Friday, June 30, 2017

COVER REVEAL for "Witch's Wrath (Blood and Magick, #3)" by Katerina Martinez

Witch’s Wrath
(Blood And Magick, #3)
by Katerina Martinez
Publication date: June 30th, 2017
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
A new witch in town, a brutal bloodbath, and I’m out of options. 
Evil gathers in the Louisiana swamps, and it comes for the witches of New Orleans. If I had known, maybe I would have kept my guard up; I would have spent more time securing the city instead of spending my time learning about magick, and trying to bring witches and vampires together. But vanquishing the demon-bloods left us complacent, and comfortable. We celebrated, and enjoyed the period of peace that followed. 
Now we have no idea of the danger we’re all in. 
When unidentified vampires come in the night, swift and deadly, the witches of the city are left scattered, hurt, and broken. Though I’m wracked with grief for the injured and the dead, I have to find a way to lead, but there are those who won’t make that easy for me; those who would rather go back to the old days, where witches killed vampires with impunity, whether they were decent people or not. I can’t allow that to happen. We worked too hard to make New Orleans an inclusive place, and I’ll die before I let someone destroy everything we’ve built. 
Inspired by fantastic authors such as Karen Marie Moning, Richelle Mead, and Shannon Mayer, Magick Reborn is the first book in Katerina’s brand-new Blood and Magick series of urban fantasy novels. Like deep mysteries, plenty of steam in your romance, and watching your heroine become a badass? This is the book for you! 
THE BLOOD AND MAGICK SERIES:
1. Magick Reborn
2. Demon’s Kiss
3. Witch’s Wrath
4. (Coming soon…)

Previous books in the series:
Visit the author’s website here for buy links and a GIVEAWAY!

Author Bio:
Katerina Martinez is an up and coming author who writes supernatural fiction with a creepy, thrilling, and romantic bent. Though she has been writing for a couple of years, her success recently exploded with the release of “Dark Siren”, the first book in the breakout “Half-Lich” Trilogy which became an instant bestseller in 2016. 

She follows the “Half-Lich” series with the “Blood and Magick” series—a story about a young writer who, in the aftermath of a brutal breakup, moves to a magickal new city in the hopes of rediscovering herself. In “Magick Reborn”, we pick up after Madison makes her move to New Orleans and watch her as she settles in, meets the local witches, and discovers a terrible, deadly secret hiding right under her nose. 
If you would like to keep in touch with Katerina, learn about her work, and get notified when the sequel to Magick Reborn launches sometime in February 2017, just follow this link, sign up, and don’t be shy to drop her an email: http://subscribe.supernalpublishing.net/authorpage. 
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BOOK REVIEW for "Deathbringer (Olive Kennedy, Fairy World, MD, #6)" by Tamara Grantham

*****(5) out of 5 stars!
SYNOPSIS:

Some heroes are fated to save the world. Others are meant to destroy it…

Olive Kennedy is all about positive thinking. She's been stuck on Earth for the past four months, waiting for the spring equinox to arrive so she can return to Fairy World — but she's staying positive. She's hopeful she'll once again see her handsome Viking fiancé who's waiting for her. She's optimistic that her mission to reclaim the sword of Dracon
 — a sword of King Arthur fame and the only weapon capable of killing Theht — 
won't result in death and destruction. 
And then there's the small matter of an asteroid that's been ripped out of its orbit
and is hurtling toward Earth… no biggie.

One last thing — she's fated to destroy the world. To stop that prophecy from being fulfilled,
she may have to sacrifice the one person she loves the most.

Good thing she's staying positive.
 
~
REVIEW:

Once again, Tamara Grantham has surpassed her earlier efforts and crafted a story that outdoes the prior ones in this series.  This book is definitely my favorite so far in the “Olive Kennedy, Fairy World, MD” set!  

So many things come about in this tale that make it incredibly good.  A lot of stuff is revealed about the various main players.  Many doings are discovered that were previously unknown.  Other events occur that are just amazing.  I could go on and on in this vague sort of way…  Unfortunately, I don’t want to give specifics because I don’t want to spoil any of the surprises that the book has in store.  And there are certainly plenty of those!  A lot of things were revealed that I already suspected, but many were twists that I never saw coming. 

The majority of the characters, especially among the little band of protagonists, have the opportunity to go (way) outside of their comfort zones, and see themselves stretch and grow in various ways.  Olive finally starts to open up a bit more to the people around her about the things that she is experiencing, thinking and feeling.  Even Kull is somewhat less circumspect and a bit more demonstrative.  A lot of the main players certainly get the opportunity to be their best selves in this volume. 

There was a span of time in the book that involved my home state of Utah.  Included were scenes from Arches National Park (which I had forgotten I spoke with the author about as she was researching them).  The way in which she incorporated some unique features of this natural wonder was brilliant.  And, needless to say, that section was very fun to read!

