• book,  Uncategorized

    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!

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

    Soundtrack: Sunshine
    Artist: Teenage Wrist
    Album: Still Love


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

    THE NECROMANCER’S LIGHTKindle | 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: Gloam by Lily Mayne

    Monstrous: Gloam – Lily Mayne

    When a strange woman shows up outside our camp in the Wastes with monsters chained up to her RV, it feels like I’m the only one who actually wants to help them.

    That big, grey-skinned monster with the cage on his head and the chain hanging from his back—something is telling me I need to help him. I need to free him. But I have absolutely no idea how I’m supposed to do that, especially when he can’t even talk to me to tell me how.

    Collector Mary is finally leaving our camp to head back to her monster menagerie, so I do the only thing I can think of to help him. I go with her.

    Now, this big beastie and I are traveling companions for the foreseeable future. Now I just have to think of a way to get that cage off his head, which seems like an impossible task. But I’m not giving up. He has no one else, and when I start to discover who he is beneath the cage, my motivation to free him becomes far more than just a desire to help.

    This is so dangerous. The military is lurking. Vicious monsters are lurking. And when Mary turns out to be even worse than we could have ever imagined, my desperate bid to save this monster turns into a deadly game of cat and mouse.

    I’m pretty sure I’m going to die out here.

    Gloam is Book Four of the Monstrous series, a post-apocalyptic m/m fantasy series that features monsters and human men falling in love. It is best to read the series in order. Warning: This m/m love story contains explicit sexual content and is not suitable for young readers. It also contains graphic depictions of torture and violence.


    Monstrous, Lily Mayne‘s brilliant post-apocalyptic series continues the trek through the monster-ridden wastelands of America with Book 4, Gloam.

    Gloam started with a thirsty young raider, Rig, lusting over the muscles of a huge, grey-skinned monster chained to an RV with a cage over his head. The antoran, along with two other beasties, were captives of a sinister human named Collector Mary. Feeling sorry for the big guy, Rig set out to free the beastie, and he was prepared to take all the risks, including leaving the raider camp and going with Collector Mary.

    We know Rig from Book 3, The Rycke, as Ghost’s impulsive best friend. He’s the camp’s mechanic, good at fixing stuff, hence the name. Rig is also naive and doesn’t have much experience outside the camp, so I was looking forward to see how our boy survives the Wastes.

    Risking his life, limb, and sanity, Rig’s pursuit to free Gloam took him through the Wastes, cannibal cults, the military, Mary’s vile thoughts, and more monsters. It was an adventure as exciting and suspenseful as the others, if a bit less action-packed. The story focused more on building Gloam and Rig’s relationship, which developed beautifully.

    At the heart of it all is a pure-hearted young man who is very determined to do the right thing because nobody, not even beasties, deserves to be abused. What gripped me the most was that Rig broke down, bawled like a baby, and blubbered like an idiot, but never, ever stopped trying to free Gloam. Even before Gloam could talk to him, and even before falling in love with the beastie! Our boy is a fluffy marshmallow with a core of steel!

    Gloam spent most of the story unable to speak, but Rig deviced a clever way for them to communicate. The big beastie might be super brawny, but he’s also surprisingly cultured and scholarly. His voice really showed off that gentle side of him! I recommend audiobooking this and the other books because Michael Lesley is giving us his best voices in this series!

    I loved the big guy! Gloam is one of the sweetest characters in the entire series who kept his innate goodness intact despite being betrayed by his own family, and forced to do the worst, most stomach-churning tasks by his captors, like impaling people in spits while still alive. He didn’t even seek revenge! Gloam has a calming energy that grounds Rig. They are a perfect match!

    There are some loose threads that I hope the author will pick up in future books. Something needs to be done about the cannibal cult! These are the assholes who forced Gloam to do the above-mentioned crime. I hope Samson, the reluctant cult member, gets his own book or will be able to escape. He’s another good guy trapped in a hellish situation. I hope we meet the intriguing beasties from Mary’s menagerie again.

    Gloam is an emotional tale of determination and kindness, a rousing dystopian adventure, and a tender romance that beat the odds. Overall, a moving portrait of the worst and best of humans and monsters.

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

    Soundtrack: Run Wild
    Artist: John Tibbs
    Album: Dead Man Walking

    P.S.

    Monstrous should be read in order. Fall in love with the cinnamon roll monster and their adorable humans.
    Soul Eater
    Edin
    The Rycke
    Wyn


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

    SOUL EATERKindle | Audiobook
    EDINKindle | Audiobook
    THE RYCKEKindle | Audiobook
    WYNKindle | Audiobook
    GLOAM: Kindle | 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: Monstrous Books 1-2 by Lily Mayne

    Monstrous: Soul Eater – Lily Mayne

    Twenty years ago, monsters rose on earth and began a new age of civilization.

    One where humans live in military-controlled, cramped and dirty cities along the coasts, and the majority of the United States is known as the Wastes. A lawless, desolate and dangerous place, teeming with monsters that have claimed the land for their own.

