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Friday, October 19, 2018

Selah's Manga Mania Review: Chi's Sweet Home Vol. 1 by Konami Kanata

by Konami Kanata (Author, Illustrator)
December 8, 2015
168 pages
12 book series
Genre: Comedy
Demographic: Seinen
Original run November 22, 2004 – June 23, 2015
Chi is a mischievous newborn kitten who, while on a leisurely stroll with her family, finds herself lost. Separated from the warmth and protection of her mother, feels distraught. Overcome with loneliness she breaks into tears in a large urban park meadow. when she is suddenly rescued by a young boy named Yohei and his mother. The kitty is then quickly and quietly whisked away into the warm and inviting Yamada family apartment...where pets are strictly not permitted.

We’ve established my love of cats, so you pretty much know how this review is going to go. After reading Fukufuku, I happened upon the blurb for Chi’s Sweet Home in the back and…yeah.


Actually, there may be more. I may need to yell at my library or get buying.

I know I have a problem. I don’t care. I will fight you if you try to take cats away from me. Let me just have this thing.

Chi is a kitten who often gets into trouble, which leads to her getting separated from her mom. She ends up at a park, distraught, where she’s rescued by a little boy named Yohei and his parents. Problem is, there are no pets allowed at their apartment complex. DUN DUN DUUUUUNNN.
The first volume centers around Chi acclimating to her new home, and the humans trying to decide if they can keep her. I also love the character of Blackie, this round bearish cat who saunters around causing trouble but eventually becomes a friend and mentor to Chi. Volume 2 sees the family moving to a pet-friendly place, and things evolve from there.
The Good: Just everything. Every page, every line, ever little particle. Okay, seriously, Konami Konata has obviously had cats because a lot of this rings very true to life. The mannerisms, the reactions, the adventures – part of what makes it so cute and funny is that it’s just really realistic. I like that in this story, the cat's meows are interpreted into actual commentary, so that vs what the humans interpret the meows as leads to some fun moments.
Chi is indoor/outdoor so you gain a cast of animal characters that make for great sidekicks. Every little thing is a potential adventure, and because the chapters are so short, it’s easy to keep flipping. I was also really surprised at how heartfelt some of this is. Chi never quite forgets her mom and siblings, and there are multiple instances where she gets lost or gets into trouble that had me worried for her because I am a sap like that. The stakes are higher than Fukufuku, but not terribly higher, so it’s a lovely balance. The art is friendly and engaging, and Chi is just adorable in all her moods and mannerisms.
The volumes I’ve read from are a really nice, thick size, too. As an adult, I can get through them pretty fast, but a younger reader will have a lot of time to engage with the story. Plus, it’s cute and simple enough that you can keep going back to it for multiple reads if you need a pick-me-up.

The bad: Not a thing and I will fight anyone who says there is.

The ick: nah, this is geared towards kids and families.

5 trillion adorable kitty sheep-

Okay, fiiiiiine, five sheep. But it deserves 5 trillion.

About the Author:
Selah Janel is a writer who is trying to start doing that again instead of reading manga all the time.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Sheep Book Review: Deadly Rising: A Booke of the Hidden Novel by Jeri Westerson

Deadly Rising: A Booke of the Hidden Novel
by Jeri Westerson
October 23, 2018
248 pages
Publisher: EverAfter Romance
Things were quiet in Strange Herbs & Teas. For about a week.

Our crossbow slinging hero and her ragtag gang of Wiccans tuned in to the paranormal have earned some rest. But when Kylie learns that the Booke may have released not one, but two creatures of horror out into the world, it’s up to her to save Moody Bog. Again.

Calling upon the devilishly handsome demon Erasmus once more for help, Kylie’s determined to handle the mischief of the Booke and go back to a normal life. But when digging through Moody Bog’s history leads her to the ghost of her grandfather, the past she once knew is turned upside down.

Can Kylie save the town and her grandfather, or will the horrors of the Booke be too much to handle?

While this story may not have been one that I would usually grab for, the cover caught my eye and the book description had me interested. I'm so damn glad it did, this was a really good story! 

