January 31, 2017

The Kindness Challenge by Shaunti Feldhahn - Review

I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review 

Published: December 20, 2016
Number of pages: 224
Genre: Self Help

One month to a great relationship…with anyone!

Think of your toughest relationship. Think of a relationship that is good but could be great. Think of a group of people that drives you nuts. You want to show more kindness and generosity, but sometimes you’re just tired, stretched, and frustrated. Besides, would small actions make that big a difference? Yes!

After years of extensive research, Shaunti Feldhahn has concluded that kindness is a superpower. It can change any relationship, make your life easier and better, and transform our culture. But how does it work? And how can you show kindness when you don’t feel like it?

In The Kindness Challenge, Shaunti explores….
* Three simple acts that make all the difference in any relationship (with a spouse, child, co-worker, brother-in-law…)
* Whether kindness is ever the wrong approach
* The seven ways you may be unkind and never realize it
* Eight types of kindness—and which might be the best fit for you
* Ten sneaky obstacles that get in the way of giving praise
* Practical ways to persevere when kindness is tough
* How kindness in marriage leads to benefits in the bedroom (yes, really!)
* Why your acts of kindness today can help transform the world

With self-assessments, day-to-day tips, a 30-day challenge, and specific kindness ideas, The Kindness Challenge can make your toughest relationships better and your good relationships great—starting today.

My thoughts:
I thought this was a very informative book. There are many things that you can take away from this and use in any type of relationship. This is not just for romantic relationships. I also liked how at the end they give you more than one 30 day challenge that you can use for which fits you best. I thought it was easy to read and understand. Another thing I liked was the tidbits that were thrown in from facts to tips to stories. This is a book that would benefit everyone. 

About the author:
Shaunti received her graduate degree from Harvard University and was an analyst on Wall Street before unexpectedly becoming a social researcher and best-selling author.

Today, she applies her analytical skills to investigating eye-opening, life-changing truths about relationships, both at home and in the workplace. Her groundbreaking research-based books, such as For Women Only, have sold more than 2 million copies in 22 languages and are widely read in homes, counseling centers and corporations worldwide.

Where the “Only” series revealed the often-unseen needs of men and women, her newest multi-year research project, published in The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages, investigates the process of what makes great relationships.

Shaunti’s findings have been featured in media as diverse as The Today Show and Focus on the Family, The New York Times and MomLife Today. Shaunti, Jeff and their two children live in Atlanta and enjoy every minute of living life at warp speed

January 26, 2017

Noah Noah What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr & Michael Sampson - Review

I received this book from Book Look Bloggers in exchange for a fair and honest review

Published: January 31, 2017
Number of pages: 30
Genre: Children's

From the bestselling authors of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and Chicka Chicka, 1, 2, 3

Noah, Noah, what do you see? I see animals in the ark with me.

Moses sees the Red Sea part. Daniel sees lions in the den. Mary sees baby Jesus smiling at her. Noah, Noah, What Do You See? introduces little ones to favorite Bible heroes from the Old and New Testaments.

With colorful art from Melissa Iwai and the signature rhyming style of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, parents and children alike will love the classic storytelling of Bill Martin Jr. and Michael Sampson.

My thoughts:
This is the cutest little board book. I like how it takes each of the Bible stories and gives you just a little tidbit about them. The colors are nice and bright and the pictures are well done. The way they stories rhyme will help to hold your child's attention. This is a good book for your little one. 

About the authors:
Bill Martin Jr. didn’t learn to read until he reached college, yet he earned a doctorate in education from Northwestern University. He was one of the world’s foremost authors in literary education, as well as a million-selling author of books including Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, and Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?

Michael Sampson, Ph.D., is a New York Times bestselling author of twenty-six books for young children, including Chicka Chicka 1, 2, 3 and The Bill Martin Jr. Big Book of Poetry. Sampson is dean of the School of Education at St. John’s University in New York City and lives with his family on Long Island.

Scheduled to Death by Mary Feliz - Guest Post and Giveaway

Published: January 17, 2017
Number of pages: 236
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: Maggie McDonald Mystery #2

Professional organizer Maggie McDonald has a knack for cleaning up other people’s messes. So when the fiancée of her latest client turns up dead, it’s up to her to sort through the untidy list of suspects and identify the real killer.

Maggie McDonald is hoping to raise the profile of her new Orchard View organizing business via her first high-profile client. Professor Lincoln Sinclair may be up for a Nobel Prize, but he’s hopeless when it comes to organizing anything other than his thoughts. For an academic, he’s also amassed more than his share of enemies. When Sinclair’s fiancée is found dead on the floor of his home laboratory—electrocuted in a puddle of water—Maggie takes on the added task of finding the woman’s murderer. To do so, she’ll have to outmaneuver the suspicious, obnoxious police investigator she’s nicknamed “Detective Awful” before a shadowy figure can check off the first item on their personal to-do list—Kill Maggie McDonald.

About the author:
Mary Feliz has lived in five states and two countries but calls Silicon Valley home. Traveling to other areas of the United States, she’s frequently reminded that what seems normal in the high-tech heartland can seem decidedly odd to the rest of the country. A big fan of irony, serendipity, diversity, and quirky intelligence tempered with gentle humor, Mary strives to bring these elements into her writing, although her characters tend to take these elements to a whole new level. She’s a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and National Association of Professional Organizers. Mary is a Smith College graduate with a degree in Sociology. She lives in Northern California with her husband, near the homes of their two adult offspring. Visit Mary online at MaryFeliz.com, or follow her on Twitter @MaryFelizAuthor.

Purchase Links
Amazon B&N

You can win your own copy! Giveaway – On February 10, the author will be giving away five ebook editions of both books to randomly selected names on my newsletter list. Here is the link where your followers can sign up for the newsletter – http://www.maryfeliz.com/newsletter/

Guest Post:
What's a cozy? 
"What is a cozy mystery?"
“It’s a murder mystery. Someone dies but no one gets hurt." I didn't invent that answer and I've forgotten who did, but I love it. It's succinct.

It might be too short, but it's safe. Once authors start to expound on the definition, sparks can fly. There may be as many strong opinions on the matter as there are cozy mystery writers, publishers, publicists, reviewers, and agents. Readers have their own preferences.

Characters drive the plot

My personal favorites are cozy mysteries with strong, likeable, but imperfect characters. I enjoy feeling I've made friends within a book's pages and have fun imagining what the characters do while I'm waiting for the next installment of their adventures.

I also like learning something new. Even in books I'd consider quick, light reads, I delight in discovering locations or professions I know little about.

Good guys win
An expanded definition of cozies might add that the story unfolds after the murder occurs and is about chasing clues and restoring justice. Good wins. Evil is thwarted.

So far, our description of a cozy is still pretty simple. Fine-tuning it further can entertain authors for hours, if not days or weeks.

Some authors, when asked to define the genre, provide rosters of requirements that might include:

• Setting is a small town with a limited number of characters.
• Part of a series.
• Avoids graphic sex, gore, and profanity.
• Sleuth is an amateur, often a single woman with a career that allows time to track down murderers.
• Nearly every character has a motive.
• Must have animals (and/or recipes or crafts).

