Tag Archives: urban fantasy

The Prisoners of Stewartville by Shannon Felton Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A teen boy starts to look into the mysteries of the small town defined by its prison system after discovering a hidden tunnel in the basement of a home, and in doing so uncovers dark histories and hidden secrets that will terrify him to his core in the author Shannon Felton’s “The Prisoners of Stewartville”.

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The Synopsis

Stewartville. A town living in the shadow of the prisons that drive its economy. Haunted by the ghosts of its past. Cursed by the dark secrets hidden beneath. A town so entwined with the prisons waiting outside the city limits that it’s impossible to imagine one without the other, or to ever imagine escaping either.

When a teenage boy digs into the history of the town, he discovers a tunnel system beneath Stewartville, passageways filled with dark secrets. Secrets leading not to freedom, but to unrelenting terror.

Stewartville. Where the convicts aren’t the only prisoners.

The Review

This was a truly captivating and masterful read. The heavy atmosphere of the narrative kept readers engaged right from the beginning. The rich mythos that the author develops for this story and the evil that infects this town (or is it the other way around?), really do a remarkable job of keeping the reader’s hearts pumping.

The heart of this short horror read is actually the balance of character development and the book’s setting. The thing that stuck out to me was how the people of this town felt very much like a by-product of the infestation that this town had become, as it not only seemed to draw in people who are typically deemed by society to live “on the fringes” but would transform people into their worst nightmares through fear and terror. The protagonist’s story and his confrontation with the evil of this town reflected the status of the town altogether, which became a central character in its own right.

The Verdict

Horrifying, chilling, and entertaining, author Shannon Felton’s “The Prisoners of Stewartville” is a must-read occult fiction meets paranormal & urban fantasy novel. The twists and turns this narrative takes and the larger discussion on the prison system and how society treats those living on the fringe kept me invested in this gripping story, as did the shocking twist final pages of this instant horror classic. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Shannon Felton lives in Buckeye, Arizona with her husband, their four children, and three dogs. The Prisoners of Stewartville is her debut novella.

Sundowners by R.L. Merrill Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A powerful vampire seeking the truth behind a betrayal and hoping to atone for his past meets a grad student and begins a powerful romance just as a pack of vicious vampires begins to descend on their town in author R.L. Merrill’s “Sundowners”, the first book in the series of the same name.

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The Synopsis

From the author of the supernatural suspense series Gifted (Healer, Connection) comes a new queer paranormal romance series.

Praise for Connection: “The romance element is complemented nicely by the relentless action and adventure throughout, creating an emotionally intense and page-turning narrative…A fast-paced and fun fusion of supernatural romance and mainstream thriller.” ~Kirkus

Vampire Creed Lowell drifts from town to town working with the elderly as a night nurse and looking to avenge his harrowing past. His youth and vitality make him a favorite of his patients and his gifts bring them peace. At long last he’s arrived in the place where he hopes to find the truth about those who betrayed him…but first he finds an unexpected love with a man who might understand him—or end him.

Grad student Roman San Angelo is struggling to handle his courses, teaching schedule, and research for his dissertation on an obscure cult. He spends every spare moment with his beloved yet demanding grandmother Frances who’s recently moved to an assisted living facility—and he’s fascinated by her night nurse, who is able to bring out the inner light which had faded during her battle with dementia. Something about Creed doesn’t add up, however, Roman finds himself fighting an undeniable attraction. His concerns multiply when Roman discovers a connection between Creed and a bizarre series of vampire-wannabe assaults in the area. A moment of weakness leads to a night of passion between them, and the promise of something more, and yet Roman can’t shake his concern that Creed is not what he seems.

Creed knows better than to bring a mortal into his world, even one who could help him find the link between the pack of violent vampires preying on the people of Santa Cruz and Creed’s past. When he discovers Creed’s secret, Roman is ready to step outside his comfort zone and accept everything a life with a vampire entails, and when Creed disappears, Roman will go to the ends of the earth to find the man who brought the light back to his grandmother and the warmth back to his own heart.

*This book contains violence and sexual content. It is meant for audiences 18+

The Review

For any readers or cinematic aficionados out there who know their vampire history, the book immediately serves up some great callbacks to iconic vampire stories, with the narrative taking place in Santa Cruz, CA, the same location as the iconic The Lost Boys film. Yet this is no retelling, as the author ups the stakes and delivers an LGBTQ+ driven urban fantasy and supernatural horror narrative with an adult romance spin. The mystery and suspense of the narrative were so engaging, and the rich setting of Santa Cruz played such a unique and in-depth role in the narrative.

Yet it was the beautiful balance of mythology and character growth that really drew me into this story. The heated and passionate romance that bloomed between Creed and Roman was felt powerfully throughout this story, while the rich mythos that the author created allowed for some really unique and original takes on the vampire lore overall, allowing for a beautiful fusion of LGBTQ+ romance and supernatural urban fantasy. 

