Saturday, September 24, 2016

Book #Review ~ On Thin Icing (A Bakeshop Mystery, Book #3) by Ellie Alexander


About the Book: 

Welcome to Torte-a small-town family bakeshop where the treats are killer good. 
It's the dead of winter in the sleepy town of Ashland, which means no tourists-and fewer customers-for Jules Capshaw and her bakery. But when she's asked to cater an off-season retreat for the directors of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, business starts heating up...until Jules finds a dead body in the freezer.

Someone at the retreat has apparently iced the bartender, a well-known flirt with a legendary temper-that is, before a killer beat him to the punch. Then, from out of nowhere, Jules's own ex-husband shows up at the shop-and soon becomes a suspect. With accusations piling up higher than the snow-and thicker than a chocolate mousse cake-Jules has to think outside the (recipe) box to find the real culprit...and make sure he gets his just desserts.

Book Details:

Series: A Bakeshop Mystery (Book 3)

Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Printing edition (December 29, 2015)

ISBN-10: 1250054257
ISBN-13: 978-1250054258

Goodreads Link:


My Review:

In an effort to bring in more revenue for the bake shop, Jules decides to take her show on the road.  Adding a catering service to the bakery's line-up of available services, Jules meets with Lance about a job for him.  As part of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF), Lance is holding a board meeting away from town.  After agreeing, Jules and Sterling head up to a lodge to cater the board meeting retreat for the OSF executive board.  After a not-so-pleasant run-in with the obnoxious bartender, Jules finds him dead in a freezer.  Holed up due to sever weather, Jules must figure out who killed the bartender from the small group of guests and other staff before someone else gets iced.

On Thin Icing is a great addition to the Bakeshop Mystery series by Ellie Alexander. The author wove many stories into the book, not just the murder; Jules' ex-husband shows up at the retreat, a winter storm, and multiple potential suspects make for an interesting catering job. Each thread makes sense as you move along in the book, some intersecting with the murder and others just additional storytelling. The book was descriptive and was able to immerse myself into the town of Ashland and the lives of its residents.

I found that I didn't enjoy On Thin Icing as much as the first two books in the series.  I think it's because Jules and Sterling were away from the bake shop.  We were missing the interactions between Jules and everyone else; customers, staff, friends, etc.  The plot of the story was enjoyable and different from the start of the series but I missed the everyday hustle and bustle in the bake shop.  

The characters in the Bakeshop Mysteries are well developed, interesting, and written realistically. The story is fast paced and I was engaged from the start. The author continues to build up an emotional connection with Jules and her a cast of characters are realistic and believable - so real that I felt like I was part of the book.

I enjoyed trying to unravel the murder mystery. Ellie Alexander did a great job keeping everything under wraps and revealing things methodically and at the right time. The possibilities of who committed the murder seemed endless until the final reveal, causing every hint to fall perfectly into place.

Paperback review copy courtesy of author at no cost in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:


Friday, September 23, 2016

Cover Reveal ~ Light of Mytis, Ardentia #3, by J.L. Tomlinson ~ @JL_Tomlinson



Today we're excited to share the cover of Light of Mytis, Ardentia #3, by J.L. Tomlinson! This is a young adult fantasy releasing December 2016.

The first two books, The Empyrean Key and Veil of the Corrupter are only .99 cents for a limited time!

We hope you enjoy the cover and be sure to check out the giveaway at the end of the post!


About the Book:

Jahna Mornglow, the half-breed heir to a coveted throne, has defeated the disciples of a fallen god.
She has spilled blood to ease the suffering of an uncertain people and has seen the blackened soul of
darkness itself. Still, she fights for the Light that will save them all.

But in a time so dire, when The Empyrean Key is almost whole and the end of her journey sits just
past the horizon, Sky's revelation will test the foundations of trust and friendship.
Lilac, always cocky and sure, finds her spirit waning; Silkos passionate beliefs no longer comfort him and Arns loyalty and devotion to the crusade is frailer than ever.

As Jahna and the fragile fellowship make for the tundras of the south to seek out the next key fragment, the malevolent tendrils of the Dark Star tighten their grip on Castle Dubraycon.
Princess Mydra is broken and enslaved by the High Mage and with the Vessels imprisoned by their
corrupt leader, Selizardra is powerless to stop Menon or the dark magic that has corrupted her.

The sands of time will continue to run. Nothing can slow The Pinnacle.
The key must for forged; Hartforn must be found and the true heir must claim their birthrite before
all of Ardentia is devoured by shadow.
Is there strength enough within Jahna to complete her task, to mend the bonds of a fractured frienship and stand before the Ardent Messenger and demand what belongs to her?
The Light of Mytis is the mantle of a ruler of worlds and before the end, Jahna will have to ask herself if her shoulders are truly prepared for the weight of destiny.



Meet the Author:

J.L. Tomlinson was born and bred in the mystical land of New Zealand.
No, she wasn't in Lord of the Rings. No, she doesn't know that guy, Steve. Yes, she has seen a kiwi
and they are both powerful and majestic.
As well as writing, J.L. is an inventor, currently designing a sophisticated robot that will spit out a completed manuscript based on a very vague synopsis. Unfortunately, as she hasn't even mastered
the TV remote, progress is slow.

The Empyrean Key was her first novel and her unhealthy attachment to the characters has made it easy to continue the series, as well as juggling a dozen other projects.

