10 Book Characters You Can Meet in Real Life

There are the characters you encounter while reading your favorite books and can relate to them on a personal level, or you know a person that fits their personality perfectly. I have compiled a list of the most relatable literal characters from famous books.

Guest Post – 10 Characters You Can Meet IRL


Elizabeth Bennet: The sarcastic one

She is witty and naturally charming. She does not entertain people who are stuck-up and snobs. She always has answers ready to people who try to bring her down. These answers are usually full of sarcastic remarks that leave the other parties feeling embarrassed. She makes it hard for men to approach her because she intimidates them with her wit and cleverness. She is the kind of person men encounter and coil due to fear. She cannot stand ignorance in people; she would avoid them at all cost just to save herself the trouble of making sarcastic comments.


Sherlock Holmes: The genius

We all have that one genius friend who mesmerizes us with his vast knowledge on everything. He is very innovative and able to analyze things that escape everyone’s attention. He is a great problem-solver because he sees problems as opportunities for having fun and learning at the same time. He does not need to call electronic repairmen, he handles everything by himself and it all seems to work out well. He is also an adrenaline junkie which gets him into a lot of problems due to his escapades. His mind does not allow him to sit still. He is always trying to discover something new.


Emma Woodhouse: The girl next door

She is the ideal girl next door. She is human and not artificial at all. She makes mistakes that are both embarrassing and humiliating but that is what makes her human and so relatable to us all. She is also very nice and encouraging to those who are good to her. She does not care about societal standards and expectations, she does what she feels is right for her. She will flirt with a guy over text, and not get too attached to him. She loves her parents dearly and would sacrifice everything just to see them happy. You’d rather take your opinions to the ends of the earth than tell them to her. She does what she wants.


Pip (Philip Pirrip): The adventurous

He is the typical guy who is looking to explore the world at large. He wants to escape the familiar that he grew up in including his family, friends, neighborhood, and community at large. He is sometimes ashamed of the people around him, and the limitation they are used to. He hates the fact that they require him to to be something he is not, or do certain things as per their expectations. He always feels as if something is missing from his life, and the more he remains in that situation the more miserable he gets. This guy is more responsive to change and craves it.


James Bond: The mysterious

We all know that mysterious guy in our neighborhood or friends circle. It is not clear what he does in life but he always has the best cars, hottest women, nice expensive homes, plus he is always traveling. Any question on his life and work is always met with a shrug or evasive comment. His lifestyle makes you want to be him and experience the good life. He is very attractive with an expensive test in clothes that makes him stand out from the crowd.


Jay Gatsby: Hopeless in love

A lot of men can relate to this character. He seems to have everything, wealth, beautiful women around him, great parties, and great looks. But, he still feels incomplete because he is in love with one woman he can’t easily have. He has so many options around him but he is hell bent on getting the woman who is unavailable. That one woman is his kryptonite, he otherwise seems untouchable to everyone else. His emotions are usually all over the place when he can’t be with the woman he loves. Even with all that wealth surrounding him.


Hercule Poirot: The investigator

Do you know that one friend that can do a better job than any government investigative agency? Yes, this guy has an air for detecting and investigating things that you think he should apply for a job in one of those agencies. He can easily read people and detect if they are lying without using any lie detecting machines or gadgets. He is the one to solve mysteries of missing money, and other things at home, office or school. He is smart and well informed on most subjects. He has a great eye for detail. Don’t lie to him, he will know it immediately!


Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth: True love

Anne and Fredrick signify true love which we all yearn for. This couple proves that true love endures and if you truly love someone let them go and they will come back. If it was meant to be, it will be. This is exactly what they endured and ended up together. It is a story we can all relate with, where society and family try to choose who we should marry and to conform most people end up agreeing but lead unhappy lives. They place a choice between your family and the man/woman you are madly in love with.


Hannibal Lecter, Wolf in sheep’s clothing

This is an interesting one. You will meet a few such people in this world. They seem nice and friendly on the outside but are mean machines on the inside. They won’t hesitate to eat you up, both literally and figuratively if you mess with them. This is a person your instinct will probably warn you about because they are on another level of wickedness. They dine and wine with the whose-who in the society and are masters of deception. So watch out for the likes, they are all around us. They deserve to be on another planet quite frankly.


Dr. Watson: The perfect sidekick

This is the kind of guy you call when you want to go out or get yourself in some trouble. He always gets in trouble mostly for his partner’s mistakes than his own. He is caring and a true friend. He is the guy you leave with your wife or girlfriend and no funny business will take place. He is very loyal and supportive of his friends. We all need a Dr. Watson in our life!



Susy Richards is a lovely mother of 3 girls (3 years, 4 years and 5) and a simple woman who is ready to share her priceless experience with other mommies around the world. She is an Advanced Practice Provider who passed birth doula and postpartum doula courses at Childbirth International in 2013. Susy is passionate about providing holistic care and is involved in pregnancy research currently publishing her articles concerning pregnancy on site rocketparents.com.

Guest Post + Review + Giveaway: Level Up

Welcome to my tour stop for Level Up by Cathy Yardley. This is a romantic comedy and the tour runs January 4-22 with reviews, interviews, guest posts and excerpts. You can check out the tour schedule here. The book is available in ebook formats worldwide.

LevelUp-Cover-640x1024Title: Level Up
Author: Cathy Yardley
Publisher: xx
Release Date: January 2016
Length: 151 pages
Series?: no
Genre: Romantic Comedy

Find the book: Goodreads | Amazon

“Geeky introvert Tessa Rodriguez will do whatever it takes to get promoted to video game engineer– including create a fandom-based video game in just three weeks. The only problem is, she can’t do it alone. Now, she needs to strong-arm, cajole, and otherwise socialize with her video game coworkers, especially her roommate, Adam, who’s always been strictly business with her. The more they work together, though, the closer they get…

Adam London has always thought of his roomie Tessa as “one of the guys” until he agreed to help her with this crazy project. Now, he’s thinking of her all the time… and certainly as something more than just a roommate! But his last girlfriend broke up with him to follow her ambitions, and he knows that Tessa is obsessed with getting ahead in the video game world.Going from friends to something more is one hell of a challenge. Can Tessa and Adam level up their relationship to love?”

***** Guest Post *****

The 7 Stages of Fangirl Syndrome

According to the Urban Dictionary, a fangirl is: “a rabid breed of human female who is obsessed with either a fictional character of an actor… have been known to glomp, grope, and tackle when encountering said obsessions.”

Alas, this probably describes me.

I’m a fandom fan. While I would never “glomp, grope, and tackle” anyone (what is “glomp” anyway?) I definitely find myself obsessed with certain shows, movies, and books. What’s worse, fandoms are often a gateway drug: you might start out watching Supernatural, then transfer to Sherlock, only to find yourself suddenly watching Doctor Who and Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead.  There are fandoms for Marvel, Disney, and of course Star Wars.  It’s a sickness, but frankly, I don’t want the cure.

That said, if you’ve managed to avoid falling into a fandom, here’s a brief overview of what happens when fondness turns to mania – call them warning signs.


Stage 1:  B.F. (Before Fandom)

You live your life in a (relatively) normal manner.  You may socialize occasionally.  You go to work, school, interact with others.  Life isn’t terribly exciting, but it isn’t bad.


Stage 2:  Exposure

Here’s where the trouble begins. You might have a vague awareness of a show, book, or movie. Slowly, there’s an insidious seep into your consciousness. You seem to see references to the thing everywhere. You start to experience a mild FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out.  The final blow: one of your friends, who is already deep in her fangirl sickness, hammers at you relentlessly.  “You haven’t seen this?  Oh my God, you HAVE to see this.  Go watch it/read it/devour it NOW!”)  Finally, you give in.  Might as well see what all the fuss is about, right?

Famous last words.


Stage 3:  “Hey, this is pretty good…”

Like a blind date, where you’ve heard a lot about someone but you’ve never actually met, you have hopes that the thing lives up to the hype, even as you steel yourself for disappointment.  When it starts to prove itself, the overwhelming emotion is relief… followed quickly by curiosity.

It really isn’t bad, you think happily.

In fact, it’s good.

Pretty darned good.


