What are you watching? book blitz

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?






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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.

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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?


“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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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.”


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.

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Is Mechanical good? Blitz

BeyondtheCogs - Is Mechanical good? Blitz Beyond the Cogs: A Steampunk Anthology
C. Vonzale Lewis, Elle Beaumont, Nicholas J. Evans
Adult, Steampunk
Midnight Tide Publishing
November 17th 2021

When a world is reimagined…

This anthology contains three impeccable steampunk stories. Ranging from the gritty tale of battling a creature who steals the souls of others, to dabbling in the taboo art of imbuing a human soul into an automaton, and even a man venturing back home only to discover he’s been demonized.

The Soulless Ones by C. Vonzale Lewis

The Rogue of Vangard by Nicholas J. Evans

Gossamer & Thorns by Elle Beaumont

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For those who love adventure in new worlds, gritty stories, and heart-wrenching tales, this collection is sure to resonate with you!

When a world is reimagined…⁣

⁣This anthology contains three impeccable steampunk stories. Ranging from the gritty tale of battling a creature who steals the souls of others, to dabbling in the taboo art of imbuing a human soul into an automaton, and even a man venturing back home only to discover he’s been demonized.⁣

Get started on Beyond the Cogs: A Steampunk Anthology today ➞

⁣⁣⁣#Bibliophile #Bookshelf #BookClub #Bookish #Booksy #BookNerd #BookWorm #Bookstagram #bookstagrammer #BookBlogger #BookQueen #BookLove #BookStack #GoodReads #BookShark #BookCommunity #ReadersOfInstagram #BookBabe #Reading #BookAesthetic #BookishPost⁣ #XpressoTours @XpressoTours

Excerpt – Gossamer & Thorns by @ellebeaumontbooks⁣

On arrival at the Nilssons’ home, Kris could already smell the fragrance of almond cake. It was his favorite dessert, and they always made certain he had plenty of it when he stayed for supper.

Halfway to the door, Emilie emerged onto the front porch and held her hand out. “I’ve been waiting for you.” She wore a pale-blue sleeveless dress with ruffles on the shoulders. It clung to her slender frame, which seemed frailer than usual. Kris didn’t want to dwell on it, but it was difficult to distract himself from the truth as it glared at him.

He bowed his head as he gently took her hand in his, then placed a tender kiss to her knuckles. “And here I am.” Pulling back, he scanned the windows for spying parents, and when he saw nothing, he scooped Emilie into his arms. He squeezed her gently and peppered kisses along her temple. “I’m famished, but after supper we need to talk.”

Emilie closed her eyes as Kris continued to kiss every inch of her face, but when his lips connected to hers, she stiffened, then relaxed in his arms. Her soft lips tasted of almond cake and herbal tea.

“Supper is ready,” she murmured against his lips and leaned in for another lingering kiss.

Kris shifted his jaw and sighed. “Very well.” His broad shoulders slumped as he took one slow step after the other.

Emilie laughed, tugging on his hand. “Come on.” She squeezed her fingers against his. “I’ve saved kisses for after dessert.” Glancing up at him through her lashes, she offered a teasing smile.

It was enough to twist his gut with desire. Kris longed to take her into his arms and claim every part of her as his own. To have her take his name, his body, as much as she took his heart.

“Damn good manners to the depths,” he proclaimed as he followed her into the house for supper.

* * *

By the time they’d finished eating, the sun had dipped below the mountains and the moon ascended to its throne amidst the velvet night sky. Stars twinkled like diamonds in light, mesmerizing Kris. Beside him on a blanket, Emilie leaned against him, staring up at the sky.

He dragged his knuckles down her cheek, then spread his fingers through her pale blond hair. The strands were like threads of moonlight against his skin—like gossamer. Just as his orchids were delicate, so was Emilie. And yet she was resilient despite what life threw at her.

“I spoke with my uncle.” Kris broke the silence. “He agreed to help find treatment. Sorensen Pharmaceuticals has a trial drug . . . ”

Emilie withdrew, twisting to face him. Instead of the elation he figured she might display, her brows furrowed in confusion. Almost as if she were displeased. “Kristoph, I don’t know.”

