Eva Charles-Delivered

So, Eva Charles is back with Delivered, the second book in The Devil’s Duet. Because of the nature of a duet, there are likely to be spoilers in this one for the first book, Depraved. I will try to avoid them, but it isn’t always possible. You have been warned.

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So, we open up to the Gatehouse on fire. Gabrielle was there, in her rooms at the top of the hotel. Her security woke her up since the alarms didn’t go off. She and her security calmly and methodically warned the guests as they worked their way down. Gabrielle was just about to go out, when she saw Georgina’s car there. Georgie was her best friend and assistant, and she shouldn’t have been there. She was hugely pregnant, and Gabby had already been at her hours and told her to stay home that night. She has to go try to rescue her friend, but she gets rescued.

JD has just returned to town after his father’s inauguration just to find out that there are warehouses on fire, and, oh yeah, so is the Gatehouse. He rushes over there to see what’s going on, and starts searching for Gabrielle, and finds her being loaded into an ambulance. He pushes his way into the ambulance and goes with her to the hospital to stay with her, saying he’s her fiance. When Gabby comes to, she is really confused, and she keeps asking for Georgie, who sadly, didn’t make it out.

The first part of this story really tore me apart. I grieved with Gabrielle for losing her home, her livelihood, her dream, her best friend, and her best friend’s baby, on which she had pinned so many dreams all in one fell swoop. I mean, losing any one of those things would be hard, losing any two would be so difficult, but then losing everything would just destroy anyone. Then you add in other things, like secrets, guilt, depression, stress, and everything else that Gabrielle has to deal with, and seriously, the whole first half of the book is just so sad.

JD deals with everything the way that he usually does. He tries to control everything and make everything happen the way he wants. The problem is, you can’t really do that. JD has issues. This book shows more of his backstory, and you get to understand why he is the way that he is. He has to be in control. He has to try to control everything in his environs. That can be part of his personality that would’ve shown up anyway, but it can also be a way to deal with all of the everything that he has had to deal with. It’s hard to know if it’s a nature or nurture kind of thing, because it’s just impossible to see that. I’m leaning toward it being a mix of both things.

We learn so much in this book that puts things that happened in the first book in better context. I kind of look back at certain events and go ahhhhhhh. One thing that I was wrong about was that I thought that maybe Georgie was kind of stalking Gabby because she was so jealous of her, and she would’ve been able to do some of the things that had happened, but nope. I’m wrong. It happens.

We need to talk about the elephant in the room for a little bit. Maybe it’s just that I’m me, but I totally see Trump in the JD’s dad as President. Of course, the fictional one is worse than the real one, so far as we know, but I was like yup, that feels familiar.

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Going through Georgie’s journals was just terrible. I was ready to kill the dude, because damn, what a scum sucking pig. My heart hurt.

And then, what happened to Zach? That may have been the thing that I thought was totally the worst, but that’s because of my personal history. My youngest brother had spina bifida and he used a wheelchair. He spent a lot of time in hospitals, and a lot of time in PT, and just the thought of poor Zach made me cry.

OK, that’s all for this one. Go check out the duet. Happy reading!

 

Kay Elle Parker-King of Shadows

King of Shadows is the first book in The Shadowcrown Duet by Kay Elle Parker, and frankly, I would run over to Amazon and buy it before they decide to ban it. I don’t think that they will, but frankly, I didn’t think her last book deserved to be banned and it was, so what do I know? And do be aware that this is a duet, and we all know what that means.

Allianna is on the run. She spent 25 years living in the Shadow Realm as the ward/captive/prospective bride of the Lord of Shadows, Kian. But, she was able to slip into his mind and found out things that she shouldn’t’ve known, and it killed her love for him. Up until that moment, she adored him and was so looking forward to being his wife. And, the truth is, she still loves Kian, Lord of Shadows, who was there for her entire life. Who she doesn’t love is the demon, an actual demon escaped from Hell, who is living in his head. So she ran away and hid herself as well as she could. She’s living on the mortal plane, which is sort of where her heritage is. You see, she’s a half archangel and half mortal. If she hadn’t dyed her hair, she would’ve stood out because of her beautiful white blonde hair.

