Shadow Magic: Review

Shadow Magic (Macabre Academy Book 1) by Sherry J. Soule
Genre: New Adult, Paranormal Mystery & Romance
Publication: May 1st 2020
Publisher: Disenchanted Publishing
PG-13: No F-bombs, sex, or graphic violence.
Heroine: A quirky supernatural Nancy Drew.
Premise: An older university-age paranormal academy series with mystery and light humor.

Ghost summoning? No biggie.
Raising the dead? Bring it on.
Solving my sister’s sudden disappearance? A bit more complicated…

I’m Serena LeStrange, a necromancer who prefers to hide her freakishly fabulous skills from others. Only my sister makes me feel less of a weirdo, so when she mysteriously vanishes from college, I enroll at Macabre Academy to start my own investigation.

Except this is no ordinary school for the magically inclined, it’s home to all monsters—even the most dangerous ones. And after meeting an incredibly gorgeous vampire and a sinfully hot reaper, I find myself entangled in a passionate, yet forbidden, flirtation. To complicate matters, I get stuck with a ghostly genie sidekick and suspect a sinister sorority of misdeeds.

But to solve the mystery, I’ll need all the help I can get. Someone at Macabre knows what happened to my sister, and I won’t stop until I dig up the truth.

Unfortunately, some dark secrets prefer to stay buried.

Do you enjoy not-so-cozy paranormal mysteries, slow-burn romances, and unconventional heroines?

Welcome to Macabre Academy, the first spellbinding book in a paranormal mystery romance trilogy!

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The story opens with our POV character Serena attending Conjuration University taking part in a Resurrection 101 class. As a Necromancer Serena is looked down upon, with other paranormal entities believing the magic she processes to be dark and unnatural, and even amongst other Necromancers she feels like an outsider. Serena is an animal lover who wants to become a pet and familiar resurrection specialist and use her abilities to help people, and to do that she needs a degree in Necromantic Rites.

Serena has been so focused on her studies that she has lost touch with her sister, Harper, the only person she feels truly accepts her for what and who she is. After a disastrous resurrection practice lesson, Serena gets a phone call from her father telling her that her Sister Harper has gone missing from Macabre Academy. Serena is an emotional reck after hearing this news. But she makes the decision to enroll at Macabre to seek the truth and track down her sister and thus kicks off this new paranormal series.

I liked the paranormal set up and world-building in this story of its schooling system and genetic hand me down powers. In this world that Sherry Soule has created powers and abilities are a roil of the dice. And though different “breeds” (e.g. Bear-Shifter, Siren, Harpy, Vampire, Sorceress etc.) reproduce, their offspring can inherit the supernatural traits of any ancestor within their lineage.

Serena is an easily likable protagonist. She is kind, caring and when she believes in herself she can accomplish amazing magical feats and do some super sleuthing. Throughout this book Serena unearths her sisters and other Macabre Academy students’ secrets, solves mysteries and makes friends, real friends that except her freaky death powers and all.

Serena grew up feeling like she didn’t belong anywhere. When she first starts at Macabre Academy she is afraid of people finding out she is a Necromancer. She is also trying to hide the fact that she is Harper’s sister, which creates all sorts of awkward situations throughout the book. Serena’s self-hate is mainly because of her dad. He has made her feel like trash her whole life, for a card she was dealt at birth via past family genetics. Her Dad is an asshole, straight up no other way to describe him. I really want to see her find the courage to stand up to him in the next book.

We are given a cliffhanger ending regarding her Sister, so that storyline continues into the next book. And there is also the budding forbidden romance with sexy reaper Dante to be explored further. “A necromancer and a reaper. Sounds like the beginning of an incredible love story” – and that’s what I’m hoping for in the next book. Yep, I will be reading the next book. I am curious to see where Sherry Soule takes these storylines.

All in all, this is a light and fun read about friendship, self-acceptance, and the acceptance of others, with a lil bit of forbidden romance thrown in for good measure.


About the Author:

Sherry Soule is a Multi-Genre Author, who lives in Northern California with her family and two spoiled rescue cats. She likes to surround herself with positive people and reads daily.

Sherry writes exciting tales of passionate romance, epic drama, and thrilling suspense. Many of her books have been on the Amazon bestseller lists and nominated as top picks in the “Best Paranormal Romance” categories on numerous review sites.
Subscribe to Sherry’s newsletter to get a free eBook HERE

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The Cursed Key: Review

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The Cursed Key (The Cursed Key Trilogy #1) by Miranda Brock & Rebecca Hamilton
Published by: Evershade Publishing
Publication date: January 14th 2020
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Urban Fantasy

A forgotten past, a dark mage, and an unyielding curse.

