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Urban Fantasy

    RYAR Review: INVISIBLE by Dawn Metcalf

    Previously published on ReadingYA.rocks


    ABOUT THE BOOK


    INVISIBLE by Dawn Metcalf
    Series: The Twixt #2
    Published by Harlequin Teen on September 30, 2014
    Genres: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
    Provided by: NetGalley
    Rating: 5 stars

    AMAZON | B&N | GOODREADS

    This book was provided in exchange for an honest review.

    DESCRIPTION

    Some things lie beneath the surface.

    Invisible.

    With the power to change everything.

    Joy Malone wants it all—power, freedom and the boyfriend who loves her. Yet when an unstoppable assassin is hired to kill her, Joy learns that being the girl with the Sight comes with a price that might be too high to pay. Love will be tested, lives will be threatened, and everyone Joy knows and cares about will be affected by her decision to stand by Ink or to leave the Twixt forever.

    Her choice is balanced on a scalpel’s edge and the consequences will be more life-altering than anyone can guess.


    REVIEW


    The world of the Twixt that Dawn Metcalf created in her series is so different, so imaginative, a little bit creepy, but absolutely wonderful. And INVISIBLE returns readers to that magical world, to characters who are unusual, beautiful, bizarre, and whose motives are most often unknown, complex, and potentially sinister.

    This second installment in the series picks up a few months after the events in INDELIBLE. While things first appear to have settled down for Joy Malone, it’s a calm that is short-lived. With time ticking down to a choice that must be made that could sever her ties to Ink and the Twixt forever, a ruthless knight hell-bent on slaying her, putting everyone she cares about at risk, secrets that she’s keeping and decisions that she’s made that threaten to destroy everything, and a revelation that could change not only her life, but the Twixt, forever, things in Joy’s life are far from tranquil.

    With even bigger stakes, an even greater threat, and a choice that promises heartbreak, INVISIBLE is a sequel that is action-packed, suspense- and tension-filled, nerve-wracking, heartwrenching, and incredibly exciting. It’s a story that will keep readers glued to the page until the very end.

    I was not able to put this book down. I devoured it in one sitting. It had everything I loved about INDELIBLE – its characters, the world, the magic – but it ratcheted up the action, the suspense, the mystery elements. It made me root for the main character, but also want to throttle her, much like a certain much-loved character in this series did. And I may have screamed at her once or twice before she once again became the Joy I knew and adored.

    I loved everything about this story, but I especially loved the foreshadowing, the bits and pieces the author dropped in along the way that made me curious, that put me on alert, and made me anxious and worried about what it would mean. I also loved that many questions were answered, but some only partially, leaving plenty to wonder about, to hope for, in the books to come.

    There is no cliffhanger ending in INVISIBLE, just like with the first book in the series. The story ends in a place that wraps things up enough to satisfy, but keeps them open enough for readers to wish the next book was available to continue the story immediately.

    This second book is not a filler book. It moves the plot forward, it takes the story deeper, it further develops the characters, it introduces even more conflict, and it adds a few twists that promise to make the remaining books in this series positively riveting.

    For readers who enjoy stories filled with magic, extraordinary and interesting and peculiar and lovable characters, writing that is creative and engaging and absolutely delightful, worlds that are just a little bit different, then INVISIBLE is a must.

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    THE GIFTED DEAD Blog Tour: Excerpt + Giveaway

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    I am so excited to be kicking off the tour for Jenna Black’s THE GIFTED DEAD presented by Kismet Book Touring. I am a huge fan of the author and this new book of hers sounds utterly intriguing – magic and politics, a secret society, incredibly high stakes, a fight for control, and the potential for it to escalate into a deadly battle. I cannot wait to see where it leads.

    I am currently reading – and loving – this awesome book, which grabbed me right from the start. There’s something about a story that begins at a cemetery, in the pouring rain, with a character whose behavior is not entirely honorable. So far I’ve had the pleasure of being introduced to Sergei Romanov, Isabelle Montplaisir, Lynda Powell and Jonas Farraday, all of whom are very different and completely fascinating. And I can’t wait to learn how each of their stories intertwine.

    But more than that, I can’t wait to share the excerpt for my stop today, which will introduce you to Sergei, a character who may not at first glance appear to be someone particularly likable but who may just be redeemable, and who has a pretty amazing Gift. Of course it’s just a tease, and ends at a place in the story that will leave you wanting to know what happens next.

    And maybe, just maybe, one of the other stops on tour will circle back to Sergei’s story so that you can find out. Or maybe you’ll have to grab a copy of the book when it releases on the 23rd to find out.

    Anyway… if you’d like to know just a bit more about the book before diving into the excerpt from the first chapter, the description follows immediately below. And if you’d like to get more peeks into THE GIFTED DEAD, be sure to follow the tour. Each stop will reveal more from this exciting new book from this amazing author. The schedule is at the bottom of the post, or you can simply click the banner above for more information on the book’s tour page at Kismet.

    And if you want the chance to win an eCopy of the book, be sure to enter in the Rafflecopter.

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    About The Gifted Dead

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    Add to Goodreads

    Release date: September 23, 2014
    Publisher: Aardwolf Press
    Pages: 410
    Formats: Paperback, eBook

    Description…

    Politics and magic make dangerous bedfellows.

    Deep within the Order, the seeds of corruption have taken root. While younger generations of the Gifted have embraced modern democratic values, a secret society of old-guard zealots seek a return to the past, when only European men of distinguished bloodlines held power.

    Now, three venerable European families and a maverick American each plot to seize control of the Order and shape it to their will. A cutthroat game of political intrigue will decide the winner; and the stakes couldn’t be higher, for ruling the Order carries with it the power to grant—or deny—an afterlife.

