Tag: annette marie

Sep 17

Taming Demons for Beginners – The Guild Codex: Demonized, Book 1!

Book Tours 0



Taming Demons for Beginners
Annette Marie
(The Guild Codex: Demonized #1)
Published by: Dark Owl Fantasy Inc.
Publication date: September 13th 2019
Genres: New Adult, Urban Fantasy

Rule one: Don’t look at the demon.

When I arrived at my uncle’s house, I expected my relatives to be like me—outcast sorcerers who don’t practice magic. I was right about the sorcery, but wrong about everything else.

Rule two: Don’t listen to the demon.

My uncle chose a far deadlier power. He calls creatures of darkness into our world, binds them into service contracts, and sells them to the highest bidder. And I’m supposed to act like I don’t know how illegal and dangerous it is.

Rule three: Don’t talk to the demon.

All I had to do was keep my nose out of it. Pretend I didn’t find the summoning circle in the basement. Pretend I didn’t notice the shadowy being trapped inside it. Pretend I didn’t break the rules.

But I did, and now it’s too late.


From the author of The Guild Codex: Spellbound comes a new series that will plunge an unprepared young woman into the darkest magic of the mythic world.

Goodreads / Amazon

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YOU GUYS. I am so so so SO VERY excited for this book!! I have devoured the four Guild Codex: Spellbound books and cannot WAIT to dive into this one. It’s currently sitting on my Kindle but this school semester has already started swallowing me whole and I haven’t read much lately!

Note: You don’t have to have read the Spellbound books to dive into this one! This one starts an entirely new spin-off series, so while you will recognize people and places if you’ve read Spellbound, it’s not necessary.

Keep reading for an excerpt and a giveaway down below!

EXCERPT:

I snapped the Demonica guide shut and replaced it under the table, then scooped up my remaining cookies and walked across the hardwood floor. I stopped two long steps from the summoning circle, the dome-shape interior filled with inky, impenetrable shadows.

I held up a cookie.

“This,” I announced, “is a double-chocolate brownie cookie. It’s delicious, and I’ll give it to you if you answer a question for me.”

Silence from within the darkness.

“I answered your question,” I added accusingly.

Quiet lay upon the room—then a soft, husky laugh.

“A question, hh’ainun?” the demon crooned. “What would you ask?”

Doubts trickled through me. This was a bad idea, but I plowed on. “Do demons lie?”

Ch,” it replied, a sound of cold amusement. “Zh’ūltis question. Ask another.”

I frowned. “What does zhuh-ool … what does that word mean?”

“Stupid. Stupid question.”

My frown deepened into a scowl. I rephrased. “If it’s true that demons don’t lie, why is that?”

A long pause, but it wasn’t the same silence as before. My skin prickled, instinct warning that a predator’s attention was locked on me.

“Tell me truths and lies, hh’ainun.”

“What?” I asked blankly.

The demon said nothing, waiting.

Brow furrowed, I searched for harmless things to say. “I moved here six days ago. I miss my college classes. My favorite class was biology. I enjoy baking for my family.”

“Moved here,” the demon repeated in its swirling accent. “True. Miss your … college,” it enunciated carefully, as though unfamiliar with the word, “true. Biology … lie.”

My eyes widened.

“Your family.” It rolled the last word as though tasting it. “Lie.” “No,” I said. “That one is true.”

“Lie,” the demon repeated with certainty.

“You’re wrong. I love baking for my family.”

Zh’ūltis.”

“Did you just call me stupid?” I clenched my jaw, then relaxed. “You didn’t answer my question.”

“I did.”

“No, you didn’t.” Glaring, I took a deep breath. “Fine. Whatever. If that’s your idea of answering a question, I won’t bother asking any more.”

I stepped closer to the circle, knelt, and carefully set the paper towel of cookies on the floor. Keeping my body as far away as possible, I nudged a corner of the paper across the silver inlay, then snatched my hand back. This was the closest I’d ever come to the circle.

A soft scuff against the hardwood emanated from the darkness. The paper towel twitched, then slid into the black dome.

Icy blades of fear cut through me. Suddenly, the demon was no longer a voice—it was a physical being. Something alive and solid and real that could pull the cookies into its prison cell. My gaze rose from the floor where the treats had disappeared to the curved black wall.

A spark of red in the darkness.

