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Review of “Rogue Legacy” – Jeffrey L. Kohanek

(Prequel to the fantasy trilogy The Runes of Issalia)

A powerful organization, a dangerous magic, a dark plot…and the girl who stood in the way.

When tragedy strikes, Lyra runs for her life…directly into the hands of fate. Destiny places her at the heart of a plot to overthrow the rulers of Issalia, a plot she must help thwart. Led by a man armed with powerful magic, and joined by a single soldier who wields an enchanted weapon, the three must face the most fearsome army the world has ever known. Even if they survive this epic confrontation, the future is not secure…for the threats surrounding Lyra do not end there. 

History often forgets the details, and sometimes, history forgets the truth. Meet Lyra: an orphan, a thief, a liar, a bard, a warrior, a princess…a rogue. Her story reveals what truly happened hundreds of years before The Runes of Issalia series takes place. Within these pages, resides her legacy.

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

You ever have a day that starts out great but quickly turns to hell? Lyra had such a day. It all started when she went out to play Knucklebones (Tali) for a bit of excitement and to gain some coin in her purse.

For those who are unfamiliar with the game, you might know it now as Jacks.

 

Knucklebones

 

Jacks

Anyways, after Lyra left the tense game with Sully, this is where everything takes a dark turn. In a span of two chapters, Lyra saw more death than any one person should. It was in those moments I saw her for whom she really was… a  survivor. She evaded death on numerous occasions. She didn’t break when death seemed to follow her. No, she trained hard. Fought hard. She prevailed. 

And, she did live happily ever after.

Though Cal was the character with magical abilities, Lyra was the one who seemed to possess extraordinary abilities. 

One last thing: I agree with Grandma Jane… “History can be interesting.”

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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Discover a lost magic, long buried and forgotten…

Without a rune marking his role in society, Brock is doomed to a life below the lowest rung of the social ladder. Unwilling to accept his fate, the teen risks his life to obtain a fake rune that marks him as a member of the Empire’s ruling class. He then embarks on a quest to join an institution where the Empire’s future leaders are trained.

As a student of the Academy, he soon uncovers a chain of secrets kept hidden for centuries, secrets that expose cracks in the foundation of Empire society. Among his discoveries is a powerful magic, long buried and forgotten.

Brock’s compassion and sense of justice are seeds that sprout tight friendships and a blossoming romance. An unwillingness to be bullied earns him a dangerous enemy, growing into a feud that escalates to a climactic showdown.

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As they strive to become Masters within the Ministry, Brock and his friends resume their training at the Academy, an institution founded on magic, science, knowledge, law, and combat. They soon discover an expansive web of conspiracies and deceit within the Ministry, hidden behind a veil of benevolence and piety. The exposure of one of those secrets forces Brock and his friends to flee the institution with their lives in the balance.

Joined by a fierce Tantarri warrior, the group embarks on a quest to locate a mysterious throne that has been lost for centuries. Guided by the cryptic words of an ancient prophecy, and backed by a forbidden magic that they are still learning to wield, they journey across the continent to save humanity from extinction.

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A Long Forgotten Magic That Might Save the World …Or Destroy It

Led by a boy named Brock, a small team of teens urgently assembles a force to confront an army of monsters, one that ravages and destroys anyone or anything in its path.

In a race against time, Brock attempts to train a group of recruits to wield the powerful magic known as Chaos, a magic that he himself is still learning to master. All the while, they must remain vigilant against a secret organization within the Ministry that will do anything to prevent the return of Chaos.

As foretold by an ancient prophecy, the human army must face and defeat their ancient enemy on the Tantarri Plains. For if they fail, all will be lost.

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Link to my review post – 5/18/17

 

 

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Jeffrey L. Kohanek grew up in rural Minnesota where comic books sparked his young imagination, inspiring fantasies of heroes with super-powers saving the day. His tastes later evolved to fantasy epics featuring unlikely heroes overcoming impossible odds to save worlds born from the writer’s imagination.

Now residing in southern California, Jeff uses that imagination to weave tales of engaging characters caught in fantastic plots to inspire young adults and the child within us all.

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Review of “Sugar Skulls” – M.R. Tapia

“Life is a matter of death. Death is a matter of fact.”

Micah DeAtta learns this as he awakens with Death seated across from him, whetting his sickle. Micah has no choice but to converse with Death in order to figure out his own demise. As their conversations become a battle of wits, Micah is forced to relive prominent deaths of family and friends before learning of his own. Each death happens in real time, each correlating with the nine levels of the Aztec underworld. Before it is said and done, Micah will have been forced to face his fears, his losses, and the fact that although life may be too short, death is forever.

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(Chapter 13)

 

When Mama died, I died. Mama died of cancer. I can’t exactly remember how I died.

Now I’m sitting here with Death as he takes me back to these deaths. This whole experience is infuriating. He talks to me as if he cares while making it clear that he doesn’t.

I murmur, “You’re Death,” saying it more to myself than to him.

“I’m sorry?” he asks with confusion.

I quietly shout, “You’re Death. You—are—Death.”

I look up at him in anger.

He stares at me, blankly. Dead.

“What the fuck do you pity the lives you end for?” I point my finger and tap the air as if it were his chest. “You don’t know, do you? You don’t realize what you do to the family and friends of the person. You don’t know what sorrow feels like. Grief. What pain and heartache feel like.”

There’s no stopping me now. Not even his calm and bone-collected self. Sitting there nice and composed. Asshole.

“You don’t know what it feels like to have someone ripped away from you. You never held your sister in your arms while they cry violently, asking why God took her baby. But it was you. You took her baby. You haven’t watched a teenage family member on a hospital bed being kept alive with beeping machines and wheezing pumps. Being held away from you. Feeling helpless as you watch the Nurse’s assistant gently wipe away dried sweat and drool and blood from their inflamed face.” Sweat and drool and blood also smear my face.

“Micah—”

I cut him off, “You’ve never sat and watched as your mother was lowered beneath the ground. No. You just do the dirty deeds, don’t you? You’ve never had to repeat ‘I’m okay. Hanging in there,’ to everyone asking how you’re doing.”

I grunt, “You’ve never listened to the broken record of ‘they’re in a better place now; they’re resting in peace now; there’s no more suffering where they are now’. You’ve never had to turn your back on those attending a loved one’s funeral to keep from blowing up on them because they’re there to be nosy.”

Death sits there as tears stream from my bloodshot eyes. “Do you know how many funerals I’ve been too? What about you? You may be the reason behind the grieving families at funerals, but how many have you actually been too?”

He stands, tall and erect. “You fool!” The boner’s voice enters my soul with loud impatience. He slams the butt of the scythe’s handle to the ground and I feel my world tremble like a tremor. “Do you know how many I’ve caused? How many funerals are of my doing? The funerals you’ve been to, they’re because of me.”

My eyes are forced shut, the force of his shouting reaching my core like an explosion.

As I hold them shut I sense a breeze brush along the beads of sweat on my forehead and forearms. I’m frightened to open them. I struck a nerve now.

I remember wanting life the day after pleading for my death, but right now I want nothing more than life and Mama’s warm, reassuring embrace. Besides an ominous breeze, I feel and hear nothing. I concentrate on my panicked breathing. My heart rate high, pounding behind my eyes. That’s when I hear the voice.

