Book Spotlight: That Night

Great news Demon Hunter fans! Azaaa Davis is getting ready to release the third installment in her Nadira Holden, Demon Hunter series! If you haven’t read book #2 That Night yet, you still have time! Read on for details and a chance to win a fabulous giveaway!

That-Night-Kindle

That Night

Publication Date: April 23rd 2019

Genre: New Adult Fantasy/ Urban Fantasy/ Paranormal

All Nadira Holden wants is to preserve the last of her soul and create a new life free of magic, demons, and war.

Her involuntary bond with a succubus makes her desires impossible. The threat of this disgruntled demon possessing her urges Nadira to find the succubus’s missing body.

Nadira’s only hope of avoiding demonic possession lies with Derek, the only demon she can tolerate without slaying. Except, his hands are full trying to secure his recently-inherited title of prince. Desperate, Nadira agrees to help Derek secure his title by experimenting with the deadly magic they once generated in exchange for his aid in her investigation.

To untangle herself from the evil that surrounds her, Nadira must be willing to betray her friends and get cozy with her enemies. She may even have to do the unthinkable: break the peace treaty that allows demons and humans to coexist. If she can’t toss aside her scruples, Nadira may not make it out of this ordeal with her soul intact.

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Excerpt from This Night (Book #1)

Chapter One

NADIRA WOKE UP ENCOMPASSED IN EMPTINESS. It was as if she were in a void with no light or sound to give her a clue about her location. The air was musty, and her throat was scratchy. Nadira coughed.

“Hello?” she croaked, triggering more dry coughing. She cleared her throat and tried again. “Hey! Can anyone hear me?”

Nadira felt a solid surface along her back and behind her head and legs. She understood she was lying somewhere. Nadira tried to touch her surroundings and could barely move her arms before they hit the cushioned ceiling mere inches above her. As she continued to move, her elbows hit the cushioned sides, and her knees hit the ceiling. Feeling surrounded, Nadira realized she was in an enclosed space. Taking a deep breath, she tasted stale air. Some kind of crawlspace or trunk was her best guess.

After a long night of sleep, Nadira expected to feel ready to tackle another day. Summer was the peak of training season, and Nadira was looking forward to a few weeks of scrimmages that would allow her hunters to show off and make her look good as team leader. Instead of feeling refreshed, her body was sore, her head ached, and her stomach was empty. She felt a weakness and discomfort that only happened when she mistakenly slept for far too long. But, what am I doing here?

She tried to keep her breathing even and decided to feel around with her hands for a doorknob or latch. Behind the cushion that surrounded her on all sides, she felt a more solid barrier, like wood. Was someone playing a cruel trick on her? Nadira’s racing mind landed on Melissa—the girl that hated her success in class and on the training mat. Nadira usually ignored her, and all the other annoying cohorts. But, that didn’t stop them from whispering about her and occasionally playing pranks.

“Let me out!” she screamed with all her might. The sound was hoarse, almost a growl. Nadira hit the wooden ceiling as hard as she could. No response. No one ran away in fear or came closer to open this padded, wooden cage. Her breathing was no longer controlled. She practically hissed, her breathing was so rapid and shallow. Breathe deep, Nadira commanded.

This couldn’t be Melissa’s doing. It wasn’t her style. Besides, Melissa was preoccupied lately with Devon, her new boyfriend. One of Melissa’s flaws was that she couldn’t multitask, especial when a guy was involved. After ruling Melissa out, Nadira asked herself if this was a training exercise. Countless times, Nadira and her team experienced grueling trails designed to test a hunter’s lethal effectiveness against monsters. But, she was far beyond her student days of trick interrogations and unexplained battle simulations. At the very least, there would have been some whisper about her team getting tested. Nadira concluded that this couldn’t be a training exercise either.

Her shallow breathing was the only sound she could hear. It caused the air to become hot. Her heart raced again as she considered the awful possibility that an enemy captured her overnight. Although she should, she didn’t remember going to bed last night. Actually, she didn’t remember anything . . . Nadira’s hands started to shake. Cold sweat made the fabric of her nightgown stick. She felt like a disgusting mess. She was never a mess. She was strong and focused. She was a warrior.

Think, Nadira commanded herself. Someone has you trapped in a cold, dark place. For a second, she considered staying put and waiting for a rescue. That second passed quickly. Nadira preferred to rescue herself. She also considered preparing for the next time her enemy came to check in on her. Once, she escaped from a car trunk by fighting her way out when the vehicle stopped. The trick was to listen for your moment, and time it just right. Yet, somehow, she didn’t think she had enough air to wait around for anything other than death.

She was not afraid to die, no demon hunter was, but she wasn’t ready either. It was simply not her time. With that thought, Nadira ripped and tore at the ceiling of her confinement. Self-discipline and skill helped, but her genetic makeup—unique to Children of Orion—gave her the brute strength needed to destroy her cell. Silky cushy fabric gave way to wood. Wood chips, chunks, and splinters finally gave way to solid dirt.

She was panting, already exhausted. She wasn’t sure how many minutes went by, but the solid dirt indicated that she still had a long way to go. She couldn’t see her hands in front of her, but she could feel the cuts and bruises she was inflicting on herself in her effort to escape. Nadira’s hands were bloody and cramping from the repeated motion. She kept digging. Ignoring pain and discomfort was something that all demon hunters were taught. I can do this.

She took a moment to pull her nightgown over her face as a makeshift mask. With her eyes closed, she kept at it. As the hole got bigger, more dirt slid into the box she was in. The weight of the loose soil on her face, chest and upper body was suffocating in its heaviness. She was at the point of no return now that the last of her air was escaping. Yet, Nadira didn’t give in to panic. Focused, she kept digging and pulling herself upward while breathing as best she could with her face covered.