Stage 4:  “OH. MY. GOD.”

This is more than pretty darned good. This is sensational.  Where has this been all your life?  What have you been doing when you could’ve been experiencing this?  Why didn’t you start watching/reading/enjoying sooner?

Now Is not the time for moderation.  This is full-scale binge time.  Four seasons in a week?  Sure!

Nine book series?  Looks like there’s a lot of pizza ordering in your future. Who has time to cook?

Sleep?  Sleep is for the weak!  You can sleep when you’re dead!

This fandom needs you!  Fire up the Serenity, grab some salt, load up John Watson and Daryl Dixon and let’s get going! Allons-y!


Stage 5:  Research! All! The Things!

You’re getting to the end of your binge.  Now, it’s not enough to read all of the books, or watch all of the episodes or movies.  You need to see if movies are being made of the books, or if comics are being made of the series, or whatever.  You Google interviews with the actors you now know by name who are portraying your favorite characters. You check out fan forums that are discussing the latest conspiracy theories for the sequel that is two years in the works.  You check out fan art, memes, and behind-the-scenes-footage. You check out videos from fan convention.  You scour the internet.


Stage 6:  Withdrawal

After a certain point, the material is simply petering out. The last book in the series comes out, or won’t be out for years (if ever.)  The movies have stopped. The show is on hiatus, or even (gasp!) cancelled.

You re-read the same interviews forty times, like a pauper licking at the crumbs on his plate.  You may even dip into fan fiction.  You mourn the end of an era.


Stage 7:  Contagion

There is only one way to recapture the magic.  You need to get a new person interested in your fandom… watch them fall down the rabbit hole, fall in love, and become just as obsessed with you.  (This is where your friend was when you were in Stage 2.)  It’s the next best thing to experiencing it again for the first time.


It’s too late for me. Save yourself…

If you aren’t part of a fandom, it might not be too late.  You can avoid the craziness, keep what’s left of your sanity, your free time, and your mental bandwidth.

But for the rest of you, the fans, the ones who have already succumbed and now go through the cycle…

Isn’t it great?

***** Review *****

The Skinny

Tessa is a woman working in a male-dominated field: gaming. She is simply an audio girl, but has the capability to be a video game engineer. She has worked extremely hard, and knows she deserves an upcoming slot on the team at her company. The only problem is the head engineer, who is known to run off potential candidates. Tess doesn’t stand a chance if she doesn’t become more personable.

Her roommate, Adam, is the project manager of the engineering team, and is strong-armed by Tessa to help her out. After a round of advice leads Tessa to crash and burn, Adam takes it upon himself to help her himself. While Tessa befriends a new temp girl at work – and her crew of girls – Tessa finds a cause that allows her to showcase her engineering talents and desperately help her new friends, but a short deadline requires Tessa to socialize at work and seek help from the engineering team.

Meanwhile, the entire engineering team has a bet going with work-obsessed Adam that he cannot find a new girlfriend before the next new hire fills the upcoming opening slot on the engineering team. The long hours he’s putting in with Tessa naturally draw them together, and he can’t help but compare her to his ex-(almost)-fiancé.

*There is adult content in the book, as well as this review. Proceed with caution.

The Players

Tessa – a mid-20s audio engineer; she is an introvert and painfully and awkwardly antisocial; roommates with Adam; she has her sights set on being a coding engineer

Ani – Tessa’s only friend; she lives far away so they Skype since she lives in Helsinki

Adam – the project manager for the engineering team; owns the house and rents a room to Tessa; propels her to socialize and meet people; still suffering from a bad breakup


The Girls

Stacy – the company’s temp secretary; introduces Tessa to the crew

Rachel – a university student working as an event planner at the Blue Moon Casino;

Hailey – a tall, rockabilly styled woman who deals blackjack at the Blue Moon Casino

Kyla – a mechanic with a striking resemblance to Marilyn Monroe; she has incredible art talent

Cressida – suffers from agoraphobia; hasn’t left the bookstore since they moved there years ago

*Rachel, Hailey and Cressida are sister who own the local bookstore. The bookstore is suffering and needing a boost in sales and promotions. They also live there, so their home is in jeopardy.


The Geeks 

Abraham – head of the engineering team, worshiped for his coding skills, is very hard to get along with

Rodney – relatively nice guy

Fezza – probably Adam’s best friend

José – hits on everybody


The Quotes

“Dude! It’s New Year’s!” José said, nudging Adam from his place on Fezza’s pea-soup green sofa. “We’ve got ten monitors and a large screen set up for an epic twenty-four hour straight marathon, and you’re sitting here dinking away on your laptop?”

Adam didn’t even bother to look up from hsi screen. “Tod you. Got a project,” he said.

“Well then, why didn’t you stay at home?” José whined.

“Talk to Fezza.” Adam took a quick swig of Mountain Dew. “He’s the one who kidnapped me.”

“‘Kidnapped’ is such an ugly word,” Fezza interjected, clicking the keys of his game controller madly. “I prefer ‘forcibly invited.”


“If the shoe fits,” she ground out, “lace up that bitch and wear it!”


“I was just starting to get the hang of it. But you guys can’t keep trying to make me a healer, damn it. That’s sexist.”

“We’re making you a healer because you’re less likely to try killing your teamates, you dork,” Fezza said. “Every time you’re a barbarian, you kill me.”

She smiled, motioning him to come closer. “That’s because you’re an asshole,” she shared in a conspiratorial stage whisper.

The guys hooted.

Highs and Lows

  • + Tessa’s Drive. Tessa is a young woman driven to succeed. She doesn’t want to go back home with her tail between her legs. She talks at one point of being very different than her siblings and her mother, and she is setting out to accomplish her dreams. She knows she is basically blackballed in her career field. It is a man’s field, and she is trying to elevate herself in it. It’s not an easy task when it is clearly evident that she’s working with many who are sexist. Regardless, she’s going to prove herself…or go down trying.
  • – Adam. At times, Adam is great. At other times, Adam’s a jerk. He is the one who gets Tessa into the mess she winds up in, and basically throws her in the Lion’s Den. Then, he helps her. Toward the latter half of the book, there are several occasions where he has a blow-up moment and storms off. I didn’t like that. I understood it, sort of, but I didn’t like it.
  • + The Girls. Lordy, they are a group! They are so interesting and ecclectic, each in their own right and collectively, and from Tessa’s descriptions, they are gorgeous! I can only imagine what Hailey and Kyla look like. At the same time, there was a certain amount of depth to them, but also not a lot, which is understandable given this is the first installment in the series. However, Cressida *never* makes an appearance in the book at all. I was hoping she would toward the end.
  • – The Geeks. The guys Adam works with are a bunch of pigs, José especially. They are very sexist, as Tessa points out. I really didn’t like them for the vast majority of the book. I still don’t like Abraham. He’s just a dick.
  • + Tessa’s Scene @ The Restaurant. Woman’s got balls! She delivers and  blasts this slimeball so eloquently. It was the first time I realized there was more to Tessa than fluff and insecurity. It’s like there is an entire other side of her that doesn’t quite make it’s way all the way out. It also made me wonder if there were a more closely aligned reason for her ballsy speech.
  • – The Bookstore. Tessa is working herself into the ground trying to get this project for the bookstore up and going to enter into a contest. It’s a long shot, but it should definitely be a contender for the prize. It seems she hits a roadblock at every turn, which sets the tone for the project. I felt Tessa was fighting a losing game and I didn’t like that feeling at all, not after all she did for the sisters and all her efforts showing The Geeks what she can do.
  • + The Code-Off.  Yeah, there’s a code-off. And it’s AWESOME!

The Take-Away

What was there not to like about this book? There are The Girls and The Geeks, their two leaders, an crazy ex, a code-off, some lucrative job offers, and an almost lawsuit amidst this insane attraction. It’s like, just get together already! Everyone in The Girls and The Geeks would be all for it. Just do it already! That part was so angsty, and you know, the whole project part.

Recommendation – Buy, Borrow or Skip? 

BUY! This is a buy you won’t regret.


