Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Review: A Study in Ashes - Emma Jane Holloway


A Study In Ashes is the third installment in "The Baskerville Affair Series." I liked this book but not as much as the first and second installments. With this story, you do get a lot of loose ends tied up, but the story drags at times. The ending does leave an opening for another book. I think the only issue I had with the book was Imogen, I would have liked for her to have played a bigger part in this book and had some sort of closure for her part in the story. 

Overall, this was an okay conclusion to the series, and I am hoping to see more of all these wonderful characters and find out where this fantastic journey might lead them next.

4 Stars

Billie Jo

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Spotlight: Walk A Straight Line - Michelle Lindo-Rice

Two friends. Two brothers. Two weddings. Too many secrets.     
Colleen MacGregor rededicated her life to God when she met and married Terence Hayworth. However, her happily-ever-after will have to wait, because she has some serious dragons to slay to sustain her marriage and keep her friendship with Gina Price intact. After fifteen years of friendship, Colleen must now draw the line and stop telling Gina everything.

          What did God do to her friend? Gina finds it hard to deal with Colleen's newfound faith. She thinks Colleen has become self-righteous, subjecting Gina to her holy tirades whenever the mood strikes. When Gina begins dating one brother, while simultaneously falling in love with another, boy, does she get an earful! Gina, however, is way too busy trying to sort her way through her own murky feelings to worry about her soul. Her heart wants what it wants.

          Michelle Lindo-Rice explores the complicated world of female friendships. Can a friendship survive when one friend becomes saved?

Book Link:

Originally from Jamaica West Indies, Michelle Lindo-Rice calls herself a lifelong learner. She has earned degrees from New York University, SUNY at Stony Brook, and Teachers College, Columbia University. When she moved to Florida, she enrolled in Argosy University where she completed her Education Specialist degree in Education Leadership. 

A pastor's kid, Michelle upholds the faith, preaching, teaching and ministering through praise and worship. From a young teen, Michelle discovered a passion for reading and writing and feels blessed to use her talents to bring God glory. 

Michelle currently works as a Reading Specialist for exceptional student learners, and is the proud mother of two teenage sons.

Books by Michelle Lindo-Rice

Sing A New Song, Feb. 2013

Walk A Straight Line Jan. 2014
My Steps Are Ordered Aug. 2014

You can read her testimony, learn about her books, join her mailing list, or read a sample chapter for her books at www.michellelindorice.com

Review: Intangible - C.A. Gray


I'm not usually one for fantasy novels because they tend to get really technical at times, but this novel had just the right amount of information without bogging down the storyline. Each character had a little something that kept you interested in their day to day lives. 

Peter is wise beyond his years and extremely smart, and this causes a lot of problems along the way. Lily is an extraordinary girl who can see things that others cannot and this at times makes her feel like she is going crazy. I don't want to give too much away, but I will say this was a page-turner. I was immediately drawn into the different aspects of the Arthurian side of things and loved the concept of shadow figures around humans controlling them. 

This gave the story a unique twist, in my opinion, and kept things interesting, C. A Gray really knows how to keep you guessing. I loved that this story was left open-ended. Hopefully, more books are on the horizon. 

This is a book that will appeal to young and adult alike.  I gave this book 5 stars. I'm looking forward to more from this author.                                                                                

5 Stars

Billie Jo

Review: Sectors - Harule Stokes

A murder has been committed in Westwood. Joseph Marshall, a newly graduated NextGen operative is sent to investigate the only suspect - one of the last remaining Fallen. Will he live long enough to solve the murder or die by the hands of one of the most powerful living weapons ever created? 


This was a very well written story, and the author does an amazing job of pulling you into this fantastic world he's created. This is a world where its people are separated by their looks and how smart, they happen to be. The people are under strict military rule and can't intermingle with the lower class. This story had a lot going on and at times it was hard for me to stay interested. It had nothing to do with the quality of writing or the story itself. This was not my kind of book. I just couldn't get invested in it and its characters enough. 

Don't get me wrong, I liked some aspects of the book. The author does an amazing job detailing and building the world around you as you read, and makes you feel like your right in the midst of the action. I gave this book 4 stars and would recommend to anyone that likes hard-core war/sci-fi type novels.  

4 Stars

Billie Jo

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Review: Coming up Daffy - Sandra Sookoo

He loves me, he loves me not, he… wait, am I like a platypus?

Alice Attler has a green thumb in everything except cultivating relationships. Though she’s more comfortable encouraging green things to grow, she’s mystified that every relationship she’s had has withered. When a client’s daffodils won’t grow, she heads to the bait shop for earthworms where she meets Mark.

