Audiobook Giveaway & Review: Speakeasy Dead by Vicky Loebel

LoebelSpeakeasyDeadScroll to the bottom for the GIVEAWAY!

Narrators: Emily Beresford & Nick Podehl

Publisher: Pentachronistic Press (2013)

Length: 12 hours 49 minutes

Series: Book 0.5 Demonic Intervention

Author’s Page

Note: This book and it’s loosely tied-in sequel, Keys to the Coven, can each work just fine as stand alones.

Set in Falstaff, Arizona in the 1920s during Prohibition, the Woodsens run a speakeasy bar and also sell some of their surplus alcohol to others. Now a Chicago-based mob is trying to move in and run the alcohol trade. They will be surprised at how little pushing it takes to upset a witch. Meanwhile, the youngest of the Woodsen cousins, teen Clara, is desperate to save her beloved movie star Beau Beauregard. She’s willing to break some rules in the name of true love (or her first crush). Her older cousin, Bernard (Bernie) Benjamin, is just the guy to help her out, even if he has to be lured to the basement and tied to the center of a pentagram. Demons and zombies have never had so much fun as they will during the dance competition!

Once again, Vicky Loebel has given me something original and very funny. There’s a bit of sexy (though it’s pretty PG-13 for this book) as well. Clara is a driven character who’s young enough to not know to look at the bigger picture when it comes to love, yet old enough to have just enough responsibility and autonomy to get into big trouble. She’s dead set on saving her ‘beloved’ Beau even if he has no idea she exists (and that’s because they’ve never met). She’s even willing to become a warlock by summoning a demon and striking a bargain with it. Hans is the handsome demon that appears and somehow he talks things around so that his demon familiar, Ruth, will enter a dance contest. The pit just gets deeper from there on out.

With the Chicago mob, Bernie and his personal schemes, Gladys the Golem, Beau’s resentment over the whole mess, zombies, stolen booze, and an older Woodsen sibling arriving soonish, Clara really does have her hands full. It was so funny! There’s plenty of clever lines and each person really has their own agenda in mind. Clara wants love from Beau, and to not get caught. Bernie doesn’t want to die a horrible death (which is surely what will happen when Clara’s older witch sisters find out about this whole mess). The mob want their booze, the money, and control (and they seem constantly surprised when that doesn’t happen easily). Beau is quite angry with his situation and Clara is totally surprised by what he truly wants. Gladys just wants to get back to housekeeping.

I really enjoyed the various magical elements. There’s the demon Hans and his familiar Ruth which have their intricate little dos and don’ts. Then Gladys who is a Golem and rather protective of young Bernie. One of Clara’s best friends is a ghost whisperer and she has a ghost familiar (Gaspar, complete with Spanish accent). Loebel manages to pull each one into the storyline seamlessly. Moreover, she gives each one rules to work with and she keeps them within those rules. With a comedy, it would be easy to have these various magical folk breaking rules, so I appreciated that once the author laid down a law of this is how this type of magic works, she kept her characters in line.

I did quite enjoy all the flirty, sexy behavior that popped up here and there. Demons love to trade on sex because it builds up their karma, which is basically spiritual coinage. Clara knows all this from her older witch sisters and her book on demons. Yet when the offers are made to her, she’s tempted. Bernie isn’t as naive but he’s not as well-schooled as he likes to pretend either. Ruth, being a large hunting cat most of the time, has a sexy confidence all the time, even when she’s totally mangling her dance partner’s foot during practice. There’s plenty of wit and humor with the sexy bits, making them just as fun as the rest of the book.

Having listened to both audiobook set in this urban fantasy world, I really hope Loebel gives us more. The humor is a bit unique and I love the mix of serious situations, magic, and laughter. Not everyone makes it out of this story unscathed. In many ways, Clara comes of age in this tale. Loved it and looking forward to more of it!

I received a free copy of this book.

Narration: Emily Beresford and Nick Podehl once again did a great job on this book. Even though they voiced totally different characters for Keys to the Coven, I read them far enough apart that I didn’t have character echos in my head, as can sometimes happen when you listen to books set in the same universe that have different characters yet the same narrators. These two are great with all the emotions and also delivering straight lines so the humor is left hanging there for the reader/listener to catch even as the story moves onward.

What I Liked: Arizona!; the Prohibition era; silly mobsters being all tough and hard to take a hint; Clara’s first real crush; Beau’s reaction to that crush; Bernie’s role in all this mess; Gladys is probably the most dangerous one in the mix but knows when to hold back; Ruth is a sexy beast; Gaspar and his Zorro sword; how it all ends with a Charleston.

What I Disliked: Nothing – so darn funny!

GIVEAWAY!

