May 24, 2016
by Erica
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Review of The Fateful Flame by Rob May

the fateful flame

The Fateful Flame

Empire of Dragons Prelude

Rob May

Genre: Fantasy

Published: March 2016

Synopsis:

When his peaceful life is shattered by a seemingly unprovoked attack, woodcutter Deros Brown must summon courage and luck to survive in a world where legends are made real and prophecies are being fulfilled before his very eyes. His own life hangs in the balance, but he would risk even that to save the woman he loves, Kal Moonheart …

The Fateful Flame is a prelude to the epic fantasy series Empire of Dragons. It also serves as a postscript to the Dragon Killer Trilogy, and can also be read as a standalone short story that opens a new window into Rob May’s fantasy works.

Amazon

Review:

This story is told through the point of view of Deros, Kal’s lover, not Kal herself as in the Dragon Killer trilogy. Still, I’m a fan of the author and of Kal Moonheart, so I was glad for another glimpse at the character. I would have loved to see what Kal was thinking throughout this short adventure. She is certainly quite active, though the reader only glimpses her actions as Deros sees them.

****SPOILER ALERT**** I’m not a fan of stories where dragons are killed. I usually sympathize with the dragon. It’s always hard for me to read scenes about the death of a dragon, and we do see that here. Though it’s acceptable, since in this story dragons are truly evil and plotting to take over the world. In that case, I can look the other way. This isn’t one of those “kill the dragon” quests. It’s something that happens out of necessity. ****END SPOILER****

The writing is well done with vivid descriptions of Deros’s physical pain and mental torment. He truly loves Kal and will stop at nothing to get to her, even if it means nearly falling to his death or walking straight into a dragon’s nest. I loved the evil guy, the Emperor of Dragons. Though his part is short (and this is a short story), I got a good feel for his evil plans and have a feeling that there are several dark plots in the works. Its a great prelude to what is sure to be a fantastic series.

5stars

5 out of 5 stars

About the Author:

Rob May studied English at Lancaster University and is the author of Dragon Killer, Roll the Bones and Sirensbane, a trilogy of fantasy thrillers featuring Kal Moonheart – adventurer, gambler and thief.

Rob’s other works include the Alien Disaster Trilogy – a science fiction adventure, and Girl Under the Gun – an episodic modern thriller. He is currently writing an epic fantasy series, Empire of Dragons. Rob lives in Warwickshire, England.

robertwilliammay.com
goodreads.com/robmay
facebook.com/robwilliammay
twitter.com/robwilliammay
instagram.com/robwilliammay

 

 

May 20, 2016
by Erica
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Featured Book: The Lunam Ceremony by Nicole Loufas

The Lunam Ceremony
Nicole Loufas
Publication date: May 20th 2016
Genres: New Adult, Urban Fantasy

Born from a curse that allows her kind to shift from human to wolf, Kalysia won the genetic lottery. She is the offspring of an original, born to lead and bound by her duty to produce an heir to continue their bloodline she must leave the only life she has ever known to take part in The Lunam Ceremony. This ancient ritual will solidify her place in the pack and determine who she will love for the rest of her life. There’s just one problem – Kalysia doesn’t believe in love.

That changes when she falls into the hands of Dillan Dukes. The attraction is undeniable. The connection unbreakable. He is everything love at first site is supposed to be, suddenly her future doesn’t look that bad.

Unwilling to give up hope on going to college and having the life her and Dillan fantasize about outside the pack, she reluctantly takes on the role as pack leader. When an unexpected proposal is made that will grant both Dillan and Kalysia their freedom she is willing to put her ego, and her heart aside, to make her dream come true.

One night.

One act of selflessness.

For the life she’s always dreamt about.

Only things are not what they seem.

Can Kalysia and Dillan find happily ever after with the consequences of that night haunting them forever?

Will one fateful night destroy Kalysia’s future along with the future of the pack?

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

A loud boom rattles the windows in the building and I hit the floor. It sounds like a bomb has gone off, but I hear laughing and the music comes back on. It was just fireworks. I make my way back downstairs and out the back door. I’ll hide in the woods. By the time the ceremony starts and Layla notices I’m missing, it will be too late to find me.

I see Bonnie and Jessie carrying out the white garments. It’s almost time. I move towards the woods and I spot Cassie looking for me. I flatten myself against the wall and slide across it until I reach the end of the building. I round the corner and take off in a full sprint towards the woods. I make it three steps and then I trip.

That hurt. I spit dirt from my mouth as I push myself up to a sitting position. I look down at my knee and hear someone laughing. When I turn my head, I see Dillan Dukes leaning against the wall.

“Slow down there, speedy,” he quips.

In moments like this, there is nothing you can say. All you can do is laugh. I burst into an uncontrollable fit of laughter. Dillan joins me on the ground.

“Are you laughing with me or at me?” I finally ask.

“A little of both.” His voice is deep and sexy. He smells like sage and cigarettes. “I’m Dillan, by the way.” He holds his hand out to me and I shake it.

“I know who you are. I’m Kalysia.”

“I know who you are.” He smiles and turns my hand over. “Don’t worry about this.” He swipes his fingers across the scrapes on my palm. “After Lunam, you’ll be all healed.”

“So I’ve heard,” I say as Dillan springs off the ground and helps me up.

We stand face to face in silence. I feel his heart beating between us and suddenly something sparks inside of me. This time the burning begins in my chest. My breathing becomes erratic. I taste his breath on my tongue, and I want to kiss him. I edge forward until we are chest to chest. He steps back. I reach for his hand, and he pulls away.

“Kalysia, we can’t,” he whispers into the space between us. “Lunam is beginning.” He brushes his lips across my hand and walks away.

