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Review: Crimes Against Magic (The Hellequin Chronicles Book 1)

Crimes Against Magic (Hellequin Chronicles, #1)I know what you are. You’re the thing the monsters fear.” – Ivy, The Hellequin Chronicles

“If you believe, as the Greeks did, that man is at the mercy of the gods, then you write tragedy. The end is inevitable from the beginning. But if you believe that man can solve his own problems and is at nobody’s mercy, then you will probably write melodrama.” – Lillian Hellman

“So, Nate, I’ve heard rumours that you’re actually alive.” It would have to be rumour. You see, even Nate didn’t know that he really was Nate. He only had a piece of paper with the name Nathan Garrett on it, in what he discovered was his own handwriting, when he woke up in a filthy, shuttered warehouse ten years ago. Was that his name? Well, it was a good enough name, and he needed one. That’s what happens when you have no knowledge of your previous life, not the slightest memory.

Fast forward and Nate is a thief, taking the hard jobs, the unusual jobs, for an odd fellow living in a ‘lost’ section of the London underground rail tunnels, his jobs managed and recommended by his partner Holly, daughter of Mark and Lyn O’Hara, Mob Bosses Extraordinaire and two of the most dangerous people in London.

Well, if you don’t count the psycho gargoyles, nightmares, and various other things that go bump in the night.

This is my first reading of a Steve McHugh Hellequin Chronicles book. I have put them off for a bit, as the main character is male and I have really been wanting to read female heroes, but I am glad that I picked it up sooner than later. The settings are marvelously well done. The story moves back and forth between time periods, from the modern day, to ten years previously when Nate first lost his memories, and further back, to the 1400’s as Nate’s memories begin to return. The characters are sharply written and realistic. McHugh knows his Greek Mythology, and it shows in his deft handling of gods and monsters, sorcerers and just folks. The book has that dry, British delivery that I adore, interspersed with a sort of subliminal humour that I completely enjoyed.

The idea of magic actually taking over the sorcerer if he uses it too much was spectacular. Nate is very conscious of the power of magic, as well as the dangers – but a man can only take so much when the lives of innocent women and children are on the line, threatened by monsters with no compunction when it comes to savage murder of innocents. When he finally loses his shit, he is absolutely glorious!

If you are of the mind to read a solid modern fantasy with that sharp, dry ‘Brit Wit’ some British authors carry off so amazingly well, I would highly recommend the series. I have already downloaded the next, though honestly I don’t know when I will get to it with the huge backlist I have. But it will be worth it when I do, I have no doubt.

Highly recommended. Very minimal sex, some really nasty violence but not overdone, and a strong grasp of history makes the warping of history just right. Homer may have written the Illiad – but you know he did it several hundred years after the Trojan wars. “History is written by the victors who have hung the heroes.” – Sr.William Wallace

Review: Defensive Magic, A Lost Library Novel, Book Three by Kate Baray

24771540When people want to win they will go to desperate extremes. However, anyone that has already won in life has come to the conclusion that there is no game. There is nothing but learning in this life and it is the only thing we take with us to the grave—knowledge. If you only understood that concept then your heart wouldn’t break so bad. Jealousy or revenge wouldn’t be your ambition. Stepping on others to raise yourself up wouldn’t be a goal. Competition would be left on the playing field, and your freedom from what other people think about you would light the pathway out of hell.”  ― Shannon L. Alder

“There are many hidden truths behind a lie” ― Arlin Sailesh Kapadia

 

It’s magic, Lizzie. Science twists and turns when magic is applied. Lizzy has learned a lot about magic since she first learned what she truly is – a magical being. In Lost Library: Book One of this amazing series, I wrote Kate Baray has written a fast paced, interesting book which I glad to say is much more story than ‘romantic scenes.’ Her magical world building is both unusual and comprehensive, and made me smile over the creativity. Book Two continued the story in the same magically creative manner. Now, with Defensive Magic, Kate Baray pulls out all the stops and sharpens the focus of her series as things come to a head – for good and bad.

