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Sunday, December 10, 2017

Book Review: Souls Unite (The Soul Wars: Book 4) by J.D. Blackrose

Souls Unite (The Soul Wars: Book 4)
by J.D. Blackrose
November 21, 2017
Falstaff Books
Pages: 120
Souls Unite is the breathtaking fourth installment in the Soul Wars series, begun in Souls Collide.

A mysterious informant draws Valkyrie Kara away from her vampire charge Gaspard to whisper dark secrets of past vengeance and broken promises.

Can Kara trust the shocking revelations the stranger shares? Can Kara keep Gaspard safe from the perils of the Soul Wars?

The Soul Wars novella series is a new series of short novels, similar to BookShots. Souls Collide is the first in the series by urban fantasy author J.D. Blackrose.

In Book 4 of the Soul Wars, Gaspard and Kara prepare for the coming battle. Kara is given information that may help them with the war, but the informant who prefers to keep their identity secret and they worry that they can’t trust this mysterious informant. Gaspard has no desire to for Kara to meet with this informant on her own but concedes he must allow her to do her job after all she’s a Valkyrie and is more than capable of protecting herself.

Gaspard and Kara find themselves more drawn to each other than ever before. Kara does not want to love someone, and Gaspard is trying desperately to respect her wishes. As Kara faces her mortality, it may be the tipping point in their relationship.

Blackrose is a gifted writer who can write fast-paced novellas without sacrificing her characters or the story. An excellent supernatural fantasy series you will want to check out!

Denise B

Pre-order the collection of all four books. A print version will be available too!
December 12, 2017
466 pages

About the Author:

J.D. Blackrose is the fantasy pen name of Joelle Reizes. She loves all things storytelling and celebrates great writing by posting about it on her website,

When not writing, Blackrose lives with three children, an enormous orange cat, her husband and a full-time job in Corporate Communications. She’s fearful that so-called normal people will discover exactly how often she thinks about wicked fairies, nasty wizards, homicidal elevators, and the odd murder. As a survival tactic, she has mastered the art of looking interested.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Winning the Internet this Week...The Bell Suit.


Interview: Author J.D. Spero - Concerto (Forte book #2)

What inspired you to write Concerto?
When I wrote Forte, I never considered it being the first in a series. But reader reactions bring inspiration. Lots of readers wanted to hear more about Lauren and Miles—her two friends from NYC that broke her heart when they became romantically involved. Their backstory started brewing soon after Forte was released. And then, there was this (excerpt from my author’s word):

Years ago I watched a documentary about polar bears that made me cry. With their habitat melting away, the problem seems insurmountable. And that’s just one example. Climate change. Global warming. Beyond these buzz words in the political arena, when I think about the kind of environmental problems we are passing on to the next generation, my mama-tiger claws come out. But then, despair hits. What can I, a writer, possibly do?

Write this book.

So, is this a climate change book?
No. This book is not a political statement at all. As the book evolved, the magic created an otherworldly twist that really can’t translate to what’s happening in our environment. Sami, my main character, is charged with fighting extreme “natural” disasters and the evil force behind it. However, considering all the crazy extreme weather happening in the world lately, it seems timely. Wouldn’t it be cool if music could magically affect the weather?

Some people might be surprised that you—as a mom of 3 boys—write from the perspective of a teenage girl. Have you ever written anything from a young boy’s POV?
I’m still my teen self at heart and will probably always be. Sami’s voice comes so naturally that sometimes I forget I’m in my forties. Much of what Sami goes through is similar to experiences in my teens. The magic element is fun but, for me, does not nearly come as naturally in the creative process.

And yes! I’ve completed a novel from the perspective of a young boy, his teen brother, and their single mom. The young boy (Hen) goes out to catch a hedgehog in the middle of the night (a fruitless endeavor), only to witness a horrible crime next door. Turns out, his big brother was involved in that crime—and now Hen is the only one who knows. It deals with the concepts of truth and family obligation and blind love and mental illness. It’s one of my favorite accomplishments. I’m still looking for a publisher for that one.