***** About the Author *****

Cathy Yardley needs to get out more. When not writing, she is probably cruising the Internet, sleeping or watching D-list movies and adding to her unnatural mental store of character-actor trivia. She is a closet fangirl forSupernatural, Sherlock, Doctor Who, and too many others to name. Her family is considering performing an intervention for her addiction to pop culture. Want to read more of her writing? Sign up for her notification list, and get a free novella, Hooked, from the Fandom Hearts series!

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads



***** Giveaway *****

$25 Amazon GC (INT). Ends 1/27/16.

Prizing is provided by the author, hosts are not responsible. Must be 13 or older to enter and have parental permission if under 18. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary to win.
This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.


Guest Post + Review + Giveaway: On Thin Icing

Welcome to my tour stop for On Thin Icing by Ellie Alexander! This is the third book in the Bakeshop Mystery series and released December 29th, 2015.  The tour runs from January 4 – 15 with reviews, guest posts, interviews and excerpts.  This is an adult cozy mystery from St. Martin’s Press.

I have previously reviewed Meet Your Baker (#1) and A Batter of Life and Death (#2).

cover - On Thin Icing 8-11-15Title:
 On Thin Icing
Author: Ellie Alexander
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Release Date: December 2015
Length: 304 pages
Series?: A Bakeshop Mystery #3
Genre: Mystery

Find the book: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N 

It’s the dead of winter in the sleepy town of Ashland, which means no tourists-and fewer customers-for Jules Capshaw and her bakery. But when she’s asked to cater an off-season retreat for the directors of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, business starts heating up…until Jules finds a dead body in the freezer.

Someone at the retreat has apparently iced the bartender, a well-known flirt with a legendary temper-that is, before a killer beat him to the punch. Then, from out of nowhere, Jules’s own ex-husband shows up at the shop-and soon becomes a suspect. With accusations piling up higher than the snow-and thicker than a chocolate mousse cake-Jules has to think outside the (recipe) box to find the real culprit…and make sure he gets his just desserts.

***** Excerpt*****

How do you keep ideas and plot lines fresh and new with writing a small-town cozy series?

Great question! Ask me again after a few more books and maybe I’ll change my answer. In all seriousness, one of the things that really appeals to me about writing a small-town cozy series is that I get to develop an entire cast of characters. The series has already become much more than just Jules’s (the heroine) story. Her team at Torte, the family bakeshop that she’s returned home to help run, are all an integral part of the plot. I’ve become attached to them—from her mom, Helen, to Andy the barista, to Lance, the overly dramatic artistic director, and her nemesis Richard Lord. It’s so much fun to chart out each character’s development. Over the course of the series we’re going to get to know them even more. Every time I sit down to work on a new book it feels like coming home. Sometimes I forget that the characters are figments of my imagination because they feel like old friends.

Ashland, Oregon is the perfect setting for the series because it is a small town with a vibrant community of artists, actors, playwrights, college students, retirees, and outdoor adventure lovers. It’s also a very eclectic town themed around the Oregon Shakespeare Festival with charming old world shops and restaurants. You might even think you’ve traveled back in time to Shakespeare’s England when walking around Ashland’s downtown plaza where storefronts are designed in Elizabethan architecture. The theater attracts visitors from all over the world, which is great because there are constantly new people arriving which means an ever-rotating supply murder suspects.

The other way I intend to keep the plot lines fresh is to send Jules out of town every once in a while. In On Thin Icing, the third book in the series, she’s been asked to cater a retreat at Lake of the Woods Resort, a high mountain lodge tucked into the Southern Cascade Mountains. Baking at altitude is going to test her culinary talents and give readers a taste of the gorgeous landscapes of the region and some delicious winter recipes for savory soups and hearty stews.

Since Jules spent ten years working as a pastry chef on a prestigious cruise line I think it will be natural for her to find her way back on the ship in a future book. I’m already dreaming about all the tropical desserts she can whip up while she sails under sunny skies!

Wishing you happy reading,


***** Review *****

The Skinny

Torte has shut down after the tourist season in Ashland, and when the Oregon Shakespeare Festival board of directors schedules a weekend retreat, Jules is asked to cater the getaway. This is just the kind of business Torte needs.

It would be the perfect weekend…except for the dead body in the marina freezer. Jules discovers the body and immediately calls Thomas and The Professor. She learns this is out of their jurisdiction, follows their directions, and spends the remote weekend with a killer.

With a kitchen to run, ovens that won’t heat properly, and the loss of power, Jules has her hands full. Add to it the responsibility of maintaining the integrity of the crime scene, one ex-husband showing up and landing himself as a suspect, her best friend at odds with her, and avoiding a killer and it makes for one long weekend.

The Players

*There are many more characters in the book, however, I have cut down to include those most prominent in the book. For a fuller list of characters, visit my review of A Batter of Life and Death.

Jules – Jules is a young woman who has seen the sights of the world thanks to her profession as a cruise-line chef. It is also how she met her husband, Carlos, whom she has separated from. She returned home to take refuge in Ashalnd and Torte, the family owned bakery. whom is still out traversing the seas as she has quietly come to settle and take refuge in Ashland and Torte. She receives an amazing opportunity to cater a weekend getaway for the board of OSF.

Sterling – Torte’s newest employee, charged with manning the cash register and pastry case. He was “adopted” by the Capshaws and Torte earlier that summer. Sterling is working hard to change his life and has been invited to be the sous chef on the trip with Jules.

Carlos – The mysterious husband turns up in Ashland and is sent after Jules and Sterling to the retreat. He is very respectable and compassionate. He also diligently mentors Sterling both as a chef and as man. He does push Jules to face their issues and the reason why she left him and the cruise ship.

Lance – Lance is Ashalnd’s theater director, and has arranged for an OSF board meeting weekend retreat in a remote area. He is the classic man on the run who throws lavish parties. Naturally, he has a flair for the dramatic.

Whitney – Whitney has been hired as Lance’s assistant. She was recommended by Dean Barnes, and she is also his niece. She is a very nervous sort, and constantly running around with her tablet. She fears being fired due to all the mishaps of the trip.

Dean Barnes – The only board member who is singled out as a character. He is Whitney’s uncle and also the first board member to arrive at the retreat. He is the quintessential English chap, and very insistent upon things. He has a love of rifles and hunting, as was common in his English countryside.

Mercury – Mercury owns Lake of the Woods Lodge with her husband, who is not present during the book. She is completely spineless and lets people run all over her. In terms of managing the resort, she acts like she hasn’t got a clue. She’s also trying desperately to keep it afloat and have it making money. The resort has slowly started returning to what it used to be when Jules was a child.

Gavin – Gavin is the marina manager at Lake of the Woods Lodge. Interestingly, this has been his only job his entire life. He’s pretty much lived at Lake of the Woods Lodge since he was a young adult. He is highly trusted by Mercury and has some scuffles with Tony about work-related business. He also keeps to himself a lot.

Tony – Tony is the bartender at Lake of the Woods Lodge. Although he is the server of alcohol, he is also the number one consumer of it as well. He has a nasty temper and makes extremely inappropriate sexual innuendos and comments to any and all women (except Mercury).

The Professor – The Professor’s real name is Doug. He is the Ashland’s chief of police, and the “unofficial Shakespeare aficionado.” It is his norm to quote The Bard and other philosophical individuals. He is a charming, friendly man who has captured Mrs. Capshaw’s attention. He poses a very important question to Jules about his relationship with her mother.

Thomas – Thomas is The Professor’s right hand man, and also Jules’ high school sweetheart. They left things unresolved back then, and Thomas clearly has the highest regard for Jules. He comes running when Jules calls, and seeing Carlos face to face sets off some jealous overtones.

The Setting

Lake of the Woods sits almost five thousand feet above sea level. The lake was formed from a volcanic eruption thousands of years ago. Getting to the high-altitude lodge was an adventure in itself. The most direct route from Ashland would take us on Dead Indian Road. The road cuts through the Siskiyou National Forest, twisting past sharp corners and down curves without a shoulder. Its name pays homage to the Native Americans who belongs to the land long before white settlers made their way west. I couldn’t help wonder as I navigated the dangerous road if there was more to its meaning.

