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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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Review of “Viktor (Happy Evil After, Book 1)” – Sarah Marsh

 

Evernight Publishing (June 20, 2017)

Cover Art: Jay Aheer

When the heroes have reputations like these, who needs a villain?

 

Have you ever read a fairy tale and wondered why the goody two-shoe Princes and Princesses were always the ones who got their happy endings?

Pandora is a Fairy Godmother who’s never fit in with her own people. Still, she has the power—and the attitude—to step in and help those who others have decided “aren’t worthy” of a happy ending. How hard could it be to manipulate some of the most feared beings in their world?

Viktor has spent his entire undead life being the bogeyman to the paranormal community, and that’s the way he wants to keep it … with everyone else far away from him. But when the opportunity arises to take his revenge on his nemesis, he can’t resist—even if it means risking his reputation and rescuing the damsel in distress.

Halle never expected to find herself in need of a savior, especially one with a reputation like Viktor’s. But she’s used to listening to her instincts, and her cat trusts the strange woman who pops up and claims to have some solutions. After all, if a girl can’t trust her own Fairy Godmother, then what is this world coming to?

 

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“I mean you no harm, lady. You can go. I’m only here for what’s in the car,” he said slowly walking towards her. She was a cute little thing, all soft curves with golden skin and hair.

“Ummm, yeah, about that … I’m what’s in the car, Mr. Krescech. You have to take me with you out of here,” she said almost nervously, those big green eyes pleading with him.

Clearly, she was also insane. What was with the women he was running into this week? Viktor had had more than his fair share of groupies throwing themselves at him in the bars, wanting to take a walk on the wild side for a few hours, but this wholesome little beauty certainly didn’t look like the type, so he had no idea exactly what she was asking him for.

“I don’t think so,” he said, moving past her towards the open back door to search the car.

“Seriously, there’s nothing else in the car. They were taking me from my family and my pard to be married to Conrad. I have to go with you to get away from him,” she continued, putting her tiny little hands on her very curvy hips in a way that distracted him far more than it should have.

Interesting, so this little number was a leopard shifter? Viktor hadn’t really had any interaction with the pard in this country, but by reputation, they were a good lot. Why on Earth would she agree to marry Conrad?

“I don’t rescue damsels in distress. I eat them,” he said with a flash of fang. “So run along, little kitten.”

The tiny spitfire threw her hands dramatically up in the air and sighed loudly.

“You just saved me from a life of baby-making slavery. Aren’t you supposed to whisk me away to your super-secret villain lair and ravish me? Sheesh, where’s your follow-through?”

Viktor just stood there and stared at her for a moment. He didn’t know whether to laugh at her ridiculous statement or take her up on her offer and bend her over right here on the trunk of Conrad’s car. He was extremely turned on by the fact that she didn’t seem the least bit afraid of him. He’d always tried to pretend that his reputation in the paranormal community pleased him, that it helped him by keeping the rabble away. But deep down it bothered him that everyone always thought the worst of him. His honor was just yet another thing that Melisandre and Conrad had stolen from him when they took his mortality.

“Don’t you know who I am, woman?” he finally said as she just stood there looking at him expectantly.

“Yes, I know who you are. Who else is capable of keeping me out of Conrad’s douchy hands?” she said sounding a little impatient.

“Don’t you have a family you can go to?” he asked, still wondering why he was even standing here talking to her.

Well, that wasn’t entirely true. Once she’d said the word “slavery” he knew he couldn’t leave her to Conrad’s tender mercies. Viktor knew more about slavery than he ever wanted to, and no being should ever be held against their will. That and he had seen firsthand what Conrad enjoyed doing to women. It still sickened him to think back to the horrors he’d had to witness as Melisandre’s pet.

“If I go back to my family they’d just have to hand me right back over to him again. My pard owes him a blood debt, and I am the payment. I need this to look like Conrad’s men lost me in the confrontation with you. This needs to be his fault, as otherwise, it will start a war between my family and his coven,” she said, stepping ever closer.

She stood so close now that Viktor could smell the strawberry and coconut scent of her shampoo. Good Gods, she smells good enough to eat.