    Including Wyn the Soul Eater.

    He appears every three years, making his way across the country and slaughtering humans randomly, sucking them dry until they’re nothing but husks.

    I’ve only been in the military for six months, but now I’m part of a unit tasked with trying to stop and capture him. And when I’m the only soldier out of hundreds that the Soul Eater leaves alive, I realise that… something about me has intrigued him.

    But what is it? What could a twenty-three year old guy from the south, with no one and nothing in the world, have possibly done to capture the attention of a death monster with horns, blackened fingertips and a face hidden in the dark depths of his hood?

    Soul Eater is the debut novel of Lily Mayne. It is the first in a planned post-apocalyptic fantasy series featuring monsters and human men falling in love. This m/m love story contains explicit content and is not suitable for young readers. It also contains scenes of violence, but don’t worry—they get their happy ending.


    Rating:
    5 Stars – absolutely perfect

    Soundtrack: All Over You
    Artist: Live
    Album: Throwing Copper


    Monstrous: Edin – Lily Mayne

    I was just a boy when the monsters rose on earth, forcing humans to flee to the coastlines and live in cramped, dirty, military-controlled cities. I enlisted as soon as I could to escape.

    Now, I’ve been in the military for twelve years and have the scars—and missing body parts—to prove it. As a hardened soldier who’s spent his fair share of time out in the Wastes—the dangerous place where monsters roam free—I didn’t think anything could surprise me anymore.

    But then circumstance forced me together with a big, annoying purple monster who’s arrogant and bossy and pushes all my buttons in the worst—and best—ways. I need his help, and I hate needing anyone’s help. But the more time I spend with him, the more I realise that maybe there’s more from him that I need. And that he might need things from me too.

    But I’m still a soldier. I still have responsibilities. It doesn’t matter how I feel about Edin, because we can’t be together. It’s too dangerous.

    That doesn’t stop me wanting him, though.

    Edin is Book Two of the Monstrous series, a post-apocalyptic m/m fantasy series that focuses on monsters and human men falling in love. It is best to read the series in order. Warning: This m/m love story contains explicit content and is not suitable for young readers. It also contains graphic depictions of torture and violence, and mentions PTSD.


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

    Soundtrack: Be There
    Artist: Seafret
    Album: Tell Me It’s Real


    Monstrous is a series that piqued my interest because I saw some eye-catching monster/human fanarts. The next thing I knew, I was swept away into the wastelands of post-apocalyptic America, where an interdimensional tear allowed monsters to come to Earth. Humans’ only sanctuary was to live on the coastlines. The army controls everything.

    The series opens with Soul Eater, told from the POV of new military recruit Danny Sullihan, a soldier woefully ill-suited to the job. This Southern boy is too innocent and laid-back.

    For some reason, the recently captured and much-dreaded serial killer, known as the Soul Eater kept asking to talk to him. Then one day, the Soul Eater busted out of his cage and let loose all the other monsters the military kept in captivity. Danny chooses to go with him rather than risk the wastelands alone.

    Majority of the plot is Danny and Wyn the Soul Eater traveling the wastelands and avoiding the army while Danny learns why Wyn is killing people. He also discovers the person behind the dark hood might be a grumpy bastard, but a grumpy bastard who always makes sure to find him his favorite food, a.k.a. peanut butter, whenever they go scavenging.

    The chemistry between Wyn and Danny went from simmering to nuclear, and I loved them so much! I especially loved how Wyn is so ferociously protective of his sweet human, especially that innately pure part of Danny who wouldn’t even pull a gun on another monster.

    There is so much more than romance here. There’s an endless adventure and eye-opening exploration, an utterly endearing friendship between Wyn and his best friend, the purple giant, Edin, and gut-wrenching scenes that were almost too much to bear. It made me infinitely glad, Danny has the Soul Eater in his corner. All in all, this is monster romance done to perfection!

    The second book, Edin, is told from the POV of Hunter, a 12-year military veteran with a prosthetic leg and a spec ops of some sort. He and his best friend, Charlie, came across the ruins of the base destroyed by the freed monsters. Then Charlie was captured by a new group of monsters. Edin found Hunter in a bind and after helping him, agreed to assist in rescuing Charlie.

    This is what I loved most about Edin. The big guy goes around the wastelands helping people he stumbles across. Just because. He’s an adorable teddy bear who loves taking care of people. The part where he helped Hunter with his prosthetic was such a tender moment.

    Hunter might be a surly, sarcastic, anti-social bastard, but he’s loyal to a fault. Very determined to get Charlie back at all costs, he took Edin’s help for granted. But the longer they were together, he had a better appreciation of Edin’s kindness. I wasn’t too keen on him at first, but as his character grew, he endeared himself to me.

    Edin and Hunter have different dynamics, but their chemistry is as sizzling as Wyn and Danny’s. There is a bit of a size difference power play here, but I’m glad Hunter is a big guy himself too. At first, Hunter struggled with his attraction to Edin, but after seeing Edin’s best friend and his human boyfriend, he shed all his qualms and took the leap. They went nuclear too!

    The plot delves deeper into the Monstrous world, revealing more monster+human interactions, mostly the violent type, and a few romantic ones that surprise Hunter. The rescue mission was a thrilling, action-packed adventure and a long overdue comeuppance to those who hurt Danny, courtesy of Wyn. The ending was a lovely, cozy domestic affair, and I couldn’t be happier for our gentle purple giant and his Hunter!

    P.S.

    I wish like hell narrator Michael Lesley would be able to finish the entire series because his monster voices are delightfully spine-tingling! The books should be read in order and best consumed as audiobook.


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

    SOUL EATERKindle | Audiobook
    EDINKindle | 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: Liar City by Allie Therin

    Sugar & Vice: Liar City – Allie Therin

    A murder has Seattle on edge, and it falls to a pacifist empath—and a notorious empath hunter—to find the killer before it’s too late

    It’s the middle of the night when part-time police consultant and full-time empath Reece gets an anonymous call warning him that his detective sister needs his help. At an out-of-the-way Seattle marina, he discovers that three people have been butchered—including the author of the country’s strictest anti-empathy bill, which is just days from being passed into law.

    Soon, Reece’s caller a shadowy government agent known as The Dead Man, who is rumored to deal exclusively in cases involving empathy. He immediately takes over the investigation, locking out both local PD and the FBI, but, strangely, keeps Reece by his side. 

    As the two track an ever-growing trail of violence and destruction across Seattle, Reece must navigate a scared and angry city, an irritating attraction to his mysterious agent companion, and a rising fear that perhaps empaths like him aren’t all flight and no fight after all…


    If there’s one book from this year’s reading list that had me going from “ugh, I’m bored” to “I need more now please, please, please!”, Liar City is it.

    This is the opener of Allie Therin’s urban fantasy series, Sugar & Vice. It’s set in Seattle, where a mutation occurred that turned some humans into empaths. They are known to be the ultimate pacifists, willing to let someone crack their skulls rather than defend themselves when attacked because they feel other people’s pain and emotions.

    Or so they say because, according to some politicians, empaths are actually very dangerous. And here we have a gruesome illustration of exactly how dangerous they can get.

    Reece Davis is an empath and police consultant who unwittingly entangled himself in a murder after a mysterious individual called The Dead Man gave him cryptic warnings. This enigmatic, legendary figure is feared even by his badass sister, Detective Briony “Jamey” St. James.

    The opening chapters were a miserable slog. There were lots of things going on, a squadful of characters I don’t care about suddenly popping on scene, but the plot barely moved forward. I was barely hanging on, but the very intriguing premise kept me going with promises of excitement and amazing displays of superpowers.

    Things picked up once Reece started hanging out with The Dead Man, Evan Grayson. The man is the opposite of Reece. He doesn’t feel anything, has no expressions, and has enhanced abilities that make him nearly invincible.

    Why he is the way he is one of the story’s biggest mysteries. And there are several, from a serial killer to Jamey’s secret abilities, to sinister research organizations, and Reece’s evolving powers. He’s also one of the most effective hooks that kept me glued because I was dying to know his backstory. We’re fed tiny crumbs of info about him here and there, which drove me crazy!

    The story is told from multiple POVs, except Evan’s. Of course. The man just had to be all mysterious and shit. Love him! Meanwhile, Reece is a ball of good intentions and a hot mess of fuck ups. Still, hard to hate a real life Care Bear.

    There is no romance here. Heck, they don’t even touch. There’s just a faintest impression of friendship. But Evan and Reece have the most intense squee-tastic chemistry and the only couple that made me say, “I need them to fuck”.

    Which is ironic because a lot of books I read, I’d rather do without the sex scenes. The couples just don’t have the zing Evan and Reece have, and these two were as platonic as they come. And while I do enjoy the books, without the zing, the sex scenes feel obligatory.

    Once the story hit its stride, it kept things moving fast. There’s still a lot going on but this time, I’m swept away by all the twists, turns and revelations. And once the action started, it became non-stop, edge-of-your-seat melee fights, chase scenes, and mental meltdowns. It’s a spectacle of chaos and mayhem, and I have never been so glad I stuck around to witness all of it!

    And that’s not all. The ending was wonderful mix of frustrating and satisfying because we are fed bigger crumbs of Evan. That only made his mystique even more tantalizing. This will be the death of me!

    Liar City went from almost DNF to one of the best books I’ve read this year. This is the kind of book I want to see as an anime. It certainly lived up to its promise of thrills, feels and big reveals!

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

    Soundtrack: Feel the Pain
    Artist: Dinosaur Jr
    Album: Without A Sound


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

    LIAR CITYKindle | Audiobook

    You can also use my Bookshop affiliate links to buy paperbacks and MP3 CD audiobooks and help support independent bookstores.

    LIAR CITY

    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!