Lake of the Woods Resort was originally built as a fishing retreat in the 1920s. At just under five thousand feet in elevation, the natural lake is a popular destination all year round. During the summer months vacationers swim off the lake’s shallow banks, fish for rainbow trout, and tool around on party boats. In the winter the lake freezes over, making it a prime location for ice-fishing.


I was home again, but I was an entirely different person.


“That’s cooking. Feel it. I always say to my new student chefs that food is love. You must infuse the food with love. You cook angry – the food, it will know.”


Had I really changed this much since I’d been home? I knew I was different, but having Carlos here made me feel like an entirely different person and the same all at once.


“Whoa. Slow down, Jules. A murder? Why are you calling me? Hang up and call the police.”

“You are the police, Thomas.”


Carlos says that food is love. I say it’s memory.


The Highs and Lows

  • + Sterling. The young man who recently has come into the Torte family is fantastic on this catering trip! Before he’s been kind of hit-and-miss as a character, but this is where he shines. He is installed as the sous chef and he rises to the task beautifully. He keeps Jules on level and is her spiritual guide at the retreat.
  • – Lance. Readers didn’t get to see a lot of Lance in this installment, which disappointed me because he is one of my favorites. He also was not knocking Jules over to be “in the know” about the murder. He had bigger fish to fry with the OSF board.
  • – Whitney. I don’t think the girl has got a clue. At all. She seems like an idiot. I hope Lance does fire her.
  • – Thomas. He was a complete jerk to Jules in this installment. Sterling pointed out the hot situation Jules was in between the two men in her life. For the first time in over six months, Thomas acts like he’s more than her friend and putting her in a very awkward position. He was a jerk to Jules over honing in on Carlos as the number one suspect.
  • – Carlos. Carlos pushes Jules when she is clearly overrun and busy with this catering gig in the wilds of Oregon. This was the worst and yet perfect time for him to approach Jules. Yet, he pushes Jules for answers when he isn’t ready to give her his own. It felt like he was swooping in to dazzle and charm her, with no real relationship meat behind the heat.
  • + The Professor. He is such a wise, thoughtful and kind man. Why can’t Thomas take some lessons from him? The Professor puts Jules en garde over his relationship with her mother, and it gets her pondering some serious things she’s never even asked her mother.
  • + Carlos. He is such a help to Jules and Sterling on the catering end. With the less than desirable circumstances, and especially during the loss of power, he helps out where he is needed and services Mercury’s guests well. He also takes Sterling under his wing and mentors him as a master chef, but also as a man.
  • + Reflection. Jules has a lot of thinking to do with Carlos at the resort, and pushing her for acceptance. She reflects a lot more in this installment than in previous ones about their life at sea, and their married life. She reminisces about how Carlos proposed, her wedding day, and that fateful day she left the ship. Jules has a lot of adult decisions to make.
  • – Blasé. No one really seemed overly concerned that there was a dead body in the marina freezer, they were trapped on this snowed-in mountainside, and the killer was among them. They all continue to go about their business like absolutely nothing has happened (with the exception of Jules). It was very disconcerting.
  • + Vivid Details. The descriptions are beautiful. Alexander really sets the scene and keeps it moving throughout the book without being too much or too little. The writing style is superb.

The Take-Away

The two things I loved most about this book were the scenery descriptions and Sterling. The descriptions are so beautiful and woven perfectly throughout. They are not overdone, but instead short quick snippets to set the scene. Sterling was an absolute doll in this installment. He kept Jules afloat in the kitchen, and also acted as her conscious when it came to Carlos and Thomas. He kindly pointed out the things she wanted to ignore, and has been for months. As Jules said, he is wise beyond his years.

Recommendation – Buy, Borrow or Skip? 

I highly recommend buying this one!


***** About the Author *****

Ellie Alexander is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter to learn more.

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


***** Giveaway *****

Triple chocolate cookie mix, Alpine spiced cider, Collection of Stash teas, Collection of gourmet hot chocolates, Oxford tea towel, Signed copy of On Thin Icing. US only. Ends Jan. 20, 2016.

Prizing provided by the author. Must be 13 or older and have parental permission if under 17. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary to win.

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway! 

This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.


Guest Post ~ Cast The Movie + Giveaway: Lust

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 photo Whole series Links.jpg

Title: Lust
Series: The Shadow-Keepers #2
Author: Jas T. Ward
Publication Date: November 17, 2015
Genre: Paranormal Romance

 photo Lust Cover.jpgThe Second Book in the Wildly Popular Shadow-Keepers Series!


Welcome back to the world of the Grid. Where heroes and eaters of souls walk among us. Where a war rages and the price is mankind—its existence or its loss.

Can a heart that is walled away be allowed to love or trust and find its beat in one that needs someone to save it? A heartbeat that destiny denied but death can give?

McKenzie Miller had never needed anyone. Not since she lost both her parents to a crime of passion at a young age. Shuffled from foster home to foster home, Kenzie finally took control of her own life and lived on the streets. Now she’s an adult and has a hard-wired survivalist core to never be used or abused again. She’s strong and no one will ever hurt her—because she will never let someone inside the one part of her that can still feel—her heart.

Lana had everything that her parent’s money could buy and until they lost it all in the economy crash, the young ballet dancer had a bright future with the San Francisco Ballet Company. Now she struggles to reach for her dream and still survive. And do so, alone. Until one night…


Have no fear Twiz Keeper fans, there is also plenty of your favorite Candyman, Reno Sundown and his witch, Emma. As well as BOUNCE and of course, Lucifer. And twists? Oh there is ALWAYS twists with a Ward book.


Guest Post ~ Cast the Movie

Reno Sundown – Bradley Cooper
Emma Sundown – Katherine McPhee
McKenzie Miller – Kristen Stewart
Lana Penchez – Alexa PenaVega
Mark Gibson – Dylan O’Brien
Jess William Bailey – Scott Eastwood


Author Bio

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Born and raised in Texas and spending time living in Kentucky, Ms. Ward spends her days and nights writing as therapy to handle the past. She is the proud parent of three very independent grown children and grandmother to three delightful grandchildren.

She has two furbabies that sit and ponder why their human is talking to herself late into the night as she writes out colorful and diverse if not twisted characters and tales.

Ms. Ward is founding author and published by Dead Bound Publishing.

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads



$50 Visa G.C.; Autographed Bookmarks (4); Digital Copies of The Shadow-Keepers Series (2).
Ends 12/18.

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!

Teaser + Giveaway: Teresa of the New World


Welcome to the teaser tour for Teresa of the New World by Sharman Apt Russell!  Teresa of the New World is a young adult/new adult historical fiction with fantasy elements and is available for sale through most book stores. I reviewed Teresa of the New World this summer – you can read my review here!


About the Book:
From the bestselling author of An Obsession with Butterflies comes a magical story of America in the time of the conquistadors.

In 1528, the real-life conquistador Cabeza de Vaca shipwrecked in the New World where he lived as a slave, trader, and shaman.In this lyrical weaving of history and myth, the adventurer takes his young daughter Teresa from her home in Texas to travel to outposts in New Spain. Once there, Teresa is left behind as a servant in a Spanish household. But when an epidemic of measles devastates the area, the teenager must set off on a new journey, listening again to the voices of the desert, befriending a war-horse and were-jaguar, sinking into the earth to swim through fossil and stone, reclaiming her power to outwit the cunning figure of Plague.A story of apocalypse and hope, Teresa of the New World takes you into the dreamscape of the sixteenth-century American Southwest.



It took me twenty years to write Teresa of the New World, a reflection of my long time obsession with the Spanish conquistador Álvar NúñezCabeza de Vaca, with the numinous deserts of the American Southwest, with the dreamscape of the sixteenth century, with the deadly diseases unwittingly brought by the Europeans at the time of First Contact, with the complexities of the hero father, with deep earth magic, with were-jaguars, with all that and more.

Supposedly this is the story of Teresa, daughter of a Capoque mother and a Spanish adventurer. But really I think it has become my autobiography.

In 1528, the real-life conquistador Cabeza de Vaca shipwrecked in the New World where he lived for eight years as a slave, trader, and shaman. Later, he wrote about those years in a report to the king of Spain, and that account—rich with details about the tribes of Texas and how they lived–has always fascinated me. In my retelling, the Spaniard takes his young daughter Teresa from her home to walk with him toward the setting sun, west to the outposts of New Spain, their travels accompanied by miracles–visions and prophecies.