Another team beat free-spirited archaeologist Olivia Perez to the dig of a lifetime, and now she’s left with the choice to wait for scraps or brave a dangerous, dusty tomb in hopes of finding other priceless artifacts. Her reward? A mysterious key she has no idea is cursed. Soon, Olivia realizes she’s brought home more than just an ancient rarity.

Malevolent visions begin to plague her. Unnerved by what they reveal, she casts away the key…unknowingly placing it into the waiting hands of a dark mage bent on destruction. Only when a shifter agent from the Paranormal Intelligence and Tracking Organization arrives searching for the key does Olivia realize what a huge mistake she’s made.

Forced to team up with the ill-tempered shifter, her journey to reclaim the cursed key leads down a twisting path of dark histories, dangerous magic, and deadly obstacles. But Olivia’s efforts to take back the ancient relic before the dark mage can destroy the lives of humans, shifters, witches, and fae alike are thwarted by her own dark past…and a price steeper than what she’s willing to pay.

Fans of Tomb Raider and Ilona Andrews will love the blend of urban fantasy, magical adventure, and paranormal romance in THE CURSED KEY from Miranda Brock and New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Hamilton!

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Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play


With a synopsis like that how could I not sign up for this tour! I read the opening sentence “I had come to a dangerous place, eagerly and with abandon fully latched to my soul.” And I knew I wasn’t going to be disappointed.

We meet the POV character, Archaeologist Olivia Perez, as she arrives at her next big dig site. Olivia came across as an adventurous and intelligent woman. Although we are never told her age, to me she felt like late twenties to early thirties in age – Mature and confident in herself, but still a ways off from middle age.

Olivia gets more than she bargained for when an artifact she retrieves unlocks dormant magic inside her and fills her mind with horrific and déjà-vu-feeling visions. Cue the appearance of a Jaguar Shifter named Kael and she knows she’s made a terrible mistake removing the artifact from its resting place.

The story has beautiful settings with lush descriptions. It takes us from the jungles of the Amazon to the hills of Scotland and more.

This book is listed as a romance, but the romance was minimal and didn’t overshadow the action and adventure. The Cursed Key was action packed, fast passed and one of the cleanest paranormal romances I’ve ever read (and I mean that as a positive). But I expect the romance to grow in the next book of the trilogy and become a bigger part of the overall story.

All in all, The Cursed Key is a great first book. I found it exciting and entertaining and am looking forward to seeing where the next book will take Olivia and Kael.


AUTHOR BIO:
New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Hamilton writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance for Harlequin, Baste Lübbe, and Evershade. A book addict, registered bone marrow donor, and indian food enthusiast, she often takes to fictional worlds to see what perilous situations her characters will find themselves in next.

Represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA, Rebecca has been published internationally, in three languages: English, German, and Hungarian.

Author links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

AUTHOR BIO:
From an early age Miranda Brock has always loved fantasy and adventure everything. Since she doesn’t live in a world of enchanting powers, mythical beasts, and things unbelievable she has decided to write about them. (Although, if you happen to see a dragon flying around, do tell her.) Born in southern Illinois, where she still resides with her husband and two children, she grew up running through the woods, playing in creeks, and riding horses. What started out as writing poetry grew into short stories and eventually led to her first novel, Souls Discovered. Miranda lives in the country where she finds inspiration in the simplicity and beauty around her. With the help of a ridiculous amount of coffee and some good music she writes whenever she gets a chance.

Author links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Thanks for visiting sarahfairbairn.com 🙂
Until next time, enjoy your shelves 🙂

The Veiled Threat: Review

48196544. sy475 The Veiled Threat (The Veiled Duchess #1) by Sophia Menesini
Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQ+, New Adult, Romance
Publication: June 30th 2019
Source: Review copy from Xpresso Tours – Thank You
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Rating: ✵ ✵ ✵ ✵ ✵

Captain Shea Lara is the current leader of The Veiled Duchess. The most feared pirate ship in all of Neried. And now, after completing her former mentor’s final score, she’s retiring. Everything seems to be coming to an end… Until a mysterious stranger drags her back into the fold with an offer for a score she can’t refuse. All she has to do is kidnap the crowned princess of the northern Queendom, Princess Joana of Arethusa.

The prize is just within reach. But sparks fly as the two women collide. And an obscured threat that could upturn Shea’s entire world storms on the horizon. She’ll face it alone unless she can allow herself the support she needs from old and new allies alike. Something’s coming and Shea is at the center of it.


The Veiled Threat is the first book in the action-packed New Adult romantic fantasy series, The Veiled Duchess.

The story kicks off with The Veiled Duchess captain, Shea Lara, and her crew taking down an imperial navy ship. Straight into the pirate action, oh yeah! I was immediately captivated by captain Shae and her swashbuckling crew.

The POV swaps between two Characters – Captain Shae, a 23-yr-old red headed Elven beauty, a vixen and pirate supreme. – And Jo, Crown Princess Joana of Arethusa, a 25 yr-old blond bombshell who is much more than just a pretty face. We travel with Shea for the first six chapters, setting up plot lines and background. We then meet Joana (Jo) at chapter seven.

As the synopsis says Shae is offered a job with a pay day that she cannot refuse. A pay day that she could use to bring an end to the Elven slave trade.

The kidnapping goes off without a hitch, seeming too good to be true, but the kidnapping is only the begging of the adventures that Shae and Jo have. Double crosses, dirty dealings and insider Royal betrayal. Oh and there’s the pesky little problem of Shae and Jo starting to fall in love with each other. The Veiled Duchess’s captain and crew find not only trouble, but love and unlikely allies along the way.

This book is full of evil rulers, slavery, pirates, princesses, passion, power plays, mutiny, girl power and lady on lady love. And has an Epilogue so epic it that makes me not only want to read the next book, but NEEEEED to!

Book two, The Veiled Descendants, BRING IT ON Sophia Menesini!


AUTHOR BIO:

Sophia Menesini lives in Martinez, CA with her husband, and their two small Chihuahuas, Ziggy and Zeppelin. The Veiled Threat is her first novel and the first book in The Veiled Duchess Series. Sophia is an avid tea connoisseur and lover of Scotland with an unconventional memory for obscure Disney and Broadway song lyrics.

Author links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram 

Thanks for visiting sarahfairbairn.com 🙂
Until next time, enjoy your shelves 🙂

Guest Post: Mallory McCartney, author of Black Dawn

Thanks for having me! 😊 Becoming a writer has always been a long dream of mine. When I was in public school, literature and reading was always a priority for me. I seriously couldn’t get enough, The Scholastic Book Fairs were always a highlight, I remember previewing the catalogue weeks before and deciding which books I would take home. This was the start of my book buying obsession. Once I reached the end of Grade Eight though, I knew I wanted to become a writer for a career, I even wrote it in my year book! Black Dawn took shape at the end of public school and heading into high school. I feel like this story was always waiting for me to write it, the first manuscript focusing on Emory and Brokk. I wrote it for my cousin’s birthday as a present, and then left it alone for seven years.

The inspiration for Black Dawn came from a collection of moments in my life. The first being with my cousin, and we had a sleep over at my family’s old farmhouse and spent majority of the night talking about our hopes and dreams for the future and the first spark of Black Dawn came into conversation. After writing the first manuscript and I left it alone, and I went to college for the Fine Arts, and then after this I travelled to Australia and New Zealand by myself. This experience was pivotal for me, not only did I learn a lot about myself and grow personally, but seeing the different landscapes of those countries was amazing, and helped me build the world of Kiero.

Once I came back home, it wasn’t until after I met my husband that the idea of becoming a writer came back into my plan. We were talking about Pierce Brown’s Red Rising Trilogy (which is a series we both love, go pick it up if you haven’t checked it out!) and the conversation landed back to the manuscript I wrote, and we revisited it. The original title for Black Dawn was Kiero, and we talked late into the night and the world we see in Black Dawn came to life. The next day I started writing. The book grew with me, elements from the original manuscript meshed with the current, the dynamics of the characters developing and growing as I did throughout my life. None of the characters specifically are based on people in my life, but the emotions they experience I pulled from some experiences I went through.

Looking back, I wouldn’t be here without the support of my family and friends, all my teachers throughout public school, high school and college. The love of reading sparked my love of writing, and above all not giving up on my dream of becoming an author.

Author: Mallory McCartney currently lives in London, Ontario with her husband and their two dachshunds Link and Lola. Black Dawn is her debut novel, the first in a series. When she isn’t working on her next novel or reading, she can be found dog grooming, book shopping and hiking. Other favorite pastimes involve reorganizing perpetually overflowing bookshelves and seeking out new coffee and dessert shops.

 

About the Book

Title: Black Dawn

Genre: YA/NA Fantasy

Author: Mallory McCartney

The end of an Empire, the rise of a Queen

Emory Fae enjoys leading a quiet, normal life. That is until two mysterious, and handsome soldiers show up at her apartment, and the life she knew is instantly whisked away. Memphis Carter and Brokk Foster come from the magical and war ridden world of Kiero, and upon Emory’s arrival she will discover she is the long-lost heir to the Royal Line and is thrown into the Black Dawn Rebellion with a dynamic role to ignite the rebels and reclaim her throne.

With both men being darkly woven in her past Emory uncovers hidden secrets, a power held long dormant, and will soon realize there are worse things than supernatural humans, love, loss, betrayal, and a Mad King.

Some things are better left in the shadows

Links: Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram

Cover Reveal: No Rest for the Wicked by Krystal Jane Ruin

No Rest for the Wicked
Krystal Jane Ruin
Publication date: May 10th 2017
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal

Since her release from the psychiatric facility and into the smothering guardianship of her aunt, twenty-one-year-old psychic Tatum Torabi has been sneaking away to sell curses and plagues in the underground, a black market known for illegal and supernatural wares.

Tatum’s unique abilities catch the attention of a hella-creepy trash peddler who offers her a job tracking down people who owe his boss “a favor.” She couldn’t be less interested, but when she refuses, the company forces her compliance by threatening the lives of the only family she has left.

Because tracking barely scratches the surface of what they really want from her. There’s a reason Tatum is so good at making curses, and they want her to use those skills for a much darker purpose.

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Author Bio:

Krystal Jane Ruin is the author of supernatural and paranormal fiction living in the Tennessee Valley. She can often be found knee deep in Sudoku and other puzzles, in a Youtube hole, or blogging about books, writing, and random things.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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Paradise City by CJ Duggan

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Paradise City (Paradise #1) by CJ Duggan

Pub Date 28th April 2015 (Hachette Australia)

I received an eBook ARC from Net Galley in return for an honest review – So Thank You CJ Duggan and Hachette Australia.

Synopsis mk3

From the author of the bestselling Summer series, comes the first book in a seriously sexy New Adult series you won’t want to miss. For fans of Abbi Glines, Sarah Dessen and Colleen Hoover.

There’s bound to be trouble in Paradise . . .

When her parents decide a change will be good for her, seventeen-year-old Lexie Atkinson never expected they’d send her all the way to Paradise City. Coming from a predictable life of home-schooling on a rural Australian property, she just knows that Paradise will be amazing. But when she’s thrust into a public school without a friendly face in sight, and forced to share a room with her insipid, hateful cousin Amanda, Lexie’s not so sure.

Hanging out with the self-proclaimed beach bums of the city, sneaking out, late-night parties and parking with boys are all things Lexie’s never experienced, but all that’s about to change. It’s new, terrifying . . . and exciting.

And when Lexie meets Luke Ballantine, the swoon-worthy, bad-boy leader of the group, the chemistry between them is electric. Trouble with a capital T, Luke is impulsive, charming and answers to no one, and he’s sexier than any guy Lexie has ever known. Lexie begins to wonder if Luke is going to be good for her . . . or very, very bad?

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My Thoughts mk3

Raise your left hand if you ever made an ass of yourself in high school. Now raise your right hand if you ever tortured yourself over a boy (or girl). Now give yourself a high five because you survived, maybe not unscathed, but you survived.

Oh how this book took me back. Duggan perfectly captures the – he likes me, he likes me not – torture teenage girls put themselves thought. Perfectly captures the hormone induced hysteria that growing up causes.

I loved how real Lexie felt. I wanted to be her friend, I wanted her to flourish and succeed. At some points it was if I was reading my own but better written teenage diary. I wanted to jump into the pages; slap Amanda, kick Ballantine up the bum and hug Lexie while offering her a big bowl of cookies and cream ice cream.

I love bad boys with soft and cuddly centers, love seeing their masks slip, love seeing them let their guards down. Every teenage girls dream is a bad boy that’ll be good just for her. A naughty, cheeky, hot mess. A bad boy who’s really not a bad guy – Boom! it’s Ballantine.

A likable, relatable sheltered country girl. A grade A student who’s been cooped up and restricted – and now, damn the consequences, she’s going to find out what it’s like to live – Boom! it’s Lexie.

There are twist and turns and lessons to be learned. Family tensions, school detentions and late night rendezvous. A boy named Luke Ballantine and girl named Lexie Atkinson – Boom! an exciting, endearing and entertaining story.

Duggan’s writing is beautiful; fresh, humorous, full of heartache and yet full of hope – A damn nice surprise in what can be a rather unbelievable, excessive and skanky genre.

I am internally chucking a full blown teenage tantrum that I have to wait until September to find out what happens next in the world of Lexie. Five Stars.

Aesomeness

Author’s Links mk3

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/CJDuggan

Website – http://www.cjdugganbooks.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/CJ_Duggan