Analiese Rising by Brenda Drake #bookreview #YA #fantasy

When a stranger gives Analiese Jordan a list of names before he dies, the last thing she expects to see is her own on it. Not. Cool. Her search for answers leads to the man’s grandson, Marek, who has dangerous secrets of his own. Both are determined to unlock the mystery of the list.

But the truth is deadly. Analiese is a descendant of the God of Death, known as a Riser, with the power to raise the dead and control them. Finding out she has hidden powers? Cool. Finding out she turns corpses into killers? No, thank you.

Now the trail plants her and Marek in the middle of a war between gods who apparently want to raise an army of the Risen, and Analiese must figure out how Aongto save the world—from herself. 

The beautiful cover first caught my attention, but the mythology theme clinched it for me – I needed to read this book.

Along with Analiese and Marek, I enjoyed trying to figure out the obscure clues left by Marek’s grandfather, and the beautiful and sometimes dangerous locations where those clues lead.  The pacing is brisk, with little downtime between action scenes.  As a mythology fan, the numerous gods and goddesses thrilled me – but so many of them are mentioned, I quickly lost track.

Analiese is likable, and finds herself in many intense, life-threatening situations, but her internal thoughts about Marek’s smile or how he looks at her during these moments pulled me out of the scene more than once.  Until almost the end of the book, I never got the feeling he considered her more than a friend.  Flying across the world with Marek, someone Analiese has known only a couple of days, then successfully hiding that fact from her mother requires a sizable suspension of disbelief.

If a fast pace, nearly non-stop action, quests, and puzzles are your thing, you may enjoy Analiese Rising, but I’d recommend jotting down the gods and goddesses names to keep them straight.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.  I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Atonement in Bloom by Teagan Riordain Geneviene #bookreview #urbanfantasy

“Atonement in Bloom” continues the urban fantasy from the point where “Atonement, Tennessee” ended. The quaint town was stranger than Ralda Lawton could have imagined. The local population included supernatural beings of the fae variety. Although only she and a few others knew about that. In a past life, Ralda ― Esmeralda had been involved in something with those supernaturals and it had carried into her present life. In Atonement, Tennessee, that almost got her killed. Now she has new problems, and new supes to complicate matters.Atonement in Bloom continues the misadventures of Ralda, her friends, and neighbors in the small (but far from peaceful) town of Atonement, Tennessee. Her old house and cemetery are still there, along with Lilith the cat, quirky townsfolk, and assorted supernaturals. Now Lilith the calico sniffs out a strange beast. Fae foolery backfires. A friend is abducted. On a cold December day, Atonement, Tennessee comes into bloom.

Boy, did I miss these characters (especially Lilith, my favorite fictional calico cat) and this quirky little town.  When the author offered me an ARC, I jumped at the chance.

If you’re a regular reader of Geneviene, whether it’s her books or blog, her vast imagination comes as no surprise.  If this is your first encounter, you’re in for a creative treat.  With charismatic characters, both human and magical, glowing pigs, and an engaging mystery, this novel will easily persuade you to curl up in your favorite reading spot and spend a few delightful hours in the town of Atonement.

This is the second book in the series and could be read as a stand alone, but for maximum enjoyment, I’d advise reading Atonement, Tennessee first.  I’d highly recommend this series to fans of magical characters, eccentric towns, creative mysteries, and highly intelligent felines.  I’m still hoping Lilith gets her own book.

I received an ARC from the author.

#BadMoonRising: Visions by K. Matt #horror #urbanfantasy

It’s Monday….but to brighten up your day, I present you with K. Matt!  She makes a darn good argument for why it’s in your best interest to travel with a close combat weapon and some silver.  Garlic doesn’t hurt either – well, not the humans, anyway.

You’re in a horror movie.  Are you the final person, the first to die, the comic relief, the skeptic, the smart one, or the killer?

I’m probably the killer. That gives me the highest probability of making it through to the end.

Vampires, ghosts, werewolves, or zombies – which would you least want to meet in a dark alley?

A ghost. One can be held at bay with garlic or a stake (or in some cases, silver), another has the whole silver weakness, and the last one can be taken out with  sufficient head trauma.

You’re home alone, but you hear footsteps in your house–what do you do?

I go for the ginormous Sherlock Holmes book and grab a utility knife or two…possibly an X-Acto knife. But I will not engage unless the door to my room opens. In which case, I have every intention of defending myself.

