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The Arcane

The Arcane

Arcane - High Resolution - Book 1

The Arcane (The Arcane – 1) by Andrew S. French

 Orphaned science nerd and maths prodigy Alice Valentine wants to ace her studies. She’s spent all her life struggling to make friends, passed between foster families and care homes, isolated and lonely. Losing herself in academia from an early age, she becomes the first sixteen-year-old at her local university. Her whole world changes, but nothing can prepare

Alice for the night she’s attacked by a werewolf.

But even that isn’t as strange as discovering she has an identical twin sister, Cassie.

And Cassie kills werewolves. And all the other monsters Alice didn’t believe existed.

Alice and Cassie set off to discover what happened to their parents, a journey that takes them from northern England to the edge of the apocalypse, unsure if they will save the world or destroy it.

Amazon UK     Amazon US     Barnes and Noble     Goodreads

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About the Author

Andrew French is a man of no wealth and little taste. He lives amongst faded seaside glamour on the North East coast of England. He likes gin and cats but not together, new music and old movies, curry and ice cream. Slow bike rides and long walks to the pub are his usual exercise, as well as flicking through the pages of good books and the memoirs of bad people.

Website      Twitter      Instagram      Facebook

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My Review

4 stars

Alice went to the bar to try and fit in and maybe find a friend. What she ends up with is almost being killed by a werewolf and a girl that could be her twin sister, Cassie. Although she is a genius she thinks she can rationalize the supernatural creatures that her and Cassie keep running into. But she is determined to find out who killer her neighbors and ultimately who her mother is and how she might be related to Cassie.

Cassie has been hunter monsters for the last couple years and wants to know why there is a price on her head and how she is related to Alice. Both girls find themselves in confrontations with various creatures on their wait to find what happened on the day of their birth.

I really enjoyed this story. Both girls have been orphaned since birth with very different childhoods. I liked both girls and all the creatures they run into. I couldn’t wait to find out what happened on their birth and was not expecting the results.

If you like paranormal stories you need to get yourself a copy of this book. I was just glad to see that book two was released October 31, 2021. After posting my reviews I will definitely be downloading the next book.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

The Arcane Full Tour Banner

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I would like to thank Rachel’s Random Resources for the opportunity to read and share this book.

Donn’s Legacy

Author: Caryn Larrinaga

Narrator: Jessica McEvoy

Length: 9 hours 58 minutes

Series: The Soul Searchers Mysteries, Book 3

Released: Sep. 27, 2021

Publisher: Twisted Tree Press

Genre: Supernatural Cozy Mystery


How do you catch a killer who moves like a ghost? Mackenzie Clair is sure she’ll find answers in New Mexico. The mysteries around her mother’s past have haunted her for 20 years, and every sign points toward the truth lurking in her childhood home. But the Donn’s Hill Body Magnet should have known better than to expect a quiet trip. Everywhere Mac goes, ghosts follow. All her life, Mac thought her mother’s death was just a tragic accident. But when a tourist dies under suspiciously similar circumstances, connections between Evelyn Clair and more recent victims start stacking up. There’s a serial killer on the prowl, and they’ve set their sights on Donn’s Hill. Hard as she tries, Mac can’t convince the police the deaths are related. The murderer is like a ghost, moving through the living world in ways only a psychic can follow. It’s up to Mac to solve the case, but if she can’t sift through the clues from her past, she won’t live to see her future.

Buy on Audible

Caryn Larrinaga is a Basque-American mystery and horror writer. She has been a Dragon Award finalist and won multiple awards for her work, including the League of Utah Writers Silver Quill (Donn’s Hill, 2017) and the Cat Writers Association Certificate of Excellence (Donn’s Legacy, 2020). In 2021, she was named Writer of the Year by the League of Utah Writers. Watching scary movies through split fingers terrified Caryn as a child, and those nightmares inspire her to write now. Her 90-year-old house has a colorful history, and the creaking walls and narrow hallways send her running (never walking) up the stairs. Exploring her fears through writing makes Caryn feel a little less foolish for wanting a buddy to accompany her into the tool shed. Caryn lives near Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband and their clowder of cats. Caryn is an active member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the Cat Writers Association, the League of Utah Writers, and the Utah Chapter of the Horror Writers Association.

WebsiteTwitterFacebookInstagramGoodreads

Narrator Bio Between peddling video games and teaching yoga in her home state of Arizona, Jessica McEvoy attempts to conduct a career as a professional voice actress. This, however, is moderately undermined by the fact that she records in a dimly lit closet with her microphone balanced on a stack of old board games (Junior Scrabble and Powerpuff Girls Monopoly form a strong foundation), but she hopes that no one holds that against her. Though her main work consists of narrating audiobooks, her first dive into the voice world was through the NoSleep podcast after answering a post from the LibriVox forums. Having been raised on horror movies and scary stories, she was beyond excited to be able to work on the show. Many stories, tortured screams, deranged villains, and creepy little girl giggles later, Jessica hopes to work on the podcast for seasons and seasons to come.