The Verdict

Adrenaline-fueled, passionate, and entertaining, author R.L. Merrill’s “Sundowners” is the perfect first book in a brand new LGBTQ Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy series. The unique take on the vampire lore we’ve all come to know, as well as dashes of twists and turns that include cults, magic, and heated romances will have readers flocking to read more of this incredible author’s work. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today! 

Rating: 10/10

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R.L. Merrill has a new MM paranormal romance out: Sundowners. And there’s a giveaway.

Vampire Creed Lowell drifts from town to town working with the elderly as a night nurse and looking to avenge his harrowing past. His youth and vitality make him a favorite of his patients and his gifts bring them peace. At long last he’s arrived in the place where he hopes to find the truth about those who betrayed him…but first he finds an unexpected love with a man who might understand him—or end him.

Grad student Roman San Angelo is struggling to handle his courses, teaching schedule, and research for his dissertation on an obscure cult. He spends every spare moment with his beloved yet demanding grandmother Frances who’s recently moved to an assisted living facility—and he’s fascinated by her night nurse, who is able to bring out the inner light which had faded during her battle with dementia. Something about Creed doesn’t add up, however, Roman finds himself fighting an undeniable attraction. His concerns multiply when Roman discovers a connection between Creed and a bizarre series of vampire-wannabe assaults in the area. A moment of weakness leads to a night of passion between them, and the promise of something more, and yet Roman can’t shake his concern that Creed is not what he seems.

Creed knows better than to bring a mortal into his world, even one who could help him find the link between the pack of violent vampires preying on the people of Santa Cruz and Creed’s past. When he discovers Creed’s secret, Roman is ready to step outside his comfort zone and accept everything a life with a vampire entails, and when Creed disappears, Roman will go to the ends of the earth to find the man who brought the light back to his grandmother and the warmth back to his own heart.

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Giveaway

R.L. is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card with this tour:

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Excerpt

Sundowners meme - R.L. Merrill

Chapter One

Creed

January

“Well, Mr. Lowell, I think we have everything we need. Your references all check out, and you passed your background check. Can you start on Friday?”

What a relief! I smiled and leaned against the wall of my dingy hotel room. Thank goodness for excellent references. I inhaled the combination mildew/chlorine smell caused by the permanent dampness from the ocean and the indoor swimming pool below my room, glad . This was the break I needed, or my current accommodations would soon go from bad to worse.

“Thank you, yes. What time does the evening shift start?” I kept my fingers crossed while I waited for the answer.

“Six o’clock. Just come to the front desk and our evening supervisor will get you set up. Lexi’s great. She’ll show you the ropes.”

“Wonderful. Thank you for this opportunity.”

“We should be thanking you, Mr. Lowell. You’re overqualified for the position, and we’ve had a difficult time keeping our evening staff. I hope this works out for the both of us.”

I thanked Yvonne, the Human Resources director, once more before disconnecting. Then the victory dance commenced.

“Did you hear that, Rhonda? We’re in!”

My red Doberman rested her jaw on her paws and made an old lady noise, indicating that she’d rather be napping than dancing.

I would not be thwarted, however. I danced a West Side Story routine across the room to the kitchenette and reached into the fridge with panache. There was one last bag of A-positive that I’d been sipping on since arriving in Santa Cruz, and now I could finish it off since I’d have a steady supply in just two days’ time. Not that I needed much—especially not when I was working—but it was important to never let my energy stores deplete. It affected my judgement and my ability to do the work that was so desperately needed.

I did a spin and a box step before kicking my leg out, and throwing my arms back in a layout. Hopefully I’d find a patient who knew the old dances at Puesta Del Sol, my new place of employment. They were the most fun to work with.

I reached into my lone duffel bag, which contained seven sets of scrubs, a suit, three white t-shirts, a pair of jeans, a Harvard hoodie, two pairs of shoes, and a small photo album that contained cherished pictures of my parents and younger siblings. The rest of my belongings and resources were hidden in pre-paid storage facilities around the country for when I got desperate…or had to run.

My family was all gone now. My little sister was the last, and she’d passed away four months ago according to the hometown newspaper in Macon County, Georgia. I read every copy that I could get ahold of through the local libraries. The internet had been such a great invention. Even though I hadn’t been home in nearly forty years, I’d managed to keep tabs on everyone. They’d all lived mostly happy, satisfying lives and died of natural causes at advanced ages, which was the best I could have hoped for.

But now that I had no worry of repercussions for my family, I could finally seek out the truth.

Puesta Del Sol was hopefully the end of the line. The last assisted-living home where I’d worked in Albuquerque had led me here, to Santa Cruz, California. “Go west, young man,” turned out to be the advice I’d needed all along.

I was determined to find those responsible for sending me on this decades-long exile. It wouldn’t be long now. It was time to set things straight, and it seemed fitting to be back near where it all started.

March 2019

Two months later, the trail of promising leads had gone cold. Still, I loved my new life in California. I was surrounded by a competent and diverse staff at Puesta Del Sol that knew how to run a place of healing and hope with patients who were happy and well cared for. And I loved Santa Cruz. It was almost enough to make me consider letting go of the past.