Defying Description
Other people presented with such a list will immediately provide titles that are exceptions to the rules: Hercule Poirot operated out of a city, as did Tuppence and Tommy, and Nick and Nora Charles. Cozy characters have been known to swear when provoked. PD James and Louise Penny have been defined as cozy writers, but their protagonists are older men who are sworn officers of the law. Lord Peter Whimsey didn't own a dog.

Nearly everyone agrees that the ancestor of today's cozies is the English village mystery typified by Agatha Christie's Miss Marple and her home in St. Mary Meade. The mysteries marketed as cozies by my publisher, Kensington Books' Lyrical Underground, share elements of the classic mysteries of Ngaio Marsh, Josephine Tey, and Dorothy L. Sayers.

Mira, a division of Harlequin, publishes Laura Van Wormer, marketing her books as romantic suspense. To me, however, her books are cozies: English village mysteries that happen to take place in Manhattan within the confines of a Riverside Drive apartment building and a television news studio.

Kensington Lyrical Underground gave me a contract, which means they get to call the shots. And they've made Maggie's books cozies. Because Kensington knows its business, most cozy readers seem comfortable in the small town world that is Orchard View, filled with dogs and cats, a small group of friends, and a main character who is a professional organizer, a happily married mom, and an amateur detective with friends on the police force.

The eye of the beholder
But a Kensington cozy isn't the same as one from Berkeley Prime Crime, Midnight Ink, Henery Press, Minataur, or other publishers. And readers are the ultimate judges of what they want in their mystery fiction, cozy or not. With so many mystery readers and fans here, I'm curious about your preferences. Thumbs up or down on animals, crafts, and recipes? Urban, suburban, or rural setting? Are cozy characters allowed to marry? Can cozies share aspects of romantic suspense? Chick lit? Traditional mysteries? Is there a cozy character's career you're dying to read about? Let me know in the comments.

And if Maggie McDonald and Scheduled to Death (and the first book in the series, Address to Die For) sound like your cup of tea, visit my website and sign up for my newsletter at: http://www.maryfeliz.com/newsletter/


January 17 – Book Babble – REVIEW
January 18 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT
January 19 – Sleuth Cafe – REVIEW, EXCERPT
January 19 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
January 20 – Classy Cheapskate – REVIEW
January 21 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
January 22 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
January 23 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – REVIEW
January 24 – The Power of Words – REVIEW
January 25 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW
January 25 – Girl with Book Lungs – REVIEW
January 25 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW
January 26 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST
January 27 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW 
January 28 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT
January 29 – Lori’s Reading Corner – SPOTLIGHT
January 30 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
January 30 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

January 25, 2017

Time Out by Suzanne Trauth - Guest Post and Giveaway

Published: January 17, 2017
Paperback: 240 pages
Genre: Cozy Mysery
Series: Dodie O'Dell Mystery #2

The amateur actors at the Etonville Little Theatre may be known for chewing the scenery, but restaurant manager Dodie O’Dell has something more appetizing for them to sink their teeth into. She’s been taking bows in her small New Jersey town for her theme menus, designed to complement the local productions. This fall, the community theatre is staging Arsenic and Old Lace, set in 1940s Brooklyn, so Dodie is serving up hot dogs, Italian ices, egg creams, and knishes at the weekend food festival.

All is going well until Antonio Digenza, the ex-Off-Off-Broadway director of the show, dies dramatically while noshing on a knish. As rumors of food poisoning quickly spread, Dodie scrambles to rescue the Windjammer restaurant’s reputation. But when clues point to foul play, she’s faced with a cast of suspects all auditioning for the part of DiGenza’s murderer. She’ll need to act fast to shine a spotlight on the killer—before it’s curtains for another victim . . .

About the author:
Suzanne Trauth is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter, and a former university theatre professor. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the Dramatists Guild. When she is not writing, Suzanne coaches actors and serves as a celebrant performing wedding ceremonies. She lives in Woodland Park, New Jersey. Readers can visit her website at www.suzannetrauth.com.

Purchase Links
Guest Post:
It’s almost that time again…it’s nearly time for the second Dodie O’Dell mystery- Time Out - to make an appearance January, 2017!

I’ve been asked about the inspiration for my mystery series and where the characters and story originate. There have been a number of muses sitting on my shoulder during the writing of these novels (decades spent producing, directing, and teaching theatre for one), but I’d like to focus on another of the most significant sources that spurred my imagination. Dodie O’Dell, my protagonist, is the manager of the Windjammer restaurant in Etonville, New Jersey. (She’s also an amateur sleuth, but don’t tell her that. She’s dead serious about her detective skills…)

Now, I’ve been told that the Windjammer’s menu is mouth-watering—some of those specials sound delectable—and have been asked if I’m an amateur chef! I have to laugh. I am, at best, a middling cook, my best friend being the take-out menu on the kitchen counter. No, my inspiration continues to be a working kitchen. A gourmet soup kitchen in a town not far from mine where I spend Thursday mornings helping to prepare meals for the sixty-five to eighty guests that frequent the establishment. There are four courses offered – appetizer, soup, entrée, and dessert. Everything is made from scratch and the results are a gastronomic delight!

Though there is always a head cook that we volunteers assist, I sometimes find myself taking responsibility for one of the courses: chopping ingredients for the green salad, preparing roasted potatoes, sautéing vegetables, and breading chicken cutlets. I’m pretty good at taking direction—being a theatre director makes me appreciate the process of leading and following— and when I’m told to add this or adjust that, I’m good to go. I’ve only had one occasion when I got a little heavy-handed with the seasonings for the butternut squash soup…The head cook had to go into rescue mode.

Needless to say I learned my lesson. I stay away from the soup...unless it’s on the Windjammer menu!



January 17 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – REVIEW
January 17 – The Editing Pen – INTERVIEW
January 18 – The Ninja Librarian – REVIEW
January 19 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 20 – Varietats – REVIEW
January 21 – Shelley’s Book Case – REVIEW
January 22 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
January 23 – Girl with Book Lungs – SPOTLIGHT
January 24 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT
January 25 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST
January 26 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 28 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW 
January 29 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
January 30 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW

January 19, 2017

Towhee Get Your Gun by J.R. Ripley - Spotlight and Giveaway

Published: January 3, 2017
Number of pages: 288
Genre: Cozy Mystery 
Series: Bird Lover's Mystery #2

When Birds & Bees owner Amy Simms volunteers to act in a local production of Annie, Get Your Gun, she finds herself upstaged by a killer waiting in the wings . . .

Who’s got time for birdwatching? Amy has enough to do running her shop, fighting attempts by the town planning commission to demolish her old Victorian house, and rescuing an injured towhee. Yet somehow she allows herself to get roped into performing in the Ruby Lake, North Carolina, community theater’s new musical after some cast members get injured by mysterious mishaps. The production seems plagued by bad luck, but events turn tragic when a member of the company is found murdered in a locked dressing room.

