The Haunting of Chatham Hollow #NewRelease @MaeClair1 @stacitroilo

I am thrilled to share with you one of the most exciting books to be released this year, and from two of my favorite authors, Mae Clair and Staci Troilo! Take a look!

Purchase Link

Jan, thank you so much for hosting me today. I’m delighted to be here with you and your readers to share The Haunting of Chatham Hollow. I co-authored this novel with Staci Troilo, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It was amazing to work with a co-author, especially someone as talented as Staci. She and I found we work great together, so who knows—maybe another down the road.

For now, we hope others will enjoy our supernatural mystery, which includes dual timelines, ghostly happenings, a town curse, murder, and rumors of buried gold.  

During our short promo tour, you’ll meet several characters who populate the book. To kick things off, I’d like to introduce Aaron Brock, the editor of the Chatham Hollow Chronicle in 1888, the “past” timeline. Spiritualism is a key thread in the book, so Staci and I thought we’d have each character sit down with a medium as a way of introduction.

Let’s listen in.

SPIRITUALIST: I’m surprised you agreed to a reading, Mr. Brock. My understanding is that you’re a skeptic when it comes to anything of a supernatural nature.

AARON BROCK (settling back in his chair and hooking one ankle over his knee): As an editor, I have to maintain impartiality regardless of personal feelings. Any article I write is based on fact.

SPIRITUALIST: Interesting. But you do have opinions, and from what I understand, they’re not favorable. At least not regarding Benedict Fletcher.

AARON BROCK (parts with a snort): Fletcher’s a charlatan. I might not say it in the Chronicle

SPIRITUALIST: But you did. Or at least came close to labeling him one after that debacle he pulled with Ward Chatham.

AARON BROCK:  The séance? Fletcher bit off more than he could chew. He should be thankful Victor Rowe was there to clean up his mess.

SPIRITUALIST: Ah, the competition.

AARON BROCK:  I suppose you could phrase it that way.

SPIRITUALIST: They are rival mediums, correct?

Aaron shrugs.

SPIRITUALIST: Isn’t Victor Rowe a friend of yours?

AARON BROCK:  Aren’t you supposed to do some kind of reading? Isn’t that why I’m here?

SPIRITUALIST: Nicely evaded, Mr. Brock. What I “read” is that you respect Rowe despite his profession as a spiritualist. Despite the fact you profess to be an unbeliever.

AARON BROCK: Rowe isn’t the con man Fletcher is.

SPIRITUALIST: Con man? The women of Chatham Hollow seem to favor Fletcher. I understand he’s regularly engaged with readings or spirit circles—all by invitation.

AARON BROCK: Of course, the women like him! The man’s a peacock. A popinjay. He knows exactly what to say to achieve his ends. But that gift of flattery didn’t help him at the Founder’s Day séance.

SPIRITUALIST: Do tell. All I have is your newspaper account of what happened. I’d like to know more about what took place.

AARON BROCK: Don’t you have a crystal ball?

SPIRITUALIST: I’ll ignore the sarcasm in your voice, Mr. Brock. I’m sure it wasn’t intentional.

AARON BROCK:  Regardless—if you want details, you’ll have to pick up the book.

SPIRITUALIST: (knits brows):  Book?

AARON BROCK: The Haunting of Chatham Hollow. Now, if you’ll excuse me—or not—we’ll skip the reading. This discussion has already taken more time than I can spare.

SPIRITUALIST: You have nothing more to say?

AARON BROCK:  Only that if you really are gifted in communicating with the dead, you might try solving the mystery that has plagued Chatham Hollow for over a century.

SPIRITUALIST: And what is that?

AARON BROCK: Find out where Ward Chatham buried his gold.

____________

PURCHASE LINK

 BLURB:
One founding father.
One deathbed curse.
A town haunted for generations.

Ward Chatham, founder of Chatham Hollow, is infamous for two things—hidden treasure and a curse upon anyone bold enough to seek it. Since his passing in 1793, no one has discovered his riches, though his legend has only grown stronger.

In 1888, charlatan Benedict Fletcher holds a séance to determine the location of Chatham’s fortune. It’s all a hoax so he can search for the gold, but he doesn’t count on two things—Victor Rowe, a true spiritualist who sees through his ruse, and Chatham’s ghost wreaking havoc on the town.

