Cover Reveal – The Guild Codex: Spellbound #1 & #2 by Annette Marie

Three Mages and a Margarita| Annette Marie

The Guild Codex: Spellbound #1

Published by: Dark Owl Fantasy Inc.

Publication date: September 14th 2018

Genres: New Adult, Urban Fantasy

Broke, almost homeless, and recently fired. Those are my official reasons for answering a wanted ad for a skeevy-looking bartender gig.

It went downhill the moment they asked me to do a trial shift instead of an interview—to see if I’d mesh with their “special” clientele. I think that part went great. Their customers were complete dickheads, and I was an asshole right back. That’s the definition of fitting in, right?

I expected to get thrown out on my ass. Instead, they…offered me the job?

It turns out this place isn’t a bar. It’s a guild. And the three cocky guys I drenched with a margarita during my trial? Yeah, they were mages. Either I’m exactly the kind of takes-no-shit bartender this guild needs, or there’s a good reason no one else wants to work here.

So what’s a broke girl to do? Take the job, of course—with a pay raise

Note: The three mages are definitely sexy, but this series isn’t a reverse harem. It’s 100% fun, sassy, fast- paced urban fantasy.

Dark Arts and a Daiquiri  | Annette Marie

The Guild Codex: Spellbound #2

Published by: Dark Owl Fantasy Inc.

Publication date: November 16th 2018

Genres: New Adult, Urban Fantasy

When I found myself facing down the scariest black-magic felon in the city, practically daring him to abduct me, I had to wonder exactly how I ended up here.

It all started when I accidentally landed a job as a bartender—but not at a bar. At a guild, populated by mages, sorcerers, alchemists, witches, and psychics. Good thing this lame-o human is adaptable, right?

Then my favorite guild members—three sexy, powerful, and intermittently charming mages—asked for my help. Did they want access to my encyclopedic knowledge of cocktails?

Oh no. They wanted to wrap me up in a pretty ribbon and plunk me in the crosshairs of a murderous rogue to lure him out of hiding.

So that’s what we did. And that’s why I’m here. About to be kidnapped. Oh, and our grand plan for safely capturing said murderous rogue? Yeah, that completely fell apart about two minutes ago.

Why did I agree to this again?

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Author Bio:

Annette Marie is the author of Amazon best-selling YA urban fantasy series Steel & Stone, its prequel trilogy Spell Weaver, and romantic fantasy trilogy Red Winter. Her first love is fantasy, but fast-paced adventures and tantalizing forbidden romances are her guilty pleasures.

She lives in the frozen winter wasteland of Alberta, Canada (okay, it’s not quite that bad) with her comparatively sensible husband and their furry minion of darkness—sorry, cat— Caesar. When not writing, she can be found elbow-deep in one art project or another while blissfully ignoring all adult responsibilities.

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Release Day Blitz: Magic or Die by J.P. Jackson

Magic or Die | J.P. Jackson

Inner Demons #1

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Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: July 2, 2018

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 87300

Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, demons, witches, magic

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Synopsis

James Martin is a teacher, a powerful Psychic, and an alcoholic. He used to work for the Center for Magical Research and Development, a facility that houses people who can’t control their supernatural abilities, but left after one of his students was killed, turning to vodka to soothe his emotional pain. The problem is he still has one year left on his contract.

When James is forced to return to the CMRD, he finds himself confronting the demons of his past and attempting to protect his new class from a possible death sentence, because if they don’t pass their final exams, they’ll be euthanized.

James also discovers that his class isn’t bringing in enough sponsors, the agencies and world governments who supply grants and ultimately purchase graduates of the CMRD, and that means no profit for the facility. James and his students face impossible odds—measure up to the facility’s unreachable standards or escape.

Excerpt

Magic or Die
J.P. Jackson © 2018
All Rights Reserved

One: Call Back
“YES, MIRIAM. YES, I know. I know it’s been over a year. I’m not sure I’m ready.”

The knuckles on my hand cramped from clasping my cell phone in a death grip. I glanced at my watch. This conversation had gone on too long. In the span of two minutes, Miriam had managed to exhume memories and history I wanted buried and forgotten. I sucked in a short breath as nausea surged like a tsunami of fear. Its behemoth wave washed bile against the back of my throat.