When not writing or reading, you'll find her playing video games, watching terrible movies and
eavesdropping on people who argue in malls. Lastly, she doesn't mind if you call her Jo.


Enter the Giveaway:

$20 Amazon Gift Voucher (INT)
Ends September 29th
This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

THREE reasons to read a Viking Romance by Kimbra Kasch, Author of Morgaine Le Fay and the Viking (The Viking Series: Book I) #Giveaway #Fantasy #Romance


Book Information:

Title: Morgaine Le Fay and the Viking

Author: Kimbra Kasch

Series: The Viking Series: Book I

Publisher: Midnight Frost Books



Genre: Fantasy/Romance

Purchase Link:

http://amzn.to/2cCMRtM

Please welcome Kimbra Kasch to the blog today!

THREE reasons to read a Viking Romance:

1) RAGNAR;

2) LAGERTHA; and,

3) ROLLO

IF YOU LOVE THESE THREE CHARACTERS:

1) JON SNOW,

2) RHETT BUTLER,

3) TARZAN

You’ll fall in LOVE with the legendary Viking Prince and Warrior Holger Danske

IF YOU LOVE THESE TYPES OF MEN:

1) KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE;

2) PIRATES

3) VIKINGS

You’ll LOVE Holger Danske

IF YOU LOVE:

1) CASTLES;

2) PIRATE SHIPS

3) LEGENDARY LOVE STORIES

You’ll LOVE Holger Danske

IF YOU HAVEN’T FOUND A REASON TO READ MORGAINE LE FAY AND THE VIKING, YOU’LL STILL LOVE HOLGER DANSKE

MORGAINE LE FAY AND THE VIKING is a tale of the extraordinary lives and epic adventures of two people: Holger Danske and Morgaine Le Fay.

Theirs was a romance that threatened two kingdoms.

An attraction more powerful than any sword, stronger than any warrior and more magical than all the powers of Merlin:

MORGAINE LE FAY AND THE VIKING.

Everyone has heard of King Arthur and his magical sword, Excalibur, but there’s another legendary hero who received a magical sword from the Norse Goddess known as The Lady of the Lake. Meet Holger Danske and his sword “Cortana”.

The Vikings, led by Holger Danske, invaded England. Yet somehow, even as enemies, Holger and King Arthur’s half-sister, Morgaine Le Fay, shared a forbidden love.

About the Book:

Travel across oceans, continents and countries to discover the story of legendary Viking hero, Holger Danske, and his magical romance with King Arthur’s half-sister in Morgaine Le Fay and the Viking

This is the story of two warriors who never thought they’d find love, especially on the battlefield, yet standing poised against each other Morgaine and Holger face an attraction more powerful than any sword, stronger than any warrior and more magical than all the powers of Merlin.

Read an Excerpt:

THE DANISH DEVIL

Arthur looked up, turning away from the battle before him, as if he’d suddenly awoken from a bad dream. Frantically searching the field, he knew something horrible had happened before he saw it. Somehow, he could feel it.

His eyes locked on one warrior. Even from this distance he could see the man was a giant among men. Broad-shouldered and thick-thighed, his legs squeezed the sides of his horse, as he galloped forward.

Staring as the brutal beast made his way across the field, Arthur was an unwilling witness to the attack. The Nordic warrior was flexed and drawn. Taking aim, he flew like an arrow straight toward his target.

“Nooo!” Arthur’s voice bellowed out of his chest, rising high into the air, as he could do nothing more than watch…

Riding fast as the wind, the horned devil swept up beside Arthur’s sister. Whisking her off her saddle, he stole her away before anyone had an opportunity to raise a sword or throw a lance against him.

Smoke billowed up from the ground. Burning arrows lit the dry grasses afire, transforming the meadow into a smoldering field of wooden shafts stabbed into the earth, as the cries of men rang up into the air. Maimed knights and injured warriors littered the field.

But there was only one sight Arthur’s eyes locked upon…

Her white steed was left standing bareback in the open field—a ghostly image amongst the fighting men. A haunting reminder of what had been taken.

***

Arthur did not hesitate, not for a moment. Digging his heels into the side of his mount, he shouted at the top of his lungs, “Morgaine…!”

But it was too late. The savage had his prize. He was riding away with his spoils of war.

Arthur motioned Lancelot to his side, “Take command,” he told him, “you’ll have to take control, lead the knights and continue the battle.” Arthur raced away, followed the thieving devil with the curved horns standing out on the sides of his head.

Riding his royal steed, Llamrei, he galloped faster than any horse in the entire kingdom, yet it was useless. He couldn’t keep up. With each stride, he fell further and further behind. His armor and weaponry weighed Llamrei down, while the beast who had his sister rode half naked. Completely bare-chested, only a small scrap of fabric covered his most private parts.

After what seemed like hours but must have been mere minutes, the horse whinnied and neighed beneath him. Resisting the reins, Llamrie reared up beneath him. But Arthur did not care. He dug his heels into the steed’s side, insisting the horse continue. Arthur was unwilling to give in; ignoring the protests of his mount, he would not admit defeat. Gripping the leathers in his right hand, he slapped the strap back and forth from one side to the other, demanding the horse to offer more speed. But the pace and weight were too much.

Finally, the stallion rose up onto his hind legs, bucking and shaking violently in a futile attempt to dispel the rider tormenting him. Foam began to froth from the stallion’s lips and Arthur had no choice. The horse could not continue; Arthur had pushed him to the brink and could demand no more.

