Archive for the ‘Paranormal or fantasy’ Category

Welcome to my 31 Days Of Thrills And Chills!

day of the dead photo: Dancing Skeleton dancing_skeleton.gif

I’ll be sharing all kinds of books, movies, and other spooky stuff for every day in October. Gots to

get those scares on for the 31st!

And welcome to my Saturday Screams where I share books that, well, make you scream!

Black Bayou

The Dark Legacy #1

by Sara Clancy

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Genre: Horror / Paranormal

 My Review

Now this is more like it. The story starts out with an explosive scene and really doesn’t slow down much from there.

Events move swiftly after Marigold’s parents tried to drown her in the bath tub. Turns out they had a huge secret. Once it’s exposed, Marigold has to leave town to avoid those who blame her for what her parents did. Her aunt offers to let her come live with her in New Orleans, so off she goes.

This is where you’d expect things to slow down a bit while the author gives you some filler. But, it doesn’t. Weird and scary things happen as Marigold travels to New Orleans and keep happening once she gets there.

It takes a lot to make my creep-o-meter spike to the red zone. This story had all the bells and whistles I look for in a solid horror story. And I couldn’t have asked for a more genuine main character. Not to mention the setting. New Orleans is popular for vampire and voodoo stories. And it sure worked good for what lurked in the pages here.

Kudos to the author for choosing the perfect title and great cover art for her story. It’s what first drew me to this book and the story lives up to its name.

Not too long or too short, this story was just right for a late night read. The only hitch, it didn’t really have an ending. A lot of questions were left unanswered. I enjoyed this so much I’ll continue with the series, but leaving me hanging with so much still left open was the one thing that kept if from being a 5 star read.

4  Stars

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Synopsis

Marigold La Roux had a perfectly average existence…until the night her parents tried to murder her.

Barely escaping with her life should have been the end of Marigold’s living nightmare. Unfortunately, it was just the beginning. Her entire world starts shattering. She moves to New Orleans to stay with her only living relative, her aunt Delilah. She believes the bustle of Bourbon Street will help her get a fresh start, but strange things start happening to Marigold at the La Roux estate. Ghostly voices whisper in her ear, sharp knives scrape against her door, and something in the darkness lashes out, leaving deep claw marks on her back.

Hoping to understand her torment, she starts delving into her family’s past and is shocked and appalled by what she discovers. She begins to understand why locals shudder at the mere mention of La Roux house. The attacks against her grow more vicious, ravaging not only her body, but also her mind.

Desperate to end her suffering, Marigold teams up with Louis, an occult enthusiast, who hopes his knowledge of the paranormal can help end her family curse once and for all. But, the dark forces of evil are relentless and their twisted hold runs deep in her blood. They will stop at nothing to get what they want: her life.

Amazon

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For a list of my reviews go HERE.

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I’m so excited to share Kathryn’s newest release. I really enjoyed Witches and she now has Witches II: Apocalypse available for purchase. Even more awesome, you can also purchase both books in one set. I recommend you grab the dual set so you get double the fun!

Without further ado I give you Witches and Witches II by Kathryn Meyer Griffith

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Witches

by Kathryn Meyer Griffith

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Genre: Horror / Paranormal / Fantasy

My Review

Nothing like some witches to keep me reading into the wee hours. I should add that I’ve read many of Kathryn’s books and that always happens.

The age old battle of good vs. evil is portrayed by white magic and black magic.

Some things never change. Even for witches in present times. Amanda is still grieving over the loss of her beloved and just wants to get through each day. Living in a small town, her unusual ways raise suspicion and she’s the likely culprit for the town folks when the murders begin.

It’s Salem all over again as the town turns on Amanda, calling her a witch, shunning her, and casting the first stone.

As Amanda begins her own investigation, she stumbles into a dark and deadly plot involving dark magic and demons. Now, she’s desperate to reveal the truth before she’s outed by a posse and hung until dead.

A fun thing was the talking familiars. They came in all shapes and sizes and had very vocal opinions. It was also fun to see witches trying to hide what they were from the modern world. They all had different levels of power and couldn’t just twitch their noses and appear somewhere. Even witches had to use cell phones and airplanes.

