Interview With Guest Author Rebecca Chastain

Happy Saturday, my lovelies! Today I have guest author Rebecca Chastain here to tell us about herself and her books (which sound totally awesome and are on my TBR pile during my road trip this weekend).

Interview With Author Rebecca Chastain

Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads

What are the unique rules of magic in your Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles? In other words, tell us a little about your world.

The Gargoyle Guardian universe is stuffed with magic and mythical creatures, and every human has the ability to work elemental magic. The heroine, Mika Stillwater, is a midlevel earth elemental with a specialty in quartz, one of the most common forms of rock. It isn’t much to make her stand out, but she’s determined to hone her skills and become a master craftswoman so she can leave behind her dead-end quarry job. Everything is going according to her master plan until a desperate baby gargoyle bursts into her life, begging for help.

Plunging into the city’s gritty criminal underworld, where gangs of fire elementals terrorize the streets and black magic is bartered to the highest bidder, Mika must jeopardize everything she’s worked for to save the baby gargoyle—and herself.

You now have two urban fantasy series going. What makes the Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles different from your Madison Fox, Illuminant Enforcer series? Is there any crossover?

All the action in the Gargoyle series happens against a backdrop of a version of the United States as it might have looked if magic had always existed and the industrial revolution had never moved beyond steam engines. Admittedly, despite extensive world building to flush out the setting, the references to the United States that made it into the story are subtle—there’s a Lincoln River, Victorian homes, and a general feel of a 1900s American city. I think it’s enough to give the reader a sense of familiarity without getting bogged down on alternate history details.

In contrast, the Madison Fox novels are so firmly planted in this world and the present day that Madison lives in my former apartment, works out of an office building that looks suspiciously like a place I used to work, and protects in my hometown city. Where the magic in the Gargoyles universe is distributed among everyone, only a few lucky (or unlucky, depending on who you ask) people have magic in Madison’s world. Madison’s magic is also more intimate: She uses her soul to fight evil.

The two series have different feels, too, dictated by the nature of the main characters. Mika is grounded and focused, with a huge heart, and while she faces some grueling challenges and deadly situations, the tone remains sweet and determined. Madison is a lot more sarcastic and impulsive (and oftentimes clumsy), which lends itself to a lot of humor in the midst of all the action.

Between your two series, you’ve covered a lot of paranormal creatures. Which are your favorite to write about and why?

Sounds like someone familiar! Source: Tumblr

That’s a tough question. I tend to fall for personalities as much as species. I’m a huge fan of gargoyles. (What, you’re not surprised?) In my novels, gargoyles are always some form of quartz, always have wings, and can enhance magic in others. They are also loyal, intelligent, and have a strong sense of right and wrong. In book one, Magic of the Gargoyles, the gargoyles are all young and small enough to carry, and I would happily adopt a thousand if I could!

My favorite creatures in A Fistful of Evil (Madison Fox, book 1) are imps. For those like Madison who can see them, imps look like adorable inky black chinchillas…until they prepare to feed. With an insatiable hunger for souls and barely enough brains to navigate their bodies, imps are the antithesis of gargoyles. However, cute and evil don’t get to mesh very often, and I enjoy the juxtaposition.

If your house was on fire and you could take only three items, what would they be? (Assuming your loved ones and pets are safe, of course.)

  1. my backup flash drive
  2. a blue recliner that has been in my family literally since the day I was born
  3. all the love letters my husband has written me over the last two decades

What are you currently working on?

With the final installment in the Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles trilogy just released, I’ve turned my attention to Lured, a novelette in the same universe. It takes place after the trilogy, featuring all the fan-favorite characters. I’m using the novelette as a bribe: I’ve promised readers that once Curse of the Gargoyles (book 2) reaches 75 reviews on Amazon and Secret of the Gargoyles (book 3) reaches 50 reviews, I’ll release the novelette for free. The decision to write Lured was two parts selfish—it gave me an excuse to play in the Gargoyle Guardian universe a little longer and, like all authors, I LOVE getting reviews—and one part pure gratitude for my fans who embraced this series.

Magic of the Gargoyles

To help a baby gargoyle, Mika will risk everything.

Mika Stillwater is a midlevel earth elemental with ambitions of becoming a quartz artisan, and her hard work is starting to get noticed. But when a panicked baby gargoyle bursts into her studio, insisting Mika is the only person she’ll trust with her desperate mission, Mika’s carefully constructed five-year plan is shattered.

