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Queen of Corvids: Raven Crawford by J. C. McKenzie (Book Review)

Raven Crawford Book 3

 

Truth can be ugly and part-time waitress, casual PI investigator, and half-fae shifter, Raven Crawford, can’t deny she owes the Lord of War a favour. If she defaults on her debt, she relinquishes all her power to a man who doesn’t know the meaning of mercy. And she thought her bank loans were bad.

With her new role in the Underworld contending with her debt to a dictator, a budding romance with the Lord of Shadows, and her need to pay the bills, Raven is in serious need of balance. But the moment the dark fae walked into her diner months ago, she’s been off-balance.It’s time for Raven to pull up her big girl socks and prove to everyone she’s no longer the burnt-out waitress with a nifty parlour trick.

She’s the Queen of Corvids.

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

What I loved about Queen of Corvids, using the alphabet as my guide.

It’ll be hard, but I’ll try my best not to reveal spoilers. Heads up, some lines will make sense after reading the story, so I encourage you all to buy/read Queen of Corvids!

Proceed with caution! 

 

Assasins

Bane, a character you’ll love to hate. 

Chad Berkley, aka Tarzan. I hope we see more of this Roller! 

Dungeon has visitors. 

Erebus. I rather liked his interaction with Nyx. He amused me. 

Frey. He wasn’t very good at being bad. 

GOLD!

Hyenas messed with the wrong family. 

Investigations.

Juni. Watch out for her right hook! 

Killing is not always the answer. 

Lord of the Shadows. Cole has more love in his 💖 than most mortal men. 

Marcus. He pulled at my heartstrings. 

Nyx. Her screen time wasn’t long, but she made a lasting impression nonetheless. 

Odin’s shriveled nuggets! 

Pepe the goat, familiar to a well-known magical character. 

Queen’s power is finally in full display. 

Rourke, a sarcastic badass with a huge heart. 

Scythe. Kick ass weapon! 

Troll battle. 

Unofficial Crawford. Read and found out who’s joined the family.

Victims. Multiple deaths! 

“Where’s the rest of it?” (Quote pertains to her court attire.)

Xcellent read. Yeah, I misspelled it on purpose. 🙂

Gododdin. 

Zip to the end for Glossary of Terms.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score:  ❤1/2

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~~ CHECK OUT BOOK ONE! ~~

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~~ And BOOK TWO! ~~


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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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The Best Man Plan by Jaci Burton (Happy Book Birthday!)

Book 1 in the Boots and Bouquets Series

Three days before Erin Bellini‘s wedding, her fiancé breaks up with her – in an email! Hurt and embarrassed, she decides to have a fling with veterinarian Jason Callum, who’s both the best man and the hottest guy she knows. But Jason wants a lot more than just a one-night stand with the woman he’s cared about for years. So he’s taking things slow. And hot. And showing Erin what real love can look like.


Suddenly Erin finds herself spending a lot more time with Jason than she intended. Feelings she never planned on having again are wrapping around her heart, refusing to let go. Erin isn’t sure she can trust her instincts, though. After all, she made a terrible choice with her ex-fiancé. But Jason intends to convince her that he’s the best man for her, and that what they have together is a real love that will last forever.
 

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**Partial excerpt courtesy of Jaci Burton’s Website**

 

Chapter One


Erin Bellini shouted out from her office at Red Moss Vineyards.

“Mom. Have you talked to the caterers?”

Her mother didn’t respond right away. It was her most annoying quality. While she waited, Erin jotted down several things she needed to remind her bridesmaids about. Her two sisters were onsite so she had them covered, but she made a note in her planner for the rest of the bridesmaids.

Erin’s mother, Maureen, made an appearance in Erin’s office. “You don’t need to yell at me, Erin. You could have just sent me a text. And yes, caterers are confirmed. Which I already told you this morning.”

“Right. You did. For some reason I hadn’t checked it off the list. Sorry.” She typed an X in the spreadsheet on her laptop as well as marking it off on the page in her planner. She looked up at her mother. “And my dress is back from alterations, right?”

“It’s in your closet.” Her mom made that face, the one where her lips went straight and her eyes narrowed and you knew you were being scrutinized. “You’re not getting nervous, are you?”

Erin smiled and took in a deep breath to center herself. “I never get nervous. Because I have everything organized. In my planner. In my spreadsheet. In the notes on my phone.”

