All Souls Near and Nigh by Hailey Turner

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Four out of Five Stars

The Summary: You can’t bargain with death if you’ve already sold your soul.

Special Agent Patrick Collins has been reassigned by the Supernatural Operations Agency to New York City. Navigating his new relationship with Jonothon de Vere, the werewolf he’s now soulbound to, is nothing compared to dealing with territorial disputes between the vampires and werecreatures who call the five boroughs home. But the delicate treaties that have kept the preternatural world in check are fraying at the edges, and the fallout is spilling into the mundane world.

Manhattan’s club scene is overrun with the vampire drug known as shine and the subways have become a dumping ground for bodies. When the dead are revealed as missing werecreatures, Patrick and Jono find themselves entangled in pack politics twisted by vampire machinations.

Learning to trust each other comes with problems for both of them, and the gods with a stake in Patrick’s soul debt aren’t finished with him yet. Bound by promises they can’t break, Patrick and Jono must find a way to survive a threat that takes no prisoners and is stalking them relentlessly through the city streets.

Old and new betrayals are coming home to roost but the truth—buried in blood—is more poisonous than the lies being spun. Trying to outrun death is a nightmare—one Patrick may never wake up from.

The Review

All Souls Near and Nigh is the sequel we’ve all be waiting for. It’s full of action, grit, and a self-made pack trying to find their feet.  It was an excellent follow up to A Ferry of Bones and Gold.

Special Agent Patrick Collins has been permanently reassigned to New York City. He’s navigating a fledgling relationship with Jono de Vere, who he now shares a soul bond with. Through all of this, there’s a territorial dispute between the vampires, werecreatures going missing, and gods who can’t seem to leave Patrick be.  He’s never going to get away from the God’s.

Jono’s storyline with the God Pack is my favorite part of this story. Actually all of the chapters told from Jono’s point of view had me on the edge of my seat, anxious for what was to come. Lucien, the gods, they were secondary for me. Jono made his stand against the God Pack. I did not realize that I had been waiting for him to do that until now. I’m invested in Jono, ya’ll. I still need to know why Fenrir has chosen Jono. There are too many possibilities and I need answers!

Things I wished for in this novel? More scenes with just Patrick and Jono. I felt like at times they were operating outside of each other. Patrick was still getting used to the fact that Jono was there and had his back, while Jono’s mind was focused on his pack. I’m excited to see them working as a unit that knows each other.

Overall this was a great novel and I’m looking forward to the next in the series coming out.

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In the Ruins by Hailey Turner

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Audiobook Review

Four out of Five Stars

The Summary: Truth and lies.

Captain Jamie Callahan knows the Metahuman Defense Force frowns on fraternization. For once in his life, he’s breaking all the rules. Having Staff Sergeant Kyle Brannigan on his team and in his bed is worth the risk of being found out. When a mission comes down requiring Alpha Team to go undercover in order to infiltrate a criminal alliance, Jamie knows it won’t be easy. Putting his family’s name on the line is nothing compared to the role the MDF wants him to play—that of a billionaire’s son, discharged from the military, with a lover on his arm, looking to make his own shady business deals.

Dirty little secret.

Kyle knows the only way to be with Jamie is to hide their relationship from their superiors. Waking up to Jamie at home is more important than being together in public, or so Kyle thought, until he comes face to face with what he’s been missing. Pretending to be a couple on paper for the sake of the mission thrusts Kyle into a world of incredible wealth and a social status he’s not sure he belongs in, but he’ll do anything to stay by Jamie’s side.

Play the game to win.

Surrounded by the enemy, Jamie and Kyle need to trust each other now more than ever. Their covers—and the life they’re trying to build together—depend on it.

The Review

First, let me talk about the greatness of Greg Boudreaux as a narrator. He’s got one of those voices that just hit the spot (with everyone but Annabelle, but that’s just nitpicking about southern accents). I could probably listen to him speak with an English or a Scottish accent for days. Oh and the Russian accents *shiver*. I loved hearing Alexei’s speaking parts. Boudreaux had a way with differentiating between different characters with his voice. I didn’t get lost in conversation sections. I knew who was talking and how they were feeling in that moment. He made it very easy to get lost in this world and I highly recommend listening to his work. I already have his other three works in my to listen list.

Now on to the story!

In the Ruins picks up a few months after In the Wreckage ends. We see the MDF going undercover to continue their fight against a group of criminal organizations who are working together, instead of fighting each other, for power.

They utilize Jamie’s family wealth as the background for the teams covers. There are a lot of challenges that come with this. Jamie has to become a person he used to be and never wanted to be again; selfish, overbearing, unkind. Kyle experiences what Jamie’s life was like before the Marines and just how wealthy Jamie’s family is.

