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And now the spirit flows…

The Christmas Spirit
Alexandrea Weis
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Published by: Rosewind Books
Publication date: October 27th 2020

SOMETIMES IT TAKES ONE BROKEN HEART TO HEAL ANOTHER.

Courtney Winston is a writer on a deadline. Eager to finish her book and get over a recent break-up, she ditches Christmas with her family and retreats to a secluded cabin in the mountains.

Appliances rarely work, and cell service is spotty, but Courtney senses there is more to her rustic rental—something dark and haunting.

Then Peter, the attractive Stone Mountain Lodge owner, and a meddling cook, Mrs. Finn, keep coming around, shattering her peace and offering advice on how to fix her heavy heart.

Courtney grows closer to Peter, but Mrs. Finn warns her of his troubled past. Undaunted, Courtney sets out to win him over. But being with the brooding stranger may end up costing her more than she ever imagined.

Alexandrea answers my question.

Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?

The Christmas Spirit came as a mixture of my agent telling me I needed to write a Christmas romance with snow in it, and my fascination with Christmas lore from around the world. I blended both concepts and came up with a modern woman, Courtney Winston, thrown into a world where witches and ghosts are real.

I am known for my dark characters and ghostly tales, and I did not stray too far from those themes in this adventure set in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee. What appealed to me about the story was bringing legends from Sweden and Germany and weaving them into a modern American tale. There are even Norwegian Forest cats, which were my favorite.

I wanted to give a fresh perspective of Christmas lore by incorporating some legends people may know about. The blending of so many Old-World ideas gave this romance its unique flavor. The added scary bits where dark forest creatures and supernatural elements play a part, provide an unexpected twist.

In my hometown of New Orleans, Christmas has always had a ghoulish edge, and I wanted to share that tradition in this book. Fortunately, I was able to find a lot of European legends with a darker and sinister feel to weave into this story. Many of the older Christmas myths usually involve children being eaten by some goblin or witch, like Halloween. It was that vibe I wanted to bring to The Christmas Spirit.

Our heroine is a rational and no-nonsense person, and sticking her in a forest where all is not what it seems intrigued me because of the offbeat characters and situations I could create. But the ghoulish creatures do more than set Courtney on edge; they teach her to appreciate her life, and no matter how heartbroken and down on her luck she may feel, life and love matter more than anything.

It was the lesson about never giving up on life that I wanted to impart with this story.

Like any good Christmas tale, Courtney should end the book a little wiser and a little more grateful than when she began. All the things she held dear, all the desires she wanted to achieve, didn’t matter. Only love of family and friends meant anything. And it will take a brief battle with spirits to teach Courtney a life lesson about the wishes we want versus the wishes we need.   


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alexandrea Weis, RN-CS, PhD, is a multi-award-winning author, screenwriter, advanced practice registered nurse, and historian who was born and raised in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Having grown up in the motion picture industry as the daughter of a director, she learned to tell stories from a different perspective. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her novels, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story moving and memorable.

Weis writes romance, mystery, suspense, thrillers, supernatural, and young adult fiction and has sold approximately one million books. She lives with her husband and pets in New Orleans where she is a permitted/certified wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries and rescues orphaned and injured animals.

She is a member of both the International Thriller Writers Association and the Horror Writers Association. 

www.AlexandreaWeis.com

GOODREADS

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Add a snowy cat please!

Snowball’s Christmas
Kristen McKanagh
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Published by: Kensington
Publication date: September 29th 2020

The Purrfect holiday awaits…

Snowball–an aptly named bundle of feline fluff–is thankful to be spending her first Christmas in the comfort of Weber Haus, the Victorian B&B run by Miss Tilly. Emily Diemer, who cooks for the guests, dotes on Snowball, but she’s not thrilled about another new arrival at the B&B: Miss Tilly’s nephew, Lukas. Which is odd, because Snowball’s animal instincts tell her that Lukas and Emily should definitely be friends.

Everything Emily needs is in this quaint community–including, she hopes, the chance to open her own bakery one day. She doesn’t think much of Lukas for leaving his aging aunt to struggle while he jets around the world taking photographs. But now that he’s here, helping to spruce up the property and getting mixed up in Snowball’s antics, she begins to soften a little. Until she learns what he has planned…

Lukas is going to sell Weber Haus so that Miss Tilly can retire. But Snowball is certain that this B&B, and these people, are supposed to be her forever home. Somehow she has to get these stubborn humans to see things through the wisdom of a cat’s eye and a kitten’s loyal, loving heart…

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/isbn9781496729910
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/snowball-s-christmas
Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Kristen_McKanagh_Snowball_s_Christmas?id=_SPFDwAAQBAJ

AUTHOR BIO:

Sweet contemporary and Amish romance author Kristen McKanagh grew up consuming books and exploring the world through her writing. She attempted to find a practical career by earning a degree in English Rhetoric (Technical Writing) and an MBA. However, she swiftly discovered that writing without imagination is not nearly as fun as writing with it. Kristen also writes award-winning steamy contemporary romance as Kadie Scott, and award-winning paranormal and YA fantasy romance as Abigail Owen. No matter the genre, she loves to write happily-ever-afters that shine with home, heart, and humor. Kristen currently resides in Austin, Texas, with her own swoon-worthy hero husband and their two children, who are growing up way too fast.


