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Apocalypse NOPE!! by Deidre Huesmann – Review by Roxsanne Lesieur.

Apocalypse NOPE!!Apocalypse NOPE!! by Deidre Huesmann
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ivy-Jean is a teenager in high school, but that is where the similarities to others in her year end, she is tall with dark hair and spiders for friends, but she is alone, bullied and called names all the time she is out of the house, but when she is at home, she is a disappointment to her mum and usually her dad is nowhere to be found. She does have the responsibility of picking up their mail, but gets annoyed when she has to redeliver mail. To her neighbour whose mail always seems to get mixed up with her family’s, even though they live on completely different floors. As she gets home from school as usual, she has made some new spider friends, whom her mum attacks and kills before IVy-Jean can relax, this is followed by another confrontation with her mum about getting into trouble at school and her lack of friends as she rushes out to go to work, but this day is different, today she decides that to hell with federal law, she is going to open her neighbours mail and see what is inside, little does she know that as she reads the words on the page, she is going to be getting into a whole heap of a new kind of trouble.

As her last remaining spider friend of the day crawls onto the letter and walks around underlining the word “Come” and as soon as the word is out of Ivy-Jean’s mouth, there is a thump on the wall in the corridor outside her apartment, followed by the door exploding inwards and a young guy about her age walks through her door dressed in boots, dark pants, a red silk shirt and a cape bearing a huge broadsword bigger than he is! However, when he introduces himself as “War, the second Four Horseman of the Apocalypse” and that he is at her service, she cannot believe her eyes or ears, thoughts flow through her head, but no matter what she cannot believe that this is real and when he mentions her neighbour, Ivy-Jean realises that he is assuming that is her, but no matter what she says he will not listen. As the conversation carries on he insists that she calls the rest of the Horsemen and that they should go look for them, it is at this point that another figure emerges out of nowhere behind her, they are pale, grey and almost skeletal looking with a voice that sounds like winter frost and a cold breeze which accompanies it, that person then introduces themselves as “Death”.

As no other Horseman has appeared after this latest summoning, Ivy-Jean, War and Death go on a hunt through the city to find the remaining two, amid Ivy-Jean trying to understand what is going on while trying not to get herself killed on the city street, it is an anxiety inducing mess. At one point during their walk, Ivy-Jean’s spider, now named Spinderella jumps onto War’s face which startles him and sends him reeling into a woman and consequently breaking her arm, but when she starts spouting insults of all kinds at him, War asks permission to smite her while she is being helped by a passerby, when she says yes, War is in his element and the next thing she knows there are two piles of ash where the two people used to be, when War is questioned on this, he just replies that the man’s soul was evil and needed to die as well. As Ivy-Jean is processing this, War and Death spot a familiar face staring people down in a restaurant nearby and this is where she meets Famine, a woman who is beautiful and obsessed with food waste and how it is destroying the planet, when they find her, she is about to kill a restaurant manager, but Ivy-Jean manager to convince her to stave off doing it and retreat so they can find the final Horseman. It is at this point that they realise that something is off when their leader, Pestilence and the final Horseman who is actually taller than Ivy-Jean and looks like he is a gift from the gods with blonde hair and the strong face of an angel, turns up in her neighbor’s apartment and this is where they find out the mistake that the other three have made and the reality of Ivy-Jean’s responsibilities as the Summoner are laid out before her, as well as the consequences if she cannot complete her task.

As they talk out what needs to happen, it is decided that they need to enroll into the local high school, and observe what the youth of the era think of the world and see it through Ivy-Jean’s eyes, however, this doesn’t go quite to plan and the Horsemen bar Death end up enrolling in after school classes and becoming more entwined with the mortal youth than they should be, but can Ivy-Jean keep them on the right path, or will she fail both herself and those closest to her? This is a fantastical and unusual telling of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse tale while bringing it into a modern setting which will keep you laughing and reading throughout.

Reviewed by @roxsannel

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The Lightning Horse (Empire at Twilight Book 1) by N.L. Holmes – Review by Roxsanne Lesieur.

