Everyday Magic by Charlie Laidlaw

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I am so thrilled to share Charlie Laidlaw’s latest novel with you all, Everyday Magic! Read on for an excerpt and a chance to win a signed edition of the book!

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Everyday Magic Front cover FINAL

Everyday Magic

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Publication Date: May 26th, 2021

Genre: Literary fiction/ Contemporary Fiction/ Humour

Publisher: Ringwood Publishing

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Carole Gunn leads an unfulfilled life and knows it.  She’s married to someone who may, or may not, be in New York on business and, to make things worse, the family’s deaf cat has been run over by an electric car.

But something has been changing in Carole’s mind.  She’s decided to revisit places that hold special significance for her.  She wants to better understand herself, and whether the person she is now is simply an older version of the person she once was.

 Instead, she’s taken on an unlikely journey to confront her past, present and future.

Everyday Magic is an uplifting book filled with humour and poignancy, and reminds us that, while our pasts make us who we are, we can always change the course of our futures.

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Chapter One

When Carole was little, she found a magic clearing in the woods near her home.  She had been exploring, surrounded by oak, birch, and hazel trees, picking her way carefully between bramble and nettle.  There was birdsong, squirrels darting across branches, and patterns of sunlight on the woodland floor.  She had been looking for bilberries, and her hands were full of small black berries.  She stopped to sit on an outcrop of rock by a wide stream that, in winter, could quickly become a torrent of brown water.  In summer, it was comforting; in winter, treacherous.  She ate her bilberries, the stream cascading over a small waterfall; the sound of water in her ears.  It was summer and the stream bubbled crystal clear.  The woodland rose in folds from the stream, and she climbed steadily upwards.  Here, the trees crammed in on her; it was darker.  When she looked up, she could only see sunlight trapped on leaves far above.  It was a part of the old woodland that she’d never been to before, but she pushed on, feeling that she was on an adventure and might suddenly come across a gingerbread house or wizard’s cottage. 

At the top of the hill she found herself in a small clearing.  It was only a few yards across, framed with oak trees, and perfectly round.  Sunlight from directly above made the clearing warm, and she stood at its centre, wondering if she was the first person to have ever discovered it.  Each of the oak trees around the clearing seemed precisely set, each one a perfect distance from the next, and she walked around them, touching each one, wondering if someone had planted the oak trees, or if the clearing really was a magic place.  She still sometimes believed in magic.  Then she stood again at its centre, wondering at its symmetry and why a long-dead sorcerer might have planted the oak trees.  Then, realising that the sorcerer might not be dead, and that she had walked uninvited into his private domain, she hurried away, not sure whether to be frightened or excited.  It was a place she often went back to that summer, and on following summers, sometimes alone and sometimes with her little brother.  They would sit in the centre of the woodland circle, eating bilberries, hoping to meet the sorcerer who had built the clearing.  She wasn’t frightened of him anymore; the clearing was too peaceful to have been made by a bad wizard.  It was their secret place, but mainly Carole’s, because she had found it.  It was a comforting place: it was somewhere she would go if she was sad or angry about something, because the woodland circle and its shifting half-shadows offered calm and new perspectives.  She could almost hear the trees speak to her, the wind in their branches making the leaves whisper, but so softly that she couldn’t understand.  She would listen, eyes closed, the leaves rustling, but she never understood what they were saying.  The circle of trees stood solid and immovable, dark and stoic, old and wise, and each one the colour of stone.

Available Here and on Amazon!

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About the Author

Charlie Laidlaw lives in East Lothian, one of the main settings for Everyday Magic. He has four other published novels: Being Alert!, The Space Between Time, The Things We Learn When We’re Dead and Love Potions and Other Calamities. Previously a journalist and defence intelligence analyst, Charlie now teaches Creative Writing in addition to his writing career.

Charlie Laidlaw | Facebook  | Twitter

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*Spoiler free review*

Something I heard about Laidlaw’s writing was his ability to take the everyday and make it extraordinary. From this read alone, I can certainly tell that this is true. Need a little bit of magic in your normal life? Need to find a moment that can make you laugh? You can find that here.

I’m glad that I picked up this read and got to follow along with Carole’s journey. It’s not easy to break away from the norm, to put yourself ahead of what’s expected of you. Carole needed to some pretty big cajones to step away from the life she had grown comfortable in. To set away from what was expected of her and rediscover the path she took to become the person she is now.

