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!

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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 (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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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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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

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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)

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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

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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 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 Review: The Forbidden Warriors

I read another book in this world and this one was by far the most developed! It was The Forbidden Warriors by Moud Adel.

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Synopsis: Mastoperia: A hidden continent with four factions divided and suspicious of each other, with a history of unresolved wars, each grounding themselves in their own unique culture, and magical power.

The Forbidden Warriors: The only force powerful enough to keep the factions from destroying one another. The secret to their power is a mystery, but the only way to hold on to it is by passing the power to a new generation every two and a half centuries.

As that time has arrived, each faction must offer a candidate to become the next generation of the Forbidden Warriors, but only one can be the leader. In a race for that leadership position, four candidates and their teams travel across a world mysterious to them, to hunt artifacts they know nothing about. The mission is not easy, their goals are not aligned, and the truth is far bigger than they could have imagined. A challenge none were ready for.

Will they choose their own interests, their factions’ or defy all that they know for the sake of their world.

I really liked where this first installment of the series took us! It was easy for me to jump into the world because I had read the 2 prequel novels. Even if I hadn’t, the author described it fairly well giving you an understanding of the environment and the multiple magic systems involved.

I liked the team based quest aspect to the storyline. It reminded me of the Hunger Games in the sense that they are all competing (and can’t stop even if there is a loss of life) to be the first team to collect the most artifacts. There was danger involved and the artifacts were not that easy to get which made it very interesting.

The team dynamic was well done as well. One thing I would note is that I did get a bit confused at times due to there being 16 different perspectives that you are following and trying to learn about. I think it would have been better if it focused on say 6 of them at the most so it would be easier to remember who is who. They also have names that start with the first same letter so that added an extra layer of confusion to it.

The romantic part of it felt like it spurred out of know where a little bit. I think that the relationships between existing faction members were more genuine and I think that it was a start to what could be a relationship but more work needed to be put into the dialogue between the two of them and I think it needed a little more build-up than just umping right into it.

Overall, it was a great first installment to this series and I am definitely invested reading all of them. The ending of this one was quite the cliffhanger so I need to know what happens next and will be waiting with anticipation for that next book to come out!

Book Rating: 3.5/5

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

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


December is fast approaching and I wanted to make it an extra special month by creating a readathon and have all you bookworms participate! It’s called the Reindeer Readathon and it will be taking place from December 1st to the 31st! It is a team-based readathon and all the prompts you complete will count as points towards your team! The winning team will have one random person win a prize! Full details in the video below!

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Book Spotlight: The Baker’s Guide To Risky Rituals

Trick or Treat? The Baker’s Guide to Risky Rituals by Kathryn Moon is the perfect witchy tale for this time of year! Read on for an exclusive excerpt and a giveaway as sweet as the treats in the book — A signed paperback, swag pack (signed postcard, magnet, and two character buttons), and a $20 amazon gift card!

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The Baker’s Guide to Risky Rituals (Sweet Pea Mysteries #1)

Expected Publication Date: October 18, 2019

Genre: Paranormal Romance

A Kitchen Witch with a bite, a King of Hell on a mission, and a candy coated town hiding bitter secrets.

Josie Benoit, gourmet patissier and kitchen witch, may not be a Sweet Pea native but she’s made the small town her home and she intends on keeping it that way. When trouble rolls into town on the seats of shining motorcycles, and the safety of her home and her own reputation are put at risk, Josie bands together with her coven to protect her world from a dark influence.
If only that dark influence wasn’t so deliciously handsome.

King Beleth is not a demon to be trifled with.
Leader of the Hell’s Bells MC and one of the great warlords of the Bowels, Beleth takes pride in his work and has the patience of a… man who knows what is best is worth waiting for. Known as Bell—to his friends, which you are not—he’s come to Sweet Pea to dismantle the core of good at the heart of the little town. But upon arrival he discovers three things that might just get in the way of his work:
Sweet Pea is more disgustingly adorable than they were warned.
The town has a coven of witches protecting it.
He’s developing a sweet tooth.

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Excerpt

He was painfully handsome, face broad and lips wide, eyes narrow. His weathered leather jacket was fitted to those shoulders with all the care of a lover. His eyes studied Josie until every hair on her body stood on end. She crossed her arms over her chest and lifted her chin, studying him with equal interest as he glanced down at her bakery case and frowned.

