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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

 

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Review: Wicked Magic (7 Wicked Tales Featuring Witches, Demons, Vampires, Fae, and More)

26873641(NOTE: I had read and reviewed this anthology previously, so if you remember reading my review, well, this one is a bit more ‘up to date’ than the one I did in October of last year. I just finished it again last night as I wanted to start my read of some ‘second in the series’ books whose first books were in this anthology. Carry on… 😉  )

Ah Anthologies. What a Joy! And with a cover like the one for Wicked Magic, who can resist picking it up? Then you add the authors and it was a no-brainer to add it to my collection.

There are two authors I have read before who contributed to the anthology. Debra Dunbar offers A Demon Bound, the first book in the Imp series. I 17979809love getting first books in a series in anthologies. If I love the first story, it gives me a new, or new to me, author to add to my stacks. The imp in question in this case is Samantha Martin. As the intro puts it, “She throws her gum on the floor of five start restaurants, bounces inflatable holiday decorations down the highway at rush hour, and clips jaywalking pedestrians with her car.” Add to that the fact that Samantha is a slum lord and, yep, not exactly the right person to get on the wrong side of. At least being a ‘bit of a devil’ makes collecting the rent from gang bangers and drug dealers a bit easier, so it’s not so bad, right? Well, except for the angels. Uptight, self-righteous . . . ummm, well, you get the point, right? I won’t tell you about the story, (it is too funny to ruin it for you!) but if you like your women characters both tough and funny, with a wicked streak a mile wide, you will enjoy this book. I hadn’t been interested in reading the series before, though I have seen it advertised often, but I added Ms. Dunbar to my read list after this book.

17348062The other author I have read before is Deanna Chase. Her Influential Magic is the first of the Crescent City Fae series. While I have read the series, it was still nice to reread this first series book. If you haven’t read her works, Deanna’s series is set in the Crescent City itself, New Orleans, and sports a varied cast of well written characters and well plotted story lines. Willow Rhoswen is a fairy (yes, she really has wings, though humans can’t see them) who owns a cupcake bakery called The Fated Cupcake and works part time for ‘the Void’ as a vampire hunter. When she returns from taking care of her mother, having just spent hours sitting in a metal cylinder flying though the sky at umpteen miles an hour (metal is really not good for fairies!) she is immediately drawn back into the job without even having been able to drop her suitcase at home. A vampire is stalking Saint Louis Cemetery and Willow is needed right away. Sucks that she is still so weak from metal poisoning. Sucks more when Willow finds her ex-boyfriend hanging around, (Yeah, the one who dumped her in a text before she left to help her mom. Bastard.) and not only is he where he shouldn’t be – he is What he shouldn’t be. Oy. I really liked Willow and all the characters, but mostly? I lurve Link, Willows Shih Tzu who can turn into a big-ass Wolf! Awesome . . .

23211040Dog with a Bone by Hailey Edwards is a fast-action thrill-ride. When we first meet Thierry Thackeray she is kicking butt and taking names – namely, her instructor Shaw’s butt on the scrapyard-slash-training grounds where her final exams for the Marshal Academy are being held. Well, kicking his butt may not be the appropriate terminology. More like upper cut to the face, foot to the eye – you get the picture. Of course, Incubi don’t play fair . . . but neither do half-breed fae! You Rock, Thierry! As does Mable, the scrappy carrier of the infamous “neon-pink love child of shag carpeting and a carry-on suitcase” of a purse. Thierry is only eighteen, so you could realistically call this a ‘YA’ read, which I don’t normally care for (Hey, been eighteen. Didn’t like it then, wouldn’t like to repeat it. Although, if I could repeat it knowing what I do now . . . OK, back to the review!) but I really got into the story. The characters are different and interesting (Mable is a Bean-tighe, a ‘gentle spirit bound to a building’ who is attached to the marshal’s office) and Thierry herself is snarky, smart mouthed, and entirely likeable in her struggle to fit in and survive in a world pretty darned determined to make her as uncomfortably dead as possible. Well, when your father is ‘THE’ Black Dog, a death omen, and you are as well? Yea. Of course, the fact that he knocked up your human mom then scurried out the door like his proverbial tail was on fire, it doesn’t exactly engender a whole bunch of warm and fuzzy feelings about who, and what he is. Imagine that.

