Showing posts with label ARC Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ARC Review. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Spotlight & Review: Baby I'm Howling For You & Something To Howl About


Summary:

BABY, I’M HOWLING FOR YOU:

WELCOME TO ALPHAVILLE, where the she-wolves and alpha-males play. . .for keeps.



Renny Landry is a wolf on the run. Pursued by a shapeshifting stalker and his slobbering pack of killer coyotes, she is forced to flee her job as a librarian to find sanctuary in the wooded hills of Alpha, Washington. A well-secluded safe space for troubled shifters, Alpha is Renny’s last hope. But the first person she meets there is a gorgeous alpha male with fiery eyes, fierce tattoos, and one ferocious appetite—for her…


Mick Fischer thought he left his past behind when he moved to Alpha. But fate has a way of biting him in the tail when a female wolf shows up on his property. Wounded, desperate—and disarmingly hot—Renny brings out the snarling, protective alpha beast in Mick like no other woman he’s known. Can these two haunted, hunted wolves manage to mate for life…even as the deadliest past demons howl at their heels?

Baby, I'm Howling For You (Alphaville, #1)Baby, I'm Howling For You by Christine Warren
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Mick and Renny were awesome in this story I loved how their relationship almost didn’t happen because he was to Alpha for his own good. The town of Alpha was a perfect blend of shifters I loved every character that was introduced and can just see them having their own book. This was an amazing read and I cannot wait for the next book in the series.

Reviewed by Deja of the GothicMoms Review Team

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SOMETHING TO HOWL ABOUT:
WELCOME TO ALPHAVILLE, where the she-wolves and alpha-males play. . .for keeps, in a brand-new paranormal romance series from New York Times bestselling author Christine Warren.

Dr. Annie Cryer has been called many things: Genius. Child prodigy. Scientific wonder.

Wolf Shifter.

Banished from her pack years ago, Annie’s lone wolf wandering has brought her to Alpha, Washington, home to all shifters who don't quite fit in in the "normal" shifter word. Now Annie has the chance to go back home...if only she can make good on a favor her alpha owes the mayor of “Alphaville.” But it's not much of a favor when you're helping the hottest shifter in town...

Grizzly shifter Jonas Browning has a clan in trouble. They haven't had a child born in over a hundred years...and their clan faces going completely extinct. Genetic scientist Anne Cryer has been sent to help save them. But what Jonas doesn't count on is being irresistibly drawn to the small wolf shifter, and his bear isn't about to let her go…





Something to Howl About (Alphaville #0.5)Something to Howl About by Christine Warren
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Annie and Jonas were absolutely adorable. Jonas was so oblivious to what his body and his bear were telling him about Annie, and she was timid one minute and a fierce she-wolf the next made for a very interesting character. I loved the buildup to their mating it made me wonder how the story would end. I only wish I had learned more about Annie and her banishment the author gave u snippets of the reason which only made me want to know more. Beyond that this was definitely an awesome read.

Reviewed by Deja of the GothicMoms Review Team

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AUTHOR BIO:


CHRISTINE WARREN is the bestselling author of The Others series, including Wolf at the Door, Big Bad Wolf, Born to Be Wild, Prince Charming Doesn’t Live Here, and Black Magic Woman. Born and raised in coastal New England, she now lives as a transplant in the Pacific Northwest. (She completely bypassed those states in the middle due to her phobia of being landlocked). When not writing, she enjoys horseback riding, playing with her pets, identifying dogs from photos of their underbellies, and most of all reading things someone else had to agonize over.

Twitter - @ChristineWarren
Facebook- @ChristineWarren

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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Review: Alpha & Dark Goddess

Alpha Goddess by Amalie Howard
Book 1
Published March 18, 2014 by Sky Pony Press
Reviewed by Terri
5 Celestial Stars!!

Synopsis:

In Serjana Caelum’s world, gods exist. So do goddesses. Sera knows this because she is one of them. A secret long concealed by her parents, Sera is Lakshmi reborn, the human avatar of an immortal Indian goddess rumored to control all the planes of existence. Marked by the sigils of both heaven and hell, Sera’s avatar is meant to bring balance to the mortal world, but all she creates is chaos. A chaos that Azrath, the Asura Lord of Death, hopes to use to unleash hell on earth.

