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My Favorite Series

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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Review: Defensive Magic, A Lost Library Novel, Book Three by Kate Baray

24771540When people want to win they will go to desperate extremes. However, anyone that has already won in life has come to the conclusion that there is no game. There is nothing but learning in this life and it is the only thing we take with us to the grave—knowledge. If you only understood that concept then your heart wouldn’t break so bad. Jealousy or revenge wouldn’t be your ambition. Stepping on others to raise yourself up wouldn’t be a goal. Competition would be left on the playing field, and your freedom from what other people think about you would light the pathway out of hell.”  ― Shannon L. Alder

“There are many hidden truths behind a lie” ― Arlin Sailesh Kapadia

 

It’s magic, Lizzie. Science twists and turns when magic is applied. Lizzy has learned a lot about magic since she first learned what she truly is – a magical being. In Lost Library: Book One of this amazing series, I wrote Kate Baray has written a fast paced, interesting book which I glad to say is much more story than ‘romantic scenes.’ Her magical world building is both unusual and comprehensive, and made me smile over the creativity. Book Two continued the story in the same magically creative manner. Now, with Defensive Magic, Kate Baray pulls out all the stops and sharpens the focus of her series as things come to a head – for good and bad.

Returning from Prague after Lizzie’s kidnapping and the near death of John and others, Lizzie and John are travel worn, exhausted, and barely functional. Which makes things worse as they walk into not one, but two challenges to John’s position as Alpha of the Texas Pack. Rumours had been coming hard and fast while they fought Worth in Prague, but when they arrive back in Texas, things are much worse than expected. For challenges aren’t the only problem. The saying is you aren’t paranoid if they really are out to get you. And someone – or multiple someones – is out to get John, and the Texas Pack. There are those who don’t want to 22041005move out of the middle ages when it comes to pack politics. And they are willing to do anything – even destroy the whole pack, to make sure that contemporary thought and management doesn’t bring the pack into the present day.

edd8a-spiritedlegacy-1900x2850But the problems aren’t  only internal. There are outside influences which are bent on destruction of the pack as well. But is it only the pack that is under attack? Or is something else happening? Are larger actions moving politics and magic, larger goals and intentions surrounding John and Lizzie? Evil magic, nasty politics, hidden agendas. And not surprisingly, things, and people, are once again not whom they appear. It’s all here, and done in Baray’s beautiful style. Fast, exciting, and eminently readable, this is a great series and well worth your reading time. You can read my reviews for Lost Library and Spirited Legacy – and of course, purchase these three books at your favorite outlet!

Highly recommended! I would love a positive response on Amazon if you like my review. 😉

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Review: The Werewolf Whisperer by Camilla Ochlan and Bonita Gutierrez

The Werewolf WhispererThe most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire. – Ferdinand Foch

Any deviation is looked upon as a perversion, is feared, and is usually a target of hatred and prejudice. – Joey Skaggs

Fear is the most debilitating emotion in the world, and it can keep you from ever truly knowing yourself and others – its adverse effects can no longer be overlooked or underestimated. Fear breeds hatred, and hatred has the power to destroy everything in its path. – Kevyn Aucoin

 

Lucy Lowell’s life changed in an instant – an instant in which her partner with the LAPD Animal Cruelty Task Force, Officer Gabe Torres, was shot in the back. A moment when Gabe – changed. When fangs and claws grew, bones twisted, and a monster stood before her. Her life changed. And then life changed. For the whole world.

Now, the problems of walking the dog, training and, of course, housebreaking, gain a whole new meaning… as in, teaching the family teenager not to chew on the furniture or use the floor for a toilet. Nope, these aren’t your sexy, muscled up Alpha heroes so adored by us lovers of Urban Fantasy. Uh uh – this is “Jimmy, get off the couch!” “Sally! Spit out my Louboutin!” “Bad Tommy! No piddling on the carpet!” Since the appearance of the Kyon Virus, California really has “gone to the dogs” – and these dogs can definitely go feral. An estimated 1-in-20 Californians are struck down when the Virus appears. No one seems to know what it is, where it comes from, or even though it is supposedly limited to California, just how far it has truly spread.

Of course, as humans will, for every calm and positive person willing to accept the Afflicted into their lives and their worlds, for every family willing to work with and continue to love their newest furry family member, there are the cruel, the vicious, the hateful and the murderous. And then there is Lucy Lowell and her partner, Xochitl Magaña. Lucy, better known by the public as “The Werewolf Whisperer,” the woman who can calm your Hound, control your Feral, or help you retain your sanity by putting down your beloved child who has become a Werebeast. Life isn’t easy for Lucy and Xochitl – but it is about to get a lot uglier, and more dangerous, than they would have ever believed. For there is a lot more going on than appears on the surface – and all the kings horses and all the kings men may never be able to put the world back together again.

The Werewolf Whisperer is, in a word, brilliant. There is no trope to this book. Instead, the story is unusual, amazingly well thought out, mature, and definitely non-magical. While the whole book is excellent, the authors interest in and research regarding military, scientific and medical issues really grabbed me, keeping me deeply interested in not only the story of Lucy, Xoc and the other major and minor characters in the story – but also in how beautifully the technical issues of the book were handled. Of course, psychology plays a huge role in a world where your child, your wife, your husband, or even your grandmother suddenly devolves into a wolf – a wolf who may have the personality of the biggest, dumbest, happy-go-lucky Golden Retriever you ever saw — or of a rabid wolverine with a nasty hangnail.

Hate plays a huge part in the story. Humans hate anything, or anyone, they perceive as different from themselves. And Kyon provides just the excuse that the violent, the religious fanatics, the sad and savage and cruel and complete and totally whacked need to justify horrific actions.

So you handled him the way human beings always handle things that are bigger than they are. You banded together. Like hunters trying to bring down a mastodon. Like bullfighters trying to weaken a giant bull to prepare it for the kill. Pokes, taunts, teases. Keep him turning around. He can’t guess where the next blow was coming from. Prick him with barbs that stay under his skin. Weaken him with pain. Madden him. Because big as he is, you can make him do things. You can make him yell. You can make him run. You can make him cry. See? He’s weaker than you after all. – Orson Scott Card

Of course, poking and prodding at the ‘dogs’ just won’t satisfy the hate when guns and torture work so very well. And being able to train and communicate with the ‘newly furry’ places Lucy square in the crosshairs of the religious fanatics, sure that the Kyon sufferers are actually demons sent by Satan, hated by their god, whoever they choose to call ‘him’, and fair game for the savagery of the “Righteous”. This is a story well versed in the ‘humans behaving badly’ concept of humanity as an entity.

While this can certainly be placed easily within the UF genre, I refuse to limit the book in this manner. I would instead call it a marriage of medical mystery, legal and military thriller, suspense, horror, and, oh yes, urban fantasy. After all, the main characters in the book do turn into ‘wolves’. Just not wolves as we have ever seen them before. And believe me – this a good, very good, wonderful thing.

Note: I have no idea how I came across The Werewolf Whisperer, but I can’t find an email from a publisher in my inbox, so I take it that it wasn’t offered to me by a publisher as many of the books I review are. I read the book through Kindle Unlimited, so I read it for free (Score!!!). I can’t recommend it highly enough. In many ways, the tone of the book reminds me of the works of Natasha Mostert in its surreal yet highly realistic, in its own way, delivery and storyline. Get it. Read it. I found it more than worth the reading time, and I look forward to the next book in the series! (Oh, and for those who mentioned that the Hispanic character is too “white” for their tastes – both of the authors, Camilla Ochlan and Bonita Gutierrez have very light skin and eyes. I would imagine that being “too white” is just as difficult in Hispanic culture as it is in Native American or African American circles – so in my mind, the skin colour issue simply adds another layer to a complex character…)

Review: Hellborn by Dana Cameron

Hellbender front cover.pngMy reviews often start with pertinent quotes, and Seven Kinds of Hell was no different.

You see what we do to each other over the slightest differences in religion or politics? We beat each other up over baseball games. We’ll kill over the wrong-colored bandana. What would we do faced with the Fangborn? – Adam Nichols, Seven Kinds of Hell

This one quote, more than any other, describes the heart of Dana Cameron’s Fangborn Series. Of course, many Urban Fantasy series address the question of the introduction of hidden beings, whether they be were, vampire, ghoul, or all the other “other” beings of the mythological pantheons. Ms. Cameron addresses the issue in her series – but more than that, especially in this third edition, Hellbender, she goes beyond simply the ‘introduction’ of the mythological to the Normals, but also the whole concept of how reality is designed.

“You’d said you’d been studying . . . the physics of Fangborn abilities?”

“Yeah. Bit o’ this, bit o’ that. Whether how the Change transformation the vampires and werewolves can do is a quantum entanglement of some kind . . . Spooky action at a distance, you know?”

Blood and agony. Fear and death. Zoe never asked for, never wanted, to be a monster, a savior, a weapon beyond comprehension. But she is – and as IDay – Identification Day, the day the Fangborn “come out” comes closer and closer, as those who wish the Fangborn nothing but death gather their forces, danger now comes from an even more deadly direction, as The Makers join the fray. The Makers – beings so advanced they stretch the boundaries of times and space. Did they really create the Fangborn? And for what purpose? To protect the humans, as the Fangborn have always believed and worked towards? Or to destroy them?

Hellborn is, literally, amazing. The story has developed over the last two books with intelligence, exceptional writing, and creative character and world development to match any UF out there today. Yes, even my beloved Kate Daniels series.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own, and this series is well worth your time! Is Hellbender the last in the series? Well, I looked on Dana’s site and didn’t see anything, and it did wrap in such a way that it could be the last – but I certainly hope it isn’t!!

Seven Kinds of Hell http://bit.ly/1DqyMbC

Pack of Strays http://bit.ly/1FqSQdw

Review: Cool Hand by Mark Henwick

Cool HandIt’s particularly hard to take being stabbed in the back close to home. There’s always a feeling of betrayal when people of your own group oppose you. – Catharine MacKinnon

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power. – Abraham Lincoln

The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire. – Ferdinand Foch

Amber Farrell knows everything about betrayal. Betrayal by the US Government, friends, coworkers. Betrayed in every way she ever thought possible – and some ways no one could have ever imagined. As a hybrid of Athanate, Werewolf and Adept, life is a complete misery. Athanates don’t trust her wolf side, wolves don’t trust her Athanate. And the Adept – well, they just want her dead.

War is coming, the first shots have been fired, and without her mentor, Diana, Amber may be going rogue. So, in a desperate bid to salvage her sanity Amber and Tullah make a desperate bid to find Diana by entering the forbidden territory of New Mexico. Now, they are trapped in plots within plots as enemies are revealed as friends, friends as enemies, and death.

You tread a difficult path, Amber, where every way bears death and sorrow and pain and loss.

As the story continues to wind tighter and tighter, and war becomes inevitable, Amber and her kin, her friends, and even her enemies, walk the razors edge – the edge of death, sorrow, pain and loss – and the brutal fires of a world war between humans, Athenate, were, and adept.

Mark has outdone himself this time. His books have continuously gotten better, but this edition is beyond amazing. If you haven’t read the series, I can’t recommend it highly enough. But this one? This one is the best I have read this year. The hard part? Now I have to wait for the next one! Sigh.

Highly, highly recommended!

Musing Mondays – What Cha’ Reading?

https://shouldbereading.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/musingmondays51.jpg?w=257&h=143Musing Mondays is a weekly meme by Should Be Reading that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

16213179I’m currently reading… The Wizard, The Warlord, and the Hidden Woman by Michael Angel

Up next I think I’ll readDark Prayer by Natasha Mostert

I bought the following book(s) in the past weekBy Tooth and Claw by S. M. Stirling, Mercedes Lackey, Eric Flint, and Jody Lynn Nye

I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)… I just finished the edit of SKIN WALKERS: REDKNIFE by Susan A. Bliler. If you are a lover of Urban Fantasy, and haven’t read the SkinWalker Series, you really should. Susan’s storyline and characters are interesting, her settings are beautiful, and her women characters are lovely and well developed. Try them out!

I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)Hum… at the moment? Can’t think of anything right now, but . . .

I can’t wait to get a copy ofMagic Shifts by Ilona Andrews!

I wish I could read ___, but… Ha! Everything on my mountainous TBR List! But I think I will have to live to 300 to 24974213do 23139924so… every time I turn around, I am adding more!

I blogged about ____ this past week… Are You Stuck In WASP Land? Embrace Diversity In Your Reading! What are you reading that isn’t WASP?

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: What’s your favorite genre? Why? Urban Fantasy! I adore the mythology, and if it is well done it allows me to remove myself from my life – to be ‘more’ to be my dreams . . .

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Musing Mondays post, or share your answer in a brief comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks! Should Be Reading and So, I Read This Book Today!

DOWSER 4 IS HERE!!!! Shadows, Maps and other Ancient Magic

Book cover by Elizabeth Mackey
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Snippet:

I had new cupcakes to bake, a new treasure to hunt, and a new dragon in town — literally. Who wouldn’t be ecstatic filling their days with chocolate, trinket collecting, and martial arts training?
Yeah … me.
Because no matter how much chocolate I ate, I couldn’t fill the dark pit in my soul. A darkness born from blood alchemy. A darkness that reeked of the black magic I now knew I was capable of creating.
Maybe it was time to walk away.
But what if there were important things left to do? What if I was the only one who could do what needed to be done?
I wasn’t sure I could handle the responsibility, but as long as I had my chocolate stash and a good friend to back me up, I was willing to give it a try.

dance cupcake

All Saints’ Secrets – Free On Bookbasset.com Today!

Look what is on Bookbasset.com today!

allsaintsAll Saints’ Secrets (Saints Mystery Series Book 2)
Nicole Loughan
4.0 Stars (161 Reviews)
Genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

FREE for a limited time

The bayou holds many secrets. One of them is what really happened to Lisette, a beautiful Creole teenager who died on the last day of school. Everybody in Fanchon’s reclusive bayou parish knows Lisette died in a boating accident, but when the police take a closer look, they unearth the dead girl and find a surprise in her grave.

This Saints adventure takes Fanchon from New York to New Orleans for Halloween and to one of Louisiana’s most beautiful plantations, Oak Alley.

17906179It is highly recommended that the Saint books be read in order, starting with “To Murder a Saint”

Click here to get this book for FREE

The first book in the Series, To Murder a Saint (Saints Mystery Series Book 1), is on sale for .99 at Amazon.  And her third book, Masquerade of Saints, is out now! Want! Want!!!!!

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The Returns Are HAPPY!!!!

 

 

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The Returns!
The Returns 2 ~ Showstoppers
The Returns 2 ~ Showstoppers

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