Vicky is generously offering up 3 audiobook copies of her book Speakeasy Dead! The audiobook is available through both Audible.com and Audible.UK. To enter the giveaway, do the Rafflecopter thing below or answer these questions in the comments: 1)  Do you have either an Audible.com or an Audible.UK account?  2) What attracts you most to this book? Zombies? Prohibition? Demons? Dance Contests? 3) Leave a way to contact you if you win. Giveaway ends April 4th, midnight, 2017.

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Audiobook Giveaway & Review: Keys to the Coven by Vicky Loebel

LoebelKeysToTheCoven

Scroll to the bottom for the GIVEAWAY!

Where I Got It: Review copy.

Narrators: Emily Beresford & Nick Podehl

Publisher: Pentachronistic Press (2013)

Length: 12 hours 49 minutes

Series: Book 1 Demonic Intervention

Author’s Page

Set in Arizona, this adult urban fantasy is full of surprises! Felicity, a dog trainer, recently lost her mother and is going through a messy divorce. She’s the oldest of three children, having mostly raised her baby-sister Hannah, who is now in college. Her brother, Alton, isn’t so grateful of her efforts to ‘mother’ her younger siblings. Then in steps Max, a demon on assignment to recover a magical relic, the Minsk Homunculus. It’s been in Felicity’s family for generations, but she isn’t aware of it’s magical abilities nor what it means in regards to the powerful demon Roxashael (Rocky).

This was a very, very fun book. The mix of serious adult situations, witty banter, demonic entities in moral crises, and an unknowing witch who just inherited a bowling team makes a great read! Max has used his powers of seduction in the past to rev up his karma, which in turn he uses as a power base to get other things done. His demi Kate, a minor demon tied to his phone, is, by turns, a useful or irritating side kick. For this assignment, she is constantly reminding him to keep his eyes on the goal – the Minsk Homunculus. Yet he can’t help but be drawn into Felicity’s initial drama and later her life as she figures out her family history and the past deals her mom Rose made with the demon Rocky.

Felicity herself started off caught up in her own little drama, a little too much  for me. I wasn’t sure I was going to like her character at first. Then as things get explained –  the ugly divorce, her mom dying, her inheriting this odd coven with it’s bowling team, and then Max coming in saying he has to recover the artifact (Minsk Homunculus) or the equivalent dollar amount (think 6 digits), I could see why she was on the verge of having a melt down. It’s apparent from the beginning that she has tried her best to do what she thought was best for her younger siblings, but they don’t fully appreciate it. So that gets tossed in her face as well later in the story. She has a lot of stresses and Max provides a handsome distraction and also gives her something to focus on (the hunt for the artifact).

This book also contains a fair smidge of romance, which I normally don’t go in for but it’s done so well with the plot and doesn’t weigh down the pacing, that I found myself rooting for Max and Felicity. They each find the other indebted to them and their ties continue to grow as the story marches on. The make-out sessions, and later the sex, are steamy and sweet. Sometimes there’s a bit of humor mixed in, sometimes it’s intense. As a side note, this book also references some sexual abuse situations, but I felt they were in keeping with the plot and the characters and weren’t there for shock value.

The humor really brought the whole book together for me. Sometimes the humor was a little dark (which suits me fine) and sometimes it was a little slapstick, like Felicity falling off park benches or such. There was plenty of witty banter, but also certain situations the characters ended up in were funny, especially since I didn’t have to live them. All around, it was a very entertaining book with enough wit and a sharp edge to keep me engaged for the entire length.

I received a copy of this book at no cost from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Narration: Emily Beresford and Nick Podehl did a great job teaming up on this book. Beresford made a great Felicity and a jaded Kate. Podehl was a wonderful Max and quite the evil Rocky. There were plenty of secondary and minor characters and this team made them all distinct.

What I Liked: Setting in Arizona; Felicity’s life is in meltdown; Max is questioning his demonic morals; Max’s fancy car fetish; Kate’s impudence; the sordid history of the Minsk Homunculus; story has both wit and an edge of seriousness; the romance was a nice touch but didn’t overwhelm the story with cutsy-wutsy-ness.

What I Disliked: At first, I wasn’t sure I would like Felicity because she’s a bit dramatic at times, but I got past that and learned to appreciate her character.

GIVEAWAY!

Vicky is generously offering up 3 audiobook copies of her book Keys to the Coven! The audiobook is available through both Audible.com and Audible.UK. To enter the giveaway, do the Rafflecopter thing below or answer these questions in the comments: 1)  Do you have either an Audible.com or an Audible.UK account?  2) Do you have an awkward fangirl/fanboy moment? 3) Leave a way to contact you if you win. Giveaway ends September 9th, 2016.

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