Tag Archives: fantasy

The ‘Janey McCallister Mystery’ Series by Beth Barany (Multi-Book Showcase)

She wanted to make her mark. How hard could it be?

In 2130, at Bijoux de L’Etoile, a high-end casino orbiting Earth, you can get anything you desire.

Newly-hired as an investigator, Janey McCallister wants to solve her first big case—the theft of a priceless gem.

When her case of theft escalates to murder and points to the seedy underbelly of world affairs, Janey has to rely on her new team and trust the mysterious insurance investigator, Orlando Valdez—before a killer escapes into the black.

***

Into The Black is perfect for fans of J.D. Robb’s Eve Dallas books and Killjoys and CSI. It contains a slow-burn romance, enhanced humans, cool high-tech gadgets, a futuristic vision of the Earth, and a tough heroine with secrets.

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Her implant flagged a quick movement in the crowd. Out of place, a shadow shifted. She clicked on her video. She’d get irrefutable evidence this time. Hope and determination fluttered in her chest.

A short, grey-haired man wove his way through the crowd, shoulders hunched, barely jostling people. Her implant flashed an ID: Mortimer Xang. His hotel record showed he’d arrived via space jet a week ago, and he had a room in the mid-priced level. No others in his party. He was leaving on the next transport Earthside in a few hours. Payee: Xang Enterprises.

One minute left.

He looked innocent enough, except for how one corner of his mouth quirked up in a faint smirk even though his gaze was downcast. His arms seemed pasted to the side of his body, and he took tiny steps as if to make himself even smaller.

Classic moves of a thief. Suspicious, though not evidence.

Her vid was recording, but all the other thefts had happened under the casino cameras and had not been detected.

She’d always trusted her intuition and her ability to read body cues before. But since she’d come to the station, she’d gotten it wrong twice. Should she wait for another sign that Xang was guilty? No, her gut told her he was up to something. She trusted that.

If she waited for the pickpocket to strike tonight, they could be here all night and still come up empty. She had to act now.

But if her instincts were wrong again, she’d be looking for a new job tomorrow.

“Got a possible,” Janey said to her team. “Shawhan, guard the exit. Lane, converge on my position. Kou, take our six.”

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At Bijoux de L’Etoile, the high-end casino orbiting Earth, anything can happen.

It’s a quiet day for L’Étoile lead investigator, Janey McCallister, until a young woman runs screaming through the blackjack tables. She looks like a victim of abuse, but when her boyfriend turns up dead the next day, she becomes the prime suspect.

Determined to investigate every angle, Janey searches for clues and uncovers a world of high-priced escorts and human trafficking—a world just like the one that took the life of her best friend long ago.

When Orlando Valdez, inspector for Sol Unified Planets, shows up with a new suspect, Janey isn’t sure she can trust the mercurial man who stopped returning her phone calls. But as the threats escalate and she unravels a deeper conspiracy, Janey and her team will need all the help they can get. If they fail, it could be the end of everyone on L’Étoile.

***

Lured By Light, the second book in the Janey McCallister Mystery series, is perfect for fans of J.D. Robb’s Eve Dallas books and Killjoys, and CSI. It contains a slow-burn romance, enhanced humans, cool high-tech gadgets, a futuristic vision of the Earth, and a tough kick-ass heroine with secrets.

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She said good-night to Faizah and stood up to go. Just then, from deeper in the casino, a young woman in a short, rainbow-sequined, barely-anything-there dress dashed past the bar. Fear tightened the young woman’s mouth, her olive skin splotched red. Her short brown hair flopped in her bloodshot eyes as she pushed through the crowd, saying something Janey couldn’t hear above the clamor of the huge room.

The young woman made barely a ripple in the boisterous, game-playing crowd, but Janey noticed her. She was trained to notice anything out of the ordinary, but this was more than different. This was startling. The young woman bore an uncanny resemblance to her best friend, Christine, who’d been dead for over four years now.

Time to intercept and find out why the young woman was in such a hurry and so distressed.

Janey rushed to interrupt the woman’s trajectory toward the casino exit.

