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Child of the Night Guild

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Child of the Night Guild (Queen of Thieves – 1) by Andy Peloquin

“They killed my parents. They took my name. They imprisoned me in darkness. I would not be broken.”

Viola, a child sold to pay her father’s debts, has lost everything: her mother, her home, and her identity. Thrown into a life among criminals, she has no time for grief as she endures the brutal training of an apprentice thief. The Night Guild molds an innocent waif into a cunning, agile outlaw skilled in the thieves’ trade. She has only one choice: steal enough to pay her debts.
The cutthroat streets of Praamis will test her mettle, and she must learn to dodge the City Guards or swing from a hangman’s rope. But a more dangerous foe lurks within the guild walls. A sadistic rival apprentice, threatened by her strength, is out for blood.
What hope does one girl have in a world of ruthless men?

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Andy Peloquin

Author’s Bio

I am, first and foremost, a storyteller and an artist–words are my palette. Fantasy is my genre of choice, and I love to explore the darker side of human nature through the filter of fantasy heroes, villains, and everything in between. I’m also a freelance writer, a book lover, and a guy who just loves to meet new people and spend hours talking about my fascination for the worlds I encounter in the pages of fantasy novels.

Fantasy provides us with an escape, a way to forget about our mundane problems and step into worlds where anything is possible. It transcends age, gender, religion, race, or lifestyle–it is our way of believing what cannot be, delving into the unknowable, and discovering hidden truths about ourselves and our world in a brand new way. Fiction at its very best!

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My Review

5 stars

When Viola is very young, her father sells her to the Night Guild to cover his debt. Through abuse and torture, Viola forgets her past and becomes Seven. Through the years of more training and abuse she becomes Ilanna and part of the Hawk Guild. Until things take a turn for the worst. But the one thing that her life has taught her is that she will not be broken and will rise again.

I’m going to warn you, this is a dark story. Viola goes through Hell several times in her training. This is meant to break her down to only know the Guild. But she won’t forget, or let them break her no matter what. She is the only female in a male world and is determined to survive. It is hard following her through the tortures she faces. All I could do is hope everything would work out for her in the end. But this is not a happily ever after story.

This is a raw and brutal story but I loved it each step of the way. There is so much detail that goes into this world. I loved all aspects of the Guild and the different jobs they learn. It’s so easy to get drawn into the story that I had a hard time putting the book down. I just had the see what happened to Ilanna next. And the ending, not what I expected but left me eagerly waiting for book two.

This is a wonderful, dark fantasy story that will appeal too many. It’s one that I recommend everyone check out. You may find your new favorite author.

I received Child of the Night Guild from the author for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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Homesick for Another World by Ottessa Moshfegh

An electrifying first collection from one of the most exciting short story writers of our time

Ottessa Moshfegh’s debut novel Eileen was one of the literary events of 2015. Garlanded with critical acclaim, it was named a book of the year by The Washington Post and the San Francisco Chronicle, nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award, short-listed for the Man Booker Prize, and won the PEN/Hemingway Award for debut fiction. But as many critics noted, Moshfegh is particularly held in awe for her short stories. Homesick for Another World is the rare case where an author’s short story collection is if anything more anticipated than her novel.

And for good reason. There’s something eerily unsettling about Ottessa Moshfegh’s stories, something almost dangerous, while also being delightful, and even laugh-out-loud funny. Her characters are all unsteady on their feet in one way or another; they all yearn for connection and betterment, though each in very different ways, but they are often tripped up by their own baser impulses and existential insecurities. Homesick for Another World is a master class in the varieties of self-deception across the gamut of individuals representing the human condition. But part of the unique quality of her voice, the echt Moshfeghian experience, is the way the grotesque and the outrageous are infused with tenderness and compassion. Moshfegh is our Flannery O’Connor, and Homesick for Another World is her Everything That Rises Must Converge or A Good Man is Hard to Find. The flesh is weak; the timber is crooked; people are cruel to each other, and stupid, and hurtful. But beauty comes from strange sources. And the dark energy surging through these stories is powerfully invigorating. We’re in the hands of an author with a big mind, a big heart, blazing chops, and a political acuity that is needle-sharp. The needle hits the vein before we even feel the prick.”

