Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Blog Blitz & Giveaway: Beneath London’s Fog by Iona Caldwell

Beneath London’s Fog
Iona Caldwell
Published by: FyreSyde Publishing
Publication date: October 30th 2019
Genres: Occult Fiction, Ghost Story, British Literature

Jonathan is the immortal master of Raven Hollow Manor – a decrepit mansion riddled with superstition, murder and restless ghosts. Beneath it lies a restless malice.

Its previous owner driven mad, violently kills his guests with a rusted ax, creating the perfect venue for Jonathan to seclude himself in a prison of his own device.

When the streets of London begin to run red with blood; the bodies exhibiting disturbing signs and baffling wounds, the identity of the killer remains elusive to police.

The bodies are just the beginning of Jonathan’s troubles. A mysterious letter accusing Jonathan of committing the murders appear, raising suspicion in the police. Hidden beneath the mangled bodies, Jonathan soon realizes he is being forced to face demons he thought died in a forlorn past he attempted to escape.

One thing Jonathan knows for certain: He must deal with the demons of his past if he is to survive his future. Not only him but those he has come to love as well.

For fans of Jim Butcher, Stephen King, Darcy Coates and Nick Cutter.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo

EXCERPT:

The Streets Ran With Blood

I want it known before this tale begins – I am not a hero but a villain. I want no sympathy from whomever reads this recalling of my story; no mourning for the tragedy that befell my life. I am not an innocent man but a sinner forced to face the ravaging demons and ghosts of his own creation.

My story began as many do – a lie, a fire and murder. One of my kind murdered the woman I loved in the coldest of blood in one of history’s darkest times at the behest of a possessive noble.

After a run in with him in Nottingham, I soon found myself fleeing for my life from hunters, framed for a murder I had not committed.

Forgive me, I am getting ahead of myself.

Let me begin where this part of my story took place.

A bloody civil war ravaged London followed shortly by the Great Fire in 1666. A glorious time for me and those like me to take advantage of the chaos and remain hidden in the shadows.

I managed to pursue the one responsible for nearly getting me killed two centuries prior to the plague which befell London before the fire.

Within the shadows of the flickering flames of St. Peter’s Cathedral, I struck him down and departed the city, thus avoiding my demise.

I had yet to escape him, however, when his vengeful spirit devoured the souls of the innocent in a mad bloodlust.

Though greatly injured, I managed to drive his spirit to my new home Raven Hollow Manor in London, imprisoning him in stone coffin in the crypt beneath it.

Peace resumed in my life and nobles of all kinds enjoyed lavishly hosted parties within the halls of my estate.

Unfortunately, the short lived splendor at the hands of the hauntings filled the ears of the locals and my beloved home decayed into a tangled web of blood-filled rumors and superstition.

My once glorious halls became infested with dust, its crystal chandeliers covered with cobwebs, their spiders fat on the insects buzzing around the decay and mold-covered wallpaper.

Yet, there I remained as it proved a decent place to not only contain my greatest sin but served also as a castle of solitude.

The tides of time swept by in a cacophony of modernization and the movement from superstition to things only mortal science could explain.

I still needed to venture into the city, not only to feed but also to purchase other items needed for everyday living.

It wasn’t until the winter of 1910 that my silence would be disrupted in the form of a girl named Holly, a young street urchin accused of theft. I took her with me after using a bit of “persuasion” on the local officers to let her go.

They did not need to know where I would take her and she soon grew into a wonderful messenger on my behalf. She became a rather attractive young woman with bouncy blonde curls who kept me company with stories of what went on in the city.

I am sure, at one time, she became infatuated with me. It did not surprise me. To mortals, my kind held a certain allure they found difficult to ignore. I ended her infatuation quickly following a stern talking to and dousing with cold water.

One day, while in my labyrinthine garden, Holly came to me in tears.

When the people of London learned where Holly lived, the townsfolk dubbed her a practitioner of black magic.

One day, I found Holly sitting on one of the marble benches in the garden, sobbing. I picked a flower and put it in my daughter’s hair, sitting next to her beneath the statue of a praying angel.

“You need not worry about them, dearest. Mortals are always quick to place labels on what they do not understand.”

