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 Title: Sealing the Dark Portal
 Author: Margaret L. Carter
 ISBN 978-1-61124-625-4 (eBook)
 ISBN-10: 1611248248
 Genre: paranormal romance / dark fantasy
 Cost: $7.00 eBook; $13.50 for print
 Publisher: Amber Quill Press
 Available at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo Press, and other retailers
 Rating: 5 Balloons

Sealing the Dark Portal opens with its protag Rina believing she’s an ordinary librarian whose family died in a car crash when she was in graduate school. At night, she’s haunted by nightmares of her family dying in an earthquake in a land overrun by monsters.

When unearthly creatures assault Rina on her front lawn, a stray cat comes to her rescue – a shapeshifter named Cam. Cam informs her that they came to this world from an alternate universe – that she was once a sorcerer. Because he was her bodyguard, he followed her through the gate between worlds and has secretly kept watch over her. Ah, but an evil sorcerer named Vardon follows them, opening cracks between Earth and alternate dimensions. Embittered over the death of his wife, he teams up with entities from the void that have destroyed his home world, and he’s now moving on to plunder Earth. Already, the void spawn is invading Earth through the interdimensional cracks. Rina has the power to seal these cracks and fight Vardon. But first she must accept that this is really happening and face the budding attraction between her and Cam.

I really enjoyed this story. Carter’s descriptions were awesome; I loved the images that she has created – the spheres surrounding the house and Rina for protection, and the vivid descriptions of the attacking spiders. Images aside, though, this is a character-driven story, and Carter has mastered the art of layering her characters beautifully. She made me care about each character from the get-go, especially the butterfly, Rina’s familiar, who also acts as her conscience the way Jiminy Cricket did with Pinocchio. And Rina needs a Jiminy Cricket because she’s oh, so stubborn at first, fighting Cam when he asks her to do something. The threat of harm to her close friends calls her to action though, and we get to appreciate what a caring person Rina truly is. There are some delicious love scenes, too, but the good versus evil theme predominates. Although I had other chores calling, I couldn’t stop turning the pages. If you love fantasy, science fiction, or paranormal romance, this book will make a great addition to your library.

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