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Review of Arc of The Goddess by Rachel Patterson and Tracey Roberts

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*I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Genre: non-fiction, paganism, spirituality

 

Arc of the Goddess by Rachel Patterson and Tracey Roberts is an instructional book that takes the reader through a year of journeying with the goddess. The book is divided by month and includes information on various goddesses and pagan celebrations (both ancient and modern) for each month. In addition, the authors have included ideas for spell work, altars, ritual, recipes, guided meditations, and much more. The book is written so that the reader can jump into any month to begin the year-long course without having to wait for the beginning of the year to start. The authors have extensive experience as witches, and the book was developed from an online course at the Kitchen Witch School of Witchcraft.

 

Arc of the Goddess by Rachel Patterson and Tracey Roberts is a fantastic informational book on getting to know the goddess. The book includes great information about many different goddesses for each month, as well as including mythological information about each goddess. The book is written so that the reader can jump in at any point, so the information in some places, such as ritual, mandalas, medicine bag, and meditation beads, was exactly the same in each month/chapter. I understand why the authors wanted to make sure the information was available for each chapter; however, those sections were word for word identical. I would have liked to see concrete ideas for each month in those sections, like the authors did for other sections, such as goddess beauty, oil recipes, and energy/spell work. I really love that the authors included so many recipes in the book. There are recipes for oils/incense, food, and beauty products, which I’m looking forward to trying. Arc of the Goddess is full of great ideas and information about connecting with different goddesses throughout the year. Anyone following a pagan path, or just interested in learning about goddesses, should definitely pick up this book and give it a read. I will be using this book over the next year for the course and for many years to come as reference material.

Review of The Shewstone by Jane Fletcher

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*I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Genre: Fantasy, romance, LGBTQ

 

 

The Shewstone by Jane Fletcher is a fantasy novel that follows Matt, the adopted daughter of a crime lord, and Eawynn, whose father gave her to the temple of Anberith. When a stranger strikes a deal with Matt’s father, Matt takes on the task of stealing a valuable temple artifact, known as the Shewstone. Gaining entrance to the all-female temple is a breeze, but in order to gain entrance to the locked temple guarding the Shewstone, Matt must cleverly flirt with Eawynn without losing her heart in the game. But the theft of the Shewstone has farther-reaching consequences than Matt could have imagined. Now Matt and Eawynn must undertake a voyage and work together to stop a plot that could have disastrous results for their people.

 

Jane Fletcher, author of Lyremouth Chronicles, has written another engrossing story in The Shewstone. The plot is engaging and the world Fletcher created is realistic with a hint of the magical. The writing isn’t bogged down with details; there are just enough to give the reader an understanding of the world. The characters, however, make the story. Matt is cunning, shrewd, and full of confidence, which serves her well as a thief. Eawynn is intelligent and innocent with strict ideas of right and wrong. Although the focus of the story is the action, the romance adds a nice subplot and there are some intense love scenes. Another thing I loved was the names of the Sisters. They had me chuckling. The Shewstone is a great fantasy read, and I highly recommend reading it.

 

Review of The Open Window by Eve Francis

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This book is intended only for those 18 and older

*Disclaimer: I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Genre: Romance, LGBTQ

 

In The Open Window by Eve Francis, Morgan receives a sizeable inheritance that allows her to freely pursue her dream of writing and drawing comics. Her dream comic proposal and a chance encounter with a beautiful woman make Morgan feel on top of the world. When she finds out her new love interest is a rock star, Morgan is even happier. Val has left her past behind in order to fully live and follow her dreams of playing in a rock band. Her newfound relationship with Morgan is like a dream come true; Val has finally found someone who loves her for herself. But a tarot reading and a man from Val’s past spell betrayal. Can Morgan and Val’s relationship survive?

 

The Open Window by Eve Francis is a love story about learning to let the past go and learning that the future is what one makes of it. The characters are complex and face internal issues that many people can identify with. I did feel that the conflict between the characters was a bit forced; however, it didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment of the story, and the characters’ internal conflicts were realistic and engaging. I love that the characters are both creative types that have been brave enough to forge the path to their dreams. The romance is definitely hot and there are plenty of steamy scenes. The Open Window is a sweet romance, and I recommend reading it.

Release Blitz and Review of Knight of Pentacles by Nina Mason

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knight of pentacles

*This series is intended only for those 18 and older*

Release Day Blitz: Knight of Pentacles by Nina Mason

 

Today we celebrate the release of Knight of Pentacles, book three in Nina Mason’s Knights of the Tarot series. Unlike the first two books in the series, which Nina revised and re-released on May 24, Knight of Pentacles has never been released before.