“Where are the cupcakes?”

Josie blinked and it took a moment to shake that whisper soft voice out of her head, like shooing away an affectionate stray cat, knowing it could scratch at any moment.

“This is a patisserie. I don’t carry cupcakes.” She could give him the spiel she gave to Mrs. Montgomery when the old busybody asked. Cupcakes could be bought at the grocery store for less than a dollar a piece. Josie’s wares were baked with techniques that took professional training, if not at least regular and studied practice. Mrs. Montgomery still asked every other visit.

“Three dollars for… what is that?” He asked, sneering at the brightly dyed macarons.

“It’s a cookie, but harder to make,” Josie said, cocking her hip. His eyes licked at the movement and the response of her skin was a betrayal, her imagination conjuring warm fingertips stroking up her side and raising goosebumps. She had to stifle her gasp.

“It’s a rip off. I could fit two of those in my mouth for one bite,” he said.

“For six dollars you could.”

Purchase on Amazon and Books 2 Read!

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For a chance to win this AMAZING giveawayA signed paperback, swag pack (signed postcard, magnet, and two character buttons), and a $20 amazon gift card, click on the link below!

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About the Author

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Kathryn Moon is a country mouse who started dictating stories to her mother at an early age. The fascination with building new worlds and discovering the lives of the characters who grew in her head never faltered, and she graduated college with a fiction writing degree. She loves writing women were are strong in their vulnerability, romances that are as affectionate as they are challenging, and worlds that a reader sinks into and never wants to leave. When her hands aren’t busy typing they’re probably knitting sweaters or crimping pie crust in Ohio. She definitely believes in magic.

Kathryn Moon | Facebook | Instagram

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I recently wrapped up the books I read in September and spoiler, there were some good ones!

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Book Review: The Last Seed

As many of you know, I am currently running a book tour right now for the book The Last Seed by Moud Adel. Well, it is finally my day on the tour and time for me to tell you about this awesome new novella.

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Synopsis: Orantine is the best spy in her faction, the one they go to for impossible missions. But her next target is like nothing she has faced before, a high ranking official in a faction whose members can see the future.

Orantine has never failed before, but this time, she isn’t sure success is possible.

Armed with her faction’s genetic mutation, and the latest technology the world has to offer. Orantine believes she has found the perfect plan.

Nothing comes without a price, however, and this mission will push her to the edge, and further.

How far will she go to ensure success? And how far is she willing to go to prove she is the greatest in her world?

Now, I know this was a novella so I expected it to go by fast to begin with but I blew through this book. I finished it in two sittings and that is only because I started it on a weekend that I was going to a wedding so I had to stop reading to well… go to a wedding.

I was captured immediately by the concept of a faction that could predict the future but only through different variations of their own decisions. And the faction that had the seeds implanted in their heads to control memories among other things was a really cool addition to this plot.

I enjoyed the exploration into the other factions of Mastoperia because in the other novella, War Remnants, you only get to hear about the other 2 factions. The factions in this book were more up my alley than the last one and had me wanting to learn all about them.

The relationships felt very real and I was invested in our main character. I remember that at one part, I didn’t know what to feel due to something that really threw me for a loop. I love it when books can get me feeling like this.

The only thing I didn’t really like, and this is a tiny thing, was that the narration makes it so that you are already aware of what is happening some of the time. I wish it left a little bit to more to be discovered but I still really enjoyed this book and can’t wait to dive into the series!

It was a great intro sci-fi/fantasy book that has set everything up for a great series.

Book Rating: 4/5

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

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


I recently wrapped up the books I read in September and spoiler, there were some good ones!

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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.


If you want to see the rest of the books on my shelves, check out this bookshelf tour! This is part 2. Part one can be found on my youtube channel! Let me know if we have any of the same books!

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Book Spotlight: The Moonlight Pegasus

Welcome to the blog tour for The Moonlight Pegasus, by C.S. Johnson. Perfect for Fantasy lovers!

