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Nevermore: Raven Crawford Book 2 by J. C. McKenzie (Book Review)

Rundown waitress, part-time private investigator, and full-time shifter, Raven Crawford, always gets the opposite of what she wants most.  She works two jobs but can’t pay the bills. Her confrontation with Queen Lloth has unexpected and unfortunate consequences, and her love life is a hot mess.

With failure and disappointment honed to painful perfection, Raven’s life is riddled with complications, including her troublesome attraction to the lethal Lord of Shadows. When her latest case leads to a group hell-bent on destruction, she must decide who to trust. Will she choose wisely, or will she fail once again and become the next casualty in a war between the Mortal Realm and the Underworld?

 

(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

When I read Conspiracy of Ravens (book one), I was immediately drawn into the story. Every character, no matter how big or small their role, captivated me. I liked the good guys/gals and even found myself warming up to the questionable characters as well. 

After reading Nevermore (book two), I can safely say it shared similar qualities with its predecessor: suspense, mystery, love, passion, shocking developments, humor, action, and plot twists. 

However, unlike CoR (acronym), I wasn’t instantly engaged with the storylines. I didn’t particularly care Robert (Raven’s ex) kept vanishing on his fiancée (Sarah). I didn’t mind Kelly Clementine (the teacher) was attempting to cheat the system and collect disability checks. I wanted more Cole and Raven time. I also wanted Bear to have more of a presence this time around. 

Oh, we did get more Cole time. Let me say; he will never have to resort to toys when he has shadows at his beck and call. *wink, wink* 

As for Bear, he didn’t grace the pages too much but Mike (younger brother) sure did. He brought the funny many times over. 

Even though I didn’t take a sudden liking to the sequel, my opinion changed halfway into the book. 

Raven’s two cases (Robert and Kelly) were linked. Bombshell after bombshell was dropped. When you think Raven’s life can’t become any more complicated, she learns another big secret that will change everything for her. I can’t wait to see how she’ll handle the latest curveball. 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score:  ❤❤❤❤

 

~~ CHECK OUT BOOK ONE! ~~

Raven Crawford knows better than to venture into the seductive world of the dark fae or agree to any of their salacious promises. She plans to pay off her debts so she can get on with her life and stay far away from the denizens of the Underworld.

Unfortunately, her numbskull twin steals from the most tempting and lethal fae of them all. Now, Raven must help the Lord of Shadows get back what her idiot brother stole. Her only weapons? Just a little ingenuity and a whole lot of snark. It’s suicide for sure, but she’ll do anything to protect her twin.

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J.C. McKenzie is a book-loving, gumboot-wearing, unapologetic science geek. She’s the author of the Carus Series, an urban fantasy five-book saga published by the Wild Rose Press. Born and raised on the West Coast, J. C. sets the majority of her books in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada. She writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance with sassy heroines and brutish, alpha-type men.

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Conspiracy of Ravens: Raven Crawford Book 1 by J. C. McKenzie (Book Review)

Raven Crawford knows better than to venture into the seductive world of the dark fae or agree to any of their salacious promises. She plans to pay off her debts so she can get on with her life and stay far away from the denizens of the Underworld.

Unfortunately, her numbskull twin steals from the most tempting and lethal fae of them all. Now, Raven must help the Lord of Shadows get back what her idiot brother stole. Her only weapons? Just a little ingenuity and a whole lot of snark. It’s suicide for sure, but she’ll do anything to protect her twin.

 

 

Shadows encased them. Her scalp prickled as if someone reached out and gripped her head with giant fingers. Raven twisted around to find a large figure blocking out the moonlight.

“You!” she hissed.

“Move.” Cole’s deep voice punctured the quiet forest and silenced Mike’s whimpering.

Before she could demand answers, Cole flowed forward, gathered them both in his arms and pushed them into the darkness of the trees. A shadowy film settled over them, much like the dark cloak when Cole had pulled her into the shadows at Bear’s apartment.

