Book Reviews, magic, Paranormal, Romance

Paranormal Romance Review: Magick and Moonlight (Marie Lavender)

If you liked Practical Magic with Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman, one-click Magick & Moonlight by Marie Lavender. Both Jessie and Ethan are hiding in small-town Oregon from something in the past. Can they resolve their mutual reservations about magick and learn to live – and love – again?

Small businesswoman Jessie was taught the ways of Wicca by her beloved late grandmother. While privately practicing the rituals of her faith in the forest, she is interrupted by a strange man. Is he worth the risk of her heart, her career and her life?

Ethan is a former cop laying low in a secluded cabin while seeking new direction in his life. Romance is the furthest thing from his mind when he chances upon a woman in the woods. Is their love real or is he simply spellbound?

View the Magick & Moonlight trailer: Click here.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

“A spell?”  His eyes flew to the black cauldron.  He remembered the strange chanting he’d heard before.  “You’re practicing witchcraft?  That’s a new one.”

“Wicca, actually, is a religion based on the elements of nature.  It’s a way to harmonize with our environment.”

“Is that right?”

“Yes.”

Unnerved again by her naked body as well as her suggestion, he shrugged out of his barn coat and approached her.  He draped it around her shoulders and buttoned it over her, aware that he might as well be caressing her, he was so close to her.  He realized that his coat was touching her luscious, naked body, her most secret spots.  The thought made him clench his fists.  “Can I give you a ride back home?  My truck is nearby.”

A long silence fell.  Her gaze on his, it seemed to take her awhile to decide if she could trust him.  “All right.” She dropped the knife she held.

Inwardly relieved, he sighed.  “We need to put the

fire out,” he pointed out.

He took a stick and nudged the cauldron enough so that it spilled its contents onto the fire.  A puff of smoke filled the air, causing them both to cough at the whiff of herbs and something else that smelled burnt.  He began to doubt if she was really a witch after all.  It was likely she was dabbling in the arts because she was bored.  When she gasped, he turned, alarmed.  “What is it?”

She pointed to the mess he’d created with the broth and the campfire.  “I wouldn’t have done that if I were you.”

“Oh?  Why not?”

She opened her mouth as if to explain, then suddenly closed it.  “Never mind.”

“Fine, then.  Let’s get out of here.”  With a hand against the small of her back, he nudged her gently toward the path he’d taken to find her campfire.  “So, how long have you been dabbling in—”

“In what?  Magick?”

He wondered if her contrariness was borne out of the urge to make him more uncomfortable about the subject than he already was.  “Yes.”

“All of my life.”

He raised his eyebrows.  This woman was getting more interesting by the moment.  And for all he knew, she might be crazy.  “I see.”

“I doubt it.”

Not only was she sexy as hell, she was feisty.  He fought down the response of his libido to that deadly combination.  Perhaps she was a witch.  She would be nearly impossible to forget now that he’d met her.  “Maybe you could tell me your name?”

“You can call me Jessie.”

He grinned.  At least now he could put a name with a face.  Or a body.  “Well, nice to meet you, Jessie.  I’m Ethan Hamilton.”

“Good to meet you too.  What are you doing out here though?”

“I have a cabin not too far from here.  I was by the shore when I saw the light from the campfire.”

“Oh.  Sorry for disturbing your peace.”

“Believe me.  It was no bother.”  At least not if he didn’t want to sleep tonight.  His body was as hard as a rock, clenched in anticipation of what he could share with this woman if she let him.  And that wasn’t likely, considering her reception of him.  “We’ll reach the truck soon, I promise.  You’ll be home in no time.”

“Thanks.”

“No problem.”  He cleared his throat.  “Is there a reason I found you naked out there?  I mean, you lost your clothes somehow, right?”

The secret smile she gave him made his throat feel dry.  “Do you want me to lie?”

“Of course not.”