Trading in her binoculars for a magnifying glass, Amy steps into the role of amateur sleuth and soon discovers the victim ruffled a lot of feathers. With a flock of suspects, Amy will need to beat the bushes before the cagey killer takes flight. After all, the show must go on . . .

About the author:
J.R. Ripley is the pen name of Glenn Meganck, the critically acclaimed author of the Tony Kozol mystery series. As a member of the Mystery Writers of America, he has chaired the Edgar committee for Best Original Paperback novel and served on the Best Short Story Committee. As a member of the International Association of Crime Writers, he has served on the Hammett Award committee for Best Novel. When not writing books, Glenn is writing songs, often singing them to the consternation of his audience and neighbors, or involved in one of his many passions, none of which have involved any of the dead bodies that seem to keep cropping up in his mysteries. For more information about him, visit glennmeganck.com.

Author Links
Visit the Author’s Website

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Purchase Links:

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January 9 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW
January 10 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 11 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 12 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT
January 13 – Cozy Up With Kathy – SPOTLIGHT
January 14 – Girl with Book Lungs – SPOTLIGHT
January 16 – A Date with a Book – REVIEW
January 17 – Turning the Pages – SPOTLIGHT
January 18 – Varietats – REVIEW
January 19 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT
January 20 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – REVIEW
January 21 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW 
January 22 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

The Writer's Book Launch Guide by Keely Brooke Keith - Review and Guest Post

I received this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review

Published: September 28, 2016
Number of pages: 42
Genre: Non-Fiction, Writing

Let The Writer’s Book Launch Guide lead you through the marketing and promotional tasks every author should do to ensure a successful book launch. Filled with explanations of essential tasks, an abundance of publicity suggestions, and ideas to personalize your promotions, The Writer’s Book Launch Guide will provide you with a step-by-step plan for a fun and fulfilling book launch.

Discover how and when to:
- Ready your author website
- Craft a compelling book description
- Rally your writing allies
- Recruit a launch team
- Build media connections
- Get book endorsements
- Create a media kit
- Find book reviewers
- Use social media
- Create promotional videos
- Run giveaways
- Contact book bloggers
- Let book websites spread the word for you
- Throw a book launch party
- Send email announcements
And much more!

My thoughts:
I thought this book was very helpful for someone that is ready to get their book out there for the public. One thing that I liked about it is that it is broken down into a specific time line in which to get things done. This was very easy to read and understand which is nice for a beginner in the book writing world like me. For me I will reference back to this book when I get to the point that I am ready to launch my first book. I thought it was informative and easy to read. My only complaint is I wish there was a little more information and it was just a little longer. But all in all I did find it a good book. 

About the author:
Keely Brooke Keith is the author of The Land Uncharted and Aboard Providence. Her novels are known for blending genres in unconventional ways. Keely also creates resources for writers, including The Writer’s Book Launch Guide and The Writer’s Purpose Journal. When she isn’t writing, Keely enjoys playing bass guitar, preparing homeschool lessons, and collecting antique textbooks. Keely resides with her husband and their daughter on a hilltop south of Nashville where she dreams up stories, hoping to encourage, comfort, and inspire readers. She is a member of ACFW

Guest Post:
After the years of writing several books and being immersed in publishing and book marketing, I live the struggles, joys, and confusion of being an author. Being both traditionally and independently published, I strive to see every issue from every angle. While there is plenty of writing advice available online, wading through myriad blogs for a relevant nugget of wisdom can feel as life sucking as the problems that drive me there.

Early on, with each writing, publishing, and marketing hurdle I encountered, I amassed lists and spreadsheets and dog-eared resources. After going through a season where I had to stop writing and just work it all out, I realized I needed to take what I’d experienced and create a series of guided journals for writers.

Book promotions can be intimidating for authors. Since the day I signed my first publishing contract, I’ve kept lists of book promoting ideas. With each book launch, I try the ideas and add to them for my next launch. I have both traditionally published friends and indie friends who’ve asked for my lists (and a couple of publishers too). So, I created The Writer’s Book Launch Journal and spread the to-do lists over 12-months to turn it into an easy to follow plan for any author. Many of my author friends love this journal, as even some big publishers rarely give a book’s publicity more than a couple hours of an intern’s time these days.

Whether you’re an indie author or signed to a publisher, let The Writer’s Book Launch Journal guide you through the marketing and promotional tasks every author should do to ensure a successful book launch. Filled with checklists of essential tasks, an abundance of publicity suggestions, and questions to personalize your promotions, The Writer’s Book Launch Journal will lead you on the journey to a fun and fulfilling book launch.

And since some authors want the information in The Writer’s Book Launch Journal but prefer to scroll through the checklists on their computer, I’ve also written the ebook The Writer’s Book Launch Guide: A Step-By-Step Plan to Give Your Book the Best Launch Possible.

January 18, 2017

Wake Up to the Joy of You by Agapi Stassinopoulos - Review

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and honest review

Published: December 27, 2016
Number of pages: 320
Genre: Self-help

This is your year of self-discovery, a journey to create a life filled with grace, meaning, zest, peace, and joy. With warmth and wisdom from a lifetime of spiritual seeking, inspirational force Agapi Stassinopoulos guides you through fifty-two weeks of letting go of what doesn't work for you and finding what does. You ll cultivate the building blocks of self-care (meditation, health, making time for yourself) and confront the common roadblocks we all face, like pouring your energy into other people or living in denial. You ll explore your conflict areas, such as relationships, money, self-esteem, anxiety, and your childhood. And you ll learn to trust your creativity, keep your heart open, and connect to the bigger spirit that lives inside you.
Keep this book by your bedside. It is your loving companion. Be creative and have fun with it. Use it as a tool to unlock your goodness, and wake up to the joy of you!

My thoughts:
I have been enjoying this book. I have started with the first week and doing the activities as it states. It has really helped me with learning to take a moment and breathe as well as meditate. I do this every night before bed and am learning how to shut my mind off. I like how each week you are given a guided meditation to help you along.The author also gives you suggestions for the week to help you learn how to practice a calmer life. I think as the year goes on I will find that I enjoy it more and more. I find it very helpful for someone who wants to make some changes in their life. 

About the author:
AGAPI STASSINOPOULOS is a bestselling author and speaker who inspires audiences around the world. In her previous book, Unbinding the Heart: A Dose of Greek Wisdom, Generosity, and Unconditional Love, she shares wisdom from her life’s adventures and experiences. Agapi was trained in London at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and then moved on to receive her master’s degree in psychology from the University of Santa Monica. Her previous books on the Greek archetypes, Gods and God­desses in Love and Conversations with the Goddesses, were turned into PBS specials. She is currently conducting workshops for Thrive Global, a company founded by her sister, Arianna Huffington, to help change the way we work and live. She divides her time between New York and Los Angeles and was born and raised in Athens, Greece.

FIND HER online at www.WakeUptotheJoyofYou.com

River City Dead by Nancy G. West - Spotlight and Giveaway

Published: January 17, 2017
Number of pages: 224
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: Aggie Mundeen Mystery #4

Aggie Mundeen, who advises readers in her column, “Stay Young with Aggie,” is pushing forty and determined to postpone a precipitous descent into middle-age. She plans to rendezvous with SAPD Detective Sam Vanderhoven at a hotel on the San Antonio River Walk…a vacation from crime and reset for their tumultuous relationship. In the midst of River City during Fiesta Week, what could go wrong?

Aggie’s new friends, the Fabulous Femmes, are holding their convention at the hotel. When hotel guests are murdered, Aggie discovers her friends have disturbing backgrounds. Evil surfaces at Fiesta events, and Aggie’s dancing debut at a Fiesta performance at Arneson River Theater is fraught with danger. Even in idyllic River City, crime complicates relationships.

Books in the Aggie Mundeen Humorous Mystery Series:


About the author:
I’ve been writing since age seven: poems back and forth with my mom. I had a real poem published in the Library Journal, Pegasus, at age fifteen. At eighteen, I wanted to study journalism and English literature, but friends who chose that college route were making minimum wage or selling lingerie. Being practical, I earned a business degree. After marriage and two children, I decided I HAD to study literature and write. I wrote non-fiction articles, a biography, and a suspense novel in 2004. That’s when whimsical Aggie Mundeen cut through the suspense, popped into my head and demanded her own series. The Aggie Mundeen mystery capers were born. Aggie must have been right: FIT TO BE DEAD is a LEFTY FINALIST 2013 for best humorous mystery, nominated by Left Coast Crime.

Chat with Aggie and Nancy on their blog: www.stayyoungwithaggie.wordress.com
Author’s Webpage: http://www.nancygwest.com/
Author Page at Henery Press: http://henerypress.com/authors-humorous-mystery-series-authors/nancy-g-west/
GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6442929.Nancy_G_West

Purchase Links
Amazon B&N


River City Dead Tour Participants

January 6 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW
January 6 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 7 – Books, Dreams, Life – SPOTLIGHT
January 8 – Queen of All She Reads – SPOTLIGHT 
January 9 – The Girl with Book Lungs – SPOTLIGHT
January 9 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT
January 10 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
January 11 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
January 12 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
January 13 – Varietats – REVIEW
January 13 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
January 14 – Sleuth Cafe – SPOTLIGHT
January 15 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT
January 16 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW
January 17 – Community Bookstop – SPOTLIGHT 
January 18 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT
January 19 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

Law and Disorder by Heather Graham - Review

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review

Published: January 17, 2017
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Number of pages: 256
Genre: Mystery
Series: The Finnegan Connection #1

Desperate to escape her kidnappers, Kody Cameron can turn to only one man… and he’s holding a gun. Outnumbered and trapped in the deadly Everglades, she has little recourse, but something in this captor’s eyes makes her believe she can trust him. Does she dare to take the risk?

Undercover agent Nick Connolly has met Kody before and knows she might very well blow his cover. Though determined to maintain his facade, he can’t let Kody die. He won’t. And his decision to change his own rules of law and order are about to make all hell break loose.

Purchase Links

My thoughts:
I have to start off saying I really enjoyed the setting of this book. Not only that it is set in the Everglades but Kody's family's historical home, not to mention the gang members are looking for a treasure. I thought the names they guys in the gang were a good tribute to old gangsters. Being a history buff like I am, I loved the historical information the author provided about the setting and it's connection with the mob. The author also threw in a little romance for us but it is overshadowed by the rest of the story. In conclusion this story was a quick but suspenseful book. I am looking forward to the next book in this series. 

About the author:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Heather Graham has written more than a hundred novels. She’s a winner of the RWA’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Thriller Writers’ Silver Bullet. She is an active member of International Thriller Writers and Mystery Writers of America. For more information, check out her websites: TheOriginalHeatherGraham.com, eHeatherGraham.com, and HeatherGraham.tv. You can also find Heather on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Heather Graham’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Tuesday, January 17th: The Sassy Bookster – excerpt
Wednesday, January 18th: A Holland Reads
Thursday, January 19th: Bewitched Bookworms
Friday, January 20th: A Chick Who Reads
Monday, January 23rd: Patricia’s Wisdom
Tuesday, January 24th: Mama Vicky Says
Wednesday, January 25th: Books a la Mode – excerpt
Friday, January 27th: Books and Spoons
Monday, January 30th: A Bookaholic Swede – excerpt
Tuesday, January 31st: Snowdrop Dreams of Books
Wednesday, February 1st: Stranded in Chaos
Friday, February 3rd: Staircase Wit
Monday, February 6th: Book Reviews and More by Kathy – excerpt
Monday, February 6th: From the TBR Pile
Wednesday, February 8th: Dog Eared Daydreams
Friday, February 10th: Not in Jersey
Monday, February 13th: Becky on Books
Wednesday, February 15th: Reading Reality

January 17, 2017

Never Forget by Jody Hedlund - Review

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review

Published: January 1, 2017
Number of pages: 284
Genre: Christian, Historical Fiction
Series: Beacons of Hope #5

Rose Island Lighthouse, Rhode Island June 1880 Will she betray his trust to stay on the island she loves? Abbie Watson is content to spend her days clamming, crabbing, and tending Rose Island Lighthouse. Her grandpa is the head light keeper, but his senility may lead to their eviction. Since leaving the island would kill her beloved Gramps, Abbie will do anything to keep him in the one place he knows and loves. Wealthy Nathaniel Winthrop III’s wild living has gained him a reputation as the ‘bad boy’ among the elite social circles of Newport. After a blow to the head in a yachting accident washes him up on Rose Island, Nathaniel has no memories of his past. Abbie tends the wounded stranger in her home only to realize he assumes they’re married. Although she knows she needs to correct Nathaniel’s mistake, his presence calms Gramps and provides a way to prevent eviction from the lighthouse. The longer the charade continues, the harder it gets for Abbie to tell Nathaniel the truth, more so as she begins to fall in love. Everyone she’s ever loved has abandoned her. Will Nathaniel leave her too, once he discovers he’s not really her husband? **NOTE: Never Forget is Book 5 in the Beacons of Hope series but can be read as a standalone novel.

My thoughts:
This has been one of my go to series. I love that they have all been set in a lighthouse and this book did not disappoint me. This is the last book in this series and I was sad to see it end. I will say you can read these as a stand alone but they are better if read in order. The author has a way of making you really feel the emotions of the characters and that you are a part of the book. She also does a good job in describing the setting of the story as well as the emotions of the characters. I think it was great that Abbie was trying to do what she could to help her grandpa out so he could stay where he is comfortable. Then you have Nathaniel who end up in a place he does not know where it is nor how he got there. But as things move along they both grow closer together. I thought this was a fitting end to this series. 

About the author:
Winner of 2016 Christian Book Award for fiction and Christy Award for historical romance, best-selling author Jody Hedlund writes inspirational historical romances for both youth and adults.

Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).

When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.