Torn between reconciling her past and present, Sera must figure out how to stop Azrath before the Mortal Realm is destroyed. But trust doesn’t come easy in a world fissured by lies and betrayal. Her best friend Kyle is hiding his own dark secrets, and her mysterious new neighbor, Devendra, seems to know a lot more than he’s telling. Struggling between her opposing halves and her attraction to the boys tied to each of them, Sera must become the goddess she was meant to be, or risk failing, which means sacrificing the world she was born to protect.
destiny

Alpha Goddess (Alpha Goddess #1)Alpha Goddess by Amalie Howard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There is nothing more entertaining than reading a book with a strong female lead who acts like a normal person. When that book is a YA book, it is even more impressive. Howard develops a story with a teenage goddess who is destined to save the world, but unlike many of the other stories like this, Sera acts like a real person. She has faults and struggles to find her way. I do not know much about Hindu mythology, but I still enjoyed the story. It was very easy to "feel" these characters. There was a bit too much exposition expressed as dialog but I think the author felt so compelled to make sure the reader understood everything there was to understand about this story. The author uses this story to challenge the ideas of fate and free will. I think these are ideas that we all struggle with no matter what our religious beliefs. I look forward to reading the next one.

Reviewed by Terri of the GothicMoms Review Team

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Dark Goddess by Amalie Howard
Alpha Goddess Book 2
Publication Date February 6, 2018 by Sky Pony Press

Synopsis:
After an epic struggle that unseated the Asura Lord of Death and placed Serjana Caelum’s best friend, Kyle, on his throne, the Mortal Realm is peaceful and the balance between good and evil—which Sera is sworn to protect—has been restored.


But signs of a new threat to the world of men quickly begin to appear: A scourge of demons descends on the Mortal Realm, and Sera is beside herself trying to locate their source. She sends word to the gods for help, and their answer comes in the form of Kira, the living incarnation of Kali, goddess of destruction.


Stunning and dangerous, Kira plans to protect the heavens at all cost, even if it means destroying the entire Mortal Realm. Soon Sera and Kyle find themselves fighting not just the demon plague, but Kira and her twin. But when an even more sinister threat arises—putting not just the human world but all planes of existence in jeopardy—they must all learn to work together or lose everything they sacrificed so much to save.

Dark Goddess (Alpha Goddess #2)Dark Goddess by Amalie Howard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This exciting story picks up a few months after the first one ended. I think it's possible to read this without reading the first, but I believe reading book one will make this easier and more fun to read. It's easy to forget character arcs in subsequent stories. However, I feel like this author did a great job of pushing her characters to new levels. She also added a few new characters to push this story to a whip rousing ending. Having established the worldbulding in book one, it felt like the author trusted her readers to understand more of the story. She used the mythology and histories to enhance this story and not define it. This created a much richer story that I think was better than the first.

Reviewed by Terri of the GothicMoms Review Team


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Friday, January 5, 2018

Review: Darkling

Darkling by Brooklyn Ray
Published January 8, 2018 by NineStar Press
Reviewed by Jen
5 MYSTICAL STARS!

Synopsis:

Port Lewis, a coastal town perched on the Washington cliffs, is surrounded by dense woods, and is home to quaint coffee shops, a movie theater, a few bars, two churches, the local college, and witches, of course.

Ryder is a witch with two secrets—one about his blood and the other about his heart. Keeping the secrets hasn’t been a problem, until a tarot reading with his best friend, Liam Montgomery, who happens to be one of his secrets, starts a chain of events that can’t be undone.

Dark magic runs through Ryder’s veins. The cards have prophesized a magical catastrophe that could shake the foundation of Ryder’s life, and a vicious partnership with the one person he doesn’t want to risk.

Magic and secrets both come at a cost, and Ryder must figure out what he’s willing to pay to become who he truly is.

CONTENT WARNINGS:

Blood-letting (consumption of blood)
Explicit Sexual Content
Death and Resurrection of an MC
Mild Gore (very mild)


Darkling

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book. As a Wiccan, anything to do with magic catches my eye. Thankfully it did because I really enjoyed the read!