“We commend unto thy hands of mercy, most merciful Father, the soul of this thy child; and we commit her body to the ground, earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.—”

My body is still as a gambling addict whose life’s savings are wagered in the hopes of early retirement, awaiting the judge’s results for the boxing match.

What am I awaiting? Sitting here, eyes clinched. Body, clinched. Am I waiting for Death? Confirmation of Death? Something’s out of place.

“—judgement shall come which thou hast committed to thy well-beloved Son, both this child and we may be found acceptable in thy sight. Grant this, O merciful Father, for the sake of Jesus Christ, our only Savior, Mediator, and Advocate. Amen.”

I slowly open my eyes and realize that I am no longer in front of Death. Another memory. Now, I am tight within a crowd of people. People who are dressed mostly in black, or in dark shades. I nudge forward through the darkly dressed crowd.

My feet are inches deep in sod. As I stretch my calves, peering over shoulders, a priest comes into sight. He is closing a bible, placing a holy kiss on the cover, and hugs it tightly against his chest.

A man and woman make their way forward, leaning over in front of him. But they aren’t taking communion or asking for a blessing. They’re giving a kiss to a glossy, pink box. The box is about the size of a large sack of potatoes. I’m about as clear minded as those same potatoes.

This is all familiar. Even the man kissing the box. He is dressed in a charcoal grey suit. I recognize him as my brother.

Cheecho straightens and turns away from the box. It’s not just any box. It’s a casket. A casket holding my stillborn niece.

The box jerks immediately as it descends into the earth. Feet away from her angel-daughter—my angel-niece—my sister jerks in unison.

Behind her, my family, and others, lies a field of tombstones. Precious Moments sculptures decorating a few of them, crucifixes and Jesuses and saints and Virgin Marys adorn the majority of the rest.

A shadow meanders through them. It holds what appears at a glance to be a Johnny Appleseed knapsack.

I know what it really is, though. A sickle.

And I know who he really is.

Death.

He stops behind a tombstone and his head turns in my direction as if mourning alongside my family and I.

Some Taiwanese funerals have professional mourners. People hired to speak, and mourn for the deceased. Women with makeup streaking down their faces with tears.

The clinks of the gears lowering my niece are loud as an interstate highway accident.

My sister, she wails. Her makeup streaks down her face with tears. She attempts to tear her heart out through her black dress, mascara-tears clogging random pinholes in her black veil.

Then I look at the graceful pace of Death.

I panic.

It was hard enough the first time. This time only reiterates the fact that I can’t help her. I know this isn’t real. Just another Death joke. I do an about face, allowing my feet guide me away. But they guide me into the backside of a woman.

“—earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.—”

The words enslave me. Over the shoulder of a woman before me I again see a priest with his hand sprinkling Holy water over a casket. This black casket is tailored for an adult.

“—Grant this, O merciful Father, for the sake of Jesus Christ, our only Savior, Mediator, and Advocate. Amen.”

I push forward again and see Ronnie’s mother wiping tears away from her cheeks. That’s Ronnie’s casket. This is Ronnie’s funeral.

My attention is returned to Ronnie’s mother and others from their family as they all wail a song of heartache as Ronnie descends into the earth. The melody is in Spanish. The singer is wailing, singing Entierranme Cantando. Sing while you bury me.

As turn away in anguish, and I see AJ texting away on her phone, her hands resting upon her fat belly that my child temporarily calls home.

I glance at the priest and his bible. Death peeks over his shoulder, looking at Ronnie? At me? It’s hard to tell with his empty eye sockets. Patches of skin flail with the misty breeze.

Panic turns to anger. Anger toward AJ’s ignorance. Anger toward Death. Anger due to me being forced to relive these moments, as if the pure memory and loss isn’t enough.

I do a half turn to escape Death’s sadistic joke. Maybe even Death himself. I stop before running into the back of another priest. Or is it the same one? I don’t know. But the casket before him is different.

The picture on the stand is one of Gabe. He’s dressed in a black cap and gown with crimson stitching and a sash and cord to match. It’s Gabe’s funeral.

I panic is turning into a frantic movements like a slow internet connection. I juke to my left and see another framed picture. This one of Artie standing next to his first car. I refrain a shout, turning once again to get out of here. Out of this moment- these moments. My past. My future. My Death. But I am stopped short by the sight before me.

A glossy, deep forest green casket sways upon thick green straps, hovering above a rectangular pit. Pictures of Saints adorn the sides of it. The centerpiece is a beacon of Mexican culture. It is a picture of the Virgen de Guadalupe. A beacon of Mama’s faith. It’s my mother’s casket.

A shadow crosses on the other side of Mama’s casket. My head jerks upward and instead of Death’s black shadow, I see a white owl with golden eyes perched atop a tombstone.

Gears crank and I look at Mama’s casket. Tears cascade from my eyes as my mother is lowered.

This is pure agony, although I know this has happened before. I know this is a part of Death’s torture. I also know that the pain I feel is real. Maybe even more painful because I am forced to relive it. Relive the fresh pain, peeling back the scab far enough that skin also rips away bringing forth more anguish.

This time, I involuntarily change a detail. While kneeling by the platform’s metal bars that support Mama’s body, my muscles contract, readying themselves. The green, thick, wide straps give way to Mama’s physical existence, lowering her to her final destination, I rise to my feet.

My core burns with the intensity of a forest fire. My weight leans forward. My feet part ways with the earth, where Mama’s body shall rest.

Earth to earth.

I chase my freefalling tears down into Mama’s resting site.

Ashes to ashes.

The damp air graces my skin, and I fall, closing my eyes, peacefully.

Dust to dust.

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My Review

Death is inevitable. Some depart this world peacefully in their sleep and some pass on painfully. We’ve all heard stories depicting angels, bright light, but no one really speaks of “Death” himself. In Sugar Skulls, Micah has quite the lengthy conversation with Death. I agree with Micah, Death behaving more like Sigmund Freud than the thing of nightmares was quite unnerving. I can see why Micah mouthed off to him. Death was basically acting like a shrink and not everyone is comfortable with a head doctor, let alone one looking like DEATH. DEATH made Micah relive the best and, more importantly, the worst moments of his existence.

 

In doing so. certain points in Sugar Skulls proved quite informative and/or fascinating. 

1.) Mictlan (underworld of Aztec mythology) and its 9 levels.

(Each level was described and integrated into the storyline very smoothly.)

 

2.) Death’s reaction to taking some lives but not others. 

(Many have pondered the question if DEATH views all his “victims” the same. Does he regret any lives taken? No regrets whatsoever? His response might amaze you. Tapia clearly didn’t want DEATH to be a silent player in this story. DEATH certainly had depth to him.)

 

3.) The ending. 

(The closer the end came, the less surprised I was by the turn of events. However, I must say, the end was pretty damn good.)

 

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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M.R. Tapia has had his short stories appear in various publications including Schlock Webzine, Deadman’s Tome, Empty Sink Publishing, and Hindered Souls: Dark Tales for Dark Nights. His short story, ‘Stella Reign’ is a 2016 Pushcart Prize nominee.

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Review of “Kingdom of Honor” – Tricia Copeland

Volume 3: (Kingdom Journals)

Jude’s Story

Jude only knows one thing: he must rescue Camille. It doesn’t matter what must be done to save her from the evil coven, he will do it. But once she’s recovered, what will his role be? How does he fit into the trinity’s prophecy? Find out in this urban fantasy adventure novel that finds the Kingdom Journals characters traversing the globe in search of Camille, and the key to breaking an age-old curse.

