The Necromancer’s Bride Review

The Necromancer’s Bride
Kat Ross
(Gaslamp Gothic, #4)
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: May 31st 2019
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Retelling

Book Summary

Forgiveness is not Gabriel D’Ange’s strong suit.

A self-appointed soldier of God with a penchant for ruthlessly punishing his enemies, he vanished after Anne Lawrence stabbed him with his own dagger.

The smart thing would be to let him go.

Unfortunately, Anne’s life isn’t just lonely without Gabriel. It’s insufferably boring.

Determined to heal the rift between them, she goes in search of her tempestuous former lover, black parasol in hand and daeva magic crackling at her fingertips. But Gabriel has his own plans afoot and Anne finds herself drawn into one of his tangled webs, much against her better judgment.

Gabriel’s nemesis has reappeared in Brussels, a vile slaver who’s plundering the Congo Free State with the blessing of King Leopold. Gabriel might be willing to give Anne a second chance, but not until Jorin Bekker’s head is lying at his feet.

Back in London, the quasi-reformed necromancer Balthazar sets his sights on the same quarry. He holds a very personal grudge against Bekker — and killing him might be the only way to keep Gabriel D’Ange from Balthazar’s own throat.

When the hunters collide at a lavish gala thrown by the king, Anne learns just how far she’ll go to save the man she loves.

Note: The Necromancer’s Bride is the sequel to A Bad Breed, which should be read first.

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Review

I didn’t have many expectations starting The Necromancer’s Bride, though I confess the title is what first drew me in. I also admit that I started to read this before A Bad Breed but didn’t have too much trouble following the sequel with the character development already established. Though I am likely to pick up the first book and read through it. Don’t judge me. I did it for Harry Potter too…

Ross has excellent character development and keen sense of moving the story along to keep you interested every moment. I could spend a few hours reading this and not realize it.

Anne is a force of nature and after finding Gabriel, it becomes clear how well they complete each other. The romance between them was done quite well. While complicated, it was their strength and love that overlays the dangers they must face together.

I especially enjoyed the time period of this book. I honestly can’t remember the last time I read one set in this time setting and it was so refreshing. Likely another reason this book flew by for me. The gothic and mysterious atmosphere of this setting, seems to give everything more drama. Which was a delight to read.

There is no doubt that I’ll be going back to read the first installments and more from Ross. Especially with her next book set to release soon.

About the Author

Kat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She’s the author of the Fourth Element and Fourth Talisman fantasy series, the Gaslamp Gothic paranormal mysteries, and the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day. She loves myths, monsters and doomsday scenarios. Check out Kat’s Pinterest page for the people, places and things that inspire her books.

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Mirror Bound  (The Witchling Academy #2)
By Monica Sanz
Genre: YA Paranormal/Mystery & Suspense
Release Date: September 2019
Entangled Teen

Book Summary


Conspirator. Failure. Murderer.

Seraphina Dovetail is used to being called all these things. As the seventh-born daughter to a witch, and the cause of her mother losing both her powers and her life, Sera has always felt isolated. Until Nikolai Barrington.

The young professor not only took an interest in Sera—he took her into his home, hired her for his moonlighting detective agency, and gave her the one thing she’d always dreamed of: a chance. Under Barrington’s tutelage, Sera can finally take the School of Continuing Magic entrance exam to become an inspector and find her family. Now if only she could stop her growing attraction to her maddening boss—which is about as easy as this fiery elementalist quitting setting things on fire.

But when ghosts start dragging Sera into possessions so deep she can barely escape, and then the souls of lost witches and wizards appear trapped in mirrors, these two opposites will have to work together to uncover a much deeper secret that could destroy the Witchling world…

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Seventh Born (The Witchling Academy #1) on Goodreads

Excerpt

The office door groaned open. Magic rushed from Sera’s stomach and filled her veins with heat, and sweat sprouted like liquid fire from her pores. A stout man with a blunt nose and pockmarked skin walked in, thin strands of his gray hair combed over the bald patch atop his head. He wore a hard-set expression and a white, ankle-length robe with the name Samson stitched below the Aetherium crest on the upper-left breast. 

He moved to a wood desk mastering the back of the exam room and never once looked at her.

“Why are you here?” he asked by way of a greeting—a rather harsh, cold, and bestial one. “Speak quickly. I’ve other appointments.”

He thrust down her medical file, and Sera’s mouth bowed at the reason for his unkindness. The thick, brown dossier was marked with a dark stripe along the length, akin to the seventh-born tattoo wrapped around her wrist. The thin black line telling the world she was the seventh-born daughter to a witch, her birth the cause of her mother losing her powers and, in turn, her life. 

Though used to the hostility impelled by her birth order, anger still prickled the underside of her skin, but she stifled the urge to set his paperwork on fire. At least not while her file remained on his desk. “Yes, sir, I know. I have waited four hours to be seen.”

“Then perhaps you should have made an appointment.” He set her file aside, plucked up another patient’s record, and, flipping open the cover, reviewed its contents.

She folded her fingers into her palm, their tips itching with suppressed magic. “I had an appointment.” And she’d paid half of her wages to the secretary outside to attain it. 

