Clashing Love: THE GIRL AND THE GARGOYLE–A Review

the girl and the gargoyle tour banner newHi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a contemporary YA urban fantasy from Pauline Gruber. THE GIRL AND THE GARGOYLE is the sequel to THE GIRL AND THE RAVEN and filled with demons, gargoyles and witches. Oh, and few normal humans as well…

As Lucy soon learns, it’s not easy loving a gargoyle when you’re a half demon. Think Romeo and Juliet. With demons.

the girl and the gargoyleAbout the book:
Good versus evil just got even more complicated…

Being half-witch/half-demon and dating Marcus, a gargoyle, is complicated enough for Lucy. She can almost tolerate Jude, her demon father, implementing demon training. But when Marcus’s family arrives in Chicago, her world begins to crumble. Marcus’s mother wants him to return to the gargoyle clan where he belongs; his father wants Marcus to help him kill Jude. There’s one very major problem with this: if Jude dies, Lucy dies.

Marcus works with other supernaturals to help save Jude and Lucy. Meanwhile, Lucy has her own plan and with the aid of a surprise newcomer, seeks help from the most unlikely—and dangerous—source.

How about a little taste?

Jude balances a fresh fireball in the palm of his hand. He lobs it at me, and I hold my hand up. I envision my hand as a brick wall. Big, strong, impenetrable. I imagine it swelling, doubling in size and strength. As the fireball comes within six inches of my hand, I step toward it and lob it back to Jude. The fireball moves toward Jude, but sputters out before it reaches him.

“Pretty lame if you ask me,” Dylan calls out.

“Funny thing, no one asked you!” I snap.

“Again,” Jude calls out. “This time put some power behind it.” We repeat it again. I struggle to ignore Dylan’s taunts. Idiot.

What is it with him? Why won’t Jude and Henry reprimand him? I wait until the fireball is two inches from me then whack it back to Jude hard. He lunges to the left to avoid being hit.

“Nice job, Lucy,” Henry says.

“For a girl,” Dylan adds.

I spin around and throw a fireball at him. It slams against his shoulder. He tamps out the flames and flashes a big grin my way. “Is that all you’ve got?”

I take a step toward him. “Keep it up. There’s more where that came from.”

Dylan laughs. “You’ve got nothing. Without Daddy to protect you—and everyone else—you’re nothing.”

My Review:
This is the second book in a series, and needs to be read in order. In truth, I think they should be read directly one after the other, because I had a bit of trouble with the many characters, and all their powers, being in action when I opened this book–as it’s been nearly two years since I finished THE GIRL AND THE RAVEN.

To sum up:
Lucy is the daughter of Jude, a very powerful demon as he was Lucifer’s right hand man. Her human mother was the daughter of a powerful witch, but her love affair with Jude turned her into a mess, and a junkie. Lily grew up in abject poverty until her mother OD-ed and she went to live in the care of her Great Uncle Sheldon and his partner, Uncle Bernard. This cozy threesome lives in the first floor of a 3-flat in Chicago, imagine a tall narrow building that has a separate apartment on each of three levels. On the second floor is Aiden and Marcus, who are both supernatural–Aidan’s a demon and Marcus is a Protector, and takes the form of a gargoyle at night. On the third floor is Persephone, a witch who was part of gram’s former triad. Persephone’s been teaching Lucy witchcraft, how to use it and how to conjure spells. So, Lucy’s half-demon, half-witch, and totally in love with Marcus, a match that’s not generally acceptable.

See, Protectors and demons clash, quite literally. And when Marcus’ family returns as if from the dead–Marcus had been abandoned to his human stepfather at age four, and has been living with Aiden since a year ago when his stepfather died–it sets a whole lot of action in motion. Will Marcus leave to join his father’s Protector clan? Lucy’s stricken that he might, and that’s a big problem as there are demons out there who want to kill Lucy, and Marcus is a valiant protector, as well as having magical blood that heals all wounds.

But the reason Marcus’ family has arrived in Chicago is dire–they want to kill Jude, as the rumors are flying that he’s been killing Protectors willy-nilly. Is the threat real? Are the rumors true? Lucy can’t determine what’s true, but the search is on because killing Jude will destroy his bloodline, and any of his progeny: in short, Jude dies = Lucy dies.

So, this is an interesting story with plenty of action and a lot of wrangling. Lucy and Marcus need to seek help from some rather unsavory supernaturals in order to cobble together enough power to combat the onslaught of untold numbers of Protectors. However, the more they tangle with the Protectors, the more they recognize something foul in their midst. It’s a confounding issue that harkens to some seriously dirty business in Protectorville. I had a bit of trouble with this book, for my own self, because there are so many characters. Probably more than fifty, and not all of them are even close to important. Lucy is a junior in high school, so we have cattyiness central going down with the lunch crew. And, there’s a love triangle between Lucy, Marcus and Dylan–a boy at Lucy’s school who is Jude’s protege; there’s something not good brewing between Dylan and Lucy, who’d only always been friends. Until now. Somehow, Lucy’s physical maturity and the demon pheromones are a siren’s song mashing her and Dylan together–much to to Marcus’ frustration.

