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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Book Review: Rogue Souls (A Soul Charmer Novel, Book 2) by Chelsea Mueller

Rogue Souls (A Soul Charmer Novel, Book 2)
by Chelsea Mueller
July 9, 2018
Pages: 241
Get ready for more magic, murder, and rented souls in the Soul Charmer series, which Booklist calls a "fresh take" on urban fantasy.

Callie Delgado volunteered to apprentice to Gem City's Soul Charmer. He'd forced the soul magic ability into her, but now it was hers. She'd learn to control her body's reaction to rented souls or go up in flames. Literally.

She exchanged her chance to escape the darker side of Gem City to save her brother. Now she needs to keep him sober and safe, try to mend family ties, and avoid the mobsters who have too much interest in the magic of borrowing souls.

But when bodies begin dropping at the Soul Charmer's door, it's up to Callie and her partner Derek to track down the person killing soul renters. The Charmer wants retribution, but Callie is determined to get justice even if it means putting herself directly in the sights of the murderer.

If she wants to stay on the Soul Charmer's good side, Callie must confront her enemies head-on and learn to command rogue souls...and hope someone she loves doesn't become the next victim.

As much as Callie wants to cut ties with the Soul Charmer, now just isn’t the time. Derek and Callie are shocked when bodies start showing up at the Soul Charmer’s door and the only way to get justice for those that were killed is to find out who is responsible. Callie hopes that if they can find out who the murderer is, the Soul Charmer will go for good.

The second book in the Soul Charmer series delves a little deeper into Callie and Derek’s personal lives, which was something missing from the first book. One of the best highlights of the story was getting to know more about soul renting, how it works, who can do it and where the souls come from. I was so happy to get some of my questions answered from the first book. The story held my attention, tied up some loose ends which I was grateful for. This is a series I will continue to read that you do not want to pass up. 

Review: Borrowed Souls (A Soul Charmer Novel, Book 1)

Getting 4 sheep

Denise B

About the Author:
Chelsea Mueller writes gritty contemporary fantasy. She founded the speculative fiction website Vampire Book Club, blogs about TV and romance novels for numerous websites, and is co-chair of SF/F charity Geeky Giving. She loves bad cover songs, dramatic movies, and TV vampires. Chelsea lives in Texas, and has been known to say y’all.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Excerpt Spotlight: Paralucidity (The Memortality Saga) by Stephen H. Provost + giveaway

Paralucidity  (The Memortality Saga)
by Stephen H. Provost
July 15th, 2018
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult, Romance
Somebody wanted Minerva Rus dead. They succeeded. But Minerva isn’t letting a little thing like death stop her.

After the dangerous adventure that killed her in Memortality, Minerva Rus has reconciled herself to being dead. She and her also-dead boyfriend Raven share an amazing gift that allows them to bring the dead back to life―including each other. Now that Jules, their most dangerous enemy, has been banished from reality and trapped inside her own mind, Minerva and Raven plan on enjoying the eternity of their unnatural lives.

But immortality isn’t safe. Minerva and Raven’s life-giving powers mysteriously fade, forcing them to take refuge in The Between, a shadowy realm of memories that lies between life and death. What’s more, their old adversary Jules is on the loose, partnered with a resurrected Nazi scientist planning a monstrous experiment that will change the destiny of the human race. And now it’s up to a 21-year-old dead girl to save the world―again.

Maybe Raven shouldn’t have been so confident. Sure, he could get them back to his parents’ home in the Between. No problem. What could go wrong?

Distraction was one thing that could go wrong—very wrong, as it turned out. As he focused his memory on his parents, he was reminded of a story his mother had read to him when he was young. His parents didn’t just read him normal bedtime stories; they read him detailed biographies, historical accounts, ancient myths. The goal wasn’t merely to entertain or send him off to sleep: They were ways to exercise his memory. His parents knew about his gift, and they needed it to stay alive, but they had also wanted him to know as much as he could about the world. “You’ll have an entire library inside your head!” his mother had once told him.

It had seemed like a good idea at the time. And it had been. But now it had caused his mind to wander at precisely the wrong time. His parents had once read him a series of stories that seemed, in the present moment, to have diverted him from his intended destination to … here.

Just like the first time he’d entered the Between, he found himself in a forest. But unlike the first visit, when the forest seemed to shift and shudder, this one seemed very much like a real place. The ground felt firm, the sky blocked the sun with a shield of gray clouds, and beside him stood an enormous oak tree spreading in all directions.

“Okay, what just happened?” Mineva asked.

Raven shook his head as he looked around, trying to get his bearings. “I’m not quite sure, Min.”

“Where are we?”

Raven didn’t answer because where he thought 

they were didn’t seem possible.

“I don’t know, exactly,” he said. “How are you feeling?”

“Better,” Minerva said. “You were right. I think coming here might have allowed us to save some of our strength.”

There was a rustling in the underbrush off to their right. Raven looked over in time to see a brown hare scurrying away. The hare appeared to have been startled by a rapid, rhythmic tapping from high up in a nearby birch: the sound of a woodpecker announcing its territory. A nuthatch in a nearby rowan tree abandoned its perch, as did a jay, which began chasing it for sport.

A moment later, there was another rustling nearby, and Raven realized it might not have been the woodpecker that had spooked the hare and the other birds. This rustling seemed farther away, but grew louder as something trampled on fallen leaves. The sound seemed to rip through the thick woods.

Raven and Minerva instinctively took a few steps backward, sheltering under the massive oak As they did, a twelve-point royal stag burst through a thicket off to their right, bounding past them in a rush of hooves and antlers. Raven found his back hugging the tree as he watched the animal fly past, turning his eyes again toward the place where it had emerged as he heard the sound of branches breaking. Something, or someone, was in pursuit.

