Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Never Fade Away by E.L. Esch (Spotlight, excerpt, and review) ADULT title GBP


 

 

 Never Fade Away

ADULT title

by

E.L. Esch
 
 
 
 
Until death does us part, but it's knocking on our door…

I'd had enough. That's how I found myself in a dingy alleyway with my revolver in my hand. I was sick and dying anyway, and there was nothing I could do about it. Nothing except maybe taking back some shred of control by going out on my own terms.

One deep breath. Two… Three… Four…

Surrounded by the darkness of my own mind, this was the only solution I could see, but before I could do something I’d regret, rock star Anno Goodkind crashed into my life and flipped it upside down.

It was supposed to be one casual hookup. No complications and definitely no feelings. No, the most logical thing to do would be to stuff my emotions down so nobody got hurt. Especially not him. But nobody told me that love didn’t give a damn about logic.

CONTENT WARNING: This story has a HEA but deals with heavy themes of illness, suicide, anxiety, and depression. Reader discretion is advised.
 
 
 
 
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My review: 


 

4 stars

 

 

Never Fade Away by E.L. Esch centers around an unexpected intervention by rock star Arlo Goodkind as he reminds Vincent to focus on living rather than on dying.

 

 

This adult gay romance was a challenging and sobering story to read. I wasn’t sure whether it was going to be too dark a story to read during these troubling times, given that it starts with an interrupted possible suicide attempt and a serious medical condition. I quickly became caught up in the story, and even though each man is dealing with very heavy emotional burdens, I was charmed by the connection that forms between them. This is not a light fluffy story, but it is heartwarming and indeed fits the parameters of a romance. Those with triggers should pay attention to the warnings, but kudos to the author for tackling such serious subjects with sensitivity and deftness.

 

 

A copy of this title was provided for review


 
 
 
 
 
 

Monday, October 18, 2021

Mockingbird's Cry by Winter Austin (Spotlight, excerpt, review, and GIVEAWAY) GFT

 


 

 

Mockingbird's Cry

by 

Winter Austin

 

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GENRE: Romantic Suspense/Military Thriller

 

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BLURB:

 

Five years ago, Josephine "Mockingbird" Caruso belonged to an all-female black-ops military group named Hera Force—a team tasked with bringing down terrorists like the enigma dubbed the Chessmaster, but the faceless criminal mastermind had other plans and single-handedly destroyed the operation, ruining the women’s military careers and their lives.

 

Ex-Delta Force operative, now Detective Lincoln Sullivan reports to the scene of a mass-murder, learning all too quickly he knows the victims. The killer has left behind a deadly missive just for him: Find the Mockingbird or more will die.

 

Lincoln flies to New Orleans where Jo lives with her twin brother. Lincoln and Jo had once been co-operatives and lovers. But the fallout from Hera Force's destruction left what little relationship they had in tatters. Jo has no desire to work with Lincoln again, but the threat to her life and the remaining two operatives, Nadia “Phoenix” Roth and Jade “Dragon” Delacour force her hand. The four former teammates are thrust together once more and on the run. But there are unknown forces moving in the background and an old enemy is about to return with a vengeance.

 

Tensions between the ex-lovers come to a head when Lincoln learns his partner is an army agent working under Hera Force’s top general, a man who's not all he seems. Each step the four teammates take they are met with death and destruction. Buried lies and half-truths begin to unravel Jo’s shaky trust in Lincoln until all is brought to light. When the killer strikes, Jo is faced with a hard choice, be the leader she was born to be, or lose Lincoln forever.

 

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EXCERPT

 

 

 

Together, they entered the second room. Lincoln froze at the sight awaiting them. Five old men in various states of undress surrounded a scarred and battered poker table. Presiding over the whole affair, and with a lit cigar clenched between her teeth, was the grand queen herself.

 

“Jo! What a surprise.” Amazingly, Nadia was still fully clothed. Her once platinum-blond hair was streaked with shades of blue, pink and purple, reminding Lincoln of a My Little Pony.

 

“Nadia, mind if we interrupt?” Jo asked.

 

Nadia removed the cigar, puffed out a cloud of smoke, and set the stub in an ashtray. “Sure, why not.” She spoke to the men in rapid Cajun French.