The+Moonlight+Pegasus+cover+ebookThe Moonlight Pegasus

Publication Date: July 2016

Genre: High Fantasy

Sapphira is a desert world with little plant life, where the people live in the shadows of gray sunlight, sickened by the Dark Plague. To cure the people, the Guardian of Dreams sends the Spirit of Truth to bring the light back into his darkened world. In the form of Pegasus, he enters the world through the pure, innocent dreams of Selene, the reluctant princess and heir-apparent to the throne. Now, with her brother Dorian as king, another rebellion is stirring. All eyes are turning to Selene to bring peace through an arranged marriage. However, Selene only has eyes for her true love—her protector, Etoileon. As the rebellion unleashes its fury upon the kingdom of Sapphira and the supernatural forces collide, Selene is caught in the middle of all conflicts—the battle for her world, the battle for her love, and the battle for her very soul.

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Excerpt

Etoileon smiled as he pulled out his special gift for Selene—having taken Ronal’s earlier advice, he had a tiny bouquet of deep red ekedlets, small minuscule flowers that smelled like sweet fruit. The ekedlets were tied together with a small yellow ribbon. He’d thought that the small gift would be perfect for her. It had taken him a while to get them, too. He was only allowed into the city, along with the other members of the Palace crew, only twice a month. Etoileon was lucky that he’d known the streets well enough to know where to go so he could get back in time to escort Selene down to the ballroom entrance.

The city was crowded for the opening of the reception. Etoileon had run into more than one person trying to reach his destination, Madame Flora’s Shop. Though he had meant to hurry up, Etoileon slowed down to look around, amazed to see just how the streets had changed to him in so short a time.

He’d been raised on the streets, mostly all alone.

It had been a miracle that he had survived there, let alone to manage to get a job in the Diamond City Palace, considering a job at the palace was a highly coveted position in society. Middle class children often took jobs in the palace, using their connections to be introduced into the flashy world of riches and wealth. After a number of years, they were able to use their earned capital to be educated in the way of society. Using the skills they would acquire from training and teaching of their instructors and parents, the now young adults would be able to be placed in a position where it was likely for a marriage to be arranged or sought after.

Etoileon had none of this.

He had no parents, no real family, few allies … there were plenty of untrustworthy people, enemies, and dangers around every corner. All he had were survival skills, and the good fortune to happen to be in the right place at the right time. As Etoileon leaned back on the tower wall, he thought about the night that he’d met Selene. He did not get too lost in his memories. The Palace was beginning to feel more like home to him as time went on, and his memories of the darker times of his life were beginning to fade.

It was a moment later that the door opened and Selene walked into the Tower room as well.

“Etoileon,” she greeted him, her eyes quickly losing their flicker of surprise and replacing it with an expression of warmth. “I did not think you would be up here this early.”

“You are,” he pointed out, a small smile forming on his face.

“Well,” Selene blushed, “There was something I wanted to do before later.”

“You mean before I came?” Etoileon asked. “What was it?”

“Well … ” Her face had turned even redder, and she looked away as she reached behind her and pulled out a small bag. “I wanted to give this to you later, but I have no objections to giving it to you a little early.”

Etoileon looked down at the bag she placed delicately in his hand. It had been carefully prepared for him, he could tell. The bag was all dressed up, tiny curls of ribbons surrounding the drawstrings of the sack, and made from cheerfully colored fabric.

Selene nodded. “Open it, Etoileon. It’s for you.”

Inside the bag, he found a small silver-framed photograph of Selene and him from a few years ago. It was when he had first undergone his training for the Fighter squad. Selene was sitting in front of him in the picture, while he was standing behind her. He could tell that his eyes had been focused on her; Etoileon figured that he must have missed the camera. His eyes examined the picture closely, running over Selene’s face again and again.

“I don’t remember this picture,” he said slowly.

“It’s from the time that you came storming out of the Fighter’s training room, remember? You were not too happy, I recall. My memory of the reason has faded, but I remember thinking you needed me there,” she said in a hushed voice. “I still come to watch, sometimes.”

I still need you there, he thought. But he could not say that. So instead, he looked over at her intently, and said, “Thank you.”

“So you like it?” Her smile seemed to brighten up the entire evening sky.

“Very much,” he nodded. “That must’ve been the day that Master Norio told me in front of everyone that I had been poorly trained and it would be a miracle if I amounted to anything.”

Selene’s sad smile flitted to her lips. “Poor Master Norio. That has to be the most incorrect he’s ever been.”

