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Witches

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?!?!

The Bite Back Series Is On Audible – and Book 5: Angel Stakes Is In Print!

Sleight of Hand: Bite Back, Book 1 | Mark Henwick
Sleight of Hand: Bite Back, Book 1 Special Price:$1.99

I will admit it. I am CRAZY for every word Mark Henwick writes. And in this case, the same goes for the Audible series. The first book is narrated by Kimberly Henrie, the other three by Julia Motyka. Mark is working on getting the fifth book, Angel Stakes, narrated, but timing issues are pushing out the audio edition for a bit. But not to worry, it  will be here before you know it, so I would suggest grabbing the first four right away! Especially as the first is on Audible.com at only $1.99! My review of Sleight of Hand is here.

But, there is MORE!

Angel Stakes, book 5 of the series, is out on eReader and paper now.

25264434In Cool Hand, book four of the series, Amber’s world is edging closer and closer to war. As I wrote in my review:

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.

And now, the war is here. First, within the halls of the Athenate assembly in Los Angeles as the Basilikos faction does its best to rip apart the assembly and push its plan of world domination into place. Uh, guys? You know the humans have things like atom bombs, right? Amber is carrying around her own bomb as well. After the fight in Carson National Park, she is barely holding onto her sanity as the possibility of her going feral becomes a very real possibility. She must find her way through the darkness in her mind,  keep her people safe, and at the same time fight off the Basilikos and their plans to use her for their own gain.  The world is spinning out of control, and it will take a concerted effort on the part of many – Athenate, were and human – to stop the world from descending into utter chaos. Everyone has an agenda, everyone has secrets. This time we are playing for Angel Stakes. And this time? The bad guys have the edge.

I was a beta reader for Mark for Angel Stakes but that in no way influences my determination that Mark Henwick is brilliant!

 

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!

Witches Protection Program Virtual Book Tour Stop Re-Review and Giveaway

Witches Protection Program“If cats looked like frogs we’d realize what nasty, cruel little bastards they are. Style. That’s what people remember.” – ― Terry Pratchett, Lords and Ladies

“You are what you believe yourself to be.” – ― Paulo Coelho, The Witch of Portobello

Wes Rockville comes from a long line of distinguished family members. Besides the string of famous men and women in his bloodline, his sister is an eminent prosecutor in New York, his brother is the head of counterterrorism, and his dad? Well, his dad is his boss in a police division started by his grandfather. Makes it pretty darn hard to keep up when you’re dyslexic, and dad certainly doesn’t understand what that means. For his father, dyslexic simply means stupid and incompetent.

But Wes works hard. Harder than his sister, harder than his ‘perfect’ brother. That is what it takes to overcome dyslexia and become a member of his father’s elite squad.

But then, Wes goes on his first assignment. . . And it all goes sideways. “Don’t look her in the eye. No matter what you do, don’t look her in the eye.” Something that seems incredibly stupid. After all, she is just little old lady, apple-cheeked, sweet and cheerful. Why would you not . . .

Oh.

Now, Wes’s father is furious and Wes is disgraced and kicked out of the unit. His last chance? DUMBO.

DUMBO? Like in the Circus?!

Nope. The Department “Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass.” And this is certainly no circus. Well, maybe it is. Because, Really – Witches?!

Yep. Witches. Good Witches, the Davinas, will be Wes’s to protect from the Bad Witches, the Willa.

Yeah, right.

Only, apparently it is right – and Wes’s life is about to be turned on its head. Witches and spells, shapeshifters and things that go bump in the night are all real, and they are all determined to capture tiny little Morgan Pendragon, a Davina with a nasty bunch of women determined to get her back, and apparently take over the world.

Witches Protection Program is a hoot, with a strong undernote of poking very sharp, very pointy sticks at social injustice and political manipulation. Oh, and a strong vein of Steam Punk!!! Woo Hoo!!!!!  In other words? I got a kick out of it, and I hope you will read it and enjoy it as well. This book is FREE on Amazon Unlimited, or only .99 on Kindle. Can’t beat that!

I received Witches Protection Program from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

If you enjoy my reviews, please click over to Amazon and click “This review was Helpful” if you don’t mind. It will help the authors by drawing attention to my reviews! Thank you so much.

WHAT READERS ARE SAYING ABOUT “WITCHES PROTECTION PROGRAM”

“Badges and broomsticks collide in ‘Witches Protection Program’, a fast-paced, lighthearted piece of crime fiction with a supernatural twist from screenwriter and novelist Michael Phillip Cash…With its lively characters, quickly moving plot, and amusing dialogue, ‘Witches Protection Program’ is a great summer choice, ideal for beach or poolside reading, and with elements of romance, action, crime, and fantasy, there’s a little something for everyone to enjoy.” – Foreword Reviews

“Wes is a fascinating protagonist…The short, action-laden novel speeds past nuances from developing characters’ relationships, but Cash does leave room for a couple of surprises. The story’s case is more or less wrapped up by the end, with a lingering impression that this could be the first of many to come…Cleverly offbeat, often cheeky, and loads of fun.” – Kirkus Reviews

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon

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Michael Phillip Cash Author Photo

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Michael Phillip Cash is an award-winning screenwriter and novelist. He’s written ten books including the best-selling Brood X, Stillwell, The Flip, The After House, The Hanging Tree, Witches Protection Program, Pokergeist and Battle for Darracia series.

Michael resides on the North Shore of Long Island. He writes full-time with his screaming kids in the background.

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR:

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Website

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Review: Red (Transplanted Tales Book 1) by Kate SeRine – Love It!

13630494“The wolf said, “You know, my dear, it isn’t safe for a little girl to walk through these woods alone.”

Red Riding Hood said, “I find your sexist remark offensive in the extreme, but I will ignore it because of your traditional status as an outcast from society, the stress of which has caused you to develop your own, entirely valid, worldview. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must be on my way.” ― James Finn Garner, Politically Correct Bedtime Stories

“She talks like you. It’s not every day you hear a four-year-old say Prince Charming is a douchebag who’s only holding Cinderella back.”

“That’s my girl.” ― Emma Chase, Tangled

Once upon a time, a girl in a red hood met a wolf. And then? Everything went to pot. Well, that is how it goes, isn’t it? You think it is love, true and total devotion. Then he punches you in the gut and wanders away, whistling a merry tune, leaving you laying in the forest, staring into the eyes of the Grim Reaper. Pft. And as if that’s not enough, “an egomaniacal fairy godmother, an arrogant genie, and a couple of wandering plagiarists whose idea of cultural preservation is stealing the stories of unsuspecting villagers and passing them off as their own” get into a pissing contest – and suddenly? You find your red-hooded backside stuck in the Here and Now as an enforcer for the fairy tale cops, and isn’t that just a hard, cold awakening?

Now, Goldilocks and Snow White are well paid prostitutes. (Well, in the original tale, the three bears were bachelor brothers – and the whole ménage thing? Well, duh. And Snow White’s Prince wasn’t so ‘princely’ after all – he dumped her for an Ordinary, and the prenuptial agreement left her without a dime. Cheating creep.) Of course, that isn’t the only cheating creep of a Prince in the woodpile . . . Mistress Mary Mary Quite Contrary is the FMA prosecuting attorney, Vlad Dracula Is a business man, and The Sandman? He makes The Godfather and all of John Carpenter’s bad guys look like characters from My Little Pony.

When Red goes to collect Dave “The Pied Piper” Hamlin to haul him back to jail for his “latest screwup”, i.e., being a registered sex offender who’d blown the terms of his parole: no kids, no hookers, no booze – and he blows his head off in the alley outside the Red Door, Snow’s den of delights – things suddenly get very, very nasty as Tale bodies start dropping in very bloody, very savage ways. And the suspect list is very short – consisting of three of Red’s former lovers. Seth “Big Bad” Wolf. Vlad Dracula (the Literary and Nursery Rhyme Migration brought over some really ‘interesting’ characters). And Todd Caliban. Shakespeare wrote Todd as a monster, but he also wrote Prospero as one – Caliban was only trying to save his island from the depredations of an invading force, after all. Red was more than willing to give him the benefit of the doubt – and her bed . . . And since Vlad came over, and was ‘captured’ and ‘rehabilitated’ by Red he has been behaving himself. (Hasn’t he?) But all signs point to Seth, Red’s first, and most beloved. Even if he did rip her heart out and stomp on it – and then leave her in the forest to die . . . what women put up with for their men. Sigh.

Al Addin, the FMA Chief Director, (and just incidentally the master of the genie mixed up in the aforementioned ‘a genie, a fairy godmother, etc.’ scenario) knows they have to get this case under control, pronto, before any more Tales are killed – and before the Ordinaries get ahold of something that could blow the Tales existence out of the proverbial water. Enter Nate “Grim Reaper” Grimm, detective extraordinaire, as her newly assigned side-kick. As they work through the case together things get even bloodier as Trish “Little Miss” Muffet, the coroner and lead investigator (So not afraid of spiders, just sayin’) finds more and more Tales on her slab in the morgue. And Red seems to be right in the crosshairs of the killer.

This is fairytale on crack – a modern, updated, happy-sad, hopeful-disturbing tale of humour and horror that kept me reading until my eyes stuck open and I had to turn out the light. Sharp and witty, this story cuts with a wicked blade, turning literary and fairy tale characters into a contemporary parody of life. Awesomesauce!! (Yes, I stole that word from Celia Kyle – hey, it’s an awesomesauce word! LOL)

“Did I ever tell you the difference between a Northern fairy tale and a Southern one?” she asked him, indulging herself and letting her head rest on his shoulder. God, he felt good. Her man. Where her head was meant to lie, right there, on him.

“What’s the difference?”

“A Northern one starts ‘once upon a time,’ while a Southern one starts ‘y’all ain’t going to believe this shit.” ― Erin McCarthy, Hot Finish

I LOVE this book!!! And I look forward to reading more of the Transplanted Tales series.

If you like my review, please let me know by clicking “Like” on Amazon. It helps the authors I review by drawing attention, and helps me as well. Thanks!

Oh, and as an aside? Hey! PUBLISHERS!!! Now THIS is how a cover of a book about a strong woman character SHOULD look . . . Can we just freakin’ STOP with the half naked male chests? Please? Pretty please with a “I’m not buying any more books with half naked men on the cover” warning label slapped on the front? Thanks.

AAANNNNDDDDD of course, that whole, “No More Naked Men” thing gets blown out of the water due to the other books in the series having blown the positive beginning of RED and putting HALF-NAKED MALES on the covers if the following books  . . . EVEN for the story of Lavender, Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother! PFT. If I hadn’t read Red first? I doubt I would continue, based on the covers alone. . .  Grrrrrrr. Don’t get me wrong, hot bodies are good (especially the one with Nate Grimm on the cover – those painted on tattoos are gorgeous!) but still – do publishers think all we care about is the body on the cover, not the contents of the book? Humph. The covers just shove the books directly into the PR/Romance category, catering to readers who only care about nooky, not good storylines. And this was a killer storyline! Wake up, Publishers . . . we readers who prefer good stories will abandon your books willy-nilly because we expect the books to contain mearly pablum for the ‘sex only’ crowd.  Chocolate is a tasty treat – but in excess gives you gas. 

Rant concluded.

Review: The Witches Protection Program by Michael Phillip Cash #witches

Witches Protection Program“If cats looked like frogs we’d realize what nasty, cruel little bastards they are. Style. That’s what people remember.” – ― Terry Pratchett, Lords and Ladies

“You are what you believe yourself to be.” – ― Paulo Coelho, The Witch of Portobello

Wes Rockville comes from a long line of distinguished family members. Besides the string of famous men and women in his bloodline, his sister is an eminent prosecutor in New York, his brother is the head of counterterrorism, and his dad? Well, his dad is his boss in a police division started by his grandfather. Makes it pretty darn hard to keep up when you’re dyslexic, and dad certainly doesn’t understand what that means. For his father, dyslexic simply means stupid and incompetent.

But Wes works hard. Harder than his sister, harder than his ‘perfect’ brother. That is what it takes to overcome dyslexia and become a member of his father’s elite squad.

But then, Wes goes on his first assignment. . . And it all goes sideways. “Don’t look her in the eye. No matter what you do, don’t look her in the eye.” Something that seems incredibly stupid. After all, she is just little old lady, apple-cheeked, sweet and cheerful. Why would you not . . .

Oh.

Now, Wes’s father is furious and Wes is disgraced and kicked out of the unit. His last chance? DUMBO.

DUMBO? Like in the Circus?!

Nope. The Department “Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass.” And this is certainly no circus. Well, maybe it is. Because, Really – Witches?!

Yep. Witches. Good Witches, the Davinas, will be Wes’s to protect from the Bad Witches, the Willa.

Yeah, right.

Only, apparently it is right – and Wes’s life is about to be turned on its head. Witches and spells, shapeshifters and things that go bump in the night are all real, and they are all determined to capture tiny little Morgan Pendragon, a Davina with a nasty bunch of women determined to get her back, and apparently take over the world.

Witches Protection Program is a hoot, with a strong undernote of poking very sharp, very pointy sticks at social injustice and political manipulation. Oh, and a strong vein of Steam Punk!!! Woo Hoo!!!!!  In other words? I got a kick out of it, and I hope you will read it and enjoy it as well. This book is FREE on Amazon Unlimited, or only .99 on Kindle. Can’t beat that!

I received Witches Protection Program from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

If you enjoy my reviews, please click over to Amazon and click “This review was Helpful” if you don’t mind. It will help the authors by drawing attention to my reviews! Thank you so much.

Review: Heat of the Moment (Sisters of the Craft Book 2) Lori Handeland

Heat of the Moment (Sisters of the Craft, #2)“People who claim that they’re evil are usually no worse than the rest of us… It’s people who claim that they’re good, or any way better than the rest of us, that you have to be wary of.” ― Gregory Maguire, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

“You believe in a book that has talking animals, wizards, witches, demons, sticks turning into snakes, burning bushes, food falling from the sky, people walking on water, and all sorts of magical, absurd and primitive stories, and you say that we are the ones that need help?” ― Mark Twain

What truly constitutes evil? Is it those who do things for the sake of evil? Or the ones who do it in the name of “good”? Whether one or the other, Roland McHugh is pure evil. Evil which would put the worst of the demons of any religions hell to shame. Roland McHugh – the personal witch hunter of King James – pouring his evil over the Scottish countryside, his rage, hatred and serial murders in the name of James and the Church focusing, finally, upon the family of Henry and Prudence Taggart and their three infant daughters. McHugh ignored his own wife’s pleas for the midwife, Prudence, until it was too late to save either her or the child. But far be it from the monstrous McHugh to take the blame upon himself.

Ignorance. Illiteracy. Hubris and insecurity, mad obsession. Once upon a time, long ago, in the bad, ignorant, evil times of King James and his Danish queen, there was a great storm. James, an ignorant, religious fool, thought to himself, “Such a storm can only have been caused by witchcraft!” And in his ignorance and fear, he called to himself Roland McHugh, witch hunter, who he placed in charge of a secret society, known as Venatores Mali – Hunters of Evil. And from those savage beginnings there began an age of slaughter, of blood and death of innocents such as hearkened to war. And Roland McHugh spread his evil across Europe, spraying blood and hatred in his path. . . Roland McHugh – who, according to his Wikipedia entry, “had burned more witches than anyone in history.” (My words, not the author’s)

To save their daughters from slaughter at the hands of McHugh Henry and Pru willing gave their lives in the flames of the pyre in order to send their daughters forward in time – to a time when no one believes in witches. But the thing is, now time is rolling back around again – and the evil of those who call themselves “hunters of evil” yet are truly the most evil of all, are working to bring McHugh back into the world, spreading slaughter and fire in their wake.

The girls were sent 400 years into the future, to today, when magic has been overrun by technology. But Wiccans still exist – Wiccans, whose one immutable law is “Harm None”. So cruel that those who harm none are considered evil by those who commit the most evil of deeds in the name of so-called ‘good’. Such twisted minds, that ritual slaughter of innocents is considered godly.

In the Air Tonightintroduced us to Raye, Air Witch, speaker with ghosts, the very In the Air Tonight (Sisters of the Craft, #1)definition of a foundling. She was found tossed on the side of a highway, no clothing, no blanket – simply a tiny infant, left beside the road, apparently to die. Adopted by the Larsen’s, a good New Bergin, Wisconsin family, Raye never knew who left her by the side of the road. Now, in “Heat of the Moment”, we meet Becca Carstairs, Veterinarian, speaker with animals, and second daughter of Henry and Pru. Lovely, sweet Becca, who has no idea that she is anything but her parent’s daughter. And no idea why someone is trying to murder her. With Henry and Pru to guide her, Raye finds her way to Becca. But will she be too late to save her sister from a madman?

I am absolutely loving this series by Lori Handeland. The narrative is tightly woven, the characters well written, and the historical background beautifully, heartrendingly designed. The Christian religious connotations are sharply and bone-chillingly drawn, showcasing the hatreds and obsessions of a barbaric time brought forward into the beliefs of modern times. The reality upon which the story is based is deeply, deeply disturbing – especially in light of the religious hatreds still extant today. This is a wonderful series I hope you will enjoy.

The next book, “Smoke on the Water” will tell Willow Black’s story. Willow’s story begins on the banks of a Northern Wisconsin creek, beneath a willow tree. Willow’s story is next on my list – and I am greatly looking forward to it.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review.

Note to the Publisher:
Guys, Really! I never would have picked up these books on my own, based upon the cover art and titles. They come off as Young Adult novels if you simply look at the cover, but these are adult-centric books. The titles have only a passing reflection of the book contents. “In the Air Tonight” sounds like a Harlequin Romance, and “Heat of the Moment” does as well.  The books are much better than that, and deserve better titles and covers. I get it, Raye is an Air Elemental, Becca Fire, but still.

Review: In The Air Tonight by Lori Handeland

In The Air Tonight by Lori HandelandReligion as a human phenomenon is as riddled through with potential for both good and evil as any other phenomenon. — Richard John Neuhaus

The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding. — Albert Camus

Ignorance. Illiteracy. Hubris and insecurity, mad obsession. Once upon a time, long ago, in the bad, ignorant, evil times of King James and his Danish queen, there was a great storm. James, an ignorant, religious fool, thought to himself, “Such a storm can only have been caused by witchcraft!” And in his ignorance and fear, he called to himself Roland McHugh, witch hunter, who he placed in charge of a secret society, known as Venatores Mali – Hunters of Evil. And from those savage beginnings there began an age of slaughter, of blood and death of innocents such as hearkened to war. And Roland McHugh spread his evil across Europe, spraying blood and hatred in his path. . . Roland McHugh – who, according to his Wikipedia entry, “had burned more witches than anyone in history.” (My words, not the author’s)

Ignorance. It was, of course, a filthy, superstitious time – a time when the Christian church was doing its best to wipe out any other religion, subsuming beliefs, co-opting holidays and celebrations, changing peaceful pagan ritual instruments into Christian tools of torture. And what better victims than those who healed the sick, assisted the elderly and weak, assisted in the birth of children, and stayed by the dying on their way to wherever souls travel? Who worshiped outside, under the stars and moon, often led by women, instead of in a cathedral, led by men – men who wanted to control everything from medicine to beliefs to (most importantly) wealth? What else to do but declare them evil, devil worshipers, monsters who should be slaughtered, burned at the stake, pulled apart by horses? Women. Men. Children.

Infants.

McHugh’s wife died in childbirth, McHugh waiting too long to summon the midwife, allowing her to bleed out before help could arrive. There was nothing Prudence Taggart could do to save either wife or child. Witchcraft. Witchcraft, of course, what else could it be? So Prudence, and her husband, Henry, were burned at the stake. But not before they were able to cast a spell – for all that they were goodness and purity, lovers of the world and humanity and nature, they actually were witches – witches of healing, witches of creation and beauty. And as they died, they set a spell in motion, sending their three infant daughters, three days old, far into the future. Far far into the future, where “no one believes in witches any longer.”

But even now, the Venatores Mali have returned, slashing a path of fire and slaughter in their wake. The slaughter of Wiccans. Wiccans – whose one main belief, one true calling and law, is Do No Harm. The murders are horrific, murders of men, women, children. All slaughtered, all burned to some degree. Horrific actions, all carried out in the name of McHugh. Of the Vanatores Mali. Of a god who I would hope would shudder and turn her head away from what is being carried out in her name. But who must, certainly, no longer care, or no longer even watch. Why else such a nightmare of a world?

Raye Larsen is the very definition of a foundling. She was found tossed on the side of a highway, no clothing, no blanket – simply a tiny infant, left beside the road to die. Adopted by the Larsen’s, a good New Bergin, Wisconsin family, Raye never knew who left her by the side of the road. She never knew why she saw ghosts. She did, however, know that her ‘father’ told her ‘mother’ one night, after Raye had once again been caught talking to someone who wasn’t visible, “Take her to a psychiatrist?” my father repeated. “I was thinking of taking her back.” Talk about feelings of inadequacy, of fear, and loneliness, of an incessant need to please. “If I wasn’t “right” I could be returned like a broken chair or a moldy loaf of bread.” What a terrible way to live, always fearful that the only family you have ever known could throw you away like trash. So, she stopped, as best she could, interacting with ghosts.

But now, someone is trying to kill Raye. Someone who has already killed one woman in New Bergin. In fact, they have tried to kill her twice. And when a New Orleans detective, Bobby Doucet, shows up in New Bergin to verify a strange brand on the neck of the first victim, to verify that the serial killer who struck New Orleans a year ago is now killing again, far to the North of NOLA, the deaths fall hard and fast. There are things Raye knows – things she can’t tell Bobby. Bobby, who thinks of anything mystical as, “The dead don’t come back… Anyone who says so is a liar. Probably a thief and a charlatan too.” And as things become more and more tense, more dangerous, Bobby Doucet’s prejudice may just be the death of both of them.

Bobby’s pure, pigheaded stubbornness was the only thing about the book that really irritated me. As you get into the book you realize what caused his disbelief, and you can’t help but hurt for him. But when you get hit over the head several times and still don’t understand that someone is standing behind you hitting you on the head with a 2”x4”, well, I still stayed irritated at him. Then, that’s just me. Honestly, I adored this book. Absolutely adored it. I did it in one sitting (yes, it flippin’ rained again today – downpour, lightning, thunder, the whole nine yards. Oregon wasn’t this wet.) and finished at 2AM. And yes, I have already preordered the next in the series. They are all three up on Amazon (three sisters, three stories – though no one knows where the youngest sister ‘landed’ as of this book.) I love it. Raye is believable in her reactions to everything, the ghosts are awesome, and the Evil just that – believably evil.

Bobby:“How could a seventeenth-century Scottish witch-hunting society kill someone in America in the twenty-first century?

Raye: “There are still Nazis.” “Any society can be revived. For that matter, any one can start a society and slap any name on it that they want. It’s America.”

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. Note to the Publisher:
Guys, Really! I never would have picked up the book on my own, based upon the cover art and title. It comes off as a very young Young Adult novel if you simply look at the cover. The title has only a passing reflection of the book contents. “In the Air Tonight” sounds like a Harlequin Romance.  the book is much better than that, and deserves a better title and cover.

Review: Grumpy Old Wizards by John O’Riley

Grumpy Old Wizards
Kindle Cover (click for Goodreads Link)

When you are an 80-year-old Wizard with top-notch rating in a world gone wonky, where magic is rated in categories like tornados and just because you are 80 it doesn’t mean you don’t look like a 20-year-old, life can get a bit interesting. Such is the case with Josephine. She and her two best buds, Alice and Helen, live in a retirement home, and the first time you meet them they are playing gin rummy. Josephine has two of the aces, and life is looking good – until the phone rings. Obnoxious Detective Whiney (well, Detective Riley, but he really is Obnoxious and Whiney) has a case for her. (Being a category six wizard, the highest category there is, means that her retirement is frequently interrupted by Obnoxious Detective Whiney. Them’s the rules, if you are a wizard, the government owns your ass.) Uh. Anyway. With a serial killer on the loose who appears to match Josephine in strength, it will take a lot of work to track him down and stop him.

The idea of Grumpy Old Wizards is quite good. There is humour, it isn’t really bloody, per se, and the idea of elderly ladies, while done before, are done uniquely. But then, there are the problems. There is an overall flat choppiness to the writing that pretty much left me cold. Sort of a ‘See Spot, see Spot run, run Spot run’ delivery that had me skimming through the pages shooting for the end. And as other reviewers have said, the very fact that everyone was surprised at the identity of the killer at the end was sort of “Well, duh. Figured that out a long time ago.” I hate that in a book that is supposed to be a mystery – it defeats the purpose and makes the rest of the book, after you saw the big red flashing billboard, mere filler. And what is UP with that cover??? It should be on the cover of a YA romantic 18-year-old witch story, not the cover of this book. I almost didn’t accept the book because the cover literally pushed me away. Goodreads shows two other covers:

 

Grumpy Old Wizards
Createspace Paperback Cover #2
Grumpy Old Wizards (Grumpy Old Wizards, #1)
Createspace Paperback Copy #1

 

♥Which cover do you like? And if I could look like the one on Createspace Cover #1 at 80, I would want to be a wizard, too!♥

Overall, the idea was good, the delivery mediocre, the mystery nonexistent, and the writer needs an editor. However, I am not totally throwing the idea of this series in the trash. With a good editor and good beta readers this could be a funny, interesting series.

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