While not everyone would enjoy revisiting the random places of their past, I absolutely adore this idea. If I didn’t currently live in my childhood house and drive a quaint 30 minutes to work at my alma mater, I’d be tempted to follow in her footsteps. As it is, Carole’s journey made me realize that I want to see more of the world, to have places that I’d one day like to go back and think of fondly.

What more can you want from a book than a realization, a drive to do something in your real life? I would definitely recommend this read to anyone who’s a fan of roadtrip novels. The mundane and everyday might seem tedious in your real life, but Carole’s story has a fascinating of making life seek extraordinary and thrilling.

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Continue reading “Everyday Magic by Charlie Laidlaw”

Come Midnight by Kat Martin Book Blitz

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Congratulations to author Kat Martin on the release of her latest novella, Come Midnight!

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Come Midnight

Publication Date: June 1st, 2021 (Today 🎉)

Genre: Suspense/ Thriller

Length: 84 Pages

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A routine flight turns into a suspenseful race through the remote jungles of Honduras

When strangers Breanna Winters and Derek Stiles met on a flight to Colombia, they never imagined they would need to rely on each other for survival. Taken hostage by a group of radical environmental vigilantes, Bree worries her secret identity has been discovered—and her fears are confirmed when she learns a ransom request has been sent to her father. Though she’s the daughter of a prominent tech mogul, Bree’s wealth can’t guarantee her safety, so former Navy fighter pilot Derek pretends to be her fiancé in order to accompany her on a dangerous jungle trek led by the radicals. With chemistry building between the pair, a romance isn’t hard to fake, though they can’t let their attraction distract them. If Bree and Derek ever want to see civilization again, they’ll have to work together and rely on their wits to escape their captors.

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Available on Amazon

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Kat Martin head shot (high res)

About the Author

New York Times Bestselling author Kat Martin, a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara, currently resides in Missoula, Montana with Western-author husband, L. J. Martin. More than seventeen million copies of Kat’s books are in print, and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Fifteen of her recent novels have taken top-ten spots on the New York Times Bestseller List, and her novel, BEYOND REASON, was recently optioned for a feature film.

Kat Martin | Facebook| Twitter | BookBub

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International Giveaway: $20 Amazon e-gift card & Digital Copy of The Ultimate Betrayal

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Journey to New Salem by Mark Rosendorf

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Pages: 294

Series: The Witches of Vegas, Book 2

Genres: Paranormal; Witches; Urban Fantasy; Young Adult

Publication date: March 29, 2021

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The Witches of Vegas are back, and their lives will never be the same again.

 A year has passed since The Witches of Vegas saved the city from the evil Wiccan vampire, Valeria. Since then, the show has hit an all-time high. So has the romance between teen witch Isis Rivera and teenage magician, Zack Galloway. 

Things couldn’t be any better for them until Isis develops seizures that cause her power to spiral out of control. Fires and earthquakes are just the beginning of the chaos caused by the misfired witchcraft. Unable to find a cure, Isis’ family journeys to New Salem, a fabled village of witches which may or may not even exist. Meanwhile, Zack ends up face to face with the only being who may have a cure…Valeria. But does he dare pay her price?

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Isis’ brown eyes connected with Zack’s. “You’re my soulmate, Zack Galloway. I want to be with you until the end of time. I’ve known that since the day we met.”

Zack’s lips stretched into a slight grin. “The day we met we were under a love spell by a legit wicked witch.”

Chapter Two

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I received a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.

I absolutely adored the first book in this series, so it’s no surprise that I had to dive right in as soon as I could. Sure it might have taken me about a month to get this review out, but I can promise you that I read this story almost right away. And I enjoyed it immensely.

Isis and her coven underwent some crazy events in this story. While the base storyline of this story was simple and straightforward, the secondary plot lines took some turns that I didn’t see coming. I enjoy a story that can surprise me.

The characters were still fascinating and badass – especially Isis and Zack. Selena and Sacha showed that they were more powerful than even Isis thought, Sebastian even more dedicated to his family. The decisions they were able to make showed maturity and and bravery most people (myself included) can only reach through reading about other peoples’ bravery and maturity.