The writing was great. The only thing I had a hard time with was pronoun usage. But it becomes a bit clearer toward the end. More about gender identification. Once I wrapped my head around that, I was good!

Reviewed by Jen of the GothicMoms Review Team

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Saturday, December 30, 2017

Review: Heat

Heat by Donna Grant
Dark Kings Book 12
Publication Date January 30, 2018 by St. Martin's Press
Reviewed by Janet
5 Firebreathing Stars!

Synopsis:

Nikolai is a dragon shapeshifter who knows well the meaning of loss. Orphaned and raised to be a Dragon King, he never accepts defeat. Now, Nikolai prefers his solitude . . .until a beautiful, irresistible woman calls upon him for help—and Nikola’s whole word goes up in flames.

Ever since MI5 agent Esther woke to discover her mind taken over with magic, she feels like stranger to herself. She looks to a notorious dragon, one who has the power to help her find her memory. But as she and Nikolai come closer to discovering what really happened to her, a dangerous passion ignites between them. Can this lone Dragon King help the woman he’s grown to love to uncover the truth about her past—or will a deep and fiery danger tear them both apart?


Heat (Dark Kings, #12)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Whew! Fanning self at the moment. The title of this book is aptly named. Nikolai and Esther have unbelievable chemistry that fills the pages. They are made for one another. I absolutely love this series. The Dragon shifters are smokin' hot, pun intended. There's no need to start at the beginning of this series because each book is perfect as a standalone. However, after reading one, you may want to go back and plow through the others. Nikolai's story is fantastic! There are other paranormals in this book that you will notice throughout the series. You may need to check and see if your favorite has a story out already.

This author always does a splendid job when it comes to creating her characters and their back story. While there are hurdles to overcome, as with most paranormal romances, readers are guaranteed awesomeness in this book along with a happily ever after. And yes, I'm still waiting for Rhi's book.

Reviewed by Janet of the GothicMoms Review Team

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Thursday, December 28, 2017

Review: Halloween Carnival Volume 3

Halloween Carnival Volume Three
Published October 17, 2017 by Hydra
Reviewed by Jennifer
5 Screaming Stars!!!

Synopsis:

Kelley Armstrong, Kate Maruyama, Michael McBride, Taylor Grant, and Greg Chapman unleash the unsettled spirits of the past in five frightening stories collected by celebrated editor, author, and horror guru Brian James Freeman.

THE WAY LOST by Kelley Armstrong
The kids in Franklin don’t ask questions. Each Halloween, one of them disappears into the forest. Dale promised his mother he’d never go into the woods alone. But the kids in Franklin also lie.

LA CALAVERA by Kate Maruyama
The Día de los Muertos Festival at the Hollywood Cemetery used to be ours. Now, without Jasmine, it’s only right that I go one last time in her honor—before I let her go for good. . . .

THE DEVIL’S DUE by Michael McBride
Pine Springs, Colorado, has prospered for generations by honoring its traditions and its promises. Then one man refuses to do his civic duty—and the price he must pay is fatally steep.

A THOUSAND ROOMS OF DARKNESS by Taylor Grant
Samhainophobia: an irrational fear of Halloween. Phasmophobia: an irrational fear of ghosts. For Anne, these terrors are more rational than she knows.

THE LAST NIGHT OF OCTOBER by Greg Chapman
Every year, one little boy wearing a grotesque Frankenstein mask comes knocking at Gerald’s door. Gerald has always managed to avoid him . . . until this year.

Halloween Carnival Volume 3

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Halloween Carnival, Vol. 3 ...

The Way Lost ... by Kelley Armstrong
That was an interesting short story with a wicked twist! Dale ... did you remember it right?

La Calavera ... by Kate Maruyama
At first you think this is going to go one way ... twist! Very SWF!

The Devil's Due ... by Michael McBride
Wow ... this was delightfully dark! It was well written and scary when you put yourself into the story. I liked that depending on your take it how you felt the ending would either be happy'ish or tragic.

A Thousand Rooms of Darkness by Taylor Grant
Holy Samhain! At first I was unsure about this story & if I would like it. I'm glad I kept reading! I love the Celtic twist at the end!

