BROTHERSONG by TJ Klune

In the ruins of Caswell, Maine, Carter Bennett learned the truth of what had been right in front of him the entire time. And then it—he—was gone. 

Desperate for answers, Carter takes to the road, leaving family and the safety of his pack behind, all in the name of a man he only knows as a feral wolf. But therein lies the danger: wolves are pack animals, and the longer Carter is on his own, the more his mind slips toward the endless void of Omega insanity. 

But he pushes on, following the trail left by Gavin. 

Gavin, the son of Robert Livingstone. The half-brother of Gordo Livingstone. 

What Carter finds will change the course of the wolves forever. Because Gavin’s history with the Bennett pack goes back further than anyone knows, a secret kept hidden by Carter’s father, Thomas Bennett. 

And with this knowledge comes a price: the sins of the fathers now rest upon the shoulders of their sons. 


Title : Brothersong
Author : TJ Klune
Series : Green Creek (book four)
Format : eARC
Page Count : 522
Genre : LGBTQIA+ fantasy/paranormal
Publisher : BOATK Books
Release Date : October 13, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 5 star review

When I tell you this book made me cry a lot.. I don’t think that is going to come across in a way that you’ll understand until you read this book. I shed tears, I wept, I held back sobs. Over and over again. I don’t know what it is about this author and his ability to wreck me (us) with his words but oh god. Prepare youself for devastation, for beauty, for heartbreak, for healing, for sadness, for quiet moments.. everything.

We weren’t Ox and Joe. Or Kelly and Robbie. Or even Gordo and Mark, though the fuck you vibe was apparently a family trait.

I can’t really say anything about this beyond that. Not only is BROTHERSONG a sequel but it’s an end. For us. Whether something new might begin? Who is to say. So many songs have been sung along the way; from wolves, to ravens, to hearts, and brothers. This series is about bonds, formed out of blood or built out of friendship, connection, and the fact that I’m tearing up as I write this, when I should long have run out of tears, says it all.

Three years. One month. Twenty-six days. I lived through that. I lived through the thirteen months it took for us to get [spoiler for book three] back. I saw firsthand what happened with Mark and Gordo. And then you decided to.. what? Be wholly original and leave, too?
Whoa. That was a bitchy thing to say. Go Ox.”

I reread the books leading up to this, thinking I needed it all fresh in my mind, needed to once again be close to these characters before I could say goodbye, and while I’m sure many Klunatics are doing so? It’s not needed. So much of this book hashes out previous events, prior wrongs, in an attempt to come together, to finally do more than just apply bandages on still lingering wounds, so they can let go and face this big conflict that might be the end of them. This family, this pack (packpack), has so much baggage and Klune makes them work through it. It can be agonizing at times, to go through it over and over again, to see the same choices lead to the same mistakes, but it’s utterly human; for all that these characters are mostly not.

Will, sit your ass down and leave my customers alone.”
I’m his constituent. I have a right to know what’s going on in my local government, especially when it involves shape-shifters. Huh. Of all the sentences that have ever come out of my mouth, that one was the strangest.”

Is it perfect? If I were to reread it, would I award it full marks, or would I downgrade like I did on my WOLFSONG revisit? Hard to say. But right now? It gets everything. Not just because I cried an ocean but because I couldn’t tear myself away. In a time when even when I’m loving a book I’m still occasionally distracted, reaching for my phone, I didn’t do that once. The only moments I stepped away were to blow my nose (seriously, the crying, it was ridiculous) so, I mean, there were a lot of those moments. But it was impossible to look away for anything else.

Don’t take the chance that he’ll always be there. We must remember to say what’s in our hearts aloud because we can never know if it’ll be the last time we’ll ever get the chance.

I can’t wait for this book to be out in the world, I can’t wait for all the longtime fans to get their paws on it, I feel so lucky to have read this early, particularly as I’m rather new to this world, but I promise you it’s worth the wait. You know the drill by now; you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll do both at the same time, you’ll break apart only to be stitched back together. Again and again. Because that’s how it goes.

