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Saturday, December 31, 2022

Happy New Year from I Smell Sheep

Happy New Year from I Smell Sheep

 I made this but forgot to put it up so...here it is!

Annual Critters Readers' Poll Voting Page: Best Review Site

The poll opens Dec. 24 this year and through Jan. 14. The poll is open!


Friday, December 30, 2022

Book Review: Stolen From the Demon Prince (Sins of the Blood War Book 2) by Lauren Crowne

STOLEN FROM THE DEMON PRINCE by Lauren Crowne is out now. Check it out and be sure to grab the second book in the Sins of the Blood War Series!

Stolen From the Demon Prince (Sins of the Blood War Book 2)
by Lauren Crowne
Dec 27, 2022
Genre: Paranormal Romance
The demon prince is possessive, jealous, and determined to protect what is his.

Can the prince ever see me, a former fae slave, as his equal?

Or will he always see me as only a possession to protect?

The longer Leo and I are in the demon kingdom, the more obvious it becomes to both of us that it's not safe for me to stay there with him. Demons want to take me from him at every turn, and rival factions are eager to use me as a pawn to hurt the prince.

When it seems impossible for us to be together, will the prince abandon his title, throne, and kingdom for me?

Or should I seek out the fae city and find a new home with my own kind?

Despite all of the forces working against us, deep down I know that the only home I've ever wanted was with him.

Unfortunately for me, there are demons who will refuse to let that happen.

All books in the Sins of the Blood War series contain spicy tension, deliciously steamy scenes, characters who talk (and curse) like adults, and occasional moments of violence. Leo's a prince who can do whatever he wants, after all, and in this book, what he wants is her.


Stolen From the Demon Prince by Lauren Crowne is the second installment in the Sins of the Blood War PNR saga. I found it VERY entertaining, filled to the brim with sexy alphas and tons of exciting and lightly hard-hitting action. Not sure if it's a "dark romance" or just a fun adventure romance, but honestly I don't care. It's a good read! 

Keep in mind this is a 3 part saga and so there is no HEA just yet. If at all? But you do get a lot more to the drama and building of the world plus all the love and connection with characters. You get introduced to more and some are going to piss you off a bit, but that's just part of the journey. 

Very happy to have found this author and looking forward to the next chapter!

Getting 4 Sheep




KD



About the Author:
Lauren Crowne writes sexy, funny, action-packed fantasy and paranormal romance, transporting readers into a world of fae, demons, wolf shifters, and more. You'll want to root for her bold heroines and hot heroes, neither of which are afraid to fight for the ones they love. Sold to the Demon Prince is the first book in the Sins of the Blood War trilogy, with all three books following the same couple as they try to hold on to their passion for each other even when the world seems against them. When she isn't writing, Lauren is addicted to drinking iced coffee, forcing her husband to watch funny TikToks, and traveling with her husband and three kids.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

VOTE FOR US! Welcome to the Annual Critters Readers' Poll Voting Page: Best Review Site

Annual Critters Readers' Poll Voting Page: Best Review Site

The poll opens Dec. 24 this year and through Jan. 14. The poll is open!

Give I Smell Sheep a vote! Don't forget to finalize your vote by clicking on the link they send to your email.


Movie Review: Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Director: Rian Johnson
Writer: Rian Johnson
Cast: Daniel Craig, Edward Norton, Janelle MonĂ¡e, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., Jessica Henwick, Madelyn Cline, Kate Hudson, Dave Bautista 
Release (Theaters): Nov 23, 2022
Release (Streaming): Dec 23, 2022
Rating: PG-13 (Some Violence|Sexual Material|Drug Content|Strong Language)
Genre: Mystery & Thriller, Comedy, Drama 
Runtime: 2h 20m
Distributor: Netflix 
Benoit Blanc returns to peel back the layers in a new Rian Johnson whodunit. This fresh adventure finds the intrepid detective at a lavish private estate on a Greek island, but how and why he comes to be there is only the first of many puzzles. Blanc soon meets a distinctly disparate group of friends gathering at the invitation of billionaire Miles Bron for their yearly reunion. Among those on the guest list are Miles' former business partner Andi Brand, current Connecticut governor Claire Debella, cutting-edge scientist Lionel Toussaint, fashion designer and former model Birdie Jay and her conscientious assistant Peg, and influencer Duke Cody and his sidekick girlfriend Whiskey. As in all the best murder mysteries, each character harbors their own secrets, lies and motivations. When someone turns up dead, everyone is a suspect.

My husband and I loved Knives Out and looked forward to this follow-up. It was definitely entertaining. Not quite as good as the first movie but still worth seeing. Lots of humor and a twisty murder mystery. I think they tried too hard to capitalize on Benoit Blanc's quirkiness. I like large ensemble cast movies and this one delivers.

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is a perfect movie to watch over the holidays with friends and age-appropriate family :)

My husband and I give it 4 "glass sheep."
 



SharonS


Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Book Review: Wolf Defender (The Defenders Book 1) by M Guida

Wolf Defender (The Defenders Book 1)
by M Guida
11/10/21
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Buffalo Mountain Press
ASIN: B09DFDMQCY
Number of pages: 132
Word Count: 33000
Cover Artist: Jacqueline Sweet Design
I've been carrying a torch for a wolf defender, but he’s never looked my way. Why would he? I am a dragon and the daughter of an accused traitor.

When we get news of mystery and intrigue in the corrupt Timber Kingdom of the wolves, he wants to go there to avenge the death of his fated mate. I'm sure this is the key to proving my dad's innocence.

If I can convince him to band together we both might get what we want, including a chance at love. But neither of us know who to trust when demons and wolves have joined forces to bring the dark Unseelie to our realm.


Wolf Defender by author M Guida is the new Legacy Defenders PNR saga installment. At 132 pages or so, this one is over way too soon but leaves you entertained and interested in discovering more.