Amazon

Enter to win a copy of this epic fantasy HERE!



About the Author

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C. S. Johnson is the award-winning, genre-hopping author of several novels, including young adult sci-fi and fantasy adventures such as the Starlight Chronicles, the Once Upon a Princess saga, and the Divine Space Pirates trilogy. With a gift for sarcasm and an apologetic heart, she currently lives in Atlanta with her family. Find out more at http://www.csjohnson.me

CS Johnson | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest


Blog Tour Schedule

September 9th

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

The Faerie Review (Review) http://www.thefaeriereview.com

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

Read & Rated (Spotlight) https://readandrated.com/

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

September 10th

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

My Bookish Bliss (Review) http://www.mybookishbliss.com

Crossroads Reviews (http://www.crossroadreviews.com)

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

September 11th

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

Reading Nook (Spotlight) http://readingnook84.wordpress.com

The Voluptuous Book Diva (Spotlight) http://www.thevoluptuousbookdiva.com/

The Bookish Mrs. Harding (Spotlight) http://thebookishmrsharding.home.blog

September 12th

I’m Into Books (Spotlight) https://www.imintobooks.com

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

J Bronder’s Book Reviews (Review) https://jbronderbookreviews.com/

September 13th

Tranquil Dreams (Review) https://klling.wordpress.com/

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

Reviews & Promos by Nyx (Spotlight) https://nyxblogs.wordpress.com/

Sophril Reads (Spotlight) http://sophrilreads.wordpress.com

Blog Tour Organized By:

R&RButto200x200

R&R Book Tours


I finally finished the NEWTS and did my wrap up where I discussed all the books I read over the month of August (spoiler: I read 9 books).

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Book Review: Last Call At The Nightshade Lounge

Another book crushed during the NEWTS! I know that it is now September but I am just getting around to writing the reviews for the NEWTS books now because I was so busy trying to read them all before August was over. This one was called Last Call At The Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger.

Synopsis: College grad Bailey Chen has a few demons: no job, no parental support, and a rocky relationship with Zane, the only friend who’s around when she moves back home. But when Zane introduces Bailey to his cadre of monster-fighting bartenders, her demons get a lot more literal. Like, soul-sucking hell-beast literal. Soon, it’s up to Bailey and the ragtag band of magical mixologists to take on whatever—or whoever—is behind the mysterious rash of gruesome deaths in Chicago, and complete the lost recipes of an ancient tome of cocktail lore.

This book was so good! When I heard about it through a booktuber named “Drums Of Autumn”, I knew I needed to have it. The concept of mixing drinks that enable the person to have superpowers alone is fascinating and I was instantly intrigued.

And then I start reading and find out that it is a diverse book with a mixed-race main character named Bailey and I love it even more. It is really enriching to see more diverse sets of characters in strong leading roles. There is also a Canadian character that I absolutely loved because they didn’t exactly show a stereotypical Canadian person with the “Sorry’s” and the “I love maple syrup” but gave them a multilayered personality that was just a joy to experience.

The book would end some chapters with drink recipes explaining what powers this drink gave you and the magical history behind how it was discovered among the bartenders and mixers. They had drawings of the drinks in an old victorian sketching style.

I normally don’t gravitate towards a book with historical elements (not a fan of historical fiction) but I would love to learn all about the mixing lore and the discovery of magical drinks.

There is a lot of action, some romance and a take on superpowers that I have never experienced before. It was very easy to get through and I found myself having a hard time putting this book down! I would recommend this book to anyone that wants a fun urban fantasy book that is very well-paced and honestly should be a series….hint hint….Paul, make another book like this!

Book Rating: 5/5

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

Disclaimer: I was given this book as a gift and I read it because I wanted to. I was in no way compensated to give it an honest review.


It is finally September and I completed my NEWTS TBR but until I make that video, here is my September TBR where I talk about the books I will be reading this month and announce my giveaway winner!

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Book Highlight: Prowling The Darkness

Take a journey east with Rayden Valkyrie as she undertakes one of her most harrowing adventures yet! Prowling the Darkness is the latest release in the Rayden Valkyrie Tales!

A return to hard-hitting, gritty sword and sorcery with an iconic and inspiring main character, the Rayden Valkyrie Tales are a growing collection of stand-alone novellas that will elate fans of the genre!