But when Teresa reaches the outposts of New Spain, life is not what her father had promised. As a kitchen servant in the household of a Spanish official, she grows up estranged from the magic she knew as a child, when she could speak to the earth and listen to animals. When a new epidemic of measles devastates the area, the sixteen-year-old sets off on her own journey, befriending a Mayan were-jaguar who cannot control his shape-shifting and a warhorse abandoned by his Spanish owner. Now Teresa moves through a land stalked by Plague: smallpox as well as measles, typhus, and scarlet fever.

Teresa lived in a time of apocalypse and hope, of magic and change—and I think we live in a similar time. She had to let go of fear. She had to let go of anger. Living in her world was a wonderful and profound experience for me.

I would love to hear your reactions or thoughts to any aspect of Teresa of the New World. And I would be pleased to post your comments, stories, and drawings on my website. Just contact me at www.sharmanaptrussell.com.

About the Author:

Sharman Apt Russell has lived in the beauty and magic of Southwestern deserts almost all her life and continues to be amazed by that. She has published over a dozen books translated into a dozen languages, including fiction and nonfiction. Teresa of the New World is her third middle-grade and young adult novel.

Sharman teaches graduate writing classes at Western New Mexico University in Silver City, New Mexico and Antioch University in Los Angeles, California and has thrice served as the PEN West judge for their annual children’s literature award. Her awards include a Rockefeller Fellowship, the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award, a Pushcart Prize, and the Henry Joseph Jackson Award. Her work has been widely anthologized, with numerous starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Booklist. The San Francisco Chronicle has said “Russell’s writing is luminous” and Kirkus Reviews wrote, “A deep reverence for nature shines throughout Russell’s rich, enjoyable text.” The Seattle Times described her An Obsession with Butterflies as a “masterpiece of story-telling” and the San Diego Union Tribune called it “A singular work of art, with its smooth, ethereal prose and series after cascading series of astonishing lore.” The New York Times and Discover Magazine both described her book on hunger as “elegant.” Of her Anatomy of a Rose, the Sunday Times (London) said, “Every page holds a revelation.”



Three (3) signed copies of Teresa of the New World 
US only
Ends Sept. 8th
Giveaway provided by the author, bloggers are not responsible in any way for the prizing.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

Top Ten + Promo: Dating Tips From Dad – How to Win the Dating Game

Dating Banner Large
Dating 3DTitle: Dating Tips From Dad: How to Win the Dating Game
Author: Amity Jones
Publication Date: June 29, 2015
Genre: Non-Fiction

Growing up with my father had helped me to learn valuable ways of what to do and not to do regarding dating. I am so grateful he took the time with me to make sure I would have the best type of person in my life. This book is designed to help parents talk to their kids about dating. In addition, singles that have struggled and for those back into the dating world after being out of it for a long time. In this book you will find fast ways of how to meet that guy or girl; beginning of dating; who makes the first move; great conversation starters; and when to move on. As a bonus I have some tips I have learned along the way and have found helpful for me as well as my friends I have shared them with.

Top Ten Dating Snafus and Silly Stories

  1. Text messaging dating story
  2. Pajama story
  3. Guys need a challenge/hunting story
  4. Negotiate in the beginning
  5. Conversation starts are hilarious and good to get to know someone better
  6. Secrets to getting and keeping that amazing person
  7. My 2 Call Rule
  8. Next date and beyond
  9. Don’t go away mad, just go away
  10. Bonus information of all the tips I learned along the way that I have NEVER read in a book
Dating Meet Button

Amity Jones grew up with her father from age 8 and on. Learning the simple steps of dating, among other things, were very helpful in finding the most amazing men in her life. After she did a personal survey of her friends the last 10 years and found that they didn’t really learn “how-to-date” other than from trial and error, from their dysfunctional parents, and/or their peers that didn’t know what they were doing. It led her to write this book to help others learn her dating tips from dad.

Amazon  | Twitter


Guest Post + Review + Giveaway: Teresa of the New World



I am excited to share a great read with y’all today! Teresa of the New World is a work of historical fiction with a twist of Native American spirituality. I have author Sharman Apt Russell on the blog with a guest post about her journey through the desert, along with my review and a giveaway! I’m just one of the stops on the tour, so be sure to check out the others on the tour schedule.

teresa high resTitle: Teresa of the New World
Author: Sharman Apt Russell
Publisher: Yucca Publishing
Release Date: March 2015
Length: 192 pages
Series?: no
Genre: Historical Fiction

Find the book: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Sky Horse Publishing

In 1528, the real-life conquistador Cabeza de Vaca shipwrecked in the New World where he lived as a slave, trader, and shaman. In this lyrical weaving of history and myth, the adventurer takes his young daughter Teresa from her home in Texas to travel to outposts in New Spain. Once there, Teresa is left behind as a servant in a Spanish household. But when an epidemic of measles devastates the area, the teenager must set off on a new journey, listening again to the voices of the desert, befriending a war-horse and were-jaguar, sinking into the earth to swim through fossil and stone, reclaiming her power to outwit the cunning figure of Plague. A story of apocalypse and hope, Teresa of the New World takes you into the dreamscape of the sixteenth-century American Southwest.

***** Guest Post *****

We think we are alone, but we are not. Many people live inside us. For those of us who read as children, who lived inside books while we were young, there are fictional characters—Harry Potter, Gollum, Wendy, Karana. There might be animals, if we are lucky. And plants. Sometimes there are entire landscapes.

I am lucky to have the desert live inside me, and the dreamscape of the sixteenth century American Southwest. Around a campfire, under the glittering arc of the Milky Way, the Spanishconquistador Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca sits and dreams of sailing back to Spain. He shivers a bit in the cold and sighs dramatically. He is aware of himself as a stranger in a strange land. He is a traveler and explorer, lost in the New World, and determined to find his way home.

Bobcat DSC_9312 copy 2
courtesy of Sharman Apt Russell

This is the real-life historical story:

In 1528, Cabeza de Vaca was the treasurer of a Spanish expedition which sailed into a Florida bay with four ships, four hundred men, ten women, and eighty horses. The men marched inland, got lost, built barges, set sail again, and shipwrecked along the coast of Texas. Almost everyone died. Among the native Texan tribes, however, Cabeza de Vaca found new employment as a slave, a healer, and a trader. For eight years, he lived naked and hungry, stripped of his identity and his past.

One day he and three other former conquistadors began to walk west to the Spanish outposts of northern Mexico. They became known as the Children of the Sun, strangers who could heal the sick and raise the dead. This extraordinary traveling medicine man show was accompanied by thousands of Native American followers. Finally, the Children of the Sun met up with Spanish soldiers who captured the natives to work in Spanish silver mines. Cabeza de Vaca and his companions went on to Mexico City and eventually back to Spain.

Sacred datura, August 25, 2012
Sacred Datura | courtesy of Sharman Apt Russell

Why am I so fascinated by this story? This journey through the desert?

Cabeza de Vaca wrote about the tribes he lived with in a later report to the king of Spain. He wrote about how they loved their children, how they warred with each other, how they treated their old people, how they danced and drank and celebrated life. He admired them, and he also led them into the hands of Spanish slave hunters. He loved the New World. He also left the New World. He loved the desert. And he left the desert.

I have read the journals and the reports of Cabeza de Vaca over and over. But in the end, when I began my own story about the sixteenth century in the American Southwest, I wasn’t interested in his journey at all. Instead I wrote about a fictional daughter–Teresa, born of a Capoque mother, born in a bay of salty water and too many mosquitos. Teresa was a girl who could listen to the thoughts of animals and plants and sink into the earth. A girl who went on her own journey, through a terrifying New World of plague and violence, through loss and grief. A girl who had to reclaim her own magic and find her own home in the desert.

Now Teresa lives inside me, too. Sometimes she joins her father around the campfire, under the glittering arc of the Milky Way. She has forgiven her father for loving her and then leaving her behind in the New World. She has forgiven him for all the mistakes he made as an explorer and a conquistador. Most often they just sit together and are silent, in the beauty of the desert.

