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Review: Demons Not Included: A Night Tracker Novel

demonsWhoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you. – Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)

 Over the centuries, mankind has tried many ways of combating the forces of evil… prayer, fasting, good works and so on. Up until Doom, no one seemed to have thought about the double-barrel shotgun. Eat leaden death, demon. – Terry Pratchett

Monsters are real. You just can’t see them. And if you do? Well, a Soothsayer will make sure you forget all about it. So, it’s all good, right? Olivia’s T-Shirt says it all: People like you are the reason People like me need medication. And there is heavy need for medication going around. Because the Ruhin Demon Gate has been breached, the Gatekeeper murdered, and demons are at, and past, the gate.

Nyx is a Tracker, protector of the people of Earth from the things that go bump in the night. Of course, Nyx is one of those things that go bump in the night – a Drow Princess, half Dark Elf, half human, crazily strong, crazily brave, and more fragile than most would understand. She lives between worlds, not only as a Tracker but also in her very makeup. By day, she works as a PI beside her friend Olivia, a human. But by night, Nyx is Drow, or as close as she can get. Her half-blood heritage means she her skin is amethyst rather than blue, her hair cobalt rather than sapphire, but she is still Drow in her heart, and her Drow powers of manipulation of the elements, strength and speed mean that she is very, very good at her job. But the sudden presence of demons in Manhattan changes everything. As Trackers die, and their human liaisons disappear, Nyx’s strength will be tested beyond anything she ever imagined – and the whole world will be at risk.

This first in the series had the potential to be “just another UF.” There is the expected cast of characters – vampires, werewolves and elves (Oh, my) as well as characters that aren’t often seen, such as shadow stalkers and metamorphs. But Cheyenne McCray has done a wonderful job of taking this book to a new level, writing a much more character-driven novel than one normally sees. There are twists and turns, some seriously messed-up stuff, and the truth of never knowing if those who you believe to be your friends truly are.

This is a great start to the series, and I look forward to reading more.

I was given this book as a gift from a friend. All thoughts are my own.

Review: M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Happening”

“Sir, we lost contact.”
“With whom?”
“Everyone.”

 

I admit it. M. Night Shyamalan scares the beejezus out of me. I have watched, and actually own a few of his movies. The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable  and Signs are all on my DVD movie shelf. I have The Last Airbender on my list to watch, as I really enjoyed the animated series. I will watch his others, I just don’t really watch television all that much right now.

The Happening is only a 90-minute flick, and it was a good way to wake up this evening when I crawled out of bed. Sometimes, when I have had trouble sleeping it takes me a while to get truly conscious, so tea and a muffin and a movie are sometimes the perfect way to wake up.

I didn’t even really recognize that this was a Shyamalan film until I actually opened it up in my movie rental list. Bless Dish’s little heart for offering a great list of free movies!

The Happening may not be one of Shyamalan’s best, but it certainly isn’t his worst. Not as bone-chilling as some of the others, what starts out as what is thought to be a terrorist attack becomes something much more, as humans begin slaughtering themselves in Central Park. The contagion spreads across the east coast, attacking smaller and smaller populations, until nearly the whole population is extinct.

Shyamalan has created a tight film, set within a short time period, which addresses the human depredation of the Earth – and the Earth’s capability to fight back. I got a huge kick out of it! I loved the idea of the Earth finally saying Enough! If you like Shyamalan’s odd, quirky style and a film which addresses our carelessness towards this beautiful blue planet we are blessed with, give this movie a try. It didn’t get really good reviews in a lot of places, but we can’t all like the same things, right? It isn’t Signs but it is a great little movie for what it is – one of the earlier works of a brilliant man.

mnight
Photo courtesy of IMDb

About M. Night Shyamalan

When you say fear of the unknown, that is the definition of fear; fear is the unknown, fear is what you do not know, and it’s genetically within us so that we feel safe. We feel scared of the woods because we’re not familiar with it, and that keeps you safe.