Deadly Rising has a nice blend of action and witchy wonder, I enjoyed the balance that this author brought to her world. It was created with intent and deliberate pace. Again, I liked that. 

Never a dull moment in this magical town, the element of badass men/women added to the overall punch of the story. I do LOVE a really great bad guy. You get that in this one. 

You also get a leading lady that's not afraid to be tough and soft when the situation calls for it. I hate the "damsel in distress" so much, that's been played out. Kill off those story lines please, I beg every author out there! Give me a leading lady that all us female readers can get behind. I want a woman I can see myself as. I got that. 

Overall, this was a great start to a series I hope to read a lot about in the future! 


About the Author:

I'm Jeri Westerson and I write medieval mysteries with an enigmatic, flawed, sexy, and very different protagonist. His name is Crispin Guest and he's a disgraced knight turned detective on the mean streets of fourteenth century London. The series is the Crispin Guest Medieval Noir Mysteries.

But I also write the new urban fantasy series BOOKE OF THE HIDDEN. Kylie Strange moves to rural Maine for a fresh start. But she gets more than she bargained for when she finds a supernatural book bricked into the wall of her new tea shop. As soon as she opens the Booke of the Hidden, all Hell literally breaks loose. The mysterious and handsome Erasmus Dark shows up unannounced, the demon of the Booke and says he's here to help Kylie...but is he? With the help of a ragtag group of local Wiccans, Kylie unravels the Booke's deadly secrets. 

Some personal facts: I was born and bred in Los Angeles inhaling smog and enduring earthquakes. I've been writing fiction for some time, became a freelance reporter, published award-winning short stories, and am scribbling away at the Crispin Guest series, a paranormal series called Booke of the Hidden, and looking for a publisher for my steampunk series, the Conjurer Chronicles. 

Besides writing, I am a public speaker, artist, singer, wife, and mother. I am former President for the Southern California chapter of Mystery Writers of America, former VP of the Los Angeles Chapter of Sisters in Crime, former president of the Orange County chapter of Sisters in Crime, a member of the Historical Novel Society, and Horror Writers Association. I live with my photographer husband, one disdainful tortoise, and a bevy of bees in my home in Southern California.

To sign up for my newsletter, go to my websites.

Book Review: The Nightmarchers By J. Lincoln Fenn

The Nightmarchers
By J. Lincoln Fenn
October 1, 2018
Publisher: Gallery Books
In 1939, on a remote Pacific island, botanical researcher Irene Greer plunges off a waterfall to her death, convinced the spirits of her dead husband and daughter had joined the nightmarchers—ghosts of ancient warriors that rise from their burial sites on moonless nights. But was it suicide, or did a strange young missionary girl, Agnes, play a role in Irene's deteriorating state of mind?

It all seems like ancient family history to Julia Greer, who has enough problems of her own. A struggling journalist, she’s recovering from a divorce and is barely able to make rent, let alone appeal the court’s decision to give sole custody of their daughter to her ex-husband. When her elderly great-aunt offers her an outrageously large sum to travel to this remote island and collect samples of a very special flower, as well as find out what really happened to her sister Irene all those years ago, Julia thinks her life might finally be on an upward swing. She’s also tasked to connect with the island’s Church of Eternal Light, which her great-aunt suspects knows more about Irene’s tragic death than they’ve said.

But Julia finds this place isn’t so quick to give up its secrets. The Church is tight-lipped about the deaths that have contributed to its oddly large cemetery, as well as Irene’s final fate. The only person who seems to know more is a fellow traveler, Noah Cooper, who thinks that Julia's not the only one on a mission to find the rare flower...which, if the rumors are true, could have world-changing properties.

What Julia does know is that the longer she stays on the island, the more the thin line begins to blur between truth and lies, reality and the fantastical...until she finds herself face to face with the real reason why the island is taboo....

I got the arc from Netgalley.

The story begins not with the main character, Julia, but her great-aunt, Irene Greer. Irene went to study plant life on a remote Pacific island. It was also a chance for her to get away from memories of the deaths of her husband and child. Odd things begin to happen. Then she vanishes. The local missionaries tell her family that she had leaped off a waterfall after seeing the spirits of her dead daughter and husband marching along a beach with the Nightmarchers, ghosts of ancient warriors. (I liked this part of the book and Irene.)