A branch snapped down the deer trail to the right.

Cold settled over her skin.

Moments later another large, looming figure entered the clearing. Luke. Again. She couldn’t lose these two dark fae. They kept hopping back into her life like rabid fleas.

 

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

Conspiracy of Ravens is by far my favorite J.C. McKenzie novel

I loved how she didn’t limit herself to stereotypical shifting scenarios. Human body to ONE particular animal… No, not for JCM. JCM didn’t limit any character’s power, and the story was better for it. 

Mystery.

Passion. 

Love.

Anger.

Humor. 

Danger.

Magic.

Deception.

Heartache. 

Surprises. 

Plot twists.

You’ll find all the above in Conspiracy of RavensYou’ll also find yourself eagerly grabbing for book 2 in the series, Nevermore

Special note to the author: I love how Raven curses. “Odin’s scrotum!” 😀

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score:  ❤❤❤❤1/2

 

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J.C. McKenzie is a book-loving, gumboot-wearing, unapologetic science geek. She’s the author of the Carus Series, an urban fantasy five-book saga published by the Wild Rose Press. Born and raised on the West Coast, J. C. sets the majority of her books in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada. She writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance with sassy heroines and brutish, alpha-type men.

J.C. McKenzie’s Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter |

Goodreads | Amazon | Newsletter

 

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The Shop Before Life by Neil Hughes (Book Review)

After two happy centuries in the prelife, Faythe is battling the most dangerous human emotion. She’s bored.

But when she accepts a once-in-a-prelifetime opportunity to become Apprentice at the magical Shop Before Life, her days become dreadfully interesting.

Now she helps customers with the most important choice they’ll ever make: who to become in the afterprelife–or “life”, for short. Will they be born on Earth with MATHEMATICAL GIFTS? Or perhaps they’d prefer DELIGHTED BY CATS?

But Faythe has questions of her own. Like–what exactly is in these jars of human traits? And who is the mysterious Supplier who creates them?

Unfortunately, these questions could awaken an ancient conflict and even destroy the Shop itself. They should maybe mention that sort of thing during orientation.

Management are going to be furious, but their divine punishment must wait. Right now, Faythe needs to discover the secrets of the Shop in order to save it.

If she fails, nobody will become themselves ever again . . .

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

 

Life is a fickle b!tch. People are born. People live. People die.

People speculate what comes after death. Some people believe there’s a heaven and hell. While others stand firm in the knowledge, nothing is awaiting us in the afterlife. With all the discussion on the after, people rarely speak of the before. This is where The Shop Before Life became very interesting to me.

Whether you have faith in a higher being or not, this story will get you thinking. I can’t disclose the bombshell Faythe discovered when she met Management; however, I will briefly talk about the shop and the jars of traits.

 

Every possible trait was available to those who entered the shop.

1.) Grab a basket and browse the numerous aisles.

2.) See something you like, add it to your basket.

3.) Once you fill your basket and can’t carry anymore, head to checkout.

4.) Now, you are all set to journey to Earth and be born.

 

Sounds simple, right?! Ah, the simplest ideas and jobs often prove most challenging.

Have you ever been to the store and the shelves haven’t been restocked yet?

Something you want is out of stock?

Maybe your favorite store closed down?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then how upset did you become?

The people of prelife reacted in the same manner you’d expect a living, breathing person to behave. Yup, they went off the rails.

Life on Earth was affected because of the events happening in and around the shop.  I won’t say how though. (No Spoilers)

 

I encourage everyone to read this story. It’s highly entertaining, thought-provoking, and the perfect book for many age groups.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score:❤❤❤❤

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As well as The Shop Before Life, Neil Hughes is the author of Walking on Custard & the Meaning of Life, a hilarious and useful guide to life with anxiety. Along with writing more books, he spends his time on humorous talks about mental health, standup comedy, physics, computer programming, and everything from music, video games, languages and pub quizzes. He struggles to answer the question “so, what do you do?” and is worried that the honest answer is probably “procrastinate.” He would like it if you said hello at enhughesiasm.com

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The ‘Fate of Wizardoms’ Series by Jeffrey L. Kohanek (Author Showcase)

~~ Book One ~~


In a realm where wizards rule, the ambitious contend for thrones that grant the power of a god. How can one defeat a god?

