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So, I Read This Book Today

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Assault in the Wizard Degree – Fantasy and Forensics Book Six!

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“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” 
― Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

“To love is to be vulnerable.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

Pull out your “Happy Dance” ladies and gents! Assault in the Wizard Degree is printed!! The Fantasy and Forensics series has expanded to book six, and six is definitely a magic number.

Poor Dayna. The more she busts her backside to save the world on Andeluvia, the more it twists itself into a bloody mess . . . and guess who gets the job of straightening everything out each and every time? Yep. You got it. What is a Forensic Scientist stuck in an epic fantasy land supposed to do? Well, if you are Dame Chrissie, you dust off your hiking boots, gather your tools, and do your best to save the day. Again.

“Salvation shall come to Dame Chrissie only when she stands in the shadow of all that she has achieved.”

Well, salvation is something, at least. A bit of hope, after the court Soothsayer invades the throne room of the King bearing tidings of doom and death.

“I dreamt a dream of utmost import . . . that if not heeded, shall mean the downfall of this kingdom and the ruin of all Andeluvia!”

And this time, he might just be right. Dayna’s life in Los Angeles is hard enough as the evil attempting to take over Andeluvia bleeds over into her birth world. Now, an evil long thought buried and gone is awakening. Death and despair, war and horror are looming on the horizon, and Dayna’s small group will be tested beyond anything they have ever faced before.

It begins, as do so many things, with a request for Dayna’s help. The centaurs, you see, have a problem.

“A centaur that has committed an act of sacrilege regarding the ‘Ceremony of Equilux’.”

It should be a simple case – use her forensic skills to discover who committed a crime. But what she finds is so much more. The Creatures of the Dark have made deeper inroads than anyone expects (well, anyone other than Dayna and her friends) and even the densest and most purposefully ignorant will no longer be able to deny the truth.

There are, of course, the light moments Michael’s writing is so well known for. Characters are well written and believable, the landscape of the world of Andeluvia is sharply drawn, and the storyline holds perfect continuity throughout the series. If you haven’t read the rest of the series, I would highly recommend you do so before reading this installment. I am not saying you couldn’t understand or enjoy this book as a standalone, but it is such a wonderful series it would be a shame to miss the run-up to this pivotal point in the series.

This is a Wonderful series, and I cannot recommend it highly enough!! Of course, full disclosure, I work with Michael on his books – but that doesn’t mean I don’t adore each and every one.

Where, Oh Where, Is A Cat When You Need One?

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Wow. I literally slept for over 18 hours last night! With pulling 12-hour shifts and editing two books over the past two weeks (reviews coming! Whee!!!) life has been busy enough… but then I had a mouse invasion. EUU!!!  And don’t let that “Oh, so sweet and innocent” face fool you… Hantavirus is a huge threat around here, so allowing any little four-legged pests of the rodent variety to hang around is absolutely verboten.

Living in the country around here comes with foxes, coyotes, and the occasional wolf, not to mention snakes that are definitely on the ‘unfriendly’  side – but the little four-legged star of Ratitouille truly isn’t someone you want in your kitchen.

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Image property of Pixar Movies

So, out with  the scrub brush, mop, broom, and a bucket filled with hot water and Lysol, and there is Leiah, on her knees, pulling everything out of the cabinets, ripping out shelf liner, rubbing, scrubbing, and generally working up a sweat with face mask firmly in place! One cabinet down, and on to the next to let the last one dry. Wow. I had no idea how much dross got pushed to the back of the lower cabinets! (Oh, and a little hint? No. Mice do NOT like mothballs . . . but putting mothballs out behind the cabinets in a dish? Uh, not my smartest move! Choke! Choke! Gag!) stinkHey, at least my mousetraps are the ‘no kill’ kind! Of course, you should have seen me the other night when I heard one scratching around and took the trap outside to release its inhabitant by the creek . . . sucker jumped straight up, smacked me on the nose, and then took off through the brush – while I landed on my backside with a THUMP and a Shriek!! Yep. Nothing like embarrassing yourself in the back yard in your underwear!! At least my closest neighbor can’t see into the back yard. . . . though since my housemate came flying out the back door to see if a coyote jumped on me, I will never live it down . . . Oy! LOL