I liked how the pace of the story allowed Lucy to hone her skills, both as a witch and a demon. There are a couple of moments when I was struck by improbability woes, but the story adds realistic elements of Lucy being NOT a natural, at anything. She’s got to work for all the goals, and she’s a kind and compassionate person at heart–no matter her paternity.

At times, I felt like there was too much happening, and it wasn’t central to the plot. Time and again I had to recall who was who, and how they mattered. And there were delays due to Lucy mooning on and off regarding her relationship with Marcus and her friendship-ish with Dylan. She and Marcus both have to deal with scorn from Marcus’ father and his uber-conniving mother. There seems to be a bond developing between Marcus and his sister, and that’s good because they need all the protection Jude can get. The end is an epic battle that resulted in sort-of-evil triumphing over definitely-bad-bad-bad, which was a bit Pyrrhic. I liked how it all worked out, but the stage is set for further machinations which Lucy is not privy to. This book allowed a few other characters to grab POV in chapters to advance the story, and so the reader knows that Lucy is still in grave danger, even as she’s survived this current storm.

Interested? You can find THE GIRL AND THE GARGOYLE on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo and Smashwords.

The Girl and the RavenDon’t forget to check out my review on THE GIRL AND THE RAVEN, the first book in this series.

Lucy’s hard luck life improves with her move to Chicago, but she’s soon caught up between forces she never imagined, and that’s not the worst part. Nope, learning you aren’t orphan is cold comfort when your dad turns out to be a demon.

Interested? You can find the THE GIRL AND THE RAVEN at Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Pauline GruberAbout the Author:
Pauline Gruber is a self-professed music junkie, cat wrangler, and travel nut. She went to Paris in the 90’s where she discovered a love of three things: croissants, old cathedrals, and gargoyles. Deciding that the paranormal world could use a new kind of hero, Pauline translated her fascination with the protective gargoyle into a suspenseful love story. She is the author of the young adult series, The Girl and the Raven, The Girl and the Gargoyle and the forthcoming novel, The Girl and the Demon. By day, Pauline is a legal assistant for a Chicago law firm where she steals identities and incorporates them into her books. If you tell anyone, she’ll deny, deny, deny.

Pauline lives outside of Chicago with her precocious black cats.

You can catch up with Pauline online on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Tumblr, and Pinterest.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

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The World Between INK AND SHADOWS–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m featuring a new urban fantasy–which I’m sure will become a series–from Rhys Ford. INK AND SHADOWS is my first book from Rhys Ford, and I’m glad to saw it was a stellar read. This is a M/M book, but there is little romance and no sex. It really only has gay characters, some of whom want relationships and others who do not…but the STORY is about the Veil and what lies in wait behind it.

Ink and Shadows (Ink and Shadows, #1)About the book:

Kismet Andreas lives in fear of the shadows.

For the young tattoo artist, the shadows hold more than darkness. He is certain of his insanity because the dark holds creatures and crawling things only he can see—monsters who hunt out the weak to eat their minds and souls, leaving behind only empty husks and despair.

And if there’s one thing Kismet fears more than being hunted—it’s the madness left in its wake.

The shadowy Veil is Mal’s home. As Pestilence, he is the youngest—and most inexperienced—of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, immortal manifestations resurrected to serve—and cull—mankind. Invisible to all but the dead and insane, the Four exist between the Veil and the mortal world, bound to their nearly eternal fate. Feared by other immortals, the Horsemen live in near solitude but Mal longs to know more than Death, War and Famine.

Mal longs to be… more human. To interact with someone other than lunatics or the deceased.

When Kismet rescues Mal from a shadowy attack, Pestilence is suddenly thrust into a vicious war—where mankind is the prize, and the only one who has faith in Mal is the human the other Horsemen believe is destined to die.

My Review:

The Four Horsemen, Death, War, Pestilence and Famine are immortals who live on earth, hidden behind the Veil which shrouds the Fae, Darkfae and other immortals, like the Vitues: Faith Charity, Peace and Hope (among others like Gluttony, Lust and Luck…) from the sight of mortals. Except crazies and seers can sometimes see them. Kismet is likely crazy, but he’s had the “gift” of sight since childhood. He is terrorized by his constant observations of wraiths and ghosts, including that of his younger brother who was inadvertently poisoned by their addict mother. Kismet is crippled by his visions, and self-medicates with heroin to keep the wraiths from attacking his mind.

Kismet sits at the center of an intricate plot to remove some immortals from their Calling. See, if people need help crossing planes, Death can be summoned. If someone is in need of Hope, she must appear–and this is a tiring existence for an immortal. Some want to settle down, have a “normal” life, perhaps even fall in love, and Kismet’s ability to see through the Veil may hint at deeper abilities. Spiking his heroin dose with an agent of magical origin kicks off the action.

