Playing with power can land a girl in all sorts of trouble with her man, as six ladies soon discover. Whether she’s a witch who disobeys the no-magic rule, a fairy making lust cakes, an amateur sorceress casting a spell on her boyfriend, a victim of an enchanted necklace, a revenge fairy messing with a deity, or a pleasure fairy abusing her abilities…
Once they’ve experienced the sensual consequences of playing with their magical powers, can these ladies find their happily for now with a hint of forever? Or have they spoiled their chances?
Publisher’s Note: This steamy anthology contains elements of power exchange.
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Bitter Awakenings is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a fantasy, paranormal, and urban as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?
I think starting out, I had a concept in mind. I wanted supernatural elements in full swing and within a small town setting. As I wrote, however, the characters started demanding more elements be added as their individual personalities, backgrounds, and even locations dictated the overall direction and feel of the book. In the end, it made sense to combine a few genres based on the characters and the locations used in the book. The world of magic, as I found out through writing this book, tends to blur the lines between what we know, what we expect, and what is possible.
The supporting characters in this novel, I felt, were intriguing and well developed. Who was your favorite character to write for?
I liked them all, but I absolutely loved writing for Dusty. The mix of blood that flows through her veins makes for interesting interactions with her fellow Keepers. There are times when she’s sweet, then sour, bossy, yet vulnerable. You can sense her wanting to take charge and lead, but there’s a disconnect with her emotionally that shows up in the work, some funny, some not so much. She’s the perfect blend of “I know what I’m doing” and “What the hell just happened?” with the slightest dusting of, “Told ya so.”
The most enjoyable interaction between characters came from the conversations and situations Gordy and Niles had throughout the book. The back and forth banter of two men in love makes for some comedic moments between the more perilous scenes throughout the book. You just can’t help but smile and giggle whenever they get on lobbing one liners and can’t help but think they sound like an old married couple.
The world you’ve created is very detailed and creative. What was your inspiration for the background of your story?
Growing up I was an avid fan of comics and cartoons. Most of my favorites centered around “team” mechanics, like the Avengers, X-Men, JLA, Bionic Six, Dungeons and Dragons and many others. I enjoyed how everyone worked together to combat evil, but at times ran the show from a single perspective.
I also loved the aspect of witchcraft, the supernatural, and the unseen world. I quickly became fascinated by the massive amounts of information available on the subjects while supplying myself a healthy dose of horror cinema and books to quench my thirst. I switched between books and movies through my teen years when I learned, all too well, that ginger haired and fair skinned people do not fare well in Florida’s, almost constant, stream of burning sunlight.
I grew up in the South and among the cow pastures, orange groves, and lazy summer days of sweet tea and mosquito bites, I listened and watched. Most of the things I remembered, the people, the talks, the places all became inspiration for parts of my book coupled with my love of the supernatural and superhero worlds I so fondly remembered from my youth.
Bitter Awakenings is book 1 in the Keeper Chronicles. Where does book 2 take readers?
Book 1 set the stage when it came to uncovering secrets, opening the door for more drama, and introducing the world of the Keepers, but Book 2 will basically throw the curious head first into the magical rabbit hole.
Readers will get a chance to check in on Leesa amid the Utah landscape and how she’s been handling life with Lee and Myrna. An uncovering of a “friend” involvement that builds on the revelations in Book 1 will put Truddie Mae and Niles in the line of fire way out in the swampland of Louisiana. A ghost from the Keepers’ past makes a return visit that could spell the end for them all while a new Keeper joins their ranks in the most unforeseen way.
Expect more drama, more supernatural mischief, and more revelations as the Keepers struggle to maintain the veil while dodging a conspiracy to finish them off. Can they uncover the secret agenda meant to end them before it finally does?
