Tag Archives: scifi

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 “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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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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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 “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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Author Showcase – Tricia Copeland (Drops of Sunshine) (Spellbound)

With a job as a camp counselor, sixteen-year-old Nina heads to the wilderness for summer break. With her year all she wants is an escape. But some special kids can hear her thoughts and she can’t hide her head in the sand like she planned. Can Nina come to terms with all her swirling emotions? Sometimes all it takes is a drop of sunshine!

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I texted Aiden but it’d been over a week since he’d seen her. He had a knack for reading people and I asked him to check in on her. Eleven days without seeing my big brother started to feel like a long time. I felt a nudge on my mattress and turned my head so see Lily looking up at me.

I pushed up on one elbow. “Hi, Water Flower, what’s up?”

“You miss your brother.” I fought the urge to react. She couldn’t know I’d been thinking about Aiden. Again, she’d made a statement, and I wondered if that was just how she talked.

“Sometimes. Do you have a brother?”

“No.”

“A sister?”

“No, I used to have an imaginary friend.”

“Me, too. What was your friend’s name?”

“Lisa.”

I swung my legs over the end, climbed down, and sat on her bunk. “Want to talk about Lisa.”

“No, I was just thinking you were sad because you miss your mom and brother.”

“Well, don’t worry about me. Being a little sad sometimes is fine. Missing people you love is normal.”

 

 

 

 

REVIEW

There are a couple things that set apart Drops of Sunshine from other teen/young adult books. It’s not the location — summer camp. It’s not the teenage love triangles. It’s not the teenage drama in general. This book differs from other teen stories in the following ways…..

  1. The campers attending Camp Green Lake live life being blind, visually impaired, deaf, near deaf, have down syndrome, etc. Tricia shows the readers that these campers might be “impaired” but they are capable of doing amazing things. Horseback riding, archery, canoeing, nothing stops them from enjoying life and that’s the way it should be. 
  2. The campers have exceptional talents and I’m not referring to their arts and crafts skills. They could read minds and, in doing so, they helped Nina feel less alone — which is usually a role of the counselor. In her sadness and her determination to focus on the camper’s needs above her own, she formed a bound with each extraordinary child. 

 

Now as for Nina, honestly, she wasn’t my favorite character in the world. Really, no particular counselor held my interest more than another. With that said, I am strictly basing my score on the two points above and the uniqueness of the campers and the plot. 

If you are looking for a book for your teenager, pre-teen, then I do suggest adding this one to their reading list. I think they’ll enjoy it. I did and I’m well past my teens. 🙂

 

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Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest)

Score: ❤❤❤❤

 

 

 

“Drops of Sunshine” can also be found in Spellbound: a young adult paranormal novella collection featuring 5 new YA stories/authors!

 

Part of Your World by L.A. Starkey – When two worlds collide at the edge of the sea in a measure of desperation, a prince will bow before a commoner and a lost soul will finally be found. Part of Your World – Where love is waiting just beyond the edge of what you can see.

Glistens by Chess Desalls – Marian Spritz won’t gain guardian fairy status if she fails her summer school project. But when she hears a call for help—a song felt only by Glistens—she must choose between not letting her schoolwork and teammates suffer and protecting a ward who faces grave danger.

Tethered by Kelly Hall – Life had been simple for vampire Jayden Blackwell until he met the runaway Emmaline Grey. One taste of her blood revealed that not only is she a fledgling vampire on the cusp of her transition, but she’s also his bondmate and the granddaughter of his family’s biggest enemy. Will family feuding keep them apart or is it Jayden who compromised Emma’s survival? 

Drops of Sunshine by Tricia Copeland – Working as lifeguard at a camp for the blind seems like the perfect escape for Nina. But a few perceptive kids can hear her thoughts. Can embracing her truth help her heal and reveal possibilities she never imagined? 

Feathers and Fireflies by Melanie Rodriguez – Seventeen year old Rory of Vanora Village dreams of capturing the sacred summer solstice ritual of the animal shapeshifters with her trusty charcoal and parchment. But with only legends and tales to guide her, she cannot even convince her childhood friend, Lucas, that the ritual is real. On the night Rory follows the fireflies, she gets far more than she bargained for.

