Friday, January 31, 2020

Everyday History by Alice Archer (Re-release blitz, review, and GIVEAWAY) ANT ADULT title

Everyday History
ADULT title
Alice Archer

Publisher: Shine Even If

Release Date (Print & Ebook/Audio): January 30, 2020

Length (Print & Ebook/Audio): 318 pages

Subgenre: Contemporary gay romance

Tropes: Age gap romance


Book blurb:

If you woo, win, and walk away, a second chance is going to cost you.

Headstrong Ruben Harper has yet to meet an obstacle he can't convert to a speed bump. He's used to getting what he wants from girls, but when he develops a fascination for a man, his wooing skills require an upgrade. After months of persuasion, he scores a dinner date with Henry Normand that morphs into an intense weekend. The unexpected depth of their connection scares Ruben into fleeing.

Shy, cautious Henry, Ruben's former high school history teacher, suspects he needs a wake-up call, and Ruben appears to be his siren. When Ruben bolts, Henry is left struggling to find closure. Inspired by his conversations with Ruben, Henry begins to write articles about the memories stored in everyday objects. The articles seduce Ruben, even as Henry’s snowballing fame takes him out of town and farther out of reach.

Everyday History, a romance told with Alice Archer’s unique style and lush prose, was named a Top Book of 2016 in the HEA USA Today column Rainbow Trends.

Standalone romance, HEA.

Originally published in 2106 by Dreamspinner Press.

Praise for Everyday History:

Sometimes you read a book in which the writing just wows you. That was the case for me here...I read a lot of books each year and it's rare that I find something that is so unique and different. --Night Owl Romance

I don’t throw five stars around very easily. I can almost always find something that just doesn’t propel me to call a book perfect. Everyday History is absolutely perfect. I mean that with all my heart, and I insist you read it. You won’t be sorry. --Joyfully Jay Reviews

This is the kind of book that makes me want to be a reader, makes me addicted to stories, and puts me in awe of authors. --Diverse Reader


He pretends he’s in control. He’s a young man trying to convince me he’s a god, but he’s grappling with a new map.

Despite, during, and beyond the learning curve, he’s fearless. Instinctive. Majestic.

The animated heat of him spreads over me. The bright intensity of his personality reaches for me through his strong, hungry hands, through his wide shoulders and his long legs that curl around me, and in the smirk that remains in place even as he mutters and moans. He asks eagerly with his eyes, “Is this okay?” But he doesn’t wait for an answer… or he feels my answer before I shape it.

He wants to do it right, his exploration of the new world that’s captured his attention. But even more than wanting to do it right, he wants to do it right now.

The sparkle of him dazzles me.

Amazon link


About the Author:  Alice Archer has questions. Lots of questions. Scheming to put fictional characters through the muck so they can get to a better place helps her heal and find answers. She shares her stories with the hope that others might find some healing too. For decades, Alice has messed about with words professionally, as an editor and writing coach. She also travels a bunch. Her home base is Eugene, Oregon.

Connect with Alice: Website | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook



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4.25 stars

Everyday History by Alice Archer follows young Ruben Harper as he explores his sexuality and his inexplicable attraction to the teacher who taught his high school senior class about history. Ruben’s ability to enchant those around him doesn’t seem to work on Henry Normand, who makes ordinary subjects fascinating. Their brief foray into an affair ends painfully for both of them, and each must find a way to move forward…in his own fashion.

This contemporary gay romance is filled with beautiful lyrical imagery such as, “I feel again the empty space of me reaching out to the real me standing beside it.” and “It was like you were a…treasure chest, but I only found the treasures if I paid very close attention. And the more I looked, the more I discovered.”) and angst. The strength of character that Henry displays is underscored by his determined resistance to Ruben’s charms, and he’s a sensitive guide during Ruben’s introduction to having a male lover. It was dismaying although inevitable that Ruben is a bit too immature but impressive that Henry found a way to channel his emotions in a positive fashion.

I wasn’t quite sure I was able to accept the reasons for the person who meddles in their relationship, but I enjoyed the story, and I have several passages highlighted to savor over and over. It took me some time to get used to the alternating points of view as the chapters went by, especially since I tend to skip titles and some of the chapters are VERY short, but I loved the author’s ability to paint vivid word-pictures. I think this is the first book I’ve read by this author but I’m definitely going to be looking for others.

