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Review: Tangle of Thornes by Lorel Clayton

27231426“People speak sometimes about the “bestial” cruelty of man, but that is terribly unjust and offensive to beasts, no animal could ever be so cruel as a man, so artfully, so artistically cruel.” ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“She had to learn that the day granted hope and happiness, but I stole it. She had to face that the night hid evil and darkness, but my soul was blacker.” ― Pepper Winters, Debt Inheritance

Eva Thorne was born to be a monster, in a country of monsters. The Solhans are a “whole different category of human. One that most other races tended to hate.” Well, you can’t really blame them. Solhans glory in cruelty, dark magic, and buckets and buckets of blood – as long as it isn’t their own. Then, well, the Solhans opened a bit of dark magic that brought back their Dead God. And as a group that worships cruelty and death, their Dead God shouldn’t have been a surprise when he started slaughtering the very Solhans who worshiped him – along with half the rest of the world.

So, they became refugees, fleeing to other countries to escape the very God they were so gleeful to have brought back. Eva’s own family, the rich and massively powerful Thornes, found themselves in the Avian/Elf/Gnome controlled city of Highcrowne, the most ‘civilized’ place in the known world. Well, except for the fact that humans, like Eva, are pushed into the Outskirts, the dark garbage heap at the foot of the fabled city on the hill. Oh, and don’t forget that humans are also the slave labor that keeps Highcrowne’s very SteamPunk society running. Magic and machines, machines and magic. I loved it.

Eva’s family brought its power and dark magic with them when they came. They now rule over the Outskirts, wallowing in power, their hands in every evil, and yes, profitable, industry ripe for the picking. But Eva is determined, from a very young age, not to become what her family is – what her identical twin so easily became. So, she walks away, working in a café and living in a tiny apartment. She may not be rich, she may not be powerful, but above all? Eva is determined to keep her soul as her own.

Then her brother, the one ‘good’ person in her life, is murdered, his heart ripped out and taken away. Soul magic. And unless Eva can find his killer, and hopefully find his heart, Viktor’s soul will forever be captured and used for unknown, but certainly purely evil, purposes. Surrounded by family, who want to turn her to their Solhan ways (well, except for her twin, who just wants her to suffer greatly before slaughtering her), and a variety of human, gnomish, and ‘other’ people hanging around her and offering to ‘help’ for reasons of their own, Eva’s story is harsh, brutal, and obsessively readable. Finding her brother’s killer is going to be hard enough. But keeping her soul intact? That may be impossible.

I picked Tangle of Thornes up for free on May first and sat down this afternoon after wearing myself out with gardening (it was warm today, Yea!!). It is midnight now and I just finished the book. I hadn’t read the description (see what a good cover can do? It caught my eye and I opened it on my eReader) but I also wanted something by an author I hadn’t read before that had a female lead, and I picked it up. The first paragraph caught my attention, then I was all in.

“I’ve read a few of those hard-boiled detective novels. You know, The Maltese Griffin, Murder on the Troll Road … the classics. But none of them ever mentioned the smell. Mr. Hylar, my last hope, smelled like old sweat mixed with fermented stomach contents, some of which stained his shirt collar. City elves were like their country cousins: filthy.”

OK, THIS I can get behind! No tall, willowy Elves with long, shiny locks blowing in a magical breeze? Something Different! Whoot!

The second book in the series is A Thorne for a Crown. 28280519I won’t read the description of this one either, I will just wade right in. I don’t watch the “what’s happening next” at the end of a show I am watching either – I would rather watch it than have it described to me, so I will do the same here. I had to slap my own hand to keep myself from punching the “Read For Free” button when it popped up at the end, but I will wait or I will be up the rest of the night and into the morning!

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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

My Find Of The Day: Morgan Daimler

I found this little gem in my Bookbasset e-mail  today. I love free and low-cost book e-mails!

