Tag Archives: fantasy

Review of “Conspiracy of Ravens: Raven Crawford Book 1” – J. C. McKenzie

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.

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Review of “The Shop Before Life” – Neil Hughes

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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Author Showcase – Jeffrey L. Kohanek (Fate of Wizardoms series)

~~ 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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Author Showcase – Veronica Cline Barton (Yuletime at Cherrywood Hall: Once Upon a WolfPack Anthology)

Once Upon a Wolfpack

Contributing author, Veronica Cline Barton

I was so honored to have my short story, Yuletime at Cherrywood Hall, Pippa’s First Christmas, included in the #WolfpackAuthors anthology that was published earlier this year. The anthology is a compilation of works by authors of all genres, and all proceeds are donated to the Lockwood Animal Rescue Center (LARC) My contributed short story is one close to my heart—it is a prequel to a storyline in the 3rd book of my #cozymystery series, Deadly Receptions; the Debut of Castlewood Manor. It tells the tale of a tainted bridal veil from years gone by and introduces the readers of my series to Aunt Pippa, the beloved ancestral aunt who saved the Cherrywood Hall estate with her marriage to Charles Lancaster, the 4th Marquess of Kentshire.

The short story takes place in the weeks before Christmas. Pippa has been receiving demeaning messages criticizing her every move as an American married to the popular marquess. A chance snowstorm brings her nemesis to Cherrywood Hall. Pippa meets her husband’s previous fiancé, the author of the critical notes–a jilted woman who is filled with anger at the woman who holds the position and privilege that she thought would be hers. As a blizzard rages outside, her mind is set on deadly revenge…Will Pippa’s first Christmas at the hall be her last?

Read more about the #WolfPackAuthors anthology and the great cause it benefits here:

The idea was simple: form a group of authors based on the mantra, “Do good things for the right reasons.” We are a pack – #WolfPackAuthors. Together, we expand exposure for our books, help one another with all aspects of the process, pick each other up when the lonely life of writing gets us down.

As with wolves, words can be dangerous or healing. The reintroduction of the wolf, hunted to the brink of extinction, carries such far-reaching results as to make vegetation grow on what was once barren, and to change the paths of rivers. Considering these powerful facts, we chose to donate the proceeds of this anthology to Lockwood Animal Rescue Center /LARC, a facility with a unique mission. They are one of the few organizations focused heavily on wolves, integrating military veteran rehabilitation into the caretaking process.

In this collection of work, you will find a showcase of many of our members’ talents: A young girl betrothed to a werewolf, yet her father, a human, is the true monster. Two snipers who lay in wait, an otherworldly supreme being watching them, in the form of a majestic wolf. A she-wolf sets her sights on a young woman, married to the man she loved. The paradoxical story of the big bad wolf, who through no fault of his own sets out on a calamity filled adventure. A batch of witty private investigators at work solving crime. A sarcastic banshee, a shapeshifting detective, and a vampire, all friends, investigate a string of murders. There are many others, varied in style or genre.

Come on an adventure with the WolfPackAuthors. We’ve got the stories you want; together, we hope to make the world a better place for wolves, humans, and those who dare to dream.

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Cozy MysteryYuletime at Cherrywood Hall: Veronica Cline Barton
Fairy Tale/ ParodyUnfairy Prosecuted: J.W. Crawford
Fairy TalePoppy: Tia Fanning

Fantasy/ SupernaturalFor the Love of the Pack: Sharon Lopez
Horror/ Meta horrorThe Untold One: B.L. Clark
HorrorFrost Harbor: Alexander Pain

LiteraryOmega Road: Lee M. Tipton
Magical RealismAn Early Snow: Andi Marchal
P.I./ DetectiveThe Wolf: Joe Congel 

P.I./ Detective, Cozy MysteryMrs Solberg’s Problem: CW Hawes
PoetryWolf Pack United: Angie-Marie Delsante
PoetryWelcome to the Den: Lori Katherine