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The Rogue of Vangard by @nickevanswrites⁣

The battered bronze carapace of the rotary-cycle rattled dangerously under my feet.

Every bolt and screw shifted in loud clinks and clanks to let me know, in their own metallic language, that I would soon be an unrecognizable pile of goo on the distant street below.

“Come on, you pile of parts,” I shouted to no one at all, foregoing much more colorful terms. “Come on, Come on!”

My fingers tightened around the lift console. The vibration of the steam engine reverberated up the steering shaft and through my gloves, traveling upward further until my teeth clicked against each other rhythmically. I dared not look below, but I was not much for dares and decided to do it anyway only to find the ground racing toward me by the second. The rooftops were closing in around me like a prison, and I pulled the console in desperation for it to just push up a little higher. My heart beat thumped rougher and quicker until it was echoing into the chasm of my throat. I swallowed hard, inhaled even harder, and concentrated on the situation at hand.

Behind me, a posse consisting of a half dozen black rotary-cycles were closing in fast. Their riders hurled balls of rotating flame at me that whizzed by with enough ambient heat to nearly singe my facial hair. I quickly turned around and reached out toward them with an open palm, the brown glove on my hand made a hiss sound as several metallic coils and tubes released steam on the backside just below my knuckles. There, an orb sat in a translucent blue that faintly glowed in a glacial coolness, and each of the coils fed on that soft light in turn.

In my palm, a cone-shaped blast of spiraling ice forcefully spat outward and overtook three of the six assailants. The veins of frost spread rapidly over the front propellers and wings of their newer-model rotary-cycles before encroaching on the riders themselves.

They dropped to the ground in a three-pack of cold ones. Once hasty, humming machines now turned to silent blocks of ice that noiselessly plummeted until a loud thud echoed skyward. Violence was never my forte, yet if the moment called for it then I would answer tenfold. Still, I could not watch their meteoric fall to the cobbled streets, and I quickly turned back to the view in front of me. Their shouts a moment later told me that they had survived, luckily, and I left them in the wake of steam that puffed from the rotary-cycle exhaust.

“We need backup!” I heard one of my tag-alongs call out. “He’s got a Shiver Attunement!”

“Spread out around him!” Yet another joined in, this one had more of a bellowing tone like that of an opera vocalist. “Flank him from the sides! His junker of a cycle is going to drop at any time now!”

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Excerpt for The Soulless Ones by @carlavlewis⁣

The two-story French inspired building was painted white with pale yellow doors. Magnolias sat in a flower box underneath all the windows. The green awning over the door had a painting of a woman wearing a corset and a man with his jeans so low on his hips you could just make out the line of hair surrounding his manhood.

            I pulled open the doors and warm floral-tainted air rushed out. A fire blazed in the fireplace against the wall. Two old fashioned wood-trimmed couches sat across from one another, with a dark wood coffee table sitting in between. A single chair sat off to the side. Cozy.

A woman sat in the front room with a shotgun resting on her bare thighs. Long red hair pulled up into a bun with a few stray tendrils surrounding her face, she regarded us out of deep blue eyes. 

            “What’s your pleasure, darlin’?” she asked, her red-painted nails tapping lightly on the gun barrel.

            “You greet all your customers with that shotgun?” I asked as I eased my hand toward my own, just in case.

            The woman shifted her gaze to Pearl, assessing, then smiled, her whole face lighting up with the gesture. “Can’t be too careful right now.” She stood, giving us an unobstructed view of her black camisole and bare legs. “New Orleans isn’t too safe right now. Folks are packing up and leaving.” She leaned the gun against the chair and pulled her black, silk robe around her. “Figured I’d get a feel for the person coming through the door before I let them see my girls.”

            “You do seem to be the only business open,” I said.

            She nodded. “No amount of danger would ever stop a horny bastard seeking out some company.” She studied me for a minute. “Yet, you don’t look as if you’re pursuing a good time.”