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

 

Kingdom of Honor, third book in the Kingdom Journals seriespicks up precisely where Kingdom of  Darkness ends: a rescue mission going awry. This lose-lose situation enabled readers to witness Jude’s powers in action. Cloaking, melting metal, invisibility, and telepathy are just a few skills Jude possesses. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, he knows martial arts too. For sure, Tricia created one badass character. The only thing I wish she would’ve created was a spell for easier traveling. That special talent would’ve saved Jude, Camille, Grady, Tyler, Janine, and others much time/aggravation/heartache/etc. However, that probably would’ve shortened the book by 100 pages so…. maybe it’s a good thing it took them a long while to find Camille. 

Speaking of Camille, her character didn’t capture my interest as much as Jude’s role. I can’t exactly tell you why. On the other hand, I was hoping Helene would’ve stuck around. I liked her and saw great potential with her character and contribution to the storyline. 

Now, a Kingdom book wouldn’t be a Kingdom book without a few twists. In the past, we learned who witches were descendants from and NOW….. Tricia discloses some interesting, unique facts about vampires. 

 

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest)

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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READ THE ENTIRE SERIES FROM THE START!  

Volume 1 (Kingdom Journals)

He wouldn’t understand. He didn’t live in a pretend world. In truth, he did. Most beings, pure humans, walked around thinking they were the only type of people that existed.” –Alena

As a creature forbidden by both vampire and witch cultures, Alena is forced hide her identity. Her mother moves them from city to city searching for answers. When Alena finds Hunter everything changes. She believes their bond may be the. But her mother finds Theron, an equally handsome and mysterious suitor. Will the truth of his intentions be uncovered before it is too late? Or will her Mother’s kingdom be reduced to embers?

 

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 Volume 2 (Kingdom Journals)

“… the previous night’s vision, or whatever it was, ended with a name I heard clear as day, as if the people were in my room. Ivy, the girl and boy recited together.” – Camille Could her dreams be real? Is she the key to freeing witches from their curse? Of course not, right? Thinking that her only chance at a normal life lay in a new treatment, Camille joins Dr. Antos and a group of teens for a month long camping trip in Iceland. There she meets Jude, a fellow schizophrenic. Dr. Antos invites Camille and Jude to extend their work with him on the island of Sardinia. Camille is suspicious of Dr. Antos’s intentions but her dad goes missing, leaving her no choice but to travel to Italy. Is she walking into a lion’s den or has her illness invaded her reality?

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BUY ALL 3 NOW WITH JUST A CLICK: Kindle Purchase Link (US)  / Kindle Purchase Link (UK)

 

Kingdom Journals 4 – Hunter’s Story

 

 

Tricia Copeland grew up in Georgia but now lives outside the mile-high city of Denver, Colorado with her husband, three kids, and multiple four legged and finned friends. An avid runner and paranormal fan, she also enjoys hiking, trivia, and Scrabble. You can connect with Tricia and other readers on FacebookInstagramTwitterPinterest, and on her website.

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Review of “Addict (The Cassie Tam Files Book 1)” – Matt Doyle

New Hopeland was built to be the centre of the technological age, but like everywhere else, it has its dark side. Assassins, drug dealers and crooked businessmen form a vital part of the city’s make-up, and sometimes, the police are in too deep themselves to be effective. But hey, there are always other options …

For P.I. Cassie Tam, business has been slow. So, when she’s hired to investigate the death of a local VR addict named Eddie Redwood, she thinks it’ll be easy money. All she has to do is prove to the deceased’s sister Lori that the local P.D. were right to call it an accidental overdose. The more she digs though, the more things don’t seem to sit right, and soon, Cassie finds herself knee deep in a murder investigation. But that’s just the start of her problems.

When the case forces Cassie to make contact with her drug dealing ex-girlfriend, Charlie Goldman, she’s left with a whole lot of long buried personal issues to deal with. Then there’s her client. Lori Redwood is a Tech Shifter, someone who uses a metal exoskeleton to roleplay as an animal. Cassie isn’t one to judge, but the Tech Shifting community has always left her a bit nervous. That wouldn’t be a problem if Lori wasn’t fast becoming the first person that she’s been genuinely attracted to since splitting with Charlie. Oh, and then there’s the small matter of the police wanting her to back off the case.

Easy money, huh? Yeah, right.

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I always did like Venetian blinds. There’s something quaint about them in a retro-tacky kinda way. Plus, they’re pretty useful for sneaking a peek out the front of the building if I feel the need. That’s something that you just can’t do with the solid, immovable metal slats that come as a standard in buildings these days. That said, a thick sheet of steel is gonna offer you a damn sight more security than thin, bendable vinyl, so I keep mine installed. Just in case.

Another round of knocking rattles the front door, louder this time than the one that woke me.

The clock says 23:47, and the unfamiliar low-end car out front screams “Don’t notice me, I’m not worth your time,” which makes for the perfect combo to stir up the paranoia that the evening’s beer and horror-film session left behind. This is my own fault. My adverts are pretty descriptive in terms of telling what I do: lost pets, cheating partners, theft, protection, retrieval of people and items, other odds and sods that the city’s finest won’t touch…I’ve got ways to deal with it all. That’s right, I’m a real odd-job gal. The one thing that I don’t put in there are business hours. The way I see it, even the missing pet cases usually leave me wandering the streets at half-past reasonable, so what’s the point in asking people to call between certain hours?

More knocking, followed this time by the squeak of my letter box and a voice. “Hello? Cassandra Tam?”

It’s funny, really. For all the tech advances that the world has made, no one has been able to improve upon the simple open-and-shut letter box. I stumble my way through the dark and wave dismissively at the frosted glass. The light switch and the keypad for the door lock are conveniently placed right next to each other on the wall to the right of the door, sowelcoming my apparent guest is a nice, easy affair. The lock clicks a moment after the lights flood the room, and I pull the door open.

“Cassie,” I say, turning and skulking my way back into the room. “Or Caz. Drop the Tam.”

I hear a sniff behind me, and the lady from the letter box asks, “Are you drunk?”

“If I pass out in the next five minutes, then yes,” I reply, turning the kettle on. I’d left it full, ready for the morning, but I guess this is close enough. “Take a seat at the table. Would you prefer tea or coffee? I’d offer beer, but since I reek of it, I guess I must’ve finished it.”

Footsteps creep unapologetically across the room, and a chair squeaks on the floor. Good. If you can’t deal with a snarky response to something, don’t say it all, and if you can deal with it, then as far as I’m concerned you don’t need to apologise.

“Coffee,” the lady says. “So, do you always see potential clients in your underwear, or is it just my lucky day?” Her voice has a slightly playful edge to it, but with a sarcastic kick to round it off.

The business portion of my apartment comprises entirely of a small open-plan room separating my kitchen from my living room. And by open plan, I mean an allotted space that encroaches on both territories but is conveniently large enough to house what I need. Or, in other words, a table, four chairs, and nothing else. Since filing went near entirely digital, filing cabinets have pretty much become obsolete, so the two that I found dumped outside the building when I bought the place currently live in my bedroom, and contain a mix of quick access work stuff and personal files I’d rather not have floating on the net. Most things, though, I store electronically, the same as everything else.