His head sank between his shoulders as he cried out in agony, blaming himself for his sister’s sure torture.

He thought not of her nor her safety when he’d commanded her to come to court. She was offered as a beacon of light to his men, leading them into battle. Now it had cost her freedom and most likely her life.

Arthur was not immune to the history of the Vikings. He had heard tales of their brutality and inhumanity. The Norse people were feared above all others, not only for the tales of their viciousness and cruelty, but for the legends in his lands. Tales of horned-devils riding off with women were not unusual and now his sister would surely be tormented by one such beast—her life would be forfeit, and all for what?

He threw back his head, letting a cry spring out of him as he implored the heavens, “My God spare her.” When he opened his eyes again, it was to the blazing sun above him. The white-hot orb in the sky beating down on him, blinding him like a sparkling jewel in the sky…

Perhaps, he told himself, I can bargain with the Danish prince. Morgaine was a valuable gem; surely he could offer a bribe, something worthy of the trade. There must be a price the callous devil could not refuse.

***

Together they rode on, through the night and the next morning, until Morgaine had to stop.

“Please,” she whispered, her voice cracking from dehydration. “I need to stop.”

He grinned, pulling back on the reins. They immediately came to a stop. Without a word of warning, he shifted his weight and swung his leg back and over the hind end of his stallion, jumping back in one swift motion. He stood before her on the ground before she realized what had happened.

Holding out his hand, he helped her dismount. “Had I known you were weakened by our journey, I would have stopped sooner.”

“I am not weak,” she insisted, her voice suddenly strong and confident. “But I am a woman and have certain needs.”

His eyes sparkled as he grinned devilishly. “Fair maiden,” he chuckled, “I had no idea.” And he did not need to say another word; she knew he was taunting her, provoking her to see what she would do.

She gave him an icy look and witnessed the shiver it sent through him, “Do not flatter yourself so. It is not that sort of need I require but a moment alone.”

He looked around, assessing her ability to escape him, but there was nowhere to hide. They were standing in a desolate field, littered with sharp rocks and pebbles, as if this had once been a land buried beneath water.

“I have no intentions of running away,” she told him the truth.

He smiled. “That is well, then go take your moment alone; but if you change your mind about being alone, call out and I will come to you.”

“You are a foolhardy man,” she mumbled, slipping behind a large rock so his vision was shielded.

When she was finished, she came back to find him setting up camp in the center of a clearing between the rocks. The sun was quickly setting and an icy chill ran through her.

He nodded. “Come, join me by the fire.”

It was no use arguing, she longed to feel the warmth from the flames. Yet she hesitated.

Shaking his head, he told her, “You have no need to be afraid of me. I have no intentions of harming you.”

“Then what are your intentions?” She asked pointedly, wanting to know.

“I…” He stopped to look down at her. “It is a good question. I had no plans to take you.”

“Then why did you?”

He laughed. “So many questions.”

“Well, what are your answers?”

He grinned. “Yet another question.”

“Please, tell me what you intend to do with me—I think I deserve that much.”

“Come, join me by the fire and I will try.” He nodded for her to come closer.

She nodded, agreeing, and slowly slipped up beside him.

He looked at her shivering. Quickly moving to his horse, he grabbed a wool blanket out of the side bag and drew it over her, holding his arms tightly wrapped around her like a cloak. After a moment, her body stilled, and he moved back away from her.

“Thank you,” she said.

“It was nothing, my dear,” he said with a smile that warmed her more than the blanket. The heat rose in her belly, moving up into her chest. Suddenly she was angry at the powerful effect this man had on her senses, her body, and even her emotions.

“Nothing,” she snapped back at him, repeating his response. Shaking her head, she wondered how one minute he could be so irritating and so kind the next. Then sitting down on a flat rock laying close to the fire, she asked him, “Will you tell me now…?”

He smiled at her persistence. “I will tell you what I can because I am not sure I have all the answers you seek. It was not a plan, and there were no intentions. I saw you on the battlefield and I wanted you. That is all.”

Frowning, she asked, “And do you always get what you want?”

He grinned sardonically, his eyes sparkling like sapphire gems as he answered with one simple word. “Yes.”

“Well, then—” she was taken a bit by surprise, “—now that you have me, what do you intend to do with me?”

“As I said, my mind is not made up,” he told her, and she could see the sincerity in his eyes.

“You have not—” and he interrupted her in mid-sentence.

“No. But I’ll let you know as soon as I decide. Now, I think we should get some rest,” he told her, nodding toward a spot next to the fire he had cleared of all rocks and pebbles.

“We…?”

He grinned, “Do not worry. It is you I want to get some rest,” he told her. “The horse needs water and I need to brush him down.”

The next morning, when she awoke, he was already up and waiting for her. The horse stood saddled, looking fresh and ready to go.

Holger handed her a pouch of dried fruit and a bag filled with water, “Eat,” he insisted and she saw no reason to argue. “We will want to get going before the sun is straight in the sky.” She could already feel the air warming. It would be a scorching day.

Taking a bite of the fruit, she was surprised by the rich flavor. The skin of the date ripped open, sending a flood of sweet warmth washing over her tongue. She flipped it over, working it around in her mouth, not ready to swallow until all the flavor was extracted.