 

Lincoln leaned close to Jo’s ear. “When did she learn that?”

 

“She probably didn’t.”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

Jo peered over her shoulder. “Her TBI did that. It did something to her brain to make her speak new languages she’d never learned before.”

 

“Wait, what?”

 

“It’s hard to explain,” Jo said.

 

As a former CIA black ops assassin, Nadia had a long list of languages she spoke fluently. She had been a veritable Rosetta Stone. But with her injury from the IED, Lincoln figured she’d lost some of those skills. Never in a million years would he have guessed she’d gain more. Guilt twinged inside his chest. If he’d been a better friend, and kept track of Nadia after her release from the hospital, he would have known this. He’d been too wrapped up in his own shit, and losing Jo, he forgot about everyone else.

 

 

Buy Links:

Tirgearr Publishing

Amazon link

 

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

 

Winter Austin perpetually answers the question: “were you born in the winter?” with a flat “nope,” but believe her, there is a story behind her name.

 

A lifelong Mid-West gal with strong ties to the agriculture world, Winter grew up listening to the captivating stories told by relatives around a table or a campfire. As a published author, she learned her glass half-empty personality makes for a perfect suspense/thriller writer. Taking her ability to verbally spin a vivid and detailed story, Winter translated that into writing deadly romantic suspense, mysteries, and thrillers.

 

When she’s not slaving away at the computer, you can find Winter supporting her daughter in cattle shows, seeing her three sons off into the wide-wide world, loving on her fur babies, prodding her teacher husband, and nagging at her flock of hens to stay in the coop or the dogs will get them.

 

She is the author of ten novels, with more on the way.

 

Find Winter on:

 

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Pinterest

Goodreads


 

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

 

The tour dates can be found here

 

 

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My review:

 

 

4 stars

 

“Mockingbird’s Cry” by Winter Austin is the first book in the ‘Hera’s Force’ series and features three very capable and efficient female operatives and one male, who were all involved in a horrific final op while they were in the military together that has left both mental and physical scars. Their estrangement from each other is abruptly terminated when a killer sets sights on “Mockingbird”, and they join forces in a race against both time and an unknown enemy determined to destroy them all.

 

This romantic suspense and military thriller is tension filled and action packed, and it grabs one’s attention with the very first page and keeps getting more intense. There are lots of nice twists and turns but also a lot of questions that remain unanswered, as this is the first in a series. I love strong heroines, and the trio of warriors that star in this story made me cheer and kept me invested in the action and in their lives. A couple of the developments seemed a little forced to me, and I admit to being disturbed by one of the revelations, but I still enjoyed the overall story and anxiously await the sequel. 

 

 

A copy of this title was provided for review

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Junkyard Bargain by Faith Hunter (Spotlight, excerpt, and review) LTP


 

 

Junkyard Bargain

by

Faith Hunter

 

 

Blurb: 



Sometimes before you can face your enemies—you need to confront yourself.



Time is running out for Shining Smith and her crew to gather the weapons they need to rescue one of their own. But will they even make it to the ultimate battle? First, they’ll need to hit the road to Charleston—a hell ride full of bandits, sex slavers, corrupt lawmen, and criminal bike gangs looking to move in on Shining’s territory.



Shining’s human allies will do anything to protect her—because they must. But will victory be worth it if she must compel more and more people to do her bidding? And will her feline warriors, the junkyard cats, remain loyal and risk their lives? Or are they just in it for the kibble?


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Excerpt:


JUNKYARD BARGAIN Part ONE

Buck Harlan—my friend, the closest thing I had left to a father—was dead because of me.

Dead protecting me.

My first thought in the morning, every morning.

Before coffee. Before breakfast. Every. Single. Morning.

His face, half eaten away by a swarm of genetically modified ants. His Outlaw Militia Warrior tattoos left untouched. The note warning me, clutched in his fingers.

I deliberately recalled everything, including tossing a half-empty gallon of Maltodine into the old Tesla fuselage, the vehicle that delivered Harlan. The accelerant burned his body to ash, obliterated the mutated ants that were eating him, and destroyed any evidence that might suggest I had killed my only friend in the world.