I rarely use the business table to eat, read, or any of that junk, so until this evening it’s been entirely empty for a good few weeks. The lady sitting there now is studying me, I can see, and probably wondering if this was a mistake. Whatever she may have expected, a Chinese-Canadian gal of average height in a cami top and a loose pair of sleep shorts most likely wasn’t it. For what it’s worth, though, I’m studying her just the same. She’s a lithe-looking thing, dressed in a casual pair of jeans and a plain black fitted top under a leather jacket. If the metal plugs running down her shaven head like a shiny, rubber-tipped Mohawk weren’t a giveaway for what she is, the light scarring punctuating the outer edges of her pale blue eyes certainly would be. She’s a Tech Shifter, and like most of her ilk, she looks like a punk rocker gone cyborg.

 

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

 

The world is constantly evolving. Everyday a new gadget is being introduced to the market. At the same time, news sources can’t go a day without mentioning a story dealing with drugs. Matt Doyle took both topics and ran with it. VR (Virtual Reality) is NOT a thing of the past. You can buy the gadgets at your local department store. In Addict, Matt incorporated Flash7, a VR stimulant, which made today’s virtual reality experience the equivalent of using an Atari when you can use a Nintendo Switch.

This story, centering on a murdered VR user, had so much potential for greatness. I wanted Cassie (Caz) to embark in the VR world. I wanted more time spent there instead of the real world. Addict did have a decent plot and a nice twist towards the end of the story; however, the moments leading up to it where nothing extraordinary. I think Caz’s past with Charlie didn’t add much to the storyline. Also, Matt has this book labeled LGBT but really it didn’t have much in the way of same sex interactions. Glances. Quick peck. Honestly, those could’ve been left out and the story wouldn’t have suffered one iota. 

One character whom I thought needed more time on the scene was Bert. He was her AI Familiar that resembles a gargoyle and behaves like a good protective pet. Now I love my new kitty, but a pet gargoyle….. That would be a wonderfully crazy addition to my already crazy house. 

For utilizing today’s tech in an interesting manner and for my love of Bert, I will rate Addict a solid three.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤

 

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Matt Doyle
Matt Doyle lives in the South East of England and shares his home with a wide variety of people and animals, as well as a fine selection of teas. He has spent his life chasing dreams, a habit which has seen him gain success in a great number of fields. To date, this has included spending ten years as a professional wrestler, completing a range of cosplay projects, and publishing multiple works of fiction.
These days, Matt can be found working on far too many novels at once, blogging about anime, comics, and games, and plotting and planning what other things he’ll be doing to take up what little free time he has.
 
 

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Review of “Portence (Fae Warriors, Book 3)” – Gini Rifkin

In the final battle to save the Earth, Fae Warrior, Portence Goodeve stands ready to serve Mother Nature. But as she fights for the future of the planet, she’s haunted by her past. One near-death experience and a betrayal that goes deep become weapons that could get her killed.

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The three sisters and Malachi stood nearby, waiting for the dust to settle. Down in the valley, the soldiers regrouped, the healthy helped the wounded to the transports waiting to take the injured to Lance. When Port spotted Captain Jackson looking their way, she nudged Solace and pointed. Her sister breathed a sigh of relief and waved down at her partner.

 
“Look,” Bliss said, gazing skyward.
 
 Nate was here now too. He and his balloon, hung in the air, drifting closer.
 
“With the Reps holed-up in the canyon, we should give them a chance to surrender,” Bliss suggested.
 
Fair-play ranked high on her sister’s personal code of ethic. Port leaned more toward ya pay’s your money, and you takes your chances. Or war is hell, and now you’re in it. “I suppose it can’t hurt to ask if they want to white-flag-it, but the answer seems rather obvious.”
 
“Not the point,” Bliss persisted. “It’s a matter of conscience and cosmic justice, and we’ll have given them a chance to make things right.”
 
“I agree,” Solace put in. “You’re accustomed to special ops, last ditch efforts with no viable alternatives. This is the real Multiverse, where we’re supposed to try and get along. Or as these Humes would say, uphold truth, justice, and the American way.”
 
Sarcasm flavored Solace’s words as if she knew getting along with a Rep meant ending up dead. Still, Port admired the integrity shown by both her sisters. And if by some long shot they did surrender, it could save many Hume lives. “Far be it from me,” she relented, “to tarnish the reputation of the Sisters of Anu.”
 
Noodge howled in agreement.
 
“So whom do we send on this deadly mission of goodwill?” she asked.
 
When Malachi stepped forward, her heart faltered. She knew it was the most logical choice, but the idea made her wingports twitch, and not in a good way. Why did he have to be so noble?
 
“Got some loose ends to tie up anyway,” he said.
 
What did he mean? Xandora, Thurax, Gorlock? This made her worry all the more.
“Loose ends my asteroid. You can get your payback-fix when we all go in. Just get the message to them as safely as possible, and when they refuse, come back to me in one piece.”
 
“You do care,” he said, with a half-smile, making light of her words. But the flash of light in tawny yellow eyes indicated deeper emotion.
 
Port liberated a five-foot atlatl dart from the back-quiver she wore. The wooden shaft, used for war would now be used for improbable peace. “Anybody got some white fabric?”
 
Bliss rummaged in the mini-tote attached to her woven canvas belt. When she came up with an
embroidered white linen handkerchief, hoots of much needed laughter broke out. Only Bliss would carry such a frilly item into battle, and only Malachi would be masculine enough to pull off waiving it at a Rep. Quickly attaching it, Port handed the shaft to him.
 
“This should get you close enough to negotiate. If they balk at talking or show any signs of aggression promise you’ll get the heck out of there. Play it safe.”
 
His smile grew, filled with warmth. “It’s not my style, but for you, I’ll try.”
 
Striding toward the rock wall, as if he hadn’t a care in the world, Malachi set out. By walking rather than flying or flash-moving, it allowed the enemy time to consider his non-threatening approach.
 
The Reps peered down from the stony ledges now holding them prisoners. They brandished their weapons, but made no threatening moves. When Malachi came within shouting distance, he halted and raised the white flag. An exchange of words appeared to follow. Again, when no form of retaliation ensued, she breathed a little easier. Then one Rep threw a rope ladder over the rocky ridge.
 
Malachi advanced, took hold of the hemp, and began to climb. What was he doing? Just deliver the message and leave.The words screamed through her mind with such force she knew he could hear her, but he didn’t alter course. He was going inside.
 
Frick.
 
She should never have let him go, at least not alone.
                                ****
Portence’s ire pommeled him like a physical sensation. But there was no turning back—even if he wanted to—which he didn’t. Unobtrusively using his power of levitation, he swiftly ascended the ladder. At the top, he forced himself to stand calmly as a Rep snatched the flag from his hand, and a second scaly ruffian patted him down for weapons which seemed quite silly since his most powerful armament was his mind.
 
“I’ve a message for Xandora,” he stated.
 
“I’m guessing she has a few words for you as well, traitor.” The Rep with the atlatl dart grinned, and then nodded for him to proceed down the far side of the escarpment. He hadn’t taken three steps toward the heart of the activity before he felt the pointy end of the dart poking him, none too gently, in the back.

 

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

 

In the third and final installment in the Fae Warriors trilogy, I expected loads of action and Gini delivered…. starting in chapter one. There was green blood and Reps’ brain matter flying here, there…. every-freaking-where. It was a disgusting, fantastic scene — much like a few others. I will shall a few places in the book that stood out for me the most. 