Then, of course, the dishwasher went ‘kapluey’ and refused to drain water. (Yes, BEFORE I could put my pots and pans I keep in a lower cabinet in to run a scrub cycle on!) As it is a good 20 years old, I can’t say I am surprised, but now that I have the lower cabinets cleaned (thank goodness they didn’t get into the upper ones!), and every single item in them either cleaned (what fun scrubbing all the pots and pans! Can we all say whee?) at least that part is taken care of. Good, right?

Weelll, not so much. I got under the sink on Saturday to finish up by cleaning under there, and so I could pull the hose on the washer and move it out into the kitchen floor and clean the cabinet and around the washer cutout, as well as repairing the washer.

Ahwwwww, MAN!!! Yep. You guessed it. Leak city – as in, a leak from an unseen opening in the caulk around the back of the sink. Ugh. Rotten wood, the floor broke through when I leaned my weight on it . . . can I not get a break? Sigh.

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Fine! BE that way!!! 

So, I showered. Crawled in a hot tub with a book and a bottle of YellowTail Merlot and a bar of chocolate, and soaked away the aches from being on my knees for three days. Then I crawled in bed and slept and slept and slept! Ah, the joys of being single and owning a dog door and an automatic-waterer/feeder for the dogs! Hey, I don’t do it often, but since my furry babies slept with me pretty much the whole time, they didn’t complain!

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This weekend I will have to remove the sink and dish washer and rip out the cabinet and floor underneath it. Scrub, rebuild the cabinet, (or maybe I will run down to the Habitat for Humanity resale shop. I bet they will have a usable cabinet down there. . .) paint on sealer, paint on paint (see how I did that? lol) and rip the washer out into the middle of the kitchen and fix that.

And here all I had planned for next weekend was to catch up on my reading and build myself a new headboard. Then start a matching quilt and couch cover! Oh, here’s the pattern. Well, part of it anyway.

 

This is more the middle part, but you get the idea. I found that middle fabric and fell in love with it! The quilt will follow the theme, the couch in my room will get a yellow or blue upholstery with pillows in the floral, and the walls will be repainted once I figure out what color. I already have new curtains in fuchsia I picked up on sale, so something that works with that. As for the floors? Meh. I will try to spend some time this winter making old-fashioned braided rugs from scraps and old, colorful shirts I pick up at Goodwill, but after having male dogs? Yeah, you get it. Shih Tzu and “go outside go potty” don’t exactly mix!

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I have managed to read a couple of good books as well, usually right before bedtime. I will post those as well. Right now I have to make myself another mug of tea and start getting ready for work.

How have your adventures in daily life been coming along?

The Colony – F. G. Cottam

The Colony (The Colony, #1)“It is, alas, chiefly the evil emotions that are able to leave their photographs on surrounding scenes and objects and whoever heard of a place haunted by a noble deed, or of beautiful and lovely ghosts revisiting the glimpses of the moon?” – Algernon H. Blackwood

“Many miles away there’s a shadow on the door of a cottage on the Shore of a dark Scottish lake.” – Sir Walter Scott

The Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.” ― J.B.S. Haldane, Possible Worlds

 The island is known as “New Hope.” Hard. Unyielding. A tiny speck of rock in the Outer Hebrides, off the western coast of Scotland, it was an odd place to begin a religious colony. Especially as a colony of crofters. And odder than that? Their religious leader simply walked away from his lucrative business as a slave ship captain known for his murderous treatment of the slaves in his hold, embracing a desperate sort of religious fervor incomprehensible to those who knew him.

But the colonists arrived, and for a while, they thrived through sheer hard work and determination. Until, that is, they simply vanished from the face of the earth. No bodies. No graves. Food still on plates with chairs pushed back, boots and shoes left at the door. Gone.

Fast forward to modern time. Alexander McIntyre is a media mogul, determined to prove that paper and print are not a lost art – that the internet will not destroy the business he loves. And Alexander McIntire has a secret. A secret, he hopes, that will help him to do so. Alexander’s pet private eye has found a snippet of film from the 1930’s. A snippet which may well help solve one of the foremost mysteries of a century ago. What really happened to the 150 settlers who landed on New Hope Island, only to disappear into the ether?

His sturdy band of specialists includes everything from virology and forensic archaeology to a lecturer on alien abductions. Throw in a well-respected medium and a Catholic exorcist, and surely the mystery will be solved after all these years. And, of course, McIntyre’s paper will be saved.

So, off the intrepid team sails, to a land not only cold and inhospitable, but very, very deadly.

“A God capable of creating the universe would not wish to be worshiped by man, says Captain Ballantyne. Vanity is a human failing. Why would an omnipotent being crave our fear or flattery or even be sincerely interested in our gratitude?”

I don’t often read horror, but the premise and setting of The Colony caught my attention. And of course, a good cover always helps. For some reason, this stark, black-and-white image kept drawing my eye until I had to see what it was about. And then I was hooked. And the story itself didn’t let me down. As bleak as the shores which it portrays, the story strips its characters bare, touching the worst, and yes, the best, in the human soul.

The second book is The Colony: Dark Resurrection.

Yes. Humans never learn.

This book is free with Kindle Unlimited. So, what are you waiting for? It needs a solid Scottish editor, but it is highly atmospheric and readable.

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Inquisitor (Witch & Wolf Book 2) by R J Blain

inquisitor“I have no idea what’s awaiting me, or what will happen when this all ends. For the moment I know this: there are sick people and they need curing.” ― Albert Camus, The Plague

“No one thinks of how much blood it costs.” – Dante Alighieri

“Can you please ask James to return to the lab?”
“I’m afraid that’s not possible, ma’am,”
“Why?
“He just locked himself in containment and started howling.” –
R. J. Blain, Inquisitor

When you are as old as Allison Victoria Mayfield Hanover, you realize that only are few things are truly immutable.  Blood and violence, horrors and hatred. And that one solid, totally immutable, truth of the universe: Everything eventually dies. Except, perhaps, for Victoria. Ah, but you see, someone wants, very much, to see Victoria dead. And they will do anything, kill anyone, to make sure that happens.

Which is a really crappy attitude when you realize who Victoria is. You see, she is the owner of Marrodin, one of the largest companies in the world. A company which goes out of its way to pay a hire those who have ‘special’ needs. You know the sort. Witches. Wolves. Single mothers.

Victoria is living in Atlanta as Allison Ferdinan these days, playing at being an accountant. Too bad money couldn’t buy me a life. Of course, sometimes what you wish for actually comes true – and too often in bad, very bad, awful sorts of ways. It started out as a simple favor for a client/friend, Mark. Let’s dress up and go to a party. You can be my fiancée!

Whoa. Hold the Phone!

Gack. Killing Mark in Central Park really probably isn’t the best idea. But what was a really Bad Idea? Yeah. You got it. Going to a Halloween party as the fake fiancée, only to find out that your fake mother-in-law-to-be is a real witch. No, I mean it. A Real. Witch. And if you want to drop the W and add a B, well, please feel free.

But the party isn’t the only thing wrong in Allison’s world. Pretty soon it seems the whole world is out to kill her. And when whoever it is that hunts her begins going after her employees, well, let’s just say that Allison/Victoria won’t let it stand.

Here’s a hint. Don’t tick off an ancient werewolf. You won’t like the outcome.

I loved this book so much I stayed up way too late into the early morning hours reading when I had to get up early the next morning. In fact, I liked it so much, I immediately downloaded the next one and started on it the next night. I am not saying there aren’t issues inherent in the writing. There are some continuity and relationship logic issues that were frustrating – but you all know how picky I am about that sort of thing. I still think you should at the very least pick it up on Kindle Unlimited for free the way I did. And I look forward to hearing what you think. This isn’t just another Paranormal – great character development, world building and a marked lack of the sort of sloppy writing that is so common in Urban Fantasy makes this series well worth the precious reading time if you like strong women characters. There are several between these pages!

