Monthly Archives: March 2018

Contest For Mindee Arnett’s Onyx & Ivory

Hi Friends! Kat Mandu here, ready to introduce you to a new series I’m completely stoked about. And that’s a new YA Fantasy book coming out in May called Onyx & Ivory. Check it out below!

They call her Traitor Kate. It’s a title Kate Brighton inherited from her father after he tried to assassinate the high king years ago. Now Kate lives as an outcast, clinging to the fringes of society as a member of the Relay, the imperial courier service. Only those most skilled in riding and bow hunting ride for the Relay; and only the fastest survive, for when dark falls, the nightdrakes—deadly flightless dragons—come out to hunt. Fortunately, Kate has a secret edge: she is a wilder, born with magic that allows her to influence the minds of animals. But it’s this magic that she needs to keep hidden, as being a wilder is forbidden, punishable by death or exile. And it’s this magic that leads her to a caravan massacred by nightdrakes in broad daylight—the only survivor her childhood friend, her first love, the boy she swore to forget, the boy who broke her heart.

The high king’s second son, Corwin Tormane, never asked to lead. Even as he waits for the uror—the once-in-a-generation ritual to decide which of the king’s children will succeed him—he knows it’s always been his brother who will assume the throne. And that’s fine by him. He’d rather spend his days away from the palace, away from the sight of his father, broken with sickness from the attempt on his life. But the peacekeeping tour Corwin is on has given him too much time to reflect upon the night he saved his father’s life—the night he condemned the would-be killer to death and lost the girl he loved. Which is why he takes it on himself to investigate rumors of unrest in one of the remote city-states, only for his caravan to be attacked—and for him to be saved by Kate.

With their paths once more entangled, Kate and Corwin have to put the past behind them. The threat of drakes who attack in the daylight is only the beginning of a darker menace stirring in the kingdom—one whose origins have dire implications for Kate’s father’s attack upon the king and will thrust them into the middle of a brewing civil war in the kingdom of Rime.

I can’t tell you how eager I am to get my hands on this one, guys. Mindee Arnett is such a wonderful author, and I’m so excited to be a part of her street team, The Relay Riders, to help spread the word about this epic new book.

I snagged this from her site so that readers like you can try your hand at winning this contest and get it for yourselves!  Follow the links to enter:

Blogger and Reviewer Appreciation Giveaway

From Mindee: This week I’m celebrating all the book bloggers and reviewers out there, and if you’re reading this, I’m betting that you’re one of them! Did you know that according to Forbes, an estimated 600 thousand to a million new books are published each year? That’s like between 1,604 to 2,740 a day. I don’t know about you, but my yearly reading goals never come close to that.

With so many books vying for readers’ attention, the importance of book bloggers and reviewers is immeasurable for helping get the word out to readers about which books to spend their time on and which to pass over. And most of these people do this purely out of the sheer joy and love of books. How great is that? How are great are they? I mean you!

That’s why I’ve decided to give my very last advanced copy of Onyx & Ivory to a book reviewer or blogger. But first, I want to take a moment to say thank you to two specific bloggers, Pila @ and Erin @ Both of these lovely women were willing to read an early copy of Onyx & Ivory and to give me lovely blurbs for it. And when I say, early, what I mean is an unedited, no-cover, no-makeup, bed-head version of the book. As a matter of fact, it didn’t even have a title yet. To have their approval, even so early, meant the world to me. Here’s what they had to say:

Aren’t they lovely? Be sure to thank them for me if you see them online. And if you see them in person, they deserve a hug or a fist bump.

The contest to win a signed arc of Onyx & Ivory is open until midnight EST on Thursday, March 29. It’s open Internationally. Any person who regularly reviews books is permitted to enter. Good luck!


Lake Silence by Anne Bishop

While Meg Corbin and the residents of Lakeside Courtyard work toward tolerance between the Others and humans after the purge, elsewhere in the Northeast Region, Vicki DeVine and the residents of Sproing have the opportunity to do the same.