An instant later, a small man wearing a dirty green cloak over a brown shirt emerged from the thicket. The horse he rode, an unremarkable light brown steed of average size, hadn’t been prepared for the sight of Minerva and Raven just a few steps off its intended course. It reared and nearly threw the man from its back, breaking off the chase. It danced nervously in a circle, backing away from the two strangers.

“Wearg rounsey!” the man said under his breath in a voice that, even in just those two words, they could tell was thickly accented. He dismounted hurriedly and stomped to the place where his hat had landed in the dirt. “Wearg haet!”

The man seemed scarcely to be paying attention to them. Raven took Minerva’s hand and started inching toward the other side of the tree. If they could get clear of his field of vision, they could perhaps go unnoticed. He obviously had a temper, and there was no use antagonizing him.

“What language is that?” Minerva asked, leaning in to whisper in Raven’s ear.

“English, I think. He said something that sounded like ‘hat,’ and ‘rounsey’ … I think that’s a kind of horse.”

The man walked up to the horse, which had calmed and stood minding its own business. He swatted at its hindquarters with the cap. The horse, taking offense, whinnied loudly and ran off.

Minerva continued her conversation with Raven mind to mind. Better not to draw any more attention than necessary. That’s not like any English I’ve ever heard. What does “wearg” mean?

Probably dammit, or maybe something worse.

“Incer! Astende!”

The man had turned and was staring straight at them, pointing with a drawn sword. He approached in a measured stride that was as ominous as it was methodical.

Minerva looked at Raven.

I have no idea. Either he wants us to stand where we are, or he thinks we’re astounding. Maybe both?

“No comprendo,” Minerva ventured.

That won’t work. He’s not speaking Spanish.

Well, it’s the only other language I know any words in. You got a better idea?

Raven had to admit he didn’t. What was bothering him was the fact that he’d obviously taken them someplace in the Between where he didn’t know the language. That meant this place somehow existed independently, at least to some degree. It was more a destination than a creation, which meant he had less control than he would have if they had landed in his own memory.

The man stopped a few paces away, looking them up and down. The anger seemed to have drained from his face as recognition dawned.

“By the beads of the blessed Mary, thou art one of those!”

Now he’s speaking like Shakespeare, Minerva offered.

Maybe he’s bilingual?

“I’d attempt no escape, were I thou. Anon, mine own men hast encircled this clearing.”

“We mean no harm,” Raven said, putting his hands down and opening his palms in front of him. “I don’t even know how we got here.”

“You got here by remembering, lad.” Now his language was closer to modern English, but still with the same thick accent. He stroked his scruffy chin. “I’d say … southwest side of the New World, about the nineteen-hundred and eightieth year of our lord.”

“Close,” Minerva said. “L.A. area, 2016.”

He put his cap back on without bothering to dust it. It was plain from his body odor that he’d gone without bathing for days. Or weeks.

“Can’t get ’em all right,” he shrugged. “The gifted and revived come here from all times. We try to make sense of their tongues when they land, and we do a fair job of it. Those of us who are gifted pick them up quickly enough.”

So, he’s gifted, Minerva commented.

Guess so. Looks like there are more of us than we thought.

The man turned and put two fingers to his lips, letting go a shrill whistle. Almost at once, three men emerged from the undergrowth. Two of them were shorter than Raven and Minerva, barely five and a half feet, but the third was a bear of a man who looked a full foot taller and significantly bigger around than either of his companions.

The man they’d been talking to, who appeared to be their leader, stepped toward Raven. “I believe introductions are in order,” he said, extending his hand to grip Raven’s. “I’ll begin with myself. Roger is the name, and these are my lands.” He made a sweeping gesture with his hand.

“Roger,” said Raven, more than a hint of skepticism in his voice. “I would have sworn your name would be …”

Minerva finished the sentence for him: “Robin Hood?”

About the Author:
Stephen H. Provost is a veteran editor, reporter and columnists with more than 30 years of experience at daily newspapers in California. He’s currently the managing editor of The Cambrian on the Central Coast, as well as a columnist and assistant city editor for The Tribune in San Luis Obispo.
As an author, he has written historical nonfiction (“Fresno Growing Up” and “Highway 99: The History of California’s Main Street”), novels (“Memortality” and “Identity Break”), while also exploring the realms of mythology, fable and ancient history.

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Sunday, July 29, 2018

Excerpt Spotlight: Chase Me: A Curvy Girl and A Dragon Shifter Romance (Dragons Love Curves Book 1) by Aidy Award

Chase Me: A Curvy Girl and A Dragon Shifter Romance (Dragons Love Curves Book 1) 
by Aidy Award
February 1, 2018
359 pages
She's stolen a priceless relic from his treasure, and his heart.

Ciara is the best damn wedding planner this side of anywhere, but she's no thief.

That's exactly what the sexy-ass dragon shifter has accused her of - stealing his treasure.

She's going to steal something of his alright, his sanity, if he doesn't let her go so she can get back to giving couples their happy ever afters.

It's the best way to ignore the fact she's sure she'll never get one her own.

Not with any man, or even a dragon.

Jakob is either going to kill the sexy, curvy woman who denies she has The First Dragon's relic, or take her to bed and drive her as crazy as she's making him.

Why does he want her so much he can't even properly interrogate her?

Might have something to do with the way his soul is screaming at him to mark her, claim her, f*ck her, and make dragon babies with her.

He can't give her his soul if she's already stolen it, or something darker and more dangerous has.

Also Available in KU

Body made for sin? Was he kidding? Body made of sins, maybe. Namely the sins of Swiss meringue buttercream, chocolate ganache, and too many I Love Lucy reruns. “Stop staring at my toukas. Whatever you're looking for ain't in there.”

