Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Review: Kenobi

Kenobi by John Jackson Miller

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Science-Fiction/Fantasy/Space Opera
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: Star Wars fans, those who enjoy space opera and are familiar with the background story line
Book Available: August 27, 2013 in hardcover, Kindle and audiobook formats
Trigger Warnings: violence, massacre of a group of raiders

My Thoughts: I have read a number of very good Star Wars novels over the years, such as the Rogue Squadron books, and the Jedi Academy. This was not among the best of them, but it was a fairly entertaining story. The main problem I had with this one is that the protagonist was too far into the darkness. I never felt like there was much hope of redemption, and I must prefer a more shades-of-grey situation to the dark vs. light that is fairly strong in this book.

Nonetheless, I found the book both highly readable and very enjoyable. One sees a more mature Obi-Wan than how he was presented in the movies Episode I through III, but not quite the venerable oldster we see in Episode IV. I would love to read more of the details from his point of view through the entire stretch of time. I would love to have a better idea of how he came to the ideas that, “Sometimes it takes losing everything to find the right path,” and, “... wise people never make desperate decisions.” I'm quite certain Master Yoda planted those seeds, and they were amply watered with Anakin's blood, but there are hints of other stories under the blanket about which I would like to learn more.

We also learn quite a lot about the Tusken Raiders (aka Sand People) and their thought processes and way of life in this book, which is really neat. I need to go to Wookiepedia and look up pictures of some of the aliens mentioned in this book so I can see them better in my head.

Those who aren't fans of Star Wars, or who haven't at least seen the movies, will likely be a bit lost in this book, but I enjoyed it quite a lot. I certainly made me want to go back and re-read some of the other Star Wars books sitting around here. If you're a fan of Star Wars and would like to spend some time in Obi-Wan's head and/or learn more about the Tusken Raiders, then check this very cool book out.

Disclosure: I received a paperback ARC from the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: In this original novel set between the events of Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith and Episode IV A New Hope, Obi-Wan Kenobi comes to the aid of the residents of Tatooine during his exile. But he struggles with his new mission when he realizes that protecting Luke Skywalker—the last hope of the galaxy—means setting aside his compassion and his Jedi warrior training, for the future of the galaxy lies not with Obi-Wan Kenobi, but with a mystical desert recluse known only by the name of Crazy Old Ben.

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

#Cover Reveal and #Giveaway @ValerieDouglasA: "Magic Bound" by V.J. Devereaux: Presented by the Finishing Fairies

Magic Bound - Book 2

Magic Bound by V.J. Devereaux (Valerie Douglas)
Homicide Detectives Rafaela Stratford and Sasha Gutierrez (Blood Bound) find themselves investigating a series of murders that seem to have been committed by paranormals. As a werewolf himself, Sasha knows that neither his people nor vampires were the killers, despite the evidence. Desperate for clues they turn to Rhian Lewis, the proprietor of an occult bookstore...and a witch. What she finds turns them all into targets..
Magic Bound is the second in THE BOUND SERIES, an erotic m/f/m paranormal read. In honor of the cover reveal the author is offering Blood Bound for 99¢ for the weekend!

She is also offering up a $25 Amazon Gift Card for one lucky winner! Who knows, you could win and get even more of Valerie's amazing reads!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Valerie DouglasValerie Douglas is the multi-published author of novels of fantasy, mystery, suspense and romance, among them, The Coming Storm series, Heart of the Gods, Song of the Fairy Queen, The Last Resort, Two Up and Dirty Politics. Under her pen name of V. J. Devereaux she's also the author of several well-reviewed erotic romances - Cherry's Jubilee, Special Delivery and Demon's Kiss. Valerie lives in the beautiful heartland of Ohio with her beloved husband, two dogs, three cats, and an African clawed frog named Hopper.

V.J. Devereaux on Goodreads  Magic Bound on Goodreads

Monday, July 29, 2013

@JTaylorPub @AlexNaderWrites #book #Cover Reveal: "Beasts of Burden" by Alexander Nader

Beasts of Burdin

Release Date: February 10, 2014
Target Reader: Adult
Keywords: Urban Fantasy

Back of the Book

Demon hunter Ty Burdin hung up his guns, knife, trench coat and fedora a year ago. Bags packed, hands washed of all demon politics, he’s done. Forever.

In fact, to get far far away, he dragged Nora, his rockabilly secretary, from Miami to the Tennessee mountains where he’s lived a life of peace—if peace can be defined as drowning in scotch and taking private eye jobs to keep the lights on. Jobs for real people. Not demons.

No demons.

He’s retired from that. Remember?

Demon hunters aren’t a dime a dozen, though, and when Ty’s brother asks him for a favor—just one—what’s a brother to do? Agreeing to take down one hillbilly demon shouldn’t take that long. In. Decapitate. Out. Favor complete. Back to the office where Nora and his bottle of whiskey are waiting.

Unfortunately for Ty, staying retired doesn’t seem to be in the cards, and an avalanche of bad luck draws him right back to an agency he despises and the career that nearly cost him his sanity.

This time, Ty has no way out and will have to face his own demons just to survive.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

#Book #Review: "Soul Trade" by @TracySharp

Soul Trade review
Author: Tracy Sharp @TracySharp
5 out of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Dark Urban Fantasy/Horror
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: Fans of horror and dark urban fantasy, those who enjoy stories about sellig your soul
Reading/Editing Dates: 5/20-22/2013; 5/28-30/2013
Trigger Warnings: murder, drug use and abuse, rape, attempted rape, assault, violence, child abuse and neglect

My Thoughts: This book was released in June, but I hadn't realized that. I certainly would have been singing its praises sooner if I'd known it was available! This book is a real humdinger of a story. When I started reading it, I had a difficult time focusing on the editing because I wanted to know what happens next? Things start fast and move faster and then start racing downhill and you better just move out of the way or hang on tightly, because it's a really wild ride.

Tracy Sharp has a real gift for description and characterization. Her characters are strongly built, and she provides just enough description to give you a feel for where you are and how things appear without going overboard. Her plots flow smoothly and her wording choices are elegant. I was very impressed with some of the things with which she came up to replace the few awkwardly worded sections I found in the first draft. When I received the second draft to review, I was awed by the excellence of her writing.

Also by Tracy Sharp:
If you like Tracy Sharp's writing style, see her other books.
The Leah Ryan Mysteries
Book 1: Repo Chick Blues, review linked here
Book 2: Finding Chloe, review linked here
Book 3: Dirty Business, review linked here
Other books
Spooked, review linked here
Camilla, review linked here
Contributor to Hearts Afire: October

Disclosure: I edited this book. I receive no remuneration based upon sales. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: What would you trade your soul for?

Robyn Blackwood is a jonesing junkie when she says she'd sell her soul for just one last fix. Then a dark stranger appears with a vial in his palm. All she has to do is take his hand.