“Why would you think that I should care whether or not this starts a war for your people? I will not be fighting in it,” he answered, trying to sound like he didn’t care one way or another.

“Because I think that you hate Conrad just as much, if not more than I do, and there’s nothing he wants more than to possess me,” she answered quietly, her huge green eyes staring right into his grey ones.

She was right of course. There was no one on this Earth that he hated as much as he hated Conrad. That’s what he told himself anyway when he ultimately decided he would take the girl with him—whether it was the whole truth about his motivations or not.

“First, tell me how your pard was thoughtless enough to enter into a blood debt with a killer like Conrad?”

“It’s not like we had any choice. My father was jumped one night by a bunch of rogues, and Conrad just happened to be there to offer his assistance … for a price.”

The venom in her voice clearly stated that she suspected they’d been set up. The rogues were most likely paid to attack by Conrad himself. It was a trick the coward had used over and over again.

“Fine,” he said with a sigh. “You can come with me, but just until we find somewhere to stash you that Conrad cannot reach you.”

“Thank you!” she said with a squeal just before she reached up and hugged him before he could stop her. “I’m Halle, by the way.”

Clearly, his reputation was never going to recover from this if anyone saw him being hugged in the alley, but with her luscious frame leaning against his, smelling so sweet, he had a difficult time finding a reason to care.

 

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

 

I’ve read countless stories featuring the good guys finding their love and living HEA. I’ve also read my share of stories centering around vamps that aren’t quite as evil as once feared, shifters who marry outside their pack/kind, and misunderstood paranormals who want a new lease on life. Love. Family. Everything.

Those books are common, found in every bookstore. However, what I haven’t seen lining the shelves are books about a dark fairy godmother that wants the so-called villains to find their mates and live Happily Evil After. 

In the human world, good and evil can be found in every walk of life. It makes no difference your color or gender. There’s good and bad all around us. The same can be said in the paranormal world — evil and not so evil beings can be found in every coven, pack, territory and so forth.

As we saw with Viktor, not all creatures are complete blood thirsty, ruthless bastards. Viktor didn’t choose this life. Actually, it was forced upon him. He didn’t deserve to lose his family. He did deserve a second chance and thank goodness Dori stepped up to work her magic. 

Dori: She is wonderfully mischievous, manipulative, has no boundaries at all, and is quite humorous. If I had a fairy godmother, dark or light, I would hope she’d be like Dori. However, I would insist she’d leave my underthings on. I may not care for wearing a bra but I do like my puss covered.

Other characters I loved…..

How about EVERYONE! Ok, maybe not everyone. Conrad was a douche, an asshat, and a complete psychopath. Kudos to Sarah for creating a character I loved to hate and creating so many characters I loved falling in love with. 

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤1/2

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Sarah Marsh was born in British Columbia where she still lives, she has only recently began her writing career finding it the perfect outlet for taking the edge off a nine to five office job. She’s been a science fiction and romance junkie for years and when her imagination started to take the characters she’d read about even further in their adventures she decided to try writing something of her own.

Sarah’s also a former pastry chef and spends a lot of time cooking and baking for friends and family as well as painting and knitting. Her biggest weaknesses are animals of any kind…she even loves the ones that wake you up at four in the morning because they can almost see the bottom of their food dish.

When it comes to life in general she’s a big believer that laughter is the best medicine and that there’s no such thing as too much love, which is why she’s such a sucker for a happy ending.

 

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Review of “Tony Mandolin Mystery, Book 1: A Slight Case of Death” – Robert Lee Beers

Vampires don’t exist, do they? That is a question Private Detective Tony Mandolin finds himself pondering as the evidence piles up in a case involving a string of dead redheads and the usual dose of weirdness San Francisco has to offer. To complicate things, Mandolin has to deal with the perception that he has become the latest golden boy of the fog city’s crime boss. Then there’s his cross-dressing friend Frankie…Just another day in San Francisco.

Dive into an exhilarating new noir fantasy series where nothing is as it seems.