Holly sniffled and sobbed, wiping her nose and offering me a smile. “But why do they avoid this place, Jonathan?”

“Mortals fear what they cannot comprehend. Pay them no mind. You are a wonderful young woman,” I purred, brushing a blonde curl from her face.

The words appeared to have placated her as she smiled and joined me in a moonlight stroll through the garden.

 

***

 

Around midnight, after dinner with Holly, I dismissed her to bed. Once she departed, I sought out sustenance in the city.

A dense fog rolled in due to the cool winter weather and the recent days of rain.

Combined with the darkness of the streets and alleyways, I managed to meet a young working woman on the corner and wooed her into joining me for a walk to the park. As with other women, I made sure she understood I respected her body with gentle caresses and loving words murmured into her ears.

Once I placed her deep under my spell, I kissed the tender flesh of the woman’s throat and exposed shoulder, thanking her for her gift.

My fangs pierced her flesh, earning a moan of pleasure as her body surrendered its precious life force without any significant damage. Her body pressed against mine, her moans increasing with pleasure at my kiss.

I preferred this method to those of many of my other brethren who tore their victims apart during a feeding, choosing power to subdue instead of sexual allure.

When signs of weakness began manifesting I released my hold, picking her up after licking the small puncture wounds, my saliva healing them, leaving no marks or scars.

To assure she received care, I took her to the nearest hospital and deposited her on the steps without anyone noticing.

As always, I used hypnotic suggestion to erase her memory and leave her with a pleasant dream.

During the wee hours of the morning, I tended to enjoy the calls of the birds and the chirping of the crickets to help relieve the burden on my mind.

Not a soul roamed the streets near the bridge where I liked to sit and write poetry or read a book.

In the midst of the silence, a horrifying shriek caught my attention, almost startling me.

My pupils narrowed to those one might see in a viper or a cat. I let my body dissipate into the form of a black mist, hovering over the city in search of the source of the scream.

I found it in the shape of the body of a mangled man.

The whites of his eyes consumed most of the portion of the glossy orbs in his skull, mouth gaped open mid-scream.

I knelt before him, my own brows furrowed in frustration at the recognition of the familiar puncture wounds on the man’s throat. This cannot be. No other has hunted here in centuries. 

The disturbing find made something clear.

Many of my kind preferred not to hunt in one place occupied by another of higher status, or in another’s territory for that matter. We changed due to the growing number of human hunters who would kill any of us they came across.

Despite the city’s size, my reputation often kept others out of my hunting grounds, for which I remained grateful.

This new kill had been malicious.

If I allowed such behavior to continue, it could draw the attention of the hunters or the local police to my home.

Whomever the responsible party, I needed to locate them and have a word with them or kill them if necessary.

My eyes closed, a heavy sigh drawing up from within my lungs. I placed my fingers over the man’s eyes, using a gentle touch to close them. “Forgive whichever of us did this to you. You did not deserve to die in such a horrific manner.”

Searching through the pockets of his trench coat, I located his identification card and vowed to send some money and roses to his family.

Sounds of sirens and the calls of the corner watchmen announced the arrival of the authorities. I left them the man’s wallet so they could inform his family of their loss.

I lurked in the shadows listening to the inspectors scrutinizing the scene.

“Bloody mystery, it is. This is the second mangled body we found this week. One has to wonder if we might be witnessing the birth of another blighter of a serial killer.” One of the inspectors scratched his head beneath the dome shaped hat.

I recognized him as Bertrand Abrams, a well-known officer and one of the only men who aided Holly during her visits to town.

From his looks, one would expect him to hail from Scotland. A bushy mustache and stringy hair with the consistency of sheep’s wool held the color of fire. Dimples set into high cheekbones and a double chin made me smile. A portly belly betrayed his affinity for too many scones and perhaps Scotch.

He had been wrong. This death held no mystery. I merely needed to find the one responsible before it resulted in too much of a personal dilemma.

Following the release of the corpse to the medical examiner, I took the form of black mist and drifted back to Raven Hollow.

The beginnings of my night would be haunted by dreams of a past filled with love, vengeance and pain.

It would be filled with shining auburn locks and eyes the color of the fresh leaves of spring.


