Garden Spells

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen     description:

The women of the Waverley family — whether they like it or not — are heirs to an unusual legacy, one that grows in a fenced plot behind their Queen Anne home on Pendland Street in Bascom, North Carolina. There, an apple tree bearing fruit of magical properties looms over a garden filled with herbs and edible flowers that possess the power to affect in curious ways anyone who eats them.

For nearly a decade, 34-year-old Claire Waverley, at peace with her family inheritance, has lived in the house alone, embracing the spirit of the grandmother who raised her, ruing her mother’s unfortunate destiny and seemingly unconcerned about the fate of her rebellious sister, Sydney, who freed herself long ago from their small town’s constraints. Using her grandmother’s mystical culinary traditions, Claire has built a successful catering business — and a carefully controlled, utterly predictable life — upon the family’s peculiar gift for making life-altering delicacies: lilac jelly to engender humility, for instance, or rose geranium wine to call up fond memories. Garden Spells reveals what happens when Sydney returns to Bascom with her young daughter, turning Claire’s routine existence upside down. With Sydney’s homecoming, the magic that the quiet caterer has measured into recipes to shape the thoughts and moods of others begins to influence Claire’s own emotions in terrifying and delightful ways.

As the sisters reconnect and learn to support one another, each finds romance where she least expects it, while Sydney’s child, Bay, discovers both the safe home she has longed for and her own surprising gifts. With the help of their elderly cousin Evanelle, endowed with her own uncanny skills, the Waverley women redeem the past, embrace the present, and take a joyful leap into the future.

gardenBook 1: Garden Spells        4 STARS

For a book filled with so much magic, a cast of great characters, and a really fulfilling plot line, the apple tree is still my favorite part. I mean I think that says plenty about the author, to take something like an apple tree (even a magical one) and give it a real personality, and such a vital part of the story in ways that you slowly discover. But that is just still one small part of the story. This book does deal with magic, but it isn’t a generic story of witches. It’s more like a family filled with unique talents that are inherent to each person. Though, how they do affect the world around them, especially within the Waverly’s property, is definitely a bit witchy. Yet, the story is really that of normal people trying to find their place in the world. Two women who have lived through difficult lives and trying to get to know each other again as real sisters. And the little girl, Bay, was so sweet and adorable with how she knows where everything is meant to be, even people, and the fact that she ultimately has the most insight in the end into people was a really moving part of the story. Beyond the Waverly family you also get to discover a bit about small town living, the good, the bad, and the intriguing family legacies. There was just so much to love about this book, it’s really hard to put it all into one review without ruining the story, so I just say go and pick it up as quick as you can.

The Target

BOOK 1: The Innocent  by  David Baldacci

BOOK 2: The Hit

The Target  description:

The President knows it’s a perilous, high-risk assignment. If he gives the order, he has the opportunity to take down a global menace, once and for all. If the mission fails, he would face certain impeachment, and the threats against the nation would multiply. So the president turns to the one team that can pull off the impossible: Will Robie and his partner, Jessica Reel.

Together, Robie and Reel’s talents as assassins are unmatched. But there are some in power who don’t trust the pair. They doubt their willingness to follow orders. And they will do anything to see that the two assassins succeed, but that they do not survive.

As they prepare for their mission, Reel faces a personal crisis that could well lead old enemies right to her doorstep, resurrecting the ghosts of her earlier life and bringing stark danger to all those close to her. And all the while, Robie and Reel are stalked by a new adversary: an unknown and unlikely assassin, a woman who has trained her entire life to kill, and who has her own list of targets–a list that includes Will Robie and Jessica Reel.

targetBOOK 3: The Target  4 STARS

While this series is called the Will Robie series, it’s now being a bit taken over by Jessica Reel, but Chung-Cha ultimately stole the show. I understand somewhat why some people said there was too much going on in here, there really was 2 different stories going on. However, Baldacci does a great job of balancing both tales, and having them flow together so that neither end was left for too long so it kept the story moving along well and coherently. Also, it was great to get a better understanding of Reel, and really see her grow and change through this story. Just hoping they’ll do the same thing for Robie. But like I said, Chung-Cha just goes to show what a great writer Baladacci is. Someone so cold and uncaring, who kills people without a thought for a government she doesn’t even like should’ve came across as sadistic and evil as the tyranny that created her. Instead you spend the whole book hoping someone will save her from that life somehow. Although, the Nazis that pop up will feel your quota of pure evil enough for any book. As much as the spy work and intense situations that keep popping up through these stories help keep you turning pages, it was really the character growth and their own personal journy that made me love this book so much.

