Tag Archives: fantasy

Lacuna hit all my fantasy high notes perfectly

55703944._SY475_Lacuna by N.R. Walker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, that was a cracker!

I absolutely adore fantasy, it’s my first love and I’m always really happy to see more authors in the MM genre writing it.

With Lacuna, Nic does an excellent job of not only creating a fully immersive world, but bedding a romance into the heart of the narrative.

The premise is simple, four kingdoms, four rulers, one rare event requiring them all to gather, then betrayal and threat from outside forces. But it’s the way she then weaves the culture of her creation into the story which worked so well for me.

Crow, King of the Northlands, and Tancho, King of the Westlands, couldn’t be more opposite if they tried. There are influences in their Kingdoms from our own cultures, the Northlands are icy and vaguely Scandinavia, the Westlands are all watery and heavily evocative of Japanese culture.

An unexpected event at the gathering of these four rulers forces Crow and Tancho together and theirs is a sort of “enemies” to lovers romance.

They were never actual enemies but there’s animosity at first, which slowly, because of circumstances, turns into mutual admiration and respect – and a possibly slightly unhealthy dose of jealousy which provides a lot of the humour in the story.

With a wonderful cast of supporting characters, this story races through a complicated, but never confusing, plot involving alchemy, astronomy, a wee bit of magic and a lot of collaboration and bravery.

While the main plot is resolved in this story, there is enough left that I think there could be more to come and I would very much love to read more. Crow and Tancho’s relationship may have originally begun through forces outside their control, but it very much became one of mutual love and trust.

I also loved the other two rulers of the Eastern and Southern Kingdoms, both Elmwood and Samiel (the only Queen) were engaging characters with definite personalities and I’d be very happy to read more about them too.

Definitely one of my favourite books from Nic and I absolutely LOVE the cover.

#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review

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Release Blitz: Seventh by Rachel White

Seventh | Rachel White

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Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: October 12, 2020

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 39,300

Buy Links

NineStar Press | Universal Link

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Blurb

Hynd Perrent leads a lonely life, rejected by most of society after a debilitating illness permanently changed him. He has spent nearly a decade investigating the disappearance of a military unit, Seventh Dragoons, in a war nearly a century prior, content to immerse himself in the frustrating search and the book he intends to write about it.

When his sister sets him up with a handsome stranger, Hynd can scarcely believe his luck, unable to recall the last time somebody wanted to be near him and did not fear or revile him for his illness. But Julius Ocere has come for a different reason: Hynd’s. He wants to learn what happened to the Seventh and prove that his great-grandfather was not a traitor.

While a research assistant isn’t what Hynd had hoped for, he takes Julius on. The mystery they uncover is larger than either of them could have imagined, and it will take both of them together to finally put the ghosts of the Seventh to rest.

Excerpt

Seventh

Rachel White © 2020

All Rights Reserved

Hynd was in the study, bent over a book when Alycia arrived. He ought to have known something was suspicious from her sudden appearance in his doorway, but he had been squinting at faded pages all day, and his eye wasn’t working quite right. So, he was caught off-guard when she said, voice sly, “I’ve found you a lover.”

“Oh,” said Hynd, and then, “no.”

“Well, perhaps not yet.” Alycia entered the study and dropped into the opposite chair. “A potential lover. He’s Viola’s cousin. Julius Ocere. Have you met him?” She reached across the desk and plucked up his pen, fiddling with it as she spoke.

“No,” said Hynd again, turning a page. He had to be careful when doing so, for the book was so old, the material so worn, that the slightest tug could send things flying disastrously out of their bindings. The book—one of Captain Walsh’s journals, written during the end of the Lily Wars—was on loan from the Royal University library; to wreck the library’s treasure would be to wreck his access to the Old Archives, and at that point, Hynd could bid farewell to ever completing his manuscript.

“I do love it when you stop listening to me,” Alycia said. Had she been speaking?

When he glanced at her, she rolled her eyes theatrically. “Thank you, brother. As I was saying, Mr. Ocere wants to meet you. He’s very interested in you.”

That seemed unlikely, all things considered, but when Hynd raised a dubious eyebrow at her, she continued more fiercely than before. “I mean it! Listen, I didn’t sell you to him—”

“I should hope not.”

That got him a scowl. “He asked about you,” Alycia continued. “I was talking with Viola, and I happened to mention the book you’re writing, on the Seventh Dragoons, and immediately, he was right there. Apparently, he’s as interested in the Dragoons as you are.”