After 3 months away, Kian has finally come to claim his bride, so he takes her back to the Shadows, and he’s going to do a ritual for mating. Now, it doesn’t say anywhere outright, but I suspect that this marital rite thing that he wants to do is more demonic and Kian the Demon wants to do it more than Kian, Lord of Shadows does. It’s a pretty brutal sounding ritual, and Kian orders Alli to be prepared, including given some drug so that she’s pliant, not combative, and that the ordeal will be some kind of pleasurable. For a given subset of pleasure, I guess. In walks Islador, Kian’s Second, and Alli’s protector. He sacrifices himself so that Kian won’t do this ritual with Alli right now, because Isla knows that it will cause her to hate him.

I am completely torn when it comes to Kian. I mean, the Kian that we see is one I really hate. And I hate him more and more as the book goes on. This isn’t the bad guy that you love to hate or hate to love, who may have some redeeming features. No, this is the bad guy who is so unrepentantly bad that he comes up with new ways to be bad. There is no good in his actions. However, that Kian doesn’t mesh with the Kian of Alli and Isla’s memories or feelings. Also, I don’t know how much we see is Kian, Lord of Shadows vs. Kian, the demon, at least until we get to a certain point. I think that there is a possibility that I would like Kian. After all, anyone who inspired love from people like Allianna and Islador couldn’t be terrible. I can’t tell you for sure and I can’t even tell me for sure because, again, it’s hard to know who is who until a certain point in the book.

The last book of Kay’s that I put on here had one of my top heroines ever. I think that Allianna is going to join that company. She is pretty fucking awesome. She is incredibly strong, fierce, loyal, loving, and damned determined to do what needs to be done and what she thinks is right. And, oh, she may be just plain damned. I don’t know yet. I do think that all of her enemies should be wary of her, and tread very lightly. Frankly, I think that her allies should be somewhat wary of her too. There are some people who will have nothing to fear from her, but I’m 100% sure that those people are going to be incredibly few and very, very far between.

I like Islador. Not that I figured out how to say his name. Half the time when I say it, it sounds like Isildur from LOTR. The rest of the time it sounds like Ile-door. When it’s shortened to Isla, I think of Isla Fisher, and hear it in my head as Ila, with I like eye. Whatever way it’s pronounced, I really like him. He’s a good and honorable man. He really tries to do what’s best for his realm, his Lord, and his Queen, Allianna. He is very loyal to Allianna and to Kian. He’s also madly in love with Alli, and has been for pretty much ever. He won’t do anything though, since she’s bound to marry Kian, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love her and won’t do everything he can to protect her.

There is a lot of stuff that happens in this book. It’s incredibly layered, and there are so many things that go into pretty much everything that happens. If one thing were to change, it would totally change everything else. I really can’t wait to see how everything plays out and falls into place.

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I love Alli’s meeting with her father and his associates. I’m looking forward to seeing how that will affect everything.

I also love Dhur. He’s so incredibly awesome.

OK, that’s all I have to say here. Go check it out, you won’t be sorry! Happy reading!

Anna Edwards-A Father’s Insistence

A Father’s Insistence is the last book in the Dark Sovereignty series, and damn, did Anna save the best for last. I mean, it’s not like the other two were bad, because they weren’t and they packed a punch, but this one was the TKO. It left with me with all the feelings and all the things to say. But first, let’s talk about the story.

Joanna was one of the women who was presented to Nicolas, but he didn’t choose her, which left her to be sold. She was sold to a terrible man who spent a year breaking her down, raping her, training her, and doing all manner of terrible things. Finally, he tells her that he has a plan. He’s going to marry her to his son, she’s going to give him a son, and he will raise that son to take over the Oakfield Society.

Then there’s Theodore, whose sister Victoria was given to Nicolas and who he ultimately married and her best friend Tamara, who Theodore saw as a little sister, who went and married William, Nicolas’ little brother. His father has told him about the society, generally, and told Theo that Victoria and Tamara are brainwashed and that Nicolas and William are terrible men who are abusing the women. Which, you know, they totally aren’t, but the old Viscount isn’t happy with the way that Nicolas is taking the Society. Theo keeps trying to see his sister and Tamara to whisk them away to safety, even as they tell him that he’s wrong. Then, one night, Theo gets drugged and wakes up in a house where his father shows him a very thin, obviously abused woman, covered in bruises, and says her name is Joanna and that Theo needs to marry her to save her from Nicolas and William.

