Scarlett DeHaven is a country-song songwriter who let success in Nashville lead her to fall into the trap of drugs and alcohol. After a stint in rehab, she moves to Virginia after having purchased a huge gothic historic mansion, and plans to turn it in to a bed and breakfast, despite the enormity of the task or even all the signs she seems to be getting from around her that it’s the wrong thing to do.
She gradually finds out that Asphodel House and Meadows was the site of a brutal mass killing, and ever since then, it’s been said to be used for some sort of cult, maybe even vampires or druids. Scarlett doesn’t want to believe any of it, and she soon breaks her sobriety when her friend Stella comes to stay and starts to feel things will be okay with this new start.
That’s where the downward spiral, inside and out, seems to begin.
This is a not only an excellent paranormal thriller and ghost story, with elements of a cult and vampiric rituals, but also a novel about someone trying to go through recovery and deal with addiction and the trappings of what fame and fortune can do. It’s a lot more involved than initially meets the eye.
When asked to review this novel, I said yes based on it purely being a paranormal haunting-type story set in old house, and that didn’t even remotely set me up for what an amazing ride I had with this book.
Every time I sat down to read it, I was deeply entrenched in Scarlett’s plight: she had taken on this multi-million dollar money-pit with good intentions (even though her original search for the house was made when she was high), and she starts drinking more as the stress of it starts to take hold. When she breaks sobriety it broke my heart, but I found myself empathizing with the inner battle she constantly has with herself throughout the novel, and recognize the shame and isolation she feels. The addiction story may be hard for some people to read if they have had some experience dealing with addicts or recovery themselves. Still, it’s not done with kid gloves and Clarke does it with kindness and realistically.
Author London Clarke paints a vivid picture of both this looming mansion as well as this addiction in Scarlett’s life as they take over congruently; they work simultaneously like the demons that take hold. Asphodel House itself becomes its own character in the novel and is a force to be reckoned with, and it made me think of other famous literary haunted houses such as Hill House, and Amityville.
Scarlett’s past comes back to haunt her in many forms, and the other characters in the novel serve to remind her that she can’t step away from it. There are several humbling moments that serve as pivotal points for her too, and her story arc is heart-wrenching. There are many bright spots though, as she pushes forward, and I appreciated the levity brought by some of the positivity she has (her denial serves her well too), and it broke up the moments where I truly had chills reading this book. It takes a lot for me, having read countless horror and thriller novels, and having worked on horror movies too. I also found the twists and turns to really take me by surprise.
I liken this indie-published ebook to one of the many independent movies I worked on when I worked in film; not enough people will get to read it (like they didn’t see those brilliant movies) because it’s not attached to a big publishing house (studio) or has a big name attached to it, and that’s a shame. This book is EXCELLENT. I was gripped all the way through. I want to make sure everyone I know who loves a good, chilling read, hears about ‘The Meadows’.
*I received a free copy of this book to review and this did not affect my opinion of the book.
Hello Readers! Today, I am revealing the wonderful new cover for Cecy Robson’s upcoming release A CURSED MOON from the Weird Girls series! Take a look & don’t forget to enter the GIVEAWAY!
ABOUT THE BOOK
A CURSED MOON
by Cecy Robson
Weird Girls, #2.5
Publication Date: January 30, 2019
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy, Romance
Meet the furry big brother that the Wird sisters never had…
Bren is a cocky, brash hound of a werewolf who loathes the idea of belonging to Aric’s pack—much less finding a mate. But Bren’s hotheaded behavior lands him in the doghouse when he defies Aric’s authority in front of his pack, bringing up a sore subject that’s bound to make the Alpha wolf’s blood boil…
Luckily for him, no one can stay mad at Bren and his wild charm for long. And when some frightening ghosts launch a hostile paranormal takeover, Bren will team up with Celia to take down the evil ghouls before they hurt someone they both love…
A Cursed Moon is #2.5 in the Weird Girls Series
Four sisters with supernatural powers are just trying to blend in among humans. But once they are outed to the supernatual world things will never be the same. This award winning urban fantasy romance series is based in the Lake Tahoe region of California and Nevada. Home to many magial beings including witches, vampires, werebeasts and shapeshifters, just to name a few.
.3 Gone Hunting
.4 A Cruse Awakened
.5 The Weird Girls
1 Sealed with a Curse
2 A Cursed Embrace
2.5 A Cursed Moon
3 Cursed by Destiny
4 A Cursed Bloodline
5 A Curse Unbroken
6 Of Flame and Promise
7 Of Flame and Light
8 Of Flame and Fate
COMING JANUARY 30, 2019!
Pre-order in ebook!
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2Vx32h4
Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/2Qp9QJX
EXCLUSIVE REVEAL EXCERPT
“Damn it, Bren—wake up!”
“Hmmph?” Someone with a death wish was shaking me. You don’t disturb a werewolf’s sleep; that’s just common fucking sense. The breeze shot through the cracked opened window, bringing a strong whiff of Tahoe’s magic. I grinned and inhaled. That shit was better than witch ganja, and it lulled me back to sleep.
But then Dan flipped on the leg lamp on my nightstand and opened his yap again.
“Wake up, I mean it.”
“You can take that werewolf shit and shove it up your ass.”
That made me chuckle into my pillow. Dan swearing was damn funnier than Elmo dropping the “F” bomb. He shook me again, this time harder. I flipped over and tried to get comfortable.
“For crying out loud, put some pants on! I don’t need to see your . . . stuff.”
“It’s my goddamn room. I can sleep naked if I want. And what the hell do you mean by ‘stuff’? What are you, ten?”
Dan ignored me. “Bren, your stupid one-night stand stole all our food, our DVDs, and our laundry detergent.”
I half-opened one eye. “Wendy wouldn’t do anything like that.”
“Her name was Natasha.”
“That’s the name she wrote all over my bathroom with her lipstick.”
I sat abruptly, suddenly panicked. “She didn’t take my porn, did she?”
Dan’s jaw slacked. “Is that all you care about, that she took your porn?”
“No. For shit’s sake I’m hungrier than hell. How are you going to fix me breakfast without any food?”
Dan threw his hands in the air, in that same exaggerated way he always did when I pushed him to his breaking point. He kicked my dirty clothes on the floor and paced like an expectant dad. “You have the audacity to think I’d actually cook you breakfast—after what your one-nighter did?”
I scratched my beard. Damn, I needed a trim. “Well, yeah. It’s your job around here, you’re the woman. You’re supposed to cook, clean, and pay most of the bills. My job is to keep your ass safe from humans, vamps, weres, witches, little old ladies, and pretty much anything else you’re afraid of. It’s part of our deal, along with me getting you laid.”
Dan stomped to the side of my bed, stumbling over a pair of my old jeans. “First of all, it was just that one little old lady. I may be human, but I’m pretty sure she was some kind of spirit―especially given the amount of supernatural activity around here lately. Secondly, I don’t need help getting laid.”
I stared at my beanpole roommate. His messy curly hair hung over his thick black-framed glasses, and he tripped over air on a regular basis. Jesus. There were Girl Scouts more muscular and agile than him. “Yes, you do, Dan.”
“I’ve gotten laid a lot lately, all without your help.”
“Ugly girls don’t count, man.”
“Celia’s not ugly.”
I laughed and yanked at my overgrown hair. Damn, I needed a cut, too. But unlike Dan, I did grunge well. “Celia was more than eight years ago.” I chuckled again. Talk about a mercy lay.
He narrowed his eyes. “What’s so funny?”
“I still can’t believe you were her first. How’d you talk her into it? Did you promise to tutor her in chemistry or something?”
Dan’s entire face reddened, making him look more like a tomato than a walking piece of broccoli. “Whatever, Bren. I’ll prove to you I can get laid.”
“Sure, sure, you can get laid. Don’t get your thong in a bunch.”
Dan stamped his foot. Shit, I only thought girls did that.
“I mean it, Bren. I have to work late at the lab tonight, but I’ll meet you at eleven at the Watering Hole. I’m going to get a girl so hot your head will spin.”
I yawned. “Sure you will, buddy.”
“Fine. If you don’t believe me, how about we bet on it?”
“Dan, you don’t want to bet me on something like that. You’ll only lose and embarrass yourself.”
“You’re just afraid. I thought you were a wolf, not a chicken.”
My brows furrowed and I snarled. “Did you just call me a chicken?” This time it was Dan’s turn to laugh. I could be pretty damn intimidating, but he knew I’d never hurt him. He was a mothering pain in the ass, but also the best friend I’d ever had.
“You heard me, clucky.”
A slow grin eased across my face. “All right then, name the terms.”
“The loser has to clean and cook for the rest of the year . . .”
“Is that the best you can come up with? Oooh, I’m real scared now.”
“. . . wearing a French maid outfit, regardless of who’s in the apartment.”
My grin widened. The little turd had some balls after all. “You’re on.” I held out my hand. He refused to shake it until after I showered.
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Cecy Robson is an author of contemporary and new adult romance, young adult adventure, and award-winning urban fantasy. A double-nominated RITA® Finalist, Winner of the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and published author of more than twenty titles, you can typically find Cecy on her laptop or stumbling blindly in search of caffeine.
Amazon Author Profile: http://amzn.to/2HepYtI
I love anything to do with water, so when I was given the opportunity to dive into Atlantis Rising by Alyssa Day, I was all in. Do you believe in the lost city? How about Poisedon?
Publisher: Berkley Publishing
Cover by Authors On A Dime
Woo Hoo! Alyssa Day has certainly caught my attention with an empathic Riley Dawson and a hot group of Poseidon’s warriors that are on a treasure hunt, of sorts. I know I’m all tingly and ready to go. lol
Her grief called to him. It would not be denied. He must got to her.
The mental telepathic dialogue had me cracking up, so I put a smile on my face and prepared myself for a fun, sexy read. I mean, she’s an empath and he’s a high prince, the first of Poseidon’s warriors, so what could possibly go wrong.
“You’re not going to drink my blood or rip my arms off, are you? Because my day has really sucked, and I’m so not up for that,” she said…
Barrabas, a powerful vampire, felt the disturbance caused by their meeting. Oh man, so cool. Water warriors and blood sucking Vampires. What more could I want? I am hooked and happy.
Everything Conlan does is for Atlantis, so denying his overwhelming desire for Riley, who is not only a forbidden human, but also an empath, literally brought him to his knees. Conlan and his warriors were tasked with protecting the humans from shapeshifters and vampires, and were clearly from the Land of Hunk.
I am feeling upbeat, having fun, sharing Conlan and Riley’s internal dialogue and lovin ‘ every minute of it. And now we find out why they are above ground…Poseidon’s Trident has been stolen. Conlan could lose his kingdom if they don’t recover it.
“You’re not a vampire, because you’ve got a heartbeat,” she said. “Are you a shapeshifter? What kind of furry are you going to get?” He laughed. “I’m not going to turn furry, brave one. I am nothing you know.”
Conlan knows that empaths don’t exist, yet here’s Riley. He also knows that the soul meld doesn’t exist, yet how to explain the sparks between them.
Well, Alyssa, you drew me in, kept me riveted to the pages, worrying and fretting, laughing and smiling, never letting me go. The action kept the story flowing as I devoured the words. The world created was full of wonder and I am so happy to have been able to visit Atlantis and meet all these fabulous characters that escaped from the mind of Alyssa Day.
I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of Atlantis Rising by Alyssa Day.
CW: rape & slut-shaming
Though the Night Huntress series is pretty basic urban fantasy -- a half vampire lady stalks the streets at night to stake the undead threat -- there's enough little twists to keep it interesting. Our night huntress is the product of rape, and everything she knows about vampires come from her vampire-hating mother, which isn't much, or just plain trial and error. She meets up with a Master Vamp (named Bones ugh) after trying to stake him in a bar. After he disarms her with laughable ease, Bones proposes they team up to hunt vamps of his choosing, and he'll train her not to get killed. She thinks she's being real clever when she agrees to this while plotting to kill him at the end of the training period. Inevitably, they hook up. &c.
I sort of let this slide in the first book, but boy does Cat shit on other girls. But I thought, she's maybe 18, and has been raised by an embittered mother who tells her she looks just like her father, who is a rapist. Mom sends her out to get killed on the regular, using her as a revenge proxy. Her mother seems to punish her daughter for her father's sin, so it made psychological sense to me that a girl raised without much affection and as the product of rape would be all "slut" this and "whore" that. By the second book, though, there's a big time jump, Cat is adulting pretty well, and seems to understand her mother's deep failings as a parent while maintaining a relationship with clear boundaries.
And yet, the girl-hate only deepens, at times seeming to warp the behavior of many of the female characters. A variety of lady vamps from Cat's paramour's past show up through the novel, and they are all bombshells who spend their time crawling all over Bones or reminiscing about all the threesomes (or fivesomes!) they had with Bones back in the day. They are ridiculous misogynist caricatures, and not even relying on the more fun sexist tropes like Ice Queen or Hitchcock Blonde; they're just Slut Trash. Bones is not criticized for catting about in his youth, natch.
Cat's inner and outer monologue is basically WHORE BITCH DIE, and this is passed off as "vampire possessiveness." Which, no. From all evidence, vampires screw around a lot, and without a lot of regard for gender norms. If they were sexually possessive, they would not be leaping into big fuckpiles all the time. (Indeed, the vampire penchant for fuckpiling is used at least twice as a plot point.) The concept of "vampire possessiveness" is inserted into the text so Cat (and by extension, the reader) can feel ok with how much she hates other women. It does not come up, either in word or deed, at any other point in the plot.
Admittedly, Cat now has a woman friend on whom she does not shit, so not all of the female characters are treated this way. (And there's her mom, but that's obviously a whole other thing.) But it was a common enough element of the books that I began to sour on Cat. She regularly is required to dress up in "slut gear" (I think she calls it "slut gear") to lure male vamps to their deaths, so there's this weird acting out of the very thing she castigates other women for. Cat may look like all those other slutty sluts, but of course she is Not Like Other Girls™.
Cat is a fun character: a hard-drinking hard case who is way more naive that she pretends. What I've read of Frost's later books don't have this girl-hating element in them, so maybe it's just Cat, like girl-hating is just part of her personality or whatever. Maybe Frost isn't in control enough of her first person (yet, these are her first novels) to delineate the thoughts of the character from the parameters of the world. (That's the standard objection when a reader criticizes the actions of a character, anyway: that I can't tell the difference between what the character thinks and what the author does.)
However, given the stated behavior of the slutty sluts, which are objective acts and not subjective opinion, that is not the case: the world works like Cat says it does. Which is to say, most women are oversexed and duplicitous by nature, except for Mom and Designated BFF. Put another way, women are slutty sluts whether Cat calls them that or not; this characterization of women is baked into the world, not one character's worldview.
I just ... can we not? Can we not enact girl-hating and slut-shaming in girl pulp for girls? Don't we get enough of that hot garbage in real life? When I read escapism, I want to motherfucking escape. That gets hard when I keep running right into the same misogynist trash fire that is so vigorously burning in the world today. This is legitimately a fun series, but I just don't feel like pushing past the girl-hating at this point in time. Happy New Year!