Mark Kincaide doesn’t know what to do with himself. His brother is on his honeymoon and he’s stuck with Grandma for company. Plus, he’s not a fan of the evil llamas. Just once he wants to do something heroic and be known as someone other than the bait guy. When the local plant specialist/florist comes calling, he can’t take his eyes off her…and it’s for more than catching a glimpse of bird poop in her hair.

An innocent trip to a river bank to dig up bulbs puts Alice in danger and Mark finally has his chance to play the hero. After things settle down, he hopes he and Alice will have more in common than just worms and a penchant for taking tumbles into embarrassing moments.


I really enjoyed this book. It was a very fun upbeat romantic story. The main characters pull you in right away, and the story was very easy to follow. This is the perfect book for a lazy Sunday, not too long and can be finished in a single sitting.

I would have to say I liked the grandmother the most, she was a very eccentric lady to say the least !! Overall, this was a good book and would probably be a great fit for teenagers on up to adults. This was very tame compared to some romance novels, and didn't contain any adult situations.

I would give this 4 stars and would definitely recommend it.    

4 Stars

Billie Jo

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Virtual Blog Tour: Whips & Chains - Pleasure and Pain Blog Tour/Giveaway - Shakir Rashaan

I wanted to take the time to thank Orsayor and Book Referees for being a part of the Whips & Chains, Pleasure and Pain Blog Tour!
Thank you so much for letting me and Ramesses get in with you guys and hopefully give you a few insights into the Nubian Underworld series.

Let’s get to it, shall we?

Shakir: Thanks for sitting down with me, Sir, I know the schedule is hectic for you and for me this week, so we’ll do what we do like we normally do when we’re collaborating and let the interview take its course, cool?

Ramesses: You know I have no problems chatting with you, my friend. After all, this is a coming out party for me and you both, you know?

Shakir: Yeah, trust me…I’m definitely enjoying this ride, wherever it leads us. However, let’s get to it because we have an audience awaiting us. First question: where did the Palace come from?

Ramesses: Amenhotep has had the Palace for the better part of the last twenty years. He’s kept it renovated over the years to keep it up to date, but he always had the concept down from the beginning. Most are content with just a room, but his entire estate is set up for debauchery and indecent activities.

Shakir: You definitely have a point. I had fun going out there with you, so I could describe the place as best as I could. Do those things actually happen out there every weekend?

Ramesses: You saw how everything went down during safi’s collaring ceremony, right? You know how things go down the way they do at the Palace, otherwise you wouldn’t have written it the way you did.

Shakir: LOL fair enough, bro, but I’m trying to do this interview like I don’t know what’s going on, remember? Okay, let’s get into why the Nubian Underworld series was created. Do you think the reading public doesn’t believe that people of color (meaning mostly black people) don’t really believe that we engage in kink and BDSM?

Ramesses: Let’s be real, Shakir. We have a bit of an image problem, which was why we needed to sit down and tell this story. If I see another white billionaire wannabe Dominant, I think I’m going to vomit. Yeah, I know money and power are sexy. I get that, but at the risk of sounding arrogant (I am the Great One, after all), they couldn’t hold a candle to the things that I can do once you take away the money.

There are black male lifestyle dominant/Alpha Male characters that can be, and are, positive. My voice is rare out there, and I understand that, which is why I wanted to cut through the noise and let readers see what’s up. No disrespect to Mr. Grey, Mr. Stark and a couple of others, but I would be curious as to where they got their mentoring and training from.

Shakir: Wow, you threw some of the popular characters out there, bro. Do you think you’re ready to hang with them? I mean, the die-hard readers already swoon over you as it is, but you’re about to be exposed to a larger audience. There are bound to be some that will think you’re a bit more intense and dare I say, abusive than the aforementioned Alpha males.

Ramesses: Bring the noise. Being a Dominant means never having to apologize for what you are. You know that as much as I do.

Shakir: Yeah, yeah I know, but this is mainstream folks, you know, the “vanilla” folk we have to try to get to understand some of this stuff, right?

Ramesses: Fair enough, Shakir, let’s roll with the next question, shall we?

Shakir: Cool. Now, the next question readers always ask: what’s up with the capitalization of the Dominant’s and lack thereof with the submissives? I know a few readers had a bit of time figuring things out, can you shed some light on why that is done in some circles?