Author Bio:

Iona Caldwell is the lover of all things arcane, folklore, nature and magic.
She is the author of the British Occult Fiction, Beneath London’s Fog set to be published by FyreSyde Publishing October 2019. Her second title, Hell’s Warden is forecasted to release in February of 2020. When she’s not busy weaving worlds of the arcane and dark, she’s spending time out in nature. An avid lover of books, Iona claims her biggest inspirations are H.P Lovecraft, Stephen King, Neil Gaiman and Edgar Allen Poe.

She believes storytellers should tell the stories they want to tell. As such, most of her titles are stand-alone novellas she hopes will leave her readers immersed in magical worlds.

She is also an extremely active book blogger who will review primarily horror, suspense, supernatural thriller, mystery, and occult/gothic fiction.

Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Instagram


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Sunday, November 10, 2019

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Taming Demons for Beginners (The Guild Codex: Demonized #1) by Annette Marie

Taming Demons for Beginners
Annette Marie
(The Guild Codex: Demonized #1)
Published by: Dark Owl Fantasy Inc.
Publication date: September 13th 2019
Genres: New Adult, Urban Fantasy

Rule one: Don’t look at the demon.

When I arrived at my uncle’s house, I expected my relatives to be like me—outcast sorcerers who don’t practice magic. I was right about the sorcery, but wrong about everything else.

Rule two: Don’t listen to the demon.

My uncle chose a far deadlier power. He calls creatures of darkness into our world, binds them into service contracts, and sells them to the highest bidder. And I’m supposed to act like I don’t know how illegal and dangerous it is.

Rule three: Don’t talk to the demon.

All I had to do was keep my nose out of it. Pretend I didn’t find the summoning circle in the basement. Pretend I didn’t notice the shadowy being trapped inside it. Pretend I didn’t break the rules.

But I did, and now it’s too late.


From the author of The Guild Codex: Spellbound comes a new series that will plunge an unprepared young woman into the darkest magic of the mythic world.

Goodreads / Amazon

My Review:

10 out of 5 Stars!

Genre: Another-World, Mystery, Supernatural, Suspense, Urban Fantasy, Witches--

Robin is so in over her head and battling being overwhelmed by depression and loss. She is currently living with her uncle and his family until he releases her inheritance from the death of her parents, but most importantly she wants her treasured family heirloom of her mother's grimoire. Even though her family was part of the magical community, Robin was always taught not to practice magic of any kind, that it would only hurt her. Well, Robin is surprised to find out that her uncle and cousins are actually demon summoners and have a mysterious demon trapped in their house, a demon that won't speak or interact in any way with them. Robin may have no idea what she is doing but somehow she ends up making a deal with a demon...

If not for the pain, I might’ve doubted my memory. A demon had thrown a cookie at my face? Hands down the strangest thing that had ever happened to me.

Robin was a totally different kind of character than I feel like the author has created before. Usually her female main characters are pretty tough and no nonsense, able to take care of them self in any situation and completely resilient. Well, the Robin we meet at the beginning of the story is none of those things. Instead she is sweet and soft, with no real talents besides baking and researching, completely out of the loop when it comes to magic, demons and protecting herself. I was not sure how I was going to like her since I usually favor the kickass heroines the author normal creates who can handle their own conflicts. I was pleasantly surprised to discover I like Robin and her fluffy, happy self. She was aware of her flaws and tried to compensate in other ways and to work on things that she could fix, she had no issues admitting she was wrong or that she needed help which is strength it it's own way. Also that girl was surprisingly tough, taking a beating (multiple times) and never cracking even while I cringed while reading about her said beatings. The two important side characters, Zylas was equally scary and entertaining, but with a unexpected sweet side and Amalia was a surprising addition to the team that I full love.

He thought my cookies were better than a fruit he’d killed to eat. My hands, submerged in soapy water, paused. I’d have to make sure no one ever tried to take food from him. It sounded dangerous.

As a side note, Robin bakes a lot in the book which had an unfortunate side effect of making me hungry for sweets the entire time I was reading the book. The way the cookies are described was mouthwatering and I want the recipes STAT- ok, that is a lie, I want someone to come bake the cookies for me. I can understand why a particular deal might be struck for some cookies...