    What begins as a battle of wills could turn into an all-out war. And magic could prove deadlier than any missile.

    AMAZON | GOODREADS


    About Jenna Black

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    Jenna Black is your typical writer. Which means she’s an “experience junkie.” She got her BA in physical anthropology and French from Duke University.

    Once upon a time, she dreamed she would be the next Jane Goodall, camping in the bush making fabulous discoveries about primate behavior. Then, during her senior year at Duke, she did some actual research in the field and made this shocking discovery: primates spend something like eighty percent of their time doing such exciting things as sleeping and eating.

    Concluding that this discovery was her life’s work in the field of primatology, she then moved on to such varied pastimes as grooming dogs and writing technical documentation. She is now a full-time author of fantasy, young adult, and romance novels.

    WEBSITETWITTER FACEBOOK | TUMBLRGOODREADS


    The Excerpt

    Chapter One

    [Excerpt 1—intro to Sergei Romanov]

    Cary, NC

    The cemetery gates were locked at this time of night, so Sergei Romanov pulled his rental onto the patchy grass of the shoulder and put it in park.

    His passenger looked out the window doubtfully. “You sure we ain’t gonna get stuck here?” he asked—the first words that had left his mouth since they’d gotten into the car together. The man was trying to remain cool and casual, as if he dealt with the Gifted on a regular basis here in this backwater little town, but his body language said he was scared, which was fine with Sergei. The less Sergei had to talk to him, the better.

    Da,” Sergei said as he turned off the wipers. Not because he couldn’t speak English—the Anima Mundi had Gifted him with the ability to speak and understand any language with the facility of a native when he wanted to—but because it further discouraged any unnecessary conversation. Sergei’s research had revealed Randy to be a drug dealer who liked beating up his wife—and his girlfriend. Just being in the same car with him made Sergei feel dirty, and he had no interest in anything the lowlife had to say.

    Rain thumped relentlessly on the windshield and roof Maybe Randy-the-wife-beater was right and parking on the grass was a bad idea. It had been raining for hours already, and the soil was bound to be soft, almost swampy. But he had to park somewhere, and his aggressive time-line didn’t allow him the option of waiting for better weather.

    Sergei stepped out into the downpour, his hair getting drenched in the few moments it took to raise his umbrella. The ground squished unpleasantly under his feet, and the humid air felt like a hot, wet blanket against his skin. It wouldn’t surprise him if it was snowing back home in Kiev. He’d hated the cold and snow all of his life, couldn’t wait to move somewhere warm, but now that he knew he might never see home again, he found he missed it.

    Randy climbed out the other side with a resigned sigh, hunching his shoulders as if that might protect him from the rain. Sergei had paid him extra on account of the weather, so the sigh was his only expression of complaint.

    The price tag was still glued to the handle of the shovel Sergei had thrown into the trunk. Shovels were inconvenient to transport when traveling by commercial airline, and so far Sergei had bought a new one at each of his stops. Randy peeled the label off and dropped it carelessly on the ground.

    “Pick it up,” Sergei ordered. “We leave nothing behind.”

    Not that he thought a soggy piece of paper on the side of the road would serve as evidence, especially when there would be no sign that a crime had even been committed. But there was too much at risk not to be careful.

    Randy muttered something under his breath too softly for Sergei to hear, but he picked up the crumpled label and shoved it in the pocket of his jeans. Together, they hopped over the short stone wall that bordered the cemetery.

    The systematic persecution of the Gifted had ended long ago, but the Bible Belt of the US South didn’t exactly receive their Gifted brethren with open arms. In such inhospitable regions, Gifted parishes were small and young, their cemeteries sized accordingly. Even on this dark and rainy night, it wasn’t hard to find the grave they sought, with its freshly tilled earth barely hidden beneath squares of sod.

    Roberta Quinn’s grave was on the outermost edge of the cemetery, uncomfortably close to the low retaining wall and the prying eyes of passersby. Luckily, the time of night and the weather meant passersby would be few and far between. Sergei wondered if she’d been buried there on purpose to keep her away from the less controversial occupants of the cemetery. Quinn’s family had fought a long, hard battle before her admittance to the Anima Mundi was reluctantly approved by the local Parish Board. Those who had been outvoted would probably stand up and cheer Sergei’s actions. But of course they would never know.

    “Dig here,” he instructed Randy.

    Randy shrugged his oversize shoulders and got to work, carefully removing the carpet of sod before stabbing his shovel blade into the ground. The sod wasn’t faring well in the deluge. Sergei hoped they’d be able to put it back cleanly.

    The scent of wet earth filled Sergei’s nose, and the pounding of the rain neatly covered the sound of the shovel digging into the grave. Rain soaked through the legs of his jeans, and his feet were swimming in his Nikes.

    He hated this. Hated it with a passion. Bad enough that Pietro di Tommaso had turned him into a murderer, but he was now a destroyer of souls as well.

    If it weren’t for Sergei’s interference, the Anima Mundi—the Soul of the World—would absorb Roberta’s soul just like the Earth absorbed her body. She would forever influence the Anima, becoming part of the great being that granted magic to the Gifted and shaped their lives and their society. She might even someday become someone’s spirit guide, helping her charge communicate with the Anima and know its wishes. The Order had deemed her worthy of that honor, had eased her family’s grief by assuring them her soul would live on in the afterlife. And in one night, Sergei would take all of that away from them.

    Roberta Quinn’s family will never know, he reminded himself, but the words were a hollow comfort. The family might never know what he had done, but he would know, and he would have to live with it.