            It was my turn to smile. I stepped forward. “No. Not looking for a good time. My name’s Parasol Daring.” I jerked my head toward Pearl. “This is my sister, Pearl.”

“Eliza Willow. Most folks call me Ella.” She looked at Pearl. “An automaton for a sister. Must be the best kind. My own sister cleaned me out and left when she was eighteen. If I ever see her again, I might put a bullet in her head.”

Pearl laughed. “Now you’re talking.” She extended her arm, showing off my failed attempts to make her look more like me. “My sister covered me in toxic paint when she was seven.”

“Why didn’t you remove it?” Ella asked.

“It helps when I tell people of the near brush with death at the hands of a deranged seven-year-old.”

I shook my head. Pearl loved telling that story.

Ella furrowed her brow. “Wait. Are you the late Bobby Daring’s granddaughter?”

I nodded.

She gave me a sympathetic look. “His death must have hit you hard.” She reached out and squeezed my hand. “He was a masterful inventor. The first deviser.” I smiled at that. He was the first to bring the machines back into the world. “The new man who took over is not half the genius your grandfather was.” She shook her head. “Sub-par automatons. It’s a good thing other folks have taken up the trade.” She frowned. “Although I imagine it’s hard seeing your grandfather’s work be reduced to trash.”

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To blend or not to blend: Book Review

blending 1 - To blend or not to blend: Book Review Blending In
#10 Magical Romantic Comedies with a Body Count
RJ Blain
‎ Pen & Page Publishing
(20 Nov. 2018)
four star - To blend or not to blend: Book Review

Thanks to a jealous divine, whenever Chase Butler comes anywhere near Miriah, she turns into a chameleon. While her hopes of having a happily ever with Mr. Right are dashed, she’s determined to have the next best thing: a perfect Christmas.

Finding a puppy for her son, dodging the unwanted attention of her divine fling of an ex, and keeping on top of a holiday charity drive for local pet shelters sure is complicated when prone to transforming into a twelve-inch lizard with a severe allergy to snowbanks.

Since blending in has gotten her nowhere fast, she’s going to have to pull out all the stops to get what she wants, even if it lands her on Santa’s naughty list.

Warning: This holiday story contains excessive humor, action, excitement, adventure, magic, romance, and bodies. Proceed with caution.

#10 in the Magical Romantic Comedies with a Body Count. Which series title more or less explains the plot. Yes, these books are funny, there are romances, there is magic, and usually at least one person or more dies. Mostly by foul means or fair.

This is an Xmas themed story but one that will cause many animal lovers to weep tears. It includes a puppy mill; a 3 legged cat; 3 puppies less than 4 weeks old with no mother; a beagle who has never lived out of a cage and a chameleon. The latter is the only ‘animal’ – who isn’t in need of care and attention – except she is in need of a romance, which she duly gets.

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Brothers and fraternities: Book Review

brotherhood - Brothers and fraternities: Book Review Brotherhood in Death
In Death #45
JD Robb
police procedurals, romantic suspense, women sleuths, sci-fi
Berkley Books
(2 Feb. 2016)
four star - Brothers and fraternities: Book Review

In this thrilling novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling In Death series, Lieutenant Eve Dallas finds herself in the middle of a conspiracy when she investigates the disappearance of a former U.S. Senator.

Just as Dennis Mira is about to confront his cousin Edward about selling the West Village brownstone that belonged to their grandfather, he gets a shock: Edward is in front of him, bruised and bloody...and then everything goes black.

When Dennis comes to, Edward is gone. Luckily Dennis's wife is a top profiler for the NYPSD--and a close colleague of Lieutenant Eve Dallas. Now Eve is determined to uncover the secrets of Edward Mira and learn what enemies he may have made in his long career as a lawyer, judge, and senator. A badge and a billionaire husband can get you access to places others can't go, and Eve intends to shine some light on the dirty deals and dark motives behind the disappearance of a powerful man, the family discord over a multimillion-dollar piece of real estate...and a new case that no one saw coming.

