The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi

The Death of Vivek Oji
The Death of Vivek Ojo by Akwaeke Emezi

Publisher: Penguin Group Riverhead

Date of publication: August 4th 2020

Genre: Contemporary, Fiction, Queer, LGBT+, Africa

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | AbeBooks | Alibris | Powell’s | IndieBound | Indigo | Audible | Apple Books | Better World Books

Format read: eBook

Got book from: NetGalley as a Non Arc

Trigger Warnings: Homophobia, Transphobia, Domestic Violence, Rape, Incest, Violence, Drug Use, Alcohol Use, General Violence


Goodreads Synopsis:

What does it mean for a family to lose a child they never really knew?

One afternoon, in a town in southeastern Nigeria, a mother opens her front door to discover her son’s body, wrapped in colorful fabric, at her feet. What follows is the tumultuous, heart-wrenching story of one family’s struggle to understand a child whose spirit is both gentle and mysterious. Raised by a distant father and an understanding but overprotective mother, Vivek suffers disorienting blackouts, moments of disconnection between self and surroundings. As adolescence gives way to adulthood, Vivek finds solace in friendships with the warm, boisterous daughters of the Nigerwives, foreign-born women married to Nigerian men. But Vivek’s closest bond is with Osita, the worldly, high-spirited cousin whose teasing confidence masks a guarded private life. As their relationship deepens—and Osita struggles to understand Vivek’s escalating crisis—the mystery gives way to a heart-stopping act of violence in a moment of exhilarating freedom.

Propulsively readable, teeming with unforgettable characters, The Death of Vivek Oji is a novel of family and friendship that challenges expectations—a dramatic story of loss and transcendence that will move every reader.


First Line:

They burned down the market on the day Vivek Oji died.

The death of vivek oji by akwaeke emezi

The Death of Vivek Oji is one of the best books that I have read in the past six months (I would say year, but it is only February). I could not put the book down; that is how much I liked it.

I will admit that it took me a chapter or so to get into the book’s rhythm. But once I got the rhythm, the book went fast. There was no lag and no excess storyline. That made for a delightful read.

The Death of Vivek Oji is written mainly from the 1st person perspectives of Vivek and Osika. There are some 3rd person chapters written when describing the events around specific events in Vivek’s life (mainly their death and their mother’s meetings with the Nigerwives). Some people might have an issue with that, but I didn’t, which surprised me. I was quickly able to follow when the book switched perspectives and people.

The author did a great job of showing how repressed Nigerian culture was for gay/trans people. The main scenes that stand out to me were when Vivek grew their hair out, and their parent’s first response was to cut it. Vivek was not allowed out because of how they looked. Their aunt had a preacher beat them to “get the demons out.” It was heartbreaking to read.

I felt for Osita the entire book. He loved Vivek with his whole heart but couldn’t share that love with the world. Instead, the small group of friends Vivek and Osita had known. It must have been so tiring to live like that. My heart hurt for him.

There is sex in The Death of Vivek Oji. I won’t lie and say that it isn’t graphic because it is. 

The end of Vivek Oji’s death was one of the rawest that I have read to date. I am not going to get into it, but it was intense. I do like that Vivek’s parents finally understood their daughter and honored her. But, it was the final scene with Osita that made me cry. That poor, poor man!!


The Death of Vivek Oji was a fantastic book to read. It was fast paced and was able to deliver a heavy plotline with the grace that it was due. I am actively looking for other books by the same author to read!!!

After much thought, I will recommend The Death of Vivek Oji for anyone over the age of 21. There is a scene of attempted rape. There is talk of domestic violence. There is deadnaming. There is graphic sex.

Steel Crow Saga (Steel Crow Saga: Book 1) by Paul Krueger

Steel Crow Saga by [Krueger, Paul]

4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Ray

Date of publication: September 24th, 2019

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA

Where you can find Steel Crow Saga: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Series: Steel Crow Saga

Steel Crow Saga—Book 1

Book Synopsis:

Four destinies collide in a unique fantasy world of war and wonders, where empire is won with enchanted steel and magical animal companions fight alongside their masters in battle.

A soldier with a curse
Tala lost her family to the empress’s army and has spent her life avenging them in battle. But the empress’s crimes don’t haunt her half as much as the crimes Tala has committed against the laws of magic… and her own flesh and blood.

A prince with a debt
Jimuro has inherited the ashes of an empire. Now that the revolution has brought down his kingdom, he must depend on Tala to bring him home safe. But it was his army who murdered her family. Now Tala will be his redemption—or his downfall.

