Angelbound Offspring #5
by Christina Bauer
Fantasy, Young Adult
Monster House Books
Publication date: June 30th 2020
Sometimes, you just have to punch a shape-shifting vampire Nazi. Like tonight, for instance.
Meet Princess Kaps: renegade, dragon shifter, and general pain in her royal parent’s backsides. Although Kaps pretends to love rock and roll, she’s actually obsessed with fighting the Audax, a group of shape-shifting vampire Nazis. And to slay herself some vampires, Kaps collects magical dragon relics.
Enter the L’Griffe–AKA the shifter mafia–who also hunt down supernatural artifacts. Kaps gets in their way and ends up with a price on her head. And things get tricky.
A bounty hunter named Mack comes to collect. Although he’s human, Mack knows all about shifter ways. And what he lacks in shifting power, Mack more than makes up for with a lethal combination of looks, strength, and smarts. After luring the princess away with an epic kiss, Mack slaps some supernatural handcuffs on Kaps, tosses her in a van, and heads off to L’Griffe headquarters with his quarry.
The fact that Kaps is really dragon royalty doesn’t bother Mack in the slightest. And the Audax don’t frighten him, either.
But that kiss with Kaps? It might be a problem.
“I am super intrigued by Kaps! She is independent, snarky and adventurous, and just a hint jaded. I can’t wait to see what terrible mischief she finds herself in during her own book!” – Smada’s Book Smack
Sometimes, you simply must punch a shape-shifting vampire Nazi.
Like tonight, for instance.
I stroll through New York’s Central Park. Ahead of me, there strides a guy in a chicken costume. I’m talking yellow feathers, plumed tail, the whole smash. A sash extends from his shoulder to his hip that reads Eat At Cluck Town. This fellow is anything but normal, and not for the obvious wardrobe reasons.
He’s actually a vampire.
Even worse, he’s an audax, which is a shape-shifting vampire Nazi. All audax started off as German soldiers in World War II. During a raid, they entered the magical city of El Dorado, got changed into vampires, and have been causing trouble ever since.
All of which is why I can’t wait to punch this particular blood sucker.
With a stake.
Right through his heart.
Because I’m more than just a teenager who’s dressed up for a night of dancing. I’m a dragon-shifter princess with a secret obsession.
I know. My life is strange. It runs in the family.
Squinting, I focus on the guy’s birdy outfit. Dragon shifters like me are immune to supernatural glamours, so I can easily detect the decaying body that’s magically hidden under all those feathers.
The real costume-wearing human got attacked by an audax. After drinking the victim’s blood, this particular vampire magically took on the man’s appearance, bird outfit and all.
And the original chicken guy? Way dead.
Cold sorrow moves through me. Most likely, I’m the first to know about this lost life. I’m certainly the only one around here who detects the audax.
Ah, to be a clueless human. They’ve no idea how many evils surround them.
For his part, Vampire Chicken Guy (VCG for short) keeps sauntering along the stone path, his plumed tail bobbing with each step. He pulls off his fake chicken head to reveal someone my age—that would be seventeen—with round cheeks, short red hair and tons of freckles. A stolen face.
My grief melts into lava-hot rage. How dare this audax kill a human? I twist the clunky golden bracelet around my right wrist. If I take this off and flip the segments about, it transforms into a small spike. That’s the only way to fully kill an audax…
A golden stake through the heart.
Meanwhile VCG smiles innocently at passersby. New Yorkers actually grin and wave in return, which is rare. Must be a chicken thing. I hoist up my bandeau top and keep following. The dance club can wait.
Christina Bauer thinks that fantasy books are like bacon: they just make life better. All of which is why she writes romance novels that feature demons, dragons, wizards, witches, elves, elementals, and a bunch of random stuff that she brainstorms while riding the Boston T. Oh, and she includes lots of humor and kick-ass chicks, too.
Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby.
The Eighth Hell
Sisters of the Storm #3
by Guy Estes
Sci Fi & Fantasy
Pub Date 8 May 2018
The most dangerous women in the world dare the most dangerous place in the world.
