Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Top Ten Tuesday; Ten Bookstores I Want to Visit

It's yet another Tuesday, which means it is time for another Top Ten Tuesday, courtesy of That Artsy Reader Girl. The theme of the week was bookstores/libraries I've always wanted to visit, but I decided to narrow it down to bookshops/bookstores.

Anyway, here are ten bookstores I really want to visit some day.
Shakespeare and Company, Paris (France)
The Gutter Bookshop, Dublin (Ireland)
The Open Book, Wigtown (Scotland)
Leaky's Bookshop, Inverness (Scotland)
Camphill Bookshop, Aberdeen (Scotland)
The Mysterious Bookshop, New York (United States)
Mrs. Dalloway's Bookstore, Berkely (United States)

Monday, 15 October 2018

Monster Mash Countdown Blitz; Emma's Dilemma by Donna Hatch





Donna Hatch is the author of the best-selling “Rogue Hearts Series,” and a winner of writing awards such as The Golden Quill and the International Digital Award. A hopeless romantic and adventurer at heart, she discovered her writing passion at the tender age of 8 and has been listening to those voices ever since. She has become a sought-after workshop presenter, and also juggles freelance editing, multiple volunteer positions, and most of all, her six children (seven, counting her husband). A native of Arizona who recently transplanted to the Pacific Northwest, she and her husband of over twenty years are living proof that there really is a happily ever after.



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Horrors! Emma's favorite Gothic novel seems to have come true...but reality is not as fun as fiction. The only man she's ever loved is home from war, but he has changed in a terrifying way. Unless Emma's wild imagination is wrong, the love of her life is a vampire! Now she must decide if she can love a creature of darkness, or reveal his secret and lose him forever.
This tongue-in-check novella plays with themes of paranormal fiction, but stays in the realm of clean and wholesome historical romance while exploring the power of trust and love.
Dance with a duke, outwit pirates, save a kingdom, and fall in love. Believe in happily ever after.



Praise for Donna Hatch:
“Donna Hatch is one of the masters of clean romance with electric tension and smokin’ hot kisses.” ~ Reading is My Super Power Reviews

“Written with heart and depth, Donna Hatch’s books are absolute must-reads for any fan of swoon-worthy historical romance.”  ~ Sarah M. Eden, USA Today best-selling historical romance author





Snippet:

He took a seat next to her on the settee and looked at her as if she were the only person in the room. “How is your ankle?”
Bennett’s nearness emptied her mind of all coherent thought. “My ankle?” she repeated.
He gestured to her feet resting on a footstool. “The one you twisted last night?”
“Oh, that ankle.” She let out a weak laugh. “Still sore, I’m afraid.”
He nodded. “I’d planned to invite you to go riding with me, but it looks as though we’ll need to wait until your ankle heals.”
“Riding?”
In the daytime? How much sunlight could he take? Even with his darkened glasses, surely not much. Just how powerful was he? Or perhaps the belief that sunlight burned a vampire’s skin was false.
His dark gaze penetrated her eyes straight into her soul. “You wouldn’t mind being seen with me, would you?”
“Seen with you?”
He smiled. “Any particular reason why you’re repeating everything I ask you?”
“Ah…” No, no particular reason, except she was so confused. She loved and trusted the old Bennett. And she loved this new dark Bennett. But could she give him her trust?
She drew a breath and took herself in hand. “Forgive me. My injured ankle appears to have had some effect on my wit. No, of course I don’t mind being seen with you. I would love to go riding with you when I’m able.” Perhaps if she went riding with him, she could decide what must be done.
Bennett listened, watching her intently, as if he would rather do nothing else. She’d always loved that about him.
“We could ride by carriage instead of horseback,” he said. “I have a new team I’d like to show you. I assume you’re still horse-mad?”
She smiled and tossed her head saucily. “I am, and my father still refuses to take me to Tattersalls.”
He frowned. “Certainly not. No place for a lady.”
“He allows me to go with him from time to time when he attends auctions in Ireland.”
 “I suppose that can be overlooked, even by a sophisticated gentleman as I.” A self-deprecating smile touched his mouth.
“How fortunate for me,” she said dryly.
They shared a smile, and for a moment, all thoughts of his being a vampire evaporated in his sheer masculine presence. Her heart thudded erratically, and she couldn’t drag her gaze off his mouth. They had never kissed—not even when she’d pledged herself to him. What would it be like to kiss Bennett? Would he be smooth as silk? Forceful, even rough? Or would he be infinitely gentle?