You say a lot of your own experiences show up in the Forte series. Could you give an example?
Well, in Forte, Sami starts out to be a pretty awful volleyball player. That was me. Ha! The complex team/group of friends dynamic—at times thrilling, at other times hurtful—mirrors my high school experience. For better or worse.

In Concerto, there’s a juicy love triangle. I’ll spare you details, but there was some of that in my youth as well—although I didn’t handle it nearly as maturely as Sami does. There’s one scene, in particular, that is almost autobiographical—and has stayed with me so acutely for so long, it’s actually appeared in two of my manuscripts (the first is unpublished, obviously). As I grow older, it’s interesting to note what stays with you, and what you let go of.

Mythology plays a big part in the series. How did that come about?
As a high school English teacher, I taught mythology in my Freshman World Literature classes for several years, so I’m pretty well versed in the antics of Greek gods. Honestly, though, I was uncomfortable creating a magical world from scratch like some SciFi authors do. So, I set my books in the real world, and the magic stems from something I can point to—something accepted and familiar to people. It kind of legitimizes the fantasy element of my books.

So, what’s next? Will there be more to the Forte series?
Yes! At the end of Concerto, you’ll find a teaser chapter for book three—currently titled Cadence. It’s Lauren’s story—Sami’s childhood friend from NYC who “stole” Miles from her back in 8th grade. A musician herself, her power stems from the Greek god Cronus, god of time. It’s going to be a good one. I can’t wait to dig in. Stay tuned!

Concerto (Forte book 2)

by J.D. Spero
December 1st, 2017
by Xchyler Publishing
Samantha McGovern sacrificed her magic to save her hometown. Finally, after more than two years, stirrings within her whisper of a reawakening. However, nothing can offset the misery of parting with her boyfriend. How can she keep Jason when he’s moved on to college life, but she’s still trapped in high school for another year?

In Boston, Sami’s new friends help her rediscover her power, and, reunited with an old crush, he now seems into her. Sami struggles to ignore the intoxicating charms of Miles Eichen, but with Jason’s increasing distance, it feels like a losing battle.

When her strange visions begin to come true, Sami discovers a new purpose to her magic—magic stronger than she could ever imagine. Millions of lives are in danger, and only she has the power to foil a great evil. However, it will take a different kind of magic to repair the rift between her and Jason.

Check out book #1 for $1.99
Forte (Forte Series #1)
by JD Spero
July 25, 2015
348 pages
Back in New York City, piano filled Sami McGovern’s life, but moving upstate has changed everything. Thanks to the coach at Skenesboro High, Sami’s volleyball skills blossom like magic. But success comes at a cost, and the same sports drink that makes her a superstar silences her music. Worse still, to stay in the “in” crowd, she must betray the few true friends she has made in the tiny town. Her one hope: fulfill a prophecy to end the magic before it destroys her . . . and everyone else in its thrall.

About the Author:
Xchyler Publishing 
Johannah Davies (JD) Spero was born near a pristine lake in the Adirondacks and has lived in various cities such as St. Petersburg (Russia), Indianapolis, Dallas, and Boston. She has pursued her love of narrative through degrees in English, Russian, and teaching—and has worked as an actress, a yoga instructor, a web design entrepreneur, freelance writer, and a high school English teacher. She lives in the Northeast with her husband and three young sons.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Book Review: Holy Crap! The World is Ending! (The Anunnaki Chronicles Book One) by Anna-Marie Abell + giveaway

Holy Crap! The World is Ending!
How a Trip to the Bookstore Led to Sex with an Alien and the Destruction of Earth (
The Anunnaki Chronicles Book One)
by Anna-Marie Abell
September 21, 2017
Genre: Humorous Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Alien Abduction Press
ISBN: 978-1-947119-01-7
Number of pages: 349
Word Count: Just under 114,000
End times are here! Now you can eat whatever you want and not care if you gain weight.