More than a century later, the citizens of the Hollow gather for the annual Founder’s Day celebration. A paranormal research team intends to film a special at Chatham Manor, where the original séance will be reenacted. Reporter and skeptic Aiden Hale resents being assigned the story, but even he can’t deny the sudden outbreak of strange happenings. When he sets out to discover who or what is threatening the Hollow—supernatural or not— his investigation uncovers decades-old conflicts, bitter rivalries, and ruthless murders.

This time, solving the mystery isn’t about meeting his deadline. It’s about not ending up dead.

Thanks again for hosting me today, Jan. It was a pleasure to drop by—along with my unnamed spiritualist and Aaron Brock. (Please excuse Aaron. He can be a bit prickly now and again). I invite your readers to pick up a copy of The Haunting of Chatham Hollow at the link below. Staci and I both appreciate the support and wish everyone happy reading!

PURCHASE LINK

Connect with Mae Clair at BOOKBUB and the following haunts:

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Website | Blog| Twitter| Goodreads| All Social Media

Connect with Staci Troilo at the following haunts:

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Amazon ​| BookBub ​| Goodreads

August #BookReviews – @DWallacePeach @TPolen6 @StaciTroilo @JillWeatherholt

I read some AMAZING books in August, aside from the ones I’ve already posted through Lone Star Literary Blogging and NetGalley. I’m excited to share these additional reviews with you!

Created in Canva
Purchase Link

MY REVIEW:

This story gripped me from page one. A Necromancer is summoned by the King of Verdane. His beloved wife is dying in childbirth. Barus, with a severely crippled, bent, and gnarled body, is the Necromancer. He overhears the queen begging the king to save the life of the child and let her go. But in his grief, the king cannot make that choice, so both mother and child die. But Barus has already fallen in love with the beautiful child, and in the midst of the chaos surrounding the queen’s death, he steals the baby’s lifeless body, takes her to his thatched hut, and through the use of his knowledge and abilities, returns the child’s life. Never was a little girl loved more than Aster. Barus teaches her the healing art, and she grows into a beautiful and happy young woman who can communicate with dragons. So, when the king eventually comes to claim his only heir, things begin a slippery and deadly downhill slide.

Stephen Spielberg once gave writing advice to authors, telling them to put their characters up a tree and throw rocks at them. This author, D. Wallace Peach, did that in spades in this story. The unimaginable torture and hardships Aster went through were enough to have me biting my fingernails and holding my breath.

Captured and placed in a cage to freeze to death overnight, it appears all is lost. That is until young Jareh decides to disobey his powerful father and help her escape. The journey that one single action took them on was long, cold, and treacherous.

I won’t spoil the story by giving away too much. I’ll just say I was mesmerized as it all unfolded, leaving me gasping for breath more than once.

If you are a fan of epic fantasy that includes herbal healing, magic, dragons, corruption, and greed, you are sure to love this book! I highly recommend it!

 

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

This YA Dystopian book gripped me from the beginning to the end. As a young boy, Asher Solomon has to run with his two sisters to escape being taken by The Colony soldiers. At first, he is sure it’s only a drill. After all, their father has insisted they be prepared for the one unavoidable time it would be real. And that time arrives at the start of the story. But when Asher’s sister is injured while escaping, he’s forced to leave them in a cave, promising to return for them.


The world-building in this story is phenomenal. The author did a fabulous job of creating believable characters in nail-biting situations of survival. Oh, and they are all teenagers.


The Colony has figured out a way to harvest highly sought-after, desirable genes from children in order to create a perfect society of beautiful people free of all disease. Of course, that kind of perfection comes at a price. The price of human life.


Children, referred to as outliers, are ripped from their families and taken to harvesting centers.
Asher joins a group of teenagers, Insurgents, whose mission is to rescue these children.
While Asher and his group may be young, they are wise and capable way beyond their years. There are a lot of characters in this story, but besides Asher, I loved Noah, Brynn, and Paige. They are the backbone and strength of the Insurgents.


But there are secrets. And when they are revealed, change everything Asher ever believed about his parents and his life, and have the potential to destroy everyone he loves.
This story concludes with somewhat of a happy ending mixed with a cliffhanger. I could see this entire story unfold as a movie and would be thrilled for the author if it were to be developed as a major film. If you are a fan of gripping dystopian stories where survival is tenuous, you will love this book.

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

This is a book that is so real, you can imagine Vanessa and Royce Keller being your next-door neighbors. Royce Keller is an esteemed doctor. Vanessa spends her time helping raise money for charities. Then there are three children, all teenagers.


Somewhere along the way to building a busy, successful medical career as Chief of Emergency Medicine, Dr. Keller lost touch with his wife and children. That is until tragedy strikes.

