A Very Witchy Yuletide

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author D. Lieber and her contemporary pagan holiday romance novel,  A Very Witchy Yuletide.

Author’s description

First love is hard to forget, and even harder to ignore…
Evergreen Pendre wasn’t planning on going home for Yule. But when her Mom tells her the old coven is coming for a visit, she wants to see everyone. Well, almost everyone.

After four and a half years, Sawyer Collins finally has a chance to reconnect with his first love, Eeva Pendre. He might have been too shy to tell her how he felt before, but he’s changed. And he’s determined not to let her slip away this time.

As the coven prepares for Yule, they are reminded that not everyone has the holiday spirit in this contemporary Pagan holiday romance.

My Review

I chose to read this book because it offered me a chance to learn about modern pagan celebrations and the chance to experience the point of view of a legally blind main character. These two potential windows into other worlds overrode my promise to stop reviewing romance novels because I find them too predicable.

First: the paganism. I’m fascinated by any religion I know little about and I thank the author for her excellent job of introducing the beliefs, customs and problems of pagans in 2020. The first two were cleverly interwoven into the plot, never leaving me feeling as if information had been dumped upon me. The third, involving  persecution of pagans in today’s society, was done with gentleness, showing  the tolerant as well as the extremists from mainstream society. For those who claim to be open-minded, or at least fans of freedom of religion, this book is food for thought about the deep-seated biases that still exist against older religions.

Second: the visually impaired main character. The author says she lives with much the same situation as her protagonist, so clearly she writes from a well-informed and a sympathetic point of view. I, however, know far less and was confused when the main character could read a menu by holding it very close, or pick out the shape of clock hanging over a door. Obviously I know little about the range of impairment included in legal blindness. So although I was inspired by Evergreen overcoming her physical challenges, I was also surprised by how little her situation seemed to impact her or her story. Perhaps that is the point?

Third: the romance. So, most romance novels make me want to scream. Not frustrated obscenities or anything, but something very specific. “Why don’t you two people just talk to each other!” In fairness, everything I’ve ever read by Shakespeare makes me want to scream the same thing, so this is not a specific knock against romance novels.

However, this book didn’t have that effect on me. Why not? It is the classic story of two people attracted to each other who fail to communicate until the last several pages. But here it at least makes some sense. They’ve both finished college and haven’t seen each other for four years, since back when they were shy and confused high school students. Upon meeting, they revert back to that OMG-he-can’t-possibly-like-me frame of mind that is the rightful domain of insecure kids. (Are there any other kind?) They work through this and find the grown-ups they’ve become. Kind of simple, but it worked for me and I liked their story. I mean, nobody should be screaming at kids for feeling insecure, right?

So, this was all around a good read: informative, interesting and satisfying.

About the Author

Lieber is an urban fantasy author with a wanderlust that would make a butterfly envious. When she isn’t planning her next physical adventure, she’s recklessly jumping from one fictional world to another. Her love of reading led her to earn a Bachelor’s in English from Wright State University.

Beyond her skeptic and slightly pessimistic mind, Lieber wants to believe. She has been many places—from Canada to England, France to Italy, Germany to Russia—believing that a better world comes from putting a face on “other.” She is a romantic idealist at heart, always fighting to keep her feet on the ground and her head in the clouds.

Lieber lives in Wisconsin with her husband (John) and cats (Yin and Nox).

Find the Author

Website: www.dlieber.com
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/dlieberwriting
Bookbub: www.bookbub.com/profile/d-lieber

Check Out All of Her Books

Conjuring Zephyr June 2016
The Exiled Otherkin November 2017
Intended Bondmates June 2018
In Search of a Witch’s Soul (Council of Covens Noir, #1) March 2019
Dancing with Shades (Council of Covens Noir, #0) August 2019
Once in a Black Moon March 2020
A Very Witchy Yuletide October 2020

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a hand carved tree of life tarot/jewelry/keepsake box (carved by DhewaDecor) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

As Eeva shifted her weight from foot to foot, swaying in time, they started the simple steps of the dance, circling each other.

“Yeah, that’s it,” Sawyer encouraged. “You remember. Ready for the staff?”

Eeva smiled. “Go for it.”

Sawyer struck out with his staff, and Eeva met it with hers. He did it again with the same result. And so they went on in rhythm, the mock battle playing out in a dance. They circled each other. They clashed in the middle. They retreated.

Sawyer’s heart raced as the exercise made him warm in his coat. He took it off, his steps still in time. Eeva did the same, her breaths punctuated by white puffs from her lips.

“Ready to try the end?” Sawyer asked her.

“Come at me,” she challenged, her voice teasing.