 

1.) Hoover Rats. Ok, I don’t like regular rats but Gini has rats flying around and their packing weapons… aka egg bombs. Just no. Please no. I hope rats never fly, let alone come ready for battle with ANYTHING! 

2.) Portence and Malachi’s love scene: It has fun, sex, creative….. magical. Most importantly, it was memorable and that says a lot because, as an avid reader, I have read A LOT of love scenes. 

3.) I have no desire to ever step one toe onto Dermis III. To survive there, you have to literally shed your skin once every 24 hours due to superficial bugs and viruses. Nope. If I have to live on another planet I want to stay on one resembling Hawaii. Bikinis 24-7, 365 days a year! 

 

As with the above sections of Portence, I enjoyed the final battle scene. After a fiery start, Gini had both sides using whatever tools were at their disposal. You’ll see magic utilized, the elements, man-made weaponry, and even hand-to-hand combat. In the end, you know who wins but maybe you won’t guess so easily what happens to the Fae sisters and their counterparts aka their one true loves. I was happy with the ending and I think you’ll be satisfied as well. 

With humor, romance, action, and reptilian aliens running amuck, this book is a must buy. 

 

Heart Rating System

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score:  ❤❤❤❤

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CHECK THESE OUT TOO! 

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Fae Warrior, Bliss Goodeve, fires up her empath skills to battle the Reptiles invading Earth. But when it comes to her new human partner, Nathaniel Calhoun, Bliss would rather make love than wage war. A man of mystery, she wonders what he’s hiding behind the horn-rimmed glasses and white lab coat.

Nate admits to being a brainiac, at least that’s the persona he shows the outside world. If his boss discovers his troubled past, life could get complicated. The bad boy in Nate wants the beguiling Bliss in the worst way. Yet, the scientist inside him calculates high odds of being left broken-hearted.

After one Reptile goes rogue, it’s up to Bliss, Nate, and an alien critter named Noodge to bring him down. But time is running out, and things are heating up—especially romantically. Bliss is all for living in the moment. But will that be enough for Nate?

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Solace Goodeve, one of Mother Nature’s favorite Fae Warriors, is assigned to Earth to help save the planet. Reptile invaders, disguising themselves as humans, are waging a takeover—and Mother is mad enough to eat asteroids. Solace is ready to prove herself as a warrior, but having a human for a partner is not in her battle plan—even if the man is rugged, ripped, and ready for action.

Army Ranger, Tanner Jackson, has seen his share of black op missions. The last one took a toll on both body and soul. Tanner isn’t looking for love, even though his new partner is six-foot-tall and drop dead gorgeous. However, after Solace shows him a new meaning to working undercover, he may have to reconsider that possibility.

As the Reps plan to sabotage NOAA, Tanner and Solace must learn to trust one another. But as they’re trying to save the world, Solace and Tanner might just lose their hearts—and that takes the most courage of all.

 
 
 
 
 

Gini Rifkin writes adventurous romance, past present, and into the future. Her settings include the American West, Medieval England, Victorian England, and contemporary fantasy. When not reading or writing, she has the privilege of caring for a menagerie of abandoned animals including ducks, geese, rabbits, goats, donkeys, and cats. She was born and raised in Illinois where she went to school to become a registered nurse. When struck by wanderlust, she moved to Colorado and met her husband Gary. They shared the journey for 30 years, spending vacations canoeing, doing Mountain Man reenacting, and traveling around this great country. Although Gary has passed on, he left her with the skills to soldier on alone, and a little bit of him lives on in every hero she creates. Her writing keeps her hungry to keep learning new things, and she considers family and friends her most treasured of gifts.

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Review of “Beyond the Mist (Lake Lanier Mysteries)” – Casi McLean

Piper Taylor concedes she’ll never fall in love, until a treacherous storm spirals her into the arms of the handsome Nick Cramer. Unrelenting remorse over a past relationship haunts Nick, but he can’t deny the mysterious connection and hot desire Piper evokes. 

The allure of a secret portal hidden beneath Atlanta’s Lake Lanier tempts him into seizing the opportunity to change his mistakes. But his time slip triggers consequences beyond his wildest dreams. 

Can Piper avoid the international espionage and terrorism of 2001 New York, find Nick, and bring him home before he alters the fabric of time, or will the lovers drift forever Beyond The Mist?

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Excerpt

A soft mist hovered over the moonlit lake, beckoning, luring him forward with the seductive enticement of a mermaid’s song. Rhythmic clatter of a distant train moaned in harmony with a symphony of cricket chirps and croaking frogs. Spellbound, Nick Cramer took a long breath and waded deeper into the murky cove. Dank air, laden with a scent of soggy earth and pine, crawled across his bare arms. The hairs on the back of his neck bristled, shooting a prickle down his spine that slithered into an icy pool coiled in the pit of his stomach. He clenched his fingers into a tight fist, determined to fight through the emotion consuming him. Fear sliced through his belly like icy shards until he finally heaved, forcing rancid bile to choke into his throat.

I have to do this––he inched forward––only a few more steps and––

A sudden surge swirled around him, yanking him into a whirling vortex, where a violent blue streak dragged him deeper, deeper beneath the lake into the shadowy depths. Heart pounding, he battled against the force, twisting, thrusting toward the surface with all of his strength but, despite his muscular build, he spun like a feather in wind into oblivion. When the mist dissolved, Nick Cramer had vanished.

 

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

Casi McLean touched on many emotions in Beyond the Mist: guilt, love, regret, anger, remorse, and fear. She had us step into the past, relive the horrific moments of 9/11, and feel the desperation to alter a moment in time. If given the opportunity, I can’t imagine many who would not want to tweak those course of events.. despite the unknown changes that might occur in the future. To save a love one. To save everyone. It is so tempting. Nick faced such a temptation and we discovered, with him, how one small change ripples.. tears….. causes more harm than good. 

After the horrific carnage unfolded around them, Nick and Piper had no option but to head back to their time. The past had to stay the past. Instead of an easy journey back to their timeline, these two destined loves got thrust (painfully) into the future.  Again, Casi tapped into two prominent emotions felt throughout this suspenseful tale: fear and love. Nick and Piper feared never going home. Never being together again. But, as you had guessed, love finds a way. They found each other. They found home. But the surprises and twists don’t end then and there. They are not the only two who found a HEA. Plus, she ended the story with one heckuva setup for the next Lake Lanier Mysteries.

 

Heart Rating System 

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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Don’t miss out on this great mystery! 
 

A ghost town submerged beneath Atlanta’s famous man-made Lake Lanier reportedly lures victims to a watery grave. But when Lacey Montgomery’s car spins out of control and hurtles into the depths of the icy, black water, she awakens in the arms of a handsome stranger, in a place she’s never heard of — 34 years before she was born.
 
When the 2012 lawyer tangles with the 1949 hunk, fire and ice swirl into a stream of sweltering desire. BobbyReynolds is smitten the moment the storm-ravaged woman opens her eyes. Learning the truth about her origins does nothing to stop the passion from taking root in his heart, and leaves him torn between finding a way to help Lacey return to 2012 or convincing her stay with him.
 
The desperation to find her way home dissolves as Lacey falls in love with a town destined to be erased from the face of the Earth, and the man who vows to protect it. Will the couple discover the key to the mysterious portal before time rips them apart? Or will their star-crossed spirits wander forever through a ghost town buried beneath the lake?

 

BUY NOW AT AMAZON: KINDLE / PAPERBACK
 
 
 

Award winning author, Casi McLean, pens novels to stir the soul with romance, suspense, and a sprinkle of magic. Her writing crosses genres from ethereal, captivating shorts with eerie twist endings to believable time slips, mystical plots, and sensual romantic suspense, like Beneath The Lake, WINNER: 2016 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence for BEST Romantic Suspense.

Casi’s powerful memoir, Wingless Butterfly: Healing The Broken Child Within, shares an inspirational message of courage, tenacity, and hope, and displays her unique ability to excel in nonfiction and self-help as well as fiction. Known for enchanting stories with magical description, McLean entices readers in nonfiction as well with fascinating hooks to hold them captive in storylines they can’t put down.

Her romance entwines strong, believable heroines with delicious hot heroes to tempt the deepest desires then fans the flames, sweeping readers into their innermost romantic fantasies. Ms. McLean weaves exceptional romantic mystery with suspenseful settings and lovable characters you’ll devour. You’ll see, hear, and feel the magical eeriness of one fateful night. You’ll swear her time travel could happen, be mystified by her other worldly images, and feel heat of romantic suspense, but most of all you’ll want more.

Award Winning Author

2016 Best Romantic Suspense

Winner Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence 

Winner 2016 Best Heroine Still Moments Magazine

2016 Aspen Gold Finalist for Best Romantic Suspense

2015 Top Pick by Night Owl Reviews

2015 Chicago Fire and Ice Finalist

2014 Winner 2014 AWC Short Story Award

 
 

 

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Review of “The Damsel and the Dragon: Seven of Stars” – Mae McKinnon

As a child, Linandra spent many hours slaying monsters and having adventures. 

So, when faced with a future containing little in the way of excitement (but plenty of cereals) she gathered up her courage and set out into the world. 

It soon turned out that becoming a dashing hero – or any hero at all – wasn’t as easy as the stories made it out to be; if someone’s garden was, say, infested with weedrats, they sought to hire a mercenary, not a waif off the streets. 

Now on a journey going nowhere, when Lin comes upon an old barn, all she’s really looking for is respite from the cold. But this is a place which holds more secrets than it does hay and Linandra soon finds herself dragged into the lives of wizards, cleaning-ladies and other, even stranger, folk. Much to her chagrin, this also includes Setharrion, who is trying very hard not to let his own past catch up with him.

She’d spent years looking for a second chance. Now it had found her. Only, it wasn’t like anything she’d ever imagined… 

She was, however, very grateful that it didn’t eat her.

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Excerpt

 

What she really wanted was to be back in her bed at her last attempt at holding down a job. Even more, she wanted to be back in her own bed. The one she’d always had, growing up.

It had been hard and narrow and there hadn’t been much in terms of bedclothes, but they had been there. Right now, even that sounded appealing. Being back home, going about what you did every day. Was that really so bad?

Lin’s thoughts strayed, as if trying to find anything else to think about but the current situation, while edging another step closer to the ground. Her knuckles turned white where she gripped the bars.

A shivering foot swung down, searching for the next rung in the dark.

What had she been thinking, switching that dead certainty of her future for this? That every day would be the same? That she’d know what she’d be doing ten, even twenty, years from now?

And what had she exchanged it for? All this? She hadn’t even found a place for herself yet. Not after her last position went down the drain, quite literally.

A tumbled drop down to the ground and a loud ‘ouff’ when she misjudged the last bar on the ladder and she couldn’t fall any further. Once there, Lin knew that the path between her and the barn doors was devoid of obstacles and those had, inside of them, a much smaller normal door that she could go through without all the hassle of towing open the big ones.

That’s what she normally used when sneaking out.

Tonight, she never got the chance.

Accompanied by a whole series of rumbles and forks of blazing light zigzagging through the air those large barn doors flew open. As if forced aside by the sheer power of the wind, they greeted the storm beyond in its unbridled fury.

Linandra became transfixed to the ground. Her vividly green eyes, thrown open as wide as the doors, stared almost without seeing. Her mouth fell open, gaping like a fish out of water. The gale tore at her long hair, whipping it all around her, but she didn’t notice.

The next bolt of lightning caught her off-guard and as she peered out into what was left of the night, the night looked right back.

‘Oh, mother of all that is,’ Lin whimpered, while the rest of her mind went blank.

The lightningstrike had just lit up what was in front of her. She’d been happier if it hadn’t.

It was big. No, big didn’t even come close. It was huge. Humongous. A veritable mountain of flesh and armoured plating. The rainwater wasn’t just trickling off its skin, it was cascading down from its body in torrents and lightning reflected off the powerful flanks every time the sky sizzled and frayed.

If it hadn’t been for the illumination of the thunderbolts, she never would have seen it. From tip to tail it gleamed with a deep, inky, black. It was as if the night had coalesced from smooth velvet into rocky crags. If crags could move with a purpose.

Had it been moving away, Lin would have followed its progress, even been impressed by the sheer, raw, power it exuded. But it was getting closer and every part of her mind that hadn’t already shut down, was screaming with primal urges to run away—if only she hadn’t been frozen in intimidation.

While the storm continued to rage around them it was being pushed into the background for Lin. The rain kept streaming in through the opening in the barn, hitting her in the face, but she no longer saw that either.

The body before her gleamed, slick with rainwater. The muscles bulged even as it stood still, as if had been caught in motion, readying a leap into the sky.

Immense wings, still partly extended, blackened out parts of the heavens, drowning her world in shadow, like an eclipse to the suns.

The head, this close up, seemed elongated with noble, if craggy, features as they reached the crest, and it was crowned with a whole array of short horns and spikes carrying on down the neck.

But that wasn’t where her attention was. It was the eyes. Luminous orbs in the dark. Yellow and red with fire, they filled her world. Looking into them you could, almost, believe you could see beyond them, into a world twirling and spinning and, without any doubt whatsoever, looking right back at her.

For a brief moment, the two of them stood there, motionless, in the rain and the wind. Then, lowering its head, the dragon approached the gaping hole in the barn.

Held by the same almost hypnotic gaze as the mouse caught out by a viper and, foraging for food, becoming food itself, Lin couldn’t move. Her breath came in short, jagged bursts.

The jaws, slightly parted, were only meters away when Lin finally managed to break away. She scuttled backwards.

To her horror the dragon pursued even if it had to crouch down to fit through the doors. But it didn’t pounce. Surely it saw her? It couldn’t be ignoring her, could it?

Its steps light, each one still made the nearby ground shiver every time one of those clawed feet hit the ground. And what claws they were … more like an armful of talons. Or should that be a foot-full of talons? Four whole sets of them.

Creeping forwards, moving with a grace and dignity that belied the cramped location, the midnight dragon entered the barn. And as it wrapped its tail around its feet, the doors slammed shut behind it.

She was trapped. Trapped, with a huge, toothy beast only meters away. Why, oh why weren’t any alarms sounding? They must have them in this place, surely? No one wanted a rampaging dragon dropping in unannounced. Dragons raided places like this, didn’t they?

A calmer mind might have asked itself, that if a dragon raiding party had arrived, then why was it curling up like a cat that had just returned home from a three-day excursion, in a wooden, very flammable structure, rather than roaring and gnashing its teeth at everything in sight.