So, the man who bought Joanna and tortured her for a year is Theo’s dad. He’s fucking twisted, and considering what Nicolas’ dad was like and what the society got up to, that’s saying something. I personally think that he was more evil than the old Duke was. And again, that’s saying something. I mean, not only was he pretty much evil incarnate, I think that he was also more than a little crazy. His cheese done slipped his cracker. I’m sure there is some British-ism that describes the same thing, but I don’t know it. Anyway, cheese and cracker no longer meet. I don’t think they are even in the same postal code anymore.

Joanna is strong AF. I really like her a lot. She’s a survivor, even if she doesn’t think that she is. It’s there though. Just the fact that lasted a year under the crazy man’s rules and came out of it as sane as she did says a whole helluva lot about her. I also like that she questions everything that happens and that she says. She knows what’s right and what’s wrong, and even as she makes the decisions that she does, she knows what she should and shouldn’t do. I understand completely why she does everything that she does because I would totally do the same thing in her situation. I don’t think that anything she may or may not have done at this point can really be held against her by anyone because of what happened to her. Not that I’m excusing her, but you get what I mean.

I really spent a lot of the book pretty sure that Theo is a fucking idiot. And I will stand by that. I will argue with almost anyone about it. He listened to his father a little too much and didn’t use whatever brains he may have been given. When his sister and Tamara were telling him things, he chose to ignore them, and chose to believe what his father said, all evidence to the contrary. I think he must not have thought a whole lot of his sister and Tamara. I mean, I would think that Tamara, at the very least, would be strong enough to be able to get away, if she really wanted to. He really just didn’t give the ladies enough credit, which was stupid on his part, if you ask me. Joanna does help him, so he ought to thank heaven for her for so many reasons.

I cried and yelled at this book. There were some parts that made me so blasted mad, sometimes at Theo and definitely at his father. I love how strong all three of the ladies in this book are, and really admire them for all their strength and gumption.

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I loved the epilogue. That was just wonderful. I love the new society and who signed the charter for it.

OK, that’s all I have to say about this one. Go check out all of Anna’s wonderful books. Happy reading!

Natalie Bennett-Beauty and Rage

Natalie Bennett is back and this time she comes bearing a PNR for us. And because it’s a Natalie Bennett, you can be sure that Beauty and Rage is intense and that it lives up to its name. And trust me, it really is and it really does. And I’m probably going to go slightly crazy waiting for the next installment, and Natalie probably wouldn’t have it any other way.

So, Duvessa is the crown princess to the kingdom of Zenith, the kingdom that represents Spring. That is, until one fateful night when her world comes crashing down around her. She ends up Queen of Zenith in the most horrible way, and has to run for her life. She ends up in hiding, until she has to turn to help, no matter what her friends Scarlett, Jacinda, and Toby have to say about it. Toby is convinced that Reyes destroyed her kingdom, while Duvessa is sure he didn’t, because what would be the point. Sick of hiding and her people dying, Duvessa presents herself to Reyes.

Reyes is the King of Purgatory. He has plans and machinations in place, and he’s 32 steps ahead of everyone else. He knows what he wants, and what he wants is Duvessa. He’s willing to do a lot to grab her and keep her and Duvessa probably isn’t going to like it. He knows a lot of things that Duvessa doesn’t know. He knows a lot of things that we don’t know.

There is a lot of paranormal stuff going on in this. You have lycans and vampires, demons and wraiths, and then you have demis, who are basically halfbreeds. The demis generally don’t have the power that their full blooded parents would have. You also have dupires, who are a genetically created race. Don’t worry, you don’t have to remember them from my description, Natalie has a glossary at the front which can help you remember who is who.

There is a touch of Omegaverse going on in this, maybe. Or it’s possible that I just see it everywhere lately, since MF Omegaverse is starting to gain in popularity and I read pretty much all of it. If I haven’t read it yet, then I will be soon. That’s how that works. Anyway, there are some things that happen in this that would be familiar to anyone who reads Omegaverse. I suppose it’s also familiar, in places at least, to other shifter or PNR books, so who knows. I’m sure that Natalie does, and maybe she’ll tell us and maybe she won’t.

I like Duvessa, mostly. I think that she’s smart and canny. But, I think that she isn’t paying attention to the big picture and she’s kind of stuck at the little picture, which can make it hard for her to do what she needs to do, and there’s a lot that she’s going to need to do here, I think.

Reyes is one of those guys that I’m either going to love to hate or hate to love, I’m not sure yet, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out. He’s very dominant, and very possessive and territorial. He’s also very much a planner. I think he might put Machiavelli to shame with how much he has planned. I can’t wait to see what is going to happen next.

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There is going to be not a lot that I can put down here. Even if it’s my spoiler area, anything that I want to put here is more spoiler than I want to put. I think that there are a couple of things that I can say.

I want to know what memories are being hidden and who is hiding them and why they are being hidden. It seems like the person can almost see them, but not quite. So, that’s going to be interesting to watch.

OK, that’s all for today. Go check it out! Happy reading!

Aria Adams-Punished

Today we are looking at the last v of Aria Adams’ Unbreakable series, Punished. This really is the perfect book to end this series with.

Instead of just focusing on 1 couple, we are actually focusing on two. We have Kirie and Lafayette, both humans from the Stack, and then we have Harrow and Rahul. You may remember the evil Doctor Harrow from the first two books. Well, if you hated her, you’re going to be really happy.

After the happenings in the last book, Lafayette, who is one of the Controllers of the Stack, goes down to the military commander’s rooms, and finds a woman in a cage who is just staring out of a big hole in the wall, and who could possibly fall. She’s been brutalized, so he lets her out of the cage and takes her to his quarters. After a while, he finds out that her name is Kirie, that she was taken from her parents when she was 14, and 2 years later was given to Lark, where she’s been living in hell for the past 10 years. He decides that he’s going to keep her.

Dr. Harrow is the evil scientist that is behind Grande Pharma and all its terrible experiments and actions. And while she might think that she is beyond everything that could happen to her, the fact is, she really isn’t. And now, she’s about to learn that actions have consequences, and she’s about to get hers in the worst possible way. She gets tossed naked into a cell with Rahul, the last Alaxian that Grande Pharma has imprisoned. She’s going to learn some hard lessons, including things like there’s always something bigger.

Even though this is a dark romance book, and some really terrible things happen, it isn’t the darkest one in the series. In fact, I would give that title to the second book. Have you ever noticed that the 2nd book is often the darkest? Well, definitely the truth here. Even though there are some terrible things that happen in this book, I really feel like it’s hopeful overall. I know that sounds weird to say that, but the fact that Kirie is rescued in the beginning sets the hopeful tone for me. The fact that Harrow is taken out of power adds to it. There are a lot of other things that add to that tone, but I’m not going to say what they are. You’ll just have to read and find out.

I really like Lafayette. He may be the top of the heap in the Stack, but he’s amazingly human. When he finds Kirie, he doesn’t just leave her there, which he could. He doesn’t call someone else who could use a slave like her. No, he takes her into his home and cares for her. He gives her a familiar framework to work within, but does it in a much better way. He’s looking for a D/s relationship that is more equitable and healthy. He is very patient about the whole thing and doesn’t get all frustrated and start yelling.

You have to remember that Kirie has spent nearly half of her life in hell. She’s been very, very painfully trained to be and act in a particular way. While Lafayette is helping her, she still has a long way to go. You don’t get over 10+ years of conditioning in 2 seconds flat. But she’s getting there, and Lafayette is going to help her with that. I think that Kirie is very strong. I mean, think about what she’s gone through and how she’s survived it. I think she is fractured, but has somehow managed to keep herself from being completely broken.

I never liked Harrow, I mean, isn’t she the whole villain of the piece? And I still don’t particularly like her. I don’t even feel sorry for her. I think that she made her bed and now she’s going have to lay in it. And it ain’t all that particularly comfortable. I think Rahul is perfect for her. They are a match made in heaven, or hell, depending on how you look at it.

While Aria says that this is the last book in the series, I kinda hope that she writes more in this world, because I can see more stories in it.

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I like how Kirie gets her own back. I’m so proud of her.

