In 19th century Europe the most deadly vampire-killing weapon ever devised is up for grabs – and both the Undead and the living will stop at nothing to possess it…
It’s a legend, a fairy story parents tell frightened children to make them sleep. Basium Lucis – Daylight’s Kiss – the fabled compound that recreates sunlight in a bottle, and incinerates bloodsucking monsters on contact.
Vampire hunter Anton Yoska doesn’t believe in its existence or the whispered rumours of its creation by Leonardo Da Vinci 250 years before.
But when a mysterious Hungarian arts dealer claims to have uncovered the long-lost formula, Anton’s cynicism is shaken to the core as he is tasked to procure the pyrotechnic marvel for the Vatican’s centuries-old battle with the vampire sect known as the Brethren.
In a desperate race to beat nosferatu forces intent on destroying the wonder weapon, and cold-blooded gangsters who desire the Alchemist’s most prized invention for their own aggrandisement and riches, Anton is caught in a maelstrom of double dealing and lies..
Traps loom at every turn, and nothing is what it appears, but acquiring the Basium Lucis is tMyhe least of the his problems – for the ferocious Modjeski vampire family want retribution for his slaughter of their clan chief a year before. And old flame and rival slayer, Nadia, has her own devious plans to thwart Anton’s quest.
As time runs out and predators circle, the beleaguered hunter realises he’s been tricked into a suicide mission. But Anton Yoska won’t go down without a fight – and he doesn’t care who he takes to Hell with him.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
It’s a while since I’ve stepped into the world of vampires and the paranormal. This story has rekindled my interest. Set in the nineteenth-century, it follows a quirky team of vampire hunters as they search for the Daylight Kiss. Pursued by the undead, and held to ransom by the Vatican, the hunters face danger and treachery, in a strange paranormal historical fantasy world.
This is the second in the Blood Riders series and is enjoyable as a standalone read. There is enough backstory to introduce the main characters, in the initial prologue. An engaging, exciting story, with intricate and vivid world-building, and vibrant and easy to visualise characters. Humour lightens the tension. There are some gory scenes, which are in keeping with the genre.
Paranormal adventure, an atmospheric historical setting, and memorable characters.
Jay Raven is the author of Gothic chillers and historical horror reminding readers that the past is a dangerous place to venture, full of monsters and murderous men. He blames his fascination with vampires, witches and werewolves on the Hammer Horror films he watched as a teenager, but living in a creepy old house on the edge of a 500-acre wood may have something to do with it.
If you would like to be informed of new releases, enjoy free short stories and access exclusive giveways and competitions, please subscribe to Jay’s monthly newsletter on his website at http://www.jayraven.com
When the fate of the world rests on your shoulders, how do you choose between what you ought to do and the only thing you really want?
Leonie finally knows who she is. But now she needs to decide who she is going to be. Her choice will affect not just her family, not just those she knows, but tens, hundreds of thousands, millions of people that she doesn’t. And every path that’s open to her will put Perry under the pressures that caused his breakdown before. How can she do what she must and still protect Perry?
Perry desperately wants to make things easier for Leonie. Somehow he has to find the strength to face the things that all but destroyed him in the past. But every way he turns, some aspect of his past lies waiting to pounce – even during his happiest moments. And he can never forget that Leonie’s life is in danger from someone, somewhere.
Gabriel has managed to negotiate peace, at least in theory. Now he must put that into practice and reunite Leonie with the family she never knew she had. Then disaster strikes right in the middle of his own sanctuary. Can he still protect those he loves, or has he been harbouring a villain the whole time?
Extract: Taken from the second chapter, Leonie and Perry are staying at Castle Tennant. This is the morning after Leonie has had a nightmare and destroyed the Shield protecting the Castle.
Perry grinned at me while we were eating. “I made you a promise yesterday,” he said. “Fancy going swimming after breakfast?”
I nodded eagerly. Swimming always made me feel better no matter what was going on. As soon as I’d finished eating, I grabbed my costume – and Perry – and hurried down to the pool. I was ready first so I slid into the empty, still waters, closing my eyes and revelling in the waves lapping against my skin. I took a deep breath, ducked under the surface and swam as far as I could underwater, enjoying the sensation of being totally encompassed by it. When I came up for air, Perry was in the water too, leaning back against one side of the pool.
He smiled at me. “Are you sure you’re not really a fish?” he asked.
I splashed him and he came after me, in a whirlwind of water, splashes and laughter until he caught me.