“The ritual was best practiced in the nude.  Skyclad rituals are very common, you know.  The Goddess tells us, ‘You shall be free from all slavery, and as a sign that you be truly free, you shall be naked in your rights.’”

He lifted a brow.  “Even if that were the case, you didn’t walk there naked, did you?”

“Didn’t I?”

Maybe she was crazy after all.

“I didn’t walk at all.”

He thought she might be saying that she was transported by magic.  Yep, she was batty as hell.  He was so not touching that one.  He cleared his throat again.

A sharp cry startled him and instinctively, he reached forward and grabbed her when she started to fall. Unfortunately, she ended up right in his arms.

Or maybe it was fortunate after all.  With her luscious lips so close, he could almost taste her.  And her scent…dear God, she was intoxicating, like a mixture of night air and jasmine.  “You all right?” he managed.

She nodded.  “My foot caught on a rock, I think.”

“Is it bleeding?”

“My foot or the rock?”  Her cheek dimpled.

He laughed.  “Your foot, of course.”

“No, I don’t think so.  It’s all right.”

“Good.”  He realized his mistake immediately.  Some strange instinct caused him to keep her close.  Stepping back would be a crime and she was seductive.  Knowing she was naked underneath his coat didn’t help anything.  She was way too accessible.  Heedless of the costs, he plunged a hand into the soft waves of her dark hair and lowered his mouth to hers.

She tasted like wine, potent and sweet.  He explored her mouth slowly, allowing her the chance to pull away or slap him.  He knew he’d deserve it.  He’d never stolen a kiss before, and he couldn’t think why he’d done it now.  But, she tasted delicious.  And her body felt so good against his.  He groaned and drew her closer.  When she moaned in return, he kissed her deeply and moved a hand down her back.  His hands wanted to roam further, but he held himself in check.  If he was a real gentleman, he’d pull away now.  Reluctantly, he did.

He drew back and tried to get his libido back under control.  “Ah…sorry.  I wasn’t thinking.”  He swept a hand through his hair.

He thought she looked just as shaken.  But she smiled a little.  “It’s okay.  No harm done, right?”

This is my first read of Magick & Moonlight. It’s the third book I’ve read by Marie Lavender, the others being Second Chance Heart and Blue Vision, which I also enjoyed. Lavender takes a hapless couple in a rural setting, stirs in some well-researched and rich details and sprinkles them with her gifts for romance, storytelling and language. The result is a delicious love story that will leave you satisfied, yet coming back for more of Marie Lavender’s works.

Buy Magick & Moonlight by Marie Lavender at Amazon or Solstice:

Universal Amazon:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00IRKN5P2

myBook.to/MagickMoon

Publisher:  http://solsticepublishing.com/magick-moonlight/

Reviewer Bio

Belinda Y. Hughes is an author, blogger, editor, proofreader, reviewer and unit study developer. Her vegetarian cookbook, Confessions of a Red Hot Veggie Lover 2, and lesbian romance, Blues in the Night, are available on Amazon. Her latest project, Unit Study: DERELICT by LJ Cohen, is available at Apple (iBooks), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Inktera and Kobo.

DISCLOSURE: I paid for this book out of my own pocket.

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adventure, Book Reviews, magic, NA, Occult, Paranormal, Romance, Time Travel, YA

BOOK REVIEW: MAYAN BLOOD (THERESA DALAYNE)

ebook-mayan-blood-draft-2a-2

If you like Harry Potter, Dr. Who, Back to the Future, Indiana Jones, Xena and Wonder Woman, you will absolutely love Mayan Blood! A band of teen superheroes, mentored by their leader’s uncle, travel in and out of time to Central America, Europe and more to battle the dark side for priceless artifacts and the fate of the world.

 

His breath hitched when she rested her hand on his chest. She shifted closer, her eyes searching his. “This isn’t a good idea.” She traced the curves of his muscles.

His heart raced under her touch. “I know.”

“Someone’s going to get hurt.” Her gaze landed on his mouth.

