The Christmas Mistake by Josephine Templeton | Blog Tour

I’m so happy to share my review for The Christmas Mistake Blog Tour! Let’s start…

Book Name: The Christmas Mistake
Author: Josephine Templeton
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Adult
Published by: GenZ Publishing
Publication date: December 1st, 2020
Book Acquired: Xpresso Book Tour, ARC
Ratings: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Synopsis:

Dressed in nothing but Christmas lingerie, Carina has a bellhop deliver her in a gift box to her fiancé’s hotel room, but the last thing she expects when she is unwrapped is to see a sexy stranger in holiday boxers who looks like he just stepped off a magazine cover – definitely NOT her fiancé! How in the silver bells was she delivered to the wrong room?

As the owner of a small flower shop, Carina’s surrounded by romance on a daily basis. Her workaholic fiancé has been distant for the past several months, so she decides to drive from Baton Rouge to New Orleans to surprise him on Christmas Eve. However, that distance between them has brought loneliness, and the mere thought of the sexy stranger plucks at her mistletoe. When she discovers the reason for her fiancé’s lack of attention, will she put him on Santa’s naughty list and take the stranger for a sleigh ride?


My Review: 

Imagine standing in front of a person you think you don’t know is nothing but Christmas lingerie. You can’t right? But this is the best scene of this book that gripped me from the start. I was intrigued with the synopsis as soon as I came across this blog tour and I knew I had to read it.

Carina is a little conservative and shy person who tries to break out of her shell to impress her boyfriend with a spontaneous plan, which, fails miserably! Or does it? Stepping out in lingerie in front of another man is only the first of her problems.

Standing there staring at this gorgeous woman is none another than old-time flam Conrad, who recognises Carina straightaway. To make the situation a bit funny, he keeps dropping hints here and there until Carina finally figures who the handsome figure in her fiancé’s supposed room was.
Old flames die hard. Well, Carina and Rad’s flames are burning bright and orange. Their attraction to each other still sends tingly sensations up their spines respectively. But destiny has different plans and they keep missing each other until finally, they find each other.

The story is written in a diary format which gave me The Princess Diaries vibe and I immediately smiled and continued to read faster. (I’m not sure if that’s possible, but you get the point) The book was a completely new perspective to what I’ve been reading and I enjoyed it from start to finish.

The POV’s kept changing from Carina to Rad and vice versa, which as you all know, I love reading. It makes it so much easier to understand and connect with the book. In all, I loved this Christmassy-cheer and give it a full star rating!


Author Bio:

Josephine Templeton has six published novels that range from historical romance to urban fantasy. She has been to numerous conferences, including Heather Graham’s Writers for New Orleans, as well as a former member of Romance Writers of America.

Guardian of the Sky Realms by Gerry Huntman | Blog Tour & Author Interview

Book Name: Guardian of the Sky Realms
Author: Gerry Huntman
Genres: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
Publication date: September 1st, 2020
Published By: Meerkat Press
Book Acquired: ARC, Publisher
Ratings: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Synopsis:

Maree Webster—an “almost-emo” from the western suburbs of Sydney—hates school, has few friends, and is obsessed with angels and fallen angel stories. Life is boring until she decides to steal a famous painting from a small art gallery that has been haunting her dreams: swirling reds, grays and oranges of barely discernible winged figures. There, she meets a stranger who claims to know her and stumbles into a world where cities float in the sky, and daemons roam the barren, magma-spewing crags of the land far below. And all is not well—Maree is turning into something she loves but at the same time, fears. Most fearful of all is the prospect of losing her identity—what makes her Maree, and more importantly, what makes her human. Guardian of the Sky Realms takes the reader on a journey through exotic fantasy lands, as well as across the globe, from Sydney to Paris, from the Himalayas to Manhattan. At its heart, it is a novel about transformation. Book two of the series will be released in 2021.

Spiritwalker by Tanith Davenport

Book Name: Spirtwalker
Author: Tanith Davenport
Genre: Paranormal erotic romance
Publisher: Totally Bound
Date of Publication: 20 October 2020

Tagline: By night she walks with spirits. By day they turn her world upside down.

Book Description:

Tamar Steele, a successful medium for a paranormal investigative team, should be happy with her life—but life seems to be against her. Her psychic field is being mysteriously blocked, causing her physical pain and, worse, making it more and more difficult for her to come, creating stress in her relationship with long-term boyfriend Jason.