The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green - Review

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review

Published: January 3, 2017
Number of pages: 416
Genre: Christian, Historical Fiction

Sweeping Historical Fiction Set at the Edge of the Continent

After being imprisoned and branded for the death of her client, twenty-five-year-old midwife Julianne Chevalier trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling 1720s French colony of Louisiana, where she hopes to be reunited with her brother, serving there as a soldier. To make the journey, though, women must be married, and Julianne is forced to wed a fellow convict.

When they arrive in New Orleans, there is no news of Benjamin, Julianne's brother, and searching for answers proves dangerous. What is behind the mystery, and does military officer Marc-Paul Girard know more than he is letting on?

With her dreams of a new life shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous, rugged land, despite never being able to escape the king's mark on her shoulder that brands her a criminal beyond redemption.

My thoughts:
What can I say about this book - it ranks at the top of the books I have read. I felt bad for Julianne from the start of this book. First she was accused of the death of a client, then forced to marry a convict and has to learn to make a life in a new country. The emotions and the things she went through were not for a week person. I enjoyed the setting of this story and the history behind the colony of Louisiana. The author took her time and did her research so you got all of the details. While reading this book your emotions will be put through the wringer. It is a book that once you start you will not be able to put down. Not only was it entertaining but educational as well. A must read. 

About the author:
Jocelyn Green is a former journalist who puts her investigative skills to work in writing both nonfiction and historical fiction to inspire faith and courage.

Her books have finaled in the Christy Awards and Inspirational Readers Choice Awards, and have won gold from the Military Writers Society of America and the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association.

Complex and nuanced characters, rich historical detail and twisting plots make her novels immersive experiences. Her fiction has been praised by Historical Novel Society, Romantic Times, Library Journal, historians specializing in her novels’ time periods, as well as popular and acclaimed authors Laura Frantz, Lori Benton, Jody Hedlund, Sarah Sundin, Joanne Bischof, Julie Lessman, and more.

Jocelyn loves Broadway musicals, the color red, Toblerone chocolate bars, Mexican food, and well-done documentaries. She lives in Iowa with her husband, two children, and two cats she should have named Catticus Finch and Purrman Meowville.

Visit her at jocelyngreen.com, and receive a free gift when joining her e-newsletter mailing list at jocelyngreen.com/subscribe.

January 16, 2017

A Fatal Twist by Tracy Weber - Spotlight and Guest Post

Published: January 8, 2017
Number of pages: 312
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: Downward Dog Mystery #4

Yoga instructor Kate Davidson’s life takes a chaotic turn once she agrees to not only be the doula for her pregnant best friend, but also play foster mother to two puppies. The chaos only gets worse when Kate finds the dead body of a philandering fertility doctor and Rachel, one of her yoga students, fleeing the scene.

Kate is convinced her student is innocent, and she sets out to find the real killer before her testimony condemns Rachel to a life behind bars. But her hands are full with caring for three dogs, teaching yoga classes, and gaining an unexpected crime-solving partner. If she’s not careful, Kate’s next yoga pose may be a fatal one.

About The Author
Tracy Weber is the author of the award-winning Downward Dog Mysteries series featuring yoga teacher Kate Davidson and her feisty German shepherd, Bella. Tracy loves sharing her passion for yoga and animals in any form possible. Her first book, Murder Strikes a Pose won the Maxwell Award for Fiction and is a 2015 Agatha award nominee for Best First Novel.

Tracy and her husband live in Seattle with their challenging yet amazing German shepherd Tasha. When she’s not writing, Tracy spends her time teaching yoga, walking Tasha, and sipping Blackthorn cider at her favorite ale house.

Author Links

Purchase Links
Amazon B&N

Guest Post
Page 99 Test: A Fatal Twist

Novelist and literary critic, Ford Maddox Ford, recommended evaluating a novel by reading its 99th page. I’m not sure what’s so special about page 99, other than that the story is well underway by that time. Writers are coached to pay extra attention to the first chapters, the first pages, even the first line. So maybe he had a point. Maybe by page 99, authors have let down their guard. Maybe page 99 is that dreaded “middle” that gives so much of us trouble. Maybe by page 99, you see the real us.

I decided to put my newest work, A Fatal Twist, to the test. I love this passage, because it shares some of my beliefs about yoga while exploring the developing friendship between Kate, my yoga-teacher protagonist, and Nicole, the teenage step daughter of the murder victim.

I gestured at my mismatched sweats and torn T-shirt. “You didn’t think you could rock the yoga fashion world the way Tiffany and I do?”

Nicole’s lopsided grin hinted at the mischievous teenager she kept hidden inside. “I hate the tight yoga pants people like Tiffany wear, but that’s not it. I don’t like working out.” She shuddered. “I hated gym. So no offense, but watching a bunch of rubber-band Barbies shove their butts in the air didn’t sound all that fun to me.”

I didn’t consider yoga a workout—it was a practice that integrated the full human system, body, mind, and spirit—but I didn’t correct her.

She continued. “But then I came to your studio, and you turned out to be okay. You don’t focus on what the poses look like at all. When I practice, I feel like I’m alone. Yoga class is the one time I don’t feel self-conscious.”

I knew what she meant. When I practiced yoga, the world evaporated. In a good way.

She lifted her eyes to meet mine. “They should offer yoga classes in high school. It would totally beat weightlifting and track.”

“I’m glad it helps.”

I handed her the black puppy. Nicole nuzzled his belly with her nose. “You’re so lucky to have three dogs. I wanted a pet, but Richard hated animals. A friend gave me a kitten after my dad died, and Richard threatened to drown it. Mom made me give it back.”

I bit back the vile words threatening to spew from my lips. Dad taught me to never speak ill of the dead. But when they threatened a kitten? That had to be some sort of exception. Still, badmouthing Nicole’s dead stepfather wouldn’t help anyone. I stuck with a safer topic.

What do you think? If you opened A Fatal Twist and read the above page, would you keep going from the beginning?


January 6 – Babs Book Bistro – REVIEW
January 7 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST
January 7 – Books, Dreams, Life – SPOTLIGHT
January 8 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
January 9 – A Date with a Book – REVIEW
January 9 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 10 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW
January 10 – Sleuth Cafe – SPOTLIGHT
January 11 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST
January 12 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – REVIEW
January 12 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT
January 13 – The Girl with Book Lungs – SPOTLIGHT
January 16 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST
January 17 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW 
January 17 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
January 18 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT
January 19 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW

January 15, 2017

It Happened in Scotland by Patience Griffin - Review

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review

Published: January 3, 2017
Number of pages: 379
Genre: Romance
Series: Kilt and Quilts #6

From the author of The Trouble With Scotland—a charming new romance set in the beautiful Scottish Highlands.

Christmas in the sleepy Scottish fishing village of Gandiegow this year is a time for quilting, patching up broken hearts, and rekindling an old flame...

After pulling herself out of a three-year fog of grief over the loss of her husband, Joe, Rachel is bringing their five-year-old daughter to see his hometown of Gandiegow and visit with his grandfather. But Rachel wasn’t planning on running into Joe’s cousin, the man who made her have second thoughts at the altar...

Brodie has come home to help his grandfather’s fishing business, but he’d prefer not to see Rachel. Although she did break his heart six years ago, the grip she has on him hasn’t faltered. If they can stop butting heads long enough and learn to overcome the past, they may find new love in the new year...

My thoughts:
Patience has done it again and has given another great book in a feel good series. I fell in love with little Hannah from the first time she stepped onto the page. It was funny to watch how she had the adults wrapped around her little finger. As they say out of the mouth of babes. I felt so bad for Rachel as she deserved so much more than what Joe gave her before he passed. He was a real piece of work. Then you had Brodie who wanted nothing more to be happy but had too much guilt in his heart. All for things he should not have felt guilty for. There were also side stories of some of our favorite residents of Gandiegow. It is so much fun visiting this town and seeing what is happening with everyone. The town of Gandigow that the author has created just makes you want to pack up and move to Scotland asap. There was just a hint of a mystery in this book part of which was solved and part of which was not. I have read this entire series in the last six months or so and will feel lonely without them to keep me company.  I can't wait to read the next book in this series. 

About the author: 
Award-winning author Patience Griffin has been writing and sewing her whole life but didn’t discover her love of quilting until her late thirties. She decided the best way to acquire her first quilt was to make one for herself. At nearly the same time, she started commuting three and half hours a day for her dream engineering job. To pass the time on the long drive, she got hooked on audiobooks—especially books with love stories. Within a couple of years, she was writing stories of her own. It was no surprise to her family and friends when she combined her love of quilting, her small town roots, and her obsession with Scottish romances into novels. She has gained some recognition with her September 11th Story Quilt which has toured the country as the property of the Pentagon. Her first book, To Scotland with Love, received a Publishers Weekly *starred reviewed, won the New England Readers’ Choice award and Golden Quill for best first book and was also a double RITA® finalist. Patience’s Kilts and Quilts series takes place in small town Scotland and set around a group of quilters. She loves to write about home, heart, and community.

January 14, 2017

Temple of Indra's Series by Rachael Stapleton - Series Spotlight and Guest Post

This Librarian is Just Killing Time…Travel. Sophia Marcil loves her grandmother’s twisted tales almost as much as the sapphire ring passed down to her. Wearing it, however, could be her downfall. After slipping the jewel onto her finger she is pushed from a cliff—landing splat in the middle of 19th Century Monaco, where a killer plot to seize the throne could consume her entire future—past and present. Sophia believes she’s being forced into an eccentric millionaire’s dinner theatre but a hidden diary, a secret passage and a whispered conversation reveal to her that the role of a princess is not all fun and games. With the help of a man from outside the palace walls, Sophia undertakes a spellbinding journey straight out of a Grimm tale. Learning the gem’s secrets and the powerful curse behind it are only the beginning. With time and the constant threat of death hanging over her, she must take a page out of her own history to hunt down someone who isn’t killing by the book. Can she do it before she’s checked out for good?

Closing the Book on the Past…Doesn’t Mean It Can’t Be Opened. Between The Mysterious Ink Spot, Sophia O’Kelly’s cozy Dublin bookshop, and her role as mother and wife, she is more apt to exchange books and banter these days than blows with a bad guy. But living in the present has its pains; and Sophia can’t help but wonder if her migraines are connected to her fate. Sixteen years ago it was foretold to her that her daughter would become a dark and powerful witch, and stealing Sophia’s ancient spell book might just be the first step in proving the grim prediction true. Looking for answers and relief from the pain, Sophia agrees to a hypnotic regression. Unfortunately for Sophia, time’s up and she finds herself manipulated, betrayed and imprisoned for witchcraft. Meanwhile, back in Ireland, Sophia’s husband and best friend uncover a painting, offer hope that Sophia could be alive. The answers lie in a fifteenth-century castle—all they have to do is navigate time to get there. Of course, they’re not the only ones searching; Sophia’s daughter is determined to tag along, and she’s leading the traitor right to them. It’s been sixteen years since Sophia O’Kelly closed the book on her past but someone wants revenge and they’re eager to open that particular volume of secrets.

About the author:
Rachael Stapleton lives in a Second Empire Victorian home with her husband and two children in Ontario, Canada and enjoys writing in the comforts of aged wood and arched dormers.

Author Links

Purchase Links
Jewel – Amazon B&N
Curse – Amazon B&N
Lies – Amazon B&N
Witch – Coming Soon!

Guest Post:
Getting Cozy in the Bibliophile’s Space Part III 
Step Inside Storybook Cottage & Meet Villainous Witch, Alexandra Cuza

The wood door of the cottage scraped and moaned as it opened, and revealed a petite woman with shoulder length hair.

Alexandra Cuza, the only other inhabitant picked up a piece of broken mirrored glass from the table and pointed it at the intruder. “Who are you and what are you doing here?”

The girl in the open doorway shifted the brown cardboard coffee tray she carried and offered her hand. “I’m no one important, Ms. Cuza, a friend if you’ll accept me. I was hoping you would give me your side of the story now?”

Alexandra Cuza looked down at the mirror and wiped the dirt from it. The circles under her eyes were darkening once again. Beauty spells these days didn’t last but a minute. She was tired—tired of aging—tired of watching everyone around her die. She was even tired of watching the souls she’d curse to reincarnate and suffer.

“You followed me here. I recognize you. You’re that writer wishing to tell my story?”

“I am. You can call me Rae. How are you doing?”

Alexandra squinted her eyes. “Well enough for woman of six hundred years.” Then she lifted her gaze and waved the girl in. “You’re a persistent little thing, Rae, aren’t you?”

“So I’ve been told. Thank you for allowing me in.” The young woman’s flouncy tulle skirt swayed as she walked in the room and Alexandra was reminded of the way girls had dressed over the centuries. Fashion was but a revolving door.

“And what should I call you?” Rae asked. “Alexandra, Gabriella, or do you prefer the Witch of Dunlace?”

“It matters not, Alexandra is my given name. It will due for now. ”

Rae removed one of the coffee cups from the tray and slid it across the table as she took a seat across from the, dark and bruiting Alexandra Cuza. Her gypsy heritage was plain to see.

“Poison?” Alexandra questioned.

“Close, cheap black coffee.” Rae responded, as she unzipped her black leather coat.

Alexandra let a smile slip as she accepted the cup. She liked this feisty little woman. Still, she removed the lid and sniffed the contents before sipping. One could never be too careful.

“So, Alexandra, you’re from Romania circa the fifteenth century. Did you grow up in this cottage, is that why you came here?”

Pain and a twinge of regret twisted in Alexandra’s belly at the thought of the past. She took another sip of her coffee and allowed the memories to wash over her. Remembering the home of her nemesis—the reddish wolf. She could still see the look on her husband, Vilhem Ioan Cuza’s face the night she’d showed up at the door. That had been the catalyst moment that had changed life. She looked back up at the writers face, remembering what was asked of her and decided to be honest. “Once upon a time I lived in a cottage, yes, but it wasn’t this one. My father died when I was young and we moved to Hunedoara castle to be with my mother’s new husband.”

“Your father died. I couldn’t imagine losing my father. That must have been awful.” Rae locked eyes with her.

Alexandra stared back at her for a full minute before replying. “Not really. He was horrible man. My mother killed him.”

“Yet, she was allowed to remarry and move into a castle. How strange.”

“No one knew she killed him. We come from a long line of witches. My mother turned to the dark arts to save us from him. ”

The writer drummed her fingers on the table. Finally, she lifted her gaze to lock with Alexandra’s. “Forgive me for my bluntness, but I understand you cursed the time traveling bibliophile, Sophia Marcil. I’m not here to judge you for it, but tell me, is that why you did it? To be a great and powerful witch like your mother?”

Alexandra’s eyebrows shot up at the question, surprised at the interpretation of her own motives. She shook her head. “Heavens no, I hated my mother.” She tilted her head as she thought about it. “She took my lover from me when I was sixteen and turned him into a raven. It was punishment for disobeying her. I never meant to be like her. I made it my business to learn how to wield the darkness so I could turn him back into a man, unfortunately the transformation is only temporary and he always reverts back to bird form.”

“Did you get revenge on your mother for murdering your lover?”

“I suppose I did. She was ill in 1494, much like the rest of the village at the time and I knew she wasn’t long for the world. So, after I visited her cottage, I set up Elena—the reddish wolf to take the fall. I killed my mother and spread the rumor that Elena was a witch and she had caused the illness that plagued us. Witches weren’t persecuted at the time but my step-father and my lover were not the most tolerant of people, and the villagers were a superstitious lot so it was easy to make them believe. They only needed someone to hang and it didn’t matter who.”

“But you, yourself had magic. So did your mother. Why would your step-father persecute another woman for this? ”

“I hid my magic, of course, as my mother did.”

“After things went bad and my husband and son were taken from me, I grew wild and reckless in my anger. I included my mother in the curse—she reincarnated with the rest of them. Morei O’Kelly suffered greatly when she lost her grandson, Liam. I should clarify though; you have it wrong. I wasn’t out to curse Sophia. The reddish wolf was my target, only Sophia got tangled in the mix. I’ve gotten much revenge over the centuries; sadly it wasn’t everything I imagined. I can see now that I was a bitter, foolish woman. Thankfully my humanity grew watching all of the death and havoc that I caused. In the 20th century, I made up my mind to go straight. I assumed the life of a gypsy and later a psychic. The woman whose identity I assumed, Sandra Brun was a great friend to me and when she passed, I burned her body. That was always the way of it, you see. To stay young I had to perform a blood ritual every hundred years or so and then as time went on more and more often. The spell required the ashes of a burned witch. I no longer have it in me to commit murder so when I used up the last of my ashes this year; I swore I would find a way home. I never meant to send Sophia back during the séance—it was an accident of sorts. We fought and Sophia grabbed the dagger during the spell—she didn’t realize the spell had worked and it was the portal.”

“I see.” The writer bowed her head before lifting her gaze once more. “I know this can’t be easy to discuss, and to be honest, I can’t imagine what it’s like to live for so long. How do you live when everyone else dies? I take it you’re immortal.”

“I am. When I cursed Elena and our family, I made myself immortal so that I could watch the curse play out over and over. I never realized that I wouldn’t enjoy it. My Great-Aunt Lasaya altered my spell. She couldn’t break it because I’d written it in the grimoire, but she made a few alterations, one of them being the aging spell. That’s why I age, despite being immortal.”

“So what happened between you and your husband to cause this curse?”

Alexandra bit her lip, looking past her to stare at the wall. She was unused to talking about this particular subject with strangers. “I…well, he cheated on me. I was unable to bear children and he needed a son. ”

“You didn’t use magic on him—force him into marriage.”

“Where did you hear that?”

“I have my sources.”

Alexandra shook her head, frustrated at being confronted with the truth. “You’re lucky, I’ve changed my ways otherwise you might find yourself in trouble, my dear.”

“I meant no disrespect but I need the truth. I can’t tell your side of the story if you’re not honest with me. As I said, I’m not here to judge.”

“Fine. It all started with a spell I borrowed from my mother. I used the love spell on Vilhem Cuza and we were married, unfortunately, there are consequences to magic and after fourteen years, I had only ten miscarriages to show for it. I begged my Great Aunt—the High Priestess —to use her spell book to help me deliver a healthy child. She refused, stating magic was not to be toyed with, instead she sent Elena Maria Catargiu-Obrenović, claiming she was a great healer who would help me keep my baby. I became pregnant once again, but instead of helping me, that witch, Elena, used her magic to end my pregnancy and she stole my husband’s attention in the process, or so I thought.” She shook her head. “I’m not an idiot. I saw the way my husband looked at her, and I knew it was inevitable that he would cheat on me. I could handle the affair but I couldn’t handle being barren or abandoned. So I proposed a deal—one I have lived to regret every day since.

The writer met her gaze firmly. “She had his baby.”

Alexandra stared at the wall after their gaze broke, swallowing the emotion that was building in her throat. She took a deep breath and returned her look. “She did. I allowed her to sleep with my husband as long as she provided me with a son. Elena agreed with one caveat. I should have known then, that it was all a trick. She demanded she keep the baby if it was a girl. Three months later we were both pregnant. I gave birth to a son, Costin, and she to a girl, Sophia.” She said this with an amused look and a chuckle. “Men always want an heir—a boy to carry on the name but not my husband. I was married to the only man in Romania who valued girls over boys. ”

“I’m sorry.” Rae shook her head. “Rejection is not a nice feeling.

Alexandra made an odd face. “No it’s not. It’s worse when it’s your child. He ignored our son and favored the reddish wolf and her daughter.

The writer raised her brows. “You still hate Elena?”

“I tried to hate her, but she’s only an innocent girl now with no memory of the past.”

“You’ve spoken to her, in this lifetime.”

“I have. She is still a handful but there is no malice in her heart. I don’t’ know if there ever was. I see that now.”

Rae smiled then took another sip of her drink–she’d almost forgotten about the drink. “So, tell me about Costin. Do you have a relationship with him now?”

“His name is Cullen now and no, he doesn’t know I am his true mother, not yet, but I can tell he doesn’t like me very much. He’s always loved Sophia and I’ve always done my best to keep them apart.” Alexandra finished her drink and set the cup to the side. She reached up to unconsciously run a hand through her long dark hair. “No matter what I did, they always had a connection. I’ve…never known connections like that actually happened between people. He followed her everywhere, found her every time.”
“True love, perhaps,” Rae smiled. “I’ve heard rumors that Costin was not your husband’s baby…and I know it’s rude to ask, but who was his father? The raven boy you loved—was it his child?”

Alexandra let out a merry laugh. “I was wondering when you would ask!”

The writer grinned.

“Sadly, Costin was not his son. Despite the fact that I could turn my raven into a man—I could not truly turn him into a man, if you know what I mean. I spent quite a bit of time in despair, and then I was seduced by an older man in the castle—we had an affair.” Alexandra smiled. “But we could never tell anyone.”

“Forbidden love? Did he reincarnate too.”