She strode through the crowd while her ocular implant ran a facial rec and dished her the woman’s name and hotel registration: Amelia Gain. Her check-in date was seven days ago, her hotel registration and premium room service paid for by the Eshe Kamal Coffee, a corporate city-state inside of the Independent Empire of Ethiopia. She looked young, no more than twenty-three, but corporate often sent their staff to L’Étoile as a corporate perk or for bonus vacations. And five to ten percent of L’Étoile’s guests came from Eshe Kamal Coffee.

Amelia’s heart rate accelerated and her breathing shortened, all details Janey registered in a flash on her ocular implant in her right eye, which scrolled data continuously across the top of her visual field.

Janey was two arm lengths behind her, then one. Close enough to hear what the young woman was saying under her breath.

“Oh my god, no! No more. I can’t…He can’t…I won’t…” Amelia’s words burst out between sobs.

Near the slot machines at the casino entrance, Janey reached out to touch Amelia’s shoulder to slow her progress and get her attention. “Can I help you?”

Amelia flinched from Janey’s outstretched hand and shook her head. Tears streaked her cheeks. “No!” Her strident voice carried above the whine and buzz of jangling slot machines.

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Coming April 14, 2021

L’Étoile’s lead investigator Janey McCallister faces her hardest case yet.

On the eve of the hotel space station’s twentieth anniversary celebrations, Janey must discover who robbed the casino’s vault, killed one security guard, and left another badly wounded.

Since the casino has only a day’s worth of cash on hand, she needs to solve the case before the theft creates a mass panic and puts the casino-hotel out of business—and before the criminal strikes again.

During the search for those responsible, Janey and Orlando Valdez, her on-again off-again lover, and undercover cop for the Sol Unified Planets, are kidnapped in mysterious parts of the station.

Not only does Janey have to work together with Valdez to get free, but she’s faced with a terrible choice between saving the life of someone she cares about and protecting the hotel casino guests and staff. Janey must face enemies from within and outside unexpected quarters.

***

Gone Green is perfect for fans of J.D. Robb’s Eve Dallas books and Killjoys and CSI. It contains a slow-burn romance, enhanced humans, cool high-tech gadgets, a futuristic vision of the Earth, and a tough kick ass heroine with secrets.

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 Janey McCallister Mystery series
Into The Black (Book 1)
Lured By Light (Book 2)
Gone Green (Book 3) – Coming April 14, 2021
Red Running Deep (Book 4) – Date TBD

 

 

Award winning author, Beth Barany writes in several genres including young adult adventure fantasy, paranormal romance, and science fiction mysteries. Inspired by living abroad in France and Quebec, she loves creating magical tales of romance, mystery, and adventure that empower women and girls to be the heroes of their own lives.

For fun, Beth enjoys walking her neighborhood, gardening on her patio, and watching movies and traveling with her husband, author Ezra Barany. They live in Oakland, California with a piano and over 1,000 books.

Sign up here to be notified about once a month of book news and special events: http://bethb.net/itbnews.

 

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Web of Lies: Trueborn Heirs Series Book 2 by Nyna Queen (Book Review)

The witty, action-packed sequel to Nyna Queen’s urban fantasy / paranormal romance debut BY A THREAD. Filled to the brim with treachery, forbidden love, racism, loyalty, and unexpected friendship.

A royal gathering. She isn’t invited. And if they find her, they will kill her… 

Against all odds, Alex Harper survived her deadly wounds and managed to shake off her faceless pursuers. But she is hardly safe. With a death sentence looming over her, she must quickly find out who is pulling the strings in this twisted game she has become a part of – before they catch her. But that means infiltrating the trueborn royal elite; a glamorous world that possesses no love for shaper mongrels such as Alex. One wrong step will be the death of her.

To make things worse, she has to work with Darken again. Now back in trueborn territory, the scorching hot Deathbringer has retreated behind his armor of fire and the class difference between them becomes painfully obvious. Can their feelings for each other survive this growing gulf? Not that it will matter if Alex’s self-control isn’t good enough to pass for a member of the elite, and in the Royal Palace of all places! Caught between dark secrets and political intrigues, Alex soon realizes that she has entangled herself in a deadly web of lies…


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Web of Lies was overflowing with lies, deception, fight scenes, and mystery. There were many heated glances, jealousy moments, but no actual love connection between Alex and Darken. Too bad, I was hoping they’d discuss their night together, maybe have a repeat affair. 

Like with book one, By a Thread, this story ended with a cliffhanger. I am dying to know who’s the traitor. I mean, I think I know, but I want confirmation. I can’t wait for book 3, Kissed by Death. 

The title holds much promise that Alex and Darken will finally put their pride aside and hash things out, romance wise. 

 

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

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Buy both today!


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About Nyna Queen

Nyna started reading fantasy books at the sweet age of six (in fact, as soon as she could read) and never got out of it. After she finished her law degree, she finally decided to commit herself to a career as an author. When she isn’t reading a book or dreaming up another story, she works as a lawyer, indulges in way too much coffee and enjoys long walks in the sun. If you are looking for Nyna, you’ll likely find her behind her laptop, hitting the keys, writing down her latest novel ideas – careful, if you speak to her now, she might not remember later!

 

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By a Thread: Trueborn Heirs Series, Book 1 by Nyna Queen (Book Review)

“I’m a spider, sugar. My shaper kind doesn’t bear that name for nothing.”

 

That’s not something Alexis Harper dares to say very often. If she did, it might just get her killed. Not that she is an easy mark, but even fools get lucky once in a while.

In a world where the magically gifted trueborn rule and the magicless halfborn slog away in the slums, half-blood mongrels like Alex are outcasts—feared and shunned. For most of her life, she has lurked in the shadows, trying to keep her true nature a secret. But the secrecy ends abruptly when she saves two trueborn aristo children from a group of hired killers.

Accused of a crime she didn’t commit, Alex suddenly finds herself running from powerful enemies, with no one around to trust. Or what about the mysterious stranger who has been following her? He is one of Death’s Servants, born and bred to kill at the country’s command. Not the most preferable ally, but then, her choices are limited. Soon she has to decide whether she can trust him or not—it’s a gamble she might not survive either way. And before Alex knows what is happening, her life is hanging by a silken thread…

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

 

By a Thread is a well-developed story with unique characters and detail-driven battle scenes. Alex’s true self is a spider, but she isn’t like anything you’d see in a Marvel comic. She’ll make you scream, bleed, and beg for mercy. She has a tender side as well. She’s a protector. As you read By a Thread, you’ll discover she’ll go to extremes to help those she cares about. 

There were many other characters in this magical read. Each person had their own particular abilities. Darken intrigued me. He appeared to be a perfect match for Alex. They both have troubling pasts that shaped them into who they are today. Plus, they would give their lives for Max and Josy —  two kids on the run for their lives. 

If I had to give out an award for Best Supporting Character, it would go out to Blayde. Mysterious, powerful, funny, charming… oh yeah, I need me some more of him. 🙂 We only got a glimpse of his power, and it was mesmerizing. 

Special note: By a Thread ends with a cliffhanger. Story continues in book 2, Web of Lies. 

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

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About Nyna Queen

Nyna started reading fantasy books at the sweet age of six (in fact, as soon as she could read) and never got out of it. After she finished her law degree, she finally decided to commit herself to a career as an author. When she isn’t reading a book or dreaming up another story, she works as a lawyer, indulges in way too much coffee and enjoys long walks in the sun. If you are looking for Nyna, you’ll likely find her behind her laptop, hitting the keys, writing down her latest novel ideas – careful, if you speak to her now, she might not remember later!

 

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Treoir Dragon Chronicles: Book 1 by Dianna Love (Book Showcase)


New York Times Bestseller Dianna Love has a brand new series from the Belador world for first time readers as well as current Belador fans and it’s full of explosive reveals. Dragons didn’t just show up out of thin air centuries ago and not all of them died in the Dragani war.

Atlanta hovers on the edge of chaos and pandemonium as rumors fly about supernatural beings living among humans. Deadly preternaturals predators have been held in check for many years by the most formidable pantheons. One angry being has had enough and accesses majik of an ancient grimoire to release abominations capable of taking down the most powerful of humanity’s supernatural protectors.

As the dragon-shifter king over Beladors living secretly among humans, Daegan is tortured by having failed to save his loved ones two millennia ago when a vindictive goddess captured him. With a second chance at life, he’s vowed to protect his new family and destroy anyone who harms them. He’ll have to find all the parts of a grimoire divided up and hidden thousands of years ago for any hope of saving his captured people and a world ready to launch high-tech weapons to wipe out unnatural beings.

The entire human race has one hope of surviving what’s coming for them, but only if fear of the unknown does not drive the humans to kill their greatest protector first.

This is book 1 of a 9-book spinoff series for first time readers as well as current Belador fans. All 9 books will release within a year and be available in e-book, print, and audiobooks.

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READ AN EXCERPT

“If you don’t fight for what you love, then don’t cry for what you lost.”

~ Unknown

 

Every major war and crisis can be traced to a specific moment in time.

During the medieval time of chieftains and kingdoms in ancient Ireland, betrayal triggered a dragon war and consequences have rippled through time to today’s world. A supernatural being on a path to expose nonhumans is sparking chaos across the world with Atlanta at the epicenter. Powerful preternatural beings have waited patiently for an opportune moment to strike at their enemies and with no regard for human casualties. Now is the time.

The Belador supernatural race living secretly among humans freed a cursed dragon shifter, who now reigns as their king. Daegan takes a stand to fight for his nonhuman followers as well as vulnerable humans. Tortured by what he lost two millennia ago, Daegan has vowed to destroy any who threaten his new family and allies.

Atlanta and the entire human race have one hope of surviving what’s coming for them, but only if fear of the unknown does not drive them to kill their greatest protector first.


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Pivot: Jack Harper Trilogy, Book 1 by L. C. Barlow (Book Showcase)

From the age of seven, Jack Harper is raised by the leader of a mystical cult, Cyrus Harper. Through Cyrus, Jack receives a full education in all usual subjects―economics, literature, mathematics, history―as well as one unique skill useful to a person in Cyrus’s position: assassination. With the help of Roland James, a man incapable of dying, Cyrus hones Jack into the perfect weapon to use against all who oppose him.

It is not long, however, before Jack discovers that Cyrus and Roland are not the only ones living in Cyrus’s mansion. There, too, exists a mysterious creature in the depths of the house with supposed immortal magic. According to Roland, this creature is responsible for all the miraculous things Jack has witnessed throughout her childhood, including Roland’s resurrection. The creature, potent and powerful, only weakens in the presence of Cyrus’s red velvet box―a dark, enchanted tool that grants Cyrus his invincibility and ensures his reign.

Lonely and terrified by her life in the cult, under Cyrus’s neverending watch, Jack desperately pursues the mysterious being. When they finally meet, her world is turned upside down, as he offers her more than she could have ever expected―the possibility of escape and her own secret, magical power.

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Excerpt:

“The repetition of these particular lessons helped me—the time and effort I devoted to them. Winning a fight had nothing to do with an instantaneous surge of power and awareness but was about maintaining a sense of normality in the moment. It was about what I could forget. I got used to the sensation of a body against my body, of someone coming at me, the foreign twisting, pulling, and driving. When it became the norm, then it all fell away, much like a common denominator. Only the crosshairs, the target, the wind, the heart, the head, the veins were left. Training meant learning what one should remember and, more importantly, what one should forget. The winner is the one for whom the fight feels most like home.” – Jack Harper, PIVOT

 

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L.C. Barlow is a writer and professor working primarily in the field of speculative fiction.  She has an MA in English from the University of Texas at Arlington and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast program.  She has studied with popular writers, including Nancy Holder, Elizabeth Hand, Ted Deppe, James Patrick Kelly, Elizabeth Searle, David Anthony Durham, and Theodora Goss.  Her work has been published in Oak Bend Review, Flash Fiction World, Linguistic Erosion, Flashes in the Dark, Separate Worlds, Every Day Fiction, and Popular Culture Review.  Her fiction has reached over sixty-five thousand readers and garnered praise, including a finalist for the Next Generation Indie Awards, a winner of the IndieReader Discovery Awards, a winner of the eLit Awards, and IndieReader’s Best Books of 2014.  On Quora, her posts have received over 1.4 million content views. Barlow’s horror trilogy – PivotPerish, and Peak – was picked up in 2018 by California Coldblood Books, an imprint of Rare Bird Books.  The first of the trilogy, Pivot, was released in October of 2019.  Perish will be released in October of 2020.  Peak will be released in October of 2021. Barlow lives in Dallas, TX with her two cats, Smaug and Dusty.

 

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