Ramesses: Let’s see, the whole capitalizing of pronouns and such that seems to drive the vanillas crazy is representative of the hierarchical culture within the BDSM realm. As our girl, shamise, loves to say, “Sometimes a submissive or slave needs the physical manifestation of the purposeful imbalance within a Dominant/submissive relationship.” I agree with that assessment wholeheartedly. The reverence is needed, but it must also be earned.

Shakir: I like that response. Now, last question before we wrap this thing up: are the views and thoughts that you and Neferterri express based on anything that I might have influenced you or my Beloved might have influenced upon Neferterri?

Ramesses: LOL! No, but here is the caveat to that answer. Because we think in similar veins, of course the reading public might think that you are me and I am you, much the same as they might think that your Beloved is Neferterri and vice versa. But here’s the real: people will obviously see what they want to see, and at the end of the day, if they think you’re trying to be slick, then that’s something they need to reconcile within themselves, it’s nothing you, or I would be able to control, and that’s saying a lot coming from a couple of control freaks like us!

Shakir: Yeah, I definitely know what you’re talking about. If the world really knew our respective spouses…well, I’m not about to get into that, that’s another conversation for another time. What is in store for the next book in the series, Legacy? I know you’ve been putting the Palace through a renovation since getting back from out of the country, what else is going on?

Ramesses: Well, let’s just say that there are some lessons that will need to be learned, there will be some even hotter scenes than what was read about in The Awakening, and there will be a twist that you will never see coming. Trust me, you’ll be back for more!

(Click on book cover to order)
Leave a comment for your chance to win an ebook version of this book from the Author.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Review: Our First Love - Anthony Lamarr

Can brothers who share one life share one love? Since the tragic accident that changed their lives forever, brothers Nigel and Caleb have been inseparable until one woman captures both of their hearts.
 This was an amazing read, and I really liked how the chapters went from one brothers point of view to the others. This is something that I like to see when reading. This type of writing gives you a feel for the characters, in my opinion.  The brother's relationship was kind of crazy to me and very co-dependent/unhealthy I know family is important, but I can't see putting your whole life on hold and sacrificing so much for so long.
I felt Caleb should have manned up at some point and faced things more than he did. I mean, yes I did feel bad about what happened to him and all he went through, but he is a grown man after all. I felt bad for Nigel and was rooting for him throughout the book.
The ending was a shocker. I wasn't expecting what happened at all!! This was a fantastic read and very interesting!! I gave this book five stars and would recommend to everyone!!
5 Stars
Billie Jo

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Guest Blog: Operation Boss Mode - N'Tyse




his morning I woke up feeling like a champ, a superstar, a trailblazer, and a BOSS!  I realize many people tend to get extremely relaxed and self-complacent around the holidays, while others give into the seasonal stress. Much of it resulting from watching their bank accounts shrink due to impulsive shopping or unforeseen circumstances―like that out-of-sight-out-of-mind electricity bill that practically doubled from last month. Trust me, I’ve been there!
Then you have those who are like me and feeling right about now that we have stepped into OUR SEASON! This is the time of year that I am my most productive. I work hard to maintain a positive energy throughout the year, but it’s something extremely special about the last quarter that gives me an energy spike. Could there be a hidden ingredient in the eggnog?
Hmmmm … something to ponder. No seriously, I’m asking myself where does this invigorating power surge come from, and how is it that I can’t stop coming up with new ideas and goals to implement.
My imagination is running amok, my ambition is on steroids, and my inner Oprah has been soaking in wheatgrass and Red Bull, while sipping on a venti caramel macchiato with a triple shot of espresso. I think you get the picture now. Truth is, I’m on fire about waking up and feeling as if I can do anything I program my mind to do. I tell myself I’m qualified first! Whew, self-motivation and determination is premium gas for any engine. [Catch it] I feel liberated and humbly blessed that I’m even able to envision the goals I’m hoping to achieve, because there was once a time when African American women didn’t have such privilege and opportunity.
I say all this to say, December is here but it’s not too late to reevaluate the goals that we set at the beginning of this year. And with 2014 approaching, it’s an even better time to self-assess and take inventory to see where we are with our faith, our health, our family, our careers and our finances.
Do whatever it takes to get that spark back and rejuvenate your inner superwoman. She lives within us and she’s ready to make some power moves. Time to reprogram and discover the boss in you, so that you can get back on track to fulfilling your purpose. I know I am. Happy holidays from my family to yours. And as always, blessings and success!