The Last Night of October by Greg Chapman ...
A Spooky well written Horror/suspense story ... no spoilers here! Want details ... read the book.

Reviewed by Jennifer of the GothicMoms Review Team

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Monday, December 11, 2017

Review: Dragon Fire Angel Light

Dragon Fire, Angel Light by Shara Godwinson
Published December 11, 2017 by NineStar Press
Reviewed by Terri
5 FLAMES!

Synopsis:

William is a dragon shifter who, despite having lived for over two thousand years, has never found a true love. When he meets Evyn, a quirky musician/journalist who wants to be a real photographer, he immediately finds him irresistible.

But Evyn’s a little supernatural too, and an evil brotherhood and a band of soul reavers are after him to destroy his pure soul.

Can William protect his love from evil?

Dragon Fire, Angel LightDragon Fire, Angel Light by Shara Godwinson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Let me preface this review. I saw the blurb about dragons and paid no attention to the M/M relationship in this story. I have not read a story where the main characters are male lovers. This book was just so much to read that I forgot about the genre it was and focused on the story. So if you choose to read this, you know what you're reading.

The characters felt real. I felt like I was walking in their shoes. There were even a couple of times I found myself moving as if I was fighting the battle scenes. I enjoyed the world Godwinson created. It's fun to think of paranormal beings living beside me and not even knowing it. The plot was clearly laid out and developed in such a way, I HAD to keep reading because I wanted to know what happened next. I need to investigate this author more because I want another book. This one did not end in a cliffhanger, but there are certainly some unanswered questions.

Reviewed by Terri of the GothicMoms Review Team

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Thursday, November 30, 2017

Review: To Seize a Wayward Spirit

To Seize A Wayward Spirit
Djinn Have Book 1
Publication Date January 1, 2018
Reviewed by Terri
4 Wayward Stars

Synopsis -

Fans of R.L. Naquin’s Monster Haven series will love this beguiling spin-off, featuring a djinn caught in a hot mess of lost souls, fast food and otherwordly murder.

Sometimes monsters like to pretend to be humans dressing up as monsters…

After a major goof turned their last mission into chaos, Hidden Government chaser Kam and her friends must hunt and recapture a crapton of souls. Seventeen, to be precise. But by the time they chase down the first one—a goblin en route back home to Oklahoma—a banshee ups and gets assassinated, leaving their progress at exactly negative one.

The connection between Kam’s goblin and her banshee? A cosplay club, natch. Because sometimes monsters like to pretend to be humans dressing up as monsters.

As the body count rises and the Hidden cosplayers point fingers at each other, it’s up to Kam and her team to stop the insanity. One costumed faction has a secret they’re not sharing—even with each other—and if the bad seed isn’t found soon, the others are likely to be murdered…or worse.

This book is approximately 65,000 words

To Seize a Wayward Spirit (Djinn Haven, #2)To Seize a Wayward Spirit by R.L. Naquin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed reading this book. It was fast, and the characters were funny. I tend to be a bit snarky, and I love matching wits with other people. The author did such a great job creating these characters, especially the main character; I see myself hanging out with the main character. The combination of different paranormal creatures works well to drive the plot forward and keep the reader turning the pages to find out what happens next. I thought the author did a great job of creating tension between the main character and her intended without making it awkward and all about their love story. I can't wait to read more about these people and their story.

Reviewed by Terri of the GothicMoms Review Team

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Friday, November 24, 2017

Review: The Passion of Cleopatra

The Passion of Cleopatra by Anne Rice & Christopher Rice
Ramses The Damned Book 2
Published November 21, 2017 by Anchor
Reviewed by Sarah
4 Immortal Stars

Synopsis -

From the iconic and bestselling author of The Mummy and The Vampire Chronicles, a mesmerizing, glamorous new tale of ancient feuds and modern passions.
Ramses the Great, former pharaoh of Egypt, is reawakened by the elixir of life in Edwardian England. Now immortal with his bride-to-be, he is swept up in a fierce and deadly battle of wills and psyches against the once-great Queen Cleopatra. Ramses has reawakened Cleopatra with the same perilous elixir whose unworldly force brings the dead back to life. But as these ancient rulers defy one another in their quest to understand the powers of the strange elixir, they are haunted by a mysterious presence even older and more powerful than they, a figure drawn forth from the mists of history who possesses spectacular magical potions and tonics eight millennia old. This is a figure who ruled over an ancient kingdom stretching from the once-fertile earth of the Sahara to the far corners of the world, a queen with a supreme knowledge of the deepest origins of the elixir of life. She may be the only one who can make known to Ramses and Cleopatra the key to their immortality—and the secrets of the miraculous, unknowable, endless expanse of the universe.


The Passion of Cleopatra (Ramses the Damned, #2)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was my first book of Anne Rice (I know shocker!) and I did enjoy it. The book had wonderful imagery written in to make it feel like you were at each location when it was described in the book. The spin on the characters was fantastic but I feel like it also honored them in its own way but not making it seem like satire almost if that makes sense. As it is the second book in the series and I jumped in assuming it was a first in the series I was able to follow along without too much confusion so it can definitely be read as a stand alone, although I do plan on going back to read the first so I have a better idea of Ramses full story from the start- in her books/world/series.

Reviewed by Sarah of the GothicMoms Review Team

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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Review: Magician's Keeper

The Magician's Keeper by Nicola E. Sheridan
Published November 4, 2017 by Escape Publishing
Reviewed by Terri
4 Super-Sized Stars

Synopsis:
A brand new steamy paranormal romance about learning to love all of yourself.

In a world where people judge one another by exacting standards of size and style, being a big girl like Eudora Splat was never going to be easy.

Though trouble is brewing between magic folk and human purists who would see them all destroyed, Dora, a half-giant, tries to eke out a quiet, unnoticed life for herself, but it’s hard to be subtle when you’re over seven feet tall.

Losing her job as a gardener due to human complaints, Dora is recruited as a prison guard, where she’s enlisted to protect the magician Evander “Bear” Gordon from human purist attack. Bear encourages her to embrace her power and celebrate her heritage, introducing her to a world where she can be extraordinary and not just weird. 

But after years of hiding and shying away, can Dora find the strength to grab onto a new life — and hold on to the man she’s falling in love with?


The Magician's KeeperThe Magician's Keeper by Nicola E. Sheridan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a different kind of read for me in that it didn't include the usual group of paranormal beings. I'm also not used to giants playing an intelligent character. They are normally stereotyped as being a little slow or even dumb. So it was fun to read about Dora, a half-giant because she was very real. She had all kinds of emotions and ideas. She was also pretty tough and held her own in every fight she had. She was the one who rode in and saved the day. (I always like when the female characters are tough and kick a$$). The author did a great job creating a fantasy world but mirroring it close enough to real life that it was relatable. The plot wasn't fast-paced, but I actually found that enjoyable. Too many books just bombard the reader with intense action scene after intense action scene, and they forget to develop the story and characters. I think this book made for a great start to what could become a decent series.

Reviewed by Terri of the GothicMoms Review Team

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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Review: Maid of Ice

Maid of Ice by Shona Husk
Blood and Silver Book 3
Publication Date November 21, 2017 by Lyrical Press
Reviewed by Terri
4 Magical Stars!

Stalkers and death threats . . . 
For Finlay Ryder, danger means playing a racecar driver on a daytime soap. That is, until he’s forced to reckon with his true identity as an Albah, a magical ancient race, by one of his own kind. Someone wants him dead. And worse, an ancient vampire is on the prowl, drawing blood left and right. Now, Finlay has no choice but to hunt enemies with unspeakable powers—or risk being hunted himself . . .

. . . and that’s just the first date 
Ice skater Alina Nyx is using her broken wrist as an excuse for a career change. And when she falls for handsome Finlay, Albah drama feels like her new full-time job. Learning about magic and vampires is exciting, until her life is threatened. Now, as she begins to uncover her own mysterious powers, she must combine forces with Finlay to eradicate their foes for good, or all Albah will suffer . . .
 