Twitter

Q&A with Narrator Jessica McEvoy
  • How did you wind up narrating audiobooks? Was it always your goal or was it something you stumbled into by chance?
    • I saw an ad for ACX (the audiobook creation exchange) and it piqued my curiosity. I thought, “I can do that? By myself? Right now?” and then bought a microphone soon after. I’d never imagined I’d find a job where I could read books and be paid for it.
  • A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is essential to a successful narration career?
    • As much as I’d like to think my role as the Cat in the Hat in Suessical the Musical in middle school was a breakout performance, I don’t think a theatre background is entirely necessary for a career in voice acting.
  • How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for narrating?
    • I keep a supply of emergency chocolate on my desk for when my reserves start to run dry. I try to keep my office a happy place, with an essential oil diffuser throwing out some good smells and a few comfy blankets to wrap myself in when I’m trudging through editing the audio. I take breaks when I start to feel like I’m hitting a wall.
  • What about this title compelled you to audition as narrator?
    • After narrating the adventures of Mac and her friends in the two previous novels, Donn’s Hill and Donn’s Shadow, I knew I had to follow through with them to the end.
  • How closely do you prefer to work with authors?
    • I love feedback from authors! It’s reassuring to know when I’m getting something right and when something needs to be adjusted, otherwise I’m a nervous mess and assume I’ve ruined the whole thing.
  • How did you decide how each character should sound in this title?
    • Sometimes the characters’ voices are explicitly described in the text and so I do my best to match that. If they’re not, I’ll try to do a voice that I feel best reflects their personality or style of speaking.
  • What types of things are harmful to your voice?
    • Screaming. My main gig is voice acting for The NoSleep Podcast, a horror anthology show, so this comes up somewhat frequently. When I know I’ve got to full on death shriek in a story, I’ll save that for after everything else has been recorded to avoid rasping through the narration. Then I consume copious amounts of tea.
  • What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
    • I’d say that’s really unfair. I’ve spoken with blind or visually impaired listeners who are so happy to be able to enjoy stories otherwise unavailable to them. Many folks listen at work or while taking care of other tasks and wouldn’t otherwise have the time to sit down and read. Listening to an audiobook still requires reading comprehension and interpretation; it’s just a different way of doing it.
  • What bits of advice would you give to aspiring audiobook narrators?
    • Start small. Don’t jump into a contract for a multiple book series or an epic saga right away. Make sure you know what you’re doing first and take time to experiment. It’s also not a bad idea to use a pseudonym for your first few novels. You’ll inevitably get better with practice and may regret attaching your professional name to projects that don’t match that quality.
  • Bonus question: Any funny anecdotes from inside the recording studio?
    • One of the characters in The Soul Searchers series is a cat, who occasionally has a few bits of meowing or trilling dialogue. Narrating a cat is fun but watching my dogs’ reactions to hearing the result is even better. They’d hear it even when I had headphones on and then walk around the house terribly confused, trying to find this phantom cat.

Review

Graham and Mac are taking a vacation in New Mexico where Mac grew up. They find a dead woman and a possible lead of who Horace is and then learn of a friend’s passing when they get back home. Something sounds odd to Mac about Elizabeth’s passing, especially since that was how her own mother died.

Things keep moving as the Soul Searchers find new crew to replace those that have left. Mac is learning more about astral projection and finds she has brought a ghost back with her from her trip to New Mexico. But she is still plagued by Horace and having a harder and harder time trying to get some restful sleep. Mac is getting closer to the breaking point and it’s looking like Horace may just win.

At the end of Donn’s Shadow, I was worried that with the team breaking up and Mac going to New Mexico that they would be done. But don’t worry, this is just another stepping stone on the way to the finally. Poor Mac, I really thought she was going to snap and be lost to Horace. All is not lost, just keep reading.

Jessica McEvoy does a fantastic job narrating this story. She has an amazing voice and great pace. I can’t wait to find other books that she narrates.

I really liked this series and recommend it to anyone that is looking for a paranormal cozy mystery. I do recommend reading it from the beginning to get the full experience.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Caryn Larrinaga. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

View the full tour schedule here!

Plugging you into the audio community since 2016.

Sign up as a tour host here.

Burning Bright Blitz

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Welcome to the tour for Burning Bright, the next exciting novel in Michele Kwasniewski’s series, The Rise and Fall of Dani Truehart!

BURNING BRIGHT Official Book Cover

Burning Bright (The Rise and Fall of Dani Truehart #2) Publication Date: November 1st, 2021 Genre: YA Fiction Fresh off the debut of her EP, sixteen year old Dani Truehart is flying high on a string of number one hits. After locking down her first full-length album in record time and furiously preparing for her world tour, Dani is torn between leaving her loved ones behind and embracing her burgeoning stardom. Dani’s fame and fortune, along with her ego, explode as her tour moves across the globe. Elated when two of Hollywood’s hottest young actors, Kayla Spencer and Trey Connors, befriend her, Dani finds herself living life in the fast lane and recording her second album as she tours. Constantly dogged by the paparazzi, Dani basks in the adoration of The TrueHart Nation, her loyal super-fans who are ready to follow her around the world and go to war with anyone who dares dis their favorite pop star whom they’ve dubbed The Queen of Harts. But with her mother’s desperate attempts to cash in on her fame getting bolder, a public drunken scandal and her inability to connect with her boyfriend Sean and her best friend Lauren, Dani relies on her guardian Martin Fox and manager Jenner Redman to clean up her messes. She also increasingly depends on the drinks tour dancer Beau slips her to cope with her overwhelming life. Between juggling her drinking on the sly, the pressures of her public image and her ever-increasing fame, Dani and Beau wind up cornered in a huge lie in order to keep her secrets under wraps. The pressure crescendos when Dani’s mother blackmails her about her drinking and best friend Lauren catches Trey kissing Dani at the launch of her third album. Desperate to keep Lauren from telling Sean and Kayla about the kiss, Dani makes a choice that threatens not only to take her down, but everyone who has made her a star. Add to Goodreads

Excerpt

Looking like a carbon copy of last night but feeling like a shadow of myself, I sit on a huge gold and red throne backstage, waiting for the video package to roll. “Sounds like you had quite the adventure last night, rock star?” Beau elbows me playfully. I wince, grateful for the darkness that hides my burning cheeks.

