Elaine White is the author of multi-genre MM romance, celebrating 'love is love' and offering diversity in both genre and character within her stories.
Growing up in a small town and fighting cancer in her early teens taught her that life is short and dreams should be pursued. She lives vicariously through her independent, and often hellion characters, exploring all possibilities within the romantic universe.
The Winner of two Watty Awards – Collector's Dream (An Unpredictable Life) and Hidden Gem (Faithfully) – and an Honourable Mention in 2016's Rainbow Awards (A Royal Craving) Elaine is a self-professed geek, reading addict, and a romantic at heart.
I’m an author and reader, who just can’t get away from books. I discovered the MM genre a few years ago and became addicted.
Top #50 UK reviewer on Goodreads
#1 reviewer on Divine Magazine
I've been thinking about this for a while now, and I've decided to close down my BookLikes blog. I'll be leaving up all my previous posts, but I won't be posting anything new.
1. I was thrilled when I ended 2018 with over 3000 followers. Until I began to notice an increasing number of SPAM members amongst the lot. As my new year's resolution, every year, I go through all my social media and "clean up" - I unfollow people who no longer interest me, follow new people, and look at my stats. I sadly noticed that a vast majority of those followers were SPAM accounts. I blocked all of them (as that's the only way on BookLikes to remove them, and stop them from commenting on posts) but it hasn't done any good. Every day, I get 5-10 new SPAM accounts following me, and I'm a little fed-up of always having to clear them out, before I get bombarded with SPAM comments on my posts.
2. There are a total of about 3 people who actually engage with my posts, at the moment. That's not enough to justify the amount of time and energy I spend putting posts together.
3. I'm sick. I'm usually always not very healthy, but at the start of 2019, I had a resurgence of Chronic Fatigue, in a much more disruptive wave than ever before. I'm not struggling to find my way back to normality and, to be honest, I just can't justify the time and effort I spend on this blog, when all it seems to result in is a few "post likes" and a whole lot of SPAM.
Apologies to anyone who actually reads my blog, even if you don't actively engage. But, if you genuinely want to follow me, you can do so on the following sites:
You can follow me on Facebook for some teasers, release info, #FangFriday and #WIPWednesday: http://smarturl.it/ElaineWhite.FB
You can check out my Twitter if you like the condensed version of blog posts (anything from author resources to music appreciation) and #teasertuesday: http://smarturl.it/ElainesTwitter
If you like the picture inspiration, book character casts and direct links to all my Divine book reviews, check out my Pinterest page: http://smarturl.it/ElainesPinterest : where you will also find some really awful old teaser posters, if you want a good giggle.
For book trailers, there's no better spot than YouTube: http://smarturl.it/ElainesYouTube
You'll find free stories posted on Wattpad: http://smarturl.it/ElleLainey
And, of course, you can't beat my new Instagram for all things random, fun and promo, with #fridayreads and #follow posts on Sundays: http://smarturl.it/ElainesInstagram
While you can get a great mix of everything over on my website: http://smarturl.it/ElaineWhite.Website : which has soundtracks, teasers, QR codes and a live feed of my blog all in one spot. Alternatively, you can go to my website to get links to all my social media sites, including LinkedIn, Google, Tumblr, Goodreads and more.
You can also follow me on BookBub, where you'll get e-mail notifications on every release and every book I recommend: http://smarturl.it/ElaineWhite.BookBub
A long time ago - as I start all my origin stories - I came up with the idea for a story. It was originally called "Victory" and was inspired by an episode of a history TV show about the witch trials of Salem, and partially inspired by the novel The Kitchen Boy, by August Li. It was about 10 pages long, with only 2 scenes really clear in my mind when I initially wrote it.
For years, it remained nothing more than an idea. A document on my hard drive that got removed from my laptop to free up space, because nothing was going to happen with it for a while.
Then my publisher asked if any of us had fairytale re-tellings for an anthology. I'd been writing MM for a long time, but hadn't really considered a re-telling before, so I though I might try it. I scoured my hard drive for suitable stories, came across 'Victory' and thought maybe it might fit. It would need to be changed, though. So, I sat down, re-read what I had written and didn't like it. Not unusual for me.
