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Book Review and Giveaway: Black Magic & Mojitos by A.A. Chamberlynn (Series, #1)

April 4, 2016 2 comments

Book Review and Giveaway: Black Magic & Mojitos by A.A. Chamberlynn (Series, #1)Summary:
Supernatural bounty hunter Zyan Star jets down to Rio right before Carnival to meet a potential new client. She’s taken by surprise when that new client just so happens to be Raoul Cabrera, the half demon half faery supernatural overlord of Brazil. He routinely rubs elbows with Lucifer, and Zyan isn’t too keen to work with him. She’s even less inclined to when she finds out he brought in a second bounty hunter, Donovan McGregor. But Raoul persuades her…by threatening her friends. So Zyan finds herself working with Donovan against a herd of Nightmares–horse spirits that torment people with visions of their worst fears before devouring their flesh.

Review:
This was one of my accepted indie ARCs for 2016 (see complete list here). I accepted it for the combination of Rio and evil horse spirits, and I started with reading it first because I was in the mood for some light-hearted urban fantasy. What I found was a novella that set up a world I was quite interested in but left me wanting more.

Zyan is mostly a typical urban fantasy heroine, but her two friends who came with her to Rio intrigued me. I got a Buffy and her friends vibe from the group, and I appreciated an urban fantasy heroine who’s comfortable relying on other people and being open about her friendships right from the get-go. The setting was bright, colorful, and well-described, and Rio isn’t something I’ve personally seen before in an urban fantasy. The Nightmares were everything the description promised to me and more. I found them both adorable and deliciously frightening. The plot twists in a way I wasn’t expecting and brings in a new character I was happy to see.

But this novella did leave me wanting more.  It is a fine line between wanting more in a good way and being left with not enough to ever fully get into the story. This fell into the latter end of that. A novella doesn’t have room to set up a ton of backstory but the reader still needs to feel as if the smaller plot within the novella is fully told. While some of the scenes felt fully fleshed-out, others read more like initial outlines for a larger story. For about half of the novella, I felt the author needed to come back through and add some things in, in order for the reader to be able to get fully into the mini-episode of Zayn’s life being told.  I also must admit that I wasn’t too keen on the vibe between Zayn and Donovan. I hesitate to call it a romance, as it reads more like a simple sexual attraction. It’s not that I’m against that in an urban fantasy, but it read as a bit forced and took away time in the short novel from the main plot I was more interested in.

Overall, readers looking for a short dip into an urban fantasy world or who just want to see the Nightmares in action will enjoy this read. Readers who are familiar with Zayn from other stories will probably enjoy it most of all, but it’s also a good way to get a taste of Zayn and see if you would like to read more. I know I would certainly like to read a full length book featuring Zayn and her friends.

3 out of 5 stars

Source: Kindle copy from author in exchange for my honest review

Buy It

Giveaway!

Thanks to the generosity of the author, one lucky Opinions of a Wolf reader can win a copy of this ebook.

How to Enter:

  1. Leave a comment on this post stating an animal that haunts your dreams.
  2. Copy/paste the following and tweet it from your public twitter:

    Enter to win BLACK MAGIC & MOJITOS by @AAChamberlynn, hosted by @McNeilAuthor http://buff.ly/1Px0rYG #urbanfantasy #novella #fantasy

The blog comment gets you one entry. Each tweet gets you one entry. You may tweet once per day.

Who Can Enter: International

Contest Ends: April 18th at midnight

Disclaimer: The winner will have their book sent to them by the author.  The blogger is not responsible for sending the book.  Void where prohibited by law.

Giveaway: Set Adrift by D.S. Kenn (International)

April 4, 2015 1 comment

Book Review: Set Adrift by D.S. Kenn (Series, #1)It’s the second giveaway of 2015 here at Opinions of a Wolf.  Woohoo!!

There is ONE copy of Set Adrift (review) available courtesy of the author, D.S. Kenn!  The winner gets to choose whether they want a print or ebook copy.  How cool is that?

What You’ll Win:  One copy of Set Adrift (review) by D.S. Kenn.

