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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Book Review: The Wicked City by Megan Morgan

The Wicked City (Siren Song)
by Megan Morgan
Pages: 248
March 3, 2015
Whatever June Coffin says, goes—literally. And it’s not just because she’s a chain smoking rebel. As a Siren, June has the ability to force people to obey any command she voices. But in a world where those with supernatural powers quickly become lab rats for science, she’d rather look out for herself than fight on the front lines…until her similarly gifted twin brother, Jason, is captured by Chicago’s Institute of Supernatural Research.

To save Jason, June has no choice but to enter a hidden world of conspiracy, murder—and strange bedfellows—including a widowed paranormal advocate whose memory June accidentally erased, and a fiery paranormal separatist leader. Soon the lines between attraction and strategic alliance become blurred. But in a city exploding with paranormal crossfire, and her brother’s life at stake, June will have to face her inner demons and finally take a stand.

Paranormal abilities are no longer a secret and with that comes different groups trying to decide what is right for the people. June Coffin is an aural captivator or better known as a siren. She can use her voice to control what people do. She is full of rebellion and doesn’t take lip from anyone. Her talents, and that of her twin Jason, had always been a secret until she accidently let it slip to a news reporter that she was tattooing and the reporter ran with the story.

Occasionally, I read the foreword at the beginning of a book but not often. I did this time and found that the author had a very deep connection to this book and her characters. I hoped that I would feel that connection when I read the book and I was not disappointed. Filled with different types of paranormal abilities and lots of action this book was a great read. I really look forward to the next book but hope that the author doesn't take another 7 years to write it.

Getting 5 sheep

Denise B

About the Author:
Though I was born in Reno, Nevada, and spent some of my childhood there, I’ve lived most of my life in Ohio: the past seven years in Cleveland, specifically, the home of rock and roll. I love Cleveland, though I’d like to live in Chicago or New Orleans someday (or hey, maybe both, a girl can dream!).

I’ve been writing for most of my literate life, and began pursuing a professional writing career at the tender and naive age of thirteen. I’ve (hopefully) improved a lot since my overwrought high school writing days, but my passion and focus has always been the same: I want to write stories. I love writing romance because I think it’s something everyone can relate to–everyone loves love, and a little bit of sex doesn’t hurt, either. I’m a big fan of paranormal elements, so most of my stories have some kind of spooky twist. If you like passion, sex, and chills down your spine, I’m the author for you!

I work as a bartender in an airport lounge currently, because writing doesn’t pay the bills yet. It’s an awesome experience that brings me into contact with interesting people. My days are never boring. I’ve been a bartender and server for a long time, so I can tell you a thing or two about working in the service industry.

I’m much older than I look but not as wise as I seem. I live with my cat and my adult son, and I’m blessed with a huge circle of friends and family. My real name is not Megan Morgan, I chose that name because it sounds ‘romance authorly’ and is far less weird and more glamorous than my real name.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Book Review: Black Dog Blues (Kai Gracen #1) by Rhys Ford

Black Dog Blues (Kai Gracen #1)
by Rhys Ford
246 pages
February 3rd 2015
Ever since he’d been part of the pot in a high-stakes poker game, elfin outcast Kai Gracen figured he’d used up any good karma he had when Dempsey, a human Stalker, won the hand and took him in. Following the violent merge of Earth and Underhill, the human and elfin races were left with a messy, monster-ridden world and Stalkers were often the only cavalry willing to ride to someone’s rescue when something shadowy and dark moved into the neighbourhood.
There certainly were no shortage of monsters or people stupidly willing to become lunch for one.

It was a hard life but one Kai liked. And he was good at it. Killing monsters was easy. Especially since he was one himself.

After an accident retired Dempsey out, Kai set up permanent shop in San Diego, contracting out to the local SoCalGov depot. It was a decent life, filled with bounty, a few friends and most importantly, no other elfin around to remind him he wasn’t really human.

That was until a sidhe lord named Ryder arrives in San Diego and Kai is conscripted to do a job for Ryder’s fledgling Dawn Court. It was supposed to a simple run; head up the coast during dragon-mating season to retrieve a pregnant human woman seeking sanctuary with the new Court then back to San Diego. Easy, quick and best of all, profitable. But Ryder’s “simple” run leads to massive trouble and Kai ends up being caught in the middle of a deadly bloodline feud he has no hope of escaping.

No one ever got rich by being a Stalker. But then hardly any of them got old either. The way things were looking, it didn’t look like Kai was going to be the exception.

First books in an urban fantasy series are exciting and frustrating. You get to experience a new world with (hopefully) characters you love or love to hate. It's a great feeling. But authors need to set up complicated worlds and introduce characters that they aren't quite comfortable with yet. What you tend to get is info dumps and clunky writing. I give first books a lot of leeway if I find elements that rock my world one way or another. You know, a sexy hero, a kick ass heroine or a unique world that makes me stop and go "Whoa...that's cool". Black Dog Blues has rocked enough of my world that I want to keep it on my radar.

I love the Fae, and in Black Dog Blues the Fae's world, Underhill, has literally Merged with the human world. There was a massive and deadly war between the humans and Fae which left the world in ruins and a strained truce between the races as well as a lot of prejudice. The main character, Kai, was born fae, but you slowly learn was brutalized as a child in unimaginable ways by his family. Kai escaped that fate and ended up being raised by a human, and as a result knows nothing about being Fae, not even their language. Kai is a survior, but his emotional scars run deep. I loved him as soon as I met him. Yeah, he has the tortured soul, but even he has no ideas of just how bad because he has buried that part of him. 

