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Skin Deep by Lily Luchesi

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Coming June 12th from USA Today bestselling author Lily Luchesi
Published by Vamptasy Publishing
Cover design by Rue Volley
Edited by EAL Editing Services

 
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The animal inside wants to come out and play.

Skin changers are able to look like anyone of any race and gender, which makes them the most dangerous criminals in the paranormal community. Only one person in modern history has ever successfully captured and executed one.

When a skin changer starts attacking government workers in Chicago, they have no choice but to call in their last resort. However, their solution might create even more danger for the city and its people. What does the skin changer want, and how does it fit into a possible Undead uprising?

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Excerpt:

         “What do you look like under that mask?”
         The man Dakota Harvell had been dancing with all night was smirking at her from beneath his own, much smaller, mask. It was a masked ball Chicago hosted every Halloween to honor the bygone era of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Since the twenty-second century had begun ten years ago, many Chicago landmarks held annual “classic” celebrations.
         Dakota hadn’t been back to the city since her girlfriend had visited and that visit had and resulted in her girlfriend’s body being torn almost literally to pieces.
         “Why do you want to ruin the mystery?” she asked, her voice deep and reverberating, lower than the old-time orchestra’s bass. She tightened her grip on his hand ever so slightly. “You’ll find out soon enough.”
         The man, who had introduced himself as Eric Rodriguez, grinned. “I do love a woman who takes charge.”
         She chuckled along with him, twirling along to the old song. “Then you’re in luck tonight.”
         During a break in the dancing Dakota asked him what he did for the Illinois government.
         He chuckled nervously, tugging on his collar. “Ah, I work with murderers, in a way. Help keep the city safe.”
         Dakota winked. “FBI?”
         “Close enough,” Eric replied, finishing off his drink. “You know, I might be getting ahead of myself, but is there any chance a lady like yourself would take off with me tonight?”
         Dakota smiled; this was what she had been waiting for. “I’d be delighted. Get your car, I’ll meet you out front.”
         She watched him leave and then performed a quick change in the ladies’ bathroom: her slim, tanned body becoming short and chunky, her long blonde hair becoming short, dark, and wavy. Her dress hung oddly on her new frame, but she didn’t have time to fix it. She wouldn’t remain in this form for long, just enough to evade the security cameras as she exited the hotel.
         As soon as she was out in the brisk autumn air, she dashed into an alley and shifted back into her previous form, taken from a model in Europe some years ago. She left yet another pile of flesh and blood beneath her from the shift, and walked toward Eddie’s ugly beige Hyundai.
         As he drove he commented, “Can you believe that we had snow already? In October?”
         Dakota laughed. “It’s Chicago, we’re lucky the weather hasn’t been even stranger.”
         They headed toward Foster Avenue and stopped right where Norridge and Chicago met. He lived down the street from an elementary school and evidence of children was all around in the houses on the block surrounding his. Snowmen and sleds dotted many lawns, and one house across the street from his was already decked out in their Christmas decorations.
         “I hate that: can’t they at least wait until Halloween is over?” Dakota commented as they got out of the car. Her purple heels sank into the snow that had not been properly shoveled. She walked around to his side of the car and leaned against it, gesturing to the house.
         “Yeah, and they leave ’em on all night, making my bedroom blink through the curtains,” Eric replied, standing in his driveway. He glanced toward Dakota, opened his mouth, closed it, and opened it again. His eyes were bulging in shock or fear.
         What is he … oh. Dakota looked at her reflection in the car window. Instead of the beautiful visage she had stolen was in place the true image of a skin changer, only seen in a reflection: wet grey skin, covered in slime, no hair, no nose, white, cataract covered eyes, and a gaping hole of a mouth.
         Eddie opened his mouth and was about to scream, but Dakota silenced him with a punch to the stomach. But her fist did not stop there: it went through the fabric, past the soft, paunchy belly, and into the wet warmth of his flesh. It moved through muscle, organs, and blood until the fist reached the other side, boring a perfect hole into his guts.
         Eyes wide, too shocked to feel pain, Eric just stood there while her fist was going into him, creating a crater that looked like a baseball had gone through his midsection.
         Dakota pulled her fist out with a wet sound, dragging his guts with it in her grip. She yanked and they pulled free, sending Eric to the ground in his driveway, blood soaking the pure white snow like art.
         She put a piece of intestine in her mouth and began to chew, grinning. “Not quite the penetration you were hoping for, was it?”

