Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Review: Bewitching Hannah by Leigh Goff

Being a witch is the last thing she wants…

Bewitching Hannah
by Leigh Goff
Mirror World Publishing
September 17, 2017
YA, Fantasy, Romance

Sixteen-year-old Hannah Fitzgerald has always known she is descended from a troubled legacy of magic. Although a stranger to her coven in Annapolis, she is no stranger to grief and denial. However, when an ancient prophecy reveals the rise of a young, powerful Chesapeake witch and the impending death of another, she realizes she can no longer afford to suppress the magic that has taken away so much. She seeks out the frighteningly scarred, yet mysterious W, a Calvert descendant who is destined to change her life, but even he cannot prepare her for the danger that lies ahead. Engaged in a deadly game without knowing who her true rival is, Hannah isn’t certain she will survive, and if she loses she may lose everything, including the ones she loves.


Shadowed with a constant layer of darkness, this read packs magic, tension, and the hand of fate into a read which hooks until the last page.

Hannah is a witch, although she wishes she wasn't and tries to keep the magic inside of her from surfacing. After her parents' tragic deaths, she lives with her aunt in Annapolis and is forced to take part in the coven she was born into. Hannah's attempts to deny what she is unravel as she's faced with three girls/witches, who are determined to make her life not only difficult but use any means possible to steal a so-called 'key' from her. Even if Hannah is sure she doesn't have it and wants nothing to do with it, the girls' quest for power turns into a deadly game.

I enjoyed reading this book. There's tons of magic, wonderful tension and enough twists and turns to keep one guessing until the end. Hannah isn't comfortable in her own skin, and it's a rough road before she learns to accept who she is. She's a bit snarky at times and tends to snap out exactly what she thinks, but there's a caring side to her and her moral compass keeps her actions intact. In other words, she's far from perfect but still a true heroine inside.

The idea of covens and witches living right under normal human radar comes across very naturally. The magic is intense but it slides right along with normal high school life in a smaller town. Although witches and wizards are key in the plot, other types of magic also have an influence as magic from cultures such as the Incas and even a bit of the Greek mythology is sprinkled in.

The plot moves along quick, never leaving a moment for boredom. Even the romance holds dark secrets, which keep the tension high the whole way through. I enjoyed the hesitation in the romance, but found it sometimes was a little off in the chemistry. Some of the reactions seemed a bit sudden, or lacked a little more background. Especially the first chapters were a little confusing, and it seemed as if some information was missing. But then there were hiccups even later on, at times. Still, the world and story were interesting enough to keep me engaged, and even with these little stumbles, I didn't want to set the book down.

Fans of witches, magic, slightly dark romances and hidden evil will enjoy diving into these pages and are sure to get caught up in Hannah's world.


Lightning flashed, followed by a rumble of thunder, jolting me alert. A tempest churned over the Chesapeake Bay and was rolling toward town. I stared at the clouds, ready to calculate how much time we had before the rain hit. Another bright flash of white-hot lightning forked across the purplish-black sky. One, two…twenty.


The storm was at least four miles away. I pressed a hand over my chest, feeling the thumping slow.

I glanced at Aunt J, who was no longer bopping her head to the bad music. Instead, she blinked over and over, and rubbed her eyes with one hand.

“If you’re tired, I can drive.” Who needed a license when I’d already mastered a moped along with the Green Briar golf carts?

Her slender fingers searched for me as if I were a ghost she could only hear. She grasped my arm tightly.

“Hannah?” Panic drenched her voice.

My eyes widened. “What’s wrong?”

“I can’t see. I mean, I see something, but it’s not the road. What’s wrong with me?”

I peered out the windshield. A distant telephone pole grew bigger as her foot stuck to the accelerator.

A frightening swell of adrenaline flooded my veins, sending my heart into a frenzy. “Stop!” I yelled, but she was frozen with fright. I grabbed the steering wheel and threw my leg over to jam on the brake pedal.

It was too late. Absolute silence fell over us in the grim second before we plowed into the pole. My lower body slammed into the dashboard while the seatbelt squeezed hard against my ribs. Metal groaned. White bubbles deployed. Glass shattered with a scream. Or maybe the scream was mine. The car groaned to a halt with a hiss and clank.

Stillness settled over us. My head was reeling as I checked myself for injuries. Bursts of pain sparked from my chest and leg.