About the Author

RJ Blain suffers from a Moleskine journal obsession, a pen fixation, and a terrible tendency to pun without warning.
When she isn’t playing pretend, she likes to think she’s a cartographer and a sumi-e painter. In reality, she herds cats and a husband, and obeys the commands of Tsu Dhi, the great warrior fish.
In her spare time, she daydreams about being a spy. Should that fail, her contingency plan involves tying her best of enemies to spinning wheels and quoting James Bond villains until she is satisfied.

Wild Man’s Curse: A Wilds Of The Bayou Novel (Book 1) Susannah Sandlin

wmc“The bones said death was comin’,
and the bones never lied.”
 – Susannah Sandlin

“Morning, ma’am. I’m looking for Tommy Mason. Is he around?” Polite and professional, that was Senior Agent Broussard.
“Lord, what’s that no-good sonofabitch done now? Wait, you ain’t a cop; you’re a game warden. “What’d he do, run over a fish?”
― Susannah Sandlin, Wild Man’s Curse

The songs, the songs, of Bayou Country. Gator’s roar and painter’s scream. Moans of the wind through the cypress trees, the sibilant slide of a body into the water. Whether gator or fishin’ boat, or the sound of a body being slid over the side. Songs and scents – and always, life goes on. Until it doesn’t.

The bayou lives on, as it has always lived, private, dark and secretive. A mystical land where the boundaries between life and death are small. Where Catholicism resides side-by-side with hoodoo, Santaria nestles down with Southern Baptist, and one is just as likely to visit a traiteur as an M.D. She is ancient, unbending, the cycle of life personified. Don’t piss-off the Hoodoo Woman, the veves, or the houngan, for magic is real in the Bayou, and the bones, they never lie.

Eva Savoie knows all about the bone, about life and death . . . and she know, in her own bones, that old man Death is coming. So she cleans her house, scrubs her floors, and sits down to die. But the Savoies have never known the pleasure of a quiet death. And Eva’s is more painful, and bloodier, than any Sovoie before. The curse will have its due, just as it has for the last three generations of Savoies, for what her grandfather did all those years ago.

Gentry Broussard, un bon garde-chasse, a Senior Enforcement Officer for the Louisiana Depart of Wildlife and Fisheries, is the one who finds Eva’s body. He even catches a glimpse of her murderer – a murderer who is, or should be, a ghost. Now, he is on the hunt for a man dead four years, and what he finds may destroy not only his life, but that of Ceelie Savoie, Eva’s niece and heir. Heir not only to Eva’s property on Whisky Bayou, but to Eva’s ability with the bones.

“Its dying call is weak but clear
Yet it’s a plaintive voice I don’t want to hear.
I won’t go back,
I won’t go home,
‘Cause next time, Whiskey Bayou won’t let me go.”

Ceelie promised her daddy on his deathbed that she would escape, and never return. But ain’t life funny that way? Now Ceelie is back in the swamp. And it may be her blood Gentry wades through this time.

Admittedly, I am a HUGE Louisiana novel lover. My favorite author of all time for the stories of the bayous, swamps and small towns has always been James Lee Burke. His soulful renditions of the voice of the land touch the soul, drawing you into the land that time forgot, the land where the curtains of civilization fade away, leaving only the truth behind. Susannah Sandlin doesn’t quite have that soul-deep ability to draw you in, to allow you to close your eyes and smell the funk of brackish water, the sweet waft of water orchid. You don’t quite see the cypress in your mind, or hear the egret’s call. But she is close. The suspense is there, the respect for the peoples and culture of the South. I look forward eagerly to Black Diamond, the next in the Wilds of the Bayou series.

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Legal Wolf’s Mate by Eve Langlais

legallwolf“You’re my lawyer, or maybe not. I’m really beginning to rethink this whole idea.”