Which…wasn’t where Hynd had thought things would go. “Really?”

“Truly. When I told him about you, he became more and more interested. Viola says that he recently parted ways with his lover, and even though it was amicable—at least, according to Viola, though God knows whether she’s right about that—Mr. Ocere is lonely. He wanted me to pass a message on to you.”

Something flipped a little in Hynd’s stomach. He tried to quash it—don’t get your hopes up—but it was like a queer little flame burning inside him. It wasn’t exactly as though Hynd were drowning in suitors; of course, a man personally asking to call upon him would have an impact. He knew that, and he knew it was foolish, and he still couldn’t help the warmth that rose in his cheeks.

Alycia noticed and smirked. “He wants to meet you,” she said, in a singsong way.

“When?”

“Tomorrow night, eight o’clock. At the Vine and Blade. Do you know where that is?”

Hynd did, and told her as much, which made her look pleased as a cat in cream. “Good. So, you’ll meet him?”

“Last time you tried to arrange a meeting with a gentleman for me, he didn’t even appear.”

“I’m sure Julius Ocere will appear.”

“The time before that,” Hynd reminded her, “the man you found was actually planning on wooing you.”

Alycia colored and turned her face away. “Felix Roddan was just a silly boy. I can’t believe I even gave him the time of day. No, this isn’t like that. He’s interested in you, Hynd. He asked all about your work, and he wanted to know about your hobbies and what you like. He was enthralled that you’re a Royal Scholar, you know. He didn’t think twice about me.”

The funny feeling had returned, stronger than before. Hynd swallowed. “Did you tell him about me?”

“Of course, I did. I answered every question he had.” She tilted her head, looking concerned. “Did that breach your privacy?”

“No, that’s not… I mean, did you tell him about me?”

Alycia blinked at him, but he couldn’t tell if her confusion was sincere or feigned. “Yes,” she finally said, and her tone, at least, was decisive. “I told him all about you.”

“And he wants to meet me?”

“He sent you a message, didn’t he? You ought to send him a response as soon as possible. He seems like a busy fellow.”

No doubt, Julius Ocere was a busy fellow. Busier than Hynd, at any rate. It was easy to have lots of free time when one never left the house except on mandatory errands. It was easy to avoid packed schedules when one had no friends.

“You’re making that face,” said Alycia. “Don’t. Just send him a message and go tomorrow evening. He’s very nice, and he’s dashing, and he’s utterly handsome—tall and golden—and he practically begged me to mention him to you. What more could you want?”

She winked at him and rose, vanishing back into the hallway. Alone, he returned to his work but found himself unable to concentrate. His mind kept picking over the conversation. Tall and golden. What more could Hynd want?

About the Author

Rachel White was born and raised in L.A., California, but moved north for college. An avid reader for as long as she can remember, she started writing in high school and hasn’t stopped.

Her favorite genre is fantasy, but she’ll devour a good book no matter what shelf it belongs to; she takes the same approach to her own writing, hopping between ideas, genres, and stories as it suits her.

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New Release Blitz: Dragon Soldier by Mell Eight

Dragon Soldier | Mell Eight

Supernatural Consultant #5

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Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: September 21, 2020

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 30,900

Buy Links:

NineStar Press | Amazon

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Blurb

The aftermath of the last battle has left Nickel weak in bed and grounded for the next decade. Despite being in trouble, Nickel wants to return to the battle against the enemy as soon as he can, but thoughts of Platinum, the dragon helping to nurse him back to health, keep distracting him.

Platinum can’t believe how much his life has changed. He went from being a lonely fugitive on the run to part of a family in only hours. The last few days have been his happiest, especially now that he’s met Nickel. He knows it’s only temporary, though.

The enemy that kept him captive for most of his life isn’t finished with him yet, but even Platinum and Nickel’s combined powers might not be enough to save them all.

Excerpt

Dragon Soldier
Mell Eight © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Nickel fought to open his eyes. The lids felt like they were weighted down or as if someone had sewn them shut. He struggled with them for a few long minutes, then, exhausted, gave up and drifted off to sleep.

The second time Nickel woke, most of the weight had vanished. His eyes slid open easily enough, and then he had to blink away tears as the bright light from his bedside table lamp almost blinded him.

