Finding One’s Path DRAGON ADVENTURES–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a M/M paranormal YA romance from Mell Eight. DRAGON ADVENTURES is the sixth book in the Supernatural Consultant series, which features a dragon, a demigod and a passel of maturing dragon kits. This story is a brief departure from the stories, centering on two growing kits who are being raised by William Armistead, a fellow territory leader to Dane. I fell into the previous titles DRAGON CONSULTANT, DRAGON DECEPTION, DRAGON DILEMMA, and DRAGON DETECTIVE, and have loved watching these characters grow and evolve in each story. This new one features two maturing dragons tracking evil human scientists and finding their mates in one another.

Scroll down for an excerpt, and to enter the giveaway for a $10 GC.
About the book:
Aqua and Rios are bored, which is always a recipe for disaster. Going on a trip might not solve the cause of the boredom, but they know it will distract them for a while. Except, Rios runs into a nix trying to save his river from drug smugglers and Aqua is kidnapped by a bunch of angry fire salamanders. Their fun adventure quickly turns into a desperate fight for survival, and they’re not certain they’ll be able get back home ever again.

How about a little taste?

“Ugh.”

“Blarg.”

“Pbtth.”

“Frrpth.”

“That’s enough, boys.” Uncle Willy’s frown of displeasure was pronounced. Rios shut his mouth on another fart noise and Aqua did the same at his side. The long table was quiet, Rios realized, and they were all staring at him and at Aqua. Uncle Dane, with his shiny blond hair, was easily recognizable sitting farther down. He was hiding a smile, but the rest of the people didn’t look happy at all.

“Really, William. This is an important meeting. Send the children away,” Ming said sharply. She was the tiny Asian woman who controlled everything west of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Mountains. The entire table was full of territory leaders, and Uncle Willy had explained who each one was and the territory they controlled before they’d arrived for the North American Territory Leaders Conference that occurred every ten years. The last conference had been in Mexico, and the next two or three were going to be in the US before it went back to Mexico. Uncle Willy controlled Canada, and he always hosted the conference after Mexico.

Uncle Willy had been very stern with the boys about the conference. He had been teaching them all about his duties as territory leader and wanted them to sit quietly so they could listen and learn. But that was boring!

Rios opened his mouth to explain how bored he was, but Uncle Willy’s frown grew even sterner, so he shut his mouth again. Uncle Willy was his and Aqua’s caretaker. He had found them making a mess in a river and had ended up adopting them instead of punishing them. Living with Uncle Willy was fun. He played games with them and taught them magic. Even though they had to do chores, it was much better than living in the wild. Uncle Willy had even lost a lot of weight over the years so he could go swimming with them; he wasn’t skinny, of course, but he could keep up now, at least. But then he had said that being fifteen years old signified that they could now take on some responsibility. Well, if responsibility meant sitting in boring meetings while people did a lot of useless talking, then responsibility was awful.

Both Aqua and Rios hated being bored, and Uncle Willy knew that. Rios hoped his answering pout at Uncle Willy explained his reasoning.

“Go on, then,” Uncle Willy finally said with a sigh. Rios refrained from cheering happily as he jumped down from his seat and scampered out of the room after Aqua.

It took them ten minutes to realize there was nothing to do outside of the meeting either.

“Nickel should have come,” Aqua grumbled into the pillow that he used for a face-plant. His blue hair was spread around his head like a wave.

He should have. Rios couldn’t agree more. Nickel was awesome. He was an older water dragon, about twenty-two, and Aqua and Rios had been playing with him for ten years. He had taught them so much about their shared magic and was happy to see them whenever they could convince Uncle Willy that they should go visit. Except, the last four years of their friendship hadn’t been nearly as fun. Nickel had a new playmate: an air dragon named Platinum. Instead of coming to the territory leaders’ meeting with Dane like Nickel should have, he was home playing with his new best friend. It wasn’t fair.

Aqua rolled onto his side so his face wasn’t being smushed by the pillow. He growled under his breath and then let out a heavy sigh. They were both brothers, and the fact that they had definitely hatched from the same clutch was obvious in their shared brow line and rounded chins. Aqua’s nose was a little longer than Rios’s, his eyes a smidge wider, and he was about four inches taller, but they were clearly brothers. They hadn’t been entirely certain of that fact when they were younger and had been confused for twins more times than Rios could count. When they had been kits covered in identical blue dragon scales with identically colored hair, no one could tell them apart. Only as they grew had their differences become apparent, but as far as the issue of being bored and being abandoned by Nickel, they were of the same mind.

“We should go tell Nickel how sad we are that he couldn’t come,” Rios whined, knowing he was speaking what Aqua was also thinking.

“Not on the phone,” Aqua grumbled in reply immediately. The phone number for Nickel’s new house that he was sharing with Platinum was written in a little book kept next to the phone in the kitchen, but a phone call wouldn’t convey just how upset they were with Nickel. It had to be done in person.

“Uncle Willy won’t take us there when he’s still in the middle of a meeting,” Rios mused aloud, “and Uncle Dane isn’t going back home until the meeting is over, so we can’t tag along with him.”

“So we’ll have to travel on our own,” Aqua said insistently.

That made sense to Rios. They weren’t too far away from Dane’s territory, or at least Rios didn’t think so. Uncle Willy owned big houses all over Canada. He didn’t want to use his main house—where they lived most of the time—for the meeting, so he had brought them all to his house in Ontario instead.

“Wasn’t there a map on the wall of Uncle Willy’s office?” Rios asked. They didn’t spend too much time in Ontario, but they had made sure to thoroughly explore the house.

They ran out of the living room eagerly, up the stairs, and down the hall to the office. Since Uncle Willy was downstairs in the meeting, they didn’t knock. Aqua threw the door open and they piled inside.

It wasn’t hard to find the map on the wall. It was only about five feet by five feet long, and Rios could easily grip the wooden frame and take it off the hook. Some of the lines were a bit different than Rios thought he remembered, but it was definitely a map of North America. Although, only the right half of the US portion of the map had the lines that denoted the States. The rest of the map was mostly blank. It definitely looked weird, but they could still pinpoint where Uncle Willy’s house was in Canada and Uncle Dane’s house was in Massachusetts.

“There is a river, see!” Aqua ran his finger down the big lake that Rios knew was called after a big bird. Lake Seagull didn’t sound right—maybe it started with an H, but it wasn’t Hawk. The big lake connected to another slightly smaller lake via a river, which then connected to a third lake that was close to where Dane lived.

It looked like it would be faster and much more direct to walk on land, but they were water dragons and could traverse through the lakes and rivers at much greater speed. Once they got to the last big lake, they could find smaller rivers to get to Nickel’s house.

Aqua held his finger over the distance from the third lake to Massachusetts and grinned at Rios. “It’s only a few inches long. With our water magic, we can get there in a few hours.”

Something didn’t seem quite right—weren’t they supposed to measure with a ruler or something a little more accurate?—but it sounded like too much fun not to go anyway. Rios glanced at the clock, which read eleven in the morning.

“We had better pack lunch,” he said with his own grin.

My Review:
This is the sixth book in a series, and contains two short novellas of paranormal YA adventure that’s able to be enjoyed as a standalone.

For readers of the series, we encountered William Armistead in DRAGON DILEMMA. William is a territory leader for Canada, and he adopted two wild water dragon kits some years back. He’s a super powerful magical being, but a struggling parent, so he leans on Dane–who is the Northeast US territory leader–and adoptive parent to 7 young dragons for advice. Dane has been raising dragons for nearly fifteen years, and is partnered with a dragon, so he’s a great resource. Dane’s in residence in Canada for a territory leader meeting when “Uncle Willy’s” 16 year old water dragon kits, Aqua and Rios, get bored and decide to hare off to Uncle Dane’s territory and play with their pal Nickel, who is a now 22 year old, mate-bonded, water dragon.

