Uninvited Quests

Uninvited Quests  by  Lex Wilson  description:

She’s a half-human paladin on an apology tour for a (formerly?) evil god. He’s supposed to be someone else’s squire.

It’s up to them to save the kingdom. But first…

Another sidequest?

Lucan and Manrel have a mission to slay the Dragonqueen and prevent worldwide doom. But when the hero-less squire and his oddball companion hear rumors of a legendary sword, they decide they can handle two missions. It doesn’t take long for them to realize the dungeon holding the weapon is teeming with goblins, ooze monsters, and other terrifying creatures…

Just when everything seems lost, Lucan and Manrel stumble upon not a blade–but a powerful paladin. Sure, she’s sworn fealty to an evil god, but she may be their only hope to survive their quests. Can Lucan and Manrel convince the unstable warrior to join their side and save the world?

Uninvited Quests  3 STARS

This was a humorous and completely nonsensical book. I’d almost say young readers but there are a few things that might would be questionable for such. The best part is the play on words, from the meanings to the spellings, it’s all well done. The actual plot itself though is a bit meandering, and rather slow moving in its way. The long internal monologues were fun but they did slow things down. However each of the characters are unique, and bring their own twist to the story. The way Brae talks about Skurok, the god she’s supposed to be a follower for and trying to spread the news that he isn’t quite as evil anymore, is the best part. In the end though it was a bit hard to get through. I enjoyed it when I was reading it, but it wasn’t the sort of book that I was jumping to see what happens next.

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The Sound

She lay there listening to the sound as she had every other night for as long as she could remember. Then again, what else was there to remember? It was hard for her to truly describe the sound, for in the dark her mind conjured all sorts of strange imagery. A body being clumsily dragged away. Dull claws grinding across the rough surface of the floor. She honestly couldn’t even say if it was moving closer to her or further away. Clearly it was moving somewhere. Everything moved somewhere. Didn’t it? The thought of it perpetually frozen in its motion, forever making that sound but no progress, felt even more terrifying than the prospect of some horror creeping ever closer. Because if it wasn’t moving it meant it was staying. Surely, she could detect the sound growing slightly fainter. Or was it becoming ever clearer? It had to be.

She stared into the dark, and listened to the sound, because that was what the dark was for. The dark made us better listeners. The sound proved that.

See how she could detect that hidden cadence of what may possibly be the sound of a dead limb slowly falling to the ground. The repetitive clicking of bone to bone, or so it sounded.

The darkness let you hear the sound as the sound should be heard. That is without the unnecessary visual that light would only distract you from. No, the sound needed to be heard like this. As pure noise. Vibrations rattling the very molecules around her as it called out in the ever-present movement. Moving closer. Or was that farther away?

Is it more than one?

That was the beauty of the sound. There was so much to discover in it. So many layers to unravel.

The clicking

The thumping

The ting of something rattling

A soft scrape

The void where a hush falls so briefly you almost would miss it if you weren’t listening ever intently. A hush that grabs you in an earnest attempt to pull you into the void between the clicks and the ticks and the tocks and the stuttering sound.

But the hush cannot take you for the sound is there. The sound hears you. It hears the quiet rasp of your breath. As you barely dare to inhale, and exhale so strangled you think you may choke, but it doesn’t matter. Because the sound is there.

It is there

You can hear it

She can hear it

Or is it I that can hear it?

I hear it.

I hear the sound.

My Top 5 Favorite Books of 2017

Long ago in 2017 I surpassed my Goodreads reading challenge of 60 books, and made it all the way to 63. I know, I’m amazing. However, I wanted to look back and list the top 5 books that I read last year. Now I am skipping over books I’ve read before, and only listing those that I read for the first time in 2017.

  1. The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

This book is as sweet as it sounds. I’ve come to love several of Allen’s books, and I actually read 2 other of her books this past year. This I think was my favorite of hers simply because I can relate to the sugary sweet cravings that Josey is subject too. But like most of her books, there’s this hint of magic in the air, where even in a world that’s created to be as realistic and relatable as our own, there’s still that chance that anything is possible.

  1. An American Werewolf in Hoboken by Dakota Cassidy

If you ever read a book by Cassidy you know how much good humor there is in them. This one by far is the most hilarious. I practically had to smother myself to keep from laughing out loud at work. It was so much fun to read, and an interesting set of issues for werewolves to have to deal with that I’ve never once seen brought up in other books. Which in a way made it more realistic, and of course more interesting.

  1. A Girl in Black and White by Danielle Lori

This is actually the 2nd book in the Alyria series. While the first was rather good, this took Calamity to a whole new level. It’s always nice to read a series that gets better with each book, and this one was a fascinating story to begin with. Definitely one that keeps you wanting more.

  1. The Beast of Talesend by Kyle Robert Shultz

I love fairy tale retellings, and I love the old detective stories of a world weary gumshoe just trying to do the right thing. In this I got both. It’s funny and exciting, and it’s another series that each book takes you on a new twisty turn of old tales.

  1. T&A: Revelations of a Romance Novel Heroine by Jill Monroe

If you love romance novels, but are also the sort to wonder why the heroine always makes such silly mistakes, or does crazy things, then this is definitely a book you should pick up. After all Annalise actually knows she’s in a romance novel and is just trying to figure out exactly where the script is taking her.

There were plenty of other good books I read, some within the series of the ones I listed, and some that I chose to read over and over again. But when scrolling through my list these were the main ones that jumped out for me, and I definitely won’t be forgetting them any time soon.

Lily Luchesi has been INTERVIEWED!!!

1. What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?

Hi, I’m Lily Luchesi, and I’m the bestselling and award winning author of the Paranormal Detectives Series and other stories. You can find me via the following:
http://lilyluchesibooks.wix.com/lilyluchesi

http://amazon.com/author/lilyluchesi

http://facebook.com/lilyluchesi

http://twitter.com/LilyLuchesi

http://instagram.com/lilyluchesi

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7369101.Lily_Luchesi

 

  1. Tell us a little about your life outside of the world of writing.

When I’m not writing, I’m mostly a homebody. I love to cook, read, watch TV, and listen to music. I’m also an avid fandom merch collector, especially Funko Pop dolls.

  1. How long have you been writing? What genres have you written? They don’t have to be published.

I’ve been writing professionally for two and a half years, and just released my eighth solo book, Never Again, which is a supernatural war thriller set between Israel in the 1500s and modern day, starring an immortal male siren as he fights against the demons the Nazis set upon the Jews.
I have written horror (paranormal and erotica). I love monsters, the creepier the better. But I make sure all my stories have a silver lining, usually a romantic subplot to give the reader hope amidst a lot of bloodshed. My Paranormal Detectives Series could also be considered a mystery series, as it follows a mortal detective and a vampire special agent as they search for various paranormal criminals.

  1. What has been the greatest influence to your writing? Other authors, life experiences, etc…

A prolonged exposure to the unnatural as a child. Growing up Catholic, I was immersed in spirituality from a young age. I was also exposed to ghosts and vampires and such as a toddler, and thanks to my mom leaving those old cartoons and black and white shows on, I found my love of the macabre and honed that in my writing.

  1. Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it? If not make something up…

I just finished and published Never Again, as I previously mentioned. I am now in the editing stages of my March 7th release, The Coven Princess. It’s my first dive into YA, but it’s still paranormal/horror, featuring a young witch who was born with mixed Dark and Light blood, entering adulthood while a Dark magic war is brewing. It’s my longest book yet at 100k words, and I am so excited!

  1. How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?

I just get ideas and jump right in. I find plotting ruins my creativity. I will work on two to three projects at a time, but mostly focus on one at a time so I can complete them sooner.

  1. What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?

Good question. I think my strength is building realistic characters. All my women are independent, tough, intelligent in their own way. My men sometimes suffer from stubbornness, but they don’t succumb to toxic masculinity. That’s a big deal for me.
My weakness…I think too fast for my fingers to write or type. I often have to go back in the second draft and add detail.

  1. After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?

Every author has something different that works. I am lucky to have a great publisher behind me (Vamptasy/CHBB Publishing) and they help me immensely. Having a core street team with ARC readers is a big help, too.

  1. What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?

Don’t get discouraged. There will always be rejections, bad reviews, authors who are more successful. Be your best, write the books you want to read, and your career will build itself.

 

Ksenia Anske has been INTERVIEWED!!!

1. What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?

Ksenia Anske. I live in my writing cave and hardly ever climb out.

But I do blog right here: https://www.kseniaanske.com/blog/,

and I do terrify writers into writing and readers int reading on Twitter https://twitter.com/kseniaanske

and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ksenia.anske daily.

  1. Tell us a little about your life outside of the world of writing.

There is life outside of writing? KIDDING. Writing is my life. And reading. And, of course, chasing my readers with a chainsaw to convince them (gently) to buy and read and review my books. It actually keeps me in great shape. Or coffee. Coffee is my life as well. Practically 18 hours out of my day I divide into 2 parts: first half of the day goes to my art (writing), second half of the day goes to my business (selling what I wrote).

  1. How long have you been writing? What genres have you written? They don’t have to be published.

It’s been 5 years already. Wow, yes. 5 years. Seems a long time, but often it feels like I’m only starting. I’ve written fantasy, dark fantasy, YA, and am going to be writing my first thriller and romance next. Though my readers tell me my books touch on magical realism and horror, and they know better.

  1. What has been the greatest influence to your writing? Other authors, life experiences, etc…

Oh, Russian fairy tales, mostly. I grew up on dark stories, and I write dark stories. Of course, the big names like Chekhov and Kharms and Akhmatova and Nabokov. Most recently Tolstaya and Petrushevskaya. And in my 20s I’ve discovered Stephen King and decided I wanted to try writing scary stories too. Little did I know I’d really be doing it, and in English to boot—not my first language (I’m from Moscow, Russia).

  1. Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it? If not make something up…

I’m revising the final draft of TUBE, a dark fantasy novel about a woman who goes back into her violent past to win over her abuser by visiting compartments on the train (creepy, cold, and drafty). I started it as part of my 2015 Amtrak Residency Program, and 3 years later the book is almost done. It’s launching on March 17th, 2018. Be scared.

  1. How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?

I used to just sit down and write. Not anymore. Now I don’t write down a single word until I plot my novel to death. Have gone into too many dead ends with TUBE, so learned my lesson. Plus, I love plotting. I get such a thrill. It’s like solving a puzzle and then sprinkling in clues for the reader to discover. Nothing could be more exciting.

  1. What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?

Discipline is my strength. I won’t quit until I’m done, no matter what. And discipline is my weakness, as well. Sometimes I won’t be able to bend and adapt because I’m so dead-set on finishing a project. It’s a balance. My readers tell me they love my sentence rhythm and how I make them feel. I do hope my books give them delicious nightmares. That is certainly my goal.

  1. After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?

I jump on every rooftop and shout about my books until I lose my voice, then do crazy dances for my readers’ entertainment. Well, actually, I market my books from the very start, before I even start writing them, as soon as I have an idea. It’s the only way. I’d type up a whole essay here if I were to give advice. Email me with detailed questions. But here is one thing I’ll tell you: share your process. Share everything with your readers, and if you do that, you’ll also market your book, so by the time it’s done, your readers will want to buy it and read it if only to see the result of your very hard work.

  1. What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?

Never quit—NEVER EVER QUIT NO MATTER WHAT—and write and read every day. If you do this, if you write for only 1 hour daily, by the end of the year you’ll have a book written. Build discipline, hole up and write. Don’t listen to anyone. It’s your art. You’re the only one who knows how to make it. I believe in you. You can do it. Get on it!

 

Siren Suicides

Siren Suicides: Second Edition  by Ksenia Anske  description:

On a rainy September morning 16-year-old Ailen Bright flees her abusive father by jumping off the Seattle Aurora Bridge. Instead of a true death, in the water she finds several silver-skinned sirens who convert her to one of their own. As a newborn siren she is dead, supernaturally strong, and hungry for her new sustenance—human souls.
Ailen refuses to kill…at first. With time she must face the agony that comes with starvation, while being relentlessly pursued by a siren hunter. An enthralling and dark look into the mind and heart of a suicidal teenager, this urban fantasy follows Ailen’s struggle to figure out the meaning of life, her confusing feelings for her best friend Hunter, and her desperate battle for her father’s love.

Siren Suicides   3 STARS

The best thing about this book is how wonderful the writing style is. Anske does a beautiful job of drawing you into this world, and making it so vivid. She doesn’t just tell you what a room looks like, you discover it through the characters interactions, their insight and emotions, and it’s all done with ease. I loved her new take on sirens, how you become one, and the fact that she harkens back to the original Greek mythology with the names, and that she didn’t make the mistake of turning them into mermaids with a fishtail. The best part of this book though was the very beginning before Ailen turned into a siren. Seeing into her mind, and knowing why she loves sirens so much, and her still suffering from the loss of her mother, it was something that was tangible and understandable. I’m glad that Anske didn’t in any way romanticize suicide. She gives you the harsh reality of what it would be like hitting the water, what it does to your body, and how it feels to drown and the regret the victim goes through during it all. But once Ailen becomes a siren it’s like everything went into overdrive. It felt like everything was so on the nose with the whole siren bit. And as the story goes the way it circles around death can be extremely depressing and worrisome. I will say that right there at the end it finally began to really flow and Ailen goes through some real self-discovery and there is a lot of character growth that helped make this a book worth reading in the end.

 

Redemption (Sea Assassins)

BOOK 1: Betrayal by Danielle Hardgrave

Redemption   description:

Sophia Davies is having the time of her life.

She lives with her two best friends in a city she loves and every day is a new adventure. Case in point, stumbling into her bedroom after a great night out and finding her ultimate childhood crush waiting for her.
But things have changed since the last time Sophia saw Nate. For starters, she now knows what he does for a living. And there’s the whole shark shifter thing…

Nathan Redman is burning.

He thought his mistakes would fade away with time, but the closer he comes to taking leadership of his clan, the more they sear into his skin. Revenge is the best cure for any wound, which is why Nathan’s heading out to see an old friend.

It’s nothing personal, really.
Getting close to Sophia is no problem. Killing her on the other hand…

BOOK 2: Redemption  4 STARS

This book was far more developed than the last, and perhaps it’s because Nate is to be next in line as clan leader, and so we get a closer look at what the lives of shark shifters tend to be like. Which is cold and cruel. It really helped you understand Nate, and what he was going through, and really how he felt about the humans he’d been around. It was interesting how he didn’t get why the others found silly things fun and amusing, and him trying to figure out why he ever hesitated to kill Sophia. And Sophia is awesome. She’s fun and really relatable in trying to figure out what’s up with their relationship. Liking Nate. even though her sister has given a veiled excuse to stay away, and wanting to see him in shark form really makes her a fun counterpoint to Nate’s very serious and brooding personality. I also really liked the addition of her friends and all that’s going on in their life and the quirky things they do. It made this story feel more alive, than the limited view we got with Betrayal when we basically only had the 3 main characters to get to know. Really though, the ending of this book, what the hell is that? I’m not even sure I want to know, but I do know I won’t rest until I find out.

Betrayal (Sea Assassins)

Betrayal by Danielle Hardgrave  description:

On a calm November evening, a ship disappears off the coast of Washington without a trace…

When Darcy Davies finds a handsome man washed up on the beach, he’s three things: injured, naked, and rude. And he’s got a few demands. Somewhere safe. No hospital.
Tell no one.

While Darcy takes him in, she’s no fool. She knows he was involved in whatever happened at sea that night. But is he a victim or a villain? One thing’s for certain—even if he’s not a danger to her person, this sexy stranger is a danger to her heart.

Gabriel Barnes can’t tell which is more of a pain in his side—the curvy brunette who plucked him off the beach, or the literal pain in his side.
Gabriel’s secret will be hard to keep in such close quarters, especially with injuries that are healing much too fast. But he’s got bigger problems.

It wasn’t an accident that brought him here.
It was a betrayal.

BOOK 1: Betrayal   3 STARS

The best part of this book is how it steps away from the pack. It’s not the same ol’ werewolf and vampire sort of books, though it is in the same world as those stories that Hardgrave has already told. I have definitely never read about shark shifters before, and I liked that they’re not even like other shifters out there. It makes sense as they point out that others are changing from one mammal to another, while they’re basically turning into a fish. This makes for an interesting new look into the world of myth and magic. The biggest step away is that this isn’t like some misunderstood vampire or giant fuzzy werewolf that has the loyalty of a dog. These sharks are cold blooded killers and are raised to be such from the beginning. They don’t even like each other, and have a hard time understanding the softer side of humanity. Gabriel is a killer, and Hardgrave does lessen the severity of such a life style by having him go after folks who are just as bad as him, but it’s still a whole other world and not exactly one anyone would want to get mixed up in. Which is probably why I did like Darcy so much, because she’s a no-nonsense sort of woman. She helps him, in what he sees as greed, because she knows money will help get things that need doing done. She isn’t some sweet damsel in distress wooed by the bad boy vibe, even if she finds him attractive. She’s got her own plans that she’s striving for, and it really does make for a good match. My main problem is that this story is short, and so you don’t get the development or view into this world that would really help make it more real and understandable. Worse though, was the typos and grammatical errors. No they’re not horrible but they do stick out like a sore thumb, and another read through would’ve really helped this story out a lot.

However, it was nice to learn that permie is short for permanent, as in a human that’s always a human.

What’s New Pussycat?

BOOK 1: An American Werewolf in Hoboken  by  Dakota Cassidy

What’s New Pussycat?  description:

Derrick Adams is not happy. His pack of wolves isn’t like all the others. He’s got a brother who found his lifemate in the pound, a cousin who’s a vegetarian and now he has a lifemate of his own and she isn’t barking.
Martine Brooks is in a pickle. Derrick Adams is in a jam.
Pickles and jam. Not exactly a hot combo. Unless the “pickle” is a sultry, sassy cat shifter and the “jam” is a gorgeous hunk of wolf.

Derrick is cursed to die if he doesn’t make the woot-woot with his life mate on the night of the next full moon. Martine’s been held captive by a power-hungry warlock for six long months, forced to do his bidding before finding herself stuffed in a cat carrier and ditched at a 7-Eleven.

After rescuing her from a dumpster, Derrick and Martine strike a mutually beneficial deal: Mate, save a life, walk away—both alive and kicking. Win! Yet, there are kinks in the plan. Like the fact that Martine’s one-time captor is on the hunt, planning to extinguish all of her nine lives at once. Or the fact the curse threatening Derrick’s life is about to throw him a monster curve ball.
But the biggest kink might prove to be Derrick and Martine themselves, two avowed commitment-phobes…who are beginning to wonder what forever looks like.

 

BOOK 2: What’s New Pussycat?   3 STARS

The humor wasn’t as prominent as it was in the last book, though it still managed a light, fun story. However, it’s such an overused and ridiculous trope to have the two main characters be completely against the idea of a forever sort of love, and to then be surprised and unsure why they suddenly think about the other so much and are so happy to be near them. Regardless, it was nice that from the very beginning Martine knew exactly what was going on with Derrick, and happily agreed to be there for him, which did allow for other plot twists to come up. As well as for the fact that they’re in Cedar Glen for the most part, and so we get to see all the characters that were brought up previously and really get to know the strange bunch of paranormals that make up this little safe haven. It really added to the story, and makes for the promise of more books set here a rather appealing one. I want to know what’s to come of all these characters, not just the main ones that are the star of the book. Derrick, of course, is a werewolf, and it was funny for him to be initially opposed to Martine being his potential mate because she’s a cat, and we all know cats and dogs don’t mix. Martine was really the more interesting part, because she’s not just a cat shifter, she’s a witch’s familiar. This is the big driving point of the story, and gives us a lot more magic to deal with than just another shape-shifter to read about. Altogether it was a good story with a surprise ending.

An American Werewolf in Hoboken

An American Werewolf in Hoboken by Dakota Cassidy  description:

Wooing a life mate can be hard enough for a wolf, wooing one while under the threat of a curse even more so.
Wooing a mate while pretending to be her dog? Nearly impossible.

After being drugged and captured by Animal Control, Max Adams is on Hoboken’s doggie death row when his life mate adopts him, takes him home, and promptly names him Fluffy. While JC, in all her new-pet-owner-ness, feeds “Fluffy” vile kibble, dresses him in mortifying dog couture, and schedules to have his manhood removed, Max’s human side gets to know JC. Especially in the biblical sense.

Hopefully well enough to make her fall madly in love, mate with him under the full moon, and move with him to Cedar Glen to live happily every after forever and ever amen. And fast.
Because the curse comes with a deadline…and the clock is ticking.

BOOK 1: An American Werewolf in Hoboken   5 STARS

This book earned every star for all the non-stop laughter it gave me. I was practically smothering myself trying to remain quiet in public, because it is that hilarious. Yet, while it had it’s silly quirks, it honestly brought up some interesting challenges and dangers that a shifter might would actually face in the world. Like being caught in wolf form by animal control, and drugged before you knew what hit you. And the things Max goes through trying to keep JC happy, and unaware that her new dog is actually a man, was so wrong it was… yes you guessed it, hilarious. There are no complaints about this story. From the way the paranormal world works, to why Max is cursed, and all about their little haven in Cedar Glen was just a fun adventure. JC is an awesome girl with a big heart who just wants to take care of her overgrown dog she just saved, and Max is just a man stuck in an impossible situation and trying to figure out which way is up. All the characters around them really filled in the tale, and are something to look forward to seeing again in future books. I’m definitely going to be diving into book 2 as soon as I can.