“Ah yes, because you’d rather take your chances with your public defenderre, who has advised you to what? Oh, that’s right, plead guilty.” – Eve Langlais – Legal Wolf’s Mate

Fabian Garoux absolutely, positively, without a doubt, is not a sucker for a sob story. No. Really. After all, he is an attorney . . . (Argh!!! Run Away! Run Away!!!!) But when the best friend who found you running around naked in the woods after you were changed against your will, (And ate a rabbit. Raw. Eww.) asks for your help, well, it is hard to say no. Especially when the guy who is apparently framing the ‘Damsel in Distress’ for murder is the very scumbag who turned you against your will!

After all, revenge really is best served up cold with a side of “Got’cha!”

Set-ups, betrayal, revenge, and the most deliciously wicked ending, evah! made “Legal Wolf’s Mate” an actual thrill ride rather than the formulaic Paranormal Romances that are so common today. Oh, and don’t forget the Bounty!

Megan starts out seeming like a downtrodden simpleton, and I pretty much went “Huh? Who wrote this again?!” but as the story progressed, she became more and more interesting. Then more interesting. Then . . . well, you are going to have to read it to figure things out!

I received this book from Eve Langlais in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

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Need New Eyeglasses? Support Breast Cancer Awareness with Zenni Pink!

 

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As you know, I suffered from Stage IIIb Breast Cancer. Thanks to research sponsored by the Koman Foundation and the National Breast Cancer Foundation, I survived what would have killed me a mere five years before.

October is national Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Zenni Optical is giving one dollar to Koman and one dollar to the NBCF this month. How sweet are these glasses? They come in two sizes – small and medium. You can check out the frames here or by clicking the picture above. The Frames are $29.95, Single vision lenses are FREE!! With anti-reflective coating at $4.95, the total (plus shipping of your choice, of course) is $34.90! I have ordered from Zenni before and haven’t had any issues with their glasses. Even my progressive lenses!

Watch for other October goodies with donations given to the Foundations this month.

Now, I need another pair of glasses like I need a hole in the head . . . but……

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Zadri: Dragons of Preor by Celia Kyle

32354464I have a confession. As much as I adore Celia Kyle, I had never read any of her Preor books. SciFi is just not really my thing. But given the opportunity, and having read another book not really in my genre (horror) and enjoying it, I decided to stretch my genre list. And of course, now I am kicking myself for not reading the others!

Celia has a way with words, a passion for “Happily Ever After” and a deft hand with a storyline. At first I wasn’t sure about the whole ‘you killed my mate and now you expect me to mate you’ arc. But, once again, Ceila does it well.

Delaney Cole is Queen of the country of “My Parents Are Psychos.” Yep, that’s right, I gracefully give up my throne to Delaney. Because, let me tell you – these people are awful. So, when poor Delaney finds herself knocked-up, (well, after a while, you really have to at least pretend you can be loved, right?) her parents send her running for her life. Literally. Straight into Preor Choosing Station Tau, in the hopes of finding a Preor mate. Who better to protect her and her child from evil than a dragon warrior?

But things don’t go as expected for Delaney – not even close, as a web of intrigue, danger, betrayal and pain builds around them that could cost her and her child their lives after all.

I should have known Celia’s world building would be awesome-it always is, after all-and of course her characters are as well rounded as always. Yes, I messed up not starting at book one, not because I was ‘lost’ in the storyline, but because this was just that good. So, Dragons of Preor, then The Ujal are now on my “Read ASAP” list!

I received this book from Ms. Kyle in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

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I Wasn’t Captured By Trolls And Carried Away…

presentation1Although sometimes it feel like it! No, I have been working on edits (reviews coming soon!), quilting when I get a minute, and holding down a ‘Real J.O.B’ of all things! With insurance, the real reason to have a J.O.B……) Six hours a day, five days a week, helping people with their COBRA accounts. I don’t know how long it will last, but for now it is a few extra dollars (always welcome) and the opportunity to help people who are, more often than not, in a bad way and needing a kind voice.

But I have to say, I have REALLY missed books! And as the weather changes and I am not outside as much (garden all put to bed) I am fitting reading back into my life. So, watch for more reviews, coming soon!

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