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Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Double Movie Review: Godzilla vs. Kong

Godzilla vs. Kong
Release Date Mar 31, 2021
Director: Adam Wingard
Producer: Mary Parent, Alex Garcia, Eric McLeod, Jon Jashni, Thomas Tull, Brian Rogers
Writer: Eric Pearson, Max Borenstein
Cast: Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, Shun Oguri, Eiza González
Runtime: 1h 53m
Production Co: Warner Bros., Legendary Entertainment
Rating: PG-13 (Destruction|Brief Language|Intense Creature Violence)
Genre: Adventure, Sci Fi, Action
Legends collide in "Godzilla vs. Kong" as these mythic adversaries meet in a spectacular battle for the ages, with the fate of the world hanging in the balance. Kong and his protectors undertake a perilous journey to find his true home, and with them is Jia, a young orphaned girl with whom he has formed a unique and powerful bond. But they unexpectedly find themselves in the path of an enraged Godzilla, cutting a swath of destruction across the globe. The epic clash between the two titans--instigated by unseen forces--is only the beginning of the mystery that lies deep within the core of the Earth.


Reviewer: SharonS

4 1/2 "villain hair" Sheep
My husband and I have been waiting for this! I'll cut to the chase...it was worth it! The writers and director knew what we wanted, EPIC BATTLES! There are people running around to give a flimsy reason for the EPIC BATTLES.

The actors did their job, especially little Jia. That kid is awesome and her connection with Kong tugs at your heartstrings. If you are looking for the sci-fi part to make sense, don't. I mean...Godzilla makes a massive hole through the earth to Hollow Earth!

My husband and I both give it 4 1/2 sheep based on the entertainment value. We will watch it again. And I will make fun of all the plot holes again.

Reviewer: Pamela Kinney
The pandemic has been a time where theaters closed in 2020 with some opening end of the year or 2021, and Regal reopening finally on April 1, 2021. Most of us have been binging on television, and movie production companies finally realized putting movies forward might cause many films to be forgotten, so they turned to streaming. Even Disney Plus is releasing its big films not just in theaters but on their streaming service. And Warner Bros. made a deal with HBO Max. Godzilla Vs. Kong not only premiered in theaters, but it also premiered on HBO Max (a better deal in my opinion as you have it for 30 days and can rewatch it as many times you want, unlike one time seeing on the movie screen.

Godzilla Vs Kong is not a film you watch to think or for social commentary—there are art house films for that. So, this movie will not be your cup of tea. But if you enjoyed those giant dinosaur movies as a kid and watch all the Godzilla and other monsters of Toho movies, then this movie is for you. 

I was a kid when my parents dropped me off at the movie theater to see Toho’s King Kong vs. Godzilla. I sat up front and met two other kids and we had a blast. No, Toho’s King Kong was cheesy and not the more superior King Kong from 1933, but still, it’s a giant gorilla taking on a dinosaur because sorry, people, Godzilla began as a dinosaur who due to radiation, got the breath that way—I suggest not seeing the original Godzilla redone for America, but the original Japanese version which was darker.

In this latest rendition of the atomic-breath monster, Godzilla has attacked Florida, in particular, Apex Corporation. So, now it appears Godzilla no longer leaves humans alone but is out to get them. 

Back on Skull Island, it appears only Kong and a mute girl, Jia (played by Kaylee Hottle) who communicates with Kong by sign language, but also psychically, is all that is left, and the island is now a containment for Kong, where a scientist, Rebecca Hall (played by Ilene Andrews), studies him and has care of Jia. When Nathan Lind (played by Alexander Skarsgård) approaches her with an idea to take Kong to Antarctica to the entrance that leads to the Hollow Earth, she is not sure at first, but in the end, they do it, by transporting Kong by ship and guarded by Navy ships. Sadly, they must go through Godzilla’s territory and the alpha attacks. Let us just say you get your first taste of the battle we have seen some of in the trailers here. I won’t go on and spoil it for you, so you can go see it for yourself, but there are more fights, monsters, and of course, there is a bad guy (Isn’t there always?). 

Millie Bobby Brown (Eleven of Stranger Things fame) returns as Madison Russell from Godzilla King of the Monsters along with Kyle Chandler as Madison’s father, Mark Russell, now working for Monarch. Kaylee Hottle as Jia is a breakout star for me as Kong’s deaf friend. It was interesting to find she comes from an all-deaf family, spanning four generations of deaf relatives on her father's side. Her native fluency in American Sign Language has provided her with opportunities to perform in commercials and Mother’s Day.

Like I said earlier if you are looking for a movie to challenge your mind, search for art house films. Or read a book. But if you want a movie to forget the pandemic and just relax, cheer for your favorite, Godzilla Vs. Kong fits the bill. It is better than the first two films in my opinion, and even triumphs over Kong: Skull Island. Forget the humans, except for Jia, they are there to help the monsters or cause their demise, the monsters are the stars and that was what I wanted to see. Besides, you can always find some art house films on Netflix, Prime, or elsewhere if that is what you want. But I think this will be a winner, even for movie theaters. Let the clash of the century commence!


Tuesday, March 30, 2021

UF Author E.J. Russell: Gassing Up With the Gods + giveaway

Years ago, when I was living in California, I spotted a Volkswagen Beetle with the following license plate:

FEATURE

As a dyed-in-the-wool geek girl (working for a software company at the time), this made me laugh out loud. Because you know what they say: “It’s not a bug, it’s a…”

Yeah, yeah, obscure, I know, but it’s still one of my favorite vanity plates. Although it nearly got eclipsed by this one, which I spotted while stopped at a traffic light here in drizzly Oregon:
**side-eye** Clearly somebody at the DMV wasn’t paying particular attention that day (or else they were extremely naive).