****** Review *****

The Skinny

This is a work of historical fiction, based on the exploits of the excursion of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca in the New World. The ships landed near current-day Tampa Bay, Florida in 1528. Cabeza de Vaca along with three other survivors meet up with Spanish slavers in Mexico and become conquistadors, traders, slaves of and shamans of coastal Texas tribes.

However, it is not told from Cabeza de Vaca’s point of view, or the three survivors in his crew. It is told from Teresa, Cabeza de Vaca’s daughter. She tells much of the first portion of the book through her eyes, as an observer of her father, his companions and the work they do. Teresa is special in that she can listen to the earth and the animals, but it is not a gift she truly recognizes until she is older.

As traders, the band of four Spaniards are welcomed by most tribes. After learning that there will be no ship coming to rescue them, Teresa is scooped up and taken along with her father on his journeys where they eventually meet another group of Spaniards and go to the Governor. From there, Cabeza de Vaca continues on his expedition for the King, and after disease ravages the Governor’s house and village, Teresa sets out to find the wise old woman she and her father had meet when she was just a girl.

The Players

“I can hear the peccary,” Teresa boasted. “I can hear the earth speak.” 

“You are special,” the woman agreed lovingly.

Teresa – She comes from a tribe of generous people. The daughter of a nobelman, the foster daughter of another woman, but also a bastard. She is taught to speak Spanish and learn the faith at a very young age and begins her journey with her father at age five. She is disfigured according to her tribe’s custom of flat heads, and has blue tattoos under each eye. She spends most of her years growing up in the Governor’s household.

More hair grew from his chin and cheeks, although he tried to keep his beard trimmed with an oyster knife. The hair on his head was also gray, mixed with read and brown, an extraordinary color.

Cabeza de Vaca – He is not a good fisherman, hunter or trapper and knows little about plants, but he is a good trader and storyteller. He is Teresa’s father and also known to be an extraordinary healer, and continues on the journey he came to the New World to do.

Dorantes grumbled that he did not want to wait, that he was thirsty, that he was hungry.

Andrés Dorantes – A Christian man who was kept as a slave by a southern coastal tribe.

“You see this as a way to get to Spain. I see this as a test of my immortal soul.”

Alonso del Castillo – A Christian man Teresa notes with “bulging eyes like a frog” and is not on board with his fellow Spanairds making the sacrilegious sign of the Cross. He struggles with the blasphemous things he has done himself, and the healing work that is being performed. Teresa does not like him and he does not liker her.

His skin seemed to blend into the night, and his hair curled like the wool on a buffalo.

Esteban – A black Moor who is slave to Dorantes and later sold. He is kind to Teresa.

This ragtag band of Spanairds travels from tribe to tribe, and become known as healers and men sent from Heaven. They begin to gather a following of Native Americans and collectively they are known as the Children of the Sun.

Cabeza de Vaca has a loving, nurturing relationship with his daughter. He teaches her the basics she needs to know in order to survive in two worlds. The men are at odds with one another because of their faith and Christianity, but do not turn against de Vaca.

First Impressions

Quite honestly, I picked this book to read because it has the same spelling of my mother’s name. All my life people have spelled my mom’s name wrong, so this piqued my interest. When I started reading the synopsis, the historical aspect drew me in. Although this was definitely a little different from my normal read, I had the feeling that it was going to be an intense read. I don’t know why, but every time I looked at the cover or read the synopsis, I got this foreboding that it would be much more than my expectations. I was excited to read about the historical aspect and time period because I love historical, and this was a time period I haven’t read much about, but I am well-versed in Native American tribes so that also sparked my interest.

Second Thoughts

When I first started reading, it was a struggle for me, because the writing is passive voice. Very passive voice, with a lot of description and detail about what others were doing. It was almost as if Teresa didn’t exist but for a few scenes, and there is a very marked disproportion of narrative voice to dialgoue. Once I got past the writing style and got into the groove, it was better to take in Teresa’s story.

The wise woman looked straight at Cabeza de Vaca, and Teresa felt a shiver of energy up her spine. She felt suddenly lonely and went to lean against her father’s leg. Once he, too, had ridden a horse and carried a long knife. He, too, had worn a magic hat. The future and the past were racing toward each other, and the wind they made prickled the hairs on the back of her neck.

This was the moment when I realized things were getting good, and for Teresa there was no going back. She is caught between two worlds, neither of which she is accepted into as she is. She has been too long gone from her tribe, and the does not fit into the Spanish world. She is taken into the house of the Governor as a servant, to be watched over and cared for by the friar as her father continues on to complete the journey that originally sent him to the New World. A few years later the priest shares his report to the King, and Teresa comes to a realization that hardens her heart.

Her father had written his report to the King of Spain in conversations with her. She had been the page on which he had inscribed himself, setting his life to memory as he lived it, always thinking of what he would say to Charles the Fifth and the royal court, always planning for the time when the Royal Treasurer of the Pánfilo de Naraváez expedition would return to Seville.

Soon after she leaves the Governor’s, setting out in search of the wise old woman. Along the way she meets Horse, who is hesitant to receive Teresa’s attentions, but doesn’t have many options. Then, they meet Boy, who smells like a jaguar and is only about five years old. They continue on their journey and meet a few other interesting characters that pose imminent danger, and Teresa comes to understand how the disease spreads. Crows are a recurring theme throughout the novel.

Along the way, Teresa meets the girl described in the beginning of the book by the earth and does make it to the wise old woman…but it is not how Teresa imagined it would be.

My favorite scenes were the ones where Teresa and Horse conversed. The dialogue and relationship between the two was quite interesting. I also found Teresa’s relationship with Boy comforting as she took on a motherly role and protected him.

This book is quite complex in that it characterizes Plague as an entity, which Teresa know understands. She has figured out how the disease can spread and how to stop spreading it (without medicine). This plays a large part in the latter half of the book and drives the plot.


***** About the Author *****

AuthorPicSharman Apt Russell has lived in the beauty and magic of Southwestern deserts almost all her life and continues to be amazed by that. She has published over a dozen books translated into a dozen languages, including fiction and nonfiction. Teresa of the New World is her third middle-grade and young adult novel. Sharman teaches graduate writing classes at Western New Mexico University in Silver City, New Mexico and Antioch University in Los Angeles, California and has thrice served as the PEN West judge for their annual children’s literature award. Her awards include a Rockefeller Fellowship, the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award, a Pushcart Prize, and the Henry Joseph Jackson Award. Her work has been widely anthologized, with numerous starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Booklist. The San Francisco Chronicle has said “Russell’s writing is luminous” and Kirkus Reviews wrote, “A deep reverence for nature shines throughout Russell’s rich, enjoyable text.” The Seattle Times described her An Obsession with Butterflies as a “masterpiece of story-telling” and the San Diego Union Tribune called it “A singular work of art, with its smooth, ethereal prose and series after cascading series of astonishing lore.” The New York Times and Discover Magazine both described her book on hunger as “elegant.” Of her Anatomy of a Rose, the Sunday Times (London) said, “Every page holds a revelation.”

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Goodreads


***** Giveaway *****

The author will be giving away four (4) signed copies of Teresa of the New World (US) to the winners of the below Rafflecopter.  The giveaway ends July 28th.

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!

Giveaway provided by the author, bloggers are not responsible in any way for the prizing.
This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

Release + Giveaway: A Batter of Life and Death

Today we are excited to announce the release of A Batter of Life and Death by Ellie Alexander! This is the second book in the Bakeshop Mystery series and is now available for sale!

***** Guest Post *****

Welcome to Ashland, Oregon the home of the world famous Oregon Shakespeare Festival and home to the fictional family bakeshop Torte and pastry chef Juliet (Jules) Capshaw.

Torte is more than a bakeshop it’s a gathering place for neighbors and friends. Whether you’ve lived in Ashland for your entire life or are just passing through to catch a production of Shakespeare under the stars, at Torte everyone is family. Jules and her staff handcraft delectable cakes and baked goods and offer up a listening ear to everyone who walks through Torte’s front door. That makes it the perfect setting for murder. Sometimes the sweets at Torte are to die for—literally.