But then, during the filming of a paranormal TV show, Tamar picks up on Leslie, the recently murdered sister of her co-worker Hana—who later tells her the murderer was in the room with them. Knowing the best way to enhance her psychic ability is through sex, Tamar must rekindle her troubled relationship with Jason and rebuild their passion as she fights to solve the murder. Can she find the killer in time?

Sequel to “I Heard Your Voice” and “Tamar Rising”

TotallyBound  /   Amazon

The Magic Ingredient by Lindy Miller | Blog Tour & Author Interview

Book Name: The Magic Ingredient (A Bar Harbor Holiday Novel)
Author: Lindy Miller
Genres:
 Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Published by: Rosewind Books
Publication date: October 13th, 2020

Synopsis:

The end of summer is approaching, but even at the height of Bar Harbor’s tourist season, Eve Silver is having a hard time keeping enough money in the bank to sustain the family business. Her only hope of paying past due bills is to win the catering bid for the town’s upcoming Harvest Happening Festival. Otherwise, it’ll be lights out for Mount Desserts & Tea by Christmas.

Widower Jeff Parish is moving with his twelve-year-old daughter, Candy, from Manhattan to Maine with one goal: starting over. When sparks fly between Jeff and Eve as the town readies for the annual harvest festival, Candy wishes she had a love potion to help her dad fall in love again.

Will Eve be able to save Mount Desserts & Tea—and open her heart to Jeff—by the most bewitching night of the year? It’ll take a lot of love, a little bit of luck … and just a pinch of magic.


My Interview:

  • What gave you the inspiration to write this book?

I had been playing with the idea of writing a story set in my former hometown of Bar Harbor for some time, but had never settled on the right hook. After years of going back every summer to visit old friends and familiar places, I realized how much like home Bar Harbor still felt, even though I didn’t live there anymore. There is such an incredible sense of community there—a feeling of belonging that never goes away and, when you leave, is always quick to welcome you back. I wanted to write a story where everyone—readers and characters—found their own special home in Bar Harbor, and that developed into the growing universe in the Bar Harbor Holiday Series with Rosewind Books, starting with The Magic Ingredient.

  • Are any characters based on real people you know?

Some, like Eve’s best friends Annie and Allie, are very much based on my two best friends from Bar Harbor, Annie and Amilie, who—like Janae with Candy—took me in when I first moved to Bar Harbor. Others, like Bapo and Doris, remind me of my grandparents and family friends: people who you love dearly even if they sometimes drive you a little batty.

  • What made you start writing? 

I’ve always felt the call to write—be it poetry, stories, or sometimes just research or the random thoughts drifting around in my mind. Writing full-time was a bit of a progression, and I’m very much still a “WIP”, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

  • What is your writing routine like? Any tips that you would like to share?

I try to write every day, even if it’s just a few hundred words, but other than that I’m kind of all over the place. The one top I would share is to write when you’re inspired, and find what inspiration looks like for you. When writing The Magic Ingredient—and now its upcoming sequel in the Bar Harbor Holiday Series—I basically sat down in front of The Great British Baking Show and wrote. Writing alongside those wonderful bakers, Paul, Prue, Sandy, and Noel was like writing inside a warm hug, and it really helped me get into the mindset of community and friendship that runs through The Magic Ingredient.

  • What is your favourite book genre?   

I read a lot, and pretty indiscriminately. I also tend to read seasonally—ramping up on sweet things in spring, historical fantasy and women’s fic through summer and into fall, then progressively more speculative and spooky through Halloween. I’ve even be known to tuck into the pages of a mystery or two in the coldest days of winter. There are things to love about every genre, though I do have a soft spot for historical fantasy and nostalgic horror, as well as any storyline that has a strong female protagonist and a good sense of humour!

  • If you could date any character from the book, who would it be and why? 

Oh, goodness. It would have to be Bapo. I know he’s got a few years on me, but is there a limit on age to a guy who loves sweets as much as I do and can make me laugh? I think not.

  • If you were in a boat with all the characters from the book, and you could save only 1, who would it be and why? 

First of all, if I was on a boat with all the characters from the book, I am pretty sure Doris Hammond would already have a plan to get us all safely back on land. If I truly was forced to save just one… gosh, I don’t know. I love them all. Could we all just stand in solidarity and go down together?