“Maybe.” He wound his arm around her waist and pulled her closer. Time wasn’t like the butterfly field. Rather than pushing him away, she curled her fingers around his shirt, her body temperature rising. He could smell the adrenaline coursing through her. The hairs on his arms stood on edge. “It won’t be you.”

She smiled softly, as if teasing him to kiss her. “It’s always me.”

He tucked strands of hair behind her ear, his hand lingering over her jaw. “It won’t be you.”

 

Mayan Blood fits several genres: young adult (YA), New Adult (NA), paranormal, romance, magic, time travel, adventure and then some. To me, time travel seems the most challenging to write, with cultural, legal, financial and personal preservation issues and shifting sub-missions between time-place combinations; methods, risks and rewards of time travel and the whole timey-wimey thing, but Dalayne proves herself worthy with this first book in the Stone Legacy series. She deftly weaves characters’ superpowers, personal agendas, relationships, roles in the missions, voices, wardrobes and weapons across time, place and situations, while remaining true to their unique identities throughout. And the villains! They’re in cahoots with each other, have grievances against one another, make deals and time travel with the teen superheroes to various ends. In addition, Dalayne intuitively drips information at just the right flow rate. I never knew who would do what to whom around the next page corner and was frequently surprised, especially at the fight scenes.

 

“The stone is not simply a rock. It is a miracle. A one of a kind gesture bestowed upon all Riyata by the heavens. Once you bond with the stone and become its guardian, it will be your soul mate. It will feel your pain, and you will feel its pain. When you are sorrowful, it will show compassion. When you are joyful, it will celebrate your happiness. It becomes a part of you, since you are, in fact, a part of it.” – Eleuia

 

Ohio author Dalayne has a knack for creating and solving problems for her characters. Not having a blue police box or flying DeLorean, the team addresses the issue of breathing during time travel by acquiring a primitive, yet highly effective and flexible, biological apparatus. If I told you what it was now, you’d never believe me. Sleeping arrangements are a constant question, between the teens’ attractions to one another, the need for protection against the villains, who strike in dream time as well as any other, cultural mores and seasonal considerations. Elsewhere, a girl warrior must deal with the ban against selling weapons to women in Victorian London using nonviolent means. There are also the questions of which two of the teens should go to the ball, how to get in and what to wear.

 

In honor of the engagement of Princess of Helena Augusta Victoria, Her Majesty the Queen Alexandrina Victoria requests your presence at the celebration ball. Mesdames and Messieurs holding invitations are invited to join. This event will be held at the Grosvenor Hotel, on the day of Our Lord, the 12th of December, year 1865.

 

Mayan Blood addresses sex, feminism and mental health in YA literature with a kickass young female team captain, chemistry between the teen characters, the boys battling the charms of a sensuous Russian witch and the main character Zanya’s humble Harry Potterish beginnings in the loneliness of an asylum orphanage, where she is misdiagnosed, misunderstood and truly does not belong, but was secreted there in hopes of keeping her safe from the dark side. Fortunately, it is there that she meets her best friend forever. Then, like dear Harry, the team finds her and the ride of her life begins. By the end of this adventure, you’ll feel satisfied, yet beg for the next installment, which is Interlude, already available at Amazon. Mayan Blood is a truly unique story fit for mothers, daughters, sisters, friends and YA lovers to read alone or together.

 

“My destiny? You want to help me fulfill my destiny…with a rock?”

“You are a natural-born leader, Zanya. You have a great responsibility, one that you must first understand, and then accept.”

Zanya laughed, mostly from nerves. Renato’s expression didn’t waver. She blinked and her smile vanished. “Oh, you’re serious.”

 

(DISCLOSURE: I am a member of Theresa Dalayne’s Street Team. Opinions are my own.)

