Category Archives: Fantasy

Review of A Hidden Fire: Elemental Mysteries Book 1 by Elizabeth Hunter

Who knew Vampires and Librarians could be so engaging? I just finished this book, and while it took me a while to read (it’s rather long at 274 pages) it was a very good story with well drawn characters and a few moments of suspense that made it hard to shut off the light! Giovanni is a rather odd character and for the first few chapters I had my suspicions about him but I wasn’t sure where Ms. Hunter was going with some of the odd traits. B. (short for Beatrice) is one smart cookie with a quick sense of humor and a nice shot of sarcasm and she was instantly engaging as a main character. There’s a solid story that drives the action – and the supporting characters are also very well developed. There’s even a slightly psychotic villain and I have to say I love a bad guy who “giggles” – it gives him just that touch of madness that makes him completely unpredictable.
There was one section in the book where I thought “Wait, isn’t that wrong?” and I flipped back a few pages to check the continuity, but it didn’t impact the story at all. I only mention it because one glaring “oops” in a book generally makes me love the story less but it didn’t in this case. That must mean the plot was tight enough, the characters believable enough (and yes, Giovanni is as dashing as his name would lead you to believe; but he’s also adorable in that boyish way that is oh-so-attractive :)) and the action paced well enough that I couldn’t even remember the stumble once I moved beyond it.

Ms. Hunter draws her scenes with such clarity and attention to detail that the “movie in my head” plays without interruption. This story is well written and well edited and I just looked on Amazon and it’s FREE right now. Pick it up – it’s a really good read!


Review of Pocket Full of Posies by Angela Roquet

Installment two of the Lana Harvey series was almost as good as Graveyard Shift (the first one) but for some reason Lana’s hair-trigger temper got on my nerves a bit toward the middle. Lana’s a Reaper (as in one of the grim ones – an employee of he-himself – the Grim Reaper we all know and hope not to meet) and she’s planning her career path while being attacked by demons for a past transgression. Her boyfriend is a very sweet archangel named Maalik – but for some reason Lana finds him unbearable and frankly she’s a little mean to the guy. Okay, I got the reasons but they seemed a little disproportionate to the anger she displayed. Once I learned to ignore her ill temper and nasty attitude, I liked the book. Liked. Didn’t love.

This is one of those reviews where I’m carefully choosing my words because I think the book is worth a read. There’s a lot of interesting action, a few good twists and likeable characters (yes, even Lana’s usually likeable). It’s a fun piece of escapism and for some reason I think the author is heading somewhere with the “angry Lana” – maybe that’s in the next book or maybe I’m completely wrong and Lana’s really a major head-case who will eventually wind up murdering someone because they looked at her wrong – either way, I’ll read the next book to find out but if Lana’s still a bit nuttier than a Snickers Bar then I’m done.

Here’s what you need to know – Good plot, stand-alone book (you don’t need to read the first or the next), good action, slightly irrational main character but a good enough supporting cast that you can ignore it, and clear, concise world-building. Not as funny as Graveyard Shift, but entertaining none-the-less. Priced at $2.99 (for this week, at least) it’s worth a shot. I’m interested in knowing if anyone else reads it and has the same reaction. Post a reply, please.

The Disenchanted Pet by Kate Policani


The Disenchanted Pet

By Kate Policani

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian

Short synopsis: Far into the future, the Earth is ruled by the ShaZha, a hyper-intelligent race of alien beings who are plagued by the violence and volatility of the human race. Supposedly intending to repair the broken societies and polluted planet, they have found the Human problem to be much more complex than they ever imagined. Zarah is a Prodigy, an obedient human, with a caring ShaZha master. Zarah wants to prove all her master’s hopes that humans can be civilized and responsible. When she is lost by her master and exposed to the other side of humanity, she must confront the possibility she might be not a valued citizen, but a pet.

I am currently writing my next book called The Stray, a second book set in the ShaZha Earth. It isn’t a sequel, but the story connects with The Disenchanted Pet

Buy The Disenchanted Pet on Amazon (Kindle and Paperback)

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Long Synopsis: The Disenchanted Pet is a short Science Fiction novel that takes place in the popular “post-apocalyptic Earth” setting, exploring the unique problems with the Human Race and how to “fix” it. Zarah is a young, optimistic girl, entering into the exciting world of adulthood with an idealistic perspective. But Zarah lives in the a future where Humanity is ruled by an alien race occupying Earth in order to rehabilitate and repair the planet and its people. Reality intrudes on Zarah’s unspoiled outlook when she is attacked and separated from her SaSa, an alien guardian who is like a parent to her. Trapped within the Feral Facility, pregnant and separated from her home and new husband, she learns all the mistakes about the reality she believed in. She sees that the “Ferals”, who who aren’t serviceable within the ShaZha’s plans, are not necessarily the monsters her Prodigy society has portrayed them to be. Suffering through the harsh truth about her world and the errors in her ideals, she must face a future without the assurances upon which she always relied. The Disenchanted Pet appeals to Science Fiction lovers as well as readers who have never explored the genre before. It explores the disillusionment of growing up and the harsh realities of adulthood, but with aliens.

