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Saturday, March 6, 2021

A Study in Shifters (The Adventures of Marisol Holmes Book 1) by Majanka Verstraete + giveaway

A Study in Shifters (The Adventures of Marisol Holmes Book 1)
by Majanka Verstraete
June 26, 2018
300 pages
Genre: YA Paranormal
“The game is afoot.”

Seventeen-year-old Marisol Holmes wants to live up to the family legacy; after all, she is the great-great-great granddaughter of Sherlock Holmes. What's more Holmesian than a grisly murder? The Conclave, an underground organization of detectives solving supernatural cases, is giving her just one chance to catch a killer and join them. After all, as a half-blood jaguar shifter, Marisol is uniquely qualified to solve this murder—since every scrap of evidence points toward the culprit being a fellow jaguar shifter.

“There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.”

There's more to this than just evidence. Is one of her own people really involved, or is this all a ploy to kick Marisol’s mother off the shifter throne?

When Marisol discovers her handsome best friend, Roan, is missing, she realizes Roan may be the killer’s next target. The stakes just got higher than political intrigue.

"When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

Just when things couldn’t get worse, Marisol’s ex-boyfriend-turned-nemesis, Mannix, starts leaving sinister clues for her. In her last case, Mannix broke her heart and ruined her case, and Marisol isn't sure which is worse. Marisol fears this case too might be far more personal than she could’ve imagined.


It’s time for Marisol to prove her worth, or her people could fall into chaos while her best friend loses his life.

This book is perfect for fans of: shapeshifters, steampunk, paranormal, high school drama, teen romance, Sherlock Holmes and deadly intrigue.

The Sign of the Serpent (The Adventures of Marisol Holmes Book 2)

The Wolf of the Baskervilles (The Adventures of Marisol Holmes Book 3)

About the Author
Website-Facebook-TwitterAuthor Majanka Verstraete has written more than twenty unique works of fiction. A native of Belgium, Majanka’s novels explore the true nature of monsters: the good, the bad, and just about every species in between. Her young adult books include the acclaimed Mirrorland (YA Dark Fantasy) and Angel of Death (YA Paranormal) series of novels. At MHB, Majanka is currently developing a new YA shifter series with a fresh take on fierce female detectives called THE ADVENTURES OF MARISOL HOLMES.

When she’s not writing, Majanka is probably playing World of Warcraft or catching up with the dozens of TV series she’s addicted to.

ebook and amazon gift card
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Friday, March 5, 2021

Horror Anthology: The Half That You See + giveaway

The Half That You See
Edited by Rebecca Rowland
March 15, 2021
272 pages
Genre: Horror Anthology
“Believe nothing you hear, and only one half that you see.”
-The System of Dr. Tarr and Prof. Fether by Edgar Allan Poe (1845)

Poe’s classic tale told of a state of the art hospital boasting a curiously experimental treatment, but things were not as they seemed. In The Half That You See, twenty-six writers from around the globe share their literary optical illusions in never before seen stories of portentous visions and haunting memories, altered consciousness and virulent nightmares, disordered thinking and descents into madness. Take a walk down the paths of perception that these dark fiction raconteurs have tunneled for you, but keep a tight grip on your flashlight: the course twists and turns, and once you’re on route to your destination, there is no turning back. That which creeps about in the poorly lit corners of the human mind has teeth, and it’s waiting for you.

"Chalk" by Elin Olausson
A young man rents a room at a bed & breakfast and meets a girl who sleepwalks during the day and is only herself at night.

"Winnebago Indian Motorhome by Tonka" by Eddie Generous
Chasing down nostalgia, Josh Dolan buys a vintage Tonka Winnebago, but it isn't quite like the toy he'd had as a kid; this Winnebago knows the future, and it knows Claire Dolan's secrets.

"Sepia Grass" by Sam Hicks
A young man begins to question the recurrent visions he has always believed to be flashbacks to a childhood drug overdose.

"Prisoner "by T.M. Starnes
Kidnapped prisoners sometimes survive, but that's when their terror truly begins.

"Turn a Blind Eye" by Kelly Griffiths
An explosion leaves an ornery pharmacist with shards of mortar in his eyes and disturbing changes to his vision, especially when he looks in the mirror.

"Falling Asleep in the Rain" by Robert P. Ottone
A man recounts his youth through a dream, revealing as a young boy his experiments with love for another boy, only to face the ire of his murderous father.