  • Are there any new books that you are working on?

I am always working on something! Currently I am working on the sequel to The Magic Ingredient, as well as a new collaboration project with a New York Times best-selling author, and a few book-to-film seasonal project. I do like to keep busy!


Author Bio:

Lindy Miller is an author of feel-good love stories that are full of sweet moments and happy endings. She believes the best time to fall in love is during the holidays, preferably over a cup of warm tea or a delicious vegan pastry – two things she can’t get enough of.

A free spirit, Lindy loves to travel and has a soft spot for Bar Harbor, Maine though she grew up at home in the South. She is married to her childhood sweetheart and bakes as often as she can for her husband, son, and pets – especially her golden retriever, Finn, who has a tendency to show up in her stories (and her Instagram!)

Lindy is represented by Gandolfo Helin & Fountain Literary Management and supported by Smith Publicity.

Member Romantic Novelist Association (RNA).

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Guardian of the Sky Realms by Gerry Huntman | Blog Tour & Author Interview

Book Name: Guardian of the Sky Realms
Author: Gerry Huntman
Genres: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
Publication date: September 1st, 2020
Published By: Meerkat Press
Book Acquired: ARC, Publisher
Ratings: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Synopsis:

Maree Webster—an “almost-emo” from the western suburbs of Sydney—hates school, has few friends, and is obsessed with angels and fallen angel stories. Life is boring until she decides to steal a famous painting from a small art gallery that has been haunting her dreams: swirling reds, grays and oranges of barely discernible winged figures. There, she meets a stranger who claims to know her and stumbles into a world where cities float in the sky, and daemons roam the barren, magma-spewing crags of the land far below. And all is not well—Maree is turning into something she loves but at the same time, fears. Most fearful of all is the prospect of losing her identity—what makes her Maree, and more importantly, what makes her human. Guardian of the Sky Realms takes the reader on a journey through exotic fantasy lands, as well as across the globe, from Sydney to Paris, from the Himalayas to Manhattan. At its heart, it is a novel about transformation. Book two of the series will be released in 2021.

My Interview with the Author:

1) Tell us something about yourself that no one knows. A funny secret perhaps?

I’ve been on this planet long enough to have done some silly and stupid things, and have had the odd moment of bad luck. More the former, mind you. While my youth was not entirely misspent, I can give you a little story from when I was about 20. Christmas Eve, going with the boys out for some partying and (insensibly) heavy drinking. At that time scotch and sodas were my preference. Knowing that the bar we went to would close around midnight, I gave the bartender a bottle of whisky to look after for me, and to hand over when I left. This worked perfectly, and instead of being moderate, youthful male silliness took over and in the next half hour I glugged half the bottle. Messed up. Big time. Somehow, I ended up sleeping on the lounge room floor of one of my friend’s (read: his parents’) home. The parents didn’t know I was there, and when they saw me the next morning, and my colour (bluey-white, apparently), they called an ambulance thinking I had died. I was just fast asleep. It took quite a while to shrug off this event among my friends, and to get over the embarrassment with my friend’s parents.

2) When did you start writing?

I actually had the creative urge when I was about 11 or 12 years old. So much so, that I insidiously wrote creative writing stories for some of my friends at school, passing them off as theirs. I also remember, again around that age, sending several short stories (typed and snail-mailed) to a publisher, and receiving a reply (a rejection that very kindly said that they loved the stories and look forward to seeing more work when I was older). When I was in my teens I moved my creative urge to role-playing, and was very active in the field for many years, writing scenarios for conventions and publications. While not ‘writing’ per se, it was a very good apprenticeship, building many of the skills that I use today. I only seriously pursued writing as an adult about 15 years ago.

3) What was the source of inspiration for this book?

Guardian of the Sky Realms is an outlier for me, as I don’t often write juvenile fiction. I was in a fantastic writers group for a number of years and we had a weekly challenge, where each of us took turns setting up challenges to write short stories or vignettes. We could set a task specifically, or ask everyone to write a story based on a photograph, or art piece, or even a song. One such challenge was an abstract painting by a very talented Californian artist, and it instantly inspired me to write a story about a teenage girl who was obsessed with that same painting (albeit in a fictional setting). It was a short piece, and ended with the girl entering an amazing world, through the painting that acted as a portal. It was inspiring enough for me to fairly rapidly convert it into a book.

