Tag Archives: magic

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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30 Days Without Wings by Tabatha Shipley (Book Showcase)

Faeries are real.

Elise is a faerie who has experienced terrible heartache and just needs a change before she is forced to choose the path she will walk forever. She will risk everything for one chance at happiness. But is the cost of the risk more than Elise bargained for?

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Here goes nothing.  My shoes make a light tapping noise on the polished floor as I make my way across it.  Normally you probably wouldn’t hear it, but the echo off the domed roof is deafening.  As my heart thuds away in my chest I have to wonder if they can hear that too.  Are they used to the children sounding nervous?  
 
The elder who walked me in takes to the air instead, crossing the chamber in half my time.  I watch her drop delicately into her seat, smiling at a few fae on either side of her.  Flying was a good idea, I wish I’d thought of it.
 
I reach the middle of the room and stop. The man before me has so much gold on his wings you can no longer see any clear.  It sends beams of light flying out in every direction around him, giving the impression that he is glowing.  He has years of impressive service to this community.  He wears a long white beard, but it doesn’t hide the youthful expression in his eyes.  I wonder what this man does for our society.
 
I tip my head downward in greeting.  “Thank you all for seeing me.”  
 
“We are here today to allow Elise an opportunity to choose the path of her future.  Today she will choose the direction of her training.  Elise, today you will tell us what future will earn color in your wings.  What say you?” the elder asks.  His voice echoes through the chamber.
 
I swallow the lump that has formed in my throat.  Here goes nothing.  “Can I request a manifest period?”  
 
There’s an audible gasp from a few of the elders assembled.  They range in age, I know.  Some are no older than me, really, but have shown themselves to be adept at their field.  Each sector of our society, each job held, has an elder who presides over it.  They are all here today to hear my choice.  Evidently, this is not what they wanted to hear.  My wings begin to flutter nervously.  They are well within their rights to tell me no, although it’s not normally done that way.  
 
“Well, yes child.  This would allow you a one-month period to travel to other colonies and decide where you would like your future to play out.”  He commands the attention of a few elders who have reverted to whispering in the back by clearing his throat.  “I believe we are surprised, Elise, because this practice is typically reserved for fae who have family in other circles.  To be blunt, my dear, we are all you have.”
 
“But I could be allowed to try?” I ask.
 
The man looks to his right.  A beautiful faerie sits along the lowest row of chairs beside him, her wings sending off silver rays instead of gold.  She is our leader.  Once she chose her path, the change was instant.  Her silver wings are rumored to have fully colored right then, in the prediction of service she would do.  It is strange that she has been our leader for as long as anyone can remember, and yet she looks so young.  Her face is thin, her eyes forgiving.  Her long white hair reaches her waist.  The hair tugs a little as she nods once to the speaker.  My eyes immediately lock back on him.  
 
“Yes, of course.  We would need to see you again in one month’s time to hear your decision.  You would be required to return for that second meeting and the decision you express at that time would be final.”
 
My heart flutters with the permission.  I’m so close now.  “That is what I wish, then.  Thank you.”
 
It has gone dangerously quiet in the chamber again.  All eyes are on me; I can feel them melting into my face.  I gulp.  They have to have the final word.  It is not official until they speak.  
 
The face of the speaking elder reveals nothing.  He remains stoic.  Finally, he nods once.  “So be it.”  

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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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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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The God Queen: Rebirth Book 1 by M. L. Tishner (Book Review)

The return of the God Queen is not what everyone hoped…

Humans have long since spread their numbers among the stars. Now far, far into the future, war has torn the Tyre Star Cluster into two major political factions. The militant Dominion have gained the upper hand in the last decade when their champion murdered the hope of the progressive Federation: Niklaryn Ettowa. Some considered the war to be almost won.

Yet there are those who claim the war will not be ended by mortals…but by the rebirth of the gods. 

Rei lived most of her life bartending on one Earth’s backwater towns. She daydreams of something more, traveling the stars, and destroying the man who murdered her brother Niklaryn. Her dream is within her grasp only if she accepts her fate as the God Queen.

Bronx is disillusioned with being a reincarnated god, let alone a reaper. He pays his penance by keeping people at a distance and taking up the mantle of a combat medic. When the sister of his old mentor Niklaryn storms in to join the cause will he find something worth fighting for?

Together with others, they must help the Federation tip the scales in their favor, but everyone seems to have their own plans for what the gods should do.

Jupiter Ascending meets X-Men in this epic New Adult space opera bursting with star-crossed romance, elemental magic, and an adventure across the star cluster, perfect for fans of A Spark of White Fire.

 

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

 

The God Queen is broken up into two sections: The Woman and The Goddess.

(Part One) The Woman read as if it was picking up from a prequel. One hundred pages into the story and I finally contacted M. L. Tishner (the author) to ask if there was perhaps a prequel to The God Queen. M. L. Tishner responded there was NO PREQUEL. She stated things were taken out, but it was all in the sakes of her readers. 

While writing and editing stories, authors are faced with difficult decisions. What to keep and what to toss away is a hard choice they have to make before the book goes to print.

While writing and editing stories, authors are faced with difficult decisions. What to keep and what to toss away is definitely a hard choice they have to make before the book goes to press.

For me, I missed not having more information on key characters: Niklaryn, Infiernen, Negander, to name a few.

 

 

(Part Two) The Goddess was a thousand times better than Part One. Secrets were revealed, past/present connections were explained more, and we finally saw some real emotions from central characters.

It’s in this section that I actually started to like the characters, particularly Bronx. He’s a character you’ll want to hug and tell him everything is going to be okay.

Even though I found Part One lacking in character development, I do recommend reading this book. Why? Part Two was pretty good, and I think the series has great potential.

(Book II, no release date yet)

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤

 

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Mari, a native Hoosier, currently lives in southern Germany where she entertains people with her adventures as an American expat in the Land of Beer and Pretzels on her blog adventuresoflamari.com as well as the adventures of her pugs, Abner and Roxy. When she’s not writing, Mari cooks, snowboards, dances to the beat of her own drum, reads late into the night, and binge watches Netflix with her husband. The God Queen is her debut novel.

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