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Nell’s Gossip and Book Hunt 5/12/19

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

Back with new releases again… they keep writin’ them, we keep readin’ them.

  • I have been a fan of Rob Blackwell for years. My favorite books of his are the Soren Chase series.  I have news that he’s starting a new series starting Jules Castle.  Read the description, check out the cover.  Both will catch you hook, line and sinker.

Title: Riders on the Storm
Author: Rob Blackwell
Series: Jules Castle #1
Release date: May 21, 2019
Description: Dakota Territory, 1883: A land of violence, lawlessness—and vicious monsters.

Jules Castle can outsmart, outgun, and outrun any bandit in the Old West. But will her legendary skills be enough to save her?
Three years ago, Jules’ outlaw father vanished during a mysterious mission. Since then, she’s kept up the family business, robbing banks and chasing clues to his whereabouts across the Territory. Unfortunately, his trail sets her right in the path of supernatural, hard-to-kill creatures known as Vipers, whose bite will transform anyone into one of their kind.
Jules is determined to save her father, no matter the peril or cost. With the help of a bounty hunter and her adopted sister Miranda, she will have to pull off an impossible rescue. Hounded by former members of her father’s gang, hunted by a U.S. Army posse, and pursued by Vipers, Jules’ chances are slim. Can she beat the odds one last time?
  • Here’s another awesome cover and description that hooked me.

Title Reaper Witch: Wolves and Zombies
Author: Chanda Stafford
Series: Urban Magic #1
Release date: May 10, 2019
Description: She spent years avoiding the dead. Now they’re coming after her.
Three years ago, Max Norton left home to open a tea leaves and tarot shop. It seemed like a good trade: escape the King of Hell and live a low-key life free from scrutiny and death threats. For a Scythe, a half-human paranormal entity who can open literal portals to Heaven and Hell, and who’s hounded by creatures both light and dark, it’s a dream come true. Until an annoyingly handsome ghost shows up and demands that Max help him solve his murder.

She wants nothing to do with it, but when zombies start attacking children and demons are sent to kill her, she knows this is one fight she can no longer avoid. Her ex-boyfriend, a charismatic wolf shifter, tells her about a dead zone in the forest where a necromancer is practicing black magic.

The only way to stop him is with the forbidden powers she ran away from; powers that will put a target on her back, because they mark her for a destined role in Hell she has no intention of fulfilling.

Saving the world from the zombie apocalypse may literally mean challenging the armies of Hell and facing the past she ran away from. With time running out, Max and Luke have to figure out who’s raising the dead and turning them into bloodthirsty monsters before they kill the few people left that she actually cares about. Hiding in the shadows, a mysterious enemy holds a secret that could change Max’s life forever…

Assuming she lives long enough to hear it.

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The Pretender by Rob Blackwell

Much anticipated sequel to Forest of Forever. Will Soren Chase ever come to terms with his past? Or is it really HIS past?

FTC Notice: This book was provided free in exchange for an honest review. This is no way impacts my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

imageTitle: The Pretender
Author: Rob Blackwell
Series: Soren Chase #2
Publish Date: May 24, 2016
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: NetGalley

Publisher’s Description: A young girl slaughters her entire family in a quiet suburban neighborhood. The police say she snapped, but Soren Chase knows the truth. Having dedicated his life to hunting down the creature that murdered his best friend and left him framed for the crime eight years ago, Soren expertly recognizes the villain’s hallmarks in the young girl’s rampage: a pretender—a supernatural creature that can steal the identity and memories of its targets—has struck again.

Recently shattered by the realization that the monster he hunted for so long is far closer than he ever imagined, Soren needs to find a way to put the pieces back together if he wants to protect his remaining loved ones. To face this new threat, Soren must learn to cope with the past, forge an unlikely alliance, and battle an ancient foe with a sinister agenda that could kill millions.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel (or, in other words, SPOILERS).

Nervous_Nellie_100Nervous Nellie says…

This is a dark urban fantasy mystery thriller. Some violence and more than one mention of suicide.

I was hit with a mind bender at the end of Book 1. Soren Chase is a paranormal investigator who figured out he is actually the monster that he’s been hunting for so many years after the deaths of his friends. The creature that Soren hunts is called a Pretender. They can take the body shape and memories of their victims to essentially take their place.