We were still in the pool, swimming laps, when Lilyrose and Brin came to find us.
Brin squatted down by the edge of the pool and I looked up at him.
“I am sorry about last night,” I told him.
He smiled. “I told you, don’t worry about it. I’ve managed to persuade Uncle Neville to fork out for a full set of new Shields and a few other goodies, so I’m very happy about it all.”
“Typical Brin,” Perry called. “Always manages to come out on top.”
Brin swivelled on his toes to look at Perry. “Thought you might like to come over to the practice ground again,” he said. “Best not to be caught off guard.”
But Brin was off guard, balanced there on his toes. I reached for just a little power and pushed. He toppled into the pool, arms and legs flailing frantically. He came up spluttering, launching himself at me. “You little…”
I giggled and dived straight under him, beneath his legs, before surfacing next to Perry, who was shaking with laughter. “Best not to be caught off guard, Brin,” he called.
Brin turned, a big smile spread across his face. “Very good,” he conceded. “Now did you want to come over to the practice ground or not?”
Perry looked back and forth between me and Brin, and I could feel he was uncertain. Knowing we could be in danger had made him eager to brush up on his defensive skills but at the same time, he didn’t really want to leave me.
“You go,” I told him. “I just want to swim for a bit longer and then I’ll come and find you.”
He smiled in relief at the decision being made for him, kissed me, and then he and Brin got out of the pool to dry and dress. I swam up and down the pool for a while, revelling in the rhythm of my strokes and the lap of the water against my body. It helped me get my thoughts in order.
What if the ethical choice has devastating consequences for others?
How can anyone know the right thing to do?
Leonie chose to sacrifice everything to save other people. Now those around her have to face the consequences – and those consequences are not what they expected.
Prospero must deal with his own guilt. He was the one who gave Leonie the tools she needed – her life was in his hands. To make the most of what she did, he will have to face up to all the family issues he has avoided for so long. Whatever he chooses to do, someone he loves will be hurt. For Leonie’s sake, is he now strong enough to make the choice he couldn’t make before?
The crisis predicted by Lord Gabriel has come and gone. But his task isn’t over. Leonie’s very existence may be out in the open but Gabriel discovers that the past is never what it seems – and nor is the present. How can he use what he now knows to bring together those who have been enemies for as long as anyone can remember? If he fails in this, everything he’s had to do so far will be in vain.
What if your secrets are so dangerous they could destroy the one you love? Is honesty always the best policy?
Leonie may have run away but Prospero will find her. He loves her and he wants a future with her by his side whatever the consequences. Only when he does find her, he ought to tell her who he really is, outside the monastery. That’ll make her run again. Dare he risk it? But if he doesn’t tell her, someone else may…
Marriage to Prospero is what Leonie wants most and the one thing she knows she can’t have. If he found out what she was really like, what she’d been, what she’d done, he’d despise her and she couldn’t bear that. Better to leave now than live a lie – but it’s harder than she expected. If only…
Gabriel is starting to discover the secrets inherent in Leonie, secrets that not even she knows, secrets that will tear the world apart. And the secrets he is keeping are tearing him apart. How can sacrificing those he loves possibly achieve peace when everything he discovers risks the death of millions?
A girl. A monk. An unthinkable sacrifice. When the choice is between love and life, how can anyone decide?
In a post-apocalyptic future, a girl and a monk, both with extraordinary mental powers, have compelling reasons not to fall in love. But their choices will have consequences for the rest of the world.
After the troubles of his youth, Brother Prospero has found comfort and fulfilment in the monastery. Then he discovers something that forces him to reconsider his whole vocation. How can it possibly be right to leave a life of worship and service for human desire? And if he does leave, will the pressures from his past destroy him?
Orphaned and mistreated, Leonie has found sanctuary and safety at the Abbey. When she comes into contact with Prospero everything spirals out of her control. Everyone she’s ever loved has died. She can’t do that to him. But how can she walk away from the first place she’s truly belonged?
Abbot Gabriel is faced with an impossible choice. He can do nothing and watch the world descend into war. Or he can manipulate events and ensure peace – at the cost of two lives that he is responsible for. Is he strong enough to sacrifice those he loves?
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Giveaway link above. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
Rachel J Bonner is the author of the compelling and enthralling four book Choices and Consequences series. The first book in the series, Strand of Faith, was published in November 2018. Book 2, Thread of Hope, released on 2nd May 2019, followed by Weave of Love on 24th October, and Cloth of Grace at the end of February 2020.
