Monday, April 30, 2018

Book Review: Snared (Elemental Assassin #16) by Jennifer Estep ~ #UF #UrbanFantasy #Paranormal


Book Information:

Print Length: 385 pages
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: April 25, 2017
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
ASIN: B01HMXRXFC


About the Book:

If you don’t know Gin “the Spider” Blanco, you don’t know dangerous female heroines.

Irony 101—The Spider herself snared in someone else’s web…

Another week, another few clues trickling in about the Circle, the mysterious group that supposedly runs the city’s underworld. Gathering intel on my hidden enemies is a painstaking process, but a more immediate mystery has popped up on my radar: a missing girl.

My search for the girl begins on the mean streets of Ashland, but with all the killers and crooks in this city, I’m not holding out much hope that she’s still alive.

A series of clues leads me down an increasingly dark, dangerous path, and I realize that the missing girl is really just the first thread in this web of evil. As an assassin, I’m used to facing down the worst of the worst, but nothing prepares me for this new, terrifying enemy—one who strikes from the shadows and is determined to make me the next victim.


Gin's search for information about the Circle heats up in Snared. A very interesting part of the book includes the little droplets of information that are revealed regarding Gin's mom, Eira Snow. Her connections to those in the Circle are starting to become known to Gin and they aren't exactly on the side of good. Especially troubling is the connection between Eira and Hugh Tucker. One of the most violent participants in the Circle, it's hard to fathom Eira having anything to do with him or his lifestyle. 

As the information gathering continues, Gin gets involved in the case of a missing woman. She's the sister of an acquaintance and Gin feels compelled to help. As she begins to unravel the mystery of the missing woman, she learns that other young women of similar description have been going missing and found dead. She doesn't hold out hope that the young woman she's trying to locate is still alive, but she needs to stop the chain of murders. Little does Gin know that this search will take her right into the middle of Circle business and she may not live to take them down.

Snared is another fantastic installment of the Elemental Assassin series. There is a lot of action and suspense in Snared. The twists and turns come out of nowhere and there are many surprise moments. My heart was pounding and I was on the edge of my seat through a good portion of the book. I found myself totally engrossed in the novel and read it pretty quickly. 

 There is just something about this series that keeps me coming back. The entire series has pulled me in and kept me engaged from the very beginning. These are the types of books that have me longing for the next one. They are written with vivid descriptions and genuine feelings, allowing the reader to become totally immersed in this world. The world building continues and we learn a bit more about Gin's mother.Even after 16 novels in this series, Jennifer Estep knows how to keep the stories engaging and interesting. I'm a huge fan of the entire series. 

My Rating:


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Til Death Do Us Party (A Liv and Di in Dixie Mystery, Book #4) by Vickie Fee #CozyMystery @vickiefeeauthor


Til Death Do Us Party
A Liv and Di in Dixie Mystery #4
Vickie Fee

Genre: Cozy Mystery 



Las Vegas knows how to party, and for once, event planner Liv McKay won’t be entirely behind the scenes. The Dixie gang is in Sin City to celebrate Mama and Earl’s rockin’ Elvis-themed wedding. And between juggling the botched bachelorette party and a problem-plagued soirée back home, Liv’s ready to double down on some fun. 

Mama & Earl’s happily-ever-after seems like a sure thing, but all bets (and nuptials) are off when they get to the Burning Love Wedding Chapel. Their Elvis-impersonating minister has left the building . . . permanently. And even worse, Liv’s cousin, Little Junior, is suspected of his murder. 

With Mama’s happy ending on the table and Little Junior about to lose it all, the stakes are higher than ever. Liv and her best friend, Di, must hit the Strip to find the real killer before he finally plays his ace... 

“High energy, dead bodies and exposed lies. . . . A must read." 
—RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars, on Death Crashes the Party 

“A wonderful cozy mystery.” 
—Suspense Magazine on It’s Your Party, Die If You Want To 

“Readers should welcome this look at a very Southern lifestyle, complete with appended party plans.” 
—Kirkus Reviews on One Fete in the Grave 

Add to Your Shelf on Goodreads 

Purchase from Amazon * Apple * B&N * Google * Kobo



Vickie Fee is a past president of the Malice in Memphis chapter of Sisters in Crime and current member of the Wisconsin Sisters in Crime. She has a degree in journalism and spent many years as a newspaper reporter, covering small Southern towns populated with colorful characters, much like those in the fictional town of Dixie. She now lives in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with her husband, John. She grew up in the South on a steady diet of Nancy Drew and iced tea, and when she’s not writing, Vickie enjoys reading mysteries and watching B movies from the 1930s and ‘40s. 

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Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!





Cover Reveal ~ The South Winds by Allison Mullinax ~ Contemporary Romance ~ @allsnmllnx


Welcome to the cover reveal for:

The South Winds by Allison Mullinax

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Fiery Seas Everlasting

Publish Date: August 7, 2018


About the Book:

Cassie Ray, manager of her family’s successful oyster house, has never asked for much out of life. The sun, surf, and sand are her companions. The regulars and tourists that flock to The Slippery Oyster are her livelihood. But when the Atlantic kicks up a hurricane, sending waves of black water threatening the coast, Cassie quickly learns that the south winds have blown in a lot more than debris and saltwater.

Dean Alexander left Turquoise Isle eight years ago and never looked back. With his sister’s wedding approaching, and a hurricane churning in the Gulf, Dean returns home, where he’s welcomed with a rip tide of memories determined to pull him under.

Will Cassie and Dean make it through the crashing waves of the past? Will they get a second chance before it's too late or will the storm ahead be too much for them to handle? 