 

Author Bio:

Nicole was born and raised in California. She claims to be a San Francisco native, however she’s lived in both Northern and Southern California. She credits her creativity to the fact that she attended 12 schools between kindergarten and her senior year in high school. Her nomadic childhood allowed her to reinvent herself often. Some might say she was a liar. While others see the stories she told as a coping mechanism. Twelve schools, in six cities, in twelve years – give her a break. Today she channels her storytelling ability into writing novels. Long story short – kids that lie become writers.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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May 18, 2016
by Erica
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Featured Book: Forestium by Christopher D. Morgan

Forestium
Christopher D. Morgan
(Portallas #1)
Publication date: February 28th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Joshua’s life is on the line, as he attempts to navigate through the magical world of Forestium to find the truth about his father. He and his companions will need to use all their cunning to stay alive and avoid the dark forces of the Goat. Will he find the magical orbs and open the Portallas, a magical gateway to other worlds, before he’s killed?

Joshua sets out to learn the truth about his father. Along the way, he finds friends, enemies, adventure, romance and himself.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iTunes

Q&A with Christopher D. Morgan:

When did you first discover your love for writing?
Actually, not until quite late in life. In fact, I was never very good at English when I was in school and writing was always a chore to be avoided at all costs. Being blessed with unintelligible handwriting wasn’t helpful either. Later in life, however, articulating myself through the written word became something I really started to enjoy.

Do you have a favourite place to write?
Not really, but it does have to be in a quiet environment. I’m very easily distracted. When I’m in the zone, I tend to quietly slip off to a cosy spot and get my nose down into the keyboard. I wrote Forestium: The Mirror Never Lies entirely from the family home. Often on the sofa, but sometimes on the bed or at the computer desk. I haven’t tried going to a writer’s retreat yet. Perhaps I’ll reserve that for a special occasion.

Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?
Oh yes. Typically, I’ll kick off a chapter with brief one-liners that describe the events to come sequentially. There could be anywhere up to 50 or more of these for a given chapter. I do this to map out the scene or chapter and then convert each one in turn into a paragraph or two. This process is repeated until all the one-liners are gone. That’s actually the hardest part, I think. I’ll then scour what’s written repeatedly, fixing and adjusting. Of course, that last part is never truly finished – ever.

Where did you come up with the name Portallas?
Initially, it started quite literally from the word PORTAL. This quickly led to the word Portallas and the idea of having some sort of portal that would link worlds together. An interesting aside is that Portallas actually started out life as Portallus. Unfortunately, portallus.com was already taken, but portallas.com was still available, so a hasty name change took place. Despite the master plan I have in my mind, I wrote Forestium: The Mirror Never Lies deliberately to stand on its own merits as a standalone book.

Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?
I have a real soft spot for Sarah, as do many others. She embodies many of the characteristics I’d wish for in my own daughter. She’s a strong, independent, resourceful and brilliant young woman – not to mention absolutely beautiful. Of course, she has her flaws. She tend to ramble on a bit (much to the annoyance of Andrew).

Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?
I’m still learning as I go but there are some things that I can advise others that may wish to follow in the path: – Go for it. Really, just do it. You may be pleasantly surprised. Even if you fail, it’s better to have tried and failed than to wonder for the rest of your life whether you could have done it or not. – If you are going to publish a book on a budget, don’t scrimp on the editing or the book cover – at least, make those your primary focus. Everything else is expendable when push comes to shove. – Don’t get conned. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done, as there will always be people looking to take advantage of someone with a need.

 

Author Bio:

Christopher Morgan is an author, blogger, IT Manager, graphics artist, businessman, volunteer and family man living in Melbourne, Australia. Much of his time is spent volunteering for his local community. He creates visual learning resources for primary school children, which are marketed through his company Bounce Learning Kids. He is also involved in local civics and sits on various community & council committees.

Christopher was born in the UK and grew up in England’s South East. At age 20, he moved to The Netherlands, where he married Sandy, his wife of 28 years. Christopher quickly learned Dutch and the couple spent 8 years living in the far South of that country before they moved to Florida in 1996. After spending 7 years in Florida, Christopher and Sandy sold their home and spent the next 2 years backpacking around the world. Christopher has visited around 40 countries to date.

Whilst circumnavigating the globe, Christopher wrote extensively, churning out travel journals. He and Sandy settled back in the UK at the end of their world tour, where their two children were both born. In 2009, the family moved to Melbourne, Australia, where they now live.

FORESTIUM is Christopher’s debut novel and is the first in the PORTALLAS series.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

 

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May 16, 2016
by Erica
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Featured Book: Kaitlin’s Tale by Christine Amsden

 