The Lightning Horse (Empire at Twilight, #1)The Lightning Horse by N.L. Holmes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In the land of Hatti, Tiwatipara is a charioteer and he drives the chariot of the Prince Nerikaili, son of The Sun and he is very proud of his work with both the chariots and the horses who pull them. This day is no different when The Sun’s new pair of stallions are being shown off to a crowd of royalty, fellow charioteers, the staff who work at the stables, as well as other inhabitants of the city, it is a proud day for Tiwatipara who has been invited to ride in The Sun’s chariot, however, this chance is taken away when The Sun is called away on urgent business and instead Tiwatipara stays on the sidelines and his father and grandfather ride in the chariot, however, this is both a blessing and disguise when the chariot crashes killing Tiwatipara’s father and gravely injuring his grandfather and because he was the one to prepare and check the carriage over, the guilt he carries from that day from thinking that he was the cause of it changes his life forever.

Three years later and things within the kingdom are in flux, old enemies are reappearing and new enemies are trying The Sun’s patience by wasting his time with meaningless requests and platitudes while working against him in the background. Tiwatipara is still driving Prince Nerikaili’s chariot, however he does so recklessly and this puts others in a predicament while dealing with him and from that day, he feels like his and his families fortunes are on the descent and that they are being punished for some reason. As things become more confused and conflicting within Hatti, Tiwatipara is given information which again changes the course of his life, but will this be for the better, or for the worse and how will it affect those around him?

This is a historical fiction with intrigue, secrets, betrayal, love and hate where nothing is as it seems and will keep you reading to both know what happens in the end, all while learning more about the culture and the history it is based upon.

Reviewed by @roxsannel

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Love by Design (The Meraki Series Book 2) by Effie Kammenou – Review by Roxsanne Lesieur.

Love by Design (The Meraki series, #2)Love by Design by Effie Kammenou
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Mia Andarakis is one of four children in a typical greek household, however, she doesn’t live the typical single woman’s greek life, she lives in an apartment in the city with her best friend, she has a job with a magazine as a graphic designer amongst other things and a family who loves her, even if they can be stifling and overly opinionated at times, but she is convinced that she was born in the wrong era as her tastes in fashion and music are not current by any means, but she is happy. Today however, she is going to the first meeting of the Community of Creatives in Publishing (CCP), but when she sees the man on the podium, Nicholas Aristedis, the CEO of Aris Publishing, all rational thought and movement are scrubbed from her mind, he is stunning and his voice is like nothing she has ever heard before and she has definitely never reacted in such a way before, so she doesn’t quite know how to handle it. The CCP also have an awards ceremony yearly and this year Mia is proud to have been on the committee organising it, but when she comes face to face with Nicholas, he glares at her and she is dumbstruck as to why, so when she is congratulated on her role in the event and is asked for her resume to be sent to the head of the CCP, she is more than elated, however, when she hears that the company is being restructured and she is called to HR the next week, she starts to overthink and convinces herself that she is being let go of, so when she is told that she is in fact being moved to a different magazine thanks to a recommendation and is to work directly under Nicholas as his Associate Art Director.

Mia throws herself into research about the demographic of this new magazine, so she is prepared for her first day and the staff meeting she will be in, when she finds out more about the magazine and what it will be all about, Mia has an idea already coming together in her head and goes straight to work on a pitch and three hours later emails it to Nicholas and is immediately called into his office to discuss how the meeting should have been three hours ago! She is unnerved and intimidated by the man, but when they discuss everything, he is nothing like what he seemed at the meetings and they end up having a difference of opinion and bringing out the worst in each other, to the point that Mia debates whether she can work with a man who hates her and cannot stand being around her. When she gets back from lunch, she is called into the other CEO’s office and to her astonishment and delight, she is presented with an apology for Nicholas’s behavior and the knowledge that her pitch has not only been discussed and has been accepted, but will be used as the layout for the inaugural issue! She celebrates over dinner with friends and when she gets home is exhausted but brimming with ideas, so she sets up her laptop and works until she falls asleep, however, the next morning doesn’t go to plan and she ends up being a little late to the office and is immediately called into Nicholas’s office, who proceeds to apologise to her, but things are said and they have another disagreement where he says things are not going to work between them on a professional level, hearing this, Mia forwards him what she was working on the night before and packs up her desk to go stay with her sister.

