thin line that separates it from something else entirely

    Gordo has been burned time and time again and he doesn’t forgive easily. 

    I don’t believe your promises anymore.

    He also can’t stay away.

    Here, in the dark, hearing him laugh reminded me of the way things once had been. And the way things could be…

    The atypical prose perfectly captures all the raw, hard-edged emotions. Nobody comes out unscathed.

    There were bright spots of irreverent, self-aware humor inserted at just the right places because Team Human is gold. They say out loud the things I’m thinking.  

    The entire Bennett pack is precious. I live for the wolves and the humans. Protect them at all cost!

    It took almost the entire book for Gordo to get his head out of his ass. All while, nobody hesitated to tell him he’s being an asshole. I love it! He and Mark deserved their home.

    I know Wolfsong was epic and awesome but Ravensong was all that and more.  I wholeheartedly recommend the Green Creek series even to those who are not fans of shifter stories because I am also not a fan of shifter stories but T.J. Klune had me howling with his wolves. 

    All my stars for the Bennett pack.

    P.S.

    To fully enjoy Ravensong, it’s best to read Wolfsong first. The books are not standalones.

    A succinct review of Wolfsong here

    T.J. Klune and narrator Kurt Graves’ interview on Jeff and Will’s Big Gay Fiction Podcast here

    Rating:

    5 Stars – absolutely perfect

    Soundtrack: Raven Chant
    Artist: Of The Wand & The Moon
    Album: Nighttime Nightrhymes

    (source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35114241-ravensong)