I thought it worked really well for the story when the author took her story back in time to the witch trials. The contrasts and similarities of life as a witch was intriguing and kept the story moving quickly.

I thought I knew how this would end and worried that it wouldn’t work. That it would be awkward and rushed. Not so. I give kudos to Kathryn for surprising me and pulling it off.

  5  Stars

Amazon

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Witches II: Apocalypse

by Kathryn Meyer Griffith

kathryn WitchesII_Apocalypse_Kindle

Look for my review later this month.

It’s a feature in my 31 Days Of Thrills And Chills and I can’t wait to share with you!

Amazon

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 Witches plus bonus Witches II: Apocalypse

By Kathryn Meyer Griffith

kathryn WitchesII_Apocalypse_Bonus_Kindle

Blurb of double book:

Two Witch books in one:

Witches:

There are witches in the world…some are good and some of them are downright evil.

Amanda Givens is careful how she uses her benevolent powers. She doesn’t want the people of Canaan, Connecticut to know they have a witch among them…even a good white witch. For years, she’s lived quietly in a remote cabin with Amadeus, her quirky feline familiar. At first with her husband, Jake, the love of her life, until a car accident; but now alone after his death. But when she’s wrongly blamed for a rash of ritualistic murders committed by a satanic cult, she knows she can no longer hide. She’s the one the cult is after and she is the only one who can stop them and prove her innocence. Yet as punishment for fighting and destroying the cult, she’s drawn back in time by the ghost of the dark witch, Rachel Coxe, who was drowned for practicing black magic in the 17th century. Now, as Amanda tries to rehabilitate Rachel’s reputation in an effort to save lives, as well as her own, and falls in love all over again with Joshua, her reincarnated dead husband from the future, she has to rely on a sister’s love and magical knowledge, and a powerful sect of witches named the Guardians, to help her get home safely. ***

Witches II: Apocalypse:

The long-awaited sequel to my 1993 best-selling paperback novel Witches is finally HERE! Yes, witches exist…the good and the bad ones…and one day the two ancient adversaries of good and evil will join the fight for control of the world. Amanda has been told her ten year old witch-child, Lizzy, is fated to someday become one of the planet’s most powerful witches. If she lives. If the world survives. Because the world is being threatened by an anti-Christ called Reuben who is prophesied to bring the end of the world by destroying everyone and everything good–including the white witches and warlocks of the world–unless he can be stopped. The Guardians, a secret society of those white wiccans who protect others of their kind and the world from great evil, along with the powerful good witch, Amanda Givens, and her gifted daughter, Lizzy, must battle Reuben and his demonic followers. They must somehow change the outcome of the prophesied end times, aid a possible child of God, help the earth’s people to resist the black witches, demons and the soulless, which the times have brought forth and who are trying to bring hell to earth. Good and evil will be brought together for the final battles. Will Amanda, Lizzy, and the Guardians defeat evil or will it defeat them as they fight with all their strength and powers to save the people, the lives and the world they love. Who will win?***

Amazon

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About the Author
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Kathryn Meyer Griffith

About Kathryn Meyer Griffithlook for all my NEW covers! on my older books.

Since childhood I’ve been an artist and worked as a graphic designer in the corporate world and for newspapers for twenty-three years before I quit to write full time. But I’d already begun writing novels at 21, over forty-four years ago now, and have had twenty-three (ten romantic horror, two horror novels, two romantic SF horror, one romantic suspense, one romantic time travel, one historical romance, two thrillers, and four murder mysteries) previous novels, two novellas and twelve short stories published from Zebra Books, Leisure Books, Avalon Books, The Wild Rose Press, Damnation Books/Eternal Press; and I’ve self-published my last ten novels with Amazon Kindle Direct and my Dinosaur Lake novels and Spookie Town Mysteries (Scraps of Paper, All Things Slip Away and Ghosts Beneath Us) are my best-sellers.

I’ve been married to Russell for thirty-seven years; have a son and two grandchildren and I live in a small quaint town in Illinois, which is right across the JB Bridge from St. Louis, Mo. We have a quirky cat, Sasha, and the three of us live happily in an old house in the heart of town. Though I’ve been an artist, and a folk/classic rock singer in my youth with my brother Jim, writing has always been my greatest passion, my butterfly stage, and I’ll probably write stories until the day I die…or until my memory goes.