The Shingora, a place known and dreaded by all, the name driving those who hear it to mutter prayers and make signs for protection. None who have gone to that island ever came back… until now.
The trade guilds sent an expedition there, hoping to find a wellspring of natural resources. Only one man returned, his experience having reduced him to gibbering madness. Now the guilds are sending a new expedition, three hundred strong and armed for war, to learn the fate of the previous one and rescue the survivors… if there are any.
Joining them are the Chosen sisters: Aleena Kurrin, the Battle Queen, gifted by the gods in war, and Baezha Ambrose, the Witch Queen, gifted by the gods in magic. Sworn to recover any survivors, they are joined by a host of new friends and brave an island teeming with bizarre creatures. And on the Shingora, everything kills.
Yet an even darker discovery awaits them in the Shingora’s depths, an unnatural horror far worse than anything the island’s sinister reputation ever hinted at. And while immersed in all the island’s perils, a traitor threatens the company from within. With treacherous enemies at their backs and engulfed by a horde of abominations, the sisters will be tested as they’ve never been tested before… and even those Chosen by the gods have their breaking point.
Though listed as book 3 in a series, this is a stand-alone novel.
A Boys Own Adventure to the centre of the World-of the 8th Hell-or the Island Shingora- from whence no-one ever returns.
The author had bags of fun here creating monsters, or he has seriously bad nightmares and this was his therapy_ to write a story that included the worst. And showed off his knowledge of obscure weaponry too.
Ok- Maybe it’s a Girls Own Adventure as most of the men come off really badly in this story. And the women do very well indeed and are not only Amazons, but also the True Chosen [sisters] of the Gods Allena and Baezha, and who are very heroic.
The nasties didn’t frighten me but it’s probably not a good read for those of a timid disposition.
Unfortunately there were quite a few proofreading errors, but all small and thus didn’t impact too much.
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.
Can you tell your readers something about why you chose
this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you
think it is different and your approach is unique?
I came up with
the idea for Shea Lara in a DnD session. I’d never played before, I was there
kind of by chance, and they handed me a character sheet and I just started
writing about who I’d want to be in a fantasy world. I always loved pirates
growing up, Pirates of the Caribbean was one of my favorites. The girl was a
king, the guy was the damsel, and Jack was amazing. So I thought if I could be
anyone I’d be a pirate. And Shea was born. I worked on the concept, evolved her
into a story and Nereid was created soon after. I don’t know if my approach is
unique, I tend to have a concept about a character and then I create a world
Did you need to self-publish on e-books before a publisher
took you up?
I’ve never worked with a publishing firm, I’ve never really wanted to. I knew
that I wanted to get my story out there and I didn’t want to go the traditional
route, waiting on someone else to do the work for me. I thought I’m capable,
I’m passionate about this. I’m going to do this. So I did.
Would you recommend self-publishing and building an
audience before approaching a publisher? If so, what benefits do you see that
it might have for the aspiring novelist?
never thought about it, if traditional publishing was to become an option for
me in the future I don’t know if I would take it. I’ve done a lot as a
self-publisher and it’s a lot of work but at the end of the day the reward is
mine and the story is mine. I think if traditional publishing works for you,
you should do it, but people should know it’s not the only route and it doesn’t
validate your work. You validate your work by working hard and persevering.
What do you read when you are ill in bed?
When I’m at home,
sick, and I need something comforting I pull out my old Percy Jackson books. I
loved the first series growing up and it’s just sentimental. The stories are
familiar, the epics, the characters and I love anything to do with mythology.
What is your favorite
I’m a fantasy
nerd. I write fantasy and I read it. I love historical fiction and high fantasy
are my absolute favorites. I don’t tend to branch beyond that, I’ve tried but
I’m not an everyday Brooklyn girl. I get too much reality in my own life. So
any kind of book that features a mystical land or dystopian universe that
expands imagination, it’s on my shelf.
If you could recommend a living author – who would it be? A
The living author
would have to be Aimee Carter. I’m such a fan of her Goddess Test series, she’s
a fantastic writer. And dead, J.R.R. Tolkien. Huge fan of the hobbit growing up
and I am a very detailed oriented writing so LOTR was a huge inspiration to me.