Nadira lost track of time—not that she knew what time it was when she woke up in this nightmare. Her mind was buzzing with a single thought. Survive. Nadira chanted to herself in an endless loop. She got sloppy with her arm movements, with her pulling and wiggling. However long she’d been clawing her way to freedom was too long. She paused, taking a few more shallow breaths through the cloth that was acting as a mask. She wanted to stop, to regain her strength, but she ignored her fatigue. Reaching up yet again, she pulled more dirt down. This time she felt nothing around her fingertips. Finally, there was space!

With renewed determination, Nadira pried and hoisted herself up, kicking her legs as if she was swimming through the soil. Her hands first, then forearms. Next, her head, and lastly her shoulders escaped imprisonment. Immediately, she ripped her nightgown away from her face and took deep breaths of the fresh, crisp air. With a bit of tugging and wiggling, Nadira’s waist, then her hips, her legs, and lastly her feet became unburied. She collapsed next to the hole she crawled out of and looked at the night sky. In the cool wind, fallen leaves rustled gently all around Nadira. She was panting and filthy, covered in dirt from head to toe. But, she was free.

Only when her breathing was back to normal did she move. Sitting up, she was reintroduced to her headache. It forced her to move at an even slower pace. She noticed her hands first. They were a bloody mess. Great. She won’t be holding a weapon anytime soon. The second thing she noticed was the long, soft pink dress she was wearing. It was far from the sports bras and shorts she normally wore to bed. She was filthy, homeless looking, but all in one piece and healthy enough. No time to wonder who changed her clothes, or who bothered to style her dreadlocks—formed by constantly twisting her naturally curly hair until the thick twists became permanent—with white ribbons.

Looking around, she saw that she was in a cemetery. Her sigh of relief was shushed by the wind carrying the sound away. Nadira felt safe for now, knowing she was free and unguarded. Of all the awful ways to kill an enemy, why this horrible yet passive method? To bury someone alive was a sadistic, cowardly and lacking in honor. Only one answer came to mind.

“Demons,” she growled.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

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Azaaa Davis is an American author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance novels.

She fell in love with reading as a high school freshman and continues to read, write, and draw today. Her background in social work helps her portray realistic characters in otherworldly–and sometimes terrifying–situations. A New York native, Azaaa currently lives in New Hampshire (USA) with her husband and daughters.

She debuted with This Time, A Nadira Holden Novel, in 2018 about demon hunters, family ties and the magic of love. Azaaa is working diligently to finish writing more fantasy novels while raising her daughters. Thank you for showing an interest in her stories!

Azaaa Davis | Goodreads | Facebook

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This-Time-Kindle

This Time (Nadira Holden, Demon Hunter #1)

Resurrected into present-day New York, Nadira Holden is asked to save the world … again.

Nadira achieved legendary status when she gave her life to protect humans from the demons. To her, it was yesterday. To the rest of the world, it was twenty years ago.

People have made peace with the demons, worshipping them like celebrities. No one wants to believe that the beautiful creatures who brought magic to humans could be causing the disappearance of so many. When Nadira’s father goes missing, she refuses to play nice. Gloves off. She has to do what she does best. Fight.

Experience why not even death can stop her.

Nadira Holden, Demon Hunter is a fresh urban fantasy series from Azaaa Davis that combines monster-slaying action, family drama, and simmering romance.

Fans of Vampire Hunter Anita Blake, Succubus Georgina Kincaid, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and Vampire Death Dealer Selene are enthralled and eagerly awaiting the next Nadira Holden novel.

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Review copies of both books are available through R&R Book Tours in exchance for honest reviews!

Giveaway: For you chance to win a Fantasy bundle by all-female indie authors of colour, click the Rafflecopter link below!

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Book Blitz Organized By:

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R&R Book Tours


Check out this book called Dork by my author friend Will Winkle about a guy trying to get his crush’s attention while navigating his life as part of a fraternity house!

His book can be found on Amazon, Goodreads, and his website: WillWinkle.com.

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Thank you to our Patreon Supporters:

Get your name/blog added to our blog posts and Youtube videos by supporting us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/breakevenbooks

If any of you out there like Brandon Sanderson, then you should check out my latest video. It is a reading vlog of his book Skyward and I had quite a time reading this one!

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Mini Review: Ruckus by Laurie Elmquist

Our external reviewer Sara has another mini-review for us! She has been recommending a lot of great middle grade books and here is another to add to that list!

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Synopsis: Reece’s new dog, Ruckus, tears through life like a Tyrannosaurus rex. He bites everything that moves and drives Reece’s mom nuts. The puppy was Dad’s idea, to make things easier for Reece after his parents’ separation, but Ruckus is not easy at all and Mom is getting fed up. When her diamond earrings go missing, it sends the family into a tailspin. What happens when a dog swallows something precious? Reece is about to find out. But they can’t give up on this little Jack Russell terror, can they? He’s family, after all.

I really enjoyed this as a beginning reader’s chapter book. It was a pretty quick read, so I don’t think an emerging reader would have too much trouble reading this on their own. The plot was fast-paced and fun, with some great messages for the reader about family troubles, which I thought was helpful. They did a great job showing what it was like to have a family member who isn’t the best at their job; in this case, the father. I would really recommend this to a young reader.

You can buy this book on Amazon and find it on Goodreads.


Check out this book called Dork by my author friend Will Winkle about a guy trying to get his crush’s attention while navigating his life as part of a fraternity house!

His book can be found on Amazon, Goodreads, and his website: WillWinkle.com.

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Thank you to our Patreon Supporters:

Get your name/blog added to our blog posts and Youtube videos by supporting us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/breakevenbooks

If any of you out there like Brandon Sanderson, then you should check out my latest video. It is a reading vlog of his book Skyward and I had quite a time reading this one!

