Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Cover Reveal - A Study In Shifters by Majanka Verstraete, coming from Monster House Books

A Study In Shifters
Majanka Verstraete
(The Adventures of Marisol Holmes, #1)
Publication date: June 26th 2018
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Seventeen-year-old Marisol Holmes may be the great-great-great granddaughter of Sherlock Holmes, but it’s hard to live up to the family name when only one mistake can spell your downfall. After trusting the wrong guy in a case gone totally wrong, Marisol convinces the Conclave, an underground organization of detectives solving supernatural cases, to give her a last chance to prove her worth, and maybe even heal her broken heart
After all, as a half-blood jaguar shifter, Marisol is uniquely qualified to solve this murder—and every scrap of evidence points toward the culprit being a fellow jaguar shifter. But is one of her own people involved, or is this all a ploy to kick Marisol’s mother off the shifter throne?
Then Marisol discovers her best friend, Roan, is missing, and maybe the killer’s next target. The stakes just got higher than political intrigue. Just when things couldn’t get worse, Marisol’s ex-boyfriend-turned-nemesis, Mannix, starts leaving sinister clues for her. Marisol fears this case might be far more personal than she could’ve imagined.
It’s time for Marisol to prove her worth, or her people could fall into chaos while her best friend loses his life.

Author Bio:
Author Majanka Verstraete has written more than twenty unique works of fiction. A native of Belgium, Majanka’s novels explore the true nature of monsters: the good, the bad, and just about every species in between. Her young adult books include the acclaimed Mirrorland (YA Dark Fantasy) and Angel of Death (YA Paranormal) series of novels. At MHB, Majanka is currently developing a new YA shifter series with a fresh take on fierce female detectives called THE ADVENTURES OF MARISOL HOLMES.
When she’s not writing, Majanka is probably playing World of Warcraft or catching up with the dozens of TV series she’s addicted to.
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Congratulations to the Winner of Eva Gordon's The Stone of the Tenth Realm #Giveaway

Congratulations to:

Will G

The Lucky Winner of a $10 Amazon Gift Card from Eva Gordon!
The Stone of the Tenth Realm
by Eva Gordon

My rating: 5 stars

Series: The Realms Trilogy - Book 1
Publication Date: 2nd Edition - April 14, 2015
Publisher: Eva Gordon
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Print Length: 504 pages

 Sophie Katz, a Jewish chemistry student, harrowingly escapes a Nazi concentration camp. By way of Prague and with the help of a golem and a magic stone, she is transported into the Tenth Realm, a magical dimension that parallels the world she left behind.

Logan MacLeod, a Scottish warrior, hunted for a crime he did not mean to commit, flees to the Bestiary, a forest so dangerous no man dares enter. Drawn by the haunting sound of his bagpipes, Sophie and Logan meet.

Even as love ensues, the dark evil of the Third Reich threatens the Tenth Realm, led by Gustaf Hissler, Adolph Hitler’s doppelganger.

Together they must join the forces against Hissler in the Tenth Realm and help stop Hitler from world domination in Sophie’s realm. Will they be able to stop the Third Reich before its evil conquers all of the realms?

On Sale now for 99 cents Epic #Fantasy/Shifters/Magic: The Stone of the Tenth Realm.
 Amazon | Amazon UK | Kobo | iTunes  | iTunes UK | Google | Barnes & Noble

