Book Review: Samhain’s Embrace by Jesse Fox

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Title: Samhain’s Embrace

Author: Jesse Fox

Author Site

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Publisher: Dark Roast Press

Genre: Erotic Fiction, Gay

Length – # OF PAGES: 69

Other: * M/M * Voyeurism

Pagan Author & Pagan Elements: Yes/Yes

Card Rating: – 5

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The Reviewers choice & Top pick

PP Top Pick 2

Reviewed by: Jes L’Heureux

About The Book: What is loss to the human heart?

A spirit of nature, misunderstood and forgotten by modern man, when drawn out on the one night he roams the darkness freely, seeks to understand the meaning of loss and ease a young man’s pain.

Bran Conleth is a man broken by the ultimate loss – death. Desperate to summon his deceased lover he chooses the one night when the veil between the land of the living and the land of the dead is at its thinnest. Instead of his lover, he calls forth the embodiment of the night – Samhain.

Together they share one incredible journey that will teach Samhain about human loss and Bran that there is life after death.

The Review:

Dealing with the grief of his lost lover Bran takes to doing an ancient ritual, which will bring back Dmitri. The story unfolds with the unveiling of the past for Bran and his loss, as well as going though the ritual as it takes place. Alongside we get the impressions and thoughts of the almost forgotten deity of Samhain, and his place in the cycle. Jesse Fox creates this beautiful tapestry that weaves the past and present with magic and tradition. The story is like a dance going though the stages of grief that we experience when we lose a loved one. Bran learns to live with the joy, instead of holding close the pain of the one event that pulled them apart.

“This … is just one chapter. Now you must turn the page and see what awaits you in the next chapter” p.34,

The above quote perfectly expresses how this story unfolds.

I found the flow of the story was natural, and didn’t feel as though I were being thrashed by scene changes, or “oh yeah” moments. The descriptions of each character, the scenery, and atmosphere were rendered so vividly I could feel and see what was occurring. I felt that dealing with, and acceptance of the loss, was an important theme to this book. To have it pulled together with the idea and celebration of Samhain, the end of summer, the end of the cycle was a wonderful way to mesh the story. As we have all felt loss in our lives, the reminder that they live on and that we can find solace in another’s embrace, or in our faiths, is a great relief.

Big on the recommend scale, especially for those who are looking for something with a bit more pagan in its pages.

Pagan Elements:

There are definitely some Pagan elements; the first half of the story is about the preparation and the ritual itself. This entire story is about the nature deity Samhain and each of the embodiments of the different pagan celebrations.

Cover (Rated 1-10):

8 – I found the cover to be interesting in that I had to take a double take to make out what the image is, as I read the story I found the cover to be very suiting to the book as well.

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Disclaimer: Due to FTC regulations, any book reviewed on this site was sent for free by the author to The Pagan & the Pen. We are not paid to give reviews by Author or Publisher. Once review has been made, said books are deleted.

Book Review: The Killer Within by Jason Kahn

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Title: The Killer Within

Author: Jason Kahn

Author Website: www.jrkahn.com

Publisher: Damnation Books, LLC

Publisher Website: www.damnationbooks.com

Genre: Suspense/Mystery

Pages: 25

Reviewed by: Strega

4 Tarot Cards

Blurb:

When Metro City’s number one crime fam­ily develops a drug that turns ordinary people into mindless assassins, detective Frank Arnold makes it his mission to bring them down. But things take a turn for the worse when the syndi­cate targets someone in the police department to carry out their next hit. Everyone’s under suspi­cion, including Frank himself as he tries desper­ately to crack the case before his time runs out, permanently.

Review:

This short read was action packed from page one to the ending. I’m a mystery/suspense buff anyway, so this one had me from the title. The story is exciting, believable and well written, all though I found a few minor editing issues, but nothing that distracted from the story at all. My biggest complaint with this story is the length. I wanted more! There is much more to Frank Arnold and in this story, we only get little glimpses of who the man really is and what his life is about. I hope Mr. Kahn is at his computer writing the next installment of Frank’s life because inquiring minds want to know! This would make a fine novel and I look forward to reading whatever the author has in store next.

Book Review: Purr-fect Seduction by H.C. Brown

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Title: Purr-fect Seduction PRIDE BROTHER SERIES BOOK ONE

Author: H.C. Brown

Author Site

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Publisher: Noble Romance Publishing, LLC

Genre: paranormal romance

Length – # OF PAGES: 91

Other: M/F * M/F/M * Spanking * Voyeurism

Pagan Author & Pagan Elements: No/Yes

Card Rating: — 4

Reviewed by: Gabrielle

About The Book: Jill Morfranna, a sassy redhead from New York, is enjoying a photo shoot in the Scottish Highlands

when she stumbles into an alternate realm. Trapped in a frightening world of strange creatures,

her life turns upside down when a sinfully handsome shape-shifter kidnaps her. Will she win Dare

of Knight Watch’s heart or will he trade her for his sister at the next slave auction?

The Review:

While Jill Morfranna is on a trip to the Highlands she comes across a wondrous castle that she begins to photographs. While getting a better view of the castle she stands atop the magical rocks of Morfran and inadvertently travels into another realm. There she meets Dare a gorgeous man with a great physique but he isn’t just any man, he is a shape-shifting prince. Dare is in search of his sister and intends to trade Jill for her at the slave auction. Can Jill win his trust and escape the auction block to find her way home or is she lost forever in this forgotten realm?

H.C. Brown weaves an engaging and intriguing tale of a beautiful world and its occupants. Well written and fast paced this story had me from the very beginning. Jill is a great heroine. She is smart and brave and even feels like most of us do in the real world about our bodies. Dare is one hot alpha male who is not afraid to show his softness and his love for those he truly cares about. The relationship that builds between the two is a great read and Jill’s first sighting of Dare is one hot scene. Each and every character makes an impression on the reader from the hateful Ram’s to the wonderful alpha males. It is rare that all the characters in a story call to the reader’s attention making them want to know more about them as the ones in this book do. After meeting all of the men and woman in this book I cannot wait to see who’s story comes next and what adventures they will take.

Pagan Elements: magic and fairies, Druids and magic stones

Cover (Rated 1-10): 8 nice cover that includes all the elements of the book, man, castle, and cat.

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Disclaimer: Due to FTC regulations, any book reviewed on this site was sent for free by the author to The Pagan & the Pen. We are not paid to give reviews by Author or Publisher. Once review has been made, said books are deleted.

Book Review: In the Spirit by C.R. Moss

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Title: In The Spirit

Author: C.R. Moss

Author Site

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Publisher: eXtacy Books

Genre: Erotic Fiction, Ménage, Paranormal, Romance

Length – # OF PAGES: 82

Other: * M/F * Multiple Partners * Voyeurism

Pagan & Pagan Elements: Yes/Yes

Card Rating: — 3

Reviewed by: Jes L’Heureux

About The Book:

Can love heal Death’s soul?

Tresa Grauenvoll had the perfect life.  Beautiful, intelligent, engaged to Jurgen Elman, lord of a vast estate, she couldn’t have wished for more.  Then two weeks before her wedding, Tresa is accused of the ultimate betrayal–treason. Sentenced to die by the love of her life, she’s hanged for crimes she did not commit. As her life ebbs away, supernatural intervention transforms her from country gentry to Grim Reaper, exiles her to a foreign land and forces her to harvest souls.  For centuries she has waited for the man who condemned her to cross paths with her once again so she can exact her revenge.

Immortal Ned Odognagap and his girlfriend, Katie, are witnesses for Artim and Jenna’s Halloween wedding and conversion ceremony that will change Jenna from human to immortal. It’s the perfect time of year for the events since the veil between worlds is thinnest and those who have passed can join the festivities.

Ned has one problem, though. Tresa, the woman he knew and loved when he was called Jurgen, has returned with a vengeance. Can Ned withstand Tresa’s torment long enough, without driving Katie insane in the process, to find out and explain what happened that fateful day and tell Tresa he loves her still? Or will he and Katie succumb to death’s ire?

The Review:

In the Spirit is the sequel to C.R. Moss’s Holiday Spirits which I did not have the pleasure of reading, but this is a story that stands alone and doesn’t require reading the first in its series. The story sets out about the Grim Reaper Tresa, who in her past was scorned by her lover and fiancé Jurgen, who sentenced her to die for crimes she did not commit. And as they say of a woman scorned, she always held the hate and anger of her thwarted life and love. Now the story progresses and it’s hundreds of years since that day and Tresa comes across the immortal Ned, who she is drawn to only to realize that he is her long ago lover, Jurgen.

This was a cute story in the little tortuous things that Tresa did to Ned/Jurgen throughout the story. Moss was able to keep the story alive with the little nuances of feelings and scent memory. I enjoyed the ebb and flow as the story wove from the past to the present, slowly advising the reader about the whole story of what has occurred with these two.

The writing was what I have come to now expect with C.R. Moss, in that it was clear and captured the reader’s interest in wanting to learn more and read more. This is a nice quick read for anyone who is looking for an escape on a weekend afternoon.

Pagan Elements: ~

In terms of Pagan elements, there is discussion in regards to Germanic Gods and Goddesses, the concept of immortality and rites and rituals on Samhain.

Cover (Rated 1-10):

7 – The cover page is well rendered, and definitely pretty to look at. What draws me to it is the contrast of the title to the overall colour scheme alongside the rendered figures, their eyes are well eye-catching.

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Disclaimer: Due to FTC regulations, any book reviewed on this site was sent for free by the author to The Pagan & the Pen. We are not paid to give reviews by Author or Publisher. Once review has been made, said books are deleted.

Book Review: The Apple and The Thorn by Emma Restall Orr and Walter William Melnyk

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Title: The Apple and The Thorn

Author: Emma Restall Orr and Walter William Melnyk

Author Site

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Publisher: Thoth Publishing

Genre: historical fiction, romance

Length – 295 pages

Other: M/F

Pagan & Pagan Elements: yes/yes

Card Rating: — 1 card

Reviewed by: Brandi

About The Book: From : This story is not true in the sense that most people use the word. It emerges out of the mists of time, rooted deep in the ancient heritage of Britain. A weave of mythologies, theologies, and histories, it is the story of two people, and a story of all peoples. It has no beginning and it has no ending.