“You wouldn’t have thrown up on my watch. I’d never let you get that sloppy.” He winks.

“Uh, thanks, I guess. But trust me, that whole scene won’t be happening again. Jenner and Martin have me on lockdown, and my parents are threatening to pull me off tour if it does.”

“Yeah, right. Like MEGA’s going to let your mom and dad kill the cash cow that’s raking in millions of dollars.” He gives me a wry look, his features eerily highlighted by the dim blue stage safety light. “Not likely. They might talk a big game, but trust me, you could steal a car, rob a bank or slap the president of the United States and you’d still find yourself on stage at curtain time.”

Available on Amazon 55188147._SY475_ Rising Star (The Rise and Fall of Dani Truehart #1) Publication Date: October 20th, 2020 Genre: YA Fiction In the first book in THE RISE AND FALL OF DANI TRUEHART series, RISING STAR, fifteen-year-old Dani Truehart is living a life that is not quite her own. Driven by her mother’s desire for fame and fortune, she has spent her childhood dutifully training for a career as a pop star. On the brink of discovery, doubts begin to creep into Dani’s mind as she questions her own desire for fame, and she wonders whether she can trust the motivations of the adults who are driving her forward. Following a brilliant audition arranged by her vocal/dance coach and former ’80s pop icon Martin Fox, Dani is thrown full-force into the music industry. She leaves her friends, family and scheming mother behind to move with Martin, who has become her legal guardian, into the Malibu compound of her new manager, Jenner Redman. Jenner, the former swindling manager of Martin’s boy band, leverages what’s left of his depleted fortune to launch Dani’s career. Isolated from her life at home and trying to stay apace with her demanding schedule, Dani struggles to keep in touch with those she loves, connect to her withholding mother and find her voice as an artist. With Martin and Jenner at odds over their rocky past and finding herself unprepared to handle the pressures of her future singing career, Dani’s debut album and future stardom are at risk of falling apart. Goodreads

About the Author

M. Kwasniewski Author Photo Rising Star After graduating from Loyola Marymount University with a BA in Technical Theater, Michele Kwasniewski spent over fifteen years in film and television production. Starting out as a film set assistant on movies such as INDEPENDENCE DAY, FACE/OFF, PRIMAL FEAR, and EVITA, she worked her way up to production manager on TV shows including BIG BROTHER, ADOPTION STORIES, EXTRA YARDAGE and MEET THE PANDAS. She is also a proud member of the Producers Guild of America. Michele’s colorful experiences in the industry inspired her to write THE RISE AND FALL OF DANI TRUEHART series. Michele lives in San Clemente, California with her husband, their son, and their disobedient dachshund. RISING STAR is her first novel.

Michele Kwasniewski | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Book Tour Schedule

November 8th

R&R Book Tour (Kick-Off)

Reads & Reels (Spotlight)

@booklymatters (Review)

Liliyana Shadowlyn (Spotlight)

@eyerollingdemigod (Spotlight)

November 9th

Rambing Mads (Review)

 @latishaslowkeylife (Spotlight)

@_lost_in_the_pages (Spotlight)

November 10th

B is for Book Review (Spotlight)

Sadie’s Spotlight (Spotlight)

Bunny’s Book Reviews (Spotlight)

November 11th

Breakeven Books (Spotlight)

Nesie’s Place (Spotlight)

@fle_d (Spotlight)

J Bronder Book Reviews (Spotlight)

November 12th

@my_books_and_coffee (Review)

The Faerie Review (Review)

On the Shelf Reviews (Spotlight)

Misty’s Book Space (Spotlight)

The Write Start (Spotlight)

Giveaway 3

Win bookish swag! Click the link below (US ONLY)!

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Book Tour Organized By:

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I would like to thank R&R Book Tours for the opportunity to share this book.

Tik-Tok Blitz

TikTok copy

Happy publication day to authors Candace Robinson and Amber R. Duell! To celebrate the release of Tik-Tok, the final book in the Faeries of Oz series, book one Tin will be FREE from today until November 14th!

Tiktok

Tik-Tok (Faeries of Oz #4) Publication Date: November 10th, 2021 Genre: NA Dark Fantasy/ Dark Romance Spicy NA fantasy romance for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Laura Thalassa, and Jennifer L. Armentrout. A world to escape… North has always tried to pave her own path, to break free from the shadows of the most powerful fae in Oz. Being born without magic of her own makes it difficult, but she still has the love of her life in her corner. Or, at least, until she learns that he doesn’t return her feelings, ripping a gaping hole in her heart. Tik-Tok does what he wants, says what he wants, and rules how he wants. The sea has been his home—his—except when he was begrudgingly bound to serve the now-dead Wizard. But even after decades of freedom, he is still without the one thing he needs: the prophesied female who can open portals through the sea. Without her, he can’t fulfill his destiny. When Tik-Tok finds North—the fae he’s been waiting for—he wastes no time stealing her away. He isn’t expecting to fall in love with her, perhaps a quick tumble, sure, but nothing more. However, a past he is forced to confront may do more than haunt him … it may destroy North. Tik-Tok is the final book in this dark fantasy romance series. If you love seductive fae pirates, independent female leads, and Hades and Persephone vibes, then you won’t want to miss this epic conclusion. Available on Amazon