The president has announced that Earth is going to collide with a rogue moon, and in the process, our entire planet is going to be smashed to bits. As one would expect, upon hearing this news, humans went ballistic. It was as if every sports team in the world lost their championship game at the same time. No car was left unrolled—but oddly enough, Taco Bell remained open and made unfathomable profits in the last days. Apparently, Doritos Locos® Tacos were a popular last meal.

Autumn (who for the purpose of this retelling asked to be portrayed as drool-inducing hot with kick-ass ninja skills) has just been handed the task of saving all of humanity. With the help of her unbelievably sexy alien boyfriend and her kleptomaniac friend with fire-retardant hair, Autumn takes a spaceship and races to save her fellow humans by using the Ark of the Covenant. Along the way, she discovers how sheltered people are from the truth of extraterrestrials and their power to either protect us or destroy us.

Stupid government.

Grab a bottle of wine, a shipload of snacks, and prepare to take a ride on this humorous chick lit romantic sci-fi paranormal adventure. If you’re into Ancient Aliens, conspiracy theories, UFOs, crave a little sexy time in your reading, are curious if we were genetically engineered (like the Sumerian cuneiform texts claim), and are dying to find out the meaning of life, then this book is for you.

Buckle up because Holy Crap! The World is Ending! Is a surprisingly entertaining, endearing, well-written sci-fi romance/romantic comedy! Despite one issue I had with the book, I found myself chuckling like mad and enjoying myself from start to (a sorta) finish.

Holy Crap! The World is Ending! Starts off normal, the heroine Autumn is a bit of an odd duck, she’s always been fascinated by outrageous things like the stars, outer space, aliens, and even the unimaginable things like pygmy cows that produce solid gold milk. Yeah, don’t ask, she’s a little on the weird side and I like that about her. Anyway, she’s minding her own business, planning an epic munch fest with her best friend and listening to a podcast when a topic catches her interest and she ends up at Barnes and Noble looking for books on that farfetched subject of Light Beings. Almost as soon as she steps into the store she starts experiencing some weird feelings, the feeling of being watched, electric jolts, and spotting THE hottest guy she’s ever seen. From there, her life spirals out of control and into outer space as she finds out that humans are basically just pawns in a bigger game, and aliens are so real. Also, she could be the one person who could save earth from destruction AND that hot guy? Totally an alien and possibly her soul mate. What else could possibly happen right?

Well, a lot. I had so much fun with this book and it was just what I needed in terms of a feel-good-but-not-sugary-sweet romance. Or should I say more like a sci-fi comedy in the driver’s seat with a dash of romance riding in the backseat on this adventure. I didn’t mind though because author Anna-Marie Abell kept me engrossed in Autumn’s out of this world journey no matter if she was oogling Rigel her alien boyfriend, thinking about food, or just trying to survive. Told from Autumn’s point of view, Holy Crap! The World is Ending! Should be picked up by anyone who likes to laugh and have fun with a good book because even if you take away the comedic and romantic aspects there’s still a solid story there that was obviously constructed through hours of research into ancient cultures and UFO theories. That’s what was really impressive about this book, the fact that it wasn’t just a bunch of slapstick comedy moments but that those moments were icing on top of an already impressive cake.

My only problem with Holy Crap! The World is Ending! Is that it ends with a pretty big cliffhanger in my opinion. Oh, I really hate cliffhangers. If cliffhangers were a person, I’d kick them in the chins and then punch them in the face. That said, I wasn’t thrilled with that BUT I could be grateful that Autumn’s story didn’t cut off before that particular moment. If it had, then this review would have gone differently. However, and this is probably the ONLY time I’ll say this, despite the cliffhanger, I REALLY enjoyed Holy Crap! The World is Ending! I am invested in Autumn and Rigel as characters and as a couple so yes, I desperately want to know what happens next. And yes, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants a laugh but doesn’t want to sacrifice good storytelling to get it. Anna-Marie Abell balances both so well that even if you don’t like cliffhangers, I would STILL recommend that you pick up this book!

