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EMK - Book Reviewer

Book Promotion Specialists & Book Bloggers sharing what we read and love!

Tend & Befriend in the Workplace – Power of the Pack from vinazine.com

“Me” — not “we” — has been the traditional mindset for women at work. Women in general rate high on nurturing, compassion, and empathy. These qualities are also essential for the best leaders today. But for too long, a scarcity of women in leadership positions has conditioned women to believe that we must be competitive with one another in order to succeed.

The truth is that most women are natural collaborators, a quality that we tend to embrace at a young age. TheOrganisation for Economic Co-operation and Development pooled datafrom 52 countries to examine how 15-year-old girls and boys perform when asked to problem-solve as a team. Get this: groups of girls didn’t just outperform in general. They outperformed in every single country surveyed.

OUR INHERENT STRENGTHS ARE WHAT MAKE US STRONG LEADERS

In a Pew Research Center studyreleased earlier this year, women out-scored men inall but one of the study’s key research qualities. They are seen as more compassionate and empathetic; they were able to find compromises more effectively than men; they maintain a tone of civility and respect.It’s time to own our strengths, because it’s these qualities that make us great in the workplace.  

Every workplace is unique; there is no “one size fits all” recipe for success. But there is a basic roadmap that applies to every industry: that when we stand out, stand up, and stand together, we all succeed. Recognize your own strengths, and surround yourself with others who can be strong where you are not. Collaboration is at its best — and most effective — when everyone taps into their unique strengths to orient toward a shared goal: collective success. 

And women are uniquely suited to build collaborative relationships, both in their personal and professional lives.

Collaboration in the workplace isn’t justa good idea; it’s good for the bottom line. Consider the 2017 joint studybetween The Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) and Rob Cross, Professor of Global Business at Babson College, which examined more than 1,000 companies to determine what makes them successful. Their core finding? That high-performing companies were 5.5 times more likely to incentivize collaboration than their low-performing counterparts.

Or what about that 2017 Deloittestudy, which found that “the creation of social cohesion is at the core of success… Employees that collaborate the most are happier and are more cohesive in teams than other workers.” People are more apt to be engaged in the success of their organization when they build collaborative relationships with their coworkers.

THERE’S POWER IN THE PACK

As women, we tend to band together. Take the “Tend and Befriend”study, which found that women respond to stress by seeking out and nurturing others, while men adopt the “fight or flight” mentality. For centuries, it’s been a survival tactic. But now, it’s a success tactic. When we invest in the success of one another, we have the potential to succeed together. The Shine Theory, used by female athletes in the Olympics, is the belief that when one woman helps another woman rise, we allshine. Women account for more than 48 percent of the global workforce; our time to shine bright is now. And collaboration over competition will help us advance equality a whole lot faster. A woman alone has power; together we have impact.

Shelley Zalis is the CEO of The Female Quotient.Start finding your pack on Hey! VINAtoday!

JUNK MAIL by Kendall Ryan – New Release

NEW RELEASE! Coming April 23rd!

Here’s a little taste of what’s to come….

It all started with a sexy selfie.

Texted to the wrong number.

Oops.

Not my finest moment—but I have nothing to be ashamed of.

She thought I was no better, and I quote, than the knuckle-dragging douche-bags she was never dating again.

It was a stupid dare from a girl I’d met online, but since she’d given me a fake number, I didn’t feel bad that my interests were suddenly focused elsewhere—on the fiery and sharp-tongued, Peyton that I found myself sparring with over text for the rest of the evening.

The following day, my case of mistaken identity came back to bite me in the banana.

When I strolled into the office, I was introduced to Peyton as the new client I needed to win over. The Peyton, in case you’re not tracking.

And let’s just say she had my full attention.

Brains? Check.

Beauty? Oh yeah.

And the best part? She hated me on sight. 

Dear God, do I love a challenge. 

Let the games begin.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2MNuWSf
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2DTbBMq
Apple: https://apple.co/2I1rqVI
Nook: http://bit.ly/2G8qXiJ
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2t4LsEn
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2Db4ddX

So Here I Am by Anna Russell – #BOOKREVIEW #NEWRELEASE

Thank you to Netgalley, Anna Russell and Quarto Publishing Group – White Lion Publishing for the ARC!

So this one….Let me start by saying that I was in need of some true female empowerment when I found this book and I definitely found it!

Lately I’ve needed to find inspiration again in the world, in myself to seek it out and prove that it still exists within me. The world is a tough place and this life is not an easy one to navigate, but there are voices so loud time does not stifle them, voices we must listen to in order to find our way again.

This is a quick read with colorful, beautiful illustrations of some of world’s most influential women! It’s a must-read, for sure!

Which speeches inspired you?

Description

Discover the inspiring voices that have changed our world, and started a new conversation.  
 
The first dedicated collection of seminal speeches by women from around the world, So Here I Am is about women at the forefront of change – within politics, science, human rights and media; discussing everything from free love, anti-war, scientific discoveries, race, gender and women’s rights.

From Emmeline Pankhurst’s ‘Freedom or Death’ speech and Marie Curie’s trailblazing Nobel lecture, to Michelle Obama speaking on parenthood in politics and Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza’s stirring ode to black women, the words collected here are empowering, engaging and inspiring. 

With powerful illustrations from Camila Pinheiro, this anthology of outspoken women throughout history is essential reading for anyone who believes that change is not only possible, it is necessary. 

The Crystal Fix by Juliette Thornbury

There’s no denying that crystals hold a certain power or energy that are somehow able to connect with us on a vibrational level. Some carry around talismans with them, helping to remain balanced, warding off negativity and stress and others prefer larger crystals in their homes as added decor or much more.

Learn which crystals are best for the space that you’re in. They are more than just pretty stones!

Description

“This delightful – and highly accessible – book is beautifully illustrated and filled with hints and tips to help you make the most of your crystals. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.”
Judy Hall, bestselling author of The Crystal Bible

Create a beautiful and empowering home environment with healing crystals. Featuring a dedicated section organized by the key rooms in the home, this fantastic book will help you to discover the specific stones that match up with the energy you want to attract into a particular space.
 
Infused with the energy of Mother Nature, every crystal has a unique set of healing properties which, armed with a little knowledge, you can unlock and harness to improve all aspects of life. From tackling insomnia to relieving anxiety and fostering creativity, crystals can energize, calm and inspire. 
 
Luminosity Crystals founder, Juliette Thornbury, provides all the information you need to source, care for and display your crystals – as well as tips wearing them and taking stones on-the-go. Whether you want to choose the right cluster for your coffee table, or to better understand the powerful potential of these stones, this essential guide will enable you to bring a little more of their transformative energy into your everyday life.  

The Stillwater Girls by Minka Kent – #BOOKREVIEW

Thank you to Netgalley, Minka Kent, and Thomas & Mercer for the Advanced Reader Copy of this one! Check it out on April 9th!

I loved it! I thought it was fresh, creepy and totally surprising! I can’t say too much without giving a lot of it away, but I will tell you a little. 😉

Told from two different perspectives the entire way through with characters eventually to be interwoven in the most exceptional way possible.

I was for sure that I had it all figured out, until I was thrown a curve-ball. It didn’t just happen once either, it happened several times throughout, which may the entire story a joy to read. I couldn’t put it down and devoured it within two days!

The characters were not only relatable but truly magnetizing! Normally, there’s a party in the plot that you’re supposed to dislike, or at least find unrelatable at the very least. But not this tome!