Pestilence, known as Mal to his Horsemen, is lonely. He wants a partner outside of his group, and he’s too inexperienced as a Horseman to properly wield the Veil. War (Ari) yearns for more than kinship with Death, the eldest and most powerful of the Horseman. Ari is indefatigable in his pursuit, and Death welcomes his closeness, but keeps it platonic, fearing the loss of his soul if he should lose Ari, his best friend and confidante, for any reason.

Ari and Mal encounter Kismet while on patrol, and he’s in serious trouble–a powerful wraith has been summoned and is nearly finished killing him…except, Kismet survives the attack in the same fashion that an immortal might. It freaks both Mal and Ari out, and Mal insists on bringing him to Death for advice. Pretty much things get bad right after that.

As I mentioned, this isn’t a romance, though the background is set for advancement of romance in a later book. Also, this book fully resolves, while still leaving plot arcs available for a sequel, or series. Through it all we have good guys acting badly, “bad” guys behaving with honor, new friendships (Kismet and Mal) and deepening ties (Ari and Death). I really enjoyed the back-and-forth banter between the Horsemen, and also how committed they are to holding each other up. This book is almost exclusively told from behind the Veil, with the immortals carrying most of the POV. I did have some issue with the rapid POV shifts–this is a particular peeve of mine. I like to stay in one character’s head for a scene, but the POV jumped constantly. It was less jarring than other books I’ve read, but still detracted from my enjoyment.

On the plus side, the prose is stellar, really wrapping the reader in this world within a world. The emotional landscape is rich and I had a great experience feeling Death’s pain, Ari’s deep love, Mal’s isolation and Kismet’s fear. The action is fast and fierce, with copious attacks, rescues and near-death experiences for far too many immortals. Looking forward to the next installment! (Fingers crossed for a some love scenes!!!!)

Interested? You can find INK AND SHADOWS on Goodreads, DSP Publications, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.

About the Author:

Rhys Ford was born and raised in Hawai’i then wandered off to see the world. After chewing through a pile of books, a lot of odd food, and a stray boyfriend or two, Rhys eventually landed in San Diego, which is a very nice place but seriously needs more rain.

Rhys admits to sharing the house with three cats of varying degrees of black fur and a ginger cairn terrorist. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird, a Toshiba laptop, and an overworked red coffee maker.

Find Rhys online here:  website, Goodreads, twitter, and Facebook.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

 

 

Cover Reveals for the Love of Olympus Series!

Hi there! Today, I’m sharing THREE cover reveals for Sasha Summers’ Loves of Olympus series. In anticipation of the release of ECLIPSING APOLLO, the entire series has gotten a new look! They look so good, and interesting. Looking forward to reading these…good thing all three books will be released on August 2, 2015!

Medusa, A Love Story 
(Loves of Olympus Series, Bk #1)
by Sasha Summers 
 
Blurb:
It’s said love can change a person. Medusa wasn’t always a monster…
Medusa is ruled by duty, to her Titan father and the Goddess Athena. She’s no room for the tenderness her warrior guard, Ariston, stirs. When Olympus frees her from service, her heart leads her into the arms of the guard she loves… and curses her as the creature with serpent locks.
Ariston goes to war with a full heart… and dreadful foreboding. He learns too late of the danger Medusa faces, alone, and a Persian blade sends him into the Underworld. But death, curses, nor the wrath of the Gods will keep him from returning to her.
Poseidon will use Greece’s war to get what he wants: Medusa. He does not care that she belongs to another. He does not care that she will be damned. He is a God, an Olympian, and she will be his.

Release Date:  August 2, 2015

For the Love of Hades 
(Loves of Olympus Series, Bk #2)
by Sasha Summers
 
Blurb: 
Hades, God of Death, has no heart. Persephone is determined to prove otherwise…
Hades, the Lord of the Underworld, has no patience for living things or his Olympian brethren. His purpose is order, administering justice to those who enter his realm, and keeping the balance decreed by the Fates. Meeting Persephone sways his focus, her gentle sweetness threatening his control. But he will not be tempted.
Poseidon’s scheming wreaks havoc upon Persephone. Hades has no choice – he must rescue her.
Hades awakens something within the Goddess Persephone. She feels no fear from his brooding presence. In truth, she’s never felt so alive. Every stolen moment together only confirms her instinct: he is meant to be hers. Such a powerful union suit will face opposition – from Olympus, her troubled betrothed, the Fates, even Hades himself – but she is determined to win his heart.
 