While Torte (and murder) may be fictional in A Batter of Life and Death, the town of Ashland is very real and oh so charming. The plaza downtown is a hub for artists, foodies, musicians and travelers from every corner of the globe. Spend an afternoon strolling through Lithia Park with its meandering paths, gorgeous fountains, hiking trails, and ancient trees. Stop for a pint at Oberon’s Tavern or an afternoon sweet at Mix, and then wander up to the bricks to catch a spectacular live show.

One of my favorite things about writing the Bakeshop Mystery series is introducing readers to Ashland and the surrounding areas. I hope that readers will enjoy getting a little glimpse into the world of the theater, Shakespeare, a family bakeshop, and Southern Oregon.

Happy reading and baking!

~Ellie Alexander

***** About the Book *****

A Batter of Life and DeathWelcome to Torte–a small-town family bakeshop where the coffee is hot, the muffins are fresh, and the cakes are definitely to die for…

It’s autumn in Ashland, Oregon–’tis the season for a spiced hot apple cider with a serving (or two) of Torte’s famous peach cobbler. It’s also the perfect time for Jules Capshaw to promote her family’s beloved bake shop by competing in The Pastry Channel’s reality show, Take the Cake. The prize is $25,000. But as Jules quickly learns, some people would kill for that kind of dough. Literally.

Then, just as Jules dusts off her Bavarian Chocolate Cake recipe and cinches up her apron, the corpse of a fellow contestant is discovered–death by buttercream. What began as a fun, tasteful televised adventure has morphed into something of a true-crime detective show for Jules and everybody else on set. Who could have killed Chef Marco, and why? Can Jules sift out the killer before someone else gets burned?

Make sure to check out book one, Meet Your Baker!

***** About the Author *****

Ellie Alexander is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter to learn more.

***** Giveaway ****

Signed copy of Meet Your Baker and A Batter of Life and Death, 1 pound coffee, Oregon Chai, Gourmet cupcake liners (US)

Ends July 21st

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway! 

This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

Review + Giveaway: Hope In Every Raindrop


I am excited to share this new novel! Hope In Every Raindrop is a new adult, clean romance. I also have a guest post from author Wesley Banks about small towns. To see what’s going on at the rest of the tour stops, visit the tour schedule.

Title: Hope In Every Raindrop
Author: Wesley Banks
Release Date: May 2015
Length: 201 pages
Series?: no
Genre: New Adult, Romance

kindle-final-jpgFind the book: Goodreads | Kindle | Nook | iBooks

“Small towns have big stories.” That was a lesson Katie’s father taught her years ago. A lesson she’s taken to heart. And right now, Katie is desperate for a big story. Reeling from the recent loss of her father and with her agent breathing down her neck for the next book, the twenty-one-year-old writer picks a spot on the map and finds herself bound for a middle-of-nowhere town called Bishopville, South Carolina.

Taking a chance on the words of a local grocer, Katie stumbles upon a rare breed of dogs raised by the town doctor and his nephew Kyle. The only problem? Kyle isn’t interested in telling stories—especially not to a big-city girl who can’t seem to sit still. In an attempt to win him over as the clock winds down, Katie finds herself immersed in Kyle’s world, doing everything but writing.

When inspiration finally strikes, Katie is faced with an unforeseen catastrophe and a truth she can no longer ignore. While she has come to love the dogs, the real story may be about Kyle Walker.

***** Guest Post *****

10 Reasons to Live in a Small Town

Small town life isn’t for everyone. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true. However, in the case of Kyle Walker and Hope In Every Raindrop, small town life is the only life he knows. And he wouldn’t have it any other way.

Here are 10 reasons to live in a small town.

1.       Everyone knows everyone. This means your name matters. You’re not just another teacher, doctor, or engineer. You’re the teacher, doctor, or engineer. And everyone knows it.

2.       Life doesn’t move so fast. Have you ever heard the saying, “Stop and smell the roses?” In small towns there’s no need to say it. You’re not walking down the street nose in your cell phone, or rushing to your next big meeting. You’re living life as it’s meant to be lived. Enjoying every moment.

3.       Family matters…a lot. It’s not that family doesn’t matter in larger cities, it’s just that it’s typically more of a priority in smaller towns. It’s a great environment to raise a kid.

4.       The great outdoors. Have you ever noticed how many people leave big cities to go on vacation? To get back to the peace and calm and wonder that is nature? Small towners have a greater focus (daily) on the outdoors.

5.       Do it yourself is an actual thing. How many do it yourself (DIY) blogs do you follow? Seriously. There’s not a good explanation for this, but in small towns the answer to “Can I fix this?” is always “Yes.”

6.       Fun has a whole new meaning. Movie theater? Shopping downtown? Bars and clubs? Nope. Playing cool, and completely made up games with friends? That’s a small town.

7.       Stars, stars, and more stars. I’m not talking about Zac Efron or Jennifer Lawrence. I’m talking about the stars you see at night when you look up. There’s no skyscrapers or smog blocking out the starlight in small towns. And it’s amazing.

8.       There’s always parking, but no parking lots. You just kind of drive where you need to go and then stop when you get there.

9.       Peace and quiet. If you’re a writer or a reader you will absolutely love the peace and quiet.

10.   The simple life. Somehow in big cities we get too caught up with things that aren’t that important. Small town life is simple. Food, shelter, a good book, fun with your friends and family, your health. Those are the things that matter. Oh, and of course your dog.

***** Review *****

The Skinny

This novel is a blend of new adult, romance and literary fiction. The writing is done so seamlessly it’s hard to realize how to place this novel into a genre.

Katie is a young writer – a young, repeated bestselling writer in a single year – but she has lost all inspiration for writing. Her agent is chomping at the bit for the next book’s draft Katie has said she’s been working on. When faced with an ultimatum, Katie follows in her father’s footsteps to find her next story.

A stroke of fate lands Katie in Bishopville, South Carolina with an old-fashioned, country doctor, a strong, guarded young man and a pack of dogs that have an interesting history…and do even more interesting things.

The Players

“How did I ever write a New York Times Best Seller?” she said out loud.

Katie –  Katie is grasping at straws to keep her agent and publisher off her back, but she doesn’t have a story at all. She doesn’t feel the inspiration to write. She’s young – only 21 – and skyrocketed into the big leagues of the publishing world. She takes matters into her own hands and follows in her father’s footsteps to get her story.

It was like his eyes judged her as a person even as his words judged her as a writer.

Kyle – Kyle is a strong, silent young man who formed a bond with a new breed of wild dogs – the Carolina grays. He lives in the barn out at his uncle’s place and is constantly dealing with ignoring tourists and passers by who want to see the dogs and the extraordinary work he does with them. Kyle is very hard to get a read on, and quite aloof.

Perhaps a few inches over six feet, his legs were like tree trunks against his jeans, and his forearms looked more like calves as he wrapped his hand around a large walking staff that stopped just past his shoulders. He had a neatly trimmed white beard and his hair was pulled back in a ponytail that hung barely above his shoulders. Every facet of him seemed imposing. Until he smiled. 

Doc – Doc is a good ol’ Carolina man. He’s the local doctor and at times gets pulled away from the farm. He welcomes Katie with open arms and sets her up to work. He is Kyle’s uncle and sometimes has to assert that authority over his standoffish nephew.

Kyle swiveled around in his chair as the back door opened and Katie walked through. Earl followed, talking all the way. 

“…four common whales in California? The gray whale, the humpback whale, the blue whale and the fin whale. The blue whale can be over one hundred tons!”

“Earl! How many times do I gotta tell you the customers don’t want to hear that nonsense?”

Earl looked at Pearl with a straight face. “Everyone likes whales.” Then her turned back around and walked right out the door still talking. “I mean, there is a whole television station on whales…”

Other than these three, there are two characters in town that are quite charming. Pearl’s Place is where Kyle and Doc get their supplies, but Pearl, the proprietor, is like a “wise grandmother” and Earl is a technology guru. Earl is eager for conversation and engagement. He cracked me up – like a little old man tinkering away but ready to strike a conversation with anyone while under Pearl’s thumb. Pearl and Earl point Katie in the right direction to get her story.