In my newest book, Purgatory Playhouse, the denizens of Purgatory must stage a musical version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the Greek pantheon, and I started to wonder… 
If the Greek gods were tooling around the US these days, what vanity plates would they slap on their rides?

Here are a few ideas.

Zeus
· Title: King of Olympus; Father of Gods and Men
· Direct reports: Thunder, lightning, and, you know, everything
· Drives: Tesla Model S (in black) (Special edition so he can charge it himself with a spare lightning bolt)
· Vanity Plate: 
Note: Multiple sexual assault and harassment suits ongoing.

Apollo
· Title: God of the Sun
· Direct reports: Music, medicine, light
· Drives: Aston Martin Vantage roadster (in red) with the top down
· Vanity Plate: 
Note: Banned from multiple concert venues for violent behavior.

Demeter
· Title: Goddess of the Harvest
· Direct reports: Agriculture, fertility
· Drives: Honda Odyssey mini-van with Boycott Pomegranates bumper sticker
· Vanity Plate: 
Note: Subject to Seasonal Affective Disorder during daughter’s annual fall/winter negotiated conjugal visit.

Artemis
· Title: Goddess of the Hunt
· Direct reports: Moon, forests, archery
· Drives: Nissan LEAF
· Vanity Plate: 
Note: Undergoing mandatory anger management treatment per ASPCA suit settlement.

Hermes
· Title: Messenger of the Gods
· Direct reports: Thieves, trade, travelers, shepherds
· Drives: 1952 Vincent Black Lightning motorbike
· Vanity Plate: 
Note: We’re pretty sure he’s up to something, but we haven’t been able to catch him at it.

Got a notion about how one of the gods (Greek or otherwise) might head out on the highway? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!


Purgatory Playhouse: A M/M Fantasy Rom-Com
by E.J. Russell
March 25, 2021
232 pages
Staging a musical in Purgatory can be absolute hell.

Lonnie Coleridge last saw the sun in 1968. Since then, he’s been consigned to Limbo, still wearing the same tie-dyed T-shirt and bell-bottomed jeans he had on when he left his life behind. He and others like him have one chance each year at redemption: produce a show for the Greek pantheon. Whoever pleases this very specific—and temperamental—fan group could earn the right to move on.

But after a literal act of god (*cough* Hermes *cough*) destroys their sets, lights, and costumes, the company needs emergency help to rebuild. Without it, all of them could poof out of existence forever. 

Out-of-work theater technician TD Baylor has precisely three things on his cosmic wish list: a job, a place to stay, and a boyfriend who isn’t a total tool. He thinks he’s got the first two nailed when he gets a line on a two-week gig that includes room and board. So what if the job tip came from a guy who was leaning way too hard into the LOTR cosplay at a sketchy Halloween pop-up? At this point, TD doesn’t have anything more to lose, so he figures…what the hell.

He didn’t realize hell was the operative word.

When Lonnie greets him at the theater door, though...whoa. TD fantasizes that item number three could be within his reach. But then Lonnie gives him the bad news: This is Purgatory Playhouse, aka Theater of the Darned. In two weeks—if they’re lucky and can successfully mount a musical version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream—the company will return to Limbo after the curtain falls. If they’re not lucky?

Remember that part about hell?

Purgatory Playhouse is part of the multi-author Magic Emporium Series. Each book stands alone, but each one features an appearance by Marden’s Magic Emporium, a shop that can appear anywhere, but only once and only when someone’s in dire need. This book contains a theater techie who’s one couch surf away from homeless, a production assistant who’s sort of, um, not alive, Greek gods behaving very badly indeed, and a guaranteed HEA.


About the Author:
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E.J. Russell–grace, mother of three, recovering actor–writes romance in a rainbow of flavors. Count on high snark, low angst and happy endings.

Reality? Eh, not so much.

She’s married to Curmudgeonly Husband, a man who cares even less about sports than she does. Luckily, C.H. also loves to cook, or all three of their children (Lovely Daughter and Darling Sons A and B) would have survived on nothing but Cheerios, beef jerky, and Satsuma mandarins (the extent of E.J.’s culinary skillset).

E.J. lives in rural Oregon, enjoys visits from her wonderful adult children, and indulges in good books, red wine, and the occasional hyperbole.


GIVEAWAY

Monday, March 29, 2021

WIP It Real Good: PNR Author Laura Simmons + giveaway

I’m writing a new fantasy romance about a male Angel of Fury named Pel who falls in love with Derica, a mortal woman. The plot hasn’t solidified yet, but here are a few lines I felt compelled to share…



W.I.P – Fury’s Fall

Derica had impressed Pel from the moment he first met her. She had suffered greatly in her young life, and yet her emotional resilience and kind, joyful heart was a beacon to the beings she helped every day. They loved her, and Pel was beginning to feel that same love, only deeper and in a surprisingly desirous way. Her sweet smile and shining eyes rendered him speechless at times, it was hard for him not to gaze at her and think of how badly he wanted to kiss her. He adored everything about her, especially her elven-like ears that she tried so hard to hide. Those ears had caused her considerable pain and humiliation from her overlords. As he stood there listening to her talk, he gently touched her strawberry blonde hair, moving it behind her ears. Then he took both of her hands and held them while he looked into her luminous green eyes.

“Derica, I adore your ears. You don’t have to hide them from me…or anything else for that matter,” he said in a deep, baritone voice.

She had never experienced an interaction like this, a man holding her hands and looking at her so intently. It made her feel warm all over and she returned his powerful stare with her own. This handsome, kind, and fearsome man she had recently befriended inspired strange feelings, leaving her blissful and light-hearted.

“Why do you adore them?” she asked, puzzled and yet flattered at his compliment. She couldn’t imagine anyone adoring anything about her, especially her hideous ears. But the feel of his large hands holding hers was thrilling.