By now, body parts should have been raining from the sky, screaming and wailing coming from the people still alive.

That’s what dragons did. Everyone she knew said so. That was why all those knights in all those stories had always needed to go off protecting the kingdoms from them.

Dragons were beasts: huge, hulking brutes that breathed fire and trampled everything in their wake.

This one, however, was making itself comfortable in the middle of the open planned structure. The tail was, slowly, draping itself around the series of support pillars that held up the loft. Its tip scraped against the bottom wood, creating furrows where the soft material was no match for the hard scales.

Guess that explained those marks she’d seen earlier, Lin figured, in between the madness. What an odd thought to have pop into your mind at a time like this, Lin chided herself. 

By now, the dragon had nestled its head on top of its front paws. It didn’t seem like it was planning on going anywhere, anytime soon.

The problem—and since she was still alive it was a somewhat smaller problem than, say, five minutes ago—was that the dragon was looking right at her. It was a calm gaze, filled more with amusement than cunning. But it was looking right at her.

 

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

 

When we visualize a dragon, we form an image of a humungous, snarling beast determined to bring havoc, death and destruction. However, in The Damsel and the Dragon we learn dragons can be gentle, compassionate, loving, and protectors of all — humans or otherwise. Kaherion possessed all the above qualities and so did Setharrion (Seth). Being a beast doesn’t always equate a monster. Lin, a humanoid, was a witness to their softer side. They were patient with her when she gave them attitude. Seth, in fact, rescued her on more than one occasion. He charmed her. He was playful. He was a dragon worth knowing – worth caring about. Joran, on the other hand, was the complete opposite. He was a true beast and did have carnage in his sights. When the dragons battled, the book really heated up. 

 

Now, even though, I thought the fist 2/3 of the story was dragging a bit there were some memorable scenes. 

1.) Seth (in human form) groaning about nails and their lack of importance. Also, him clothes shopping was quite a funny experience (for me, not so much him). Let’s not forget his sweet tooth. Cute.  

2.) Lin’s pet dragonling was just adorable, in a highly mischievous way. It behaved like an ordinary unruly pet. It chewed on inappropriate things, needed obedient school, and liked to do its own thing. Sounds like new puppy behavior to me. 

 

Once again, I must state that once Lin and Seth came face to face the book picked up much needed steam. My interest, which seemed to be diminishing, was captured. Seth was just so likable, a sweetie. When Lin confronted him in dragon form, I almost snickered at his reaction. He whined, folks. That moment made the whole chapter for me! 

 

**This book did end with a HEA but also left it wide open for more adventurous tales.**

 

Heart Rating System 

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

 Score: ❤❤❤

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Mae is a creature of contradiction: The type of person who loves to discover new things, and faraway places, but worries about sticking her nose into the shop she’s walked past every day for years and years and who can be as much a starry eyed idealist as the most bitter of cynics, about the same thing, at the same time. If you think this is exhausting – you’re right.

There’s absolutely nothing contradictory about her love of reading or writing though – and she happily does both as much as she can (it’s true what they say, there never IS enough bookshelf space). Somewhere along the line, this will, probably, involve dragons 🙂

Incidentally, she also wishes she could type as fast as her imagination runs and that someone really should come up with a reliable way to train muses and characters to stick with the story and don’t go chrono-hopping, explore strange new alternate realities or, even worse, insist on bringing home plot-bunnies.   

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Review of “Travel Glasses” by Chess Desalls 🕶️

2016 IAN OUTSTANDING YOUNG ADULT WINNER
2016 NEW YORK BOOK FESTIVAL YOUNG ADULT RUNNER-UP
2016 READERS’ FAVORITE HONORABLE MENTION IN YA MYSTERY

 

Calla Winston’s mobile devices sit in a corner of her room, covered in dust. Weeks ago, she shared photos and laughs with her best online friend. Now, after having felt the sting of betrayal, she prefers being hidden and friendless. She equates privacy with security and technology with pain.

Then she meets Valcas, an otherworldly time traveler who traverses time and space with a pair of altered sunglasses. When an ethereal being knocks Calla to the ground near her family’s lakeside cottage, Valcas uses the Travel Glasses to help her escape. He offers his further protection in exchange for a promise. Intrigued by Valcas and the possibility of time travel, Calla accepts. That is until she learns that his search for her was no mere coincidence.

Calla sets off on her own, taking the Travel Glasses with her. Torn between searching for her estranged father and reuniting with the rest of her family, she tracks down the inventor of the Travel Glasses in hopes of discovering more about Valcas’ past and motivations. The Travel Glasses take Calla’s mistrust of technology to all new levels. But without them, she’ll never make it back home. With Valcas hot on her trail, Calla hopes to find what she’s looking for before he catches up.

The Call to Search Everywhen is a serial series of novel-length installments. Travel Glasses is YA fantasy filled with metafiction and other literary twistiness. It’s a thought-provoking narrative about trust, relationships, reality and illusion.

 

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

 

Whether you’re young, old, or somewhere in between, you’ll find yourself captivated by this time travel novel. Unlike cult favorites such as Doctor Who, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, and the Back the Future franchise, migrating through the eras has been simplified. Forget the phone booths, the DeLorean, and say hello to teleporting glasses.

Oh, the very notion of donning a pair is enough to ignite a reader’s imagination. Where would you go? What year? Whom would you like to spend a brief moment of time with? If no location were off limits, would you embark on a voyage?

For me, I’m not sure if I would. Not because I wouldn’t want to visit a certain person or location. No, I’d be afraid of changing one small event in history and the ripple event becoming disastrous. In Travel Glasses, there was an organization that policed time and space travel. TSTA was needed to keep the present visitors from disrupting the past.  Violators are held accountable for their blunders. It’s the only way to ensure history is not altered in the slightest bit. Of course, accidents still happen and the toll of traversing through time alters a traveler. Chess Desalls shows the reader the effects the voyages take on a person, mentally and physically.

Science fiction lovers, I do suggest you give Chess Desalls a chance. It’s a book the whole family will love and will be eager to discuss at the dinner table. 

 

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest)

Score: ❤❤❤❤

 

 

GET ALL 3 FULL LENGTH NOVELS in the The Call to Search Everywhen series.

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 BONUS NOVELLA 

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Chess Desalls is the author of award-winning young adult fiction. Her nonfiction writing has been included in academic and industry publications, with a focus on law and technology. She’s also a contributing editor for WritersTalk, South Bay Writers’ monthly newsletter. When she’s not reading or writing, she enjoys traveling and trying to stay in tune on her flute.

 


Books by Chess Desalls are available at AmazonAudibleBarnes & NobleiTunesKobo, and more!

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Review of “Fired Up” – Anna Durand

Humiliated by her cheating ex, control freak Mel Thompson has resolved to avoid sex and romance. But her plans skid off the rails on her birthday, when she overindulges in champagne and tries to seduce her best friend, Adam Caras, exposing her long-repressed attraction to him. She’s determined to remain just friends, but her erotic fantasies have other ideas…

Firefighter Adam Caras has seduced more women than he’d ever admit to, earning the nickname the Arsonist, thanks to his explosive sensuality. Unfortunately, he realized he’s in love with his best friend Mel five minutes after she hooked up with her sleazebag ex. For two years, he’s kept his true feelings a secret. His libido, on the other hand…not so easy to rein in. Now that she’s free, he has a plan of his own. He’ll win her heart the only way he knows how–in bed–by employing every weapon in his lady-killer arsenal.