Getting a degree in engineering, followed by a career in accountancy is probably not a conventional path to becoming an author, particularly in paranormal romance. Rachel says that, although accountancy isn’t anything like as boring as everyone thinks, writing is a lot more fun. When not writing, she can be found walking in the beautiful countryside near where she lives, which has influenced much of the scenery in her books or shooting things with her local archery club. Shooting targets only, honest. Nothing to worry about.
She also enjoys swimming, eating chocolate chip cookies and growing aromatic herbs, especially thyme and rosemary. It’s no coincidence that her heroine likes the same things.
You can find out more about her books and sign up for Rachel’s newsletters on her website.
Kelly S. Marsden grew up in Yorkshire, and there were two constants in her life – books and horses. Graduating with an equine degree from Aberystwyth University, she has spent most of her life since trying to experience everything the horse world has to offer. She is currently settled into a Nutritionist role for a horse feed company in Doncaster, South Yorkshire. She writes Fantasy stories part-time. Her first book, The Shadow Rises (Witch-Hunter #1), was published in January 2013, and she now has several successful series under her belt.
Budding writer Lorna Bryson is struggling to come to terms with the recent death of her father when she meets Monkey Arkwright, the boy who loves to climb. The two strike up an immediate rapport and Monkey challenges her to write about him, claiming that he can show her things that are worth writing about.
True to his word, Lorna is catapulted into Monkey’s world of climbing and other adventures in the churches, woodlands and abandoned places in and around their home town of Culverton Beck.
When the two teenagers find an ancient coin in the woods, claims from potential owners soon flood in, including the mysterious Charles Gooch, who is adamant that the coin is his. But this is only the opening act in a much larger mystery that has its roots in some dark deeds that took place more than a century earlier.
Combining their talents, Lorna and Monkey set about fitting the pieces together in a tale of budding friendship, train-obsessed simpletons, the shadow of Napoleon and falling pianos.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
A curious couple of youngsters are drawn together and into a strange and rather dark mystery, with supernatural elements. The characters in this book are complex and quirky, adding to their appeal, and allowing them to view events in a different light from the norm. The plot is detailed and fits together nicely, it is layered without appearing convoluted and is resolved well.
Both teenagers have sadness in their lives, and perhaps they see this similarity in each other and that’s what makes them friends. They both have strengths and weaknesses, but like all successful partnerships, together they are strong and successful.
An engaging, original mystery with wonderfully individual characters and interesting potential for further stories.
Rob Campbell was born in the blue half of Manchester.
He studied Electrical & Electronic Engineering at Manchester Polytechnic, gaining an honours degree, but the fact that he got a U in his Chemistry O-Level helps to keep him grounded.
Having had a belly full of capacitors and banana plugs, on graduation he transferred his skills to software engineering. He still writes code by day, but now he writes novels by night. Listing his pastimes in no particular order, he loves music, reading and holidays, but he is partial to the words and music of Bruce Springsteen.
His favourite authors are David Morrell, Joe Abercrombie, Scott Lynch & Carlos Ruiz Zafón.
He lives in Manchester with his wife and two daughters.
The woods that frame the housing estate uncover a series of heinous acts, drawing onlookers into a space of clandestine, queer sexuality: a liminal space of abject and uncanny experience.
A question echoes in the odd borderlands of being, of fear-fascination, attraction-repulsion, of sex and death…
Who put Bella down the Wych-Elm?
R. M. Francis is a writer from Dudley. He completed his PhD at the University of Wolverhampton for a project titled Queering the Black Country and graduated from Teesside University for his Creative Writing MA.
He’s the author of four poetry chapbooks, Transitions (The Black Light Engine Room Press, 2015), Orpheus (Lapwing Publications, 2016), Corvus’ Burnt-Wing Love Balm and Cure-All (The Black Light Engine Room Press, 2018) and Lamella, (Original Plus, 2019).
In the sleepy town of Lost Maidens Loch, people sometimes disappear…
Down a quiet lane in town sits a little shop full of oddities you’d probably miss if you weren’t looking for it. This is Love’s Curiosities Inc., and its owner, Temerity Love, is sought by experts all over the world for her rare and magical gift: the ability to find lost things and learn their stories.
When Lost Maidens’ pretty local school teacher is found murdered by a poisoned cup of tea, a strange antique hand mirror is discovered nearby. Temerity – with the help of witchy sister Tilda, their cats Scylla and Charybdis and the lovingly eccentric local townspeople – is determined to divine the story behind the mirror and its part in Miss Molly Bayliss’ untimely death.