2012 EPIC EBOOK AWARDS *Finalist* for her horror novel The Last Vampire ~ 2014 EPIC EBOOK AWARDS * Finalist * for her thriller novel Dinosaur Lake.

*All Kathryn Meyer Griffith’s books can be found HERE.

*All her Audible.com audio books HERE.

Novels and short stories from Kathryn Meyer Griffith:

Evil Stalks the Night, The Heart of the Rose, Blood Forge, Vampire Blood, The Last Vampire (2012 EPIC EBOOK AWARDS*Finalist* in their Horror category), Witches, The Nameless One short story, The Calling, Scraps of Paper (The First Spookie Town Murder Mystery), All Things Slip Away (The Second Spookie Town Murder Mystery), Ghosts Beneath Us (The Third Spookie Town Murder Mystery), Egyptian Heart, Winter’s Journey, The Ice Bridge, Don’t Look Back, Agnes, Before the End: A Time of Demons, The Woman in Crimson, Human No Longer, Four Spooky Short Stories Collection, Forever and Always Romantic Short, Night carnival Short Story, Dinosaur Lake (2014 EPIC EBOOK AWARDS*Finalist* in their Thriller/Adventure category), Dinosaur Lake II: Dinosaurs Arising and Dinosaur Lake III: Infestation

Author Links

Twitter / Blog  / Author’s Den / Facebook / Goodreads / Amazon

Smashword / Pinterest

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Red Dagger
H.G. Lynch
(Reaper Born, #1)
Publication date: August 24th 2015
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

Synopsis

Ruairidh is a Demon Hunter, like his father. But when his father is murdered by a demon he was hunting, Ruairidh must move back to Scotland to live with his mother and brother.
He vows to kill the demon who murdered his father, but he struggles to balance Hunting with college, and his hostile brother makes it clear he wishes Ruairidh had never come back.
Doesn’t help that Ru is falling for the girl his brother is crushing on.
Life is going to get very tricky for Ruairidh, but as long as he has his sword and his wits, he’s ready to take on whatever comes at him.

Goodreads / Amazon

On sale for $1.99 for a limited time only!

The tie-in novella releases the same day – Poison Arrow (A Reaper Born Novella)

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Enjoy the excerpt:

The Catchi loomed up in front of me and grinned, its fangs dripping venom. Then it brought one clawed foot down on my reaching hand, its curved toenails sinking into my wrist, and I cried out in pain. I glared up at it and yanked the hunting knife from the sheath on my thigh, slicing it cleanly through the demon’s calf. It howled and hobbled back as the lower half of its leg hung on by a few threads of muscle. I’d cut through the bone.

Pulling the dismembered foot free of my hand, I tossed it aside and rolled to my feet, blood leaking down my fingers and dripping onto the floor. I knew I had to move fast because Catchi could regenerate limbs – I hadn’t crippled it for long; all I’d done was really piss it off. The neon green blood gushing from its severed leg was already slowing, the stump already knitting flesh to bone and stretching out.

Without waiting for it to heal any more, I lunged while it was still off-balance. I crashed into it at the waist, tackling it to the ground. We skidded along the wreckage-strewn floor and slammed into the wall. The demon scrambled to shove me off, its claws raking my arm, but I ignored the flare of agony and brought my blade down in a vicious arc, ramming it hilt-deep in the demon’s throat. Green blood sprayed over me as I yanked the knife to the side, ripping open the Catchi’s neck.

The monster’s eyes widened, its mouth opening to display brown fangs the length of my pinkie finger, but the only sound that came out was a faint gurgling. Breathing hard, dripping blood – both its and mine – I started to get up, but the demon grabbed my arm, and with one last surge of energy, head-butted me in the stomach. I gasped as I felt the poisonous spikes drive into my gut and stumbled backward, clutching a hand over the wound.

The Catchi went limp, finally dead, but I couldn’t enjoy the success because it had just condemned me to death along with it. “Fuck,” I wheezed, already feeling the venom going to work, the acid eating at my insides.