As always, there some things that I didn’t particularly enjoy about this book, including how very much time they spent running around trying to accomplish something, in what nonetheless usually proved to be fruitless efforts.  But everything seemed to occur for a reason, on this journey more than others even.  And the events of this novel did place everyone where they needed to be for certain occurrences to happen.  So all was not for naught, it just seemed like it at times as the story progressed.


The culmination of the Deathbringer prophecy is at once masterful and also tragic.  That all of the aspects of it and other such forbodings must come to pass seem inevitable yet contradictory.  The way that everything was tied together in the end was very artfully done.  Once again, however, the ending sucks!  You can see how some of it at least is totally necessary as it fits into the storyline, but that doesn’t make it any easier to bear for these characters that I have come to love.  I’m trying to hold it together this time; unlike previous instances when the ending to a tale in this set about unhinged me.  I know that there is one more book in the series, so there is still some hope for a happy ending.  Although I honestly don’t see how that could possibly play out, given the current situation in their reality.  But I am trying to remain hopeful about it.  I definitely cannot wait to read the final volume in the “Olive Kennedy, Fairy World, MD” series!


I received a free eBook copy of this title from the author 
and have willingly provided an honest review.  

BOOK BLITZ for "Reckoning (The Variant series, #4)" by Jena Leigh

Reckoning
(The Variant Series, #4)
by Jena Leigh
Publication date: June 20th, 2017
Genres: Paranormal, Science Fiction,
Young Adult
Alexandra Parker came home from the past only to find herself in the middle of an underground war—one that could affect the fate of Variants everywhere. 
Fighting an all-powerful government agency is tough enough, but when a secret from John Grayson’s past comes back to haunt them all, the group’s united front begins to crumble. And when Alex’s own painful memories threaten to push her past her breaking point, the uprising stands to lose its most powerful weapon. 
With their lives and their freedom on the line, can Declan, Nate, and the rest of the Grayson family hold it together long enough to bring down Director Carter and derail Brian’s apocalyptic visions? 
As Alex struggles to master her most volatile ability yet, only one thing is certain: the uprising’s cold war with the Agency is about to turn red hot.

EXCERPT:

“Would you like to continue?” Brandt asked, his tone mocking. “Or do you need a break?”
Alex wiped distractedly at her brow, straightened her posture, and gave a nod. “I’m ready. Let’s keep going.”
Brandt smiled. “As you wish, little girl.”
He split the fiery orb he held in two before allowing each of them to double in size—and then he lobbed one of them directly at her head.
Standing as they were, only a few yards apart, she barely had time to dive out of the way. The fireball hit the ground just behind her, singeing the earth to a blackened char before fizzling out.
Alex got back to her feet. Again, Brandt split the orb he held in two before sending one spiraling toward her face.
This time she was ready and managed to catch the blazing orb just a few fleeting inches from the tip of her nose. She shrank the ball little by little until she was able to force it to blink out entirely.
Distracted as she was by her efforts, she almost failed to notice the next orb hurtling her way. It took everything she had to react in time to catch that one, too, and dissolve it. This time, she glanced up to discover two fiery masses spiraling in her direction.
Again, Alex was forced to redouble her efforts in order to catch both simultaneously and dissipate them.
And then there were three.
Four.
Five.
Soon Alex’s world consisted only of the flames hurtling toward her and the effort it required to force each orb out of existence.
Within another two minutes, the number of orbs being launched simultaneously in her direction had hit double digits.
Drowning beneath the constant onslaught, Alex grew desperate.
“Brandt, stop!” she gasped out. “Please!
Instead of slowing, the speed and strength of his volleys intensified.
Stop?” he repeated, incredulous. “I thought you were here this morning to learn. To train. Are you really going to give up so easily, little girl?”
Exhaustion turned swiftly to rage. Alex growled as she countered orb after orb, dissolving each one with barely an instant remaining to prepare for the next explosive torrent.
“Stop calling me little girl,” she spat through clenched teeth, struggling to hold back the barrage.
“Then stop acting like one,” he replied. “If you just wait around for people to start taking you seriously, you’re never gonna get anywhere. You want to go toe-to-toe with the boys? You want to stand on an equal playing field? Newsflash, little girl. Such a field doesn’t exist. Not for you.”
She could feel the anger burning through her, hotter even than the fire she wielded.
“Don’t ask to be their equal,” Brandt said. “Demand it. Then ready yourself so that, when the time comes, you leave them all behind. Make certain that there will be no doubt that you’re so much more than they ever dreamed.”
Alex could feel her strength—and her ability to focus—waning. She had seconds at most before her concentration gave out and the hailstorm of orbs made contact.
Summoning the last of her willpower, Alex took hold of every lick of fire in the open field, including the ones Brandt still held. Ripping them away from his control, she stretched out her arms, drew the nearly two dozen orbs toward her, and formed a veritable wall with them… and then she catapulted them all back toward her opponent.
Eyes widening in surprise behind his wire-rimmed glasses, Brandt stumbled backward, unable to stop the attack that was now heading straight for him.