“Hannah?” Aunt J’s quivering voice reached out.

I pried my eyes open. She had escaped her seatbelt. Her lips and hands were trembling, but I saw no blood or broken skin. Inwardly, I sighed with relief.

“Are you okay?” she asked.

I sucked in a shallow breath. “Me? Fine,” I managed, not wanting to stress her out, but I struggled to breathe and my left leg was wedged under the intruding dashboard.

She reached over, wiping her hands across my cheeks and forehead, dusting away crumbs of glass. She touched her trembling fingers to the seatbelt release and pressed on it, over and over. “Come on, dammit. Let go.”

I pushed her hand away, restraining a whimper. “It’s okay. Go get help.”

She nodded and with a hard push, shoved her door open. “I’ll be right back.”

A heavy silence fell over the car’s interior until a hiss sounded from the engine. Within seconds, the smell of burning oil seeped in through the vents.

One toxic breath went deeper than I meant it to. “Ow!” I coughed and writhed beneath the unyielding seatbelt like a five-year-old having a tantrum. Panic swept over me as I struggled for freedom.

Stress vibrated deep in my gut. Self-soothe, self-soothe, I reminded myself. The air grew thicker with burning oil and a starburst of pain wracked my body. I was going to die. Unless…

No. How could I even think it? There had to be another way because what if I couldn’t send it back? What if it took me to the same terrible place it had taken them?

I peered out the windows, searching. There was no one. I turned my focus on the glove box. Maybe Aunt J kept a knife in there or a pair of floral scissors. I pushed the button hard, again and again. Jammed. My heart raced.

A burst of smoke puffed into the car’s interior. I coughed and closed my eyes. The pressure on my leg intensified and the sickening fumes filled me with dread. Eff it. I balled my hands into fists.

I recalled the spell I’d overheard my dad utter once. I recited it in my head before casting, making sure I had it right. “By the power of fire, I do summon and churn, and call thee forth to blaze and burn.”

I stopped breathing, trying to sense any changes. I felt no different. And then it filled my core like a warm sphere of energy. Quickly, the power expanded into a blazing inferno. My back arched, pressing me harder into the seatbelt as my internal fire surged. Every cell jolted awake. My heart pounded out of control as I imagined channeling the smoldering energy. Suddenly, my hands tingled with intense power. I swallowed hard and aimed my fingers at the strap. The fiery threads trickled out in a wiggly pattern until I steadied my hand. The seatbelt burned orange, then cooled to black before separating.

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And here she is. . .

Writing Enchanting Ever-Afters ♥

Leigh Goff grew up in Maryland where she resides today. Her writing is inspired by an eclectic childhood, a vivid imagination, and compelling historical events. After taking several writing courses in college and attending professional writing workshops after she graduated from the University of Maryland, she joined the Maryland Writers' Association and Romance Writers of America. 

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Cover Reveal: What the Valley Knows by Heather Christie

What The Valley Knows 

by Heather Christie

January 25th 2018
YA Romance

Millington Valley is a quintessential small Pennsylvania town: families go back generations. Football rules. Kids drink while adults look the other way. High school is a whirlwind of aspiration and rivalry, friendship and jealousy.
When smart and pretty Molly Hanover moves to town and attracts the attention of the football team’s hero, Wade Thornton—a nice guy with a bad drinking habit—longtime friendships are threatened and a popular cheerleader tries to turn the school against Molly.
The young couple’s future is shattered when Wade, drunk, wrecks his truck and Molly is thrown through the windshield. She wakes from a coma to find her beauty marred and her memory full of holes. As she struggles to heal, she becomes sure that something terrible happened before the accident. And there is somebody in the valley who doesn’t want her to remember.

And here she is. . .

Heather Christie grew up in rural Pennsylvania and, at age seventeen, took off for New York City in hopes of becoming a movie star. Flash forward several decades, a couple degrees, a bunch of cats, two kids and one husband later, she's back in Pennsylvania writing her heart out and chasing dreams again. She loves to read, run, drink tea, and make Sunday dinner. Follow her blog at and say “hello” on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Review: This Is a Good Story by Adam Lehrhaupt

by Adam Lehrhaupt
Illustrated by Magali le Huche
Paula Wiseman Books
Picture Book 
ages 4 to 8
40 pages

From E.B. White Read Aloud author Adam Lehrhaupt comes an inspiring new picture book that takes apart the pieces of a story—hero, heroine, setting, conflict—and asks the reader to put the story back together again. This is a good story…or is it?