When Robyn's last fix ends in her dying of an overdose, she doesn't expect to be brought back to life by an undercover narc who happens to be in the same park she's dumped in.

She's reneged on her deal with the devil, and he's sending out collectors. They could be anyone, and they will stop at nothing to ensure Robyn makes good on her bargain.

Unless she can find others who are willing to trade their souls for something they desperately want, the collectors will kill her. . . again. The devil charges interest. So just one soul won't cut it. Robyn needs to find others to take her place.

Can she trade enough souls to make Lucifer happy before his collectors find her and drag her to hell?

Review: Finding Chloe

Finding Chloe
Finding Chloe by Tracy Sharp

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Please Note: I read and reviewed this book in September 2011 from a copy I won in a giveaway. All opinions are my own.

About the Book: Leah Ryan is back in book 2 of the Leah Ryan Mysteries series. She is approached by a young man who says he is searching for his girlfriend, Chloe – Chloe was a stripper and has disappeared and he says the cops aren’t looking for her very hard as a result. He is afraid she might be dead, or worse. Leah, of course, can’t resist a challenge, so sets out to start investigating, although the thought that she is going into danger again causes Callahan to break things off with her. She turns to her old friend Jack, who helps in her investigations. However, almost right away, the threats start. Someone doesn’t want Chloe found, and they’re willing to kill to keep their secrets.

My Thoughts: This book has even faster action and more adrenaline than the first book; I didn’t think it was possible. Leah keeps moving forward at lightning speed, despite everything that is thrown at her to try to stop her. I didn’t notice any plot holes in this book, but there were a few more typos and missing words. It was still remarkably clean compared to a lot of other books out on the market today. Tracy Sharp has created some really compelling characters and I’m enjoying these books immensely. Book 3, “Dirty Business,” is next on my list to read. Highly recommended!

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Review: Dirty Business

Dirty Business
Dirty Business by Tracy Sharp

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Please Note: I read and reviewed this book in September 2011. I think the author gave me a copy for review, but I can't remember for sure. At any rate, all opinions are my own.

About the Book: In book 3 of the Leah Ryan Mysteries, three years has past since “Finding Chloe.” Leah and Jack have formed a PI company, and Leah has let Callahan move in with her. She and Jack have apparently dealt with some pretty nasty cases in the interim and they have just started back to work after taking a 6-month hiatus so they could heal themselves from the emotional stress. Then they get called in on a case where pregnant women have gone missing. During the course of their investigating, they learn of a cult where the leader of the cult is impregnating women and then, after the women give birth, they are being told their babies died. Leah and Jack figure there is black market baby selling going on. Cal can’t deal with the darkness anymore and leaves Leah.

My Thoughts: While this story was just as compelling and fast-paced as the previous two, the editing was not nearly as good. There were a number of misspellings, grammatical and punctuation errors, and out-right missing words. However, it didn’t take me long to get so into the story that I was quite willing to overlook them and submerge myself in the story. I’m quite impressed with these books and hope there will be more.

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Review: Repo Chick Blues

Repo Chick Blues
Repo Chick Blues by Tracy Sharp

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Please Note: I read this book in September 2011 from a copy I won in a giveaway. All opinions are my own.

About the Book: Book 1 in the Leah Ryan mysteries introduces us to hard-as-nails Leah Ryan; former juvenile car thief, now a construction worker. When her car is repossessed, she decides to try to get a job there; the owner, Callahan, gives her a chance and she quickly shows she knows what she is doing. On one of the first jobs, she rescues a mistreated Rottweiler, who is called Buddy, and takes him in. On another of the earliest jobs, she repossesses the car of the local drug lord and pimp, Brent Woodard, who then sets out to make her life miserable – she, of course, sets out to return the favor. By the end, she has contacted a bunch of her old friends and even her brother, recently released from jail after hacking into a government database, is involved.

My Thoughts: Fast-moving and high tension, this is a book to keep you reading through to the end. I really enjoyed it. There were a couple plot mishaps – most obviously when she first says her brother was three years old one year after her mother left them, and then later says he was four prior to her mother leaving – but they were minor enough to not reduce my enjoyment of the story. I already had book 2, “Finding Chloe,” and also picked up book 3, “Dirty Business.” I highly recommend these books to those who enjoy a kick-butt heroine. Great stuff!

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Review: Death Alarm

Death Alarm
Death Alarm by Douglas R. Brown

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Horror short omnibus
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: Fans of horror
Trigger Warnings: murder, assault, torture, kidnapped children, implication of children being abused and killed

My Thoughts: These are some super-creepy stories. Since these are short stories, there isn't much I can tell you without resulting in spoilers, but... if you like horror—I'm talking hard-core horror, not just dark fantasy—then you will enjoy these stories. The first story might be a ghost story, or it might not. The second story might be about someone descending into insanity... or maybe not. The third story, well. If you have children, especially daughters, this one will freak you out the worst.

I tend to really enjoy Douglas Brown's books, and the only reason this one is rated at four stars is the editing is a bit sub-par. For instance, “shutter” instead of “shudder” is used, and there are a few other issues. Plus that last story really freaked me out, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but... it literally left me a little nauseated. So, fair warning.

But, if you like horror... then this little book of shorts might be for you. Plus the first two chapters of Tamed (which I loved), so bonus!

Disclosure: I picked this book up during a KDP promotion on Amazon. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: From the author of Tamed and The Light of Epertase trilogy come Douglas R. Brown's twisted tales of the macabre. In this three-story collection, Douglas explores the devastating depths of mental illness, the evil that burns within men who kill, and angels who aren't always what they seem.

In the title story, “Death Alarm”, Douglas uses his real-life experiences as a career firefighter to explore the consequences when those who go to the rescue become those most at risk. When pure evil battles the noblest of professions, the blood will flow like water from the very hydrants that firemen use every day.

Following the title story is a psychological tale entitled “Janitor”. Working the nightshift in a run-down factory, Jeb quickly realizes he may not be alone. What does the man dressed in black want with him? And can Jeb keep his sanity long enough to find out?

Closing out the collection is a brutal story titled “Skelwaller Lane” where sometimes even the most horrible behavior can be justified if only you listen to how the true story begins. 

In addition, Douglas, by way of Rhemalda Publishing, has included an exclusive 2-chapter preview of his newest break-through novel, Tamed, where werewolves are sold as pets. Recently called, "the Jurassic Park of werewolf stories," Douglas is excited to give you a peek with this free preview.

In the Death Alarm short stories, Douglas grabs you by your arms.

And then he chops them off. Sensitive stomachs need not continue.


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#Book #Review: "The Infernal Detective" by Kirsten Weiss @KWeiss01

The Infernal Detective review
Author: Kirsten Weiss
4 out of 5 stars

See also my guest post from Kirsten Weiss, "The Magic of Salt".