What is the hardest part of writing?

Description! That always trips me up.

What’s your work schedule like when you’re writing?

Well, I’m usually drawing while I’m writing. So things can get pretty chaotic. Wake up, dive into it, try to keep focused, inevitably get distracted, get back to work, work long into the night… And yes, there are points where I’ll eat.

What are you working on now?

All sorts of things! I’m working on the 3rd story arc of my book series, a prequel, I want to create a coloring book for my series (though I may have gotten that at least sketched by the time this is posted)…

Dr. Spencer Abbot has been searching for the ideal anniversary gift for his wife. When he and his friend Travis meet a woman that claims she can help, they accept.

The pair are led to Visions Studios. But instead of the boudoirs photos they’d intended to get, they stumble upon something far more sinister: snuff films.

Before long, it’s up to Travis to resolve their situation, no matter what tries tog et in his way.

This first installment of the Hell Bent series blends urban fantasy, sci-fi, horror, a bit of humor, and plenty of action.

Buy Links:

Visions: https://www.amazon.com/Visions-Hell-Bent-Book-1-ebook/dp/B010YG2MMI/

Retribution: https://www.amazon.com/Retribution-Hell-Bent-Book-2-ebook/dp/B01387TIEU/

Destruction: https://www.amazon.com/Destruction-Hell-Bent-Book-3-ebook/dp/B0186GZ220/

Deception: https://www.amazon.com/Deception-Hell-Bent-Book-4-ebook/dp/B01LTASC36/

Apparition: https://www.amazon.com/Apparition-Hell-Bent-Book-5-ebook/dp/B072Q1WSGP/

Obsession: https://www.amazon.com/Obsession-Hell-Bent-Book-6-ebook/dp/B078R61NKR/

Protection: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07H7LCD5B

 

Author Bio

K. Matt is both an author and illustrator, who feels just plain wrong without at least ten projects going at the same time. Caffeine is her lifeblood. When not writing or drawing, she spends time with her dog.

 

 

 

Social Media

https://www.facebook.com/HellBentBookSeries
https://www.facebook.com/TravisHalfMonkey
https://www.patreon.com/KMattIllustration
https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00U5GLUNU
https://www.bookbub.com/profile/k-matt
https://kaylamatt.wordpress.com
https://www.goodreads.com/KMatt_HellBent

#BadMoonRising: The Grimhold Wolf by Deby Fredericks #paranormal #urbanfantasy

Well- it’s officially fall, finally.  It’s near freezing here, and I’m more than ready for it.  Today’s author has a precise understanding of why she’d be the first to die in a horror movie.  Too bad the people in the horror movies aren’t that self-aware. Welcome Deby Fredericks!

You’re home alone, but you’re hear footsteps in your house – What do you do?

This actually happened to me. It was my first night in a new house, my husband had gone back for a second load from the old place, and I heard what sounded like footsteps in the upstairs room. I went to look and no one was there. But it was windy, so perhaps the house shifted in the direction of the wind.

You’re in a horror movie. Are you the final person, the first to die, the comic relief, the skeptic, the smart one, or the killer?

First to die. I would stand there flat-footed and be stabbed. Also, as demonstrated above, I would hear a strange noise and go look for the cause instead of running.

Are you superstitious?

Not really. I believe supernatural things can happen, but I don’t spend much time worrying that they will happen to me.

How do you develop your plots and characters?

I am a panster rather than a plotter, but I do look for interesting angles, especially on characters. How I get there is to start writing ideas down. The first idea will be really obvious and boring. The second idea will also be obvious. By the third and fourth attempts, I’m coming to more interesting concepts.

What I end up using will be some combination of the obvious with the less-obvious. Because there are those readers (like my husband, who always beta reads) who like to start guessing right away about who the bad guy is, etc. The obvious things there are to fake them out. Then I surprise them with something beyond what they expected.

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?

Role-playing games taught me a lot about plotting and motivation. You have to design characters that will work in session after session, and play is more satisfying when the characters are involved in more than a “go get the gold” way. I especially like Champions, an older super-hero game where you literally have disadvantages to balance your powers.

What are you working on now?

My latest project is a dystopian/swords and sorcery fantasy novella called “The Tower in the Mist.” By the time your readers see this, I will be deciding how to market it.