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Haunted Halloween Spooktacular Book Tour; Fey (The Witches of Doyle #5) by Kirsten Weiss


Fey
The Witches of Doyle
Book 5

Kirsten Weiss


Genre: cozy witch mystery

Publisher: Misterio Press

Date of Publication: October 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-944767-34-1
ASIN: B07GBHMJZZ

Number of pages: 192
Word Count: 61,000

Cover Artist: Dar Albert

Tagline: This witch will do anything for a normal life with the man she loves. But when you’re on fairy patrol, normal is relative.

Book Description:

This witch will do anything for a normal life with the man she loves. But when you’re on fairy patrol, normal is relative.

Witch Jayce Bonheim has packed away her candles, crystals and cauldrons. With her boyfriend recovering from a hex, she’s determined to build a sane and magic-free life for them both.

But when a horde of troublemaking gnomes invades the small town of Doyle, it’s up to Jayce and her magical sisters to send them packing.

After the gnomes lead Jayce to a murdered employee from her own café, she’s plunged into an investigation that lands her in the sheriff’s crosshairs. And Jayce must catch a killer before the sheriff’s brewing witch hunt nets a very real witch.

Fey is book 5 in The Witches of Doyle cozy mystery novels. Buy Fey and start reading this quirky witch mystery today!

Spells included at the back of the book.


Amazon      Kobo      iBooks      Nook

About the Author:


Kirsten Weiss has never met a dessert she didn’t like, and her guilty pleasures are watching Ghost Whisperer re-runs and drinking red wine. The latter gives her heartburn, but she drinks it anyway.

Now based in San Mateo, CA, she writes genre-blending cozy mystery, supernatural and steampunk suspense, mixing her experiences and imagination to create vivid worlds of fun and enchantment.

If you like funny cozy mysteries, check out her Pie Town, Paranormal Museum and Wits’ End books. If you’re looking for some magic with your mystery, give the Witches of Doyle, Riga Hayworth and Rocky Bridges books a try. And if you like steampunk, the Sensibility Grey series might be for you.

Kirsten sends out original short stories of mystery and magic to her mailing list. If you’d like to get them delivered straight to your inbox, make sure to sign up for her newsletter at kirstenweiss.com

Feel free to follow her on Twitter @KirstenWeiss or Bookbub, get in touch on Facebook, post a picture of this book to Instagram and tag her @kirstenweissauthor, or send her an email. She’ll answer you personally…which may be a good or a bad thing, depending on your perspective.





Q: What kind of supernatural research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

A: It depends on the book. But I believe that especially when I’m writing some magical, basing the magic on real, historical systems makes the stories seem more “real.” So, I’ll usually research whatever magical system my heroine works in (e.g. shamanism, earth witchery, or alchemy) as well as the mythology of whatever other characters she encounters. It’s a lot of fun!

Q: What haunted pilgrimages have you gone on?

A: Recently, I went on a ghost hunt in Gettysburg, PA. It’s been on my bucket list, because it’s supposed to be one of the most haunted parts of America. We got to play with EMF detectors and other ghost hunting equipment. I’m not sure if we encountered any ghosts, but we did encounter a lot of Gettysburg teens. Apparently playing with Ouija boards at the local ghost sites is the thing to do.

Q: Do you hide any magical secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

A: Mercury is the archetype of communication and business, so I always insert his name in my books somewhere as a nod to him.

Q: Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

A: I actually have written under one. In my Witches of Doyle cozy mysteries, one of my witches, Karin Bonheim, writes paranormal romance (PNR). I thought it would be fun to write some PNR novellas as Karin, and weave her story in between the chapter. These novellas are The Witches of Doyle In-Betweens.

Q: What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

A: My sister, Allyson Charles, writes romance (she’s super funny), and she introduced me to her gang of fellow romance writers. They’ve really helped me kick up the romance in my mysteries several notches. I’m indebted to them on several levels.

Q: Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

A: A little of both! My Witches of Doyle series is connected to my Wits End cozy mysteries. They all take place in Doyle, and characters make cameos in each others’ books. And of course, there are those paranormal romances I mentioned under the Karin Bonheim name – some of my Wits’ End characters show up there as well.

Q: How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?