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Author’s Bio

Ottessa Moshfegh

Ottessa Moshfegh is a fiction writer from Boston. She was awarded the Plimpton Prize for her stories in The Paris Review and granted a creative writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She is currently a Wallace Stegner fellow at Stanford.

The Dragon in the Garden

The Dragon in the Garden (The Watcher Rising Series – 1) by Erika Gardner

There is magic beneath the mundane and in The Dragon in the Garden, Siobhan Orsini witnesses it all. No lie can fool her, no glamour or illusion can cloud her Sight. She sees through them all and wishes she could close her eyes. Returning to face her past, Siobhan inherits her grandparents’ house in California’s wine country. She encounters a talking dragon, a hot fallen angel, a demon lord, a Valkyrie, and, oh yes, her ex-boyfriend. And that is just in the first twenty-four hours.

It’s time to find out why she has this power.

Siobhan seeks out the Oracle and learns that only her Sight can help mankind navigate the travails of an ancient war. Our world is the prize in a battle between the dragons, who would defend us, and Lucifer’s fallen angels, who seek to take the Earth for themselves. Using her gift, she will have to make a choice that will decide humanity’s future.

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Author’s Bio

Erika is a sixth generation San Franciscan of Irish descent. She attended the University of California at Davis and completed degrees in Medieval History and Biological Sciences. A lifelong lover of books and a scribbler of many tales from a young age (her first story was completed at age five) she turned to writing full-time in 2011.

Erika resides in Northern California with her incredibly hot husband, their three amazing kids, and their chocolate Labrador named Selkie. To reach Erika regarding her books, wine recommendations, or to debate which Iron Maiden album is the best (clearly, it’s Brave New World).

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My Review

4 stars

Siobhan has been able to see through illusion and lies since she was young. This is how she knew that the dragon statue in her garden was much more than just a statue. Because of this ability, most adults have dismissed her and sent her to many therapists and different treatments. Little did she know but this ability is actually going to help her become a Watcher and decide an ancient war against good and evil.

Lucifer has an army of demons and many other creatures that want to bring chaos and destruction to the world. Siobhan will team up with her brother Alex, ex-boyfriend Tim, the leaders of the two hundred Fallen Angels that fight against Lucifer Turiel, a Valkyrie called Nefta, and many others. Siobhan has to learn to use her abilities quick and figure out how to stop Lucifer and his army.

I really liked this story. Siobhan is full of disbelief about her abilities and her role as the Watcher. But that doesn’t stop her from fighting and making her a strong character. There are so many paranormal characters throughout the story and more appear at the end battle. There are creatures from all corners of the world through time.

I really liked this story and all of the characters. It is a great start to a new paranormal series and I can’t wait to see what happened in the next book.

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I received The Dragon in the Garden from Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

Exceprt

The Dragon in The Garden

The memory has haunted me for years.

In the middle of a bright California summer, dark days came. My mother and grandparents spoke in hushed, serious voice, arguing about my absent father. Was it my fault he left? A soft whimper escaped my throat and my eyes burned. I needed a hug, but no one paid any attention to me that day.  So I ran away to the refuge of my grandparents’ garden where I could hide among its statues and flowers.

My eyes lingered over the familiar garden ornaments. I passed the old birdbath, the statues of gnomes, and a cheerful squirrel. I ran one hand over the stone deer. Its brown paint had faded from years under the sun. Walking with quick steps down the gravel path, I made my way to the center of the garden, my special spot where my favorite statue waited.

A gnarled apricot tree grew there.  Right now it was covered with tiny green apricots. Later in the summer the sweet fruit I loved would ripen. I would get to pick them with my parents, no, just with my mother. My lip trembled. My father wouldn’t be here.

The bright-green dragon lay curled at the foot of the apricot tree, partially covered by vines. My mother called the color jade green—the same shade as my eyes. As a child she talked to all the statues, but I only spoke to the dragon. I named her Daisy. Sitting down next to her now, the tears welled up at last, spilling over my cheeks. I wrapped my arms around my legs, making myself into a little ball of five year old misery.

“Child, why are you sad?” said a woman’s voice.

“Who said that?” I asked, wiping my cheek.

“I did.”

“Where are you?” I stood and peered at the plants and statues around me.

“Right here.”

“Are not,” I retorted.

A soft laugh filled the air and the woman spoke again. “Perhaps you are right. Easy enough to fix, I suppose.”

The breeze picked up. The space beneath the apricot tree shimmered. Ripples warped the air like the heat over the barbecue when my father cooked. The sweet notes of wind chimes filled the yard. Grandma and Grandpa didn’t have any wind chimes. I whirled around to find the noise.

Under the branches appeared an enormous green dragon’s head.

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About iRead Book Tours

At iRead, we give special attention to every book that tours with us. We are passionate about books and we customize all our tours because no two authors are alike.

We don’t just market books. We help our authors get the best exposure with traditional tours consisting mainly of reviews. We work closely with our authors and pride ourselves on our highly individualized customer service.

All our staff are book bloggers and authors, so we understand the process and the hard work involved. We’ve built a solid relationship with our database of reliable book bloggers who are eager to read your books.

Welcome to the iRead experience!

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About Laura Fabiani

In 2008, Laura began blogging about books shortly after she published her first book. She started Library of Clean Reads, a book review blog, and discovered the joy of reviewing a variety of genres. Her children have joined her in this venture and they spend many happy hours reading books together. A Special Care Counselor by profession, Laura has co-led and developed programs for seniors with dementia, including Alzheimer’s Disease. She has a passion for the topic of neuroscience and wellness.

Throughout the years she has met and worked with wonderful publishers, both traditional and indie, as well as publicists and authors. Best of all, she discovered the world of book bloggers–a community of special people who spend their precious time sharing their love of books and all things related to books.

Taking part in book tours has always made Laura feel more connected to authors and the publishing field. She organized her own virtual tour when her book was published and she learned several things. As an author, it exposed her to actual reader views and social media. As a book blogger and book tour organizer, it taught her the amount of work it entailed. And she loves it!

You can find Laura blogging at Library of Clean Reads and Essentially Italian. She is the owner of iRead Book Tours,  Italy Book Tours, and Je Lis Blog Tours.

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Toltec Dawn

Science Fiction
Date Published: 2016
Publisher: eTreasures Publishing
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            Fergus mac Ogma, a youthful Irish acolyte at the Toltec Temple of Cashel has a burning desire to survive, and become something more than a native underling in a land controlled by invaders from across the ocean.
            Captain Mixcoatl is settling in with his wife as commander of the Toltec fort at St Albans when he is suddenly summoned to meet with the new governor in London and learns of the plan to invade the Continent.
            Rowena, the young Saxon girl, is fleeing England with her uncle the monk and attempting to reach the Continent across the Channel. Their flight is interrupted by a band of outlaws who offer to guide them.
            Set in the years after the Toltec conquest of Ireland and England, three lives become entwined as they face personal desires and challenges of an occupied land, religious tension, and threat of an invasion.
Excerpt
Fergus’ gaze wandered to the dust motes captured in the wayward beam of sunshine that entered through the narrow window. For some reason the fine specks reminded him of grains of gunpowder. He might not be squatting here if not for the gray magic of the overlords.
The headmaster’s stern stare swept the class. “Who can tell me the significance of today’s date?” The tall redhead’s hand was the first raised.
Fergus rose to his feet and shook a cloud of ash from his shoulders, the residue from the morning’s flagellation. “This is the one hundredth anniversary of the first landfall in Connaught by the Golden Jaguar.” He couldn’t help adding, “From this year of 1215AD, according to the peasants.”
“And what is the significance of the landing, Fergus mac Ogma?” Frowning, the headmaster tugged at his jade earplug, one of the signs of his impatience with the seminary students.
Fergus allowed a smile to flicker across his broad, freckled face. He made a slight bow. “This landfall brings civilization to the five kingdoms, and enlightenment to the rest of the world.”
The headmaster frowned. “Not yet to all of the rest of the world, young pup.”
“Is it not simply a matter of time, Master?”
“You presume to know the wishes of the Smoked Mirror, my unworthy pupil?” The ancient priest’s dry voice dropped to the level of a fading autumn breeze.
The other novices shrank into their threadbare robes. The temperature in the stone cell fell by several degrees.
Fergus remained unconcerned. “Is it not our duty, as missionaries in the name of Tezcatlipoca and the Great Khan himself, to carry the word to every corner of the world?” He sat back on his straw mat.
“It will be, if any of you ever leave the shelter of this abbey as graduates and acolytes.” The headmaster shook his high priest’s robe and surveyed the crowded chamber, pointing with stick-thin fingers laden with gold and emerald rings. “To make certain you remember to humble yourself before the gods, and the Great Khan, run outside, around the abbey grounds, six full times. Then take your willow switches, go to the courtyard, and flagellate your bare backs until the dinner bell is sounded.” He smiled. “Cell partners will take turns. Finn, you will start on Fergus until he bleeds, and next it will be your privilege. Go!”
“See what trouble you have created,” Finn hissed at Fergus as they jostled through the doorway.
Some of the other students glared at Fergus, others simply bowed their heads and shuffled off toward the exit.
Fergus smiled calmly. “This only makes the body and mind stronger to carry on our divine work.”
He ran, soon leaving Finn and the others behind. As Fergus dashed across the uneven ground he glanced up at the rock and the castle, the high, round tower black against the sun. Adjacent to the castle, the half-completed stone pyramid stretched toward the sky, smoke rising from the temporary altar at the summit. “Someday, I too will sit upon a rock and judge, I swear it.”
About the Author
After winning a Canadian Authors national contest, Ron connected with Champagne Books of Alberta to complete “The Dark Lady” fantasy trilogy, followed by “The Queen’s Pawn” trilogy, and his fantasy detective series of eight novellas: “The Housetrap Chronicles.” His latest novel with Champagne is “Alex in Wanderland.”
Ron recently signed with a second publisher, eTreasures Publishing of Florida with, “We’re Not in Kansas,” a near-future thriller, followed by a what-if, “Toltec” trilogy. The first book in the series, Toltec Dawn is available now, with the second, Toltec Khan, available shortly.
Ron, a member of several writing groups, reviews genre novels for an on-line magazine and sometimes escapes to his sailboat on Lake Winnipeg.
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Deadly Spirits

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Deadly Spirits (Mac McClellan – 4) by E. Michael Helms

When PI Mac McClellan’s girlfriend convinces him to join the Palmetto Paranormal Society, he becomes embroiled in a case of whooodunnit. The society president, while investigating an old hotel, is found dead at the foot of the stairwell, his neck broken. The man’s secretary and current squeeze stands horrified beside his body. Authorities rule the death an accident. Mac has doubts—no one heard the man tumbling down the stairs. Then the secretary dies in an apparent suicide. Two deaths in two paranormal investigations, and not a peep out of either victim. Mac suspects there’s more going on than a vengeful spirit.

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Author’s Bio

Michael Helms grew up in Panama City, FL, on the beautiful coast of the Florida Panhandle. He played football and excelled in baseball as a catcher. Turning down a scholarship offer from the local Junior college, he joined the Marines after high school graduation. He served as a rifleman during some of the heaviest fighting of the Vietnam War until wounded three times in one day. Helms discounts it as “waking up on the wrong side of the foxhole.”

His memoir of the war, The Proud Bastards,has been called “As powerful and compelling a battlefield memoir as any ever written … a modern military classic,” and remains in print after 26 years.

