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Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Book Review: Betwixt (Betwixt & Between Book 1) by Darynda Jones

Betwixt (Betwixt & Between Book 1) 
by Darynda Jones
February 16, 2020
Pages: 233
A Paranormal Women's Fiction with a bit of class, and a lot of sass, for anyone who feels like age is just a number!

Divorced, desperate, and destitute, former restaurateur Defiance Dayne finds out she has been bequeathed a house by a complete stranger. She is surprised, to say the least, and her curiosity gets the better of her. She leaves her beloved Phoenix and heads to one of the most infamous towns in America: Salem, Massachusetts.

She’s only there to find out why a woman she’s never met would leave her a house. A veritable castle that has seen better days. She couldn’t possibly accept it, but the lawyer assigned to the case practically begs her to take it off her hands, mostly because she’s scared of it. The house. The inanimate structure that, as far as Dephne can tell, has never hurt a fly.

Though it does come with some baggage. A pesky neighbor who wants her gone. A scruffy cat who’s a bit of a jerk. And a handyman bathed in ink who could moonlight as a supermodel for GQ.

She decides to give it three days, and not because of the model. She feels at home in Salem. Safe. But even that comes to a screeching halt when people begin knocking on her door day and night, begging for her help to locate their lost objects.

Come to find out, they think she’s a witch. And after a few mysterious mishaps, Dephne is beginning to wonder if they’re right.


In a new series by Darynda Jones we are introduced to Defiance Dayne a fiery, sassy woman who has had better days. After her ex-husband and mother-in-law take everything from her in the divorce, she has nothing to lose when she is contacted about inheriting a house in Salem, Massachusetts. When she arrives in Salem to meet the realtor, she is surprised by how many people know her and how many people fear the house as well.

Defiance, better known as Dephne is an incredible woman filled with an unknown strength. She has no faith in herself and doesn’t see what others see in herself which is something I think that many women today feel. The characters are relatable and the kind you’d love to have in your inner circle. I look forward to seeing what comes in the books to come in this trilogy.


Getting 5 sheep





Denise B


About the Author:
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NYTimes and USA Today Bestselling Author Darynda Jones has won numerous awards for her work, including a prestigious Golden Heart®, a Rebecca, two Hold Medallions, a RITA ®, and a Daphne du Maurier, and she has received stellar reviews from dozens of publications including starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, and the Library Journal. As a born storyteller, Darynda grew up spinning tales of dashing damsels and heroes in distress for any unfortunate soul who happened by, annoying man and beast alike, and she is ever so grateful for the opportunity to carry on that tradition. She currently has two series with St. Martin’s Press: The Charley Davidson Series and the Darklight Trilogy. She lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband of almost 30 years and two beautiful sons, the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Book Review: A Bad Day for Sunshine (Sunshine Vicram Series - Book 1) by Darynda Jones

A Bad Day for Sunshine (Sunshine Vicram Series - Book 1) 
by Darynda Jones
April 7, 2020

Pages: 396
Sheriff Sunshine Vicram finds her cup o’ joe more than half full when the small village of Del Sol, New Mexico, becomes the center of national attention for a kidnapper on the loose.

Del Sol, New Mexico is known for three things: its fry-an-egg-on-the-cement summers, strong cups of coffee—and, now, a nationwide manhunt? Del Sol native Sunshine Vicram has returned to town as the elected sheriff—thanks to her adorably meddlesome parents who nominated her—and she expects her biggest crime wave to involve an elderly flasher named Doug. But a teenage girl is missing, a kidnapper is on the loose, and all of this is reminding Sunshine why she left Del Sol in the first place. Add to that the trouble at her daughter’s new school, plus and a kidnapped prized rooster named Puff Daddy, and, well, the forecast looks anything but sunny.

But even clouds have their silver linings. This one's got Levi, Sunshine's sexy, almost-old-flame, and a fiery-hot US Marshal. With temperatures rising everywhere she turns, Del Sol's normally cool-minded sheriff is finding herself knee-deep in drama and danger. Can Sunshine face the call of duty—and find the kidnapper who's terrorizing her beloved hometown—without falling head over high heels in love...or worse?


A Bad Day for Sunshine is a new series by Darynda Jones, who sticks to her writing style of fun, witty with just a dash for uniqueness. If you’re a fan of her work, don’t worry, it is as good as her other series and has funny posts to start of each chapter, which is her signature move.

Sunshine’s parents want her and her daughter to return Del Sol, so to facilitate that, they found a way to get her elected Sheriff. She never expected things to be so crazy in such a small town with little crime, but her first day is bigger than she expects when a teenage girl goes missing, and a kidnapper is on the loose. Sunshine knew she should never have returned, and this case is bringing back a lot of memories from when she was a teenager, but at least there are hot guys around to keep her spirits lifted.

