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So, I Read This Book Today

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Month

January 2016

Poking the Vamp – Celia Kyle Serial is Finished!

Celia Kyle has finished her serial, Poking the Vamp.

As we all know, my personal preference is NOT serials. So, I held off posting this till it was done – and she finished and posted the final today. So, here are links to her website to read the whole thing! And check out her others when you go – she is a warm, funny writer. And I am on my way to refill my tea cup and read Poking the Vamp…

Free Story-Poking the Vamp

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Poking the Vamp Part #1
September 29, 2015
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Poking the Vamp Part #2
October 6, 2015
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Poking the Vamp Part #3
October 13, 2015
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Poking the Vamp Part #4
October 20, 2015
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Poking the Vamp Part #5
October 27, 2015
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Poking the Vamp Part #6
November 3, 2015
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Poking the Vamp Part #7
November 10, 2015
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Poking the Vamp Part #8
November 17, 2015
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Poking the Vamp Part #9
November 24, 2015
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Poking the Vamp Part #10
December 1, 2015
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Poking the Vamp Part #11
December 8, 2015
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Poking the Vamp Part #12
December 15, 2015
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Poking the Vamp Part #13
December 22, 2015
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Poking the Vamp Part #14
December 29, 2015
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Poking the Vamp Part #15
January 5, 2016
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Poking the Vamp Part #16
January 12, 2016
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Poking the Vamp Part #17
January 19, 2016
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Poking the Vamp Part #18
January 23, 2016
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Poking the Vamp Part #19
January 25, 2016
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Poking the Vamp Part #20
January 27, 2016

About

Ex-dance teacher, former accountant and erstwhile collectible doll salesperson, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Celia Kyle now writes paranormal romances for readers who:

1) Like super hunky heroes (they generally get furry)

2) Dig beautiful women (who have a few more curves than the average lady)

3) Love laughing in (and out of) bed.

It goes without saying that there’s always a happily-ever-after for her characters, even if there are a few road bumps along the way.

Today she lives in central Florida and writes full-time with the support of her loving husband and two finicky cats.

If you’d like to be notified of new releases, special sales, and get FREE ebooks, subscribe here: http://celiakyle.com/news

You can find Celia online at:

http://celiakyle.com

http://facebook.com/authorceliakyle

http://twitter.com/celiakyle

 

Guard Wolf (Shifter Agents Book 2) by Lauren Esker

“You think humanity’s found rock bottom, and then they keep digging.” – Special Agent Avery Hollen, Special (Shifter) Crimes Bureau, Seattle WA

“We can never be gods, after all–but we can become something less than human with frightening ease.” ― N.K. Jemisin, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

Guard Wolf: BBW Paranormal Wolf Shifter Romance (Shifter Agents Book 2) - Lauren EskerBack in August of 2015 I wrote a review of “Handcuffed to the Bear” by Lauren Esker. At the time, I said, “If this weren’t a shifter story, it would fall under the suspense or romantic suspense genre without a doubt. So I will call it “Paranormal Suspense.” The focus is on Casey and Jack staying alive long enough to be rescued from a sadistic pack of lion shifters intent on hunting them down and slaughtering them, as they have with many other victims – including Casey’s best friend Wendy.

I had thought from the cover that it was some bondage thing and almost bypassed it immediately, but the blurb caught my eye. And I got a big kick out of reading it, as you can tell if you click on the link to my review, above. I mentioned that Guard Wolf, the second in the series, would come out that October. Then, of course, I got distracted. Oops.

The other day I came across Guard Wolf and thought, “Hum. That looks like a good ‘bathtub book’” (i.e., a book I carry into a nice hot bath with a glass of wine). As I got into it, I got a niggle that I had read another book by this author, and by the time I got to the end I remembered why the story felt so familiar.

I am glad I happened to stumble across Esker once more. Guard Wolf is the second in the series, carrying forward with the Shifter Agents storyline, this time the story of Avery Hollen, Jack’s best friend and coworker at SCB Seattle. Avery has a harder life than the others at the SCB. Badly crippled when an RPG took out the gasoline tanker truck he was standing beside in Afghanistan, he lived only through the efforts of Jack. Jack, who takes full responsibility for the fact that Avery was hurt in the first place. For you see, it was Jack’s ‘private security’ (read, mercenary) team who got themselves stuck on a lonely Afghan road, and cried for the Army to haul their ashes. A whole team of young, fresh-off-the-farm Army boys were slaughtered by that RPG. And Jack never forgot.