The silly kits use an ancient, decorative map to plan their route, sure they can traverse Lakes Huron and Erie in a matter of hours to meet their friend. The plan goes well awry. Rios, who is using his magic to guide their rowboat realizes that they cannot continue in the dark–even though they have only passed into a riverway leading to Lake Erie. He guides the boat to shore and ties it off, much to Aqua’s chagrin. They pass a chilly night in the boat, Aqua sleeping and Rios restless–until he witnesses some folks on an unlit boat dropping crates into the water. Rios is interested, but doesn’t necessarily want to get his clothes soaked. Instead, he’s startled by a green-haired boy with a fish tail who drops into his boat. The boy’s tail split into legs as he dries watching the drug smugglers deposit their product into his river. Rios is stunned by all this activity, and charges off after the boy–who he calls Nixie after learning the boy is a nix, not a merman. They pull the drug-loaded crates to shore in an attempt to hide them from the the accomplices who should be arriving anytime before sun up to claim the crates and head back to US territory with them. Nixie has been monitoring this situation for a long time–he says the drugs leak into the water and kill the fish. He’s been alone trying to manage the problem, and immediately goes into hiding when the Canadian Coast Guard arrives and arrests both Rios and Aqua–the only beings on the scene of a suspected drug handover.

This is a sweet and interesting adventure, which leads Rios to not only his mate, but also his calling. As Dane has counseled William, the kits need to find a purpose in order to fully mature. This may happen while out on an adventure, and so he should support the kits in going off on their own, just a bit. And, as Dane remembers, sometimes the kit will find their mate as a result. Uncle Willy gets called in to account for his kits, and learns of Nixie and the drugs, and how the smugglers will return–which puts Rios front and center to rescue Nixie, whom he is frantic to save. He can’t keep his thoughts away from the green-haired, green-eyed nix, and how isolated he thought the young man was.

Uncle Willy rolled with it, and Nixie becomes a part of their growing family. Meanwhile, he and Rios have new missions, and what looks to be careers and a future together. And, this, unfortunately leaves Aqua out in the cold. The second novella begins about a year after Nixie arrives with Rios. Rios, having found his mate and his purpose is growing and maturing at an alarming rate, and Aqua…is not. He’s feeling sullen and maybe a little vengeful toward the nix who’s got his brother so captivated. Uncle Willy is so tired of Aqua’s griping he urges him to go find his own adventure–assuring that he’ll help Aqua if and when he gets into a jam.

Aqua is game for this plan, and packs some food and drinks with a few changes of clothes into a knapsack. He’s mastered flying and takes off from Saskatchewan to find his own new path. He flies and glides south for hours, until he’s tired and hungry. Landing in a dry and barren area, he eats a bit of his packed food and is about to head off again when he’s clobbered from behind and kidnapped into a shack in the middle of what seems to be a desert. Aqua is unwillingly brought into a family squabble between four fire salamanders, one of whom, Ash, appears to be albino. Ash is the youngest of his family and unable to live in the sun and fire his siblings thrive in. Hes eldest brother has begun a feud with the neighboring fire dragon, following a falling out over a match their sister made with a female fire dragon. And it is this man who is holding Aqua hostage, thinking he’s a dragon spy.

I liked how Aqua had to use his wits and his skills to help save himself, and then figure out a way to manage the discord between the salamanders and the dragons. Ash, due to his isolation in the cabin, has had little contact with the dragons, and he’s a little mystified of them. However, once they connect with the local council, both Ash and Aqua can see that this feud is an outgrowth of his brother’s antiquated ideas and prejudice. Standing up for himself and his sister puts Ash on the outs, leaving him homeless and vulnerable in a place he can’t survive. I’m not going to go into the ins and out of the plot, but I will share that Aqua connects to Ash in a permanent way, and he knows he won’t leave Ash to suffer there in the Utah desert.

Both of these stories are sweet, innocent and imaginative. William’s dragon kits are truly maturing and it was so fun to watch them flounder a bit, as they figured out their places in the world. There’s so much magic, and its always so engaging to experience this world, that I can’t imagine not picking up the next book–whatever that may hold.

Interested? You can find DRAGON ADVENTURES on Goodreads, NineStar Press, and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $10 NineStar Press GC.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
When Mell Eight was in high school, she discovered dragons. Beautiful, wondrous creatures that took her on epic adventures both to faraway lands and on journeys of the heart. Mell wanted to create dragons of her own, so she put pen to paper. Mell Eight is now known for her own soaring dragons, as well as for other wonderful characters dancing across the pages of her books. While she mostly writes paranormal or fantasy stories, she has been seen exploring the real world once or twice.

You can catch up with Mell on her website, Facebook, and twitter.

Moving Forward With the DRAGON SOLDIER–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a M/M paranormal romance from Mell Eight. DRAGON SOLDIER is the fifth book in the Supernatural Consultant series, which features a dragon, a demigod and a passel of maturing dragon kits. I fell into the previous titles DRAGON CONSULTANT, DRAGON DECEPTION, DRAGON DILEMMA, and DRAGON DETECTIVE, and have loved watching these characters grow and evolve in each story. This new one features two maturing dragons tracking evil human scientists and finding their mates in one another.

Scroll down for an excerpt, and to enter the giveaway for a $10 GC.
About the book:
The aftermath of the last battle has left Nickel weak in bed and grounded for the next decade. Despite being in trouble, Nickel wants to return to the battle against the enemy as soon as he can, but thoughts of Platinum, the dragon helping to nurse him back to health, keep distracting him.

Platinum can’t believe how much his life has changed. He went from being a lonely fugitive on the run to part of a family in only hours. The last few days have been his happiest, especially now that he’s met Nickel. He knows it’s only temporary, though. The enemy that kept him captive for most of his life isn’t finished with him yet, but even Platinum and Nickel’s combined powers might not be enough to save them all.

How about a little taste?

Nickel fought to open his eyes. The lids felt like they were weighted down or as if someone had sewn them shut. He struggled with them for a few long minutes, then, exhausted, gave up and drifted off to sleep.

The second time Nickel woke, most of the weight had vanished. His eyes slid open easily enough, and then he had to blink away tears as the bright light from his bedside table lamp almost blinded him.

“Sorry!” Someone whose voice Nickel didn’t recognize gasped. There was a thump as something hit the floor, and the light snapped off a second later. Footsteps ran away from him, heading toward the door. More light flooded into the room as the door was flung open, but Nickel’s eyes had finally adjusted. “He’s awake!” the stranger yelled into the hallway.

A series of familiar thumps, bumps, squeals, and exclamations sounded as Nickel’s family literally dropped whatever they were doing and ran toward Nickel’s bedroom. The door was flung open wider, and a small stampede rushed to Nickel’s bedside.

Alloy reached Nickel first. He climbed onto the chair pulled up next to Nickel’s bed where the stranger had been sitting moments before. He leaned over Nickel’s head to see him better.

“Yup, he’s awake,” Alloy chirped happily. Alloy’s hair was rumpled from playing, and the bright red-and-blue strands that matched the colors of each of his wide eyes hung over his forehead. A pair of hands wrapped around Alloy’s middle and gently lifted him off the chair. Alloy was happy to settle into Mercury’s arms so Mercury could bend closer to Nickel.

“How are you feeling?” Mercury asked. His voice was soft, almost as if he was afraid of startling Nickel, which was silly after all the yelling from just a moment ago. Mercury’s bronze-colored hair was long on his neck, and his bronze-colored eyes looked concerned. Mercury was still wearing the button-up shirt he wore to work, so it must be late afternoon.

Nickel blinked slowly, trying to figure out what he had done to deserve the fanfare. Had he been sleepwalking? No, he didn’t feel strong enough to sit up, let alone get out of bed and walk around. He must have been sick, yet that answer didn’t jive either.

The rest of his family had lined up behind Mercury. Lumie was standing next to Copper, their bright red hair and eyes an exact match for the shade in Alloy’s hair. They were fire dragons, but Lumie was only ten years old while Copper was eighteen, the same age as Nickel. Next to them were ’Ron and Chrome, the two earth dragons. Chrome looked like he had been digging outside again; half of his face and his clothing were covered in dirt the same color as his and ’Ron’s hair. They were both thirteen years old, but ’Ron was considerably cleaner than Chrome. Dane had his hands on ’Ron’s shoulders, no doubt to keep her from jumping onto the bed to give Nickel a hug. That would be painful, but Nickel still couldn’t remember why his body ached so much.