Author Bio:
Jena Leigh is the author of the Variant Series novels REVIVAL, RESISTANCE, REDUX, and RECKONING. She’s currently hard at work on the fifth novel in the series. 
Born and raised in the lightning capital of North America, she eventually made her home in the Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina. A shameless geek, she loves coffee, loud music, bad sci-fi movies, Skittles, and shenanigan-filled road trips to faraway concerts. 
To find out more about The Variant Series and author Jena Leigh, visit her online at www.jenaleighbooks.com or @jenaleighbooks. 
 GIVEAWAY #1!
For one (1) ebook copy of any novel in the Variant series (winner’s choice)! 
**To enter just leave a comment on this blog post 
or on the corresponding Facebook post!**
Contest open until Fri July 7th at 11:59pm EST.
Winner will be announced on this blog and the So Few Books Facebook page.
Winner will have 24 hours to claim their prize
or another winner will be chosen.

Open internationally. 
Prize will be sent out after July 20th, 2017.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

SUMMER COUNTDOWN BLITZ Day 11 - "The Neighbor's Secret (A Secret Billionaire Romance)" by Kimberley Montpetit



When she was in Paris, Kimberley Montpetit spent most of her souvenir money at the La Patisserie shops with their beautiful and delicious pastries. She grew up in the fabulous city of San Francisco, loves all things chocolate, and now lives in a small town along the Rio Grande with her engineer husband and three sons.

She once stayed in the haunted tower room at Borthwick Castle in Scotland and didn't sleep a wink, sailed the Seine in Paris, rode a camel in the ancient world wonder of Petra, shopped the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, and spent the night in an old Communist hotel in Bulgaria.

Kimberley also writes Award-winning Middle-Grade novels with Scholastic and Young Adult novels with Harpercollins under the name, Kimberley Griffiths Little.

Connect with the Author here:
~ Facebook ~ Website ~ Amazon ~
~ Twitter ~ Goodreads

Receive a free book when you sign up for her Newsletter.
~ Newsletter ~


After being left at the altar on her wedding day, businesswoman Allie Strickland returns to her hometown to heal her broken heart. But Heartland Cove County is a small town of Victorian homes and quirky, gossiping citizens.

Grieving the trauma of her ex-fiancé’s betrayal and overwhelmed by her clingy mother, Allie rents the first available house she can find. But on the very first night, Allie’s peace is violated by an unexpected intruder who breaks into the house while she’s taking a bubble bath. An intruder using an alias with old ties to Heartland Cove.

Forced by unusual circumstances to share the same rental house, Allie’s suspicions of the man grow—even as she finds herself attracted to him. But is Ethan Smith merely a magazine freelancer on assignment—or an undercover spy for the mayor who wants to ruin the charming town by running a new highway through for his own profit?

Is Ethan Smith friend or foe? Enemy or lover?

This book is on Sale for .99 for today only! 
Make sure you get your copy now!

~ Amazon ~ Amazon UK


The next book in the series is available next week! 

Make sure to check it out on Author Kimberley Montpetit Amazon page!

Snippet:

          It was the perfect day for a wedding. After months of trying on wedding gowns, ordering invitations, and searching every bridal boutique in Toronto for the perfect shoes, Allie Strickland was ready to walk—maybe even run—down the aisle of the church and into Sean Carter’s waiting arms.
          That morning Allie had taken her big fat red marker and made an X on the calendar.
“Mrs. Sean Carter, here I come,” she whispered as she capped the pen and tossed it inside a packing box. 
During five years of dating, she and Sean had gone through grad school together, first jobs, saving money, and now Sean was climbing the ladder to become a partner with Learner & Associates Law Firm. She sent a text to Sean and then stared out the window in an effort to settle her nerves. With her brother Jake at the wheel and the car full of her mother, her sister Erin, and best friend Marla on their way to the Episcopal Church, Allie went over her luggage in the trunk, packed for fun, sun, and the beach.
Three bikinis; red, black, and purple.
Slinky dresses for candlelit dinners.
Five pairs of shoes, including a pair of running shoes.
Lingerie and toiletries.
She couldn’t wait to get on that plane to Bermuda tomorrow and leave work and stress and family behind.
Seven perfect days with Sean. Finally, finally, finally.


To view the blog schedule and follow along with this tour, visit the Official Event page.