Book Info: Genre: Paranormal mystery
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: fans of paranormal/supernatural mysteries.
Trigger Warnings: murder, assault, stalking, hints of human trafficking and slavery

My Thoughts: Well, it's been a great journey, and now I'm at the end. And I'm sort of depressed about that. I do hope this series will continue, but honestly? I have no idea if it will. But there are so many questions that are left unanswered, that I really hope they will. More details in my “about the series” section.

I absolutely adored Peregrine and Dot (and what little we saw of Livinia). Riga's aunties are an absolute hoot! I think it would be great to have a break-out series with their various adventures, and especially about Livinia, who I found the most intriguing. But I think those would be books I would very much like to read.

I was very bothered by Riga's attitude, especially at the beginning of this book. She's supposedly 44, but she was acting like an insecure 20-something in a lot of ways. It seemed out of character, which is why I've ended up only giving this four stars.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed the story a lot. And the series as a whole. If you like your mysteries with some paranormal, be sure to check out this series.

Thoughts on the Series as a Whole: Since I'm at the end of the series thus far, I thought I'd share some thoughts about it. Overall, I liked the series a lot. I was a bit disappointed that only the first book was set in San Francisco, but I did like the Lake Tahoe setting, and the smaller town atmosphere and casino added some interesting aspects that would have been missing in the larger San Francisco. However, there were a number of questions and plot threads that were brought up and never answered, or hinted at and never outlined, and I would love to see a book or books that would explain the following:
What is up with Riga's necklace? It is described as a “strange, twisted cross” but no further details are ever provided. How is it strange and twisted? What is the significance of it? How did she acquire it?

Details on her shamanic training with Sal and what went wrong there. What was the story with her running off with a “hot fae from the upper”? Why did she end her training? What happened in that infamous journey?

Why does Riga dislike the fae so intensely? What happened to cause her to distrust and dislike them so?

What is the full story behind her acquiring Bridgette and the death of that necromancer? How did she end up involved in the situation? There are so many mentions of this story it also feels like there was an earlier book that no one has seen, and it has driven me crazy the entire time.

How did she initially hook up with the Tarot and Tea ladies? There seems to be a larger story there that is never mentioned.

What happened in Afghanistan, really? Again, there are so many hints and mentions, but very few details. We know she went over there with some sort of relief operation, but then what happened?

Is Donovan still looking for Erin?
These and many other questions are really haunting me. So, to the author I say: start writing! Enquiring minds what to KNOW!

Series Information: Riga Hayworth Paranormal Mysteries
Book 1: The Metaphysical Detective, review linked here where formatting allowed
Book 2: The Alchemical Detective, review linked here where formatting allowed
Book 3: The Shamanic Detective, review linked here where formatting allowed
Book 4: The Infernal Detective, received from author for review

Disclosure: I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: When Riga Hayworth finds a dead body in her bedroom a week before her wedding, it’s par for the course. When the corpse drives off with her fiancée… that’s a problem.

Riga knows dead. More intimately than she’d like. So when a murdered photographer gets up and walks away, she’s believes there’s necromancy afoot. And when she discovers that several of her wedding guests are under the influence of dark magic, she’s certain. But how can she catch a killer and stop a necromancer when even her nearest and dearest are lying to her?

Murder. The undead. Irritating relatives.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Review: The Shamanic Detective

The Shamanic Detective
The Shamanic Detective by Kirsten Weiss

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Paranormal mystery
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: fans of paranormal/supernatural mysteries.
Trigger Warnings: murder, attempted murder, assault, betrayal

My Thoughts: While there were a few more editing glitches in this one, I was very happy to see that the author had corrected the misinformation about the Death card from Tarot. I was a bit annoyed by both Riga's and Sal's many too stupid to live (TSTL) moments. I mean, why do these people always do this? Oh, someone wants to kill me so I'll make it easy? Gheesh...

I had to admit, despite the fact that I mostly thought she was a brat, that I sort of missed Pen and her amusing T-shirts in this book. However, we did have Sal's family, who were very fun (despite the fact that one might have been trying to kill her), blunt and sarcastic and just very entertaining to watch.

There were a couple minor plot points that were missed in the editing process. First of all (and this is a very minor spoiler), why didn't anyone ever ask Sal where that box of chocolates came from? That might have solved the mystery right there. Secondly, when Sal and Riga were calling the corners, Sal specifically said she would take North, South and Center, and that Riga would take East and West, but after Sal called North, Riga immediately called South. Not only was that incorrect, but it was out of order. When calling the corners, one needs to go in order: North, East, South, West for a regular circle, or North, West, South, East for a banishing/widdershins circle. So that knocked a star off.

However, despite those issues, and despite Riga's and Sal's TSTL moments, I enjoyed this book a lot. I'm very much looking forward to book four, but disappointed that will be all (for now? I have no idea if any more are planned). Still, if you like your mysteries with a touch of the supernatural, then definitely check out this series.

Series Information: Riga Hayworth Paranormal Mysteries
Book 1: The Metaphysical Detective, review linked here where formatting allowed
Book 2: The Alchemical Detective, review linked here where formatting allowed
Book 3: The Shamanic Detective, picked up on Amazon during KDP promotion
Book 4: The Infernal Detective, received from author for review

Disclosure: I picked up a copy on Amazon during a KDP promotion. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: When Riga Hayworth’s lover is arrested, she’s determined to unearth the truth, no matter the cost. But life – and death – get in the way.

All Riga wants is to clear the name of her almost-fiancée, Donovan Mosse. But a death faerie has other plans for her, and Riga is forced to protect a shaman with a house full of murderous relatives. The only way to stop this killer is to figure out who he, or she, is before the next strike. As the two cases become entangled, Riga must choose between facts and faith, and decide just how far she’s willing to go for love.

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Review: Trials of Life

Trials of Life
Trials of Life by Junying Kirk

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Please Note: I originally read this book in exchange for an honest review after receiving a copy from the author. I later edited this book for the author. I do not receive any remuneration based on sales. All thoughts and opinions are my own. My review is based upon the original edition of the book, prior to having been edited by me.

About the Book: “Trials of Life” is the second book in the Journey to the West trilogy by author Junyung Kirk. Like the first book – The Same Moon – this is not the type of book I would normally read, but Ms. Kirk asked me if I would be so kind as to read and provide reviews for her books and I was happy to do so.

My Thoughts: “Trials of Life” was a much more difficult book than the first book in the series. While “The Same Moon” is focused on Pearl’s point-of-view exclusively, this book changes point of view frequently and without notice, which made it a bit difficult to follow who was “talking” to the reader. Adding the name of the person speaking at the beginning of the appropriate section would have gone a long way towards clearing that problem up. Edit: This was added into the next edition of the book. End edit Also, the bulk of the book has to do with a truly despicable person named Dick Appleton, and having to spend so much time in his head made me want to scrub my skin with pumice and then pour lye into my eyes – he was really awful. Of course, the mere fact that Ms. Kirk was able to provoke such an extreme reaction in me shows that she knows exactly how to create a character that is sure to stick in the mind of the reader. While there are some issues with grammar and proper sentence structure, Overall the writing style is excellent and I was duly impressed. Edit: Hopefully most of the grammar and editing issues were fixed when I edited the book.End Edit The main reason I marked off to only 4 stars was due to the voice confusion.

