Happy Endings can’t always solve everything

Okay so you may have noticed things have slowed down here. You may have noticed my absence from facebook and some other social media. Now before I get into the reasons why I want you to know how much I love book community- the indie one specifically. The past two years have been a whirlwind of ups and downs and this community has held me up when I was completely down. I have met some of the most amazing people that I am now lucky to call my friends.

Sometimes however somethings just get in the way. Somethings that are completely out of your hands and can not be controlled. One of those things for me is the dreaded D word. The word that not many people enjoy uttering because of the social stigma society places on certain words.

The D word I am talking about is Depression. Now I can use pretty metaphors to explain the hold that depression has on most people but I won’t do that. I won’t lie and say that all days are horrible either. Depression plan ol sucks the life and motivation out of you. It causes you to know that things need to be done but simply not have the energy nor the drive to make these things happen,

There are days when I have so much on my plate and can’t bring myself to even get out of bed. Taking a shower is a struggle let alone doing the things I love like reading, baking and blogging. I basically become the zombie of a once silly, fun-loving bookworm who is honestly just going through the motions of everyday life trying to survive.

Some days I don’t feel quite so weighed down and the monster that is depression even allows me happiness and laughter. Those are the best days- like today I have been able to wash two loads of laundry, finish reading a book as well as even remember to eat breakfast all before noon. Noon is normally about the time I get out of bed simply out of having to in order to get to work. So on days like today I get as much crammed in before my energy eludes me again and the want to do things goes away.

What society doesn’t tell you is depression doesn’t go away sometimes yeah it takes a small vacation that can last for years but sometimes it attacks you when you least expect it and latches on.

So know that I am not lazy, or that I do not love this blog and what I do but am simply having a rough patch. That I am battling the monster, the d word and some days I have enough spoons to feed a village and some days I barely have a spoon to feed myself. I am trying but your continued support and my ever growing TBR are really helping this bookworm survive!

Sincerely,

A bookworm trying to find her way

Crystal

Never Trust a Skinny Cupcake Baker by D.E. Haggerty Review

Title- Never Trust a Skinny Cupcake Baker

Author- D.E. Haggerty

Genre- Cozy Mystery/ RomCom

Purchase Link- Amazon

A mystery with a heap of laughs, a generous portion of romance, and just a smidgeon of suspense.

Callie’s life is rather awesome. She owns a successful bakery and teaches German literature at the local university. There’s just one tiny problem. She has no self-confidence when it comes to her body. And then there’s the little matter of her being accused of murdering her pole dancing instructor. There’s no way Callie’s going to risk losing her teaching position and thus she embarks, with her best baker bud Anna, on a journey to discover the real killer. Between stripper auditions and a detective who insists Callie is the woman of his dreams, it’s a roller coaster adventure. Cupcakes not included.

Callie Muller loves her life- She as not one but two dream jobs- she teaches at the local university and she owns her very own bakery Callie’s Cakes. She has everything she tinks she needs.That is until one of her regulars a local Detective by the name of Ben finally talks her into going out with him.

Callie’s past relationships have given her a low self esteem and given her a complex about her curvy body. When her assistant Annie talks her into a pole dancing class Callie is hesitant but seriously what could go wrong beside landing on her face?

When her instructor is murdered and the cause of death is death by cupcake Callie becomes the number one suspect and could lose everything is the true killer isn’t found. The Detective in charge of her case is adamant that Cassie has done it so she has no choice but to solve the murder herself.

The Sweet-

Who doesn’t love cupcakes? No one that is who and if you don’t loe cupcakes we can;t be friends cause honestly I don;t need that kind of negativity in my life…. Just kidding! Seriously though this book was everything I was craving! Not only are the characters full of snark  and sarcasm which is everything for me but they are hilarious and realistic. Callie herself as a chip one her shoulder but I loved watching the relationship that blooms between her and Ben fill that chip.

Callie is smart and independant which I really enjoyed. Not only does she own her own business but she has a PHd! I wish more female characters were made to be intelligent and not made out to be klutz or ditsy.

The mystery aspect of the book was brilliant in my opinion and wasn’t predictable which can easily happen in the genre. The author is able to build the story with perfectly timed twist and turns and funny when needed.