Her mother smiled. “Right. Yes, well that’s you, honey. I’m going out to the vineyards to check on your dad. Call if you need me.”

“Okay.”

She should call Owen, her fiancé, to make sure he remembered he had to pick up the tuxes. Or maybe she should call Jason, Owen’s best friend and the best man. Owen was always scattered and busy and he’d likely forget. Thankfully he had her to organize everything for him.

She picked up her phone and found Jason, then pressed the call button.

“Busy here, Erin.”

She shook her head at Jason’s gruff brush-off. They’d grown up together, had known each other forever. “I need you to pick up the tuxes.”

“What?”

“The tuxes, Jason.”

“I’m knee-deep in cow shit right now, Erin. You don’t mean now, do you?”

“No. I mean tomorrow.” She heard mooing. “You delivering babies?”

“Pregnancy checks.”

“Oh. Cool.” Jason was a large animal vet, so he was always on the run. He was part of a practice in town, but he also worked the local ranches.

She was scrolling through her e-mails when she saw one from Owen. Huh. That was odd. Owen never e-mailed her. He either called or texted. She frowned and clicked on it.

“I thought Owen was doing the tux thing,” Jason said.

“Owen is likely up to his elbows in hops or wheat or whatever it is that brewers do. Or he’s making sure the brewery won’t go up in flames without him when we’re on our honeymoon. You know how he is.”

“Fine. I’ll handle it. Anything else?”

“Yeah.” She was trying to concentrate on Owen’s e-mail and forgot she was on the phone with Jason.

“Erin. Anything else?”

Her blood went cold. Everything in her went cold, despite the warm May day.

She read the e-mail again. It was a breakup e-mail. Two days before the wedding, and Owen was breaking up with her.

“In a freaking e-mail? He’s breaking up with me in an e-mail?”

“Who’s breaking up with you?” Jason asked. “Owen is?”

She was getting married in two days. Correction. Apparently she was not getting married, because exactly two days before their wedding Owen had broken up with her. Via e-mail.

She felt dizzy and sick to her stomach. She leaned over and put her head between her legs.

“Erin. Are you there?”

“Did you know about this?” she asked, trying not to faint or throw up.

“Hell no, I didn’t know. Did he call you?”

Erin straightened, the dizziness making her feel as if she’d just downed a bottle of Bellini’s best prosecco in one gulp.

Two days. They were getting married in two days. This had to be a mistake. But as she looked at the e-mail again, the word “mistake” was written in the same sentence as the words, “us getting married.”

“Ahhhhhhhhh!” she screamed, long and loud, then yelled, “That sonofabitch. I will kill him. He broke up with me in an e-mail, Jason.”

“He didn’t,” Jason said. “Are you sure?”

She straightened, shoving her laptop as if somehow that was the same thing as slapping Owen. “Oh, he did. And I’m sure. I can read a damn e-mail, Jason. I gotta go.” She ended the call and stared at her lists, tears pricking her eyes as the future she’d envisioned with Owen dissolved right in front of her.

All because of an e-mail. An e-mail! How could he be so cold?

“I will kill him. I. Will. Kill. Him.”

Click here to read the full excerpt!

 

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January River by Bernard Jan (Book Showcase)

Five friends. One dog. One river carrying a secret.

When one of their friends goes missing, everything comes crashing down for the small group of childhood friends in the small town of Greenfield. Ethan takes it hard. Then he loses his dog, his only consolation.

Hoping to start anew, Ethan leaves Greenfield and moves to New York City. Far from the ghosts of his childhood and the river that gives and takes life. There he finds his one true love and builds a career as a bestselling author.

But how long will Ethan’s happiness last as doubts creep back into him and shatter his reality? And will his reconciliation with the past come at too great a price?

All rivers carry their secrets, but not every river keeps its secret forever.

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Ethan McCoy lay in the grass, stretched out to his full length. He flung his head back and unbuttoned his shirt, exposing his neck and the pale skin of his chest to the sun. His rolled-up sleeves were already drenched in sweat. Perspiration ran off his forehead, dripping onto the jacket folded under his head in a faux pillow.

Ethan removed the light-sensitive glasses from his nose and wiped the sweat off with a handkerchief. Inhaling deeply, he stared at the sun through unprotected eyes. The scent of Greenfield invaded his nostrils, conquering his throat, lungs, and heart. Inside him the memories were waking up, ignited by familiar feelings from the past.