As a child takes her pencil and begins to draw pictures for a story, the narrator takes her and the reader through a rollicking sequence of events in this classic tale of bad guys and townsfolk and dungeons. With simplicity and flair, Adam tells a story and then a meta-story of the parts of the story at once! This Is a Good Story is a wonderful primer on the parts of a story and an imaginative way to encourage creative thinking, writing, and storytelling.


Setting, plot, climax and other story terms come to life when accompanied by this lively and humorous adventure.

This picture book introduces the various parts of a story--hero/heroine, setting, climax, etc--while following a girl as she writes an adventure. But sometimes, not everything runs as smoothly as it should.

To make a 'good' story, several things are necessary. By following a small adventure from start to finish, the most vital parts of a tale are not only mentioned but used in an immediate example. The tale starts with the introduction of a hero and heroine, and goes on from there, hitting each story part as it should come. All along, an adventure is growing where the hero, heroine and even the villain throw in humorous spice of their own. It's cute, it's humorous and it flows well. But this isn't a book for the youngest listeners.

The text is held to short phrases on each spread, but that doesn't mean it's simple. There's the story part terminology, which is very clearly printed and stands in center point of the tale, but may be a bit too high of a concept for kids under age 5 or 6. To help out, there's also a quick glossary at the end. Some of the other vocabulary used might also be a little high for younger readers. As a story, the text is lacking, but as a guide to help learn the parts of a tale, it offers lots of room for open discussion or sudden questions. Older listeners might find the text on the childish side, though.

The play back and forth from text to illustrations is well done. The text carries the learning, while the illustrations run alongside with their own cute story. Humor ensues, which makes the drier aspects of the book much more fun, and is sure to draw a few smiles as those silly characters tend to run out of control. It's a simpler type of drawing, but never misses on details and brings everything across crystal clear.

Summed up, this is an entertaining way to discuss and learn about forming a story as well as what parts are crucial to make it good. Despite the small amount of text, it's not a concept that younger readers will easily grasp and would be better for those who already know how to read and write (so they can make their own story). As a learning tool, it's cute and sure to bring some giggles too.

And here they are. . .

The author. . .

Adam Lehrhaupt's first picture book, Warning: Do Not Open This Book!, received the E.B. White Read Aloud Honor Award, was an ALA notable Book, and a Huffington Post Notable Book. School Library Journal called it, 'More fun than a barrel of monkeys." He is also the author of Please, Open This Book!, which was named a Wanda Gag Comstock Read aloud Honor Book and Idea Jar. Adam has traveled to six continents, performed on Broadway, and lived on a communal farm. He currently lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with his wife, sons and two bizarre dogs. Visit him online a t

The Illustrator. . .

Magali le Huche was born in Paris. She stsudied illustration in Strasbourg then returned to Paris where she works on children's books and for the press. She regularly teaches workshops for children.

Happy Book Bday, HER by Danielle Rose!

YA Horror, Short Story
Cover Art by Gwenn Danae
Cover Text by Eight Little Pages
Hosted by: Lady Amber's PR

Kemper Academy is over a hundred years old, but it has only recently reopened after a series of murders and stories of hauntings shut it down. Avlynn, a new student, refuses to let the rumors scare her, chalking them up to a bit of friendly freshman hazing. But when night falls and screams draw her from her room, she finds the truth is much more horrifying than any ghost story.

Danielle Rose holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine. Currently residing in the Midwest, where she spends her days dreaming of warmer temperatures, when she’s not writing, she enjoys pretending she lives in California, spending an embarrassing amount of time at Hobby Lobby, and binge-watching Netflix. Visit Danielle on the Web:

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Review: Talon, Come Fly With Me by Gigi Sedlmayer

Book One of the Talon Series
by Gigi Sedlmayer
Middle Grade Contemporary
187 pages

Nine year old Matica lives in a remote village on a dry plateau in the Andes of Peru. She moved to Peru when she was five with Australian missionary and schoolteacher parents. Because Matica is trapped in the body of a two year old, her growth handicap has caused her to be rejected by the local people and they would not accept her into their community or allow her to play with the children.