Jones's writing is so easy to read and her story lines always hold my attention making her the perfect writer to follow. If you’re looking for something new to read this will not disappoint.


Getting 5 sheep





Denise B



About the Author:
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NYTimes and USA Today Bestselling Author Darynda Jones has won numerous awards for her work, including a prestigious Golden Heart®, a Rebecca, two Hold Medallions, a RITA ®, and a Daphne du Maurier, and she has received stellar reviews from dozens of publications including starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, and the Library Journal. As a born storyteller, Darynda grew up spinning tales of dashing damsels and heroes in distress for any unfortunate soul who happened by, annoying man and beast alike, and she is ever so grateful for the opportunity to carry on that tradition. She currently has two series with St. Martin’s Press: The Charley Davidson Series and the Darklight Trilogy. She lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband of almost 30 years and two beautiful sons, the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys.


Monday, April 6, 2020

Excerpt: Legacy: The Awakening (Legacy Trilogy, #1) by Liza Malloy + giveaway

Legacy: The Awakening (Legacy Trilogy, #1)
by Liza Malloy
March 30th, 2020
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult, Romance
College student Jessica craves a stable, ordinary life. But when she meets the alluring and irresistible Aiden, her life takes a thrilling turn. Jessica knows there’s something different about Aiden, but she’s shocked when she learns his secret. The further Jessica delves into Aiden’s world, the more consumed she becomes with him.

Heir to the throne of a secret kingdom of supernatural beings, Aiden yearns to fulfill his destiny. But from their first encounter, Jessica captivates Aiden. Aiden is certain that Jessica is his only chance at true happiness. But Aiden can’t deny that his presence in Jessica’s life threatens to destroy the very things he loves about Jessica—her generosity, compassion and innocence.

As Jessica finds her life filling with peril she never imagined, she must decide how much she’s willing to risk for love. And Aiden must choose whether to embrace his legacy or follow his heart.

Intensely compelling and powerfully gripping, The Awakening is the seductive first installment to the Legacy trilogy, an unforgettable, epic love story.



EXCERPT:
“So, we’re friends?” I turned to him as I spoke and read the regret on his face.

“Jessica, I’m sorry about last night.”

I felt my eyes warming up and willed myself not to cry.

Aiden reached for my hand. “I like you Jessica. Of course we’re friends, but I’m also…” He sighed. “We’re different, you and I, and we’re in completely different places now. It was wrong of me to kiss you.”

We stopped near the dry creek-bed, still holding hands. I glanced over at Aiden and realized he was watching me again, that same look on his face. He wanted me and I knew it, but something was restraining him.

Neither of us spoke for a moment.

“Aiden, the last time we were here, and I made that joke…” I paused.

“About vampires?”

I nodded, my heart racing in anticipation of pushing him away after he’d finally opened up to me. “It was only a joke,” I reiterated. “But I feel like you are hiding something or holding back.” I swallowed audibly.

He inhaled sharply and stepped closer to the water.

I followed him, but kept a few feet between us. “Aiden, I like you, and I want to know you better. I won’t judge you. I just want to know.”

“What do you want to know?” he asked, his voice so quiet I could barely make out his words.

“Everything. I want to know you, Aiden.” I bit my lip to keep from shouting at him, from insisting that he knew exactly what it was that I wanted to know, that I was the one who had no idea what he was hiding.

“What specifically?”

I blew out a sigh. “Why do you move around so often? Why can’t I go in your house? Why do you and your brothers all have long hair? Why couldn’t your sister wear a ponytail?” I held my breath and stepped closer, feeling uncharacteristically brave. “How did you know to get me out of that fire?”

Aiden turned towards me slowly, his head down. “Jessica, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have started anything with you. I just can’t…” He sighed, then made eye contact. “I can’t answer your questions. And we can’t be together, so I shouldn’t have kissed you.”

Without thinking, I leaned into him, pressing my lips into his. He hesitated, but then I felt his mouth respond to mine, his warm lips opening for me, the tip of his tongue gently tickling my lips.

I broke off the kiss before he could reject me again. “I know you care about me,” I said firmly, empowered from my boldness.

“I do,” he agreed willingly. “But that’s why I can’t…”

“Bullshit!” I interrupted. “I’m already involved in whatever it is, so you might as well tell me the truth. What are you hiding? You can trust me.”

Aiden’s eyes quickly darted around, scanning the woods behind me. Apparently satisfied we were alone, he turned back to me, locked his eyes on mine, then tucked his hair behind his ears.

I was so captivated by his stare, with those unnaturally vibrant eyes, that it took a moment for me to register that he was showing me something. I blinked, and refocused on all of him, not just his eyes. And then, I saw it.