The story is full of action, violence and dark intentions. What else would you expect from the Fae? The author created a post-apocalyptic world combining Fae and human elements. This is a dark urban fantasy so the emphasis is on how Kai tries to avoid his past while being dragged kicking and screaming into a future he's not sure he wants. 

There is a slow simmering romance with a Fae lord named Ryder. Ryder is sexy, with noble ideas of bringing peace between the Fae and humans. His courtly manners run up against Kai's uncultured ways with humorous results. Technically there will be a gay romance...eventually. There is no sex in this book. Just two kissing scenes with Kai and Ryder and one with Kai and Ryder's female guard. There was even a hint of Ryder and his guard sharing Kai... Kia likes women and men but refuses to have committed relationships. It seems like fate might have other plans. Whenever Kai is near Ryder there is a connection he doesn't understand, but Ryder seems to. It will be a slow tension filled romance between the two that could take many books (hopefully not too many!) to become anything more. If you've stayed away from stories with gay romance because of all the sex, then this is one you can try, without that.

I was hooked by the world building and the characters, and as the author becomes more comfortable with both, tighter writing will also follow. 

3 1/2 Sheep


About the Author:
Rhys Ford is a firm believer in love and let love, short walks to a coffee shop and having a spare cat or two. Most days she can be found swearing at her laptop and trying to come up with new ways to kill off perfectly good random characters.

Rhys Ford was born and raised in Hawaii then wandered off to see the world. After chewing through a pile of books, a lot of odd food, and a stray boyfriend or two, Rhys eventually landed in San Diego, which is a very nice place but seriously needs more rain.

Rhys admits to sharing the house with three cats of varying degrees of black fur, a black Pomeranian puffball and a ginger cairn terrorist. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird, a Toshiba laptop, and a purple Bella coffee maker.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Book Review: The Iron Ring: Part I of the Saga of the Redeemed by Auston Habershaw

The Iron Ring: Part I of the Saga of the Redeemed
by Auston Habershaw
Kindle Price: $2.99
HarperCollins Publishers
Length: 192 pages
Tyvian Reldamar—criminal mastermind, rogue mage, and smuggler of sorcerous goods—has just been betrayed by his longtime partner and left for dead in a freezing river. To add insult to injury, his mysterious rescuer took it upon himself to affix Tyvian with an iron ring that prevents the wearer from any evildoing.

Revenge just got complicated.

On his quest to get even, Tyvian navigates dark international conspiracies, dodges midnight assassins, and uncovers the plans of the ruthless warlord Banric Sahand—all while running from a Mage-Defender determined to lock him up. Tyvian will need to use every dirty trick in the book to avoid a painful and ignominious end, even as he discovers that sometimes even the world's most devious man needs a shoulder to lean on.

First I'm going to make a confession about my fantasy book reading habits. I love fantasy—once I get started. I don't read much is hard work *hangs head*. The books throw you into a new world and you are bombarded with new (unpronounceable) names for too many territories, kings, guilds...then a mind boggling cast of characters that will converge for a climatic brew-ha-ha. I can't remember everything, and I get confused and collapse into a whiny puddle of inadequate-ness. But I liked the premise of The Iron Ring and hoped it be worth the puddle.

The Iron Ring's central character, Tyvian Reldamar, is one of my favorite types of characters, the anti-hero. He's an arrogant, educated, condescending ass who also happens to be the best at what he does: crime. For reasons we don't know yet, he was targeted by a mysterious man who places an iron ring on Tyvian's finger making it painful for him to do any misdeeds. The worse the deed, the more pain he feels. His fate is tangled up with a lonely, boy thief; a gnoll trying to rescue her kidnapped kids; and a righteous mage who has made capturing Tyvian her sole purpose. Unfortunately, Tyvian's escapades unwittingly put him and his friends—not really—in the path of one of the most evil villains I've read. 

The story is set in a world where magic is available in nature, but you have to learn how to harness and use it. The author sets up a unique and interesting world, including laws of nature that magic users are bound too, which makes it believable. One of my favorite examples of magic use is the spirit train. Engine warlocks infuse Fey demons into magic pistons, forcing them to power the train.

The beginning of the story is full of action and humorous commentary by Tyvian which kept me turning the pages. Towards the middle, things slow down as sub-plot after sub-plot are set up. Then as things start to move along again—the book ends. Yup, this pulls a Twilight/Mockingjay. One story split into (in this case) three parts. It doesn't have what I would call a cliff hanger ending, but you just invested a good deal of time in a complex (and very good) story with no pay off until the next part comes out in June. And even then you'll have to wait for part three. Grrrr. I want to know what happens and how low Tyvian will fall before the ring makes him realize his potential. 

The story is compelling and fantastical, but the publisher has decided (Why, I don't know, but I've noticed it is happening more often) to parse it out. If you get frustrated with this type of thing you might want to wait till all three parts are out. It's definitely worth a read. 

Tyvian rolled his eyes and lay back on the pallet. "I seem to be lectured as often as I am captured. I take it you work for the Defenders, or perhaps my mother? Is that how you know who I am? 
"No." [Eddereon]
"You lie."
"I do not."
"Clever retort, but I am strangely unconvinced."