The Prowling the Darkness Blog Tour features reviews, interviews, guest posts, video, and top ten lists! As a novella, Prowling the Darkness is a shorter and quicker read for reviewers too!

About the author:  Stephen Zimmer is an award-winning author and filmmaker based out of Lexington Kentucky. His works include the Rayden Valkyrie novels (Sword and Sorcery), the Rising Dawn Saga (Cross Genre), the Fires in Eden Series (Epic Fantasy), the Hellscapes short story collections (Horror), the Chronicles of Ave short story collections (Fantasy), the Harvey and Solomon Tales (Steampunk), and the forthcoming Faraway Saga (YA Dystopian/Cross-Genre).

Stephen’s visual work includes the feature film Shadows Light, shorts films such as The Sirens and Swordbearer, and the forthcoming Rayden Valkyrie: Saga of a Lionheart TV Pilot.

Stephen is a proud Kentucky Colonel who also enjoys the realms of music, martial arts, good bourbons, and spending time with family.

Book Synopsis for Prowling the Darkness:   Dark rumors and whisperings of unholy sorcery bring Rayden Valkyrie to the remote city of Sereth-Naga.

There she finds a populace cowering in fear of the city’s ruthless, mysterious rulers, who remain behind the high walls of their citadel.

An even greater mystery surrounds the city.

Something is prowling the darkness.

Something that has kept the enigmatic rulers for centuries from escaping Sereth-Naga to spread their wickedness to other lands.

Prowling the Darkness is a stand-alone novella that is part of the Rayden Valkyrie Tales.

Author Links:

Website: www.stephenzimmer.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/stephenzimmer7
Twitter: @sgzimmer
Instagram: @stephenzimmer7

Guest Post: Building the World of Rayden Valkyrie

 The world of Rayden Valkyrie is an exciting and diverse one, filled with a wide array of lands, cultures, creatures, and characters. More and more of this world is being revealed through the two collections of novellas featuring the Rayden Valkyrie and Ragnar Stormbringer characters.

It is a world that is distinct and different from the world of Ave portrayed in my epic fantasy Fires in Eden Series. I strive to have a more ancient world feel in Rayden’s tales, while also hinting of an even more ancient age, remnants of which make their appearances in the various adventures and tales.

My approach to world building focuses upon creating realistic and well-rounded cultures, some of them historically-inspired, and others original in nature. Each culture has a full history of its own, heroes and leaders, a religion, means of trade (whether barter, or coin-based), a geography that it inhabits (and that geography, hosting certain types of plants, wildlife, terrain, weather patterns, and natural resources, will have a significant influence on the kind of culture that develops within it), and an interrelation with other lands or elements of that world (which can be antagonistic or benevolent in nature).

I think that good world building embraces a comprehensive approach to each culture. The reader may not get to experience all aspects of a land or culture in a given tale, but the author needs to have the foundation in mind so that the dynamics of the culture, behavior of the characters from it, and other elements flow naturally through the course of the narrative and action. I recommend avoiding the urge to “info-dump”, though a little extra info may be useful in certain situations, when soaking in something major in the story like a large new city.

Having a solid understanding of the world and its various lands and cultures provides great fodder for storytelling. The conflicts between cultures/realms can be reflected in the interactions between characters, create dynamic encounters, and much more.

A good understanding of the world in the author’s mind can also be the source of inspiration for new stories. This is precisely how the novella Prowling the Darkness came about. It is a stand-alone tale, but it takes place right after the events in the novella Blood of a Queen. It features a remote city-state called Sereth-Naga ruled over by an enigmatic group of beings called the Sharir-Mord.

The people of Sereth-Naga are inspired by the people of ancient city-states and areas of Persia, while the Sharir-Mord’s inspiration is entirely original in nature.

The culture of the people in the city of Sereth-Naga has been strongly affected by the Sharir-Mord, to the degree that the people are almost like cattle to the Sharir-Mord “Farmer”. The presence of an even more ancient world is reflected in the entities lurking in the darkness in the land around Sereth-Naga, who become a very pivotal part of the story. Like the Sharir-Mord, these entities are derived from an original inspiration.