And then there are the dogs. There are many of them, paired up like sled dogs, but the one who takes prominence in the story is King. He was the first dog, whom Kyle discovered as an orphaned pup. They have an exceptional relationship that is tested in the book.

Brilliant plan, Katie. Write a book about a bunch of dogs and the least talkative person on the planet.

Katie was a very well-rounded character, and I appreciated all of the facets to her as a daughter, writer, and woman. I could understand her frustration with stoic and silent Kyle, but also how she turned some of that into humor on her own part. Doc is like the proverbial Santa Claus. Who doesn’t love Santa? He has the patience of a saint to put up with Kyle, but he is gentle as a lamb. Kyle, on the other hand, rubbed me the wrong way for the longest time…until more of his story was revealed.

Doc leads both Katie and Kyle in a journey of understanding one another. He creates the buffer between the two until they are comfortable enough for Kyle to open up and Katie to write the story she has come so far to write.

First Impressions

At first I had no idea what I was doing with this book. I admit it was a relationship purely based on cover love. Intriguing covers always get me!

Second Thoughts

Kyle is a lot more than meets the eye, but it’s hard to understand that by his natural hardened exterior. There is much more to this young man than Katie could ever have guessed, and she slowly discovers this piece by little piece as she whittles away life in Bishopville while working with Doc and Kyle. Kyle is so in sync with the dogs, which is why he works so well with them.

“Often times when a person looks at a dog they forget that the dog doesn’t look back at them the same way. When she sees you she doesn’t see a pretty brunette girl that loves to write. She sees the way your shoulders are slightly angled towards her. She notices the few strands of hair not tucked behind your ear. She watches the subtle part in your lips. The dogs see everything. The way you walk, the lightness or heaviness of a single step. The way you look at things, with curiosity or insecurity. Even the way you breathe. They take the time to notice the details that we often take for granted. All their decisions are based on these details.”

I thought this was a very powerful moment in the book, and also provided a turning point for Katie. It sure opened my eyes, that’s for sure!

The title comes from writings of Katie’s father. Kyle grew up with these sentiments, never knowing they came from anyone other than Doc. It was an interesting connection that linked them all together and showed just how perfect Katie’s search for her story is.

The writing of this novel is so relaxed in the writing style, yet controlled in what is revealed and how it is revealed. It is an interesting dynamic that suited well for the relationship between Katie and Kyle, as well a reader with the writing itself and the story that Katie eventually comes to write.

This is a book with many complexities, which is always welcomed to my shelves. There is a depth to this book that has such strong and touching moments – and lessons – to share with others.

***** About the Author *****

wesley-bio-300x460Wesley Banks was born in 1983 and grew up on the west coast of Florida. He graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Civil Engineering.  After spending over 7 years building movable bridges from Florida to Washington he decided to focus on his true passion: writing.

Wesley recently moved from Florida to Oregon to get back to the great outdoors that he’s love so much. He lives with his wife Lindsey, and his two dogs Linkin and Story. Most of his time these days is spent writing, with as much rock climbing, hiking, or skiing as they can fit in.

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

***** Giveaway *****

The author will be giving away $25 Amazon Gift Card and 2 ebook copies of “Hope in Every Raindrop” to the winners of the below Rafflecopter.  The giveaway ends July 7th.

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!

This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

Guest Post: Writing Historical Fantasy

Recently I reviewed Deadly Delicious by K.L. Kincy, which I enjoyed very much. Think vodoo in New Orleans in 1955 with one teenage girl who makes a few problems for herself. Or you can read my review here. 🙂 Anyway, author Karen Kincy is gracing us today with a guest post about writing historical fiction, pertaining to Deadly Delicious.

Writing Historical Fantasy

Karen Kincy

Historical fantasy is an amazing genre to read, like a sandwich layered with old worlds and imaginary ones, but also a really tough genre to write. How did I cook up my own recipe for historical fantasy? Some tricks I learned from Deadly Delicious:

Scour used bookstores for research

Deadly Delicious takes place in an alternate 1955 Missouri, since the real one never had magic or cake-eating zombies. When I did research, I discovered a goldmine in used bookstores: vintage cookbooks. Full of fantastic historical recipes. Deadly Delicious has recipes like:


Useful for curing lovesickness of every kind, the Perfect Pickle Loaf is also a tidy way to fashion pork leftovers into a daintier confection. Green olives are a must, as they will add immensely to the handsomeness and flavor of this dish.

“Pickle loaf” is a nicer way of saying, “head cheese,” which is a nicer way of saying, “boiling a pig’s head and then mixing all the meaty bits with gelatin.” It’s not hard to look at a gross recipe in an old cookbook and think of how a witch might make it magic, like curing lovesickness.

Warning: collecting vintage cookbooks can make you ravenously hungry, especially if you find one on 1950’s desserts! (I did. I bought it.)

Check words on the Google Ngram Viewer

A few times, I wasn’t sure how Josephine would say something back in 1955. She couldn’t really say “awesome!” or “whatever,” the same way we do, since those words didn’t have the same meaning they do today. Instead, I wanted to include some 1950’s slang.

Super Duper
Google Ngram Viewer of SUPER-DUPER

The Google Ngram Viewer is an online tool (https://books.google.com/ngrams) that graphs the popularity of phrases (one or more words long) from 1800 until 2000, searching through a giant collection of books that Google has scanned into a corpus of data.

Josephine could totally say “super-duper doughnuts.” The word super-duper was the most popular in 1944, but still pretty popular in 1955. While editing Delicious, I needed to check if out of this world was used back in the 50’s; that’s a tricky phrase, because originally out of this world was a nicer way to say somebody had kicked the bucket.

I double-checked at the Online Etymology Dictionary (www.etymonline.com), and the sense of out of this world as “surpassing, marvelous” was first recorded in 1928. And “out of this world!” with the exclamation mark was really popular during 1955, according to the Google Ngrams. That means Josephine’s mama cooks food that’s “out of this world.”


It’s probably pretty obvious why I love writing historical fantasy: the research, old books, and older words. I definitely got carried away sometimes while writing Deadly Delicious, but at least now I have a lot of great ideas for a sequel!


About the Author

Karen - author photo2 (1)Karen Kincy (Redmond, Washington) can be found lurking in her writing cave, though sunshine will lure her outside. When not writing, she stays busy gardening, tinkering with aquariums, or running just one more mile. Karen has a BA in Linguistics and Literature from The Evergreen State College.

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


About the Book

Title: Deadly Delicious
Author: K.L. Kincy
Publisher: Createspace
Release Date: April 2014
Length: 270 pages
Series?: no
Genre: MG

Find the book: Goodreads | Amazon

Twelve-year-old Josephine DeLune can’t take the heat this sweltering summer of 1955, and she was out of the kitchen long ago.

An awful cook, she ruins recipes left and right, and she certainly can’t compete with her family’s reputation for extraordinary food. Her daddy’s parents ran one of the best restaurants in all of Paris, but Josephine lives in Paris, Missouri. On her mama’s side, she’s up against a long tradition of sinfully delicious soul food. Rumor has it, her Creole ancestors cooked up some voodoo to make tasty even tastier. Josephine knows the secret ingredient: she comes from a long line of conjure witches with spellbinding culinary skills.

Disenchanted, Josephine works as a carhop at Carl and Earl’s Drive-In. Just plain old hamburgers, hot dogs, and curly fries, nothing magical about them. She’s got bigger fish to fry, though, when a grease fire erupts into a devilish creature who hisses her name with desire. Turns out he’s the Ravenous One, the granddaddy of all voodoo spirits, and he’s hungry for her soul. Josephine thinks he’s got the wrong girl-she’s no witch-but a gorgeous, dangerous night-skinned lady named Shaula sets her straight. Josephine is one of the most powerful witches alive, so overflowing with conjure that her out-of-control cooking simply catches fire.

Josephine would love to laugh this off, but Shaula warns her that she must learn to master her magic before the Ravenous One devours her soul. Spurred into action, Josephine breaks out her grandma’s old conjure cookbook and starts cooking. Nothing grand, just the usual recipes for undying friendship and revenge. But soon Josephine can’t escape the consequences of her conjure. When the people of Paris start turning into zombies with a strange fondness for cake, Josephine looks pretty responsible for their undead reawakening…