You Gotta Be Shifting Me

BOOK 1: Shift Out of Luck  by  Ruby Dixon

BOOK 2: Get Your Shift Together

BOOK 3: Shift Just Got Real

BOOK 4: Does a Bear Shift in the Woods

You Gotta Be Shifting Me   description:

There are few things that are off limits to the were-bears of Pine Falls, but humans are one of them. Not that it’s stopping these alphas from finding their mates! Included in this anthology are five steamy, ultra-hot novellas of big, burly shifters brought to their knees by the women they love.

Includes a never-before-seen bonus story, entitled YOU GOTTA BE SHIFTING ME, in which a naughty librarian shows a gruff were-bear that he can’t steal her honey and get away with it.

shifting meBOOK 5: You Gotta Be Shifting Me  4 STARS

So the cover and description is really for the whole set, which was a good deal, but I’m only reviewing book 5. This was another really humorous story. The way Alexa took the opinion of one bitter old lady as the gospel against all shifters was a little ridiculous. I mean, couldn’t she have looked around town and realized that shifters like to mate for life? Especially since Griffin makes it really clear he doesn’t just want a roll in the hay. But it makes for a cute and silly story that had me giggling even as I was blushing at all the naughtiness that ensues. Altogether, this series was a fun read.

Happy 4th of July

I kept wanting to write something for this holiday, but I couldn’t think of anything, and really I was more focused on being happy me and the hubby was going to get to go down and visit family. So here I am today writing this post, but it’s not about today, it’s actually about yesterday. As it turned out with some having to get up to go to work on Tuesday, and us having to make the long drive back home, we decided to do our celebration last night. It was perfect. All my family together sharing laughs and making new memories. My little nephew being adorable, and loving all the attention he was getting from his Aunt RayRay and Uncle Bear (yep my hubby got a nickname too). As it got darker we went out to shoot off fireworks, and it turns out we weren’t the only ones who thought last night was a good time to celebrate. Fireworks shooting off all around us, mingling with our own. Staring in awe at the great explosions, laughing at some of the duds, holding our breaths when some flew too close to the houses and thankful it had rained right beforehand. But while it was amazing to get to spend time with my family, as I was looking around at the whole neighborhood celebrating together it made me think about what this holiday is all about. Togetherness.

We were all there together, family, friends, and strangers. We were all enjoying the night and celebrating our love for our country. We were all united. It didn’t matter that we had different beliefs, that we may think different from each other, that at times we can’t understand why folks do what they do when surely they should be more like us. All that mattered is that we all love our country, and we all love the freedoms accorded by it to be as different from each other as humanly possible. And that’s what this holiday is here to remind us of. We’re all united by the fact we’re Americans, and we love it. So try and remember that while you love the freedoms that allow you to be you, that those freedoms are there to allow us each to be ourselves. We may be different, we may not understand each other at times, but that’s okay. It’s what makes this country great, and it’s the love of such that we need to keep us united.

firewrok 2016

Robert DiGiacomo has been INTERVIEWED!!!

  1. What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?

robRobert DiGiacomo. Twitter; @rpdigiacomo. Facebook; Robert DiGiacomo, or Robert DiGiacomo Builders. Website; robdigiacomo.com, email; rob@robdigiacomo.com

  1. Other than writing, what is your favorite hobby or thing you enjoy for fun?

I enjoy reading, traveling, happy hour is great fun, too.

  1. How long have you been writing? How many books have you written? They don’t have to be published.

I started writing maybe 10 years ago. I didn’t really know how, so I had to read and read and read books on how to write. I also passed my stories to friends and family for their opinions. They liked it, so I continued to churn out stories until I formulated a complete novel. I’ve written and published two complete books—The Boxed Angel, and most recently The Blood Led Her. I also wrote a few short stories, presently sitting in my computer. I’m working on fitting them into novels or just keeping them for me to read.

  1. What genres do you like writing the most? And why? Is this genre the same as the one you prefer to read?High Resolution Front Cover_6090244

Not sure I write in any one specific genre. My novels have been categorized as—suspense, thriller, mystery, historical fiction, Christian fiction, action adventure, supernatural fiction. I enjoy stories that have great characters and I like to use pieces or events of the past that effect the present. I like the characters to have real feelings and emotions to propel the story forward.

I read nearly all genres. I’ve read everything from Gone with the Wind, to Harry Potter.

  1. Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it? If not make something up…

I am currently writing my third Al Campo thriller. I’m continuing the story from The Blood Letter where I left a serious cliff hanger at the end. My readers have already demanded a new book. I am bringing all the main characters back into another (hopefully) compelling story. I also write side stories, sometimes I get a feeling or I experience something that clicks, and I write a little tale. Maybe to use later or just to have.