Sawyer attacked, bringing his face in close to hers, their staves crossed between them. This was where he was supposed to push them apart. She was to fall to the ground, defeated. But as they locked eyes, and he felt her breath on his face, they both froze.

Georgian Romance Revolt

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Lucinda Elliot and her satirical/dark humor novel Georgian Romance Revolt.

Author’s description

Elaine Long is trapped in the body of the heroine in a warped cyber version of an historical romance. Something has gone drastically wrong, with the characters talking and acting outside the script, and her coachman is exactly like one of the author’s Golden and Reckless hero types.

Worse, the disgraced earl turned highwayman anti-hero – one of the author’s Dark, Mean and Moody hero types, has stolen the heroine’s betrothal ring, which just happens to be Elaine’s escape device.

Elaine, once eager to escape from everyday life and being taken for granted by her part-time boyfriend into this cyber version of her favourite author’s fictional world, isn’t even confident that this story can guarantee a happy ending, even if she does have three or four hero types in it with her…

A darkly comic, fast moving spoof on the tropes of  historical romance from four times BRAG medallion winner Lucinda Elliot.

My Review

This is a funny book. It’s funny in the sense of making you laugh out loud and it’s funny in the sense of being strange and hard to describe. I’ll start with the first.

Georgian romance novels are ripe for satire and Elliot does a fine job taking aim at all the easy targets like handsome heroes with perfect teeth and some of the more difficult ones like chaperones, forced seduction, and social inequities. She tells her story through the eyes of Elaine, a modern, slightly futuristic woman inhabiting the head of a romance novel heroine. Elaine’s take on this partially-sanitized fictional world provides another layer of humor.

But having two women living inside of one body, often fighting for control of it, is also where the story gets odd. Elaine is in eighteenth century England by way of a  virtual reality entertainment system that malfunctions, adding a sci-fi help-I’m-trapped-in-a-video-game subplot. Because even the best of satire is only funny for so long, I began to enjoy the get-me-out-of-here subplot more than the Georgian-romance-gone-wrong story.

Then it starts to get weird. Without giving away too much I’ll just say the 1960’s author of the original novel gets involved along with Stonehenge, reality and maybe multiple dimensions. Then Elaine’s own personal life enters the scene as well.

Balancing all this is quite a feat. I think Elliot pulls it off but by the end I’d have preferred a good bit less of the Georgian romance, and a more thorough resolution of everything else.

The author says in her bio that she loves a good laugh. She certainly provided me with several and for that I am thankful. I recommend this book to anyone who likes reading something different and who enjoys satire.

About the Author

Lucinda Elliot, four times winner of the BRAG medallion for outstanding self published fiction, was born in Amersham, Buckinghamshire. When she was growing up, her family lived in various large, isolated old houses in various parts of the UK as they used to renovate such places  in the days before it became fashionable. She lived for many years in London and now lives in Mid Wales with her family.  She loves a laugh above anything.

Find the Author

Visit the Author on her blog at: https://sophieandemile.wordpress.com/
Find her on her Amazon author page at: https://www.amazon.com/Lucinda-Elliot/e/B008YU9B58
Find her on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/ElliotLucinda
Find her on Goodreads  at: https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/6469356.Lucinda_Elliot

Buy the Book

Buy Georgian Romance Revolt on Amazon. The book will be on sale for $0.99.

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

Aurelia wrinkled her well-shaped nose at inside of the carriage. The floor littered with rubbish, including a filthy boot, the broken handle of a dagger, a blood stained handkerchief and wisps of straw left over from the winter.

A false nose lay on the seat. It was as grotesque as that worn by the messenger the day before. To lighten Betty’s mood, Aurelia showed it to her. “They have stolen the idea from Earl Lawless’ band.”

The man guarding her scowled thunderously. “That is a scurvy lie. We never nab their tricks; they does ours.”

“I am happy to hear that you are so scrupulous,” returned Aurelia. “Do not fret, Betty. This is an adventure such as comes to  a few.”

“Then I wish I wasn’t one of them few, Miss Aurelia!” The girl burst into tears, and Aurelia took her hand.

 

Neurogarden

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Bryon Vaughn and his science fiction techno-thriller, Neurogarden.

Author’s description

Where can you run when there is no place to hide?

Brenna Patrick is a brilliant technologist specializing in neural-cognitive functions and AI. She has cracked the code to solve one of the most troublesome problems in the field, and turned that into the multi-billion dollar NeuralTech Corporation.

Working quietly with the U.S. Department of Defense, NeuralTech is poised to leapfrog the competition with a revolutionary system for tracking people, starting with the world’s most wanted terrorists. But there are only so many terrorists in the world, so who’s next?

