Book Review: Penny White and the Vexation of Vampires (Penny White Book 5) by Chrys Cymri

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 out of 5 stars

Deeply ensconced in Lloegyr life, Penny should be able to settle in to her new normal, but… there’s no rest for the weary. Fresh challenges seem to surface around every corner. With her term as interim rector in Caer-grawnt coming to an end she’s returning to her home in England where, among other things, she has her wedding with Peter to plan, a new curate to train (who also happens to be a vampire), strange ‘fits’ and lapses in Raven’s memory to deal with, and Clyde rescuing dozens of snail shark pups from abandonment by the Nation. With her back garden now acting as a snail sanctuary, Penny has also been tasked by the Minister without Portfolio to look into the mass migration of Vampire clans in Lloegyr who seem intent on emigrating to London. Rarely able to say no, Penny finds herself embroiled in yet another event sure to have far-reaching implications.

As with prior installments, Vexation of Vampires shines a light on the intricacies of Vampire clans in, and outside, of Lloegyr. Readers are given a truly unique representation of Vampires. Plus, through the lens of fantasy, Chrys Cymri tackles the oft contentious topic of refugees and how to handle their influx. Through Penny’s eyes we see the human cost of the refugee crisis, even when those refugees aren’t human in the strictest sense.

No Penny White story would be complete without the Peter-Penny-Raven dynamic, and Vexation brings it in spades. With the wedding fast approaching Peter and Penny have some real issues to tackle, things they’ve ignored or avoided but that must be addressed before they can move forward. However, with Raven mysteriously ill, Penny’s focus is turned more and more toward seeking a remedy for “her” dragon. Can she heal Raven and her relationship with Peter or will one suffer the consequence?

I can’t get enough of Penny’s adventures and devoured this book as a starving man might tackle his first meal in a week. Keep ‘em coming Chrys, keep ‘em coming!

If you haven’t started this series yet, where have you been and what have you been doing?!? You can check it out HERE, free to Kindle Unlimited subscribers.


Blog Tour, Giveaway & Review: Grim Nora and the Secret of the Skull by A.M. Albaugh

Grim Nora and the Secret of the Skull
by A.M. Albaugh
Genre: YA Fantasy
278 pages

When Nora Youngblood’s father dies on her sixteenth birthday, it’s the end of everything she ever knew. But a new journey begins with a skull-shaped pocket watch – the last gift from her father, a professor of archaeology. Where did this mysterious trinket come from, and why would a warlock named Kabos now be hunting her for it?

Nora, now an orphan, finds protection under a wizard named Malachi, his handsome apprentice, Aidan, and a brother she never knew she had. As she learns the truth about her family’s mysterious past, Nora seeks to uncover the secret of the skull, which leads to both a powerful and dangerous weapon. With the fate of the skull in her hands, she’s lured into the hidden world of Dubhgail to combat the treacherous Kabos – who has kidnapped her brother. Can she sacrifice herself to save her brother and her friends?

In this fantasy novel, a teenage girl discovers her magical heritage and soon finds herself facing the might of an evil warlock in another world.



A.M. Albaugh is an award-winning poet and photographer. She studied anthropology and communications with an emphasis in film and television at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Favorite authors include Hermann Hesse, Dostoyevsky, J.R.R. Tolkien, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Lao Tzu, Kurt Vonnegut, Knut Hamsun, and Kahlil Gibran. She also enjoys writing code.

I’m so torn! I liked this story, I really did, and I wanna give it more stars, but… Have you ever gone out to dinner with friends? Had a great time, enjoyed the company and the jokes, but the food was just ‘meh’? That’s kinda how I’m feeling after reading Grim Nora and the Secret of the Skull; I still love my friends, despite the so-so night out, and we’re gonna do it again next weekend… at the same restaurant.
Now don’t get me wrong, the story is great. Nora Youngblood suffers a terrible tragedy on her 16th birthday: her father is found dead of a supposed suicide, but events quickly make it evident that his death was really murder. Strange and fantastical things start happening to & around Nora, and before long she’s swept up in a new world where magic and wizards are real and evil men are in search of the ultimate weapon to control life across multiple dimensions. With her new friends Nora must fight to save our world, and others, from the destructive power of the Morrigan, and the men who would use it for their own gain. Sounds awesome, right? And it is.
My problem with the book is that Nora seems too complacent and willing to just “go along” with all the new craziness in her life. For example: after her father’s death Nora wakes to find a strange young man in her home who claims to be her long-lost brother. Within minutes, they’re hugging it out and Nora’s following him to a strange mansion in the woods where she’ll be kept safe. Really? Who does that? Nora does, apparently, because as the story continues she just chugs along full-speed and full-trust ahead. At least she’s consistent!
Going back to my dinner out analogy, the book feels like it should be a 12 course gourmet feast but instead you get a Shari’s T-bone platter. Now, there’s nothing wrong with dinner at Shari’s. Sometimes it hits the spot just right! But when the bones of the story hold the potential for so much more, Shari’s comes off as a little ‘meh.’ Maybe that’s because I’m a full grown adult and I expected a bit more depth and nuance in the story. Grim Nora is, after all, a young adult read. Did I enjoy it? Yes. Did it leave me satisfied and satiated? Meh. Am I hungry for more? Yeah, I am. And since this book appears to be the first in a series, I will likely continue when the next book is released.

Follow the tour HERE

for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!


Book Review: Jeweler’s Mark (A Love & Diamonds Mystery) by R.V. Reyes

💍💍💍💍 4 out of 5 stars

Counterfeit designer diamonds, a murder, a high school reunion in South Miami…. whoa papi! Jeweler’s Mark is a fast-paced cozy mystery with a heroine I absolutely adored!

Giselle “Gigi” Santos has high aspirations for her family’s jewelry brand Hearts Aglow. With her power of positivity attitude, her spicy Cuban spirit, and a feisty best friend backing her up there’s nothing Gigi can’t handle. So, when sexy Detective Carlos Garcia arrives with an evidence bag full of fake Hearts Aglow diamonds, Gigi isn’t going to let something as trivial as crime deter her from what really matters: how to convince Carlos to be her date to the high school reunion. Before long Gigi finds herself embroiled in so much more than a case about counterfeit rings. An old classmate turns up murdered, Gigi’s BFF is looking like the primary suspect, and Russian mob-types are suddenly threatening Gigi at every turn.

To say I enjoyed this book would be an understatement! Gigi is truly a wonderful character. Her inner banter and pep talks were endearing and kept me turning pages late into the night. Honest! First night I planned to read a chapter or two before bed…. next thing I knew I was halfway through the book and wanting to stay up to finish. Brava!

**I won a paperback copy of this book in a Facebook giveaway which I then chose to voluntarily review**

Pick up your copy HERE.

Book Review: His Lucky Penny by L.L. Meyer

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 4.5 out of 5 stars

Want a book review in one word? How about ‘hot’? Or ‘addicting’? I could come up with quite a few more because I absolutely adored this book. His Lucky Penny is, at its heart, a college romance with a heaping helping of sexuality. But that’s far from everything. It’s about people with some serious issues. And it’s about overcoming them despite your fears and embracing something new.

I’ll be honest, when the book started I wanted to dislike Dane. He’s a man looking for one thing and one thing only: a good time, a sexy playmate, no strings attached, and preferably a woman willing to entertain not only him but his adopted brother Jason. See, these guys have a unique relationship and they love to share. But when Dane meets Lily it looks like all bets are off. As a reader, I’ll be the first to admit that Dane grew on me. As the story unfolded and I learned more about Dane’s history, and got to witness his absolute attraction, insecurity, and need when it came to Lily, I became a convert.

