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Death Watch by
(Soul Reader #2)
Annie Anderson
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Publication date: April 27th 2021

A prison break, a secret admirer, and a boatload of lies. Just about everything Sloane Cabot knows about her past is a big old pile of malarkey. Couple that with the blank spot of how her family died, and she needs answers, like, yesterday. But when a man shows up dead on her family’s grave, she knows it somehow has to be tied to that fateful night a year ago. Too bad you can’t question the dead… or can you?

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Death Watch Excerpts

Excerpt 1

A pair of guards opened the giant doors, bowing at Thomas as he guided me through. It was an actual struggle not to freeze at the entrance and stare. But man, did I want to. This place—while definitely what I would consider on-brand for a vamp nest—was one of the most magnificent buildings I’d ever been in. I wasn’t particularly interested in other churches, but this cathedral was just a beauty. A gallery of pews sat to the left and right of a wide aisle that led to a raised dais. Vampires filled the seats, dressed similarly to Thomas and me, their voices a low buzz of conversation. More people were sitting in the upper gallery, their opulent gowns and sharp tuxedos a happy reminder that Thomas had my back. Had I walked in here with leather pants and a whip on my hip, I had a feeling I would have been just a touch out of place.

Thomas continued his leading, guiding me down the aisle toward a stunningly severe woman sitting on what appeared to be a throne. Skin paler than death, eyes vamped out in a way that seemed permanent, and painted lips the color of blood, she was the most beautiful and yet most frightening woman I’d ever seen. Dark hair was piled on her head in purposefully haphazard curls, a few tendrils snaking out of the complicated up-do to artfully caress her neck. She wore a brilliant green gown that was so simple, and yet so achingly complex, it had to have cost a fortune.

We reached the end of the aisle, and Thomas bowed his head slightly. I copied him, wishing I would have received an etiquette lesson on the hour-long drive here. All I’d gotten was Thomas’ clenched jaw and silence.

“You have some nerve,” a woman growled, drawing my gaze from what had to be the queen of this nest to her right.

I quickly realized that the voice did not belong to a woman at all but a child. Pale-blonde hair and blue eyes were set in an elfin face of a vampire who had likely been no more than ten when she was turned. And that had to have been centuries ago. This little whisp of a “girl”—and I use that word lightly—had the look of a being older than dirt. Dressed in a black lace confection appropriate for a child beauty queen, she stood from her chair.

She then launched herself at Thomas.

I couldn’t exactly say why I did it. I mean, she had me by centuries, and Thomas could take care of himself. But as soon as her feet left the dais, I had the knife Clem had given me yanked from its sheath and was in front of the man in an instant.

Thomas owed me, not the other way around, but he’d been kind to me when I’d needed it, and I wouldn’t let him get attacked. No way, no how.

It was as if everyone froze. Conversations halted, guards stood stock-still, and even this slip of a thing stood arrested at the end of my blade, which was poised at her throat.

To this tiny—but by no means less deadly—vampire at the point of my knife, I said, “Settle down there, Blondie, or we’re going to have a problem.”

I had a feeling we probably already had one.

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Excerpt 2

“Haunting rooftops again, I see,” Bastian called from behind me, startling me out of my intense stare-down of an inanimate object, namely, a door.

The only thing special about this door was that behind it lay a raging arcane club. The music radiated up from the ground, through the building, rattling my bones even from across the street, but that door was nothing more than a metal barrier to the world beyond. I’d always wondered what went on in clubs like those. Would it be sex and alcohol and dancing bodies—which wasn’t much different from a human club in that scenario—or would it be darker? Blood and death and all the dark things about the arcane world that I hated? I was smart enough to know that the human world had its darkness, too, but it seemed the more I lived in this world, the more I realized that what I thought was evil didn’t even begin to scratch the surface.

“It’s a hobby,” I muttered, shaking my head to clear the dark thoughts as I stretched from my crouch, my joints protesting loudly. One thing about this life that was the same were the aches and pains. I’d sat in one spot too long, staring at that stupid metal door to that stupid arcane club that wouldn’t provide any more answers than the last one had.

