Thursday, January 31, 2019

✱✱Book Review✱✱ Spell Crazy by Julie Leo


Spell Crazy
by Julie Leo


As scion of an old witching family, far more magical achievements are expected of Athena Gwyvern than she's managed so far in her moon priestess training at Avalon Institute in Glastonbury, England. She's failing, but if she falls in love her powers will grow strong.
When she botches a love spell and unleashes demons in Avalon, it puts the whole village in danger. The school magistra, Viviane, suspects Athena’s behind the turmoil and plans to prove it.
With help from friends Laurel and Sean, demon hunter Tak, and a dragon called Moksha who also slipped in, Athena must round up the demons and cast them back through the portal. Can she do it before they drive Avalon and the village to ruin, and worse, Viviane expels her?




Momma Says: 1 star⭐

The saying 'You can't judge a book by its cover' comes to mind with Spell Crazy. With such an eye-catching cover and an interesting blurb, I had high hopes for this book. Unfortunately, it doesn't live up to those expectations. It all starts with a love spell that goes sideways. When I say it starts there, I'm speaking literally - that's where it starts, and if it sounds like we're thrown into the middle of a story, that's what it feels like. From there, it's a lot of characters in need of development beyond their libido, rather simplistic dialogue, and a scattered storyline. For me, the most interesting character was the dragon, but that just wasn't enough to save this one. To be honest, I finally gave up and started skimming in hopes of finding something to catch and hold my attention, but the whole thing just fell flat for me, and I can't say that I'd recommend this one. 

❃❃ARC provided by NetGalley and BooksGoSocial


A Spell of Murder Tour and Giveaway


A Spell of Murder
Witch Cats of Cambridge Book 1
by Clea Simon
Genre: Cozy Mystery 

It’s Harriet’s fault. It’s always her fault, not that she’ll ever admit it.” So begins A Spell of Murder: A Witch Cats of Cambridge mystery, the first in a new cozy series that mixes feline fiction with a touch of the paranormal, and a little romance as well.


Becca, newly single and newly unemployed, wants to believe she has psychic powers. With nothing but time – and a desire for empowerment – she’s studying to become a witch. What she doesn’t know is that her three cats – Harriet, Laurel, and Clara – are the ones with the real power. And when Harriet – “a cream-colored longhair with more fur than commonsense” – conjures a pillow for her own comfort, Becca believes her spells are finally working. Could that be why Trent, the coven’s devilishly handsome leader, has been showing her special attention? Or why Suzanne, a longtime coven member, draws her aside to share a secret – a confidence that may lead to murder?





Chapter 1.