When his teenage daughter, Hope, is brought into the emergency room, a victim of a motorcycle accident, he doesn’t recognize her. He goes against all medical protocol by treating her and then, in a frantic attempt to save her waning life, gives a blood transfusion directly from his vein to hers. After all, she is his daughter, and their blood should be a match. The result is Hope’s death. The reason—severe trauma wounds and a blood mismatch. The first of many secrets is revealed. Hope is not his child.


And that’s just where the story starts.

The family undergoes such an emotional rollercoaster from the first page of this book until the end. It is a character-driven story, and those are my favorites. While, at times, I wanted to shake both Royce and Vanessa, what they went through on their journey to redemption is relatable and believable. The two remaining children were often stronger than their parents as layer after layer of trust had to be rebuilt.

And did you know it is possible for twins to have different fathers? I didn’t until I read this book. It is called heteropaternal superfecundation.

This is family drama at its best. If you are a fan of deep psychological wounds, healing, and acceptance, you will enjoy this story as much as I did! I highly recommend it!

 

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

I received this book as a gift and found it to be a refreshingly light read. Several things appealed to me, such as the small town setting where everyone knows everyone, a single dad raising a little girl, who is also a paramedic and dashingly handsome, and a big city lawyer who has given up on love and God.
Faith is woven throughout the story, but it’s done in a tasteful way so that it doesn’t come across as preachy.
One of my favorite characters in the story is Rebecca, a precocious little girl who adores her father. While the plot and storyline are predictable, I enjoyed the light-hearted read, and it left me feeling hopeful. I am a sucker for a happy ending. Especially one where all the characters come out winners. This author writes from the heart, and that is obvious in this story. If you love Christian-based clean, and wholesome romances, you’ll enjoy this book.

Books I loved! March #BookReviews @stacitroilo @virgilante @hmkindt @wendyjaynescott @LBroday

March was a super busy month for me, but I still managed to read some GREAT books!

Created in Canva
PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

This is the third installment in the Keystone Couple novellas and it was great to see some of the characters from the first two books make cameos, especially Rick and Romy.
Elena is a wedding planner. She lives on her family’s vineyard in a huge house that fits all of them. And while her job is to help happy couples unite in marriage, she is closed off as far as any future love for herself. The author cleverly threw in just enough backstory to understand Elena’s cynicism that stems back to her high school days ten years ago. Aaron is a policeman and is Rick, Elena’s cousin’s, best friend. He’s always wanted to date Elena, but after the high school fiasco, never had the nerve. Instead, he settled for a narcissistic self-centered woman I enjoyed loathing. The minute Heather shows up in the story, I wanted to slug her. Unfortunately, Elena did, which ended up with her in Aaron’s handcuffs.
My favorite part of the story was how the author showed Elena’s big heart with a more than generous gift to Aaron’s sister who is suffering her own tragedy. With so many obstacles standing in their way, it looked impossible that Aaron and Elena would ever get together. This is a great romance and a short read and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes humor, tragedy and some despicable characters all rolled into one story.

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

Anytime I pick up a book from C.S. Boyack, I know I am in for a treat. This book did not disappoint. Book #5 in The Hat series is different. Lizzie and The Hat are on a unique sort of quest, one that involves hunting a human killer instead of zombies, ghouls, or even werewolves. A coven of witches is in danger. One has already been killed and no one is safe. They hire Lizzie and The Hat to find the killer.
The story takes several unexpected turns. It was good to see the regular band members from Lizzie and The Pythons. And I enjoyed the relevant path the band took to get more exposure. It’s true to life. Every band needs a promo video and let’s not forget T-shirts to sell. I’d like to have one of those T-shirts. (hint, hint, Boyack)
I loved the new characters Boyack introduced. Cyrus, Dash, and Destiny all added so much to the story and I absolutely loved the witchcraft part of the story. I’d be remiss not to mention the “creatures” that come into this story. Noodles is straight-out fantasy, and even though his physical appearance is frightening, he has a heart of gold like any devoted pet. I had never heard of Bog Trogs or ambergris. Those were new to me.
Another thing I love is Boyack’s easy way of slipping in things from previous books, like this: “The little black fox trotted past revelers dressed as a cluster of root monsters…” And this, when Cyrus is giving Dash a journal: “This one is an Experimental Notebook…”
Anyone familiar with Boyack’s previous works will recognize these clever insertions.
The magic is over the top in this book. I won’t leave any spoilers, but let’s just say I was on the edge of my seat a couple of times. Fantasy, Magic, Adventure, Excitement…all words I would use to describe this latest book from Boyack. I highly recommend it!