Wednesday, June 28, 2017

BOOK BLITZ for "Tales from Harborsmouth (Ivy Granger Psychic Detective, #0.5, #1.5, #2.5, #5.5)" by E.J. Stevens

Tales from Harborsmouth
(Ivy Granger Psychic Detective, 
#0.5, #1.5, #2.5, #5.5)
by E.J. Stevens
Publication date: July 11th, 2017
Genres: Adult, Mystery, Paranormal,
Urban Fantasy
In Tales from Harborsmouth, readers get the chance to delve deeper into the award-winning world of Ivy Granger. 
Ivy Granger is a psychic detective with ties to Harborsmouth’s paranormal underworld. Too bad those ties tend to ensnare Ivy and her friend Jinx in the Machiavellian schemes of the city’s teeming population of bloodsucking vampires and psychotic faeries.

QUICK SNEAK PEEKS:

It’s hard to pay the bills when you’re dead, but if you die in a city filled with faerie magic and have Ivy Granger on the case, you sure as Hell can settle your debts.

—Ivy Granger, Frostbite
A detective’s job is to take note of the little things, the small details that can break a case wide open, but having anthropomorphic snot treat you like you smelled worse than a troll fart could give a girl a complex.

—Ivy Granger, Frostbite
There was a serial killer in Harborsmouth with a penchant for murdering faeries.
Happy freaking holidays.

—Ivy Granger, Blood and Mistletoe
If a faerie, a vampire, and a demon walk into a bar, you wait for the punch line. At Private Eye, when a faerie, a vampire, and a demon walk through the door, it’s just another day at the office.

—Ivy Granger, Blood and Mistletoe
I blew a stray lock of hair from my eyes while running a damp cloth over the bar. The raven black curl froze at the edge of my vision, ice crystals from my breath coating it like the dust of fractured diamonds. But within seconds the damp chunk of bangs thawed from the perpetual heat of the club. The heat was one of the many things that I despised about bartending at Club Nexus.

—The Ice Faerie Beryl, Club Nexus – Iced
Deviance is nothing if not full of variety and Puck had discovered how to capitalize on each and every one of our desires. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the imp was purposely late to our meetings to build the suspense, and empty my wallet.

—The Vampire Cyrus, Club Nexus – Dusted
It had been centuries since a human had piqued my interest, longer still since anyone had stirred feelings of lust and longing, but there was something unquestionably magnetic about the woman my eyes now frantically sought.

—Forneus, Club Nexus – Demonized
Of all the nightclubs, in all the cities, in all the world,
the freakin’ demon had to walk into Club Nexus.

—Jinx, Club Nexus – Jinxed
I’d seen a lot in my nine lives, but nothing so strange as
Ratfink’s Family Fun Palace and its tone-deaf taxidermied talent.

—Torn, Thrill on Joysen Hill

Author Bio:
E.J. Stevens is the bestselling, award-winning author of the IVY GRANGER, PSYCHIC DETECTIVE urban fantasy series, the SPIRIT GUIDE young adult series, the HUNTERS' GUILD urban fantasy series, and the WHITECHAPEL PARANORMAL SOCIETY Victorian Gothic horror series. She is known for filling pages with quirky characters, bloodsucking vampires, psychotic faeries, and snarky, kick-butt heroines. Her novels are available worldwide in multiple languages. 
BTS Red Carpet Award winner for Best Novel, SYAE finalist for Best Paranormal Series, Best Novella, and Best Horror, winner of the PRG Reviewer's Choice Award for Best Paranormal Fantasy Novel, Best Young Adult Paranormal Series, Best Urban Fantasy Novel, and finalist for Best Young Adult Paranormal Novel and Best Urban Fantasy Series. 
When E.J. isn't at her writing desk, she enjoys dancing along seaside cliffs, singing in graveyards, and sleeping in faerie circles. E.J. currently resides in a magical forest on the coast of Maine where she finds daily inspiration for her writing. 
Connect with E.J. on Twitter @EJStevensAuthor. For more, including a list of her books, freebies, and upcoming events visit www.EJStevensAuthor.com. 
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SUMMER COUNTDOWN BLITZ Day 10 - "Rising Tide: Dark Innocence (The Maura DeLuca trilogy, #1)" by Claudette Melanson




Claudette Melanson writes dark fantasy in Kitchener, Ontario with four bun babies: Tegan, Pepper, Butters & Beckett. She graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a BA in English, BS in English Education and an MA in Literature. Harboring a deep admiration of vampires since the age of five left her with the desire to eventually become one, and now fuels the creation of her favorite
paranormal characters. She hopes to one day work full time as an author, since
there are many, many stories playing out inside her head.

In her very scant spare time, she enjoys watching Japanese Anime and reading vampire stories...along with other genres of great fiction, as well as riding every roller coaster she encounters in both her hometown and away at signings.


An advocate for good health and ketogenic eating, her favorite foods are bulletproof coffee, cashew-flour crust pizza and treats made with xylitol and almond, coconut or cashew flours.

Future dreams include a cabin boasting a roaring fire, isolated inside a snow-filled wood in the Yukon—the perfect writing spot—and the completion of dozens of future novels and stories. A Rabbit Rescue fanatic and loving bunmom, she also hopes to help rescues all over the world save many innocent lives.


Connect with the Author here: 

When a cruel prank nearly claims Maura’s life, one of her classmates, Ron, rushes to her rescue. Darkly handsome & mysteriously accepting, Ron doesn’t seem to want to stay away, but Maura is reluctant to get too close, since her mother has announced she’s moving the two of them to Vancouver… nearly 3,000 miles away from their hometown of Indiana, Pennsylvania.

If life wasn’t already challenging enough, Maura begins to experience bizarre, physical changes her mother seems hell bent on  ignoring, compelling Maura to fear for her own life. Vicious nightmares, blood cravings, failing health and the heart-shattering loss of Ron—as well as the discovery of a tangled web of her own mother's lies—become obstacles in Maura's desperate quest for the unfathomable truth she was never  prepared to uncover.


This book is now FREE on Amazon!!!
Make sure you get your copy now!


Snippet:

Maura being pursued in a dark alley:

There weren’t any doorways in which to hide down this stretch of alley, and I’d realized, once I’d started toward the restaurant, it was deceptively longer than it had seemed upon first inspection. Every time I turned around, the space behind me was empty, as it had been the last five times I’d jerked my head around, certain I’d catch a glimpse of whomever I knew had to be there. I was about halfway through the narrow, dark walkway now, my skin consumed by the cold-running chill of fear.

Maybe I should call Caelyn? *No, Maura,* I stubbornly told myself, *you’ll scare her to death. You’re probably imagining it.* I could envision the near hysterics at the other end of the line and ruled that option out completely. Besides, I was almost at the other end. If anything should happen at this point, I was sure someone would hear me scream. Wow… I really didn’t want cause to scream… I rubbed my hands over my arms in an effort to calm, comfort and warm myself.

I tried to put myself at ease by telling myself anyone who smelled as good as this guy could be no homeless drug addict. And if he meant me harm, wouldn’t he have made his move before I’d gotten this close to the crowded street? As I inched through the last quarter of the alley, I took in a deep breath, just to catch one last whiff of whatever scent this guy was wearing. I tried to store it in memory, so I could try to find some to give Ron—and myself—as a Christmas present.

“You know I’m here, don’t you, Maura?”

My legs felt like cooked spaghetti, and it was all I could do to keep from collapsing in utter fear, right there on the sidewalk. Though the deep, male voice was smooth and beautiful… it still should not carry across the night in the syllables that made up my name.

My brain fumbled around inside itself for a reasonable explanation. One of the teachers must have been at the library? A far more rational part tossed out the thought that even if one of the teachers from my school was the mysterious, sweet-smelling man in the alley, he had been lurking around, not allowing me to catch a glimpse of him. And I just couldn’t propose any way that could be a good thing.

Then, my brain tossed out the oddity that this person, whoever he might turn out to be, had stalked me, frightened me, made me doubt my own perceptions, only to let me get so close to a place of safety? He’d cruelly let me believe I’d soon be in a well-lit restaurant, only to take it away when I thought I was home free. My ever-increasingly volatile temper flared white-hot, burning away most of the fear I’d felt. I irrationally whirled to face whoever he may be, infuriated by the twisted way he’d kept me rooted to the edge of the darkness at the very last moment.



To view the blog schedule and follow along with this tour, visit the Official Event page.



Tuesday, June 27, 2017

BOOK BLITZ for "Reach for You (The Dark Heart, #3)" by Pat Esden

Reach for You
(The Dark Heart, #3)
by Pat Esden
Published by: Kensington Publishing Corp.
Publication date: June 27th, 2017
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Her passion is her greatest weakness.

His legacy is his prison.

To reunite, both must fight the demons within. 
A world of deception and danger separates Annie Fremont from her mother—and from Chase, the enigmatic groundskeeper with whom Annie’s fallen in love. But she vows to find her way back to them, before Chase succumbs to the madness that threatens his freedom. The only person who can help is the magical seductress, Lotli, a beautiful, manipulative woman... a woman who has disappeared. 
Annie must stay strong, even as the future she imagined is slipping away. With the help of family and friends, she discovers that Lotli is being held against her will, by those who want to exploit her powers. But though weakened, Lotli remains a powerful ally and adversary. A bargain is struck. And now Annie’s only chance to rescue Chase could also tear them apart... 
Loyalties will be tested, walls will be breached, and enemies will be fought, yet Annie’s greatest battle lies within her own heart—to trust her love for Chase to overcome its greatest enemy, and to save those she holds most dear from the terrifying realm of the djinn. For all of their lives depend on it.

Previous books in the series:
25810168 28109696

CHAPTER ONE:

We journey. Ceaseless and hungry.
Carved into stone tablet. Tenerife, Spain.

The campsite was ominously silent. Then a breeze lifted and my ear caught the faint clank and rattle of the bones and knives hanging in the pine trees behind us.
“You don’t think they’re both dead, do you?” Selena whispered.
I scanned the dilapidated camper ahead of us, a do-it-yourself RV created out of an old bread truck. Despite the midafternoon warmth, the doors were shut tight. The tent behind it, barely visible from our angle, bowed under the weight of rain that had pooled in its canopy. There was no campfire smoke. No trampled grass. In comparison to when we’d come here last week, the place looked deserted.
Goose bumps pebbled my skin. I gave the camper another once-over. “Zea was really old and sickly. He could have died—or if the kidnappers came here first looking for Lotli, they could have found him. They might have—”
Selena cut me off with a glower. “You mean, supposed kidnappers.”
My jaw clenched. Yeah, that was exactly what I meant. I understood why my cousin didn’t like that everything we’d discovered pointed to her boyfriend, Newt, being involved in Lotli’s disappearance, and perhaps Zea’s as well. But I thought we’d gotten past that, like a bunch of times already.
I swiveled toward where we’d parked our Land Rover. The Professor stood rooted next to it, a mixture of disgust and apprehension crinkling his face. From his scholarly glasses and sandy brown hair all the way down to his polished loafers, he looked anything but ready for our reconnaissance trip out here on the back roads of Down East Maine. An afternoon of research at Oxford University would have been more appropriate. “You want to check inside the tent while we look in the camper?”
His gaze flicked to the soggy tarps. He cleared his throat, then—as posh as ever—said, “Don’t get me wrong, I’m not totally against the idea. But the thought of discovering a rotting corpse is a teensy bit abhorrent.”
“Would you rather discover one in a closed-up camper?” I snapped. It was lucky we’d driven into the campsite from the main road instead of walking like we’d done the last time. I’d assumed the Professor had an adventuresome spirit to go with his young Indiana Jones good looks. Especially since he was an archaeologist, though this summer he was tutoring Selena’s eleven-year-old brother as a favor. Still, and despite how eager he’d seemed to come with us, the Professor had freaked the second we started past the creepy stuff Zea and Lotli hung in the trees to scare people off: the knives and bones, pieces of copper pipe, broken mirrors, and doll parts. Frankly, I was surprised he’d even gotten out of the Land Rover at all.
I pasted on a smile. “Sorry. I don’t much care for the idea myself. Let’s just hope he’s napping or something.”
The Professor wiped his hands down the sides of his chinos. “I truly hope you’re right.”
As he headed for the tent, I tramped toward the camper with Selena close behind. If only Chase were here now. The creepy stuff hadn’t bothered him at all, and the fear of Zea being dead would have only driven him forward faster.
My chest tightened, my longing for Chase aching inside me, raw and unrelenting. If it weren’t for me, he would be here now. Instead, both he and my mother were trapped in the djinn realm, prisoners of his father, Malphic. If it weren’t for me, Lotli wouldn’t be missing either.
“Well?” Selena jerked her head at the camper door. “Are you going to just stand there?”
I raised my hand and knocked. One second passed. Two seconds. I rapped harder. Nothing. I tried the doorknob. It turned beneath my grip. I opened the door a crack, hesitated, and took a deep breath before pushing it open all the way.
A wave of hot, musty air rushed past me as if the camper had been closed up for days.
“Hello?” I said, sticking my head inside. I gave the air a cautious sniff. No dangerous odors, like a leaky gas stove, permeated the air. No rotting-trash smell—or decomp.
Selena nudged my shoulder. “What are you waiting for?”
I swallowed hard and stepped forward.
The place was cramped, a gypsy wagon on steroids. Tassels and prisms curtained the windows, letting only faint streaks of light inside. Miles of fuchsia and turquoise fabric draped the ceiling and walls. Animal skulls, feathers, and nubby candles clustered inside miniature altars. The fridge, table, and chairs, every surface that wasn’t fabric covered, was painted purple or black. Stars decorated the ceiling. An antique bed piled with crimson quilts and an avalanche of pillows took up the camper’s entire backend. It was cozy enough, I supposed. But I couldn’t begin to imagine what life had been like for Lotli, apprenticed to Zea as a child because of her magic abilities, essentially indentured. Not that I thought a devout shaman like Zea would have been cruel to her. It was just so different from anything I’d experienced.
“Zea, are you here?” I called out. “We need to talk to you about Lotli.”
I minced my way deeper into the cramped space, working my way toward the back of the camper. Cold sweat carved a trail down my spine. I crept past a tiny kitchen and dining nook, then the bathroom—one toothbrush in the holder, a washcloth draped over the edge of a yellowed sink.
I returned to the front of the camper and pulled aside the curtain that divided the living area from the bread truck’s cab. Seats for the driver and a passenger, seashells glued to the dash, insulated coffee cups in the holders—
Something brushed the back of my neck.
I yelped and jumped sideways, whipping around to see what it was and smacking my elbow against the wall. Pain zinged up my arm. I glared at Selena, standing barely an inch behind me.
“Shit,” I said, rubbing the sting from my arm. “You scared the hell out of me.”
She gave me a sheepish pout. “Sorry. I thought you knew I was there.”
“I didn’t think you were that close.” It wouldn’t have hurt half as bad, except I was already sore and bruised from being thrown out of the djinn realm earlier in the day.
Her pout transformed into a smug smile and she flipped her blond hair over one shoulder. “Looks to me like Zea and Lotli might have pulled a vanishing act after all. Huh?”
I stopped rubbing. “Or the Professor’s about to find something disgusting in the tent.”
“Want to bet?”
I closed my eyes, struggling to regain my composure. We couldn’t afford to waste time discussing the same thing over and over again, any more than I could have afforded the luxury of staying home to nurse my aches and pains. Chase and Mother were in danger. And I couldn’t go back to the realm and rescue them until we found Lotli. Without her and her flute-magic, it would be too risky, perhaps even impossible to enter or escape from the realm.
I shoved past Selena and strode to the tiny bathroom. “While we’re here, we should find something personal of Lotli’s that you can use to scry and see where they’re holding her.”
Glancing around, I spotted a scruffy hairbrush. You couldn’t get much more personal than that. I grabbed it and brandished it toward Selena.
She stood just inside the bathroom doorway, hands on her hips, eyes narrowed. “Cut it out, Annie, I’ve had enough of you talking like Newt kidnapped Lotli, the innuendos and little jabs. Maybe his family’s hiding something, but Newt doesn’t have anything to do with it. So quit acting like he’s evil, okay?”
I mirrored her stance. “He told you his dad was a stockbroker, that they owned their summer home. Those were lies. His brother is a registered creep. No matter what you want to think: Newt’s not innocent.”
She turned her back on me, her voice bordering on hysteria. “I don’t know why I bothered coming. You’re so, so . . . You always have to be right—” Her voice died and she slowly faced me. Angry red blotches mottled her face. But tears rimmed her eyes.
My anger drained. She didn’t look pissed. She was trembling like she was about to fall apart. Earlier today, when we’d first heard about the lies Newt and his family had been telling, I’d seen something in Selena’s eyes, something beneath her disbelief.
“What is it? Tell me,” I asked gently.
She raked her hands over her face. “Nothing. You just need to trust me. I know Newt couldn’t be involved. And he wouldn’t have let his brother do it either.”
I leveled my gaze with hers and toughened my voice. “What makes you so certain? Tell me the truth, Selena.”
Her chin quivered. “I just know.”
Tucking the hairbrush handle first into my hip pocket, I stepped closer. I pushed her hair back from her face. “You’re my cousin. Please. Tell me.”
“Nothing. He just wouldn’t do it. He loves me.”
“I get that. But—”
She shoved my hand away. “No, you don’t get it. I know he loves me. Like forever.” Her eyes pleaded for me to understand what she couldn’t bring herself to say.
A possibility seeped into my head. My hands went to my mouth, covering a horrified gasp. She couldn’t mean. She couldn’t have. “What did you do?”
“I kind of—I put a . . .” Her voice faded and she looked down at the floor.
“A spell?” A month ago, the idea of witchcraft being involved would never have occurred to me. Now it seemed more than likely.
“You can’t tell anyone. Mom, Dad, Grandfather—they’d kill me.” She curled her arms over her head, her shoulders shaking as she crumpled down against the wall.
I crouched and put my arms around her. “Whatever it is, it’ll be fine. It can’t be that bad.”
“It is,” she sobbed.


Author Bio:
PAT ESDEN would love to say she spent her childhood in intellectual pursuits. The truth is she was fonder of exploring abandoned houses and old cemeteries. When not out on her own adventures, she can be found in her northern Vermont home writing stories about brave, smart women and the men who capture their hearts. An antique-dealing florist by trade, she’s also a member of Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and the League of Vermont Writers. Her short stories have appeared in a number of publications, including Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, the Mythopoeic Society’s Mythic Circle literary magazine, and George H. Scither’s anthology Cat Tales. 
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SUMMER COUNTDOWN BLITZ DAY 9 - "Magic Unleashed (Venators, #1)" by Devri Walls



Devri Walls is the best-selling author of six YA fantasy novels. She is a theater major with a flare for the dramatic and wishes more than anything for a magic wand. Devri is from Boise Idaho where she lives with her husband, two kids and the cutest mutt of a dog the world has ever seen. When she’s not writing she can be found teaching voice lessons, trying to resist the urge to sell her two beautiful children to the circus, and cooking. Because… food. Mmmmmmm.

Connect with the Author here: 

Six years ago, Grey Malteer was attacked by creatures he thought couldn’t possibly exist. They repeated a word, calling him a name he’d never heard before…Venator. Since then, his life has been a hellhole of secrecy — hiding old pain alongside strange new abilities.

Rune Jenkins has an itch, as she calls it, but it’s more than that. It’s an anger that builds up like the inside of a boiler whenever she’s around anything remotely supernatural. The pressure is growing steadily worse and she can’t understand why. All she knows is — her control is slipping.

By order of an unknown council Grey and Rune are pulled through a portal in the St. Louis arch, landing them in an alternate dimension where creatures of myth and legend exist. A realm that calls them, Venators.

Made up of centuries old fae, vampires, werewolves, elves and succubi the council's corrrupt nature becomes obvious as they seek to wield the newly returned Venators as weapons. Wedged in an impossible position, Grey and Rune must decide their fate—do they go against the council’s wishes and help the innocents of this unforgiving land, or face the possibility of execution by the council.

~ Amazon ~ Amazon UK


Excerpt:

          Grey breathed in the smell of books, old and new. It smelled like knowledge…and security. Books didn’t expect you to answer back. And they didn’t laugh when your response was socially unacceptable. They were perfect.
He’d finished his schoolwork hours ago and was now working on his own personal research project, one he’d been working on for years. College had opened up shelves upon shelves of books he’d never seen. Information on every topic and era, anything you could possibly wish for, was encased in this four-story box of knowledge.
Grey flipped a page, coming across a drawing of an ancient medieval torture practice. This particular one involved the insertion of a gruesome device called the pear of agony into the victim’s mouth.
What he found interesting about this image was how the victim’s face was drawn in a way that was more canine than human. He scribbled a note of the time period, 1125 AD, and a small note with a question mark. “Werewolf?”
He looked up from the book and rubbed his eyes. He’d been reading since his last class got out at two, with the exception of a quick break he’d taken to grab some dinner at the cafeteria. Looking up, he saw Rune standing next to the computer lab entrance. Her shoulders were tense, her hands hanging at her sides in tight fists.
He tried not to stare—it was rude—despite knowing that he found it almost impossible not to. But more worrisome than his lack of manners was Rune’s brother, who’d caught him staring on several occasions. Ryker Jenkins was a bully and an absolute ass. Grey couldn’t help but take a quick look around to see if Ryker was in the vicinity.
Rune spun hard to the side, as if she were tearing herself away from an invisible assailant. She looked directly at him, her chest rising and falling heavily.
His stomach rolled in nervous anticipation, and he tried to keep his expression neutral. Rune was one of the very few that were genuinely nice to him, although he couldn’t figure out why. She was smart, pretty, athletic, and came from a family that…well, produced one asshat of a brother.
She gave a little wave and crossed the library. Her body language eased with each step. By the time she plopped down across from him, she looked totally relaxed. “Hey, Grey. What are you working on?”
He cleared his throat, worried his voice would betray him with a pubescent squeak. “Just some research for a mythology project. What are you doing here on a Friday night?”
“Turning in some last minute homework.” She leaned in on one elbow and peeked over the top of his book. “Oh, wow. That looks brutal.”
Realizing his notes were in clear view, Grey flipped the book shut and scooted it over to cover the notebook. “I’m sure it was.”
“I wish I could major in mythology. That would be so cool.”
“My major is history, actually.” Grey leaned back, evaluating her. He knew her face so well he
could’ve drawn it from memory. The thing he loved most was that she wasn’t one of those girls who looked like she’d stepped out of a magazine cover. Rune had an athletic body and natural hair that had been the same chestnut color since elementary school. Her eyes were a deep brown, and a light spray of freckles kissed her nose and cheeks. “If you want to major in something different, why don’t you?”
She snorted. “Right. When I was a sophomore in high school, my parents sat down with me, a guidance counselor, and a course book to ensure I picked something ‘practical and responsible.’ If I’d told them I wanted to major in—” she waved her hand over the books he had spread out across the table—“mythology—” 
“History.”
“Whatever. They would’ve told me to pay for college myself.”
He smiled. “She sat you down as a sophomore?”
“Yep. It was the responsible thing to do.” She made air quotes. “My mother believes that
perfection is not only achievable, but expected.”
His smile fled, swallowed by a sorrow that had nestled in his heart for years.
“What?” Rune asked.
“I just…who decides what’s perfect?”
Rune’s eyes widened, blinking furiously. Grey thought she’d say something, but she looked away instead, nervously brushing a piece of hair behind her ear.
Grey shifted uncomfortably in his seat, then tried to nudge the conversation back to where it had been before he'd derailed it. 
          


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