 

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

 

Based on mentions of Magnum, P.I., TJ Hooker and other pop culture name drops, I knew this book wasn’t set in the 1920’s or 1930’s. However, A Slight Case of Death had the feel of a detective classic from the Golden Age of Detective Fiction. You could blatantly sense who inspired Robert Lee Beers in his development of Tony MandolinSome of the word choices, conversations, made this modern day story appear as if we had stepped back in time. The mobsters also spoke like they were from Jersey or New York instead of San Francisco but with old school flare. At least in my opinion that’s how they came across. I don’t know any real mobsters so maybe that’s how they converse. Eh, I digress.

Plot time….

A routine missing person case turns into the manhunt for a serial killer. To stop the killer (aka a vamp) Tony (PI) finds help in the unlikeliest places. But beggars can’t be choosers when the boogey monster has his sights set on you. Gotta admit, despite the nightmare inducing man to monster transformation, Simon was quite the likable vamp. I can see why vampires can lure their prey so easily. You don’t want to like them, but you also find yourself unable to resist their charm. Plus, like Simon, I always played with my food despite my momma’s warning so…. Play on! 🙂

Besides Simon, I also adored Frankie. Frankie was so flamboyant, funny, and won the award for best character. Frankie brought life to scenes that were becoming stodgy. Frankie was the light this book needed when facing a creature only thought to come out at night. When I envision this Frankie, I picture RuPaul: an American actor, drag queen, model, author, and recording artist. Maybe after you read over his parts, you’ll see a bit of RuPaul in this role too. 

 

 

BTW: Many myths were squashed in chapter 20 about vamps but the real shocker came later when we saw what could harm a vampire. This surprising weapon bumped the score from 3 to 3.5 stars! 

  

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤1/2

 

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Robert Lee Beers was born on March 11, 1951, on the far northern California coast in the Humboldt Bay area. He is an artist, musician, and a mediator.

In 2008 he was nominated for the JFK Profiles in Courage Award for his work on the Nevada State Assembly.

He is the author of the Hilarious Tony Mandolin Mystery series as well as the epic fantasy, the five-volume Milward Chronicles.

His first novel, The Promised Ones became the number one bestselling fantasy on the Barnes and Noble Fictionwise eBook store for 6 weeks. That book eventually became the novel Birthright, the first in the Milward Chronicles series.

Graphic Audio, the premiere producer of audio books in full cast audio has optioned the first five novels for production. Hole Lotta Shakin’, a Tony Mandolin Short Story is currently in pre-production into a serialized YouTube Audiobook at Tall Tales TV. As for Robert, he is usually found at his desk, laying down the next Tony Mandolin adventure.

 

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Author Showcase – Susanne Leist (The Dead Game)

 

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~~ EXCERPT ~~

 

Linda was passing the empty tables by the tall windows when she felt her arm being tugged—very hard. Before she could react, she found herself being forcibly dragged through the open patio doors and onto the isolated garden path. She came face to face with the mighty Wolf and his trusted companion, Hayden. The grounds were deserted. Everyone had left the gardens and she was all alone with the two wicked vampires.

Wolf glared at Hayden. “Please let go of her arm; we are not animals. We never force ourselves on women.”

“Chivalry among demons—I’m very impressed. Too bad your table manners and choice of dishes leave a lot to be desired,” Linda said. Her hatred of Wolf had just caused her to forget her low position in the food chain; she closed her mouth to stop herself from talking. In the future, she must remember that he was a vampire—the strongest one in the world—and that he could easily destroy her at any time.

Wolf didn’t seem the least bit focused on her. “I didn’t come here to play parlor games with you. I need you to convince Todd to join with us. He can never be human or will ever be accepted by them. He belongs with us. He must stick with his own kind.”

“He’s not like you in any way at all: he cares too deeply for people and is loyal to his friends. On the other hand, you and your kind enjoy killing too much and have no feelings whatsoever.”

“Todd will never be accepted by humans or by his own kind. He will be an outcast with nowhere to go. He must join with us.”

“Todd is human and will always be accepted by humans.”