4) If given a chance to co-author a book with another author, who would it be and why?

I have many author-friends and it makes sense, if I were to imagine a co-operate effort, to consider one of them. One such friend is Jack Dann, who is a giant in the speculative fiction field, and you could say that we are very good pals. I would absolutely love to collaborate with him, and it would definitely be a mature reading piece.

5) If you could be any character from Guardian of the Sky Realms, who would you be and why?

It’s hard to bypass the main protagonist of Guardian of the Sky Realms, Maree. The story is really about her, and she gets the greatest challenges, and is key to these challenges being overcome. This is a middle grade book, focused on adventure, and she is the adventure. By being Maree, I would witness almost the entire tableaux of the story, dive into the moments of sadness and despair, and soar with her successes.

6) Do you prefer hard copies or soft copies while reading?

I prefer hard copies when I read. I really can’t tell you if it is largely related to my generation or not, but I can say that when I read I love holding the entire story in my hands, and being able to read easily lying down, sitting, and so forth.

7) What is your favourite scene from the book?

My favourite scene from Guardian of the Sky Realms is the one that usually makes me a bit teary. Without wanting to give too much away, there is a scene where an important character dies, and another character, a French-speaking gargoyle, sticks with this dying person until the end, despite putting his life at risk. The whole point of this scene, aside from the sad ending and sacrifice of a character, is the point that love is the most important motivator of all. The gargoyle loved this character, and would never abandon a true friend.

8) Your ultimate top 5 books.

Gosh, the toughest question, and always has been. I’ll answer in the context of different periods of my life, to reflect how they influenced me, and my further reading and writing.

  1. The Adventure series by Willard Price – my first exposure to non-graphical stories, and full of escapism and adventure. Written in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s in the main, they were also products of their time – very much boy’s own adventures. South Seas Adventure was by far the best. This catalyzed my love for reading.
  2. The Lensmen series by E.E. ‘Doc’ Smith – again, old stuff but resurrected in the 70’s with the pulp fiction boom, and amazing, cosmic space opera. I read this stuff in my early teens and just lapped it up, and it consolidated my love for speculative fiction and escapism. The first book Triplanetary, is noteworthy.
  3. The Forever War by Joe Haldeman was the first speculative fiction piece I read (sci-fi to be exact) that didn’t just draw me into the story, but made me think beyond the plot to the extent that I wanted to write like that. I was still in my teens when I read this, and I have a special place in my heart for the novel. A few years ago I had the pleasure of having dinner with Joe and his wife (among others) in Baltimore and had the opportunity to talk about it with him. 
  4. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkein. Well, I’m probably not alone, but through my teen years and even into adulthood, this book transported me more effectively into another, imaginary world more than any other. I have read this trilogy more times than any other book or set of books, by a long shot.
  5. I’m very conscious of the lack of female writers in the list thus far, and certainly the first two or three were a product of my environment in the seventies. It’d be wrong, however, to say that I didn’t read superb female writers and many were among my favourites throughout my life, if not, in fact, taking on the greater number of, say, my top 200. Ursula LeGuin, Shirley Jackson, N. K. Jemesin, Katherine Kerr, and the list goes on. All contributed to my enjoyment of this wonderful field. However, if I were to look back at a book or series that, again, had more of an influence on my life than most, and that can be added to the ‘top 5’, I would say the Saga of Pliocene Exile by Julian May fits the bill, and most notably The Many-Colored Land.

9) Are you working on any new projects? When will we see them?

Since becoming a full time writer, my output and my list of projects have grown. Aside from keeping my short story writing simmering on an ongoing basis, the next manuscript I’m due to complete is the sequel to Guardian of the Sky Realms (titled Champion of the Sky Realms) which will be released by Meerkat Press in 2021. I have a mature-reader Fantasy novel near completed, but needing a lot of revision, and I have plans for a science fiction/horror piece which will require a lot of research before the word production can commence. My goal is to see a title come out a year from 2020 onward.

10) Do you have a routine that motivates you? Can you share it with our readers?

