Tag Archives: vampires

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.

Universal Buy Link


Giveaway

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

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Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47254/?


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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Cardinals by Ian Conner Review

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

Two Scottish women who hope to stop an ancient vampire that nearly killed them discover she is on a path of revenge against God himself in author Ian Conner’s “Cardinals”.

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The Synopsis

Nine Hundred years before Christ, God has cast his wife, Asherah, out of heaven and condemned her to roam the earth as the first vampire. Over the centuries, she created other vampires. There are also those that she left for dead but survived her attack without being completely turned into vampires. These survivors are called Cardinals. Scottish Countess Kellena Donnachaidh and Lady Suzette Allard, our protagonists, are among these cardinals. They are searching out Asherah for a final conflict.

Asherah has discovered a way back to heaven so she can exact her vengeance. Using the Amulet of Cassiel she can call the Flaming chariot of Israel to return to heaven and exact her revenge on God.

Now, 3000 years later, the Vatican and other groups are working to destroy Asherah and the vampires., fearing their own destruction if she ascends, simply want to stop Asherah using the Amulet of Cassiel to re-enter heaven. The race and intrigue to recover the Amulet is full of intrigue, betrayal.

A completely new twist on Stoker’s tale.

The Review

The author did such an incredible job of crafting a memorable horror read. The mythos and world-building the author did in this novel were incredible, truly capturing the ancient origins of the world’s most powerful mythological figures. As a longtime fan of all things vampire-related horror, I loved this new take on vampire lore, delving into mythology and spirituality to explore the supernatural origins of the creatures. 

It was so amazing to read about these characters. The character development overall was just superb, as it allowed each character to have a chance to showcase their respective personalities and storylines. I loved the depth of backstory and richness of the antagonist’s story in particular, as readers discovered Asherah’s origins as God’s wife and the horrors that befell her for questioning him. What I really loved in particular about her story was that she represented a trope that has existed in our own world for so long, and that is the world’s tendency to always put the blame on women for life’s problems. From the Salem Witch Trials to modern-day America, women have always been the figureheads for life’s great tragedies in people’s eyes, and it’s something that needs to stop. The story is the perfect reflection of how we can be the cause of a villain’s rise to infamy. 

The Verdict

Entertaining, haunting, and adrenaline-fueled, author Ian Conner’s “Cardinals” is a must-read horror adventure novel! The unique mythos the author crafts, along with the in-depth character growth and emotional connection that develops between the narrative and readers made this a stellar read that I couldn’t put down. Be sure to grab your copy today! 

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Ian Conner is retired and spent most of his adult life as a Marine and Army Infantry Sergeant. Now living near San Diego California with his wife Bonnie, a cellist, and their two dogs, Cookie and Isabella. Conner spends his days fostering kittens, gardening, crafting beautiful stained glass and creating worlds on the page.

Conner has authored several other novels 

     Cooper’s Ridge  –  Science Fiction 

     The Long Game – Political Thriller

     The Price of Partisanship – Political Thriller

     Solaris  – Political Thriller

     Griffins Perch – Epic Fantasy

     Ghost Witch  –  Horror

After a lifetime of destruction the thought of creating something tangible and lasting holds great appeal.  He finds writing a cathartic way to redefine himself both in his eyes and the eyes of others.

Conner can be reached at Ian@BlackRaptorBooks.com

http://www.blackraptorbooks.com

Lipstick Asylum by Nzondi Review

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

After being bitten by a shapeshifting she-wolf, a young woman who was hired to animate the dead for a zombie cruise finds herself instead working to find a cure for the human-extinction virus before it can spread beyond the point of no return in author Nzondi’s “Lipstick Asylum”.

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The Synopsis

The Scream Teens are hired to raise the dead as the necro-tainment for a zombie cruise, and the eighteen-year-old animator, Cozy Coleman, is bitten by a shapeshifting she-wolf. To Cozy’s surprise, she survives and with the aid of her friends, helps the government stop a human-extinction virus from spreading. Unfortunately, Cozy uncovers a secret so haunting, that her death is only the beginning of her problems.

The Review

This was a brilliant deep dive into the dark fantasy genre. The complex and engaging evolution of protagonist Cozy was a huge draw for the narrative. Although struggling with her own deep-seated issues, including grief and a complex relationship with her mother, the strength and courage for which Cozy throws herself into the path of danger to try and protect not only the people around her but those she loves as well makes her such a beloved protagonist, even when she struggles with her moment of darkness that threatens to consume her. 

Yet it was the atmosphere and shifting perspectives that really sold this narrative. The horror elements of the narrative added a depth of mythos to the novel, while the vacation setting makes this feel like a blockbuster film waiting to happen. The way the author was able to shift locations and settings around Cozy as her story progressed really spoke to both the general discussion surrounding mental health and the shifting nature of reality and perspective as a whole, keeping readers on the edge of their seats as the novel progresses.

The Verdict

Thrilling, entertaining, and action-packed, author Nzondi’s “Lipstick Asylum” is a memorable and brilliant dark fantasy and horror read! The twists and turns Cozy’s story takes, and the captivating mythology that drives this YA read will have readers hanging off of the author’s every word. With twists that include calls to some of the author’s previous work, readers will be eager to read more of this incredible author’s projects. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!


Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Nzondi (Ace Antonio Hall) was born Acemandese Nzondi Hall in Queens, New York on July 4th. Hall received his BFA from C. W. Post, Long Island University. His science fiction/horror work, Oware Mosaic (Omnium Gatherum, September 2019), is the 2019 Bram Stoker Awards® Winner for Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel. Hall is a two-time Honorable Mention winner of the Writers and Illustrators of the Future Award. He is also the author of the novel, Confessions of Sylva Slasher, (Montag Press, April 2013) and a non-fiction book, Lord of the Flies: Fitness for Writers (Omnium Gatherum, April 2017).

https://www.aantoniohall.com/

Larougo (The Uluru Legacy #2) by Anna J. Walner 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 must balance the safety of her people with the welfare of her newfound family in the next chapter of author Anna J. Walner’s exhilarating paranormal thriller series (The Uluru Legacy), “Larougo”. 

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The Synopsis

The thrilling continuation of the Uluru Legacy Series.

While some questions will be answered, more will be raised. As new truths come to light, and new evils make themselves known, not everyone will survive.

The vision for a new Colony is at stake as Amelia and Roan discover they’re part of something even larger than they thought.

A delicious and compelling continuation of the story that captured the attention of audiences earlier this year. A book with bite, that doesn’t disappoint.

The Review

A fantastic follow-up to the author’s first incredible supernatural thriller, author Anna J. Walner has hit it out of the park once more. The way the author built upon the mythos and legacy of this unique spin on vampires and lycanthropes was incredible to watch unfold in each chapter, as new elements of the mythos and new discoveries added layers upon layers of new mysteries and tension amidst the growing narrative. 

The characters were so incredibly developed in this second installment. The complex nature of protagonist Amelia’s duality and her power set make her a fierce and devoted leader, and the twists and turns in her story amongst the other characters are what will keep readers invested throughout the narrative. From her shocking confrontation with her mother to the introduction of another complex element in her and Roan’s growing romance to the greater threat to the Colony overall growth over time, Amelia’s journey in this novel is evenly balanced with the mythology and action this novel has.

The Verdict

Entertaining, heart-pounding, and brilliantly gritty and original, author Anna J. Walner’s “Larougo” is a must-read novel of 2021. The perfect fall read for fans of the original story, this next chapter in the growing Uluru universe continues to add new changes to the mythos and engaging way the author addresses the supernatural in this tale, and the shocking cliffhanger will have fans eager for more. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Anna writes under both under Vanessa Morris and Anna J. Walner.

Anna is the author of two fantasy series, The Enrovia Series, and The Uluru Legacy.

She is an International Bestseller, B&N Bestseller, and Amazon.com Bestseller. She is also the Executive Producer of The Author Library Network on YouTube.

You can find out more on her website: AnnaJWalner.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok.

https://annajwalner.com/

The Marionettes (Marionettes #1) by Katie Wismer Review

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

One of the last remaining blood witches learns the spot she thought was all but hers in the prestigious witches league is anything but, and her future and her survival all depend on her work in the trials in author Katie Wismer’s “The Marionettes”, the first in the Marionettes series.

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The Synopsis

A betrayal. A deadly secret. An unlikely ally.

Valerie Darkmore’s entire life has been building up to this moment—her initiation into the Marionettes, the prestigious league of witches sworn to serve the vampires. As one of the last remaining blood witches, her spot is almost guaranteed. At least, so she’d thought.

The academy is full of sabotage and secrets as the tasks begin, and Valerie quickly realizes she has more than her spot on the line. Her survival seems just as uncertain.

The closer she gets to the final trial, the more she learns everything—and everyone—around her isn’t quite what it seems.

The Review

I can honestly say this was one of the best New Adult and Dark Fantasy reads I’ve read not only this year but in a long time. The amount of world-building and mythos the author was able to fit into the narrative was not only entertaining but made the world within this book feel seamless and immersive. The freedom with which the author incorporates not only the two main classifications of supernatural beings, (vampires and witches), but other powerful beings as well that don’t always fit into the typical supernatural fantasy read helped elevate this narrative to new heights. 

Yet it was the characters that really brought the heart and depth of emotions to this story. Protagonist Valerie is complex and the twists and turns of her journey take her to showcase strength and determination that defines her as a must-read new fantasy hero. Her relationships also help define not only her journey but the reader’s journey with this story as well, from her best friends at her school to her strained relationship with her mother and sister, and the evolving bonds with her partner through the trials and the human boy she’s loved for years. 

The Verdict

A mesmerizing, haunting, and engaging dark fantasy that is not to be missed, The Marionettes is a must-read book of 2021 and a contender for the best Dark Fantasy of the year. The shocking final chapter and cliffhanger of an ending will keep readers desperate for more of this enthralling new series, and it will be very interesting to see where the next book in the series takes these incredible characters. If you haven’t yet, grab your copy of this book today, and if you enjoy it, preorder book two in the series, due out this winter. 

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Katie Wismer is a freelance editor and author of romance (sometimes contemporary, sometimes paranormal) and poetry books.

Be the first to know about upcoming projects, exclusive content, and more by signing up for her newsletter at katiewismer.com.

When she’s not reading, writing, or wrangling her two perfect cats, you can find her on her YouTube channel Katesbookdate.

https://www.katiewismer.com/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-J7x7Lf2YQ8i527YNO2iLw

Darling Girls (The Vampires of Candle Bay and Crimson Cove Book 1) by Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross Review

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

The blood-soaked worlds of authors Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross come together in an explosive novel as a powerful threat threatens the Vampiric Kingdom in the acclaimed supernatural drama, “Darling Girls (The Vampires of Candle Bay and Crimson Cove Book 1)”. 

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The Synopsis

Fang Meets Fang

The vampires of Candle Bay and Crimson Cove come together for the Biting Man Festival in Eternity, California, to celebrate a centuries-old tradition that quickly turns murderous as they’re faced with old enemies, uncontrolled bloodlust, and the unpredictable antics of a self-proclaimed vampire slayer who is hellbent on destroying them all.

The Review

While I am fairly new to the vampire worlds created by the authors, the novel felt fresh and easily followed for newcomers to the franchises. The in-depth analysis of the lore and mythology these two authors have crafted both separately and together were entertaining to see unfold, and the adult-driven character development brought a sense of both realism and fantasy as the human cast of characters met the vampires. 

The way the authors were able to create so many intricate plot points throughout this novel and seamlessly weave them together so that each character’s arc felt both unique and cohesive with the overall story was a true masterpiece in storytelling. Combined with the incredible imagery used throughout the narrative that brought the settings to life, including the area known as Eternity, made this one novel that was easy to devour. 

The Verdict

A brilliant and expertly crafted supernatural drama, authors Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross have breathed new life into the vampire sub-genre with the novel “Darling Girls”. Fans of both authors and their individual vampire series will love both the cast of characters they know and love and the ease with which these two series blend together, making this a must-read for vampire fiction lovers everywhere. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Authors

Alistair Cross’ debut novel, The Crimson Corset, a vampiric tale of terror and seduction, was an immediate bestseller earning praise from veteran vampire-lit author, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, and New York Times bestseller, Jay Bonansinga, author of The Walking Dead series. In 2012, Alistair joined forces with international bestseller, Tamara Thorne, and as Thorne & Cross, they write – among other things – the successful Gothic series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their debut collaboration, The Cliffhouse Haunting, was a bestseller. They are currently at work on their next solo novels and a new collaborative project.

In 2014, Alistair and Tamara began the radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, which has featured such guests as Anne Rice, author of The Vampire Chronicles, Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels, Jay Bonansinga of The Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake novels, Peter Atkins, screenwriter of HELLRAISER 2, 3, and 4, worldwide bestseller V.C. Andrews, and New York Times best sellers Preston & Child, Christopher Rice, and Christopher Moore.

https://www.alistaircross.com/

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Tamara Thorne’s first novel was published in 1991. Since then she has written many more, including international bestsellers Haunted, Bad Things, Moonfall, and The Sorority. Tamara’s interest in writing is lifelong, as is her fascination with the paranormal, occult, mythology and folklore. She’s been an avid ghost story collector and writer all her life.

Tamara’s novels range from straight-out ghost stories to tales of witchcraft, conspiracies, UFOs, elemental forces, and vampires. No matter what topic she chooses, chances are you’ll find a ghost or two lurking in the background.

Today, she and her frequent collaborator, Alistair Cross, share their worlds and continue to write about ghosts and other mysterious forces. Whether collaborating or writing solo, there is no shortage of humor, sex, blood, and spookiness.

Tamara also conducts real-life investigations of anomalous phenomena and has seen a number of odd things over the last twenty years. As an open-minded skeptic, she’s spoken to many paranormal groups and has appeared on the television show, Ghost Adventures. Most recently, she and Alistair Cross went on a five-day investigation to an allegedly haunted cabin in California’s Gold Country – an adventure that inspired The Cliffhouse Haunting. She has also been featured on many radio programs and in various newspapers on the topics of haunted places and local lore. A journalist by training, she occasionally writes about ghosts and hauntings for a syndicate of southern California newspapers, but her first love is, and has always been, telling ghost stories to make people scream. . . and laugh.

Tamara and Alistair co-host Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! every Thursday night on Blog Talk Radio.

You can also visit Tamara on Twitter, Facebook, or at her blog.

https://www.tamarathorne.com/

Book Release Day Blitz: Not So Wicked by T.A. Moorman

 

Not So Wicked by T. A. Moorman

Published October 30, 2018 by GothicMoms Studios

YA Paranormal/Urban Fantasy

Synopsis:

Caught in a realm they know next to nothing about, in a time
where they’re hated for not what they are but how they look, these supernatural
teens may find it harder to curve their bloodlust than they thought.

 

Like most teens, even those with supernatural powers and
abilities, Elvira thinks that her days at Be Prepared High are a colossal waste
of time. Especially Feeding 101, since she’s a cursed vampire that was born
without fangs. She and her friends view most of the classes as useless since
they never plan on venturing to the human realm. Why would they when Underlayes
was made specifically for every factions’ safety, where they could roam free
day or night with not a care in the worlds.
But just like her parents always told her, sometimes you’re
put into situations you can’t control.
Elvira’s life takes an unexpected turn when a wizard hell
bent on misplaced revenge kidnaps her and several of her friends. Not only does
she send them with a one-way ticket to Detroit, Michigan, she sends them to a
time when the tension amongst the races is at its highest. And having to deal
with race issues is the one thing that has never even been so much as a thought
to any of them and is the one course not on the roster.
But will everything they’ve learned in school be enough to
keep them alive? What will they all do when racism stares them in the face?
Most importantly, how will they get back home?

 

 

 

Chapter
1

Once
upon a time… Really? I’m not starting my story off with that lame ass cliché. Fat chance. Not when my story is anything but
classic. You can think of this as the life and times of a teenage vampire. A
real one, not one that sparkles as though we were sprinkled with some type of
fairy dust. Oh! And we’re born, not made by just being bitten, consuming blood
from another vampire, or any other legend you may have researched somewhere. The
bitten one is the most ridiculous theory any of us have ever heard of. I mean
really, think about it, if everyone ever bitten by a vampire were to turn into
one how could they ever go back for seconds on the same victim, er donor? Could
you imagine how large the vampire population would be? Anyway, you wanna hear
my story? Just sit back, grab a pint of blood, or milk, and have a listen.
First
off, I don’t live in your dimension, I live in a separate one called
Underlayes. Where the things that go bump in the night – werewolves, vampires,
mermaids, sirens, witches, and so much more – truly are real. Underlayes has
regular neighborhoods just like Earth does, we don’t live in a ton of dug out
caves, or cryptic looking castles; besides the royals anyway. We used to live
amongst you guys, but that was way before my time, and a story way too long and
boring for me to bother with repeating. Just know that we all truly do exist
and a very few of our number walk alongside you still. So, you may want to
think about that before you lay down at night after bullying the school nerd or
your shy co-worker. If they’re the silent and quiet type they’re more than
possibly plotting your untimely demise and deciding what side-dish you’d go
best with. Or what curse to place on you. Something my Mom should have thought
about a long, long time ago.
Me?
The names Elvira, yea, Mom and Pops have a sick and twisted sense of humor.
Which when you come to think of it is actually a very good thing, since Mom was
dumb enough to piss off a witch when she was preggers with me and my brother,
Dracula (yup, again with the humor), Drake for short. During one of her many
mood swings dear old Mom went completely off on an already pissed off witch;
something about the witch crossing in front of her, and Mom thinking that would
make us come out cross eyed (and you thought your mom was superstitious, Ha!).
Miss Witch decided to do her one better and really did curse us both. I was
granted with the gift of being the only vampire known of with NO FANGS! Since
Underlayes doesn’t have hospitals bagged blood isn’t exactly just lying around.
Why not just bite down extra hard you say? Probably because that leaves a big
chunk of meat in my mouth and vampires can’t digest meat; we have a strictly
all liquid diet. Why not just slit someone’s wrist and pour it in a cup you
ask? If you were on an all liquid diet, would one glass a day keep your hunger
pains at bay? NO! And draining someone completely dry doesn’t work either,
unlike how they portray things in your human movies, blood clots up pretty
quickly when it hits air; unless pumped up with nasty anti-coagulants which
leave a horrible aftertaste and makes the blood nearly impossible to digest. So
the blood shortage on your neck of the veil? Feel free to blame that on us, Mom
and Dad had to feed us somehow during the experimental processes of properly
bagging and storing the blood the way humans do. But no worries, they haven’t
had to raid your neck of the realms in a long time now. The alchemist’s studied
the components your scientists used and now have it down pact.
I’m
not really sure if Drake’s curse is worst or pretty much just as bad. Him? He
goes into a full-blown shock at the very sight of blood; fainting spells,
seizures, black outs, the works. Though lucky for him rarely all of those at
once. Lucky for Mom and Dad, he could still at least savor the taste and smell
of it. But talk about being seriously dependent upon someone else, hard to
nourish yourself when you can’t even look at your food. And as a baby? You try
putting a blindfold on an infant, especially one with fangs, and let me know
how well that works out for you. Ah, but it made for some fangtastic pranks
when I was thirteen, which also ended in a lot of punishments. But they were so
worth it!
So
that’s us, Elvie and Drake, two of the only known vampires forced to live on
bagged blood. Though Drake may get lucky one day and be able to savor a neck or
two, as long as he keeps his eyes shut tight and doesn’t dribble.
Can’t
we just break the curse you ask? Ask Aunt Flo that one. Did I fail to mention
the witch in question was, and still is Mom’s best friend? She’s also a witch
with more power than she can handle who needs to watch what she says at ALL
times. The curse was supposedly never intentional and trying to undo it has
proven pretty much impossible.
 Mom, Trinity Alkaev, is a beautiful creature
with a body neither skinny nor large, but what one describes as buxom
perfection. Also, one of the most patient females you will ever meet, and a
truly ferocious beast, fangs and all, when pissed. Dad, Borya Alkaev, is the
strong not so silent type, with a chiseled chin and sculpted cheekbones in
which I heard would give Michaelangelo a run for his money. Born after the
creation of Underlayes, he’s only two hundred years old, so I never understood
how he ended up with such a thick accent as if he just left the great
Motherland of Russia. The exact opposite of Mom when it comes to patience, but
the best dad any set of unorthodox twins could ask for. Neither of them were an
only child, but both are the youngest and only surviving children from both of
their respective lines. Many died before the dimension of Underlayes was made,
some during the move. And Aunt Flo, I’m not even getting into that one. And as
far as looks go Drake and I are a perfect combination of the two, with the
exception of the fact that I have no fangs.
THUD. CRASH. SCREAM.
What
in Hel’s name was that?
“Elvira
Esfir Alkaev!” Moms blood-curling screams vibrated through the floorboards,
“How many times do I need to tell you not
to leave your blood bags lying around? Get down here and help me clean up this
mess. And carry your brother to his room!”
Well
there you have it, the usual beginning of a day in the house of Alkaev.
“Now
young lady!”



About the Author:
When you become a Mom, you begin to put yourself last, and your
combat boots begin to collect dust. Going to your child’s PTA meetings in full
Gothic, especially industrial, regalia is pretty much frowned upon. Especially
by your own children, and your teens would die of a heart attack. But, one
should not have to completely stop being themselves, uniqueness is greatness.
So all of that darkness is put into words in her books, and designs in her
jewelry sold in her Gothic Moms Dark Charms shop on Etsy and Rebels Market.
Single mother of five beautiful children, but by
far more than just that. T. A. Moorman is an artist, a former violinist, a
seamstress, a crafter, a writer, a blogger, a reviewer, a dark confidant and a
darkly dangerous, fiercely protective friend. She still hopes to one day find
her Dark Knight in shining armor, since Prince Charming would never be able to
handle her. And currently broke, so go buy something of hers and tell everyone
you know how much you love this book.
Author Links:

 

http://eepurl.com/cELB79




a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Dracul by Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker Review

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

One of 2018’s most highly anticipated fall reads has to be author Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker’s novel Dracul. The book is the official prequel to the classic literary horror classic Dracula, written by Dacre Stoker’s great-granduncle Bram Stoker. Taking the concept first explored by Bram and showcasing how the legend of Dracula first began, the story puts the Stoker family in the role of protagonists and explores where the myth and legends truly came from. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

The prequel to Dracula, inspired by notes and texts left behind by the author of the classic novel, Dracul is a supernatural thriller that reveals not only Dracula’s true origins but Bram Stoker’s–and the tale of the enigmatic woman who connects them.

It is 1868, and a twenty-one-year-old Bram Stoker waits in a desolate tower to face an indescribable evil. Armed only with crucifixes, holy water, and a rifle, he prays to survive a single night, the longest of his life. Desperate to record what he has witnessed, Bram scribbles down the events that led him here…

A sickly child, Bram spent his early days bedridden in his parents’ Dublin home, tended to by his caretaker, a young woman named Ellen Crone. When a string of strange deaths occur in a nearby town, Bram and his sister Matilda detect a pattern of bizarre behavior by Ellen–a mystery that deepens chillingly until Ellen vanishes suddenly from their lives. Years later, Matilda returns from studying in Paris to tell Bram the news that she has seen Ellen–and that the nightmare they’ve thought long ended is only beginning.

The Review

I will say it now: this is one of my 2018 picks for best book of the year. It was truly amazing to read, and was as engaging as the original novel written by Bram Stoker over a century ago. Capturing the gothic, Victorian era setting and interweaving history, mythology and handwritten notes from author Bram Stoker himself, the authors really did a wonderful job bringing the life of Bram Stoker and his family to life in a horror based setting.

Now while the world knows the works of Bram Stoker’s Dracula to be a fiction horror tale, what fascinated me about Dracul was not only the amount of history and real life individuals mixed into the narrative, but learning about the creation of Dracula to begin with. Readers will be enthralled to learn the true manuscript first written by Bram Stoker was never meant to be a fictional tale, but through the words of Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker’s afterward we learn how the book came to be what we know today, and that large portions of the original novel have never been published before. How much of this horrific and scary tale are fiction as we know it, and how much is fact?

The writing itself was amazing. The story was written in an epistolary format, allowing us to delve into the minds of the Stoker family themselves, as well as associates of the family and historical records to match some of the claims. Fans of the original tale of Dracula will love the similarities and context given throughout this novel, while modern day horror fans and readers will be enthralled with the vast character development and parallels between the life of Bram Stoker (in the novel) and the stories told within his novel years later.

The Verdict

This is a must read book for 2018. As a history buff, classic horror fan and overall Bram Stoker enthusiast, this story really captured my attention from the beginning. From the author’s early years battling illness to the life or death battle with unknown forces he and his siblings undertook, this is the kind of story that comes along rarely. If you haven’t yet, be sure to pick up the novel Dracul by Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker today!

Rating: 10/10

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0735219346/ref=x_gr_w_glide_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_glide_bb-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0735219346&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

About the Authors

Dacre Stoker:

2909175

Dacre Stoker, a Canadian citizen and resident of the U.S., is the great-grandnephew of Bram Stoker. He is also the godson of H.G. Dacre Stoker, the commander of the AE2 submarine, whose tactics were instrumental in Gallipoli in World War I.

Dacre, who now calls Aiken, South Carolina home, was a member of the Canadian Men’s Modern Pentathlon Team, Senior World Championships in 1979 and coach of the Canadian Men’s Modern Pentathlon Olympic Team, Seoul, South Korea in 1988. Dacre is married to Jenne Stoker and is the father of two children. He is the Executive Director of the Aiken Land Conservancy.

Dracula: The Un-Dead is Dacre’s first novel.

Dacre Stoker’s Links:

https://twitter.com/dacrestoker?lang=en

https://www.facebook.com/DacreCStoker/

J.D. Barker:

8224327

J.D. BARKER is the internationally best-selling author of Forsaken, a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel, and winner of the New Apple Medalist Award. His work has been compared to Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Thomas Harris. His 4MK Thrillers, The Fourth Monkey and The Fifth to Die, were released in June 2017 and June 2018 respectively. He has been asked by the Stoker family to coauthor the forthcoming prequel to Dracula due out in fall 2018. His novels have been translated into numerous languages and optioned for both film and television. Barker currently resides in Pennsylvania with his wife, Dayna, daughter, Ember, and their two dogs, both of whom sit outside his office door daily, eagerly awaiting his next novel.

A note from J.D.

As a child I was always told the dark could not hurt me, that the shadows creeping in the corners of my room were nothing more than just that, shadows. The sounds nothing more than the settling of our old home, creaking as it found comfort in the earth only to move again when it became restless, if ever so slightly. I would never sleep without closing the closet door, oh no; the door had to be shut tight. The darkness lurking inside needed to be held at bay, the whispers silenced. Rest would only come after I checked under the bed at least twice and quickly wrapped myself in the safety of the sheets (which no monster could penetrate), pulling them tight over my head.

I would never go down to the basement.

Never.

I had seen enough movies to know better, I had read enough stories to know what happens to little boys who wandered off into dark, dismal places alone. And there were stories, so many stories.

Reading was my sanctuary, a place where I could disappear for hours at a time, lost in the pages of a good book. It didn’t take long before I felt the urge to create my own.

I first began to write as a child, spinning tales of ghosts and gremlins, mystical places and people. For most of us, that’s where it begins—as children we have such wonderful imaginations, some of us have simply found it hard to grow up. I’ve spent countless hours trying to explain to friends and family why I enjoy it, why I would rather lock myself in a quiet little room and put pen to paper for hours at a time than throw around a baseball or simply watch television. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I want to do just that, sometimes I wish for it, but even then the need to write is always there in the back of my mind, the characters are impatiently tapping their feet, waiting their turn, wanting to be heard. I wake in the middle of the night and reach for the pad beside my bed, sometimes scrawling page after page of their words, their lives. Then they’re quiet, if only for a little while. To stop would mean madness, or even worse—the calm, numbing sanity I see in others as they slip through the day without purpose. They don’t know what it’s like, they don’t understand. Something as simple as a pencil can open the door to a new world, can create life or experience death. Writing can take you to places you’ve never been, introduce you to people you’ve never met, take you back to when you first saw those shadows in your room, when you first heard the sounds mumbling ever so softly from your closet, and it can show you what uttered them. It can scare the hell out of you, and that’s when you know it’s good.

jd

J.D. Barker’s Links:

http://jdbarker.com/

https://www.facebook.com/therealjdbarker

https://www.instagram.com/jdbarker_author/

https://twitter.com/jdbarker

Smashwords July Summer/Winter Book Promotion: 50% Off And Free eBooks!

Hello there!

I hope everyone is having a fantastic summer thus far! As I continue preparing for the upcoming release of novella #2 in my YA series Nightmare Academy, I thought it would be a great time to start sharing my books with you all. That’s why I’m excited to share that my books I Was An Evil Teenager: Remastered and Welcome to Nightmare Academy are taking part in Smashwords annual Summer/Winter promotion! Throughout the entire month of July, I Was An Evil Teenager: Remastered is going to be 50% off (that’s $1.50 for an entire novel), and Welcome to Nightmare Academy will be completely free! Yes, the first entry in the series is now free for the entire month. So click the link down below and get both a marked down, scary horror novel about a teenage killer and get a free copy of a highly reviewed and engaging upcoming YA series. If you enjoy these stories then I would love for you to leave a review on any site you are able to and also preorder your copy of Freshman Hunt: A Nightmare Academy Novella today! Thanks everyone, and enjoy your summer!

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https://bit.ly/2IKOtiA