She wiggled her back side to emphasize her point. That made her intruder damn irritated, probably that her rear wasn’t dropping any evidence of wrongdoing based on the growl rumbling from his chest and his eyes glued to her bum.

“Stop enticing me with your curves, thief. You can not distract me from what is mine.”

Ciara cleared her throat, gently at first, but when that failed to bring his eyes up to hers, she about gave herself a sore throat trying to get his attention.

“Are you ill? I won't have you dying before you tell me where the relic is hidden.”

What an asshat. A cute one, but a real douchcanoe nonetheless. “I think maybe we've gotten off on the wrong foot here.” Ciara extended her hand to him. “I’m Ciara Mosely-Willingham.” Her hand hung there for a full count of ten. “And you are?”

He recoiled from her hand. “Wondering what spell you're working on me. I assure you I am immune.”

“I was trying to be nice, but I've had a very long and tiring day, so my patience is wearing thin. I don't have your thingy, I don't even know what a Why Vern is.” Ciara turned and began looking for her torturous heels. It would be much more fun to stomp off if there was some clack. 

“As am I. If you won't return what you have taken from me I will be forced to bring you before the AllWyr council.”

He grabbed her hand and pulled her through the ballroom toward a terrace. Good thing she'd already kicked off her shoes or she'd have been tripping all over her feet at the rate he was dragging her away.

“Hey, stop right this instant or I’ll bring out the self-defense moves.”

“Save your defense for the council. You’ll need it.”

This dude was seriously wack-a-doo. “Let me go.”

“Return my relic.”

“I’m gonna make you a relic.”

“Save your spells, witch.”

“Your face is a witch.”

The scary man released her and grabbed at his face. “Good try, witch. You’ll pay for that.”

Ciara pivoted and bolted, weaving her way between the tables. One second she was zigging and zagging the next she was airborne.

Great claws gripped her shoulders and a deep whoosh-whoosh-whoosh sounded above her.

She wriggled and screamed and frantically tried to see what was happening above and below her. Her feet crashed into empty glasses and caught a centerpiece of giant lilies dead on as she was dragged through the air above the tables.

Before she could even take another breath to scream again they swooped out of the French doors, over the balcony and into the night sky. She glanced up not for a second fathoming that she’d see, flying above her, the giant wings, flapping gracefully through the sky, of a dragon.

About the Author:
Want to get notifications when Aidy's new releases hit the shelves? Sign up for the CURVY CONNECTION 
You'll get a free CURVY LOVE ebook and other fun gifts, like your very own CURVY LOVE ADULT COLORING BOOK, plus, new release info, contest and giveaways, and exclusive content, and previews of the new books especially for fans.

Aidy Award is a curvy girl who kind of has a thing for stormtroopers. She's also the author of the popular Curvy Love series. She writes curvy girl erotic romance, about real love, and dirty fun, with happy ever afters because every woman deserves great sex and even better romance, no matter her size, shape, or what the scale says.

Read the delicious tales of hot heroes and curvy heroines come to life under the covers and between the pages of Aidy's books. Then let her know because she really does want to hear from her readers.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Book Review: Claimed by her Cougar (Cougar Creek Mates Shifter Romance Series Book 1) by Felicity Heaton

Claimed by her Cougar (Cougar Creek Mates Shifter Romance Series Book 1)
by Felicity Heaton
28th July 2018
Having lost his parents and mate in a brutal attack on his cougar shifter pride by a hunter organisation, Rath burns with a need to keep humans off his land and out of his life. He’ll do whatever it takes to protect his pride from them, but when a lone female wanders into his territory, it isn’t a burning need to drive her away he’s feeling and it isn’t his pride that needs protecting—it’s his heart.

Down on her luck, Ivy follows a lead to a spot where she hopes to photograph black bears, but what she discovers there is a mountain of a man who lacks manners and seems determined to drive her off his property—a man who stirs unbidden fire in her veins and a strange sense of home.

With a pride gathering on the verge of happening at Cougar Creek and the air charged with a mating heat, the last thing Rath needs is a human on his land, especially one as beautiful and alluring as Ivy, one who rouses a fierce need to fight for her, but he can’t convince himself to let her go… and that proves dangerous for them both.

Cougar Creek Mates is the newest series by premier paranormal romance writer Felicity Heaton. The series is set to include four installments all slated for release over the coming months. Claimed by her Cougar is the first in the series. The series intersects with Heaton’s enormously popular Eternal Mates series as well.

When nature photographer Ivy Wentworth unwittingly stumbles onto cougar shifter territory, she is wholly unaware of the existence of shifters. Rath, guardian of the territory, steadfastly protects Cougar Creek, a reclusive settlement in the remote Canadian wilderness. Suspicious of Ivy’s intrusion, Rath does everything he can to send Ivy on her way as he prepares for an influx of visiting cougar-shifter into his ordinarily solitary existence. As Ivy inconveniently lingers, Rath finds he’s unable to maintain his gruff distance with the photographer, especially given how at home she seems in Cougar Creek.

Heaton writes perennially effective paranormal romance. She’s found a formula that works, creatively varying her characters and plotlines enough to maintain reader interest. While there’s nothing overly original or inventive here, it’s certainly well-crafted. Claimed by her Cougar was a quick, entertaining read with loads of romantic appeal. I found it difficult to put this book down and read it in a day. I’m anxiously anticipating the next installment.