While I enjoyed the first book more than this one, I still enjoyed every second I was in this world. The ending of this story left me wondering where this story would go next, and my mind certainly started spinning. Personally, I think that when a book can keep my mind occupied even after I’ve read the last page, that’s a good read.

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Continue reading “Journey to New Salem by Mark Rosendorf”

Weathering Old Souls by Didi Oviatt & James J. Cudney Blitz

WeatheringOldSoul

Congratulations to Didi Oviatt and James J. Cudney on the release of their novel, Weathering Old Souls!

Read on for details, an exclusive excerpt and a week full of fantastic giveaways!

WOS Cover

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Release Week Giveaways!

  • $25 Amazon Gift Card
  • $40 Psychic Services
  • 1 eBook of Weathering Old Souls
  • 1 physical book of Weathering Old Souls (US Only)

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Weathering Old Souls

Publication Date: May 15th, 2021

Genre: Contemporary Fiction with historical interludes, metaphysical elements, past life regression, suspense & mystery.

Publisher: Next Chapter

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Abigail has always struggled with strange voices appearing inside her head. From the relentless tyranny a woman faces on an antebellum plantation to the unknown prison camps in America during World War II, our heroine discovers the past in a way that forever changes her future. There are moments from previous periods that serve as guiding posts for the country’s growth, but they also mark the transitions for Abigail’s own personal history. Her best friend, Margaret, partners with Abigail to discover the identity of these voices while focusing on her passion and quest to become a United States senator. Through it all, a serial killer torments the country, romance blossoms between some of the people they meet during the journey, and secrets long thought buried come to light in devastating ways. With the twisting of elements, numerical alignments, and the trauma of spiritual entanglements, no one will be the same… and just a few might not even be around anymore.

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Excerpt

One morning as winter should’ve been transitioning into spring, an eight-year-old Abigail awakens with a piercing scream. She bolts upright and snails herself to the edge of her bed, placing a heavy hand on her chest to help steady herself and catch her breath. Her body twinges as though she’s fallen down a flight of stairs or been slammed by a double-decker trolley. The agony starts in the muscles behind her shoulder blade. From there it feels like a rocket exploded, escaping through her chest, leaving only traces of burning gases to snake their way through the rest of her fragile body. She coughs violently as her system tries to rid itself of unknown toxins.

The bedroom is dark and frigid because the pipes broke the previous day and her father was too busy sleeping off a hangover to call a contractor to fix them. Oliver has no mechanical knowledge or experience with home repair, but he tells Abigail that the Stauntons will address the issue since their heating system has also experienced problems with the winter storms that year. It’s been an unpredictable season, much more so than the usual winter in South Carolina. Some days Abigail has played outside all afternoon, hardly catching a chill. Others she wakes to a beautifully ominous layer of frost clinging to every blade of yellow grass as if its very life depends on it.

A thin glint of light pushes through the crack between the bottom of the broken shade and the splintered windowsill. Abigail watches as the sparkly dust settles on the foot of her bed and shines brightly. It reminds her of the quartz necklace dangling on the neck of the woman in her scary dream. It was gorgeous and made the woman feel safe and comforted as it has in every dream where it made an appearance. Abigail’s told Margaret about the necklace many times, wishing she could hop out of bed today and do it again. It’s only been two months since she saw Margaret, but missing her is more than just a faint feeling. It’s soul crushing. She aches for Margaret’s companionship like any other child would her own sibling who’s grown up and gone on without her.

In her nightmare, Abigail was stuck inside the body of an old lady running through a field, sweat pouring from her head down the curves of her hollowed and withdrawn cheeks. It was pitch black, and there were trees all around her, the wind shaking the branches such that they whispered secret directions in an unknown language. They resembled monsters with claw-like arms and vicious teeth, ready to bite her flailing limbs. Someone had been chasing her, but Abigail never saw the figure’s face.

Confusion rocks her body. Part of her is the small innocent child who wants to scream for Elizabeth, but a stronger piece of her feels much older, more mature, as if she’s lived for decades, maybe even centuries. She shakes through the aftermath of terror, unable to make sense of what happened in her sleep. All she knows is that it was horrific and made her fear something awful was destined to happen. Abigail wonders if her nightmares relate to the bits of conversation she’s overheard between Elizabeth and Bradford in the past. Elizabeth once said something about a killer coming after them again, but they’d ultimately agreed they were much safer now.