He continued to scribble notes on the other file and never once spared her a glance. “Yes, well, be grateful I’m even here.”

As grateful as I would be if I were trampled by a horse, she mused bitterly but cleared her throat. The faster she finished with this wretched brute, the quicker she could get back home to study. “I require a physical examination for the Aetherium entrance exam.”

He paused mid-script and finally looked at her from over his glasses, close-set brown eyes narrowed under a thick, reddened brow. “But you’re a seventhborn.”

A blush gathered in her cheeks, but she held her chin a touch higher. “Yes, sir, I am. But the exam is open to anyone and everyone, should they meet the necessary qualifications. Given my extensive education during my time at the Witchling Academy, I will not be denied.” At least she hoped this was the case. Her approval letter had yet to arrive, though it was only two weeks until the exam. This didn’t matter. It would come, and when it did, she would be ready.

About the Author

Monica Sanz has been writing from the moment she could string together a sentence. Her stories have come a long way from mysterious portals opening in the school cafeteria, transporting classmates to distant worlds. A classic by the name Wuthering Heights is responsible for that. She’s been lost to dark romances and brooding fictional men ever sense. Now she writes about grumpy professors, cursed ringmaster, tortured soul collectors, and the girls they fall in love with. Monica’s books have received many accolades on the social writing website Wattpad. She’s accumulated over six million reads, eighty thousand votes, and fifteen thousand comments since posting her books on the website. She is also a member of the Wattpad4, a group of writers who host weekly Twitter chats on the subjects of writing and publishing.

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YAZZY’S AMAZING YARN: Sneak Peak & Review

YAZZY’S AMAZING YARN

By CATHEY GRAHAM NICKELL

Illustrated by Emily Calimlim

  Genre: Children’s Picture Book, Ages 4-8 

Publisher: Twenty-Eight Creative

Date of Publication: August 1, 2019

Number of Pages: 32

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Yazzy is a creative girl, always sketching out her next adventure. She loves yarn, and she loves to knit! Her neighborhood park is dull and rusty, but Yazzy has a grand plan. 

With a little help from her friends, Yazzy’s knitted wonders transform Penny Park into a fuzzy rainbow of warmth and color. What yarn-tastic idea will Yazzy think of next? 

The book includes a “History of Yarn Bombing” page for readers who are not familiar with this creative and whimsical type of art.

“As a teacher, it’s refreshing to find a book that exposes children to an alternative art form. I’m inspired by Yazzy’s story, and I know my students will be, too.” — Deborah Horwitz, Art Teacher, The Emery/Weiner School, Houston, Texas.

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YAZZY’S AMAZING YARN

BY CATHEY GRAHAM NICKELL

Yazzy’s Amazing Yarn is such a classic. I love the story and it’s wonderful appreciation of art. Yazzy learned knitting from her mother and her love for it is shared with her friends and soon the neighborhood. She is inspired to knit colorful additions to the local weathered park and brings everyone together. 


I had never heard of yarn bombing and was eager to look up real life occurrences. This hilarious and creative outlet is right up my alley. I’m officially inspired to take out the big bucket of yarn I’ve been avoiding. 


The illustrations in the book are fantastic. I read this on my iPad and basically spent each page zooming in and marveling at the detail and use of color. It reminded me of the art style from ‘If you give a mouse a cookie’, which was my favorite growing up. The expressions on some of the faces were enough to make me love this book. I honestly laughed out loud at one girls face as she learned knitting. It is definitely how I look every time I knit. Seriously, buy or enter the giveaway for this book, and enjoy page eight. You won’t regret it. 


Five stars for this fun and creative story! 

Cathey Nickell is a busy author and elementary school speaker, having presented at more than seventy schools to date. Yazzy’s Amazing Yarn is her second children’s book about creativity and outside-the-box artistic endeavors. She is also the author of Arthur Zarr’s Amazing Art Car, which was awarded first place by the Texas Association of Authors in the category of Children’s Picture Books-All Ages. Cathey lives with her husband, Kevin, in Houston, where they raised their four children.

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Emily Calimlim, while not a knitting whiz herself, loves creating art with humorous and lively watercolor pictures for children. She lives in Houston with her fiancé, George, and silly studio bird, Simon. Emily spends her days capturing her ideas and imagination with paint and pencil.

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8/28/19ReviewThat’s What She’s Reading
8/29/19ReviewSydney Young, Stories
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CHASING HOPE

CHASING HOPE

By Dana Wayne

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Book Liftoff

Date of Publication: June 10, 2019

Number of Pages: 295

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Max Logan longs for the joys of home and family he missed growing up in foster care. He fills that emotional void by becoming a kick-ass Marine, and for eighteen years, led his band of brothers from one hellhole to another…until the one that nearly destroyed him. Sixteen months of therapy and rehab put his body back together, but some wounds can’t be seen. Some can’t be healed.

Skylar Ward dreams of a life that includes someone beside her. Someone to share her life with, to be a father to her young daughter. But if she learned anything from her failed marriage it was that you don’t rush into a relationship. Options in her small town are limited, and those who approach her lack appeal. Only Max Logan sparks her interest. But the handsome, brooding war hero remains aloof.