The basics of the plot was this - it was a fantasy setting, with a King who was bored and young, who was a bit reckless and lonely. One day, a dozen or so 18-30 year old peasants are brought to the castle as potential servants (a sort of pay-it-back tradition of his family). He sees one boy who takes his fancy, but ignores the instinct and accepts him and a few others to work in the palace. He does indulge himself by placing the boy he likes as his personal assistant. As the plot was originally for a solo novel or a short story, there wasn't a lot of plans for the in between stages. I just knew that one day, the King would step into a huge sunken floor bath and ask the assistant to bathe him, as was the way it should be. But the assistant is all puppy-eyes and the King takes the risk of commanding him to make it a bit more than a bath, if you know what I mean ;) So, they fool around and continue to fool around for about a month or so, the King showing obvious favour and unaware that the other servants take it out on his assistant in jealousy. One particular day, a few of the servants corner the assistant in the kitchens, beat him brutally. But - huzzah! - the King walks in, stops it all and takes the assistant back to his royal chambers to be cared for. Lots of caring, consoling, loving, and confessions later, and the King asks the assistant to be his royal consort.
A little pedestrian, maybe, looking back. Too simple, too nonsensical, and a bit dull. At least, that was what I thought when I re-read it, wondering why I'd ever thought it was a good idea in the first place.
Then I thought about whether it could be changed into a fairytale re-telling, or if I should abandon the idea and move on. What if the King was a little bit hideous? What if he was the Beast, and it was a twist on Beauty and the Beast? Nope. I didn't like that. And, I had actually done that just a little with my Royal Craving novel, so I didn't want to try to repeat it. Then I thought about how the assistant got to the castle in the first place. Maybe it wasn't an accident.
I began to write and came up with a twist on the Sleeping Beauty/Maleficent idea. I came up with the idea that the assistant was the "Aurora" of the story, but instead of being cursed as a baby, and instead of there being the King love interest, I would make it even more interesting. I would make the King the Maleficent figure - the rightful heir to the throne, ousted unfairly, and determined to regain his kingdom. The "Aurora" MC would be stolen as a baby, from the evil new King, and would be - unbeknownst to everyone but me - the soul mate of the rightful heir. It was brilliant. I had done it.
Except, I didn't really anticipate how it would work out, on paper. Sure, I wrote the story. I tried to make it a short story, but there wasn't enough time for all that I wanted to include in the plot. So including it in the anthology was out. I kept writing, anyway, knowing that it was a good story. Believing that it could be amazing. It grew...and grew...and grew...until it was nearly 100k of a novel and had twisted into something I didn't expect, when I began writing.
It sat that way for months. I edited, I re-edited, I added snippets, then had to edit again. I loved it. It was my best work (so I thought) and it was going to be my stoke of genius.
Until, months later, I came up with the idea for the story Ascension of an Eamwulf. Which, in true fashion, took a life of its own immediately after I had the idea and became over 100k of a novel. I was even clever (*cough*cough*) enough to make my 'shifter' species something truly unique - the ancient dinofelis, which was similar to a sabretooth tiger. And, when I was done, and I started editing it, I realised that it could easily have a sequel. Which I started to brainstorm for. Which led to ideas for a trilogy.
Which led to Tephy Brezal.
Finally, right? I thought so too. Until I decided to include my rewrite of 'Victory' into the series, in its new form "Shadow and Shade". Because, then I realised that, to make the trilogy of Tephy Brezal make sense, I couldn't have a sophisticated world such as Shadow and Shade followed by the almost nomadic, Neanderthal existence of Ascension of an Eamwulf. And to combine them into the same series, I would not only have to rewrite Shadow and Shade to include the shifter-creatures, the Eamwulf, in some form, but, I would also have to move them. Which meant making Ascension the first novel in the trilogy, creating a whole new center piece that progressed the world into something more advanced, before ending with the successful, intricate world of Shadow and Shade.
Which led to renaming each of the books. And remaking the covers. And endless edits.