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

This book is a spinoff from the Eternal Artifacts series and I absolutely loved it. It is YA fantasy at its best!
The story begins with Catron and her father, who is a glassblower. Catron is his helper but has dreams of something better, something more exciting and adventurous than glassblowing. So, when Dawkins, a member of King Mo’s elite guard, shows up with claims that Catron has been chosen to learn at the Vradian Academy, she has mixed emotions of excitement and fear, as well as sadness about leaving her father.
From the start, I fell in love with this character. As other characters arrive in the story, also students of the academy, we start to see relationships form and bonds built. It seems that none of them chose to attend the academy. Through various circumstances, it was forced. This almost immediately gives all of them a common bond. And when lives are threatened, they are able to work together using their individual talents.
This author does a fantastic job of writing from a teenager’s point of view. The thoughts, words, and actions are believable and well portrayed throughout the story.
If you love a story with tons of adventure, magic, and teenage drama, this is a book you will love. And it is not limited to the YA category. Without any doubt, adults would enjoy this escape into fantasy as well. I highly recommend it!

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

This book wraps up the unforgettable Lone Star Ranch stories. Crockett Legend fell in love with Paisley Malone when they were just kids. But a family feud tore them apart and to add salt to the wound, Crockett, who is now a judge, had sentenced Paisley’s brother to prison for crimes he’d committed. Then the brother died. There is no way they will ever be able to get past the bitterness. Or is there?
Only Linda Broday could craft a story so compelling out of such broken pieces. Evil abounds in this story. Hatred and spite take center stage.
Love is a powerful healer, though and a healer, Paisley is. When the Lone Star Ranch needs a nurse to tend to injured and sick, it’s the perfect way for Crockett to keep Paisley safe, and to work on trying to mend their fences.
Add in a hilarious talking parrot and you’ve got quite a complex and intriguing story. I love the way Broday works the characters through all obstacles. When any happy outcome seems impossible, she finds a way to bring back together what is shattered. A great historical western romance that I highly recommend. It is the perfect wrap-up to the Lone Star series and while I shed a few tears at some of the events, I closed the book with a happy heart.

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

This book contains 31 different writing prompts based on mythical creatures such as unicorns and mermaids. Each prompt is designed to spark the imagination of a child (or adult) who is wanting to write a fantasy story. The colorful illustrations are a delight and lend to the prompt suggestions. For example, one prompt asks the budding author to describe where dragons live while another gives a what-if scenario. What if you are gifted a magical pair of ballerina slippers that transforms you into a dancing fairy, but you mix them up with your regular shoes. If you have a budding author in your family, this book of prompts is the perfect gift. My granddaughter who loves to read and to write will be getting this book for her birthday this year.

That’s it from me. I hope you saw something here that piqued your interest!

First Cookie Exchange with @Stacitroilo #ChristmasCookies #Baking #Christmas2021

I am so excited that I can participate in Staci Troilo’s first cookie exchange blog group! Thank you, Staci for launching this idea!

It was so much fun getting together with two local authors, Rox Burkey and Judy Lowe, last Sunday and baking cookies.

My contribution was a Snickerdoodle reimagined!

Here’s my recipe for Pecan Snickerdoodles:

  • 3 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp Cream of Tartar
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter (softened to room temperature)
  • 1 and 1/3 cups of Granulated Sugar
  • 1 large Egg AND 1 large Egg Yolk (room temperature)
  • 2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

TOPPING:

  • 1/3 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • Candied Pecans (I used Trader Joe’s)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper or use silicone baking mats.

Make topping and set aside – mix cinnamon and sugar together. The candied pecans are pressed into the soft cookie as soon as they are removed from the oven.

Make the cookie dough. Whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, mix butter and granulated sugar together using your mixer’s high-speed setting until creamy and smooth (about 2 minutes). Add egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract. Beat on medium-high speed until combined. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a spatula as needed. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients in three different parts. Fold in chopped pecans. The dough will be thick and I wound up using my hands to mix in the pecans.

Roll cookie dough into balls (about 1.5 Tablespoons of cookie dough each). Roll the dough balls in the cinnamon-sugar topping.

Arrange 3″ apart on the baking sheets.

Bake cookies for ten minutes. They will be puffy and soft. While they are still warm, press a candied pecan into the center of each cookie.

Allow to cool on the baking sheet for at least ten minutes before transferring them to wire racks.

These are super yummy and a little different from the ordinary Snickerdoodle!