3 1/2 "spirit" sheep


About the Author:
On the day Auston Habershaw was born, Skylab fell from the heavens. This foretold two possible fates: supervillain or scifi/fantasy author. Fortunately he chose the latter, and spends his time imagining the could-be and the never-was rather than disintegrating the moon with his volcano laser. He lives and works in Boston, MA.

Auston is a winner of the Writers of the Future Contest (2nd place in quarter 1, 2014) and has published stories in Analog, The Sword and Laser Anthology, and Stupefying Stories. His debut novel, The Iron Ring (Book 1 in the Saga of the Redeemed), will be released on 2/10/15.

Reading Until Dawn Con Denver, CO, October 8th-11th, 2015

While at Coastal Magic Con 2015 we met a delightful woman named Casey. She is organizing a convention of her own called Reading Until Dawn Con (isn't that clever?) Here is some information about it—taken from the website.

Reading Until Dawn Con will be held in Denver, CO, October 8th-11th, 2015.

The emcee of Reading Until Dawn Con is

 Regular registration will be $85 till September 25th, 2015

The story behind Reading Until Dawn Con isn’t all that uncommon. I was complaining to a friend about not being able to travel the country and stalk meet all of my favorite authors. Then I had the crazy, insane, brilliant idea of bringing all the authors to me. The only way to do that was with a con. After months of debating, talking to authors to see if anyone would actually be interested, and continually thinking, “Am I actually going to do this?” Reading Until Dawn Con was born.

My dream for RUDC is to have a small conference where authors and readers can hang out together. Anyone can go to any author/reader/writer conference and listen to their favorite author talk about writing. But how many can say that they hung out with their favorite author? Not many. RUDC will be all about hanging out, playing games, and having fun.-Casey
Sometimes, the smallest things have the biggest impacts on our lives. For me, it was the scene The Mummy (1999), where Evie(drunkenly) told Rick that she was proud to be a librarian. Little nine year old me, who was already obsessed with books, decided that I wanted to become a librarian. And I did.

I worked at a library (first volunteering, then getting hired) for about five years, until I moved to a different state. In addition to that, I have been reviewing books for Literary Escapism since August, 2010. I have had two separate internships with Entangled Publishing, LLC, which led to my jobs as the personal assistant to the Publicity Director of five lines at Entangled Publishing, LLC, and also an assistant to the Head of Marketing, also at Entangled Publishing, LLC. I co-edited and contributed a short story to the self-published anthology, The Struggle. (All proceeds from the anthology go to helping struggling authors.) Over the course of the past two years, I’ve conducted seven live interviews with New York Times bestselling authors. I even planned an author book signing for Tiffany Reisz and Andrew Shaffer at Southland Books and Cafe, (my favorite job since I left the library).

It was only logical that the next step would be creating my own author/reader conference. (Well, that’s what I keep telling myself. *grin*) It’s my dream to gather a few (hundred) of my closest friends and favorite authors so that we can do what comes naturally – talk books, eat delicious food, and have a good time.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Book Review: The Master (The Game Maker Series book 2) by Kresley Cole

The Master (The Game Maker Series book 2)
By: Kresley Cole
Pages: 368
Everyone fears the Master...
Rich, irresistible politician/Mafiya boss Maksimilian Sevastyan prefers tall, obedient blondes to fulfill his...complicated desires. That is, until the icy Russian encounters a disobedient brunette whose exquisite little body threatens his legendary restraint.

Except her.
Catarina MarĂ­n was a well-off young wife until her world fell apart. Now she's hiding out, forced to start working as an escort in Miami. Her very first client is beyond gorgeous, but when he tells her what he plans to do to her, Cat almost walks out of the door.

If pleasure is a game, play to win.
After their mind-blowing encounter burns out of control, the lovers crave more. If they escape the deadly threats surrounding them, can Maksim overcome his past--to offer Cat his future? Only then will she tempt him with what he really wants: her, all tied up with a bow.

If you don't have time to read this book, then don't start it. This one needs a clear calendar to really sit back and enjoy. I stayed up way too late, and went to work in a daze the next morning. Take my advise and read it on your days off!

Mrs. Cole is far and wide one of the current authors I love to read, she's got me wrapped around her talented fingers. (That came out frisky, but I'm keeping the line!) She's whipped out the big guns for this series, it's off the charts with sexual situations. Some dominance and discipline, sexy toys and tons of steamy heat. There's a story thrown in there as well but the sex is going to be the main focus.

I do want to take a second to point out that this series, aside from the hot alpha men, is built on a world of infinite money. The brothers thus far are filthy stinking rich. I get that it's sexier to have access to all those funds but it takes away from the realistic side just a tad. This is a fantasy BUT I would like to feel that it sure could be real. That maybe I myself could possibly be the gal in this story. But that's just me and my need to live vicariously through these colorful characters.

Stubborn and high handed men tend to rub me the wrong way, Maksim does win my heart by the final chapter of the story. It was a long road to get there, and I almost gave up hope....but he does make that change!

If you enjoy some kink, rich men, sexy situations, fiery females and well written stories then grab this series. You can start from this point without any issues but why miss out on book one? It's equally wonderful in all the right ways. Russia, here I come!

