Posts Tagged ‘witches’

Reviewed by Taylor

SERIES: Duncan Andrews Thriller
AUTHOR:
Stephen Osborne
BOOKS: 
3
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press

Pale as a Ghost (Book One, Duncan Andrews Thriller)

10789098BLURB: Private detective Duncan Andrews’s best friend Gina is a witch. His dog is a zombie. And his dead boyfriend, Robbie, is a ghost. So it’s hardly any wonder that he uses his connection to the supernatural to help him solve cases. Good thing, too, because Duncan has his hands full. Janice Sanderson, the richest woman in Indianapolis, wants him to find her stripper daughter, Brenda, and another client is having some trouble with a specter haunting her family home. On top of that, Duncan has decided to add dating into the mix, though after Robbie’s death, he’s not sure he’s ready.

When Duncan meets Nick while tracking down a lead on Brenda’s boyfriend, he shelves his doubts and agrees to a date. Robbie doesn’t make it easy on him, showing up to spoil his chances, but that is the least of Duncan’s worries—because one of his clients’ husbands is missing and there’s a serial killer on the loose—one Duncan fears isn’t human.

REVIEW:

Private Detective Duncan Andrews has a complicated life.  He has a ghost for a boyfriend, a witch best friend, a lovable and hungry zombie dog, and he solves unusual crimes on top of that. In this first installment, Duncan has been hired for two separate cases, a blue female ghost haunting a family and finding a missing, rebellious girl.  Along the way, he meets Nick, a man that just may convince Duncan to move on from his dead boyfriend and start dating someone human.

OH…OH…OH…how I heart this special, lovely book.  It caught me by surprise, as I had never even heard of this author before, and didn’t have any expectations.  But it’s everything I could ask for in a story.  It made me LAUGH and laugh and laugh some more until I cried.  It even caused me to laugh unexpectedly, which are always my most attractive and “barkish” laughs.  Morton’s salt and a ghost defending his man.   That’s all I can say.  But it’s more than just incredible wit.  Duncan is smart, patient, devoted, self-deprecating, sarcastic, and relatable.  His boyfriend, Robbie, is someone I just want to hug and protect, and he’s so abashedly adorable that I loved him the way Duncan loved him.  And the moments where they slowed down their banter and really talked and revealed their sadness at their situation broke my heart.  They can’t be intimate because the effort it takes for Robbie to become more human-like weakens him too much.  There are a few times where he musters the strength to hold hands with his love or to kiss him, and I felt so much compassion for them both.

But there is more to this book than even Robbie and Duncan. There is Gina, Duncan’s kickass best friend and witch, who is understanding, funny, and I loved all her powers and observations.  The zombie dog, Daisy, is hysterical as she chases squirrels to eat.  Even the lesser secondary characters held my interest.  From Kevin, the teenager who loved the Jonas Brothers, to Brenda, Derek, Caleb and more.  Both of the cases Duncan worked on were vastly different, but they were quick.  The pace was perfect, and I never felt any of it dragged.  Just the RIGHT mix of action, humor, love, gore, and world-building.

I have only two tiny niggles. Nick, the secondary lust interest, whom I found pretty bland.  I’m glad he came across that way, though, because not once did I feel any heat between him and Duncan, and it’s like observing a couple that has been slogged in mud versus a shiny diamond with the pairing of Robbie and Duncan.  Those two fit and are meant to be together (I hope, I hope…please…please), and Nick was just there. The other thing was the author has a tendency to use the phrase “made a face” too much rather than switch it up, but like I said, tiny niggles.

Highly recommend for a fast-paced, amusing mystery.

Taylor rates it – star_review

BUY LINKS: Dreamspinner Press :: Amazon :: All Romance eBooks

Animal Instinct (Book Two, Duncan Andrews Thriller)

13648038BLURB: Sequel to Pale as a Ghost Duncan Andrews Thriller Private detective Duncan Andrews has the home-team advantage when it comes to solving paranormal crimes: His best friend, Gina, is a centuries-old witch. His dog is a zombie. And his boyfriend, Robbie, is a ghost. Duncan certainly has his work cut out for him with this case. Someone’s been using the skull of a powerful wizard to control animals, and whoever it is, they’re not out to set up a petting zoo. For Gina, the case hits close to home-she knows just how dangerous it is, since the wizard was her father. Just when he thinks they’re close to breaking the case, tragedy strikes, leaving Gina in a coma. Then, after years as a ghost, Robbie finally decides to move on, leaving Duncan to protect young Ashton Marsh, the victim of several strange animal attacks. Suddenly Duncan is working without his supernatural safety net. Without his friends, can Duncan defeat the power of Eleazar’s skull and keep Ashton alive? Or will the struggle for his life end in broken bodies as well as broken hearts?