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Murder Between the Worlds: A Between the Worlds Novel
Morgan Daimler
4.8 Stars (20 Reviews)
Genre: Horror | Fantasy

FREE for a limited time

100 years ago mortal earth merged with the realm of Fairy in an event called the Sundering; in a small town in this new world where mortal earth and Fairy overlap someone is torturing and killing young women. The police don’t have any good leads

so they turn to Allie McCarthy, occult bookstore owner, to help them understand the ritual behind the murders. Allie wants to help but solving murders isn’t her forte – old, rare books are what she knows best. Unfortunately for her it seems that a book might be at the center of it all, and she is the key to catching someone who definitely doesn’t want to be caught. Things get complicated as Allie finds herself caught between the police – human and elven – and her friends, looking for a book she isn’t sure exists, and trying to put the pieces together as quickly as she can. Add in romance, an out-of-control magical gift, two strangers willing to do anything to find the same book, and dark magic that might destroy both worlds and Allie’s in way over her head.

Click here to get this book for FREE

Cruising Morgan Daimler’s info in various places, I found the following info about her. I am looking forward to reading this book, but her others sound fascinating as well.

About the Author:

Morgan Daimler

My name is Morgan Daimler. I have been a witch since 1991, an Irish reconstructionist since about 1994, and heathen since 2006. I like to write poetry and recently ventured into writing fiction which I enjoy. I have had my poetry and prose published in different places including 7 anthologies, Circle magazine, Witches and Pagans magazine and the CR journal Air n-Aithesc. I am the author of the book By Land, Sea, and Sky, and the urban fantasy series Between the Worlds. Through Spero Publishing I have the children’s book a Child’s Eye View of the Fairy Faith.Through Moon Books I have Where the Hawthorn Grows, Fairy Witchcraft, and Pagan Portals: the Morrigan.

Review: Ashes and Arsenic by S.M. Reine

23505850Too much self-centered attitude, you see, brings, you see, isolation. Result: loneliness, fear, anger. The extreme self-centered attitude is the source of suffering. – Dalai Lama

Greed is not a financial issue. It’s a heart issue. – Andy Stanley

Cesar Hawke isn’t really much of a witch in the eyes of his coworkers at the Office of Preternatural Affairs. I mean, come on – the guy has massive sneezing attacks when he comes in contact with magic – nothing like a witch being allergic to magic. And he is a potions witch, not a pumped up spell slinger. Well, he ‘is’ pumped up with strength spells every morning, but that is neither here nor there – after all, being the new aspis for his boss, Director Fritz Friederling (and you really should read the previous book where he was awarded that dubious honour) he needs every leg up he can get.

It has been a really bad couple of months for Cesar, Fritz, and the OPA. And things are about to get a lot worse – especially for Cesar. Because his black-sheep brother, Domingo, is up to his old tricks again. And this time? Well, let’s just say death and destruction is once again raining down on Los Angeles – and Domingo is right in the middle of it. Cesar and his grandfather, Pop, tried to save Domingo in the old days. But this time? Well, this time there may be no saving him – or any of those who surround Domingo. Including his family.

Once again S.M. Reine has written a book of beauty and power that is both creative and interesting on many levels. Not only the paranormal writing level, but in her interest in and understanding of the lengths that family will go to in order to protect their members. Even when the member in question doesn’t really deserve their support.

There are convolutions on top of convolutions in this newest book of the Preternatural Affairs series (This is book 6, you can enjoy this one without reading the others, but the whole series is so enjoyable there is no reason not to read them all!)

saraAbout The Author:

Hi everyone! My name is Sara, and I’m the New York Times Bestselling Author of urban fantasy known as SM Reine. I collect swords, cat hair, and typewriters (which I do use for writing!). You can usually find me writing on my treadmill desk at 2am whilst listening to dubstep. Yes, dubstep.

If you would like to know the instant I have a new book available, you should enlist in my Army of Evil! I’ll only email you when I have a new release, which is generally no more than once a month. I can’t write any faster than that. 🙂 http://smarturl.it/armyofevil

List of my series:

WAR OF THE ALPHAS (coming soon)
Omega
Beta
Alpha

SEASONS OF THE MOON (completed)
Six Moon Summer
All Hallows’ Moon
Long Night Moon
Gray Moon Rising

THE CAIN CHRONICLES (completed)
New Moon Summer
Blood Moon Harvest
Moon of the Terrible
Red Rose Moon
Darkmoon
Of Wings and Wolves
Alpha Moon

THE DESCENT SERIES (completed)
Death’s Hand
The Darkest Gate
Dark Union
Damnation Marked
Dire Blood
Defying Fate
Paradise Damned
Deadly Hearts (prequel short story)

THE ASCENSION SERIES (completed)
Sacrificed in Shadow
Oaths of Blood
Ruled by Steel
Caged in Bone
Lost in Prophecy
Torn by Fury
Sins of Eden

PRETERNATURAL AFFAIRS (in progress)
Witch Hunt
Silver Bullet
Hotter than Helltown
Shadow Burns
Deadly Wrong
Ashes and Arsenic
Once Darkness Falls (coming 2015)

TAROT WITCHES (in progress)
Caged Wolf
Forbidden Witches
Winter Court (coming 2015)

Review: Season Of The Witch By Natasha Mostert

seasonofthewitchOnce upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.”
―Edgar Allan Poe

[I am] the pen merely of [God] Whose Spirit, quickly writing these things through me, I wish and I hope to be. – John Dee, Monas Hieroglyphica (‘The Hieroglyphic Monad’)

 Who will live in this place between door and window? A mummer with a heavy heart and blind eyes turning, turning.

 I must meditate upon my name. – Season of the Witch, by Natasha Mostert

 

Doors. Doors upon Doors upon Doors. Doors into memory. Doors into dream. Doors into magic and mystery and heartbreak. Doors into eroticism – Doors into death.

I first found Ms. Mostert when I was offered The Midnight Side by the publisher back in February. As I said in that review, The Midnight Side is . . . a brooding, atmospheric tale of suspense and psychological thrill, full of the kinds of fear and gloomy atmosphere sure to lure in even the most jaded of readers. Mostert speaks to deep waters of the mind, dark corners of the soul, the ruin brought on by wounded and damaged souls.

 With my reading of Season of the Witch, winner of the 2009 Book To Talk About: World Book Day Award, I was again pulled into the deep waters of the mind, the dark corners of the soul. And once more, I was enthralled by Ms. Mostert’s grasp of language, her ability to paint a picture with words upon the page.

The book actually starts rather oddly for what I had expected from Mostert, as we meet Gabriel Blackstone, an accomplished cyber thief, as he practices his craft. Gabriel knows what he is – nothing more, or less, than a thief – but a masterful one; a savant of ones and zeroes, algorithms and cyphers, pulling cyber magic from the very air. But that is not all Gabriel is. Gabriel is a Remote Viewer. And now, his former girlfriend needs his help. For though she too is a RV, she has nowhere near the strength or skill of her once-beloved. For her new beloved, her dying husband, wishes to know the fate of his son, who has disappeared without a trace.

Though reluctant to return to this skill he has left behind, a happenstance pulls him back into this world of dreams and visions, of minds touching across space and time and realities one upon the other like the petals of a rose. And here, Mostert shows her amazing skill in crafting worlds of wonder and terror, of loss and mystery.

And as he slowly spiraled downwards, he wondered with a strange sense of detachment if he might not still be on a journey, still searching for the path that does not wander . . .

Many have spoken of the theme of the story, the happenings and characters. What I wish to address is her stunning vision of the occult, of witchcraft and psychology, seduction and passion, mysticism and the mind, all richly crafted into a world both heartrending and sublime.

A white horse neighed madly and tossed its blood-soaked mane.

None of Mostert’s characters are purely evil, none are purely good. Instead, she revels in creating characters of depth, both moral and immoral, sinner and chaste. Through talismanic images and mysterious sigils, fantastic signs and the infinite patterns of code, she drives Gabriel through the palaces of memory and the mind, wrapping the story into an atmospheric, poetic whole.

Natasha Mostert has permanent residence on my “Keepers” shelf, a place few Authors gain within my own Palace of the Mind.

I received my copy of Season of the Witch from the publisher. All thoughts are my own. Don’t fail to add all of Ms. Mostert’s books to your “Must Read” shelf if you love atmospheric, poetic writing.

Purchase Links:

Buy-Now-Button_Amazongoodreads_iconAmazon Canada
Purchase Books A Million
Buy at alibris
Buy at Powell'sAbeBooks
amazonUK

 

 

About the Author:

natmosWhen one of my publishers asked me to submit a 200 word biography for their authors’ website, I thought about dropping the usual bio platitudes and submitting the following:

“Natasha Mostert is a spectacularly brilliant, raven-haired psychic who saw her first ghost at the age of four. She likes to take midnight rides on horseback and practices levitation twice a day.”

However, upon reflection I didn’t think my editor would be too amused by this flight of fancy. So here it is, the official (and much less exciting) Natasha Mostert biography:

Natasha Mostert is a South African novelist and screenwriter, who specializes in contemporary psychological thrillers with mystical and paranormal themes. She grew up in Pretoria and Johannesburg but currently lives in London with her husband, Frederick. She still keeps an apartment in the university town of Stellenbosch in the Cape province.

Contact Natasha:

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Keeper of Light and Dust Season of the WitchWindwalker The Other Side of Silence The Midnight Side

 

Released Today: The Line by J. D. Horn

February 1st, the release date for The Line by J.D. Horn. If you read my blog, you will know that I received the book through Amazon’s Kindle First Program and truly enjoyed it. And now, you have the chance to enjoy it too!

Here is my review, for those of you who missed it earlier. If you like richly written story lines, this is the book for you. Full of familial angst, witchcraft, and the lush language of Savannah, you will love it.

theline
Today is the release date!
Buy your copy today at Amazon by clicking the cover.
Enjoy!

Who would that old woman have accepted her death from? That’s the Question you need to be askin’.” Mother Jilo, The Line

An atmosphere of lies like that infects and poisons the whole life of a home. In a house like that, every breath that the children take is filled with the germs of evil.

HENRIK IBSEN, A Doll’s House

The allure of having unlimited access to power is too hard to resist. If Mercy Taylor had remembered that, had truly thought about it? Well, who knows what pain could have been diverted. What truths could have been uncovered. But when you are just about to turn twenty-one, and power has never been within your grasp, it is understandable, maybe even admirable, that the true brutalities of power are outside your comprehension. But given a bit of power, what will even the most innocent among us reach for? And given unlimited power, what atrocities might one commit in the name of that power?

Mercy Taylor is in that most uncomfortable of positions. A magical dud in a family of some of the most powerful witches in the world. Mercy is happy however, enjoying her life leading “The Liars Tour of Savannah,” getting her customers a little buzzed, telling ‘some black and wicked lies about the people of her hometown,” and basically enjoying her life. It’s simple, and it is all hers. Well, mostly happy, except for the fact that she is loved by a good man, yet loves the man who belongs to her twin sister – the twin sister who is in line to take a place as one of the ten who control The Line, the magical wall between this world and the others.

And so, Mercy makes a mistake. A mistake with the best of intentions, but with deep and unforeseen consequences. And yet – is the mistake really her own? Or is her mistake simply a smokescreen, misdirection for something much deeper and more twisted, betrayal upon shocking betrayal?

I received this book through Amazon’s “Kindle First” program. I get the opportunity to choose one of four books featured for free each month in advance of the release date. I love these opportunities to meet new and upcoming authors and get a peek at their books before anyone else. And, yes, the opportunity to brag about it, and to help a new author as much as possible to get the word out about their works. To be honest, this is one of the better “Kindle First” books I have read, and I am happy to have found this bright new author.

Review: Witch Hollow and the Wrong Spell (Book 1)

witchhollow
Buy on Amazon

How often these days can you say that you just read a lovely, sweet story? The YA stories these days seem to be all about angst, teenage lust-triangles, vicious werewolves and vampires. In other words, dark.

This is a ‘supernatural’ story, but entirely different from the norm. Three young witches, Electra, Cassandra and Medea, live in a small village where once witchcraft was the norm. Now, witches are confined to living on ‘the other side of the river’ (read, “the other side of the tracks”) and magic is frowned upon. Never fear, the girls are determined to learn magic spells, even if their Aunt Andromeda frowns on it! Along comes Eric O’Brian, sent to live in the village of Hollow because of his bad hehavious, because you know YA books have to have a ‘boy-interest,’ right?

What happens next is just plain fun. There is funny magic, flying brooms and mystery, oh, my! If you are tired of all the angst so common amongst today’s YA novels, this is definitely the book for you. It’s lovely for your daughter (or son!) but as an adult, I found it just as much fun.

Try it. It is a bit slow at the first, but don’t let that stop you. And yes, she needs an editor. But still, this is the first of a series (three so far) and I look forward to reading the rest.

Recommended

Disclaimer: I received this book in return for a realistic review. This has no influence on my review.

Review: Under Witch Moon by Maria E. Schneider Must Read Urban Fantasy!

Under Witch Moon
This is a wonderful series beginning!
Click to go to the GoodReads page

Under Witch Moon by Maria E. Schneider

Sometimes a book comes along that simply charms. In more than one way, as charms are a big part of the story in Under Witch Moon. Adriel is a witch, and the thing I truly loved about the book? Adriel is a real witch! Not some frou-frou witch, like some overgrown Tinkerbell, but a working witch, doing things the hard way. The job is messy, smelly, and sometimes dangerous. But hey, it’s a job, right? Adriel does it the hard way, clarifying and containing, working with metals, stone and earth. Nothing like having to burn down the whole house when a spell goes wrong . . .

Now, Adriel has another problem. Vampires and werewolves and black witches, oh my! What is a good witch to do? Especially when the good deed you try to do winds up getting someone killed. So, now it is time to fix the problem and what it’s going to take may be the death of her.

This is a wonderful Urban Fantasy, with a realistic take on witches, non-sparkly vampires, and some truly messed-up werewolves. There is a romantic slant to the book, but what Maria truly does well is allowing the relationship to take it’s time instead of doing the “I met you one day and will love you forever as of the day after”. There is one, sweet kiss in this volume, and that is it. So, if you are looking for something sexier, you aren’t going to find it right now. Way cool. I look for the relationship to grow, slowly, over the next books. Wonderful story development! Great character development and world building. Just a truly lovely book, the first of a series that I am greatly looking forward to enjoying.

The series is on my “Must-Read” list now, and should you enjoy really good UF with a realistic bent on witchcraft, this is a wonderful series to add to your shelves!

Highly recommended.

Review: Brownies and Broomsticks by Bailey Cates

Brownies and Broomsticks (Magical Bakery Series #1) by Bailey Cates

 

A four-star review of a Cozy Mysterybrownies_broomsticks

Katie Lightfoot’s life has been changing, drastically, lately. The Assistant Manager of an Akron, Ohio bakery, Katie is overworked, underpaid and just got dumped by her fiancee. So, when her beloved aunt and uncle ask her to manage their brand-new bakery in gorgeous Savannah, Georgia, Katie jumps at the chance. She packs up the old VW and takes off for the South.

What follows is a lovely romp through white witchcraft, mystery and yummy sounding baking in the breathtaking setting of downtown Savannah. It doesn’t take long after Katie’s arrival to discover that her ‘odd” aunt and her “book club” are a lot more than they seem. And when the town curmudgeon first threatens Katie and her family and then does them the disservice of being murdered in front of The Honeybee bakery, Katie and the “book club” must come to the rescue in order to save Katie’s uncle Ben from going to prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

This is an absolutely ‘charming’ (pun intended) book set in a charming location. The characters are fun and believable, and very much the type of people I would love to be able to sit down with in the bakery and have a cup of dark roast and a Cheddar Cheese-Sage Scone (yummy recipe included!) to talk about spells and the Rule of Three. I am somewhat concerned that the two “love interests” in the book will be overdone over time – that is what put me, eventually, totally off of the “Hannah Swensen” Mystery Series by Joanne Fluke. It just got old and tired and took away from the interesting mysteries. They were fun at first, and then . . .

The second in the series, Bewitched, Bothered, and Biscotti: A Magical Bakery Mystery is out now, and Charms and Chocolate Chips: A Magical Bakery Mystery is due out November 5, 2013.

If you want a quick, fun read with lovable characters and an interesting mystery, you can’t go wrong with Bailey’s Katie and friends. I loved it! Besides, I have GOT to try the Cheddar-Sage Scone recipe in the back of the book!

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