 

Author H.G. Lynch

H.G. Lynch is a Paranormal Romance author from Scotland. She is an avid reader, and cat-lover. She spends most of her days writing, while wrestling her cat off her laptop. She loves horse-riding, Star Trek, and snow.
Her books are dark paranormal romances.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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~~~~~

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For a list of my reviews go HERE.

For a list of free eBooks updated daily go HERE

To see all of my giveaways go HERE

 

One Shade of Gray
Monica Corwin
Publication date: September 26th 2017
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Synopsis

My name is Dorian Gray. You might think you know my story? Please. That was just the beginning. Not the end.

I’ve lived over 100 years. I don’t know why. I’ve sinned, deeply, but haven’t we all?

Now Sybil is back. Her name is Izzy and she looks the same. Smells the same. Walks the same…but everything else about her is different. Stronger. Bolder. I want her more than ever.

I should keep her safe, and keep my hands to myself. But those dark parts of my soul still linger. I won’t lose her again.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

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Enjoy this peek inside:

Some said women who knew their own minds were dangerous. I disagreed. A woman who knew her mind, and her worth, was intoxicating.

She cleared her throat and I realized my thoughts had been wandering to the past. “My apologies.”

Her face flushed a pretty pink. “It’s fine just stop looking at me like that.”

“Like what?”

“Like I’m more than an employee.”

I leaned out, about to pull her in again for another lesson but she stalled my hands, placing her small ones on the outside of my own. They were chilled slightly but the touch sent a heat through me I hadn’t felt in years.

“I think we just had this conversation.”

She leaned in and pulled her hands into her lap. “No, we had a lecture. You told me how you wanted it and didn’t give me the chance to offer an opinion.”

Fair point. “Very well, what is your opinion on the matter, Miss Vale?”

“Do you actually want to know, or are you going to do that playboy billionaire thing where you declare something to be and suddenly the universe aligns against the poor unsuspecting female you set your sights on?”

I chuckled. She was funny. Maybe Sibyl had been funny too, and I never took the time to notice. “I promise your opinion will be considered with appropriate weight.”

“That sounds like something a billionaire playboy would say.”

I didn’t respond to her taunts but waited instead for her answer.

She raked her eyes over my face and body, and I’d never felt more on display. I sat up straighter, which caused a little tick of a smile to appear at the corner of her mouth.

“I don’t want to date you, Gray. You’re technically my boss, and while you’re very attractive I can’t put aside my personal work ethic.”

My heart hit my feet and shattered like a boulder into a pile of rubble. Of course I wasn’t going to force her to do anything. But part of me had hoped my charm or appeal might at least give me the opportunity.

“Is there anything I can do to change your mind?”

She shook her head and gave me a sad soft smile, the kind reserved for deathbeds and christenings. Definitely not the reaction I wanted from her. Not the smile I wanted from her.

I nodded and stood up, unable to remain under her scrutiny once she’d made her opinion so very plain. “Of course. I’ll not bother you again.”

“And you’ll stop following me?”

I threw some bills on the table, slipped my arms into my coat, and buttoned it, all without meeting her eyes. The rejection stung. In fact, I don’t think I’d ever felt this particular mix of humiliation and sadness. Once I was put together and glued on the face I showed the world, I gave her my own version of the deathbed smile and a little bow. “Of course.”

I walked away without a word but when I reached the middle of the square a hand clasped my shoulder. Izzy grabbed me and held out the book I’d left on the table. I took it and met her eyes, unsure what she could see there, unsure what I could and couldn’t hide when I was around her.

She leaned in and whispered, “I’m not going to ask to kiss you but I will give you this as a parting gift.”

.

Author Monica Corwin

Monica Corwin is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author. She is an outspoken writer attempting to make romance accessible to everyone, no matter their preferences. As a Northern Ohioian, Monica enjoys snow drifts, three seasons of weather, and a dislike of Michigan football. Monica owns more books about King Arthur than should be strictly necessary. Also typewriters…lots and lots of typewriters.

.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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~~~~~

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For a list of my reviews go HERE.

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Three Heart Echo
Keary Taylor
Publication date: September 12th 2017
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Suspense

Synopsis

The demented thing is that this evolved from the most sickly sweet, heart-wrenching love story you’ve ever heard. I went to Sully because I just couldn’t get over Jack’s murder. I couldn’t deal.

