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    SERIES REVIEW: Witchbane Books 4 & 5 by Morgan Brice

    Witchbane is a series that started off as a disappointment but became better and better with each new installment. The main thing that kept me hanging on was that I really liked the paranormal world Morgan Brice created. This series is part of her shared Morgan Brice/Gail Z. Martin world that includes Badlands, Deadly Curiosities, Treasure Trail, and other series.

    Witchbane is about an ongoing witchhunt for disciples of th evil warlock, Ryfel Gremory, who was killed by the sheriff and his men hundreds of years ago. As revenge and to keep themselves immortal, the disciples sacrifice the first born son of the men who killed their master every 12 years.

    Seth would have been another victim had his brother, Jesse, not been mistaken as him and murdered. Vowing to avenge his brother, he made it his mission to track down the disciples.

    Evan was one of the intended victims but Seth was able to save him. After initial distrust, the two quickly became partners in more ways than one.

    This is a review of Books 4 and 5. I haven’t read book 2, Burn.


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    Witchbane: Flame and Ash – Morgan Brice

    The third novel in the Witchbane series.

    One hundred years ago, a sheriff’s posse killed dark warlock Rhyfel Gremory, but his witch-disciples escaped, and their magic made them nearly immortal. To keep their power, each year one of the witch-disciples kills a descendant of one of the men in the posse, a twelve-year cycle that has cost dozens of lives, including that of Seth Tanner’s brother, Jesse

    Seth rescued Evan Malone from one of the witches, and they’ve fallen in love despite the danger and chaos, going on the road to complete the quest and bring an end to the ritual murders. Their relationship is new, their emotions are raw, and the danger is real. It’s a challenge to find their way as a couple while they’re on the road together in the close quarters of Seth’s RV, training in magic and combat skills to fight off a supernatural killer.

    In pursuit of the next witch-disciple, Seth and Evan team up with older hunters Milo and Toby as their quest to stop a century-long killing spree takes them to a small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains. They’re ahead of the sacrifice cycle, with plans to stop the murders and kill the dark witch. Only this time, the hunters become the hunted when the witch knows they’re coming to get him, and has deadly plans of his own. When their lives are on the line, will love be enough?

    Flame and Ash contains sexually explicit content intended for adults 18 and over.


    Flame and Ash is meeting Seth’s family and Evan coming into his own.

    The story started with something as close to normalcy two witch-hunting boyfriends can get, which is meet the parents. Seth brings Evan to meet his mentors/foster dads, Toby and Milo. These two grizzled hunters took Seth under their wing when he was just starting on his mission. I’ve heard so much about them so I’m happy they finally made their appearance.

    I loved this two oldsters always grousing about each other with so much affection. They give the boys hope that there’s a happier future together after their very dangerous and seemingly endless mission.

    When I first met him, I thought Evan was too much of a TSTL character. Distrustful of Seth who saved him, too trusting of appearances and not much good in a fight. But he has grown by leaps and bounds with every book. Here, it was up to him to save Seth when his boyfriend was hexed by a henchman of the witch they’re hunting. If I had any lingering doubts about Evan, well, our boy proved his mettle.

    The book takes us to a very weird museum that was inspired a real life one. There’s also the very real Road To Nowhere. I enjoyed the creepy artifacts. All of these were worked brilliantly into the story, amping the suspense and adding to the chills and thrills the series is known for.

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

    Soundtrack: Up In Flames
    Artist: Ruelle
    Album: Up In Flames


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    Witchbane: Unholy – Morgan Brice

    A cycle of ritual murders. A coven of dark warlocks, drawing their immortality from the magic of their dead master. Two men sworn to stop the deaths, destroy the warlocks, and avenge the victims. Except this time, the killer flips the script.

    Seth Tanner swore vengeance on the dark witches who killed his brother, Jesse. He rescued Evan Malone from one of the witches, and they’ve fallen in love despite the danger and chaos, going on the road to complete the quest and bring an end to the ritual murders. Their relationship is still new, tested at every turn by danger and magic.

    Seth and Evan head to Charleston to stop the next warlock and save his intended victim. But this time, they’re too late. The warlock has already powered up, and he’s determined to destroy the two hunters one way or another. A deadly curse on Seth and Evan means time is running out. Can they find a way to turn the tables, or is Charleston their final destination?