How to Enter:  Fill out the Rafflecopter by clicking here!

Who Can Enter: INTERNATIONAL

Contest Ends: April 13th at midnight!

Disclaimer: The winner will have their book sent to them by the author.  The blogger is not responsible for sending the book.  Void where prohibited by law.

Giveaway: Life Sketches by A. Ramsay McNeill (USA Only)

Giveaway: Life Sketches by A. Ramsay McNeillIt’s the first giveaway of 2015 here on Opinions of a Wolf, and I thought what better time to run it than to welcome Spring! (The spring equinox is next Friday).

This giveaway is slightly different from the ones I usually run.  I’m giving away copies of two books written by an online friend of mine.  I haven’t offered up an official review here, because I don’t feel it’s totally ethical to review books written by people I am friends with.  I feel like it could skew things.  However, I am more than happy to help get the buzz out there!  Amanda Ramsay McNeill and I met online because our names are so similar (mine has one L, hers has two).  We are not related, but we thought it was kind of cool there are two Amanda McNeil(l)’s out there writing.  Anyway, she has generously offered two print copies of her scifi book to the US readers of my blog.

Title: Life Sketches
Blurb:
Two hundred fifty years from now, pockets of society are recovering at varying degrees from a cataclysmic revolution. Simon Wakefield lives in a risk-free society ruled by the Advocacy. Simon’s work is instrumental to the well being of the 750,000 residents of the Urban Complex. He oversees a unit of life sketchers, professionals who write the rigid agendas by which every individual in the UC lives. Simon is content until he notices flaws in the lives of those around him. His father-in-law’s agenda has been limited due to a terminal illness. The newborn son of coworker and friend Jordan Blackwood has been terminated due to a minor birth defect. His teenaged daughter is pregnant by a fellow student who doesn’t exist. Simon is mugged on the way home from an evening class. His frustrations increase when he is involved in a deadly accident on the homebound shuttle, and treated inhumanely in the health facility. Lillian Sorenson, a coworker, commiserates with Simon. She smuggles Simon and Jordan to a settlement that is the bane of the Advocacy, a place where agendas are unnecessary and autonomy is practiced. The settlement and its leader, Ivan Zimm, are the scapegoats for all the shortcomings in the Urban Complex. Simon learns that his life in his “perfect world” is nothing but stagnation and paralysis. Even more discontented when he returns home, Simon realizes that his job is important only to the Advocacy; his work gives the Advocacy total control of every resident. He feels helpless to change the society in which he is trapped. The price to live in a perfect world is too high.

There are TWO print versions of Life Sketches available, courtesy of the author, A. Ramsay McNeill

What You’ll Win:  One print copy of Life Sketches by A. Ramsay McNeill

How to Enter:  Leave a comment on this post stating what type of revolution you think is most likely to happen in the next 200 years.

Who Can Enter: USA only

Contest Ends: March 21st.  One week from today!

Disclaimer: The winners will have their print book sent to them by the author.  The blogger is not responsible for sending the book.  Void where prohibited by law.

Blind Date With a Book Win Reveal!

September 9, 2014 6 comments

Hello my lovely readers!

The Little Red Reviewer, a blog I’ve followed since I started my own, had the brilliant idea to do a blind date with a book giveaway a few weeks ago.  For those of you who don’t know, a blind date with a book is when a library/bookstore/person wraps a book up and puts a few clues about what the book might be about on the cover.  The idea is that you’re matched by concepts instead of cover or blurb.  I hadn’t seen this in giveaway form before, and I thought it was super brilliant of Redhead to use it for a print book giveaway.  Imagine my delight when I won one of the books!

It arrived still wrapped, just as it had been pictured on her blog.

Book with label stating "Time travel, Looking for a cure, Big Questions, drastically different futuristic world"

Since I knew I had won before Redhead mailed out the books (obviously, as I had to provide her my mailing address), I’d had weeks to wonder what book, exactly I was getting!  You guys are lucky I manged to be patient enough to take a picture of the wrapped book before unwrapping it.  😛

Anyway, I unwrapped the book to reveal my mystery book date!

Photo of the book "Hollow World" by Michael J. SullivanThe book I won is Hollow World by Michael J. Sullivan!  Here’s the blurb from GoodReads:

Ellis Rogers is an ordinary man who is about to embark on an extraordinary journey. All his life he has played it safe and done the right thing, but when faced with a terminal illness, he’s willing to take an insane gamble. He’s built a time machine in his garage, and if it works, he’ll face a world that challenges his understanding of what it means to be human, what it takes to love, and the cost of paradise. He could find more than a cure for his illness; he might find what everyone has been searching for since time began…but only if he can survive Hollow World.

I have to admit, I’m pretty darn excited to read it.  A time machine built in a garage? What appears like it might possibly be a retro future world? Yes, please!

Thanks to Redhead for hosting such an awesome giveaway!  I might have to steal the idea in the future for one of my own. 😉

Giveaway: The Reflections of Queen Snow White by David C. Meredith (INTERNATIONAL)

January 30, 2014 1 comment

Painting of a woman in a white dress next to a pond.This giveaway is now over! Since no one entered, there are no winners.

I am super-excited to get to offer up my first giveaway of 2014 here at Opinions of a Wolf.  Lots of the indie authors whose books I accepted for review in 2014 also were interested in me hosting a giveaway at the time of my review, so there will be plenty more coming up in the future too.

There are TWO ebook versions of The Reflections of Queen Snow White (review) available courtesy of the author, David C. Meredith!

What You’ll Win:  One ebook copy of The Reflections of Queen Snow White by David C. Meredith.

How to Enter:  Leave a comment on this post stating your favorite part of the original Snow White fairy tale.  Your comment must also contain your EMAIL ADDRESS so you can receive your ebook.

Who Can Enter: INTERNATIONAL

Contest Ends: February 13th. Two weeks from today!

Disclaimer: The winners will have their ebooks sent to them by the author.  The blogger is not responsible for sending the books.

Giveaway: The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor by Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga (US ONLY)

March 14, 2012 5 comments

Silhouette of two men and a little girl in front of Atlanta skyline.I am super-excited to get to offer up my first giveaway of 2012 here at Opinions of a Wolf; this time for an AUDIOBOOK!!

There is one audiobook version of The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor available courtesy of the totally awesome publisher MacMillan Audio!

What You’ll Win:  One audiobook copy (CD format) of The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor by Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga, read by Fred Berman, listened to once by moi, your lovely reviewer.

How to Enter:  Leave a comment on this post with your email address or twitter name so I can contact the winner for his/her mailing address.

Who Can Enter: US ONLY

Contest Ends: March 27th. Two weeks from today!

This giveaway is now over! Thank you all for entering!

Friday Fun! (Thanksgiving, Cooking)

December 2, 2011 5 comments

Hello my lovely readers!  I hope those of you who celebrate had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I had a great time with my dad.  We ordered in Thai food, which he’d never had before.  (I believe it was a hit).  I showed him one of my favorite indie bookstores.  He took me grocery shopping! (Which has been wonderful for me, I can tell you).  We spoiled my kitty rotten and went to a couple of my favorite pubs.  It was a wonderful weekend, and I hope to get to see him again very soon!

This week I got to see my friend Nina for the first time in around a month.  We went for a super long walk together in the random Indian summer weather we had at the beginning of the week and made this stir-fry out of baby bok choy, onions, pepper, garlic, parsnips, carrots, and fake steak tips (they were soy).  Oh, and sesame seeds!

Those of you book bloggers who are looking for projects and/or challenges for 2012, please be sure to check out my Diet for a New America page and my Mental Illness Advocacy 2012 page.  Even if you don’t choose to participate in them, any mentions on your blogs, facebook, and twitter are most welcome!  These types of things are always more fun the more people participate!

Also, if you missed it, I have an international giveaway currently running thanks to the author.  Be sure to check that out too!

This weekend I’ll be training in the gym, going to a tree trimming party, and editing zombies.  Also hopefully cooking something up in the slow-cooker to freeze into single servings for lunches.  Busy busy!

Happy weekends all!