“I adore them because they are a part of you, and I think you are beautiful, both physically and spiritually. If I could do nothing more than gaze at you forever, I would be grateful for the opportunity,” he replied still holding her hands and shocked that he had spoken those words without hesitation. This was a first for him.

She answered him with a brilliant smile and tightened her grip on his hands. He brought them to his lips and kissed each one with reverence, his eyes never leaving hers. No one had ever told her that she was beautiful, or even slightly attractive. In that moment she felt deliriously happy. Not wanting to deny their attraction any longer, they fell into each other’s arms. She clung to him, reveling in the sensations pulsing through her body. He buried his face in her hair and they held each other for a long time, delighting in the feel of being so close. Pel realized that he had fallen in love. He wanted nothing more than to escape with her to another reality where they could live happily together. He knew that wasn’t possible, but he would enjoy the fantasy for the moment. Holding her tighter, he wished he could bind her to him for eternity.


Little Bits of Karma (Karma Series Prequel)
by Laura Simmons
June 30, 2015
Genre: Reincarnation/Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Number of pages: 334
A captivating reincarnation romance of redemption and forgiveness.

Even though Holly O’Rourke is having problems with her longtime significant other, James, she has never entertained thoughts of infidelity…that is, until the day she has a chance encounter with Charlie, a handsome coworker. James promises he will change and work on their relationship, but Holly’s feelings for Charlie just won’t go away.

Distressed by her mixed emotions, Holly schedules an appointment for a reading with a psychic medium, where she discovers her adulterous past lives and their tragic consequences. Holly learns to do her own past life regression through self-hypnosis and uncovers not only lives that she shared with James and Charlie, but how the other people in her present life have been with her in the past—the threads of their lives interwoven for centuries.

Holly is stunned by recurring themes and the issues of karmic justice that need to be addressed. Where will her karmic path ultimately lead? Find out in Little Bits of Karma, an entertaining story about spiritual cause and effect.


Little Bits of Karma – Prequel
She hoped this woman would be able to tell her about her past lives.She arrived ten minutes early to the appointment. Martina was located within walking distance from the Metro. She lived in a small row house with a sign in the front yard indicating her services by appointment only. Holly rang the doorbell, and Martina opened the door.

“Hello. Are you Holly O’Rourke?” Martina Preston asked her.

“Yes. Are you Martina?” she asked excitedly.

“Yes, I am. It’s great to meet you. Come on in,” Martina said with a smile and extended her hand. Martina’s demeanor was friendly and inviting and Holly instantly felt at ease.

Martina was a little lady, standing no more than 5 foot1. She was in her mid-30’s with a round, pretty face with crystal blue eyes, medium brown, curly hair that fell past her shoulders, and a voluptuous figure. She was wearing a red checkered sundress and matching solid red espadrille shoes. She led Holly into a small room with gleaming hardwood floors and two white leather chairs and a round wooden table. There were two windows in this room. Martina pulled down the shades to block the sun. There was a large wooden cabinet next to one of the windows. The room was practically empty.

“Have a seat Holly, and we will talk for a few minutes,” Martina said. The two women sat in the white chairs across from each other.

“So, you are here today for a past-life reading, correct?” Martina asked.

“Yes,” Holly replied.

“First, I want to tell you what will likely happen during this session. I go into a trancelike state, and my voice might change. I sometimes take on the behavior of whatever spirit guide is there to speak through me. Usually it is my spirit guide working together with your spirit guide to access your past lives. Each of us has spirit guides to help us in our earthly incarnations. Your primary spirit guide is assigned to you before reincarnating into your current body. As you go through life, the circle of your guides expands, depending on the work you need to accomplish. When you reincarnate, you go through a veil of amnesia, and as you learn and grow in this life, you wonder, what the heck am I here for?

“We come from heaven, a place of total love and happiness. Your enemies in this life are dear friends on the other side. By incarnating into physical bodies, you learn a deeper appreciation for good things and even the bad. The potential growth from experiencing the bad is tremendous. There is no ‘bad’ in heaven, and if you never reincarnate you won’t know the difference between good and bad. There are many wonderful worlds to advance to in heaven after your schooling on Earth and your incarnations are completed.

“We plan our lives before we are born, and our spirit guides are here to help us achieve what we came here to learn and do. They do this by giving us intuitive nudges in the right direction, although we don’t listen to them most of the time. They do their best to keep us on track and guide us for our own good.

“Today, we will be accessing an area of the spiritual realm called the Akashic Records. This realm contains detailed records of your past lives and the past lives for every soul who has reincarnated. Your thoughts, dreams, and actions are recorded for eternity. Do you have any questions before we start?” Martina asked.

“No, I understand. We can begin whenever you are ready,” Holly replied thinking . . . Even our thoughts are recorded for eternity?That’s embarrassing . . . Thank goodness not just anyone can access them.

“Okay. I will ask the guides to show the past lives that might resonate with you at this point in time,” Martina replied and became quiet.

It took several seconds for Martina to enter a trancelike state. She began to speak and the voice was not her own. A deep male voice was speaking with a distinct Middle-Eastern accent:

“Hello, Holly. My name is Kavi . . . I am your guide.”

“You lived a life in Atlantis and fell deeply in love with your college teacher. He was married and would not leave his wife.You became pregnant with his child . . .” The voice paused for a few seconds.

“You lived a life in India in 1500 BC. You were a man in that life, and we were brothers. Your name was Sanjay. We were devout Hindus and ran a spiritual center together where we helped people better their lives . . .” Again, he paused for a few seconds before continuing.

“I see a life as a Roman Gladiator during the year of 47 BC.You were a prisoner of war and forced into fighting for the Roman’s entertainment . . .” More silence.

“You were a baby left on the doorstep of a monastery in Ireland in the year of 816 and raised by monks. You died young, as the monastery was raided and burned to the ground by Vikings. The Vikings gang raped you before cutting off your head . . .” Still more silence.

