Red Right Hand by Levi Black

Red Right Hand, Book 1

Synopsis: Charlie Tristan Moore isn’t a hero. She’s a survivor. On a night when her demons from the past are triggered, she arrives home to something even more harrowing-an attack by three monstrous skinhounds, creatures straight out of nightmares. She fights but is outmatched. Just as hope seems lost, in sweeps The Man In Black, a rescuer even more monstrous and unlikely, dressed in a long, dark coat that seems to have a life of its own and with a black-bladed sword held in his terrible, red right hand.

Her rescue comes at a cost. She must become his new Acolyte and embrace a dark magick she never knew she had inside her. To ensure she gives it her all, he takes her friend and possible love, Daniel, in thrall as a hostage to her obedience. The Man in Black, a Lovecraftian chaos god, claims to be battling his brethren gods, other horrors who are staging an incipient apocalypse. But is he truly the lesser of all evils or merely killing off the competition? Either way, will Charlie be strong enough to save herself, Daniel, and possibly the entire world?

Review: I am always interested and fascinated when it comes to demons and it is true that I was curious about this novel and the author as I did not know about her. This book also seemed to present everything that I love with a heroine whose life is turned upside down, demons as I said, action but also and most of all urban fantasy! In the end, it was not necessarily what I expected but it was interesting to discover the history and the characters.

We meet Charlie, a young woman marked by her painful past and who tries to run away since. Difficult themes are also used in this and we can only sympathize regarding what the young woman has been through. We understand throughout the novel that something terrible has happened, causing her to lose confidence in herself, but it’s true that I was really curious to learn about the events. But this is a part of the story as well as her relationship with Daniel that quite evolves during the story, allowing them to have the opportunity to talk about these subjects. I know, I know, I have not yet spoken of the demons but I’m getting there! It’s just that finally the relationship between Daniel and Charlie has something very touching and we follow carefully throughout the story what happens. But thus, the demons, yes because they are coming … well I say demons but they are rather evil entities. But I digress … as Charlie returns home after a disastrous evening, she faces three huge dogs that have only one purpose, to kill her! Fortunately she will be saved by a man, The Man in Black, who wishes to take her as an acolyte (willingly or by force) to help him fight his brothers. No other alternative and with her boyfriend as a hostage, our heroine has no choice but to embark on this adventure and to help him although she does not know if something positive will come out.

I found the interactions between the characters interesting and as I said the relationship and Charlie’s past were fascinating to read … By cons, I had a lot more trouble with the quest they undertake, I didn’t manage to get interested and I found that sometimes it was a little too wacky for me, I really did not expect this. So it’s true that I disconnected over that, which is unfortunate. Yet the ideas of the author are original and we still have a good time but I think I’ll wait for the reviews of the sequels before reading them to see how they are.

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Red Right Hand de Levi Black (VO)

Red Right Hand, Tome 1

Résumé (traduction personnelle) : Charlie Tristan Moore n’est pas une héroïne. C’est une survivante. Une nuit quand les démons de son passé sont réveillés, elle arrive chez elle pour faire face à quelque chose de plus terrible – une attaque par trois chiens monstrueux, des créatures tout droit sorties de ses cauchemars. Elle se bat mais est dépassée. Alors que tout espoir semble perdu, arrive The Man In Black, un sauveteur encore plus monstrueux et peu probable, vêtu d’un long manteau sombre qui semble avoir une vie propre et qui porte une épée noire tenue par sa terrible main droite rouge.

Son sauvetage a un coût. Elle doit devenir son Acolyte et embrasser une « magick » sombre qu’elle ne savait qu’elle avait en elle. Pour s’assurer qu’elle lui donne tout, il prend son ami et amour, Daniel, comme otage. The Man in Black, un dieu du chaos Lovecraftian, prétend combattre ses frères (dieux), d’autres horreurs qui mettent en scène une apocalypse naissante. Mais est-il vraiment le moindre de tous les maux ou désire-t-il simplement tuer la concurrence? De toute façon, Charlie sera-t-elle suffisamment forte pour se sauver, pour sauver Daniel, mais aussi peut-être le monde entier?

