Monthly Archives: June 2017

Tarnished Beginnings by Ann Gimpel

Cast out by both her mother’s people and her father’s for being a half-Romani, half-shifter, young Tairin faces the harsh reality of the world.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Title: Tarnished Beginnings
Author: Ann Gimpel
Series: Soul Dance #1
Publish Date: June 20, 2017
Genre: Shifter Fantasy
Source: Bewitching Book Tours

Publisher’s Description: Tairin’s wolf is more than just a dream creature. She hates it, but it’s also her only friend.

1700s Egypt is a haven for magic-wielders of all kinds. Vampires hold court, staying one step ahead of the priests and priestesses who want them dead. Gypsy caravans roam the Nile from north to south and back again, plying their wares, telling fortunes, casting Tarot cards, and stealing from the gadjos.

Tairin Jabari was born in a caravan and has always believed she’s Romani. Why wouldn’t she? Her mother and father never suggested otherwise. The Rom have harsh rules. When Tairin’s first shift catches her unaware at thirteen, her father disappears, and the elders move with deadly speed to punish her mother for mating outside the blood.

Hurt, lost, confused, and fearing for her own life, Tairin runs away, leaving her mother’s smoking funeral pyre behind. If she could only find her father, he’d welcome her. He’s always loved her, hasn’t he? Only problem is he’s in a shifter settlement. With her mixed blood, they won’t welcome her any more warmly than the Romani. It doesn’t take long before Tairin discovers how desperately unprepared she is for life outside her protected caravan. With her survival on the line every single day, she and her wolf have some hard choices to make.

Tarnished Beginnings, the prequel to the Soul Dance books is only available in the Magic After Dark Boxed set.

Amazon | BN | Google Play | iTunes | Kobo

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Luna Lovebooks says…

Likes: I like that this is a short read. It took me two days, but only because I was super busy. It could be read in one sitting in all honesty. I like that the shifter must bond with the animal. Poor Tairin goes through hell in this short read. But it fits in with the naivety of her character. She is a young woman who has grown up sheltered from the real world by the people in her caravan.

Dislikes: I was surprised to see that Tairin was only 13 in this short. On the cover she looks much older. Even though this is technically classified as a paranormal romance, it was so tame that when a sex scene did happen, I was thrown off.

Overall, this is a good little read and I look forward to the rest of the series. I give it 4 howls.

Other recommendations…

Check out these other great books featuring gypsy characters!

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

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SPOTLIGHT Soul Dance Series by Ann Gimpel

Tarnished Beginnings

Soul Dance Book  One

Ann Gimpel

Book Description:

Tairin’s wolf is more than just a dream creature. She hates it, but it’s also her only friend.

1700s Egypt is a haven for magic-wielders of all kinds. Vampires hold court, staying one step ahead of the
priests and priestesses who want them dead. Gypsy caravans roam the Nile from north to south and back again, plying their wares, telling fortunes, casting Tarot cards, and stealing from the gadjos.

Tairin Jabari was born in a caravan and has always believed she’s Romani. Why wouldn’t she? Her mother and father never suggested otherwise. The Rom have harsh rules. When Tairin’s first shift catches her unaware at thirteen, her father disappears, and the elders move with deadly speed to punish her mother for mating outside the blood.

Hurt, lost, confused, and fearing for her own life, Tairin runs away, leaving her mother’s smoking funeral pyre behind. If she could only find her father, he’d welcome her. He’s always loved her, hasn’t he? Only problem is he’s in a shifter settlement. With her mixed blood, they won’t welcome her any more warmly than the Romani. It doesn’t take long before Tairin discovers how desperately unprepared she is for life outside her protected caravan. With her survival on the line every single day, she and her wolf have some hard choices to make.

Tarnished
Beginnings, the prequel to the Soul Dance books is only available in the
Magic After Dark Boxed set.

Amazon    BN    Google
Play
    iTunes     Kobo

 

About the Box Set

Journey from the hills of Ireland to Victorian England, from medieval Italy to eighteenth century Egypt, from the United States to the sand-baked Middle East and beyond to explore forbidden magic, meet exotic gypsy lovers, navigate the pitfalls of ancient prophecies, battle vampires and shifters, and defeat evil sorcerers and hellish demons.

This unique collection, inspired by the rich and varied history of gypsies from all over the world, contains
over one million words of captivating urban fantasy and paranormal romance fiction that’s guaranteed to keep you up long after dark.