"Black Dog Blues" by Luciano Marano
In a story inspired by an actual urban legend popular among American truckers about a spectral black dog that appears to drivers just before a lethal crash, a haunted man recounts his own devastating encounter with the creature and sets out for revenge with a hapless hitchhiker reluctantly in tow.

"Imaginary Friends" by Nicole Wolverton
Julie Strawbridge is called in to see the principal of her nephew Augie's school after he is expelled for selling imaginary friends to his classmates for a dollar.

"Boogeyman" by Susie Schwartz
One boogeyman; two perspectives, and the horror of mental illness that torments them both.

"Safe as Houses" by Alex Giannini
Carrie and Will moved into a new home, into a new phase of their lives. But every love story is a ghost story, and theirs is no different.

"The New Daddy" by Scotty Milder
A crumbling marriage and a new home is filtered through the eyes of its smallest witness.

"Cauterization" by Mack Moyer
A woman on a methamphetamine binge harbors a dark secret from her past that begins to manifest in vivid waking nightmares that may, or may not, be real.

"The Tapping at Cranburgh Grange" by Felice Picano
When an American couple leases and then buys a manse in England, they become aware of a strange noise only some people can hear.

"Elsewhere" by Bill Davidson
Colin lives a stressful life in an overcrowded flat with a sick daughter and a mother with dementia, in the middle of crammed and noisy London. More and more, however, he is elsewhere.

"Daughters of the Sun" by Matt Masucci
A retired homicide detective living in Florida finds that a past case investigating a dark nature cult twists into his reality.

"The Coffin" by Victoria Dalpe
A young woman still grieving a recent loss discovers an exhumed coffin on the street.

"Old Times" by Mark Towse
A man suspects his wife is cheating on him, and when she leaves for the evening, he considers the possibility over a bottle with an old friend.

"Lonely is the Starfish" by Lena Ng
Many people have pets, but one lonely young man becomes too close to his pet starfish.

"Hagride" by Justine Gardner
A cormorant speaks, and Josie tries not to listen as it begins to resemble ghosts from her past.

"Raven O’Clock" by Holley Cornetto
A man seeking shelter from the tragedies of his life finds more than he bargained for in a mysterious cabin.

"Officer Baby Boy Blue" by Douglas Ford
An eye injury and a grotesque gift from a police officer in a hospital emergency room ultimately leads a young man to special properties of sight.

"The Intruder" by Lamont A. Turner
Suspecting someone has invaded her home and the homes of those close to her, a woman struggles with delusions that may not have originated with her.

"Alone in the Woods in the Deep Dark Night" by Edward R. Rosick
Trapped in his cabin by a howling snowstorm in the desolate wildness of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, Gary Chandler finds that freezing isolation is only the beginning of a descent into bloody madness.

"Mesh" by Michael W. Clark
A regular guy wants too much control in the modern global community: over both his home and his wives.

"Der Hölle Racht" by Laura Saint Martin
A victim of domestic violence embarks on a drug-fueled journey and rampage.

"The Red Portrait" by Mahlon Smoke
A frustrated artist spies a forgotten portrait in a shop and finds himself consumed by its beauty.

**Get the anthology for $5 off or get $10 off the book/candle set HERE!**

About the Authors
The Half That You See is written by twenty-six authors from five different countries, including Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award finalist Felice Picano, Feature Writer of the Year recipient Luciano Marano, and honorees from Ellen Datlow’s most recent Best Horror of the Year, Bill Davidson and Sam Hicks. Editor Rebecca Rowland is a dark fiction writer whose previous Dark Ink anthology curation work includes Ghosts, Goblins, Murder, and Madness and Shadowy Natures: Stories of Psychological Horror. Dark Ink Books is the proud home of UnMasked, the best-selling memoir of horror legend Kane Hodder, and Savini, the special effects icon’s coffee table biography.

$10 Amazon giftcard, Mystery Box of Books – 1 winner each!
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

Thursday, March 4, 2021

YA Fantasy Author Jillian Boehme: What inspired you to write this book? + giveaway


I love talking about this.

Lots of years ago, I wrote my very first, very terrible novel, entitled The Seeds of Perin Faye. It was an absolute mess, as first novels are wont to be. Even still, I got a couple of requests from literary agents who were likely horrified when they saw what had turned up in their mailboxes.

(Actual mailboxes. Because this was back when e-querying was a new phenomenon.)