Swept into the gritty criminal underworld of Terra Haven, Mika jeopardizes everything she’s work so hard for as she attempts to save the baby gargoyle from the machinations of a monster—and to stay alive…

From the imaginative mind of international bestselling fantasy author Rebecca Chastain, Magic of the Gargoyles is a spellbinding adventure set in a world full of elemental magic and adorable gargoyles that is sure to enchant young adult and adult readers alike.

Author Bio:

Rebecca Chastain is the internationally bestselling author of the Madison Fox, Illuminant Enforcer series and the Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles, among others works. She has found seven four-leaf clovers to date, won a purebred Arabian horse in a drawing, and once tamed a blackbird for a day. Writing stories designed to amuse and entertain has been her passion since she was eleven years old. She lives in Northern California with her wonderful husband and three bossy cats.

Catch up on the whole series!

The Guardian Gargoyle Chronicles:

1. Magic of the Gargoyles
2. Curse of the Gargoyles
3. Secret of the Gargoyles

Madison Fox, Illuminant Enforcer Series:

1. A Fistful of Evil
2. A Fistful of Fire
3. A Fistful of [whoknowswhat] (Fall 2016)

Thanks again for stopping by, Rebecca! I’m looking forward to reading your books!

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Book Review – THEY MOSTLY COME OUT AT NIGHT by Benedict Patrick

Title: THEY MOSTLY COME OUT AT NIGHT
Author: Benedict Patrick
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Series: Yarnsworld Series
Book Source: Purchased

Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Goodreads

Back Cover Copy:

TheyMostlyComeOutAtNightHe locked himself away from the dark, but in the Magpie King’s forest nowhere is safe…

Lonan is an outcast, accused of letting the monsters that stalk the night into the homes of his fellow villagers. Now, he will not rest until he wins back the heart of his childhood love and reclaims the life that was stolen from him. However, locked safely in his cellar at night, in his dreams Lonan finds himself looking through the eyes of a young prince…

Adahy has a destiny, and it terrifies him. How can he hope to live up to the legend of the Magpie King, to become the supernatural protector of the forest and defender of his people? But when the forest is invaded by an inhuman force, Adahy must rise to this challenge or let the Wolves destroy his people.

Watching these events unfold in his sleep, Lonan must do what he can to protect his village from this new threat. He is the only person who can keep his loved ones from being stolen away after dark, and to do so he will have to earn back their trust or watch the monsters kill everyone that he holds dear.

They Mostly Come Out At Night is a Dark Fantasy novel from Benedict Patrick’s Yarnsworld series. If you like Neil Gaiman and Patrick Rothfuss then you will love this captivating, dangerous world in which ordinary people struggle to find their place in a land ruled by stories.

Start reading today to discover this epic tale of dreams, fables and monsters!

My Review:

Did I read someone else’s book? I look at the reviews on Amazon (all 5*) and Goodreads (4.7) and start to think perhaps I am too jaded or picky.

The cover drew me in. It’s unique and interesting, and it certainly matches the content in style, but is of far higher quality than what is behind the cover.

I’ll be honest. I thought the story was good but had a very hard time with this book primarily because of editing errors and a couple of moments that had me scratching my head.

On the one hand, this gets a solid 5 stars for creativity. The style and thought that went into building the folklore was undeniable. I applaud the author’s nods to some existing fairy tales and folklore, and putting his own spin on them. He had a deft, clever had when it came to crafting the meat of his story.

Honestly, that was the best thing about this story. I quite enjoyed how, between each chapter, there was a brief deviation into a historical tale told in a very Brothers Grimm style that had some bearing on what was going on in the main story. Each mini-tale built a better understanding of Lonan’s world and how the peoples in it came to be as they are.

On the other hand, the book had numerous errors that threw me right out of the reading experience again and again. “Alright” is a nonstandard word that might be fine for use on Facebook or Twitter, and I’ve certainly thrown it around in casual conversation myself, but it should never be used in a published novel in place of “all right”. There were frequent missing commas before addressing a person, and a scattering of somewhat jarring homonyms (“an orgy of blood and grizzle” is not quite the same as “gristle,” for example). The repetition was tiresome, and most of the female characters were cardboard and flat, existing only as foils for the main character or his rival, with little personality to show for it. I only wish Patrick had spent as much time on characterization and attention to editing as he obviously did on crafting his world.