Mountain Laurel Christmas On Tour – Day 5! #ShortStory #Christmas #FamilyDrama #Music

Climb in the wagon with me. We’re off to another stop on this short tour!

Our next stop is at Staci Troilo’s place in Pennsylvania, USA!

Staci is not only a prolific award-winning author, but also an award-winning recipe developer. And she is a fellow Story Empire contributor. She has a Master’s Degree in professional writing and I am in awe of her expertise. She has written everything from short stories to lengthy series, from sci-fi to romance, and each piece reflects her diversity.

Her most recent release is a short story romance that I absolutely adored! It is Book 1 in the Keystone Couples Series. I loved the humor and realism in this story. The characters are relatable as are the situations.

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

In this short story, Piper has been fired from yet another job. And on top of being fired, she lost her good luck charm, a dried red chrysanthemum. Now she’s sure her luck is forever going to be bad. She returns to her father’s home early for the Christmas holidays and immediately bumps into an old crush from high school. And she struggles to form words, which is ironic considering she writes words for a living. But Tommy Burnett affects her that way. He’s handsome, a great catch, and everything she’s dreamed of. I won’t give any spoilers here, but Jack Rhodes, her best friend since grade school is her steady influence. When she needs help, he’s always there and never asks for anything in return. I love how Piper grew in the pages of this short read. Sometimes the obvious is right under our noses and we fail to see it. This is an entertaining holiday read that is short and sweet with a satisfying ending. The writing is flawless and I highly recommend it.

For more from Staci Troilo, click HERE!

Grab a book or two from this talented author, then head on over to the blog tour.

Leave a comment, share, and enter to win my Blog Tour Giveaway!

Staci Troilo’s Blog Tour Stop

No Such Luck – #NewRelease @StaciTroilo #romance #novella

I am thrilled to host an author I admire greatly, and who is a fellow member of the Story Empire group, Staci Troilo! AND she has a brand new release. I’ll let her tell you about it!

I appreciate you having me here today, Jan. Hi, everyone. Thank you for chatting with me about my new release, No Such Luck. It’s a fast and fun clean romance just in time for the holiday season.

Piper Seidel is a master contortionist. Not really. But she feels like one because every time her long-time crush is around, she manages to shove her foot in her mouth. She’s convinced it’s a combination of bad luck and because he’s constantly taking her by surprise. Nothing she can do about her poor fortune, but she can primp and prepare for an encounter with Tommy. This excerpt shows Piper (hopefully) at her best.


She finally had the opportunity to dress appropriately in front of Tommy—black leggings and a long red v-neck sweater—and she styled her hair and applied makeup. That evening, while Frank and Pam decorated the world’s most perfect tree, Piper sipped her eggnog and waited for Tommy to stop in before he left.

She wasn’t disappointed.

He did a double-take, then kept his gaze on her while he spoke to her dad.

“We’re all done, sir. Unless there’s anything else you need from us.”

“How about Pam and I go check it out, then we’ll let you know?”

“Sounds good. I’ll just stay here with Piper while you go over our work.”

When her dad and Pam left the room, Piper finally had her chance. And she didn’t have a clue what to do with it. “Eggnog?”

Really? Eggnog? That was her big move?

“Sure.”

Piper walked over to the punchbowl, then poured him a glass. As she handed it to him, she prayed he didn’t notice her hands tremble. When his fingers brushed hers, her face flushed, so she turned her attention to filling her own cup.

“Where’ve you been for the last few years, Piper?”

“Seven.”

“Hmm?”

“Seven. I’ve been gone seven years. Eleven if you count college.”

“Oh. Has it been that long?”


Even with her hair styled and makeup done, Piper couldn’t quite pry her foot out of her mouth. The question is whether she can land a date with him despite her awkwardness. At least if she fails, she can blame it on her bad luck.

I hope you enjoyed that quick sneak peek. No Such Luck, the first installment of the Keystone Couples series, is available now on Amazon.

Blurb:

Seeds of luck usually wither. The rare one grows and blooms.

Piper Seidel has one thing going for her—a red carnation given to her by Tommy Burnett in the tenth grade. It might have dried over the years, but it’s still her good luck charm. Losing it sets her life in a downward spiral, forcing her to return to her hometown where she comes face to face with her high school crush.

The years have been kind to Tommy, who looks better than ever. Unfortunately, Piper is at her worst, continually embarrassing herself whenever he’s around. The only plus? Her long-time friend, Jack Rhodes, still lives in town. Since she last saw him, his legs have grown longer, his biceps thicker, and his shoulders broader. He was always the brother she never had, but now she can’t help noticing him in an unsisterly way. Jack is every bit as caring as he’s ever been—until her bad luck drives him away, maybe forever.