Now, Avery walks with a cane, his leg so torn up and twisted from his rapid shifter healing in the field he can barely walk at all. So, he gets desk duty more often than not. And tonight? Tonight he is thrown a curve when a box of werewolf children in puppy form are thrust on his desk. Oh, yeah. He just knows he is going to regret this. After all, his own childhood was a sadistic nightmare. What the hell does he know about children?!

Nicole Yates is a harried, hard-working social worker, specializing in shifters with family issues. When Avery stumbles into her office just before quitting time with said box full of pups/children, well, her life is suddenly not only turned on its head – she may actually not be able to hang onto her life at all. And neither may Avery. For these puppies have scars and shaved spots. Scars and shaved spots that indicate that someone, somewhere, have been at best medicating them. At worst? At worst, something nasty is going on, and these children have been subjected to the unimaginable. Tracking down what is going on leads Nicole and Avery down a warped path of horrors, of science gone incredibly wrong.

“Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!” – Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ozymandias

Like HttB, this second in the series is very much paranormal suspense of the best kind. Edge-of-your-seat, fast-paced suspense that kept me in the tub for three runs of ‘drain-and-refill and the heck with the empty wine glass’. I love paranormals with sharp edges, suspense, and fast action, and this one fits the bill to a T. It also isn’t simply a thinly developed, poorly plotted story designed to be a vehicle for ‘boom chaka laka’ (Yes, you DO know what I mean) on every page, which I truly enjoyed. Lauren Esker could write suspense thrillers all day long without the paranormal bent – but I am glad she writes what she does. I really enjoy her work.

Any Port In A Storm (Ayala Storme Book 2) by Emmie Mears

“It’s hard to tell who has your back, from who has it long enough just to stab you in it….”
― Nicole Richie

“Your perspective on life comes from the cage you were held captive in.”
― Shannon L. Alder

Any Port in a Storm (Ayala Storme #2)There are monsters in Ayala Storme’s world. Real, live honest-to-goddess monsters from the six and a half hells, crawling out into the night to eat your cats, your dogs. Your children. You. And it is Ayala’s, and the other Mediator’s, job to stop that from happening. Oh, they can’t actually stop the demons from crawling through holes in the veils between worlds, but up until recently they have done a pretty good job of keeping the balance between dark and light. But then? Well, let’s just say, everything went to the six and a half hells in a handbasket. For Ayala, Ben and Ripper watched the birthing of a new kind of demon. A demon who ripped into the world in true Ellen Ripley “Alien” fashion, out of the body of the young girl they were trying to track down and save.

But the thing is, you see, that the “demons” born in this fashion aren’t really demons at all, not all of them at least. For they remember. They remember the hopes and dreams of the women (and men) who bore them, and died to bring them into the world. Ayala and the Mediators slaughtered many of them. Then, something happened. One of them saved Ayala’s life. And now, her whole understanding of her life, and her place in the world, has changed.

The pain, the confusion. It would send a lesser woman mad. But Ayala, for all it hurts, has the strength to get past that. To reach for something better. To stand up for what is right and good, and do what she can to protect those under her care. Even if they are a bit “different” from the norms.

“Any Port in a Storm” picks up a couple of months after “Storm in a Teacup” left off. And for all the issues in the Summit, the Mediator headquarters, that were brewing then, now things balance on a razor’s edge. Ayala has no idea who she can trust. And even those she has trusted the most from the time she was tiny, from the time when her first sword was thrust into her tiny fist at age three . . . can even they be trusted any longer? And then, outside of the political machinations, something Wicked definitely comes slouching into the world from the demon hells. For, instead of single demons minding their own business, staying away from groups of norms and picking off the outliers, they are grouping together. Snorbits and Rakaths, Slummoths and Harkast and Jeelings (Oh, My!) are working together. And when one looks at Ayala – looks at Ayala and smiles – well, let’s just say the hell-hole they are pouring out of, and the fact that Ayala was set-up to face a whole horde of them alone, dumps her right down a savage Alice’s twisted rabbit hole. And while there be monsters there . . . well, these monsters are human. And if she is going to save herself, the Shades under her protection, and possibly the whole of Tennessee from the same fate suffered by Mississippi, Alabama, and huge chunks of Louisiana and Arkansas, i.e., becoming uninhabitable hell swamps where no human survived, she is going to need friends. And she is going to need answers to the unanswerable. Fast.

