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Strong Women Characters

Inquisitor (Witch & Wolf Book 2) by R J Blain

inquisitor“I have no idea what’s awaiting me, or what will happen when this all ends. For the moment I know this: there are sick people and they need curing.” ― Albert Camus, The Plague

“No one thinks of how much blood it costs.” – Dante Alighieri

“Can you please ask James to return to the lab?”
“I’m afraid that’s not possible, ma’am,”
“Why?
“He just locked himself in containment and started howling.” –
R. J. Blain, Inquisitor

When you are as old as Allison Victoria Mayfield Hanover, you realize that only are few things are truly immutable.  Blood and violence, horrors and hatred. And that one solid, totally immutable, truth of the universe: Everything eventually dies. Except, perhaps, for Victoria. Ah, but you see, someone wants, very much, to see Victoria dead. And they will do anything, kill anyone, to make sure that happens.

Which is a really crappy attitude when you realize who Victoria is. You see, she is the owner of Marrodin, one of the largest companies in the world. A company which goes out of its way to pay a hire those who have ‘special’ needs. You know the sort. Witches. Wolves. Single mothers.

Victoria is living in Atlanta as Allison Ferdinan these days, playing at being an accountant. Too bad money couldn’t buy me a life. Of course, sometimes what you wish for actually comes true – and too often in bad, very bad, awful sorts of ways. It started out as a simple favor for a client/friend, Mark. Let’s dress up and go to a party. You can be my fiancée!

Whoa. Hold the Phone!

Gack. Killing Mark in Central Park really probably isn’t the best idea. But what was a really Bad Idea? Yeah. You got it. Going to a Halloween party as the fake fiancée, only to find out that your fake mother-in-law-to-be is a real witch. No, I mean it. A Real. Witch. And if you want to drop the W and add a B, well, please feel free.

But the party isn’t the only thing wrong in Allison’s world. Pretty soon it seems the whole world is out to kill her. And when whoever it is that hunts her begins going after her employees, well, let’s just say that Allison/Victoria won’t let it stand.

Here’s a hint. Don’t tick off an ancient werewolf. You won’t like the outcome.

I loved this book so much I stayed up way too late into the early morning hours reading when I had to get up early the next morning. In fact, I liked it so much, I immediately downloaded the next one and started on it the next night. I am not saying there aren’t issues inherent in the writing. There are some continuity and relationship logic issues that were frustrating – but you all know how picky I am about that sort of thing. I still think you should at the very least pick it up on Kindle Unlimited for free the way I did. And I look forward to hearing what you think. This isn’t just another Paranormal – great character development, world building and a marked lack of the sort of sloppy writing that is so common in Urban Fantasy makes this series well worth the precious reading time if you like strong women characters. There are several between these pages!

About the Author

RJ Blain suffers from a Moleskine journal obsession, a pen fixation, and a terrible tendency to pun without warning.
When she isn’t playing pretend, she likes to think she’s a cartographer and a sumi-e painter. In reality, she herds cats and a husband, and obeys the commands of Tsu Dhi, the great warrior fish.
In her spare time, she daydreams about being a spy. Should that fail, her contingency plan involves tying her best of enemies to spinning wheels and quoting James Bond villains until she is satisfied.

Legal Wolf’s Mate by Eve Langlais

legallwolf“You’re my lawyer, or maybe not. I’m really beginning to rethink this whole idea.”

“Ah yes, because you’d rather take your chances with your public defenderre, who has advised you to what? Oh, that’s right, plead guilty.” – Eve Langlais – Legal Wolf’s Mate

Fabian Garoux absolutely, positively, without a doubt, is not a sucker for a sob story. No. Really. After all, he is an attorney . . . (Argh!!! Run Away! Run Away!!!!) But when the best friend who found you running around naked in the woods after you were changed against your will, (And ate a rabbit. Raw. Eww.) asks for your help, well, it is hard to say no. Especially when the guy who is apparently framing the ‘Damsel in Distress’ for murder is the very scumbag who turned you against your will!

After all, revenge really is best served up cold with a side of “Got’cha!”

Set-ups, betrayal, revenge, and the most deliciously wicked ending, evah! made “Legal Wolf’s Mate” an actual thrill ride rather than the formulaic Paranormal Romances that are so common today. Oh, and don’t forget the Bounty!

Megan starts out seeming like a downtrodden simpleton, and I pretty much went “Huh? Who wrote this again?!” but as the story progressed, she became more and more interesting. Then more interesting. Then . . . well, you are going to have to read it to figure things out!

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

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Zadri: Dragons of Preor by Celia Kyle

32354464I have a confession. As much as I adore Celia Kyle, I had never read any of her Preor books. SciFi is just not really my thing. But given the opportunity, and having read another book not really in my genre (horror) and enjoying it, I decided to stretch my genre list. And of course, now I am kicking myself for not reading the others!

Celia has a way with words, a passion for “Happily Ever After” and a deft hand with a storyline. At first I wasn’t sure about the whole ‘you killed my mate and now you expect me to mate you’ arc. But, once again, Ceila does it well.

Delaney Cole is Queen of the country of “My Parents Are Psychos.” Yep, that’s right, I gracefully give up my throne to Delaney. Because, let me tell you – these people are awful. So, when poor Delaney finds herself knocked-up, (well, after a while, you really have to at least pretend you can be loved, right?) her parents send her running for her life. Literally. Straight into Preor Choosing Station Tau, in the hopes of finding a Preor mate. Who better to protect her and her child from evil than a dragon warrior?

But things don’t go as expected for Delaney – not even close, as a web of intrigue, danger, betrayal and pain builds around them that could cost her and her child their lives after all.

I should have known Celia’s world building would be awesome-it always is, after all-and of course her characters are as well rounded as always. Yes, I messed up not starting at book one, not because I was ‘lost’ in the storyline, but because this was just that good. So, Dragons of Preor, then The Ujal are now on my “Read ASAP” list!

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

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Made in Hell – Caith Morningstar Kicks Ass – Again!

Made In Hell (Urban Fantasy) by Celia KyleCan a half-demon, half-pixie/holy warrior/unicorn/Father Earth/werewolf (Yeah. Don’t ask.) not get just a little bit of peace and quiet? Just a little? I mean, Come ON People! She already saved the world. Twice, as a matter of fact, in the last couple of years. Can a girl not just enjoy her adopted Brownie son and her half-fallen angel boyfriend for a few bloody minutes before you all go messing things up? Again?

But nooooooo . . . You just have to go gettin’ all rowdy, joining a whacko cult, walking around like zombies (when you aren’t rutting like bunnies) and generally messing up Caith’s life.

Again.

Ugh.

It seems a couple of Caith’s old enemies are up to no good once again. Even if Uncle Lucifer did throw them into the very bowels of the deepest circle of Hell. Of course, if Uncle Dearest didn’t have his mind on the little demon spawn he planted in the brainless twit he just dumped at Caith’s front door, maybe she could have gotten things under control a little more easily?

Nah. No such luck.

Sigh.

That’s all bad enough. But when Caith’s little Bryony, Sam, and best friend Jezzie are endangered? Well, here’s a clue. Don’t. Piss off. The niece of the Morningstar. That will get you just all kinds of pain.

Caith Morningstar is one kick-ass beotch. You would expect her to be, taking into consideration who her mother is, but while she may have set Chicago on fire (Once! It was Just Once!) and maybe started a war (Or two. Maybe.), the influence of all five fathers makes her loyal, protective, and determined to keep Mouse Town, her family, and her friends, safe.

Ms. Celia has written another winner Urban Fantasy in “Made in Hell” I have no doubt you will love! Humor, pathos, love, hate – it’s all here, and all written in that unique Celia Kyle style.

I received “Made in Hell” from the author in exchange fo­r a realistic review. How Lucky am I?!?!

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: Vidalia: A ‘Not-Quite’ Vampire Love Story by Julia Mills

27232419“And what? Accidentally cuts off three fingers postmortem? ‘Oops, oh, no, my girlfriend just died! Clumsy me, in trying to perform CPR, I chopped off some fingers! Guess I’ll just take them with me…. Oh, darn, where did that middle finger go?” ― Barry Lyga, I Hunt Killers

(OK, Fine, FINE! The quote has nothing to do with the story line. But hey, it’s funny, right? Right? Oh well. It must just be me. Snort.)

After spending last night (and let’s face it – all morning as well before I fell over and finally slept) with a book filled with tension I wanted to

read something ‘light and fluffy’ to come down off the ‘high’ of having my eyes glued to the page all night. Julia Mills’ Vidalia: A ‘Not-Quite’ Vampire Love Story seemed right up my alley for a light read. I added the books to my tablet the other day after receiving a note from her that the books were now on KU to be read for free. Of course, ‘book’ is a bit too strong. This is a 13,000 word short, just right to read over my tea and bagel out on the porch (hooray… no snow today!)

Vidalia is the heiress to the Vidalia onion fortune, but she isn’t like any heiress I have had the pleasure to read before. A medical examiner in Buckhead Georgia, Vidalia is a true ‘Southern Lady’ through and through. Well, except for the fact that she is ‘not-quite’ a vampire. You see, her granddaddy was a philanderer, just like so many “Southern Gentlemen.” (Cough.) Of course, he should have kept it in his pants instead of sticking it into a thousand year old gypsy/vampire saloon dancer. Oops. Being cursed as a vampire (who can’t grow fangs, hence the ‘not-quite’ in the title) is rather embarrassing for a genteel Southern lady, but hey, she is living with it quite nicely overall, especially with her handsome cop (vampire) boyfriend hanging around. Until the bodies start dropping (literally) from high-rises, drained of blood and with their throats slit.

The story is quick, often humorous, and I truly liked Vidalia. A quick, relaxing, fun read that was just the ticket over breakfast!

 

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!

Review: Boarlander Beast Boar by T.S. Joyce

29535458“Tales of power and ambition and intrigue and betrayal and desire – when you’re telling those in a big way, you automatically want to go to Shakespeare.” — Beau Willimon

Mason Croy is a real boar. No, not ‘bore’ are in boring, but Boar, as in big-ass, brutal, brawling Razorback Hog. Brought in to replace yet another bear Clinton the Beast ran off from the Boarlander Mobile Home Park, where the C-Team of the Damon’s Mountain lumberjack bears live, Mason is a badly damaged boar shifter, brawling to hide the pain he carries inside. And his brawling is causing a real problem for Rebecca ‘Beck’ Anderson who has been brought in by Damon Daye, the Last Immortal Dragon and owner of Damon’s Mountain. Beck’s job is to improve public relations between shifters and humans, her driver, Mason, isn’t making it easy. And it isn’t as if Beck’s own life is all lavender and fuzzy bunnies either. Her divorce has left her crippled, emotionally and financially, and she is determined to succeed in her job, even if it means taking on a brawling boar like Mason. Because she has a lot more to save than just herself.

The political story continues strong through Boarlander Beast Boar. But there is more than that, as Mason’s backstory is much more deadly than the Boarlanders understand. And it is moving onto Damon’s Mountain in a wave of brutality and death.  This time, it isn’t only the humans who are a danger to the Shifters of Damon’s Mountain. And there may not be a “happily ever after” for Mason and Beck – or any of the shifters of the US. Of all her books set on the mountain I loved Bash’s story the best. . . But now that I have read Mason’s I have to say I love it just as much, though for much different reasons.

I have received books from T.S. Joyce in the past in exchange for a realistic review. I am not sure if I received this one for free, so I will just say that I have received books in the past in exchange for a realistic review and this one may or may not be one of those, but how I received the books has no impact on any of my reviews. If you haven’t read Joyce’s Damon’s Mountain Series, I highly recommend you read them in order. They are so much fun, yet running parallel to the same hatreds and prejudice we see in the world today that they are more than the sum of their parts. Enjoy!

 

Review: Boarlander Silverback (Boarlander Book 3) by T.S. Joyce

29351627“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.” ― Martin Luther King Jr., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches

Kirk Slater is a rip-roaring, chest-beating, musclebound gorilla shifter, plunked down in the middle of the Boarlander Mobile Home Park, filling in for the C-Team’s rapidly diminishing bear lumberjack population. As personal guard for Kong, (Lowlander Silverback (Gray Back Bears Book 5)) Kirk knew his place in the world. But that was all turned upside down when Kong stepped outside the role he was destined to play and left Kirk on his own to face an entirely different life than the one he expected.

The world of Damon’s mountain is changing as well, as political pressures, prejudice and race hatred are restricting the rights of shifters in the US in a quickly tightening noose. And part of that noose is Officer Alison Holman, one of a team of two undercover police officers sent to restrict access to and from Damon’s Mountain. Unknown to her partner, a rabid shifter hater, Alison quickly learned that the stories she has heard about the viciousness and animalistic behavior of shifters is untrue, and she has been helping the shifters of the mountain. And when Kirk moves to Boarlander, she discovers that this particular Silverback Gorilla is appealing on a whole different level. And Kirk? After what he did to Kong, he knew he would be allowed a family group. But just maybe Kong had the right idea after all. One woman to love seems freakish and unnatural – until he meets Alison.

Again, the Boarlander stories are shifter romance tales, that is a given. But they are richer than simple bear shifter (or in this case, gorilla shifter) meets his mate tales. The stories are building into a situation where the shifters are watching more and more of their rights being stripped away by the human populations fear, hatred and prejudice. Something is going to have to give, and the shifters are banding together, going toe-to-toe with the humans in their own arena. Can they rescue their rights by gaining the hearts and minds of the human population of the US?

I have received books from T.S. Joyce in the past in exchange for a realistic review. I am not sure if I received this one for free, so I will just say that I have received books in the past in exchange for a realistic review and this one may or may not be one of those, but how I received the books has no impact on any of my reviews. If you haven’t read Joyce’s Damon’s Mountain Series, I highly recommend you read them in order. They are so much fun, yet running parallel to the same hatreds and prejudice we see in the world today that they are more than the sum of their parts. Enjoy!

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