What a great place for a guy like me. It was easy to fit into the college town that was also a magnet for transients, tourists, and folks who were followers of alternative lifestyles. Not only were there practitioners of Eastern religions and schools of thought, but also those who claimed to be creatures of the night, a holdover from the vampire craze that swept the area after a hit movie in the ’80s made them cool. I occasionally even found folks who didn’t mind a little role play.

My love of music meant I was a frequent guest of The Catalyst, a large music venue, bar, and eatery located downtown that drew fans from all over the Bay Area. One night they’d feature punk, the next rap, and sometimes even classic rock bands made their way to the club.

Tonight was a perfect opportunity to blend in as a lineup of alternative bands from the eighties was playing. I’d worn my black suit, skinny tie, and black Dr. Martens. I’d even slicked my dark auburn hair back and donned black eyeliner for the hell of it, the makeup highlighting my eyes, so blue they made people stop and stare. Of course, the rest of the package could also be to blame for that. My pale, freckled skin fit the role of a night walker perfectly to round out the look.

I made my way through the crowd to the bar and ordered a beer. A willing playmate soon appeared, and the game was on.

The young man, dressed in a velvet waistcoat and ruffled poet’s shirt, saw me approach the bar and immediately perked up. I took a swig of my beer and nodded at the Goth. When I moved away from the bar, I felt him at my back as I headed to a dark corner. Once there, I leaned against the wall and waited.

The young man approached with a sly smile, and I took it as an invitation. I reached for his shoulder, turned him around slowly, and pulled him back against my chest, enjoying the way his body fit against mine.

“I have your permission?” I whispered in the young man’s ear. “I promise you’ll enjoy it.”

The young man turned to face me and his eyes widened in surprise. “Here?”

I smiled at him and ran a finger down his neck, enjoying the way he shivered. The energy from his excitement would have been enough to nourish me, but I was feeling greedy tonight.

“Yeah, just um, be safe about it.”

I bathed him in a wave of calm. The manipulation of energy was effortless for me now. “You’re in good hands, my friend.” I turned him around and stopped him when he went to loosen his belt. “Relax, I’ve got you.”

I slid his long curly blond hair to the side. I had ways of making the experience pleasurable, so I poured energy into giving this guy one helluva good time, one he’d remember for years to come. He just wouldn’t remember that a vampire sank his teeth gently into his neck and took sustenance from his body.

Give unto them what they require.

Take only what you need to survive.

I would never forget what I’d been taught.

“Blessed be.”

After a few sips, I felt my playmate shudder against me and let out a satisfied moan. A few more pulls and his body tensed, gasped, and shuddered once more. It was nice to know I hadn’t lost my touch.

It had been a long time since I’d chanced feeding in public, but I felt safe here. Santa Cruz had welcomed me with open arms, and I wanted to stay.

The young man raised his arm and cupped the back of my head. He pressed his ass back against me, and I knew it was time to end this tryst.

“Thank you,” I whispered against his ear, and then pressed a kiss to his neck.

“I should be thanking you,” the guy said. “What’s your name?”

I disappeared into the crowd before the young man turned to look, and I was out of the club before he could wonder what happened.

I rarely drank blood—it was an infrequent need to maintain my existence as long as I had plenty of human energy to manipulate—and I always made sure my partner enjoyed it. But the act often left me feeling…empty. I worked hard to help others live a more satisfying life, and after all this time, I sometimes resented that I couldn’t pursue happiness of my own. I would have loved to take that young man home and enjoy more than just an Exchange. Someday I would find…someone. But not until it was safe. Not until I’d done what I came here to do.


Author Bio

“With a strong plot, an expertly crafted cast of supporting characters, and deep empathy, Merrill’s novel will keep readers hooked.” —Publishers Weekly review of Typhoon Toby.

Whether she’s writing contemporary romance featuring quirky and relatable characters or diving deep into the paranormal and supernatural to give readers a shiver, R.L. Merrill loves creating compelling stories that will stay with readers long after. Winner of the Kathryn Hayes “When Sparks Fly” Best Contemporary award for Hurricane Reese, and a Foreword INDIES finalist for Summer of Hush, Ro spends every spare moment improving her writing craft and striving to find that perfect balance between real-life and happily ever after.

She writes diverse and inclusive romance, contributes paranormal hilarity to Robyn Peterman’s Magic and Mayhem Universe, and pens horror-inspired music reviews for HorrorAddicts.net.

You can find her connecting with readers on social media, advocating for America’s youth, raising two brilliant kids, or headbanging at a rock show near her home in the San Francisco Bay Area!