23656424Forbidden by Selene Charles. Uh. Sorry, I didn’t read it. Come on, the first thing you learn about Flint DeLuca is that she is wearing a ‘I love sparkly boys’ T-Shirt, goes to high school, and has a crush on a guy who may, or may not, be a vampire. Meh. Not my cup of tea, but if it sounds like something you would like, have at it! It may be awesome for you.

On the other hand, Dire Straits by Helen Harper, was right up my alley. Not having read her work before, I found I truly liked Bo Blackman as a person. Add to that a world populated by both humans and tribers, various and sundry types of demons. Bo is an employee of Dire Straits, a PI firm specializing in the ‘odd’ job or two. But when her whole office is slaughtered while she watches from her hidey-hole in the ceiling, things get bad. Especially when everyone seems to think Bo is the one who did the slaughtering. Now, Bo has to figure out why a trusted friend has become the enemy, why he has set up a rookie like her for the fall, before absolutely everyone decides the best place for Bo is in the ground. Yep. As Shrek says, Onions have layers. Ogres have layers! And the story line here has layers upon layers that it was great fun to peel back to discover the next. Another author added to my list.

All for a Rose (The Hidden Kingdom #1)All for a Rose by Jennifer Blackstream is a classic “Beauty and the Beast” tale, although this time the Beast is a naga lord, half-human, half-wyvern, with a temper growing more and more out of control. Magic spells, a changeling, and of course, a Rose. If you like the Dark Ages sort of castles, monsters, rich families reduced to peasants sort of thing, this is a well written one from my perusal, though the genre is not a favorite of mine. I did enjoy the references to herb usage, such as medicinal, and deadly, uses of Mountain Arnica for humans and fae creatures such as vampires. What turned me off the most was the spoiled sister, Corrine, who Maribel, the ‘nice’ sister, is so desperately trying to heal at the cost of everything. Meh. Not my thing, but again it may very well be perfect for you.

17802151Finally, and most ‘interestingly’ we find The Keepers, the first book in the Alchemy Series by Donna Augustine. Josephine “Jo” Davids, has had a brutally hard life. Abandoned as a child, she lived through the hell of the foster system, shuffled from home to home, lasting at the most a few months before her foster parents tossed her back into the system for being too “weird.” Once she hit eighteen and was dumped out of the system she enrolled herself in college and is fighting for her medical training, living in a rundown trailer in a rundown park on the outskirts of Vegas, working as a waitress and sleeping rarely. With great practice she has mostly been able to pack the weird away. Getting a job at a popular casino helps to bring in more cash than she made at the café, and she is as happy as can be expected for a worn down waitress with bills, student loans, and really sore feet. That is until she garners the interest of the scary casino owner. And sees something she shouldn’t have seen. Of course, when ‘Scary Boss Dude’ Cormac orders her shot, he really has no idea what a mistake that is . . . Here is the thing. Jo is one broken chick. Her life has been nothing but pain, suffering and loneliness, a deep crushing loneliness that defines her very existence. Cormac ordering her shot in the head was bad enough, but now her life is spinning out of control, and for someone who is used to controlling every second of her life in order to keep herself safe, well, let’s just say she isn’t taking it well. I stayed up, literally, all night long, forcing my eyes to focus, in order to finish this book. Then I downloaded the other three in the series. We will see if I like them as much as I did the first, though I have a feeling the level of angst and argument may get on my nerves eventually. But, they are all on KU, so I can just return them if I give up, so it’s all good!

And there you have it. Wicked Magic (7 Wicked Tales Featuring Witches, Demons, Vampires, Fae and More) has its ups-and-downs, at least in my estimation, and you might not like all of them. But then again, maybe you will. Whatever the case, Anthologies are Awesome!

There Are SO Many Collections Out There!

Have you noticed how many book collections there are out there these days? Multiple authors get together and donate a story to a Limited Edition Book Bundle based upon a theme. I have several of these, and have found new authors to love in nearly every one, as well as new stories by authors I already know. Since today is the start of a new week, I thought I would toss some of the bundles out there for you. Some stories you will like in a collection, some you may not, but for the price, these are GREAT bargains! They range from .99 to FREEE! They are in no particular order, just as I come across them on my tablet. There are a lot of bundles out there – search Amazon for “Book Bundles for Kindle” or “Free Book Bundles for Kindle”. You can also search “Collections” and then search by genre. I am sure there are other ways to search, such as on Goodreads (“anthologies, collections” gained me 267 results while “series collections garnered 1904 results! Awesome… I am going to be hitting that list hard!).

23702709A Very Paranormal Holiday

.99 Cents!

There’s something supernatural lurking under the mistletoe this year. Get ready for a twist on the holiday season with paranormal tales from six fantasy authors (both Mark Henwick and J.C. Mells, two of my favorite authors, have stories here!)

Killer Confections: 8 Delectable Culinary 25045580Cozy Mystery Novels

.99 Cents!

A dash of murder, a dollop of intrigue, a little sugar, and plenty of spice create a tasty buffet served up by bestselling and award-winning mystery authors, Denise Dietz, Leighann Dobbs, Pamela DuMond, Harper Lin, Tamar Myers, Joanne Pence, Cindy Sample, and Connie Shelton. This culinary mystery bundle mixes lethal lunches, deadly dinners, poisonous pastries, and criminal cocktails into a scrumptious fare that you don’t want to miss. (And, of course, recipes included.)

 

The Dragon Writers Collection: A Fantasy and Science Fiction 23262719Bundle with Dragons and Elves, Wizards and Magic

Free!

Do you love to read about elves, dwarves, and dragons? Do you find the lure of magic mystery too enticing to resist? Do you crave stories of monstrous orcs and trolls vanquished by brave heroes?
Looking for fantasy with powerful female heroes, or villains? Beware of both!

24268834

Ultimate Undead Collection: The Zombie Apocalypse Best Sellers Boxed Set (10 Books)

.99 Cents for 10 books!

! Pump up your adrenaline with 10 heart-pounding tales from today’s top apocalyptic authors.

THE PARANORMAL THIRTEEN23387007

FREE!

Actually, 14 full length paranormal and urban fantasy novels featuring witches, vampires, werewolves, mermaids, psychics, Loki, time travel and more! 1.3 MILLION words! 3,500 PAGES!

 

23166727

Stars & Empire: 10 Galactic Tales (Stars & Empire Box Set Collection)

23627162

AND!

Stars & Empire 2: 10 More Galactic Tales (Stars & Empire Box Set Collection)

Two collections, .99 Cents EACH!

 

23362716

A Crime Collection – 5 Heart-Pumping Mystery Thrillers Boxed Set

Free!

Five first-in-a-series mystery novels by up-and-coming authors Betta Ferrendelli, R.S. Guthrie, Simon Jenner, Emily Kimelman and Renée Pawlish.

23456673

Shifters After Dark

.99 Cents
SM Reine – OF WINGS AND WOLVES (Review here)
Dannika Dark – SEVEN YEARS
Marie Hall – HOOD’S OBSESSION
Melissa F. Olson – BLOODSICK
Kate Danley – THE DARK OF TWILIGHT
Phoenix Sullivan – HEARTSONG

22500632The Old Kingdom Collection: Sabriel, Lirael, Abhorsen, Clariel

OK, so these are $34.99. I have read each of these, and they are Wonderful!!!! Garth Nix is a storytelling God…..

Review: Kicking It – A Shoe Fetishist’s Urban Fantasy Anthology (LOL)

15980677Rachel Caine (author) Shannon K. Butcher (author) Rob Thurman (author) Faith Hunter (author) Chris Marie Green (author) Chloe Neill (author) Lucienne Diver (author) Kalayna Price (author) Christina Henry (author)

I love anthologies. Really love them. What a great way to learn about new authors, and pick up shorts by authors we love?

In Kicking It I got to enjoy some old favorites, but I also got to read some authors I wasn’t aware of, or whose stories I haven’t had a chance to enjoy. All the stories have footwear as the main theme – and what woman doesn’t love shoes? Well, I normally only wear an ancient pair of crocs, so I should probably say most women love shoes . . . but then, I do like looking at them, so I suppose that counts?

Rachel Caine is first up with Forked Tongues: A Holly and Andrew Story. It starts with one of my favorite opening lines: It wasn’t the first time I’d woken up to a cross burning on my front lawn, but it was definitely not my favorite time, either.

Holly and Andrew don’t exactly have it easy since Resurrection Witches are now verboten, and the testimony of the dead is no longer accepted in court. Given the superstitious and sanctimonious attacks on them, and other resurrection witches, it isn’t surprising when the burning cross leads to the body of a murdered friend.

Shannon K. Butcher is next up with Stolen Goods. Marcus Brighton has a problem. He needs something stolen, something he believes only Simone Solange can steal for him. In order to attract Simone’s attention, his offer must be impressive. Impressive enough to attract the attention of the world’s greatest thief. A thief who has already stolen from him once before… and is strong enough to face off against the Fractogasts – the monsters that murdered her husband and his loved ones as well. Filled with action, Simone is a kick-ass heroine with a quirky, feminine mien that makes her one of my favorite heroines in the anthology.

The Girl With No Name was my first introduction to Chris Marie Green. What a scary way to wake up – in a motel room bed, (though fully dressed, thank goodness for small miracles), and wearing a pair of boots made of vines. Oh, and with no idea of who you are… And those freakin’ boots won’t come off.

OK, it’s set in New Orleans, so it already has a foot up on my “gotta read” meter. And what happens is both painful – and hopeful.

The Devil’s Left Boot by Faith Hunter is set in the world of Jane Yellowrock, but focuses on The Seven Sassy Sisters – after the betrayal of the their older sister in the most vile, psychotic, demon-drunk manner possible. And now, son of a witch on a switch, an old enemy comes to them for help, bearing a kid goat and wearing a kickin’ pair of Manolo boots. The blood magic is back, and the girls need Jane once more, even though they still blame her for the death of their evil, blood magic using sister Evangaline. A great story, though I have pretty much given up on where Hunter is going with the Yellowrock series.

High Stakes: A Luc and Lindsey Story. I haven’t really read any Chloe Neill before, so this was interesting to me. Lindsey is a veteran guard for Cardogan House, home of nearly ninety vampires. And when you are an empathy, its hard keeping all that vampire angst out of your head. But being a guard doesn’t keep her from struttin’ her stuff in fancy manicures and clothes. And Luc, her boss, just brought her ‘the sexiest pair of boots she has ever seen.’ So, un-life is good. Well, until her great-great-great niece Rachel shows up at her door with a message from an old acquaintance. An acquaintance who is threatening Rachel’s life in order to draw Lindsey back to New York, back to a fate she thought long past. The same fate as her friends who were slaughtered back in the days of bathtub gin and speakeasies. Will Lindsey throw everything away? Her unlife, her love for Luc, who loves her so very much, and her happiness? And what from her past could possibly be calling out to her after all these years?

Another author to add to my list. I’m more of a ‘furry’ lover than a ‘bitey’ lover, but I will read more of her works.

The Parlor is by an author I hadn’t even heard of before, Lucienne Diver. I looked her up – she is the author of the Latter-Day Olympians series, which apparently follows the Rick Riordan school of ‘Olympian’s kids.’ In The Parlor we meet our heroine in a “Hooters-meets-space-brothel’ getup, complete with three-and-a-half inch Plexiglass stiletto heeled boots as she prepares to play waitress in order to get photos of her client’s “cheating-rat-bastard” husband cuddled up to a hussy. What a PI does to pay off the damage done by a singing fish possessed by Poseidon . . . sigh. But she is in for more than she thought when she walks in to The Parlor. At least she is a precog. But what is she sensing, creeping about the room?

Red Isn’t Really My Color by Christina Henry takes place between Black Night and Black Howl in her Black Wings Series. To be honest, the series has been on my list for quite some time, and I have now moved it up in order to start from the beginning. As the blurb for Black Wings, the first in the series, says, As an Agent of Death, Madeline Black is responsible for escorting the souls of the dearly departed to the afterlife. It’s a 24/7 job with a lousy benefits package. That is what drew me to the series in the first place. So, as this is a “middling” book, I skipped this one until I can start the series correctly.

Rob Thurman’s Snakeskin is set ten-years before the much loved Trickster series and in the same world, and introduces some of the secondary characters. What a treat! A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on it’s shoes. And a brilliant liar just stepped through the door – and her shoes? Oh, my. Trixa Iktomi has a new job now. And isn’t that grand?

Yep. Definitely moving to the top of my “my personal reading” reading list.

The final story in this anthology is Ruby Red: A Darque Files Story by Kalayna Price. Set in the Alex Craft universe, Briar and Derrick have a new job. To find the witch who is creating an unknown contagion – a contagion that causes it’s victims to move from healthy to comatose within twelve hours. So much for their promised vacation…

Rachel Caine is the #1 internationally bestselling author of more than thirty novels, including the bestselling Morganville Vampires series, the Weather Warden series, the Outcast Season series, and the new upcoming Revivalist series. She was born at White Sands Missile Range, which people who know her say explains a lot. She has been an accountant, a professional musician, and an insurance investigator, and until very recently continued to carry on a secret identity in the corporate world. She and her husband, fantasy artist R. Cat Conrad, live in Texas.

Shannon K. Butcher. Since launching her career in 2007, award-winning author Shannon K. Butcher has penned more than eighteen titles, including the paranormal romance series, the Sentinel Wars; the action-romance series, the Edge; and a handful of romantic suspense novels and works of short fiction. Being a former engineer and current nerd, she frequently uses charts, graphs, and tables to aid her in the mechanics of story design and to keep track of all those pesky characters and magical powers. An avid beader and glass artist, she spends her free time playing with colored glass and beads.

Chris Marie Green is the author of a new series, Jensen Murphy: Ghost for Hire, and the first book is called ONLY THE GOOD DIE YOUNG. She also wrote THE SHE CODE, a New Adult Single Girl (AKA Geek Lit) novel with artwork by Billy Martinez of Neko Press Comics.

Rob Thurman is currently writing three series for Penguin Putnam’s imprint ROC FANTASY, as well as a brand-new mainstream series for Simon & Schuster’s POCKET BOOKS.  Rob has also written for a Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner Anthology, WOLFSBANE AND MISTLETOE. This year, Rob contributed a post-apocalyptic, “grim” faerie tale Western to the anthology, COURTS OF THE FEY.  Rob’s work is dark, non-stop action from beginning to end, rife with purely evil sarcasm as sharp as a switchblade – and probably nearly as illegal. If one shoved LORD OF THE RINGS, THE SHINING, and PULP FICTION into a wood-chipper, the result would be what Rob aims to deliver in a novel or short story.

Faith Hunter is an American author and blogger, writing in the fantasy and thriller genres. She writes as Faith Hunter in the fantasy genre, and as Gwen Hunter in the thriller genre. She also has collaborated on thrillers with Gary Leveille, jointly using the name Gary Hunter. Hunter is one of the founding members of the blog, MagicalWords.net, a writer assistance blog, and has developed a role-playing game based on her Rogue Mage series.

Chloe Neill was born and raised in the South, but now makes her home in the Midwest–just close enough to Cadogan House and St. Sophia’s to keep an eye on things. When not transcribing Merit’s and Lily’s adventures, she bakes, works, and scours the Internet for good recipes and great graphic design. Chloe also maintains her sanity by spending time with her boys–her favorite landscape photographer/husband and their dogs, Baxter and Scout. (Both she and the photographer understand the dogs are in charge.) You can learn more about Chloe by visiting http://chloeneill.com

Lucienne Diver is a long-time book addict, literary agent, writer, mom and sun-worshipper. She’s the author of the Vamped series of young adult novels following the humorous adventures of Gina Covello, fashionista of the damned. The fourth book in the series, FANGTABULOUS, comes out in January! (Following the first three, VAMPED, REVAMPED and FANGTASTIC.)

Her new Latter-Day Olympians urban fantasy series began with BAD BLOOD and continues with CRAZY IN THE BLOOD (digital August 2012, print July 2013) from Samhain.

Christina Henry is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago and enjoys running long distances, reading anything she can get her hands on and watching movies with samurai, zombies and/or subtitles in her spare time. She lives in Chicago with her husband and son.

Kalayna Price writes the Alex Craft Novels, a new dark urban fantasy series from Roc, and the Novels of Haven from Bell Bridge Books. A USA Today Bestselling author, her works have been translated into several languages and are available (or have been contracted for release) in the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, France, Poland, Russia, and Germany. Kalayna draws her ideas from the world around her, her studies into ancient mythologies, and her obsession with classic folklore. Her stories contain not only the mystical elements of fantasy, but also a dash of romance, a bit of gritty horror, some humor, and a large serving of mystery. Kalayna is a member of SFWA and RWA, and an avid hula-hoop dancer who has been known light her hoop on fire.

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