It had been a quiet three years for Truddie Mae Watts, an almost immortal woman sharing the body of an eleven-year-old girl alongside an injured demon. As a Keeper, those chosen by the fates and granted supernatural powers to protect the veil between our world and the astral planes, she has grown accustomed to the tranquility of her home magically hidden away within the swampy wilderness along the outskirts of Dade City, Florida. That is until the veil calls out for her assistance urging her back into action and into the path of a sinister new enemy.
Something has breached the veil into our world. An entity that marks her and those she loves, for death. Driven by a ravenous appetite for energy, a craving for the occult, and a desire to end all of Keeper kind, it will stop at nothing until this world, her reality, is erased.
Now, forced to work alongside the tri-blooded Dusty, her adopted son and nature mage Niles, and Valda the snobby ice enchantress, they must race to stop this new evil that is hell-bent to destroy them and ultimately cause two worlds to collide that would unravel the universe.
Against all odds and against a ticking monstrosity of devouring evil, the Keepers must rally and protect not only their reality but also themselves before time runs out for them all.
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Imagine everything you know about reality. Now, throw it all out the window. That is the predicament Jack Griffin is in: trapped in a universe that isn’t his own, brought there against his will by some force of nature unheard of in his world and not understood in the world where he ended up. Here’s the good news: Jack discovers he has magical talent. Now he must use all the resources at his disposal – magic, wit, tenacity, and the little coin that he has – to find a way back to his beloved in his own world. But will he survive this new world? Gods exist, and so does magic. He is an outsider in a country that values nobility above all else. If you’re not from the right family and don’t have the right magical bloodline, you may as well be dirt on the boot heels of the nobles. It’s a different world, but some things just never change. Welcome to the new world.
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The Rashade tells the tale of Mara, a strong willed woman whose life mission revolves around avenging the death of her father. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?
My dad died due to medical mal-practice when I was 16. I was depressed and unwilling to talk about it. So I began to write. The initial thought was simple what if my character could get revenge. Then I began asking questions. Who was she? Who killed her father? Why? The more questions I asked and answered the more the story developed.
Not everybody in the story is who they seem and I enjoyed the progression of each character. What was your favorite character to write for?
My favorite character to write in this set of books is Mara. I created Mara to do everything couldn’t, she’s my extreme alter ego. I loved putting her in impossible situations and getting her back out again. Then there is her complicated personality. I think any time the character is a complex combination it is always more interesting and more fun to write.
The Rashade is a set in medieval fantasy type world that is very detailed. What were some sources that served as inspiration for the world you created?
Some of my favorite movies growing up were The Conan movies and Red Sonja. It wasn’t a surprise that when Xena came out I watched the series every week for years. Then in high school a friend introduced me to Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series. A short while later I found Dave Duncan’s Seventh Sword series in a used book store. The Rashade‘ seems to be a conglomeration of all those things.
The Rashade is the first book in the Chronicles of the Coranydas series and delivers an adventure filled with magical characters and valiant warriors. Where will book two in the series take the story?
There will be a few new characters and you’ll meet other magical races. Mara has a few roadblocks left in her path, one them being her mother. But I couldn’t let Laran get away with murder. There is going to be a war of blades and magic. Only the strongest will survive.
After her father was murdered before her eyes, Mara Coranyda traded a life of privilege, for one devoted to vengeance. Shortly into her quest to find the mage that murdered him, Mara discovered it wouldn’t be an easy task to accomplish. Not only would she have to find the magical artifacts to destroy him, but she would also have to raise an army to stop his conquest of her homelands.
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Magic, adventure and excitement. That’s what Danny Estes delivers with this novel, Charlotte’s Soul. Our protagonist, Charlotte, is a woman of mysterious origins who is seeking revenge on the one who locked her away. In the beginning, we’re not given a whole lot of information about Charlotte. We know she is a witch and we know she is bent on revenge. We also are aware that she is not quite from the era the book takes place in. Even the mention of her stay in a mental health unit leads the reader to believe that perhaps Charlotte is not of her right mind. However, all of this is blown away when Charlotte links up with detective Matt Huston and dazzles us with displays of her power. She is not an ill individual with delusions of grandeur, she is a powerful woman who is about to bring hell to those who have wronged her. Will Charlotte achieve her wildest dream?
