REVIEW by EN Blake: Gimme Some Sugar by Molly Harper

Lucy Brewer would never have guessed that her best friend, Duffy McCready (of McCready’s Bait Shop & Funeral Home) has been in love with her since they were kids. Fear of rejection and his own romantic complications prevented Duffy from confessing his true feelings in high school, so he stood by and watched her wed Wayne Bowman right after high school. Wayne had always been a cheapskate, so it comes as no surprise when he suffers a fatal accident while fixing his own truck.

Even as her family and friends invade Lucy’s life and insist that the new widow is too fragile to do much beyond weeping, Lucy is ashamed to admit that life without Wayne is easier, less complicated. After all, no one knew what a relentless, soul-grinding trudge marriage to Wayne had been. Only Duffy can tell she’s hiding something.

In need of a fresh start, Lucy asks Duffy to put his cabinet-building skills to use, transforming the town’s meat shop into a bake shop. As the bakery takes shape, Lucy and Duffy discover the spark that pulled them together so many years ago. Could this finally be the second chance he’s always hoped for?

Once again Molly Harper “writes characters you can’t help but fall in love with” (RT Book Reviews) in this charming and entertaining love story.

 

 

 

 

 

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REVIEW by EN Blake: Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs – Includes an Excerpt!

In this powerful entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling series, Mercy Thompson must face a deadly enemy to defend all she loves…

My name is Mercedes Athena Thompson Hauptman, and I am a car mechanic.

And a coyote shapeshifter.

And the mate of the Alpha of the Columbia Basin werewolf pack.

Even so, none of that would have gotten me into trouble if, a few months ago, I hadn’t stood upon a bridge and taken responsibility for the safety of the citizens who lived in our territory. It seemed like the thing to do at the time. It should have only involved hunting down killer goblins, zombie goats, and an occasional troll. Instead, our home was viewed as neutral ground, a place where humans would feel safe to come and treat with the fae.

The reality is that nothing and no one is safe.  As generals and politicians face off with the Gray Lords of the fae, a storm is coming and her name is Death.

But we are pack, and we have given our word.

We will die to keep it.

 

 

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SNEAK PEEK REVIEW by EN Blake: Myths and Mortals by Charlie N. Holmberg

Wall Street Journal bestselling author Charlie N. Holmberg builds her bewitching world of beasts and betrayal as the Numina Series continues.

Sandis has escaped Kazen’s grasp, but she finds herself unmoored, reeling from her thief friend Rone’s betrayal.

Kazen has been hurt but not stopped, and he’ll do anything to summon the monster that could lay waste to the entire world. Sandis knows she must be the one to stop him, but with her own trusted numen now bound to another, and finding herself with no one she can trust, she is in desperate need of allies. Rone seems determined to help her, but Sandis has no intention of letting him get close to her again. What she doesn’t know is how much Rone gave up to protect her. Or how much more he is willing to give up to keep her safe.

As chaos mounts, Sandis must determine whom to trust. After all, the lines between enemy and ally have never been less clear…and corruption lurks in the most unlikely of places.

 

 

 

 

 

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NEW RELEASE REVIEW by EN Blake: That Ain’t Witchcraft by Seanan McGuire

The eighth book in the funny and fast-paced InCryptid urban fantasy series returns to the mishaps of the Price family, eccentric cryptozoologists who safeguard the world of magical creatures living in secret among humans.

Crossroads, noun:

1. A place where two roads cross.
2. A place where bargains can be made.
3. See also “places to avoid.”

Antimony Price has never done well without a support system. As the youngest of her generation, she has always been able to depend on her parents, siblings, and cousins to help her out when she’s in a pinch—until now. After fleeing from the Covenant of St. George, she’s found herself in debt to the crossroads and running for her life. No family. No mice. No way out.

Lucky for her, she’s always been resourceful, and she’s been gathering allies as she travels: Sam, fūri trapeze artist turned boyfriend; Cylia, jink roller derby captain and designated driver; Fern, sylph friend, confidant, and maker of breakfasts; even Mary, ghost babysitter to the Price family. Annie’s actually starting to feel like they might be able to figure things out—which is probably why things start going wrong again.

New Gravesend, Maine is a nice place to raise a family…or make a binding contract with the crossroads. For James Smith, whose best friend disappeared when she tried to do precisely that, it’s also an excellent place to plot revenge. Now the crossroads want him dead and they want Annie to do the dirty deed. She owes them, after all.

