Lord of the White Hell – Book Two by Ginn Hale

Kiram fought his family and Cadeleonian bigots to remain in the Sagrada Academy to prove himself as a mechanist and to dispel the deadly shadow curse that threatens to destroy his upperclassman,Javier Tornesal.

But when his efforts provoke retaliation, Kiram’s family and home are endangered. Both Kiram and Javier risk everything in a desperate gambit to combat the curse.

But they never imagined their battle would come so soon, or that it would be led by the one person they trust most of all.
Synopsis via Blind Eye Books.

The 2nd instalment of Ginn Hale’s Lord of the White Hell series begins with the boys returning to the Sagrada Academy after competing in an inter school tournament. Javier and Kiram are at odds after a night spent in a bordello with the Hellions, where it becomes obvious Javier will hide his true nature at any cost. Kiram returns to work stoically, but events conspire to throw him into Javiers path more often than Kiram would like. Danger still lurks and Javier and Kiram have to work together to fight the darkness that threatens to destroy not only Javier, but his friends and family too.

Ginn Hale creates a rich, diverse world full of lush detail, characters and cultures. This last point is one of things I enjoyed the most; the starchy Cadeleonians were in such stark contrast to the warm and inviting Haldiim, although at times I think Nestor’s family bucked the trend, just a little! The structures, towns and surrounds were written in such beautiful depth that it brought the streets to life. Fine detail and pockets of enchanting world building that made this book, and the 1st novel, a pleasure to read.

The story itself is seamless, with no unnecessary detail and each event builds the narrative. The growth of the boys didn’t stop, and their characters become more complex as they struggle with their feelings for each other and the effect their relationship will have on their lives, friendships and family. At times their path into adulthood is so difficult and painful, that their youthful actions feel all the more real for it.

I loved this book. There is no being remotely level-headed about it really. At times I forced myself to put it down, because I read so damn quickly. I wanted to draw the experience out and savour it. Lord of the White Hell is so incredibly rich and Kiram and Javier are such special characters that it’s made me hope, rather fervently, that there will be more books to come. There is definitely the potential. I even wondered about secondary characters having a story, like Kiram’s brother Majdi and maybe even Elezar. Hello addict, much? heh.

Astonishingly good, beautifully written and a story that will stay with you long after you’ve stopped turning pages.

Buy the book at the following retailers.
Blind Eye Books.
Amazon.

Lord of the White Hell – Book 1 by Ginn Hale

Kiram Kir-Zaki may be considered a mechanist prodigy among his own people, but when he becomes the first Haldiim ever admitted to the prestigious Sagrada Academy, he is thrown into a world where power, superstition and swordplay outweigh even the most scholarly of achievements.
But when the intimidation from his Cadeleonian classmates turns bloody, Kiram unexpectedly finds himself befriended by Javier Tornesal, the leader of a group of cardsharps, duelists and lotharios who call themselves Hellions.
However Javier is a dangerous friend to have. Wielder of the White Hell and sole heir of a Dukedom, he is surrounded by rumors of forbidden seductions, murder and damnation. His enemies are many and any one of his secrets could not only end his life but Kiram’s as well.

Beautifully written, Ginn Hales’ novel Lord of the White Hell was difficult to put down. There was almost a bitter sweetness in finishing that last page and knowing I’m going to have to be less of an impatient pants, that I normally am, in the wait for the next book.

The scene is deftly set by the author. The world building around this renaissance fantasy is rich with crisp, clear detailing. As a new student at the Sagrada Academy, Kiram initially struggles to find his way through the upper crust of Cadeleon society, espeically as he is Haldiim.  He finds it hard to fit in with the social mores, so very different from his own less rigid culture, but begins to make friends with some help from Javier an upperclassman and heir to the Dukedom of Rauma. Kiram begins to feel a burgeoning attraction towards his arrogant roommate and while homosexuality is an accepted part of Haldiim culture it is expressly forbidden in Cadeleon. Underlying this more human drama is the story of Javier and a strange and terrifying magical inheritance that threatens not only himself, but also his friends and Kiram.

Rich world building and storytelling is only part of this novels charm. I initially felt that the relationship between the two main characters would unfold down fairly standard lines, exploring familiar tropes. But the author did anything but, and the relationship between Kiram and Javier develops with surprising twists, turns and had great depth to it. The tension between the two is beautifully created and they’re two characters you’ll find yourself totally wrapped up in. Brilliant.

This book felt so wonderfully original, engaging and clever, I just loved it. I cannot wait for the next installment in this remarkable tale and am not really sure I can wait for September!

You can pre order both books at the Blind Eye Books website and if you get in before June 15th there are some great discounts.

Hell Cop 2 by Astrid Amara, Nicole Kimberling and Ginn Hale.

The Hell Cops of Parmas City serve and protect humans, sorcerers, and demons alike. But when corpses start turning up in their wake, they have to do more than fight for their lives. They have to fight for their loves.

hellcop 2The first Hell Cop was incredibly enjoyable and something just that little bit different. In this 2nd book they’re building on already established relationships and reading it was like visiting with old friends. God. I am such a sap. But it was just so good!

Trust Me, by Astrid Amara, has Jay and Brian a year down the track. Jay still delights in being able to touch someone and Brian is growing into his own skin after the revelations’ in the previous book. The growth of the characters relationship was beautifully done and the hook of Brian’s lack of control was an engaging one. He begins to realize that his ability to touch Jay does not exclude him from being left and his need to learn to control his power, or risk loosing his lover, becomes paramount. A sexy, perceptively written story that does not just look at the surface of a relationship, but delves deeply into its workings.

In Dark Waters, by Nicole Kimberling, the world building is tight and I like her attention to little things that make for vivid reading. The balance of power in a relationship, knowing when to listen and when to argue, brought a warmness to the story. Michael is such a professor and I like how out of his comfort zone he is with Argent at times, when he cannot use his mind reading powers. Parts were also surprisingly funny and had me laughing out loud. I think Bert’s – a bunch of drunken goat-legged midgets and that poor, maligned turtle were rather amusing. hehe. 🙂

Hell CopFinally, in Such Heights by Ginn Hale, dark and broody Moran returns on another case with his blond and gorgeous journalist lover  James. Moran is still determined to resist till the last and I think there is nothing more satisfying than reading about this cop being brought to his knees. So to speak. O-o The floating palace was a very cool world with tentacle like spells and enslaved demons, which made for a cool backdrop for the characters.

Freeloading, hippie mermaids, large bovine like creatures, pocket demons and castles that travel about in the air. These 3 authors write books that I want to read. Get it here from Loose Id. Also, check out Hell Cop 1 here.

PS. I would seriously like some fan art. Commissions I wonder??

Tangle – Anthology.

11 stories of magic, mystery and the fantastic future, all featuring gay heroes. Swordsmen, cyborgs, magicians, ghosts, psychic lovers and enchanted lords fill this anthology with adventure, laughter and passion.
From Blind Eye Books.

tangleEdited by Nicole Kimberling this anthology has some fantastic reads in it. While there were one or two that did not strike a chord, the majority were rather enjoyable.

I think the standouts for me are the delightful fairy tale of Lord Ronan’s Shoes and Remember both by Astrid Amara. She always manages to slip in a rather dry, cheeky sense of humor, that I appreciate! Crossing the Distance by Erin MacKay was some seriously angsty stuff, which indulged my inner emo kid. heh. Finally, Feral Machines by Ginn Hale was just magic. I did not want this one to end, it was truly a fab read.

This is certainly an eclectic selection of stories and part of the books charm is this diversity. Most enjoyable and available now from Blind Eye Books.

Hell Cop by Astrid Amara, Nicole Kimberling and Ginn Hale.

Welcome to Parmas City, where demons and sorcerers live among ordinary people and a few tough Hell Cops protect them all. Jay, Argent, and Ben are three of them, and they’ve just met the men of their hottest dreams.
From Loose Id.

You have got to appreciate a book that has all the elements of a great urban fantasy, such as drunken centaurs, cops who burn, half demon anthropologists, dragons, magic, mages, cabal families and a life saving bunny costume. And, look at that cover! A sure fire way to my heart, although I am sure the authors would have rather I picked it up for less prurient reasons, hehe. Nicely done Miss Martinez

Urban fantasy is a genre I throughly enjoy and I am a huge fan of authors like Laurell K. Hamilton, Kelley Armstrong, Kim Harrison, Charlaine Harris and the gorgeous Dante Valentine series by Lilith Saintcrow. I think it is kinda cool that I am starting to see different kinds of settings for my m/m reading and big ups for UF. 

Next of Kin by Astrid Amara – was well written and I thought the premise was cool. Jay is a Hell Cop who can never touch another living person due to his skin being consumed by magical fire. Brian has moved to the city to find his father after living a rather sheltered life in the countryside. Someone is out to hurt Brian and Jay finds himself helping the younger man and I liked how they seem to fit despite their differences. 

Red Sands by Nicole Kimberling – was an enjoyable read but it took me a little longer to warm up to Michael. I think it was just the kind of character he was. He was not in your face but quiet somehow. Mind you the poor guy is under investigation for a murder he did not commit! Don’t think I’d be feeling my usual snippy self if it were me either! He sets out to prove his innocence, and find out what really happened with the assistance of cop Argent. 

Touching Sparks by Ginn Hale – was cool. I have been wanting to read something by her for ages after hearing so much about Wicked Gentlemen. I liked James, he was sweet and gutsy and the whole carrying a torch story line is a bit of a winner with me. Ben has dark and broody going on and both men are trying to deny their attraction to avoid hurt. Ben with his somewhat murky past, relationship wise, and James because he wants Ben but does not know if he is desired in return. 

The world building in all three books was tight and I could happily read more set in gritty Parmas city. It was also a good chance to read 3 authors who I’ve only seen in paperback until recently. I love books and I love them even more when they’re on my shelves but the dollar is at about half of the US at the moment, so I am pretty selective about what I get in. Ebooks are a much cheaper and immediate way of finding out if I like a writer, and with such a saturation of books in the urban fantasy genre I have bought more than one lemon. I think a lot of publishers cash in this particular fan base and you can end up buying well packaged drivel that is a pale imitation of something that’s already been done.

My one negative about Hell Cop was the sex. While there were the odd well written moments in all three stories, I would not classify it as incendiary. Maybe you need to take that one with a grain of salt though as I am pretty pervy! I am a sucker for well written sexual tension, power dynamic and can I hear a woot for variety! I like my men to be men when they’re engaging in the smex and for it to be kinda sweaty, hot and real. This is what will make me re read a book more often than not or try more of an authors work. On the whole I did not feel the book always hit the mark in this respect and it often felt incidental rather than a natural progression of the story. 

Apart from this one aspect it was an enjoyable read and I look forward to seeing more work from these talented authors. You can purchase the book here at Loose Id.

Astrid Amaras’s website.
Nicole Kimberling’s website.
Ginn Hale’s website.

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