With patience and a sense of adventure Matica befriends a pair of condors. A strong bond and love develops between them.
Matica rescues the egg the condors, Tamo and Tima, are trying to protect from poachers and nurtures it to hatching. The egg hatches on her 10th birthday and she names the new fledging Talon.

Many adventures unfold, including her finally being accepted into the local community.
This is the beginning of many incredible adventures with Talon and Matica. It is a story of hope, determination and love.


This is a tale of finding acceptance, love, friendship, bravery and so much more.

Matica is a bright, young girl but, thanks to her handicap, stuck in a body which is smaller than that of her younger brother. The villagers shut her out, unable to accept her differences. But Matica doesn't let it get her too down. Her adventurous spirit enables her to befriend two condors, and helps them when a poacher tries to steal their egg. When the egg hatches, Matica has a new best friend, Talon, and this is only the beginning of their adventures.

This book is a lovely adventure with an amazing heroine. Matica is a strong, brave girl, who battles with her handicap and how others view her. But this isn't a story only about her gaining acceptance or over coming her challenges. Rather, it's a tale packed full of exciting moments and tons of emotions. Matica comes across naturally as does the village and world around her. It's beautifully set and an easy landscape to dive into. The author does a great job at bringing this foreign culture and setting across, and even the dialogue holds many wise statements packed in a way young readers will understand.

Not a boring moment settles into these pages, and it's hard to set the book down. At less than 200 pages, it won't scare away more reluctant readers either. It's easy to feel for Matica and readers will be dreaming of find condors to befriend themselves. Which is actually an interesting twist, since condors aren't usually seen as the most beautiful or love-worthy birds. After reading through this, kids will have a better understanding of these birds, of the problems of poachers, and simply gain a deeper sense of nature and protecting it.

Not only children ages eight and up will enjoy this, but even older audiences will get lost in this tale and leave feeling a little more inspired than before.

And here she is. . .

Gisela (Gigi) Sedlmayer was born on 19 May 1944 in Potsdam, a suburb of Berlin in Germany.
Her family escaped to the West just before the infamous wall went up. They moved around in Germany until finally settling in Munich where Gigi studied architectural drafting and met Albert in 1965, marrying in December 1967. She worked as a civil draftsperson in various private consultancies in Munich.
Since her uncle was a writer, she tried to write short animal stories herself. Nothing further came of it, but she developed a love for the written word and started to consume books.
In May 1975, Gigi and her husband moved to New Zealand. Because of language challenges, she started a handicraft business. As a specialty, she made colourful parrots of which she sold thousands in a few years.
In 1988, they decided to adopt and became adoptive parents of twin girls the year after. They lived in New Zealand for eighteen years and moved to Australia in September 1992.
Two years later Gigi was diagnosed with cancer. After operations and radiation, she withdrew, thinking that she would probably soon be dead, like her friend who died of cancer, but her two little girls gave her the courage to keep going. After a few years, still among the living, her brain started to work again, so she thought, ‘Get a grip on yourself and do something good with your life’.
She remembered the time she wrote short stories and got inspired again, seeing her husband Albert writing the story of their adoption. Her English became increasingly better so she pressed on to develop her creative writing.
Albert taught her how to use a computer and she wrote many short stories. She entered them in competitions and often got very good reports back, which gave her confidence to go on writing. One day the idea for the TALON series came to her and she spent the next several years bringing the story and the characters to life.
She now loves writing and spends most of her time at the computer, developing new story lines. She also loves traveling, 4x4 touring, swimming, gardening, handcrafting, reading, fossicking and enjoys good adventure DVD’s or going to the movies.

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Happy Book Birthday, Seraphina's Vengeance by Sheena Hutchinson

Seraphina’s Vengeance
by Sheena Hutchinson
YA Paranormal Romance
Cover Designer: Cover Me, Darling
Hosted by: Lady Amber's PR

 One year ago, Seraphina’s entire world seemed to have dived into a mythical land over night. She’s somehow even gotten used to the madness of it all. But what happens when the craziness stops? Things become quiet… too quiet.
Sera should have known that things weren’t as quiet as they seemed. After one of the best nights of her life, Sera is forced into this treacherous journey to save one of her loved ones.
But following the path of evil begins to take its toll on Sera. As she struggles with her own internal dilemmas, Nate starts to take matters into his own hands. When this unseen world finally begins to affect Sera’s emotions and her relationship, can she hold it together to save her loved ones? Will love conquer all? Or will it turn her evil… forever?