I have mixed feelings about this story. Oh, don’t get me wrong, the writing and the story is badge4v4great, it’s just *I’m* having as much trouble coming to terms with Soren’s identity as he is. Soren hates what he is enough to create a list of different ways to kill himself; when one way doesn’t work, he crosses it off the list.  I feel such empathy for this character that it’s hard to remember that he’s actually a monster….or is he?

Something is wrong in the paranormal/supernatural world. The presence of evil creatures are increasing. There are demons making sacrifices. There is a more evil being is forcing other creatures to help him so he may forward his evil plan. I learned more about Pretenders and what they can do. I learned that there aren’t that many and Soren may be the key to save us all. I learned that Pretenders don’t have to kill their hosts.  I learned exactly why Soren isn’t “Falk” (his Pretender name). I have never met a twist like this, and it’s very well written and even though I wanted to look away several times after my favorite character was damaged, I couldn’t.  It’s that good.

Our reviews in this series…

Other reviews…

If you like this book…

…you might try:

FTC Notice: This book was provided free in exchange for an honest review. This is no way impacts my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Carnival of Stone by Rob Blackwell

A new spin on an old myth.  Gorgons are back and they are backed by their own army of snakes. “I hate snakes…….”

26837689TitleCarnival of Stone
Author: Rob Blackwell
SeriesSoren Chase
Publish Date:   September 28, 2015
Genre:  Urban Fantasy
Source:  Author requested for an honest review

Publisher’s DescriptionSupernatural investigator Soren Chase is having a rough day. He narrowly avoids being murdered by a pair of trigger-happy leprechauns (yes, leprechauns) before taking a case to investigate the disappearance of a graduate student in the mountains of Virginia.

But when Soren arrives in the normally sleepy hamlet of Hilltop, he finds the situation is far worse than he imagined. He’s up against a creature unlike anything he’s encountered before and it will take all his skills–and working with an unlikely ally–to survive.

Carnival of Stone is a stand-alone novella in the Soren Chase series that can be enjoyed by any reader who loves urban fantasy, mystery and suspense. Set between the events of Closed at Dark and The Forest of Forever, it will please existing fans and new readers alike.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel (in other words, SPOILERS!)

Nervous_Nellie_100Nervous Nellie says…

I love this series.  Soren Chase is a paranormal investigator that throws himself “into these situations, blindly getting into a jam and then crawling out of it.”  This time he is chasing a gorgon.  His reflective aviator sunglasses are still a part of him and if you read Forest of Forever, you’d know more about his possible “problem”, if you want to call it that.  This story takes place before Forest of badge5v4Forever and after Closed at Dark.  That isn’t the order of reading, though. I have read them in order of publishing and while I don’t *think* it’d mess you up too much to read them out of order, I do think it’s much better to read them in order of publishing.

This story has two “cases” in it, though one is only starting.  Did you know there is a supernatural syndicate?  Oh, great.  Like the humans aren’t scary enough, right?  I got to meet, more in detail, Soren’s mentor, Terry.  I experienced how Soren got Terry’s office and Terry’s nephew as assistant.  Also, in another twist, Terry isn’t quite what he seems and that in itself is VERY interesting.

This book doesn’t end in a cliffhanger, though there is a lead in for the next book. I cannot wait to see what happens next.  This is quite the page turner, so get your blankie, tea and a soft place to sit, because you are not gonna be moving.  Also, this is a little on the dark scale, but not “turn every light on in the house” and “keep your best friend on speaker phone” scary.  I loved it.

Stand Out Award Badge2If you like this book, try…

The Forest of Forever by Rob Blackwell

Talk about awesome! Soren Chase rocks the house with twists, turns and blindsides!

Forest of ForeverTitle:  The Forest of Forever
Author: Rob Blackwell
Series: Soren Chase Book 01
Publish Date:  March 24, 2015
Genre:  Horror
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description:  Soren Chase’s life was shattered eight years ago after an encounter with a supernatural being left three friends dead and him branded as a murderer. Since then, he’s become a paranormal investigator, facing off against a host of deadly creatures. But his investigation into the haunted Reapoke woods may be his most dangerous case yet.