Madeline — cursed by her former lover to live as a wild beast, yet driven to rescue their son from a legacy of evil. Thomas — so obsessed with werewolves that he was ordered to retire, now the only hope for a desperate village. Charlie — forced to choose between his father’s power and his mother’s love. These three must battle through a maze of lies, where demons may be the only true victors. 

Purchase Links:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble

Biography

Deby Fredericks has been a writer all her life, but thought of it as just a fun hobby until the late 1990s. She made her first sale, a children’s poem, in 2000.

Fredericks has six fantasy novels out through two small presses. The latest is The Grimhold Wolf, released by Sky Warrior in 2015. Her children’s stories and poems have appeared in magazines such as Boys’ Life, Babybug, Ladybug, and a few anthologies. In the past, she served as Regional Advisor for the Inland Northwest Region of the Society of  Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, International  (SCBWI).

Fredericks also has a blog called Wyrmflight (wyrmflight.wordpress.com) that focuses on dragons. She has self-published a few of her fantasy novelettes and a collection from the blog.

Social Media:

Website:                     http://www.debyfredericks.com
Facebook:                  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDebyFredericks/
Blog:                           https://wyrmflight.wordpress.com
Draft 2 Digital:         https://www.books2read.com/ap/nzkBJ8/Deby-Fredericks

 

Atonement in Bloom Book Launch Party Bus! #newrelease #urbanfantasy #supernatural

Atonement Blog Party Bus Loaded

All aboard! Beep-beep, yeah! The party bus is here. (Click here for theme music Magic Bus!) Our first stop is in Connecticut to pick up Dan Antion, who has a handy guided tour of Atonement, TN. Dan agreed to be a relief bus driver too, since bus-driver-Lilith the calico, sometimes has to take a break to give Deme or Honeybell a head bath.

Where “atonement” begins

It’s best if you read the first book first. So, for the launch of “Bloom,” Atonement, Tennessee is on sale for 99¢ (e-book). Click Atonement book covers for purchase links.

Residents of my fictional town might be of any race and from any ancestry. So author and translator Olga Núñez Miret translated the debut novel to Spanish! For that language I changed the title to Expiación y Magia!

Cover Expiación y Magia ― Una Fantasía Urbana
Atonement, Tennessee in Spanish

Speaking of the otherworldly pigs, I should mention the order of the Atonement stories. Your first visit to the town is Atonement, Tennessee. It’s an urban fantasy — set in our present-day, real world but with magical elements. Aside from the heroine and her neighbor-friends (or as Diana Peach likes to call them, the gall palls (Diana’s review here), you’ll meet the grumpy sheriff, Robin Warden.

Includes the prequel

The first “snort” in The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee is about a very young Deputy Robin. (Review by Dr. Phuong Callaway here.) That particular story is tied to the novel I’m launching today, Atonement in Bloom.

Long awaited sequel to Atonement, Tennessee

Here’s the blurb!

The quaint town was stranger than Ralda Lawton could have imagined. The local population included supernatural beings of the fae variety. Although only she and a few others knew about that.

In a past life, Ralda ― Esmeralda had been involved in something with those supernaturals and it had carried into her present life. In Atonement, Tennessee, that almost got her killed. Now she has new problems, and new supes to complicate matters.

Atonement in Bloom continues the misadventures of Ralda, her friends, and neighbors in the small (but far from peaceful) town of Atonement, Tennessee. Her old house and cemetery are still there, along with Lilith the cat, quirky townsfolk, and assorted supernaturals.

Now Lilith the calico sniffs out a strange beast.

Fae foolery backfires. A friend is abducted.

On a cold December day, Atonement, Tennessee comes into bloom.

The Unfolding Of An Orange Rose Bud

I don’t know why the party bus is stopping. Oh! It’s a delivery of flowers in honor of the book launch from Kirt Tisdale of The Wall Gallery! Wow… beautiful blue roses. Thank you, Kirt. The blue rose of the impossible is an important element of Atonement in Bloom.

We’re back on the road, and Dyanna at Ravenhawk’s Magazine has plenty of music for our road-trip. Lilith, slow down. I see Melissa from Today You Will Write at that bus stop up ahead.

Hang on to your seat-belt. Lilith just took a sharp curve and we are magically in Kentucky. Deme wanted to check out Teri Polen’s October horror and suspense book fest, Bad Moon Rising! You’ll find 31 authors and their books there!

Welcome to Atonement, TN! Everybody in town is taking part in the fun. Annie’s Antiques is hosting an exhibit of Art by Rob Goldstein.