Book Review: Social Misfits

Another book from the TBR jar bites the dust! I read Social Misfits by Kelli Nicole and got my fill of the highschool drama.

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Synopsis: Good friends are hard to come by and even harder to keep. C.J. Taylor learned this the hard way when she discovered her best friend had been keeping a secret from her. And it’s kind of awkward. He’s in love with her.

In this coming-of-age story of friendships, first dates, and chick flicks, this publicly accused “tease” is forced to deal with the awkward and often humorous aftermath of rejecting her best friend’s romantic confession. There’s​ ​her (former?) best friend, Presley​, ​who’s​ ​a​ ​total​ ​sweetheart​ ​of​ ​a​ ​jock​ ​but​ ​with​ ​a​ ​dorky charm​ ​that​ ​goes​ ​unnoticed​ ​by​ ​the​ ​female​ ​population,​ ​the​ ​tragically​ ​shy​, ​Cindy,​ ​who​ ​has​ ​a​ ​massive fear​ ​of​ ​boys​ ​and​ ​a​ ​secret​ ​desire​ ​to be noticed,​ ​the​ ​hopeless​ ​anti-social​, ​Hamp,​ ​who’s​ ​deceptively cute​ ​and​ ​is​ ​particularly​ ​allergic​ ​to​ ​all​ ​things​ ​school-related…And​ ​then​ ​there’s​ ​her​ ​mother’s​ ​fiance, Anthony,​ ​who​ ​thinks​ ​her​ ​only​ ​purpose​ ​in​ ​life​ ​is​ ​watching​ ​teen​ soap operas.

But C.J. isn’t ready to give up. Faced with the hopeless reality of her now strained friendship, C.J. is determined to set things right. And she thinks she knows the perfect way get things back on track…she must find him a girlfriend.

I was looking forward to the high school drama aspect of this book because I tend to like those and though it would be fun but this one just didn’t do it for me. I found the main character to be very self-centered (which I think was the point) and kind of annoying.

They were supposed to change throughout the book and learn more about what it means to be a good person and a better friend but it didn’t seem to get to the point where I actually thought they really learned anything.

There were also multiple times that the “R” word was used and I was not a fan of this. Especially because it was used in the send of calling someone “socially r******d” when they author could have used the book’s title, “Social Misfits”, perfect for this case of phrasing.

Some of the drama kept me reading until the end but I would not really recommend the book as it just didn’t have enough substance for me.

Book Rating: 2/5

You can buy this book on Amazon and find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: Ths book was sent to me in physical format by the author in exchange for an honest review.


Check out this book called Dork by my author friend Will Winkle about a guy trying to get his crush’s attention while navigating his life as part of a fraternity house!

His book can be found on Amazon, Goodreads, and his website: WillWinkle.com.

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Thank you to our Patreon Supporters:

Get your name/blog added to our blog posts and Youtube videos by supporting us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/breakevenbooks

If any of you out there like Brandon Sanderson, then you should check out my latest video. It is a reading vlog of his book Skyward and I had quite a time reading this one!

Book Review: Graceling

I know the whole world is going a little nuts right now because of the COVID-19 virus and I think since everyone is being quarantined that it is the perfect time to do a buddy read! I do them with my friend Amanda every month and they are so much fun. Last month we read Graceling by Kristen Cashore.

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Synopsis: Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight—she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.

She never expects to fall in love with beautiful Prince Po.

She never expects to learn the truth behind her Grace—or the terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

I was really looking forward to a fantasy book and this one was what I was expecting, a long drawn out fantasy. I enjoyed the character development immensely because they were built upon so well that you truly felt like you had a good understanding of them.

That being said, I believe the book may have delved too much into its characters and left the plot a little lacking. I am a very plot-driven person so I was hoping for a little bit more action. There are definitely some cool scenes that I did enjoy but for a lot of the book, I just felt like I was waiting for something to happen and it never really did. When things did happen, they happened too quick and then it was back to the build-up for events to transpire that you would expect to have more of an impact.

I still enjoyed reading this book and having discussions with my friend as we went along. I am considering continuing the series so I wasn’t turned off too badly by it. The concept of having graces is really cool and I hope they continue to go into depth about that moving forward in the series.

Book Rating: 3.5/5

You can buy this book on Amazon and find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer:  I read this book because I wanted to and was in no way compensated for my review.



Thank you to our Patreon Supporters:

Get your name/blog added to our blog posts and Youtube videos by supporting us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/breakevenbooks

If you are interested, I had the opportunity to make an unboxing video for Bookishly which is a UK based book subscription box service. Check out all the cool stuff in this Wizard of Oz themed box!

Book Spotlight: Hidden Magic

Welcome to the blog tour for Fantasy anthology, Hidden Magic. We’re celebrating its release with two fantastic giveaways and an exclusive excerpt to read!

Hidden Magic

Hidden Magic

Expected Publication Date: March 10th, 2020

Genre: Anthology/ Fantasy

Publisher: Magical Mayhem Press

Synopsis:

No matter the world, life can be dangerous. Be they wizards and shamans, assassins, or everyday people, Hidden Magic tells their stories about escape, consequences, and most of all, magic.

From Earth cities and fantastical new worlds comes twenty-three stories where heroes grapple with the seen and unseen in order to save themselves, their families, and often the world. This collection features:

  • Elderly antiques experts interacting with souls
  • Shamans growing outlawed magic
  • Baby chimeras battling for their lives
  • Children sprouting fluffy tails
  • A king’s boat thrown off-course
  • A perfect life coming at a not-so-perfect cost
  • Vikings defending a village against the unseen
  • A lone shifter atoning for his past mistakes
  • Trolls and pixies tumbling through the doorway to another world
  • And more!

