Crystalphoenix's Blog

November 15, 2016

Full Metal Magic

If you like knights in tarnished armor, bad boys who step up and do the right thing when the chips are down and tortured souls striving for redemption then you’ve come to the right place. Full Metal Magic is a collection of stories from some of the best authors in dark, gritty urban fantasy. Violent, irreverent, these are not he “heroes” you’d want to take home to meet your mother. But when the things that go bump in the night are hounding at your heels then a bad boy in your corner is just what the doctor ordered. Even if he has a foul mouth, a surly attitude and is prone to violence.

THE BULL DEMON KING by J.A. Cipriano - Mac Brennan just wanted to take his girlfriend to the fair, but the Bull Demon King had other plans...

Part of The Thrice Cursed Mage series

Mac Brennan woke up in a dumpster with no memory, a black right arm covered in glowing tattoos and a cat demon in his head. It’s never a good idea to make a deal with a demon but sometimes desperate times calls for desperate measures. And Mac will do anything to protect those he loves, even if he can’t remember them or why they need protection.

THE BLACK DOOR by Domino Finn - Cisco Suarez is dragged to the depths of the underground Miami nightlife, where seekers of arcane knowledge may just get their wish.

Part of Black Magic Outlaw series

Cisco Suarez is a necromancer, shadow charmer, and black magic outlaw. He wakes up in a dumpster with no memory of the last ten years. Seems he’s been dead or rather undead. A zombie thrall to a voodoo gang leader. Now that he’s returned to the land of the living he has some scores to settle. Namely finding out who killed him and destroyed his family.

DANCE OF THE DEAD by Sonya Bateman - Halloween in Manhattan gets weirder than usual for Gideon Black, who finds himself up against a powerful necromancer looking to raise a lot more than the dead.

Part of The DeathSpeaker Codex series

After escaping the family that made his childhood a nightmare, Gideon Black is content to lead a quiet life. As a body mover for the city he lives in his van and transports the deceased to their final resting place. Then he saves a werewolf from a group of hunters and his quiet life changes forever. Gideon is plunged into a world he never knew existed. Supernatural creatures are real and they are being hunted by a dark cult who is set on ridding the world of the non-humans … after they learn to harness the Others’ powers for themselves of course. Gideon finds himself between a rock and a hard place. Half human, half Seelie he fits in neither world but both sides want him. For Gideon is the legendary DeathSpeaker, able to command the dead to speak. His quiet life just became a whole lot more complicated. (This series gets better with every book. Highly recommended.)

HARD ROW by Ambrose Ibsen - Demon-hearted brawler Lucian Colt prepares to trace a human trafficking operation to its fountainhead. But will he and his teammates prove a match for what awaits them in the seedy stretch of Hard Row?

Part of Demon-Hearted series

Lucian Colt is a retrieval expert who tracks down stolen pieces of art for wealthy clients. Giving a beat down on whoever stole the item is part of the service. On his last job he walks in on something he wasn’t meant to see and is witches. Never one to let a good bruiser go to waste, an ancient secret society steps in and saves Lucian’s life by giving him a new heart. A heart that once belonged to a demon. Now as a member of the society Lucian provides the muscle for his team of supernatural investigators and that is just fine with the demon riding shotgun in his chest. For when the chips are down the demon comes out to play and violence follows.

ANGRY SPARK by Al K. Line - When an old vampire "buddy" calls you in the middle of the night, and asks for a favor, hang up on the them and stay the hell in bed. I was stupid. I got dressed, and nearly got dead soon after.

Part of Dark Magic Enforcer series

Faz Pound is a dark magic enforcer, tasked with keeping magic hidden from the world. Called Black Spark by the Hidden community he is the chief enforcer for the Council that governs all magic users. When a practitioner abuses his power Spark is sent to take care of the problem. For besides being a gifted magic user, Spark has a very special talent. He has the ability to absorb the magic from others leaving the mage unable to access magic any longer. This talent makes him feared as well as respected. This is another of those series that gets better with every book. The magic system is unique and the characters interesting. Books 4 really ramps up the intensity of the series and we really see Faz grow into his own. Give this one a try.