The Apple and the Thorn stands upon the tradition of two mythical characters: Vivian, the Lady of the Lake and Eosaidh of Cornualle (Joseph of Arimathea). Yet the land itself is a living character in the tale, as is the surrounding marsh, the invading Roman legion and a very special cup of blue glass that unites them all. A Timeless Tale of Love and War. Source

The Review: The Apple and The Thorn is a very poetic novel, told in first person with the point of view alternating between Vivian and Eos. Though this style allowed for wonderful characterization, the story would have worked much better in third person.

The blurb states the authors’ intention of creating “the land itself is a living character”; however there is such a thing as being too descriptive. The feel of blankets, of soil, of the forest, etc. is over-explained at every opportunity, and the wording is annoying and a bit clichéd. The authors also chose to write the novel in present tense, which just doesn’t work, as there is not enough action or excitement in the novel to justify it.

Admittedly, the language used is beautiful and (to a limited degree) historical, but would be better suited in the non-fiction work author Emma Restall Orr is best known for. At times the book gets so poetic and ‘wordy’ that it’s difficult to keep track of the story line. And unfortunately, it leads the reader to ask: Is there an actual storyline here?

After the first chapter, it became a chore to read this book. While some passages are engaging and beautiful, others are tedious and boring, and I found myself skimming the pages instead of actually reading, searching for some movement of plot. I never found it.

The relationship between Vivian and Eos is well intended and has some flecks of passion, but because of the style issues of the novel, it is difficult to relate to them or to even care about the developing romance.

Pagan Elements: ~ Druidism, Historical Britain, Arthurian Legend

Cover (Rated 1-10): 7 – very pretty with subtle colors, but not outstanding, and does not pull a reader in.

Book Review: The Perfect Match by Raven Starr

Magic book

Title: The Perfect Match

Author: Raven Starr

Author Site

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Publisher: Red Rose Publishing

Genre: interracial, magic/fantasy, contemporary

Length 138 pages

Other: M/F

Pagan & Pagan Elements: yes/yes

Card Rating: — 2

Reviewed by: Brandi

About The Book: From Red Rose Publishing: Kiora Webb is a typical Pisces woman. Independent, creative, and romantic, but she just couldn’t meet the right guy. Working at Caper’s New and Used book store; was the perfect place for her. For an early birthday present her friends treat her to a girl’s night out to Club Fusion where she meets slick talking Donovan Black. From his self-assured stance to his lame, run-down pick up lines, she dismisses him swiftly.

Donovan Black has never been turned down before. When beautiful Kiora Webb doesn’t fall head over heels for him, he’s crushed. Taking his failure as a game Donovan’s buddies persuade him into thinking he could never have a woman like her. Donovan set out to prove them wrong. But what started out as a ploy turns into something that not neither one of them could foresee.

What can that ploy be?

The Review:

“A Perfect Match” is a really cute idea for a romance story, but tragically the novel does not live up its promise. While the characters are lively and personable, the author’s decision-making in storytelling is questionable. The set up of Kiora and Donovan meeting covers the first 30 pages in the book, but the building of their relationship – from their first date to becoming a couple – is over in one page. The reader goes from the two main characters meeting, arguing, and apologizing; then within two paragraphs is in the middle of their romantic relationship. Because of this “quick look” over the romance portion of the story, the reader feels cheated. In writing a love story, the author needs to remain aware that while the characters are romancing each other, the reader is being romanced as well. When Ms. Starr skipped over this important step, she disconnected the reader from her characters, so that the audience never truly connects to Kiora or Donovan.

The underlying pagan elements of the story – the astrology soul mate connections, ghost hauntings and blessings – seem to be afterthoughts in the telling of the tale. None of these themes make a remembered appearance, and the story would have been better off without them.

Also, the editing of this book is – in a word – atrocious. Simple, basic rules of grammar and writing are overlooked if not ignored all together; revised characterizations and plot changes are left uncorrected throughout the text. All of this makes the book difficult to read, and it is shameful the novel was released to the public in this condition.

The entire book reads like a first draft in need of many revisions – which is very unfortunate as Raven Starr had a good idea in “A Perfect Match.” The dialogue is funny and interesting, and the many characters in the book all have their own personality. Hopefully in future efforts, Ms. Starr will take the time to develop her characters’ relationships, which would make her writing that much more interesting and desirable.

Pagan Elements: astrology, ghosts

Cover (Rated 1-10): 5. While the cover models were great, the concept is plain, and the production seems a bit sloppy. Nothing memorable about it.

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Disclaimer: Due to FTC regulations, any book reviewed on this site was sent for free by the author to The Pagan & the Pen. We are not paid to give reviews by Author or Publisher. Once review has been made, said books are deleted.