Tuesday, June 11

Book Tour and Review: Embers & Sparks by Laura Bickle

The Anya Kalinczyk Series

Anya Kalinczyk, Book 1
Laura Bickle

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Pocket Juno Books

Date of Publication: April 2010

Number of pages: 368

Available at the following retailers:
Amazon     B&N     Sony    Kobo     OmniLit

Unemployment, despair, anger--visible and invisible unrest feed the undercurrent of Detroit's unease. A city increasingly invaded by phantoms now faces a malevolent force that further stokes fear and chaos throughout the city.

Anya Kalinczyk spends her days as an arson investigator with the Detroit Fire Department, and her nights pursuing malicious spirits with a team of eccentric ghost hunters. Anya--who is the rarest type of psychic medium, a Lantern--suspects a supernatural arsonist is setting blazes to summon a fiery ancient entity that will leave the city in cinders. By Devil's Night, the spell will be complete, unless Anya--with the help of her salamander familiar and the paranormal investigating team --can stop it.

Anya's accustomed to danger and believes herself inured to loneliness and loss. But this time she's risking everything: her city, her soul, and a man who sees and accepts her for everything she is. Keeping all three safe will be the biggest challenge she's ever faced.
Read an excerpt here.


This is the first book in the Anya Kalinczyk Series and before this book tour this book wasn't really on my radar.  I may have seen it in passing, but it never really registered for me. Well it's registered now, that's for sure.

The book opens with Anya Kalinczyk showing up at a haunted house, where she is helping a group called Detriot Area Ghost Researchers with ghost busting.  Normally Anya is a Lieutenant and Arson Investigator for the Detroit Fire Department. But Anya is also as a Lantern, a very rare type of medium.  She not only can see and speak with ghosts, she can also consume them.  It is because of her ability to get rid of any ghost and most demons that Anya works with DAGR.

Anya also has a fire elemental familiar, a salamander known as Sparky, that she has had since she was a child.  Most people can't see him or even sense him, and typically he sleeps in a copper torque that Anya wears around her neck.  Sparky can interact with ghosts and animals, especially playful cats.  Sparky loves to play with electronics, and drawing power off them and shorting them out.  Being an elemental, Sparky isn't really housetrained and he can be really rough on tvs, cell phones and electrical sockets. He is totally cute and such a great part of the story.

I really enjoyed this book.  It wasn't like anything I have read in a while.  I will admit that I wasn't sold on the idea of a story set in Detroit.  I mean, Detriot?  Being a southerner, it didn't seem that interesting.  But Ms. Bickle did a great job of really showing us the city.  Architecture and Art.  History and Tradition.  It came alive and made me realize I didn't really know much about it at all.  The city was almost a secondary character in the book, especially when Anya gave her impassioned speech on why it should be spared.  With  the great world building and fantastic characters, I am giving this book 4 stars on Goodreads.

Anya Kalinczyk, Book 2
Laura Bickle

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Pocket Juno Books

Date of Publication: September 2010

Number of pages: 368

Available at the following retailers:
Amazon     B&N     Sony    Kobo     OmniLit


Anya Kalinczyk is the rarest type of psychic medium, a Lantern, who holds down a day job as an arson investigator with the Detroit Fire Department—while working 24/7 to exterminate malicious spirits haunting a city plagued by unemployment and despair. Along with her inseparable salamander familiar, Sparky, Anya has seen, and even survived, all manner of fiery hell—but her newest case sparks suspicions of a bizarre phenomenon that no one but her eccentric team of ghost hunters might believe: spontaneous human combustion.

After fire consumes the home of elderly Jasper Bernard, Anya is stunned to discover his remains—or, more precisely, a lack of them; even the fiercest fires leave some trace of their victims—and she is sure this was no naturally occurring blaze. Soon she’s unearthed a connection to a celebrity psychic who preys on Detroit’s poor, promising miracles for money. But Hope Solomon wants more—she’s collecting spirits, and in a frantic race against time, Anya will face down an evil adversary who threatens her fragile relationship with her lover, her beloved Sparky’s freshly hatched newts, and the wandering souls of the entire city.
Read an excerpt here.


This is the second book in the Anya Kalinczyk series by Laura Bickle. Sometimes the best thing about discovering an ongoing series is getting to read the books back to back.  I loved being able to go directly from Ember into Sparks.  This second book could probably be read as a stand alone, but why would you want to?

This story opens with Anya at a new arson case she has been asked to investigate.  At a first glance, it looks like Spontaneous Human Combustion. But no one wants that to be the official cause and Anya is ordered to find out what happened.  With the stink of magic and several rooms full of magic artifacts all around, Anya figures it has something to do with magic.  However, without knowing exactly what the items can do, they aren't much of a clue.

When an apparent break in at the Detrioit Museum of Arts leads to the death of two guards, one suffocated from halon gas and the other from weird burns, Anya struggles to find out just what is happening. She knows the cases must be connected, but with Sparky laying eggs, her energy and attention is divided.

This was a wonderful follow up book.  In many ways it was better than the first.  We get a return of DAGR, plus some new characters.  Once again, Detriot plays the part of a secondary character and we are shown both the pride and problems of the city.  And Sparky was so adorable as a Daddy. The world building continued and though we got some answers, for me it just leads to more questions.  Which is what keeps you coming back for more.  Hopefully the Ms. Bickle has plans to release another book soon.  I can't wait to see what going to happen next for Anya.  This is another 4 star book on Goodreads.

Book Tour Info: 
Don't forget to check out the other stops on the Book Tour:

May 06 Fangs, Wands & Fairy Dust - Author created character interview
May 09 Jill Acher - Guest blog
May 14 Preternatura - Guest blog
May 31 Leeanna.me - Reviews Sparks and Embers
June 03 Brianna Lee Book Reviews - Spotlight
June 04 Crystal's Enchanting Reads... - Spotlight
June 06 Cloey's Book Reviews and Other Stuff - Guest blog
June 07 Leeanna.me - Interview/Review The Hallowed Ones
June 10 fuonlyknew - Spotlight and Review (Embers and Sparks)
June 11 Musings and Ramblings - Reviews Embers and Sparks
June 13 Share My Destiny - Guest blog
June 19 books & tales - Interview
June 19 Cover Reveals - Spotlight
June 20 Musings of Mistress of the Dark Path - Review
June 24 Musings of Mistress of the Dark Path - Interview
June 25 Faerie Tale Books - Spotlight and Review
June 26 Simply Infatuated - Interview
June 28 Ex Libris - Interview

Author Bio:

Laura Bickle has an MA in sociology-criminology (research interests: fear of crime and victimology) and a BA in criminology. She has worked in and around criminal justice since 1997. Although she does read Tarot cards, she's never used them in criminal profiling or to locate lost scientists. She recently took up astronomy, but for the most part her primary role in studying constellations and dark matter is to follow her amateur astronomer-husband around central Ohio toting the telescope tripod and various lenses.

Writing as Laura Bickle, she's the author of EMBERS and SPARKS for Pocket - Juno Books. Writing as Alayna Williams, she's the author of DARK ORACLE and ROGUE ORACLE.

More info on her urban fantasy and general nerdiness is here: http://www.salamanderstales.com/

To connect with the author online:

Website      Blog as Laura      Blog as Alayna      Twitter      Facebook


  1. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and review my books! I'm so happy that you enjoyed them! :-)

  2. Thanks for coming by today. I do hope you have at lease a third one planned. So many strings left untied...


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