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Paranormal

Review: Wolf Protector – Millie Taiden

Scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue. Realize the strength, move on. – Henry Rollins

True strength is delicate. -Louise Berliawsky Nevelson

17668267Erica Villa is strong. Oh, she may not be Superwoman, flying to the rescue. But she is one strong woman – strong enough to do what it takes to save the lives of others, no matter the personal pain.

As a member of the Federal Paranormal Unit, policing the actions of the paranormals of the world, Erica has a very special ability. She sees the last moments of a victims life – feels their pain, their horror, their grief. She knows how she will suffer every time – and she still does her job. But when the latest string of murders occur, Villa is pushed farther than she has ever been before – this time her mind may not survive.

When I finished Wolf Protector, I moved straight to the next book in the series, Dangerous Protector. I don’t often do that – go straight from one R4R to the next book in the series immediately – but this one grabbed my attention enough to do so. It is a PR, with a heavy dose of ‘hot and heavy’, but the story is good, the female lead strong and capable, and the alpha heroes not so over-the-top alpha that I wanted to cut off their dangly bits. So, it’s all good, right? 😉

Recommended for PR lovers who crave their ‘hot and sweaty’ with a good story line.

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Sensational Six Anthology

23622939As I have said before, I love anthologies. You can find both old friends, and new authors to enjoy. This collection of six stories, from shorts to a full-length novel, proves to be exactly the case.


Still Sexy ( a Hunter Protection Group story) by Sasha White, is only 30 pages, but it is so tightly written and well-paced that I am looking forward to reading more of the series. 1149251

When human, Caleb Mann, and his wife the psychic Gina (stars of Sexy Devil) decide to get away from the hectic life of raising their baby and spend a weekend away, they expect a nice, sensual weekend. Only, as is apparently the case in their lives, nothing turns out the way they intended . . . well, almost.


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Phantom Warriors 2: Saber-tooth by Jordan Summers is another paranormal. Katy Manfred is a trapper for what appears to be a biological corporation. Sent out to capture what appears to be a saber-tooth at the LA Brea Tar Pits, she finds much more than she expected. . . ‘otherworldly lover’ anyone? This story seems to be from a group of other shorts – the sort of short, sexy read that you can chill over for an hour or two. Summers has a large catalog I will check out at another time.


 

A Soul in the Hand by Marsheila Rockwell and Jeffrey J. Mariotte is a 94 page fantasy tale. Honestly? I wasn’t in the mood for swords, so I only scanned it. Meh. Not my taste if the parts I read. If you like more ‘high fantasy’ you may like it – I hope you do!


I enjoyed Glimmer by Vivi Anna, a Romantic Urban Fantasy of 12310579642 pages. I felt deeply for Nina Decker, abandoned by her fae mother at 10 and left to watch her father slowly waste away from fae sickness. Nina is an RN in a Vancouver hospital, and when a victim rolls in, supposedly the victim of a werewolf attack, she finds her whole life changing. Running into the wolf alpha as she leaves the hospital she is dragged kicking-and-screaming into a world she never wanted a part of. And when things begin to go disturbingly wrong, being a hated enemy to a wolf pack is a minor issue compared to what her life is truly becoming – what she is truly becoming . . . murderous pixies, evil fae, and more things than she can count that go bump in the night. Add in a vicious fae mum, and could life get turn into any more of a pain in the arse? Well. Yes, actually. Dawning and Portal are the others in the series.


 

The Darkening by Caris Roane is based on a series called The Guardians of 17318863Ascension which I haven’t read. This story contains death vampires and war, a damaged heroine and a warrior hero all set on Second Earth. It comes across as a sci-fi/fantasy/sword and sorcery series filled with ancient evil and magic. I tried, couldn’t do it. If you are a follower of the series, you will be adding it to your collection. I just couldn’t focus on it. That doesn’t make it bad, just not to my particular tastes.


15728681And finally, there is The Night Beat. I have read this book before, I realized that the minute I started it, and was tickled to no end. I had lost track of the book, but it crossed my mind occasionally over time, and I was thrilled to find it in its whole in this anthology. The first of the Necropolis Enforcement Files I remember thinking at the time I finished it back a few years ago that I absolutely wanted to put the second book on my ‘TBR’ stack. Then, of course, I got distracted. Come to find out, the second in the series comes out in 2015, so I won’t have to wait all that terribly long for the second. Go me!