If only grumpy out-of-towner Angus Harley of Lost Maidens Police wasn’t on the scene. Temerity can’t solve the crime without him, but he’s distracting, and in more ways than one. Can this unconventional duo solve the most mysterious murder ever to blight Lost Maidens Loch before the killer strikes again?
I received a copy of this book from Bookouture via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This story has all the ingredients for a perfect escape. Cozy mystery, with a touch of magic, and vividly created characters and setting. Set in a small town in the Scottish Highlands, the loch has a mystical significance, well understood by psychic Temerity, and her herbalist sister Tilda. Temerity’s gift manifested when her first love died tragically at the Loch, something she feels inherently guilty for. Both women feel tied to the small town and they are intrinsic to its wellbeing.
The villagers accept the women, although gossip has it that they are witches, with their two seemingly lazy cats and an opinionated parrot. Temerity’s give for psychometry, has proved useful to the police in the past, but the new officer in the town isn’t convinced. Maybe he’s worried about his secrets?
There is so much in this first book to absorb the reader and capture their interest. The setting is authentic and described so well that you can visualise it. The mystical ethos, and legend that surrounds it add to its appeal. The protagonists are complex characters full of flaws and hidden layers. Some of which, are revealed in this book. Some are hinted at, to be revealed later in the series? The small-town dynamic works, the sense of community and gossip is evident. The cast of characters colourful and mostly easy to like.
The magical, witchy element is the icing on the cake, not too far-fetched, but outer-worldly enough to appeal. The cozy mystery is cleverly plotted, with lots of suspects, a dastardly murder, and plenty of clues and misinformation, to engage those who enjoy this.
A brilliant start to what promises to be an enchanting series, with wide appeal because we all need a little magic in our lives.
Parr doesn’t believe her ability to see auras is a gift. It hasn’t exactly done
her any favours. Quite the opposite, in fact. Having become something of a
loner, she tries to avoid people and the glow surrounding them, preferring to
view life through the lens of a camera, where she can’t see those telltale
when a rare visit to a theatre ends in death and bloodshed, Olivia’s life is
about to become considerably more complicated.
the mayhem, one man stands out, and not just because he seems oblivious to the
terrible carnage. The reason? He has no aura.
everyone has an aura, right?
for the dead.
Not only is she fascinated and intrigued by this strange, compelling man, in the aftermath of the tragedy she gains a protector; a man whose aura is deep, dark red – the colour of blood.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
A lovely mix of paranormal, mystery, suspense and passion, with a historical connection that gives the story authenticity and depth. The use of a well known infamous historical character as the antagonist is clever, his documented personality traits fit well with this story, and give it a believable menace.
The action scenes are well-written. and vividly described, they convey the sense of danger and mayhem perfectly and make the paranormal world the author has created within normality believable.
Olivia is a fighter, she’s had to be. suffering appalling bullying since childhood, and lack of family support since they discovered her gift or curse, as she believes it to be. She is likeable, and you want her to succeed, and find happiness.
Olivia apparent unawareness of the paranormal, is ironic, considering her paranormal skill. This may in part, be due to being told by her family, and the numerous medics she has seen that she has a neurological condition.
The interaction with Crow is intriguing, he is on a mission, but finds the time to offer his protection to Olivia, even though she doesn’t want it. Their relationship is a slow burn, barely friends, but there is something there, that may grow.
This is a dark story and the menace increases with the story’s progression. There is an element of noir humour, which people often use to make sense of something that is not quantifiable in human terms, this works well.
Paranormal stories have dipped in popularity, but this is not a lighthearted story of vampires, but one grounded in history and legend, and it paves the way for an exciting series.
Elizabeth Davies is a paranormal author, whose books have a romantic flavour with more than a hint of suspense. And death. There’s usually death…
A fast-paced thriller set on the streets of a London rife with undercover magic.
Abras, as they are known, can harness these illegal powers, but for con-artist Amanda Coleman – whose father was a powerful and abusive practitioner – magic is anathema.
When her criminal crew decide to hire an Abra to help with their heists, they don’t expect to raise a demon or to quickly lose control of it. Now Coleman and her crew must travel across Siberia to a remote stone circle in order to kill this murderous creature, who has destroyed everything they hold dear.