Fans of Patricia Briggs and Tamsyn Muir will love Hidden Magic, first of the Magic Underground trilogy of anthologies… Get it today!

Authors in this anthology include: USA Today Bestseller Joynell Schultz, L.C. Ireland, USA Today Bestseller Melinda Kucsera, Seattle Times regional bestseller & multi-international award winner Raven Oak, Tiffany Shand, Alesha Escobar, USA Today Bestseller Lee French & Erik Kort, H.B. Lyne, Anela Deen, Majanka Verstraete, Krista Ames, C.K. Rieke, Devorah Fox, Leah W. Van Dinther, C.S. Johnson, Barbara Letson, Toasha Jiordano, Gwendolyn Woodschild, H.M. Jones, Stephen Wallace, AR Johnston, and William C. Cronk.

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“Mail Order Witch”

It didn’t take long for the word of an enchanted item shop to spread throughout Watersedge like a fire in a used bookstore. Gawkers walked slowly by the front window during the month it took me to enchant supplies and set up the shop, staring inside like I was on display at a zoo. What kind of animal did they think I looked like? A flamingo with my long legs and too-short body? A black panther with my dark hair? Or maybe I looked like a pig—I mean I could devour the aforementioned pumpkin pie almost as quickly as my sister.

Or was I just a perfect specimen of a witch, with the natural blue highlights in my hair that I refused to cover like so many witches did?

Available on Amazon

Magical Mayhem Press

Giveaway: For a chance to win a paperback copy of Hidden Magic click the link below!

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For a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card, enter HERE!

Authors

Melinda Kucsera (Author), Joynell Schultz (Author), Lee French (Author), H.B. Lyne (Author), Raven Oak (Author), L.C. Ireland (Author), Alesha Escobar (Author), Tiffany Shand (Author), C.S. Johnson (Author), Anela Deen (Author), Erik Kort (Author), Devorah Fox (Author), Stephen Wallace (Author), Gwendolyn Woodschild (Author), Leah W. Van Dinther (Author), Barbara Letson (Author), C.K. Rieke (Author), William C. Cronk (Author), Majanka Verstraete (Author), Toasha Jiordano (Author), H.M. Jones (Author), Krista Ames (Author), AR Johnston (Author)

HiddenMagic

Blog Tour Schedule

March 9th

The Book Lyst (Review) http://booklyst.home.blog

Didi Oviatt (Spotlight) https://didioviatt.wordpress.com

I Love Books & Stuff (Spotlight) https://ilovebooksandstuffblog.wordpress.com

March 10th

Turning the Pages (Review) https://turningthepagesonline.wordpress.com

I Smell Sheep (Spotlight) http://www.ismellsheep.com/

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

March 11th

Lunarian Press (Spotlight) https://www.lunarianpress.com/

Phantom of the Library (Review) https://phantomofthelibrary.com/

The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Spotlight) http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com

March 12th

Rambling Mads (Spotlight) http://ramblingmads.com

Viviana MacKade (Spotlight) https://viviana-mackade.blog/

Crossroad Reviews (Spotlight) http://www.crossroadreviews.com

The Reading Chemist (Spotlight) https://thereadingchemist.com/

March 13th

Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/

Breakeven Books (Spotlight) https://breakevenbooks.com

Just 4 My Books (Spotlight) http://www.just4mybooks.wordpress.com

Blog Tour Organized By:

R&R Button

R&R Book Tours



Thank you to our Patreon Supporters:

Get your name/blog added to our blog posts and Youtube videos by supporting us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/breakevenbooks

If you are interested, I had the opportunity to make an unboxing video for Bookishly which is a UK based book subscription box service. Check out all the cool stuff in this Wizard of Oz themed box!

Book Blitz: X-Rated

Happy publication day to author Bridget Beasley! Today marks the release of her hilarious book, X-Rated! I have the first chapter for you to read AND the most amazing giveaway– A chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card and a digital copy of the book!

Book Tour Cover Photo

X-Rated: A virgin. A porn star. A comedy.

Publication Date: February 21st, 2020 (Today 🎉)

Genre: Romcom/ Comedy

Bailey Finch is twenty-four, living in LA, and working for a trendy Sex & Relationships magazine as their entry-level Calendar Editor.

She’s also painfully body-conscious, clinically anxious, and still a virgin.

When Bailey lands the chance to interview Elijah Mattox – coined the Ryan Reynolds of Porn Stars – she seizes the opportunity to befriend the man behind over three-thousand BDSM films, with popular titles such as The Domination of Elia Rose, Dungeon Sluts and Whores of Riverdale County.

As she delves deeper into Eli’s world, and their relationship takes an unexpected romantic turn, she realizes that this piece couldn’t possibly be just an interview. There was something much bigger yet to come. No pun intended.

X-Rated: A virgin. A porn star. A comedy.

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Excerpt

Chapter One – The Dick Cake Guy

Cue: Darude – Sandstorm.

Wait. 99 Luftballons. That’s a much better intro song.

No. That’s not how I want to start this shit show. Or is this supposed to be a romantic comedy? You know, happy ending, lots of tissues, laugh-out-loud dialogue. Brilliant and sweet, with well fleshed-out, dynamic characters. Because that’s usually a thing, isn’t it?

And I’m already rambling.

How the hell do I start this? I’m twenty-four. Name’s Bailey Finch. Yeah, that’s a good name – it’s not just my actual name, but it also looks damn good in print. A good, solid protagonist name.

And the guy? There’s always a guy. I know you’re waiting for the guy.

Well, what to say: Tall? Check. Muscles? Sorta-check. Tattoos? Check. Wry grin and one of those devious smiles akin to Ian Somerhalder? Check and check. One-thousand checks.