Intelligent and intuitive, seven-year-old Maddie overhears a neighbor tell her mother she needs a male companion, so she Google’s it to see what it means. Convinced her mom needs a boyfriend and Max needs a girlfriend, Maddie sets out to make it happen. He needs a family. They need him. If she can make them see that.

Can one precocious child be the catalyst that heals a wounded warrior’s soul and brings joy back into her mom’s heart?

Or will ashes of the past bury hope once and for all?

PRAISE FOR CHASING HOPE: 

“The pace was fast, the love was simple yet energetic, and the dialogues were lively enough to make me want to know more about the characters. To say that I loved this novel is not enough! Absolutely beautiful. It deserves these 5 stars.” – Readers’ Favorite

“I could not put Chasing Hope down! From the first few sentences, I was hooked and read over half of it the first night finishing it the following night. The main characters, Sky and Max, intrigued me right off the bat but feisty little Maddie wormed her way into my heart immediately! What a breath of fresh air.” – Mary McCormack, ARC reader

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CHAPTER ONE, PART TWO

Of CHASING HOPE

By DANA WAYNE

CLICK TO READ CHAPTER ONE, PART ONE WITH LONE STAR BOOK BLOG TOURS

Skylar Ward hated crying. It never solved anything and left her with red, puffy eyes that no amount of makeup would hide. So what if the rent was due, her car hovered one crank away from the scrap heap, and Christmas loomed a month away? That wasn’t reason enough to host a pity party for one. Yet here she sat in the predawn hours blubbering like the world just came to an end. Who knew? Maybe it had, and she didn’t know it yet.

Never one to feel sorry for herself, at least not for long, Sky wondered what sparked this infrequent event. The upcoming holidays? Maybe. But in her heart, she knew it went beyond that, beyond monitoring her young daughter’s health or pinching pennies. 

She loved her daughter more than life itself and did not regret the steps she took to ensure her health and happiness. But more and more lately, she missed not having someone to share her life with, to snuggle on the couch and talk about anything or nothing. She was so tired of watching life from the sidelines, doing everything, facing everything alone, with no one to watch her back or hold her close in the darkness.

“Suck it up, buttercup,” she mumbled when the waterworks ceased. “It’s not like you have a lot of options.” She got up from the table and splashed her face with cold water. A quick glance at the wall clock produced another groan. No point in going back to bed now. She started the coffee maker, then leaned against the counter, arms braced on either side. Surrounded by a sense of imminent doom and a loneliness so profound it bordered on physical pain, she sucked in a ragged breath. 

I’ve been alone practically my whole life, why is it bothering me now?

Her father died when she was young. Her mother was a physical therapist, and they lived in a modest yet comfortable home. A drunk driver turned her once vibrant, happy mother into an invalid a week after Sky turned sixteen. The only relative was a grandmother whom she hadn’t seen since her father died, so Sky left her carefree life behind and became her mother’s caretaker, working after school and on weekends at a local pharmacy to make ends meet. Despite the burdens she shouldered, she managed to graduate from high school and then enroll in nursing school. 

Memories of those dark days threatened to initiate another round of self-pity, and she gave herself a mental shake.

Deal with the problem at hand – how to pay the rent this month – and save the rest for another day. Mr. Jenkins was a kind-hearted older gentleman, but kindness only went so far when money was involved. 

A tingling on the back of her neck pulled her to the window where only darkness and the house next door loomed. The occupant, Max Logan, had moved in about six months ago and was a frequent customer at the diner where she worked. Maddie had more conversations with him than Sky, and when they did talk, it rarely went beyond casual conversation. His demeanor, heightened by tips that exceeded the norm and covert looks cast her way, indicated more than casual interest. Sadly, as a single mother barely making ends meet, she focused on getting through the next crisis, which left no room for a personal life, no matter how badly she wanted one. 

Max was the only man she’d met in Bakersville to even halfway draw her attention, and she briefly considered encouraging him. The few men who had expressed interest up to now quickly cooled when they discovered she had a child. Max, however, didn’t seem to mind. He would patiently answer Maddie’s multitude of questions and occasionally encouraged more. He appeared to enjoy their interactions, which provided Sky an opportunity to get to know him better. 

Her best friend and neighbor, Gail Brown, said Max was a former soldier. She didn’t need that last piece of information since everything about his bearing screamed military.

She guessed him to be a little older than her thirty-three years. Tall, maybe six-three or four, his well-muscled body moved with an easy grace, despite a slight limp. He wore his dark chestnut hair in the traditional buzz cut favored by soldiers, and heavy brows rested above unsmiling, coffee-colored eyes. His features were hard, chiseled like an unfinished sculpture, and he possessed an air of authority that commanded attention. 

The beep of the coffee pot brought her back to the counter, where she filled a mug and, with only a brief hesitation, scooted a chair near the window and sat down, calling herself a pathetic fool for pretending she wasn’t alone.

Dana Wayne is an award-winning author and 6th generation Texan. She resides in East Texas with her husband (and biggest fan) along with a Calico cat named Katie, three children, and four grandchildren. She routinely speaks to books clubs, services organizations, writers’ groups, and other organizations on writing and publishing, and is a frequent guest on numerous writing blogs. 

