Tag Archives: urban fantasy

Bake Believe by Cori Cooper (Book Review)

Can it be real? Or is it bake believe?

All Cat Anderson wants out of life is a circle of friends to giggle with and a few cute boys to flirt with. Her first day of eighth grade is looking perfect—until a scheduling mishap places her in a culinary arts class.

Food, it turns out, is a very big deal. In her family there is a secret, too big to stay hidden any longer. A secret too fantastic to be real. Something happens when Cat bakes. Something impossible.

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from R&R Book Tours.
I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

 

I adored Bake Believe by Cori Cooper. The cute foodie titles weren’t just for show. Nope. Almost every chapter contained a recipe: “Homemade Bread” – “Brownies” – Sugar Cookies” and a dozen more mouth-watering delights. While the recipes were incentive enough to read the book, it also contained drama, humor, and a heaping spoonful of magic.

According to Amazon, Bake Believe is marketed towards teens and young; however, this forty plus woman found it highly entertaining. It reminded me of the teeny-bopper movies I would watch in my younger years. 

I encourage anyone from pre-teen and up to read this book. Then, start baking! Just make sure and cook while happy; you don’t want to chance pulling a Cat. (That will make sense after you read Bake Believe, so read it!) 

 

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

 

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About the Author

Cori (2)

Cori Cooper lives in the magical Arizona Mountains, which she’s pretty convinced is the setting for all the fairy tales.

Besides writing stories, she adores hanging out with her family, playing board games, hiking and baking, baking, baking. Like Cat’s family, she’s positive Cinnamon Rolls fix everything.

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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About Nyna Queen

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

 

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The ‘Trueborn Heirs’ Series by Nyna Queen (2 Book Showcase)

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

 

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

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

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

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THE room was long and sterile and reminded Alex too much of a hospital: white tiled floor, metal shelves, slim silver objects glinting dully in the too bright overhead lights, the biting scent of disinfectant … It brought back memories of her sire’s bedroom just before he died, and she instantly felt sick to her stomach. 

Dr. Creevy, a scrawny man with thinning gray hair, in a stained white lab coat, stood waiting beside a naked metal cot with leather shackles attached to all four corners. Alex felt Darken stiffen beside her and quickly put a restraining hand on his arm—just to pull back when a little shock tingled through her fingertips. 

“It’s alright,” she muttered softly, although her stomach churned at the sight of the cot. “I might shape during the process and accidentally hurt someone.” 

Darken’s eyes wandered from the cot to her and back, and slowly widened in understanding. “You’ve done this before.” 

She nodded. And no pleasant memory was linked to the experience. But sometimes there simply was no other choice. Like right now. 

He studied the cot again and she could almost hear the blocks falling into place as he drew the right conclusions. His eyes narrowed and grew darker. Dangerously dark. “And this will hurt you.” It wasn’t really a question. 

Quite quick on the uptake, aren’t we, Mr. Trueborn? 

“I’m afraid that can’t be avoided.” 

Resentment flooded those cavernous brown eyes, liquid red anger churning right below the surface. “Then there has to be another way.” 

Alex blinked. Just like that, huh?

He did sound like he meant it, too.

Why? she wondered. To assume that her pain would matter anything to him, would be foolish. They barely knew each other. And she hadn’t exactly done a great job endearing herself to him in the past day. 

Maybe he didn’t like to be indebted. She certainly didn’t. And a debt of pain wasn’t one easily paid back. 

“Well, I don’t really see another way, sugar. Do you?” Now would be a good moment to mention it. 

He scowled. Yep, that’s what I thought

His gaze went back to the cot and his lips pressed together in obvious discontent. “I don’t like this!” 

She barked a short laugh. “Neither do I, sugar, but if we want this portal, someone will have to bite the bullet. Looks like that someone is going to be me. But don’t worry, it won’t kill me—and if it does”—she raised her arms and batted her lashes at him—“spares you the effort.” 