Lily, on the other hand, was someone I loved from the start. Shy, a bit of a recluse, she was a character I could absolutely relate to… In fact, she was me to an extent back in college. Sexually inexperienced, Lily is the polar opposite of the women usually found in Dane’s orbit. Adding to her insecurities in their blossoming relationship is the fact that Lily has some serious trauma in her past that she’s never even talked about, let alone dealt with. Spoiler free here folks, no worries, but Lily’s past and trauma is something that, unfortunately, many young women have to deal with and I feel the author did a fantastic job portraying it.

Told in first person by both Lily and Dane, each chapter switches between their two perspectives. It’s a technique that works exceptionally well for this story. The sexy times are H-O-T! Watching Lily grow and become more adventurous was a real treat. This is the first installment in a series, but the book ends on a high note while still leaving readers grasping (or is it gasping?) for more. If you like a little naughty in your romance, this is definitely one to read!

Pick up your own Lucky Penny on Amazon HERE, free to Kindle Unlimited subscribers.

Book Review: Blood Moon – Diary of a Highland Massacre by Christine Church

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 out of 5 stars

Is it fact or is it fiction? Real or imaginary? Blood Moon: Diary of a Highland Massacre (Fate of the True Vampires Book 3) by Christine Church is a tantalizing novella which blends history and fiction in such a way as to leave readers asking those very questions. Easily read as a stand-alone Blood Moon tells the tale of Wolfe Amus MacDonald Stewart and the events which led to the very real tragedy known as the Massacre at Glencoe. Under orders from the crown and after breaking bread with their hosts (and intended victims), a regiment of soldiers proceeded to put to the sword the residents of Glencoe.

Blending elements of history and romance with the supernatural Blood Moon weaves a captivating tale. Written in the form of journal entries penned by Wolfe, we learn of how he rescued a young maiden from the clutches of an evil, possibly monstrous, man. We witness the blossoming of their love, their betrothal, and eventually suffer alongside Wolfe as everything he loves is torn savagely from him. The purported motivations behind the Massacre at Glencoe put forth in Blood Moon is where Christine Church’s creativity shines. As readers we are given a plausible, fantastic alternative to embrace as part of the ‘real’ history we already know. It’s brilliant! The writing is crisp and manages to convey a lot of information in short order. I really enjoyed Blood Moon and will be reading the first two offerings in the Fate of the True Vampires saga in short order.

Available in Kindle Unlimited, you can check it out HERE.

**Reviewed for Readers’ Favorite**

Book Review: William Wilde and the Necrosed by Davis Ashura

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 out of 5 stars

Ready for a rollicking adventure filled with magic and danger? Look no further than “William Wilde and the Necrosed” by Davis Ashura. The story opens with a tragic car crash involving a family of four. Only one boy will emerge from the wreckage. Sadly, however, this is not a “normal” accident. It has been brought about by a strange being named Kohl Obsidian. Who or what Kohl is remains to be seen but one thing is for certain: he’s evil and he is not human. Fast forward several months and we meet high school senior William Wilde and his cadre of best friends: Jason, Daniel and Lien. It’s the first day of school and William is tasked with orienting a new student, the lovely Serena Paradiso, to life at St. Francis Academy. The beautiful new student seems to fit into their group with surprising ease but Serena has secrets of her own and an important mission to fulfill. When William learns there is a hidden group of people called asrasins for whom magic is real he is both skeptical and excited, but when he’s told he has the potential to become an asrasin himself his world is rocked! William, Serena and Jason must fight for their lives against the brutal and seemingly invincible Kohl Obsidian while simultaneously making decisions about their futures. With secrets still rampant amongst the friends, can they somehow manage to band together and defeat Kohl’s evil or will the secrets be their undoing?

Aside from the sinister prologue chapter, William Wilde and the Necrosed starts out in familiar young adult territory as we watch William navigate the oft-treacherous pathways of high school life. Contending with bullies, boring teachers, school sports, and weekends with his friends the first half of the book feels safe and familiar. Set in the late 1980’s some of the pop culture references might be lost on younger readers, but the book manages to maintain a timeless feel. Despite the familiarity Davis Ashura continues to plant little seeds of disquiet throughout, leaving the reader on edge and waiting for the other shoe to drop. And when it does drop? Hold onto your hat! The adventure goes from zero to sixty in record time and holds on tight until the story’s satisfying conclusion. Filled with new lore and mythology, daring escapes, magic and heart-racing action William Wilde and the Necrosed sets the stage for a wonderful series. Adults (young and otherwise) are sure to be entertained.

William Wilde and the Necrosed releases February 27, 2018 and can be pre-ordered on Amazon HERE. It will be available in KU for you subscribers out there.

**Reviewed for Readers’ Favorite**

Book Review: Dungari Rise by Nikki Landis

🚀🚀🚀🚀🛸 4.5 out of 5 stars

I’ve hemmed and hawed for days, literally, about how to start this review. Dungari Rise is a unique romance that manages to blend a plethora of genres and themes. Post apocalyptic: check. Dystopian: check. Enemies-to-lovers romance, Science fiction, space travel and aliens, Political intrigue and social commentary: check, check, and check. I mean, my head is still spinning with all the story elements and I finished reading it days ago. “Is this a good thing?” you ask, and I say “Yes!” When a story won’t leave you after the final page, that’s definitely a good sign.

One of my favorite elements of Dungari Rise was, not surprisingly, Tuvari and Synika’s tumultuous relationship and romance. Synika’s original feelings of anger and resentment toward Tuvari were understandable and realistic, as was her gradual warming. Watching her trust, then doubt, then trust again might’ve given me whiplash but it was certainly a fun ride.

Another favorite part of the journey was learning the real reason behind the Dungari’s subjugation of earth and the sexual slavery into which human women were forced. While the Dungari means & methods were deplorable I found myself understanding their desperation and forgiving them (to an extent).

There was so much creativity in Dungari Rise! From the explanation of Earth’s near-demise, to spaceships and the Dungari home-world… The politics of an alien-controlled Earth, the resistance movement… Even the introduction of humans altered by the post-apocalyptic fall-out and now living completely separate from the rest of humankind in subterranean cave systems. Ms. Landis has quite the imagination and paints a vivid, addictive picture for her readers.

At times there was so much “other” stuff happening and, as a reader, I just wanted Tuvari & Synika’s love story to stay center stage. I think that’s my only complaint and why my final rating was 4.5 instead of a solid 5 stars. This was my first book by Ms. Landis I will definitely be searching out more of her works!

You can find Dungari Rise on Amazon HERE and it’s currently free to read for Kindle Unlimited subscribers.

Cover Reveal: “Tempted by the Viscount” by Sofie Darling

Tempted by the Viscount
by Sofie Darling
Genre: Historical Romance
Pub Date: June 27th, 2018
London, April 1825

Lord Jakob Radclyffe left his past behind in the Far East. Or so he thinks until a ruthless thief surfaces in London, threatening to ruin his daughter’s reputation. With the clock ticking, Jake needs the scandalous Lady Olivia Montfort’s connections in the art world to protect his daughter’s future.

Olivia, too, has a past she’d like to escape. By purchasing her very own Mayfair townhouse, she’ll be able to start a new life independent from all men. There’s one problem: she needs a powerful man’s name to do so. The Viscount St. Alban is the perfect name.

A bargain is struck.

What Olivia doesn’t anticipate is the temptation of the viscount. The undeniable spark of awareness that races between them undermines her vow to leave love behind. Soon, she has no choice but to rid her system of Jake by surrendering to her craving for a single scorching encounter.

But is once enough? Sometimes once only stokes the flame of desire higher and hotter. And sometimes once is all the heart needs to risk all and follow a mad passion wherever it may lead.

Sofie spent much of her twenties raising two boys and reading every book she could get her hands on. Once she realized that she was no longer satisfied with simply reading the books she loved, that she must write them, too, she decided to finish her degree and embark on a writing career. Mr. Darling and the boys gave her their wholehearted blessing.

When she’s not writing heroes who make her swoon, she runs a marathon in a different state every year, visits crumbling medieval castles whenever she gets a chance, and enjoys a slightly codependent relationship with her beagle, Bosco.