A detective with a grudge
Xiulan is an eccentric, pipe-smoking detective who can solve any mystery—but the biggest mystery of all is her true identity. She’s a princess in disguise, and she plans to secure her throne by presenting her father with the ultimate prize: the world’s most wanted prince.

A thief with a broken heart
Lee is a small-time criminal who lives by only one law: Leave them before they leave you. But when Princess Xiulan asks her to be her partner in crime—and offers her a magical animal companion as a reward—she can’t say no, and soon finds she doesn’t want to leave the princess behind.

This band of rogues and royals should all be enemies, but they unite for a common purpose: to defeat an unstoppable killer who defies the laws of magic. In this battle, they will forge unexpected bonds of friendship and love that will change their lives—and begin to change the world.


First Line:

Dimangan heard his name and came when he was called.

Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger

My Review:

I have noticed a couple of themes in the books that I have been reading lately. The first one is that I saw is the plenty of strong female characters. The second is that Japanese/Chinese based fantasy is becoming more popular. Both caught my attention when I read the blurb for Steel Crow Saga. I am happy to say that I loved Steel Crow Saga!! It was a fantastic read.

Steel Crow Saga has four separate plotlines. Usually, that would be an issue for me. I lose focus on many plotlines. But, in this book, it wasn’t an issue. The author was able to keep all four plotlines separated. I had no problem keeping them straight. I also loved that while the plotlines did get merged towards the end of the book, they were still separate.

The characters in Steel Crow Saga were well written and well fleshed out. That made the book so much more enjoyable for me to read. I did have my favorite characters in the book. I loved Lee and Xiulan, separately and together. I also did like Tala and Jimuro, but Lee and Xiulan captured my heart.

The fantasy angle of the book was amazing!! I loved how shadepacting worked. To have an animal bond that close to you must be amazing. But I also could see why it was done with only animals and not humans. I thought having the bad guy having hundreds of shades was great. I also liked that the characters could steal the shades from other people. I liked it.

Another part of the book that I loved was the LGBT representation in the book. Xiulan and Lee had feelings for each other. Jimuro’s oldest friend was a transgender man. Mang, Tala’s brother, was gay. Lee, and I believe Jimuro, were bisexual. I loved it!!

I have read reviews where this book was compared to The Last Airbender and Pokemon. I did get the Pokemon vibe while reading it but I didn’t get The Last Airbender vibe. Shrugs.

I also liked that each race was a different Asian country. China, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, and India were represented. Doing that added more depth to the book. There also could be more countries that I didn’t pick up on.

There was a lot of violence and death in Steel Crow Saga. It didn’t bother me (violence in books usually don’t). But some people are bothered by violence. Unfortunately, this book couldn’t be told without the violence.

Tala and Mang’s relationship was one of the saddest ones that I have read to date. My heart broke several times whenever their relationship came up. The author also explains how he became a shade. Again, talk about my poor heartbreaking. I was in tears. What Mang asked Tala to do was awful, and it shaped her for the rest of her life.

The end of Steel Crow Saga was interesting. It was interesting because while the main storylines ended, the author left room for another book. I am curious to see what will happen with Tala and Jimuro, especially after what was revealed. I am also interested to see where Lee and Xiulan’s relationship will go. Also, I want to know what will happen with the different countries now that the war is over. I can’t wait for book 2 to come out!!


I would give Steel Crow Saga an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Steel Crow Saga. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Raze (Riven: Book 3) by Roan Parrish

Raze (Riven Series Book 3) by [Parrish, Roan]

3.5 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept, Loveswept

Date of publication: July 2nd, 2019

Genre: LGBTQIA, Romance

Series: Riven

Riven—Book 1 (review here)

Rend—Book 2 (review here)

Raze—Book 3

Where you can find Raze: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

Sometimes the walls we build to save ourselves have to come tumbling down.

For the last ten years, Huey has built his life around his sobriety. If that means he doesn’t give a damn about finding love or companionship for himself, well, it’s probably better that way. After all, the last thing he wants is to hurt anyone else. Until Felix Rainey walks into his bar, fresh-faced, unbearably sweet—and, for some reason Huey can’t fathom, interested in him.

