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Thursday, December 12, 2019

Book Review: Night’s Reckoning: (Elemental Legacy Book 3) by Elizabeth Hunter

Night’s Reckoning: (Elemental Legacy Book 3)
by Elizabeth Hunter
November 26, 2019
Pages: 368
Pulse-driving paranormal mystery from USA Today Bestseller, Elizabeth Hunter. Darkness comes for everyone, and some fates are inescapable.

For over a thousand years, the legendary sword Laylat al Hisab--the Night's Reckoning--has been lost in the waters of the East China Sea. Forged as a peace offering between two ancient vampires, the sword has eluded treasure hunters, human and immortal alike.

But in time, even the deep gives up its secrets.

When Tenzin's sire hears about the ninth century shipwreck found off the coast of southern China, Zhang Guo realizes he'll need the help of an upstart pirate from Shanghai to retrieve it. And since that pirate has no desire to be in the middle of an ancient war, Cheng calls the only allies who might be able to help him avoid it.

Unfortunately, Tenzin is on one side of the globe and Ben is on the other.

Tenzin knows she'll need Ben's keen mind and political skills to complete the job. She also knows gaining Ben's cooperation won't be an easy task. She'll have to drag him back into the darkness he's been avoiding. Whether Ben knows it or not, his fate is balanced on the edge of a thousand-year-old blade, and one stumble could break everything Tenzin has worked toward.

Night's Reckoning is the third novel in the Elemental Legacy series, a paranormal mystery by Elizabeth Hunter, USA Today bestselling author of the Elemental Mysteries.


Over a thousand years ago a ship was sunk at sea and with it, a symbol of peace, the sword Laylat al Hisab which means the Night’s Reckoning. The sword was made to as a peace offering between Zhang Guo and Arosh. Now that a ninth century shipwreck has been found off the southern coast of China, Zhang hires Cheng to work with Tenzin to recover this priceless artifact.

Tenzin has been avoiding Ben since Puerto Rico and now she knows she will need him on this job if they are going to recover the sword. With the help of Zhang, her sire, Tenzin and Cheng can hire Ben and his friend Fabia to come on the expedition to retrieve the sword.

Tenzin and Ben have one of the most complicated relationships in the elemental world and sometimes even they don’t always know why. Tenzin is stuck in her ways which exasperates Ben to no end and Tenzin who has been alive for thousands of years has a hard time connecting to the modern world, humans and most of all Ben. The magnetism, friendship, and more recently romantic inclinations are what make their relationship one of my favorites in the elemental world. This is the story that Tenzin and Ben fans have been waiting for!







Denise B



About the Author:
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Elizabeth Hunter is a contemporary fantasy, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance writer. She is a graduate of the University of Houston Honors College and a former English teacher. She once substitute taught a kindergarten class, but decided that middle school was far less frightening. Thankfully, people now pay her to write books and eighth-graders everywhere rejoice.

She currently lives in Central California with her son, two dogs, many plants, and a sadly dwindling fish tank. She is the author of the Elemental Mysteries and Elemental World series, the Cambio Springs series, the Irin Chronicles, and other works of fiction.



Book Review: Love Potions and Other Calamities by Charlie Laidlaw + giveaway

Welcome to the long-awaited blog tour for Love Potions and Other Calamities by Charlie Laidlaw! Follow along for tour details, exclusive content, and a chance to win a signed copy of the book! 

Love Potions and Other Calamities 
by Charlie Laidlaw
November 7th, 2019 
Genre: Comedy/ Mystery 
Publisher: Headline 
Welcome to the strange world of Welcome to the strange world of Rosie McLeod, an amateur detective with a big difference.  Her deductive powers are based solely on the careful preparation and use of plants and herbs.

Love Potions and Other Calamities is pure comedy, with a bit of drama thrown in, as Rosie sets out to discover whether her husband is having an affair and, as the story unfolds, to solve a murder – before she becomes the next victim.

Rosie McLeod, pub proprietor and a gifted herbalist of some renown, is thirty-nine and holding, but only just.  The talons of her fortieth birthday are in her back and her bloody, bloody husband hasn’t laid a lustful hand on her for months.