Tin (Faeries of Oz #1)

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A curse to break… Tin is the most famous fae in Oz for all the wrong reasons. Cursed with a stone heart, he is the perfect assassin: ruthless, efficient, and merciless with thousands of kills to his name. When his old friend, Lion, offers him a small fortune to deliver Dorothy to the South for his lover to wear the girl’s head as her own, Tin doesn’t hesitate to accept the unsavory deal. Dorothy Gale lost everything—her family to illness, her dog to age, and now her farm to foreclosure. The entire town thought she was crazy for believing in a faerie world called Oz, but even after ten years have passed, she can’t help knowing she was right. So when an emerald green portal opens in her wheat field, she jumps at the opportunity to return to the only place she ever felt like she belonged. Tin wasn’t expecting a grown woman to step through the portal, just as Dorothy wasn’t expecting Tin to have his stone heart back, but Oz holds more unexpected things than either could have imagined. Magic has hidden dangerous lies behind glamour, trapped innocents in curses, and left the land of Oz in turmoil—none more so than the South. As Tin and Dorothy travel together for the second time in a decade, their lives begin to make sense again. Soon, they must decide who to give their loyalties to before Lion takes Dorothy’s head and Tin’s cursed heart is forever doomed. Perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Laura Thalassa, and Jennifer L. Armentrout. Tin is the first book in this dark fantasy romance series. If you love hot fae assassins and strong female leads, then you won’t want to miss this one.

Download a Free Copy of Tin Today!

About the Authors

242712239_2441243009341526_8190693269848765318_n Amber R. Duell was born and raised in a small town in Central New York. While it will always be home, she’s constantly moving with her husband and two sons as a military wife. She does her best writing in the middle of the night, surviving the daylight hours with massive amounts of caffeine. Her favorite stories are dark with a touch of romance and a villain you either love to hate or hate to love.

Amber Duell | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

249774362_1384697421926241_6054492561592012096_n Candace Robinson spends her days consumed by words and hoping to one day find her own DeLorean time machine. Her life consists of avoiding migraines, admiring Bonsai trees, watching classic movies, and living with her husband and daughter in Texas—where it can be forty degrees one day and eighty the next!

Candace Robinson | Literary Dust | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Book Blitz Organized By:

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Thank you to R&R Book Tours for the opportunity to share this book.

Donn’s Shadow

Author: Caryn Larrinaga

Narrator: Jessica McEvoy

Length: 9 hours 53 minutes

Series: The Soul Searchers Mysteries, Book 2

Released: May 14, 2020

Publisher: Twisted Tree Press

Genre: Supernatural Cozy Mystery


Mackenzie Clair finally has this whole ghost-hunting psychic thing figured out. The Soul Searchers are a hit, she’s got pet-parenting down, and she even has a plan to banish the poltergeist running amok at a lakeside cabin. Best of all, Donn’s Hill feels like home. But not everyone loves the town as much as Mac. A world-famous paranormal debunker thinks the psychics in Donn’s Hill are lying about their abilities. His determination to destroy the Soul Searchers threatens Mac’s livelihood, and when a killer strikes, the sheriff’s suspicions threaten her freedom. Mac needs all the help she can get to find the real murderer and clear her name… even if that help comes from beyond the grave.

Buy on Audible

Caryn Larrinaga is a Basque-American mystery and horror writer. She has been a Dragon Award finalist and won multiple awards for her work, including the League of Utah Writers Silver Quill (Donn’s Hill, 2017) and the Cat Writers Association Certificate of Excellence (Donn’s Legacy, 2020). In 2021, she was named Writer of the Year by the League of Utah Writers. Watching scary movies through split fingers terrified Caryn as a child, and those nightmares inspire her to write now. Her 90-year-old house has a colorful history, and the creaking walls and narrow hallways send her running (never walking) up the stairs. Exploring her fears through writing makes Caryn feel a little less foolish for wanting a buddy to accompany her into the tool shed. Caryn lives near Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband and their clowder of cats. Caryn is an active member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the Cat Writers Association, the League of Utah Writers, and the Utah Chapter of the Horror Writers Association.

WebsiteTwitterFacebookInstagramGoodreads

Narrator Bio Between peddling video games and teaching yoga in her home state of Arizona, Jessica McEvoy attempts to conduct a career as a professional voice actress. This, however, is moderately undermined by the fact that she records in a dimly lit closet with her microphone balanced on a stack of old board games (Junior Scrabble and Powerpuff Girls Monopoly form a strong foundation), but she hopes that no one holds that against her. Though her main work consists of narrating audiobooks, her first dive into the voice world was through the NoSleep podcast after answering a post from the LibriVox forums. Having been raised on horror movies and scary stories, she was beyond excited to be able to work on the show. Many stories, tortured screams, deranged villains, and creepy little girl giggles later, Jessica hopes to work on the podcast for seasons and seasons to come.