Reviewer Bio

Belinda Y. Hughes is the author of Blues 2: The Colonel, Blues in the Night, Confessions of a Red Hot Veggie Lover 1 and 2 and Living Proof. She enjoys cozy mysteries, hot romances, aromatherapy bubble baths and hiking in the woods. Upcoming books include Blues 3: The Twins, a Louisiana lesbian military romance, in which Sam and Ace will take advantage of newly expanded MOS opportunities to further their military careers while trying to maintain their love lives. A new spa mystery series will begin soon.

 

MAYAN BLOOD Link List:

Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/I_6PC-AjhxA

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27777361-mayan-blood

Amazon Kindle edition: http://www.amazon.com/Mayan-Blood-Stone-Legacy-Book-ebook/dp/B018RT2350/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1451165918&sr=8-1&keywords=theresa+dalayne

Amazon Print edition:

http://www.amazon.com/Mayan-Blood-Stone-Legacy-1/dp/1680584294/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1451165918&sr=8-1

US: http://www.amazon.com/Mayan-Blood-Stone-Legacy-Book-ebook/dp/B018RT2350/

Canada: http://www.amazon.ca/Mayan-Blood-Stone-Legacy-Book-ebook/dp/B018RT2350/

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mayan-Blood-Stone-Legacy-Book-ebook/dp/B018RT2350/

Australia: http://www.amazon.com.au/Mayan-Blood-Stone-Legacy-Book-ebook/dp/B018RT2350/

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Blog Talk Radio, Free Books, Giveaways, Guest Posts, New Releases, Paranormal, Podcasts, Thriller, Zombies

Halloween with the Zombie Queen, C.M. Wright

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‪#‎Halloween‬ with the Zombie Queen, @CMWzombie, author of the Zombie Basics and Zombie Overload series. Tonight at 10P EST on Belinda’s Book Chats at ‪#‎BlogTalkRadio‬. ‪#‎zombies‬ #paranormal Guest call-in: (516) 595-8071.

NOTE: When you call in, please turn down the volume on your computer. Thanks. 🙂

UPDATE: Book or Tweet Giveaways during the podcast: #authorservices #books #beauty #health #WAHM

Must call in to be eligible for giveaways.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/belindahughes2/2014/11/01/halloween-with-the-zombie-queen–cm-wright

UPDATE: Completed show audio recording:

 Listen to my new episode Halloween with the Zombie Queen – C.M. Wright at http://tobtr.com/s/7060449. #BlogTalkRadio

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Cover Art, Free Books, Giveaways, Guest Posts, New Releases, Paranormal, Thriller, Uncategorized, Writing Technique

Guest Post: The Writing Life Broken Down (Rochelle Campbell)

Today’s guest blogger is Rochelle Campbell, author of Fury From Hell, a paranormal thriller about good versus evil. She’s worked for the New York Times and been published in Bartleby Snopes and Lit Art magazines. Rochelle is excited to reveal the cover of her upcoming third novel in this post, as well as sharing her personal insights on the writing process, mentoring writers and how to become a successful author. I have long admired Rochelle’s writing posts on Twitter, so if you want to see how irresistible, engaging tweets are done, be sure to follow her there, at her writing blog and at Goodreads. In addition, Rochelle is graciously doing a giveaway – 7 FREE copies of Fury From Hell, the first installment in the From Hell series! Be sure to enter and share this post with all your book friends. – Belinda

 

What’s your writing process?

My writing process leans towards the left brain once the idea for the story is formed.  However, the initial inspiration for a story is as it should be – very right-brained.

I tend to like a very detailed outline that uses six points.  They are:

            Beginning

            Introduction of Conflict

            Complication of Conflict

            Climax

            Resolution of Conflict

            Ending

 

I flesh out each of the six points with at least a paragraph, or two.  Then, I add a major dramatic question (MDQ) for the story and/or the main character.  This is what the book spins on.  In other words, the theme, or underlying current running beneath the story.  The MDQ addition was something I learned at the Gotham Writers Course I took this past spring.  My instructor, Michael Davis, eloquently taught us that we must give our characters strong enough reasons and inner conflicts to engage them and the reader.