Packpackpack 4ever.

** I received an ARC from the author (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

HEARTSONG by TJ Klune

All Robbie Fontaine ever wanted was a place to belong. After the death of his mother, he bounces around from pack to pack, forming temporary bonds to keep from turning feral. It’s enough—until he receives a summons from the wolf stronghold in Caswell, Maine. 

Life as the trusted second to Michelle Hughes—the Alpha of all—and the cherished friend of a gentle old witch teaches Robbie what it means to be pack, to have a home. 

But when a mission from Michelle sends Robbie into the field, he finds himself questioning where he belongs and everything he’s been told. Whispers of traitorous wolves and wild magic abound—but who are the traitors and who the betrayed? 

More than anything, Robbie hungers for answers, because one of those alleged traitors is Kelly Bennett—the wolf who may be his mate.

The truth has a way of coming out. And when it does, everything will shatter.


Title : Heartsong
Author : TJ Klune
Series : Green Creek (book three)
Format : eBook
Page Count : 464
Genre : LGBTQIA+ fantasy/paranormal
Publisher : BOATK Books
Release Date : October 22, 2019

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 5 star review

I think it’s official. I think this might be my favourite of the bunch (so far!). And while I admitted to downgrading book one from a full five to a four and a half.. this one goes the other way. My original GR rating was four but I’m rounding right up to top marks.

Memories are funny things. I carried them like scars.

Overall this story is the one with the most surprises, in all manner of speaking, and it’s also the most.. tender. It’s both quieter but also more devastating. Which won’t make sense when you get to the big showdown, as it’s anything but quiet, but it makes an interesting contrast.

I swear to god, witches and wolves are the most dramatic bitches I’ve ever known in my life. Like for once can we just have a norma day without stupid shit happening?

I also just feel like Klune really hit his stride with this book. Sure, he’s gearing up to the end, he’s laying out some cards, but by now we’re so in love with these characters, this world, and he’s still treating them with care as opposed to tossing them around into positions he needs them to be in for everything to make sense. You know what I mean? Maybe not. But it’s there anyway. It could also be because he did something very different with this one, both in the telling and with the couple, and I absolutely love a break in formula.

Instagram. You want me to look at your Instagram.
Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever heard so much disdain in such few words.”

There may have been a few less laugh out louds than there were in book two (though there was one rather casual exchange that had me, no pun intended, howling) but I think this is the one that made me cry the most. And for me that’s an upside.

Last time I read these books there was only one novella/short post-book three. This time there are two. I’m preparing for more tears because I cried my way through 2.5. And oh yeah, hey, if you didn’t know.. Klune has these extras available for free on his site. Definitely go check them out. That said, next time we talk (aka I talk at you, reader) I’ll have read BROTHERSONG. Eep.

RAVENSONG by TJ Klune

Gordo Livingstone never forgot the lessons carved into his skin. Hardened by the betrayal of a pack who left him behind, he sought solace in the garage in his tiny mountain town, vowing never again to involve himself in the affairs of wolves.

It should have been enough.

And it was, until the wolves came back, and with them, Mark Bennett. In the end, they faced the beast together as a pack… and won.

Now, a year later, Gordo has found himself once again the witch of the Bennett pack. Green Creek has settled after the death of Richard Collins, and Gordo constantly struggles to ignore Mark and the song that howls between them.

But time is running out. Something is coming. And this time, it’s crawling from within.

Some bonds, no matter how strong, were made to be broken.