Flames burst to life and shot upward in a hungry blaze. I flung myself back. As I landed on my butt, the brief flare lit a shape within the black—the dark outline of shoulders, the edge of a jaw, the plane of a cheekbone.

Burning crimson eyes caught the light and glowed.

The fire died as quickly as it had appeared, and the dome was once again filled with impenetrable darkness, the demon hidden within. Gray fluff fluttered out of the circle—ash. Flakes of ash. The demon had burned the paper towel.

I scooted across the floor, then pushed onto trembling legs. Without a word or a backward glance, I ran through the door and pushed it shut behind me, swearing never to return.

An hour later, as I lay in bed, trying to sleep, all I could see was the demon’s dim outline—and those eyes that had glowed like hot coals, like magma erupting from a volcano’s heart.

 

Author Bio:

Annette Marie is the author of Amazon best-selling YA urban fantasy series Steel & Stone, its prequel trilogy Spell Weaver, and romantic fantasy trilogy Red Winter. Her first love is fantasy, but fast-paced adventures and tantalizing forbidden romances are her guilty pleasures. She lives in the frozen winter wasteland of Alberta, Canada (okay, it’s not quite that bad) with her husband and their furry minion of darkness—sorry, cat—Caesar. When not writing, she can be found elbow-deep in one art project or another while blissfully ignoring all adult responsibilities.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

 

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Apr 15

Demon Magic and a Martini Blog Tour!

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I absolutely love this series by Annette Marie, so I’m super happy to be participating in the blog tour for the 4th book! If you’re interested, you can check out my reviews of the first book here, and the second one here. Be sure to scroll down to enter the giveaway and read the excerpt!

Demon Magic and a Martini
Annette Marie
(The Guild Codex: Spellbound #4)
Published by: Dark Owl Fantasy Inc.
Publication date: April 12th 2019
Genres: New Adult, Urban Fantasy

When I first landed a bartending job at the local guild, I didn’t know a thing about magic. These days, I’m practically an expert on the different magical classes, but there’s one nobody ever talks about: Demonica.

Turns out they have a good reason for that. My guild is strictly hellion-free, because who wants to risk life and limb to control the biggest bullies on the mythic playground?

Well, some people do, and now a demon has been loosed in the city. My three best friends are determined to slay it, but even badass combat mages are critically out-magicked. And that’s not all. The monster they’re tracking—it’s not hiding. It’s not fleeing. It’s not leaving a trail of corpses everywhere it goes.

The demon is hunting too. And in a city full of mythics, it’s searching for deadlier prey.

If we can’t unravel the demon’s sinister motivations, more innocent people will die, but finding the answers means digging into dark secrets … and learning truths I never wanted to know.


Note: The three mages are definitely sexy, but this series isn’t a reverse harem. It’s 100% fun, sassy, fast-paced urban fantasy.


THE GUILD CODEX: SPELLBOUND
Three Mages and a Margarita (#1)
Dark Arts and a Daiquiri (#2)
Two Witches and a Whiskey (#3)
Demon Magic and a Martini (#4)

Goodreads / Amazon

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EXCERPT:

“Speaking of worry …” Sin’s eyes narrowed. “I heard all about how you went demon hunting with Aaron, Kai, and Ezra. I have to ask … what the hell were any of you thinking?”

“Um, well—”

“You aren’t combat trained, and demons are the fiercest, deadliest opponents out there! Why would Darius even approve it? You’re all idiots.”

I managed a bleak smile. “Thanks, Sin. Appreciate the vote of confidence.”

She sniffed angrily. “You know you aren’t ready for that, and I’d really prefer my friend not get herself killed.”

Couldn’t argue with her there. I’d also prefer not to get killed.

Lifting the tattered book off her lap, she smacked it down on the bar. “We need to look at options.”

“Uh … options for what?”

“Defensive alchemy.” She cast me a flinty stare. “Since you’re all for the dangerous jobs now, you need to be armed with more than a couple of artifacts. I heard you used a smoke screen. What else did you take?”

Bemusedly, I watched her flip the book open. “Just flash-bang potions. What is that thing?”

“My grimoire. All Arcana mythics have one—where we record all the spells or transmutations we’ve learned or invented.” She turned several spotted, liquid-stained pages covered in handwriting and diagrams. “I can make smoke bombs and flash-bangs easily enough, but you need something to stop an opponent. Personally, I don’t like sleep potions. It’s easy to get it on your own skin and then you’re asleep instead of them.”