A copy of this title was provided for review


Wednesday, January 29, 2020

The Matchmaker Club by Kayley Wood (Spotlight, excerpt, review, and GIVEAWAY) GFT

Kayley Wood


GENRE: Romantic Comedy/Chick lit



How do you loosen up a rigid, brooding billionaire with a broken heart? Nothing a game of Spin the Bottle, a skinny dipping dare, and poison ivy couldn't fix!

This feel-good rom-com is quickly becoming another fan favorite in the hilarious and sweet Club Series.

"I couldn’t put the book down. The story was great." - Jillian – 5 Stars

"OH THE FEELS! A great read!" - littleboodamommy - 5 Stars

"If you like heartwarming romantic comedies then you’ll definitely enjoy this book!" - Amanda Beaumont - 5 Stars

"There are several moments that will leave you giggling, and even more that will leave you sighing in content. You cannot go wrong when you click a book in this series." -Des - 5 Stars

Hilarious. Sweet. Sassy.

It is an indisputable fact that Reed women are not marriage material.

The great-granddaughter of a famous burlesque dancer, the granddaughter of an ex-hippie, and the daughter of an eccentric artist, Taylor quickly learns the heartbreaking lesson of her family curse after her first love ends in rejection.

Apparently, Reed women are not girlfriend material either.

Nestled in a small town in Maine, Cedar Gardens is the worn-down estate which the Reed women call home. But there’s one catch: It doesn’t belong to them. Almost seventy years ago, Mortimer J. Freeman bought the place for his long-lost love, Marlena Reed. Now, his great-grandson—and heir to billions—Lucas Freeman is in town with an agenda: to quietly reclaim the estate and Mortimer’s old love letters to Marlena while avoiding a family scandal. But Taylor’s grandmother has another plan: to play matchmaker with Taylor and Lucas before all three Reed women are kicked out of the only home they have ever known.

The problem? Taylor can’t stand the brooding billionaire, who doesn’t understand the gravity of a triple dog dare or the fun of blowing bubbles in your milk. Responsibility, reliability, and routine are Lucas’s mantra. That is, until the fiery Taylor schemes up a hilarious to-do list to break him out of his habitual shell and, in the process, turns his world upside down.

But falling in love wasn’t part of any of their plans.

Does Cedar Gardens have enough magic to bring Taylor and Lucas together, or will the Reed family curse win out in the end?

THE MATCHMAKER CLUB is the heartwarming, yet hilarious third installment in the Club Series. A New Adult Romantic Comedy full of lol moments, lovable characters, strong female bonds, and gives all the feels!



“If anyone’s out there, I got a gun and I ain’t afraid to use it!” my grandmother called out.

Lucas must’ve turned three shades of white under the moonlight, his eyes wide as saucers. I held both hands over my mouth to stifle a giggle. The only gun my grandmother had was a BB gun to scare away rodents… and Austin.

“I’m coming out now,” my grandmother warned.

Lucas gripped my arm and pulled me behind him. I almost died laughing right there and then. He was trying to protect me.

The shed light went on, and I grabbed Lucas and yanked him to the ground with me. There were a few clanking sounds, and Lucas pulled me into his arms. I felt myself snuggle closer against his chest. His heart was beating fast.

“It’s okay,” I whispered, and he held me a little tighter.

The last time I was this close to a man was my summer with Austin. I had forgotten how much I missed that warmth.

“What is it?” Lainey called from the house.

“Probably a raccoon trying to get to the birdseed,” my grandmother said before she flipped the shed light off.

When the porch light went out as well, his arms were still around me, and I didn’t want to move.

His mouth went to my ear, sending chills rippling across my skin. “Is it safe to go?”


His arms dropped to his sides, and I stood up. “This way.”


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Kayley has three simple rules in life:

1. Surround yourself with some incredible, kick-ass women you call friends.
2. Don't worry about failure or mistakes. It's how you respond to them that makes all the difference.
3. An appletini is never complete without two cherries.




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The tour dates can be found here


My review:

4.25 out of 5 stars

The Match-maker Club by Kayley Wood is part of the ‘Club’ series and chronicles the adventures of Taylor Reed as she fights to keep her family home safe from Lucas Freeman, who has been sent to quietly reclaim it. The complex relationship between the two families is based on secrets and different philosophies, but they soon discover they might find a middle ground if they try hard enough.

This lighthearted contemporary romance has its serious undertones but overall, it is a lovely feel-good tale that celebrates following one’s heart. I love the secondary characters and spent quite a bit of time giggling, particularly when it turned out that the honey butter served in a pastry had a little something extra that made dessert particularly memorable.

The strong females in the Reed family are inspiring and vivid characters and it was wonderful to see how Taylor finds a way to reach Lucas through her games, lists, and playlists. The poignant elements supplied by the experiences of previous generations as well as Taylor’s history nicely contrast with the episodes of lightheartedness, and the matchmaker letters give additional insight to some of the characters. There are a couple of awkward elements, including a foray into a different point of view for a single scene and a song on a playlist that is anachronistic, but the overall story is uplifting and entertaining.

I loved the transformation of Lucas’ character and I salute the author for creating characters who are so real that I am rooting for them to continue to overcome the odds and enjoy their compromise. This is a fun and entertaining story that is easily read as a stand-alone tale, but I definitely am curious about the other books in the series.

A copy of this story was provided to me for review.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Tour for Gods of Merlin by Priya Ardis (Spotlight, excerpt, review, and GIVEAWAY) GFT


 Priya Ardis


GENRE: YA Fantasy Paranormal




Foster kid and occasional shoplifter Eowlyn Patience just wants to fit into her Boston high school. When the Sword In The Stone falls out of the sky like a meteor into the middle of London’s Trafalgar Square, everything changes. Then, an enigmatic golden-eyed man arranges for her to attend a school for the gifted in England, and the irritatingly perfect Matt Emrys from science class turns out to be Merlin—the Merlin, King Arthur’s greatest wizard.

Frozen in a cave for fifteen hundred years, Merlin has woken to find the next Arthur. Eowlyn Patience’s mysterious admittance to Avalon Preparatory was not something he foresaw…a disturbing aberration when his most powerful gift happens to be visions of the future.

The race to find the rightful heir rages between deadly gargoyles, wizards, and Regulars, but figuring out the troubled Eowlyn might be by-the-book Merlin’s hardest job yet. She’s altogether the wrong girl. Torn between what is right and what saves lives, will Eowlyn do what it takes to win—even if it means sacrificing Merlin to a god?



A gorgeous underwear-model of a man in a black suit cleaned his sword with a tissue. He threw the bloodied rag on top of the half-man, half-beast. I tensed as he reached inside his coat pocket, but he only took out a clipboard and black sunglasses. He put the sunglasses on. “Eowlyn Patience?”

A little dumbstruck, I nodded at the beautiful killer with blood on his face.

“Pretty name.” He smiled wistfully. “I once knew an Eowlyn.”

The comment knocked me out of my trance. “No one has ever heard of the name Eowlyn.”

He shrugged. “Surprise. Now, you have met me.”

I put my hands on my hips. “What do you want?”

He gave me an amused smile. “I will be your driver today. Don’t forget to grab your bags. We should leave now before you have any more visitors.”

I pointed to the corpse on the floor. “I am not going anywhere with you, serial killer.”

“Is that so? Let me be clear—I just saved your life. More hunters will be coming.” Black-Suit tucked a pencil behind his ear and the clipboard under his elbow. He stepped to the side and pointed at an idling black luxury sedan. “I’ll be waiting in the car. For when you change your mind.”

Amazon link 

Also find me on Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, and Google Play

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Priya Ardis loves books of all kinds--but especially the ones which make your nose leak and let your chai go cold. Her novels come from a childhood of playing too much She-Ra and watching too much Spock. Her bestselling series, My Boyfriend Merlin, about Merlin going to high school is a YA contemporary fantasy and romance for those like road trips, wizards, Greek gods, and gender-bent quests.

Talk to me!



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The tour dates can be found here


 My review:

3.75 out of 5 stars

Gods of Merlin by Priya Ardis is a young adult fantasy story that introduces the series of the same name. Eowlyn Patience has finally found a foster family that she is comfortable with, but she still doesn’t quite fit in with her peers at school. When she is forcibly recruited to join a quest that takes her to a magic school in England, she discovers that some of her classmates have more in common with her than she realized. Unfortunately, there are many forces at work, and discovering her connection to the stuff of legends embroils her in a struggle for the legendary sword Excalibur while trying to stay alive. Identifying foes and allies is virtually impossible when nobody is who they seem and she doesn’t even know why she’s in the middle of a world-changing conflict.

This engaging story was a nice twist on Arthurian legends, bringing many of the major characters into modern situations but keeping a magical twist to their trials. The hints of interference by gods from mythology add an intriguing dimension, and I hope subsequent stories in the series untangle some of the dangling threads that were established in this story. There are teen angst issues alluded to, including the awkward dance of attraction complicated by sibling (however old they may be) rivalry, and it was difficult for me to establish a connection to any of the characters at first, but that gradually changed.

I think it can be difficult to start a series because there are so many details that have to be established, but I’d like a little more depth to the characters so that I have a better idea of their motivations. There is apparently another series that came before this one, so it is possible that a lot of the backstory was presented in those books.

Those who enjoy magic or tales of King Arthur and young adult fantasy stories should give this a try and get to know these remarkable youngsters.

A copy of this title was provided for review

Saturday, January 18, 2020

The Scientist and the Supermodel by Tara Lain (spotlight) ADULT title

(Genetic Attraction Series, Bk 1)
ADULT title
Tara Lain


Scientist Jake Martin knows a lot about genetics but very little about himself. He tries to forget the sex he had with a guy, even though women barely do it for him. Still, he’s sure he’d be happy if he could just have his research partner, the brilliant Emmaline Silvay, but she’s older, smarter than anyone, and his boss.

Then in a dark bar, Jake comes face-to-face with supermodel Roan Black, “the most beautiful man in the world”. Jake can’t resist the gorgeous, androgynous guy, but Roan won’t accept Jake’s self-deception. Jake has to admit that it’s a man he wants and Roan in particular, or there won’t be a future for a PhD scientist who refuses to see the truth and a high school dropout whose eyesight is 20/20.

Available to purchase at 

Part of the KU program



About the Author

Tara Lain believes in happy ever afters – and magic. Same thing. In fact, she says, she doesn’t believe, she knows. Tara shares this passion in her best-selling stories that star her unique, charismatic heroes — the beautiful boys of romance —  and adventurous heroines. Quarterbacks and cops, werewolves and witches, blue collar or billionaires, Tara’s characters, readers say, love deeply, resolve seemingly insurmountable differences, and ultimately live their lives authentically. After many years living in southern California, Tara, her soulmate honey and her soulmate dog decided they wanted less cars and more trees, prompting a move to Ashland, Oregon where Tara’s creating new stories and loving living in a small town with big culture. Likely a Gryffindor but possessed of Parseltongue, Tara loves animals of all kinds, diversity, open minds, coconut crunch ice cream from Zoeys, and her readers. She also loves to hear from you.   

You can find Tara at Lain

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Wednesday, January 15, 2020

A Company of Monsters by Shami Stovall (Spotlight, excerpt, review, and GIVEAWAY) GFT

by Shami Stovall


GENRE:   Fantasy



The year is 1917, and the Russian Empire is on verge of collapse.

Florence Cavell—codename Geist—takes her special forces team of sorcerers into allied territory in an effort to hunt down spies and keep the Russian royals alive. If the Russian Empire falls, the Germans and Austro-Hungarians will turn their full attention to France and Britain. That can't be allowed to happen.

Unfortunately for Geist, the enemy has sent the Eyes of the Kaiser, specialists who hunt and destroy sorcerers. And they came prepared to eliminate not only the Russian royalty, but the Ethereal Squadron as well.

Praise for Ethereal Squadron:
"In tense, precise prose that skillfully conveys detailed descriptions, Stovall delivers this engrossing story of fantasy adventure with utmost precision. The Ethereal Squadron's riveting fantasy world will fuel readers' imaginations and leave them crave for the next book in the sequel."
- The Prairies Book Review




Geist made an art of stealth.
She slipped through the moonlight shadows around the Watson Manor House, keeping to the grass to stifle the sounds of her steps. Cloaked in invisibility, she made her way across the vast front yard. Her sorcery—specter sorcery—gave her all the power and versatility of a ghost.
Geist. German for ghost. The magics in her blood had defined her codename.

Once she reached the west wall of the manor, Geist peered in through the nearest window. No lamps. No electric lights. And the crescent moon didn’t help with visibility. Despite those limitations, Geist took in a deep breath and calmed herself. Specter sorcery gave her the portfolio of a ghost, but apex sorcery gave her all the superhuman abilities of a peerless predator. Like any jungle cat, she saw through the dim lighting, her vision perfect and unobscured by darkness.

The Watson Manor House, built in 1837, had all the posh and luxury of a grand palace. The ceilings were carved into twisting, vine-like designs, the marble tiles were arranged to create smoke patterns, and massive paintings adorned every wall. Most notable were the bronze, iron, and steel statues of people long since dead. A statue for every corner of the room.

Although it was midnight, someone should’ve been awake and walking the manor—house staff who tended to the fireplaces or groundskeepers going about their duties while the lord slept.

Instead, the chimneys were cold and the estate as quiet as a graveyard.

With enough focus, Geist stepped through the manor wall, her body, Springfield rifle, and uniform incorporeal until she reached the other side. A shiver ran down her spine as she released the magic. A twisted scar on her wrist burned afterward—a souvenir she had acquired in the German trenches. Unlike a knife or bullet scar, the waxy sheen on her wrist represented damage on a magical level. She pulled her sleeve down to hide it and suppressed the terrible memories associated with the event.

Only fools trip on what’s behind them, Geist thought as she examined the dusty dining table and china cabinets. No one had used either in some time.

Geist snuck across the room and into the nearby hallway.

The Watsons were sorcerers with an unusual sorcery—they could shape metal as if it were malleable clay, and while most Watsons used it for artistry, as evidenced by their many ornate statues, some used the magic for crafting weapons. They had provided specialty equipment for the Allies, outfitting soldier sorcerers in the Ethereal Squadron.

But no one had heard from them in weeks. No letters. No shipments. Not even the nearby town of St. Peter Port had any information. The Watsons allowed their servants to live on their property, and the deliverymen couldn’t get past the gate. Their sudden seclusion baffled everyone.

Which was why Geist had been sent. She needed to investigate their disappearance and report back to the Ethereal Squadron in Verdun.

Please let me find someone here, Geist thought. Anyone.

The wood floor threatened to creak if Geist became careless. She took her time and tiptoed through the dark atmosphere of the Watson Manor House. The shadows of the copper statues created human silhouettes on walls, and while a civilian might feel terror for the unknown, Geist had been through hell and back.

She chuckled to herself. I’m the thing lurking in the darkness that men fear.

After slinking through the foyer and making her way upstairs, Geist slowed and crouched close to the ground, hoping to find signs of a struggle. Sure enough, when she came to the bedrooms, she found the hallway carpets disturbed and upturned at the edges. Instead of opening the doors and potentially alerting someone to her presence, Geist ghosted through the wood, maintaining her invisibility and becoming incorporeal.

A child’s bedroom.

It took Geist a few moments to take in all the details. Stuffed animals. Dolls. Blocks stacked into a house-like shape. She caught her breath when she examined the bed.

Pink sheets and a white comforter were twisted around the pale corpse of an eight year old. Geist walked over, her teeth gritted. Apex sorcery heightened all her senses. When she strained her ears, she couldn’t hear shallow breaths, or even a heartbeat.

Geist touched the skin of the corpse and recoiled. The icy chill of death unnerved her more than the thought of battlefields and combat. The child had died long ago.

She unrolled the body from the sheets. Her hands shook as she pulled back the collar of the child’s dress. Deep puncture wounds over the jugulars told a terrible story of a slow death, and the bruises on the arms screamed struggle and terror. But there wasn’t any blood. None on the dress. None on the sheets.

None left to coagulate in the body.

Geist didn’t look at the corpse’s face. Instead, she covered the body once she had concluded her examination, determined to give the little girl dignity, even if she wasn’t alive to appreciate it.

After a brief moment to steady her breathing, Geist made her way to the next bedroom. A little boy, two years younger than the girl, sat atop his bed in a similar fashion. Cold to the touch and drained of all blood. Nothing but a husk of his former self and shriveled from decay.

The next room was the same. A small child, barely able to walk. The master bedroom, on the other hand, had two corpses, but the room itself had been twisted with bits of metal—even the iron bars over the windows and copper bedframe were warped. Had a fight broken out? Geist took note of the destruction, especially the shattered vase and bullet holes in the wall. One of the corpses held a gun.

With her heart pounding in her chest, Geist made her way back downstairs. War took its toll on everyone, but nothing stung more than seeing defenseless children wrapped up in the violence. She entered the servants’ quarters and gagged on the strong copper scent that wafted out.

Ten men and women lay in the corner of the room, their necks slashed, their clothes and beds black with dried blood. The whole room screamed massacre. If there had been a struggle, Geist couldn’t detect it, which meant fiends had slipped into the sleeping quarters, cut their throats without any of the other servants waking, and then stacked them in the corner.

Sorcerers were far stronger than the average man, and the trained soldiers who fought in the war were far scarier than anything else. The servants never stood a chance, even if they had been awake.
Geist exited the room and searched the rest of the house, her frustration turning to poison in her system without an outlet. Someone should pay for this. A man of honor would never have participated in such a slaughter.                         

Her findings were what she had feared—every Watson sorcerer had been drained of blood while every civilian in their employ had been murdered.

Geist exited the house, her concentration wavering. With each disturbing thought, her invisibility slipped. She walked down the main road of the house, confident the murderers had left the manor days prior.

Two members of the Ethereal Squadron awaited her at the gates. Even without her apex sorcery to see through the shroud of darkness, Geist knew them by mannerisms alone. One fidgeted with his belt and backpack while the other stood perfectly still, coiled to strike like only trained killers could.

“Geist?” the fidgety one called out. “Thank goodness you came back.”

“What did I tell you?” the other growled. “Of course she would return.”

“She was gone for over ten minutes. That’s longer than her average whenever she goes to investigate.”

“I’m fine,” Geist said with a single chuckle. “You fuss too much, Battery.”

Battery stepped out into the moonlight, his khaki British uniform a sight for sore eyes. He stood the same height as Geist, shorter than most in the Allied forces, but not by much. His youthful facial features and lack of definition hinted at his age. Despite his lack of stature, he stood straight and offered her a smile.

“I’m sorry I doubted,” he said. “But I couldn’t imagine this war without you. Who would lead our team?”

The second soldier scoffed. “She can handle herself. And if anything had gone wrong, I would’ve stepped in to kill it.”

He stepped out to stand next to Battery, a cold glare set on his face as though it were tattoo—permanent and stark. Even if he had an unwelcoming demeanor, Geist still smiled upon seeming him.

Vergess. A German defector to the United States, and one of her most trusted teammates. He wore the drab olive uniform of the American soldiers, complete with a 48-star American flag. While the United States hadn’t officially joined the war efforts, sorcerers weren’t bound by the same restrictions as the average man. Many volunteered for the Ethereal Squadron and were accepted into the ranks after agreeing to follow the instructions of British and French commanders.

“Wie geht es dir?” Vergess asked, his German smooth and natural.

“I’m fine,” Geist replied and with an exhale. “But the Watsons aren’t as lucky.”

Battery shot Vergess a sidelong glance. “I knew it. You were worried about her.” Then he turned back to Geist. “Well, I came prepared. If the Watsons are dead, we should use the camera to record the evidence. It’ll take me a few minutes to set up, but I understand how to use it.”

“Didn’t you set a camera on fire back at the base?” Vergess asked with a chuckle.

“Th-that’s not accurate! Tinker played a trick on me!” Battery straightened the straps of his backpack. “Besides, I read the instruction manual and trained with the cameramen of the 87th regiment. I’m a professional now.”

Battery’s huge backpack carried a giant box made of mahogany wood and steel hinges. He kept the tripod strapped to the outside. The entire getup appeared cumbersome, and the straps of the backpack dug deep into Battery’s shoulders.

Geist didn’t understand cameras. All the reporters said this would be the first war truly captured in detail, yet they never explained how. Their boxes of lights and pictures confused everyone. It wasn’t magic—Geist could understand magic—yet their photographs took still images of reality and made them permanent.

“There are corpses in all the bedrooms,” Geist whispered. “And the servants are dead in their quarters. If you want photographs, make it quick. All the sorcerers were drained of their blood.”

Both Vergess and Battery tensed, their eyes going wide.

“You think Abomination Soldiers targeted them?” Vergess asked.


They all knew why.

Before the Great War, sorcerers could only develop magic that was in their bloodline. But after the war started—once the Germans and the Austro-Hungarians began fiddling with technologies never thought of—they developed Grave-Maker Gas. It melted flesh together at a baser level, creating deformed monsters of multiple people or animals. They used the gas to melt blood into their bodies in order to steal the magics from other sorcerers.

And now they were collecting rare samples.

Geist’s mouth tasted of cotton.

“Major Reese needs to know about this,” Battery said. He hustled past Geist and headed toward the Watson Manor House. “I’ll be done soon.”

Vergess shook his head. “I can’t believe they’re acting this fast. Especially after we destroyed their stores of gas during the assault on Paris. Do they really have more?”

“Maybe they’re just collecting blood for once they have it,” Geist muttered. “Either way, we need to stay on guard. If they catch any of us, they’ll drain us dry.”

Even muttering the phrase they’ll drain us dry sent a shiver down her spine. She knew the enemy wouldn’t hesitate, considering her father and ex-fiancĂ© were top military officers. They had both tried to kill her in the past, and she didn’t see why they would stop now that they had a way to steal her specter and apex sorcery.

Geist glanced back at Battery. He came from a long line of sorcerers with rare magic. And not just one magic, but untold numbers. Would he be a target? The thought lingered in her mind for a prolonged moment.

“Stay with him,” Geist commanded, “while he takes his photos. I’ll go to the port and make sure our ship is ready to take us back to Le Havre.”

Vergess replied with a curt nod.

Buy links:


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Shami Stovall grew up in California’s central valley with a single mother and little brother. Despite no one in her family earning a degree higher than a GED, she put herself through college (earning a BA in History), and then continued on to law school where she obtained her Juris Doctorate.
As a child, Stovall’s favorite novel was Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. The adventure on a deserted island opened her mind to ideas and realities she had never given thought before—and it was at that moment Stovall realized story telling (specifically fiction) became her passion. Anything that told a story, be it a movie, book, video game or comic, she had to experience. Now, as a professor and author, Stovall wants to add her voice to the myriad of stories in the world and she hopes you enjoy. 

You can contact her at the following addresses.

Twitter: @GameOverStation



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My review:


3.75 out of 5 stars

A Company of Monsters by Shami Stovall is the second book in the ‘Ethereal Squadron/The Sorcerers of Verdun’ series that features a group of sorcerers, led by the intrepid person with the codename and abilities of Geist (a ghost), who comprise a special forces team fighting during World War I. Their journey across Russia to warn the great houses of sorcery that they are being hunted by the enemy is fraught with danger and potential betrayal.

This historical urban fantasy provides an alternate view of a dark period of history. Definitely not for the faint of heart, the adventures of this very unusual group test their control of their abilities as well as their loyalty. Not only are some of the villains horrendous in appearance and actions, but their abilities facilitate carnage and destruction.

It was fascinating to see historical events through the prism of magic that is a significant factor in many of the battles, and I think the author did a good job of bringing the struggles to life. I was a bit lost because I wasn’t familiar with this series, so it was a bit overwhelming to absorb so much information about these folks and their abilities as well as the arcane abilities of their foes. I had a hard time relating to the members of the strike force at first, but their struggles and interactions drew me into the story as tensions continued to rise. I do find it a little farfetched that they would be operating in a country where none of them speak the language without having found a way to communicate that did not depend on one person, and I’m still a little puzzled about the powers displayed by some of the villains, but some of the revelations were intriguing.

Those who enjoy historical battles and alternate history will probably enjoy the twists and turns of this imaginative story. Be advised that this is an ongoing series, so expect several dangling threads!

A copy of this title was provided for review