Maid of Ice (Blood and Silver, #3)Maid of Ice by Shona Husk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In the PNR world, it is hard to come up with something new. I think this author did a good job creating a twist in order to create a great "something new". This is a fun romance with unique world building. I enjoyed the way the author used an ordinary backdrop/setting and added the right amount of urban fantasy to appease this fantasy lover. I think the characters are well-developed, I liked the interplay between the two main characters and the dialog read natural and felt "real" (that's important to me). I'm thinking (and hoping) that this is the first of a series.

Reviewed by Terri of the GothicMoms Review Team

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Monday, October 30, 2017

Review: Touch of Night

Touch of Night by Carin Rafferty
Sanctuary Series Book One
Published February 28, 2007 by Imajinn Books
Reviewed by Kaila
4 Stars!

Synopsis -

This is a reprint of Book One in Carin Rafferty's acclaimed Sanctuary series. 

Ariel Dantes is running out of time. Her brother Armand has disappeared while investigating a secretive cult professing to be a coven of witches and warlocks. When the police won’t agree to open a case, Ariel must track down the last man to see her brother—self-professed warlock Lucien Morgret.

Bar owner and banished warlock, Lucien will do anything to protect his former coven. His doubts about the coven’s safety have been building, and now a journalist is missing. He’ll help Ariel . . . as long as she obeys his rules.

If Lucien and Ariel want to save Armand and the coven, they need to work fast. With time against them, and a rogue warlock practicing the forbidden Old Ways, they’re running out of options. Lucien realizes he will need to meld with Ariel’s mind - and body –in order to fight the darkness. But will mating with this mortal woman save him or damn him? Will they lose themselves, and the ones they love, forever?


Touch of Night (Sanctuary, #1)Touch of Night by Carin Rafferty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this story a great deal. It was a different sort of fantasy story for me, and was interesting. It kept me on the edge of my seat in places and it made me feel in the action right along with the characters. The writing was also very well done. I liked it a lot and I really enjoyed the twists and turns that I didn't see coming. It was wonderful and a fast paced story. Very well done from this author and I'm glad I got the chance to review it.

Reviewed by Kaila of the GothicMoms Reviews Team

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Saturday, October 21, 2017

Review: A Spoonful of Magic

A Spoonful of Magic by Irene Radford
Publication Date November 7, 2017 by Daw Books
Reviewed by Janet
3 Puffs of Magic

Synopsis: 

A delightful new urban fantasy about a kitchen witch and her magical family 

Daphne "Daffy" Rose Wallace Deschants has an ideal suburban life--three wonderful and talented children; a coffee shop and bakery, owned and run with her best friend; a nearly perfect husband, Gabriel, or "G" to his friends and family. Life could hardly be better.

But G's perfection hides dangerous secrets. When Daffy uncovers evidence of his infidelity, her perfect life seems to be in ruins. On their wedding anniversary, Daffy prepares to confront him, only to be stopped in her tracks when he foils a mugging attempt using wizard-level magic.

Suddenly, Daphne is part of a world she never imagined--where her husband is not a traveling troubleshooter for a software company, but the sheriff of the International Guild of Wizards, and her brilliant children are also budding magicians. Even she herself is not just a great baker and barista--she's actually a kitchen witch. And her discovery of her powers is only just beginnning.

But even the midst of her chaotic new life, another problem is brewing. G's ex-wife, a dangerous witch, has escaped from her magical prison. Revenge-bent and blind, she needs the eyes of her son to restore her sight--the son Daffy has raised as her own since he was a year old. Now Daphne must find a way to harness her new powers and protect her family--or risk losing everything she holds dear. (Goodreads)


Review:

Super cute! Daphne and her family are a magical bunch. The children are just coming into their magical abilities and need their father's help. Their father, known mostly as G, is from a long line of magic users. When an enemy threatens, they must all be prepared and Daphne better be ready. Magical Brews is the shop where Daffy creates magic in the kitchen. 

This is a light paranormal that's fun to read. These are good characters, and even the children have a major role in here that is essential to the plot. The husband and wife dynamic is unconventional. I won't give anything away on that. 

Daffy is great, and I wish I could try one of her melt-in-your-mouth pastries. You can almost taste them! A pleasurable treat that focuses on this family and has a Halloween backdrop. I think fans of cozies will like this while sipping their favorite fall drink.


Friday, October 20, 2017

Review: The Spark

The Spark by David Drake
Publication Date November 7, 2017 by Baen
Reviewed by Terri
4 Twisted Stars

Synopsis:

NEW STANDALONE NOVEL BY SF MASTER DAVID DRAKE. In a violent world in which civilization has fallen and monsters roam, a young hero will rise.

In the time of the Ancients the universe was united—but that was so far in the past that not even memory remains, only the broken artifacts that a few Makers can reshape into their original uses. What survives is shattered into enclaves—some tiny, some ruined, some wild.

Into the gaps between settlements, and onto the Road that connects all human reality and the reality that is not human and may never have been human, have crept monsters. Some creatures are men, twisted into inhuman evil; some of them are alien to Mankind—

And there are things which are hostile to all life, things which will raven and kill until they are stopped.

A Leader has arisen, welding the scattered human settlements together in peace and safety and smashing the enemies of order with an iron fist. In his capital, Dun Add, the Leader provides law and justice. In the universe beyond, his Champions advance—and enforce—the return of civilization.

Pal, a youth from the sticks, has come to Dun Add to become a Champion. Pal is a bit of a Maker, and in his rural home he's been able to think of himself as a warrior because he can wield the weapons of the Ancient civilization.

Pal has no idea of what he's really getting into in Dun Add. On the other hand, the Leader and Dun Add have no real idea of what might be inside this hayseed with high hopes.

THE SPARK: A story of hope and violence and courage. And especially, a story of determination. (Goodreads)


Review:

Fantasy is not for every reader but I happen to like it a lot. For me, the most important part of fantasy is world-building. The idea of creating a world from nothing fascinates and challenges me. This author nailed the world-building and created a mesh between high fantasy and techno science fiction. There were some parts I needed to reread to understand all the details but overall it was fun and tickled my imagination.

This is a true hero's journey where Pal fights to live a life that is to the betterment of mankind. He is an all around good guy. I liked that. He never steered from his focus and lost motivation. It was easy to see his true character in the dialog and the plot development. In fact, I thought every character was well developed and the author stayed true to each of them.

The only issue I have with this story is more a personal preference thing. Pal went on several adventures and had several big fights. However, there wasn't one big climactic moment. It was a series of smaller moments. I don't remember much of the literary devices used in a "hero's journey" story so I that may have been the author's goal. I don't think this distracted from the story. It was a good story and I kept turning the pages because I wanted to see how it ended.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Guest Post on Villains by Joe M. Solomon





The Darkness: Giger, Texas
Joe M. Solomon

Genre: Horror/Supernatural

Publisher: NES Publishing, LLC

Date of Publication: October 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9990024-0-7
ASIN: B07435H5YR

Number of pages: 372
Word Count: 106,029

Cover Artist: Syneca Featherstone



Book Description:

When night falls in Giger, Texas, shadows gather as they always do in dim corners and other areas bereft of light.  But this time they consolidate and attack any who tread too close. Michael Warren, a twenty-four-year-old resident of Giger, finds himself at the epicenter of this horror and is stunned by the losses suffered overnight.  Then the sun sets and the shadows again coalesce, growing more aggressive, the darkness eviscerating anyone it touches.

His only weapon light, Michael struggles to survive and searches frantically for his girlfriend, aiding friends along the way.  When Hurricane Daniel roars ashore, wind gusts shred trees and tear down power lines, plunging all of Southeastern Texas into blackness that only feeds and strengthens the encroaching darkness.  Rising floodwater provides easy thoroughfares from which the darkness can strike as Michael and his friends contend with the elements, clash with criminals, and battle their way to his residence where they will stand against the darkness and fight to survive.

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Excerpt:
Startled, Eddie blinked and wiped at his own eyes. “What was…? Hello?”

No answer.
      
His pulse picked up. “C-Curt, you in here… you a-a-a-asshole?”

A box fell behind him.

Eddie spun around, body tight as a knot, eyes wide as their sockets would allow. “Wh-h-h-h-who the hell’s that?” he demanded with as much sternness as he could inject into his quivering voice.