About the Author:
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Liza Malloy writes contemporary romance, new adult romance, women's fiction, and fantasy romance. She's a sucker for alpha males, bad boys, dimples, and muscles, and she can't resist a man in uniform. Liza loves creating worlds where the heroine discovers her own strength and finds her Happily Ever After. When Liza isn't reading or writing torrid love stories, she's a practicing attorney. Her other passions include gummy bears, jelly beans, and the occasional marathon. She lives in the Midwest with her four daughters and her own Prince Charming.

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Sunday, April 5, 2020

Excerpt: Baptism of Fire (Playing With Hellfire, #1) by Jessie Thomas + giveaway


Baptism of Fire (Playing With Hellfire, #1)
by Jessie Thomas
March 31st 2020
Genres: New Adult, Urban Fantasy
Welcome to Perdition Falls, New York: where arson is considered a recreational activity, the abnormally hot climate makes everything unbearable, and according to one origin story shrouded in myth and legend, our city is an actual Hellmouth.

I’ve learned those infernal tales aren’t just a cheap marketing ploy to lure in tourists and paranormal frauds.

It’s Hell. We’re literally sitting on top of Hell. Fire, brimstone, actual demons–the works.

When an incendiary–the name other pyromancers have given to the infestation of Hellfire-wielding demons–kills my closest friend and fellow firefighter, I’m left with a rare power I barely understand. It’s the only reason I survived. It also makes me a target, something to be coveted by those who know Perdition Falls’ most dangerous, well-kept secrets.

While a demonic arsonist puts the city’s resident pyromancers on edge, I’m reunited with my long-lost childhood friend Javier, who shares the same strange power that runs through my veins. With him, I find my footing in a place I thought I knew and buried memories from our past start to resurface. As our ragtag group comes together, we become the last defense against the incendiaries’ corrupt hold on the city…one completely disastrous mission at a time.

But taking down this homicidal demon with a flair for pyromania might mean trusting one of their own.
BAPTISM OF FIRE is a thrilling, slow burn urban fantasy perfect for fans of McKenzie Hunter, Annette Marie, C.N. Crawford, and K.F. Breene
.



EXCERPT:
There was no way to know for sure how long I’d been out. It could have been moments. Maybe two minutes or five. I blinked slowly, staring up at the gaping hole we’d dropped through that was now barely visible through the layer of blackening smoke, afraid to move as my body regained consciousness. Everything hurt. That was the first thing I felt—the pain of bruised, strained muscles, the agony that had traveled up my left side.

The next thing was the heat. The upstairs hallway looked unrecognizable now, a narrow passage engulfed in fast-moving smoke and an inferno that blazed up the walls with an overpowering intensity that shouldn’t have been possible. I’d sweated through my clothes, the fabric drenched, my skin and hair dripping with salty perspiration. My helmet had rolled away somewhere during the collision with the floor, and I knocked into Moretti’s with my elbow once I finally decided that lying there waiting for the house to come down on top of us wasn’t that great for self-preservation.

Shit. Moretti.

Over the steady whoosh of the flames demolishing the rooms around us, I heard the melodic chirp of his PASS alarm. A noise I dreaded hearing, a source of nightmares.

And it got me moving.

I sat up and almost regretted it, black spots dancing across my vision as a blinding, gnawing pain spiked through my side. Like it had torn its way in deep, shredding muscle and tissue and causing serious damage. With a shaking hand, I dragged my gloved fingers over my turnout coat to find some kind of debris—I had no damn idea what it was, and at this point I didn’t want to know—sticking out of my left side. I lifted my glove to my sightline to see it smeared with dark crimson.

The gasping whine that echoed in my mask didn’t sound like me at all.

Moretti’s alarm brought me back to my senses. No time.

My pain didn’t matter, not now. I had to work through it.

Groaning, I stayed low to the floor, crawling on all fours to where Moretti lay sprawled and motionless. Every movement pierced the jagged wound in my side, made the heat and the sweat and misery worse. I leaned over him, relieved when I saw the rise and fall of his chest. The orange glow from the fire highlighted the edges of his dark hair, traced the swell of his cheekbones with deep shadows. In the light, I noticed the bright red trickling down one side of his face from somewhere under his hairline.

I tapped his cheek with an open palm. “Moretti,” I called. “Hey, Moretti…come on, open your eyes. Anthony, I need you to wake up.”

Nothing.

“Phoenix!” That was Ramos, her distant shout crackling over our radios. “Moretti! This place is starting to come down!” Well, shit, I hadn’t noticed.

“You have to evacuate now,” Patterson ordered.

“I can’t,” I snapped. “Moretti’s down. He’s…he’s down, but breathing.”

“The stairs are blocked,” Ramos yelled back. “We’re working on it, hang in there.”

Blocked with what? Nothing about this fire made any sense, so why would it start now?

I didn’t know how badly Moretti was hurt, which made me hesitant to move him. But if we didn’t get out of this hallway—no matter how quickly the rest of our team might’ve been working—then we weren’t going to get out of here at all. On my knees, I grabbed the straps of his SCBA and started dragging him around the minefield of burning debris toward the stairs. I grit my teeth against the pain until my jaw ached, exhaling sharply through my nose as I pulled him along with me.

It wouldn’t have been this unbearable if I hadn’t been fucking impaled. Sweat dripped down my forehead into my eyes and I tried to blink it away. With blood loss and the temperature in the hallway, the edges of my vision had turned hazy.

“It’s all right, Anthony,” I said as if he could hear me. “Stay with me.”

The heat flared, a sudden, familiar torrent of hot air passing over us, stoking the same dread I’d felt earlier. A silhouette emerged from the thick smoke and sauntered through the flames, not at all concerned about the heat or the danger of blistering skin and third-degree burns. I peered at the shadow that definitely hadn’t been there seconds before, watching them take shape, the details becoming clearer. A man stood on the opposite end of the hallway dressed in all black, white-gold reflecting off his sleek leather jacket. An arrogant, knowing grin curved his lips into a sneer. He was young. Dangerous.

He’d been with us in the attic.

I didn’t know how, but he’d started this fire.


About the Author:
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Jessie Thomas is a writer of young adult and new adult fiction from Buffalo, New York. An avid reader and history nerd at heart, she enjoys writing historical fantasy, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance with atmospheric settings and dark themes. When she isn't chasing her muses around, Jessie can be found playing with her snaggle-toothed cat named Graham.

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Saturday, April 4, 2020

Excerpt: Perfect Pending (Witches of Gales Haven, #1) by Lucia Ashta + giveaway


Perfect Pending (Witches of Gales Haven, #1)
by Lucia Ashta
April 1st 2020
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Marla’s ancestors saddled her with frizzy red hair, sarcasm on tap, the Gawama last name, and the urge to run from her problems.

Her bloodline was also supposed to guarantee she’d be a powerful witch.

She isn’t, not by a long shot.

Only those with magic are allowed in her hometown. Now that her teenage children are awakening, and sparking enough power to be a fire hazard, she’s headed back.

Even if she isn’t ready. Even if she’s fresh out of divorce court.

Home is where her family is. Her nan is head of the council, and her aunts claim multiple orgasms are the source of their limber joints.

But then Marla and her kids all but blow up the town on day one. And her first boyfriend, the one who broke her heart long before her ex did, seems better than ever.

He has his eye on her…

So does everyone else.

Somehow it’s on her, and the magical creature who won’t get out of her head, to save Gales Haven. Before her former mother-in-law redecorates the town in baby pink … and breaks the centuries-old spell that keeps it safe and hidden.

Perfect Pending is a Paranormal Women’s Fiction novel. If you love snarky stories with women so empowered they’re a force to be reckoned with, then you’ll love Perfect Pending, the first book in the Witches of Gales Haven series.


EXCERPT:
Clyde pointed forward, brushing the unruly hair he inherited from me from his forehead. “What’s that?”

My heart sped up. “What’s what?”

“Those wavy things in the air.”

I exhaled loudly, tension I hadn’t even realized I was carrying relaxing from my shoulders. “Damn.” “Damn?” he and Macy parroted at the same time.

“Yeah, damn. You had me freaking out there. Those waves distorting the air are magic. If Clyde can see them, we’re in the clear.”

“How come I can’t see them?” Macy asked.

“You must just not be looking right,” I said, though I didn’t know how exactly she could be looking wrong. The barrier was ahead of us, in plain sight. Anyone with magic should be able to see it. Even those with weak magic could find the town limits well enough to enter.

“I must not be looking right,” Macy repeated, her voice dripping with sarcasm.

My favorite.

“Right there.” I pointed ahead just as Clyde had. “It’s like heat waves coming off the pavement.” “Only they go all the way up to the sky,” Clyde added, and a bit more tension oozed from me.

Macy shook her head. “I don’t see anything. Seriously.”

“That’s …not possible,” I said.

She crossed her arms and turned the full brunt of her sass toward me: “I’m telling you, there’s nothing there. You think I’m lying or something?”

“Of course not. There’s no reason to lie. Actually, there’s never reason to lie to your mother.” I arched my brow at them in my I’m-dead-serious look.

Clyde chuckled. Super encouraging.

“I don’t know what to tell you, Ma,” Macy said. “I don’t see anything but more pot-holey road.” Clenching my fingers around the steering wheel, I debated what to do. I couldn’t call my family. There were no cell phones or landlines in the entire town, a fact I’d purposefully omitted in my brief rundown to my kids of what was to become their new home. They would’ve fought me to leave even harder if they’d realized their beloved iPhones were about to be rendered useless.

The barrier dome that protected Gales Haven from discovery behaved as a gigantic Faraday cage. No electromagnetic pulses got in, and none got out. The concentration of magic in the community interfered with connections to the outside world. Every time landlines had been attempted, the result was the same: crackle.

My options were twofold: I could drive through and hope like hell the protective barrier didn’t zap my daughter. Or I could turn around and abandon all hope that Macy would get the help she needed, guidance she could only get from my family.

I’d never heard of someone with magic not seeing the barrier’s signature shimmer. I had no idea what it meant.

“When your magic erupts like it’s been doing,” I asked Macy, “what does it feel like?” “Like I stuck my entire hand in an electric socket and shocked the shi—”

I gave her my mom glare.

“Like I get a monster shock every time,” she finished.

Nodding, I nibbled at my lip. “Okay. Good,” I said, mostly to myself.

“What’s good?” Macy asked.

“If your magic’s too weak, the barrier won’t let you through. I assume it also won’t let you see it. But if it’s shocking you like that, you’ve got enough. For sure.”

I hoped.

“What about me?” Clyde asked. “Do I have enough?”

“If you can see the barrier, we’re good.” I nodded to convince myself that everything would be smooth sailing from here on out, and kept right on nodding to myself when I didn’t fully believe it. Nothing had been particularly easy in my life.

Didn’t mean I didn’t kick ass and take names. I did—all day long.

I’ve got this.

I eased the car back onto the road and crawled toward the shimmer, throwing constant glances at Macy. With her big brown eyes and long, dark straight hair, she didn’t look much like me.

Maybe twenty feet from the barrier, I asked, “Still nothing?”

“Nope,” she answered, popping the p.

“I can’t believe you can’t see it,” Clyde said. “I can see it tons.”

“It’s not like that makes you better than me,” Macy retorted right away.

He hmmphed, and Macy swiveled in her seat. She gasped. “I see it! When I turned my head, I saw it out of the corner of my eye,”

“Good enough for me.” I exhaled loudly and pressed down on the accelerator.

I might have left Gales Haven under less than auspicious circumstances, but nineteen years had passed since then. Long enough to discover that in this world—magic or not—we make our own luck.

I had no desire to be some shrinking violet. Or the meek wife Devin had expected and tried his darnedest to mold me into.

I was returning to town on my own terms—sort of. And not a single woman in my family had ever done anything meekly—or quietly.

I gunned the engine, and yelling out “Towanda,”I crossed the shimmering barrier.


About the Author:

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Lucía Ashta is the internationally top 100 bestselling author of young adult, new adult, and adult paranormal, urban fantasy, and contemporary romance books, including the series Magical Creatures Academy, Sirangel, Magical Arts Academy, Witching World, and Supernatural Bounty Hunter.

When Lucía isn't writing, she's reading, painting, or adventuring. Magic is her favorite, but the action, romance, and quirky characters are what keep her hooked on books.


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Friday, April 3, 2020

Book Review: Roman (Demon Rising Book 1) by Hurri Cosmo

Roman (Demon Rising Book 1)
by Hurri Cosmo
February 19, 2020
274 pages
I belong to a Demon Lord. His name is Roman. He’s tall, strong, has long dark hair, a deep sexy voice and, let me tell you, absolutely f-ing gorgeous. Yep. I even wear his ring. Third finger, left hand.

Except – its’s not a wedding band. Far from it, actually. It simply means I’m his submissive.

Well – it doesn’t really mean that either, although I wish it did.

No. The ring’s function is only to give me “sight”. Being human, once I had it on, I could suddenly see Roman’s stupid lost legions; very nasty scary things that would as soon kill me as look at me. And because I wear the ring, guess what? It’s now my job to recapture all those creatures for him. Yay me, right?

At least I get to be close to Roman… sometimes.

But, to tell you the truth, I was tricked into putting this damn ring on by Cathy, some random woman I met at a park, who unfortunately likes Roman, too. A whole lot. She brazenly flirts with the demon every chance she gets and right in front of me, too. Crap, it pisses me off. In fact, she brags she was the one who found me, got the ring on me and then offered me up to Roman like I was a T-bone steak or something.

Well – honestly – that part’s okay.

However, there’s something else going on. Something big. Because there’s another gorgeous Demon Lord in our little earth realm and he will stop at nothing to capture Roman’s loose legions for himself. Not only that, seems he’s out to catch me, as well.

Huh. My name is Micah and things just got very interesting.


Overview:
Micah was an average guy who lived in the city. He’d had some rough spots in his life but had pretty much found an equilibrium: a job, friends, a decent neighborhood.

Like every neighborhood, just about anywhere in the world, there’s always one place shrouded in urban legends.

Only Micah has a personal connection to the abandoned energy plant called Black Sands, it’s where his abusive brother met his demise when—according to friends—he tried to summon a demon.

Micah fears Black Sands but is also drawn to it, often picnicking in its shadow at a nearby park. The strange presence it radiates calls to him and he doesn’t know why until he finds himself wearing a ring, and under the control of the demon residing there.

Roman is a demon, who lost his legions after a destructive betrayal. When your strength in hell is based on the numbers in your legions, that can be a very bad thing. He’s managed to track them to the realm of earth and has set up shop in an old factory, close to the gateway opened to him. There he’s lured a few humans to wear a ring that’s able to capture the escaped scouters and bring them back to him.

It’s boring, it’s time consuming, and it’s redundant. Human-ring-illusions of grandeur and eventually the death of the human where Roman gets their soul.

The same grind every few years until Micah. For whatever reason, the rules just don’t apply to him.

Story Concept: B+
I’m a sucker for reluctant heroes falling for Alpha males and those Alpha males realizing they are not as in control as they think.

Demons can make that trope a lot of fun.

Here we have earth one of many realms where hell can reach and demons can enter. And while demons cause some general havoc for the most part they mind their own business. They seem to have no love lost to mortals and use them as tools.

The story concept of antihero exerting his power over a being he sees as lesser isn’t new, but it was presented in a way that was a lot of fun.

World-Building: C+
World Building is probably one of the hardest thing for any writer and while most of this story takes place on earth, there are details about hell and what goes on there that are never touched on or touched on briefly leaving blank spots or vague patches where Roman just exists. His disappearances to take care of demon business were prime spots where his world could have been tethered to the earth realm.

Generally, the reader knows earth, they don’t know the fantastical world that only exists in the writer’s mind. Without that rich foundation, the story has been left feeling unanchored and adrift.

Characters: B++
I liked both main characters, Roman and Micah. Their snarky banter, their chemistry, it was great. Both of them were extremely well rounded and very real to the touch.

Where I felt they faltered was in Micah’s constant internal dialog and the use of the word “crap” among a guy who obviously had no problem dropping an F bomb. It was almost as if his inner “Ward Cleaver” kept trying to escape.

Roman, for all his toughness, seemed too willing to back down or simply not step up to the plate.

While you’re normally not supposed to like the bad guys, my reasons for disliking them was the over the top almost petulant behavior. Then, in all their evil and “badness” they fizzle in the end. They didn’t strike fear in me or even worry, I just found them an annoying fly buzzing around my potato salad.

The surprise bad guy was easy to see from the very beginning, transparent, and rather boring. The fact the main characters didn’t see through this right away made me really question their powers of observation.

Secondary Characters: NA
There were few secondary characters but none had enough read time to mention.

Plot Execution: B-
I almost put this book down because of how slow it got going. The first couple of pages I was primed for something exciting to happen, then it began to drag, and drag some more. I get that there was supposed to be suspense being built between the moment Micah stumbles into his journey as a ring bearer, to the moment he meets Roman, but it felt more like meeting a word count rather than moving the story.

The background story, and what felt like important events were delivered in large batches of exposition that ripped me out of the heat of the moment and bombarded with information until I forgot what had been happening when it began. This was made worse by implementing dialog between characters acting in past perfect tense.

There were also past events that were left hanging with no real explanation as to why they were important and what part they played despite being presented in a way with a heavy insinuation that they played a big part in the ability for the story to unfold. Events that seemed to have set Micah, on his path to the present.

After Micah has his first encounter with Roman, things pick up until he goes out on his demon hunts. This was another place ripe for action instead it dragged. The writer a great job in making the demons as disturbing but interactions with them felt short, choppy, and incomplete. There was no real anticipation or worry and the repetitive trips out, one after the other, quickly became monotonous.

What saved this book was the brilliant chemistry between the two main character. Their dialog, their interactions left me wanting more about them, more time with them, and to see them actually build on one another.

There was no real relationship building. There wasn’t really even “insta-love”. They were just suddenly there, pushed into the same space where they wanted each other. I feel like this could have been so much more powerful especially with the obvious skill this writer exhibits in their ability to have characters play off of each other with realistic and powerful reactions.

Resolution: C-
The end of this story bothered me the most. Don’t worry, it has an absolutely happy ending, it’s just too happy I guess thanks to the spontaneous development of conscience by the mastermind behind the entire plot. While I have no problem with bad guys seeing the error of their ways, the ending came off with a cartoon like solution almost as bad as ripping the mask of the mystery monster.

Enthusiasm: A
The delivery of the characters channeled bursts of enjoyment the writer must have had putting this tale to print.

Conclusion:
This writer has some serious skills that could develop into incredible multi-level storytelling abilities. I’d just like to see the stories more streamlined with an obvious direction and less wandering.

I will read more of these books, and more of the writer’s works.