Four Sheep

Bianca Greenwood

Book 1: Claimed by her Cougar (coming 28th July 2018)
Book 2: Captured by her Cougar (coming 18th August 2018)
Book 3: Courted by her Cougar (coming 8th September 2018)

Book 4: Craved by her Cougar (coming 29th September 2018)

About the Author:
Felicity Heaton is a New York Times and USA Today international best-selling author writing passionate paranormal romance books. 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, the best-selling Her Angel series is for you. If you like strong, powerful, and dark vampires then try the Vampires Realm series or any of her stand-alone vampire romance books. If you’re looking for vampire romances that are sinful, passionate and erotic then try the best-selling Vampire Erotic Theatre series. Or if you prefer huge detailed worlds filled with hot-blooded alpha males in every species, from elves to demons to dragons to shifters and angels, then take a look at the new Eternal Mates series.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Selah's Manga Mania:My Love Story!!, Vol. 1 by Kazune Kawahara Illustrated by Aruko

My Love Story!!, Vol. 1
by Kazune Kawahara
Illustrated by Aruko
July 1, 2014
184 pages
Publisher: VIZ Media: Shojo Beat
(Ore Monogatari!!)
Genre: Romantic comedy
Volumes 13
Takeo Goda is a GIANT guy with a GIANT heart.

Too bad the girls don’t want him! (They want his good-looking best friend, Sunakawa.)

Used to being on the sidelines, Takeo simply stands tall and accepts his fate. But one day when he saves a girl named Yamato from a harasser on the train, his (love!) life suddenly takes an incredible turn!

Takeo can hardly believe it when he crosses paths with Yamato again, and he finds himself falling in love with her… But with handsome Sunakawa around, does Takeo even stand a chance?

Ever get tired of the same set up of pretty people fumbling around and getting together? Weeell, let’s take a look at this week’s title!

My Love Story! takes traditional romantic comedy tropes and tilts them just enough. Takeo would be the scary-looking comic relief or maaaybe the sidekick in any other manga. He looks intimidating, but is actually conscientious, polite, and basically has the good soul you want in a romantic lead. Unfortunately, every girl he likes is into his good-looking, socially adept friend Makoto. Enter Rinko: a shy, petite, cute girl who also likes to cook.

Yes, I do actually read things like this. Shut up.

This has all the tropes of high school shojo mixed in with a lot of romantic comedy staples: meetcutes, misunderstandings, fumbling relationships, all the good stuff. The difference is that the two leads aren’t really adept at dating life and have to be steered along. Rinko may look more like a traditional type of heroine, but she’s a little more naïve than most, at least at first. Then again, so is Takeo. 

For me, the real gem of this story is Matsuko. I love that instead of making him the smarmy friend who turns out to be competition for Takeo, he helps his bud get the girl, and keeps getting roped into helping Takeo out because Takeo’s never really dated before and is just clueless. Like seriously, I know it’s comedy, but I feel for the poor guy. So Matsuko becomes this well-meaning, but put-upon character that Rinko and Takeo are always depending on. And then they start wondering what’s wrong with him because he really doesn’t care too much about dating or have his eye on anyone. It’s also really nice to see that other characters are into Takeo, so Riko isn’t a total anomaly or a pity girlfriend. This is a cast that has characters that see the good characteristics in each other, which is refreshing.
I also get why the character designs are the way they are, but I do kinda wish some of them were refined in later volumes, because to me, the constant over-playing of Takeo’s physical attributes is a one-note joke that gets played out by like the second or third volume. It’s like…in Baby & Me there came a point where Gon just became Gon and wasn’t all that noticeable even though he was designed to look more brutish than Takuya and co. But I just couldn’t get to that point with Takeo, and I feel like it got brought up fairly constantly, too. Isn’t necessarily a bad thing because it is kind of the hinge point of the series, but I just found it a little wearing.

Honestly, I forget how many volumes I lasted, but I ended up stopping on this one and not feeling all that bad about it, mostly because it was very episodic and felt like it was always going to stay at the same fumbling, figuring things out point. Again, not bad, but I don’t need a million volumes of the same set up on repeat. I genuinely like the three main characters, there just came a point where they weren’t as interesting to me as those in other series were.

However, I do absolutely think it’s worth a look. This is an unusual take on the genre, and I really like that the characters are supportive of each other and not trying to take each other down like in other titles. For that alone, it’s worth it. There’s some genuinely great humor, as well, and it could be that I’ll eventually go back to it when I’m more in the mood for that sort of thing.

For cute, unusual romantic comedy, definitely give this a flip through.

3 romantically fumbling sheep

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

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Excerpt Reveal: Dark Alpha's Hunger (Reapers) by Donna Grant

We are beyond excited to be sharing an excerpt from Donna Grant's DARK ALPHA'S HUNGER with you today! DARK ALPHA'S HUNGER is the highly anticipated 6th installment of the Reapers series. If you're a fan of paranormal romance, you're going to want to get your hands on this!
Dark Alpha's Hunger (Reapers)
by Donna Grant
August 7, 2018
St. Martin's Paperbacks
Dark Alpha's Hunger is the sixth paranormal romance novel in New York Times bestselling author Donna Grant's Reapers series featuring a brotherhood of elite assassins who wage war on the Fae at Death's behest--and the women who change their hearts. There is no escaping a Reaper. I am an elite assassin, part of a brotherhood that only answers to Death. And when Death says your time is up, I’m coming for you… Where Death leads, I follow. Nothing will stop me from my duty – not even the darkness that claims me. It’s the music that leads me from the dark, returning me to my brethren and a new foe that has risen. Learning who hunts Thea could be the key to unraveling what we need to know to defeat our enemy. The Half-Fae’s music stirs a passion within me that I’ve never known. For her, I will break my vow of silence. For her…I will risk everything.

Add DARK ALPHA'S HUNGER to your Goodreads TBR here!
Pre-order your copy of DARK ALPHA'S HUNGER today! Amazon-iBooks-Barnes & Noble-Kobo

Even over the noise of the city, Eoghan heard the violin. As soon as the first strains of the song reached him, everything else faded away. He couldn’t ignore the music any more than he could stop using magic.

