Gods Ascendant: Apsara Chronicles 2 by T.G. Ayer

Gods Ascendent (Apsara Chronicles #2)Gods Ascendent by T.G. Ayer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the second book in T.G. Ayer’s “Apsara Chronicles” series. The heroine, Vee, is tasked with helping to prevent demons from invading the earth from their own dimension. She works with a special unit on the FBI and is assisted by a hellhound who can take human form, an owl shifter, her mom, dad and former step-father, and – just maybe – by the ghost of her recently deceased grandmother, unless that’s something she’s imagining to cope with her grief. When an unusual murder and kidnapping indicate things might be changing in the demon world – and not for the better – Vee and company need to work with the local authorities to resolve the case without giving away the supernatural nature of the situation – or getting killed in the process.

The characters are fun and well-written. The side characters give the main ones a nice range of personalities and attitudes to play off of and help keep the story moving at a good pace. I’ve really enjoyed both books in this series. I like that they’re based in Hindu mythology, something I haven’t run across as much as Greek, Roman or Norse, and find it adds a really fresh element to the urban fantasy setup.

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Demon Soul by T.G. Ayer

Demon Soul: A SoulTracker Novel #4: A DarkWorld Series (DarkWorld: SoulTracker)Demon Soul: A SoulTracker Novel #4: A DarkWorld Series by T.G. Ayer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book.

Mel’s poltergeist is getting the better of her and she can’t wait for Saleem or Drake to get back from dealing with their family issues to get rid of it. Working with her hacker, Steph, and Natasha, her witch friend, she heads out to New Orleans to find the witch-doctor who burdened her with the curse and find a way to end it.

Because Mel can travel through the planes of reality the story jumps around a lot in terms of location – and different planes have their own rules of reality, so there were a few places where I found myself having to go back and re-read a bit because it got a touch confusing. That said, the story held my interest and I’m eager to find out what happens next.

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Book Review: The Kingdom by J.R. Mabry

The Kingdom (Berkeley Blackfriars #1)The Kingdom by J.R. Mabry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

J.R. Mabry has done a great job creating one of the most interesting collection of characters I’ve come across. The main characters are a group of Friars, who are part of the Old Catholic church – an independent group of churches that have separated from the hierarchy of the Roman Catholics – but they’re not what you’d expect for Catholic clergy.

For starters they’re decidedly not celibate, and there are a couple of rather explicit scenes involving gay sex. They swear, drink, smoke weed and will do pretty much whatever they need to in order to fight the very real demons that creep into our world – including learning practices from non-Christian faiths including Wicca, Enochian and Goetic magick and shamanism.

No, they’re not traditional Friars, but the story makes it clear that there’s no doubting the sincerity of their faith.

There’s a lot of humour in the book and a lot of tension. Between the disappearance of all the avocados in the world, demonic possessions to dispel and their very human vulnerabilities, the Friars keep busy. I enjoyed just how real the characters come across. I found myself laughing, crying, celebrating and mourning with them – cheering them on and getting mad at them.

This is the first book of a trilogy and the next two parts are due to come out in the first half of 2018. I’m looking forward to seeing what they get to handle with next.

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Book Review: Time and Fate by TG Ayer

Time & Fate (Hand of Kali, #3)Time & Fate by T.G. Ayer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I voluntarily read an advanced reader copy of this book.

Maya’s abilities continue to grow – as does her budding relationship with Nick – in the third installment of the series.

The goddess Kali has granted Maya the ability to bend time, but when she makes use of her new ability after a mission goes wrong, she discovers that it confers with a price.

Quite a bit happens in the book, moving the overall story along at a nice pace. There are several surprises in store and it was nice to see her parents and Claudia being more involved in the action.

I liked that they was more than one mission in the book and that we learn more about some of the key players. It was also interesting to see Maya having to deal with the repercussions of using her expanded powers, and I really enjoy her gentle romance with Nick.

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Book Review: Blood Promise by TG Ayer

Blood Promise (A SkinWalker Novel #4)Blood Promise by T.G. Ayer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I voluntarily read an advanced reader copy of this book.

Kai is called on to fulfill her blood promise to Lady Kira, High Priestess of the DeathTalkers. She needs her to investigate a shocking crime that Kira has learned may have echoes worldwide, and could hold dire ramifications for Kai herself.

A lot happens in this story, and it’s probably the darkest installment yet. It runs you through a gamut of emotions – even to the point of tears. I have to say I was a bit disappointed with the way the case was ultimately resolved. I can’t explain much without risking spoiling things, but for me it felt like the foundation for it hasn’t really been properly laid so things just didn’t hang quite right. Still, it’s a really good book overall and I definitely plan to keep going with both this series and the Soul Tracker one which is also set in the Dark World. (And if you’re reading both, be sure to read this before reading the 3rd ST book, Blood Curse to avoid spoilers.)

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Book Review: Blood Curse by TG Ayer

Blood Curse (DarkWorld: Soul Tracker, #3)Blood Curse by T.G. Ayer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I voluntarily read an advanced reader copy of this book.

Mel certainly keeps herself busy! This time out she not only has a demanding new client, but the problems brought about by the poltergeist she’s been cursed with are becoming increasingly more dangerous making it even more critical that she find out who’s behind it, and she’s worried for both her gargoyle companion, Drake, and her boyfriend, Saleem, who are dealing with family matters that may take them from her side.

