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Deanna Chase

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!

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Nightshade: An Anthology Available for Preorder!

NightshadeI got an email from Sara Reine reminding me that Nightshade is coming out September 21st! The anthology has some GREAT authors on offer, including two of my favorites, Kate Danley and Deanna Chase – and of course, Sara herself! The other authors I haven’t read, and how cool is that?? I get to check out new authors!

The book is only .99 and is on preorder at Amazon.

Here’s the skinny:

17 original stories by some of today’s bestselling urban fantasy authors.

The Agency-Donna Augustine: Before Karma joins the agency, she’s just another assignment handed to Fate from the Universe. But she’s destined to become more than that.

De Facto-Annie Bellet: Verity Li’s just a bureaucratic cog, going through the motions until she interrupts a kidnapping next door, and now all the problems are hers.

Venom-Sarra Cannon: On the run from a coven of witches determined to capture and enslave him, Rend must overcome the limitations of the human world and embrace his true demon power. But will he survive?

Honeysuckle Memory-Selene Charles: Scarlett Smith’s on a mission to track down the man who sentenced her to an eternity of purgatory, but first she needs to pass the mental health assessment board of the paranormal investigative department.

Spirits of Bourbon Street-Deanna Chase: It’s Halloween and time to party, but when a spirit traps everyone in the past, white witch Jade Calhoun’s forced to forgo the cocktails in order to save those she loves.

The Ghost & Mrs. MacKay-Kate Danley: It’s Halloween and Maggie’s mother has invited all the ghosts of the neighborhood over for a party. Unfortunately, one of the ghosts is wanted by the Other Side’s finest. It’s up to Maggie and Killian to find out what caused this soul’s unrest and return him to his happy haunting ground.

Full Moon Mischief-Debra Dunbar: Getting summoned on Halloween isn’t any demon’s idea of fun especially when yanked from a rocking party into a coat closet. But rules are rules and Imp Sam must find a way to get rid of a gold-digger hussy then hope the pint-sized mage sends her back before the party’s over.

Dog Days of Summer-Hailey Edwards: When a fae boy goes missing, Thierry is called to lead the hunt for the rogue. But the closer she gets to locating the boy, the further she gets from the truth.

Victoria Gardella: Vampire Slayer-Colleen Gleason: Balls, beaux, dance cards….and stakes? Lady Victoria Gardella must juggle her responsibility as a debutante in 19th century London Society while fulfilling her family legacy as a vampire hunter.

Atomic-C. Gockel: Sigyn is prophesied to be the consort of a king. Instead she marries a fool. Centuries after his chaos destroys their marriage, the fallout begins .

Highland Magic-Helen Harper: The Veil has kept the Highlands of Scotland free from demons for centuries, and ensured relative peace for the Sidhe Clans. However, a strange encounter on a dark, heather-strewn hillside might mean all that is about to change.

Contents May Have Shifted-Shawntelle Madison: Return to the Coveted universe in this tale featuring werewolf Natalya Stravinsky. Two werewolf shopkeepers in a mystical flea market encounter deadly merchandise that has no intention of being sold.

Illusions-Christine Pope: Warlock Damon Wilcox is plotting to kidnap the most powerful witch in a rival clan. But Damon’s brother Connor has plans of his own.

Dying Night-SM Reine: Hell’s trying to squeeze its way onto Earth via the Grand Canyon. Elise and James, a demon hunting team, haven’t spoken about that thing that happened in Copenhagen for six months. With all the pressure boiling under the surface, something’s sure to blow.

Brea’s Tale: Arrival-Anthea Sharp: When a faerie girl is sent on a mission to the mortal world, she must learn to navigate the intricacies of life among humans – but will she survive undetected?

Angels and Demons-Colleen Vanderlinden: A mysterious woman haunts the streets of Detroit, dishing up her own version of vigilante justice. If the stories about her are true, she could end up being the city’s biggest nightmare.

Dragon’s Fury-Phaedra Weldon: A tragic part of Crwys Holliard’s past is revealed when his lover becomes a target in a serial killer’s vendetta against women who have crossed Crwys’s path. Unfortunately, this also makes Crwys the prime suspect in their deaths.

Review: Spirits, Stilettos and a Silver Bustier by Deanna Chase

People tend to dwell more on negative things than on good things. So the mind then becomes obsessed with negative things, with judgments, guilt and anxiety produced by thoughts about the future and so on. – Eckhart Tolle

I keep going to the river to pray
‘Cause I need something that can wash out the pain
And at most
I’m sleeping all these demons away
But your ghost, the ghost of you
It keeps me awake –
Ella Henderson – Ghost

I am a Deanna Chase junkie. There. I said it. Loud and proud, Baby! Her Jade Calhoun series, beginning with Haunted on Bourbon Street is an automatic ‘must buy’ for me. The books combine fantasy, humour, great characters and of course the spectacular New Orleans life into a treat for the reader.

We first met Pyper Rayne in Haunted when she was being terrorized by one of the nastiest ghosts you can imagine. Now, with Spirits, Stilettos, and a Silver Bustier Pyper gets her own series – (yes, that is me, dancing around the room and giggling. Get over it. 😉 )

Pyper’s life is working out pretty well, if she does say so herself. She owns her own coffee shop right next to the stripper bar where she used to work. Her friends are all safe (for now), she has good friends, and she is getting ready for a gallery showing of her body painting. Exciting! The only thing is – when she shops for a vintage dress for her gallery show, everything starts running off the rails. The shop owner ends up dead, and Pyper is the prime suspect. Add to that the ghostly voices coming from the walls, and the hot ghost who is following her around, and life is getting a lot less happy than it was just yesterday.

Spirits is a great new addition to the original series. Pyper was always one of my favorites of the Bourbon Street series, and the first book in her series does wonders for the character. We get to meet new characters, including a sexy ghost with highly unusual talents, the mystery is very well done as all Deanna’s mysteries are, and the setup for the next book is awesome. If you like your UF with a bit of mystery, not a lot of ‘over the top’ smexy, and a good deal of humour, this is a series you should try!

I receive this book from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. Highly recommended.

Out Now: Psychic Storm: Psychic Storm: Ten Dangerously Sexy Tales of Psychic Witches, Vampires, Mediums, Empaths and Seers

24135410Get it Now!

Ten books. Ten internationally bestselling authors. Ten different tales of sexy psychics, empaths and seers who solve crimes, fall in love, make magic and fight to save the world.

Only .99!!


Over 2,000 pages of extrasensory reading await, with three brand new, original novels and over 1,400 5-Star Reviews for the rest!
From Bestselling Author, HEATHER TOPHAM WOOD — NEW REVELATIONSLife should’ve been perfect. Kate Edwards won the heart of police detective Jared Corbett and is coming to terms with her psychic ability. Things are blissful–until the day she meets Declan Brayden. Kate doesn’t trust the damaged and arrogant seer, but knows combining their abilities would allow her to help more people. When visions of a missing fitness instructor turn into a race against time to save her life, Kate might have no choice. HEAT LEVEL: 2

From Bestselling author, APRIL AASHEIM — ARMAND“Never trust a warlock…” Before Maggie Maddock and her sisters returned to Dark Root, Oregon, a generation of witches and warlocks reigned over The Council — 13 men and women devoted to holding back the dark they believed would eventually end the world. This is the origin story of Dark Root’s most notorious warlock: Armand. HEAT LEVEL: 2

From USA TODAY bestselling author, DALE MAYER — TUESDAY’S CHILDWhat she doesn’t want…is exactly what he needs. Shunned and ridiculed all her life for something she can’t control, Samantha Blair hides her psychic abilities and lives on the fringes of society. Against her will, however, she’s tapped into a killer–or rather, his victims. Sam knows she must go to the authorities, but will the rugged, no-nonsense detective in charge of tracking down the killer believe her? HEAT LEVEL: 3

From bestselling author, JESI LEA RYAN — JUST A LITTLE NUDGEMarley Sexton never aspired to be a stripper. But it’s the only job that puts a dent in her mother’s medical bills. It’s also the only job where she feels justified using a little talent she calls nudging. But JC Moreno figures out Marley may have taken the nudge too far. Marley’s not big on trusting people, especially a man with a gun, a badge, and a story that doesn’t add up, but maybe they can work together to both get what they want…if they don’t end up dead. HEAT LEVEL: 3

From NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY bestselling author DEANNA CHASE — HAUNTED ON BOURBON STREET — Jade loves her new apartment–until a ghost joins her in the shower. When empath Jade Calhoun moves into an apartment above a strip bar on Bourbon Street, she expects life to get interesting. What she doesn’t count on is making friends with an exotic dancer, attracting a powerful spirit, and developing feelings for Kane, her sexy landlord. But when the ghost moves from spooking Jade to terrorizing Pyper, the dancer, it’s up to Jade to use her unique ability as an empath to save her. HEAT LEVEL: 4

From bestselling author, MORGAN HANNAH MACDONALD — SPIRITS AMONG US — WHAT HE SEES WOULD SCARE YOU TO DEATH. Cajun bad boy and ex-FBI profiler Jon-Luc Boudreaux is in Paris hunting a serial killer. That’s nothing new, neither is being haunted by the victims, but watching the murders through the killer’s eyes, now that’s something new entirely. Jon-Luc is on the hunt for the most diabolical killer he’s ever encountered, and Angela Henderson, fashion designer, is next on the killer’s list. HEAT LEVEL: 4

From bestselling author, JC ANDRIJESKI — LONDON — If there was ever a race-traitor job, this was definitely it. Revik arrives in London with a new job, a new home…and new people watching him, seemingly more than he has helping him watch the Bridge, a holy warrior hidden among humans to keep her safe from dark Seers called the Rooks. Meanwhile, in San Francisco, Allie has no idea that she’s the Bridge…or even that she’s a Seer. Then she meets Jaden. HEAT LEVEL: 4

From bestselling author, JORDAN CASTILLO PRICE — AMONG THE LIVING — Victor Bayne, the psychic half of a PsyCop team, is a gay medium more concerned with flying under the radar than making waves. He hooks up with handsome Jacob Marks, a non-psychic from an adjacent precinct at his ex-partner’s retirement party and it seems his luck has taken a turn for the better. But then a serial killer with a gruesome M.O. surfaces–and no one agrees what he looks like. HEAT LEVEL: 5

From NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY bestselling author, C.J. ELLISSON — VAMPIRE VACATION — Meet Vivian. She’s a 580-year-old vampire who exudes sex, has a talent for drama, and is passionate about two things: her human husband, Rafe, and their resort for the undead. Her ability to project physical illusions creates the perfect vacation spot–a dark, isolated Alaskan hideaway where visitors can have their wildest fantasies come true. The powerful vamp is put to the test when she discovers a corpse in a locked guest room minutes before the next arrivals. HEAT LEVEL: 5

From bestselling author, HAZEL HUNTER — TOUCHED — In the world of Isabelle de Grey, eyesight isn’t the only way to see. When she touches objects and people, she looks into their past. But her gift is equal parts curse. She has yet to find the lover who can accept the brutal truth of what she sees. Isolated and rejected, she is ready to leave Los Angeles and abandon her career when she meets FBI profiler Gavin “Mac” MacMillan. Thrown together when the daughter of a mutual friend is abducted, Isabelle discovers that Mac could be the man who won’t push her away. HEAT LEVEL: 5


 

Free Today! Haunted on Bourbon Street (Jade Calhoun Series, Book 1) By Deanna Chase

 

bourbonHaunted on Bourbon Street (Jade Calhoun Series, Book 1)
By Deanna Chase
Jade loves her new apartment—until a ghost joins her in the shower. When empath Jade Calhoun moves into an apartment above a strip bar on Bourbon Street, she expects life to get interesting. What she doesn’t count on is making friends with an exotic dancer, attracting a powerful spirit, and developing feelings for Kane, her sexy…
Free!

Bring on the CHOCOLATE!!! Treasures, Demons, and Other Black Magic Cover Reveal!

 

Treasures, Demons, and Other Black Magic!

TREASURES_cover treasures_coverreveal_stockchocolate_comingsoon

OH, yummy! Now I am going to have to go make rich, gooey DARK Chocolate cupcakes, then find my athame and have a party! Yippee, skippee, Rah Rah YUM!!!!

 

Biography

Meghan Ciana Doidge is an award-winning writer based out of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. She has a penchant for bloody love stories, superheroes, and the supernatural. She also has a thing for chocolate, potatoes, and sock yarn.

Novels – After The Virus, Spirit Binder, Time Walker, Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic – Dowser #1, Trinkets, Treasures, and Other Bloody Magic – Dowser #2, Treasures, Demons, and Other Black Magic – Dowser #3

Novellas/Shorts – Love Lies Bleeding and The Graveyard Kiss

WARNING: author has been known to manipulate characters with chocolate, sex, and fantastical plotting. Readers beware http://author.to/meghancianadoidge

 Linkscupcake

Blog, www.madebymeghan.ca

Twitter, @mcdoidge

Facebook, Meghan Ciana Doidge

NEW RELEASE MAILING LIST

Amazon Author Page

Goodreads Author Page

meg

Mark Your Calendar! Thursday Is Cupcake Day!

dowserbanner
Check out the first two. Like chocolate, you won’t be able to resist the third!

I can hardly wait! going to go back and give the first two a quick read so that I am prepared for the next!!

And don’t forget Meghan’s other wonderful books! These are new covers for the Dowser series, but her other works have great covers as well, and you can even see the old-style cover for Cupcakes below.

doidge
Click for Meghan’s Goodreads page!

Shadows of Bourbon Street is Here! New Deanna Chase

shadoes
Click to Order!

Shadows of Bourbon Street is here!!

Got the following from Deanna Chase a few minutes ago! Her Jade Calhoun Series is wonderful, and I have been waiting rather impatiently for the next in the series. Never fear, read on for more information and the links to purchase!
Hello,
I’m extremely excited to announce my newest release, SHADOWS OF BOURBON STREET, the fifth book in the Jade Calhoun series! (Book six is coming this winter!)
As a special treat there is a companion novel, MARKED BY TEMPTATION, a spin off Bourbon Street novel, that happens at the same time as Shadows of Bourbon Street available now in the Alphas After Dark anthology.
Buy links Shadows of Bourbon Street:
Kobo Coming soon!
iBooks Coming soon!
 
Buy links Marked by Temptation (In Alphas After Dark 9 book bundle)
Only 99 cents for a limited time!
iBooks coming soon!

Cute cover!

Starting a new job is tough…especially when your boss thinks nothing of interrupting your wedding.

After a year of battling ghosts and demons, white witch Jade Calhoun is finally marrying the man of her dreams. Or is she? Minutes before Jade and Kane say I do, the High Angel arrives with a job for the newly appointed shadow walkers. Another witch’s life is on the line and it’s up to Jade and Kane to save her.

With a black magic user intent on destroying one of Jade’s friends, more demons on the loose, and a hard to find incubus, can the almost newlyweds save the witch and get their own happy ending?

USA Today bestselling author Deanna Chase brings you MARKED BY TEMPTATION, a novella set in the Jade Calhoun Bourbon Street world. Mati Ballintine is a sex witch looking for a hot one-night stand to bolster her power, and sexy Vaughn Paxton is cocky enough to make her work for it. But when their one night turns into more than they bargained for, one life is changed, another threatened, and suddenly there’s a whole lot more than lust at stake. (Coven Pointe #1)
Thanks for reading,
Deanna!

 

Review: Influential Magic by Deanna Chase

influenc
The cover is what caught my eye first – beautiful!
I look forward to the next.

I first came across Deanna Chase in 2012 with her book Haunted on Bourbon Street. The book, featuring Jade Calhoun, was set in New Orleans and features Jade, an empath, and a creative and interesting group of friends, including a couple of strip club owners, a coven, and couple of ghosts with very different agendas. Since then, I happily enjoyed both Witches of Bourbon Street and Demons of Bourbon Street. There are still two more (that I know of) in the series that I have already purchased and are sitting in my TBR pile waiting for their turn. And I am very much looking forward to them.

Influential Magic is also set in New Orleans, and is the first in a series subtitled Crescent City Fae. This new series stars Willow Rhoswen, owner of The Fated Cupcake and part-time vampire hunter for the Void. Oh, and she is also a faery – complete with wings and flight capabilities. Well, when she isn’t around vampires, whose walking death drains her earth magic, and thus her life force. A very uncomfortable position to be in when your evil faery auntie, who is also the Director of the Void policing agency partners you with a vampire in order to investigate dastardly deeds by the local vampire corporation. Especially when that vampire happens to be your ‘used-to-be-human’ boyfriend. A boyfriend, who suddenly dumped you with a quick text message (jerk!), then turns up later turned – literally.

What happens to Willow in this volume of the Crescent City series is a neat bit of creative urban fantasy, but it also carries an undercurrent of politics and xenophobia which reflects what is happening in this world, this reality, even now. I am, admittedly, not a ‘vampire groupie’ as so many are these days. Been there, done that, would really like for that whole ‘cold, dead, walking corpses’ to be over already. I mean, come on – have you ever felt a real corpse? Gross. I couldn’t imagine kissing cold, dead lips, much less getting down and dirty with other parts! However, in Chase’s alternate universe, her vampires are, though still cold and walking dead, much more ‘real’ people than others in the genre, with lives and families whom they love – even if they are still overwhelmingly entitled, making them both vicious and brutally efficient killers when crossed.

Overall, I really liked Willow. She takes a lot of damage, both physically and emotionally in this first book, and overall she handles it well. I did find her rather naïve at times, railing against those who would take care of issues in a vigilante fashion, while openly acknowledging that the governmental agencies are deeply corrupt. At the same time, I honestly admired her for understanding the siren song of power and how it can so easily corrupt.

The fantasy storyline is creative, well written, and believable as an alternative reality of a world which evolved under magical conditions, while still aligning closely with our own. There is a bit of a triangle aspect, between Willow and David, the vamp ex boyfriend and Talisen, her childhood friend and mentor who is another faery. The triangle seems to correct itself at the end, and I honestly hope that the concept doesn’t carry on through the other books, as I find those sorts of story lines to be crutches for poor story development. However, the Shih Tzu that turns into a wolf? Awesome! And I hope that Willow will be spending more time in her bakery, creating magically infused cupcakes, and more time with her best friend, Phoebe, a witch. There were a lot of ends left free, leaving room for a great deal of really good story development as we learn more about Willow, her skills, and her family and friends. And having listened to the Audible Edition, narrated by Gabra Zackman, one of my favorite narrators of all time, there was a whole other level of enjoyment that I was able to gain from the book.  And right now, Influential Magic is only $1.99 for the Audible Edition! What’s not to like? Especially when it is also text-to-speech enabled for the Kindle edition. I prefer the Audible editions, as I can download them onto my Zune and pop it into my pocket while I am doing other things, but having it in both editions means I can read it any way I wish. Cool…

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