Something evil is lurking in the forest. Some say it’s the ghost of a preacher who vanished two centuries ago; others claim the woods are the site of sinister experiments by a shadowy organization. Hired to find a missing girl, Soren is determined to learn the truth. But what he discovers is far darker than he imagines—and it may force him to confront his own tragic past.

From the author of the bestselling Sanheim Chronicles, The Forest of Forever is the start of a new series that mixes urban fantasy, mystery, and suspense into a novel that you can’t put down. Because nothing is what it seems in The Forest of Forever, and once you enter, you may never leave . . .

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel (in other words, SPOILERS!)

Nervous_Nellie_100Nervous Nellie says…

First off – Wow.  I was so sure this was going to be a straight forward investigative detective novel that I never even imagined this amount of twists and turns.  I didn’t imagine being blindsided by the revealing details of Soren’s life, however, I was suspicious of a couple of characters that were introduced to the series.

Soren Chase is a good guy.  He’s out to rid the world of nasty monsters because of a nasty monster destroying his life.  What is revealed toward the end is exactly how ruined his life really is.  Soren is depressed and guilt ridden for things that really happened out of his control.  I know we’ve all felt that way at some point in time.

I can’t say with absolute authority that I understand the whole time/pocket dimension that is in the forest of the story, but the author’s writing was descriptive and very well thought out.  After the end battle, I actually stopped and had to think about how all of it fit together.  It was awesome!

There were some spots that I did skip because it felt like a typical horror movie – “Don’t go in there!  Run the other way!” – you know the one – stupid college kids on a weekend trip into a haunted forest.  I’m sure I missed some things, but I really just wanted to get to the nitty gritty of the story.

badge4v4The ending wasn’t EXACTLY a cliffhanger, but I am eager to get Book 2, which Mr. Blackwell has assured me that will be released soon.  If you are nervous about the ending being a “kinda” kind of cliffhanger, let me help you through it.  It’s an enlightening moment and I didn’t feel at loose ends.  There is the part about Sara that made me say, “Whaaaaat?”, but then after I thought a second I thought – “Hey! I get it!  She doesn’t really want……… “  Okay, yeah.  I know.  Don’t spoil it.  I’m stopping there.  After you read it, drop me a line.  I thought it was an awesome read.  A solid 4 all the way.

See my review of the prequel, Closed At Dark.

Stand Out Award Badge2Other reviews:

If you like this book, try…

Closed at Dark by Rob Blackwell


Welcome to Saturday Shorts, where we feature short stories and novellas.

TitleClosed at Dark
Author: Rob Blackwell
Series: Soren Chase prequel
Publish Date: November 9th 2014
Genre: Horror
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionWhen a mysterious white-haired man tries to kidnap Sara Ignatius’ son and then vanishes before her eyes, Sara knows there’s only one person who can help her: Soren Chase, one of the country’s best supernatural investigators.

For Soren, the case is personal. Sara’s fiancé was John Townes, Soren’s best friend who died in a supernatural attack several years earlier. Soren will do anything to save Sara’s son, but he must act fast. Because the kidnapper has a mission of his own, and he’s willing to destroy anyone who gets in his way…

A prequel to the full-length novel The Forest of Forever, Closed at Dark is a self-contained novella that can be enjoyed by anyone who loves urban fantasy, mystery and suspense.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel (in other words, SPOILERS!).

Nell 100Nervous Nellie says…..    

Soren Chase is a paranormal detective.  That, in itself, was enough to pull me in. The protagonist is a self tortured, broody man (just my type) that needs redemption.  This story is a prequel to the series and it probably answers some questions, but since I haven’t read the series, I haven’t many questions……..yet.

The story is well written and it kept me flipping pages as quick as I could.  The world is modern day where children are stolen and sold except the bad guy is a literally a horrible monster.  There was a strong mystery that came together fairly quickly, but in a novella you would expect no less.  Mr. Blackwell had me guessing right up til the end.

The characters were good.  I would have liked a little more description of them so I could picture them in my head.  The only two that I got a clear picture was Sarah, her son Alex and his dad, John.  Peter was well described because he gave me the creepy crawlies.badge4v4

Overall, I rate the story a 4.  I am looking forward to the first book in the series.  This is a good read for an hours worth of waiting time, but just be warned that once you pick up, you won’t be able to stop.

Other reviews:  Amazon and Goodreads

Stand Out Award Badge2If you like this book, try:

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