 

It’s time to kick icky butt and take unpronounceable names . . . and undercover cop and werewolf Victoria Wolfe is there to take them on. Take them all on, along with an eclectic cast of famous dead musicians and writers, zombies and ghouls and mummies (oh, my!) all fighting on the side of right for whatever god or monster they have chosen to follow… and stopping ‘The Prince’ is on the very tippy-top of all their ‘must do’ lists. The good guys include a few who are not at all who you were taught to think they were, and sometimes even the bad guys can be the good guys under the right situation – but of course, when they are bad, they are so very, very bad . . . Can’t wait for the next in the series!

So, four out of six isn’t bad – not that the two I didn’t finish were bad, per se, the writing was good, they just didn’t trip my particular trigger. Another great .99 cent anthology!

Skin Deep (Dark Reflections Book 1) By Elizabeth Sharp – FREE!

Maybe this holiday season you can give a young woman a book which will help her be much more accepting of her body image?

Book Description

April 10, 2014
****This book contains sexual content, explicit language and intense situations of domestic violence. Recommended for mature teens or higher***
Found on my Freebies at BookGorrilla.com, one of my favorite free and discounted book sites.
This book deals with a lot of self-image issues, bullying, anger, and oh yeah- it has a pretty bad ass demon in it too. You’ve gotta pick this one up if you have ever felt alone, bullied, under-appreciated, or like an outcast. Great book.A Book Nerd (Southern California)
I don’t want to give a play-by-play of the story, but will say that I HIGHLY recommend this book!
Bethany is a very strong-willed heroine, I adore her and want to know what happens in this series – as the story ended on a cliff-hanger!
~Wicked Reads Review Team~

The first book in the Dark Reflections series.

Being a teenager is hard. Being an overweight teenager is even harder.

Bethany Watson has tried to accept herself, but being either bullied or ignored by her peers leaves her feeling she has nothing to contribute. Worse, just as the feelings for her best friend begin to blossom into something else, another girl sets her eyes on him—someone she can’t compete with.

She discovers a host of problems bigger than her social life and waist size when she comes face to face with a creature hell bent on destroying anything that gets in its way. An unwilling recruit in the fight against the darkness, Bethany is torn between what is right and what is easy.

Review: Fade To Black By Tim McBain And L.T. Vargus

23279082The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis. – Dante Alighieri

Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people. – Carl Jung

“Come on,” he says. “Maybe I want to offer some fatherly advice or some goddamn thing, right?”

Poor Jeff Grobnagger can’t catch a break. You see, he suffers from seizures. Seizures that fling him not only into the pain of the seizure itself. They throw him into another world – a world where he wakes to find himself hanging by his ankle in a filthy alley in a dark and grayscale world. And every time he gets free, usually falling both ungracefully and painfully to the alley’s filthy pavement, his reward is to be strangled to death by a shadowy figure in a hooded cloak.

“Any minute now a hooded man will come barreling out of nowhere and kill me.

So. That sucks.”

That first line of Fade to Black sets the theme for the rest of the book – an extraordinarily snarky, moody, broody, and oh-so-elegant and humourous fall into the absurd that kept me reading well past ridiculously late hours.

I first found L. T. Vargus, the co-author of the book, along with Tim McBain, when I read and reviewed her book Casting Shadows Everywhere. In that book, I wrote:

This book moved me, pained me, in so many ways. It brought up memories best forgotten, pain, heart break. But mostly, it opened me up with the wisdom and compassion shown by the author.

Happily, I can say much the same about this newest book by Vargus. I completely identified with Grobnagger. His lost soul, his pain and distance from others, and his quirky psychological musings touched my heart and carried me away to his world. A world where people still watch VCR’s and the questions of humanity are deeply felt, and pity is far, far away. But I still burst into laughter in what should have been the most inappropriate moments. You can’t help it. Grobnagger is just funny.

Vargus’s work weirdly resonates with me. It is sneaky in a way – it holds the things we fear up to the light – opening the reader up to honesty – to love and hope and the truths of our souls found in the darkest of nights. It’s weird and dark and twisted – and real. And I recommend the trip.

I received this book from the author in return for a realistic review. My weird thoughts are my own!

About The Authors:

Tim McBainAbout Tim

People say your author bio should tell the world why you write. I write because life is short, and I want to make something awesome before I die.

About L.T.L.T. Vargus

L.T. Vargus grew up in Hell, Michigan, which is a lot smaller, quieter, and less fiery than one might imagine. When not click-clacking away at the keyboard, she can be found sewing, fantasizing about food, and rotting her brain in front of the TV.

L.T. Vargus now lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan with her special man friend/writing partner, Tim McBain.

 

 

W W W Wednesday! Wanna Play A Game?

WWW_Wednesdays4

 To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?

Die Again: A Rizzoli & Isles Novel by Tess Gerritsen. Yep!!! The lovely people at Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine have been gracious enough to offer a copy of Ms. Gerritsen’s newest for a Read For Review. Uh, Yea!!! I am thrilled to be trusted with a copy and I am sure everyone is just as thrilled to know that it will be out December 30th. What a way to spend New Years Day, curled up with a fluffy quilt, a cup of tea and a box of chocolates, exploring Jane and Maura’s newest case.

When Boston homicide detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles are summoned to a crime scene, they find a killing worthy of the most ferocious beast—right down to the claw marks on the corpse. But only the most sinister human hands could have left renowned big-game hunter and taxidermist Leon Gott gruesomely displayed like the once-proud animals whose heads adorn his walls. Did Gott unwittingly awaken a predator more dangerous than any he’s ever hunted?

• What did you recently finish reading?

22421257I just finished editing (well, of course that requires reading!) Territory by Susan Bliler!

This is the second book in the Territory Series, which precedes Susan’s amazing Skin Walkers series. The new edit will be on shelves soon, and you HAVE to grab your copy!

Kya woke to find herself chained by the ankle to a towering tree in the middle of the forest. Pine needles crunched under her slight weight as she pulled at her ankle, frantically struggling to free herself.

Yep. Strong story line, strong women characters, and hunky heroes. What is not to love about Susan Bliler!!

15757259  23438958

• What do you think you’ll read next?

OK, I admit it. I am a Natasha Mostert Junkie.

Yep. And I don’t even need a 12-stepprogram – I just need to enjoy every single book that Natasha writes!

Her newest, Dark Prayer is, as New York Times Bestseller, M.J. Rose puts it:

“Unique, haunting, provocative, riveting and beautiful, it is a novel that asks questions and somehow magically leaves you to find the answers yourself… a mesmerizing story you’ll never forget.”

Eloise Blake is on the run from a life she can no longer remember. And from a killer who will stop at nothing, to protect a secret as old as time. From the award-winning author of SEASON OF THE WITCH, comes a thriller about memory, identity and the murderous consequences of a quest gone wrong.

 

Whatever you are reading, Enjoy!!

Review: Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews

gunmetalHumankind seems to have an enormous capacity for savagery, for brutality, for lack of empathy, for lack of compassion. – Annie Lennox

From her birth, Andrea Nash has had a brutal, horrific life. A Beastkin, the child of a hyena who turned into a human and a hyena were, Andrea was tortured, beaten, and brutalized beyond comprehension. Once she escaped from the horrors of her beginnings, Andrea focused – on building a life, creating the person she wished to be. In order to reach her goals, she became the best Order Agent she could possibly be. And the Order of Merciful Aid would never, ever allow a Beastkin amongst their ranks. So, Andrea hid in plain sight, wearing a medallion under her skin to hide her genetics.

When the world fell apart during the war Kate’s millennia old “lovely” auntie Erra started, Andrea made a decision which destroyed her life. She decided to stand with the Order, a group that would just as soon see her dead as a member. Thrown from the Order, and having turned her back on the Pack, and her Bouda prince lover, her life soon falls apart in every way possible.

I examined myself sitting there. I’d held back for so long. I’d been good for so long. I’d always did as expected. I followed the rules and regulations. Look where it got me. Being good hurt.

Now, Kate and Andrea have opened Cutting Edge Investigations, their own little “Order.” And when the murders of several shifters lands on Andrea’s desk, it isn’t only the job that is the problem. Oh, it couldn’t be that easy, now could it? Oh, no. Aunt B is determined to bring Andrea into the fold of the Bouda clan, whether she wants to be folded or not, and the murder victims are all employees of Rafael – yes, that Rafael. Sigh. And of course, when Rafael brings his new flame with him to Andrea’s office, all ‘seven feet of dumb’ girlfriend, well, Andrea blows a gasket. And what comes next will throw Andrea’s life into yet another turmoil which will change her life once again.

Andrea being Andrea, there is a lot of pain – but there is also a lot of humour woven through the story. As with all of the Andrew’s work the story is tightly woven, perfectly plotted and continues the storyline beautifully. I am thrilled with Andrea’s story! I waited a long time for Andrea’s story, and I couldn’t have been happier with the outcome.

Highly recommended!

 

Raven’s Blood – Cassandra Lawson – Highly Recommended

Religion, the dominion of the human mind;
Property, the dominion of human needs; and
Government, the dominion of human conduct,
represent the stronghold of man’s enslavement
and all the horrors it entails.”– Emma Goldman

What my research told me is that a psychopath cannot change. You’re born like that. – Jeff Lindsay

It was just supposed to kill the poor. Isn’t it ironic that the leeches of society turned into leeches in reality? – Charles Graham IV, Psychopath

raven
A beautiful cover for an incredible book!

Many of the books I have read lately have the same underlying message – the depredation of the poor by the rich – the rich, with a total lack of anything even approaching morality or ethics, a disintegration of the soul. Xenophobia, greed, and a total lack of conscience. As Albert Einstein once said, “We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.”

Raven’s Blood takes this ideation and stretches and molds it, utilizing the beauty and creativity of the Fantasy genre to build a world both unusual and horrifying.

It is always hard for me when I find a book that totally enthralls me to draw a line between raving about the story, the characters, and the world building, and just flat giving away the story. So, here I go, and hopefully I will totally intrigue you without blowing the story!

In a world with a striking resemblance to today, a madman – a madman with wealth, connections, and power – has a plan. A plan that, if successful, will result in the death of millions. Millions of “normal” people, the working class, the poor, all who are not of the privileged rich. Of course, they will keep a “few” of the unwanted poor. Someone does have to take out the trash, right?

Only things don’t work out as Charles Graham IV, his father and small circle of friends expect. For the poor may die by the hundreds of thousands. But they don’t stay dead for long . . .

One hundred years later, America is no longer what it once was. Instead, it is a land of compounds and fenced communities, fear and danger and death. For the ones who came back are undying – and they want blood. And my favorite part is, this is not just another of the ubiquitous zombie novels so prevalent in fantasy today. No, these are vampires, vampires created by the injection of what comes to be called the “Moon Virus,” a virus developed by the Graham Pharmaceutical Corporation specifically to kill the poor.

This is one of the better depictions of vampires I have read. Cassandra Lawson has put much more thought and attention into her vampires, and her efforts are not wasted. Instead, in a world of UF vampires that verges on the boring, (come on, sparkles?) Lawson has developed a well-thought-out story of not only mindless killing machines, the “Turned,” but also the “Born Vampires.” While the Turned are mindless killers, Born are much as they were – only now with fangs, and a requirement for blood.

Raven is a half-wood nymph, half human who has known much pain and tremendous loss in her life. She witnessed the death of her mother at the hands of the Turned when she was still a child. Taken in my her human father, Raven comes to care for the humans who surround her, taking on the responsibility for a divergent group of human children, raising them as her own family.

Captured by a group of Borns during a raid for medical supplies, Raven throws herself on the mercy their leader in order to save her children. What happens next is an impressively well written story of personal growth and change and a dystopian novel which even a non-dystopian-lover like myself dove into with both feet and didn’t come up for air until the book was, much to my disappointment, complete.

There is a strong paranormal romance aspect to the book, which turned out to be a lot of fun, though the sociological and adventure aspects of the book were what truly inspired my love of the book. I am hoping for a second book featuring this interesting world.

While rationalism at the individual level is a plea for more personal autonomy from cultural norms, at the social level it is often a claim- or arrogation- of power to stifle the autonomy of others. – Thomas Sowell

This book was provided to me in return for an honest review by the good people at storycartel.com. All comments are my own!

Reviews: Temptation Road and Speaking of the Charmed Life by Kimball Lee

I don’t write 700 page books padded with useless words that take three chapters to describe a doorknob! – Kimball Lee

tempt
Temptation Road
Don’t pay attention to the cover itself –
it appears to be a hangover from her other
books and has nothing to do with the story.
tempt2
Temptation Road Two
If you don’t read the first, the second won’t make any sense.
They are both free, so no reason not to.

Temptation Road and Speaking of the Charmed Life, the two current editions of Lee’s series, speaks to the quoted comment regarding her writing style. This qualifies more as a short story, a novella, rather than a book,only 49 pages. And she attempts to stuff a world into these short pages, a world of mystery and magic which would have been much better served by a writer with a more expressive hand. Given that, there are still things to like about the book, even if I deeply wish that someone else had handled the writing.There is a world of beauty in the thought of the book – one that could create a world of wonder. A beautiful, magical house, wild creatures who wander into the yard and strop themselves against your knees. Hate and love and strangeness.

I will admit, however, that a writer friend of mine will probably love the idea of the novella over a long novel. She has three very small children, a house to run, and books to write, so novellas fit her needs exceptionally well. What I didn’t care for was the choppy delivery, the compression of what could have been beautiful paragraphs into single hard, choppy sentences. The flow simply wasn’t there.

The cover nearly kept me from reading the first book. It has no correlation to the story, instead appearing to be just a stock photo that fits with other books that Lee writes. If I hadn’t read the description, I wouldn’t have read it because the “sex me up” style doesn’t work for me. And those who expect  “sex me up” book certainly will be disappointed.

The mysticism in the book is confusing, to say the least, though the good and evil characters are more interesting than most. In the second book, the relationship moves forward rather roughly, with a heavy overtone of punishment that pretty much creaped me out.  The inability of Rae, the main female character, to accept the incredible gifts that she is given, instead winding into a whining, baby obsessed wreck, was truly disappointing. Though she is supposed to be more special than one can imagine, instead, she strikes me more as the type of woman who blows things totally out of proportion – spoiled. Meh.

Overall, I really wanted to like it more than I did. However, in many ways the book was oddly appealing. I know, sounds weird, huh? Gripe gripe gripe and yet I found it interesting enough to immediately download the next one and read it. I don’t know. I will get the next one simply because I am interested to see what happens next. I hope I am not disappointed, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I would – but will be happy if I am not.

Review: Sealed With A Purr- Celia Kyle

sealedwithapurr
Strong paranormal romance.
#6 in a series, though. You might
want to look for the first and go through.

This was the first book of the Ridgeville series that I have read. It was a loaner from a friend who thought I might enjoying reading and reviewing the story, and she wasn’t wrong.

Apparently this is number six in a series. I did feel a bit lost a few times in the book, as there are references to happenings that I was not familiar with, but I still was able to keep up and enjoy without being frustrated with the book, unlike some series that I have jumped into the middle of.

I truly enjoyed the fact that there are many levels to the story. Happiness, heartbreak, terror. Grinding loneliness and pain that are soothed and overcome by love and family. There is a scene near the end of the book that broke my heart – the “bad guy” was just so sad, I wanted to save him, no matter what he had done.

Overall, this was an extremely creative little paranormal that kept my attention throughout. Tess, the heroine, has been to Hell, done the tour, and been left with the scars. However, with friends like Maya and Carly, a lion and rabbit shifter (funny, huh?) and a perspective mate who not only understands her pain and her history, but is willing to take his time and allow her to heal, the story is a heart-string puller.

My favorite adjunct character is Maya, the female alpha, or “Prima” of the pack. She has an AWESOME dirty mouth, and made me cackle like a hyena at her antics. Overall, this book left me feeling light and cheerful and has put me on track to finding the first of the series and enjoying them all.

Recommended for urban/paranormal/fantasy/romance readers.

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