Fortunes Bought and Sold

For paranormal and mystery fans alike…

Calypso “Caly” Mendelsohn expected a normal day reading Tarot Cards for the tourists in Salem. She definitely didn’t expect her former partner Sandro to show up and demand Caly return the little book she stole. She also didn’t expect her life as a reformed con-artist to get turned upside down. Everything Caly has worked so hard to build is threatened by Sandro’s visit – but before Caly can run from the danger, her next client slides into her booth and things get even more complicated.

Dan Saint James has inherited a shipping company from his grandfather, but he’s made his own mistakes and needs help to make sure the past stays hidden. There are particular skills required to deal with a collection of stolen artwork, and Dan needs Caly’s help to keep the secret stash from being discovered by the wrong people.

Caly’s entire past has sauntered through the front door of the Psychic Parlor and forced her to decide if she really is committed to helping her clients in the most ethical and honest way possible – or if she’s just a con-artist waiting for the perfect scam. Dan’s problem could be profitable to Caly and that might just be more temptation than her black little soul can resist. In order to help Dan, Caly must use her less than savory skills to outwit others who would love to use her past – and Dan’s past – against them.

When there’s a fortune at stake, it’s not always easy to get a second chance.

The Story Behind Fortunes Bought and Sold
The first time I visited Salem, Massachusetts, I fell in love with the way the city embraced its heritage and the way it managed to profit from a terrible past. Salem took a chilling event and turned it into a way to teach tolerance and acceptance while refusing to forget the horrors of the witch trials – and it has a lot of fun doing it. During a tour on the Salem Trolley, I thought about twisting the idea into a story about someone with a past they were not proud of. How could that person move on and put a positive spin on something that was awful? It was on that tour when Calypso Mendelsohn was conceived, and it’s been an interesting experience watching her grow!

So many people go through life trying to keep a tight lock on their less savory attributes, only to discover that those hidden things bubble up at the worst times. Think of the man who cheats on his diet while lauding his willpower, or the woman who consoles a friend while secretly cheering that their perfect life isn’t so wonderful after all. These are not bad people, but their inability to acknowledge their faults leaves them on a slippery slope where guilt and deceit lurk in the periphery and threaten their good intentions.

Most of us delude ourselves to some extent, but I didn’t want Caly to suffer the same fate. There’s something admirable to me when people own their faults and I wanted Caly to have a bit of that honesty. She is not blind to her own faults; if anything, she is well aware of her “black little soul” and “larcenous heart” and struggles to acknowledge her benevolent motives – she would laugh if you called her altruistic. Her ability to embrace her faults and repent her dishonesties is one of her greatest strengths, but it isn’t until another desperate and guilt ridden person needs help that she realizes her own jaded past makes her uniquely qualified to help someone else untangle a sordid past and get a second chance – and that is something Caly believes in.

Caly is the honest con artist who risks her own comfort to help someone else start over. In order to do that, she must rely on the very skills she finds so distasteful – those less than charming talents are exactly what Caly needs to employ in order to set things right. She walks the fine line between doing wrong for the right reasons; she’s good at being bad.

That brings me back to the story of the city of Salem where Fortunes Bought & Sold takes place. While the tragedy of the Salem Witch Trials remains a prominent part of the town’s past, it has also become a lesson for the future. The town has embraced the tale and used it to educate and further the understanding of how hysteria is spread and how the whisperings of malicious people can cause real destruction. The legacy of the Witch Trials is tolerance, and the message contributes to the positive vibe of the city despite its sordid past.

The tragedy in Salem was brought about, in part, by vicious rumors and an inability to stand against the crowd. Sure, there was a belief in wickedness and evil, but the more familiar sins of greed and jealousy played no small part. We are so familiar with those emotions that we tend to ignore their power. Those two emotions play an important role in Caly’s story.

She encounters these unpleasant feelings in her journey and must deal with them because unless they are brought out in the open, they can erode the very foundation of Caly’s plan. The lesson for Caly is the same as the one Salem so brilliantly learned: Embrace and acknowledge the bad, then forgive yourself and do everything in your power to make sure it never happens again – and don’t forget to have fun while you’re doing it!

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