Book Review: VanHelsing vs. Dracula’s Daughter #graphicnovel #bookreview #VanHelsingvsDraculasDaughte #NetGalley

Release Date: July 13, 2021

Author: Raven Gregory

Introducing Helsing’s deadliest villain yet! Liesel Van Helsing returns in a brand new series set to turn the inventive huntress’ world on fire. A mysterious being rises from Helsing’s long forgotten past hell bent on revenge. A being whose secrets could very well destroy Helsing…and all she holds dear. Don’t miss this exciting new series written by fan favorite Wonderland writer Raven Gregory and artist extraordinaire Allan Otero!

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MY REVIEW – 4 stars

Van Helsing vs Dracula’s Daughter has amazing artwork and a storyline with enough twists to keep you entertained. While I enjoyed the unique additions to the Dracula/Van Helsing story, there were times I felt like I was missing something. I hadn’t read the other comics in this universe, so if you’re trying to read this as a stand-alone, be advised there are bits and pieces that are further explained elsewhere. All in all, it was a great graphic novel and I definitely want to read more.

*Disclaimer: I received an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The review above is only my opinion.

Book Tour: Mu – The Grimm Cases Collection (Part One) by Lyla Owens #youngadult #paranormal @pumpupyourbook

Title: MU: THE GRIMM CASES COLLECTION (PART ONE)
Author: Lyla Oweds
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 667
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal

The things I see aren’t for the faint of heart.

And I am no longer willing to ignore them. Not even when my family, and my best friend, tell me to keep quiet about what’s happening. They say people will think I’m crazy.

Maybe I am.

But the spirit haunting my professor’s house is definitely trying to tell me something, and I’m the only one who can see it.

The one person who can help me is my best friend’s brother. But I don’t know if I can trust him or his friends. Or if I can step outside the protective bubble I’ve built around myself.

At this point it’s a toss up: the ghosts will kill me or my panic attacks will.

Either way, I figure I’m going to die.

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Book Excerpt:

“The place I’m house sitting is haunted.”

My statement was brave—considering—and I hoped I’d spoken loud enough to be heard by the intended recipient. I didn’t want to repeat myself. It had taken a lot of courage—or foolhardiness—to say it the first time.

The paranormal was one of those difficult-to-approach topics, especially with my best friend. History had proven our differences of opinion. Despite being inseparable for over ten years, I knew this was a topic where we were unlikely to reach a consensus.

But at this point, I was desperate. I might be going crazy, and only Finn could help me.

Yet, there was no response. No reaction.

Across the small cafe table, Finn furiously typed on his laptop—undisturbed by my nervous confession. He’d made no outward acknowledgment of my words, and it made me wonder if he’d even heard me.

The coffee shop was rather loud, after all.

“Finn.” I pressed my foot against his shin, trying to get his attention. “Finn, did you hear what I just told you?”

With perfect lips turned downward, he glanced up, meeting my gaze. His gray eyes were normally playful and light, but at the moment were sharp—disapproving. At once, I was thankful his black-rimmed glasses offered a filter for his judgment.

“I heard you.” His distinctive baritone dipped an octave lower than normal, signaling his annoyance. “Considering the absurdity of what you said, I chose to ignore it.”

Then without further ado, he refocused his attention on his laptop.

I gasped. How could he be so callous and uncaring?

Even if he didn’t believe me, he could at least hear me out. He was my best friend and the only person in the world I cared about besides my parents. But he could be such a jerk!

I was being haunted. I could die.

MY REVIEW – 3.5 stars

Mu: The Grimm Cases Collection got off to a bit of a rocky start for me. The first few chapters made me feel completely lost. Once I settled into the story a bit more, I found the characters enjoyable. If you like quirky heroines, you’ll love Bianca.

The writing was good. Aside from feeling a bit like I’d been dropped into the middle of something during those first few chapters, I enjoyed the collection. The writing flowed well, and the rest was easy to follow.

There’s more going on with Bianca than the supernatural, but I hate spoilers, so that’s all I’ll say on the matter. The story is rather complex, and full of enough twists and turns that at times I found myself re-reading a passage just to make sure I wasn’t missing anything.

Overall, it was good but it just didn’t wow me.

*Disclaimer: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. The review above is only my opinion.