Estes has crafted Charlotte to be a powerful example of femininity and sultry desires. She is a woman and she will use whatever tools she has at her disposal to get what she wants. This includes her body. While this may seem like a stereotypical example of a woman using herself, it ties in to Charlotte’s past and the events that have led up to the present in our story. Estes is no stranger to including sexual scenes in his books, however he is very adept at making these scenes flow with a sense of beauty. Unless called for, there is nothing crude about these acts in his novels.
While there could be some better editing in this novel, the overall story is articulately pieced together without fraying at the edges. There are some spelling mistakes, some blatant miswords that could have been corrected with a thorough read through by a third party. The story does not suffer for it, however, as these issues are few and far between.
Estes flexes his creativity with descriptions of magic and scenery in this colorful world. While explaining the system of magic, the reader can tell that Estes put thought into it. Research was most likely done when using examples that readers might be familiar with, like voodoo, so that it is as believable as possible. The magic scenes of action are not so overblown that it is obvious that this is a fantasy tale, rather they are realistically described in a fashion that if you met someone who claimed to be a witch after reading this story, you might just believe them.
Danny Estes is no stranger to the world of magic and adventure. His worlds expand and become more and more intricate as he hones his craft. Charlotte’s Soul is another feather in his cap of excellence. The shortened chapters make this an easy read and the pace demands that you read it in one sitting: it is almost impossible to put it down. Readers will become attached to Matt and Charlotte, wondering if either will achieve what they are looking for. Even as the tale wraps up nicely and Estes is about to put the bow on top, we’re left wondering if we’ll see more of Charlotte again. Honestly, this feisty witch could grace another novel for us any day.
Pages: 297 | ASIN: B00PZYYNKO
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Einstein’s Fiddle begins with a man abandoning his child on a doorstep of a stranger’s home; the rest of the novel seeks to reveal and understand this man. What was the inspiration for the setup to this emotional novel?
Like my first novel (A History of the World), Einstein’s Fiddle began as a short story. The story form was abandoned quickly – perforce, as soon as Davy abandoned Mitchell. The inspiration for the setup was a simple disturbing question that presented itself: What if someone – no, not just someone – a dad – left his baby boy on a doorstep? The image that first came to mind was of the proverbial unwed mother from earlier decades in this country – desperate, ashamed, alone, afraid, and apparently out of options. The obvious second question followed hard upon the first: why would any person – at least any loving father – do such a thing? And these were questions that led quickly to others – questions of personality, motivation and experience – and my poor powers certainly could not answer them, or sufficiently illuminate the depths of such a father (Davy Calhoun), in a short story.
Davy Calhoun is a multilayered character that is deftly developed. What were the driving ideals behind the characters development throughout the story?
The relationship between fathers and sons has been at the heart of my writing from the beginning. It was there in my early stories and my first novel, and it is at the center of Einstein’s Fiddle. The desire for his (or her) father’s love, approval, guidance and acceptance is deep in every child’s heart from the first breath. It is a ‘natural’ yearning and part of each one of us because God put it there. I wanted Davy Calhoun to be a character with whom we all (if we are honest about it) share common ground; and of course – like each of us – he has his own story, his own unique experience and narrative, which I hope makes the book singular and engaging. There are a number of fathers in the novel, all of them flawed and fallen in his own ways – and one particularly outstanding in his degree of fallenness; but my ‘ideal’ father in Davy’s story is the dad in Jesus’ story about The Prodigal Son, a parable which one of the characters in the book’s third section relates to Davy. Perhaps the one ‘driving ideal’ behind Davy’s development is best summed up by something a friend of mine has said more than once: “Love is the most powerful force in the universe – just largely untried.”