I also like the secrets we find out about Lafayette’s background.

OK, that’s all I have to say about this one. Go check out the entire series, I thought it was amazing. Happy reading!

Winter Travers-Drop a Gear and Disappear

Winter Travers is starting a new MC series, Kings of Vengeance, and Drop a Gear and Disappear is the first book in the series. That term is mentioned a couple of times in the book, so I had to turn to the handy dandy Googletron to see what it had to say about it. The Almighty Google said this about it, when a rider needs speed all of a sudden, it’s easier to drop down to the next lower gear, because that forces the engine to rev higher immediately and gives the rider the necessary speed. It takes longer for the higher gear to rev up to get the speed needed than it would by dropping a gear. So, that’s what it means. I think that Winter named the book with more than one layer there too. You’ll see why I think that.

Quinn/Gear is recently out of prison and he’s joined an MC. He had a cellmate who told him all about the MC life, so Quinn moved to a new state and joined the Rolling Devils. He knows that they are going to put him through hell because he’s a prospect and the lowest of the low, but he’s willing to put up with it because it’s a brotherhood, and that’s what he wants.

Q/G also has a girlfriend that he lives with. Her name is Kimber. Kimber doesn’t like the guys in the club and doesn’t really approve of him being in the MC. He keeps trying to get her to go to parties, but she doesn’t want to. Finally, he gets her to agree to go to a party. And that’s when the trouble begins.

Of course there’s going to be trouble, because otherwise, it would be a super short book. And while it is a quick read, it isn’t super short. If you think that it seems familiar, you are right, because it originally showed up in an anthology, but Winter took it and expanded it a bit, et voila.

I like Quinn, overall, but I think that he is a little bit naive at the beginning. Or maybe blind. He needs to have that brotherhood so much that he’s willing to do anything he can to get it. So, is he willfully blind or just blinded by need? I don’t know, but it’s an interesting question, isn’t it?

Kimber is a strong woman and a strong character. She had to be, and she dealt with things that I wouldn’t have been able to, and they didn’t break her. I really hope that we see a lot more of her during the series, because I think that she’s going to be a force to be reckoned with, and I think that she’s going to have a lot to do and say when it comes to the Kings of Vengeance. I mean, not that a woman would rule the MC in this ‘verse, but ol’ ladies can be strong and powerful, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

I’m looking forward to seeing more characters develop as the series goes on, because we just got a small taste of most of them, and not a full dinner.

 

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OK, if you’ve made it down to my little spoiler section, I’ll tell you why I think Winter’s title is a multi-layered kind of thing. For one thing, Gear gets dropped off and the Rolling Devils think he has disappeared. And then later, Quinn drops the name Gear, so, that’s why.

OK, that’s all I have to say on this one. Go check it out! Happy reading!

Raisa Greywood & Sinistre Ange-Demon Lust

Sinistre Ange is the dark pen name for Golden Angel. Just a couple of days ago, we had Golden’s latest, Chasing His Polar Bear. Well, Demon Lust is 180° from Polar Bear, and around a few corners and possibly in an entirely different universe. Ange teamed up with Sick Puppy Extraordinaire Raisa Greywood and together, they decided that Happily Ever After was really Happily Never After and people just misheard. There are 6 stories in this book, and I’ll bet you can guess what they all have in common.

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Ange starts off the book with her story of vengeance and justice. Lyana comes back to her village to find that there are a group of raiders who are destroying her village, and she ends up watching her sister being raped basically to death. Lyana wants her revenge on the raiders, so she ends up summoning a demon, Leonard, so that she can get her revenge.

OK, first of all, I had to snort a little about Leonard’s name, because who ever heard of a demon named Leonard? But for the rest of this? It actually made me think about the difference between revenge, vengeance, and justice. I don’t know if that was Ange’s goal, but that’s what happened. I really enjoyed this story, and I think I may have earned a lesson.

Raisa-The Devil’s Doorbell

A few weeks ago, this particular meme went through the FB author/reader community that I happen to participate in. Raisa saw it, and thought, hmmm… I see a story.

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And, apparently, she was right, because there is a story there. And it’s a somewhat disturbing one.

There was a huge war, and while America won, it was destroyed. Now there’s Newmerica, which is a theocracy of epic proportions. I mean, it makes Gilead from The Handmaid’s Tale look like a land of orgies. Women are sinners. Their bodies are evil. You shouldn’t even touch any part of your body with your bare hands. Yeah, you get the idea. And this is how Ruth grew up. She never touched her sin cave, but that doesn’t stop her from getting into trouble.

I often say that The Handmaid’s Tale is the scariest book I have ever read, hand down. And this one takes THT one step further. Or maybe 1000 steps further, and considering how short the story is, that’s saying something. It’s a really good story and one that I really enjoyed a lot, even as it scared me just a little bit.

Ange-One Damned Fuck

This is the closest story to happy and light that we get in this one. It’s a welcome relief right in the middle of the rest of it.

Angie is dealing with something that a lot of us women have dealt with at some point. She has some dickhead who doesn’t understand foreplay and thinks that hammering at a vagina like a jackhammer is the way to go. So, she does what a lot of us have done, she fakes an orgasm to get him to go away, and makes a wish on a fallen star for one damned decent fuck.

You ever hear the saying be careful what you wish for, you might just get it? Well, considering the title of this book and what Angie wished for, do you think that she got it?

Fun story, all things considered, and some very talented body parts going in this. I mean, VERY talented. I wonder if I can find that star that Angie wished on?

Ange-We Invite You In

You know how you see in horror movies that you really shouldn’t ever read the mysterious book? Well, this story is an object lesson of why you don’t do that.

Gerry, and her friends Lee, Brandi, and Anne, are in a haunted house, and the three friends have the fun idea of summoning a demon.

I remember doing things like saying Bloody Mary and playing Stiff as a Board at slumber parties with my friends, but I’m pretty sure that none of us really ever decided that we would summon demons. I don’t know that I would have played that one. Well, maybe I would’ve. I wasn’t all that sensible as a teenager and I was willing to do all kinds of strange and interesting and impulsive stuff. Hopefully, I would’ve come out of it well.

Ange-The Monster Under the Bed

Remember when you were a kid and you were sure that there was a monster under your bed, and as long as you had all your body parts on the bed and were under the covers, nothing could get you? You likely grew out of it at some point. As you got older, you realized that there was no such things as monsters under the bed. But, what if you were wrong?

Danielle knows that there is a monster under her bed. No one ever believed her, so her parents had her committed. As long as she had a roommate she was fine. But now she’s just turned 18, and everything is going to change.

Oh my, this one got under my skin, a lot. Once, long ago, I had some issues with my head, and believed some things, and I really related to Danielle. I could really feel her emotions all the way through this short story, and it was… I don’t know what it was. It’s hard to describe. But, Danielle will live with me for a while, I think.

Raisa-Breathless

Raisa originally put this up on Literotica, if I remember correctly, and one of the commenters said that she was a Sick Puppy for this story. And she wears her title proudly. I personally upped it to Sick Puppy Extraordinaire because of this book. Breathless is one of those stories that will disturb you but you just can’t help flipping the pages because you need to know what happens. I loved it when I first read it. And I love it more now.

Lucy is a surfer and she loves to be out on her board enjoying the waves. One day, she meets a great white shark, which no one really ever wants to do you know, but something scares it away. The next thing she knows, she meets some guy in the water, and he tells her to take a deep breath.

This story really is twisted and dark. Really twisted. It’s disturbing in the best way and is hard to shake off. I don’t know if I want to shake it off anyway, because it’s a really good story. Sometimes I wonder what’s in authors’ heads, but this is not one that I want to know what was going through Raisa’s head while she was writing. Did that sentence make any sense? It did to me.

This was a lovely book of some dark stories. I’m not entirely sure that they are all Happily Never Afters, but I’m not sure that they aren’t either. I think for this one that HEA/HNA is all in the mind of the beholder. Bethinker? Whatever, you know what I mean. Some of them really caused me to think while I was reading them, and a couple of them will stay in my head for a long time, I think. That is totally awesome.

That’s all for today. Go check it out. Happy reading! And enjoy this Boris Vallejo picture. If you read a lot of fantasy in the ’80s, you probably ran into a lot of Boris’ cover art. But I think that this one is perfect for this book.

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