Someone doesn’t like American politicians – and can you blame them/ when some think they are rockstars chucking personal items into crowds and others want to pack the courts to favour their own personal prejudices. Hardly the type who might make laws to defend the under-dog.

And then in American universities especially the more prestigious ones, students will form clubs together that will help them in their future lives. Normally this is done through fraternities, but the Brotherhood in this story is something else and involves politicians. It is a very nasty club indeed that had awful impacts on those the men targeted as part of their club rituals.

Good solid writing as always.

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Messy bookshops and lives

Hot Mess
five star - Messy bookshops and lives

What a laugh! I’m going to guess that the author looked through MumsNet and the records of A&E hospital departments to come up with some fo the ideas of what little boys stick up their noses and in their ears. I guess little girls do that too but possibly (?) not quite so much. Though it was our daughter who had the slug farm!

This book contains a lot of my favourite things. A bookshop that has coffee and cakes; pets; kids and their funny antics; imagination!

So we have a working mum, kids in a small flat with no father and no outside space, living above her bookshop and often in her bookshop too. And …

bookshop - Messy bookshops and lives

A fun read and a reminder of the chaos that often comes with kids and only one parent who is trying to hold down a job…

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A Midlife Change: Book Blitz

Midlife Witch - A Midlife Change: Book Blitz Midlife Witch Unexpected
(Cougar Creek Coven, #1)
by Melle Amade
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Women’s Fiction
Publication date: November 23rd 2021

Middle-aged and starting over is the last thing I ever wanted on my bucket list. But since my husband announced he was gay and my daughter left for college, I don’t really have a choice.

If I’m going to get my “Happily Ever After” I have to start making new choices, starting with picking guys who like women rather than women’s makeup would be a good start.


I’m way past the point of caring what other people think. I’m 49, about to turn 50 and I’m pretty sure I’m entering the prime years of my life. It’s time to make my mark and do things the way I want to do them.

Like move.

I am sooooooo leaving the city that has sucked me dry with the commute and the executive position. There’s no way I’m doing that anymore. I have enough money from the divorce to buy a house, almost any house, outside of California. I take one suitcase and my jeep, and I leave town, not stopping until I get to Cougar Creek, which is so small I think it’s barely a town, but I’m all about it. This is where I will get my fresh start.

I inherited my Aunt’s home here years ago and never even visited, but the renters just moved out and I might as well make it my home.

For now.

But Cougar Creek has a lot more in store for me than I ever imagined. There is a load of eligible young men from the local ranches, a couple of new BFFs in similar situations, and a strange invitation to a local secret society who think I’m the new high priestess of their local coven. I didn’t stop laughing until I realized they wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. They have a massive problem in the cemetery and they expect me to solve it.

But I didn’t trade in one life of rules for another one, so if they want me to be high priestess, they’re going to have to accept that I make the rules.

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Middle-aged and starting over is the last thing I ever wanted on my bucket list. But since my husband announced he was gay and my daughter left for college, I don’t really have a choice.⁣

⁣ Midlife Witch Unexpected by @melleamade is book 1 in a new 6 part paranormal women’s fiction series, Cougar Creek Coven. And one to add to my collection of Midlife Witch stories!

MWU teaser1 1024x536 - A Midlife Change: Book Blitz


“That’s her?” A deep voice came from the front door.

“See anyone else around here, Branson?” Bianca swiveled away from me and spoke to the golden man who stood by the front door.

His laughter reverberated from his throat and all the way to my thighs. My eyes opened wide as I looked him over. Thankfully he was staring down at his phone, his golden eyes almost hidden by his blond locks falling forward over his tan skin. He wore a plaid red, white, and blue shirt with the sleeves rolled up. He was broad, lean, and muscular, and way too young for me.

“Who the heck is that?” I asked. 

“Your caretaker,” Bianca raised an eyebrow at me.

“My caretaker?” I asked.