Jerrell Landish is a thief, clever, creative, and conniving to the extreme. His legendary exploits force him to use the name Jace just to remain inconspicuous. When he accepts a contract to acquire a secret, enchanted amulet, he discovers the item has already been stolen. To satisfy the leader of the Thieves’ Guild, he must track down the amulet and complete the ultimate objective:

Assassinate Wizard Lord Taladain, a man with the power of a god.

Rhoa is an acrobat, diminutive, agile, and daring. Armed with the Eye of Obscurance, she sets out to accomplish the unthinkable. Haunted by a troubled past, she cannot escape a single, all-consuming desire.

She would risk anything to see Lord Taladain dead. 

Taladain’s daughter, Narine, is a princess who recently graduated as a master wizardess. However, her father and brother seek nothing but power – one would use her to strengthen his position, the other views her as a threat to his future. 

Can she navigate troubled waters with danger lurking at every turn?

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~~ Book Two ~~

Ruthless wizards vie for a vacant throne, unaware that their actions could alter the balance of magic and the fate of the Eight Wizardoms. 

Lord Taladain is dead, the result of an exotic scheme made possible by the Eye of Obscurance, an amulet so dangerous, simply knowing it exists can bring grave danger. What if the amulet fall into the wrong hands?

With a neighboring wizardom in chaos, Wizard Lord Malvorian seeks to expand his power, capturing prayers meant for another wizard lord and strengthening his magic beyond anything ever recorded. The world will tremble should Malvorian’s power rise to that of two gods. 

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~~ Book Three ~~

Thrones lie vacant while a power-thirsty wizard lord seeks world domination.

Monsters from legend stalk the land, terrorizing the Eight Wizardoms.

The future becomes obscured from the Seers of Kelmar, the secluded sect of mystics chartered to prevent the end of the world.

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FREE AUDIOBOOK!
Legend of Shadowmar is a companion tale to the Fate of Wizardoms series, featuring Jerrell Landish before the theif
became a legend. Stream or download this 1.75-hour adventure to get a sense of the world of Wizardoms and the brilliance of narrator Travis Baldree. 

 

 

Discover a legend in the making. Jerrell Landish, the greatest thief in the eight wizardoms.When presented with the opporunity of a lifetime, young and arrogant Jerrell Landish cannot refuse. Teamed with a renowned warrior, he embarks on a quest hundreds have attempted. None returned.

His quest: Locate a legendary castle, defeat the guardian protecting it, and obtain the treasure hidden there.
If only he understood what lurked in the castle ruins.If only he understood the dangerous nature of the treasure he sought to claim.

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The Resurrection of Ruma: Demons & Witches Book 1 by G.E. Stills (Book Showcase)

The year is 1879, the witch Farrah has destroyed the demon Ruma, but the cost has been high. Her two best friends and fellow witches are dead as well.

A shot rings out and a bullet plunges into her back. As Farrah lies dying, she watches helplessly as one of Ruma’s followers gathers some of the demon’s ashes. The follower shoots Farrah again. With the last of her magical energy she embeds her essence in the necklace she wears then dies.

Years pass and the follower’s descendant revives the demon Ruma. At the same time an innocent woman named, Lisa, finds Farrah’s necklace in a meadow and puts it on. Farrah’s spirit enters Lisa’s body and takes control of it.

The battle between witches and demons is renewed, but this time the struggle starts in 2016. Ancient magic and modern day weapons will make this war deadlier by far.

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** EXCERPT **

Lisa guided her vehicle to the grocery store. She didn’t have any choice which store to go to, the one in whose parking lot she pulled in was the only one in town. There was a single hardware store, two gas stations, a post office, a 7-11, one bar, a café and a few other small businesses and that was the extent of the Greensville’s shopping district. Off from Main Street were two churches as well. Lisa filled her cart then checked out. She opened the tailgate and started placing bags in the back of her SUV. A jolt of surprise raced through her when a stranger stepped up behind her. She hadn’t even heard a car pull in.

“Need any help loading, Lisa?” he asked.

She spun quickly to face him. The man was tall and buff in his blue jeans and red t-shirt. He had sandy blonde hair and a rugged face. His green eyes seemed to smolder and to her chagrin she unconsciously licked her lips. It hasn’t been that long since I was with a man. For Pete’s sake one look at this handsome man and I’m ready to jump into bed with him. I don’t even know his name for crying out loud.

As if he could read her thoughts, he went on, “My name’s Grant, Grant Higgins.” He reached out and brushed his fingers gently over her fingers instead of shaking her hand which was filled with a grocery bag. His mere touch was like a deep kiss and to her mortification it caused her panties to dampen. Say something, you damned idiot. Don’t just stand there like a deer caught in the headlights. “Lisa, Lisa Hale, nice to meet you, Grant.”

Without waiting for her approval, he began helping her load the shopping bags in the back of her truck.

“May I ask how you happen to know my name?” she asked.

Grant chuckled and the smile that spread his lips caused her heart to skip a beat. This is real life, Lisa, not some romantic moment from a novel you’re writing.

“Small town, most everybody here knows everyone else. And if possible, most everything about everyone else. For example, I know you’re new here, from Texas, are single and a writer.”

Lisa stopped loading and placed her hands on her hips. “How the hell do you know so much about me and I don’t know a damn thing about you?”

“My aunt is the real estate broker you bought your cabin and property from. She is also one of the biggest gossips around here. I’m not the only one who knows your name and what you do. I may be one of the few that knows you’re single, but that is because I probed my aunt for more info. By the way, I own the tavern here and work there much of the time. I’m single as well. So now you know some about me. I lead a pretty boring life.”

Once again he flashed her his disarming smile that made her want to drop her pants and jump his bones right there in the parking lot. Why does he affect me that way? I’m brazen and some say I have loose morals. I’m not afraid to go after what I want, but I don’t flaunt myself on men I’ve just met a few minutes earlier.

Grant loaded the last bag of groceries in the back of her truck and she closed the hatch. Lisa moved to wheel the shopping cart back to the store, but Grant stopped her. “I’ll get it. I haven’t done my shopping yet. By the way, Lisa, we’re neighbors. That branch off the dirt road going to your cabin leads to my place. I’d give you my phone number just in case of emergency, but I doubt you have reception out there.” He cocked his head in question.

“I’m getting internet tomorrow so I will have then.” After a slight hesitation she took her phone out of her purse and gave him her number. “Call me so I can add your number to my contact list,” she said. When he did she added it to her list and said, “Got it. Thank you. I’ve got to go now and put these away before the frozen things thaw. Nice meeting you. Maybe we’ll see each other again soon.”

“I’m sure we will. Small town. Stop into my tavern sometime. I’ll spring for some free drinks.”

This time they shook hands for real and once again the contact of his skin to hers caused thrills to race through her. Lisa hopped into her SUV and drove away, only allowing herself to glance in the rearview mirror once to see the tall and handsome Grant standing there in the middle of the parking lot watching her drive away. Oh yes, she did intend to accept his invitation to visit his bar. If for no other reason it would give her an excuse to get to know him better. If things worked out maybe she could make his life unboring. She chuckled at her wicked thoughts.

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Resurrection of Ruma (book 1)

When Lightning Strikes (book 2)

Collateral Damage (Book 3)

Demon Spawn (book 4)

A Matter of Trust (book 5)  

 

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