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My Review:

Angelica Cross is forced to curb her travelling and return to the Paranormal Investigative Division to stop a skin changer from killing employees of the PID and quell an undead uprising.

Once again I was taken on an intense and emotional trip filled with mayhem, action and suspense, and enjoyed every minute of it.

All my favourite friends were back and better than ever. (Thank you, Lily, for bringing Angelica and Danny back to the PID!)

I love that Lily’s writing makes me feel like a part of the story, that I’m living alongside the characters and experiencing their adventures first hand.

If you like paranormal mysteries with awesome storylines and great characters, and haven’t yet read any of this amazing series, now is a good time to start… you won’t regret it!

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The entire series is on sale June 12th-17th.

You can start book one for FREE, and books 2-5 are only 99 pennies!

 
Author Information:

20180331_204409Lily Luchesi is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of the Paranormal Detectives Series, published by Vamptasy Publishing. She also has short stories included in multiple bestselling anthologies, and a successful dark erotica retelling of Dracula.

She is also the editor, curator and contributing author of Vamptasy Publishing’s Damsels of Distress anthology, which celebrates strong female characters in horror and paranormal fiction.

She was born in Chicago, Illinois, and now resides in Los Angeles, California. Ever since she was a toddler her mother noticed her tendency for being interested in all things “dark”. At two she became infatuated with vampires and ghosts, and that infatuation turned into a lifestyle. She is also an out member of the LGBT+ community. When she’s not writing, she’s going to rock concerts, getting tattooed, watching the CW, or reading manga. And drinking copious amounts of coffee.

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Saturday Spotlight

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The Knowing Child
by Valarie Savage Kinney

The Knowing Child

Evie O’Connor isn’t a typical three-year-old. She hears the cries of the dead and the dying. Her burgeoning ability brings the scars of a painful past into her parent’s lives.

No matter how hard she tries to forget, the effects of neglect and abuse linger in Keisha O’Connor’s mind. Nightmares, anxiety, and something more sinister have a grip on her she can’t break. When her daughter Evie makes a terrifying announcement, the walls surrounding her perfect life come tumbling down.

At Windy Springs Renaissance Festival, the familiar isn’t what it seems. A bizarre twist of fate puts Evie in danger as the Rennies band together to save the child… and possibly take down one of their own.

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My Review:

Valarie Savage Kinney’s series, Secrets of Windy Springs goes from strength to strength. This, the third instalment, is the best one yet. I gave the first two, five stars, so this should definitely be a six-star book.

The Knowing Child took me on an emotional rollercoaster ride, that I couldn’t get off until I turned that last page.

Keisha, Rogan and all my favourite characters were back, and this time young Evie is at the forefront of the story. Evie tries to deal with hearing the voices of the dead and dying, as best as a three-year-old can, and one voice, in particular, turns Keisha and Rogan’s world upside down.

Each book brings me closer to the quirky cast as I get to know them better and learn more about them and their pasts.

I loved this book, I love this series, and I love feeling that I’m meeting up with old friends each time I open the book. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that there are many more secrets to uncover in Windy Springs.

 

The Author:

Valarie Savage KinneyValarie Kinney is a writer, fiber artist and Renaissance Festival junkie with a wicked caffeine addiction. She resides in Michigan with her husband, four children, and two insane little dogs.

Author of Heckled, Slither, Just Hold On, and the Secrets of Windy Springs series, as well as short stories included in various anthologies.

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A-Z: Books I’ve Read

A-ZG is for Ghost

 

The 11th Percent

T.H. Morris

Jonah Rowe, a bored accountant and aspiring novelist, is sick and tired of his job as an accountant. He is burnt out from all the office gossip, politics, and double talk, and he longs for his life to matter. Truth be told, Jonah wants anything besides the lame routine of coasting through his workday….only to psych himself up enough to do it all over again the next day. He only wishes that his life had some meaning.

Amidst the combination of writer’s block and society’s expectations to have a “real” 9-5 job, Jonah gets his wish.