I slumped down the stained and weathered wall of the coffin-sized studio apartment I reluctantly called a home. It wasn’t a bad place to live, except for the cockroaches I found on a daily basis. I’m sure they considered it a veritable paradise. Absentmindedly, I toed an old pizza box near my foot while listening to Miriam. One of the insects scampered across the matted Berber carpet.

Gross.

Cody. A pale ghostlike face flashed before me. His hair, the exact colour of fall fallowed fields, hung listlessly over one eye, as blood trickled out of the corner of his mouth. His chapped lips parted, asking me, “Why?”

I ignored the vision. Well, ignored wasn’t the right word, more like boxed it up with a heavy rock and pitched it into the abyss of my mind with all the other terrifying nightmares.

“I know. I owe you, yes. I’m just not sure—” I crawled over to the upended crate being used as a coffee table, grasping for my last pack of smokes. I lit one, enjoying the soothing crackle of the tobacco as it ignited, and then inhaled deeply.

Ah, yes. Hello, nicotine, my demon friend.

Miriam continued blithering while I half-heartedly listened to her soul-sucking voice. She was demanding my presence.

“What? You mean, tomorrow? Miriam, I don’t think it’s a good idea.” I drew in another steady stream of the toxic smoke. It burned my lungs as the addictive chemicals flooded through my body. I really need to quit. Scraping together the smallest ounce of courage, I attempted to defy her. “No, I can’t.”

A wraithlike hand, desiccated and fragile, inched its way across my shoulder and gripped my tense neck muscle. Its sharp nails dug into my flesh. Its bite, a warning.

Cody’s lifeless lips brushed my ear, sending cold shivers skittering across my back. Eruptions of goose flesh covered my neck and shoulders. His voice was a memory and a sound I would never forget.

“Don’t do this. You’ll kill me again.” His icy breath whispered to me.

Another box, a bigger rock, another addition to the pit of despair in my head.

“No,” I replied to one of Miriam’s inane questions. “There’s an Arcane too? I’ve never been good with them. They creep me out. No, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that. Shit.” Miriam had just described a scene for me. My flesh turned buggy, as if I had chiggers nesting and burrowing deep into my skin. “Oh god that’s gross. It’s also not a good sign.” I pointed uselessly at the wall, waving my finger, trying to make a point to the caller. “I never took the exam for the third class.” Miriam had asked if I’d kept up my licensing. I instantly felt guilty. I should have done it years ago. One thing was becoming evident from the conversation—she needed my help. Help only I could give.

“All right, maybe, I think I can. Consult only. Do you hear me, Miriam? Just a consult.” I had tried desperately to stay the hell out of this. I wasn’t ready. I didn’t want to go back there. “What time? Yes. I’m pretty sure. Miriam—” A thousand reservations ran through my mind, a wild stampede, unbridled, laced with dread and fear. “How many? How many in this class?”

The question sat like the world perched on my shoulders. The higher the number, the bigger the world, the more responsibility, an undeniable possibility of…

“Five! Are you kidding me? I can’t do five. No. No! It’s not possible.”

She was out of her mind.

“Yes, my sister is still on the streets. You know that’s close to blackmail, right?” I stubbed out the cigarette. The lacquer of smoke in my mouth tasted like I had just licked the bottom of an ashtray, and it was suddenly very hard to breathe. Why do I smoke again?

“Fine. Tomorrow. Yes. Ten a.m. Yes, I’ll be there. What do you mean dress appropriately?”

I looked at my cell phone, disgusted as the call ended.

I flipped the device onto the floor as if it had burst into flame and branded the conversation into my hand. I snorted. Like, I’d forget.

Stretching around to the other side of the crate, I grabbed blindly for a bottle I hoped was there. By all the gods’ great divine gifts, it was. And it still had liquid in it. In fact, it was surprisingly half-full.

I tipped the vodka bottle back, allowing its burn to strip away the cancer stick’s smoky film inside my mouth.