Fast forward to a couple of years ago. STORMRISE was soon to debut, and my editor at Tor Teen was ready to choose which of my stories to publish next (I’d signed a 2-book deal). The plan was to come up with three synopses so that my editor could choose her favorite. Slight problem, though—I only had two story ideas to offer.

And then it hit me—what if I rewrote The Seeds of Perin Faye? There was so much about the world I’d created that I loved. I knew it would have to be a complete rewrite, but it was an exciting prospect. It needed a fresh twist, though—something to take it to the next level. And I wasn’t sure what to do.

In the original, very-bad story, one of the main characters was Nestar, a 16-year-old who found himself embroiled in a plot to steal the throne that, apparently, belonged to him. Meanwhile, his younger sister Maralyth and her best friend Alac were busy with magic stones and time-traveling grandmothers (I’m cringing as I type).

My big A-HAH moment arrived when I had the thought: What if, instead of Nestar being the one with a secret bloodline to the throne, I make that Maralyth’s story? And so The Stolen Kingdom was born.

Those of you who have read Stormrise know that I love a good, strong female protagonist. Giving Maralyth the exciting storyline that once belonged to her older brother Nestar felt absolutely right. Her friend Alac, of course, turned into the king’s second son—and suddenly I had a delicious bit of tension that felt like it could become a great story.

When people ask me what inspired The Stolen Kingdom, my short answer is, “It’s my very first novel, rewritten!” It’s a fun answer, and it’s the truth.

I’ve loved Maralyth and Alac and Nestar and for a long time; I love them even more now that they’ve evolved. I hope you grow as fond of them as I have always been!

The Stolen Kingdom

by Jillian Boehme
March 2, 2021
Genre: YA Fantasy

“A bold girl, a kingdom under attack, magic everywhere—I devoured it in one sitting! This book is one wild ride!” —Tamora Pierce on Stormrise

Nothing is quite as it seems in this thrilling YA fantasy adventure by Jillian Boehme, The Stolen Kingdom!

For a hundred years, the once-prosperous kingdom of Perin Faye has suffered under the rule of the greedy and power-hungry Thungrave kings. Maralyth Graylaern, a vintner's daughter, has no idea her hidden magical power is proof of a secret bloodline and claim to the throne. Alac Thungrave, the king’s second son, has always been uncomfortable with his position as the spare heir—and the dark, stolen magic that comes with ruling.

When Maralyth becomes embroiled in a plot to murder the royal family and seize the throne, a cat-and-mouse chase ensues in an adventure of dark magic, court intrigue, and forbidden love.

**Join the Live Chat Author Event March 5th here!**

EXCERPT (Maralyth):
I’d just finished filling the stoneware flagon when the front door opened and the clatter of boots filled the house. Quickly, I placed two goblets and the flagon on a wooden tray. I walked light-footed into the sitting room, its stone hearth dark in the heat of summer and Mother’s seat beside it still draped with the knit lap blanket she always used in wintertime. Somehow, none of us wanted to be the one to finally fold it away into the small trunk that held several other of her belongings.

Poppa, Kenton, and the two men stood assembled by the doorway in an awkward formation for a few seconds before Poppa gestured for everyone to sit. He raised his eyebrows at me.

“Ah, thank you, Mara. Will you set it down over here?”

I nodded, my gaze lingering for a breath or two on Poppa’s eyes, which were tender and spoke to me of his desire to draw me in, where he knew I wanted to be.

The only good thing that had come of Mother’s death, he’d said recently, was that he saw me more clearly, freed from the veil of protection Mother had always draped over me. He couldn’t give me what I really wanted, though. Nestar would take over Graylaern Vineyards someday, not me. And even if there were no Nestar, I could never do more than fix the meals and tend the house—and possibly continue to boss the workers.

Because I was a girl.

“I’ll come right to the point,” Jamery said.

“May I offer you some wine?” Poppa asked as he poured.

His secretary glanced at the wine as though he very much wanted some. Jamery offered a tight-lipped smile. “Very well, then. Thank you.”

He made his way toward the couch and the others followed. I stepped back, intending to stay as long as Poppa allowed me.

Jamery reached for a goblet. “Lord Nelgareth has expressed concern that your Firstfruits have fallen short over the past six months. I offered to come in person to sort out any miscommunication.”

My bones went rigid. There was no way Poppa had made a mistake.