As the eldest of five kids, Felix Rainey spent his childhood cooking dinner, checking homework, and working after-school jobs. Now in his twenties, he’s still scrambling to make ends meet and wondering what the hell he’s doing with his life. When he meets Huey, he’s intimidated . . . and enamored. Huey’s strong and confident, he owns his own business—hell, he’s friends with rock stars. What could he ever see in Felix?

As Huey and Felix get closer, the spark catches and soon they can’t get enough of each other. But Huey’s worked hard to avoid intimacy, and Felix threatens his carefully constructed defenses. Huey realizes he needs to change if he wants to truly put his past behind him—and build a future with Felix. 

Roan Parrish’s pitch-perfect Riven novels can be read together or separately:
RIVEN * REND * RAZE


My Review:

"In the corner of my bar, a cheerfully drunk man sang loudly and out of tune."

I was excited to see that there was another book in the Riven series. I had enjoyed the previous two books and was hoping that I would like Raze. For the most part, I did like it. But the parts that I didn’t like did affect my rating.

Raze’s plotline was enjoyable to read. It was well written, and the author didn’t let anything lag. She also didn’t drop storylines. The plotline was also a fast moving one. Put it this way; I was able to sit down and read Raze within 2 hours.

I liked Felix, but man, he annoyed me. He was too whiny and too clingy. He didn’t know how to talk to people. He was immature. But, when he wasn’t being any of those traits that I mentioned, he was a good guy. He was a good son and a great sibling. He cared about Huey. But those good traits were buried beneath the stuff that I didn’t like. I wish they were showcased more.

I didn’t know what to make of Huey. Getting his backstory was like pulling teeth. It was leaked a little at a time. It drove me nuts. I didn’t like that I couldn’t pinpoint what his feelings were for Felix. Again, drove me nuts. I liked seeing a different Huey appear by the end of the book. He was grounded and happy. Loved it!!

Like I stated in the paragraph above, I couldn’t get a handle on Huey’s feelings for Felix. Because of that, the romance between them seemed forced.

The sex scenes were hot. What Felix and Huey lacked in the romance department, they made up for with sex. Those scenes were so hot that I was expecting my screen to implode. The only scene that didn’t do it for me was the ass eating scene towards the end of the book. I am open-minded about everything but I just couldn’t with this. As I was reading that scene, I kept thinking, “What if he didn’t wipe good.” Which then led my thoughts too well, you know where I am going with that.

The end of Raze was heartwarming. I was left wondering if there was going to be a book 4 or if this is that last book in the series. There were some characters (Grin, Morgan, Jhoi stand out the most in my mind) that I would love to see get their happily ever after.


I would give Raze an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

I would reread Raze.  I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

TEN: Part 1 by Sin Ribbon

TEN: Part 1 by [Ribbon, Sin]

5 Stars

Publisher:

Date of publisher: February 12th, 2019

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBTQIA

Where you can find TEN Part 1: Amazon

Book synopsis:

Is fate a shield against the agony of choice or a force that suffocates free will?

From diverse walks of life and different corners of the globe, ten strangers are being brought together. Prejudice, fallen dreams, loss, and trauma have plagued each of their lives . . . until they find each other, and for once it seems serendipity may heal their collective pain.

But what lurks behind these fated meetings is something far more sinister.

Terrible and elusive forces have endowed the ten with supernatural abilities. Far from a gift however, some are drowning in these overwhelming new powers to the point of possession.

What does fate permit us to do? Are we a product of choice or design? In this urban fantasy adventure, the ten must resist the will of destiny if they wish to carve their own paths. Armed only with camaraderie, they will discover if the strength of their choice is enough to prevent the looming, catastrophic future thrust upon them.

The battle for free will begins here.


Review here:

TEN: Part 1 is one of those books that will blow you away. I went into reading this book thinking that it would be OK. I figured that 10 main characters would overwhelm the book. Man, was I proven wrong. TEN: Part 1 was a fantastic read with a great plotline and characters that blew my socks off.

The plotline for TEN: Part 1 was interesting. Ten individuals, from all walks of life and cultures, are drawn to each other. All ten individuals have powers that are starting to awaken. These individuals soon find out that they are chosen to play a game by the Fates. A game that holds the fate of humanity in its balance. It fascinated me. I couldn’t wait to find out why these ten individuals were chosen and what their powers were.

The plotline drew me in from the beginning. The author did a fantastic job of introducing the main characters. While each chapter was short, she got right to the point. If there was a change to a different character, it was labelled. I also liked that there were zero dropped plotlines or a lag in the plotlines.