Overall I’ve found myself increasingly intrigued by both China and Scotland as a result of these books and would love to travel to both countries and have a chance to experience their cultures myself. I can recommend this book for those who enjoy a story about rising above and overcoming adversity – if that is you, definitely check it out.

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Review: The Alchemical Detective

The Alchemical Detective
The Alchemical Detective by Kirsten Weiss

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Paranormal mystery
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: fans of paranormal/supernatural mysteries.
Trigger Warnings: murder, assault
Animal Abuse: a cat is killed, a dog runs away to avoid the same fate

My Thoughts: So, this book is set near Lake Tahoe rather than in San Francisco, where Riga usually lives. I rather like this setting. It sounds like a lovely place.

I was very amused by several things in this book, but mostly Riga's sometimes silliness, like when she was looking around the office of a murder victim and didn't see anything, and thought this: “Well, what had she expected to find? A note from the killer jammed beneath the door? She checked, hopeful.” I was also amused to learn that Martin Luther strongly approved of alchemy, so I guess Lutherans can rest assured that the practice of alchemy is a-okay in their dogma.

The editing wasn't too bad—I have definitely seen much worse—but there were a couple weird things, like a door swagged with crime scene tape. What? Swagged? I think she must have meant swathed. Most of the problems I saw were details, aesthetic choices, and confusion over when to capitalize and not capitalize titles, nothing too terribly distracting or unusual or egregious. Plus I was extremely impressed to find the correct use of not only the term “magnate” (which I have seen spelled “magnet”) and mic (for microphone, not the commonly misused “mick”).

All in all, a great continuation of the series, despite Riga's too stupid to live behavior when she felt she had discovered who the killer was. At least she had a backup plan, but why do these people always go to face the killer with no weapons or additional people? Still, if you like mysteries featuring metaphysical/paranormal/supernatural elements, you'll like this.

Series Information: Riga Hayworth Paranormal Mysteries
Book 1: The Metaphysical Detective, review linked here where formatting allowed
Book 2: The Alchemical Detective, picked up on Amazon during KDP promotion
Book 3: The Shamanic Detective, picked up on Amazon during KDP promotion
Book 4: The Infernal Detective, received from author for review

Disclosure: I picked up a copy on Amazon during a KDP promotion. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: A psychic has been murdered in an occult ceremony and the police pay a visit to Riga Hayworth, metaphysical detective. But this time, she’s not a consultant on the case, she’s a suspect.

There’s a storm on the horizon. Riga’s lost her magic and has come to Lake Tahoe to recover and spend quality time with her new love. But life for Riga is never that simple. A psychic’s been murdered, and the police believe Riga has a connection to the crime. They’re right. And if that’s not enough, Riga is drafted as the host of a reality TV show about the local lake monster, and her niece is rejecting her metaphysical abilities. Juggling demons, daimons, and angry tarot card readers, Riga must catch a killer before she becomes the next target.

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Friday, July 26, 2013

Review: The Metaphysical Detective

The Metaphysical Detective
The Metaphysical Detective by Kirsten Weiss

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Paranormal mystery
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for:
Trigger Warnings: murder, assault

My Thoughts: I can't even remember how it was I heard of this series, but I had been collecting the books before I was ever contacted by the author to review the latest one. When I mentioned I was still missing the first as well, she was kind enough to send that along, too. So, a big thanks to Kirsten Weiss for letting me read this whole series in one swell foop! It's something I've been looking forward to for a good, long while.

Overall I really liked the story. I was especially amused by Riga's Agatha Christie impression when presenting the denouement to the Archetypes. I was, however, annoyed with the perpetuation of one of the biggest misrepresentations of Tarot there is out there, and that is that the Death card literally represents Death. Anyone who has seriously studied Tarot knows that Death represents change, often abrupt, sometimes difficult (but not as traumatic as that of the Tower), but only change. Depending on the other cards and the placement in the reading, it can also mean rejuvenation. It definitely does not mean literal death.

But that's a minor grip. Overall I enjoyed the story, and I really liked most of the character. I thought Pen was a little immature for being 17; I certainly don't remember being that disrespectful toward relatives (other than my parents) at that age. If Pen were my niece and she talked to me that way at that age, she's probably end up with a cuff to the ear for her troubles.

Nonetheless, if you like mysteries with a touch of the paranormal (and gargoyles—let's not forget Bridgett, because she's awesome), then you'll like this book. I'm very much looking forward to reading the rest of this series.

Series Information: Riga Hayworth Paranormal Mysteries
Book 1: The Metaphysical Detective, received from author for review
Book 2: The Alchemical Detective, picked up on Amazon during KDP promotion
Book 3: The Shamanic Detective, picked up on Amazon during KDP promotion
Book 4: The Infernal Detective, received from author for review

Disclosure: I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: When Riga Hayworth finds her new client, Helen Baro, dead, she smells a set up of metaphysical proportions. Now, to find a killer, Riga must travel from San Francisco to the underworld – and make it back alive…

Helen believes her husband is trying to kill her. One problem: Helen’s husband died in a car crash last year. Riga isn’t sure what to think. Is Helen mad? Is someone else trying to harm the woman? Or is this really a case of attempted murder from beyond the grave? But then Helen is found dead, leaving a strange haiku and tarot for a clue, and Riga is hurled into an investigation that threatens the detective and those she loves. 

A noir paranormal mystery based in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Metaphysical Detective explores the power of the archetypes through the double lens of tarot and Greek mythology.

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Review: Rogue

Rogue by Gina Damico

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Fantasy
Reading Level: Young Adult (the publisher rates this as MG, but I disagree)
Recommended for: fans of the series, dark YA fiction
Book Available: September 10, 2013 in paperback and Kindle format
Trigger Warnings: death, murder, violence, sexual situations

My Thoughts: This series has been becoming increasingly dark as it moves forward. And what a long, strange journey this has been. This was the final book in the trilogy, and it was heartbreaking and hilarious in turn. I'll admit that I laughed a lot during this book, but was quite weepy by the end. I especially loved Driggs's gallows humor, and Lex's as well.

I don't want to go too much into details, as I don't want to spoil the book, but I have absolutely loved this entire series, and I think a lot of other people will as well. Keep in mind that there is a great deal of violence, and some sexual situations and mild swearing, so I would monitor younger and more sensitive readers, but overall? Just a really enjoyable trilogy. If you've been looking for a slightly different take on the afterlife, if you enjoy dark humor and darker fantasy, then check out this excellent trilogy. The characters are great and quirky, and while it isn't always an easy read, it is always an enjoyable one. Check it out.

Series Information: Croak trilogy
Book 1: Croak, read and reviewed March, 2012, review linked here where formatting allowed
Book 2: Scorch, read and reviewed August 2012, review linked here where formatting allowed
Book 3: Rogue, available September 10, 2013

Disclosure: I received a galley paperback from Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: Lex is a teenage Grim Reaper with the power to Damn souls, and it’s getting out of control. She’s a fugitive, on the run from the maniacal new mayor of Croak and the townspeople who want to see her pay the price for her misdeeds. Uncle Mort rounds up the Junior Grims to flee Croak once again, but this time they’re joined by Grotton, the most powerful Grim of all time. Their new mission is clear: Fix his mistakes, or the Afterlife will cease to exist, along with all the souls in it. 

The gang heads for Necropolis, the labyrinth-like capital city of the Grimsphere. There, they discover that the Grimsphere needs a reboot. To do that, the portals to the Afterlife must be destroyed… but even that may not be enough to fix the damage. Things go from bad to worse, and when at last the fate of the Afterlife and all the souls of the Damned hang in the balance, it falls to Lex and her friends to make one final, impossible choice.

View all my reviews

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Book #Review: "Tales from Lovecraft Middle School" by Charles Gilman

Substitute Creature review
Author: Charles Gilman
5 out of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Fantasy
Reading Level: Middle Grade
Recommended for: fans of the series, fans of Lovecraft, middle grade on up.
Book Available: September 24, 2013 in hardcover and Kindle editions
Trigger Warnings:

My Thoughts: This is the first book in this series in which I have noticed any typos or mistakes. There were only maybe two typos, but it is said repeatedly that Glenn and Robert were on a fourth-story ledge, but all the pictures of the school in this book show only three stories.

I was really amused by this conversation:
Glenn turned to Robert. “What's more important?” he asked. “A stupid Valentine's Day concert of saving the world from an army of ancient monsters?”

When Glenn put the question that way, Robert felt as though he had no choice. “I guess saving the world.”

“I'll save your seats,” Karina offered. “Have fun.”

What amused me about that? Robert's extreme enthusiasm about saving the world... “I guess...”

It wouldn't be a Lovecraftian series without the mention of Miskatonic University and/or Old Ones, and to my delight we have both here. Of course, these Old Ones are a bit different than the reptilian forms we normally see, being more tiny little fluffy things, but that's okay. I'm sure there will be reptiles at some point, and we have already had the snake sisters in the second book anyway.

At any rate, I am enjoying these stories immensely. There are some major changes by the end of this book, and things are really starting to hit the fan, so I'm very excited to see there things will go from here. Unfortunately, there is no word about what comes next, what the next book will be, or what is going to happen. The Lovecraft Middle School website only has information about the first two books. So, I guess it'll be a game of wait and see. Still, I heartily recommend these books for middle grade on up. They're a lot of fun.

Series Information: Tales from Lovecraft Middle School .
Book 1: Professor Gargoyle, reviewed October, 2012, linked here where formatting allowed
Book 2: The Slither Sisters, reviewed January, 2013, linked here where formatting allowed
Book 3: Teacher's Pest, reviewed March, 2013, linked here where formatting allowed.
Book 4: Substitute Creature, scheduled for release in September 24, 2013.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: When a giant nor’easter dumps a blanket of snow on the village of Dunwich, Massachussetts, Robert Arthur and his friends find themselves marooned inside Lovecraft Middle School. The kids have no choice but to spend the night—while snacking on cafeteria food, sleeping on classroom floors, and facing off against a mysterious substitute teacher who may have a sinister secret. 

Lady Reader's Blog Tours "Green River" by Elizabeth Loraine @BloodChronicles Book Blast #giveaway

Aidan watched the girls cower on the bed as their father, in a drunken rage, beat on the bedroom door.

Drawn to the girls by some unknown power, he was irrevocably intertwined in their lives against both his tribe and his parents’ admonitions to “leave them to their own", but Aidan knew his mission was to safeguard Charlotte and Missy from the darkness that stalked them.

 In her new Shifter series, author Elizabeth Loraine draws you to the seamy underside of Seattle and to the lush forests of the Pacific Northwest as Characters Aidan, Charlotte and Missy explore their complex bond, the mysteries surrounding their separate cultures and a common enemy. 
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads 
I grew up in a small northern Minnesotan town married my high school sweetheart, had two beautiful children and as soon as we could we moved to a warmer climate. I have worked with my husband building and decorating custom homes for years.

After loving every kind of vampire book, movie and series since I was a child, I decided that I wanted to know more. I can write a book I thought, how hard can that be? wasn't as easy as I thought, but I stuck to it, and finished my first book Royal Blood Chronicles Book One in August 2009. I now have six books in the series and am about to release book two of my new series Phantom Lives.  

My parents always told me that I could do anything that I wanted, work hard, and do it right. I believe that, and live that every day.

I started writing this new vampire series for teens and their moms because I wanted something different to read. I was tired of all the modern versions of vampire books, there had to be more to these long lived beings. Where had they been, what had they seen? I wanted, no I NEEDED to know more, so Royal Blood Chronicles was born!  As in Royal Blood Chronicles, Phantom Lives features strong female characters and action and adventure mixed with romance, friendship and a historical backdrop. I hope you enjoy them.
Website |  Goodreads |  Facebook | Twitter 
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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Review: The Devil and Preston Black

The Devil and Preston Black
The Devil and Preston Black by Jason Jack Miller

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Dark Paranormal Fantasy
Reading Level: Adult (explicit sexual scenes
Recommended for: People who are obsessed with rock and roll, or music in general, those who are interested in stories about deals with the devil, be they real or metaphorical
Trigger Warnings: infidelity, alcohol abuse

My Thoughts: I picked this up free over two years ago during a promotion on Smashwords. I have wanted to review it to thank the author for the free read, but other things kept distracting me (ooh, shiny new book! Etc.). That's unfortunate, because this ended up being a really good book. I was jazzed when I finished.

There are parts that drag. I'm not sure everyone will stick with it to the end. But the ending is really worth it. A lot of my frustration came from two different sources. One was Preston's constant weakness, his continual giving in to Dani and his own self-destruction. The other was the way everyone seemed to come down on Preston about everything, whether it was his fault or not, which fed into his weakness because he would never defend himself. It was very aggravating.

I was also annoyed in many ways with Pauly. I have noticed it is common among alcoholics, or those attending AA, to assume that everyone who drinks is also an alcoholic, whether or not that is true, and to become overly sensitive to others' uses of alcohol. While it is true that Preston tended to overdo things at time, he was just acting his age, I think, not necessarily an alcoholic, so Pauly's calling him such, and urging him to go to AA, pressed some of my buttons.

Having experienced a Saturn Return for myself, and therefore learned extensively about them, I can say that Mick's wife was somewhat off. The Saturn Return occurs approximately every twenty-eight years, not twenty-seven. But the general idea behind it is correct. I believe what Preston is undergoing through a lot of this book is also a form of Saturn Return. As someone says in the book, he is learning to be a grown-up.

In some ways, this book reminded me of the novella I just finished editing, Thin Ice, the third in the Osh Kosh trilogy by Anthea Carson. Both books deal with a person spiraling down into depression, seemingly losing all ability to see anything positive around them, and losing their way. That's pretty much where the similarities end, however. Preston seems to at least be trying. I can't really go into how it ended, so as to avoid spoilers, but this is dark paranormal fantasy, not horror, so take that how you will. I really ended up liking this book a lot, and I think a lot of other people will. If you've been considering this book, stop considering and just read it. It's pretty good.

Disclosure: I found this book for free on Smashwords. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: You'd think finding a song named after you on an old record would be kind of cool. But that's not how it goes down for Preston Black. 

What starts out as a search for his old man turns into a quest for an original version of "The Sad Ballad of Preston Black". Turns out the song is about his deal with the devil, a deal Preston doesn't really remember making. 

When the devil decides it's time to cash in things get really interesting. People he loves get hurt, and Preston starts to wonder if a long fall into an icy river is his only way out. 

Lucky for Preston, he has help. A music ethnographer with connections in some of Appalachia's darkest hollows convinces him that his salvation can be found in the music. Preston can buy that. It's the hexes, curses and spells he has a hard time with. 

And it's the ghost of John Lennon who convinces Preston to do something about it.

View all my reviews

#Giveaway: Saga of the New Gods by Daniel Black @DanielBlack4you

To celebrate the release of his new book, The Death of Magic, Daniel Black is offering a giveaway!  For more information about this book, including links to book 1, Be Careful What you Wish For, check these links: review of book 2 (includes links to reviews of the two-part editions of book 1 I reviewed), and a release announcement.

This giveaway includes one grand prize of books 1 and 2 in e-book format, and three additional winners will receive an e-book copy of book 1, to introduce new people to the story. We hope once you read it, you'll want to read book 2 as well!  Winners will receive a coupon code to pick up a free copy from Smashwords.

So, sign up below!  And best of luck.

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Review: The Inquisitor

The Inquisitor
The Inquisitor by Mark Allen Smith

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My original review can be seen here.

Please note: I originally read in February 2012; just updating the formatting.

My Synopsis and Story Overview: Geiger has no memory prior to arriving in New York on a bus - he doesn't even know his name. He is, however, able to create beautiful creations through carpentry, and, as it turns out, he has another gift - he is able to tell if someone is lying. He is in the Information Retrieval business - he ... "convinces" people to tell the truth through various methods and application of different forms of pain. He has few rules, but one of the main ones is that he never, ever works on children. When a client shows up with a last-minute change in plans that includes a young boy, Geiger takes the boy and goes on the run. Will he be able to protect the boy and keep himself and his partner alive? Will he be able to discover the truth behind what the client wants?

My Thoughts and Review: This is a unique story with a unique protagonist. Geiger is not a terribly sympathetic person - he is cold, distant, detached - almost schizophrenic in affect. However, underneath the surface, something is boiling and the reader finds herself strangely interested in what is happening to this mysterious man. The other characters are as memorable, as quirky, and as multi-faceted as Geiger. The story was highly engaging and, while occasionally fairly violent, should be one that most fans of suspense and thrillers should enjoy. I'm going to give one spoiler, for those who, like me, worry about such things. The cat comes through just fine.

Disclosure: I received a free ARC of this book from the Vine program in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

Monday, July 22, 2013

Review: Thin Ice

Thin Ice
Thin Ice by Anthea Carson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just finished editing this book, and wow! I really loved it! I've now done all three books in this series. This one is already available, but will be updated with the changes I've made to it soonish, I think.

If you've followed this series from the start, now might be the time to go back and start over again. I think reading all three books right in a row will be the best way to go about really understanding what this series is all about. It's about the ennui of being a teenager, it's about how even the rich and lovely kids can end up completely screwed up in the head, and it's about how drugs and alcohol, if abused, can really negatively impact your life. I certainly have never had a problem with moderate use of either thing, but if they take control of your life, if you lose track of what you're doing - blacking out, in other words - then you need to stop and take stock of things.

This is book 3 in the Oshkosh Trilogy. The earlier books are:
[b:The Dark Lake|17310447|The Dark Lake|Anthea Carson||19133419], Book 1: My review here
[b:Call me Jane|16166392|Call me Jane|Anthea Carson||22011071], Book 2: My ramblings here; not really a review. I plan to re-read the group of them at some point and hopefully, looking back at them again, I'll be able to rate that one.

View all my reviews

Just released! "The Death of Magic": Saga of the New Gods, Book 2 by Daniel Black

Just released by Daniel Black is the second book in his Saga of the New Gods series, The Death of Magic. Today I'm mostly spotlighting this very cool cover, and letting you know about it.  My review is here (without spoilers) or here (with spoiler under tag).  I've linked the title above to the Smashwords edition; you can download an e-book in any format there. If you absolutely must buy it from Amazon, you can find that edition here.

I believe we'll be holding a giveaway for the first book in this series soon, if you haven't read it yet. My review links to the first book and my review(s) of it (since the first book was originally released in two parts).

If you played D&D and loved it, if you are a gamer of any kind, and would be interested to see what a world of magic would be like from a modern-society perspective... these books are for you. From my understanding, Daniel plans a total of 9 books, three trilogies, by the end of things.  I, for one, am really looking forward to them.  How about you?

Book Review: "The Death of Magic": Saga of the New Gods, book 2 by Daniel Black

The Death of Magic by Daniel Black

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Fantasy
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: Those who enjoyed the first book, can handle the trigger warnings
Animal Abuse: a cat is lost when his family moves away; he is captured by a budding young sociopath who tortures him. Explicit.
Trigger Warnings: rape, sexual slavery, sexual assault, slavery, murder, war, fighting, a form of self-rape.

My Thoughts: This book was very, very difficult for me to read. I love cats, so the things that Mr. Mephistopheles went through broke my heart. (spoiler removed). I also had a very difficult time with the horrible things that happen to Lucy with the minotaur, and with anyone captured by Chelsea and turned into a succubus. This is not an easy book to read. That said, I did like the book, quite a lot. It follows on well from the start of the series, and I think this is a series that will appeal to a fairly broad range of people, but especially those who are gamers, be it role-playing games like D&D or video games like World of Warcraft, since the so much of the world is based upon these fantasy worlds. I realize the story will not appeal to everyone, and that there will be people who will be unable or unwilling to read it simply due to the terrible nature of what is happening, but I found it very thought-provoking, and highly realistic. After all, so much of our world is based around violence, and so many of us escape into violent pastimes, that it is hardly surprising that so much of the world would turn into violence and horror under these circumstances.

I commented a few times while editing it, “You're killing me here,” but despite everything. I liked it. It's a strong story, and I see a lot of growth from this author. If this sounds like your sort of story, be sure to check it out. I've provided links below to Smashwords, if you would like a copy, and I'll be holding a giveaway for the first book probably within the week for those who don't yet have it and would like to start at the beginning.

Series Information: Saga of the New Gods is an ongoing series featuring a world where magic is brought back by an accidental wish. The first book was originally released as two, but then rereleased in a single edition.
Book 1: Be Careful what you Wish For: originally read the first part of this book for review, then edited it and the second half. My review is split between the two original editions, here and here.
Book 2: The Death of Magic has just been released.
There is a third book scheduled for this series, plus an addition two trilogies to complete the full set. I will be letting folks know as they are released.

Disclosure: I edited this book. I receive no remuneration based on sales. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: This novel is the second in the trilogy, Saga of the New Gods. Armageddon has come to the world, and populations reel and despair. Monsters roam the earth, destroying what they will, and all most people can do is hide, and pray that they will be overlooked.

View all my reviews

#Giveaway! Two separate #books by Nancy Griffis @NMGrif "Fluctuations" and "The Children of the Temple

So, it's a busy day on Now is Gone today!  Be sure to check out my other post, which also features a giveaway.  For this post, we're giving away two of Nancy M. Griffis's books (stalk her on Twitter at @NMGrif), both of which I edited.  We're giving away Children of the Temple, which is her historical paranormal suspense story featuring Knights Templar and demons and craziness galore, and Fluctuations, which is the first in her science-fiction/space opera series (link to my review of that one), featuring a huge space ship, an mysterious oddity in space, and craziness galore.  These are very different books, so at least one of them should appeal to each of you, and we're giving away three of each book, in the winner's choice of formats. They are both excellent books, and excellent stories, and I just know you will love them! Just to give you an idea of what each book is about, let me provide a short synopsis of each.

Synopsis, Children of the Temple :
In 1311, Laurent de Vichy burns alive in the flames of Templar persecution outside the Convent of St. Antoine, cursing God with his last words, only to be resurrected by an unknown power. Eight hundred years later, he still doesn’t know why he can’t die, but fights to protect the innocent against evil. 

Damian Costas, recovering addict and magic-wielding hacker stands firmly by Laurent’s side, even if he never really knows where they stand in their on-again, off-again relationship. 

Anna Maria Bracken lives a normal life - grad school, friends, family, and a post-college trip to ‘find herself’ - right up until her family is slaughtered, the walls of her childhood home literally painted with their blood. 

What starts out as a simple job protecting Anna Maria against a powerful demon turns into a quest for all three to stop the unleashing of something ancient and evil that the earth hasn’t seen since before the Old Testament... something that wants to unleash Hell on earth.

Synopsis, Fluctuations:
A state-of-the-art cruise ship with wealthy vacationers out for a thrill travels into The Fluctuation, a dangerous region of the galaxy where anything can happen. 

Rosaria, an heiress lacking a purpose in life; Ma’tha’skiyainashtra, a telepathic, feline alien on vacation before her diplomatic assignment to Earth; Bob, a sarcastic robot with a persecution complex; and Evan, a young stowaway genius in search of his parents. After a catastrophic event and mass evacuation, the four get left behind and trapped on the damaged ship with no lifepods.

Crisis after crisis strikes... shield failure, near-collisions, ruthless pirates, kleptomaniac aliens, sentient comets... bonding the new friends as they struggle to keep the ship running and themselves alive. When Evan reveals that he's there to find his parents who were lost thirteen years ago, they all decide to go deeper into The Fluctuation to find them. The danger increases, but so does the potential reward... reuniting a family.

So, you can sign up for one or both giveaways. This giveaway will run for a week. Good luck!

Giveaway for Children of the Temple
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Giveaway for Fluctuations
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The Finishing Fairies present: "White Chalk" by @PavartiKTyler Blog Tour! Guest Post, #Excerpt and #Giveaway

Welcome to the White Chalk blog tour!  Today we have a guest post by the lovely Pavarti K. Tyler, an excerpt, and last but not least, a giveaway!  So, be sure to go all the way to the end, check out all the goodies, and sign up for the giveaway!  Let's start with some quick info about the book itself.


Chelle isn’t a typical 13-year-old girl—she doesn’t laugh with friends, play sports, or hang out at the mall after school. Instead, she navigates a world well beyond her years.

Life in Dawson, ND spins on as she grasps at people, pleading for someone to save her—to return her to the simple childhood of unicorns on her bedroom wall and stories on her father’s knee.

When Troy Christiansen walks into her life, Chelle is desperate to believe his arrival will be her salvation. So much so, she forgets to save herself. After experiencing a tragedy at school, her world begins to crack, causing a deeper scar in her already fragile psyche.

Follow Chelle’s twisted tale of modern adolescence, as she travels down the rabbit hole into a reality none of us wants to admit actually exists.

Title: White Chalk
Author: Pavarti K Tyler
Publisher: Evolved Publishing
Publication Date: July 22, 2013
ISBN Paperback: 9781622532988
ISBN Ebook: 9781622532971
Audience: Adult
Genre: Literary Fiction
SubGenre: Coming of Age
Pages: 250

Distribution: Ingram

Here's the excellent Guest post!

Puppy Love or Obsession

I’ve written posts before about the first boy I fell in love with, the sweet wonderful boy who kissed me shyly on my bedroom floor after declaring his adoration for me.  I’ve also written about the amazing man he’s become and how proud I am to call him friend.

This post is not about him.

This post is about the boy who came before him.

I sat in the auditorium of Summer Art Camp (yes, I’m a nerd) and across the isle, 5 or 6 rows in front of me, sat another boy.  Tall and lanky, his black booted foot extended into the aisle almost daring someone to walk by and trip.  His hair was blond with the back and sides shaved.  It hung down over his face, hiding his profile from my view.  He wore black jeans, a tight black t-shirt and a mocking smirk.  When he walked by me to leave the theatre the scent of clove cigarettes wafted behind him.

I whispered to the girl sitting next to me “I’m going to fall in love with him.”

The camp was a busy place with hundreds of kids taking classes in acting, music, ceramics, set construction, and any other practical art skill you can imagine.  Through the crowd I watched for his thin frame.  I rushed from class to class, scanning the hallways, desperate to capture a glimpse of my punk rock Adonis.

I don’t remember the first time we talked.  It may have been a class we had together, it may have been lunch.  What I do remember are his piercing blue eyes, his sardonic smile and the defeated hunch of his shoulders.  I remember the first time he took my hand in his.  I remember the feeling of his lips against mine and the taste of cloves.