But, it was all worth it. Because, now, Tephy Brezal truly feels like that golden goose, the something different that could make me stand out as an author. The trilogy that could be the best thing I've ever written. It's still huge, it's still stupidly complicated in my head, but on paper, I actually love it. And I hope you will too.
The Bright Side Brigade
Coming: February 1st, 2019
In a zero tolerance school, the only weapons are hope, friendship, and love.
#anthology #YA #indieauthor #contemporary #lgbt #authorsofig
TBR for Netgalley
Prince of Air and Darkness, by M.A. Grant
The Darkest Court, Book 1
"Phineas Smith has been cursed with a power no one could control.
Roark Lyne is his worst enemy and his only hope.
The only human student at Mather’s School of Magick, Phineas Smith has a target on his back. Born with the rare ability to tap into unlimited magick, he finds both Faerie Courts want his allegiance—and will do anything to get it.
They don’t realize he can’t levitate a feather, much less defend the Faerie Realm as it slips into civil war.
Unseelie Prince Roark Lyne, Phineas’s roommate—and self-proclaimed arch nemesis—is beautiful and brave and a pain in the ass. Phineas can’t begin to sort through their six years of sexual tension masquerading as mutual dislike. But Roark is also the only one able to help Finn tame his magick.
Trusting Roark’s mysterious motives may be foolish; not accepting his temporary protection would be deadly.
Caught in the middle of the impending war, Phineas and Roark forge a dangerous alliance. And as the walls between them crumble, Phineas realizes that Roark isn’t the monster he’d imagined. But their growing intimacy threatens to expose a secret that could either turn the tide of the war…or destroy them both."
My Book Boyfriend, by Elaine White
Hope & Love Anthology: 100% of all proceeds go to support the MKE GLBT Center
#HopeandLove #CharityAntho #MM #lgbtq #indieauthor #mmromance #authorsofig
I've said it for the last 2 years, but in 2019 I WILL do it! I'm determined to make sure it happens. I WILL get caught up on my Netgalley list, reading *at least* 150 books. I mean it, this time.
I also plan to publish less in 2019, only because it's necessary. I'll be releasing The Bright Side Brigade, A Royal Legacy: Part 1, and A Touch of Danger, for sure. Those books have already been accepted by publishers, and have set dates. I'm hoping to *possibly* slip in A Royal Legacy: Part 2, as well, before the end of 2019, but that will be up to whether I can get it finished in time, or not. If not, I'm hoping to at least finish my rewrites of Faithfully, a story I've been promising to update and publish for 2 years now, since it won a Watty award. I'd love to have that published in 2019, even if it means leaving A Royal Legacy: Part 2 for 2020.
I didn't include these, last year, only because I don't share much of my personal life. It's a bad habit I have that, as a writer, keeps me a little bit separate. But, this year, I want to make a few changes, starting with:
* Be kinder to myself - by this, I mean that I need to stop putting unrealistic expectations on myself, and stop fretting about the little things that I have no control over. I'm starting this before 2019, by choosing to cut back on how many books I'm publishing. Though I want to put more focus and effort into promoting them, that can be done easily throughout the course of a week/month. It's actually filling my schedule that is the problem. I can't say no to people, and I need to start doing that, by putting myself first.
* Give myself a break. This is something I'm not great at doing, but I've been forced into it a few times in 2018, and it did me a world of good. Though I was forced to take time off a lot, sometimes up to a month, due to bad health, I really think I can do better in 2019. Maybe if I took more time off by choice, I wouldn't be ill so often. So, my goal is to reward myself with 1 week off a month. Whether I binge read books that are *not* for review, binge watch the TV, or just spend time with the family for that week, as long as I'm not actually working, I'm sure I'll benefit from it.
* Reward myself. Every time I finish a story, I want to give myself the *reward* of some time off. This is a sort of sub-goal to the one above. Only, this time it will be a bit more equal to how much time I *need* to take off. So, if I spend a week or a month writing non-stop, then I'll give myself a week off from all work. If I've been writing for a few days, or I finish a short story, I'll give myself a whole day off to watch a movie or binge watch a TV show. I need to find more balance, if I'm going to stick to the long term goal.