“Yeah, that’d be bad.”

She skimmed a few more pages. “Enhanced strength is useful, but it doesn’t last long, and unless you’re in excessively good shape, you’ll crash hard
afterward. Let’s see … amnesia, no. Fasting potion, no. Enhanced speed, no.”

“What’s wrong with speed? I’d like to be faster.”

“It’s hopelessly impractical. Your body gets faster, but your reflexes don’t, so it’s difficult to control without training and practice. You’ll spend the potion’s duration tripping over your own feet and running into things.”

“Oh.” Too bad. “What’s a fasting potion?”

“Drink it and you won’t need food, water, or a bathroom for about forty-eight hours. Good for certain situations, but you pay for it afterward.” She perused more recipes. “Enhanced perception, air buffer, true sight, anti-emotionalizer, allure-fume—none of these are useful.”

“Allure-fume?” I repeated. “What’s that?”

She winced. “Uh, it’s a … um … perfume.”

I stared at her pointedly, waiting for an explanation, and her cheeks turned pink.

“A few drops on the skin will make the wearer especially alluring to the opposite sex. Like pheromones.”

“Why do you know a potion like that?”

“I tried it out when I was younger, okay?” she muttered defensively. “Lesson learned. You don’t have to lecture me.”

“What happened?”

“I wore it on a first date with this guy I really liked.”

“Did it work?”

“It worked on him, plus every male who got within twenty feet of me. I spent our entire dinner date pushing random men out of our booth. I’ve never been hit on so many times in one evening. Most of the men were twice my age and married.”

Fighting back a snicker, I asked, “Did you go on a second date with your crush?”

“No.” She hung her head over the grimoire. “An early sign that my love life was doomed.”

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Author Bio:

Annette Marie is the author of Amazon best-selling YA urban fantasy series Steel & Stone, its prequel trilogy Spell Weaver, and romantic fantasy trilogy Red Winter. Her first love is fantasy, but fast-paced adventures and tantalizing forbidden romances are her guilty pleasures. She lives in the frozen winter wasteland of Alberta, Canada (okay, it’s not quite that bad) with her husband and their furry minion of darkness—sorry, cat—Caesar. When not writing, she can be found elbow-deep in one art project or another while blissfully ignoring all adult responsibilities.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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Dec 06

Review of Dark Arts and a Daiquiri

Book Reviews 0 ★★★★½

Review of Dark Arts and a DaiquiriDark Arts and a Daiquiri (The Guild Codex: Spellbound, #2) by Annette Marie
Published by Dark Owl Fantasy Inc. on November 16, 2018
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads four-half-stars
two-flames

When I found myself facing down the scariest black-magic felon in the city, practically daring him to abduct me, I had to wonder exactly how I ended up here.

It all started when I accidentally landed a job as a bartender—but not at a bar. At a guild, populated by mages, sorcerers, alchemists, witches, and psychics. Good thing this lame-o human is adaptable, right?

Then my favorite guild members—three sexy, powerful, and intermittently charming mages—asked for my help. Did they want access to my encyclopedic knowledge of cocktails? Oh no. They wanted to wrap me up in a pretty ribbon and plunk me in the crosshairs of a murderous rogue to lure him out of hiding.

So that's what we did. And that's why I'm here. About to be kidnapped. Oh, and our grand plan for safely capturing said murderous rogue? Yeah, that completely fell apart about two minutes ago.

Why did I agree to this again?

--Note: The three mages are definitely sexy, but this series isn't a reverse harem. It's 100% fun, sassy, fast-paced urban fantasy.


Tori has no problem getting herself into trouble in every book in the Guild Codex series, but each one is a complete adventure—no cliffhanger endings.

--THE GUILD CODEX: SPELLBOUNDThree Mages and a Margarita (#1)Dark Arts and a Daiquiri (#2)Two Witches and a Whiskey (#3)

So excited that this book published right on the heels of the first one! I was anticipating a long wait, but it was only about two months. And the third one is due to be out February 8th…be still my heart! Also please tell me it is NOT the last one…after the way this one ended, I don’t see how everything could possibly be wrapped up in only one more book.

Dark Arts and a Daiquiri picks up just a few weeks after the events of Three Mages and a Margarita, and we jump right into the action as Tori and the guys set up an exorcism for a faery spirit haunting the apartment she wants to rent. Much hilarity ensues, and then sadly the apartment and the faery are abandoned while they all become involved in hunting down this big-huge-black-magic-bad-guy that is stealing magically inclined youngsters. And by hunting down, we mean using Tori as bait. Things do not go as planned. Things – and people – are not what they seem.

I loved this one just as much as the first, even if some things I was hoping for didn’t happen. I snickered and giggled my way all the way through, as well as having a few moments where I simply couldn’t read fast enough.

Characters

I planted my feet, hands clenched as I glared at him, silently daring him to blast me into Tori goo.

Tori is the same smart-mouthed chick we met in the first book. We learn a very little bit more about her past, but mostly the story was moving along so quickly there wasn’t a whole lot of time for reflection. There are some new characters, Nadine, Echo (I don’t care what anyone says, I am INTRIGUED), and perhaps most interestingly, Zac. Oh! And Harry. Can’t forget Harry. Yes, I am being intentionally vague because this book is VERY easy to spoil.

“Sorcery,” he interrupted irritably. “Not sorcerer-y.”

In Tori’s words:

“You are a supreme dickhead and I haven’t forgiven you for anything.”

Actually, you know what? I just want to be able to come up with this smart-mouthed retorts like Tori. My daily life would be so entertaining.

“I don’t think you’re as bad as you think you are.”

“I told you not to get the wrong idea.”

“Oh, sorry. What I meant to say was you’re an evil bastard and I can’t wait to see you burnt at the stake for your evil crimes of evil.”

I don’t know exactly why this particular exchange struck me as so funny, but I laughed until I had tears running down my cheeks.

Also, I am in awe of the author’s ability to make me care about ALL these characters. Usually when I read a book I’m only really invested in one or two. Not so with these. Which is why I was very disappointed that we didn’t see much of the three mages in this book. They were there, but just not nearly as much, and I reeeeeeally wanted to find out more about their backstories!

Plot

If you’re hoping for some resolution of previous things, forget it. This book is an entirely new can of worms, and we only barely see the house-haunting faery that appear in the very first chapter! It does seem like it will play a larger part maybe in a later book, but damn.

Also, there are now dragons – including baby dragons – and I want to see more of them.

“For the blood of my blood’s life, I will aid you again – but only once.”

With so many loose ends, this seems like it could be a fantastic series of at least five or six books. Can we please go back to Ezra’s story? I want to know why everyone seems to be afraid of him when he really seems like such a nice guy.

Oh, and Zac. I really want to know more about him too.

Flame Rating:

More sexual tension, but not as much as in the first. Come oooooon, girlfriend. Tori’s obviously got the hots for Aaron but I’m still Team Ezra.

Minor Complaints

As already mentioned, lack of screen time for the three mages. Also the unfair teasing with the house faery. Then…does Tori have to immediately get into a confrontation with every other woman she meets? I thought she and the witch from the first book were going to be friends, but she only appeared in passing in this one…does it have to be all guys?

4.5/5 stars. Great second book, can’t wait for more!

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four-half-stars

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Nov 30

Review of Chase the Dark

Book Reviews 1 ★★★★★

I recently discovered author Annette Marie with the first book of her new series, Three Mages and a Margarita, and have started going through her back catalog. I’m so excited that she HAS an extensive backlist, as it seems a lot of the authors I really love are so new they only have two or three books.

Review of Chase the DarkChase the Dark (Steel & Stone, #1) by Annette Marie
Published by Annette Marie on October 17, 2014
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 302
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads five-stars
three-flames

Piper Griffiths wants one thing in life: To become a Consul, a keeper of the peace between humans and daemons. There are three obstacles in her way.

The first is Lyre. Incubus. Hotter than hell and with a wicked streak to match. His greatest mission in life is to get Piper into bed and otherwise annoy the crap out of her. The second is Ash. Draconian. Powerful. Dangerous. He knows too much and reveals nothing. Also, disturbingly attractive — and scary. Did she mention scary?

The third is the Sahar Stone. Top secret magical weapon of mass destruction. Previously hidden in her Consulate until thieves broke in, went on a murder spree, and disappeared with the weapon.

And they left Piper to take the fall for their crimes.

Now she’s on the run, her dreams of becoming a Consul shattered and every daemon in the city gunning to kill her. She’s dead on her own, but there’s no one she can trust — no one except two entirely untrustworthy daemons ... See problems one and two.