My search so far had given me one dead end after the other, and after two straight months of nothing, I was starting to get annoyed. It was bad enough that I had the habit of haunting rooftops before the man who’d killed my parents left a note on my pillow.

Now, it was an obsession.

In the last two months—in between bounties and training—I’d been scouring every nook and cranny of Ascension. And my questioning methods hadn’t exactly been in line with what I would call pleasant.

Bloody would be a better descriptor.

Hopping off the ledge, I knocked the dark hood from my white hair, letting the spring air cool me down. Sweltering under my lightweight jacket, I yanked it off, trying not to rip the fabric. Clem would be pissed if I ripped another one, and as the house’s weapons keeper and person in charge of my solid food intake, pissing her off would not be a smart move on my part. Plus, if Bastian found me, there would be no more sleuthing tonight, and the need to hide my beacon of a hair color was no longer necessary.

I’d need to pick harder to find locations if I wanted him off my ass. Well… I kind of wanted him on my ass, just not while I was in the middle of my special project. I stared down at the skull don’t-find-me ring I’d conned Simon into making for me. Leave it to Bastian to find a way to work around Simon’s magic.

Bastian stood in the darkness, the faint light barely kissing the high points of his face and leaving the rest in shadow. To everyone else, he was a bruiser with his heavy dark brow and bulking frame. To me, he seemed akin to a big teddy bear—a giant, angry teddy bear, but one, nonetheless.

Even if he was spoiling my stakeout.

“Some hobby,” he groused, snagging my hand and reeling me in. “You know, instead of skulking around, you could actually go inside one of those clubs. Take a night off from your ‘creature of the dark’ persona and actually have fun.”

Fun. It was a struggle not to audibly scoff and even harder not to show the derision on my face. I hadn’t had fun in ages. Hell, I didn’t even know what that word meant anymore. And I couldn’t remember the last time I’d taken a night off—definitely pre-orphanhood, for sure.

“‘Creature of the dark?’ What am I, a Batman villain? Do I get a cool costume? Is there a car in this deal?”

Bastian’s smile gave me legit butterflies, the wide, white pull of his full lips making me all giddy.

Ugh, hormones. Why must you betray me like this?

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57228952-death-watch

Purchase:

Amazon: https://geni.us/dw-amazon

Bookbub: https://geni.us/deathwatch-bb

AUTHOR BIO:

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Annie Anderson is a military wife and United States Air Force veteran. Originally from Dallas, Texas, she is a southern girl at heart, but has lived all over the US and abroad. As soon as the military stops moving her family around, she’ll settle on a state, but for now she enjoys being a nomad with her husband, two daughters, an old man of a dog, and a young pup that makes life… interesting.

Author links:

https://www.annieande.com/

https://www.instagram.com/annieande/

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAnnieAnderson

https://www.pinterest.ca/AnnieAnde/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6108766.Annie_Anderson

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Is it a curse? Blitz

LisaWells ItsACurseThing  - Is it a curse? Blitz It’s a Curse Thing
(Singles Town, #2)
Lisa Wells
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Paranormal, Romance
Publication date: April 27th 2021
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It’s not forever. It’s not freaking forever.

What’s a witch to do when her magic’s been hacked and her tongue wickedly cursed! No matter how hard Eloise Redd concentrates on keeping her thoughts to herself, she blurts them. The only option is to lie low and wait for the hacker’s ransom note —and hope the demands aren’t too steep. In the meantime, she hides out in a haunted town as a palm reader. What could possibly go wrong reading palms?

Jeffrey Bales, Chief Operating Officer of Think Tank Innovations, is excellent at peopling. What he’s not good at is fending off a multitude of women convinced he’s their souls’ missing puzzle piece. This thanks to the town’s magical palm reader. A woman whose mouth should come with a hazard warning. He has no choice but to turn his charms on her to silence those wayward words. Just a tiny, fake relationship should work…

Unless it takes place under the roof of a bewitched house. One determined to bind them together eternally. That ransom demand can’t arrive soon enough.

What if this is forever?

EXCERPT ONE:

“Welcome to Hand Picked.” Eloise struck a pose at the top of her stairs and spoke to the gentleman who stood in her doorway, looking very much like a shabby prince with his stiff stance and sexy-as-hell five o’clock shadow. Was he her three o’clock?