“I see a life in Germany in the 1340s. You were a young boy and your mother was mean and cruel to you.You left home on the day you turned 16 . . .” The voice again paused.

“I see you and the man who was your abusive German mother. You are both on a Spanish sailing ship in the late 1480s.You are engaged in a fist fight and you kill him . . .” More silence ensued.

Tough Karma: A Race Against Time (
Karma Series Book 1)

Sword of Vengeance (
Karma Series Book 2)

Karma: The Resolution (
Karma Series Book 3)

About the Author:

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Laura Simmons grew up in northern Virginia and spent most of her career working for various Department of Defense contractors in the Washington, DC area. She has a fascination with all things metaphysical. She enjoys adult coloring books, writing, jigsaw puzzles, vacationing at the beach with her husband, and studying tarot cards and other types of divination systems.

Author web links: On my website, I have a page with a Play List for three of the books in this series. These songs made me think of my characters and their situations. They are the “movie” soundtracks for these stories.

Tour Giveaway
$25.00 Amazon gift card.

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Sunday, March 28, 2021

Character Confessions: DjinnShay Court from JR White's PNR Reckless Dreams + excerpt

Hi and thanks for having us on the blog! When DjinnShay Court found out I was promoting my new book, Reckless Dreams, and that he might have a chance to help he refused not to do it. Without further ado, here’s Dream Realm native and Watcher extraordinaire, Court.

Court: Thanks for the introduction, but you left a few things out. J.R. might be working to promote Reckless Dreams now, but three months ago she was driving me crazy with all the edits and rewrites.

J.R.: We’re here to talk about the book, Court.

Court: Nope. It’s a character confessions. Says so in the title. So I’m going to confess I miss my vine tattoo that was on my forearm all the way until that last editing round. Why don’t I still have that?

J.R. : It didn’t work out in the story.

Court: Didn’t work out in the story? I got that tattoo the night Karlee awoke as our Dreamweaver. So, here’s a little backstory for all the readers. I was back in the Dream Realm celebrating with other Watchers because a new Watcher had joined our ranks. We were all drinking and having a good time and then an explosion of awareness washed over the entire clan. That’s how we knew the new Dreamweaver was finally ready join us. In our lively state several of us decided to get tattoos before racing off to the Waking Realm to look for Karlee. I thought my vines were an excellent way to ring in this new era for the Djinn Clan and they got edited out.

J.R.: I’m sorry, but we really are here to promote Reckless Dreams.

Court: Yeah. Yeah. You can find Reckless Dreams on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08X2XMNJ7 ) or through your choice of books stores linked through Books2Read ( https://books2read.com/u/4NXK7G ).

J.R.: Thank you.

Court: I still miss my vines and you’re lucky Karlee didn’t come along to talk about all the craziness you threw at her.

J.R.: I said I was sorry. Sharon, thanks again for having us!

Reckless Dreams (Stories from the Dream Realm Book One)
by J.R. White
March 15th, 2021

Genre: Paranormal/Fantasy Romance
ASIN: B08X2XMNJ7
Number of pages: 265
Word Count: 54,000
Cover Artist: J.R. White
Embrace Your Destiny in the Dream Realm

The only thing Karlee Bolt has on her mind is her upcoming beach vacation, but her plans are derailed by dark shadows and a knight with a brilliant, bright light. Karlee is suddenly thrown into another realm and into a battle she has no way of fighting.

A Watcher by right, DjinnShay Court is a warrior that protects the balance between the realms. When the Dreamweaver is suddenly dropped into his lap, Court must change tactics. No longer a warrior that stands between the realms, he must now lead Karlee through the Dream Realm and show her there’s more to dreams than fantasy.


Excerpt:
Before Karlee could get the next book on the shelf, a loud thunk made her jump. Spinning around to face the disturbance, she took a slow step forward. “Hello?” At first only silence answered her and then a distant click followed by another and then the sound echoed through the disorganized mess. She took another step, but it wasn’t until the lights illuminated the hallway clicked off that she realized what the sound was.

Backing away from the approaching darkness, Karlee turned to run. The clicking of the lights going out behind her grew louder. On the other side of the basement was the door that led outside and onto the street. She ran faster as her heart started to race. As the clicking grew louder and closer, she heard heavy feet hurrying along with it.

The lights directly above Karlee started to shatter. Sparks cascaded down on her and bounced across the floor. Making a quick turn, she could see the door just a few yards away, but just as she was closing the distance, she felt something tug at her hair. Letting out a shriek, she dashed towards the steps that led away from her tormentor. As one foot touched down on the stair, the other was yanked out from under her. She crashed into the wooden steps and felt a cold solid mass wrap itself around her ankle. It began to slither up her leg and she kicked out, desperately trying to clamber away.

There was nothing but darkness behind Karlee. Even the thing that held onto her and was scratching at her skin seemed to be made of shadows. She screamed as she felt the first hard tug. Reaching up, she grabbed the edge of the top step and held on. Another hard tug jerked her, nearly ripping her away from the relative safety of the stairs. Just when she thought her leg would be torn off, the door above her burst open and she was blinded by a brilliant flash of light shooting through the darkness.

“Be gone, shadow spawn!” a deep voice boomed, and Karlee felt the thick shadows jerk franticly away. Scrambling up the steps, she saw the shining man who had saved her and ran straight into his arms. A strong arm wrapped around her and she found herself tucked against the man’s side.

From beside the stranger, Karlee could see the source of the brilliant light. It radiated from a small stone he held in the palm of his hand. Beyond him, she could also see the illuminated darkness left in the library basement. The light allowed her to see the collection of books and the wreathing shadows that had chased her. Misshapen human shadows were wriggling in the light as if it was burning them. Staring at it, she felt fear rake over her, violently sending her heart into her throat and blocking the scream she couldn’t seem to conjure.