I am not going to go into each character individually. There are ten of them and my review would be long if I did that. I did like that the author was able to make each character their own person. Which I consider a huge feat because well, ten main characters. I was expected some overlapping with their personalities.

I also liked how diverse everyone was. There were White, Black, Hispanic, Indian and Chinese featured. I loved that the author had a bisexual character and transgender character. It made the book so much more interesting to read.

I did like how the author had certain people pair off. I wasn’t expecting Orion and Allister, though. That pairing took me by surprise. I also couldn’t make up my mind about Siya and Thane. There was something there. The author kept it vague enough to make me wonder.

I will say that the powers that the author had Orion, Allister, Thane, and Qiu manifest were scary. What made them even more scarier was what happened when they got “possessed“. The explanation that was given at the end of the book made sense. I couldn’t understand why they had different powers than the others. Again, the end of the book explained a lot (not everything).

The end of the book was interesting. The plotlines were not resolved. Which is what I was expecting. I mean, this is Part 1. I did like how Siya explained Orion, Allister, Thane, and Qiu’s powers. I also liked how she explained what Riya, Sebastian, Madison, and Olivia’s roles in the game would be. I am curious about how she and Isaac figure into everything. So, yes, I can’t wait to read Part 2!!

Oh and before I forget, I was thrilled that the author had a character sheet link attached to her Goodreads page. I can’t even begin to tell everyone how much I loved that. It was a huge help when looking up names and getting backgrounds. If only other authors would do the same thing, I would be in heaven!!


I would give TEN: Part 1 an Older Teen rating. There is no sex. There is mild language. There is mild violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

I would reread TEN: Part 1. I would reccomend this book to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

I would like to thank the author for allowing me to read and review TEN: Part 1


Have you read TEN: Part 1?

What are your thoughts on it?

Let me know!!

Rend (Riven: Book 2) by Roan Parrish

Rend (Riven, #2)

4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group, Loveswept

Date of publication: November 27th, 2018

Genre: Romance, LGBTQIA

Series: Riven

Riven—Book 1 (review here)

Rend—Book 2

Raze—Book 3 (expected publication date: July 2nd, 2019)

Where you can find Rend: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

After a whirlwind romance, a man with a painful past learns to trust the musician who makes him believe in happy endings.

Matt Argento knows what it feels like to be alone. After a childhood of abandonment, he never imagined someone might love him—much less someone like Rhys Nyland, who has the voice of an angel, the looks of a god, and the worship of his fans.

Matt and Rhys come from different worlds, but when they meet, their chemistry is incendiary. Their romance is unexpected, intense, and forever—at least, that’s what their vows promise. Suddenly, Matt finds himself living a life he never thought possible: safe and secure in the arms of a man who feels like home. But when Rhys leaves to go on tour for his new album, Matt finds himself haunted by the ghosts of his past.

When Rhys returns, he finds Matt twisted by doubt. But Rhys loves Matt fiercely, and he’ll go to hell and back to triumph over Matt’s fears. After secrets are revealed and desires are confessed, Rhys and Matt must learn to trust each other if they’re going to make it. That means they have to fall in love all over again—and this time, it really will be forever.

Roan Parrish’s pitch-perfect Riven novels can be read together or separately:
RIVEN | REND


My review:

Abandoned as a child, Matt is used to being alone. He has formed no lasting relationships with anyone other than his best friends, Grin and Sid. But that changes when Matt meets Rhys at a bar one night. Looking for a casual hookup, Matt finds himself heads over heels in love with Rhys. Rhys makes him feel safe and secure. Something that was missing when he was a child. But that is soon tested when Rhys, a talented musician, goes on tour. Doubt if Rhys’s will come home takes over Matt’s life. Matt’s life starts to spiral out of control during the last weeks of Rhys’s tour. Which worries friends and Rhys. Matt finally comes clean with his fears and his awful childhood. Can Rhys convince Matt that he is there forever? Can Matt overcome his past? Can Rhys convince Matt that his love is forever?

I was pretty excited to read Rend. I was wondering what the story was behind Matt and Rhys’s relationship. So when I saw that this book was about that, I didn’t even hesitate to request it. I will warn you all. This book gets off to a slow start. It creeps the first couple of chapters. Normally, I would be complaining about slow starts to books. But, in this case, it works. It lays the groundwork for Matt and Rhys’s relationship. It also showed how Matt’s childhood affected him as an adult.