 

Knight of Pentacles, an erotic PNR/UF set primarily on Scotland’s Black Isle, tells of the romance between Sir Axel Lochlann, who guards the portal into Avalon, and Jenna Cameron, the daughter of a witch who hasn’t yet discovered her powers. Their love story is based on the old Scottish ballad of Tam Lin, which plays an important role in the book.

 

Here’s the blurb:

 

The future looks bleak for Jenna Cameron when, after a five-year engagement, her fiancé breaks it off the night before the wedding. Hoping to regroup, Jenna decides to drive alone to the cottage on Scotland’s mysterious Black Isle where they were supposed to spend their honeymoon. When her car breaks down, Jenna wonders if her troubles can get any worse. Then, while cutting through a secluded glen, she sees a handsome man bathing in a waterfall. The next day, she learns the man she saw is the faery knight who guards the portal into Avalon, the otherworld island ruled by Morgan Le Fay.

Jenna, ready to be rid of the virginity she’s saved in vain, offers herself to Sir Axel Lochlann, the shaman knight of Faery Glen. From that moment on, she finds herself inside a faery tale complete with druids, goblins, runic magic, and vampire owls. She also discovers powers she didn’t know she had—powers she can use to break Sir Axel’s bonds to Queen Morgan.

First, however, she must persuade Axel to put his desire to be free ahead of his duty to the queen he’s sworn to serve and obey.

 

Here’s a little more about the Knights of the Tarot series:

 

Knights of the Tarot, a four-part series, was born of a relatively simple concept. Nina wanted to write a paranormal/fantasy series incorporating different forms of divination. Tarot cards, astrology, runes, numerology, and the like. From that kernel grew the overarching storyline. The heroes of this contemporary paranormal series are Scottish noblemen of times past who were taken by the faeries into Avalon to serve as breeding drones to the queen, the legendary Morgan le Fay. Each of the books tells the story of a particular knight and the heroine whose love saves him from his unhappy existence.

Each hero grapples with a different relationship with their cruel and selfish queen. Callum Lyon, the knight of book one (Knight of Wands), is free of Morgan’s influence, having escaped Avalon after faking his death. Leith MacQuill, the knight of book two (Knight of Cups), was expelled from Avalon after the queen discovered his affair with one of the ladies of her court. To punish Leith, Morgan cursed him so any women he should fall in love with in the future would die.

In Knight of Pentacles, Axel Lochlann is still enslaved to the queen, who he serves as a guardian of the portal between the mortal and immortal realms.

The Knight of Swords (book four) is Finn MacKnight does not yet know he is destined to fulfill an ancient prophecy telling of the queen’s overthrow by a natural-born drone.

The knights are blood-drinking shape-shifters who can assume the form of any creature, real or mythical, but generally take the form of their alter ego. Callum’s preferred form is a lion, Leith’s is a Kellas Cat, Axel’s is a gyrfalcon, and Finn’s is a jaguar.

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Haven’t read the first two books in the Knights of the Tarot series?

No worries. Both are on sale this week for only 99 cents!

 

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Knight of Wands

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Knight of Cups

 

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Axel Lochlann, the hero of Knight of Pentacles is a Highlander of Viking descent who uses runes for divination and magic. For those who don’t know what runes are, they’re the letters of an alphabet called the Futhark, the first system of writing developed and used by the Germanic peoples.

More than just letters to make words, each rune is an ideographic or pictographic symbol of some cosmological principle or power. When written together in various sequences, the powers can be invoked to cast protective spells. Individual runes carved into stones, bone, or wood are used to seek the guidance and wisdom of the Old Norse gods, especially Odin, who discovered the runes after hanging upside down for nine days from Yggdrasil, the Old Norse tree of life .

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GIVEAWAY!

runes

Order Knight of Pentacles today for a chance to win the beautiful blue-onyx runes pictured above. To enter, simply email your proof of purchase to NinaMasonAuthor@gmail.com.

 

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Here’s an excerpt from Knight of Pentacles:

 

As the sputtering engine gasped its last, Jenna Cameron set her forehead against the steering wheel and groaned. Could this day get any worse? As if it weren’t enough her world had turned upside down, now her car decided to quit in the dead of night on a desolate stretch of road with no bloody cellular signal.

If not for the dream she’d had last night, she’d be Mrs. William Comstock right now, on her way to the honeymoon cottage she’d rented with the man she’d waited five long and frustrating years to marry.

The thought of William sent a chill through Jenna. In the dream, she’d seen herself driving off the edge of a cliff. She was married to William and utterly miserable. As her car soared over the edge of the precipice, she heard her mother’s voice. “The right man is out there, waiting for you to find him. But it will never be if you bind yourself to a man you don’t love.”

