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Fairy Tales

The Case of the Disappearing Blogger!

““No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”
― Gautama Buddha, Sayings Of Buddha

It is amazing to realize just how long it has been since I last published. As we all know, life has a tendency to get in the way of where we want our present and future to go. Instead, we are at times forced onto other, more winding paths, often into a bleak landscape we fear to tread.

Other times we must put our heads down and hook up to our own personal plow, digging the rows of life, planting crops we wish to one day reap. I can’t say all my rows are planted, but I can say that I am seeing my way through. It will require discipline to start up again, but I can’t tell you all how much I am looking forward to it.

I have been editing books by various authors, Susan Bliler and Michael Angel in particular. If you haven’t checked out their works, I highly recommend them. I have also been editing business manuscripts, as well as supporting COBRA client agents. COBRA is a continuing program which allows employees to continue their benefits after they leave their previous position until they are insured by another employer or health insurance plan. And yes, that does veer wildly away from my love of books, but you do what you can to retain a steady income, right? I have been given the opportunity to work with a publishing house to edit for them, and I am thrilled about it! I will still be soliciting books from Indie Authors, so if you have a book that needs a keen eye, my rates are good! (Hint Hint)

So. I will be posting reviews again, though not steadily I imagine – at least for a while. I have to ‘get my feet under me again’ and get organized, but I am working on it. Currently, I am reading Bad Magic: 10 Novels With Demons, Djinn, Werewolves, Vampires & Rogue Gods . . .”  if you haven’t picked it up yet, I can Highly Recommend it so far. I Have read Chosen The Djinn Wars: Book 1, and Dead Rising The Templar – Book 1 so far, and both were wonderful stories. I am getting ready to start Hidden Blade Soul Eaters #1. I wasn’t familiar with the first story, but I have added the series to my reading list. The second I had already read, as I am a big fan of Debra Dunbar, but that was the only one of the series I had read. Both of these series are going on my “to read” list. If you previously followed my blog you will know that I have widely ranged, very eclectic tastes in books, and a bad case of “Oooooooo! Shiny!!!” so series often drop by the wayside when I find a new toy.

The last anthology I just finished was From the Shadows: 13 Tales of Urban Fantasy, Witches, Werewolves, Magic, Romance, Shifters, Fae, Demons, Vampires, Dark Fantasy & More!  While I can’t say that I will love all the books in any one anthology (who does?) this one was, in a word, stunning. With eleven different authors offering thirteen stories (Annie Bellet offers The First Three!!! of her The Twenty-Sided Sorceress books!) there are plenty of stories here to please anyone with an interest in strong, well-developed female characters, males who don’t run over the top of them but stand by their sides, and storylines that grab your interest and hold it. While I discovered that I am not really a Dannika Dark fan based on the story in the anthology, that is simply a matter of taste, not a snark against the writer. To each her own.

As I have gotten more into reading again after a long drought, I have read books by a wide range of authors, from Margo Bond Collins’ Under Her Skin to Devon Monk’s Ordinary Magic series books one and two.

My favorite stand alone recently was Playing with Fire: A Magical Romantic Comedy (With A Body 

 

Count) by R.J. Blain. I adore R.J. anyway, and this start to a new series is a Hoot!

“You really are a one-track mind when you’re a unicorn.”

Yep. Get it. Read it. Review to follow 😉

Besides, it is free on Kindle Unlimited, and only $0.99 to purchase.

OH! And I read the first three of SM (Sara) Reine’s Preternatural Affairs Series (again!) and purchased the next three books in the series. If you haven’t read it, and you are fond of supernatural policing, this series is wonderful. I know I wouldn’t want to be a witch allergic to magic!

So, that is it for now. Reviews to follow. And if you need an editor or just a beta reader, be sure to drop me a line!

Hugs,

Leiah

 

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Review: Red (Transplanted Tales Book 1) by Kate SeRine – Love It!

13630494“The wolf said, “You know, my dear, it isn’t safe for a little girl to walk through these woods alone.”

Red Riding Hood said, “I find your sexist remark offensive in the extreme, but I will ignore it because of your traditional status as an outcast from society, the stress of which has caused you to develop your own, entirely valid, worldview. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must be on my way.” ― James Finn Garner, Politically Correct Bedtime Stories

“She talks like you. It’s not every day you hear a four-year-old say Prince Charming is a douchebag who’s only holding Cinderella back.”