The story forwards to the 21st century and the heroine, Julia Greer, married a rich man, Ethan, and had a daughter with him. Of course, at the time of the story, she lives in a rundown apartment off the freeway in Los Angeles and her ex is making sure she doesn’t get to see or have her daughter. This part of the story bothered me—not enough explanation why a woman who had been a great investigative reporter before her marriage would let a man like Ethan do what he did to her and why she let him or even signed the prenuptial without checking with a lawyer. Her great aunt, Lydia, and sister to Irene Greer who vanished on the island in 1939, is well off and invites her to visit. The old woman, who is a geneticist, offers her a fortune and possibly the custody of her daughter, if Julia will go to the remote and spooky island to retrieve Irene's body from the weirdo religious there and find and bring back a sample of an unusual flower. With the possible chance to get her daughter back, Julia takes the job and heads to the island, where those who can afford the price, vacation away from all trappings of modern society.

The story is slow, hot and humid, sort of Southern Gothic mixed with those horror films of the 30s set on remote and spooky islands (think Island of the Lost Souls), with strange characters. It’s suspense, a ghost story, monsters, and a slow burn to terror. It is layers of secrets, that once stripped away, petal by petal, reveal a frightening story old as time and yet, our possible future. It’s the Frankenstein baby made if they used the DNA of Invasion of Body Snatchers and mixed it with the Lost TV series along with those scary remote island horror flicks of the 30s. It just might give you pause the next time you take a trip to Hawaii or Tahiti.

I gave The Nightmarchers 4 sheep.

Reviewed by Pamela K. Kinney

About the Author:
J. Lincoln Fenn began her horror career in the 7th grade when she entertained her friends at a sleepover by telling them the mysterious clanking noise (created by the baseboard heater) was in fact the ghost of a woman who had once lived in the farmhouse, forced to cannibalize her ten children during a particularly bad winter. Strangely, it was the last slumber party she was allowed to have. 

Her debut novel, POE, won the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award for Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror and went on to become an Amazon bestseller. DEAD SOULS will be published in September 2016 by Gallery Books. The author grew up in New England and graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of New Hampshire. Currently she lives in Seattle with her family.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Fantasy Author Gail Z Martin: Somewhere I Wouldn’t Want To Be After Dark + giveaway

Somewhere I Wouldn’t Want To Be After Dark 

By Gail Z. Martin 

I write a lot about things that go bump in the night—and in the dark—which means I think a lot about places that might not be great to be when the lights are out.

I’m going to make an important distinction between being somewhere at night, and after it’s closed. There are many places I enjoy being after dark, but would not want to be when it’s actually closed and empty. Likewise, there are places where I enjoy being during the daytime with other people around, and wouldn’t want to be at night.

So....for places I wouldn’t want to be after dark? Any of the New Orleans cemeteries. Gorgeous to tour with a large group, dangerous even by day if you’re alone. At night? No way. Likewise, Bourbon Street in the wee hours—too wild for me! Love the French Quarter, but I call it a night early. I love cemeteries in general, but I wouldn’t want to be at any of them in the dark—less out of fear of the dead than the living. I’d also rather not be at Gettysburg National Park after dusk because of its notoriously restless ghosts.

For places I wouldn’t want tmo be when they’re closed/deserted? Any theme park or amusement park or county fair. I love them all lit up after dark, but off-season or after hours, they are creepy AF. Likewise living history parks, museums of any kind, and libraries. Shopping malls, too. Those would be terrifying if you got locked in overnight. I think they’d find me curled into a wild-eyed ball of crazy in the ladies’ room, gripping my car keys like a dagger.

Scourge (A Darkhurst Novel Book 1)
by Gail Z Martin
July 11, 2017
400 pages

ISBN-10: 1781085587
ISBN-13: 978-1781085585

In a city beset by monsters, three brothers must find out who is controlling the abominations.