I didn’t exactly like Matt when I started reading the book. Without knowing his background, he came across as needy and insecure. But, as I read the book and as I started to learn more about his background, I realized that he was a damaged person. What clued me in was how he acted when Rhys was on tour. His mental state, which was not great when Rhys was there, disintegrated to the point where he couldn’t even function. When he finally told Rhys about his childhood, my heart broke. It broke for the child he was and the damaged man that he became. What I liked is that the author didn’t have Matt’s issues go away when he told Rhys. Instead, it showed Matt working on getting mentally better with Rhys’s help.

I liked Rhys. He was so devoted to Matt. His confusion over Matt’s breakdown was sad. I do think that he should have pushed for more answers about Matt’s past. Especially since they had known each other for only 2-3 months before getting married. I didn’t agree with his reaction when Matt broke down and told him about his childhood. Leaving was the worst thing that he could have done. I did understand why he left. He needed to get his thoughts in order. I would have done the same thing. The talk that Caleb had with Rhys was blunt but true. Rhys couldn’t save everyone from themselves.

Rhys and Matt had their ups and downs in this book. There were points in the book where I wondered if their relationship was going to make it. It showed that while love is great, it is work. I loved it. It wasn’t showing a happily ever after where everything is fine. Matt had some major issues that needed work. While all was fine at the end of the book, I couldn’t help but wonder if they would stay together.

Of course, the sex was insanely hot in this book. Matt and Rhys didn’t lack sexual attraction or chemistry. Put it this way, I had to fan myself after reading some of those scenes. I will warn that some of the sex scenes are explicit.

I loved that Theo and Caleb were in this book. I was wondering if they were going to be. Theo was just as adorable in Rend as he was in Riven. I loved that he took a liking to Matt and looked out for him. I loved that Caleb was able to talk to Rhys about what was happening with Matt. The advice he gave to Rhys was blunt but true.

The end of the book was a tear-jerker. I won’t say exactly what happened but it was amazing. I felt the love!! Besides making me cry, it did make me smile too.


I gave Rend a 4-star rating. I enjoyed reading this romance. This was a gritty, darker romance that resonated with me. I came to care about the main characters. The plotlines were engaging. I did get irritated with Rhys and Matt during separate parts of the book. But, it was nothing that affected my rating of the book.

I would give Rend an Adult rating. There is explicit sex. There is language. There is violence. There are triggers. They would be an abandonment of a child. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Rend. I would also recommend this book to family and friends. I would include a warning about triggers.


I would like to thank Random House Publishing Group, Loveswept, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Rend.

All opinions stated in this review of Rend are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**


Have you read Rend?

Love it? 

Hate it?

Meh about it?

Let me know!!!

Riven by Roan Parrish

Riven

4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept, Loveswept

Date of publication: May 29th, 2018

Genre: LGBTQIA, Romance

Trigger Warnings: Talk of past drug use, talk about past alcohol use, talk of emotional neglect of a child

Where you can find Riven: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Theo Decker might be the lead singer of Riven, but he hates being a rock star. The paparazzi, the endless tours, being recognized everywhere he goes—it all makes him squirm. The only thing he doesn’t hate is the music. Feeling an audience’s energy as they lose themselves in Riven’s music is a rush unlike anything else . . . until he meets Caleb Blake Whitman. Caleb is rough and damaged, yet his fingers on his guitar are pure poetry. And his hands on Theo? They’re all he can think about. But Caleb’s no groupie—and one night with him won’t be enough.

Just when Caleb is accepting his new life as a loner, Theo Decker slinks into it and turns his world upside-down. Theo’s sexy and brilliant and addictively vulnerable, and all Caleb wants is another hit. And another. That’s how he knows Theo’s trouble. Caleb can’t even handle performing these days. How the hell is he going to survive an affair with a tabloid superstar? But after Caleb sees the man behind the rock star, he begins to wonder if Theo might be his chance at a future he thought he’d lost forever.

My review:

I haven’t read a lot of romance with rock stars in them. For some reason, I never read one when they were the big thing. So, I saw Riven up for review on Loveswept’s NetGalley page, I decided to request it. Plus, I love romances were both parties are damaged. It makes the romance more realistic and the big “I Love You” scene so much sweeter to read. Another reason I requested the book was because of the cover. I loved it. Simple with only the headshot of the model.