He hadn’t known what drew him to Dublin—until he heard the strings. The closer he got to the pub, the more the music seemed to wrap around him, tugging him near. And holding tightly.

Eoghan didn’t mind. In fact, he sought out the sound. He needed to know who played the instrument. Was it the pretty woman who’d helped pull him through the portal? Or someone else?

Remembering Rhi’s words about his eyes, he called forth a pair of sunglasses and put them on before entering the tavern. The place was packed with people as eager as he was to hear more of the music. He shouldered his way through until he found a place near a wall. Normally, this kind of crowd sent him the other direction, but tonight, he didn’t think of leaving.

As soon as his gaze landed on the woman swaying as she played the violin, he inwardly smiled. Her blue hair wasn’t something he would ever forget. The mix of various shades of blue suited the tempestuous nature he’d glimpsed in her gaze the night before.

She had her eyes closed, completely lost in the music, moving from one song to another without missing a beat—as if she were performing for the notes, not the people. Slow or fast, it didn’t matter. The woman had serious skill.

Then again, he expected nothing less from a Halfling.

He eyed her black jeans encasing long legs and the black lace, long-sleeved shirt that scooped low in the front to reveal just a hint of cleavage. The black, high-heeled boots elongated her legs.

There was a flash of sparkle through her hair. Eoghan then spotted the mismatched earrings through the strands. One was a crown that hung from rhinestones, and the other a scepter.

Some might argue that her blue hair and shiny jewelry drew attention, but Eoghan knew the truth. Most only saw her hair or the solid black clothes and looked away in disgust or stared at her tresses, trying to figure out the exact shade. Few ever really noticed her face.

It was the perfect disguise for a half-Fae wanting to blend in.

Compared to her bandmates who were eating up the attention of the crowd, the Halfling was almost removed from it all. As if she preferred solitude but endured people in order to share the music that fell as easily from her as breath.

Eoghan’s lungs seized when she suddenly opened her eyes and locked gazes with him. Even from a distance, he knew those orbs held every shade of brown imaginable from a mix of raw umber and caramel to flakes of dark brown.

There was the slightest parting of her lips to let him know she recognized him. Now that he knew she was the one who had led him out of the darkness as well as pulled him through the portal, he owed her a great debt—one he feared might never be repaid.

He intended to cast magic that would alert him if she were ever in danger from humans or the Dark, but especially from Bran. He planned to do it as he followed her home.

When the band played their last song and walked from the stage, Eoghan made his way to the back of the pub to wait. He knew as soon as the door opened that it was the Halfling before she even stepped out.

He hadn’t planned to talk to her or even let her know he was near, but then he looked at her face. The next thing he knew, he’d spoken. The words sounded rough and raw, even to his ears.

Her head swiveled to him, and he walked from the shadows straight to her. The soft curve of her lips when he told her that he was in her debt made his blood heat. It took a moment for him to realize that it was lust that burned through him. It had been a long, long time since he’d felt it.

Memories from the night before as he’d covered her body with his when the dolmen exploded filled him. He recalled the softness of her body, the warmth of her skin. The smell of mint from her hair. He wanted so badly to touch her that he fisted his hands.

Death had sent him on a mission. Already, Eoghan wasted valuable time seeking out the Halfling. He needed to cast his magic and leave.

But she was near enough to touch. By the stars, it had been too many eons since he’d last yearned for the touch of another. If only the Halfling would raise her hand to his cheek or even his shoulder. Anything.

So long as she put her hand on him.

“I’m Thea. Thea Keegan,” she said. She raised a brow. “And you are?”

He parted his lips to answer when something materialized behind her. The Dark smiled at Eoghan. Without hesitation, Eoghan grabbed her against him and spun, bending over her and acting as a shield so the force of the magic landed on his back.

Blistering pain zapped through him as ball after ball of magic pummeled him. There was no time to fight the Dark, not with Thea. He glanced at her before he teleported both of them away to the roof of a building.

His knees gave out, pitching him forward. Eoghan caught himself with one hand and struggled to keep from falling on top of her.

“You can let go,” she said.

His muscles were locked with pain. It took a couple of tries before his arm finally released her. She moved from beneath him and climbed to her feet. Eoghan dropped his head and used both hands to keep from falling on his face.

“Dear God,” she murmured from beside him.

He closed his eyes and let his body heal the wounds. The Fae’s magic ate away at his skin, muscle, and bone like acid. One of the perks of being a Reaper was faster healing, as well as stronger magic than other Fae, but that didn’t make the pain any less excruciating.

The minutes ticked by without another sound from Thea. She remained beside him, and he could only imagine what was going through her head. Though he was immensely grateful that she wasn’t bombarding him with questions.

When most of the throbbing diminished to a level where he could breathe easier, Eoghan rocked back onto his haunches and rested his hands on his thighs. Then he opened his eyes and turned his head to her.

Thea’s face was a mix of panic, alarm, and curiosity as she set her violin case by her feet. Her brown eyes held his as she squared her shoulders. “I believe you were about to tell me your name.”

No hysterics, no demands, no fear. The more he was around Thea, the more he liked what he saw.


“It’s nice to meet you, Eoghan. I don’t suppose after what happened last night and just a moment ago that you’d feel the need to fill me in, would you?”

He rotated his shoulders, stretching out his newly healed skin before he removed the remnants of his shirt. Then he climbed to his feet and used his magic to replace the garment with another.

Thea’s eyes briefly widened, but she stood her ground and waited.

“Why do you color your hair so?” he asked.

She hesitated only a minute before replying. “I like to do something different.”

