Category Archives: ARC Review

The Necromancer’s Bride: Review

The Necromancer’s Bride CoverThe Necromancer’s Bride (Gaslamp Gothic, #4)
by Kat Ross
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: May 31st 2019
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Retelling

LoBook Reviews - Loved Itved It

Synopsis:

Content Rating: Adult content including sexually explicit content and violence.

Forgiveness is not Gabriel D’Ange’s strong suit.

A self-appointed soldier of God with a penchant for ruthlessly punishing his enemies, he vanished after Anne Lawrence stabbed him with his own dagger.

The smart thing would be to let him go.

Unfortunately, Anne’s life isn’t just lonely without Gabriel. It’s insufferably boring.

Determined to heal the rift between them, she goes in search of her tempestuous former lover, black parasol in hand and daeva magic crackling at her fingertips. But Gabriel has his own plans afoot and Anne finds herself drawn into one of his tangled webs, much against her better judgment.

Gabriel’s nemesis has reappeared in Brussels, a vile slaver who’s plundering the Congo Free State with the blessing of King Leopold. Gabriel might be willing to give Anne a second chance, but not until Jorin Bekker’s head is lying at his feet.

Back in London, the quasi-reformed necromancer Balthazar sets his sights on the same quarry. He holds a very personal grudge against Bekker — and killing him might be the only way to keep Gabriel D’Ange from Balthazar’s own throat.

When the hunters collide at a lavish gala thrown by the king, Anne learns just how far she’ll go to save the man she loves.

Note: The Necromancer’s Bride is the sequel to A Bad Breed (read my review), which should be read first.

Review:

First of all a big “Thank You!” and shout out to Kat Ross, who over the course of reviewing her ten other books has become like a friend, for giving me a heads up on the graphic sex scenes in this book so that I could skip them. I’m not into erotic scenes… at all, so knowing where to skip really helps my enjoyment of a book. If you are wondering, the scenes to skip are the wedding night, which is the middle of Chapter 12 and a few pages into chapter 14 after the opera.

A little extra note for Kat Ross: “the next book returns to Harry & John in New York so it will be quite clean 🙂 I went the somewhat more explicit direction for the last two books, but it’s not a trend for the series in general.” Which is good news indeed!

Now, on to the review!

The Necromancers Bride is an absolutely satisfying conclusion to the story from A Bad Breed.

Doesn’t the cover just scream gothic moodiness? The inside doesn’t disappoint either. For those who love a good moody gothic book this is for you.

For those who love mad necromancers and revenge this book is for you.

It’s also for those who love super powered women who don’t need a man, but fall in love with one anyway.

Or for those who always knew that the strings of power in Victorian Europe were being pulled by evil immortal billionaires.

I almost feel like I’ve run out of good things to say about Kat Ross’s writing.

She does a great job writing deep complex characters. So many of the characters here are multilayered, adult characters (as in mature not YA type characters.) Balthazar has been a great character to watch evolve over the millennia from a villainous necromancer to a man willing to sacrifice himself for redemption. (Read more about Balthazar here. He’s so cool he gets his own blog post!)

She writes great world building. You feel like you are in the jungles of Bermuda, or the sewers of Brussels, or a Necromancer’s dungeon (one place you do not actually want to find yourself.)

She write compelling plots. After about halfway through this book I couldn’t put it down. I needed to know how it was all going to work out. I probably drove my husband crazy talking to him every night about the characters doing this and that. Good necromancers this, evil necromancers that… blah, blah, blah. I couldn’t get enough!

She write satisfying endings. I have been disappointed so many times. After spending volumes with characters and stories I’ve come out of it feeling majorly let down (I’m looking at you the Dark Tower 🤮 and at you Rendezvous with Rama 🤬.) The Necromancer Bride wrapped up the story line in a way that was just gratifying. I may not have been able to guess at all the outcomes, but I enjoyed them. I felt the same way about how the Forth Talisman series wrapped up.

Bottom Line:

Kat Ross is a instant read for me because of all the thing I mentioned above. I just can’t recommend her books enough, the Necromancer’s Bride included.

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“You won’t be laughing so hard when my wife get here,” Gabriel said…

Gabriel waited, stone-faced, until their breathless wheezing subsided.

“You haven’t met her yet.” His smile made the hair on Balthazar’s neck rise up. “But you will.”

A Bad Breed: Review

A Bad Breed
by Kat Ross
(Gaslamp Gothic, #3)
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: May 31st 2019
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Retelling

Book Reviews- Liked it Alot

Liked It A lot

 

Synopsis:

Content Rating: Adult content including sexually explicit content and violence. Contains LGBT content.

Pricolici.

A creature out of folklore. And nightmare.

January 1889. When a Romanian village suffers a series of brutal attacks, occult investigator Anne Lawrence is dispatched to the forests of the Old Country to hunt the killer – only to vanish without a trace.

The trail leads her mentor Vivienne Cumberland deep into the Carpathians to a remote monastery. As a blizzard rages outside, trapping them all with the pricolici, Vivienne risks sharing the fate of the woman she came to find. But is the culprit truly a werewolf … or something even more dangerous?

A man bent on revenge. And a love that was never meant to be.

Imprisoned in a decaying castle, Anne finds herself ensnared in a web of dark enchantment, at the mercy of a mysterious captor with a beast inside – and a memory as old as the ancient legends.

As the weeks pass, Anne learns his real identity, and slowly uncovers a complex and deeply passionate man. But is she willing to pay the price for falling under his spell?

Note: This darkly magical reimagining of Beauty and the Beast is the third book in the Gaslamp Gothic series, but can be read as a standalone with no need to start with Book #1, The Daemoniac.

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Reviews of the Other Books in the Series:

Dominion Mysteries
The Daemoniac
The Thirteenth Gate

Review:

This book… wow it oozes mood. Right from the first page you know you are in a Victorian Gothic novel. The world building just pulls you in, especially if you are a big fan of Victorian era pieces like I am.

This book has it all – Necromancers ✔ Secret Societies ✔ Paranormal Investigations ✔ Long Burning Revenge ✔ Old Empty Castles ✔ Fantastic Heroines and more ✔ ✔ ✔.

If you’ve been around my blog for a while you know I love Kat Ross’s writing style and world-building and well just about everything else.

This is the third book in the series, (you can find links to my reviews of the other titles above) but I think this book does well as a stand alone. I don’t even really feel like you’d miss much in the way of character back stories, the characters and plot carry enough emotion without the backstory. The only thing you might miss out on is the history of the Deavas and the bond, and for that you need to go back to the Forth Element series (my review of the first two books.)

The depth of the characters keep this book moving through one twist after another. It keeps you hooked and entertained through out.

The only thing that keeps this book from begin a five-star, I Loved It rated book is the really explicit sex scene. I just don’t find those tasteful or enjoyable. It’s enough for me (and in my option the story) just to know that character has consummated their relationship. I really don’t want the details.

Bottom Line:

Another great book from Kat Ross, although I really would have preferred it if the sexual content had been more PG-13 instead of X-rated.

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The Heart of the Forest: Review

The Monster of Selkirk Book 2The Heart of the Forest
 by C.E. Clayton
(The Monster of Selkirk, #2)
Publication date: October 17th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Book Reviews- Liked it Alot

Liked It A lot

Synopsis:

Content Rating: Adult content including scenes of violence and LGBT mentions. No sexually explicit content.

Tallis is learning how to deal with loss and violence as she and her friends traverse the forests of Selkirk trying to find the reason behind the elven uprising. Not to mention why they keep hissing her name. But the further into the forests they go, Tallis is finding that the elves’ depravity can still surprise her, and thoroughly test the bonds of friendship, family, and love.

Tallis’s journey eventually leads to answers they’re not prepared for. Now Tallis begins to wonder just who she really is, and if she’s the evil that will end up destroying Selkirk. But she cannot stop to process these revelations, as an unforeseen betrayal lands those she loves at the feet of the very monster responsible for all the hurt, and heartbreak.

Coming face to face with her foe, Tallis discovers all too late she has no idea how to deal with this level of pain, and death. One way or another, the monster’s path ends here, and all Tallis can hope to do is bring those she loves safely out of the heart of the forest.

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Review:

When I saw this book in the email from Xpresso Books I knew right away I wanted to read it. The description said it was necessary to read the first book, although it would be offered along side book 2. For the VERY FIRST TIME, I decided to try out this thing where you don’t read the first book, but just jump into the second. While it worked and I enjoyed the book, I think I did miss out on something by not reading the first book. There were quite a few time near the beginning of the book that I was sort of puzzled by one thing or another. Especially when it came to the elves their descriptions and their actions/motivations just puzzled me. I wondered if these were elves in name but a completely different more animalistic species. As I kept reading though all my questions were answered and I soon settled down into the book.

The Heart of the Forest was paced a bit differently from the typical “quest” fantasy. So much of the story happens inside Tallis’ head, that time doesn’t always seem clear. And that’s okay. Sometimes books featuring a quest like this tend to be too much and then this happened and then this and next that. Having a feeling of time kinda twisting around made the journey more interesting.

Each character really got some depth in this book. Tallis is a deep thinker, but someone who doesn’t shy away from action. The revelations and events in this story are not ones she just easily accepts. So many time the reluctant hero ends up accepting their fate seemingly all too easily and while they may moan about it they still end up as the hero everyone lauds. I am so, so glad that didn’t happen in this book. Tallis struggles. She has real mental and physical hardships to overcome and she doesn’t always make the “hero’s choice.” In a way she makes the real choice, the choice her character should make because of her personality and history.

Thomas and Donovan are both great characters. Donovan the true knight, who just wants to do the right thing. Thomas the ex-monk who should be conflicted by his morals, but whose faith in Tallis overcomes all of that. Rosslyn is a hoot. At the beginning we see her as a character who takes action, who jumps into thing, perhaps a bit too quickly. By the end of the book her personal journey has taken her beyond rash action, but still left her a lively force for action. I enjoyed the journey each character made in themselves.

I can’t give away the ending, but I loved it. I loved the way the characters really stayed true to themselves and the story. I wish I could say more but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone.

Bottom Line:

An absolutely satisfying fantasy read. If you like character stories I would definitely recommend this one.

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Inferno: Review

Inferno (Fourth Talisman, #5)
By Kat Ross
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: March 15th 2019
Genres: Adult, Fantasy

Book Reviews - Loved ItLoved It

Other Titles By Kat Ross:

The Fourth Talisman Series:
Nocturne
Solis
Monstrum
Nemesis

The Fourth Element Series:
The Midnight Sea and The Blood of the Prophet
Queen of Chaos

Dominion Mysteries
The Daemoniac
The Thirteenth Gate

Synopsis:

Content Rating: Adult content including sex and violence. Contains LGBT content.

In the last volume of the Fourth Talisman series, the worlds of the living and the dead collide in a final confrontation that will leave Nocturne and Solis forever changed….

Three talismans adrift.
Two mad kings.
One poisonous crown.

As dark forces gather at the Rock of Ariamazes in Samarqand, Nazafareen discovers that there are worse places than the afterlife. The twisted creature pulling the Vatras’ strings is holed up in the deepest level of the Dominion—and only she has the power to follow him there, though at the potential cost of her own soul.

Prophecy claims the three daeva clans must unite to face their greatest enemy again, but two of the talismans have vanished and the third is a child more used to skulking in the shadows than leading an army. Meb the Mouse might be their last hope—if anyone bothers to take her seriously.

And within the confines of the Rock, a dying king makes a pact with the devil, setting in motion a chain of events that could spell doom for friends and foes alike.

WARNING: This book contains twists and turns, richly deserved comeuppances, shocking revelations, knock-down, drag-out fights, obsessive stalkers, some very nasty monsters…and, of course, true love.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

Review:

Buckle up! Cause this is one crazy ride to the finish…

But wait! If this is your first time hearing about the Fourth Talisman Series, you are in the wrong place. This is the ending not the beginning. Go back and read my review of Nocturne, the first book in the series. (Or skip to the bottom of the post and enter the giveaway for a copy of Nocturne.)

Light Spoilers Ahead (after all this is the last book in the series.)

After 8, count them 8 books with Nazafareen and Darius and 5 books on the world of Nocture/Solis we finally come to an end, and WHAT AN END! I must say after the way Nemesis ended I was kinda of worried. More than worried, I was sweating bullets! I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Inferno.

However, it was absolutely worth the wait. I know that Kat Ross poured her heart into this book and it shows. The book is at times almost lyrical. The world building that has been so excellent to this point really brought everything in the book together.

The relationships between characters gave us so many satisfying moments throughout Inferno. Darius and Nazafareen have always had a great relationship, that although complicated at times, never left us questioning that they were OTP (one-true-pairing for those who don’t know all the online ‘ship talk. 😉) Their relationship takes several fun and satisfying turns in the book, but the relationships that really shine are several of the others. I’ve always loved the adult (as in mature not x-rated) relationship between Mina and Culach. Things got pretty interesting when Victor (Mina’s ex) showed up, but even that relationship as complicated as it is and with all the literally crazy stuff Victor does it felt fulfilled in this story. Then there is the friendship between Meb and Culach. Both bringing out the best in each other. Culach helping Meb find the courage to become queen and Meb helping Culach find the courage to fight again despite his blindness and loss of elemental power.

It’s just great stuff people. And really makes reading ALL the books worthwhile! I could go on and on because the relationships and the webs between characters have so much power in Inferno.

I will go on to one more relationship because it’s also wonderfully adult and complicated and has a very interesting outcome in the book. Nico has at times been a villain and at times a hero, his relationship to Domitia is complicated because in the Kiln you don’t make many friends. Throughout the series we see this relationship splinter as Nico came to better understand the world outside the Kiln. His betrayal of her wasn’t a shock, as he knows her thirst for power would eventually lead to all of them in chains. But what is surprising is his reaction to seeing her again (and to how her father deals with her)… it’s one of the more real moments in the crazy series of events that bring the book to a close. Time kind of freezes on these two friends as she lays dying and says… “Let go of my f***ing hand.” Perfect.

There was not a relationship moment in the series that didn’t lead to a pay off in Inferno. I haven’t even scratched the surface… the Maenads, or Javid for instance, but before this review gets too long let me give you the…

Bottom Line:

Inferno is the pay off readers deserve. Go get this series and binge read it. It’s an absolutely must-read fantasy series. Especially for readers who want some depth in the relationships and a new fantasy world setting.

I’m going to blog more about Inferno, because I didn’t even get to touch on the ending, so stayed tuned…

“She saw two tall figures vault over the ship’s rail. Raven hair and silver. They stood together like avenging angels and wherever their gaze fell, monsters died.”

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