The romance aspect of Riven was intense. I got goosebumps because their attraction carried off my Kindle. Of course, Caleb tries to go and ruin it all. But I could understand why he fought it so hard. Every single relationship he ever had been ruined by his actions. He felt that it would be better keeping people at arm’s length. Then he met Theo. On Theo’s end, he craved affection. He did come across as a little too needy during parts of the book. His neediness both made me like and dislike him. He was shattered every time he and Caleb fought. It got old after a while.

The sex scenes were amazing. They were so hot and dirty. Man were they dirty. I did think that the sex scene also got repetitive after a while, though. I understand tops and bottoms (look it up if you don’t know) but I wanted to see Theo on top at least once. There was also one sex scene that made me want to throw up in my mouth. I won’t get into it but I will say that I hope Theo wiped well because Caleb did what he did. Other than those two complaints, I loved the sex scenes!!

I couldn’t understand why Theo never finished a sentence. A good part of his sentences ended in “…..“. Which drove me bat-poop crazy. I hate it what the character always trails off. I get why the author had Theo do it but still.

Speaking of Theo, I liked how his character was written. He was damaged but not as bad as Caleb was. His damage came from his parents being distant and cold to him. That affected him in everything that he did. He chased men for the warmth he got during his sexual encounters. So I understood when he clung to Caleb and why he was so upset when they fought. I do think that what happened with the band should have happened earlier. Theo would have been way happier.

I loved Caleb. The author did a great job of capturing the rocky slope that he dealt with to keep his sobriety. He spoke candidly of relapsing to Theo and made no promises that he wouldn’t do it in the future. I also liked the fear he had about his music and not being able to play. A very real fear considering what went with the lifestyle before. I do think that he could have been a bit nicer to Theo about certain things. But he wasn’t. Even that turned out in his favor.

The end of Riven was emotionally charged. I cried when Caleb did what he did for Theo. I cried for Theo. I cried because of everything that was said. I cried. So, be warned, it is a tear-jerker.

What I liked about Riven:

A) Theo and Caleb’s romance

B) The hot sex scenes

C) The realistic view of Caleb’s recovery

What I disliked about Riven:

A) Theo coming across as too needy

B) Theo not finishing sentences

C) A certain sex scene.

I would give Riven a rating of Adult. There is explicit sex. There is language. There is mild violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read Riven.

There are trigger warnings in Riven. They are talk of past drug use, talk about past alcohol use, talk of emotional neglect of a child. If you are triggered by any of these, I would suggest not reading this book.

Riven is a book that I would recommend to family and friends. This is also a book that I would reread.

I would like to thank Loveswept, Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Riven.

All opinion stated in this review of Riven are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

Raiden Out the Storm (An-Off-the-Rails Ice Era Chronicle: 2:15 a.m.) by C.M. Moore

Raiden Out the Storm (An Off-The-Rails Ice Era Chronicle: 2:15 a.m.)

3 Stars

Publisher: Troll River Publications

Date of publication: April 10th, 2018

Genre: dystopia, LGBTQIA, fantasy

Series: An-Off-the-Rails Ice Era Chronicle: 2:15 a.m.

1:05 a.m. – Book 1

2:05 a.m. – Book 2

Raiden Out the Storm – Book 3

Grinding My Gears – Book 4

Trigger Warning: Rape (M/M), talk of past rape, and talk of past domestic violence

Where you can find Raiden Out the Storm: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

In the kind of rough and tumble life they lead, Raiden knows there is no place for love…

Raiden refuses his connection to Ash Winsor. She’s mean. She insults him. And she carries a big gun. He won’t have her. He should get away from her, but how? As soon as they can find the man who tied their heartstrings together, they’ll go their separate ways. All they have to do is get to H.S.P.C. headquarters building and pay him off. Raiden hopes that once he’s free, he’ll be able to go back to trekking on the surface of the planet and sending money home to his dad. He should be able to forget all about Ash and her handsome shadow.

Love has kept Stone as Ash Winsor’s shadow for two years. He can’t bring himself to leave her even though the relationship is painful and going in circles. When he finds out that Ash is now tied to another man, Stone wants nothing more than to see Raiden gone. Together they will both follow King Winsor from train to train. Stone is hoping against hope that the rough and troubled harvester will one day choose him, and Raiden will no longer be at their side.

Lying has become as natural to Ashley Winsor as breathing. Ash had made sure Stone thinks she’s a man. She has also made sure Raiden doesn’t know how much she needs him. If Ash can just make the trek to the headquarters building, she will be free of the two men who want her more than anything. The only problem is, the closer she gets to her goal, the more she wonders if she wants them gone.

