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Review Of Spells and Fur, by Valerie Evans + Giveaway

Of Spells and Fur
by Valerie Evans
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance

As the only known survivor of a horrific massacre years earlier, Molly Hastings has rebuilt her life as a dedicated member of the Anberlin sentries. It’s her job to protect and police the supernatural citizens who call the town home, but the discovery of several bodies has put everyone on edge with no suspect in sight.

Further complicating matters are a call from the home she left behind and the sudden arrival of a werewolf motorcycle club with ties to her past. An unexpected ally is found with Parker Hayes, a hunter facing down his own demons and searching for a future not based in bloodshed, who inspires feelings she hasn’t felt in years.

Amidst the clash between her past and present, Molly finds herself questioning everything she knows about not only those she’s meant to protect but the Sentries themselves. Could everything she’s been taught be a lie, and if it is, can she protect those she cares about?

*Le sigh* Before I can even truly get into reviewing this book I have to say AGAIN, this book is part of a series and that information was not readily apparent. So, I picked it up without knowing it was part of a series, and without having read the previous books. I am SO SICK of having this happen! I’d guess this is probably book 4 of The Anberlin Chronicles. Maybe the author will call it a spin-off but it read like a book 4 to me. It is readable on its own, but you definitely feel that you are missing past information and investment in characters.

Outside of that one big detraction, I thought this was pretty sweet. I liked that The hero and heroine were both full adults, no chosen teenagers here. The inclusion of parenthood was a nice change. The fact that XXX let YYY take the lead in most decisions was appreciable and I thought the plot interesting. I did think the author took the disappointingly predictable easy out with the ex-husband and I had really hoped for something more/better. But the moral dilemma he presented was an interesting one up until that point.

I read an Advanced Readers’ Copy, which usually comes to reviewers pre-final edits. So, I can’t speak to the copy editing. But, there was a habitual simplicity that popped up noticeably and could have been addressed and smoothed out. Sentences like, “A nod was given with her words…” “A pause was made beside a tree while…” “A pause was taken to lean back in…” “A mental checklist was gone through…” “A deep breath was taken before…” “A bit of water was poured into the cup beside the bed before…” “A final check was done on Natalie before…” “A purple crayon was removed before…” “A question was raised about desert…” “A pause was made to drop off…” I imagine you get the point. The repetition of this particular sentence structure to move scenes alone was hard to ignore.

All in all, however, I liked the book enough to be interested in going back and reading the series from the beginning.

 
 

Valerie Evans is a modern fantasy addict living in Georgia who finally took the plunge to self-publish her first novel after nearly seven years. She is the author of The Anberlin Chronicles series and the forthcoming Wolves of Worsham series. In her free time, she likes to read all genres with a focus on fantasy, entertain her very clingy dog, and collect Funkos pops plus journals.

 
 
 
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$20 Amazon

 

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Review: Their Dark Reflections, by Amanda Meuwissen

Book Title: Their Dark Reflections

Author: Amanda Meuwissen

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Tiferet Design

Genre: Dark Paranormal M/M Romance

Trope/s: Friends to lovers, vampire/victim, boss/employee,thief with a heart of gold, hidden agenda, kind but vicious vampire

Themes: Self-discovery, finding light in the darkness, embracing one’s darkness, love against all odds

Heat Rating:  4 flames     

Length: 70 096 words/204 pages

It is a standalone book.

Goodreads

Personal assistant Sam Coleman can do it all: housekeeping, groundskeeping, bookkeeping. The catch? It’s a con.

Ed Simon, his newest millionaire boss, doesn’t know Sam Goldman is a Robin Hood for hire who targets rich jerks. Sure, Sam keeps the money for himself, his crew, and his real employers, but at least they only steal from bad people.

Until sweet, fumbling Ed, who doesn’t seem to have a single vice. Too bad the people who hired Sam won’t let him back out. They want Ed’s money, and they’ll hurt Sam and his friends to get it.

For years Ed has kept people at arm’s length, but Sam’s charms wear down his defenses—just as he learns their budding relationship was an act. Sam isn’t who Ed thought he was, but Ed has a dark secret too: he’s a vampire. And someone is framing him for a series of bloody murders.

When the real villains force their hand, Sam and Ed must choose: work together, trust each other, and give in to the feelings growing between them… or let what might have been bleed out like the victims piling at their feet.

Buy Links

Dreamspinner Press  |  Amazon US  |  Amazon UK 

Everyone has a second face. 

Excerpt 

Sam was exhausted, probably because he hadn’t slept well in the past two days, but when he was ready to call it a night and looked around for Ed, he was surprised to find him outside, already in the pool. Sam was usually gone before Ed took his swims.

The tricked-out radio by the patio doors was blasting loud enough to carry outside, playing Blue Oyster Cult and making Sam smile. He didn’t fear the reaper so much himself anymore either.

Ed wasn’t doing any complicated strokes, just floating serenely on his back, arms gently moving to keep him up while he gazed at the stars beginning to glitter above him. He’d left the doors open as if to invite Sam to watch, so it was easy to do so without calling much attention to himself.

Ed didn’t look like a predator while swimming, his trunks clinging to him, chest bare. Sometimes it was hard for Sam to accept that dissonance—this version of Ed compared to the swift, brutal one—but then, wasn’t a lion capable of seeming like a housecat even if it was always dangerous?

“Would you like to join me?” Ed called without turning to look at him. “I have an extra suit upstairs.”

Sam wondered if that made him the lion tamer.

Enjoying the way Ed’s eyes fixed to his mostly bare body when he descended from upstairs in the spare trunks, Sam took his time walking to the edge of the pool, set his clothes on one of the lounge chairs, and stepped off for a simple, smooth drop into the water. He shook the excess from his hair and face when he resurfaced, seeking out Ed at the other end.

“Tell me,” Sam said, lifting up to float lazily on his back, “even without your telescope, how many of those can you name?”

“The stars? Or constellations?” Ed lifted as well, both watching the sky as they orbited each other.

“Does it matter?”

“No. I can name most of them.”

“Then where am I?”

Ed navigated to drift up beside Sam, tracing over invisible lines in the sky. “Gemini. Sort of like two stick figures holdings hands.”

Sam chuckled. “And you?”

“Pisces is there.” Ed dragged his finger the other direction. “See the way the ends connect and then it makes a sort of tilted V?”

“Doesn’t really look like a fish.”

“We had to be more creative back then.”

Blinking as what Ed was implying sunk in, Sam righted himself, not sure if he could ask, “You mean…?”

“I’m not that old.” Ed grinned. He didn’t clarify how old he was, however.

“You know, one of these days, I’m going to get you up on that roof to use your telescope properly.”

Ed scrunched his nose. “I wasn’t lying about not caring for heights.”

“I figured. Any particular reason?”

“I don’t know. Maybe because there weren’t as many tall buildings in my time.”

“Which was…?” Sam tried again, but Ed glanced away.

“Is this our first date?”

“If it was, would you tell me?”

“I said my age wasn’t a first date reveal, so….”

Sam read Ed’s hesitancy and didn’t want to push. “I don’t think this counts.” He smirked when Ed looked at him with a start. “We need to leave the house for a real date.”

“We’ll have to start thinking about our rain check, then.” Ed smiled back at him.

Drifting closer, Sam slid his hands around Ed’s waist to finally connect and pull him in. Even in the heated pool, Ed’s skin felt bracing. “I guess we will,” he said and started to lean forward.

“Sam.” Ed wrapped his arms around Sam’s neck, but his hands fidgeted, and he held back from letting Sam reach his lips. “You’re not only pretending because you think this is the only way to be safe from me, are you?”

“What?”

The idea that Ed still expected treachery surprised him, but then, Sam almost had betrayed him again, scared as he’d been. Ed was the most powerful and deadly creature he’d ever met, but he was still vulnerable, still so human.

“According to you,” Sam said, “I’m putting myself in more danger by being with you. You gave me an out, Eddie, and I chose to stay.”

 

 

About the Author  

Amanda Meuwissen is a bisexual author, with a primary focus on M/M romance, and works in marketing for the software company Outsell. She has a Bachelor of Arts in a personally designed Creative Writing major from St. Olaf College, and is an avid consumer of fiction through film, prose, and video games. As author of the paranormal romance trilogy The Incubus Saga and several other titles through various publishers, Amanda regularly attends local comic conventions for fun and to meet with fans, where she will often be seen in costume as one of her favorite fictional characters. She lives in Minnesota with her husband, John, and their cat, Helga, and can be found at www.amandameuwissen.com.

 

Author Links

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Review:

I generally thought this was pretty sweet. I enjoyed how Ed could go from bumbling cutie to cold killer and how Sam liked that too. I liked the side characters, especially Gerry, who struck me as a little bit of a himbo. And I appreciated how Ed’s vampirism isn’t glossed over. He’s a killer, will always be a killer, and struggles with those same instincts even with his ‘love.’

I did think the plotting a little shallow, with things just happening and then being set aside until convenient again. (This was especially true of the police investigation.) The book also felt overly long and the pacing was inconsistent, tending towards dragging on occasion.

All in all, however, I enjoyed it and would read more of Meuwissen’s work

 

Giveaway

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win one of three ebooks from the author’s backlist.

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Sharing is caring, take 2

I said I’d bring over the giveaways from Sadie’s Spotlight once a week and I forgot last week. Apologies! But I have them for you this week. The new ones are at the bottom and some of the top ones only have hours left, but I included all of anyhow. Go for it. I’d love to think one of my readers was lucky enought to win some Amazon cash, which is what most of the prizes below are.