As soon as she awoke, she rang William. When she told him about the dream, he said, as she’d secretly hoped he would, “I was willing to overlook that your mother was a witch because I believed your father had safely guided you away from the path of darkness, but now I see that, like her, you have been led astray. I pray someday you will embrace the Light of God, Jenna. I truly do. But, for now, I cannot risk my own immortal soul by marrying someone so susceptible to the darkness.”

William, a Presbyterian pastor like her father, blamed everything he did not understand on the devil.

As relieved as Jenna was to have escaped, the sudden change of course had thrown her life into chaos. Expecting to be married, she’d given up her job and flat in Edinburgh and, consequently, was left with no source of income and nowhere to live.

So, she was on her way to the rented cottage in Rosemarkie, a small seaside town on Scotland’s Black Isle. Since she couldn’t get her deposit back, it seemed like a good idea to use the cottage to reflect and regroup.

Coming all this way alone had suddenly lost its appeal, but here she was—and wallowing in self-pity was not going to solve anything. According to the Google map she’d printed out, she wasn’t far from her destination. She might as well suck it up and walk the rest of the way. When she got there, she could ring a garage about her car.

Grabbing her purse, her forest-green wool cloak, and the battery-powered torch she kept in the glove box, she climbed out of the car and set off along the rural tree-lined road, which was dark and a little spooky. No cars passed her in either direction. Crickets chirped all around and small rustlings from the surrounding woods startled her sporadically. Senses alert, she stopped repeatedly to check her mobile for a signal.

Her heart pounded and, despite the chill in the air, she was sweating under her cloak and sweater. The only good thing she could say about her present predicament was that her fear of being torn to pieces by wild animals had temporarily eclipsed her other worries.

She didn’t know how long she’d been walking when she came to an old stone bridge. Just beyond was a sign. She shone the beam of her torch at the words carved into the wooden plaque.

Faery Glen.

faery glen

Jenna took heart. She’d read something about the glen on the website for the cottage, so she shouldn’t have much farther to go. Unfortunately, she needed to pee rather urgently. Might there be somewhere to go in the glen?

Venturing into a forest in the middle of the night might not be the smartest thing she’d ever done, but her bladder was bursting and she wasn’t about to tinkle by the side of the road. Just because no cars had gone by since she’d started walking, didn’t mean one wouldn’t appear the moment she dropped her knickers. Besides, there was a carpark abutting the glen, so there might be a public lavatory there as well.

Up above, the sky was an indigo canvas splattered with specks of white, some larger than others. She crossed the small asphalt lot. Finding no bathroom, she squatted in the bushes. When she’d finished her business, she shone the torch into the glen. Everything outside the beam was pitch black. Water ran somewhere nearby. Thirst drew her down the footpath. All that crying had made her as parched as a dry sponge.

I’ll only go a little ways, find the stream, and take a wee sip.

The hollow clomp of her footsteps disturbed the silence as she crossed a wooden bridge. On the other side, the path curved sharply. In a clearing just beyond the turn were the falls. In the silver light of the full moon, the cascading water reminded her of the bridal veil she might never get a chance to wear.

Then, she saw him. A man in the pool below the falls. He was stark naked, soaking wet, and had his back to her.

Alarm electrifying every nerve ending, she stepped back into the shadows. Her first thought was that he might be a homeless man who’d taken refuge in the woods. He had a beard and long hair, so it seemed the most logical explanation. Her next thought was that he might be performing some sort of ritual. She was on the Black Isle, after all, in a place called Faery Glen on the night of a full moon, so his being a New Age warlock or druid didn’t seem all that infeasible. A long shot, perhaps, but not meters outside the realm of possibility.

When curiosity overrode her apprehension, she stepped closer to get a better look at him. The moonlight bathing his glistening physique revealed a tall, slender frame with broad shoulders, narrow hips, and a shapely bum. Wetness and poor lighting made telling the color of his hair impossible. Light brown, maybe, or dark blond. She started a little when he bent over and shook his head like a dog. As he threw it back, he raised his muscular white arms to push the clinging wet hair off his face.

Despite her long engagement and having achieved the ripe age of twenty-five, she’d never seen a naked man before. Not in the flesh, anyway, and watching this one bathing in the wild was making her feel things she shouldn’t. The prospect of being caught spying on him was even more unsettling.

Ducking behind the thick trunk of the nearest tree, she watched as he continued his bath. Drunk on a tart cocktail of shame and lust, she took in the graceful slope of his shoulders, the long muscles supporting his serrated spine, and the alluring dimples just below the small of his back. His beautiful form and the way the moonlight sparkled on the droplets clinging to his skin made her pulse race and her knees weaken.