And that’s before Leonard Cunningham, aka, “the next leader of the Covenant,” shows up…

It’s going to take everything Annie has and a little bit more to get out of this one. If she succeeds, she gets to go home. If she fails, she becomes one more cautionary tale about the dangers of bargaining with the crossroads.

But no pressure.

 

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REVIEW by EN Blake: The Hollow Crown by Diana Pharaoh Francis

The fourth exciting installment in the tumultuous world of Crosspointe 

After the murders of the king and queen, the island empire of Crosspointe is on the verge of chaos. The ruthless Lord Chancellor has taken the throne and made slaves of most of the royal family. Now, in order to sabe the country they love, the king’s heirs are determined to rally whatever allies they have left and overthrow the Lord Chancellor- before the Jutras invade.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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REVIEW by EN Blake: The Turning Tide by Diana Pharaoh Francis

Some dreams become nightmares . . .

An invasion is headed for Crosspointe, but three friends will find themselves at war long before the first enemy touches the shore.

One man will betray her.

Fairlie, a master metalsmith, is discovered to have a rare magical talent that could save Crosspointe from destruction. Against her will, she is forced to make a monstrous sacrifice. What happens next could tear the world apart.

One man will risk everything to save her

The future hangs in the balance. Everything depends on Fairlie. Driven to the edge of sanity and endurance, she must choose who will live and who will die.

One man will come face to face with his worst nightmare.

The enemy is coming to Crosspointe, but a worse one lurks within. As secrets get ripped open and truths are revealed, Crosspointe’s future looks ever bleaker.

 

 

 

 

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REVIEW by EN Blake: The Black Ship by Diana Pharaoh Francis

Banned from the sea by a vindictive master pilot and cast out of Crosspointe’s Pilot Guild, Thorn believes his life is over–until he’s conscripted to serve aboard the rogue ship Eidolon, which is pitch black, a shadow in the night, and sails with an unknown purpose.

Thorn finds himself pilot to a mutinous, wreck-cursed crew, taking orders from an insane captain, and battling not only the terrifying magic of the sea, but also a traitor to whatever secret mission the Eidolon serves. The saboteur is desperate to stop the black ship from making port even if that means killing every soul aboard.

Certain his kidnapping and duty on the black ship is no coincidence, Thorn must find a way to survive long enough to get the answers he needs. Who destroyed his life? And why?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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REVIEW by EN Blake: The Cipher by Diana Pharaoh Francis

In Crosspointe, surrounded by a dangerous sea, wild majick surges with the tides as do the fortunes of the royal family.

As a minor member of the royal family, Lucy Trenton’s ability to sense majick is one of her most dangerous secrets. But only one.A blackmailer knows the other.

Suddenly, Lucy is caught in a treasonous plot to destroy the crown, and she’s trapped in the tentacles of a desperate, destructive majick. Her only hope is ship captain Marten Thorpe, who–by every account–cannot be trusted. With time running out, Lucy must find a way to win a dangerous game or lose everything she holds dear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SNEAK PEEK REVIEW by EN Blake: Shadowblade by Anna Kashina – Includes an Excerpt!

A young sword prodigy must impersonate a lost princess and throw her life into a deadly political game, in this kinetic epic fantasy novel by the author of the award-winning Majat Code series

Naia dreams of becoming a Jaihar Blademaster, but after assaulting a teacher, her future seems ruined. The timely intervention of a powerful stranger suddenly elevates her into elite Upper Grounds training. She has no idea that the stranger is Dal Gassan, head of the Daljeer Circle. Seventeen years ago he witnessed the massacre of Challimar’s court and rescued its sole survivor, a baby girl. Gassan plans to thrust a blade into the machinations of imperial succession: Naia. Disguised as the legendary Princess Xarimet of Challimar, Naia must challenge the imperial family, and win. Naia is no princess, but with her desert-kissed eyes and sword skills she might be close enough…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NEW RELEASE REVIEW by EN Blake: Smoke and Summons by Charlie N Holmberg

A captivating world of monsters and magic from the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Paper Magician Series.

As a human vessel for an ancient spirit, Sandis lives no ordinary life. At the command of her master, she can be transformed against her will into his weapon—a raging monster summoned to do his bidding. Unlike other vessels, Sandis can host extremely powerful spirits, but hosting such creatures can be fatal. To stay alive, she must run. And in a city fueled by smoke and corruption, she finds a surprising ally.

A cunning thief for hire, Rone owns a rare device that grants him immortality for one minute every day—a unique advantage that will come in handy in Sandis’s fight for freedom. But Sandis’s master knows how powerful she is. He’s determined to get her back, and he has the manpower to find her, wherever she runs.

Now, to outwit her pursuers, Sandis must put all her trust in Rone and his immortal device. For her master has summoned more than mere men to hunt her down…

 

 

 

 

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SNEAK PEEK REVIEW by EN Blake: Glow by Aubrey Hadley – Coming July 16th!

The Maasai Mara Sleeping Syndrome has returned after a six-month hiatus.

This time, it’s popped up in New York, and it’s wiped out an entire homeless shelter.

The same night of the outbreak, Harper, a seventeen-year-old girl, stumbles across a glowing figure in the desert outskirts of her neighborhood.

As her suburb goes on lockdown, Harper finds herself isolated from her friends and family, and soon begins to suspect that the events—though thousands of miles apart—may have something in common.

Harper must find her bravery and embark on a plot-twisting adventure that will have her looking for answers in unexpected places… and worlds.

 

 

 

 

 

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REVIEW by EN Blake: The Girl in the Green Silk Gown by Seanan McGuire – Includes an Excerpt!

The second book in the Ghost Roads series returns to the highways of America, where hitchhiking ghost Rose Marshall continues her battle with her killer–the immortal Bobby Cross.

Once and twice and thrice around,
Put your heart into the ground.
Four and five and six tears shed,
Give your love unto the dead.
Seven shadows on the wall,
Eight have come to watch your fall:
One’s for the gargoyle, one’s for the grave,
And the last is for the one you’ll never save.
 
For Rose Marshall, death has long since become the only life she really knows.  She’s been sweet sixteen for more than sixty years, hitchhiking her way along the highways and byways of America, sometimes seen as an avenging angel, sometimes seen as a killer in her own right, but always Rose, the Phantom Prom Date, the Girl in the Green Silk Gown.

The man who killed her is still out there, thanks to a crossroads bargain that won’t let him die, and he’s looking for the one who got away.  When Bobby Cross comes back into the picture, there’s going to be hell to pay—possibly literally.

Rose has worked for decades to make a place for herself in the twilight.  Can she defend it, when Bobby Cross comes to take her down?  Can she find a way to navigate the worlds of the living and the dead, and make it home before her hitchhiker’s luck runs out?

There’s only one way to know for sure.

Nine will let you count the cost:
All you had and all you lost.
Ten is more than time can tell,
Cut the cord and ring the bell.
Count eleven, twelve, and then,
Thirteen takes you home again.
One’s for the shadow, one’s for the tree,
And the last is for the blessing of Persephone.

 

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REVIEW by EN Blake: Hotline to Hell by Emily Cyr – Includes an Excerpt!

THERE’S NO HANGING UP NOW.

Kayel Cleary is a phone sex operator. All she wants to do is get through law school, and if that means late-night phone calls with men who think she’s something she’s not, then so be it.

That is, until one of her long-time clients is murdered – and she hears it all.

Lathan only wants one thing: a seat on the vampire council. He’s worked his entire unnatural life for this moment, only to have it fall apart when his biggest supporter ends up dead. Now, Lathan has to find and work with the only witness. And she happens to be a phone sex operator.

Thrust into a world she never knew existed, Kayel must help Lathan find the murderer and stop the impending war, all while fighting her attraction for the undead man she loves to hate. If she can’t learn their ways and figure out who killed Marco, then she may lose more than just her life … She may spark a war that would spell disaster for vampires and humans alike.

 

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REVIEW by EN Blake: Shades Within Us Anthology Edited by Susan Forest and Lucas K Law

Recommended by Library Journal, School Library Journal, Booklist (American Library Association), and Foreword Reviews 

Journey with twenty-one speculative fiction authors through the fractured borders of human migration to examine the dreams, struggles, and triumphs of those who choose–or are forced–to leave home and familiar places.

An American father shields his son from Irish discrimination. A Chinese foreign student wrestles to safeguard her family at the expense of her soul. A college graduate is displaced by technology. A Nigerian high school student chooses between revenge and redemption. A bureaucrat parses the mystery of Taiwanese time travellers. A defeated alien struggles to assimilate into human culture. A Czechoslovakian actress confronts the German WWII invasion. A child crosses an invisible border wall. And many more.

Stories that transcend borders, generations, and cultures. Each is a glimpse into our human need in face of change: to hold fast to home, to tradition, to family; and yet to reach out, to strive for a better life.

Featuring Original Stories by Vanessa Cardui, Elsie Chapman, Kate Heartfield, S.L. Huang, Tyler Keevil, Matthew Kressel, Rich Larson, Tonya Liburd, Karin Lowachee, Seanan McGuire, Brent Nichols, Julie NovÁkovÁ, Heather Osborne, Sarah Raughley, Alex Shvartsman, Amanda Sun, Jeremy Szal, Hayden Trenholm, Liz Westbrook-Trenholm, Christie Yant & Alvaro Zinos-Amaro

With An Introduction by Eric Choi & Gillian Clinton

Edited by Susan Forest & Lucas K. Law

 

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REVIEW by EN Blake: A Time of Ashes by Ru Pringle

What do you do when the end of the world is at hand and not even a god can help you any more?

Before the Corruption came, Murrin Kentle lived in a world where the largest island could be walked across in a day, and humans traded and fished in bladeships made from the bones of the gigantic and bizarre sea monsters patrolling its stormy, bottomless oceans. As a truthkeep of the Brotherhood of the First Mind, it’s been his duty to fight the decay of knowledge with religious fervour. A fervour he’s increasingly struggled to maintain.

Before the Corruption came, Sheehan hahe Seeheeli was a carefree countess of the Shi’iin. Amphibious and matriarchal, her people have maintained an uneasy coexistence with the human scholars dominating the islands. Then an emissary of the gods brings news of an impending catastrophe. Now, she and Murrin must embark on a desperate voyage in the hope of salvation, although both the subject of their search and the path they must take remain stubbornly obscure.

Before the Corruption came, a wild young man named Coll grew up in a desert town, consumed by rage over what was done to his mother. His thirst for retribution will set in motion a train of events not even the gods could fully have foretold.

Now the Corruption is here, and nothing in Murrin’s world, nor any of the worlds of the Sundered Realm, will ever be the same.

 

 

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REVIEW by EN Blake: Fury by Rachel Vincent

Magic, fate and hope collide in the stunning conclusion of New York Times bestselling author Rachel Vincent’s acclaimed Menagerie trilogy…

1986: Rebecca Essig leaves a slumber party early but comes home to a massacre—committed by her own parents. Only one of her siblings has survived. But as the tragic event unfolds, she begins to realize that other than a small army of six-year-olds, she is among very few survivors of a nationwide slaughter.

The Reaping has begun.

Present day: Pregnant and on the run with a small band of compatriots, Delilah Marlow is determined to bring her baby into the world safely and secretly. But she isn’t used to sitting back while others suffer, and she’s desperate to reunite Zyanya, the cheetah shifter, with her brother and children. To find a way for Lenore the siren to see her husband. To find Rommily’s missing Oracle sisters. To unify this adopted family of fellow cryptids she came to love and rely on in captivity.

But Delilah is about to discover that her role in the human versus cryptid war is destined to be much larger—and more dangerous—than she ever could have imagined.

Weaving together past and present in this heartbreaking tale of sacrifice and self-discovery, Fury is the deeply moving finale to a series that readers won’t soon forget.

 

 

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REVIEW by EN Blake: Zero Sum Game by S.L. Huang – Includes an Excerpt!

Deadly. Mercenary. Superhuman. Not your ordinary math geek.

Cas Russell is good at math. Scary good.

The vector calculus blazing through her head lets her smash through armed men twice her size and dodge every bullet in a gunfight. She can take any job for the right price and shoot anyone who gets in her way.

As far as she knows, she’s the only person around with a superpower . . . but then Cas discovers someone with a power even more dangerous than her own. Someone who can reach directly into people’s minds and twist their brains into Moebius strips. Someone intent on becoming the world’s puppet master.

Someone who’s already warped Cas’s thoughts once before, with her none the wiser.

Cas should run. Going up against a psychic with a god complex isn’t exactly a rational move, and saving the world from a power-hungry telepath isn’t her responsibility. But she isn’t about to let anyone get away with violating her brain — and besides, she’s got a small arsenal and some deadly mathematics on her side. There’s only one problem . . .

She doesn’t know which of her thoughts are her own anymore.

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