After five long months since we last saw our favorite Undead antihero, Angelica Cross is back!
All 8 Paranormal Detectives novels are back up LIVE with brand new covers, formatting, and edits, and Angelica returns in a BRAND NEW novel!
Vampire Blood and Iron Bullets by Lily Luchesi
Genre: Paranormal, Crime, Romance
Publication: May 15th 2020
Source: Review copy from Author – Thank You Lily
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One vampire. One Fae. Countless assassins. Challenge accepted.
Energy vampires make excellent rock stars. Changelings make excellent actors. It’s been that way since time out of mind, and the best way to discover an actor is a changeling? Look at the awards they haven’t won.
Perry Gold is one of the most brilliant changeling actors out there, and one award has always eluded him. Until now. And now that’s he’s won it, he’s a wanted man on a hunter’s hit list. As a celebrity, he can’t run forever. He needs the type of protection only a vampire can provide.
If the world’s most successful special agent Angelica Cross can’t save him, no one can.
You could call Vampire Blood & Iron Bullets a prequel, being set before the first Paranormal Detective Series book, Stake-Out. And what a bloody good prequel it is! I really enjoyed kicking it with Angelica again (I hadn’t realised how much I missed her, until I was with her again).
Lily has yet again created a fast, fun, action-packed paranormal crime and romance mash-up with this book. Vampire Blood & Iron Bullets is a standalone, you do not need to have knowledge of Lily’s previous works and there are no spoilers for the big reveals that take place in the Paranormal Detective Series.
I think Vampire Blood & Iron Bullets is the perfect way to kick off the Paranormal Detective Series and the ending sets up perfectly for where Stake-Out kicks off.
Lily always has flashbacks and or time jumps in her stories, and they always work really well. As an OG Angelica fan I loved the flashback to the night Vincent killed her mum, and the following events that see the strong and ass-kicking half-vampire scared and vulnerable hiding out in a Convent.
This book is perfect for paranormal romance fans, hardcore and lite paranormal mystery/crime fans and obviously, Lily Luchesi fans. This is an adult book, but I would give it an MA15+ rating – There is passionate kissing, some sex (but not overly graphic) and a whole lot of murder and mayhem.
For someone who has never read the series, this would be a fast and fun read featuring a sexy Fae Changeling who is being hunted because of something out of his control. A crime-fighting hot as hell bisexual Vamplet (half-human, half-vampire). A fast-flowing and an action-packed plot. M/F Romance, but we do get a lil bit of F/F while Angelica is at the Convent. There is blood and guts and bang-bang shoot ’em up action, mixed with some humor and heart for a well-rounded and enjoyable read.
About the Author: Lily Luchesi is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of the Paranormal Detectives Series, as well as various short stories in the horror, paranormal, and erotica genres.
Her first young adult novel, The Coven Princess, hit #1 on the Amazon hot new releases chart and remained in the top twenty for two weeks.
Lily is an active and out member of the LGBT+ community, a self-professed nerd, music-lover, and a little obsessed with vampires and comic books. When not writing or reading, she can be found drinking copious amounts of coffee, getting tattooed, going to concerts, or
watching too much of the CW.
She was born and raised in Chicago. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads.
You can also keep up with Lily via her newsletter … and receive a free e-book as well!
Join Detective Danny Mancini and Special Agent Angelica Cross as they face down vampires, witches, shifters, demons, and the evil that lurks deep in the heart of Chicago.
The Paranormal Detectives Series returns with all new covers, updated content, and a new companion novel. All featuring the badass vampire we’ve come to know and love.
Buy them all now for less than $8, or read them on Kindle Unlimited HERE!
Read Vampire Blood and Iron Bullets today! It’s also available on Kindle Unlimited HERE!
One girl. One dream. A few hurdles.
Ten-year-old Vivian is determined to win a medal at the Olympic Games one day. Problem is, she hasn’t found a sport she’s any good at yet. But everyone says if you work hard enough you can achieve anything, right? So when Vivian discovers she has a talent for cross country running, finally, her Olympic dream might actually come true.
But then a family illness is uncovered and all of Vivian’s plans begin to unravel. Can she keep her dream alive? Or will she be stopped in her tracks?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Penny Tangey writes humorous books for young people. Penny studied Arts/Science at Melbourne University majoring in Chemistry and Indonesian. While at university Penny performed stand-up comedy, including in the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Penny now works as a researcher for television quiz shows Hard Quiz and The Chase, but is still terrible at trivia.
Penny’s latest book As fast As I Can, is her fourth book published by University of Queensland Press. Her three previous novels being; Loving Richard Feynman, Clara in Washington, and Stay Well Soon.
Title: See All Evil
Series: Academy for the Wicked #1
Author: Majanka Verstraete
Genre: New Adult Reverse Harem / Academy / Paranormal Romance
Release Date: June 2, 2020
On my eighteenth birthday, a zombie-like version of my mother told me I was invited to join the Academy for the Wicked.
Hours later, the diner I worked at was overrun by creatures that shouldn’t exist. Alec, a warlock, who appeared out of thin air and made a glass levitate – which is probably the least of his powers. A demon named Christian, the culprit who was behind my mother’s zombie-like episode this morning. Damian, the vampire, who promptly killed my manager, and Tristan, a necromancer who could summon the dead, and the most mysterious one of them all, a mesmer called Ronan.
All of them swore they would protect me from the nightmare that has haunted me for years: the red room, the throne of blood, the Queen of Maggots. I have had the same horrible nightmare for years, but now it seems the Queen of Maggots is no longer confined to the world of dreams…
With five gorgeous guys eager to protect me, I should feel safe, but the Academy is unlike anything I’ve ever had to endure. The students and teachers all keep secrets, and the Academy itself is a deadly trap.
To survive my first semester at the Academy of the Wicked, I will need to figure out who and what I truly am, and why the Queen of Maggots wants me dead…
Majanka Verstraete studied law and criminology, and now works as Legal Counsel. Writing is her passion ever since she learned how to read.
She writes about all things supernatural, her books ranging from children’s picture books to young adult novels, all the way to new adult academy and reverse harem books.
Check out her website for more information about her current series and her upcoming projects: http://majankaverstraete.com
Win an eBook copy of SEE ALL EVIL upon its release!
Download the Prequel Novella to Academy for the Wicked for FREE!
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Odd Voices: An Anthology of Not So Normal Narrators
Genre: Multiple – Queer YA
Publication: February 21st 2020
Publisher: Odd Voice Out
Review copy provided as part of Review Tour – Thank You
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In every new story we pick up, we’re seeking an exciting original voice. So why are there still voices we don’t hear from nearly enough? Why are there characters that so rarely take centre stage? In this collection from Odd Voice Out press, we discover the stories of twelve teenagers who stand out from the crowd and who’ll not easily be forgotten.
With settings that range from Scotland to Syria, Mexico to Mauritius, Africa to Russia, these stories take us to all corners of the globe and into the lives of young people with their own unique circumstances and perspectives. Characters dealing with issues of culture and class, exploring their sexuality and gender identity, or letting us into their experiences with illness, disability or neurodiversity. Their tales span all genres and can’t be reduced to labels. These are stories about bending the rules and breaking the law. Stories of fighting for survival and finding your place in the world. Stories of family solidarity, unlikely friendships and aching first love told by teenagers who don’t always fit in and aren’t often heard.
With a foreword by award winning YA author Catherine Johnson, this anthology brings together the top ten stories of Odd Voice Out’s 2019 Not So Normal Narrators contest, as well as bonus stories from in-house authors Kell Cowley and K.C. Finn.
How can you not be keen to read this anthology after a synopsis like that! Odd Voices is a brilliant and inclusive feeling anthology. There are stories with narrators that we do not get to see much of in mainstream YA, and the stories span multiple genres. Obviously, as with any anthology, I preferred some stories to others. But all the stories were of a high caliber.
Breathe by Eddie House. Dystopian, with F/F rep. A Great story to kick start the anthology with and one of my favourites. Captivating from start to finish, I would love to see this turned into a full-length novel. I need to know what happens next for Emmaline & Arabella, underdog teens rebelling against a corrupt health system together. 5/5 Stars.
“the thought of losing her makes my stomach shrivel. Em is my everything. My sun, sky, stars. Loving her feels like my body is a bonfire of salt and skin and blood built human.”
For Hugo by Tonia Markou. Contemporary, autistic rep. The mummy in me just wanted to hug Xander, so damn adorable! I loved this heart-warming story of a sweet boy looking for his lost pet lizard and struggling to behave the way he feels others expect him to. 5/5 Stars.
The Silence Rock by Mary Bill Howkins. Contemporary. A day in the life type story following an eleven-year-old Nigerian boy as his eyes are opened to the struggles of the women of his village community. This is a beautiful story about a thoughtful and caring young boy. 5/5 Stars.
Anchor by Colby Wren Fierek. Contemporary, non-binary rep. An achingly beautiful story about a 13-yr-old in the process of coming out. While the style of the writing caught me up a bit in some parts, I loved the relationship between dad Todd and child Viv (previously Victoria). 4/5 Stars.
“It’s hard sometimes, remembering that the way you are isn’t something that can be summed up all neat by phrases that belong to everyone else.”
Imago by Jack Bumby. Magical realism, M/M rep. The story follows Charlie as he explores his sexuality while battling memory and motor function loss. A deeply tormenting but gripping and beautiful tale. 5.5 Stars.
Love Makes Everyone (Into Poets) by Oceania Chee. Magical realism, F/F rep. The story of a teen so lovesick for her friend that she has flowers growing in her lungs that threaten to suffocate her. While I understand and appreciate the symbolism, I did struggle with the magical realism elements a little bit. 3/5 stars.
Oblivisci by A.Rose. Dystopian, with visually impaired rep. Set in a world were memories are currency, a young girl uses her extra abilities to try and save her sister and ends up overwriting the computer system that controls the memory trade. 3/5 stars.
Piano Wire by Rowan Curtis. Contemporary. The story of a Syrian girl’s life from having a peaceful and happy family life to hiding out alone in war ravaged ruins to overcrowded refugee camps to starting a new life in the UK. A Heart breaking but absolutely beautiful story. I’d love to see this story explained on and turned into a full-length novel. 5/5 Stars.
Shoplifting by Frances Copeland. Contemporary, wheelchair user rep. A day in the life style story about an orphaned teenager who uses her wheelchair invisibility to steal merchandise that she later has a friend sell. Her plan, to save up enough money to get her own apartment. Super sad, but beautiful. I’m telling myself that she gets her wish for her own place. 5/5 Stars.
Size of Rice by Sabah Carrim. Contemporary. The synopsis for this story being “A Muslim girl who finds her growing pains at odds with her religious doctrine.” Teenager, she’s just a normal teenager, being a teenager and coming to question the world around her. I think we can all relate to that. 3/5 Stars.
A last meal of magic by Kell Cowley. Urban fantasy, Albinism rep. A starving teen sets off to try and bargain for some food for his family with a woman who may or may not be a witch. Spoiler, she’s a witch. Also, cats can see ghosts – you’ll have to read it to understand why it’s so upsetting when we, the reader, find that out. 4/5 Stars.
Sixty-Five Days of Night by K.C. Finn. Cli-Fi (No not Sci-Fi, Cli-FI* – This is the first time I’ve ever come across the term. How about you?)
A gripping tale set on a future post-climate change catastrophe earth, where humans must take shifts in being in hibernation chambers as the earth can no longer support the whole population awake at once. This story has a super dark ending, but I still really liked it. 4/5 Stars.
*Definition of cli-fi in English: cli-fi. noun. mass noun. A genre of fiction that deals with the impacts of climate change and global warming. ‘cli-fi, like the science behind it, often presents bleak visions of the future’. – Google.
It seems this anthology is to be an annual competition and publication process. So I will definitely be keeping an eye on this publishing house’s future releases. For more info on Odd Voice Out publishing house contest see HERE.
“If you look out of your window, wherever you live, even if you live in a tiny village, there will be different sorts of people out there. People of different races, gender identities, abilities and social classes. If your books are not reflecting that then, as a writer, you’re not truly reflecting society. And obviously stories are fiction and fiction is lies. But you should be aiming to tell the truth with your lies.” – Taken from the anthology forward by Catherine Johnson.