FAMILY BUSINESS by Rob Cornell - Sorcerer Sebastian Light expects his first day as a demon hunter to go off without a hitch, but sometimes family issues are harder to slay than even the surliest of goblins.

Part of Unturned series

Using powerful elemental magic, Sorcerer Sebastian Light has cornered the market on demon hunting in Detroit. But after a group of vampires try to turn him, the bounty is now on this own head. Using his magic to keep himself unturned, he searches to find a cure before he becomes vampire or his fellow hunters find him.

VALENTINE BLUES by James A. Hunter - As violence breaks out and people start dying, only Yancy Lazarus--bluesman, gambler, mage, and former wet-works man--can put things right. Well, he can try ...

Part of the Yancy Lazarus series

As a former Fix-It man for the Guild of the Staff, the enforcement arm of the mage ruling body, Yancy Lazarus just wants to be left alone. He wants to play his blues music, smoke a few cigarettes, and otherwise leave the supernatural world to fend for itself. He’s a rambler and a gambler who all too often lets his stupid bleeding heart lead him into trouble. When you pack the magical might Yancy does you don’t have to look too far for trouble. It always seems to find him. Another great series.

A DRIVE IN THE COUNTRY by Craig Schaefer - For Daniel Faust, driving a condemned man to his death dredges up old memories and old ghosts. You can't outrun the past.

Part of the Daniel Faust series

Daniel Faust is a P.I. and sorcerer for hire. An ex-gangster with ties to Las Vegas’s criminal element, he uses black magic and the occasional bullet to solve his clients' problems.

CHASE THE DARK by Pippa DaCosta - New York's sewers are infested with gators. As Ace Dante investigates, it becomes clear there's something far worse beneath the streets, and it's out for revenge.

Part of The Soul Eater series

Ace Dante former apprentice of Ammit, the Devourer of Souls, was banished from the underworld for devouring the souls of the innocent. Devouring souls is addictive and when the souls of the damned were not enough to feed his habit he took the innocent. Now enslaved to the god Osiris, who enjoys nothing better than torturing his captive, he is forced to do whatever the god commands. Haunted by his past crimes, Ace makes his living policing the streets of New York, protecting the unsuspecting public from demons and irresponsible magic users while trying to survive the machinations of the gods. Buckle your seat belts this one is an emotional roller coaster.
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Published on November 15, 2016 12:00 • 22 views

September 3, 2016

Mystery and intrigue with a supernatural twist
Julian Adler works as a procurement officer for a major pharmaceutical company. By day he is the typical corporate drone dealing with office politics, rushed deadlines, picky clients and eager sales people. By night he is a dream walker. Since an early age when Julian sleeps he is drawn into the nightmares of those near him. Watching the worst that the human mind can conjured since childhood could have easily driven him insane or turned him into a monster. Instead he is someone who wants to make a difference. Over time he learned that he could manipulate the dreamscapes he visits. If Julian destroys the source of the nightmare in the presence of the dreamer in a manner that the sleeper’s mind will accept and without them waking, then the nightmare is destroyed for good and will never return. He laments that he cannot help the troubled in the real world but at least he can free them from one nightmare and give them one night of peaceful rest.

Julian is rushing to finish his work so that he can take his wife on vacation. His long hours at the office has put a strain on the marriage and they need the time to reconnect. Then his boss gives him a new assignment that has trouble written all over it. The company has decided that they need a new media center and Julian is tasked with writing up the contract for the new building purchase. One of the bidders for the new contract is OMG Property Consultancy. The firm is determined to win the bid at all cost. Their secret weapon – dark magick. When his coworkers start acting strangely and an unknown creature appears on the dream plane Julian is plunged into a fight for survival, both his own and that of the rest of mankind.

The dream sequences of the book were my favorite. The glimpse into the human subconscious and the inventive ways of banishing nightmares was interesting. The creature and what it does to its victims was chilling. The ending was unexpected and left some unanswered questions that I hope will be addressed in future books. All in all, a good read. If you like Simon Green’s Nightside series, you’ll like Dream Job.

