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So, I Read This Book Today

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Fantasy

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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Magic of the Gargoyles by Rebecca Chastain (Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles Book 1)

Magic of the Gargoyles (Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles Book 1) by Rebecca Chastain

“Just really, really believe in what you’re trying to do. Don’t let people alter that. Let people advise you and lead you down paths to make smart business decisions. But trust your instinct and trust that overwhelming drive that made you put all your dreams and everything on the line.” – Luke Bryan

Magic of the Gargoyles
All Mika Stillwater wants to do is finish this finicky, delicate job, get paid, and maybe, just maybe, get some sleep. That doesn’t seem like such a huge request, does it? After all, if she can finish the delicate crystal vials for that grumpy, obnoxious healer apprentice Althea Stoneward, she will be that much closer to blowing off her dreary Jones and Sons Quarry job and opening her own shop. Just twelve little vials, and all of her dreams will have their true beginning.

Really. It wasn’t that much to ask.

However, if wishes were horses, beggars would ride. And Mika’s wishes are shattered, in more ways than one, when a baby gargoyle slams into her life. Literally. Now, Mika must decide between fulfilling her dreams or saving a clutch of baby gargoyles from true evil. What’s a girl to do? Why, saddle up and ride to the rescue!

I have been fortunate lately to read a few books that have impressed me in their portrayal of strong women characters, and this is one of them. Mika doesn’t have any illusions about her powers making her Superwoman. Instead, she is modest almost to a fault, realizing her boundaries and working hard to move herself beyond them. She is kind and honorable, willing to do what has to be done, even if it destroys her own dreams, just because it is right. Ms. Chastain’s world-building is beautifully wrought and believable within its context, and left me wanting to learn more about the world in which Mika lives. The characters are well drawn, and pace and context well designed. There is no ‘romance’ to the book, this is straight fantasy, and well worth the read.

The next book in the series is “Curse of the Gargoyles” and I already have it downloaded through Kindle Unlimited to my tablet.  The third book in the series, “Secret of the Gargoyles” is in print now.

Enjoy!

Never Mind the Princess! Save the Dragon! A Michael Angel Short Story

21314850By now you are surely familiar with Michael Angel’s Fantasy and Forensics series that I am so enamored of. But did you know Michael is quite the comedian as well?

Never Mind the Princess, Save the Dragon! is a comedic fairy tale just right for when you want a giggle and have a few minutes to spare. Only 64 pages, there is no sex, little violence, but a great deal of snorting laughter!

I don’t want to give a lot away, but picture this. A Polish Knight. A spoiled little girl slash young woman. Add in a greedy king and a sweet little dragon, and what you get is a hoot. Grab it for $.99, or get it free on Kindle Unlimited, but Sir Maximilian Maselniczka is well worth the read!

Enjoy!

 

Forgery of the Phoenix is Here! Fantasy and Forensics, Book Five

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“The handwriting on the wall may be a forgery.” –  Ralph Hodgson

“Sometimes you trust someone who turns out not to be honest. There are a lot of things that happen in life that don’t turn out the way you’re given the impression that they will. And I think that’s all kind of a con. But I think we’ve probably all been hurt.” – Sigourney Weaver

Poor Dayna! Isn’t it enough that she has saved the land of Andeluvia over and over, and never gotten even a “Thank you” for her efforts? I mean, come ON guys! You beat a demon, save a couple of races, and keep warning the whole planet that a war, fought long ago, is heating up once more . . . and all she gets is laughed at!? Wow. Talk about disrespectful!

The Royal Court doesn’t listen. Life back home on Earth is going sideways faster than she can say “Great big gobs of greasy, grimy Griffin Poo!” What is a girl to do??? Oh, and don’t even get me started on the King! Not only does he only intermittently have Dayna’s back. Ohhh no! Since Dayna was given the rather dubious title of “Dame Chrissie” the costs for renovating her tower are going up. Who was to know that, when she turned down tenant farmers and lands, not wanting to be responsible for all that, she was also turning down the income that comes with it? And the King? Well, well well. Being the “Kingly” sort, in the “I’m broke and have to pay all these people, so I am going to stick it to Dame Chrissie” (Really. You honestly didn’t notice that certain parties were draining your treasury?! Sigh.) way, Dayna has been awarded the “Great Honor” of becoming the one and only member of the Order of the Weasel. Whaaa?!?!

Yep, the Order of the Weasel. Or, better known as The Order of the Welchers. Who happened to leave behind nearly a quarter million in debt. Which, of course, Dame Chrissie is expected to pay.