As with most sagas, I can imagine that the characters from this book are in some other sagas the author writes. While I was not previously familiar with all of them, I bet readers who love this author will really enjoy catching up. There were some typos in the story ,but the writing is so colorful that it really didn't take away much. Just a smidge annoying ,if anything at all.

Overall, I liked the world created and enjoyed the romance parts while fast and sometimes fleeting. It's certainly piqued my interest on more to come from this author.

Getting 3 and 1/2 Sheep





KD

EXCERPT:

My heart was heavy with disappointment. I was no closer to finding my dad and proving that he wasn’t a traitor than I had been six months ago. Every lead had turned into a dead end, and based on some rumors I had heard, I had a feeling time was running out for him.


My sister and my mom had died several years ago. He was my only family and I missed him so much. Sometimes I couldn’t even breathe when I thought about it. This was one of those times.

Snow was falling in the Colorado Rocky Mountains and dusk had fallen early. Icicles were forming on the tips of my wings and the end of my tail. I was too tired and too miserable to keep going and landed in a small meadow. I dropped my bag in which I had packed a change of clothes, a journal, and my longbow and arrows.

It was too cold to shift back into human form, so I curled up into a ball and rested my head on my talons. Tears froze on my cheeks, but I didn’t care.

Damn Cormac, King of the Unseelie.

This was all his fault. He knew where my dad was, but stubbornly refused to tell me. After losing the battle against the Defenders and our allies, he said my dad was hidden somewhere that I could never find him–and so far, the bastard had been right.

I wasn’t sure where else to go. What else to do.

Exhaustion washed over my tired muscles and breaking heart. I closed my eyes and sighed, letting the quietness of the forest and the falling snow lull me to sleep…


About the Author:
Website-FB-TikTok M Guida has always loved fantasy and romance, especially dragons. Growing up, she devoured fantasy books and all kinds of young adult books. And then she found romance and a whole new world opened up to her.

Now as an adult, she fell in love with academy romance and has blended all of her past loves into one compelling series. Dragons, vampires, elves, demons, and shifters all attend Legacy Academy.

When she's not writing, she lives in the colorful Rocky Mountains with her fur baby, Raven, and enjoys taking her for walks.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Pre-order: Manticore: Confessions 3 by Kate Hill + giveaway

12-30-2022
Genre/Themes: Paranormal, Shapeshifters, Dark Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Magic
Length: Novella
Publisher: Changeling Press
Martin: I was an outcast. Humiliated and abused, I ran away to carve out a life apart from the Specter family business. Convinced the family magic would never work for me, I was taken by surprise when I met him.

Manticore: Shunned by other manifestations, I lived alone and nameless. Then I found Martin. He gave me a name and his body. Now, we exist as one. We never expected to find a woman who’ll love us, but Daisy Fay is full of surprises. We’ve walked through demonic fire to protect her, and we will have her as our mate.

Daisy Fay: Martin is the sweetest guy I know. Manticore is an enticing beast. I never dreamed they shared a body. It’s a good thing I love them both. We’re in constant danger, though, because their father wants to kill them. They want to keep me safe, but sitting in the sidelines isn’t my style, and they’d better get used to it.


About the Author
Kate Hill is a vegetarian New Englander who loves writing romantic fantasies. When she's not working on her books, Kate enjoys reading, working out, watching horror movies, and researching vampires and Viking history. She runs the Compelling Beasts Blog that is dedicated to antagonists, antiheroes, and paranormal creatures. Kate also writes as Saloni Quinby.

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Monday, December 19, 2022

Excerpt: Innocence (Beaumond Academy #1) by Adrienne Woods + giveaway

by Adrienne Woods
Publication date: December 20th 2022
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Welcome to Beaumont Academy! We’re here to mold your supernatural abilities into the best they can be. Remember to submit your abilities test results, or we will deny your application.

After Maxima Lane turns into a bat, her acceptance into Beaumont Academy was a given. It means freedom from her horrid stepmother and equally terrible stepsisters. However, her freedom isn’t long lived as her stepmother claims she doesn’t have the x-gene and if Max can’t turn into a bat before the Magic Sector comes, she might get expelled from school.

Gabriel Hendrix’s life is simple. Capture the villains and don’t fall for a witch. Until he meets Maxima Lane. She has an X-gene that allows her to turn into a bat. Meaning she can follow the falcon, and he can put a stop to the Shadowed—if only it was that simple. The girl comes with a lot of secrets, and it drives Gabriel insane. Why is her stepmother obsessed with her? Why is there yellow in her eyes when it’s supposed to be red and why can’t she activate her bat?

When people die and Max gets kidnapped from the academy, time is running against Gabe. He needs to find answers and Max before it’s too late.

If you are fans of Jennifer L. Armentrout and Bella Forrest, you don’t want to miss out on this new paranormal/fantasy series by Adrienne Woods. Scroll up to order your copy!


Excerpt 1
My gaze searched the treetops where it came from, and the falcon was jumping from branch to branch. Something hung from her claw.

She stared straight at me as if she were begging for help.

I lifted my arm, and she dove from the branch. Her talons pierced into my skin as she landed on my arm. The blood seeped through the jacket that Maria had lent me.

My gaze flickered from the blood on the jacket toward the blinking red button on a metal sphere hanging from the leather laces.

My fingers worked fast, untangling the leather strings around her leg.

The magic pricked and burned the tips of my fingers, but I pushed through that too. The only thing that drove me through the pain was that someone had forcefully used magic to put this tracker on her. Someone nasty and that they wanted to hurt her beyond my understanding.

It wasn’t the first time that the falcon had crossed paths with me. We were old friends. Met on previous occasions, usually in this forest. Sometimes I gave her berries or took her to Maria if she had a broken wing or something that needed attention. She would stay until she was ready to go on her way.

“Again? How do you always get into trouble?”