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Print Purchase LinkBuy Web of Lies: Trueborn Heirs Series Book 2

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

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

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

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

 

What readers of the series say …

  • “WOW! This Book is EXACTLY why I fell in LOVE with the Paranormal/Urban Fantasy Genre!” — Read Between the Lines
  • “I absolutely loved this book! Once started, I just didn’t want to stop reading.” — Elbcrout
  • “After just a few pages you immediately feel like a part of the world, as you are observing from within, watching the events unfold.” — the_survivor
  • “Nyna Queen does an exceptional job diving deep into the minds of her characters, and her imagery and use of metaphors are at the expert level.” — T&S M
  • “I’ve put Nyna Queen on my author watch list. This is superb storytelling.” —Tiella150
  • “Ms. Queen has positioned herself as one of the best new authors I have ever read. Excellent work.” — Colleen
  • “I couldn’t put this book down. It has a really unique group of characters and a fresh story.” — Amazon Customer
  • “The story is brought together with seamless writing and world-building. The author brings familiar together with the unfamiliar to where everything seems normal. If you want a book with a mystery interwoven with suspense and a sprinkling of a romance then this book is for you.” — Tabby

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

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That Night: A Nadira Holden Novel by Azaaa Davis (Book Showcase)

All Nadira Holden wants is to preserve the last of her soul and create a new life free of magic, demons, and war. 

Her involuntary bond with a succubus makes her desires impossible. The threat of this disgruntled demon possessing her urges Nadira to find the succubus’s missing body. 

Nadira’s only hope of avoiding demonic possession lies with Derek, the only demon she can tolerate without slaying. Except his hands are full trying to secure his recently-inherited title of prince. Desperate, Nadira agrees to help Derek secure his title by experimenting with the deadly magic they once generated in exchange for his aid in her investigation. 

To untangle herself from the evil that surrounds her, Nadira must be willing to betray her friends and get cozy with her enemies. She may even have to do the unthinkable: break the peace treaty that allows demons and humans to coexist. If she can’t toss aside her scruples, Nadira may not make it out of this ordeal with her soul intact. 

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Below is the first scene of That Night — book two in the Nadira Holden, Demon Hunter seres. Enjoy this sneak peek and pre-order your copy today!

Please note this writing sample is provide before the final round of professional editing.

 

 

He pressed his lips against hers. His were thin, chapped and puckered. He began moaning immediately. His head tilted from left to right and back again. His mouth opened greedily. Long, thin and forked, his serpentine tongue licked her face from lip to brow, cheek to chin. And, she allowed it.

Nadira looked away as her stomach turned. Despite the biting cold waiting for her outside, Nadira pushed away her full cup of hot green tea. Sadly, she realized she would have to find a new hangout spot or accept the fact that demons were now sought after as lovers to teenage bookworms. And with those two unfortunate choices, Nadira stood from her cushioned lounge chair, stretched, then began walking out of Great Escape—her favorite bookstore—with her coat in one hand and a small, hardcover novel titled A Little Princess in the other.

“Miss, miss!” Nadira heard someone shout from behind her. “You forgot your phone!”

She turned and came face to face with the reason she was leaving.

“Thanks,” she mumbled as she carefully took the phone, successfully avoiding skin to skin contact.

The tall, slumped demon narrowed his eyes when he saw her discomfort. His pale skin had a blueish-green undertone that became more apparent when he clenched his jaw in annoyance. When Nadira rolled her eyes and sucked her teeth at his attitude, he swiftly grabbed her wrist and pulled her in close.

Do not kiss me.

“You’re next,” he said. Then, he licked his barely-there lips.

Nadira jerked backward and accidently bumped into the arm of someone sitting close by. From the sound of dishes clinking, the aroma, and someone hissing in pain, she knew hot coffee was spilled.

“Geez, I’m sorry!” Nadira apologized quickly.

Before she could turn around to make amends, Nadira heard someone say, “Sanford?” in a soft, timid voice. The young woman that actually enjoyed making out with the snake-tongued Sanford approached them hesitantly. “What’s … Um. What’s going on, bae?”

They all stood in a line facing each other due to the narrow aisles caused by a small room filled with oversized armchairs.

Shaking her head, Nadira tried to walk away again. She was a hammer—ready to fix problems the only way she knew how—and Nadira saw all demons as rusty, exposed nails in need of a beatdown. As riled up as she was by his cryptic attempt to threaten her, she knew a fight in a bookstore was not the way to go. She reminded herself that she was retired now and demon hunting was illegal.

The strained moment was cut by an unlikely request, “If you bump me with your beautiful butt one more time, you’re gonna hafta gimme your number.”

This man with a coffee stained shirt and a half empty cup stood. The interruption somehow broke the tension and they all relaxed their rigid stances a bit. The flirtaious man’s commanding presence reminded them that they were in a crowded bookstore and had no business causing a ruckus.

“Let’s go,” Sanford said while roughly grabbing his girlfriend’s arm.

He pushed past the rest of them, and his girlfriend mumbled apologies in his wake as she was pulled along. A minute later, they were out of sight in the cozy, cluttered bookstore. Nadira hoped they were gone.

Crink.

She felt an instant flash of pain in the palm of her hand in the same moment she heard the sound of her expensive phone’s screen cracking. Jaime is going to kill me. This made the second cell phone she would need replaced in the six weeks since she started using the minicomputers to make calls and look up “what would millennials do?”

Holding up her damaged phone, Nadira said to the guy wearing his coffee, “My number won’t do you any good today.”

She couldn’t hold back her look of utter frustration. He stood there looking at her, really looking at her, as if he could see her past and make sense of it. He nodded gravely, presumably accepting her—aggression, clumsiness, and all.

“I’ll go easy on you since you’re clearly not having a good day,” he offered.

Feigning a look of amazement, Nadira said, “That’s big of you after my blatant attempt to come on to you.”

Matching her mocking tone, he replied, “I can tell you’re clumsy as fuck.”

Nadira laughed. The sound erupted from her—loud and abrupt enough to turn a few heads. She quickly covered her mouth with her uninjured hand. Then, she dropped her hand just as quickly and allowed herself to continue laughing wholeheartedly.

“I—” She tried again when her laugher tampered off. “I think I needed that. Thanks.” She wiped tears from the corners of her eyes while smiling at him. She was intrigued now.

“What’s your name?” Nadira asked, genuinely curious about this twenty-first-century guy.

The animated face he made was filled with reluctant regret. “You’re gonna need to buy me a replacement cup of joe before this gets personal.”

“Done,” Nadira said decisively.

She swung around to face the front of the bookstore and headed for the makeshift coffee stand.

Nadira got in line to order Mr. Tall-and-Handsome whatever he wanted. She wasn’t sure if it was her hunter instincts or feminine intuition, but she knew he would follow her. In fact, she felt the exact moment he stepped in line behind her. The butterflies in her stomach fluttered and the goosebumps on her arms rose. Nadira’s full lips lifted into a satisfied grin. She was grateful he couldn’t see her face.

Stay cool.

There was only one customer ahead of them. After the young woman in front of her with pink-streaked blonde hair ordered herself a five-word, over-sugared, over-foamed, over-caramelized drink, Nadira stepped up to the register. The cashier was running a one-woman shop as she took care of both book purchases and coffee orders.

To stay relevant with all the trendy cafes springing up, the owner of Great Escape added a high-end coffee maker next to the cashier’s stand. The big, shiny piece of machinery seemed out of place in the dusty bookshop lined with shelves that overflowed with classic literature.

“Hi, sweetie. What are you having today?” the cashier asked looking a little frazzled.

Nadira took a dramatic step to the right and presented her new friend.

The cashier paused as she visually devoured the well-toned man of Chinese descent Nadira had presented.

“You willing to share this one, hon?” she asked Nadira.

With a bashful look, Tall-and-Handsome interrupted, “Caffe Americano, please.”

“Not a problem, not a problem at all,” the cashier said while leaning forward and batting her eyelashes. “And, your name for the order?”

Nadira chringed, hoping she wasn’t coming on as overtly as the cashier.

“Shaun,” he answered. The flirtatious cashier then tilted her head to make eye contact with Nadira as if to say ‘now you know too.’

While Nadira and Shaun looked at each other, the cashier continued to try her luck, “You gotta number for me, handsome?”

Nadira couldn’t help the frown that appeared as she wondered why the eager cashier didn’t care if he was her boyfriend or not.

All three of them smiled in the awkward silence that followed the cashier’s question, but Nadira was sure it was for three very different reasons. Her smile was more of a baring of teeth as she subconsciously displayed a nonverbal warning. Shaun might have been enjoying the attention of two women. It was too soon to tell what his preferences were. And the cashier—plump, curly-haired, and older than them by at least ten years—saw nothing wrong with hitting on customers while working.

“Will this cover it?” Between two fingers, Shaun held up a folded five dollar bill.

That was Nadira’s cue to play the role of sugar mama for a moment. She stepped into his personal space, swung her hips, and gently bumped him out of the way. Shaun stepped to the left with a chuckle. Nadira quickly pulled out her wallet and slammed her five dollar bill onto the counter. The cashier flinched, her come-a-little-closer look melting away.

“Aren’t you an eager one?” the older woman asked, chidingly. In a stage whisper, she added, “It’s not that attractive, you know.”

Nadira simply let her eyebrows do the talking. Her look said ‘are you serious?’ with all the sass she could muster while biting her tongue.

Perhaps sensing that the lightheartedness of the moment was over, Shaun chimed in, “I’ll take it to go.”  

Copyright © 2019 — Azaaa Davis


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This Time: A Nadira Holden Novel by Azaaa Davis (Book Review)

Legendary demon hunter Nadira Holden paid the ultimate price to end the war between demons and hunters.

Resurrected in present-day New York, many years have passed, everyone moved on without her, and the demons she once battled have made peace with humans. Nadira no longer has a purpose here. Dying again might be her ticket back to that “next life” she experienced.

Except humans are disappearing, and Nadira’s father is one of the missing. Feeling a strong obligation to find him before sorting out her own fate, she begins investigating.

She won’t rest in peace unless she can prove the demons are behind the disappearances. But Nadira is running out of time. The darkness within her is causing her to lose her humanity while the rest of mankind is on the verge of enslavement to the demons they now worship.

Fight with Nadira in a new urban fantasy series that combines monster-slaying action, family drama, and simmering romance. Experience why not even death can stop her.

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

 

We’ve all woken up on the wrong side of the bed. However, when Nadira woke up from her “slumber,” she had every reason to be bitchy. 

1.) Nadira clawed her way out of a buried coffin. 

2.) Recently resurrected, she was in a constant battle with hunters and demons. That is when she wasn’t being held captive. 

3.) It was revealed she’d been dead for 25 years. Everyone has aged, unlike herself. 

4.) Bombshells keep getting thrown at her. Some surprise developments push her over the edge; whereas, other revelations give her the power to fight. 

5.) The numerous fight scenes were INTENSE. Weaponry (bone daggers) was unique. And the in-between moments were just as spellbinding to read. 

Recommend: Hell yeah! 

 

Heart rating system:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest)
Score: ❤❤❤❤1/2

 

 

Azaaa Davis is an American author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance novels.

She fell in love with reading as a high school freshman and continues to read, write, and draw today. Her background in social work helps her portray realistic characters in otherworldly–and sometimes terrifying–situations. A New York native, Azaaa currently lives in New Hampshire (USA) with her husband and daughters.

She debuted with This Time, A Nadira Holden Novel, in 2018 about demon hunters, family ties and the magic of love.

Azaaa is working diligently to finish writing more fantasy novels while raising her daughters. Thank you for showing an interest in her stories!

 

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