Seeking landscape that you become part of, the words don’t leave you wondering. Minka walks you through the scenes, holding your hands, guiding you through the plot.

It is one of those books that stays with you for a very long time!

Description

Two sisters raised in fear are about to find out why in a chilling novel of psychological suspense from the author of The Thinnest Air.

Ignorant of civilization and cautioned against its evils, nineteen-year-old Wren and her two sisters, Sage and Evie, were raised in off-the-grid isolation in a primitive cabin in upstate New York. When the youngest grows gravely ill, their mother leaves with the child to get help from a nearby town. And they never return.

As months pass, hope vanishes. Supplies are low. Livestock are dying. A brutal winter is bearing down. Then comes the stranger. He claims to be looking for the girls’ mother, and he’s not leaving without them.

To escape, Wren and her sister must break the rule they’ve grown up with: never go beyond the forest.

Past the thicket of dread, they come upon a house on the other side of the pines. This is where Wren and Sage must confront something more chilling than the unknowable. They’ll discover what’s been hidden from them, what they’re running from, and the secrets that have left them in the dark their entire lives.

A Note From the Publisher

Washington Post bestselling author Minka Kent is the author of The Thinnest Air; The Perfect Roommate; The Stillwater Girls; and The Memory Watcher, which has been optioned by NBCUniversal. She is a graduate of Iowa State University and resides in Iowa with her husband and three children. For more information, visit http://www.minkakent.com or http://www.facebook.com/authorminkakent.

I Invited Her In by Adele Parks – #BOOKREVIEW #NEWRELEASE

What could wrong with two old pals reconnecting years after Uni?

Looking to reconnect after a failed marriage, two friends, Mel and Abi comfort each other during the tumultuous time, but does one of them have an ulterior motive?

This read took me on a roller coaster of a ride, I couldn’t say it was so surprising, but there were definitely twists and turns that I didn’t see coming!

Adele Parks delivers another fabulously, frightening read that will keep you turn the pages, wanting more!

Description

Imagine the worst thing a friend could ever do.

This is worse.

When Mel receives an unexpected email from her oldest friend Abi, it brings back memories she thought she had buried forever. Their friendship belonged in the past. To those carefree days at university.

But Abi is in trouble and needs Mel’s help, and she wants a place to stay. Just for a few days, while she sorts things out. It’s the least Mel can do.

After all, friends look out for each other, don’t they?

I Invited Her In is a blistering tale of wanting what you can’t have, jealousy and revenge from Sunday Times bestseller Adele Parks.

Advance Praise

“Full of details about life in the suburbs of London, the story is full of emotional insights about parenting, marriage, and personal legacies. A smart, suspenseful tale about love, betrayal, and the illusion of happiness.” –Kirkus Reviews

“[I Invited Her In] appeal to most readers who enjoy suspenseful domestic dramas.” – Booklist

About Adele Parks

Website – http://www.adeleparks.com

Twitter – adeleparks

Adele Parks was born in Teesside, NE England. She studied English Language and Literature, at Leicester University. She published her first novel, Playing Away, in 2000; that year the Evening Standard identified Adele as one of London’s ‘Twenty Faces to Watch.’ Indeed Playing Away was the debut bestseller of 2000.
Prolific, Adele has published nine novels in nine years, including Game Over, Tell Me Something and Love Lies, all nine of her novels have been bestsellers. She’s sold over a million copies of her work in the UK but also sells throughout the world. Two of her novels (Husbands and Still Thinking of You) are currently being developed as movie scripts. Young Wives’ Tales was short listed for the Romantic Novelist Association Award 2008. She has written numerous articles and short stories for many magazines and newspapers and often appears on radio and TV talking about her work.
Since 2006 Adele has been an official spokeswoman for World Book Day and wrote a Quick Read, Happy Families as part of the celebrations of World Book Day, 2008.
Adele has spent her adult life in Italy, Botswana and London, up until two years ago when she moved to Guildford, where she now lives with her husband and son.


#REVISED #UPDATED – The Meadows by London Clarke – #BOOKREVIEW

I couldn’t wait to pick this one up after falling in love with London’s first book Wildfell and I was not disappointed.

First, anything paranormal surrounding an old house or property and I’m in but more importantly, cults and the south, I can’t pass up and she’s managed to get them all into this creepily delightful read!

Scarlet, the main lady of the book, sets out after rehab to open a B & B in the Shenandoah Valley. Re-purposing an old abandoned Gothic-esque house with a history that can’t be ignored for too long.

With loyal friends in town visiting, she let’s herself get absorbed into alcohol-filled nights while trying to get the house in shape for opening weekend.

Determined to prove everyone wrong, Scarlet is driven to move forward on construction and renovations even when all the signs are screaming at her to run, she’s set in showing the world that she can overcome addiction and maintain a successful business.

Is Scarlett’s new business-venture at stake when multiple guests find themselves in the path of danger?

Vowing to fight, what can she do to save her future and herself?

I’ve read a few of the reviews highlighting the drag of the second half, but I have to say, I didn’t get the same impression! I was led perfectly through the plot, wanting more, and enjoyed the character development throughout. I don’t want to give away too much but the only part I was a little dissatisfied with, was who Scarlet ended up with in the end. I was kind of hoping it was someone else. 😉

Thank you to Netgalley, BooksGoSocial, London Clarke for the Advanced Reader Copy! This book was published in October 2018 and is available now!

Description

A decades-old murder. A strange, blood-thirsty cult. And a house full of spirits.

It was supposed to be a new beginning, a fresh start in the Shenandoah Valley, where Scarlett’s memories weren’t riddled with drug addiction and rehab. But after purchasing an abandoned house with a checkered past in the hopes of transforming it into a luxury bed and breakfast, strange things start to happen. Disturbing voices and noises interrupt her new life. Strangers appear, bearing cryptic warnings. A tunnel is discovered underneath the house—one historically used for a local cult’s rituals. After several of Scarlett’s guests are hospitalized, she realizes she is being targeted by violent spirits.

Driven to the edge of despair, Scarlett vows to fight back—but she has no idea what she’s really battling. And her nightmare is just beginning…

The Meadows is a gripping supernatural thriller in which the monsters may be vampires, demons, or flesh and blood. It is a nightmare that will make you believe it could easily happen to you.

Lying Beneath the Oaks by Kristin Wright – #BOOKREVIEW #NEWRELEASE

A beautifully scripted Southern Gothic novel with all the vivid scenic descriptions you expect from a book like this.

Cooper and Molly wake up in Vegas, married and with no clue of what happened. But Cooper is sweet and handsome so when he invites Molly, his new bride home to South Carolina to meet the family, she accepts.

Romance paired perfectly with a bit of horror, this thriller gave me what I came for. Usually, a book like this fails to deliver in some way when trying to mix genres. It’s rarely done with finesse like this one!

I can’t write much more than this without giving it away, trust me… it’s a must read!

Can’t wait to hear what you thought! Share your comments below!

Description

Molly Todd wakes up in a Vegas parking lot with a headache, a virtual stranger, and a wedding ring. Jobless and broke, she’s left with no other option but to go home with new husband Cooper Middleton to the Lowcountry of South Carolina to straighten out the mess they’ve made. It’s in Molly’s best interest to get an annulment sooner rather than later–before her hosts find out that she’s not the kind of guest anyone wants at their Thanksgiving dinner.