“That’s my girl.” ― Emma Chase, Tangled

Once upon a time, a girl in a red hood met a wolf. And then? Everything went to pot. Well, that is how it goes, isn’t it? You think it is love, true and total devotion. Then he punches you in the gut and wanders away, whistling a merry tune, leaving you laying in the forest, staring into the eyes of the Grim Reaper. Pft. And as if that’s not enough, “an egomaniacal fairy godmother, an arrogant genie, and a couple of wandering plagiarists whose idea of cultural preservation is stealing the stories of unsuspecting villagers and passing them off as their own” get into a pissing contest – and suddenly? You find your red-hooded backside stuck in the Here and Now as an enforcer for the fairy tale cops, and isn’t that just a hard, cold awakening?

Now, Goldilocks and Snow White are well paid prostitutes. (Well, in the original tale, the three bears were bachelor brothers – and the whole ménage thing? Well, duh. And Snow White’s Prince wasn’t so ‘princely’ after all – he dumped her for an Ordinary, and the prenuptial agreement left her without a dime. Cheating creep.) Of course, that isn’t the only cheating creep of a Prince in the woodpile . . . Mistress Mary Mary Quite Contrary is the FMA prosecuting attorney, Vlad Dracula Is a business man, and The Sandman? He makes The Godfather and all of John Carpenter’s bad guys look like characters from My Little Pony.

When Red goes to collect Dave “The Pied Piper” Hamlin to haul him back to jail for his “latest screwup”, i.e., being a registered sex offender who’d blown the terms of his parole: no kids, no hookers, no booze – and he blows his head off in the alley outside the Red Door, Snow’s den of delights – things suddenly get very, very nasty as Tale bodies start dropping in very bloody, very savage ways. And the suspect list is very short – consisting of three of Red’s former lovers. Seth “Big Bad” Wolf. Vlad Dracula (the Literary and Nursery Rhyme Migration brought over some really ‘interesting’ characters). And Todd Caliban. Shakespeare wrote Todd as a monster, but he also wrote Prospero as one – Caliban was only trying to save his island from the depredations of an invading force, after all. Red was more than willing to give him the benefit of the doubt – and her bed . . . And since Vlad came over, and was ‘captured’ and ‘rehabilitated’ by Red he has been behaving himself. (Hasn’t he?) But all signs point to Seth, Red’s first, and most beloved. Even if he did rip her heart out and stomp on it – and then leave her in the forest to die . . . what women put up with for their men. Sigh.

Al Addin, the FMA Chief Director, (and just incidentally the master of the genie mixed up in the aforementioned ‘a genie, a fairy godmother, etc.’ scenario) knows they have to get this case under control, pronto, before any more Tales are killed – and before the Ordinaries get ahold of something that could blow the Tales existence out of the proverbial water. Enter Nate “Grim Reaper” Grimm, detective extraordinaire, as her newly assigned side-kick. As they work through the case together things get even bloodier as Trish “Little Miss” Muffet, the coroner and lead investigator (So not afraid of spiders, just sayin’) finds more and more Tales on her slab in the morgue. And Red seems to be right in the crosshairs of the killer.

This is fairytale on crack – a modern, updated, happy-sad, hopeful-disturbing tale of humour and horror that kept me reading until my eyes stuck open and I had to turn out the light. Sharp and witty, this story cuts with a wicked blade, turning literary and fairy tale characters into a contemporary parody of life. Awesomesauce!! (Yes, I stole that word from Celia Kyle – hey, it’s an awesomesauce word! LOL)

“Did I ever tell you the difference between a Northern fairy tale and a Southern one?” she asked him, indulging herself and letting her head rest on his shoulder. God, he felt good. Her man. Where her head was meant to lie, right there, on him.

“What’s the difference?”

“A Northern one starts ‘once upon a time,’ while a Southern one starts ‘y’all ain’t going to believe this shit.” ― Erin McCarthy, Hot Finish

I LOVE this book!!! And I look forward to reading more of the Transplanted Tales series.

If you like my review, please let me know by clicking “Like” on Amazon. It helps the authors I review by drawing attention, and helps me as well. Thanks!

Oh, and as an aside? Hey! PUBLISHERS!!! Now THIS is how a cover of a book about a strong woman character SHOULD look . . . Can we just freakin’ STOP with the half naked male chests? Please? Pretty please with a “I’m not buying any more books with half naked men on the cover” warning label slapped on the front? Thanks.