Review: The Professional (Part 1)
Review: The Professional: Part 2

Getting 4 1/2 Sheep 


Spotlight: Blood Legacy: Adult Urban Fantasy (The V V Inn Book 5) C.J. Ellisson + giveaway

Blood Legacy: Adult Urban Fantasy (The V V Inn Book 5)
C.J. Ellisson (Author), Tina Winograd (Editor)
Despite surviving silver poisoning, Vivian isn’t out of the fire yet. Rolando is still alive, as is his desire to eliminate all manipulator vampires like her. The streets of Buenos Aires prove to be a tricky hunting ground for Vivian and her husband Rafe, especially when a paranormal serial killer starts leaving bodies behind.
Overwhelmed amidst the city’s chaos, they seek help from Jon, Vivian's werewolf servant and the couple’s right-hand man. As the deaths continue, a local alpha under scrutiny for the crimes threatens to blame Jon and reveal his master’s daytime location—if they don’t find the real culprit.

It’s a race for the trio to stop the killings, uncover the truth, and catch the vampire responsible for Vivian’s torture—before the supernatural locals pick up their proverbial pitchforks and stop them all, for good.

Chapter One

After being almost killed by silver poisoning, I’m recovering nicely. Most people think vampires are immortal, and I can understand why with how long our kind can normally exist. But if you can be killed by any means, then you aren’t technically immortal, right? I prefer the term semi-mortal. Lord knows I’ve certainly killed more than my fair share of vampires, and I can attest that we are not immune to death.
I stretch on the chaise lounge, gazing up at the late afternoon cloud coverage revealed by the clear atrium panels above me. It’s a nice winter day in late June, three weeks after I escaped from capture, off the southeastern coast of Argentina, and a semblance of peace finally fills me.

Drew, one of the vampires in my seethe, or vampire family, strides into the inner garden of our large Spanish-style hacienda and clears his throat. “Vivian,” he says, calling me by the nickname most everyone uses instead of my real name, Dria, short for Alexandria. “Do you really think shipping us home to Alaska is the best idea? We all want to stay and help.”

I glance up at the tall, slender man, noting his healthy hue and the sexually satisfied air about him. Judging by the noises drifting from his suite every night since our return to the island, he and Chelly have been exploring their new relationship status, vampire and servant, every chance they’ve had.

“You’re not strong enough for this fight, Drew, and neither are the others. I appreciate your loyalty and decision to stay to see things through, but I won’t risk your safety for my own.”

Frustration appears to simmer beneath his smooth facade. “I take it there’s nothing I can say or do to prove we’d be an asset?”

I rise from my comfortable spot on the lounge chair. “Think about it—you might be a help, but what about the others? Can you say the same for any of them?” I angle my head and go for a low blow. “Could you live with yourself if your desire to protect your master led to their deaths? Would you sleep well during the day knowing Chelly died before she had to?”

Drew’s handsome face crumples, his noble intent twisting within. “Not fair, Viv. Not fair. Dammit!” He paces away before whipping around to face me again. “Deep down, I know you’re right, but that doesn’t mean I have to accept it without complaint.”

I walk toward him, reaching out a hand in comfort. My grip rests lightly on his forearm as I push my will into him, not quite using my full manipulator traits that can sway any vampire to my way of thinking, but I give him a mental shove past his immediate anger to offer clear thinking. “I know where your heart lies, and I don’t mean regarding Chelly. I know you would fight to the death beside me, without hesitation. But I have need of you elsewhere.” His brow quirks up in question. “You will be the one to protect all I hold dear. You will be the strongest left in Alaska should trouble befall them while I’m gone.”

Irritation at my words spills into his tone. “What good will I be in Alaska during the summer? I’d be living indoors and traveling via the tunnels the entire time.”

“Do you really think a vampire weakened by the sun is still not strong enough or clever enough to protect those who matter to him? Do you think a man, or group of men, could outwit you at your lowest? You are over a century and a half old, Drew. By no means are you on the same level—in any sense—as Paul or the werewolves.”

He smiles. “I see exactly what you’re doing, you conniving woman. Building me up to make me feel important with what you want me to do. All right, I’ll go quietly—whether I agree with you or not about how much good I’ll be while cooped up inside.”

“Good. Now, onto the more important question: Do you trust Paul to share the flying duties home with you?”

“Uh… no, not yet. But either way, we can’t fly during the day.”

I smile, glad the issue of them leaving will be dropped. “Not to worry. I’ve arranged for several top-notch pilots you can pick up in Buenos Aires.”

Once Drew departs, I return to the personal suite I usually share with my human husband, intending to do some yoga. The stretching and muscle work has helped realign my spiritual balance with the physical healing. Thanks to Rafe, I’ve fully regained my strength from the silver trauma a few weeks ago.

The ones responsible for my imprisonment and torture, Coraline and her cohorts, were killed by my husband in a brutal display of his defensive nature. Only one man—Rolando—remains for us to track down in Buenos Aires. Hopefully, finding him will put an end to the hunt for other manipulator vampires like me. As far as I know, I’m still the only one who has escaped extermination over the last few centuries.

While I rested and recovered, Rafe explored the underbelly of the Argentine city extensively, making sure his casual occupation stayed unnoticed by the ruling Tribunal of Ancients. His protective instincts toward me have barreled to the surface, and I’ve found I rather like this side of him.

After the worst of my damage was healed through copious amounts of blood and lots of deep restorative sleep, the dead-to-the-world type only the undead can take, we split up—him staying in the city to investigate, and me journeying back to our island off the coast of southeastern Argentina to tend to the family of caretakers. Their minds needed delicate fixing from the damage done by the same people who tried to kill me.

