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Review: Smoke on the Water – Final Book of The Sisters of the Craft – Lori Handeland

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Four-hundred years. Infant Willow Black was sent four-hundred years, to today, this time and place, a place “without magic.” A place where she and her sisters, triplets all, can be safe. But now, Willow is an inmate of the Northern Wisconsin Mental Health Facility – i.e., the loony bin. Not so safe after all.
To save their daughters from slaughter at the hands of McHugh, an evil, vicious “witch hunter” Henry and Pru willing gave their lives in the flames of the pyre in order to send their daughters forward in time – to a time when no one believes in witches. But the thing is, now time is rolling back around again – and the evil of those who call themselves “hunters of evil” yet are truly the most evil of all, have brought McHugh back into the world, spreading slaughter and fire in their wake.
Today, magic has been overrun by technology. But Wiccans still exist – Wiccans, whose one immutable law is “Harm None”. The followers of McHugh, the Venatores Mali, are so cruel that those who harm none are considered evil by those who commit the most evil of deeds in the name of so-called ‘good’. Such twisted minds, that ritual slaughter of innocents is considered godly.
McHugh is back. Reborn into the world, his followers gathered around him. And now, the three girls, Raye, an Air Witch, Becca, an animal communicator, and now Willow, Water Witch and the third of the triplets, must work together to stop the Hunters, to send McHugh back to the darkness.
“Ignorance. Illiteracy. Hubris and insecurity, mad obsession. Once upon a time, long ago, in the bad, ignorant, evil times of King James and his Danish queen, there was a great storm. James, an ignorant, religious fool, thought to himself, “Such a storm can only have been caused by witchcraft!” And in his ignorance and fear, he called to himself Roland McHugh, witch hunter, who he placed in charge of a secret society, known as Venatores Mali – Hunters of Evil. And from those savage beginnings there began an age of slaughter, of blood and death of innocents such as hearkened to war. And Roland McHugh spread his evil across Europe, spraying blood and hatred in his path. . . Roland McHugh – who, according to his Wikipedia entry, “had burned more witches than anyone in history.” (My words, not the author’s)

This is the third, and final, book of the Sisters of the Craft series. You can read my reviews for books one and two at tinyurl (dot) com/p8yvpat . I enjoyed all three of the books. They easily fit within the Paranormal Romance category, but they can also fit well within Urban Fantasy. The storylines are interesting, the characters well designed, and the meld of history and fiction is quite good.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own. If you enjoy my reviews, please click “Like” at goodreads and Amazon so that my reviews will draw more attention for the authors. Thank you!

Review: The Witches Protection Program by Michael Phillip Cash #witches

Witches Protection Program“If cats looked like frogs we’d realize what nasty, cruel little bastards they are. Style. That’s what people remember.” – ― Terry Pratchett, Lords and Ladies

“You are what you believe yourself to be.” – ― Paulo Coelho, The Witch of Portobello

Wes Rockville comes from a long line of distinguished family members. Besides the string of famous men and women in his bloodline, his sister is an eminent prosecutor in New York, his brother is the head of counterterrorism, and his dad? Well, his dad is his boss in a police division started by his grandfather. Makes it pretty darn hard to keep up when you’re dyslexic, and dad certainly doesn’t understand what that means. For his father, dyslexic simply means stupid and incompetent.

But Wes works hard. Harder than his sister, harder than his ‘perfect’ brother. That is what it takes to overcome dyslexia and become a member of his father’s elite squad.

But then, Wes goes on his first assignment. . . And it all goes sideways. “Don’t look her in the eye. No matter what you do, don’t look her in the eye.” Something that seems incredibly stupid. After all, she is just little old lady, apple-cheeked, sweet and cheerful. Why would you not . . .

Oh.

Now, Wes’s father is furious and Wes is disgraced and kicked out of the unit. His last chance? DUMBO.

DUMBO? Like in the Circus?!

Nope. The Department “Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass.” And this is certainly no circus. Well, maybe it is. Because, Really – Witches?!

Yep. Witches. Good Witches, the Davinas, will be Wes’s to protect from the Bad Witches, the Willa.

Yeah, right.

Only, apparently it is right – and Wes’s life is about to be turned on its head. Witches and spells, shapeshifters and things that go bump in the night are all real, and they are all determined to capture tiny little Morgan Pendragon, a Davina with a nasty bunch of women determined to get her back, and apparently take over the world.

Witches Protection Program is a hoot, with a strong undernote of poking very sharp, very pointy sticks at social injustice and political manipulation. Oh, and a strong vein of Steam Punk!!! Woo Hoo!!!!!  In other words? I got a kick out of it, and I hope you will read it and enjoy it as well. This book is FREE on Amazon Unlimited, or only .99 on Kindle. Can’t beat that!

I received Witches Protection Program from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

If you enjoy my reviews, please click over to Amazon and click “This review was Helpful” if you don’t mind. It will help the authors by drawing attention to my reviews! Thank you so much.

DOWSER 4 IS HERE!!!! Shadows, Maps and other Ancient Magic

Book cover by Elizabeth Mackey
amazonBigamazon-ca  amazonUK
ibooks-logo
kobo_logo_FINALPMS

Snippet:

I had new cupcakes to bake, a new treasure to hunt, and a new dragon in town — literally. Who wouldn’t be ecstatic filling their days with chocolate, trinket collecting, and martial arts training?
Yeah … me.
Because no matter how much chocolate I ate, I couldn’t fill the dark pit in my soul. A darkness born from blood alchemy. A darkness that reeked of the black magic I now knew I was capable of creating.
Maybe it was time to walk away.
But what if there were important things left to do? What if I was the only one who could do what needed to be done?
I wasn’t sure I could handle the responsibility, but as long as I had my chocolate stash and a good friend to back me up, I was willing to give it a try.

dance cupcake

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)

Get The Cupcake While It Is Warm!!! Or, In This Case, FREE!

 

If Cupcakes trinkets and other deadly magic by meghan ciana doidge

Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic

By Meghan Ciana Doidge

Jade has never wanted more from her quiet life than cupcakes, dancing, and occasional witchcraft. But everything is about to change — the undead werewolves are on their way, and she’ll either have to step it up or be swallowed alive.

Free!

Originally: $3.99

Get Deal:

Amazon B & N Smashwords

If you haven’t read Meghan’s work yet, this is the perfect time to start. I guarantee – once you start, you won’t be able to put it down!

Enjoy-Cupcakes is delicious!!!

The Black Swan Inheritance – Marigold Deidre Dicer – FREE on Smashwords

My friend Marigold is offering her book, The Black Swan Inheritance free on Smashwords until February 6th. You should pick up a copy! Click the cover to read my review and order your copy. And yes, there is a new cover and type-style.

https://dwtr67e3ikfml.cloudfront.net/bookCovers/fdf02f29ac4dd3c3b9587e2d7f984027931b5ebc

Anita had the kind of reputation in high school that no one wants to carry into adulthood. Now at university, she is determined to be good, but one little end-of-semester celebration can’t hurt, right? Well it can if she ends up having a one-night stand with a werewolf that triggers a dark awakening. Turns out Anita’s over-active libido has become more than something hormonal – it’s magical.

The striking Black Swan is native to Australia, unrelated to the seemingly pure White Swan of Europe. She is found in the strangest of places – from ugly mines to cultivated farms, peaceful bushland to violent coast.

Yet, she always shies away from humanity.

The Black Swan is always beautiful, surprisingly resilient and very, very powerful. Most Black Swans are wise enough not to use that power to challenge the status quo.

Most…

Anita had the kind of reputation in high school that no one wants to carry into adulthood, especially since she wants to be a doctor like her dad. Now at university, she is determined to be good, but one little end-of-semester celebration can’t hurt, right? Well, it can if she ends up having a one-night stand with a werewolf that triggers a dark awakening. Turns out Anita’s over-active libido has become more than something hormonal – it’s magical.

The Black Swan is a powerful legacy that brings both temptation and danger. Having now inherited the title and all that comes with it, Anita finds herself beset upon by ancient abominations that won’t take no for an answer. No wonder the Black Swan had been driven to seclusion and banishment in the past. But Anita is determined not to run away – she is here to help, whether the medieval dragon-wolf or the undead cultists want it or not.

She will be no one’s pawn. She will rise to the challenge.

If she can just manage to deal with her own flaws first. Anxiety, panic-attacks, and bouts of bitchiness does not a successful diplomat make.

DISCLOSURE: PLEASE NOTE
This New Adult Paranormal Fantasy includes regular coarse language, violence, sexual references and sex scenes.
There is also reference to rape. Not in any detail, but there is reference to it.

New Releases From S.M. Reine

Anyone who follows my blog knows how much I like S.M. Reine. Well, here are some more wonderful books by one of my favorite authors!

New Release from SM Reine! Forbidden witches – The Tarot Witches #2

Forbidden Witches
Release day sale – just 99c!

Amazon Kindle US – UK – CA – AU

Apple iBooks Store (for iPhone/iPad)

Barnes & Noble Nook

Kobo Books

Hello again! I have a new book out that I wanted to share with you. This is a paranormal romance called Forbidden Witches, which has dangerous werewolves, sexy rock stars, and…witches that happen to be forbidden. (I’m not super creative with titles. Sorry.)

This is the sequel to Caged Wolf. Like its predecessor, Forbidden Witches is only intended for adult readers due to explicit sexual content. It’s one way to keep things warm during winter, if you know what I mean and I think you do.

This book is on sale for just 99c this week – special release day price for you guys! It’ll normally be 2.99 or 3.99. I haven’t decided yet, so grab it before I make up my mind. 🙂

Ashes and Arsenic
Coming next…

I’m currently working on Cèsar’s next book, Ashes and Arsenic. I’m having a lot of fun with this one. It’s kind of a miniature Hawke family reunion – Domingo’s back in the picture, and as you can expect, he gets Cèsar into big trouble. That’s what thieving witch big brothers are for!

This will be out at the end of January, but you can already preorder it through several vendors. I’ve posted the links on my website.

By the way – I had my baby right before Halloween. He’s a healthy, happy little boy, and I’m lucky to have him! You can see a picture on my Facebook if you’re interested!

Happy holidays to my wonderful readers,

~ Sara (SM Reine)

My paranormal reads for the holidays 🙂
Forbidden book cover

Forbidden

About Last Night book cover

About Last Night

Corrupted book cover

Corrupted

Five Weeks book cover

Five Weeks

Review: Chronicles of Steele By Pauline Creeden

Be as gentle as a dove but as cunning as a viper.
Preserve one’s self with intellect,
and know when it is time to be either the dove or the viper.

Hell is yourself and the only redemption is when a person puts himself aside to feel deeply for another person. – Tennessee Williams

I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities. – Dr. Seuss

ravenHere is an admission. As much as I have been interested and charmed by the concept of Steampunk, I have never read a book in the genre. Given the opportunity by the publisher to read Chronicles of Steele: Raven I can say that I am glad I waited. It is, in a word, delightful.

Raven Steele lives in a world of contradictions and extravagances of the surreal kind. Steam powered horses and mechanical humans live alongside flesh and blood beings. Dirigibles crowd the air while Victorian dress resides alongside leather and sword bearing private guards. Medical advances proceed alongside alchemy, and witchcraft is very real, in a sort of ‘physics meets alchemy meets herbology’ mashup. Sword and sorcery meets Victorian in an utterly enjoyable manner. The contradictions are charming and well written, a perfect introduction to a genre I was unfamiliar with.

Raven is a Reaper. Once the private (and very fatal) bodyguards and assassins to the Duke, they were disbanded when their leader, Raven’s father, refused to murder the Duke’s wife on his order. Hounded from the castle, his own men set upon him, her family flees, only to lose her mother to murder at the hands of the other Reapers. Trained by her father to be a Reaper in order to ascertain her safety from those who would murder her, Raven has travelled the lands, searching for redemption. A tenant of Reaper training, redemption is given through giving back a life for every life taken – and Raven’s balance sheet is nearly complete.

But freedom and real life are jerked from her grasp when she rescues the young Baron of New Hope, Darius. The child is handed over to Raven by his elder brother, Baron Solomon Goodhope, who entreats her to save the child from his murderous father. The evil Duke means the boy to die for supposedly being infested by a demon. But the story is much more, and much less, than the Duke believes. And when he sets his guards on Raven and Darius’s trail the consequences will be deeper than he could ever have expected.

Friends will become enemies and enemies possible friends as Raven begins a desperate cross-country race, by dirigible and train, horse and on foot, first to find the Witch she has been tasked to locate to cure the child, and then to save him once again from those who would murder him. Those who should by all rights keep him safe, but will kill in the name of the Duke, no matter how insane the order may be.

His conscience could not agree with what he was about to do. But orders were orders. And as captain of the guard, Jack always followed them to the letter.

Honor is found in the oddest places – but the boundless knee-jerk bone-headedness of mindless adherence to command structures and orders, even when deeply twisted and evil, is readily apparent. As well as a type of debilitating naivety on the part of people who should know better. But there is also a smile around every corner at the unexpected, the quaint, and the captivating. All of these things make the story appealing on so many different levels. Not only that, but there is an undercurrent here, another story line lying just below the surface which makes me eager for the next installment to the series!

While all these things are wonderful, there is one thing that bothered me. It may seem a small thing, but to me it is important to the presentation of the book. I was completely discombobulated by the cover. It presents as the cover for a Shamanistic Fantasy novel more than anything else. It is gorgeous, without a doubt, but it has absolutely no continuity with the story line. It is disconcerting to say the least. Without looking at the blurb I automatically expected the book to be on par with Patricia Briggs’s Mercy Thompson series, or possibly Ilona Andrews’s Kate Daniels series. Not for a true Steampunk novel. But again, it is a small thing that will possibly be of no interest to other readers.

I highly recommend this book for its strong heroine, well written story, and (yes, here is that word again) charming world building. Oh, and I was surprised to find that this is listed as “young adult” – but not in a bad way. It is a great story for young and young at heart. I will be watching anxiously for Darius’s story, the next in the Chronicles of Steele. And I will definitely be checking out others in the genre. I am hooked!

I received Chronicles of Steele: Raven from the publisher in return for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

If you like my reviews, it would be great if you could “Like” it on Amazon as well! Thanks all…

A Snippet From The Black Swan Inheritance By Marigold Deidre Dicer

Enjoy this snippet! The book comes out December 1, and you are in for a total treat!

This is an early scene from The Black Swan Inheritance:

Black SwanI found the body where the werewolf had left it. Black blood stained the ground, as well as my clothes. I worried if I had stopped to shower and change I would lose my nerve. Nerves were about all I had now. Nerves and necromancy.

Kneeling down next to the dead creature, my bare legs soaked up the heat of the day from the bitumen. I swallowed audibly and picked up the head to reposition it. That done, I took the small pocketknife I had been given when I joined scouts (I left after about a month) and opened the blade.

“Blood of the Black S-swan.” I was trying to command the dead to rise, and I couldn’t manage that through chattering teeth. I cleared my throat and started again. “Blood of the Black Swan binds you to me. I call you from the grave and into the night. If you shall accept, rise.”

I sliced the inside of my left palm and blood pooled. I coated my red blood against his black, running my hand around his severed neck. Then, finally, I placed my wounded palm over his mouth.

I looked away when I heard movement of flesh against stone, but forced my eyes back upon the scene. I watched as his blood coagulated with mine and brought the head back to the body. I watched as the fatal wound healed itself. I watched as the skin and muscle knitted before my eyes. I watched as the vampire’s eyes snapped open, and he grabbed my hand with both of his and pressed it hard against his mouth.

The feeding was disgusting. The vampire rose a little but only to force more of my blood into his mouth. It reminded me of a man bucking during sex. He drank with greedy desperation, as if frightened the blood be taken from him at any moment. I let him feed, but when I felt my strength wane, I had to put a stop to it.

“Enough.”

The vampire stilled with the command.

“Release me.”

He relinquished my wrist, and I checked my palm. The clean cut was marred with hickeys – bruising from the vampire sucking so desperately he brought the blood up through the skin. My vision became spotty, so I let my hand drop to my side, hoping that if I hid the sight of it I could manage to remain conscious.

“I have claimed you, do you understand?”

He nodded, but his eyes were glassy.

“Are you still hungry?”

“Yes,” he whispered in a weak voice.

“You can no longer feed on me. Is there anything else that can be done to heal you?”

“No blood?”

“No blood.”

He didn’t answer for a moment. Then he said, “Bury me. I need rest.”

I blinked. “Bury you? Bury you where?”

“Somewhere safe.”

I didn’t even own a shovel. I lived in an apartment, after all. Where would be safe?

There was a park right next to where we were, but that could hardly be safe. There was sort of a common, a grassy back garden at the apartment block where the clothesline was. How was I to dig up the ground?

Wait, the management hired a gardener. He came every week and kept his tools in a little shed, next to the hot water systems. There should be a shovel in there.

I just hoped I wasn’t caught.

“C’mon.” I helped the vampire to his feet. “You’re coming home with me.”

The Black Swan Inheritance will be out 1st December 2014!

Copyright © 2014 Sarah Thomas writing as Marigold Deidre Dicer

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