Swaying back and forth with my eyes closed, I tried to drown out the endless voices in my head. The words inundated my impending thoughts of doom and failure, and I could feel the chaos and panic mounting. Steadying myself and regaining my mental capacities, I gazed out the window. It was dark already and only six, early evening at best. Yay for daylight-savings time and late fall in Canada. Lights from the downtown cityscape lazily twinkled and danced before me. It should have been a pretty sight, but the darkness always seemed too oppressive, like a shroud. And I knew better. Things lived in the shadows.

I took another swig from the clear glass bottle. The burn hit my throat and disintegrated the bile that had crept up there.

Five very gifted students.

I rubbed the stubble covering my face and took yet another nip. Except it wasn’t a quick sip, it was a good one. A long one.

The window acted like a mirror, and my image reflected against the backdrop of the city skyline. I looked like shit. My short brown hair had cowlicks; thank god I kept it close. But the rest? No wonder Miriam instructed me to clean it up. The shirt I was sort of wearing was only half buttoned and stained in several spots. I had no pants on, but the pair of tighty-whities, which weren’t exactly white anymore, or tight, were ripped and showed more flesh than they were supposed to. Jesus.

How did my life get here?

Five young people had no control of their gifts.

And I had a sister who was lost out in the sparkle-light of downtown’s darkness, up to who knew what, and doing it with god only knew who, mired in her own addictions.

I glanced around my shit-hole apartment, wondering what the fuck I was going to do.

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Meet the Author

J.P. Jackson works as an IT analyst in health care during the day, where if cornered he’d confess to casting spells to ensure clinicians actually use the electronic medical charting system he configures and implements.

At night however, the writing happens, where demons, witches and shape shifters congregate around the kitchen table and general chaos ensues. The insurance company refuses to accept any more claims of ‘acts of the un-god’, and his husband of almost 20 years has very firmly put his foot down on any further wraith summoning’s in the basement.

And apparently imps aren’t house-trainable. Occasionally the odd ghost or member of the Fae community stops in for a glass of wine and stories are exchanged. Although the husband doesn’t know it, the two Chihuahuas are in cahoots with the spell casting.

J.P.’s other hobbies include hybridizing African Violets (thanks to grandma), extensive travelling and believe it or not, knitting.

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Devon and Wade are back and making promises!

HawkintheRowanCoverHawk in the Rowan by Sam Burns

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just absolutely adore this series, each individual book is like an episode of a TV show, self contained but moving the season long story arc along some more.

In this one we’re back with Devon and Wade as they battle personal fears and expectations at the same time as a very real risk to the town of Rowan Harbor puts lives in danger.

The pacing is spot on and before or knew it, 80% of the book had gone by in a flash and the next element of the narrative plot was being carefully crafted.

There’s a fair bit more sexy times in this one too and Devon finally makes a commitment to both the town and to Wade. There’s also appearances from all the usual suspects and we get an introduction to another new paranormal creature type living in the town which I found fascinating.

Four down, five to go before the tale is finally told and I can’t wait for more Jesse and Sean, who should be up next.

#ARC kindly provided by the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Release Blitz: Hawk In The Rowan by Sam Burns

Hawk In The Rowan | Sam Burns

The Rowan Harbor Cycle #4

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Length: 45,000 words approx.

Cover Design: Melanie Harlow @ Clause & Effect

The Rowan Harbor Cycle Series

Book #1 – Blackbird In The Reeds

Book #2 – Wolf and the Holly

Book #3 – Fox and Birch

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Blurb

 

Devon Murphy has been back in Rowan Harbor for three months. He’s taken on a host of new responsibilities, and is in a serious relationship for the first time in his life. He loves the town and its inhabitants, but it’s starting to feel like too much for the former drifter.

Now there’s a storm on the horizon, and it doesn’t seem like things are going to slow down and let him catch his breath. A blizzard is brewing, and three people have gone missing in the woods south of town. Devon needs to find them before time runs out.

This book is the fourth of nine in The Rowan Harbor Cycle, not a standalone. Devon and Wade will return in book seven for their HEA.

Excerpt

 

Standing next to Annie Anderson as she inspected his knitting, Devon felt like he was waiting for a teacher to grade a test he already knew he’d failed. Every time he thought he was getting the hang of knitting, he made a mess of something.

“I’m honestly not sure what you did here, honey. You’ve got the same number of stitches, but that cable just isn’t right.” She held it up toward the overhead light and peered at the half-made sock.

He could make a plain row with his eyes closed, but whenever he tried the cable pattern, the result was twisted and gnarled, all sharp edges and wrong angles instead of smooth, intertwined curves.

She set the sock down on the counter and smiled at him. “I have an idea. Why don’t we just change the pattern? Play to your strengths, that’s what I always say.”

Salli, coming up behind her, snorted. “No, you always say face your fears and embrace the steek.”

“I have no idea what that means,” Devon told them, sighing and leaning on the counter. “Am I totally hopeless?”

Annie ruffled his hair. There weren’t many people in town he would accept that from, but Annie Anderson was . . . well, she was about the only one. Maybe Madame Cormier, the venerable witch on the town council, but he doubted the serious, dignified lady would be interested in ruffling his hair.

“You’re fine,” Annie said, and rested her hand on his. “This is all new to you, but you’re learning fast. You’ll get there. It just takes time.”

The intense look she gave him implied she was talking about more than knitting, but Devon wasn’t sure he wanted to ask what she meant.

“It looks kind of cool, even if it’s wrong, like tree roots or vines or something,” Salli observed as she took a bite of the apple she was carrying and leaned across the counter toward Devon. “You’re not staying for knit night, are you?”

That made him frown. “Why not? You guys don’t want me here?”

He’d thought he was getting better at handling the shop’s busiest night of the week. There were always dozens of people, coffee and tea, snacks—heck, sometimes people even brought wine—and at first, the night had been a little overwhelming. Running a shop packed with people was a lot of work, especially when they all wanted to ask questions about merchandise he was still learning himself.

But he was getting the hang of the job, or so he’d believed.

Annie and Salli were looking at him like he was the biggest idiot ever born.

“What?”

Annie sighed, shook her head, and looked over at Salli. “How much do you want to bet he hasn’t done anything?”

“How much of a sucker do you think I am?” Salli asked with a snort and took another bite of her apple.

“Devon, honey, do you know what day it is?” Annie asked.

“Um, Wednesday?”

Salli picked up his weirdly cabled sock with the hand that wasn’t holding the apple, inspecting the row of stitches. “Wednesday,” she agreed. “Wednesday, February…”

He took a second of mental calculation to place the date. It wasn’t as though he had a schedule that forced him to pay close attention to that. So it was Wednesday, February—

“Fourteenth,” he answered. Then he realized what they were getting at. “Oh, come on you guys. Valentine’s Day? As much as I like chocolate, why would I be interested in a candy-industry holiday?”

The two women shared another look before Salli leaned in toward Annie. “Maybe you were wrong about him getting the hang of this.”

Annie shook her head, resolute. “Absolutely not. He just needs time.” She took the sock from Salli and stuffed it into the bag where Devon was keeping it, along with the cake of gray yarn. “And right now, he needs to go upstairs and put on nice clothes.”

“Do what?”

They both stared at him.

“But why? I mean, it’s not like Wade and I have anything planned.”

Neither woman said a word.

He sighed and turned to stomp off toward the stairs to his apartment. “Fine, I’ll put on different clothes. But if Wade asks why I’m all dressed up, I’m blaming you two.”

All the way up the stairs, he muttered to himself about interfering friends and small-town gossip. His boyfriend wasn’t into hearts and flowers. Wade was a serious guy, and when he wasn’t being serious, he still wasn’t the romantic type. The lack of romance didn’t bother Devon. He was comfortable with Wade not being over-the-top romantic.

Sure, everyone wanted to know they were valued, but Wade was good at telling Devon that without words or chocolates. It was there in the way his face lit up when he saw Devon at the end of a long day, or his pleased sigh when they woke up spooned together. It was definitely there in the way Wade made them breakfast on Thursday mornings. Wade was enough without some day invented by capitalism to sell heart-themed merchandise.

But if it would please Salli and Annie, he would change clothes. He toed his shoes off as he passed the doorway, then tossed his T-shirt and jeans in the hamper as he passed it. Halfway into the walk-in closet, he turned and stripped off his plain white briefs, adding them to the dirty clothes. If he was going to go to the trouble of dressing up, he might as well put on nice underwear too.