After deliberating with Imaginary May for a few moments, Abigail announces, “I can handle this on my own. I am a big girl. Margaret’s gone, but she taught me to be strong.”

She cuddles the teddy bear that Elizabeth gifted her last month for Valentine’s Day. Elizabeth had always bought one for Margaret when she was a child, the kind of mother and daughter tradition that Abigail has always yearned for. This is the first year that Margaret has been away for Spring Break during Valentine’s Day. Elizabeth missed her daughter immensely, so she purchased two identical teddy bears at the local toy store. One for Margaret, who would be home on Spring Break soon, and one for her favorite little neighbor and second daughter.

With a heavy sigh, Abigail stretches her arms above her head, extends her legs, and spreads her toes apart. Then she drops her chin to her chest, before rolling her head around in big circles. Four times each direction, one for every major element. She studied them in school that year. With each round of her neck, Abigail breathes in and counts to ten, then she lets out the air and reminds herself of everything she has to be grateful for. Margaret once taught her this morning routine, to help her ease the body tremors brought about by a nightmare, as the last doctor she saw refused to give any pain medication or advice. The stretching and breathing exercises help, and her pains slowly evaporate like a faint mist over a swamp.

An oblong mirror that’s mounted to the wall across from her window offers Abigail a dust-clouded view of her messy hair as it knots and sticks out in every direction, along with her worn-out unicorn covered nightgown. She chuckles at the sight of herself, and the last of her anxiety and spasms disappear. She imagines the body aches to have a color, a dull shade of lilac, as they lift in a swirling pattern like hazy smoke and exit out of the beam of light coming through the window.

“Stay away, you filthy bloke,” she chastises the imaginary swirl of colorful pain.

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Available on Amazon

Weathering Old Souls

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Continue reading “Weathering Old Souls by Didi Oviatt & James J. Cudney Blitz”

She’s the One Who Gets in Fights by S.R. Cronin Blitz

She'stheone

Happy publication day to S.R. Cronin! Check out this brand new Historical Fantasy, She’s the One Who Gets in Fights and enter for a chance to win a $30 Amazon gift card!

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She’s the One Who Gets in Fights (The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters Books)

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Publication Date: May 14th, 2021 🎉

Genre: Historical Fantasy

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It’s the 1200’s, and the small realm of Ilari has had peace and prosperity for generations. That doesn’t mean every citizen is happy, however.
Sulphur, the third of seven sisters, is glad the older two have been slow to wed. It’s given her the freedom to train as a fighter, in hopes of fulfilling her lifelong dream of joining Ilari’s army. Then, within a matter of days, both sisters announce plans and now Sulphur is expected to find a man to marry.
Is it Sulphur’s good fortune her homeland is gripped by fear of a pending Mongol invasion? And the army is going door to door encouraging recruits? Sulphur thinks it is. But once she’s forced to kill in a small skirmish, she’s ready to rethink her career decision.
Too bad it’s too late. The invasion is coming, and Ilari needs every good soldier it has.
Once Sulphur learns Ilari’s army has made the strategic decision to not defend certain parts of the realm, including the one where her family lives, she has to re-evaluate her loyalty. Is it with the military she’s always admired? Or is it with her sisters, who are hatching a plan to defend their homeland with magic?
Everywhere she turns, someone is counting on her to fight for what’s right. But what is?

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Excerpt

In early spring, after the last of the snow melted and the mud dried, I told my parents I wished to visit friends I’d made while studying. Then I rode to Pilk to learn more about joining the Svadlu. I knew they had a booth at the largest market there, often staffed by Svadlu officers who’d answer questions. I had a lot of them.

They accepted women, but what were the standards? Were they the same as for the men? Being a Svadlu provided status and a fair amount of pay, so they never wanted for recruits. How many people who tried to join were accepted?

The next day I found the booth. Officers wore cloaks of saffron yellow, but this man boasted a scarlet cape covered in regalia, identifying him as a Mozdol. My nervousness surprised me as I approached him.

“Hello, lass,” he greeted me with warmth. “Let me guess. You’ve got a younger brother who wants to join us but he’s too nervous to come talk to me himself. Am I right?” He seemed pleased. With what? That he induced nervousness in potential recruits?

