Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Reaper by Lena North (Birds of a Feather, #5)

Reaper
by Lena North

My rating: 5 stars

Series: Birds of a Feather - Book 5
Publisher: FAB Books; 1 edition (February 23, 2018)
Publication Date: February 23, 2018
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy
Print Length: 335 pages
Available from: Amazon
Annie has secrets.

She takes a job as stable hand at Double H, but she's really there to let her unusual abilities help the group around Hawker Johns in their search for the man responsible for death and destruction - Cameron Strachlan. 

Abuse victim. Murderer. Lost boy. The devil. Annie has more reason than most to hate the man, but that is a secret too.

It's a surprise to find Olly at Double H, and nothing about him is like she'd imagined. Olly is hard and angry, and his eyes almost as black as the tattoos on his neck. She knows immediately that she's looking straight into the eyes of the Reaper.

As they spend time together, the Olly she thought he would be slowly begins to show again, but there are still doubts at the back of her mind... What will happen when he finds out? Can he handle her secrets?

Reaper is the fifth and final book in the Birds of a Feather series, a young adult/coming of age series with paranormal elements, full of laughter, mystery, and romance.

Reaper by Lena North (Birds of a Feather, #5)

ReaperLena North has fashioned a fabulous ending to the Birds of a Feather series with REAPER and trust me, it has all of the elements that drew me in from book one. We have secrets, yes, plural! Some will break your heart, some will make you smile and some will get your blood boiling. Annie has secrets and she isn’t about to reveal them until she absolutely has to as she comes to the Double H Ranch to add her own powers to bring down Cameron Strachlan and rid the world of another monster whose own dark past has made so many so miserable. She didn’t expect to have her heart stolen completely by the dark and dangerous Olly, someone she knew long ago as the REAPER.

Will Hawker, Wilder, Jinx and the rest of their group accept the secrets Annie reveals as truths? Her animal to call may not be avian, but with her own family’s talents, she is a powerful ally to have in the quest to bring evil to a screeching halt. She may also find secrets hidden from her that could bring her to her knees as losses come back to haunt her.

Once again, Lena North blends quirky characters and humorous moments into the mix proving that the nightmares of their shared pasts can be left behind as the future holds bonds that can only be strengthened. Let’s not forget love, the greatest healer of all as once again, damaged souls find exactly what they need to heal old wounds!

Written for an older young adult audience, but perfect for all ages who love well-written reading with touches of fantasy, bold characters who grow with each page as we soar into this world one more time.

I received a complimentary ARC copy from Lena North!