After the crucial portion is written down I focus on the characters, their names and relations to each other within the story world.  This step will often dictate the setting and/or the environment that the story will take place in.

With all of this information, I then feel comfortable enough to begin writing.  With this method, even though I know a lot about the story going in, the story and the characters still move, ebb and flow all on their own, making the writing of the story fascinating.

Have you ever considered anyone a mentor?

My writing mentor is Jacqueline Lichtenberg a phenom in the world of scifi fan fiction.  Ms. Lichtenberg is a Hugo Award Winner for Best Fan Writer (1974), a Locus Award Winner for Best Science Fiction Novel (First Channel, 1981), she coined the term Intimate Adventure and is a Galaxy Award Winner Spirituality in Science Fiction for her second novel, Unto Zeor Forever.  I could go on and on including that Ms. Lichtenberg is the main author of Star Trek Lives! And she is the creator of the Sime~Gen Universe, a large vibrant fanfic community.

 

Are you reading any interesting books at the moment?

I just completed reading Deborah Harkness’ Book of Life, the 3rd book in the All Souls series.  It is a paranormal romantic thriller with aspects of horror.  To set the stage, imagine the world is inhabited by humans, of course, but in and among us are other creatures that blend in – or try to – witches, daemons and vampires.  There’s a Covenant the governs how these creatures can and should behave with humans and with human affairs.  This series explores what happens when the Covenant is disregarded because of greed, personal gain, jealousy and power.

Currently, I am reading a friend’s children’s chapter book called, “Grandma You’re Dead!”  It is the funniest premise – a 13-year-old girl is visited by her deceased grandmother who needs her grandaughter’s help to solve a 15-year-old mystery.  The catch?  The teenager cannot tell her mother anything, or ask anyone for help!  It is already shaping up to be a sweet read.

 

What are some of the best tools available today for writers, especially those just starting out?

There are a myriad of tools, software, books, journals and periodicals for writers.  For me, one of the best software packages for the creation of stories, and for help in structuring the story is Literature and Latte’s Scrivener.  You can create a story from start to finish using this program and brainstorm ideas with it as well.

The other ‘tools’ I find most helpful are the writer’s chosen writing implements: iPad, computer, pen and paper, laptop, etc.  Yes, I’m being facetious but a writer…writes.  The truly important tool is to find a supportive group of writers who can provide feedback on your work during all stages.  This group can help the new writer develop his/her voice and writing style while allowing the writer to express him/herself without prejudice.

Some great sites for a community of writers who can offer critique of your work are:

Zoetrope.com

WritersCarnival.ca

Wattpad.com

A writer generally develops more quickly when s/he has direct communication and connection with people of like mind.

 

What do you believe contributes to making a writer successful?

A writer is successful because s/he does not stop writing.  It’s as simple as that.  If you love writing, the act of writing, the thought of writing and all of the editing, formatting, grammar rules, punctuation and style usage best practices are all you think about then you are a successful writer.  You cannot call yourself a writer if you do not write or, if you do not read.  I suppose that is the philosophical answer.

The practical answer of what it takes to become a successful writer, in terms of dollars and cents (not, sense J) is a lot of work to develop your social platform.  These days, if you seek literary representation, you will be asked if you have a social media platform and how large it is.  While this may not be  a deal-breaker for most agents, it is a major factor.

On another note, if you are an indie writer and then decide to try to publish the traditional route, your indie book sales will be reviewed and taken into consideration of whether the agent, or the publishing company will want to take you on as a client.  If you book did not sell well, they know they have an uphill battle of creating a platform for you so you can sell books for them.

You can see ‘success’ can mean different things as a writer.  Ultimately, you have to define what you want, set your goals and then judge your success for yourself based upon what you wanted not what someone else wanted for you.

 

What do you love about independent publishing?