His name is Elijah Mattox. He’s twenty-eight years old. Favorite things that I’ve scrounged up so far include Asian-fusion cuisine, Single Malt Scotch, and perfecting his purposely tousled hairstyle. He’s an actor, trying to break into main-stream, silver screen, accolades and Oscars.

As for now, well – he’s only the most renowned Porn Star in the country. Over three-thousand films. Yeah, no kidding.

And here I am, sitting at my desk, pen in hand, trying to conjure up some questions to ask him that don’t consist of how many tits he’s seen and what his thoughts are on the real-to-saline ratio. How many times could he climax in one session? Was his relationship with sex boring now? What is sex like once you’ve made a career out of using your cock?

Was he worried that working in porn might affect his career as a mainstream actor? This isn’t some one-time Kardashian sex tape. Even though I’m sure he’s got one of those floating around somewhere. The guy has history.

Then again, I’ve never actually seen his stuff. Never been much into porn. Even the soft-core variety. I mean, I’ve done a few Google searches in my time. I technically know what a penis looks like. One time in fourth grade, me and my old best friend, Ginny Weirkowitz, looked up Two Girls One Cup, and refused to eat for the rest of the day. Whatever you do, don’t do it. Don’t Google it. My eyes went to hell.

But IRL, I’ve never seen the real thing. I’m a virgin. And I don’t say that to sound interesting, either: I’ve wanted to get laid more times than I could count. I have a vibrator, thank you very much. Have you ever used a Hitachi Magic Wand? Let me tell you…

I’ve just, you know, never had a real dick. I’ve never made love, had intercourse, fucked. Real hands, rough, desperate, passionate. Body-crushing. Mouth-on-mouth action. My only real kiss was Sophomore year of high school, on a dare, and that same guy ended up pouring an open container of spaghetti into my backpack after I reminded our Geometry teacher that he had forgotten to collect our homework.

I tapped my pen against the edge of my desk, glancing around the office: large windows, exposed brick walls, and blown-up copies of magazine covers from over the years, largely featuring notable men and women of the celebrity variety.

This was Come’s first porn-star. Clever magazine name, I know. Come as in, welcome, enter. Come as in…orgasm.

We were known for our sex tips and relationship advice. That said, it’s been agreed upon that fucking in the shower just doesn’t really work. I’ve never even fucked a guy before, and even I can tell you that I know for a fact, unless maybe you’ve got one of those shower-bath combos or a seat in your shower, it’s freaking impossible. I’d like to put out a request: if you’re a woman who has had mind-blowing shower-sex while standing up, please write to me.

I grinned unabashedly, outwardly, probably looking ridiculous. I hadn’t accomplished a lick of work in the past two hours. I couldn’t concentrate. I was hungry: one of those gripping, all-consuming, carb-salt-sugar craving hungers. I wanted a pretzel, doughnut, and Diet Coke, stat.

What do you ask a porn, star, though? What are the questions?

I don’t know, Bailey. Maybe treat him like a normal human male. Like a person. Like you.

I flushed at the thought. Like me, a virgin. A big-mouthed mope of a virgin, with brown hair that was frizzy on good days and unhinged on bad days. Shoulder-length. I wore loafers and slacks to work, button-downs with quirky designs. Today was yellow ducks. But Bailey Finch, as a whole, was painfully unquirky. I was a poser. Inauthentic. Maybe a little too self-deprecating. I was most authentic at home, in bed with my laptop, wearing a hooded sweatshirt, leggings, and cabin socks. The fluffier the socks, the better.

I wondered briefly what Elijah would think of me in comparison to the girls he’d been with on-screen. Did that even matter? No, of course not.

Still, I wondered. Maybe I should flat-iron my hair, or wear shoes with wedges. Lip-gloss vs. lip balm.

Procrastination: I typed out on the keyboard. Failure to concentrate. Here are some random facts: Scotland has 421 words for ‘snow’. Elephants are the only mammals that can’t jump. The first oranges weren’t actually orange. The most common name is Mohammed. Cats can hear ultrasound. Children grow faster in the springtime. Karaoke means ’empty orchestra’ in Japanese.

Delete. Roll eyes. Sigh heavily.

As I sat there, staring at a blank Word document, my boss Deborah – a tall, all-limbs woman, popped her head into my cubicle.

“How are the interview questions going?”

Her expression was vaguely fatigued despite remaining without a single crease or line; her face was elongated, elegant. She had the most delicate bird-face. Long, a pointed nose, elven cheek-bones. Her eyes, two silver buttons, were wide, perpetually surprised. Her foundation was light enough that I could still see the subtle, natural gloss of oil on her forehead. She was, all said, pretty in a pained sort of way. Her ash-blond hair was always styled as if she were ready to step out onto a runway. She wore Louis Vuitton stilettos and a tailored houndstooth-print suit.

“Excellent,” I lied. “I’m wrapping them up now, actually. I’ll email them to you in a minute.”

I’ll email them to you in a minute. Panic. My heart jumped. Why did I always do this? I was a people-pleaser to my core, and it always, always ended up biting me in the ass. I lived in constant pause-or-panic.

“Awesome,” she was indeed pleased. Her smile showed a bit of rose-pink lipstick on her front tooth. “Don’t feel the need to get too detailed with them. Let him lead the interview, if you can. He seems talkative enough in past interviews. He did a very informative interview with Cosmopolitan last fall – we want to go deeper than that. Deeper than male skincare, workout regimens and how to maintain an erection, at least.”

“Do you want me to confirm how many inches he is, exactly?” I inquired.

Deborah laughed.

“These are the imperative questions,” she said. “Yeah. If you can get his favorite lay, too, there’s a good one. Best orgasm story.”

