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The Empath’s Lover

In The Empath’s Lover: A Sci-Fi MM Romance Novella by Sidonie Savage, Davon Pax is the Chief Medical Officer and Microbiologist on the Explorer 2. Davon wakes from cryo-sleep after a ten year journey from Earth and is excited to be one of the first humans to explore Neptune and its moons. But before the crew can complete the mission, their research vessel is attacked. They are saved by an alien named Tulq’on, a Kyphomi Intelligence Officer who has been studying humans. He is injured, and Davon heals him. The two find themselves feeling unexpected emotions for each other. But unless Tulq’on can convince the Kyphomi that humans are worthy of life it will be the end of all humanity.

This short novella was a quick and engaging read. I enjoyed the meeting of two worlds and reading about how Davon and Tulq’on interacted together when they first met and as they learned to communicate and discovered more about each other, both their differences and the ways that they were the same. I liked that they had compassion and respect for each other, acting selfless in putting the other before themselves, as they worked together to prove that their species could coexist. Due to the short length of the book, I felt that the conflict was resolved quickly, but I liked that the story had a happy ending for Davon and Tulq’on even though they came from different worlds.

It was interesting to learn the details of the Explorer 2’s mission at the beginning of the book, but I think this level of detail would have been better suited to a longer story, or for a story that was sci-fi fiction rather than romance. For a romance novella, the heroes should have met sooner in the story. This did not happen until after the first quarter of the book, which didn’t give the heroes much time to come to know each other before declaring their love. I felt that this was too rushed, and I would have liked the book to be a bit longer to allow for more focus on this aspect of the story. I also wanted to see how Davon adapted to life among the Kyphomi, and how Earth reacted to the introduction of the alien species. There was not much world-building and I would have liked to know more details about the Kyphomi and their society.

Pages: 76 | ASIN: B08H4W2YHF

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British Marine Engineer – Trailer

Two days later Douglas called Lorena his best friend ever. His words touched Lorena deeply, she sat staring into the front yard through the glass door, thinking of Douglas. Little did she know then that she would never be able to shut him out of her soul, that he would always be beside her, in her dreams. The cage she was confined to, albeit temporarily, hardly brought Lorena any joy, but it couldn’t prevent her from being carried away in her dream to the ocean beach next to Douglas. They were on the beach, side by side, Lorena’s eyes fixated on Douglas’s smiley face. Unable to speek, mesmerized by his presence, Lorena longed to touch his cheek, caress his face, but resisted the urge. After a while, feeling emboldened, she uttered in a low voice, almost whispered:

“May I touch your face?” Douglas kept on staring at her, smiling smartly, as if knowing what was happening in Lorena’s soul.
“Certainly”, he whispered back and smiled again.

Lorena reached out slowly and run her shaky fingers gently across his cheek. Douglas kept smiling, then took Lorena by the hand and looked straight into her eyes. He then reached out with his own hand and touched Lorena’s cheek, leaned over and gently kissed her on the lips. Lorena closed her eyes, she wanted to save this memory to be able to savor it, to warm her soul once she became lonely once again.

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Phantasia: A Bad Day On Olympus

Phantasia: A Bad Day On Olympus (Phi Athanatoi Book 2) by [Efthalia Author]

Phantasia by Efthalia is the second installment in Efthalia’s Phi Athanatoi series. This novel follows Carissa, an ex-cop and demigod granddaughter of Zeus, as she embarks on the greatest mission of her life thus far – saving a few morally astray Greek gods from causing ruin and chaos to not only their ethereal realm in Mount Olympus, but also to the susceptible and unknowing mortal world below. Efthalia’s entertaining way of storytelling and character building, combined with a unique plot that blends romance, adventure, Greek culture, and Greek mythology, are all key aspects that make this a thrilling paranormal romance.

Even though this is the second book in her Phi Athanatoi series, Efthalia does a great job at building each character so that even if a reader picks up the book out of sequence, they have enough context about important details to still be able to follow the story line. Carissa and Xen’s romance is hot, steamy, and palpable in all the right ways, while still making apparent the couple’s devotion to one another. Even auxiliary characters, such as Carissa’s mortal family members, are given the chance to shine, reminding readers how embedded loyalty and familial ties are to Greek culture. All the characters are likable, realistic and have their own sense of morality that adds to the depth of the overall novel. Each scene is portrayed in a way that allows the reader to easily envision happenings as they unfold.

Efthalia is a brilliant writer who also uses her work as an opportunity to highlight Greek culture. Her numerous and regular Greek vocabulary and cultural references add significant depth to the reader’s experience. The Greek glossary at the end of the book, which provides definitions of all Greek vocabulary used throughout the text, is a further welcome touch. Her vivid depictions of each of the Greek gods in the story, from Zeus to Ares to Hades, reflect the well-researched nature of her storytelling.

There are definite aspects that are reminiscent of popular thrillers, such as Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Since there are sexual scenes, depictions of alcohol use, and some images of violence, this novel is best enjoyed by an adult audience. I would recommend Phantasia and the rest of the Phi Athanatoi series to anyone with an interest in the adventure romance genre, as well as any aficionados of Greek mythology.

Pages: 289 | ASIN: B083TBWNPH

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LOVING TWO WOMEN

LOVING TWO WOMEN: A gripping story of love, duty, sacrifice and determination by [Matthew Lutostanski]

Loving Two Women is a historical romance novel set in post-World War II about a man, Tadeusz, receiving a letter from his ex-fiancé from 40 years before who thought the Tadeusz passed away in the war.

Loving Two Women starts off very strong with the first chapter having the protagonist receive the first letter from his past lover, Ella, which is where the reader understands the basic premise of the novel, that is arguably one of the most intriguing aspects. Matthew Lutostanski, the author, stated that this is based off true facts and it is obvious that he put a lot of research into the setting and time as well which added a lot to the authenticity to the setting. Although I felt like there was one or two chapters where the setting was, albeit necessary for context, felt more like a summary of events and could’ve been written in a more interesting way. Fortunately, that only happened once or twice and the setting in the most of the novel was set up expertly, even down to the small details.

The three main characters, Tadeusz, Ella, and Maria, were expanded on enough for me to understand how they felt or would feel from the actions of others. We delve deep into Tadeusz’s inner conflict between the love of his current wife, Maria, and the love of his ex-fiancé. Lutostanski also successfully describes the emotions of the others characters at the same time. Personally, my favorite character was Maria. We only get a handful of chapters from her perspective but we come to understand her very much through her actions and Tadeusz’s view. We also receive a handful of chapters from Ella’s view and it is obvious from all perspectives that Lutostanski is more than competent in writing strong, female characters.

The plot of Loving Two Women is quite concise, there isn’t a lot of things happening at once, instead it follows one aspect deeply before moving onto the next. Personally, the best aspect of this novel was the prose, specifically, the switch between third-person past and first-person epistolary. Epistolary being the letters that Tadeusz and Ella send to each other was one of the parts that I found myself continuously looking forward to and enjoying. Each of these tended to last a while, and even a chapter long, which was thoroughly enjoyable.

Pages: 127 | ASIN: B08DYCFXJP

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Crimson Haze

Crimson Haze (The Crimson Series Book 5) by [Georgiana Fields]

Quaid is fighting quite the battle within himself. His losses have been great, and he is struggling to get back to normal. Normal for Quaid is far from the normal the rest of us experience. Quaid’s normal involves instinctively knowing who his mate is, and possessing his own wolf form. Right now, Quaid has lost both. Simone, his destined mate, is recovering from a life fraught with trauma, and Quaid is trying to find himself again among all the madness. Will his world ever be righted? Will Simone feel whole again?

Crimson Haze is the fifth book in Georgiana Fields’s Crimson series and focuses on Quaid, his inner demons, and the fight he faces to regain his true form. Following a traumatic amputation, he is unable to change into his wolf form and is plagued with visions of his former self along with a feeling of helplessness where Simone is concerned. Her tragic life up until this point is a source of sorrow for Quaid, but it also presents a dilemma. He doesn’t know how or if he can help her recover from the horrific sexual abuse she has suffered. Quaid, intent on making the world right for them both, sets out to change the course of their lives.

One of the many things that makes Fields’s writing unique and worthy of binging is the sense of family she weaves throughout her cast of characters. Her already unique Dhampir cast captures readers’ attention, but the tight-knit family is evident from cover to cover. From sibling spats to fierce protection and reverence for their elders, her characters offer a long list of relatable qualities for readers.

Throughout the Crimson series, I have been impressed with the way Fields links one book to the next. There is just enough backstory given in each new installment to start readers off on the right foot, and then the new plot is off and running. As with the other books, Fields wastes no time in bringing the action. Readers will not be disappointed with Quaid’s introduction and the events surrounding his struggle to regain everything he has lost. Action is the name of the game with Fields.

Crimson Haze deals with the sensitive issue of sexual abuse in a tasteful way and offers hope to readers. It is strange to look at a vampire fantasy as having a therapeutic effect, but I believe Fields’s plot can provide readers a place of comfort and safety as they lose themselves in Quaid and Simone’s story.

Pages: 508 | ASIN:  B07W5X81TW

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Crimson Dawn

Jenny isn’t like the others. She’s special, but she would never admit it. As a healer, she is able to take away the pain of her patients in the most unique way. When Royce suffers an attack and escapes with the most severe burns she has ever witnessed, it’s left to Jenny to again make him whole. The same attack that wounded Royce took her friends’ lives and has left deep emotional scars on all of them. As Jenny goes about the job of healing Royce, she must continue to live with a secret she refuses to share with anyone–refuses out of fear for her very life.

Crimson Dawn, by Georgiana Fields, is the fourth book in the Crimson series. As with its predecessors, Crimson Dawn begins with a bang and the action never ceases from cover to cover. Fields opens each of her books with the most impressive and captivating events, grabbing readers’ attention and drawing them into the characters’ dilemmas from the first paragraph. The introduction of the race called the Dhampir in book one only continues to grow more involved and more mesmerizing with each passing chapter.

Jenny is the true standout in Book Four. Her self-proclaimed defects only serve to make her more of a heroine to readers. I have always had a fascination with characters who were able to read minds and heal. Jenny is a prime example of the misunderstood character who breathes life, quite literally, into an already gripping plot. Somehow, Fields has managed to shape a character who is the perceived underdog but at the same time revered by her peers. Jenny is in a truly unique position as a guilt-ridden empath and healer.

There is a seamless connection between all of Fields’ books in the Crimson series. While I tend to be one of those readers who likes to follow a series through to its final installment, I do prefer a series where each book is strong enough to stand alone. Fields has more than accomplished that in her series. Readers could pick up any book in the Crimson series and be up to date within a chapter or two. References to the plots covered in previous books are thorough enough to be effective without interfering with the current book’s story line.

I feel that I need to say this for those who might be on the fence about Crimson Dawn. The cover, while artfully done, seems a bit misleading. I got the impression that the book would lean toward more romance, but it is its own brand of vampire fantasy. While it contains definite romantic elements, it is much more for fans of the vampire genre.

Excited for Book 5, I highly recommend any of Fields’ Crimson books to readers wanting to invest time in an engaging cast of characters with something brand new to offer the vampire fantasy genre.

Pages: 382 | ASIN: B07KT9ZXJV

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Crimson Moon

Nicole has found herself in quite the predicament. As an unwanted child left to abusive relatives herself, she doesn’t quite know what to do when she is presented with young Shelby. Shelby, missing since the night of her parents’ brutal murder, has stumbled upon Nicole. Their pairing is an odd one but at the same time destined to have occurred. Longing for her parents and her Uncle Tee, hurting, lost, and hungry, Shelby does the only thing she knows how–she eats. Her need to feed, however, is like nothing Nicole has ever experienced–Nicole herself is Shelby’s sustenance.

Crimson Moon is the third in a series by Georgiana Fields. The Dhampir are the focus of Fields’s work and provide readers with a whole new cast of characters who by far outweigh any vampire novel I have ever read. Their shapeshifting abilities and the way in which they can sense one another’s life forces makes for a truly engaging read. Shelby and her extended family are standout characters with a closeness most families would envy.

One of the most striking elements of Nicole’s character development is the way she regards Tristan’s behavior toward Shelby. Nicole is at a loss on how family could and should behave. She has never received love in any form or fashion. At the hands of what little family she has, Nicole has endured unimaginable abuse. Her attempts to start over have been thwarted, and she can’t possibly relate to the display of love she sees being shown to Shelby. After seeing her “family,” readers will deeply feel Nicole’s yearning for true affection when she observes Tristan and Shelby.

As with Fields’s first book in the series, Crimson Dreams, readers will find intense action sequences, bloodthirsty characters, and breathtaking moments. Right out of the gate, Fields grabs readers’ attention with a chaotic and heart-wrenching scene between Shelby and her parents. Readers will know what four-year-old Shelby can’t possibly understand as she makes her frantic, yet forced, escape on her own. Fields knows how to pull in readers and keep them invested from cover to cover.

Having devoured Crimson Dreams, I was eager to follow the saga and was not disappointed. Fields builds on the scene set in the first book and succeeds in keeping the momentum going. I highly recommend Fields’s books to those interested in branching out of the vampire genre. There is much to be gained by exploring the world of the Dhampir according to Georgiana Fields.

Pages: 318  | ASIN: B07KQFCX3J

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Crimson Dreams

Rose has not lived the easiest of lives and doesn’t exactly have too many people who will miss her when she’s gone. When she is presented with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel to England to restore a Victorian era home, she doesn’t immediately jump at the chance due to her own plethora of misgivings and fears. Vaughn, the homeowner, is a convincing individual, indeed, and coerces Rose into making the trip. His motives, however, aren’t what Rose assumes, though his intentions may just have a far-reaching impact on Rose’s life. Once the two reach Vaughn’s home, Rose’s life is no longer her own, and the world as she thought she knew it is forever changed.

Crimson Dreams, by Georgiana Fields, is the story of one woman’s introduction to the world of the Dhampir. The time-traveling Vaughn plays an important role in Rose’s transformation from unsuspecting designer to Dhampir sidekick and part-time detective. The two make a perfect team, and the sexual tension between them is both palpable and handled tastefully by the author.

Vampire stories are among my favorites, and I am always more than critical of details and plot holes. Fields, however, is one author to be commended and followed closely. She has set up quite the scenario with Rose’s leap from modern day to the year 1900. The inclusion of Jack the Ripper and the current onslaught of killings in modern day Atlanta is timely and keeps the two dimensions flawlessly linked. Rose makes the ideal partner for Vaughn as he goes about assisting Scotland Yard in finding the killer.

Fields writes some of the most memorable and relatable secondary characters. It is easy for such characters to get lost in a plot so involved, but she has managed to involve Sara and Aileen in parallel plots that both hold readers’ interest and keep them invested in their stories. Good writers know how to do this; excellent writers actually get it done. Fields has mastered it.

One element that always seems to lack in many vampire stories is that of emotion. Fields’s book, however, is brimming with second-guessing, empathetic moments, and remorse and regret. Vaughn is unlike any other character in this genre. He is somehow more human in his emotions than most I know. Fields has blended a vast array of powerful emotions into a fictional character and succeeded in creating a story for the ages.

It is not often that I want to immediately reread a book, but Fields has grabbed my attention, focused it with laser-like accuracy on her characters, and hypnotized me with her unique and engaging plot. An absolute must-read for anyone who even thinks they enjoy a good vampire story.

Pages: 452 | ASIN: B07GQBW359

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