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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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Ready To Return To Hell? Caith Morningstar Is BACK!

30866647“I have always marveled that so many religions exact such revenge against dissenters. It only weakens the appeal of their faith and contradicts any claims they might have made that ‘all religions are basically the same.'” – Ravi Zacharias

Caith Morningstar was there when the first brick of the Mouse’s house was laid. Order. Secrecy. That is all she asked. Orlando is her city. Her place of peace, where demons (dems), angels (gels) and tweens (‘other’) come to rest, relax, and visit her bar, Hell’s Chapel. Well, when you are the niece of “The” Morningstar, have an unending life and a very, well, let’s say ‘eclectic’ family, you deserve a little peace. – Review, So, I Read This Book Today, Hell’s Chapel by Lauren Creed (Celia Kyle)

 

Caith Morningstar may desperately want peace in her city, and most particularly in her life – but as the Pussycat Dolls say,

Be careful what you wish for
‘Cause you just might get it
You just might get it
You just might get it”

Caith wished to be with her mate, Samkiel. So not happening. Half-fallen Angel of Destruction, On High had him in time-out on Earth for forgiving someone he wasn’t supposed to forgive. But when Sam saved Caith and newborn baby brownie Bryony, the last living member of Caith’s band of brownie friends, from a mad wizard with a true hard-on against Caith, he was cast down – as in, way way down, to the 9th circle of Hell. Well. That sucks.

After the violence, terror and death of Hell’s Chapel, Caith is incredibly pissed. Solution? Kick every stinkin’ demon out of Orlando. Hum… how’s that workin’ out for you Caith?

Apparently? Not all that well.

It has been a year, and Caith is bored out of her mind not having demon fanny to kick around in her bar, Hell’s Chapel. But she has baby Bryony to raise, she has her friends and her five fathers (don’t ask, just read ;-)) and life is moving along. Until baby Bryony gets sick. Now, there really Will be Hell to Pay.

Hell’s Gates picks up Caith’s story and runs with it, feet blazing. While you may know Celia Kyle better as a Paranormal Romance writer of such series as Ridgeville and Grayslake, and more recently her Alien-Shifter-SciFi series, The Ujal and Dragons of Preor, the Caith Morningstar series is quickly becoming my favorite overall. Caith is a 600-year-old, kick-ass half-demon with attitude to spare, a disturbing habit of killing first and asking questions never . . . and a heart as big and kind as five amazing fathers can make her. Well, even though her mother is the sister of “The” Morningstar, and “quite possibly the worst mother ever…” Caith knows one thing that all the demons in the world will never understand. Love. And when you mess with those Caith loves? Be prepared, cause she is gonna kill you. And bring you back to kill you again. And again. And Again. And when Caith decides you are going to hurt, you are going to hhuuuurrrrtttttt.

You GO Girl!

You will enjoy Hell’s Gates much more if you pick up Hell’s Chapel and read it first. Both are marvelous, but you can’t really understand what Caith has been through, what she has suffered, and why, unless you pick up from the first. Besides. These books are marvelous!!!

And you have no reason not to – Celia’s work is on Kindle Unlimited, where you can

Read For Free!!!

I received Hell’s Gate from Celia in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own – and you know I won’t lead you wrong!

The Huntress is BACK! Alexandra Sokoloff’s Bitter Moon In Preorder!

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NEW HUNTRESS BOOK!

Bitter Moon, Book 4 of the Huntress/FBI Thrillers, is now available for pre-order.

From Alexandra’s email this morning:

Bitter Moon is in some ways the most mystical of the books, parallel storylines set in the California desert, as Special Agent Matthew Roarke and fourteen-year old Cara must join forces to stop a horrific series of rapes and murders — separated by sixteen years in time.

The first three books are absolutely stunning, and I am sure the fourth will be the same. Click the photos below to go to Alexandra’s page on Amazon and grab them to read before Bitter Moon comes out, and check out her other books as well.