Avis : Je suis toujours intéressée et fascinée quand il est question de démons et c’est vrai que j’étais curieuse de découvrir ce roman et cette auteure que je ne connaissais pas. Ce livre semblait d’ailleurs présenter tout ce que j’aime avec une héroïne dont la vie est bouleversée, des démons comme je le disais, de l’action mais aussi et surtout de l’urban fantasy ! Au final, ce n’était pas forcément ce à quoi je m’attendais mais c’était intéressant de découvrir l’histoire et les personnages.

On rencontre ainsi Charlie, une jeune femme marquée par son passé douloureux et qui essaie de le fuir depuis lors. Des thèmes peu simples sont d’ailleurs abordés à ce sujet et on ne peut que compatir face à ce que la jeune femme a dû traverser. On comprend pendant tout le roman que quelque chose de terrible s’est passé, lui faisant perdre toute confiance en elle, mais c’est vrai que j’étais curieuse d’apprendre réellement les évènements. Mais ceci est une toute partie de l’histoire, de même que sa relation avec Daniel qui évolue pas mal au cours de du récit, leur permettant de leur laisser l’occasion de parler de tous ces sujets. Je sais, je sais, je n’ai pas encore parlé des démons mais j’y arrive ! C’est juste que finalement la relation entre Daniel et Charlie a quelque chose de très touchant et on suit tout au long de l’histoire avec attention tout ce qu’il se passe. Mais donc les démons, oui parce qu’ils arrivent… D’ailleurs je dis démons mais ce sont plutôt des entités malfaisantes. Mais revenons à nos moutons… alors que Charlie rentre chez elle après une soirée désastreuse, elle fait face à trois chiens énormes qui n’ont qu’un seul but, la tuer ! Heureusement elle sera sauvée par un homme, The Man in Black, qui désire la prendre en tant qu’acolyte (de gré ou de force) pour l’aider à combattre ses frères. Sans autres alternatives et avec son petit ami en otage, notre héroïne n’a d’autre choix que de lancer dans cette aventure et de l’aider bien qu’elle ne sache pas s’il en ressortira quelque chose de positif.

J’ai trouvé les interactions entre les personnages très intéressantes et comme je le disais la relation et le passé de Charlie étaient fascinants à lire… Par contre, j’ai eu beaucoup plus de mal avec la quête qu’ils entreprennent, je n’ai pas réussi à m’y intéresser et j’ai trouvé cela parfois un peu trop farfelu pour moi, je ne m’attendais pas vraiment à cela. Du coup c’est vrai que j’ai un peu décroché par rapport à cela, ce qui est dommage. Pourtant les idées de l’auteure sont originales et on passe tout de même un agréable moment mais je pense que j’attendrai les avis de la suite avant de la lire pour voir ce qu’il adviendra.

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Damned If He Does by Marcella Burnard

Synopsis: Rejected by heaven, twisted by hell, what’s a damned dead man to do when he stumbles upon a life and love worth fighting for?

Though damned for his earthly sins, Darsorin Incarri likes being an incubus. Prowling women’s dreams to siphon off their sexual energy for Satan’s consumption has its perks: an array of infernal power and a modicum of freedom. Sure, Ole Scratch holds Dar’s soul in thrall, and Dar has to spend a few hours recharging in Hell every day, but it could be much worse. All he has to do is hold up his end of his damnation contract – five women seduced, satisfied and siphoned per night for eternity. So when he encounters gorgeous, bright, and funny Fiona Renee, it’s business as usual. Deploy the infernal charm and rack up another score. Except it doesn’t work. She’s immune. He has to find out what’s gone wrong or face Lucifer’s wrath.