The more Molly gets to know Cooper and his family, the more she wonders if she and Cooper might have a real chance together. She longs to tell him her secret even though she knows the truth might get her kicked straight out into the nearby swamp. While she wavers, Molly’s unusual life experiences allow her to spot the skeletons in the Middleton family closet: ones Cooper’s never suspected, ones that are hidden in plain sight. What Molly discovers will shake Cooper’s foundations–and could threaten both their lives.

About Kristin

Kristin lives in Virginia with her husband, two sons, and two beagles (one silly, one Machiavellian). She’s a native of the Detroit area, a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and has practiced law in many fields, including big firm litigation, criminal defense, personal injury, local government, and divorce and custody. She writes before work and behind the wheel of her car in the parking lots of many youth sport practices. Lying Beneath the Oaks is her first novel.

Website – http://www.kristinbwright.com/

Twitter – kbuttonw

Her One Mistake by Heidi Perks – #BOOKREVIEW #NEWRELEASE

What an emotional roller-coaster of a book! A parent’s worst nightmare is for something horrible to happen to one of our children, but what if the unthinkable happens… not to your own child, but to a friend’s that you’re caring for? What if it’s all your fault?

I love a story that pushes the boundaries past the uncomfortable and forces you to process something you would otherwise turn away from. This one did not disappoint with an ending that was nothing less than perfection!

Description

What should have been a fun-filled, carefree day takes a tragic turn for the worse for one mother when her best friend’s child goes missing in this suspenseful, compulsively readable, and darkly twisted psychological thriller.

It all started at the school fair…

Charlotte was supposed to be looking after the children, and she swears she was. She only took her eyes off of them for one second. But when her three kids are all safe and sound at the school fair, and Alice, her best friend Harriet’s daughter, is nowhere to be found, Charlotte panics. Frantically searching everywhere, Charlotte knows she must find the courage to tell Harriet that her beloved only child is missing. And admit that she has only herself to blame.

Harriet, devastated by this unthinkable, unbearable loss, can no longer bring herself to speak to Charlotte again, much less trust her. Now more isolated than ever and struggling to keep her marriage afloat, Harriet believes nothing and no one. But as the police bear down on both women trying to piece together the puzzle of what happened to this little girl, dark secrets begin to surface—and Harriet discovers that confiding in Charlotte again may be the only thing that will reunite her with her daughter….

This breathless and fast-paced debut—perfect for fans of Big Little Lies and The Couple Next Door—takes you on a chilling journey that will keep you guessing until the very last page.

Heidi Perks was born in 1973. She lives by the sea in Bournemouth with her husband and two children.
Heidi graduated from Bournemouth University in 1997 with a BA (Hons) in Retail Management, and then enjoyed a career in Marketing before leaving in 2012 to focus on both bringing up her family and writing.
Heidi successfully applied for a place on the inaugural Curtis Brown Creative online Novel Writing Course and after that dedicated her time to completing her first novel, Beneath The Surface.
She has a huge interest in what makes people tick and loves to write about family relationships, especially where some of the characters are slightly dysfunctional. Heidi is now writing her second novel!

Website

Twitter – heidiperks1

She Lies in Wait by Gytha Lodge – #NEWRELEASE #BOOKREVIEW

These are all fun questions to have when you’re heading into a book, for me, I want to be surprised by the answers and shocked at the journey. Unfortunately, this one didn’t quite do it for me, but it’s only because I caught on to who the killer was early on and that’s no fun, unless of course, the switch is flipped and you were totally wrong!

The writing was fantastic but I would have enjoyed a little more character development, I didn’t love or hate any of them and although the detective investigating went the same school and knew the group, there was no history there. Nothing to make it juicy or exciting.

If you’ve read this, I’m eager to hear your thoughts! I didn’t love it but it was a 4-star read!

Thank you to Netgalley and Gytha Lodge for the ARC!

Description

Six friends. One killer. Who do you trust? A teen girl is missing after a night of partying; thirty years later, the discovery of her body reopens a cold case in an absorbing novel featuring a small-town cop determined to finally get to the truth—for fans of Tana French and Kate Atkinson. 

On a scorching July night in 1983, a group of teenagers goes camping in the forest. Bright and brilliant, they are destined for great things, and the youngest of the group—Aurora Jackson—is delighted to be allowed to tag along. The evening starts like any other—they drink, they dance, they fight, they kiss. Some of them slip off into the woods in pairs, others are left jealous and heartbroken. But by morning, Aurora has disappeared. Her friends claim that she was safe the last time they saw her, right before she went to sleep. An exhaustive investigation is launched, but no trace of the teenager is ever found.

Thirty years later, Aurora’s body is unearthed in a hideaway that only the six friends knew about, and Jonah Sheens is put in charge of solving the long-cold case. Back in 1983, as a young cop in their small town, he had known the teenagers—including Aurora—personally, even before taking part in the search. Now he’s determined to finally get to the truth of what happened that night. Sheens’s investigation brings the members of the camping party back to the forest, where they will be confronted once again with the events that left one of them dead, and all of them profoundly changed forever.

This searing, psychologically captivating novel marks the arrival of a dazzling new talent, and the start of a new series featuring Detective Chief Inspector Jonah Sheens.

Advance praise for She Lies in Wait

“The mystery intrigues and twists, offering enough red herrings and moments of police procedural to please fans of the genre.”Kirkus Reviews(starred review)

“Neatly plotted and nicely atmospheric . . . This British import is plausible and eminently satisfying. Encore, please.”Booklist

“A dark, deep, terrific thriller and a scorching portrait of friendship and its betrayal.”—Nicci French, author of Day of the Dead 

“A superior crime book . . . I loved it.”—Marian Keyes, author of The Break

She Lies in Wait delivers on just about every level—a killer premise, an absorbing plot that twists and turns at just the right pace, and a lead detective who has hit the page fully formed and instantly likeable. One to watch!”—Caz Frear, author of Sweet Little Lies

The Drowning by JP Smith – #BOOKREVIEW

This book reminded me a lot of “Friend Request” which I also loved. The idea that someone you’ve wronged has come back to exact revenge upon you when they should be dead is beyond creepy.

It all went wrong when Joey went missing and presumably drowned during summer twenty years ago, except for Alex who had nothing but success  in his life. That is until now, can Joey be alive and responsible for what’s happening to Alex or does someone else know and has decided to seek out vengeance for Joey?

Description 

Every seven years, a boy disappears from Camp Waukeelo.Who will be next?

It doesn’t take long for a little boy to disappear. Joey Proctor can’t swim, but that doesn’t stop camp counselor Alex Mason from leaving him out on a raft in the middle of the lake in a fit of rage. Alex only meant to scare the kid, teach him a lesson. He didn’t mean to forget about him. But now Joey is gone… and his body is never found.

More than twenty years later, Alex is a success. The proof is there for anyone to see, in the millions of dollars he makes, his lavish house, his beautiful wife and daughters. And no one knows what happened that summer at camp. At least, no one should know. But it looks like Joey Proctor may be back to take his revenge…

“Alex Mason has it all: a lavish lifestyle, a beautiful family, a thriving career. He’s built his life around the certainty that no one would discover what really happened twenty years ago at an idyllic summer camp. He’s wrong. The Drowning is an edge-of-your-seat read.”

—Kaira Rouda, bestselling author of Best Day Ever and What Comes Around

About JP

J.P. Smith

Born New York City, The United States 

Website – http://www.jpsmith.org

Twitter – jpsmith8

J.P. Smith was born in New York City and began his writing career in England, where he lived for several years with his wife and daughter, and where his first novel was published. As a screenwriter, he was an Academy Nicholl Fellowship Semifinalist in 2014. The Drowning, a psychological thriller to be published in January 2019 by Sourcebooks Landmark, will be his seventh novel.