Chase the Dark seemed to be the logical place to jump in after Three Mages, while I was waiting NOT so patiently for the next in that series (which I’ve since read, and a review is coming soon!). Also, the entire Steel & Stone series is available through Kindle Unlimited, which I happened to be trying for a free month. I hesitated slightly because in my experience, often an author’s first book or even first few books are not as good as their later works. I am thrilled to report that I was wrong, and I quite enjoyed the start to this storyline.

As with any fantasy, urban or otherwise, there’s a good deal of worldbuilding setup required in the initial book. Chase the Dark is set in a future earthworld that sees traffic from daemons of various “species,” most of which take on a humanoid form during the time they spend on earth. Piper, our main character, is in training to be a consul, a go-between for the daemon guests and earth’s diplomatic figures. It is, OF COURSE, frowned on for consuls to have any kind of personal relationships with daemons, regardless of their benevolent intentions…OF COURSE. *wink wink*

The story moves fast, as Piper, with Lyle – an on-so-alluring succubus – and Ash, an enigmatic draconian daemon (which is just as interesting as it sounds) – in tow has to make a run for her life and freedom after a horrifying attack on the human embassy erupts. Naturally, law enforcement jumps to conclusions about just who is behind the attack. Things snowball from there.

Characters

I love Piper. I love her backbone, her willingness to try ANYTHING to do what she perceives as her duty, and I love how she cares about people. She’s young, but not TOO young (I do think the YA label is somewhat misleading on this series…it felt more New Adult to me, but without some of the explicit sex scenes that a lot of NA books have). She has a lot of past hurts from her parents and relationship issues, but she keeps going, chasing her dream, despite the fact that she has a sizeable obstacle in her way. Piper is haemon – half human, half daemon – through a VERY interesting set of circumstances, and as such has none of the magical capabilities that haemons usually have. She hasn’t let this stop her though, instead training ten times harder than most in an effort to level the playing field. You. Go. Girl.

Somehow, Annette Marie has managed to avoid making this feel like a love triangle. I suppose it…sort of IS, regardless, but it just doesn’t feel like a typical one. Despite Lyle and Ash both being insanely hot and there being quite a few sexy scenes. The three of them are a team, and they work best when they are ALL together…it’s not only hot, it’s funny as hell. They all have their strengths and weaknesses. One of which involves spiders.

Piper went stiff as board. Ash crouched over her, a knee on either side of her as he craned to try and spot the insect. She bit her lip so hard she tasted blood…her muscles quivered. Give her minotaurs, sphinxes, anything but spiders.

I love that they do have weaknesses. Perfect characters are so unrealistic and unlikeable.

Though if you’re wondering, Ash was my favorite of the two guys. Because I love anti-heroes. He IS a real piece of work though…which is about all I can say without spoiling anything. Also, HE HAS A DRAGONET FOR A PET AND SHE IS THE MOST ADORABLE THING EVER. Ahem. I need a Zwi in my life. Ash does seem a little too emo at the beginning, but once they start running his seeming immaturity sort of evaporates. Again also, his refusal to show his real form at ANY costs is very VERY intriguing. What can I say, curiosity killed the cat. Some of the events at the end of the book involve him in a way that pretty much had my jaw on the floor…who IS Ash, exactly? And why does he have to be my favorite? I feel like he might end up the bad guy and I would absolutely HATE that…

Plot

SO MUCH HAPPENING. I find this is usually the case in the first of a fantasy series, because as mentioned before the entire world, etc., has to be set up. I was just more and more intrigued the longer this went on, and while a few things were explained in the end, it is really just a gigantic cliffhanger that left me gasping for air. I desperately need to read the rest, and plan to do so hopefully over winter break. Piper learns a lot about herself and her family that she never knew, and basically entire pieces of her life have been a fake or a lie. Yay overprotective parents.

Oh, and there’s a freaking amazing fight scene – because Piper can kick just about anyone’s ass, be they human or daemon – that is hot. AF. Just saying.

Worldbuilding

The world is basically our current earth with some technological upgrades and the addition of daemons from both an underworld and overworld. Very fascinating, especially since the good and evil distinction does not necessarily follow the under and over bit. I loved it. I hope the next books maybe actually let us GO to these other worlds.

Flame Rating

There isn’t any actual sex, or even any real clothing removal. Just load and loads of sexual tension and some hot kissing. And the fight scene.

5/5 stars. If you like urban fantasy AT ALL, I would definitely give it a try!

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five-stars

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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