When a pair of Columbia graduate students, Jenny and Leo, stumble on the dark secret of NeuralTech’s success, it kicks off a tense game of cat and mouse. As they fight to defeat the powerful forces arrayed against them, nothing less than the fate of humanity hangs in the balance…

NEUROGARDEN is a roller-coaster ride of a thriller, one that will have readers pondering the nature of memory, and of reality, long after they’ve read the last page.

About the Author

Ever since reading Douglas Adams back in my formative years, I have had an interesting relationship with humor, science fiction, and technology. My first computer was a TI-99/4A, so yeah, I’m old, but only until scientists have cracked the code on transplanting our brains into shiny new vessels.

My body may be showing signs of wear, but I’m keeping my brain tight.

When I am not dreaming of far off worlds and writing, I am living a semi-normal life working in New York City, and watching movies with my wife and her spastic cat, Moss.

Find the Author at

Web site: https://www.bryonvaughn.com
Facebook: https://facebook.com/bryonvaughnauthor
Instagram: https://instagram.com/bryonvaughn
Twitter: https://twitter.com/bryonvaughn

Buy the Book at

Amazon Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Neurogarden-NeuralTech-Corporation-Book-1-ebook/dp/B08F7BWCDZ 

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

In a lonely pod on the 77th floor, Jenny floated. The only indication of life was a slow, rhythmic sway as the blue feeding solution swirled through the chamber, pushing through her body and out into the next in the chain. Her eyes closed to the world around her, a world she could no longer sense or interact with in any tangible way. Her body was there, but her mind had joined the others, and despite her ongoing confusion, she was now a resident of The Garden.

Her connection to the others came in ebbs and flows, their memories, their thoughts crashed into her own like waves on a distant, rocky shore, smashing at each other in an indiscernible mashup of sensation. In a moment of clarity, she wrapped her mind around her situation, how she had wrestled to free herself, the needle had plunged into her arm, the slow, sweet descent into slumber. Though the silent lucidity was fleeting, chased away, replaced by another barrage of brainwaves from the others.

–Welcome.

Somewhere in the melange, the chaotic furor of a thousand minds, there was a single voice, some kind of controlling singularity. Commanding attention, its words marshalled the disparate collective of thoughts, ever so briefly, into a cohesive direction.

–Welcome to The Garden.

“Who are you? Where is this place? Why am I here?”

–Time for that later. First, you must learn the rules.

The Trapped Daughter

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Jay Kerk and his psychological thriller The Trapped Daughter.

Author’s description

Have you ever been trapped somewhere? I have.

Have you ever found that the world does not believe you? I did.

 

I have been betrayed by the people I trusted the most. They coil around me like snakes, lulling me with whispers about protection and safety and for your own good.

 

They offer up pills like sweets, promising me relief. Just take the meds and everything will be fine, Belle – the meds, Belle, the meds.

 

Everything will not be fine, and it never will be again. Justice is gone from the world. I have been wronged by Gabe, the man I loved most, and when I turned to others for backup, they sided with him because he’s a star. When I ran to my father for safety, he locked me up in his great big mansion and threw away the key. Now I drift like the ghost Gabe pretended I was, my bare feet tasting the coldness of rich tiles, my breath turning to ice.

 

Gabe isn’t real, they tell me. They insult me, they spit at me, then smile and pretend that they wish to help. Meanwhile, Gabe is out there, luxuriating in all that I won for him, and I suffer and burn.

About the Author

As a physician, I used my clinical background to keep the readers on their toes.  All options are on the table. Is Gabe real? Did Gabe ever love her? What was their relationship? Was he her husband, and did she kill him? Is Gabe her brother?

My name is Jay Kerk, and I am a 33 year old. I am a medical doctor, and I use my background to illustrate unlikely but realistic situations revolving around the alterations of the mind.  My first book A Predator and A Psychopath, self-published in July 2019, received five stars from Readers Favorite and 4 and a half stars from Self-Publishing Review.

Find the Author at

http://www.Jaykerk.com
https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJayKerk/
https://www.instagram.com/authorjaykerk/
https://www.goodreads.com/jaykerk
Twitter: @KerkJay

Buy the book on Amazon

www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08HXQFHSB

Yes, there is a giveaway.

The author will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

Prologue

When locked up in my room, I can no longer imagine good things.

I take a piece of paper out of my notepad and cut it into small pieces. On each piece, I write: I am Belle. My father is holding me hostage at his home. I sign them all and fold the papers until they become small enough. I then scatter them around the room, under the closet, beneath the mattress, under the carpet, in the cabinets, and inside the drawers.