“Uh, no. Sir. I was hoping to get some information on me joining.”

“You?”

He looked at me more closely. Of course I wore a dress, not my fighting clothes, so I didn’t much look the part, but he squinted at me anyway.

“You’re tall. Well-muscled for a woman and you look to be in good shape. Have you ever held a sword?”

“I’ve been sparring since I was a child.”

That impressed him.

“And I’ll do whatever you need to me to. Answer questions about weapons, engage in fights, perform tests of strength, whatever you need.” I spoke too fast in my eagerness.

“Slow down,” he chuckled. “All that’s good, but actually, none of it matters compared to what I’m going to tell you next.”

He hesitated as if he wasn’t sure how to explain this vital fact to someone as ignorant as me.

“You’re a farmgirl, right?” He looked at my clothes again.

“Yes, sir.”

“Well, the Svadlu are more of a city operation. We do things differently than on the farm.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean being a member of the Svadlu is a pretty good deal. Lots of young people want in.”

“I know. That’s why I’ve worked so hard.”

“And that’s good, but most successful recruits get in because they have a sponsor. You know, someone already in the Svadlu who vouches for them. Um, especially if you’re, well, you know, a woman. Then it helps a great deal if one of us says you’re up to it.”

“But I can prove I’m up to it!”

“I suspect you can.” The look he gave me held respect, but he stayed firm. “A sponsor makes the difference. Why don’t you ask around? Surely your family knows someone who can help you.”

He looked up. Several people stood behind me now, all hoping to talk to him. “If you’ll excuse me …”

I rode back to Vinx dejected. I already knew my family had no contacts in the Svadlu and I had no idea of who I could turn to find some. Why did I have to know someone in order to get in? What stupid kind of way was that to run an army?

Available on Amazon

Will be available through Kobo, Apple, and Barnes & Nobel later this month!

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Continue reading “She’s the One Who Gets in Fights by S.R. Cronin Blitz”

TimeRipper by D.E. McCluskey

TimeRipper

Welcome to the book tour for time-travelling, sci-fi, TimeRipper by D.E. McCluskey! Read on for more details and a chance to win an amazing giveaway– A copy of the book AND a $20 or £20 Amazon gift card!

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TimeRipper

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Publication Date: February 25th, 2021

Genre: Time Travel/ Thriller/ Historical Fiction/ Sci-Fi

Publisher: Dammaged Productions

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It is the year 2288, and Earth is reeling from the most horrific terrorist attack it has ever endured.The Quest, a pseudo-religious splinter group, have taken a stance against the Earth Alliance’s authority of the planet.It is down to Youssef Haseem, now the highest-ranking official left in the EA, to build a team to face the threat of total inhalation if he doesn’t stand down and bow to The Quest’s demands. Then the leaders of The Quest disappear, and a legend emerges in the year 1888. But just who is the mysterious stranger stalking and viciously killing women on the streets of Whitechapel, London?A mission is launched! A battle of wits against time itself. A fight to be played out in the present and the past, with the fate of humanity at stake.Legends can happen anytime…

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Available on Amazon

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Secrets of the Mermaid by Catherine Stine

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Pages: 288

Series: The Keepers of Knowledge, Book 6

Genres: Paranormal Romance; Urban Fantasy; Supernatural; Mermaids

Publication date: March 15, 2021

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Indigo Rain is regretful of a dark past, leading to a vow to remain alone and focus on researching ancient merfolk tribes. When she unearths a seabed burial site that even she cannot identify, she shares this with a High Council merfolk historian… keeping one shocking secret to herself.

Bay Finley is the flirty Royal merfolk Keeper assigned to teach Indigo on Pyreshore, a glamoured city of supernaturals tasked with keeping their invaluable knowledge alive. Indigo thinks Bay is a haughty know-it-all, but also dangerously handsome. He’s engaged to Abigail Torrent, a Royal, unlike Indigo. But he’s begun spending a lot of time in the lab…

Indigo has three quests:
Uncover the mystery of the burial tablet, resist falling in love, and never, ever reveal her biggest secret, even to the Keepers.

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Another tortured cry rang out. It was a bass howl from a barrel chest, a thick, muscled neck. Bay. Some deep part of her knew it was him and that he was in grave trouble, in agonizing pain. She hurried to the stepladder without turning one last time

Chapter Six

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10 books, 10 authors, 10 keepers, 1 shared world!