Clearly, there’s a lot of action here, but it’s well paced. As always with this series, there’s nice character growth and it’s interesting to try and figure out what all this is leading up to. While I missed seeing more of Drake and Saleem, there are some new characters introduced that I suspect will become more important as the story progresses, and sending them off on personal matters made room to get to know these new ones better. I just hope both will be back by the next installment.

If you’re reading both this series and the Skinwalker series, be sure to read the fourth Skinwalker book “Blood Promise” before this one as there are spoilers here for what happens in that story.

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Book Review: Ignite by Sierra Cross

Ignite (Spelldrift: Coven of Fire #2)Ignite by Sierra Cross
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The new Coven of Fire has barely gotten its feet wet when various presiding bodies in the magical world decide they want to have some chats and a new nemesis arrives on the scene – not to mention, Alix is concerned there’s something a bit wonky with her magic.

While the stakes were pretty high in the first book, Rise, Cross ratchets up the tension even more, and the Coven finds itself looking at the possibility of having to work with some rather unsavory characters to get everything sorted out.

The story itself is engaging and I enjoyed learning more about the version of our world this series is set in but, for me, the romance aspect tends to fall a bit flat. Admittedly, I’m not a big fan of stories where would-be lovers are kept apart by seemingly arbitrary means, such as a rule that people from groups “A” and “B” aren’t allowed to fall in love, without much explanation as to why. Hopefully there will be more of an explanation down the road. Other than that, though, these first two books have been nice, quick, fun reads, and I want to see what happens next.

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Book Review : Demon Kin by TG Ayer

Demon Kin (DarkWorld: Soul Tracker, #)Demon Kin by T.G. Ayer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In this second outing with Mel Morgan we’re treated to a nice mystery as a wealthy man who recently lost his wife hires Mel to find his missing daughter. There are a number of nice twists and turns without the mystery ever becoming too overwrought or confusing and in the end the pieces fit together well.

But that mystery is hardly the only thing going on in this book. We check in on Saleem’s search for his mother, get more info on Mel’s hope of one day finding her sister, a new conundrum for Mel to figure out and some solid character development. Oh, and we also get a substantial visit from Kai Odell the panther shifter from Ayer’s other series set in her Dark World universe. Don’t worry, though, she provides enough information about what’s happening in Kai’s story to make sense of what’s going on even if you aren’t reading that series as well – without overloading those who are with info they already know.

If, however, you are reading both the Soul Tracker and Skinwalker series, be sure to read the first three books in Skinwalkers (Skin Deep, Lost Soul, and Last Chance) *before* reading this book as it contains several spoilers for Last Chance.

As I’ve come to expect, Ayer keeps the story moving along at a steady pace and I really appreciate her ability to fill her stories with multiple subplots and interesting characters while still making it easy to follow the action and not just remember who’s who but also be able to find points of connection with them.

On to the next one!

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Book Review: Fire and Shadow by TG Ayer

Fire & Shadow (Hand of Kali, #1)Fire & Shadow by T.G. Ayer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the first book in TG Ayer’s “Hand of Kali” series, this one centered around the gods and legends of Hinduism.

Even though she’s been raised by a family devoted to the Hindu gods, Maya Rao doesn’t believe they’re real. That makes it all the more shocking when she discovers that she was born to be the Hand of Kali – her warrior on Earth to battle the Rakshasa demons who can possess people in order to do their master’s bidding and sometimes kill people just for the fun of it, so some serious evil here. Maya remains skeptical about her status even after she experiences her new-found abilities, but she soon comes to accept that what’s happening is real. She also learns that while she may have a special connection to Kali, other gods and goddesses may need her help at times and will also assist and help protect her when possible.

I’ve only read the first book in this series, so this might change, but if I was the mother of a mid-teen to young adult daughter, I could see myself giving this to her and hoping she might find some inspiration in Maya. Even though she’s still young, as Maya grows in her acceptance of her new reality, she shows a certain maturity in understanding the responsibilities that come with it. Sure, she has moments of doubt or chafes at times about some of what she’s asked to do – she wouldn’t be believable otherwise – but she doesn’t allow herself to wallow in them. She also cares about others enough that she can put their needs first and is willing to take significant risks to help her friends if necessary.

The story itself is good, as are the other main characters. The plot and subplots mesh together well and each is interesting in its own right. There are a couple of times where something that happens in one part of the book seems to be contradicted later by something else but I enjoyed the rest of what was going on enough that it was easy to give it a pass. As I’ve come to expect from Ms Ayer, the side characters are well-developed and multi-dimensional. I really liked how loving and supportive Maya’s parents are, and her friends are fun and interesting in their own right.

All-in-all, this is another good tale from TG Ayer

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Book Review: Lost Soul by TG Ayer

Lost Soul (Dark World, #2)Lost Soul by T.G. Ayer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book at no cost from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

In this second installment in Ayer’s “Skinwalker” series, we learn a lot more about Kai, Logan and the Dark World universe where both this and her “Soul Tracker” series are set.

This time, Kai is preparing to rescue some people from the demonic dimensions where they’ve been trapped, but she’s still severely weakened by the poison she was infected with in the previous book.

There’s a lot of character development in this book, and it’s fun to see Kai growing in her abilities and the understanding of the role she’s destined to play. Her relationship with Logan is sweet, and I liked being able to see her interacting more with her grandmother. We also get a visit from Saleem, one of the main characters of the “Soul Tracker” series. You don’t need to know anything about that series, however, as none of what Saleem does here is tied to what he does in those books.

I enjoyed this installment a great deal and it does a good job of ratcheting the tension up for the next book in the series.

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