In the strong light he felt a pain in his eyes, forcing him to close them. So that he might suffer too, he didn’t move to escape into the protective shadows. Determined to stay exposed to heat that reached him from the vast distance with such strength, he willed the sun to cause him pain. Wanted it to numb his senses and make him oblivious to any and all experiences—both pleasant and unpleasant. Most of all, he wanted to let go of the internal pain that refused to leave him alone after all these years.

He wished one pain could soothe another. The physical could annul the emotional. Even as he thought it, he knew it was in vain. He also accepted there was no cure for that pain. At best, it might be blunted some day and become just a painful reminder of his past.

But it would never disappear.

Because if it did, Greenfield would no longer exist. The artificially created grove beside the river in which he now rested, would vanish too. The same for Willy, then Jason, Derrick, and Sarah. Riv and . . . Susan. Could they evaporate, all of them? Did he have the right to ask that?

Or, what if it were possible for all of them to remain in their reality where they belonged? While he—Ethan—disappeared? Both could be possible only by some supernatural phenomenon. Something that could never happen.

Eventually moving into the shadows, he took off his shirt, shoes and socks and continued with his fantasy. Recalling. Or gathering up the strength and determination to do what he intended. Well, that’s what he planned on saying if someone asked him why he was there. So far, nobody had. Nobody knew. He arrived less than an hour ago. He hadn’t gone to the town, but had come straight to the river. To the place where everything had begun. Therefore, it only seemed fitting that it be where the beginning of the end transpired. The place where he would insert a period at the end of a life story. If he got lucky, he’d tear out a blank page and start anew. No memories. No past.

Without the bad memories, he could live in peace.

However, if he were honest with himself, that would be equally impossible to achieve.


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Iron Heart by Gini Rifkin (Book Showcase)

Who wrote Beowulf? Perhaps we’ll never know. Or did it happen this way….?

England: circa. 879 A.D. In the time of King Alfred the Great

With the heart of a warrior and the soul of a poet, Faran Kilbraun travels far from home in search of the sword and shield of his ancestors. Protecting the ancient relics was his responsibility. Now, to regain his honor, he must recover the stolen artifacts and battle a life-long enemy.

Following the accidental death of her cruel husband, Leanora Wrenn is wrongly accused of his murder. Forced into exile, a small north shore island becomes her place of refuge, exoneration her only hope.

When Faran discovers Leanora’s remote sanctuary, both their lives are changed forever. Destined to become comrades-in-arms, they fight side by side. Ending up in one another’s arms, will they find redemption and love?

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~~ Excerpt~~

    Leanora tapped her foot with impatience. Would the sun never set?

    Thank goodness, the autumnal equinox would soon be upon them. After Mabon, the hours of brightness, stretching into forever, would wane even more to her advantage. Until then, wait she must, for it was no longer safe to venture out

along the shoreline in the light of day.

    Of late, there had been an increase in the number of ships passing by. And although no one had yet to come ashore on her tiny isle, they might if they saw her. Like silent demons, the wretched ships appeared without warning. Their wickedly graceful, serpentine prows gliding out of the sea mist—mighty beasts, unstoppable and terrifying in their splendor.

   At the very sight of them her heart raced with fear, and it did not calm again until the ships were reduced to harmless blurs upon the horizon. Yes, it was safer to wait until nightfall.

   As darkness subdued even the memory of the sun, she grabbed up a large basket and drew aside the ragged piece of cloth hanging across the cottage door. She liked to think of her habitat as a cottage, although in truth she knew it only merited to be

called a hut. Woven of sticks and branches, it listed in the direction of the prevailing winds.

   She had lived in a real house once. A home of timbered halls carved from towering oaks. Woven tapestries warmed the walls, but those who dwelled within had been wrapped in cold cruelty.

   Thank the Lord those days were over. She was safe now. Was it worth the price of living like a peasant, with threadbare clothes and no well-tended hearth? She had to believe it was so.

   Turning her back on her thoughts and the hut, she stepped through the doorway. The sand, still warm from the day’s heat, comforted her bare feet, and threading her way between the huge boulders, she glanced at the troubled night sky. The stars refused to shine, and high-riding clouds obliterated the full moon. There would be no helpful illumination to guide her to the nets along the shore.

No matter, she knew the way by heart, and the use of a torch might attract more than moths in her direction.

   At the breakers, she paused and listened to the ocean’s never ending song. Tonight the tune seemed filled with lament. There was no gurgle of happiness

where the waves lapped at the rocks, and no sigh of contentment as the receding waters rushed back to the sea.

