Thursday, October 31, 2013

Broken Birdie Chirpin by Adam Tarsitano Excerpt

Broken Birdie Chirpin by Adam Tarsitano
$2.99 or FREE for Prime Members

The glam and swagger of Marc Bolan's T-Rex. The intrigue of Eddie & The Cruisers. The rock n' roll wit of Almost Famous. Broken Birdie Chirpin is a rock n' roll coming of age roller coaster ride...It tells the story of a watershed year in the life of a gifted, but mostly maladjusted, teenage rock n’ roller. He embarks on a journey from mysterious loner through the upper echelons of the London music scene in search of his rock n’ roll fantasy.

The story opens at St. Thomas’ School for Blighters, where our rock n’ roller seemingly falls for Becky, a rough-around-the-edges schoolmate who sees past his shortcomings. His life is quickly complicated by an encounter with Skeffington, a high flying jock with musical aspirations of his own. The not-so-chance encounter sets in motion a series of events that will forever change each of their lives. As the summer months unfold so do the dreams and tragedies of our protagonist. Bloody hell. Even the smallest decisions define life for decades to come.


“There exists an oasis where inspiration bursts forth like black gold from the fertile loam and every odd bellbird chirps a melody worth remembering. There’s no bloody map or nautical chart that can deliver you there, but you know the instant you’ve arrived because you never ever want to depart.” - Page 143

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Little White Magic (The Girlfriends Series, Book 3) by Jodie Esch Review

Title: Little White Magic
Series: The Girlfriends Series, Book 3
Author: Jodie Esch
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 191
Price: $0.99 or FREE for Prime Members
Rating: 5 out 5 stars

Book Synopsis:

Rachel and her best friend Steph are spending the summer as junior counselors working at a camp in Vermont. But Rachel's on a mission.

What's a girl supposed to do when she needs a new boyfriend? Enlist the help of a tarot reader, trust the cards and embrace the journey. Spiral into an adventure filled with startling revelations, where nothing is as it appears - and a mysterious, scarred young man's talents seem almost magical.


Where were books like this when I was growing up? In a way the series reminds me of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants in that the main character Rachel learns important life lessons without the story dragging. Little White Magic by Jodie Esch is an excellent read that teaches young girls to never judge a book by its cover - or a boy by his looks. I loved the characters, but I also liked that it was an enjoyable read that had something important to say. I mean, obviously, all young girls (and many older ones) love Twilight, but what message does it give? Little White Magic proves that books written for the YA audience don't have to be brain candy to be enjoyable. I'll definitely be reading more of Jodie Esch and highly recommend her work to anyone that loves young adult fiction.

Cat Tales and Whiskers by Ciella Naden Review

Title: Cat Tales and Whiskers
Author: Ciella Naden
Genre: Christian Fiction / Occult
Pages: 138
Price: $0.99 or FREE for Prime Members
Rating: 5 out 5 stars

As I've mentioned many, many times, I adore Halloween and everything that goes along with it, especially books. While searching for Halloween-related books, I stumbled upon Cat Tales and Whiskers by Ciella Naden. Upon further inspection, I learned that the book was written by a 13-year-old who suffers from dyslexia. Digging even further revealed that the book had a Christian theme, which truly intrigued me.

Cat Tales and Whiskers is about a teenaged boy and his mother who move to the town of Soulville. Shortly after moving in, things start to go wrong - terribly, terribly wrong. Ash decides to start attending church as a way to escape the awful house he's living in and discovers the answers he's been looking for.

What I really enjoyed about this book was that it wasn't pushy or preachy. Cat Tales and Whiskers presents the benefits of believing in God rather than trying to scare readers into believing. Also, it has a great story that goes beyond becoming a Christian. It's a fast-paced read that I highly recommend to ANYONE looking for a unique Halloween read. Whether you're young or old, you're going to enjoy this book. Also, I must say that you'd never know this book was written by a 13-year-old. It's better written than many books I've read that were written by "seasoned" authors.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Cross-Stitch Before Dying: An Embroidery Mystery by Amanda Lee Excerpt

Cross-Stitch Before Dying: An Embroidery Mystery by Amanda Lee

Embroidery shop owner Marcy Singer is about to find out that show biz and sew biz don't mix!

Marcy's mom Beverly is the costume designer for a lavish, Bollywood-style production...and she suggests Tallulah Falls as a great place to shoot part of the film. Everyone at the embroidery shop, and around town, is in a flutter that a glamorous movie production is taking place in their midst. But when the star of the film is found murdered, the police suspect Marcy’s mom, who made it no secret she did not care for the diva’s attitude regarding her wardrobe.

Marcy might as well issue an open call for suspects, because the star had a long list of enemies. To save her mom’s career and keep her from accessorizing with handcuffs, Marcy and her friends will need to stitch together the clues to catch one crafty killer who may have designs on Marcy next…


From Chapter One:

I was maneuvering my red Jeep down Main Street when I saw some sort of commotion up ahead. Angus, my Irish wolfhound, was in the back seat. We were on our way to the Seven-Year Stitch, my embroidery specialty shop, located in the Tallulah Falls town square.
I braked, squinted, and craned my neck; but all I could really see were the cars in front of me and the flashing lights of two police cars and an ambulance.
“Must be a car accident,” I murmured to Angus.
As I debated trying to get out of the traffic so I could turn around and go another route to my shop, someone on the street to my left screamed. I looked in the screamer’s direction just in time to see a man dressed all in black shove past her. He was brandishing a handgun. The gunman hesitated, looked behind him, and then sprinted off again.
I, too, was anxious to see who was chasing him so I trained my gaze at the sidewalk and didn’t watch to see where the man with the gun went. My heart dropped when I saw that the criminal was being pursued by Detective Ted Nash…my Ted. I closed my eyes briefly and said a silent prayer.
What could I do? How could I help? I couldn’t just sit there.
I whipped my head around in time to see the gunman and Ted disappear around the corner. I desperately wanted to do something…anything. But if I distracted Ted and he was harmed because of my actions, I’d never forgive myself. As hard as it was, it was better for me to wait. Wait and pray….
Suddenly, I heard the shots. They sounded no louder than firecrackers being discharged. Bam! Bam! Bam! Then silence.
Angus whimpered, aware that I was falling to pieces. He leaned over and licked tears from my right cheek.
I needed to get out of this traffic…. I had to park somewhere and see about Ted. The crowd had grown on the street, and, in addition to a couple of uniformed police officers, I thought I caught a glimpse of Manu Singh, Chief of Police. I knew he’d help Ted, but that reassurance did nothing to dispel my need to get to Ted and make sure he was all right.
I ignored the blaring of the car horns behind me as I edged out of the traffic and pulled onto a side street. There I parked, cracked the windows for Angus, promised him I’d be right back, locked the Jeep, and ran across the street.
“Let me through!” I shouted as I fought my way through the crowd. “Let me through!”
Someone had the audacity to stop me in my tracks. He was tall and strong, and I glared up at him. When I saw that it was Ted, I melted into his arms and sobbed.
“It’s all right, babe.” He ran his hands over my back tenderly. “It’s all right.”
* * *
I’d assured Ted I was fine once I’d seen that he was okay, and I came on to work. He’d wanted to drive me, but he had more pressing matters to attend to. He needed to go back to the station with Manu and question their suspect. Fortunately, no one had been hurt when the man had fired off his weapon—he was, thankfully, a lousy shot.
Now I tossed the bright yellow tennis ball from my spot on the sofa in the sit-and-stitch square into the merchandise area of the shop. It was a chilly, windy, cloudy day on the Oregon coast, and I hoped our morning of playing fetch would calm my jagged nerves and sufficiently tire Angus out. I wanted him to nap for a while so I could get some work done. I’d received a delivery late yesterday afternoon, and I hadn’t even had time to open the box yet.
At a little over a year old, Angus was still a puppy. He loved to romp and play. He returned and dropped the soggy ball at my feet, and I tossed it again. This time it landed near Jill, and Angus nearly knocked her down as he retrieved it.
“Look out, Jill!” I called. Of course, she couldn’t have moved out of his way anyhow. Jill was a mannequin.
The name of my embroidery shop was the Seven-Year Stitch, and the mannequin resembled Marilyn Monroe, who had starred in the movie The Seven-Year Itch. So all day, day in and day out, Jill stood near the cash register silently greeting patrons to the store. She sometimes modeled some of my embroidery projects. For instance, today she wore a white, button-down oxford shirt with a cluster of crewel embroidery flowers on the left shoulder. Combining the shirt with her jean shorts, she looked fetching as she embraced springtime.
Many of my other embroidery projects adorned the walls—either framed or in embroidery hoops—and I had candlewick embroidered pillows on the sofa. Dolls dressed in clothing I’d embroidered stood on shelves throughout the store. I was not above putting embroidered bandanas around Angus’s neck, but I didn’t do it often since he didn’t particularly go in for fancy accessories.
My cell phone rang. It was Mom. Mom, by the way, was the acclaimed Hollywood costume designer Beverly Singer. She lived in San Francisco…which was also where I’d lived until about nine months ago when I gave up a career in accounting to come to Tallulah Falls and open an embroidery shop. Mom probably thought I’d lost my mind at the time. But if she did, she never said so. She was awfully supportive.
“Hi, Mom,” I said. “What’s up?”
“I just got exciting news,” she said. “Henry Beaumont has asked me to design and oversee costuming for a huge, lavish production about the life of early Bollywood star Sonam Zakaria.”
“Congratulations! That’s terrific. Tell me all about this guy Sonam and why Mr. Beaumont is making a movie about his life.”
“Sonam was a she, darling, and she was larger than life. The only American star I can think of to even remotely compare her to off the top of my head would be Elizabeth Taylor,” Mom said. “Anyway, this job is going to be quite an undertaking. And since the studio has given me an extremely generous budget, I’d like to hire you and a few of your most trusted stitchers to help me out.”
“Are you serious?” I asked.
“Absolutely. I’m afraid I won’t be able to do it without you.” She paused. “Wait. That’s not fair. I’m sorry. I’d love for you to help with the costumes, but I understand if you’re too busy. I can—”
“Mom, I want to help,” I interrupted. “And I’m sure Vera will.” Vera Langhorne was a widow in her late fifties to early sixties who was always game for a little adventure.
“What about Reggie?” Mom asked. “She’s so skilled in chikankari that she’d be ideal for this project. Do you think she’d be willing to pitch in? If nothing else, maybe she could give the rest of us a crash course in Indian embroidery.”
“I’ll call her and ask,” I said. “I’ll let you know as soon as I talk with her.”
“Thank you, dear. Give my love to Angus and Ted.”
“About Ted…. He had quite the adventure this morning.” I told her about our earlier excitement.
“Oh, darling, I’m so glad he’s okay! What a terrible ordeal. Are you all right?”
“I’m still a little shaky, but I’m getting over it,” I said.
“With all this going on, are you sure you want to take on a stitching project of this magnitude?” she asked.
“Of course. They caught the guy. Everything is fine now.”
“If you’re sure….”
“I’m sure. I’ll talk with you later. Love you, Mom.”
“Love you more than chocolate,” she said.
We ended the call, and I smiled at Angus. “That was Grandma,” I told him. “She loves us more than chocolate. Yes, she does!”
He woofed, scooped up the tennis ball, and took a run around the shop with it.
Before I could call Rajani Singh, better known as Reggie, Sadie MacKenzie came in and was nearly bowled over by Angus. Sadie had been my best friend since our college days. She and her husband Blake owned MacKenzies’ Mochas, a hip little coffeehouse down the street from the Seven-Year Stitch. In fact, it was Sadie who’d convinced me to move here and open my shop.
“What’s got him so excited?” Sadie asked, as she walked over to join me on the sofa facing away from the window in the sit-and-stitch square.
The square was so named because two navy sofas faced each other with an oval maple coffee table between them. On either end of the coffee table were two red club chairs with matching ottomans. A red and blue braided rug beneath the coffee table pulled everything together and created a cozy square where customers could come sit and stitch.
“We’ve had an exciting morning,” I answered Sadie. “First we saw Ted chasing an armed man on the street, shots were fired, and I nearly had a breakdown. Then Mom called.”
“I heard about the robbery and the chase afterward. Was anyone hurt?”
“That’s good. What’s your mom up to?”
“She’s signed on for a huge, lavish production—her words, not mine—about some Bollywood starlet. Mom has asked me and some of Tallulah Falls’ finest needle crafters to help with embroidering the costumes.”
“Have fun with that.” Sadie was so not a stitcher.
“I should take you to San Fran to the movie set one day to be an extra,” I said.
“My skin might be darker than yours, but I don’t look Indian.”
“With a scarf and veil, you might.”
“With a scarf and veil, you might,” she said.
“Not me. I’m way too pale. I read something cute the other day on some blog forum.” I grinned as I quoted, “We Oregonians don’t tan; we rust.”
She smiled. “That is cute. Oh, hey, Todd took Audrey Dayton out to dinner last night.” She carefully watched to gauge my reaction. “I haven’t heard from him this morning—he didn’t even come in for his usual espresso—so I don’t know how it went.”
“I’m sure it went great,” I said. “I’m the one who suggested they’d make a good couple in the first place, remember?”
“I remember. I only wanted to make sure you hadn’t had a change of heart now that…you know….” She shrugged. “He seems to be getting over you and moving on.”
“Sadie, nothing could make me happier. Ted and I are so right for each other. I see it more and more every day, and I believe he does too. I wish you could see it.”
Since I’d first arrived in Tallulah Falls, Sadie had been trying to fix me up with Todd Calloway. Todd owned the Brew Crew, a pub and craft brewery directly across the street from the Seven-Year Stitch. Todd and I went on a few dates, but it never amounted to more than friendship. Sure, Todd was sweet and good-looking, but I never felt the spark of excitement with him that I felt with Ted Nash, head detective for the Tallulah Falls Sheriff’s Department.
I felt Todd had been hurt when I chose Ted over him, but it was probably more from pride than anything else. Like me, Todd realized that though we cared about each other, it was as friends. And while the idea of Todd getting seriously involved with MacKenzies’ Mochas’ mean-spirited waitress Keira made my stomach churn, I was delighted that he and the kind, auburn-haired deputy Audrey Dayton might be compatible.
“You know, I suspect Todd didn’t come by for his usual espresso this morning because he was avoiding Keira,” I said.
“That’s a pretty safe bet. She was livid when she found out he and Audrey had a date. She thought that with you out of the picture, she was all set.” Sadie smiled. “Maybe Blake and I can have you and Ted over for dinner sometime soon.”
“That would mean a lot to both of us,” I said. Especially since you’ve made it apparent that you thought our relationship was a mistake. I didn’t say that last part out loud, of course… only in my head.
As soon as Sadie left, I called Reggie. Reggie was the librarian for Tallulah Falls’ only public library. I could tell by the clipped efficiency of her voice when she answered the phone that I’d called her at a busy time.
“Hi, it’s Marcy,” I said. “I won’t keep you, but I’m calling to ask if you’d be willing to help out my mom with some Bollywood costumes.”
I didn’t need to explain anything further. Reggie knew my mom from the times Mom had visited Tallulah Falls, and all my friends had enjoyed listening to her “war stories.”
“That sounds fantastic,” Reggie said. “I’ll be over to the shop on my lunch break to get all the details."