SiaT is just as good as APiaS, and Ayala is just as strong and fragile, smart and caring, broken and focused as she was in the last book. She isn’t perfect, but she doesn’t pretend to be. Her goal is, and has always been, to protect those under her care. And when betrayal of the worst kind drapes her in unyielding misery, well, she just keeps right on swinging her sword, doing the right thing no matter the cost, trying to save the world. Or, at least her little part of it. She may be a prisoner, in a way, of her birthright. She may not like it. But she won’t turn her back on what is right. And for that? Well, for that I added Emmie Mears to my “gotta read, and read right now” list. Downloading the next, “Taken By Storm” in a few. The one after, “Eye of the Storm” comes out this year (not sure when) but I will be downloading that one right away as well. I truly admire Ayala. She is strong without being a “Wonder Woman” character, mentally, physically and emotionally. She questions herself, but never allows her questioning to stop her from doing what she knows is right. A rare thing, and worth encouraging.

Storm In A Teacup (Ayala Storme Book 1) – Emmie Mears

“It used to be easy. Me Mediator. Here sword. Mediator stick sword in bad guy. Ugh.” – Ayala Storme, Storm in a Teacup (Ayala Storme Series, Book One)

Storm in a Teacup (Ayala Storme #1)Snork. Yeah. “Mediator.” What a sweet word for such a brutal excuse for a life. Ayala has been a ‘Mediator’ literally since birth, when she popped out of her mother’s womb and the nurses caught a look at her violet eyes. No more momma for Ayala. Instead, she gets swords and training, blood and death, from the time she is old enough to hold her first tiny little wooden sword and poke at all the other little violet-eyed babies snatched from their mothers at birth. Nothing like losing the genetic lottery. Especially in a world overrun with demon spawn from the six and a half hells.

Stuck in Nashville and the surrounding environs, effectively leashed by the violent seizures that debilitate her should she step outside her territory, there will never be beaches or mountains for Ayala. No trips to Venice, to Egypt, to New Orleans. Instead, her life is a cycle of her day job in advertising, home, out to slaughter, back home to wash away the demon goo – maybe a bit of television, then bed, only to start the cycle all over again in the morning. Well, until she finally slips up and gets dead. It’s going to happen one day, that’s a given. And, with the way things are going, that whole ‘slip up and get dead’ thing could come sooner than she expected.

You see, things are a’changin’ – from Cincinnati to Nashville and further south, demons aren’t just nightcrawlers anymore. Nope. The critters are coming out into the sunlight. And what is happening may be more than even the Summit, the coalition of Mediators from around the world, can handle. Instead, they may all get very dead, in very bloody, very nasty ways.

Or, is that truly the case? Because something here is truly, awesomely weird. And Ayala is right in the middle of it. Are her friends truly her friends? Or her enemies truly her enemies? The lines are changing, the world she knows turned into an acid trip of immense proportions. Only Ayala has the key to what is really going on. And if she doesn’t do something, and do it fast, well, the innocent are going to die while the evil? Well, the evil will get exactly what they want – and the Summit and its mediators could very well be guilty of willful genocide of the very innocents they are supposed to protect. But is Ayala smart enough, strong enough, to stop the horror before it occurs?