Author links:

https://kristenmckanagh.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Abigail.Owen.Books

https://www.instagram.com/kristenmckanagh/

https://abigailowen.us6.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=f775e71a59245b6625406807c&id=930c5db34d

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/kristen-mckanagh

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Alibis?

Fries and Alibis Book Cover Fries and Alibis
Mitzy Moon Mysteries #1
Trixie Silvertale
Fiction, Women Sleuths, Mystery
Sittin' On A Goldmine Productions LLC
October 20, 2019
292

A gift that's too good to be true. A murder she didn't commit. A barista in a latte trouble... Mitzy Moon believes she's an orphan, so she's dumbstruck when a special delivery to her low-rent apartment reveals a family. But her shock turns to awe when she discovers her grandmother left her a fortune and a bookshop of rare tomes brimming with magic. No sooner does she set foot in the quirky village of Pin Cherry Harbor to claim her inheritance, than the handsome sheriff catches her standing over a corpse. Desperate to prove her innocence, she's forced to accept help from her granny's entitled cat and a spirit from beyond the grave. Can Mitzy and her otherworldly helpers uncover the real killer before the long, sexy arm of the law hauls her to jail? Fries and Alibis is the first book in the hilarious paranormal cozy mystery series, Mitzy Moon Mysteries. If you like amateur sleuths, small town intrigue, and a dash of the supernatural, then you'll love Trixie Silvertale's twisty whodunit. Buy Fries and Alibis to serve up the guilty today! 

So here we have a an orphan with a gift from the grave - a magical bookshop and a cat.
As normal per me, I wondered what a pin cherry was as this was a tree /bush that was not familiar to me, and discovered that here in the UK we would call it a Bird Cherry - and if you want one for yourself, you would need to sow a seed - uncooked - because some people in the States, do eat these fruits.
And then our plucky heroine, having relocated to obtain her inheritance finds herself with a dead/murdered person, a hot sherriff and a cat - a Caracal who has apparently spent 17 years in captivity and calls himself Robin Goodfellow / Puck.
Caracal | San Diego Zoo Animals & Plants
The amazing thing about Caracals are their ears and the great tuft at the end. They are quite large cats if you want a domesticated one - around 12 kilos. Our Maine Coon is 8 kilos and believe me you feel it when he sits on your lap - he may get up to 12 kilos as he is still growing!
This is a Cosy Modern Mystery with a Female Sleuth and is the first of a series. It is funny and warm and a good light read.

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Breeding a champion

Guarding Cat Book Cover Guarding Cat
(The McKenna Curse Book 5)
by Patricia Rosemoor
Mystery & Thrillers, Romance
Dangerous Love Publishing
Pub Date 7 Jul 2020

Horse trainer Aidan McKenna has the ability to glimpse into the future. So when the dreams begin—searing, erotic dreams about his new partner, Cat Clarke—he knows the dangers of ever falling in love again. Aidan and the beautiful horse breeder had staked everything on their racing venture. But when Cat's missing stable manager turns up dead, it becomes clear they have more to lose than races. Aidan knows he has to find a way to defeat the curse to save the woman of his dreams.

Cat owns a horse breeding farm. Now I knew very little about this aspect of horses so I researched it. I found an article in the Horse magazine which was informative of how a large breeding facility operates.

What they are attempting to do is to provide a controlled environment for the breeding. Artificial insemination is not used, so they use live stallions for the breeding. It is a high cost business. As well as the controller- to keep track of ins and outs, there is the agronomist whose job it is to produce pastures that are both balanced in their nutrients and palatable to the horses. There are the vet and their technician, who take bloods, ultrasounds and check on the health and ovulation of the mares. Including palpating/ultrasounding mares for breeding soundness and estrous cycle timing; using that information to plan breedings; checking for pregnancies and problems; administering treatments; and monitoring stallion fertility. They also handle preventative care such as plasma administration for foals; deworming; vaccinations; and caring for sick animals; confirming ejaculation occurred; evaluating sperm motility via dismount semen samples after every breeding; and evaluating sperm morphology (physical shape).  Mares will undergo uterine bacterial culturing prior to the breeding season. This allows time to treat any infection present and avoids “wasted” breedings. Mares are also cultured if they don’t get pregnant on the first cycle; the samples are evaluated at the farm, as are foals’ immunoglobulin levels. Amazingly technical and complicated work to ensure a successful pregnancy that will produce a foal that can win races and then – if male – earn lots of dosh at stud.