Excerpt: The Stone of the Tenth Realm, Part I Angel of Death
By Eva Gordon

This time, instead of wearing his fine suit and trimmed beard, her grandfather looked just like the other prisoners: dirty, old and in poor health.
Zayde, what happened?”
“This is my true appearance. What you saw before was an illusion of how you remembered me. You look like a princess.” He sighed. “Although quite a thin one.”
Sophie stared at her fresh clothes. “And is what I’m wearing an illusion? Will it be only temporary?”
“No, Katerina found everything here in the sorting station. Her spirit was in physical form during the time it took to find everything.”
“I don’t know why, but I believe you. I mean, how could I not after all that has happened? I physically touched Katerina. How can that not be real? And Ruth, she said all along that I would soon be visited by an angel.” Her voice trembled. “Zayde, are you…”
“Sha, sha, I’m no angel. Now take the box with the two gemstones and this parchment to awaken Yossel.”
“Why don’t you come with me? If you can conjure a spell for me to leave Terezin, why can’t you do one for yourself?”
He raised a brow, perhaps in offence. “First of all, this is not a spell, and second, I’m destined to soon join the world to come. My only purpose now is to see that you are safely taken from this pit.”
“I see.” She lowered her chin to her chest.
He hugged her and held her tight. “Now, always remember an old man’s dying wish to see his granddaughter live. Once I know you are safe, I can die in peace.”
“But…” she said, sniffing back more tears.
He let go of her and wiped her tears with a rag. “Come with me. A man with a horse and wagon is waiting for you.”
They walked up the stairs and stepped out into the crisp cold night. An unusual thick layer of fog made it hard to see the buildings.
She huddled into her new high quality wool coat, grateful for its warmth. “Besides placing the parchment in Yossel’s mouth, is there anything else I must do?”
He whispered. “Once the golem is activated, you must remain safe in the Altneushul for a while. Yossel will go out and get food and drink. He has the power of invisibility. If you are discovered, then you must allow Yossel to use a mystic stone to cast you into another realm.”
Sophie followed him into an alleyway, stopped, and handed him the box. “Which realm?”
He opened the box. “You must choose between the Ninth and the Tenth.”
“But which stone is which, and how will I know which one is best?”
“The Ninth Realm is represented by this grey gemstone. Your parents and perhaps you would enjoy this realm.” He displayed the shiny silver stone in his trembling fingers. “It is the world of rationality, but at the cost of no spirituality.”
“Really, how so?”
“The Ninth Realm parallels our world, only they followed the path of pure science and rational thought. There was never a Hitler, nor camps. In this world, there are no religions, no spiritualism, no Judaism, for all Jews long ago became part of this ultra secular society,” he scoffed with distain. “In the ninth realm, people are on the verge of traveling to the stars. They will eventually become a society bred for logical thought. As time passes, there will be a loss of human emotions. As a scientist, you might find this realm appealing, but eventually you will realize it leaves you cold and without a soul. It is the ultimate materialistic world. There will be no hate and no love.”
“No hatred of Jews?” Perhaps in this realm, she could work on chemistry, a better world.
“Perhaps, you would rather consider the Tenth Realm. I know less about it, except that your great great-grandfather Saul once escaped to this realm and was never heard from again. Then again, some thought he drowned in the river while on a business trip. Who knows? He was one of the best scholars of the Kabbalistic texts the Sefer Yetzirah and the Zohar.”
“Does their world accept Jews?”
He shrugged. “No one really knows. It’s a world completely of magic. It never developed industry. In the Tenth Realm, you would have no need for science or industrialization. Instead of being a chemist, you would be an alchemist creating gold out of simple stone.” He handed her back the two stones and the box.
Sophie placed the grey stone back and then ran her thumb across the black stone’s smooth surface. “Tell me about the black stone.”
“Its energy emanates from the world of magic. It is obsidian and used for astral travel.”
Sophie quickly placed the black stone back in the box. “I think I would do much better in the rational world and not the magical one.”
“Well, you have time to think about it. If Yossel sends you off, you must command him to remove the parchment from his mouth. This will put him to sleep, and he will turn into a lifeless pile of mud. Last time I saw him, I left the aleph on his head so that he may be called on when needed.”
Ghosts, magical stones, and the golem? She drew in a breath and released it. The scientist in her clouded her mind with doubts. There had to be a logical explanation for his and her delusions. The wine might have caused her to imagine Katerina. Or maybe it was an act to get her to safety? Perhaps her grandfather had bribed someone to take her to the safety of the Altneushul, which the Germans had mysteriously not touched.
He gently hurried her along by pulling on her sleeve. “We must leave now for it is past midnight and there is no moon.”
“Just search lights and dogs,” she said sarcastically.
They walked to the outskirts of the hospital. The guards and dogs patrolled as usual; however, they calmly walked past them as he had instructed her. None of the guards noticed. It seemed she and her grandfather were invisible. The usually vicious dogs sensed them and looked up. Instead of snarling, they simply wagged their tails as any pet dog would.
“This way,” signaled her grandfather.
Sophie followed him out into a small pasture behind the ghetto hospital. The distant murmur of the German guards talking amongst themselves broke the silence.
When she turned back to look, she stood beyond the gates. Her eyes widened. But the gate remained closed.
Her grandfather waved at a peasant waiting for Sophie with his horse and wagon.
“Please, Zayde, come with me.”
“I can’t. You must hurry now.”
“But it will take at least three days to get to Prague. I’ll get caught,” she said, still doubting.
“No, he will deliver you to Prague long before sunrise. Just listen to the sound of the violinist Dalibor. He will guide you to the secret opening of the Altneushul Synagogue.”
Sophie remembered the story of the ghost violinist of Prague and shivered.
The man on the wagon stepped down and signaled with a tilt of his head to come. She boarded the back of the wagon and teary-eyed glanced back at her zayde.
“Now go, and choose wisely, Sophia Marjeta.”
“I shall,” she promised.
Her grandfather walked away and disappeared into the shadows.
Sophie took one last look at her prison. In the thick fog of the cold evening, she could no longer make out the camp. The rhythmic movement of the wagon and her full stomach soon lulled her into a deep sleep.

