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Monday, November 11, 2019

WIP it Real Good: Fantasy Author Nikki Jefford + giveaway

Working on something new, dabbling on the side? Share a snippet (one line to paragraphs) and tell the readers a bit about it. Chance to tease readers for upcoming books.

Lately, I see authors teasing readers with “secret projects” they’re super excited about and can’t wait to share more of . . . at a later date. So, being a black sheep (ha, ha), I want to come out and share the new project I’m working on to kick-off 2020.

The Royal Conquest Saga was so much fun to write that I’ve segued into The Royal Conquest Heirs (second-generation characters). These are shorter, 40,000-word, novellas each complete on their own.

It will kick off with The Golden Prince. Lark Elmray is a halfling prince (half-elf, half-Fae). He’s one of those high energy, dive in headfirst, doesn’t know the meaning of the word “quit” kind of characters. He’s also very protective of his family and proud to a fault. His family is unconventional and travels frequently between realms (Faerie, elven, and mortal). Because of this, he’s had to endure a lot of insults in Faerie. Worst of all, from the cultured Crispin Maglen, Earl of Ashcraw. Lark tried to befriend the young earl when they were boys only to be belittled and spurned – not something he has forgotten.

I love how vocal characters become, and I’ve learned to listen to what they want rather than force my plans on them. I’d tried matchmaking for Lark but he stubbornly refused the childhood elf friend I had in mind. Nope. He told me he’s gay. I was like, “What am I supposed to do with that? This is uncharted territory for me, dude!”

Luckily, Rainbow Rowell had just released Wayward Son in her wildly fun and sexy Simon Snow series. I listened to both books in the series in audio (narrated by Euan Morton, amazing)! Those books inspired and showed me the kind of relationship I wanted to develop between Lark and Crispin. You’ve got these two characters with chemistry they’re fighting to resist, humor, adventure, danger, and romance.

Working on The Golden Prince has consumed me in ways I never expected. I love this couple and their journey. I’ve always loved complicated relationships between different species and cultures. (I’ve been married to a Frenchman for going on 20 years.) It adds an extra dash of spice. I’m also a sucker for underdogs, enemies to lovers, second chances, and “the forbidden.” I’ve written secondary gay characters and couples in past novels. Featuring them as a main couple has been rewarding new territory. I hope readers love Lark and Crispin as much as I do. This couple completely stole my heart.

Below is a snippet taken from a scene at a masquerade ball. Crispin sees Lark being friendly to his sister and assumes the worst.

My sister and Lark. It was my worst nightmare.

Bits of smooth blue scarf and tweed bunched in my fists. He was at least an inch shorter than me, and even though I had him backed against the wall, I knew he could push me easily away.

“Stay away from my sister,” I snarled into Lark’s face.

He lifted his chin, running his eyes through his black mask up my face and scoffed. He probably took this as a challenge. I should have shut up about Kenzie. But I wanted him to keep away from her—her and every other female in the kingdom.

From this close, I could smell the intoxicating scent surrounding him. It was warm and spicy, woody and aromatic. Unable to help myself, I inhaled him like a spring bouquet after winter.

Lark’s nostrils flared.

“Maybe you’re the one I want.”


Stolen Princess (Royal Conquest Saga #1)
by Nikki Jefford

November 11th 2018
Genres: Fairy Tales, Fantasy, New Adult, Retelling
She sacrificed herself to save her family from poverty…

The ball was only the beginning.

It wasn’t enough to kill my mate, heir to the throne. My obsessive Fae brother-in-law wants the crown. And he wants me ruling by his side.

I thought I was done with romance until a certain pompous elf reappeared in my life at the illustrious Monster Ball. A little teasing led to bruised lips and captured hearts. No one wants Jhaeros and me to be together, not even my favorite sister, Melarue. But she’s a teenager just coming into her elemental powers and discovering boys—the wrong kind—the type I want to shoot arrows through.

My royal in-laws are playing a treacherous game, and my brother-in-law is determined to get what he wants. But this elf princess no longer has a master. I don’t want a crown. I want freedom, family, and the love of a lifetime. But love might be the one thing that destroys us all.

**This book will now include the prequel novella Enemies and Lovers.


About the Author:
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Nikki Jefford is an award-winning, bestselling author of paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and quirky combinations in-between.

She is a third-generation Alaskan now living in the Pacific Northwest with her Westie, Cosmo, and her French husband, who she wouldn’t trade in for anyone–not even Spike or Mr. Darcy!

When she’s not writing, she’s reading, walking, or out riding her motorcycle, a Honda CB500F, (so long as it’s sunny and warm)!

To get in on the fun and adventure, visit Nikki at her website for release alerts, updates, exclusive giveaways, and a free story when you subscribe to her newsletter: http://nikkijefford.com/

Giveaway:
Tour-wide giveaway (US only)
Wire Elf Ears in Silver and Aqua Crystals 

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Book Review: The Trouble With Tigers (Shenanigans Book 2) by Gail Koger + giveaway

The Trouble With Tigers (Shenanigans Book 2) 
by Gail Koger
Sept 15, 2019
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Comedy, Action
Lions and tigers and skunks, oh my! Kandi Cain’s a psychic pet detective. Her cases range from wrangling baby goats, to finding lost critters. Her current case is rescuing a lion from a Nigerian warlord. Kandi knew dressing up as a demonic clown and walking a lion down a city street would freak people out. But, wow! She didn’t expect Armageddon.

The hot as hell Detective Dutch Callaghan’s on her trail again and showing more than a professional interest. Kandi’s talents have attracted the attention of a CIA black ops agent who wants her to steal twelve endangered white tigers from a Pakistani warlord. The mission’s crucial to prevent a terrorist attack.

Wait! What? Terrorists? What had she gotten herself into? Kandi wasn’t a superhero. She couldn’t bend steel with her bare hands, and she wasn’t faster than a speeding bullet. She’s Doctor Doolittle. She talks to the animals and occasionally the dead.


After reading the premise of this book I thought it sounded just like Ace Ventura. Which in no way turned me off! I loved Ace and even though the author wanted her to sound more like Dr. Doolittle, all I could think of was Ace! 


The Trouble with Tigers is all around a fun and enjoyable story. It has serious moments but never really takes itself so serious or dark. Some PNR rests in that dark place, this one is a lighter and funnier romance for people looking to have laugh out loud moments. 


There is a lot of sexy romance between the leading man Dutch and Kandi. As a pair, the two had a very believable and lovable dynamic. I didn't know this author before reading her book but I do look forward to checking out what she writes in the future. 


Overall a very pleasant story with tons of fun and just enough adventure to entertain anyone. 


Getting 4 Sheep




KD

Shenanigans (Shenanigans Book 1)
by Gail Koger
Kandi Cain inherited her Dr. Doolittle abilities from her grandmother and became a psychic pet detective. To her dismay, she just acquired the power to communicate with the spirit world, but dead people give her the willies.

Just when Kandi thought her life couldn’t get more complicated, the neighbor from hell moved in next door. The nasty guy’s name is Dutch Callaghan. How can someone so gorgeous be such a dick? Kandi could chalk some of it up to his job. Dutch is a Phoenix PD homicide cop. 

Kandi’s current case is rescuing a Yorkie from a brutal dog fighting ring. Little does she know her dog napping suspect is involved in a series of brutal murders. Disguised as an elderly nun, Kandi rescues the Yorkie and, in the process, blows the hell out of Dutch’s undercover operation.

Kandi now finds herself a person of interest in her client’s murder and her sexy-as-hell, pain-in-the-butt neighbor is in hot pursuit of the Ninja Nun. Is Dutch about to slap the cuffs on? Only time will tell.




About the Author:
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How do I come up with my stories? Being psychotic helps. I was a 9-1-1 dispatcher for way too long. All those years of wild requests, screwy questions, bizarre behavior and outrageous demands have left me with a permanent twitch and an uncontrollable craving for chocolate. Don’t get me wrong. Working as a 9-1-1 dispatcher can be very rewarding. BUT - some days I felt like the entire world was nuts. I mean, c’mon, who in their right mind calls 9-1-1 for the winning lottery numbers? To keep from hitting myself repeatedly in the head with my phone, I took up writing.

I made the Night Owl's Awesome Paranormal Romance Authors List.


GIVEAWAY
$25 Amazon gift card and a Coletti Dagger aka a nail file with a fired glass handle and an ebook copy of Shenanigans - the first in the series 

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Book Review: Winter King (The Wyth Courts, #1) by J.S. Dark

Winter King (The Wyth Courts, #1)
by J.S. Dark
October 9th 2019
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
His court is dying, and she’s his only hope …

Monsters of the Tywyll Forest have poisoned the Winter Court, unleashing a prophecy that demands a human sacrifice to save the withering land. Willing to do whatever it takes to save his people, King Cadewyn of the Winter Court ventures to the human world in search of one insignificant life to claim…

Amber was used to her life being in shambles, but getting kidnapped and whisked off to a magical fae realm was a new low even for her. While feeling drawn to the fae King by a sizzling attraction, her apprehension builds to a panic when she finds out why she was brought there.