His eighth, If She Were Dead, will be published in 2020.

 

For Better and Worse by Margot Hunt – #NEWRELEASE #BOOKREVIEW

Could your marriage withstand the intense pressure of a crime, one that’s the worst there is… Murder?

It’s not something we normally ask ourselves and I’m assuming that it’s not a thought prior to taking our vows but in the rare instance it happens, what would you or your spouse do?

This intense read was off the charts for me, one because it involves sexual assault of a child and well… that’s my full reason. I can normally read anything but these two things together made it a challenge to get through.

That being said, I loved the idea and the unfolding of the plot which kept me holding on page after page.

I highly recommend this read if not simply for the fact that it will push you past your comfort zone and get you asking some strange but powerful questions about loyalty, love, motherhood and how far one will go to protect her own.

I received an ARC of this book from Harlequin-MIRA and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Description

On their first date back in law school, Natalie and Will Clarke bonded over drinks, dinner and whether they could get away with murder. Now married, they’ll put the latter to the test when an unchecked danger in their community places their son in jeopardy. Working as a criminal defense attorney, Nat refuses to rely on the broken legal system to keep her family safe. She knows that if you want justice…you have to get it yourself.

Shocked to discover Nat’s taken matters into her own hands, Will has no choice but to dirty his, also. His family is in way too deep to back down now. He’s just not sure he recognizes the woman he married. Nat’s always been fiercely protective, but never this ruthless or calculating. With the police poking holes in their airtight plan, what will be the first to fall apart: their scandalous secret—or their marriage?

Margot Hunt is the pseudonym of a bestselling writer of twelve previous novels. Her work has been praised by Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist and Kirkus Reviews. BEST FRIENDS FOREVER is her first psychological thriller.

Learn more about Margot and her forthcoming books at
margothunt.com.

The Boy by Tami Hoag – #newrelease #bookreview

To say this is a mystery, a who-done-it, would be an understatement, I’ve always liked a book that keeps me guessing until the end!

A young boy is found murdered with his mother left in pieces from an attacker, yet nothing is taken from the home. Shortly after, to make matters worse, the young boy’s babysitter suddenly goes missing, leaving the husband and wife detective team to figure out what’s happening. They don’t have long to get to the bottom when a young girl’s life hangs in the balance and the life of a young man taken too soon!

With a parade of unfavorable characters, it wasn’t easy to focus in one one culprit. Could it be the mother, her fiends, or a strange and why?

As a second in a series, this book can still be read as a standalone!

Description

An unfathomable loss or an unthinkable crime? #1 New York Times bestselling author Tami Hoag keeps you guessing in her most harrowing thriller yet.

A panic-stricken woman runs in the dead of night, battered and bloodied, desperate to find help . . .

When Detective Nick Fourcade enters the home of Genevieve Gauthier outside the sleepy town of Bayou Breaux, Louisiana, the bloody crime scene that awaits him is both the most brutal and the most confusing he’s ever seen. Genevieve’s seven-year-old son, KJ, has been murdered by an alleged intruder, yet Genevieve is alive and well, a witness inexplicably left behind to tell the tale. There is no evidence of forced entry, not a clue that points to a motive. Meanwhile, Nick’s wife, Detective Annie Broussard, sits in the emergency room with the grieving Genevieve. A mother herself, Annie understands the emotional devastation this woman is going through, but as a detective she’s troubled by a story that makes little sense. Who would murder a child and leave the only witness behind?

When the very next day KJ’s sometimes babysitter, twelve-year-old Nora Florette, is reported missing, the town is up in arms, fearing a maniac is preying on their children. With pressure mounting from a tough, no-nonsense new sheriff, the media, and the parents of Bayou Breaux, Nick and Annie dig deep into the dual mysteries. But sifting through Genevieve Gauthier’s tangled web of lovers and sorting through a cast of local lowlifes brings more questions than answers. Is someone from Genevieve’s past or present responsible for the death of her son? Is the missing teenager, Nora, a victim, or something worse? Then everything changes when Genevieve’s past as a convicted criminal comes to light.

The spotlight falls heavily on the grieving mother who is both victim and accused. Could she have killed her own child to free herself from the burden of motherhood, or is the loss of her beloved boy pushing her to the edge of insanity? Could she have something to do with the disappearance of Nora Florette, or is the troubled teenager the key to the murder? How far will Nick and Annie have to go to uncover the dark truth of the boy?

Tami Hoag is the #1 internationally bestselling author of more than thirty books published in more than thirty languages worldwide, including her latest thrillers—BITTER SEASON, COLD COLD HEART and THE 9TH GIRL. Renowned for combining thrilling plots with character-driven suspense, Hoag first hit the New York Times Bestseller list with NIGHT SINS, and each of her books since has been a bestseller.

She leads a double life in Palm Beach County, Florida where she is also known as a top competitive equestrian in the Olympic discipline of dressage. Other interests include the study of psychology, and mixed martial arts fighting.

Visit her at www.tamihoag.com, Facebook.com/TamiHoag and on Twitter @TamiHoag (less)

Friend Request by Laura Marshall – #BOOKREVIEW

During a reading slump, I ventured off to find something to satisfy my craving for anything mysterious and captivating. It gets difficult to sink into a story when I read too many potential submissions that don’t capture my attention. For the last few weeks, I couldn’t seem to connect with any characters or get past the first few chapters, if that. Instead of pushing on, I decided to take a break and go back to either a familiar author or find another story that pulled me in without the requirement of a final task from me. Just to enjoy.

My search lead me to Friend Request, which I want to start out by saying, didn’t initially draw me in. I was reluctantly led into the scene but was eventually happy for the guidance.

I was also not a fan of Louise, the protagonist. I tried to like her and to get on her team through the entire telling of the story but no luck. It wasn’t that she was badly created, it’s the opposite. She’s so complex and so deep with past wounds that shaped her into the person she has become. I don’t blame her, because I know in a way she was a victim too, but she was also a coward. No one likes a main character that can’t get it together and is constantly repeating the same events. I won’t give it away but she does redeem herself a little!

What dragged me in was the mystery surrounding Maria. Wasn’t she dead? If so, how does a dead woman send first a fried request, but the then other clues that start to affect Louise’s life and those around her who were also involved in a high-school prank gone wrong.

If Maria is dead, who is sending the strange messages? If she’ isn’t dead, how did she survive all these years?

Louise isn’t in this pickle alone, she was also accompanied by her best-friend and husband who all went to high-school together with Maria.

This book pushes the boundaries of bullying, stretches your faith in adults who should know better and makes you wonder what really happened to Maria all those years ago.


Description

Maria Weston wants to be friends. But Maria Weston is dead. Isn’t she?

1989. When Louise first notices the new girl who has mysteriously transferred late into their senior year, Maria seems to be everything the girls Louise hangs out with aren’t. Authentic. Funny. Brash. Within just a few days, Maria and Louise are on their way to becoming fast friends.

2016. Louise receives a heart-stopping email: Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook. Long-buried memories quickly rise to the surface: those first days of their budding friendship; cruel decisions made and dark secrets kept; the night that would change all their lives forever.

Louise has always known that if the truth ever came out, she could stand to lose everything. Her job. Her son. Her freedom. Maria’s sudden reappearance threatens it all, and forces Louise to reconnect with everyone she’d severed ties with to escape the past. But as she tries to piece together exactly what happened that night, Louise discovers there’s more to the story than she ever knew. To keep her secret, Louise must first uncover the whole truth, before what’s known to Maria–or whoever’s pretending to be her–is known to all.