Free e-book & Excerpt: For Love of the Phantom by Davyn DeSye

Everybody loves a bargain, right? And what better bargain is there than a free ebook? Maybe one featuring everyone’s favorite Opera Ghost and his “precious little ingenue?”

My author-buddy Davyne DeSye is offering book 1 of her Phantom Rising series FOR FREE ONE DAY ONLY on January 27, 2018. Trust me when I say you don’t wanna miss this opportunity.

You can read my original 5-Star review of the book here, and then cruise on over to Amazon to nab your copy. If you miss out on the freebie day, don’t despair. It’s currently enrolled in Kindle Unlimited so subscribers can still nab it that way. And if you still needed an enticement, how about a little excerpt to whet your appetite?

Christine, still clasping Raoul’s hand, looked back at the dreaded, beloved façade of the Opera House. Her breath left her in harsh gasps, as did Raoul’s. Raoul pulled her toward the street fronting the great building.

We have escaped!

Dropping her hand, Raoul signaled to a passing cabby. Christine fought the impulse to clutch at Raoul and instead raised the back of her bare wrist to her face, surprised, still, at the tears that littered her cheeks.

Surely I do not cry for Erik! But even as she thought this, another thought, Poor Erik, brought a fresh blur to her vision. She closed her eyes and dabbed at the corner of each eye with the knuckle of one gloved hand. When she opened her eyes, she looked upon Raoul – her beloved Raoul! – holding the door to the cab and reaching a solicitous hand toward her.

“Raoul. Raoul, you have saved me,” she said. Fresh tears flooded her eyes and cascaded down her cheeks. This time, Christine knew, the tears were those of extreme tension and relief. Not joy. Not yet. Her freedom was too newly won, too nearly beyond belief, for Christine to weep for joy.

“Come, my love,” Raoul said in softly urgent tones, “Let’s away, before we discover he has reinstated your evil sentence.”

Christine gratefully accepted Raoul’s hand and pulled upon it as Raoul lifted himself in beside her. Then, they were in each other’s arms.

“Raoul, Raoul,” she murmured against him, her head pressed to his chest.

“My darling,” he whispered, but instead of continuing to nuzzle her, his head swiveled to gaze out the windows of the moving cab. With Raoul’s watchfulness, and his arms around her, Christine felt safe.

I wonder how long we will both be peering over our shoulders for the specter of Erik. I wonder how long I will still hear him moving, as he once did, in the walls around me.

Christine shuddered, and Raoul tightened his arms about her and spoke into the curls of her lustrous, golden hair. “Hush, my love. You are safe at last.”

Christine wished she could believe this simple statement, so confidently and quietly delivered. The energy that powered their escape – always with the nightmarish feeling that they were being followed by mere inches, that a hand would close upon them at any moment – still kept her breathing rushed, her cheeks flushing with heat.

She inhaled a long and tremulous breath, held it, and slowly released it. She forced herself to relax, to sink more deeply into Raoul’s arms.

This – this! – is warmth and safety and love.

Hot tears sprang to her eyes and littered Raoul’s torn shirtfront. When the cab stopped, Christine reluctantly released Raoul and gathered her skirts to debark.

“No, Christine, you go on. I must make arrangements.” Raoul did not look at Christine, but glanced back and forth, first up, then down the street, as if he expected to meet Erik bounding toward them.

Fright descended upon Christine with a crashing weight, and she nearly leapt from the cab into Raoul’s arms. “Raoul! You cannot leave me!”

Her frantic tone, and her unseemly scramble across the seat of the cab toward him awakened Raoul from his own hurried thoughts. He signaled to the driver to wait, and re-entered the cab. Christine clutched him to her, again hiding her face against his chest.

“Christine, my darling, my love,” he crooned, as he stroked her hair. “I will never leave you.” Raoul disentangled himself from her arms and pushed her back until he could look into her eyes. “I am going to make you my wife. We will be exquisitely happy together.”

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