“The caretaker of The Estate,” Bianca explained it slowly as if she was talking to an ignoramus, which at the moment I actually felt like.

“The Estate,” I repeated like a parrot. Then suddenly snapped out of it. “Aunt Emma’s estate! Okay! Got it.”

“Round here we all just call it The Estate,” Bianca said with a shrug.

“And that’s the caretaker?” I whispered to Bianca, my voice catching in my throat.

“Every last inch of him,” she nodded, stealing a covert glance at the tall, broad man who dwarfed the front office space of the Cougar Creek cop shop.

“Lord have mercy,” I said under my breath. 

Branson went straight to the sign-in sheet as if this wasn’t his first time here. But his handsome features scowled as he looked over at me. I stared back as he stepped across the sheriff’s office to tower above me, his arms folded over his chest.

“Well, that’s not intimidating at all.” I craned my neck to look up at him.

He started as if he hadn’t been aware of himself, took a step back, and unfolded his arms. “You’re Mae.” He stated the obvious. “I’m here to drive you home.” 

“That’s a long way to drive.” My mind suddenly thought of a long leisurely drive back to L.A. with my caretaker, Branson. 

“Pardon?” Branson looked at me a bit confused.

“Never mind.” I stood up turning to Bianca. “Do you need anything else from me tonight? It’s late and I’m exhausted. You are remanding me into Branson’s custody?”

“My custody? I’m just giving you a ride home.” Branson held up his hands in protest.

“Sheriff said you’re to verify who she is, take her home, and bring her back tomorrow to get her jeep,” Bianca confirmed for Branson.

I covertly looked him over thinking I wouldn’t mind being in his very good hands. But instantly my heart squeezed. Men weren’t safe; not at all. As I poured back through the years of lies, I realized there was probably not one single moment of truth in my relationship with my ex-gay husband. How was I ever going to trust any man ever again? Clearly, I was an idiot; a vulnerable, gullible idiot who believed anything anybody said to me.

“Are you sure he’s safe to take me to my house?” I asked Bianca.

“I have a police tracker on,” Branson wiggled his leg.

“Seriously?” I took a step back.

Bianca and Branson burst out laughing. “No not seriously,” Bianca said. “There’s only one person around here on the radar.”

“And it’s not me.” Branson pointed out. “Now come on. I’ve got a poker game waiting for me. Let me get you home and all tucked in.”

I looked over my shoulder at Bianca and we both did a slight giggle at his words, clearly thinking the same thing about being tucked in. It was a relief to feel an instant bond to this other middle-aged divorced woman, even though she’d never left this town. I guess that was nothing to hold against someone.

I shook my head as I trailed behind Branson to the door.

I wasn’t here to make friends. I wasn’t here to have romance. I was here to get some space, clear my head, and more than likely sell a house. My divorce was almost through and then I could start my new life. 

Branson held the door open for me. “I’ll take you home, boss, and have you delivered to your jeep in the morning.”

My stomach sank. That’s right. He was my employee. 

Well, of the estate, but as I was the sole owner of the estate, he was still my employee.

And a “no fraternizing with the staff” rule went without saying. There was no way to even have a little fling with Mr. Rock Solid Biceps. 

He was way off-limits.

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USA Today Bestselling Author. Farm Girl. Marketing Director.

Melle - A Midlife Change: Book Blitz

Since I was eight, I have been writing stories that capture the adventures in my head and the characters strong enough and flawed enough to have them. When I look at an empty field, I see a formidable citadel. When I meet a vulnerable old man, I greet an emeritus warrior. When I walk through city streets, I feel dimensions hiding around every turn. It has been my lifelong passion to explore these worlds that reveal the pain of loneliness, the joy or self-actualization, and the hope of magic.

I grew up in a place called Potter Valley where the Milky Way is held aloft by a circle of mountains and the central business district consists of a bait store and a saloon. At 19 I moved alone to London and spent the next ten years exploring the world, even becoming an Australian citizen, before I returned to California and found a new home in Los Angeles. My world revolves around my two wee children, storytelling, and my love of travel.

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