Title: Ghost Slayer
Author: Majanka Verstraete
Twenty-one-year-old Kaelyn has spent half her life hunting ghosts and killing them. But she’s not like the other ghost hunters who have to rely on spells and curses to banish ghosts back to where they came from, hoping that they don’t come back. When Kaelyn kills a ghost, they stay dead.
But in Mortimer Hall, a behemoth of a house, Kaelyn is about to face the most powerful and life-threatening ghost she ever met, and what she doesn’t know is that the ghost has been waiting just for her…
Majanka Verstraete studies law and criminology by day and writes speculative fiction by night. All her books include monsters of some kind: the good, the bad, and just about every species in between. Her first books were the Valentina’s Spooky Adventures series, a children’s picture book series featuring a little vampire girl. She also worked on the Weirdville series, a series of scary lower grade chapter books ideal for fans of R.L. Stine. She has written a few young adult books, most notably the Mirrorland series (YA Dark Fantasy) and the Angel of Death Series (YA Paranormal). She loves writing short horror stories and novellas, and hopes to finish a horror novel one day. When she’s not writing, she’s probably playing World of Warcraft or catching up with the dozens of TV series she’s addicted to.
Publication date: May 12th 2017
Genres: Adult, Psychological Thriller
There’s a secret.
A woman is heard whimpering in a parking garage.
A dark side to the powerfully rich is exposed.
And Alex Gantry is at the center of it all.
After several frightening events that shook Alex’s world, things have settled down.
So it seems…
Elite life coach, Alex Gantry, is enjoying her new life in the Washington, D.C. Beltway.
T.J. Gale, who’s part greenpreneur, part leader of a quick-strike unit of former military and intelligence professionals, has set her heart aflame.
Alex and T.J. are in love.
Enter Jett Spence, a man who once was part of T.J.’s world but who is now an unknown, because no one can tell whose side he’s on.
Two thousand miles away in Hollywood, Alex’s old haunts, the powerful producer Brian Marks is falling apart because he’s lost her. The woman he never thought would leave him is now in the bed of a younger man.
In New York City, T.J.’s ex-wife, Lisa, is looking to get even with the woman she thinks destroyed her marriage. Her vengeful father Davin Dalaney is eager to help because T.J. is no longer willing to ignore his criminal profits.
Brian is intent on getting Alex back.
Lisa wants to make her pay.
And T.J. is attempting to keep her safe.
Alex believes she can take care of herself, but being with T.J. has taught her it’s not always that simple.
From the Washington, D.C. Beltway to Los Angeles, California, the stakes couldn’t be higher.
Taylor Marsh writes smart, arousing romance while deciphering world events. She lives in the Beltway area of Washington D.C.
“Beltway Betrayers,” Book 2 of The Beltway Series, will be out in May 2017 and Book 3 of this series will be out in the fall.
She is a former Broadway performer and beauty queen who was the Relationship Consultant for LA WEEKLY, then the nation’s top alternative newsweekly. Taylor is the author of two traditionally published non-fiction books, “The Hillary Effect,” and her memoir, “The Sexual Education of a Beauty Queen.”
Taylor was profiled in The Washington Post and The New Republic for her coverage of Hillary Clinton during the 2008 Democratic primary season. She became a contributor to The Huffington Post in 2006, and has written for Washington, D.C.’s The Hill, as well as for U.S. News & World Report and for Zócalo Public Square in Los Angeles, among others. As a seasoned entertainer, communicator and speaker, Taylor has also been interviewed by The Los Angeles Times, Al Jazeera Media Network, The New York Times, BBC, CNN, MSNBC, and C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, among other outlets.
Top 10 List
10 Favorite Books By Taylor Marsh, Author of Beltway Betrayers
Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
Post-Mortem, by Patricia Cornwell
Grace and Power, by Sally Bedell Smith
River God: A Novel of Ancient Egypt, by Wilbur Smith
Lonesome Dove, by Larry McMurtry
An Unfinished Life, by Robert Dallek
Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller
The Gold Coast, by Nelson DeMille
The Bourne Identity, by Richard Ludlum
M is for Malice, by Sue Grafton
Steph Bowe is back. Night Swimming is a love story with a twist, and a whole lot of heart.
Imagine being the only two seventeen-year-olds in a small town. That’s life for Kirby Arrow—named after the most dissenting judge in Australia’s history—and her best friend Clancy Lee, would-be musical star.
Clancy wants nothing more than to leave town and head for the big smoke, but Kirby is worried: her family has a history of leaving. She hasn’t heard from her father since he left when she was a baby. Shouldn’t she stay to help her mother with the goat’s-milk soap-making business, look after her grandfather who suffers from dementia, be an apprentice carpenter to old Mr Pool? And how could she leave her pet goat, Stanley, her dog Maude, and her cat Marianne?
But two things happen that change everything for Kirby. She finds an article in the newspaper about her father, and Iris arrives in town. Iris is beautiful, wears crazy clothes, plays the mandolin, and seems perfect, really, thinks Kirby. Clancy has his heart set on winning over Iris. Trouble is Kirby is also falling in love with Iris…
“In real life, there’s no such thing as happily ever after, there’s just life passing day by day. After you ride off into the sunset, then you’re just in the middle of nowhere on a horse at night, aren’t you?” – Oh Kirby, Kirby, Kirby, how I adored your Internal monologue.
The story follows 17-year-old Kirby Arrow, her bestie Clancy Lee and her pet goat Stanley as they navigate day to day life in the small town of Alberton. I read this book in one day! and that’s not the norm for me. It was delightful and easy to read. An adorable feel good romp about growing up, finding your inner strength and place in the world.
Kirby wants to stay in Alberton, much to her mother’s dismay. She is determined that nothing in her life will change. Kirby’s mother wants her to go off and explore the world, as she never had the opportunity to do so. Clancy wants to leave Alberton to pursue musical theatre, while his parents want him to work in the family restaurant. The besties may seem to be on different paths at first, but they are both just trying to balance their dreams with family expectations.
The arrival of Iris and her family, rising flood waters and the inevitability of growing up, all threaten Kirby and Clancy’s friendship. I really enjoyed the whole Kirby+Clancy+Iris dynamic. You know someone is going to get hurt, you know the ball is going to drop sooner or later, that the goat poo is going to hit the fan etc. etc.
There are plenty of high jinks between these pages but ultimately this is a heartwarming story about first love, true friendship and finding the courage to move forward.
‘Night Swimming is a sweet story of coming of age, family and first requited love. There is a genuine-feeling desire in the story to see the good intentions in lightly sketched but complex characters, which gives the book a lot of heart. It will appeal to fans of realistic Australian YA and to readers searching for sweet and hopeful queer love stories.’ – Books + Publishing.
‘This bittersweet comedy of romantic misunderstanding, life management and family relations is poised at the emotional intersection between forgiveness and self-acceptance. Despite its whimsical tone, Night Swimming tackles serious themes of mental health, family upheaval and sexual coming-out with commendable delicacy and humanity.’ – Readings.
“The utterly charming story of two best friends, the small town they live in and the girl they both fall for. It is a tender and humorous tale of family ties, friendship and first love.” – Erin Gough.
“Night Swimming is a love-letter to outsiders, the kooky and complex – it’s an ode to first times and best friends…but above all else, it’s a reminder of how lucky we are to have a writer like Steph Bowe in our midst” – Danielle Binks, Alpha Reader.
Homies by David Gonzales, Elliott Serrano & Andrew Huerta
Paperback, 104 pages
Expected publication: June 27th 2017
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Source: Review copy from publisher
Thank you Dynamite
Add to Goodreads
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Homies is a collection of four separate stories featuring (for the most part) the same key characters.
Story uno* starts off with a wedding that was drama filled and almost didn’t happen. Other than a few redeeming speeches by the narrator, I wasn’t really a fan of this story. The story was lacking to me because I had no connection to the characters. If you we’re a previous fan or a least familiar with the Homies characters the reading experience would be different.