Meet the Author:


North Alabama native, Allison Mullinax, grew up in the small lake town of Guntersville, AL. She discovered the escapism and addiction of writing at an early age. Today she remains a lover of reading, all things outdoors, and spending time with her husband and three daughters. 

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Promo Blitz ~ The Vampire Within by Laura Daleo ~ Dark Vampire Fantasy ~ @AutLauraDaleo @RABTBookTours


The Vampire Within

Laura Daleo

Dark Vampire Fantasy

Date Published: March 2018

Publisher: Story Bound Publishing





About the Book:

Brandon Cass is not your average teenager. He has a taste for blood—human blood. For sixteen years, he stumbled through life without a hitch until the enigmatic aroma of blood awakened something dark within him. Visions of a beautiful young woman with chocolate brown hair and ocean blue eyes haunt his mind, yet her identity is a puzzling mystery.

His hunger for blood strengthens, and the cravings become too powerful to control. No one is safe, not even his family. To safeguard all he once found dear, Brandon sets out on a quest for answers. In an unfamiliar city, he comes face-to-face with the beautiful young woman, confronts the dark force which controls him, and learns what he must endure to reclaim his soul.

Amazon

Other Books in the Immortal Kiss Series:



Immortal Kiss

Immortal Kiss Series, Book One

Centuries ago ten powerful vampire gods first walked the earth; their blood thirst knew no boundaries. The destruction of mankind was inevitable. Recognizing their weakness, they selected twelve wise human beings to transform with their godly blood. These twelve, known as The Old Ones and The Council, govern The Ten. A blood lottery appeasing The Ten’s hunger was set forth into the human world and passed down every fifth generation, continuing into the present day.

All of Beth Ryan’s life a mysterious mist has watched over her; a mist she believed to be a vampire. On a cold winter night, Philippe Delon, a 700-year-old vampire walks into Beth’s life. She is drawn to him, certain he is the vampire behind the mist...but is he?

Beth and Philippe cannot deny their love for each other, nor do they try to fight it. Within days of their encounter, Beth accepts Philippe’s invitation to move into his mansion. The mansion unlocks the door to the vampire world and exposes secrets from Beth’s past. Within its walls, she learns the true identity of the mist, her link to the blood lottery, and betrayal of her loved ones. Surrounded by lies, Beth stands before The Council begging for resolution.

Amazon



Bound by Blood

Immortal Kiss Series, Book Two

Five years crawled by at a painfully slow pace for young vampire, Beth; each year more agonizing than the next. The powerful unyielding spell which masked Amon’s whereabouts showed no signs of weakening. Influenced by the binding ritual and Amon’s blood surging inside her, Beth will stop at nothing, and risk everything, to find him and turn the tables on Osiris, Isis, and Hathor. In foggy streets of London, lives are threatened by a new breed of hunter, and nothing is what it seemed. Beth once again finds herself surrounded by betrayal. In the midst of it all, she is forced to choose between Philippe and Amon – knowing that her decision will change one life forever. But whose?

Amazon


Read an Excerpt:

CHAPTER 1

I jumped out of bed at the very last second, took a quick shower, threw on some clothes and raced downstairs. As my mom nagged me about the time, I shoved a piece of toast in my mouth, washed it down with some OJ, then dashed out the door seconds before the school bus pulled up. As usual, my fellow classmates were taunting the new kid, Roger, and Mr. Gilbert, the bus driver, was yelling out his customary, “Knock it off!” at them. I flopped down in an empty seat at the back of the bus and let out a frustrated groan. Could my life be any more boring?

I dragged my feet as I made my way into Mrs. Clark’s history class and claimed my usual seat. Whose bright idea was it to make history first period? Staying conscious while Mrs. Clark rambled on about a bunch of dead people who changed the world was near impossible. I slid farther down in my chair and was about to initiate full zone-out mode when Sam walked into class.

An electric jolt zapped me upright—I could smell her. The scent quickened my pulse and sent my heartbeat skyrocketing. My mouth watered as a feverish hunger growled in the pit of my stomach. It wasn’t her perfumed skin or freshly shampooed hair. No, it was musky and unpleasant. It got under my skin, and I found it terribly distracting.

As Sam caught me staring, a proud smirk washed over her face. She tossed her golden-blonde hair over her shoulder and slid her slender body into the wooden desk in front of me, then turned around and locked eyes with me, her smug grin widening.

I couldn’t take my eyes off her. Her distracting aroma swiftly traveled up my nose, lighting up my brain. Shivers scurried down my spine, spinning my head…what was that smell?

As Sam tugged playfully on my hair, she whispered, “I’ve been waiting forever for you to notice me, Brandon.” She paused, looking me up and down. “Meet me after class on the front steps.”

I didn’t hesitate to agree. “Okay.”

She winked. “I have a surprise for you.”

My stomach flip flopped and my palms grew sweaty. Surprise? I had no idea what she meant, but I sure as hell was gonna find out.

Sam’s smell manipulated my brain, blurring Mrs. Clark’s words together. Once, I got wasted at one of my parents’ Christmas parties. I’d chugged down every half-finished glass of beer, wine, or hard liquid abandoned on the table to the point where my head spun out of control. Sam’s scent mimicked that same effect. I wanted to gorge on it, whatever it was. The sudden ring of the school bell, announcing the end of first period, snapped me out of the muddled fog.

Sam touched my shoulder and whispered, “You go first and I’ll meet you there.”

I obeyed and headed straight for the front steps with my heartbeat throbbing inside my throat.

The breeze carried her fragrance. She was behind me; I knew it. My knees wobbled as I turned around.