* Try something new. Whether it's a new book genre, a new TV show, or a new hobby, I need to try to do more outside of my work. I literally write books for a living, and read books to review. I've left myself little time to do anything else, with my crazy schedule.
* Lose weight. This is something I've been trying to do for YEARS. It's not easy, considering that I'm classed as physically disabled, I have a medications that can make me put on weight, health conditions that can make me put on weight, and I'm disabled enough that I can't make my own meals. That makes it very hard to have a health lifestyle, but I try. This year, I want to break the brutal cycle of getting so sick that I lose weight, only to add on more once I'm better. In 2019, I promise to weight myself no more or less than once a month, to monitor progress and make adjustments as necessary. I'd like to lose a total of 10kg in the entire year of 2019, if possible.
* I want to finish 5 books from my WIP list, whether that's stories that have been started or that haven't, it doesn't matter. I just want to have 5 books completed by the end of the year.
* I also want to get about 10 books edited for publication. Mostly, this will be the Surviving Vihaan series, as book 1 has been accepted by NineStar Press, and will be released in Summer 2019. I want to make sure the others are up to scratch before I submit them, later.
* It sounds a bit silly to say it, but - I want to finish the Surviving Vihaan series. Yes, Book 1 has been accepted by NSP, but I only have the final book in the series to write and I want it finished before book 1 is even released, if possible.
* If I can finish Book 6 of Surviving Vihaan: Through His Veins, then I'd love to get a head-start on the follow-up series, Rediscovering Vihaan. This series will take my previously published series; The Belesone Pack, and The Secrets of Avelina Chronicles; and reimagine them as part of the Surviving Vihaan world. This will take major rewrites and may end up resulting in entirely new novels. I may even scrap the old novels, who knows?
* I'd like to re-write at least 1 book from my "re-write" list. There are less than 10 on the list, but I want to have at least one completed by the end of 2019. For this, I'm not counting Faithfully, as I started rewriting that in 2018. This means it will either be: Surrender, Evanders Trilogy, Courage in the Kiss, or the Holiday Collection.
* I want to read at least 10 Agatha Christie paperbacks. I have them all, so it's about time I actually sat down and read them in order. I'm thinking that I'll read 5 Miss Marple and 5 Hercule Poirot, to keep it even.
* I also want to read at least 150 Netgalley books, though I'd love to double that number. I have so many books approved on there, some of which I wasn't aware were series books, that I plan to read the entire series in order, even if I was only approved for book 3 or 9. I'm a series reader and I can't abide reading them out of order, even if it does mean doubling my TBR list.
* I plan to cut back on my Divine review list, only so that I can get more Netgalley books off my list. I'm getting better at saving my money for books I really want to read, so the ones that I don't have time to read (if it's going to compromise my "time off" goals) will be added to a buy list, instead. Because of that, I'll keep this list to 50.
* I'm never really bothered about how many books I get off my TBR list - despite how large it is - because I need to focus on my review/Netgalley books. However, inevitably, some of the series I'll be reading/reviewing will have books I don't *need* to review, so they'll be placed on my TBR list. Plus, it would be awesome to get some of my Kobo/Amazon purchases finally read. So, I'll keep this number to 50, though I smashed through that number last year.
Keep your fingers crossed for me!
Part of the 'Strength' Anthology
#anthology #YA #Strength #indieauthor #preachersson #lgbt #authorsofig
Earthly Pleasures, by Sera Trevor
"Prince Paurick is a hedonistic degenerate—or at least that’s what his father and the rest of the royal family thinks of him, and he’s happy to live down to their expectations. But when the crops of their kingdom start failing, the king commands that Paurick be joined to Brother Laurel, a monk, in order to combine Paurick’s royal magic with that of the Goddess, and thus bring fertility back to the land. The union is only meant to be temporary, but Brother Laurel is so ugly and prudish that it might as well be an eternity. However, as they get to know one another, Paurick realizes he has misjudged Laurel and finds himself falling for the thoughtful and sensitive young man. The fate of the kingdom relies on their sexual union, but as time goes on, it becomes clear that the fate of their hearts is in jeopardy as well."