Discover gypsy worlds where heroes roam and magic reigns with twenty-five brand new works from today’s New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling authors.

Each book within this collection is exclusive to the set and can’t be found anywhere else. Preorder now for a future filled with romance, mystery, adventure, and magical thrills!

 

*** Contributing Authors ***

New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Hamilton

USA Today bestselling author Caryse Locke

New York Times bestselling author Margo Bond Collins

USA Today bestselling author Ann Gimpel

USA Today bestselling author J.L. Weil

USA Today bestselling author J.A. Culican

New York Times bestselling author Tom Shutt

Melle Amade

USA Today bestselling author T.F. Walsh

Dean F. Wilson

Miranda Hardy

Award-Winning author D.N. Leo

David J. Normoyle

Megan J. Parker

Monica Leonelle

P.E. Padilla

Ainsley Shay

Megan Linski

Award-Winning author Julie Morgan

Cait Reynolds

Chloe Garner

Paris Andren

Cate Farren

Felicia Starr

Award-Winning author Nathan Squiers

Tarnished Legacy

Soul Dance

Book Two

Ann Gimpel

Germany, 1940

Half Romani, Tairin’s no stranger to hiding her mixed blood from gypsy caravans. What she can’t hide is her
perpetual youth, courtesy of her shifter heritage. Every few years, she drops out of sight, resurfacing in a new country to join a caravan where no one knows her. She’s overstayed her welcome where she is, but Germany is at war, and travel has become all but impossible for everyone targeted by the Reich.

Elliott’s clairvoyance is strong, even for a Romani. Seer for all the caravans in Germany, he catches Tairin
eavesdropping outside their leader’s wagon one night. He should turn her in, but it would mean her execution, and he can’t bring himself to do that. Instead, he interrogates her. Her magic is different, but he can’t figure out quite what she is.

Any association between Romani and shifters is forbidden, and Tairin shields herself from Elliott’s probing.
She should leave right now, tonight. It would be easy enough. Shift to her wolf form and run, keeping out of hunters’ gunsights. She’s on the edge of flight when Elliott suggests a covert task to prove her loyalty. Tairin agrees immediately, kicking herself for being weak where he’s concerned. Shifters and Romani have no future together. Zero. Zilch.

She should be smart about this and vanish into the night—before he discovers what she is and destroys her.

Ann
Gimpel
     
Amazon    BN    iTunes    Google Play     Kobo

Tarnished Prophecy

Soul Dance

Book Three

Ann Gimpel

Germany, 1940

Magic runs strong in Ilona, a gypsy seer. Powerful ability isn’t valued in Romani women, so she focuses her fortunetelling on inconsequential details. Nothing that could come back to haunt her caravan if a prediction went bad. Rounded up and dumped in Dachau prison camp, she has plenty of time to rue her decision to downplay her ability. If she’d taken the time to scry her own future, she’d still be free.

A wolf shifter, Jamal made the mistake of wedding a Romani woman centuries ago. His arrogance caused both death and heartache, and he’s been alone ever since. The recent threat of vampires joining the Third Reich has provided ample reason for shifters and Rom to lay their ancient enmity aside and work together, but their détente is fragile.

Jamal and a group of shifters come across Ilona after her escape from Dachau. Vulnerable, terrified, she’s
fully prepared to fight. Her courage and mettle touch places in him he’d thought were dead, but she’s Romani. His last relationship ended so badly, the last thing he needs is to fall for another gypsy woman. He wrestles his tumbling emotions into submission, but when she trains her enigmatic, gray gaze on him, his resolve first weakens and then vanishes entirely.

Amazon    BN    iTunes    Google Play     Ann
Gimpel
     Kobo

    

About the Author:

Ann Gimpel is a mountaineer at heart. Recently retired from a long career as a psychologist, she remembers many hours at her desk where her body may have been stuck inside four walls, but her soul was planning yet one more trip to the backcountry. Around the turn of the last century (that would be 2000, not 1900!), she managed to finagle moving to the Eastern Sierra, a mecca for those in love with the mountains. It was during long backcountry treks that Ann’s writing evolved. Unlike some who see the backcountry as an excuse to drag friends and relatives along, Ann prefers solitude. Stories always ran around in her head on those journeys, sometimes as a hedge against abject terror when challenging conditions made her fear for her life, sometimes for company. Eventually, she returned from a trip and sat down at the computer. Three months
later, a five hundred page novel emerged. Oh, it wasn’t very good, but it was a beginning. And, she learned a lot between writing that novel and its sequel.