Returning from Prague after Lizzie’s kidnapping and the near death of John and others, Lizzie and John are travel worn, exhausted, and barely functional. Which makes things worse as they walk into not one, but two challenges to John’s position as Alpha of the Texas Pack. Rumours had been coming hard and fast while they fought Worth in Prague, but when they arrive back in Texas, things are much worse than expected. For challenges aren’t the only problem. The saying is you aren’t paranoid if they really are out to get you. And someone – or multiple someones – is out to get John, and the Texas Pack. There are those who don’t want to 22041005move out of the middle ages when it comes to pack politics. And they are willing to do anything – even destroy the whole pack, to make sure that contemporary thought and management doesn’t bring the pack into the present day.

edd8a-spiritedlegacy-1900x2850But the problems aren’t  only internal. There are outside influences which are bent on destruction of the pack as well. But is it only the pack that is under attack? Or is something else happening? Are larger actions moving politics and magic, larger goals and intentions surrounding John and Lizzie? Evil magic, nasty politics, hidden agendas. And not surprisingly, things, and people, are once again not whom they appear. It’s all here, and done in Baray’s beautiful style. Fast, exciting, and eminently readable, this is a great series and well worth your reading time. You can read my reviews for Lost Library and Spirited Legacy – and of course, purchase these three books at your favorite outlet!

Highly recommended! I would love a positive response on Amazon if you like my review. 😉

amazonBigaddtogoodreads amazonUK  amazon-ca

Review: Treasures, Demons and Other Black Magic – Dowser 3 by Meghan Ciana Doidge

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The envious die not once, but as oft as the envied win applause. – Baltasar Gracian

Like hatred, jealousy is forbidden by the laws of life because it is essentially destructive. – Alexis Carrel

I hadn’t set foot in the human world for more than a few hours in over three and a half months. So begins the third in the Dowser series by Meghan Ciana Doidge, one of the better Urban Fantasy series I have found. Creativity and depth define the works of Ms. Doidge in all of her stories, but especially in the Dowser series.

If you haven’t yet read Cupcakes, Trinkets and Other Deadly Magic, or Trinkets, Treasures and Other Bloody Magic, you can still read Treasures, Demons, and Other Black Magic – but why would you want to read the one without the others? They are, in a word, wonderful. In my review of Cupcakes I said; “Jade is a sweetheart. A nice young half witch, half human (maybe. . . ) with a nasty tempered foster sister, a wild earth witch grandmother, and a cupcake bakery. A very popular cupcake bakery with a reputation for ‘magical’ tasting cupcakes. She has a quiet life, happy with her baking, her trinket making and her quiet, apparently fulfilling life.

Then, of course, things change. And not in a nice way. Poor Jade. Life will never be the same. Apparently she isn’t who she thought she was. But then, who is she?

Since then, Jade’s life has become so very much more than it was, and she is so much more than she ever expected to become. And not all of it makes her terribly happy. Will she, and her friends, ever be safe again?

We rejoin Jade’s story in book three as she reenters our world through a magical portal from the reality of the Dragon Guardians, protectors of the earth and heavens, where she has been training for the last three and a half months. Three and a half months spent preparing to kill her psychotic, blood witch sister, Sienna. It is Jade’s intention to find and kill the wicked witch (yea, yea, I know, but I couldn’t resist…) all on her own.

Only things don’t exactly go according to plan. She is followed from the portal by Drake, a thirteen-year-old fledgling Guardian, alternately cocky and wise beyond his years. A trip to the castle of the sorcerer Blackwell results in terrifying news, and the addition to her little group of Jade’s best friend Kandy, a green-haired werewolf, and Kettil, or Kett, Executioner of the Conclave of Vampires, who Jade is linked to through a life debt.

Many things happen in this third novel, as the search for Sienna comes to a head. New alliances are made, old friends are lost, new ones gained, and the war may be won, or lost, on whether old alliances can be regained.

Once again, Meghan does a fabulous job of telling a compelling story of love and power, life and death, and the strength and weakness of family. This is a great story, and is high on my list of best loved reads!

 

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These are as tasty as their covers! Pick up copies of Dower 1 and 2 at Amazon, IBooks, Kobo or B&N. Then watch for book three, out this month!!!

Note: I am proofreader for Meghan’s works. I received a copy for proofreading from Meghan, and write this review based upon that copy. No matter – this is still one of the best Urban Fantasy series with strong, well-written heroines on the Urban Fantasy scene today. Highly recommended!

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

 

Treasures, Demons, and Other Black Magic!

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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

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Mark Your Calendar! Thursday Is Cupcake Day!

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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.

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Click for Meghan’s Goodreads page!

Dowser Series Cover Reveals

If you haven’t read The first two books, pick them up today and prepare yourself! The cover reveal will be on my site on MAY 1 and I would love for you to drop by and see it.
These new covers are beautiful!

Made by Meghan

I’d been thinking about rebranding the Dowser series for awhile, and knowing I was about to publish the third book in the series this seemed like the perfect timing. I adore Irene Langholm, who has done ALL of my book covers up to this point, but together we thought another cover designer might bring some lightness or playfulness to the covers.

And so entered Elizabeth Mackey.

We went with simple, strong branding – chocolate hues, of course – and I really, really love them.

Cupcakes _2nd book cover          Trinkets_2ndbook cover

I know, I know you want to see the third book!! How about a teaser and a cover reveal date to tide you over?

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Please feel feel to share, share, share!!

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

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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..

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Who is Pierce?

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

Release and Cover: Trinkets, Treasures, and Other Bloody Magic (The Dowser Series 2)

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The second volume of The Dowser Series is out, and it it just as wonderful as the first. Click the cover to order!

If you haven’t read Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic (The Dowser Series) WHY NOT??? IT IS WONDERFUL! So, read Cupcakes and then dive right into Trinkets.

It’s like chocolate – you can’t STOP

Looking back at my review of Cupcakes, the first in The Dowser Series, I realize that I talked more about the cupcake recipes that Meagan came up with. Well, the cupcakes sound awesome so who can blame me? But I never really said anything about the story other than how much I enjoyed it. And I should have, because the story is wonderful.

Jade is the daughter of a witch (father unknown), granddaughter of one of the strongest witches on the West Coast, and foster sister of yet another witch. Best friends all their lives, Jade trusts and loves her sister Sienna with all her heart. Happy in her life, running her bakery, “Cake In A Cup” and making ‘trinkets’ from bits and bobs infused with the magic of their former owners, Jade has a happy, calm, and peaceful life. Well, until the vampire shows up staring through her bakery window. And then, her whole life changes. Dead werewolves, blood magic, and other horrors change and twist Jade’s life. Yes, some of the changes are good, as she begins to grow into her strength, to become what she is meant to be. However, there is deep and cutting pain that must be absorbed, betrayals and hatred and horrors. Jade’s life will never be the same. But she grows, adapts, and begins the journey to her new life as an unknown power in the magical world.

 You want to believe that there’s one relationship in life that’s beyond betrayal. A relationship that’s beyond that kind of hurt. And there isn’t.- Caleb Carr

There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Now, in the second edition, Trinkets, Treasures, and Other Bloody Magic (The Dowser Series 2) Jade continues to grow into her new Dowser powers. A magical ‘finder’ much like a water dowser, Jade tracks and finds magical objects – and apparently, also magical people. The story opens in the incredible Squamish forest of the Northwest outside of Vancouver as Jade enjoys her second to last piece of single-origin Madagascar chocolate and contemplates which of her two teachers, Kett the ancient vampire, or Kandy, the werewolf, will try to jump her this time as they teach her how to protect herself from the world of magic creatures. What they find in the forest is strange and new (to Jade) and proves her powers are even more than she first believed. Here starts a tale of yet more growth and change for Jade. And pain that she had only recently thought could not be more overwhelming.

More betrayal overwhelms her life in this edition, and yet there is also hope and new friendships, new discoveries about herself and her powers. Doidge weaves a tale with layers and depths not found in many of the other urban fantasy series on the market today. The beliefs that Jade has built her life upon are ripped out from under her feet, and nothing will ever be quite the same again. But as been said, and proven, over millennia, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger – and Jade is coming into her strength.

There were some things I didn’t like about the book – Jade is much too forgiving of people who would dismiss and demean her, both as a person and a magic user. But that seems to be a theme with ‘family’ issues, where those who you thought loved you and believed in you truly don’t believe you are strong at all, who have no faith in your abilities . . . I wouldn’t be as forgiving as Jade was. However, I have a feeling that Jade will show that person that she is stronger, and “more” than anyone ever could have believed.

The end was shocking, and wonderful, and heartfelt. It has me on the edge of my seat waiting for the next volume. I highly recommend that you read Cupcakes first, then Trinkets. They can be read stand-alone, but you will enjoy it more if you read both. Then, when you are done and waiting for the next, I highly recommend that you read Meghan’s other works, especially Spirit Binder (The Cascadian Chronicles #1). The second of that series is another book I am drooling to get my hands on.

Again, highly recommended to anyone who loves Urban Fantasy, strong women characters, and beautiful writing.

cupcakes
Read this one first – you won’t be able to put it down!!!!

My review for Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic

Meghan, Meghan, Meghan! I am expecting cupcake stocks to sail through the roof, and a run on cupcake ingredients at local markets just from reading this book. Whee!!!

OK, listen to this . . . Bliss in a Cup – peanut butter-iced fudge cake (did I say fudge cake? OMG wait a sec, I have to go get a towel . . . whew, there) Now, where was I? Oh, yes. Sex in a Cup – chocolate butter icing with a wallop of cinnamon and cocoa in the batter. Or, this particular favorite of mine, Buzz in a Cup – mocha fudge cake with mocha butter icing . . . oh, yes, I could go on, but I might swoon from pure overload. . .

Jade is a sweetheart. A nice young half witch, half human (maybe. . . ) with a nasty tempered foster sister, a wild earth witch grandmother, and a cupcake bakery. A very popular cupcake bakery with a reputation for ‘magical’ tasting cupcakes. She has a quiet life, happy with her baking, her trinket making and her quiet, apparently fulfilling life.

Then, of course, things change. And not in a nice way. Poor Jade. Life will never be the same. Apparently she isn’t who she thought she was. But then, who is she?

Cupcakes, hot werewolves, cupcakes, mystery, oh, did I mention cupcakes? Yummy, luscious, delicious, chocolate, fudge. . . Oh. My. Goddess. The hardest thing about reading the book? First, I am dying for cupcakes now. And second? Hurry! Hurry! Write the next one, Meghan! Please!

Highly recommended.

Review: Full Dark A Novel of the Hidden – Ty Lawrence

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Recommended if you like the dark . . .

Full Dark by Ty Lawrence is not what I expected when the publisher first offered me a copy for review. In the modern supernatural world populated by fantasies of sexy vampires and alpha weres, Full Dark is entirely different in ways breathtaking, horrifying and deeply disturbing on a visceral level. This is a world of darkness, a Dante inspired fantasy of blood and death. In these pages, the dreams of the Dark Ages are born anew, brought forward into modern times. These are not the fangs of teenage dreams, nor the fur and claws of the ‘sexy wolf’. This is black blood and torn flesh, torture and enslavement and pain.

Ashlyn is a sorceress in a world that makes her a victim, her blood a narcotic to vampires. At a very young age her family is slaughtered and she is taken from her home to be savaged by a group of feral vampires. Rescued by the Master Vampire Brennan she is still a captive, kept for her addictive blood. But at least she is safe from the rouges who would keep her chained and savaged. Called The Hidden, the supernatural exist in a dark and dangerous world, hidden amongst the humans, who know nothing of their existence.

Or do they?

War is coming in this dark and hidden world. And while war foments Ashlyn has become a pawn of forces out of her control, forces who wish to use her, or hold her for their own. And the relationship between Ashlyn and Brennan becomes even more strained as Ashlyn strains against Brennan’s control, while knowing that her only safety is actually within his care. Further complicating matters is Lord Sorcerer Finn, a sorcerer of great and terrible power, who controls the Vox, the lands inhabited by the supernatural Hidden, who has his own agenda, and a strange and terrible control over Ashlyn.

This is a magnificent and terrible story. The characters are more than just well written. The reach out of the pages and pull you into their story, whether in hate or admiration, and often in both at the same time. Ashlyn herself tugged me in both directions. A victim for so long, she made me deeply sad one moment and furious the next. She is deeply scared, reaching for a life she will never have while turning her back on the one she might, a life of strength and control over her own fate. Desperate for a humanity that is not hers to have, she protects the police officer, Hayden, who has secrets of his own which will put him directly in the sights of Brennan. And in so doing, places herself in tremendous danger on his behalf.

This is a multilayered tale of power and depth that I would not wish to have missed. A tale of bitter and broken characters, of hate and pain, loss and death and the choices one must make to survive. And yet, through it all, there is a thread of love and warmth which can be found in the worst of situations. But can one learn to accept that love, and what will one do to protect those whom we love?

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