Born in India but raised in the posh suburban Penn Valley area of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, M. Night Shyamalan is the son of two doctors. His passion for filmmaking began when he was given a Super-8 camera at age eight, and even at that young age began to model his career on that of his idol, Steven Spielberg. His first film, Praying with Anger (1992), was based somewhat on his own trip back to visit the India of his birth. He raised all the funds for this project, in addition to directing, producing and starring in it. Wide Awake (1998), his second film, he wrote and directed, and shot it in the Philadelphia-area Catholic school he once attended–even though his family was of a different religion, they sent him to that school because of its strict discipline.

– IMDb Mini Biography By: < mwprods@mindspring.com>

 

Review: Shaman Rises – The Final Volume Of The Walker Papers by C.E. Murphy

shamanrises
I don’t really like the white shirt, it washes her out, but the book itself? AWESOME!!! PUBLICATION DATE: JUNE 24, 2014!! PREORDER YOUR COPY NOW!

The stories that I want to tell, especially as a director, don’t necessarily have a perfect ending because, the older you get, the more you appreciate a good day versus a happy ending. You understand that life continues on the next day; the reality of things is what happens tomorrow. – Drew Barrymore

I am convinced that it is not the fear of death, of our lives ending that haunts our sleep so much as the fear… that as far as the world is concerned, we might as well never have lived. – Harold Kushner

I don’t know whether to smile at another great Joanne Walker book by C. E. Murphy, or to cry like a baby because this is the end. The last volume in this amazing series. And amazing it is. Ms. Murphy created in Joanne Walker, born Siobhan Walkingstick, one of the most interesting, strong and non-stupid heroines of all time.

Beginning back in 2005, we first met Joanne, a mechanic for the Seattle Police Department, whose life was suddenly turned on its head. Flying back from Ireland, where she has just buried her mother, Jo looks down from her window – to see a young woman fleeing across the parking lot of a church, and a man with a wicked looking knife. Jumping into a cab with a 70-odd year old cab driver, Gary, Joanne tracks the church, finds the woman – and suddenly finds that she has three days to learn to use her shamanic powers in order to save the world from Cernunnos and the Wild Hunt.

What followed was one of those series that I simply couldn’t put down – that I made a point of re-reading every single volume before the next came out. Well, re-listening, as Gabra Zackman (well, Christine Carroll did the first volume) literally nailed the character and voice of Joann, a smart but often fragile heroine, strong, hardheaded, and more than willing to do the hard things to protect her friends and her city. With her best friend Gary, a 70-odd year old taxi driver, and a diverse group of magical and non-magical friends, the series has held my heart for the last ten years.

In this, the final volume, all the stories of the previous books come together, the warp and weave of an immaculate tapestry, story lines resolved, lives saved and lost, with each character’s part reaching full resolution, whether in joy or in heartrending pain. Characters we have loved throughout the series are brought back to the story line in order to fulfill their destinies and do their part to save a world threatened by their oldest and most vicious enemy, The Master a monster of darkness, death and spite, intent on blackening all goodness in the world. And it is Joanne’s job, with the help of her friends, to stop the blackness descending upon the world.

As the book blurb states, and which means more than I can say:

Lives will be lost as the repercussions of all Joanne’s final transformation into her full Shamanic abilities come to her doorstep. Before the end, she’ll mourn, rejoice—and surrender everything for the hope of the world’s survival. She’ll be a warrior and a healer. Because she is finally a Shaman Rising.

I can’t stress enough how much I will miss Joanne Walker. She has brought me many hours of joy over the last several years. Of course, that doesn’t mean that I won’t go back over and again to read her tale. If you haven’t read the series before, start at the first, and work your way through. If you love stupendous, well-realized character development, meticulous world building, and stories which will make you laugh, cry, suffer, and generally run through the gamut of human emotions with the heroine and her friends, I can’t recommend this series highly enough.