Dane was the tallest person in the room. His blond hair seemed to glow, and his ears were pointed at the moment, which meant the glamor he used to hide his otherworldly appearance was down. He was unbelievably beautiful, but then he was the child of a god.

Zinc was next in line. Her long white hair, distinctive of air dragons, was loose from the braid she usually kept it in. It hung in a wave down her back. Her gray eyes were earnest as they looked at Nickel, except her face seemed thinner than Nickel remembered. She also seemed to be taller, almost Dane’s height.

Nickel blinked in surprise, and then saw the hand clasped in Zinc’s and gaped. Zinc, with her hair still in its distinctive white braid, was standing next to herself. Only, now Nickel was realizing that the first version of Zinc was actually male. They were egg twins, identical dragons except for their gender, hatched out of the same egg. He was Platinum, the dragon who Nickel and the rest of his family had been searching for ten years.

Like a spark had been lit, a fire erupted in Nickel’s head. He winced at the sudden pain, only it didn’t exactly hurt. Memories flooded back, each a little video that connected with the others to give him the whole story. There were a lot of them, the sheer volume overwhelming him and causing the pain-mimicking feeling.

Searching the woods for the person mucking with the weather. Finding out that Platinum had escaped from the enemy scientists. Watching Lumie and Platinum get kitnapped. Flying off to defeat the scientists once and for all. Losing the battle. And then nothing. He didn’t know how he had gotten home, only that he was safe now.

“How long am I grounded for?” Nickel asked. His voice was thick and scratchy and his throat dry. How long had it been since he had last spoken? Surely it couldn’t be more than a few hours. A day at most.

Mercury let out a growly snort. “For the foreseeable future. And don’t even think the word ‘candy.’”

Nickel sighed, but at the moment he honestly just wanted a glass of water. Begging for candy could wait until he could sit up properly again.

My Review:
This is the fifth story in a series, and best enjoyed when read in series.

Dane, a demigod, and his husband Mercury, a precious dragon shifter, have been diligently assisting dragons in need for the past ten years, while also raising their clutch of mis-matched and genetically-modified (by evil human scientists!!) kits.

Nickel is an 18 year old Dragon, being raised by Dane and Mercury. As a kit, Nickel escaped a laboratory where he was being cruelly tortured by human scientists trying to steal his water magic. When rescued by Mercury, and later Dane, Nickel wanted revenge, and they allowed him to wield his magic to take down his tormentors. Since that time, Nickel’s grown up, done his schooling and is training to be a private investigator. HE has helped Dane in his supernatural consulting business for years, while also tracking down the rogue pods of humans still experimenting on dragons. He recently helped save Platinum, the male air dragon who had been in captivity and testing for most of his 18 year old life.

Platinum is the egg twin of Chrome, Nickel’s adopted sister, but Platinum’s air magic has been mutated by the scientists and his emotional state can induce changes in the local weather. Having been raised in captivity, Platinum is shy of being in the company of people, and some of Nickel’s adopted siblings are a little too much for him. Platinum struggles with nightmares, but he’s trying to build his skills in both magic and his education–learning to read and write for the first time. It is through the love of Dane and Mercury that Platinum finally has a home.

In the rescue of Platinum, Nickel’s magic was dangerously drained. He’s having a hard time regaining his strength and this is really frustrating. He’s taken years to build his magic up, and now he’s barely able to walk to the bathroom. But, he and Platinum are sharing a room, and that makes it easy to lean on one another. Not that it takes Nickel long to realize that Platinum is his mate.

The casual way they connect is sweet and tender. I loved how Dane helped both Platinum and Nickel with (sometimes) secret plans to take care of one another. Platinum’s skills in magic are growing by the day, and Platinum delights in helping outfit their new office to accommodate Nickel better. Meanwhile, Nickel has big plans to make a life for him and Platinum–in a much quieter little cottage they can call home. Ultimately, they won’t feel safe if they can’t track down the last of the scientists who’d gotten away from Nickel. But they are both necessary to the investigation, giving Platinum the agency he’s needed to help him cope with his trauma. And, there’s a wholesome family vibe to this story where each of the dragons is essential to the security of dragons, at home and abroad.

I’ve loved this series and would recommend it for people who are fans of light romances and heavy paranormal.

Interested? You can find DRAGON SOLDIER on Goodreads, NineStar Press, and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $10 NineStar Press GC.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
When Mell Eight was in high school, she discovered dragons. Beautiful, wondrous creatures that took her on epic adventures both to faraway lands and on journeys of the heart. Mell wanted to create dragons of her own, so she put pen to paper. Mell Eight is now known for her own soaring dragons, as well as for other wonderful characters dancing across the pages of her books. While she mostly writes paranormal or fantasy stories, she has been seen exploring the real world once or twice.

You can catch up with Mell on her website, Facebook, and twitter.

Young DRAGON DETECTIVE on the Case–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a M/M paranormal romance from Mell Eight. DRAGON DETECTIVE is the fourth book in the Supernatural Consultant series, which features a dragon, a demigod and a passel of maturing dragon kits. You already know I enjoyed both previous stories, DRAGON CONSULTANT, DRAGON DECEPTION, DRAGON DILEMMA so I jumped at the chance to read on in this series.

Scroll down for an excerpt, and to enter the giveaway for a $10 GC.
About the book:
Nickel might be a water elemental dragon, but even he has limits—and the sudden rain storms, hail, and snow in midsummer are way over the line. Luckily, he works for Dane’s Supernatural Consulting firm and can use those resources to figure out who keeps mucking with the weather and get them to stop.

Soon Nickel realizes he isn’t the only one searching for the weather worker: the enemy he has been hunting for ten years has finally reappeared, and it’s a race to see who will reach the weather worker first. Nickel isn’t certain he’ll win, or even survive, the attempt, but he’ll do whatever it takes to save the dragons.

How about a little taste?

Chapter One
Nickel walked into the office and shut his umbrella with a snap that spattered water droplets all over his pant legs. He grimaced and tossed the umbrella onto the stand by the door with a sigh of disgust.

“It’s not that bad, dear,” Becky said cheerfully from her oversized secretary’s desk in the middle of the room. He scowled at her in return, which she ignored with the ease of knowing him for over ten years. Becky looked warm and dry while wearing a nice summer-weight cardigan. The rain hadn’t started until an hour ago, so she had already been safely ensconced on her throne. Nickel, on the other hand, had been out and about getting lunch. He had been lucky to be near a shop selling umbrellas when it had suddenly started pouring, but that hadn’t saved his shoes.

Admittedly, Nickel liked rain. He was usually the first one to run outside to play when the skies darkened and thunder rumbled overhead, just not when he was wearing a nice suit. He might be able to save his shoes, but only if the scamp napping on his desk chair moved.

“Lumie, scram,” Nickel snapped.

Lumie popped one red eye open, saw that Nickel was the one speaking to him, and went right back to sleep. His long red hair flopped over his face as he took ignoring Nickel to another level. Nickel growled and ran a hand through his much shorter blue hair in exasperation. There was no talking to Lumie when he was in one of his moods. Instead of fighting for his chair, Nickel dropped to the floor.

His shoes popped off with wet squelching sounds, and his socks left a puddle on the floor. Nickel’s magic fizzled between his fingers for a moment before he directed it to pull on the water, calling it out of his shoes and socks. It was a gradual process. Water moved slowly. It was sticky, according to the science teacher Dane had hired to teach all the kits, and was therefore happier to remain attached to something than not. It was why water always hesitated on the edge of a counter before the push from behind and gravity below finally sent it falling. Of course, once the first drop fell, all the water built up behind it fell too because it was all stuck together. It took some doing before the water obeyed his magic, but once one drop and then another began to coalesce in Nickel’s hand, it wasn’t long before he had a small river flowing from his shoes and socks into his cupped palms.