My Review:

When Troll River Publishing approached me to review Raiden Out The Storm, I almost said no. At the time, I was 10 books behind for writing reviews and I was beginning to feel burnt out by writing reviews. I decided to accept the request when I saw the cover. For some odd reason, I liked it. It called to me. Fortunately for me, a small mini-vacation happened where I caught up on my reviews. I also restructured my review schedule so I wouldn’t fall behind.

What I didn’t know when I accepted was that Raiden Out The Storm was book 3 in a series. Each book is the same storyline but told from different perspectives. So, you can’t pick this book up and start reading it. You need to read the first two books to find out exactly what is going on. I was a bit lost reading. There were references to the other characters and situations that I didn’t get. It did take away from me enjoying the book.

Ash interested me. She was tough on the outside but sweet on the inside. When it was revealed why she had to become so tough, my heart broke. It was that incident that shaped her into becoming the unofficial leader of the harvesters. I thought her masquerading as a man interesting. She knew that she wouldn’t get the respect from the men she “ruled” over so she became a man. A man would be respected. A man would be feared.

I was surprised that she got away with being a man for as long as she did. If people had doubts, her guns and toughness silenced them. Only a select few people knew that she was a woman. Understandably, she was reluctant to let Raiden know her secret. Besides having magic connecting them, I was surprised that she revealed that she was a woman to him. Then slept with him almost right afterward.

Stone annoyed me. Mainly because he lived with Ash and didn’t pick up on the clues that she was a woman. She didn’t grow facial hair and her voice didn’t change. He was in love with Ash. But he was in love with King Windsor, the man. Not Ash the woman. I kind of wanted to smack him upside the head for not paying attention enough. Also, I didn’t like how he treated Raiden at first. Raiden was bound to Ash, against his will. He had no control over what was going to happen. Which made me aggravated because Stone acted like a jealous twit for most of the book.

I thought Raiden was a pushover. He did show some spirit at the beginning of the book but it kind of fizzled. When his ex-person (I don’t know how to classify that person) started bullying him, he stood there and took it. He didn’t attempt to fight that person even when they dropped him out in the woods, naked. He didn’t defend himself against Stone either. He acted like a doormat. Then, at the end of the book, he did a 180. I sat there and thought to myself “Where the hell did this come from“.

With all the faults of the book (because I didn’t read the first two), I would have been fine with Raiden Out The Storm. I liked the plotline and, for the most part, the characters. But, then I read the rape scene. Since I read books that are a little more gritty, I wasn’t that shocked about it. It was the after the rape that left a bad taste in my mouth. While the rapist expressed remorse, the victim kept saying it wasn’t rape, I wanted it. I got mad when I read that. That person said no quite a few times and the rapist ignored him. I agreed with Ash’s reaction when she found out. But then, everything was alright between the rapist and the victim. Even more sexual encounters. I couldn’t wrap my head around it. It was like it never happened. It is that reason why I rated the book the way I did. Other than that, like I said above, I liked it.

The end of Raiden Out The Storm was different. The author did a great job of resolving the important storylines but he left the smaller ones open. The epilogue was good but I did wonder how Ash was going to do it and keep up her façade as a man.

What I liked about Raiden Out The Storm:

A) Intriguing storyline

B) Complex characters

C) Great world building

What I disliked about Raiden Out The Storm:

A) Not a standalone book. You need to read the other books before you read this one

B) Ash’s men. They annoyed me. She had more balls than they did.

C) The rape storyline. I don’t think that it needed to be in the book. It added nothing to it.

I would give Raiden Out The Storm an Adult rating. This is a book that I would recommend no one under the age of 21 read. There are explicit sex scenes. There is an explicit rape scene. There is explicit violence. There is explicit language.

There are triggers in Raiden Out The Storm. They would be rape (M/M), talk about past rape, and talk about past domestic violence. If you are triggered by any of these, I suggest that you do not read this book.

I am on the fence about if I would recommend Raiden Out The Storm to family and friends. A warning about the triggers would be included if I did. I am on the fence if I would reread this book. But, I would read the other books in the series. I would also be open to reading anything else by the author.

Do you like to read books that have graphic scenes in them? Why or why not?

Picking up books mid-series? Like it or not?

I would like to thank Troll River Publication for allowing me to read and review Raiden Out The Storm.

All opinions stated in this review of Troll River Publication are mine.