The man slammed the door, hiding the horrid sight from Karlee and in one smooth motion, took her hand and turned towards the road. “I have to get you out of here,” he said as he started to pull her away from the library and down the sidewalk.

About the Author:
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J. R. White has been telling stories for as long as she can remember. After her marriage in 2008 she found the freedom to dive headfirst into her personal world of fiction. Currently, she lives in the Upstate of South Carolina with her family, where she fills her daughter’s head with fairy tales.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

To Hell and Back: A Demon Romance (Sin Demons Book 4) by Harper A. Brooks & Mila Young

To Hell and Back: A Demon Romance (Sin Demons Book 4)
by Harper A. Brooks & Mila Young
April 29th, 2021
Genre: Paranormal Reverse Harem
Editor: Dara Horcasitas
Cover Designer: Phoenix Premade Designs
Hosted by: Lady Amber's PR
They were trying to get back to Hell... But Hell showed up at our door.

None of us expected a visit from the devil himself, but after Lucifer comes a-knocking, we know things are about to heat up fast.

According to the demons, the only way to protect me is to bind us all together. Forever. Something I’m not sure I’m even willing to do. But with Greed’s ring still on my finger and Lucifer’s sights set on making me his next play thing, what other choice do I have?

When I’m dragged to Hell against my will, I’m determined to find a way topside again. But the darkness within me is enjoying this deadly vacation a little too much, and my powers only seem to grow the longer I stay.

My demons will risk it all to save me from eternal damnation.

But after going to Hell and back, will I still be the same in the end?

The epic and alluring demon romance continues with To Hell and Back! Don't be left in the dark. 1-click to get your copy today!

To Hell and Back is book four in the Sin Demons Series.


About the Author:
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Harper A. Brooks lives in a small town on the New Jersey shore. Even though classic authors have always filled her bookshelves, she finds her writing muse drawn to the dark, magical, and romantic. But when she isn't creating entire worlds with sexy shifters or legendary love stories, you can find her either with a good cup of coffee in hand or at home snuggling with her furry, four-legged son, Sammy.

She writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance.
RONE Award Winner
USA TODAY Bestselling Author
International Bestselling Author

About the Author:
Bestselling Author, Mila Young tackles everything with the zeal and bravado of the fairytale heroes she grew up reading about. She slays monsters, real and imaginary, like there's no tomorrow. By day she rocks a keyboard as a marketing extraordinaire. At night she battles with her mighty pen-sword, creating fairytale retellings, and sexy ever after tales. In her spare time, she loves pretending she's a mighty warrior, cuddling up with her cats, and devouring every fantasy tale she can get her pinkies on.

Book Review: The Heiress Gets a Duke (The Gilded Age Heiresses Book 1) by Harper St. George

The Heiress Gets a Duke (The Gilded Age Heiresses Book 1)
by Harper St. George
January 26, 2021
316 pages
Even a fortune forged in railroads and steel can't buy entrance into the upper echelons of Victorian high society--for that you need a marriage of convenience.

American heiress August Crenshaw has aspirations. But unlike her peers, it isn't some stuffy British Lord she wants wrapped around her finger--it's Crenshaw Iron Works, the family business. When it's clear that August's outrageously progressive ways render her unsuitable for a respectable match, her parents offer up her younger sister to the highest entitled bidder instead. This simply will not do. August refuses to leave her sister to the mercy of a loveless marriage.

Evan Sterling, the Duke of Rothschild, has no intention of walking away from the marriage. He's recently inherited the title only to find his coffers empty, and with countless lives depending on him, he can't walk away from the fortune a Crenshaw heiress would bring him. But after meeting her fiery sister, he realizes Violet isn't the heiress he wants. He wants August, and he always gets what he wants.

But August won't go peacefully to her fate. She decides to show Rothschild that she's no typical London wallflower. Little does she realize that every stunt she pulls to make him call off the wedding only makes him like her even more.


The New York Crenshaws are new money. Having made their fortune in railroads, much of the world is at their disposal. But without a certain pedigree, the Crenshaws will never truly have access to the pinnacle of high society. August Crenshaw is horrified when her friend Camille is forced into a marriage of convenience with a titled Brit several years her senior. August vows to avoid such an arrangement, dreaming instead of a day when she may manage her family’s rail business. Evan Sterling, the Duke of Rothschild, is the head of a financially failing family. His mother and sisters require care a title alone cannot provide. To prop up his estate, he needs money. Money a marriage to a certain American heiress could provide.

Perhaps it’s the Bridgerton influence, but I cannot get enough of historical romance these days. I’ve read the steamiest erotica around, but if I’m deep in a historical romance and a bare hand so much as brushes a bare wrist (gasp), I’m a puddle. If a pair is unchaperoned? I’m riveted. I know. It’s messed up. But there’s something to be said for the glacial pace of romance in these stories. The tension is off the hook. This is incredibly rewarding if there’s an adequate payoff. Harper delivers 100 percent.

The infusion of feminist ideals in The Heiress Gets a Duke, while likely inaccurate from a historical perspective, lends a fresh view for contemporary readers. August is relatable in her goals for intellectual challenge and independence. Because the Duke of Rothschild is rather altruistic in his motives, we can quickly forgive his fortune-hunting ways.

The Heiress Gets a Duke is a charming, wonderful read. I was enchanted from beginning to end by the sumptuous settings, relatable characters, and entrancing relationship dynamics. I was genuinely disappointed when the novel concluded as I wanted the story to continue. The good news is, this is the premier installment in a series. The Devil and Heiress, The Gilded Age Heiresses #2 is slated for June release.