In your opinion who is the funniest author now writing?
cracks me up in any of his series, he has got humor down pact. And all of his
characters are so wonderfully relatable and Percy’s inner dialogues are my own
half the time.
Have you ever tried to imitate another author’s style? And
if so, why?
I took a lot of
pointers from Tolkien, and other writers in the fantasy interwoven with
mythologies. Tolkien’s descriptions were something I really loved and I wanted
to create a cinematic feel to my story as if you could see it happening in your
mind’s eye. Rick Riordan, Aimee Carter, L.J. Smith are all masters at creating
a kind of mythology of their own incorporating the original aspects and making
incredible folklore. I definitely drew inspiration from their models for the
world of Nereid.
What have you done with the things you wrote when in
I have all of
them! I have all my childhood journals, my old fanfictions, my scripts for
television shows, my “book” I wrote when I was 12 and they’re completely
cringe-worthy but I love them and will keep them forever. I never know if maybe
I’ll try and revive them again.
Do you have any pets?I do!
If so, what are they? Two Chihuahuas and a Cat.
And what are they called? Ziggy, Zeppelin, and Bowie.
Do they help you write? No, they’re complete distractions. But I usually make one of them sit on my lap at my desk anyway.
What is the funniest thing they have done while you are writing? I remember one time Ziggy and Zeppelin my two Chihuahuas were begging for attention but I had to get this chapter done so I made them wait. But Bowie strolls into my office and sees his brothers trying to get my attention and how it’s not working and so he does what they cannot. He jumps onto my desk and lays himself across my keyboard much to his brother’s dissatisfaction. And I’m ashamed to say, he got the cuddles first.
What, in your life, are you most proud of doing?
This book. It’s
been a real reward. I worked so hard to get it out there. I am a college
student, newly married, I don’t have the money to spend 2 grand on a
professional editor and to keep sending out printed manuscripts to publishers.
So I found an illustrator at my college for my book map and she did an amazing
job, I had a good friend who’s an incredible English major and wants to be an
editor, edit my book for free. And I do all the social media, marketing, I
built my own website. I do it all. And occasionally there’s a review about a
typo or spacing problem. And as soon as I get it, I fix it and republish. And I
do this again and again because it’s worth it and because of my hard work I now
can afford a professional editor who’s reviewing The Veiled Threat and my
sequel right now. And those reviews about the stray typo are never about the
story itself and that’s what matters. My story is out there, and being told,
and loved and I am extremely proud.
If you could be any fictional character, which would you be? And why?
from the Outlander series. I am so sorry my dear husband, maybe I can take him
with me. It would be really cool to travel through time, I’m a history major
and Scotland in the eighteenth century is of particular interest to me. Plus
Jamie Fraser, need I say more?
If you could choose to live in another country/town – which would you choose? And why?
Scotland. It’s my favorite place in the world, I’ve been four times and I’d
love to live there permanently someday or even in the Scottish highlands. I
think Scotland is the most beautiful place on earth. It’s rich with history and
magic and lore. It’s an inspiration in itself.
What would you take on a desert island to read if you could only take 3 books?
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien, and Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.
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.
You can find my blog, updates, and other entertainment at my website: www.sophiamenesini.com
Magic after Dark
mythology, fantasy, folklore
(4 Mar. 2019)
Dive into the darker side of magic
Enter the underbelly of city life, where werewolves, demons, and vampires stalk the streets. These six bestselling urban fantasy novels plus bonus novella will submerge you in a page-turning world of modern magic.
Half Wolf by Aimee Easterling: When half-werewolf Fen is cast out of her home pack, she and an unlikely ally are forced to shore up her waning power in an effort to save half-shifters everywhere.
Unquiet Souls by Christine Pope: When the hosts of the new Project Demon Hunters show investigate a demon-infested mansion, evil follows Audrey Barrett home...and she learns why her co-host is the last man she can trust.
Dark Hunt by Kim Richardson: Tasked with tracking down a demon that's killing humans, hunter Rowyn is forced to partner with an angel-born warrior who has an ulterior motive. But Rowyn's own dark secret could upend everything...
A Fistful of Evil by Rebecca Chastain: Madison actively avoids her soul-sight—until she witnesses ethereal monsters feasting on a stranger's soul...and the monsters notice her. Thrust into a dangerous new world, Madison must master her atrophied abilities fast if she has any hope of survival.
The Wolf Within by M.J. Scott: Ashley Keenan just wants to be normal. But then her ex-lover, now werewolf, turns up with a lead on the vampire who murdered her family. To survive, she might just have to leave normal behind and embrace her inner monster.
Vampire Midnight by Gary Jonas: Kelly Chan agrees to kill a vampire, but finds herself under his spell. How do you kill something you've been commanded to protect?
Sylphide by K. Gorman: When a private investigator breaks into Allish Statia's apartment and threatens her with a gun, she is able to use her Wind Elemental powers to subdue the man—but he is only part of something much bigger. Something that wants the destruction of her, her husband, and every single Mage in the city.
A set of 7 stories – with 2 particular stories by authors
that I followed up into their series.
The first stories were excellent – and really only 1 was not
so good, Sylphide. I liked the Kelly Chan series, and Aimee Easterlings’ Half
Wolf. She is an author that I like anyway.
Magic after dark
Half wolf – Aimee Easterling is one of my new favourite authors, and I am happy to read 99.9% of her books and series.
A fistful of evil – this became a very interesting series. Soul sight was more than that it seems, and acknowledging it means that Madison learns to use her lux luminis – which is what she called soul sight, in defence of her territory. This defence meant fighting creatures invisible to norms but ones which feed on their souls and drain their good, sometimes replacing it with evil. These creatures can kill Madison and she has to learn to defend herself in a number of unusual ways that seem puzzling to normals. And she has grate difficulty explaining her new job to her family as she can;’t tell them the truth. I enjoyed the books I have read in this series, but have come to the end of my enjoyment after A Fistful of Frost.
The wolf within –
Vampire midnight – This story I found unusual and followed it up with another in the series. The idea of a heroine who is magically enhanced so that she is the most kick-ass of all was interesting. What was disturbing was that she came by her magic because she has been sold by her parents to warlocks; who repeatedly killed her so she could be brought back to life, and who removed her ability to feel pain – thus beig able to fight on when seriously injured. However, she now teaches abused women how to fight and also rescues abused women from their dire situations. So a good heroine who learnt from her experience that abusing women was not on… It did get rather graphic in places and the detail of some of the fights and the numbers killed were rather too much at times.
How do you save your family when they’re about to lose the literal farm? You make a deal with a demon, of course. And then you spend the next one hundred and forty-nine years making him sorry he forced you to sign in blood on the dotted line.
To save her family, Southern Belle Olivia "Liv" Madder made a bargain with a demon lord and ever since, she’s been haunted...by her three dead sisters, and her own guilty conscience. Every decade, since the deal, Liv has had to find a human willing to bargain their soul with Moloch. If she fails, even once, he’ll not only drag her to Hell, but he'll take her sisters, too. It doesn't mean she can't make Lord Jerkface miserable in the process by removing his lesser demons from the Earthly plane. When her latest contracted soul dies before the bargain is sealed, she has less than four days to find another soul or her own agreement will be broken. But Moloch offers her a get-out-of-Hell-free card: steal an old book once owned by paranormal researcher David Jensen. The same David Jensen she fell in love with sixty years ago but left to protect him and his family. Then Moloch drops the biggest bombshell: David has died. Heartbroken and feeling she has no choice, Liv makes the trip to Sanctum, Missouri only to find David’s grandson has the book. Worse, he’s keeping a mysterious family secret that threatens Moloch, Liv, and her three sisters. What’s a minion to do when her world falls apart? Get Madder than Hell and kick some demon butt.
A fun new snarky heroine and author for me.
Enjoyed the read and new concept even if there were demons and minions – lesser demons who have to do as they are told – and which they usually do but…