"** I WAS GIVEN THIS BOOK FOR MY READING PLEASURE **
Reviewed for Divine Magazine
POV: 3rd person, dual POV
Would I read it again?: Of course!
Genre: MM, Romance, Fantasy/Historical
Pairings: MM, hints of off-page MMM
Heat Level: ★★★★☆
This book grabbed me right from the start. I was caught by the cover, the title, then the blurb. In that order. And once I started reading, I hated to put it down for a single second.
Earthly Pleasures is a sweet seduction. Though there's debauchery and sex almost immediately, it's not in an overbearing way, nor is it utterly explicit until a few chapters in. The story is actually a slow burning romance between Prince Paurick and Brother Laurel, an acolyte chosen by his High Priestess to perform a duty for the Goddess. Being thrown together – one wayward, roguish prince, and one pious, virginous priest – should spell disaster. And at first, it does. But then they begin to get to know each other and that's where the magic happens.
A unique slice of historical fantasy, that has just a touch of magic and whole lot of lovin' was exactly what I needed when I started this book. It's one of those that has a pretty cover, an intriguing title, and interesting characters – then you read the book and you discover a whole hidden depth to all of it. It's the kind of book that – when you realise what the title really means, and you realise what the cover symbolises, and you dig deep into the characters – captures every inch of your heart, all over again. The story so far pales in comparison to what you learn as you keep reading and begin to truly understand what it all means.
Though Paurick came across as hedonistic, I utterly loved the way that he treated Laurel, right from the start. While Laurel wanted to do his duty and get it over with, he was a naive virgin and didn't have a clue what it really entailed. The fact that Paurick, despite his reputation, insisted they wait and tried to seduce Laurel until he more comfortable and consenting, was beautiful. If he'd have taken Laurel when he was so clearly terrified, I could never have believed in another moment of their relationship. But, I didn't have to worry. All throughout the book, Paurick found a new side of himself that even he never knew existed, and that meant taking care of Laurel, lavishing him with time and attention and care, the way no one ever had. It made it possible for them to have a sexual relationship but still have a beautiful, slow burn of chemistry and romance.
The sweetest part, for me, was the necklace. I thought it was such a beautiful gift and it really showed the growth in both characters, when you saw how they reacted to it. It really emphasised how much they had changed, but it also proved true to how they'd become with each other – they always talked through their problems, their arguments. Even if they didn't turn out okay in the end, they had a real, open, honest communication with each other.
In fact, the growth of the characters is as big a plot point as the romance itself. Without that personal growth, that realisation of what they had been before and what they wanted to be, the romance wouldn't have been possible. Both men were so stuck in their ways until they were forced into each other's company, and found that things weren't always what they seemed. They both changed perceptions, opinions, expectations, and how they viewed themselves as well as the world.
When it comes to the secondary characters, Rion was a royal ass, Lyam was a bit too focused on his position and Egon was simply brilliant. They were real and fleshed out, beautifully represented, even right down to Granny, Lir, the High Priestess and Sister Telme. No one character was so unimportant as to not warrant a unique, well explored personality that didn't infringe upon the main story, but added to it and helped the two main characters find their way.
Though I would have loved for Laurel to find the necklace again at the end, or for the Goddess to return it to them maybe, it's the only issue I had with the plotting. I loved everything else about the story. There are a couple of editing issues, very minor and barely more than a word missing from a sentence, perhaps once every 30% of the book. That's how minimal it was, and it didn't at all ruin the flow or the understanding enough to affect my rating.
Overall, Earthly Pleasures was a beautiful story about love, growth, faith, and not judging others by their outward appearance. The beautiful thing about Paurick and Laurel isn't just their romance, but the fact that they don't change for each other, they don't seduce each other, and they don't compromise who they are for each other. They simply find in each other something they never knew they wanted or needed. And they're strong enough to accept that, to embrace it, and to welcome the love that falls into their laps, by the grace of the Goddess.