“I grew up listening to my father read passages from the stack of paperback westerns beside his chair. I was fascinated at how someone could paint a picture with words so vivid, I saw it in my mind. That’s when I knew that one day I would be a writer. It wasn’t until I retired in late 2013 that I was able to devote the necessary time to achieving my goal. I published my first book in 2016 and never looked back. My stories are heartwarming, a little spicy, and all about the romance because I believe romance is more about emotion than sex, and the journey is more important than the destination.”

A staunch supporter of new authors, she is a member of Romance Writers of America, Texas Association of Authors, and Writers League of Texas as well as several local writers’ groups.

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The Open Portal: Review

THE OPEN PORTAL

Conquest of the Veil #1

By MICHAEL SCOTT CLIFTON

Genre: Fantasy / Paranormal / Magical Realism

Publisher: Book Liftoff

Publication Date: May 1, 2019

Number of Pages: 337 pages

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But with dreams, there can also be nightmares

Lonely and plain-featured, Mona Parker is just another faceless teenager at Spring Hill High School. One day she runs afoul of Lady Anne Golightly, a beautiful and arrogant classmate who turns Mona’s colorless life into a hellish existence. Bullied relentlessly and with nowhere to turn, Mona considers suicide. One night, Thaddeus Finkle, her guardian angel, appears. He offers her a way out—swap lives with another.

The choice seems easy, and Mona takes the angel up on his offer. She awakens on Meredith, a parallel world of Earth where magic has replaced technology. Mona discovers she is Alexandria, a woman of breathtaking beauty, and the daughter of a Duke complete with servants and riches.

Then she discovers the price of her bargain.

 Trapped behind the Veil, an impenetrable curtain of magic, the Duchy of Wheel is the last major province still unconquered by Marlinda, the creator of the enchanted barrier. Known as the Dark Queen, Marlinda’s cruelty includes a singular fondness for melding men, women, and children, with animals…and she has special plans for Alexandria.

Tal, the Prince and Heir of the Empire of Meredith, burns with an intense hatred for Marlinda and her minions. The Dark Queen’s raiders regularly cross the Veil to prey upon the helpless citizens living near the magical boundary. Despite an elaborate system of Watch Towers along the enchanted barrier, it is impossible for the Empire to stop all the raids. Desperate to protect his people, Tal takes dangerous risks to prevent these attacks. Banished to a remote garrison for his reckless behavior, while on a routine patrol, Tal leads an elite unit that happens upon a group of raiders—one whose leader possesses the means for opening a way through the Veil.

Thus begins the conquest of the Veil.

“The Open Portal is packed full of action from the time it begins in our mundane world, to when it jumps to another. It has all the elements of a good fantasy: a cruel queen; a frustrated prince; and beautiful girl with a pure heart. There are brave boys, werewolves, white priests, and watchtowers. I can’t wait for the saga to continue.” — Abookanight

The Open Portal was aptly named for its grand use of fantasy, adventure, and dizzying effect of imagery. Often reading through the lush descriptions were like walking through a portal myself. I was reminded of many of my favorite fantasy novels as well throughout this book. Continuously impressed by the details and wild imagination, I’m definitely recommending this one to fantasy lovers. 


There was great appeal to Mona. She isn’t the characteristically beautiful protagonist that drives many YA fantasies. She also begins her story as a semi-well adjusted, charitable person that cares for others. Her story is more than the growth she goes through but the journey to discovering more outside yourself. Despite a vicious bully and apathetic caregivers, she continues to be kind to her brother and keep surviving. Complex in many ways, her emotions are wrought with doubts and desperation for shreds of happiness. A weak link taken advantage of by a sassy ‘guardian angel’.
Now in the body of Alexandria, beauty and power come with danger and responsibilities. A thousand year war that has ravaged Meredith with blood thirsty monsters created just for evil purposes. Clifton does not shy away from the graphic nature of their image and misdeeds. Mona’s-or rather Alexandria’s-kindness could be her strength in this whirling and twisted fantasy. 
Razor was my second favorite character. As deadly as he is vicious to even his own kind, his scenes immediately gripped me with the turbulent nature of what’s to come. The author had an incredible sense of character development throughout all the many characters we jump to. I did occasionally have to write a note for names and places though. I’m guilty of doing this before so this may just be me. 


With all fantasies, I become frustrated with wanting to share everything that’s happened and my thoughts. I’m very anti-spoiler so I’ll say that this book was very enjoyable. I read it in a quiet room to a crowded auditorium and it felt like there was no difference. Distractions didn’t exist when I’d truly become captured in this world. 

Michael Scott Clifton, a public educator for over thirty-eight years as a teacher, coach, and administrator, currently lives in Mount Pleasant, Texas with his wife, Melanie and family cat, Sadie. An avid gardener, reader, and movie junkie, he enjoys all kinds of book and movie genres. His books contain aspects of all the genres he enjoys…action, adventure, magic, fantasy, and romance. His fantasy novel, The Janus Witch, received a 5-Star review from the prestigious Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews, and he has been a finalist in a number of short story contests with Edges of Gray winning first place in the Texas Authors Contest. Professional credits include articles published in the Texas Study of Secondary Education Magazine. Clifton’s latest book, The Open Portal, launches the fantasy book series, Conquest of the Veil. In addition, look for the YA novel, Edison Jones and the Anti-Grav Elevator, to be released soon. He is available public speaking.