    Unholy is an urban fantasy MM paranormal romance with plenty of supernatural suspense, hurt/comfort, hot sex, found family, dark magic, and paranormal thrills. It is part of a series but can be read as a standalone and features an evolving, established romantic relationship with all the feels. Intended for readers 18 years of age and older.


    Unholy gave Seth and Evan more friends. Also, they were cursed with blue balls.

    Witchhunting is a lonely business. Most of the time, it’s long hours on the road just the two of them. Many of the ‘cameos’ from characters of other books were either though mentions by name or communication through email or phone. Here, we meet some of these people.

    Their latest target took Seth and Evan to Charleston. Readers of Deadly Curiousity will recognize the place as home to Cassidy, Teag and their friends. They have been helping the boys indirectly for a long time now so I’m very glad to see them finally interacting face to face. I loved how they all rallied to Seth and Evan’s aid.

    The boys also learned something about the warlock that changed their perspectives. I think it was a great twist to what would otherwise be the same old pattern of roadtrips and hunting.

    All the books have a lot of action/suspense in them but this book felt more dynamic than the rest. Maybe it’s because there are more characters involved. It also had two climactic scenes that were executed brilliantly. The author was able to give each MC their moment to shine without one overshadowing the other.

    Not only was this aspect of the story pulled off skillfully, the romance was so damn good! When a relationship is going well, it is common for authors to deploy the separation. Morgan Brice did just that. It was how she did it that made it extra excruciating for the boys. Evil. I loved it!

    Seth and Evan were cursed by a touch-me-not spell. This means that they cannot touch each other or else they will eventually kill one another.

    Now this curse might not be exactly new, but it’s very effective. You can feel the longing, the sheer torture of not being able to touch your lover when he’s so close, that pang of sadness at seeing others casually shaking his hand when you can’t. All the feels leaping off the page! And the boys had tensions aplenty so they had to get creative.

    All in all their Charleston experience shake things up for our boys. I consider this the best book so far.

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

    Soundtrack: Together
    Artist: Arula
    Album: We Belong


    From the too insta-love beginning that favored steam to substance and world-building to well-written, well-rounded sequels that completely won me over, Witchbane has certainly come a long way. You can definitely see how everything, from the characters, to the plot, to the writing, improved the further we get into the series.

    The paranormal elements has always been its strongest suit and it always worked beautifully with the plot. I liked the idea of rote magic, the kind of magic that you can learn through practice. Normally, I’m all about high-level spells but I think it’s just right that Seth and Evan can only do simple spells. After all, they were just ordinary joes who were suddenly thrust into the world of the supernatural.

    Lastly, Seth and Evan takes readers on a road trip all over the US. I am not a fan of road trips in books but they made it enjoyable. I’ve always wanted to tour places mentioned in books. Like how anime fans make pilgrimages to sites shown in anime. The supernatural element coupled with the various unusual points of interest the author included in the stories makes Witchbane a good source of bookish places to visit. Places that might even have a real witch or two.

    P.S.

    To get the most out the experience, Witchbane is best read in order. Check out Seth and Evan’s wonky beginnings in Book 1, Witchbane (review here). And watch them hit their stride in Book 3, Dark Rivers (review here).


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  • book,  Uncategorized

    REVIEW: Dark Rivers by Morgan Brice

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    Witchbane: Dark Rivers – Morgan Brice

    One hundred years ago, a sheriff’s posse killed dark warlock Rhyfel Gremory, but his witch-disciples escaped, and their magic made them nearly immortal. To keep their power, each year one of the witch-disciples kills a descendant of one of the men in the posse, a twelve-year cycle that has cost dozens of lives, including that of Seth Tanner’s brother, Jesse.

    Seth Tanner uncovers the cycle of ritual killings that feeds the power of the witch-disciples, and he’s hell bent on getting vengeance for Jesse and stopping the murders. His fledgling romantic relationship with Evan Malone complicates his mission, but Seth can’t walk away. Seth and Evan are learning to navigate their partnership—as lovers and monster hunters—while they chase down the next witch-disciple and avoid attracting the wrong kind of attention.

