Saturday, February 16, 2013

Book Review: The Witch's Daughter by Paula Brackston

Hi all,

As tired as I am of all the young adult vampire, witch and wizard novels that have come out over the past few years, I was at once intrigued by The Witch's Daughter by Paula Brackston. The cover immediately brought me in to look at the description. After reading the description, I realized that this wasn't your ordinary witch novel and it might actually be written for a mature audience. This novel was offered on Amazon Kindle for FREE a couple of weeks ago, so I had nothing to lose by trying it. Oh am I ever happy I did. I loved it so much, I have actually paid the high fee for Ms. Brackston's latest novel TheWinter Witch. After all, isn't that the point of offering a book for free – to get you to buy their other books? Well, it worked for me. Below I am sharing the book description of this novel and my 5 star review.

The Witch's Daughter
Paula Brackston

Book Description:

My name is Elizabeth Anne Hawksmith, and my age is three hundred and eighty-four years. Each new settlement asks for a new journal, and so this Book of Shadows begins…

In the spring of 1628, the Witchfinder of Wessex finds himself a true Witch. As Bess Hawksmith watches her mother swing from the Hanging Tree she knows that only one man can save her from the same fate at the hands of the panicked mob: the Warlock Gideon Masters, and his Book of Shadows. Secluded at his cottage in the woods, Gideon instructs Bess in the Craft, awakening formidable powers she didn’t know she had and making her immortal. She couldn't have foreseen that even now, centuries later, he would be hunting her across time, determined to claim payment for saving her life.

In present-day England, Elizabeth has built a quiet life for herself, tending her garden and selling herbs and oils at the local farmers' market. But her solitude abruptly ends when a teenage girl called Tegan starts hanging around. Against her better judgment, Elizabeth begins teaching Tegan the ways of the Hedge Witch, in the process awakening memories--and demons—long thought forgotten.

Part historical romance, part modern fantasy, The Witch’s Daughter is a fresh, compelling take on the magical, yet dangerous world of Witches. Readers will long remember the fiercely independent heroine who survives plagues, wars, and the heartbreak that comes with immortality to remain true to herself, and protect the protégé she comes to love.

My 5 Star Review

In 1628, Elizabeth Anne Hawksmith (Bess) is a young woman when she loses her family to the plague and then watches her mother swing from The Hanging Tree, accused of being a witch. Scared and alone, she reluctantly follows her mother's wishes and goes to Gideon Masters' cottage in the woods to seek his protection and become his student. What Bess soon learns is that Gideon is a warlock—one who practices dark magic. Soon, a mob comes after Bess, proclaiming her to be a witch like her mother. She has two choices—let the mob kill her or run away with Gideon and be drawn into the world of dark magic. She chooses neither which leaves her running away for centuries from the one man who can take her down to the depths of hell.

The Witch's Daughter is a truly amazing novel from the first page to the last. Not only does it bring you into the life a magic, but is also filled with descriptive settings from different times in history. From the simple yet superstitious days of the 1600s to the war-torn English landscape during World War I and on to a quiet town in England in present day where natural healing is considered in vogue, you experience it all through Bess' eyes. Ms. Brackston is a talented storyteller and wordsmith. Her lovely writing style draws the reader in and lulls them through the story. You don't just read this novel—you experience it. I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys fantasy at its best and loves reading the work of an artist in command of the English language.


I hope you will try The Witch's Daughter. It is truly worth your time and your money.

And be sure to read The Return of the Witch by Paula Brackston too!



Friday, February 8, 2013

Heartbreaker Blog Hop - Heroes Who Break Our Hearts

Hi all,

Thanks to everyone who participated in this blog hop - the comments were so much fun to read! To learn who the Grand Prize Winners are, follow this link.

Mary Frances Roya is the winner of the $10 Amazon Gift Card from this blog. Congrats Mary!

Welcome to the Heartbreaker Blog Hop where you can follow over 300 blogs to read fun and interesting posts, and you can enter to win prizes at all the blogs along with a Grand Prize Drawing! We are coming up to Valentine's Day, a day that can either mean chocolate, roses, and passion for those in love. Unfortunately, it can also mean heartbreak for others. And that is what we are talking about today - when your favorite fictional hero turns heartbreaker. What makes us love them, and why do they break our hearts when they disappoint us?

When Heroes Break Our Hearts

When heroes become heartbreakers in a story it can literally take our breath away. How can they break the heroine's heart? We want to scream at them, cry, and maybe even slap them silly for breaking their lover's heart. But as we all know, a good love story also has a good breakup scene to add drama, whether we like it or not. Think about your favorite old classics. My favorite classic novel, Jane Eyre, has Edward Rochester as the heartbreaker. You really want these two to come together, but he breaks Jane's heart and she runs away. Lucky for us, in most stories with a heartbreaker, the couple does get back together in the end.

What book or movie has your favorite heartbreaker in it?

Sara's Promise

Cherise looked directly into William's eyes. "Why are you breaking my best friend's heart?" she asked bluntly.

This line is from my latest novel, Sara's Promise. In it, William believes that he will ruin Annie's life because his love for her will hold her back, so he breaks up with her. Her best friend, Cherise, wants to know why he is breaking her friend's heart and ruining Annie's happily ever after. Sara's Promise has many twists and turns and a few surprises. If you enjoy a good love story - you will love Sara's Promise.

Buy Sara's Promise on Amazon Kindle or in Paperback


For my giveaway for the Heartbreaker Blog Hop, I am giving you a chance to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card. All you have to do is leave a comment below to enter. Be sure to add your email address in the comment so I can contact you if you win. The giveaway will start on February 8th and end at midnight on the 11th. I will notify the winner after noon on the 12th. Good luck and thanks for dropping by.