The Sour-

Ok so we all have days when we feel less than- less than perfect or even less than deserving however I wish the characer Callie’s chip was quite so large. I understand where the author was going with it however after the 13th time she thought herself fat or less than it angered me. I wish the character embraced her curviness like the bad ass sexy smart woman she is sooner rather than later in the book.

I honestly dislike when we have female characters who think the hot guy wouldn’t be interested in them because of the shape of their body or because in her eyes she is again less than.

With that being said I truly enjoyed reading this book and have already purchased the next two books in the series to read just as soon as my TBR thins out a bit (HA!) I strongly recommend this for anyone with a sweet tooth and a love of snarky cozy mysteries!

4 out of 5 cupcakes!

I grew up reading everything I could get my hands on from my mom’s Harlequin romances to Nancy Drew to Little Women. When I wasn’t flipping pages in a library book, I was penning horrendous poems, writing songs no one should ever sing, or drafting stories which have thankfully been destroyed. College and a stint in the U.S. Army came along, robbing me of free time to write and read, although I did manage, every once in a while, to sneak a book into my rucksack between rolled up socks, MRIs, t-shirts, and cold weather gear. After surviving the army experience, I went back to school and got my law degree. I jumped ship and joined the hubby in the Netherlands before the graduation ceremony could even begin. A few years into my legal career, I was exhausted, fed up, and just plain done. I quit my job and sat down to write a manuscript, which I promptly hid in the attic after returning to the law. But being a lawyer really wasn’t my thing, so I quit (again!) and went off to Germany to start a B&B. Turns out being a B&B owner wasn’t my thing either. I decided to follow the husband to Istanbul for a few years where I managed to churn out book after book. But ten years was too many to stay away from ‘home’. I packed up again and moved to The Hague where I’m currently working on my next book. I hope I’ll always be working on my next book.

Banshee Blues by Belinda Sheenan Review

Title- Banshee Blues

Author- Bilinda Sheenan

Purchase Link-Amazon

Genre- Urban Fantasy

I have a simple arrangement with the Faerie Court: I track down the beings they want found and in exchange for that, they let me live. But a girls gotta eat, even a banished banshee, so I do what I have to, even if that means working for humans. Rent money doesn’t grow on trees.

I have a simple arrangement with the Faerie Court: I track down the beings they want found and in exchange for that, they let me live. But a girls gotta eat, even a banished banshee, so I do what I have to, even if that means working for humans. Rent money doesn’t grow on trees.

Darcey Thorne is one of the last of her kind — a banshee, harbinger of death — but due to a past indiscretion which saw her imprison her ex-lover, she now works as a bounty hunter for the Faerie Court.

When the Court jerks her chain and tells her to hunt down MacNa, an old friend, Darcey has no choice but to obey. Considering the last time she laid eyes on her prey, he tried to kill her, Darcey decides hunting him is the perfect mix of business and pleasure.

Dealing with witch-traffickers and a sexy ex-god boss is all in a day’s work for a bounty-hunting banshee, but being shot with iron bullets and being framed for murder is above and beyond the call of duty.

If Darcey doesn’t get to the heart of the matter soon, there will be one less banshee in the world.

Darcey Thorne’s past has gotten her banished from her home and left her in servitude to the Faerie Court. It has also left her with draining powers and as one of the last of her kind there is no way for Darcy to know how long her magic will last.

Now banned from Faerie and living in the human world Darcy has no choice but to make a living for herself. After all a banshees gotta eat! To keep a roof over her head and kick ass boots on her feet she becomes a private eye. She is known for her ability to find things as well as people.

When a case that can feed her for months lands in her lap there is no way she can turn it down however the Fae Court also has a case for her that must be top priority and her enforcer sexy as sin Lunn is making sure she keeps her priorities straight- Little do they know both cases go hand in hand!

The Sweet-

First off I love all things Fae and magic and eagerly waited for this to finish downloading on to my kindle and curses my slow wifi when it wouldn’t download fast enough! I have never read a book with a banshee as a main character let alone one of the “good guys”! In that respebt I found this premise super original and creative,

Darcy herself was a well thought out character and reminds me of some pretty bad ass book girlfriends the likes of Gin Blanco,  Jill Kismet and Rachel Morgan. I quickly grew fond of her and cheered her on while reading. That is what we need more of people KICK ASS woman characters and this author did not disappoint with Darcy Thorn.