“Laurel bit his lip. “I’ve done nothing but insult you. Why would you be kind to me at all?”
“It so happens that I enjoy it when lads are a little mean. There are very few people who have the courage to be rude to a prince. I find it rather refreshing.”
Was he really serious? Laurel pulled away. He couldn’t think clearly when the prince was around. “I would like some time alone.”
The prince dramatically clapped his hands over his heart, as if struck by an arrow. “Oh yes, that’s perfect. You’re driving me wild! Now tell me that you find my company intolerable.”
Laurel paused. “But I don’t.” And it was true. He didn’t anymore.
The prince smiled. “Then we are making progress.””
“He felt like he was dying. Perhaps he was. The palace felt like a tomb now, with Paurick a mummified prince, doomed forever to be surrounded by luxury he could never truly enjoy. It was all pointless without someone to share it with. He understood that now.”"
Part of the 'All You Need Is Love' Anthology
#anthology #geek #indieauthor #contemporary #lgbt #authorsofig
There are a lot of books on my laptop that are started, in note form, or in a total mess and need to be fixed, rewritten, or completely scrapped. Either way, I plan to get a few of them off my list and finally sorted properly. I hate to have things unfinished, yet I'm notorious for getting distracted.
Hopefully, 2019 will be the year to fix that.
These are the priority books that I MUST get finished in 2019. I had hoped - and promised! - to have "Faithfully" completed so that it could be published in 2019 and that isn't going to happen, unfortunately. So it must get done for 2020.
Barely Even Friends is a follow-up of sorts to The Bright Side Brigade. It focuses on slightly older students, the bad boys instead of the good guys, and how they meet their match.
Hollow is a YA standalone novel with zombies, while Esthim is a standalone 18+ sci-fi novel. Secrets is the first book in the Evanders series - renamed, rebranded, and waiting to be rewritten. Demon of Ash and Ink is the first in a planned-trilogy of paranormal novels with a twist, while the top left image of a skull is the logo for The Enemy of My Enemy, book 1 in my contemporary-gang trilogy, Friends & Enemies.
With all that to do, as well as current ongoing series to finish, 2019 is going to be a busy year!
A Touch of Danger
Coming: Summer 2019
Going undercover might expose more than he expected.
#indieauthor #urbanfantasy #shifter #ninestarpress #lgbt #authorsofig
TBR for Netgalley
Echo Alkaev’s safe and carefully structured world falls apart after her father leaves for the city and mysteriously disappears. Believing he is lost forever, Echo is shocked to find him half-frozen in the winter forest six months later, guarded by a strange talking wolf—the same creature who attacked her as a child. The wolf presents Echo with an offer: for her to come and live with him for a year. But there is more to the wolf than Echo realizes.
In his enchanted house beneath a mountain, Echo discovers centuries-old secrets, a magical library full of books-turned-mirrors, and a young man named Hal who is trapped inside of them. As the year ticks by, Echo must solve the mystery of the wolf’s enchantment before her time is up—otherwise Echo, the wolf, and Hal will be lost forever.
Black Magic Anthology
Charity Anthology for Meals on Wheels
#MM #PNR #BlackMagic #lgbtq #indieauthor #supernatural #authorsofig
Top 10 Book-to-Screen Adaptations
The Bright Side Brigade
Coming: February 1st, 2019
In a zero tolerance school, the only weapons are hope, friendship, and love.
#anthology #YA #indieauthor #contemporary #lgbt #authorsofig
Undertow, by Brooklyn Ray
Port Lewis Witches, Book 2
"Port Lewis, a coastal town perched on the Washington cliffs, is home to Crescent Cafe, a slew of micro-breweries, a downtown packed with antique boutiques, and violent, ancient storms. Thunder shakes rooftops and lightning cuts through dark skies, but Liam Montgomery has never been afraid.
One night, Liam hears the scream of a kelpie, a Water horse whose cry foretells the beginning of a prophecy. Kelpies have not set foot on shore for decades, but as Liam digs into his magic and his family’s history, he uncovers a mysterious secret that could ripple into the lives of everyone around him.