If so, she now wished she’d reapplied her Rouge Louboutin Velvet Matte lipstick after her cup of tea. Perhaps living in Knotty would be more than bores and snores after all. A little hot weekend sex would make the months go by faster.

“Thank you,” he said.

About to take a step forward, she paused, left foot dangling above the stair. Hmmm. What do we have here? His voice sounded familiar. She tilted her head to the left and tried to get a look at his profile. Nope. His face, what she could see of it in the shadows, didn’t ring any bells. Perhaps she’d overheard him talking while she’d explored the town last weekend. “Have you come to have your palm read?”

Not waiting for his response, she lifted her floral, floor-length, multi-ruffled skirt and glided down the stairs, aiming to appear like a royal subject entering a magical ball being held in her honor. Not to impress the man. Not much anyway. But mostly because presentation mattered when one read palms for a living. With her skirt, she wore a black long sleeve bodysuit and a headscarf that had beads that dangled over her forehead.

She’d been just as meticulous regarding her appearance when she had practiced law. Only then, instead of every aspect of her projecting flamboyant exuberance, she’d projected the appropriate image of strength and intelligence and the ability to cut your throat in a courtroom without leaving any traces of blood on her Louboutin heels.

At the bottom of the stairs, she got her first shadow-free view of her latest customer. A view that caused her world to tumble and land ass up. Balls. Balls. Balls.

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EXCEPT TWO:

Eloise stood outside Jeff’s house and waited for the lovely old Victorian to welcome her and her cat inside. Charm, the moodiest cat ever, had been MIA ever since she’d been forced to move to Knotty with Eloise.

“Who are you?” the house barked in a voice gruff with age. Not even a hint of the English accent Eloise had expected.

“Eloise Redd, of the Salem Redds. And you are?” Eloise stood straight and unafraid. This was not her first conversation with a house.

“Gwinifer. You may call me Ms. Gwinifer. And the feline?”

Eloise held her cage out in front of her so Gwinifer could get a good look. “Charm. Of the Salem Charms.”

“I’m not particularly fond of cats,” Gwinifer said.

Charm’s back arched. “Hiiiiissssss.”

“Neither am I.” Eloise gave Charm a behave-yourself look and sat the cage on the ground. “But I’m a witch. They’re required. Along with a cauldron, but I left that in the trunk of the car.”

A nose appeared on the front of the house and it sniffed the air around Eloise. “I can’t say I’m fond of witches either.”

“Neither am I. But, as they say, one doesn’t get to pick their birth family.” Was Jeff inside watching her talk to his house? If so, why hadn’t he come outside and made proper introductions, instead of forcing Eloise to announce herself like a commoner? Surely, if the house was talking to her, it had also spoken to Jeff on his move-in day. Who was she kidding? If the guy was skeptical about palm readers, there’s no way he had ever admitted to himself he heard a house talking. He had probably blamed whatever he had heard from Gwinifer on the wind whistling through tree branches and playing tricks on his ears. 

She glanced away from the nose and admired the house. She didn’t want Gwinifer to feel rushed into making a decision. A house that felt forced into welcoming a guest could be quite abusive to said guest. Cold showers. Creaking floorboards. Drafty rooms. Dead mouse smells.

On the outside, Gwinifer was a sassy lady. Her colorful eclecticism and intricate excess so fit the town itself. Her facade had an elaborately decorated gable and off to one side, a round tower. Her steeply pitched and complex roof perched like a jaunty hat, giving her further style. It was in the window of her dormer that Eloise got a nod of approval. A wink.

“You’ll do,” Gwinifer said in a haughty tone.

Eloise could practically here the house’s eyes rolling. She smiled and gave a curtsy. “Thank you.”

“Don’t make me regret allowing a witch inside my sanctuary,” Gwinifer snapped. “I have a temper. The last time I got mad at a witch, a tornado took out the town.”