Twitter

Q&A with Striker the cat
  • What is your full name? Do you have a nickname (if so, who calls you this)? Striker Clair. Mac sometimes calls me “my cat” in front of other humans, which is hilarious.
  • Where do you live now, and with whom? Describe the place (home and location) and the person/people you live with. Mac found me a really nice, warm, cozy apartment in a big yellow house not too far from Main Street in Donn’s Hill. There’s a great big tree right by the window, so I can climb up and down whenever I want. My favorite part about it is this cushy bench that runs along the inside of a round turret; it’s sunny there for most of the day and it’s a great place to nap. Usually I sleep in the soft bed Mac bought me though; she’s pretty warm so I let her share it with me.
  • What is your job? I’m in charge of security for a TV show called the Soul Searchers. I travel with the team when they’re filming and make sure no mice or birds interfere with anything. If a ghost shows up, I keep Mac safe. She’s really important. You know… to the show. Sometimes I help my friend Graham sell his sculptures at the Afterlife Festival. He always sells way more when I’m around!
  • What do you consider your greatest achievement so far, why? I’m really proud of how far Mac has come since I’ve been taking care of her. When we first met, she was so lost. She didn’t even have a home. Now I make sure she’s happy and healthy, and she’s really thriving. It’s great to see!
  • Do you have a motto? If so, what is it? “A treat in the hand is worth two in the bag.” Also, “Give me the bag.”

Music Playlist https://open.spotify.com/playlist/496SXt6tY2sJEwek3290ab Review

It’s been about one year since Mac Clair discovered that she is a psychic. Her job with Soul Searchers is going well and her relationship with Graham is going well. But when famous debunker Raziel sets his eyes on the Soul Searchers things are going to get heated. But Mac discovering another dead body puts her in the person of interest’s category again.

Mac is also up against a powerful ghost that directs her to a dybbuk box. The discovery of this book seems to put a curse on Mac and her friends. As everything seems to be crashing down around her it’s up to Mac to find the truth and learn to ask for help.

I really like this series and I think Jessica McEvoy breathes life to the characters and the story. Things seem to be going so well for the Soul Searchers and Mac. But this is going to change quickly. A séance brings a new and powerful spirit to Mac’s attention, and it seems he likes to follow her around. He also gets her mixed up with a cursed object that seems to be breaking up her life.

I enjoyed how things are going to Mac, but I did get frustrated by her naivety. I understand she wants to think the best of people, but it almost gets her killed. I still say Striker is my favorite character, but I have a soft spot for torties. Thank goodness she is there to guide Mac to what is under her nose.

I’m kind of torn on the ending. I understand how this is going to progress, but I worry about how this is going to work out in the next book. I guess I just need to read it to see.

If you are looking for a good, cozy, paranormal mystery you need to check this series out. Although you could start with this book, I would recommend starting at the Donn’s Hill so you don’t miss anything.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Caryn Larrinaga. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

View the full tour schedule here!

Plugging you into the audio community since 2016.

Sign up as a tour host here.

Donn’s Hill

Author: Caryn Larrinaga

Narrator: Jessica McEvoy

Length: 9 hours 54 minutes

Series: The Soul Searchers Mysteries, Book 1

Released: Aug. 1, 2017

Publisher: Twisted Tree Press

Genre: Supernatural Cozy Mystery


“Grief can change us… rewire our brains and shift the way we look at the world…” After returning home from her father’s funeral to find her boyfriend in bed with another woman, Mackenzie Clair is looking for a fresh start. She thinks she’ll find it in her favorite childhood vacation spot, but returning to Donn’s Hill awakens more than nostalgia. Mac regains a lost psychic ability to talk to the dead, and the poltergeist haunting her apartment is desperate to make her use that gift to find his killer. Aided by her new roommate – a spirited Tortoiseshell cat named Striker, and the ghost-hunting crew of the nationally televised show Soul Searchers, Mac struggles to learn how to use her powers. But she’d better get a handle on them fast, because someone in town is hiding a deadly secret. If Mac can’t somehow divine the truth, Donn’s Hill will never be the same.

Buy on Audible

Caryn Larrinaga is a Basque-American mystery and horror writer. She has been a Dragon Award finalist and won multiple awards for her work, including the League of Utah Writers Silver Quill (Donn’s Hill, 2017) and the Cat Writers Association Certificate of Excellence (Donn’s Legacy, 2020). In 2021, she was named Writer of the Year by the League of Utah Writers. Watching scary movies through split fingers terrified Caryn as a child, and those nightmares inspire her to write now. Her 90-year-old house has a colorful history, and the creaking walls and narrow hallways send her running (never walking) up the stairs. Exploring her fears through writing makes Caryn feel a little less foolish for wanting a buddy to accompany her into the tool shed. Caryn lives near Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband and their clowder of cats. Caryn is an active member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the Cat Writers Association, the League of Utah Writers, and the Utah Chapter of the Horror Writers Association.

WebsiteTwitterFacebookInstagramGoodreads

Narrator Bio Between peddling video games and teaching yoga in her home state of Arizona, Jessica McEvoy attempts to conduct a career as a professional voice actress. This, however, is moderately undermined by the fact that she records in a dimly lit closet with her microphone balanced on a stack of old board games (Junior Scrabble and Powerpuff Girls Monopoly form a strong foundation), but she hopes that no one holds that against her. Though her main work consists of narrating audiobooks, her first dive into the voice world was through the NoSleep podcast after answering a post from the LibriVox forums. Having been raised on horror movies and scary stories, she was beyond excited to be able to work on the show. Many stories, tortured screams, deranged villains, and creepy little girl giggles later, Jessica hopes to work on the podcast for seasons and seasons to come.