Sheep Rating: 4 ½ intergalactic sheep

Adria Reyes

What if...

Ever since I was a kid I’ve been fascinated by the unimaginable. I used to gaze at the night sky and contemplate a series of what ifs. But I’m not talking about the boring typical what ifs such as:

What if I won the lotto?

What if I quit my job and moved to Tanzania?

I’m talking about those outlandish ones:

What if I ran across a herd of three-inch pigmy cows capable of producing solid gold milk, but each ounce I extracted took a month off my life? Would I still do it?

What if we could suddenly have intellectual conversations with all animals? Would we continue to eat them?

What if the whole world went blind and deaf all at the same time? Would we survive as a species?

Another favorite childhood pastime of mine was observing ants clambering atop one another to locate food or gather leaves, like inhabitants of a metropolis bustling to work. Ants are innately oblivious to the threat of a gargantuan foot looming over them. I’ve often wondered if humans would behave the same way if the tables were turned.

What if a jumbo foot came down on us and squashed a city block on a regular basis? After a while, would we just shrug it off and alter course to go around it like ants do?

Some people go out of their way to squish any and all bugs that come across their path. Not me. I have a strict “no kill” policy with every type of animal.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I have an exception for animals I buy in a grocery store. I know: this is incredibly hypocritical. But dammit, I love me some cow. Perhaps I should define my “no kill” policy as “not slaying a creature simply because it annoys you—or simply because you can.”

For example, I can’t help but wonder:

What if I were reincarnated as a fly in my next life? Would I appreciate getting stuck on a glue trap?

Put yourself in the fly’s place. You’re ambling along, minding your own business, when out of nowhere the glorious aroma of In-N-Out Burger wafts in your direction. Those freshly cooked fries and juicy burgers fill your senses with food ecstasy. Just when you can’t take it anymore, a sign pops up out of thin air that reads: All You Can Eat! Free In-N-Out Burgers All Day.

Salivating, you charge toward the smell all excited. Then—BAM!—you step onto a glue pad, unable to break free. Not only are you doomed to a lengthy, torturous death of dehydration and starvation, but your last days are filled with the constant aroma of those heavenly cheeseburgers you can never have.

Not the way I’d want to kick the bucket, that’s for sure.

My fixation over these what ifs is why I was so into UFOs, ancient aliens, near-death experiences, ghosts, and really, anything paranormal. Truth be told, I’m not sure if deep down I believed in all these things, or if I just wanted them to be real, so I’d have something to hope for beyond the monotony of human life. I mean, think about it. What would be more entertaining: cleaning a toilet, or cleaning a toilet haunted by a ghost? (Well, a friendly one. It might get messy if your bowl were possessed by a demon.) Phantom commodes win hands down.

I’ll never forget the day this whole obsession got started. When I was six, I asked my mom what life was going to be like when I grew up. She was always one for blunt honesty, and she said, “Well, you’ll go to school for a really long time, marry a guy who will lose all his hair, get a job you’ll probably hate, have kids, get old, poop your pants, and then die.”

I broke down in tears.

My mom ended up regretting having told me all that, because at the age of seven, I convinced myself that those things wouldn’t happen to me, and that it was my destiny to one day rescue the planet. I am talking about a Will Smith in Independence Day style rescue (except I imagined myself with a breadstick in my mouth instead of a cigar). In one childhood fantasy, I used a butter knife and my badass Barbie Mobile to defend the residents of my neighborhood from a rampaging, genetically mutated, alien-giraffe hybrid that had escaped from a secret government lab. (Kids, if you ever want your mom to get fired as the president of the PTA so she doesn’t embarrass you in front of your class, simply splatter your shirt with ketchup and burst into the annual Teacher Appreciation Luncheon with a spork screaming about man-eating giraffes. Trust me, it works like a charm.)