He nodded and she jumped up, pulling on her fine embroidered linens.

“There is no need for those,” he told her, taking her mail and warrior weapons away.

“They are mine,” she insisted, a wave of emotion washing over her.

Looking at her, and seeing her reaction, he tried to calm her. “Weapons will not protect you from me and I have no desire to hurt you. As I have said before, it is not my intention to harm you.”

She wondered at his words, looking at the muscles rippling over his body. He was a warrior worthy of fear but he had given her his word and she knew enough of Vikings to know they valued their oaths more than life.

After a moment they were on their way again, riding toward some unknown destination that only he knew.

Morgaine could feel his leg sitting side by side against hers, jostling her up and down then back and forth. His bare flesh rubbed against her thigh. The heat from his skin was unsettling to Morgaine; branding her senses; this rough and rowdy ride excited her and she savored every moment as they rode on through the day.

Darkness rolled across the night sky, shadows spilled one on top of the other, like waves upon the sand until all traces of light were washed away. Nightfall worked its way over the horizon, reaching out and spreading slowly like the wings of a raven gliding upon the wind.

Morgaine had never felt like this before. She savored the warmth of this man’s touch, longed to feel his body pressed up against hers, and yet she knew it was wrong. He was her enemy. But for the moment, it did not matter. She was helpless, so out of control, with this man’s arms wrapped around her, holding her prisoner. She had never faced such a situation before. No words, no incantations or herbs, and somehow he had complete control over her will, her mind and, yes, all of her senses.

Impossible, she whispered.

“What is impossible?” he whispered in her ear and the aroma of his breath teased her senses. It was warm and salty, soothing as an ocean breeze washing over her face.

More magic, she assured herself. Her patience waning.

“Answer me, woman,” he demanded.

“That you have taken me captive and then attempt to comfort me.”

He laughed at her, making her senses bristle.

She was not amused. “Am I humorous?”

“It is true I have heard you are many things,” he replied, “but humor has never been cited as one of your many virtues.”

“First you laugh at me, and then you belittle me. Is this the way you treat all women?”

He pulled back on the reins. His horse slid to an immediate standstill. Then, burying his face into her hair, he whispered in her ear, “I have shown enormous restraint. Would you like me to show you how I treat all women?”

The burning ember inside her flared to a flame. The muscles low in her belly tightened, as she clenched her legs tighter, wrapping them around his steed.

Sucking air into her lungs, she felt the immediate pulse of desire race through the core of her body. She wanted to reach back over her head and wrap her arms around his neck, to pull him even closer. It was all she could do to hold her tongue and keep from begging him, when all she wanted to say was, “Yes, yes, please show me.”

Her body motionless, she could feel the warmth of him as his hands grew bold, slipping beneath the soft linens covering her, his fingers gently gliding up over her stomach, travelling and edging up…

A voice whispered inside her head. What are you doing? This man is your enemy. He intends to kill you, your brother, everyone you love…

She grabbed his wrist, holding him still and steady.

“You have caught me, kidnapped me, and dragged me here. I may be your prisoner, but do not think that I am interested in your advances.”

His body tensed. He pulled back his hands, gripping her firmly about the waist. “I am the prince over all the Norse lands and have never had a woman decline the privilege of being my lover.”

“Prince or pauper, it matters not to me what rank you hold,” she scoffed at him, “I, too, am highborn and accustomed to many privileges.” She snapped back, unwilling to let him bask in his own conceit. “And being your lover is not a privilege I would prize.”

“Perhaps,” he said, softening his touch. Slowly he ran his finger down the length of her neck, taunting her. “But are you accustomed to this?” He swung her around to face him; his mouth moved to her neck, gently caressing her throat with his lips and tongue.

The warrior with the devil’s horns was surprisingly gentle and tender with his affections.

Morgaine could not contain her pleasure. A small sigh moved up from her throat, over her lips, unexpectedly escaping into the air.

“This is nothing,” he whispered against her flesh, his hand moving down over her navel. Travelling downward. “After your shrill tongue and insults, the next time you will have to beg for my attentions.”

His tone shocked her back into the present. No man had ever spoken to her in this manner. He had no idea of her power. She was not some peasant he could toy with. Morgaine Le Fey was a princess, the sister of King Arthur. It was her turn to laugh…and it burst forth out of her loud and hard. He must not know of her talents. She was the most powerful sorceress in Camelot and perhaps a dozen other kingdoms.

“Me? Beg? To think you will ever witness such an act from me,” she started to say but then shook her head and continued, “You must be more than foolish.”

“We will see,” he said, sounding more arrogant and insolent than ever.

“Yes, we shall see,” she replied insolently.

Sneering, he gave his horse a nudge and they continued riding.

It wasn’t so very long until in the distance, a light appeared on the horizon.

“We are nearly there,” he told her, nodding his head as he leaned into her so she would have to turn to see the camp up ahead. “It will not be long now,” he said, running his hand through her cinnamon-colored hair.

The thought ran through her head: where is there and what is it?

“There?” She asked, nodding in the direction of the light.

“Yes,” he told her, “we are almost home.

Meet the Author:

Kimbra Kasch is a romance writer who grew up in a family with 9 kids and only 1 t.v. So instead of fighting with her brothers and sisters about which shows to watch, she’d spend her days reading and, later, writing, which explains why she love books so much.

