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Urban Fantasy

Trafficking in Demons: Book Seven of ‘Fantasy & Forensics’ (Fantasy & Forensics 7)

“I’ve smelled some truly terrible things in my time. It came with the job. In fact, the patent was still pending on my very own Chrissie Scale of Stinkiness . . . I wasn’t going to be using a body bag. It looked like I’d need a wet-vac for this job.”  Dayna Chrissie, Trafficking in Demons: Book Seven of ‘Fantasy & Forensics’ (Fantasy & Forensics 7)

Not by the forces of civil war can you govern the very weakest woman. You can kill that woman, but she escapes you then; you cannot govern her. No power on earth can govern a human being, however feeble, who withholds his or her consent. – Emmeline Pankhurst

Poor Dayna. As if it weren’t bad enough wading into all the ‘normal’ carnage of being a Crime Scene Tech in gritty Los Angeles, cleaning up all the Andeluvian spillover sometimes causes some really messy messes. And Trafficking is boiling – not only in LA but in the world of Andeluvia as well. As has been so well put before, She’s the LAPD’s best corpse-kicker. And the world of Andeluvia’s as well these days.

C.S. Lewis does indeed continue to meet CSI in Michael’s newest addition to the absolute incredible Fantasy & Forensics series. And the tension continues to ramp up, both in our world and the other.

If you are a poor suffering reader who hasn’t found this series yet – well, let’s just say you are missing something special! The series began back in Centaur of the Crime (and hey! It’s FREE on Kindle unlimited right now! As is The Deer Prince’s Murder!)  What are you waiting for??? 

(Clearing throat.) So, back to your regularly scheduled review…

The tensions of the previous books have built to what, in this addition to this incredible series, could very well be an explosion of epic proportions on both our world and on Andeluvia. The carryover of technology to a Middle Ages world is bad enough – but magic in our world? Let’s just say that the blowback could be devastating for both worlds.

Of course, not everything is horrible and scary. Dayna began the series feeling as if everyone hated her and she only had herself to rely upon. And let’s not fool ourselves, lots of people did. And still do. But as the series has developed, so has Dayna. She has grown, realizing that she no longer has to rely solely on herself. And what is not to love about a group of close friends that include a Centaur Wizard, a Griffin Warrior and a gentle Fayleene Prince? And the addition of Skallgrym Serikkaylen of the House of Friesain (Better known as ‘Rikka’) in Assault in the Wizard Degree, the previous book in the series, gives another much needed feminine (yet strong!) presence to the series. Which is hysterical in this case, because Rikka’s warrior status in the centaur realm is a huge contrast to Dayna’s most recent requirement placed upon her by King Fitzwilliam. Let’s just say it requires miles of pink fabric (PINK!) and some highly embarrassing pomp and ceremony!

Well, even with war on the horizon, politics and catering to the expectations of the masses must continue…

If you haven’t read the series, you ‘can’ pick up here, but I highly recommend starting from the first. This blend of humor, fantasy, politics, and plain ol’ excellent writing is well worth the investment of your precious reading time!!!!!

(And aren’t the covers Great?)

 

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Under Her Skin (Shifter Shield Book 1)

“Some sons-a-bitches just need killing.” – Detective Daniel Moreland, Under Her Skin (Shifter Shield Book 1)

 

Lindi Parker couldn’t agree more. Some sons-a-bitches absolutely, positively needed killing. Like the father who kept coming into his little girl’s room at night – “He hurts me.” So, finally, she killed him. A ten-year-old girl killed her scum sucking pedophile father. Of course, as a counselor for the Child Advocacy and Protection Center, Lindi has seen horrific crime scenes, the horrors visited upon the most fragile, the most helpless among us. But this one? This one rocks her all the way to her core.

She isn’t alone.

“Solitude, isolation, are painful things and beyond human endurance.” – Jules Verne

Not that she hasn’t known love in her own life. Her adoptive family loves her with all their heart and soul. But understanding someone as ‘special’ as Lindi hasn’t always been easy. Especially when they thought that she was the only one of her kind. Now, not only has she found that others exist – they apparently all want her dead.

Well. That bites.

And hey! Look at that! They even have special people whose whole point in life is to track her down and murder her. Score!

Lucky her, huh?

Yes, this is a shapeshifter tale, with many of the same tropes as you would find in any other. But Margo Bond Collins steps outside the box in this one in ways both horrible and fascinating. And in doing so she writes a paranormal that leans heavily toward a blend of mystery and suspense that raises the bar to something beyond ‘just another paranormal.’

I enjoyed the book very much, and highly recommend it.

 

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!

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

 

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.

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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Skin Walkers: Taken by Susan Bliler

“I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”  ― Marilyn Monroe

“What about anal?” Sigh. From the minute Nyree was chosen to help civilize the Keepers, wilder pseudo-cousins of the Skin Walkers, things have been interesting in the Chinese “May you live in interesting times” sort of way. Assigned to teach them subjects ranging from the Skin Walkers, humans, food, and weapons so that they can begin fitting into their new lives at StoneCrow Manor, things haven’t gone all that well for Nyree. Of course, she has a difficult group to work with. Keepers are pretty much on a level with wild animals, especially when it comes to women and their “place” – i.e., in the Keepers bed, will she or nil she.

It wasn’t until the inquiries turned to the great mystery of American females that things flew out of control. There has to be one in every class – the guy who has to push all the buttons, as well as pushing the teacher to do something she really wouldn’t have done if she had taken a moment to think about it. Yep. That was embarrassing. To top it off? Her big mouth got her assigned a bodyguard. You guessed it. Rohmulus. The very asker of the infamous question.

That’s hard enough. What’s harder is the fact that Nyree and Rohmulus have been Taken by the Megalya during the attack on StoneCrow by human mercenaries. Caged in a hidden Megalya facility, Nyree is being tortured, while Rohmulus is being forced to fight a Skin Walker, also captured during the raid on StoneCrow.

Susan writes such realistic, strong women characters you can’t help but like. Tough, yet still feminine, Nyree has worked hard to gain her place as one of the only humans, and females, working as Skin Walker Sentries, and succeeding as the Keeper trainer should have raised her standing among the Sentries. But now? There is a very strong question of whether she, or Rhom, will survive their imprisonment. And if they do, what they will find when they return to StoneCrow. Will the home of the Skin Walkers be totally destroyed?

As always, the pace is fast, the action believable, and the story entrancing. If you haven’t picked up your copy yet, what are you waiting for? Lovers of Urban Fantasy are sure to enjoy Taken. If you haven’t picked up the other books in the series, you should, starting with book 1, King. Enjoy!

I work with Susan on her books. All thoughts are my own.

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