Title : Ravensong
Author : TJ Klune
Series : Green Creek (book two)
Format : eBook
Page Count : 480
Genre : LGBTQIA+ fantasy/paranormal
Publisher : Dreamspinner Press (originally, now BOATK Books)
Release Date : July 31, 2018 (re-released September 26, 2019)

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

My first time around with RAVENSONG I wrote maybe one of the most negative four star (though apparently I equated it more to 3.5) reviews I’ve probably ever written. I don’t necessarily disagree with my previous thoughts (it’s on GR if you’re curious!) but maybe knowing what is to come, maybe loving these characters a little more, I just feel less.. critical? To me this definitely is a solid four, no question.

You could have become the villain, Gordo. And it would have been within your rights. Instead you just chose to be an asshole.
Are you.. complimenting me? Because if you are, you’re doing a really bad job of it.”

Overwhelmingly the themes of family, both blood and found, of friendship, of love, of forgiveness.. everything is strong. Everything is lovely and wonderful even when it aches and breaks you apart. For me, at least, that is the standout beyond anything else I could be nitpicky about. However I’ll still break some of those down for you because.. of course I will.

They were all so different, these lost boys. But they did have one thing in common. All three were assholes who didn’t know when to shut the fuck up. And I was stuck with them.

There are elements to this installment that do feel a little samey to book one in build up but for very different reaons; so that makes it both the same and very much not, I guess. But some elements manage to stand out, too. Team Human? The best. That bar scene? Pure gold. There are very moving moments (tears, they were shed), exchanges of utter hilarity (my house echoed with the sound of my cackling), and this one might have some surprises for new readers who might not see certain things coming, might not pick up on the foreshadowing. Which, by the way, was fun to see this time around. Klune is tricksy.

Does she live in a broken-down cabin in the middle of the woods? Like, eating children and shit? Is that offensive to witches? Are you offended? I’m sorry if you’re offended.
[she] lives in an apartment in Minneapolis.
Oh. That’s.. disappointing.”

Thankfully book two doesn’t lean into that one particular annoying mantra from book one as much, though it does make a few appearances, but my biggest gripe the first time I read this (and stays true!) were.. the monologues. So long. So many. So much nope. But it’s fine, we’re moving on.

Other than finally getting to read BROTHERSONG (I hear you calling my name!), I might be most excited about book three, actually. I think they might be my favourite couple (which might get revised after book four!) and I just remember certain things.. breaking me. So, yes, it with both much anticipation and a healthy heaping of dread that I gear up for the next installment.

WOLFSONG by TJ Klune

lesson. He said that Ox wasn’t worth anything and people would never understand him. Then he left.

Ox was sixteen when he met the boy on the road, the boy who talked and talked and talked. Ox found out later the boy hadn’t spoken in almost two years before that day, and that the boy belonged to a family who had moved into the house at the end of the lane.

Ox was seventeen when he found out the boy’s secret, and it painted the world around him in colors of red and orange and violet, of Alpha and Beta and Omega.

Ox was twenty-three when murder came to town and tore a hole in his head and heart. The boy chased after the monster with revenge in his bloodred eyes, leaving Ox behind to pick up the pieces.

It’s been three years since that fateful day—and the boy is back. Except now he’s a man, and Ox can no longer ignore the song that howls between them. 


Title : Wolfsong
Author : TJ Klune
Series : Green Creek (book one)
Format : eBook
Page Count : 494
Genre : LGBTQIA+ fantasy/paranormal
Publisher : Dreamspinner (originally, now BOATK Books)
Release Date : June 20, 2016 (re-released September 24, 2019)

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ .5


Hollis’ 4.5 star review

As we approach the final countdown towards BROTHERSONG, the final book in the Green Creek series, I’m sure I’m not alone in rereading this series; I didn’t think I would, having read them for the first time back in January — so fairly recently — but I knew to do justice to this finale it would be best to revisit all the events, all the couples, all the f e e l s, that brought us to what awaits us as the end.

I would always choose you. I don’t care if it’s a biological imperative. I don’t care if it’s some destiny. I don’t care if you were made specifically for me. It doesn’t matter. I would choose you regardless.

And oh boy were there feels.