Release Date:  August 2, 2015

Eclipsing Apollo 
(Loves of Olympus Series, Bk  #3)
by Sasha Summers
 
Blurb:
Apollo is fond of many things. Music, poetry, physical prowess, truth, and love. The Pythian Games are in his honor and he attends, as a mere mortal, to enjoy the competition… and the women. Meeting the fair Coronis offers him his greatest delight. Her strength, her fearlessness, and her beauty clasp his heart with an irrevocable hold. But she wants none of him.
Coronis’ duty is to marry, but she yearns for so much more. She is a fierce competitor, a hunter, skilled in strategy and reason. Those that would court her lack both the mind and the body to rival hers – she will settle for no less. As a mortal, Apollo was both infuriating and tempting. But Apollo the Olympian is terrifying. She fears giving him her heart might destroy her soul.
Demeter’s need for revenge pits Olympian against Olympian, forcing Apollo into a darkness the God of Light must fight if he ever hopes to see his Coronis again.

Release Date: August 2, 2015

About the Author:
 
Sasha is part gypsy. Her passions have always been storytelling, Hollywood, history, and travel. It’s no surprise that her books include a little of each. Her first play, ‘Greek Gods and Goddesses’ was written for her Girl Scout troupe. She’s been writing ever since. She loves getting lost in the worlds and characters she creates; even if she frequently forgets to run the dishwasher or wash socks when she’s doing so. Luckily, her four brilliant children and hero-inspiring hubby are super understanding and supportive.
You can stalk, I mean find Sasha here
          
Presented By

Happy Book Birthday THE FORGOTTEN MOUNTAIN–Review & Giveaway

TFM RDL Banner
Hi there! Today I am sharing the love of a new release from Heather Lyons. THE FORGOTTEN MOUNTAIN is a contemporary fantasy, which has it’s roots deep in literature. I really enjoyed THE HIDDEN LIBRARY, where I came to love Alice (from Wonderland) and Finn (from Huckleberry Finn) and how they endeavor to protect the literary worlds that exist behind books from psychopathic killers who seek to destroy them. It was such a wild and fascinating plot idea that I was hooked from the start. And the next book in the series releases today!!!

The Forgotten Mountain (The Collectors' Society, #3)About the book:
After years spent in Wonderland, Alice Reeve learned the impossible was quite possible after all. She thought she left such fantastical realities behind when she finally returned to England.

Now Alice has become a member of the clandestine Collectors’ Society, and the impossible has found her again in the form of an elusive villain set on erasing entire worlds. As she and the rest of the Society race to bring this mysterious murderer to justice, the fight becomes painfully personal.

Lives are being lost. Loved ones are shattered or irrevocably altered. Each step closer Alice gets to the shadowy man she hunts, the more secrets she unravels, only to reveal chilling truths. If she wants to win this war and save millions of lives, Alice must once more embrace the impossible and make the unimaginable, imaginable.

Sometimes, the rabbit hole leads to terrifying places.

My Review:
This is the third book in a series, and should be read in order.

At the end of the last book, Alice and Mary Lennox (of The Secret Garden) are on the hunt for their loves: Finn (of Huckleberry Finn) and Victor (son of Dr. Frankenstein), adopted brothers who may have perished when the book world in which they were chasing known killer Sweeney Todd was destroyed. Against all odds, Alice believes Finn to be alive; she has lost love before, and regained it with Finn. She will stop at nothing to find him, and, if that means breaking and entering, well, she luckily has renowned thief The Artful Dodger on her side.

Unfortunately, finding Finn doesn’t bring her much relief–because he’s been enchanted and will likely die if she cannot find the 13th Wise Woman, from Grimm’s Fairytales, to undo the curse. This entire series is an incredibly creative literary enterprise. I adore Alice, who is single-minded of purpose, and a kickass heroine. She’s all grown up from her first trip to Wonderland, now an exiled queen whose loved-and-lost story is all the more powerful because she chose political peace over personal comfort. She tells the bulk of this story, and her pain and courage is plain.

The main objective of all Alice’s travels is to locate Gabe Pfeffer, or Lygari, or his much older name, The Pied Piper. Trouble is, there’s trouble every step of the way. Like most of the Brothers Grimm’s works, this is not a light-hearted fable. Nope, it’s a dark tale that includes vengeance, lies, enchantment and a teeny bit of sex. I’m kinda frustrated by the end…because I MUST know what happens next, and, alas, it’s a kicker cliffhanger, IMHO. I don’t want to spoil the book, so I’m ending this review here. If you think you’ll like creative literary fantasy with a vengeful queen who will do absolutely anything to save her prince, this book is for you.

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

****GIVEAWAY****

Click the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win a cool charm bracelet and signed paperback!
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Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Heather LyonsAbout the author:
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.

Inkslinger

Love & Deception in RISE & FALL–Review, Excerpt and Giveaway

Hi all! Today I’m SO eager to share the latest installment of Charlie Cochet’s THIRD series. I’ve blogged about HELL & HIGH WATER and BLOOD & THUNDER and RACK & RUIN so I’m all in on this M/M Romance/Police/Shifter series. If I HAD a guilty pleasure this series might be it; but, since I feel no guilt, it’s really all about the pleasure….