Piper needs a new good luck charm, and fast, before she loses her final chance at happiness.

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09J31935Z?

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May #BookReviews Part 2 – @stacitroilo @m_morganauthor @ErskineCaldwell

This is Part 2 of my May Book Reviews and I am thrilled to share my thoughts on these three books with you!

Life in the Colorado mountains isn’t easy for immigrants Anita and Ottavio Notaro, particularly when they’re isolated on a hillside and barely speak the language. Anita is carrying their first child, and Tav works many long, hard hours away from home. This isn’t the American dream they were promised; this is a brutal life on the frontier. Tav has been saving money to make their lives easier, and he stumbles on a windfall. The only problem is, he isn’t the only one who knows about it. Trouble befalls these two humble Italians, threatening their livelihoods—and their lives.

A strange posse made up of fellow countrymen ride to their rescue. But will they get there in time?

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:


This short story sets the stage to begin the Medici Protectorate Series and after reading this introduction, I will be reading the rest of this series. The story gripped me from the first word on the first page to the last. A young Italian couple living on the rugged frontier in the Colorado mountains is struggling to survive. Ottavio and Anita Notaro have one dream and that is to return to their beloved homeland. Anita is heavy with their first child. Ottavio works hard and when he finds a treasure that will pay for their trip back home, he is overjoyed. But he isn’t the only one who knows about the treasure. The tragedy that befalls Anita and Tav is heartbreaking. This story is written in rich narrative, heavily descriptive, and filled with emotion that drips off the pages. It includes folklore, history, and even a touch of mysticism. I am anxious to dive into book one of the Medici Protectorate Series to see what happens next!

Known as the Barbarian, Magnar MacAlpin is a fierce ruler for those under his command. As leader of the Wolves of Clan Sutherland, his loyalty and obedience lies with Scotland. However, the king’s last demand is not something Magnar will tolerate.

After Elspeth Gunn’s brother the Chieftain of Castle Steinn is murdered, she flees with her nephew, and finds safety amongst a band of men who are rumored to be part wolf. When the king forces her to wed a heathen Northman, she fears losing her heart and soul not only to the man, but the beast as well.

In order to restore peace to a shattered clan, Magnar and Elspeth travel a treacherous path that challenges their beliefs. When evil seeks to destroy ancient traditions, will Magnar be compelled to restrain his wolf or allow him free to protect those he loves?

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:


This is the first book in the Wolves of the Clan Sutherland series. Set in Scotland in 1206, this story combines history, magic, folklore, and myth with reality. Magnar is the powerful and undisputed leader of the Sutherland Wolf Clan. All members of the clan are part man, part wolf but their power is in controlling the beast that resides within. They are fierce warriors and loyal to King William of Scotland. It would take a special kind of woman to win Magnar’s heart, to love both him and the wolf, and that woman is Elspeth. When her brother, Chieftan of Steinn castle, is murdered by heathen Northmen, she escapes taking her small nephew with her. Little Erik is now Chieftan by default, at the age of 7. Starving, she steals bags from two horses, never suspecting she has stolen from the king. When she and the young chieftain are brought before King William, he offers shelter and protection. He then commissions Magnar and his clan to go and rid the castle of the marauders. But to bring peace to the clans, the King orders Magnar to marry Elspeth. What starts out as a cautious and untrusting marriage soon turns steamy. This is a fantastic story with layers of side plots, including a twin brother unknown to Magnar. The two are destined to clash. This author did a fantastic job of weaving all of the layers together seamlessly and depicting the time period perfectly. I devoured the book and am now anxious for book 2, Rorik. If you love a steamy romance from that time period in the setting of Scotland and the Orkney Islands, this book is for you! If I could give it more than five stars, I would!

Single father and poor Southern farmer Ty Ty Walden has a plan to save his farm and his family: He will tear his fields apart until he finds gold. While Ty Ty obsesses over his fool’s quest, his sons and daughters search in vain for their own dreams of instant happiness—whether from money, violence, or sex. God’s Little Acre is a classic dark comedy, a satire that lampoons a broken South while holding a light to the toll that poverty takes on the hopes and dreams of the poor themselves. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Erskine Caldwell including rare photos and never-before-seen documents courtesy of the Dartmouth College Library.

KINDLE PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

I have always been a huge fan of Erskine Caldwell’s writing and lucked out recently in finding several of his books in a half-price book store in Dallas. I bought all of them and am now rereading them. I started with “God’s Little Acre.” This book was first published in 1933 and there is no way on earth this book would be published in today’s social climate. Erskine depicts poverty, attitudes, and social separations perfectly in this story. It opens with Ty Ty Walden digging deep holes all over his small Georgia farm. He is convinced there is gold under the ground. Two of his sons help him daily with the digging while sharecroppers make a half-hearted attempt to farm the land that isn’t riddled with holes. Because Ty Ty is a god-fearing man, he has designated one acre of his farm as God’s little acre with all profits realized from that acre to be donated to the church. However, when he thinks he is close to finding gold on that acre, he moves it. 🙂 Caldwell had such a distinct style of writing. The dialogue is original and true to the times and demographics of the story. Phrases such as “and that’s a fact,” follow many conversations. The loose morals of the women in this story are depicted in such a way that is believable but not offensive (at least to me.) As the story unfolds, there are two major plots. The first being gold fever and the second being a different life that depends on the cotton gin running to survive. When the big wigs shut down the gin to starve out the workers, Ty Ty’s son-in-law takes the matter into his hands, determined to push past the guards, turn the power back on and return his people to work. It doesn’t end well for him. This book could possibly be classified as a tragedy, or perhaps as a high-drama, but at best it is the work of an author who dared to blur the lines and be boldly “real.” Caldwell’s greatest strength is in portraying three-dimensional characters and what motivates each. He writes from multiple points of view (a no-no in today’s literary world.) It is a classic no-holds-barred novel. If you have a weak stomach or strong social morals, this book is not going to be for you. But if you want to explore the writing genius of Erskine Caldwell, it’s a great place to start. Interestingly enough, the story is classified on Amazon as dark humor, classic humor, and literary satire. In my opinion, none of that fits. I will be making my way through the collection that I purchased. On a final note, Caldwell died in 1987. Thank goodness the publishing houses didn’t decide to keep publishing new work using a ghostwriter after his death.

New Book Releases – #RRBC

new-releases

Some of the members of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB have been very busy! These are only a few of the new releases from RRBC authors. I hope you will find one that will pique your interest.

Ninja   PURCHASE LINK

NINJA SCHOOL MUM BY LIZZIE CHANTREE

BLURB:

Obsessive-compulsive school mum, Skye, is a lonely elite spy, who is running from her past whilst trying to protect the future of her child. She tries hard to fit in with the other parents at her son’s new school, but the only person who accepts her unconventional way of life is new mother, Thea.
Thea is feeling harassed by her sister and bored with her life, but she suspects that there is something strange about the new school mum, Skye. Thea has secrets of her own and, although the two become unlikely friends, she hesitates to tell Skye about the father of her own child.
Zack’s new business is growing faster than he could have dreamed but, suddenly, he finds himself the owner of a crumbling estate on the edge of a pretty village, and a single parent to a very demanding child. Could he make a go of things and give his daughter the life she deserved?
When three lives collide, it appears that only one of them is who they seem to be, and you never know who the person next to you in the school playground really is.

Tails  PURCHASE LINK

TAILS BY AUTHOR, W.J. SCOTT

BLURB:

Sometimes loss is the only thing that saves you.
Last summer during the dreaded hunting season, Kywah lost his tail, his magic, and his value as a silvertail. Now the hunters have returned and he’s terrified. Especially when he recognizes Samsa, the very hunter that cut off his tail, and ruined his life.
But when the pack becomes trapped in the foothills with no escape, Kywah realises he’s their only hope. Without a tail, he’s worthless to the hunters and their wizard masters. If he can escape, he can find help for his pack. All he has to do is locate the Wise One and retrieve the Deep Magic.
Which would be hard enough even if he still had the magical tail sense his kind are born with. But what choice does he have? If he doesn’t take the risk, his pack will lose everything. And because Kywah knows exactly how that feels, he can’t let it happen.
I woke. Heart beating too fast. Darkness smothering me. The same nightmare.
I shifted and felt the familiar throb of pain along my stub, which always ached when I first awakened. For an instant I tried to fool myself that it had only been a dream, but when I was brave enough to peek, I saw the empty space where my tail should be. Almost four seasons had passed, and I was still unaccustomed to its loss.