I feel a deep and abiding admiration for Ayala. She is far from perfect. And who can blame her? You come out of your mother’s womb into a world where you are indoctrinated into a worldview of “We are right and good and all else is evil that must be eradicated at all costs” (wow, that sounds really familiar, doesn’t it?) she suddenly had to decide for herself what truly constitutes good and evil – and what she is willing to sacrifice to take a stand. She is immensely likable overall, snarky and focused by turns, by turns gentle and vicious, a mature woman with deeply held personal beliefs of her own, no matter the voices screaming at her at every turn, trying to hold her to their own ideals, whether good or evil. There are the common elements here of good storytelling. Pride, avarice, and the evil and downright ‘stoo-pidity’ and sheer bullheadedness of humanity in all its ridiculous glory steps front and center, handled with a deft and believable hand. Overall, highly enjoyable.

The Kindle edition has Audible Narration available if you like. Amber Benson reads, and she is always marvelous, so if you like narration I can recommend it. And narration is only $1.99, a real steal for a good listen for a cold winter evening. I read instead, and as I got to Read for Free on Kindle Unlimited? Bonus! The next is “Any Port in a Storm” and yes, I did just return this one and downloaded the next. Woo hoo, baby. Try it, I dare ya. Only, be prepared to stay up through the night . . .

A Call to Action from Marcy’s Mike

Though we lost Marcy to her battle with cancer, that doesn’t mean we can help others in their fight. Mike sent this along, and I am hoping you will be kind enough to reblog. Thank you. Leiah

livingly dying

12473498_939399969470629_432252888388895326_oMy late wife Marcy liked to describe herself as a ‘kick-ass community organizer’. We met doing the work of speaking up for social justice and progressive values in rural Oregon, where Marcy founded the Rural Organizing Project. Here’s how I would compare us: If I was a pretty good basketball player in neighborhood pick-up games, Marcy was an NBA first-round-draft pick.

Lately, rural Oregon has been in the national and international news as armed militia men have occupied the Malheur Wildlife Refuge near the SE Oregon town of Burns. Burns is a wonderful small rural community, which Marcy visited several times for the ROP. The Refuge is incredible – think all the cowboy film scenery you’ve ever seen, only 10x better.

I knew Marcy was not going to forgive me if I didn’t get involved, so I’ve been working with her old Rural Organizing Project colleagues to witness events and…

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Seattle Quake 9.2 – Marti Talbott

“We’re going away. Pack your shit, folks. We’re going away. And we won’t leave much of a trace, either. Maybe a little Styrofoam … The planet’ll be here and we’ll be long gone. Just another failed mutation. Just another closed-end biological mistake. An evolutionary cul-de-sac. The planet’ll shake us off like a bad case of fleas.” – George Carlin

Seattle Quake 9.2 (A Jackie Harlan Mystery)It seems so innocuous at first. A tremble here. A bump there. Maybe a book falls off a shelf, or you notice the water in your glass rippling. So innocuous.

And then the world explodes. The earth falls and rises, buildings fall. Car alarms. House alarms. And the screams. Screams of terror, screams of pain. And the earth continues to fall and rise. Louder. Harder. Violence and noise and horror, as buildings crash to the earth, fires burst out the ground as gas mains shatters. And the water begins to pull away from the shore, faster and faster . . . and then, for a moment, silence falls . . . the earth stills . . . and then, the water comes. And death has only just begun.

Again and again, the earth roars out in pain, death roars rampant over the earth. And the horror has only just begun.

9.2 on the Richter Scale. The size of the 1964 Alaska quake, give or take a percentage point. But you see, the Alaska quake was centered in an area with a tiny population along Prince William Sound and Kodiak Island. 115 people in Alaska died, as well as 16 people in Oregon and California. Wooden structures were all that stood in the way of the quake and the following tsunami, and most were away for the holidays.

Now, take that 9.2 quake and plop it right in the middle of Seattle. It sits, you see, on top of one of the largest faults in the world. Concrete and glass skyscrapers. The Sound. Lakes and rivers. And a population of approximately 662,000 people in an area of 83 square miles. Add a beautiful Saturday afternoon, a rare sunshiny Saturday afternoon at that, with everyone out and about, playing along the waterfront. And the devastation? Well, ‘incalculable’ doesn’t begin to touch the outcome.

