Book Blitz: Of the Lilin by Paulette Hampton #paranormal #youngadult @PauletteAnnHamp

Of the Lilin
Paulette Hampton
(The Sage Chronicles, #1)
Publication date: September 1st 2021
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

While dealing with depression, Sage attempts to pull herself into the light. What she finds is better left in the dark.

After the loss of her mother and her stepfather’s mental breakdown, Sage Frankle agrees to move in with her aunt and cousin at the Englewood Inn. Soon, her aunt arranges for Sage to begin working through her trauma with a psychologist. As time passes, Sage finds that she is far from healing and begins to slip from reality into a realm of darkness she is unable to escape. After the arrival of her cousin’s intriguing acquaintance, Sage is forced to realize she is indeed trapped, not by her mind, but by her bloodline.

Goodreads / Amazon

TEASERS:

Sage describing her depression: I didn’t deserve happiness. Those joys shouldn’t exist without my family’s and friend’s presence. I should have to endure more suffering for what I had done. I no longer pressed my memory to find out what I was guilty of. It was a blur, a blip in my mind, but it was there. I felt it, and I needed to suffer for it.

Sage, when her dark side appears, describing her feeding: From his wanting mouth, I began to inhale his essence, his spirit. It was exhilarating and decadent. I was filled with what was flowing and still, energetic and peaceful, awe-inspiring and banal. The dichotomies fit like two puzzle pieces. There was not one without the other. This was the only moment that existed. It was completeness.

Author Bio:

Paulette is an indie author who holds a Master of Arts in reading education. Her writing inspiration stems from watching fantasy and paranormal movies, as well as her real-life experiences with mental health issues. She hopes her readers will find humor in her stories, become curious about seeking peace through the present moment, and consider reaching out for help if they are struggling with their own issues.

Paulette loves drawing, watching a good thriller, kayaking, and eating chocolate…lots of it. She and her husband live in North Carolina with their two cats, Linda Hamm and Bree. Of the Lilin is the first book in her new upper YA paranormal series, The Sage Chronicles.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / TikTok

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Book Tour: Dragon(e) Baby Gone by Robert Gainey #urbanfantasy @RNGainey @RoxanneRhoads

Dragon(e) Baby Gone

Reports from the Department of Intangible Assets 
Book One
Robert Gainey
 
Genre: Detective Fantasy
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Date of Publication:  June 28, 2021
ISBN:978-1-5092-3658-9 Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-5092-3659-6 Digital
ASIN: B095GNZJCN
Number of pages: 254
Word Count: 69,377
 
Cover Artist: Debbie Taylor
 
Tagline: Overworked. Underfunded. Outgunned. Sometimes the greater good needs a little help from a lesser evil. 
 
Book Description: 
 
“Dragon is hard to overcome, yet one shall try.”
 – Nowe Ateny, Polish Encyclopedia, 1745
 
Diane Morris is part of the thin line separating a happy, mundane world from all of the horrors of the anomalous. Her federal agency is underfunded, understaffed, and misunderstood, and she’d rather transfer to the boring safety of Logistics than remain a field agent. 
 
When a troupe of international thieves make off with a pair of dragon eggs, Diane has no choice but to ally with a demon against the forces looking to leave her city a smoldering crater. 
 
Facing down rogue wizards, fiery elementals, and crazed gunmen, it’s a race against time to get the precious cargo back before the dragon wakes up and unleashes hell. 
 
 

Excerpt

I guess there’s always been a Department of Intangible Assets, in some
way or another, since humanity first banded together against the dark. Ancient
orders of knights, sects of religions, monasteries and their like had been the
first real organizations determined to hold off the things that bled into our
world from other realities. Great and epic individuals did a lot of work in the
past, though more often than not mere pawns as one ultra-powerful being played
against another. Gilgamesh. Solomon. Miyamoto Musashi for a while even worked
as a kind of Japanese defender against the supernatural. Things must have been
easier back then. If somebody had a problem with a corpse rising from the
ground and eating people, or with creatures slinking out of the mountains and
taking children, they could talk openly about it, and people would fit it
neatly into whatever cultural narrative they had. No press releases concerning
carbon monoxide leaks, no awkward local police trying to stutter their way
through an ogre rampage by blaming gang violence and drugs. If you were a 17th
Century farmer in the Tajima Province of Japan and tengu started picking off
your village one by one, Musashi would come by one day, cut down all those dark
spirits, and then leave. You’d replant your fields, mourn your losses, and tell
warning stories about warding off evil. And, probably, pay him whatever he
wanted.

Modern times gave way to a general idea that reason and logic were
enough to stop something from dragging you into the sewers and wearing your
skin to protect itself from daylight. It’s easy to see why: it doesn’t happen
to a lot of people, therefore it must not happen. I see it all the time, people
who say things like “I’ve never seen a ghost, so they must not exist.”
Oh yeah? Because if spirits did exist, they’d all be tripping over their ghost
dicks to haunt you? Do you understand the preternatural forces that conspire,
the circumstances that line up, to create any kind of ghost? Let alone one that
shows up in your room at night and moans about revenge or betrayal or rattles
some chains and teaches you a valuable lesson about being selfish?

“Well, there’s no such thing as Bigfoot. All those pictures are super
blurry and grainy,” they say, their voices nasally and snobby, like all the
knowledge of the world is pumped directly into their tiny brains through their
tiny phones. I don’t care to get into whether or not any of the literally
thousands of kinds of entities that flit in and out of forests would like to be
called “Bigfoot,” but just because you haven’t left your couch in twenty years
doesn’t mean there’s not something out there you don’t understand. Go stand out
in a remote Colorado forest one night.

Turn off your phone, open your eyes and ears, and wait. When you feel
those eyes watching, and when you know, deep in that primitive monkey brain,
way, way down inside, that there’s more than just the animals you have names
for sharing that clearing with you, then you can call me to tell me that there’s
no such thing as Bigfoot.

That is, if you live to turn your phone back on again.


About the Author:

 
Robert Gainey is a born and raised Floridian, despite his best efforts. While enrolled at Florida State University and studying English (a language spoken on a small island near Europe), Robert began volunteering for the campus medical response team, opening up a great new passion in his life. Following graduation, he pursued further training through paramedic and firefighting programs, going on to become a full time professional firefighter in the State of Florida. He currently lives and works in Northeast Florida with his wife and dogs, who make sure he gets walked regularly. Robert writes near-fetched fantasy novels inspired by the madness and courage found in everyday events.
 
 
 
 
 

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SPOTLIGHT & REVIEW: The Accidental Gatekeeper by Carla Rehse #paranormal #womensfiction @CRehse 

The Accidental Gatekeeper

The Accidental Midlife Trilogy
Book One
Carla Rehse
 
Genre: Paranormal Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Pink Squirrel Publishing
Date of Publication: 06/14/21
ASIN: 9798715331397
Number of pages: 299
Word Count: 82,880
Cover Artist: Damonza 
 
Tagline: Turning the big four-five isn’t a problem for Everly Popa—it’s everything else in her life that’s gone to hell in a handbasket.
 
Book Description:
 
It’s bad enough that Everly’s drug-selling husband is in jail and her adult daughter blames her for the situation. But now the FBI wants her to turn witness, while her husband’s criminal friends want to keep her permanently silent. With no other safe haven, Everly returns to her hometown. A place she hasn’t visited in twenty-seven years. And didn’t leave under the best of circumstances.
 
It’s not that Everly has a problem with her hometown, exactly, but since it sits next to Hell’s Gate, there’s bound to be a few issues. Like the archaic rules set by the angels who run the town. Or the fact that the townsfolk feel Everly abandoned her duties as one of the members of the town’s founding families. But between celestial politics or getting gunned down by a drug cartel, Everly decides to chance finding sanctuary back home. 
 
After a little good-versus-evil stunt at the town’s border, Everly is let back in and for the first five minutes, things are great. Everly’s mom hasn’t started nagging and she has a whole bottle of wine to herself. But after minute six, all hell breaks loose. Everly gets bitten by a hellhound, faints in front of her hot-and-single old high school boyfriend, and accidentally becomes the town’s Gatekeeper to Hell.  A job she never wanted, isn’t trained for, and can’t shake off like gum stuck to her shoe. And as much as she’s flipping out, the celestial ruling body aren’t too pleased about it either. 
 
Before Everly can take a deep breath and figure a way out of this mess, an angel gets killed, humans go missing and the town shuts its magical borders. Now Everly is trapped inside with dying angels, rampaging demons, and a witch with a murderous agenda. Plus, an archangel and his army surround the city and are itching to contain the town’s problems with a heaven-sent big boom. The only way out is for Everly to learn how to use her newly acquired Gatekeeper powers. But with no handbook provided, there’s a snowball’s chance in hell she’ll figure it out in time. 
 
 
 

Excerpt CHAPTER ONE

When all the good choices have disappeared faster than kids at chore
time
If eighteen was the age of exciting self-discovery, then forty-five was the
weary age of having zero shits left to give.

What did it matter if my husband of twenty years was rotting in federal
jail? And that our chiropractic clinic had gone belly up, leaving me jobless?
Or that my friends had turned from “we’ll help hide a body” to “we’ve got your
back until the reporters hit our lawn?” I also didn’t care that the DEA had
frozen our joint bank accounts and seized our assets. I never liked that house
anyway.

Homeless. Jobless. Friendless.

Add in a pickup truck, beer, and an old dog and it would be the most
pathetic country song played on the tiniest fiddle ever. I gritted my teeth as
the wipers shrieked across the windshield. Nothing like driving through a
late-October downpour to add to your misery, and the constantly patched roads
in this part of Central Texas didn’t handle rain well.

My phone rang with its cheerful tone that I kept forgetting to change.
Sadie’s name lit up on the display, and I almost knocked it off the dashboard
holder while hitting the speaker button.

“Sadie? Is everything okay? How’s Laney?” I really hoped the trembling
in my voice wasn’t audible. My daughter hadn’t spoken to me in two months,
refusing to answer my calls or respond to my texts. Her girlfriend had even
gone so far as to block me on her social media.

“Mom? Where are you? God, this connection sucks.” Her voice had a
recognizable anxious edge to it. I wanted to ask if she was taking her meds,
but at twenty-one Sadie hated coddling. “Someone needs to talk to you.”

“What?” I eased onto the shoulder of the road, then placed the truck
into park. “Who?”

“Mrs. Collins? Uh, Everly Collins? This is Sam Duncan, your husband’s
attorney? We really must discuss your husband’s case.”

I glanced at the clock on my dash: 10:33 p.m. Duncan was raking in some
serious OT.

“What the hell are you doing with my daughter?”

“Mrs. Collins?” He lowered his voice. “I know you’ve been advised not
to speak with me. But you really need to before certain other people do. We can
meet anywhere you want.”

“Listen to me, you scum licker. Tell my husband and his thug buddies to
leave my kid out of their mess. I’m not afraid of their flaccid threats and
won’t be intimidated.” I slapped at the phone to turn it off, sending it
careening to the passenger floorboard, out of reach and therefore away from
temptation.

I didn’t have the money to replace the stupid thing, but the desire to
take out my frustration on the helpless and innocent electronic device was strong.

Part of me wanted to turn the vehicle around, race to Sadie’s apartment
in Austin, and kick the crap out of that attorney. But I knew the truth. Sadie
had taken her dad’s side and was angry I’d snitched on him. She would do
whatever she could to get him out of trouble. What was a little money
laundering for drug dealers, after all? She might have my dark hair and eyes,
but unfortunately, she inherited her father’s defective moral compass.

A lesson for all the kiddies: choose the sperm donor
for your progeny well.


About the Author:

 
Carla holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Angelo State University. Although not a native Texan, Carla prides herself on having mastered the correct usage of the colloquialisms “y’all” and “bless your heart.”
 
Find out more about Carla and her books at carlarehse.com and connect with her @CRehse on Twitter.
 
 

 

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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!

Add to Goodreads

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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Amazon → https://amzn.to/3r4qCRt  

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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NineStar Press | Books2Read

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

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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/

https://www.facebook.com/pdeblassieiii

https://twitter.com/pdeblassieiii

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56373593-goddess-of-everything

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.