About the Author

Lyla Oweds is an Amazon bestselling paranormal romance and urban fantasy author who resides in the beautiful Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania. She grew up near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and is a native of Baltimore, Maryland, and has a deep appreciation for the paranormal, hauntings, and Edgar Allan Poe. As such, she loves all things fantasy, mystery, crime, and horror.

When not reading, writing, or working as a web programmer, Lyla can be found doing adult-y things such as being a mom to small children, cleaning, and gardening. She also frequently enjoys makeup videos, massages, wine, and coffee.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

Website: http://lylaoweds.com

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

BOOK REVIEW: Playing with Hellfire by Mila Young and Harper A. Brooks #reverseharem #fantasy

The devils aren’t in the details.
They’re in my bed…

When my warlock foster father trades me to demons for his outstanding debts, I find myself in Hell on Earth. I’m thrust into a supernatural underground crime ring I can’t get out of, eternally bound in a contract I never made.

Three hot-as-hell demons stand in between me and my freedom.

A tattooed, brutish Hellhound shifter. An incubus with the power to bend wills on command. And the heir to Lucifer’s throne—the original sin demon, Pride, himself. I have to find a way out of the deal before they devour me, body and soul.

But I’m no angel. There’s something inside me, something that craves the chaotic darkness these demons possess.

Escaping may mean giving in to Hell’s more sinful temptations. But playing with fire only hurts if you get burned…

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MY REVIEW – 4 stars!

A fantasy reverse-harem romance that will pull you in and not let go…

I stumbled across this little gem as part of the suggested reads on my Kindle, and I’m glad I decided to check it out. If you like darker reverse harem romances, this one has it all… demons, magic, slavery, and more…

Aria is a strong heroine, who won’t stop until she gets what she wants. In this case, she wants to escape a deal with three demons. She didn’t agree to be sold to Cain, Elias, and Dorian, and she refuses to stay with monsters. One failed escape attempt after another ends up in heated encounters with each demon.

Cain, a Prince of Hell, doesn’t want Aria in his home. And yet, he can’t seem to let her go. Elias, the hellhound, finds himself drawn back to the house more and more now that Aria is in residence, and the incubus, Dorian, is mystified that she can ignore his sexual lures.

With a mystery of who – and what – is Aria, three demons determined to do whatever it takes to return to hell, and a woman who refuses to be a pawn in their games, the pages are filled with action, emotion, and sexual tension.

Be warned, it does end with a cliffhanger… so naturally I’m off to read book 2! I have to know what happens next.

*Disclaimer: The author did not request a review of this title. I purchased/borrowed through Amazon. The review above is only my opinion.

Release Blitz: Buried by Lizzie Strong #LGBTQ #paranormal @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: Buried

Series: The Secrets Witches Keep, Book One

Author: Lizzie Strong

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 04/19/2021

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 88400

Genre: Pararnormal, LGBTQIA+, Witches, Swamps, Frankenstein monster, Necromancy, Sisterhood, Deep friendship, asexual

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Description

Quinn’s mistake wasn’t killing Leo Ashwood; it was bringing him back. Now in a cat and mouse game with a monster she created, Quinn learns what her powers are truly capable of.

Brought together by a vision, Cecelia and Quinn are entangled in the chase for Leo Ashwood. Cecelia, a seer who is known for sticking her nose into other’s business for their better good, is now sent into a world unknown to her with no defense against the monster, her own powers, and the budding feelings for Quinn. Maggie, however, was merely at the wrong place at the wrong time and left with no other choice but to join forces. An up and coming YouTube superstar struck down by sickness, her voice is both her magical survival and death wrapped in one.

These three young, untrained witches will have to lean on each other if they want to survive. Navigating the world of humans, the new reality of witches, and the horror of magic, they might just make it… if they can keep their secrets to themselves.

Excerpt

Buried
Lizzie Strong © 2021
All Rights Reserved

10-39 at 37 E street, suite 1802, back-up required.

“Quinn Gwenevieve Foster, age 16, born Idabel, Oklahoma… you sure are a long way from home.” Pressure built up at the back of my head as the voice of the detective clawed at the insides of my ears. The pressure dulled but never released as I opened my eyes, which was an effort in itself. My eyelids were the weight of cement bricks.

The windows fogged in the frosty interrogation room. The only light came from the sharp halogen bulbs and the long, thin window along the top of the wall. A female officer had chained my hands to the table, which forced contact with the harsh steel, stinging my skin.