I’ll admit I maybe didn’t feel “omg uber five stars!” this time around but I still got weepy, I still laughed, I still outright cried (not a lot but mine eyes did spillage over), I found even more to highlight, and I was still just as annoyed about a certain repetition used as touchstone within this story. But at least this time I knew about that last one.

Oh my god, Ox, your life is like those shitty sparkly vampire movies. That I’ve never seen and don’t like at all, shut up.”

If you’re one of the ten people still in the world who haven’t read this? Maybe I should actually review the book in order to convince you to do so, ahem. Well it’s a paranormal world full of werewolves and witches! It’s set in a small town, with a lot of magic and history, and there is a family of soft boys, mostly loveable idiots, and a sweet budding romance.. and then some terrible heartbreaking stuff happens. Violence, devastation, betrayal, abandonment. Angst ensues. And then.. spoilery things I won’t even hint at. But it’s good. You’d like it.

She pretty, papi?
There’s no girl.
Oh? A boy, then? We don’t discriminate here at the Casa de Gordo.”

Oh, did I mention it’s queer?

You should read this.

RED ROOSTER by Lauren Gilley

n New York City, a string of increasingly-grisly murders leads Detective Trina Baskin, and her newly-immortal partner, Lanny, to a frightening facility with designs on studying all the immortals they can get their hands on. When one of their own is abducted, they’ll have to rely on dangerous new allies, plunged into a world they can barely believe exists…much less survive. 

In a tiny town in Wyoming, a girl on the run and her self-appointed protector can’t afford to sit still for too long, and they definitely can’t accept the help of kind strangers. Ruby Russell has the kind of talent that turns heads, and draws powerful enemies. Her gifts are not her own, and the people who made her want her back. 

In the second subbasement of a manor house outside Roanoke, a centuries-old Wallachian prince goes walking in his dreams. Guardian angel? Or beautiful liar? The people he visits will soon learn, because like it or not, they’re being drawn to his prison. 

All roads lead to Virginia in the second novel of Lauren Gilley’s Sons of Rome series. Dark paranormal fantasy brimming with richly-drawn characters, and steeped in history, Red Rooster continues the adventure that began in book one, White Wolf.


Title : Red Rooster
Author : Lauren Gilley
Series : Sons of Rome (book two)
Format : eBook
Page Count : 466
Genre : paranormal
Publisher : HP Press
Release Date : March 29, 2018

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★.5


Hollis’ 4.5 star review

So, I want to say that RED ROOSTER was everything I loved about WHITE WOLF but better but that would sort’ve be a lie as what I loved, or fell in love with, in book one was mostly due to the WWII era setting and history. And we have none of that in book two. We were pretty much all contemporary instead of past, with everyone having caught up to current events (in this world, I think it’s 2017? which makes sense based on publication) and all the chaos that is ensuing as a result of what came before.

Is everybody gonna turn into [a vampire]? Is this like the plague or something? Shit — is this I Am Legend? Fuck, I knew it.

I’ll admit, the one couple I wasn’t liking in book one, I’m still not loving, but there are plenty of others, and even more characters in general, that it’s not a big deal. And when I say more characters, like.. there’s a bunch. And we had a whole host of new introductions in this installment that had me immediately texting the friends who recommended this series to me and.. (not so) quietly losing my mind. There are even more familiar names popping up in this world and oh man was it hysterical and weird and amazing.

I’m super disappointed about [this]. All the vampire movies make it out like you get all sparkly, and irresistible and shit. Women just throw themselves at you, you know? And here I am, same old chump with a broken nose.”

Despite some grittier elements, I feel like this might not have been as dark an installment. But it was definitely just as fun and just as funny, and at times hella heartbreaking, and yeah I’m so trash for the characters and for a few of the couples. And one that I’m still waiting on to happen! Like.. it’s so good, so sweet, so pure, as it is but.. I want more.