She kacked softly. As if she was telling me ‘I don’t know.’ I finally got the string off. The magic died as I shoved the tracker inside my pocket. I inspected her wing, pulled it softly open. She let me. There didn’t seem to be any other wounds.

She kacked her thank you.

“Don’t!” a man’s voice yelled, and the falcon pushed herself off my arm and darted through the trees. My arm throbbed where her claws had pierced into my skin.

Arrows whooshed after her, and my teeth ground on each other as the guy was relentless, trying to kill something as beautiful as that bird. She didn’t do anyone harm.

I didn’t think; I just charged.

My body connected hard with his, and we both tumbled to the ground. Grunts left him and complaints left me as we rolled a couple of times.

Rocks and pinecones pressed into my back, and something sharp on this guy nipped at my hip-bone. The scent of sandalwood mixed with a sweet manly fragrance spread through my nostrils and clouded my mind.

My head bumped against something hard bringing me back to reality.

His weight worked in his favor. My boney ass might have knocked him to the ground, but it wouldn’t get the upper hand in this struggle.

My back connected hard with the ground as he pinned me there. He forced my hands above my head, grasping both my palms with one of his giant ones. An arrow pointed into my cheek.

About the Author
Adrienne Woods is a USA Today Bestselling author, living in South Africa.

She’s been in love with books all her life and knew at the age of 13 that she is going to be a writer one day.

That dream happened ten years ago and she started to pen her stories down on paper. Firebolt, her debut novel, were released 4 years after that, and she hasn’t stop since.

Now she almost have 15 novels under her belt, and it doesn’t look like she is going to stop soon.

To find out more about Adrienne and her books, please visit her website at www.adriennewoodsbooks.com.

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Dominant Species by William Burke + giveaway

Dominant Species
by William Burke
1
1-09-2022
Genre: Horror
Publisher: Severed Press
Genetic scientists have created a species of virtually indestructible living weapons, codenamed the Olympians. But they made one mistake: Never create what you can’t destroy.

After surviving his battle against prehistoric scorpions, mercenary Dave Brank sought seclusion—a chance to heal in the arms of his equally traumatized lover, Emily Lennox. Their bliss is cut short when North Korean agents hijack a dozen genetically engineered dinosaur hybrids from a secret lab. Brank discovers that these creatures aren’t just mindless, living weapons—their genetically engineered brains are evolving at a staggering rate, approaching human intelligence. He grapples with the prospect of killing sentient beings that never asked to be created, while Emily discovers secrets hidden within the lab that make her question who the real monsters are. Brank’s hand is forced when the Olympians escape their Korean captors, fleeing into the desert to feed on their mortal enemy—man. But hunting them down places him in the crosshairs of North Korean assassins eager to reclaim their prize.

Humans and Olympians collide in a deadly showdown, with the winner becoming earth’s dominant species.


About the Author
Website-FB-Instagram
Goodreads-Youtube

DOMINANT SPECIES is William Burke’s fourth novel, following a long career in film and television. He was the creator and director of the Destination America paranormal series Hauntings and Horrors and the OLN series Creepy Canada, as well as producing the HBO productions Forbidden Science, Lingerie and Sin City Diaries. His work has garnered high praise from network executives and insomniacs watching Cinemax at 3 a.m.

During the 1990’s Burke was a staff producer for the Playboy Entertainment Group, producing eighteen feature films and multiple television series. He’s acted as Line Producer and Assistant Director on dozens of feature films—some great, some bad and some truly terrible.

Aside from novels Burke has written for Fangoria Magazine, Videoscope Magazine and is a regular contributor to Horrornews.net.

He also served in the United States Air Force, reaching the rank of sergeant.

His YouTube Channel is http://www.youtube.com/c/BillBurke

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Sunday, December 18, 2022

Meet the Characters (The Glint of the Luopan by Sally Feng) + giveaway

Meet the Characters

Lai Fang
Age: Mid-Twenties
Appearance: short, thin, medium-length brown hair, brown eyes
Character: introverted, dreamy, a bit naive, spiritually gifted
Skills: Remote Viewing
Interests: Conspiracies, UFOs & Aliens
Lai Fang is the protagonist. She’s a native Chinese who grew up in the US. After having lost a big part of her memory, she lives alone in an apartment in New York. Her main aim is to find her dad.


Lijie Fang
Age
: Late 50s
Appearance: rather short, a bit stout, short brown-grey hair, brown eyes
Character: loyal, curious, smart,
Skills: Lucid Dreaming, Long Distance Remote Viewing
Interests: Old-Fashioned Magic
Lijie Fang is Lai Fang’s dad. He was recruited by the Dreamer Society in his childhood as he was a so-called Indigo Child with supernatural abilities. He’s a former agent of the Dreamer Society and allegedly a double agent for the US. He‘s disappeared, probably kidnapped by an institution.

Izzy

Age: Late Twenties
Appearance: tall, curly brown hair, brown eyes
Character: extroverted, energetic, ambitious, smart
Skills: Find out :)
Interests: Vintage furniture & clothing
Izzy is Lai Fang’s best friend. She has also lost a part of her memory and goes to the mnemotherapy group. She’s a stewardess and always happy to give Lai Fang advice on her love life.


Suresh

Age: Mid-Twenties
Appearance: tall, short black hair, dark brown eyes
Character: introverted, smart, sarcastic
Skills: Coding, Hacking, Cooking
Interests: Logic, Computers, Music
Suresh is Lai Fang’s love interest. He supports her in her quest to find her dad. He works in New York as an IT professional.

The Glint of the Luopan
by Sally Feng
11.11.2022

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: CinnamonBooks
ISBN: 978-3000739385
ASIN: B0BKY2KQ15
Number of pages: 292
Word Count: 65.000
Cover Artist: MiblArt
A Daoist journey through New York and Beijing. A secret society. A young woman on a mission to find her dad.

Lai Fang, a Chinese native living in New York, is working to recover her lost memory and find her father. Along the way, she finds herself in the arms of the mysterious Suresh who supports her search in unconventional ways.

Guided by a Luopan, scattered remnants of recollections, technology, and a little magic, Lai Fang desperately clings to what she hopes will be the path to her truth. However, what if the truth lies far beyond the scope of human comprehension? What is the truth to begin with?

The Glint of the Luopan weaves a mesmerizing web of a world that begins as a dream and unfolds in a journey for family, hope, and love.

Book Trailer: 

Excerpt
The elevator jerked to a halt and the doors slid open to a circular room with high Greek-looking columns in the corners. Everything was in muted colors, beige, and blue-grey.

“Oh wow.”

In the middle, there was a circular table with a model of China on it.

“So, this is where we plan our utopia, or at least its rough outlines.”

Izzy went up to the table and propped her hands on it.

“These are all regions in China where we have established so-called cities in the sky. You might even have seen a picture of it on the news that went viral a couple of years ago, in Foshan.

Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to prevent it from becoming public. Of course, most people took it for a mirage, a Fata Morgana.”

“Cities in the sky?” I had actually thought that nothing could shock me anymore, but this was just unbelievable.

“Yes. As of now, about half a million Chinese people live there. We are still in our experimental phase, but so far, we have made good progress.”

She talked about it as if it was an everyday thing.

“You know, China has had a demographic explosion during the last couple of years, after the pandemic. Even during the one-child policy, population growth was significant, especially in the countryside. China couldn’t admit that to the rest of the world. The outcry and the fear would have been enormous. Not to mention, the Chinese themselves began to suffer from the density of the population in the cities. They began to house people everywhere: in cellars, in tents, but there were just so many. Also, the space programs didn’t bring the desired success.” She stroked the table.

“So, the Dreamer Society began to look for other options. They rounded up a team of people from all disciplines – geologists, biologists, remote viewers – to map out a future for the Chinese population. What they found was just so, so much more interesting than anyone had ever thought.”

Izzy took a deep breath and pushed a button next to the model of China. There was a whirring sound, something opened in the middle of the model, and a glass pillar rose up. At the same time, a hissing sound rang out as the pillar f illed with smoke. I couldn’t take my eyes off it. Slowly, very slowly, tiny outlines began to form out of the smoke. They looked strangely solid. The smoke pooled into walls and roofs, culminating in towers...

“What the-?”

“This is Jindan, the substance used for creating the sky cities. It’s a kind of energy that can condense into something solid. Initially, it was only used for manipulating the weather, like at the Olympic Games. Then we found out how powerful it really is. If you achieve a tremendous degree of compaction, you can actually create solid bodies. It is said to be inspired by the early Daoists who practiced inner alchemy.”

The smoke in the glass pillar was still forming and condensing. By now I could also see small roads. I slowly circled the pillar, keeping a cautious distance, and found more and more details.

“I mean…how do you create whole, life-sized cities?” It seemed suitable for a small project in chemistry class, but how could you create something lifelike with it?
Izzy circled the model and looked at the pillar as well. “Guess why it’s called the Dreamer Society?”

“Dreams?”

“It turned out that the Jindan substance interacts very well with dream energy. Before that, the Society experimented with all sorts of things – hydrogen, carbon, and so on. Then, someone had what is called a ‘happy accident’. They fell asleep in the lab, and when they awoke the next morning, their dream was hanging from the ceiling. In 3D and touchable. Then, they went from there. Actually, what you see in the pillar is a sky city in its purest form, without dream energy.”

I searched Izzy’s face, but I couldn’t find any trace of exaggeration.

I didn’t know how much more absurdity I would endure. I only knew that the sky city in the vessel was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen: an airy, fluffy-looking, slightly glittering thing, like cotton candy that seemed to be constantly reassembling itself.

About the Author:
Blog-Twitter-Instagram
Sally Feng is an expert in Chinese culture and philosophy and loves to spread the word about these topics. She holds a Master’s degree in Literary Translation and Sinology. Her interests also include the paranormal and Asian religions.

After completing her first novel translations for different publishers, she published the Urban Fantasy title “The Glint of the Luopan”. It's set in New York and Beijing and deals with Chinese magic and philosophy, among other things.

She works as an author, translator and editor. "The Glint of the Luopan" is her third novel.

Tweet:
A magical portal journey through New York and Beijing. A secret society. A young woman on a mission to find her dad. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0BKY2KQ15/
#urbanfantasy #urbanfantasyasian #urbanfantasychinese #secretsociety #portals #darkacademia #skycities #memoryloss #loverstoenemies #psychicspies #doubleagents #china #magicdevice #speculativefiction

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Saturday, December 17, 2022

Excerpt: Winter Dragon (Season’s War, #2) by Olena Nikitin + giveaway



Winter Dragon (Season’s War, #2)
by Olena Nikitin
December 18th 2022
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance
“When a Chaos mage fights, only blood and scorched earth remain.”

Mage War Chronicles

Some victories are more costly than others, and Ina was the one that paid the price.

Determined to rescue her dragon, the newly appointed royal witch embarks on a gruelling journey through the wintery Grey Mountains. The weather is not her only obstacle, as the enemy forces gathered in the kobold mines have only one goal.

To capture the Chaos mage and deliver her to the heart of the mountain.

With the help of Sa’Ren, Ina arrives at Castle Liath almost unscathed, but her joy is short-lived, as its granite walls hide a shocking revelation.

With blossoming love shattered by a possessive dragon’s claim and an impossible mission to fulfil, will the mysterious Blessing of the Mountain help or hinder her efforts to protect Cornovii?

Immerse yourself in the second book of Season’s War, where passion mix with cruelty and the world-changing power is buried deep in the ancient tomb guarded by the stern Mountain God.



A flash of movement caught her attention. Next to the stables in the small courtyard, Ren danced with his sword. That was the only way she could describe his fluid, graceful movements as he glided around the small space. Relieved to see he’d recovered from their ordeal and fascinated by his technique, Ina grabbed the poker from the fire and clumsily followed his moves. Despite feeling embarrassed at her lack of skill, she followed the more straightforward combinations. If I can’t work my magic, it would be helpful to know a trick or two.

Ina had never trained in combat, as her mother and great aunt wanted her to comport herself as a lady, and by the time she started university, enough people had belittled her inability to work any branch of Order magic that all confidence to try it was gone. The few attacks the witch could manage, she had learned from her mercenary friends in the tavern. Not that she would ever start a tavern brawl—not on purpose at least—but after getting caught up in two fights in Gruff’s place, Janik, the bloody idiot, taught her how to disable any drunk man who saw a woman as an easy target. Ina pictured her former associate as she thrust the poker forward, pleased at how satisfying it felt.

‘Die!’ she shouted, preparing to kill the wardrobe when the door snapped open, and Ren charged into the room.

Despite his laboured breathing and heavy perspiration, the warrior’s eyes were focused as he looked around the small room, sword drawn and ready to strike the enemy. As he noticed Ina, alone, her poker pointed towards the wardrobe, he stepped closer and turned to the potential danger.

‘Ina? Move back. I’ll deal with this,’ Ren said slowly.

‘But Ren—’ she tried to say, but he raised his hand to silence her.

‘Step away from the wardrobe,’ he said, crossing the small room, not a single plank creaking beneath his feet.

Ina rolled her eyes and stepped aside. The warrior yanked the door open, revealing an empty interior and a few spiders running away from the sudden light. Still, it wasn’t good enough. Ren poked and prodded the back panel before he turned around to Ina.

‘My lady, who was attacking you?’ he asked, and despite the calm tone of his voice, Ina noticed how on edge he was.

‘Why does everyone always assume someone’s trying to kill me?’ She could not resist but answer his question with one of her own.

Ren just raised his eyebrow. ‘I saw through the window you were stabbing something and heard a commotion in your room, and you shouted, “Die!” when I was running up here. Care to tell me who was it and where they are now?’

Putting it like that, Ren had a point, and now it was her turn to explain. Pink shades of embarrassment blossomed on her cheeks as she started. ‘My magic is gone, for now. I can’t even start a fire, and I don’t know how long it will take to get it back. I saw you practising, and I wanted to learn.’ Ina tried to hide the poker behind her back. ‘That was what you saw in the window, and I may have tripped over the furniture a few times.’

Ren blinked several times, looking at her with disbelief. ‘You’re trying to tell me you practised Jian kata… with a poker?’ Something broke in him, and the warrior doubled over, laughing. He struggled to calm down, and gasping between bouts of laughing intertwined with cough, Ren stuttered, ‘But why, my lady?’

Ina huffed with exasperation. She was proud of her new moves, but Ren seemed to find it a joke. ‘I wanted to learn how to defend myself when my magic is depleted or blocked. I would like to know other ways to fight instead of always relying on magic and my Chaos. Right now, even a simpleton with enough strength could take me down. I don’t like it, Ren.’

Ren approached and reached behind her, taking the poker from her hand. ‘I will teach you, if you’d like.’ His eyes were smiling, and he behaved as if teaching her couldn’t make him happier.

Book 1 is also FREE for a limited time: Amazon 


About the Author:
Olena Nikitin is our pen name. We are an enthusiastic couple of writers who are fascinated by the fantasy/paranormal romance genre and decided to write a book we would love to read

Behind the Pen name:
Olga - is Polish, armed with a wicked sense of humour and typical Slavic pessimism she is the wicked witch from the East. She has written stories since childhood, initially mostly about her work. As an emergency physician, she always has a story to tell and often not much time to write.

Mark is a typical English gentleman whose charm, refined taste and an impressive collection of books were tempting enough to make Olga leave her homeland. Don't tease him too much; this man has an impressive sword collection and he knows how to use it. He also can fix everything, including Polish syntax in English writing.

See more on our website: www.olenanikitin.uk

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Thursday, December 15, 2022

Interview: Sci-fi Fantasy Romance Author Lisa de Nikolits + giveaway

Where did you get the idea to write Everything You Dream is Real?
The idea for this book was simple: I had to rescue my protagonist from where I’d left him in The Rage Room! However, that said, Everything You Dream is Real can be read as a sequel or a standalone. It’s a very different book to The Rage Room and there isn’t any time travel in this one. An editor I worked with on the book, described it as a “glorious kaleidoscope of fun” and I really hope readers will find it to be that too! I wanted older generational love, and a complete escape from reality. I can’t tell you where some of the more outrageous ideas came from (for example Monarch butterflies have morphed into venonous creatures with addictive opiods hidden behind their butt sacs and there’s a crazed plastic surgeon with a penchant for turning his patients into real life Barbies), but I hope I made them believable. It may read like a dream world but none of it was impossible.

Do you always write speculative fiction?
I usually write literary fiction or genre fiction so The Rage Room and Everything You Dream is Real are my first forays into speculative fiction. I don’t believe we’re limited to this corporeal world. Writing sci-fi and fantasy is, for me, an exploration of other possible worlds. I truly do believe that everything I dream could indeed be real, and all my imaginings find their way into my books. That said, I some of my dreams are extremely strange and I’d very much prefer they never become real! Or perhaps, I could try my hand at horror!

Everything You Dream Is Real
by Lisa de Nikolits
October 18, 2022
Genre: Speculative Fantasy Fiction, Romance
From the award-winning “Queen of Canadian Speculative Fiction” comes a futuristic, multigenerational love story and a gripping edge-of-your-seat thriller. Filled with a cast of loveable, unforgettable, and entirely unique characters, the novel is a fabulous, adventure-filled sequel to highly-acclaimed The Rage Room – or read it as a standalone. Mad Max: Fury Road meets a futuristic True Romance in a highly original and imaginative novel.

Eleven years after a world war destroyed the consumer-driven, plastic-based existence of 2055, a new order of players jostles for power. Streaky electricity, ravaging drought, a scarcity of food, and deadly Monarch butterflies make for an increasingly desperate situation.

Worlds collide when both Mother and Sharps’s children are kidnapped by the unstable plastic surgeon Alpha Plus and taken to The Fountain of Youth compound. There’s flowing water and beautiful people and beautiful clothes and an incongruous convent where children wear smart uniforms and are tutored by nuns. Lovely, until they discover that a subterranean sex trade funds the compound and the man who leads it is mad. Can Mother, Sharps, and the others take down Alpha Plus and his army? Or will they too become pawns in his bid for world domination?

Hilarious and at the same time poignant, Everything You Dream Is Real is a fabulous, adventure-filled sequel to highly acclaimed The Rage Room that will delight fans both new and old.

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About the Author
Lisa de Nikolits is the internationally award-winning author of ten novels (all Inanna Publications). No Fury Like That was published in Italian in 2019 by Edizione Le Assassine as Una furia dell’altro mondo. Her short fiction and poetry have also been published in various anthologies and journals internationally. She is a member of the Mesdames of Mayhem, the Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, The Australian Crime Writers, The Short Fiction Mystery Association and the International Thriller Writers. Originally from South Africa, Lisa de Nikolits came to Canada in 2000. She lives and writes in Toronto.

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Cover Reveal: The Captain’s Revenge (The Syren's Mutiny #2) by Jessica S. Taylor

We are thrilled to present the GORGEOUS cover for the next highly anticipated novel in Jessica S. Taylor's dark fantasy series, The Captain's Revenge! Read on for more details and pre-order a copy today!
The Captain’s Revenge (The Syren's Mutiny #2)
by Jessica S. Taylor
April 18, 2023
Genre: Dark Fantasy/ Sirens/ Pirates
“Not all treasure is silver and gold.”

Caelum stopped his father, but at what cost? Brigid was gone, taken by the very woman she once owed her life to, and Caelum was now wanted for his father’s murder. Now, he has to deal with the aftermath of his decisions, and with the other syrens who only seem determined to make his life more difficult.

Brigid, torn from the new life she had begun to make for herself, must now endure the wrath of the goddess who had saved her. To survive, she shuts herself down, silently hoping that Caelum will rescue her and silently resigning herself to the fact that he won’t make it in time before her body succumbs to Cliodhna’s torture.

When whisperings of a mysterious witch in the South reach Caelum, he’s willing to do whatever it takes to get Brigid back, including giving up that which he holds most dear. But will he be able to save her in time? And will what remains of his father’s crew really give up that easily?

CW:

This book contains dark and adult themes. Possible trigger warnings include: violence, descriptive torture, blood, death, dismemberment, non-explicit flashbacks of physical abuse, brief and non-explicit references to child kidnapping and deaths, mentions of past domestic violence, moderate sexual content, depictions of anxiety and depression, and mentions of past arranged marriages.


The Syren’s Mutiny (Book 1)
November 9th, 2022
Genre: Dark Fantasy/ Pirates/ Mythology
“It’s frightful bad luck to have a woman aboard.”

Brigid knew the superstition, but when her father tried to marry her off, she had no choice but to stowaway on a ship bound for Bhodheas. When she’s discovered and discarded, her fate seems sealed…until she’s saved by the ocean and its queen.

Transformed into a syren and given new life, Brigid now has the power to seek revenge on those who wronged her.

Caelum has spent his entire life trying to help those who couldn’t help themselves. After years suffering the cruelty of his pirate father, saving others from a similar fate was ingrained in him. But when he’s unable to save a young girl from being thrown overboard for hiding away, he’s devastated.

Until one day, when he’s thrown into the water by unforeseen forces, he comes face to face with the past, and maybe, with his future.

But there’s a darkness lurking on the seas they both call home. And Caelum and Brigid have no idea just how intertwined their stories really are.

Content Warning:

This book contains dark and adult themes. Possible trigger warnings include: violence, drowning, death, dismemberment, torture, brief/non-explicit references to child kidnapping and deaths, mentions of past domestic violence, mild sexual content, and mentions of arranged marriages.

About the Author

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Jessica was born and raised in Kentucky but has been moving with the waves and is currently residing in southern Maine with her husband and cat, Nebula. Jessica’s love of reading and writing began at a young age with the help of her grandmother and her local library, and she hasn’t looked back since. Similarly, her love for pirates, mermaids, and all things fantasy have only grown more intense with time.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Interview: Historical Fantasy Author Luciana Cavallaro + giveaway

Can you, for those who don't know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I am a first-generation Australian Italian; my parents came to Australia as children with my grandparents in the 1950’s. I grew up in a country town called Waroona, where my parents still live. The town is about one and half hours south of Perth. (see maps below). I was the first to go to university in my family and studied Secondary Education (high school teacher degree) in Information Science and later Ancient History. I’ve been teaching for over twenty-five years, and taught in public and private schools. I had transferred to a new public school when I was in car accident and couldn’t work for three months. This was when I developed mental health issues and to try and heal myself, I began to write. That was when I realised I had a passion for writing, and I could channel my thoughts in a creative way rather than take a darker route. Writing became my lifeline and which is why I keep writing.
Images courtesy of Wikipedia.

What do you do to unwind and relax?
I do a few different activities depending on how I am feeling. I like to go out and take photos when I can. I find it distracts my thoughts and I enjoy being in the moment, focussing on taking the perfect shot, which can sometimes take ten to twenty photos. I am so grateful for digital cameras, so easy to delete images that didn’t work. I’m a bit of purest when it comes to what I use for taking photos. I treated myself to a good camera, with various lens for different shots and a tripod. I prefer to take photos of landscapes, animals and action shots. Some of my favourite photos are of surfers taking waves in Margaret River.