Guest Reviewer: Valentine


About the Author:
Hi. My name is Hurri Cosmo. I live in Minnesota where I hold tight to the idea that here, where it's cold a good part of the year, I won't age as fast. Yep, I avoid the truth as much as I avoids mirrors. But one of the reasons I love writing is reality doesn't always offer up a "happily ever after" and being able to take control of that is a powerful lure. Being a happy ending junkie, writing just makes them easier to find. Oh, I doesn't mind "real life" and I do try to at least keep it in mind when I write my stories, but I truly love creating a wonderful couple, knowing they will fall in love and have their HEA. Every - single - time. And, of course, that is exactly the reason I love reading this genre, too. Give me a glass of red wine, some dark chocolate, and my computer, whether I am reading or writing, and I can entertain myself for hours. The fact I actually get paid to do it is Snickers bars on the frosting on the cake.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Book Review: The Shadow Rises (Witch-Hunter Book 1) by K.S. Marsden + Giveaway

The Shadow Rises (Witch-Hunter Book 1)
by K.S. Marsden
January 3, 2013

Pages: 225
When a new witch threat rises, only Hunter Astley can stop them…

In the face of dark magic and evil witches, a secret witch-hunting society works tirelessly to keep them at bay. The Malleus Maleficarum Council have strict rules and practises for eradicating magic.

Due to their work, witches have been almost forgotten, relegated to myth; but the rumours are starting to emerge of a new power that will throw the world into chaos.

As the only 7th generation witch-hunter, Hunter Astley is the best the MMC has to offer. With the help of his colleagues, it’s a race to track down this new threat and stop them… in any way he can.

Hunter belongs to a secret society that hunts witches called the Malleus Maleficarum Council. The council’s goal is to eradicate all magic no matter the cost and due to their relentless work, the society has almost rid the world of all witches. When a rumor surfaces that a new power is emerging Hunter’s world is thrown into chaos as they try to figure who this powerful witch is and what she is capable of.


Part one of the Witch-Hunter trilogy. 
**Get it FREE! ** 
Add to Goodreads

The Shadow Rises is book one in the Witch-Hunter trilogy and lays the groundwork for a good series. Hunter is a 7th generation witch-hunter and he’s a little bit arrogant but cares deeply for his work and his friends. James is a 1st generation witch-hunter and works at Hunter’s side. He is mostly relegated to research which he excels at.

The council, as well as the hunters that work for them, are narrow-minded. They think that every witch is evil and has never taken the time to find out if it is actually true. It shows that people, no matter where they are or what they are, still fear the things they do not understand.

Getting 4 sheep





Denise B

Witch-Hunter Trilogy
The Shadow Rises ~ free to download
The Shadow Reigns
The Shadow Falls
Witch-Hunter Prequels
James: Witch-Hunter
Sophie: Witch-Hunter
Kristen: Witch-Hunter ~ coming 2020




About the Author:
Kelly Marsden grew up in Yorkshire, and there were two constants in her life - books and horses.

Graduating with an equine degree from Aberystwyth University, she has spent most of her life since trying to experience everything the horse world has to offer. She is currently settled into a Nutritionist role for a horse feed company in Doncaster, South Yorkshire.

Her first book, The Shadow Rises, was published in January 2013, and she now has several successful series under her belt. 


GIVEAWAY
$20 Amazon Giftcard 
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Happy 10th Birthday I Smell Sheep! + giveaway

Y'all...we've been smelling sheep for 10 years... *blinks* ðŸ‘


When Katie started I Smell Sheep 10 years ago BS (before Sharon) 

Instagram debuted 🐑 Legalization of same-sex marriage
iPad debuted🐑 The Walking Dead TV show started
Bieber Hair was popular ðŸ‘ Angry Birds game came out
“Billionaire” by Bruno Mars  My Space was popular
Despicable Me, Toy Story 3, Inception
Breaking Bad ðŸ‘ "Tik Tok" Kesha
Lady Gaga wore her meat dress ðŸ‘ Last episode of Lost aired
🐑 6.933 billion world population ðŸ‘



April 2011 Sharon became a permanent part of I Smell Sheep ðŸ‘

Here is the original logo vs the current logo
(created by original member Richard)
Richard also created some sheep mascots
Other sheep made for us

Kool-Aid and Moon pies are the official drink and food of I Smell Sheep


Baaart is a nickname, his official full name was created by members...
Dr. Baron Bixter von Baaathalmew III Jr.

We couldn't have done it without all the awesome people who wrote reviews for I Smell Sheep over the last 10 years, the authors who wrote guest posts, the publishers who sent books to read and giveaway...

Author/artist Adrienne Wilder created a cool movie poster!
Previous posters Adrienne created

Shout out to reviewer Bianca Greenwood for our birthday banner!

GIVEAWAY
1 winner: $20 amazon gift card (INT)
1 winner: box of books (US only)

(#of winners TBD): Woolzilla poster (INT)

(#of winners TBD): mystery swag bag (INT)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

National Celebration Days in April

It's time to do some April celebrating! Make sure to add the fun ones to your calendar. Of course, the most important celebration is I Smell Sheep's birthday!