Twitter

Q&A with Author Caryn Larrinaga
  • How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?
    • The first thing everyone has to learn how to pronounce is usually my name (it’s “Kuh-rin” but most people try to say it like “Karen”). 🙂
    • Jessica is amazing, so it was super easy to work with her on all three of these books. We talked about how certain words should be pronounced, especially the names of Elder Futhark and Ogham runes in Donn’s Legacy. For the main characters, we talked a little bit about their personalities and how they should sound, but overall I left it up to Jessica to decide how she wanted to bring each character to life. It was the right call – she’s a genius at packing a character’s spirit into their voices.
  • Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
    • Spookily, yes! A lot of the ghosts Mac encounters are inspired by the actual experiences of friends and family (like the poltergeist my mom encountered). And Striker the cat is pulled straight from real life – she’s the immortalization of my sweet tortie cat who was feisty and playful until she passed away at 20.
  • How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
    • There’s one piece of advice I’ve heard again and again but still always need to hear: celebrate everything. Every milestone of the writing process, every email from a reader who loved a story, every opportunity to connect with other writers and new readers. They’re all worth marking and savoring. It’s a habit I fall out of sometimes, but it seems like right when I need it most, there’s a writing conference or a speaker’s bureau night with someone like Tim Waggoner where I’m reminded about it.
  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
    • Definitely! My favorite thing about it is that my husband and I can experience the book together. We love listening while we’re in the car or to wind down at night. I’ve gotten him into supernatural romance and
  • Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?
  • If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go?
    • Oh man, I would want to do so much! I’m assuming I wouldn’t be allowed to change anything (I don’t want to Homer Simpson myself into a world where it rains donuts… or do I?). So if all I could do was be a spectator at some event, I’d go back and sit in on one of the seances Houdini’s wife held after he died because I bet they were deliciously spooky.
  • How did you celebrate after finishing this novel?
    • The last couple of weeks of writing a novel are a massive sprint for me. The words come more easily but they also sort of come all at once, and my brain needs a break after. So I like to take a week off from writing, play way too much Civilization 5 while eating chocolate covered orange sticks and pickle flavored Lays, then come back with a fresh mind for editing.
  • What gets you out of a writing slump? What about a reading slump?
    • When I’m feeling stuck on my longer projects, I like to switch to writing short stories and get that sweet sweet dopamine hit from finishing something. Try it! It also helps me to finish a big chore I’ve been putting off, like reorganizing the Closet of Mysteries in my den while I listen to some synthwave. Using my hands and letting my brain roam free can sometimes unlock whatever barrier has me slumping.
    • I definitely get into reading slumps too. Genre hopping helps me with that. Last spring I got super into reading romances and tore through all the Bridgerton books before switching back to paranormal horror and cozy mysteries, haha.
  • What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
    • I’d say to start by focusing on building a good writing habit. Pick an attainable word count (for example, 500 words per day) and work toward hitting that. Then work on hitting it every day for a month. That’s been the most important thing for me, and that daily habit is how I get things done.
  • Do you have any tips for authors going through the process of turning their books into audiobooks?
    • Don’t rush the process of finding the right narrator. Take your time and keep looking for the right fit. That’s how you end up getting to work with someone as phenomenal as Jessica.
  • What’s next for you?
    • My collection of short horror stories, Dread Softly, just released last month. One of those stories (“The Bump”) will be coming out in audio as part of the Untold Tales Podcast, and later as an animated special from TKMV Studio. I love this story and the children’s voices in it are soooooo creepy. I hope folks will check it out!

  • Mackenzie Clair (aka Mac) is a wanderer at heart. For Mac, home is where the people she loves are, and at the beginning of the Soul Searchers Mysteries, everyone she loves has either left this life or betrayed her completely. She’s used to starting over, and her willingness to dive head first into uncharted territory serves her well as she discovers the return of a lost psychic ability to see the dead. Mac has dark, curly hair and tends to have shadows under her blue eyes from staying up late reading. Her sweet tooth can get out of control, and her favorite snacks include lemon bars and homemade chocolate chip cookies. She loves a good cup of tea but will take coffee if somebody else made it.
  • Striker is a small tortoiseshell cat who found her way into Mac’s life just when she was needed most, as cats have a way of doing. Fond of games and cuddling, she takes care of Mac as well (or better) as Mac takes care of her, and her inquisitive nature has a way of leading her human both into and out of trouble. Favorite snack: crunchy treats from Mac’s landlord’s breast pocket.

Review

Mackenzie Clair is starting over after catching her boyfriend with his assistant. She remembered Donn’s Hill from her childhood with her mother and decided to start over there. After a rough start she finds a great apartment, a tortoiseshell kitty, and an odd job with Soul Searchers, a local paranormal research group/television show.

But Mac seems to have creepy things happening around her and is seeing ghosts. But when the body of a very prominent resident, Tom Bishop is discovered, things take a turn for the worst. It seems he was involved in scrupulous dealings.

I loved this story! Mac is a good person that has found herself in hard times. I loved the whole paranormal abilities and festival. That would be a blast to attend. Of course, I was left guessing who the killer was and I kind of felt sorry for her too. It doesn’t make what she did right, but I could understand part of it. I also felt Jessica McEvoy did a fantastic job of narrating this story. She drew me right in and didn’t let me go until the end.

I strongly recommend this mystery to those that like a little paranormal twist to a mystery. I’m really excited that I signed up to review all three books. I can’t wait to jump into Donn’s Shadow.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Caryn Larrinaga. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

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Redemption

Legendsof Lightning copy

Congratulations to author T.R. Slauf on the release of the second installment in the Legends of Lightning series, Redemption! Read on for more details!

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Redemption (Legends of Lightning #2)

Publication Date: November 2nd, 2021

Genre: Fantasy

“Blood seems to be the only thing flowing in this Realm. The day I found out the truth of who I was, was the day I died.”

“Sometimes you must die so you can be re-born.”