Sam was inches from me, batting her eyelashes and smiling. She giggled and seized my trembling hand. “Come with me.” She steered me toward the park and away from the vigilant eyes at the school. Within the boundaries of the trees and their interlocking branches, we sat, facing each other.

“What’s my surprise?” I asked, my breath speeding up.

“A kiss.” She grinned sheepishly, then planted her lips over mine.

That smell of hers hammered at the inner walls of my brain. Every muscle twitched, and heat spread over my skin. I pulled away and blurted out, “What’s that smell? It’s driving me crazy!”

She flinched, and her cheeks flushed bright red. “You can smell me?”

“Yes.”

“I…I don’t know what to say. This is so embarrassing.” She looked away from me. “I’m on my period,” she whispered.

That was it—blood! Rich, dark, delicious blood! Wait, blood? Delicious? Was it? I jammed my fingertips into my temples. Her scent was screwing with my head, but I had to taste her. Cupping her face, I kissed her hard and bit her tongue. Warm, coppery blood spilled into my mouth, bringing to life a slew of delightful shivers.

Her high-pitched squeal struck my eardrums, but I didn’t care. Her fluids overpowered all my senses. I swished her blood between my teeth, like mouthwash, before spitting it into the palm of my hand. A thick, gooey, red substance coated my fingers. Its power hypnotized me and…altered me. I hungered after it. My tongue darted out of my mouth and snatched up the blood staining my skin. Upon my virgin swallow, I released the low growl swelling in my throat. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught sight of her. Her face had turned a shade of ghastly-white, and her eyes bulged out of their sockets. She opened her mouth wide, blasting out another petrified shriek. It echoed inside my ears, yanking me back to reality. I held my hands up and backed away from her, shaking my head. “I’m so sorry. Please forgive me…I’m so sorry.”

She scrambled to her feet, gave my shin a swift kick, and shouted, “Freak!” As she ran away, she threatened, “I’m going to tell everyone what you did. Everyone!”

I wandered the park aimlessly with my thoughts spiraling. I bit her! Why, why, why? The blood…it made me do it! My feet stumbled to a grinding halt. Her blood coerced me; I knew it with every ounce of my being. Was that even impossible? Was I losing my mind? I had to get away from the school. I grabbed my cell and called my mom.

She picked up on the second ring. “Brandon, why aren’t you in class?” Her voice sounded strained. “Is something wrong?”

“I’m sick, Mom.” My voice cracked. “P–Please come get me.”

“Of course, honey.”

“Hurry.”

“Ten minutes, if that,” she answered in a lulling tone. “Don’t worry.”

My shoulders quaked, threatened by a wall of tears building behind my eyelids. For the second time that day, I waited on the front steps of the school, a different person—a person who craved blood—a freak!

As my mom’s car turned into the parking lot, I bolted toward it. The car hadn’t even come to a complete stop when I yanked on the handle and slid inside.

She gave me a heartfelt look, then immediately placed her hand to my forehead. “No fever, so that’s good. How is it you don’t feel well?”

Looking into her eyes made me want to ball like a baby. I looked away, then shuddered. “I ache all over.”

Again, she touched my forehead, then each cheek. “I’ll make you some soup when we get home.” She paused, then added, “Your sister’s going to be jealous.”

Soup wasn’t going to fix my problem, and I certainly couldn’t tell my mom I’d bit a girl’s tongue. I couldn’t tell my sister either. I couldn’t tell anyone. I forced a smile and glanced at her. “Soup sounds good. Better make enough for Lindsey or she’ll be really jealous.”

Her vivacious laugh filled my ears. “You’re probably right.”

As the car pulled away from the school, the knot twisting my stomach relaxed; though, the gruesome act of biting Sam was less forgiving. The image was forever etched into my brain. I sank deeper into the seat and shuddered.

My mom glanced at me with a line of concern pinching her forehead. “Are you all right?”

That was the million-dollar question. I heaved a sigh. “My head’s pounding. I just want to lie down.”

“Thank goodness we live so close.” She shook her head and her frown deepened. “This came on so sudden. When you dashed out of the house this morning, you were fine.”

I shrugged my shoulders. I was fine, until Sam changed things. Turning onto our street, she added, “I hate it when my kids get sick.”

“I’ll be okay.” I lied, but my mom needed the reassurance.

“Of course you will.”

As my mom pulled into our driveway, I pushed open my door. I didn’t even wait for her to kill the car’s engine before I was hurrying into the house with large strides, running up the stairs and into my room. I flopped onto my bed and buried my face in my pillow. The sobs I’d been fighting all day gained on me. My eyelids gave way to the mounting pressure behind them, spilling hot tears down my cheeks and drenching the pillowcase. My mom walked in during the height of my waterworks display. I quickly swiped at my face, brushing away the tears before sitting up.

“Brandon, honey, take a sip of 7UP,” she said, sitting next to me and handing me a can of soda.

I shoved the soda aside on the nightstand, then latched onto her, letting my tears flow again. “Tell me I’m not a horrible person,” I cried.

Her arms came around me in a loving embrace. “Why in the world would you say such a thing?” She cupped my face in the palms of her hands. “You’re my prefect sixteen-year-old son.”


My breath hitched inside my chest as I thought of the why. “I don’t know. I just…I just need some sleep.”

My mom pulled two round white pills from her sweater pocket, then reached for the 7UP. “Here’s two aspirin.” She stroked my head, then rose from the bed. “I’ll start the soup. Try to rest while it’s cooking.” She quietly closed the door, leaving me alone.

I washed down the pills and fell back onto the pillows, my gaze drifting toward the ceiling. Sam’s horrified face spread across it and I jerked my eyes away, burying my face into a pillow. Sam, I’m so sorry. She’d never forgive me. I couldn’t forgive myself. There was no forgiving what I’d done. What kind of person bites another person? A freak, that’s who.