Romance/ SupernaturalThe Soap Maker’s Mother: Christina van Deventer
Science Fiction/ MilitarySacha: Jeff DeMarco
Science Fiction/ ParanormalWolf Cry: Z Gottlieb
Science Fiction/ ParanormalCircus of the Night: Stefan Angelina McElvain
Urban FantasyTrue Nature : Luna Selas

 

Veronica Cline Barton earned graduate degrees in both engineering and business and has had successful careers in the software and technology industries. Her lifelong love affair with British murder mysteries inspired her to embark on a literary career. The Crown for Castlewood Manor and Cast, Crew, & Carnage; the Filming of Castlewood Manor are the first and second books in what she calls her My American Almost Royal Cousin Series. When not traveling and spinning mystery yarns, she lives in California with her husband, Bruce, and her two cats, Daisy and Ebbie.

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Review of “Breaking Eselda” and “Redeeming Jordyn” – Tabatha Shipley

~ Book One: A Kingdom of Fraun series ~

Strength, humility, speed, mirth, and wisdom are perfectly balanced in the kingdom of Fraun where council leaders make decisions in the best interest of all Fraunians. Meanwhile, young Princess Eselda is being groomed to eventually take the throne of Enchenda. But as her reign draws closer and long-held secrets are revealed, she realizes that her title comes with challenges she never imagined.

In Fraun, there are rulers who will kill to keep their secrets hidden; and rulers who will kill to change the council.

What kind of ruler will Eselda be?

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

 

Murder, mystery, deception, secrets, scandals, and a love triangle await you amongst the pages of Breaking Eselda.

Eselda’s life is not dull. As she prepares to take the throne, her life is bombarded with questions. Is she ready to rule Enchenda? Should she get married? Whom should she marry? Is she prepared to birth an heir to the throne?

Being in charge of a realm is a taxing job. There are so many decisions to be made. There’s also the worry of becoming dark and malicious around your 20th birthday.

In Breaking Eselda, a lifespan isn’t nearly as long as what we have in real life. At age marker ten, a royal individual reaches full height. When he or she reaches forty annuals, their hair turns gray, and their bodies begin to fail them. Death soon follows. 

I wouldn’t want life to end this soon.

I also wouldn’t want to ride on a talking cockroach or eat earthworm stew. For sure, the only bug I would ever consider using for transportation is a Volkswagen Beetle. 😀

No, I like my bugs small, and my meals bug-free.

 

This book is labeled young adult, but even people with many years under his or her belt will find enjoyment with it as well.

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤❤

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~ Book Two: A Kingdom of Fraun series ~

King Jordyn is realizing things in Fraun were not what they appeared to be. With Queen Eselda of Enchenda making the choice to side with King Tin of Sarcheda, it seems like war is coming to Fraun.

Does Jordyn have what it takes to save Fraun?

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

 

Design-wise, Breaking Eselda and Redeeming Jordyn couldn’t be any different. Breaking Eselda’s cover is bold, eye-catching; whereas, Redeeming Jordyn’s cover is dull and lifeless. When you open up the books, you’ll notice the story setups are also vastly different. Breaking Eselda has zero double spacing between lines and paragraphs while Redeeming Jordyn was littered with them. If you placed these two books side by side, you’d swear they had two different designers and editors. I also found more editing errors in Redeeming Jordyn than its predecessor. 

As for plot and execution, Redeeming Jordyn had its share of shocking developments. As with any war, people rose up to fight their oppressors. Blood was spilled, lives were lost, but it wasn’t all for naught. 

Leaders emerged, hearts mended, and the land of Fraun has hope once again. 

All in all, Redeeming Jordyn was an okay read. Was it as good as Breaking Eselda? No, but I would still recommend it to others. 😉 

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤

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Tabatha is the author of the Kingdom of Fraun series,Projection, and 30 Days Without Wings. She believes strongly in the power of helping others and is always willing to help out a fellow writer or reader. Find and connect with her on whichever social media platform you love best.

 

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