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Currently Browsing: paranormal
Sep
23

Review: Forged in Dreams and Magick by Kat Bastion

Review: Forged in Dreams and Magick by Kat Bastion Forged in Dreams and Magick Author: Kat Bastion  Reviewer: VampBard Rating: A+, 5 stars What I’m Talking About: It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book that completely captivated my attention like Forged in Dreams and Magick.  As the first title of Ms. Kat Bastion’s self-published Highland Legends series, readers are certainly in for a pleasant surprise. I went back and looked at my Goodreads updates while I was reading this title.  I don’t think I’ve ever been so up and down and all around emotionally for a dudes-in-kilts title as I was while reading this one.  Which is a good thing.  Ms. Bastion’s writing is tight, and able to transport the reader to 13th century Scotland or to the ancient Pict villages with her vivid descriptions and her attention to details needed to bring the reader into the time periods in question. In reflecting on Forged in Dreams and Magick, there’s nothing that irritated me.  Which. Is. Amazing.  Most of the time, even when I’m reading a fabulous book, something just doesn’t sit right with me.  You know, that one thing that makes you go, “Hrmmm…”  Additionally, I spent days revising this review just so I could write it spoiler-free.  VERRA difficult.  Here’s what I came up with. Characterization and setting were the primary focus, for me, while reading Forged in Dreams and Magick.  Without ever having been to Scotland, I felt as though I were riding through the woods on a trusty steed, wind in my face, the smell of the sea filtering through my lungs.  I could nearly smell the aromas in both time periods.  The tactile experiences were nothing short of amazing.  I could practically feel the fabrics and furs beneath my fingers.  I relished the experiences of Isabel, which can be two-fold.  The reading experience is EPIC.  Sometimes, however, vivid experiences such as this, throw me into the dreaded book hangover.  Not this time.  Ms. Bastion expertly resolved everything to my satisfaction, for this storyline.  Gently bringing her reader out of author-induced story hypnosis, and sending us on our merry way, with a smile on our faces.  A spoiler-free passage needs to make its way into my review; however (and seriously, I marked MANY passages I loved…this was the only one that was spoiler-free).  The illustration of emotion Ms. Bastion has masterfully crafted should convince any reader of the genre that this is a must read: Iain masterfully orchestrated every note of...
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Sep
19

Review: Darke London by Coleen Kwan

Review: Darke London by Coleen Kwan Darke London Author: Coleen Kwan Reviewer: VampBard Rating: A-, 4 stars What I’m Talking About: Darke London was a great little historical distraction.  With a different flavor than my normal reading fare, I thoroughly enjoyed this novella. There really wasn’t anything specific that caused me to rate this title four stars; it just didn’t grab me like those that are a five.  I need an intense emotional connection for that perfect rating.  However, it was an expertly crafted story that had excellent character development. While not truly bothersome, I prefer a bit more setting description than Ms. Kwan chose to use.  I’m OK with that, but in this instance, my imagination could have taken a little break and focused more on the steampunk aspect of the story. Poor Nellie!  Besides surviving attempted murder, unbeknownst to her assailant, this little spit-fire has guts to spare.  Eager to learn the circumstances of her attack, Nellie took matters into her own hands.  I liked her.  She was of the mindset of 1800’s London, and that upbringing and the conventions of that time period were evident. Julian, the dashing doctor and engineer extraordinaire, fell head-over-heels for Nellie.  I thought he loved her inner beauty, and that was evident throughout the story.  Julian was tormented with his own inner demons surrounding his parentage, and that dominated about a third of his storyline.  Provided some great conflict, and a resolution that’s I adore. This novella is definitely worth the read!  I look forward to reading the next installment of Ms. Kwan’s Uncanny Chronicles series in the future. 4 stars: Enjoyed – strongly recommend (A-) About the Book: Julian Darke was only a newborn when he was abandoned on the doorstep of a gentleman doctor. Though raised with love, he is driven to discover his true origins. Convinced Sir Thaddeus Ormond knows something, Julian shadows him one night—and is shocked to see a young woman thrown from Ormond’s carriage and accosted by a thug. Julian manages to save her life, but not her face and hands from horrific injuries. Nellie Barchester doesn’t recognize the scarred, disfigured stranger in the mirror. Though the gifted doctor and engineer has done his best to repair the damage, scars ravage her body, and chill her soul with the realization that her own husband may have plotted her death. Julian’s tenderness is a balm to her soul, and Nellie is drawn to the edge of passion by a man not repelled by her...
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Sep
10