You gotta be kidding me!

And as if that wasn’t bad enough, the Phoenix who pops out of the fireplace during a meeting of the Royal Court is determined that Dame Chrissie shall save his whole species from extinction!

Can a girl not get a freakin’ Break?

Join Dayna and her friends, Grimshaw the Griffin, the Fayleene Protector of the Forest, and Galen the Centaur Wizard on their newest adventure, as they fight off the depredations of evil (If they can figure out what the “evil” is), and take on another wonderful, magical adventure!

If you like your fantasy with fun, you will LOVE Michael’s writing, especially the Fantasy and Forensics series, of which Forgery of the Phoenix is the fifth! And don’t forget to check out all the other books in the series. They are best read in order 😉 Enjoy!!!

Click here for the Series on Goodreads!

Click here for Michael Angel’s Website!!!

I work with Michael on his books. All thoughts are my own.

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Review: One Way Fare (Null City Book 1) by Barb Taub – New Favorite!

One Way Fare (Null City, #1)“Suppose neutral angels were able to talk Yahweh and Lucifer – God and Satan, to use their popular titles – into settling out of court. What would be the terms of the compromise? Specifically, how would they divide the assets of their early kingdom?” – Tom Robbins, Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates (2000)

I really only picked up the book as it was advertised on one of my “Free Today” book emails. You know the ones, and if you don’t, why not?  So anyway, there it was, and the cover caught my eye. It was the first in a series, free, written by an author I hadn’t heard of. Why not?

Now, here is the thing. One Way Fare had a fairly interesting blurb, though I was a bit leery of the whole “Angels and Demons” shtick. Honestly? The whole Hellhound/Poodle thing is what really caught my attention. And you know what? For all that the Angels/Demons/Time Travel thing is normally so not my thing, well, I was entranced. I mean, really, truly entranced. Taub’s writing is unique. She has shaken up a couple of genres, and written her characters, and her story, in ways that held me rapt from page one.

In the room made of light, they plan the end of Hell.

The thing is . . . I’m rooting for Hell in this one. No, really. I mean, Lucifer is The Morning Star – which the oldest Latin texts portray as either John the Baptist, or Jesus himself. After all, it isn’t until much later that texts were converted to the concept of The Morning Star as being “Satan,” an evil character. Let’s face it – the ideation of “God vs Lucifer” is based in the takeover of various Egyptian, Canaanite and Jewish tales of gods who fought fiercely amongst themselves for power. To the victor go the spoils – an the right to tell the tales in any way they see fit.

Taub’s Hell is a nightmare for anyone who considers intellectualism to be threatening (you know, Right Wing Republicans, that sort of thing). As Ray Williams, in Anti-Intellectualism and the “Dumbing Down” of America (Psychology Today, July 07, 2014), says,  “There is a growing and disturbing trend of anti-intellectual elitism in American culture. It’s the dismissal of science, the arts, and humanities and their replacement by entertainment, self-righteousness, ignorance, and deliberate gullibility.”

Ha! Send me to Hell, because this place is Interesting!  And a whole “Hell” of a lot more inclusive than “Heaven” could ever hope to be. Or even “Haven,” the place where the Fallen Angels who want to recreate the “Heaven” they were thrown from, exist. So, a bunch of pissy Angels want to destroy Hell – and they don’t care that, “Not only will that strategy lead to massive death and destruction for humans, but it could mean war between Fallen and Angels.” Wow, total narcissism really can be deadly! (I still wish I could remember the book I read, I think it was in the late 70’s or early 80’s, where ‘god’ is so busy staring into a mirror admiring himself – well, keep telling a guy he is handsome, you just know that spells spoiled rotten, self-centered ego maniac, right? – he allows the universe to go down in flames around him.)

Then, of course, there is the time travel aspect of the book. Honestly, I am not usually a time travel book lover. They never seem to get the continuity right. But Taub proved me wrong. Her writing makes sense. “I have a theory about time. Things can’t happen if they didn’t.” And what is even more crushing? Things still happen if they did. Taub holds all of the timelines tightly in her grasp, flowing backwards and forwards, building a gossamer web of linkages that never left me thinking “Huh? What just happened?”

This series is now at the top of my “Must Read New (to me) Series.” I already downloaded the second, DON’T TOUCH, Null City Book 2. There are some issues that weren’t tied up all the way in book 1, and I look forward with great eagerness to see how they carry forward through the series. One Way Fare is edgy, imaginative, and deeply unusual compared to my usual experience with this type of book. Highly recommended!

And remember this – “Why do they blame me for all their little failings? They use my name as if I spent my entire days sitting on their shoulders, forcing them to commits acts they would otherwise find repulsive. ‘The devil made me do it.’ I have never made one of them do anything. Never. They live their own tiny lives. I do not live their lives for them.”  ― Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol. 4: Season of Mists

Review: Tangle of Thornes by Lorel Clayton

27231426“People speak sometimes about the “bestial” cruelty of man, but that is terribly unjust and offensive to beasts, no animal could ever be so cruel as a man, so artfully, so artistically cruel.” ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“She had to learn that the day granted hope and happiness, but I stole it. She had to face that the night hid evil and darkness, but my soul was blacker.” ― Pepper Winters, Debt Inheritance

Eva Thorne was born to be a monster, in a country of monsters. The Solhans are a “whole different category of human. One that most other races tended to hate.” Well, you can’t really blame them. Solhans glory in cruelty, dark magic, and buckets and buckets of blood – as long as it isn’t their own. Then, well, the Solhans opened a bit of dark magic that brought back their Dead God. And as a group that worships cruelty and death, their Dead God shouldn’t have been a surprise when he started slaughtering the very Solhans who worshiped him – along with half the rest of the world.

So, they became refugees, fleeing to other countries to escape the very God they were so gleeful to have brought back. Eva’s own family, the rich and massively powerful Thornes, found themselves in the Avian/Elf/Gnome controlled city of Highcrowne, the most ‘civilized’ place in the known world. Well, except for the fact that humans, like Eva, are pushed into the Outskirts, the dark garbage heap at the foot of the fabled city on the hill. Oh, and don’t forget that humans are also the slave labor that keeps Highcrowne’s very SteamPunk society running. Magic and machines, machines and magic. I loved it.

Eva’s family brought its power and dark magic with them when they came. They now rule over the Outskirts, wallowing in power, their hands in every evil, and yes, profitable, industry ripe for the picking. But Eva is determined, from a very young age, not to become what her family is – what her identical twin so easily became. So, she walks away, working in a café and living in a tiny apartment. She may not be rich, she may not be powerful, but above all? Eva is determined to keep her soul as her own.

Then her brother, the one ‘good’ person in her life, is murdered, his heart ripped out and taken away. Soul magic. And unless Eva can find his killer, and hopefully find his heart, Viktor’s soul will forever be captured and used for unknown, but certainly purely evil, purposes. Surrounded by family, who want to turn her to their Solhan ways (well, except for her twin, who just wants her to suffer greatly before slaughtering her), and a variety of human, gnomish, and ‘other’ people hanging around her and offering to ‘help’ for reasons of their own, Eva’s story is harsh, brutal, and obsessively readable. Finding her brother’s killer is going to be hard enough. But keeping her soul intact? That may be impossible.

I picked Tangle of Thornes up for free on May first and sat down this afternoon after wearing myself out with gardening (it was warm today, Yea!!). It is midnight now and I just finished the book. I hadn’t read the description (see what a good cover can do? It caught my eye and I opened it on my eReader) but I also wanted something by an author I hadn’t read before that had a female lead, and I picked it up. The first paragraph caught my attention, then I was all in.

“I’ve read a few of those hard-boiled detective novels. You know, The Maltese Griffin, Murder on the Troll Road … the classics. But none of them ever mentioned the smell. Mr. Hylar, my last hope, smelled like old sweat mixed with fermented stomach contents, some of which stained his shirt collar. City elves were like their country cousins: filthy.”

OK, THIS I can get behind! No tall, willowy Elves with long, shiny locks blowing in a magical breeze? Something Different! Whoot!

The second book in the series is A Thorne for a Crown. 28280519I won’t read the description of this one either, I will just wade right in. I don’t watch the “what’s happening next” at the end of a show I am watching either – I would rather watch it than have it described to me, so I will do the same here. I had to slap my own hand to keep myself from punching the “Read For Free” button when it popped up at the end, but I will wait or I will be up the rest of the night and into the morning!

Teaser Tuesday – Trying To Get Back Into My Groove!

I have been more “off” than  on lately, but with good weather coming soon I am starting to come out of hibernation. Yawwwwwn!!!

TeaserTuesday-ADailyRhythm

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser Tuesday for today is from Grand Theft Griffin: Book Three of Fantasy and Forensics by Michael Angel. If you don’t have it yet, you should!

Newscasters in Fall’s slick new fashions describe the gusts off the desert plateaus to the east of the city the Santa Ana. But the cops know better. They cal it el viento del diablo, the Devil’s Wind, and it does strange things to people at a time when the rest of the country is out shopping for witches’ hats and carving pumpkins.

Sometimes, the winds bring a warning. And this time, there is a very good possibility that not all will survive. If you haven’t read the first two in the series, click the cover below and you can download all three books!

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Alaskan Fire – Book One, Guardians of the First Realm by Sara King – A Keeper

“The best fantasy is written in the language of dreams. It is alive as dreams are alive, more real than real … for a moment at least … that long magic moment before we wake.” – George R. R. Martin

It wasn’t supposed to be, well, “easy,” not exactly. I mean, moving into an isolated, 10,000 square foot fishing lodge in the backwoods of Alaska isn’t for the weak of heart or soul. But when you inherit a good bit of money, just enough to buy your dream, it is hard to think about all the things that can happen when you are a 6’4” woman with orange hair, huge feet, and a childhood wish to run a back country fishing lodge. So, Blaze dove in, monster feet first. But, well, yeah. Stuff happens.

“Stuff” like your handyman suddenly turning into a were wolverine and attacking not an hour after the bush plane drops her off on the banks of Lake Ebony on the Yentna River. Yep. Things are going downhill from here, toot sweet. Oh, werewolves and wolverine, dragons and Thunderbird and, well, you get the point. And baby, “Something Wicked definitely this way comes…” But, darn it, this is HER place – even if a curmudgeonly, foul tempered, bad mouthed wolverine IS accusing her of being some kind of fantasy creature bent on elbowing in on “his” territory. Hey, she has the proof of her ownership of those thirty acres in her safety deposit box! Jerk.

I was truly surprised and thrilled to find a new-to-me author I am now so enthralled with. Alaskan Fire is a new sort of beast. A fantasy/paranormal with new and fascinating world and character building. Yes, there are the “standard” list of fantasy characters. Weres and dragons, etcetera. But done with an interesting twist of characterization and storyline that created a book I honestly couldn’t put down. And rather than gulping the book in huge bites, I savored it, taking my time and learning to love a couple of pretty unusual oddballs. Let’s face it. Jack the wereverine is someone that I would normally absolutely “despise” in any other situation. From the first, I hated him. I mean really hated him. But stepping back, I began to learn who he was, deep down. All the millennia of being alive, through a time when man was barely walking erect, through the Bronze Age, the Iron Age, and beyond . . . centuries without measure, filled with love and loss and more pain than any one creature should be forced to bear. Yep. Jack is a piece of work. And before it was over, well, I may never be a charter member of the Jack Fan Club, but I absolutely want to continue the story. Because this? Well, this was awesome.

“I read once that the ancient Egyptians had fifty words for sand & the Eskimos had a hundred words for snow. I wish I had a thousand words for love, but all that comes to mind is the way you move against me while you sleep & there are no words for that.” ― Brian Andreas, Story People: Selected Stories & Drawings of Brian Andreas

I will warn you that Ms. King has an obsessive love affair with misplaced and unnecessary commas, as well as unnecessary hyphens, so expect it. Yes, she needs an editor. But her writing overall is so compelling even I was able to overlook it. And that is pretty darn special. Oh, and this is not the “meet the guy and hump him within five minutes” story. This is much, much better than that. Those are fine, in their place, but this is a real, honest to goodness novel with power to spare. There is a somewhat “HEA” … but I see a lot more in store for Blaze and Jack than some simple ending. A lot more.

“Alaskan Fire” is the first of Sara King’s “Guardians of the First Realm” series. Book two is “Alaskan Fury” and I already have it downloaded. Here’s a hint for Were and Human alike – these are Kindle Unlimited, so what are you waiting for?!

 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Price Point

We have been discussing pricing lately, and when I came across this on Chapters Indigo › Boxing Day Canada I couldn’t help but bring this up.

What do you think? Is $39.99, lowered by 11% on Indigo to $35.59, an insane price? Or am I just too bloody cheap to pay that much for two part of a serial that is no-telling-how-long??? (Info below courtesy of Indigo.ca)

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts I and II (Special Rehearsal Edition): The Official Script Book of the Original West End ProductionHarry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts I and II (Special Rehearsal Edition): The Official Script…

by J K Rowling, Jack Thorne, John Tiffany

$39.99 list price
$35.59 online

SCHOLASTIC INC | July 31, 2016 | Hardcover

Not yet rated | write a review

The Eighth Story.  Nineteen Years Later. 

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage.  The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted.  As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

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