Rayden Valkyrie goes alone into this world, among the people, the Sharir-Mord, and the legendary entities prowling the landscape around the city. While I do not get to reveal everything about the culture of the people, the things in the darkness, or the Sharir-Mord, their cultures inform everything regarding the actions and decisions of the characters that Rayden meets and encounters.

I am confident that by the end of the story, the reader has a great feel for this part of Rayden’s world, and that Sereth-Naga has an organic and realistic atmosphere about it. Ultimately, I find that I am in a very good position for future tales that involving one of the groups encountered during Prowling the Darkness. All of that is made possible by comprehensive world building.

I invite you to read Prowling the Darkness for yourself and begin your exploration of Rayden’s dynamic and diverse world!


Tour Schedule and Activities

8/7      Armed with a Book    http://www.armedwithabook.com Review

8/7      I Smell Sheep  http://www.ismellsheep.com/        Guest Post

8/7      Fragile Winds http://mariadkins.blogspot.com      Guest Post

8/8      The Most Sublime      http://www.themostsublime.com   Review

8/8      Breakeven Books       https://breakevenbooks.com           Guest Post

8/9      Armed with a Book    http://www.armedwithabook.com Interview      

8/10    Horror Tree    https://www.horrortree.com          Guest Post

8/10    Sheila’s Guests and Reviews http://sheiladeeth.blogspot.com     Guest Post

8/11    Speculative Fiction Spot        http://specfictionspot.blogspot.com/         Guest Post

8/12    Literary Underworld http://www.literaryunderworld.com          Guest Post

8/13    Jazzy Book Reviews    http://bookreviewsbyjasmine.blogspot.com Video Interview

8/13    The Book Junkie Reads          https://thebookjunkiereadspromos.blogspot.com Guest Post

8/14    Stuart Conover’s Homepage https://www.stuartconover.com     Top Ten’s List

8/14    Bookish Valhalla  https://www.bookishvalhalla.com  Review

Links for Prowling the Darkness

Kindle Version:  https://www.amazon.com/Prowling-Darkness-Rayden-Valkyrie-Tale-ebook/dp/B07R75X26Z/

Barnes and Noble Link for Prowling the Darkness: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/prowling-the-darkness-stephen-zimmer/1131360526?ean=2940161456958

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/prowling-the-darkness

iTunes: https://books.apple.com/us/book/prowling-the-darkness/id1463010144


 

July was a busy month for me but I still managed to read 5 books! Check out my wrap up to see what I thought about them!

Book Review: War Remnants

Hey bookworms! Recently, I was approached by a bookstagrammer friend of mine to read and review the novella that they wrote. At first, I was a little hesitant because I have interacted with them a bunch on Instagram and was worried that if I didn’t like the book then it would be awkward. The book is called War Remnants by Moud Adel.

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Synopsis: When the price of Gate Magic is a shorter life spent with your loved ones, will you want to keep that door closed?

Prepared to give up all of his power for a few more years with his family, Rakamai, the leader of his faction, a Magic Master who swore to defend his people against those who possess special powers, believed the only way out was to offer peace. But in a world where factions love to be enemies, his dream would soon be shattered.

Yamen, a Forest Elder, reminds Rakamai that controlling Majestic animals is a power he should always fear, and trapped in another war, Rakamai has a decision to make. Protect the legacy of his people or save his son from the hatred plaguing his world.

Now, when the Forbidden Warriors, the strongest in his world, are hunting him down, Rakamai must first escape their wrath before choosing between a longer life for himself or peace for the next generation.

I can happily say that I enjoyed the book. I was really interested in the magic system and wanted to know more about the different factions and their powers/abilities. I believe that they could have been explored more and kind of wish that this was an actual full-length book and not a novella so that we could get that history and build more on this world.

The battle scenes were very descriptive and showed the range of powers that each adversary had. I enjoyed that they mixed modern weapons into the magic.

I did get a little bit lost with the names. A lot of them were very similar so at times I was getting confused as to whom I was reading about. And a lot of them started with the same letter so that didn’t make it any easier to differentiate them.

It is a great setup for a full on series and I would love to read the series and learn more about these characters.

Book Rating: 4/5

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

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


Watch my Small Booktuber Tag video where I talk about what it is like to be a small booktuber and all the amazing people in the community!

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