Twenty minutes later, he was examining the results in the mirror. All black except for a dark red button-down, and he just might have found a pair of underwear to match the shirt. His auburn hair was still a mess, but nothing ever fixed that. People always seemed to think it was an intentional mess, so he didn’t worry about it.

Instead of slipping his sneakers back on, he decided on a pair of black boots. They weren’t much nicer, but he didn’t own a truly fancy pair of shoes. He hadn’t ever had the money for that.

He glanced over to the window to check the sky, not even sure why he’d bothered. It was the same as it had been for almost two weeks: gray and threatening. It felt ominous, but he’d never spent a February in Rowan Harbor before, so maybe it was normal. No one else seemed bothered, so he was trying to keep his concern to himself.

He didn’t want to be the guy who went around asking, “Cold enough for you?”

When he got back down to the shop, Salli and Annie were still standing at the counter, and they turned to examine him. Annie twirled her finger to indicate that he should turn around. Confirming the fact that Annie was a creature of pure magic, Devon complied without complaint.

No, he didn’t think she’d magically forced him to turn around. He just hated the idea of disappointing her, so he did what she wanted.

“It’s passable,” Salli said, her tone grudging, as though she thought he could have done much better.

Annie walked over and patted him on the shoulder. “I think you look very nice, dear. I don’t know why your hair won’t lie flat, but I suppose that’s the way people like it.”

He shrugged but didn’t answer.

“Jeez, look like you’re headed for your own execution, why don’t you?” Salli asked. “It’s Valentine’s Day. It’s not like he’s going to take you out for fried grasshoppers or something.”

Devon scrunched up his nose. “Do they serve that?”

Salli shrugged but then nodded. “Somewhere, no doubt. I mean, it’s all protein, right? But nowhere in Rowan Harbor that I know of.”

“You’ll make the boy nervous, Salli,” Annie told her, waving her off. “I’m sure Wade knows his taste well enough to feed him. And if I remember correctly, Wade’s quite the cook.”

He looked between the two of them and shook his head. “I’d promise not to say I told you so, but I don’t think I’ll be able to stop myself.” Sometimes it would be convenient to lie, he thought. It was a recurring theme in his wishes, but there were worse things than being known for telling the truth.

The two of them ignored the admission of impending rudeness and fussed over his hair for a minute.

“That’s even worse,” Annie said with a sigh, stepping back.

Salli gave a sharp nod. “Perfect.”

He was about to open his mouth to once again tell them that they were crazy, but the electronic bell over the door jingled, and they all turned to look.

It was Wade, looking windblown and gorgeous. He was wearing date clothes too, a white button-down and pinstripe trousers. That wasn’t so shocking; Wade dressed up when he intended to go out for dinner.

But…

In one hand, Wade held a long-stemmed red rose. In the other was a picnic basket.

Part of Devon wanted to groan. Salli and Annie had been right, and how did they know Wade better than him? Never mind the fact that they had spent decades around the man and he hadn’t; weren’t he and Wade supposed to be some sort of fated soul mates? How had he not seen this coming a mile off?

It wasn’t too hard to admit, if only to himself, that most of him thought it was adorable and endearing. Wade had made a picnic.

Wait.

“It’s February, Wade,” he said. “It’s going to snow.”

Everyone in earshot groaned, including a lady sitting halfway across the shop who had been engrossed in her knitting. She pushed her project into her bag and stood. “I guess I’d better get to the grocery store and pick up some essentials in case it gets bad.”

Salli leaned back against the counter. “Should we cancel knit night?”

“Please,” Devon said with a roll of his eyes. “People would show up for knit night if there were an earthquake currently happening. Worst comes to worst and you can’t get home, you can sleep on the bordello sofa. It’s comfy.”

Annie quirked an eyebrow. “Bordello sofa?”

Normally Devon didn’t explain the sofa, but the exchange with Annie reminded him that she was older than his grandmother. Bordello wasn’t a word he used in conversation with his elders, and his cheeks heated at having to explain. “That was what Mom called it. I’m sure it was never—”

Annie waved him off. “I get it. Now, since you shouldn’t be going out, you two should go sit on your bordello sofa and eat the lovely meal I’m sure Wade has made for you. Shoo, off you go.”