“I doubt his best orgasm has been on-film,” I quipped. “I mean, porn is technically work.”

“Then in a relationship! I don’t really care. I just want the details and we can Jane Doe or John Smith the rest.”

“Gotcha,” I nodded. “I’ll keep it professional. I’ll keep it sexy.”

While still focusing on the fact that he was now looking to step away from the Adult Industry. Maybe he wouldn’t want to talk about anything sexual. He possibly wouldn’t. Maybe he’d find it offensive – like a strain on his shirt that he was hoping nobody would notice, or an unruly cowlick.

Deborah scurried off in the direction of her next to-do, and I shook my head, a common mind-reset practice of mine. Like one of those Etch-A-Sketches.

Elijah Mattox, who are you, sir?

My fingers lingered on the keyboard, hesitant. I pressed my lips together, gave another heavy sigh, and then began typing. Twenty-minutes later, I had produced something palatable. Questions sure to please Deborah, keeping it sexy, keeping it professional, keeping it to the point: Elijah, the whole person. Not just the lead in I Didn’t Know She Was Your Mom: Anal Edition.

I sent the email off. As soon as I hit send, my pocket vibrated. It was also a known fact about myself that I wore pants loose enough to permit for large pockets. I hated purses. I had one, of course, but it contained mostly my wallet, a few old receipts, loose change and three Chap Sticks. I hated fishing for my phone, or taking the time to search for anything, really. Pockets simplify. It’s a beautiful thing.

The text was from Charlie, my roommate.

Charlie: Important. Come to the shop immediately. Consider this urgent.

The shop, as it were, was the bakery Charlie worked at. It was infamous for its cupcakes and house-brew. It also offered a wide array of customized-confectionary.

I clicked my tongue, typing out a response.

Me: At work. Will stop by after.

Charlie’s reply was instant.

Charlie: THERE’S A DICK CAKE HERE. YOU NEED TO SEE THIS.

Charlie: BAILEY.

Charlie: I KNOW YOU AREN’T WORKING. YOU HAVE THE WORST WORK ETHIC OF ANYONE I KNOW. HOW DID YOU EVEN GET THAT JOB?

Calendar Editor, and through an excellent referral at university. It was more of an administrative role, entry-level, truth be told. I worked on the weekly calendar of events for the publisher. This was, officially, my first stint doing an actual interview. My first written-piece, scored through the fact that I just so happened to be replacing the original auteur, who was on Maternity Leave. Everyone else was swamped. This was my one chance, and it had to be good.

My phone vibrated again.

Charlie: THAT WAS MEAN. I LOVE YOU.

I tossed the phone into my purse with a soft thud, forgetting my pocket sentiments. Somewhere out there – that somewhere actually being a bakery in East LA – a Dick Cake existed, which apparently was a must-see. Akin to the Seven Wonders of the World. The Pyramids, or Stonehenge. A Dick Cake. Enough said.

The bakery smelled like burnt blueberry scones and buttercream. Baristas were pouring coffee from French Presses, their hair in updos – even the guys. Long hair was a thing here. They served pastries on small ceramic plates depicting clever quotes and tiny paintings of animals or flora, and espresso, tea, coffee from plain paper cups. No lids. Names were scribbled on the side hastily in black ink. One time I was Bali. Another time I was Bobby. I’ve been Bailie, Baley, and SO CLOSE – Baile.

Charlie was at the counter, grinning ear-to-ear.

“You best not be wasting my time,” I told him. “I’ve got an interview to prep for.”

“Oh, since when do you prepare for anything?” his tone was joking. He was an asshole, but a loving one. “I’ve got a date I should be grooming for, but I’m here, slaving away for the corporate giants.”

“This place is a family-owned. There is literally no other Pastries & Coffee in Los Angeles, or anywhere for that matter. Also, great business name. To the point.”

“Whatever. My pubes look like my dick has a bad perm.”

I shot a quick look over my shoulder to make sure he wasn’t blabbering to listening-ears. Etiquette Police. The shop was quiet, with only a few sitting by the windows, lightly chatting, drinking their drinks and eating their croissants or danishes or tiny, adorable tea cakes.

“Who is it this time?” I asked. “Also, where is this aforementioned Dick Cake that you insisted I come here and see?”

He motioned for me to follow him behind the counter, into a small back-room. The counter was covered in frosting (I might have tasted it – vanilla marscapone) and cake scraps. A squat fridge sat in the corner, holding the awaiting custom orders.

I stole a cake scrap and popped it into my mouth. Ginger-lemon. Score.

Charlie carefully pulled the cake from the fridge, resting it on the counter. We both took a step back, just looking at it. Taking it all in.

There it was. Indeed a cake, shaped like a giant dick. Pubes and all.

“Well, shit, you weren’t kidding,” I muttered, candidly in awe. “Who is this for?”

Charlie shrugged. “Don’t know. But the inside is almond and there’s a chocolate-ganache filling. I wouldn’t mind a slice of that D.”

“You are the worst,” I said. He slid the cake back into the fridge, and we walked back out to the storefront. “I’ll take a coffee, black, and a Bear Claw. And tell me about this date.”

“Their name is Sacha. Pronoun: they. Likes watercolor, wearing combat boots, and The Aquabats. Most importantly, DTF.”

“DTF,” I said. “What, are we still in high-school?”

“They literally said it,” Charlie said defensively, whipping out his phone. There it was, a text from Sacha, reading: whatever you want to do. I’m DTF. “Besides, I’m not expecting anything. Just hopeful. Really hopeful. If not, we’ll enjoy the extended version of Lord of the Rings: Return of the King celibately, and I’ll enjoy my blue balls.”

“Follow your bliss,” I told him, taking my coffee and pastry. “Just be safe about it.”