AAANNNNDDDDD of course, that whole, “No More Naked Men” thing gets blown out of the water due to the other books in the series having blown the positive beginning of RED and putting HALF-NAKED MALES on the covers if the following books  . . . EVEN for the story of Lavender, Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother! PFT. If I hadn’t read Red first? I doubt I would continue, based on the covers alone. . .  Grrrrrrr. Don’t get me wrong, hot bodies are good (especially the one with Nate Grimm on the cover – those painted on tattoos are gorgeous!) but still – do publishers think all we care about is the body on the cover, not the contents of the book? Humph. The covers just shove the books directly into the PR/Romance category, catering to readers who only care about nooky, not good storylines. And this was a killer storyline! Wake up, Publishers . . . we readers who prefer good stories will abandon your books willy-nilly because we expect the books to contain mearly pablum for the ‘sex only’ crowd.  Chocolate is a tasty treat – but in excess gives you gas. 

Rant concluded.

A Father for Christmas (A Holiday Romance) by Rachelle Ayala

Not all Christmas Love Stories have to be about billionaires finding supermodels. . . or cowgirls or …..

 

A Father for Christmas (A Holiday Romance) by Rachelle AyalaBook Description

September 23, 2014
Single mother Kelly Kennedy can’t afford lavish gifts for her four-year-old daughter, Bree. Homeless veteran Tyler Manning doesn’t believe he deserves a Merry Christmas.When Bree asks Santa for a father and picks Tyler, both Tyler and Kelly vow to keep Bree from being hurt while fighting their feelings for each other.Tyler struggles with frightening flashbacks that scare Kelly. Meanwhile, Kelly’s criminal past threatens her chance for happiness. Tyler and Kelly must believe in the power of love to give Bree her best Christmas ever.

It’s 99c – a great little Christmas smile!

About the Author

Rachelle AyalaRachelle Ayala is a bestselling Asian American author of dramatic romantic suspense and humorous, sexy contemporary romances. Her heroines are feisty and her heroes hot. She writes emotionally challenging stories but believes in the power of love and hope.Rachelle is the founder of an online writing group, Romance in a Month, an active member of the California Writer’s Club, Fremont Chapter, and a volunteer for the World Literary Cafe. She is a very happy woman and lives in California with her husband. She has won awards in multicultural and historical romance.Visit her blog at http://www.rachelleayala.com or contact her at http://rachelleayala.me/author-bio/contact/

Bear Hugs (Curve Appeal) by Margaret L. Carter

18509820I admit it. I am a sucker for Beauty and the Beast. And this short by Ms. Carter is a beautiful take on the story.

A Renaissance Faire lover, Terri and her friend Nala run a costume business online and attend faires during the season. Last year, Terri met Beorn, a six and a half foot tall ‘bear’ of a man who made her lush curves feel tiny and delicate. With a promise to keep in touch, Beorn disappeared after the faire . . . and that was it. No Beorn visits.

This year, Terri and Nala are back at the faire, and who should show up but Beorne’s friend, Brokk, asking her to accompany him to meet with Beorne. She does, of course (else, there wouldn’t be a story, now would there?)

What happens next is pure B&tB. It is a lovely little story that touched my heart. It is also a shame that it got bad ratings on Goodreads simply because the reviewers found it “not erotic enough.” That is exactly why I enjoyed it so much. So many books today are so filled with sex, they don’t even have a story line. For a 71 page book, I found that the balance between the bedroom calisthenics and the actual story was spot on and well executed. The story is cute as a button without being cloying, and Terri is a tough cookie without being harsh. Overall, a fun, pleasant read.  I started it over dinner, curled up in my chair with Celtic music in the background, and totally enjoyed myself. If you want a sweet story based on a beloved fairy tale, I highly recommend it.

 

Gabriella The Tale of a Misfit Fairy – A Children’s Tale by Nancy Hill

gabriella
Free on Amazon!

Gabriella The Tale of a Misfit Fairy
Nancy Hill
4.8 Stars (19 Reviews)
Genre: Children’s eBooks | Fantasy

FREE for a limited time

When Gabriella falls from the villainous Dream Master’s bag, Lore Valley will be forever changed.

Gabriella is no ordinary fairy. With iridescent wings, bells at the tips of her toes, and an impression of a wand coloring her forehead, her appearance alone sets her apart. Intrigued, the fairies welcome her with open arms, but as she grows up, some of her behavior disturbs the residents of the Lore Valley. Queen Pasha, in particular, worries that Gabriella may not have arrived in the valley accidentally. Could she be part of the Dream Master’s plan to destroy the fairies?

Full of quirky characters living in a whimsical world that the maniacal Dream Master seeks to destroy, this novel takes the reader on a roller coaster of emotions as Gabriella explores the Lore Valley and then the greater world beyond it when she takes it upon herself to confront the world’s most formidable creature.

From oddball bats to ghost cats, trolls to polka-dotted hens, Sirens to rouge eagles, you will find characters both lovable and treacherous within the pages of this book. Many of the characters have tidbits of wisdom to impart while others will amuse you with unique approach to the world.

Click here to get this book for FREE
(also available from Amazon. DE  FR  IT  ES )

Reviews: Temptation Road and Speaking of the Charmed Life by Kimball Lee

I don’t write 700 page books padded with useless words that take three chapters to describe a doorknob! – Kimball Lee

tempt
Temptation Road
Don’t pay attention to the cover itself –
it appears to be a hangover from her other
books and has nothing to do with the story.
tempt2
Temptation Road Two
If you don’t read the first, the second won’t make any sense.
They are both free, so no reason not to.

Temptation Road and Speaking of the Charmed Life, the two current editions of Lee’s series, speaks to the quoted comment regarding her writing style. This qualifies more as a short story, a novella, rather than a book,only 49 pages. And she attempts to stuff a world into these short pages, a world of mystery and magic which would have been much better served by a writer with a more expressive hand. Given that, there are still things to like about the book, even if I deeply wish that someone else had handled the writing.There is a world of beauty in the thought of the book – one that could create a world of wonder. A beautiful, magical house, wild creatures who wander into the yard and strop themselves against your knees. Hate and love and strangeness.

I will admit, however, that a writer friend of mine will probably love the idea of the novella over a long novel. She has three very small children, a house to run, and books to write, so novellas fit her needs exceptionally well. What I didn’t care for was the choppy delivery, the compression of what could have been beautiful paragraphs into single hard, choppy sentences. The flow simply wasn’t there.

The cover nearly kept me from reading the first book. It has no correlation to the story, instead appearing to be just a stock photo that fits with other books that Lee writes. If I hadn’t read the description, I wouldn’t have read it because the “sex me up” style doesn’t work for me. And those who expect  “sex me up” book certainly will be disappointed.

The mysticism in the book is confusing, to say the least, though the good and evil characters are more interesting than most. In the second book, the relationship moves forward rather roughly, with a heavy overtone of punishment that pretty much creaped me out.  The inability of Rae, the main female character, to accept the incredible gifts that she is given, instead winding into a whining, baby obsessed wreck, was truly disappointing. Though she is supposed to be more special than one can imagine, instead, she strikes me more as the type of woman who blows things totally out of proportion – spoiled. Meh.

Overall, I really wanted to like it more than I did. However, in many ways the book was oddly appealing. I know, sounds weird, huh? Gripe gripe gripe and yet I found it interesting enough to immediately download the next one and read it. I don’t know. I will get the next one simply because I am interested to see what happens next. I hope I am not disappointed, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I would – but will be happy if I am not.

Review: Shoggoth’s Old Peculiar – A short by Neil Gaiman

shogottoh
A short story, read by the author.

This was the first opportunity that I have had to read Shoggoth’s Old Peculiar, which first appeared in Gaiman’s anthology Smoke and Mirrors. The story was first published 1998 in The Mammoth Book of Comic Fantasy, which I never knew existed – but now I definitely have to get on their mailing list!

A wet and miserable Ben Lassiter, a young and naive American, is taking a walking tour of the British coastline, following the instructions of a tour book – a tour book apparently written by a woman who “would probably not recognize the British coastline if it were to dance through her bedroom at the head of a marching band singing “I’m the British Coastline!” in a loud and cheerful voice while accompanying itself on the kazoo.”

When forced to take refuge from the rain, Ben wanders into a pub, the name of which is The Book Of Dead Names. Here meeting the very peculiar Seth and Wilf, Ben learns more than he may have wanted to know about Lovecraft, life, death and unspeakable horror.

Read by the author, this is a tiny gem of a story, paying homage to H.P. Lovecraft and displaying Gaiman’s quirky Brit sense of humour in all it’s glory. I picked it up on Audible.com as a freebie that is no longer available, but the short did just what it was supposed to do – it whetted my appetite for something from Gaiman that is just that little bit different than his norm, and ascertained my purchase of Smoke and Mirrors.
I have already purchased The Ocean at the End of the Lane and will be listening to that, and reviewing, as soon as I get caught up on my other work.

I began my love of Gaiman, as I would imagine many did, with American Gods. I read it in paperback back then, but I just purchased the Tenth Anniversary Edition narrated by a full cast of amazing narrators. I loved the George Guidall edition, but the new, Tenth Anniversary Edition is theater – the theater of the absurd and wonderful. Don’t get me wrong – Guidall is one of my all-time favorite narrators, but it will be worth it to read this one as well.

If you picked up this wonderful story, good on ya’. If now, you should really pick up Smoke and Mirrors just as I did. Hey, it’s Gaiman, it’s gotta be incredible!

 

The Adventures of Peter Churchmouse

Jenna Black just sent me a Tweet that I found so unutterably cool, I just had to share it with you. You can check out the first of her Faeriewalker Series here: Jenna Black (The Faeriewalker Series)

However, that isn’t what she Tweeted about. Instead, she gave us a story to fill the heart and touch the soul.

grandmagen
Genevieve Sanfelippo, “Grandma Gen” and Anne Catalane, director of leisure services at Milwaukee Catholic Home, pose with a copy of Sanfelippo’s book signing at the home earlier this year. The children’s book, “The Adventures of Peter Churchmouse,” tells the story of a mouse who lived in a pump organ in a church in Kewaskum. (Submitted photo by Danielle Sands)

96-year-old Genevieve Sanfelippo, better known as “Grandma Gen” has been a resident for 12 years at the Milwaukee Catholic Home. Grandma Gen was honored recently for publishing “The Adventures of Peter Churchmouse,” a story she created for a birthday celebration for her great grandchildren six years ago.

Now, how wonderful is that??? Here we all are, bemoaning the fact that we simply can’t find the time to do everything we wish to do, how there isn’t enough time. One has to think – shouldn’t we sit back, take a look at what we are doing with our lives, and then decide what is important to us, what makes us happy, and then do that?

Grandma Gen wrote her first book at 96. Now tell me . . . what will YOU be doing at 96?

Thanks to CHNOnline.org, the website of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s Catholic Herald for the photo, and to Danielle Sands for the photo.”The Adventures of Peter Churchmouse” may be purchased by contacting the Milwaukee Catholic Home at
(414) 224-9700.

(Danielle, if you have a website, would you send it along to me so that I can give you fuller credit?)

 

Mountain of Dreams by C.L. Bevill Now Published!

mountainofdreams
Click here to purchase from SmashWords!

Book Two of The Dreams Series is out.

Once the world was normal. The day after the change, there were new creatures galore and nearly every human had vanished. The survivors gathered together to make a new society and Sophie, a seventeen-year-old from Oregon, does her best to fit in. Desperate to find a reason for living, she travels east to Washington, D.C. to meet with the new President of the U.S.A. and finds that existing and living are two very different things. The old world hasn’t really been left behind and human treachery continues to threaten their existence.

The first book, Sea of Dreams is currently FREE!!! Click on the cover to order it from Smashwords!

seaofdreams

In a single night, everyone has vanished. Only Sophie remains, a typical seventeen year old girl from Oregon. While hiking with her father, she goes to sleep one night and wakes up to find that a sea of dreams has washed over the world, irrevocably changing everything. Electricity no longer works. Technology has ground to a halt. Towns have disappeared. New animals, unicorns, gryphons, and giant beasts for which Sophie has no name, have appeared. In her determined quest to understand and to endure, Sophie finds other survivors. Zach, young, handsome and full of his own secrets is one. There is Gideon, a fifteen year old leader of a group of other survivors in the California Redwoods. There is also the Burned Man, an individual who wants Sophie dead for both thwarting him and escaping his sinister intentions. All have special psychic abilities in common, which leads Sophie to believe that is the reason they survived. Sophie’s premonitions, Zach’s eerie dreams of Sophie before the change, and Gideon’s supernatural powers of perception all link them together in a very dissimilar world. Sophie’s recently developed empathy to one of the new creatures, something that resembles both a firefly and a pixie, will guide her in her burgeoning role as both protector and protagonist in a startling newborn period. Magic is real. Technology is gone. The new and the old must learn to coexist or be vanquished forever. Sophie struggles to understand her responsibilities and to stay alive and one step ahead of the Burned Man.

As you may know from my previous posts, C.L. Bevill is a wonderful author. I can hardly wait to read these two books!

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