Wade gave him a shy smile and held up the basket. “A picnic in your apartment okay?”

Devon couldn’t say no. Not because he didn’t want to disappoint Wade—he couldn’t even lie to spare Wade’s feelings—but he found that, surprisingly enough, he kind of wanted to eat a picnic in his apartment.

He was glad he’d changed clothes. Salli winked at him as they headed toward the stairs, and even though he knew she was going to give him hell later, he was grateful to have her as a friend.

“Everything okay?” Wade asked, his voice tinged with a nervousness that Devon wasn’t used to hearing from him.

He looped his arm through Wade’s. “Yeah, I think so. Unexpected, maybe, but just fine.”

About The Author


Sam wrote her first fantasy epic with her best friend when she was ten. Like almost any epic fiction written by a ten year old, it was awful. She likes to think she’s improved since then, if only because she has better handwriting now.

If she’s not writing, she’s almost certainly either reading or lost down a wikipedia rabbit hole while pretending to research for a novel.

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Book Blitz: Book of Watchers by Mary Ting

Book of Watchers
Mary Ting
Publication date: March 22nd 2018
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult

Before the Bible, there was Book of Watchers.

Enoch wants to live an ordinary life. He’s content to lie low, skip his college classes, and avoid committing to any one girl. But ordinary isn’t on the syllabus for Enoch because at night, he dreams of demons.

Vivid dreams that leave him wanting escape more than ever. When they escape his dreams and attack him during daylight, his reality becomes a nightmare.

As he pieces together the meaning behind the encounters, supernatural creatures emerge. Demons. Vampires. Witches. Angels. And they all want something from him. In a supernatural world he never thought possible, Enoch uncovers a secret that either will destroy him or force him to become much more than he ever wanted.

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Author Bio:

International Bestselling Author Mary Ting/M. Clarke resides in Southern California with her husband and two children. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Writing her first novel, Crossroads Saga, happened by chance.

It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she once had as a young girl. When she started reading new adult novels, she fell in love with the genre. It was the reason she had to write one-Something Great. Why the pen name, M Clarke? She tours with Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children’s chapter book-No Bullies Allowed.

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The elements are wild in this paranormal romance

Elemental Love (Warlocks, #1)Elemental Love by L.M. Somerton

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Lordy this book is bonkers but in a good way. As an introduction to the series it does a good job in laying down the groundwork to explain the paranormal elements and to fix the nature of the stories going forward.

I liked the idea of the elemental warlocks needing a channel to vent power through but I wasn’t quite as keen on the light shades of BDSM in the book, but only because I felt that Evrain was perhaps a bit young to be such a dominant.

He also goes from being a fairly normal 21-year-old cocky and sure of himself to some insanely arrogant and majorly assholish at times. So that didn’t really vibe right for me. There was also a feeling of a bit of dub-con (not sure if that was supposed to be intentional or not) which never sits right with me unless it’s made very clear it’s an agreed part of the Dom/sub relationship.

Dominic is an interesting character too, sexually submissive but not a walk over in his ‘normal’ life and the scene with the bed and the vines was extremely well written (although I note other reviews didn’t like it, I found it incredibly descriptive and erotic). But he’s also a bit “typical damsel needing rescue, deliberately for plot point but I hope it doesn’t continue.

The big villain was a bit cliched but the confrontation scene was good and I liked all the secondary characters.

#ARC received from Other Worlds Ink in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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More fabulous “hexy” fun times

Hexmaker (Hexworld, #2)Hexmaker by Jordan L. Hawk

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This series really is a delightful original, a steampunk dystopian alternative reality set in an America resembling turn of the century Edwardian society.

The hexes which make up the power in this world are intriguing and detailed and the witches and familiars who have the skills to power them are fully fleshed out characters.

I loved both Owen and Malachi, the difference in their respective backgrounds and stations in life worked wonderfully well against the backdrop of more anarchist plotting.

Lovely to see guest appearances from Tom and Cicero as well as Dominic and Rook. I hope there’s a book three on its way soon.

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