This desire to be the hero had me hooked on stories where people discover they’re part of an amazing new reality—a world where the impossible becomes possible. If I waited long enough, I thought, maybe Hagrid and his flying motorcycle would come crashing into my bathroom as I sat on the toilet and proclaim, “You’re a wizard, Autumn!”

But it's one thing to dream it, and an entirely different thing to live it. Had I been smart and heeded the advice of the Pussycat Dolls when they warned us to “Be careful what you wish for, ’cause you just might get it,” then maybe things would have played out differently.

I wished it.

I got it.

And now I’m about to die.

About the Author:

Anna-Marie Abell grew up in a trailer park. Well, several actually. Her trailer was on wheels so she got to experience the Pacific Northwest’s vast array of mobile home parks as her parents moved her from one to the other. Somewhere along the way, she got totally into UFOs. Probably because she was hoping extraterrestrials would come and abduct her. But they never did. Luckily for her, she was smart, because her only hope of escaping trailer life was college and a full scholarship. Moving to sunny California on her almost full ride to Chapman University, she was well on her way to her new life. Two bachelor degrees later (Film and Television Production and Media Performance), and several honors and awards for her accomplishments, she managed to start working in an almost completely unrelated industry from her majors: infomercials.

It was in college that she got bit by the “ancient alien” bug after listening to Zecharia Sitchin on Coast to Coast AM. In her pursuit to uncover the truth, she has spent the last twenty years researching the ancient Sumerian culture—in particular, their “gods” called the Anunnaki—and their connection to the creation of the human race. What she found changed her life, her beliefs, and her understanding of the universe and everything beyond. Her humorous science fiction trilogy, The Anunnaki Chronicles, is a culmination of all her research, her borderline obsession for all things paranormal, and approximately 2,300 bottles of wine.

Tour giveaway 

1 Special Edition Hardback (US Only)
5 Ebooks (anywhere)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Book Review: The Demon Within (The Last War Book One) by Josh Gagnier

by Josh Gagnier
February 2015
Genre: Urban Fantasy
ISBN: 9781520103358
Number of pages: 213
Word Count: 61,401
Paradise or The Abyss, you decide

Joe grew up listening to the voice in his head. It helped him through school, helped him gain wealth in his career.

The final temptation of power was too much. He hadn't considered the cost.

Now he must find a way to defeat The Demon Within.

Little does he know, his every move is being recorded. Every misstep is being judged. As he gets ever closer to winning over his demon, heavenly eyes watch from above. Some root for his success while others hope he'll fail.

While Joe fights his demon on the battlefront, the angel Michael fights for his Soul.

Will Joe win out?

Will Michael be able to save Joe's soul?

Or will the Demon win and thrust Joe into the Abyss.

Every soul is judged by events throughout his or her life. Some souls have lived many lives, and each soul that is born has a demon within. Usually, one that has lived similar amount of lives to the soul but that’s not always the case.

Joe has heard a voice inside his head since he was a child. After a little guidance from a teacher, he finds that he can also converse with this voice within his head. The voice knows things and can help him to defend himself and to help others.

Michael is defending Joe’s soul in front of the council to decide the soul's fate; Paradise or the Abyss? This soul seems different but Michael has no idea why. It seems like Prophecy is trying to help Michael win his case but Michael is unsure whether that’s even possible.

This was a very different read than I’ve had in a while. Well written and constructed, if you are looking for something original this is the book for you. There were times that I was a little confused on what was happening but I think that was the point.

Getting 4 sheep

Denise B

“You must be new to these parts. Name’s Belath,” says a figure standing over a young man lying against a large trash compactor. A look toward the sound of the voice reveals what appears to be an older man who, by the looks of him, has had, to put it lightly, a less than spoiled life. His dark skin is loose with an almost leathery roughness, like a stretched hide left in the sun too long. Several of his teeth have long escaped the captivity of his smile and those left plot against the warden. The lines of time can be seen through his mostly grey with spattered black scruff. His posture is the only thing that doesn’t match his rundown appearance. He stands straight
and proud holding his shoulders square, almost in a protest, refusing to look weak. He bears the righteous indignation of an innocent man facing the gallows.