She has the fortune, or misfortune, to live in one of Scotland’s most famous places – the East Lothian village of Holy Cross, which takes its name from the legendary Glastonbury Cross that was spirited away – and subsequently lost – when Henry VIII purged the English monasteries.  The cross of pale Welsh gold, reputedly buried within the village, had at its centre a fragment of emerald from the Holy Grail.  The story is, of course, complete baloney.

But the association with the Holy Grail and the later witch persecutions of James VI mean that the village is as well known around the world as Edinburgh Castle, haggis or Loch Ness.  It has been described as “the heartbeat of Scotland” and is a major tourist destination – many of whom visit the village with metal detectors, hoping to discover the elusive cross.

However, a sighting of a large, black cat by the local Church of Scotland minister sets off a chain of events that lead back twenty years and, although the villagers are blissfully unaware of it, to a woman’s murder.  The black cat had last been sighted near the village some two decades before, and the minister’s predecessor was sure that it had triggered something evil.  The villagers, of course, think otherwise.

Nothing ever happens in Holy Cross.

For fans of Mel Brooks and Monty Python
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Have you ever began a walk through a peaceful wooded forest just knowing it’s going to be an enjoyable journey; only to find the farther you go, the thicker the forest and less visible the path? You can’t decide whether to turn back or keep fighting your way through the jungle until you reach some sense of a pattern to follow.

Well, that’s what I felt when trying to navigate this book from Charlie Laidlaw. I thought the synopsis I read sounded intriguing: bar owner herbalist, amateur detective, possible witchcraft, black cat, murder and comedy! What’s not to like about that description? Apparently, I missed all of those things in the pages. It took me about 50% of the book to try to make any sense of order to the chapters. I mainly remember a sexually frustrated bar owner, certified as an herbalist, trying to dose her husband with some concoction to boost his desire for her.

The beginning of each chapter had an excerpt from a 13th-century scientist about plants and their effects when used on human conditions. Now I found that interesting (but rather hard to understand in 13th century speaking fashion!) because I have some background in drugs and their originations.

It is hard for me to put in words how I felt about this read. It took me forever to get through because I had no “urgent” feeling to get back to the story and it seemed as if I had to struggle to find a purpose or plot. I didn’t even realize it was supposed to be a comedy until I went back and reread the promotional blurb. Sorry, perhaps it’s just my lack of funny bone?! But, I understood the book more after I finished it that while reading it.

It received great reviews from other bloggers so I think it’s just the writing style that I was ‘lukewarm’ about...and maybe the kind of humor...and maybe the lack of organized thought process...Oh well, I may have to check out another of Charlie’s books to see if this is a “one-off” or overall style.

Don’t let me deter you from trying this, there is some pretty accurate information on the plant and herbal intros from Albertus Magnus’s Book of Secrets!


Giving 3.5 “holy cross” sheep






Jeanie G

Excerpt
Coincidentally, Rosie had once owned a black cat, although it was very small, and was eaten by an eagle on the Christmas morning she was given it. That was also the Christmas she stopped believing in Santa Claus. One minute, the kitten was on a scrubby patch of grass in their Sussex back garden, a round ball of black fluff, peering fretfully at her new world; the next, she wasn’t anywhere to be seen until, looking up, Rosie saw large and predatory wings disappear over the farmhouse roof. She was at an age when she knew that bad things happened, but still believed that Christmas Day was somehow exempt: guns fell silent, everyone had enough to eat, and pestilence was postponed until Boxing Day. Her parents tried to console her by saying that eagles weren’t native to Sussex, searching fruitlessly in flowerbeds and, then, in the surrounding fields. In a way, that day had become a metaphor for her life: that in unexpected ways good things can be randomly snatched away. It felt like that now: sagging boobs, carpet slippers, a dreaded birthday – and the revelation of a precise delusion.

 
 
About the Author 
I was born in Paisley, central Scotland, which wasn’t my fault. That week, Eddie Calvert with Norrie Paramor and his Orchestra were Top of the Pops, with Oh, Mein Papa, as sung by a young German woman remembering her once-famous clown father. That gives a clue to my age, not my musical taste. I was brought up in the west of Scotland and graduated from the University of Edinburgh. I still have the scroll, but it’s in Latin, so it could say anything. I then worked briefly as a street actor, baby photographer, puppeteer and restaurant dogsbody before becoming a journalist. I started in Glasgow and ended up in London, covering news, features and politics. I interviewed motorbike ace Barry Sheene, Noel Edmonds threatened me with legal action and, because of a bureaucratic muddle, I was ordered out of Greece. I then took a year to travel round the world, visiting 19 countries. Highlights included being threatened by a man with a gun in Dubai, being given an armed bodyguard by the PLO in Beirut (not the same person with a gun), and visiting Robert Louis Stevenson’s grave in Samoa. What I did for the rest of the year I can’t quite remember Surprisingly, I was approached by a government agency to work in intelligence, which just shows how shoddy government recruitment was back then. However, it turned out to be very boring and I don’t like vodka martini. Craving excitement and adventure, I ended up as a PR consultant, which is the fate of all journalists who haven’t won a Pulitzer Prize, and I’ve still to listen to Oh, Mein Papa. I am married with two grown-up children and live in central Scotland. And that’s about it.

For your chance to win a signed copy of Love Potions and Other Calamities, click the link below! 
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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Book Review: Accidental Lazarus (Dead & Busy Episode 1) by Kfir Luzzatto + giveaway


Accidental Lazarus (Dead & Busy Episode 1)
by Kfir Luzzatto
September 21, 2017
39 pages
Genre: Humorous Noir, Supernatural Mystery
It is sort of annoying having dead people dropping by at all hours...

A paranormal detective like Dave Callaghan has already seen everything, but he never expected to find a presumed dead mobster drinking scotch in his armchair. He is definitely unhappy when he (it?) engages him to find out who shot him. But the worse is yet to come; Dave’s girlfriend gets involved and the real trouble begins.

Episode 1 of the DEAD & BUSY series will keep you laughing to the (bitter) end.

"Dave Callaghan is not here to bring you profound, life-changing thoughts; only quick, unadulterated fun."


Imagine coming home to a mafioso sitting in the dark pointing a gun at you. That’s bad but even worse.....he’s sitting there with a big hole in his chest, leaking whiskey! He wants you to solve his murder AND he wants to be your partner....decaying minute by minute. Explain his appearance to a witness!

This is the first book in a series of “Dead and Busy”. I think it might be set up like a half-hour TV series where each “episode” for this paranormal investigator is a telling of another day, another client. There are 4 so far. The story went quick and the plot cute and funny. Just the right amount of snark, humor, and great descriptive scenes!

Humor threads it’s way through the story with a good writing style. Continuous action with one complication after another. I really enjoyed the read and will definitely pick up another when I need an in-between fun break!

Gets 4 “NOT ON THE CARPET!” sheep





Jeanie G

Kfir Luzzatto is the author of eight novels, several short stories and six non-fiction books. Kfir was born and raised in Italy, and moved to Israel as a teenager. He acquired the love for the English language from his father, a former U.S. soldier, a voracious reader, and a prolific writer. He holds a PhD in chemical engineering and works as a patent attorney. In pursuit of his interest in the mind-body connection, Kfir was certified as a Clinical Hypnotherapist by the Anglo European College of Therapeutic Hypnosis. 

Kfir is an HWA (Horror Writers Association) and ITW (International Thriller Writers) member.

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Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Book Review: The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters

The Dead Girls Club
by Damien Angelica Walters
December 10, 2019 
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
ASIN: B07PG9Y48T
ISBN: 9781643851631

One of Refinery29's and POPSUGAR's Favorite New Books of December 2019!

A supernatural thriller in the vein of A Head Full of Ghosts about two young girls, a scary story that becomes far too real, and the tragic--and terrifying--consequences that follow one of them into adulthood.

Red Lady, Red Lady, show us your face...

In 1991, Heather Cole and her friends were members of the Dead Girls Club. Obsessed with the macabre, the girls exchanged stories about serial killers and imaginary monsters, like the Red Lady, the spirit of a vengeful witch killed centuries before. Heather knew the stories were just that, until her best friend Becca began insisting the Red Lady was real--and she could prove it.