His world is turned completely upside down one evening when his vision inexplicably turns blue for several moments. He then receives a warning from a spectral visitor that not only is he in danger, but everything in his life is about to change.

Overnight, Jonah transforms from an overworked, underpaid accountant to the centerpiece of a spectral battle. Will he rise to the occasion? Can he accept that everything he knows about life and death is completely wrong? And, most importantly, will he be able to comprehend and harness the power of the mysterious 11th Percent?

Follow Jonah’s journey in this new breed of ghost story!

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The 11th Percent : Review

The 11th PercentI enjoyed this exciting, fast-paced and original book. It brings a fresh and unique look at spirits and the afterlife.

The story is well-written, with lots of action and plenty of suspense. I was hooked from the first page.

Johan and the supporting cast were well-developed, had their own personalities, and were, for the most part, likeable. Even the unpleasant Trip, turned out not to be a villain, which I didn’t see coming!

Thanks to the descriptive and engaging writing, I felt as though I had joined Johan and his new friends in the challenging world of the 11th Percenters.

The book ended well, leaving room to continue the story, but without a cliffhanger.

T.H. Morris
T.H. Morris is the pen name of myself, Terrick Heckstall.

​The initials T.H. honors my family name, and the surname Morris honors my late grandmother, Dora B. Morris, whose passing serves as one of the seeds for my series.

 

Ghostly Writes Anthology 2016

Enter the chilling Ghostly Writes Anthology and be prepared to be scared with 27 short stories from around the world. Creepy houses, murder mysteries, paranormal and much more to haunt and thrill those who dare.

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Ghostly Writes Anthology 2016: Review

Ghostly Writes Anthology 2016 If you like ghost stories, you’ll be entertained by this excellent creepy collection of short stories from a wide variety of authors.

Some stories were scarier than others, but they were all well-written and most held my interest.
As is usual with the variety of tales in anthologies, I found some of them more enjoyable than others.

In fairness to all the authors involved, I’m finding it difficult to choose only one or two favourites, although Cabins by JB Taylor, Canvas by Sarah Moiser, Hello Dear by Stewart Bint and Ruby Kisses by Jessica Wren are at the top of my list…
and I would love to read more of Soul Man by Claire Plaisted

 

 

The Ancient Tripod of Peace by Kalen Cap

The Ancient Tripod of Peace

 

BookCover_AncientTripodOfPeaceTeens Lexi and Gil face relic-thieving secret societies.

Plagued by loneliness in her Lake Erie Islands community, vegan Lexi hopes to make like-minded friends in high school. But her dad’s job is jeopardized when relics are stolen from his museum, changing her priorities. And she finds her new teachers’ eerie dislike of her troubling.

His dad in jail, cipher enthusiast and bacon-loving Gil hopes freshman year will provide a clean slate. Soon, he discovers secret codes within a Shakespearean play while paired with Lexi, pulling him into an ancient mystery.

With the official museum burglary investigation stalled, the mismatched teen sleuths join forces to try and crack the case. Lexi’s inquiries and Gil’s codes capture their teachers’ attention. But these teachers have the stolen Tripod of Peace, a powerful relic sought by rival secret societies. Caught in these societies’ crossfire as thieves wield an instrument of astounding power, Gil and Lexi are in danger.

The Ancient Tripod of Peace is the first book in novelist Kalen Cap’s Teen Thief-Catchers Series. If you like stories with artifact treasures, fighting secret societies, and spirited protagonists, you’ll enjoy this novel.

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My Review:

An interesting book that joins a trio of teens who are given the task of finding a link between the world of ancient Greece and a Shakespearean play for a group project at school. Between Gil’s computer skills, Trevor’s knowledge of Greek history, and Lexi’s grandparents, the teens find more than they bargained for.

With their lives on the line, as well as those of friends and family, the group race to untangle the mystery behind the secret societies, the codes, and the ancient artefacts.

With the different divisions within the secret society it was sometimes difficult to keep track of who was working with who.

The teens were realistically portrayed, with flaws and quirks, and the other characters involved in the story were, for the most part, fairly well fleshed out.

 
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Author Bio:

Kalen Cap is a writer living in Ohio and regularly commutes back and forth between Columbus and Port Clinton residences. Set among the Lake Erie Islands, “TheAncient Tripod of Peace” is his second novel, first of the Teen Thief-Catcher series. His first novel, “Tangled Ties to a Manatee,” was published in 2012.