Goodbye, Joanne. I will think of you often, and with great regard.

______________________________________________________

Note: I received my copy of Shaman Rises from Netgalley in return for an honest review. I have “honestly” loved this series from its inception, and will miss the exploits of Joanne and her friends more than I can say.

 

A Fundraiser for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society By Lilo Abernathy – Author The Light Who Shines

the light who
What you may not know about Leukemia and Lymphoma. They are blood cancers and often target children, even infants, even babies in the womb! Blood cancers are the most common type of cancer children face. My daughter, Evelyn, was one of them. For more on my daughter’s story: http://lilojabernathy.blogspot.com/

When Paranormal Investigation Bureau agent Bluebell Kildare (a.k.a. Blue) arrives at the scene of the crime it is obvious the grotesquely damaged body of the deceased teenage boy was caused by far more than a simple hit and run. Using her innate sixth sense, she locates a powerful magical artifact that acts as a key to an ancient Grimiore and is likely the motive for the crime. She soon discovers the Grimiore has a dark past as it was instrumental in the creation of the Vampire breed and still holds the power to unravel the boundaries between hell and earth.

Blue and her faithful wolf Varg follow the trail starting at the Cock and Bull Tap and all through the town of Crimson Hollow, which leads to plenty of dead ends; some more dead than others. Between being sidelined by a stalker that sticks to the shadows, and chasing a perpetrator that vanishes in thin air, things are getting complicated. Dark vampire activity is at an all time high and hate group activity is increasing. However, it’s her burgeoning feelings for Jack Tanner, her sexy Daylight Vampire boss, who alternates between warm affection and cool indifference that just might undo her.

While Blue searches for clues to nail the perpetrator, someone seems to be conducting a search of their own and things are getting extremely messy. Who will find whom first?

Danger lurks in every corner and Blue needs all her focus in this increasingly dangerous game or she risks ending up the next victim.

This book has an active discussion group on Facebook for those who have finished reading it.


Bluebell Kildare Book 1: The Light Who Shines

Lilo has invited you to the event: Book Fundraiser: Leukemia and Lymphoma Society: The Light Who Shines (Urban Fantasy).

Date: May 16, 2014 12:00AM
Venue: Online
Location: The United States
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Book Fundraiser

The Light Who Shines

 

What you may not know about Leukemia and Lymphoma.

They are blood cancers and often target children, even infants, even babies in the womb! Blood cancers are the most common type of cancer children face.

My daughter, Evelyn, was one of them.

For more on my daughter’s story: http://lilojabernathy.blogspot.com/
(scroll to bottom)

Your Response:
Yes
No
Maybe

See who else is going and get more info

Amazon US Link: http://amzn.to/1eL48yy (available in other countries)

From: Fri., May 16Sun., May 18

I pledge 50% of the total royalties earned on my novel, The Light Who Shines, (print or ebook) to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Please consider:
– recommending this book it to your Goodreads friends
– inviting your friends to this event

What kind of book is this?
The genre is Urban Fantasy, which is a mix between:
– Fantasy
– Mystery
– Thriller
– Romance

It is genre-crossing and will also be enjoyed by lovers of:
– Action
– Crime Thrillers
– Detective Stories
– Paranormal
– Animals

This book is intended for adult readers only.

How good is this book anyway?
So far the reviews have been fantastic. It’s holding the following ratings:
Amazon: 4.8 stars
Goodreads: 4.3 stars

My Friend SM Reine Has New Work Out!

73f03533d4ea15c2d63d8bd1eafd555cddb93582
Beautiful cover! click to go to the Goodreads page for the Ascension Series!

I just received the following from Sara and just HAD to share it with you!

Well, rats. I found this in my Drafts file, apparently I wrote it up, but didn’t post it! What a dope I can be sometimes. Ah, well, better late than never, right?

The following information is from an email. All materials are the property of SM Reine and are not my personal creation.

And is that a great cover or what?

New Release from SM Reine!

Lost in prophecy – ASCENSION #5

Lost in Prophecy
Available now!

Amazon Kindle USUKCADE

Barnes & Noble Nook

Apple iBookstore (iPhone/iPad)

Kobo Books

Elise Kavanagh is too busy liberating slaves in the City of Dis to worry about what’s happening on Earth. She hasn’t even noticed that more than three thousand people have gone missing—not until an anonymous client hires her organization, The Hunting Club, to rescue them. The man asking for help doesn’t seem to exist. But the trail of clues is too strange to ignore, and she finds herself caught in the investigation.

Werewolf Alpha Rylie Gresham is absorbed in troubles of her own. The pack is disobeying her, and the cult camped out in Northgate seems to be the source of the problem. Her mate, Abel, has resolved to fix it one way or another—even if it means going over Rylie’s head and killing their enemies.

Through secrets, lies, and assassination attempts, Elise and Rylie find that they have a new enemy in common. And what it takes to prevail might mean shattering the universe…

A Note from Sara:

Dear readers,

Many of you have been asking me how long The Ascension Series is going to run. Right now, it’s looking like it’s going to wrap up at seven books, just like The Descent Series. I’m expecting book #6 (Torn by Fury) to be ready in the summer, and the final book will be out before November.

Although this will be the end of The Ascension Series, it won’t be the end of this crazy world filled with angels, demons, werewolves, and cats named Sir Lumpy! I have a lot more planned. I think you’ll understand why as you read the final books. 🙂

Thanks for joining me on this crazy journey! Your support means the world to me!

– Sara (SM Reine)

http://authorsmreine.com/

Coming Soon!

alphas
Click to go to the Facebook page for Alphas After Dark!

I have a brand new book called “Caged Wolf” coming out in the Alphas After Dark boxed set on April 1st. I’ll send an email once it’s out, or you can follow the Alphas Facebook group here! We’re posting giveaways and excerpts. You don’t want to miss out on this, trust me!

Share

Share this email on Facebook  Share this email on Twitter  Forward this email to a friend

© SM Reine

 

Enter To Win! The Light Who Shines (Bluebell Kildare #1) by Lilo Abernathy

lilo
Click to go to Lilo’s Goodreads page for The Light Who Shines to enter to win an autographed copy!

Win an autographed copy of Lilo Abernathy’s The Light Who Shines.

When Paranormal Investigation Bureau agent Bluebell Kildare (a.k.a. Blue) arrives at the scene of the crime it’s obvious the grotesquely damaged body of the deceased teenage boy was caused by far more than a simple hit and run. Using her innate sixth sense, she uncovers a powerful magical artifact nearby. She soon discovers it acts as a key to an ancient Grimiore that was instrumental in the creation of the Vampire breed and still holds the power to unravel the boundaries between Earth and the Plane of Fire.

Blue and her clever wolf Varg follow a trail that starts at the Cock and Bull Tap and leads all through the town of Crimson Hollow. Between being sidelined by a stalker who sticks to the shadows, and chasing a suspect who vanishes in thin air, the case is getting complicated. If that isn’t enough, Dark Vampire activity hits a record high and hate crimes are increasing. However, it’s her growing feelings for Jack Tanner, her magnetic Daylight Vampire boss, that just might undo her.

While Blue searches for clues to nail the perpetrator, it seems someone else is conducting a search of their own. Who will find whom first?

Danger lurks in every corner and Blue needs all her focus in this increasingly dangerous game or she risks ending up the next victim.

NOTE FROM LILO:

Between Friday May 16 – Thursday May 22 I will donate 50% of my royalties to the Leukemia and Lymphoma foundation. That is for ebook and print versions.

Later on in the year I will do the same for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Maybe in October to coincide with Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

My daughter has been in remission for 3 years. Crossing our fingers for another 2 which will put her risk on par with the average citizen.

We wish Lilo’s daughter the very best in her recovery and remission!!!

_________________

liloabI’m currently forty-two, but that could differ depending on what year you read this. Unless some fundamental laws of nature change, I expect that number to only get higher. I am half Italian and half Irish. Well, the Irish side is sort of an Irish/German/English/French/Scottish mix, but since I believed I was truly half Irish until my mother’s foray into genealogy, I’m sticking to that story.

I live amidst the Smoky Mountains and can sometimes see the shadows of clouds lying on the mountains from my front porch. I am not yet snobbish enough to call it a veranda, but time will tell. I’m a great believer in the proof being in the pudding. Sometimes my young adult daughter joins me on the veranda… err, porch to admire the view. Often my Australian Shepherd runs around the veranda looking for things to shepherd in the yard. Because we are decidedly lacking in livestock, he frequently presents me with slobbery balls to throw. I, in turn, do my best to ignore them. I feel justified in this neglect because I am planning on adopting a girlfriend for him soon so they can wrestle over the slobbery ball together to wagging tails’ content.

I started working full time while in high school and haven’t stopped since. My illustrious career began with a smattering of service experiences at various fast food and restaurant chains, went on to fine jewelry, slipped into property management for housing projects, morphed into corporate real estate, then ended up in mergers and acquisitions. Please don’t ask me how that happened as I would have to kill you if I told you.

My home is a modestly sized ranch, recently purchased and still not completely unpacked. The walls are a boring light beige, but they make the perfect backdrop for my brightly colored Gustav Klimt canvas prints. Van Gogh hopes to join Klimt on my walls soon, but right now the brakes on my Cube need to be fixed, and the washer overflows if I place the water level on super-duper high. Priorities, priorities.

More importantly than all of the above, you absolutely must know that my favorite color is purple. Not Barney purple, no offense to Barney, but more of a medium eggplant purple. I like to think of it as a “mature” purple, but deep down I know it is really just purple.

Amazon Link: http://tinyurl.com/kq8yoro

B&N Link: http://tinyurl.com/ldaa6oe

Lilo on Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/meldy2p

Lilo on Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Lilo_Abernathy

 

Gateway to Faerie – M.D. Bowden – Young Adult Dystopia

Gateway to Faerie was provided to me by the good folks at storycartel.com for an honest review. Of course, that in no way adjusts my review of the book, but it does give me access to some books that I wouldn’t have normally picked up to read. Whether I like those books on a personal level sometimes varies.

faerie
At least the cover is well done.

Gateway is a book that I would recommend to the Young Adult and Teen audience looking for a dystopian novel that qualifies as an ‘easy, clean’ read. Bowden has written a nice story with sharp edges and an unusual world build.

Fayth Blackman lives in a dystopian world, set two hundred years or so after a global apocalypse blamed on religious fanaticism and growing to nuclear war. In reality, the destruction is the outcome of a gateway between worlds, allowing the faerie world to intersect with our own through a gateway opened by evil fae.

I have read and enjoyed many YA books, some of which as exceptionally written. Sadly, this isn’t one of them. Though not offensively incompetently written, there is still a great deal that could be better about the book. The story line when dealing with the three main characters is pretty much ‘rinse and repeat’ – the whole walk, fight, walk, fight, teenager finds love in a time of terror situation. The editing of the book is poor, the sentence structure is choppy, and overall I wish that the author would find a really good editor and work to outgrow the “See Fayth Run, Run Fayth Run” flow of the books narrative.

The concept pulls the book back from a lower star rating, simply because the government line of what happened to the world two hundred years ago vs. the reality is interesting. Even now, the books and schooling which Fayth receives are “humancentric” rather than realistic. The book also ends rather abruptly. I note that there is a second volume, but I won’t be reading it, as I understand from reviews that it is not written any better than the first, is novella length and basically would have been better served to be added into this volume.

Overall, this is a “tell it” not a “show it” and it simply didn’t enthrall me, even with the understanding that it is designed for a YA audience. Just because that is your audience doesn’t mean that your audience should be talked down to. A great number of the YA readers out there are smarter, better educated, and more literate than their Adult counterparts.

I would rate this book a 2.5 on a 5 point scale based on back story only.

Yippee! Beta Reading Book Three – The Pierced Series by J. C. Mells

Perfect Cover 2
The cover for “Perfect” – Book three of the J. C. Mells “Pierced” series!

Just finished the Beta and, OMFG!!! J. C. does it again – another brilliant story full of pain and hate, love and understanding and a tremendous cast of characters. Watch here – I will let you know as soon as I know when it is coming out – and you have to read this book! Of course, if you haven’t read the first ones, you have to read those too- – – these are too good to miss!

Thanks, J. C. Mells!!!

 

“Can’t live with him, can’t live without him.”

Never have these words seemed more true to Pierce as she deals with the aftermath of Salt Lake City. She and Lucas can’t seem to stay apart from each other for very long without the night panics happening again – but being together is almost as torturous. Will her past ever allow her to be intimate with him? Can she afford to let her guard down and allow herself to be happy? She’s still suffering from the post-traumatic stress of what happened to her the last time she did that.

But on the plus side, their little town of Nowhere is coming along in leaps and bounds. So much so, that it has appeared on the radar of the wolf community. Or at least Pierce’s presence has.

Suddenly it seems like Nowhere is THE place to be these days..

pierce
Who is Pierce?

______________________________

Keep your eyes open – I will post when the book is published!

The Ascension Series S M Reine – Sacrificed in Shadow

sacrificed in shadow
Don’t be dumb like me and start here. 😦
Start with The Descent Series – Link below!

I finally figured out what was bothering be about Sacrificed in Shadow. As the first book of The Ascension Series, I thought I was getting in on the first of the series. See, I should have looked before I leaped – as The Descent Series is the actual first of the series. Now, I have to go back and read that series before I come back to this one.

It makes sense now that I was lost throughout the book, though I suppose, stepping back, it was actually quite readable without starting at the very first. It was just that niggling feeling that I was somehow lost in the translation, like I should have known more about the characters, should have had a better feel for the interactions between Elise and the kopis, and Elise and the priest, Father Night. And, of course, the world building seemed off to me, not clarified enough. But, I was so into actually enjoying the book itself, and the unusual world it showed, I didn’t let it bother me too much. I loved Elise and how different she is as a character, how well developed she is. And the world itself and it’s mythology? I thought I would just learn more about it as time goes along. And, I have no doubt that, as with many series, if I just read Ascension, I would be fine and happy with the whole thing. It is very interesting, without a doubt.

descent series
Start here – and the FIRST THREE BOOKS ARE FREE RIGHT NOW!

However, I am stopping and going to the first book of the Descent Series, Death’s Hand and starting over from there. If I am enjoying the story this much without the back-story, how much will I enjoy it with the back-story intact? This is some seriously good storytelling, and it will be well worth going back and starting over. In fact, I am totally excited by the thought! Besides, right now you can get the first three books of the Descent Series, Death’s Hand, The Darkest Gate, and Dark Union FREE at Amazon as a set: http://tinyurl.com/kkske4a so there is no reason not to start there, right?

As I said, Sacrificed in Shadow was quite good on it’s own. Secrets, betrayal, hatred and love, all embroiled in a dark and sensual story of angels, demons, witches, and wolves. Ultimately, I was quite satisfied with my reading, but will be much more satisfied when I have the first series under by belt, so to say. Being that person who always goes back to read the first books in a series before reading the next to come out, I feel like a kid in a candy store, figuring out the series. Or, should I say a bibliophile at the end of the world, living out her life inside the New York Public Library, no worries, no interruptions, and all the books I could ever hope to read?

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