REVIEW:

In the sequel to Pale as a Ghost, we are back with Private Detective Duncan Andrews and his cast of unusual companions, from his zombie dog, his ghost boyfriend, and his witch best friend.  Duncan isn’t just your usual detective, though, because he’s always out solving the random Twilight wannabe vampire running amuck or in this instance, a stolen skull from a powerful wizard being used to harm and even kill others.  This case strikes personal for Duncan and his best friend Gina, as it is her father Eleazar’s stolen skull.

Soon Gina is put into a coma, and he has another case that brings him clues as to who stole the skull.  Weird trick of the skull?  Its power uses animals to harm.

Amidst that you have Duncan and Robbie questioning their reality of a relationship and whether either can make it on their own.  And Nick is still tagging along.

I loved this book just as much as the last one, but it was different in its own way.  The reader still has Duncan’s priceless one-liners, his awkwardness, his love for his boyfriend, and everything else that makes this wonderful man up.  Robbie….SIGH…my fictional hubby, Robbie.  Damn, I love that man.  That dead man still wearing his high school letterman jacket that wants to have sex with his very alive boyfriend.  Trust me it’s not as creepy as it sounds.  And gahhhhh, he is so freakin cute and hilarious.  When Duncan was getting hit on??? Robbie’s reactions were classic.  Even in the dream sequence where he’s wandering around observing and asking questions.  He’s just so caring, sexy, pouty, and wise in his own way.  These two FIT.  I can’t see them apart ever…ever, ever, ever.  Mr. Osborne, do NOT break my heart.  That scene in the car where Duncan and Robbie are discussing whether Robbie should move on to the afterlife?  How awesome and neat (not really).  You knew I wanted to sob like a 5 year old.

Then there is Nick, who I’m coming around to (again not really).  Don’t get me wrong, he’s fine and nice and dependable, but he’s not Robbie.  He is a good friend, though.  And Duncan needs a great friend that has no association with the paranormal world.  Gina, when she was there in this book, is just as lovable as always.  And Daisy, that sweet murderess dog.  Yeah, me likey her.

I thought the case in this book was more interesting than the ones in the last book, and I also thought the instances where the skull worked its magic were creepy.  That makes me happy.  M/m books need more great suspense or mystery novels.  I’ll never look at squirrels the same way.  Or that damn grinning cat.

Oh and Eleazar?? You, my kind floating head sir, are so, so, SO badass for the gift you gave the reader and, most importantly, Duncan at the end.

Highly recommend for fictional hubby love and a good mystery and suspense.

Taylor rates it – star_review

BUY LINKS: Dreamspinner Press :: Amazon :: All Romance eBooks

==================================
Taylor is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love.

To read all her reviews, click the link: TAYLOR’S REVIEWS
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Reviewed by Elizabetta

18329498TITLE: Bloody Kiss
SERIES: Proud to be a Vampire
AUTHOR: Mell Eight
PUBLISHER: Less Than Three Press
LENGTH: 50 pages
BLURB: Lis had been enjoying his school trip to Egypt until a statue came to life and drank his blood. Back home in Boston, nothing feels or tastes or smells quite the same, he’s plagued by strange dreams, and has a craving that nothing seems to satisfy—until the statue shows up again.

REVIEW:

College student, Lis, is on a study-abroad tour to Egypt’s Valley of the Dead. An ordinary visit turns into a paranormal adventure when, like Alice through the rabbit hole, he falls into an underground tomb and has a close encounter with an over-sized stone statue buried there. A very sexy statue. Lis’s actions, a bloody kiss, unravel a spell cast on the statue many years ago, and trigger a series of events when Lis returns to his home in Boston.

This had a great start, the exotic setting, the whole statue and hex thing. When we return to the States, some strange stuff happens to Lis: he has a sudden yen for raw red meat (yet, enjoys a well-cooked stew), he feels generally out of sorts, and vampires start appearing out of nowhere. Lis is also plagued by a series of weird, intermittent waking dreams which are used to deliver the backstory. It’s an interesting plot device if a bit awkward, but the dreams converge nicely to present day action.

There’s other information that I guess was included for color but just seemed distracting: lots of mention of the Red Sox, scenes in the bar where Lis works but nothing much happens, a best friend and his grandma who Lis have known for years and who suddenly come out as witches with special powers. The powers don’t serve the plot much other than the use of some camo-glitter, and the grandma mostly exists to explain a lot of what is happening to Lis.

I dunno, this seemed like a hodgepodge, and it felt undercooked, like a sketch of an interesting idea. It’s so short that there’s a lot of stating of facts and not enough space to get to know or care about Lis, his friends, or his romantic interest in any great depth. Three stars for the effort, but it’s really around 2.5 ’cause it never really takes off for me.

Oh, and I did not like the cover.

I did really like another work by the author, Road to Revenge, a modern-day thriller, so maybe I just prefer the contemporary stuff.

Bloody Kiss is published by Less Than Three Press as part of their “Proud to be a Vampire” series with various authors contributing.

Elizabetta rates it – 3-stars-out-of-5-300x70

BUY LINKS: Less Than Three Press

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Elizabetta is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love.

To read all her reviews, click the link: ELIZABETTA’S REVIEWS
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Reviewed by Taylor

18311546TITLE: Reprisal
SERIES: Proud to be a Vampire
AUTHOR: Alessandra Ebulu
PUBLISHER: Less Than Three Press
LENGTH: 22,000 words
BLURB: Aden is trying to solve the mystery of a drug that rots human innards. Alec is struggling to capture the person responsible for a rash of vampire murders. The only way to solve their separate cases is to team up, but with drugs, vampires, and murder involved even that may not be enough.

REVIEW:

So this is a very short story about a witch Aden whose brother was recently murdered, and he’s working as a reporter to solve his brother’s murder, along with other crimes.  He’s paired with a vampire Alec, who has been assigned to solve who has been killing vampires.

I don’t even know where to begin.  This just needed work all-around.

First, why are the two main characters’ names nearly identical?  Same amount of letters, start with ‘A’, and can easily be switched out in a reader’s brain.  Confusing and should have been changed in editing.

Second, why did the characters continuously ask questions in their internal thoughts?  “What kind of vampire is Alec?”  “Who were they dealing with?” “What the hell was the killer searching for?” It was repetitious and lent a juvenile quality to the writing.

Third, that villain and mystery was ludicrous.  Seriously.  Also, all the details were super vague until the reader got a flood of info-dump.  It was always the vampire was guarding “something”, or this must mean “something.”  Or even silly lines like, “Utmost respect for the killer code.

Fourth, insta-love on steroids.  Was there even a romance? Was there even character or relationship development? They had met and hung out two times on work-related matters with little to no flirting, and certainly no chemistry, when Aden is talking to his friend about Alec, “I don’t think he wants it, and I can’t force him to accept what he doesn’t want.”  Um…what???

So…this needed work for me.  It’s short, though, and I’m sure lots of people will find it easy and fun to read.

Taylor rates it –

BUY LINKS: Less Than Three Press

 ==================================
Taylor is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love.

To read all her reviews, click the link: TAYLOR’S REVIEWS
============================================

Reviewed by Elizabetta

11776426TITLE: Inheritance
SERIES: Dominion, book 1
AUTHOR: Lissa Kasey
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 132 pages
BLURB: As the only male studying magic in a female-dominant society, Seiran Rou’s life is already on a precarious perch. Then he finds a dead co-worker on his doorstep, and Sei realizes someone is trying to set him up for the fall. It could be anyone—including his own mother, a powerful witch and leader of the Dominion, the ruling body of elemental magic.

Sei’s only saving graces are his on-again, off-again vampire boyfriend, Gabe, and the mysterious Jamie, who wants to help him for reasons Sei doesn’t understand. They may be all that stand between Sei and the Dominion’s demands to control his magic. One man’s devotion could be the key to save Sei’s life and pull him back from the brink of losing his humanity to the magic he possesses.

REVIEW:

Seiran’s life has been difficult so far, no doubt about it.  He is a gay pretty-boy, picked on, shunned, with few friends and no family life. His mother, a powerful head witch with the Dominion, despises him. Because he’s a boy… It seems that the fem witches carry the power in this world and he messed up at birth.

But did he? Someone is interested in him. Suddenly there are guys, guys, guys, everywhere, all wanting something from Seiran: Brock is eye-balling him; Jamie seems to be stalking him; Gabe, a powerful vamp wants him but Seiran spends much of the time playing flirty push-pull games with him. When dead bodies start showing up on Seiran’s doorstep Gabe tries to protect him but suddenly starts spending time elsewhere which doesn’t help the romance.

I didn’t understand why Seiran couldn’t use his abilities to protect himself when others in the story constantly used theirs against him. He is punished anytime he tries to fight back. You feel that there is untapped power within him but he’s constantly tamping it down. The author really stacks things up against Seiran, he’s velcro for punishment.

Despite his passivity, I really like Seiran, he’s the most interesting character in this world. He’s the underdog with a big chip on his shoulder, the no-one-can-possibly-love-me kind of anti-hero. I like how he draws strength from the earth, he is an earth-witch, super-shifter and lives to run free and playful in the forest. Finally, there is a carefree sweetness to him and these sections of the story are fun to read. Like the lycans, he is under the spell of the full moon; he gets out of control and needs sex to ground him. So he gets this rep as being a slut. But it’s all organic and he has no apologies, a guys’ gotta do what a guy’s gotta do.

I did like the world building, the idea of elemental witches and the possibility of their working together. But the women don’t come off well in Inheritance. Even though it’s a female dominated society, not one single woman or girl is sympathetic; they’re all evil bitches and torturing hate-mongers. Seiran’s own mother only exists to torment him. This is the first of a series, with a slew of sequels stacked up, the chances for fuller character development and seeing Seiran come into his own are great.

Elizabetta rates it535px-3-5_stars-svg

BUY LINKS: Dreamspinner Press :: Amazon :: All Romance eBooks

==================================
Elizabetta is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love.

To read all her reviews, click the link: ELIZABETTA’S REVIEWS
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