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Magical Stories

Playing With Fire: A Magical Romantic Comedy (With A Body Count) – R.J. Blain

“Warning: This novel contains excessive humor, action, excitement, adventure, magic, romance, and bodies. Proceed with caution.” — R.J. Blain — Playing With Fire: A Magical Romantic Comedy (With A Body Count)

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OK, Really? Who could possibly bypass that sort of intro? Of course, I am a HUGE R.J. Blain fan, so pretty much anything she writes I read. The Balancing the Scales series and the Witch and Wolf series are personal favorites, both Urban Fantasy and both marvelous. She also writes a wide range of other tales, from Magical Apocalyptic to Sci-Fi and, yes, Pack tales.  Oh, and don’t forget immortal pirates! Something for all.

Playing With Fire is something different again – and once more her wit, creativity, and the ability to craft a tale well outside the common is a winner. Baily Gardner is not your common-and-garden barista – not when she spikes your java with pixie dust on request. Of course, spiking drinks all day is often much more pleasant than her other job. You know, the one that requires cleaning up the world’s nastiest magical substances. I mean, come on! Who would voluntarily clean up gorgon vomit? And for “a cute little pittance” no less. Sigh.

I refuse to say more. You have GOT to read this yourself! But be careful about drinking or eating while you are reading. You might just wind up with your drink sprayed all over your tablet.

Just sayin’.

Highly Recommended!  Ms. Blain says she is bringing out at least two follow-ups (hopefully this year!) and I can hardly WAIT!

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Review: By Darkness Revealed by Kevin O. McLaughlin

12416486“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.” ― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

“Child, child, do you not see? For each of us comes a time when we must be more than what we are.”
― Lloyd Alexander, The Black Cauldron

Recruit Ryan Blackwell’s father was determined that he not follow in his grandfather’s footsteps, and used his power and lawyerly clout to make sure it didn’t happen. No West Point. No Valley Forge or Citadel. Ryan would, come hell or high water, bend to his father’s will. But there wasn’t much he could do about it when Ryan was recruited to Northshield University – the same military college his grandfather attended – with a full scholarship. No, Ryan simply packed a small bag and boarded a bus.

At first, Northshield was everything he expected. Reveille at oh’ dark thirty each morning. Grueling PT, strict regulations, and screaming Drill Sergeant Upper Classmen with quick tempers and a tendency to make life on campus utterly miserable if they wished. Just what he expected, just what he wanted from his experience as an ROTC college student.

But then? Things got bad. It started simply at first. Magical motes, like tiny bits of fairy dust, dive bombing him as he ran through a creek, attempting to stay ahead off the pack of his fellow freshmen out for a grueling PT run. But then the motes attacked, and one of his fellow classmen went down. And as much as Recruit Blackwell wanted to hide who he was, and what he could do, he couldn’t let his fellow freshman drown. So, he stepped in.

His secret laid bare to two of the upperclassmen, the story begins to grow and evolve into something horrific. For something is trapped on the grounds of Northshield University. And when a twisted recruit pulls part of the darkness out of its prison below ground, people begin to die in horrific ways. And though Ryan is just a freshman with a bit of magic and no training, it seems he is the only one with any sort of knowledge that might trap the darkness back into its prison – and ascertain that the true monstrosity trapped so very long ago isn’t released upon the world.

In a lot of ways, this could have been just some YA story of a young man gaining amazing magical powers and riding in to save the day. Luckily, it turned out to be a much better book than that. Ryan knows he isn’t strong, he isn’t trained or knowledgeable. But he is ready to go all out, to give his own life if necessary, to stop what is happening. He has a good heart, a good soul, and a strong link to the strength his grandfather displayed in the Second World War. He isn’t cocky, he doesn’t suddenly gain super powers. He is just a college freshman with a bit of talent, a will to learn, and some quirky abilities he has had to learn to control in order to keep himself sane – and make sure others think he is as well. Of course, on a campus where weird things happen, and two or three students a year die under ‘unusual’ circumstances, there are those who watch out for anyone who appears who seems a bit odd, a bit like they are there for less than your bog standard military school reasons. So Ryan finds a friend or two. But when push comes to shove? Yeah. It’s all pretty much on him.

Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect from By Darkness Revealed. I just felt like something a bit magic, a bit horror, and this is the first thing that popped up on my reader that fit the bill. I dove in, and from the first page I was hooked. I added it to my collection from a ‘Freebie’ email (it is Free on Amazon) – probably because I liked the cover, to tell the truth – I certainly wouldn’t have picked it up from reading that it was a “coming of age” book – that isn’t my thing normally. But it kept me riveted from page one, so I am very glad I did. The only thing I can really fault it on is lack of backstory for Ryan – that would have helped me understand him more.

Review: A Little Night Magic by Lucy March – The Audible Edition

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“Be Careful what you wish for . . .”

Olivia Kiskey should have remembered that. I mean really – she should have learned that particular lesson when standing on the magic linoleum square by booth nine at Crazy Cousin Betty’s Waffle House granted her wish. But again – be careful what you wish for. Like when she wished on the magic square for “a little more space” from her college boyfriend, Charlie. Two days later? Yep. He dumped her for his roommate – Neal. Sigh.

“A Little Night Magic” starts out funny, and Amanda Ronconi does a beautiful job of narration, her slightly nasal voice is completely believable as Olivia.

When Olivia decides she is finally going to give up her crush on Tobias the cook, sell the house her mother left her, and travel to Scotland, well, people really don’t know what to think. And when Olivia finds out that she can turn objects to animals, things get really whacky . . .

There are things I liked about A Little Night Magic. Olivia is a fun character – she has been stuck in a small town, working as a waitress, for years. As she says, “Spontaneity without commitment is just wishful thinking.” So, in six weeks, she is outta-there. Well, at least that is what she is planning. For a twenty-eight year old, she is very ‘young.’ So when Davina, a supposed ‘magical person’ shows up, and things start getting interesting, Olivia starts learning new things – the hard way. Davina is sure that Olivia is magical – and is determined to teach her. Hence, the whole ‘my coffee mug is now named Gibson’ thing. There are secrets, evil, a stranger chasing her – and the people she has known all her life are even stranger.

Then there are the things that could have been done much better. The give-and-take between Olivia and Tobias is aggravating, to say the least. Tobias is passive-aggressive, the people trying to ‘help’ her are more harmful than helpful, and Olivia’s innocence, in my opinion, is laid on a bit thick. This is a ‘fluffy’ book – which I really don’t mind at all – but Olivia’s ‘friends’ are spiteful and the mystery was figured out within the first couple of chapters, which really doesn’t work for me. The other thing that really disappointed me? The “Bad Guy” is truly evil. And yet, instead of doing something about it, or helping others with the ability do something about it, Olivia is a complete gutless weenie loser. I mean, come ON! You have the ability to stop a murderous megalomaniac – and yet you are too cowardly to stop that person?

So, Olivia pretty much ends up in the “too stupid to live” category, as others have said. And that is a shame, because the concept was good – it was the execution that let me down.

New Release by Deanna Chase

I just received the following and had to share it with you. I didn’t realize I was so far behind on the Jade Calhoun Series. This one is on my list – now I just have to find time to read it… oh, and catch up on Jade’s goings-on… and everything else on my reading list!
Intoxicating Magic is here!

Hi Everyone,
Just a note to let you know the third book in the Crescent City Fae series is now available on all retailers. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.
Buy links for Intoxicating Magic:
Willow Rhoswen is finally coming to terms with the fact that Talisen—the healer she thought was the love of her life—has left town and is trying to move on when a rogue vampire poisons three of Allcot’s guards. With his most trusted security team on the verge of death, the notorious Cryrique leader orders Willow to bring Talisen back to New Orleans before it’s too late.But when she gets to her hometown of Eureka, California, Willow once again finds herself the target of her brother’s murderer. And suddenly no one is who they seem. With spies, secrets, and undercover missions to navigate, Willow’s determined to not only survive but to do whatever it takes to protect the ones she loves, all while hopefully getting her happily-ever-after.
Thanks for reading,
Deanna!
Influential Magic is free:Get the eBook for FREE on 9/3-9/6


New Release Dates:
Accepting Fate (Destiny series book 2) – Nov 2014
Incubus of Bourbon Street (Jade Calhoun Series, book 6) – Dec 2014
Shattered Souls (Destiny series book 3) – Early 2015

 

Audio!
The audio version of Defining Destiny is available! Now on Audible, iTunes, and Amazon. It’s narrated by the amazing Andi Arndt and Jeffrey Kafer.
In case you missed it, the first five Jade Calhoun books are here:
And this first two Crescent City Fae books are here:
Deanna Chase, PO Box 352, Independence, LA www.DeannaChase.com

My Friend SM Reine Has New Work Out!

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Beautiful cover! click to go to the Goodreads page for the Ascension Series!

I just received the following from Sara and just HAD to share it with you!

Well, rats. I found this in my Drafts file, apparently I wrote it up, but didn’t post it! What a dope I can be sometimes. Ah, well, better late than never, right?

The following information is from an email. All materials are the property of SM Reine and are not my personal creation.

And is that a great cover or what?

New Release from SM Reine!

Lost in prophecy – ASCENSION #5

Lost in Prophecy
Available now!

Amazon Kindle USUKCADE

Barnes & Noble Nook

Apple iBookstore (iPhone/iPad)

Kobo Books

Elise Kavanagh is too busy liberating slaves in the City of Dis to worry about what’s happening on Earth. She hasn’t even noticed that more than three thousand people have gone missing—not until an anonymous client hires her organization, The Hunting Club, to rescue them. The man asking for help doesn’t seem to exist. But the trail of clues is too strange to ignore, and she finds herself caught in the investigation.

Werewolf Alpha Rylie Gresham is absorbed in troubles of her own. The pack is disobeying her, and the cult camped out in Northgate seems to be the source of the problem. Her mate, Abel, has resolved to fix it one way or another—even if it means going over Rylie’s head and killing their enemies.

Through secrets, lies, and assassination attempts, Elise and Rylie find that they have a new enemy in common. And what it takes to prevail might mean shattering the universe…

A Note from Sara:

Dear readers,

Many of you have been asking me how long The Ascension Series is going to run. Right now, it’s looking like it’s going to wrap up at seven books, just like The Descent Series. I’m expecting book #6 (Torn by Fury) to be ready in the summer, and the final book will be out before November.

Although this will be the end of The Ascension Series, it won’t be the end of this crazy world filled with angels, demons, werewolves, and cats named Sir Lumpy! I have a lot more planned. I think you’ll understand why as you read the final books. 🙂

Thanks for joining me on this crazy journey! Your support means the world to me!

– Sara (SM Reine)

http://authorsmreine.com/

Coming Soon!

alphas
Click to go to the Facebook page for Alphas After Dark!

I have a brand new book called “Caged Wolf” coming out in the Alphas After Dark boxed set on April 1st. I’ll send an email once it’s out, or you can follow the Alphas Facebook group here! We’re posting giveaways and excerpts. You don’t want to miss out on this, trust me!

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© SM Reine

 

Dowser Series Cover Reveals

If you haven’t read The first two books, pick them up today and prepare yourself! The cover reveal will be on my site on MAY 1 and I would love for you to drop by and see it.
These new covers are beautiful!

Made by Meghan

I’d been thinking about rebranding the Dowser series for awhile, and knowing I was about to publish the third book in the series this seemed like the perfect timing. I adore Irene Langholm, who has done ALL of my book covers up to this point, but together we thought another cover designer might bring some lightness or playfulness to the covers.

And so entered Elizabeth Mackey.

We went with simple, strong branding – chocolate hues, of course – and I really, really love them.

Cupcakes _2nd book cover          Trinkets_2ndbook cover

I know, I know you want to see the third book!! How about a teaser and a cover reveal date to tide you over?

treasures_coverreveal_taste

Please feel feel to share, share, share!!

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Look What M. K. Clinton Won!!!!!!

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Congratulations M. K. Clinton!!!!!!

I AM SO PROUD OF YOU!!!!

The Returns. 4.7 stars on 146 reviews. $2.99. Action. Adventure. Humor.

WAY TO GO BENTLEY AND THE REST OF THE RETURNS!!!

thereturns
If you haven’t read it yet, you should! If you love happy, humourous, wonderful books, this one is great! It is being read to everyone from retirement home residents, children, even prison residents – making everyone smile!!!!!

 

Get Excited —– Jazz is on her way BACK!

Just did my first beta read of Fallen Eyes by J. K. Walker. I can’t tell you how excited I am. It is always such a thrill when I can follow the career of new writers and watch them grow. Especially when they grow into wonderful storytellers!

glacial eyes
The first book in the Series.
Click to order your copy.

I first found J. K. Walker when he asked for a review of his first book in his Salt Lake After Dark series, Glacial Eyes (Salt Lake After Dark, #1). Anyone who knows me and my reading style knows that I love a strong, thoughtfully designed female character, and Jazz most certainly met that requirement. An orphan, Jazz is putting herself through school, sharing an apartment with her best friend and her gray tomcat Loki. An attempted rape at an outdoor party leads to Jazz discovering she is much more than what she thought – in more ways than one.

Unlike a lot of female ‘heroines’ Jazz was neither whiny nor an unbelievable super-heroine. Instead, her strength is tempered by a knowledge of how much she doesn’t know, and how much she still has to learn about who, and what, she is. Yep, I was absolutely HOOKED on the characters and storyline of what goes on in Salt Lake After Dark!

The second book, Hollow Eyes continued the series, as Jazz became more knowledgeable about her new condition and about the strange new world she now inhabits. Now a supernatural problem solver, Jazz has a new and difficult life, a new boyfriend who is far from being a “real boy” and a cannibal running the streets of Salt Lake City that she is expected to find and destroy. Wow. A bit of a change, from simple college student to supernatural enforcer!

hollow eyes
The second book in the series.
Click to order your copy.

I have to admit, as much as I loved the first two books, I held out a star, giving them four-stars in my reviews. Bad Leiah – I was holding out to see where the series went, and by this time I was talking with J. K. Walker about his series and characters and truly beginning to love the stories he was writing.

sanguine pic
The third book in the series.
Click to order your copy!

Then came the third book, Sanguine Eyes. Now, finally, that final star comes out, a five-star read. Up until now, Jazz has faced a serial killer, a berserker, a wendigo, and even a zombie invasion. Damn, girl! That is a LOT to ask from a college girl, wouldn’t you say? And yet, now things get even stranger, as a mystical drug called Sanguine drives human addicts to have the horrifying strength and speed of vampires – and even less control.

Now, J. K. Walker is well on his way to delivering Fallen Eyes, the fourth in the series – and this one is all set to blow even the excellence of the last three out of the water. Jazz has grown, mentally, emotionally, and physically through the last three books, and this installment is pulling her character development together, bringing her knowledge, her strength, and her pain, into sharp focus. Currently loosely scheduled for a January release, you have to put this on your “must purchase” list if you are at all interested in a brilliant urban fantasy world. You will not be disappointed. Walker is fast approaching the strength of some of my favorite authors, such as Charles deLint and the team of Ilona Andrews.

Check out the two short-stories by Walker set in the Salt Lake After Dark world. In My Time of Dying, an Amazon Freebie the heartbreaking and hopeful story of David and Angel, and Frat House of the Dead, which gives you more background on one of my favorite secondary characters, Rachel the Technowitch.

This series is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!

J. K. Walker is a Utah native that has been telling stories since he was first able to talk. Author of the “Salt Lake After Dark” series that follows Jasmine Bedeau and her friends, both normal and supernatural, through their adventures in a paranormal world hidden within our own.

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