That belief got Becca killed.

It's been nearly thirty years, but Heather has never told anyone what really happened that night--that Becca was right and the Red Lady was real. She's done her best to put that fateful summer, Becca, and the Red Lady, behind her. Until a familiar necklace arrives in the mail, a necklace Heather hasn't seen since the night Becca died.

The night Heather killed her.

Now, someone else knows what she did...and they're determined to make Heather pay.

The Dead Girls Club is about four childhood friends, particularly Heather and Becca. Becca gave them the name, The Dead Girls Club, after a novel Heather was reading. Heather likes to read horror and Becca was fascinated with serial killers and the Red Lady--an urban legend of a dark spirit Becca made her friends call to them one night. Heather was the only one who never heard or saw the Red Lady. But weird things happen that make Heather think the Red Lady is real.

Then one night, Becca disappeared, and her mother was arrested. But it doesn’t end there for Heather. The reader is fast-forwarded to Heather as a married adult. Becca’s friendship necklace with half a heart arrives in the mail for her. Heather begins to find out who sent it and what they know. She begins spiraling down into a sort of madness that affects her work as a therapist, her marriage, and everyone around her.

This dark tale of mystery combined with the supernatural hooked me and I had to keep reading to the end to find the truth, same as the character Heather. If you like a good read for this autumn and the coming winter, this will fit the bill nicely.
I gave The Dead Girls Club 5 Sheep.





Reviewed by Pamela K. Kinney

About the Author:
Damien Angelica Walters is the author of The Dead Girls Club, forthcoming in December 2019, Cry Your Way Home, Paper Tigers, and Sing Me Your Scars, winner of This is Horror's Short Story Collection of the Year. Her short fiction has been nominated twice for a Bram Stoker Award, reprinted in The Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror and The Year's Best Weird Fiction, and published in various anthologies and magazines, including the Shirley Jackson Award Finalists Autumn Cthulhu and The Madness of Dr. Caligari, World Fantasy Award Finalist Cassilda's Song, Nightmare Magazine, and Black Static. Until the magazine's closing in 2013, she was an Associate Editor of the Hugo Award-winning Electric Velocipede. She lives in Maryland with her husband and two rescued pit bulls and is represented by Heather Flaherty of The Bent Agency.

Release Day: Gray is the New Black by Jo Michaels


Gray is the New Black
by Jo Michaels
December 9th, 2019
Genre: Women Sleuth
Editor: Tia Silverthorne Bach with INDIE Books Gone Wild
Hosted by: Lady Amber's PR
These aren’t your typical grannies.

Pearl Etta Riggs just buried her husband of a million years (no, not literally, but it felt that way sometimes), and her dear friends are trying to find a way to cheer her up. So, they meet for coffee and cheesecake at their favorite place, the Cheesy Cream Café. Ah, the taste of childhood.

Ethel spots the story of a local bank robbery in the paper, and pitches solving it as “it will give us something to do.” She begs, she pleads, and she… Flirts with the waiter?

Alma, always the level-headed one, cites the fact that the man may be one of those panty-sniffing rapists for the reason they shouldn’t. Consider that she was raised by a Southern Baptist preacher and always naysays; her friends rarely listen to her sage advice.

Opal and Minerva are all in, as usual, and they work with Ethel to wear Pearl down. Eventually, she caves, gets Alma on board, and…

You’ll have to read the book to find out what happens after that. What? Did you expect the author to give it all away in the blurb?

It’s a crazy thrill ride full of laughs and shenanigans as these women take the law into their own hands. What happens after is anyone’s guess.

After all, gray is the new black.


About the Author:

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Jo Michaels loves writing novels that make readers gasp in horror, surprise, and disbelief. While her browser search history has probably landed her on a list somewhere, she still dives into every plot with gusto, hoping "the man" will realize she's a writer and not a psychopath about to go on a rampage. Her favorite pastimes are reading, watching Investigation Discovery, and helping other authors realize their true potential through mentoring. She's penned the award-winning Pen Pals and Serial Killers series and the best-selling educational book for children, Writing Prompts for Kids, which has rocketed the kids that use it into several awards of their own.