Stay Tuned for more…

Author Website: https://www.rlmerrillauthor.com

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/rochellerlmerrill

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/rlmerrillauthor

Author Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/rlmerrillauthor

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rlmerrillauthor

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9828914.R_L_Merrill

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/r-l-merrill/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/R-L-Merrill/e/B00PI6Q1LI

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Ghost Mark (Dark Dreams Book 2) by JP McLean Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

After surviving a kidnapping and a dangerous killer, a young woman who is able to dream walk into the past finds herself hunted by a man whom she had tried to help in the past, and she must take her most dangerous journey yet to fix the mistake she made in author JP McLean’s “Ghost Mark”, the second book in the Dark Dreams series.

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The Synopsis

Jane’s nightmares are back—and this time, they’ve unleashed a brutal killer.

Jane Walker’s nightmares aren’t imaginary—they’re glimpses into the traumatic past; and the past can be dangerous, especially now that Jane’s protective birthmarks are gone.

Worse, she’s no longer invisible within her dreams—and learns this the hard way while using her power to incriminate a ruthless killer. Inadvertently revealing her ghost form, she launches him on a relentless hunt to track her down.

Even more disturbing, Jane knows this man. She once tried to use her power to save him from injury, but instead set him on a path of violent crime. Now, he’s targeted the man she loves, and Jane must keep one step ahead of this cold-blooded assassin before he gets rid of Ethan permanently.

Jane has one last chance to fix the mistake that altered this man’s history, but that means taking her most dangerous dream journey yet—one from which she might never awaken.

Ghost Mark is the second installment of the Dark Dreams Series by JP McLean, an author whose writing the Ottawa Review of Books calls “relentless and original.”

The Review

This was such a powerful and engaging blend of occult horror and urban fantasy. The adrenaline-pumping, action-packed narrative does a great job of layering the story with tension and atmosphere. One thing that really stands out to me about the author’s work overall that really was represented greatly in this read was the way in which the author is able to incorporate these fantastic and powerful elements into a very gritty and realistic modern-day world. The unique way that the narrative fuels this relatable setting and makes the more “supernatural” elements of the characters and their story direction was terrific to see come to life.

That uniqueness also translated so well with the character development as well. The evolution of protagonist Jane and her powers was incredible to watch unfold over the course of this narrative. I also loved the multiple POVs that the author used, allowing readers a different perspective from each character and how they are impacted by the events happening to and around Jane. The themes of violence in an urban setting, the impact of violence on women and children at an early age, and the power of dreams felt so pronounced and natural to the world the author crafted together, making this a true gem of a novel. 

The Verdict

Haunting, captivating, and entertaining, author JP McLean’s “Ghost Mark” is a must-read upcoming occult horror and urban fantasy read, and the perfect next chapter in the Dark Dreams series. The balance struck between character growth and world-building in this narrative was inspired, and the twists and turns that the story takes and the cliffhanger of an ending will have readers hanging onto the edge of their seats, eager for more from this incredible author. If you haven’t yet, be sure to preorder your book or grab your copy on November 1st, 2022! 

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

JP (Jo-Anne) McLean is a bestselling author of urban fantasy and supernatural thrillers. She is a Global Book Award winner, a CIBA finalist, and has received honours from the Eric Hoffer Book Awards, the Wishing Shelf Book Awards, the National Indie Excellence Awards, the Whistler Independent Book Awards, and the Victoria Writers’ Society. Reviewers call her books addictive, smart and fun.

Raised in Toronto, Ontario, JP has lived in various parts of North America, from Mexico and Arizona to Alberta and Ontario. JP holds a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business, is a certified scuba diver, an avid gardener, and a voracious reader. She had a successful career in Human Resources before turning her attention to writing.

JP lives with her husband on Denman Island, which is nestled between the coast of British Columbia and Vancouver Island.

When she’s not writing, you’ll find her cooking dishes that look nothing like the recipe photos or arguing with weeds in the garden.

Visit her at https://jpmcleanauthor.com

Echo: The Curse of the Blackwood Witches by Yasmine Maher Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young woman discovers her dormant power as a witch and must use her gifts to stop a monstrous madman from unleashing the apocalypse on the world while trying to prevent her power from corrupting her soul in author Yasmine Maher’s “Echo: The Curse of the Blackwood Witches”.

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The Synopsis

Master forbidden magic, destroy an immortal enemy, and prevent the apocalypse—all before college finals.

Echo Blackwood has no idea she’s a witch, but after supernatural beasts attack her sister’s wedding, she discovers her long-dormant magic, and she’s quickly catapulted into an impossible war.

The novice witch is the only one who can stop the immortal Jivar—but her magic hides a sinister secret. The dark arts run through her veins, and using their power could cost her soul.

Desperate to control her magic and uncover the truth about herself, Echo and her newfound allies must race against time to defeat Jivar before he unleashes his fury and destroys the world.

Can Echo use the powers of evil to save the world? Or will fighting fire with fire only end in her ruin?

Imbued with all the thrilling action and marvelous magic, Echo: The Curse Of The Blackwood Witches is a riveting and unforgettable read that will sweep you up and refuse to let you go.

The Review

The author did such an incredible job of crafting a memorable and captivating fantasy and paranormal read. The book immediately grabs the reader’s attention, balancing great character development and hinting at a challenging backstory with the horrors and thrills of the supernatural threat facing the protagonist and her new allies. The backstory and history of the cast of characters were so intricately detailed and did an amazing job of keeping the reader invested in the narrative.

Yet it was the wealth of mythology and world-building the author did that kept me invested in this story overall. The way the author built up the family drama in Echo’s life and childhood and made it feel just as impactful as the apocalyptic nature of the threat they all faced was a great sign of the author’s creativity and focus on character-driven narrative. The journey that led Echo to discover her dark powers, her connection to the villainous Jivar, and the struggle to balance her hope to save the world with the destructive aspect of her gifts made this such an intriguing plot.

The Verdict

Thought-provoking, entertaining, and action-packed, author Yasmine Maher’s “Echo: The Curse of the Blackwood Witches” is a must-read urban fantasy novel of 2022. The drama, adrenaline-fueled narrative, and shocking twists and turns in the story will have readers hanging off of the author’s every word. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Yasmine Maher is a fantasy author, copywriter, and Director of Fables and Facts Publishing. As a passionate wordsmith and an active member of the Twitter writing community,

Yasmine loves to weave captivating tales that inspire her readers with whimsical adventures, magic, and larger-than-life characters. 

Herald’s Call by Jaymie Wagner Excerpt & Giveaway (OWI Blog Tours)

Herald's Call - Jaymie Wagner

Jaymie Wagner has a new FFF urban fantasy out, Sing For Me book 3: Herald’s Call. And there’s a giveaway.

Woe to the wolf who dares to call

With unworthy hearts lest darkness fall

Dour note this horn will play

The hounds shall rise and wolves shall bay

Through the horn Herne shall command

By blood of the Hunt and a worthy hand!

It is said that long ago Herne, the god of the Hunt, could use his Horn to make wolves obey his commands. A legend that Amy Oakley, Alpha of the Howlers pack, learned as a child and stopped believing in long before her first change beneath the full moon.

After spending three years fighting for her lovers and packmates’ right to live among the werewolves of Londinium, all she wants is a chance to breathe, go back to running her pub, and never see the manipulative Marcel Charron again.

As an ancient prophecy begins to unfold, can Amy and the Howlers find the Horn of Herne and keep it out of Marcel’s hands, or will his web of schemes and plots spell doom for their pack and the rest of London’s werewolves?

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About the Series:

When Leah Corbyn was bitten on her mail route by a dog, she expected to go to the hospital for some stitches, a few days of medical leave, and for life to go on.

She had no idea that two weeks later she would become a werewolf under the full moon, or spend the next year trying to hide her ‘condition’, but after meeting and dating fellow werewolf Amy Oakley, it wasn’t long before she started to find an entire community in the shadows of London.

Surrounded by unexpected friends and dangerous enemies, Amy, Leah, and their packmate Amélie must fight to make a place for themselves, unaware that the conditions of an ancient prophecy are being met…


Giveaway

Jaymie is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour:

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Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47247/?


Excerpt

Herald's Call banner

Leah swallowed hard, and her voice was a hushed, raspy whisper. “Do you think…I mean…if my mum was a werewolf and she knew I wasn’t going to be. Could that be why she got rid of me?”

“Oh,” Amy breathed as she pulled Leah into a hug. “Oh, pup.”

“I mean…” Leah shook her head, tears starting to well in her eyes. “I never really knew anything. Where I came from. Why I was abandoned. Nobody even knows who gave me up. They just found me like a lost wallet!” She shuddered in Amy’s arms, tears running down her face.

“I finally learned something about where I came from and suddenly I wish I hadn’t!”

Abigail sat down slowly. “Leah,” she said in her most kind but firm doctor’s voice. “I can’t speak to why your parents made that decision. I wish I could. What I can tell you is that mitochondrial DNA takes a very long time to change from generation to generation, and the fact that you did not possess the full were sequences until you were turned suggests that it was a fairly distant ancestor. Five or six generations, easily.”

She waited for Leah to meet her eyes before she concluded: “Whatever their reasons, this was not one of them.”

Leah gave a sniff and dried her eyes with the back of her hand as she sat up. “That’s…that helps. Thanks, Abby.”

“Of course.” Abigail smiled at all of them before going back to the papers. “So – as I said, we don’t know as much, medically, as we would like about Turning. But this does suggest a few things to me. For one – it may explain part of why you survived the process, particularly with a diet that was…not terribly conducive to your new existence.”

That got a weak laugh out of Leah, and Amélie smiled with relief. If she could laugh…it was a good sign. “So – you think that explains my eyes, too?”

“It would seem so,” Abigail agreed with a nod. “I am not certain why it took so long to express, but my theory is that some of the latent werewolf traits you carry finally began to show through.”

Leah’s lips pulled into a slight frown. “Could that be part of why I’m a different sort of wolf than whoever turned me?”

Abigail nodded again. “Likely, yes.”