The whole tone of the comic improves with story dos* with a wrestling match to raise funds for the community centre. By this point I’d warmed up to the characters, the style, the humour and the heart.
My enjoyment only grew with story tres* which involved a prank show and a ghost haunting the broken hearted.
Story cuatro* was by far the best for heart and humour, featuring an alien from outer space that turns out to be a hot shot mechanic and finds himself a home on earth and in The Barrio.
For the most part the story was in English, there were a few Spanish words in the mix, but what the characters were saying was easy to understand. At first, I found the artwork sharp and harsh but it grew on me and I enjoyed it in the end. All in all I think the style really suited the stories.
Once I warmed up I found this comic to be a quick and enjoyable read. The later two stories earning it a four star rating.
Thanks for having me! 😊 Becoming a writer has always been a long dream of mine. When I was in public school, literature and reading was always a priority for me. I seriously couldn’t get enough, The Scholastic Book Fairs were always a highlight, I remember previewing the catalogue weeks before and deciding which books I would take home. This was the start of my book buying obsession. Once I reached the end of Grade Eight though, I knew I wanted to become a writer for a career, I even wrote it in my year book! Black Dawn took shape at the end of public school and heading into high school. I feel like this story was always waiting for me to write it, the first manuscript focusing on Emory and Brokk. I wrote it for my cousin’s birthday as a present, and then left it alone for seven years.
The inspiration for Black Dawn came from a collection of moments in my life. The first being with my cousin, and we had a sleep over at my family’s old farmhouse and spent majority of the night talking about our hopes and dreams for the future and the first spark of Black Dawn came into conversation. After writing the first manuscript and I left it alone, and I went to college for the Fine Arts, and then after this I travelled to Australia and New Zealand by myself. This experience was pivotal for me, not only did I learn a lot about myself and grow personally, but seeing the different landscapes of those countries was amazing, and helped me build the world of Kiero.
Once I came back home, it wasn’t until after I met my husband that the idea of becoming a writer came back into my plan. We were talking about Pierce Brown’s Red Rising Trilogy (which is a series we both love, go pick it up if you haven’t checked it out!) and the conversation landed back to the manuscript I wrote, and we revisited it. The original title for Black Dawn was Kiero, and we talked late into the night and the world we see in Black Dawn came to life. The next day I started writing. The book grew with me, elements from the original manuscript meshed with the current, the dynamics of the characters developing and growing as I did throughout my life. None of the characters specifically are based on people in my life, but the emotions they experience I pulled from some experiences I went through.
Looking back, I wouldn’t be here without the support of my family and friends, all my teachers throughout public school, high school and college. The love of reading sparked my love of writing, and above all not giving up on my dream of becoming an author.
Author: Mallory McCartney currently lives in London, Ontario with her husband and their two dachshunds Link and Lola. Black Dawn is her debut novel, the first in a series. When she isn’t working on her next novel or reading, she can be found dog grooming, book shopping and hiking. Other favorite pastimes involve reorganizing perpetually overflowing bookshelves and seeking out new coffee and dessert shops.
About the Book
Title: Black Dawn
Genre: YA/NA Fantasy
Author: Mallory McCartney
The end of an Empire, the rise of a Queen
Emory Fae enjoys leading a quiet, normal life. That is until two mysterious, and handsome soldiers show up at her apartment, and the life she knew is instantly whisked away. Memphis Carter and Brokk Foster come from the magical and war ridden world of Kiero, and upon Emory’s arrival she will discover she is the long-lost heir to the Royal Line and is thrown into the Black Dawn Rebellion with a dynamic role to ignite the rebels and reclaim her throne.
With both men being darkly woven in her past Emory uncovers hidden secrets, a power held long dormant, and will soon realize there are worse things than supernatural humans, love, loss, betrayal, and a Mad King.
Some things are better left in the shadows
Sonora and the Eye of the Titans
Publication date: January 14th 2017
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
The King is dead, and the capital city of Titanis has fallen. The world of Sonora is at war, and the only hope against the onslaught of the Titan army lies with the last royal descendant of Zeus, who is being covertly sheltered on Earth in the secluded mountain town of Sandy, Oregon.
Allora is a shy, intelligent sixteen-year-old, trying to get through the gauntlet of high school while coming to terms with her otherworldly origins. After getting into a fight at soccer tryouts, Allora’s emotions boil over, and her hands suddenly burst into flames. She has harnessed the power of hadrons at the highest level, but at extreme cost. The magical outburst projects an energy signature that is detected by a group of assassins tasked with killing Sonoran rebels.
To survive, Allora, Katie, Dax, and Tanner must find a powerful ancient artifact known as the Eye of the Titans. With the help of a guardian known as Sasquatch, they will have to fight off creatures, solve complex riddles, and navigate magical caverns, all while enduring advanced calculus, jealous girlfriends, and prom.
I’m a writer, skier, and wanderer. I grew up in Portland, Oregon, but currently live in the beautiful mountain resort town of Sun Valley, Idaho. I love history, mythology, and the fantastical interpretations that have been incorporated in my debut young adult urban fantasy series called Sonora.
For this TOP TEN post I thought it would be fun/interesting to ask Mr Hall for either his top ten favorite authors, books or movies – because i’m noisy.
He replied with a list of his favorite Authors and Movies. I surmise that he does indeed have good taste in both.
- J.R.R. Tolkien
- J.K. Rowling
- Edgar Allen Poe
- Brian Jacques
- C.S. Lewis
- Ernest Hemingway
- Gertrude Chandler Warner
- Daniel Quinn
- Roald Dahl
- Dr. Suess
- V for Vendetta
- Star Wars
- Forrest Gump
- Indiana Jones
- Finding Nemo
- Lord of the Rings
- Fight Club
Slice by Steven Herrick. Five Stars. I adored this book. The character of Darcy is wonderful and his friendships with Noah and Audrey are beautiful. [Goodreads]
Rocket Raccoon (Free Comic Book Day Special) by Joe Caramagna. Three Stars. A quick fun read, full of Rocket hijinks. [Goodreads]
Walk the Edge by Katie McGarry. Four Stars. Good girl meets misunderstood bad boy, a well used trope, but the writing was good and I really did enjoy it. [Goodreads]
Charmed #2 by Erica Schultz & Maria Sanapo. Three Stars. Still had the TV show feel to it, but was a little lack lustre. [Goodreads]
Another Night in Mullet Town by Steven Herrick. Four Stars. A snapshot of growing up in a small Aussie coastal town. [Goodreads]
Books I added to my TBR list this month: 19
Blog Posts: 10
Until next time, enjoy your shelves
To Betray My King by Kayla Lavan
Genre: YA Romance/Fantasy
Release Date: May 1st 2017
Would you choose to save your kingdom or follow your heart?
Brave and kindhearted, Arianna is a princess of a kingdom that nobody wants. The magicless. Marrying the charming, flirtatious, and egotistical Prince Roland was the last thing either of them wanted, but for the sake of their people they agreed. War breaks out with the neighboring kingdom, forcing the prince’s hand to join in the fight. He leaves his new wife with the only man he trusts, his childhood friend, a dutiful, strong, and handsome knight.
I enjoyed stepping into Ms Lavan’s medieval world of Sol and meeting the magic weavers she has filled it with. I struggled a little with the male leads at first. While I really enjoyed the playful banter and friendship between Prince Roland and his bodyguard/best friend, Conrad, it took me a while to warm up to either of them as love interests for Princess Arianna. Princess Arianna was easily likeable. She was kind hearted and always looking to improve herself, be it mentally or physically (e.g. learning to sword fight).
The story starts off following Roland, Conrad and Arianna. Their day to day lives, before, during and after the arranged royal marriage. But when Roland goes off to war we are left behind with Conrad and Arianna. I wish we could have followed Roland into War!!!