The story progressed in a smooth steady pace and the author placed the plot twist and actions scenes in all the right places giving the reader a reason to keep turning the pages. Sheenan not only does the Fae justice with this noel but brings in a very unique take on fae species.

The Sour-

I have only one complaint with this novel and that is the vagueness used when it came to Darcy’s past. I understand this is the first book and the author was setting a certain vibe but at the same it angered me how little was said about Darcy’s past and when it was brought up it was quickly swept under the rug. I want to know more about how Darcy ended up on this side of the realm and why. I want to know more about her reasons for her crimes.

That is the only reason why I couldn’t give this book a full 5 cupcakes but it does receive a very strong 4 cupcakes!

Bilinda is a writer living in the UK with a love for all things paranormal.

Join her mailing list: http://eepurl.com/bEgDrT
Find her at bilindasheehan.com
Find her on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorbilindasheehan/

 

The Stake (Shadowborne Book 1) by Kennedy Morgan Review

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Title- The Stake

Author- Kennedy Morgan

Genre- Paranormal Romance

Purchase Link- Amazon

synopsis

Some are chosen. Some choose. Some will live. Some will die.

Ash Carter was chosen. She has her reasons for being there, for pushing so hard, for staying so strong. She knows what happens when someone lets down their guard after dark. If Ash has her way, no one else will find out again.

Jax Miller chose. He has his reasons for attending the school, for studying the curriculum and Ash. He loves a good hunt, lives for the night, and does his best work in the shadows.

The stake is their weapon of choice, but at stake is their future.

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Molina has witnessed her Mother’s death by the hands of a Vampire all because of her Father’s role on The Council. It was meant to be a warning to her father but has instead molded Molina’s future and her hate for anything with fangs.

Molina has been accepted to Shadowborne under her deceased Mother’s name Ash Carter. She vows to someday find the Vampire responsible for her Mother’s death and to never be part of any COuncil. She is here to learn and to kill and that is it. That is until she meets Jax Miller.

The Sweet-

The idea of the story has such great potential as does the main character Molina/Ash. She is written to be strong willed smart and brave and thats where my like of the story end.

The Sour-

The story feels rushed and can be sloppy at times for example (spoiler alert)  the fact thet vampire she runs into and her new room mate are one in the same…. I am sorry but um if I watched my classmates being killed by a vampire I would recognize him if he moved in the next day no? I mean I wouldn;t get all cozy with him let alone sleep in his lap- I would scream bloody murder not cuddle up and fall asleep in his arms….  I wanted to love this book I really did but I falls short for me.

Rating 2.5. stars

ATA

 

Grim Tidings by Amanda M. Lee Review

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Title- Grim Tidings

Author- Amanda Lee

Genre- Paranormal Cozy

Purchase Link-  Amazon

synopsis

Grim(ace) while you work …

Aisling Grimlock is having a bad week. Well, actually, she’s having a bad life — not that she’s complaining. Okay, she’s totally complaining.
After being laid off from her secretarial position, she has no choice but to join the family business, and now she’s a full-time grim reaper. That’s right. She collects and transfers souls to the hereafter.
Cool, huh? Not quite.
On the second day of her new job, Aisling (literally!) stumbles over a dead body that’s not on her list and the stakes are suddenly raised because, when a name isn’t on the list, that means someone stole it (and that’s never a good thing).
Aisling’s family, which consists of a tempestuous father and four overbearing older brothers, are hot on the case – but the answers they’re coming up with aren’t exactly soothing.
It seems a contingent of wraiths have descended on the area, and they’re not just dangerous for unsuspecting souls and the general populace. The Grimlock family is at risk, too.
If that weren’t bad enough, Aisling finds herself inexplicably drawn to Detective Griffin Taylor – the police officer who considers her a murder suspect. Oh, and she’s a wraith-magnet — although, truth be told, she’s more interested in Detective Taylor.
Aisling is determined to prove that she has what it takes to be a great reaper – even if it means risking her life and proving her father and brothers wrong when it comes to her competence level.
When things finally become clear, will Aisling survive long enough to make things right? Or, will she fall prey to the wraiths and the individual controlling them?

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Aisling Grimlock is not only the only girl in her family but she is also the black sheep or at least in her eyes she is. When Aisling was younger she did everything possible to get out of being a part of the family business, She wanted freedom and thought she finally had it until she was laid off of her job and her best friend /slash roommate put an ultimatum forward that she needed to start paying her half of the rent.

See the Grimlock Family aren’t your typical family and the family business is anything but normal in fact its paranormal! Aisling is a reaper as is the rest of her family with her Dad at the helm in charge- working for the family can get a bit … messy but she has no choice.

Aisling must concede to her Father’s wishes and join the family in the reaping business. She was born into this- How hard can it be right?

The Sweet-

Okay first off I have to start by saying I was a bit hesitant to purchase this book when reading the blurb- Not that it didn’t sound amazing or interesting but I kinda already have a favorite reaper (Charley Davidson) and I was worried it would either cloud my judgement or ruin the book for me. Boy was I wrong!  The only thing my two favorite reapers (yes Aisling makes it two now) have in common is they are both smart and snarky girls who just happen to be in the reaping business.

Aisling is surrounded by the men in her life. She has her Father and her 4 brothers- one of them being a twin as well her her might as well be a brother best friend Jerry. The dynamics and the pure entertainment that this set up brings to the story knows no bounds! Typically when there are so many characters so quickly in a book it is a huge turn off for me but the author has such finesse and character building abilities in this book that I found my self adoring each and every character we meet!

Let me tell you- each scene the whole family including Jerry are in the same room might all be my favorite parts of this book! The scenes are full of love and humor ranging from the innocent kind to my favorite kind of humor raunchy that I found my self smiling from ear to ear several times during this book!

The plot line is steady and clearly well thought out and in my opinion ebbs and flows perfectly add action romance and a crazy bar fight at a drag bar and I am sold! Not only did this book keep me highly entertained but it had a fantastic and unpredictable plot twist at the end that had me not only purchase the next book but all the books in the series! I strongly recommend this hilarious book to anyone looking for something different and original!

Rating 5 out of 5 cupcakes!

ATA

When I was a kid, I was torn between whether or not I was going to grow up and be the Incredible Hulk or Wonder Woman. I flirted with being a Jedi Knight for awhile, but I wasn’t up for the intense travel associated with the gig. In my teens, I settled on being a writer — although I had no idea the effort that would entail.
Not only am I a writer now, but I’m a writer in several different mediums. I’m a longtime newspaper reporter, an avid reader and a voracious science fiction fanatic. Like me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAmandaMLee . Follow me on Twitter at @yodaoneforme. Sign up for my mailing list (no spam allowed — only for viable updates) at http://eepurl.com/Y6bkf.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

Mystical Murder By Patti Benning Review

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Title- Mystical Murder (Whiskers and Witches Book 1)

Author- Patti Benning

Genre- Cozy Mystery

Purchase Link-Amazon

synopsis

Tess Quinn is a normal woman with a normal job in the rural town of Elk Hill, Wisconsin. Her life is turned upside down on her thirtieth birthday with the arrival of her estranged aunt, Loretta. When unusual occurrences begin happening it doesn’t take Tess long to realize that she is the cause. Her family’s unusual history has caught up with her at last; Tess discovers that she is part of a long line of witches.

Magic isn’t the only mysterious thing happening in the snowy streets of Elk Hill. When a man is found murdered late one night, the new witch feels driven to solve the crime using her newfound powers, despite warnings from her aunt. By the time Tess realizes that magic creates more problems than it solves, she’s in a tight spot between a rock and a hard place. She’ll need luck on her side to charm her way out of this one.

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Tess Quinn is living a simply and unexciting life in the small town of Elk Hill and is perfectly happy with the way things are. That is until her aunt Loretta whom she hasn’t seen in almost 16 years decides its time for a visit and on her birthday no less. Some what taken a back Tess agrees and opens her home to a woman who is now practically a stranger to her.

Strange things start to occur and Tess begins to suspect her aunt Loretta has ulterior motives for her random visit and is soon proven right. You see her aunt has come to town to see if her powers have come in. You heard right normal ordinary Tess Quinn is a witch or at least that is what Loretta keep telling her.