Also, I gave a serious side-eye to a scene where Lonan sets the cottage on fire to save the people in the basement. No injuries from a collapsing, burning ceiling? Nobody dead or passed out from the toxic gases and lack of oxygen? …well. I don’t know, I’m no firefighter, but that seemed more than a bit off to me.

The ending was also a little rushed, but the journey to get there was satisfying. Choosing a traditional not-so-happy-ever-after fairy tale ending was a good choice for this book. I actually quite liked how it all turned out, though I thought the final battle could have used a little more attention to clarifying details.

It’s not the usual high fantasy fare, and I think it’s worth a read despite the flaws. It’s got action and intrigue a’plenty, and as I mentioned, a great deal of creativity went into creating this world and its history. Discovering the magic and beauty and danger of it was truly a pleasure.

Despite my rating and my criticisms, again, I want to point out that this is a good story–good enough that I am open to reading the next book. There is a lot to like about the world that has been built. If you don’t get jarred out of a story easily by editing errors, you may find yourself more immersed in this one than I was.

2.5/5

Series Order:

1. They Mostly Come Out At Night
2. Where The Waters Turn Black

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I’m Off to See the Wizard! …Or Go To A Con. One of Those. Also, A Couple of Giveaways and A 99¢ Sale!

Smoke and Mirrors Sale

Hey there, party people! I’ve got some news for you. First, if you haven’t already grabbed a copy, for a brief time (July 1 -5) I’m making SMOKE AND MIRRORS available for only 99¢, so grab it while it’s hot!

For the first giveaway, head over to my friend C.J. Brightley’s website for a chance to win a Kindle Fire! How awesome is that?

I’m also participating in a giveaway for a $120 $175 Amazon gift card and a ton of ebooks. Keep an eye out, it’s starting soon…
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Lastly, I’m headed to Authors After Dark Aug. 3 – 7, 2016 in Savannah, Georgia! I’m both thrilled and bummed about this. I’m over the moon because Ryan will be coming with me for his first convention, and I haven’t been to AAD in what feels like forever. I’m bummed because this is AAD’s final year.

AAD2016poster

If you want to come, the con organizer is doing something absolutely amazing and is offering some last minute free registrations to the convention itself. The only catch is that you MUST stay at the hotel for the convention ($135/night + $21/day for parking if you bring a vehicle).

Don’t miss out on your last chance to be part of some outrageous parties and great times with wonderful people. If you’re interested in taking advantage of a free registration, give me a holler and I’ll hook you up. Let me know if I’ll see you there anyway–I’m making some plans for a ghost tour on Wednesday night if you want to join me. I hope to see some of you lovelies there!

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Book Review – CATASTROPHE by Liz Schulte

Title: CATASTROPHE
Author: Liz Schulte
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: The Sekhmet Bounty Series
Book Source: Purchased

Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iBooks / SmashwordsGoodreads

Back Cover Copy:

CatastropheI have learned a few things in my life. If you can’t wear clean underwear, don’t wear any at all. Never trust a vampire. Secret ruling councils should generally be avoided. Finally, and this is the most important, very few people are ever what they seem.

However, it wasn’t always easy to live by these rules. Like, when said secret ruling council demanded my appearance and then did the worst thing they could possibly do, inflame my curiosity. Asking me to go to New Orleans to investigate a series of werewolf attacks, I couldn’t say no to that.

The first problem was werewolves had been eliminated from the Abyss so it was impossible that they were killing anyone. The second fiasco was that more vampires were in this city than ever before, including the one who was intent on ruining my life. And the third complication was I couldn’t tell anyone else about my mission or I would forfeit my freedom to the council.

Some missions are easy. Others are a Catastrophe.

My Review:

This story was so much fun! I loved it.

It doesn’t cover much in the way of new ground, aside from a heroine who is somewhat unusual from the usual UF wizards and witches. Femi is a Sekhmet–a descendant of the Egyptian warrior goddess Sekhmet.

Metropolitan Museum of Art NY - Source (Used Under Creative Commons License)
Sekhmet Statue at the Metropolitan Museum of Art NY – Source (Used Under Creative Commons License)

I didn’t really see much in the way of her abilities reflecting her lineage, but I loved how true she was to her cat-like curiosity throughout the entirety of the story. Some things were repeated a little often, such as the info about her extra lives and yes, we get it, she’s a Sekhmet–but she had a spunky personality that she stayed true to throughout the book.