I received an ARC copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
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Published on September 03, 2016 05:36 • 97 views

August 12, 2016

Hidden Blade
Buckle your seat belts for an emotional roller coaster of a ride. This book is dark, gritty and pulls no punches. When the ancient world fell, the Egyptian pantheon found a new kingdom to rule - New York. Ace Dante was the apprentice of Ammit, the Devourer of Souls, and for thousands of years he weighed the souls of the departed sending the good souls to the afterlife and devouring the guilty. Unfortunately, devouring souls is addictive and when the guilty souls were not enough to feed his habit he started taking the innocent. For his crimes he was banished from the underworld and cursed to never return. To further punish him he was given over to Osiris. Enslaved by the god he is forced to do whatever he commands with no chance of resisting or fighting back. If Osiris was a benevolent god this might not be so bad. Unfortunately, Osiris and his wife Isis are cruel, vain, lustful, petty and enjoy nothing better than torturing their captive. Haunted by his past crimes, Ace makes his living policing the streets of New York, protecting the unsuspecting public from demons and irresponsible magick users. When his ex-wife, the goddess Bastet, walks into his office demanding he find out who is killing her blessed women he suddenly finds himself right where he doesn’t want to be, once again embroiled in the machinations of the gods. That never ends well.
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Published on August 12, 2016 18:50 • 31 views

August 10, 2016

Daughter of the Sun

Title: Daughter of the Sun (Cult of the Cat series, Book 1)
Author: Zoe Kalo
Genre: YA mythological fantasy
Word count: 93,000 words
Release date: May 1, 2016

Mystery, intrigue and magic on the Isle of Cats

If you like cats, exotic locales, mystery, and intrigue all wrapped up in the mythology and magic of Ancient Egypt, then you will like this book. Trinity was born on the summer solstice during a solar eclipse and abandoned as a newborn on the steps of a convent. She has no knowledge of her heritage or why she is a little different. With the summer solstice and her seventeenth birthday approaching, this time coinciding with a full lunar eclipse, a stranger appears and tells her she is not the orphan she thought. She actually has a grandmother. Whisked off to a private island off the coast of Istanbul, Trinity tries to adapt to her new life while trying to unravel the secrets and intrigues surrounding her new family.

I’m very selective of the YA novels I read. But the description of this book caught my attention and I thought I’d give it a try. I’m glad I did. The author has a lovely descriptive style that pulls you in and makes you feel as if you are there. I love mythology and was pleased to find the Egyptian lore well researched and woven seamlessly into the narrative. I like the main characters of Trinity, Ara and Seth. Their actions and emotions were believable. There were strong hints as to who the villain was but their plan and the motives behind their actions kept me guessing. I was a little disappointed that Seth was not used much in the second half of the book but hopefully we’ll see and learn more about him in later works. While much of the mystery was explained there are still plenty of unanswered questions and threads to explore in future works. All in all, the start of a great new series.

This Review is a part of the Blogger Outreach Program by b00k r3vi3w Tours
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Published on August 10, 2016 16:07 • 17 views
Demon Rogue

Kalos Aeon is thousands of years old and a half-demon who just wants to keep living in the light. To help manage his more destructive nature he lives by a strict code. Don’t screw anyone over who doesn’t deserve it. Always complete the job you were paid to do. And never make a promise you can’t keep. As a magical retrieval expert he hunts down objects of power in exchange for a fee and half of the objects magical essence. I found the story unique and well worth reading. Kalos is an engaging character and you really want to see what he’s going to do next. With a secretive client, hostile police, an angry powerful ex and her demon lover on one side and the dark and light magical councils on the other Kalos is stuck between a rock and a hard place. It is going to take some out of the box thinking to keep to his code and not give in to his more destructive nature. I would like to have seen more world building. You don’t really get any back history on anyone and are only given snippets of information at points to explain who the characters are and how the magical world works. In spite of that the world is interesting and the story moves at a good pace. I really hope we get to learn more about the individual characters in future books. Especially the vampire best friend and Argos. An enjoyable read and a good addition to the genre. I look forward to the next book.
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Published on August 10, 2016 16:04 • 30 views

August 9, 2016

As a newly published author I recognize the importance of reviews in helping readers connect with up and coming authors. In an effort to give something back to the writing community I will be posting reviews of books I am currently reading. I am new to the blogging world but have been reading and loving books for over 50 years. I look forward to sharing with you my next great read and of course keeping you updated about my own writing projects.
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Published on August 09, 2016 16:22 • 41 views