It’s hard to not get emotional when reading Einstein’s Fiddle. Did you pull anything from real life or personal experience to use in this novel?
I spent time in all the places where the narrative unfolds – Charlottesville, Washington, D.C., Chicago and San Francisco – and I used a lot of my experiences of those places (and the places within those places) in the book. As I imagine any author does, I created whole characters with pieces of people I know or have known. Whenever it worked well in the narrative, I used – call it stole, if you like – real-life stories that friends have shared with me over the years. In the last section, when Davy is in San Francisco, there is a scene near Pier 39, which completely replicates something that happened to a good friend of mine in New Jersey. It was a wonderful gift to me, and I gave it joyfully to everyone who reads Einstein’s Fiddle.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
The working title is Thomas, but that could change in an instant. I expect it to be much shorter than Fiddle…but that could change too. I don’t want to say much about it right now, except that it is about a life-changing relationship between a white doctor in Charleston, South Carolina, and the black man he hires to build a stable for his horses. You can safely bet that there will be fathers and sons in this book too…. I hope it will be available in a year or so. I’ve begun to work on it in my head, but I have yet to write the first word.
What kind of man leaves the infant son he loves on a doorstep in a strange town and drives away? With its present set in the summer of 1985 and its past reaching from 1950 to 1974, Einstein’s Fiddle is a dramatic examination of Davy Calhoun’s journey from home to the far country and back. The language and landscape of the novel vary between the existential and familial, tragic and comic, as the non-linear narrative – by turns realistic, lyrical, magical – focuses fearlessly on Davy’s fall, dishonor and redemption.
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The Rashade, written by Rebecca Tran, tells the tale of Mara, a purposeful and strong willed woman whose life mission revolves around avenging the death of her father. Mara is a trained soldier, a skilled fighter and is determined to find the man who murdered her father (whilst she was forced to watch), leaving both physical and emotional scars that haunt her nightmares. As she sets out on her epic adventure she will meet new friends, new enemies and finally face off with the evil mage Laran who has his eyes set on taking over her homelands.
The Rashade is the first book in the Chronicles of the Coranydas series and delivers an adventure filled with magical characters, valiant warriors and a determined young woman who has her eyes set on avenging her father. The story begins with Mara applying for leave through the High Priestess, who also happens to be Mara’s mother. Mara is a trained soldier in the League and hopes to use her time away to finally face the evil Laran.
The Rashade has similar tones to books such as Deltora Quest and Game of Thrones as the main characters set on an adventure where there are tombs, priestesses and sword fights that will leave the reader on the edge of their seat in anticipation. Epic battles crossed with a burning desire to destroy an evil man will mean the reader will be captivated until the very end.
Not everybody is who they seem and I thoroughly enjoyed the progression of each character as we learned more about their life through the unexpected relationships that develop. The characters come from a variety of backgrounds, ranging from soldiers to priestesses to mages- humans who possess magical powers and mysterious grey eyes. Romance, swordsmanship and magical weapons will intertwine into a plot line that is consistently entertaining.
Mara and Kess are friends who set off together after decisions made by the High Priestess. Kess is sometimes shy, sometimes brave and the reader will quickly begin to appreciate his ability to be there when Mara needs him most. But Mara is an independent and strong woman, and it was a breath of fresh air to read about a woman warrior, rather than the typical man going into battle.
The Rashade has elements of olden day romance with flirting consisting of showing ankles in a bar, arranged marriages and oaths that stand the test of time. The outfits, swords and horses will throw the reader into an era that was far before our time. It was easy to get lost in a world of fantasy and transported to a place where magic and priestesses exist and readers will be pleasantly surprised at how easily time gets away when you are lost in the pages of The Rashade.
I would recommend this to anybody looking for a fantasy novel with twists and turns that result in a heart-stopping conclusion. I look forward to reading the other stories in the series!