Fire and Bone by Rachel A. Marks Blitz and #Giveaway


Fire and Bone
Rachel A. Marks
(Otherborn #1)
Publication date: February 20th 2018
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
“Gossip Girl meets Percy Jackson in the glitz and grit of L.A….”
In Hollywood’s underworld of demigods, druids, and ancient bonds, one girl has a dangerous future.
Sage is eighteen, down on her luck, and struggling to survive on the streets of Los Angeles. Everything changes the night she’s invited to a party—one that turns out to be a trap.
Thrust into a magical world hidden within the City of Angels, Sage discovers that she’s the daughter of a Celtic goddess, with powers that are only in their infancy. Now that she is of age, she’s asked to pledge her service to one of the five deities, all keen on winning her favor by any means possible. She has to admit that she’s tempted—especially when this new life comes with spells, Hollywood glam, and a bodyguard with secrets of his own. Not to mention a prince whose proposal could boost her rank in the Otherworld.
As loyalties shift, and as the two men vie for her attention, Sage tries to figure out who to trust in a realm she doesn’t understand. One thing’s for sure: the trap she’s in has bigger claws than she thought. And it’s going to take a lot more than magic for this Celtic demigoddess to make it out alive.
EXCERPT:
LILY
I try to hide my shivering as I wait before the altar, in my position as the Bonding begins. Around me, shadows dance over the cairn walls from the restless flames licking up the ram’s body—the sacrifice on the pyre behind me—and the smell of sweat and burnt flesh smother the smoky air.
The King of Ravens paints an alarming image, standing almost naked across from me on the other side of the blood circle. He wears the corona radiata, the golden laurel-leafed crown, on his head of onyx hair. His short beard is neatly trimmed, combed with lavender oil for the ceremony. His sharp silver eyes study me beneath a heavy brow.
I try not to think about the past. Or future. I try not to think about what those hard hands will feel like on my skin when he seals this Bond.
I study the stone floor rather than look in those metallic eyes. I feel them on me, though, the same way they have been for the fortnight I’ve been here preparing for the ceremony. He hasn’t touched me; he’s only brought me gifts and insisted I sit with him beside the greatfire in the evening before he goes out for his hunt. Sometimes I smell him in the hallway outside my rooms. But he never comes in, thank the goddess. The scent of blood is heavy on him in those moments. I’m not sure what I would’ve done if he’d attempted anything.
After this is done, it won’t matter. My bed will be his. As will my life.
A druid walks back and forth behind me, tossing rosemary and lavender onto the pyre after each stanza of his spell. He calls to the wind from the east, he calls to the waters in the west, and he pulls the spirit of flame and earth into the cairn with us, asking the Penta to approve the Bond set to be made between the two most powerful Houses, as he pleads for a blessing from our mothers, Brighid and MorrĂ­gan, and thanks the Cast for their permission to seal the Bond between the two very different powers.
A female druid comes to my side with bowl and brush, beginning to paint my skin in blue woad, tracing patterns of knots and runes across my back, then baring my chest and continuing.
The king’s gaze follows the woman’s strokes, and when she’s finished, he raises his chin at me in approval but says nothing. What does he see when he looks at me? My wild copper hair? My simple features? The awkward birthmark just above my heart? I’m round of cheek and hips and not much of a beauty. But however I look to him, I will belong to him.
Determination is set in hard lines on his face, and I wonder if the torque on his neck is working properly. I can see his dark energy lifting in silver and black curls over his shoulders now. It should be tight inside his skin, as mine is. The iron shackle should be holding it in place so that we don’t harm each other in the first merging, before we can get used to the feel of each other’s powers.
The female druid moves to the king next and begins painting the woad in circles over his torso. The druid chanting behind me recites the final section of his spell, walking the ram’s-blood circle painted on the floor. He holds a rowan stick aloft, flicking rosewater over the king and then me as he passes by, mumbling, “A price paid, a covenant sealed, in earth and blood and ash, in spirit and flesh and fire.”
The price is my will, my soul, in payment for the life of the human prince that I took.
In the center of the circle, between the king and me, is an altar with two bowls set atop, one full of salt, one full of rye.
The iron union dagger rests between them.
I stare at it, imagining the blade cutting into my flesh. And I can’t help when my gaze moves to the king. I want to blink and make this moment a dream, perhaps find myself in the thicket with Lailoken, among the bluebells in the Caledonian wood.
I should run from this son of MorrĂ­gan, deny him, deny our mothers, and let the world burn. But my heart twists at the thought. I was running from duty when fate took my heart from me, when the prince succumbed to my fire’s will. It was the childish notion of freedom that tore him from me.
Now it’s time to accept my punishment for allowing the humans to glimpse our world. Time to atone.
The druid’s voice fills the room again. “When moon gives birth to stars,” he says, in a droning hum, flicking more rosewater over us with the rowan stick, “let this Bond be sealed in blood.”
My skin prickles with fear as the king takes the cue, reaching out to pick up the ceremonial dagger by the leather-wrapped hilt. I focus on not moving, not making a sound, as I watch him bring the blade to his chest, tip pricking his left breast. A drop of crimson pearls up at the spot.
With a slow hiss of breath, he cuts across.
Dark blood slides down his abdomen in a thick swath of red. “My blood with yours,” he says. And he turns the knife, holding out the hilt for me.
My hands clench into fists at my side, and I force my shaking limbs to still.
I breathe in slowly again. Then I reach out, taking the ceremonial dagger from him, careful not to touch his fingers.
I pretend not to care about the cage I’m about to be locked in. About the pain in my soul from loss, from the goddess Brighid abandoning me to this darkness, pain from the reality of everything in front of me.
I press the tip of the blade to the center of my chest, the point breaking the skin. I look into the silver eyes of the king in front of me. And consider my fate.
One deep plunge to the heart and the pain will end. One plunge.
One.