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Rune’s Folly: Review

Rune’s Folly 
By Garen Glazier
Publication date: February 5th 2019
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Young Adult

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Book Synopsis

By day, Tansy McCoy is a florist making charmed bouquets for the citizens of Junonia, capital of the Kingdom of Terranmar. By night, she’s an assassin and the keeper of the Dangerous Garden where deadly blooms grow. Together with the town tailor, butcher, baker, and metalsmith (just don’t call her a candlestick maker), she is part of the Guild, a secret group of spell-wielding thieves and mercenaries. Their task: consolidate all that remains of the realm’s fading magic under the ruthless King Zeno’s control.

Impetuous loner Tansy chafes under her Guild demands. She longs to quit her town and trade and head for the hills. Unfortunately, King Zeno has other plans. He wants to marry off his daughter to Terranmar’s famously reclusive wizard, Rune Hallows, and he’s willing to have the Guild kidnap him to make it happen. Fail to deliver the wizard and the consequences will be swift and deadly.

Reluctant but determined, Tansy sets out on the long journey to faraway Wentletrap and Rune’s desolate tower by the sea. To get there she must cross a swamp full of sinister surprises, battle a werewolf, and outrace a bloodthirsty band of revenants, while she wrestles with her own magical powers that seem to be expanding in unpredictable ways.

But reaching Rune’s tower is only the beginning. When Tansy learns the real reason behind the king’s contest, she’ll need to decide whether to give in to the growing forces of magic ready to reclaim Terranmar or embrace her newfound powers to save the kingdom.

Review

This book is filled with mysteries to discover. I was instantly involved in the fast paced plot of Rune’s Folly, which kept me guessing. The author does an amazing job of introducing the characters in way that were creatively descriptive and easy to remember. The odd and interesting names helped as well. I especially enjoyed the settings and occasional blurbs of history to help you imagine this world.

First and foremost, I love the magic aspects of this book. I can see the knowledge and research that likely went into it. Also, Tansy being a green witch was great to discover. I did an internal fist pump at that. Mainly, because it’s so rare that magical books I’ve read have had them and really described what they do. Rune’s perspective was interesting but confusing at times, at least in the beginning. I enjoyed switching from both of their perspectives and motivations. It was interesting to compare Rune and Tansy’s situation. Both want to escape, to find a better life, but ultimately choose their fate for themselves for many reasons. As the story unfolds, and more wonderful action takes off, I believe many will enjoy reading this!

I’ll definitely check out book two when it comes out to see just how much Rune and Tansy will grow.

About the Author

I have always called Seattle home and find the perpetual gloom to be a wonderful writing ally. I like coffee shops, bookstores, dancing in my living room and singing in my car. The opening scene of Up makes me cry. Three Amigos makes me laugh. Fashion magazines, croissants, and long, long baths are my guilty pleasures. They might occur separately or together.

I prefer boxing classes to yoga, and I get some of my best ideas when I’m running. I loved school and spent more time than one really should getting a business degree in marketing and a master’s in art history. In an ideal world I’d go to bed at 2am and wake up at 10am. I’ve never been an early bird, and I feel strongly that alarm clocks kill dreams.

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The Stamp of Heaven: Guest Post

THE STAMP OF HEAVEN

By JULIA ROBB

  Genre: Historical Fiction / Civil War

Publisher: self-published

Date of Publication: February 19, 2019

Number of Pages: 196

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The Union Army wants former Confederate Army general Beau Kerry for alleged war crimes, but he’s hiding out where the Yankees least expect to find him: in the United States Cavalry. Beau is fighting Apaches out West and praying nobody recognizes his famous face. 


But Lieutenant Kerry’s luck changes when he runs into Sergeant Ike Jefferson and says, “The last time I saw you, I had you bent over a barrel and I was whipping you.” Ike is not only Beau’s best friend (or worst enemy, depending on the day), he’s Beau’s former slave — and Ike knows there’s a $5000 price on Beau’s head.

Caroline Dietrich has vengeance on her mind. Married to Colonel Wesley Dietrich, the Union fort commander, Caroline believes the best path to getting revenge against the Yankees, her husband included, is seducing her husband’s officers. Especially Beau.


From the killing fields of the Civil War, to the savagery of the Indian wars, the characters are also battling each other and searching for what it means to be human.

5-STAR PRAISE FOR THE STAMP OF HEAVEN:

“Her characters are vivid, relatable, and endearing. She brings to life the rigors of frontier duty, the harsh beauty of west Texas, and the complexity of war and reconciliation. A must read!” 

“Julia Robb creates a masterful tale of friendship, loyalty, cowardice, deceit, and redemption in this fascinating story set in the aftermath of the War Between the States…Not a simple western yarn, this novel will keep you thinking and asking the Big Questions long after you finish reading it.”

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We’re A Revival People

By Julia Robb

In The Stamp of Heaven, Beau and his men ride to Fort Stockton, Texas, to gather supplies the War Department has neglected to send them.