Title: Lake Silence
Author: Anne Bishop
Series: A Novel of the Others, #6
Publish Date: March 6, 2018, by Ace
Genre: Contemporary fantasy, urban fantasy
Narrator: Alexandra Harris
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionIn this thrilling and suspenseful fantasy, set in the world of the New York Times bestselling Others series, Vicki DeVine and her lodger, the shapeshifter Aggie Crowe, stumble onto a dead body . . . and find themselves enmeshed in danger and dark secrets.

Human laws do not apply in the territory controlled by the Others–vampires, shapeshifters, and paranormal beings even more deadly. And this is a fact that humans should never, ever forget…

After her divorce, Vicki DeVine took over a rustic resort near Lake Silence, in a human town that is not human controlled. Towns like Vicki’s have no distance from the Others, the dominant predators that rule most of the land and all of the water throughout the world. And when a place has no boundaries, you never really know what’s out there watching you.

Vicki was hoping to find a new career and a new life. But when her lodger, Aggie Crowe–one of the shapeshifting Others–discovers a dead body, Vicki finds trouble instead. The detectives want to pin the man’s death on her, despite the evidence that nothing human could have killed the victim. As Vicki and her friends search for answers, things get dangerous–and it’ll take everything they have to stay alive.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Invested Ivana says…

Shortly before Lake Silence came out, I re-listened to Meg Corbin’s story. I was looking for a “comfort read”—something I was familiar with and loved. As I mentioned on Anne Bishop’s Courtyard, the Facebook group for fans of the series, my post-Trump experience of the books was a little different than before. It felt even darker, more ominous and immediate. The pervasive greed and entitlement of many of the humans in the series felt more real and less fantastic this time around, and the dread I felt, even knowing what was coming in a series I had heard several times, felt sharper.

Lake Silence takes place after the Others have purged many of the humans from Thasia (North America). It demonstrates that not all the right people were purged and that greed and entitlement will always express itself, even in the face of drastic consequences.

This is not a story about Meg and the Lakeside Courtyard, though they are referenced. This is the story of Vicki DeVine and the residents of Sproing and the Jumble, a human settlement on terra indigene-controlled land. Vicki has finally escaped an abusive marriage—though not unscathed—and has set about creating a new life for herself in Sproing as the owner of The Jumble, a place she believes to be a rustic lakeside resort. She soon learns that the Jumble has another purpose—to serve as a point of connection between humans and the others.

Vicki acquired the rights to the Jumble in the divorce settlement with her ex-husband. He and his cronies, however, have other plans for the resort. They want to scare Vicki off the land and turn it into something more lucrative than rustic, even though doing so would violate the terms of the agreement between the tenants and the Others. Their greed, arrogance, and entitlement, and the security of their “good ol’ boys’ club,” lead them to believe they are unstoppable. For this reader, it’s a bit cathartic to know they are not.

Happy-faced quokka

Happy-faced quokka

Though this sounds like a heady, depressing story, Ms. Bishop has a way of bringing a lightness and innocence to her world as well. The town of Sproing is so named because of the sproingers that populate the area—creatures that made me think of quokkas who can understand human speech and communicate with happy faces or sad faces. They seem to be agents of the Others, but it is never expressly said whether they are terra indigene themselves. I choose to believe they are.

Another thing I found interesting was the way the Others play the game Clue, called Murder in the series. The Others play by creating a game board of their actual environment—in this case, the Jumble and surrounding land—rather than using a generic mansion and its rooms. Arts and crafts plus a game to double the fun!

Books are always a big deal in Anne Bishop’s stories, which I love. Vicki becomes the Reader for the Jumble—someone who reads out loud from books, articles, journals, or anything else the terra indigene might find useful or entertaining. That way, even those terra indigene who haven’t learned to read can enjoy the stories. I love this nod to oral tradition and to the value of stories in our world.

I don’t know whether Vicki’s story is the start of a new series or just one installment in a series of stories about human and terra indigene learning to live with each other in Thasia. Lake Silence seemed to be wrapped up nicely at the end. At the very least, I hope there will be more stories set in Thasia and read by Alexandra Harris, who does an amazing job as narrator. She brings the perfect mix of innocence and gravity to the characters that makes my enjoyment of the series even greater. As always, 5 Stars.