N’TYSE (@ntyse) is the bestselling author of Twisted Seduction (Strebor/Simon& Schuster) and executive producer of the upcoming documentary film Beneath My Skin. She resides in Dallas, Texas. www.ntyse.com





Review: Twisted Vows of Seduction - N'Tyse


From the very first chapter, Author N’Tyse had me captivated.  I buckled my seatbelt because I knew I was going on a “twisted” ride of a lifetime!  

In this book, Jeff thought he was the true player of all times; however the women that he engaged with had other plans.  Jeff had issues and seemed to want to take them out on everyone and hurt the one woman who truly loved him and the mother of his son, Nadine.  Jeff wanted to play and win his games, but couldn’t really handle the games that were being played on him.  Although Nadine had her issues, Jeff was so into himself and hurt from his past, he could not see his choices of women were not good and that they only wanted his money.  And then there was Greg who also thought he was a player as well and could not stop cheating until reality set in and his wife, Vivian, finally got fed up with all of his cheating.   

Author N’Tyse introduced us to several different game changers and issues.   I enjoyed that I did not have to go back and re-read passages to figure out the characters or their relationship to the other characters.  The character and plot development was outstanding!    N’Tyse would provide just enough tidbits that would pique my interest.   I found myself talking to characters and telling them what to do as if I was really in the story.

I read this book in one day.  I couldn’t put it down.  I was reading it everywhere – while cooking, at stoplights, waiting on others.  This is the second book of the twisted series.  I do not like to read books out of sequence, but this story was so well-written that it was not a huge issue.   I will go back and read the first book, Twisted Seduction, to see the development of the characters.  I hope N’Tyse continues the series because I really want to know what happens to some of the characters. 

This book really made you think about forgiveness and how you treat others. It also made you focus on what was really important and to stop playing games with people’s emotions because you might be the one who gets “twisted” in the end.
5 stars

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Spotlight: Twisted Vows of Seduction - N'Tyse


Twisted Seduction (Part 1) - Available Now 

An erotic, drama-laced journey into the lives of two best friends who will stop at nothing to have the man of their dreams—even when the cost of betrayal has a price tag neither of them are quite ready to pay.

Thirty-two-year-old Denise Jackson has everything a woman could ask for: a lovely home in the posh Dallas suburbs, a fancy car, a loving husband, and a beautiful nine-year-old daughter, Deandra. While seemingly having it all, Denise still feels incomplete. Her nine years of marriage to Jeff have been nothing more for her than a marriage of convenience to raise Deandra in a stable two-parent home. She pretends to be happily married, but allows her husband and best friend to carry on an affair, giving Denise time to get better acquainted with her multimillionaire client, Greg Adams. But when Denise’s husband discovers he isn’t Deandra’s father after all, her carefully built lies come tumbling down. Twisted Seduction lures readers into an orchestrated web of raw emotion, deceit, infidelity, and sex that makes for an exhilarating read.


Twisted Vows of Seduction - Available December 10, 2013

“Some secrets aren’t meant to be kept.”

In this scandalously provocative soap-drama series, deceit, seduction, and a tempestuous affair intertwines the lives of lascivious lovers who will go above and beyond to keep their sexual trysts a secret, but the curse of temptation will lead to revelations that may result in their own demise

Still mourning the death of his lover, Denise, Greg Adams conspires to leave his wife. He believes that Denise has come back to him in the form of a woman named Naomi Brooks, and he can’t forget her. But there’s one problem—his wife is going to honor every line in their wedding vows until death does them part.
Naomi Brooks, a recovering alcoholic, enters into an orchestrated affair to deceive Greg by creating the perfect illusion. Will the plan work or will she find herself a victim in a twisted game?

A long-term torrid affair with her best friend’s husband, Jeff, has scarred Nadine Collins for life. Nadine decides she must take a vow of celibacy to cleanse her spirit. While her journey seems impossible, she can see a light at the end of the tunnel. There’s only one problem—she’s still not over Jeff, now a divorcé living life in the fast lane.

Ménage, an aspiring actress, has her sights set on Hollywood. She will do anything to ensure her rise to the top, including robbing Jeff of all the life insurance money he collected after his wife died. But a blast from the past slows her down. When Jeff comes running to her rescue, it proves to be the perfect setup.

Books may be purchased wherever books are sold:

(Barnes and Nobles, Books A Million, Amazon, etc. and downloadable on all e-readers.)



My Secrets Your Lies

Stud Princess, Notorious Vendettas

Twisted Seduction

Twisted Vows of Seduction


N’Tyse is the erotic romance author of several best-selling novels. She is also executive producer and director of the upcoming documentary film Beneath My Skin which was filmed in her hometown Dallas, Texas. While N’Tyse, pronounced entice, spells out exotic seduction, the true significance behind her name takes on an entire new meaning. The acronym translates to Never Tell Your Secrets ―a message she envelops within her stimulating taboo tales.

The author’s passion for writing dates back to a very young age where she found poetry, music, and creative writing as an outlet of escape. In 2007 N’Tyse ambitiously penned and self-published her freshmen and sophomore novels, My Secrets Your Lies and Stud Princess Notorious Vendettas, which went on to grace many best-sellers lists, including The Dallas Morning Newspaper. Determined to see her works reach national and international audiences and markets, she pitched her third project to a traditional publisher. Twisted Seduction quickly landed N’Tyse a publishing deal with Strebor / Simon & Schuster.
A private banker and financial counselor for over 12 years, N'Tyse currently juggles her writing career as a fulltime mom, wife, and filmmaker, while also pursuing her bachelor’s degree in creative/screenwriting and business entertainment. Her literary contributions have been featured in magazines and several bestselling anthologies, including Zane Presents PP2 Missionary No More, Chocolate Flava 3, and Gutta Mamis. N’Tyse currently resides in Dallas, Texas where she is hard at work on her next novel and film project.


REVIEW: His Third Wife - Grace Octavia


His Third Wife by Grace Octavia opens with a BANG! Literally! When Mayor Jamison falls to his death from the rooftop of the Westin Hotel. (Don't worry--I am not giving out spoilers.) From that point on...the story back tracks to what lead-up to Jamison's demise.

It has been five years since we last saw Jamison and Octavia. Divorced, and although Octavia is not seeing anyone, Jamison, who is now Mayor does not make it a secret that the new woman in his life is one that used to be his receptionist. Well let's just say due to an eager and aspiring reporter it's no secret what Jamison is up to these days. It seems that everything that he has done is caught on camera, and she catches wind of it via television before Jamison tells her. Since the divorce was due to Jamison's infidelity with another woman, Octavia is well off financially due to her taking half of what Jamison made at his successful business Rake It Up and other investments he's made throughout their marriage.

Now as Mayor, Jamison is seeing the politics are more than he could have ever imagined. Although he ran for Mayor because he wanted to see changes made in his city, he finds out that the people he has to surround himself with are crooked and devious when it comes to getting what they want. What they want is for his signature on a few ideas, and they will let no one stand in their way. He is just a face, and they are the strings that are tugging him to make him dance to their tune. Jamison is determined not to get caught up in the mess but when he calls in a favor...everything soon goes to hell, and he is left wondering how he got into this and how will he get out of it?

Jamison never realized the one person that had his back up until his demise was the one person that still believes in him more than anything was still watching out for him. The problem is that same person gets caught in a web of lies, and the question is...what will happen to them when it is all said and done? Well, to answer that question...this story is to be continued.

His Third Wife by Grace Octavia had a slow start, but as the story picks up, it has quite a few turns that had the reader wanting to find out what was going to happen next. Compared to the first novel His First Wife this one was a little more complex and has a suspense quality to it where the first one had more drama than anything. This will probably be a hit or a miss with readers who liked/disliked the first novel. Chances are they are going to go the opposite of that on this novel. Now for those of you that have not read His First Wife, rest assured that this is a stand-alone novel, but it is part of The Southern Scandal series.

3 Stars


Disclaimer: Book Referees was given a free ARC Copy of this book. Our thoughts on this book were in no way influenced by the author or publicist. We were not compensated for the review. Thank you for giving Book Referees the opportunity to review this selection.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Review: Losing to Win - Michele Grant

Carissa Melody Wayne is an English teacher at a private school where she is put on the spot to appear on a weight-loss reality show called Losing to Win. To make the show more interesting or entertaining the other contestants are those from her past. One just so happens to be her ex-fiance, and the other is her high school nemesis. Although, she really does not want to do it, Carissa knows with the exposure of the show, it could be what the small town of Belle Haven, Louisiana needs to revitalize the town after Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf oil spill.
During summer break, the camera crew follows her 24/7. To make matters worse she is forced to team up with her ex-fiance, Malachi Knight a former NFL player. In order to win this game she has to let go of her feelings of the past and move forward. The question is will she move forward or backward with the one person that hurt her more than anything? Will she be able to trust him again, not only to win the game but possibly give him another chance? Not to mention one of her college friends from school that is also a contestant makes it known that he is interested in Carissa. With the cameras constantly on Carissa they are catching every drama filled tidbit they can to make this reality TV show a hit.
Losing to Win by Michele Grant was a true-to-life but television ready novel. Ms. Grant took the concept of reality TV for weight loss and turned it into a novel that anyone can relate to. It was a unique twist in this show (within the novel) because it is centered around people from the main characters past. This is a story of challenges, weight loss, determination, friendship, love and a game. The writing style is one that the reader will be able to connect with the main characters and makes the reading go fast with sarcasm, and with that is laced throughout the novel. This is my first read by Ms. Grant and plan on reading her previous novels in the near future.
Note: The only reason did not give this book 5 stars is that this was that the copy I read, which was an advanced copy, had quite a few misspelled words and editing issues.
4 Stars