A Google search could pinpoint what was wrong with me. I glanced at my laptop resting on my desk and shivered. Bad idea. Searching the internet for reasons why someone craved blood might uncover something far worse.

A rock of fear landed in the pit of my stomach. I bolted into my bathroom and splashed cold water on my face. I caught my reflection in the mirror as I toweled off the clammy sweat and stared hard, searching for the slightest change—same hazel eyes, sandy-brown hair, and dimpled cheeks looked back at me. I didn’t see a freak or a monster, just me.

I wandered back to my bed and sank deeper into the pillows. The feather-down cradled me, programming my brain to shut down and summon sleep. My eyelids grew heavy, sliding down over my eyes like curtains. I didn’t fight it and drifted off.

The creak of my bedroom door sounded inside my head like an alarm. My eyelids fluttered and slowly opened, my vision coming into focus. My sister stood in the doorway, her school books tucked under her arm. “What do you want, Lins?”

Lindsey bounced into my room, unloaded her books on my desk, before sitting on the edge of it. As she twirled a strand of her brownish-blonde hair around her finger, her big green eyes studied me. “You really sick or just faking?”

What I wouldn’t give to be faking the whole mess. I rolled my eyes. “I’m not faking.”

She plastered one of those ‘I don’t believe you’ looks on her face and heaved a sigh as her shoulders sagged. “I hate high school.”

That was so Lindsey; everything was always about her. I leaned against the headboard and folded my arms. “Why?”

“I was so popular in junior high. Everyone knew me or wanted to know me. Now, I’m at the bottom of the fish bowl, like scum. My social status is non-existent.”

I couldn’t help but smirk. “Social status, really? Lins, you’re fourteen.”

She turned her nose up at me. “Like sixteen’s old. Besides, I happen to like being popular.” She pouted. “Ninth grade sucks.”

“Eleventh grade isn’t any easier,” I pointed out. “The twelfth graders have all the power.”

“Hmph. It just isn’t fair.” She paused, scrunching her eyebrows together. “Something’s really wrong with you, isn’t there? You’re doing that thing with your forehead.”

I swiped a hand across my brow. “What thing?”

“Pulsating the vein in the center of your forehead.” She shuddered. “Gross. You always do it when you’re stressing out.”

I waved her off. Truth be told, though, I was in major stress mode. A whiff of chicken turned my head toward the doorway. Mom entered, carrying a breakfast tray.

“Ready for some soup?” She set the tray of steaming chicken noodle soup, soda crackers, and another can of 7UP next to me on the bed. “I came up earlier, but you were asleep.”

I licked my lips. “So ready.”

She touched her hand to my forehead. “Still no fever. That’s good, honey. Eat your soup and get some rest.”

Lindsey leaned in and took a deep breath. “Mom, that smells delish.”

“There’s plenty more downstairs.” She smoothed Lindsey’s hair and gave her a smile. “Why don’t you join me downstairs for a bowl.”

Lindsey jumped off my bed and scooped up her books. “Totally.” She glanced back at me. “Feel better.”

“Thanks, Lins.”

“I’ll check in on you later,” Mom said, then followed Lindsey out of my room and shut the door behind her.

I scarfed down the soup and crackers, then chugged half the can of 7UP. I pushed the tray aside and let out huge sigh. Once more, I fell back onto the pillows and closed my eyes.

****

I woke to a dark room. A shaft of moonlight cut through the curtains, stretching across the room and shining right in my face, letting me know it was still night. I rolled over to the opposite side of my bed and pulled the covers over my head, blocking out the light. An empty feeling settled in the pit of my stomach. It wasn’t hunger, it was the thought of school. I dreaded staring into Sam’s unforgiving eyes, and all the pairs of eyes of the people she’d told. I’d tell her I’d contracted a disease, and maybe I had. The creak of my bedroom door shattered my thoughts. Mom entered and flipped on the light, causing me to flinch. I can’t go to school tomorrow. I just can’t.

“Brandon, how are you feeling?” Mom asked, touching her hand to my forehead for the hundredth time.

Her warm fingers pulsated with thick, rich, tasty blood against my skin. No, not again! I jerked away from her and scrambled to the opposite side of the room, sinking to the floor. She hurried after me, a thumping vibration following her. The suffocating hum wrapped around my brain, growing louder and louder. I slammed my hands over my ears and wailed.

“Brandon, what’s wrong?” Mom dropped to her knees in front of me, her hands latching onto my arms. “Oh my God, you’re shivering.”

The thumping was coming from her—her heartbeat! Every crushing thud swelled inside my chest, sucking the air from my lungs. I squished a hand between us and pried her away, but she only clung tighter as she screamed for my dad.

With her cry for help, his footsteps pounded against the carpeted stairs as he rushed to her aid. As my dad charged into my room, the thumping magnified. I sat there, imprisoned on the floor, convulsing with each beat of their hearts. The room grew fuzzy as my vision blurred. Lindsey’s panicked squeal filled my ears, then all sound faded away to nothing.

The next time I opened my eyes, I was back in bed. A shaft of light from the hallway penetrated through the opening of my bedroom door, while multiple heartbeats sounded off inside my ears. I rolled over to face the doorway. My mom and Dr. Erickson, our next-door neighbor, stood just outside my room, wearing green hospital scrubs. She must have caught him either going to the hospital or just getting home. They spoke in hushed tones. I couldn’t make out every word, but I caught something about oxygen to the brain and low blood pressure.

This wasn’t any kind of illness. This was some sick craving for blood, and the second time it had manipulated me. Would there be more? How far would I go to satisfy the need? Would I resort to violence again? Would I hurt my parents, or Lindsey? A thin layer of sweat coated my skin as I twisted the sheets between my clammy fists. “Never!” I shouted.

My mom popped her head in. “I’ll be right there, Brandon.” She faced Dr. Erickson and squeezed his hands. “John, I can’t thank you enough for stopping by and checking on Brandon.”

“No need to thank me, Diane, but keep that appointment.”

“Yes, of course.”

“Goodnight. Call me anytime.” He gave her a nod and went on his way.

She hurried to my bedside, that motherly look of concern tugging at her eyebrows. “Honey, how are you feeling?”

“Tired…weak.” Scared I’m turning into a bloodthirsty monster.

She patted my hand. “Dr. Erickson reached out to Dr. Stewart. We’ve got an appointment with him tomorrow morning at nine.”

I heaved an exaggerated sigh in protest. “Do I have to go? You know how he is. He’ll run every test in the world.”

The motherly look intensified. “You gave me and your father, not to mention Lindsey, quite a scare. The subject is not up for debate. You’re going.” Her face softened, and she planted a kiss on my cheek. “Close those gorgeous hazel eyes and get some rest.” She stared at me for several seconds before leaving my side.

As she closed my door, I shuddered. If she knew the truth, she’d haul my ass to the nuthouse instead of the family physician.

Once more, my door opened halfway. Lindsey peeked around the frame. “Can I come in?”

That was a first. She never asked. I must’ve really freaked her out by fainting. “Yeah, sure.”

She approached my bed, stopping inches away. Her face twisted like she was in pain. “You scared me.” Her voice was gentle and soft, lacking its usual self-centeredness.

I put on my most thoughtful expression. “I didn’t mean to scare you, or Mom, or Dad. Mom says I’ve got to go to see Dr. Stewart tomorrow.”

“That’s probably a good thing. He’ll go all test happy and find what’s wrong.”

I busted out laughing. “That’s what I said.” I let myself get serious and lowered my voice. “I’m kind of scared. What if there’s something wrong with me, something that can’t be fixed?”

She nudged my shoulder. “It’ll be okay. Don’t worry.”

“What if it’s not?”

She locked her gaze on me. “It will. You’re my big brother, and I need you.”

I cracked a smile. “You mean, you need someone to boss around.”

A giggle escaped her, and more seemed to struggle to get out before she shook them off and held her chin high. “Not true.”

I let out a bemused huff. “Yeah, right. You’ve been bossing me around since you learned to talk. When we lived in that tiny apartment and had to share a room, you claimed top bunk and ordered me to sleep on the bottom bunk. Remember?”

She shuddered, then rubbed her arms. “That bedroom was haunted. I’ll never forget that girl’s voice humming that lullaby. No way was I sleeping on the bottom where she could pop out from under the bed and grab me.”

I rolled my eyes and waved her away. “I told you then and I’m telling you now, it was Mom. She was probably standing outside our door, trying to get us to go to sleep.”

“That voice had come from inside our room, and it wasn’t Mom. It was a ghost,” she insisted with a firm nod.

My gaze drifted toward the ceiling as I conjured up the past, then I faced her. “It didn’t sound ghostlike or creepy to me. It had more of a calming effect as I remember.”

She jutted her chin in my direction. “Maybe for you.”

I released a low sigh. “Well, right now, I could use that calming lullaby.”

“Everything will be okay,” she said again, then hugged me.

I hugged her back, and longer than normal before releasing her. “Thanks, Lins. It’s late, go back to sleep. I’ll be fine.”

She searched my eyes. “You’re sure?”

I waved her toward the door. “I’m sure.”

“Okay.” She kept her gaze on me as she backed up into the doorway. A half-smile came to her lips before she closed the door, leaving me alone.

After staring at the ceiling for quite some time, sleep finally took over and Sam entered my dreams. She lay motionless beneath me as I hunched over her like a crazed animal. I’d ripped her apart, limb by limb, my face buried inside her open wounds, guzzling mouthfuls of blood.

My eyelids flew open and I scurried off my bed, flipping on the light, the nightmare still fresh in my mind. My heartbeat throbbed inside my throat as I skimmed over my room. Familiar surroundings fell into my sightlines; my guitars, rock-n-roll memorabilia, skateboards, and gaming equipment. I wiped the sweat off my forehead, trembling, and sank to the floor. Tears rushed forward and spilled down my cheeks as I feared the significance behind my nightmare.

About the Author:



Laura Daleo was born and raised in San Diego, California where she majored in Fine Arts at Mesa College. She is best known for her love of animals and shares her home with three humorous Basset Hounds, Stuart, Morgan, and Dexter, her toughest critics. Laura has held positions in several industries, Restaurant, Telecom, Biotech, Research, and Retail. Throughout Laura's professional career, she furthered her writing skills by taking courses and by joining writer’s critique groups and Writers Digest. She is now the owner of Story Bound Publishing, a fresh voice in the supernatural realm of ebooks and traditional print, committed to publishing unearthly tales of Aliens, Angels, Demons, Fairies, Ghosts, Shifters, Vampires, Werewolves, Witches, Zombies and all other creatures that go bump in the night.

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Sunday, April 29, 2018

Book Review: The Cat of the Baskervilles (A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery #3) by Vicki Delany #CozyMystery @vickidelany


Book Details:

Print Length: 304 pages
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Publication Date: February 13, 2018
ASIN: B0719PN1GY


About the Book:

The show is coming to town on Cape Cod. The West London Theater Festival is putting on a stage production of The Hound of the Baskervilles. Gemma Doyle is excited and participating with her friend Jayne Wilson, whose mother, Leslie, just happens to be volunteering with the company. Leslie arranges a fundraising tea party at the home of the festival organizer, catered by Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room. The tea is a rousing success, but Sir Nigel Bellingham, the famous star cast as the lead of Sherlock, goes missing. And Gemma finds him at the bottom of the cliff. Dead.

Before the tea, Sir Nigel had come by the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop, only for Gemma to realize that he’s not at all suited to the role. But as Gemma and Jayne investigate, the list of suspects just grows longer. Long past his prime, Sir Nigel was second to a younger actor who had first been given the role. The festival’s executive director also expressed that he had been hired over her objections. Then there are the slew of people to whom Sir Nigel was rude. They all have motive, but then a scrap of Leslie’s apron caught on a bush by Sir Nigel’s body is found. And the police are set to pounce as she becomes suspect #1.


I am enamored with the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series. I love the concept of a bookstore that caters to lovers of Sherlock Holmes. I'm not a devoted fan but I do love me some Robert Downey Jr. and his portrayal of Holmes and Jude Law's Watson. A bookshop of the nature would be very interesting to visit. 

The Cat of the Baskervilles a wonderful third book in a series that just keeps getting better with every book. The book is full of quirky characters, red herrings, and twists and turns. The reader is kept fully engaged and sitting on the edge of their seat as they meet the cast of the theater production of The Hound of the Baskervilles. The lead is none other than famous star, Sir Nigel Bellingham. Except, Sir Nigel isn't at all who one would expect to be playing such a prominent part in the production. He's an alcoholic and quite rude. 

When an elaborate tea party is organized on his, and the rest of the cast's, behalf, Sir Nigel disappears and is later found dead in what appears to be anything but normal. Statements are made and suspects are gathered, including Leslie, who happens to be Gemma's business partner Jayne's mother. There is evidence to indicate she was in the vicinity but as Gemma explores the murder, it appears others have motive. There are a multiple threads within the mystery and many characters who could very well have taken Sir Nigel's life. The author does a great job weaving the mystery in a way that doesn't clue the reader into who committed the act. 

The character development continues in The Cat of the Baskerville. Gemma is painfully observant to the point that she tends to alienate herself and the people around her. She does so without malice and that's what makes her character quirky and lovable. The supporting characters really round out this great cozy mystery. Gemma's best friend Jayne is her reluctant partner-in-crime but in the end she has Gemma's back. Ryan is one of the police officer's assigned to the cases in all three books in the series. He and Gemma have a history that sometimes gets in the way of the investigation. The chemistry between them is strong, undeniable, and believable.  I enjoy their dynamics and love romances that don't take over the book but are there in the background. It makes the characters more realistic to me. 

The plot was laid out well and the world building was as great in this book as it was in the first two. I was able to visualize everything that was described and I felt like I was there at the bookshop, tea room, and tea party. The author did a great job masking who committed the murder and bringing in other contenders who had motive. I really enjoyed The Cat of the Baskervilles and highly recommend the entire series to lovers of cozy mysteries.

I was given a copy of the book to read.

My Rating:


Saturday, April 28, 2018

Book Review: Booked for Trouble (Lighthouse Library Mystery #2) by Eva Gates @evagatesauthor


Book Details:

Series: A Lighthouse Library Mystery (Book 2)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley 
Publish Date: September 1, 2015
ISBN-10: 045147094X
ISBN-13: 978-0451470942


About the Book:

The author of By Book or By Crook returns to the Outer Banks and the Lighthouse Library, where Lucy Richardson must shed light on a shocking murder…

Lucy has finally found her bliss as a librarian and resident of the Bodie Island Lighthouse. She loves walking on the beach, passing her evenings with the local book club, bonding with the library cat, Charles, and enjoying the attention of not one, but TWO eligible men. But then her socialite mother, Suzanne, unexpectedly drops in, determined to move Lucy back to Boston—and reunite her with her ex-fiancé.

To make matters worse, Suzanne picks a very public fight at the local hotel with her former classmate Karen Kivas. So, when Karen turns up dead outside the library the next morning, Suzanne is immediately at the top of the suspect list. Now Lucy must hunt down a dangerous killer—before the authorities throw the book at her poor mother…


Booked for Trouble is the wonderful second book in the Lighthouse Library Mystery series by Eva Gates. In book 2, Lucy gets an unexpected visit from her mother, Suzanne, who is trying to persuade Lucy to move back to Boston. Lucy continues to dodge her mom's attempts to guilt her into coming back home and back into a life she wasn't happy with as the story unfolds. Not only is Suzanne pressuring Lucy to leave the Outer Banks, she is also causing scenes with hotel employees that she went to school with - very public scenes.

When her classmate, Karen, is found dead outside the lighthouse the morning after a book club meeting, in which Suzanne also attended, all fingers point at Suzanne. As Lucy is trying to get a little more settled into her home and job at the lighthouse library, she now has to figure out who killed Karen and why. She knows her mother didn't kill anyone but as the evidence mounts and clues show up, Lucy must up her game to keep her mother out of jail for a crime Lucy knows she did not commit. 

Lucy is a wonderful character. She may come from money but she doesn't act like it or flaunt her family's riches. Even with her mother in the Outer Banks, Lucy is still pretty down-to-earth and likeable. She doesn't put on airs or look at anyone as being beneath her. I love Charlene's continued obsession of rap music and her passion for wanting to share, especially with Lucy's upper crust mother. The love triangle possibility is still on the table and being explored but it doesn't overstep the death of Karen. I like how the romance is a subtlety that adds substance to the story without taking charge or undermining the death. All of the secondary characters are unique in their own way and believable. I enjoy both Connor and Butch's characters so much and know who I'm rooting for but you'll get no hints from me. Charles, the library cat is a delightful addition to the cast. I love that the library has a pet. 

The story is well paced, enjoyable, and full of suspense. The author did a wonderful job describing the characters and scenery within the book. I was able to visualize the story as it played out. An enjoyable second book in the Lighthouse Library series, Booked for Trouble is engaging, doesn't divulge the suspect right away, and keeps the reader guessing. I'm really enjoying this series. 

Note: I was finally able to read the entire series in March 2018 (my TBR pile is pretty tall) and am just now able to write reviews for them. You'll see reviews for the rest of the series soon - including The Spook in the Stacks, book 4, releasing in June 2018.

I purchased this book myself.

My Rating:


Promo Blitz ~ Creole Moon: Book of Roots by S.T. Holmes ~ #Fantasy @authorSTholmes @RABTBookTours



Creole Moon: Book of Roots
S.T. Holmes
Fantasy
Date Published: February 2018
Publisher: Toplink Publishing

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About the Book:

Creole Moon Book of Roots by S T Holmes is a fantasy fiction set in the early 1900s.  Mamuska, the voodoo priest, needs to return to his home in the Louisiana swamp to renew his strength and vigor, but Ayida, serpent goddess and mother of the demi gods, forbids him to take his wife, Ophelia.  They argue until Ayida becomes angry and conjures a storm as a warning to Mamuska, but he doesn’t heed the warning and slips his wife out of their cosmic home and back into the swamp.

It is Mardi Gras in New Orleans and the year of the Luperci festival, a time for forgiveness in the magic world and correcting wrong doings from magic to right. Unite with our hero, George Genois, from Creole Moon The Betrayal, as he finds his way back into the city at just the right time. He is befriended by a witch named Sephora who gives him shelter and protection, and in return is looking for help from the Luxican, George’s alter being in her quest for the source of all magic. He reluctantly agrees to help her as long as it doesn’t interfere with his plans of revenge and setting things right again, but unknown to him, she is in a battle with her goddess sister who wants to find the coveted Book of Roots first.

The treasure hunt ended in the swamp at the hut of the voodoo priest and priestess. Ophelia had control of a portion of the book of roots but she had no idea of its value as a whole.  She only wanted to keep it away from everyone including her husband, Mamuska. As hard as the others tried to resurrect the book, Ophelia was working equally as hard to keep it hidden, but her powers were no match for the Luxican. Finally, the Luxican was able to succeed in breaking through the magical portal and the precious book dropped to earth next to the heads of the Luxican and Sephora.  Before the purification ceremony could take place, the witch’s sister intervened and a fight broke out between them. This is sibling rivalry at its finest as the sisters fight to win control of the book, but only one will prevail.

George is pulled into the middle of a turbulent battle that draws him deeper into the realm of magic with exceptionally powerful wizards and high priests as allies fighting against dark spirits and other forces of good and evil.  The pagan purification ceremony begins but is fraught with a number of interruptions from Drumangos, dark spirits from the tombs to Sephora’s royal family. It is not until the end of the ceremony that the Luxican realizes he is the key to finding the book of roots and saving the world of magic and all of it must be done before Mardi Gras day ends and the last toll of the midnight cathedral bell is sounded.

Amazon

This Mardi Gras festival is like non ever seen before or will ever see again in the future.


Other Books in the Creole Moon Series:



Creole Moon: The Betrayal
Publisher: Xulon Press
Published: September 2015

Sgt. George Francis Genois is an officer in the Confederate army. He returns to his hometown in Louisiana to celebrate the wedding of his twin brother Gerald. Mystical events throw him in the path of Jewella Du Viller, a fiery rebellious young woman standing at the river bank stirring the slaves to fight for their freedom. George whisks the woman away from perceived danger and escorts her to her carriage. He discovers later that she is the sister of a childhood friend. He falls madly in love with her and proposes marriage. Before the wedding can take place, she is arrested for treason. George is forced to abandon his military aspirations in order to save the woman he loves. He seeks the aid of a sorcerer, Mamuska and his wife Ophelia. Under a creole moon, the fates of George and Jewella as well as Mamuska and Ophelia are sealed.



Read an Excerpt from Book of Roots:

Chapter 1


A Small Corner of Mt. Olympus

 It was a picture perfect day in the eastern corner of Mount Olympus.   Giant white clouds lazily drifted pass each other flashing peeks of a brilliant blue sky in between each cloud puff. The sun’s rays provided welcomed warmth to the residents from the previous night’s chill.  It was otherwise, a beautiful, serene day in the region of the demi gods, with the exception of a heated conversation that ensued between Ayida, goddess of the demi gods and mother of the great serpent god Dumballah, and Mamuska, the voodoo high priest of the swamp.  Mamuska always went to Ayida for guidance. Usually, she was supportive of his activities, but this time she was angry with him and argumentative. Nothing he could say would improve her disposition.

“You can’t take her back to the ssswamp with you.” Ayida hissed. Her serpent traits were more pronounced when she was upset, and right now, she was not happy with a number of issues in the demi god’s world.  Mamuska’s insistence of taking Ophelia with him was adding to her discontent.

“Ophelia isss uncontrollable, essspecially in the mortal world.  You promissssed me you would control her and you have not fulfilled that promissse,” Ayida replied.

“I-I know,” Mamuska said, “I really have tried to rein her in, but she has ways of making me do what she wants.” He held his head down and shook it from side to side.

“If allowed to accompany you, ssshe will only bring more unwanted attention to usss. We can’t have that.  All of the magical creaturesss are under a watchful eye right now.  Thisss isss too sssignificant of a year for the magic world.  We ssshouldn’t have to deal with her ssshenanigansss, too.  Ssshe mussst ssstay here.” Ayida said softer now but still forceful enough to get her point across, but Mamuska was determined to sway her to his way of thinking.  Without much thought or concern for his own safety, he continued.

“You know I have to go back.  Look at me.  I am weak and I need to be rejuvenated.  Only Dumballah and his wife Aeida Weido can make the exchange when I am in this depleted condition.  Ophelia can help speed up the process if they don’t want to spend too much time down there among the humans.  We won’t have to be there for very long. Once the transfer takes place, we will return here, to our celestial home where you can keep an eye on her.”

Before Ayida spoke again, dark clouds lined overhead, a crack of lightening flashed through the sky and low sounds of thunder rumbled through the air.  Her long, silky white hair flew out and around her head and face with the rhythm of the wind.  The sky-blue eyes that once looked at him in admiration were now turned into dark, black pools of fury.  Mamuska knew he had pushed too hard and had angered her beyond control. He decided to remain silent before she unleashed her full power on him. When she finally spoke, the cloud that was her home began to dissipate.

“YOU are allowed to return to the mortal world, but your wife, Ophelia, must remain here with usss. No further discussion and NO negotiation. I am unyielding on this point.”

The words were said with such force and vileness that even Mamuska began to shake a little. Ayida flew away from him before she did something she would regret later.  She had always liked Mamuska, but he was weak when it came to THAT woman, and it disgusted her.  It would take some time but she would reveal her true self to him and when she did, he would be free of her forever.

About the Author:


S. T. Holmes was born in New Orleans, Louisiana and began creative writing in high school. She has a master’s in Business Management from St. Edward’s University of Austin, Texas, a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Biology from universities in North Carolina. She is currently working as a chief financial officer in Texas but finds time to indulge in her passion for writing.  She says that writing provides a creative outlet and stress relief for her. To share your comments or ask questions about her books, you may write to Suzon via e-mail at suetropez@yahoo.com Creole Moon The Betrayal published October 1, 2015 by Xulon Publishing.

Under the name of Suzon Tropez, she has published: Dynamite Resume Your Calling Card to Success – August 17, 2011 - Dorrance Publisher and High Waters  – October 24, 2005 – Publish America.

Visit her social media pages at Facebook, Tweeter, Tumblr and website, www.stholmes.com.


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Friday, April 27, 2018

Book Review: Disenchanted by Leigh Goff ~ #Witches #YA ~ @Leigh_Goff @MirrorWorldPublishing


Book Information:

Paperback: 266 pages
Publisher: Mirror World Publishing 
Release Date: June 1, 2015
ISBN-10: 0992049091
ISBN-13: 978-0992049096


About the Book:

Sixteen-year-old Sophie Goodchild is an outcast among the ordinaries and her coven, but not because she’s untalented. Descended from a powerful Wethersfield witch, her spellcasting gift is awkwardly emerging, but that’s the least of her worries. The boy she’s forbidden to fall for, a descendant of the man who condemned her witch ancestor to hang, carries a dark secret that could destroy them both unless Sophie learns how to tap into the mysterious power of her diamond bloodcharm.


Disenchanted is a book that explores the lives of hideaway witches in Wethersfield, Connecticut. Descended from a long line of Wethersfield witches, Sophie Goodchild is actually having difficulties with her powers. She has the ability to spellcast but not in the traditional fashion. She finds that most of the spells she casts turn out incredibly wrong and put her and the underground witches in danger. You see, the descendant of the man who hung her witchy ancestor is a prominent figure in town and both of his sons are back. To be caught doing witchcraft means a shakedown of any business owned by the accused witch, and disappearance. Now, not only does the coven have to watch out for Judge Mathers and his groupies, his sons, Zeke and Alexavier are following in their father's footsteps. 

When Sophie has a bit of trouble with a stalker, she is surprised when none other than a Mather steps up to protect her. Alexavier and Sophie are drawn together even though they have been mortal enemies for centuries. To like a Mather is to renounce your claim to be a witch. Nothing good can come from fraternizing with the enemy. Yet, that's what Sophie and Alexavier do - he can't help but watch over her and she can't help but want to be around him as much as she can. 

Disenchanted is an amazing coming-of-age story with a paranormal twist. Sophie may be young, but she's been forced to deal with adult issues since she's a half-witch living in a town of regular townsfolk. I enjoy the interactions between Sophie and Alexavier. Sophie is a bit juvenile at times but she's only 16; I don't expect her to completely act like an adult. She's a little moody and whiny but what teenager isn't at one point or another?! We've all been a teenager - it's not easy. Add in a history of witchcraft, prejudices, and unjust deaths, and I'm not sure how any of the Wethersfield witches are sane. 

Leigh Goff penned quite the historical fiction, young adult paranormal novel. Her world building allowed me to visualize the story and play it in my head. I enjoyed all of the characters in Disenchanted, even the ones that stressed me out with their stupid accusations, judgments, and hypocrisies. Just because someone acts, lives, or practices differently than you or I doesn't mean it's wrong or should be stopped (in most cases anyway). Anyway (as I step off of my soapbox), the book is well-paced, engaged me from the beginning, and kept me interested from start to finish. And that ending - wow! The emotions I felt while reading this book were strong but the emotions I felt at the end were powerful. I was sad but hopeful at the same time.I was sent the book for review and it's taken me way too long to get to it, and for that I apologize. I'm sorry I waited so long to read a wonderful book.

My Rating: