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Cursed by Magic box set: Book Review.

Cursed by Magic
various
various
ghosts, witches, angels, vampire
Bayou Moon Press, LLC
(27 Mar. 2017)

Immerse yourself in the riveting world of vampires, shifters, mages, witches, ghosts, mediums, angels, and all things magic. A thrilling collection of the finest in urban fantasy. Sit back and binge on five full-length novels that will have you on the edge-of-your-seat. Romance, magic, mystery, and shocking twists that will leave you breathless. * * *

A 5 full length set of firsts in series. Some have been reviewed separately here on this site.

Spirits, Stilettos, and a Silver Bustier – Deanna Chase 
Pyper Rayne–medium and coffee shop owner–seems to have attracted a ghost. But he’s not just any ghost. He’s a witch and able to appear in solid form…sometimes. If only he’d stop disappearing on her. And Pyper needs his help. When she becomes target numero uno and the prime suspect in the shop owner’s death, it appears her ghost holds the key to solving the murder. In between stolen kisses, Pyper will need to get to the bottom of all of his secrets if she wants to stay alive and out of jail…and maybe finally get that date he keeps promising her.

Whiskey, Vamps, and Thieves – Selene Charles
Meet Scarlett Smith, Southern Vampire Detective…

Not too long ago she was just a regular Southern Belle in love with her soldier, dreaming of a life full of babies and white picket fences.

Now she solves murders and drinks a little type-O on the side. No big deal, she’s certainly nothing special or amazing…right? Except every once in a while she senses something stirring inside of her. Something dark. Something ancient. And something very, very powerful. But for now it’s just easier to pretend she’s nothing more than a vampire with a badge and a gun who just so happens to have the hots for not one, but two different shifters one of whom is her step-brother.

Sterling – Dannika Dark

Zoë Merrick knew nothing about immortals until she was brutally attacked by one and left for dead. When she awakens, a strange power is coursing through her veins. It’s not until a warrior named Justus De Gradi walks into her life that she discovers she’s a Mage–able to manipulate energy and use it as a weapon. Justus vows to serve as her protector and teacher, but she’s still struggling with letting go of her past. Will Zoë learn to accept her fate and trust those around her, or will she fall victim to the predators in the Breed world?

A Spirited Manor – Kate Danley

Grieving widow Clara O’Hare accepts an invitation to a séance in the remote country home of Lord Horace Oroberg. Joining her around the table are Oroberg’s cad of a son and his mousy fiancée; her overbearing mother; a renowned scientist; a lovely suffragette; and the dashing young medium, Wesley Lowenherz.  But before long, the group’s fascination with the spirit world calls up something sinister, and Clara and Wesley are pulled together to solve a murder most foul.

Cast in Angelfire – SM Reine  

As a half-angel, half-human mage, Marion Garin is the most powerful witch in the world.  Or so she’s been told.

Unfortunately, she’s lost her memory, and now Marion doesn’t know much of anything. Casting magic? Forget about it. It’s not an accident, either. Someone powerful wanted to take Marion out of preternatural politics, and they succeeded.

She’s told that a man named Seth Wilder could help, but she’ll have to find him first. He’s been missing for years. Marion needs to track Seth down and fix her memory before her unknown enemy finishes the job…

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Legends: Many variations of. Book Review.

Legends Book Cover Legends
box set
various
Sci-fi, anthologies, short stories
Paper Gold Publishing Ltd
(7 Nov. 2015)

Due to mature content, situations and language, this collection is recommended for audiences 18+. All works in this box set have been professionally proofed by Paper Gold Publishing, unless this service was expressly refused by the author. Some stories are written in American, some in Canadian, Australian, and some in British English. The authors have chosen to stay true to their heritage. This box set includes a mix of already released and totally new novels and novellas, all complete works. Those books which are part of a series can be enjoyed fully without the need to read the complete series (though there is a chance you might develop story-addiction issues—for that, we apologize). LEGENDS is a magnificent collection of award-winning science fiction and fantasy books, some light enough to make you smile, all deep enough to make you think, What if…? Every single compelling story was hand-picked for your enjoyment. 13 worlds to make your own, 13 thrilling adventures, 13 heroes to root for. The perfect companion for late nights on the sofa, the perfect gift to those who enjoy a good read.