Her Perfect Revenge (a laugh-out-loud romantic comedy) by Anna Mara Excerpt

Her Perfect Revenge (a laugh-out-loud romantic comedy) by Anna Mara

Revenge is sweet… or is it?

Christina Matteo had a humiliating prank pulled on her in high school by rich, party boy Bill Havenwood. It changed her whole life and she never forgot it—or him. Older, wiser and tougher, she meets him again years later and decides to get even. She wants revenge and comes up with a perfect plan. But things don't go her way when she stupidly crashes her car into his expensive sportscar while tailing him one day.

Not recognizing her, Bill blackmails the cash-poor Christina into helping him stay in his billionaire father's good graces by pretending to be his fiancée for one month. Christina decides to go along with his ruse. After all, who knows what dirt she can find out about the jerk from the inside?

But as Christina scams Bill and Bill scams his father—his father scams the both of them. William Havenwood Sr. knows all about their phony engagement and begins to push the couple to marry for real in order to get them to crack under pressure.

And then Christina's little revenge plan begins to spiral out of control when she finds herself actually falling in love with her avowed enemy, Bill. It's enough to make a girl sick to her stomach! But can she really continue to go through with her plans to make him pay when she's so attracted to the creep? Christina is just stubborn enough to find out!

HER PERFECT REVENGE is a story where its three strong and smart main characters—Christina, Bill and his father, William—find themselves engaged in a clever battle of wits where games, lies, secrets and deceptions rule the day. Who will win? And will Christina risk everything to get her payback?


