Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Author Guest Post: Countering the Lone Wolf Heroine Trope

I've posted about this book and this series. It is totally one of my favorites for many reasons. The mysterious and sexy West. The adventure and danger. The Pulse activated world. And, last but most important, the family structure. Sure, it's a little different here with Livi Talbot. Her family are her friends that have been there and will continue to be there for her and her daughter. I love this creation!

Today, Skyla is here to share a bit about that special family structure. Also! 
THE BOOK'S ON SALE!!! 99c for TWO DAYS! Go get it!
**Deal only good for September 20 & 21 2017

If you like what you see, please share with the world so they can get the deal too! Here's a tweet written you can copy and paste:
99c book deal for SOLOMON'S SEAL by @skyladawn --EX-DEBUTANTE. SINGLE MOTHER. TREASURE HUNTER. http://amzn.to/2ynmu4x Only 20th & 21st!



Countering the Lone Wolf Heroine Trope

Every writer has something she’s trying to do with her book. Beta readers and editors can pick up on it, but it’s easy to wait on pins and needles for reader reactions later. Sometimes we succeed in what we’re trying to do.

Sometimes...we don’t.

I breathed a sigh of relief that this time one of my messages connected with the audience, as most reviews of Solomon’s Seal highlight the portrayal of friendship and family in the book, specifically between Livi Talbot and her best friend Pru Cortez.

When I conceived of the series—Tomb Raider as a soccer mom (or Lara Croft meets Gilmore Girls)—one thing was clear: the usual lone wolf urban fantasy heroine wasn’t going to cut it. It takes a village to raise a six-year-old, and Livi is a lot of things but she’s not a whole damn town. This meant filling her life with the support systems she’s developed over the years, and making these characters integral to the story.

Don’t get me wrong—I love lone wolf heroines. I think a lot of people do. And I imagine a lot of elements are at play to explain the popularity of the trope in urban fantasy. One is that writers write what they know, and writing is a very solitary act. We know what it feels like to be in our own realities, the weight of the world (or deadlines) on our shoulders.

I do think sometimes—though certainly not every time—the trope comes from a sort of internalized misogyny and sexism. The lone wolf heroine is Not Like Other Girls and often Super Duper Special. When she picks up a supporting cast, it’s often other male characters, as if to underscore she is, again, Not Like Other Girls by putting her in a “man’s world” with a lot of men. This can be written by male and female writers a like, and we rarely challenge the assumption that surrounding oneself with men is obviously a sign of being strong, right?

As I said, I like me some lone wolf heroines, and I find it’s a natural character for me to write. But I also get tired of it sometimes, because in my experience...I like having friends. I can’t imagine my life without them. People who have my back always, people I would do anything for. People to validate what I’m feeling when I get red flags from someone. There is no replacement for my close female friends.

It was important for me to have that with Livi and Pru—just as important, if not more so, than ensuring the action was thrilling and adventures entertaining. They’re opposites in many ways, not the least of which is that Livi is an adrenaline junkie and Pru is decidedly not. And they each have their own challenges, from Livi adventuring for a living to Pru with the ticking clock of multiple sclerosis over her head. But their personalities also complement one another and their shared love for Livi’s daughter cements their bond as family.

Whether the series spans three books or a dozen, and no matter how their ‘found family” evolves, Liv and Pru’s friendship is the backbone of this series for me and hopefully for readers as well.

Solomon’s Seal turns one year old on September 20th and my birthday is on the 21st, so I’m having a two-day 99c sale! Read on for an excerpt between Livi and Pru.


------

Excerpt from Solomon’s Seal:

“It’s Martin’s fault,” I said immediately as I pressed the cold pack to my elbow. It had seemed okay an hour ago, but then the swelling came back and I was hoping some ice would quiet the ache again.

She shook her head and set her book on the end table. “So you’ve said.”

I’d already called and filled her in when I didn’t think I’d make the meeting with Em’s teacher, but I still felt defensive about it. “This is the second time he’s done this.”

“Third if you count the time he had customs waiting at the airport for you.”

Right. I forgot about that. “Fratricide isn’t illegal, is it?”

“You’d be convicted before opening arguments.”

It was true. He was the altruist, the good guy, the one who hadn’t been disinherited. Archaeology doctorate, top of his game. I was the ex-debutante party-girl, now single mother with no education, who stole supernatural artifacts for private clients. No question who won the Favorite Talbot Kid Award. “Did you get a line on who he gave the knife to?”

Pru yawned and brushed curls of black hair from her face, then stretched her arms over her head. “Not yet. Short list should be narrowed down by morning. You’re really going after it?”

“I need the money. We need a new fridge plus Em’s tuition doesn’t pay itself.”

“She’s six. She doesn’t need a private school.”