“It’s not to keep other’s eyes off your face?”

Her brows snapped together. “How . . . ? Why would you ask that?”

“Those like you either embrace who they are or hide. The hiding seems to be instinctual, I’ve found.”

“Those like me?” she repeated, her frown deepening. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

Eoghan looked out over the city. He really wished Cael or one of the other Reapers were there to tell her. He was never very good at imparting such news.

“Eoghan,” she urged.

His gaze swung back to her. “Why do you dye your hair?”

This time, she didn’t pause in answering. “Because people look at it and not my face. And before you ask, I don’t know why I don’t want others to look at me.”

“It’s because you have Fae blood.”

She swallowed nervously and dropped her arms. “I see. Did I bring us up here?”

“I did that.” When she stared at him blankly, Eoghan sighed. “You’re getting a crash course in this, and I’m sorry about that. I’m a Light Fae. The man who attacked us in the alley is Dark Fae. You can spot them because of their red eyes and the silver in their black hair.”

Thea nodded slowly, her face blank.

“I had no intention of telling you any of this. I was going to leave, but the Dark showed up.”

She continued to nod, her face folding into anxious lines.

“Are you understanding me?”

“You’re Fae. I’m half-Fae.”

He lifted one shoulder in a shrug. “Aye. That’s the gist of it.”

“I need more.”

Eoghan ran a hand down his face. What she wanted was for him to talk more. After so many millennia of silence, he was finding it difficult.

“Do you not want to tell me?” she asked.

He shook his head. “Until you pulled me from the portal stones, I went a very long time without speaking.”

“Oh.” She shoved a lock of hair from her face. “If it’s too much, then don’t—”

“The Fae come from another realm, but our civil war destroyed vast parts of it. Most have chosen Earth as their home. Ireland, in particular. The Light Queen takes the north, and the Dark take the south.”

Thea blinked, her lips forming an O.

“I’m part of an elite team who is hunting a rather nasty Fae bent on slaughtering Death. Aye, Death is a person,” he said when he saw the question fill her eyes. “Bran has become a nuisance that has to be stopped. He was the one who sent me to that other realm with a beast that was hunting me. I heard your music and followed it right to the doorway the Halflings and Druids built eons ago to go between realms.”

She blew out a long breath. “I think I need a drink.”

“It’s the mention of the Druids that got you, isn’t it?” he teased.

Her look of disbelief faded as she rolled her eyes. “You don’t look like someone who jokes.”

“I’m not, but you looked like you needed the distraction.”

She smiled, laughing softly. “I did. Tell me how you know I’m part Fae?”

“You’ve the look of us. It’s your beauty, but a Fae always recognizes another. Does no one in your family know?”

Thea hunched her shoulders as she shivered against the cold. “I’m an orphan.”

“So am I.” He wasn’t sure why he told her that. It was a part of his past that he rarely thought about. “We should get you out of the night air.”

She looked at his outstretched hand. “You brought us here, right?”

“I did. And I’m going to take you wherever you want to go.”

“Really?” she asked with a tantalizing grin. “Anywhere?”

He nodded. “Anywhere.”

“I want to see the pyramids of Egypt.”

Eoghan kept his hand out and waited for her to take it. She studied him as she reached for her violin case. As soon as her palm slid into his, he teleported them to the great pyramid.

“Bloody hell,” she murmured and stumbled back, nearly dropping her case when she spotted the monuments.

He steadied her with a hand as her head tilted back to take in the grand structure before her.

“You really are Fae.”

It had been a long time since Eoghan was around anyone with so much enthusiasm. He was supposed to be finding the other Reapers, though Death hadn’t told him how to do that. But he couldn’t seem to leave the beautiful, beguiling Thea just yet.

Her head turned to him. There was a huge smile on her face as her eyes sparkled with excitement. “I’ve always wanted to travel. The pyramids have always fascinated me. Thank you for this.”

The smile that had begun to form on his face died when he spotted the veiled Fae about two hundred yards away. A quick glance around showed five more.

It looked as if he didn’t need to find the Reapers. They had found him.

About the Author:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Donna Grant has been praised for her "totally addictive" and "unique and sensual" stories. Her latest acclaimed series, Dark Kings, features a thrilling combination of dragons, Fae, and immortal Highlanders who are dark, dangerous, and irresistible. She lives with her two children and an assortment of animals in Texas.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Book Review:Spellsmoke: An Urban Fantasy Novel (A Fistful of Daggers Book 2) by SM Reine

Spellsmoke: An Urban Fantasy Novel (A Fistful of Daggers Book 2)
by SM Reine
July 25, 2018
378 pages
It's not much of a life, taking bounty hunts on vampires. But as a disgraced former deputy, Lincoln Marshall's not exactly knee-deep in job offers, and airplane tickets are expensive after the apocalypse. His dying father is all the way across the country in Northgate. It's Lincoln's last chance to see him, and he'll do whatever it takes to get there - even though the werewolf pack in Northgate is still out for his blood.

Sophie Keyes, the one and only Historian, needs Lincoln's help. She fears the gods may be out to kill her. So Lincoln drags her back home despite his better instincts - only to learn that home's not exactly safer than Reno. Some preternatural monster is killing hospice patients in Northgate.

Sheriff Noah Adair is convinced the killers are werewolves. The werewolves are convinced Lincoln Marshall is the killer. And Lincoln thought surviving the post-apocalypse had been bad enough before all this crap.

Book 2 of the A Fistful of Daggers series.

Lincoln was disgraced as a deputy and has no job offers on the horizon, so he takes bounties and hunts vampires to get paid. He wants to use the money to find his ex-girlfriend Elise. He needs her help with an immediate problem that he faces. His plans take a turn when his cousin calls and says his dad is dying and he needs to get home as fast as he can. Sophie has an assassin out to kill her and decides the only way to stay alive and protect history is to enlist Lincoln’s help.