 

 

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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 at any of these fine locations: 

 

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Author Showcase – Joynell Schultz (The Secret Lives of Superhero Wives)

Nobody said being married was easy, but try being married to a superhero. Not only is there laundry, cooking, and a career to balance, but throw in a few supervillains and your day’s booked.

Ariana, Victoria, and Emma’s men spend more time saving the world than doing dishes. These wives want some semblance of a normal married life, but would settle for an uninterrupted meal together. Besides, how can they compete with saving the world?

When a catastrophic earthquake devastates Shadow Town and crime spirals out of control, it appears the city needs all the help they can get to clean it up. Everyone expected the resident superheroes to save the day, but nobody expected the wives’ help too…

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Excerpt courtesy of Joynell Schultz’s website

 

Saturday, April 3rd

 

ARIANA 

‘Psst, Ariana. I’m gonna be late.’ Adam’s hushed voice whispered in Ariana’s mind, jolting her out of the present.

“Hold still,” her mother said.

Ariana stiffened and ignored her mom, focusing on her future husband instead. She wondered how long it’d take to get used to his telepathic superpower. She opened her mind to him and sent a reply, ‘Why?’

‘I’ve been…detained.’ Adam forced an image to flood her mind: his naked body with his manliness poorly covered by his hand. Her cheeks tingled and warmed as she looked at her mother’s smile. She focused on the image in her head instead, noticing the scorch marks on Adam’s skin. Black ash against his thighs and across the ripples of his abdomen. What had happened? She assessed his skin, unharmed as usual.

Her fiancé’s voice continued. ‘I may not make it in time.’

‘Like hell you won’t.’ She shifted her weight on the chair she stood on. Her hand jolted to her rump, swatting her aunt’s hand away. “Ouch!”

“Hey, you need to keep still.” Her aunt gripped her hips to keep her in place.

Ariana sprang off the chair, the bustle of her white gown half pinned, and half flowing behind her. “Um, I gotta go.”

Her mom’s jaw fell open. “You need to go? Now’s not the time for cold feet.”

Ariana found her mom’s purse, pulled out the minivan keys, and gave her mom a kiss on the cheek. “Trust me, if I don’t go now, there won’t be a wedding.”

Her mom’s jaw opened, and she appeared to search for words, but Ariana ignored her, focusing on Adam instead. ‘Where are you?’ She sent to Adam.

‘The alley behind Top Perks Coffee Shop.’

‘Do you know what time it is?’

Adam sent an image of his bare wrist. ‘I was going to look for my missing my watch, but I couldn’t find the time.’He transmitted a chuckle.

‘Of course, you have a joke. You always have jokes. Come on! Our wedding starts in less than an hour.’

‘I know.’ Adam’s words enunciated in her mind. ‘That’s why I’m telling you I’ll be late.’

‘Stay there.’

Ariana flew out the door, her mother hot on her tail. “Where are you going?”

“No time to explain. Meet me at the church,” she panted.

Ariana stopped in the study of her parent’s house and snatched Adam’s Tux, flinging it over her shoulder. She wrapped yards of her gown’s white fabric around her arm and ran to her parent’s minivan.

“Ariana, you can’t do—” Her mother’s voice drowned by the purring V-6 of the sensible gold party machine.

The tires squealed as she flew down the driveway, leaving her mother yelling at her in the front yard. “Sorry, Ma, but there’s no way I’m being stood up on my wedding day.”

More than one neighbors’ necks turned to rubber as they watched the scene of the runaway bride. Ariana waved and blew them a kiss before she further pressed the accelerator and clenched the steering wheel.

The van lurched one way and then the other as she rounded the corners through the back streets of the city, running a few red lights and ignoring the speed limits. Who had time for that crap, anyway?

Leaving a track of rubber on the pavement, she screeched to a halt in front of a rusted dumpster at the end of the alley, perfectly matching the image Adam had sent. She clicked the button to open the side door, yelling into the empty ally, “This better be good.”

With caution, Adam emerged from behind the dumpster with one hand covering his frontside and another covering his backside. The hair was singed off his chest. Hmm…was all his hair below his neck burned off? She looked down at his legs. Yup, that’ll be interesting.

He crawled into the van.

Not waiting for the door to close, Ariana threw the vehicle in reverse and spun the tires out of the alley, heading for the church.

“Here,” she huffed, handing her naked fiancé a small foil-wrapped package.