“It was Harriet’s fault. It’s always her fault, not that she’ll ever admit it.”
That was Clara’s first thought as she tried to settle on the sofa, flicking her long, grey tail with annoyance. As a cat, Clara wouldn’t usually have any trouble getting comfortable. That’s one special skill that all felines share. But even as she tried to calm her restive tail, curling it neatly around her snowy front paws, Clara, a petite, if plump, calico, couldn’t stop fretting.
Harriet was her oldest sister, a creamsicle-colored longhair with more fur than common sense. Still, despite the fluffy feline’s typical self-absorption, she and Clara and their middle sister, Laurel, had cohabited with a nice enough human for almost two years without any problems, until now. Until Harriet.
Yes, Becca, their human, had begun to believe she had psychic powers. Becca, who at twenty-six usually had more sense, was training to be a witch, as if that were something one could learn from books. But to the calico cat who now fumed quietly on the sofa, the petite brunette had always seemed a harmless soul—good with a can opener. Warm. Generous with her lap. And then, last week, Harriet—who cared only for her own comfort—conjured up a pillow.
“I was tired,” Harriet said, in that petulant mew that Clara knew so well, when asked why in the name of Bast she’d be so stupid. “Becca wasn’t even looking.”
“You could have moved!” her younger sibling hissed back, the grey whorls on her sides heaving with annoyance. “And she was!”
Harriet was taking up the sunny spot on the windowsill, as she always did that time of the morning, and Clara narrowed her mysterious green eyes to glare at her sister. Harriet was more than fluffy, she was immense, a pale orange marshmallow of a feline, whose furry bulk and predictable habits prevented her youngest sister from enjoying any of the solar bounty. Still, she probably shouldn’t have hissed. Harriet was Clara’s elder, if merely by a few minutes. As it was, the orange and white cat just shuffled a bit and turned her rounded back on her sister rather than responding.
Clara didn’t know why she even bothered asking. She already knew the answer: Harriet didn’t move unless she had to, and on a warm spring day it was easier to conjure a cushion than make the leap from the sun-warmed sill to the sofa, where Clara now fumed. The sofa where, it turned out, Becca had been trying out a summoning spell. And so now, of course, their hapless human believed she had pulled that pillow out of the ether.
Which was a problem because Becca belonged to a coven. Had for about three months, ever since she saw a flier in the laundromat advertising an opening for “Witches: New and In Training.” That was the kind of thing that happened here, in Cambridge, where the hippies never really went away. Since then, they’d met every week to drink a foul-smelling herbal concoction and try out various spells. None of which ever produced any magic, of course. None of the humans had the basic powers of a day-old kitten, and certainly nothing like Clara and her sisters shared as the descendants of an old and royal feline line. But now, Clara feared, Becca had become obsessed, spending every waking moment trying to reproduce that one spell, while Harriet, Laurel, and Clara looked on.
“Don’t you dare…” Clara muttered in a soft mew as Laurel sashayed into the room, taking in her two sisters with one sweeping gaze. Laurel was the middle one, a troublemaker and as vain as can be. Not simply of her own glossy coat—the cream touched with brown, or, as she called it, cafĂ© au lait—but of her powers. That she was plotting something, Clara was certain. As Laurel glanced from Harriet back to Clara again, her tail started lashing and her ears stuck out sideways like an owl’s.
“Why not?” Laurel had a streak of Siamese in her. It made her chatty, as well as giving her neat dark chocolate booties. “It’ll be fun.”
“It’ll bring more people!” Clara felt her fur start to rise. The idea of her middle sister meddling—and possibly adding more magic to the mix—made her frantic. “Don’t you get it? They’ll never let up.”
The black, grey, and orange cat—the smallest of the three sisters—didn’t have to explain who “they” were. That night, Becca’s coven would be meeting again at their place, which, to the three felines, was bad enough. Strangers, six of them, would soon be sitting in all the good seats, with their odd smells and loud voices. What was worse was that Becca would think she had to feed them, as well as brew that horrible tea. And as the cats well knew, Becca had no money, not since she lost her job as a researcher for the local historical society. 
“Redundant,” her boss had told her. “What with the budget cutbacks and the advances in technology.”
“That means they can get an intern to do a Google search.” Becca had sniffled into Clara’s parti-colored fur the day she’d gotten the news. Harriet might be the fluffiest and Laurel the sleekest, but Clara was the one Becca talked to. The one she had confided in months earlier when she found the book that had started her on this whole witchcraft obsession, a spark of excitement lighting up her face. She’d been researching land deeds, the scutwork of history, when she had stumbled on it, her eye caught by a familiar name—some old relative of hers who had been caught up in a witch trial back in the bad old days in Salem. Then, when she’d seen the flier by the coin machine at the Wash ‘N Dry, she’d been so exhilarated, she’d raced back to tell Clara, leaving her sheets in the drier. And now, without the distraction of her job, Becca had thrown herself into the study of magic and sorcery, spending her days in the library or on her computer, trying to track down the full story of that great-great whatever, and sharing her fears and, increasingly, her hopes with Clara.
Maybe it was because Clara was a calico that Becca whispered into the black-tipped ears of her littlest cat. Calicos had a reputation for being more intelligent and curious than other felines. Plus, that uneven look—a gray patch over one eye and an orange one over the other—made her appear approachable. Inquisitive. Becca couldn’t know that her youngest cat was often teased for her markings. “Goofy,” her sister Laurel said in her distinctive yowl. “Clara the calico? Clara the clown!” Recently, Harriet had taken up calling her that too.
Clara didn’t mind, as long as Becca kept confiding in her. The young woman didn’t really think her cats understood about her being laid off, but, in truth, they were all quite aware of the straitened circumstances. Not that Laurel and Harriet always sympathized. There was that one time three weeks ago that Becca tried cutting back on the cats’ food, getting the generic cans from the market instead of the tiny ones with the pretty labels. After wolfing down hers, Harriet had barfed all over the sofa. She didn’t have to. She was just making a point about what she considered an affront to her dignity.
Tonight, when Becca took credit for conjuring that cushion, Clara didn’t know what her haughty sister would do. Interrupt, most likely. Jump onto the table and begin bathing, if she had to, to be the center of attention. If she tried anything further—like pulling more pillows out of the ether—or if Laurel got up to her own tricks, Clara would have to get involved, she vowed with a final flick of the tail. And that, she knew, just wouldn’t end well.

Clea Simon is the author of "A Spell of Murder," the first in her new "Witch Cats of Cambridge" series. She is also the author of "World Enough," a rock 'n' roll noir, as well as the Blackie and Care series (most recently "Cross My Path") chronicling the adventures of the pink-haired Care and the black feral cat who loves her. In addition to these darker books, she is also the author of the Dulcie Schwartz feline mysteries, the Pru Marlowe pet noir mysteries, and the Theda Krakow mysteries, as well as three nonfiction books, including The Feline Mystique: On the Mysterious Connection Between Women and Cats.
The recipient of multiple honors, including the Cat Writers Associations Presidents Award, she lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, with her husband, Jon Garelick, and their cat, Musetta.




Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!





Demons Series Tour and Giveaway


Demon Mine
Demons Series Book 1
by Marina Simcoe
Genre: Paranormal Romance

They are big, strong and silent. Their faces are hidden behind masks and their bodies are enclosed in armor suits. They took me from my home in the middle of the night and have been holding me in isolation for months. I don't fully understand the purpose of my captivity. No one explains anything to me. No one even talks to me.


Nearly driven to madness with no more hope for freedom, I no longer care if I live or die.

And then he speaks to me. Just a few words . . . He throws me a lifeline and helps me find my way back to sanity. He becomes my only companion. My light in the darkness.

I suspect they may not be entirely human. What's worse is that he may be one of them. 

New Edition, 2018


Warning: Demon Mine is a paranormal romance with dark elements. It contains sexual situations, graphic descriptions of intimacy, and potential triggers. Intended for mature readers.




I was abducted one January night. Startled, I woke up with a leather-clad hand covering my mouth. I didn’t even get a chance to panic, my heart just dropped into an abyss and stayed there, frozen in horror.
There were two of them. They scooped me up as if I weighed nothing, and hauled me out of the bedroom.
I realized later that the alarm system I religiously armed every night before going to sleep did not go off. I had no idea how they got inside—the door was locked and my place was on the seventh floor of a high-rise building.
They opened the front door and exited into the brightly lit hallway as if they had no reason to worry about being seen by anyone. That was when the alarm finally blared.
The one carrying me threw me over his shoulder, and they ran towards the stairwell at the end of the hallway.
I couldn’t see much, but my mouth was now free. My heart exploded inside my stomach into a full-blown panic, and I screamed at the top of my lungs. I thrashed with all my might, slamming my fists into my captor’s back and kicking my knees against his chest. There were cameras, and I was hoping that somebody had already called the police.
Then I felt it—a cool sensation against my naked thigh. Darkness took over my mind, like a cloud of ink dissolving in water, and I passed out.
The last thing I remembered before waking up in my cell was being in the backseat of a moving vehicle. However, every time I’d woken up and opened my eyes in the car, someone would touch me plunging me back in the darkness again.

The Forgotten
Demons Series Book 2

I’ve been abducted, twice in as many months.

The world of my captors is a dark and mysterious place, but for me it also holds forbidden pleasures I’ve never experienced before.

Still, when I get a chance to run, I take it.

A rebel and a convicted criminal, he has spent most of his existence suspended between two worlds, in a state his kind call Deep Sleep. Nearly forgotten by all.

Until I disturb his slumber.

The touch of a demon awaken is always dangerous. And for me, it turns out treacherous in more ways than one.

I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN. LET THE SLEEPING DEMONS LIE.





Keller sat, stretching his legs in front of him. “Your situation is not normal. Women taken by this particular group don’t, usually, get to leave.”
“You mean I was supposed to stay here forever?” I balled my hands into fists to prevent them from shaking as dread trembled through me.
“Things have changed.” He waved me off. “Everyone is being released. All you’ll have to do is to remain quiet about what happened to you here.”
“Why would I?” I snapped. “Kidnapping and forceful confinement are serious crimes. So is sexual assault. Those responsible will have to be punished.”
“You’re not capable to bring any punishment on their heads, Kitty.”
“The police—”
“—know nothing about them and never will. Trust me. The best thing in your situation is to stick with the plan of your release, get back to your life, and never speak about this place or the creatures who populate it.”
Creatures?
“Why should I believe anything you’re saying?”
“I hold an official position with the Priory of Grimien.”
“Never heard of it.”
“And you never would have, under normal circumstances. The Priory is a secret organization. It was created with a sole purpose to gain and keep control of the . . . um, individuals who took you.”
“Well, you’ve been doing a poor job of controlling them then. How are they getting away with all of this?” My voice rose, as my patience thinned. “Who are they?”
He drew in a deep breath.
“They are . . . not from this world, Kitty.”
“What?”
“Surely, you’ve noticed some unusual things about them during your time here.”
“You mean besides them being perverts who like to watch?” I scoffed.
“Believe me, they can do far more harmful things than watching.” His gaze shifted back to the guards again. “They’ve been part of our world for over a millennium, and they had wreaked havoc during their early centuries on Earth, before we found a reliable way to control them.”
“Who are they?” I insisted.
“Demons.” He leaned to me from his chair, his voice low. “In flesh and blood.”
Was he out of his mind?
I shrunk back, all the way to the wall, worried for my own safety now, being one on one with a clearly insane man who seemed to honestly believe in demons.
‘Surely, you’ve noticed some unusual things about them.’
Their eyes.
The blood-red glow I’d witnessed once. The flashing blue lights I’d noticed on more than one occasion. Could there be a more sane, normal explanation to that?
“You don’t have to believe me, Kitty. Actually, it is irrelevant if you do or don’t.” Mister Keller leaned back in his chair. “All I want from you is your cooperation in keeping their existence a secret from the general population.”
“Why would I do that?”
I definitely need to get to the closest police station as soon as I’m able, to let the proper authorities sort this mess out.
“Because, really, you don’t have a choice. What good would it do for you to go public with your disclosure? No one would believe you. If you insist, you would be likely declared insane.”
“There is plenty of evidence of their existence. This place—”
“Is a private property with no complaints against it. I guarantee you will never be able to obtain so much as a search warrant for it. The Priory would make sure of it.”
“Why would any human organization cover up the crimes of these . . . demons?”
“This should not be of your concern. You will be provided a suitable compensation, appropriate counseling, and means to return to normal life as soon as possible. From this point on, our organization will guarantee your protection from the demons here.”
“How?”
“The Priory agreed to go forward with a more agreeable alternative to our previous arrangement with them, which was suggested by their Councils. By the way, you wouldn’t happen to have any particular affection for one of your guards?”
“What? God, no!”
“Good.” He turned to leave. “I’ll leave you rest then. Needless to say, there won’t be any more . . . um, nightly sessions.”