“Let’s kill her now, boss. She’s going to be trouble. I could take her away and no one will ever see her again,” Hayden said, grabbing hold of her arm again.

Oops, she did it again. Her big mouth had now sealed her fate. She had to learn how to be more assertive without getting herself into trouble.

Wolf strolled over to her with a wicked gleam surfacing in his eyes.

“I have a much better use for her in the future. When she finally comes to her senses, she’ll realize that she will be better off with a real vampire with limitless powers than with a pathetic human. She’ll learn about intoxicating love and passion—not the games that humans play that pale in comparison.

Here comes the human. Let her go for now.”

Linda was horrified to find herself wrapped in Wolf’s strong, muscular arms. She became hypnotized by his black eyes and tempted by his deep voice. He seemed perfect in every way. She only wanted to be with him.

“I’ll be back for you.” Wolf held her tight against his body and whispered in her ear. “I love the way you stand up to me with your flashing blue eyes. Soon you’ll be mine, my beautiful ice queen.”

Linda couldn’t move her body. She was stuck in some kind of trance…she couldn’t leave; didn’t want to leave if given the choice. His voice soothed her and made her think of love, passion, and great need: a need that could be satisfied only by him with his expert hands and mouth. She knew that one day she was going to be with him, to be joined with him.

He lowered his mouth onto hers and drew her into a swirling haze of unexpected feelings and desires. His mouth fully covering hers introduced her to a new realm of pure pleasure. His powerful form enveloped her, making her feel feelings that were foreign and untried for her. She couldn’t get enough of him. She tentatively began touching his face and then his body with an eager and unrelenting hunger. She didn’t know what she needed, but she knew that she wanted and desired this beautiful man standing right before her. Her past life was washed out of her mind, never to be considered again. She begged him to take her with him tonight. In response, Wolf lifted her in his arms, as if she weighed nothing, and turned to leave the party. His beautiful face looked victorious and happy. His black eyes filled with passion. She hoped that it was because of her. He looked down into her small face and gave a hearty roar.

While Wolf carried her in his powerful arms, a dark shadow swooped out of the house and flew directly at them. Linda was knocked out of his arms, and Wolf was thrown across the patio.

She looked up to see who had attacked them. It was Todd, his eyes a deadly shade of green, standing there panting.

Linda backed away in horror. Todd’s eyes cleared and returned to their original dark color. Then he looked at her. “Don’t ever be afraid of me. I’m here to protect you.”

Then he was struck down by Wolf.

They began circling each other like two wild animals. Todd thrust his body at Wolf, causing Wolf to lose his balance, and they crashed together to the ground. Wolf pushed Todd aside and stood back up. He lunged at Todd, who sidestepped his maneuver. Todd retaliated by lifting him high up in the air and flinging him through one of the glass doors to the house. Wolf rose up and dusted glass off his clothing.

He said to Todd, who stood before him, “We are not anywhere near finished, my dear friend. The next battle between us will be more private—without so many witnesses. If I were you, I would watch your back…and your pretty little girlfriend.” Wolf stalked away with Hayden following close behind. Todd quickly followed.

Linda was left standing alone outside. She felt bereft without the touch of Wolf’s lips on hers and the solid strength of his arms holding her. She had felt the unmistakable pull by him on all her senses. In his arms, she’d felt weak and needy—as if she needed him to live. Todd and Wolf were extremely powerful and both had taken hold of her senses.

 

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If I had known it was going to be so hard,

 involving computer skills to the extreme,

 I might have thought twice about it,

 thought twice about writing my book.

 Writers must write each and every day.

 We must promote our books daily.

 We must post on our blogs each day.

 But there’s not enough hours in a day.

 How do other writers accomplish all this?

 How do they leave free time for their families?

 They must be expert jugglers.

 Experts at writing, blogging, and juggling.

 I must learn this dance,

 this high-wire walk,

 this never-ending battle.

 I must learn to juggle.

 I will do it.

 I will do it all.

 Just give me the chance.

 Book two is being written.

 I feel free.

 I feel empowered.

 I will survive.

 James Patterson, eat my dust.

 

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