    The guilt of it all had nearly crippled him in the beginning, but it was becoming easier to bear as little by little he resigned himself to his fate. His conscience had almost given up on him, putting up only a token protest. His heart was growing harder, building armor to protect him from what he had to do to keep his little sister, Anna, safe. If he failed Pietro di Tommaso, it was Anna who would suffer for it, and that he couldn’t allow, no matter the cost to his own soul.

    Randy made steady progress, his broad shoulders and beefy arms perfectly suited to the task. When he wasn’t dealing drugs or beating up women, he was a construction worker. If Sergei did the digging himself, he would still be laboring when the sun came up, his unfortunately scrawny physique not suited to the task. Even di Tommaso had agreed that hiring someone else to do the digging was a regrettable necessity.

    Sergei knew they were almost to their goal when the sickly sweet smell of decay wafted from the grave.

    “Jesus Christ!” Randy cried, standing back and covering his mouth and nose with his arm.

    “I warned you she was not embalmed,” Sergei said mildly. A soul that was bound for the Anima was buried unembalmed in the earth in a simple white shroud marked with the symbol of the Gifted—the Ouroboros, rendered as a dragon biting its tail. The embalming process would contaminate the body and prevent the soul from being properly absorbed into the Anima. “Keep digging.”

    Randy grumbled some more, probably under the impression that Sergei didn’t understand the foul language being used to describe him and his ancestors, which would have been the case if Sergei hadn’t invoked his Gift for languages, fearing he might miss something important. Besides, he deserved every one of Randy’s insults and more.

    The smell became stronger, almost overpowering. Randy had to pause and climb out of the grave a couple of times for a whiff of fresh air, but eventually, his shovel had uncovered most of the shroud. Sergei shone his flashlight into the hole to assure himself enough of the body had been revealed for his purposes.

    “Climb out,” he told Randy.

    The big man eagerly complied, his face a ghoulish green as he tried to escape the stench by breathing through his mouth. Mud caked his work boots and smeared his clothing, the red tinge of the clay-rich soil a stark contrast to the sickly pallor of his skin.

    “How ya gonna get it to burn in this weather?” he asked through his shallow breaths.

    Grimly, Sergei held out his hand and called upon his other Gift, the one that had first brought him to the attention of the di Tommasos, dooming him and Anna to their current circumstances.

    A ball of blue fire gathered in Sergei’s palm, but it did not burn him.

    “Holy shit!” Randy squealed, then backed up so fast he tripped over the handle of his shovel and landed on his seat in the mud. Sergei didn’t think Randy was a particularly religious man, but he made a clumsy attempt to cross himself anyway. As if his God had any more use for a drug-dealing wife-beater than Sergei did.

    In the past, the Doctrine had strictly forbidden the Gifted from revealing their abilities to the unGifted public, but that injunction had changed over time, and now it only gently discouraged the revelation of the more frightening Gifts. Healing magic and innocuous survival magic didn’t scare people, didn’t bring out the witch hunters with their torches and pitchforks—or in these days, the congressmen with their modest proposals and grass roots campaigns. Magic like Sergei’s fireball was another story altogether—which was one reason Randy would meet an untimely end when he’d outlived his usefulness. The fact that Sergei felt only mildly regretful about his plan to murder a human being showed how low he had sunk. Pietro di Tommaso considered the unGifted lesser beings, going so far as to declare they had no souls. Sergei had never shared the sentiment; he knew that even though Randy was the scum of the earth, killing him would be wrong. Just as he knew he would do it anyway.

    While Randy sprawled on the ground, Sergei stepped to the edge of the grave and tipped his hand, letting the fireball drop in. Instantly, the wet shroud caught, blue fire spreading then turning white with the intensity of its heat, forcing him to take a hasty step back. It would consume the body as thoroughly as any cremation, preventing the soul’s absorption into the Anima. And then Randy would fill the grave back in, and no one would ever know that Roberta Quinn’s soul was no more.

    Sergei was too busy wallowing in his own misery to be as vigilant as he should. He didn’t notice the sound of the approaching police car, nor did he see the flash of the headlights as he squinted in the light from the consuming fire.

    It wasn’t until he heard the shout that he realized there was a witness and that Roberta Quinn’s family might learn what he’d done after all.


    The Giveaway

    The tour includes the following amazing giveaway…

    • 10 eBook copies of THE GIFTED DEAD
    • 1 Grand Prize Package including a $100 Gift Card from either Amazon, iTunes or Barnes & Noble

    Giveaway is International. Prizes are sent by the author.

    Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

    a Rafflecopter giveaway


    The Tour Schedule

    Week One

    Monday, September 8th – Fiktshun

    Tuesday, September 9th – Books and Things

    Wednesday, September 10th – Xpresso Reads

    Thursday, September 11th – Addicted 2 Heroines

    Friday, September 12th – Gizmo’s Reviews

    Week Two

    Monday, September 15th – The Book Swarm

    Tuesday, September 16th – Jessabella Reads

    Wednesday, September 17th – Romancing the Dark Side

    Thursday, September 18th – Literary Escapism

    Friday, September 19th – Bookish

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    DIRTY LITTLE MISERY Blog Tour: Teaser Spotlight + Giveaway

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    I am thrilled to be able to join the tour for DIRTY LITTLE MISERY hosted by Me, My Shelf and I. I only just learned about this series today, but once I read the description I knew that I would be adding it to my TBR pile. And it’s on there now – as I just bought the first two books in the series and can’t wait to dive in.

    Though I haven’t yet read the first book, WICKED MISERY, I did take a little peek at book two and I can already say I’m going to love it. The writing grabbed me instantly – from the very first sentence, actually. It’s clever and a bit sarcastic – the perfect kind of voice for a sexy, urban fantasy story.

    Here’s just a taste…

    Be careful what you wish for.