Marti Talbott takes us into the middle of the destruction, basing her story upon a small group of people caught in the quake and doing their best to survive and find their loved ones. And upon the actions of a group of heroes I honestly didn’t know truly existed any longer. Ham radio operators. As we listen to their conversations, as they work to gather information, to get help where it is most needed, and to be the heart that listens to the agony, I was absolutely blown away by the strength and courage of people who, with no government support and no funding work themselves to exhaustion to save lives. Yes, I sat here and didn’t move, turning pages on my reader obsessively until the end. Yes, I should be working, but I just couldn’t put it down!

This is the first of Talbott’s “Jackie Harlan Mysteries” and I completely enjoyed it. There are others, though I don’t know if I would be interested in reading them or not. They are based on a detective agency that searches for missing persons. In this case the missing person in question was a big part of the storyline as she and her two companions fight to survive, both during and in the aftermath of the quake. The others seem to be more, well, ‘missing heiress’ and ‘greedy mistress’ stuff, which doesn’t ring my bells. The blurbs describe people I don’t think I would enjoy reading about. Stick “Billionaire” in the description and it turns me off, honestly. I mean, really? How many people’s lives did said ‘billionaire’ destroy to gain more money than he could ever spend in a lifetime? Don’t really care if he is trying to find the kid of the maid he knocked up.

But this one? This one is awesome! And FREE, at that, so grab it while you can!

All Good Deeds – Stacy Green is a Goddess . . .

A Personal Note:

I’ve been busy…  I have this huge technical edit I have been working on which is keeping me up all hours of the night, so I’ve hardly been able to read at all. I woke in the middle of the morning (after working all night) and couldn’t sleep, so I grabbed my reader. I was going for the lighthearted story on the menu, and accidentally chose this book instead. I would have put it back and chosen the lighter book – but the first paragraph grabbed my attention and wouldn’t let it go. I was hooked.

“I’m not a killer. Or a savior. I’m just one person trying to repair the broken scales of justice one jagged crack at a time.”

All Good Deeds won a bronze medal for ‘mystery/thriller’ at the 2015 IPPY Awards. In my mind, she deserved a gold medal. And a big gold medal from the whole freakin’ country for pushing this horrific issue out there in a novel that broke my heart and made me want to hug Stacy Green for being such a courageous woman.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled review.


 

All Good Deeds (Lucy Kendall #1)

Lucy Kendall is a lot of things. Daughter of a self-absorbed mother. Younger sister to a suicide. Child Protective (Gack! Choke. Gag.) Services ex-employee. Private Investigator. Serial killer. And for the last one, more than anything else, Lucy Kendall is my hero.

You see, Lucy Kendall kills pedophiles. Pedophiles who have been run through the system, over and over, and gotten away with it. Who are still doing it. You see, pedophiles cannot be cured. Not gonna happen. For you see, pedophiles don’t think they are doing anything wrong. So, they destroy lives, souls. They rape and maim and destroy, and feel themselves justified. “Perhaps he felt he was born this way, or that he was entitled. But I doubted he spent hours agonizing over his choices. That’s not how his mind was geared.”

These are the people Lucy Kendall kills.

I cannot truly enunciate just how deeply I felt about this book. I loved it. True, Lucy is viciously torn about the work she does, no matter that she knows what she does is the right thing. The “system” certainly isn’t going to do anything about the monsters who creep through the dark. And with the advent of the Dark Web, well, being a pedophile is easier than it has ever been. Lucy knows that she can’t stop them all. But she can do her bit, no matter how small, to clean house in Philadelphia.

“There are very few people who are going to look into the mirror and say, ‘that person I see is a savage monster;’ instead, they make up some construction that justifies what they do.” – Norm Chomsky

Lucy gave up when the young boy who she tried to keep in prison after he raped and slaughtered a little girl was released. He didn’t even have to register as a sex offender. He simply walked away, scot-free. Free to move into a neighborhood where children abound.

And now, little Kailey Richardson is missing. And things become more complicated, more horrific, than even Lucy can comprehend. Things fall apart. The center does not hold. And the more they fall apart, the more the flow of the past and the future blend and merge into whole new horrors.