The whole time I was reading it felt as if Ms Lavan was preparing Arianna for something big. We kept being given tastes of Arianna’s archery skills and magical status/abilities and it felt like this was building to something bigger. Well, she did get to kick some butt in the end.
This felt like the first in a series, if that makes sense. A lot of set up with a dramatic actioned packed ending propelling you on to read the next book. There even is a Twist at the end that I didn’t see coming and the ‘betrayal’ goes down not as you expect.
Even with his man-whore start to the story, Prince Roland ended up being my favourite character and I am looking forward to reading more from Ms Lavan and finding out how he handled becoming King.
I’ve been writing half of my life, starting at the ripe old age of 13. Back then my favorite pass time was doodling in class, sleeping in class, and studying tests or homework that was due the next class period. But by night I lead a secret life. I would go home, turn on my computer, and get on my dialup Internet (which makes me sound really old) and I would write. At first it was for fun. I was brave back then and posted everything online. In the 14 years I have been writing, I have posted over 1.5 million words, all of which is still available to read for free. My most well known story being “Fun ‘N’ Games at Ouran”. A year or so ago I posted a one-shot that was 50k-60k in words. Afterwards, I looked at it laughing, and said to myself “I think I would like to get paid for this now” and then ‘To Betray My King’ was born. It seems so simple as I’m sitting here, typing this foryou to read, but it’s the truth. ‘Betray’ is my first book, but it won’t be my last. I love writing. I would never give it up for anything in the world.
The Betrayal Legacy
#1 To Betray My King (Available Now)
Buy Link: Amazon
#2 To Betray My Kingdom (Coming Soon)
#3 To Betray Myself (Coming Soon)
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Meet Nevo: girl, boy, he, she, him, her, they, them, daughter, son, teacher, student, friend, gay, bi, lesbian, trans, homo, Jew, dyke, masculine, feminine, androgynous, queer.
Nevo was not born in the wrong body. Nevo just wants everyone to catch up with all that Nevo is.
Personal, political and passionate, Finding Nevo is an autobiography about gender and everything that comes with it. It is Zisin’s powerful and brave account of their journey to transgender, and all the stumbles, victories and life-changing moments along the way.
“A gorgeous coming of age story about one person’s journey to discover themselves. Zisin is a compelling storyteller with a delightful and exciting new voice.” Clementine Ford
Released on May 1st by Black Dog Books this book touches on the themes of transgender, queer, family, acceptance, self-discovery, bullying, weight issues, and change.
The below is a Q&A by transgender writer and activist, Nevo Zisin.
- What do you hope readers will take away from Finding Nevo?
I hope they will not only take away my story but also their own. I hope people will find similarities or moments they can relate to and connect it to their own narrative and what the implications of that may be. I hope fellow trans people will feel less alone, heard and seen. I hope they realize that there is a future for them and that they are strong and resilient. I hope cis people read this book and feel a responsibility to create safer spaces and a safer world at large for trans people. While also questioning ways they may uphold oppressive standards of gender binaries onto those around them. Though in general I hope this book will inspire people to create change, both within themselves and in society.
- What made you write your autobiography at such a young age?
I was lucky enough to be commissioned to write my autobiography so that was certainly a huge influence. But outside of that I think it’s really vital to be prioritizing young voices. I often hear the phrase, “children are the future”, and I feel like this is so dismissive. What about now? Do we just ignore them until they grow up? I think it’s crucial that young people have young role models, people they can relate to and understand. So even though my life hasn’t been as long as others who write autobiographies, I think I have a lot to say and the demographic I am aiming at aren’t always the most spoken to.
- How did you feel writing Finding Nevo? Did you find it liberating, or was it painful on some parts of the journey?
At the beginning it felt like an impossible task. There was so much to cover and I felt like such an imposter pretending to be an “author”. I had never written a book before, so many people commented on how young I was and so I felt like I wasn’t capable. I wrote out big lists of what I wanted and needed to write. I spent a really long time considering the ethics of writing a memoir: how it would affect me, my family, the trans community and how I could best be representative of all those people. My motivation came in waves and so did the pain. Sometimes it was too hard to look back upon things I wished to forget, sometimes it was crucial in my own personal healing process.
- What role do you think Finding Nevo will have in terms of challenging social norms?
I think that it will make people question the application of such strict gender expectations. I honestly believe that these rigid societal standards are oppressive to everyone. I do not think it is comfortable for anyone to be forced into those boxes. So I hope this will allow people to consider wider worlds of gender aside from the “woman” and “man” categories we have accepted. I am also hoping it will help the friends and families of trans people get into their minds a little bit deeper and begin to try and understand what they might be going through.
- Your book is incredibly honest, and brave. When so many people struggle to be so vulnerable, where did this honesty come from?
I have always been an open book (pardon the pun). For me, my own truth is the only truth I can be sure of. I have always loved storytelling and have been writing since I was very young. I also began questioning my identity at such a young age that finding my truth became a very important part of my life and I was happy to share that with others along the way. I also think when you’re a member of an oppressed minority, you don’t often have the choice to be honest or not because so many people are asking you questions all the time.
- In the book, you write about how those close to you struggled on the two occasions you came out. How has their reaction been to the book release?
Mostly overwhelmingly positive. I was expecting quite a harsh reaction particular from family members who struggled with my transition. I had no intention of slandering them, I understand why they reacted in the ways they did, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t difficult for me and I needed to express my truth. I was really surprised at how most of them took on board what I had said and really understood. It was quite healing for a lot of my relationships within my family.
- The book covers themes of family, self-discovery, bullying, and acceptance, and has touched many people who aren’t from the queer community. Are you surprised the book is having such an effect on a broader audience?
Not really to be honest. I think there are a lot of relatable experiences in the book that simply reflect the human condition. I think when looking upon someone whose identity is different from our own we like to create an “us” and “them” narrative but when it truly comes down to it, chances are we have far more in common than not. So I am not surprised that the book has had an effect on a broader audience, though I’m sure that there are people that may be surprised at just how much they connected, even if they weren’t expecting to.
- Did you learn anything about yourself when you were writing the book?
Oh yes. I learnt a lot. I learnt a lot about my past, my present and who my future self might be. I learnt about my trauma, my relationships and my family. I learnt how to believe more in myself and my writing and how to begin to call myself an author (that one took a lot longer). I think as much as I was “Finding Nevo”, I was also learning Nevo.
- As a youth leader and activist, do you feel Finding Nevo will be a source of comfort for people going through a similar journey?
I really like to think so. I believe if a book like this had been available in the early stages of my transition I would have felt far less alone and distraught. My only goal has only ever been to try and be the kind of person I really needed while I was growing up, and I hope this book can do that for young people.
- With the Safe Schools program losing funding in all schools except those in Victoria, what is the best piece of advice you would give to help someone who may be outside the gender binary that society still largely considers to be the “norm”?
I think the Internet is a really great place to start. There are so many resources out there nowadays for young gender diverse folk that weren’t available not that long ago. I think there’s a lot on Tumblr and Instagram. I also think my best advice would be a quote from one of my favourite Melbourne bands, Two Steps on the Water, “If the world don’t love you, then the world is wrong”. If you feel outside of the “norm” perhaps there is something fundamentally flawed with the norm and not who you happen to be.
About the author: Nevo Zisin is a young activist, student, writer and public speaker with a particular focus on issues surrounding gender, sex and sexuality. Assigned female at birth, Nevo has had a complex relationship with gender, transitioning to present as male at the age of 17, undergoing different medical interventions and now identifying outside of a female / male gender binary. They work particularly with children as a youth leader and through running programs and workshops in schools. They are also a contact point in the Jewish community for other children and families confronting issues of gender and sexuality in their own lives. Finding Nevo is their first book.