Disclaimer: Book Referees was given a free ARC Copy of this book. Our thoughts on this book were in no way influenced by the author or publicist. We were not compensated for the review. Thank you for giving Book Referees the opportunity to review this selection.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Spotlight: Warrior Beautiful - Wendy Knight

Working with the ex you secretly love to save the souls of the innocent is almost as bad as working with a mighty battle unicorn who would be thrilled to watch you plummet to your death. 

Scout is used to pain. Her body has been broken, her heart has been broken, and the only thing keeping her together is her relationship with her younger sister. Lil Bit be-lieves in unicorns and terrifying monsters she calls soul stealers. But unicorns and monsters aren’t real…are they? 

When Lil Bit falls prey to the mysterious disease sweeping the country, Scout has two options – believe the doctors who say it’s a pandemic or believe Lil Bit, who says it’s the soul stealers. She chooses her sister and goes looking for the unicorns who are supposed to save them. What she finds aren’t the cute pastel mythical creatures she expects. Battle unicorns are big and tough and full of attitude. Who knew? 

Unicorns are real and so are the monsters. Soul stealers are reaping the souls of the innocent, and the unicorns are fighting to stop them. But to save the world, they need the help of humans – the enemy they’re dying to protect. And first to sign up for the fight is the ex-boyfriend Scout’s heart won’t stop loving, no matter how determined she is to hate him. 


She tipped her head, and the candlelight glinted against her silky, honey-brown waves. Her hair had always been his undoing.

When they’d been together, he couldn’t keep his hands away from
her hair. Or her face. Her lips, her eyes…

          “What was that on your shoulder?” She was speaking and
he had to drag his mind away from the past and try to figure out
what she was saying.

“My shoulder?”

She crossed the short space between them, hesitating, and
touched his shoulder. “Here.”

He nearly choked. She wasn’t supposed to see that. But now
the sea foam-green eyes were watching him with open curiosity
and her lips were parted... he couldn’t tell her ‘no’. Not then, not
now, not ever. He looked away, staring at the floor as he rolled the
black sleeve of his shirt.

“Forgive me,” she read in a whisper, her finger tracing the
hard black letters tattooed on his arm. Without looking from the
words, she said, “When did you get this?”

“After… while you… before you left the hospital.” His entire
body shook against her soft touch as she traced the ‘F’ again. Did
she realize what she did to him? What she still did to him, even
after all this time? No other girl had ever affected him the way she
did with just the barest touch of her fingertip.

Wendy Knight

Contact Information

Website: www.WendyKnightAuthor.blogspot.com
                Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorWendyKnight
                Twitter: https://twitter.com/wjk8099

Monday, November 25, 2013

Spotlight: Spell Struck (Book #2: The Teen Wytche Saga)

Title: Spell Struck (The Teen Wytche Saga #2)

Author: Ariella Moon

Buy Links: Amazon * Astraea PressBarnes & Noble 

Goth outcast, Salem Miller, believes her love spell failed until Aidan Cooper arrives at Jefferson High. When he chooses her over the popular girls, Salem knows magic brought him. But can she summon enough wizardry to save her sister? Salem fears Amy’s next suicide attempt will succeed. Magic brought Aidan. Maybe it can cure Amy. Salem’s last hope lies hidden within a damaged grimoire, nearly destroyed by a wrongful love spell. Was her rightful love spell enough to restore it?

Newest Jefferson High transplant, Aidan Cooper, doesn't expect to be attracted to a goth. Then he realizes Salem is throwing a glamour—pretending to be something she’s not. Guess it takes one to know one, since his whole life has been a lie. But if his kidnappers discover he's broken their No Attachments rule, he'll never see Salem again. Worse, he’s terrified they’ll harm her when they discover she possesses the ancient grimoire. To protect Salem, Aidan must destroy the grimoire, and escape his captors.

While Salem races to unlock the Get Well Spell, Aidan scrambles to overcome his past. With their star-crossed paths at odds, will time run out for both of them?


Aidan lowered his hand. His finger pressed against my skin, shooting a delicious tingle up my arm. When I didn’t move away, he hooked his finger over mine. My breath caught. We stayed, frozen, hyper-focused, for what seemed like three lifetimes. Then Aidan trailed his fingertips across the back of my hand. The soundtrack, popcorn smells, and theater audience melted into the background. The world narrowed down to the unspoken grief and need entangled in Aidan’s touch.

I rotated my hand so my palm faced upward. Aidan hesitated. Our gazes locked in the flickering light. The spell link humming between us lit up like blue lightning. At least I think it was the spell link. Aidan plunged his fingers between mine. Our palms pressed together, igniting a current. Air shuddered from my lungs. Magic rippled from us in successive waves.

My heart stuttered. My breath ceased. Every cell within me vibrated. Troops of fairies or dragonflies took flight in my lower abdomen. It’s possible blue lightning shot from my boots.

Good thing I wasn’t holding the popcorn.

Chapter One

My whole life since fifth grade has been a lie. That was when I razor-cut my blond hair and dyed it black and purple. I got an eyebrow stud, which hurt like blazes, then became infected and hurt even worse. I scoured thrift shops for vintage black clothing and adopted a Mess-With-Me-At-Your-Own-Peril attitude. Teachers no longer recognized me as Amy Miller's little sister. I became the Anti-Amy. No resemblance, no expectations. And unfortunately, no friends.
Magic always exacts a price.
But now, barely three months into my freshman year at Jefferson High, I'd found a friend — Evie O'Reilly. She'd seen through my disguise and discovered the reason behind it: I have difficulty reading.
Compared to Amy, I'm a failure. But this Halloween night, I'd succeeded at something big: I'd overturned a wrongful love spell. As a consequence, I saved a life, probably two. And I helped Evie in the process. As Evie's mom drove me home and her Volvo swung into my driveway, my brain buzzed with the thought, Tonight will definitely go in my Karmic Win column.
"Bye, Salem," Evie said.
"Bye. Thanks for the ride, Mrs. O'Reilly." Giddy with success and magic, I hopped out, closed the car door, then waved to Evie before sprinting to my front porch. The lantern-shaped light fixture cast an amber glow over the empty candy bowl perched on the footstool. As I unlocked the front door, I wondered if the trick-or-treaters had heeded the Please Take One sign, or if marauding teens had stolen all the chocolates.
Feeling like a thief, I snuck inside. Einstein, Amy's cockapoo, guarded the marble entryway. The dog ignored me and stood on his hind legs to sniff the plastic bag looped over my wrist. One whiff of the noxious brimstone emanating from the half-destroyed spell book was enough to catapult him, nails clicking, down the hall. He raced past the half-bath on the right, my room on the left, then Amy's. He took the corner at a skid, almost crashed into the glass case displaying Amy's trophies, recovered, and then disappeared from view.
"Sarah?" It sounded as if Mom had cracked open my parents' bedroom door at the far end of the hall.
My post-magic buzz vanished. I shielded the bag behind my back and froze. "Yeah, Mom," I called out. "I'm back from Evie's."
"Good night, Toothpick." Dad sounded exhausted. I pictured him standing behind Mom, dressed in his white tee shirt and gray flannel pajama bottoms. He was probably scratching the stubble along his jaw.
"Good night." I waited, muscles tensed. When neither of them emerged around the corner, my arm dropped to my side. The grimoire pressed against my thigh like a needy child. My gaze drifted to my sister's bedroom door. Part of me wanted to sit on Amy's bed and hug her stuffed animal, Flipper. Would Amy get better? Should we have brought her home? I thought about the suicide prevention pamphlet stuffed in my backpack. Surely M.I.T. would allow a leave of absence for a student who had overdosed.
She's going to get better. She has to.
In the hall, I hurried past the framed eight-by-ten photos of Amy. Thirteen years of formal school portraits, splashy action shots of Amy scoring for the water polo team, and Amy giving her valedictorian speech last June. In each, her shiny blond hair haloed her sun-kissed face. Her eyes gleamed with intelligence; her smile was wide and welcoming. She radiated athletic wholesomeness.
Interspersed among the photos of the Golden One were a few smaller photos of me. Well, photos of my pre-goth self, taken when I'd looked like a mini-Amy but with an unsure smile, worried eyes, and fragility instead of athletic prowess. There were no pictures of me after the fifth grade. Zero. Nada. I had ceased to exist when I'd gone goth.
