Blog Tour & Book Review – Blood is Forever by Asta Idonea

A big welcome to Asta Idonea as part of her blog tour for Blood is Forever from NineStar Press.

By Any Other Name
If you follow me and my writing, you’ll know I put great stock by names. In a short story I may fuss less, but in longer works I prefer the names of my principal characters to contribute to the tale, representing either an aspect of their personality or illuminating something about their role in the story. This was, therefore, of paramount importance to me as I developed the characters in Blood is Forever. So, let’s take a closer look at our two main players.

Holden Fay: Holden’s surname is obvious enough: a play on the fae part of his genetic makeup. His first name, Holden, literally comes from ‘deep valley’ or ‘hollow in the valley’. I chose that because he is a character with hidden depths. Many dismiss him without realising how capable he is.

Valerius Blackwood: Val is a different kettle of fish. He comes from a long line of witches, and Blackwood seemed a strong, old-style surname. In the world of the story, many of the ancient witch bloodlines go with Latin when it comes to first names, and as the city’s most powerful witch family, the Blackwoods would be no exception. Valerius means ‘strong’ or ‘valiant’, and that seemed appropriate for this character, as you will see when you read the book.

If you’re an author, how much thought do you put into character names? Is their meaning important to you too? If you’re a reader, do you like to discover added levels of meaning behind character names?

Blood is Forever
Asta Idonea
NineStar Press
3 June 2019
74,000 words
MM/Paranormal Romance/Murder Mystery

Sometimes catching a murderer means risking one’s heart.

As a fae-vampire hybrid, scorned by all, Holden’s life has never been easy. The one bright spot is his job testing blood at supernatural crime scenes. It’s routine work, until the day he finds a victim he can’t read.

When one murder becomes two, and then three, it’s clear there’s a serial killer on the loose—one with a penchant for collecting hearts. Finding the bad guy could cement Holden’s career, but he’s drawing a blank. And it doesn’t help that the expert his boss calls in to assist him is the man Holden’s been crushing on for years.

With lives hanging in the balance, Holden and Val must solve the case before the killer strikes again. But will they come out with their hearts still intact?

SoundCloud Excerpt

NineStar Press
Amazon US
Amazon UK


I loved this story. The world building is fabulous and I was pulled into the story as soon as I started reading. I loved the take on vampires and fey, and their different abilities, especially with how vampires can read blood.

I felt for Holden and his frustration in being looked down on because of being a half-breed, although I thought it was very cool that he a few abilities from each side of his heritage. However, in saying that I appreciated the problems he has because of that, with not being able to quite access what he needed either like being unable to hold a glamour so he could seek work in the human world. I suspected there was more going on with Val as soon as he appeared and he quickly grew on me as a character especially as he felt so guilty about what he’d done. Raoul is fabulous and stole every scene he was in. He totally deserved a book of his own, and his own happy ending.

Although I did guess some of the plot it didn’t detract from my enjoyment and I kept turning pages to find out what happened next. Both Holden and Val’s fathers are total arseholes, as are many of the council, and I loved the deal Holden held them once everything came to a head and the villains of the story were revealed.

I found the ending and epilogue very satisfying and I’d love to read more stories set in this world.

I’d recommend Blood is Forever to readers who enjoy urban fantasy with fabulous world building, interesting characters, and a story that keeps you turning page. 5 out of 5 stars.

Asta Idonea (aka Nicki J Markus) was born in England but now lives in Adelaide, South Australia. She has loved both reading and writing from a young age and is also a keen linguist, having studied several foreign languages.

Asta launched her writing career in 2011 and divides her efforts not only between MM and mainstream works but also between traditional and indie publishing. Her works span the genres, from paranormal to historical and from contemporary to fantasy. It just depends what story and which characters spring into her mind!

As a day job, Asta works as a freelance editor and proofreader, and in her spare time she enjoys music, theatre, cinema, photography, and sketching. She also loves history, folklore and mythology, pen-palling, and travel, all of which have provided plenty of inspiration for her writing.

Linktree – for all other links

About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at
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