But as the demon’s power grows, a battle of wills commences. Coleman must fight to survive, facing demons both in chains and within herself.
I received a copy of this book from Canelo via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Fantasy and paranormal fiction do not have the popularity of a few years ago. The current trend for fusion in genres allows for paranormal and fantasy themes, to fuse with the crime fiction genre, something which has always been popular in graphic novels.
‘The End of the Line’, is a crime based story set in a dystopian world, where magic is outlawed, and paranormals are used to further criminal ends, often, as in this case, with disastrous results.
The violent world setting of this novel is immediately apparent. The leader of the gang is ruthless and emotionally damaged having suffered a personal tragedy. The violence is vividly described, indeed this story would make an excellent graphic novel.
Understandably, there is a great deal of world-building in the main part of this story, which adds to the complexity, and takes the reader away from the main story. If you are a fan of fantasy worlds, this will not be a problem, but if you find it difficult to merge into someone else’s creation, this will reduce the book’s appeal.
The story is fast-paced, adrenaline-fueled and dark. There is little to dissipate the noir world, some of the characters do have redeeming features, but these cost them dearly. The picture painted, is of a world without hope.
So, not an uplifting read, but something to try, if you enjoy fantasy crime in a dark dystopian setting.
Taylor and Jan have an edgy, exhilarating and dangerous occupation: they’re monster hunters. While they’ve endured many strange adventures in their Southern California/Los Angeles area turf, their latest is as harrowing as it gets….for they are about to encounter the nefarious bubog, the demonic offspring of the cult leader Bubog, an entity carrying the seed of the Dark Prince himself, and he is trying to impregnate as many human women he could lay his hands on. While the intrepid monster hunters track the bubog down in an attempt to put an end to their evil scourge, Jan learns that her best friend, Carol, has been initiated into their cult and the two must save her before she too gives birth to one of these abominations. But can they save her? And can they rid our world forever of these diabolical Demon Seeds before it’s too late?
This is a short read, it took me about half an hour to complete, and so it’s the perfect book for reading on your phone. I haven’t read any of ‘The Occult Files of Albert Taylor’ but it is easy to get into, so important for short stories.
There is an interesting relationship between Taylor and his graduate student Jan, who is clever but full of youthful innocence. There is a sense of Taylor studying her because a couple of times he talks about capturing her actions or expression in a photograph.
The writing is atmospheric and image-driven. It reads, like a graphic novel without the pictures, and its fast pace builds tension and enhances the action sequences. The monster hunters are akin to the demon hunters in the ‘Supernatural’ series and will appeal to readers who enjoy this type of fiction.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
Derek Muk is a writer and social worker from California. His short stories have appeared in various online and small press magazines, including New Realm, Cheapjack Pulp, Ink Stains Anthology, Nebula Rift, 9 Tales, Story of the Month Club, Cranial Leakage, The Haunted Academy (Novella-Midnight Frost Books), Fiction On The Web, Whispers From The Past: Fright and Fear (anthology), Dark Eclipse, The Dead Walk (anthology), 13 Magazine, Diabolic Tales 3, Both Barrels of Legends of the Monster Hunter I and II, The Trigger Reflex: Legends of the Monster Hunter II (anthology), Suffer the Little Children (anthology), Splatter: An Anthology of Horror, Death Rattle, Dark Things II (Anthology), Anthology of Ichor: Hearts of Darkness, Twisted Tongue Magazine, Static Movement, Sex and Murder Magazine, Sinister Tales, Night to Dawn, M-Brane SF, Sonar4 E-Zine, The Ethereal Gazette, 7th Dimension Magazine, Switchblade Magazine, ESC! Magazine, Scorched Wings Magazine, Hardboiled, Masque Noir, Detective Mystery Stories, Dawnsky, The Pinehurst Journal, Mystery Forum Magazine, The Green Queen, Kracked Mirror Mysteries, Golden Visions Magazine, Crossroads Magic, The Street Corner Magazine, Calliope Magazine, Unspoken Water, Space and Time Magazine, Infernal Ink Magazine, Tales of the Talisman Magazine, Aurora Wolf, The Horror Zine Magazine, Disturbed Digest, and Parabnormal Digest. He has three chapbooks published: Three Parts, The Sacrifice and Other Stories, and Sin After Sin. In addition to writing, he enjoys reading, travelling, museums, art, dining out, and meeting new people. He has a bachelors and masters degree in social work. “The Occult Files of Albert Taylor” is his first full-length collection of short stories.