After a long talk with her sister and a good night’s sleep, Mia head to her sisters cafe to help out and work out all the feelings by baking, but when Nicholas turns up after she didn’t turn up for work and searching for her, she agrees to hear him out and after the air is cleared, they return to the office to work on the magazine and she is told that they will be going to Athens in a couple of weeks to work on the next issue. Will Mia and Nicholas be able to work through their differences and together create something beautiful, or will their temperaments get between them and send things off the rails? This is another sweet romance with a carousel of mystery, heartbreak and love rotating throughout where past mysteries collide with current events in a way that would never be expected.

Reviewed by @roxsannel

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Sexy Drug (Losing My Heart Book 1) by Melody Calder – Review by Rayne East

Sexy Drug (Losing My Heart #1)Sexy Drug by Melody Calder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Intense, confronting and brutal. This author does not hold back. Once you dive in, you better hold your breath because you won’t come up for air until the end. I felt such a connection to Katie and Ramone and the world that the author creates is so tangible and real. Slow to build but that just adds to the essence of the storyline. With that ending I am in need of book 2.

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Love is What You Bake of it (The Meraki Series Book 1) by Effie Kammenou – Review by Roxsanne Lesieur.

Love is What You Bake of itLove is What You Bake of it by Effie Kammenou
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Kally Andarakis is a greek woman with a plan, she has her dog, her best friend, her cafe and her family and doesn’t need anything else, but it hasn’t always been that way, eight years before, she took a risk on a man who was the complete opposite of what her family wanted for her, mysterious, long haired and tattooed who drove a motorcycle, but when tragedy struck and he died, she discovered something which would shatter her trust in men and it broke her heart completely.

Today is her sister’s name day and Kally has a family meal and celebrates it at her childhood home in Port Jefferson, so she quickly stops in at home to change and take her dog for a quick walk before she heads over there. As usual there is plenty of food, drinks and love, her family is a close one, albeit a bit stifling at times and with some old fashioned greek ideals to boot, but she wouldn’t change them for the world. In her day to day life, when not attending family events, Kally has a routine she has perfected, in the morning she gives her dog a quick walk, then heads to work to begin baking pastries, scones and cakes for her customers, so headphones in and music on, she dances round her kitchen until the rest of her team show up to start their day, then she greets her regulars and chats with the other customers as she prepares their orders, however, today is not like any other when she finds a license plate outside her shop and so she picks it up and resolves to call the police about it when she gets a chance. When an officer shows up to collect the license plate, the cafe is busy and so she grabs it and turns to see which of the local officers had arrived, however, this one she has never seen before and he doesn’t quite fit the description of one, he is gorgeous and she is tongue tied, however, her ever present and man-crazy best friend thankfully takes the lead and makes the small talk. While he is talking Kally notices that although he complements the establishment, she is taken aback a little at the fact that he didn’t introduce himself, but her friend says his name is Max, according to his name badge, but she doesn’t need a man and he is definitely not the one for her, despite what her coworkers think.

The next day, life carries on as normal, however, Kally cannot get Max out of her head, so she bakes to take her mind off him and when her team come in it helps even more, however, when he comes back in to give her an update on the license plate, his interest in her baked goods, followed by an insult to her scones, she doesn’t know how to take his mercurial mood swings. After the cafe closes, her favourite book club arrives and talk diverts to a more steady topic as they discuss the months book and eat the sweet treats accompanying it, however, when a friend of the family tries to set her up with her nephew, Kally is less than impressed, but agrees to meet him if they run into each other at church. Meanwhile Max cannot get Kally out of his mind either and decides to come up with a way to see her again, even if it isn’t in his\best interest, he can’t afford to be distracted from the new life he is creating since moving back home and away from the disaster of his past. After church, he meets up with his daughter, his sister in law and her son and takes them to Kally’s cafe, Kally is happy to see Max and when he introduces the two kids with him, she is happy as well, they are lovely and the little girl worms her way into her heart, but when a beautiful woman joins them at the table nothing else quite goes to plan and she backs away thinking that it was too good to be true after all. When the group is ready to leave, Max stays behind to talk to Kally, he loves how she was with his daughter and feels like things are going well. However, when he bumps into her the next day, he cannot understand why Kally has suddenly lost the warmth she had when she looks at him and talks to him, although when he discusses it with a coworker later on, he realises the reason and is determined to clear up the misunderstanding.

Will Kally listen to Max, let him clear the air and take a chance on him, or will she hold back her heart behind the walls she has erected over time? This is a romance where the past affects the present in more ways than one as experiences are discussed, truths are revealed and hearts are thrown around on a rollercoaster ride, but can a family mystery from the past help two hearts to find each other? Only reading to the end can tell you.

Reviewed by @roxsannel

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Myths & Legends: An Indie Love Anthology – Review by Roxsanne Lesieur.

Myths & LegendsMyths & Legends by Laura Greenwood
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book contains tales of romance where nothing is simple and everything is fantastical.

Mistress Of Sky And Stars is all about Nut and Geb, they have a forbidden love and when their secret is revealed, it is a race against time for a god and a goddess to enable the birth of their children, but will they manage in time, or will they be lost forever?

Queens of the Underworld is a lesbian retelling of the story of Persephone and Hades, but the twist is that Hades is the job title of the ruler of half of the Underworld and Maia has just gotten the job, but will the duties and challenges she face be made easier or harder by Persephone who rules the other half?

Frost And Flame is the story of a Phoenix called Carrie who is responsible for ending and rebirthing the world, however, she is special as she has both Fire and Ice within her, but they also carry the risk that she will be consumed by one before she has the chance to use her skills, will she be able to learn how to control both facets of her powers, or will she be have to choose just the one?

In Search Of Ghosts is s story of betrayal, mystery and true love where Alec has just lost his father and all his plans and goals have been derailed by the betrayal accompanying is, so when he decides to try and follow a ghost from his past, will it turn out in sync with his mothers memory, or will it lead to something unexpected, yet unbelievable?

In Cursed To Love is a twist on the typical tale of a hero and their quest, this is the story of one the ones who protect these objects of desire, they are the cursed, each curse is different and in the case of Maya, her curse is one of love and only love can undo it, but until that one person can come along who wants her for her and not the object she protects, she will kill anyone who tries to take it from her. Will this ultimate love story be told in a favourable light, or will death be the only solution?

I Do It For You is another retelling, this time of Robin Hood where Millie had everything her heart desired, the job, the hot boyfriend and the best friend who knew all her secrets, that is until one disaster of a night destroyed it all. When a letter is delivered with information about an uncle she had no idea existed and then she meets Micheal, a bad boy with a secret past. Will this mystery man be able to help her figure out who this uncle was and what the other benefactors mentioned in the letter might do, or will her life continue to crash down around her?

The final story is Dragon’s Heart and the story of dragon mates Geraint and Mary. Geraint is a dragon shifter and member of the Welsh Dragon Guards, a secret military elite who investigate the actions of a group of people hunting mythical creatures, all the while, keeping his home village safe and he has been waiting a long time to find his mate. Mary has had dreams of dragons all her life, but the night of her twenty-first birthday, a mystery man makes an appearance, his name is Geraint and he is hot as hell, but he is just a dream, isn’t he?

This indie romance anthology is filled with fantastical tales with something for everyone and well worth a read to discover something new.

Reviewed by @roxsannel

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Antipodes by T.S. Simons – Review by Rayne East

AntipodesAntipodes by T.S. Simons
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Intriguing, thought-provoking and brilliant. This book had me questioning so much about how long the current world can keep existing. I really connected with the main character and was quickly emotionally vested. The setting (my backyard) was so easily visualised and the messages of survival, sustainable living and inclusion were so craftily interwoven in this dystopian sci-fi based in our own world. This book had me questioning so much, even when I wasn’t reading. There is a lot presented in the pages but being the first book in a series this is expected and by the end it will have you wanting to know even more.

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Murder at Honeybee Lake (Shadow of a Doubt Book 2) by Jessica Aiken-Hall – Review by Roxsanne Lesieur.