Author Bio:
Rachel A. Marks is a cancer survivor, a writer and artist, a surfer and dirt-bike rider, chocolate lover and keeper of faerie secrets. Her four kids and amazing hubby put up with her nerdiness with tremendous grace, even when she makes them watch Buffy or Smallville re-runs for days on end. She was voted: Most Likely To Survive A Zombie Apocalypse, but hopes she'll never have to test the theory.

GIVEAWAY!

$20 Amazon gift card 
+ print copy of Fire and Bone
Ends March 1, 2018

XBTBanner1

Son of Saint by Kailee Reese Samuels #Release & #Giveaway

Title: Son of Saint
Author: Kailee Reese Samuels 
Genre: Dark Fiction
Release Date: February 14, 2018 
An old lady from Delirium.
The president from Reckless Rebellion.
Merge. Between the sheets. One hot affair.
An unexpected pregnancy.
And the birth of a son torn between two clubs.
To be a ruthless outlaw or a charming gentleman, Deacon Cruz ignites a reaction everywhere he turns. From his childhood with his mother, Trudy, to running away at sixteen, he remains allied to both good and evil with his own brand of spiritual wickedness. His mother built him and his father defined him, but his friendship with Sal Raniero tests everything, forcing the uprising of a Deacon—playing for one—himself. 
After meeting Deacon in RAW (Ride series book 3) travel back in time to his wild ways and discover the Son of Saint.
Standalone. 
There is no romance here.
Expect the unexpected in this brash look at the two young men – Sal Raniero and Deacon Cruz – from their early days on the streets of New Orleans. Lots of kink, violence, and Sami-stylings.
KAILEE REESE SAMUELS writes dark dirty lit. Her words may cause increased heart rate, hand sweating, and other issues. You are strongly advised to enter at your own risk. Not for the faint of heart. May cause triggers in some. Others may choose to ride again and again. You have been warned.
Embracing diversity. Coffee addict. Mango lover. Blueberry fetishist. Sweet peach tea crazy. Red wine devout. Whiskey deviant. Tattooed & pierced. Loves shoes. Collects rosaries. Fanatical organizer/cleaner/list-maker. Never sleeps. Hermit and recluse.
Storyteller.
KAILEE REESE SAMUELS has been spinning tales since she can remember. Her books are contemporary fiction with a no-holds-barred attitude. She adores listening to her character’s ramble and putting them into situations that push the boundaries.
Creativity is the way to change.
HOSTED BY:

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Snow Owl by R.S. McCoy (The Alder Tales, #4)

The Snow Owl
by R.S. McCoy

My rating: 5 stars

Series: The Alder Tales - Book 4
Publication Date: March 7, 2018
Publisher: R.S. McCoy
Genre: Fantasy
Print Length: 415 pages
Available from: Amazon | The Bookshop

Totem animals. Arranged Marriage. A Willful Daughter. Perfect for fans of Cinder, The Star-Touched Queen, and The Bear and the Nightingale. 

*A Paranormal Romance reimagining of The Snow Queen*

Audra Mercer is planning to destroy the world. Well, maybe just the realm. It’s taken almost fifteen years for her to rise from the ashes of trauma and place herself at the top of the Aero branch, the prime position to enact her plan to bring the branch hierarchy crashing down. She’ll spare no one and stop at nothing to secure her vengeance. 

As Mercer’s third in command, Blossom is drowning in secrets. She’s lying to her boss, her friends, her allies, her lovers. She’s playing both sides and hoping to have both her life and her happiness by the end. But one misstep will mean showing her colors before she loses everything. 