The detail then runs into a camp meeting, which was typical for its day.

“Hundreds of people stood under the brush roof supported by cedar poles … It was dusk, but light lingered in the rose pearl sky. Lanterns hung from poles. A black-frocked preacher stood on a bench in front, leading the singing with outflung arms.”

This revival has a pivotal effect on Beau, and that was natural because he was raised in the South.

Southerners are a revival people.

I know, because I’m also Southern and was raised attending revivals on the lower Great Plains of Texas.

We sang Softly and Tenderly (Jesus is calling) and Dad’s voice rose more urgently than it did when he preached on Sunday: “Is there something in your life you’d like to change? Do you have guilt in your heart? Jesus can take that guilt away, right here, tonight.”       

“Amen, amen,” floated up from the congregation.

Sometimes people wept. They flocked to the altar while the pianist broke their hearts with Just as I am, without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me….Oh Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Christians are not scarce north of the Mason-Dixon line, but revival in both black and white Southern churches evokes blood memory.

Maybe that’s because the South’s two greatest revivals took place in the middle of tragedy: Confederate camps during the Civil War, and in slave quarters. 

More than a quarter of all Confederate soldiers were “converted” around campfires and tents.

Hunkering under a hail of canister and bullets does tend to convert the ungodly to another way of thinking, but the same Christian revival did not take place in northern ranks.

Years after the war, sociologists conducted a survey to find out if the conversions were permanent. Yes, they were.

Southern revivals are still poignant because we have such a bitter history. 

We not only lost the war, reconstruction destroyed the South economically. We did not fully recover until World War II. The South was so poor all we could do was sing “Revive Us Again.” 

Revivals were also called camp meetings because they were often held outside, under tents, at night services lit by kerosene lanterns. Many a Christian came to Jesus in a circle of light, surrounded by warm darkness, inhaling the smell of grass and red dirt.

This is not the same thing as innocence. Not only did many Southerners keep slaves for 200 years, after freedom, trees hung heavy with “strange fruit,” including around the historic courthouse in Marshall, Texas, where I live.

Guilty cultures need God. Perhaps the stricken have an easier time hearing the call.

At the same time, not only have many white Southerners loved African-Americans (and visa-versa), we in the white churches have adopted many African-American attitudes.

No people worship God with more uninhibited joy than do African-Americans. 

When the late Roosevelt Washington’s deep bass voice sang, “Joshua fit de battle of Jericho, Jericho, Jericho, Joshua fit de battle of Jericho, and the walls came a tumbling down,” at some of Marshall’s First United Methodist Church revivals, you could hear the crowd’s gasp of excitement.

We oppressed African-Americans, but somewhere along the way we began resembling them.

Some historians believe most of the African-American revivals were held in the early 19th Century, and again in the 1840s and 1850s.

So black revivals are almost blood calling from the ground because it’s a heritage that saved them as a people. The only thing sustaining many slaves in bondage was their faith in Jesus. You can hear the expression of that in African-American spirituals: “Deep river, my home is over Jordan, deep river Lord, I want to cross over into camp ground.”

 Julia Robb is a former journalist who writes novels set in Texas. She’s written Saint of the Burning Heart, Scalp Mountain, Del Norte, The Captive Boy, and The Stamp of Heaven. 

Julia grew up on the lower Great Plains of Texas and lived in every corner of the Lone Star State, from the Rio Grande to the East Texas swamps.


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Book of Enchantresses

Book of Enchantresses 
By Mary Ting
(Book of Watchers, #2) 
Publication date: February 21st 2019
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult

Book Synopsis

Keira is convinced her guardian, Ezekiel, knows more than he shared about her biological parents, and she will do everything she can to find out who they were. She secretly meets the powerful witch Awan at a nightclub and is promised the answers she seeks on one condition: she retrieves the legendary Book of Enchantresses.

Keira, along with Uriel, Samyaza, Jonah, and her Nephilim friends, must travel to another realm in Gotjawal Forest on Jeju Island to recover the spell book. But nothing is free, and actions have consequences. When Keira’s team returns to their world, vampires attack a demon stronghold. No one knows who to blame, but the fragile peace has been rocked.

And it’s about to get worse—Lucifer has escaped Hell.

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Awan

He leaned back against the cabinet, his hands inside his pockets. “First of all, where is my money? That’s the reason I summoned you here.”
“If you have a seat in TO then you won’t have to worry about money for the rest of your eternal life. Think about it, Cain.” He released a deep, bored sigh. “Listen. It sounds very tempting, but I will not risk the peace within the vampire community for my own selfishness. I am the original, but that doesn’t mean I come first. I have to look after my people.” “Your kind are dying out, and you know it. There aren’t many of you left, thanks to the TO.”
He shrugged. “Then let it be so. Perhaps, one by one, the supernatural beings will be extinct. Just like the dinosaurs.” I clenched my teeth and my nostrils flared. “You are a disgrace to your kind. Pathetic. And it’s exactly what I thought you would say, so I brought back up.”
“Awan?” He pushed up from the wall, ready to grab me or shield himself.
Too late.
Thud. Thud. Thud. Thud. Thud.
Cain looked down at his chest. Five needles.
“You.” He pointed at me but stumbled forward, swaying. “You can’t do this. I didn’t say I’d allow—”
“Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I’m tired of people telling me what I can and cannot do. I’m a witch, after all. Sisters?” My voice resonated through the room.
Corian and Giselle stepped out of their cloaking spells. “Nice work, sisters.”
“What are you … going … to do … with … me?” Cain spoke slower than before, blinking to stay awake.
I patted his back, causing him to trip and drop to his knee. He’d lost his muscle control.
“Don’t worry, Cain. I’ll take good care of you. After all, you’re going to give me plenty of blood. I’ll make sure you don’t feel any discomfort.” I leaned into his ears. “I’m going to take every single drop.”
“You’re all going … to … He …” He dropped, stomach down.
“We’re already in a hell. It’s just not as hot.” I turned to my sister.
“Pick him up. We’re taking him to Malum’s place. I have a special cell waiting for him.”