 [cover: Huntress Moon]  [cover: Blood Moon] [cover: Cold Moon]

JUNE SALE — $1.99!!

The first three books of the Thriller Award-nominated Huntress Moon series are on sale for just $1.99 each on Amazon US in June! If you haven’t caught up with the series, here’s your chance to get a great deal.

To get the deal, go here and use the code: READJUNE16.

Prior to making your purchase, click the Enter the Code button, enter READJUNE16, and click the “Apply” button.

And! (Drum roll Please!!!) As you will know if you are familiar with Alexandra’s work, she is an incredible screenwriter as well as a novelist. And NOW!

HUNTRESS TV SERIES!

It’s back to film writing for me — I just finished the pilot for the Huntress TV series, currently in development. Next we go out to directors and actors, so if you have any casting wishes, I’d love to hear who you’d like to see play Roarke, Cara, Epps, Singh, Rachel, Snyder, Jade, Mills, et al. More news to come….

OK, yes, I am squeeeeing like a Fan Girl! I will have to start thinking about who should play the characters. They need to be actors with gravitas . . . do they make those any more?!?!

The Dowser Series by Meghan Ciana Doidge on Audible.com!

Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic: Dowser Series #1 | Meghan Ciana DoidgeThe Dowser Series is out on AUDIBLE!! Wooo Hooooo!
Here is my review of the first in the series, Cupcakes, Trinkets, and other Deadly Magic:

Meghan, Meghan, Meghan! I am expecting cupcake stocks to sail through the roof, and a run on cupcake ingredients at local markets just from reading this book. Whee!!!

OK, listen to this . . . Bliss in a Cup – peanut butter-iced fudge cake (did I say fudge cake? OMG wait a sec, I have to go get a towel . . . whew, there)  Now, where was I? Oh, yes. Sex in a Cup – chocolate butter icing with a wallop of cinnamon and cocoa in the batter. Or, this particular favorite of mine, Buzz in a Cup – mocha fudge cake with mocha butter icing . . . oh, yes, I could go on, but I might swoon from pure overload. . .

Jade is a sweetheart. A nice young half witch, half human (maybe. . . ) with a nasty tempered foster sister, a wild earth witch grandmother, and a cupcake bakery. A very popular cupcake bakery with a reputation for ‘magical’ tasting cupcakes. She has a quiet life, happy with her baking, her trinket making and her quiet, apparently fulfilling life.

Then, of course, things change. And not in a nice way. Poor Jade. Life will never be the same. Apparently she isn’t who she thought she was. But then, who is she?

Cupcakes, hot werewolves, cupcakes, mystery, oh, did I mention cupcakes? Yummy, luscious, delicious, chocolate, fudge. . . Oh. My. Goddess. The hardest thing about reading the book? First, I am dying for cupcakes now. And second? Hurry! Hurry! Write the next one, Meghan! Please!

Highly recommended.

Now, all the books (except for #5, which isn’t up yet, but I am sure it will be!) are on Audible for your listening enjoyment. And the first book is only $2.99! So grab your copy while you can at that price, because you are going to want to buy them all!

Review: Night of the Living Demon Slayer by Angie Fox

Night of the Living Demon Slayer (Demon Slayer, #7)Angie Fox just keeps the fun going! Amazon’s ‘Freebie” program turned up a jewel when I found the first book of this series, The Accidental Demon Slayer. As I said in that review, “I am thrilled to say I wound up with a ruby. Hey, I like rubies better than diamonds, so sue me!”

“Come on, who wouldn’t be thrilled to have a kick-butt, 70-something, pink-Harley-riding grandma show up on your doorstep on your 30th birthday to help you kick demon backside? Well, if you happen to be the ‘turning-thirty-preschool-teacher” hiding in the bathroom from said grandma, things can get a bit confusing, but come on. A Pink Harley? Got to love it!”