Murder at Honeybee Lake (Shadow of a Doubt, #2)Murder at Honeybee Lake by Jessica Aiken-Hall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a book which is only for those over 18 due to the triggers it contains within.

Randy Fletcher is a best selling author of children’s horror novels and is celebrating the anniversary of his boyfriend Ben moving in with him as a couple together in a boat on Honeybee Lake, or at least they were until a knocking sound on the outside of the boat annoys Randy enough that he convinces Ben to have a look, however, when he finds a dead body attached to a rope underneath the dock, their plans are immediately forgotten and the police are called. Randy doesn’t want to believe what he is hearing but Ben’s reaction to the situation convinces him it must be true, so as they wait for the cops to show up, they go back down to the lake and support each other but they end up arguing, especially when Ben hides their relationship from the cops by saying that he is just a friend, it doesn’t help when the cop is dismissive of the whole situation and state that they can’t see as it is too dark and that they will have to come back in the morning to confirm it instead. Ben is stunned by their nonchalance and ends up taking it all out on Randy when all he wants to do is help, they manage to talk it through and spend the rest of the evening trying to forget about the body in the lake.

The next day the cops come back to the house and have the same bad attitude as the day before, but one is eventually convinced to get into the lake and take a look, when they do, it is confirmed that there is a dead body and that it is a crime scene so they have to call in a team to remove it, while they are doing that, they send Randy and Ben back up to the house to wait, but not before another argument. Meanwhile, Mandy Blake is having snuggles with her daughter when the phone rings and her wife brings it to her saying it is her brother Randy and he sounds awful and when he tells her what is happening at his house, her first thought is to go there and support him and Ben, but he delays that telling her there is nothing she can do, he just needed to talk to someone about it all, so she asks her sister in law Tessa if she has heard anything from Randy, but being busy herself, Mandy isn’t surprised when she doesn’t get an answer until later on. Five hours later and the body is on its way to the morgue but with no further information about who the person is, apart from it looks like they have been there a while, so with nothing else they can do, Randy and Ben try to take their minds off it and decide to try and get some sleep.

Mandy is still trying to get her head around what Randy told her over the phone and has a bad feeling about the whole situation, which is confirmed when she sees a bunch of missed calls and messages saying Randy has been taken in for questioning, Randy is waiting for her there in an interrogation room when two men in suits enter and start demanding that he tells them what is going on so that they can get on with their day, but when he clearly states multiple times that he has no idea what they are talking about, they reveal the identity of the body and Randy is completely taken aback and decides to ask for a lawyer before they go any further with their questions. When they leave and Mandy comes in, all the emotions he has been holding spill out when he tells her he has just found out that it is someone from his past better left forgotten and she is as dumbfounded as he is. They leave together and after everyone has returned home, this is when Tessa calls back, this is when she decides to communicate with the victim and see if they can help figure out what happened. When things take a turn for the worse and evidence is collected, fingers are pointed and confusion, temptation and betrayal reign, will Randy, Mandy and Tessa be able to unravel the mystery of the body found in Honeybee Lake, or will the past come back to haunt them all with deadly consequences? This is a triller with a paranormal twist which keeps you guessing all the way through, as you try to figure it all out as you go along the journey with them.

Reviewed by @roxsannel

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Blue Summer Part One by Everly Taylor – Review by Rayne East

Blue Summer Part OneBlue Summer Part One by Everly Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This walks the line between sci-fi and paranormal and does it brilliantly. The story is told in multiple POV – which I really like. The FMC is so easy to relate to and I enjoyed her inner monologue. The world building is good and the story is fast paced with a underlying message of acceptance and not judging a book by its cover. There is a slight cliffy that had me really wanting to move straight onto part 2.

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Love Unexpected by Marina Hanna – Review by Rayne East

Love UnexpectedLove Unexpected by Marina Hanna
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is my first book by this author and it was a very enjoyable steamy quick read. I have a bit of a weakness for alpha male romance books and this did not disappoint. I really liked Jules and her no bull approach. The story moved along at a good pace and there was some added plot lines to keep me vested. The connection between Jules and Adam unfolded easily and did not come across as forced. I recommend this book.

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