Chapter 1

16 Years Earlier...
Was it her imagination or was everyone staring at her? No,
everyone was staring at her—and they were laughing too!
Putting her head down, fourteen-year-old Christina Matteo
walked quickly down the school hall, trying to avoid catching
anyone's eye. Clutching her books to her chest, she increased her
speed but as she went by a gaggle of girls lurking at their lockers,
the girls suddenly burst out laughing.
Ignoring them, Christina continued her brisk pace down the
hall towards her locker. It was probably just her imagination. This
was only her third week of her freshman year at Cloverdale Public
High School. She didn't know anybody here—and they didn't
know her.
Super shy and self-conscious, Christina had kept to herself
since school had started. Except for her girlfriend Jenny, she hadn't
socialized with anyone. Not that anyone would want to anyway.
After all, short, dumpy girls who wore glasses and railroad tracks
on their teeth weren't exactly on everyone's party list.
"Hey, baby."
Christina swiveled her head to her right. Tall, skinny Gary
Porter, a senior at the school, was in a corner with his friend, Barry
"Why don't we party tonight and you can do me?" Gary
puckered his lips and made a slurping, sucking sound at Christina.
Barry burst out laughing.
Mortified, Christina swung away and kept walking. What the
hell was happening? Reaching her locker, Christina fumbled with
the combination lock. She just wanted to get her stuff and get the
hell out of the hallway.
Nervous and tense, Christina jumped. She turned to find a very
out-of-breath Jenny beside her.
Jenny rambled on. "I ran all the way here. I thought I was late
again and..." Suddenly, she stopped her speech as she noticed
Christina's pale face. "Chrissy, what's wrong?"
"Nothing." Embarrassed, Christina kept fumbling with her
Jenny studied her friend. Her street smarts were telling her
something was wrong. Even though they were the same age, Jenny
was taller and more developed than Christina. She was also more
confident and tougher, but still not a member of the A clique, or the
B, or C—not even the D, but she didn't care. Jenny was lower class
and knew how to fight dirty.
The two girls had been best friends since grade school.
Christina had begged her parents to send her to Cloverdale High
when she'd found out Jenny was going. Although her parents had
wanted her to go to St. Joseph's, an all-girl, private boarding school
outside Philadelphia, they'd relented after an entire summer of
pleading from their daughter.
Not rich by any means, Nunzio and Gabriella Matteo had
scrimped and saved, and had wanted the very best for their little
girl. That meant a private, convent school. But their resolve had
melted with Christina's tears and they allowed her to stay at home
in Bensonhurst, New York, and attend public school.
Jenny continued to study Christina's bent head. "Chrissy, what's
"Nothing," Christina mumbled, as her lock finally released.
As she swung open her locker door, an envelope fluttered out.
Jenny bent down to pick it up. It was an envelope addressed to
'Chrissy Matteo'. She handed it to her friend. Perplexed, Christina
quickly tore it open. Whomever it was from had wedged it between
the door and upper frame of her locker.
It was a letter from the Anderson Family Planning Clinic—and
—shocked, Christina looked up at her friend.
Jenny snatched it from her shaking hands and began reading it
out loud.
"Dear Miss Matteo... We regret to inform you that a sexual
partner of yours, who has requested to remain anonymous, has
contracted gonorrhea and is currently being treated at our clinic.
We are writing to urge you to seek medical attention as soon as
possible to determine whether you have also been infected... holy
crap! Is this...?" Jenny looked up at Christina with new eyes.
"No, it's not true! Jenny, how can I get that... that disease when
I've never even kissed a guy?" Christina hissed.
"Well, you don't get it from kissing."
"Okay, okay. But why is this addressed to you? And in your
"I don't know." Panic coursed through Christina's system and
she felt weak.
Jenny was studying the letter again. "You know what this is?
It's a joke."
"Chrissy, official letters from medical clinics don't get stuffed
into student lockers. And look." She held up the envelope. "There's
no stamp on it. These kinds of letters get mailed to you or they try
to contact you on the phone."
"But who would do that? We don't know anybody here."
"I don't know but we're going to find out." Jenny's face set with
"Jenny, no!" Christina shouted, as the first bell rang warning
everyone to get to class. "If my parents find out, they'll ship me off
to convent school and you know how much I had to beg to stay
here." Christina snatched the letter from Jenny's hands and stuffed
it into her sweater pocket. "Promise me you won't say anything to
anybody." Jenny stubbornly remained silent. "Jenny?"
"Okay, I won't."
Inside their English 101 classroom, Christina and Jenny took
their seats along with the other freshmen. The final bell hadn't rung
yet and their teacher, Mrs. Lauder still hadn't arrived.
Jenny leaned over to Christina and whispered, "Maybe it's
Ashford over there." She nodded toward Stevie Ashford, a big,
bulky kid who excelled in sports but not in school. "I think he likes
Christina gave Stevie a sideways look before turning back to
Jenny. She kept her voice low. "If he likes me, why would he do
that? It doesn't make sense."
"Maybe you're right. I'll bet he can't even spell gonorrhea."
"Jenny, shut up. Somebody's gonna hear you."
"Maybe it's..."
"Hey, you're Chrissy, right?"
Christina looked up to see Billy Havenwood, class leader and
super hunk, sidle up to her desk and place his elbows on it. He
leaned forward into her face and the room went deathly quiet.
"Y...Yes," she replied.
Christina was wary. Billy Havenwood had never spoken to her.
The school term had only begun three weeks ago and everyone had
already been pigeonholed into his or her clichéd roles—class
clown, nerd, jock, wannabe. Billy was none of those. He and his
best friend, Jake Monroe, were the superstars. Popular, brash,
arrogant and gorgeous, they knew what they had and what they
could command.
Rumor had it that Billy came from a wealthy family. His mom,
a liberal, hippy-type, had insisted her son attend public school in
order to learn how 'normal' people lived. His businessman father
had sternly objected but then finally relented.
And Billy? Well, he didn't care where he went as long as he
could party. His drinking exploits in his first few weeks of school
had already made him a semi-legend. Even the seniors were
Christina was not—although she did have a secret crush on
him. All the girls did. But why was he talking to her now with that
wild, glazed look in his eyes?
"I've got some advice for you." He slurred his words slightly.
Repulsed by the smell of beer on his breath, Christina leaned
back. "W...What?"
A slow smirk spread across Billy's face. "Next time you wanna
hump, use one of these." He threw a wrapped condom at her. As if
on cue, the entire class burst out laughing. Then Billy yelled,
"Now." And, suddenly, the other students pelted Christina with
Christina sat there in shock as a hot fire of humiliation spread
from the top of her head to the tips of her toes.
Looking around at the sea of laughing faces, her breathing
stopped. Billy stumbled back to his seat and gave his friend Jake a
high five.
Aghast, Jenny jumped up and started yelling around the room.
"Stop it! Stop it!"
No one paid any attention. They just kept laughing.
Suddenly, both Christina and Jenny spotted a photocopy of
Christina's family planning clinic letter tacked onto the bulletin
board. Everyone had seen it!
Christina's bottom lip quivered. She had never been so
embarrassed in all her life. What was going on? And why?
Summoning all her courage, she finally spoke up.
"It's... it's a lie. It's not t...true." She spoke louder. "It's not
Jenny made a beeline for the letter and tore it off the board.
"All of you, shut up," she ordered.
As if on cue, the other classmates pulled out their own copies
and held them high. Everyone had one. Christina finally broke
down. With tears streaming down her cheeks, she grabbed her
books and turned to her peers.
"W... why are you all being so m...mean to me? I never did
anything to any of you!" She sobbed and screamed.
The laughter died down and Christina looked into their faces.
This couldn't be happening to her—her of all people. She’d
always done everything right. She'd been nice to everyone, always
blended into the wallpaper, and never made waves. Why this? Why
now? Why her?
With a final cry of anguish, she clutched her books and ran
from the room in tea

Battered to Death (Daphne Martin Cake Mystery) by Gayle Trent Review

Title: Battered to Death
Series: Daphne Martin Cake Mysteries
Author: Gayle Trent
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 337
Price: $6.83
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I love cozy mysteries, especially those that are created around the topic of food. While many that I've read stick with basic cooking techniques, Gayle Trent's Battered to Death has detailed cake decorating scenes that are so well-written you can easily tell she's an expert on the subject matter. Throughout the book I found myself consistently impressed with her level of knowledge. I was also impressed with her ability to write about the techniques used. The techniques are described with such detail that anyone could pick up a few pointers on creating fondant flowers and even doing complicated Australian string work. If you're a cake decorator, or just a foodie, you will not be disappointed.

Of course, what is a mystery without a good plot and the ability to be strung along? Gayle Trent creates a wonderful cast of characters and keeps you guessing about the real killer until the very end. I found myself suspecting so many different characters in the book and was still surprised at the ending. In other words, this is a well-done mystery that any cozy mystery fan is sure to love.

I highly recommend Battered to Death to anyone that loves cozy mysteries. It's a fast-paced read that is impossible to put down. Best of all, there's even a couple delicious recipes at the end. If you're looking for a cozy mystery to curl up with this fall, grab this book!

The Body Shifters: A Novel (The Body Shifters Trilogy) by Leslie O'Kane - FREE

The Body Shifters: A Novel (The Body Shifters Trilogy) by Leslie O'Kane

THE BODY SHIFTERS is the first book in a trilogy of thrillers that feature Elony Montgomery, a brilliant 18 year old. The gripping story opens as Ellie is waiting for a friend to arrive when she hears a strange noise downstairs. She is relieved to discover that her father has come home unexpectedly, but as she comes down the stairs, her father is shot through the head right in front of her eyes. Ellie scrambles up the stairs but is shot in the back. Helpless, she feels her life slipping away.

Ellie Montgomery has no idea that a very different life is about to begin.