    Ever since the day I first stepped foot on the marble floor of Gryphon Headquarters in Boston, I’d dreamed of strolling through the massive lobby with a purpose. And by purpose, I didn’t mean because I was visiting my father’s office, or as part of a school tour. I meant purpose. As in, I was there because I was supposed to be there. I was there because I was someone important.

    I should have been more specific in my daydreams about what “supposed to be” and “important” entailed.

    In the past week, I’d been in Gryphon Headquarters because I was supposed to be and because I was someone important an awful lot, and neither reason was good.

    And while I’d love to tease a little more, as I’ve only read the first chapter of this sequel I don’t want to continue reading until I’ve read the first book. Though I may have found just one other passage to tease…

    The line of blond hairs that ran from his chest into his waistband called to me, and I set my lips to them, slowly kissing my way down. As he was a pred, I couldn’t taste Lucen’s emotions, but I could hear the way his breathing changed and feel his body shifting beneath mine, and it was as heady a rush as anything I’d ever experienced.

    So yeah, awesome right?

    If you’d like to learn a little bit more about each of the books in the series, their descriptions are below. And if you’d like to “meet” the author, her bio and places to find her online follow DIRTY LITTLE MISERY’s description.

    The tour includes a few fab giveaways, so just scroll down to enter. And if you’d like to check out a few reviews and guest posts, the schedule is included at the bottom of this post or you can stop by Me, My Shelf and I’s tour page by clicking the link in the banner above.

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    About Dirty Little Misery

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    Add to Goodreads

    Series: Miss Misery #2
    Release date: August 12, 2014
    Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd
    Pages: 286
    Formats: eBook

    Description…

    Lust can be downright lethal.

    Thanks to her freakish, satyr-like power, Jessica Moore was denied her dream to join the Gryphons, the magical law-enforcement officers protecting humanity from the pred races. But after the Gryphons tried to arrest her for murders she didn’t commit, Jess is no longer interested. Too bad—they are.

    Now that they know what she can do, they want Jess on their side. If she doesn’t agree to help them solve a new case, they’ll charge her with every magical crime she’s ever committed.

    Nine people are dead. The cause? Exhaustion. The activity? Never-ending sex. Someone sold them tainted F, an illegal aphrodisiac made by satyrs. No surprise, Jess’s satyr allies aren’t pleased with her investigation. Worse, it strains her tenuous relationship with Lucen, the one satyr she counts as a friend.

    As Jess delves into the shady satyr business world, she unravels a scheme more sinister than dirty drugs—and her relationship with Lucen unravels right along with it. Only the truth will save their friendship. But not before it turns Jess into an ambitious killer’s next target.

    Warning: Contains blackmail, betrayal, and sex that’s literally to die for. Plus plenty of bad stiff jokes to go with it. Remember, just say no to magical drugs.

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS


    About Tracey Martin

    TMartin

    Tracey Martin grew up outside of Philadelphia, the lucky recipient of a drama-free childhood, which is why she spent so much time reading about other people’s lives. It was while she was working on her doctorate in psychology that she had an epiphany–imaginary people are way more fun than real ones. And so she began writing. Never able to choose just one of anything, she currently writes both urban fantasy for adults and contemporary stories for teens.

    She likes her coffee simple, her music epic, and her movies to contain explosions. A city girl at heart, she doesn’t understand how she and her husband ended up living in New Hampshire, but writing keeps her off the mean, small town streets.

    WEBSITE | TWITTER | GOODREADS


    Other Books in the Series

    Wicked MiseryTitle: WICKED MISERY (Miss Misery #1)
    Release date: October 8, 2013
    Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd
    Pages: 306
    Formats: eBook

    Find it: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

    Description…

    It s all quasi-legal fun until somebody gets framed for murder.

    Jessica Moore thrives on misery. Literally. Thanks to a goblin’s curse, she gets a magical high from humanity’s suffering. A shameful talent like that could bury a girl in guilt, so to atone, she uses her dark power to hunt murderers, rapists and other scumbags until one of them frames her for his crimes.

    In desperation, Jessica seeks refuge with the one person she trusts to not turn her in, a satyr named Lucen. Like every member of his race, Lucen uses his lusty magic to control Boston’s human population, and Jessica isn’t immune to his power. But the murder victims belonged to a rival race, and when they discover Lucen is harboring Jessica, dodging the cops becomes the least of her problems.

    With only five days to find the real killer, Jessica faces a danger far more serious than the brewing magical war. The danger of succumbing to Lucen’s molten seduction.

    Warning: Contains a heroine with a lust for misery, creepy murders, and creepier goblins, satyrs so hot you’d sell your soul for one, and scaly sewer rats masquerading as dragons. Who said magic was all sparkles and tiaras?


    Beautiful MiseryTitle: BEAUTIFUL MISERY (Miss Misery #1.5)
    Release date: March 25, 2014
    Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd
    Pages: 18
    Formats: eBook

    Find it: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

    Description…

    For ten years, Jessica Moore ran away from her friend Lucen, afraid of what his lusty satyr magic might drive her to do. Even one brush of his bare skin was too risky. Or so she told herself. It was easier to believe that than to admit she might have feelings for him. But now Jess is done running…

    “Beautiful Misery” is a standalone short story set immediately after Wicked Misery ends.


    MiseryLovesCompanyCoverTitle: MISERY LOVES COMPANY (Miss Misery #3)
    Release date: Coming January 27, 2015
    Find it: WEBSITE

    Description…

    When it comes to magic, more isn’t always merrier.

    Keep letting the Gryphons blackmail her? Or join a goblin for tea? Choices, choices.

    Furious at the Gryphons’ betrayal, former vigilante Jessica Moore is determined to cut the law enforcement agency from her life—and hopes doing so will solidify her rocky relationship with Lucen.