A: Too many! I’ve been rolling out a new book every month since June, and the last title in this publishing frenzy, The Gargoyle Chronicles, will publish in November. And Fey, Book 5 from The Witches of Doyle, is out October 28th. I’m also working on books four and five in my Pie Town cozy mystery series. The third book in that series, Pie Hard, will launch in January, 2019. And I’ve got the first book in a new Tea and Tarot series which will probably publish in early 2019 and is called Steeped in Murder. And then there’s book 4 in my Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum series, Chocolate a’la Murder. That’s coming out in March, 2019.









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Wherein Jayce Battles a Phooka
Halloween Flash Fiction from the Witches of Doyle
By Kirsten Weiss





“Well, you didn’t have to answer so honestly,” I grumped. My sister Karin could be bossy.
A farmer wandered the pumpkin patch beneath a full, harvest moon, his curses floating on the warm, night air. He prodded a smashed rind with his boot.
Jaw clenched, I scanned the ruined field and jammed my phone into the apron of my French maid outfit. Hey, when you’re a real witch, there’s no point to dressing as something supernatural. Besides, Halloween night was supposed to be time for sexy fun with my boyfriend, Brayden, not for playing monster-cop.
My chest tightened. Brayden and I were solid. Totally. But I’d sort of missed our last two dates due to unforeseen magical circumstances, and Halloween was a special time for us. I couldn’t let him down again. 
I plastered on a smile and waved to the farmer. “Did any pumpkins survive?”
“Damned kids!”
In other words, no.
My phone vibrated again. Ignoring the text, I knelt beside a tiny pumpkin the vandal had overlooked. I picked it up, brushed off the soil. Since I was an earth witch, plants liked me. I closed my eyes and focused on the pumpkin. Was there magic here?
“You! You! Stop!”
My head jerked up.
The farmer raced toward a scarecrow by the side of the dirt road. The scarecrow lifted its arms and smashed a pumpkin to the ground.
“Damn it.” It was magic. I leapt to my feet and sprinted toward the scarecrow. Was this a new trick? The local fairies animating scarecrows?
A shadow swept through the darkness in a clatter of hooves. Bells tinkling, a wagon flashed between us.
I skidded to a halt, teetering inches from the moving hayride, loaded with giggling kids and beaming parents and jingling harnesses.
The pumpkin split in my hand, and I jumped. My hair lifted at the nape of my neck. What the hell?
The hayride passed.
A shimmer of light flitted behind the scarecrow and vanished into the nearby woods.
I cocked my head and shivered. What was that? Dropping the pumpkin’s remains, I hurried forward.
The scarecrow slumped and dropped the pumpkin in her hands. And it was a her, a real her in a scarecrow outfit, and not, as I’d thought, a scarecrow come to life.
“What? Where am I?” She glared at me. “What did you do?”
“Nothing!” Typical. I always got blamed.
The farmer roared forward, arms swinging. The scarecrow sprinted away, which seemed like smart thinking.
I checked my phone and texted my sister.