Our reviews in this series…

The Myth Manifestation by Lisa Shearin

Lord Rake Danescu has his hands full.  Mythological creatures are attacking.  His hotel is hijacked.  People are dying. His magic is… not as it should be.  He does, however, have Mac and Ian and the whole SPI commando contingency working with him to figure out what in the fresh hell is going on.

Title: The Myth Manifestation
Author: Lisa Shearin
Series: SPI FIles #5
Publish Date: January 16, 2018
Genre: Science Fiction/Urban Fantasy
Narrator: Johanna Parker
Source: Purchased by reviewers

Publisher’s DescriptionThe agents of Supernatural Protection & Investigations (SPI) protect people from predatory supernaturals. This time, we’re the ones who need protection.

New York is one of the most popular convention destinations in the world—for humans and supernaturals. Every hundred years, rulers of the world’s supernatural races come together to negotiate and renew a peace treaty. Meeting in the same hotel are the governors of our world’s goblin and elf colonies. SPI is saddled with the security nightmare of keeping the living delegates alive and the undead delegates from becoming permanently deceased. We’ve got our work cut out for us.

I’m Makenna Fraser, seer for SPI. Our security nightmare becomes real when monsters from the delegates’ mythologies begin mysteriously appearing in the flesh to hunt delegates from every side of the debate. And when the hotel gets sucked into another dimension, there’s no escape.

We discover that we’re all pieces in an elaborate and deadly game. A game about to spill out into the real world. Failing to escape is game over and not an option. We have to save the world—but first, we have to save ourselves.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words…spoilers.  *BEWARE*

Nervous Nellie says…

This book has no sex, no graphic blood and gore, no swearing since Mac edits it out of her ongoing dialog.  This has got a tiny little bit of romance that includes one very rich and charming goblin courting our protagonist.  SPI is made of a team of agents that will do their share of kicking asses and taking names while protecting the mundanes from learning about the supernatural.  There is a tiny cliffhanger, but it’s the overarching relationship stuff – not the story itself.  It’s easy to handle.  Don’t worry.

I love Mac and the gang.  I also love Mac and Rake’s relationship.  He’s under Mac’s skin and Mac has got Rake swooning.  Okay, maybe the other way around.  Anyway, there is a supernatural summit taking place and anywhere there are a bunch of supernaturals trapped together you know there will be trouble.

Goblins and Elves do NOT have a harmonious vibe going on.  All other attendees also have problems intermingling, so security for this event is beyond difficult.  It’s not enough that it’s all races and creeds of creatures attending this summit, it’s their political leaders that take the spotlight and create a ton of drama.  SPI is on high alert but all the special drills they could go through would never cover this problem.

This is a good old “Clue” episode.  Who did it in the ballroom or the bedroom or the beer keg with a big ol’ knife? Yeah, I said beer keg. You caught that, huh?  That’s what’s fun about the supernatural culture differences in this book.  There are so many variations between cultures that anything goes but one wrong step or a simple action or comment could be construed as offensive and then watch out!  With the caliber of individuals attending this convention, we have political fallout first and foremost to worry about. After that, then we could have not only an international incident but an interdimensional incident that could very well incite a war.  Tread carefully and walk on eggshells. But we still gotta figure out who’s killing whom and why.

You want details on the story?  Well, ok… I can give you this.  Rake’s impossibly above high class, ten-star hotel has been hijacked.  Yes, that’s right.  Hijacked.  At first, it looks like a security issue, but then it evolves.  Boy, does it evolve. It involves mythological creatures materializing out of nowhere.  And Rake has no answers.  Can you imagine? He’s got no “clue” as to what’s going on.

I can also give you a small detail on the romance between Mac and Rake.  It’s moving very, very slow. I like that Lisa Shearin is making their relationship a gradual thing.  It builds anticipation.  I love that a nice southern seer girl can capture the attention of a suave, sexy, interdimensional uber rich playboy.  Makenna is all sassy common sense if not skill. She is not Rake’s type, per se.  You’d expect him to be with fussy, glossy, supermodel bombshells in tight dresses with 4-inch heels and coifed hair.  Except… he’s choosing Mac.  She has her own style, no-nonsense woman that knows her limits and tries very hard to be an asset to the SPI crew.  She loves her job and I love her unique personality.