   Perhaps the elements regretted their earlier behavior of today when the wind had terrified the air and the waves had battered the island. For a moment she had feared for her life, but the storm had soon passed. Like people, the wind and the

water were fickle and not to be trusted. Yet on occasion, the sea could be benevolent, and she gave thanks for the fish and crab it provided. Together

with foraged berries and the eggs from the chickens, her meals were healthy and varied. Not grand fare, but good enough for now.

    Angling to the left, she abandoned the shelter of the rocks and headed across the slope of open beach. A sharp wind teased her ankles, buffeting her from

behind. It felt as if another storm approached. Or did the cold herald more than a change in weather?

    In answer to her unspoken question, she tripped over something where nothing should be. Her skirt tangled about her legs, and she pitched headfirst over the unexpected obstacle. The basket flew from her grasp as she landed with a thud in the sand. A cross between a growl and a groan came from the mound that had caused her fall.

    On hands and knees she scurried to one side. Then leaning forward, she peered through the darkness trying to determine what lay before her. Was it a scaly monstrous thing from the sea? Or worse yet, a human? Instinctively she unsheathed the long-bladed dagger hanging at her waist.

    The thing groaned again, and uttered several words in a language unknown to her. Holy Savior, it was a man. She prayed he had not been sent to find her. Her mouth went dry, her throat constricted. She tightened her grip on the hilt

of the knife. “I will kill you before I let you take me back,” she threatened, not caring if he understood her Saxon words.

    He made no response in sound or movement.

    What should she do? Drive the knife swiftly into his heart, instinct urged.   

     Weapon at the ready, she awkwardly crawled forward on both knees and one

free hand. She was glad for the darkness hiding his features. A faceless enemy was so much easier to hate and deliver unto God.

     Drawing closer, she realized the man lay upon his stomach. In ire, she jammed the knife into its rawhide case. Reaching across his broad shoulders, she gripped the remnant of his tunic, and using her body as a counterweight, leaned backward. The stranger rolled toward her. She scrambled out of the way as he settled onto his back. A rush of air escaped his mouth.

     “Thank you,” he whispered, through lips that sounded stiff and parched. This time the words he uttered were in Saxon English. He may be the master of two languages, but he was a fool to thank her for helping him.

     She knelt once more at his side, and again took up the blade. Like a pagan priestess about to perform a sacrifice, she raised the knife high overhead and tensed for the downward thrust. Then the horrible truth of what she was about to do hit her full force and her resolve faltered.

    The moon broke through the clouds casting an ethereal brightness upon the man’s face and chest. He gazed up at her with an expression as startled and questioning as a child’s.

   She swallowed hard, shocked by the manner of brutality that had come so easily to her. The pain and suffering she had seen and endured did not give her free reign to become as merciless and savage as her tormentors. Still, she must protect herself.

    Leanora glared down at the man. His straight nose and the planes of his cheeks were highlighted by moon-glow, and the same celestial light turned his shoulder-length hair into a mantle of silver. Her gaze drifted lower.

    He labored for each breath, and through the rips in his tunic a wet glittering iridescence reflected off his powerful chest and well-muscled abdomen. The

arm rings he wore and the scars that he bore proclaimed him a warrior, a man who had faced many enemies, a man who had won the day.

    Captivated by these thoughts, she remained unmoving. The rough pebbles dug into her knees, and her arms ached from holding the knife on high. A decision must be made. But she was more familiar with taking orders than making far-reaching

resolutions.

    “Half the treasure will be yours,” the man croaked, “if you let me live.”

     Treasure? There were not enough riches in the world to prompt her to risk her freedom.

She brought the knife down with all her might, burying it to the hilt in the sand beside the stranger’s right ear. “You owe me your life, warrior.”

     She spat out the words like bitter fruit tart upon her tongue. The man’s eyelids drooped, and his head lolled to one side.

    Leanora rocked back on her haunches. Then she began to shake, not out of dread for what she had almost done, but out of fear for what she had not been able to do.

     Desperately she prayed her compassion would not also prove to be her undoing.

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Gini Rifkin’s books follow characters who are courageous and passionate about life, and when they meet, sparks fly while danger often threatens. Her settings include the American West, Medieval and Victorian England, and contemporary fantasy. When not writing, Gini has the privilege of caring for her rescue animals including ducks, geese, goats, rabbits, donkeys, and cats. Her writing keeps her hungry to learn new things, and she considers family and friends her most treasured of gifts. So step back in time or into the future, where adventurous romance is waiting just for you.

 

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Torch: A Lovelock Novel by Tricia Copeland (Book Showcase)

Lovelock Book 2

 

They can save the human race. To do it, they must take down their own government…

Sixteen-year-old Jema is on the run. Branded a traitor for trying to share a DNA-based cure for a lethal contagion, she and her friends are hunted by forces loyal to her sinister uncle. And unless they force him to release the formula, she fears a worldwide war to claim the antigen.

Forced to fight like soldiers in the desolate desert, Jema learns there could be sympathizers who will support a coup. But with only scavenged food and fading hope, she and her small group of grimly determined teens face a deadly trek across dangerous territory.

Can Jema get the cure in the public domain before the planet descends into bloodshed and chaos?

 

Torch is the second book in the thrilling Lovelock YA dystopian science fiction series. If you like intense action, courage under pressure, and races against time, then you’ll love Tricia Copeland’s fast-paced novel.

Buy Torch to battle for humanity’s survival today!

 

*´¨*)
¸.•*´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•`Don’t miss Torch! Now Available $0.99 or Free on KU!

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Excerpt

07 JANUARY 2070

“Okay, I’m officially confused.” Troy cut the radio. “It’s been three weeks. They should at least have something about vaccination centers.”

“Death counts seem to be holding steady which means they’re distributing the anti-viral to those that are sick, right?”

“Who knows what they’re doing. If all that crap we went through was for nothing, I’m going to be majorly pissed.” Troy stomped towards me.

“Hey, pregnant mama here. Calm down.” I held the hare out to him.

“Fine, but I’m definitely going to need an extra-long run tonight.”

“Does the answer to all your anxiety have to be to run?” I lowered the mother rabbit into its pen.

“Maybe there’ll be some eggs. If I have to eat rabbit another day, I think I might kill myself.”

“You could always eat one of the MREs. With the crops and animals, we’re going to have enough food for fifty people soon.” Cleaning my hands, I followed him to the bird coops.

Troy opened the pen, and the road runners scattered. “The meal kits are for emergency use only. We have to be self-sufficient.”

“Is that why I’m hurting my brain to learn electronics, fluids, and mechanics?”

Reaching in a nest, he produced two eggs. “Hey, I stroked a rabbit’s belly to feel for a pea-sized mass that’s supposed to be a baby rabbit. You can learn to hack a computer. Besides if something happens to one of us—”

“Stop, now you sound like my dad. I can fend for myself.”

He kissed my cheek. “We take care of each other, right?”

Leaving the eggs in the kitchen, we weaved through a tunnel to our hidden exit. I loved the feel of the cool air on my skin and the calming effect the darkness had on me. My shoulders relaxed, and I took a deep breath. Traipsing to the road, we stretched and started to run. At the half-hour mark, we looped around.

Cresting a hill, Troy grabbed my arm and pulled me to the ground. Hear that? he signed to me.

Holding my breath, I listened but shook my head. With his super senses, it didn’t mean anything that I couldn’t detect the sound. If he had, we needed to be wary. Staying low, we cut away from the road, stopping every fifty feet to listen.

Vehicle engine, he signed.

We slowed our pace. The highway passed eighteen miles northwest of us, and I wondered if he could hear a motor from that distance. Maybe many vehicles? But what would a convoy be doing this far from the border? My heart raced. Looking for us was the answer.

At our next stop, I heard it, a low roar of an engine in the distance, the crackle of tires on asphalt, rocks pelting the hard desert floor in their wake.

How many? How far away are they? Can you see lights?

Troy nodded. They’re slowing down.

 

*´¨*)
¸.•*´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•`Don’t miss Torch! Now Available $0.99 or Free on KU!

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Haven’t started this explosive series yet?
Find the first book, Lovelock Ones on Amazon!

A naturally immune girl. A genetically modified boy. A search for a cure that may cost them everything…
FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

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An avid runner and Georgia native, Tricia now lives with her family and four-legged friends in Colorado. She believes that magic infuses every aspect of our lives, whether it is the magic of falling in love, discovering a new passion, a beautiful sunset, or a book that transports us to another world. You can find all her titles from contemporary romance and fantasy, to dystopian fiction at www.triciacopeland.com.

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