Overall this was another great installment in The Guild Codex world and I am so excited by the potential crossover the story hinted at. You can read this series by itself but I highly recommend reading it in combination with the other Guild Codex world books. Actually to be fair I recommend all the books by this author, and know that you will get an action packed read with great characters, random pieces of humor and some intense magic.


Author Bio:

Annette Marie is the author of Amazon best-selling YA urban fantasy series Steel & Stone, its prequel trilogy Spell Weaver, and romantic fantasy trilogy Red Winter. Her first love is fantasy, but fast-paced adventures and tantalizing forbidden romances are her guilty pleasures. She lives in the frozen winter wasteland of Alberta, Canada (okay, it's not quite that bad) with her husband and their furry minion of darkness—sorry, cat—Caesar. When not writing, she can be found elbow-deep in one art project or another while blissfully ignoring all adult responsibilities.

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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Review: Emergence (Sever the Crown #1) by Mysti Parker & Lindsey R. Loucks

Book Blurb:

One rightful vampire queen. Five irresistible vampire men. Together, they'll sever the crown – or maybe the traitor's head that wears it.

Wren has a dark obsession—to find her mother's murderers before they find her. Every new singing gig brings her closer to crossing their names from her list.

When a detective shows up with a new lead, she jumps at the chance with fangs bared.

But to get the info they need, they’ll have to bust someone out of jail.

Sure. No problem.

Ashe has just been framed for high crimes against the Southern Vampire Clan—but he’s not exactly innocent either.

While waiting for his fate, a five-pointed star tattoo appears on his wrist, similar to the tattoo of a stunning platinum-haired vampire. The sudden attraction between them is undeniable. Better yet, she's just offered to free him.

Sounds like a great deal. So what's the catch?

Turns out, as their enemies close in, the catch could very well be their lives.

EMERGENCE is a paranormal royal reverse harem romance in the SEVER THE CROWN series. Wren connects with another of her men in each book—and learns how their fates are all intricately intertwined. Each book ends in a cliffhanger.

Find out more about Emergence on Goodreads

My Review:

4 Out Of 5 Stars

Genre: Another-World, Mystery, Reverse Harem, Romance, Royal-Court, Supernatural, Suspense, Vampires--

Wren nothing except vengeance, spending her life hunting down the people who murdered her mother. When a human Zac finds her, he blows her mind open with the vampire world, something she never even knew existed. Now Wren and Zac must break out a prisoner from a a top secret vampire jail so Wren can have some questions answered about her past. Ashe has no idea why he was arrested for a murder her did not commit but he is willing to take a chance on the spunky blonde warrior who saves the day.

This was so much fun. Seriously, one action packed moment to the next, with random vampire attacks and whizzing bullets, kidnapping and car chases. It was a fast read already, but the action made it seem even quicker since I blew right through the chapters. The vampire world was a new twist, with sovereigns ruling certain areas, underground night clubs, vampire doctors and willing blood donors.

And yes, this is a reverse harem, but it is a little different (which I love) since each book Wren finds a new guy for her harem. So basically, this book was spent just between Wren and Ashe. Each chapter switched perspective between the two so we get to see both sides of the relationship unfold. We have damaged, jaded Wren who has been alone for a long time and knows nothing about the vampire world. And then nice (vampire) guy Ashe who has never done anything wrong, is liked by all and raised in the midst of all the vampire action. The dynamic between the two wa fun, intense and at times steamy.

The synopsis for the book did give a fair warning, there is a big cliff hanger at the end of this book so be aware you will need the next book asap to jump into for answers. I am most certainly reading the next book because I want more of this cool underground vampire world as well as I am interested to see how the dynamic between Ashe and Wren will change or evolve when a new guy is added.

Ps I love Zac, I know he potentially has shady motives and is a (very snarky, judgy, trigger happy) human in a vampire world but he is the best. I really want him to join her harem, even though it is not an actual possibility, I will hold on to my irrational hope.