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Ice Kingdom by Tiana Warner Blitz and #Giveaway

Ice Kingdom
Tiana Warner
(Mermaids of Eriana Kwai, #3)
Publication date: December 11th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
The final adventure in the Mermaids of Eriana Kwai trilogy …
Meela and Lysi have unleashed Sisiutl, legendary two-headed serpent of the Pacific Northwest. It was supposed to be an ally that would help them win the war. Instead, it has fallen under the control of King Adaro, ruler of the Pacific Ocean. If Meela and Lysi can’t stop him, Adaro will use the deadly serpent to rid the oceans of mankind.
With the American military using catastrophic weapons of their own to retaliate, Meela and Lysi must make peace between humans and merpeople before one race destroys the other. The journey will risk their lives and put their relationship to the test—but the vengeance that has been consuming Meela’s thoughts, day and night, might prove even more dangerous.
**Read the first book in the trilogy for FREE: download at http://bit.ly/siandmeela until Dec 25th!**
Somewhere on the Pacific Ocean
The young man aimed his crossbow at the water, ready to fire a bolt of solid iron at the first glimpse of flesh beneath the surface.
“Sir,” he said, “shouldn’t we have seen one by now?”
The captain turned his back to the salty wind, jaw tight. “They know we’re here.”
“So what are they doing?”
He followed the captain’s gaze. Blackness merged with the empty grey horizon in every direction. A long silence passed, filled only by gentle swells lapping against the ship.
The captain drew his own crossbow.
“Forming a plan.”
All twenty men aboard the ship readied their weapons, reacting in a chain until the last man at the stern took steady aim at the waves.
“Make ready your iron, men,” shouted the captain. “We have ripples approaching off the port side.”
A handful of places in the water puckered, as if something lingered just below the surface. The sea was too black to tell.
Then it happened. Fifty, maybe sixty sea demons burst from the water and slammed against the ship. The men wasted no time. They reacted with trained speed and agility as the demons thrust stones and jagged shells into the wood, both to break holes in the ship and to scale the sides. The men picked them off with bolts of iron and watched them fall one by one back into the sea.
But they were outnumbered. Soon the demons were upon the ship, pulling themselves across the deck with bony arms.
The young man had already shot a dozen and the water reddened with each passing second.
Slow scraping sounds threatened him from behind. He whirled around, crossbow ready. Burning eyes met his, and sharp teeth, bared to rip into his flesh. He gripped the trigger, felt the bow tighten—
And the demon was gone. The young man stared into the wide gaze of a girl his own age. With a startled cry, he jerked his aim so the bolt barely missed her.
She held a black shell in her hand, sharp at the edges and ready to use as a club. But she didn’t raise it. She just looked at him.
He lowered his crossbow.
Her blonde hair fell heavily over her shoulders, dripping beads of water down her naked chest and stomach, pooling where her torso joined her tail.
He blinked, but made no other motion—where her torso joined her tail. Scales faded into flesh like some sort of beautiful, green and tan sunset.
She pulled herself closer.
“Stay back,” said the young man, unsure what prompted him to hesitate.
He looked into her eyes—emeralds surrounded by pearl white—where moments ago they had burned red. Her sharp teeth had retracted behind rosy lips. The seaweed-coloured flesh of her upper body was now olive and raised with goose bumps from the icy wind.
“Hanu aii,” she whispered. Do not fear. She spoke his language.
He loosened his grip on the crossbow, studying her. She lifted a frail arm and pushed the hair from her eyes, then motioned him forwards.
His pulse quickened as he stared at the beautiful girl.
“Hanu aii,” she said again, her voice resonating sweetly, as if she sang without singing.
Suddenly, he was kneeling in front of her, level with her luminous eyes. The sounds around him faded but for the soft purr in the base of her throat.
She reached up and held an icy hand to his cheek, not for a moment breaking eye contact. The hand slid behind his head and pulled his face towards hers, slowly but firmly. He inhaled her sweet breath.
He flinched. He turned to see the captain racing towards them, aiming his crossbow at the maiden.
The young man grasped the scene around him. The ship was empty. A few stray weapons and barrels bobbed serenely in the water. Blood soaked the deck in places, and even the main mast had a splatter across the bottom.
The captain fired wide. Before he could reload and aim again, the sea demon put a hand on the young man’s chin and pulled his gaze back to hers.
Her eyes blazed red. Her skin rippled into the rotten colour of seaweed. Her ears grew pointed and long like sprouting coral. She opened her mouth to reveal a row of deadly teeth.
The young man screamed.
The demon pulled him against her with more strength than three men combined, and they dove headfirst off the side of the ship.
They disappeared into the blood-red water.

Author Bio:
Tiana Warner is the best selling author of the Mermaids of Eriana Kwai trilogy. Her books have been acclaimed by Writer’s Digest, Foreword Reviews, and the Dante Rossetti Awards. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the University of British Columbia. Tiana enjoys riding her horse, Bailey, and is an active supporter of animal welfare.

Signed copy of Ice Kingdom 
+ a $25 Amazon gift card

First Case Scenario by Annemarie DeClark Blitz and #Giveaway

First Case Scenario
Annemarie DeClark
(Harlee’s Whodunit in the Motor City #1)
Publication date: July 24th 2017
Genres: Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Most cops walk a beat. She dances to one.
Undercover and using moves she didn’t learn at the Detroit Police Academy, Harlee races to identify the cold case murderer who has struck again. While juggling a charming ex-fiancĂ©, a friend with benefits, and a partner who is too darn handsome for his own good, Harlee begins socializing with the potential suspects outside of work… until the killer learns of her double identity.
This mystery has a perfect blend of humor, sexiness and suspense. It is the first novel in the Harlee’s Whodunit in the Motor City Series.
Once upon a time, before becoming a big superhero detective, Liam Garrison was a hot street cop who pulled me over for speeding. All six feet and four inches of hulking, brawny Liam stood propped against my car while I quickly formulated my game plan.
“Harriet Lee O’Conner,” he read from my license, shaking his head. “Twenty-one years old.”
“My friends call me Harlee.”
“Do I look like your friend?” he asked, trying to sound tough.
“Do you want to be my friend?” I offered with a wink.
“Do you know why I pulled you over?”
“Because I’m hot and you want my phone number?” I couldn’t believe I actually said this to a police officer.
He laughed at me. “Get outta here,” he said, handing back my license and registration. “You’re too much for me to handle. Don’t let me catch you over the speed limit again.”
“Okie-dokie,” I promised.
The very next day he pulled me over in the very same spot going the very same speed. This time, he wanted more from me, including information on where I was always going in such a hurry. I told him I was late for work at The Full Moon Gentlemen’s Club where I worked as an exotic dancer. We made a deal. That night I gave him a lap dance in exchange for the two speeding tickets he never wrote.

Author Bio:
Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Annemarie is a former West Point cadet with a degree in Mathematics and Natural Science. She is a wife, a mother, and a proud daughter of a retired Detroit firefighter. When she isn’t busy reading or watching a whodunit mystery, she’s busy writing one.