I also like to read, and try to read books by fellow indie writers especially in the Historical Fantasy Fiction genre. I do have an eclectic taste in genres, but tend to favour Historical Fiction, Thrillers/Suspense, Mystery, Humour, Sci Fi, Fantasy and Crime.

I enjoy doing crossword puzzles, and find it helps with diversifying word use when writing, in addition to increasing my vocabulary! I like to get into the garden as well, planting vegetables and herbs for eating, though the bugs do get their fair share. It’s such a nice feeling harvesting the seasonal vegetables and herbs to use for dishes that haven’t been sprayed, picked green or sitting in a cool room for days before hitting the markets.

Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
Loyal, ethical, justice seeker and sporty.

Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
A few readers have commented and emailed me they can easily see Books 1 and 2 in the Servant of the Gods series made into a movie. Recently, a fellow teacher at my school mentioned my books were cinematic. A lovely compliment as my colleague has a doctorate in literature! Though I would have to say, The Guardian’s Legacy Book 1 in the Coin of Time series could easily be made into a movie or a television series. It reached the quarterfinalist stage in the 2022 ScreenCraft Cinematic Book Competition, Finalist round in the 13th New Media Film Festival and Page Turner Awards, which is quite amazing as the pool of talent is extraordinary, and recently I have been informed it has been awarded a Silver Medal in the Suspense/Thriller category in the Global Book Awards.

Search For the Golden Serpent (Servant of the Gods Book 1)
by Luciana Cavallaro
Genre: Historical Fantasy Fiction
A true page-turner, in a similar vein to Wilbur Smith and David Gemmell, is an action-packed adventure story catapulting a reluctant hero from one dangerous encounter to another.

Evan has been having some very strange dreams.

The Perth-based architect dismissed an unexpected phone call from an entrepreneur in Greece, asking him to restore his family home, as the ravings of a crank. Until, that is, the dreams begin, each more vivid than the last. A dream encounter with a mysterious character called Zeus sees him catapulted back in time to 500 years before the birth of Christ.

Evan finds himself quickly embroiled in a plot to prevent the birth of Christianity, an unwilling player in an epic struggle between the old gods and the new, fighting for his life.
Book Trailer:

Excerpt – Search for the Golden Serpent | Book 1 Servant of the Gods The words on the paper blurred, and his head fell forward, eyes closing. He jerked his head back and stifled a yawn. He jiggled from side to side to wake up and thought an infusion of caffeine might do a better job. He suppressed a groan as he got up from the desk and headed over to the coffee machine. Evan emptied and cleaned the basket, refilled the cradle, slotted it back in place, slipped a cup underneath and pressed the button. While it processed the coffee, he leaned against the bench, pinched the bridge of his nose and yawned again. ‘Did you have a big night?’ a colleague asked. ‘You could say that,’ he said, glancing over bleary-eyed. ‘Where did you go?’ His co-worker looked at him with an eager expression. Because he was the only single guy in the office the others often asked what he did on the weekends and who he dated. They’d go out for drinks on Friday nights after work but after a few rounds the others left to go home to their wives and children. He stayed on till late. He gave his workmate a wry grin. ‘Nowhere exciting.’ ‘Aww… come on, you must have. Look at you, can’t even stay awake.’ ‘Let’s say this place is way beyond the normal haunts.’ The man’s eyes sparkled. He leaned closer and said in a quiet voice, ‘Who was she?’ ‘Nothing like that,’ he said. The machine finished and the smell of rich caramel filtered upwards. He grabbed the cup and took a sip. ‘Ahhhh… nectar of the gods.’ ‘What did you say?’ his associate said with a laugh. ‘Well, if they had known about coffee perhaps they’d still be around,’ he said, trying to cover up the faux pas. His mobile started to ring. He pulled it out of his pocket and checked to see who was calling. ‘Sure,’ his colleague said, shaking his head and smiling. ‘Next time you see Aphrodite, tell her to work a little of her magic on the missus.’ He walked away, grinning. What made me say that? Crazy enough with the dreams but now I’m saying weird phrases too? Maybe I need to see a shrink. He headed back to his desk, coffee cup in hand, sat and answered the phone. ‘Hi Max… yep, I have the plans drawn up, proofed and ready for presentation on Thursday. I’ll be at your office at 10am. I think you’ll like our proposal. The specs meet your requirements and will add value to the building… Okay, see you later.’ He swivelled in his chair. ‘Jerry, is the PowerPoint presentation ready?’ ‘Almost, I just have a few extra points and images to add.’ ‘Make sure it’s error free too,’ he said. ‘Alex, are the big plans printed?’ ‘One left to complete. I’m still waiting for electrics and plumbing for the library wing to be finalised.’ ‘Follow it up and get it sorted. I want the plans completed by ten o’clock.’ Alex picked up the office phone and nodded. He turned back to the stack of papers and began the arduous task of filtering requests for the next architectural job. Their reputation for delivering on time and on budget was one of the reasons companies requested their service. It was that, and the unusual designs. Inspired by the engineers of the ancient past, he wanted to emulate many of the buildings that stood the test of time. Their current project was the biggest, one that reflected the grandeur of an organisation responsible for gathering knowledge from the greatest thinkers of the time. Drawings of the Alexandria Library no longer exist, apart from artists’ representations. Inspired by those works, he created a unique version of the library. He hoped this project put the company on the world’s radar. It took many years, a lot of late hours and hard work to build the business but it was worth the sacrifices made along the way. To be the best in this industry it takes dedication and in the early stages establishing the business, he had worked alone. Now he had twenty employees and a portfolio other architectural firms envied. ‘Boss… there’s a man wanting to speak with you regarding a job in Greece,’ Jerry said, his eyes wide. ‘Greece? What have you been smoking, Jerry?’ He snorted. Jerry waved the phone at him, hand over the mouthpiece. ‘His name is Zeus um… his last name is unpronounceable.’ ‘Zeus? His name is Zeus?’ He looked at Jerry, brow raised. This had to be a joke. Jerry nodded and thrust the receiver at him. His expression was serious. Evan took the phone from him. ‘Hello, Evan Chronis of EC Architectural Services, how may I help you sir?’ ‘Hello Evan, my name is Zeus Pantokratora.’ His English was perfect, with a hint of an accent. There was something familiar too. ‘I have a job that requires your expertise. My family’s home needs help and you are the person who can protect it from further ruin.’ While Zeus spoke, Evan had the oddest sensation. He was not sure how to explain it but it reminded him of being light-headed after a hard game of basketball or a tough workout at the gym. Then you felt great, those endorphins having spread their magic through your body. That’s what he was getting from Zeus. ‘Mr Pantokratora, what you need is a structural engineer,’ Evan said. ‘I could recommend a company that can address your concerns.’ ‘No Evan, I need the services of an architect,’ he said. The hair on his nape tingled. Zeus, it seemed, did not get rejected often. ‘We’re rather busy and my calendar doesn’t free up until six months from now,’ Evan said, flicking through his diary. ‘That will not do. My home doesn’t have long,’ he said. ‘Mr Pantokratora, what is the nature of the problem?’ ‘The foundations are weakening and if not attended to right away, it will cease to exist.’ From the tone of his voice it was evident the condition of the dwelling was dire. ‘From what you have just told me sir, a structural engineer is your answer. I have a contact in Athens I can refer you to, to assess the damage.’ ‘Evandros,’ Zeus said. A chill went up Evan’s spine. ‘I am calling upon you.’ Nothing he said changed Zeus’ mind. A dull ache started at the base of his skull. Great, a headache is not what I need right now. ‘Where is the building, Mr Pantokratora?’ ‘On Mount Olympos.’ Evan’s mouth fell open. ‘Did you say “Mount Olympos”?’ He sensed Jerry and Alex had stopped working, their attention now focussed in his direction. ‘Yes.’ ‘Right.’ I’m dealing with someone who needs to be hospitalised. ‘Evandros, the Family needs you, time to come home.’ *** Evan was no longer sitting at his desk with the phone in hand. Seated before him, on a purple-lined massive throne, was a towering figure of a man. He had long, wavy blonde hair and a beard. His eyes were blue and so pale they were disconcerting. He wore a silver dress, leaving one muscular shoulder bared and on the other, a gold pin held the material together. On a throne next to him was a gorgeous woman, with long golden hair and the same coloured eyes. She exuded power and the way she stared at Evan made his skin crawl. She wore a similar outfit though the bodice displayed a generous figure. It was then he became aware of the others. They too were sitting on thrones, flanking the man and woman, all twelve looking at him. Evan’s stomach churned. Bile rose and his mouth watered. He took a step back. ‘He looks unwell,’ the woman said with a slight smirk on her face. A man, trident in hand, sat perched on the edge of his seat. He too was fair haired. His hair was short and he had a beard. His outfit was as blue as the sky on a clear sunny day, and he shared the eye colour of the two seated on the central thrones. Evan squirmed. Their attention was intense and unnerved him. ‘Does he remember?’ the trident-bearer asked. The man next to him shook his head. ‘Not yet.’ ‘Should we help him recover his memory?’ the woman said, standing up. ‘That could prove problematic,’ another said. Evan spun on his heel and came face to face with a younger man. He hadn’t heard or noticed him move. ‘Why so?’ asked the woman. ‘If we speed up his consciousness, it may cause irreparable damage to his brain.’ ‘Hold on here,’ Evan said, managing to find his voice and backing away. ‘No one is laying a hand on me. Who are you? Where am I? And how the hell did I get here?’ ‘At least we know he can speak and think,’ the woman said, her tone wry. ‘You are on Mount Olympos.’ He blinked, and the cogs in his brain clicked. ‘You’re Mr Pantokratora?’ The man on the largest throne stood. ‘I am. This is the Family.’ Evan swallowed. ‘What in the name of the...’ He blinked, unable to complete the sentence. Zeus grinned and finished, ‘…gods, I believe you were going to say.’ His legs wobbled. ‘I need to sit.’ Evan’s knees folded beneath him and he collapsed to the floor.

The Labyrinthine Journey (Servant of the Gods Book 2)
Book Trailer:

Minotaur's Lair (Servant of the Gods Book 3)
**Releases on Dec 13th! PreOrder Now for Only $1.99!**
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About the Author
Luciana Cavallaro
· Award-winning author of The Labyrinthine Journey

· Nominated for book awards in the Action/Adventure and Historical Fiction genres

· Drove her first car at the age of three

Luciana Cavallaro’s alter ego is a high school teacher where she plugs away educating teenagers the merits of reading and ancient history. She often looks for a brick wall to bang her head when faced with disinterested looks from her students. She’s also a historical fantasy and thriller/suspense author, who creates fast-paced, action-packed series for her readers.

Born and raised in Western Australia, residing in Perth, Luciana loves to travel and since getting her passport at the ripe old age of twenty-four has toured parts of Europe, a legacy of her Italian heritage. She enjoys being active, going out with friends, reading and tries to grow her own vegetables. She dreams of travelling again and visiting the ancient sites that inspired her stories, that is when she’s not spending time being an unofficial stunt person and knocking herself out in the process. Visit her website at https://luccav.me/

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The author is currently offering a giveaway of a signed ARC and bookmark plus deleted scene in exchange for screenshot of a receipt for pre-ordering a copy of The Minotaur's Lair!
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