Chapter 1

Someone’s in the house!  Ellie Montgomery thought.  She’d heard a noise over the whirr of her blow dryer.  Frightened, she turned off her dryer and remained seated at her vanity table, afraid to move.  “Dad?” 
Her heightened senses remained on red alert.  Shivering now, she tightened the forest-green towel around her chest.  She could see the half-open bedroom door in her mirror.  She was terrified that a stranger could be lurking there—standing right behind her. 
Heart pounding, she turned and looked at the doorway.  There were no strange shadows, no sounds.  “Mom?” she called. 
Not moving a muscle, she listened.
She could hear the ticking of the grandfather clock in the hallway below.  A full minute passed. 
It must have been her imagination.  She sighed in relief.
Nobody’s here.  I just have the jitters.  Too much coffee while cramming for my calculus test.   
She jumped as her cellphone rang, then chuckled at herself as she put a hand on her still-pounding heart.  The ringtone was four measures of a ragtime-jazz piano piece.  Nothing could be less threatening, even when it was this close—next to her elbow on the vanity table.  She glanced at the screen.  Liz was calling her, probably to say that the snow had slowed her drive, although Liz was always chronically late.  Ellie and Liz went to the same high school, but lived in different neighborhoods of Philadelphia.  
Ellie answered with a breezy “Hi,” but Liz’s “Hey, Elony” was a bad sign; Liz only used Ellie’s full name when she was discouraged.  She should be well on her way by now. 
“Are you stuck in traffic?”
“Big time.  So much for my brilliant decision to take the Express Way.  I’m sorry about this.  We should already be at The Sink by now.”
“No worries.  I’m not even dressed yet.” 
“It feels like I’m parked in this one spot on the highway.  There’s a pickup truck behind me that’s had his high beams on the whole time.  I’m getting blinded by the reflection in my mirrors.”
“I hate that,” Ellie said.
“It gets worse: the guy next to me is blasting techno music, and it’s so loud I can feel the beat.  Literally.  My car is vibrating.”
“So basically, you’re in a bad club,” Ellie said.  “You can’t see anything, and you’re forced to listen to loud, crappy music.” 
Liz laughed.  “At least there’s no cover charge.”    
“And you don’t have a permanent ‘X’ on the back of your hand.”  The Sink, where she and Liz were going tonight, admitted 18 year-olds until midnight, but marked their hands with orange Day-Glo markers.  “Plus, you have a seat.”
“Yeah.  With genuine fake-leather upholstery.  And I’m inhaling car fumes instead of second-hand smoke.”
“Hmm.  Carbon monoxide versus recycled nicotine.  That’s a tough call.”
 “It is.  But by the time I arrive, I’ll already . . . Wait a sec.  I’m picking up speed!  Maybe I can get to your house in another forty, forty-five.  Did you want to go on ahead and meet me?  Angie and Mike are already there.  We’re celebrating the fact that you got into Stanford, after all.”
“Nah, that’s okay.  I’d just as soon wait for you.  Give me a call when you’ve got an ETA.” 
“Will do.  In the meantime, you can make an appearance at your neighbor’s party!”
Ellie grinned.  Liz was teasing her; they’d already discussed Ellie’s lack of enthusiasm for this particular party.  “It is the place to be,” she said.  “Provided you aren’t between the ages of twelve and thirty.”  She caught sight of her blue-gray eyes in her vanity mirror and averted her gaze.  “No worries, Liz.  I’ll keep myself entertained till you get here.” 
“Woohoo!  My speedometer just hit twenty-five!”
“See you soon.  Can’t wait!”
Ellie hung up and sighed as she studied her reflection.  She wished she looked more like Liz—tall and thin—instead of short and pudgy, more cute than pretty.  Maybe a darker shade of bronzer would help accentuate her cheekbones. 
An instant later, she decided that she had better things to think about.  It was almost Christmas.  In another hour or so she’d be with her two closest friends (along with Angie’s clingy boyfriend) to celebrate her early admissions to her dream school.  Six months from now, she’d graduate and get her diploma.  She’d be out on her own at last.  She’d be free! 
Ellie put on her jeans and a black cable-knit sweater.  Her long auburn hair was still a little damp.  She grabbed her blow dryer, but froze when she heard a thud downstairs.  This time, she was dead certain someone was in the house.  Was that the back door? 
She glanced at the window.  The motion detectors for the back yard had turned on.  Had someone walked across their patio?
Her parents had just been telling her about two recent burglaries in the area.  She’d dismissed their concern.  Their home was nice, but hardly a mansion.  Tonight would be a prime time to hit the houses in the immediate area, though.  So many homes were deserted in favor of the annual bash four blocks away. 
Dad probably just bailed on Mom and came back home, Ellie thought. 
Then again—he’d driven to the party.  Why would he have used the back door?  Or walked across the patio deck?
Yet another noise resounded from below.  Ellie grabbed her cellphone, trying to steady her hands to dial 911. 
“Ellie?” her dad called up the stairs.  “I’m home.”
Thank God, Ellie thought.  It must have been the front door after all.  “Too much fun for one night?” she called out, almost giddy with relief.
“Something like that.  I just dropped your mom off and doubled back.”
Mom’s not going to like that.  If he’d seen how excited her mom had been when she was showing Ellie her new dress for tonight, he’d have realized how important this party was to her.
She set down her dryer.  I’m going to have to help Mom out.  “Hey, Dad?” she called, heading for the bedroom door.  “I’m rethinking going to the party.”
“At the Silvermans?”  Her father was standing at the base of the stairs, looking up at her. 
“Yeah.  It’d be fun for me to at least make an appearance tonight.  Will you come with me so I don’t have to go by myself?”
“Sure.  If you really want to go.  That’d make Cassandra happy . . . though she’s fine either way.  You know how your mom loves big parties.  But isn’t Liz going to arrive any minute?”
Ellie grabbed the handrail and started to descend the stairs.  “No, she’s going to be an hour—”
A floorboard creaked.  Her father turned to look.
Her father’s head jerked as a gunshot split the air.  He was propelled backward.  Blood exploded behind him as he dropped to the floor, lifeless.
Ellie heard herself scream, yet felt paralyzed with shock and fear.    
This can’t be happening!  It makes no sense!  
A man wearing all-black clothing and a black ski mask rounded the base of the stairs.  He took aim at her. 
Ellie turned and tried to scramble away.  A second gunshot resounded.  A bullet ripped through her back and chest. 
Her pain was at once unfathomable and irrelevant.  She got her hands out in front of her as she dropped to the floor.  Her blood pooled all around her.  She had to get up.  She was just a couple of strides away from her bedroom door. 
The gunman was climbing the staircase after her.  She could hear his footsteps resounding, could feel the minute vibrations in the palms of her hands, pressed against the floorboards. 
She couldn’t rise, couldn’t get to her feet.  She was going to die without a struggle. 
Her cheeks were wet with tears.  She whimpered and shrieked.  She felt like a terrified little girl and just wanted to be cradled in her mother’s lap.    
She didn’t want to die.  She needed to get up, to get away from this monster, to call 911.  This couldn’t be happening.  Nobody had any reason to kill her or her dad.  They had no enemies.  She was so weak, so tired. 
Something was being shoved against the base of her skull.  The barrel of the gun, maybe.  Yet it felt like a dozen sharp pins digging into the nape of her neck at once. 
She stared helplessly at the killer’s shoes as she lost consciousness. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Dearly Beloved (Vampire Assassin League #3) by Jackie Ivie Review

Title: Dearly Beloved
Series: Vampire Assassin League, Book 3
Author: Jackie Ivie
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 78
Price: $0.99
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Book Synopsis:

Dominick Miklos St. Guis is a loner, always has been. Not needing anyone makes him the perfect assassin: A shadow on the fringe. Never seen. Never surprised. But when an assignment for a wealthy businessman goes wrong, he finds something much more…

Courtney Dwyer makes her living opening lines of communication. She’s got a plan. All she needs is a little financial backing. The last thing she’s looking for is a drop-dead gorgeous, silent type…with vampirism tossed in for good measure.