“I want a lawyer,” I answered, my head hung to the right.

“Of course, and you can have one. While we wait for them, why don’t we talk?”

Tears spilled down my cheeks. Exhaustion bit into my muscles, turning my bones to putty. If I did not rest soon, I would pass out. I wasted too much magic in Leo Ashwood’s apartment. My aunt would not be pleased to hear how recklessly they caught me. The last time I was caught by human police, she yelled my ears raw. Out of love, out of concern and fear, it didn’t matter why she was furious with me. History showed time and time again that humans were not capable of mercy to witches. Granted, the detective had not accused me of being a witch…yet.

“I want a lawyer, sir.”

“It’s Detective Henry Smith, Miss Foster.” His face softened around the cheeks but not near his lips. The way one’s face softens when they are trying to convince someone smaller and more naïve of untrue things. His lips pursed tighter. He reminded me of Officer Blevens, the officer who dragged me out of the graveyard years ago. A man who tried to lie to my face about how much trouble I was in. I was found hip-deep in what looked like an empty grave… Well, it was an empty grave by the time they got to it. The true corpse fell apart piece by piece about thirty yards north of my arrest. Darlin foamed at the mouth when Winestra called her at about two a.m. to come to the police station. Officer Blevens looked me dead in the eye that night and gave me the same face Detective Smith gave me now. ‘It was just a slap on the wrist.’ Liar.

“I want a lawyer.” I learned my lesson from last time.

They didn’t even let me shower. I stank enough to make my eyes water and gag every time I moved. They washed my hands but crusty blood lurked under my nails. My hair was a ball of grease superglued to the top of my skull and left to drape around me. I’d never felt that gross in all of my life, and I once spent six hours drenched in rainwater and coated in graveyard soil. Her gravestone illuminated behind my lids: Melissa Keen, beloved mother and daughter, born in 1981, taken too soon. She had still been fresh; it was the whole reason I dug her up. The fresher the better. If I could bring her back, then I could bring back others…

It didn’t work out.

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Meet the Author

Born a Marine Brat I moved from state to state for much of my youth. Books were the one consistent thing in my life. Split between the high fantasy and war novels from my father and my mother’s deep love for horror novels, it was only a matter of time. From a young age I would fill up notebooks and word documents. Adaptability came in handy as I’ve worked in many different fields: food service, retail, education, special education, management. I kept coming back to books. In college I fully came out to my friends and family about my Pansexuality. Many were supportive but confused on what being Pansexual even was. I learned representation is key, but I also want to write books about fantasy, adventure, and monsters. My work is best described as a little bit spooky, a little bit magic, and a whole lot of fun.

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Release Blitz: Summoned by J.P. Jackson #LGBTQ #paranormal @jpjacksonauthor @GoIndiMarketing @ninestarpress

Title: Summoned

Series: Magus Malegica, Book One

Author: J.P. Jackson

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 04/19/2021

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 94500

Genre: Pararnormal, LGBTQIA+, witches, werewolves, faeries, paranormal, contemporary, fantasy, bears, dark, gods, interracial, magic, magic users

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Description

Devid Khandelwal desperately wants to experience the supernatural. After years of studying everything from crystals to tarot to spellcasting, nothing has happened that would tell him the Shadow Realm is real. And that kills Dev. As a last-ditch resort, he purchases a summoning board, an occult tool that will grant him his ultimate desires.

Cameron Habersham is Dev’s best friend. Cam loves Dev like a brother and will do anything for him, as long as he looks good doing it. So when Dev asks him to perform the summoning board’s ritual, he reluctantly agrees, but he knows nothing will come of it. Nothing ever does.

However, within a day, Dev and Cam’s lives are turned upside down as wishes begin to come true. They discover the existence of a supernatural world beyond their imagination, but peace between the species is tenuous at best.

Dev finally gets to see the Shadow Realm, meets the man of his dreams, and is inducted into the local male coven. But for all the desires that were summoned into existence, Dev soon realizes the magical community dances the line between good and evil, and Cam ends up on the wrong side of everything.

The old adage is true: Be careful what you wish for.

Excerpt

Summoned
J.P. Jackson © 2021
All Rights Reserved

“It’s how much?” Cam scoffed, glaring at Damien behind the counter.