Kimbra’s favorite romance novels are The Hunger Games, the Divergent Series and, yes, even the Twilight books. She loves something with a hint of danger and/or paranormal.

Amazon Author Page:  http://amzn.to/2cLyVwN

Website: https://www.kimkasch.comhttps://www.kimbrakasch.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/15278287-kimbra-kasch

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIt0EKLYjrbM_FRnPP1JXdw

Blog: https://www.kimkasch.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009489617484

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kimkasch

Google+: https://aboutme.google.com/u/0/#profile_photo

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/kimkasch/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=AAIAAAGF2pwBVg-AKJf0oZ1xQgzY1oFTZ2yaAcY&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile_pic

Plus, on Instagram @kasch.kim

Tour Giveaway: 

A $25.00 gift card (winner’s choice) Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

A Quick History of the Jack O Lantern by Natalie-Nicole Bates, Author of EVE OF ALL HALLOWS ~ Bewitching Book Tours Haunted Halloween Spooktacular ~ #Giveaway


EVE OF ALL HALLOWS
Natalie-Nicole Bates


Genre: Paranormal Romance novelette

Publisher: Leap of Faith Publishing

Date of Publication: 10/2015

ASIN: B016T7FGP6

Number of pages: 34
Word Count: 10, 500

About the Book:

As Jamie travels the world in search of fulfillment, she arrives in Majorca the day before Halloween. Almost immediately, she realizes all is not what it seems. There are no tourists, and everyone is just a bit -- different. She meets a local tattooist named Carlito, a native of Peru. The attraction is instantaneous and intense. He makes her an unbelievable offer. But whether it means heaven or horror, she is not sure. When the Eve of All Hallows meets All Saints Day only Fate can decide the outcome.

Purchase Links;

Amazon     Leap of Faith     Amazon UK

 Read an Excerpt:

I think I will enjoy my time here.
Very much.
I’m taking in that magnificent view while I swirl a glass of red wine. Sometimes a girl gets lucky. It’s well past midnight now, but I can’t sleep. Beyond the beauty of my surroundings, of the warmth on my skin this late in the year, is the sound of the sea. I am truly alone in my own little nirvana. No one knows where I am, and I don’t care.
There’s a flash of movement from the corner of my eye. Maybe I’m not as alone as I thought. My heart flutters a little. Then I see him walking the beach towards the water, under the great moon above. My magnificent view just got even more spectacular. He’s fully naked.
My attention is riveted now as I sip my wine. I can’t see a lot of detail in the darkness, but I can see he is tall, with long hair. Nicely built, and if my eyes don’t deceive me, well-endowed as well. Now, this is a very interesting development.
I watch as he enters the water, and I shiver just a little as if my own skin was touched by the cool waters. He disappears momentarily beneath the dark sea, and emerges, throwing back his long hair. I know I should look away, I should respect his privacy, but I cannot. I am a voyeur in my own little world.
I’m not really sure how much time I spend watching him. Perhaps only a few minutes, maybe even an hour. He emerges from the waves, a mere silhouette now in the moonlight. He stops and looks straight to me. My first reaction is to want to drop to the floor. But my mind tells me he cannot see me in the darkness.
So, if he cannot see me, why does he stare in my direction?




A Quick History of the Jack O Lantern
By Natalie-Nicole Bates

I was born on Halloween day. This I suppose is the reason for my love of all things Halloween. My favorite part of the holiday isn’t the trick or treating or the fancy costumes, not even the birthday cake and the Halloween themed birthday gifts.
No, for me it was, and still is the choosing of the perfect pumpkin for carving into the slightly imperfect Jack O Lantern (you must know that I am artistically challenged – so the slightly imperfect remark).

But to understand the (supposed) origins of the Jack O Lantern, we must first briefly discuss the pumpkin. Those beautiful globes of orange goodness whose remnants become pies, cookies, muffins, and seeds. Or wind up on the compost heap.

The name pumpkin dates back to Greek origin. Pepon or large melon. It was translated into Pompon by the French. The English then translated pompon to Pumpion. In The Merry Wives of Windsor, Shakespeare makes mention of Pumpion. Pumpkins are also a large mention in such classics as Cinderella, Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater, and of course, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

Native Americans roasted pumpkins on an open fire, and dried strips of pumpkin were woven into mats. The earliest pumpkin pies were baked over hot ashes. The Colonists sliced off the top, removed the seeds, added spices, honey, and milk before baking. A handy baking vessel and treat all in one.

The Jack O Lantern has been around for centuries. The story goes that an Irish fellow by the name of Stingy Jack once invited the devil over for drinks. In true stingy style, Jack didn’t want to pay for the drinks, so he suggested the devil turn himself into a coin, and Jack could pay. The devil did so (how incredibly foolish), and Jack pocketed the coin. He kept the coin in his pocket near a silver cross, thus not allowing the devil to reanimate. Eventually the devil was free, but Jack managed to trick him at least two more times. Each time Jack extracted a promise from the devil not to claim his soul if he should die.

You know nothing good was coming of this.