I wrote a short about an experience my daughter had with a dog. He was mean and nasty and didn’t like anybody. Somehow though, the dog took to my daughter. It was, in my mind, beyond reason, so I wrote it all out.

  1. How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?

I usually get a feeling about a certain topic or a past event I read about that I find interesting and then can’t stop thinking about. I hear a voice and it tells me to have this fantastic ending. I usually know something of the conclusion before I start. Then I use that topic, and I just roll with what I hear in my head. As I write, I listen and see, and my story comes at me. I just write it all down.

I try to focus on one story at a time, but sometimes ideas pop into my head, and I write it out. Sometimes it makes it into the current project, sometimes into the next. I had the story of The Blood Led Her already while finishing The Boxed Angel.

  1. What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?

My style of writing is different than most. I never went to college, never took any creative writing classes and almost failed English in school. I learned by doing and reading how to do it, and by reading hundreds of novels. That is my greatest strength—I write what I like and I don’t follow any format or scheme. I write from my heart and for myself.

My weakness? I suck at grammar and I’m terrible with spelling

  1. After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?

Before I publish, I give the manuscript to several people to read. I need an unbiased opinion because I never know if what I wrote works. I give it to people I trust will be truthful and critical. If they like it, then I move on to publishing. After that I go to social media and put it out there. Then I have a book signing event at a local tavern (what better place to convince people to come out and have a good time?) and invite all of my friends and contacts. I have a construction company, so I have about a thousand contacts. It gets people reading, so then I ask them to post reviews on Amazon or on their own social media. After that, I usually higher a publicist who can get me more local and national attention. I constantly self-promote through my business and social media channels.

  1. What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?

The best advice is to read a lot and write a lot. Write what you love, what you see and what is in your heart.

Also, don’t expect everyone to love it as much as you do, but don’t let that stop you.

 

Robert DiGiacomo resides the historical area of Philadelphia, where he uses past events to shape his writing in the present. He works as a general contractor and lives on the Main Line with his family, working during the day and writing by night. The Blood Led Her is his second novel and a sequel to his first, The Boxed Angel.

 

For more information, connect with DiGiacomo on his website, or through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

 

The Blood Led Her is now available on Amazon.

The Hit

BOOK 1: The Innocent  by  David Baldicci

The Hit   description:

Will Robie is a master of killing.

A highly skilled assassin, Robie is the man the U.S. government calls on to eliminate the worst of the worst-enemies of the state, monsters committed to harming untold numbers of innocent victims.

No one else can match Robie’s talents as a hitman…no one, except Jessica Reel. A fellow assassin, equally professional and dangerous, Reel is every bit as lethal as Robie. And now, she’s gone rogue, turning her gun sights on other members of their agency.

To stop one of their own, the government looks again to Will Robie. His mission: bring in Reel, dead or alive. Only a killer can catch another killer, they tell him.

But as Robie pursues Reel, he quickly finds that there is more to her betrayal than meets the eye. Her attacks on the agency conceal a larger threat, a threat that could send shockwaves through the U.S. government and around the world.

the hitBOOK 2: The Hit   4 STARS

This book took a little bit more for me to get into than the first. While I had felt an instant connection with Robie, he always had that bit of humanity to him that allowed you to understand someone who is so far removed from normal society. However, Reel felt a bit over the top, and a little too robotic for a large part of the book that it took a while before it felt like she added anything to the story in the way the past characters had. So it’s probably good that the people from the last book do come back in varying degrees, that are appropriate to the story so that they’re not just forced in for the sake of it. Like Julie returns, but she isn’t some how strung up into this wild ride, instead she’s allowed to just be the girl he helped out, and who he struggles to find a place for in his dangerous world. Altogether this was a great follow up for the last book. It follows along some of the same strands as before, while not being a repeat of the previous plot. I think what I liked most about this book, and that Baldacci did such a wonderful job in achieving, was making the bad guys not some psychopaths out for blood, but making them people who truly think they’re doing what’s best for the world. He helps show the slippery slope that comes with fighting to protect your country, and trying to discern between what is the greater good and what is just ones own perceived good.

Does a Bear Shift in the Woods

BOOK 1: Shift Out of Luck  by  Ruby Dixon

BOOK 2: Get Your Shift Together

BOOK 3: Shift Just Got Real

Does a Bear Shift in the Woods   description:

I’m a loner for a reason. I don’t have much in the way of social skills. I’d rather sit on my deck and watch the sunset than hit a tavern with coworkers. My idea of grooming is to trim my beard with a straight blade when it hits my collarbone. I can’t put two words together in the company of a pretty woman…and they don’t come much prettier than wolf-shifter Madison Thorne.