Pages: 425 | ASIN: B01N211HHR
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The media loves a good story, and what better than one of a sexy model, party girl, drama queen, and spoiled brat? That is Sabrina London, or at least that was Sabrina London. Now the starlet has settled down, quit drugs, gotten her life together, and is ready to move on. If only her family hadn’t disowned her, oh and did I mention she is a Fairy? Keven James Breaux has created another world filled with magic, ancient history, and modern drama. One Smoking Hot Fairy Tail is about more than just fairy’s, it has vampires, the undead, shapeshifters, and other magical beings. Sabrina’s dream of settling into a new normal and moving on with her life is interrupted when the creator of a new nicotine addiction drug, DUST, pursues her in an attempt to cut off her fairy wings. With the help of her otherworldly friends and one human Sabrina must attempt to stop Alexander Kintner.
Kevin Breaux sets the novel in Los Angeles, not too far into the modern future. Sabrina is a socialite with her bodyguard and friend Mira living in luxury, but she is unhappy. Her father disowned her after a video of her breaking into a laboratory and having sex with her boyfriend and vampire Cade made the media rounds. Vampires and fairies are supposed to be mortal enemies but love knows this not. Sabrina is still deeply in love with Cade. Sabrina’s other good friend is Moselle; Moselle is part of the ancient undead. The human involved in this unlikely group is Jackson, he works for Moselle’s father in advertising and he falls in love with Moselle, she feels the same way, their love is also forbidden under the traditions of the otherworld’s. The relationship dynamics of all the characters are complex and while the love stories are secondary to the action plot of dismantling Alexander Kintner’s DUST operation they are useful in learning the history and culture surrounding the otherworldly.
One of the great things about this novel, is the history. Breaux manages to weave into his story line ancient Egyptian mythology and facts. There is great detail presented into how the otherworldly are created and it is explained in a manner that is fluid to the story line so you don’t feel like you are reading a dissertation in the middle of your novel. It is told through personal experience of the characters and given a strong emotional component not just a sterile list of how to instructions. You really get to know the characters through these flashback memories and they advance the story line as well so you can better understand why some of the characters respond as they do. Breaux brings the reader into their world, he presents the information as deeply hidden secrets in the world of the otherworldly and emphasizes the dangers of this information getting out into the hands of mortal humans.
One Smoking Hot Fairy Tail is an engaging book that will leave the reader turning the pages to see what happens next. Kevin Breaux is able to tap into the reader’s emotions to draw them in and give them a real connection to the characters. Jackson the human in all this is relatable to many. His reactions as he finds out more and more about his new friends is believable. Breaux ends this novel with a cliff hanger leaving the reader to wait for the next installment to see how things continue. I think this is going to be a great series for Breaux.
Pages: 319 | ASIN: B01EB65RJM
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Book two of the Ialana series by Kaitlynn Brooke picks up right where book one, The Six and the Crystals of Ialana, left off. Because of this, it’s essential to have read the first book to understand the previous experiences of the six healers, and this review cannot avoid mild spoilers for book one.
Jarah, Tristan, Kex, Djana, Teagan and Adain take some time to rest and regroup. With the help of their friends, they head to the kingdom of Galon to continue healing the animalistic Trueni return to human forms. There are other survivors of the disaster and the remnants of Armafalus’ leadership vie for control. Blaidd is rescued by a beautiful woman named Branwyn who takes him under her wing to help rebuild the city.
When the Six get to Galon, they start their work. As they begin to heal the Trueni there, they gain the attention of a warlord as well as a shapeshifter and are forced to flee. With the help of their mentor Irusan, they run for home, hoping to find their families. To do so, they must journey through territory filled with dangerous, mutated creatures. Irusan has told them to find the Gardeners, who will aid and teach them. They also have an unknown ally—Queen Catrin of Galon—who is on a quest to find them before her husband does.
I enjoyed the first book and was happy to read the second. Katlynn Brooke delivers more exciting adventure for the Six. With Armafalus’ grip on power shattered, leadership and domination are up for grabs, and the scramble for political control is on. Several factions believe if they can find the Six, their abilities to use the crystals will turn the tide in their favor. It’s quite realistic, and the manipulative struggle for power on both sides is well done. When the Six find the Gardeners, their skills and understanding of both crystal and elemental power deepens, and helps them understand their place and role in this multi-layered world.
There are a lot of characters to follow, but most of them are so fleshed-out as individuals that it’s not difficult to remember who is who. When it comes to the healers, Jarah does most of the talking for the group, but I missed experiencing the story through the perspective of different characters, like Djana, Tristan, and Kex. Blaidd continues to be both a strong character and a catalyst for change, and while I know he’s a betrayer at heart, I couldn’t help feeling bad for him.
The end of this book is tense, action-packed and exciting as the forces of Anfawl, Galon, and the Six crash together in an inevitable conflict. The author delivers more twists and surprises that don’t disappoint and plants the seeds for book three. This series is shaping up to be an engaging high fantasy adventure that’s perfect for teen readers while being enjoyable for adults as well. I’d recommend this series for fantasy readers of any age.
Pages: 205 | ASIN: B00N42SCDS
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At first glance this novel looks like a story taken from the world of Tolkien, you have trolls, mortals, a mystical race of beings that live in the woods, talking animals, and a quest. That, however, is where the similarities end. L.J.Francis has managed to create in Horatio Hobbs and the Calimor, a magical world that will appeal to readers of all ages. Francis brings in some of the traditional magic and creatures that people come to expect in fantasy novels, such as the trolls and elf like beings, but he turns many of the stereotypes of these fictional beings around. Nothing is as simple as it seams in the sleepy town of Drinkwater and the feared forest of Shadowmere.
Horatio is a young boy about to turn sixteen. In the town of Drinkwater, sixteen is when you become an adult to the community. He was raised by his grandfather Theodore Hobbs. You learn in the book that his mother died during child birth, as for his father, well you will have to read the book to find out what happened to him. Theodore Hobbs is a master furniture maker, and excels in his craft. He is known far and wide for his skill and ability to create the perfect item. At the center of this novel is one of his works of art. The mayoral throne. Unbeknownst to Theodore, he has carved this throne from magical wood. The tree that this wood came from is also the source of a magical acorn, the Calimor, that is delivered to Horatio by a fox. This acorn has a magical and devastating story.
The epic journey begins with Horatio setting out with his pony Thomas for the mysterious woods of Shadowmere. These woods are dark, thick, and filled with magic. The Bloodeye trolls make their home in Shadowmere. The leader of the Bloodeye, King Bovik, hates the mystical race of Eldrin that live in a protected area of Shadowmere called Celeste. When word gets back to him that Horatio has something from Celeste and is headed there King Bovik decides he will intercept Horatio and get information from him on how to destroy the Eldrin. The Bloodeye’s pursuit of Horatio and Thomas lead them on further adventures and bring them into contact with several interesting characters. One character that I feel offers the most passion and heart is Krunger, the exiled Bloodeye troll.
Francis’s ability to portray the relationship between Krunger and Horatio speaks volumes. These two characters couldn’t be more different on the outside but inside share the same goals and passions. The transformation both characters must go through is immense and will pull at the reader’s compassion and provide a renewed sense of hope.
Overall L.J. Francis gives readers a new look in the fantasy novel realm. He turns traditional character rolls around and offers a brightened future for the lands he creates. The easy reading style and lack of extreme gore from fighting scenes makes this novel appropriate for young adult readers. The complex character development and unique plot makes it appealing for adult fantasy novel followers. This book leaves the reader with just enough questions to look forward to the second installment that L.J. Francis is currently working on, but offers a conclusion to the story line in this novel. A well written novel with the promise of more adventures to come.
Pages: 284 | ASIN: B01D1XNPOA
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