Iona came to me for the same reason most did: because there was no closure. A love cut too short. She begged me to open the gate between the living and the dead.

We should have left it shut.

This. This is not a love story. This is a possession story. A story of lies. A story of two faces. This is a story of death and violent echoes from the other side.

And there will be no happy endings.

Goodreads / Amazon

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Enjoy the excerpt:

There’s been this look of dread and apprehension in Sully’s eyes since the moment he opened the church doors to find me. It’s been growing into something hard and cold moment by moment. But with my revelation, it solidifies into something heavy as the world.

“Sit down,” he says in something very close to a growl. He points to one of the two chairs set in the middle of the room.

I sit, dread and fear and anticipation climbing in my throat.

Sully closes the door, and locks it.

The huge man stalks around the room, lighting a match to first one candle, then taking it to light the others. The room gradually grows lighter until a dozen of them are lit, and I can finally see more than a foot in front of me.

I rub my hands over my arms, because suddenly I realize that it is freezing in here, despite the roaring fire Sully has kept in the other room.

Deep, slow breathing pulls my attention back to the man.

He stands in one corner, before a solitary, lit candle. His back is turned to me, his hulking shoulders blocking out most of the light, casting him in an eerie glow. His long hair hangs around his face. He breathes, slow, deep. But there’s a quiver to it. Something unsteady.

I want to ask him if he’s okay. To ask what is the matter, because everything in me screams that there is.

But I’m too petrified to open my mouth.

A draft pushes through the edges of the covered window, sending the flames dancing atop the candles. A shiver works its way down my spine.

Sully suddenly steps back from the corner and drops down into the seat across from me. He holds his hands out.

“The watch,” he says nodding to his right hand. “Your hand.” He indicates the left.

I can’t stop shaking. I set the pocket watch in his hand, and trembling, I rest my hand in his other. He closes his fingers around mine, fully engulfing it with his size.

Sully’s eyes slide closed. I watch his face, seeing something come over it. Like he’s slipping underwater, preparing to hold his breath against certain death. His breathing becomes very light and shallow. His entire body becomes very still. The temperature of his hand drops.

The pain in my chest comes to a peak and I realize just how hard my heart is beating. My hands are slick with sweat. I lean forward in my seat, far too close to Sully’s face for comfort.

My breath is held.

“Jack,” Sully says, his voice low and deep. I jump when he speaks, startled, a bent twig on the verge of snapping. “I know you’ve moved on, but I have someone here who wishes to speak to you. If you wish to speak to her, please show yourself.”

Sully is quiet for a long moment afterward that seems to roll into an eternity of anticipation.

“What’s happening?” I whisper, a cloud of breath billowing out from me.

Sully lets out a slow, long shh, his face suddenly going peaceful.

All the blood in my body drops into my feet.

“Iona,” Sully says. There’s something breathy in the way he says my name, something disbelieving and hopeful and so full of everything.

“Jack?” I breathe as tears spring into my eyes.

“Yes,” Sully says, and he suddenly opens his eyes. But they only meet mine for a moment. They shift off to the right, next to the window, by his shoulder.

Goosebumps flash onto my skin as my eyes follow Sully’s.

“Can you see him?” I whisper. I want to shy back, to put some distance between myself and the ghost only he can see. But I’m also dying inside, knowing he is hidden from my eyes.

“Yes.”

 

Author Keary Taylor

Keary Taylor is the USA TODAY bestselling author of over twenty novels. She grew up along the foothills of the Rocky Mountains where she started creating imaginary worlds and daring characters who always fell in love. She now splits her time between a tiny island in the Pacific Northwest and Utah, with her husband and their two children. She continues to have an overactive imagination that frequently keeps her up at night.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

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Thanks so much for visiting fuonlyknew and Good Luck!

You can find a list of my reviews HERE.

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To see all of my giveaways go HERE



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Cimmerian Shade: A Limited Edition Paranormal Romance & Urban Fantasy Collection
Publication date: September 12th 2017
Genres: Adult, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy

Dare to discover what lurks in the shadows in **New & Exclusive** paranormal and urban fantasy stories from your favorite NY Times, USA Today, and International Bestselling authors.

Under moonlit skies, witches, werewolves, vampires, demons, dragons, and more, battle not only for their mates, but to stay alive…

Fall for the alphas who play by their own rules despite the odds, whether century-old curses or forbidden love, or worse. For them, what lies in the darkness is worth the fight when it comes to romance.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iBooks

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QUOTES AND TAGLINES:

Kyna must battle dark magic and secret societies, deal with kidnappings and satanic weddings, as she struggles not to lose her heart to one of two men—a former Navy SEAL hired to protect her or a wizard hired to train her. Soon she will realize just how true it is that “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
What Lies Within Us by Kiki Howell & Gina Kincade

Inferno. The hottest paranormal nightclub in the city. Can you stand the heat?
Torch Song by Lashell Collins

Man, being a ghost sucks.”
In his stoic way, he delivered a deadpan reply. “Undeniably and indescribably.”
Ethereal Witness by Angelica Dawson

What lengths would you go to prove yourself to your family?
Love Story of a Reaper by Elvira Bathory

Her body burned for them both and the need that poured from her bloomed like the flower she thought she never could be.
Burning Midnight by Erzabet Bishop

Talk about a killer kiss.
With This Heart by Red L. Jameson

Their shared carnal voracity fanned an appetite no amount of indulgence could satisfy.
Saltwater Siren by Muffy Wilson

Drayden saved her life – but her incessant need for vengeance could mean the end of his.
Dangerous Beauty, Sexy Beast by Dariel Raye

“I’m sorry, but was someone talking about me? I thought I heard the word ‘legend’?”
Rose Tears by Amanda Pillar

Bree Brigand’s quest for the truth starts when she learns everything she knows is a lie.
Rogue by Savannah Verte

An island of secrets, a lifetime of anguish, one epic homecoming.
Hexing Hearts by Alyssa Drake

“I don’t know what you’ve heard about me, but I’m not in that sort of business. I’m a concierge, not a concubine!”
Dragons Curvy Concierge by Mychal Daniels

Magic doesn’t bind you to a dragon without a reason.
Credence – Moon Dragons by Decadent Kane

“Tristan had other women grace his bed, but none quite like this one. He had to hand it to whomever had delivered her to him, she definitely was Satan in a beautiful, Sunday hat.”
Kiss of the Fallen by Kharma Kelley

Pan leans down against me and whispers against my cheek, “Tears of a goddess.” His deep, riveting whisper is tantalizing. Qualm tickles under my skin with his admiration. “Forgive me, but I’m finding your tears utterly captivating.”
Selene by Shelique Lize

Dealing with vampires and demons? Piece of cake. Dealing with the ex he still loves? Not so easy…
One Last Lullaby by Kallysten

I felt the angry witch’s curse spreading through my body as if a million icy fingers were taking root under my skin. I was doomed.
Lust by Liz Gavin

“One tiny spell and Samantha’s on the run for her life.”
Witch Playground by Isis Pierce

A wolf’s love is forever…and so is the bond of the pack.
Frozen Soul by Catherine Banks

The darkness will consume them if they don’t face it together.
Taste Of Darkness by Catherine Vale

 

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~~~~~

Thanks so much for visiting fuonlyknew and Good Luck!

You can find a list of my reviews HERE.

For a list of free eBooks go HERE

To see all of my giveaways go HERE

Peculiar County
by Stuart R. West
Genre: YA Paranormal/Ghost Mystery
Release Date: July 30th 2017
Books We Love

Synopsis

Growing up in Peculiar County, Kansas, is a mighty…well, peculiar experience. In 1965, things get even stranger for Dibby Caldwell, the mortician’s fifteen year old daughter. A young boy’s ghost haunts Dibby into unearthing the circumstances of his death.

Nobody—living or dead—wants her to succeed. James, the new mop-topped, bad boy at school doesn’t help. Dibby can’t get him out of her head, even though she doesn’t trust him. No, sir, there’s nothing much more peculiar than life in Peculiar County…except maybe death in Peculiar County.

Amazon

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Check out this excerpt

I pushed through the doors. They swat at my backside, squeaking with mischief. Eee-hee, eee-hee

Down in the workshop, the cold really packed a wallop. I rubbed my arms, stamped my feet. I rode my hand along the wall, searching for the light switch.