I’m answering this question during Stage 4 lock down in the city that I live in, due to COVID-19. It does change routines and it coincided with me turning to full-time writing and publishing. Nevertheless, I have a framework that works for me, and I know will settle better once we are over the pandemic hump. For me, writing every week morning – putting in a good 4 or 5 hours each time, is the backbone of my routine, and generally I will do my publishing work in the afternoons. Weekends are normally set aside for non-professional activities, including the most important family time. When the inspiration in my writing runs hot, then the rules can be broken, but it is a case of making it the exception rather than the rule. 


Author Bio:

Gerry Huntman is  a writer and publisher based in Melbourne Australia, living with his wife and young daughter. He has sold over 50 short fiction pieces, most of which are dark and for mature audiences, but he also has a love for middle grade fiction. He loves travel and gets many of his story ideas from distant lands and culture, but is equally happy with the cafe set in his hometown.

Machiavellian by Bella Di Corte | Blog Tour

Book Name: Machiavellian (Gangsters of New York, #1)
Author: Bella Di Corte
Genres:
 Adult, Romance, Suspense
Publication Date: May 8th 2020
Book Acquired: ARC, Xpresso Book Tours
Ratings: 4 stars! 

Synopsis:

I hungered to be seen.

There were three things I knew about Capo Macchiavello:

He was gorgeous.
He was reclusive.
He was considered one of New York’s most savage animals.

And he wanted me as his wife. A simple arrangement – you do for me, I do for you. Nothing owed, no expectations. Except for one: never leave.

Life was never that simple, though. By the age of twenty-one, I was parent-less, jobless, and homeless, and I had come to learn the hard way that nothing was ever free. Even kindness comes with strings.

Capo might’ve been the only man to ever see me, but I had made a vow to myself: I would never owe anyone anything. Most of all, the man I called boss.

I killed to stay hidden.

Mariposa Flores thought she owed nothing to no one, but she owed everything…to me, the ghost the world had once called The Machiavellian Prince of New York.

Machiavellian is the first of three books set in the savage world of the Gangsters of New York series.

My Review: 

It’s been a long time since I read a mafia book. The younger version of me enjoyed reading her fair share of Mafia books on Wattpad. But this is a different time. 

I was captivated by the book in the start itself. The introduction of the characters is done remarkably. I connected with Mari instantly and sympathized with her situation. the step she takes to help her self is taken in desperate measures and seems weird in the start but I kind of warmed up to it by the end. 

Capo’s persona is very strong and manly. That makes him very desirable and of course, he notices Mari when no one will. He wants to protect her at all costs. Instead of starting a relationship normally, Mari and Capo make a deal and I enjoyed watching their chemistry grow with each passing chapter. 

Given the situation both Mari and Capo are in, we see the gentleness towards each other and the eagerness to learn about the other come alive. The short and sweet moments are not what you generally expect in a Mafia novel, but the author has done a great job at adding them in a way that flows perfectly.

Although, the book is a bit too long, I didn’t feel it as I was so intrigued by it. The lies, secrets, deception, action all make the book an even better read. I loved this book and would highly recommend! 

Jax by MLJ Quigg | Blog Tour & Author Interview

Book Name: Jax (Knight Attack Book One)

Author: MLJ Quigg

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Date of Publication: 2nd September, 2020

Book Description: 

Rock royalty.

That’s what people call me.

But all it took was a single phone call to bring me to my knees.

Five years later, my life has changed irrevocably forever.

Though someone lurks in the shadows threatening to tear all that I love apart. 

An obsession of the worst kind. 

Can I keep the woman I love safe?

Or will everything burn to ash… 


My interview with the author MLJ Quigg:

1) Tell us something about yourself.

I am a married mum of 3 adult kids. I live in a smallish country town between Sydney and Australia’s capital Canberra. I have 6 brothers and 1 sister and a half sister. I am a survivor of domestic abuse. Not much more to say. I am me!

2) What made you start writing?

A dream. That’s what started it all. 

3) If given a chance to co-author a book with another author, who would it be and why?

Oh boy, so many choices. I honestly couldn’t say. Either Penny Dee or Leah Sharelle. I’d love to just get in Sherrilyn Kenyon’s brain one day, don’t know whether I’d be worthy to write with her though, I can always dream.

4) If you could be any character from the book world, who would you choose?

Ushara from Born Of Legend by Sherrilyn Kenyon… Oh my god, that girl is awesome!

5) Paperbacks or digital copies, what’s your preference?