Soft whispers trickled out of a minuscule pocket of emptiness near the back door on the farthest wall. There, amid the gloom, something progressed toward him. At first, its movements appeared mechanical, inelastic. Then it evolved into a smooth flow. A soft ripple. A consolidated wave of darkness.



Review - The Darkness Giger, Texas - 5 Stars

A total scarefest! Definitely not for the squeamish. This takes place right before a hurricane is about to hit. Those of us who have dealt with a hurricane or are afraid of the dark, will experience real terror among these pages. Michael Warren and his friends have no idea why there are mass murders taking place at night, not just in Giger, Texas, but all over the world. You won't believe what they encounter. Many of you may want to sleep with the lights on after this.

We have a very plausible scenario here that switches to the viewpoint of thecharacters throughout. If you live in the Houston area, you can really visualize this taking place which makes it all the more terrifying. I wasn't sure what to expect when I started this, but it was worth the ride. Seasoned horror fans will be glued to their seats as a new terror takes shape. - Reviewed by Janet



GUEST POST: VILLAINS


Let’s explore a little about what scares you.  I’ve read books and watched movies that reflect things that scare us.  Sometimes it is waking up and suddenly realizing that you are the last person on earth, i.e. Loneliness.  According to psychiatrists, we need people for everything from simple companionship to feeling good about ourselves.  This notion was examined time and again on the TV series The Twilight Zone. In Where is Everybody?, our main character basically wakes up in a town alone.  He tries a pay phone.  Nothing.  He rushes from a restaurant to the sheriff’’s office, finding no one.  He has a moment of hope when he sees a woman sitting in a car.  Further investigating, however, reveals that it is a mannequin.  When he can find no hope, ultimately our protagonist starts to crack up.  



We also see it in Time Enough when the main character survives a nuclear war.  Upon surfacing, the man finds everything has been destroyed.  He is a ferocious reader who wears thick eyeglasses. However, after discovering piles and piles of books he now has all the time in the world to read, he sees another on the ground, bends to retrieve it, and his glasses slide off of his nose and break.  Now he is alone, unable to read, with no one to talk to and nothing to do but wait to die.

In a more recent film, Passengers, the main character is on a spaceship, heading to a new world with thousands of other passengers.  By accident, the main character accidentally awakens.  All of the others still sleep.  Doing almost everything he wants to, from dancing in a virtual club to space walking outside of the ship, he finds it isn’t enough.  He needs a companion and soon finds it paramount.

So we need other people and fear total solitude. What else scares us?  Let’s consider some childhood that sometimes follow us into adulthood.  The three I’ve heard mentioned the most often are the monsters under the bed, the boogeyman in the closet and what lurks in the darkness.  As adults, the darkness continues to frighten us because we are aware now of terrors—like serial killers—that may lay in waiting for us as we walk to our cars late at night. Sick individuals who aren’t out steal our money or carjack us, but just want to see us suffer and die.  Or the lone gunman who unexpectedly sprays crowds with bullets or the man who waits in the shadows, engine running, carefully timing a hit and run.  All for the sake of violence.  But what happens when the menace in the darkness waiting to kill you isn’t a person, but the darkness itself is? 
“So what?” some might respond.  “The darkness is intangible.”  But what if it became tangible, not just her or there, but everywhere shadows formed.  And the one thing we knew for certain was that the sun must set. 
Again, so might shrug and say, “So what?  I’ll simply turn on the lights.”  What if a hurricane then plowed ashore and took away your light source?  What if the darkness grew so thick that is blocked out the starts from the sky… and the light in your house?  How would you protect yourself if a candle or flashlight simply wasn’t enough light to stave off the darkness?  Would submersing yourself in such a tale take you back to an earlier time in your life when the monster under the bed and the boogeyman in the closet seemed terrifyingly real? 

Well, this is what I present to you, dear reader:  A villain you cannot speak with, interview, reason with or evade… ever!

About the Author:

Joe M. Solomon earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of St. Thomas, followed by both master’s and doctoral degrees from Rice University. Joe’s supernatural thriller The Darkness: Giger, Texas released in 2017. A second novel—The Light: Houston, Texas—and a collection of short stories that arise from the macabre will soon follow.  




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