Around that time, a friend of hers suggested she try her hand at short stories. It didn’t take long before that first story found its way into print and they’ve been accepted pretty regularly since then. One of Ann’s passions has always been ecology, so her tales often have a green twist.

In addition to writing, Ann enjoys wilderness photography. She lugs pounds of camera equipment in her backpack to distant locales every year. A standing joke is that over ten percent of her pack weight is camera gear which means someone else has to carry the food! That someone is her husband. They’ve shared a life
together for a very long time. Children, grandchildren and three wolf hybrids round out their family.

Find Ann At:

www.anngimpel.com

http://anngimpel.blogspot.com

http://www.amazon.com/author/anngimpel

http://www.facebook.com/anngimpel.author

https://twitter.com/anngimpel

 

Fire World by Chris D’Lacey

The war of good versus evil rages on in a different reality from the one we know.

Title: Fire World
Author: Chris D’Lacey
Series: The Last Dragon Chronicles #6
Publish Date: January 1, 2011
Genre: MG Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionCan a fiery creature bring the dragons to a new world?

David Rain, Lucy, Zanna, and the Pennykettle dragons disappeared after destroying a trace of dark fire.

In a world between Earth and Ki:mera, called Co: pern:ica, lives a twelve-year-old boy named David. He and his friend Rosanna spend their days in the librarium, a museum for books, with the curator, Mr. Henry, and the mysterious firebirds that roam the upper levels.

When the two friends accidentally injure one of the firebirds, David and Rosanna find themselves on a remarkable and dangerous adventure. The evil Ix have taken over a firebird, turning it to the side of darkness. The birds have a secret, though: They know about the existence of dragons.

With the help of David and Rosanna, the firebirds must reach across the universe to call on the dragons for protection. But will the dragons arrive before the Ix destroy everything?

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Luna Lovebooks says…

This installment of The Last Dragon Chronicles is set on another planet—or at least a different dimension—called Co:pern:ica. It is a tad confusing to suddenly be thrown into another world, especially one so similar. I was expecting David Rain and Zana and Lucy and got their characters… only not. It is difficult to explain, and I’m not even going to try.

I missed the dragons, but I loved the firebirds! The reminded me of phoenixes, except these were brightly jewel-colored. Dragons do not play much of a role in this book, and when they do you, are thrown into a whirlwind of confusion.

While this is an enjoyable story, it almost felt like the beginning of a new series and not the continuation of one. Fire World does not link to Dark Fire until much later in the book. For most of the novel, I felt like this was the way things were supposed to go on Earth. But there are a few surprises and a character or two that makes a reappearance (albeit as a similar character and not the actual character—again I am not doing the explanation any justice).

I have to say that this is my least favorite installment. I give it three firebirds.

Our reviews in this series…

Other recommendations…

If you are a dragon lover, check out these other works!

The Universe Builders: Bernie & The Wizards

In Bernie’s world, everyone (including him) he knows are gods and goddesses capable of designing unique worlds for business, trade, and pleasure. Now he’s got to fix a “broken” one for his boss – and save the beings within the world before it’s destroyed. IF he can beat the bad guys inside.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

TitleBernie & The Wizards
Author: Steve LeBel
Series: The Universe Builders, Book 3
Publish Date: June 15, 2017
Genre: YA Fantasy
Source: Provided by the author.

Publisher’s Description:

Gods vs. Wizards ~ an epic struggle for survival

Bernie fixes broken universes for a living. Unlike other gods, who tend to take a hell-fire-and-brimstone approach to problem-solving, Bernie prefers a more gentle approach.

Bernie’s job is to restore production on the planet Photox, but he soon discovers a world caught up in a civil war. With a hard-to-please boss breathing down his neck and a personal life in desperate need of relationship advice, Bernie’s chances of success are dwindling fast. The gods on Bernie’s world are no help. If he fails to restore production, they will destroy Photox’s entire population.

Bernie is desperate to keep this from happening, even if the murderous wizard causing all the problems is powerful enough to hurt a god…


Kat Mandu says…

 

This is actually really a unique concept in the world of fantasy. Not often do you get to hear from an actual god as a narrator. Sure, I’ve read demi-gods (cough, cough Percy Jackson for example) but none with as much power as Bernie has. The world-building is really nice; basically, you have all these gods in control of everything, who are also able to create their own worlds or pay someone else to do so. “Builders” bring these worlds to life and then you have people like Bernie who are able to fix things in the world.