Johanna Parker is the narrator for this book as well as all the other SPI novels.  She gives the story that much more depth and complexity.  Another 5 star hit if you ask me.

Invested Ivana says…

Toward the end of negotiations for a massive treaty among outworld species and Earth, the delegates come together for a summit to celebrate and sign the treaty. Someone isn’t happy, though, and traps the delegates in their hotel with monsters … and a killer. Maybe more than one.

Though the Myth Manifestation has plenty of monsters — one of the signatures of this series — it’s primarily a political drama. Though the focus wasn’t on the monsters, this story was as much fun as any of the others in the series. Readers get to see old friends, such as the Vlad the vampire and the Norweigan SPI agents. And we learn a little more about other species, like dwarves, giants, and a race that makes love with their fingers, making waving and handshakes MUCH more exciting!

Fans of the Raine Benares series will see some familiar names and maybe faces. I did wonder if, had I been reading the Raine Benares series, I would have followed the politics between the elves and goblins a bit better. There is some massive political upheaval on their homeworld that, I’m guessing, is forefront in Raine’s series.

Regardless, I followed the story fine and really enjoyed it. As always, Johanna Parker does a fabulous job narrating. This is one of those series I much prefer to hear than read. She really brings Mac and all the other characters to life. 5 stars.

Our reviews in this series…

Nell’s Gossip and Book Hunt 2/18/18

Welcome to my Sunday book hunt and author gossip.  Keep coming back for updates on book releases and news from favorite authors.


Today will be all about Jane Yellowrock.  I don’t know what I will do when the series is done.  I imagine I’ll just read it again…and anything else that comes from Jane’s author.  I love Faith Hunter’s writing.  I love the characters that she develops and the story is like an action adventure movie!

Before you read all the way to the bottom, I want to put this out there:  Ms. Hunter released a short story in the Jane Yellowrock world and you can find it here.

The story is Jane trying to get Wrassler and Jodi together for a date.  Bruiser, Jane, Eli and Syl went along to complete the “triple date”.  You’d think this would be simple.  Yeahhhh…..right.

Now, I’m sure ya’ll want to know why I have the cover of Dark Queen posted. Well, crew, I was lucky enough to get permission from Ms. Hunter to post the first chapter in Dark Queen, #12 in the Jane Yellowrock series.  Remember, this book is released on May 1, 2018.  The European vamps are coming for the big assemblage and you KNOW that if Jane can’t make it through a date (see above story) without something going wrong, you know that this confab will not be simple…nope, not simple at all since the fate of all rest on Jane’s shoulders.

Sit back, relax and be enthralled with the first chapter in Dark Queen, Jane Yellowrock series #12, written and produced by Faith Hunter.

Dark Queen


*I Killed the Only U’tlun’ta in NOLA*

I had been in my bed for all of one hour, and though the scent of Bruiser from the sheets and from his boxing gloves tied to my bedpost usually filled my head with calm, today his personal aromatherapy wasn’t working. I had rolled over half a dozen times trying to find a comfortable spot. Now the covers were twisted around me, my hair was tangled in a knotted mess, trapping me, and I was ready to explode. I resorted to punching my pillows in growing irritation, not that it helped. “I should give up and find something else to punch. Someone else to punch,” I muttered, thinking of Leo Pellissier, the Master of the City of New Orleans.

My attitude was so bad that my Beast retreated into the deeps of my mind to get away, her paws padding in a jog. “Coward,” I snarled at her. Being two-souled wasn’t easy for either of us.

A soft knock sounded at the front door. Tap, tap, tap, tap. Tap, tap, tap, tap. The first tap in each repetition more forceful than the others, but barely loud enough to hear through the closed bedroom door. Maybe a preacher. Or a steak salesman. Beast stopped and looked back at me. Excitement zinged through her. Man who sells meat? Cow at door?

I chuckled internally. Could be, I thought back at her. Or a proselytizing vacuum cleaner salesman. Did vac salesmen even exist now?

Is vacuum good to eat? Or salesman? Both? she added hopefully.