She’s everything I’m not—outgoing, easy on the eyes, and sweet. There’s no way I’m convincing her to come home with me. Fortunately I don’t have to. Maddie seems to like my gruff, unpolished self. At least, she likes me enough for one night.

The problem is getting her to stay forever.

bear shiftBOOK 4: Does a Bear Shift in the Woods  5 STARS

So I’m not sure if it was meant to be that funny, but I was dying laughing the whole time. And while I do love me some good romance, I love to laugh even more, and so that’s really why it got 5 stars. I mean, Chance was so awkwardly adorable. The way he tried to do stuff for Madison in his big gruff manner was just too perfect. Madison was an interesting character too, mainly in seeing how wolf-shifters differ from the bears, but it was really Chance who stole the show in this one. This book alone made reading the series all worth it.

The Vrai Domicile COVER REVEAL!!!

Vrai Domicile book 2 ebook

The Vrai Domicile  by  Courtney Ruggles

Coming August 24th, 2016

Q437B was ready to die for the Second Revolution. Then she entered the Muertre

Q and B expected death when the Elders ordered their execution. What they discover instead changes everything they thought they knew about their world. Saved by the mercy of the Elders, they awaken in the Vrai Domicile, a mysterious place hidden below the Sixth Domicile housing hundreds of former rebels.

Except these rebels have been brainwashed, conditioned to be blind followers.

Q quickly learns of the Elders’ new plan for her – she is to become their warrior, to reunite the Vrai and Sixth Domiciles with purity, love, and unwavering faith. But to Q, she’ll be undoing everything she and the rebels fought for.

Now Q and B must fight to survive once more, forced to forge new alliances with strangers who promise nothing is as it seems. But surviving comes with a choice – follow the Elders and quash the Revolution, or defy them and free the people, putting B’s and Grandmother’s lives at risk.

In a place where the fire of rebellion is extinguished at every turn, can Q continue to be the spark that fuels the Revolution?

Book 2 in The Sixth Domicile Series by Courtney Ruggles!

Pre-order now!

 

The Vrai Domicile Teaser 1

Shift Just Got Real

BOOK 1: Shift Out of Luck  by  Ruby Dixon

BOOK 2: Get Your Shift Together

Shift Just Got Real  description:

Life’s given me the short end of the stick on looks – I’m big, ugly and brutish. Normally I wouldn’t care about the packaging except for the fact that the woman of my dreams is Ryann Brown, a human half my age and so lovely she makes my body ache. What’s a were-bear to do in this situation?

Whatever he can to forget her, of course.

Except Ryann’s not taking no for an answer. And when she catches me watching her one night, she gives me a show I’ll never forget. Did I think I’d be able to walk away and not touch her? Not claim what’s mine?

shift got realBOOK 3: Shift Just Got Real  4 STARS

The best book so far. I really loved how it all unfolded, and we got a better look at the situations between the humans and the different weres in town. It was rather sweet and sad how things ended up for Mal, knowing who his intended mate is, but feeling like she would never want him. You really get a better understanding of how this mate bonding thing works, and I loved how Ryann went about trying to get Mal to give in. While I can understand why the age thing might be an issue, I’m also a big proponent in love conquering all.

Get Your Shift Together

BOOK 1: Shift Out of Luck  by  Ruby Dixon

Get Your Shift Together   description:

I’ve been looking for a mate in all the wrong places. When the right one shows up in Pine Falls with a man in tow, I almost miss her. Caroline Abbott is a sweetheart of a city girl who is making one last stab at keeping her (dead) relationship together. When her fool of an ex takes off and leaves her alone in the forest, I’m more than happy to step into his abandoned shoes.

While I can make her shout with pleasure, I worry those screams will turn to fear when she realizes that my hidden half is a bear.

I can’t keep the secret much longer, but telling her might scare her off for good.

shift togetherBOOK 2: Get Your Shift Together   3 STARS

Definitely better than the first book. Even though it’s as short as the other book, the story felt better developed and more realistic, even if their relationship moved crazy fast. But when you’re dealing with magical beings such as were bears and their mate bonds, you can easily buy into it. Plus you can’t really blame Caroline for falling hard for someone like Leo when she’s been dating the complete jerk that was her ex. Though she really did act a little crazy right there at the end. Still preferring her Barbarian’s series, but I feel like this one is worth continuing.