Books can be read in any order!

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This story gave me everything I wanted from it and then a little bit more. Maybe it’s the anthropology major in me and maybe it’s just general human curiosity, but I absolutely adored getting to follow Indigo as she unearthed artifacts and looked into her peoples’ past. I adored her unearthing the mystery surrounding her tablet and the secret she’s keeping from everyone.

Following Indigo and Bay was a great way to give two different perspectives into the story as it unfolded. Both people of scientific mindsets, it was fascinating to see the way they tackled the mystery around their artifacts so differently. Yet one ends up believing what they see as fact while the other remains a skeptic way longer than I would have been.

While this is the sixth book in the series, each book is written by a different author about a different supernatural race within this world – vampires, mimics, witches, merfolk, gargoyles, sphinxes, werewolves, fae, and the other animal shifters. This makes it extremely easy to pick up any of the stories regardless of their “order” in the series. I’m thrilled to have picked up Secrets of the Mermaid – clearly, the story about the merfolk – as an introduction to the series as now I can’t wait to continue on with the world. What else will these supernatural creatures have in store?

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Continue reading “Secrets of the Mermaid by Catherine Stine”

The 48 Laws of Happiness by Dr. Rob Carpenter

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During times like these finding ways to be happy seems like a no brainer! Check out The 48 Laws of Happiness by Dr. Rob Carpenter! Psst… There’s also a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card (International)

The 48 Laws of Happiness Front Cover

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The 48 Laws of Happiness: Secrets Revealed for Becoming the Happiest You

Expected Publication Date: April 27th, 2021

Genre: Non-Fiction/ Self-Improvement

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UNLOCK THE SECRETS TO HAPPINESS

  • Do you want to discover the untold secrets of happiness in a fun and uplifting read that could change your life?
  • Have you ever been told you should choose to be happy but then not taught how to be happy?

  • Is becoming the happiest possible version of yourself something you would like to achieve right now?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you have looked in the right place! In The 48 Laws of Happiness, Dr. Rob Carpenter will teach you how to be happier in every area of your life. Using practical, “how-to” approaches, easily digestible mini-chapters, cutting edge research, and inspirational stories of people from around the world, Dr. Rob will show you the secrets to happiness and what you can do to overcome the common traps preventing you from being the happiest and most confident, version of yourself.

Available on Amazon

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About the Author

Dr. Rob Carpenter—known simply as Dr. Rob— miraculously survived a tragic accident and vowed to not only rebuild his life, but to help other people rebuild their lives too. He has become a transformational author, filmmaker, and CEO who now advises professional athletes, celebrities, business titans, and everyday people so they can become the best version of themselves.

Dr. Rob has been featured in the New York Times, Business Insider, and People Magazine, has been a former professor and filmmaker at the 2x Emmy Award Winning USC Media Institute for Social Change, and is host of The Dr. Rob show. He founded The School of Happiness and has countless resources available on his website DrRob.TV to help uplift humanity.

Dr. Rob is the first in his family to graduate from college.

Rob Carpenter

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International Giveaway: Click the link below for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card!

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The Bird That Sang in Color by Grace Mattioli

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Pages: I’m going to be honest, I listened to this story on Audible so I’m not sure how many pages there are – not even for the eBook version of this story.

Goodreads: The Bird that Sang in Color

Genres: Literary Fiction

Publication date: January 17, 2021

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In her teens, Donna Greco subscribes to a conventional view of success in life – and pushes her freewheeling, artistic brother, Vincent, to do the same. However, he remains single, childless, and subsists in cramped apartments. She harbours guilt for her supposed failure in relation to his happiness until she discovers a sketch-book he’d made of his life. In fact, it prompts her own journey to live authentically.

Focusing on serious issues such as alcoholism, death, and family conflict, Mattioli manages to balance the serious with wit and humour. The story spans decades, beginning in 1970 and ending in the present. Readers will be left wondering “What pictures will you have of yourself by the end of your life?”

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“I just really always thought I had to live a certain way to be happy. I can still hear my dad telling me to be sure to marry rich. You know, it’s funny the voices that get stuck in your head, even when you know they’re wrong. But yesterday it just all hit me. I have all the thing I thought I always wanted and I’m fucking miserable. All I need is myself to be happy. But I don’t have myself as long as I’m lying to myself.”

Chapter Twelve

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I found this to be a very cute slice of life story. It took me about an hour of listening to the story to really get into it, but once that first car ride was over I found myself sitting in my parked car, waiting for the chapter to be over before I turned the story off. I didn’t want it to end, even though I needed to get out of the car and go about my day.

Part of what I really liked about this story is how real the situations felt. Donna’s life wasn’t an easy one but she never gave up. She kept pushing herself forward towards finding her own happiness. She pushed back against societal ideals about “the perfect life” or being the perfect wife. Heck, Donna even learned to push her loved ones towards their own happiness instead of doing what they were told would make them happy. Of course, she also learned when it’s best to hold her tongue and let her loved ones figure things out on their own.

Life isn’t easy and I appreciate the fact that Mattioli didn’t sugarcoat it in this story. She dealt with harder topics and issues people face throughout their lifetimes. She showcased what it’s like to realize you’re unhappy but worth being happy. How getting out of a bad situation can make all the difference in the world in finding your inner happiness.

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Jukebox Hero by Jason Stuart

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“PRETTY IN PINK MEETS MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE”

Is that a great tagline or what? Welcome to the tour for Jukebox Hero by Jason Stuart! Read on for book details and a chance to win an amazing giveaway — A signed copy of the book AND in keeping with the theme, a couple of John Hughes box sets (80’s movie classics)!

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Jukebox Hero

(SledgeHammer: A Rock and Roll Fable #1)

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Expected Publication Date: April 30th, 2021

Genre: 80s Mashup/ Superhero Fantasy

Publisher: Burnt Bridge

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It’s Back to the ’80’s like never before!

Things aren’t all rainbows and cupcakes at the corner of Elm and E streets. Molly Slater just wants to forget everything she can’t remember and play heavy metal with her best friend in the garage. And maybe get a date for prom if he’s not a skeeze.

But someone in this ‘burb has been killing redheads, and Molly has the reddest hair of them all.

When a night of babysitting gone wrong gets her in the crosshairs of the local gang scene, Molly discovers fabulous secrets about herself.

The hunted becomes the hunter as she prowls the darkness that has crept into her sleepy town. But a far more sinister force, some thing from another world, has other plans in store for her…

Available on Amazon

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Excerpt

Sister Christian”

—Night Ranger, 1983

 

Three standing grandfather clocks gazed down at her that morning, ten years to the day since they found her wandering alone with no memory—not even a name.

There, at the corner of Elm and E Street, Molly Slater (the name they’d given her) gripped her Fender Stratocaster like it were a weapon forged for her hands. Her fingerless gloves whispered at the strings, ready to saw down some serious noise. Jordache jacket with the sleeves ripped off at the shoulder. Purple lipstick and double-earrings. Corvette red hair. Bette Davis Eyes.

The garage smelled like the early morning—no other sound but her Cons slapping the dewy concrete. She kicked away shorted out gizmos and various half-finished contraptions littering the cold slab floor. Hoyt, her foster dad, fancied himself the inventor. Any day now he’d invent their way into riches untold. Any day now.

Those grandfather clocks ticked at her as she plugged into the Peavey. More of Hoyt’s tinkering, thinking he could set his machines by them. Each triggered a different chain reaction every morning. One fed the dog. Another opened the garage to the day. A third…well it never worked anyway. She stared at them, as did they her in return. They held no judgment, only the looming doom of the impending hour.

As the garage doors groaned, opening to the dim autumn light outside, she cranked up and twist-tuned her axe. She gave it a gooseneck and sliced right in. Mötley. Halen. Bowie. Duran. Whitesnake. Saxon. Maiden! Fluidly, she moved from one riff to another. She was totally, epically zoned.

She lived in that fifteen minutes.

Those granddads thundered their terrible news.

The parentals shouted.

“Shut that racket off! You’re gonna be late, I swear to every god,” the mother said. As if there were gods. Molly just shook her head, put up the guitar and grabbed her bag. “And put on a hat on that red hair. I don’t want you getting murdered by that maniac!”

So dramatic. Like anything that interesting could ever happen.

She always knew it would be like this.

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Continue reading “Jukebox Hero by Jason Stuart”