When Cade discovers that Amber is his mate, can he carry out his plan to sacrifice her? Or will the malicious plotting of others within the court leave Amber trapped in the mystical realm with nowhere to run?

Winter King is a standalone steamy paranormal romance with a HEA. Each book in the Wyth Courts series will feature a different couple, with a complete story, and a HEA. Suited for readers 18+ due to language and sex scenes.




Reviewer: Bianca Greenwood


2 ½ sheep

Amber is down on her luck. Although she’s unemployed with no friends, family, or prospects, she possesses an unparalleled kindness even in her most desperate times. That kindness draws King Cadewyn, ruler of the Winter Court in the fae dimension of Wyth. Cade needs a pure-hearted human sacrifice to stop a rotting curse besieging his land. Initially, Cade has no qualms sacrificing an innocent human, but soon Amber’s light and love prove irresistible to the winter king. 

Winter King is a quick read with lots of sex appeal. The beautiful cover and synopsis drew me in. The fantastic fae scape described for readers is creative and engaging. Unfortunately, I found both the plot and characters to be unfortunately underdeveloped. The premise is problematic. Amber’s secondment to the fae kingdom is abrupt. She asks startlingly few questions while in the winter court. As a reader, I prefer a female main with more spark and intelligence. It’s almost as if Amber’s remarkable kindness and purity render her uninteresting and overly docile. I was distracted by inconsistencies in both Amber’s character and the book’s diction. The author combines an antiquated courtly structure peppered with modern colloquialisms I found awkward. These aspects made it difficult for me to suspend my disbelief. I was wholly aware I was reviewing throughout this read instead of being immersed in the text.

Winter King had promise. I love romance, fae fantasy, and exploring brand-new series. I’m optimistic that with some polish and enhancements Whyth Courts could gain traction.

Reviewer: Adria Reyes
3 for the overall book
2 ½ for the romance.
The Winter Court needs a sacrifice to stop the spread of a curse that is set to destroy its people. The sacrifice needs to be a human who is pure of heart and Cade, the King of the Winter Court is ready to do that until he finds out that the human who is to be sacrificed is his mate.

Winter King had a lot going for it with its intriguing plot and characters BUT it didn’t quite reach its potential and that was a shame to me for many reasons. I liked the story well enough but I could see areas that could have benefitted from more fleshing out.

For starters, Winter King is terribly short for a fantasy book. For me, the fantasy genre is synonymous with attention to details about the world that the author is building which includes fully fleshed out characters. That means more pages that spend just the right amount of time immersing readers in a world that seems so real you could reach out and touch it. JS Dark kind of rushed through that part of the book in order to jump into the duty vs love conflict Cade had going on. However, rushed as it is, the author managed to create a vivid picture of the Winter Court that whets the appetite. I can only imagine what the author could have done with a longer book.

Winter King is also told in dual first-person POVs, which is not my favorite thing. First-person POV makes me feel like I’m only getting a partial picture, a biased version from that character’s eyes. Both characters felt a little underdeveloped with Amber being the least likable to me. It’s not that she was terrible but I suppose because she was the “pure of heart” character, that meant that depth, realism, and dimension had to be sacrificed. Amber was too much of an innocent, goody two shoe type character which in my book equals dull and forgettable. And when one of the lead characters is forgettable then the romance suffers. I wasn’t into the romance between Cade and Amber. Cade was more fleshed out and realistic between the two and I didn’t feel that Amber was an adequate match for him.

Overall, Winter King reads more like a novella. It’s a full story with a HEA but for a fantasy it does fall flat in several areas where fantasy usually excels. After reading this book I was left a tad unsatisfied but with the hope that this author will take the time to write a fully fleshed out fantasy series because the talent is there, I got a sample of it in a handful of pages where some scenes are brought to life in quick flashes of shimmering details. But in order for it to shine, time and attention to details and characters need to be paid. The fantasy genre demands a solid platform and I believe this author can meet those demands and create a niche all their own.

About the Author:
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J.S. Dark is the pen name of a USA Today Bestselling author. As J.S. Dark, she writes steamy paranormal and fantasy romance, with red hot heroes and their sassy soulmates. Her passion for books started when she was very little, and her first novel was penned at only thirteen years old. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, two kids, and way too many books!