About Laura Marshall

Website – http://www.lauramarshall.co.uk/

Twitter – laurajm8

Laura Marshall grew up in Wiltshire and studied English at the University of Sussex.

After almost twenty years working in conference production, in 2015 Laura decided it was time to fulfil a lifetime’s ambition to write a novel, and enrolled on the Curtis Brown Creative three month novel writing course.

In 2016, her first novel, Friend Request, was runner up in the Bath Novel Award and shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize. It was published by Little, Brown in the UK in July 2017, selling over 325,000 copies in the UK to date and becoming a Sunday Times top ten bestseller in paperback, and kindle number one bestseller. Friend Request has sold in a further nineteen territories around the world including the USA, Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands.

Laura’s second novel, Three Little Lies, was released on 28th June 2018.

Laura lives in Kent with her husband and two children.

The Clockmaker by Ceri Williams; Drew Neary – #BOOKREVIEW #ARC

An amazing Gothic thriller set in the Scotland Highlands with cinematic type prose that hooked from the beginning.

I enjoy any story about an old house with a secret and a touch of a supernatural element and what’s great about this book is that its part of a trilogy. So although you end this book with some satisfaction, you are left with a few questions, making it hard to not anticipate the next two books!

Description

The Clockmaker waits for you… 

A gripping supernatural novel set in post-blitz Scotland, the first of a planned trilogy.

No man in this world may boast of his might, he is awake in the morning and dead at night.

Widowed in World War 2, Annette and her young son face a completely different life as they exchange the devastation of post-blitz London for the slow pace of a small village. The house they have inherited is old, its bones still settling, creaking noises in the dead of night and the murmur of scritch-scritch in the walls. Located outside the village of Lochnagar, it’s been empty for many years – and for good reason.

The unfolding of how the Clockmaker made his plans, his meticulous preparations and macabre creations, all builds up to a series of gruesome, horrific murders. These have just one end in view: his release from that which has held him captive for centuries.

A chilling supernatural novel with characters you’ll come to care for, The Clockmaker will interest anyone who fears the dark – and what might lie in the shadows…

A Note From the Publisher

Ceri Williams has always loved language, and after a 5 year stint in advertising and journalism, now writes supernatural horror and fantasy. The Clockmaker is their first book and forms part of a trilogy. Drew Neary became interested in history, science fiction/fantasy and conspiracy theories in his teenage years. This prompted him to write short stories over the years.

Not-so Thin Mints – Cookie Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/4 cups (160g) all-purpose flour 

  • 1/2 cup (43g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup (50g) packed light brown sugar

  • 1 large egg, at room temperature

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream Filling

  • 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

  • 1/4 cup (48g) vegetable shortening, room temperature

  • 1 and 3/4 cups (210g) confectioners’ sugar

  • 1 teaspoon mint extract

Directions:

  1. Make the cookies: Toss the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.

  2. Using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl as needed. Switch the mixer to medium speed and beat in the granulated sugar and brown sugar until combined. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Turn the mixer off and pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Turn the mixer on low and slowly beat until a dough is formed. Cover the dough tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes. Chilling is mandatory.

  3. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Remove the cookie dough from the refrigerator. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.

  4. Roll the dough into small balls, 2 teaspoons of slightly chilled dough per ball, and place 12 on each baking sheet. Press down on the balls to slightly flatten as pictured above. Bake each batch for 6-8 minutes. These cookies are small and bake very quickly. They will appear soft when done. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. You’ll make 3-4 batches (38-40 cookies total).

  5. While the cookies are cooling, make the cream filling: In a small bowl using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening together on high speed until creamy and combined, about 1 minute. Turn the mixer off and add the confectioners’ sugar and mint extract. Beat on low for 1 minute and then switch to high and beat for 1 more minute until creamy and combined. The cream filling is thick. See photo above for how mine looked.

  6. Spread cream filling between two cooled chocolate cookies. Repeat with the rest. Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 1 week. Cookies freeze well, up to 2 months. Cream filling may be made ahead of time (up to 2 days in advance). Cover and chill when storing. Allow to come to room temperature before using.

Delicious and Different Gingerbread Cake

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup white sugar

  • 1/2 cup butter

  • 1 egg

  • 1 cup molasses

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup hot water

  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9-inch square pan.

  2. In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the egg, and mix in the molasses.

  3. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Blend into the creamed mixture. Stir in the hot water. Pour into the prepared pan.

  4. Bake 1 hour in the preheated oven, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan before serving.

  5. Sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar and serve!

The Ayurvedic Self-Care Handbook Holistic Healing Rituals for Every Day and Season by Sarah Kucera

A Big thank you to Netgalley, Sarah Kucera, and The Experiment for the ARC of this fabulous handbook!

Healing comes in many forms and what works for one will not always work for another, except when you get back to whole-body healing. The mind, body and emotional being has to be all in sync for our internal machines to work properly. The cogs and gears won’t maintain themselves.

This wonderful book covers everything you would need to know to obtain the best health possible. Not only does it offer in-depth explanations but it does so in a way that helps you to understand every layer of Ayurvedic Healing.

Description

A comprehensive guide to Ayurvedic rituals, offering simple ways to sync the body’s circadian clock with nature

Feeling burned out, unmotivated, or stuck? The Ayurvedic Self-Care Handbook is here to help. This authoritative guide to ancient healing will introduce you to the role that ritual plays in overall health, and reveal how reconnecting our internal rhythms to nature’s cycles can create physical and emotional balance.

Whether you’re looking for a way to boost and stabilize your energy levels, overcome the trials of transitions (from life or seasonal shifts), or prevent and heal disease, you’ll find a solution in one of the more than 100 simple rituals that give structure and space to your day. Plus, reflective prompts for “self-study” (a key Ayurvedic principle) and sample journal pages provide templates for creating rituals with enough time for focus, play, and rest alike.

Syncing with nature’s rhythms—and discovering your own potential to feel good in body, mind, and spirit—has never been more rejuvenating.

About Sarah

I am a doctor, teacher, mover and health sleuth. My long lasting love of movement and health coupled with my formal education in chiropractic, yoga and ayurveda has given me unique perspective on life’s imbalances that we experience in our body or mind.

It’s both interesting and important to me that everyone can likely feel better than they do right now. This is especially true when we resist identifying health based on an age or diagnosis, but our happiness and well-being.

Of course, this takes a little work. To work with me means you’ll be working with someone who is invested in you and your health. Together we’ll find and treat the causes of your current or potential imbalance. 

Hidden by Kelli Clare – #bookreview

Thank you to Netgalley, Kelli Clare, and SparkPress for the ARC of Hidden.

I’ve long since put the romance novels down and moved on to mysteries and thrillers, and even though I would categorize this more as a romance than a mysterious read, I liked it and was drawn into the story. Murder, secrets and love can really get the blood pumping and I’m thankful I had the chance to get immersed in this plot.

Description

Desperate after discovering her family murdered, a small-town art teacher runs to England with a seductive foreigner in search of safety and answers in this award-winning romantic suspense.


Advance Praise

“Captivating and provocative. Clare deftly weaves a sensual tale loaded with passion, intrigue, and high-stakes action. Hidden is a fast-paced romantic thriller that’ll wrap you up and won’t let go until the last satisfying paragraph.”
―Kerry Lonsdale, Wall Street Journal bestselling author

“Beautiful writing. Distinctive voice. Clare has a strong narrative gift . . . I was totally drawn in.”
―William Bernhardt, bestselling author of the blockbuster Ben Kincaid thriller series

“Darkly intriguing and scorchingly sexy; the premise is electrifying. A perfectly delicious combination of mystery, intrigue, romance, and action make this book a must-read. Kelli Clare is a dynamic new voice in the genre.”
―Julie Ann Walker, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author

“Clare animates her tale with elegant prose . . . Evading killers sets the groundwork for a sublimely written story of love and passion.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Sensual and riveting. Kelli Clare brings a fresh new voice to the genre with this romantic thriller.”
―J. Kenner, New York Times bestselling author

Once Upon the Longest Night by Elizabeth Vaughn – #BOOKNEWS

Once Upon the Longest Night
Publication date: December 21st 2018
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance

The longest night. A vampire’s delight.

The winter solstice, a time of birth and rebirth, life and death, waning light and rising darkness. A time when those who flee the sun and crave the taste of blood find their greatest solace.

But one never knows what the longest night might hold.

Once Upon the Longest Night, a collection of adult paranormal romances, features eight novelettes of lovers and their battles against one of the greatest legends of our time: the vampire. A 15th-century seaman and the love of his life come face to face with a vengeful manjasang. In ancient Rome, a hunted priestess captured by a loyal centurion offers her aid to the enemy. With the help of a handsome Royal courier, a reluctant Romanian princess braves the curse flowing within her noble blood. Danger awaits when a vampire in the far reaches of North Dakota must endure the lethal cold to protect the woman she loves. And in a future New York, a broken general returns home for the Longest Night Ball where he meets a young male witch who might change his life forever.

This anthology combines vampire mythos and affairs of the heart with the sacred symbolism and magic of the winter season.

Sit back and let us tell you a tale. Welcome to the Longest Night.

Heat levels: Sweet to erotic.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo

SNEAK PEEKS:

From His Last Battle by Sara Dobie Bauer:
Story Blurb:

Suffering from PTSD, vampire general Devlin Frost returns home from the war on Lycans and attends the historic Longest Night Ball. Here, royal witch Elijah Crow must choose three immortal suitors to compete for his love and power. When Devlin is shockingly chosen as one of the three, his immediate attraction to the young witch coaxes him into entering the fray, but this battle is for more than Elijah’s love. The broken general might also win back his ruined heart and bruised soul—if he survives the night.

Excerpt:
Everyone knew Westwyck Coven threw the best Longest Night Ball. Devlin had been there before, six years prior, before heading off on another successful tour to battle the Lycans in Africa. Ever since they’d butchered all the humans on that continent, the werewolves had been trying to invade upon the rest of the world.

He’d only been home for a matter of weeks and had yet to remember how to be normal, although “normal” was difficult to quantify within the bounds of fae high society. As a soldier, the aristocracy frustrated Devlin. He’d spent hundreds of years fighting bloody battles with wolves, yet it was the wealthy that scared him most—with their passive-aggressive posturing and sickly sweet smiles. At least werewolves came at him with teeth bared. Now that he was back in New York, it was impossible to know who wanted to be a friend and who wanted him dead.

And, there was the matter of the posadh.

Some royal witch had apparently just turned eighteen, and as per custom, she was forced to choose three possible vampire mates to compete over her for the duration of December twenty-first’s darkest hours. Deflowering a virgin witch gave vampires increased power—whether that be physical, influential, or financial. That power could last upward of one hundred years, so competition was famously fierce. At least one of the three “suitors” usually ended up dead. It was a disgusting business but part of fae high society. The union benefited vampires, but it also granted witches a vampire’s immortality, ensuring the secrets of magic lived on and on, all part of the treaty’s give and take. Devlin wanted nothing to do with it. Already, he missed the war.

To rectify his unease, he had wandered away from the grand ballroom an hour before. He now perused the quiet back hallways of Westwyck Estate, far from the sound of an impressive all-witch orchestra that played Christmas carols arranged as waltzes and tangos. He sipped a rich mixture of blood and sweet red wine from a crystal goblet as he strolled, taking in the mansion’s interior. In homage to ancient tradition, electric lights had been dimmed for the night, replaced by tall, gilded torches standing at intervals down the endless hall. Their dancing flames cast flickering shadows on the walls, creating what he assumed should be a sensual mood. Instead, he thought of battles long past, bloody fangs in firelight. As opposed to terror, the memory afforded perspective. He would much rather have been at a twilight fight than surrounded by the cultural complexities of a fancy ball.

On the walls, papered in forest green, hung massive portraits of Westwyck witches who’d come before—men and women who’d probably died long before the treaty. For all he knew, vampires had killed some of them. Magic and blood fae hadn’t always been buddy-buddy.

He was leaning forward, almost nose-to-nose with the painting of an ugly witch named Galahad, when a hidden door sprang open to his right. A blood-soaked Lycan lunged with jaws wide.

Devlin vaguely heard his wine glass shatter. He punched the monster once in its gaping jaw, twice beneath its hairy ribs, then unleashed his own fangs, prepared to tear the monster’s throat. But a bright green light flashed through the hall, momentarily blinding him. He didn’t notice the pain until his back slammed against a wall, and he melted to the floor.

He curled in on himself, moaning. He hadn’t been hit by a spell like that in… Never. He had never felt such power in his long, long life. He tried to stand, ready to fight more and more—fight forever if he had to—but a tall, dark shape pointed a glowing finger in his face.

Eyes unfocused, Devlin at first thought the tall creature looming above him a phantom until it said, “General Devlin?”

He blinked and tried to swallow around the lingering pain rising from his gut. He tasted blood, but at least pain allowed a little clarity.

Devlin sought his werewolf adversary but saw nothing more than a heavyset thug with a bloody nose, groaning on the floor ten feet away. And the phantom wasn’t a phantom at all but a man.

Though young, he held the bearing of someone who knew how to own a room. Despite being thin and in possession of such delicate features as to appear feminine, he held his shoulders up and back, his chin high—like a soldier bracing for battle. In an all-black suit, the witch was all the more ominous due to his glowing green pointer finger, still directed at Devlin’s nose.

“I’m sorry.” Devlin pressed the heel of his hand to his throbbing temple. “I thought…” The words solidified in his throat. War had followed him home.

After his last tour—when he’d started seeing imaginary enemies everywhere—he’d been forcibly sent home to New York. The doctors said the delusions would stop once away from combat. They said to give it time. Get married. Get settled. Find happiness. But what did doctors know about being a soldier?

The phantom lowered his glowing hand and spoke over his shoulder. “Jesus, stop moping, Lucius. Some bodyguard you are. Clean yourself up.”

The injured “bodyguard” swore and shoved to his feet before disappearing through the door hidden in the wall, leaving Devlin alone with the witch.
Devlin stood slowly—no sudden moves with this witch around—and eyed the man warily. “You don’t seem like you need a bodyguard.”

With a cocked brow, the witch shrugged a slender shoulder. “I don’t, but my mother insists.”

Hand no longer glowing, he reached up to touch the long scar on Devlin’s cheek.

Devlin caught his wrist and squeezed, feeling a powerful pulse radiating into his palm. It tempted him far more than it should have. “Don’t be rude,” he said.

The witch smiled, and Devlin instantly read the question glittering in his eyes: Or what?

Hand still in Devlin’s grip, the witch’s dark eyes drifted over him, taking in the navy blue uniform and cornucopia of medals over his heart. “The great general.” A hint of admiration warmed his voice. “My grandfather used to tell stories about you. But you’ve been gone.”

Devlin still held the witch’s hand. He couldn’t seem to let go—or, perhaps, he didn’t want to. He swallowed hard, realizing how long it had been since he’d stood close enough to smell desire in someone’s blood. He smelled it now. “Only six years,” he said.

“That’s a long time. To me.”

“It would be.”

Devlin couldn’t keep from studying the witch more closely. He had the tender skin of innocent youth, the unbridled passion of a boy on the cusp of manhood, and the eyes of a fearless soul. It was almost too much. Too tantalizing.

Finally, Devlin forced himself to let go. He busied his hands with straightening his suit. “Are you even legal?”

The witch touched his wrist where Devlin’s grip had been, as though he’d felt the heat between them, too. On an exhale, he pushed black curls behind his ear and stared at Devlin, who found such scrutiny unnerving. He would have sworn the witch saw straight to the depths of his dead, empty heart. Based on Devlin’s reputation, the witch should have been scared; instead, he tilted forward, closer. He was recklessly confident for a man his age. But more than that, this magic fae carried something akin to fire beneath his skin.

And Devlin wanted to be burned.


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Easy to Make – Peppermint Bark

Who doesn’t love crushed candy canes over melted white and dark chocolate?

This is almost too easy to make and looks fabulous on the holiday buffet table or in gift basket!

Ingredients

1 package Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips
1 package Ghirardelli white chocolate chips
8 Peppermint Candy Canes
1 tsp Peppermint Extract

Directions

Using a 9’x13” pan, line with foil.

Melt the dark chocolate chips over a double boiler or in the microwave. Be sure to stir as much as possible to avoid over cooking.

Once the chocolate chips are melted pour into pan and spread into a thin layer.

Leave to set for 10-20 minutes.

Repeat process with the white chocolate chips then pour over set chocolate and spread out to completely cover the first layer.

Now, before the white chocolate sets top with the crushed candy canes. Press gently.

Leave to set for another 10-20 minutes, then remove from pan and foil, break into pieces and enjoy!

Will keep in an air-tight container for a couple of weeks!

Fractured Magic by Emily Bybee – #BOOKFAVORITE #AMREADING

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance


Release Date: October 31st 2018


Wild Rose Press



Summary

As the world’s worst witch, Maddie is mistreated by her own kind. She was born a Defect. Most of her spells blow up in her face, literally. While witches search for the long-lost power of the earth, Maddie spends her time in the science lab. There, she discovers a clue to the lost power. The only other witness is Jax, a smokin’ hot college bad-boy, who Maddie can’t decide if she wants to kiss or kill.

When she fails her magic final, the council orders her magic stripped. Maddie’s only chance to keep her brain intact is to find the power with the hope that it can fix her. Jax is her one true ally on the journey. The two of them must use their smarts to stay ahead of the witches while they follow a two-hundred-year-old trail to the power of the earth and the truth behind Maddie’s defect.

Add to Goodreads

Buy Links:

Amazon-

Barns and Noble-

Wild Rose Press-

About the Author


Emily grew up loving to read and escape into stories. She began writing her own at the age of twelve. In college she focused on science and graduated with a degree in Environmental Biology. After college she began writing again but quickly realized she had failed to take a single writing or grammar class. Luckily, she’s a quick learner. Emily now lives in Colorado with her wonderful husband, three amazing children, and way too many animals. She still enjoys making up stories and can’t seem to leave out the paranormal elements because they are just too much fun.

Author Links:

WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook│Instagram

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Teasers and excerpts:

The goons grabbed Jax and half dragged his weak body across the room.

“No,” I screamed, and lunged toward him. My gaze met his and held. “Jax, I don’t care about the secret. You matter, you’re the only thing that matters to me.”

He disappeared through the doorway, and I fell to my hands and knees.

His face reddened. “You’ll be fine? Your heart stopped six times. You were dead, Maddie, for nearly ten minutes. You were dead.”

I waved off his concern. “Well, I’m back now so cancel the funeral.”

Jax grabbed my arm. “Do something.”

The strain in his voice pierced me like daggers. He didn’t deserve this. I just shook my head. “It’s no use.”

“But you’re a witch,” he insisted. “Use your powers.”

I yanked my arm away unable to meet his eyes. “The only thing my powers are good for is…” My eyes stared through the metal mesh at our feet and rested on the support pillars. “Blowing stuff up.”

I pivoted back to look at my aunt, now thirty feet from us.

Blowing stuff up.

I may not be able to attack them directly but I could certainly rock their world. Two sets of support pillars stood in the sections that separated my aunt from us.

My hand gripped Alex’s arm. “Alex, get behind me. Now.”

His brow wrinkled. “Maddie, you can’t use your magic. You might—”

“Shut up. I have a plan,” I almost shouted. I’d been made perfectly aware of my limitations my entire life. I didn’t need him to remind me.

“Maddie, don’t try anything. You’ll kill us all.” He glanced down at the ground, so far below our feet.

Jax stepped in front of me. “Shut up, Surfer Boy. She’s smarter than you think.”

I ignored Alex’s protest and Jax’s support and channeled my energy. I focused on the y-shaped support beams where they met in the middle.

Metal was obviously harder to blow up than fruit, but my channeled energy turned the beam a molten red. For the first time in my life I fully opened the channels in my mind. Raw power disrupted the bonds of the atoms in the beam.

Before my aunt could react, the metal exploded

with the force of C-4.

I walked out on to the porch, hot dog in hand, just

in time to see Sparky float over the fence. With a final

yip he spun through the air. His body shrank as it spun,

a white blur of fur growing smaller and smaller until the

spinning stopped and a white kitten sank into Parker’s

outstretched palm.

“Meow.”

Parker grinned and rubbed Sparky the cat’s soft

fur.

“Parker,” I said in my best imitation of our

mother’s angry voice. “Mom specifically told you not

to use magic on the dog anymore. And you’re never

supposed to do it outside.”

He met my eyes and beamed. “No, she told me not

to transport him to Alaska anymore. She didn’t say

anything about transforming him.” He held the little

fluff ball out to me. “Besides isn’t he way cuter this

way?”

I couldn’t resist the big blue eyes and velvety fur. I

stroked the kitten, who let out a soft and bewildered

mew. “Okay, maybe he is a ton cuter. But you have to

change him back before Mom and Dad get home.”

He took a seat with his buddies, not a care in the

world. Call it my sense of injustice or whatever, but I

couldn’t stand to watch him sit and relax with a smile

on his face.

My parents never let me perform magic in public.

For obvious reasons. News stories tended to follow

about suspected terrorist attacks, but really, that was

only like once. Or twice.

My muscles tensed to get up and walk over to do

something mundane like throw coffee in his face. I

know, being a witch should be way cooler. But I had to

do something.

Before I could stand up, the tiny lights of my blood

cells flashed in my mind. I paused, I already had to

have an uncomfortable talk with my parents about the

burning blood. What was one more tiny problem?

I settled back into my seat. Across the room

Nathan laughed and lifted his cup to blow on the

steaming drink. I focused my aim, carefully using only

a little of my energy to undo the electromagnetic bonds

of the molecules in his cup.

It took all my attention. I’d only managed success

with this particular spell a couple times and if my aim

was the least bit off…Well, let’s just say it wouldn’t be

pretty.