The knocking came again, a bit louder. Tap, tap, tap, tap. Tap, tap, tap, tap. It was a rhythm that Aggie One Feather, my Cherokee Elder, might have drummed. My partner and soon-to-be adopted brother Eli hadn’t answered the door, and I could hear shower water upstairs. I grinned and I was pretty sure I was showing teeth. Lots of teeth. I wondered if they were all mine, but I didn’t really care. I was sleep deprived and ornery and if this was some vamp’s minions calling to cause trouble about the arrangements for the upcoming Sangre Duello, that might actually make my day. I could use a good fight. A blood challenge to the death between Leo and the European emperor and all their pals would surely provide that, but until then, I had the knocking visitor.

I threw off the covers and twisted my long black hair back in a knot. In the black yoga pants and black T-shirt, I looked like a ticked-off ninja. I picked up a fourteen-inch-long vamp-killer I kept on the nightstand and tore open the bedroom door. The knob slammed into the wall behind as I reached the foyer. Eli stopped on the stairs behind me, shower-wet, a weapon at his side. My partner in protect mode. I shared my grin at him and his brows lifted, an infinitesimal gesture that meant loads for the former (and forever) Army Ranger. I didn’t bother to try to figure out loads of what. I peeked out the front, through the tiny slice of clear glass in the layers of bullet-resistant and stained glass window.

On the other side of the door stood a man, facing the street. He was tall, lean, maybe six feet three. Straight black hair hung long, down his back to his hips. Golden skin showed at his clean-shaven jaw, which looked tight with frustration. He was wearing black slacks and black blazer jacket. A white dress shirt collar showed from this angle and he was wearing polished leather cap-toe oxford shoes, what my boss, the Master of the City and walking, talking fashion plate, called a Balmoral. Imported shoes.

It griped my goat that I knew all that. Just another useless thing I had learned hanging around vamps. Another way they had changed me and my life. My irritation flamed.

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Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige

From the author of the successful Dorthy Must Die series comes a new fairytale retelling of the Snow Queen.

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

Title: Stealing Snow
Author: Danielle Paige
Series: Stealing Snow, Book 01
Publish Date: September 20, 2016, by Bloomsbury USA
Genre: YA fantasy, Fairytale retelling
Source: Provided by the publisher

Publisher’s DescriptionSeventeen-year-old Snow has spent the majority of her life within the walls of the Whittaker Institute, a high-security mental hospital in upstate New York. Deep down, she knows she’s not crazy and doesn’t belong there. When she meets a mysterious, handsome new orderly and dreams about a strange twisted tree she realizes she must escape and figure out who she really is.

Using her trusting friend Bale as a distraction, Snow breaks free and races into the nearby woods. Suddenly, everything isn’t what it seems, the line between reality and fantasy begins to blur, and she finds herself in icy Algid–her true home–with witches, thieves, and a strangely alluring boy named Kai, none of whom she’s sure she can trust. As secret after secret is revealed, Snow discovers that she is on the run from a royal lineage she’s destined to inherit, a father more powerful and ruthless than she could have imagined, and choices of the heart that could change the fate of everything…including Snow’s return to the world she once knew.

This breathtaking first volume begins the story of how Snow becomes a villain, a queen, and ultimately a hero.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Agent Annie says…

Ack, what a terrible book. It was so poorly written, even the choice of vocabulary was bad. You can’t have arrows pelt off of a wing. That’s not what arrows do! They pierce, sting, puncture, drill, perforate, etc. Pelting is what you do with a rock, or you can pummel with it or batter even. That simple choice of one inaccurate word is indicative of why I didn’t like this book. It needed a good editor.

The story was actually well conceived. I liked the plot, but the execution made reading this difficult to slog through. Even the ending (SPOILER) in which Snow holds her mother’s hand and freezes her solid was so lame. How was Snow able to do that? She had never done it before. It wasn’t even something she had considered. Also, how was her mother, who had been plotting for most of her own life, not to mention the entirety of her daughter’s life, not be able to defend against the freezing? It’s disappointing that the author chose to end the book with such an implausible scene in order to set the stage for next book. I definitely will NOT be reading any more books in this series. I give this book 2 stars.

Other recommendations…

If you’d like to read a good book with a fairy tale style story, I recommend The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, the Mordant’s Need Duo by Stephen R. Donaldson (The Mirror of Her Dreams, & A Man Ride’s Through) or His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman.

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

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