That doesn’t forgive her very foolish actions in the beginning of the story (signing a contract to solve a case you know nothing about with dire consequences for some very major things–like going to your other supernatural buddies for help–is far too TSTL in my opinion) or some characters acting in a way that doesn’t fit their profession (I don’t buy Detective Dempsey ignoring the blood so early in their relationship) but it still kept me engaged and wanting to know more.

One thing I really wish had been given more personality was the setting where the bulk of the story took place. I love New Orleans with a passion and with urban fantasy in particular, it’s often important to make the setting as much a part of the story as the characters. Much of the time, when they were in the city, it honestly felt like it could have been Anycity, USA. The swamp scenes were described just fine, but specifically when they were in town, I didn’t get much of a NOLA feel.

Also, Femi’s continued attraction to and trust in Thomas made no sense to me. Aside from the little gaffe in the beginning, she seemed like a reasonable woman. Considering everything else going on, there were some things later in the story that really didn’t make much sense but I suppose had to be done to further the plot since three people snarking at each other in a confined space can only be entertaining for so long, I’m guessing.

My last nit about this is that it could have used a closer eye on the editing. There were few typos, but there were three or four times where something in the sentence structure was out of place, like an incomplete or changed thought that got twisted around into something meaningless or was apropos of nothing. Also, a phone call was made to Corbin when he was at a location where he should not have had cell service according to a statement made earlier. The little things…

That didn’t kill the experience for me. This book was just what I needed when I read it, and even though it’s clearly making nods to things that happen in other books from other some other series by this author, there is enough information not to get lost along the way. If anything, it intrigued me enough to want to look into the other books by this author.

I don’t want to ruin it, but if you can turn your brain off and enjoy the action, it’s a fun ride with a great twist. I liked it a lot, and I recommend it if you’re looking for some action, snark, adventure, and a few chuckles along the way.

4/5

Series Order:

0. Catatonic
0. Sweet Little Lies
1. Catastrophe
2. Catacombs
3. Catapult (Coming 2016)

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Book Review – CONJURING DESTINY by Brooklyn Ann

Title: CONJURING DESTINY
Author: Brooklyn Ann
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Brides of Prophecy
Book Source: Author

Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iBooks / Goodreads

Back Cover Copy:

Conjuring DestinyFamous rock star, Xochitl Leonine, has dreamt of a world with two moons where a black cloaked man beckons her. One Halloween night, she meets the mysterious stranger of her dreams… literally… and their shared dance becomes a rendezvous in a place of endless night.

Zareth Amotken has no idea how important Xochitl’s heavy metal band is to her. As an immortal sorcerer, he doesn’t care. He has one goal: to find the prophesied savior of his world. Her voice holds the power to bring back his world’s vanished sun.

Xochitl’s compassion urges her to help in any way she can. Yet learning the mysteries of her past causes conflict with her future in music. Her destiny in his world and her obligations to her band pull her in opposite directions. How can she long for one while the other is so dire?

As Zareth introduces her to his people and teaches her to control her powers, she aches for his enchanting kiss. Zareth tries to resist, for their passion will unleash serious consequences, both political and magical.

As the time to fulfill her destiny draws closer, she must choose between her heart, her duty, and her friends. The wrong choice could ruin everything.

My Review:

I loved this book so hard. I’ve been following the Brides of Prophecy series since the beginning, and if you haven’t read them yet, you should go fix that. They’re fun, sexy, fantastic stories with a new take on vampires, elves, magic, and other fun critters you’ll see along the way. However, I think you could jump in with this book, and not lose too much. There are hints at events and a brief mention of previous characters, but this feels very much like it can stand on its own.

On that note, in this third installment, we finally get Xochitl’s story. I hardly know where to begin!

Xochitl is the lead singer of a metal band–you might notice Brooklyn Ann has a thing for those in her other books–who knows she doesn’t fit in. She can conjure purple fireballs at will (“Oooh! Dem special effects!” her fans and bandmates think) and has never felt completely at home around humans. Bullied and harassed when she was young, she formed a core group of friends who all happened to have musical talent. Thus, the band Rage of Angels was born.