Legends (SF/Fantasy Box Set Vol.1): 13 Complete Novels & Novellas from your Favorite SF/Fantasy Authors

THIS BOX SET INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING TITLES:

ON UNFAITHFUL WINGS (ICARUS FELL #1) — Bruce Blake
THE UNIVERSE BUILDERS: BERNIE AND THE PUTTY — Steve LeBel
BRAIN WAVES — Cherime MacFarlane
DARK SIDE OF THE MOON — Ahmad Taylor
SUNSTONE — Holly Barbo
TRAPT: A TWISTED WOLF TALE — Rene Folsom
GONE — Julie Elizabeth Powell
WITCHWOOD ESTATE: GOING HOME — Patti Roberts
FROZEN HEART — Ella Medler
GARNETS — Suzy Stewart Dubot
SHERDAN’S PROPHECY — Jess Mountifield
OF SOUND MIND — Julie Elizabeth Powell
THE UNRAVELING (SAGE SEED CHRONICLES BOOK 3) — Holly Barbo

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How Clean were her Deeds? Author Interview.

Dirty Deeds: An Urban Fantasy Collection , Book Cover Dirty Deeds: An Urban Fantasy Collection ,
Devon Monk, Diana Pharaoh Francis, Faith Hunter, R.J. Blain
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Publication date: January 12th 2021

When the going gets tough, the tough get their hands dirty. Join NY Times Bestselling author Faith Hunter, USA Today Bestselling author R.J. Blain, and National Bestselling authors Diana Pharaoh Francis and Devon Monk on a wild romp where the damsels bring the distress and what can go wrong will go wrong.

Venture into a thrilling spinoff tale from the world of Jane Yellowrock; join vacationing gods in what appears to be a quiet, ordinary town; visit a supernatural hotel where the bedbugs could very well eat you; and dive into the zany, deadly world of the Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count) series.

In this collection of all-new urban fantasy novellas and other stories, no job is too big or too small — if the price is right.

1. Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about?

The Ordinary Magic books began as a short story I’d written years ago. I just loved the idea of a sleepy beach town where gods put down their powers to vacation, and all manner of monsters and creatures live and work alongside humans.

For this story, SEALED WITH A TRYST, I thought a garage sale run by a trickster god might be a lot of fun to write. Turned out the garage sale is cursed, (of course) which leads to hilarity.

The little bonus short story: AT DEATH’S DOOR is meant as a gift to all my readers who love the character Than (god of death).

2.Which author had the most influence on your writing? Your writing style? Your writing genre?

I always feel a little odd answering this because really, I should say: all of them. I am made of snips and bits of everything I’ve read in my life, so it’s hard to say just one or two authors most influenced me.

Back when I started writing, I was focused on fantasy, science fiction, and horror short stories. I read anything in those genres I could get my hands on. I’d say it was probably Ann Maxwell, Patricia McKillip, Roger Zelazny, and Connie Willis who first made me sit up straight and say: “That. I wanna do that.” 

3.Have you ever tried to imitate another author’s style? And if so, why?

No, but I have typed out paragraphs written by other writers. If I read a book I loved but couldn’t figure out why it worked so well for me, I’d sit and type a few pages, word for word. I used the same punctuation. I entered the same line breaks. Feeling the author’s words filtering through my fingers gave me a tactile roadmap of how that author thought through and structured their writing.

It was eye-opening. It’s still something I recommend to other writers if they’re grappling to get a  good grip on an unfamiliar tone or structure or genre.

4.Which is your favourite place to visit? Do you incorporate it into your books?

One of my favorite places to visit was my great-grandmother’s house in Lincoln City, Oregon. Lincoln City is a little beach town on the Oregon coast that has grown a bit in the last few decades to cater more to tourists. But when I was a child, it felt like a faraway land of magic.

I love the beach, the town, and my great-grandmother’s house (which a ship’s captain built by hand for his wife) so much, that I based Ordinary Oregon off the place. I even put my great-grandmother’s house in there too, as Delaney’s family’s home.