A few minutes later, I realize that all of the pieces I have hidden could be discovered in one sweep. If something happens to me, I want the police to know about my father. I start again. This time, I cut the paper into larger pieces so I can write a longer message.

My name is Belle Andresson. My father is holding me against my will at our home. My father is dangerous and unpredictable, and if something happens to me, he is to be blamed. Today is the eighth day, and most of the time I am trapped inside my room, with no means of communication.

I hide the papers in places they cannot be found easily: on top of the closet, taped to the curtain, and in a sealed bag in the toilet tank.

My fate is unknown to me. I can only think of escaping to survive, but before escaping, I must know why my father is doing this to me.

The Trey Parker Story: Case of the Lost Child

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author RW Reels and his paranormal thriller, The Trey Parker Story: Case of the Lost Child.

Author’s description

The Trey Parker Story: Case of the Lost Child, the second novel in this paranormal thriller series, will make readers keenly aware of the unseen world around them. After hiding away in a small farm town in the Philippines, Trey Parker is compelled to return to the States to assist Detective Landis in finding a lost child. Trey’s wife, Iris, fears that the secret government agency that monitored Trey since his Near-Death Experience and took the lives of the tenants of the Sundance Apartments will be waiting for him upon his arrival. Iris believes Trey leaving so close to her due date is reckless and that he is oblivious to the perils.

Back in Tacoma, Washington, Detective Landis is still unable to cope with the loss of his daughter and his ex-wife Jada, even as the Detective struggles with a new relationship.  Landis’s past is not so easy to escape, as Thomas Barstow attains parole and looks for the opportunity to settle the score that can only be resolved through bloodshed.
The lives and souls of all hang in the balance and divine intervention may be only the solution.

About the Author

My infatuation with writing was born before I ever took my first breath, somewhere on the rural plains of Eastern North Carolina, nourished by the adventures of my grandmother’s childhood. From the time I was only four or five years old, her memories gave flight to my imagination and fuel to my curiosities. Her stories widened my eyes to the fascinatingly bizarre in the everyday.
As a young girl, my grandmother would bring her puppy with her to stalk rabbits every morning. The two of them would chase an unlucky long-eared rascal until it escaped into a hollow at the base of a tree, and she would run a stick around the inside of the opening as though churning butter. The spell of the sound and vibration would lure the rabbit out of the tree and into her hands.

Good fiction, inventive and provocative fiction, reverberates in readers and spellbinds them. It can spur surprise, delight, discomfort, and revelation and defy reason. As a storyteller, I strive to help others solve their problems by sharing things that I have read about, heard about, and seen. But I also prize the look on people’s faces when they hear the brilliant punch line of a joke, or when they experience an epiphany that knocks the logical wind out of them. These are the reactions that I live to inspire in my audiences when I write paranormal thrillers.

My obsession with the extraordinary in my writing might also, ironically, stem from my 20-year career in the U.S. Army. I can allow my mind to wander in the extraterrestrial sphere while my love for my country keeps me grounded in domestic affairs. Of all of my accomplishments, serving as a paratrooper in a Special Forces Group and a Field Artillery outfit during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm claims high rank. Few situations force a person to confront his humanity as painfully as going off to war, and this experience taught me both to accept accountability for my actions and to trust others. Eventually, I became a successful Army Recruiter and Station Commander, earning the Top Recruiting Station awards in Dallas and Seattle Recruiting Battalions. North Carolina Central University granted me a Public Service Award for my work in the local community. And currently, I serve fellow veterans as an HR Specialist for the Department of Veteran Affairs.

Other passions of mine include playing chess, photography, traveling, and indulging in my contrarian nature by instigating debate. Spending time with my wife tops the list of my life’s privileges, however. Whether I am entertaining her with my emulation of Laurence Olivier as Marcus Crassus or protecting her from an elk during one of our photography excursions in the wild, I treasure her companionship and affection.

When I was twelve years old, I announced to my Aunt Becky and Cousin Tony that I wanted to write a book. They stared at me in astonishment. The world of publishing was an enigma to simple country folks in Beaufort, North Carolina in 1982. These days I am achieving my dream with the ebook, a medium through which I can express my individuality without sacrificing my voice to expectations of marketability, popularity, and deadlines. My goal is to create an opportunity for escapism that is bold and absolute.

Find the Author at

Twitter: @RReels
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheTreyParkerStory
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13334662.R_W_Reels

Yes, there is a giveaway.

The author will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

It is like you are on a white horse in a white robe on a spring morning facing a large snowcapped mountain across a vast valley. The sun is on your face and on each side of you, there is an endless row of battle angels glowing in brilliant white. They all have gold swords in their sheaths.