Determined to show his always-present hospitality, Poppa smiled at Jamery’s secretary and gestured to the remaining goblet. “Please—have some wine. I’ll be happy to listen to your concerns.” He turned his attention to me. “Will you bring some goblets for Kenton and me, please?”

I nodded—too curtly, probably—and glanced once more at the men. Jamery rolled his cup between his hands, his mouth twisted like a thirsty leaf. I shuddered and returned to the kitchen to fetch more goblets, fighting a sudden urge to stay there, hidden among the pots and pans and cooking mess. Invisible, the way Mother had kept me. Safe.

But I didn’t want to be invisible. So I grabbed two goblets and turned to face the sitting room. Safety be damned.

About the Author

Website-Twitter-InstagramJillian is known to the online writing community as Authoress, hostess of Miss Snark's First Victim, a blog for aspiring authors. In real life, she holds a degree in Music Education, sings with the Nashville Symphony Chorus, and homeschools her remaining youngster-at-home. She's still crazy in love with her husband of more than thirty years and is happy to be surrounded by family and friends amid the rolling knolls of Middle Tennessee.

$20 Amazon
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Book Review: A Discovery of Secrets and Fate (Chronicles of the Stone Veil, book #2) by Sawyer Bennett

Review coming this week!

A Discovery of Secrets and Fate (Chronicles of the Stone Veil, book #2)
by Sawyer Bennett
March 2, 2021
250 pages
Life as I knew it ended the day I accepted my fate.

In its place is an existence even the wildest imagination could never fathom. Strange creatures walk among us, plotting our demise, and I've come to find that the fate of our world rests squarely on my shoulders. We're all in danger and I'm trying to figure out how to make it through each day.

The key to my survival is a man I can't figure out. As dangerous as the darkest fae, I have no choice but to work with him to stop the prophecy that's foretold to be the ruination of mankind.

Carrick Byrne continues to be my only source of information, but he doles it out as he sees fit. He intrigues and scares me in equal measure, yet I can't help but be attracted to him. And the more I discover about him, the more it becomes clear he feels the same.

As we travel to Faere in search of answers, we find that every piece of information leads to more questions, that every question leads to a new piece of the puzzle, and that, most importantly, no one can be trusted.

The more secrets we uncover, one thing is certain-- if we have any chance of saving the world, we have to do it together.

A Discovery of Secrets and Fate is book two of the Chronicles of the Stone Veil series and is best enjoyed if read in series order.
Add it to Goodreads

About the Author:
New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author Sawyer Bennett uses real life experience to create relatable stories that appeal to a wide array of readers. From contemporary romance, fantasy romance, and both women’s and general fiction, Sawyer writes something for just about everyone.

A former trial lawyer from North Carolina, when she is not bringing fiction to life, Sawyer is a chauffeur, stylist, chef, maid, and personal assistant to her very adorable daughter, as well as full-time servant to her wonderfully naughty dogs.

If you’d like to receive a notification when Sawyer releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Excerpt: Shifting Silence (Mane Shift Book One) by Laura Bickle

Shifting Silence (Mane Shift Book One)
by Laura Bickle
February 21, 2021
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Fantasy
Publisher: Syrenka Publishing LLC
This witch takes in strays. Stray animals, not stray ex-boyfriends, magical cultists, or shifters.

At least, that used to be the rule…

Luna Summerwood has always taken in strays. As a witch who runs a veterinary clinic, she’s healed creatures that fly, swim, and crawl. She’s not the most powerful Summerwood witch; her only magic is the ability to communicate with animals. But when an exotic maned wolf is brought to her in the dead of night, Luna is plunged into the shadowy underground world of shifter trafficking.

With the help of her ex-boyfriend—who also happens to be a local deputy and someone who pushes all her buttons—she investigates a series of occult crimesinvolving missing farm animals. After her ex is nearly killed, Luna discovers thatthe Casimir, a cult of magical collectors, plans to steal the maned wolf.

This beautiful maned wolf is more than he seems—he’s a shapeshifting man named Renan.He was once captured by the Casimir and forced to do their dark bidding. Luna is his last chance at finding sanctuary…and perhaps love.

But the Casimir want more than just Renan. Centuries ago, the Summerwoods warred with the Casimir. Now, these sorcerers will stop at nothing to possess the Summerwood land and theburied magic of the witches themselves.