I studied his face, the position of his fingers, in my memory. Every detail was seared into my soul like a prayer for vengeance. The memories of death and debts owed.

I stared at the ceiling of my office, the smooth metal alloy reflecting the faint lights. So many secrets to hide. And three things to do: carry on my father’s legacy, keep myself hidden from the people who would try to use me, and take revenge on Harlan’s killers.

The weight of all that was heavy, even this early, still in my bed, and my memory darted back to Pops shouting to get me up in the mornings after Little Mama died and the war still raged. “Get your ass outta bed, Little Girl! We got PRC to kill!” Every morning.

The smell of coffee was fresh and potent in the filtered air, the trickle of water into the pot what awakened me. Coffee meant work, weapons to obtain, weapons that could take down my enemy—the queen who killed Harlan and sent his body to me, then followed it here to Smith’s Junk and Scrap and attacked me and mine.

I had won that first battle, but if I waited until that queen, Clarisse Warhammer, attacked me again, I would end up as dead as Harlan. I needed to go to war against her and her thralls. Soon. As soon as I had possession of the weapons to make victory possible. As soon as I found her nest, I’d go to war. For Harlan.

Amazon link

 

Release date: October 19, 2021

Publisher: Bella Rosa Books

 

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About Faith Hunter:

 

Faith Hunter is the award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of several series: Jane Yellowrock, Soulwood, Rogue Mage, and Junkyard Cats. In addition, she has edited multiple anthologies and co-authored the Rogue Mage RPG. She is the coauthor and author of 16 thrillers under pen names Gary Hunter and Gwen Hunter. Altogether she has 40+ books and dozens of short stories in print and is juggling multiple projects.



She sold her first book in 1989 and hasn’t stopped writing since.

Faith collects orchids and animal skulls, loves thunderstorms, and writes. She drinks a lot of tea. She likes to kayak Class II & III whitewater rivers. Some days she’s a lady. Some days she ain't.


Find Faith online at -

Website 

Gwen Hunter 

Facebook (official)

Facebook fan group 

Twitter: @hunterfaith

Yellowrock Securities website  



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My review:

 

3.75 out of 5 stars

 

 

Junkyard Bargain by Faith Hunter is the sequel to “Junkyard Cats,” and continues to showcase Shining Smith. Her quest to save a woman being held hostage and tortured leads her to discover more about her allies and enemies, and forces her to confront some of her deepest fears.

 

 

This gritty urban fantasy/science-fiction story is dark and somewhat depressing but has very vivid imagery. It was a little difficult to understand this world since this is evidently the second in the series, so some of the background setup (hopefully) occurred in the first book. A little confusing to understand who the enemies are and what the end goals are, but the battle scenes are exciting and the interactions with the cats who are part of the heroine’s team are fascinating. I think it would be better to read the first story in the series to orient oneself and learn about the relationships, how the thralldom works, and the threat from alien bugs. I enjoyed elements of the story, but I was a bit overwhelmed by all of the unfamiliar concepts and conflicts.

 

 

A copy of this title was provided for review


Monday, October 4, 2021

T. Ball and the Rise of the Worldspinners by Stephen James Moore (Spotlight, excerpt, review, and GIVEAWAY) GFT


T. Ball and the Rise of the Worldspinners

by 

Stephen James Moore

 

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GENRE:   Middle Grade / Young Adult Fiction

 

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BLURB:

 

The Stage Is Set

"What's up, dude? Name's Hector," said the offbeat rabbit, his long ears stuffed in a bulging cap.

"I am Tobias Oakwood Ball," replied the young hedgehog, puffing out his spines.

Newfound friends and future companions, T. Ball and Hector are destined to join the humans, four and two-legged ones, winged ones and the fairy folk who must unite in a titanic struggle of good vs. evil. A malevolent entity has come to the woodlander village of Two Trees, dispatched from the realms of the Worldspinners with a mission to bring darkness to all the worlds.

It is a plan that has been centuries in the making, nothing by accident and unknowing participants in the plot had been carefully chosen. Many times through history they have tried and failed. This time they will enter through the back door by corrupting nature.

There will be a bully called Spike, an overworked wizard named The Great Toothsayer, and an annual hedgehog race that sets everything in motion. Also, there are mobster squirrel gangs called Hoarders and a tyrannical mob boss named Clough Briarthack. Then there's the Professor, a lost book, hard-working moles and others—but that's to come in the next book. The story begins now . . .

Who tricked The Great Tooth?
Why must T. Ball find his own special gift?

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

EXCERPT


 

The Young Tooth Is Rescued

As if on cue for announcing winter’s ceremonial arrival, it snowed during the night, leaving a soft white covering. Winter would be early and stay long that year.

 

Two strangers dressed in simple monk habits of long brown sackcloth had waited silently in the night shadows outside the thorp. They had been there since late afternoon.

 

Standing there patiently, they knew what was to happen that night but had the wisdom to know what can and cannot be changed. Far from commonplace forest village creatures, these were members of the legendary order of woodland seers and magi called the Grand Order of the Berts.

 

Master Shoe Bert was the taller of the two, being a badger of unknown seasons. He was learned and spiritually wise beyond comprehension by mere mortals. At his side stood his docent, a young mouse called Herb Aceous. Always the devoted young student, he had not yet earned the full title of Bert.

 

Legend has it, the Bert lineage was founded by a mouse who came across the waters from the east, named Ali Bert the Wise. Known as the All Seer, he was responsible for bringing light during the darkest ages for all the animals. More likely, the actual founder of the Berts was a rat, possibly female, known in some enlightened history books as Eli Bert and honoured to this day by many small ancient sects who trace their roots back to the beginning times. Due to the politics surrounding rats, it is probable that the Bert origin story was changed to venerate the founder as a mouse, and a male one, at that. Recognising a female rat as the Bert founder would have been unacceptable in those dark ages of fear, superstition, and prejudice.

 

As the two wise ones stood untiring, both knew the tragedy that would soon befall those around the Great Green Emerald Lake. Several moons ago they had glimpsed tonight’s events in the bubbling waters of the Looking Bowl, inside Master Shoe Bert’s cave. Their meditations and scrying powers had well-prepared them for what they needed to do. They saw the Fairy Folk put on their magnificent display, observed the evening’s festivities, and watched the woodlanders contentedly file back to their homes. The master and his student would remain concealed in the shadows, witnesses to the atrocities destined to be perpetrated upon the woodlanders. They were both mortified, as they could see future events unfolding before their eyes but could do nothing to stop them. Much was at stake and fate must play out. Some things can be changed, others cannot. They continued to monitor the situation until the moment was almost upon them. Wrapping woolen scarves around their snouts, they waited with grim anticipation for the silent horror that was about to arrive.

 

 

PURCHASE LINKS T. Ball and the Rise of the Worldspinners      

        


Amazon (paperback)

        

Amazon (Kindle)


Bookshop

        

Indigo Chapters

 

Barnes & Noble

        

Book Depository

        

 Rakuten Kobo

 

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

 

 


 

 

U.K Born Stephen Moore is a writer and accomplished Martial Artist. Lover of literature and ancient history. T. Ball was given in a dream and now his world is alive thanks to the T. Ball book series which covers human, animal and the unseen worlds showing victory through adversity and an incredible adventure through darkness and light. Stephen has also published The Christmas Adventure which shares T. Ball's world reminding us of the seasonal message.

 

 

 

 

 


 

 


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GIVEAWAY


a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

The tour dates can be found here

  

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My review:

 

 

3.5 stars

 

 

T. ball and the Rise of the Worldspinners, written by Stephen James Moore and illlustrated by Luigi A. Cannavicci, chronicles the story of a very special hedgehog who is destined to change the lives of those around him. The impact of human manipulations and the effects of industrialization on animal society is also explored.

 

This young adult’s story has great imaginative elements and creative twists and turns but has a dark theme running throughout. There are fun vignettes that reminded me of the Redwall books, because there are organized animal societies that not only have family units but also interact with multiple species in both benevolent and not-so-benevolent ways. I was intrigued by the concept of healers who fight their predatory nature as long as there’s daylight but revert to their nature at sundown, racketeering squirrels, and names that are plays on words and concepts.

 

I was a bit uncomfortable at the constant bombardment by negative developments as seen through the animals’ eyes. The malign actions of various humans and their negative impact directly and indirectly on the different animal abodes was both heartbreaking and nauseating, making me wonder how suitable this is as a kids’ story. It will certainly provoke some serious discussions about the impact of chemical waste and toxic or hormonal administration into the food chain.

 

I did appreciate the positive messages regarding finding the positivity in one’s uniqueness and not allowing bullying to crush your spirit. For me, the story meandered a bit, I’m not quite sure I understand who the Worldspinners are, and I would’ve liked to know a bit more about the magical creatures who appear so briefly. I feel that this is a story best read by young people under close supervision so that its many thought-provoking scenes can be immediately discussed, similar to stories such as Watership Down.  

 

 

A copy of this title was provided for review

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Blink by Morgan Brice (Spotlight, guest post, excerpt, review, and GIVEAWAY) GBP ADULT title


 

It is my pleasure to share a guest post from talented author Morgan Brice/Gail Z. Martin, who explains...



Bringing the Book To Life Off the Page

 

by 

Morgan Brice

 

I do a lot of research about the locations used in all my books. Most of the time, the cities are places I know pretty well, even if I haven’t done in-person visits to all the sites I mention.

 

To pull the story together, I read books about magic and local ghost stories, and I use the internet to find out about haunted places, old unsolved crimes, abandoned places, and other interesting tidbits. Only a small amount of what I discover actually makes it into the book, although knowing all of those things helps me do a better job of bringing the location to life for readers.

 

Knowing that my readers won’t all be able to visit the places I write about, I enjoy putting together online virtual ‘tours’ help readers be able to visualize the things in the books. I’m working my way through doing Zoom/Google Earth tours of specific locations that I narrate, which lets me show pictures—and sometimes street-level views—of what is in the stories.

 

I also put together YouTube playlists for each of the books/series with short videos other people have made about haunted or abandoned places, tourist sites, locations I’ve mentioned in the books and more so that readers can watch and feel like they’ve been there.

 

If I have photos that I’ve taken myself, I post those and explain how they influenced me. All those things help to bring the books to life for readers, and I have fun sharing that information and making the stories real!

To get in on the fun, please join my reader group! It’s Worlds of Morgan Brice on Facebook. You can find all my virtual tours on my YouTube channel, GailZMartinAuthor.



Blink

ADULT title

by

Morgan Brice

 

 

 

Publisher: Darkwind Press

Cover Artist: Lou Harper

Release Date: September 2, 2021

Genres: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy M/M Romance, action/adventure, romantic suspense

Tropes: Second chance love, hurt/comfort, true soulmates, psychic, medium, witches, ghosts, haunted theater, Mafia, mobsters, ex-cop, ex-Interpol, resort town, starting over

Themes: Learning to trust, taking a chance, making a commitment, daring to dream, letting go of the past, being haunted by the past, established relationship, ex-cop/PI, former art fraud investigator, mobsters, medium with a ghostly lover, haunted theater, awesome and heroic food truck, mystery, cold case

Heat Rating: 5 flames

Length: 65 000 words/228 pages

It is part of series but could be read as a stand alone. It does not end on a cliffhanger.

Goodreads 

Ghosts always remember. Mobsters never forget.

Blurb 

Erik Mitchell helped Interpol bust cartels, oligarchs, and spoiled billionaires for art fraud. As an undercover cop, Ben Nolan helped bring down a Newark crime family. Now Erik and Ben have started over in Cape May, leaving their danger-filled jobs behind them, excited about a fresh start and their new relationship.

Plans to renovate a historic old theater stir up dangerous ghosts and revive interest in unsolved Mob hits. The curse of a murdered witch strikes a close friend, old movie props reveal clues to long-ago crimes, and a shakedown scheme sends Ben’s cousin running for cover. 

Time is running out to lift the curse. The Russian Mob wants revenge on Erik, and the Newark Mob is gunning for Ben. A grieving ghost seeks justice. Secrets, lies, and deception unravel in the blink of an eye. 

Erik and Ben were planning for happily ever after. But unless they can outwit witches, wraiths, and wise guys, they could go down in a hail of gunfire and a blast of dark magic—and see their plans go up in smoke. 

Blink is a suspenseful MM paranormal romance mystery-adventure filled with second chance love, hurt/comfort, true soulmates, awesome food trucks, dangerous secrets, restless ghosts, psychic visions, powerful witches, angry mobsters, and a very haunted theater.

Excerpt 

“Hi everyone. Are we going in?” A dark-haired woman in her early forties with olive skin and black hair sauntered up, dark eyes sparkling with curiosity. Alessia Mason always seemed calm and controlled, but now she clearly radiated excitement at the possibility of glimpsing the old theater.

Alessia owned the Spirit of the Sea gift shop and had married into one of the old Cape May families, but right now what mattered most was her role as the head of the local coven and the powerful magic she had inherited from her Sicilian mother.

“Right this way,” Jaxon said, brandishing the key. “The Arts Council officially owns the building, so we don’t even have to sneak in.”

He unlocked the door to the convenience store, which was a shell of its past self. All of the fixtures had been sold off, but the faded signage around the top of the walls remained, directing customers toward soft drinks, sundries, and restrooms.

They followed him inside, and Jaxon locked the door behind them. Then they headed toward the back, past the break room and offices to an unmarked door.

“The store was here for over twenty years, and most people never knew that the Regent Theater lay behind it,” Jaxon said. He gestured toward the area they had just navigated.

“Imagine coming through the big glass doors, past the ticket booth,” Jaxon said, pointing back the way they had come. “You’d enter a high-ceiling lobby with a bar, concession stand, and seating for patrons who came early to see and be seen. Then you’d move farther inside, and there would be double doors leading into the actual theater.”

Erik looked behind them, struggling to imagine the way it had once been. A grid of acoustic panels hid the original molded plaster ceiling several feet higher that he had seen in photographs. The plain walls and stained tile floor made it difficult to picture lush red carpet, velvet rope swags, cocktail servers, and a concession stand that not only had popcorn but according to the stories Jaxon shared on the drive over, also served foie gras.

Jaxon opened the door and reached inside to flip on a light. Erik hesitated to get a psychic read on the space ahead.

“Definitely haunted,” Alessia said, staring into the distance with a glazed look that told Erik her attention lay elsewhere.

His own touch magic worked differently. To get a strong reaction, Erik usually had to be in physical contact with an object. He had avoided touching anything since they had arrived, but even so, the theater itself gave off unmistakable vibes. Both he and Alessia had extra perception which included seeing ghosts, although neither was a full medium able to summon or speak with the dead.

“Bad things happened here.” Erik found himself speaking before he realized it. “Dark magic. Death. Cursed.”

About the Author

Morgan Brice is the romance pen name of bestselling author Gail Z. Martin. Morgan writes urban fantasy male/male paranormal romance, with plenty of action, adventure and supernatural thrills to go with the happily ever after. Gail writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy, and together with co-author hubby Larry N. Martin, steampunk and comedic horror, all of which have less romance, more explosions. Characters from her Gail books make frequent appearances in secondary roles in her Morgan books, and vice versa.

On the rare occasions Morgan isn’t writing, she’s either reading, cooking, or spoiling two very pampered dogs.

Series include Witchbane, Badlands, Treasure Trail, Kings of the Mountain and Fox Hollow. Watch for more in these series, plus new series coming soon!

Author Links

Website  |  Audible Profile  |  Amazon profile

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My review:

4.5 stars


"Blink" by Morgan Brice is part of the 'Treasure Trail' series that features Eric and Ben, who each have dark ties in their pasts that threaten any future they have together. Dealing with ghosts, mobsters, and danger is all in a day's work, but as long as they can count on each other, everything else is secondary.

 

I love this series. It is possible to read this story as a stand-alone, but it is best savored if one reads the first story in the series, "Treasure Trail," to see the beginning of this lovely relationship. I think the way the author is able to masterfully blend eerie things like vengeful ghosts and ongoing curses with the loving relationships between various couples, plus suspenseful elements like the dangers that come from the guys' previous vocation keeps the various series that are connected fresh and engaging. I'm always thrilled to read a new story, and fascinated to explore the various elements of psychic phenomena detailed in these exciting stories. I look forward to seeing what new adventures these folks get involved in (and who knew flour was flammable?). A perfect blend of the paranormal, romance, and suspense!


A copy of this title was provided for review.