A strong urge to touch him welled up inside her. How badly she wanted to run her hands over every glistening curve and indentation of his manly form—both for prurient reasons and to absorb some of his confidence the way plants absorbed sunlight. As exposed as he was to the elements, he seemed admirably comfortable in his skin.

She’d never felt that at ease with herself, even when alone. All her life, she’d been made to feel inferior. As much as she didn’t want to believe that she was, part of her did.

Mesmerized by the man in the pool, she went on watching. Something told her he was like her mother. Esoteric rather than religious. Open-minded instead of rigid. Accepting, not judging. She couldn’t say how or why she sensed this about him. She only knew she felt it deep down in some instinctive part of her psyche.

Hope fluttered in her heart. Could he be the one her mother spoke of in the dream? Scoffing at her romantic delusions, she smashed the thought with the rock of reason and headed back to the footpath.

 

My Review: 

*Disclaimer – I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

 

Knight of Pentacles by Nina Mason is the third book in the Knights of the Tarot series. This book follows the story of Axel Lochlann, the portal guard. As Queen Morgan’s drone, Axel must do her bidding and is not free to live his life. Jenna Cameron has spent her whole life trying to please first her father and then her fiancé, both of whom are strict Christians that don’t allow Jenna to be her true self. One of the reasons I love Mason’s books are because of the female characters who learn to love and trust themselves and become heroes who save the day, and Knight of Pentacles is no exception. Jenna is a character that’s easy to identify with because she’s timid and strong, afraid she’s unlovable yet willing to believe in love, and of course, she has more to offer the world than she’s even aware of. Axel is a warrior with a strong spiritual side. His love of meditation and runes drew me in instantly. Although he loves Jenna and wishes to protect her, I love that he is truthful with her and encourages her to embrace the warrior within herself. Axel is definitely one of my favorite book boyfriends. The setting of the book is in Scotland, a place I’ve always dreamed of going, and a setting that’s perfect for a book where the characters cross over from the modern world to the otherworld (Thitherworld). I enjoyed this book immensely, and I highly recommend reading it (and the others in the series).

 

 

About the author:

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Nina Mason is an incurable romantic who strives to write the same kind of books she loves to read: those that entertain, edify, educate, and enlighten. In addition to the Knights of the Tarot series, she is the author of Royal Pains, an erotic historical series following a Scottish duke and duchess through the hedonism and intrigues of the Restoration period, and Sins Against the Sea, a paranormal romance steeped in the myth and magic of the Scottish Isles.

Born and raised in Southern California, Ms. Mason currently lives with her family in Woodstock, Georgia. When she isn’t writing, she makes art dolls and works as a consultant for Pure Romance, a line of relationship-enhancement products.

Visit Nina’s website: http://ninamasonauthor.com

Follow Nina on Facebook: http://facebook.com/ninamasonromance

Follow Nina on Twitter: http://twitter.com/ninamasonauthor

Subscribe to Nina’s newsletter: https://vr2.verticalresponse.com/s/authorninamasonsnewsletter

 

Review of Love Comes Later by Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar

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*I received an ARC from Netgalley. However, I liked the book so much that I bought a copy.

 

Love Comes Later by Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar is a story of life and love in Qatar. Abdulla lost his first wife in a tragic car accident, but after three years, his family feels it’s time for him to marry again. His cousin, Hind, is their choice, but Hind is no more interested in the marriage than Abdulla. Reluctantly, the two become engaged on Hind’s condition that she be allowed to live in England for a year to finish her Master’s degree. While studying abroad, Hind meets Sangita, an Indian woman from America, and the two become fast friends. But Hind’s decision to experience life has far-reaching consequences that may change the course of four lives.

 

Love Comes Later is a wonderful book about Qatari culture, which differs in many ways from Western culture, and is a culture I was only vaguely familiar with. Rajakumar peppers Qatari cultural terms and Arabic phrases throughout the book, which I felt enhanced the setting and gave me a better idea of the culture the book is set in. In Qatar, arranged marriages are still the norm, and I felt the characters brought to life the difficulties of trying to balance family and religious duty with the more modern concept of marrying for love. Abdulla is a devoted Muslim and a man who feels deeply. After the loss of his first wife, he struggles with the idea of marrying again. Hind, on the other hand, desires freedom, education, and a career, things that are in the realm of men in Qatar. Sangita comes from a fairly strict Indian upbringing, and she has always expected to be a career woman. However, when she falls in love, she finds herself struggling to fit into a culture where women marry but rarely have careers. Love Comes Later is a fascinating read and I highly recommend it. In fact, I went out and purchased all the author’s books after reading this one, and I’m looking forward to them.

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