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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Joshua – A Valkyrie Novel, Book 6 by T.G. Ayer

Joshua (A Valkyrie Novel - Book 6) (The Valkyrie Series)Joshua (A Valkyrie Novel – Book 6) by T.G. Ayer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read and am voluntarily reviewing a copy I received from the publisher at no cost.

This is a great companion novel (and start of a companion series) to Ayers’ Valkyrie books. The stories take place during the same time period as the original books, with this one covering the time from the first Valkyrie book. The next one will match the time period for the second original book and so on, but they tell the story from the perspective of Joshua, who was an increasingly important side character in the Valkyrie stories.

Because of the overlapping timeframe, there are some incidents that are repeated – something that will likely increase as the series goes forward – but because they’re told from a different character’s perspective it doesn’t feel like a repeat. There’s a freshness to it and new insights into what happens.

I really enjoyed this book and am eager to read the rest. It’s one I read straight through and immediately wanted more.

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Scorched Fury by T.G. Ayer

Scorched Fury (SkinWalker #5)Scorched Fury by T.G. Ayer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book.

Things are literally heating up in the DarkWorld as Kai finds herself pulled in several directions at once. Not only is Logan still sick, but there is his sister to find, intrigue in the Fae courts, Lily trying to cope with Anjelo’s death and a mysterious assailant for Kai to handle.

With all that going on the story moves along quite quickly, but not at the expense of the emotional impact. Kai goes through a number of highs and lows and I felt them all right along with her.

The series continues to be a great read.

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Fury and Virtue by T.G. Ayer

Fury & Virtue: The Hand of Kali #4 (The Hand of Kali Series Book 4)Fury & Virtue: The Hand of Kali #4 by T.G. Ayer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book.

Maya’s back in action as her dreams begin to invade her reality and the KALIMA organization seems to be turning against her family.

The story was good and moved quickly. Maya and Nik’s romance is as sweet as ever and getting more serious – Nik took Maya to meet his mom! There were some really nice scenes of Maya and her father working together and Joss was fun as always.

All in all a good installment that keeps the series fresh and me wanting more.

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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 and Ink by Holly Evans

Blood & Ink (Ink Born #2)Blood & Ink by Holly Evans
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I voluntarily read an advanced reader copy of this book.

This is the second book in Holly Evans “Ink Born” series and picks up right where “Stolen Ink” left off, with Dacian and friends moving to a new city in hopes of staying ahead of those who’d like to use his special skills for their own ends.

One result of the move is that he is no longer able to be his own boss, and getting used to working for someone else isn’t easy. Plus there are, of course, the emotional ramifications of such a sudden move and the stress it can put on any relationship, and new relationships to be forged. Worse, Kieran is faced with a family tragedy and needs the support of his friend. With all that already on his plate, when Dacian is drawn into a new mystery and the ink network tries to force an even tighter bond, he finds himself struggling to keep it all together.

The only complaint I had with the book is that the author had a few phases that, to me, were overused, and on a couple of occasions, it seemed like a brief passage of dialog was repeated almost word for word. Still, the story, characters and the world they exist in are compelling and quite enjoyable

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Book Review: Fluffy Bunny by Sarah Buhrman

Fluffy Bunny (Runespells, #2)Fluffy Bunny by Sarah Buhrman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I voluntarily read an advanced reader copy of this book.

Oh so good!

The “Runespells” series knocks its second volume outside the park just like it did its first! When I first read in the description that Nicola was going to have to handle this mission without her friends Mercy and Joseph from the first book, I was worried it might end up being too “flat” of a story because they’d added so much texture to Nicola’s adventures, but I honestly found I didn’t really notice their absence as much as I thought I might, and the new friends she makes are welcome company.

In “Fluffy Bunny” Nicola is called upon to investigate a healing cult that is messing with the natural order of things by saving the lives of people who’s time has come, and the death goddess Hel is *not* pleased. To find out what is going on, Nicola must go undercover as someone hoping to join the cult. Her mission becomes more complicated when she finds the cult atmosphere almost too seductive.

Much of the story takes place more-or-less in Nicola’s head as she finds herself taking refuge in the Astral. I found those to be some of the most interesting parts of the book as I got to know Nicola in ways its often hard to get to know a character and because her adventures there helped me not only see but get a real feel for how the physical and ethereal relate to each other. But don’t think that this is mainly a big noodley mind-trip – there’s plenty of action, suspense and things that hit right in the feels.

This series as a lot going for it. For me, one of the best things is it avoids a number of Urban Fantasy tropes. We learned in the first book “Too Wyrd” that Nicola isn’t some chosen one who was born to solve a problem, nor was she someone who suddenly learned her life is a lie, there’s magic in the world, all the myths about the Old Gods are true and that because she’s reached a certain birthday or a little known relative has died she now has a bunch of powers and has to save the world. She’s known about magic and the Old Gods because they’re part of her faith. She ends up being given her task because of choices she made when she was faced with various challenges – and while she may not have known that making the choices she did would result in her taking on this responsibility, her nature is such that it’s hard to imagine she’d make different choices even if she knew what the result would be. While I do love the more “normal” (for lack of a much better term) UF, reading something that looks at the concept from such a different starting point is just a real nice treat.

I really can’t wait for more in this series!

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