The moment he touches her, Dominick’s lost. His entire being recognizes his mate. She’s perfect - sending sparks with every contact while breathing life back into his dead soul. Perfect…if only she’d stop talking.

Dearly Beloved is the third story in the Vampire Assassin League series. It is a 25,000 word paranormal romance novella.


I really enjoyed this novella. It was another incredibly sexy romp with lots of action. I loved that characters from the second book made it into this one. I also loved Dominick. He was strong, silent, and a well-developed character. If you love vampires and action, you're going to love Dearly Beloved by Jackie Ivie.

Cat Tales and Whiskers by Ciella Naden Excerpt

Cat Tales and Whiskers by Ciella Naden
$0.99 or FREE for Prime Members

Cat Tales and Whiskers is the name of a book store in Soulville.  When fourteen-year-old Ash stumbles upon it, his troubles begin.  A demonic scarecrow, a witch, and a generational curse are just a few problems Ash must face in this story.  This novelette has a strong Christian message and touches on demonic possession and witchcraft.  It is recommended for young adults or mature middle grade readers.


With the sun beginning to set and the trees towering overhead, Ash had to scan the headstones with his flashlight to read them.  The two that seemed to be the oldest held the same last name: Foster.  One headstone said, “Vincent Foster, 1850–1880,” and the other said, “Cora Foster, 1855–1880.”  “Very interesting,” said Ash.
He knelt to take a closer look at the other headstones.  He reached out to touch one of them to keep from falling, and a huge black spider ran over his hand.  Ash screamed, dropped the flashlight, and heard it break.  “Oh crap!”
Suddenly, Ash heard a noise in the distance, like glass clanking.  Once Ash’s eyes adjusted to the darkness, he could see what looked like a small shack ahead of him. 
He carefully began to walk toward the shack, and the closer he got, the more frightened he became.  He discovered that it was very old and looked haunted.
There was a flicker of light shining through the windows, but Ash had to get really close to see anything inside as the windows were caked with dust, dirt, and cobwebs.
What Ash saw when he looked inside scared him so badly, he could barely hold in a scream.  Inside the room was Rona, the shopkeeper from town; the scarecrow; and Vermin, who was contained in a trap on a table. 
Ash looked around the small room.  The missing chest from his attic was on the floor by Rona’s feet.  A black cauldron was hanging over the fire in the fireplace.  Rona was pouring something from glass vials into the cauldron.  He wondered if she were creating a potion.
Ash thought to himself, So Rona’s a witch.  That explains a lot.
Ash knew he had to save Vermin, so he slid off his shoes and tip-toed to the door.  He reached out and slowly turned the door knob, hoping the door wouldn’t make a creaking sound when he opened it.  Luckily, it didn’t. 
He opened the door just enough to peek inside.  Rona’s back was turned toward the door, so as quickly as Ash could, he pushed the door open wider, dropped to the floor, and crawled to the table. 
Vermin saw him and meowed.  Ash darted under the table just before Rona turned around to see what caused Vermin’s cry.
Ash could barely see Rona from under the table, but he quickly learned what was in some of the glass vials as she checked them off as she poured them into the cauldron: “Eyeball of rattlesnake, four hawk talons….”
Ash was so scared he was shaking, but he knew he had to make a move, and quickly.  He had the horrible feeling Vermin, or some part of Vermin, would be an ingredient soon in the potion she was making. 
Ash took a deep breath, came out from under the table, grabbed the cage that held his cat, and took off toward the door. 

Spotlight on Ciella Naden, Author of Cat Tales and Whiskers

What were you doing at the age of thirteen? Honestly, I can't remember what I was doing, but it certainly wasn't anything as amazing as what Ciella Naden has done. At the mere age of 13, Naden has written and published her first book, Cat Tales and Whiskers. I had a chance to get better acquainted with this amazing author and wanted to share what I learned.

About the Author:
Ciella Naden is the 13-year-old daughter of author, Cynthia P. Willow.  She wrote "Cat Tales and Whiskers" as a home-school assignment.  She battles dyslexia, but believes that with God, ALL things are possible.  She also holds a high-green belt in karate, competes in air pistol competitions with the local 4-H, and runs her own crochet business.  She loves Jesus and plans to write more stories about Ash in which he will be demon hunting.


Do you feel that writing could become a future career? 

It depends on how well my books are doing when that time comes.  I also want to go into forensics.

Which authors have inspired you? 

Dr. Seuss, J.K. Rowling, Cynthia P. Willow (My mom), and R.L. Stine

You've created a story with paranormal elements, but also a religious theme. Do you have hopes that more people your age will better embrace religion?  

I don't see Christianity as a religion so much as a relationship, and yes, I would love for more young people to embrace Christ.

Are you working on another book?  

Yes, I am working on the sequel to "Cat Tales."

What would you want others your age to know about writing? What would you say to inspire them?
Don't give up.  If I can do with dyslexia, you can do it!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Deadly Secrets (The Secrets Saga) by Angee Taylor Excerpt

Deadly Secrets (The Secrets Saga) by Angee Taylor
$2.99 or FREE for Prime Members

The wedding was supposed to stop the endless stream of death threats. It seems someone didn’t get the message. As the family struggles to find the person or persons sending the threats, they face problem after problem. Rose is developing new powers so fast she's having a difficult time keeping up with them. New family members have been discovered that were erased from the family history. There is even possibly a betrayal from within their own family. Whom can Rose and Caleb trust? Who is out to kill them? Will they figure it out in time to save themselves and their family? Or will they discover the truth too late to save everyone they love?



Icrouched there looking down, sliding my tongue over my unsheathed fangs, which
pricked it, and allowing the precious blood to seep into my mouth. Tasting the
sweet taste of the iron rich liquid, my thirst spiked. The raw desire of hunger
ate at me, like a wild animal chewing on a bone.

This wasn’t about hunger though, it was anger, and it was
about protecting my family. Hearing Caleb and the others beating at the door,
knowing I only had minutes before someone got the doors open. Looking deep in
myself, breathing deeply I released the leash I kept on my powers. I felt them
slam into me, for once the feel of thousands of bolts of lightening hitting me
made me feel powerful, it wasn’t painful this time.


I stood still watching my sister-in-law. I had no idea what she was up to. I’d
heard she had a protective streak and was very lethal when she wanted to be.
Even though I couldn’t see this slip of a woman being lethal, I’d wait and see.
I was caught off guard by what I saw with my own eyes.

The books went to flying off the shelves all around my library. Furniture began
floating. The fireplace was erupting with flames all the while my little sister-in-law
was still crouched looking down at the floor. Books that were flying off the shelves
finally took on an ordered chaos as they were circling around and over me.
Trying to get out of the room, I found I was fixed in place.

The fireplace calmed down, the furniture sat back on the
floor. I was still fixed in place unable to move and books still circled around
and over me. Looking at Rose she was still crouched, never looking up.

When she did what I saw startled me.

Standing slowly, she walked to me. Caleb was beating on the
metal door that stood between him and his wife.

As she approached me I guess the fear in my eyes made Rose smile. “You see now I’m
no child for you to mess with. You ever kidnap me again, it won’t matter who
you’re related to. I’ll kill you and won’t tell them you’re a good guy.”

“Why are your eye’s…That’s not normal.” My voice quivered
with the fear, no terror I felt.

“It doesn’t matter. All that does matter is you realize that
those people behind that door are mine. I love each and every one of them. If
you do anything to harm them, I won’t show you mercy. Vampire or not I can kill
you. You may have gotten the drop on me once and drugged me. That was the only
time it will ever happen. You better be truthful in all dealing with us or you
will see what all isn’t normal about me.”

Waving her hand, the entire room returned to perfection. I
shook my head half in shock but completely terrified of her.

Rose looked down, blinking a few times. When she looked at
me again all traces of the person she had been seconds earlier was gone.

“Open that door for me, if you don’t mind.” Rose all but ordered it.

“Sure thing Rose.” I did so as fast as I could. I didn’t
want to be in a room with her alone any longer than I had to. As the door
opened, her family rushed out all speaking at once.

“What happened? What was all that noise? Is everything okay?”

Smiling at her beloved family then turning to look at me
before she spoke, “Everything is just fine. Isn’t it Collin?”

“It’s great.” I gave my best smile, even though I was scared at the moment.

Caleb looked around the room, looking for some indication at
what had happened. He found none. “Rose let’s go to bed.”

“I’m past ready. I hope the bed is a soft one, after being
on that hard silver table for a few days.” Rose said as she walked down the hall
towards the bedrooms.
As she walked through the door it closed behind her. I sat on the floor. It had
been all the years of training to look tough that had kept me from doing just
this earlier. I would not show fear.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Hidden Secrets (The Secrets Saga) by Angee Taylor Excerpt

Hidden Secrets (The Secrets Saga) by Angee Taylor
$2.99 or FREE for Prime Members

Rose has been struggling for years to find out about the mysterious illness that’s killing her. She’s decided to end her life after one last trip to the French Quarter…Her plans go awry when the sexy Caleb Glasson, who carries a dark secret, saunters into her life. She discovers that she’s not what she appears to be, to rest of the world. The only man that can unlock that secret is dead at Caleb’s hand. The most startling epiphany is that she has latent powers that will emerge in a haunting thrilling story that will answer all of her questions.


What a sight she thought they were in violation of every vampire lore out there. They were awake during the day, driving a convertible with the roof down, enjoying the sunshine through their dark glasses, of course. The wind made conversation hard and she was grateful. She didn’t know what to say and didn’t know if she could stand to hear what he had to say. The car ride would only last so long. She had to pull herself together. By the time, they arrived at the airport she had reined her emotions in and was ready for anything he could throw at her. Thanks to private airports and no security, she had been able to keep her knives.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Sweet Dreams (In the Mind of a Serial Killer) by January Valentine Review

Title: Sweet Dreams (In the Mind of a Serial Killer)
Author: January Valentine
Genre: Thriller
Pages: 376
Price: $0.99
Rating: 5 out 5 stars

Book Synopsis:

A serial killer is on the loose, moving up the East Coast, leaving bodies & notes. Planting roses in his victims. Leonardo Gibraldi, Baltimore’s sexy Assistant DA, is tracking the fiend who’s responsible for the grisly murder of his ex-girlfriend. Leo’s out for revenge — so is the killer. Between hunting the madman, and fighting off beautiful women, Leo’s got his hands full. There's one break in the case: An eye witness who says, “It doesn’t look human.”


Halloween is right around the corner and while monsters may cause a chill to run down your spine, nothing beats the horror of something that could really happen. The idea of a serial killer will always be more frightening than a monster that only exists in our darkest fantasies. Throw in a sexy detective and not only will you keep flipping the pages hoping for a happy ending, but you'll want to learn more about the delicious Leonardo Gibraldi as well. If you're looking for your next Halloween read, be sure to grab Sweet Dreams by January Valentine.

Reversion: The Inevitable Horror by J. Thorn Review

Title: Reversion: The Inevitable Horror
Series: The Portal Arcana Series, Book 1
Author: J. Thorn
Genre: Dark Fantasy/Horror
Pages: 194
Price: $0.99 or FREE for Prime Members
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Book Synopsis:

With a noose around his neck, Samuel arrives in a forest littered with caution tape and artifacts of the deceased. He struggles to regain his memory while fending off a pack of wolves and the mysterious visitors who seem to know more about this dying world than he does. Major, Kole, and Mara, new companions also trapped in the strange locality, realize they must outrun the ominous cloud eating away at reality. As their world collapses upon itself, Samuel must find a way to escape the Reversion.


Are you the type that finds disturbing stories more frightening than a monster tale? Then Reversion by J. Thorn is the book for you. From the very beginning, you'll find yourself getting the creeps, trying to figure out what's happening. Don't be surprised if you stay up late into the night trying to finish this gem and then too creeped out to turn off the lights.

Free Kindle Books for Halloween

Halloween is a week away. If you're looking for some last minute reads, grab one of these free Kindle books!

The Trick-or-Treaters by Damon Young

Tara has decided that she's not going to play along the night that everyone else runs out into the dark, dressing up in costumes to find goodies. But the little ghouls & goblins who come knocking this year are not looking for candy and sweets and everything nice this Halloween. And just because she's not at home doesn't mean they won't find her....

Ghosts and Other Dead Things by Elizabeth Archer

Twelve stories of ghosts and other dead beings. Some scary, some funny, all exploring the boundaries between humans and ghosts, and the frightening occasions when one world overlaps the other.

All proceeds from this book are being donated to a spay/neuter animal rescue program.

Night Terrors by R.W. Mitchell

When the lights go out the NIGHT TERRORS come out to play!
For children who love a scary story this fun filled picture story book will fill them with spooky pleasures!
Ever wondered what happens when the lights go out? Then read this book about Dust Goblins, Vampires, Red Eyed Creatures and the dreaded Night Terrors themselves!
The perfect spooky book to read under the covers!

From the author of 'Monster Babies' & 'Space Babies'.

The Last Ride of the Knight Street Posse by Edwardo Morton

Four grade school friends -- Billy, Justin, Luis and Ed -- all lived on the same block on Knight Street growing up.

Through thick-and-thin, they remained friends for life.

After watching "Young Guns" on the television set, when they were about 9 or 10 years old, they decided they wanted to be like "Billy the Kid" and the "Regulators" posse. They wanted to fight for what was right and good, and they wanted to help others.

They remained tight through college, then they went into the world, took jobs, and married. All of the guys had kids except for Billy, who was always the wild one in the bunch.