5.Has the pandemic inspired you with any new stories to write? If so, what is the story premise?

The pandemic inspired me to rewrite and publish a book I’d written just months before it hit. WAYWARD SOULS is set on Route 66, and is book #1 in my new Souls of the Road series.
It has monsters and magic, and starcrossed, lovers doing everything they can to survive.

I drove the old Route 66 with my husband a couple years ago (when this book was just a glimmer of an idea) and had an absolute blast getting lost, back on track, turned around, and lost again. I’m putting many of the places and magical bits we saw on our trip into these books.

Urban fantasy, a little romance, and a favorite road trip all in one book? Yes, please!

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FAM not FBI: Book Review

Federal Agents of Magic Complete Series Boxed Set
TR Cameron, Martha Carr, Michael Anderle
Urban Fantasy Action Adventure
LMBPN Publishing; 1st edition
(17 Jun. 2020)
Kindle
1934

FBI Agent Diana Sheen is an agent with a secret…

…she carries a badge and a troll, along with a little magic.

But her Most Wanted List is going to take a little extra effort.

She’ll have to embrace her powers and up her game to take down new threats,

Not to mention deal with the troll that’s adopted her.

All signs point to a serious threat lurking just beyond sight, pulling the strings to put the forces of good in harm’s way.

Magic or mundane, you break the law, and Diana’s gonna find you, tag you and bring you in. Watch out magical baddies, this agent can level the playing field.

It’s all in a day’s work for the newest Federal Agent of Magic.

FAM stands for Federal Agents of Magic

This is an 8 book box set series available on KU with 3 authors: TR Cameron, Martha Carr, Michael Anderle, and is set in the Oriceran Universe.

Now I’ve read most of the books in the Oriceran Universe series. And they’re all beautifully written. The various authors that contribute are well chosen and write a good storyline. All the are urban fantasy, action and adventure based and this series is crime and police based stories. except the criminals and the police are rather unusual.

If you haven’t come across the Oriceran Universe, here is a quick summary.

Magic has returned to the world along with all various creatures large and small that come with the tales. It is a fantasy world with fan fiction and exists from some time around now – to far in the future – so don’t worry – it hasn’t happened yet! But you can imagine it had and contribute your own ideas as to if it did what might happen and who might populate this universe.

Book 1 : Magic Ops

FBI Agent Diana Sheen is rather unusual in that along with her badge she has some magic and a troll who has adopted her.

Book 2 : Agents of Mayhem

Diana and her team are disguised as Bounty hunters cleaning up the streets.

Book 3 : Counter Ops

The conspiracy is bigger than Diana ever realised but Kayleigh is helping improving FAM’s gear.

Book 4 : Agents of Chaos

The bad guys are planning something big and targeting Diana.

Book 5 : Covert Ops

The enemy are using a dire magical artifact.

Book 6 : Agents of Order

There are more players on Diana’s opposition than she realises.

Book 7 : Arcane Ops

The bad guys are stealing from the Police.

Book 8 : Agents of Vengeance

Time to take down the Bosses as the locals have been defeated.

Federal Agents of Magic Complete Series Boxed Set: An Urban Fantasy Action Adventure by [TR Cameron, Martha Carr, Michael Anderle]

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And the cat does what? Book Review.

Murder Mittens
(Magical Romantic Comedies, #13)
by R.J. Blain
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Urban Fantasy
Independently Published
Publication date: December 25th 2020

Becoming a bounty hunter and taking on the call sign of Murder Mittens wasn’t Harri’s brightest move, but what’s a lynx to do with millions of debt while working a customer service gig? The scars deforming her face won’t remove themselves, and she’ll bag and tag every criminal in the United States to get rid of them if necessary. Being assigned a handler could make or break her, but did the powers that be really have to toss Sebastian Sumners her way? The lion with a stubborn streak as wide as hers tests her patience on a good day, but nothing makes her purr more than goading him into roaring. Add in a protective family, a serial killer on the loose, and more trouble than any one cat needs, and it’s going to take a miracle for Harri to get through the most important job of her life. Warning: contains magic, humor, cranky shapeshifters, cats, murder, and mayhem. Proceed with caution.