Review: The Protected by Shiloh Walker

Review: The Protected by Shiloh Walker The Protected Author: Shiloh Walker Reviewer: Twimom227 Rating: 4 Stars, A- What I’m Talking About: FBI agent Vaughnne MacMeans has a special ability – she can communicate with others without actually speaking. While her “talent” is fairly minor compared with many of the others on the team headed by Agent Taylor Jones, she has developed her instincts and honed her skills, making her a deadly agent. She is put to the test in her latest assignment: protecting 12-year-old Alex, whose psychic abilities have made him the target of an extremely dangerous man. Going undercover, Vaughnne moves next door to Alex and his “dad,” Gus. Gus Hernandez has one mission in life, to keep Alex safe from those that hunt him. At the dying request of Alex’s mother, Gus has done everything to protect Alex for over four years, including constantly moving, killing and even using Alex’s abilities. Although he is attracted to new neighbor Vaughnne, he will not act on his desire, nor will he allow her to become a distraction in their lives – even if it means he has to eliminate her. In general, I enjoyed The Protected from start to finish. The overall story involving a suspenseful race to protect Alex is exciting and well-written. Reyes, the primary bad guy is portrayed as an evil man – someone a reader loves to hate. I would have enjoyed a few more scenes developing his nasty persona, providing me more reason to cheer for his demise. Instead, Alex is hunted by henchmen and goons-for-hire, giving the reader an array of chase scenes, killings, and mayhem, some of which feature others with psychic talents. The story is thrilling – but not so tense that I was unable to breathe. Keeping Alex safe became increasingly harder as the book progressed and the stakes grew higher. At times, the number of “bad guys” one-after-another felt over done, but it kept an accelerated tempo in the story. I also liked how the entire situation was resolved – it was done in such a way that made “things” okay. One part that gave me pause was the inclusion of FBI freelance psychic Nalini. It wasn’t her part in the story – that was pretty interesting and entertaining, but rather that many of the sections told from her POV were overly vague and too loose, which made them difficult to follow. I also felt she had a bit of a split personality – I...
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Jun
2

Review: Josh of the Damned Vol. 1 & 2 by Andrea Speed

Review: Josh of the Damned Vol. 1 & 2 by Andrea Speed Josh of the Damned Author: Andrea Speed  Release Date: Volume 1, Josh of the Damned – April 16, 2012 Volume 2, The Final Checkout – April 29, 2013 Publisher: Riptide Publishing Josh of the Damned Volumes 1&2 ISBN: #978-1937551353  and #978-1626490062 Genre: GLBT, Comedy, Horror, Urban Fantasy/ Paranormal Format(s): e-book Book Source: NetGalley About the books: Volume 1 – Josh of the Damned What most people call a hellish shift, Josh Caplan calls a normal evening. After all, he works nights at a convenience store beside the mouth of hell, selling snacks to zombies and lizard men.  Some monsters are odder—and more dangerous—than most. Like the rampaging, oversized mustache who skips the Pringles and eats the customers instead. Or Cthulhu’s half-brother Stan, who doesn’t know how to take no for an answer . . . or where to put all those tentacles.  But killer facial hair and inept hentai beasts pale in comparison to the monster even other monsters fear. When hell’s big boss demands a sit-down with Josh, she reveals a destiny bigger than he’d ever imagined—or wanted. You’d think preventing the apocalypse would net Josh more than minimum wage and a hot vampire boyfriend, but it turns out saving the world can be a pretty thankless job.  Volume 2 – The Final Checkout Josh Caplan thought he’d solved his home office problem and stopped the Quik-Mart Corporation from expanding into hell, but it turns out a guardian’s work is never done. Medusa has plans for him, and she’s not the only one.  What’s a poor night clerk to do when he’s besieged on all sides by deluded vampire slayers, angry zombies, crazy gods, and the most terrifying enemy of all: a dickish CEO?  To survive this, Josh will have to do more than just rely on his necromancer boss, his hot vampire boyfriend, and his yeti stalker. This time, he’ll have to find his own inner hero to save the day.  What B is talking about: Volume 1 of the Josh of the Damned series includes the shorts “Pretty Monsters,” “Peek-A-Boo,” and a third, which is further broken down into three parts titled “Night of the Mustache,” “I was Cthulhu’s Love Slave,” and “Interview with the Empire.” As far as openings go, this just might just be one of my favorites yet: “The first time the hell vortex opened in the Quick-Mart parking lot, Josh very seriously considered quitting his job. But all that came out of it...
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Jan
31

Review: The Reunited by Shiloh Walker

Review: The Reunited by Shiloh Walker The Reunited Author: Shiloh Walker  Release Date: Feb. 5, 2013 Publisher: Berkley Trade The FBI Psychics #3 ISBN: #978-0425246979 Genre: Suspense Romance, Paranormal Format(s): Paperback (384 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher/ NetGalley About the book: AN ETERNAL DESIRE With his strong psychic ability, FBI Agent Joss Crawford longs for the woman he loved in a past life. But after years of searching, a new case is drawing him into the last place he’d ever want to find her: an underground slave ring. Going undercover to infiltrate the network, he meets Drucella Chapman–the mastermind’s fiancee. Joss has every reason to believe she’s evil. So why is he irresistibly drawn to her? A DANGEROUS GAME Drucella has made it her personal mission to bring the slave ring down. But the sadistic ring leader is even more careful than he is cruel. In order to gain information, Dru has had to get close to the very man she wishes to kill, psychically reading his memories bit by bit. she’d do anything to finish the job, but agreeing to marry him may have been a step too far–even for her. A FATEFUL ENCOUNTER Though Joss and Dru are both undercover, nothing can disguise the sense of deja vu they experience when they meet. Neither can afford to be distracted from the mission at hand, but perhaps their reunion is exactly what this mission needs. What I’m talking about: Joss Crawford is finally getting some time off, but is called in by his boss, Taylor Jones, to help work the difficult case trying to bring down the powerful human trafficker, Patrick Whitmore. Joss is one of a handful of psychically talented FBI agents, and his speciality is being a “mirror.” He can “absorb” other agents gifts and use them as his own until he gets rebooted. (It made me think of Rogue from X-men.) Meanwhile, Drucella (Dru) Chapman is already on the case. Working uncover for no one but herself, Dru has posed as Ella, Patrick Whitmore’s love interest and fiancee, for the past two years. Dru has sold her soul to be the perfect woman for a man she vehemently despises and plans to kill. With no way out and only one friend who knows the truth, Dru has committed to see this through until either Patrick or she dies. With such a heavy topic as human trafficking, I was worried that The Reunited would be a gruesome read. However, Ms. Walker handled...
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Jan
7

Review: The Inventor by Theresa Meyers

Review: The Inventor by Theresa Meyers The Inventor Author: Theresa Meyers  Release Date: Dec. 24, 2012 Publisher: Zebra Books The Legend Chronicles prequel Genre: Paranormal Steampunk Format(s): e-book Book Source: Purchased with my own funds About the book: Sir Marley Turlock doesn’t normally bother with flirtation. He’s an inventor, a scientist, not a gadabout. And the floor of the inaugural London Aeronautical Exhibition, just before he presents his groundbreaking new device to the Queen herself, is not the place to change his habits toward the fairer sex. But Lady Persephone Hargrieve has her delicate fingers engaged in the innards of his device before Marley can catch his breath at her beauty. He’s never met a woman like her—a fiery intelligence to match his own, a genius for mechanics, and more secrets than he can guess. Of course, Sephie’s secrets aren’t all innocuous tricks to make the gears spin smoother. It’s no coincidence that she’s turned up to investigate Marley’s machines—if they’re good enough, if he can be trusted enough, they might save the country. Even if along the way she ends up losing her heart… What I’m talking about: For those of us that read The Legend Chronicles series by Theresa Meyers, we know and love grouchy ol’ Marley: genius inventor extraordinaire. He is friend to the Winn Brothers (the men of legend fighting the evil Darken), but lives alone. He has a mysterious past, one hinted full of lost love and sadness. So when Ms. Meyers shared with me (at AADNOLA) that she was telling Marley’s backstory in an upcoming novella, I was giddy! And a note to those that haven’t read the series, The Inventor is a prequel set several years before the beginning of the series and can be read at any time. There are no series spoilers in this novella. The short story takes place in London, 1868, and opens with Marley working on his latest invention. He hopes to impress the Queen and be invited to join the prestigious Aeronautical Society of Great Britain. While stumped trying to work out a kink in his inventions, the lovely Lady Persephone Hargrieve sits down and starts tinkering (with his permission). Marley is immediately taken with Sephie and hopes to court her, even though she is daughter of Lord Hargrieve and above his station. Lord Hargrieve is impressed with Marley and invites him to his home to discuss a project. It is here that Marley learns the true nature of Lord Hargrieve’s work:...
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Dec
6

Review: The Farm by Emily McKay

Review: The Farm by Emily McKay The Farm Author: Emily McKay  Release Date: Dec. 4, 2012 Publisher: Berkley Trade The Farm #1 ISBN: #978-0425257807 Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal) Format(s): Paperback (420 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:       Life was different in the Before: before vampires began devouring humans in a swarm across America; before the surviving young people were rounded up and quarantined. These days, we know what those quarantines are—holding pens where human blood is turned into more food for the undead monsters, known as Ticks. Surrounded by electrical fences, most kids try to survive the Farms by turning on each other…       And when trust is a thing of the past, escape is nearly impossible.       Lily and her twin sister Mel have a plan. Though Mel can barely communicate, her autism helps her notice things no one else notices—like the portion of electrical fence that gets turned off every night. Getting across won’t be easy, but as Lily gathers what they need to escape, a familiar face appears out of nowhere, offering to help…       Carter was a schoolmate of Lily’s in the Before. Managing to evade capture until now, he has valuable knowledge of the outside world. But like everyone on the Farm, Carter has his own agenda, and he knows that behind the Ticks is an even more dangerous threat to the human race… What G & U are talking about:       The Farm is the first book in a new post-apocalyptic young adult series.  From the first page, you will be drawn into the plight of Lily and her sister, Mel.  However, do not base your opinion on the book blurb above…there is so much more to The Farm than it suggests.  This is a young adult novel for the more mature teen, high school age or older.  There are some serious topics discussed and some violence.       The world as we know ended six months prior to the beginning of The Farm, a time conveniently referred to as “Before”.  A pathogen was accidentally released, causing some humans to become mindless blood craving beasts: Ticks.  To protect the last vestiges of humanity, teenagers were gathered up and placed on “farms” for their protection.  However, all is not what it seems.  There is so much more going on than what Lily can fathom.       Although told from predominately Lily’s point of view, The...
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Jul
17

Review: The Carnality Series by DL Jackson

Review: The Carnality Series by DL Jackson Carnal Desires Carnal Attraction Carnal Denial Author: DL Jackson  Release Date: Feb-Mar 2012 Publisher: Decadent Carnality Series 1-3 Decadent’s Edge Series Genre: Erotic Romance, Paranomal, Novella Format(s): e-book Book Source: Publisher About the books: Carnal Desires… When Mercedes, the town librarian, enters a place no good girl would dare to tread, she meets a man who says he’s an incubus, who has an offer too tempting to pass. After the encounter with the stranger, sanity returns and Mercedes begins to wonder if she’s lost her mind along with her memory, or if the man in the back of the adult toy store really was who he claimed to be. Carnal Attraction… Thousands of years have passed. Azael has returned to Jezebel, and he’s brought her memories with him. Now that Jezebel has them back, she doesn’t intend to lose them again by starving herself of life energies. So, when she encounters a broken heart in the seedy strip club where she works, she knows dinner will be special that night. This time, the feeding will be on her terms, and the man who’s wandered into her snare, shouldn’t miss the small bite of soul she takes. Much. Carnal Denial… Another lamb for the feast. Not likely. Jezebel knows that taking a bite out of the virgin bait the demon slayers have tossed into the club is a bad idea. But there’s also more than one way to skin a proverbial cat, or in this instance, pop a slayer’s cherry before she causes any problems. There’s nothing in the succubus rule book that says Jezebel has to play fair. After all, she need only suggest. What the slayer does with the nudge is up to her. What I’m talking about: Book 1: Carnal Desires Mercedes has spent her whole life being the good girl. So after her fiancé dumped her for another, Mercedes finds herself looking at sex toys in the back room of an adult-only shop. When a mysterious man shows up smelling of sex and chocolate she finds that she cannot say no to his offer for a quickie.  All three of these books are from Decadent Publishing’s Edge series–a short story/vignette format. The first book consists of the interaction between Mercedes and the mystery lover who claims to be an incubus. It is sensual and sexy. There is an interesting twist at the end, and it leaves you with the “to be continued” feeling. Of the three...
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Jul
16

Review & Giveaway: Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

Review & Giveaway: Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness Shadow of Night Author: Deborah Harkness   Release Date: July 10, 2012 Publisher: Viking All Souls Trilogy #2 ISBN: 978-0670023486 Genre: Paranormal Fantasy Format(s): Hardcover (592 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:      Shadow of Night picks up right where A Discovery of Witches left off.  Diana Bishop and Matthew Clairmont, a witch historian and vampire geneticist respectively, have timewalked to Elizabethan England on their hunt for a magical alchemical manuscript, Ashmole 782—its sudden appearance and sudden disappearance have upended the delicately ordered world of magical creatures (witches, vampires, and daemons), threatening to unleash unprecedented metaphysical chaos.       Though Diana and Matthew have escaped the threats of the present, they soon find the past holds its own challenges—Diana must find a witch to continue her magical education, a task made difficult by a rash of witch hunts across the British Isles.  And Matthew finds himself back in a life he thought he left behind, reuniting with friends and family that had long been reduced to memory, opening wounds he thought had healed.  Some of those friends comprise the infamous School of Night, a coterie of visionaries that includes Christopher Marlowe and Sir Walter Raleigh.  Together, Matthew and Diana must navigate the new dangers of an old century—bringing them closer and closer to solving the mystery of Ashmole 782. What VampBard’s talking about:      NOTE: Shadow of Night picks up immediately after the first title, A Discovery of Witches, ends (seriously, it was a cliffhanger, and I was ecstatic that I had the second title at the ready).  So, yes.  Read the first book of the trilogy.  Have the second on stand-by so you can immediately pick it up and begin reading where the first book leaves off!  Consider yourself warned!      As A Discovery of Witches draws to a close, our hero, Matthew, and heroine, Diana, are preparing for a journey.  Shadow of Night begins upon arrival at their destination (See?  I’m even keeping the review spoiler-free for the first book!).  This is where I started to  **squee** like a fan-girl.  Excellent depictions of some major authors of the time as well as mathematicians and scientists.  Can I simply state that the first 20ish percent of this book had me riveted!  The interactions with Matthew and Diana and the School of Night members were fascinating for me! “Mad, bad, and dangerous to know” described this group perfectly.  We hadn’t joined a cozy reunion of...
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Apr
24

Review: Demonically Tempted

Review: Demonically Tempted Demonically Tempted Author: Stacey Kennedy  Release Date: April 13, 2012 Publisher: Self-Published Frostbite Series #2 ISBN: #978-1476341873 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): e-book Book Source: Author About the book: Tess Jennings, now a member of the Memphis Police Department, is on her first cold case. The suspected suicide of Lizbeth Knapp ten years ago isn’t a theory her family accepts—they believe she was murdered. But the case is only one of Tess’s worries. Ghosts are talking, and word of her abilities rapidly spreads. A dark ghost is terrifying the spirits of Memphis, and she must force the entity to cross over. Tess doesn’t have to do this alone. Not only does she have her ghost-lover, Kipp McGowen, but the department has brought in a medium. Dane Wolfe might answer all her questions, but he also brings a world of trouble. Will Tess finally have all she’s ever wanted, or will everything she’s vowed to protect be ripped away? What I’m talking about: **NOTE: I’m trying my new “hidden spoilers” button in this review. I have been told it pretty much always works – however if you are reading this via an RSS Feed Reader it will NOT work and the spoiler text will appear. HOWEVER, I have noted in all caps where the spoiler text begins and ends, so you can still read this review without the spoilers.  Thanks!** After getting to know all about Tess and her “ghost whispering” abilities in the first Frostbite book, Supernaturally Kissed, Ms. Kennedy jumps right into the thick of things in Demonically Tempted. Tess is now working for the Memphis Police Department with her ghostly, police officer boyfriend, Kipp, in tow. She has stepped into Kipp’s job, working along side of his best friend and partner, Zach. They are investigating cold cases, and the current case is a creepy apparent suicide. The team visits the old farmhouse where the dead girl’s sister still lives, yet Tess cannot find her ghost. What they do hear is a tale of darkness and strange behavior. Meanwhile, in present day, Tess’s abilities are now making the circles among ghosts – who knew that they would chat it up in the afterlife? They fear a dark presence and want Tess to make it go away. Why she didn’t see the connection between the cold case and this evil spirit is beyond me. But… she doesn’t and she agrees to help these ghosts. Enter Dane – apparent ghost expert...
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