The island caretakers were not harmed permanently, and I have to admit, what was done to their minds was so subtle it didn’t require much effort on my part to repair. The island hideaway they help keep in tip-top shape is where we spend most of the Argentine winter, only venturing to Buenos Aires when there’s a big Tribunal shin-dig.

But this year was different.

Not only did we initially arrive weeks earlier than normal, with most of our new seethe traveling with us, but now we’re sending Drew, Chelly, and the others home to Alaska during the region’s summer months—which is typically singe and die season for vampires above the Arctic Circle. The extensive tunnels and safeguards built into the resort will keep the returning vampires alive, so I’m not worried on that end. They’ll be safe and—by the end of the long stretches of seemingly never-ending daylight—bored with cabin fever.

I’m sure Asa, the ex-military vampire responsible for the resort’s security, will be happy to have them back. Recently, he’s had his hands full with helping to exorcise ghosts at the inn. The apparitions were of the humans and supernaturals who’d died during the past year’s adventures. By the lighter lilt in his voice during our last conversation, it sounded like Asa may have found a female diversion this summer, too. Good, the man needs to let someone in.

Sending them home while Rafe and I get to the bottom of things here is the smartest solution. I will not let guilt sway me.

In the end, it was the others and not Drew who protested nonstop about returning home last night, tempting me beyond belief to force them to my will, but I managed to resist and smile benignly during their blathering.

Above all, Rafe and I need to focus on finding Rolando and putting an end to this drama. Having the others here, even if they stayed on the island and not in the direct path of my enemies, could be dangerous—not to mention a distraction I don’t want to take on. I’d worry about their safety.

Someone could succeed in finding them again, even on our tiny middle-of-nowhere island, to use against me. In comparison, the inn is more of a secure, secluded fortress than many of them realize. It’s the perfect place to await an enemy, especially when you know the property as well as we do.

Doubt creeps into me and I squash it, determined not to second guess my resolve regarding Jon and our plans to fly him down. As an alpha werewolf, he would be the best choice to stay and safeguard the seethe at the inn. But, whether I like it or not, I need him here by my side, to hunt down Rolando.

What prompted a hidden sect within the Tribunal—one hell bent on tracking and killing manipulators, a rare breed of vampire thought long exterminated—to hunt me down?

Has the story of Coraline’s tampered memories, which I was responsible for on her last visit to Alaska, spread among their supporters? Did I reveal myself unknowingly through another channel? Has my arrogance in always assuming I could handle anything thrown my way with a simple bending of my will finally backfired on me?

How did they know to look for me? Who pointed them in my direction? Have others, vampires older than me, suspected my secret for centuries and yet never acted to eliminate me? And if yes, why? Was it out of fear, or with the hope to someday use me and my skills to their advantage?

I shake my head, eager to dispel the uncharacteristic self-doubt. The wondering of why and how my hidden traits have been discovered is not important. Tracking down those who wish me harm and killing them is.

Resolve swells within me, strengthening with the deep breath I draw into my lungs. I will find those responsible. I will secure the safety of those pledged to me. I will—

My cell rings, cutting off my internal diatribe.

The screen reveals it’s Rafe. I grab the device and answer it. “Yes? Why are you calling me on the phone?” Referring to his choice to use technology rather than connect with me telepathically, as he usually does.

“Your thoughts were all over the place. And growing rather dark, truth be told. I thought calling you might snap you out of it better than rudely barging into your private musings.”

“Fine. I was also thinking of Jon—did you catch those thoughts, too?”

“Yes, and you’re right. We do need him here. He’ll be an asset more than a hindrance, I think. When can he get here? And will you have him fly to the city or the island?”

I bite my lip, ruminating on his questions. “He’s schedule to leave in a few hours, and will arrive late tomorrow. I think having him journey directly to Buenos Aires would be the smartest use of time. I’ve chartered a plane and will fly in tonight.”

“Good. Did the others leave already?”

“Yes, last night, right as the sun went down. They had a brief stop in the city to pick up more pilots.”

“Time to do what we mentioned months ago—‘beard the lion in his den.’”

I snort, unable to contain the sarcasm waiting to escape. “Oh yes, that worked so beautifully for us last time, didn’t it?”

“Hey, things didn’t go as planned, I’ll grant you that, but any battle you can walk away from with your life is considered a win, trust me.” A teasing note enters his voice. “Are you sure you’re not more annoyed that I did most of the killing and maiming this time?”

Flashes of blood and dismembered bodies skitter across my mind, small glimpses of what I recall from when I awoke in the underground rooms beneath the Tribunal headquarters, also known as the Seat of Darkness and the base of all vampire kind.

Rafe’s actions may have surprised our new seethemates who were with him, Drew and Paul, but I’ve known what my husband is capable of for a very long time. “I don’t think that’s it. Or more accurately, I don’t think that’s the only thing.” A sigh escapes me. “I think we walked into a bigger mess than we bargained for, and I’d rather make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

“We can’t begin to formulate a plan of attack until we’re well aware of who our enemy is and where they’re located. The basic knowledge of where the Tribunal lies is not enough. Who else is visiting this season? Are all the ancients in attendance or are some traveling? Where do they stay during their restorative sleep—meaning a private residence or in the extensive underground holdings of the Tribunal?”