Esther escaped the horrors of Castle Rose, but at a cost. Believing her lost guide is still alive deep in the bowls of Adam’s dungeons, she aims to save him, but the other Huntsman are not so sure he’s alive… Desperate to rescue Oisin, Esther makes tempestuous allegiances with dangerous foes. Walking a fine line between enemies and allies, life and death, she rages war against the monsters of the Hidden Realm.

Esther’s journey continues in this heart wrenching sequel as she navigates the politics and grudges of ageless Queens. By night, she’s haunted by what she’s seen fighting in a war that was never hers. What she’s done to survive in the Hidden Realm will haunt her forever and she’s terrified of losing herself in the darkness without a star to guide her. Will Esther be able to save Oisin and the lands before the shadows of her mind overtake her spirit?

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Esther stifled a scream. A sheen of cold sweat dripped from her face and soaked her clothes. Gathering her wits, she looked around. It was early evening, and she was in a dark cramped room full of sleeping bodies at Auburn Keep.

Her heart pounded; she was safe. There were no Faye ravishing her body while the shadows laughed, there were no beasts torturing her while the misshaped yellow eyes of the gremlins watched. The sound of rushing waters and Oisin’s screams were only in her mind

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Hidden Realm (Legends of Lightning #1)

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“The next Realm Walker will bring with them a storm. Lightning must fight the Crimson Shadow, or the lands will be cast into eternal darkness.”

When she was a child, Esther was plagued with vivid nightmares. Now they have returned to haunt her. Bloodthirsty monsters chase her through a forest of dead trees while a mysterious hooded figure stalks her. After waking with fresh wounds from her dreams, Esther searches for the truth about who she is and the Hidden Realm she is destined to save.

Join Esther on her journey of self-discovery as she travels into a world long forgotten. Unsure if she can trust her hooded guide, she is hunted by unknown enemies and smothered by expectations of grandeur. Deciphering friend from foe she travels the lands, trying to unite kingdoms torn by pride

About the Author

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I have always been torn between two halves of myself; one half revels in all things scientific and longs to explore the secrets of the universe, while the other half finds solace and excitement within the arts. When it came time to choose a college degree, I put aside my creative hobbies and perused a career path in biochemistry. For me, college was an expensive privilege, thus I decided a degree within STEM was the most logical route for my costly investments. Through my years in college I still tried to enjoy the arts, reading novels and drawing in my sketchbooks when time permitted.

Five long years later, I graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry and molecular biology. I immediately began working full time in an academic research lab, it was miserable. I quickly grew weary and depressed in the toxic and hostile work environment created by our supervisor. I begun interviewing for other jobs and exploring my creative hobbies again when my congenital heart condition required me to have another open-heart surgery.

In the months before my operation, I became determined to finish my first novel; I had started and abandoned several over the years. Once I was well enough, I continued writing during my recovery. Nine months after my operation, I left my job at the research lab and invested more of myself in my novel. It wasn’t an easy transition and it did not happen over-night, but I decided to start a new career as a novelist.

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My Review

5 stars

Esther may have survived Castle Rose but she is torn up with guilt about Oisin and leaving him behind. She still has to unity the Huntsmen and the Queens if they are going to be able to fight the Red Witch. But Esther is distracted and danced along the line closer to the enemy than to the hero.

I admit that I tried to start reading this book and quickly realized that you need to have read Hidden Realm first otherwise you are going to be lost. I love how this is a dark twist on Grimm’s fairy tales. Esther is supposed to be the hero, but she didn’t fully understand her role in this battle. She is going to have to sacrifice all just to survive this world.

Although Esther is supposed to be the hero and fight the Red Witch, I find that she is too distracted by different things. Don’t get me wrong, my heart went out to Oisin and I just hoped that he would make it through his ordeal. Having said that this story had some great battles and I think does a great job of gearing up for the next chapter of the series.

I really enjoyed Redemption. I do recommend reading Hidden Realm first since this one picks up right away. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

Paperback Copies of the Legends of Lightning Series

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Return of the Dragon Slayers (Dragonwatch – 5) by Brandon Mull

The magical world teeters on the brink of collapse. The Dragon King, Celebrant, has united the dragons into a vengeful army, and only a final artifact stands in the way of them unleashing their fury against humankind. With established allegiances shifting under the strain, Seth and Kendra find themselves in desperate need of new allies.

Seth must face his most dangerous quest—the fulfillment of his pledge to the Singing Sisters. With only Calvin the Tiny Hero at his side, Seth needs to collect the pieces of the Ethergem, including the stones from the crowns of the Dragon King, the Giant Queen, and the Demon King.

Halfway across the world, Kendra finds herself torn between her duty to Dragonwatch and her desire to rescue Bracken. Can she challenge Ronodin’s control of the fairy realm without leaving the five legendary dragon slayers to be hunted by Celebrant and his sons?

Left behind at Titan Valley, Knox and Tess must survive the aftermath of the Giant Queen’s fall. Will the secret crown in Knox’s possession prove too much for him to handle?

In this fifth and final volume of Dragonwatch, our heroes make their last stand at the hidden Kingdom of Selona. For the defenders of light to stand a chance, the legendary dragon slayers must arise, lost secrets must be uncovered, and ancient powers must awaken. Get ready for the gripping, revelatory, and unforeseen conclusion to the epic ten-volume New York Times best-selling Fablehaven and Dragonwatch series.