Seriously. Crappiest pep talk ever. And where was I supposed to get iron?
The hayride clattered to a halt. Its driver helped the riders out and handed each a horseshoe.
Iron. I jogged to the wagon.
“Hey,” I said, chest heaving.
The driver smiled at my costume. “Hay is for horses.”
Yay. A comedian. “Can I have a horseshoe?”
“Did you buy a ticket?”
“Please, it’s super important.” That I make my date. Okay, and that I de-possess innocent Doyle-ites. Oh yeah, and send the stupid fairy back to wherever it came from.
“No ticket, no ride, no lucky horseshoe.”
“Fine,” I snapped and rummaged in my frilly apron for some bills. “How much—wait, are they real horseshoes? Iron horseshoes?”
“Sure.”
I handed over the money and got my shoe. “Perfect.” I raced into the oak forest.
The light dodged through a vineyard, between rows of twisted vines, and vanished behind a rise.
I jogged over the hill into another pumpkin patch.
A middle-aged woman in a plaid shirt, jeans, and vest hurled a pumpkin to the ground.
Aghast, I gaped at the wreckage. At least a quarter of the field was already destroyed, rinds and seeds and orange strings tangled on the ground.
“Catch!” I pitched the horseshoe at the woman.
She plucked it from the air and tossed it over her shoulder. The woman kicked a pumpkin.
Okay then. No on the iron. Or that guy had lied about the horseshoe.
My phone chimed, a gentle cascade of notes, and my insides fluttered. I didn’t need to check the screen. Brayden was the only person I knew who called instead of texting. He was old-fashioned that way. It was super cute.
The pumpkin in the woman’s raised hands exploded, raining down on her head. Her mouth opened, and the orb flew from her throat.
She stumbled and rubbed her forehead. “What…? My pumpkins! Who smashed my pumpkins?”
Keeping an eye on the wavering light, I answered the phone. “Hey there,” I said, trying for a low purr. But it’s hard to be sexy surrounded by smashed squash.
“Jayce.” Brayden’s voice rumbled. “Am I in the wrong spot?”
My belly heated, turning liquid. “Sorry. My bad. I’m on my way.”
He laughed softly. “I’ll wait. See you at Antoine’s.” He hung up.
The fairy light bobbed up a forest trail, along a stream.
I looked down the hill, where my F-150 was parked, and bit the inside of my cheek. If I ditched my fairy quest, I could be at Antoine’s in ten minutes.
The light vanished around a bend.
I swore and charged up the inky trail. But the blasted light kept ahead of me.
The trail changed, ribboning past cottages and a miniature red waterwheel.
I jogged up the stone steps from the creek to Main Street.
Across the road, a deflating bouncy castle marked the entrance to a pumpkin patch. Old Mrs. Biddlecreek raised her cane and brought it down on a pumpkin.
Frustrated, I glanced at my phone. It was nearly midnight. I was sweaty. My maid’s outfit was a wreck. Antoine’s, a small town bar, would be closing soon. I was so screwed.
How had I gotten stuck with fairy-removal duty? I didn’t know what I was doing. Iron was a bust. And I’d no idea why the fairy had left its first two hosts. Not because of me, that was for sure.
My phone pinged, and my muscles tensed. I really needed to choose a text tone that was more relaxing, like my chimes…
Chimes.
The first time the fairy had left, horses had trotted past, bells jingling. And the second time, Brayden had called, and my chime tones had rung.
Mrs. Biddlecreek whacked another pumpkin.
If I was going to get rid of the fairy for good, I needed bigger bells.
I scanned through cat videos, political screeds… “Ha!” I turned up the volume and thrust my phone toward the old lady. Winchester Cathedral’s bells bonged from my phone’s speaker.


The old woman clapped her hands to her ears. A ball of light flew from Mrs. Biddlecreek’s mouth. The light quivered, pulsing, then shrunk to nothing, popping out of our world’s existence.
The pumpkin patch exploded, pelting me with an orange mess.
“Augh!” I ducked, too late.
Mrs. Biddlecreek blinked and shook a pumpkin rind off her cane.
“Jayce?” Brayden, dressed like Zorro, strode down the sidewalk. Even beneath the black mask, I’d know his broad shoulders and confident stride anywhere.
Frantically, I brushed slimy orange from my maid’s outfit. “Brayden! You came looking for me?”
“Whoa.” He plucked a string of seeds from my hair, and his emerald eyes sparkled. “What happened?”
“It was sort of… uh… a magical problem.”
His handsome face creased. “Why didn’t you tell me? I was worried.”
I motioned toward the pumpkin patch. “I didn’t want to ruin your Halloween with... this.”
“Ruin?” He pulled me close, getting pumpkin on his silky white shirt. “All I want is to be part of your magic.” He kissed me, sending a shockwave through my body.
“Is that all?” I whispered.
He peeled another string of orange goo from my shoulder. “And get you into the shower.”
*****

Read about Jayce and her magical sister in The Witches of Doyle cozy mystery novels. Book 5, Fey, arrives on October 28th, just in time for Halloween!

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Review; Food Wars! Volume 3 by Yuto Tsukuda, Shun Saeki and Yuki Morisaki

As part of the Manga Madness Readathon and Foodies Read Challenge, I ended up reading Food Wars! Volume 3 by Yuto Tsukuda, Shun Saeki  and Yuki Morisaki. Today I'll post the review.

Description from Goodreads
Soma Yukihira’s old man runs a small family restaurant in the less savory end of town. Aiming to one day surpass his father’s culinary prowess, Soma hones his skills day in and day out until one day, out of the blue, his father decides to enroll Soma in a classy culinary school! Can Soma really cut it in a place that prides itself on a 10 percent graduation rate? And can he convince the beautiful, domineering heiress of the school that he belongs there at all?!