Fiona Renee has the life she’d always wanted: a career, a home, a cat with a bad attitude, and peace. Fiona’s dated. Had boyfriends. And hated every minute of it. She’s reconciled to being lonely. So when a man shows up in her bedroom in the middle of the night demanding to know why her dreams turn to nightmares every time he tries to seduce her from within them, Fiona winds up negotiating a contract with a demon that allows him access to her life. She never anticipated that it would also give him access to her heart. If she’s going to fall in love at all, something she never thought would happen, shouldn’t it be with someone who’s alive? If Fiona wants to hang on to Darsorin, she has to find his true name—the one he’d been given at his birth over a thousand years ago. But Satan, himself, stands in her way. Even if Fiona can dodge Lucifer, she and Darsorin have to face the question neither of them can answer: What happens to a dead man if you manage to wrest his soul from the Devil?

What did I think of it:
I love Marcella’s books, so when she asked me if I wanted to read and review her newest book Damned if He Does, a light Paranormal Romance I jumped at the chance.

And this is such a good read.

Fiona isn’t interested in a sexual relationship and has accepted that she will most probably stay single because of that. Then Dar enters her life and after a very rocky start of their relationship they learn more about each other, and they start to care about each other.

Fiona being who she is, this romance is all about emotional connection. I loved how the bond between her and Dar developed. The romantic story line is sweet, fun and heartwarming. I connected with Fiona from the start and rooted for her that everything would turn out ok. Dar is a cool character as well. He is a bit dense at times, but he goes through a lot of growth in this story.

The suspense story line is small, but fun. I loved how Satan was written and there was another demon I hope will get her own story. She came across as a character who has a very interesting story to tell.

Overall this is a very original and beautiful Paraonormal Romance. I can advice this to anyone who’s looking for a well written and sweet paranormal read.

Why should you read it:
It’s a heartwarming, fun Paranormal Romance

Find buy links here

Sullivan McPig

Stacking the Shelves #192

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Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews
The Sinner (Graveyard Queen, 5) – Amanda Stevens

I am a living ghost, a wanderer in search of my purpose and place… 

I’m a cemetery restorer by trade, but my calling has evolved from that of ghost seer to death walker to detective of lost souls. I solve the riddles of the dead so the dead will leave me alone.

I’ve come to Seven Gates Cemetery nursing a broken heart, but peace is hard to come by…for the ghosts here and for me. When the body of a young woman is discovered in a caged grave, I know that I’ve been summoned for a reason. Only I can unmask her killer. I want to trust the detective assigned to the case for he is a ghost seer like me. But how can I put my faith in anyone when supernatural forces are manipulating my every thought? When reality is ever-changing? And when the one person I thought I could trust above all others has turned into a diabolical stranger?

City of Wolves – Willow Palacek

Alexander Drake, Investigator for Hire, doesn’t like working for the Nobility, and doesn’t prefer to take jobs from strange men who accost him in alleyways. A combination of hired muscle and ready silver have a way of changing a man’s mind.

A lord has been killed, his body found covered in bite marks. Even worse, the late lord’s will is missing, and not everyone wants Drake to find it. Solving the case might plunge Drake into deeper danger.

City of Wolves is a steampunk noir from debut author Willow Palecek.

Safe From Harm (Protect & Serve, 2) – Kate Serine

There’s something about prosecuting attorney Elle McCoy that Deputy Gabe Dawson just can’t get enough of. Even with Gabe’s family legacy in law enforcement and promising career, Elle’s smart, sassy rejection of all his charm makes Gabe want her even more.

But Gabe’s confidence is shaken when he’s shot on the steps of the courthouse, protecting Elle from a terrorist intent on revenge. Worse, Elle isn’t out of danger yet. But as they race to counter the terrorist’s next move, Gabe determines to prove to Elle—and himself—that he’s a man worthy of her.

 

Dracula Cha Cha Cha by Kim Newman

Anno Dracula, Book 3

Synopsis: Rome. 1959. Count Dracula is about to marry the Moldavian Princess Asa Vajda – his sixth wife. Journalist Kate Reed flies into the city to visit the ailing Charles Beauregard and his vampire companion Geneviève. Finding herself caught up in the mystery of the Crimson Executioner who is bloodily dispatching vampire elders in the city, Kate discovers that she is not the only one on his trail…

Review: I did not really know about the series although it’s true that I had the opportunity to see the covers as well as the name of the author on some blogs. I wondered for a moment if it would not be a problem to start with a third book but the summary let me think it would not be the case. Of course, I know that the synopsis is not everything but I can tell you that starting with the third volume is really not a problem. But it’s true that now I’m pretty curious to see what the first two parts present.

In this story, we discover three young female vampires, Genevieve, Kate and Penelope, who gathered for a funeral. Indeed, their former love, Charles is about to die and each appears to try to change his mind and to say goodbye. But the arrival of Kate in Rome coincides with the assassination of elder vampires and our heroine is determined to understand what exactly is happening. But these events also coincide with the future marriage of Princess Asa and Count Dracula that everyone seems to expect. Thus we follow all these people and their discoveries of the secrets of Rome.

I will not say much more for fear of revealing too much but it’s true that we are easily carried away by the writings of the author and I was really curious to see how the story would develop. Many events take place and we end up at the same time with some surprises that we don’t expect. I loved to discover Kate and the other characters and it’s true that I am curious to find them again. What surprised me the most was to see two different stories in this novel. In fact, we follow mainly the story of the murders, Dracula and three women, then after the conclusion we have a second story presenting Kate, ten years later trying to solve a murder. I was not expecting it at all especially when we see that finally the two are not related but it was interesting to discover more about this universe.

In any case it was a great find and it is true that I am eager to find out more about Kim Newman’s books now!

4 

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Dracula Cha Cha Cha de Kim Newman

Anno Dracula, Tome 3

Résumé : Rome 1959. Dracula est sur le point de se marier en grande pompe avec la princesse moldave Asa Vajda. Mais cet événement mondain exceptionnel, qui rassemblera tout le gotha vivant et mort-vivant de la Ville éternelle, n’est que la première étape d’un ambitieux projet élaboré par le comte. Orson Welles est un agent secret vampire du nom de Bond sont également de la partie, ainsi qu’un mystérieux assassin, le Bourreau Écarlate, qui trouble la dolce vita de la cité en semant les cadavres derrière lui…

Avis : Je ne connaissais pas vraiment la série même si c’est vrai que j’ai eu l’occasion de voir passer les couvertures et bien sûr le nom de l’auteur. Je me suis demandée un moment si cela ne poserait pas un problème de commencer par un troisième tome mais le résumé laissait penser ce ne serait pas le cas. Bien sûr, je sais que le résumé ne fait pas tout mais je peux vous affirmer que commencer par le troisième volume ne pose vraiment aucun problème. Mais c’est vrai que maintenant je suis assez curieuse de voir ce que nous présentent les deux premiers volets.

Dans cette histoire, nous découvrons trois jeunes femmes vampires, Geneviève, Kate et Pénélope, qui sont réunies pour un évènement assez funèbre. En effet, leur ancien amour, Charles est sur le point de mourir et chacune se présente pour essayer de le faire changer d’avis et lui dire au-revoir. Mais l’arrivée de Kate à Rome coïncide aussi avec l’assassinat d’ainés vampires et notre héroïne est bien décidée à comprendre ce qu’il se passe exactement. Mais ces évènements coïncident aussi avec futur mariage de la princesse Asa et du comte Dracula que tout le monde semble attendre. C’est ainsi que l’on suit tout ce petit monde et leur découvertes des secrets de Rome.

Je ne vais pas en dire beaucoup plus de peur d’en révéler trop mais c’est vrai qu’on se laisse facilement emporter par les écrits de l’auteur et j’étais vraiment curieuse de voir comment le récit allait se développer. De nombreux évènements se déroulent et on se retrouve par la même occasion confronté à quelques surprises que l’on n’attend pas. J’ai adoré découvrir Kate ainsi que les autres personnages et c’est vrai que je suis curieuse de les retrouver. Ce qui m’a par contre particulièrement surprise c’est de voir deux histoires différentes dans ce roman. En effet, nous suivons principalement l’histoire des meurtres, de Dracula et des trois femmes, puis après la conclusion, nous avons un deuxième récit qui nous présente Kate, une dizaine d’années après qui essaie de résoudre un meurtre. Je ne m’y attendais pas du tout surtout quand on voit que finalement les deux ne sont pas liées mais c’était intéressant de pouvoir en découvrir plus sur cet univers.

Dans tous les cas c’était une bonne découverte et c’est vrai que je suis impatiente d’en découvrir plus sur les livres de Kim Newman à présent !

4 

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Blog Tour: Arabella of Mars by David D. Levine (Interview)

Synopsis: Ever since Newton witnessed a bubble rising from his bathtub, mankind has sought the stars. When William III of England commissioned Capt. William Kidd to command the first expedition to Mars in the late 1600s, they proved that space travel was both possible and profitable.

Now, one century later, a plantation in the flourishing British colony on Mars is home to Arabella Ashby. A tomboy who shares her father’s deft hand with complex automatons. Being raised on the Martian frontier by her Martian nanny, Arabella is more a wild child than a proper young lady. Something her mother plans to remedy with a move to an exotic world Arabella has never seen: London, England.

Arabella soon finds herself trying to navigate an alien world until a dramatic change in her family’s circumstances forces her to defy all conventions in order to return to Mars in order to save both her brother and the plantation. To do this, Arabella must pass as a boy on the Diana, a ship serving the Mars Trading Company with a mysterious Indian captain who is intrigued by her knack with automatons. Arabella must weather the naval war between Britain and France, learning how to sail, and a mutinous crew if she hopes to save her brother from certain death.

 

What draws you to writing science fiction? Do you think you’ll explore other genres in the future?

I’ve been an SF and Fantasy reader since I was a kid. I caught the SF bug from my dad, who read the pulps in the 30s and 40s and brought me up on tales of Barlennan and Gully Foyle. I started writing my own SF in middle school, and never stopped except for a 20-year break during which I was a technical writer in my day job and writing fiction was too much like work. As far as writing other fiction genres… though many of my SF and Fantasy stories incorporate horrific, humorous, mysterious, or romantic elements, I don’t ever see myself writing stories in those genres per se.

The cover of Arabella of Mars possesses a steampunk light. Can you find any of that in the book?

Heck yeah! The cover design was suggested by me and it expresses the « feel » of the book tremendously well. I describe Arabella of Mars as « steampunkish » rather than « steampunk, » because there is no steam power in it as such. However, steam power was in use during the equivalent period of real history, and Arabella does include coal-burning furnaces, the manufacture of charcoal, and plenty of clockwork automata. Finally, if you define steampunk as « science fiction based on obsolete technology, » Arabella has that in spades. So although I myself wouldn’t call the book steampunk, I don’t object if other people do. (Kim Stanley Robinson used the word « sailpunk » to describe it.)

Do you have a particular writing process or ritual that helped you write this book?

When starting a project, I open a new « notes » file and just begin typing as though I were talking out loud, working out the worldbuilding, character, and plot details. I will natter on for thousands and thousands of words before I begin drafting, always just adding to the end of the file in a continuous scroll. I outline the plot, sketch out characters, paste in bits of research, and write a lot of « what would happen if… » and « maybe he does this because… » statements. Eventually I begin drafting and the notes file becomes a diary of wordcount progress as well as a place for working out problems that arise during the writing and editing process. By the time the book is done, the notes file might be three or four times the size of the book itself.

 

Blog Tour Schedule:

July 8 – The Qwillery

July 11 – Dark Faerie Tales

July 12 – Sci-Fi Chick

July 13 – Powder and Page

July 14 – Ageless Pages Reviews

July 15 – Fantasy Literature

July 18 – Fantasy Book Critic

July 19 – Bookwraiths

July 20 – Between Dreams and Reality

July 21 – On Starships and Dragonwings

July 22 – The Arched Doorway