“And the action only starts there. Strap your hyperactive Jack Russell into a ferret bag across your chest, hop on the back of Grandma’s Hog, (even if you do get carsick in anything faster than a tricycle) and take off for the Red Skull Hog Ridin’ Grannies biker bar, with demons in pursuit. What happens after had me grinning like a crazed biker granny myself, as Lizzie and Grandma kick fanny and take names across the American South – and a good portion of Hell.”

Night of the Living Demon Slayer” is Book Seven of the Demon Slayer Series, and I have to say, this one is just as good as the first one. I haven’t had an opportunity to read the ‘in-between’ books yet, but I was still able to read this one and greatly enjoy it without reading them. But I do have the rest of them on my list and fully intend to read them. They are just too much fun not to.

This time, Lizzie and the hog ridin’ grannies, along with Pirate the talking Jack Russell and Flappy the white dragon (yep, Lizzie has all the cool pets!) are headed to New Orleans to help out Carpenter, a Necromancer Lizzie owes a favour, take out a zombie white alligator. Yep. It is bound to be exciting – and it doesn’t disappoint. Action and adventure, zombies and voodoo, oh yes – this is some great fun!

Let yourself relax, open your mind to the fun, and enjoy this series. It isn’t serious, so don’t expect it to be. Just be prepared to appreciate it for what it is – a rip-roaring good time!

Overall, Angie goes in my ‘must read when I am reading just for myself’ pile. She made me laugh, and her story was a pure, guilty pleasure. What more can I ask?

Recommended.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own. Thank you, Season Publishing and Angie Fox!!

Review: Wolf With Benefits (Pride #8) Shelly Laurenston

“My own view is that this planet is used as a penal colony, lunatic asylum and dumping ground by a superior civilisation, to get rid of the undesirable and unfit. I can’t prove it, but you can’t disprove it either.” – Christopher Hitchens

“I accept chaos, I’m not sure whether it accepts me.” – Bob Dylan

Wolf with Benefits (Pride, #8)Antonella ‘Toni’ Jean-Louis Parker’s life is, well, let’s just say “unusual”. As the oldest child of eleven children, you would expect that a lot of the load for child care would fall to her. But when all your brothers and sisters are prodigies, totally absorbed in themselves, well, it is sort of like herding cats. Really spoiled, really demanding, really obnoxious cats. And everyone dumps their complete and total care (and really difficult scheduling) on Toni. ‘Toni I Want’, ‘Toni Do This, Toni Do That’ – nothing like being personal slave to ten little monsters . . . And sweet, gentle Toni simply takes it on herself to do it all, with no complaints. But she is getting pretty tired of it – especially when her mother tosses their lives into chaos once again, throwing all the careful plans and schedules out the window in order to keep the family in New York to stalk the wolf teenager across the street who lives with the Wild Dog Pack. Well, she really does want to mentor him! Being a music prodigy herself, mum is a little odd. Ok, let’s call a spade a spade. The whole freakin’ family is nuts – except for ‘normal’ Toni and their ‘normal’ father.

This is Shelly Laurenston, so I always know when I pick up one of hers I am going to enjoy it. Especially her Pride series. These books are hugely fun. I skipped around more than a bit, reading and reviewing the first in the series, The Mane Event, then the ninth, Bite Me and I got tremendous pleasure out of both of those, (though I admit to enjoying Bite Me more than The Mane Event – the female character was more likeable to me in that one, and I feel like she hadn’t really hit her stride in the first book. And Wolf With Benefits keeps the humor going – I literally laughed uproariously the whole time I was working on stripping down and cleaning every inch of my kitchen all day. What made it even better is that I listened this time instead of reading, and Charlotte Kane made it all just that much better. As I said in a previous review, “I read the first two of Shelly Laurenston’s “Pride” series quite some time ago and remember liking them, and finding them rather funny. “Bite Me” is sooo much more! I laughed so hard all through the book I had tears running down my face. The story is great, but the characters make the book. From Tennessee hillbillies (and proud of it) to savants in everything from art to music to science, Shelly takes what could be cliché characters and make them so much more. There is tremendous humor here, but also depth – the love of family and friends, the sacrifices friends are willing to make, and a lot about love and duty, greed and egotism – and the best way to break into an unbreakable vault, of course. No breaking into unbreakable vaults this time, but when one of the children is taken, family and friends will move heaven and earth to get him back.