I was shocked my parents had waited up for me tonight. Maybe I'm the Golden One now. The thought unsettled me. It wasn't like when I had been four and Amy eight, and we had played on the seesaw. Amy shouldn't have to teeter down for me to rise up. What kind of a victory would that be?
The hundred-watt light from my desk lamp spilled like a beacon into the hall. I gravitated toward it, tiptoeing to soften the thud of my faux combat boots against the parquet floor. Einstein doubled back and took up sentry in front of Amy's room.
"Behave," I whispered, entering my bedroom. As I locked the door behind me, the wounded spell book coughed up another cloud of brimstone. The stink bomb fanned out like cigarette smoke and coated my pearl-gray walls. Great. Just great. I tossed my keys onto the bed and watched them sink into the pale turquoise comforter. I waited for the peacefulness of my un-goth, Zen-like room to seep into my bones. As the new owner of a shape-shifting spell book, I needed as much tranquility as I could muster.
After slipping the grimoire from the bag, I carried it my meditation altar, a curved Japanese bench. As I placed it next to my Kuan Yin statue, a fresh wave of anger rippled through me. What had Parvani been thinking? Evie had warned her not to direct a love spell at Jordan Kent. She had warned her to never direct a love spell at anyone. Hello? It's called karma, you moron.
At last, finally, Parvani had caved. Earlier tonight we had rescued Jordan, Evie's secret crush and the victim of Parvani's spell. But we'd been too late to save the spell book. When Evie had first bought the grimoire at a used bookstore, it had appeared to be an ordinary paperback titled Teen Wytche. Once Evie had brought it home, the book had grown to the size of a photo album. The cover had transformed into plum leather with embossed silver leaves and vines, and the pages had changed into vellum covered with spidery handwriting.
The grimoire's author must have placed a fail-safe spell on it in case it fell into the wrong hands, like Parvani's. She's not evil or anything, just desperate and misguided. Her wrongful love spell had launched some kind of magical self-destruct code. The grimoire had shrunk. The edges of the leather cover had singed then reverted to paper. Most of the silver leaves had faded away. The stiff vellum pages had almost disappeared, replaced by printed text on modern paper.
I sank to my knees and placed my hand on the tattered spell book. A fragment of the cover was still embossed leather. It beat like a failing heart against my palm. Suddenly, the cover swelled and a jagged bolt of energy struck my hand.
"Artemis, Demeter, and Hecate!" I jerked away and flicked the bad mojo to the floor. Then an odd compulsion rippled through me. Moving to my desk, I scavenged through the top drawer until I found a silver permanent marker. With quick, exact strokes, I drew the silver leaf design on my left wrist. Just three leaves, but they matched the ones on the grimoire. The tingle from the bad mojo subsided.
I expelled a long breath. "Okay," I reassured myself. I was on a magical roll. Unfamiliar pride spiked my thin frame. After I had overturned the wrongful love spell, I had crafted a rightful love spell, where Parvani, Evie, and I had listed the attributes we wished for in a boyfriend. The new spell had worked immediately for Parvani and Evie. They'd been reunited with their true loves, Zhù and Jordan.
I sank back onto my heels. Too bad my Mr. Right failed to materialize.
The grimoire chirped.
I flinched like Einstein when someone squeezes his squeaky toy. "What?" I asked the spell book. For a second, I thought the grimoire appeared a little better. Then it sort of deflated and resumed its feeble death beat. Maybe the rightful love spell had arrested the damage, but it had been too little, too late.
Guess I'm not such a hot spell-caster after all. A fresh worry gnawed my insides. Had I made a huge mistake working magic in front of Parvani and Evie? What if word got out? Pretending to be an edgy goth kept everyone at bay, even the school bullies, the Smash Heads. Granted, Evan and Tommy weren't the brightest kids in class. At least they kept their distance. But what if I were forced out of the broom closet? The Smash Heads and everyone else would pounce.
Evie won't say anything. But Parvani might...
Fumes from Teen Wytche seared a raw path up my nose. Soon the reverse transformation would be complete, and the grimoire, with all its magic and wisdom, would be lost forever. Parvani and Evie had been so confident I could save it. I wish. If I could work amazing magic, I'd cure Amy. Then I'd cast a brilliance spell so I wouldn't have to disguise myself. And Mr. Right would stroll into Jefferson High and fall in love with the real me.
Yeah. Right. So not going to happen.


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