Review: The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones

Book Blurb:

Seventeen-year-old Aderyn ("Ryn") only cares about two things: her family, and her family's graveyard. And right now, both are in dire straits. Since the death of their parents, Ryn and her siblings have been scraping together a meager existence as gravediggers in the remote village of Colbren, which sits at the foot of a harsh and deadly mountain range that was once home to the fae. The problem with being a gravedigger in Colbren, though, is that the dead don't always stay dead.

The risen corpses are known as "bone houses," and legend says that they're the result of a decades-old curse. When Ellis, an apprentice mapmaker with a mysterious past, arrives in town, the bone houses attack with new ferocity. What is it that draws them near? And more importantly, how can they be stopped for good?

Together, Ellis and Ryn embark on a journey that will take them deep into the heart of the mountains, where they will have to face both the curse and the long-hidden truths about themselves.

Find out more about the book on Goodreads

My Review:

5 Out Of 5 Stars

Genre: Historical, Mystery, Romance, Royal-Court, Supernatural, Suspense, Teen, Zombies--

Ryn has always loved the land, her life, digging graves and putting the dead where they belong. After the death of her parents, she tries her hardest to take care over her brother and sister, but it seems like the dead, or Bone Houses as they are known, won't stay where they are put. Traveling map maker Ellis just wants to survive his chronic pain, make maps of uncharted areas and possibly find out the truth about his origins. When Ryn and Ellis's paths collide, neither could have foreseen the journey they are about to take on.

“I grew up thinking monsters could be slain.”

“Ah,” he said. “And I grew up thinking people were the monsters.”

Ok, I am a complete fan girl here. I love, love loved this book, it is easily one of my favorite reads from 2019 and I would not change a single thing about this story. I have no idea how Emily was able to create this story with so many magical wonderful components that fit so well together. I finished the book a while ago and I put off writing this review because I had no idea what to say to really show the story how enamored I was with it, so now this will be a brief review where I will highly encourage you to pick up a copy of this standalone story full of romance, magic, adventure, horror, mythology and great main characters who felt like real people I knew and rooted for. I selfishly wish there was a sequel so I could see what else Ryn would get herself into, but the ending was too perfect for me to wish it was changed. I will not go purchase all of Emily's previous books because she made a fan of me complete.

And just know the goat is the hero here.

Or, perhaps it went something like this: A goat ended the curse. It got tired of its humans being distracted by hordes of dead soldiers, so it went into the mountains and ate the cauldron.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Blog Blitz & Giveaway: The Traveler by Shannon Nemechek

The Traveler
Shannon Nemechek
(Chimera Rebellion, #1)
Publication date: December 5th 2019
Genres: Adult, Romance, Time-Travel

As a self-professed book nerd, Army Major Katie Butler has hunted many rare books in her lifetime.

While on leave in Savannah Katie visits with a voodoo priestess who tells the story of Eleanor MacAllister and a long-lost book, claimed to be cursed. With her curiosity piqued,

Katie is determined to find the lost book and reveal the secrets it holds.

What she finds could change everything.

Swept back in time, Katie suddenly finds herself immersed in a country at war with itself. Determined to find her way back home, her plans begin to change when she meets the dashing Confederate officer, Captain Colm O’Donnell.

Captain O’Donnell despises slavery and when his father leaves him the family plantation, Colm immediately sets out to make changes. Having devoted his life to military service and his family’s plantation, Colm has very little time for anything else. With his country embroiled in war, he has even less free time.

Until he meets Katie Butler.

Convinced the pretty young woman with sable hair and big blue eyes, is a spy, Colm is determined to find out the truth.

Will their secrets destroy the love they have found? Or, will they find a future together?

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo


Author Bio:

Shannon is a USA Today Bestselling Author of over 18 novels and novellas.

Shannon started her writing career while still serving in the US Army.

Shannon grew up in Macomb, IL where she graduated from High School in 1987 and soon after joined the US Army. Shannon served from 1987 to 2015 during Operation Desert Storm and during Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In April 2015 Shannon retired from the US Army with 23 years of service as a Unit Supply Sergeant. She is a mother of 4 children and a grandma to 2 beautiful Granddaughters. She has been married 26 years to her husband, Ken. They reside in Staunton, IL a small town along Old Route 66.

Shannon is an award-winning author of multiple novels and short stories. She is best known for her Military Romance series A Warranted Series.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram


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