Unfortunately, at the age of 31, Billy was killed in a motorcycle accident.

Billy's funeral was held on Halloween day in 2011, and the remaining members of the posse went to his graveside after the funeral, sat around Billy's freshly-buried grave, drank beer and swapped stories about Billy's life.

After several hours of drinking and reminiscing, the night took an odd twist, so odd that the three remaining members of the posse were forced to dig up Billy's casket to see what was inside.

Told from the perspective of Ed, this story shares the humorous side of Billy's life, and it shares the horrifying reason why three friends would dig up their recently deceased friend.

10 Fun and Fascinating Facts About Halloween

Guest Post from Halloween Spirit

Read up on some fun and fascinating Halloween facts to get yourself into the spirit of Halloween.


1 The Halloween tradition

Halloween originated from a Celtic tradition in Ireland where food and treats were put out to appease spirits who had died over the previous year. It was believed that these ghosts walked the earth once again during Samhain (the night of Oct 31st) so the Celts would wear masks and costumes to avoid being recognized by the spooky apparitions.

2 Don’t mess with the lady next door

In 1964 Helen Pfeil from New York took her ‘trick’ a bit too far by giving out some rather unsavory ‘treats’. The homemaker was annoyed about handing out candy to children she thought were too old to be trick or treating. She gave out steel wool pads, dog biscuits and poison ant buttons that she told the children were all edible. The homemaker was charged with endangering children.

3 Halloween has many names

All Hallows Eve, Halloween, Samhain, All Hallowtide, The Night of Witches, Feast of the Dead, All Saints Eve and El Dia de los Muertos / Day of the Dead.

4 It’s a Jack-o’-Lantern…but not as we know it

The first Jack-o’-Lanterns weren’t pumpkins – they were turnips! The tradition harkens back to the days in Ireland when turnips were hollowed out to look like grizzled heads. The switch to pumpkins only occurred when Irish immigrants in America found that their orange counterparts were much cheaper to carve.

5 Where’s the best place to party?

In the U.S, Salem and New Orleans really draw in the crowds. New Orleans in 2010 holds the current world record for the biggest Halloween party with 17,777 people in costume at a football game between the Saints and the Steelers at Louisiana Superdome.

6 Halloween stories that happen to be true

In the town of Frederica, in Delaware (U.S) in 2005 locals marveled at the creepy and ultra realistic decoration of a lynched woman dangling 15 feet in the air from a tree branch. People living around the area passed it off as a Halloween prank until eventually someone called the police and reported it. Turns out the 42-year-old woman had committed suicide.

7 The Story of Jack and his Lantern

Want to know where the tradition of carving out pumpkins for a Jack-o’-Lantern came from? Well, apparently, it’s based on the Will o the Wisp story from Ireland and Scotland that tells the tale of Stingy Jack who was a clever (but lazy) farmer. When drinking at the pub the Devil comes to town to collect his soul, but crafty Jack tricks the Devil into turning into a coin, which bared the symbol of the cross. Unable to escape Lucifer has to agree that Jack could continue living. Years later Jack dies and goes to Heaven but is refused entry into the pearly gates, vexed he goes to Hell, but is refused entry once again. The Devil had promised Jack that he wouldn’t take his soul, after all. With nowhere else to go Jack asks “But how will I see in the dark?” sneering, Satan hands him a burning ember from Hell which will never extinguish and Jack carves a turnip and drops it inside so he can begin roaming the earth, for a final resting place.

8 Beat that!

The world’s largest Jack-o’-Lantern was carved out of the world’s biggest pumpkin in Pennsylvania (U.S) on Halloween in 2005. The pumpkin was grown by Larry Checkon and weighed in at a staggering 1,469 lb (666.33 kg). Speaking of world records, in 2008 Stephen Clarke from Havertown in the U.S gained the fastest time for carving 1 tonne of pumpkins in 3 hours 33 minutes and 49 seconds.

9 Watch out for razor blades in apples

Aside from those ghosts and goblins out there, do we really have to worry about razor blades in apples? Well no, not really, it’s an urban legend. There is absolutely no evidence to support this story. In fact the greatest danger on Halloween is reportedly alcohol poisoning, so go easy on those Bloody Mary’s.

10 Candy, candy, candy

The first wrapped candy were Tootsie rolls. Today, the most popular wrapped chocolate bar for trick or treaters on Halloween is Snickers.
Want some more halloween fun? Then pop over to for a selection of the best costumes, props, treats, contact lenses, makeup and decorations to make your Halloween an event to remember!

Halloween Spirit is your one-stop shop for everything Halloween, from freaky and fun costumes for adults and kids, through to hats, masks, accessories and oodles of spooky fun.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Journey: The Beginning (A Prequel to the Secrets Saga) by Angee Taylor Excerpt

Journey: The Beginning (A Prequel to the Secrets Saga) by Angee Taylor

Journey is a prequel to the Secrets Saga books, Hidden Secrets and Deadly Secrets. In this novella you learn some of the life history of Rose, Cortne and Aj. We also see a glimpse of the beginning of their friendship.


How do you explain to a family that you lost their dead loved one? Especially, when said family is standing right behind you? To all the patients at work, she appears to have everything going for her. Beauty and brains, should make for an easy life right. Well they would never guess the strong confident nurse they have taking care of them is abused every day at home.

Patients predicting their own death and foretelling a future she doesn’t want to believe. Does she stay or let the predicted future come to life. Why does she leave her family? Why doesn’t she tell anyone what she is when she finds out?

Cortne and Aj

What have they seen that make them accept the things that come to pass?

The Three of Them

What trials have they gone through that bind them? What have they seen that make them accept all that happens to each of them.

We take a glance back at snapshots of their lives to see if it can help us understand them any better.


At nine that night, I carried the sleeping boy to his bed and headed towards mine. It had been a long week. I may just sleep all night and day. I crawled into my bed, and turned the lamp off. The darkness of the room made me uncomfortable for some reason. I dozed off anyway, at some point in the night something woke me up.
I don’t know what. My room was glowing red. All the curtains were closed and lights were off. Even the door was closed. The air felt heavy, I felt threatened. My heart raced, my breaths were labored; I had broken out in a sweat. What was this? I spoke aloud, following my gut. “This is my house and you are not welcome here. Leave here and leave all in this place alone.” I said through closed eyes, afraid of what I may see in the red glow. The heaviness slowly lifted but I didn’t open my eyes until the next morning. Josh didn’t mention it to me and I damn sure wasn’t going to scare him.
Later that day I took my horse out for a ride through the woods. The sun was so damn bright my sunglasses just weren’t helping. My eyes felt like someone had lit a match and thrown into each of them. Hence, the ride in the woods, it was shadier.
After about an hour of riding straight into the depths of the forest, I turned my horse around and began making my way out. I had ridden in these woods for most of my childhood. I knew every inch of them. I rounded the big oak to see a man standing there. He startled me. I almost yelled but remained calm. “Hi, are you lost?”
No, I’m not lost. I came to see you."

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