The witch frowned. “No. You misunderstand, it wasn’t love. I was seduced and eventually I learned to use him to my advantage. I had no use for him later on.” Alexandra looked down at the table. “He was not a good man. I can’t imagine the damage he would have done. My own husband, Vilhem, he was a good man, and just look what the curse did to him—turned him evil. I may have whispered in his ear at times to guide him on his quest for the sapphire, but his eventual mental instabilities took root on their own. In Nico he was ruthless, in Velte he was damaged but by the time he was reborn as Liam, I’d washed my hands of him. His soul was so dark that I barely recognized him.”

Rae nodded then went to take another sip of her drink only to realize it was gone now, so she set it aside. “Okay, so, let me get this straight. Your husband, who you told me earlier loved his daughter fiercely, so much so, that he neglected your son. He was the one who killed Sophia in every life, thereafter.” She observed Alexandra’s face. “Why would he do that?”

“It was how I wrote the curse. I felt he was obsessed with his daughter and so I damned him to true obsession. I didn’t realize what that meant. ” Alexandra brushed a strand of hair from her face and thought about her question. A frown crossed her face as he stared at her, looking her straight in the eye. “Honestly? If I’d known how it would turn out, I would never have designed it that way. I just wanted them all to hurt—the way I was hurting.”

“Not many people can admit their mistakes.” Rae tilted her head to a side before asking her next question, “And what is your next move?”

The question made Alexandra think hard, her brows furrowing in concentration before she answered. “I…well…I’m going to go back again to 1494. The blood moon is tonight. I believe Cullen is going to attempt to open the portal tonight in my old home—the castle of Hunedoara. I’ve followed his daughter, Alana and that meddling friend, Leslie this far and I believe they’ll take me to him. I’m going to go back with them. ”
Rae lifted her brows. “What do you mean? I thought Cullen didn’t like you. Why would he take you back with him?”

“He doesn’t like me, but I think when he hears what I have to tell him, he’ll let me go. At least I hope so.” Alexandra fidgeted in his chair. “I don’t want to hurt any of them, but I will do what I must to get home.”

“Why do you want to get home so badly?” Rae shook her head. “When you are already so regretful about the pain you’ve caused.” She paused, and then furrowed her brows. “Don’t you think there’s at all the chance for you two to reconcile if you don’t upset his plan? Or is that completely off the table?”

Alexandra rolled his eyes, but the hurt still shone there. “Cullen will never forgive me, not with his Sophia missing and he will fail without my help. He is no witch.” She took a deep breath, tapping her foot against the table a little. “Sophia’s only chance is for me to go back and undo it all.”

“You really think that’s possible.” Rae gave him a hopeful smile. “You think you can undo the curse and change history.”

“I hope so.” Alexandra raised her brows, and smiled. Then she happened to catch a glimpse of the clock on the wall and sighed before looked back at Alexandra. “Unfortunately, it’s about time for me to try. There’s a blood moon on the rise.” She rose to her feet, taking her empty cup to throw away.

The writer stood as well, pushing in her chair. She held out her hand to shake. “It was a pleasure to meet you, Alexandra. I hope that we can meet again.”

Alexandra shook her hand and smiled. “That is highly unlikely, unless you wish to visit me in 1494.” With that, she bowed her head respectfully and left the cottage.

Curious to know more about the Time Traveling Bibliophile and her cozy adventures through time check out BOOK ONE Temple of Indra’s Jewel

Follow my blog tour to take a more in depth look. You can also get more visual sneak peeks on my Pinterest page at the The Magical World of the Bibliophile.

Sugar and Spice & Everything Sacrifice 

Poland, 1783

A draft whistled through the joists, carrying with it a chill. Alexandra Cuza pulled the shawl of her deceased friend tight around her own withering shoulders. The cottage had yet to warm despite the growing flames that licked at the hearth. If she remained much longer the village people would come for her as well.

Time to start over. She drew a deep, cleansing breath as she stripped and crushed herbs, measuring and counting out ingredients, and chanting as the brew began to boil. She was substituting ingredients, but times were scarce and with her friend, Sandy, burned at the stake, she was on her own once again. You’d think after two hundred and eighty-nine years she would have grown used to loss but it still prickled just the same, feeding the bitterness that clawed at her heart.

Her familiar, a black raven, flew in the door; he carried with him the carcass of another small white dove. At least she still had him. She moved quickly, plucking the dove’s pure white feathers and then slicing, cracking and prying it apart. The entire cavity was brimming with blood. Its coppery stench hung heavy in the air. The dark magic felt natural to her. And she supposed it was no wonder.

Not anymore.

This was the second time she’d used this spell and it wouldn’t be the last.

The rest of the ingredients waited on the table: talismans consecrated and charged with the New Moon; pentacles, powerful crystals and stones, and a few small totems. Various entrails and the final and most powerful element—the ashes of another witch—that was the only benefit to all of the burnings that used to take place, easy access to her most revered ingredient. She glanced at the other table again, and her chest tightened. She was loathed to admit but she was tired of this. Damn the high priestess for meddling with the perfectly good spell she’d cast. What good was immortality if she was old and decrepit?

Now, upon including everything in the bubbling cauldron, memories washed over her, heightened by the steam of the brew, of the last time she’d been in a witch’s cottage like this one, the catalyst moment in Romania that had changed life as she knew it. She remembered pounding on the door until it finally opened, revealing her husband—Vilhem Ioan Cuza. The bastard had drew her inside and bade her take the seat by the hearth, as if she was a guest in the home of his whore. She could still remember the feel of the course material as she’d whirled and grabbed her husband’s pale, red-haired mistress, gripping the front of her nightgown in white-knuckled fists.

Anger twisted in the old woman’s belly just as it had that night. She hated that woman—the Reddish Wolf—with every fiber of her being, hated the woman’s daughter, and she especially hated her own husband. That bastard had broken her heart. But she had had the last laugh, hadn’t she? She’d cursed them all and now she waited for them to reincarnate. Plenty of time to travel the world sniffing and snuffing them out—Ireland sounded decent enough. She’d liked it there before and not many witches were being killed over there. She’d need to find a new identity, of course, and adjust once again to the accent but that was the easy part. Not long now—maybe another sixty years before they were born. She winked at her good friend, the Raven, and pounded the pestle into the mortar, grinding up the dove’s beak, feeling giddy with excitement. She’d have her revenge. 

Tour Participants

January 5 – The Self-Rescue Princess – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
January 6 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY
January 7 – Books,Dreams,Life – GUEST POST, SPOTLIGHT
January 8 – Deal Sharing Aunt – INTERVIEW, GIVEAWAY
January 8 – Island Confidential – GUEST POST, SPOTLIGHT
January 9 – Readsalot – SPOTLIGHT
January 12 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY
January 13 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY
January 14 – A Holland Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST, SPOTLIGHT
January 15 – 3 Partners in shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, too! – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
January 16 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
January 17 – Lori’s Reading Corner – CHARACTER GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY
January 18 – Polished Nails and Puppy Dog Tales – REVIEW