So Jack died one day, and God told him to hit the road, he wasn’t allowing such a cad into heaven, so Jack paid his friend the devil a visit in hell. Well, the devil, still seething about the multiple tricks perpetrated upon him by Jack, also told him to hit the road, he certainly wasn’t welcome in hell, either. He gave Jack a burning lump of coal and sent him off into the night. Jack carved a hole in a turnip, placed the lump of burning coal inside, and has been using it to light his way ever since. Doomed to roam the earth forever and ever. The Irish referred to this ghostly figure with a lamp as Jack of the Lantern. In time this changed to Jack O’ Lantern.
Frightened by the possibility of Stingy Jack or other malevolent spirits haunting their neighborhoods, folks in Ireland and Scotland began carving scary faces into turnips and potatoes, beets were used in England, and placing them in their windows to scare the spirits away. As immigrants made their way to America, the glorious pumpkin became the go-to fruit for this task.

I hope you enjoyed this brief history of the pumpkin and the Jack O Lantern. Happy Halloween!

About the Author:

Natalie-Nicole Bates is a book reviewer and author.

Her passions in life include books and hockey along with Victorian photography, Frozen Charlotte dolls, and antique poison bottles. Natalie contributes her uncharacteristic love of hockey to being born in Russia.

She currently resides in the UK where she is working on her next book and adding to her collection of 19th century post-mortem photos.

Visit Natalie online at www.natalienicolebates.com


Twitter: @BatesNatalie   https://twitter.com/BatesNatalie



Amazon Author Central Page

Tour Giveaway:




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Cover Reveal ~ Brake Failure by Alison Brodie #ContemporaryRomance

Bewitching Book Tours Haunted #Halloween Presents ~ Halloween Down Under by Lexxie Couper, Author of Outback Heat (Alphas Unleashed, Book 8) #Giveaway


Outback Heat 

Lexxie Couper

Release Date: October 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-945193-50-7

Categories: Shifters, Suspense, Paranormal Romance 

Flame: 4

Price: $2.99


Book Description:

Never let horny dogs lie.

Searching for her missing uncle, Katy-Lin Yunker finds herself in the isolated, mysterious Australian Outback town of Kangaroo Creek. The whole town seems to have a secret, one that her heart tells her involves her AWOL, eccentric uncle. She’s at her wits end but determined to find him, no matter what the cost. And then the sexiest man she’s ever seen walks into the bar and things get really…dangerous.

Dean Singleton has tried to deny the animalistic nature of his species. A dingo shifter with a profound connection to the ancient magic of the land, Dean knows surrendering to his inner animal may lead him down a path he cannot come back from. But when he sees Katy-Lin—a human—the carnal desire he feels for her rocks him to his core. So what is he to do when he learns she’s the niece of the man who has uncovered the existence of his kind, threatening the safety of his pack and all the shifters in the Creek?

Dean and Katy find it impossible to fight against their attraction…but someone else has plans for Katy. Someone who wants Dean dead. In a land more brutal than most, this California girl is about to discover not only how wild a dingo shifter can be, but how fierce she can be.


Halloween Down Under

Halloween isn’t a thing in Australia yet. The shops are trying like hell to make it one (every September the Halloween decorations hit the shelves, and every November 1 there is a mass sale on the enormous stock left). There are people in Australia that get very angry about the idea of Halloween being celebrated Down Under. There are also people in Australia (like me) who think it’s a lot of fun and get into it every year. 


Our house was the first house on our street to put out jack o’ lanterns (made from actual jack o’ lantern pumpkins. Down Under, our pumpkins tend to be blue and are delicious made into a soup). Our house was the first house to have Halloween decorations up for the last week of October. We were the first family in our street to be sneered at by the neighbours and passer-bys for “bowing to an American thing”. I pointed out to more than one person that Halloween didn’t actually START in the US, but they weren’t listening.


Slowly, ever-so-slowly, Halloween is creeping into the Australian calendar. It will never be as big here as what it is in the States, I suspect. But it’s gaining legs. The houses that want to be a part of the Halloween fun attach orange balloons to their letterboxes to let the few Trick-or-treaters walking the streets know they can knock on the door, show off their scary costumes and hold out their bags for lollies and choccies, without fear of being yelled at.

My girls (12yrs and 8 yrs old) LOVE Halloween. They love dressing up (last year they were both witches). They love the decorations. They love the fun. And when they are sneered at by grumpy anti-Halloween kill-joys they laugh at them. One year, for their school’s October bake sale, I made “witches fingers” cupcakes. Boy…did the other kids love them. The other parents and teachers? Not so much. 


This year, we are going to throw our first ever Halloween party. You can only come if A/ you’re in costume, B/ you’re prepared to listen to the Monster Mash more than once during the night, and C/ your costume can survive a dunk in the pool (it’s on its way to being well and truly hot Down Under at the end of October, so swimming will be a part of the Halloween fun). And for anyone that rocks up to our house complaining about us celebrating a “silly American thing”…well, they just might find themselves being swarmed by scary monsters and tossed in the pool.

Happy Halloween world!!

About the Author: 

Lexxie Couper started writing when she was six and hasn't stopped since. She's not a deviant, but she does have a deviant’s imagination and a desire to entertain readers with her words. Add the two together and you get erotic romances that can make you laugh, cry, shake with fear or tremble with desire. Sometimes all at once.

For more information on other books by Lexxie, visit her website: www.lexxiecouper.com



Enter the Giveaway:




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Tour ~ Coven Enforcers Series by Ann Gimpel ~ Reviews of Book 2, Blood and Sorcery, and Book 3, Blood and Illusion


Coven Enforcers = Dark, Dangerous, Magical Men

Coven Witches bow to no one—least of all Enforcers.

Sparks ignite. Tempers run high. Passion explodes. Hot. Sweet. 

Impossible to ignore....



Blood and Magic
Coven Enforcers, Book One
Ann Gimpel

Dream Shadow Press
63K words

Release Date: 7/18/16

Genre: Historical paranormal romance with a steampunk edge

About the Book:

Magic didn’t just find Luke Caulfield. It chased him down, bludgeoned him, and has been dogging him ever since. Some lessons are harder than others, but Luke embraces danger, upping the ante to give it one better. An enforcer for the Coven, a large, established group of witches, his latest assignment is playing bodyguard to the daughter of Coven leaders.

Abigail Ruskin is chaperoning a spoiled twelve-year-old from New York to her parents’ home in Utah Territory when Luke gets on their stagecoach in Colorado. A powerful witch herself, Abigail senses Luke’s magic, but has no idea what he’s doing on her stagecoach. Stuck between the petulant child and Luke’s raw sexual energy, Abigail can’t wait for the trip to end.

Unpleasant truths surface about the child. While Abigail’s struggling with those, wraiths, wolves, and dark mages launch an attack. Luke’s so attracted to Abigail, she’s almost all he can think about, but he’s leery too. The child is just plain evil. Is Abigail in league with her? It might explain the odd attack that took out their driver and one of their horses. In over his head, he summons enforcer backup.

Will they help him save the woman he’s falling in love with, or demand her immediate execution?

Purchase Links:

Blood and Sorcery
Coven Enforcers, Book Two
Ann Gimpel

Dream Shadow Press
64K words

Release Date: 8/1/16

About the Book:

Joshua committed his life to fighting Black Magick. Not sure who he hates worse, dark sorcerers or the clerics who tortured and mutilated his family, he lives on the road with his horse and his magic, working as a Coven enforcer. Breana Giraud is the only woman he’s ever loved, and until very recently she was married to someone else.

Breana’s husband, Don, sold his soul to the devil, embracing dark practices. Along the way, he corrupted their daughter. While Breana could’ve turned him in to Coven justice without a second thought, she couldn’t bring herself to implicate her child. Still reeling from her daughter’s death at the hands of evil, and grateful her husband met the vicious end he deserved, she feels broken, damaged. The last thing on her mind is falling in love.

Joshua tries to hold back, give Breana room to mourn her losses, but if he has his way, she’ll become his wife. With Don dead, and the path to his heart’s true love finally clear, he’ll do anything he can to make her his. Even if it means fighting his way past the dark mages’ leader, who wants her for his own.

My Review:

Breana's character is strong; she's lost both her husband and her daughter to Dark Magick and to death. As a harborer of those under the influence of Dark Magick, Breana has a lot to atone for. Broken and beaten, she's not looking for love. Joshua is a strong alpha male totally in love with Breane but until now she's been unavailable. Now, he's one of the enforces protecting her against evil forces hellbent on claiming her and pulling her into the dark.

Ann Gimpel is one of my absolute favorite authors. I've yet to ready anything by her that I didn't like. I can add the Coven Enforcers series to the "I love them" list. Her characters are real. They have real emotions, are likeable, and are written in such a way that no matter their genre (paranormal, steampunk, historical), the reader will connect with them.

Blood and Sorcery is a well written historical romance.  I love the hint of steampunk that gives the series a unique edge.  The book contains action, magic, and romance. The plot is strong and unique and the story is fast paced. The characters have depth and layers, not just 2 dimensional robots that move through the pages. I became engrossed in Joshua and Breane's story and I didn't want it to end. Another great novel by the very talented author, Ann Gimpel.

Review copy provided by the author at no cost in exchange for an honest review.



Amazon Link:  http://amzn.to/2c8Ty92


Blood and Illusion
Coven Enforcers, Book Three
Ann Gimpel

Dream Shadow Press
64K words

Release Date: 8/22/16

Genre: Historical paranormal romance with a steampunk edge

Book Description:

Not all witches join the Coven. Fiercely independent, Isla heads up her own small band in the San Francisco area. She’s never needed help before, but dark sorcerers drive her and her group into hiding, trapping them.

Sam’s worked for the Coven as one of their enforcers forever. He’s been there so long, the Coven is the only mistress he knows. It’s a lonely life on the road thwarting wickedness and Black Magick with his guns, his magic, and his horse, but it’s been enough to satisfy him. Until now.

A group of witches is in deep trouble. They’re not part of the Coven, but Sam is sworn to protect all witches and he rides to their assistance with several of his brothers. Nothing prepares him for the outspoken spitfire who ends up riding double with him. She’s forthright, opinionated, and downright hostile, but he’s drawn to her self-sufficiency—and her undeniable beauty. Soon, Isla is all he can think about.

Dark forces are on the move. Protecting the woman he’s falling in love with is at the very top of Sam’s list. If they manage to survive, he’ll tame her. Claim her. Make her his.

My Review:

The Coven Enforcers series has been added to my "I love them" list. Her characters are very realistic and you'll fall in love them immediately. They have real emotions, are likeable, and are written in such a way that no matter their genre (paranormal, steampunk, historical), the reader will connect with them. Isla is a sassy character. She's strong-willed and can hold her own. Sam is another strong alpha male that isn't overbearing or controlling, just like Luke and Joshua from the first 2 books in the series. He's a protector to the witches even though they aren't official part of the Coven.

Blood and Illusion is packed full of action, magic, and romance. The plot is strong and unique and the story is fast paced. The characters have depth and layers not just 2 dimensional robots that move through the pages. The characters are very well developed and the world building is complex. The story of Isla and Sam rounds out the trilogy nicely. Another great novel by the very talented author, Ann Gimpel.

Review copy provided by the author at no cost in exchange for an honest review.



Amazon Link:  http://amzn.to/2ccWJur

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Meet the Author:



Ann Gimpel is a national bestselling author. A lifelong aficionado of the unusual, she began writing speculative fiction a few years ago. Since then her short fiction has appeared in a number of webzines and anthologies. Her longer books run the gamut from urban fantasy to paranormal romance. Once upon a time, she nurtured clients, now she nurtures dark, gritty fantasy stories that push hard against reality. When she’s not writing, she’s in the backcountry getting down and dirty with her camera. She’s published over 30 books to date, with several more planned for 2016 and beyond. A husband, grown children, grandchildren and wolf hybrids round out her family.

Find Ann At:

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Read an Excerpt from The Secret in Mossy Swamp (Nikki Landry Swamp Legends, Book 3) by Rita Monette #MiddleGrade

Things are never what they seem... in a foggy Louisiana swamp


Book Information:

Title: The Secret in Mossy Swamp

Series: Nikki Landry Swamp Legends, Book 3

Author Name: Rita Monette

Genre(s): Juvenile/Middle Grade, Adventure, Mystery

Length: Approx. 204 pages

ASIN: B01KIQNDD6
ISBN Paperback: 978-1987976168

Release Date: Septemer 17, 2016

Publisher: Mirror World Publishing

Follow the Blog Tour:
http://saphsbookblog.blogspot.com/2016/09/book-tour-schedule-secret-in-mossy.html


About The Secret in Mossy Swamp:

Living in a tiny houseboat, Nikki is stuck with sharing a room with her little brother, Jesse, who does what little brothers do best…torture their sisters. Fed up, she decides to build a place of her own…a tree house where no boys are allowed. Meanwhile, something strange is happening on Bayou Platte. Things and people are coming up missing…and little stick dolls covered in moss, known locally as “signs” from the legendary Rougarou, are showing up in their place.

Is the Rougarou really to blame? Can Nikki get to the bottom of the mystery before things get worse? Find out in this third instalment of the Nikki Landry Swamp Legends Series!

Read an Excerpt:

Summer had just started and already it hung like a warm wet blanket over the bayou and all the folks who lived there. I fed my pet turkey, Belle, some cracked corn, and watched her run around the yard flapping her wings—probably trying to keep cool.

I got Belle from Tommy Lopez, the store owner’s son. She wasn’t the Thanksgiving kind of turkey though, on account of being really scrawny and all, but she made a great pet. Tommy didn’t much like that turkey and the feeling was mutual. When Tommy said he was going to kill her for attacking him in his own yard, I asked if I could have her. She’d been mine ever since. Papa made Mama promise not to fatten her up.

The dock made a good place to sit and think and wonder about stuff. Mama called it pondering and she said I was pretty good at it. There wasn’t much else I was good at, so I figured I’d keep doing it. I found my favorite spot on the rough wooden boards and looked out at the gumbo-colored water. Snooper scooted up next to me.

The swamp islands across the bayou whispered with the breeze, like they had secrets nobody else knew about. The trees around the edges bobbed their dead branches into the moving water. Lilies piled up against ’em, hiding moccasin snakes, turtles, and gators. But I knew they were there, with nothing but their eyes showing, peeping out and looking for something to pounce on for lunch. The smell of rotting seaweed and dead fish was always stinkier in the summer heat.

My small pirogue sat on the muddy bank. It had washed up after a storm all full of holes. Papa patched it up and said I could keep it, but I wasn’t to go off in it by myself. Like I would ever do anything like that. I grinned, remembering all the times I disobeyed my papa and did things that got me in big trouble…and almost got me killed a time or two.

Then I thought about that kid out there, somewhere. Papa had left a couple hours before in his truck and hadn’t come back yet. I pondered on what he’d said about an old creature covered in moss. Maybe it was just a dog that got caught up in some moss and couldn’t get loose. Or it might have been a big black bear. Their hair looked a lot like moss on account of ’em not having anyone to brush it and all. I knew there had to be a logical explanation to it, ’cause I didn’t believe in monsters. I pondered a lot when I was alone. I imagined being in my very own tree house so I could ponder all day without anyone bothering me.

Add the Book on Goodreads:

Purchase Links:

Mirror World Publishing ~
Paperback: http://mirror-world-publishing.myshopify.com/collections/juvenile/products/the-secret-in-mossy-swamp-paperback

eBook: http://mirror-world-publishing.myshopify.com/collections/juvenile/products/the-secret-in-mossy-swamp-e-book

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2cbkPHy

Meet the Author:

Behind Every Legend Lies the Truth!


Rita Monette was born and raised in Southwest Louisiana. She loves to write stories set in the beautiful, yet mysterious, bayous and swamps of her home state. She is currently retired and lives with her husband, four lap dogs, and one lap cat, in the mountains of Tennessee. Besides writing and illustrating, She enjoys participating in festivals and craft shows where she does face and body art, along with selling her books.

Facebook: 
http://amzn.to/2d0B4aF

Goodreads Author Page: