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    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.

    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.


    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.

    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.

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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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    REVIEW: Malum Discordiae by Ashlyn Drewek

    Tennebrose: Malum Discordiae – Ashlyn Drewek

    After Cassius Corbin’s mother was murdered by fellow witches, he learned an invaluable lesson: death comes for us all—even Necromancers. Six years later, enrolling at Tennebrose University with vengeance on his mind, the last thing he expects is to come face to face with Graeme Hewitt, the son of his mother’s killer. As much as Cassius tries to avoid the naive weather witch, fate has other plans.

    In spite of their families’ ongoing feud, they’re forced to work together if they have any hope of passing their required class. But as late nights and stolen moments turn to something more, a rash of demonic murders plagues the university. If they don’t get to the bottom of it, they could both be next.
    MALUM DISCORDIAE is a dark academia, paranormal MM romance about witches, Necromancers, and a blood feud that has lasted centuries. It features plenty of steam, a lot of snark, and the pile of bodies you’d expect in a magical Romeo + Juliet retelling—except this one has a happy ending. 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.

    If there’s one MF romance writer whose shift to MM made me so happy, it’s Ashlyn Drewek. She blew me away with the devastating Stockholm Syndrome romance, The Solnyshko Duet, and I also loved her Beauty and the Beast retelling, Wither. Her stories are typically dark and come with a chockful of trigger warnings.

    Malum Discordiae is the opener of the dark academia paranormal series Tennebrose. This is a Romeo and Juliet retelling but with witches and magic revolving around the secretly magical Tennebrose University. The town and the school are a mix of unaware humans, certain people in the know, and old witch families.

    The story centers around the centuries-old feud between the Corbins and the Hewitts. The Hewitts are nature witches, considered the good ones. The Corbins are necromancers, mostly shunned and reviled because of their dark magic. The rest of the old families fall between light, dark, and neutral.

    Cassius Corbin and Graeme Hewitt considered themselves sworn enemies, until they were forced by their botany professor and plant witch, Ainsworth, to work together on the semester’s project to grow the mythical poison apple tree. It was one tumultuous getting-to-know-you scene after another, where they cycle through hate, lust, generations-old biases, and grudging clarifications.

    Hands down, our boy to die for here is Cassius! Sporting gothic villain good looks, he’s snarky and standoffish, with a big heart hurt too often. A necromancer and a blood witch, his spells frequently involved disturbing methods (skulls on display, tasting blood, talking to ghosts), and he knows full well the stigma against dark witches of his kind.

    Still, Cash went out on a limb for Graeme several times, trying to help him open his eyes. He explained what necromancy really is and why the spells are like that, aware that the cost is revealing family secrets that could easily be used against the Corbins and other necromancers.

    Graeme is why I didn’t give this book 5-stars. Touted as the next deacon of their witch congregation, he’s a powerful weather witch but spectacularly ignorant of his legacy and magic. Seriously, this witch didn’t even know what his family herald looks like. I could forgive this part because he can learn that in Tennebrose.

    But Graeme would listen to Cash explain something, then quick as a flash, turn against Cash because of age-old bigotry compounded by his ignorance. He broke Cash’s trust, and I’m not even sure he made up for the hurts.

    It might sound contradictory, but I do love Graeme and Cash together. Their chemistry is off the charts! The hatesex was sizzling! The push/pull was exciting!

    When Graeme wasn’t being an idiot, you can tell he’s crazy about the snarky necromancer. Usually brass and self-assured, he lets Cash see his vulnerable side. He does acknowledge his lack of training and genuinely tried to learn from Cash, so yeah, not so bad. His magic is supercool, too!

    The supporting cast was great, many of them memorable. Aside from the botany professor Ainsworth, the Corbins, dad Caius and sister, Claudia, surprised Graeme. Meanwhile his parents, Maryann and George, had some secrets of their own. The congregation is lead by the deacon and the selectmen, who arbitrate and record events. The rest of Cash’s and Graeme’s relatives and friends stand in for the Capulets’ and Montagues’ allies.

    Flawed characters aside, the plot hooked me in immediately and kept me riveted for hours. It would have been a one-sitter if not for the need to sleep. It’s a spectacular retelling, with enough familiar elements and not too on the nose. It’s filled with just the right amount of details to establish the setting and the magic system without resorting to info-dumps.

    There’s also several murders, demons lurking, lost grimoires, and centuries of family history to unpack. And with the lovely gothic vibe that speaks to my grim self, this is a well-conceived fictional world I’d love to be in!

    Malum Discordiae is a Shakespearean tale full of heartbreak, revelations, family woes, and a pair of star-crossed lovers who dealt with life and death. All in all, a dark witchy delight!

    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Tethered to the Dark
    Artist: Anya Marina

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    REVIEW: The Necromancer’s Light by Tavia Lark

    Radiance: The Necromancer’s Light – Tavia Lark

    He’ll die without touch.

    As a necromancer, Shae loses a little more of himself every time he uses his magic. Always cold, always touch-starved, the only thing that helps is human contact. But that’s hard to come by when those same dark powers scare everyone away from him. Nobody likes a necromancer.

    Especially a paladin of the Radiant Order.

    Arthur’s still bitter and broken after his last lover stabbed him in the back, and the last thing he needs is another brush with evil. When he agrees to escort the wandering necromancer north, he’s just doing a public service.

    But he never expected Shae to be so clingy. Or distractingly attractive.

    Shae has never felt an aura as warm and safe as Arthur’s. He craves the man’s touch—and more. But everyone he’s ever known has left him, and it’s just a matter of time before Arthur leaves him too.

    Assuming the soul-stealing monsters don’t kill them first.

    The Necromancer’s Light is a gay fantasy romance, with magic, hurt/comfort, and bed sharing for Reasons. First in a series but can be read alone. 56,000 words, HEA guaranteed.

    When I was in college, I was introduced to the Dragonlance books, and predictably, I was drawn to the anti-hero Raistlin. His twin was the golden boy, and so blah, I didn’t bother with him (couldn’t even remember the name).

    The Necromancer’s Light opens the fantasy series, Radiance by new-to-me author Tavia Lark. The titular character, Shae Nightven, reminded me of Raistlin. Too pale, too thin, and wrestling with the temptation to give himself up totally to dark powers.

    Rather than a twin, Shae is paired with golden boy and devout paladin, Arthur Davorin. Happily, Arthur is much more memorable, an all-around sweetheart who couldn’t resist taking care of prickly marshmallow Shae. The book is told in their dual POV.

    The plot is a quest to slay the demon that played a pivotal role in Shae’s tragic past. He has to travel north to his hometown. To do this, the necromancer has to employ a bodyguard because he needs human contact to replenish his soul. He hires Arthur, who is currently in exile, as penance for a crime his ex-lover committed against the Order.

    There is a play of opposites, as well as themes of religion, betrayal, appearances and building trust. Necromancers acquire their powers by dealing with a demon, while paladins worship the Goddess and her light. People are afraid of necromancers and welcome members of the Radiant Order with open arms.

    Shae is dark and perpetually cold because his magic saps his soul. Arthur has an aura that glows as bright as the sun and has the warmth that Shae craves. And Arthur is very much willing to give, which means lotsa bed sharing!

    The world-building is executed adequately with minimal info-dumps. However, they only scratched the surface of some elements, such as the Radiant Order, guilds, the lay of the land, pantheons, and the different magic systems. The spot-on pacing and great writing did the trick of keeping me engaged because they kept the momentum going, even with flashbacks and internal dialogues.

    LOVED how the romance blossomed! Our golden boy is true as an arrow and kept coming back for his prickly marshmallow. There was one frustrating moment where our necromancer let his insecurities get the better of him, but I totally feel for Shae. Because after a decade of being shunned, double-crossed, and reviled, I’d have massive trust issues too.

    Usually the necromancer is the villain, so I am beyond thrilled to peek inside their head and the inner workings of their magic. It’s nasty business, and I hoped Shae washed his hands after. Sadly, there’s no mentioned of this after he stuck his hands inside a week-old corpse. But germs aside, it’s fascinating stuff! And the darkness tempting him makes it even more exciting!

    The Necromancer’s Light is a magical adventure, a single-minded quest for atonement, and a sweet hurt-comfort love story between two men with traumatic pasts. All in all, well-written, fun, and cuddly!

    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Sunshine
    Artist: Teenage Wrist
    Album: Still Love

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