Book Review

#BookReview #UrbanFantasy // Truth or Dare by Ariana Nash

Truth or Dare
Shadows of London #4
by Ariana Nash


“Note to self” – Do not ever play poker with Ariana Nash, that woman can bluff, double bluff and then bluff some more until you don’t know which way is up and which is down!


Ariana Nash/Pippa DaCosta never fails to pummel, batter and trample my emotions. Every. Single. Time.

A horrible moan pealed from his lips, a sound of grief that made me want to pull him into my arms and hold him until the world went away.

I had to get control of myself. Or at least appear to. I was a card castle inside, a swift breeze away from collapse. And all because I thought I’d lost him.

It’s taken a while, but Dom and Alex have finally become my very favourite Ariana Nash couple, sorry but step aside Eroan and Lysander. Dom has always been up there with Caleb, Ace Dante, Severn and Lysander but until this book, Alex hadn’t quite won my heart. In Truth or Dare, we get to see a much less put together side of Kempthorne, a softer, more vulnerable aspect of him. Though he is still keeping those damn secrets from Dom, about Dom, and I’m just wondering what consequences those secrets (lies by omission?) might herald.

The quiet, soft, hand holding, fluttering kisses, and gentle stroking… that filled my heart full of fear and doubt and stupid ideas about keeping him. About there being a Me and Him. An Alex and John.

As Dom and Alex investigate Kage’s disappearance we learn so much more about Hollywood, understood his motivations and began to forgive him. In some ways he was like Dom, doing the wrong things for good, or at least understandable, reasons. Something I love about the author’s writing is that she makes some of her breadcrumb clues so obvious that you miss the others, the more important ones, the ones that either add a twist to the twist or that simply blindside you.

Gina was right. Alex could wear devil horns and a tail and still sweet-talk his way into a nunnery with just a hello, and he had no idea he had such a superpower.

I missed Gina, really, really missed Gina there needed to be more texts or actual phone conversations! I loved how discrimination against a section of the community was examined through the lens of distrust of, even hatred towards, latents. So many allegories to both our history and our present day!

“You’re going to have to stop looking at me like that or I won’t be able to concentrate,” Alex grumbled, keeping his smile.
“Like what?”
“Like you are.”
“This is my face. I can’t not look at you with my face.”

We had mystery, action, danger, betrayal, heat and to balance it all we had some really sweet, touching moments between Dom and Alex – *swoon*. The writing, as always, was superb, the story held me spell-bound, the emotions slayed me again and again, the plot continually twisted onto unexpected paths and I never really had any idea what would happen next. I just want to put it out there that there were times I didn’t trust the author with Dom’s happiness and Kempthorne’s safety. It doesn’t help that on social media she frequently suggests she would like to torture her readers by killing off a main character. I’m just going to remind her that (a) she has already killed off Robyn and (b) Cornwall is only half a day’s drive away from the East Midlands…….

Alex arched his eyebrow. “You’re definitely the bad cop.”
“Just because I can’t Hugh Grant it up.”
“Who is Hugh Grant?”
I snorted. “We can argue about good cop bad cop tonight… in bed. Do you own cuffs?”
Something dangerous and hungry flicked across Kempthorne’s face and lit me up like a sparkler.

So now I’m left wondering just how Dom’s new talent will save ALL latents, what role the “come to our party” girl will play in the next book (Ariana Nash doesn’t do throwaway characters) and if Bluebell, sign, apple, razor, towel is a crazy shopping list or a terrible wordle attempt. I hope it’s all sorted out before Dom runs out of playing cards.

He laughed deeply, thickly, and the sound trembled through to my soul.

Overall Rating

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Plot ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ 🤍
Characters ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
World Building ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
Writing ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
Heat Level 🔥 🔥 🔥 🔥 🔥


Urban Fantasy / Gay Romance

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60444875-truth-or-dare

Synopsis
America. The land of the free. Unless you’re a latent.
Kage is missing. Alexander Kempthorne would prefer he stay that way. Life at the new-look Kempthorne & Co agency is difficult enough without adding a missing American to the mix. But John “Dom” Domenici won’t abandon someone who was once their friend, even if Kage is “technically” an enemy.
But as the team investigate Kage’s disappearance, a traumatic, hidden past comes to light. And a missing person case soon turns into a fight for survival for Dom and Kempthorne, in a land not-so-free.

***

Breathless action, suspenseful mystery, and steamy romance combine in the fast-paced gay adventure series from the author acclaimed for their enemies-to-lovers, epic twists, and morally conflicted characters.


Please note the Shadows of London series is predominantly set in London with British characters. Although the series has been edited in US English for the US market, to include US spelling and grammar, many English slang words and spelling remain as part of the character of the work.

Content warning: reference to past abuse.




Book Review

#BookReview #PNR // Gabe’s Girls by E.J. Frost

Gabe’s Girl
Bad Boys of Bevington #2
by E.J. Frost


Uncle Jou?! Our kid is defo hiding more skeletons in ‘is cupboard than a Tory Prime Minister 😂


I will start back-to-front with this review and just say – how could you leave us on that ending! A brief glimpse of our favourite demon was not enough to make up for treating us poor readers so cruelly. Talk about giving with one hand and taking away with the other, we are left at a point that had my poor mind spinning with endless possibilities of where the story would go next.


Gabe’s Girl picks up pretty much where Teddy’s Boys left us, with Gabe in the clutches of Darwin, Teddy heartbroken and Charlie helping to pick up the pieces. You can’t keep a good girl down forever though – and you definitely won’t best a Manc lass, she’ll have their guts for garters before she lets some fae get the upper hand. This is not a stand-alone story, you will need to have read book #1 first to have any hope of understanding the plot of this one. The story stretches way beyond the walls of Bevington and is not hampered by the usual confines of an Academy book. The setting is just a very small part of a much bigger story.


There was just so much happening in this book. Not in a rushed, overwhelming or please stop! way, but a fully immersive experience that places you firmly in the centre of the action. Each chapter brought new information, new adventures, new faces (and even a much-loved one), most left us with as many questions as they answered. This most certainly didn’t suffer from middle book syndrome nor was there any pointless fluff or filler.


I don’t have adequate words to tell you just how amazing a book this is or how fantastic a storyteller E.J. Frost is. This book had me hooked from the very first page to the very last. It was a reading it every spare second I had book, a won’t let go of me story, a can’t stop thinking about it adventure. The author doesn’t just write a book, she creates something that you step into and become a part of and never want to leave, and for that, I thank her endlessly.

Overall Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Plot ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
Characters ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
World Building ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
Writing ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
Heat Level 🔥 🔥 🔥 🔥


Paranormal Romance / Academy

Goodreads

Synopsis
Three boys. Two murders. One terrible choice.
I survived my father, but I can’t survive without my boy. I’ve lost one person to the fae; I won’t lose another. No matter what the cost, no matter what I have to do, I’ll get Gabe back. And then I’ll prove his innocence.
Darwin Dùbhghlas, I’m coming for you.
Meet the bad girl of Bevington …

Publisher’s Note: Gabe’s Girl is a college-aged, MMFM, reverse harem romance. Book 2 ends on a cliffhanger. This book contains elements of power-exchange and is intended for mature readers only.




Book Review

#BookReview #DarkRomance // Lethal Retaliation by C.P. Mandara

Lethal Retaliation
Twisted, Dark and Deadly #5
by C.P. Mandara


Oh my word Ms Mandara you have done it again – and on so many levels, lol! This book ricocheted me between sniggering at the dreadful puns and humour to feeling all hot and bothered at the very, very, VERY, NSFW happenings. Thrown into that mix was yet another edge of the seat cliff-hanger and I’m not sure whether to hug the author or hit her.


This book is high-octane, fast-paced, furiously filthy and utterly mesmerising. I was addicted to it from the very first page and I didn’t even really care that the plot didn’t move forward all that much. A good half of this book must either be Adie and Mel arguing or – what’s a polite expression I can use that won’t bother Amazon? – scenes of them of a more *ahem* personal nature 😉. Yet it never once got boring, tired or repetitive.


Adie, if you’ve never met him, is a super hot, super-naughty, very Spanish version of James Bond. If James Bond was also from a criminal family and didn’t have any morals whatsoever. He is conceited, arrogant and entitled but also incredibly sexy and I personally love him. Mel is the ultimate badass heroine, she never gives up or gives in – well not unless orgasms are involved – not even when the odds are stacked heavily against her. Adie certainly doesn’t deserve Mel – but I’m sure he will at some point.


Without giving away spoilers some events are very dubious in consent. They not only cross the line but trample all over it after having first jumped up and down, then scuffed it a bit lot, before kicking huge divots out of it too. Despite this, and probably because of Adie’s unacknowledged affections AND the fact that Mel is tough enough not to be genuinely at risk, not to mention she rather enjoys his attentions, the book didn’t push my boundaries too much.


My only problem now is how on earth I will cope until the author releases the next book!

Overall Rating

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Plot ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤🤍
Characters ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
World Building ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤🤍
Writing ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
Heat Level 🔥 🔥 🔥 🔥 🔥


Romantic Suspense

Goodreads

Synopsis
Adie
Melinda Leader is in BIG trouble. There have been a lot of ladies who’ve tried to manhandle my balls in the past, but none who have actually tried to cut them off. I don’t think many blokes would be amused, and most would probably retaliate by putting a bullet in her brain. There’s just one problem. I can’t. I promised Lois I wouldn’t. Now I’ve got to make this problem go away. How in hell do I do that? Marriage. The first suspect is nearly always the wife, right?