The water was cool and welcoming, just the way Nickel liked it. He continued to call out the water slowly. Easy, routine magic, it was also good practice for when he worked larger spells. Except the water was starting to heat in his hands. First it was only just warm, which happened sometimes when he was being a touch careless, but when bubbles started to form between his hands, Nickel turned to glare at Lumie.

“Knock it off!” Nickel snapped. Lumie continued to breathe evenly, as if he really were asleep. Experience told Nickel that Lumie was a dammed good actor, though. The heat continued to rise until the water stopped protecting Nickel’s hands and they began to get uncomfortably hot. His shoes also began to smell. ’Ron had stuck a hairdryer into a pair of sneakers once to try to dry them. The bathroom had reeked of sweaty feet for days when she was done, and the office was quickly taking on the smell of that awful aroma.

Nickel tossed the water before it could start burning his hands. It arced beautifully in the air, steaming as it continued to boil, and landed directly on Lumie’s head.

Lumie shrieked and jumped out of Nickel’s chair. His red hair was plastered to his face and dripping onto his shirt. He looked like a soaked puppy, especially as he scowled. Nickel couldn’t help grinning at the sight.

“What was that for?” Lumie shook his head back and forth, deliberately spraying Nickel with more water. The water steamed off Lumie quickly, leaving his hair dry and slightly fluffy.

“You know why!” Nickel snapped back, his good mood forgotten with the reminder that Lumie had just tried to boil Nickel’s hands off and destroy the office with a pervasive stench.

“Sleeping in your chair is no reason for you to throw water all over me!” Lumie yelled. His eyes flashed with magic, so Nickel prepared himself to block anything Lumie was about to throw at him. “And ugh, what’s that smell anyway?” Lumie asked. He turned his head away from Nickel, the water incident already forgotten as he sniffed the air.

“I was just trying to help!” Alloy whined. He poked his head out from underneath the desk. His mixed red-and-blue hair was disheveled, and his eyes—one bright red and the other blue—were wide as he tried to hold back tears. Nickel jumped in surprise and then growled at himself. How had he missed the fact that Alloy was curled underneath the desk? He shouldn’t have. Apparently, the distraction of Lumie taking his chair combined with his wet shoes had been enough for Nickel to miss Alloy. That wasn’t acceptable; Nickel snarled to himself. He had to be better than that. Alloy wasn’t an enemy, but next time Nickel might not be so lucky.

Still, yelling at Alloy wouldn’t have any effect. Either Alloy would pretend to be Lumie and conveniently forget the scolding a few minutes later, or he would run to Copper and Copper would smooth over any hard lessons Nickel had tried to impart.

“You remember the time ’Ron tried to dry her shoes in the bathroom?” Nickel asked Alloy as calmly as he could. Alloy’s nose wrinkled in disgust so Nickel took that as a yes. “She used the hot air from the hairdryer, and the heat made her shoes stink. That’s why heating up the water in my shoes started to smell bad.”

“Oh,” Alloy said slowly as he began to understand the mistake he had made. “I should have helped your water magic, then?” he asked curiously. For any other dragon, what Alloy had said would have been an impossibility. Elemental dragons like them used one element of magic. That was it. Nickel used water, and Lumie used fire. Alloy was the result of a cruel experiment gone wrong and had somehow been born with power over both water and fire.

“That would have been better,” Nickel agreed. “But you should always ask first before you interrupt someone’s spell. You could have burned me if I hadn’t gotten Lumie wet instead.” Alloy giggled and Nickel couldn’t help cracking a smile at the memory of Lumie jumping up in surprise.

“Shut up,” Lumie grumped. At some point, he had left Nickel’s desk and had wandered over to Becky’s instead. He was busy plundering her candy jar, but he still shot them a disgruntled glare that only faded when he finally found a Cinnamon Bomb. He bounced off into Dane’s empty office with his prize in hand, Nickel and Alloy promptly forgotten.

Nickel could only shake his head. Lumie had to grow up eventually, Nickel hoped. Alloy was certainly more mature.

“Oh, don’t worry, dears,” Becky said in her best old-lady voice. She looked like one at the moment, although in another minute she might look like someone Nickel’s age or even someone in their thirties. Her outward appearance wasn’t confined by age. “I have enough candy for everyone.”

She reached into her plundered candy jar and pulled out a package of red Laffy Taffy. It was cinnamon flavored, but Alloy liked the high sugar content too. For Nickel, she waved a stick of blue rock candy. She had apparently been shopping overnight, because Nickel was certain there hadn’t been any of his favorite candy left yesterday. He had checked.

Was it demeaning to allow himself to be bribed by candy? Nickel couldn’t help wondering even as he padded barefoot across the office to take the proffered candy. Alloy looked at his candy and then down at Nickel’s shoes. He whined to himself and plopped down on the ground. Nickel felt the swirl of water magic in the air a moment later. He took Alloy’s candy too and brought it over. Nickel called on his own water magic and sat next to Alloy to help.

My Review:
This is the fourth story in a series, and best enjoyed when read in series.

Dane, a demigod, and his husband Mercury, a precious dragon shifter, have been diligently assisting dragons in need for the past ten years, while also raising their clutch of mis-matched and genetically-modified (by evil human scientists!!) kits.

This is the first time the narrator is not either Dane or Mercury. Instead, Nickel, who is now an 18 year old dragon and a full-on detective working for Dane’s supernatural consultant firm, tells half the story. The other half of the story is told by Platinum, an 18 y/o air dragon recently escaped from the experimentation lab where he’s lived his whole life.

Platinum has been on the run for about three weeks. And, he’s managed to hole up in a cabin in a tiny mountain town–learning how to survive on his own by taking odd jobs for cash. He smells the scent of dragons nearby though, so he knows he needs to move on before he’s challenged for occupying the territory of another.

Nickel has taken on the role of lead investigator of a strange weather disturbance. At the same time, he’s catching rumors of a new air dragon in the vicinity, and following a lead on some of the brutal human scientists who’d escaped capture by Dane and Mercury in a sting five years before. Nickel is a determined young man, bent on gaining justice for the dragons and eggs these cruel folks experimented on to steal their magic. Nickel and his kitmates have all survived such experimentation and he’s more than ready to destroy anyone who plans to begin that business all over again.

This is a really interesting novella, with all the humor, twists and action that has become customary for this series. Nickel’s kitmates are a hoot as usual, and a preteen Lumie is the wildest of this barely-tame bunch. His antics bring home not only Platinum, but a pair of kittens for the dragon kits to squabble over. Nickel’s maturity and single-minded focus to his work is a great counterpoint to the actions of his dragon siblings. Meanwhile, Platinum’s life is truly changing for the better. He’s a special dragon, with untested and unwieldy powers thanks to the humans who experimented on him. It’s good to see him get to use these powers to help himself remain free. It’s also good to see that he and Nickel have an instant connection, one that may bear out a bit of romance in stories to come. In truth, Platinum is going to need a lot of TLC to connect with his kind in the real world, and I’m hoping that Nickel will be just the dragon for that job. He’s got the strength, the smarts and the stamina, and I’d love to see a bit more of his heart as he hopefully gives it to Platinum.

Every review I’ve read from folks who have not read the series in order has lamented beginning in the middle, but not because the story can’t stand on its own. More to the point, the richness and nuance of these characters’ interactions makes the reader want to dig deeper. I know I’m really enjoying myself on these fights of urban fantasy.

Interested? You can find DRAGON DETECTIVE on Goodreads, NineStar Press, and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $10 NineStar Press GC.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
When Mell Eight was in high school, she discovered dragons. Beautiful, wondrous creatures that took her on epic adventures both to faraway lands and on journeys of the heart. Mell wanted to create dragons of her own, so she put pen to paper. Mell Eight is now known for her own soaring dragons, as well as for other wonderful characters dancing across the pages of her books. While she mostly writes paranormal or fantasy stories, she has been seen exploring the real world once or twice.

You can catch up with Mell on her website, Facebook, and twitter.

Wild Escapes in EXIT PLANS FOR TEENAGE FREAKS–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a contemporary LGBTQ YA paranormal romance from ‘Nathan Burgoine. EXIT PLANS FOR TEENAGE FREAKS is a rollicking adventure featuring a high school senior with an inexplicable ability to teleport!

About the book:
Being the kid abducted by old Ms. Easton when he was four permanently set Cole’s status to freak. At seventeen, his exit plan is simple: make it through the last few weeks of high school with his grades up and his head down.

When he pushes through the front door of the school and finds himself eighty kilometers away holding the door of a museum he was just thinking about, Cole faces facts: he’s either more deluded than old Ms. Easton, or he just teleported.

Now every door is an accident waiting to happen―especially when Cole thinks about Malik, who, it turns out, has a glass door on his shower. When he starts seeing the same creepy people over his shoulder, no matter how far he’s gone, crushes become the least of his worries. They want him to stop, and they’ll go to any length to make it happen.

Cole is running out of luck, excuses, and places to hide.

Time for a new exit plan.

My Review:
Cole Tozer is two weeks from his high school graduation when his normal plan-making life gets upended. Instead of heading inside from the lunch courtyard, Cole steps through a door and into the aviation museum 80 kilometers away. Then, he botches the return trip–not entirely sure how teleport–and ends up inside his own locker at school. It’s only the perfect mess that he’s rescued by Malik King, a boy Cole has crushed on for some time. And then, he promptly passed out.

This isn’t the first time Cole’s had struggles with times and places. He wad kidnapped as a child–some of the nastier kids call him “Colenap” as a joke, but he’s re-evaluating that situation in light of his newly discovered teleporting ability. Still, he’s always been an odd ball, so he fastidiously plans to ensure he doesn’t get himself into any trouble, ever. And, now, with every door he walks through potentially being a door to another plans, Cole needs to keep his wits about him–or else he might just find himself in worse positions if he keeps thinking about Malik, who happens to have a curiosity streak a classroom wide and a glass door in his personal bathroom shower at home…

This is a really creative and interesting story, with a lot of great moments–like when Cole and Malik go out on their first…outing together. Turns out Malik is recently accepting that he’s bisexual, but he’s not exactly out, and he’s not sure how to deal with it. Cole’s experience as a sign interpreter of Deaf people helps him read the situations and draw connections that help Malik. Also, there’s some folks who are trying to track and attack Cole, to lock his teleportation down so he can’t get into trouble like back when he was a kid. Yep, for all his awkwardness, Cole’s precocious when it comes to his powers of teleportation. It takes some doing, but he manages to outsmart the beaurocrats and endear himself to Malik in the process. Well, for part of the climax, anyway. Cole gets some help with his traveling from a gal more experienced than he, and he’s able to save the day–and rid himself of the controllers on the teleportation pathway.

The pace of this book was brisk, and Cole’s narration is sardonic and adorably self-deprecating. His habits of mind: list-making, signing in ASL, extensive planning, all helped create a fully-developed, slightly goofy, teen boy. I was amused and “transported” along with him on this journey of self-exploration. I liked how the romance aspect developed–just the right tone for YA–and wanted to keep taking adventures long after the resolution closed. It’s a fun and sweet read, with a collection of realistic characters whose details I wanted to discover and figure out further.

Interested? You can find EXIT PLANS FOR TEENAGE FREAKS on Goodreads, Bold Strokes Books, Amazon, Barnes & Noble , Kobo, and iTunes.

About the Author:
‘Nathan Burgoine grew up a reader and studied literature in university while making a living as a bookseller. His first published short story was “Heart” in the collection Fool for Love: New Gay Fiction. Since then, he has had dozens of short stories published, including in This is How You Die (the second Machine of Death anthology), and has released his first collection, Of Echoes Born (Bold Strokes Books).

His first novel, Light, was a finalist for both the Lambda Literary Award for LGBT SF/Fantasy/Horror, and the BOTYA 2013 Gay & Lesbian (Adult Fiction) ForeWord award. His second and third novels, Triad Blood and Triad Soul, are also available from from Bold Strokes Books. ‘Nathan’s first YA novel, Exit Plans for Teenage Freaks, released December 2018 from Bold Strokes Books, and is a finalist for the Prix Aurora Award.

A cat lover, ‘Nathan managed to fall in love and marry Daniel, who is a confirmed dog person. Their ongoing “cat or dog?” détente ended with the adoption of Coach, a six-year old husky. They live in Ottawa, Canada, where socialized health care and gay marriage have yet to cause the sky to cave in.

Catch up with Nathan on his website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Cephalopod Coffeehouse March 2017–REVENGE OF THE EVIL LIBRARIAN

0ed81-coffeehouseHi there! Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the tomes they enjoyed most over the previous month. Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.

This month, my favorite read was REVENGE OF THE EVIL LIBRARIAN by Michelle Knudsen. This contemporary YA romance has a whole lotta paranormal, and picks up half a year after EVIL LIBRARIAN left off. I think it’s best of you read these books in order.

About the book:
The stage is set for a fiendishly dramatic summer at theater camp for Cynthia and her boyfriend, Ryan. With no demons at all. Right?

Last fall, Cynthia Rothschild saved her best friend, as well as the entire student body, from the demon librarian, Mr. Gabriel, all while executing the most awesome set design for the school musical, Sweeney Todd. But now that all that demon stuff is behind her, Cyn is looking forward to the best summer ever at theater camp with her former-crush-and-now-boyfriend, Ryan Halsey. Once she gets to camp, though, Cyn realizes this summer might not be all she’s been hoping for. First, Ryan’s best camp friend is a girl (which Ryan had never mentioned to Cyn), and she just happens to be ridiculously pretty. Plus, it seems the demon stuff is not entirely over as Cyn had hoped. At least any new demons that show up to ruin her summer can’t possibly be as evil as Mr. Gabriel. It’s not like he could somehow come back to life to seek his terrible revenge or something. Best-selling author Michelle Knudsen brings back all the hilarity and horror (not to mention hot guys) in this sizzling sequel to Evil Librarian.

My Review:
Cynthia Rothschild is off to have a fantastic summer of theatre camp, designing sets that will (hopefully) earn her a “Tony”. Her sweet, sexy and swoony boyfriend, Ryan, has been attending this camp for years. Years! And he’s sure Cyn will love it. Except, well, he neglects to mention his camp bestie, Jules, is a beautiful, talented female lead. And, Jules isn’t best pleased to meet Cyn–especially as she and Ryan have been texting/emailning over the past seven months and Ryan didn’t think to mention Cyn, or having a girlfriend, at all.

Yeah, so, teen romance drama is on the program, naturally, but this all becomes complicated when Cyn spots a demon in residence, in fact, he’s Peter, camper-writer of the musical Cyn’s been slated to stage. Peter admits to being a demon–but a good one!–who’d never kill anyone and gains his energy from the everyday drama of human relationships. He’s getting a feast off the Cyn-Ryan-Jules thing. Also, Cyn’s demon-repelling powers are in high demand with the demoness who assisted Cyn by destroying Mr. Gabriel, the evil librarian of the first book. As much as Cyn wants to deny the possibility, the book is titled “Revenge of the Evil Librarian.” Expect Mr. Gabriel to come back. What he lacks in style and substance, he makes up for in sheer malevolence. Even Annie’s at risk again, until Cyn can come clean about all her secrets and get her friends on board for a demon-take-down.

Ryan and Cyn struggle with trust issues, Peter’s eager to step-in as Cyn’s leading man, and demons, demons, lots of scary demons. The tension isn’t quite so high as the first book in this series, but there’s a lot more of the demon world, and the stage has already been set for murder and mayhem. Ahem. I really liked how Cyn owned her foibles and gave her focus to the most important issues: saving the humans, first. The rest of the emotional problems–hurting Ryan, losing friends, keeping her sights off the sexy flirting demon playwright–had an appropriately lowered focus, so it didn’t seem cartoonish. The pace is tense, the battles are gruesome and the enemies are many and horrific. I couldn’t stop turning the pages by the end.

Interested? You can find REVENGE OF THE EVIL LIBRARIAN on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and your local library. I read a review copy provided by NetGalley.

About Author Michelle Knudsen:
I’m the author of 45 books for young readers for all ages. Titles include the New York Times best-selling picture book Library Lion (illustrated by Kevin Hawkes), the middle-grade fantasy novels The Dragon of Trelian and The Princess of Trelian, and the YA novel Evil Librarian, which won the 2015 Sid Fleischman Award for Humor(!).

I also work as a freelance editor and private writing coach. Please visit my website to learn more if you’re interested – I especially love working with new writers! I’m also now teaching in Lesley University’s MFA program in writing for young people.

Catch up with Michelle on her website, twitter and Facebook.

Thanks for popping in my friends. Be sure to check out my fellow Coffeehouse reviewers to see if their “best book” picks strike your fancy, too.

Cephalopod Coffeehouse Jan 2017–EVIL LIBRARIAN A Review

0ed81-coffeehouseHi there! Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the tomes they enjoyed most over the previous month. Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.

This month, my favorite read was EVIL LIBRARIAN by Michelle Knudsen. This contemporary YA romance had a real paranormal plot–but took me in a whole new direction.

evil-librarianAbout the book:
#EvilLibrarian He’s young. He’s hot. He’s also evil. He’s . . . the librarian.

When Cynthia Rothschild’s best friend, Annie, falls head over heels for the new high-school librarian, Cyn can totally see why. He’s really young and super cute and thinks Annie would make an excellent library monitor. But after meeting Mr. Gabriel, Cyn realizes something isn’t quite right. Maybe it’s the creepy look in the librarian’s eyes, or the weird feeling Cyn gets whenever she’s around him. Before long Cyn realizes that Mr. Gabriel is, in fact . . . a demon.

Now, in addition to saving the school musical from technical disaster and trying not to make a fool of herself with her own hopeless crush, Cyn has to save her best friend from the clutches of the evil librarian, who also seems to be slowly sucking the life force out of the entire student body! From best-selling author Michelle Knudsen, here is the perfect novel for teens who like their horror served up with a bit of romance, plenty of humor, and some pretty hot guys (of both the good and evil variety).

My Review:

Cynthia Rothschild is in a real bind when her bestie, Annie, falls for the new high school librarian. Cyn knows from crushes; she’s practically worships the ground Ryan Halsey walks upon–not that he’d ever notice her. Ryan is all things beautiful and fantastic, but for Annie, she only has eyes for Mr. Gabriel.

Yes, Cyn thinks he’s attractive, but whenever she’s around him, Mr. Gabriel seems super-duper creepy. She’s got some sense that he’s a bad guy, deep inside, despite his flawless smile and pleasant demeanor. Watching all the people who come into contact with Mr. Gabriel, Cyn notices that they seem to roam the halls with vacant stares and lost memories.

Cyn’s desperate to snap Annie away from Mr. Gabriel, notwithstanding Annie’s outright obstruction. This goodie-two-shoes is now skipping classes and coming in early/staying late, all for the chance to spend more time with Mr. Gabriel–and soon Cyn notices that Annie’s touch has a similar disorienting affect on their classmates and teachers. Seeing Ryan notice his own buddies have zombie-like symptoms, Cyn relates her worst, and pretty out there fear: Mr. Gabriel isn’t human, and he’s stealing the souls of the school.

Ryan is sure Cyn’s ready for crazytown–until they witness Mr. Gabriel in all his demonic fearsome splendor. From there, it’s a battle of wills and personalities. Gabriel plans to take the souls of the entire school, powering his batteries for a battle royale in Hell, and making Annie his demon bride when he assumes the throne. Cyn, obviously, doesn’t want this to happen. Ryan’s pulled in to help, because only he and Cyn really can see the true danger of the situation. They have to call in unlikely allies, including the school’s meanest teacher and a demon-loving book curator, to help save everyone. The good thing? The school’s musical for the term is Sweeney Todd, and, as all demons love Sweeney, Gabriel’s evil plot won’t go off until opening night ends.

This is a really interesting high school romp, with a fun unrequited crush, more than one dead teacher, friends-behaving-badly and, well, demons. Yes, more than one filthy underworld soul-sucker makes a ghastly appearance in this “damned” high school. I can’t say I had many laugh-out-loud moments, but I was thoroughly amused from beginning to end. Even the grisly bits were imbued with a sense of deprecation or exaggeration that bordered on the absurd, in just the right way. I loved how wild the demons were for Sweeney, and how that gave Ryan and Cyn a reprieve because Ryan has the lead role, and Cyn’s the tech director charged with building the magnificent barber’s chair. (For those who have no idea what Sweeney Todd‘s about, well, that’s a review for another time. Short, short version: a musical about a murderous barber and the landlady who turns his victims into bestselling “meat” pies.)  Clearly, that’s prime entertainment for homicidal demons.

And EVIL LIBRARIAN is prime entertainment for anyone who likes a little romance in their YA paranormal books. The sequel comes out in a couple weeks, and I’m looking forward to reviewing it soon!

Interested? You can find EVIL LIBRARIAN on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and your local library.

About Author Michelle Knudsen:

I’m the author of 45 books for young readers for all ages. Titles include the New York Times best-selling picture book Library Lion (illustrated by Kevin Hawkes), the middle-grade fantasy novels The Dragon of Trelian and The Princess of Trelian, and the YA novel Evil Librarian, which won the 2015 Sid Fleischman Award for Humor(!).

I also work as a freelance editor and private writing coach. Please visit my website to learn more if you’re interested – I especially love working with new writers! I’m also now teaching in Lesley University’s MFA program in writing for young people.

Catch up with Michelle on her website, twitter and Facebook.

Thanks for popping in my friends. Be sure to check out my fellow Coffeehouse reviewers to see if their “best book” picks strike your fancy, too.


Making Love UNBREAKABLE–Release Day Review

banner-unbreakableHi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new YA supernatural romance from Kallie Ross. UNBREAKABLE is the first book in a new series that features all sorts of supernatural entities in a battle for humanity.

Check out the excerpt below and be sure to enter the arrow-themed jewelry giveaway, too!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000046_00071]
About UNBREAKABLE (The Cupids Chronicles #1):
Dying for the love of your life…
Evelyn Bowden thought her story was over. Little did she realize, it had just begun.
The heavens made her a Cupid– a supernatural with the rarest ability. One that allows her to pierce both mortals and immortals with arrows possessing everlasting love. But Evelyn soon discovers Cupids fight a battle in a long fought war.

A duty to protect the purest form of love…
As Evelyn embarks on her first mission, helping a Gargoyle find his true love, she is exposed to the blurred battle lines between light and darkness. While an unknown threat proves it’s willing to do anything to get their hands on Evelyn and her arrows, the heavens send Andel Lambros to help protect her. She finds herself at risk of being distracted by her former mentor, Andel, a stunning Cupid with dimples hard to ignore.

Missing her mark could lead to a supernatural war…
Having no idea how powerful she is, Evelyn is forced to put everything on the line as she balances the fate of the world on the tip of her arrow. But will love conquer all once she hits her mark, or will all be lost in the end?

How about a little taste?

“Don’t make this all about you.” Evelyn shoved another spoonful of ice cream in her mouth. “Don’ ge meh wrong, ihithabouoo. Buh—” Swallowing down her bite, Evelyn squinted her eyes shut and placed a hand on her temple. “Brain freeze,” she explained, standing and walking to the kitchen.

Andel’s head tilted to one side as he watched her throw the empty cardboard container away. Roscoe would be showing up for his dating lesson soon, and Evelyn needed to compartmentalize so she didn’t end up taking her frustration out on the Gargoyles.

“I’m sorry, Evelyn. Whatever I’ve done to upset you, please forgive me.”

Her spoon clanged in the sink, “How about I’ll forgive you if you tell me what you did wrong?” Evelyn made her way back to the couch, laying herself across the cushions like she needed therapy.

“I’m fairly sure you are upset I scheduled dinner with Jane and Kendrick during Roscoe’s first date.”

Keeping her composure, Evelyn looked Andel square in the eye and told him, “You’re danish right, I’m upset.”

Her pastry slip was proof enough of her anger, but she’d remained in control of her volume. Andel hadn’t asked Evelyn what she wanted to do during Roscoe and Sydney’s date. And after her surprise visit from Kalan, her nerves were fried. Evelyn wanted to be able to make the call for herself as far as where she’d be tomorrow night. She also wanted to decide for herself if she’d give the fairies her arrows. Maybe she’d keep her run-in with Kalan to herself for now.

“I’ll call Jane now and cancel the dinner.”

“You have her number?” Evelyn sat up and narrowed her eyes. She shook her head, clearing it. Why should Andel having Jane’s number matter? “No. Don’t cancel it. It was hard enough to convince her to come in the first place.”

“Are you sure?”

Knock, knock.

“Yes,” Evelyn grumbled as she went to answer the door. Roscoe’s arrival would at least keep Andel from asking any more questions. She could tell he had picked up that something else was bothering her, but luckily, she had planned Roscoe’s dating lessons for after work.

As Roscoe and Leo entered the apartment, Andel made himself scarce and took a seat in a chair at the edge of the room. Roscoe wore snappy attire, including a bowtie, while Leo had pushed the sleeves of his Henley up to his elbows. The two were complete opposites. Leo had made himself comfortable on the couch, and Roscoe stood at the window waiting for instructions.

“I’m glad you came, Leo. I may need your help tomorrow night.” Evelyn stood next to Roscoe. “You’ll be on awkward-moment patrol.” She patted Roscoe’s shoulder. “Now that I think about it, this will be perfect. You can circle overhead and stay out of sight, but if Roscoe needs help, you can run interference.” Leo’s eyes widened in excitement. “Not literally, but, you have super-hearing, right?”

Leo nodded.

“If you hear or see anything going wrong, you can come get me.”

A grin spread over Leo’s face. “Considering who we’re talking about here,” Leo waved in Roscoe’s direction. “What constitutes wrong?”

“We’ll work on identifying that as we go, so pay attention.” Evelyn faced Roscoe and reached up, tucking a piece of his curly hair behind his ear, but Roscoe flinched.

“Relax.” Evelyn stepped closer. “You’re going to have to get used to being close to Sydney. If she’s like every other girl on the planet, she’ll want you to hold her hand and put your arm around her.”

Evelyn let her arm brush against Roscoe’s. He sucked in air but didn’t budge. He froze. Evelyn couldn’t let Roscoe fail. She had started to like him. She wanted him to find love. She wanted Sydney to find love, too, and if it happened to be with Roscoe, then, bonus. She’d do everything in her power to help them have the chance they deserved.

Roscoe relaxed his fists at his sides. “Okay, I’ll work on that.”

“Good.” Evelyn ran her finger slowly down Roscoe’s arm. “How about we start with the end of the date, then?”

Leo whistled, and in the corner of Evelyn’s vision, she noticed Andel shift in his chair. She wasn’t really going to do anything, but if Roscoe had really loosened up, he wouldn’t curl up into the fetal position when they addressed a good night kiss.

My Review:
This is the first in a YA paranormal/supernatural romance series.

Evelyn is a 20 y/o woman who died saving her true love, Tate. In the afterlife she’s recruited to be a Cupid, responsible for securing true love matches by shooting through two deeply connected partners. Evelyn’s special in that her arrows can affect supernatural beings, not just mortals. Being trained by experienced Cupid Andel helps her learn a lot about Cupidry, and the long history of issues between Beings of the Lux (Light beings) and the Nox (Dark ones).

On her first big mission, she’s supposed to help a gargoyle find his true love, but it’s not quite so easy. In the process, Evelyn’s approached by a Rogue Cupid who can bend arrows and pollute them into lethal weapons. He’s there to warm Evelyn that her skills will be suborned by the Elders, and she should run while she can.

It’s a bit of a muddle really. I kind of expected this big dramatic boiling point build-up regarding Evelyn’s work with her gargoyle target, but it was undercut by Evelyn falling into a depression over her lack of a relationship with Andel… Plus, everyone’s freaking out about her and Andel getting too close, and how it could backfire and turn Evelyn from a Luz into a Nox. If that happens, it could spark a war–Evelyn is told. Thing is, I really never got the full sense of this, mostly because Evelyn is perhaps the most impatient being on Earth or in Heaven, and she continually cut off Andel, and others, when they tried to teach her.

The Rogue Cupids want her, though, and if she doesn’t cement the Cupid-Gargoyle pact the Cupids might be on their own against a new supernatural army. That’s a good part, actually, getting the true love match for a prominent gargoyle, yet it short-circuits with some giant randomness that features a missing King of the Fairies. In hindsight, I should have expected it. We do get some resolution, though mostly incidental. The book ending kicks off a whole new adventure–otherwise known as a cliffhanger–where Evelyn must confront the Rogue Cupids to save Andel.

I never quite connected to this one, mostly because I had trouble getting into it, and then tracking the many points of view and huge turns in the story. It’s really a creative book, with lots of supernatural and mythological connections, but the irregular switches from one character’s thought to another was problematic for me. Also, I felt like I’d jumped into the second book of a series, based on references the characters made. It was only after I finished did I find the prequel novella at the end of the book…which would have been better to read from the start. Plus, I suppose I didn’t get the whole ‘love coach’ aspect of Cupidry; Evelyn interacts with her marks, helping them to build a bond before she strikes with an arrow, which seemed cool but way counter to my own expectations.

It’s a clean read with some nice touchstone moments, but the story isn’t as developed as it needed to be. With all the mystery and adventure, the peril was mostly mild and vague. The ticking clock was also vague, as were the ramifications of failure. The emotional moments were the only parts that made sense, and they were rather decent and easy to imagine. I guess I needed more of those to be satisfied, but still, the adventure was why I’d pick up the book. I’ve not read a book about Cupids, and this world has lots of witches, warlocks, gargoyles and fairies. There was talk of succubi, weres and vamps, though I didn’t see any on the page.

Interested? You can find UNBREAKABLE on Goodreads Amazon Barnes & Noble, and iBooks.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win some arrow-themed jewelry!
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

krossAbout the Author:
Writing unique adventures with heart. Kallie Ross has a passion for writing that has become an adventure in itself. She desires to create unique young adult fiction that incorporates legend, conjecture, fantasy, and conviction.

In addition to loving her life as a writer, Kallie adores being a wife, mother, friend, and teacher. She began her creative journey with books, a blog, podcast, and lots of caffeine. Ross never imagined her own adventure would be filled with so many wonderful people or words!

Catch up with Kallie online on her website, Facebook, twitter, Tumblr, and Goodreads.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!
InkSlinger PR Blogger Banner - New

Cover Reveal for UNBREAKABLE!

banner-unbreakableHi there! I’m excited to share a cover for an new YA supernatural romance coming soon from Kallie Ross. UNBREAKABLE is the first book in a new series that features all sorts of supernatural entities in a battle for humanity.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000046_00071]
About UNBREAKABLE (The Cupids Chronicles #1):
Dying for the love of your life…
Evelyn Bowden thought her story was over. Little did she realize, it had just begun.
The heavens made her a Cupid– a supernatural with the rarest ability. One that allows her to pierce both mortals and immortals with arrows possessing everlasting love. But Evelyn soon discovers Cupids fight a battle in a long fought war.

A duty to protect the purest form of love…
As Evelyn embarks on her first mission, helping a Gargoyle find his true love, she is exposed to the blurred battle lines between light and darkness. While an unknown threat proves it’s willing to do anything to get their hands on Evelyn and her arrows, the heavens send Andel Lambros to help protect her. She finds herself at risk of being distracted by her former mentor, Andel, a stunning Cupid with dimples hard to ignore.

Missing her mark could lead to a supernatural war…
Having no idea how powerful she is, Evelyn is forced to put everything on the line as she balances the fate of the world on the tip of her arrow. But will love conquer all once she hits her mark, or will all be lost in the end?

Interested? You can find UNBREAKABLE on Goodreads and pre-order it in advance of it’s November 14th release on Amazon.

krossAbout the Author:
Writing unique adventures with heart. Kallie Ross has a passion for writing that has become an adventure in itself. She desires to create unique young adult fiction that incorporates legend, conjecture, fantasy, and conviction.

In addition to loving her life as a writer, Kallie adores being a wife, mother, friend, and teacher. She began her creative journey with books, a blog, podcast, and lots of caffeine. Ross never imagined her own adventure would be filled with so many wonderful people or words!

Catch up with Kallie online on her website, Facebook, twitter, Tumblr, and Goodreads.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!
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Their Love is HEARTBORN–Review and Giveaway!

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Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a contemporary YA supernatural romance-ish novel from Terry Maggert. HEARTBORN is a book where angels not only exist, they’re ready to rule. And humans they save may return the favor.

Be sure to drop below and enter to win a $25 GC in the giveaway.

Book Cover - HeartbornAbout the book:
Her guardian angel was pushed.

Keiron was never meant to be anything other than a hero. Born high above in a place of war and deception, he is Heartborn, a being of purity and goodness in a place where there violence and deceit are just around every corner.

His disappearance will spark a war he cannot see, for Keiron has pierced the light of days to save a girl he has never met, for reasons he cannot understand. Livvy Foster is seventeen, brave, and broken. With half a heart, she bears the scars of a lifetime of pain and little hope of survival.

Until Keiron arrives.

In the middle of a brewing war and Livvy’s failing heart, Keiron will risk everything for Livvy, because a Heartborn’s life can only end in one way: Sacrifice.

Fall with Livvy and Keiron as they seek the truth about her heart, and his power, and what it means to love someone who will give their very life to save you.

My Review:
Livvy is a seventeen year old girl with a congenital heart defect that keeps her just healthy enough to not be hospitalized. She works in a library, inexplicably, despite the seemingly intense struggle to simply walk to and from her post at the information desk.

Keiron is an angel on Earth. Literally. His mission is to find and save Livvy. Because reasons. He does find her, and pretends he’s human to befriend this nearly-friendless human girl. They even share a few chaste kisses that pretty much leave Livvy swooning, or maybe that dizziness was simply her heart being overtaxed. Meanwhile, Keiron’s family is preparing for battle. His elder brother has been accused of Keiron’s murder, and his parents are standing trial in what’s little more than a thinly-disguised power grab by an ancient angelic council. Battle looms and Livvy’s heart is growing weaker. Good thing Keiron is there to save the day….

I really felt like this was a tale of two books. It’s a supernatural romance, of sorts, with angels and humans. Many of the chapters relate the angelic host and the fight to come once Keiron falls to Earth on his quest to save Livvy. The parts with Livvy on Earth are pedestrian and tired. I had about a million questions regarding Livvy and her job, and why? What’s up with her heart condition? Why is she working? What are Heartborn, and what is their purpose?  Where are her parents? Why so many convenient mean people? And, who are these weirdos in the library?

The pacing of the story is slowed with flamboyant descriptions of setting and backstory and characters that set a very grand stage, yet the resolution comes far too quickly. And, it’s a confusing resolution. Livvy is a girl that lots of stuff happens to, and her passivity as a character made it hard for me to relate. Keiron seems like a great guy, and I’m pretty unhappy how things turned out for him. I’m also not clear on a good bit of what happened. At some point all the library people seemed to turn into her medical team, so was the library an illusion? Or, was she constantly monitored by some mystical watch team. I don’t know. I’m not really sure. Too many questions, too few answers, and that’s kind of frustrating. Ultimately, my problem was with the slow reveal of motivation and plot, and when information was finally given, the picture still felt incomplete, to me.

In short, it’s a winding fantasy with a lot of stuff that happens, but no clear reason for much of it. Lots and lots of coincidence, or perhaps just plain illusions that felt mostly contrived and stereotypical. I liked the scenes in “Heaven” best, but understood them the least. Go figure. I expect there’s another book, because Livvy ascends to the Heavens to help fight the angelic war, powered by the love and sacrifice of Keiron. Readers who like metaphysical books will enjoy HEARTBORN more than I did.

Interested? You can find HEARTBORN on Goodreads and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About Author Terry Maggert:
I discovered fishing shortly after walking, a boon, considering I lived in South Florida. After a brief move to Kentucky, my family trekked back to the Sunshine State. I had the good fortune to attend high school in idyllic upstate New York, where I learned about a mythical substance known as “Seasons”. After two or three failed attempts at college, I bought a bar. That was fun because I love beer, but, then, I eventually met someone smarter than me (a common event), and, in this case, she married me and convinced me to go back to school–which I did, with enthusiasm. I earned a Master’s Degree in History and rediscovered my love for writing. My novels explore dark fantasy, immortality, and the nature of love as we know it. I live near Nashville, Tennessee, with the aforementioned wife, son, and herd, and, when I’m not writing, I teach history, grow wildly enthusiastic tomato plants, and restore my 1967 Mustang.

You can catch up with Terry on his website, Facebook, twitter, Goodreads and YouTube.

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Living a Lie: FIFTY PERCENT VAMPIRE

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Hi there! I’m spreading the word on a contemporary YA paranormal adventure romance from debut author DK Janotta. FIFTY PERCENT VAMPIRE tracks the misadventures of Astrid, a half-vampire, as she attempts to assimilate into human society.

FPV_cover_high_resAbout the book:
Living at home is driving seventeen-year-old Astrid Sonnschein nuts. She’s desperate to leave her parents behind, and why not, with stepfather George a foul-tempered old vampire, and Mom — well, the less we say about Mom the better.
Our heroine has another compelling reason for getting out of Dodge. If she stays home any longer she’s in danger of being transformed forever, and the last thing she wants is to become the newest Nosferatu.

She escapes to start a new life with her aunt and uncle, but soon finds out that nothing lasts forever. Living a lie proves to be more than a challenge, and Astrid is soon tracked down by the one person she hoped never to see again.
To make things even more complicated, she falls for Mike, a handsome young cop who has every last girl in town under his spell. Will Astrid be able to keep her guard up, or will her new love be her downfall?

Thoughts from the author:
In ‘Fifty Percent Vampire’ there are frequent references to the books your heroine Astrid Sonnschein is reading (when she isn’t obsessing about Mike Hanson). I guess there is some significance in this?

You’re right, the books Astrid is reading are of great significance. Most, if not all, are books from her stepfather George’s extensive library, books he has collected over the centuries. George is hooked on accumulating human knowledge, and he has influenced his stepdaughter in a similar way, to appreciate the very best of human thought. I wouldn’t say he is exactly brainwashing her; I guess this is normal. What parent doesn’t want to have some control over their offspring’s thought processes? Even after Astrid leaves Vampville and starts attending high school, she still continues to study the books George sends her via her mother, such is their importance to her.

At the same time, Astrid is also getting valuable exposure to her Aunt Jean’s worldview, mostly the various world religions, maybe a more emotional education than the masterpieces of science and philosophy provided by George.

In his own way George is helping Astrid to decide which future she wants.

Yes, I get the impression that Astrid has been rather sheltered in her upbringing.

This is true. Astrid spent her first seventeen years at home, with no contact to the outside world. It’s not surprising she now wants to spread her wings and explore. There’s also the matter of choosing immortality or a normal human life however, with temptations on both sides of the argument.

Interested? You can find FIFTY PERCENT VAMPIRE on Goodreads, Amazon, Amazon CA, Amazon UK, and Amazon Australia. The book is currently on sale for $.99 through the end of the week.

About the Author
D.K. Janotta was born and raised in England and Wales but now calls a chalet on a mountainside overlooking beautiful Lake Geneva in Switzerland home. He has worked in Belgium, The Netherlands, Norway, France, South Korea, and several states of the USA. He subverts the vampire genre to ask questions about and reflect on the meaning of human life.

You can catch up with DK on his website, Goodreads, and Twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

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