We have THREE grand prizes. You as a reader can go to EACH blog and comment with your email address and be entered to win. Yep, you can enter over 300 times! All grand prizes except the Swag Pack are International. (Swag Pack costs too much in postage to offer outside the U.S.).

 1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet

2nd Grand Prize: A $100 Amazon or B&N Gift Card

3rd Grand Prize: A Swag Pack that contains paperbacks, ebooks, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies, and more!
LOOK! You win a copy of Sara's Promise in the Swag Bag!

Be sure to leave a comment with your email address in the text to enter the giveaways!

Hope you all have a love-filled Valentine's Day!


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Cloud Diary by Tony Gilbert

Hi all,

I wanted to bring this short story to your attention because it sounded interesting and the author gives 50% of the profits from sales to charity. This small book tells the story of a small child dealing with the loss of a parent. It can be helpful to children who have lost a parent, sibling, or close family member. Here is more about the book and the charity the author supports.

The Cloud Diary
Tony Gilbert, Author --- Samantha Gilbet, Illustrator

Book Description:

Short Story: 7 pages

The Cloud Diary - a short story dealing with a small child's loss of a parent.

50% of all profits made will be going to Winston's Wish.

Winston’s Wish now in its 20th anniversary year helps children rebuild their lives after the death of a parent or sibling, enabling them to face the future with confidence and hope. We are the largest provider of childhood bereavement services in the UK and offer the widest range of practical support and guidance to children, families, professionals and anyone concerned about a bereaved child. We know from experience that the right support offered at the right time can have a life-changing impact on bereaved children and young people. For more information please visit Helpline number 08452 03 04 05
Available on U.S. Amazon Kindle for $0.99

More about Winston's Wish Charity:
Winston's Wish is the leading childhood bereavement charity and the largest provider of services to bereaved children, young people and their families in the UK.
We offer practical support and guidance to families, professionals and anyone concerned about a grieving child. We believe that the right support at the right time can enable young people to live with their grief and rebuild positive futures.
If you know someone who could benefit from this lovely little book, I hope you will consider purchasing it and supporting Winston's Wish.


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Book Review: Black Dahlia Avenger by Steve Hodel

Elizabeth Short AKA
The Black Dahlia
Hi all,

I read a lot of true crime/murder novels and I am especially fascinated by ones from past decades, like the Black Dahlia. I've heard of this crime for years, but never knew much about it, and hadn't gotten around to reading up on it. When a movie came on HBO one night about the Black Dahlia, I just had to watch it. Unbeknownst to me, it was a mixture of fiction with fact. So this led me to learn more about the true crime. Steve Hodel's book looked interesting. Since he was a retired LAPD Homicide Detective, and he felt he was connected by his past to this crime, I thought he might lay out an interesting view of this true crime. I was not disappointed. This book is both well-written (except for many typos) and shares as much information as you'd ever want to know about this murder as well as many similar murders from this time period. Below, you can read my five star review of Black Dahlia Avenger.

Before I get to the book description and review, I just want to explain a little about why true crime/murder stories intrigue me. I think that interest in murder is in my blood - or should I say genes! Back in the 50s & 60s, my great uncle worked as a forensic lab specialist for Los Angeles County - today he would be called a crime scene investigator (CSI). He worked at both the actual murder crime scenes and in the lab looking for clues to catch the killer. He testified in many high-profile L.A. murder cases and was well-respected among his peers. When I was about three years old, he took me and my brothers on a tour of his crime lab, fingerprinted us (I still have that sheet today), and took us through the drug room. He was an interesting and intelligent man, as well as a lovely person, and I think he passed down his interest in crime and murder to me. It's actually surprising that I don't write murder mysteries instead of romance novels, but I guess that's just how it goes. :-) Now, back to the Black Dahlia Avenger.  

Black Dahlia Avenger: A Genius for Murder
Steve Hodel

Book Description:

In 1947, California's infamous Black Dahlia murder inspired the largest manhunt in Los Angeles history. Despite an unprecedented allocation of money and manpower, police investigators failed to identify the psychopath responsible for the sadistic murder and mutilation of beautiful twenty-two-year-old Elizabeth Short. Decades later, former LAPD homicide detective-turned-private investigator Steve Hodel launched his own investigation into the grisly unsolved crime -- and it led him to a shockingly unexpected perpetrator: Hodel's own father.

A spellbinding tour de force of true-crime writing, this newly revised edition includes never-before-published forensic evidence, photos, and previously unreleased documents, definitively closing the case that has often been called "the most notorious unsolved murder of the twentieth century."

Buy Black Dahlia Avenger on Amazon in Kindle or Paperback

My Five Star Review:

After his father passes away, retired LAPD Homicide Detective Steve Hodel finds two photos among his father's possessions that look oddly similar to the murdered woman Elizabeth Short known forever in history as the Black Dahlia. These photos lead Hodel on a search to find out how his father is connected to this woman and if he is, in fact, the person who murdered the Black Dahlia.

In reading other reviews of this book, I am surprised at how many people see no connection between Hodel's father and the murder. I think Hodel makes a compelling case and has interesting evidence that shows his father could have murdered the Black Dahlia as well as many other women who were found murdered in that time period. Hodel lays out the information in an interesting way and keeps the reader interested and intrigued. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about the Black Dahlia murder whether or not you believe Hodel's father is the murderer. 

If you are a true crime buff like me, I'm sure you will enjoy this book.