Wednesday Briefs: December 4, 2019

Here is a list of all the authors flashing this week, along with a brief snippet from their latest free work. Click the link after the snippet to be taken to the complete story on the author’s home page.

Unicorn Quests: Chapter Five by Cia Nordwell

Please be easy. Please be easy. I had no idea why I thought using that mantra would work, but a fool can hope. I was a big fool. We made our slow way upstairs, and I almost didn’t have to feign the stumbling. It’d been some time since I’d taken a woman’s form.

They were so top heavy!

“Would you care for your usual, madam?” asked the butler, or whoever he was, when he stopped outside a set of thick, double doors at the end of a hall.

“Oh. Yes. Please.” I licked my lips. What the hell was my

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Wednesday Briefs: November 27, 2019

Here is a list of all the authors flashing this week, along with a brief snippet from their latest free work. Click the link after the snippet to be taken to the complete story on the author’s home page.

Unicorn Quests: Chapter Four by Cia Nordwell

“How long are we waiting?” I was exhausted. Londe was dozing on four feet. Grif’s eyes were focused on the windows of the place with a singular intensity.

She looked at the sky, the moon partially obscured by clouds. The stars, the ones not blocked by the new gas lights on the corners of the streets, blinked in the inky blackness of the near midnight sky. “It might be safe now.”

We’d watched the carriage roll out of the gates a good candle hour before, though it felt like longer. “Just what were we waiting for?”

“She’ll be feeding by

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Book Review: Bleach, Vol 10 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 10     

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: December 6, 2005

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/208 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Ichigo is confused when he learns that the person who is going to help them get into the Seireitei is a fireworks expert. What use is that? Turns out she plans to use her expertise to launch them through the sphere that surrounds their target. But they all have to be able to create a reishukaku – a spirit core – which means training for everyone. And Ganju is to help them. When the others stop to eat, Ichigo persists in continuing with his training and Ganju remains, to Ichigo’s annoyance. Ganju confronts Ichigo and demands to know why he is working so hard to save a soul reaper.

 

The Thirteen Court Guard Squad captains and their lieutenants have been instructed to assemble in full insignia. The captains question Gin as to how and why he let a ryoku past him, although Gin seems unconcerned by their anger. When the Head Captain asks for an explanation, Gin has none to give. An intruder alarm interrupts the discussion, as everyone rushes out to see what’s happening.

 

After a short rest, the team is ready to be catapulted into the Seireitei! Kûkaku warns them that they must keep their focus and not let their energy level grow too strong. Yuruichi cautions them to stay together inside the Seireitei and avoid confrontations with anyone of captain level. (Famous last words!)

 

Their entrance does not go unnoticed.

 

Despite their best efforts, the group becomes separated into smaller groups. Ichigo and Ganju come up against Ikkaku and Kamichiki. Ganju decides to run, and is chased by Kamichiki, while Ichigo faces Ikkaku in battle. How will Ichigo fare against such an opponent?

 

This volume of Bleach sees our heroes training for entry into the Seireitei in order to rescue Rukia from her death sentence. As usual, Ichigo never stops to think what the consequences might be. He sees what he thinks has to be done and he decides to do it. He has a very strong sense of loyalty and commitment, especially when it comes to Rukia. But then again, we have to remember he’s a fifteen-year old teenager. At that age, they think they’re invincible. Although I will admit that Ichigo has a better sense of life and death than most young people since he can see dead people.

 

Watching Ichigo and Ganju go at it is hilarious! Ichigo makes friends easily but he can also rub people the wrong way until they get to know him. One thing I’ve learned with this series is don’t necessarily trust your first instincts when meeting a character, things are not always what they seem. And that works both ways. The person you thought was so nice and good may turn out to be a major league villain!

 

I love the battle between Ichigo and Ikkaku. And I love what Ichigo tells him when Ikkaku wonders why he didn’t run, like his friend, which he considered a smart move. Ichigo replies: “If your power is greater than mine, then it would be pointless to run ‘cause you’d catch me for sure. But if your power is less than mine, then I just have to beat you.”