HAT  PURCHASE LINK

THE HAT BY AUTHOR, C.S. BOYACK

BLURB:

Lizzie St. Laurent is dealing with many of the struggles of young life. She lost her grandmother, and her living arrangements. Her new roommate abandoned her, and she’s working multiple jobs just to keep her head above water.
She inherits an old hat from her grandmother’s estate, but it belonged to her grandfather. This is no ordinary hat, but a being from an alternate dimension. One with special powers.
Lizzie and the hat don’t exactly hit it off right away, but when her best friend’s newborn is kidnapped by a ring of baby traffickers, Lizzie turns to the hat for help. This leads her deep into her family history and a world she’s never known.
Lizzie gives up everything to rescue the babies. She loses her jobs, and may wind up in jail before it’s over. Along the way, she and the hat may have a new way of making ends meet.
Humorous and fun, The Hat is novella length. Wonderful escapism for an afternoon.

JEWEL IN THE MUD  PURCHASE LINK

JEWEL IN THE MUD (ZEN MUSINGS) BY AUTHOR, HARMONY KENT

BLURB:

‘Happiness does not depend on what you have or who you are. It relies solely on what you think.’
Have you ever felt angry? Upset? Hurt? Overwhelmed? Not up to it?
This book, with its pithy teachings based in Zen, will help you find the jewel in the inevitable mud of life rather than wallowing in that mud.
Not only does each day offer us a new start, a chance to press reset, but so does each and every breath. It’s never too late to be who you were meant to be, and your history doesn’t have to keep you trapped. And nor do you have to waste endless energy on worrying about all that the future may bring.
Written in an engaging manner, Jewel in the Mud invites you to search within and make your world the way you want it to be. It doesn’t give you strict instructions or homework, but instead, invites you to dive deeper, search further, and question your assumptions.
The book has handy thoughts for the week, and can be read in one go, weekly, or dipped into at random. In short, it has been designed to fit in with you and your needs.
Learn how to take control of your life with these Zen Musings.

Mind-Shaft  PURCHASE LINK

MIND-SHAFT BY AUTHOR, S. BURKE

BLURB:

An Anthology of Paranormal short stories. Horror, Romance, and terrifying Suspense.
Sisterly Love. … Paranormal Horror. After the tragic murder/suicide of her parents, Pippa, at just Nineteen-years of age, finds herself taking on the full responsibility for raising her fifteen-year-old sister, Emma. Emma is … more than just a little different. The body count is increasing. Nothing and no one is as they seem.
Halloween Homecoming … A Halloween party is the perfect venue for serving justice on the menu. Leighton Caulfield and his Lawyer are about to get their just desserts. In a way that nobody is prepared for.
A Place So Cold … Children are missing! Time is running out. Can the stranger from Australia lead the rescuers to them in time?
Spin! …Doctor Cameron Christopher is concerned that his patient Holly Daniels is caught in a downward spiral into complex Dissociative Disorder. Using Hypnotherapy he takes her back to explore when the nightmares began. Nothing in his experience as a Psychiatrist prepared him for what lay dormant … and waiting.
The Director’s Cut … A Paranormal Romance beyond time. Award-winning Director, Christopher Manning is searching for far more than a location for his next blockbuster. The emptiness that has permeated his entire life is crying out for resolution. Join him as he seeks the answers.
Mind-Shaft … Victoria Denton served revenge swiftly and without mercy. Her future happiness seems assured. If only the past would remain where it should.

Password  PURCHASE LINK

PASSWORD BY AUTHOR, STACI TROILO

BLURB:

Some passwords protect more than just secrets.
Danny Caruso was glad to be back in the United States, back to his regular job. Back to his comfortable routine of all work and no play. But when his friend Mac asks a favor of him, he can’t refuse. He owes the guy everything. So he accepts the job, even though it means a twenty-four/seven protection detail guarding a particularly exacerbating—and beautiful—woman.
Braelyn Edwards is careful to stay out of the spotlight, preferring to hide in the background and skip the trappings of a vibrant social life. But her privacy is threatened when there’s an attempt on her life and a bodyguard is foisted on her. Compounding problems? He doesn’t just want to protect her. He wants to investigate every detail of her life, starting with her top-secret job.
Danny casts his sights on Charlie Park, her coworker, her partner… the one man who knows all Braelyn’s secrets. She’s frustrated by the distrust until she realizes jealousy fuels Danny’s suspicions as much as instinct and proof. One of them is right about Charlie—but by the time they figure it out, it may be too late to save their relationship. And Braelyn’s life.

 

I hope you will find at least one of these new releases intriguing enough to check out! Thanks for stopping by and if you are an author or reader looking for a positive supportive community to plug into, take a look at the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.

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