AUTHOR BIO:

Lisa Wells writes romantic comedy with enough steam to fog your eyeglasses, your brain, and sometimes your Kindle screen. On the other hands, her eighty-year-old mother-in-law has read Lisa’s steamiest book and lived to offer her commentary. Which went something like this: You used words I’ve never heard of…

She lives in Missouri with her husband and slightly-chunky rescue dog. Lisa loves dark chocolate, red wine, and those rare mornings when her skinny jeans fit. Which isn’t often, considering the first two entries on her love-it list.

Author links:

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https://www.bookbub.com/authors/lisa-wells

https://www.facebook.com/lisa.wells.737

https://www.instagram.com/lisawellsauthor/

http://lisawellsauthor.com/contact.html

http://www.lisawellsauthor.com/

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Theatres in small towns: Book Review

miranda - Theatres in small towns: Book Review Miranda Rewritten
Durango Street Theatre Series, Book 7
by Emily Mims
Women's fiction, Contemporary fiction
Boroughs Publishing Group
Pub Date 29 Jun 2021
four star - Theatres in small towns: Book Review

THE BEST KEPT SECRETS

Durango's production manager, Miranda Jenks is straightforward and honest. She deals with life head-on no matter what it brings, and she's not afraid to speak her mind. But... she's been harboring a soul-destroying secret for years, and when Ross Ellis returns to town to try to clean up his mess, she can't tell him the truth.

Ross has made more mistakes than he can count, and all of them are worse than horrible. The only reason he's bothered to come back to his farm is for his teenage daughter, and he hopes like hell she'll let him make amends.

Miranda is the last person he'd thought would forgive him, and as they spend more time together he finds they fill each other's gaps. Until he uncovers the lies she's been keeping for years.

Two lonely people who understand each other better than most must find a way to heal the breach or they'll never get to the happy they're reaching for.

 This is a small town romance with Miranda being the starring character of the story and also the general manager of the small town theatre company around which the story circulates.

We also have a character who managed to have Covid very severely and so this story was written during the pandemic.

The book covers a wide range of issues that could affect a person, from how alcoholism can affect lives until the nth generation. It is not true, although often said, that alcoholism is a reflection of an addictive personality. It is not. What people have is a Substance Use Disorder, to which genetics can contribute 40-60% of the likelihood of a person acquiring it. But it is not set in stone that will happen. But it is more likely when the person also has a mental health condition which affects them.

The story begins with Miranda pondering the fact that she covered up for her best friend who died in a terrible car accident. At the time her friend was coming back from committing adultery with Miranda’s brother, but she permitting her friend’s husband and the family to believe that instead she had been coming back from a late session with the local amateur dramatic society. Her friend Renee had a daughter who Miranda loved, but also an alcoholic abusive father, who blamed the theatre company for his wife’s death and refused to let his daughter become involved. And who then disappeared so that his daughter had to live with her grandparents.

One reason that Miranda championed Emma was because she had remained a stalwart friend to Miranda’s young son who had dies of childhood cancer.

So the story starts with grief and emotional issues upfront.

Miranda however, as the story proves, is a forgiving soul and likes to help others as it mitigates her sorrow at her son’s death.

We thus have a cast of characters with many faults and issues to deal with. Which are covered empathetically. The style draws you in and the rawness of the emotions keeps you reading. Overall, this book would be good to read if you are in a similar situation to young Emma, as the trauma caused by SUD is covered in such a way that it can be easily understood, and the awareness that this is not an illness that can be cured, but rather one that needs constant attention and work.

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Don’t listen when they scream! Book Review

banshee - Don't listen when they scream! Book Review Banshee Cry: A Steamy Paranormal Fantasy Romance
Jen Katemi
Paranormal Fantasy Romance Sci Fi & Fantasy
Flourish Books
Pub Date 9 Nov 2020 |
four star - Don't listen when they scream! Book Review

This banshee will do anything to save those she loves. Even climb into bed with her enemy. Worthless. Useless. Helpless. That's how I feel. A banshee without a voice. Well, half banshee and half human, and my human side failed my father, Got him killed. But that was a long time ago... Now, there's a sexy vamp on my doorstep wanting me, needing me. He's the hottest being I've ever laid eyes on. His blood sings to mine, in ways I can't explain, and in ways, I am determined to uncover. But with my past, my fear, my pain, I want to stake him--right through his cold, undead heart. If we don't team up, everything I know and love will be gone, Just like before. This time, I will do anything to be heard, With or without that banshee cry.