 

This is the beginning of a lengthy arc involving the rescue of Rukia, but it’s a very interesting one in that we become familiar with the captains and lieutenants of the Thirteen Court Squads. We’ll be seeing a lot of them, trust me. And when we get to the one I’m crushing on, I’ll let you know lol

 

Another great volume of Bleach, looking forward to the next one.

 

 

 

 

Wednesday Briefs: November 13, 2019

Here is a list of all the authors flashing this week, along with a brief snippet from their latest free work. Click the link after the snippet to be taken to the complete story on the author’s home page.

Here Kitty Kitty: Chapter 25.2 by Carol Pedroso

Kitryn padded slowly through the dark, his paws silent on the gravel path. Simon was leading a team of vampires with Carl and Kitryn was trying to ignore the irritation of being separate from his mate when they were heading toward trouble.

The bears behind him grumbled and Kitryn hissed quietly, letting them know to be quiet. The wards concealing them would be a waste of time if they made too much noise and gave themselves away.

They made their way forward. Towards a house that had been somehow built in the middle of nowhere.

Click here to read the entire Brief:

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Wednesday Briefs: November 13, 2019

Here is a list of all the authors flashing this week, along with a brief snippet from their latest free work. Click the link after the snippet to be taken to the complete story on the author’s home page.

Unicorn Quests: Chapter Two by Cia Nordwell

“She’s a buxom wench, with hair on her chest, and a dwarvish gold mine if I swive her!” The shriek and resulting laughter was so loud Londe’s ears twitched back, and I wanted to cover mine.

‘You have to be kidding me,’ Londe said. ‘You can hear her out here! She’s drunk already.’

“Not likely. She gets the hiccups when she’s drunk, and there wasn’t a single hic in that whole verse.” I slid off Londe’s back in front of the Bleating Banshee. The ramshackle building stood on the edge of a town barely big enough to call it that,

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Book Review: Blue Exorcist, Vol 22 by Kazue Kato

Blue Exorcist, Vol 22   

Author: Kazue Kato

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: September 3, 2019

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/218 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Things are not looking good for humanity as demons are on the loose and visible! People are encouraged to stay home. In case of trouble, they should contact their local police, or the knights of the True Cross. Shiemi finally awakens, and Kamiki fills her in on what is happening. When she asks about Rin, Kamiki thinks Sir Pheles has him in custody. But their conversation is interrupted by the arrival of members of the Grigori, who have come to take Shiemi with them! What is going on here?

Mephisto tells Rin he must handle the current situation so Rin has to journey to the past alone, with the aid of a key he gives him, a master key known as the kamikakushi key. He gives Rin a special patrol uniform and sends him on his way, telling him that if he wants to move forward, he has to accept reality for what it is and accept his past. Meanwhile, Yukio is taken to a meeting with Lucifer where he is introduced to Lucifer’s younger brother, Egyn, King of Water, and Amaimon questions Mephisto about things he should have noticed before.

Rin travels to the past and meets up with Mephisto, who looks just the same as in the future, and sees the young man who will one day be Father Fujimoto. And he sees his mother, Yuri, as well. He follows their story as they move from living on the streets to being accepted into the Cram School, and their journey to becoming exorcists. Rin learns about Section 13 and the cloning program to find a suitable vessel for Lucifer, but there’s still a lot to learn about their pasts.

Things are not looking good for humanity. Can the Knights and the Grigori handle this influx of demons? Will Lucifer take control of Assiah too? I suspect Mephisto has something up his proverbial sleeve, and he is putting wheels into motion through his machinations. Although I sometimes wonder whose side he is on, I do believe he has Assiah’s interests at heart, even if he is a demon. He’s the perfect example of appearances can be deceiving!

Rin’s trip through time is not only very interesting but rather enlightening, as well. Before he became a priest, Shiro was not particularly nice, and a far cry from what he later became. We know he’s going to change into the more kindly but still outspoken and somewhat rough priest, but watching the transformation is fascinating. We also know the journey ends for Yuri after she gives birth to Yukio and Rin, but it’s nice to see what she was like before that, before her involvement with Satan, and what led to it. My biggest questions after reading this volume are: why the heck does Yuri remind me so much of Shiemi? And where did they take Shiemi, and why? She almost confessed to Kamiki about who she likes, until interrupted by the Grigori. Is it Rin? Is it Yukio? Or is it a player we’re unaware of yet? I like seeing the friendship between Shiemi and Kamiki deep and solidify. They both need friends, especially Kamiki.

We didn’t see much of Yukio this time, and I’m still stumped as to what’s going on with him and his motives for being where he is. Is he coming to grips with the fact that he’s also part demon or does he have another agenda? I find it hard to believe he never suspected, since he and Rin are twins and have the same parents, that he had demonic power of some sort.  Guess we’ll have have to wait and see.

Another solid volume of Blue Exorcist, can’t wait to read more!

 

Book Review: Can’t Escape Love by Alyssa Cole

Can’t Escape Love (Reluctant Royals novella)     

Author: Alyssa Cole

Publisher: Avon

American release date: March 19, 2019

Format/Genre/Length: Kindle/Contemporary Romance/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Regina Hobbs—Reggie to her family and friends—refuses to think of herself as disabled. She can do just about anything from her wheelchair that other people can, and some things a lot better. She runs her own nerd culture website, GirlsWithGlasses.com, after working for years as an analyst for her parents’ real estate investment fund, which she hated. Now she’s in her full glory, doing what she wants to do. So why is it hard to find someone to share her life with? She’s so stressed currently that she isn’t sleeping well at all. She needs help in the worst possible way. Remembering the voice from a podcast she’d once listened to on a regular basis, a man whose very fine voice had helped her sleep back then, she reaches out to him in desperation. The podcast is no more, and she isn’t at all sure he’ll acquiesce to her request—assuming he doesn’t dismiss it as utterly creepy. But Reggie doesn’t know what else to do.

When he responds and wants to actually talk on the phone because he has questions about what she wants, she has to wonder what she is getting herself into.

Gustave Nguyen—Gus to those who know him—is autistic and he loves puzzles, which is why he used to have his own podcast about them. But that’s over now, has been for a few years. Now he’s working on designing escape rooms. The email he’d received from 26InchRims—the only person who’d listened to his podcasts and even interacted with him—was surprising, to say the least. But he’d be lying if he said he hadn’t thought about her a lot, especially after his last breakup. Dating isn’t exactly his forte, and he hasn’t had a relationship that lasted. And now the only person who’d ever listened to him had almost literally shown up on his doorstep.

His current project is an escape room that is turning out to be the most anticipated feature of the upcoming Anime Con, one that’s based on the popular anime Reject Squad Ultra. Gus had jumped at the opportunity without having seen a single episode of the show. And now that he’s started watching it, he doesn’t get it. What’s so romantic about this? How’s he going to make the escape room fun and believable for the fans if he can’t see what they do?

And what’s he going to do about the unusual request from 26InchRims—what’s her real name? Oh yeah, Reggie. When he tells her he has questions and wants to talk on the phone, is he being honest, or does he just want to hear her voice? Supposing she agrees to his request, where do they go from there?

I have to say I’ve enjoyed every single one of the books in the Reluctant Royals series, and this novella is no exception.  Although it’s short, it packs a lot of story and heart into its pages. I like that the main characters are people you don’t normally find in romance novels. Reggie is in a wheelchair and Gus is autistic. Too many romances feature perfect people with perfect bodies who find each other and fall in love. It’s nice to see something different, more like real life.

Both Reggie and Gus are inspirational, and people I would like to hang out with. I loved watching them fall in love, once they got past themselves in order to do it.

I think the series is done now, although this novella actually comes before the last book, A Prince on Paper. I’ll miss these characters. Guess I’ll just have to re-read the series some day!  If you enjoy romance and finding someone who is perfect for you, if you like people who are different and march to the beat of their own drummer, and yet have the same problems and family issues we all do, then give this novella a try. Read the whole series!  You’ll be glad you did!