The bottom of Nathan’s cup blew out, and the

contents covered his crotch in mocha napalm. My

excess energy had superheated the coffee to a scalding

temperature and sent chunks of the cup flying through

the air. He sprang from his seat and fanned his pants

while his wide-open mouth emitted a surprisingly high

pitched shriek.

My hand slapped over my lips, my entire body

shaking with enjoyment. A little overkill, maybe. Too

bad my mom wasn’t around to see me actually do a

spell right.

I pricked my finger and got the slide ready.

He dropped the solution on my blood, and we

waited for the cells to start bursting. Nothing happened.

Several beats passed. I glanced up to meet Jax’s

confused look. Unsure what to say, I turned back to the

microscope. Tiny lights began to appear inside each

blood cell. In a matter of seconds, they glowed like

miniscule stars flying through the solution. The light

intensified, glaring out of the tiny cells.

“What the hell?” Jax asked.

I couldn’t take my eyes off the blood. Finally, I

straightened, tears running down my face from the

blinding light. I met his wide-eyed gaze over the top of

the gleaming scope. The slide cast pink light up to the

ceiling, leaving the room in a rosy glow.

“How?” he stammered.

I opened my mouth without a clue as to what to tell

Jax. A loud pop saved me the trouble. Smoke curled up

from the cracked slide as the light faded. A nasty

burned-meat smell wafted up to my nostrils. Only one

thought made it through the frozen neurons in my brain.

Get out of here.

Inherit the Wool A Yarn Retreat Mystery, #6 by Betty Hechtman

A book combining both of my favorite past-times? Um…. I couldn’t pass it up! Plus you get a free pattern too!

This is part of series although it’s the first one I’ve read I felt it could be read as a stand-alone but I’m sure with the rest of the series it would fill in the gaps.

A light read with a great story. I enjoyed it on a cozy afternoon but it didn’t keep me wanting to read it if I had to put it down and come back to it. I thought, perhaps that’s because I do’t have the context of the other books in the series but I see from other reviews that it’s a common feeling. That being said, I will still up the full series to give it a go! It’s worth it!

Description

In a new Yarn Retreat Mystery from national bestselling author Betty Hechtman, Casey Feldstein is determined to tie up loose ends to solve another murder . . .

 

“If you haven’t read this series yet, I highly recommend giving it a go. The mystery will delight you, and afterward you’ll be itching to start a knitting or crochet project of your own.” —Cozy Mystery Book Reviews

 

After reconnecting with some old college friends on social media, part-time dessert chef and muffin maker Casey Feldstein has gotten herself roped into hosting a knitting retreat for the group. Tangled up in worries over how they’ll judge her unconventional life and the rustic atmosphere at Vista Del Mar, she watches in dismay as the women arrive and their old personalities—and old grudges—come trickling to the surface. But Casey discovers these are the least of her problems when one of the women is found dead.

 

With everyone a suspect—including an old crush of Casey’s who’s mysteriously been invited to join the retreat—Casey knows she’ll have to start stitching together clues to uncover the culprit. And as long-held secrets start emerging, she begins to suspect that each of the women may have had a motive for murder. Casey wants to avoid needling her old friends with accusations, but she knows she’ll have to ask some pointed questions if she’s going to unravel the clues and catch a killer . . .

Includes a pattern for a fun, easy scarf and a mouthwatering recipe!

More Praise for the Yarn Retreat Mysteries:

“A cozy mystery that you won’t want to put down. It combines cooking, knitting and murder in one great book!” —Fresh Fiction on Yarn to Go

“The California seaside is the backdrop to this captivating cozy that will have readers heading for the yarn store in droves.” —Debbie’s Book Bag on Yarn to Go

About the Author:

Betty Hechtman is the national bestselling author of the Crochet Mysteries and the Yarn Retreat Mysteries. She grew up on the South Side of Chicago and has a degree in Fine Art. Since College, she has studied everything from improve comedy to magic, and has had an assortment of professions, including volunteer farm worker, nanny at a summer resort, waitress at a coffee house, and telephone operator. She lives with her family and stash of yarn in Southern California.

You can learn more about Betty and find excerpts from all her books at BettyHechtman.com. She blogs on Fridays at Killerhobbies.blogspot.com, and you can join her on Facebook at BettyHechtmanAuthor and on Twitter at @BettyHechtman.

Radiant The Cookbook By Mafalda Pinto Leite – #NEWRELEASE

Beyond the best healthy, clean eating cookbook that I’ve read in a while.

I started out wanting to detox and get back to a better, healthier me and this was a great place to start! However, not only did it help me start my clean eating journey, it stayed with me too!

Given the chance, food can be our healing medicine and our beauty regimen in one. We just have to give it a chance. Aside from feeling better and more energetic and clear minded, but my skin was also showing a new glow. One that I hadn’t seen in years.

Please check this book out and give it a chance! I promise you will forever be changed!

Description

Turn your pantry into a storehouse of beauty fuel — and you’ll begin to radiate health from the inside out.
 
From adaptogens and algae to sweet potatoes and turmeric, discover the exquisite flavors and healing magic of whole foods. In this A to Z guide and cookbook of the world’s most nutrient-dense foods, chef and nutritionist Mafalda Pinto Leite will illuminate how nature provides everything you need to achieve radiant health.  
 
Radiant is about falling in love with pure food and receiving the dynamic life-force fuel these superfoods naturally provide. With the healing potency of raw vegetables, fruits, petals, herbs, roots, nuts, seaweeds, and more, you can age gracefully, ease stress, sleep better, and even feel more confident and creative. The (mostly) raw, vegan recipes highlight these powerhouse foods in unexpected ways, such as with the Rose Quartz Latte, Zen Chia Pudding with Matcha Whip, Moroccan Spiced Salad with Chickpea Popcorn, Into the Sea Salad Bowl, and Chocolate Maca Doughnuts.
 
As you follow Mafalda’s joyful “inside out” approach, you’ll experience bountiful energy, acute brainpower, balanced hormones, luminous skin, elevated moods, and restored digestion. These transformative recipes are your guide to choosing foods with the potential to change your life.

About Mafalda Pinto Leite

Mafalda Pinto Leite is a world-traveling chef, mama, sustainable lifestyle leader, and passionate food educator. This mother of four has been researching, cooking, writing, and teaching about food, natural beauty, and wellness for the last twenty years.

Mafalda attended school for health-supportive culinary education at the Natural Gourmet Institute in NYC. In 2000, she graduated as a Certified Culinary Chef and Nutritional Practitioner. Then after fourteen years of nonstop evolution, she became a Certified Health Coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Culinary Nutritionist and Herbalist.

After cooking school, she did her internship at The Millennium Restaurant, an award-winning gourmet vegan restaurant. She moved to Maui, where she worked at an exclusive yoga retreat and spa and then as a chef of Mana Foods, an iconic natural foods store in Paia. Next, in London, she worked at Jamie Oliver’s first restaurant Monte’s and at the bookshop Books for Cooks. She went back to New York in search of more in-depth knowledge of raw foods, where she worked for Mathew Kenney at The Plant and at the now closed Pure Food and Wine.

Mafalda now resides in Portugal, where she has six published books that have won several awards like the Gourmand World Award for Best Health and Nutrition Book, Tv Chef and Photography.

In 2014, she created her own online shop, Puro Sumo, a resource for potent transformational foods for those seeking beauty, wellness, and longevity, to fulfill her own need to have access to the best affordable superfoods in the world through a simple click. She also began offering sold out online workshops to empower people to nourish themselves daily with potent transformational plant-based beauty foods and high powered natural remedies.

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