Again, this book absolutely blew me away. In a small way, because I was abused as a child as well. But my abuse was mild compared to the horrors children these days are forced to endure. The fact that humans can do the things they do to children pretty much guarantees, to my mind, that there is no ‘god figure.’ If there is, the sick SOB is one twisted piece of work. And Lucy puts it well when she talks about death.

“It’s the nothingness. . . Whenever life ends, it just quits. We literally cease to exist. Every single one of us. . . . There’s no blackness, no tunnel, no sinking into oblivion. It’s literally nothing.

Lucy watched it happen. Watched the light go out. And felt the emptiness after. And, if they aren’t going to suffer in a Christian hell, well, Lucy will see that they suffer before the light goes out of their eyes. You GO, Girl!!!

Argh. Every time I think about the children out there, the ones who wind up in dumpsters or shallow graves, I despair. Especially when our police and courts can’t do a blasted thing about it. When eyes and minds are closed to the issue. Closing your eyes, sticking your fingers in your ears, and going “La la la” isn’t going to make it go away. The one who sticks in my mind the most, who still gives me nightmares, is the little boy my police department found tied under a bedroom sink, battered, bleeding from brutal beatings and rapes, who had his penis wired off to keep it hard. He had been licking the dirt off the floor in an attempt to feed himself. Believe me, Lucy is doing a community service.

There are several books in this series about Lucy, the people who help her, and the cop who, well, read the darn book already!!! Then read the next, and the next. And maybe go volunteer for your local shelter. Maybe you too can save a child from a pedophile?

 

 

What the Sleigh? Mina Carter

What the Sleigh? by Mina Carter

I admit it. I am a bit of a sucker for Mina Carter, just as I am for her often-times writing partner Celia Kyle. Their writing is light, fun and sexy, just what a ‘strained-brain’ often needs. So, I was tickled to see What the Sleigh? In my inbox. Book 10 in the Paranormal Protection Agency series, these books are just plain fun.

Ya know . . . just because you are the Grandson of the Main Man of Christmas, that doesn’t mean that you can’t be a true and total jerkface. And pay for it, big time. Nick Claus learns that the hard way when he stomps on the heart of Rudi, Granddaughter of the original Rudolph and his once best friend, childhood sweetheart, lover, and erstwhile “Woman Who Shall Be the Next Mrs. Claus.” And when Nick screwed up, well, he did a bang up job of it. As in, banging Ginger Snaps, an Elf, in Nick and Rudi’s bed. Rudi left, brokenhearted, and cut all ties to the North Pole. Even Santa can no longer find her!

Rudi has made a life for herself with the Paranormal Protection Agency, where she and her partner, Darrick the Pixie, are considered the toughest team in the agency. Life isn’t like the Pole, but that rat-bas***d Claus can’t find her, so it’s all OK. Until it isn’t.

You see, someone ratted Rudi out. And now the King of Jerkdom in question is in her territory, interfering in her life once again. And yes, he really is an interfering jackass. Well, after what he did to Rudi, everyone at the Pole pretty much hates his guts, and even Mr. Self-Centered Jerk comes to realize that maybe he really is the rude, unbearable jerk everyone sees him as. But can he convince Rudi that he has changed?

Or has he?

Rude. Overbearing. Obnoxious. Check, check and check. Oh, and did I mention manipulative as stink? Pretty much. Maybe he has changed. Maybe he hasn’t. But Rudi has other things to worry about, like a gang of murderous robbers laying waste to Santa Grottos in shopping malls, and she really has no interest in letting Cheater McCheatersanta back in her life. And if her boss, Iliona, forces the issue, maybe she should just quit?

Nah. She’s not letting some bloody Santa wreck the life she has worked so hard to gain since leaving his spoiled rotten backside in the dirt.

This one was just OK. I didn’t like how a strong character like Rudi was so wishy-washy, and, well, IMO she could have done a lot better than Nick – no matter how he claimed to be a ‘changed elf’. Nick is pretty much as described, and a bully on top of that. Meh. Not one of Mina’s better installments, but not so bad I wanted to strike her off my ‘relaxation reads’ list. The ending was pretty cute, I will give her that.