He’s not saying anything we haven’t discussed before, so I redirect and ask about recent developments. “Have you had any luck in tracking down Rolando?”

“No, none. And it’s damn frustrating, I can tell you that. The big bastard didn’t up and disappear, that’s for sure.”

“What about Justin? Have you discovered where he lives yet?”

“I’ve narrowed the wizard’s location down to a diverse barrio on the outskirts of San Telmo, one of the city’s older neighborhoods. But no set address. The area has lots of herbal shops with hard to find magical ingredients.”

“That sounds more like an ideal location for a coven of witches than a wizard.”

“Well, where would you have me start looking? Should I knock on the Tribunal’s door and ask where they hide their pet wizardling?”

A grunt of frustration seeps past my lips. “No. You’re fine. I almost hate to admit it, but tracking is better suited to Jon’s natural abilities than yours.”

“Oh yes, the furball. Do you plan to have him take his wolf form and sniff like a dog to track?”

“Come now, dear, don’t make this harder than it needs to be. He is a strength. He is a valuable asset to us.”

His voice tightens, showing his inner turmoil and anguish. “Who are you trying to convince—me or you?”

“You, you dork. I know I need him. Now more than ever. Suck it up, buttercup.” My voice deepens, taking on a husky tone. “It’s not like I want him the way I want you. He’s not the one I dream of every time I close my eyes. It’s not his love, his very essence of life, that brought me back from the edge of insanity and darkness,” I say, referring to the moment I nearly died and Rafe’s devotion and love saved me.

“Okay, you’ve made your point. I’ll play nice with the werewolf. Any hint or rumor he may have found a mate during last month’s big game hunting fiasco with all the werewolves?”

I shrug, realize he can’t see my movement, and say, “I’m not sure.”

“What? How can that be? How could you not be sure of what your vampire servant is doing at any given time?”

“You know I gave him distance when we left—and I don’t mean physically, I mean with our mental connection. He’s still there, in the back of my mind. But I’ve given him privacy, not wanting to intrude when he has the chance to be free of my influence for once.”

“Is that the best course of action when you claim to ‘need him’ now?”

“I’ll allow the connection to strengthen when he journeys here, but I want to keep some mental distance in place for him. He needs it. His uncontrollable obsessive desires were overcoming his waking thoughts, he needed the break to heal and find himself again.”

“All right, enough about the poor lost puppy. When did you say he’ll arrive?”

“Tuesday night. We’ll meet him at the airport in the city. How is the house hunting coming along?”

I hear the happiness in his voice. “I’ve found several suitable accommodations,” he says. “You’ll like them, I’m sure.”

A rush of images floods my mind. Stately residences in the posh neighborhoods near the heart of the city, rooms with high ceilings and ornate moldings, and hearths with big roaring fires.

“Good. I miss you, my darling. It’s only been two weeks and I still think it’s too long.”

“You’re just hungry for my blood, aren’t you?”

“Among other things…”

A gentle tingle of sensation indicates my husband’s mind reaching out to mine. And I miss you too, liebling. We’ll be together soon. Not to worry.
About the Author:
C.J. Ellisson, USA Today & New York Times Bestselling author, lives in northern Virginia with her husband, two children, three dogs, and a fluffy black cat who makes her sneeze. Unlike most full-time authors, she's also battling severe chronic illness. C.J. works daily to put her Lupus into remission and continues to fight numerous bacterial infections while her immune system slowly attacks her body. She turned to writing when she could no longer work outside the home and claims the escape of penning contemporary fantasy, erotica, and erotic romance has helped save her sanity.
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Two Giveaways
1.  C.J. is hosting a giveaway on her Facebook page for anyone who posts a review of Blood Legacy during the first two weeks of its release (February 25th to March 11th). She is asking all the bloggers to please mention this second giveaway in their post, and to include the link. Thank you.
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Cover Reveal: Blood Stitches by Erin Fanning

Blood Stiches
Kindle Price:$1.99
Release: May 12, 2015

It’s called El Toque de la Luna–The Touch of the Moon. At least that’s how nineteen-year-old Gabby’s older sister, Esperanza, refers to the magical powers she inherited from their Mayan ancestors. Esperanza says women with El Toque weave magic into their knitting, creating tapestries capable of saving–or devastating–the world. Gabby thinks Esperanza is more like touched in the head–until a man dressed like a candy corn arrives at their Seattle home on Halloween. But “Mr. C” is far from sweet… 

Soon, Gabby and her almost-more-than-friend, Frank, find themselves spirited away to a demon ball, complete with shape shifters–and on a mission to destroy Esperanza’s tapestries before they cause an apocalyptic disaster… And before it’s too late to confess their true feelings for each other. 

About the Author: Website-FB-TwitterErin Fanning spends her summers on a remote Michigan lake, where her imagination explores the water and dense forest for undiscovered creatures. In the winter, she migrates to central Idaho, exchanging mountain bikes and kayaks for skis and snowshoes.

She’s the author of the “Curse of Blackhawk Bay” (Sam’s Dot Publishing, 2008), “Mountain Biking Michigan” (Globe Pequot Press, 2002), and numerous short stories, essays, and articles.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Double Sheep Movie Review: KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE (2015)

Rating:R (for sequences of strong violence, language and some sexual content)
Genre:Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:Matthew Vaughn
Written By:Mark Millar , Dave Gibbons , Matthew Vaughn , Jane Goldman

Stars: Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Samuel L. Jackson
In Theaters:Feb 13, 2015
Runtime:2 hr. 8 min.
20th Century Fox - Official Site

Based upon the acclaimed comic book and directed by Matthew Vaughn (Kick Ass, X-Men First Class), Kingsman: The Secret Service tells the story of a super-secret spy organization that recruits an unrefined but promising street kid into the agency's ultra-competitive training program just as a global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius. (c) Fox

I saw Kingsman with my husband and 13 year old daughter and we all loved it. Campy is the word that comes to mind. It is a nod at all the classic stereotypical spy (James Bond) characters, but with better special effects and talent (sorry Roger Moore). Everything was over the top, from the ridiculously cool super spy gadgets to the exploding heads...OMG, the exploding heads! 

Do you recognize the Jedi Knight?
The script is predictable but witty, and you will be entertained from beginning to end...well, if you enjoy action movies with some camp. Samuel L. Jackson's character is right out of a Bond film and the lisp is just an example of how the writers take things just to the edge of ridiculous, but wink and nod at the audience. The villain's side-kick, Gazzele (Sofia Boutella) with her blades of destruction was the icing on this cake of gratuitous violence.

Worth a matinee price and possibly full price if you are a fan of these type of movies.
WTF?! are these guys wearing? Jumpers...must be a British thing <G>
P.S. No dogs die in this movie...

4 "Manners maketh the sheep" Sheep

Pretty much Sharon hit this on the head. The movie is over the top with action and makes no apologies for it. You get a big taste of the 007 flare and some new added twists for the modern day man/woman. 

One or two well planned and placed twists, I did not see coming. If you're not familiar with the British "English", you may have a wee bit of trouble understanding the lingo here and there. But nothing you can't wing it and figure out what was said. 

A pretty awesome-gruesome fight scene in a church takes the blood and guts to an almost Braveheart level. If you're not into gore, you may want to cover your eyes for a few minutes. 

This is a fun film that had me entertained enough to not feel ripped of over the ticket price. I will complain about an unwanted or needed sexual line at the very end, but that's just my personal distaste. 

Getting 3 and 1/2 "007 Pugs of Fury" Sheep 

Book Review: Grave Matters (Night Owls #2) by Lauren M. Roy

Grave Matters (Night Owls #2)
by Lauren M. Roy

Paperback, 304 pages
February 24th 2015 by Ace

Night Owls bookstore always keeps a light on and evil creatures out. But, as Lauren M. Roy's thrilling sequel continues, even its supernatural staff isn’t prepared for the dead to come back to life…

Elly grew up training to kill things that go bump in the night, so she’s still getting used to working alongside them. While she’s learned to trust the eclectic group of vampires, Renfields, and succubi at Night Owls bookstore, her new job guarding Boston’s most powerful vampire has her on edge—especially when she realizes something strange is going on with her employer, something even deadlier than usual…

Cavale isn’t thrilled that his sister works for vampires, but he’s determined to repair their relationship, and that means trusting her choices—until Elly’s job lands all of the Night Owls in deep trouble with a vengeful necromancer. And even their collective paranormal skills might not be enough to keep them from becoming part of the necromancer’s undead army.
"Holey Moley Fangman!"

I was introduced to a new breed of supernaturals in this book - "Creepers"! Even the name gives me chills up and down my spineless back! If they are scary to the vamps and supercharged Humans, they have to be some kind of "bad ass". Not just a zombie, a super powerful zombie that is hand picked by a necromancer!

Ellie, a product and ward of "The brotherhood," and her cohorts are having a pretty tough time trying to find and identify them. Her main job is to protect the "mob-like" group of Vampires that "Control" the southie area of her city. (Yep, just like the "Godfather") She discovers another group of "rogue" vamps are trying to take over control so you can fill in the blanks for yourself....yep, lots of blood and gore and a nasty new monster in town that marks vamps, ghosts, ghouls and anything else he can use to eradicate insurgents and maintain his life force.

These ghouls even read and carry out instructions. Their maker possesses them just by inscribing his signature mark and seems to be able to jump in and out of their minds at will. Talk about opportunist! They are not just undead but undead and guided by a scarier monster...chills again!

The whole group of friends are finding it a little hard to wrap their heads (pun) around the new breed and how they are "made" and why, This is where the twist comes in but I won't spoil it in this review! Val, an independent vampire and friends with Ellie, comes face to face with her own gruesome ways of "making" new vampires. (It would sure give me nightmares if I thought I had to put my hand in someones chest and pull out a part of their heart and then do the same to myself!) Who thinks this stuff up? It's too weird not to be true, right?

Such an array of characters have banded together to form their own coven. Kind of like California in the 60's! A warlock, 2 Succubi, 2 vamps and a Renfield. Now the Renfield seems to be a pretty cool sidekick to have for a vamp. Essentially they are there to serve the vampire master...Hey, I wonder if Walmart carries them...seems like they would be a hot commodity! Especially since he was pretty darn effective as the white knight at the end of the story.

I sometimes felt my eyes crossing as I tried to keep all the pieces of this story together, rather like watching a Hercule Poirot mystery where nothing quite makes sense until the end. The author does keep the action going throughout then brings it all together (WHEW...Finally) at the end.

Many near death experiences for the main characters. But apparently it's great to have friends with lifesaving tricks up their sleeves. I even smelled a couple budding romances (or maybe it was my suppressed Succubi tendencies towards mind control) that may or may not blossom in future episodes. I guess I will just have to keep reading to find out!

review: Night Owls (Night Owls Novel book one)

I give this book 4 sheep


About the Author:
Lauren M. Roy has flexed her literary fantasy muscles over the past several years contributing to various role playing games, including Green Ronin's Dragon Age Set 3 sourcebook, Pelgrane Press' Mythos Expeditions anthology (part of the Trail of Cthulhu line), and Green Ronin's Song of Ice and Fire. NIGHT OWLS is her first novel.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Book Review: Bitten by a Hellcat (Eternal Mates Romance Series Book 6) by Felicity Heaton

Bitten by a Hellcat (Eternal Mates Romance Series Book 6)
by Felicity Heaton
The sole remaining member of the most famous shifter hunter family in history, Owen Nightingale is a mercenary and a man with a secret held in his closely guarded heart, but when a beautiful rare shifter catches his eye and offers him a job, he has the feeling he’ll be the one paying for helping her—with his heart.

Cait is in a spot of trouble with a capital T. A male hellcat has set his sights on claiming her and she’s one kitty who doesn’t want a collar. When she meets a dark, alluring and mysterious hunter, she sees a chance to rid herself of the male, but the price Owen sets and the fierce passion that burns white-hot between them lures her dangerously under his seductive spell.

Can Owen discover the true intent of the male hellcat and stop Cait from falling into his hands? And can Cait retain control as the heat of desire burns between her and Owen, or will a reckless moment seal both of their fates forever?

Cait is no domestic kitty. As one of the rarest kinds of shifters, this hellcat isn’t about to have some random male collar her and use her as a breeding machine. After being chased for so long by a dangerous male hellcat, she’s had enough. She hires mercenary Owen Nightingale to “get rid of” her problem. The Nightingale family name has long been associated with shifter hunting and not mercenary work. Owen has built a solid reputation as someone not to be messed with but he can’t resist Cait’s plea and what starts off as a job ends up being so much more.

Holy Hellcats! They’re even more bad a** than your everyday cat shifter and Cait definitely backs up that claim. Cait may have needed Owen’s skills as a hunter to resolve her problem but that didn’t mean she sat back and let him do all the heavy lifting. While she was technically the damsel in distress, she didn’t act like it. She was more than willing to jump into a fight and kick some serious booty! You go girl! I loved her!

Secretive Owen is more than capable of handling Cait’s persistent suitor, yet I never felt that he developed a “Me man, you helpless woman” mentality (hate those men). He was always aware of Cait’s strength but he never forgot that she was also a woman he was attracted to. He had such a great balance of tough guy persona and yes, vulnerable human being. He was more than just “the muscle” in the story and that made him a lot more interesting than he seemed in the beginning.

Now for the smooching and sexy parts, you can’t have a Felicity Heaton book without some seriously hot scenes and Bitten by a Hellcat is no exception. The only difference is that I felt Cait and Owen’s romance took the back seat to the bigger problem of the male hellcat, which worked for me. If you had a dangerous hellcat after you with the intention of collaring you, thereby taking away your freedom 
wouldn't that be your first priority? I know it would be mine no matter how delicious the mercenary was! Heaton did a great job at creating those fast paced scenes where Cait and Owen are being pursued by their enemies too! I know I caught myself hyperventilating a couple of times with all the close calls they had.

The sixth book in Felicity Heaton’s Eternal Mates series seems to be a book all its own. There isn’t much of a connection between Bitten by a Hellcat and the previous books except for a scene towards the end which features one of my favorite secondary characters from the first book. Talk about having your curiosity piqued! Each of the previous books had its own special magic that I couldn’t get enough of and Bitten by a Hellcat certainly joins that club.

If you do happen to read Bitten by a Hellcat, please let me know if I’m the only one who pictured Cait’s hellcat form like a character from Pokemon will you? Cause I totally pictured one when she shifted.

Sheep Rating: 4 Sheep

Books in the Eternal Mates paranormal romance series:
Book 7: Taken by a Dragon – coming in 2015

About the Author:
Felicity Heaton writes passionate paranormal romance books as Felicity Heaton and F E Heaton. In her books she creates detailed worlds, twisting plots, mind-blowing action, intense emotion and heart-stopping romances with leading men that vary from dark deadly vampires to sexy shape-shifters and wicked werewolves, to sinful angels and hot demons!

If you're a fan of paranormal romance authors Lara Adrian, J R Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Gena Showalter and Christine Feehan then you will enjoy her books too.

If you love your angels a little dark and wicked, Felicity Heaton’s best selling Her Angel series is for you. If you like strong, powerful, and dark vampires then try the Vampires Realm series she writes as F E Heaton or any of her stand alone vampire romance books she writes as Felicity Heaton. Or if you’re looking for vampire romances that are sinful, passionate and erotic then try Felicity Heaton’s new Vampire Erotic Theatre series.

In 2011, five of her six paranormal romance books received Top Pick awards from Night Owl Reviews, Forbidden Blood was nominated as Best PNR Vampire Romance 2011 at The Romance Reviews, and many of her releases received five star reviews from numerous websites. In 2012, she received the GraveTells Author of the Year Award and her vampire romance novel, Heart of Darkness, was selected as a 2013 Epic Ebook Awards finalist in the paranormal romance category.