In the rearview mirror, Adam twirled the package in his hand. “Fingernail polish removing wipes?”

“If I were you, I wouldn’t be complaining right now. Get the soot off and throw your tux on. Honestly, today, I don’t care what you look like. I wouldn’t even care if the hair on the top of your head would have been burned off. You have a wedding to be at in thirty minutes.”

Adam ran a hand through his short, light brown locks, appearing to ensure it was still there. “Don’t you want to know what happened?”

“That’s not important right now. Focus.” Ariana pointed at the tux then to Adam.

Adam laughed. “Well, he got away.”

“I said, get ready.” She hid any amusement from her voice.

“Isn’t it bad luck to see the bride in her wedding dress before the ceremony?”

Ariana looked up at the ceiling and held up a finger. “One day. All I ask is that you show up ON TIME this one day.” Ariana’s arm was shaking. She returned her hand to the wheel and tightened her grip. Note to self: don’t let Adam out of your sight on days with important events.

Adam was laughing now. “Don’t you ever worry about me?”

Ariana’s her heart raced and her palms were wet from sweat. “You’re invincible. You’ll always be fine. Now put that tux on!”

Pulling the van up to the church steps, she turned to her future husband. His lip curled up, and all her anger melted away. She took a deep breath as he leaned forward and placed a kiss on her forehead, giving one of her blond ringlets a little tug. He whispered, “I love you, but, I think, you’ll be late.” In a flash, Adam was out of the van and disappeared into the church.

Out came Ariana’s mother, her wavy gray hair wild in the wind. Ari stepped out of the van, took a deep breath, and smiled, letting it all sink in. She was going to marry the man of her dreams today. This was truly the beginning of the rest of her life. A fabulous life with an amazing partner at her side.

Her mom took her hand and helped her out. “We have ten minutes to finish getting you ready.”

Her dad stepped beside them. “You look beautiful, Dear.”

Ariana smiled. This was everything she ever wanted. Loving parents and marrying a man, everyone drooled about—even if they only drooled when he was in costume, saving the world.

 

 

 VICTORIA

Victoria swirled her straw in her Diet Coke. She hated Diet Coke, but being in a newer relationship, she needed to keep her figure in better shape than a marshmallow Peep. The duck kind, not the bunny ones. The thought was making her hungry. She enjoyed being “full bodied” and wanted to keep her curves. It was a fine line to not be too skinny, nor too heavy. The Diet Coke was her balance, but it reminded her how much it sucked to be thirty and no longer married.

Today, her mind was on everything except the man in front of her. Work, the book she was reading, and her grocery list.

“Vicky?”

Victoria shook her head and looked up at Mike. “Sorry, I was distracted. I have a lot going on. What did you say?”

“I had asked if you wanted to get away this week. You said you took a few days off of work. We could go to my cousin’s lake cottage. It would be romantic.” He winked at her.

Should she tell him she hated winking? It was creepy and something a sleaze-bag would do. She bit her tongue and focused on his question. “This week? Um… I’ll have Chew-Barka. Can I bring him?”

The smile on Mike’s face dissolved as he rubbed his temple. “I can ask, but can’t your ex take him?”

She sat back in her chair. “Ask him to do me a favor? I’d rather give up chocolate.”

Mike tilted his chin. “You know Thursday’s our anniversary.”

“Anniversary?”

“We’ve been dating for three months.”

Had it been that long already? “You’re counting months? I thought only teenagers did that.”

Mike’s lips tightened. “Are you not into this relationship?”

She swirled her straw, splashing soda over the edge of the glass. “Yeah, it’s fine… I mean good. It’s just—”

Mike looked up. “Speaking of the devil. How is it he always seems to interrupt us?”

She ground her teeth, not needing to spin around to know her ex-husband stood behind her. “Yes, Vance, how is it you always seem to know where I am?”

Her ex made his way to the side of their table. His voice was smooth, deep, and familiar. Victoria tried to forget how much it appealed to her. “Coincidence, I guess. I was on my way to the mayor’s campaign headquarters, but saw you here.”

“Come on. Campaign headquarters is across the city.” Victoria played with her straw.

“You’re a supporter?” Mike asked. “I thought nobody liked the Mayor. How he won, I’ll never know.”