Five Sheep






Bianca Greenwood

About the Author:
Harper St. George was raised in the rural backwoods of Alabama and along the tranquil coast of northwest Florida. It was a setting filled with stories of the old days that instilled in her a love of history, romance, and adventure. By high school, she had discovered the historical romance novel which combined all of those elements into one perfect package. She has been hooked ever since.

She lives in the Atlanta area with her family. She would love to hear from you. Please visit her website at www.harperstgeorge.com and connect with her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/harperstgeorge.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Book Review: All Down But Nine (Lingua Magika #2) by Kat Ross

All Down But Nine (Lingua Magika #2)
by Kat Ross
December 10, 2020
342 pages
HARD TO CATCH. HARDER TO KEEP.

Lee Merriweather has fled across the line into Pedro Braga’s jurisdiction, an untamed desert too vast for even the ruthless Guardia Territorial to keep any semblance of order. The Carnarvons want him dead or alive – and with Lee’s attitude, the first seems most likely.

The trail south runs straight through two thousand miles of badlands. To find him, Ruth and Sebastian must survive sabotage, bloodthirsty bandits, and fresh horrors at the Reverend Jolly’s church in New Jerusalem. The hardships draw them into a passionate affair, but loyalties are put to the test when they finally reach the capital of Aguadulce and all hell breaks loose.

Ruth has privately vowed to stop Sebastian from killing Lee, even as the young savant seems bent on his own destruction. And he’s just a pawn in a game with higher stakes than anyone realizes. One that goes beyond empires. One that encompasses worlds.

The phantoms are the key. But can Ruth uncover the truth in time to save them all?

Ruth and Sebastian are in pursuit of the elusive and talented criminal Lee Merriweather. It becomes clear quickly that while Merriweather is reckless, the Reverend Jolly is downright diabolical. And while Ruth and Sebastian’s entanglement becomes far more intimate than either of them expected, their disparate loyalties are put to the ultimate test. This wild west meets steampunk fantasy series is not to be missed. This has been one of my favourite new series in recent memory.

Lingua Magika is an outstanding, wildly creative series. Its original combination of genres and wholly unique premise have made for a completely fantastic series so far. Ross’s writing is grippingly entertaining, thoughtful, and intelligent. The duty-bound Ruth is a beautiful combination of innocence and experience. Her undaunting determination makes her an admirable main character. Sebastian is a sexy, understated partner for Ruth. Their partnership, however, is tenuous at best. The Reverend Jolly is a truly chilling villain with endless creativity for mayhem. The danger he poses is completely terrifying.

I don’t want to give anything away for readers who haven’t read the first installment. By the end of the book, Ross has set the table for an explosive conclusion to the series, Devil of the North. I am endlessly curious.

Book Review: A Feast of Phantoms (Lingua Magika, #1)

Five Sheep






Bianca Greenwood


 
About the Author:
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Kat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She’s the author of the Fourth Element and Fourth Talisman fantasy series, the Gaslamp Gothic paranormal mysteries, and the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day. She loves myths, monsters and doomsday scenarios. Check out Kat’s Pinterest page for the people, places and things that inspire her books.

Book Review: Black Sunshine: A Dark Vampire Romance by Karina Halle + excerpt

Black Sunshine: A Dark Vampire Romance
by Karina Halle
March 23, 2021
448 pages
All Lenore Warwick wants for her 21st birthday is to hang out with her friends, finish her second year at Berkeley with flying colors, and maybe catch the eye of a hot musician playing a show at a club that she can now (legally) get into.

Unfortunately, fate has other plans for her.

A week before her birthday, she’s kidnapped by the brooding and dangerous stranger with cold eyes and a lethal touch, who has been stalking her on San Francisco’s fog-shrouded streets. Absolon "Solon" Stavig isn’t your average criminal though. He’s a centuries-old vampire who’s caught between wanting to kill Lenore and wanting to save her.

You see Lenore, too, is a vampire.

She just doesn’t know it yet.

Taken by a pair of vampire slayers when she was just an infant, Lenore was raised never knowing her true nature. All Lenore knows is that she has (normal) parents who love her, that she’s exceptionally smart, and she’s squeamish around blood. But once she turns twenty-one, she’ll fully turn into a vampire, and Solon hopes he’ll be there to guide her, opening her eyes to her deepest hunger...both sexual and otherwise.

But this turning can’t be kept a secret. Soon both slayers and vampires are hunting Lenore, with only Solon and his unpredictable motley crew of vampires to save her.

If they don’t kill her first.

Black Sunshine is a dark adult standalone romance with a paranormal twist, about sex, love, secrets, and revenge, set in contemporary San Francisco.


Karina Halle’s Experiment in Terror series, as well as its spinoff Ada Palomino, are among my all-time faves. When I read her pending release was a vampire dark romance, I was immediately sold. I’m still a total sucker for vampires. Halle can craft contemporary romance like none other, and her paranormal series are tremendously imaginative. When I got my hands on the ARC for Black Sunshine, I pretty much devoured it.

Black Sunshine is, without a doubt, an entertaining read. The premise is creative and compelling. The romance arc includes a few non-conventional twists and turns I truly appreciated. The book is self-aware and uses, disabuses, and transforms many of the established vampire tropes. Absolon, our broody vampire, is everything we love about an anti-hero. Several well-developed characters, such as Wolf, nicely round out the story.

I struggled slightly at the start of this novel. Full disclosure, for most of the book I didn’t love Lenore. I understand the necessity for her to be young, however, at times her voice is so immature it borders on silly. On several occasions, I found her actions and reactions completely out of line for the situation. But by the end of the story, we see significant growth for Lenore as well as formidable ferocity. Typically I’ve always admired Halle’s ability to craft natural, immersive dialogue, however, this wasn’t quite the case. This doesn’t quite come through until the latter portion of the book. When the characters begin to gel and the story takes shape, Halle hits the mark.

