Release Day Blitz for THE LOST CODEX! Plus, Get a free book!

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Hi there! I’m so excited to get the word out for a new urban fantasy out today from Heather Lyons. THE LOST CODEX is the fourth book in the Collecters’ Society series, which features fictional characters from well-known books being warriors against censorship and book destruction. It’s all very enthralling… I really loved THE HIDDEN LIBRARY and THE FORGOTTEN MOUNTAIN, so I’m looking forward to THE LOST CODEX!

Drop down below to get your FREE start to the series! (Only through 11/8!)

thelostcodex_ebook_450x675About the book:
Allies, once inseparable, splinter until they break apart.

An insidiousness carves its way through Wonderland, challenging the land’s very existence.

Battle lines will be drawn as pages, long languishing in darkness, are finally illuminated.

Swords will clash, blood will be spilled, and lives will be lost.

For what is written can still be erased.

Just to recap, the Collector’s Society is a series that pulls characters from storybooks into our daily lives. Alice, Queen of Wonderland, is a heroine of the first order, as she gave up her true love in Wonderland to assist the Librarians to take down rogue agents who seek to destroy entire fictional worlds. She’s partnered with Finn, think: Huckleberry, who is another true match, and boy howdy to the get it on…but they ALSO work together to take down the most nefarious enemy the Librarians have ever faced: the Pied Piper.

There’s much more to the story, but if this intrigues you, check out my reviews for THE HIDDEN LIBRARY and THE FORGOTTEN MOUNTAIN.

I’ll be sharing a review in coming weeks, but until then…
tlc_teaser1Catch up on the series here….

***FREE*** through 11/8!  THE COLLECTORS’ SOCIETY can be found on Amazon (US and UK) iBooks and Kobo.

THE HIDDEN LIBRARY is available on Amazon (US and UK) Barnes & Noble, iBooks and Kobo.

You can find THE FORGOTTEN MOUNTAIN on Goodreads, Amazon (US and UK), Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iBooks.

About the Author:
Heather Lyons
Heather Lyons writes epic, heartfelt love stories and has always had a thing for words. In addition to writing, she’s also been an archaeologist and a teacher. She and her husband and children live in sunny Southern California and are currently working their way through every cupcakery she can find.

Catch Heather on her website, Goodreads, twitter and Facebook.

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Out Today! INTO YOU Release Day Blitz and Excerpt!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a release day blitz for an upper YA/New Adult-ish M/M romance from Jay Northcote. You know I’ve totally enjoyed other New Adult titles from this author, including HELPING HAND, LIKE A LOVER and PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT, but INTO YOU is a totally different kind of book. It features younger boys who seemed destined to be besties forever, until one kiss throws them for a loop–and how they NOW get back to being real.

intoyouAbout the book:
What do you do when the body you wake up in isn’t yours?
Olly and Scott promised to be best friends forever. They grew up on the same street, went to the same school, and did everything together. But one hot summer night, teenage experimentation caused hurt feelings and confusion, and their friendship was destroyed.

Four years later they’re both eighteen years old and in their final term at school. Scott is a football star and Olly’s preparing for a main role in the school play. After a heated argument in the street—witnessed by their mysterious, elderly neighbour—they wake up the next morning stuck in each other’s bodies.

With no idea how to get back to normal, they have to co-operate in order to hide their secret. Spending time together rekindles their friendship, yet feelings run deeper for both of them. With the end of school fast approaching, the clock is ticking. Unless they discover how to change back, they could be stuck in the wrong bodies forever.

A little taste…

The sound of music playing pulled Scott from a thick blanket of sleep into wakefulness. He lay curled on his side; his room was darker than usual, as though someone had come in and closed the blinds while he slept. His bed felt weird, softer than it should be, and it smelled different.

He sat up, blinking in confusion as he looked around. He took in the room, the details unclear in the half-light that crept around the edges of the blind, but it was enough for him to realise where he was.

The posters on the wall were new, but the layout hadn’t changed in four years.

What the fuck?

It wasn’t possible. Logic told Scott there was no way this could be happening.

He’d gone to sleep in his own bed—he hadn’t been drunk or high. So why the hell was he waking up in Olly’s room with no recollection of how he got there? And where the hell was Olly? The music that had woken him was coming from a phone on a docking station by the bed. He picked it up and pressed some buttons until it stopped. His brain was fogged with sleep and he couldn’t think clearly.

Scott got out of bed on shaky legs. His hip ached as though it was bruised. Actually, his whole body felt weird. Perhaps he was sick? Maybe this was all some bizarre hallucination?

Pulling the cord to raise the blind, Scott flooded the room with light. He looked down at himself, only….

He closed his eyes and shook his head. When he opened them again, he still didn’t see himself. His body was too thin, his skin too pale, the hair on his legs darker than usual, and he definitely didn’t own any snug purple briefs like the ones he was currently wearing.

Stomach roiling with disbelief and terror, Scott turned to the full-length mirror on the wall and blinked.

Olly’s reflection stared back looking as horrified as Scott felt. Scott raised his hands to his face, and so did Olly in the mirror.

“This isn’t happening,” he said.

The voice was Olly’s too, softer and a little higher-pitched than Scott’s own.

It was the weirdest, most vivid dream Scott had ever had.

He pinched himself hard. “Ouch!”

Why wasn’t he waking up?

* * * * * * * *

Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep!

Olly shot up, heart pounding at the shrill sound. He opened his eyes and blinked in the sunlight.

Ugh. Too bright.

He looked around wildly and closed his eyes again, refusing to believe what he saw. Obviously he wasn’t awake yet because he couldn’t be in Scott’s room. He hadn’t set foot in Scott’s house in years.

Olly cracked his eyes open again but still saw the white walls, the posters of Scott’s football heroes that Olly remembered from years ago, and the freakishly tidy desk that definitely wasn’t his.

The alarm clock by the bed was still making an awful racket, so he found the button to silence it.

“Scott?” he said hesitantly, then coughed.

What the fuck was wrong with his throat? His voice was deep and rough sounding. Oh God, no, please don’t let him be getting a cold. He couldn’t afford to lose his voice with all the play rehearsals coming up.

He pushed the duvet off and swung his legs around to get out of bed. He’d find Scott and work out what the hell was going on. Maybe he had some weird amnesia after his accident yesterday, although he hadn’t hit his head. There had to be some explanation for why he was apparently in Scott’s bed rather than his own.

Then Olly looked down at his legs—and froze.

They were thicker and more muscular than they should be. Olly only dreamed of having legs like that. The hairs on them were light brown instead of dark, the skin more tanned. He looked at his hands, they were all wrong too, thicker and sturdier than they should be. He lifted one to run it through his hair, the way he often did in times of crisis.

“What the fuck?” No long floppy fringe falling in his eyes. Instead he found short-cropped hair and his ear piercings were gone.

Now convinced he was dreaming, because that was the only possible explanation, Olly got up to look in the mirror. Scott’s handsome face stared back at him, the mouth slack with surprise and the blue eyes wide.

Olly shook his head in disbelief. No way could this be happening. No way. This was the stuff of Hollywood movies, not reality. But cold, creeping panic rose in his gut, because apart from the fact that he appeared to be in the wrong body, everything else felt normal. Way too normal for it to be a dream.

“No,” he said loudly, putting his hands up and touching Scott’s nose, Scott’s cheekbones, Scott’s lips. He felt every brush of his fingertips. “Oh, Jesus Christ on a bike, this is not happening. No.”

I seriously LOVED this. Expect my review next week.

Interested? You can find INTO YOU on Goodreads, Amazon (US and UK)

About the Author:
Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England, with her husband, two children, and two cats. She comes from a family of writers, but she always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed her by. She spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content. One day, she decided to try and write a short story–just to see if she could–and found it rather addictive. She hasn’t stopped writing since.

You can find Jay on her website, Twitter, Facebook Author Page, and Amazon.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

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Love’s Value: More Than RAG AND BONE–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new magical M/M romance from the historical Charm of Magpies world conjured by KJ Charles. RAG AND BONE marks the beginning of a new series and features an interracial couple who’ve got some true dilemmas. As you know I simply loved A GENTLEMAN’S POSITION, THINK OF ENGLAND, and THE SECRET CASEBOOK OF SIMON FEXIMAL, so I knew I’d love this historical, magical romance.

Rag and Bone (Rag and Bone, #1)About the book:
It’s amazing what people throw away…
Crispin Tredarloe never meant to become a warlock. Freed from his treacherous master, he’s learning how to use his magical powers the right way. But it’s brutally hard work. Not everyone believes he’s a reformed character, and the strain is putting unbearable pressure on his secret relationship with waste-man Ned Hall.

Ned’s sick of magic. Sick of the trouble it brings, sick of its dangerous grip on Crispin and the miserable look it puts in his eyes, and sick of being afraid that a gentleman magician won’t want a street paper-seller forever—or even for much longer.

But something is stirring among London’s forgotten discards. An ancient evil is waking up and seeking its freedom. And when wild magic hits the rag-and-bottle shop where Ned lives, a panicking Crispin falls back onto bad habits. The embattled lovers must find a way to work together—or London could go up in flames.

This story is set in the world of the Charm of Magpies series.

Warning: Contains a warlock who needs to go straight (but isn’t), a waste-man running out of patience, blood magic, bad-tempered justiciars, and a pen with a mind of its own.

My Review:
Crispin is a disgraced warlock attempting rehabilitation. He had no idea when he was recruited, as a child, by a blood magician that he was doing anything illegal. It was only when his mentor and caretaker was found guilty of murder that Crispin’s involvement became known. He’s been offered several mentors to re-train him in acceptable use of magic–and has failed all attempts, his magic–graphimancy–simply doesn’t work like other types. Using his forbidden bone pen (fashioned from one of his own finger bones!) Crispin can draw with his own blood and make magic happen. It’s a bit harrowing, and highly frowned upon.

Ned and Crispin met when Ned assisted in the capture of Crispin’s murderous mentor. They have maintained a clandestine love over the past several months, despite Ned’s aversion to magic. He is “flit” able to hear magic, and he also despises this ability. As Crispin takes on yet another mentor, Ned’s getting embroiled in a magical plot–jar sellers, like his neighbor, are being killed in extraordinary ways. Ned can hear the use of magic, and Crispin breaks his oath to save Ned and his rag shop for certain destruction. As the story unfolds Ned and Crispin learn that a great danger is being unleashed, and it’s up to them to save London…

It’s a fantastic mystery, and a sweet romance. This book is the first in a spin-off series from the Charm of Magpies, and fully enjoyable on its own–though I will admit to rushing back and buying up the Charm of Magpie books. I’ve not read a book by this author that I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed, so it’s not a big gamble.

Interested? You can find RAG AND BONE on Goodreads, Samhain Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and AllRomance.

About the Author:
KJ Charles is a writer and freelance editor. She lives in London with her husband, two kids, an out-of-control garden and an increasingly murderous cat.

KJ writes mostly romance, gay and straight, frequently historical, and usually with some fantasy or horror in there. She specialises in editing romance, especially historical and fantasy, and also edits children’s fiction.

Find her on twitter, Facebook, join her Facebook group, or contact her here. She is represented by Deidre Knight at The Knight Agency, and published by Samhain and Loveswept.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Deadly Consequences–BRIGHT BLAZE OF MAGIC-A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a fantastic YA magical suspense adventure from Jennifer Estep. BRIGHT BLAZE OF MAGIC is the third book in the Black Blades series. You’ll remember that I loved DARK HEART OF MAGIC and it’s the same for this one.

Bright Blaze of Magic (Black Blade, #3)About the book:
Bad Things Always Come In Threes…

As a thief, I’m good at three things: hiding in the shadows, getting in and out unseen, and uncovering secrets. I put these skills to work for the Sinclair Family, one of the magical mobs that run the tourist town of Cloudburst Falls.

Everyone knows Victor Draconi wants to take over all the other Families–and kill every last Sinclair. What they don’t know is that I’m on to him, and no way will I let the man who murdered my mom get away with hurting all the other people I care about. Especially when I’ve got places to break into, stuff to steal, and Devon Sinclair fighting right by my side…

My Review:
This is the third book in a series, and I’d encourage readers to read the previous books for best enjoyment.

Lila Sterling is an orphaned teen in a magical world. She’s got plenty of magic herself, including the ability to sense magical power and transfer power used against her into magic she can use for herself. These are rare Talents, and she could find herself fighting for her life if power-hungry demagogues, like Victor Draconi, could get his lethal hands upon her. See, Victor has already killed Lila’s father and mother, and he’s the brutal leader of one of the four Families (think magic mafia) that control the power and commerce in Cloudburst Fall, NC.

Lila is employed by the Sinclair family as a bodyguard to Devon Sinclair, a beefy Bruiser, only son to Claudia Sinclair, head of the Family. Lila’s mother had worked for the Sinclairs many years ago, and Lila feels safe in their world–except she’d discovered a cache of magic infused weapons that had been collected by Victor. These mark the capstone in Victor’s plan to kill the other Families and seize all power in Cloudburst Falls, so Lila, Devon and Felix steal the majority of the weapons–with the help of Deah, Victor’s daughter (and Lila’s cousin)–and replace them with fakes.

It’s not long before all-out war is declared. It’s a bloody business and many lives are lost. It sould have been a massacre if Victor’s minions had the magic-infused weapons, however. Lila has the ability to end the siege, and bargain for the release of captives, using the very blades she stole from Victor. Oh, and win also a magic duel to end all battles.

I love the tension in this book. So many life-or-death moments, and increasing suspense. It’s a tough road for Lila, who wants to kill Victor, but needs to use her head, and plan the perfect revenge. When the time comes, she’s still a girl, one fighting for her life–and those all whom she loves. She and Devon are a couple in the book series, and they have appropriate levels of affection, which are wholly clean. Expect Lila to be hurt, downtrodden, and nearly out of the game altogether, but to persevere against all expectations. The magical elements of this world are truly charming, with unique fauna that have deadly abilities. Who knew I’d love me some Lochness monster? Yes, even a tentacled beast of the deep had me going Aww!

The end of this book marks a hard break in the series, with some small plot threads left open for use in another book–though I have no idea if a fourth book is forthcoming. 😉 That said, I’d totally read on. Lila was one of my Kick-Ass Heroines of 2015, and she’s a shoe-in to claim the title again in 2016. Between her thievery, her strength and her indomitable spirit, she’s a gal who gets the job done. If the job is protection, theft and saving the day, that is…

Interested? You can find BRIGHT BLAZE OF MAGIC on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and libraries/bookstores everywhere. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

About the Author:

Jennifer Estep is the New York Times bestselling author of the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series; the Black Blade young adult urban fantasy; the Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series; and the Bigtime paranormal romance series.

Her books are available in print, audio, and e-book formats from a variety of retailers, including the following: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Books-A-Million / iTunes / Kobo / Audible / Brilliance Audio.

You can catch up to Jennifer on her website, Facebook and twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Five Star Reads: TEMPEST by Cari Z

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a link to a review I wrote for Joyfully Jay Reviews for a book that came out yesterday. I’ve been reviewing there for a year now, and every now and again I come across books that I just adore and want to share with my readers, too.

For those who are not familiar with Joyfully Jay, the site pretty much exclusively reviews LGBTQ books, with a heavy emphasis on M/M romance.

I’ve chosen TEMPEST by Cari Z, a high fantasy adventure, to share because it knocked my socks off with fantastic world building and a compelling plot.

TempestAbout TEMPEST by Cari Z:

Love can change a soul. But can it save one life?

Colm Weathercliff is a simple fisherman with an uncanny (some might say preternatural knack) for his trade. He thought leaving his small village to take his father’s ashes to the capital city of Caithmor for a proper burial would be the grandest adventure of his life.

At first, all his hopes seem to be fulfilled. He finds a home where he s accepted without question, the freedom to use his talent to its fullest effect, and love with Nichol, a man with a longing for the sea as powerful as Colm’s.

But Caithmor holds as many dangers as it does attractions. Colm’s greatest secret turns out to be a dark revelation that gets him and his family shunned and changes everything he thought he knew about himself.

The truth about his parentage, his gift, even his physical form could poison his chance for love. And doom both him and Nichol to a gruesome, inescapable fate.

Warning: Contains graphic violence, explicit sex, and scenes of torture that may not be for the faint of heart. These mermen bear no resemblance to those you might have seen in a certain animated film

My entire review can be found here, but these are the highlights:

This is a fantasy and adventure with a romance that grows naturally. I was so intrigued throughout, because the world building is excellent. The elements of magic are considerable, with selkies and mer and curses and priestly charms. I think everyone will know the secret of Colm’s magic from the blurb, but the reveal is so different from my expectations that I was completely blindsided by the next several plot turns. I found the juxtaposition of religion and magic to be unique, with the priests and royalty full practitioners of magic, while even innate magic was forbidden to the regular folk.

It’s an HEA, mostly, and I hope to see another book set in this beautifully-written world.

Interested? You can find TEMPEST on Goodreads, Samhain Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and All Romance.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

 

Out Today! MAGIC AND MISTLETOE–Review & Giveaway

M&MHi there! Today I’m so excited to share my review for Annabelle Jacob’s new Christmas M/M romance, MAGIC & MISTLETOE, and you had better believe there’s a good deal of both in this novella.

Check out my review, an excerpt and enter to win a backlist book from Annabelle and a $10 Amazon GC.

MagicANDMistletoe-fAbout the book:

Christmas is Harry’s favourite time of the year, but it looks like he’ll be spending it alone. When it comes to the men he fancies, his luck is non-existent. Harry’s nerves always get the better of him—especially when he tries to talk to Andrew, the hot guy downstairs.

Everything changes when Harry meets a mysterious girl in the woods who professes to be a witch. He dismisses her claims, but when odd things start happening to him, he has to reconsider.

Andrew was attracted to Harry from the start, but their awkward encounters put him off. All goes well until Harry opens his mouth—and ruins it with his stupidity and silly comments. When Harry suddenly becomes more relaxed and they have a proper conversation, Andrew realises his first impression was wrong. As the days count down to December 25, they get swept up in the Christmas spirit and their relationship moves faster than either expected.

A little winter magic might have been the push they needed, but Harry worries that when it wears off, he’ll no longer be the man Andrew wants.

How about a little taste?

Harry didn’t need to look behind him to have his suspicions confirmed. The smug expression on Jason’s face said it all. “I hate you,” he whispered.

Jason kicked his shin. “Sit up, smile, and look happy to see him.”

Two minutes later, Andrew was pulling up a chair and setting his drink on the table.

Harry looked at the red takeaway cup topped with a mountain of whipped cream, and grinned. Instead of blurting out the first thing that came to mind—“Are you really gonna drink that?”—because God only knew what would happen this time to make him stop, Harry paused and took a sip of his coffee.

Andrew darted a glance between Harry and Jason, beginning to look uncomfortable, as though he thought he’d interrupted them.

Harry took a deep breath, then gestured at Andrew’s cup. “Is that one of the Christmas specials?” That wasn’t so hard, was it?

He relaxed a little as Andrew smiled at him and settled back in his chair.

“Yeah, it’s the gingerbread latte. I don’t normally indulge, but it’s bloody freezing out there today, and I fancied something delicious and bad for me.” His gaze caught Harry’s and lingered.

A flare of warmth filled Harry’s chest. This was flirting, right? It wasn’t his imagination.

Then Jason opened his big mouth and ruined the moment, saying, “Yeah, I think Kyle has that effect on a lot of people.”

Harry choked on his mouthful of coffee, just managing to swallow it instead of spraying it over the table. He glared daggers at Jason, who feigned innocence.

Andrew glanced over at the counter, then back at Jason, and laughed, his eyes crinkling at the edges. Harry bit his lip in frustration. Why couldn’t he get Andrew to laugh like that?

“Yeah,” Andrew said, “He’s not bad to look at.” Then his gaze slid back to Harry and his smile softened. “Not my type, though.”

My Review:
Harry is a uni grad living with a roommate and pining, a bit, for Andrew his downstairs neighbor. Harry’s biggest problem is his inane comments that sneak out anytime he has a chance to speak with Andrew. While walking the woods with his mates one day, Harry meets Melia, a forest deity who stuns even dubious Harry into belief…sort of. Her curse/spell affords Harry the chance to think before he speaks, and this gives him the chance to interact with Andrew when they next meet.

Andrew is attracted to Harry, but not the bollocks that pours out of his mouth. Though, it seems that Harry’s verbal diarrhea may be a thing of the past, and that’s all to the good, in Andrew’s opinion. Andrew wants a steady man, and he’s not shy asking about it. As they explore the beginning of their relationship, the plans are falling into place for a steady courtship..but is it real or Melia’s magic?

This was so cute. Harry is delightfully unpretentious, and yet comes off as a total goof every time he and Andrew meet in their building. Harry’s mates know he wants Andrew, and they often take the chance to embarrass Harry, which makes his tongue-tied antics even worse. Melia’s a fun character, always putting Harry’s best foot forward, and arranging for just the right opportunities at just the right time (read: mistletoe everywhere and increasing alone contact).

It’s a quick story with some yummy sexytimes and a quirky mystical being taking charge of two guys’ happiness just in time for Christmas.

Interested? You can find MAGIC & MISTLETOE on Goodreads and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win one of Annabelle’s back list books and a $10 Amazon gift card.
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Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:

Annabelle Jacobs lives in the South West of England with her three rowdy children, and two cats.

An avid reader of fantasy herself for many years, Annabelle now spends her days writing her own stories. They’re usually either fantasy or paranormal fiction, because she loves building worlds filled with magical creatures, and creating stories full of action and adventure. Her characters may have a tough time of it—fighting enemies and adversity—but they always find love in the end.

You can find Annabelle on her website, Facebook, and twitter.

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Death by the SWORD?-Review and Giveaway

Sword blitz bannerHi there! Today I’m sharing my review for a contemporary retelling of Camelot. SWORD, by Realm Lovejoy, is a YA re-imagining of the mystical Camelot stories, with the Morgan LeFay being the unlikely heroine. I really enjoyed the first book in this series, HENGE, and was excited to see how the story progressed.

Check out the excerpt, my review and enter to win a $25 Amazon GC or one of 6 ecopies of SWORD.

Sword (Le Fay, #2)About the book:
Evil lurks. Camelot sits, vulnerable. The fate of a future king hangs in the balance.

After surviving a string of brutal trials, sixteen-year-old Morgan Le Fay is an official member of Camelot. But beneath its shining façade, Camelot is a crumbling government where loyalties are divided.

Nobody believes Morgan’s suspicions that enemies are closing in. Prince Arthur, a boy more interested in playing video games than ruling, will not listen to her, and neither will Lancelot, Camelot’s head of security. Even Morgan’s friend Merlin refuses to take action.

When Morgan discovers that someone is plotting to assassinate the future king, she must take her destiny—and his—into her own hands. With the sword Excalibur beckoning in the distance, Morgan embarks on a seemingly impossible mission. And before her journey ends, everyone will know what she is truly capable of . . .

In this second book in the LE FAY series, author Realm Lovejoy takes readers deep into the heart of a splintering Camelot.
________

Praise for the first book in the LE FAY series, Henge:

“Camelot meets Hogwarts meets Panem in this intriguing, well-written beginning to a planned YA series.”–Kirkus Reviews

How about a little taste?

When I glance at Lancelot, he is studying me like he thinks I’ve gone mad, and it occurs to me I probably have a dark expression over my face.

“Look,” Lancelot says, bowing his head slightly. “Before the final trial, I told you that I wanted you to not think of me as the High Knight behind closed doors. That maybe we could be friends. I’m not sure if what I thought at the time is possible, but for one minute, let me be an ordinary person interested in your well-being. You are too hard on yourself. You have a bright future, though you may not see it right now. I see it.” He puts his hand on his chest to emphasize his conviction.

Seeing him friendlier makes me squirm—it’s somehow worse than when he’s being tough on me. I want to scream and run out of the room and over the hills.

He walks closer to me and I’m afraid he’ll smell my sweat.

“You’re tortured to hear this,” he says as if he can see through me. “I don’t know what happened to you in the past and what you’re suffering from, but if you could just trust me, I’ll prove to you that you’ll find a fulfilling career in Camelot.”

Turning my head, I hold my thin gown closer against my chest, afraid that it’s not enough cover.

“Please,” I say. “I appreciate your words, but you don’t understand—”

There is a knock at the opened door. Father peers in.

“Everything okay?” he asks sharply.

He glances at me before eyeing Lancelot.

“Everything is fine, sir,” Lancelot replies and steps away from me. “Good day, Ms. Le Fay. Glad we have an understanding.”

I catch the questioning look Father gives Lancelot. For a second Lancelot looks insecure as he slumps his shoulders just a tiny bit. I realize then that Father intimidates Lancelot. Father was once a highly respected knight himself. Lancelot is still young after all, especially for the High Knight.

Lancelot gives me a curt nod as Father guides him out.

“Apologies for the intrusion, sir,” Lancelot says.

Father doesn’t look happy. “I understand your job. I once had to do similar tasks myself.”

As I hear their footsteps recede, I am left to face dread. I don’t know what ideas will spring from my mind to deal with this conundrum. But I know whatever course of action I choose to take will be my worst and best idea—terrible and unstoppable, like a forest fire. I know this but cannot do anything about it, just as a drowning person cannot help but try to stay afloat to breathe. This is my attempt to take a breath before sinking. To push past that strong current that keeps me in one place.

I take the statue of Astolat off my nightstand and hold on to her.

“Please… please,” I whisper to her. “Don’t let me…”

Don’t let me what?

What am I afraid of doing?

As my room darkens, the question haunts me.

My Review:
This is the second book in the LeFay series, and really should be be read in order.

Morgan LeFay is a gifted 16 year old, one of the strongest magic wielders in Camelot, and still, she was not selected to be the Maven, adviser to young Prince Arthur. No, that duty was awarded to Merlin, a boy in Morgan’s class who was clearly infatuated with her. But, Merlin’s got a checkered association with the Luminaries, a sect of magic wielders who seek to bring down the House of Pendragon, of which Arthur and King Uther are sprung. Being Maven seems a supreme conflict of interest for Merlin, and Morgan’s both frustrated and jealous.

And, depressed. Morgan returns to her father’s home to sulk instead of assuming her post as a Black Knight under the command of High Knight Lancelot. Lancelot comes to pry her from her sorrow, and it sets off a chain of events that I did not see coming. Morgan’s soon on the run–with Prince Arthur, a sulky teen if ever I read one, and searching high and low for the mystical Excalibur. The trip is dangerous, and Morgan has certainly signed her own death warrant by making this trip. It’s really a mission, one that she hopes will save Arthur from a Luminary plot. And she’s pledged her life to protecting Arthur.

The endearment that arises between them is good. It wasn’t sappy or anything. Arthur is a bit of a pill–he’s 14 and it shows–and he only slightly warms to Morgan in their adventure. He grows up A LOT in this experience. I liked that part. Lancelot and Merlin have very mixed feelings about Morgan. On one hand she’s a traitor, on the other she could be a patriot. And the murk surrounding the Luminaries plans keeps Morgan on a path to execution. Well, maybe.

This is a story that kept me guessing, and I felt engaged throughout. It’s a rather innocent tale, and a bit melancholy. I was grieved when Morgan was arrested, and felt that her new status, as a bearer of Pendragon’s Blessing, would have saved her, but it was not the case. The end is a fast and furious ride that includes a stay of execution in the most dire of ways. Arthur and Morgan have some reckonings to make, and I am eager to see how this plays out in the next book in this series. I also wonder how both Merlin and Lancelot will handle their feelings for Morgan going forward. I’m not certain that it qualifies as a “love triangle” as Morgan has only discovered romantic feelings, and they are set on one man–the one she cannot have. The resolution is sufficient for this volume, but the story remains active. Definitely recommend!

Interested? You can find SWORD on Goodreads  and Amazon.

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About the Author

Realm Lovejoy is a writer and an artist. She was raised in Washington State and the alps of Nagano, Japan. Her father is a Japanese ex-monk and her mother an English teacher from Rhode Island. Her art is influenced by both the East and the West.

Realm aspires to tell stories through her writing and art. She is agented by Jessica Regel. Her YA Sci-Fi book CLAN was released in 2013 and HENGE, the first book int he LeFay series was released in 2014.

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MAKE ME WHOLE–A Magical M/M Romance

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a slow-burning, magical M/M Romance from Marguerite Labbe. MAKE ME WHOLE is a bit contemporary, a bit ancient history, and a bit mythology, all wrapped up in a realistic romance.

Make Me WholeAbout the book:

After a grueling battle in ancient Greece, lovers Dexios and Lykon committed their lives to each other in the name of Goddess Cythera. After the war, fearing the strength of his love for Dexios, Lykon abandoned his vow and returned home. Heartbroken, Dexios called on Cythera, who changed him into four unfinished statues. In that form he would wait for his fickle lover to return, break the curse, and make him whole.

Thousands of years have passed when Galen Kanellis finds the statues in the storeroom of a Seattle museum and makes them the focus of his new exhibit. Needing information, he contacts his ex-lover Nick Charisteas. Nick has a lifelong dream of finding the Dexios Collection, and the last thing he expected was for it to wind up in the hands of the man who broke his heart. As both men search for answers about the statues, worries of abandonment and fear of loss test their renewed relationship, threatening to separate them again—this time permanently

My Review:

Nick and Galen were on/off lovers, not exclusive, about 6 months ago. Nick wanted a commitment and Galen couldn’t give him one, so he walked out. This isn’t as heartless as it sounds. Galen had previously been in a serious relationship but his lover was killed in a car wreck with a drunk driver–while Galen was driving. Galen survived in body, but heart and spirit remain crushed even two years later–he still can’t get behind the wheel without panic attacks. So, he wasn’t ready to commit to another man, though he did feel that something promising had been building between them.

At the point where the story begins, Galen ‘s art museum is prepping for a new exhibit and (astonishingly) he finds four bronze statues in the back of his storeroom. These four statues have no known provenance but they are clearly old and seem form a continuous exhibit, a nude warrior in four separate poses that suggest a missing mate.

Stunned and overjoyed with his find, Galen immediately incorporates the statues into his new exhibit, but he also reached out to Nick–who is a an art fanatic and also an antiquities hunter. Nick knows all about the statues as it turns out–his family had OWNED them in the past but they were lost at sea decades ago. Nick had, in fact, been planning a dive to discover the wreckage.

As it turns out, the statues have a curious history. They are all of Nick’s ancient ancestor Dexios, and depict him awaiting the return of his missing lover, Lykon. Throughout history, these statues have been cared for–at times they have been completed. It seems the real Dexios was cursed to wait eternally for Lykon to return, and the only way for these lovers to be reunited is through reincarnation and reconnection.

So, Nick’s thought is HE is the Dexios while Galen must be Lykon. Galen is appropriately appalled–he’s still not sure he can HAVE a relationship. Yet, the two (Galen and Nick) embark on a real relationship. They go on dates and begin to develop the kind of intimacy they had missed the first time round. It remained to be seen if this would reunite Dexios and Lykon, UNTIL THEY STARTED TAKING OVER THEIR BODIES!!!

I really enjoyed this book. Such great emotional angst. So many stakes–not just can Galen get over his grief? Or, can Nick overcome his fear of abandonment? No, we also have mythology and magic interfering in ways designed to truly test the love and faith of both Galen and Nick.

It was a slow burn, with tentative steps toward reconnection. Many times Nick, Galen, or both, had to slow the machinations of Lykon and Dexios. This was all to the good because they’ve waited hundreds of years to be together and failed several rounds of reincarnation. Smexytimes were well-written and steamy.

Interested? You can find MAKE ME WHOLE on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Dreamspinner Press. I received a copy of this book via Goodreads’ Don’t Buy My Love program in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author:

Marguerite has been accused of being eccentric and a shade neurotic, both of which she freely admits to, but her muse has OCD tendencies, so who can blame her? Her husband and son do an excellent job keeping her toeing the line, though. Together with her co-author Fae Sutherland, Marguerite has found a shared passion for beautiful men with smart mouths.

When she’s not working hard on writing new material and editing completed work, she spends her time reading novels of all genres, enjoying role-playing games with her equally nutty friends, and trying to plot practical jokes against her son and husband. Her son is learning the tricks too quickly and likes to retaliate. You’d think she’d learn.

You can find Marguerite on Goodreads, her website and twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Telling the Truth Means DESTRUCTION–A Review

Newly Released!


Introducing a new dark wizard family drama, Destruction by Sharon Bayliss, Book One in The December People Series.
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David Vandergraff wants to be a good man. He goes to church every Sunday, keeps his lawn trim and green, and loves his wife and kids more than anything. Unfortunately, being a dark wizard isn’t a choice.
Eleven years ago, David’s secret second family went missing. When his two lost children are finally found, he learns they suffered years of unthinkable abuse. Ready to make things right, David brings the kids home even though it could mean losing the wife he can’t imagine living without. 

Keeping his life together becomes harder when the new children claim to be dark wizards. David believes they use this fantasy to cope with their trauma. Until, David’s wife admits a secret of her own—she is a dark wizard too, as is David, and all of their children.  

Now, David must parent two hurting children from a dark world he doesn’t understand and keep his family from falling apart. All while dealing with the realization that everyone he loves, including himself, may be evil.

Destruction (Book One of The December People Series)

My Review:
I didn’t know I’d like this book so much! I mean, it starts out with an adulterous husband, David, learning that his teenage kids have been found. Kids he hadn’t known–not since their mother had disappeared. And, I mean that literally. She was a witch. Now dead, their children Evangeline and Xavier were recovered, not completely intact. Part of their wizard stepfather’s rituals had included rape…of both of them.

Bringing his lover’s kids home is sure to destroy his marriage–and it does. Amanda is furious, but takes the children in knowing they have no other prospects. David’s other children–Jude, Patrick, and Emmy–want nothing to do with David or their strange half-siblings. Evangeline believes herself a witch, for crying out loud! And Xavier says virtually nothing to anyone.

This family has more than just infidelity issues, however. Because, it turns out Evangeline is right–she is a witch. In fact, the whole family is magical–and not in a good way. Amanda had long ago, without David’s knowledge, stripped the painful memories of his childhood–including his knowledge of magic.

Amanda knew they were dark witches, and wanted to keep her family safe from the destructive magic they controlled by ensuring no one ever practiced. Not so easy when you bring home two magical children. Now all David’s children are practicing, on the down-low against Amanda’s wishes.

But it seems here’s a lot more going on in this family. The darkness is taking over Jude, and pitting brother against brother–particularly when Jude attacks Patrick’s girlfriend. To save his family, David must embrace the magic within and surrounding him. And, when he learns Evangeline and Xavier’s stepfather may not have been killed, well, it kicks off the biggest crisis of the book.

I must say, I was captivated by the story. The magic within is very subtle, and bears plenty of repercussions–being Winter People, David’s family can’t help but channel the destructive type of magic. Even simple spells with good intentions turn out to be horrible. You want to help someone? They get helped, but at another’s expense.

It’s diabolical, really. I wanted to hate David. He’s a weak man who carried on an affair for years–and yet, it’s impossible to hate him. His personal and professional lives are crumbling. Many men might walk away–and he refuses. He does his best to be the stand-up guy and strikes a bargain with Amanda to co-habitate and raise the kids together–even when all the magic becomes real and he’s completely rudderless.

Amanda is not a great person, because she’s so damned real. She’s a harried, frustrated, angry woman in a situation she never expected to be: supporting a man and his five children, though she only gave birth to three of them. Oh, and practicing magic again to contain her magic-infused charges–something she swore she would never do. Her whole world bottomed out the day those kids showed up at her doorstep, but she fought hard to keep her self, and her family, together. I had to love her passion for those kids and really respected how she handled David’s betrayal.

The book just kept moving, the plot getting darker and murkier–much like the magic. Don’t expect to see a lot of binding spells or fire incantations. This is a subtle magic, which I think made it more approachable. It’s a standalone book, and the first in a series. Several directions for other books to pick up this families trials, however.

Clearly Jude’s burgeoning darkness will be a huge part of future stories. And the day-to-day trials of choosing to use, or not use, magic will play out. The family clearly is divided on that issue. I look forward to other books in the series.


The Author

Sharon Bayliss is the author of The December People Series and The Charge. When she’s not writing, she enjoys living happily-ever-after with her husband and two young sons. She can be found eating Tex-Mex on patios, wearing flip-flops, and playing in the mud (which she calls gardening). She only practices magic in emergencies.