$20 Amazon gift card
Ends Dec. 21, 2017

Monday, December 11, 2017

Taldra: Science Fiction Adventures by Duane Simolke

Taldra: Science Fiction Adventures
by Duane Simolke

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Publication Date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: Duane Simolke
Genre: Scifi | Gay Fiction
Print Length: 376 pages
Available from: Amazon
Set in an alternate reality, the Taldra adventures focus on gays, people of color, and powerful women. Books 1 and 2 of Taldra both appear in this specially priced collection.

Degranon: A Science Fiction Adventure flings an Iroquois family into a battle across time and space.

In an alternate reality, Earth is the planet Valchondria. No illness exists, gay marriage is legal, and everyone is a person of color. However, the Maintainers carefully monitor everyone’s speech, actions, and weight. The Maintainers also force so-called “colorsighted” people to hide their ability to see in color. 

The Iroquois scientist Taldra thinks of her twin gay sons as the hope for Valchondria’s future, but one of them becomes entangled in the cult of Degranon, while the other becomes stranded on the other side of a doorway through time. Can they find their way home and help Taldra save their world?

In Sons of Taldra: A Science Fiction Adventure, alien shapeshifters want to feed on humanity. Taldra again relies on her sons to help protect Valchondria. The Maintainers still hold dark secrets that might pose an even greater threat than the invaders. World events and Native American storytelling inspired this sequel to Degranon.

Taldra: Science Fiction Adventures by Duane Simolke

Taldra: Science Fiction AdventuresImagine a world where civilization doesn’t see the color of your skin, where your sexual preferences are a non-issue and illnesses have been eradicated. Sound too good to be true? In this alternate reality, there are still warts, lies, secrets and “Big Brother” is watching, monitoring, waiting to pounce…Valchondria’s world is far from a Utopia, but the human spirit is strong when tested. Enter Duane Simolke’s world of science fiction and feel yourself transported to a different Earth in a different reality where right and wrong can become another shade of gray.

A brilliant scientist and her husband are searching feverishly for the portal that will connect their world with their past, the world they came from, the world whose teaching and faith they believe they follow. But do they? People are monitored for their speech, their actions and even their weight. Even the ability to see colors is a dangerous thing to have in a world where shades of gray just might be another form of control. Each couple is allowed only one child, because resources are dwindling and the very scientist who is at the cutting edge of delivering them back in time to their home world is about to break the law, through no fault of her own. Taldra is pregnant with twins and finding that portal may be the only way to save both of her sons as she is forced to send one through and can only hope to see him again. These twins may grow be the saviors of their world if betrayal, jealousy and the quest for power doesn’t silence their family from telling the truths they have learned.

Interesting to note that while basing his tale around people of color, author Duane Simolke also chooses to make the “normals” in his world colorblind. DEGRANON is a fascinating alternate Earth science fiction that proves that even if we find a world where humanity is accepted for their skin and sexual preference, there will always be something new to find fault in when a world lives with corruption hidden in the halls of power.

Book two of this two-book read is SONS OF TALDRA. This time out Duane Simolke focuses on the changes made when Maintainers and the government are overthrown, Taldra has become the new leader and her long lost son has been returned through the portal. With both of her sons at her side, they are now forced to spearhead the defense against an alien invasion, but who has invaded whose airspace and planet? A long hidden pact is revealed, but monstrous and seemingly invincible invaders have landed, decimating buildings and killing innocents for “food” in the name of justice and revenge. Have the aliens been wronged? Have Taldra and her world been lied to for centuries?

Once again, the theme of persons of color, particularly Native Americans and their legends are brought to life as one woman, along with her sons and their lovers must maneuver through a newly awakened society and the evil that threatens it. Lies will be revealed, heroes will die, but a new world will be born to freedom and their eyes opened to the beauty of the colors of life.

Duane Simolke’s characters are vital and alive. His handling of gay relationships is not highlighted as a rallying cry, but rather presented as another normal aspect of a world with a myriad of other problems, such as survival and now learning to live in a world that is not ruled through spying and rigid controls allowing only accepted language or ideas. False gods and beliefs will be revealed and the best of humanity will rise.

Edge-of-your-seat action, scenes that detail the turmoil and terror of an alien attack and an inside look at love and acceptance for humanity’s differences. Great world-building, great storytelling!

I received a complimentary review copy from Duane Simolke!