The Private War of Corporal Henson, a semi-autobiographical fictional sequel to The Proud Bastards, was published in August 2014.

A long-time Civil War buff, Book One of Helms’ two-volume historical saga, Of Blood and Brothers, was released September 2013. Book Two followed in March 2014.

Seeking a respite from writing about war, Helms decided to give mysteries a try. The first novel of his Mac McClellan Mystery series, Deadly Catch, was published in November 2013 and was named Library Journal’s Debut Mystery of the Month. The second Mac McClellan Mystery, Deadly Ruse, premiered in November 2014. It won the 2015 RONE AWARD for “Best Mystery.” Deadly Dunes was released in March 2016 by Camel Press. Deadly Spirits will launch January 15, 2017.

With his wife, Karen, Helms now lives in the Upstate region of South Carolina in the shadow of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. He enjoys playing guitar, hiking, camping, fishing, canoeing, and is an avid birdwatcher. He continues to listen as Mac McClellan dictates his latest adventures in his mystery series.

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Book

My Review

5 Stars

Mac McClellan has been drug to a meeting of the Palmetto Paranormal Society. By his girlfriend Kate. He feels silly walking around an attic full of cobwebs. But when the president of the society is discovered dead, at the bottom of the stairs of a broken neck, things get interesting. Mac wonders how he could have fallen without anyone else hearing him. But then the secretary dies of a suicide and Mac knows something is happening. The more he digs the more dirt he discovers and when he becomes the target of the killer he knows that he is getting close to solving this case.

Mac is a charmer and you can tell that he goes with Kate just to amuse her. Thankfully a dead body catches his attention. There are so many levels of dirt to dig through, thankfully Mac has Kate, Henry, and Deputy Dakota to help him out.

This is a great mystery, I didn’t know the who or why of the murderer until the end. I did have a couple guesses that were completely wrong. And then there was lots of action and of course a big reveal during a hurricane. Talk about delivering the killer with a bang.

I love Mr. Helm’s mysteries. The Mac McClellan mysteries are wonderful, easy to get into, and filled with lots to keep you on the edge of your seat. Make sure to check them out.

I received Deadly Spirits from the publisher for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

Shadow of the Forest

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Shadows of the Forest by Emma Michaels

Everyone is dying to live in the Shadows of the Forest.
They gave me three rules to follow in exchange for my brother’s life:
1. Do not enter the West Wing;
2. Do not go outside after darkness falls; and
3. There is only one exit; The Gates.

This is what happened when I broke them…

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Author’s Bio

Emma Michaels is the award winning author of the Society of Feathers series. With over 15 written publications and hundreds of book covers under her belt she plans on taking over the literary world one cup of coffee at a time.

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My Review

4 stars

Cole and Lily are twins that have had a rough home life. Recently their parents have died and they are planning on moving to the big city to start fresh. Then things get thrown to the side in a car wreck were both twins are severely injured. Lily wakes in a strange hospital with even stranger rules. But she learns Cole is about to die and knows that he made a deal for her to live if he dies in her place. Lily couldn’t live without the knowledge of Cole being alive so she travels with a kitsune called Arro into the forest to find a spirit that could help her die for Cole.

This story takes you on an adventure with very limited information. You learn things just as Lily. She is at a strange hospital run by Kaede and his daughter Willow. She learns the forest is a place for spirits to go after they have died a remarkable death and the one that controls it is Willow’s mother, Usagi. Usagi has a solution for Lily’s dilemma but it might not be the answer that she was looking for.

This story deals with physical and verbal abuse. This is brought up a lot during the story. I understand how it plays a major role in someone’s life but I admit that it can be a bit annoying revisiting the same thing over and over and over. The same goes for Lily’s concern for Cole, how she wants him to live, and sees him has her hero. I understand how his is the only one in her life that was good to her but it does get very repetitive.

I did like this story. There is a lot of description but in this world you need it. I have yet to read another book from Emma Michaels but I will definitely be checking out her other books.

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I received Shadows of the Forest from eBooks for Review for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.