    When a friend’s soul is sucked dry by a goblin, Jess finds it’s not so easy to let go of her past. Unwilling to let down someone who needs help, she puts aside her anger to work with the Gryphons and solve the case.

    A stolen soul isn’t her only problem. Boston’s goblin leader is calling in the debt Jess owes. To plug the holes in both her personal and professional dam, Jess must unearth information about a magic she never knew existed, all the while testing Lucen’s patience and stirring the wrath of old enemies.

    What she discovers will reveal the terrifying truth behind the Gryphons’ treachery, and force her to choose where her loyalty—and her heart—truly lie.

    Warning: Secrets will be revealed, friendships will be tested, and old enemies will pick fights. On the bright side, there are still naked satyrs for a distraction between battles.


    The Giveaway

    MartinGiveaway

    The tour includes a few awesome giveaways!

    • GRAND PRIZE: A gryphon necklace, winner’s choice of a $15 gift card from B&N or Amazon, and an eBook Choice from the Miss Misery Series. (Open to US Only) – ONE WINNER
    • GIVEAWAY: A choice of a $15 gift card form B&N or Amazon and an eBook Choice from the Miss Misery Series. (International) – TWO WINNERS

    **Must be 13 or older to enter | Shipping requirements vary by prize**

    Just enter in the Rafflecopter below…

    a Rafflecopter giveaway


    The Tour Schedule

    August 13th – A Dream Within A Dream – Review
    August 14th – Me, My Shelf and I – Spotlight
    August 15th – Sabrina’s Paranormal Palace – Review
    August 16th – Curling Up With A Good Book – 10 Random Things
    August 17th – Once Upon A Twilight – Spotlight
    August 18th – The Cover Contessa – Book Excerpt
    August 19th – Fiktshun – Spotlight
    August 20th – Deal Sharing Aunt – Review
    August 21st – Taking it One Book at a Time – Review
    August 22nd – Book Passion For Life – Review

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    Book Watch: Biting Bad

    Biting Bad

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    BITING BAD by Chloe Neill will be released in the U.S. on August 6, 2013 in paperback, audio and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in all formats at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE. (The audiobook at B&N.)

    Published by NAL Trade, the print edition is 368 pages.

    BITING BAD is the eighth book in Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland Vampires series. The ninth book, WILD THINGS, is slated for release on February 4, 2014, and the tenth book, as yet untitled, will also be available in 2014.

    A novella, HOWLING FOR YOU, about Jeff Christopher, is available for pre-order in eBook format, and will be released on January 7, 2014.

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    I know BITING BAD is not a YA release and that I should probably be spotlighting one of the two YA releases that I’m super excited for instead. But I’m a die-hard fan of Ethan and Merit and I just had to choose BITING BAD as the book to watch for the week of August 6th. Because it is the book whose release I am most excited for.

    Although, thanks to the very awesome Kt at A Book Obsession, I don’t have to wait until its release day to read it. In fact I’ll likely have finished reading BITING BAD before this post goes live. But that doesn’t mean I’m any less excited for my pre-order to download to my Kindle so that it can join the rest of the Chicagoland Vampires series.

    I absolutely loved the author’s YA series, it’s what drew me to her urban fantasy/paranormal romance series in the first place. Her writing is so very incredibly addictive. Her stories are exciting and just so easy to devour. And her characters are wildly appealing. Merit is a kick-a** heroine and Ethan is… well, he’s Ethan. What is not to love about Darth Sullivan?

    While it is a book aimed at an adult audience, the story focuses on the Urban Fantasy aspect more than on the romance. Which means that I can read these books anywhere without blushing and furtively glancing over my shoulder, even during the sexy times. And which means that every time I dive into the next installment I know it’s going to be action-packed.

    But back to BITING BAD and why I just had to put it in the spotlight this week. Things are really heating up for the Cadogan Vampires in this installment. Chicago is becoming even more of a battleground. Tensions between humans and vampires are at an all-time high. And with a mystery as to who’s behind the attacks, this installment has it all.

    So, of course I can’t wait to find out how it all ends. Of course I can’t wait to see what kind of trouble Merit finds herself in, and whether she’s able to pull herself out before something really bad happens. Of course I can’t wait to see if Mallory succumbs to the dark magic. And of course I can’t wait to read more about the always delectable, at times infuriating, and on occasion “stodgy” Master Vampire of Cadogan House.

    And while I am incredibly excited to see how the Watersong series ends and to finally meet the characters in Myra McEntire’s Hourglass series, I couldn’t resist putting BITING BAD in the spotlight this week. Because it is the series that I have loved the longest. It is the series that has left me emotionally destroyed like I’ve been in no other series but Vampire Academy and Soul Screamers.

    And it is the series that has one of most my favorite character couples in fiction. The fact that they’re vampires is a major plus. The fact that one of them carries a katana also adds to the appeal. The fact that their chemistry is electric, makes them irresistible.

    With all of that, how could I not choose BITING BAD as the book to watch for the week of August 6th? There’s just no way.

    To read an excerpt of the first chapter on the author’s website, CLICK HERE.

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    Places to Watch

    The author on TWITTER

    The author on FACEBOOK

    The author’s WEBSITE

    The author on GOODREADS

    The author on PINTEREST

    The Chicagoland Vampires Fan Page on FACEBOOK

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    About the Book

    Goodreads description:

    Merit has been a vampire for only a short while, but she’s already seen a lifetime’s worth of trouble. She and her Master, centuries-old Ethan Sullivan, have risked their lives time and again to save the city they love. But not all of Chicago is loving them back.

    Anti-vampire riots are erupting all over town, striking vampires where it hurts the most. A splinter group armed with Molotov cocktails and deep-seated hate is intent on clearing the fanged from the Windy City come hell or high water.

    Merit and her allies rush to figure out who’s behind the attacks, who will be targeted next, and whether there’s any way to stop the wanton destruction. The battle for Chicago is just beginning, and Merit is running out of time.

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    Other Amazing Books to Watch

    Here are just a few of the other awesome books releasing the week of August 6th:

    ELEGY (Watersong #4) by Amanda Hocking

    INFINITYGLASS (Hourglass #3) by Myra McEntire

    THE UPRISING (The Forsaken #2) by Lisa M.Stasse

    A TALE OF TWO CENTURIES (My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century #2) by Rachel Harris

    GATED by Amy Christine Parker

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    After Dark Review: DWELLER ON THE THRESHOLD

    Previously published on Fiktshun After Dark…

    DWELLER ON THE THRESHOLD (Beri O’Dell #1)
    Author: Rinda Elliott
    Published: March 26, 2013
    Publisher: Samhain Publishing
    GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

    About the Book

    On Goodreads…

    Beri O’Dell is investigating paranormal creatures because she wants to know what she is. Taller and stronger than most men, she astral projects and can peel through dimensional layers to see the creatures and spirits beyond.

    She once helped her foster sister, Detective Elsa Remington, track down killers in Jacksonville, Florida, but stopped when a nasty fire elemental turned her strength against her. Now, she finds herself pulled back when something steals Elsa’s soul and puts her into a coma.

    With little time to spare, Beri searches for the reason behind her sister’s coma. She has help in her spirit guides Fred and Phro, but others come along for the ride, including a pyro-nervous witch, and an androgynous necromancer.

    The last thing Beri needs is to fall in love with a mysterious stranger. But the handsome Minoan warrior Nikolos knows what creature she’s after because he’s battled it before.

    It’s bad.

    Really, really bad.

    He calls it the Dweller on the Threshold.

    ~~~

    How it Rates…

    DWELLER ON THE THRESHOLD gives readers a kick-ass heroine who is anything but ordinary, a world that is refreshingly different, an enemy who is both deadly and a bit of a mystery and a story that has action aplenty, an intriguing puzzle and a love interest who is most definitely interesting.

    Author Rinda Elliott went out of the box when creating her characters and her story. Even her title, DWELLER ON THE THRESHOLD, is atypical of stories in the genre. But it invites readers to learn more, to meet her character Bergdis Hildegun O’Dell, a.k.a. Beri, and the other rather unconventional and uniquely named characters in her story.

    DWELLER ON THE THRESHOLD follows Beri O’Dell as she tries to solve the mystery behind the mass comas that have befallen a number of people, including her sister Elsa, and find answers to questions about just who, and possibly what, she really is. With little to go on, she must rely on a perky witch named Blythe who is far more talented than she appears to be at first glance, her spirit guides – Fred and Phro – one of whom claims to be the goddess of love, and a Minoan Warrior, Nikolos, who has quite a few secrets he’s keeping.

    Many of which look to be dark. And a few of which might just be dangerous. Especially to Beri, who can’t seem to fight her growing attraction to him.

    With a wildly entertaining and eclectic cast of characters, a heroine with an acerbic tongue and “hit first, ask questions later” approach to investigating, a constant slew of grotesque and violent enemies to keep Beri busy, and a touch of sexual tension added to the mix, DWELLER ON THE THRESHOLD is an incredibly appealing, fun and exciting first book in author Rinda Elliott’s new series.

    So, what more can I possibly say about DWELLER ON THE THRESHOLD?

    It was witty and clever. The premise was definitely different – in a great way. The characters were not your typical character archetypes. The enemy – the dweller on the threshold – was more than a little bit scary.

    The opening quotation and the prologue immediately drew me in. And while it took a few pages into the story itself before I was able to figure out just what was going on, once I discovered its rhythm I was hooked.

    Beri wasn’t your typical run-of-the-mill heroine. She wasn’t a damsel in distress. And while she wasn’t always the easiest character to relate to, I loved her from the moment I met her. Her abilities were absolutely fascinating and I hope to discover more about them in future books in the series.

    The story kept its focus on the urban fantasy/paranormal elements, keeping the suspense and action levels up, but didn’t shortchange the romance, which was equally important to the story’s outcome. And it was nice to discover a story whose love interest wasn’t in the least bit cookie-cutter.

    From its unusual title, to its diverse characters, to their unique abilities, to the dark and disturbing world, I just knew that this book would set itself apart from the crowd. And it did that and so much more.

    Rinda Elliott’s new series is definitely one I’m adding to my “must reads” list. And her character, Beri, is a new favorite.

    My Favorite Bites…

    “Bergdissssss. Ever trap smoke in a jar?” It took a deep breath then blew it out. I heard the moan of trees bending behind me. “It writhes, twists and turns, seeking the smallest opening for escape. It finds it. Always.”

    I’d been transported into the Princess Bride. The extra gory version.

    **This review is based on an eARC I received from the author for review and contains my honest thoughts about the book.**

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    Review: Starling

    Starling by Lesley Livingston was released in the U.S. on August 28, 2012 in hardcover, audio and eBook formats. It is currently available to order online in all formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by HarperTeen, the print edition is 352 pages.

    Starling is the first book in a new series of the same name by the author.

    ***

    Goodreads description:

    Mason Starling is a champion fencer on the Gosforth Academy team, but she’s never had to fight for her life. Not until the night a ferocious, otherworldly storm rips through Manhattan, trapping Mason and her teammates inside the school. Mason is besieged by nightmarish creatures more terrifying than the thunder and lightning as the raging tempest also brings a dangerous stranger into her life: a young man who remembers nothing but his name–the Fennrys Wolf. His arrival tears Mason’s world apart, even as she feels an undeniable connection to him. Together, they seek to unravel the secrets of Fenn’s identity as strange and supernatural forces gather around them. When they discover Mason’s family–with its dark allegiance to ancient Norse gods–is at the heart of the mystery, Fennrys and Mason are suddenly faced with a terrifying future.

    Set against the gritty, shadowed back-drop of New York City, this first novel in award-winning author Lesley Livingston’s epic Starling Saga is an intoxicating blend of sweeping romance and pulse-pounding action.

    ***

    STARLING is an exciting and action-packed adventure, with a fierce heroine, an even fiercer hero, shocking twists and turns and an ending that will make you desperate to get your hands on the next book in the series.

    The story instantly pulls you in, introduces you to the world and nearly tears it apart, all within the first few pages. It’s fast-paced, it’s wildly entertaining, it’s got more than a little sizzle, and it will be impossible to put down until you’ve met every deadly threat and witnessed every intense battle.

    I know I was riveted. Right from the start. All through the middle. To the very last word.

    STARLING was everything I hoped it would be and then some. It was just as captivating and magical as the author’s Wondrous Strange series. The characters were just as engaging. And it was just so easy to get lost in the story, get tangled up in Mason Starling’s world which was turned completely upside down the moment the Fennrys Wolf crashed into her life.

    Literally. Without a stitch of clothing on. Not. One. Stitch. And boy does he make a lasting first impression. Of course I’m talking about his ability to handle a sword, slay horrifying creatures and protect a group of otherwise helpless students and one ex-military fencing instructor. What did you think I meant?

    I fell right back into Lesley Livingston’s version of New York City with its otherworldly beings plotting and scheming and biding their time waiting to break through and take over. And even though some time had passed since I’d last visited this world she created, I was immediately ensnared.

    I was excited to meet this new character, Mason, discover the world through her eyes, and see just what role she would play. I was even more thrilled about seeing the Fennrys Wolf again, as he was one of my favorite characters in the author’s other series. The fact that he was to be a more central character to the story was what drew me to STARLING in the first place.

    While it typically takes me quite some time to warm up to new characters an author creates, that was not the case with STARLING. I instantly liked Mason. She was competitive, more than a little bit fierce and was someone who was willing to go out on a limb for someone else. That she chose to take a chance on Fenn made her that much more endearing.

    Lesley Livingston’s new series is incredibly addictive. Having just the one book to read won’t be enough. With all the secrets and lies it’s impossible to know who to trust. And with the mystery surrounding the Fennrys Wolf’s amnesia, even he can’t be trusted. Though you really want to trust him.

    Filled with nail-biting chases and battles throughout the city, sword-fighting practices that sizzle, intriguing mythology that will make you want to know more, dark secrets that will leave you anxious for the safety of the characters you connect with, and an ending that will leave you hanging on the edge of your seat, STARLING is the start of a series not to be missed.

    And if I had to pinpoint just a few highlights from this book that stood out, aside from the very charismatic, sarcastic and egotistical Fennrys Wolf, aside from the rather chilling Norse mythology that plays a huge role in this story, aside from the intense battles, electrifying chemistry and the dark twists and turns the story takes before it reaches its end, I would have to say the easy flow to the author’s writing, the darkly enchanting and magical world she built, the well-developed and compelling characters she created, and the cliff she leaves you stranded on.

    Reviewer gives this book…

    Favorite passage:

    Just about every passage that involved the Fennrys Wolf was a favorite, which made it really hard to choose. And while Fenn’s introduction to the story is one that is at the top of the list, it is just a bit too long to include here.

    So I chose one that doesn’t give away too much, yet reveals quite a bit about Fenn, and makes me grin every single time I read it.

    “I’m scared, Fenn.”

    “I know, Mase,” he said quietly. “Would it help at all if I told you I was scared too?”

    She twisted around and looked up at him. “No,” she said seriously. “Not even a little bit.”

    “Good. ‘Cause I’m not.” He grinned. “Not even a little bit.”

    ***

    Book trailer:

    I happen to be a huge fan of book trailers. And this one is seriously wicked awesome. Sword-fighting. Kissing. And the Fennrys Wolf. Doesn’t get much better than that.

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    Book Buzz: A Touch Mortal

    This time on Book Buzz, I decided to do a “Where are they now?” post for a book that was released just over six months ago and is at the midpoint between the first book’s release and the second.

    If it’s still on your TBR pile you should check it out, so you can see for yourself whether this is a book to be buzzed about and whether it’s time to start buzzing about book two, due out in February.

    The Book:

    A Touch Mortal is a paranormal/urban fantasy young adult novel written by Leah Clifford. It was released on February 22, 2011.

    Loved it or Hated it?

    Loved it. Deeply, darkly and intensely. Possibly verging on book obsession. The cover caught my eye. The description drew me in. Life and death. Heaven and Hell. Darkness. Betrayal. Cliffhanger. Hit all the right notes. Loved it so much it turned me into an official book stalker.

    The Early Buzz:

    I wasn’t a super early buzzer, but I joined the buzz well before this book’s release.

    First came the cover buzz. Everyone was talking about how riveting and utterly captivating it was. From the pink highlights to the single, focused, bright blue eye, everyone wanted to know more about this girl and who she was in this upcoming debut novel.

    Then it turned to intrigue about the description. Talk about a brilliantly written description. Anyone who’d seen it couldn’t help but fall victim to its lure. Fallen angel? Check. A deadly power? Check. A dark future for the main character? Double, triple check.

    Just these two simple items were enough to whip up the frenzy for this book. Add to this the author’s presence on YouTube, Twitter, on her blog and around the web and the frenzy would not die down.

    Fizzle or Sizzle:

    The majority say “SIZZLE” but the readers are divided. And this time it’s into three groups: Those who loved it from beginning to end; those who loved the second half; and, those who just didn’t love it.

    The Goodreads average comes in at 3.5 and Amazon’s at 4 (since they don’t round). But according to Goodreads’ rating details, over fifty percent of the readers who rated the book gave it four or five stars.

    Sizzle Buzz

    Phenomenal. Dark and twisty. Original. Fantastic characters. Heartbreaking. Fast-paced. Killer ending.

    Fizzle Buzz

    Character disconnect. Complicated opening. Insta-love. Confusing first half. F-bombs. Suicide.

    What Happened?

    At the six month mark this book is still being talked about. The chatter really never died down completely. From the author’s constant online presence to word of mouth, loved or hated, this book is still part of the chatter and continues to make its way into the readers hands even if it can’t be found on every store’s bookshelf.

    New readers are just as divided as those who grabbed it on or around release date, but there are new readers. With such a wild swing between those who gush and those who don’t, there are readers who aren’t relying on the ratings and/or reviews and are opting to make the choice for themselves.

    And as we’re at the midpoint between the first book and the second, the buzz is getting louder from those in the majority who said it sizzled. And once again the cover reveal got people talking. No longer is the cover model facing forward, no longer are the highlights pink. What does it all mean?

    What’s Left to Buzz About?

    The ending. The overwhelming majority of readers have said the action really picks up in the second half of the book and continues to build. Right up to that unbelievable ending. The ending that left everything in uncertainty. The ending that left readers speechless, shocked and in dread of what might happen next. There is just no way to avoid buzzing about a book with an ending like this one.

    The possibilities. With such a complex world that author Leah Clifford created, the door was left wide open for speculation and seemingly endless possibilities for the characters’ futures and the plot’s development. And with so many directions this story could take, it’s really no surprise the buzz goes on.

    The characters. Every single one of the main characters has a very distinct personality. Even though the story’s premise was the initial draw for readers, it’s the characters that made them read on. From the darkness in each of them, to their abilities, their flaws and their charms, or lack thereof, each one of these characters is undeniably memorable.

    The sequel. Whenever a book is written as part of a series and it contains a nice little cliff to hang from, it is inevitable that the sequel will be buzzed about. And the closer it gets to release date for that next book, the louder the chatter will be, as the excitement over finally getting answers becomes more than a distant hope.

    Buzzworthy?

    Most definitely. Having such a large chasm between supporters and detractors alone would make this book buzzworthy. Add in a potentially controversial subject (suicide), and the 67 F-bombs that were dropped, and no matter whether you’re a fan or part of the opposition, there’s a lot to talk about.

    Buzz factors – Not one, but two, strong female characters, a dark premise, a shocking betrayal, a twisty-turny plot, a love story, a cliffhanger ending that borders on cruelty to readers, and some unusual but wicked cool powers. Heck yeah, there’s enough to keep this buzz going well beyond the second books’ release.

    What do I say?

    Fan-freaking-tastically cool.

    Every single sentence in the description grabbed hold of me. I just knew that this would be my kind of book. And I was forever ensnared from the moment that Eden said goodbye to happily-ever-after.

    As much as I like my books warm and fuzzy and filled with sunshine, I find that I really connect to, and fall in love that much more deeply with, books with a bit of an edge. And there were all sorts of edges in A Touch Mortal.  Sharp ones at that.

    I instantly fell in love with Az and Kristen, and even Gabe. My connection to Eden took just a little while longer. But it was after I finished reading it the first time that I started falling for Luke. And the more time I spend with this book, the more of a connection I feel to him.

    Yes, this is one of my favorite 2011 debuts. My love for this book went so far beyond cover love that as gorgeous as it is, it doesn’t hold a candle to what’s between the covers. I did manage to read this book three times so far, so yeah, I love this book.

    And with everything this story had to offer, I found that I did not walk away unscathed. I will be forever stalking each new book’s release in this series and hoping for more than just a trilogy.

    Will this book be one for everyone? No. But most books aren’t. And this one isn’t trying to be. Not everyone will feel that same connection to the characters that I do. But there are those that will.

    Not everyone will feel comfortable with the amount of language liberally peppered throughout this story. I actually hadn’t really noticed until it was pointed out to me.

    And still others may feel that the way suicide is incorporated into this story is not something they want to read about. And they have every right not to.

    But if you really want to know just what I thought, here’s my review for A Touch Mortal.

    Buy it, borrow it, pass on it?

    For this book, I say it depends.

    If you love dark stories, complex plots, seriously cool abilities, strong female main characters, heartbreak, brilliant writing and a world unlike any other you’ve experienced, then I say “BUY IT.”

    If you don’t like violence, are squeamish about talk of suicide and death, hate cliffhanger endings, think that the number of profanities was too over the top for you to get past, then either “BORROW IT” if you think it’s still worth a try, or “PASS ON IT.” Because even with countless glowing reviews, if these are things that will take away from your reading experience, then it might be best just to take a pass.

    But what do you think?

    ***

    Any item related to this book is up for discussion. Just because I haven’t mentioned it here doesn’t mean you can’t bring it up in the comments.

    And feel free to discuss any points of interest from reviews that you’ve seen and would like to talk about. But please talk about them in general terms and don’t point out specific reviews unless they are my reviews or your own.

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All reviews on this website are unbiased and reviewers are in no way compensated for their reviews by the author, publisher, or any other agencies. While some reviews may be based on receipt of ARC copies of an authors work, a fair and impartial review is always given by the reviewer. Most of the reviews, however, are based upon books purchased after publication date.