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review 2019-01-16 23:01
Book Blitz: Wishes in a Bottle by Allie McCormack with Giveaway

Wishes in a Bottle
Allie McCormack

(Wishes & Dreams, #1)

Publication date: January 15th 2019
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Centuries ago in plague-struck Italy, Julian DiConti cast a powerful spell in desperation to have the magical power to be able to help his people who were dying in horrific conditions. The spell goes spectacularly awry, leaving Julian enslaved to a Djinn bottle, bound to grant three wishes to each Master of the bottle until the spell can be broken. More than anything, Julian longs for a normal life – for a home, and a family. After six hundred years, however, he has begun to despair of ever being freed from the spell.

Enter Alessandra Taylor, a young woman who has followed her calling to help others, in the face of vociferous disapproval from her family, particularly her controlling father. Working at a shelter for battered women, she’s thrilled to meet the reclusive Julian DiConti, whose collection of garments from third world countries has provided funding for shelters across the country. When Julian turns out to be a Djinn from the old bottle she found in her attic, she hears his story and empathizes with his despair. Although she’s willing to free him, he can’t tell her how. As time goes by, their initial attraction blossoms into a love that both realize is doomed. Once she has made her third wish, the magic of the bottle will whisk Julian away and out of her life forever… unless she can somehow figure out how to free him. But one by one, she’s forced to use the precious wishes to help others.

 
EXCERPT
 
“Betty!”
 
Alessandra burst into the supervisor’s office, bursting with excitement. It was her first day back at work after everything that had happened. Betty looked up from her computer monitor, peering at Alessandra over the top of her reading glasses.
 
“Welcome back. What’s got you in such a tweak?”
 
“You’ll never guess who I’ve met.” Alessandra came to perch on the corner of Betty’s desk, nudging a stack of official-looking papers aside with her hip, anticipating Betty’s response.
 
“Whom,” Betty corrected automatically, taking her glasses off and leaning forward, slender brows raised over grey-blue eyes sparkling with interest. “Don’t keep me in suspense. Tell me.”
 
Alessandra leaned forward. “Julian,” she spoke the name slowly, enunciating each syllable, “DiConti.”
 
She enjoyed seeing Betty’s eyes widen, hearing her audible gasp.
 
“No!”
 
Alessandra just smiled and nodded.
 
“Oh my God, Alessandra. How did you meet him? Where? Is he here, in New York?”
 
“Yes, he’s here. In fact, it turns out he lives here, in the city.”
 
Alessandra paused for effect, grinning at the growing anticipation on her boss’ face. A thought struck her, and she pondered. Julian’s face arose in her mind’s eye, the clear pleasure on his face when he’d learned that she worked at one of the shelters that had received donations from the fund he’d set up. He would never ask, she thought, to visit the shelter to see for himself. He’d be well aware of the security and anonymity they required. But she would bet her bottom dollar he would love to actually see for himself the difference his Foundation had made for some.
 
“I wonder,” she said slowly. “I wonder if we might invite him to visit, and see what improvements his donations have made possible.”
 
“Yes!” Betty shot out of her chair. “Alessandra, this could be wonderful for us.”
 
“I’ve told him a bit about what we’ve been able to do with the funds we’ve gotten from Uncommon Threads. It turns out that he’s never seen a safe house, and has only the most basic knowledge of what we do here. He told me that he’d never met anyone who’d benefited directly from his Foundation, not here in the States, I mean. I think he’d very much like to see the place, what we’ve been able to do with the extra funding.”
 
Betty sank back into her chair, staring at Alessandra.
 
“I can’t believe it. You have met Julian DiConti. You’ve actually spoken to him. Do you know he has only appeared in public once? Once! And that was at the opening of his Uncommon Threads exhibit last year. He’d never been seen before then, has never been seen since. He travels a lot, the papers say,”
 
Betty seemed to be still lost in amazement. She lowered her voice, leaning forward conspiratorially, “Do you know, no one has ever been able to get a picture of him? He’s never been in the paper or in a magazine, not on the Internet… nothing! Even the paparazzi can’t seem to snap a shot of him.”
 
Alessandra tucked that away in the back of her mind to ponder. She’d ask Julian about it later. It seemed impossible that journalists, as persistent as they were annoying, would not have gotten some shots of him. A person as wealthy and reclusive as Julian DiConti would draw paparazzi attention like bees to honey. Maybe it was something to do with the Djinn magic. Certainly one could not live for so many hundreds of years and leave a record, something by which one could be recognized, especially now with photography. How embarrassing to have a photograph of one resurface half a century later and you haven’t changed by a whisker.
 
Betty’s mind was already darting ahead.
 
“We can invite the Board of Directors, and maybe some of the…”
 
“No, absolutely not,” Alessandra interrupted hastily. She didn’t have to ask Julian to know what his feelings about that would be. “He wouldn’t like that at all. He’s a very private person. Really, Betty. I think he’d appreciate seeing the positive results of his efforts, to see for himself the difference that is being made. He wouldn’t want publicity, or any grand fuss made, and you know it would be bound to get out, if we told the Board. And, too, you know,” she pressed on, “the residents here wouldn’t like it, either. It would make them uncomfortable. Just being here is hard enough for most of them.”
 
“Yes,” Betty admitted. “But, at the same time… Mr. DiConti is such a huge contributor. More than half a million dollars, just to us! It seems almost rude not to do everything we can to welcome him.
 
“Bring out the red carpet and brass band?” Alessandra suggested with a laugh. “Betty, I assure you he would neither expect that, nor want it.”
 
Betty pursed her lips, thinking this over. “You’re sure?”
 
“I am.” Alessandra made her answer as firm and authoritative as she could. “I’m very sure, Betty. And I was thinking, you know. We might ask some of the women if they would be willing to talk with him, tell him their stories. He knows the stories of the women he has helped in India, why shouldn’t he hear the stories of the women here? We can let the residents know exactly when he would be here, let them choose to come out to meet him, or not.”
 
“He’s worth millions, you know. Billions.” Betty’s eyes held a dreamy, far-away expression. “Mostly inherited, but he’s made a pile on his own. That antique shop has been around forever. There was an article on him in People magazine when he first opened Uncommon Threads, and then when it did so well and he sent the collection on tour across America. There was an article on Whimsies, too, in that artsy magazine from the Village. No one really knows much about Julian himself, though.”
 
“Except that he’s worth a lot of money.” Alessandra laughed, but inside she cringed. Billionaire? Of course, six hundred years was plenty of time for financial planning, but still… It was almost impossible to comprehend. Billions of dollars? And he was living in a little glass bottle on her dresser!
 
It would have been funny, if it weren’t so sad. Alessandra’s heart ached for Julian. If only there were something she could do for him, some way that she could release him from the spell so that he could really live, could have a real life. She would gladly give all three of her wishes… well, the two she had left… but she would have given all of them to free him.
 
That spell seemed more like a curse to her. Julian was so desperately unhappy. He never said so, but she could see it in his dark azure eyes, the brooding sadness that never quite left, that lurked behind the charming smile. So many times she had caught the quiet lapses, when he retreated inside himself when he thought she was unaware. It seemed an awful punishment, no matter what he had done. She just wished she could find a way to help him.
 
Author Bio:
A career medical transcriptionist, Allie McCormack is now writing from home full-time. Allie has traveled quite a bit and lived many places all over the U.S., and also a year in Cairo, Egypt as an exchange student, and a year in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia under contract to a hospital there, plus a short stint with NATO while she was in the Army. As a single mom, she raised a wonderful daughter who's recently married and there are plans afoot for grandchildren. A disabled veteran, Allie now lives in the beautiful Sorona Desert in southern Arizona with her two rescue cats and writes full-time.

Allie says: "A writer is who and what I am... a romance writer. I write what I know, and what I know is romance. Dozens of story lines and literally hundreds of characters live and breathe within the not-so-narrow confines of my imagination, and it is my joy and privilege to bring them to life, to share them with others by writing their stories."

 
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review 2019-01-16 22:02
Book Blitz: The Devil’s Pact by V. S. McGrath with Giveaway

The Devil’s Pact
V. S. McGrath

(The Devil’s Revolver #3)

Publication date: December 18th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Hold on to your hats — the Devil’s Revolver series is back with an evil twin, deep magic, zombies, menacing grand balls, a train heist, hand-to-hand high-stakes battles, and two sisters who have grown in their power to face and fight the end of the Weird West.

If Hettie Alabama could do what she was told and stand down . . . she might not anyway. Especially when the letters her sister sends from her place of hiding don’t seem quite right, and Hettie’s posse is tying her hands tighter by the day. She’s itching to take the safety off her cursed mage gun, the Devil’s Revolver, and walk through the fire to end the reign of evil that’s choking the magic out of the West—not to mention save her sister once and for all.

The only problem? Hettie’s name is in the headlines and on every wanted poster in the nation—but she’s not the one robbing banks and killing innocents, even if the pictures look just like her. She’s up to her chin in high-necked gowns and beauty glamors, charged with fulfilling her word to the influential Favreau family of New Orleans, even as it becomes increasingly clear that they want only to consolidate the world’s waning magic in the hands of the rich and powerful. The politics get more personal as the most loyal of Hettie’s gang uncover the threat of an immoderate technology that steals magic from the unwitting innocent and transfers it to the nefarious elite.

Hettie has no choice but to go rogue, and when she drops a black hat over her brow, the Devil’s Revolver’s trigger glows hot. The Devil’s Pact stampedes from San Francisco’s Chinatown tongs through the glittering high society of Chicago to the hidden swamps of the Deep South in its search for truth, genuine justice, and an end to a world that refuses to recognize the power and change wrought by girls.

 
EXCERPT
 
She clambered over the rooftops, jumping the gaps between buildings with relative ease, since they were so close together. She spotted a large canvas-covered cart in the street pulled by four ragged horses. It was one of those old covered wagons like they used back when settlers were still making their way across the country, and it looked out of place in the city. Hettie climbed down a fire escape, but as she wove through traffic, the time bubble popped—
 
Suddenly, she was smack-dab in the middle of oncoming traffic. A man shouted and hauled on his reins. His hansom cab buckled violently, and the horse reared. Hettie scampered out of the way of its hooves and directly into the path of another cart. The man’s horses faltered and tried to skirt around her, but then the cart they were pulling plowed into them, and they whinnied in panic, veering to the side and crashing into another rider.
 
Hettie ran toward the covered wagon, summoning Diablo and trying to re-establish the time bubble. No good. The same thing had happened during the train robbery.
 
A man peeked out of the covered wagon. He shouted and drew his sidearm. Hettie zigzagged to avoid the gunshots and pulled Diablo’s trigger, unleashing a blast of green power that incinerated the man’s arm up to his shoulder.
 
Two more men appeared with rifles. Hettie ducked left and rolled behind a cart as the bullets bit into the cab, showering her with splinters. The passengers within screamed.
 
Traffic ground to a halt and people dove out of their vehicles while the drivers tried to get their horses under control. The covered wagon surged forward and plowed through the street while the men in the back continued an assault on the cab Hettie hid behind.
 
She had to stop that wagon.
 
She whipped around the corner and fired. Diablo let out a wide beam of power that took out the right two wheels. The wagon collapsed with a loud crash, sending up a wake of splinters. The whole right side of the wagon tore off, and the canopy ripped away from the U-shaped frame as it snapped up like angry fish spines.
 
People screamed as carts, drivers and pedestrians tried to escape the gunfire and chaos. Horses thrashed and reared, whinnying as the vehicles piled up. Hettie ran toward the wagon.
 
It was empty. Unless Dr. Fielding had somehow escaped…
 
One of the men with the rifles who’d tumbled from the wagon pushed up off the ground. He spotted Hettie and, in a panic, reached for his pistol.
 
Hettie pointed Diablo at him. “Don’t.”
 
He blinked at her. “I-I-I’m sorry, Mizzay, I didn’t realize—” He stuttered to a stop. “Wait, you’re not—”
 
Hettie cocked Diablo for show. “Where’s Dr. Fielding?”
 
He gaped. “I—I don’t know—”
 
Hettie blew a molten hole in the ground next to his feet, and he stumbled back. “Where is he?”
 
“I was just supposed to stay in the cart! I don’t know anything!” His eyes canted left. Hettie reacted a second too late.
 
Someone cinched an arm around her neck and dragged her backward. Hettie struggled, dropping Diablo as she tried to pry her fingers under the man’s elbow to get a breath.
 
She sank her teeth into the man’s thick muscle, then slammed her heel into his shin, twisting to throw him off balance. He yelped and let go. She dove for Diablo and before she could stop herself, fired.
 
The man’s shriek was cut off almost instantly as he evaporated, flaring like a hellish green grease fire.
 
The agony of the revolver’s blood price was instant, shredding through skin, flesh and bone as it extracted one year of Hettie’s life for the life she’d taken. The pain went on and on, as if she were the one being consumed by flame. It’d been months since she’d killed a man; months since she’d slaked Diablo’s bloodthirst. And the mage gun’s appetite was insatiable. For a flash, she thought she was back in hell, being swallowed and forced down into Satan’s gullet—and then it was over.
 
Through the haze of relief, Hettie barely registered the person standing over her, pistol drawn, its blank, black eye winking at her.
 
 

Author Bio:
Vicki So, writing as V. S. McGrath, is a published romance author (as Vicki Essex) and has six books with Harlequin Superromance: Her Son’s Hero (July 2011); Back to the Good Fortune Diner (January 2013), which was picked for the Smart Bitches Trashy Books Sizzling Book Club; In Her Corner (March 2014); A Recipe for Reunion (March 2015); Red Carpet Arrangement (January 2016); and Matinees with Miriam (November 2016). She lives in Toronto, Canada.


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review 2019-01-16 21:19
Can Lightning Strike Twice – Lightning Crimes by Chrys Fey @ChrysFey
Lightning Crimes (Disaster Crimes Book 2.5) - Chrys Fey

 

 

Lightning Crimes by Chrys Fey, is part of the Disaster Crime series and I have been lovin’ every minute of it.

 

FREE SHORT STORY, LIGHTNING CRIMES

 

Cover:  Chrys Fey

 

Lightning Crimes (Disaster Crimes Book 2.5)

Amazon  /  Goodreads

 

MY REVIEW

 

Donovan and Beth have been through a hurricane and an earthquake, so a lightning storm should be a piece of cake and Chrys Fey’s descriptive writing makes me feel like I am there with them, through the clashing of the thunder, the flashes of the lightning, the pounding of the rain and the roaring of the wind, but there is more…a rock through a window, an open door that was locked, wet footprints on carpet…Chrys can create a suspenseful read whether its danger from storms or humans.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos 4 Stars

 

READ MORE HERE

 

MY CHRYS FEY REVIEWS

 

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review 2019-01-16 21:02
Book Blitz: Girl with all the Pain by Michael Herman with Giveaway

Girl with all the Pain
Michael Herman

(Aliens, Tequila & Us #4)

Publication date: February 23rd 2018
Genres: Science Fiction, Thriller, Young Adult

Sometimes an ugly duckling becomes more than just a swan.

In the streets of Santiago, Chile, a young homeless girl named Isabel screams a scream of rage that is the last sound the gang tormenting her ever hears.

Deep within the city, a family feels her cry and sets out to find her for their sake as well as hers.

Never straying far from Isabel, Skunk Mountain, a homeless pile of walking filth, visible to only the neighborhood kids, maintains a guardian presence that is key to her survival in a world where, beneath the very ground they walk, a dark ancient intelligent entity prepares to unleash forces that will devastate Chile.

Sometimes that swan has claws and teeth. 
_______________________________________

Girl with all the Pain is the first of the Global Invasion Chronicles.

The Aliens, Tequila & Us series is prologue to Girl with all the Pain
_______________________________________

If you are interested in mass extinction events, Chinchorro mummies, alien creatures, tequila, Pisco Sours, Very Large Telescopes, foreign tongues, evolution theories, witchcraft beliefs, Santiago Chile, underground caves, vineyards, million dollar concept bikes, interstellar space travel, abandoned mines, the Atacama Desert, Russian ATVs, Himmler’s Nazis Lebensborn, predictions of future times, earthquakes, orchids, avatars, and people with mutant powers, then this is the book for you.

Kind reviews go far and help keep up the spirit while I work to bring the second Global Invasion Chronicle to life.

 
 
EXCERPT
 
When the woman strokes Isabel’s black fur, Isabel purrs loudly and makes clicking sounds. She knows she rests between friends who will not allow the ones below the base of the statue to harm her. The woman looks down at Isabel and says, “At long last, I have found you. You have not been forgotten. You and your people will return. We will end your long-suffering. You will no longer be alone.”
 
Isabel looks up at her with her black cat yellow eyes, and purrs. But below her feet, the ground trembles with the might of her enemy. The woman acknowledges the terrible presence beneath them and stoops to Isabel and says, “Only you can restore order. Only you can save them. Only you can end this. When your knowledge of yourself matures and you flower to your destiny, you will fulfill yourself and your time will be complete. We will join you and make it happen. Do you understand?”
Isabel snarls in response and lets out a mighty roar.

Then she is back on the daylight street holding hands with the mirror version of herself. She looks into the mirror self’s eyes and a shudder ripples through her body. The mirror version releases her hands, smiles, looks to Ángel and says, “All is well.”

 

Author Bio
When he isn't doing construction or creating 3D simulations for the AEC industry, Michael Herman writes from his small urban hillside farm in California where he types away to the sounds of chickens, coyotes, the occasional fox and his household pets.


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text 2019-01-16 17:33
Reading progress update: I've read 311 out of 460 pages.
The Penguin Classics Book - Various Authors,Henry Eliot

Les Miserables is the 2nd longest novel in the collection - only Clarissa is longer. I've read the former but not the latter; I wimped out and decided to try the shorter Richardson novel, Pamela, first, but even that is staring at me from the shelf, disapproving of the neglect it is suffering... 

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