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Book Blast: The Killing Spell by Shane Ulrrein

The Killing Spell | Shane Ulrrein

Publisher: Deep Hearts YA

Cover Artist: Story Perfect Dreamscape

Heat Rating: No sexual content

Length: 57,000 words/236 pages

It is a standalone book.

Buy Links

Deep Hearts YA | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes and Noble

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Blurb

The Killing Spell is a new young adult fantasy novel that tells the story of Edward Peach, a fourteen-year-old wizard who gets accepted into a prestigious all-boys boarding school for wizards and falls in love with another boy.

Edward and the other boy soon realize their attraction for each other, immediately causing controversy in the academy as the first students from feuding houses to come together, especially in a school where house rivalry can end in murder.

Edward’s new relationship puts him to the ultimate test as he must risk being with the boy he loves even at the cost of his own life!

Excerpt

Chapter I
Accepted

Accepted.
That’s what the letter said. At that moment, I felt a sudden chill go up my spine. I pretended to smile as Mum and Dad became so overjoyed that their little wizard was being sent thousands of miles away to study magic at an exclusive boarding school.
I swallowed hard. Please don’t make me go, I thought.
I took another look at my letter. “Highly prestigious,” “well-accredited,” and “very sought-after” were the different qualifiers used to describe their piss of an academy. There were portraits in a brochure, mostly in sepia-tone black and white, of their most famous students, yet I didn’t recognize any of them. The more I looked at all the rubbish they’d sent me in that big yellow envelope, the more I wanted to vomit.
Accepted.
Everything had been arranged: the meeting place in the Aradian port-city of Navona, our guide who was to see us at the harbor three days from now and take us to the school, and three free tickets for the next available ship from England to Aradia. The whole lot, including my school uniform, was all-expenses paid.
Seeking to break the jovial mood that’d taken over my parents at the breakfast table, I told them that I wasn’t going to that school.
“Not going?” Mum asked me wide-eyed. “Why? This is the opportunity of a lifetime! A prestigious school, fancy uniforms, and a better life for all of us! Are you going to sit there and tell us that you don’t want what’s best for your family?”
Yes, I was, I told her. I wasn’t going and that was the end of it.
My parents then began to lecture me, whilst I kept buttering my toast, about how they never had an opportunity like this when they were my age and how I’d be letting down several generations of our wizard-family if I didn’t go. Dad was especially determined because both he and Granddad got rejected from that school numerous times.
Despite my pleas, my constant whinging, and even throwing a teary-eyed wobbly like I used to do when I was a tiny tot, I was going to that ugly academy. Mum said my name, middle name and all, and insisted that I get packed.
“We’re leaving tomorrow,” she said. “End of discussion.”
And without another word, I stormed into my room, slamming the door after me, and buried my face into my pillow.
Accepted.
It wasn’t fair! Other kids would be pretty chuffed about going to such a distinguished wizard-school, but not me. This sort of thing should’ve gone to those who needed it or wanted it more. Instead, I was the one who got…accepted.
I wasn’t sure that I wanted to be part of the “next generation of great sorcerers,” nor follow in my father’s or grandfather’s footsteps like other wizards my age. I just wanted to be me. I didn’t want to leave my mates or live away from home. What’s more, I’d be going to a foreign country where I didn’t know anyone, much less the language they speak.
Things were much simpler and I was a lot happier before I got that stupid letter!
Accepted.
I didn’t want to study in some shite academy, the name of which I couldn’t even pronounce from the brochure and where mobile phones were prohibited. All I really want to do is enjoy life, hang out with my friends, and go to the beach to listen to its lush, serene music. Yet more than anything, I wanted to do nothing. That’s what I desired most. I simply wanted to do nothing, yet my parents, on numerous occasions, would never hear of it.
I began thinking about turning Mum and Dad into frogs or making them both disappear, but I really didn’t want to do any of that. Deep down, I don’t believe in using magic to hurt or endanger the lives of others. To me, magic was a beautiful yet mysterious thing that was all about me and always brought happiness to everyone. I loved magic, bloody lived for it, but hated the idea that someone could use it for evil when it could be used for good. Not to mention, the last time I’d made my parents disappear, they simply found their way back afterward.

About the Author

Shane Ulrrein is a life-long storyteller and first-time LGBT author currently living in Orange County, California, USA, who one day dreams of leaving his home in sunny Southern California for the wet, dreary weather of England.

He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in music composition in California State University, Fullerton and is a proud member of the LGBT community. In his spare time, he likes to draw, read, and write music that he hopes someday will be heard in all the great concert halls in the world.

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Nice to see an older age bracket in this novella from Nell Iris

48060422._SY475_Of Autumn Leaves and New Beginnings by Nell Iris

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Nell Iris is able to craft a beautiful love story in novella form and it’s a real skill.

This one was extra lovely because both protagonists were nearly 50, and it’s not often you get that in an MM romance.

I really liked Oren and Peter, I loved that Pete’s ex-wife was a supportive and involved character and I adored Oren’s mum.

My only issue is, as it always is when it occurs, that all the sexual intimacy occurs off page. For me it’s a missed opportunity to show that building of trust as people begin to explore what makes their partner feel good.

However, I also appreciate that not everyone is interested in the sexual element, so this will be perfect for those readers.

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

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Erin’s ogre saves the day in the second Copper Point Medical romance

41104632.jpgThe Doctor’s Date by Heidi Cullinan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While I’ve rated them both the same, I think I enjoyed this one a tiny bit more than the first book in what is so far proving to be an excellent series.

This had none of the preachy element that I felt had slightly taken over the narrative of book one, instead it was all about family, how they can screw with your head and change your perceptions of life.

From the bat, this was clearly going to more than the obvious sum of its parts. It’s not really a fake boyfriend story, there is so much history between Owen and Erin.

I have to say, every single time I read his name I had a pause to catch up that it’s a male character. There is an explanation for his name and Erin is an Irish gender-neutral name for the country of Ireland (Éirinn) but it’s more commonly used as a female name, so it threw me but hey that’s just a personal thing.

Erin himself was a complex character and I loved him, almost as much as I loved Owen, his ogre, his dragon, his defender against whatever tried to hurt him. Theirs is a genuine, emotional connection but, as my lovely friend Dani says in her review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show…

I wanted more tension, especially because the romance that followed was slightly lackluster. Erin is over 30 and a virgin. Owen is a former player. When the two get together, sparks … uh, actually, nope, sparks don’t fly because there are no sparks. And no steam. And I do mean NONE, unless you count two brief groping scenes.

The chemistry which I love to see in a romance is simply absent. Everything fades to black or is referred to off page.

This was a little disappointing, not because I wanted a full-blooded erotic porn encounter to read, but because it meant that element of their relationship was utterly missing.

Erin’s a virgin, the care Owen took with every other aspect of his relationship with him should have been there for the reader in this also, but it wasn’t. It was a throwaway line.

Still, that’s really my only grumble because I loved everything else about this narrative. It’s not a standalone, you need to read book one because there is a series long thread running in the background about the hospital all the doctors work at and I think it’d mean a whole chunk of understanding about what’s going on would be missing.

Now, on to Jared and Nick and I really can’t wait for that one.

#ARC kindly received from the author via Dreamspinner Press in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Book Blast: A Pride Anthem by Rob Browatzke

A Pride Anthem |  Rob Browatzke

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Cover Artist: Alex Bischoff

Genre/s: Literary queer fiction

Length: 20,000 words

It is a standalone book.

Heat Rating: No sexual content.

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Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US

Paperback

Amazon UK

anthem

Blurb

Three spirits. One night. One last chance.

Jake is dead. Ben knows that. But when Ben wakes up to see Jake standing over him, he is forced to face his feelings not only about Jake’s death but about the direction of his life. In a big gay Christmas Carol style night, Ben is visited by more spirits, and Pride will never be the same.

 

Excerpt

“So what if I do?” Ben screamed, even as Ben-on-the-couch cried. “So what if I want to leave? No one will care.”

The clock struck nine and the office faded away, to be replaced by… the office again. Ben sat up on the couch. Had he been sleeping? Dreaming? Regardless, it was true. He had known for a long time that none of it – bar or community or Jake – none of it really mattered.

“And that’s where I come in,” said the smooth-bodied blond muscle hunk in glittery gold booty shorts that suddenly appeared at the foot of the couch. “I’m the Ghost of Pride Present, but that’s a bit of a mouthful.” Ben couldn’t help but glance down, at what was also a mouthful. A very impressive mouthful. The ghost saw, and smirked. “You can call me Marc.”

“I’m done,” Ben said. “This whole nocturnal spiritual journey is over.”
“It’s just beginning,” Marc said.

“It ends now. If I don’t go, you can’t make me.”

“Oh, that’s her rule, not mine.” Marc reached down with a meaty hand and yanked Ben off the couch. “Besides, there’s not a gay man alive or dead who doesn’t want to come with me. Happy Pride!” Marc said, and he kissed Ben on the cheek.

About the Author

Rob Browatzke is a writer from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, proud teller of stories and thrower of parties.

Author Links

Blog/Website

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Twitter: @robbrowatzke

Instagram: robbrowatzke

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Off page sex put the dampener on this one for me

Eyes Wide Open CoverEyes Wide Open by V.M. Sanford

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Friends to lovers is usually one of my favourite tropes but for some reason, this one was just missing the spark that would have made it a great story instead of an okay one.

I’ll also be brutally honest and admit that off page sex really annoys me in a romance book. I don’t necessarily expect a full on erotic porn scene but I do like to read about the couple’s first time and see an emotional connection alongside a physical one on page. I don’t want a fade to black and a line that says they’ve been screwing like rabbits (paraphrasing here as it didn’t say that!) off screen.

It made an interesting story involving last minute love confessions and potential family disasters all feel a bit flat, which is a shame as the narrative had started off promising.

I will give props to the author for the good characters and setting, I liked the closeness of Jason’s family and the contrast with Spencer’s rotten mother. Spencer annoyed me for a lot of the book and I have to say, or don’t think either MC read like they were in their 30s.

Overall this wasn’t a bad read though and the sneak peek at book two gives me hope for a continually improving series and I absolutely love the cover!

#ARC kindly provided by the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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