A Human, A Ghost, A Vampire, A Witch And A Demon Walk Into A Baptist Fundamentalist Girl’s School…

It truly is darkest right around 3AM. Even the stars seem to dim, fading into the quiet of the night. The universe itself seems to sleep. But sometimes? Sometimes, not often, but often enough to keep your eyes turned to the sky in the darkest hours, a bright light flashes. Far off, and very quickly fading, a star explodes, giving off one brilliant flash before falling into the darkness, never to return.

Sometimes, I have that feeling with books. Even though my choices at that particular moment in time seem no more than dim stars, one will blast out through even the worst cover, worst blurb, the unknown (often only unknown to me, but well known to others, but not always) author, and, for whatever reason, simply take me someplace special.

It was a bit of a fluke that I picked up Juliette Harper’s Descendants of the Rose (The Selby Jensen Paranormal Mysteries Book 1). I am in no way a “Historical” lover. Long skirts and proper manners, they just don’t turn me on as they do some readers. So, when I saw the cover of this book, well, to say I was “put off” is a bit of an understatement. Although the cover is gorgeous, it screams historical romance. Or at least historical ghost story. But, for some reason, I went ahead and downloaded it (Free on Kindle!) and opened it up. Maybe it was the fates, maybe just sheer dumb luck, but I opened up a little world of wonders.

This is by no means a historical. Instead, it is a modern day jewel, filled with fascinating characters and a rich paranormal mystery (just as the title promised – imagine that).

Hi. My name is Selby Jensen. Now, unless you’re buying the coffee, get the hell out of my way.

Selby Jensen in a nutshell – the queen of snark. Of course, she has good reason for her attitude. Her life hasn’t exactly been rainbows and lollipops. Far from it. Her father was murdered by a monster, drawing her into a world she never knew existed. Then her beloved husband, Dex, met the same fate. Now, Selby spends her time with the dead, 24/7. Her vampire business partner. Her ‘died in Selby’s arms after a horrific car crash’ best friend Helen. Only, Dex apparently didn’t stick around after he died. And Selby? Well, after five long years, Selby hasn’t recovered, and it looks like she never will. So, why not face off with werewolves in filthy alleys, searching for the one who slaughtered her husband? Life as a blood bag just isn’t all that special any longer. Even though life is, well, ‘Interesting’ in the Chinese, “May you live in interesting times.” sort of interesting.

Burn all the sage you can find, but sleep with one eye open. The bogey man is real. I’ve met him. He’s from Bakersfield, and he did not have a happy childhood.

Well, the very fact that he is stuck living in Bakersfield would make anyone grumpy, just IMO.

Then, school calls. Well, “The Good News Educational and Salvation Academy” calls. One of those, “Praise God and don’t spare the Rod” sort of places (Well, their new headmistress is a bit ‘different’, but that is a part of the charm of making you wait to read it yourself) where your “embarrassing” daughters are sent away to be out-of-sight, out-of-mind. You see, they have a bit of a demon problem . . .

Ugh. Talk about your understatements. Now, a human, a ghost, a vampire, a witch and a smoke demon have a bit more than a ‘bit of a kerfuffle’ on their hands. And how’s that for the New Scooby Doo Crew?

Of course, now I have to wait (Impatiently, I might add!) for the next, Lost in Room 636. I have to wonder, now that I have researched Ms. Harper’s bibliography, if the publisher was simply kowtowing to the fact that the team of Patricia Pauletti and Randa K. Williamson (writing as Juliette Harper) are apparently well-known for a series called The Lockwood Legacy, a “nine-book chronicle of the lives of three sisters who inherit a ranch in Central Texas following their father’s suicide.” Hum… well, it seems to be set in the 1960’s (?) not the 1800’s, so I guess I am off on the whole “lady in the long dress” cover style. Boo me.

Well, well. Lookie there – the first three are a free box set (Kindle Unlimited) so maybe I will have to check that story line out and see if I like their previous works, but I think I will read “Witch at Heart” first. The first in the “Jinx Hamilton Mysteries” it looks like it could be a really fun series. Looks like there are three of those in print, another three (at least) up to bat (wink wink, nudge nudge) so I will let you know what I think. WaH is free on Kindle Unlimited, so I just downloaded it. Will let you know what I think!

 

 

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