Sea of Gratitude (The Bikini Collective #3)
by Kate McMahon
Genre: Contemporary #LoveOzYa
Publication: March 1st 2020
Review copy from Author – Thank You
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Three friends discover, surfing just got serious.
Book three in the Bikini Collective series sees the girls preparing for another action-packed surfing adventure, but one of them is burdened with secrets. With all of her scholarship funds exhausted, Carolyn has no choice: she’ll have to drop off the World Junior Tour. Just as all seems lost, the Bikini Collective – along with a mysterious donor – save the day. Next stop: Brazil! The lush South American tropics are dreamy; playful waves, everyday fiestas and beautiful, smooth-talking Brazilians. But can Carolyn find what it means to truly be happy? Just like a calm ocean with a deceiving undercurrent, things aren’t always what they seem.
In the first book we saw the three friends – Jaspa, Mel and Carolyn – competing in Australia while learning how to navigate staying friends and competing against each other. The second book sees the girls head to Malibu to attend their first World Junior Tour event as part of the Australian team, and their first-time leaving Oz. The first book focuses more on Jaspa, her awkward adorableness and her relationship with her brother. The second book was all up in Mel’s head as she learns how to tell who her real friends are, how not to get lost in the glitz and glamour and how to appreciate the things/people she has in her life. In this the third book the girls head to Brazil with the Australian World Junior Tour team and we follow along with Carolyn as she struggles with feeling like she does not belong.
15-year-old Carolyn does not feel like she fits, anywhere. Certainly not with her more well to do besties and classmates. She has very little faith in her own abilities as a competitive surfer and feels like a fraud on the team.
Carolyn’s qualified for the World Junior Tour but she doesn’t have the money to make it to Brazil. All her scholarship funds have been used up on surf school fees and the Malibu trip. She has been trying to save money from her part time job, but with having to help her mum make rent, she can’t get the funds together. Her friends find out about Carolyn not having the funds and they get together to host a fundraising event, and thus the Brazil trip begins.
Carolyn tries to keep everything locked up inside. She spends a lot of the book stressing about her mum back home, money, her mystery father and later, her sexuality. While all her problems are not resolved by the end of the book, she does learn that she is good enough, that she’s not alone and that her friends and family have her back. She also manages to score the best wave of her life and have a stellar competition run.
Sea of Gratitude is full of all the things I loved from the first two books. The surfing action scenes are written so descriptively that you feel like you are out on the wave. And the story is cute and quick-paced, full of heart and Girl Power!
I think that Sea of Gratitude could probably be read as a standalone, but then you would be depriving yourself of the fun of the first two books and building a deeper connection to the characters.
Who would like this book: While it’s listed as YA, this is a clean book that’d I’d recommend for ages 10 and up. Water and surf lovers. #LoveOZYA aficionados. And lovers of friendship filled tales. I applauded Kate for managing to create an exciting series that doesn’t use sex, violence, or OTT romance to make it captivating.
Slow Down: 50 Mindful Moments in Nature
by Rachel Williams (Author) & Freya Hartas (Illustrator)
Genre: Children’s Picture Book, Nature
Publication: April 1, 2020
Publisher: Magic Cat Publishing
Distributor: Walker Australia
Source: Review copy from the publisher – Thank You
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Slow down to watch 50 nature stories that command calm and foster mindfulness
All around us, nature is working wonders. Every day, hour by hour, magical transformations happen right in front of you. But it’s not always easy to see them . . . In this beautiful illustrated collection, 50 moments in nature are paused for you to watch them in detail. Then you should go outside, and explore, and see what you find when you take the time to slow down. Gorgeously illustrated, this charming collection celebrates the small wonders happening all around us every day.
About the author
Rachel Williams studied literature before becoming an editor and publisher of children’s books. She is also the creator of best-selling natural history and adventure books, including The Atlas of Adventure series and Illuminature. She lives with her husband and daughter in London.