The "teamwork and friendship-building" camp from hell begins! While most students are already petrified by the threat of instant expulsion for low marks, the unveiling of the teachers responsible for judging their dishes ratchets their fear to a whole new level! Just which fear-inducing teachers hold the culinary futures of Soma and the rest of the Polaris crew in their hands this time? Includes one-shot "Your and My Romance Consultation”!

My Thoughts on the Manga
I enjoyed reading this volume, due to the character development, plot and heartwarm feeling. It also makes a bit fun of the classic shounen tropes at times. I can't deny that I sometimes got a bit hungry while reading it and one of the added bonuses is that they've added several recipes in the manga so you can make some of the food shown.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Review; Food Wars! Vol. 2 by Yuto Tsukuda, Shun Saeki and Yuki Morisaki

Due to Foodie Reads Challenge and Manga Madness Readathon, I ended up reading Food Wars! Vol. 2 by Yuto Tsukuda, Shun Saeki and Yuki Morisaki. Today I'll post my review of this manga.

Description from Goodreads
Soma Yukihira’s old man runs a small family restaurant in the less savory end of town. Aiming to one day surpass his father’s culinary prowess, Soma hones his skills day in and day out until one day, out of the blue, his father decides to enroll Soma in a classy culinary school! Can Soma really cut it in a place that prides itself on a 10 percent graduation rate? And can he convince the beautiful, domineering heiress of the school that he belongs there at all?!

Leaving home for the first time in his young life, Soma moves into the school’s Polaris Dormitory—a place run by an old crone and filled with crazy and eccentric students! Barely settled in, Soma quickly finds himself in one of Tohzuki’s legendary cooking duels—a shokugeki! Who will his very first opponent be?

My Thoughts on the Book
Volume two focuses more on introducing some of the characters at the Polaris Dormitory rather than a plot packed with action, not that it's a bad thing. I really like the attention to detail in terms of food and recipes, the Iron Chef/Master chef inspired battles and Souma is in general a likeable character. Another reason for liking Souma, apart from being a likeable character, is that he is a bit of an underdog at the academy as he comes from a family-owned restaurant, instead of a well-known company. An added bonus is that on several occasions, the recipes for the food is actually added, so we can make the food ourselves.

Friday, 12 October 2018

Friday Face Off; “The impossible could not have happened, therefore the impossible must be possible in spite of appearances.”


Friday Face Off is a meme hosted by Lynn's Book Blog, where one showcase some of our favourite book covers (rules can be found over at that blog). The theme of the week was the cover of a mystery novel.

1

2

3

Personally, I prefer number one, even though number three is looking pretty good too.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Omtale; Djevelens rytter av Jan Ove Ekeberg

Tatt i betraktning at jeg for et par år siden leste Krigens læregutt av Jan Ove Ekeberg, ble fristelsen for stor da jeg så at bind to i serien Den siste vikingkongen, nemlig Djevelens rytter, hadde kommet ut. Jeg var såpass heldig at jeg fikk tilsendt et leseeksemplar fra forlaget og i dag kommer omtalen av romanen.

Beskrivelse fra forlaget
Dramatisk og handlingsmettet roman om Harald Hardrådes ferd mot Konstantinopel.

Serien om Den siste vikingkongen er basert på virkelige hendelser i Harald Hardrådes liv. Djevelens rytter er bind to i serien, og en frittstående fortsettelse av Krigens læregutt.

Etter slaget på Stiklestad i 1030 befinner den unge Harald seg i utlendighet hos den russiske fyrst Jaroslav. Her tjener han som kriger, men setter snart kursen mot Konstantinopel, storbyen der makt og rikdom kan vinnes.

På veien dit, ute på de store steppene, møter Harald khazarene, et hestefolk som kalles djevelens ryttere. Her lærer Harald selv å bli en djevelens rytter.

Men Haralds og khazarenes kunster på hesteryggen hjelper lite da den bysantinske keiserens soldater går til angrep. De som ikke blir drept føres til Konstantinopel som krigsfanger. Der vekker Haralds lange lyse hår keiserinnens beundring, noe som leder ham frem til målet: Opptaksprøvene til keiserens hær av nordiske leiesoldater.

Mine tanker om boka
Personlig syntes jeg det var en interessant og underholdende roman som lett kombinerer historie og fiksjon uten at det føles anstrengt. Djevelens rytter får også til balansegangen mellom det å ha action og spenning, uten at handlinga går for fort frem, noe som gjør at hodet får puste litt innimellom.