Rise & Fall 

(THIRDS Series, Book #4) by Charlie Cochet 
About the book: 
After an attack by the Coalition leaves THIRDS Team Leader Sloane Brodie critically injured, agent Dexter J. Daley swears to make Beck Hogan pay for what he’s done. But Dex’s plans for retribution are short-lived. With Ash still on leave with his own injuries, Sloane in the hospital, and Destructive Delta in the Coalition’s crosshairs, Lieutenant Sparks isn’t taking any chances. Dex’s team is pulled from the case, with the investigation handed to Team Leader Sebastian Hobbs. Dex refuses to stand by while another team goes after Hogan, and decides to put his old HPF detective skills to work to find Hogan before Theta Destructive, no matter the cost.

With a lengthy and painful recovery ahead of him, the last thing Sloane needs is his partner out scouring the city, especially when the lies—however well intentioned—begin to spiral out of control. Sloane is all too familiar with the desire to retaliate, but some things are more important, like the man who’s pledged to stand beside him. As Dex starts down a dark path, it’s up to Sloane to show him what’s at stake, and finally put a name to what’s in his heart.

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Available for purchase at

   

How about a little taste?

Dex sorted out all of Sloane’s pillows, fluffing them up and arranging them before bringing the tray over. Once Sloane was settled, Dex placed the tray over his lap and kissed him, tasting a faint hint of minty freshness. Sloane stared down at the tray.

“Is it okay?” Dex asked. Had he forgotten something? “Eggs Benedict and pancakes are your favorite, right?”

Sloane nodded.

“What’s wrong?”

“You made heart-shaped pancakes.”

Dex held back a smile. “Are they too unmanly? Should I have made them grenade-shaped? I’m sure Letty’s got a mold for those.”

Sloane chuckled. “No, hearts are fine. It’s real sweet. Thank you.”

Dex sat down on the edge of the bed beside him. He ran his fingers through Sloane’s hair feeling guilty for having left him on his own last night. Sloane could take care of himself, even if he was injured, but his partner was drugged up and obviously feeling a little out of it, considering his reaction to the heart-shaped pancakes. Maybe it was time he took care of his partner like he’d promised he would.

“Why don’t you eat your breakfast while I shower, and we’ll watch a movie or something together?”

Sloane gave him a wide smile. “I’d like that.”

Dex left Sloane to his breakfast and went off to shower as quickly as he could. Showering wasn’t as much fun without his partner. As he lathered himself up, a naughty thought occurred to him. He’d also promised he’d make his partner purr. Finishing up, he could barely hold back his smile or the heat spreading through him. Easy there, Daley. Don’t get yourself worked up yet. He dressed in his comfy cotton pajama bottoms and a loose faded Back to the Future T-shirt before heading out into the bedroom.

Sloane was smiling, his plate devoid of any evidence food had ever been on there. Wow, his partner had been hungry. Really hungry. Starving. Sort of like after…“Please tell me you didn’t.”

Dex removed the tray and put it on the floor against the wall. He pulled the blanket back and tried to lift Sloane’s T-shirt, but his partner slapped his hand away. “Sloane, let me see, damn it.” He grabbed Sloane’s wrist with one hand and managed to pull up the cotton shirt, cursing under his breath at the tiny beads of blood seeping through the bandage. “For fuck’s sake, did you try to shift?” When Sloane looked away, Dex had his answer. No wonder his partner was out of it. It wasn’t just the meds. Sloane hadn’t recuperated from postshift. Dex opened the minifridge and found it empty.“When?” He slammed the fridge door shut.

“Last night. After you called,” Sloane mumbled.

“Last night?” Dex put a hand to his head. Veggies and hummus were all well and good for Sloane’s Human side, but not for the Felid inside him. He needed meat, protein, and more than the packet of sliced chicken Dex had left him in the fridge. “Fuck. Sloane, you know you’re not supposed to attempt shifting. The doctor said so, and it’s in the packet. To make matters worse, you do it when there’s no one here to perform postshift trauma care? With no access to the right foods? What were you thinking?”

“I’m thinking I need to fucking heal, and if that’s the quickest way to do it, then it’s a risk I’m willing to take!”

Sloane’s ferocity surprised Dex, and he took a step back. His partner’s pupils were dilated and his fangs slightly elongated. Fuck, what the hell was going on? It was like Sloane was having trouble controlling his feral side. Dex could see it. He could see the Felid inside Sloane staring back at him from behind glowing amber eyes. Could the meds be doing this? The recovery packet the doctor had given them specifically instructed Sloane to not shift while he was healing, especially while on his meds.

“Okay, take it easy. It’s me.” Dex held his hands up in front of him and swallowed hard, aware of the telltale signs. “There’s no hurry for you to heal, Sloane. It’s okay.”

“It’s not okay,” Sloane snarled, his fingers flexing against the sheets and his nails starting to grow.

Fuck. Oh fuck.

“Sloane, you need to breathe. Calm down.” Dex slowly edged away from the bed. Why was this happening? Sloane had never lost his grip on his Felid side. Not to mention he’d yet to fully recover from his first attempt. “Please, Sloane. Your body’s not healed from the first try. Who knows what a second attempt will do?”