We’d already had this conversation approximately seventy thousand times. “I totaled the Jeep, but that and the plane tickets were the only expenses. Grant will give me fifteen grand for the knife.”

“Probably,” she said. “That was fifteen grand for the first shot—if you draw attention to him stealing it back...”

“Yeah, yeah. But Grant likes me. I think.” Truthfully, I’d never actually met Iluka Grant; he was some dealer in Australia I worked with sometimes, someone who hired out help if clients requested something found stateside. He’d hired me a few times now, so I was guessing he liked me well enough. “And if I make a fuss about losing my deposit on the rental, I’ll be able to squeeze out more.”

She shook her head. No sense arguing with me.

“How are you?” My question was weighted and I studied her, not trying to disguise it.

Pru knew it, too. “Fine. I skipped my nap yesterday.”

“You know, if you have a bad day, and I’m not here—”

“I know, I know—”

“—the munchkin doesn’t need to go to school.”

“I’m fine,” she insisted. “I got her to class, skipped the therapy pool, came home and took a nap, and got her from school again.”

I bit my tongue. The last thing I would ever do was treat her like an invalid but I did worry about her pushing herself for Em’s sake when I wasn’t around to help. It required trust, I knew, but I could be a little mother hen-ish sometimes.

And that the Pulse four years ago managed to activate relics and powers and supernatural creatures of old but didn’t do fuck all to bring about a cure for real world things such as multiple sclerosis pissed me off to no end. What’s the point of living in a supernatural world when it didn’t cure the lesions on her spinal cord and brain?

Prudence changed the subject, of course. “There’s a package for you on the kitchen counter.”

Huh. “Bomb?”

“Hasn’t exploded yet, and why do you always ask that? Has anyone ever actually sent you a bomb?”

They hadn’t but as daughter of a rich guy, my childhood had its share of worst case scenario discussions, usually kidnapping but occasionally miscellaneous topics like bombs. Apparently it traumatized my psyche. “Give it time.”

“Delivery boy said it was for Olivia Talbot and that’s it. You also received two phone calls. Richard Moss?”

I groaned and held my eyes shut for several seconds. “Tell him we’re lesbians.”

“I’m not doing that anymore.”

Ugh, just ’cause it scared off a guy she liked one time. “Tell him...I died. From...a mail bomb.”

“He was very polite.”

Of course he was polite—that’s how he finagled my phone number from someone in the first place. I looked at Pru and cocked a brow.

“Where’d you meet him?”

Uh... “A couple of months ago...remember that Inca necklace?”

“That you were trying to steal from the museum?” Pru’s voice turned sharp with disapproval.

She was not happy about that job—museum thefts were frowned upon, in her opinion. I’d deemed it too difficult after I was arrested just casing the joint—my brother’s work, of course, when he was visiting with the curator and saw me there—but Prudence still made her displeasure known. “Yeah, that one. I ran into him before I was surrounded by a dozen terribly handsome uniformed men with handcuffs. Just a patron. Took me twenty minutes to lose him and the bathroom trick didn’t work.”

“Persistent.”

“Understatement. He’s pushy, about six-four, wicked hot, and thinks me dating him is a foregone conclusion. You know how that normally turns out.”

“Either you sleep with him or you punch him.”

I nodded. “Sometimes both. I don’t need this right now. Also, his name is Dick Moss. Dick Moss.”

“He said it was Richard—”

Clearly she wasn’t listening to me. The ice pack crackled against my elbow as I leaned forward for emphasis. “Dick. Moss. It sounds like a venereal disease.”

“You shouldn’t judge someone by their name.”

“Can I judge him for leaving flowers on my car? Twice?”

Her mouth opened. Closed. She frowned. “That’s...”

“Something someone with the middle name ‘McStalkerpants’ would do. I’m done with his type, I told you. Then he tells me he’s at the museum for a ‘story’ because he’s in the newspaper business—uh, no, he owns the newspaper business. Well, blogging, but still.”

“You mean—”

“Yeah. That Moss.” No date in eight months, no sex in ten, and the first guy who seriously gets sniffing around me is set to inherit The Stargazer—tabloid extraordinaire with an online presence that specialized in making unsubstantiated rumors believed—and is incapable of understanding the word ‘no’? Former celebutante karma, apparently.

Pru raised her hands. “You win. He must be avoided. Should I see about changing the number?”

I waved her off. “He probably didn’t get the memo that I’m broke now, or doesn’t realize what girls who did the pageant circuit grow up to be. I’ll scare some sense into him.”

-----

About Solomon’s Seal:
EX-DEBUTANTE. SINGLE MOTHER. TREASURE HUNTER.

Disowned and left penniless for getting pregnant as a teen, former celebutante Olivia Talbot was willing to do whatever it took to provide for her daughter…including become a treasure hunter. Since the Pulse hit, activating relics of legend, there are plenty of artifacts to be had—not to mention wealthy clients willing to pay top dollar for them.

Just as her daughter’s private school tuition cheque bounces, Livi gets an offer that could be the break she needs to return to some semblance of her former life. A potential new client wants her to travel to Ethiopia and retrieve the Seal of Solomon—a mythical ring said to control demons and djinn—and this bounty comes with one hell of a financial pay off.

The deadline: a week. The team: unreliable. The competition: her world-renowned archaeologist older brother. Nothing Livi can’t handle… Except the danger goes beyond a few subterranean serpent-dragons she might encounter or tangling with her employer’s deadly second-in-command. This client isn’t all he seems, and handing him the ring might be worse than what he’ll do to her—and her daughter—if she doesn’t.

Available at:

KindleUS | KindleUK | KindleCA | Kobo | Nook | iBookstore | Smashwords | GooglePlay | Payhip

Special Anniversary Sale: 99c for two days only! (September 20 – 21)



About Skyla Dawn Cameron:
Skyla Dawn Cameron has been writing approximately forever.

Her early storytelling days were spent acting out strange horror/fairy tales with the help of her many dolls, and little has changed except that she now keeps those stories on paper. She signed her first book contract at age twenty-one for River, a unique werewolf tale, which was released to critical and reader praise alike and won her the 2007 EPPIE Award for Best Fantasy. She now has multiple series on the go to keep her busy.

Skyla is a fifth generation crazy cat lady who lives in southern Ontario, where she writes full time, works as a freelance designer, stabs people with double pointed knitting needles, is an avid gamer, and watches Buffy reruns. If she ever becomes a grownup, she wants to run her own Irish pub, as well as become world dictator.

You can visit her on the web at www.skyladawncameron.com. When she’s not writing or being glared at by cats, she’s probably on Twitter. You should ping @skyladawn and tell her to get back to work and get exclusive stories monthly at www.patreon.com/skyladawncameron

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Audio Book Review: The Biscuit Witch

The Biscuit Witch

By:  Deborah Smith

Publish Date:  April 30, 2013, Audiobook Release July 7, 2017

Format:  Audiobook - 4 hrs 33 mins
Narrated By:  Misty Gray

Genre:  Fiction

Series:  1st in The Macbrides series

Impression:  Cooking is love.

Synopsis:
Dear Dr. Firth:
I know you are in your cups at this time, drinking and sleeping under trees, but I have some experience rehabilitating lost souls in that regard, and so I am enclosing a box of my biscuits and a cold-wrapped container of cream gravy for dessert. Please eat and write back.
We need a veterinarian of your gumption here in the Crossroads Cove of Jefferson County.
—Delta Whittlespoon, proprietress of The Crossroads Café

Biscuit witches, Mama called them. She’d heard the term as a girl. She’d inherited that talent. My mother could cast spells on total strangers simply by setting a plate of her biscuits in front of them. –Tal MacBride

Welcome back to the Crossroads Cove where new loves, old feuds, and poignant mysteries will challenge siblings Tal, Gabby, and Gus MacBride to fight for the home they lost and to discover just how important their family once was, and still is, to the proud people of the Appalachian highlands.

Tallulah MacBride hasn’t been back to North Carolina since their parents’ tragic deaths, twenty years ago. But now, Tal heads to cousin Delta Whittlespoon’s famous Crossroads Café in the mountains above Asheville, hoping to find a safe hiding place for her young daughter, Eve.

What she finds is Cousin Delta gone, the café in a biscuit crisis, and a Scotsman, who refuses to believe she’s passing through instead of “running from.” He believes she needs a knight in shining flannel.

When a pair of sinister private eyes show up, Tal’s troubles are just beginning.

For Tal’s brother and sister—Gabby, the Pickle Queen, and Gus, the Kitchen Charmer—the next part of the journey will lead down forgotten roads and into beautiful but haunted legacies.

First Sentence:
Dear Doctor Firth,

I run my kitchen and my life by two sayings: Good food speaks louder than words, and Nobody's a stranger, just a cousin waiting to be recognized.

Purchase At:
Amazon

Audible

My Thoughts and Summary:
*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

This is my first book with Misty Gray narrating. I found her interesting because we start with Delta who wrote the letter and get a Southern accent, then we get a section from Douglas with a Scottish accent. We end with chapter one from Tallulah's voice, which is different than the previous two. I was struck with these different accents and taken by them. Misty was clear and clean throughout the book, nothing to distract from the words of the story.

Delta feels like a strong woman with solid beliefs of all around her from her letter we read in the prologue. She sounds like a kind person based on that first line. From that letter, it feels that family is important to Delta. She keeps track of the family line as though it's important, and uses it. However, we only meet Delta at the beginning in the letter and at the end by phone.

For listening, the book is broken up strange and, at times, it's hard to pick up on. There are sections in each chapter with sub-titles instead of a new chapter. For audiobook, it doesn't always translate well because we don't see these titles, and sometimes sound to be part of the story. I did adapt and knew to keep an ear open for them.

Okay, in the beginning I wasn't sure where the story was going. We get Delta's letter then Doug's account with the sheep. I thought I knew where the story was going, but then we get into chapter one that's Tal's reminiscing about her family past. This felt like it was a huge info dump without leading us on the story. It was about her parents - who related to, who died, and what they did and how they died. Then we end the chapter right where Doug ended up with the sheep. The story took off from there.

The story is good. But it's not my style of writing and format. I like Tallulah and her story. She's on the go, trying to get away from the father of her child as he's not a good person or the lifestyle she wants for her daughter. She makes her way to the home town of her family roots. And here she finds a good man and good people. Tal even learns about her family heritage, which she didn't know with losing her mama so young.

The romance... Tal does find a man. But the relationship between her and him and him and her daughter seems to happen so fast. Like in two days fast. Okay, maybe three? I know it's a novella and looking past the quickness, it made for a sweet story.

The story has a few different angles to it. There is a sweet love that blossoms, of course. But we also see more here. Tal has a daughter and some troubles she's running from. Tal gets a solution to those problems and grows as a character too. We also see the thread that will connect the stories in this series - Free Wheeler, a small town. There is a history here that Tal starts to dig into and learns.

As for the cooking reference, I was expecting more "magic" in the baking. There is love backed in those biscuits, and people love them but I thought there would be some spark related to the baking. It wasn't as much of a tie as I thought there would be, but that's okay.

It's a sweet story with Tal who's drawn to bake all sorts of goodies with heart and memories. Family and friends are everything, and will help you when you are in need.



****If you found my thoughts helpful, please click Yes at Amazon and/or Audible. Thank you!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Audio Book Review: Paying the Price

Paying the Price

By:  Terry Mixon

Publish Date:  June 11, 2016, Audiobook Release July 13, 2017

Format:  Audiobook - 11 hrs 13 mins
Narrated By:  Veronica Giguere

Genre:  Science Fiction

Series:  5th in The Empire of Bones series; 1st Book ~ Empire of Bones, 2nd Book ~ Veil of Shadows, 3rd Book ~ Command Decisions, 4th Book ~ Ghosts of Empire

Impression:  The price of ones actions is faced.

Synopsis:
No good deed goes unpunished…

Admiral Jared Mertz and Princess Kelsey Bandar saved billions of lives and staved off an invasion of the Terran Empire, but not everyone is cheering their success. Their triumphant return sets off a chain of events that threaten not only their lives, but everyone they hold dear.

Crown Prince Ethan Bandar, heir to the Imperial Throne, will stop at nothing to claim his birthright. He won’t allow anyone to stand between him and ultimate power. Not his sister. Not his half-brother. Not even his father.

Kelsey, Jared, and their battle-hardened allies must fight to survive his insidious attacks and race to stop a looming civil war. With the future of humanity on the line, can they save the world they love from blood and fire?

First Sentence:
"Admiral, do you have a few minutes?"

Purchase At:
Amazon

Audible

My Thoughts and Summary:
*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.


Veronica is a favorite narrator for me. She speaks clear with possession of each word. She voices each character with different tones, sounds, and even accents to differentiate each one for us. This is a blessing in audio with a larger cast of characters. Even to give an AI feel to some voices is an addition to the many talents Veronica has. Veronica breaths life into these character with each word she speaks.

It's been a little while since I finished the previous book. The beginning chapter was to get us caught back up with who's who and what the "plan" is to work towards. It seemed to happen quick with reacquainting myself with the names of characters, ships, and worlds or stations. I just made notes and went for the ride, I'd get them all back in line as we go because I trust Terry's writing. He's organized in a fashion that makes it easy to keep this large cast in order. I was correct to follow Terry. Terry ironed any questions I had quickly and people fell into place for me.

Was I to be making notes while listening for a review?!? Um... That's one thing with Terry's writing and world here, I get sucked into the beautiful universe and forget to breathe. Seriously, the things these character live through are amazing.

So, I got drawn in when we found a station orbiting a black hole. When a few of our characters find their way in, it gets worrisome on whether they will get out. Lets put that worry on the back burner for a moment because I love what we find here! Though, if you are this far in the series, you know Jared and his crew members are not going to wait and see with their friends locked in this station, so you can't forget about that worry. Then there's the project that Carl Owlet was working on before this happens. Totally cool! It's like Thor's hammer, all done with technology. Goodness is this cool! It's also more than a powerful weapon.

Oh you just have to read/listen to this story to get it!

I love that while the characters get tripped up on a few stones as they are readying to venture home, the thread of the ultimate goal of the day is not lost. There is a character that is not involved in the current dilemma that is working for the next - when Jared returns home and Crown Prince Ethan Bandar is approached. Yeah, that's not going to go over well...

When we return home, it's exciting to see the responses from all parties. We also get brief reminders of what's happened to everyone, what they've lived through, and what can be coming their way. Being the 5th book in the series, I think this was a great way to remind us of what we've seen. Though, Terry does NOT repeat everything by word. We are reminded of major events and it all comes rushing back in our minds.

I love how each book builds on the previous events yet it is its own story. This is not a repeat of what we've already read, it's more. This is what keeps me thirsty for this series, along with the amazing characters and writing.

If you haven't guessed, I'm TOTALLY ready for the next book and will gladly continue with this series until the end.



****If you found my thoughts helpful, please click Yes at Amazon and/or Audible. Thank you!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Audio Book Review: Fantasy Online: Hyperborea

Fantasy Online: Hyperborea

By:  Harmon Cooper

Publish Date:  June 2, 2017, Audiobook Release July 17, 2017

Format:  Audiobook - 10 hrs 43 mins
Narrated By:  Jeff Hays

Genre:  Fantasy

Series:  1st in Fantasy Online series

Impression:  New deadly problem for people in the gaming world.

Synopsis:
Nineteen-year-old Ryuk Matsuzaki and his best friend Tamana decide to start over with new avatars. When Tamana is suddenly killed right in front of him in a Tokyo subway, Ryuk knows there is only one place he can search for answers –Tritania, the world’s most popular online fantasy world. Standing in his way are a mysterious guild known as the Shinigami, and his older brother, a Yakuza crime lord hell-bent on squashing his dreams.

As a lowly Ballistics Mage, Ryuk must quickly recruit guild members, level up, loot and shoot his way across Tritania to discover the dark and sinister secret behind Tamana’s untimely death. Joining him in his quest are a famous Swedish gamer, a powerful half-dragon half-human female assassin, and a devious ax-wielding goblin.

Get started on this action-packed, coming of age LitRPG saga from the author of The Feedback Loop series now!

First Sentence:
At half the length of her body, Tamana's buster sword is meant to be held with both hands, to be used as both a shield and a weapon, but she's never been one to do things in a conventional way.

Purchase At:
Amazon 

Audible

My Thoughts and Summary:
*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

Ryuk and Tamana have gamed together for years. At Tamana's request, they restart with new avatars in Titania. When they logout, Tamana is attacked and Ryuk watches her jump to her death in a train station. Then Ryuk is attacked by a Thulian warrior from the game. He knows it can't be real but seeing it makes it hard to believe. With the help of his human droid bodyguard Ryuk realizes it's not real. There are posts in gaming forums that people have been experiencing this, and dying. Someone's hacking their iNet. Ryuk is determined to warn others he once knew, and spend time with his lost friend in the world of Titania.

Jeff is always a treat for me to listen to. I have high standards going into one of his narrations, and he delivers! I expect to the characters to each have their own voice and life to come through as he acts them. I expect to have the characters easily differentiated in their voices and personalities. I expect to be entertained with the enthusiasm of the narrator. Jeff hits all these points and more with clear audio.

Harmon takes the world we last visited with Quantum and creates it's own series with it. Titania is the perfect world to play with as a spin-off. There are three layers to the world which you can only get to by reaching different levels in your character.

But! We also have a new trouble for the players several years after Quantum and his battles. Their iNet, a program in their eye, is hacked and they are seeing the evils from the world they just logged out of. It's getting them killed! Ryuk is a character that is not going to take this, especially after the girl he's known for years and asked out is now dead because of it.

It's neat how the game world is connected to the real person. See, if the person dies in the real world they will be reborn in their game - RPC (reborn player character).

There are mentions of Quantum and the characters from the original series. This book takes place years after Quantum has been through the game. We hear the name of the guild that Quantum started, Ryuk had been part of that guild before he reset to start over in the game. Then he goes in search of them, leveling up, to tell them what is happening in the world now. Ryuk is determined to help his friend in RPC form as it's the closest thing to her he can get, and wants. Ryuk's wants seem to go against what he should be doing in Titania. But this is his inner conflict with what has happened to his dearest friend. This is something he'll have to work through in order to move on to what the next step is.

We are introduced to Ryuk and his friends and family here. The new problems in the gaming world of Titania is strongly influencing the real world. We learn there is more going on and in the end we are anxious to get to the next book. It felt a bit like a cliffhanger  with the leads on Kodai. I want to find out who he's working with and what the next phase is. There is something bigger than Kodai knows going on here, and I want to know what!



****If you found my thoughts helpful, please click Yes at Amazon and/or Audible. Thank you!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Volatile Bonds is here! Go Get It!

Today is the day we've been waiting for!

VOLATILE BONDS IS AVAILABLE!!!

Yep, Jaye Wells's next Prospero's War book is out today. This is the 4th book of the series everyone's been looking for. The series continues on!

So go get it! It's available in Kindle and Print.

Volatile Bonds
By:  Jaye Wells
4th in Prospero's War series
Description:

When the Magic Enforcement Agency is called out to the scene of a dirty magic explosion, a body with a bullet wound is found in the smoldering ruins. As Detective Kate Prospero and her partner, Special Agent Drew Morales, hunt down the killer, they uncover evidence that a dangerous new coven may be operating in the Cauldron.


It's not long before the bodies start piling up, and the heat is on for the team to make an arrest. Solving the murders will require unraveling dangerous alliances between the city's dirty magic covens. And if they're not careful, the new complexities of Morales and Prospero's own partnership threaten to make a volatile situation downright deadly.



Purchase At:


Kobo
Barnes & Nobles
Book Depository


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Sunday Post #179

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news ~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share new about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I hope all that have been in the multiple hurricane paths are safe! This has been one crazy few weeks with nature. I hope all have found safe harbor and have homes to return to. Just, wow. I'm sorry.

I've been on the low side this week. As you probably noted, I didn't post anything this last week. That was a blend of two things. I didn't have much ready to post and life has been moving fast. The audio books I've been listening to have been ten hours in length. Those take me a week to get through at work. It's a long time, but with phones and co-workers it takes longer to get through. And my evenings have been full as I've started going out. I know, shocker! One day this week was a ten year celebration for the hair salon I go to. It was great. I've also been busy with for pay work on editing. I've also got photography to get touched up and ideas to capture. So, yeah, I've been working to keep busy.

I think when winter settles in I'll slow down and stay home more. But I need firewood! So I can cozy up at the fireplace. :)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Fit Booker:

Goal:  Workout in any form of exercise (or on Wii Fit) 2x's a week. (to feel better and hope to drop a few pants sizes)

How did I do last week... Seriously!? What's exercising?!?! lol. It's been to chaotic around here to get exercising in. How do others do this? Raise a family, work, AND exercise? O.o


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
What's Happening in Books:

Current Read:
Of Flame and Fate by Cecy Robson
AND Content Editing work

Current Audiobook:
Paying the Price by Terry Mixon

Current Podcast Book Listen:
Stonebriar Casefiles: Bad Alchemy by Laura Nicole Spencer (You can listen for free too!)


Finished Last Week: 
Nothing yet.


Audiobooks from Audible:
Nothing Yet.



Finished Podcast Book Listen:
Nothing yet.


DNFed:

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Last Two Weeks on the Blog:


Cover Reveals: (click titles to go to post & learn more)




Guest Posts:



Posts:

Spellbound in a Flash:
Kaelber


Spellbound in a Flash now has a Facebook Page!
Football season has started, so you can catch my photos of the games at the Facebook Page.

Challenged Writers:
(I need to update)


Around the Internet...



Reviews:



Podcast Review:




Mama Bitchstress Reviews:



GIVEAWAYS:


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This Week to Come on the Blog:


I will write up two reviews and schedule.



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Received In Last Two Weeks:
(Note: Links to Amazon are buy links where I could earn commission, in case you are interested.)


For Review Consideration:



Audio Books Requested for Review:





Purchased/Winnings/Gifts:
Book:
Demonic Contract by Catherine Banks
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Goodreads Synopsis:
Tora's been on a lot of awful blind dates. All she wants is to find someone who loves her for who she is, which might be a tall order considering she's part demon.

But then she goes out with the gorgeous Edan, and the pair immediately hit it off. Edan's forthcoming about being a dragon, and royalty, to boot, which only makes Tora even more reluctant to risk ruining things by telling him about her demon heritage. However, no matter how hard she tries, she can't keep it a secret forever.

Celestial Mates Complete series (Books 1-5) by C.J. Scarlett
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Goodreads Synopsis:
Complete Box Set of Celestial Mates, a collection of 5 titles that have all the romance, action, and drama to leave you hooked.

As you read Celestial Mates, you’ll travel to exotic planets with hot alien men and experience the touching stories of 5 brides and their quest to be with the ones they love.

Book 1 – Ambassador's Bride
Book 2 – Fire Princess Returns
Book 3 – Clone's Bride
Book 4 – Imperial Bride
Book 5 – Warrior's Bride

Content Warning: Explicit love scenes. Intended for mature audiences only.




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Pumpkintown Perils Volume 1 by Aubrey Law
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Goodreads Synopsis:
You say WITCH like it's a bad thing...

"This is fine comedic writing that raises suspicions as much as it tickles the funny bone. Hop on for a ride that proves ‘witch’ is NOT a bad thing. Very entertaining and unique stories." - Grady Harp, Amazon Vine Voice & Hall of Fame reviewer

Living near a village of gnomes in the enchanted forest called Jagged Wood, Wanda Tempest owns a magic supply shop, practices witchcraft, drinks hard liquor, and does her best to keep peace with the local two-thousand pound Wood Trolls. She also happens to be a promising, if only part-time, Private Investigator. She’s talented, attractive, and has earned the respect and admiration of the equally talented, though far less striking, Pumpkintown Police Inspector Sam Shamrock, a tobacco-tainted, lascivious, and loud-mouthed leprechaun. Sam's crazy about Wanda… she’s crazy about her cat-food-hating whiskered companion, Jinxy.

Join this formidable, if mismatched, crime-solving duo, as they tackle mysteries ranging from the suspiciously scandalous to the supernaturally strange. Tormented talking trees, naughty gnomes, terrible trolls, and homicidal humans will keep Wanda and Sam fighting for justice, and their very lives.

Curse Breaker by Melinda Kucsera
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Goodreads Synopsis:
Secrets threaten, but magic kills.
Plagued by sanity-twisting magic, Sarn must unravel a deadly mystery. But he’s prevented at every turn because his life is not his own. Haunted by one of the victims, Sarn must find out what happened before the ghost drives him mad. As plans collide beneath ensorcelled boughs, one thing is certain. If Sarn can’t get his magic under control, he’ll never discover why enchanted trees committed murder. How far is he willing to go to find the answer? The search might cost more than his sanity. Exposing the truth might claim his life and destroy the secrecy protecting his son from a killer. Something lurks in the enchanted forest and its sights are set on Sarn and the magic in his blood. First in a new series, Curse Breaker: Enchanted is a fast-paced, character-driven fantasy tale with a murderous twist. Sarn’s story unfolds over three action-packed days in his double life leading to a breathtaking finale.

Where Lore Resides - anthology
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Goodreads Synopsis:
Do you have what it takes to survive the adventure? 

Enter into hidden realms and journey across fantastic lands where dragons devour, kingdoms rule, and magic goes awry. Dive into Where Lore Resides, an incredible collection of 10 short fantasy stories by USA TODAY Bestsellers and award-winning authors, all of which feature coming-of-age characters.

Zombies devour, witches cast spells, psychics consult with the dead, and djinn grant wishes gone wrong. In this suspenseful, action-packed collection, heroes battle darkness in epic fights against evil. Romance ignites, heroes battle, and love 
conquers all. But be careful— there’s danger around every corner, and betrayal is lurking in the shadows.

Includes exclusive content never released before! This bonus content can’t be found anywhere else! Includes both young adult and new adult characters, perfect for teens or college-age readers. 

Don’t wait! Find your courage and summon Where Lore Residestoday!

Echo in Time by Lindsey Fairleigh
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Goodreads Synopsis:
Their love is destined to shatter the boundaries of time…

Archaeology grad student Alexandra Larson’s world is turned upside down when her mother shares her deepest, darkest secret—that she doesn’t know the true identity of Lex’s father. The revelation sparks a change within Lex, and her dreams become far too real. She sees things she shouldn’t be able to see…knows things she couldn’t possibly know. Terrifying things. Deadly things.

To distract her from the surreal changes taking over her life, Lex leaps at the chance to join an Egyptian excavation run by Oxford’s enigmatic Professor Marcus Bahur. But the distraction might be more than she bargained for. While deciphering the secrets of a mysterious stone tablet, Lex falls headlong into a prophecy created by a dying god over four millennia ago. She must rely on her frightening new psychic powers to dig up the truth. And it doesn’t take long for her visions to convince her that both Professor Bahur and his excavation are much more than they seem…

The past clashes with the present in this paranormal tale of ancient prophecies and warring gods. If you like Egyptian mythology, steamy romance, and headstrong characters who won’t give up until they discover the truth, then you’ll love the first installment in author Lindsey Fairleigh’s sprawling time travel adventure. 

Soul-mate by Anna Santos
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Goodreads Synopsis:
Annabel is a bad-ass hybrid hunter, seeking revenge from the vampire who killed her parents and put her brother in a coma. Arriving in a new town with an undercover identity to protect and the mission to find a pureblood vampire to save her brother’s life, the last thing Annabel needs is to fall in love with the sexy, persistent werewolf who thinks she’s a helpless human in need of a knight in shining armor.

Shane is a dominant werewolf who also happens to be the local sheriff. He has almost lost hope of finding his better half. So when his beautiful soul-mate shows up and rogue vampires try to kill her, he does what any smart wolf would do: he saves her and takes her home, hoping to convince her that they belong together.

When sparks fly between them, Annabel has to decide if she tells him who she really is or runs the other way to protect her secrets.


Rook: Bridge & Sword by JC Andrijeski
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Goodreads Synopsis:
Apocalyptic. Psychic Romance. 

“You are the Bridge…” 

Allie Taylor lives in a world populated by seers, a second race discovered on Earth at the beginning of the 20th Century. Psychic, hyper-sexual and enslaved by governments, corporations and wealthy humans, seers are an exotic fascination to Allie, but one she knows she’ll likely never encounter, given how rich you have to be to get near one. 

Then a strange man shows up at her work –– then another –– and pretty soon Allie finds herself on the run from the law, labeled a terrorist and in the middle of a race war she didn’t even know existed. Yanked out of her life by the mysterious and uncommunicative Revik, Allie discovers her blood may not be as “human” as she always thought, and the world of seers might not be quite as distant as she always imagined. 

When Revik tells her she’s the Bridge, a mystical being meant to usher in the evolution of humanity––or possibly its extinction––Allie must choose between the race that raised her and the one where she might truly belong. 

A psychic end of the world story with romance, a cyberpunk flair and apocalyptic, metaphysical leanings akin to the Matrix. 

NOTE: An alternate version of this book was previously published as book 1 in the “ALLIE’S WAR” series (this version has been heavily revised/edited prior to re-release). 

Standalone novel. No cliffhanger. 

*Warning: this book contains graphic language, sex, and violence. Mature readers only. Not intended for young readers.* 

ROOK is book 1 in the Bridge & Sword: Awakenings series - a series set in the Bridge & Sword World. It is also related to the Quentin Black World, and takes place in the wider history/world of the seers. 

Next in the Bridge & Sword world: SHIELD (Bridge & Sword: Awakenings #2) – coming soon! Or if you’d like to read more about seers, check out BLACK IN WHITE (Quentin Black Mystery #1), which occurs in a version of Earth much closer to our own. 

THE BRIDGE & SWORD WORLD encompasses a number of dark, gritty science fiction and apocalyptic story arcs with romantic (and sexy) elements, starring Alyson Taylor and her partner, dark and dangerous infiltrator, Dehgoies Revik. For fans of gritty, character-driven science fiction and fantasy worlds, filled with twists and turns and backstabbing betrayals, with heroes and villains who can be equally relatable (and sometimes the same people). The Bridge & Sword books span continents and historical periods as Allie and Revik try to save the human and seer races from destroying one another, and keep their friends and loved ones alive in the process.

Chieftain of Andor by Andrew J. Offutt
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Goodreads Synopsis:
An outcast, beleaguered and betrayed. Now, he will live again… 

Robert Cleve does not belong. On Earth, he is out of his depth – a semi-barbarian, an atavist in the modern world. 

But one day, he answers an ad that will change his life forever. 

He is offered an opportunity to live in another man’s body – on another planet, many parsecs away. A man with no ties, decisive mind, and sound body, Cleve is selected to take over the body of warrior chief Doralan Andrah, who is pivotal on his world of Andor, but whose mind is dying. 

Cleve’s adjustment to the semi-primitive world is hard and fast – just how Cleve thrives. 

He quickly adapts to the new body and skills, learning to become the warrior he knew he always could be. 

But his memories of Earth and our treatment of sorcery leaves him vulnerable in a way he never anticipated. 

Soon, he finds himself surrounded by a cloud of confusion, assaulted from all sides by unfamiliar and unalloyed powers. 

His odyssey begins into the deepest depths of Andor, but he is woefully underprepared for the nameless terrors that await him… 
Chieftain of Andor is a gripping sci fi/fantasy adventure, as one man finds himself beset from all sides in a world that is not his own. Will he thrive, or will Andor claim him as its prize? 

Touching Infinity by Erin Hayes
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Goodreads Synopsis:
In the future, corporations rule the galaxy. And they’re willing to pay a hefty price to get ahead of the competition.

Enter the downlooters—space pirates who have no affiliation with any corporation. They’ll steal any information for the highest buyer. It’s dangerous work, but for some, it’s the only way to make a living.

It’s how Clementine Jones has spent most of her life. As first mate of the Pícara, she’s more robot than human and the one who downloads classified information to her storage banks.

After years of making successful downlooting runs, she thought she was prepared for everything. She was wrong.

During a particularly easy run, she accidentally downloots a virus unlike anything the galaxy has ever seen. It’s already killed hundreds of thousands at a space port, and it wants to spread even further.

Worst of all, it wants to do it through Clementine.




Free Audio Books/Stories:


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Reviews to Come:

Soulless by Skyla Dawn Cameron
The Sentinel by Chris Lester
The Muse by Chris Lester
Metamor City: Making the Cut by Chris Lester
Metamor City: Whispers in the Wood by Chris Lester
Lex Talionis by Starla Huchton
Spark by Starla Huchton
Heir to Kale by K.L. Bone
Tales from the Archives Vol 4 #5 - Old Sinner's Bones
The Death of Dulgath by Michael J. Sullivan
Fantasy Online: Hyperborea by Harmon Cooper