Also, Jamie and Kyle can publicly be together due to Kyle’s cover as Jamie’s arm candy. They can hold hands, they can kiss, they can sleep in the same bed without having to sneak out of the room early in the morning. These two men have chemistry that is out of this world. It’s obvious that that their relationship has continued to grow. The scenes with only two pair of them together, oh boy. Just turn the AC down and grab a fan, cause things just got hot. They are beyond intense.

Their mission was always at the forefront of their minds. Even if I lost track of what the mission actually was at some points. I liked that the action balanced out with the romance parts. This universe that Turner has created is amazing. I could see what Jamie’s apartment looked like. Then I could see 2285 London, the underground, the museum where the gala took place. The way she described the characters and the settings, it was opulent. That’s the only word that would do this world justice.

There were a few parts that dragged on for me and got a bit slow. I think it may be because I got so attached to Alexei. Will I continue this series? Most likely. I really enjoy the detail Turner puts into her novels and her characters. Should you read this? If you like sci-fi, military, steamy romances, yes. One hundred percent yes.

 

Dead Reckoning by Pandora Pine

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Four out of Five Stars

The Summary: When the spirit of a young male prostitute comes to psychic Tennyson Grimm asking him to find the john who brutally murdered him, Tennyson can’t say no. Only able to communicate through the use of images, rather than words, getting any information out of the young man is frustrating and slow going.

Cold Case Detective Ronan O’Mara has been on a roll solving cases since he and Tennyson last teamed up to solve the Michael Frye case. Unfortunately, the red-hot romance that had blossomed between them during that investigation is now off in a ditch, thanks to Ronan’s self-confessed pigheadedness.

Agreeing to work together despite the rift in their relationship, Tennyson and Ronan discover they are in for more than they bargained for when more victims start to reveal themselves to Tennyson.

Realizing they might have a serial killer on their hands, the two men work tirelessly to stop this madman from killing again, but when the killer targets the son of a prominent member of the Boston Police Department, can Ronan and Tennyson save him before it’s too late?

The Review

Detective Ronan O’Mara and psychic Tennyson Grimm are back and things aren’t all rainbows, kittens and butterflies for the couple. Since the conclusion of their last case they’ve spent their time apart and angry with each other. Tennyson gave Ronan the ultimatum, get help from a therapist or they’re done. It takes a case to bring the two back together and a level of understanding between the two of them.

There’s a serial killer out there torturing and murdering teenage boys who have taken to the street to survive. They’ve resorted to this life style because they came out and were not accepted by their families. As Ronan and Tennyson work their way through this case, they find each other and a family that they didn’t know they had in their friends.

All the men in this series are emotional, be it angry, happy, sad, loving. The entire range of emotions is explored over all the characters. One of the reasons this didn’t get a full five stars was how overly masculine Ronan is and how dramatic Tennyson can get. I get that it’s their personalities. That’s how it was in the first book. But it’s gotten more intense, if that makes any sense?

Then I figured out who the killer was really early on. I was still invested though.  I needed Ronan and Tennyson to be okay, to care for each other and be part of each other’s lives.  Then the Captain and Greeley? OMG, my heart broke into a million pieces and then slowly rebuilt. I love the Cap. He’s one of the secondary characters the jumps out at you and is like, ‘helloooo, I’m here and important’. He is important and wonderful and I want someone like him in my life.

I enjoyed this, even though I nitpick about little things (like the overuse of the word cock). Am I going to pick up the next one to read, review and feature on here? Yep. I just hope we get a little more flirty, seductive moments between Ronan and Tennyson. Perhaps a little more complexity?

 

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It’s a Sin by Steve Burford

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Four out of Five Stars

The Summary: “He is a talented and very promising young policeman. Make no mistakes, he deserves the promotion.”

But when gay Detective Sergeant Dave Lyon is assigned to Detective Inspector Claire Summerskill’s team as part of the Service’s ‘positive discrimination policy’, no-one at Foregate Street Station is happy. And that includes Summerskill and Lyon.

Mutual suspicion and mistrust must be shelved however, when a young man’s beaten body is found on a canal tow path, and a dead-end case of ‘happy slapping’ unexpectedly turns into a murder investigation.

Why would someone want to kill middle class arts student Jonathan Williams? And how is his death linked to that of rent boy and would be ‘adult’ film star Sean?

As Summerskill and Lyon’s investigations proceed, the newly-promoted detectives begin to untangle a web of connections, false assumptions and sheer prejudices that force them both to question closely not just their relationship with each other but with the rest of their colleagues at Foregate Street Station and with the Police Service as a whole.