There was no reply from Sloane. He was gritting his teeth, his face red, and his muscles straining.

“Sloane, you need to stop.”

“I can’t.” Sloane lowered his head, his fierce gaze on Dex.

“Why?”

“To protect you!”

Dex gasped as Sloane let out a roar, his body starting to shift. What the hell was Dex supposed to do? He’d never faced a Therian who’d lost control of his Human side, much less an Apex predator. Quickly, he backed up against the far wall, cringing as Sloane’s cries of agony filled the room. Sloane tore at his clothes, pulling his T-shirt and pajama bottoms off before his mass shifted, bones popped, and fur pierced his skin. Dex reached into his pocket and with shaky hands placed a call.

A gruff voice answered. “What do you want?”

“Ash, you have to help me.” The panic in his voice must have been clear, because Ash’s tone instantly transformed from its usual gruffness to concern.

“What’s going on, Dex? Talk to me.”

“It’s Sloane. He’s shifting, but it’s not… not normal. He tried last night but couldn’t complete the transformation. Then we got into an argument, and it’s like he’s lost it. I don’t think he’s in control. How is that possible?”

“Hide.”

“What?”

“Hide somewhere he can’t get to you. I’m on my way. I’ve still got my key to your place.”

Ash hung up, and Dex shoved his phone in his pocket. Where the fuck was he supposed to hide? When he moved his gaze to the bed, he stilled. There was no time for hiding. The huge black jaguar lay in the center of the bed, his tail thumping against the headboard. He sniffed the sheets, then the air before his gaze landed on Dex.

Wow! I can tell you, reading that passage had my heart racing!

My Review:
OMG. I’ve just… Well… Where to start?

*takes a deep breath* *remembers how Dex had to be assertive to win Sloane* *channels her inner Dex*

Okay. This is the fourth book in the THIRDS series. And at the end of the previous one, Sloane Brodie was injured by a car bomb explosion. It was (perhaps) fatal and we waited on pins and needles, praying alongside Dex, his partner in their job–and in bed (though THIS is a down-low issue)–to hope that his heart (and Sloane) will make it through the night.

I’m not spoiling this part. I will say that it is tense, and the feels are heart-wrecking.

Ash has been left to care for/tail Dex as Dex begins the revenge mission to end all revenge missions. Beck Hogan, chief of the Ikelos Coalition and person responsible for Sloane’s injuries, is Dex’s target–but Dex doesn’t know that he is Beck’s target. He and Cael are the prime targets for Ikelos operatives who consider Therian THIRDS operatives to be traitors to their race–and knowing that Cael is precious to Ash, who had recently infiltrated then double-crossed the Coalition.

Problem with Dex’s vengeance plan? Destructive Delta is put on leave. With Ash and Sloane severely injured, they can’t go on patrol, and the brass is determined to keep the unit on ice until Hogan is in custody, or dead.

Dex works on the side, however, setting up a shadow office and calling in favors from Delta and Alpha agents–all to take Hogan out. It’s dangerous, from a real life and a professional standpoint. There are set-ups and double crosses, and Hogan gets the best of Dex time and again.

Plus, Dex’s really walking a very very thin line of dishonesty–one that could very well cost him his job, and Sloane.

The pace never lets up. There is loving that THIRDS fans have been clamoring for (cough, cough CALVIN & HOBBS!!!) and Cael and Ash reach an understanding, if nothing else.

The intricate web of this world is being tightened and the relationships are becoming strong, more open, and trust is a conscious element within the Destructive Delta group. Plus, all the side characters are more fleshed out, filling roles as POV characters and humor elements.

I didn’t read this book, I inhaled it. Can’t wait for the next chapter in this series.

About the Author
Charlie Cochet is an author by day and artist by night. Always quick to succumb to the whispers of her wayward muse, no star is out of reach when following her passion. From Historical to Fantasy, Contemporary to Science Fiction, there’s bound to be plenty of mischief for her heroes to find themselves in, and plenty of romance, too!
Currently residing in South Florida, Charlie looks forward to migrating to a land where the weather includes seasons other than hot, hotter, and boy, it’s hot! When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading, drawing, or watching movies. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers.  You can find Charlie at
                  
Giveaway
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a $25 Amazon GC and a THIRDS swag pack.
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All They Could Do Was WATCH ME BURN–Review and Giveaway

Hi there! Today I am thrilled to share the love for WATCH ME BURN, the second book in the December People series from Sharon Bayliss. I reviewed the first book, DESTRUCTION last spring, and was intrigued by this contemporary witchcraft fantasy series.


About the book:
David Vandergraff lost his home, his job, and contact with his oldest son, but remains determined to be a good husband and father despite being a dark winter wizard.

His resolve is tested when a flyer for a missing girl–who happens to be a summer witch–begins to haunt him. David believes a spell needs to use him to save her, so he follows the magic’s command and looks into her disappearance. His teenage daughter Emmy resents him for caring so much about a random stranger. But when she uncovers some disturbing evidence close to home, she begins an investigation of her own.