Sophie rejected Lincoln’s advances for a relationship in the past and he still has some sore feelings over her rejection, but Lincoln is an honorable man nonetheless and will do anything he can to keep Sophie safe. The dynamics between Sophie and Lincoln are interesting. They aren’t the type of couple you would envision together, but something about their differences draws them together as well. Family drama is always the hardest for people to face and seeing the truths sometimes if hardest of all. If you've wondered how some things came to be in other series there are some answers here so you won’t want to miss this but beware the story creates more questions for your mind to ponder. 

 Review: Lonesome Paladine (A Fistful of Daggers Book 1)

Getting 5 sheep

Denise B

About the Author:
Hi everyone! My name is Sara, and I'm the New York Times Bestselling Author of urban fantasy known as SM Reine. I collect swords, cat hair, and typewriters (which I do use for writing!). You can usually find me writing on my treadmill desk at 2am whilst listening to dubstep. Yes, dubstep.

If you would like to know the instant I have a new book available, you should enlist in my Army of Evil! I'll only email you when I have a new release, which is generally no more than once a month. I can't write any faster than that. :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The Six non-human groups in Suzanne Johnson's Sentinels of New Orleans series + giveaway

Six Magical Species Walk into a French Quarter Bar…
Suzanne Johnson

The Sentinels of New Orleans series is set in a vast multiverse where mythical gods live across the border from vampires, and famous people become immortal through the magic of human memory (which is how Louis Armstrong and Truman Capote appeared in the series, and pirate Jean Lafitte is a major series character). Here’s a quick rundown of the six major non-human groups hanging out in New Orleans during Mardi Gras in FRENCHMAN STREET—and plotting a war.

--Types of magic: physical; rituals and potions; creation and illusion; psychic. A wizard is usually strong in only one area.

--Are fully integrated into the human world, although the humans don’t know it. Until Hurricane Katrina tore down the veil between the human world and the Beyond, the wizard sentinels were in charge of guarding the borders into the human world. Now, not so much.

--The heroine of the series, DJ Jaco, is a wizard who also has elven DNA, so she can do a mix of wizard’s and elven magic. This has led to, er, problems. She is the currently unemployed sentinel.

--Personality traits: Impatient, surly, tend to be sarcastic, have a love of politics.

--Weaknesses: their physical magic does not work outside the human world.

--Types of magic: mind-reading of humans and other species, which increases with touch. Can influence behavior and thoughts of others in close proximity. Each of four clans has its own unique abilities.

--Until a few years ago, the elves had remained in their own ancestral Land of Elfheim. Currently, only one of the four clans is an adult. Quince Randolph (aka the prettiest elf on earth or anywhere else) is Lord of Elfheim and a fire elf—he can make people spontaneously combust.

--Personality traits: Smart, imperious, devious, extremely attractive and willing to use it. Find human emotions like love somewhat alien.

--Weaknesses: the elves’ mental magic doesn’t work well on other elves, so their internal squabbles tend to be brutal and physical.

--Types of magic: 1) Arch, which is what we think of as manipulation of natural science—weather or genetics, for example; 2) Academy, which is manipulation of physical sciences and technology. Most faeries possess only one kind of magic; a person must have both Arch and Academy magic to rule the Kingdom of Faerie. All faeries can use glamour to change their appearance, which is how a spate of faux-celebrities (George Clooney on a unicorn, anyone?) will be riding in Mardi Gras parades.

--The Kingdom of Faerie is currently in the middle of a civil war that’s spreading into New Orleans, as the High Prince of Summer makes plans to infiltrate Mardi Gras and out all the preternaturals to the humans. The fae are the largest preternatural group.

--Personality traits: Arrogant, short-tempered, more than a little cray-cray.

--Weaknesses: Lack of self-control; inability to lie; aversion to metals.

--Types of magic: Their only “magic” is their immortality—they are give live by the magic of human memory, so if someone like pirate Jean Lafitte is well-remembered in the human world (and he is), he can’t be killed. Well, he can die, but he’ll be back in a week or two and be really angry.

--The Historical Undead live primarily in “Old Orleans,” kind of a wild-west bordertown between the human city of New Orleans and the Beyond, where the ancestral homes of the species can be found. Most don’t have much interest in the affairs of modern humans, although Jean Lafitte is an exception.

--Personality traits: They retain the abilities and personalities they had in their human lives.

--Weaknesses: Even though they can’t be permanently killed, their lack of real magic renders them a limited role in conflicts between the other species.

--Types of magic: Shifters are born and change instantaneously; weres are made, have difficult shifts, and are called by the moon. They have great physical strength and heal quickly.

--The shifters and weres are fully integrated in human society, and some work for a secret FBI division. They have traditionally worked for the wizards in areas of security. An exception is the water species, including the merfolk, who are also fully integrated in human society but do not align themselves with the wizards. The water species are politically neutral.

--Personality traits: Shifters are solitary and all tend to be alphas; weres are organized in packs with a single alpha.

--Weaknesses: Some of the true shifter forms are not practical in some settings. Merman Rene Delachaise, for example, can half-shift into classic merman form, or can fully shift into a freshwater or saltwater dolphin. He does, however, need water. Canid shifter Alex Warin turns into an impressive pony-sized dog, but he probably couldn’t best a werewolf.

--Types of magic: Vampires can teleport short distances, can control whether their bites are painful or pleasurable, and can alter memories.

--Although the vampires maintain a strong (but hidden) presence in the human world, they also still spend time in their ancestral home, the Realm of Vampyre, and are led by a Regent. Vampires feed from other vampires of the opposite sex, but human blood is like addictive candy to them. (Elves taste really, really bad.)