“Obviously, more than half the city likes him, otherwise he wouldn’t have won. Besides, I always root for the underdog.”

Mike leaned forward. “I read that they are trying to have a recall election. Nobody believes he won.”

Victoria turned to Vance and didn’t hide the annoyance in her voice. “So, why are you here?”

Vance’s smile said I’m-hiding-something-I’m-not-going-to-tell-you. “I was simply getting extra steps in.” He turned to Mike. “So, how have ya been?” He gave Mike a small punch on his shoulder.

“Ow—” Mike jerked away, shielding his bicep with his hand. He straightened and recovered his manliness.

Vance didn’t seem phased. “Were you done here?”

Victoria ground her teeth together. “No. We hadn’t ordered yet.”

“Great!” Vance smiled. “I’m starving.” He grabbed a chair from the neighboring table, turned it backwards and straddled it.

“Join us,” Mike said to the already sitting down Vance. “I think Victoria has a question for you, anyway.”

Vance picked up the menu that laid in front of Mike. “Were you done with this?” He tipped down his sunglasses and stared at Mike’s hot coffee for a moment.

He better not use his power.

He tipped his sunglasses back in place and smiled again. A smile that made Victoria sweat. “A question for me? You were thinking about me?”

Victoria shook her head and sputtered out the lies. “I don’t have a question, and I never think about you.”

Mike interjected. “What she means is would you keep Chew-Barka until the weekend?”

“This weekend?”

“Yeah, I’d like to take Victoria away for our anniversary.” Mike picked up his coffee.

“Anniversary? What’s it been? A few months? I thought only kids counted months.” Vance shook his head and focused on the menu. “Nah. That won’t work. I’m busy.”

Victoria set her menu down and glared at her ex. “You’re busy? How is it that you always seem to find enough time to find me and torment me?”

“Well, I have plans now.” Vance turned away from Mike, towards Victoria, and curled the corner of his lip up into a sly smile. Of course he had plans. They involved keeping her and Mike apart. Now throw in a little irritating her and Vance’s week was full. Did he really hate her that much? She had broken his heart.

Victoria chocked down a sip of her Diet Coke. “That’s okay. I think it’s time I found a kennel for Chew-Barka.” She turned to Mike who lifted his coffee mug to his lips.

“No—” Victoria tried to stop him, but it was too late. He had tipped the coffee cup back and taken a sip. The icy cold liquid sprayed out of his mouth, all over the table.

Mike set the cup down. “What the hell! It’s freezing.”

Victoria wiped her face and glared at Vance.

Vance’s sly smile appeared again, then a little chuckle. “I don’t know why you’re looking at me.”

Victoria shook her head at him, trying to tell him, she was on to him. On to the fact he used his freeze vision.

Vance set the menu down and changed the subject. “No kennel for Chew-Barka. That’s like doggie jail. Let me see what I can do. I’ll get back to you.”

Mike frantically wiped the coffee off the table. “That would be great if you took him for the whole week.” He reached over to reciprocate the punch Vance gave him.

“No!” Victoria tried to warn him again, but it was too late. Mike shook out his fist after slugging Vance’s shoulder. Vance hadn’t budged. Like a rock as always.

Mike opened and closed his hand. “Wow, man, you must spend a lot of time at the gym.”

Victoria stood up. “I’ve lost my appetite. You two enjoy each other. Vance, I’ll see you tomorrow when you pick up Chewy.” Victoria left the men alone for their romantic lunch.

 

EMMA   

When Becky opened the door to Emma, the first thing she saw was her bright white smile. “Hey, Sis! I’m so glad you could come over at the last minute. I hope I’m not pulling quality time away from you and your hubby.”

Emma bit her lip, holding back a smile of her own. Quality time? Ha. She purposefully didn’t leave out his costume when she left. Would Estavon be able to find his black leather super suit without her? “It’s really no problem. Besides, I want to hear your news.”

A little curly-haired, pig-tailed girl, wearing a black sweat suit and black mask, pranced across the room like a gazelle, finally stopping in front of Emma. Swooping her niece up in her arms, Emma kissed her chubby cheek. “How’s the little princess today?”

Samantha lisped out. “I’m not a princess. I’m a superhero.”

“Oh, well I’m mistaken. What are your secret powers?”

“I’m just like Capitán Rápido. I can move super-duper fast and can see into the future… a whole day into the future.”

“Instead of only ten seconds? You’ll be unstoppable!”

Samantha slid from Emma’s arms and ran as fast as she could around the living room.

Emma laughed, “She’s so cute!”

Becky took her purse from the shelf beside the door. “I’ll be home in about two hours. Do you want to hear the news now, or later?”

“Well… Now, of course.”

A big smile grew across Becky’s face, swallowing all her other features. “I’m pregnant!”

“Really?” Emma heaved her sister into her arms. “That’s fantastic!”

“Hopefully, you’ll have success soon, too.”

Emma shook her head, pushing the thought away. “This isn’t about me right now. I can’t wait for another niece…or maybe a nephew this time.”

Becky looked down at her watch. “I gotta go. Josh is meeting me at the doctor’s office. I have my first ultrasound today, three months along already.” Becky gave Emma another hug before heading out the door.

“Watch this, Auntie Ems!” Samantha crawled up on the couch and jumped off the back with her arms outstretched. “Did you see that? I can fly!”

“Wow, you’re even better than Capitán Rápido. He can’t fly. Not like The Kite.”

“Mommy says I’m going to have a brother or a sister, but I need to be patient.”

“Your mommy’s wise. You’ll need to be very patient.”

Samantha ran around the sofa again, crawled back up and jumped off, one more time. Emma smiled. Oh, how did she want a child of her own.

Was that even possible in her life?

Someday, I hope.

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Joynell Schultz was raised at a zoo (yeah, bring on the jokes) which gave her a love of animals. She spends her days working as a veterinary pharmacist and spends her nights (cough, cough—very early mornings) creating imaginary worlds writing speculative fiction. When she’s not trying to put food on the table (take-out, of course) for her husband and two children (and keeping it away from her sneaky Great Dane), she spends her time reading, writing, enjoying the outdoors, and planning her next vacation.

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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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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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Author Showcase – Jennifer Macaire (Son of the Moon: The Time for Alexander Series, Book 3)

Alexander the Great journeys to India, where he and Ashley are welcomed with feasts and treachery.
 
With their son, Paul, being worshiped as the Son of the Moon, and Alexander’s looming death, Ashley considers the unthinkable: how to save them and whether she dares to cheat Fate?
 

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Alexander had slept all afternoon and looked better. A cold breeze chilled the air, so the tent flap stayed closed. The light was lit, the braziers glowing, and Axiom had prepared a thick lentil soup. We ate in silence. Paul fidgeted, looking all around the tent. He’s searching for Maia, I thought jealously. But no, a soft humming made him look around. It was my necklace. Ever since Paul had made it sing, I’d kept it in a small sandalwood box. Now, his very presence was making it hum.

Paul jumped up and ran to the box, crowing excitedly. He opened it and grabbed the necklace. There was a high pitched whine, a sort of joyous, mineral shriek, and the beautiful blue lamp that had followed Alexander all the way from Pella, exploded in a scintillating shower of blue sparks and flame.

I bounded across the rug, snatching Chiron out of his hammock and grabbed Paul by one arm. I pulled them both out of the tent, while Alexander, cursing heartily, rolled the rug up over the flames and smothered them.

It took ages to set the tent straight again. The lamp was gone and the rug was mortally wounded, sporting huge blackened holes. There were burned spots on Alexander’s precious table. My feet were cut and bleeding. Paul clutched the singing necklace and screamed if we tried to pry it out of his hands, and while he had it, its blue light cast a ghostly glow over him. Alexander’s men refused to approach.

Finally, I hobbled as far as the beach, and there I pried the necklace out of Paul’s fingers and flung it into the water. I could still see it though, glowing palely in the shallows.

Back at the tent Axiom, Brazza, and Alexander tried to clear up the mess, while Alexander continued to lament over his lamp and rug. Paul crawled onto my lap, but all he wanted was Maia or the necklace.

“I want to see the necklace. I want Maia,” he said stubbornly over and over again.

Finally, I got up and limped all the way to the little house at the end of the village. It was the only way we were going to get any sleep that night. Paul trotted happily beside me. He ran to Maia, throwing himself into her arms, not even glancing at me.

Maia was too kind to give me any sort of ‘I told you so’ look. I was too heartsick to care. I hopped back to the tent. Usse took care of my feet while I sat on the bed and cried.

Alexander surveyed the wreckage and sighed. “I did hear say the child was a harbinger of destruction.” He looked up at the tent ceiling where the empty chain swung back and forth. “I’ll miss that lamp,” he said thoughtfully.

I cried harder. “A lamp isn’t a child,” I sobbed. “Do you have any idea how much I’ll miss Paul when we leave?”

“I do, actually,” he said softly. He knelt by my side. “But he’ll be happy. Can you try, just try, to understand that he will be happy here?”

“I don’t know. I’ve searched for so long, I’ve missed him so much. Only six more weeks before we leave…” My voice broke.

“I’ll bring the children back, see if I don’t. Then Paul will have playmates.”

“He already does. There are three families who have decided to settle here.”

“I know. And many more will stay when we finally leave.”

I sniffled. “I threw the necklace in the lake.”

“Oh, I got it back. It was scaring the men who saw it.”

“I’m sorry about the rug and the lamp.”

“I’ll get new ones. I was getting tired of that lamp anyway, too blue. I think I’ll get a yellow one. I hear there are beautiful rugs in Indus. I can replace a rug and a lamp, but I could never replace you, or Paul. I’ve learned to live without my son. But I will never learn to live without you.” His eyes were sad.

“That’s the sweetest thing you’ve said to me in a long time,” I told him.

“I’m sick at heart about Paul. I have tried to tell you that, but I was too proud. I was sure that you would choose to stay here with him instead of coming with me. I want you to come with me. I need you.” He said it as simply as a child, looking at me, his arms loose at his sides.

I closed my eyes. I could feel the seconds slipping by like grains of sand; the minutes like pearls on a string, sliding through my fingers. Then the hours, the days, and the months would become years, and they would fly. Three years. So little time. I would stay with Alexander. I could always come back for Paul if I wanted to. If he wanted me. Alexander did want me. He needed me. And I was a fool.

I took him in my arms. “I’m coming with you. Never believe for one second that I would leave you.”

“I believe. Thank you.” He stroked my back, cupped my face in his hands, put his forehead against mine, and stared into my eyes. His eyes, so fey, the twin kingdoms of heaven and earth, were sad. He smiled though. “I will take you with me to Hercules’ rock. I want you to see me in action.”

“Won’t there be danger?” I asked.

“Lots of danger, cold, snow, catapults, yelling, screaming, and people dying. But it will be heroic. You’ll see. We’ll capture a fortress no one has ever captured before, and I’ll build a great statue to Nike, spirit of victory, companion of Zeus and Athena!”

“My, aren’t we optimistic,” I said, raising an eyebrow. “Just what is that stuff that Usse gives you?”

“Some sort of potion for my melancholy, why?”

“Well, I think you should give it to your whole army.”

I was just joking, but Alexander took me at my word. The results were incredible, to say the least.

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DON’T MISS OUT ON THESE GREATS BOOKS!

After winning a prestigious award, Ashley is chosen to travel through time and interview a historical figure. Choosing her childhood hero Alexander the Great, she is sent back in time for less than a day. He mistakes her for Persephone, goddess of the dead, and kidnaps her, stranding her in his own time. What follows, after she awakes under the pomegranate tree, is a hilarious, mind-bending tale of a modern woman immersed in the ancient throes of sex, love, quite a bit of vino, war, death and ever so much more.

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When Ashley Riveraine jumped at the chance to travel back in time to meet her hero Alexander the Great, she never thought she would end up staying there…

Following Alexander the Great’s army on its journey across Persia, Ashley is walking the knife edge of history. As a presumed goddess, Ashley is expected to bless crops, make sure battles are won and somehow keep herself out of the history books.

Can Ashley avoid the wrath of the Time Institute while keeping the man she loves alive?

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Author Jennifer Macaire lives in France with her husband and three children. She lived in the Virgin Islands and used to work as a model. She met her husband at the polo club where he was playing. All that is true, but she mostly likes to make up stories. 
She has published over twenty novels. 

Her short stories have been published by Three Rivers Press, Nothing But Red, The Bear Deluxe, and The Vestal Review, among others. One of her short stories was nominated for the Push Cart Prize (Honey on Your Skin) and is now being made into a film. Her short story ‘There be Gheckos’ won the Harper Collins /3 AM flash fiction prize.

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