There are 2 books to be reviewed here – Banshee Cry and Banshee Song, although there is a 3rd in the series, Banshee Power. It is the Blood Fae Chronicles series.

A fantasy novel which takes on a Banshee as a main character which is so different from a witch or a were or…

The thing we all know about Banshees, is that they cry when a death is to happen. Well not so much a cry as a scream. Except that our heroine Banshee has a very soft voice. So not much use as a warning. And she is only part Banshee, the other part is immortal Fae. Which means she has powers.

A good set of fantasy stories. With lots of different Fae and other creatures. Some battles/fights, some power plays, and other normal issues between the various races.

If you like fantasy, then read the 3 books

BLOOD FAE CHRONICLES:
Book 1 – BANSHEE CRY
Book 2 – BANSHEE SONG
Book 3 – BANSHEE POWER

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Hotel Void: Book Review

void - Hotel Void: Book Review A Void of Magic
Kennedy Rain, Book 1
by Sandy Williams
General Fiction (Adult) | New Adult | Sci Fi & Fantasy
Victory Editing
four star - Hotel Void: Book Review

They trusted her to keep the peace between the paranorms. They made a mistake.

Kennedy escaped the family business when she turned eighteen. Now, an ill-timed vacation pulls her back to The Rain Hotel, the only known null zone on the planet. It’s a place where vampires can see the sun rise and werewolves can avoid the lure of the full moon. And it would be the perfect place for a paranormal wedding…if the bride wasn’t the local alpha’s daughter and the groom the scion of a vicious master vampire.

With a sexy werewolf determined to sabotage the wedding and dark forces threatening The Rain, Kennedy’s life is thrown out of balance when she’s forced to confront a past she swore to avoid. Ultimately she must choose: will she maintain the stability of the supernatural world…or will she destroy it.

This is another is the genre of providing an hotel for paranormals. With the difference that in this hotel there was a magical void – that is the magic that made the wolves or vampires into their paranormal selves was missing and thus during their stay they were just ‘normal’ human beings.

This meant that if for instance you had a werewolf that had ‘moon madness’ – a state where they forgot their human side completely, a stay st the hotel restored it. And that vampires could eat ‘human’ food rather than blood.

It was set up by a treaty many hundreds of years past with one family and their descendants eoing the inn-keepers by trade and the wolves and the vampires trading places every week. Other paranormals came to stay also but were not as constrained as these two branches.

Our heroine is trying not to be an inn-keeper – at least not yet. So she was studying at university, but got called back when trouble arose and her parents had gone on holiday. A wolf and a vampire decide to marry and have their wedding at the hotel. This breaks all the treaties as the 2 races were not meant to mingle.

And so the mystery begins and the trouble escalates.

I enjoyed this story as it was nicely written and the characters were well enough drawn. It is of course, the first in a series but book 2 is not out for another year (July 2022).

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Dining Club: Book Review

Willow
The Pepper Lane Club #1
Grace Parks
Pub Date 19 Apr 2019
three star - Dining Club: Book Review

She's the movie. He's the book.

A bubbly personality and a great job in social media doesn't mean that Willow Lawson has it all. Her love life is a distant memory and her social life is only work related. She starts the Pepper Lane Club as a chance to step away from her busy schedule once a month to reconnect with her friends. Thomas Greer, the proprietor of the Pepper Lane Café, annoys her. He’s her complete opposite; unsociable, serious, old-fashioned and dead set against social media. Always game for a challenge, Willow decides to take him on as a client. She’s going to prove to Thomas that he needs her help.

She knew she would be successful, she just didn’t know she would lose her heart along the way. Can Willow fall in love with a man that doesn’t respect her profession? Will Thomas let go of his preconceptions long enough to get to know the real Willow?

Enjoy this sweet romance as Willow finds love and friendship in the first book in the Pepper Lane Series.

So, the Pepper Lane Club is a dining club of women at a pizza café – Pepper Lane. The star of the book is a social media maven and decides she needs to help the owner of he café, and his friend Eric, to get more customers through promotion in social media. And it works. But obviously, also changes the nature of the original establishment. Possible to the good, or not, depending on how much you valued the original atmosphere.
This book will appeal to those who like a contemporary novel set in modern technology terms and how it can change lives.
I was not so keen and thought it rather shallow.