The Review

It’s a Sin by Steve Burford is the first book in the Summerskill and Lyon series. I really enjoyed this one. I read it over the course of two nights while in bed. Cause that’s how I like my murder mysteries. What you get in book one of this series is an introduction into who Summerskill, Lyon, the inner workings of the Foregate Street Police Station, and the communities surround them. I feel like at this point you should know there isn’t much romance in this. It’s more focused on developing the characters and solving the crime. I’d love to get to see some steamy scenes with Sergeant Dave Lyon though. I have a feeling he’s a bit of a stunner.

Detective Inspector Claire Summerskill has just been promoted, but she doesn’t get to have the Sergeant she was expecting. Instead she gets Dave Lyon, who is completely new to the area and openly gay (Which I was super excited about and cackled at some of the things he did). You don’t get many cop novels with openly gay characters who don’t need to be saved or coddled. Sergeant Lyon didn’t need coddling.

Their first assignment was ‘happy slapping’ – which I had no idea what that meant but figured it out pretty quick. A random person/persons jumps another and then goes on about their way. What was supposed to be an easy case turned into something much more difficult, multiple murders of gay men along a canal.

What I liked about Claire and Dave was the fact that neither of them were perfect. They had their moments of anger, frustration and misunderstanding. But they pushed each other to figure out what was really happening.  I’m on a bit of a mystery kick and just enjoying what I’ve read so I didn’t quite figure out who the killer was until the last minute. It was unexpected and it was kind of neat that I was kept guess the entire time.

I’m looking forward to getting to know more about Claire and Dave. My inner romance reader is hoping for Dave to get some action but I liked this enough that I don’t have to have that.

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Dark City by Sarah Kay Moll

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Four out of Five Stars

The Summary: Jude has a tender heart. Yet he was born into a criminal empire and groomed from childhood to step into his father’s violent footsteps. To survive, he created a second personality. Ras is everything Jude isn’t—cruel, remorseless, and utterly without fear, as incapable of love as Jude is of malice.

But when Ras meets a ruthless socialite, he begins to feel a strange stirring of emotion, a brush of Jude’s passion against his own dark heart. Meanwhile, Jude finds himself with a knife in his hand, the evil in Ras’s soul bleeding into his own.

As the walls between them crumble, they could lose everything—their lovers, their family, and their hold on the dark city itself.

Coming together could break them…or make them whole.

The Review

If you are looking for a dark, gritty, organized crime centered tale of survival then this is a book you definitely need to check out.  In order for Jude to survive Jude’s mind split and created Ras to protect himself from the evil that he faces as the son of the boss of a crime syndicate. The two have always been separate from each other. Jude is kind, loving and compassionate where Ras is animalistic, unafraid to take lives and to hurt those who are a threat to his father’s reign.

As horrible as the events Jude went through to end up with the personality split, I needed to understand how this happened to him and why it was important to survive this way. Jude has gone through hell. He’s still going through hell. I liked the way it the novel was set up. There was the current events happening but then there was also glimpses into the first fractures and splits of Jude’s mind.

What was fascinating was that Jude liked men and Ras was attracted to women. Jude was hopelessly in love with Ash. Ash felt drawn towards someone who had an equally dark past and future in her life, Scarlett Bancroft.

There is so much that I want to tell you and talk about but I don’t want to give any of it away. The violence, the action it was all necessary to move Jude/Ras’s story along.

Eli, Jude’s brother, broke my heart a bit. He fought so hard to be the person his father wanted, but he loved his mother and his brother. Finding out who was behind Ras, I think it broke him.  I hated how this life style tore what had been such a caring family to pieces. But that’s the sad reality of it.

This was more plot centered than romance centered. As soon as I started reading, it was easily to get lost in the world created. No matter how bad it got, I needed to know what happened. The action, the flow, the pacing kept me engaged. I may have also got caught finishing this at work because I hit a spot during my lunch break that I couldn’t wait until I got home to finish it.

 

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Badlands by Morgan Brice

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Five out of Five Stars

The Summary: Medium and clairvoyant Simon Kincaide owns a Myrtle Beach boardwalk shop where he runs ghost tours, holds séances, and offers private psychic readings, making a fresh start after his abilities cost him his lover and his job as a folklore professor. Jaded cop Vic D’Amato saw something supernatural he couldn’t explain during a shootout several years ago in Pittsburgh and relocated to Myrtle Beach to leave the past behind, still skeptical about the paranormal. But when the search for a serial killer hits a dead end, Vic battles his skepticism to ask Simon for help. As the body count rises, Simon’s involvement makes him a target, and a suspect. But Simon can’t say no, even if it costs him his life and heart.

The Review

There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to Simon Kincaide and the employees who work along boardwalk at Myrtle Beach. Some of them have have touches of psychic abilities and they are being targeted by a serial killer dubbed, The Slitter. By chance homicide cop, Vic D’Amato stops in Simon Kincaide’s shop to see if maybe a psychic might give them some type of lead to work off of.

As it turns out, Simon was about to give the cops something to work off of and throughout he continues to get information from ghosts of the victims and bursts of feelings from the killer himself.

The characters had me enthralled with this book. Once I started reading I didn’t want to put it down. I felt like I was on the boardwalk with how vivid the details were. Simon was extremely authentic. He had been through so much before moving to Myrtle Beach and once he landed he didn’t harden himself. He remained authentic, honest and compassionate. He doesn’t push critics to believe him. He just does what it true to himself. I loved that about Simon.

The attraction between the two is instantaneous and real. Even after what Vic went through previously, he still remains cautious and weary of what he can’t prove with evidence. If Vic wouldn’t have acted the way he did, if he would have just fallen into understanding and believing, I would have had a, huh? moment. But this was right.

Their relationship didn’t happen fast and I liked that. I like a bit of a slow burn romance between to characters trying to find their footing together, especially with a serial killer on the loose. I think with their pasts, having someone who understood the unusual and didn’t force the need for ‘normal’ really helped keep them together. There were parts I knew were hard for Vic. And I hurt for both him and Simon.

This was the first book I’ve ready by Morgan Brice. I plan to read Witchbane as soon as I get the chance and to look at all the books written under her other name, Gail Z. Martin.

 

Go buy this now! You won’t regret it. 

Hers to Protect by Nicole Disney

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Three out of Five Stars

The Summary: Kaia Sorano is a police officer in the dangerous and gang dominated streets of Chicago. She thinks she’s prepared for anything, but when she responds to a bloody domestic violence call, only to find her high school sweetheart is the victim, she knows she has to find a way to help.

When Adrienne Contreras’s mother moved her to the south side of Chicago at seventeen, she quickly saw her safe life and idealistic love with Kaia replaced with poverty, crime, and violence. Now twenty-seven, Adrienne is dating Gianna, a high-ranking member of a brutal gang. She has the streets figured out, but the first rule is to never talk to cops, even one she used to be in love with.

As their attraction grows into love, Adrienne and Kaia struggle to see past the changes in each other and escape Gianna and the gang, who have threatened both their lives.

The Review

Hers to Protect is a hard book for me to review. There are two sides to every story and seeing it told from a cops point of view and then from a gang member’s point of view was something I hadn’t seen done before. I liked that we were getting to see Kaia, Adrienne, Gianna and Anna’s story unfold but there was such a disconnect between the two main characters, it was hard to read.

I love a cop story, the violence, the gore, the gritty gang life? None of that bothered me. It was a part of this story and if it had been left out, I don’t think it would have worked at all. But if you’ve ever been a friend with a cop, if you’ve ever had cops in your family, the things Kaia did for ‘love’ they wouldn’t have done. There’s a set of values, morals and care that cops have. Kaia abandoned all of that. Does it happen in real life? Oh, no doubt that it does. But how easily she drifted over the line from lawful to unlawful because of Adrienne, it made me angry. Sure in the end Adrienne realized that not all cops were corrupt but the whole thing irked me.

Due to the above, I found their rekindled romance unbelievable. I read some pretty crazy things, like men getting pregnant crazy, but this left a bad taste in my mouth. Sure they were teenagers in love, separated by parents and tragedy but it didn’t feel real. Like maybe more internal thought? More talk between the two? I don’t know. They were missing something vital for me.

Do I think that was the over all attention and to grab your attention to make you think? I do. Disney wanted us to see the allure of gang life, how far they would go for each other and how that influenced even those not initiated into the gang yet. She showed up that cops are both good and bad. That anyone can be tempted for the right reasons.

I wasn’t the biggest fan of her romance scenes. It was super fun reading about dancing tongues every time they kissed. It was a bit of an instant replay every time they got together.  (I’m sorry, that sounds really bitchy and it could be the fact I had a procedure done on my neck this morning) But seriously, give us a little more variety.

Do I believe that Nicole Disney will become an amazing author? Oh yes. She has skill and can craft a scene well but there were bits and pieces that tricked a nerve for me. Maybe this one wasn’t my cup of tea and perhaps it’ll be yours.

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