How does one go back to their perfectly normal life after finding out that they now have magical powers? How does one know what is magic and what is not? To top it all off Tess finds one of her meals on wheels clients dead and it smells like murder to her.  Can her new found magic find the killer before its too late?

The Sweet-

Tess Quinn seems like your typical 30-something woman and in I found her to be extremely relatable and grew to enjoy her character. I was intrigued by her new found magic and found reading about her magical missteps highly entertaining and comical! She had spunk and I love a good character with spunk especially female characters as I grow tired of the damsel in distress and the “oh woe is me” set up we often find in books with females as the main characters.

The Sour-

Though I did enjoy the book for the most parr there are somethings that did not really click with me. I understand that the first book in the series is used as a segway for the rest of the books in the series however I found it unbelievable how Tess went from being suspicious and super down to earth to simply believing that she was a witch. There was no turmoil for her and for me realistically one does not simply say “oh yeah if you say so I must be a witch!’

Also at times the story dragged but then sped up unexpectedly and not in a good way. I felt like the author was throwing things at the reader in an effort to make the story more exciting when honestly it was needed.

My last issue with this story was the ending and the actual whodunnit reveal which completely came out of no where! Yes when reading cozy mysteries I love being surprised by the reveal of the criminal but in this case it was only hinted literally paragraphs before it was revealed and come out of no where. The story then wraps itself in a nice little bow leaving the reader with so many questions.

All in all it was a cute quick read and I wouldn’t mind reading the next book in the series but I am not in a hurry to read it. The series has a lot of potential and once my TBR is lessoned a little I will be revisiting Elk Hill again.

Rating- 3 out of 5 cupcakes.

 

Adventures of a Vegan Vampire by Cate Lawley Review

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Title- Adventures of a Vegan Vamp

Author- Cate Lawley

Genre- Paranormal Cozy Mystery

Purchase Link- Amazon

synopsis

Everyone dies, but undead and vegan? Not the undead-afterlife this girl had planned.

Waking up thin is one thing. But waking up gaunt, hangry,and undead makes for a very bad day. That’s only the beginning. Mallory’s killer better hide, because she’s just discovered blood, meat, and dairy don’t agree with her-and a future with no cheese is grim indeed. She’s out to find her killer…and maybe a vegan cheese that doesn’t melt her nose hairs.

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Mallory lives to work and is well paid. Her coworkers dislike her and she has no love life nor much of a social life but she gets her job done and at least she wont starve right?

Everything changes one night while out for drinks with her coworkers who only want her there to foot the bill. One moment she’s trying so hard not let her true feeling about them out and the next she is in bed unable to muster any energy to get out of it, She has no clue what is wrong or how she got home Tuesday night, It is now Friday morning and she has no energy a thirst that can not be quench and oh yea her normally full figure isnow nothing but skin and bones!

Is she sick? Is she dying? What the hell happened to her boobs? So many questions and no answers in site, until a very unhelpful doctor reveals that Mallory is actually no longer living… she is actually a vampire. A vampire who can not drink blood, a vampire who may not last long….

The Sweet-

A Vegan Vampire and a wizard walk into a bar- that is not the beginning of a bad joke but one of my favorite scenes from this book. The author puts her own unique spin on the world of paranormal cozies and I liked it! The fact the Mallory is a vegan vamp adds an original spin to the story as well as a big humor factor as we watch her figure how what she actually can eat!

The plot is well thought out and progresses at a steady speed with all the twist and turns placed in just the right places! The author did a wonderful job on creating a secret paranormal world that includes spies, wizards, ghost and yes of course vampires!

The Sour-

I only have one complaint and it is a  small one- I wish that author had explained a bit more WHY Mallory couldn;t drink blood? She only hints that it must be a mutation or a turning gone wrong but there is so much potential there to add to the story.

I rate this cozy 4.5 cupcakes out of 5!

ATA

Cate Lawley is the pen name for Kate Baray’s sweet romances and cozy mysteries, including The Goode Witch Matchmaker and Vegan Vamp series.

She writes and lives in Austin, Texas (where many of her stories take place) with her pack of pointers and hounds. Cate has worked as an attorney, a manager, a tractor sales person, and a dog trainer, but writing is the hands-down winner. When she’s not tapping away at her keyboard or in deep contemplation of her next fanciful writing project, she’s sweeping up hairy dust bunnies and watching British mysteries.