“$299.99, plus tax.” Damien’s tongue piercing got in the way of the ‘s’, and the word came out more like ‘pluth’.

“Ignore him, Damien. New piercing? I like it.” Dev tried to ameliorate his best friend’s rude comment, then turned to scowl at Cam. “Honestly, why did I ask you to come?”

“Because you love me.” Cam tapped a finger on the box Dev clutched in his hands. “Dev, your parents are going to kill you if you spend that much money.” Cam cocked an eyebrow at Dev. “And seriously, man, how are you going to pay for…whatever that thing is?”

“With this.” Dev pulled out his wallet and flipped the black leather cover open to extract a brand new, slick, and shiny, never-been-used MasterCard.

“And where the hell did you get that?”

“Special offer for impending university graduates.” Dev sneered. If all went well, he’d be graduating in the next couple of weeks. Cam, however, had dropped out the previous year to figure himself out as a rebellion against his parents’ divorce. His mother had fiercely argued against the idea for two months until she gave up and agreed to Cam taking the year off.

“Oh dude. Just say no.” Cam had never been supportive of Dev’s interest in the occult, but this was going to be the last purchase.

Unless this purchase worked. And Dev knew it would.

It had to.

Dev placed all his hopes and dreams on the fact that this was going to work.

*

Dev couldn’t wait to open up his latest acquisition.

When he and Cam had arrived at Dev’s house, all he wanted to do was rush up the stairs to hide out in his bedroom, tucked away from any distractions or family drama, intent on inspecting his newest possession. Well, any distraction other than Cam, who had accompanied him home.

Instead, as Dev started up the stairs, looking back over his shoulder to ensure Cam was following, he careened into his sister Amna.

“Ugh, you oaf!” Amna shoved him backward, pushing him into Cam. “Oh! Whatchya got in the bag? It looks like it’s from that witchy store you like!” Amna slid a finger into the bag to pull it towards her to inspect. Dev pulled his prized possession towards him.

“Cam, come on, let’s go.” Dev snarled at Amna.

Cam, however, wasn’t keeping up. He’d wandered into the kitchen. Cam was playing nice.

“Hi, Mrs. Khandelwal.” Dev’s mom loved to cook and proudly fed her family traditional meals. Tonight’s fare, from the smell of things, was Rogan Josh. Dev hated curry with a passion. He wasn’t fond of lamb either and the two together were wretched. He decided going out for fast food was a better alternative.

“Cam,” Dev ground up his face with displeasure, “let’s go.”

Cam shot daggers back at Dev. He shook his head, rolling his eyes as he returned his attention to Dev’s mom. “Nice sari!” Cam smiled. “Later, Mrs. Khandelwal.”

Upon entering Dev’s room, Cam flopped onto the bed and began examining his too-long fingernails, preening them while lying on his back. Cam’s shoulder-length sandy-brown hair, which had a slight wave to it and a multitude of natural blonde and auburn highlights, splayed out behind his head, making his pose look model-esque. His three-days’ worth of stubble added to that. Dev would never have used the description of “male model” in front of his lifelong pal. The last thing Dev wanted was to feed Cam’s ego. Cam’s head filled most spaces he inhabited.

“Get your damn boots off my bed.” Dev slapped Cam’s feet.

“Oh my god. Yes, Mom.” Cam toed off the designer rainbow-snakeskin boots. The thud, thud ricocheted in the tiny bedroom.

“What are those things made of? Lead?” Dev quipped in response to their noisy removal.

“That’s the sound of a quality product, bitch.” Cam gave Dev the side-eye. Dev caught the glance. They glared at each other for all of a second, then burst into laughter.

He continued to stare at Cam, who returned to plucking away at some unseen dirt beneath a thumbnail. He had to admit, Cam was too handsome for his own good. They had known each other since grade school and had been, for the most part, inseparable. Dev had stood by idly as Cam used his good looks to get what he wanted. Not that Dev would describe himself as ugly. Far from it. But between the two, Cam always got the good-looking guys first, and that encouraged Cam to parade around, flaunting his beauty.

Dev had invited Cam to tag along on his afternoon shopping excursion. The out-of-the-way pagan store, Magix & Mystix, held all sorts of goodies, most of which Dev couldn’t afford, hence the credit card, but he’d had his eye on this particular object for the last couple of months and had squirrelled money away like a miser in order to afford it. All that saving, though, still hadn’t amounted to the amount of cash required.