My Blue Heaven

What’s that on the next table? It looks like an Aladin’s lamp. And a puff of colorful smoke! Oh, it’s the Lamp Magician. Welcome, Magician. I’m glad you could join the party bus!

My stomach is growling. Thank goodness Carol Taylor and Gerlinde de Broekert have catered the book fair. There are delicious foods at every booth! However, Deme and Honeybell love to read, so they ran straight to the Atonement, TN Book Fair. They’re in hog heaven with so many great books!

Heartfelt thanks to everyone for supporting this Bloomin’ Party Bus. Click the author names for more info.

(If anyone wants to share a link to a review of your book, or anything about yourself, please leave a comment with the link.)

D. Wallace Peach

Image result for legacy of souls d wallace peach

Chris Graham (for Agnes Mae Graham)

My Vibrating Vertabrae cover

Olga Núñez Miret For this book see here.

Angelic Business 1. Pink Matters Now available as an audio book too

D.L. Finn

Image result for dl finn the button

Jan Sikes

Image result for jan sikes flowers in stone

Mary J McCoy-Dressel

Mary J McCoy-Dressel, western romance author, Book Three Canyon Junction: Hearts in Love Series, Blog Post Cover Reveal

Sally Cronin

Jacquie Biggar has a sheriff too…

jacquiebiggar_thesheriffmeetshismatch_800px

Valentina Cirasola will help you tour Atonement, TN in style.

The Road To Top Of The World: Short Stories In The Land Of Puglia

Barb Taub will keep you laughing the entire way.

Resa will help you find the right thing to wear. She’s a costume designer. She would have enjoyed helping Ralda, Bethany, and Lacey search through the antique clothes in Sunhold’s closets (scene in “Bloom”).

Staci Troilo

Tortured Soul

Mae Clair

Book cover for End of Day, mystery/suspense novel by Mae Clair shows old dilapidated church with bell tower and a cemetery in the background overgrown with weeds

John W. Howell

Annette Rochelle Aben

Image result for booku Annette Rochelle Aben

Robbie Cheadle

Image result for robbie cheadle while the bombs fell

Chuck Jackson

Image result for chuck jackson what did i do

Vashti Quiroz-Vega

Teri Polen

Image result for teri polen sarah

#BadMoonRising: The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee by Teagan Geneviene #IndieAuthor #urbanfantasy @TeaganGeneviene

Friends, today is a special day – Teagan Geneviene is here, and she’s brought her glowing pigs, Deme and Honeybell!  And it gets even better – the second book in her Atonement series releases today!  Join the Atonement in Bloom Book Launch Party Bus, which will follow this post.  Welcome Teagan!

Pigs Magia n Teagan

The “universe” of Atonement, Tennessee, created by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene continues to expand. In advance of releasing book-2, she has recently released the Spanish translation of “Atonement” and renamed it for that audience — Expiación y Magia.

Synopsis. The Glowing Pigs — Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

When I realized that several years ago I wrote a whimsical short story that was a prequel to anything else in my quirky supernatural town, and that it was strongly tied to the story-line of the next novel, Atonement in Bloom… Well I was in a bit of a pickle about how to handle the situation. When it occurred to me that I had several short stories with some “characters” from that prequel, I decided to collect them into a little book.

By the way, those characters were pigs — otherworldly, glowing, mischievous little pigs. Their pig tales or snort stories continue the adventures of pigs (Deme and Honeybell), and the residents of the quirky town. You’ll get better acquainted with the “Bardolator” sheriff, and a minor character, Marge Tipton. Admittedly the snort-stories are not as suspenseful as the novels. The most frightening thing in them might be bacon… or it is if you’re a pig.

Pigs Road Moon unsplash composite
A “Bad Moon” glowing pig style

Fun Questions

You’re in a horror movie. Are you the final person, the first to die, the comic relief, the skeptic, the smart one, or the killer?

Ha! That’s a fun question, Teri. I would have probably been the comic relief. Although after six (out of 10) years of failing to escape from my horror story of a job, I could almost imagine a ahem… different role. Limited strictly to the imagination, of course!

Have you ever played with a Ouija board?

You’d think I had, since Ouija board was one of the random things in my blog serial “Hullaba Lulu.” However, I had never used one, so I bought one because of the serial. Although I’m not set up to have a group over to try it out…

Lulu Valentino in the control room
The diesel-punk train in “Hullaba Lulu” uses an Ouija board as part of its controls. (Art by Rob Goldstein)

If you were paid to spend the night in a haunted house, would you do it?