David and Emmy quickly learn that the mystery is not only about a missing girl they barely know, but a deeply personal story that impacts everyone they care about. As their world crumbles, they fear the warning may be true—never mess with summer wizards, because the good guys always win.

Check out the trailer here!

My Review:

David Vandergraff is the head of a family of Winter witches. He doesn’t wish to be, but he is anyway. In this world, where one falls on the magical calendar determines the type of magic one will have. So, if a witch’s “date” is near the summer solstice, he (or she) will have summer magic, and be able to wield the power of light and goodness. Witches with a date nearer the winter solstice will have dark magic–which yields destructive powers. Winter and Summer witches are diametrically opposed, and have a serious battle between them. Meanwhile, witches whose dates fall between solstices, Equinox witches, can wield both light and dark magic.

David’s family consists of his wife Amanda, sons Jude, Patrick, Xavier and daughters Emmy and Evangeline. Xavier and Evangeline were from a different mother, and they suffered horrific abuse from their dark witch stepfather before David recovered them, nearly destroyed his marriage by revealing his infidelity–all of which happened in the first book.

Now, Jude is long gone–consumed by darkness enough that he raped a fellow witch: his sister’s best friend. He’s not COMPLETELY gone, however, because Amanda has been healing his darkness, taking it into herself at great cost to her own health. I can relate–a mother’s love is a strong and powerful force, much like magic.

David is somehow caught in a compulsion spell, one to bring home a missing summer witch. Julie has been gone two weeks, and David is consumed with finding her–and this brings both Emmy and Patrick into the hunt, involuntarily. Emmy knew Julie from volleyball camp, and hated her long before she understood about the animosity between summer and winter witches. It seems they have a physical reaction to each other. Emmy is a resourceful gal, even if she isn’t a powerful witch and feels likewise compelled to find Julie. Patrick is experiencing many disturbing visions of a tortured Julie, and his own role in possibly saving her.

In her searches, Emmy encounters Nathan, Julie’s older brother. He’s searching the forest where Julie went missing relentlessly, but he knows he’ll never find her. There is a strong confounding spell protecting the area, only allowing the access of witches who meet certain criteria. Emmy isn’t taken, either, and Nathan knows it is because the person who has Julie only wants witches who date on the Four Events: Summer Solstice, Winter Solstice, and the Vernal and Autumnal equinoxes. Julie was a Summer Solstice witch–and it made her summer magic powerful. With each Event the captor collects, he (or she) gains immense power.

The rescue of Julie is confounded–and David is struggling to keep his family together–when one of his children goes missing in the forest, too. And Amanda’s failing health seems to be at the heart of some of this problem. Nathan and Emmy join forces in the search, and they become close to each other in a way no one wishes, or predicts. Julie and Nathan’s summer witch family are relentless in their pursuit of the winter Vandergraff’s–wanting to destroy the winter witches, thinking it will protect their family and save Julie. They have succeeded in some destruction, but as Emmy tells Nathan, just because her family is “dark” doesn’t mean they are bad people.

This is a truth Nathan respects; his own family is light—and he knows for a fact they aren’t good.

I really love how this story is unfolding. It’s multi-layered with lots of twists, and significant moral gray areas. So many moral dilemmas: is it okay to kill innocents to protect those you love? Can one trust the visions of magic? What are the bounds of family, when power is the ultimate objective? Can good ends ever justify evil means? It’s fascinating, and deep, with good pacing and enough mystery to keep the series cracking along. The end is a good stopping point, but it’s clear there will be no peace between these two families, and that their conflict between them is only getting stronger.

Interested? WATCH ME BURN releases January 5th, but you can find it on GOODREADS and pre-order it on AMAZON. If you’re new to The December People Series, start with Destruction99 cents for a limited time!

Catch my review here!

***GIVEAWAYS***

Enter to win!! Get a paperback of your choice of Destruction OR Watch Me Burn.
Just leave me a comment telling me if you’re interested in reading this cool series and which book you’d like. I’ll choose a winner from comments logged before Jan 1st. International entries welcome.
 
Also join The December People Winter Celebration for more giveaways!!
And, Click the Rafflecopter link for your chance to win
one of 5 e-copies of DESTRUCTION or WATCH ME BURN

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and keep reading my friends!

Sharon BaylissAbout 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.

Check out Sharon online on her website, twitter, and Facebook.

 

I Love the Son of Satan–Review of Sixth Grave

Hi all! It’s Friday the 13th. I’m watching out for black cats and it’s too early in the growing season to get me a pumpkin, so I’m going to embrace the “Dark Side” for a day and wax poetic about my love for Reyes Alexander Farrow–the male lead in the Charley Davidson Series by Darynda Jones.

Sixth Grave on the Edge (Charley Davidson, #6)About the book:

Few things in life can come between a grim reaper and her coffee, but the sexy, sultry son of Satan is one of them. Now that Reyes Farrow has asked for her hand, Charley Davidson feels it’s time to learn more about his past, but Reyes is reluctant to open up. When the official FBI file of his childhood abduction lands in her lap, Charley decides to go behind her mysterious beau’s back and conduct her own investigation. Because what could go wrong?

Unfortunately, another case has fallen into her lap—one with dangerous implications. Some very insistent men want Charley to hunt down a witness who is scheduled to testify against their boss, a major player in the local crime syndicate. If Charley doesn’t come up with an address in 48 hours, the people closest to her will start to disappear.

Add to that a desperate man in search of the soul he lost in a card game, a dogged mother determined to find the ghost of her son, and a beautiful, young Deaf boy haunted by his new ability to see the departed as clearly as he sees the living, and Charley has her hands full. The fact that Reyes has caught on to her latest venture only adds fuel to the inferno that he is. Good thing for Charley she’s used to multi-tasking and always up for a challenge…especially when that challenge comes in the form of Reyes Farrow.

My Review:
In true Charley fashion, the book’s pace is set to plaid.

If you’re planning to read this book, you ought to have read the previous five installments first.

To be clear, I have a total girl crush on Charley. First Grave got me totally hooked on the ADD-suffering, grim reaper. She’s hysterical and brave and selfless and damned funny. Her brightly shining aura guides souls into the Great Beyond, each time she senses a little of that soul’s experiences–upping her empathy quotient by bazillions.

Her love interest, Reyes Farrow? Well, he’s the dark side of the coin. And by dark, I mean black. He’s the son of Satan.
image

No, no! Not that! Cripes! I’m not a freak!

Oh yes, that’s much better.
image

Don’t let his lineage fool you, however, Reyes is unequivocally, unremorsefully, totally in love with Charley. His mission was to escape Hell and kill the next Reaper. In fact, it is still his mission, he simply found Charley’s essence so awesome, he decided to be born on Earth so he could know her.

His life on Earth hasn’t been even just plain okay–he suffered horrific abuse and was jailed for a time. Still, he served Charley as a defender many times, and has built a fortune which he uses to protect Charley’s interests–oh and he wants to marry her. He’s waiting (again) on Charley–for her answer.

So, in this installment, Reyes is in constant pursuit of Charley’s answer, affection and companionship. A living man seeks Charley’s help getting his soul back from a demon. One of Charley’s “friends” has been kidnapped as a bargaining chip to get access to a WITSEC informant. And Charley’s cooked up a fool proof plan to get her Uncle Bob to finally ask her BFF Cookie out on a date. Whew! That’s a lot for a book that spans only a few days in time….

The Dealer is a new supernatural in town. He’s a Deava, the kind of demon Satan would stitch together from the remnants of dying demons. He’s on Earth’s plane, eating souls for sustenance. Charlie wants to win back the soul of his client, and makes an ally instead. A powerful one as even Reyes will admit. It seems the Dealer would like Satan defeated, and he knows that the Twelve hounds of hell have been unleashed to find Charley.

Cookie’s dating takes up a good part of the book–Charley sets her up on three fake dates to irritate Ubie enough to get the gumption to (finally) make his move. I love when a harebrained scheme falls apart spectacularly. As this one does.

Meanwhile, Charley’s reaper powers are becoming stronger. She is able to summon souls at will–and even mark them for Heaven and Hell. This becomes more important when she’s being blackmailed and tortured, by the police and a Mexican drug cartel, respectively.

Interestingly, Charley is only kidnapped for an hour in this book. To be fair, it’s a shitty hour with lots of innocent blood spilled, but usually she’s facing death a whole lot longer. Even with her newly-expanded powers, Charley’s not able to bring everyone home safely. Still there’s new life on the horizon, and it’s clearly going to get even more hectic for our coffee-swilling heroine.

As always, the overall series plot revelation is subtle. Charley gains an ally. She makes a new enemy. Her relationship with Reyes takes on a whole new level. Her father has a new mission–one Charley doesn’t know yet. We learn about the Twelve, and how Reyes may tip the balance in Charley’s favor. The cliffhanger this time was a bit heavier than usual, but also more tantalizing. The smexytimes are interesting and well-written, though I will always crave more Reyes.

Good thing I had the print edition, because I got me some bonus pages in Reyes’ POV! Yay!

Interested? You can find SIXTH GRAVE ON THE EDGE on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, your local library and probably a witches coven near you.

Darynda JonesAbout the Author:

NYTimes and USA Today Bestselling Author Darynda Jones has won numerous awards for her work, including a prestigious RITA, a Golden Heart, and a Daphne du Maurier. As a born storyteller, she grew up spinning tales of dashing damsels and heroes in distress for any unfortunate soul who happened by, annoying man and beast alike. She currently has two series with St. Martin’s Press, the Charley Davidson Series and the Darklight Trilogy. Darynda lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband of more than 25 years and two beautiful sons, the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys. She can be found at www.daryndajones.com.

Thanks for popping by, and keep reading my friends!