About the illustrator
Freya Hartas is a UK based illustrator of children’s books. She graduated from Falmouth University with a first class honors in BA illustration in 2014. The same year, she won the international Lemniscaat illustration Award which resulted in the publication of Little Kong, her first stand-alone picture book. In 2012 Freya Hartas won the Roald Dahl Funny Prize.
Slow Down is a book to be savored a little bit at a time. The artwork is a visual treat, absolutely stunning! There are no photos I can take to do the beauty held within these pages’ justice. Each double page spread features a new animal or act of nature, bringing about a calm as you focus on the pages, or rather a mindfulness as the book focuses on the world around us.
It took my boys and I a little while to get through this illustrated factual nature book. We were reading four stories (eight pages) each afternoon, taking the time and discussing the animal or event before we moved onto the next one.
Riley (6) was asking all sorts of questions about the critters we were reading about. And to keep Ethan (3) engaged we were counting how many lady bugs, butterflies, etc. were on the page and pointing out the creature’s colors etc. I like to think that subconsciously some of what I was reading out loud was being absorbed. At least I know from the conversations we’d have later in the night about something we’d read in the book that Riley was absorbing some of the information.
This book has fifty different ‘stories’ about the amazing earth we inhabit and the fascinating creatures we share it with. There is a double page spread about butterflies going through metamorphosis, the fazes of the moon, cherry blossoms, how spiders make their webs, horse’s galloping, bees making honey and so much more!
Slow Down is a fantastic tool for introducing, or reintroducing depending on the children’s/adult’s age, to the wonderful natural world around us.
Old Enough to Save the Planet by Loll Kirby (author) & Adelina Lirius (illustrator)
Genre: Children’s Picture Book, Climate Change
Publication: April 1, 2020
Publisher: Imprint – Magic Cat Publishing, Distributor – Walker Australia
Source: Review copy from the publisher – Thank You
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An inspiring look at young climate change activists who are changing the world.
The world is facing a climate crisis like we’ve never seen before. And kids around the world are stepping up to raise awareness and try to save the planet. As people saw in the youth climate strike in September 2019, kids will not stay silent about this subject—they’re going to make a change. Meet 12 young activists from around the world who are speaking out and taking action against climate change. Learn about the work they do and the challenges they face, and discover how the future of our planet starts with each and every one of us.
A conversation with my 6-year-old son, upon finishing reading Old Enough to Save the Planet:
Riley: Is this real
Me: Yes buddy, these are all real stories, the kids really did these things. Did you enjoy the stories?
Me: Did you learn anything?
Me: What did you learn?
Riley: That we need bees.
Me: Okay. Did this book make you want to do anything differently?
Me: What do you want to do?
Riley: Save the planet, just like the people in the book.
Me: What do you want to do first to save the world.
Riley: *staring at me as he realised I was typing what he was saying* Why are you typing it down.
Me: Don’t worry about that. Is there anything in the book you want to try to do?
Riley: Save the bees, save the plants.
Me: Yeah buddy, but is there anything specific they did in the book that you want to do?
Riley: Save the bees.
Me: Yeah buddy, but how.
Me: You want to plant a bunch of flowers for the bees.
Me: Well that’s a start.
Both my 6-yr-old Riley and 3-yr-old Ethan sat through the entire book. Yes, my 3yr-old was mainly interested in the beautiful pictures, but my 6-yr-old appeared to be paying attention to the words. As we read each child’s story I tried to expand on the topics e.g. discussing with Riley why bees were so important, why plastic in the ocean was so bad and how his school also has a compost plan in place just like the school in the book.
Old Enough to Save the Planet is physically beautiful, a real feast for the eyes. Each child’s story takes up a full colour extremely detailed double page spread. After we read the story and discussed it for a bit, to keep younger Ethan entrained we counted how many rhinos, or bees, or butterflies, or watering cans etc. were on the page and just admired the artwork a little longer before turning to the next story.
I think this book is a fantastic way to open up important discussions with children about simple things we can all do to look after our planet. At the end of the book are suggestions for things we can all do at home and a list of websites with resources for doing so and continuing on the discussion of ideas covered in this book. I’ll definitely be reading it with My boys again.