𝗪𝐚𝐫𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠: 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐭𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐬𝐦𝐚𝐠𝐢𝐜, 𝐡𝐮𝐦𝐨𝐫, 𝐜𝐫𝐚𝐧𝐤𝐲𝐬𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐞𝐬𝐡𝐢𝐟𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐬, 𝐜𝐚𝐭𝐬, 𝐦𝐮𝐫𝐝𝐞𝐫, 𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐦𝐚𝐲𝐡𝐞𝐦. 𝐏𝐫𝐨𝐜𝐞𝐞𝐝𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡𝐜𝐚𝐮𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧!!⁣

Becoming a bounty hunter and taking on the call sign of Murder Mittens wasn’t Harri’s brightest move, but what’s a lynx to do with millions of debt while working a customer service gig? The scars deforming her face won’t remove themselves, and she’ll bag and tag every criminal in the United States to get rid of them if necessary.⁣

⁣Being assigned a handler could make or break her, but did the powers that be really have to toss Sebastian Sumners her way? The lion with a stubborn streak as wide as hers tests her patience on a good day, but nothing makes her purr more than goading him into roaring.⁣

⁣Add in a protective family, a serial killer on the loose, and more trouble than any one cat needs, and it’s going to take a miracle for Harri to get through the most important job of her life.⁣

⁣⁣⁣Chapter One

Why was murdering irate, irrational, ignorant, and flat-out wrong customers illegal? The idiot on the phone rambled about how it wasn’t fair that dumping coffee on his router invalidated his warranty.

I thought it wasn’t fair his stupidity might lose me IQ points, and I’d learned long ago that humans—or lycanthropes, such as myself—didn’t come with warranties or guarantees. I had bills to pay, and murdering one of the customers wouldn’t pay my bills.

Then again, in prison, I wouldn’t have to pay any bills. Every day by the end of my shift, I considered incarceration as a viable option.

Free board, free food, good medical care, and asshole inmates to beat on sounded a lot better than dealing with an idiot customer.

“Sir,” I said in the hopes of circumventing his tirade. Mr. Edward Lavell ignored me.

The idiots always ignored me. I bet my gender had something to do with it. On average, the men finished their calls five minutes faster, and every supervisor to review the situation came to the same general conclusion: customers took men in tech more seriously than women, and I, unfortunately, sounded too feminine.

“Sir,” I repeated, only to be ignored again.

Why couldn’t I just hang up on him? Oh, right. I valued my job. As I valued my job, I couldn’t hang up on him, I couldn’t curse, I couldn’t threaten to rip his throat out, and I couldn’t indulge in my desire to murder him.

There was a time and a place for murder, and on the job at a call center for a cable internet company was not the time nor the place.

For the fourth time since calling in, Mr. Lavell explained that it really wasn’t his fault he’d dumped coffee on his router.

“Sir, liquid spills are right in the contract for the router. I’m sorry, but I can’t change the rules for you. Spilling coffee on your router invalidates its warranty.”

“It’s not my fault the cup holder in my computer has a mind of its own,” he complained.

Wait. What?

His computer’s cup holder has a mind of its own? The realization I dealt with someone far worse than just an idiot sank in. Every call center had legends of Code Red customers, who were in an entirely different class from the standard 1-D10T and the unfortunately common PEBKAC. With Mr. Lavell, I had it all. A problem certainly did exist between the keyboard and chair, and he’d definitely deserved his flag as an 1-D10T.

Until his call, I had remained safe from the evils of a Code Red customer.

By the time I got off the phone with him, I’d need some alcohol and someone to kill.

It’d be easier to find someone to kill than the alcohol; me and booze just didn’t mix, and I’d been banned out of every damned bar in town to keep the peace.

Maybe I could whip on some makeup, grab a gray wig, and pass for a little old lady. With my face covered in burn scars, it wouldn’t take much to pull off some makeup artistry and transform myself into an older woman rather than a mutilated one. I could become a conventional beauty given an hour and the right products. An old lady wasn’t an impossibility.

Alternatively, I could shift, pay my family a visit, and steal a bottle of liquor from one of the cabinets. With the number of lynxes running around the place, they might not even notice me before I made off with my alcoholic prize.

As sighing was not acceptable when dealing with paying customers, I took a moment to steel my nerves before saying, “Sir, computers do not include cup holders.”

That caught his attention. “What?”

“Sir, computers do not include cup holders,” I repeated, already dreading the moment I would have to explain what a CD was, how they were used, and what the player’s actual purpose was. Few systems still had any disc drives at all, as most companies had moved to online downloads of their programs and games.

The next few minutes of my life would not be fun, and I typed a message to my supervisor warning him I had a major 1-D10T on my hands, a possible Code Red situation, and to make sure he was aware I faced the demise of some IQ points, I notified him the customer had opted to use his disc drive as a coffee cup holder.

“What the hell is this thing for, then?”

“CDs, sir.” I closed my eyes and waited for the meltdown.

“First, you claim I invalidated my warranty, and now you’re telling me my cup holder plays music?”

“As this is an internet company, sir, I can’t help you with your CD player. However, it is not a cup holder, nor should it be used as one. As for your router, you owe $35.79 on the device. Once you finish paying for the damaged equipment, I can schedule a tech to come to your home and install your new router. Since you’ve been a customer for so long, I can waive the fifty dollar installation fee. Your monthly bill will not change if you opt to pay off the damaged equipment and start a new rental.”

If he gave me a hard time, I’d take my time and give him all of his options. None of them would be as good as my initial offer. I cracked open an eye and checked my messages with my boss.

He wished me the best of luck and promised to send flowers to my funeral. He also begged me not to tell my brothers about the menace wasting my time. If any one of my forty-seven brothers found out I dealt with customers screaming at me five days a week, they’d go on a rampage.

That my boss knew my family drove me crazy on a good day.

I figured my idiot family had gone on a hunt to meet my boss, and because we were all infected with lycanthropy, my boss wouldn’t have thought twice about their behavior.

Lycanthropes had a reputation.

Most days, it wasn’t a good one.

Only an idiot would piss off a bunch of male lycanthropes out to protect their precious little sister. Unfortunately for me, I counted as an endangered species, as the odds of a lycanthrope having daughters in the first place fell somewhere in around ten thousand to one.

I needed to notify my mother she needed to have more daughters. While she was at it, she needed to give me a new name, because nobody ever believed Harri was a woman’s name. I figured she’d meant to name me Harry because she’d expected yet another boy, swapping out the ‘y’ for an ‘i’ to make things easier on her.

When on the job, I went by Christine because Christine seemed gloriously feminine and nobody on the team used their real names. Technically, I was supposed to change my name every day, but I went by Christine for all new callers, and I only rotated through when I knew I was dealing with someone who gave me issues.

My method worked well enough, so my boss didn’t complain.

While Mr. Lavell spluttered and began the tedious process of mulling over his options, I began making plans for after work—assuming I escaped from my job without succumbing to the temptation of informing the customer he was most definitely wrong, he needed to go back to school to join the modern world, and it wouldn’t hurt if he learned to be civil.

I had to explain his options four times before he finally conceded he should stick with his old plan, pay for the damaged router, and move on with life. It took an extra ten minutes of listening to him whine before he finally hung up.

Above all, I hated the rule that we were not supposed to hang up on clients. It wasted time. Had I been allowed to just hang up, I would have wished him a good day, disconnected the call, and began the tedious process of adding notes to his file so the next customer service representatives stuck with him knew they had trouble on their hands.

My phone rang, but instead of a customer, my phone reported my boss wanted to speak with me. With slumped shoulders, I accepted his call and answered, “Sir?”

“I listened in on your Code Red.”

I hated when my boss actively monitored my calls; thanks to how the system worked, he could listen in on me at any time. But, a job was a job, and with my scarred face, finding a job became troublesome at best—and nobody in the call center knew or cared what I looked like. Oh, well. Before I jumped to conclusions, I’d ask. “What’s my grade, sir?”

“You did fine. You stayed professional, you didn’t come across as too condescending, and frankly, there’s no sane tech on this planet stays totally cool a Code Red. It could have been much worse.”

I checked the clock, breathing a sigh of relief that I’d hit the end of my shift and wouldn’t have to take any more calls. “What do you need?”

“I had a question about your schedule. You’re off for the next week, correct?”

“Yes, sir.” I had plans, and they involved the International Most Wanted List along with every legal bounty list I had managed to get my hands on in the past month. If my boss tried to put an end to my hard-earned vacation, I’d finally do what I should have done months ago, snap, and quit.

I wanted him to cross my last line so badly.

“Ted wants an extra shift. How would you feel about an unpaid day added to your vacation? I’ve already gotten approval if you’d like to claim the unpaid day.”

Score. I’d bid for time off almost a year ago, but sick days were the bare minimum the state allowed, which accounted to five for the entire year. An extra day tacked onto my vacation might let me bag an extra bounty.

Any day I bagged an extra bounty was a good day in my opinion.

“I can take an unpaid day, sir. That’s fine. Can you send me an email confirming the unpaid day off?”

“It’ll be in your inbox within the next ten minutes, and I’ll CC human resources notifying them you’re excused for that day.”

“Okay. Will the rest of my schedule remain the same once I’m back from vacation?”

“Yes. Ted just asked for extra hours, and the others with seniority declined the day off.”

I bet; on our income, every hour mattered. Most who worked for the call center had seen better days. I lived like I’d seen better days and I looked like I’d seen better days, but appearances lied. I only worked at the call center to maintain appearances. Thanks to depression in my teens and therapy that hadn’t gone like my parents had wanted, my entire family demanded I check in at least three times a week to ensure I remained human.

They believed if they took their eyes off me, I might shift into a lynx and never come back.

Two years ago, they wouldn’t have been wrong, but I’d found a new purpose in life. Not a single one of my brothers would approve, my mother would have yet another litter of kittens, and my father would be so disappointed.

Personally, I thought it was obvious. I worked in customer service. I was a prime candidate to become a murderous asshole. I did so legally, on behalf of the government and other legal entities, and I did so for a filthy amount of money.

Smiling stretched my scars, but I did it anyway. “If anyone needs any extra hours, I can afford another day or two off,” I offered. “I can take up to a week unpaid. I’ve been saving up to take some time off if any opportunities allowed.”

It would delay paying for the expensive procedure required to piece my face back together and remove the evidence of the fire that’d almost killed me as a child. It took a lot of magic to convince the lycanthropy virus I wasn’t supposed to be a scarred wreck.

A lot of magic cost a lot of money, and I figured I might have the three million dollars within five years if I landed a bounty every weekend and took on some of the more dangerous jobs. While I waited for my boss to mull over my offer, I considered the various jobs on offer.

I liked hunting other lycanthropes. Unmated males were easy catches, and the fugitives usually brought in a pretty penny. The last one I’d bagged as a live capture had added fifty thousand to my bank account.

Then again, if I landed an entire extra week, I’d make up the lost hours with a single small bounty, and anything else would be extra cash in my savings account.

My boss grunted, signaling he’d come to a decision. “I’ll keep that in mind and pitch the offer. I’ll email your personal and work addresses if there are any takers plus text your phone.”

“Thanks, sir. Have a good evening.”

“You, too.”

He hung up, and before something could go wrong, I clocked out, filed my paperwork for my final call, and logged out of the system so I couldn’t be sucked back into doing even more work.

If all went well, I’d be a hundred grand richer by the end of the week and that much closer to being able to look in the mirror without wincing.

Purchase

iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/murder-mittens/id1498988866

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/murder-mittens

AUTHOR BIO:

RJ Blain suffers from a Moleskine journal obsession, a pen fixation, and a terrible tendency to pun without warning.

In her spare time, she daydreams about being a spy. Her contingency plan involves tying her best of enemies to spinning wheels and quoting James Bond villains until satisfied.


Author links:

https://www.thesneakykittycritic.com/

https://www.facebook.com/rjblain.author/

https://www.instagram.com/rj.blain/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7190903.R_J_Blain

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