A night? Horsefeathers, I’d probably try to buy the place!

Writing Questions

What is the hardest part of writing?

The hardest part is to keep going after that initial spark. My real-life job drains me of all creativity. That’s why it has taken me years to finish Atonement in Bloom. Although I’ve finished some other things along the way. Like I said… initial spark.

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?

It’s not for everyone, but my personal “must-have” is a character matrix. Except for short stories, I create a complex spreadsheet that helps me keep up with all the details.

character-matrix-tabs
Part of the character matrix for the unfinished “Delta Pearl,” a steampunk novel

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Since I have a full-time job, writing is what I do when I’m not working. Outside of the job, when I’m not writing, I’m still doing things that support my creative writing. I like to make illustrations and book-covers. I’ve made all my own covers.

What are you working on now?

For the past ten months, every month I’ve thought I would release book-2 in my “Atonement” series, Atonement in Bloom. At this point I’m afraid to mention it. As of this writing, I’m doing the final proof read. Or I hope it’s final…

So, what I’m working on is re-running a #SteamPunk serial from 2015 while I finish up Bloom. That serial is “Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers.” I post chapters on Wednesday for Hidebound Hump Day and on Straightlaced Saturdays. I’m running that as a prelude to launching an all new “3 things” style serial, where readers leave random “things” to drive the pantser story.

Cover Copper Alchemist Woman n Trousers

As you saw in the introduction, this summer I released “The Glowing Pigs – Snort Stories of Atonement Tennessee.” I also released the Spanish translation of the first novel, Atonement, Tennessee. I renamed the translation, done by Olga Núñez Miret. The Spanish version is called Expiación y Magia. (International Amazon Link: relinks.me/B07HBM7L71)

Teri, heartfelt thanks for allowing me to participate in Bad Moon Rising again this year.

You can also visit me at these sites:

Teagan’s Books

Amazon Author Page

Amazon UK Author Page

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/teagangeneviene
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TeagansBooks
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/teagangeneviene/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoM-z7_iH5t2_7aNpy3vG-Q
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/teagangeneviene/

Ruthless Magic (Conspiracy of Magic #1) by Megan Crewe #bookreview #YA #fantasy

In the contest to keep their magic, the only options may be die… or kill.

Each year, the North American Confederation of Mages assesses every sixteen-year-old novice. Some will be chosen. The rest must undergo a procedure to destroy their magical ability unless they prove themselves in the mysterious and brutal Mages’ Exam.

Disadvantaged by her parents’ low standing, Rocío Lopez has dedicated herself to expanding her considerable talent to earn a place in the Confederation. Their rejection leaves her reeling—and determined to fight to keep her magic.

Long ashamed of his mediocre abilities, Finn Lockwood knows the Confederation accepted him only because of his prominent family. Declaring for the Exam instead means a chance to confirm his true worth.

Thrown into the testing with little preparation, Rocío and Finn find themselves becoming unlikely allies—and possibly more. But the Exam holds secrets more horrifying than either could have imagined. What are the examiners really testing them for? And as the trials become increasingly vicious, how much are they willing to sacrifice to win?

The first in a new series by USA Today bestselling author Megan Crewe, Ruthless  Magic combines the magic of Harry Potter with the ferocity of The Hunger Games alongside a poignant romance. Fans of Cassandra Clare and Holly Black, look no further for your next urban fantasy fix!

Although the book description is highly intriguing, overall, Ruthless Magic was just an okay read for me.  Not that there’s anything wrong with this book – it’s well-written, has interesting world-building, and likable characters, but nothing really stood out.  Note that I’m in the minority on this opinion – the majority of reviews for this novel have been stellar.  Maybe I was expecting more since it uses heavyweight comp titles like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, and mentions Cassandra Clare and Holly Black, both authors with outstanding fantasy series under their belts.

I like the idea of the magical community feeling an obligation to reveal themselves to the ‘dulls’ (non-magic folk) and assist with government safety, but I found it surprising that despite this magic being around for quite some time, even those in charge don’t seem to understand it.  The rules regarding the magic are somewhat unclear.

Again, this isn’t a bad book by any means – I’d just hoped for a bit more originality.  If The Hunger Games doused with magic whets your appetite, this is probably a book you’d enjoy.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.