If you are in the mood for laughter, if you are feeling blue and need a lift, and want a story populated with quirky characters, you can’t go wrong with the Pride series. The first two were more of the typical ‘paranormal romance’ with some humor thrown in – lots of sex and not as much story. Bite Me and Wolf With Benefits? LOTS of story, lots of laughs, and a tiny bit of very well-done sex – lagniappe rather than main course! Ricky Lee Reed is one of the infamous Smith Pack – hillbilly redneck wolves with good hearts, hard heads, lots of fight and really, really scary family members. But Ricky Lee is a bit different from his brothers – in a very good way I found quite appealing. He is perfect for this story as Toni’s bodyguard when she travels to Siberia to meet with the Russians Bears – who happen to loath canines. And of course, a Jackal and a Wolf are not going to get the friendliest of welcomes . . .

I know where my Audible credits are going to be going for a bit – grabbing up the rest of the series in audio instead of simply reading them. Charlotte makes the stories come alive!

If you enjoy my reviews, please click over to Amazon.com and choose “This review was helpful”. It will help raise my site standings and help draw attention to the books I review. Thank you!

Review: Speaking in Bones by Kathy Reichs – A Must Read

Speaking in Bones (Temperance Brennan, #18)“Lost. Murdered. Dumped. Unclaimed. This country’s overflowing with the forgotten dead. And somewhere someone’s wondering about each and every one of those souls.” — Hazel “Lucky” Strike, Websleuth, Speaking in Bones, Kathy Reichs

UIDs. That is what they are called in the US. Unidentified Remains. The remains of a human being, a collection of bones, sometimes a whole skeleton, sometimes only bits and pieces. They collect in storage rooms, stuffed into cardboard boxes, lonely and forgotten. They are planted in pauper’s graves, sometimes cremated, sometimes misidentified as deer or bear bones and left where they lie. That is, if they are found at all.

Overburdened and underfunded police and labs can’t prioritize them, and even when they try, the forms utilized by the FBI are, literally, 30-pages long. Not something a police officer asks family members to  work through when reporting a missing person, so even if remains are found, finding the right name is a shot in the dark by a blind, drunken shooter. It simply doesn’t happen. Something had to be done – and Speaking In Bones tells the tale of what normal, everyday people are willing to do to find the links – to identify UIDs and return them to where they belong.

The woman sitting in Temperance Brennan’s office chair plays a horrifying soundtrack. Two male voices, one female. And the female is begging, literally, for the torture to stop.

“Please don’t kill me.

“Please don’t kill me.

“Please.

“Kill me.”

Hazel “Lucky” Strike is an odd, and possibly dangerous, new being to Tempe. A “Websleuth”, one of a growing group of everyday people who spend their time and efforts researching missing persons and unidentified remains, attempting to find a match, to bring the remains home. Simplistically, they match bodies to people ‘gone missing’. And while Tempe immediately jumps in with “That is the task of law enforcement in conjunction with coroners and medical examiners” she soon must admit that the situation truly isn’t handled by any of the above. Not really. Even though NCIC (National Criminal Information Center) recently NCIC MP and UID Data, eighty percent of coroners and MEs rarely or never even try to match MPs and UIDs. The bones simply go in a box and get stuck on a shelf, forgotten once again. And while Tempe comes across quite sanctimonious and holier-than-thou at first, she soon is intrigued by Lucky’s idea. The woman thinks she has identified a UID. A UID Tempe has in a box on her own shelf. Digging further, Tempe gets another shock. At any one time, there are 90,000 missing persons in the United States. In the past fifty years, the cases of unidentified remains, most never identified at all, runs upwards of 40,000. Forty thousand human beings whose families will never know what happened to their loved ones.

Tempe can’t resist a mystery, and this one crawls in and settles under her skin. And what happens becomes a horrifying story of obsession, zealotry, and twisted murder that had me alternately reading compulsively and hitting the web to research websleuthing and the people who spend their time and money trying to bring the lost home.

Reichs does her normal outstanding job of not only brilliant research, but bringing her writing to life, giving it personality and a life of its own. The story is gripping, her characters compelling, and her grasp of the issues ‘behind the scenes’ kept me reading well past ‘dumb o’clock’. She layers the reality of websleuthing with a shocking modern day tale of religion, obsession, murder, psychology and bigotry that left me sitting here well after I had finished the book, shocked into meditative silence as I tried to absorb all that I read.

There is, of course, the issue of her relationship with Andrew Ryan, lieutenant-detective, Service des enquêtes sur les crimes contre la personne, Sûreté du Québec. In other words, a Detective Lieutenant with the Quebec Provincial Police and Tempe’s on-again-off-again lover and general pain in the backside. Things are just as volatile, and frustrating, there as they always have been. Enough said, other than to say that the roller coaster seems to be on the upswing now. Whether that will last is another question.

This book bounded to my “Top Five Reads of 2015” with a bullet with shocking ease. I encourage you to read it – it truly is the best of Reichs books that I can remember reading. It isn’t perfect, but it is perfectly stunning.

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

Publication Date July 21, 2015

For further information on Websleuthing, MPs and UDIs, here are a few sites. One thing that is pointed out in the book, and was further noted during my own research, is that people are people. There are some whacko, vitriolic head cases out there posting on the sites. There are, however, many more people who are honest, caring, normal human beings who simply want to help.

“It may well be that we will have to repent in this generation. Not merely for the vitriolic words and the violent actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence and indifference of the good people who sit around and say, “Wait on time.” — ― Martin Luther King Jr., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches

The following are only a few of the sites Ms. Reichs recommends in her book.

http://namus.gov/
http://untfsu.com/
http://www.doenetwork.org/
http://www.websleuths.com/

Review: Bear Attraction (Shifters Unbound 6.5) by Jennifer Ashley

18759787I am hooked on Jennifer Ashley’s “Shifters Unbound” series. Set in Austin, Texas – an old stomping ground of mine – the series is set in the Austin Shiftertown. After the outing of shifters, they are rounded up (no matter if they are living in the outback of Alaska – the humans turn them in… cretins!) and shoved into broken-down slums to live all together, wolves, cats, bears . . . wow. Humans are really dumb.

This edition of the series focuses on one of my favorite characters, Rebecca. A Kodiak bear, Rebecca is captured and removed from her home in the woods of Alaska (really, people? All the isolated acreage in Alaska, and you have to drag her all the way to Texas and stuff her in a house with four other bears?!) Used to being mostly alone and able to wander and roam at will, being stuffed into a house with so many others is uncomfortable, to say the least. And the shock collars shifters are forced to wear, to keep them from “Attacking Humans! Shriek!!” are not only uncomfortable and demeaning, the darn things HURT if you have to defend yourself from humans with guns . . . I have watched Rebecca through the other books in the series, and was glad to get to the book that focuses on her. After getting in trouble for going for a run in the wrong place (Stupid humans. Building their pharma company so near Shiftertown. Just what are they up to, anyway?? I don’t trust them!) Rebecca is forced into the care of Walker, a human male who is the muscle behind the Shifter policing agency, until a missing shifter groupie is found.

This book was a surprise given what Rebecca and Walker find during their search – a good surprise. I hope to learn more about that in future books – that Ms. Ashley doesn’t let that drop. This is definitely “summertime and the reading is easy” reading, but I always enjoy Ms. Ashley’s work.

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