For everyday reading – digital

For looking and not touching – Paperback.

6) What was one important lesson that you learned while writing Jax? Any writing tips that you can share with us?

Take your time and make sure you like the story. If you have to go back and re-write, that’s okay. A subpar book is not okay.

Writing tips, research editors. Find one that fits your personality and even talk to other authors they have under them. These are essential, can’t say that enough.

7) Are you working on any new projects? When will we see them?

I am. Writing Dozer (Thorny Devils Book 3) and I hope it comes out soon. Life is crazy at the moment, and I can’t write as much as I’d like to.

8) What is your favorite quote from Jax?

I leave with a light heart,

I don’t feel bad that we’re apart.

My good wishes are with you,

May you reach where you wish to.

You expect me to be sad I don’t have your love,

But I’m returning it to you with a shove.

And I know that must really suck,

But I don’t really give a fuck.

9) Which author do you look up to?

So many. Sherrilyn Kenyon. She is going through hell at the moment and she still keeps a positive attitude and she writes awesome books.

10) A few words for our reader? 

Thanks for taking the time to listen and I hope you enjoy your time here and my books. Peace out.


About the Author:

Australian author MLJ Quigg – lives in NSW, Australia, with her husband, three adult children, and six cats—yes, you heard that right, six. Growing up in a huge family of eight kids was always noisy and didn’t give her enough alone time to unwind. Books have always given her an outlet from the craziness that is her life. Nothing is better than curling up with a good story to take her mind off her surroundings. As a new author, she hopes you enjoy her stories and helps you get out of your world and into hers for a few hours.

The Witch with Nine Lives by B. Austin | Blog Tour

Book Name: The Witch with Nine Lives

Author: B. Austin

Genre: Paranormal, Urban, YA, Horror

Publisher: Spellbound Books

Date of Publication: August 27th, 2020

Tagline: The Tie Between Two Powerful Sisters is Tested when Secrets, Lies and Magic is Revealed in a Dysfunctional Family of Witches.

Book Description:

Medea turns into a cat at night, due to her mother’s curse. Her mother, Dima, has a shape shifting stone. She is 130-years-old but appears to be 18, nearly the same age as her two daughters.

Nikki works as a maid, rather than in the family witchcraft business of fortune-telling, seances, and other witchery-for-hire. She was born a Marilyn-Monroe lookalike. Despite her beauty, jealousy eats away at Nikki because her mother and sister have magic. Nor is Nikki allowed near the books of spells, enchantments, and potions Dima stole from Russian monks.

Medea is tortured by a secret that can destroy the sisterly tie between her and Nikki.

Unknown to her family, Nikki, is developing a magical gift which she cannot control, a sorcery that will threaten Medea and pit two powerful sisters against each other.


Excerpt: 

PROLOGUE

Nikki held her dead sister in her arms, a cat named Medea. It was only because of her youngest daughter, well now her only daughter, that their mother attended this makeshift funeral. Dima should be working. Luke Air Force Base in Glendale was open. There was money to be made dancing with solders. Most paid good money for Dima to gaze into a crystal ball and tell the men their futures. 

Bah, this is a waste of my time, having a funeral for Medea. Dima frowned at the dead Abyssinian cat. The different-colored eyes were glazed over in death and the tongue was hanging out. Dima turned her head away. She felt guilty for having cast a spell on her oldest daughter to begin with. It was for her own good. She may have been just a teenager, but the mafia wanted her dead.

Almost 24 hours passed since Nikki found Medea dead in the backyard. The girl had run into the house screaming, carrying her dead sister in her arms, the cat’s arms dangling and the head hanging. The eyes were open and still. Nikki had been hysterical until Dima slapped her.

Once more, Nikki cried over her furry sister. The girl seemed to like her sister more now that Medea was dead.

Dima yanked a shape shifting stone from her pocket. She ordered the stone to shape shift into a shovel. She then dug a small grave.

Nikki gently placed her sister in the small, shallow grave.

The emotional upset of seeing her eldest daughter lying dead with a pile of dirt beside the open grave, caused Dima to transform from a sexy, 18-year-old to her true self, a 130-year-old hag. Quick, she grabbed the shovel which then melted into her hands and reformed as the shape shifting stone. She clutched the stone and spun until she was once more an 18-year-old beauty.