The world’s broken a thousand times. [..] It always breaks, and stupid people always die trying to keep it from breaking, and it always mends itself in the end. I can live through that. I have. But I won’t live without him.”

This is a series that I feel needs a lot more attention and while I was reluctant to recommend it after book one, I think as a result of being more than satisfied by book two that I need to start pushing this on more friends. So, hey, if you’re not afraid of long books, love paranormal universes, and ensemble casts, you should take a look-see at this series. Particularly as the kindle prices are dirt cheap. You really can’t lose here. Huge page counts, tons of excitement, less than the cost of a coffee? Get on it!

BLOODBORN PRINCE by Laura Lascarso

As a bloodborn Nephilim, Vincent’s power of seduction can compel beings to spill their secrets, but he seeks to know the mysteries of only one man’s soul—those of his protector, Henri.

With the grief of his lover’s fate still fresh, Henri resists Vincent’s amorous advances. Even as the bond between them intensifies, and his self-control falters, Henri won’t risk losing his beloved again.

When Henri takes Vincent as his demon-hunting apprentice, their combined abilities uncover corruption amongst the gods. Tempers flare and loyalties are tested as the lies meant to protect become the same ones that ensnare.

And with divine forces attempting to coerce him at every turn, Henri must distinguish ally from enemy, and truth from deceit if he hopes to protect his bloodborn prince.


Title : Bloodborn Prince
Author : Laura Lascarso
Series : Mortal and Divine (book two)
Format : eARC
Page Count : 374
Genre : paranormal romance / LGBTQIA+ romance
Publisher : indie
Release Date : August 7, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ .5


Hollis’ 4.5 star review

Listen. I am hella privileged to be one of the beta-ish readers for this series so it’s impossible to say that I am totally unbiased about this world after being in it for so long however I do want to say that I’ve read this book three times and I loved it more each time.

This series, in general, is delightful because it feels different from so many other paranormal romances out there, queer or otherwise, and because it’s just dark enough to thrill you without leaning too hard on any particular buttons.

I’ve been waiting so long for a human to enchant me enough that I don’t wish to kill them. But they’ve all turned out to be disappointments.”
You might want to lower your expectations.
Maybe.”

This second installment, in particular, is a little less extreme in the ups and downs both in plot and in what happens to our much loved characters. But considering what we endured at the end of book one? I think Lascarso was just throwing us a bone. Or perhaps lulling us into a false sense of security because who knows what book three has in store for us (I can honestly say, at this point, I don’t even know!).

I made some very ugly and descriptive threats [when I learned about you].
What were some of the threats?
Oh, you know, I’d hunt you down and spit-roast you like a suckling pig. Carve up your flesh and feed it to you, unseasoned. Dissect your body and store your bits in separate jars, without labels.
Without labels? Asshole.
I’m very organized.

In a similar vein, I don’t know what I can really say about this book as it’s a sequel and we don’t believe in spoilers in this house b u t I do not think fans of book one will be disappointed. Yes, the angst and heartache is toned down a bit, but this is not without a few well-timed emotional gut punches, it’s got a few scenes that might send you running to shove your face in freezer, and it’s just as funny, if not funnier, than it’s predecessor. Humour is definitely an underrated element in books, particularly those like these which, as the author herself describes, contain “violence and moral ambiguity.”

Is there a cliffhanger, you might be asking? I’m not telling. But what I will say is that, once again, you’ll be thanking your lucky stars there isn’t a year to wait between these installments. I know I am.

** I received an ARC the author (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

WHITE WOLF by Lauren Gilley

NYPD homicide detective Trina Baskin is having nightmares. Vivid ones. Full of blood, and snow, dead wolves…and a young man with pale hair who howls like an animal. She chalks them up to stress and an overactive imagination, too many Old Country stories from her Russian father who, when he’s had too much vodka, starts to rave about dark forces and things that look like men…but aren’t. 

But then a case hits her desk that can’t be explained. A young man found outside a club with a nasty bite mark on his neck – and not a drop of blood left in his body. With no leads, no theories that bear exploring, too little sleep, and a partner who seems to be willfully throwing his career down the toilet, the last thing Trina needs is a full-on out of body experience…in which her family’s past is revealed to her, and everything starts making a whole lot of terrifying sense.

In 1942, Trina’s great-grandfather, Nikita, is a captain of the Cheka, the Soviet political police – or so it seems. He and his men are sent to Siberia to retrieve a “volunteer,” the boy who’s going to win the war against the Nazis – and potentially unleash hell on earth. 

The world’s immortal population has been living quietly, secretly, hiding from the wars of men, hoping the past can stay buried. But what happens on the Eastern Front in the winter of 1942 will change everything.

In 2017, Trina is about to come face-to-face with her own past in a way she never thought possible. It turns out monsters are real – and they might be the only hope for survival. 


Title : White Wolf
Author : Lauren Gilley
Series : Sons of Rome (book one)
Format : eBook
Page Count : 558
Genre : paranormal (contemporary & historical)
Publisher : HP Press
Release Date : October 29, 2017

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

So, as usual I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started WHITE WOLF. I knew it featured a detective but I figured she would be solving mysteries that would be paranormal in nature and.. I mean, it’s not not that, but it’s so much more.

Nikita caught one last glance of Sasha’s falsely brave smile and thought this is why men cave to tyrants. To make brave smiles worthwhile.

As you might have noticed by the page count, this is not a short book. I believe this is an epic series and boy does it feel that way. That being said, I did not expect to be transported to World War II era Russia after only, like, two chapters. But more than that, I didn’t expect to spend 85% of the book in that time period once we got there. And I certainly didn’t expect to love it so much. I actually resented transitioning back to the contemporary timeline because I was so invested in the characters I had come to love (like, seriously, Nikita and Sasha? I adore. but in general I’m such a sucker for an ensemble).

He was a good man! A holy man. He–
Was probably fucking your mother.

Time will tell if I come to appreciate these modern characters as much as the others but there are spoilery things I can’t mention that have me very satisfied with the shift back to 2017 now that we’re likely to stay there. Though who knows where book two (and beyond) will take us.

For wolves — werewolves — it’s unnatural to take a true mate.”
Please. Everybody fucks. That’s the most atural thing in the world.”
For mortal humans, yes, of course. But Familiars aren’t entirely human, and the laws of nature don’t apply the same way.”
You’re telling me superpowered people who live forever don’t fuck? What’s the point of living forever if you can’t get laid?

If you like the paranormal but also like historical fiction, or very detailed mythology twisted up with real historical figures, you should definitely look into starting this series. I’m loathe to recommend it too hard as I’m only just getting started but this definitely surprised me — and in a good way. There is definitely a bit of something here for everyone; romantic elements (though this is not a romance so don’t expect too much page time or focus), comedic elements (unless I’m just warped but I did laugh out loud quite a few times), and darker elements (hello vampires and werewolves and also war time events). I know this won’t be for everyone, some readers may not want so much history, so much time spent on backstory, but this worked for me. It took a few days to get through but each time I picked it up I couldn’t tear myself away.

I’m so keen to dive into book two.

WOLF IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING by Charlie Adhara

Agent Cooper Dayton and his partner, Oliver Park, are going undercover—at a retreat for couples who need counselling. They do say the best cover story is one that’s close to the truth…

Agent Cooper Dayton is almost relieved to get a phone call from his former boss at the Bureau of Special Investigations. It means a temporary reprieve from tensions created by house hunting with Oliver Park, his partner both in work and in life. Living together in a forever home is exactly what Cooper wants. He’s just not keen on working out the details.

With a former alpha werewolf missing, Cooper and Park are loaned to the BSI to conduct the search at a secluded mountain retreat. The agents will travel to the resort undercover…as a couple in need of counseling.

The resort is picturesque, the grounds are stunning and the staff members are all suspicious as hell.

With a long list of suspects and danger lurking around every cabin, Cooper should be focusing on the case. But he’s always been anxious about the power dynamics in his relationship with Park, and participating in the couples’ activities at the retreat brings it all to the surface. A storm is brewing, though, and Cooper and Park must rush to solve the case before the weather turns. Or before any more guests—or the agents themselves—end up dead.


Title : Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
Author : Charlie Adhara
Series : Big Bad Wolf (book four)
Format : eARC
Page Count :
Genre : LGBTQIA+ paranormal romance
Publisher : Carina Press
Release Date : March 2, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

Ho-ho-how great was this! For reference, I started and finished this on Christmas Eve, so. That’s why this opening line is funny to me right now.. knowing this won’t go live until March.

But back on track!

I am new to this series, having binged the first three back in the summer, but seeing this installment up for request was exciting because a) I wasn’t sure we’d get more and b) the third book was my favourite of the series so I had hoped that momentum, and track record, would continue on the up and up. And this was pretty damn great.

Frankly, Dayton, I don’t know anyone less concerned with pissing off people and wolves alike.
Careful, all this flattery is going straight to my head.”

It’s hard to know what to talk about for a series that’s a few books in but suffice it to say, if you’re a fan, you’ll still be, and if you’re keen to start a m/m werewolf shifter series and this is the first you’re hearing about it? Surprise! Go settle in for a nice binge. This one is much fun.

What the hell about him had Park seen and thought, Oh yes, anxiety-ridden loner with a temper sharper than a serpent’s tongue and a deep-seated fear of change whose longest successful relationship is with an equally judgmental cat? Swoon.

On the emotional/relationship front, this one started to worry me a bit because I thought we had come very far in book three, and some of the issues Cooper was working through felt a little bit two steps back. But. Oh but. There were some great moments to push us even further than we’d gone in book three, and with some very good rationale and reasoning, and a heck of a lot of teasing. In the best way.

It’s not you, it’s me.
Very helpful. How on earth will an evolved couple like us convincingly pretend to need counseling?

Plus? EeeeEeEeEeEe. <– this was my brain during a certain hug. That’s all I’m saying.

What do you think? Would Kyle and Andrew venture out and ask directions?
I don’t know, are Kyle and Andrew auditioning for victims one and two in a horror movie?
Kyle would. Andrew needs to keep the car running and getaway ready. For reasons.
I hate Andrew.”
That’s why we’re here.

The excuse for this particular adventure, going undercover at a couple’s counseling retreat for werewolves, was genius. Who doesn’t love the ‘pretend relationship’ trope except it’s even juicier when they are in a relationship and get forced to work through some things. Delicious. Also, I liked how Adhara introduced another element for the shifters in such a natural way. It seems to happen in each book, the total opposite of an info dump, and always relevant for the moment, not for a ‘maybe in the future you need to know this’, and it’s so perfect. The worldbuilding is so fabulous and so natural, so subtle.

Nice secret passage. Narnia’s keeping well, I assume.

So, yes, this wasn’t Christmassy at all, I’m reading it three months early, but who even cares. I had so much fun, this was sexy as hell, and also hilarious. Sometimes I wonder which I like better, the humour or the swoons (it’s both, but seriously, so funny). I can’t wait for more because with the ending of this one, this series is definitely not over.

** I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. ** 

RED HOOD by Elana K. Arnold

You are alone in the woods, seen only by the unblinking yellow moon. Your hands are empty. You are nearly naked.

And the wolf is angry.

Since her grandmother became her caretaker when she was four years old, Bisou Martel has lived a quiet life in a little house in Seattle. She’s kept mostly to herself. She’s been good. But then comes the night of homecoming, when she finds herself running for her life over roots and between trees, a fury of claws and teeth behind her. A wolf attacks. Bisou fights back. A new moon rises. And with it, questions. About the blood in Bisou’s past and on her hands as she stumbles home. About broken boys and vicious wolves. About girls lost in the woods—frightened, but not alone.

Elana K. Arnold, National Book Award finalist and author of the Printz Honor book Damsel, returns with a dark, engrossing, blood-drenched tale of the familiar threats to female power—and one girl’s journey to regain it. 


Title : Red Hood
Author : Elana K. Arnold
Format : eARC
Page Count : 368
Genre : YA fantasy
Publisher : Balzer + Bray
Release Date : February 25, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★


Hollis’ 2 star review

I requested this book for one reason only : because of DAMSEL. It’s a book a lot of people hate, or dislike, or just feel uncomfortable about. And I don’t begrudge anyone their feelings. But somehow it just worked for me. So when I saw yet another feminist sorta-retelling by the same author? I wanted it.

While this saying a lot of things, and unpacking all the societal gender issues, it just didn’t quite work as a story. It felt very literal, the good girls killed by the wolves aren’t good girls at all, it’s whispered, and yet no one questions the motives of the wolf. And this leaned very heavily on menstruation and dealing with those changes, all of which is great, and not often touched on. We also had a very strong female friendship that develops, between girls who wouldn’t normally have found each other, or maybe given each other a chance to be friends, in addition to a very sweet, very genuine, romance, but.

But.

I don’t know, it was a push to get through this, I wasn’t feeling motivated to read it, despite all the good in the story and what it was saying.

I think people who disliked DAMSEL will enjoy this because it’s a little less wild, a little less out there, and again, the dialogue is relevant and strong. So if you were put off by the author’s other works, but want to explore this kind of story, I would suggest giving this a try.

** I received an ARC from Edelweiss and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

BOOK OF ORLANDO by Laura Lascarso

Henri has a policy of not interfering with human affairs—he’s a courier of souls, no more, no less—until he happens upon a boy who reminds him there is goodness and light amidst the sorrow.

Orlando is in a vulnerable situation when Henri intercedes on his behalf and initiates the bond between them. Despite being punished in the past for similar transgressions, Henri finds himself getting more entangled in Orlando’s life over the years, doling out “justice” to those who mean to harm his beloved friend.

In time, Orlando ages into a beautiful young man with agency all his own, and he harbors desires only Henri can satisfy. But there are grave consequences for the mortal and divine when they consort with one another, and the gods will have their sacrifice.

The first of a trilogy, Book of Orlando is a work of adult, erotic fiction. It contains violence and moral ambiguity.


Title : Book of Orlando
Author : Laura Lascarso
Series : Mortal and the Divine (volume 1)
Format : eARC
Page Count : 358
Genre : paranormal / erotica
Publisher : indie
Release Date : February 7, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ .5


Hollis’ 4.5 star review

I am not sure where to begin with this one.

I want to impress upon you how this isn’t quite like any other paranormal you’ve read; sure, you might be familiar with the usual angels and demons in your fantasy, but this is something new. Are you tired of the same old immortal bloodsuckers, sparkly or otherwise? Lascarso’s got you covered. Want all that and for it to be hot and.. well, scorching hot? Yep and yep.

I find writing this review impossible, and have written and deleted innumerable iterations of this, because I was trying to detail the story and give nothing away and that is just not happening. Everything feels like a spoiler, everything feels like I’m saying too much and ruining the surprise. And that’s the last thing I want to do.

So, suffice it to say that this book deals with trauma, agency, sexual discovery, consent, assault, and abuse, but is also sweet, tender, sexy as hell, and so much more. Orlando is the sassy sweet brat you never knew you wanted to read about, Henri is the epitome of a gentleman demon, and their connection, their love, is everything. The world around them, the magic and the immortals, the age old grievances and the blood, is fascinating, complex, and dark.

I need book two, like, now.

** I received an ARC from the author (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **