Not groundbreaking, but fans of the genre will thoroughly enjoy.



A young man finds himself trapped between the forces of heaven and hell in Netto’s latest queer romantic fantasy novel, the first in a series.

Bellwound Throvar has just had his 18th birthday, or, as it is known in his village, his Blood-date. According to tradition, he is now a man, but Bellwound doubts some of the traditions and fables he grew up believing. “Stories change as they’re passed down,” he tells his mother regarding their religious belief that their deity, the Pale Lion, cast down a rebellious angel, the Dove. “It’s very convenient to believe that there is an opposition and an ultimate blameless creator. Think with me. Shadow only exists because an object blocks the light.” When he wakes up the morning after his Blood-date, however, he discovers that his parents—as well as the parents of his best friend (and secret crush), Arnon Helvug—have been kidnapped…or, if the blood stains are any indication, something much worse. Bellwound soon learns that he’s bound up in a prophecy connecting him to the very Dove whose existence he doubted. What’s more, beneath the floorboards of his own house is a secret religious document whose message could undo everything people have believed for thousands of years. With some help, Bellwound embarks on a quest to fulfill his part in the war to come while pursued by a deadly sect of body-hopping immortals known as the Fallen Stars. Netto’s prose is urgent and bold, particularly in its more carnal moments: “I tossed my satchel on the floor and fell on the bed. I pulled up my shirt. A throb between my legs. My fingertips trailed over my stomach, making their way past my belly button, following the soft trail of hair that disappeared underneath my pants.” The mythology is dense, but its basis in the traditional story of Lucifer (indeed, the Dove is named Lucifer) makes it easier for the reader to grasp. ­

Not groundbreaking, but fans of the genre will thoroughly enjoy.

Pub Date: July 5, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-578-36809-2

Page Count: 268

Publisher: Nettoverse

Review Posted Online: July 8, 2022

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A unique story of transcendent love.


An aimless young musician meets the girl of his dreams only to have his newfound happiness threatened by several inexplicable—and possibly supernatural—events.

The story opens as Leeds Gabriel meets with a detective while his girlfriend, Layla, is restrained in a room one flight above them. Through the interview, readers learn that Leeds was wasting both his time and his musical talent playing backup for a small-town wedding troupe called Garrett’s Band when he spied Layla dancing her heart out to their mediocre music at a wedding. When Leeds approaches Layla, their connection is both instant and intense. A blissful courtship follows, but then Leeds makes the mistake of posting a picture of himself with Layla on social media. A former girlfriend–turned-stalker wastes no time in finding and attacking Layla. Layla spends months recovering in a hospital, and it seems the girl Leeds fell for might be forever changed. Gone is her special spark, her quirkiness, and the connection that had entranced Leeds months before. In a last-ditch effort to save their relationship, he brings Layla back to the bed-and-breakfast where they first met. When they get there, though, Leeds meets Willow, another guest, and finds himself drawn to her in spite of himself. As events unfold, it becomes clear that Willow will either be the key to saving Leeds’ relationship with Layla or the catalyst that finally extinguishes the last shreds of their epic romance. Told entirely from Leeds’ point of view, the author’s first foray into paranormal romance does not disappoint. Peppered with elements of mystery, psychological thriller, and contemporary romance, the novel explores questions about how quickly true love can develop, as well as the conflicts that can imperil even the strongest connections. Despite a limited cast of characters and very few setting changes, the narrative manages to remain both fast-paced and engaging. The conclusion leaves a few too many loose ends, but the chemistry between the characters and unexpected twists throughout make for a satisfying read.

A unique story of transcendent love.

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5420-0017-8

Page Count: 301

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2020

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A whodunit upstaged at every point by the unforgettably febrile intensity of the heroine’s first-person narrative.


Emerson’s striking debut follows a Navajo police photographer almost literally to hell and back.

Rita Todacheene sees dead people. Since most of her attempts to talk to someone about her special power while she was growing up on the reservation ended in disaster, she’s tried to keep it to herself during her five years with the Albuquerque Police Department. Her precarious peace is shattered by the death of Erma Singleton, manager of a bar owned by Matias Romero, her common-law husband. Although lazy Detective Martin Garcia has ruled that Erma fell from a highway bridge, her body shattered by the truck that hit her on the roadway below, Erma insists that she was pushed from the bridge. “Help me get back to my baby,” she tells Rita, “or I’ll make your life a living hell.” Since Rita, a civilian employee, has few resources for an investigation, Erma opens a portal that unleashes scores of ghosts on her, all clamoring for justice or mercy or a few words with the loved ones they left behind. The nightmare that propels Rita forward, from snapping photos of Judge Harrison Winters and his wife and children and dog, all shot dead in what Garcia calls a murder-suicide, to revelations that link both these deaths and Erma’s to the drug business of the Sinaloa cartel, is interleaved with repeated flashbacks that show the misfit Rita’s early years on her Navajo reservation and in her Catholic grade school as she struggles to come to terms with a gift that feels more like a curse. The appeal of the case as a series kickoff is matched by the challenges Emerson will face in pulling off any sequels.

A whodunit upstaged at every point by the unforgettably febrile intensity of the heroine’s first-person narrative.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-641-29333-4

Page Count: 312

Publisher: Soho Crime

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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