Following in the footsteps of Gemini’s kidnappers, Raene assumes a Terra identity and allows herself to be taken across the Alderwood. Parson secretly follows, but if he can’t keep up, they’ll lose both Raene and all hope of finding Gemini. 

The Snow Owl by R.S. McCoy (The Alder Tales, #4)

The Snow OwlIt’s a wrap, a series filled with brave characters filled with honor, magical strengths, and most of all love, both romantic and familial. THE SNOW OWL, the last book in the Alder Tales series is a huge and triumphant finale for author R.S. McCoy.

There were more than a few loose ends to tie up, this addition contains a maze of intrigue as perhaps the most potentially devastating events unfold in a synchronized and simultaneous dance with danger. Heroines and heroes will bear the weight of deceit, Gemini has been kidnapped and a treacherous plan to retrieve her could cost both Raene and Gemini their lives.

One woman’s machinations could destroy the world and break the hearts and spirits of the realm. Will anyone be spared from the tensions that run fever hot? Will there be a happily ever after for the Alderwood or will it be destroyed at its very roots?

R.S. McCoy’s fertile imagination takes us back into a world where good struggles against evil and love will be tested against the darkness of hate. This entire series has been a journey into another world that is both exciting and amazing to be part of. THE SNOW OWL is like the dessert after a feast of words, the perfect ending to a perfect meal!

I received a complimentary ARC edition from R. S. McCoy!


Love on a Battlefield by Posy Roberts Blitz and #Giveaway


Love on a Battlefield
Posy Roberts
Publication date: February 20th 2018
Genres: Adult, LGBTQ+, Romance
Not every compass points north.
Andrew Summers is forced to spend his vacations reliving Civil War battles with his father. He hates every minute, until a blue-eyed, red-haired boy behind enemy lines catches his eye.
Shep Wells would much rather travel the world than play at boring war reenactments. He never dreamed a Texan boy would capture his heart.
Real life and years separate them; Andrew is forced onto real battlefields, but for Shep the world is a playground. They’re opposites, but writing letters closes the distance, uncovering their hopes and dreams. When Shep visits Andrew, they get to see if the tug they’ve felt for years is the compass pointing the way home.
EXCERPT:
My father started taking me to Civil War reenactments long before I understood the politics of the war and its moral implications. I was introduced to the tradition before I knew what any war was truly about.
It wasn’t until I was sixteen that I was allowed to carry a weapon and shoot it myself. The physicality of battle was exciting. Hand-to-hand combat when munitions were spent was better than football any day.
But there were strict rules my dad implemented that I didn’t enjoy. “If we’re going to do this,” Dad always said, “we’ll be as authentic as possible. We’ll do it right, unlike those people who think this is Summer Stock.”
I wasn’t allowed to socialize with the Yankees at all, so I hung out with the Confederate kids or sat around campfires listening to the adults shoot the shit. If school was in session, I’d bury myself in homework and often ended up helping some of the younger kids with their lessons. The guys my own age . . . Well, we had little in common. Some were intense, a few down-right scary with their racism so proudly displayed.
What I’d learned after hanging out with them for years was that they hated everyone who wasn’t like them.
I wasn’t like them, but I wasn’t about to let them know for fear they’d turn their hate on me.
For the last two years, I’d watched a Union kid who only came to a few of these events, not like most of the reenactors, who made this a way of life. When he showed up, he was the center of attention. Maybe because he was novel, but when he was there, he always drew my eye. It was obvious the other kids looked up to him, fawned all over him, really. I never got close enough to talk to him, to find out what made him so fascinating.
But I saw it from afar. He was strong yet graceful, with a mess of hair in a color I’d never seen outside of jewelry or pipe fittings. His smile was easily earned, and he seemed so . . . carefree. So unlike the overly serious and angry kids who surrounded me.
I’d watch the Union kids in their shorts and T-shirts laughing and having fun. I wanted to be a deserter. I wanted to go see what life was like on their side. It sure as hell looked like a lot more fun than what ended up feeling like a weekend prison sentence in a hot, scratchy suit.
I couldn’t stop myself from turning to him, staring at him. I’d watch him leap into the air to catch a wayward Frisbee or wrestle boys to the ground, then help them up, all with a bright smile on his face.
Last summer, he’d worn a wreath of daisies in his hair, walking around as if it was the most normal thing in the world. My ‘friends’ laughed at him and speculated about his sexuality. I joined the adults then, unwilling to spend any more time with the assholes. It brought me closer to the redhead too, so I made myself blend in with my surroundings and looked to my heart’s content.
I didn’t know his name. I never got the chance to find out, but if he was here this time, I was determined to discover it.
As we arrived Friday afternoon, I scanned the area for his hair but didn’t see him. After setting up camp, I followed my father out of our tent and joined the other men as they scoured maps and walked the battlefield to get a lay of the land. I turned down an invitation to hang out with the Rebel kids and instead listened to an expert on this particular battle drone on and on. Sitting there, sweating in my wool uniform under the scorching heat for hours, I had to get out from under the sun.
“I’m going to go fill up my canteen,” I whispered to my father.
“Stay hydrated.”
I gave him a quick nod, made my way past the tent filled with women and young girls quilting or spinning yarn, and found the metal water pump. I pushed down on the handle, trying to draw up the water, with little luck.
That’s when I saw him. He was in full Union dress, the buttons of his coat making the gold and red highlights in his hair appear metallic. He was unlike anyone else I’d ever seen.
He walked toward me with a wide smile. Sure of himself, but not cocky. More . . . careless. Utterly free.
“Want some help?” he asked. “I heard it’s hard to get this one started.”
I met his blue eyes, brilliant and wild like the sea. I was stunned into silence. He was even hotter up close, and suddenly I was unable to form words. I nodded my assent instead.
He wrapped his fingers around the metal handle and pushed down. It made a grating squeak that echoed, but the lever moved. He helped me push it down several times, hands sliding closer and closer with each pump until our fingers intertwined.
He laughed as water poured from the spout, and he bent down to taste the stream. The smell of iron surrounded us as I filled my canteen.
I watched him wet his hair, making it darker, which made his skin look extra pale. He was gorgeous, and the way the sun hit him right then, he looked like something out of a dream.
Stop being cheesy, I chided. So he’s hot. Don’t turn him into a fricking poem.
I replaced the cork, slung my bottle over my shoulder by the leather thong, smiled at him, and rejoined my father.
As we lined up on the battlefield the next day, I saw that shock of auburn hair straight across from me. Before I could make eye contact, the battle had begun, horses moving, gunfire blasting, and a few men already collapsing to the ground, probably playing out some real-life soldier’s tragic end.
I took out several Union soldiers with my fake munitions before I tripped over a rock. As I regained my footing and stood up, he was right in front of me.
I don’t recall if we gave each other a visual cue or if he said something, but we both decided to take a hit, bodies falling to the ground. We landed face-to-face, limbs sprawled out in opposite directions. My father was near, so I slammed my eyes shut, authenticating my death until I heard his voice move away with the continuing battle building.
When I dared open my eyes again, the Yankee soldier was staring at me, smiling and licking his lips. His jaw was strong, defined, dusted with stubble from who-knew-how-many-days growth, and it drew my attention to his chin and full lips. We lay there studying each other for several minutes, shamelessly staring, before he scooted closer.


Author Bio:
Posy Roberts started reading romance when she was young, sneaking peeks at adult books long before she should’ve. Textbooks eventually replaced the novels, and for years she existed without reading for fun. When she finally picked up a romance two decades later, it was like slipping on a soft hoodie . . . that didn’t quite fit like it used to. She wanted something more.
She wanted to read about men falling in love with each other. She wanted to explore beyond the happily ever after and see characters navigate the unpredictability of life. So Posy sat down at her keyboard to write the books she wanted to read.
Her stories have been USA Today’s Happily Ever After Must-Reads and Rainbow Award finalists. When she’s not writing, she’s spending time with her family and friends and doing anything possible to get out of grocery shopping and cooking.

XBTBanner1