Black Sunshine is marketed as a standalone. It becomes clear, however, Lenore and Absolon’s story has taken root. There’s clear potential for a series or at least a sequel. While the closure of a standalone is present, there are hints of something more to come. I’m excited by the prospect. I’m interested to see how this world and these characters develop.

Four Sheep






Bianca Greenwood

EXCERPT FROM BLACK SUNSHINE:
The door opens and Absolon strides inside, dressed in a sharp black suit, black dress shirt, collar open. For some reason I thought he would be in a tux, but of course he looks impeccable in this. Stealthy and deadly, like a walking weapon. Gorgeous beyond words.

I instinctively inhale, my heart thudding.

He stops in his tracks and looks at me for a moment, his eyes flicking over every inch of skin, leaving sparks of electricity in their wake. His gaze is intense, smoldering, something that makes me feel restless and unsettled.

He quickly breaks the spell, closing the door behind him, and it's only then that I notice he has a jewelry box in his hands.

"What is that, a corsage?" I comment.

He stops right in front of me, his smell washing over me, and holds out the box, the dark blue velvet shining. "Funny," he says dryly. "Take a look for yourself."

Curiosity gets the best of me and I reach out and flip open the lid.

Inside are a pair of drop earrings and a matching necklace on a delicate chain. Blood red rubies sit amongst burnished silver. The beauty of the stones takes my breath away. For a moment, it feels like I'm being wooed by some wealthy gentleman, instead of what this all really is.

"I thought vampires couldn't wear silver," I say after a moment, not wanting to fawn over them.

"Don't believe everything you read," he says. 

Then he hands me the box, leaving the earrings to me while he takes out the necklace.
"Burma rubies," he says in a low voice that makes me shiver as he comes behind me. With his presence at my back, my neck exposed, I'm on high alert. "Very, very rare. Pigeon blood is the color."

"That's disturbing."

"I'd say macabre. And beautiful. Now you realize how some things in this world can be both."

I swallow as he gently places the necklace around my neck, the ruby sitting below my collarbone. There's a feeling of warmth from the back of the jewel, like it's connecting to my skin and fusing with it. I have to wonder at the magic of stones and where he got this, if it means anything, if it's doing anything.
His hands go to the back of my neck, and I feel his unblinking eyes burn into me, more of those sparks alighting my skin, alternating between flames and ice. He fastens the necklace and I hear a low sigh from his mouth, as if there's some sort of relief.

Then he runs his palms over my shoulders, smooth skin skimming over mine, until he grips my upper arms.

I hold my breath, feeling his face come closer, his nose brushing over the back of my head. He inhales sharply, a sensation that causes goosebumps to prickle down my entire body, his nose moving behind my ear.

He's smelling me.

I can hardly stay still, but his grip is strong, and my pulse is going wild, and I'm not sure if I want to flee, or fight...or f*ck.

"So much fear," he breathes into my neck, and my eyes roll back into my head. "Alongside so much desire."

"You're compelling me," I say, but the tremor in my voice betrays me.

He slowly breathes out, causing my knees to buckle.

"I'm not," he murmurs. "This is just you, reacting to me." His mouth brushes against the back of my ear, unravelling me further. "This is how it will always be."

About the Author:

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Karina Halle is a screenwriter, a former music & travel journalist, and the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of The Pact, A Nordic King, and Sins & Needles, as well as sixty other wild and romantic reads.

She, her musician husband, and their adopted pit bull, Bruce, live in a rainforest on an island off the coast of British Columbia, where they operate Raven Ridge, a B&B that's perfect for writers' retreats and romantic getaways.

In the winter, you can often find them in California or on their beloved island of Kauai, soaking up as much sun (and getting as much inspiration) as possible. For more information, visit www.authorkarinahalle.com/books

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Book Review: A Conventicle of Magpies (The Bloodskill Duology Book 1) by LMR Clarke

A Conventicle of Magpies: A victorian fantasy adventure (The Bloodskill Duology Book 1)
by LMR Clarke
January 6th, 2021
Genre: Gaslamp Fantasy/ Adventure/ Steampunk
Rook is a thief, and entirely unapologetic about it as she’s determined to do anything to ensure her mother and siblings survive the squalid and dangerous streets of Stamchester.

Rook slips in and out of the homes of the ruling elite of Stamchester, the Avanish,like a shadow taking what she needs without regret.

Why should she? Had the Avanish not stolen her own people, the Saouiasei, from their own homes years before and transported them across the ocean to Stamchester to work as virtual slaves?

And, now the Avanish had no more use for Rook and her people, where they not determined to dispose of them?

The Avanish had already laid waste to a swathe of Saouiasei homes, a region which had become known as ‘The Scar’, in an attempt to drive them out?

However, Rook was not the only person hiding in the shadows. A far more dangerous figure was haunting the filthy streets of Stamchester striking fear into Avanish and Saouiasei alike; Billy Drainer, a serial killer who not only murdered his victims but drained them of every ounce of their precious, life giving blood.

For within blood was a highly sought-after commodity, the ability to enhance a person’s natural abilities through the art of Bloodskill. To be faster and stronger than a normal person was something those with money were willing to pay handsomely for.

‘A Conventicle of Magpies’ is a fast-paced gaslamp fantasy adventure set in a Victorian-inspired world. Perfect for fans of Charlie N. Holmberg’s Spellbreaker and Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell.

Add to Goodreads

The Bloodskill scape of Stamchester is one of have and have nots, oppressors, and oppressed. The Saouiasei have led an existence of virtual enslavement at the hands of the Avanish. Forced to live in slums, the Saouiasei must grind out a living any way they can while fighting for survival against an oppressive, hateful regime led by a maniacal governor. Stamchester resembles Victorian England in this original Gaslamp adventure fantasy series.