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Brandon Mull

About the Author

Brandon Mull is the #1 New York Times best-selling author of the Fablehaven, Beyonders, and Five Kingdoms series. A kinetic thinker, Brandon enjoys bouncy balls, squeezable stress toys, and popping bubble wrap. He lives in Utah in a happy little valley near the mouth of a canyon with his four children and a dog named Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Brandon loves meeting his readers and hearing about their experiences with his books.

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My Review

5 stars

Oh my goodness, where to begin? The dragons have banded together and are about ready to exact their revenge on the humans and Ronodin is in control of the fairy realm. And the giant’s have been exposed. It surely looks like the world is going to fall if the Dragonwatch can’t stop them.

It’s hard to give too much detail without ruining the story. There is so much going on with the kids facing their own challenges and how to come together to fight the dragons. Seth is full of guilt about what he is done. Kendra wants to save Bracken but she also has to follow her duty as a Dragonwatcher. I loved how both are trying to figure out the best paths and how they are learning that not everything is black and white-good and evil.

This is a darker story and a lot more violent. And even though the book is 600 plus pages there were parts that seemed rushed. But having said that I really like the adventure we are taken on as everything comes to an end.

I really like this series and will go back and read it time and time again. I love how thing ended and think this is a great story and series that any middle grade to adult reader will enjoy.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

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I would like to thank Shadow Mountain Publishing for the opportunity to read and share this book and series.

The Weeping Masses

The Weeping Masses: A Young Adult Dystopian Survival Saga (Juche - Part 2) by [Adria Carmichael]

The Weeping Masses (Juche – 2) by Adria Carmichael

A highly addictive Young Adult Dystopian Survival Saga that will keep you glued to the pages.
Areum’s hopes to be set free from the brutal political prison camp holding them is crushed, and the heinous assault on her sister plunges her into a state of shock and horror… and puts her on a collision course with her family. All hope seems to be lost. Just when she is about to give up, however, a disturbing revelation is made… and as the evil of the camp is given a face, Areum finds a new purpose to keep fighting.

Revenge!

But first they need to survive, and with the constantly harshening conditions and her family being targeted from all directions, daily life in Yodok turns into a never-ceasing fight to evade imminent doom.
On top of everything, an impossible tragedy strikes Choson, and the unquestionable truth Areum has built her life around is challenged to its very core.

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About the Author

Adria Carmichael

Adria Carmichael is a writer of Young Adult Dystopian fiction with a twist. When she is not devouring dystopian and post-apocalyptic content in any format – books, movies, TV-series and PlayStation games – she is crafting the epic and highly-addictive Juche saga, her 2020 debut novel series that takes place in the brutal, totalitarian nation of Choson. When the limit of doom and gloom is reached, a 10K run on a sunny day or binging a silly sitcom on a rainy day is her go-to way to unwind.

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My Review

5 stars

 

Areum is finally accepting that she is in Yodok and not going to be leaving. She is full of rage and is trying to do the best she can to protect her sister Nari. After learning about who assaulted her sister all she can think about is how to kill Chul. She also learns of another person, Hana that knew about the assault and did nothing to stop it. Hana has offered to help Areum as long as she helps Hana get control of the Dragons. But can she get over her anger enough to work together with Hana?

Areum is so full of anger that it’s almost painful to read this story. My heart goes out to her and what she has to do to survive Yodok. Her parents are no help. Once they figured out who her father was they are basically working him to death in the mine or pushing the other workers to kill him. Her mother has been taken to the officers section of Yodok and is starting to not even come home.

This is a great story. It’s heartbreaking what Areum goes through but she keeps fighting. It’s such a honest look at how many people are treated in the world. It’s also a good cautionary tale and how you don’t want to find yourself in this situation. It’s amazing how the human spirit can be broken yet keep fighting.

I recommend everyone read this story. Things like this have happened in history and in present day. By learning about it you can prevent it from happening in the future. Definitely an eye opener.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author, thank you Adria. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

The Awakening of Artemis

TheAwakeningBT copyThere’s a new book coming out this month and if you enjoy science or speculative fiction, you’re going to love it! Check out The Awakening of Artemis by John Calia!

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The Awakening of Artemis Expected Publication Date: September 29th, 2021 Genre: Science Fiction/ Speculative Fiction

Orphaned by war and disillusioned about her life, Diana Gutierrez-Adams is on a routine military assignment when she and her team are kidnapped by a domestic militia. She learns from her captors that her cryogenically-frozen grandfather is at the center of a high-stakes plan to steal technology that will change the world for greed and great fortune.

Challenged by the conspiracy and pulled by emotions she doesn’t fully understand, Diana’s rescue mission will change her life. What happens to her is unexpected, perhaps miraculous – an adventure that embraces all her hopes for finding her true self and her place in a world dominated by powerful elites and even more powerful artificial intelligence.

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Excerpt

Diana knew that everyone who lived in the pods as well as anyone officially connected to the government had an embedded chip that enabled monitoring technology to identify where every individual was at any time. The chips also measured the secretion of enzymes and hormones. Algorithms had been developed to predict everyone’s wants and needs based upon those secretions. Over time, the algorithms learned from human response and adjusted their predictions accordingly – without human intervention.

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About the Author

15247984 A Brooklyn-born, second generation American and the eldest of three boys, writing is his third career and the one about which he is most passionate. Following graduation from the US Naval Academy and active duty in the Navy, he embarked on a career in business. He began writing his blog “Who Will Lead?” in 2010 attracting over 115,000 readers. It inspired him to write his first book, an Amazon five-star rated business fable titled “The Reluctant CEO.” Currently he makes his home in Fairport, NY, a village on the Erie Canal.

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