APRIL
I Smell Sheep Birthday
Frog Month 
Global Astronomy Month 
National Poetry Month

April 1
April Fool's Day
Atheist Day
International Fun at Work Day
International Tatting Day
National Walking Day
Sorry Charlie Day 
Paraprofessional Appreciation Day
Reading is Funny Day
Poetry and the Creative Mind Day

April 2
Children's Book Day
National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day
Reconciliation Day
Hans Christian Anderson’s birthday
Photo credit:

April 3
Don't Go to Work Unless it's Fun Day - we know your decision
National Walk to Work Day - first Friday of month
Tweed Day
World Party Day

April 4
Hug a Newsman Day
Walk Around Things Day
School Librarian Day
Tell a Lie Day
World Rat Day
Tangible Karma Day
Maya Angelou’s birthday

April 5
5-11: Bat Appreciation Week
Go for Broke Day
National Dandelion Day
First Contact Day (Star Trek related. April 5, 2063 = date made first contact with the Vulcans.) 
Read A Road Map Day 
Qingming Festival (Chinese Tomb-Sweeping Day) 
Zak Bagans’ Birthday 

April 6
California Poppy Day 
National Tartan Day
New Beer's Eve
Plan Your Epitaph Day
Sorry Charlie Day
Teflon Day

April 7
Caramel Popcorn Day
International Beaver Day
National Beer Day
No Housework Day
World Health Day
April 8
All is Ours Day
Draw a Picture of a Bird Day
Passover begins at sundown - date varies
Zoo Lover's Day
Buddha’s Birthday 
Kane Hodder’s Birthday 


April 9
Name Yourself Day
Winston Churchill Day
Cherish an Antique Day 
Unicorn Day
April 10
Golfer's Day 
Good Friday - date varies
National Siblings Day

April 11
Eight Track Tape Day - do you remember those?
Barbershop Quartet Day
National Submarine Day

April 12
Big Wind Day - this day blows me away!
Easter Sunday - date varies
Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day
National Licorice Day
Russian Cosmonaut Day
Walk on Yor Wild Side Day
Drop Everything and Read (D.E.A.R.) Day
Beverly Cleary’s birthday

April 13
Dyngus Day always the Monday after Easter
International Plant Appreciation Day
National Peach Cobbler Day
Scrabble Day

April 14
Ex-Spouse Day
International Moment of Laughter Day
Look up at the Sky Day
National Dolphin Day
National Pecan Day
Palm Sunday - date varies
Reach as High as You Can Day
Noah Webster published American Dictionary of the 
English Language

April 15
Income Taxes Due (most years, it's on the 15th)
Rubber Eraser Day
That Sucks Day
Titanic Remembrance Day
World Art Day
April 16
Mushroom Day
National Bean Counter Day
National Eggs Benedict Day
National High Five Day third Thursday
National Librarian Day
National Stress Awareness Day
Save the Elephant Day
Celebrate Teen Literature Day

April 17
Bat Appreciation Day
Blah, Blah, Blah Day
International Haiku Poetry Day
National Cheeseball Day 
Pet Owners Independence Day
Herbalist Day
photo credit
April 18
Husband Appreciation Day
International Juggler's Day
World Circus Day
Newspaper Columnists Day

April 19
19-25 – National Library Week 
National Garlic Day
 Nick Groff’s Birthday

April 20
Chinese Language Day
Look-Alike Day
Patriot's Day
Volunteer Recognition Day

April 21
Kindergarten Day
National Library Workers Day

April 22
Administrative Professionals Day
Earth Day (U.S.)
Girl Scout Leader Day
National Jelly Bean Day
National Bookmobile Day

April 23
Lover's Day
National Zucchini Bread Day
Ramadan - begins at sundown
Take a Chance Day
Take Your Daughter to Work
World Laboratory Day
Movie Theatre Day 
Take Action for Libraries Day
William Shakespeare’s birthday
photo credit
World Book and Copyright Day
English Language Day

April 24
24-26 National Dream Hotline 
Arbor Day -last Friday of month
Pig in a Blanket Day
St. Mark’s Eve (aka Spying on Future Ghosts) 

April 25
East Meets West Day
National DNA Day
photo credit
World Penguin Day 
Save The Frogs Day
Independent Bookstore Day

April 26
Hug an Australian Day
National Pretzel Day
Richter Scale Day
Alien Day 
Hans Holzer’s Deathiversary 

April 27
Babe Ruth Day
Morse Code Day
National Prime Rib Day
Tell a Story Day

April 28
International Astronomy Day
Great Poetry Reading Day
Kiss Your Mate Day
National Superhero Day

April 29
Greenery Day
National Shrimp Scampi Day
National Zipper Day
Alfred Hitchcock’s Deathiversary 
Bats Day
photo credit

April 30
Hairstyle Appreciation Day
National Honesty Day
National Mahjong Day
photo credit
Half Way to Halloween 
Hexennacht (Witches’ Night) 
Walpurgis Night (also a sort of Witches’ Night)