The city-state of Ravenwood is wealthy, powerful, and corrupt. Merchant Princes and Guild Masters wager fortunes to outmaneuver League rivals for the king’s favor and advantageous trading terms. Lord Mayor Ellor Machison wields assassins, blood witches, and forbidden magic to assure that his powerful patrons get what they want, no matter the cost.

Corran, Rigan, and Kell Valmonde are Guild Undertakers, left to run their family’s business when guards murdered their father and monsters killed their mother. Their grave magic enables them to help souls pass to the After and banish vengeful spirits. Rigan’s magic is unusually strong and enables him to hear the confessions of the dead, the secrets that would otherwise be taken to the grave.

When the toll exacted by monsters and brutal guards hits close to home and ghosts expose the hidden sins of powerful men, Corran, Rigan and Kell become targets in a deadly game and face a choice: obey the Guild, or fight back and risk everything.

Vengeance (Darkhurst Novel Book 2)
(Winner of the Manly Wade Wellman Award!)
by Gail Z. Martin

July 11, 2018

580 pages
ISBN-10: 1939704758
ISBN-13: 978-1939704757

Fighting the monsters that killed their family and friends cost undertaker brothers Corran and Rigan Valmonde their home and livelihood and made them wanted men—but the worst is yet to come.

The city-state of Ravenwood is wealthy, powerful, and corrupt. Merchant Princes and Guild Masters wager fortunes to outmaneuver League rivals for the king’s favor and the best trading terms. Ambitious and ruthless leaders use betrayal and assassination to gain their ends. Blood magic conjures monsters to further the goals of the ruling class, and the price of stolen power is paid for by the deaths of commoners. Now, the fate of Ravenwood hangs in the balance as rival city-states maneuver to gain advantage.

When Corran and Rigan and their friends became outlaw monster hunters and fled beyond the walls of Ravenwood City, they thought they had defeated the source of the abominations that killed so many of their friends and loved ones. But the more successful they become at destroying the creatures, the more they realize a greater evil is at work – larger and more monstrous than they ever could imagine…

About the Author:
Gail Z. Martin is the author of Scourge: A Darkhurst Novel, from Solaris Books. Gail is also the author of Vendetta: A Deadly Curiosities Novel and Trifles and Folly 1: A Deadly Curiosities Collection, the latest in her urban fantasy series set in Charleston, SC; Shadow and Flame is the fourth book in the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga; The Shadowed Path (The first Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures collection), as well as Iron and Blood a Steampunk series, and Spells, Salt, & Steel, both co-authored with Larry N. Martin.

She is also author of Ice Forged, Reign of Ash, and War of Shadows in The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven, Dark Lady’s Chosen); The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn, The Dread) and the urban fantasy novel Deadly Curiosities and Tangled Web. Gail writes three ebook series: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures, The Deadly Curiosities Adventures and The Blaine McFadden Adventures. The Storm and Fury Adventures, steampunk stories set in the Iron & Blood world, are co-authored with Larry N. Martin.

Gail’s work has appeared in over 35 US/UK anthologies. Newest anthologies include: The Big Bad 2, Athena’s Daughters, Heroes, Space, Contact Light, With Great Power, The Weird Wild West, The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, Alien Artifacts, Cinched: Imagination Unbound, Realms of Imagination, Clockwork Universe: Steampunk vs. Aliens, Gaslight and Grimm, Baker Street Irregulars, Journeys, Hath no Fury and A Haven Harbor Halloween.

Win a Kindle copy of both Scourge and Vengeance! Contest runs October 15th thru the 29th.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

COMET & CHARGE! October Giveaway! Hushaween! Midnight Movies! Babylon 5! And More! + giveaway

COMET & CHARGE! October Giveaway! Hushaween! Midnight Movies! Babylon 5! And More!

It’s the sound… of silence!
This Halloween, tune in to COMET TV as they bring you the horror classics that will send shivers down your spine. Before Buffy, before Edward, and before a certain Count, there was Nosferatu. The classic Vampire film, which is followed by The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and The original Phantom of the Opera.