It was almost midnight at the small, private Russian Molokan Cemetery located at 75th and Maryland Avenue in Glendale, Arizona. There was a full moon, so there was plenty of light shining on the grave.

“Why couldn’t we have a coffin?” Nikki again asked.

“Your sister always liked the dirt. Remember how she would dig with her claws?” Dima said.

“Yes, but that was so she could use the bathroom outside,” Nikki pointed out.

“Well, you really shouldn’t cry over a sister who used her tongue as toilet paper,” Dima said. “Medea was inferior.”

Nikki glared at her. “Medea was a cat because of you.”

“Well, if Medea had not been an outdoor cat, but stayed indoors, she might have lived a few years longer, if not for you,” Dima said.

Now, it was Nikki’s turn to look guilty.

The moon moved directly above them, signaling that it was now midnight.

Dima screeched and pointed at the grave. Moonlight was shining on the cat, which had transformed from a brown Abyssinian cat into a black kitten.

“Medea’s come back to life!” Nikki clapped her hands with joy.

Dima, on the other hand, was so shocked that she dropped Pompeii, her shape shifting stone. She again transformed from a young woman to an ancient one. Her boobs were sagging past her waist. Her hair was but a few sparse white hairs. Dima lifted her head so that she could see because her wrinkly eyelids blurred her vision, not to mention the cataracts; oh, the cataracts, and the arthritis in her gnarled hands. Her back was hunched over. Dima ached with more than a century and a quarter of living, and none of it as the granddaughter of Catherine the Great of Russia. Dima was born with signs that she would be a witch, which freaked out her royal family, so her bastard mother threw her away.

Well, enough of bad memories. Medea was reborn!

The kitten sat up and stretched, arching its back. She wasn’t exactly a newborn kitten. Medea appeared to be the size of a four-month-old kitten.

Dima stooped to pick up the shape shifting stone.

The kitten was faster and jumped on the stone, sitting on the rock.

Dima jumped out of the way because the kitten scratched at her ankles.

Dima growled low in her throat. “I see dying hasn’t improved your bad manners, Medea. You are still headstrong though you must weigh all of three pounds. Move, or I’ll smack you with a newspaper.”

Seventeen cats, some old, some young, surrounded them, hissing at Dima. Of course, the cats attended Medea’s funeral. She was their leader.

Traitors, Dima thought. The older cats had once been loyal to her, but that was before she turned her daughter into a cat.

Dima took a step back. Medea may have been reborn as a black cat, but her eyes were still the same, one eye being amber in color and the other eye emerald-green. The two different colors were a sign of magic. Medea was still a witch and power still flowed in her kitty veins.

The kitten laughed. “Come now, mother,” Medea said in a kittenish, human voice. Medea apparently had the memories of her past life. “It won’t hurt you to stay your own age, for an hour or so. This is my wish for my birthday.”

“You don’t get a second birthday,” Dima snarled.

“Yes, she does,” Nikki protested. “Medea has now been born twice.”


About the Author:

Belinda has fun creating both researched and original magic in her books. She grew up in New Mexico, a Southwestern state known as the Land of Enchantment with a long history of Native American and Spanish witchcraft. Growing up, she heard spell-binding tales about magic and real witches, magic sometimes witnessed by family members. Belinda has a friend in Albuquerque who is a modern-day witch. Belinda is a former Software Engineer / Web Applications Developer. She has a degree in Applied Mathematics. She did not have to do research when it comes to dysfunctional families. Her father was a bigamist with two wives and two sets of children.

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The Name of Red by Beena Khan| Blog Tour

Book Name: The Name of Red
Author: Beena Khan
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Literary Fiction, Romance
Publication date: May 15th, 2020
Book Acquired: ARC, Xpresso Book Tours
Ratings: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Synopsis:

Two strangers on the same path.

Survivors. Companions.

They will be each other’s salvation.

On a rainy, winter night, a mysterious woman in a red dress seeking shelter comes inside the restaurant Kabir was busy working in —primarily the bar— and night after night, drink after drink, she comes back to the same spot. That is where he sees her for the first time.

Hundreds of patrons around her try to speak with her daily, but she dismisses them. It appears she wants to remain in a blissful peace alone with her booze and books. After seeing the mysterious woman reading a book, and because of his shy nature, Kabir gains entrance into her life by anonymously leaving books with notes for her.