“And you watch out for tall men in sunglasses,” he replied. “Behind you, Bailey. Oh God.”

I turned, completely oblivious, and knocked straight into said Tall Man in Sunglasses.

The sharp sunlight cast shards through the window, and in the brightness I couldn’t really make out his face, but I knew he was grinning. Grinning and soaked in hot coffee. Hot coffee that I had spilled, all over him, because of course I did.

“Ohmygod,” one word. I chocked. “I’m so sorry! Do you want a napkin? No, a towel. I could get you a towel.”

Charlie tossed a rag over the counter, and Tall Man grabbed it with an acknowledging nod.

“It’s fine,” he said, blotting the fabric. “Trust me. It’s a shirt. I have others. Besides, this isn’t the first time I’ve dealt with a spill.”

“Oh.”

Great reply, Bailey.

“Me either,” I stuttered. “I spill stuff all the time. I’m pretty much a walking mess.”

He laughed. I tried to find his eyes behind the sunglasses, but I couldn’t.

“You’re a little weird, aren’t you?” he said, placing the rag on the counter. “Like one of those girls who wasn’t very popular in high-school because they preferred wearing a Harry Potter house robe instead of normal clothes, and hung out in the teacher’s lounge, and watched BBC at home with your cat.”

“What the fuck kind of person says that to a complete stranger?” I snapped. “You don’t know me, dude.”

Tall man laughed.

“You’re right, dude,” he said. “So tell me, what house are you?”

“Hufflepuff.”

“Of course you are,” he said, and then: “I’m a Slytherin.”

“Bullshit.”

“I have a Sorting Hat on my keychain. Here, look:” he pulled his keys out of his pocket, and there it was. It glinted in the sunlight. “See? Guys can watch BBC at home with their pets, too.”

I studied him. Dark hair, obviously fit. Even though it was a wretchedly hot day outside, he wore a black T-shirt and gray hooded sweatshirt, so I couldn’t quite see his body. I tried to fill in the spotty imagery in with my imagination: sinewy, strong, not an ounce of fat. He didn’t look like a guy that ate carbs. No bagels. No muffins. No Bear Claws, obviously. What a miserable life.

His smile was coy. His lips pulled at the corners teasingly. From over the counter, Charlie was on his phone, unphased. The shop had emptied; the afternoon lunch drizzle having dried up.

“Enjoy your afternoon,” he said. There was a distinct conclusion to his tone. The conversation was over. A sense of tension hung in the air; I was intrigued at how someone, with a simple three words, could be so commanding and yet apparently had a nerdy streak.

How nerdy? I wondered briefly. Like, cosplay nerdy?

“You too,” was all I could say. I didn’t bother asking for another coffee. I could feel the paper bag wrinkle in my fist, still holding my pastry. My stomach grumbled. “See you around.”

I wouldn’t, of course. He was just a passerby. I decided it was best to leave.

From behind me, as my hand touched the door, I could hear his brief banter with Charlie: light, nonchalant. And then, as if by some stroke off magic, he said:

“Just here to pick up an order. I’m the Dick Cake Guy.”

I smiled inwardly, pure satisfaction: like the first pop of a pretzel bite into your mouth. Buttery, delicious, so unhealthy but oh-so good.

See you never, Dick Cake Guy.

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Just another smut-peddler.

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Book Review: Infinity Son

Hey you! Yea you, bookworm over there. Guess what? I read another book. It was the one, the only, most anticipated Infinity Son by Adam Silvera. And now I am going to tell you about it.

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Synopsis: Growing up in New York, brothers Emil and Brighton always idolized the Spell Walkers—a vigilante group sworn to rid the world of specters. While the Spell Walkers and other celestials are born with powers, specters take them, violently stealing the essence of endangered magical creatures.

Brighton wishes he had a power so he could join the fray. Emil just wants the fighting to stop. The cycle of violence has taken a toll, making it harder for anyone with a power to live peacefully and openly. In this climate of fear, a gang of specters has been growing bolder by the day.

Then, in a brawl after a protest, Emil manifests a power of his own—one that puts him right at the heart of the conflict and sets him up to be the heroic Spell Walker Brighton always wanted to be.

Brotherhood, love, and loyalty will be put to the test, and no one will escape the fight unscathed.

I was a little wary going into this book because I know that Adam Silvera has been primarily a contemporary author and this was his first foray into the fantasy genre. I will say that he could use a little bit of work on his world-building because at times it felt a little rushed and thrown together when it could have used a little bit more explanation into the backstory and how characters/the world came to be in the state that it is in.

That being said, I really liked his character dialogue and interactions with each other (which probably spurs from his contemporary writing) and the feeling he put into them. I liked that things were relatable like Brighton and his Youtube channel (I also have a channel and work hard at it).

The whole power dynamic was fascinating to learn about and I thought it was very cool that they had different ways to acquire these powers. The battles were descriptive enough that they were easy for me to imagine and I felt like I was right there in the thick of it with Emil and Brighton.

I think the superhero nerd inside of me was excited to have a new take on the genre and loved it. Plus, that ending left me wanting more! it kind of sucks that this just came out because I need that next one to know what happens.

All in all, I would recommend this book if you want a new take on superpowers that ties it into the modern world and feels like it could be real.

Book Rating: 4/5

You can buy this book on Amazon and find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by Harper Collins Canada as a physical format ARC to read and give my honest review.



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Book Spotlight: Sword Of Betrayal

Welcome to the blog tour for Sword of Betrayal by Epic Fantasy author, Robert Evert! Read on for details, an excerpt from the book, and a chance to win a digital copy for yourself!

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Sword of Betrayal

Publication Date: September 17th, 2019

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Publisher: Between the Lines

Edris’s lay-about life of privilege ends abruptly when his father, Lord Elros, announces that his adolescent son will enter the military in the spring. Edris has only six months to ready himself to serve a king who despises his family and will undoubtedly make his life beyond miserable.

To prepare him, Lord Elros puts Edris through a brutal training regime. Not only does he demand Edris beat every man with whom he spars, but he also insists his son knock them unconscious—even if that means fighting dirty.

About to crack under the relentless pressure, the sensitive Edris seeks a way to get out from under his father’s heavy thumb. A solution presents itself when an announcement for the latest Kings’ Quest arrives. According to the royal proclamation, the adventurer who finds the fabled Sword of Betrayal will win one thousand gold pieces, money Edris could use to start his own life with the woman he loves.

Edris proposes to undertake the quest in order to get in better shape; however, Lord Elros has another idea—Edris will undertake the quest so he can get close to, and kill, the king’s son.

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About the Author

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By day, Robert Evert is an old and decrepit university professor who teaches hordes of smelly college students who rarely deign to look up from their damned phones to pay attention to the many brilliant and exciting things he has to say in class. By night, he is an aspiring writer.

Once young and idealistic and built like a skinny Norwegian god, Robert has been beaten down by time, pointless faculty meetings, and hundreds of students who repeatedly come up to him and ask: “I wasn’t in class last week. Did I miss anything?” He is now a shell of a man who sits in his darkened office sobbing while he waits patiently for Ragnarök.

When Robert isn’t daydreaming about walking through the streets of Bree or sitting in the Great Hall at Hogwarts, he writes fantasy stories which he reads to the critical acclaim of his two dogs and three cats.

His wife wants him to stop grumbling to himself and finish doing the dishes.

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Book Review: Curses Of Scale

I read this book as my TBR jar pick of September and I will say that it was pretty good. It was called Curses Of Scale by S. D. Reeves.

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Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Niena wants nothing more than to attend an elite bardic college, but when the dragon that shattered the empire awakens again she finds herself on the run, through the fey realm of Fairhome, to the city where she was born. On her trail are her army veteran grandfather, thrown into a commander’s role he doesn’t want, the lord of the fairies, trying to steer her to his own ends, and the husband she won’t meet for fifteen years. If she kills the dragon, she’ll save everyone she holds dear. But if she kills the dragon, she’s cursed instead to become it.

I never know what I am going to get when I take a pick out of the TBR jar but when I picked this one, I was intrigued. It deals with a girl who is trying to stop a dragon from terrorizing her village. But the dragon passes on a curse that when you kill it, you become it.

The characters were very well developed and I feel like they were differentiated enough to have a good cast. However, the plot was a little all over the place and hard to follow. It also became too descriptive at times where I was drawn out because of the number of adjectives I was reading.

That being said, it is a good standalone book with a not too complicated magic system and some fun ties to fey folklore. I am giving it a right in the middle rating because that is how I felt about it. I believe that the author can create more work like this and I would be excited to see where he goes with his imagination in his future books.

Book Rating: 3/5

You can find this book on Amazon and Goodreads!

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the author in physical format to read and give an honest review.


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Book Release: To Wake The Dead

Join us in wishing author Sarah Lampkin, a very happy book birthday! Today marks the release of To Wake the Dead, book #2 in her Dead Dreamer series! Read on for more details, and an exclusive excerpt from the book!

Psst!!! There’s also a giveaway bundle! Make sure you enter below!

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To Wake the Dead (Dead Dreamer #2)

Publication Date: October 8th, 2019 (Today!!!)

Genre: NA Fantasy

Publisher: The Parliament House

Brenna Whit teeters the line between the living and the dead. Now that she’s back for her sophomore year at Nephesburg College, she’s determined to focus on the waking world. But when her own soul is trying to kill her and a new Dead Dreamer is fighting for power, Brenna is dragged back into the world of the dead.

The Gatekeepers are doing everything they can to restore the power they once held over the town of Nephesburg. With a mysterious set of twins arriving in town to help them prepare, Brenna must decide what’s important: continuing to hide her secret or reveal herself and fight for what she believes is right. The decision could end up leading to a permanent death for Brenna so she must choose wisely.

Classes have begun…
The battlefield is set…
Let the fight for the Fade begin.

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Excerpt

“Who wrote the laws saying that doorways must be sealed? Who told you to create another one of you?”

“The church.”

“Why?” He was silent. For once, he had no answer. He merely stared at me not blinking or unwavering as his eyes locked on mine. I thought I had him; nowhere in the Bible did it say to interfere with the dead or the other side. In fact, the Scripture scorned it. If I remembered correctly, that would border on witchcraft and necromancy, which was forbidden. So, if Wilson were the type to follow the Bible no matter what, then these questions just pushed his logic out the window. Even if the church said he had to do those things, who was to say they were right?

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To Dream is to Die (Book #1)To Dream is to Die.v2

Eighteen-year-old Brenna Whit is entering college as a freshman and starting to meet new people, but she hides a dark secret. Because of an accident that happened three years ago, her spirit wanders the Fade whenever she falls asleep. It’s something she wants to keep hidden from the world, but when she sees someone watching her in spirit form, she fears the secret’s out. With new friends, possibly new enemies, school, and a new crush, Brenna has too much to worry about for just her freshman year of college.

Perfect for those who enjoy Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Supernatural!

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About the Author

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A native of Richmond, Virginia, Sarah Lampkin is a 2015 graduate from Lynchburg College [University of Lynchburg] with a master’s degree in English. Since graduation, Sarah now lives in Northern Virginia working in the IT field as a Technical Writer while continuing her research for her graduate school thesis. When she isn’t working, Sarah continues her Celtic mythology research and Gaelic studies, while working on the Dead Dreamer series.

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