When she meets the intriguing sorcerer, Zareth, he whisks her away to another world locked in a state where they are cursed with a blanket of darkness over the land, never to see the sun–until the prophesied Lioness of Light (guess who) unleashes her mighty roar.

As the one destined to end that eternal night, Xotchil does an admirable job of tackling every new challenge thrown in her path. Her relationship with Zareth, though it may have started in dreams, progresses into a sweet, sensual romance that is both sexy and believable. It’s also quite fascinating how there are unexpected consequences to their actions, and this leads into Ann showing her writing chops as she deftly introduces new cultures and beliefs along the way.

That is probably the one thing I liked best about this story. Aside from being about the romance, there was a great deal to be seen about this new world and how the people in it lived. They were not just there for story support, there were actual challenges and politics involved which delved beyond more than just surface fantasy magic wand-waving.

The villain, Stephan/Steve, seems like an incompetent jerk on the surface, but by the end of the book he becomes far more of a threat than I would have credited given his bumbling attempts to capture Xochitl earlier. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I will say that it is deeply satisfying to finally see him get his comeuppance.

Brooklyn Ann has created a rich, fascinating new world in this story, and I am excited to see where she takes it from here.

4.5/5

Series Order:

1. Wrenching Fate
2. Ironic Sacrifice
3. Conjuring Destiny

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Release Day for #AmWriting – A Collection of Essays to Benefit The Wayne Foundation

#AmWriting Ebook CoverKnowing what you know now of writing, publishing, and putting your art out into the world, if you could go back to the day you sat down to start typing in your very first manuscript, what words would you offer to yourself? Words of encouragement? Words of advice? Caution against certain pitfalls? Would you change anything about how you got to where you are today?

The publishing community is so much bigger than it was before the self-publishing boom and it continues to grow exponentially every day. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a handbook or support group. #AmWriting is a collection of letters written by authors from all different corners of the publishing community. The letters provide words of encouragement or advice to those just starting out or those who have become discouraged in their art. At Pure Textuality PR, we believe in supporting each other as a community, and we felt this project would be a good way to bring writers together and maybe give some new artists just the right nudge to keep going.

100% of the net proceeds of #AmWriting will be donated to The Wayne Foundation, a charity dedicated to offering aid and services to young women victimized by illegal sexual exploitation and the sexual trafficking of minors. For more information about The Wayne Foundation, you can visit them on the web at http://waynefdn.org.

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Who is involved???

#AmWriting has a great list of more than 60 authors, including NYT bestselling author Jeaniene Frost!

A.D. Ellis
Amy Joy Lutchen
Andrew Jericho
Ashlynne Laynne
Becky Flade
Beth Dolgner
Brandy Dorsch
Brenda J. Pierson
C.L. Foster
Cassia Brightmore
Cecilia London
Cherron Riser
Cithara Patra
Courtney Houston
Crystal Dawn
E.J. Stevens
Elizabeth Sharp
Ella Col
Emily Cyr
Emma Nichols
Erin Hayes
Erynn Crittenden
Felicia Starr
Gabbie S. Duran
Geri Glenn
Harlie Williams
J. Nichole Parkins
J.B. McGee
J.M. Gregoire
Jamie Summer
Jeaniene Frost
Jess Haines
Jessica Cage
Jody Pardo
K.c. Stewart
Karina Espinosa
Kasey Belle
Katie Kenyhercz
Kendall Grey
Kory M. Shrum
L A Cotton
Leyla Kader Dahm
Louisa Lo
M. Never
M.L. Steinbrunn
Mary Crawford
Michelle Mcloughney
Mike Gonzales
Misha Carver
Misha Elliott
Muriel Garcia
Nicole Zoltack
Pamela K. Kinney
R.A Mizer
Rachel Walter
Rebecca Sherwin
Renee Dyer
Sara Dobie Bauer
Serena Kearney
Shakuita Johnson
Shannon Bell
T.J. Michaels
T.L. Manning
Tracie Podger
Xandra James

 

About The Wayne Foundation

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Board of Directors | Financials | Podcasts

Mission Statement

The Wayne Foundation is committed to spreading awareness of CSEC (Commercial Sex Exploitation of Children) DMST (Domestic Minor Sexual Trafficking) occurring within the United States.

Vision Statement

The Wayne Foundation’s vision is for a world without child slavery. We are dedicated to providing direct assistance to those victimized by exploitation.

Drop in Center

The Wayne Foundation operates the third drop in center in Florida recognized by the Department of Children and Family Services. It is located in Charlotte County Florida, and serves clients throughout Southwest Florida. Our target clientele are young women aged 13-25. Our DIC is equipped to provide daily services that include, but are not limited to: Food, New Clothing, Access to Shower, Media Center, Mental Health Assistance, SNAP/ Medicare Benefit sign-up/renewal, Family Counseling, Education Assistance, and Transportation To and From the Center.

Shelter Services

The Wayne Foundation continues to have the goal of providing shelter services to young women victimized by exploitation or trafficking. This is our primary long term objective.

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Book Review – KISSING VICIOUS by Brooklyn Ann

Title: KISSING VICIOUS
Author: Brooklyn Ann
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Hearts of Destiny
Book Source: Author

Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / All Romance eBooks / Goodreads

Back Cover Copy:

Kissing ViciousAspiring guitarist Kinley Black is about to get her first big break—as a roadie for Viciöus, her favorite heavy metal band, and for the rock god she always dreamt might make her a woman.

THE ROADIE

At 15, aspiring guitarist Kinley Black wished she were a boy. At 16, after hearing Quinn Mayne sing, she wanted him to make her a woman. Now, at 22, her dreams have come true. Quinn’s band Viciöus needs someone to lug their amps around the country, to strive and sweat with the guys. She just has to act like one of them.

AND THE ROCK GOD

Quinn had to admit the new chick could pull her weight, but that didn’t mean his road manager made the right choice. Taking a hottie on a heavy metal music tour was like dangling meat in front of a pack of feral hounds—and Quinn could be part dog himself. But more surprising than her beautiful body are Kinley’s sweet licks, so that no man could help but demand a jam session. Quinn will soon do anything to possess her, and to put Kinley in the spotlight where she belongs. And to keep her safe and sound from the wolves.

My Review:

This is the story of Kinley Black, a woman who runs the a blog dedicated to the heavy metal music scene. When she has the opportunity to do an interview Quinn Mayne, lead singer of Kissing Vicious and the man of her dreams, some pretty wacky hijinks lead to her becoming a roadie and getting far closer to Quinn than she might ever have expected.

This is a fun romance with some bite to it. I liked the way the relationship built between Kinley and Quinn, and man, was that some hot stuff once they got down and dirty. *fans self*

However, I felt like there was too much repetition of the “Ehrmahgerd, Quinn Mayne! <3 <3 <3!!1!” theme. I might be completely off base, but rather than being so starstruck for so long, I would have expected the crush to evolve into something having more to do with him as a person rather than him as a public figure.

On the other hand, everything else was spot-on to me. I felt like the roadie life and information about how the technical aspects of how the band functioned were all believable and interesting. The way Kinley had to be “one of the guys” and pull her weight (and then some) was so familiar that it made me want to cheer every time she managed to thumb her nose at the naysayers. She worked so hard over the course of the story to be where she was that it truly was a joy to see her realize her dreams coming true.

Not to mention it was fantastic to see Kinley sticking to her guns when it really counted. There were times when Quinn got some serious side-eye on my part, but man, Kinley did a good job of staying true to herself no matter the circumstances. She is, in every sense of the word, a strong heroine.

This story was sexy and fun, and even though I know it sounds like I have some reservations about it, this is a nice little bit of escapist fiction that I recommend if you have any interest in the music scene or in contemporary romances. I’m looking forward to digging in to the sequel, WITH VENGEANCE, and seeing Kinley’s best friend get her own rock star-studded HEA!

4/5

Series Order:

1. Kissing Vicious
2. With Vengeance

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Smoke and Mirrors Blog Tour and Giveaway!

Hosted by Xpresso Book Tours, there’s a big blitz going around the blogosphere over the next few days!

SmokeAndMirrorsBlitzBanner

As part of the tour, I’m including an excerpt and a giveaway for a $10 gift card, a signed book, and this little guy! Isn’t he charming?

Dragon and Smoke and Mirrors

Enjoy this excerpt from SMOKE AND MIRRORS…

Viper made a soft hissing sound of irritation between his teeth, pulling back from her. “Cormac has no vision. I know what I want and I’m prepared to offer anything to get it. You have but to ask.”
Well. There was one thing. Her cheeks flared crimson and she squirmed a bit before stuttering out another question, swallowing back her embarrassment.


“You keep a hoard like a dragon, right? I don’t suppose you would consider loaning me a little? I swear I’d pay it back.”

His head tipped to one side, and he looked her up and down anew. She suspected he was just noticing her frayed cuffs and cheap shoes. He’d been so intent on getting whatever it was he wanted out of her that he hadn’t paid attention to the package it came in until now. When she caught the very slight curl of his lip, there and gone in a flash, embarrassed heat filled her cheeks.
Feeling both dirty and humiliated, she ducked her head. “Never mind. I shouldn’t have asked. I’m sorry, I don’t think I can do this.”

“Come now, I’m sure it’s not that hard. All it takes is a yes.”

“No,” she said, this time with a bit more vehemence. Cormac was right. There was something off about Viper, and never mind what a perfect ass she’d just made of herself. Worst of all, that flash of disgust showed he obviously had no respect for her. At least Cormac never made her feel tolerated. “Thank you for the offer, but I’ll find some other way of getting what I need.”

He slowly rose to stand, heaving a sigh as he settled back on his heels.

“That’s unfortunate. This would have been much easier if you had agreed.”

Kimberly would have asked what he meant by that, but the look in his eyes froze her in place.

His eyes burned a molten gold as he spread his arms, which were expanding and shifting at an alarming rate. Faster than she might have thought possible, he was growing, his clothing melting and skin disappearing under a layer of metallic scales. Nearby, people were noticing, shouting and screaming in fear as they stampeded in every direction to escape the shapechanging Other in their midst.

When he ceased growing, from the tip of his nose to the end of his tail, he was over thirty feet long, with a wingspan half again that size.

Kimberly sat immobile, unable to so much as squeak in terror as the beast before her lurched back to arch its neck and spread its wings, barbed tail lashing as it growled at her. One thick, talon-tipped paw lashed out, flattening her on the grass and squeezing the air out of her lungs. It gave an awkward, one-legged hop forward to catch its balance before clenching its claws to dig deep furrows in the grass and close around her waist and legs, pinning her.

Then those wide, ribbed wings began to flap, the sun playing off the tones of brass and copper and gold. The ground fell away, people scattering before the airborne monster.

And Kimberly could do nothing but pray, staring up at this great beast that had her in its claws.

She’d gotten what she’d asked for. Now she would have to pay the price.

Enter to win now!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Or you can grab it (the book, not the dragon) from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, or All Romance eBooks. You can also add it to your Goodreads or LibraryThing shelves.

If you already read it, consider leaving a review! They really help. You can also sign up for my newsletter or follow me on Bookbub or Amazon to get alerts when the next book comes out.

Love and luck, my lovelies!

-J

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Book Review – THE DEVIL’S MOUTH by Matt Kincade

Title: THE DEVIL’S MOUTH
Author: Matt Kincade
Genre: Gritty Urban Fantasy/Horror
Series: Alex Rains Vampire Hunter
Book Source: Purchased

Purchase: AmazonGoodreads

Back Cover Copy:

The Devil's Mouth by Matt KincadeThe only things Alex Rains cares about are rock ’n’ roll, classic cars, and killing vampires—that is, until he meets Carmen, a tough-as-nails cop who’s hot on the trail of her missing little sister.

When the two join forces, they leave a trail of corpses across the desert as they race against the clock, hunting an ancient evil that’s preyed on the migrants of the American Southwest since the time of the Spanish conquest.

While Alex leads Carmen deeper into the deadly, secret world of vampire hunters and their quarry, a romance blooms that neither of them expected. But when it all goes wrong, Alex is forced to make a grueling choice.

An action-horror thriller from author Matt Kincade, The Devil’s Mouth is an adrenaline-fueled ride through the dark underbelly of America: a warped landscape of old motels, seedy roadhouse bars, and monsters lurking in the night.

My Review:

Short version: If you like vampire movies like From Dusk Till Dawn, or enjoy work by authors like James R. Tuck, you need this book in your life.

From Dusk Till Dawn and Blood and Bullets
Two Things That Go Great Together

Long version: This book. THIS BOOK.

I had so many things I meant to do the day I started reading it. All those things? Not done, because I could not put this sucker down. *rimshot*

Alex Rains is a new kind of cowboy with a Southern drawl, a way with guns and swords, and a hero complex that drives him to seek and destroy any vampire that crosses his path. His Pleasantville-esque obsession with old music and kitchy Americana knick knacks is as charming and quirky as his penchant for wearing cowboy boots and Stetsons with his ridiculous Hawaiian shirts.

His good ol’ boy nature clashes with the cold, heartless killer he becomes in an instant when on the hunt. It’s delicious. I love it.

The story starts with a bang. A young girl, trying to reach her older sister in America, hires a coyote (a person who specializes in smuggling people across the border from Mexico) to help her. Turns out this guy is in cahoots with a ring of vampiric human traffickers who use the coyote to find them slave labor and food who won’t be missed. Too late, the girl realizes just how much trouble she’s in when the vampiric driver of the truck that was supposed to deliver them to their new home decides to have a little snack before hitting the road.

Meanwhile, Alex, the vampire hunter, is on a stakeout. He’s forced to intervene when his prey gets a visitor–a woman named Carmen who is searching for her missing sister–and the vampire attacks.

Thanks to a lovely new scar on her neck, Carmen now believes that vampires are real. With Alex’s help, the two go on an epic adventure to save her sister.

There is so much to like about this story. So much.

These vampires are not cuddly teddy bears with fangs. They are brutal, vicious creatures–and yet, they are not simple caricatures of evil. Seeing how they draw humans into working for them is presented in a believable manner. The unfolding of the layers of greed, corruption, and secrecy surrounding the horrible deeds these creatures and their cronies have been committing is fascinating.

Yes, there is a great deal of violence and bloodshed (which is very well wrought, by the way), but there is also a lot of attention to detail. Despite the story having that summer blockbuster movie feel to it, the plot threads all flow together seamlessly.

The characters–even secondary ones–are all distinct personalities and voices. They all have clear motivations, even if it doesn’t seem like it in the beginning. In most cases, the characters are not simply parodies of themselves, and even when they do something stupid, they (mostly) walk into it openly acknowledging that they know they’re not making a wise choice. No matter what decisions they make or actions they take, all the characters stay true to their own personalities, as presented. Their ideals and quirks don’t just come and go to serve the plot, which might seem like a given, but often isn’t in a novel like this. It’s damned refreshing to have bad guys who are not just villainous to be villains, but because they have genuine flaws and motivations that make them stand out as people instead of cookie-cutter Bond villains.

Maybe they’re a giant walking bag of dicks, but even if you don’t empathize with their reasoning, at least you can understand why they’re such raging assholes.

Aside from the characterization, there is also a tremendous amount of detail that goes into every other aspect of the plot. From how Alex and the other vampire hunters network and get the tools of their trade, to how the vampire behind the human trafficking ring has had his fingers in every political and social pie since the Spanish conquest, there’s a rhyme and reason to it all.

The range of descriptions were also beautifully immersive and I really liked the little touches. For example, a scene where Alex and Carmen taste some wine–which sounds like a silly choice of scenes for me to talk about, I know, but is actually very important to the story–and how the flavors are described, as well as the bit with the raccoons later, is just so perfect. I might be completely off base, but to me, that–among many other things–was a sign of just how much care and thought and research went into crafting this novel, which I deeply appreciate.

The onion-like layers to this story as you unfold the secrets of the vampire network and Alex and Carmen’s past are brutal and delicious. It’s a fun, fascinating puzzle to watch unfold, and there’s a lot to like here. While there are a few typos and grammar errors that are knocking half a point off for this book for me, it’s still very much worth the read. It’s clever, fun, and action-packed, and as I mentioned earlier, it’s easy to get sucked right in. I strongly recommend it, and I’ll be keeping an eye out for future books by Kincade.

4.5/5

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May Madness Giveaway – Win A $185 Amazon Giftcard and Dozens of Ebooks!

May Madness Giveaway

PRIZES:
✓ $185 Amazon Giftcard
✓ 29 Kindle E-books (including my latest release, Smoke and Mirrors!)

HOW TO ENTER:
✓ Follow the instructions in the giveaway below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

✓ Or, if the widget isn’t displaying, go to the Rafflecopter website and check it out. Click the link ➝http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/77deea099/

Giveaway will run from May 1st 2016 ➝ May 14th 2016

Good luck to all who enter!

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