Most of Jo's books feature the places she's lived: Louisiana, Tennessee, and Georgia. That's given her a special amount of insight to what makes those locations tick. Her works are immersive and twisty, and she wouldn't want it any other way.


Monday, December 9, 2019

Book Review: A Werewolf Kind of Christmas by A.L. Kessler + giveaway

A Werewolf Kind of Christmas
by A.L. Kessler
December 11, 2018
Genre: Christmas Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Blood & Ink Press
With war hanging in the balance, Erin has one chance to stop it: Find her fated mate with the alpha of the rival pack, Tristen Kerr. But when the mating mark doesn't appear Erin has to stall while trying not to fall for the alpha she can't have. Meanwhile, her father has his own plans to take over Tristen's pack. While romance blooms between the two they fight to keep the war away and hope for a Christmas miracle.

**Only .99 cents!!**


I'm not a big fan of the Hallmark holiday movies, however, I will admit that some are better than others. Overall though, for me, the sweetness of those holiday movies makes me a tad sick. So I opted for a holiday read all about sexy werewolves and finding love during the season.

A Werewolf Kind of Christmas was a fun read, easily paced to move the story along. The characters are for the most part enjoyable, they lack a little depth but that can easily be gained in stories to come. I saw a lot of potential here for the series to go, I hope the author takes a little more time in coming stories and lays out more foundation work for upcoming books. But as a reader that's one of those easier to say than do types of things.

Overall there's a nice love story here, some struggles to get our leading pair where they need to be emotionally. Some drama within the families and of course a nice does of backstabbing. I was entertained more than enough to sick to end and like I said from the start, this was more enjoyable than a Hallmark Christmas movie.

Getting 3 1/2 Sheep






KD

Excerpt:
"So," Jared drawled out the word. "Do you get much snow in Ridge Pass?"

"Not like here." Erin laughed. "Most of the city would have been shut down by now. There's got to be like what? Three feet out there?"

"And there's a storm coming," Molly chimed in. "We'll likely be snowed in for Christmas. Running through the snow drifts will be fun. Not much hunting, but you know how it is."

There was no resisting the pull of the full moon. "Yeah. This will be my first time running without my pack."

"You'll have us." Jared gave her a gentle nudge. "And we'll make sure you don't get lost here."

Her father had gone on and on about how big the Monarch territory was. It was one of the prime reasons that he wanted the spot. She didn't doubt that she could get lost in these woods. "I appreciate that. It wouldn't do me any good to get lost and freeze to death."

She started to slice the carrots up, and as soon as she had a handful complete, Molly would come in and swoop them up, adding them to whatever she was cooking on the stove.

"Tonight, will be a great night to chill out by the fire." Molly stirred the pot. "Or maybe watch a movie."

"Why not a movie and a fire." Jared laughed. "You don't have to do just one. They're in the same room."

Molly snorted like the idea was absurd. "Because time in front of a fireplace is meant to be a social time. Not a stare at a screen time."

"Molly's a bit old-fashioned." Jared winked.

Erin laughed. "Old-fashioned isn't always bad, but she's right, fires are meant to bring people together."

"Oh look, someone who agrees with me." Molly turned around. "Fine, she and I will chat by the fire."

It beat having an awkward time with Tristan. "That sounds great."

Molly grabbed another handful of vegetables. "See, someone with some class. You guys just watch your war movies, and we'll enjoy ourselves."

"I don't think we'll be watching war movies if Scott got himself all worked up. Too close to the full." Jared sighed. "Poor pup."

Erin didn't say anything and focused on her task. She shouldn't be asking about the pack stuff, especially if she wasn't really part of it.

The kitchen fell silent as they worked until finally Molly let out a huge dramatic sigh. "Okay, so, you just need to like walk up and give Tristan a big ol' smooch."

Erin felt herself blush. "What on earth?"

"We all know why you're here. There's no point in beating around the bush," Jared said. "So go up, smooch him, and see what happens."

She looked down at what she was cutting up. "And what if no mark appears?"

"We all know exactly what happens. Tristan doesn't hide things from us."

That was good to know. "Then I guess I'll swallow my fear and just do it then."

"Now come on, you can't just touch his hand and not make a show of it." Jared twirled around. "You gotta give us something to cheer at if it happens."

"And if it doesn't? Are you all going to boo me out of the house and into the snow?"

"No." Molly took the rest of the vegetables. "We'll still cheer because you're flat out kissing the alpha."

"And you'll find that entertaining?" Erin snorted. "Do you guys get that bored up here?"

Molly messed with the stove for a moment before looking back. "Well, what do you guys do for entertainment?"

"There is no entertainment in my pack. Every time we get together, it's about hunting, running, war, or mating." She shook her head. "All my life I've studied war tactics and fighting. It's the best I could do as the alpha's daughter."

Jared shook his head. "How is a pack a family without entertainment and goofiness?"

"It's not." Erin went to the sink to wash off the cutting board and knife. This wasn't exactly what she wanted to discuss. "What do you do for Christmas here?"

"Well, this year it looks like we'll be snowed in. Normally we go into the city and have a big dinner with all the

pack members. Then we all split off to our own families." Jared joined her for washing the cutting board.

Molly sighed. "Those of us who have blood family. Those of us who don't stay here with the pack, so we don't spend the holidays alone."

The comment about pack being family meant more now. The holidays were never a big deal in her pack. Those who celebrated were left to their own, and those who didn't, or didn't have family, were also left to do what they wanted. She and her dad spent it in awkward silence because neither of them liked to be in the same room together.

Molly stirred the pot. "Thanks for the help guys. Go relax while this finishes up."

Jared nodded, but Erin stayed behind, watching the other woman. "Do you like it here?"

Molly looked over her shoulder. "Honey, if you've seen half the shit I have, then you'd understand that the Monarch Pack is paradise compared to many packs out there."

"It seems too good to be true." Erin sighed. "Every pack and every alpha I've seen has been nothing but stone cold, violent, tense. To see you guys laughing and see Tristan so calm with the wolf outside. That's nothing I'm used to."

Molly turned and leaned on the island so that she met Erin's gaze. "You see, that's where you're mistaken. Tristan can be cold and ruthless when he needs to be. He will do anything to protect this pack because it's his, and he has built it into exactly what he wanted and what we all needed. If it comes down to war, don't underestimate him."

Erin nodded. "The last thing I would do is underestimate him."

"Good, now go relax. Really, all that needs to happen is for the stew to boil for a bit."

Erin moved back toward to the living room but ran right smack into something in the doorway. She looked up and met Tristan's hazel gaze.

"Ah, excuse me, lass. I was just checking on dinner."

Erin went to step aside, but Molly started cackling. "Look up you two."

Both of their gazes went up to see the green leaves and red berries of mistletoe.

"Ah, lass, you know the rules." He gave her a devilish grin. "No more avoiding it now."

Her cheeks heated instantly. This wasn't how she imagined it happening.

About the Author:
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A.L. Kessler is a paranormal romance and steampunk author residing in Colorado Springs. Since she was a teenager she's loved weaving stories and spinning tales. When she's not at the beck-and-call of the Lord and Lady of the House, two black cats by the names of Jynx and Sophie, playing with her daughter, or killing creepers and mining all the things with her husband, she's either reading, participating in NaNoWriMo, or writing in her Blog Writing Rambles.

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Excerpt: A Calling Bird (The Twelve Days of Christmas #4) by Jo Tannah + giveaway



A Calling Bird (The Twelve Days of Christmas #4) 
by Jo Tannah
December 13, 2019 
Genre: M/M Paranormal Romance
Print Length: 78 pages
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Would serenading be enough to convince a mate they were meant to be?

Cole Burns doesn’t suffer the cold or feeling the holiday spirit, but dreams of having a family by thirty, preferably with two or three children, are slowly fading into the fog of winter. It's a sad, sad situation he cannot seem to escape.

For John Michael Diamond, being CEO of Diamond Corporation equates to never finding the perfect mate to share his nest. In fact, it’s next to impossible. Through a twist of fate, he discovers his mate not only lives nearby but also on his family’s estate.

Cole never thought he’d fall for such a crazy, insanely gorgeous rich guy, and yet here he was, wrapped in shifter eagle who serenades him with love songs. This was going to be an interesting Christmas.




Excerpt:
Shivers slid down John Michael Diamond’s spine when Pavarotti reached a high B. As CEO of Diamond Corporation, Michael could have anything in the world, yet it was the dead tenor’s voice that he’d always dreamed he could match. Hitting that top note would be an accomplishment.

When the last notes to the aria died, he paused the app on his phone and worked his jaw. After adjusting his earphones, he angled his lower jaw side to side, up and down, stuck out his tongue, and let out a deep huff. He repeated the exercise several times more before rotating his tongue inside his mouth, sticking it out several times. When the muscle felt nice and relaxed, he began the series of lip and tongue-trill exercises his vocal coach had taught him. The drills were simple but effective, and once he was done, he tapped the rewind icon on his phone. He sang along with Pavarotti as he read through the documents on his lap. The smooth ride at the back of the limousine made the last-minute task of signing each page easier.

He was on his way home for Christmas. Not his penthouse in the city, but the family estate in Washington State. His mother and sisters were waiting for him. He couldn’t wait to see them again, well, except for his mother. He loved the fiery woman to death, but she was angry at him for leaving the day after Thanksgiving. Spending a few weeks with them should make up for his faults.

The part of the aria he loved best was coming up, making him look up from the documents. He could do this. He would reach that note even if it killed him. Michael closed his eyes and listened for the cue, tilting his head to the side. Almost there. Taking a deep breath, he opened his mouth, only to jerk in surprise when a ringtone blasted through his earpieces.

“Fucking hell.” He cursed under his breath as he scrambled to pull the gadget from his ears and accept the call at the same time. His fumbling fingers managed to fail him several times before he finally got to connect with the incoming call.

“What?” Michael snapped into the piece.

“Sir, I apologize, but this is important.” His temporary assistant’s hesitant voice trembled through the phone.

“I’m on vacation, Giles.”

“I know, sir, but we’ve been hacked.”

“What do you mean hacked?”

“Our PR social media account’s been hacked, sir. Someone got hold of our password and has used it to post a joke.”

“Who gave it out?”

“We’re not sure, sir. I called you as soon as I got the word.”

“What’s IT doing about it?”

“We haven’t called them, sir.”

Michael closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. A throbbing began between his eyes. “Shouldn’t the guy in charge of the account be contacted first? What’s wrong with your statement, Giles? Why are you even calling me about this?”

“Well, sir, it’s true that Burns is the one of those in charge of our social networks, but he’s not the main guy or the IT guy. That’s Samuelson. And you told me to call you in case of an emergency.”

“And you think this is an emergency?”

“Well…yes, sir. Our account’s been hacked.”

“Let’s say you’re right. Now, what does Samuelson have to say about it?”

“Well, sir, as I’ve mentioned before, we haven’t talked to him. He’s been hospitalized. For appendicitis.”

“So. Samuelson’s out. Who can you call about this?”

“Burns, sir.”

“Giles, Giles, Giles,” Michael said. “For the love of God.”

“I’m sorry, sir. But according to my records, Burns is the only one with an IT background. The rest are plain PR guys.”

“Save your apologies. Contact the PR department, have them contact Burns.”

“I already did that, and they told me they couldn’t get a hold of him. Most likely he’s taking a walk.”

“Taking a walk?” Michael couldn’t believe what he was hearing.

“Yes, sir. That’s what they said.”

Who am I talking to? Cher from Clueless? Michael struggled to control his impatience. “Giles?”

“Yes, sir?”

“Why are you telling me all this again?”

“Uhm…as I said before, sir. Because you told me to tell you everything that went on while you’re on vacation. Sir.”

Michael desperately wanted his regular assistant. Why did Magda have to go on a cruise? Why did he say yes when she recommended Giles?

“Should the details to the hows and whys of locating and talking to a PR man, who might just be able to do something about this situation, be a part of your reports to me?”

Thirty seconds later, Michael let out a dramatic sigh at Giles’ lack of response.

“Giles.” He really should stop snapping. Magda would kill him when she found out.

“Yes, sir?”

It was a good thing Michael had exemplary hearing.

“Report to me when there’s an actual need. Detailing the process of contacting Burns is not a need. Do you understand me? People are employed to take care of these kinds of situations. I didn’t employ you to bother me with mundane details when we’ve hired people to take care of them.”

“Yes, sir.”

Another thirty seconds of silence passed.

God give me patience! “Is there anything else, Giles?”

“Uh…yes, sir.”

Michael fought back a loud curse. “What is it?” He tried to sound patient.

“Well. Sir.” Giles cleared his throat. “Burns. Sir.”

“Yes?”

“I thought that you may be able to contact him sooner than the rest of us here, sir. My records show that his residence is at the reservation, a few miles from the estate,” Giles said in a rush.

“He is? Why is that?”

“Burns works full-time as a caretaker at the Diamond reservation. Specifically, area twenty-eight. If I read the tracker right, you’re just twelve miles away, sir.”

“Giles?”

“Yes, sir?”

“Good job.”

“Thank you, sir!”

About the Author:
I grew up listening to folk tales my father and nannies told either to entertain us children or to send home a message. These narratives I kept with me and finally, I wrote them down in a journal way back when I kept one. Going through junk led to a long forgotten box and in it was the journal. Reading the stories of romance, science fiction and horror I had taken time to put to paper, brought to light that these were tales I never met in my readings.

The tales I write are fictional but all of them are based on what I grew up with and still dream about. That they have an M/M twist is simply for my pleasure. And I hope, yours as well.


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Sheep Movie Review: Promare (2019)

Promare (2019)
Promare: Puromea (original title)
24 May 2019 (Japan)
Director: Hiroyuki Imaishi
Writing Credits: Kazuki Nakashima (original work), Kazuki Nakashima (scriptwriter), Michael Schneider (scriptwriter) (English version)
Stars: John Eric Bentley, Steve Blum, Johnny Yong Bosch |
Studio: Trigger
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 1h 51min
Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure
Promare uses a bold cel-shaded visual style to tell a blistering action-adventure story, and is the spiritual successor to many of director Imaishi’s former works.

Thirty years has passed since the appearance of Burnish, a race of flame-wielding mutant beings, who destroyed half of the world with fire. When a new group of aggressive mutants calling themselves "Mad Burnish" appears, the epic battle between Galo Thymos, a new member of the anti-Burnish rescue team “Burning Rescue,” and Lio Fotia, the leader of “Mad Burnish" begins.

This exclusive encore event will feature a special prequel short "SIDE: GALO" with a look at Galo's first day with Burning Rescue!


Promare is a full-length Japanese animation from Trigger Studios that had a small limited run about a month ago. It did so well they brought it back for a one day limited run on Dec 8. I had heard a lot of great things about it and had seen some awesome fan art so I checked it out.


The Burning Rescue team!
What a lot of fun! The world has been destroyed by the Burnish--people who mysteriously gained the power to create a living fire. Burnish were hunted down and imprisoned and the city of Promopilos was created to keep citizens safe. Burning Rescue is a fire department that fights "living" fires using robotic suits! Kind of like Jaegers in Pacific Rim.

The over the top shirtless hero (he has the big hair to prove it), Galo! He has a burning firefighter's soul! He likes to yell this at the fire before he goes in to stop it.
What sounded like a simple plot was actually a complex story with unique world-building. I can't get into that because it would spoil the unfolding mystery of the Burnish. The characters in Promare are over the top classic archetypes you find in anime. There is a big dose of silly humor to balance out the dark themes of government genocide and prejudice.
Lio is the leader of the resistance and pain in Galo's ass.


The character designs are imaginative and the animation is eclectic and combined well with the music score. My favorite character designs were the Mad Burnish (the antagonists). The whole idea of "living" fire and how the creators showed it was awesome.

Definitely, a must-see for fans of anime action movies. It is subtitled. Also, stay after the credits because there is a ten minute-ish, informative and funny round-table discussion of the movie by the creators.

Check out the trailer. It gives you a good feel for the movie. If you find it entertaining then you'll want to catch this one!

4.5 "burning sheep soul!"






SharonS