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Inn on the Beach: Book Review

nantucket - Inn on the Beach: Book Review The Nantucket Beachfront Inn: Sconset Beach
Sconset Beach #1
by Ainsling Delaney
Women's fiction, Contemporary fiction
BooksGoSocial, Piping Plover Press
Pub Date 11 May 2021
five star - Inn on the Beach: Book Review

She's 54, broken-hearted, and starting over....

High-powered New York attorney Ava Flynn finds herself without a job or a future. Unemployable at her age, and broken-hearted by a husband who left her in the lurch, she desperately needs a Plan B. Her prayers are answered when a wealthy benefactor wills her a large house in the 'Sconset Beach area of Nantucket. She heads out to the picturesque New England island with her two best friends, Luna and Mila, going along for the ride.

One catch...her estranged daughter also lives there. Charlotte Killeen, Ava's daughter, is battling a crisis of her own. Her new husband, Matthew, wants a divorce, even though the couple have a newborn baby. Charlotte needs her mother more than ever, but the two have never seen eye to eye. Her marriage on the rocks and with few prospects for income, Charlotte is near the end of her rope. Then a life-threatening illness brings into focus what's important after all.

Ava's other daughter, Samantha, also lives on Nantucket Island, with her best friend and roommate, Grayson. Samantha suffers from a lack of direction in her life, and longs to meet a rich prince charming who will sweep her off her feet. When she meets the man of her dreams, she's leaving behind the one man who loves her unconditionally - Grayson.

Jackson, Ava's son, is an aspiring actor in Hollywood. Everything has always come easy to him, that is until Willow, Matthew's cousin, shows up. Free-spirited Willow is just the kind of girl to break Jackson's heart, which is difficult to do, as Jackson is always the heartbreaker.

And speaking of Willow...she's a feminist island witch and artist. She and Jackson have been through many, many lifetimes together. Yet, Willow wants nothing to do with Jackson in this lifetime. She has no desire to give up even an ounce of her power, not even for her soul mate. Willow also is hiding a devastating secret from Jackson. A secret that is guaranteed to upend his life for good.

Mila, Ava's best friend, is battling a devastating illness, information that she hasn't shared with Ava and Luna. She never wants to be a burden, so she just doesn't ask for help. But she's going to need all the support she can get. She finds this support in a very surprising place, and, in doing so, gets closer to her own destiny.

Ava busies herself with fixing up her beautiful new beach home, so that she can open up a bed and breakfast. Contractor Deacon Cromwell, whom Ava hires to do the renovation, is the man who might thaw Ava's cold heart, if only she'll let him. However, he's almost 20 years her junior and, Ava believes, out of her league. Can Ava overcome her insecurities and allow herself to love again?

In this feel-good beach read with a touch of magick, Ava and her friends and family will become your best friends. Come and share their joys and heartbreaks, their tragedies and triumphs. For fans of Susan Mallery, Jude Devereaux Nantucket Bride series and Elin Hilderbrand!

The rule of 3

3 friends 
3 women plus 1 as sisters 
Witches work with the rule of 3 and mainly females through the Moon goddess. Although she is night and there is a god  for day.
I found this an interesting book to read even though it takes up the theme of women past or during menopause which is common amongst fantasy writers st present.
The Inn came through the story as being a place of healing, whether emotional, psychological,  or physical. 
I enjoyed the book and intend to read the remainder of the series, and so was disappointed to discover that even though it says book2 is already published, i couldn't find if
As for the Shakespeare 'toil and bubble' explanation of the contents of the brew, I checked it out! And yes, Delaney is correct, most of these would the tricksy witch names for the ingredients. For 2 reasons. 1. To keep the contents of the potion secret; and 2. To make people fear them..
So eye of newt is black mustard seed, toe of frog is buttercup buds, wool of bat is holly, tongue of dog is houndstonhue, tooth of wolf is wolfsbane, adders fork is adderstongue herbs, lizards leg is breastweed , and owlets wing is henbane

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