    When the hunt takes Seth and Evan to Pittsburgh on the trail of the next killer, they’ll have to save the intended victim and take down the powerful witch. If the skills they possess and the bond between them isn’t enough, the evil will remain unchallenged, and more people will die…

    Note: Includes mention of past domestic violence and stalking.

    While Witchbane, book one, left me unimpressed, Dark Rivers, the second book went a long way into convincing me about this series. Enough to earn an extra star.

    One of the best things about it was that Evan definitely improved a lot. He is now far from the TSTL character I tagged him in the first book. Now he can do magic spells using sigils and martial arts. He and Seth still has to deal with PTSD but he was able to keep his cool during his abduction. And saved himself. Attaboy!

    I also complained previously about the first book trying too hard to be steamy. Here, the horny thoughts and sex scenes were less distracting and mesh more naturally into the story. The developments between Seth and Evan was more believable and I’m now sold on their romance.

    The POV switched between Evan and Seth which generally worked throughout the story, although I would have wanted Evan’s POV when he was fighting with Mike, the psycho ex, instead of having it relayed through Seth’s eyes.

    The writing is still straightforward and no frills but the suspense is tighter and the story is more action packed. A big plus is the introduction of the other monster hunter team, ex-priest Travis and former special ops Brent, characters from the author’s other series, Night Vigil. I know Seth and Evan could hold their own in a fight but it’s comforting to know there are other people who can watch their backs.

    Overall, this is a good sequel to Witchbane and though still far from perfect, is definitely much better written. The author was able to address some issues from the first book and also gave our heroes time to grow and catch a break. And most importantly, Dark Rivers succeeded in changing my mind about this series. I’m definitely into this now so good job, Morgan Brice!

    P.S.

    review of Witchbane here
    other Morgan Brice books here

    I received a copy of Dark Rivers from Darkwind Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

    Rating:
    3.5 Stars – that place between like and love

    Soundtrack: Where The River Flows
    Artist: Collective Soul
    Album: Collective Soul

  • book,  Uncategorized

    REVIEW: Witchbane by Morgan Brice

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    Witchbane – Morgan Brice

    Seth Tanner and his brother Jesse’s fun evening debunking local urban legends ends with Jesse’s gruesome murder. Seth vows revenge on Jesse’s killer – too bad the murderer has been dead for a hundred years. Seth uncovers a cycle of ritual killings that feed the power of a dark warlock’s immortal witch-disciples, and he’s hell bent on stopping Jackson Malone from becoming the next victim. He’s used to risking his neck. He never intended to risk his heart.

    I had high hopes for this. Sadly, it wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be.

    Witchbane would have been more effective if it spent more time establishing the occult elements instead of trying too hard to be steamy. It was annoying how Seth and Evan’s almost every other thought drifted to boning each other instead of putting more effort at finding that witch which kills the momentum of whatever chilling suspense Morgan Brice was setting up. I also found the writing repetitive at some points.

    I wasn’t convinced Seth and Evan should be using the L-word already given that they hardly trust each other and have known each other barely a week. Also, Evan was TSTL which is ironic for somebody who ran away from home and should have honed his stranger danger radar already. I was amazed at how easily he trusted a stranger simply because that person was a cop. ‘Round these parts, we never trust cops. I know it’s a cultural difference thing but still, after what he had seen, why is he still doubting Seth?

    I liked Seth and I could see he was really trying hard to do his job. He has no compunction about lying or hacking or breaking the law which at first glance makes him suspect but monsters don’t follow human laws and the necessities of monster hunting calls for creativity and an open mind. I want to see Seth becoming a sort of MacGyver because heck, I haven’t seen a MacGyver type of character in MM so far.

    This is another series where the world is more interesting than the execution of the plot. The Witchbane world is interconnected with the Badlands worlds and I really liked Badlands. I’m hoping for cameos in both series although, TBH, I would probably stick with Badlands at this point.

    P.S.

    review of Badlands here

    I received a copy of Witchbane from Dark Wind Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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

    Soundtrack: Small Town Witch
    Artist: Sneaker Pimps
    Album: Bloodsport