The Name of Red is the story of two strangers, two different personalities who meet on a winter, rainy night who challenge each other. They have a connection which blossoms into a friendship due to their fondness of books. But they both have secrets that can bind them together or threaten their newfound relationship forever.


My Review:

To be really honest, I felt really happy signing up for this blog tour as it’s written by a South Asian writer. Being a South Asian myself, I was super excited to read this book. I love the Asian names and the culture that the author has used. Something that is very relatable for me.

The beginning of the book had me intrigued from the moment I started reading. The entrance of Red was very well written and the mystery that came with it, made me want to read the book asap. What I loved more, is that romance was found in the midst of book exchanges.

The interesting way in which Kabir get’s Red’s attention is a dream for all book lovers. Oh, how I wish that I got a secret book recommendation too! What started as being complete strangers, book exchangers to friends, and then close friends seem like a perfect relatable love story that is very enjoyable to read.

The author has brought on a lot of topics on the table that are well introduced in the book and are given justice with how they make every character’s life more tangible. It not only shows us that there can be change but the whole story revolves around second chances and how important it is to grab it when it comes our way.

I loved the structure of the book and the third person narration gives a perfect view into every characters life. The details are immaculate and captivating to read. I yearned to read what happened next to Kabir and Red and for that, the suspense and mystery that the author builds around Red had me at the edge of my seat.

Overall, the shy boy meets the mystery girl and falls in love was very entertaining to read. The various topics of assault, alcoholism, and mental illness is spoken about very skillfully. I definitely recommend this book to those who want to read a romantic story as this one has a different style to it.


Beena Khan lives in a suburb in Queens, New York in her apartment. She’s a Literary Fiction Novelist and Poetess. She is 27 years old and from Azad Kashmir, Pakistan. She’s an immigrant who moved to New York when she was five years old. She currently holds a Masters Degree in Developmental Psychology from Cuny School of Professional Sciences. She enjoys reading, writing, and Netflixing.

The Name of Red is her debut novel.

Her website is http://www.beenakhan.com.

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Tribulation by Jaydeep Shah| Blog Tour

Book Name: Tribulation (Cops Planet #1)
Author: Jaydeep Shah
Genres: Adult, Suspense, Thriller
Publication date: June 15th, 2020
Book Source: ARC, Xpresso Book Tours
Ratings: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Synopsis:

When a couple celebrates their eleventh marriage anniversary at their old mansion far from the city of Naples, Florida, they begin experiencing paranormal events. While trying to find out the truth of what’s happening, they encounter a girl wandering in the mansion.

She is the girl whom the couple never wanted to see again in their life.

Surrounded by their sinful past and the girl’s deathly traps, the couple tries hard to escape the mansion. But they are stuck. There is no way out of the mansion. Every second, they approach their end.

There are many secrets buried in the mansion—about the girl, about the couple, and about their past.

Tribulation is a masterpiece of suspense, a thriller with some mild elements of horror from the imagination of Jaydeep Shah.

My Review:

What happens when a murderer gets murdered by the person they tried to murder? Did you get it? If not, please read Tribulation by Jaydeep Shah so everything makes sense and you’ll know what I’m talking about. 

The story is fast-paced, and every chapter shows a new edge to the story. All the characters are shown to do their job well and play out in the most captivating way. We learn about Alex and Casie, as a couple who are celebrating their marriage anniversary at their mansion when things start going wrong. At first, I didn’t understand what was happening and got pretty spooked with the beginning itself. But what everyone thinks is a joke, turns out to be more important and spooky by the chapter. 

Ana, the murderee is back for revenge and is going all out to get what she wants. She wants to see Alex and Casie fall. For a while we see Ana winning and then Alex has control but then Emily enters and it is chaotic but intriguing to read. 

Although the book was a short page-turner, I would have enjoyed a more detailed run-through. I couldn’t connect with the characters and I wish there was more depth to their backstory. The author sticks to the plot and doesn’t deviate from it to give us any details. I’m someone who enjoys her fair share of descriptive books and this one got over too soon. This is something that can be seen as a pro and con whichever way you want to take it. 

The cliff-hanger at the end, is definitely not what I expected and now I’m eager to read the next book in the series. Excuse me, I need more answers! If you like a short, suspense book with good plot twists and appreciable cliff-hangers, then this book is for you!