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**

Ghosts (The Accidental Turn: Book 0.5) by J.M. Frey

Ghosts (The Accidental Turn, #0.5)

5 Stars

Publisher: REUTS Publication

Date of Publication: April 4th, 2016

Genre: Fantasy

Series: The Accidental Turn

Ghosts – Book 0.5

The Untold Tale – Book 1-review here

The Forgotten Tale – Book 2-review here

Arrivals – Book 2.5

The Silenced Tale – Book 3

Where you can find Ghosts: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

For seventeen years, Bevel Dom has been the author of his own story. Or, rather, he’s been the author of The Tales of Kintyre Turn, the illustrated scrolls chronicling his adventures as first the squire, then the colleague, and then finally the friend of legendary hero Kintyre Turn. But there are some stories that Bevel doesn’t write down, doesn’t tell to eager audiences of bright-eyed boys and sighing bar wenches in taverns. Some he simply folds into his heart and keeps. This is one of those tales.

In this prequel novella, fans of The Accidental Turn Series are offered a glimpse into the lives of Bevel Dom and Kintyre Turn shortly before their arrival at Turn Hall and the events that follow, further expanding upon the world and characters seen in The Untold Tale and the the upcoming sequel, The Forgotten Tale, coming Summer 2016.

Trigger Warning: None

Continue reading “Ghosts (The Accidental Turn: Book 0.5) by J.M. Frey”

Boys Keep Swinging: A Memoir by Jake Shears

Boys Keep Swinging: A Memoir

4 Stars

Publisher: Atria Books

Date of publication: February 20th, 2018

Genre: Biography, Memoirs, LGBTQIA

Where you can find Boys Keep Swinging: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

In the bestselling tradition of Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run, Patti Smith’s Just Kids, and Carrie Brownstein’s Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, the lead singer of the multiplatinum-selling band Scissor Sisters explores his evolution as a young artist: coming of age in the Pacific Northwest and Arizona, his entry into New York City’s electrifying, ever-changing music scene, and the Scissor Sisters’ rise as they reached international fame in the early 2000s.

Before hitting the stage as the lead singer of the iconic glam rock band Scissor Sisters, Jake Shears was Jason Sellards, a teenage boy in Arizona living a double life and unable to hide it any longer, resulting in a confusing and confining time in high school as his classmates bullied him and teachers showed little sympathy.

It wasn’t until years later, during a trip to visit a childhood friend in New York City, that Jake met a talented musician nicknamed Babydaddy—the stage name of Scott Hoffman. Jake had found a kindred spirit, someone thirsting for stardom and freedom. Their instant bond led them to form Scissor Sisters. First performing in the smoky gay nightclubs of New York City, then finding massive success in the United Kingdom, Scissor Sisters would become revered by the LGBTQ community, reach platinum status, and also win multiple accolades with hits like “Take Your Mama” and “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’,” as well as their cult-favorite cover of Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb.”

Candid and courageous, Shears’s writing sings with the same powerful, spirited presence that he brings to his live performances. Following his development from a misfit boy who grew to a dazzling rock star, this entertaining and evocative memoir will be an inspiration to anyone with determination and a dream.

Trigger Warning: Drug use

Continue reading “Boys Keep Swinging: A Memoir by Jake Shears”

Saviors (The God Jars Saga: Book 1) by Devon Vesper

Saviors

5 Stars

Publisher: Magelight Press

Date of publication: September 19th, 2017

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA

Number of pages: 222

POV:

Series: The God Jars Sags

Saviors – Book 1

Avristin – Book 2 (expected publication date: October 31st, 2017)

Where you can find Saviors: Barnes and Noble | Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Trust is more terrifying than any weapon.

Valis’ father wants to sacrifice him to the evil God, Qos. His uncle wants to use him as a magical battery and sex slave. All Valis wants is to live in peace, without fear of constant abuse. When he escapes his father’s sacrificial knife and runs away, he lands in the camp of his two saviors, Kerac and Darolen, holy Aesriphos warriors powerful enough to put his family in their place.

But trusting anyone could be fatal, and the warriors ask the impossible: to sell his father’s farmstead and abandon his old life to join their monastery.

They’re his only hope and when he learns to trust them, they’re the father figures he always wanted, but Valis isn’t sure he’s strong enough to put aside his fear and start over.

The God Jars Saga is a nine-book slow burn medieval M/M fantasy romance.

Continue reading “Saviors (The God Jars Saga: Book 1) by Devon Vesper”