But his luck had changed when a kiosk from a local bank had opened in the Student’s Lounge at the University. The handsome, bicep-bulging booth occupant, wearing a shirt obviously a size too small, promised an enticing introductory percentage rate on the credit card, stating the bank offered the cheapest one in the city. And with this purchase from Magix & Mystix in mind and the desperation to get his hands on it, Dev signed the credit card contract in a heartbeat.

All the way downtown, and during their short walk to the store, Cam had proclaimed he was being led through the seediest parts of Edmonton’s dark alleyways on their way to make the purchase and complained often about how they were going to be robbed, stabbed, or murdered in some grisly fashion.

None of that had happened.

But Dev had finally got his paws on the summoning board, and as he pulled the rectangular box out of the store’s signature black paper bag, his stomach tensed with excitement. The coveted item had a silver pentacle stamped in the center with one word superimposed over top.

Desires

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

J.P. Jackson is an award-winning author of dark urban fantasy, paranormal, and even paranormal romance stories, but regardless of the genre, they always feature LGBTQ main characters.

J.P. works as an IT analyst in health care during the day, where if cornered he’d confess to casting spells to ensure clinicians actually use the electronic medical charting system he configures and implements.

At night, the writing happens, where demons, witches and shapeshifters congregate around the kitchen table and general chaos ensues. His husband of 22 years has very firmly put his foot down on any further wraith summonings and regularly lines the doorway with iron shavings and salt crystals. Imps are most definitely not house-trainable. Ghosts appear at the most inopportune times, and the Fae are known for regular visits where a glass of wine is exchanged for a good ole story or two. Although the husband doesn’t know it, Canela and Jalisco, the two Chihuahuas, are in cahoots with the spell casting.

J.P.’s other hobbies include hybridizing African Violets (thanks to grandma), extensive traveling and believe it or not, knitting.

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SPOTLIGHT: Goddess of Everything by Paul DeBlassie III #paranormalthriller @pdeblassieii

Goddess of Everything

Paul DeBlassie III

 
Genre: Paranormal Thriller
Publisher: Hallowed Realms Press
Date of Publication: 2.11.20 
ISBN: 978-0-578-81368-4
ASIN: B08R13FQSH
Number of pages: 199
Word Count: 57,900
Cover Artist: Aaron C. Yeagle
 
Tagline: Goddess of Everything is a blood-curdling tale of the affection of one mother for her son and her son’s struggle for truth, freedom, and love.
 
Book Description:
 
In the mystic land of Aztlan del Norte, a realm of supernatural happenings and unexpected turns of fate, psychiatric healer Gabriél de LaTierra encounters appalling evil within the Orphanage of the Holy Innocents. Children disappear for reasons kept secret by Mother Juana de la Cruz, Superior of the Nunnery and the Orphanage.
 
Love for Mother Juana, Gabriél’s widowed mother turned religious superior, clouds her devoted son’s mind. Consuela, Gabriél’s wife, confronts his wall of denial. Torn between love for mother and wife, Gabriél turns inward.
 
It is Consuela who propels Gabriél’s discovery of the nighttime blood sacrifice of children in the desert, a centuries-old ritual that imparts immortality to Mother and her nuns. Gabriél is further enraged by Mother Juana’s vengeful attack on Consuela and her kidnapping of their four-year-old son, Cuauhtémoc. But his actions will determine whether Consuela and Cuauhtémoc live or die, and the fate of Mother Juana de la Cruz.
 
Goddess of Everything is a blood-curdling tale of the affection of one mother for her son and her son’s struggle for truth, freedom, and love.
 

Excerpt

His mother wailed again. Nighttime darkness continued to descend, and the wind stayed its brutal course at Father’s funeral. Mother Juana hadn’t noticed the spirit of a
man cloaked in light beside Gabriél. He wasn’t Gabriél’s father. He was more
than a man; he was everything that Father was and more. Through the corner of
his eyes, Gabriél saw the white-bearded old man. In many ways, in many forms,
I will come. The words were close as heartbeats and breath. He knew if he
turned and looked directly at him, the man would disappear. The light was
intense, like rays of the sun. The old man had something to say.