Marina Simcoe likes to write sweet and sexy love stories about characters who may or may not be entirely human. She firmly believes that our contemporary world could use a little bit of the extraordinary.

She has lots of fun exploring how her out-of-this-world characters with their own set of beliefs, values, and aspirations fit into our everyday life.





Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!






Release Blitz for Everything's Better with Kimberly by Lucy Eden




Title: Everything's Better with Kimberly
Author: Lucy Eden
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 31, 2019



Blurb

Kimberly Simmons is gorgeous, brilliant, and way out of my league. She’s definitely not the type to fall for a guy who walked away from his family's fortune to become an architect. Good thing, too, because she works for Wolfe Industries, making her completely off-limits. Nailing this pitch to Wolfe’s CEO is exactly what I need to make my bosses forget about the last time I mixed business with pleasure. Too bad she has the most beautiful brown eyes and dazzling smile I’ve ever seen. Too bad I can’t stop staring.

Adam Price is a talented rising star architect at Will and Peking Designs. His newest design submission for The Wolfe Industries Caribbean Expansion is set to dazzle my CEO. If Adam's design wins, with my help, I could get promoted, which means his big strong arms and gorgeous lips are strictly forbidden. It’s a good thing, too, because he has a reputation for leaving a trail of broken hearts all over Manhattan and I’m pretty sure I couldn't survive a second heartbreak. Too bad every word he says makes me smile. Too bad he gives me a sense of calm I haven't felt in a long time.

Keeping their relationship strictly professional for the sake of their jobs was the perfect excuse to stay away from each other. Too bad fate and undeniable chemistry have other plans…

This standalone, workplace/forced proximity romance features characters from the previous novellas Everything’s Better With You and Cherishing the Goddess, is full of alphas and steam, and has NO cheating.


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Purchase Links

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU






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Excerpt

“I’m sorry to interrupt you, but are you Adam Price?” It was his turn to be shocked and he smiled again.
“I am. How did you know that?” 
The Man-Whore. I was sitting next to the Man-Whore.
Just a guess.” I shrugged.
“Well, I assume from your sudden change of expression, my reputation precedes me.”
My poker face needed some serious work. I tried to plaster on a professional smile. “You studied architecture at The Pratt Institute for both undergrad and grad school. You’ve worked on an impressive number of international projects before becoming the youngest senior architect at Will and Peking Design. Now, you’re on your way to Barbados to pitch WP for a hospitality project for Wolfe Industries.”
“That’s pretty impressive and spot on.” He nodded appreciatively. “Who are you?” 
“Thanks,” I said with a nod, feeling like I’d dodged a very uncomfortable bullet. “I’m Kimberly Simmons. I work for Wolfe. I’ll be working with you on the pitch.” 






Author Bio


Lucy Eden is the nom de plume of a romance obsessed author who writes the kind of romance she loves to read. She’s a sucker for alphas with a soft gooey center, over the top romantic gestures, strong & smart MCs, humor, love at first sight (or pretty damn close), happily ever afters & of course, dirty & steamy love scenes. 
When Lucy isn’t writing, she’s busy reading—or listening to—every book she can get her hands on— romance or otherwise.
She lives & loves in New York with her husband, two children, a turtle & a Yorkshire Terrier. 


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✱✱Book Review✱✱ Dearest Stalker: Part 4 by J. S. Scott writing as Lane Parker

Dearest Stalker: Part 4  by J. S. Scott writing as Lane Parker  What happens when a woman falls in love with her stalker? I'...