Excerpt 1
My skin was crawling. That guy was one of the Casimir sorcerers…I had to warn Sandy and her deputies. I jogged up the gravel driveway, past the mailbox, to the parked sheriff’s car. Something was weird about the car. The windows were rolled up, and water leaked in a stream from beneath the car, too much to be condensation from air conditioning.

“Hey,” I said, knocking on the dirty passenger side window, trying to get the attention of the deputy who sat there, staring through his sunglasses at his phone.

But he didn’t move.

It took me a second to realize that the car was full of water.

Dread pooling in my belly, I yanked open the car door. Water splashed all over my legs, nearly knocking me over. The whole interior of the car reeked of magic. I staggered back to the car to touch the guy’s neck.

I couldn’t feel a pulse. He was dead.

Tires squealed on gravel. Down the road, the Jeep swerved, as if there were a fight going on inside.

I reached into the deputy’s gun belt and yanked out his gun. I had no idea how well it would work after being underwater, but I needed something to protect myself. I slammed my fingers to the radio, but it had shorted out.

I looked up again to see a long-legged canine loping down the road, toward the Jeep. I recognized Renan in the shape of a maned wolf. Running as fast as he could, ears pinned back, he was gaining on the Jeep.

I ran down the road. I couldn’t let Voss escape now. He knew where I lived, and he would surely see Renan alive now. If he told the rest of the Casimir, we were dead.

The Jeep swerved and landed in the ditch, rolling onto its side in about two feet of standing water. Renan jumped onto the Jeep’s passenger door and growled, the hair standing up on his back.

I aimed the gun at the Jeep and advanced slowly. “Come out with your hands up!” I ordered, trying to think of what Dalton would say.

A thumping sound echoed inside the Jeep, sounding like a hammer. Something heavy struck the windshield, and the glass broke into a spiderweb of pieces before the busted sheet of safety glass was shoved out onto the hood.

“Oh, hell,” I whispered as a crocodile crawled out over the hood of the Jeep.

“Freeze!” I shouted, staring over the dead deputy’s gun.

But the crocodile glared at me toothily. With shocking speed for such a chunky animal, it scrambled up the hood toward me.

I pulled the trigger.

Nothing happened.

“Damn it.”

Renan jumped on the crocodile’s back, his teeth scrambling for purchase on the thick reptilian hide. The crocodile swept back and forth, shaking its head and tail, trying to dislodge the maned wolf. The scuffle pushed them off the Jeep and drew them into the mud of the ditch.

As furious as he fought, I knew that Renan was no match for the crocodile. I had to find a way to help. I dove at the passenger door of the Jeep. I ripped it open and yelled for the ranger within.

But he was going to be of no help. The interior of the Jeep was splashed with blood, and Ranger Perkins seemed to be doing his best to hold his guts in with both hands.

“Your gun,” I gasped, and lunged for his belt.

“What the hell is happening?” he murmured weakly. “You gotta get away. You gotta—"

I scrambled through the ruined windshield, gun aimed before me. Renan was holding on to the crocodile’s neck for dear life, while the croc started a barrel roll in the narrow ditch. Dirty water splashed all around them, and I had a hard time sighting the gun in on my target without risking hitting Renan.

I slid down the hood of the Jeep and landed in the ditch, water up to my knees. The croc’s black eye emerged, and its jaws snapped toward me. I aimed at the croc’s head and pulled the trigger not once, but twice, three times…

The crocodile flopped back into the water. Renan jumped to the bank panting, and the croc grew still as the roar of the gunfire receded.

Shaking, I lowered the gun.

“Will that do it?” I whispered. “Will that kill him, or will he heal?”

Renan walked toward me. As he moved, I heard the crunch of his bones reorganizing, limbs lengthening. I stared in fascination, watching that red fur ripple over him and fade, twisting into the shape of a man.

“I think he’s dead. And there’s no healing the dead,” Renan said.

About the Author:
Laura Bickle grew up in rural Ohio, reading entirely too many comic books out loud to her favorite Wonder Woman doll. After graduating with an MA in Sociology – Criminology from Ohio State University and an MLIS in Library Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, she patrolled the stacks at the public library and worked with data systems in criminal justice. She now dreams up stories about the monsters under the stairs, also writing contemporary fantasy novels under the name Alayna Williams.

Her work has been included in the ALA’s Amelia Bloomer Project 2013 reading list and the State Library of Ohio’s Choose to Read Ohio reading list for 2015-2016.