Then there is the barn manager who looks after the mares and foals general care; and marketing – of the stallions and facilities available; plus someone for all the following roles: assistant controller; stallion administrator; certified public accountant; farm manager; seeding of pastures; projects coordinator; landscape architect; director of bloodstock services; insurance; sales coordinator; and transport.

So compared to all these staff we can see that Cat’s farm is very small ‘fry’.

This story is a romance with horses, mystery and suspense, and some murder thrown in for good luck. We are not privy to the police side of things, but we do have a horse whisperer from Ireland, who also has second sight, who needs to get his colt to race and win well so that he can be used for stud – at exorbitant charges.

 Quite an insight into also just how many staff there are at a race course to look after the horses all of whom have a separate job – grooming; stall work; walking a ‘hot’ horse after racing; riding a horse to train him and so on. No wonder it costs so much to race horses! And to buy a Thoroughbred horse.

All the English classics are for three-year-olds, and are designed to establish which horses are the best of that generation, so they can then be bred from. As breeding has become more commercialised, with powerful studs such as Darley and the mighty Coolmore in Ireland, so racing has in some respects become secondary, a means to the end of producing commercial stallions. According to the Guardian newspaper, 2009 :

A really good stud could impregnate least 100 mares a year; the owner of each mare is likely to pay around £75,000 for the privilege; he thus stands to make at least £7.5m a year. He could cover 400 mares if the owners wanted to work him really hard.  And this happens for around 20 years!

Sea and Sand earned  $250,000 per mare! – or pregnancy in 2009. This is Uncle Mo- in 2017: The champion American juvenile of 2010, he has established himself as the dominant stallion of his generation.

His first two-year-olds earned $3,675,294 in 2015, a record figure for a North American first-crop sire that eclipsed the previous benchmark of $2.8 million set by Tapit in 2009. 

The most expensive stud – Galileo – in 2008 was reputed to earn over $600,000 per pregnancy!

So 4 stars for learning about thoroughbreds..

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Hidden where?

All That’s Hidden Book Cover All That’s Hidden
(Sugar Shack, #2)
Susan Golden
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Humour
Susan M. Golden
August 12th 2019

Pet sitter turned entrepreneur, Jennifer Albright thinks she has it all: an expanding business, a new, blissful marriage to a very sexy husband, a dog named Rupert that people frequently think is a bear, and a parrot named Sugar that Jennifer’s pretty sure is psychic. But her idyllic life begins to unravel when a series of creepy incidents threatens to sabotage the launch of her doggie day care center, and the discovery of a hidden treasure thrusts her into the world of federal agents and international thievery. The chaos soon spills over onto her home life and Jennifer reluctantly begins to suspect that her seemingly perfect, unbelievably supportive husband is hiding something from her. There’s just so much that doesn’t add up. Tech-mogul Ryan has found the love of his life in his adorable new bride, Jennifer. But trouble seems to follow her like a basset hound. When one strange twist of events offers Ryan an opportunity he feels he can’t pass up, he unknowingly launches himself down the road of suspicion and mistrust. But he’s got this covered. She doesn’t suspect a thing.

Review

I loved this story – so much that I went back and read book 1 in the Sugar shack series too.

I especially liked in book 1 ‘Fate’. Fate who spun her top, or got dressed up to suit the occasion. And finding out how Simon was first introduced to Jennifer and Ryan was a gas. [Book 1 is called Catnapped]

There is gentle humour and lots of shaggy dog stories here.

So we have Rufus: and of course the Cockatoo Sugar as prime characters in both books as well as John for security and more. We have a really intelligent in an engineering way guy in Ryan and a somewhat flaky woman in Jennifer. Not that she isn’t bright but… They are fated to be together and these series see them get into scrapes together – see marriage – and then find interesting and novel ways out – see garbage trucks, sewers and 3 D printers. Not to mention Jennifer imitating scoundrels – quite poorly.

A very affectionate bird it can live upto 70 years in captivity and forms a strong bond with its owner. it grows to around 21 inches or slightly more and can be destructive if bored, as well as loud. Known to ‘dance’ to a beat/
originally used as a working dog to pull nets for fishermen and haul wood from the forest. He is a capable and hardworking dog, well suited to work on land or water. He is a strong swimmer and equally strong “pack horse.” Sweet-natured and responsive, he makes a wonderful family companion as well. Some 100-150 pounds and over 2 foot tall, but dislikes being alone.

AUTHOR BIO

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Retired federal government employee turned accidental author. 

https://susangoldenauthor.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Susan-Golden-Books-1849620365326979/

https://twitter.com/susangoldenbook

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