About the Author

International Bestselling, Award-Winning Author Mary Ting writes soulful, spellbinding stories that excite the imagination and captivate readers all over the world. Her books run a wide range of genres and her storytelling talents have won her a devoted legion of fans and garnered critical praise. 

Becoming an author happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she had in high school. After realizing she wanted to become a full-time author, Mary retired from teaching after twenty years. She also had the privilege of touring with the Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children’s chapter book: No Bullies Allowed. 

Mary resides in Southern California with her husband, two children, and two little dogs, Mochi and Mocha. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. 

Author Links

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Vortex: Excerpt

VORTEX
by
KIMBERLY PACKARD
Genre: Women’s Fiction / Psychological
Publisher: Abalos Publishing
Publication Date: January 31, 2019

Number of Pages: 308 pages
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Constant spinning, round and round and round, temperatures rise and fall from stifling heat to chilling cold, emotions run high in anticipation of what will happen next… there’s a fine line between surviving a tornado and falling in love.

A close encounter with a tornado, during the final months of her doctoral studies, jogs a lost memory to the surface. Desperate to relive the vision and find answers, storm chaser Elaina Adams continually puts her safety at risk by placing herself in the path of dangerous storms.

When betrayal strikes, Elaina is forced to pair up with Robert Tucker. “Tuck” owns a storm chasing tour group and only cares about two things: chasing tornadoes and making his next buck.

Seth Maddux was climbing his way to the top as the star meteorologist for the Forecast channel, but an embarrassing outburst on camera sent his career on a downward spiral. Hoping to reignite his career with a promising field assignment, he meets Elaina and a different kind of flame sparks.

Family secrets surface and passions explode in this twister of a tale.

Vortex is a story of family, love, identity and determination set against the thrilling backdrop of Tornado Alley. 

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PRAISE FOR VORTEX:

“Set in the heart of America’s Tornado Alley, Kimberly Packard’s latest psychological fiction swirls with discovery and betrayal. VORTEX may make you question who among those closest to you are really your friends.” — Addison Brae, author of Becker Circle

“Vortex is a fast-paced story with a strong woman at its center. Readers will be in for a wild ride full of secrets, the labyrinth of memory, and the spark of romance. Definitely one to add to your reading list.” — Christine Brodersenauthor of Lip Gloss, Shame and Murdered Tomatoes 

“Kimberly Packard is an accomplished author who writes strong women characters. She blew me away with her Phoenix series (three books you don’t want to miss) and now in Vortex, we meet Elaina Adams, who, like all of us, struggles with her past, her career, and her family secrets. Action, and emotion-packed, this page-turner is a different kind of love story.” — Vanessa Foster, author of More than Everything 

EXCERPT FROM VORTEX

BY KIMBERLY PACKARD

She looked up at the approaching tornado behind her. The tree in front of her was too big to move. The storm moved off the road, but danced dangerously close as it passed to her left. 

Out of the car, Elaina. You have to get low, in the ditch. 

“Elaina? Talk to me.”

“Heath, listen to me. Stay where you are until it passes.” It took every bit of self-control to not let her words tremble. If Nim heard any fear, he’d burst through the car window for her. “I’m taking cover.”

Elaina dropped the radio and pushed against the car door, but it wouldn’t budge. Ignoring Heath’s frantic shouts, she scooted to the passenger seat, nearly falling face down when the door opened without protest. She scrambled to the ditch, lying on her stomach and covering her head. 

The pressure of the storm made her ears pop, and her skin stung as pea-sized hail pummeled her. 

When the shaking of the ground beneath her lessened slightly, she lifted her head to gaze at the funnel cloud moving away from her. Elaina pushed herself up to her knees to watch, not having been this close to a tornado since… 

Debris shifted above her, forcing her deeper into the little cubby she’d made around herself. Dirty water poured down on her head as something was overturned. She buried her face into her hands, crying out as the water stung her eyes. The movement stopped, but it was only a brief respite, as shouts filled the air and metal on metal scraped above her. A burst of light blinded her before the shape of a head blocked it. 

“It’s okay, sweetheart. I found you. You’re safe now,” a soothing, yet unfamiliar male voice spoke to her. 

“Elaina?” 

She blinked at her name. The field in front of her was empty, a single beam of sunlight lit the spot where she’d last seen the twister. A yellow body flashed in front of her as Nim ran around the side of the van, barking first out of fear but then with the high-pitched happy yip of a dog just finding his owner. 

“Elaina, are you okay?” Heath touched her shoulder, reminding her to breathe. 

She hadn’t been this close to a tornado since the day she’d been found.

Kimberly Packard is an award-winning author of edgy women’s fiction. She began visiting her spot on the shelves at libraries and bookstores at a young age, gazing between the Os and the Qs.

 
When she isn’t writing, she can be found running, doing a poor imitation of yoga or curled up with a book. She resides in Texas with her husband Colby, a clever cat named Oliver and a yellow lab named Charlie.

 
Her debut novel, Phoenix, was awarded as Best General Fiction of 2013 by the Texas Association of Authors. She is also the author of a Christmas novella, The Crazy Yates, and the sequels to PhoenixPardon Falls and Prospera Pass

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Child of Mine

Child of Mine 
By Jana Richards 
Publication date: February 20th 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

About the Book

Lauren didn’t intend to sleep with her brother-in-law Cole on the day of her husband’s funeral. But now that she is pregnant, she’s not sorry. Cole’s given her a baby, a long-wished-for miracle. He’s been her friend forever, though she never told him or anyone else how unhappy her marriage to his cheating brother was. And she’s afraid to tell the small town that considered her husband a hero that the baby isn’t his.

Cole’s been in love with Lauren since he was sixteen. It kills him that everyone believes the baby is his dead brother’s. All he wants is to claim the baby, and Lauren, as his own. Though she marries him, will Lauren’s heart ever be his?

Lauren must tell the truth or risk losing Cole. Is her newly-discovered love for him greater than her fear of scandal in her hometown?

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My Favorite Scene

One of my favorite scenes in CHILD OF MINE, my newest release and book 1 in my Masonville Series, is the wedding scene. Lauren and Cole are getting married in a hastily arranged wedding at Cole’s house a few weeks before Christmas. Only a couple of weeks before the wedding, Cole discovered that Lauren was pregnant with his child. He asked her to marry him, and for the sake of the baby, Lauren said yes. She wants her child to know her father. 

But things are complicated. Everyone in Masonville, including their families, believes the child Lauren is carrying was fathered by her late husband, Cole’s brother. No one, except for Lauren and Cole, know that the baby was conceived on the day of her husband’s funeral.

Like I said. Complicated.

Lauren and Cole have been friends since they were teenagers, and they care about each other and their child. Because of that, Lauren is optimistic they can make their marriage work. But she can’t help feeling a little apprehensive:

She’d thought the ceremony would be simple and quick, no fuss, no muss. But Isabelle and Greta were obviously planning dinner for far more people than she’d anticipated, and now she and Charlotte had beautiful bouquets. Cole was making this into a real wedding. It was as if he’d guessed her innermost wishes. 

For the first time, nervousness made Lauren’s stomach swoop. She desperately wanted to be a good wife to him. More than anything she wanted to make him happy. But they were starting their marriage with a lie that made her wonder if she deserved him. 

Her father spoke. “Charlotte honey, you go first. Head toward Cole and Garrett. They’re standing in front of the fireplace. Lauren and I will follow in a minute.” 

Charlotte squeezed Lauren’s arm before walking out of the kitchen. Her father grasped her hand. She clung tightly to him. 

“Are you ready?” 

She focused her concentration on breathing in and out, willing her sudden nerves to relax. There was no need to be nervous, she told herself. The people gathered were her friends and family and they only wanted the best for them. And she was marrying Cole, her best friend. The thought calmed her. She smiled at her father. 

“Yes. I’m ready.” 

The first thing Lauren saw as she entered the living room on her father’s arm were the flowers. The room was filled with red and white and pink poinsettias. The strains of the wedding march played in the background. The room was filled with people. She saw Audrey and Evelyn, Dr. Waverly and his wife, and Jamie Garven from the clinic. Ella and her sister were there, as were several neighbors, friends, and relatives. 

Then she saw Cole standing next to the fireplace, and she didn’t see anyone else. He was her beacon, her lighthouse, and she made her way toward him like a ship to safe harbor.

Starting a marriage with a lie is not the ideal way to begin married life. Lying to their friends and family and their hometown is one thing. But lying to each other about how they feel about each other could mean their marriage is over before it begins.  

About the Author

When Jana Richards read her first romance novel, she immediately knew two things: she had to commit the stories running through her head to paper, and they had to end with a happily ever after. She also knew she’d found what she was meant to do. Since then she’s never met a romance genre she didn’t like. She writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and historical romance set in World War Two, in lengths ranging from short story to full length novel. Just for fun, she throws in generous helpings of humor, and the occasional dash of the paranormal. Her paranormal romantic suspense “Seeing Things” was a 2008 EPPIE finalist.

In her life away from writing, Jana is an accountant/admin assistant, a mother to two grown daughters, and a wife to her husband Warren. She enjoys golf, yoga, movies, concerts, travel and reading, not necessarily in that order. She and her husband live in Winnipeg, Canada with an elderly Pug/Terrier named cross Lou. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at www.janarichards.com

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