Bernie’s assignment is to discover why a certain world – Photox – is not delivering a certain good to the god who purchased it (in this case, weird peppers). The more he investigates, the more involved he gets with figuring out what happened to the farming race within Photox. Turns out there’s some nasty bad guys rampaging and destroying the villages and killing the residents. Bernie teams up with a village and its temporary shamanic leader, Reva to stop the bad guys – only it’ll be harder than he thinks, because these marauders are powerful enough to strike back even against Bernie.

I really love that Bernie is a good guy at heart, confounded by the way other gods treat the sentient beings they create, carelessly destroying the world despite what’s within it. I also like that his friends sometimes oppose his views, and don’t just go along with whatever he says. Overall, he’s a great character to read, caring deeply for the evolved humans he works with and the technical details of his assignment.

Another thing I love about this is the clear amount of research that went into some of the technical details you read. The author has spent a lot of time reading about genetics and farming and geography, etc. and you can clearly see that as the story continues.

My one complaint is that some of said technical details seem to draw out the story, making it even longer than it already is. I don’t mind lengthy books at all, but some of the descriptions make the reading slow down quite a bit, so it was hard for me to sit down and read it for long amounts of time.

But besides that, I liked it, so it gets a four from me! 

Other recommendations…

You might try some other godly stories like: Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan, The Goddess War trilogy by Kendare Blake, and WebMage by Kelly McCullough.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Talking Books with Nell part 3

 

Welcome to another Talking Books with Nell.  This week I’d like to talk about some other genres.

When I first started reading, I didn’t know what genre I liked.  I tried classical fiction, historical/biographical non fiction, fantasy, true crime non fiction, romance (any kind) and thrillers. I tried science fiction. I tried mystery. I tried horror and I tried chick lit.  Over the years I figured out that I like most of those genres but my favorite is urban fantasy.

Classical Fiction is classified as great works of literature which have lasted through the ages.  Here is a list of classics put together by Modern Library.  Some folks may look down on me when I say this, but I really hated reading classics.  I read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.  Hated it.  I read The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.  Hated it.  I read Call of the Wild by Jack London.  It was okay but I wouldn’t go out of my way to read it again.  Why didn’t I like them?  I’ll tell you why.  They each have heartache, tragedy and sorrow.  Now, I’m sure I’m dwelling on the negatives, but to me, reading should be fun.  Those stories were not fun.  Truth be told, I thought for the longest time that there was something wrong with me because I didn’t love these classics.  I figured out later that they just weren’t my cup of tea. Another genre that falls into this category is chick lit.  Chick lit is genre fiction which addresses issues of modern womanhood, often humorously and lightheartedly. Although it sometimes includes romantic elements, chick lit is generally not considered a direct subcategory of the romance novel genre, because the heroine’s relationship with her family or friends is often just as important as her romantic relationships – via Goodreads.  Nah, I’d prefer things a little darker and more paranormal, thanks.

Historical/Biographical non fiction is a fantastic genre.  I read about a lot of great leaders in history.  I also read about quite a few notorious serial killers. I read about the old west and the characters that built it.  I read about the Trail of Tears and hated that something like that happened.  I read about John F. Kennedy, Winston Churchill, Princess Diana, Charles Manson, Queen Mary, and Hitler. I read about World War 1, 2, Korea and Vietnam. History is an ever changing thing.  You may think that history is written down and that’s the way it is.  Well, it’s not.  Artifacts, ideations, written words – all these things are being discovered every day.  Academics that are not afraid to rock the boat are releasing their theories by testing all sorts of science.  Just last December all the major news sources ran the story about dinosaur feathers found trapped in amber.  (See National Geographic’s article) In my opinion, a person has to keep an open mind and keep reading because once learning stops then questions stop.

Here is where I contradict myself.  Learning about history and the lives of great leaders and events is something I love, but reading about non fiction regarding someone’s true life story is where I stop.  I understand the things that don’t kill you make you stronger.  Cancer, death, mental instability, true crime, identity crisis, survival, tragedy – all these things and more would be great resources for learning, but I won’t read about them.  I suppose it’s because I can relate to these people but not the big names in history.

 

Check next week for more discussion in Talking Books with Nell and continuing about different genres.

 

 

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