Tik…tek…tik

Fluorescent ceiling lamps sprung to life, duller, deader than usual. Instead of providing warm luminescence, they cast everything in an odd light, everything touched in artificial tints.

Immediately, the strong, familiar odor of ammonia enveloped me. But I couldn’t place the other smell, couldn’t describe it. If pressed, I suppose I’d catalog it somewhere between sweet and metallic. Sorta the way blood tastes when you prick your finger and suck on it. I’d never smelled anything like it before, not in Dad’s workshop or elsewhere.

An overriding smell rode in like fog. A strong, wrong odor that brought to mind mold and rot. A primal scent from a different time or place.

Ching! Ding! Ting-a-ling!

Impatient as a hungry baby, the bell-ringer called.

Click.

The walk-in refrigerator door handle swung up.

Chumpf!

The door released its seal and opened, just a few inches. A pale blue—hardly blue, more like moon-white—cone of light fell across the floor. A swirl of frost slivered out, twirled in the bare luminescence.

Ding! Ding! Ching! Ting-a-ling-aling

Cut off in mid-ring, the bell silenced. Everything hushed. No sound, not a peep, a tick, a drop. Just the silent shroud of death.

Slowly, I crept toward the refrigerator. Which didn’t make a lick of sense as I knew Hettie waited for me. There didn’t seem to be any real sense in maintaining silence either. But any noise—even my own—made me want to scream.

Above me, the light flickered off, on, then sizzled like bacon before settling on dark.

My hand gripped the handle. Arctic cold, I wrenched my hand back. I flagged it ‘till the stabbing needles of cold left. With my shoulder, I nudged the door. It pushed open half-way, then stopped. I followed with a mighty mule kick.

The door opened about as far as its hinges would allow.

I took a deep breath, held it. When I exhaled, I spouted out a frozen, visible vapor.

“Hettie?” I whispered.

I entered. To the left, the metal shelves on the wall were unoccupied. On the opposite side, all but one sat empty. A rumpled plastic cloth lay across the bottom shelf.

The eerie blue light had no visible source, but it provided ample light to see by. Maybe too much, considering.

“Hettie?” I repeated a little louder.

In the back of the unit, where Dad housed his supplies, a hanging shower curtain billowed out. Plastic crinkled. Something moved, fluid behind the curtain’s rippling waves. Not exactly flesh-colored, not much of anything.

Tinggg!

My heart urged me to turn back. Traitorous feet wouldn’t comply.

White snails of fingers crawled around the plastic and gripped it. Slowly, the curtain pulled back. Rusty rings on a rustier rod squealed screeeeeee.

Hettie stood exposed, naked. Except for the black “X” stitching up her innards. Varicose veins twined her legs. Toes exploded into corns the size of thumbs. Her scrubbing pad of hair stood up on end, a static raised brush of black and white.

Clouds had moved into her eyes, milkier than when I’d found her, yet intently focused on me. She showed that awful cavernous smile again. Barnacle-like teeth jabbed out of her gums.

Her lower jaw wobbled, then dropped ajar. Not an involuntary movement caused by gas either, the way sometimes happened to corpses. She gasped, a hissing radiator.

She took a doddering step toward me.

Ding!

The bell tied to her toe tolled.

Ding-a-ling!

Each step forward took great effort. A kind of ghostly arthritis hampered her dead limbs, encased them in cement. When she moved, wood cracked. More wood splintered, her body falling apart. She raised an arm. Dark veins spiraled around it, swimming upstream with determination. They rode toward her sagging bosom, traveled north up her neck, snaked beneath her chin, and set up house on her face.

And still she kept coming.

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About the Author

Stuart R. West is a lifelong resident of Kansas, which he considers both a curse and a blessing. It’s a curse because…well, it’s Kansas. But it’s great because…well, it’s Kansas. Lots of cool, strange and creepy things happen in the Midwest, and Stuart takes advantage of them in his workCall it “Kansas Noir.” Stuart writes thrillers and mysteries usually tinged with humor, both for adult and young adult audiences.

Stuart spent 25 years in the corporate sector and now writes full time. He’s married to a professor of pharmacy (who greatly appreciates the fact he cooks dinner for her every night) and has a 25 year old daughter who’s dabbling in the nefarious world of banking.

Author Links:

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