Friday, November 8, 2019

Selah's Manga Mania: Hakumei & Mikochi, Vol. 1 by Takuto Kashiki

Hakumei & Mikochi, Vol. 1
by Takuto Kashiki (Author, Artist)
July 24, 2018
192 pages
Genre: manga, young adult, fantasy
Seinen
Book 1 of 7 in the Minuscule Series
Deep within a lush, green forest live Hakumei and Mikochi. Making their home in trees, using leaves for umbrellas, and riding bugs for transportation is just part of everyday life for these tiny spirit pals!

These days, sometimes we just need a break from drama. It's magic when I find a slow, soothing title I really like, and this series is adorable.

Hakumei and Mikochi are two tiny forest spirits that westerners would probably equate to fairies. They live in the woods and their adventures consist of finding fabric at the market or making yummy food or fixing things. Occasionally there will be a bigger drama like needing their house repaired or mediating between groups of talking animals or competing at a singing competition.

Overall, the pace is leisurely, the drawings are detailed and beautiful, and it harkens back to simple pleasures we tend to forget about.
The good: I love that both leads are ladies and they have different skillsets and tastes. The cast is rounded out with other sprites and talking animals, and the day-to-day approach means there's a ton of possible material, especially centering around how characters relate to each other and work together. The market and town scenes are bustling with loads to look at and the forest scenes are lovely and lush. New inhabitants are added with each volume, so while the pair of friends is the main focus, there is a whole little world being built here. There are some bigger adventures, but they're pretty much solved within a chapter.
Altogether, this is a charming series that makes me feel like I'm reading picture books but for a higher reading level. This is definitely all-ages appropriate (there is some drinking, so keep that in mind for little kids depending on your preferences) and a beautiful series.

The bad: Nothing. If you don't enjoy it, it's probably because you prefer more action-oriented stories, and that's totally fine.

The ick: Nothing.

This would be a great starter series because you pretty much can pick up anywhere and not feel like you're missing anything. It's a great read to curl up with after a long day and feel cozy and secure.

Five forest-dwelling sheep







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

Thursday, November 7, 2019

WIP it Real Good with UF author Stephanie Mirro + giveaway

Hi everyone! I’m so excited to share the first page of my newest short story, The Morrigan. This story received an Honorable Mention from the Ron L. Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Contest and will be published in an anthology this fall. It’s a Cinderella retelling with Irish mythology mixed in for a dark twist.

One of the reasons I love this story so much is that I sat down and wrote the first draft in 3 days while on Christmas vacation last year. Normally, I’m a bit more of a plotter, so to be able to completely “pants” a story like this kind of blew my mind. I have yet to do it again, though.

Be sure to follow me on social media for the release date of the anthology!


THE MORRIGAN 
In two days’ time, life as I knew it would end. It would be the day I had been both dreading and anxiously awaiting for the last five years—the day my stepmother would choose my husband. At best, I would regain a level of freedom I hadn’t experienced since before Father died. At worst, I would become even more a slave than I was today.

“You’ve missed a spot, Lo.” Margaret’s shrill voice interrupted my dark thoughts as I scrubbed the last of the stone floor in the great hall where the gathering would be held. “And another one. And another.” My stepsister’s words punctuated each muddy footprint she left behind on the floor I had just spent the last few hours scrubbing clean. As I sat back on my heels to survey her work, my knees aching, she laughed, throwing back her head of perfectly coiffed brown curls. So unlike my own, even on the best days.

Margaret looked down her hawk-like nose at me. I didn’t have the time or energy to express my anger, so instead I focused on her brown eyes, set too close together, and her lips that were too thin. I knew she wanted to be a beauty, and I knew she wasn’t. At least I wasn’t as daft as she was.

“I guess you’ll just have to do it all again. Better hurry before Mother sees what a mess you’ve made.” She hoisted her pastel skirts up enough for her to kick the bucket of dirty water over the floor. “Oops!”

Her footsteps and laughter receded out the door and down the hall. I’d like to say her behavior was unusual, that she was acting out because I would be married off before the other two—and with a substantial dowry, thanks to Father’s will—but such acts were a daily ritual in my life. As was her nickname for me, “Lo,” which she liked to say referred to my station in life as well as to my given name Eloise.

I wrung out the rag and did my best to sweep the spilled water back over the muddy floor.

I knew I should have barred the doors.


Her Majesty’s Fury (Immortal Relics  Book 2)       
by Stephanie Mirro
Oct. 24, 2019 
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Tannhauser Press
ISBN: 978-1945994487
ASIN: B07YJ6RNFZ
Number of pages: 311
Word Count: 74060
Cover Artist: TS95Studios
When you're working with the Roman god of chaos, things can always get worse.

Bacchae, the supernatural creatures that spawned vampire lore, are real. For the last several thousand years, they’ve kept to the shadows. UNTIL NOW.

When the worst and most powerful of the Bacchae murders someone she loves, graduate student Serafina Finch, now aided by the ancient god Bacchus, sets out on a journey in search of new allies. They must act quickly before Danae, the Bacchae witch claiming to be Queen, figures out a way to restore the Bacchae to their full powers.

Sera is hellbent on killing Danae before she devastates the mortal world, and it becomes a race against time when the queen reveals her own dark alliances. Sera thinks things can’t get any worse, but when you're working with the Roman god of chaos, things can always get worse.

“Bacchus created us in his image—chaos. And chaos is what we will give them.”

HER MAJESTY'S FURY is the second book in the Immortal Relics series, a New Adult Urban Fantasy adventure. Fans of Deborah Harkness, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Roman mythology will love this blend of magic, mayhem, and wry humor.


Her Majesty's Fury

EXCERPT:
A few hours later, as sunlight started to drift up over the horizon, a soft scratching sound came from the back door. Renee was still sleeping, so Sera set her cup of coffee on the kitchen table before approaching the door. She pulled the blinds back. A small, dark-skinned boy, who might have been in his early teens, stared back at her.

She gave him a questioning look.

Let us in, let us in, or we’ll blow your house down, a snickering voice echoed around her head.

Who are you? she sent her thought back.

Ah! So the rumors of your Gift are true. Your canine friend talked of a fight? We’re in. She could almost see the grinning smile in the shadows of her mind.

You didn’t answer my question, she said.

I am Eshu. So matter-of-fact, so not what she was looking for.

Sera muttered under her breath. Damn gods.


About the Author:
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Stephanie Mirro's lifelong love of ancient mythology led to majoring in the Classics in college, which wasn't quite as much fun as writing her own mythology stories as she did as a child. But that education, combined with an overactive imagination and being an avid fantasy reader, resulted in a writing career.

Starting her days with coffee and ending them with wine means Stephanie can usually be found juggling household chores, keeping the kids alive, and trying to write, edit, publish, and market the stories that haunt her dreams.

Born and raised in Southern Arizona, Stephanie now resides in Northern Virginia with her husband, two kids, and two furbabies. This thing called “seasons” is still magical.


Tour Giveaway 
1 $20 Amazon Gift Card
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Book Review: The Soul Bond series by Hailey Turner

Soulbound (3 book series)
Book 1 A Ferry of Bones and Gold 
Book 2 All Souls Near and Nigh 
Book 3 A Crown of Iron & Silver

by Hailey Turner
September 9, 2018
406 pages
When the gods come calling, you don’t get to say no.

Patrick Collins is three years into a career as a special agent for the Supernatural Operations Agency when the gods come calling to collect a soul debt he owes them. An immortal has gone missing in New York City and bodies are showing up in the wake of demon-led ritual killings that Patrick recognizes all too easily from his nightmares.

Unable to walk away, Patrick finds himself once again facing off against mercenary magic users belonging to the Dominion Sect. Standing his ground alone has never been a winning option in Patrick’s experience, but it’s been years since he’s had a partner he could trust.

Looking for allies in all the wrong places, Patrick discovers the Dominion Sect’s next target is the same werewolf the Fates themselves have thrown into his path. Patrick has been inexplicably attracted to the man from their first meeting, but desire has no place in war. That doesn’t stop Patrick from wanting what he shouldn’t have. Jonothon de Vere is gorgeous, dangerous, and nothing but trouble—to the case, to the fight against every hell, and ultimately, to Patrick’s heart and soul.

In the end, all debts must be paid, and Patrick can only do what he does best—cheat death.

A Ferry of Bones & Gold is a 115k word m/m urban fantasy with a gay romantic subplot and a HFN ending.

Patrick Collins is a special agent with the Preternatural Crimes Bureau in a world filled with every mythical or magical legend. Where gods walk, where were-creatures occupy the city, and vampires run the illegal weapons trade. 

Patrick is a survivor of the Thirty Day War where a battle cracked open his soul and tainted his magic. No longer able to tap into ley lines, he’s lost a big part of himself.

More than that, what’s left of his soul is debited to Persephone who tricked him into an agreement when he was a scared child facing death.

To say the least, Patrick has no love of the gods.

Jono is a werewolf, infected with the virus after a blood transfusion and abandoned by his family. He left England for the US hoping to start a new life. But unlike the average werewolf, Jono is God Pack, and unlike other God Pack, he is connected to his patron god.

Jono belongs to no group of were-creatures and is pretty much out on his own.

Despite all that, Jono manages to live a somewhat normal life, working at a bar called Tempest and builds an extended family of friends.

Unfortunately for Patrick and Jono, the Fates have other plans.

Story Concept: A+

It has been a very long, long, LONG time since I have picked up an Urban Fantasy book that has piqued my interest.

This series did just that.

Hailey Turner builds a multi-faceted world, where magic is the norm, and on occasion, the gods wear tacky Hawaiian shirts. There are billionaires faced with madness because they are connected to the Fates, and there are cults, creatures, and magic wielders all mixed in together.

I know what you’re thinking. “This sounds like every other Urban Fantasy book.”

Superficially, maybe, but the writing is rich, colorful, the action scenes suspenseful. The characters were deep with their loves and losses.

Hailey Turner is one of the few writers I’ve seen capable of managing such a diverse cast of characters and give them all enough screen time to make the real, while not burying the main characters driving the story.

World-Building: A++
Remarkable. Small details are fed into the narration building this variation of earth, without info dumps or long boring monologs. On occasion, Hailey does repeat a few details, but where this happens, it falls in gently reminding the reader of what they’d read a chapter ago so they aren’t lost. Another trick few writers master.

In the end, this alternate earth is absolutely believable because everything works, each aspect fitting together like a well-oiled machine.

I won’t lie, you cannot have this kind of richness without complexity, but how the story is delivered dulls that aspect and should make this an enjoyable read for even tentative Urban Fantasy fans. And for the die-hards, prepare to be floored.

Characters: A
I have no idea where to start on this. Patrick and Jono are both incredible. Wade cracked me up (you meet him in the second book) and all the other major players, no matter how little “screen time” they get, they come off as well thought out and three dimensional.

Another trick I’ve rarely seen someone pull off. Maybe JR Ward in her earlier books, but that’s the only one who comes close.

I give this part an A because Patrick is almost overdone and his surly nature gets out of control sometimes shadowing Jono. Or maybe I just have the hots for Jono and I’m totally biased, which is also a possibility.

Secondary Characters: A++
Interesting, interactive, important to the plot.

And because Wade—Wade and his endless appetite for all things junk food just adds the right amount of humor at even the darkest times.

I like Wade. A lot. He should get his own book and find love. After what he’s been through, he deserves it.

Plot: A+
All three books were original even when using overused aspects of classic Urban Fantasy. Hailey Turner twists even the most mundane into an exciting roller coaster ride. I found no plot holes and no unexplainable events that sidetrack a story. Every piece, every small hint of the past, plays a part.

The only bits I had trouble with were the occasional, “in the right place at the right time” scenarios where what’s needed just happens to be within reach when it’s needed. But this is also done so well, I don’t think many readers would even notice unless they looked for it.

Plot Execution: A+
Nearly flawless—that nearly part is for reasons stated above.

Romance: A++/B-
I give this one two grades. The relationship that builds between Patrick and Jono is wonderful. It’s not overnight, there are no instant soulmates, yet they fit. And how they come together is very unique. At the same time, neither character just jumps right into it. I love the fact the relationship truly grew. I love how it grows stronger from book to book, never becoming boring, and always being tested.

I love how it changes both of them for the better.

So why the B-. This is completely and utterly unfair. And I know it.

There just isn’t enough Jono and Patrick time. Yeah, yeah, so most Urban Fantasy fans don’t like sex in the books they read. And honestly, a lot of urban fantasy writers can’t write it. It’s boring, dry, and redundant.

Not Hailey. Nope. Hailey nails it every time (and so does Jono). Each encounter (however few there are) is unique and very real, hot, and beautiful.

Which is exactly why there is a B. Because there really should be more—if for no other reason than Jono. Who doesn’t want more Jono?

And I bet Patrick would agree with me.

Resolution: A++
Each book left me satisfied at the end, and at the same time left open places for it to go later on without compromising the book before it. There are no convenient plot changes to make events fit. They simply fit.

Enthusiasm: A++
When I read these books I can practically feel Hailey’s connection with the characters. It comes through their emotions, their choices, and their interactions. When I read these books I walked away with the impression these characters mean the world to Hailey. That the world that’s built is a section of Hailey’s soul.

And maybe it is. If so, it’s incredible.

But I still want more Jono.

Guest Reviewer: Valentine

About the Author:

Hailey Turner is big city girl who spoils her cats rotten and has a demanding day job that she loves, but not as much as she loves writing. She's been writing since she was a young child and enjoys reading almost as much as creating a new story. Hailey loves stories with lots of action, gritty relationships, and an eventual HEA that satisfies the heart.

To keep up-to-date with Hailey's future projects, join her mailing list, where you can download free Metahuman Files and Soulbound short stories. 

Book Review: Pictures of Dorianna by Catherine Stine + giveaway

Pictures of Dorianna
by Catherine Stine
October 23, 2019
Genre: Urban Fantasy, YA paranormal romance
Publisher: Konjur Road Press
ISBN: 978-1-7333901-0-1
eBook: 978-1-7333901-1-8
ASIN: B07WGB5HQ6
Number of pages: 327
Word Count: 90k
Cover Artist: Najla Qamber
Internet followers, beauty, power. It all sounded good. Until it transformed into a terrifying reality Dorianna couldn’t stop. New twist on Dorian Gray with the first-ever female lead!

Internet followers, beauty, power. It all sounded good.

Until it transformed into a terrifying reality she couldn’t stop.

When her father is jailed, her mother ships lonely, plain Dorianna to her aunt’s in Brooklyn, NY. There, Dorianna yearns to build a new identity, but the popular Lacey bullies her—mostly for getting attention from her ex, Ander.

Ander takes Dorianna to Coney Island where Wilson, a videographer, creates a stunning compilation of her. She dreams of being an online sensation, as she’s never even had a birthday party, and vows she’d give anything to go viral. Wilson claims he’s the Prince of Darkness and offers her the beauty and fame, even love she’s dreamed of—warning her that a pledge has its downsides. Dorianna has no idea of how dire those consequences might be.

She’s thrust into the spotlight, and an incomprehensible nightmare. Not only is she prettier, she’s gaining harmful powers of manipulation. When her dark forces grow beyond anything she can control, she’s desperate but clueless as to how to stop them.


Adolescence is never easy, added to that hell is a father in jail and relocation. Dorianna did not have a normal childhood and got used to living outside the norm, but when she moves in with her aunt, she desires not just a normal life, but a supreme life. Be careful what you wish for......

This was a great YA read, I enjoyed the characters and the development of the story, there was a lot of creative license taken to bring Dorianna to new highs and lows and it is overall effective and a fun book.

4 sheep





Jo Dawson
 

Excerpt:
Wilson taps impatiently on the keypad. “You want beauty and youth forever, Dorianna? I can give you that. Power over those mean girls; over a lot of people? It’s yours for a price. Just say it.” His eyes are golden and black and red all at once, like unearthly spears, piercing through me. I’m dizzy. I need fresh air now. But I want this promise more than anything. Ever.

“What’s the price?” I rasp.

Wilson’s stare burns into me. “Can’t say exactly. But there always is.” His words are ice and fire. Flutters of snowflakes pattering silently under my skin that melt into scorching sparks.

I follow an irrepressible urge to stand up, and look down on Wilson with his narrow, feral face and piercings. I need Ander to look at me with that passion. I need those hater girls put in their place. I need a friend, and for people to want to be with me all of the time, to never be bored. Only to love me.

It’s worth any price.

A powerful force in me breaks loose, as if a flu bug is racing rampant down my spine.

“Would you… give your soul?” Wilson’s whisper invades my gut, my brain.

Ander’s aching gaze from our time at the beach shimmers in front of me. Enticing. I can almost feel his kiss. Like water. Drink it in. I’ve never wanted anything as much as I want this. “I’d give anything for power, easy youth and beauty.” My voice comes from all around me, spreading, gluey on my skin. “Yes, I’d even give my… soul.”

The air spirals into a funnel, draining all oxygen from the room with a hiss.

So, so, soul.

In an instant, new air swoops in, suffused with rich, delicious minerals. I gulp it in, openmouthed, so very thirsty. “To be seen and accepted,” I murmur.

Wilson goes head to head with me. “Forget about just being accepted. How about having a following of millions, going viral?”

“Really?” I’m whirling. “Going viral.” Wilson’s promises are golden brands, anointing me, conferring an otherworldly legitimacy I’ve never, ever felt. How does he manage to do this?

Ander returns with the brownies. I luxuriate in the sexy new glint he’s giving me. “Something feels different in here,” he notes. “It’s colder.” He puts the brownies down. Who needs sweets when he’s looking at me like this? Is this vow a real thing? Is it already working?

An unfamiliar power in me swells with precarious danger and weight as I study Ander and Wilson. Abruptly, I’m flung out of my body, inexplicably looking down on them as pitiful peons who will someday worship at my feet.

As two of the very, very many.

Then, I’m back inside myself stunned by how I was seeing them. The room seems to rush with the force of souls washing through, and I flinch when I hear them moaning. I tell myself it’s only the whir, whir of the hard drives.


About the Author:
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Catherine Stine is a USA Today bestselling author of historical fantasy, sci-fi thrillers, paranormal romance and young adult fiction. Her novels have earned Indie Notable awards and New York Public Library Best Books for Teens. She lives in Manhattan and loves spending time with her beagle, writing about witches and other fabulous creatures, gardening on her deck, and meeting readers at book fests.


GIVEAWAY
1 $35 gift card 
1 signed copy of Pictures of Dorianna (USA only) 
1 Pictures of Dorianna coffee cups! (USA only) 
1 ebook of Witch of the Cards (historical fantasy) 
1 ebook of Ghosts of Fire (fantasy anthology, includes story ‘Rollerskate Boys’) 
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Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Book Review: Leopard's Wrath (A Leopard Novel) Mass Market Paperback by Christine Feehan

by Christine Feehan
November 5, 2019
432 pages
Publisher: Berkley
He’s a man who’s used to getting what he wants, but she’s not the type of woman to take things lying down.…

Born into a world of crime, Mitya Amurov has had a hard life, and his leopard has developed into a feral beast to protect him. It’s constantly trying to claw its way to the surface, until a chance encounter with a stranger instantly calms the predator inside him. While Mitya wants Ania desperately, it’s only a matter of time before his past catches up with him, and he’d rather die than put her in danger. But Ania is dealing with dangers of her own.… 

Considering her family’s history, Ania Dover should know better than to get mixed up with a criminal like Mitya, but she just can’t stay away. Something wild in her responds to his presence. A need so strong it scares her. But she’s not sure she can accept what he’s offering. Ania has always been an independent woman, and Mitya expects to be obeyed in all things.  

Even with her body calling out for his, Ania won’t let anything stop her from settling a deadly score years in the making—not even the man who wants to claim her as his mate.


“The queen of paranormal romance.…I love everything [Feehan] does.”—#1 New York Times bestselling author J. R. Ward

Mitya is a cold, calculating killer and so is his leopard. He was raised in a crime family by a sadistic father who from the time he was a toddler, beat him and his leopard and made him watch their enemies be killed. Because of how he was raised and because his father wants to kill him for leaving, Mitya is always on high alert, ready to kill anyone who comes after him. His leopard is always trying to come out and kill and it takes every ounce of strength he has to keep the animal half of him in check. 

Ania came from a nice, loving family who ran packages for crime families. One of those crime families killed most of her family and almost killed her father and then came after her. She's still trying to figure out who is after her and why and when she does, she plans on getting her revenge. Her father is very ill and he's a leopard shifter but his leopard tries to get out to kill and it's only a matter of time before he does something really bad.

When Mitya stops on the side of the road to help Ania change her tire, he knows that she's his mate because her presence calms his leopard down. He tries to stay away but he can't even though he knows his life is a dangerous one. Their attraction is unmistakable, but Ania doesn't like that he's so bossy and demands that she do what he wants all the time even if it is to keep her safe most of the time.

They start off getting to know one another, all the while danger is closing in from all sides. Ania shows Mitya that she can take care of herself at times and that scares the bejesus out of him because he's so used to being in control of everyone and everything. I really liked Ania because she was strong at times but she did make a few mistakes and acted like an idiot a few other times but that made her relatable. There's a question of who is after her and why her family was killed and I had no idea who or why until the answer was revealed.

Their romance was a struggle for both of them because they both had to let their guards down and trust each other which something neither of them was used to. Add to that the emotions coming from their leopard halves and you have a combustible combination.

This entire series is a winner but this was definitely one of my favorite books from it so far.


Review: Leopard's Run (A Leopard Novel)

I give this book 5 out of 5 sheep.




Mary Kirkland
Dark Thoughts Blog



About the Author:
I write every day and have done so since I was old enough to pick up a pen. (I spent a lot of time getting in trouble at school for writing instead of doing the things I was supposed to do.) Once I create my characters, I try very hard to have them react to situations as they really would. Sometimes I have preconceived ideas of what I would like them to do, but they don't mind me, because it would be out of character for them. They take on a life of their own. Sometimes when I throw difficult situations at them in the hopes I'll get a certain reaction and they don't do what I want, I complain bitterly to my husband and he laughs at me. Still, it is important to me to have them be real, not perfect people, so they make mistakes we lesser mortals might make.