“Just passing through,” replies a shaky voice trying to sound formidable. A young man, thin, but seemingly fed well enough, slowly stands and dusts himself off. His posture seems closer to a beaten animal than a grown man. His boots are scuffed and old, but the heel gives him a few inches in height, which is probably why he wears them. His knuckles are cracked and healing; more likely from the heat than any type of hard labor. The dark circles under his eyes and his unkempt appearance hint that he hasn’t slept an entire night in years. His jacket makes him appear even smaller, as it is a few sizes too big and has small rips that don’t appear to be from wear and tear. He probably fished it from a dumpster. His jeans seem to be the least worn of the man. Though dirty, they're nearly new. This poor sap doesn’t look like he could fight his way through a paper bag. The only things that don’t match his overall demeanor are his eyes. Visibly swimming between pale yellow and bright green, they draw you in and make you trust him.

“Well, ya may want to make yourself scarce before patrols make their rounds. They let me stay because I’m the only one within a few hundred miles with a distiller. I can’t guarantee they won’t haul you off to camp,” Belath warns. “What’s your name son?”

“Don’t want to know you. I’m not your son and I’m not staying. Just need a little rest,” replies the young man. He pulls his hood over his head and turns to walk down the alley toward the main street.

If he were watching where he was going instead of ignoring the world around him, he would seen the group of four large men, obviously armed, moving quickly toward him. He would have heard Belath’s warning, and wouldn’t have cost himself such precious time. Belath reached him just in time to be added as a target. The young man realized what was happening a moment too late. A fist hit him square in the side of the head, knocking him to one knee. Belath runs to his side and helps him to his feet. The men must have recognized Belath because three of them took a few steps back. Even the big one, the apparent the leader, took a hesitant step backward. They must have decided they had the advantage because they began to advance yet again.

“Gentlemen, do not ring a bell you can’t unring,” says a stern, direct voice. It came from the young man who, only moments earlier, seemed too weak to speak. “This is a fight you will not win, regardless of your numbers,” the young man continues.

In response, the leader grabs a bat from one of his men and swings at the young man’s head. Before anyone can realize what is happening, the young man lunges at the leader. In one motion, he sidesteps the life ending swing, pulls a long black knife from a sheath under his jacket, and plunges it deep into the leader’s temple with his right hand while grabbing the bat from the ground with his left. With his next step, he swings the bat at his second target, and finds such purchase the man’s head nearly spins backward. Next, the young man yanks the blade from the leader’s head and stabs the third man in the side of the neck, almost as a cobra striking its prey. The young man looks for the last of his adversaries, and sees him running down the alley toward the main streets. The young man takes a deep breath, lifts the bat, takes aim, and hurls it at his target. The bat’s aim is precise and the man falls to the ground, screaming in pain. As the young man calmly walks toward his now-felled enemy, he cleans the blood off of his knife on his pant leg, and puts it away with such dexterity it can’t be known exactly where the sheath is hidden.

“Today you benefit from being last, sir,” says the young man as he sits on the ground by the last man’s head. “Enough whimpering! You merely broke your ankle on my bat. I have no desire to take your life,” he says as he pulls out a cigarette and lights it. “You will do something for me. To that end, I spare you life.” His voice is calm yet direct, “You will tell whomever you work for it was Jekyll who reduced these men to corpses. You will tell him this and,” he takes a long, slow drag of his cigarette, and continues, “you will tell them this, and you will tell them, they do not wish to meet Hyde. Do we have a deal?” the last being more statement than question.

The man, believing he is being played, but not wanting to die, gives an exaggerated nod. The young man stands and begins walking back to where he had been resting and calls out over his shoulder.

“Belath, I guess I’ll be staying a while longer,” once again speaking in the same shaky voice he had spoken with earlier.

About the Author:

Tour giveaway
5 paperback copies The Demon Within
a Rafflecopter giveaway