--Personality traits: Disloyal and self-absorbed, pretty, good at business.

--Weaknesses: Their willingness to work as mercenaries has led to distrust among the other species. They have little interest in preternatural politics, which makes them vulnerable to being manipulated.

New Orleans is awash with preternaturals right now, with Mardi Gras as their final showdown to see who is the most powerful. Where would your loyalties lie?

Frenchman Street (Sentinels of New Orleans Book Six) 
by Suzanne Johnson 
July 24, 2018 
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Suzanne Johnson
ISBN: 978-0-9968220-4-6
Number of pages: 352
Word Count: approx. 99,250
Cover Artist: Robin Ludwig Design Inc.
The uneasy truce between the preternatural species of New Orleans has shattered, with wizards and elves, shifters and vampires—not to mention the historical undead—struggling for ultimate control of the city, including the humans who still think they’re atop the food chain.

They aren’t, however—and the Summer Prince of Faerie wants them to know it.

Stuck in the middle? One unemployed wizard sentinel. For DJ Jaco, war makes for strange bedfellows as she finally embraces her wizard-elven heritage and strikes a deal with the devil so she and her ragtag band of allies can return to defend her hometown. After all, when the undead French pirate Jean Lafitte is the mayor’s newest consultant, things could go horribly wrong.

War is coming to New Orleans in time for Mardi Gras, with the elves and wizards lined up on opposite sides, the shifters with a new leader, the vampires promising loyalty to the highest bidder, and the soul of the Crescent City resting on the outcome of the civil war going on in Faerie between the rival princes of summer and winter.

Mardi Gras Day is approaching fast, and the line between friends and enemies grows thin as DJ tries to stave off open warfare on the St. Charles Avenue parade route.

Laissez les bons temps rouler…but be careful, or the good times might roll too close for comfort.

I turned to glare at the unicorn. It was hanging around for some reason.

“Can you talk? If not, what are you waiting for?” I made a shooing motion. “Go home to your whack-job master.”

Because we needed to find out how it got to our remote beach in the Beyond.

“I’ll find a rope—maybe we can make a halter,” Rene said, walking toward the house.

Jean also seemed to have had his fill of unicorn wrangling. “Bah. I shall depart for Old Orleans, Drusilla. There are people with whom I must discuss matters of import, and perhaps I might discover the truth about Christof.”

Fine. Leave me with the merman and the unicorn.

He turned and walked into the transport, disappearing in seconds. He hadn’t removed his boots, but he had held his pistol out of the water. The pirate had his priorities straight.

“Here is my message.”

I whirled to look at the unicorn, who was now doing his best Mr. Ed impression.

“I knew it.” That freaking unicorn could talk; he’d been waiting to get me alone.

I held up the elven staff, and the unicorn had the good sense to back up a couple of steps. I slipped my left hand into my jeans pocket, fingering a couple of potions I’d cooked up in this rustic paradise using a generator-powered hot plate and my own blood. My physical magic wouldn’t work outside the human world, but my potions and charms were fine. The staff worked everywhere.

“Okay, start talking, horse.”

The unicorn managed to look offended. “Here is my message,” he repeated. “His Royal Majesty Florian will be crowned King of Faerie and of All Species of Earth and Beyond in two weeks. You are—”

“Wait.” I shook the staff at him, and sparks flew out its tip. “What do you mean, ‘King of Faerie and of All Species of Earth and Beyond’?”

What in the name of Merlin was that madman up to?

The unicorn tossed his head and looked even grumpier. “Here is my message,” he repeated for the third time. “His Royal Majesty Florian will be crowned King of Faerie and of All Species of Earth and Beyond in two weeks. You are invited to attend and pledge fealty at his coronation in New Orleans at the apex of the celebration the humans call Mardi Gras. Should you die before the appointed time, this invitation may be considered null and void.”

And with that, the unicorn turned, took a big, steaming dump on the sand near my feet, and made to trot back down the beach from whence he came. I flipped the lid off one of the charms in my pocket, chased him down the beach, and tossed it on him. I only hit his tail, which, considering it was a freezing charm, only made said tail freeze at a ninety-degree angle.

“Stop, unicorn, or I’ll toast your rump like a potroast!” I yelled, aiming the staff. I sent a warning zap of fire onto his rump. My aim had improved a lot in months since I’d blown up my own SUV and burned down half of Six Flags New Orleans. I’d had lots of time to practice.

Unfortunately, the shot only made the unicorn fly into a gallop. I had no choice but to run after him and hope I could keep him in sight by moonlight.

About the Author: 

On Aug. 28, 2005, Suzanne Johnson loaded two dogs, a cat, a friend, and her mom into a car and fled New Orleans in the hours before Hurricane Katrina made landfall.

Four years later, she began weaving her experiences and love for her city into the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series, beginning with Royal Street (2012), of which Frenchman Street is the sixth and final book in the story arc. She also has written Pirateship Down and The Consort, both set in the Sentinels world, and the standalone Christmas in Dogtown.

She grew up in rural Alabama, halfway between the Bear Bryant Museum and Elvis’ birthplace, and lived in New Orleans for fifteen years, which means she has a highly refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of SEC football and fried gator on a stick.

She can be found online at her website or her blog.

As Susannah Sandlin, she writes multiple award-winning paranormal romance and romantic suspense, including The Penton Vampire Legacy paranormal romance, suspense duology The Collectors, romantic suspense series, the Wilds of the Bayou romantic suspense series, and the standalones Storm Force and Chenoire.

Suzanne currently lives in Auburn, Alabama, where she works as a full-time author and copyeditor.

Tour Giveaway 
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5 $10 Amazon gift cards 
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