Sure to send you to another world, COMET TV brings Space: 1999 and Babylon 5 back for classic spacey adventures! Every day you can see Babylon 5 and Space: 1999 has back-to-back episodes on Saturday and Sunday evenings! Talk about out of this world!

So you can’t sleep? COMET TV has the solution with cult classic midnight movies airing Mon - Fri! You can pencil in Night of the Creeps, get sucked into Vampires on Bikini Beach and do your best to escape The House on Haunted Hill!

And CHARGE! has the classic series CHiPs! Join Ponch and Jon as they cruise the freeways of Los Angeles solving crime… Back when you could cruse the freeways of Los Angeles!

🎃Airing on COMET in October🎃

Babylon 5 (series)
New on COMET in October! Creator J. Michael Straczynski's ambitious and complex futuristic space opera charts five years in the lives of those aboard the titular 5-mile-long space station, where personal drama plays out against a tense political backdrop of looming war between bitter enemies the Centauri and the Narn.
In October, Babylon 5 airs every day at Noon/11 C and every night at 9/8 C

Hushaween (Halloween Marathon)
This Halloween tune in to COMET as they bring you the silent horror classics that will send shivers down your spine.
Halloween night October 31
Nosferatu at 10/9 C
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari at MIDNIGHT/11 C
The Phantom of the Opera at 2:30a/1:30 C

So you can’t sleep? COMET TV has the solution with cult classic midnight movies airing Mon - Fri!

Weeknights at MIDNIGHT/11 C
House of the Long Shadows (1984) 
Four horror masters team up for chills, thrills, and comedy! Join Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, and John Carradine as they head to a seemingly deserted manor. One by one the visitors are picked off, and trapped in the giant estate! But who could be the killer?
Friday, October 26 at MIDNIGHT/11 C
Rage: Carrie 2 (1999)
You've heard of Carrie White, haven't you? Well, don’t worry because she’s not here in the sequel to the classic, instead, we get Rachel who inconceivably is Carrie White’s half-sister. And… She’s also telekinetic! Say wha? It’s up to Sue Snell to try and save her from succumbing to Carrie White’s fate!

Wednesday, October 24 at MIDNIGHT/11 C

Airing on CHARGE! in October
CHiPs (Series) 
California Highway Patrol motorcycle officers Jon Baker and Frank "Ponch" Poncherello cruise the freeways of Los Angeles, solve crimes and help people in trouble in this cop show. The stakes usually weren't very high -- the better to highlight the personal lives of Ponch and Jon.
Weekdays at 11a/10 C 
Weeknights at 6/5 C
Warrior (2011)
An estranged family finds redemption in the unlikeliest of places: the MMA ring. Tommy (Tom Hardy), an ex-Marine with a tragic past, returns home and enlists his father (Nick Nolte), a recovering alcoholic and former wrestling coach, to train him for "Sparta," the biggest MMA tournament ever held. But when Tommy's underdog brother, Brendan (Joel Edgerton), fights his way into the tournament, the two brothers must finally confront each other and the forces that pulled them apart.

Saturday, October 13 at 5/6 C

The Comet TV and CHARGE! October Prize Pack has:
1 - Limited Edition Nosferatu Shirt: Only available via this promotion, this creepy T-Shirt is sure to make your neighbors and friends shriek with envy! AHHHHHHHHH!
1 - COMET TV Blood Bag Water Bottle: I would like some Type-A Negative, please. No matter what your flavor, this novelty water bottle is the perfect thing to fill up for an on the go refreshment.
1- COMET TV Stargate Magnets: Show off your spacey side with these super fresh Babylon 5 magnets. Perfect for any new recruit looking to sign up for new spacey adventures!
1 - COMET TV Midnight Movies Blood Splattered Candy: Do you have a bit of a sweet tooth? This candy assortment will give you that sugar rush you’re craving! There’s Ghost Poofs, suckers, bugs, lizards and more!
2 - Exclusive CHARGE! CHiPs Ticket Memo Pad: Do you see someone breaking the law and you just have to sound off and tell them? Is someone’s parking THAT bad you want to be like… Dude come on? Now’s your chance! Write them a little note, and maybe mention that CHiPs is heading to CHARGE! as well!

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