Sheena is a born and raised New Yorker, even her writing can’t hide her hard sarcasm. She claims destiny lead her to writing again. She constantly strives to be a positive role model and write stories that empower and inspire.  
Sheena always roots for the underdog, believes in love at first sight, and that everyone should have their happily ever after. While God is currently writing her love story she continues to put all her time into her writing as she is constantly getting new inspiration.
For more on Sheena and her books visit her website

Buy Links: Seraphina’s Awakening:
Seraphina’s Initiation:
Seraphina’s Vengeance:

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Review: Haunting the Deep by Adriana Mather

How to Hang a Witch, Book Two
by Adriana Mather
Knopf Books for Young Readers
YA Thriller/Paranormal
368 pages

OCTOBER 3rd, 2017!!!

The Titanic meets the delicious horror of Ransom Riggs and the sass of Mean Girls in this follow-up to the #1 New York Times bestseller How to Hang a Witch, in which a contemporary teen finds herself a passenger on the famous “ship of dreams”—a story made all the more fascinating because the author’s own relatives survived the doomed voyage.

Samantha Mather knew her family’s connection to the infamous Salem Witch Trials might pose obstacles to an active social life. But having survived one curse, she never thought she’d find herself at the center of a new one.

This time, Sam is having recurring dreams about the Titanic . . . where she’s been walking the deck with first-class passengers, like her aunt and uncle. Meanwhile, in Sam’s waking life, strange missives from the Titanic have been finding their way to her, along with haunting visions of people who went down with the ship.

Ultimately, Sam and the Descendants, along with some help from heartthrob Elijah, must unravel who is behind the spell that is drawing her ever further into the dream ship . . . and closer to sharing the same grim fate as its ghostly passengers.


Ghosts, mystery, witchcraft and even a bit of mystery weave together seamlessly to form a grabbing read.

Samantha hasn't completely gotten past the terrors she suffered only months before, but things appear to be looking up. When she discovers a letter which reveals that some of her relatives had survived the Titanic, things start running amok. Not only do ghosts appear but other, even stranger and spookier things occur. When the warning comes that death is on its way, Sam has no clue how she's going to escape.

I did not read the first book in this series (a mistake I'm definitely going to correct), but I still didn't have too much trouble getting into this story. So it can be read as a stand-alone, but some background information is missing. 

The author does a great job at mixing the easy read style of modern YA with a dark, multi-layered and thrilling mystery. Samantha and her friends come across as everyday teens even though the magic and dark past of Salem and its families hangs in the background like a constant cloud. The fact the author herself has both Salem and Titanic ties adds a nice touch, which gives this tale a bit more spice. And the author doesn't let this tie disappoint. The wonderful, dark touch of Salem's past is ever present, while the completely differing atmosphere of the Titanic filters in with its own touch. It's a well done mixture, which heaps on the possibilities.

The scenes and characters of the Titanic come across beautifully. Sam's version of the ship and life there draw in with the lovely descriptions. There's all sorts of delicious tidbits of historical information peppered in, which make real Titanic fans and history buffs' hearts beat faster. Still, this world is very easy to picture and get lost in. The flip-flops between the realities slide together nicely and create a thrilling atmosphere. Add this with the twisty plot and mysterious pieces, which are difficult to shove together, and the tension is complete. It's hard to put this one down, since every scene brings something new and it's hard to guess where the entire thing will end. 

Summed up, this is an engaging read for YA mystery/magic/paranormal friends. It has the dramatic feel of a YA read but layers the mystery and intrigue masterfully to create an engaging plot. I hope to see more of Sam and her friends in the future.

All About the Author!

Adriana Mather is the 12th generation of Mathers in America, and as such her family has their fingers in many of its historical pies – the Mayflower, the Salem Witch Trials, the Titanic, the Revolutionary War, and the wearing of curly white wigs. Also, Adriana co-owns a production company, Zombot Pictures, in LA that has made three feature films in three years. Her first acting scene in a film ever was with Danny Glover, and she was terrified she would mess it up. In addition, her favorite food is pizza and she has too many cats. (from Goodreads)