As an independent (Indie) author I have the freedom to tell the story I want to tell without having to worry overly much about fitting into a genre, or category.  I also get to choose which book covers will grace the front of my books.  For me, this alone is worth the extra work of creating a book worth reading!   (I hope! J)

Do you have any advice for other writers?

The only advice I can share would be to write the things that bubble out of you and slide through your fingers onto the page, or the screen.

 

Do not second-guess yourself.  Get that first-draft pulled together without any editing from your mind.  Once you have a full first draft, put it away and let it ‘rest’ for about 3 – 4 weeks.  Read other books, watch movies, go on vacation; do whatever but don’t look at your manuscript.

 

Once you’ve let the book rest, read through it with a red pen (or whatever color you’d like).  Adjust the story as you see fit and hen begin working on editing and revising.  Give to your writing group, or writing partner for critique before sending to an agent, or publisher.

 

FFH Author Pic2_Aug 2014

 

You’ve told us about your writing process, we touched on indie publishing and resources for writers but we don’t know who you are as a writer.  Can you tell us a bit about you?

 

I have been writing on and off for over 20 years.  To date, the off-writing portion seems to have provided fodder for the writing phase of my career as I currently have, five novel-length works in progress.  Early in my career, I did legwork for The New York Times and freelanced for a number of local and regional newspapers and magazines.  However, my calling – fiction writing – became apparent after my two-year writers’ mentoring course with Jacqueline Lichtenberg in the early 2000’s.  From that course, several short stories emerged that readers and fellow writers urged me to develop into longer works.

After a quiescent decade, story ideas abounded and are being developed and scheduled for bringing into fully fleshed out written form.

Along the way, two short stories have been published by literary journals.  They are

 

Chambray Curtains Blowing in the Wind

[http://www.bartlebysnopes.com/chambraycurtains.htm] and,

 

How Charlie Ray Saved My Life

[http://litartmag.com/issue2/story2.php].

 

Fury From Hell is technically my third full-length novel.  I have read that a writer’s first novel (the very very very first one written on parchment paper because you were in the kitchen cooking when the idea struck…) is rarely ever publishable.  You generally catch on by the 3/4/5th book!  That is, unless you have help.

 

 

Book Blurb:

Fury From Hell is a paranormal thriller about good vs. evil.  Here, the good is in the form of Detective Jennifer Holden, a homicide cop that is haunted by her own personal demons of a murder she committed when she was just a teenager.  The trauma she suffered at the hands of social agency after agency hardened Jennifer into a staunch atheist making her gun and her bank account the only things she truly believes in.

We meet Detective Holden, shortly before she begins working on her first solo murder case.  The victim is Kyma Barnes who was brutally raped and killed. As Kyma’s soul leaves her body, a demon being called by a coven of dark witches at nearby Prospect Park, is drawn to the dying woman by her death throes.  Fury Abatu offers to avenge Kyma’s death.  The price?  The dying woman’s soul.  Kyma gives it gladly to ensure the man who killed her pays dearly.

At the crime scene, Jennifer becomes possessed by Fury Abatu.  Hosts usually die a violent death within weeks of the initial possession.  Detective Holden does not know she is possessed…

With her own demise on the line, Jennifer must fight for her life and her very soul – something she’s not sure she even believes in – to rid herself of the dark force surrounding her and her friends.

Can Jennifer be saved from the demon?  Will she be able to find the faith to believe in something greater than herself and her material things?

Read this first installment of the From Hell series to find out!

 

Where can readers find you?

 

Blog:

http://thenotebookblogairy.wordpress.com/

 

GoodReads:

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3434531.Rochelle_Campbell

 

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/NotebkBlogairy

 

Where can readers purchase Fury From Hell?

 

US: http://www.amazon.com/Fury-Hell-Rochelle-Campbell-ebook/dp/B00NE24S2W

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fury-Hell-Rochelle-Campbell-ebook/dp/B00NE24S2W

 

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