Amy reached up to lightly scratch at Leah’s scalp as she examined the different sets of results. “Does that explain Leah’s ear, too?”

Abigail shook her head and went back to the first chart. “The trait that affects the development of cartilage in the ear is an autosomal one. It most likely came from the were who bit you.”

Amélie looked down at the results again, and suddenly felt like she’d been given the last piece of a puzzle.

No one has been able to find the wolf who bit Leah…but they were assuming it was a were who lived in England.

Leah said the ‘dog’ who attacked her had a blonde and pale grey coat.

Marcel knew Leah was Turned.

Marcel knew Leah had no family.

Marcel knew where the Howl was.

Leah never spoke to Marcel at the trial, and Amy would not have told him anything about Leah or herself. If the records from Leah’s trial were sealed, there is no way he should have known any of the things he tried to use against us.

Marcel always said his ears drooped because of an old injury from a fight…but Marcel lied about almost everything.

Her chest felt tight as the facts began to add up.

Marcel…

Marcel is a liar.

Her mouth felt dry as she looked up. “Abigail?”

Everyone turned to look at her, and Amélie didn’t try to hide the dread and shock she felt.

“I know who Turned Leah.”


Author Bio

Herald's Call - Jaymie Wagner

Jaymie Wagner is a queer, trans, polyamorous author who lives in the Twin Cities with her cats and an alarming collection of tiny giant robots.

She has been published in several anthologies, short story collections, and posts her “Fractured Fantasies” twitter micro-stories where she explores different ideas and kinks.

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/jaymie.wagner.98/

Author Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/JaymieDWagner

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/JaymieDWagner

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21846389.Jaymie_Wagner

Author Liminal Fiction (LimFic.com): https://www.limfic.com/mbm-book-author/jaymie-wagner/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B09HF3P2ZC

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Discovery of the Five Senses (The Urban Boys Series Book One) by K.N. Smith Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A group of boys must band together through the discovery of newfound abilities when a great threat faces the world in author K.N. Smith’s Urban Fantasy meets mystery thriller novel “Discovery of the Five Senses”, the first book in The Urban Boys Series. 

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The Synopsis

Welcome or unwelcome. Fate has arrived.

“A captivating and poetic tale of mystery, fantasy, and reality tied together by action!” 5-stars, Lars Jackson, Amazon Customer

A suspenseful incident in a forbidden preserve heightens the senses of five friends. Sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell become super-gifts that forever change the world. But furious battles confront the boys as they try to understand their sensory super powers in a race to save mankind. With light beings and mysterious strangers complicating their plight, can the boys defeat the evil Druth before it’s too late? Get prepared for the twisting and grinding of this award-winning, action-adventure story — an edge-of-your-seat narrative for young and mature readers alike.

Book Details

Title: Discovery of the Five Senses

Book One – The Urban Boys Series

Genre: Young Adult Action-Adventure, Young Adult

Thriller, Urban Fantasy, Mystery/ Thriller

Rated: PG

Page Count: 340

Word Count: 53,490

ISBN-10: 0989474755

ISBN-13: 978-0989474757

ASIN: B015ZS01MI

Release Date of 2nd Edition: 9/15/21

Publisher: Two Petals Publishing (self-published)

The Review

This was an absolutely superb read. The author did an incredible job of world-building in this novel. Both Danville Heights and Sandry Lake came to life on the pages of this novel thanks to some incredible use of imagery and atmospheric tension in the narrative’s plot. Both towns became the perfect mirror reflection of one another, with Danville Heights embodying the symbol of strength, unity, and hope that was severely lacking in Sandry Lake after Druth’s attacks. 

Yet it was the powerful character development that really stole the show here. The way the author was able to dedicate enough time to not only the five protagonists of the book, but to their allies and their enemies or antagonists in this novel was incredible to read, and allowed the reader to feel truly connected to the people of these towns as a result. The mystery surrounding Druth in particular was great to read, as it gave more depth and emotional basis for this villain’s downfall into absolute evil. 

The Verdict

Heartfelt, action-packed, and entertaining, author K.N. Smith’s “Discovery of the Five Senses” is a must-read urban fantasy meets superhero action thriller for both middle age and YA fans alike. The novel felt very much like a spiritual successor to properties like Marvel’s Runaways and Stranger Things. The care and love readers will have for these characters, as well as the suspense over the connection some of these characters will have to their newfound “villain” makes this such a delightful new fantasy series I didn’t want to put down. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

K.N. Smith, winner of the “Best of” in the category of “Outstanding Young Adult Novel” at the Jessie Redmon Fauset Book Awards, is an author and passionate advocate of literacy and arts programs throughout the world. Her lyrical flair sweeps across pages that twist and grind through action-adventure and urban fantasy in edge-of-your-seat narratives. K.N. has over twenty-five years’ experience in communications and creative design as an award-winning consultant. Reading is still her foremost hobby. K.N. inspires people of all ages to reach their highest potential in their creative, educational, and life pursuits.

Website: https://www.knsmith.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorknsmith

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/knsmith_author/

https://books2read.com/knsmith

Death’s Intern (The Intern Diaries Book One) by D.C. Gomez Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young woman and retired army vet must decide whether she can take over a job working for Death herself in order to save a sea of lost souls (literally) in author D.C. Gomez’s “Death’s Intern”, the first book in the Intern Diaries series.

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The Synopsis

Discover the magic in this AMAZON BESTSELLER and see why thousands of readers love Isis.

Retired Army vet, Isis Black, lives in a small Texas town, a tiny dot on the map. The only friends she has are her coworkers at a Tex-Mex restaurant, the locals she serves, and a homeless man named Bob.

One evening after work, Death knocks at Isis’s apartment door. Death wears an expensive designer suit and four-inch heels. She has a curvaceous body, long, silky brown hair and mischief in her voice.

Isis is sure that she’s dreaming or has gone to hell for accidentally killing a man by knocking him off a crowded fire escape at a wild party. Death informs Isis that the man she killed was Death’s intern, and now Death needs Isis to take his place for the North American territory.

Somebody is stealing the souls that Death needs to transport to the afterlife. The intern’s job is to find out who is sabotaging Death’s efforts. Who better for the job than Isis – she’s lonely, bored and perfect – right down to her name. Death gives Isis three days to decide if she’ll take the job.

When her friend, Bob, goes missing, Isis is enraged. But is she willing to work with Death, a talking cat, and a boy-genius as her teammates to find Bob?
If she doesn’t help Death, will Bob, and homeless people across the country, die?

This is a story of courage and a chase to save humanity.

The Review

This was such a fun and exhilarating urban fantasy read! The author did a fantastic job of capturing the balance of action-packed drama and humorous wit that the character exuded. The action picks up immediately, setting the stage for a powerful narrative that explores the concept of death and the ways in which humanity tries to control our destinies. The rich mythology and world-building the author developed played out on the page in a very cinematic way, the writing kind of reflecting imagery that would bring any modern streaming series to life.

Yet it was the diverse and captivating character development that really caught my eye. The intense action was equally elevated and balanced with the humor and charm of the main cast of characters. While the protagonist was a truly well-rounded and strong new hero in an urban fantasy setting, it was the strong supporting cast that was really amazing to read. From Death herself to a talking cat named Constantine and a young tech whiz named Bartholomew, the author created characters that offered humor, wit, and emotional depth to keep us invested in the narrative. 

The Verdict

Haunting, action-packed, and entertaining, author D.C. Gomez’s “Death’s Intern” is a must-read urban fantasy novel and a brilliant start to the Intern Diaries series. The rich mythos and fast-paced action mixed with the heartfelt characters and a very engaging sense of imagery brought this incredible story to life, so be sure to grab your copy of this novel today! 

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

D. C. Gomez is a USA Today Bestselling Author, born in the Dominican Republic and grew up in Salem, Massachusetts. She study film and television at New York University. After college she joined the US Army, and proudly served for four years.

Those experiences shaped her quirky sense of humor. D.C. has a love for those who served and the families that support them. She currently lives in the quaint city of Wake Village, Texas, with her furry roommate, Chincha.

Deadly Deception (The Gift Legacy Book 5) by J.P. McLean Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A missing child starts a deadly path of lies and deception as the secretive group known as the Fliers faces suspicion for the crime, and a new enemy emerges amidst a shocking conspiracy brewing within the shadows in author J.P. McLean’s “Deadly Deception”, the fifth book in The Gift Legacy series.

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The Synopsis

A daring abduction. A sinister plot. A family on the edge of ruin.

A newborn is missing, and security camera footage implicates a kidnapper who shares Emelynn Taylor’s gift of flight. With the baby’s life in danger, Emelynn races against the clock to find the child. But lies litter her path and deception blocks her at every turn.

When Emelynn’s lover is the next to disappear, she suspects the kidnappings aren’t what they seem. In her desperate search, she uncovers a high-stakes conspiracy that jeopardizes the freedom of every Flier.

Emelynn and her handler must defy orders to track down this new enemy in time to stop their treacherous scheme.

And closer to home, a deeper deception threatens. Will Emelynn’s family survive the biggest lie of all? One that Emelynn has spent her whole life perfecting?

The fifth book in The Gift Legacy series, Deadly Deception is a thriller that skirts the edges of reality in a world within our own. Strap on your parachute and escape the ordinary: take flight with Emelynn Taylor.

The Review

The suspense and action of this series continue to grow with each passing book. The author did such an incredible job of crafting a powerful narrative that both entertained and captivated the reader. The narrative felt very edgy and fast-paced throughout the book, playing to the urgency and adrenaline that often comes from the crime that first begins this book. Yet as the mystery unfolds, the shocking first crime turns the narrative on its head as more secrets and lies are exposed, and the mythos of both the Fliers and the organization Emelynn has been working for growing deeper and far more complex. 

The heart of this narrative, and the series overall, have to be the character’s growth and interactions with one another. The heartbreaking betrayals and shocking turns that some of these characters go through in this read, as well as the emotional turmoil that they endure, added a very human and inviting hook to the very urban fantasy thriller setting that this narrative has. The moments of love intermixed with that same love nearly shattering all played well with the more action-fueled and thoughtful developments in this series.

The Verdict

Harrowing, twisted, and engaging as a whole, author J.P. McLean’s “Deadly Deception” is a must-read novel. The modern-day fantasy and the world of these powerful forces blend seamlessly with the shadowy organization and edge-of-your-seat, heart-pounding action that ensues as this case opens up to avenues never before thought of. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

JP (Jo-Anne) McLean writes contemporary fantasy thrillers with a provocative edge. She is best known for The Gift Legacy series. The first book of the series received Honorable Mention at the WhistlerIndependent Book Awards. Reviewers call the series addictive, smart and fun.

Her books include endorsements from Ethel Wilson fiction prize winner, Jennifer Manuel, and Globe and Mail bestselling author,Elinor Florence, among others. The series has been described as fantasy light and is a good introduction to the genre for the uninitiated.

Jo-Anne neglects the gardens and housework to write full time from her home on Denman Island, off of Canada’s west coast. She writes best when she’s within sight and sound of water, even if it’s just a fountain, and hopes never to stop reading, writing or imagining the impossible.

Soul Collector: The Life of Death As Told by DAT N**** Death by Duvay Knox Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

**SPECIAL NOTE**: This book, as expressed by the publisher, was written in the manner in which the author himself speaks, and all misspellings and particular language used in the book is a result of the publisher choosing to honor and celebrate the voices from Black and Indigenous communities from all around the world. Therefore, any strong language found within the review title, synopsis, or author bio is a result of the idiosyncratic language used by the author himself and not a reflection of this reviewer’s language. I am proud to be able to share unique voices and respect the author creating an authentic and cherished story that reflects his own way of speaking. 

A young Black man who dies as the result of gun violence finds himself taking on the role of Death and collecting souls from those whose time has arrived, but finds himself starting to empathize with those whose souls he takes in author Duvay Knox’s “Soul Collector”.

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The Synopsis

Collecting souls is the job, and the bosses in Hell are some shady motherfuckers. With new rules and reeling revelations with every assignment, the job doesn’t seem to be quite what it appears-and promotions come at a price.

A quick-paced supernatural thriller, “Soul Collector” follows the journey of Sippian, a young victim of gang violence, who in Hell assumes the role of Death and struggles to understand the convoluted rules and shadowy figures-and morality-he faces in the afterlife. What will it take for him to become, and remain, DAT Nigga? What will it cost? And who’s setting the price?

Every era has its Bard. Its keeper of historical, scientific, and cultural knowledge. Its spiritual lightning rod. Its wizened satirist. Its destroyer of old and top-heavy ideas. In the era of Late Stage US Capitalism and COVID-19, Duvay Knox is that Bard. A long time urban folklorist, first time formally published writer, and holder of countless secret titles, Knox’ work in “Soul Collector” is both page-turningly fascinating, and spiritually salient to our times.

The Review

This was a gripping and mesmerizing work of urban folklore. The author did a great job of balancing his unique voice and perspective with a creative and thought-provoking fictional tale of death and those caught in its clutches. The world-building and character development were amazing and did a great job of elevating the theme and tone the author set from the beginning of this fast-paced noir read. 

What stood out of course was the author’s brilliant dedication to representation and keeping a truly authentic voice for this book. The story wasn’t just entertaining, but socially and culturally important as it gave a community not often recognized quite as authentically as others in the folklore/horror noir genre a true voice. The imagery and atmosphere the author layered onto the narrative were amazing, as was the exploration of the protagonist’s moral dilemma when dealing with the business of death. 

The Verdict

Memorable, heartfelt, and honest yet vividly creative, author Duvay Knox’s “Soul Collector” is a must-read book. Comedy and satire wrapped into horror and urban folklore box and delivered with culturally relevant and dialogue-driven narrative, the author really gave readers a personal yet relatable experience that not only represents the author’s own authentic voice but allowed for a thought-provoking message woven into a highly entertaining noir read. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

I cum outta the South, by way of Louisiana and Tennessee, wit these Tales you see listed on this page. Life has turned me into a Savage Writer of black pulp fiction, black exploitation, black folklore, and black erotica – gritty shit that makes you wanna laff, cry, scream or make nasty love. RUMOR has it I was born frum the last nut in my Daddys sack. And came into this world when HE came. Needless to say, my birth was traumatic. Thus, I arrived heah wit an Attitude. The Doctor slapped me, and I slapped him back. And so mah Journey began. To find Myself. I ran them Streets. I walked the Path. I graduated frum Sidewalk University. I got my PH.D frum the School of Hard Knocks. I still haven’t found Myself. But I did find my VOICE. So Imma take my time and tell my Stories.

https://www.blackpulpfictionpublishinghouse.com/