As their firecracker chemistry transforms into much more, past mistakes and a new crisis converge to test their loyalty to each other. But will it forge their bond into an unbreakable love or tear them apart?

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His hand on her hip glided down, cupping her ass. “I’m going to kiss you. Now. If you don’t want it, walk away.”

Moving his head, he forced her to tip her head back to see him as he ran his tongue across his front teeth, back and forth, back and forth, and for a heart-stopping second she wondered if he was imagining exploring her with that tongue.

“Adam—”

“Leave, or I’m kissing you.”

She ought to leave. Part of her wanted to. But a far more powerful part craved his mouth like she’d never craved anything in her life. Since she must’ve already wrecked their friendship with her antics last night, what harm could it do to enjoy a taste? Screwy logic again and you know it.

To hell with logic. She could indulge in one kiss before she enacted her new life plan. They could still be friends afterward. One kiss, nothing more.

Adam brushed his lips across hers, the barest contact, but it robbed her of breath. Her eyes fluttered shut and her body came alive, every nerve excited, every hair taut. He traced the seam of her lips with his tongue, so delicately, and she couldn’t stop her lips from parting for him, pleading for him to take her mouth. And oh, she burned for him to do exactly that.

His tongue stole inside her mouth, stroking over hers, lingering with each silken caress, teasing her into responding. Still, he kept the pace languid, tormenting her with every lap, exploring her mouth as if he planned on spending days just kissing her. His hand massaged her ass, and as his fingers kneaded harder and faster, his tongue thrust hotter and stronger, propelling her need to dizzying heights.

She flattened her palms on his six-pack abs, dragging them down to the towel. Slipping her fingertips between the terrycloth and his skin, she tugged on the towel to urge him closer—or maybe to dislodge the towel. His tongue was driving her mad, driving out reason, until she had no clue what she was doing.

 

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

 

Firefighters are a hot commodity in both the real and fictional world because they are, for lack of a better word, HOT. People are drawn to them because of the uniform and the danger they face. They are the white knights rescuing us from the evil clutches of death and destruction. They are our heroes. 

Oh, lets not forget, they look pretty damn good with those powerful arms and there’s nothing sexier than a person who is able to carry us around with ease. That display of strength alone would ignite about a dozen or more fantasies.

Adam, however, was more than just a hot bod — a fireman. He was a sweetie, a charmer, a man you can count on, and a GENEROUS LOVER. He made sure Mel’s needs were taken care of first — inside and outside of the bedroom. In a nutshell, he was pretty damn perfect. Sure, he had his faults; like all humans.

Yes, he kept secrets. One, in particular, added a bit more depth to this romantic tale. It made me connect more to the story since Anna didn’t direct all her attention to the couple and how they can and did transition from friends to lovers. Would I have liked more attention spent on Adam’s “secret mission with his dad”? Sure. However, books can’t go on forever and Anna did make sure the couple had a HEA before the end credits and all us romantics sure do love a happily ever after.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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adAnna Durand is an award-winning writer, a freelance librarian, and an audiobook addict. She specializes in steamy romances featuring spunky heroines and hunky heroes, in settings as diverse as modern Chicago and the fairy realm. Her romances have to date won eight awards and her novel Intuition was a 2016 RONE Award nominee, while her short story Tempted by a Kiss was a finalist in The Romance Reviews 2016 Readers’ Choice Awards. In her previous life as a librarian, she haunted the stacks of public libraries but never met any hot vampires hunting for magical books.

Check out the Upcoming Books page for details on what she’s working on now.

Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Goodreads ~ Pinterest ~ Google+ ~ Amazon

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Author Showcase – Tricia Copeland (Kingdom Journals)

Volume 1

He wouldn’t understand. He didn’t live in a pretend world. In truth, he did. Most beings, pure humans, walked around thinking they were the only type of people that existed.” –Alena

As a creature forbidden by both vampire and witch cultures, Alena is forced hide her identity. Her mother moves them from city to city searching for answers. When Alena finds Hunter everything changes. She believes their bond may be the. But her mother finds Theron, an equally handsome and mysterious suitor. Will the truth of his intentions be uncovered before it is too late? Or will her Mother’s kingdom be reduced to embers?

 

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 Volume 2

“… the previous night’s vision, or whatever it was, ended with a name I heard clear as day, as if the people were in my room. Ivy, the girl and boy recited together.” – Camille Could her dreams be real? Is she the key to freeing witches from their curse? Of course not, right? Thinking that her only chance at a normal life lay in a new treatment, Camille joins Dr. Antos and a group of teens for a month long camping trip in Iceland. There she meets Jude, a fellow schizophrenic. Dr. Antos invites Camille and Jude to extend their work with him on the island of Sardinia. Camille is suspicious of Dr. Antos’s intentions but her dad goes missing, leaving her no choice but to travel to Italy. Is she walking into a lion’s den or has her illness invaded her reality?

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

 

People, of all ages, are fixated on vampires and witches. They are moneymakers for retailers, book stores, movie theaters and add allure to some touristy spots. Admittedly, back in the day, I was addicted to cult favorites such as The Craft (1996), Charmed, BladeBuffy the Vampire Slayer, and The Lost Boys (1987). As a grown up, my love for the paranormal world hasn’t wavered a bit. Truth to be told, I have watched every Harry Potter movie (more than twice), never missed an episode of True Blood, and I always root for the evil witches/sorcerers in fairy tales. 

No doubt about it… People love the supernatural world. The endless possibilities of what if certain magical beings were real and what it would be like to harness their power. For me, I think possessing the ability to levitate, control the elements, mental telepathy, and invisibility would be amazing skills to have in my arsenal. Jude and Camille really did put their newly discovered powers to great use. They were on a mission to save the witches and their respected fathers. 

Before they go on the great adventure, they attend a camp focusing on helping those dealing with mental problems. Before the camp, they each thought they were just two teenagers who were delusional, schizophrenic. When you don’t realize magic is real, how else is your mind supposed to explain the unexplainable?! Visions. Hallucinations. Those are scary things for any person to face — especially a young child/teenager. Tricia Copeland tapped into those fears from a bearer’s perspective and from their family members.  

After Jude and Camille realized they weren’t schizophrenic, really 1/2 witches, that’s when the real magic begins. It’s where readers will be treated to scenes where Jude and Camille learn about their powers and how to master them. We also fear they might be in over their heads.

The ending especially had me on the edge of my seat. It was one helluva cliffhanger. 

In summation: Solid plot, great character development, lovely pace, and great set-up for Kingdom of Honor (book 3). 

Oh and on a final note…. wait until you read whom the witches are descendants from… MIND BLOWN

 

 

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest)

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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Released September 6, 2017

Jude’s Story – Jude only knows one thing: he must rescue Camille. It doesn’t matter what must be done to save her from the evil coven, he will do it. But once she’s recovered, what will his role be? How does he fit into the trinity’s prophecy? Find out in this urban fantasy adventure novel that finds the Kingdom Journals characters traversing the globe in search of Camille, and the key to breaking an age-old curse.

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Tricia Copeland grew up in Georgia but now lives outside the mile-high city of Denver, Colorado with her husband, three kids, and multiple four legged and finned friends. An avid runner and paranormal fan, she also enjoys hiking, trivia, and Scrabble. You can connect with Tricia and other readers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and on her website.

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