“Sorry!” Someone whose voice Nickel didn’t recognize gasped. There was a thump as something hit the floor, and the light snapped off a second later. Footsteps ran away from him, heading toward the door. More light flooded into the room as the door was flung open, but Nickel’s eyes had finally adjusted. “He’s awake!” the stranger yelled into the hallway.

A series of familiar thumps, bumps, squeals, and exclamations sounded as Nickel’s family literally dropped whatever they were doing and ran toward Nickel’s bedroom. The door was flung open wider, and a small stampede rushed to Nickel’s bedside.

Alloy reached Nickel first. He climbed onto the chair pulled up next to Nickel’s bed where the stranger had been sitting moments before. He leaned over Nickel’s head to see him better.

“Yup, he’s awake,” Alloy chirped happily. Alloy’s hair was rumpled from playing, and the bright red-and-blue strands that matched the colors of each of his wide eyes hung over his forehead. A pair of hands wrapped around Alloy’s middle and gently lifted him off the chair. Alloy was happy to settle into Mercury’s arms so Mercury could bend closer to Nickel.

“How are you feeling?” Mercury asked. His voice was soft, almost as if he was afraid of startling Nickel, which was silly after all the yelling from just a moment ago. Mercury’s bronze-colored hair was long on his neck, and his bronze-colored eyes looked concerned. Mercury was still wearing the button-up shirt he wore to work, so it must be late afternoon.

Nickel blinked slowly, trying to figure out what he had done to deserve the fanfare. Had he been sleepwalking? No, he didn’t feel strong enough to sit up, let alone get out of bed and walk around. He must have been sick, yet that answer didn’t jive either.

The rest of his family had lined up behind Mercury. Lumie was standing next to Copper, their bright red hair and eyes an exact match for the shade in Alloy’s hair. They were fire dragons, but Lumie was only ten years old while Copper was eighteen, the same age as Nickel. Next to them were ’Ron and Chrome, the two earth dragons. Chrome looked like he had been digging outside again; half of his face and his clothing were covered in dirt the same color as his and ’Ron’s hair. They were both thirteen years old, but ’Ron was considerably cleaner than Chrome. Dane had his hands on ’Ron’s shoulders, no doubt to keep her from jumping onto the bed to give Nickel a hug. That would be painful, but Nickel still couldn’t remember why his body ached so much.

Dane was the tallest person in the room. His blond hair seemed to glow, and his ears were pointed at the moment, which meant the glamor he used to hide his otherworldly appearance was down. He was unbelievably beautiful, but then he was the child of a god.

Zinc was next in line. Her long white hair, distinctive of air dragons, was loose from the braid she usually kept it in. It hung in a wave down her back. Her gray eyes were earnest as they looked at Nickel, except her face seemed thinner than Nickel remembered. She also seemed to be taller, almost Dane’s height.

Nickel blinked in surprise, and then saw the hand clasped in Zinc’s and gaped. Zinc, with her hair still in its distinctive white braid, was standing next to herself. Only, now Nickel was realizing that the first version of Zinc was actually male. They were egg twins, identical dragons except for their gender, hatched out of the same egg. He was Platinum, the dragon who Nickel and the rest of his family had been searching for ten years.

Like a spark had been lit, a fire erupted in Nickel’s head. He winced at the sudden pain, only it didn’t exactly hurt. Memories flooded back, each a little video that connected with the others to give him the whole story. There were a lot of them, the sheer volume overwhelming him and causing the pain-mimicking feeling.

Searching the woods for the person mucking with the weather. Finding out that Platinum had escaped from the enemy scientists. Watching Lumie and Platinum get kitnapped. Flying off to defeat the scientists once and for all. Losing the battle. And then nothing. He didn’t know how he had gotten home, only that he was safe now.

“How long am I grounded for?” Nickel asked. His voice was thick and scratchy and his throat dry. How long had it been since he had last spoken? Surely it couldn’t be more than a few hours. A day at most.

Mercury let out a growly snort. “For the foreseeable future. And don’t even think the word ‘candy.’”

Nickel sighed, but at the moment he honestly just wanted a glass of water. Begging for candy could wait until he could sit up properly again.

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About the Author

When Mell Eight was in high school, she discovered dragons. Beautiful, wondrous creatures that took her on epic adventures both to faraway lands and on journeys of the heart. Mell wanted to create dragons of her own, so she put pen to paper. Mell Eight is now known for her own soaring dragons, as well as for other wonderful characters dancing across the pages of her books. While she mostly writes paranormal or fantasy stories, she has been seen exploring the real world once or twice.

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