The Conventicle is a band of female thieves working for mama Magpie, a fearsome matriarch stationed in Stamchester’s Saouiasei territory. Rook, The Conventicle’s most promising operative, is fighting to carve out a meager livelihood for herself, her ailing mother, and a score of younger siblings. Rook’s family doesn’t have much, but their determination to survive is admirable. As if Stamchester’s disadvantaged don’t have enough to worry about, a serial predator nicknamed “Billy Drainer” is preying upon the community draining his victims of their only valuable commodity – their blood.

A fantastic element of this story is that humans have harnessed the ability to use injected blood to enhance their natural skills of sight, speed, etc. Rook is highly adept at using her bloodskill and she puts this to use in her role within The Conventicle. When Magpie is captured and imprisoned by Avanish forces, Rook and the rest of The Conventicle must tap into every skill to rescue not just Magpie, but their people.

A Conventicle of Magpies is more than a mere fantasy tale. Clarke injects wholly contemporary commentary on colonialism and inequality. She questions gender roles and includes a formidable transgender character, Kestrel, in the conventicle. The substance of the book is carefully woven into the plot. Clarke has set the table for a formidable follow-up. A malicious plot has yet to be properly thwarted by The Conventicle and its allies and teased characters and relationships have yet to be fully discovered.

Four Sheep






Bianca Greenwood

Excerpt
Safe and sound in the Magpie’s Nest, Rook divested herself of her corseted dress and heels and returned to the comfort of a shirt and trousers. The young woman fell into an armchair, threw her booted feet onto the battered coffee table, and plucked up a newspaper. Even though she’d been out all day, she hadn’t seen the latest in the Stamchester Review. As she scanned the page, Rook shook her head, and a lock of black hair fell over her face.

YET ANOTHER BLOODLESS CORPSE

At two o’clock this morning, a police constable came upon the scene of yet another gruesome murder. The body, which has not yet been identified, was found on the southbank end of the Buxridge Bridge. Like the other five bodies found in similar circumstances over the last few months, the corpse appeared to be drained of every last ounce of blood. Suspicion for this killing falls once more on the elusive fiend known only as Billy Drainer, although Inspector Kip Kerstammen declined to comment on this observation.

Rook licked her thumb and flicked to the next page. Inches and inches of news stretched through the broadsheet, as always full of sensationalism and very little fact. Only two parties enjoyed Stamchester’s string of murders: so-called Billy Drainer himself, whoever he was, and the newspapers. Both made significant gains from the events. News was always a profitable commodity in Stamchester, but blood was more valuable than gold. Those corpses weren’t bloodless for no reason.

A cough came from the doorway. Rook glanced up from the grim columns. A slim figure stood in the doorway, a tiny girl at the end of her teenage years. Pigeon stood in the low doorframe that led to the main Nest bar and jerked her head. The action sent her mass of dark curls tumbling to one side.

About the Author

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I’m LMR Clarke, though you can call me Rain, and I’m a writer from Northern Ireland. I’m thirty-something, a parent, and a teacher. I love books and I also draw.

I’m an enby (non-binary) and am still finding my way! My stories are all about identity and acceptance and trying to find your place in the world.

Twitter Links: @lmrclarkeauthor @RRBookTours1 @castrumpress #RRBookTours #AConventicleofMagpies #Bloodskills

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

CLASSIC MONSTERS UNLEASHED - Horror Fiction Anthology

OMG! I jumped on this Kickstarter immediately! 
Stories and artwork...flock yeah! 
Check out all the info below and go to the Kickstarter to see even more art... all the cool horror fans are doing it ;)

CLASSIC MONSTERS UNLEASHED - Horror Fiction Anthology
New Dracula, Frankenstein & Mummy tales by Jonathan Maberry, Ramsey Campbell, Seanan McGuire, Tim Waggoner. Art by Frank Frazetta.
CLASSIC MONSTERS UNLEASHED will contain at least 25 dark, scary stories about your favorite monsters written by the biggest names in the horror genre — including Joe Lansdale, Jonathan Maberry, Ramsey Campbell, Richard Christian Matheson, Lisa Morton, Seanan McGuire, Linda D. Addison, Owl Goingback and many others.

Classic Monsters Unleashed will have a minimum of 80,000 words of fiction and more than 300 pages filled with monstrous stories and art.

The anthology will also feature monster art by the legendary Frank Frazetta, the modern master of the dark arts Mister Sam Shearon and cover artist extraordinaire Colton Worley.
Joe Lansdale unleashes Jack the Ripper
F. Paul Wilson unleashes Frankenstein
Jonathan Maberry unleashes Dr. Moreau
Seanan McGuire unleashes Mad Scientist
Ramsey Campbell unleashes Count Magnus
Lisa Morton unleashes Headless Horseman
Richard Christian Matheson unleashes Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Maurice Broaddus unleashes the Invisible Man
Tim Waggoner unleashes a character inspired by the Wolfman

Owl Goingback unleashes Dracula
Dacre Stoker & Leverett Butts unleash Dracula
Linda Addison unleashes a character inspired by The Blob
Alessandro Manzetti unleashes Mina Harker & a Classic Monsters Poem
Rena Mason unleashes a character inspired by the Mummy
John Palisano unleashes a character inspired by the Creature From the Black Lagoon
Mercedes Yardley unleashes Dorian Gray
Monique Snyman unleashes a character inspired by The Fly
Lucy A. Snyder unleashes Phantom of the Opera
Gary Braunbeck unleashes a story inspired by Cat People

Story pages of Classic Monsters Unleashed, featuring F. Paul Wilson's "Dreams" and Mister Sam Shearon's "Frankenstein's Monster."

Mister Sam Shearon's "Frankenstein's Monster," which will be an interior illustration, is based on Mary Shelley's original description of the creature.