ARC Reviews

ARC REVIEW: Undertow by Brooklyn Ray


Undertow coverPublisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: September 10, 2018
Received From: Review copy from the author

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 lightening cuts through dark skies, but Liam Montgomery has never been afraid.

Until now.

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.


GENDER: cisgender, transgender
SEXUALITY: homosexual, pansexual
ROMANTIC ORIENTATION: homoromantic, panromantic


TROPES: magical abilities, family secrets revealed
TAGS: new adult, contemporary, mythology, erotica, romance, queer romance, queer characters, urban fantasy, existing relationship, coming of age, elemental magic
WARNINGS: child abuse mention, water, drowning mention, bloodletting, blood consumption, sexual content, ableism, blood


Everything inside him felt undone—his magic, his energy, his blood, his memories. But this—Ryder’s hand on his face, his gentle gaze and warm breath—was enough to remind Liam that he was still who he had always been.

UNDERTOW is a wonderful second act to the Port Lewis Witches series, delivering more of the deliciously vicious intensity found in DARKLING and continuing with the same set of characters, while introducing different mythos and raising the stakes even higher.

In this book, we are again in the world of Liam Montgomery and Ryder Wolfe–their private lives, their circle, their families, their families, and more. This time, the focus is on Liam, who’s being stalked by a kelpie, and his discovery of dark, bloody, family secrets kept long hidden. While there’s magic and mystery and intrigue, UNDERTOW is very much a coming of age story for Liam. It’s one where he has to face–and answer–questions like, “Who am I? What am I? How did I not know? Why didn’t they tell me?” and more. It’s the story of a man learning things about himself he never expected, struggling to even accept their existence, and trying to reconcile them with himself and his life. Throughout it all, Ryder stands as a strong, vicious support at his side, reinforcing the idea that he’s still loved no matter what he is, that he still has people who care for him, that, despite all the sudden changes, he is still Liam. Which are reassurances I think we all need every now and again.

Also, I loved how Ray began easing in different mythos and mythological creatures that will make appearances throughout the series. With DARKLING, we of course got witches, necromancers, and demons, and now there are Fae, particularly kelpies, and Weres. I am super excited to see how these, and more creatures, will play out for the rest of the series, and how they will affect the lives of the main cast.

Additionally, the relationship between Liam and Ryder was a thing of joy to read. I absolutely love how strong, how solid their bond is. They’re so loyal to each other and determined to make sure the other knows they love them in a multitude of ways, especially in protecting each other when possible. Their relationship is one that I love to get lost in, and my only complaint about the book was that I wish it was longer so I could see more of them together!

I continue to have an extreme love-hate relationship with the character of Tyler because he’s just so mean, but I’m so intrigued about how Ray will end up making me like him. And Donovan is such a sweet guy, I’m so excited to have the next book be about him! Then, of course, there’s Christy, who is so lovely and so much the Mom Friend, trying to keep the peace and not take sides. I’m so ready for more of her!

With this second installment, Brooklyn Ray delivers yet another fantastic erotic urban fantasy romance, and I absolutely cannot wait for more from them.


16971356Brooklyn Ray is a tea connoisseur and an occult junkie. She writes queer speculative fiction layered with magic, rituals and found families.


Twitter: @BrookieRayWrite
Tumblr: brooklyn–


NineStar Press


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