I began listening to his music, reading his books, hanging on his every word and repeating them to anyone who listened, like I was the mouthpiece of God.  In retrospect, I was never very good to him.  I didn’t listen to what he said, I didn’t see him.  I worshiped what he represented, rebellion and something all my own.

Over the years we continued to date on and off but never so much I would call him my boyfriend.  And my blindness to the person beneath all the affect meant I inadvertently hurt him over and over.  Because adoration and obsession are not love.

To love someone, you had to invest in them.  Their faults and their flaws, their secrets and the soft underbelly of insecurity they show only to you.  And in exchange you have to openly display your own weaknesses.  The strength of love comes hand in hand with its terrifying vulnerability.

So the thin boy with the beautiful lips was not my first love.  He’s one of my few regrets though.  In his own way, I believe he loved me.  He was a good friend, a solid presence who over the years never let me down.  He held me when I cried over other boys, kissed me when I flirted and always wanted me.  Not the me I pretended to be, the real me.  He defended me, always showed up when I needed him.  In many ways, he was my knight in metal spiked armor.  He even stupidly threatened to slash the tires of someone who was mean to me.

I wish I could have loved him the way he deserved, but it wasn’t meant to be.  We weren’t lined up for that: apples and oranges and so forth. 

The character Troy in White Chalk is in a small part modeled after this boy.  Certainly some of his physical characteristics are.  The opening lines of the book introduce the reader to the object of Chelle’s adoration. 

Troy Christiansen came for me.

I knew it the moment he first walked into Northwoods Secondary School. I watched, transfixed, as he glided right through the crowd of popular kids who hung out by the front door—like someone used to being ignored, slicing through the crowd like a ghost. He had a black Mohawk pulled tight into a ponytail, and smelled like cigarettes and delinquency. A black t-shirt and long-sleeved hoodie clung to his hunched shoulders.

Something about him looked so perfectly fragile.

He looked up only once and, by the smirk on his wide full lips, I knew I’d been caught staring. It didn’t really matter. I’d fallen instantly and obsessively in love, but not the kind of teenage drama crap you might expect. No, this was the real soul-wrenching kind of love. I’d never be the same again.

I’ll leave it to the reader to decide if her feelings for him are obsession or love.

About Pavarti K. Tyler

Award winning author of multi-cultural and transgressive literature, Pavarti K Tyler is an artist, wife, mother
and number cruncher. She graduated Smith College in 1999 with a degree in Theatre. After graduation, she moved to New York, where she worked as a Dramaturge, Assistant Director and Production Manager on productions both on and off Broadway. Later, Pavarti went to work in the finance industry several international law firms. She now lives with her husband, two daughters and one very large, very terrible dog. She keeps busy working with fabulous authors as the Director of Marketing at Novel Publicity and penning her next genre bending novel.

White Chalk (Evolved Publishing) marks Tyler’s third full length novel and promises readers familiar with her work the same mind bending experience.  Her other projects include: Shadow on the Wall (Fighting Monkey Press) and Two Moons of Sera (Fighting Monkey Press).  Shadow on the Wall has been received many awards: Winner of the General Fiction/Novel Category of the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, Winner in the Fiction: Multicultural category for The 2012 USA Best Book Awards, and Finalist in the Multicultural Fiction category for the 2012 International Book Awards.

White Chalk has been hailed as “brave”, “raw”, and “destroyingly beautiful”.  In line with novels such as White Oleander, Thirteen Reasons Why and Gemma, White Chalk invites you to witness one girl’s heartrending story of confusion and desperation.


Here is an excerpt, so you can have a bit of feel for the book.  I also thought this particular excerpt fit really well with the guest post.

Excerpt 3

Class oozed by. The assignment proved easy, but waiting for the inevitable knock on the door, or ring of the teacher’s phone, made the seconds expand exponentially. By the end of the period, I’d half convinced myself I should just go to the office and surrender, admit everything that happened and beg for leniency. But when the bell rang and the frenzy began to herd ourselves into the cattle drives called hallways I had mostly regained control of myself.

Except I never realized that the computer room was in the same hallway as high school English, and I didn’t know that Xiu and Troy were in the same class for fourth period. And I certainly didn’t have any clue about what greeted me when I walked out of my classroom.

Xiu leaned against the wall, its puce green tile doing nothing to diminish her exotic beauty. A languid smile played on the corners of her lips as she tilted her head up, listening to whatever perfectly fascinating thing Troy said.

He had one hand on the wall next to her head, his backpack dangling without fear from his shoulder. His other hand reached up grazed her cheek with the back of his fingers.

Her deep red lips parted in anticipation. Soft almond eyes drifted closed as she stretched her neck to meet his incoming kiss. His hair, pulled back in a dark stripe along the top of his head, shone in the florescent light of high school as he took her lips in his.

I dropped my bag. Stumbling back, I almost tripped over it. I fell along the linoleum floor until my back leaned against the cool tile. Speckles of light shone in my eyes while bile rose in my throat and a wrenching aching heartbreak shook through me, threatening to knock me down and steal my kidneys, selling them on the black market. They weren’t any good to me anymore. Who needs kidneys when your heart’s been removed with a grapefruit spoon?


Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide: The mission of the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide is to reduce the number of youth suicides and attempted suicides by encouraging overall public awareness through the development and promotion of educational training programs for teens, parents and educators.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Since its inception, the Lifeline has engaged in a variety of initiatives to improve crisis services and advance suicide prevention.

S.A.F.E. ALTERNATIVES®: Our philosophy begins with the assumption that, although temporarily helpful, self-injurious behavior is ultimately a dangerous and futile coping strategy which interferes with intimacy, productivity and happiness. There is no “safe” or “healthy” amount of self-injury. We also believe that self-injury is not an addiction over which one is powerless for a lifetime, people can and do stop injuring, with the right kinds of help and support. Self-injury can be transformed from a seemingly uncontrollable compulsion to a choice.

Self Injury Outreach and Support: As part of a collaboration between the University of Guelph and McGill University, we are a non-profit outreach initiative providing information and resources about self-injury to those who self-injure, those who have recovered, and those who want to help.


Baltimore, MD – Evolved Publishing is thrilled to offer the latest work from local author Pavarti K. Tyler, White Chalk, hitting bookstores everywhere on July 22, 2013.

White Chalk has been hailed as “brave”, “raw”, and “destroyingly beautiful” focused on issues of poverty, sexual abuse and self harm. In line with novels such as White Oleander, Thirteen Reasons Why and Gemma, White Chalk invites you to witness one girl’s heartrending story of confusion and desperation. 

Finally, the giveaway, and be sure to check out the other stops on the tour so you can enter there as well!
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Type of Stop
Top Ten
Guest Post - Puppy Love or Obsession
Guest Post -
Interview & Review
Writers Wednesday
Guest Post
Guest Post - Review