Suddenly, unclean sounds went into Gabriél’s ears and chest—crackling and squealing voices rising from under the earth and into his body, trying to block out the
lingering presence of the old man and his words. Like a god, the white-bearded
man lifted his right hand, fingers spread. The noise went up from the ground
into his palm, a mighty hand with powerful magic.

Gabriél’s mind became silent as a windless autumn night, magic making him still inside, just like he was when in his bedroom reading alone. The old man was strong and made
what was bad cease. Even as the underworld racket stopped, the graveyard winds
kept up their awful screams.

The quiet of the man and the moment wrapped strong and warm arms around Gabriél. Invisibility stood guard around the old man. Mother could not see him. No one could see him.
He was there only for Gabriél. He bent down beside Gabriél and touched his
shoulder. A crystal clear calm made the shrieking wind and the crying women and
the priest’s strange prayers seem far, far away.

Mother’s red hair blew in the wind like it was on fire. It didn’t scare Gabriél because of
the old man, his warm and solid hands steady on Gabriél’s shoulders. His kind
eyes said he was ten thousand times ten-thousand-years old. His mother’s red
hair and shrieking prayers no longer scared him.

Then the old man spoke, and through Gabriél’s mind sent a message, LISTEN… WHEN THE DAY GOES AWAY AND THE NIGHT COMES, REMEMBER I AM HERE. He touched Gabriél’s heart. LISTEN.

Gabriél’s mother abruptly glanced down at him. He looked into her eyes and knew she
hadn’t heard the old man, but she had a squint in her eyes. Her eyes glowed
red, and the old man’s hands did not move from Gabriél’s shoulders.

Big branches from the cottonwoods cast long moon shadows over the grave. Now they looked like skinny people scratching at each other, cloaking the old man. The wind
picked up its screeching.

Gabriél’s heart pounded like stampeding horses.

Mother squeezed his hand. His fingers tangled together, tips burning with pain. Then she looked away and wailed more loudly than ever.

The old man continued, TELL NO ONE ABOUT ME. I WILL HELP YOU AS A BOY. I WILL HELP YOU AS A MAN. LISTEN. The old man motioned again to Gabriél’s heart and then touched between Gabriél’s eyes, the brow point.

The old man stopped and looked up.

Gabriél caught his mother’s gaze.

She’d seen the old man, pointed at him, and screeched like the evil winds.

Blistering dust and grit blinded Gabriél. He pulled his hand away from his mother and rubbed his eyes and tried to clear them, but when he looked again, squinting, he saw
that the light of the old man had vanished.

His mother was wrapped in a cloud of dust. Out of the cloud came a coyote, foam curling from its mouth. It howled, and an instant later legions of dust devils took over the
landscape and swallowed it in clouds of dust, trash, and tumbleweeds.

Mother reappeared beside him and picked him up. She screeched with a million hateful
voices. His heart beat rapidly, fluttered like a flock of sparrows flying away. Catching his breath was hard.

“The night plays tricks,” his mother seethed, her breath hot and rank.

The winds suddenly ceased. Brown and gray clouds gave way to blackness that closed in and covered the full moon. Spirits of children rose out of their graves. They pointed at Gabriél and his mother. Their hands and fingers grew and reached to grab him, take him away under the earth.

Mother swept her black shawl over Gabriél. She whispered, “I will protect you, mijo.”

They escaped into the jet-black night.

 

About the Author:

Paul DeBlassie III, Ph.D., is a psychologist and award-winning writer living in his native New Mexico, crafting visionary thrillers energized with trickster mischief and natural magic.

https://www.pauldeblassieiii.com/

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BOOK REVIEW: The October Faction Vol. 1 by Steve Niles illustrated by Damien Worm #bookreview #graphicnovels

The October Faction details the adventures of retired monster-hunter Frederick Allan and his family… which include a thrill-killer, a witch, and a warlock. Because sometimes crazy is the glue that binds a family together.

Published by IDW Publishing

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MY REVIEW:

4 stars

The October Faction Volume 1 doesn’t have a lot in the way of a story, but it does introduce you to the main characters, prominent secondary characters, and the bad guys. I think it sets things up nicely for the rest of the series, giving you just enough to want more.

The art is phenomenal! If you like darker artwork, reminiscent of Edgar Allan Poe and The Addams Family, you’ll enjoy the images in this graphic novel. I’m looking forward to picking it up a copy of Volume 2, and I can’t wait to see how Netflix handles the cinematic adaptation.

*Disclaimer: The review above is only my opinion. Neither the publisher nor author requested a review. I purchased a copy of the graphic novel from a comic shop.

Book Blitz: Cemetery Songs by Julie Gilbert #YoungAdult @JulieKGilbert

Cemetery Songs
Julie Gilbert
Publication date: December 15th 2020
Genres: Young Adult Fiction

Poignant and uplifting, Cemetery Songs is a compelling YA about a girl, a ghost, and the graveyard that sends them both on a journey of self-acceptance.

When Polly Stone’s birthmother dies, she feels lost and adrift. How do you mourn someone you never knew? Even the dead, whose final thoughts Polly can hear, offer no advice.

Instead Polly fails her classes, alienates her friends, gets fired from her summer job, and accidentally sets fire to the high school. At a loss, Polly’s parents ground her and insist she volunteer at the local archives.

The dusty boxes are boring, but Polly is intrigued by her assignment: mapping an abandoned Black settlement on the edge of town. At the very least, it gives her time to examine her confused feelings for Billy Meyer, a former classmate who is also blackmailing her.

Amid weedy tombstones, Polly and Billy encounter the charming ghost of Harrison Card, who died in 1924. Sensing there’s more to the story than Harrison can recall, the unlikely trio investigates the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death.

The discoveries are unnerving, especially since the ugly racist history reflects some of Polly’s own experiences as a biracial teenager. Past and present collide when Polly’s attempts to help Harrison go tragically wrong. As Polly grapples with the consequences of her actions, she must decide if she is brave enough to heed the wisdom of the dead.

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EXCERPT:

“You about ready?” I ask as I sit in the grass at the corner of the gravestone.

“Sure,” Billy says, sitting back on his heels. He swings the flashlight to illuminate his handiwork. A series of objects is arranged around the perimeter of the grave. Nearest me is a chipped coffee mug with the Monroe city logo on it. Next to that there’s a single golf glove and a pile of tees. A worn dog leash curls in the corner, nestled against a plastic water dish.

“He’s the guy who died at his desk, isn’t he?” I ask. “Like two weeks ago or something.” My mom mentioned it over dinner the other night, the city employee who’d been physically fit but plagued with anger management issues. Apparently he died in the middle of a conversation.

“Yeah, that’s him. You know him?”

“No, but I’m about to.”

I wrap my hands around the mug, drawing in a few deep, clean breaths and turning my attention to Arnold Weber, sliding into his mind, or whatever’s left of it.

He died during an argument, I learn. What the hell, Scott? was his final thought. I hold the mug tighter and images start to appear in my mind. I see the inside of an office paneled in wood and carpeted in gray. There’s an industrial desk dominating the small space, buttressed by several filing cabinets. A clock ticks on the desk and I see that it’s golf-themed and inscribed with the word “Pinehurst.”

A wave of memories rushes through me as I amplify Arnold’s mind further. I see a woman’s blonde hair shot gray at the temples, her eyes tired and distant. I see the same woman in a photograph, younger, her eyes wary but hopeful beneath the veil of her wedding dress. I see a

parade of children and I see Arnold and the woman standing near this very spot on a cold, October day, watching as a tiny coffin is laid into the ground.

There are more memories. Christmas morning, Halloween night. Endless meetings and workshops where the phrases “organic synergy” and “workflow analysis” rattle around sterile conference tables. There’s a cruise in the Bahamas where everyone got sick and another to Alaska where they saw whales. As I release the mug, there’s one last image of Arnold as a college student, skipping over the art class that tugs at his pen and reluctantly signing up for an accounting class instead.

I can feel myself return to the surface, can hear Arnold’s voice yelling at Scott in my mind. Before I break through into consciousness, I hear the words “Jessam Crossing” and a voice says, “She can’t use what she can’t find.” Then I’m back in my own body, crouching over a mound of earth.

Billy is studying me.

“How long was I gone?” I ask.

“About thirty minutes. You okay?”

“Yeah.”

“What did you learn?” he asks.

“Lots.” I shake my head. “Lots of images and memories. I’m not sure where to start.”

“I can ask you the security questions when I find them,” Billy says, his voice low.

“Might be easier,” I interrupt. I clamber to my feet and we start walking back to the truck. I’m concentrating so hard on trying to recall other snippets of the conversation that I step into a badger hole and stumble to my knees.

“I gotcha,” Billy says. His hands slide from behind me to cup my elbows and leverage me to my feet. When I’m standing again, I’ve got my back to him. We’re not touching, other than his hands at my elbows, but I can sense him, his entire body towering over me, sheltering me. It’s electric. I swallow and feel my breath speed up. He moves a hair closer to me, his chest against my back, his legs brushing mine. He’s so much taller than me but I feel tall and strong standing here like this. His head dips and I can feel his breath on my neck.

“Polly—” he says, just as a bat swoops overhead, breaking the spell. I jump and take a few steps toward the truck.

“I should get home,” I say. I put my hand over my throat to conceal the rapid flutter of my heart, even though I know he can’t see it in the dark anyway.

“Let’s go,” he says at last, his voice gravelly. We go back to the truck and don’t talk the rest of the way.

Author Bio:

Although Julie K. Gilbert’s masterpiece, The Adventures of Kitty Bob: Alien Warlord Cat, has sadly been out of print since Julie last stapled it together in the fourth grade, she continues to write. Her short fiction, which has appeared in numerous publications, explores topics ranging from airport security lines to adoption to antique wreaths made of hair. Julie makes her home in southern Minnesota with her husband and two children.

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Cover Reveal: Leather and Lace by Magen Cubed #LGBTQ #UrbanFantasy @magencubed

Leather and Lace
Magen Cubed
(Southern Gothic Series, #1)
Publication date: February 16th 2021
Genres: Adult, LGBTQ+, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy

Falling in love with a vampire bites—and sometimes loving a human bites back.

Dorian Villeneuve is an unlucky vampire from the slums of Devil’s Row. He makes ends meet for himself and his emotional support Chihuahua by working sleazy bars and nightclubs, doing what it takes to get by. Cash Leroy is a monster hunter from East Texas with a golden voice and an unrivaled devotion to Stevie Nicks. Hunting does not leave time for friends, let alone love.

When their paths cross during a bloody run-in with the vampire mob, Cash upends Dorian’s life—and takes Dorian under his wing to teach how to hunt monsters.

The unlikely pair become partners, and soon, best friends. However, their deepening bond grows complicated when Dorian falls in love with Cash. Their friendship is too important to throw away over an interspecies attraction, especially in a career that is already nasty, brutish, and short.

And things become even more complicated when Cash finds himself returning the vampire’s affections.

When an unusually deadly case lands in the hunters’ laps, their ill-fated affair takes a backseat. A pair of man-eating weredeer are on the loose taking victims’ hearts. With the pressure on to end the killing spree, Dorian and Cash must set aside their feelings and hunt down the blood-thirsty deer.

Can Dorian and Cash’s friendship survive this monstrous romance, or will they lose their hearts in the process?

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Author Bio:

Magen Cubed is an Eisner-nominated writer, essayist, and occasional critic, best known for her queer monster-hunting urban fantasy/paranormal romance series SOUTHERN GOTHIC. She has appeared in the critically acclaimed TWISTED ROMANCE comics anthology from Image Comics and has bylines on the award-winning Women Write About Comics. Magen lives in Florida with her girlfriend Melissa and a little dog named Cecil.

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BOOK REVIEW: Haunting the Deep by Adriana Mather #youngadult #paranormal

About the book:

Samantha Mather knew her family’s connection to the infamous Salem Witch Trials might pose obstacles to an active social life. But having survived one curse, she never thought she’d find herself at the center of a new one.

This time, Sam is having recurring dreams about the Titanic . . . where she’s been walking the deck with first-class passengers, like her aunt and uncle. Meanwhile, in Sam’s waking life, strange missives from the Titanic have been finding their way to her, along with haunting visions of people who went down with the ship.

Ultimately, Sam and the Descendants, along with some help from heartthrob Elijah, must unravel who is behind the spell that is drawing her ever further into the dream ship . . . and closer to sharing the same grim fate as its ghostly passengers.

 

My review…

5 stars

This has been an amazing series and I’m hoping there will be a third installment.

I’ve always been fascinated by the story of the Titanic, and I really enjoyed Ms. Mather’s spin on it. The mix of paranormal elements and historical events was intriguing. Ghosts, a spell, and a mystery to be solved… once I started reading, I couldn’t stop!