Paranormal  Romance
Date Published: May 16, 2016

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Kaitlin Mayer is on the run from the father of her baby – a vampire who wants her to join him in deadly eternity. Terrified for her young son, she seeks sanctuary with the Hunters Guild. Yet they have their own plans for her son, and her hopes of safety are soon shattered.
When she runs into Matthew Blair, an old nemesis with an agenda of his own, she dares to hope for a new escape. But Matthew is a telepath, and Kaitlin’s past is full of dark secrets she never intended to reveal.
*Companion to the Cassie Scot Series
Excerpt
Chapter 1
To: Cassie.Scot@gmail.com
From: Kaitlin.Meyer12@gmail.com
Re: Jason is Dead
Jason is dead.
Go ahead. Say “I told you so.” You never do, but just this once could you stoop down to the level of us mere mortals long enough to sneer like a ten-year-old? Put a little hip wiggle into it and wrinkle your nose. Roll your eyes at me like I’m the biggest moron on the planet.
After all you did, in fact, tell me so.
And when you’re finished, I need you to do me the biggest favor I’ve ever asked in my life. In all likelihood, the last favor I’ll ever ask. I need you to take Jay. I need you to keep him safe, because you and Evan are probably the only two people who can. I hope that one day you can find it in your heart to love him like you love your own daughter.
Your Friend,
Kaitlin
Kaitlin closed her eyes as she hit send, praying that Cassie still was her friend. Praying that nothing went wrong over the next two days. And just… praying.
* * *
“It’s time, Kaitlin.”
Kaitlin rocked her one-year-old son back and forth, trying to convince him to go down for a nap, but Jay wasn’t having it. He was teething, and it seemed to hurt him worse when he lay in a horizontal position. He was so tired that Kaitlin swore she’d hold him upright for eight hours if he’d just fall asleep, but he seemed, paradoxically, too tired to sleep.
Jason’s intrusion wasn’t helping. Jay turned his head and reached his arms out for his father – or the vampire who had once been his father – instinctively begging for the love that should have been his by right. But Jason had never taken an interest in his son; he could barely stand to look at him. In fact, if anything had finally convinced Kaitlin that Jason was dead, it was the fact that the real Jason had died for his son. This thing now inhabiting his body didn’t even seem to care.
“Did you hear me?” Jason asked, his voice unusually sharp.
Jay cried harder. Kaitlin shushed him and rocked more furiously, pretending she hadn’t heard. Pretending she could delay the inevitable a few more days. But she’d known this day was coming for a while now. Had sensed it would be soon. It was why she had e-mailed her best friend in the world two days ago, begging for help, prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of her son. But Cassie had not responded, and Sara, the nanny who had agreed to transport Jay, had disappeared.
“Answer me, Kaitlin,” Jason said in a voice that at one time would have compelled obedience. It no longer did, even though Jason continued to feed from her daily, simultaneously injecting her body with a venom that should have kept her in thrall. She wasn’t sure why the thrall had gradually dissipated over the past few months, but her new clarity of mind had bigger problems to work out – like the fact that Jason wanted to make her just like him.
Jason took another step into the nursery, his form now illuminated by the soft glow of the night light. He looked the same as he had in life – tall, broad, muscular and very, very large. He rarely ventured inside these hallowed walls, but Kaitlin had spent more and more time there of late, requiring him to come inside if he wanted her.
“Can’t you make him shut up?” Jason asked.
“I’m trying! Can’t we talk about this later?”
“Can we? You never leave this room.”
And he never came in. Would Kaitlin come in after she turned? Or would she forget Jay’s existence, the way Jason had? Her nightmare was that of Jay screaming for his mother, but she never came. Eventually, he would stop crying. Then after a few days, when no one came to feed him, he would stop doing everything else.
“Please, just let me get Jay down for his nap. Then we can talk.”
“There’s no need to wait.” Another man came to stand just inside the doorway, a man who made Kaitlin’s blood turn to ice whenever she saw him. Xavier looked so deceptively ordinary; it was part of his power. Brown hair, brown eyes, medium build, medium height… But she had seen him rip the throat out of men and face an entire heptade of vampire hunters without breaking a sweat.
He wasn’t superhuman,; he was inhuman. She couldn’t fathom his purpose, but she suspected his goal was to create an entire new race of vampires under his control. At least, that’s what she assumed happened to the dozens of people who came into their lives for varying lengths of time, most of them nearly catatonic from the vampire’s thrall. She was not permitted to speak to them, and when they left, she never saw them again.
Xavier was over two hundred years old, but he didn’t look at Kaitlin as though she were a child. He looked at her as though she were food. Kaitlin had long sensed that he was no longer human, that he was somehow alien. She had sensed it in him before the thrall had worn off, though she hadn’t cared. The realization had taken much longer with Jason. Perhaps that sense of other increased over time.
Even Jay could sense the evil in Xavier. The boy started bucking and twisting, his tiny face turning red. He might have had his supernatural strength bound so he didn’t accidentally hurt someone, but even without it he was a marvel of physical strength. He had crawled at about two weeks old. Now, at a year old, he could run like a ten-year-old. According to stories Jason’s mom had told her, Jason had grown up the same way. Jason the vampire never talked about his childhood.
“Please, leave us alone!” Kaitlin cried, trying with all her might to cling to the wriggling child.
“Sara can take him,” Xavier said.
He stepped to the side and Kaitlin’s heart leaped. Oh thank God! Not that she wanted to give up her son. It was the hardest thing she would ever do in her life, but she had gone over it and over it in her mind. She had no choice. Jason would not take no for an answer any longer. He would turn her into a vampire tonight and when he did, Jay would need protection. Even from her.
The thirty-something woman who had helped Kaitlin with Jay over the past year strode into the room as if she hadn’t just disappeared without a word for two days. Kaitlin didn’t need a nanny; as she’d told both Jason and Xavier a hundred times, she could handle Jay on her own. But Sara had provided some companionship and comfort to her, especially in the months since the thrall had worn off. Sara always had a friendly smile on her face, was infinitely patient with Jay (something Kaitlin definitely wasn’t), and despite their age difference, they had a lot in common. They read the same books, liked the same movies, and both feared the men who haunted this house alongside them.
Kaitlin smiled at Sara despite the churning of butterflies in her stomach. Sara knew what to do. She’d pretend to take Jay for a quick drive to the store, but she wouldn’t stop for diapers. She’d keep going, leaving their two-story house in Virginia and not stopping until she reached Eagle Rock, Missouri.
“Let me try getting him to sleep,” Sara said, striding over.
“It’s no good,” Kaitlin said. “Maybe you could take him for a drive.”
When Sara reached the rocking chair, Kaitlin kissed Jay on the head, surreptitiously saying good-bye. Then she handed Jay to the nanny.
The baby cried harder still, his wails threatening to shake the house down. What was the matter with him? Jay was often quiet for Sara when he refused to settle for Kaitlin.
That’s when Kaitlin recalled the coldness of the woman’s arms as she’d passed Jay into them. The pallor of her skin. The slight yellow tinge to her eyes.
“No!” Kaitlin screamed, trying to get Jay back.
Jason got between the two women, using his superior strength to stop Kaitlin from moving at all. He had her arms pinned to her sides and then, inexorably, he pushed her out the door.
“I’m sorry,” Sara said, her voice flat, maybe even lifeless.
“No!” Kaitlin tried to dig her heels into the thick blue carpeting, knowing it was useless. Knowing Jason and Xavier had the strength to make her do anything. Knowing she was as dead as Jason. Knowing, but not yet accepting. “No! Not now! It can’t happen now!”
Jason picked her up easily with one arm and clamped his other hand over her mouth. She fought. She kicked and strained with all her might, but to an outside observer she probably looked as docile as a kitten.
Xavier followed in their wake as Jason made his way down the elegant, hardwood stairs to the sparsely furnished living room. Xavier was rich. Filthy rich after centuries of whatever he did. But he kept few creature comforts. When it came to houses he preferred quantity to quality – he had safe houses all over the world. In the past year, Kaitlin had lived in four of them.
Jason set Kaitlin down on the beige couch then sat beside her, pinning her there with his size and weight. She had already stopped struggling, however; it did her no good. She would have to think of something else, but what? She had been prepared to die to get her son to safety, but now it seemed that she was the only one who could save him.
With that thought steeling her resolve, Kaitlin calmed down. She might be the biggest moron on the planet for agreeing to run away with a vampire in the first place, but she was smart enough to know that if she had any hope of getting out of this, it was through words and cunning. She had no physical strength to pit against a vampire, one of the strongest creatures on the planet. Also, one of the fastest.
Jason placed a heavy hand on her pajama-clad thigh, squeezing slightly through the silky material. Kaitlin felt nothing but cold dead fingers, but she pushed away her revulsion the way she’d been pushing it away for the past few months. Closing her eyes, she melted against him, emitting a soft sigh of surrender.
“There, that’s better,” Jason said as he continued running his cold hand up and down her thigh. “Xavier, I don’t think you need to be here for this.”
“You’ve never watched anyone turn,” Xavier said smoothly. “And you’ve always been a bit of an idiot where that girl was concerned.”
Jason growled and Kaitlin tensed once again, not sure which of the two vampires she feared more.
“She’s mine.” Jason tightened the possessive hand squeezing her thigh; she struggled to keep from crying out in pain. “That’s what we agreed before you ever turned me.”
“She doesn’t want to turn and she’s immune to thrall.”
Immune? Did he know why? She dared to look at him; Xavier smiled, fangs bared, eyes yellow with bloodlust. He had looked at her just that way so many times she had lost count, but still she shivered.
“I can handle her,” Jason said. “But not with you here. She doesn’t trust you.”
“Have it your way.” Xavier supplied a mock bow to Jason, shot Kaitlin another malicious look, then backed out of the living room by way of the kitchen. Since vampires didn’t eat food, she was sure he meant to go through it to the garage and indeed, a few seconds later, she heard the garage door open.
“Sorry about him,” Jason said. “Now where were we?”
Kaitlin drew in a deep, shaky breath and forced herself to relax as he moved his hand away from her thigh, running it up her hips, around her waist, and then with an almighty tug, he pulled her forward so she sat atop his lap.
“We can’t do this now,” Kaitlin said, keeping her voice gentle and sweet. “I’m weak. You forgot to give me that blood replenishment potion yesterday.”
“I didn’t forget,” Jason said. “It’s time, Kaitlin. Time for you to join me for real, the way you promised you would when you left Eagle Rock last year.”
“I will. Of course I will! But you know how important it was for me to nurse Jay. I want only the best for our son, like you do.” She held her breath, wondering if the lie would continue to hold one last time. She hadn’t actually nursed Jay in at least six months. Apparently, exsanguination wasn’t good for a woman’s milk supply, even with regular blood replenishment potions.
Jason frowned, but she forced herself to remain outwardly calm. He might not have seen through the lie; he often got that look on his face when they discussed the baby. If he’d paid any attention to Jay at all he would have noticed the feeding change months ago.
“How stupid do I look?” Jason asked, finally. Then he shook his head. “Why don’t you want to turn?”
“Don’t be silly.” Kaitlin ran a finger across his smooth, pale jaw, remembering how it had sported a five o’clock shadow the first time she’d seen him. The first time they’d made love. The night they’d unintentionally made Jay – not that she’d change that part now. Only what came later. “Of course I want to live forever. You know me. I live for ‘happily ever after.’”
“I had to drag you down the stairs,” Jason said. “You’ve been distant since the thrall wore off. Don’t think I haven’t noticed.”
Kaitlin’s mind raced. What were the right words? What would put off the inevitable? She had no idea, so she ended up blurting, “Why did the thrall wear off?”
“Something Xavier did,” Jason said dismissively. “He says it will make you a stronger vampire.”
Will it make me stronger now, when I really need it? Kaitlin wondered, but did not ask.
“Now answer my question” Jason continued. “Why don’t you want to turn? You weren’t in thrall when you first ran away with me.”
“I’m nervous. Weren’t you nervous before you turned? Xavier said it took months to convince you.”
“I was a hunter, brought up within my order to believe vampires are soulless monsters.”
Are you? Kaitlin wanted to ask. Even now, she wasn’t sure “soulless” was the right word. Something lurked behind Jason’s eyes – and even Xavier’s. She just wasn’t sure it was anything she wanted to be a part of.
“Well, I may know better,” Kaitlin began, “but I’m still not sure… I mean…” She cast about wildly for an idea. Something to delay the inevitable. Anything. And finally, she settled on the truth. Or part of it. “You’ve changed. I don’t pretend to understand how. I didn’t know you well before I ran off with you; we only had the one night together. Mostly, I knew you from stories your cousin Cassie told.”
“You know me now,” Jason said, sliding a finger down her slender throat. “You’ve known me for a year. Haven’t I treated you well?”
“Of course you have,” Kaitlin said. “You know I love you.” She leaned forward, letting the top of her button-down silk shirt part slightly, though Jason didn’t seem as taken with cleavage as normal men. His favorite parts of her were the throat, wrists, and inner thighs.
“I haven’t cheated on you,” Jason said. “I haven’t hit you. I haven’t even asked you to get a job. I take care of you.”
“And Jay?” Kaitlin asked, because what he said was sort of true. It wasn’t a high standard, but she’d chosen some real losers in her time who had done all those things – cheated on her, hit her, and sponged off her hard work.
Perhaps if she’d known Jason better in life she could be more certain now that he wasn’t the same man. After all, aside from the bloodsucking thing there wasn’t anything she could specifically put her finger on that was any different from regular imperfect mortals. Some men ignored their children. Some men were up at all hours of the night and slept all day. Some men only seemed to notice her when they needed something from her – blood or sex, it was all the same.
But it all came down to the one thing she knew for sure about Jason: He had loved his son. He had cared so much that he had died to protect the baby from his own father, who had planned to body-hop into Jason, then again into Jay when he was old enough. Jason even turned into a vampire – a being he’d been trained to hate – so he would still be able to guard his son in death. And maybe the vampire Jason would protect Jay if ever put to the test, but Kaitlin wasn’t sure how he would even know the baby was in danger.
The vampire almost didn’t seem wholly connected to this world. He didn’t see it the same way humans saw it. There was something alien in his eyes and cold in his touch – and it wasn’t just the fact that no blood ran through his veins. Maybe the vampire hunters had it wrong, maybe he wasn’t entirely evil (though she wouldn’t say the same about Xavier), but she didn’t trust the vampire sitting beneath her. He wanted to seduce her into turning for reasons she could not possibly fathom, like trying to understand the will of God.
“Who will take care of Jay after I turn?” Kaitlin asked.
“You will.”
“What if I don’t want to?”
“Sara will. Or we’ll hire someone else. What does it matter?”
Indeed. “Just give me a few days. I told you I need to wean the baby. I can do it quickly. We’ll drop one feeding per day so that will be…” Kaitlin tried to think. How many times per day did a one-year-old nurse? Well, she’d go with the number of bottles she gave him a day and figure it was close enough. Jason wouldn’t know the difference. “… four days.”
Jason snorted. “And in four days you’re going to want to turn?” He gave her a piercing look, and she suddenly knew – just knew – that he didn’t believe her. “I want you to want this, Kaitlin. Xavier says it goes better when they want it.”
“I do want it. Of course I want it.” She placed soft kisses on his cheeks, his forehead, his ear. He lifted his face to give her better access, making her think she had convinced him. Lulling him into a false sense of security.
“Liar!” He shoved her off his lap, not onto the couch, but onto the ground. Kaitlin, not expecting the movement, fell heavily to the hardwood floor and yelped when her bottom connected with the unyielding surface.
“Jason?”
He stood, towering over her, and she scooted backwards on hands and knees, getting tangled in her long blonde hair.
“Xavier intercepted that e-mail you sent to Cassie the other day,” Jason said, stalking her as she scuttled across the floor.
“What?” Oh no. But that did explain Sara. And why Cassie hadn’t replied.
“You were going to give away the baby.”
“Why not?” Kaitlin asked. “You don’t want him! You said it didn’t matter who raised him.”
“This host wants him, and so do I.”
Kaitlin’s eyes widened. This was the first time Jason had ever let slip a hint that he was not the same person he had been before he’d turned.
“You can’t run from this fate,” Jason said.
Kaitlin’s scrambling hands had found the edge of the stone fireplace and she stopped, able to move no further. Jason knelt to loom over her, cupping her face in his hands. From anyone else, it might have been a caress.
“Cassie and Evan can’t protect you or the boy, you know,” Jason said. “Evan’s strong, but he’s never been much use against a vampire. I should know. I saved his life once.”
“You did? Or your host?”
Jason scowled. “There’s no place you can run. No one to protect you. Give up. Give in. Come gracefully.”
He still wanted her to agree to this, Kaitlin realized. He still wanted her willing cooperation. She had no idea why, but she’d take any opening she could get. “Three days. Give me three days.”
“We have your blood,” Jason said.
“So?”
“Didn’t you learn anything about magic from Cassie? I haven’t just eaten from you. I have your blood, and I’m a sorcerer as well as a vampire. I can use it to find you anywhere on this planet, so unless you can get to Mars, you can’t hide from me.”
“Oh.” Kaitlin was shaking now. She wished she’d thought to start a fire in the fireplace behind her, though she doubted the warmth would have penetrated.
“Tomorrow night,” Jason said. “That’s as much time as I’ll give you to prepare.”
A reprieve. She had no idea how, but she had a reprieve. Twenty-four hours wasn’t much, but it was more than she’d had a few minutes ago.
“Tell me you understand,” Jason said. “Tell me you’ll come to me tomorrow. Tell me like you mean it.”
“I understand,” Kaitlin said.
And then she wound her arms around Jason, kissing him for all she was worth. She explored his mouth with teeth and tongue, tracing the outline of his fangs. He bit her lip, stinging her for a moment before the pain-numbing property of the vampire venom set in. After a minute, he drew his head back, traced the column of her neck with his index finger, and sank his teeth in with such force that for a moment she thought he’d snapped her neck.
“Oh!” she cried, trying to make it sound like a moan. It didn’t hurt, but it didn’t feel as good as it once had, especially now that she worried Jason wasn’t planning to wait another night after all. What if he took every last drop? What if he drained her dry? He had never pulled from her so hard or drunk so long.
“Jason!” Kaitlin finally cried. “Please. You said tomorrow.”
He pulled back, fangs and lips stained red with her blood. The venom coagulated the wound so she wouldn’t bleed out, but she felt so lightheaded she wondered if she’d lost too much blood anyway.
Jason ran his thumb across his lips. “Yes, tomorrow night.”
“Blood replenishment potion?”
“No.” Jason rose to his feet, taking several deliberate steps away from her. “I don’t think I want you strong enough to escape.”
“You said there was no escape.”
Jason didn’t answer, he just turned and walked away, leaving Kaitlin on the floor, her head spinning, her breath coming in shallow gasps, her pulse weak and thready. But she wasn’t dead yet, and as long as she wasn’t dead, there remained hope.
About the Author

 

Christine Amsden has been writing fantasy and science fiction for as long as she can remember. She loves to write and it is her dream that others will be inspired by this love and by her stories. Speculative fiction is fun, magical, and imaginative but great speculative fiction is about real people defining themselves through extraordinary situations. Christine writes primarily about people and relationships, and it is in this way that she strives to make science fiction and fantasy meaningful for everyone.
At the age of 16, Christine was diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, which scars the retina and causes a loss of central vision. She is now legally blind, but has not let this slow her down or get in the way of her dreams.
Christine currently lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, Austin, who has been her biggest fan and the key to her success. In addition to being a writer, she’s a freelance editor, mom, and foster mom.
Social Media Links:
Buy Links
The Cassie Scot Series
Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective (Cassie Scot #1)
Secrets and Lies (Cassie Scot #2)
Mind Games (Cassie Scot #3)
Stolen Dreams (Cassie Scot #4)
Madison‘s Song (a Cassie Scot Companion)
 
 
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May 13, 2016
by Erica
0 comments

Featured Book: The Neverland Wars by Audrey Greathouse

The Neverland Wars
Audrey Greathouse
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: May 9th 2016
Genres: Fairy Tales, Retelling, Young Adult

Magic can do a lot—give you flight, show you mermaids, help you taste the stars, and… solve the budget crisis? That’s what the grown-ups will do with it if they ever make it to Neverland to steal its magic and bring their children home.

However, Gwen doesn’t know this. She’s just a sixteen-year-old girl with a place on the debate team and a powerful crush on Jay, the soon-to-be homecoming king. She doesn’t know her little sister could actually run away with Peter Pan, or that she might have to chase after her to bring her home safe. Gwen will find out though—and when she does, she’ll discover she’s in the middle of a looming war between Neverland and reality.

She’ll be out of place as a teenager in Neverland, but she won’t be the only one. Peter Pan’s constant treks back to the mainland have slowly aged him into adolescence as well. Soon, Gwen will have to decide whether she’s going to join impish, playful Peter in his fight for eternal youth… or if she’s going to scramble back to reality in time for the homecoming dance.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iTunes / Smashwords

EXCERPT:

A flash of lightning electrified the sky, shooting light through the forest with a jarring pang. The boom of thunder followed immediately after. The sky was grey and the clouds shifted like a swarm of dark fish in a pond. Gwen feared she would be caught in a storm, but not a drop of rain had fallen yet.

All at once, Gwen found herself in a meadow. She had never been here before; she knew that. Wildflowers cropped up in sporadic clumps, and the long, green grasses were uncut at her calves. The tree line had suddenly broken. One minute, she was racing through the forest, the next, she was floating here. Pausing to catch her breath, she ironically felt safer in this open area than in the claustrophobic security of the forest. She landed gently, unthinkingly. Turning her head to the sky, she saw the faint grey clouds blowing and rolling away. Darker clouds seemed to be coming to take their place.

On the other side of the meadow, Peter burst into the clearing. Bramble was leading him, guiding the boy to poor, lost Gwen. If Gwen had understood the fairy language, she would have already known that.

“Gwenny!”

“Peter?” Gwen shouted. She ran to him, and between her bounding strides and his quick flight, they met in the middle of the meadow, cornflowers and lilacs growing up around them. Perhaps if he had been on the ground initially, she would have hugged him. Peter lingered in the air for just a moment though, and by the time he landed, the impulse to hug each other had melted away into urgent discussion. “What are you doing out here?” His voice carried the sort of anger that only accompanied concern.

“I got lost in the woods; I was trying to come back. Is something wrong, Peter?”

Bramble flitted back and forth, pacing in the air, objecting to Peter and Gwen having this conversation now, rather than when they were safely underground.

“The opposition, they’ve launched an attack. We’ve got to get to cover.”

“What? No, it’s just a storm.” Gwen didn’t understand what Peter was telling her, but she had already made up her mind that she didn’t believe it.
“Gwen-dollie, we’ve got to go. There’s—”

The sky was suddenly drained of light. The thin, grey clouds that had blocked the sun were eclipsed by darker, brooding storm clouds, and as the daylight faded, small, grey flecks began to rain down. As they drifted softly, Gwen knew it wasn’t rain. Her attention was as captivated as Peter’s was, but she did not understand what it was the way he did. “Snow?” she asked quizzically, looking at the grey and dirty powder as it started to fall around her.

Peter held out his hand and caught a flake of it, crushing it in his hand. It left a smoky residue on his palm. “Ash.”

The winds picked up, and more of the ash furiously fluttered down. It became larger, and Gwen could hardly comprehend the charred flecks of paper that were plummeting down. Peter zipped up into the air, jumping more than flying, to grab a large square of it. He came back down immediately, a look of horror on his face.

“Peter, what is it?” Gwen pled, hoping that her fear was born of her unknowing, that if she only had answers she wouldn’t be afraid, but from the look on his face, she knew that answers would only bring more fear.

The invisible hand of the wind grabbed the paper from out of Peter’s hold. It blew straight to Gwen. Catching it, she realized it was a page from out of a newspaper; the title read—ISIS ATTACK ON ERBIL; HUNDREDS DEAD.

She had seen newspaper headlines before, but this news did not belong here. Not in Neverland. It was too dark, too terrifying of a thing to read amid the lilacs and cornflowers. Again, she begged, “What is this, Peter?”

The page was torn out of her hand by the vindictive wind. Peter answered her, with a word she had never feared so greatly. “Reality.”

 

Author Bio:

Audrey Greathouse is a lost child in a perpetual and footloose quest for her own post-adolescent Neverland. Originally from Seattle, she earned her English B.A. from Southern New Hampshire University’s online program while backpacking around the west coast and pretending to be a student at Stanford. A pianist, circus artist, fire-eater, street mime, swing dancer, and novelist, Audrey wears many hats wherever she is. She has grand hopes for the future which include publishing more books and owning a crockpot. You can find her at audreygreathouse.com

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest / Tumblr

 

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May 10, 2016
by Erica
0 comments

Featured Book: The Midnight Sea by Kat Ross

The Midnight Sea
Kat Ross
(Fourth Element #1)
Publication date: May 10th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

They are the light against the darkness.

The steel against the necromancy of the Druj.

And they use demons to hunt demons….

Nazafareen lives for revenge. A girl of the isolated Four-Legs Clan, all she knows about the King’s elite Water Dogs is that they bind wicked creatures called daevas to protect the empire from the Undead. But when scouts arrive to recruit young people with the gift, she leaps at the chance to join their ranks. To hunt the monsters that killed her sister.

Scarred by grief, she’s willing to pay any price, even if it requires linking with a daeva named Darius. Human in body, he’s possessed of a terrifying power, one that Nazafareen controls. But the golden cuffs that join them have an unwanted side effect. Each experiences the other’s emotions, and human and daeva start to grow dangerously close.

As they pursue a deadly foe across the arid waste of the Great Salt Plain to the glittering capital of Persepolae, unearthing the secrets of Darius’s past along the way, Nazafareen is forced to question his slavery—and her own loyalty to the empire. But with an ancient evil stirring in the north, and a young conqueror sweeping in from the west, the fate of an entire civilization may be at stake…

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

My eyes flew open at the crack of dawn. I groaned and rubbed my forehead. My scalp tingled, an icy, unpleasant sensation. I knew right away where Darius was and what he was doing. It was another side effect of the bond, I’d discovered. I could feel his heart beating. I knew that one of his boots was too tight. I could shut my eyes and tell you exactly where he was, even if he was hundreds of leagues away.

Why had no one told me what it would be like? I supposed Tijah did, but this was much worse than I’d expected. Much, much worse.

I threw on my new scarlet tunic and marched down to the river. Tendrils of mist swirled through the dead reeds at the edge. It was late autumn and the air had a dank chill that promised snow.

My daēva stood there, stripped to the waist, pouring water over his head with his right hand. He wore a gold faravahar on a chain around his neck, its eagle wings spread wide. His left arm lay at his side, grey and dead. I stared at his shoulder, at the juncture where smooth skin met rough. His Druj curse.

It slowed me for a moment, seeing that pathetic arm, but I wasn’t yet ready to forgive him for waking me. That was my excuse, anyway. Of course, what really angered me was the terrible realization that I was burdened with a sorrow not my own, but that bled me nonetheless. What really angered me was him—everything about him.

He was calmer this morning, but I wasn’t. I stopped about twenty feet away. He didn’t turn around although he knew I was there.

“It’s nice that you’re so pious,” I said. “But don’t you think it’s a little early to be down here performing the morning rites?”

He paused, then dumped the last of the water from the bowl. I felt the cold trickle down my spine and my lips tightened.

“I was taught by the magi to come at first light,” Darius said. “Did you expect to sleep in? I’m afraid that’s not the way it works for Water Dogs.” He smiled, and we both knew it was fake. “I’m sorry if I’ve offended you in some way.”

I stared at him, at the dark hair plastered across his forehead, his stubborn mouth. He looked so human. And yet there was something in the way Darius held himself, perfectly at ease in his own skin. Still but coiled, like the wolves I’d seen in the mountains.

“You haven’t offended me in the least,” I said. “I suppose you need the blessing more than I do.”

I spun on my heel and walked away, knowing I had wounded him. A small stab to my own heart. And I felt slightly ashamed. But that wasn’t the end of it. Then I felt his satisfaction at my shame. And my own anger that he knew and was glad.

And then his amusement at my anger!

I stalked off, determined to think nothing, to feel nothing, ever again.

If only it were that easy.

 

Author Bio:

Kat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She lives in Westchester with her kid and a few sleepy cats. Kat is also the author of the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day (Skyscape, 2014), about a world where the sea levels have risen sixty meters. She loves magic, monsters and doomsday scenarios. Preferably with mutants.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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May 7, 2016
by Erica
1 Comment

#Free and Bargain Fantasy Ebooks for Mother’s Day #booksformom #kindle

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May 4, 2016
by Erica
1 Comment

Review of Daughter of the Sun by Zoe Kalo

daughter of the sunDaughter of the Sun

Cult of the Cat Book 1

Zoe Kalo

Published: April 1, 2016

Genre: YA Fantasy

Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Trinity was born during a solar eclipse and left at the doorsteps of a convent along with a torn piece of papyrus covered with ancient symbols. Raised by nuns in the English countryside, she leads a quiet life until she’s whisked away to the Island of Cats and a grandmother she never knew.

But before they can get to know each other, her grandmother dies. All that Trinity has left is a mysterious eye-shaped ring. And a thousand grieving cats. As Trinity tries to solve the enigma of the torn papyrus, she discovers a world of bloody sacrifices and evil curses, and a prophecy that points to her and her new feline abilities.

Unwilling to believe that any of the Egyptian gods could still be alive, Trinity turns to eighteen-year-old Seth and is instantly pulled into a vortex of sensations that forces her to confront her true self—and a horrifying destiny.

Amazon

Review:

Trinity is about to find out a dark family secret, one that will change her world in ways she never imagined.

This book starts off painfully slow. Trinity was mildly interesting and the cats were a lovely addition, so I trudged on in the hopes it would get better. I was nearly halfway through the book before it stopped being a boring YA Romance and turned into a fantasy story. This shift happened around page 150, and if I’d read chapter one and then skipped to that point, I don’t think I would have missed much. The same hints are repeated over and over, suggesting that there is something special in Trinity’s connection to cats and she has these strange sensations that might be magic. I didn’t need that much lead up to get the point that she’s not an ordinary girl.

Once I was past the first half, I enjoyed getting to know Trinity and watching her evolve into what she eventually becomes. She finds her strength and has the courage to demand some answers about 20 pages before the end. Despite that, she was a likable enough character, if a bit annoying at times with her teenage “I’ll figure it out on my own” attitude. Asking the right people would have been easier, but would have made for a dull story. As far as characters go, Ara ended up making a fun companion. I think she fit into the role of sidekick quite well. And of course, Slugger, the calico cat with a big attitude and a lot of knowledge. Seth felt like an afterthought.

There were some nice fantasy scenes describing Trinity’s newfound powers. She proves herself to have strong magical ties without going too far into the realm of the fantastic. These abilities are grounded in ancient Egyptian beliefs, which even today are mysterious and fascinating. There are also some nice tidbits describing gods and goddesses and creatures from Egyptian mythology.

I was given a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

3stars

 

 

 

 

 

3 out of 5 stars

 

 

 

 

April 28, 2016
by Erica
0 comments

Review of The Wrathful Mountains by Lana Axe

the wrathful mountainsThe Wrathful Mountains

Tales from Nol’Deron

Lana Axe

Published March 2016

Genre: High Fantasy

Synopsis:

Evil awakens in the heart of the mountain.

Kaiya senses the presence of dark magic near her home in the Wrathful Mountains. The trouble is, she is the only sorceress for hundreds of miles, and no other magical beings are known to live nearby. Soon tremors rock her village, endangering the lives of those she loves. An urgent plea from the north summons her on a journey to send the evil back to its rest.

Joining Kaiya on her quest is Tashi, High Priestess of the Ulihi, a tribe once believed extinct. Attempting to save the life of her sister, Tashi calls upon a long-dead god, unleashing its evil upon the world. Now she must journey alongside the sorceress in hopes of repairing the devastation she has caused.

Review:

Trouble is brewing in the mountains, and once again Kaiya must find a way to protect her people.

I have to say that I love Kaiya. There aren’t a lot of female dwarves to compare her to, but I fell in love with her character in Source of the River. Here she is a bit older and wiser. Though she’s appeared before in the series, this is a standalone novel. I appreciate having a complete adventure all at once, rather than waiting for the rest of the series to find out what happens.
Kaiya is a strong character, and in this story, I got to see more of her vulnerable side. She has a lot of substance beyond her extraordinary magical abilities. I also enjoyed Tashi’s character for her strength and devotion to her people and to her sister. There is an unbreakable bond between sisters, and that echoes in the camaraderie that grows between Kaiya and Tashi. Though Tashi has no magic, she isn’t afraid to delve into the thick of things and fight her way out.
Characters Galen and Raad serve to sometimes lighten the mood, which can feel pretty heavy at times during this story. There’s real evil lurking in the mountains, and it doesn’t mind taking the lives of the innocent. I felt there was a good balance between the light and the dark, with solid characters and fantastic action scenes, this is definitely a book worth reading.
I was given a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
5stars
5 out of 5 stars

Amazon

About the Author:

Lana Axe lives in Missouri near the edge of the woods. She is inspired by her love of nature to write about elves, magic, and adventure. Growing up in Mark Twain’s backyard inspired her love of fiction from an early age. She grew up an avid reader and went on to study literature in college.

April 21, 2016
by Erica
0 comments

Review of His Name was Death by J. Eric Hance

his name was death

His Name was Death

Dead Man’s Tale Book One

J. Eric Hance

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal

Published: March 13, 2016

Synopsis:

Henry Richards is having a really bad day. It started with his own murder, and it’s gone steadily downhill from there. Forced into a new life as the Grim Reaper, he must collect the souls of the dying—stubborn, lost and dangerous souls that don’t want to be collected.

When Henry is sent to collect the soul of a middle-aged housewife, he decides to save her instead; but ignoring the rules has dire consequences, and he soon finds his name on an assassin’s hit list. Isolated from his friends and family, he turns to the only help he can: the seductive demoness that lives across the hall, a big black cat with an even bigger attitude, and three mysterious goddesses in white.

But will they be enough to help Henry stop the assassin before every name is crossed off his list, or will Henry’s enemies manage to kill him…again?

Only if he dies this time, there are no second chances. This time, Henry will stay dead forever.

“The trick isn’t to win every time; the trick is to learn from your mistakes and make your losses count for something.” — Steve Richards

Amazon

Review:

Henry wakes up dead. Sorry, I couldn’t resist. :) Actually, his old body is dead, but he’s reincarnated as the Grim Reaper. Now he has to ferry soles to the afterlife and search for a killer at the same time.

Like many urban fantasy stories, this one reads a lot like a thriller. There is plenty of fast-paced action but it doesn’t read too fast. What I mean is, the action isn’t non-stop, and it didn’t go by so fast it made my head spin. I enjoyed the pacing of this story, allowing me a well-rounded look at Henry and his companions while he’s on his hunt for a murderer.

There is plenty of comic relief to lighten the mood of the story, which can become very emotional at times. I appreciated the light moments, especially the times when Henry is feeling his way around filling the role he’s been forced into. There is great depth to the scenes where Henry helps a person to cross over. The emotional torment of the people left behind were the strongest scenes of the book. I truly felt something when a soul in agony was finally released from worldly torment. The dramatic effect was certainly well done.

On to a lighter point, I absolutely adored sidekick Elliott. I hate to spoil it, so I suppose I’ll leave it there. Suffice to say, his personality is spot on, and the moments when he acts like what he really is were very amusing. I also enjoyed the Monty Python reference. This is one of those stories that is fun to read, but I wouldn’t call it light. There is serious business going on here, both in the search for the killer and in the job of a Reaper.

I was given a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

4stars

 

 

 

 

 

4 out of 5 stars

Ages 16+: strong language

About the Author:

Jeremy Hance is a forty-year-old man who only acts his age as a desperate last resort. He holds three degrees, including two from the University of Washington; since none of them have anything to do with writing, or anything Jeremy is likely to ever write about, he’s really just bragging and should realize you don’t care. Jeremy’s day job is writing computer software (at least until he’s a world famous author with legions of adoring fans and his own HBO series…which should be, you know, any day now). He lives with his loving wife and two beautiful daughters in the Seattle area, where he has been known to pounce at them from around corners, and tickle all of them without mercy.

His Name Was Death is Jeremy’s first book, but it is far from his last. He is currently working on Book 2 of the “Dead Man’s Tale” series, Ghost of a Chance

 

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