Saturday Spotlight

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The Streets Of Nottingham

by Auckly Simwinga

 

The Streets of Nottingham

 

Eons ago, a betrayal rocked the heavens. Grief overwhelmed the mother of creation, driving her to madness when the god-king banished Caelemon to the underworld. Leading to the sundering of the world which would come to be known as the Breaking.

Only a tiny village, located at the edge of the world survived the breaking, and for hundreds of years it remained forgotten. The villagers now pray to the mother seeking her mercy and protection, but she’s as cold and merciless as the black stone statue from which she was carved. Her supplicants haven’t realized it yet.

But they are about to, in the worst possible way.

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My Review:

This short story, told in the first person, reads like an ancient myth handed down from person to person over many years. Sometimes confusing, sometimes unclear but always engaging and exciting.

When Adam’s village is attacked by wraiths and the love of his life is killed, he sets off to seek Nottingham, a place where no-one has ever been or is meant to go, to find a healer who, according to the ancient scrolls, knows he is coming but is not waiting for him.

An entertaining debut book from Auckly Simwinga,  an author I’d be interested in seeing more of.

 

The Author:

Auckly SimwingaAuckly Simwinga was born in Kitwe, a small mining town on the Copperbelt province of Zambia. He’s an author and architect who writes and draws stuff. But mostly he draws stuff.

The streets of Nottingham is his first published book, though he has a few others doing time in various rubbish bins across the nation.

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Go To Sleep by Marion Adams

Go To Sleep

 

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Tansy the sheep can’t go to sleep. She’s forgotten how to do it! But when she follows the barn owl’s advice and starts counting sheep, she realises that something is wrong…

The award-winning bedtime story with a humorous twist that children will love!

 

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My Review:

A cute bedtime story about a little sheep who couldn’t get to sleep. Counting sheep takes on a new twist in this fun read.

Aimed at children 3 – 7 years old. This is a wonderful story to read to your little ones, and for the older range of the age group to read themselves.

The illustrations by Sarah-Leigh Wills are delightful.

 

Author Bio:

MA author pic 2Marion Adams has been writing for as long as she can remember, usually for fun and sometimes for money as well. She started her career as an in-house copywriter with a publisher and now works as a freelance proofreader and editor. It’s her dream job because she’s paid to read all day (and eat dark chocolate). Over the years, she’s written all kinds of things for both adults and children, some serious and some less so, with published work including magazine stories, articles, poems, plays and non-fiction books.

Marion lives in Devon, UK, and when she’s not reading or writing (or eating dark chocolate), she loves going for walks on the wild moors where her picture book Go To Sleep! is set.

Saturday Spotlight

 

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Late Bite: Vampire On Trial

by John Matsui

 

Late Bite

Dragul Mangorian is the Vampire for the 21st Century. He’s smart; he’s charming; he’s terrifying. The sole survivor of a race of Vampires, he doesn’t hide in a dark coffin. He has millions of social media followers around the world and is the top-rated host of the hit late night talk show, LATE BITE.

People are dying to be his guests on screen. Off screen, people are just dying.

Lawyer Al Hamblyn spends his time keeping his blood-sucking BFF out of the clutches of the law each time another victim goes down from blood loss.

Millions cheer on the ‘ultimate bad boy’ who many say does great things for humanity. Religious zealots aren’t so sure and want him decapitated.

Villain or hero? Late Bite will keep you on the edge of your seat guessing until the final page.

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My Review:

An enjoyable, well written and unusual book.

Part courtroom drama, part action story, all vampire novel.

With plenty of bite (pun intended) and enough twists to keep you reading.

I’m looking forward to the follow-up books

 

The Author:

John Matsui AuthorJohn Matsui was an award-winning journalist and an innovative public relations consultant. Now he’s focused his inventiveness to create tension and action filled thrillers.

John’s novels – Late Bite, Lycanthrope Rising and Gravity Games are available on Amazon.com and most mainstream international sites.

John and his wife Judy live in Wortley Village, a quaint neighbourhood in London, Ontario — far from vampires, superheroes, and Toronto’s high housing prices.

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