Mel
I need to find Adrien and finish what I started. This time I’ll settle for a quick kill, or at least, I tell myself I will. Unfortunately, the man is proving almost impossible to find. I thought this would be over in a week, but when Adrien wants to lie low, he virtually disappears. Thankfully, James helps out and lets me in on a little secret. The price of this information is high, though. I’m not allowed to kill him. Hmm. There are worse things than death.




Book Review

#BookReview #DarkRomance // Prey Island by Sorcha Black

Prey Island

by Sorcha Black


Heavens to Betsy, pass me some pearls to clutch! This book doesn’t just fall down the rabbit hole, it jumps in head first, kicking, screaming and biting the whole way. Sorcha Black has an unparalleled knack for writing a story that teeters on the edge of consent, bringing us a scorching hot tale full of threat filled, violence edged, debauchery. Be prepared for a story that will push your boundaries to their limits whilst hitting all the right places too.


Lane is a wonderful mix of naïve, trusting, wary, determined and sweet. The story is told entirely from her POV but excellent writing allowed me to not only get a feel for Ajax and Calder but also to utterly fall for this pair of degenerate reprobates. They may love consensual non-consent but these guys always kept on the right side of the law … just, maybe, kind of, ish. No matter how rough, how seemingly cruel and thoughtless their words, actions and deeds appeared to be, everything they did was underpinned by care.


Desperate for a way to fund her sister’s education, Lane heads off to a remote island having wilfully ignored just what exactly she was agreeing to. Oh boy is she in for a rude awakening, along with a rude introduction to kinks and sexual acts she could never have even imagined (I’m slightly concerned that the author imagined them though 😂😂😂). I’m equally concerned about my own moral compass after finding those very same scenes incredibly hot to read about.


Be very warned, Prey Island is not for the faint of heart. Chock full of potential triggers from venturing into dubious consent territory, this book had me spellbound. The only issue I had was that I really, really, really, couldn’t read it at work despite how much I wanted to, it really was a struggle to put the book down! This is perfect for the reader who loves edges of darkness, MMF scenes, rough scenes and two loveable heroes with haloes so tarnished they are in dire need of a good buffing.

Overall Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Plot ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ 🤍
Characters ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
World Building ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
Writing ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
Heat Level 🔥 🔥 🔥 🔥 🔥
Trigger Warnings – LOTS!!!


Fannce

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60234024-prey-island

Synopsis
In this tropical paradise, the games are rough and the women never win. Signing a one-month contract allowing rich, brutish men to prey on me isn’t a wholesome way to earn a scholarship for my sister, but desperate times call for reckless measures.
Keeping a low profile is no longer an option when Ajax and Calder start targeting me. Sure, they’re hot, but they’re also twisted and mean, and won’t leave me alone. To make matters worse, every time they claim me for themselves I learn something new and shameful about my deepest, most deviant fantasies.
But they’re not the only threat on this island.
Sacrificing my body may be inevitable, but sacrificing my life wasn’t in the contract.




Book Review

#BookReview #AlternateHistory // Suntosun Circus by G.L. Francis

Suntosun Circus
The Suntosun Chronicles Book #2
by G.L. Francis


I read Tools of the Trade, which is a precursor to this series, last year. I adored Sophie and Kazimir and was so excited to continue their story.

Suntosun Circus is an unusual blend of steampunk with historical urban fantasy, set across the continents the world-building cleverly blends human myth with fantasy. The plot moves at a steady pace and the author’s voice was one I found easy to read. The characters are multifaceted, some are morally grey and the variety of personalities adds colour and variety to the story.



The way that past and present were interleaved chapter by chapter and how it slowly revealed pertinent facts and helped connect dots worked well for me. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Overall Rating

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Plot ❤ ❤ ❤ 🤍 🤍
Characters ❤ ❤ ❤ 🤍 🤍
World Building ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ 🤍
Writing ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ 🤍
Heat Level 🔥


Historical Urban Fantasy/ Steampunk

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60178666-suntosun-circus

Synopsis
As demon doubles of global leaders begin breaching reality’s borders, Sophie Asher and her family join a paranormal circus of covert hunters. Their goal: destroy the doppelgängers before the demons unleash worldwide terror & destruction.
But even as Sophie struggles with her growing love for the aleksei Kazimir, her passion for the circus, and her own identity, turmoil is raging within the troupe.
Can they overcome the challenges mounted against them, or will darkness obliterate everything they know and love?