Liam’s tea-leaves spells out murder. The life of someone he loves is on the line. An unwelcome kelpie speaks in riddles. The Queen of Water demands a sacrifice.
The Montgomery name is soaked in blood and secrets. Liam’s fate is sealed, but he’ll do whatever it takes to change it—even if it risks his circle, his magic, and his life."
** I WAS GIVEN THIS BOOK FOR MY READING PLEASURE **
Copy received through Netgalley
Book – Undertow
Series – Port Lewis Witches, 2
Author – Brooklyn Ray
Star rating - ★★★★★
No. of Pages – 111
Cover – Stunning!
POV – 3rd person, one character
Would I read it again – Yes!
Genre – LGBT, Contemporary, Witches, Trans (FTM)
Content Warning – blood-play, death, necromancy, light gore, off-page parental abuse
Wow! What can I say? Once again, just as in the first book, the world building and storytelling are on point. I mean, completely and unerringly perfect. I completely understand the world that is created here – a contemporary, real life world that has witches and demons as a subset of the population, not known to “normal” human – and I feel comfortable with everything that happens. Even the stuff I don't know about personally – magic, the circle, the spells – I feel connected and familiar with, because they're written with such realism and detail, without being a dummy's guide or being condescending.
I've loved the Port Lewis Witches series since I read book one. I had that unexplainable feeling when I read it, that I've had only a few times with a series, where I just knew, without a doubt, that it was going to be an auto-buy series and author, for me. The only other series' that gave me this feeling were Lavender Shores, by Rosalind Abel, and the Chronicles of Tournai, by Antonia Aquilante. That's it. Three series, hitting me right from page one, with an instant feeling of being familiar, of being home, of being right.
That's what Port Lewis is – it's a home away from a home, a life I never lived, people I've never met, who are like family, and who make you feel welcome for every moment you spend with them.
The characters are exactly the same as book 1, only told from a new POV – Liam's, instead of Ryder's – and yet they manage to grow organically, without being forced into situations or experiences that don't fit their personalities. They are as true to the characters in book 1 as any character can be when written well. And the chemistry between Liam and Ryder – though I never thought it possible – sizzles with twice the intensity. Not only did Liam seem older and more mature than the previous book, taking charge as it was his element they were working with, but I loved the growth of their bond with each other. That Ryder wasn't irrational or jealous about the kelpie who kissed Liam, that he didn't doubt Liam's love for him. That neither of them doubted what they felt for each other, even when faced with everyone they cared about being against them.
I loved that Donovan became the one who was steady, who held it together despite his own issues, and who was always the voice of reason. Tyler was a little more volatile in this one, but in a way that I can see he's running on fumes and it won't be long before he snaps. I loved the progression of Christy's character, how she was explored a little more in depth and showed a side that we hadn't seen of her before, a loneliness and a sense of being apart from the rest of the circle, while seeing things that she didn't always want to see. I really felt for her.
With a clear timeline, a genuine progression of plot from book 1, without being so closely linked that you couldn't accidentally read them out of order, and a consistent level of characterisation and world building, this one is a win all the way. I didn't read the blurb, when this came up for review on Netgalley, because I didn't care what it was about. It was a Port Lewis Witches book, it was written by Brooklyn Ray, and that was good enough for me. And I wasn't disappointed.
And can I just say – that ending! Such a tease. I read it, blinked, and then had to do a quick little revisit to an earlier scene to make sure I hadn't imagined it. Between the 'sigil of Mars', the Queen coming back in four weeks, the claim that Donovan is in lust but not love, the secrets about Tyler and his father, and the reading saying that someone would hurt Tyler soon, I just can't wait for the next one.
A five star read from page one to 'the end', and thanks to a little nod from the author, one that I'll be buying in paperback as soon as it's released at the end of November. Happy Birthday/Merry Christmas to me!
“The unknown was restless and horrible. It surrounded them, a being with too many eyes and too many teeth, waiting to rip them apart. Somehow, Ryder was still more dangerous than any unknown and any kelpie and any other witch.”