Monday, May 13, 2024

Bound Across Time by Annie R McEwen Review, Excerpt Interview & Giveaway

Bound Across Time
Book One
Annie R McEwen 

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Ghost Romance
Publisher: Harbor Lane Books
Date of Publication: May 7, 2024
Number of pages: 324

Tagline: In a castle on the shores of the Irish Sea, she’s met the love of her life. Clever, witty, strong, fiercely attractive.  What’s the catch? He’s a ghost.

Book Description:

Historian CeCe’s dream job in a Welsh castle goes sideways when she’s ordered to ditch the history and lead ghost walks. That’s the worst of her worries until she meets Patrick: strong, handsome, irresistible…and dead since 1761.

Desire and hope flare in Patrick’s heart when CeCe touches him while, for CeCe, Patrick is everything. But she’s in the bright world of the living while he’s trapped in the shadows. 

Loving a ghost is deadly business. Patrick and CeCe struggle to outrace fate as it hurtles them toward disaster. Can the ancient riddle of an Irish seer save them? The spells of Welsh witches? 

Or can powers CeCe didn’t even know she possessed bridge time and defeat death?

Book Trailer:

Excerpt from Bound Across Time, by Annie R McEwen

You’re an idjit, Patrick. Death was always too good for you.

He should have gone slower with her, no doubt about it. He was a lout, a brute, to startle her so thoroughly, and that was never his intent. He could have—no, he should have—whispered, or moaned, or shimmered from a distance. Instead, he was hasty.

Hasty? He was a burning brand of desire. Who could blame him after two hundred-fifty…how long had it been? He’d lost count of the years.

That was still no reason to be an imbecilic knave, popping up like codswalloping Punch on a puppet stage while wearing the same filthy linen he was tipped overboard in when the Earl didn’t have the decency to give him a proper burial. At least the sea water had washed away the blood.

His honor, his common sense—perhaps they’d washed away as well. Within reach of this woman, he could remember nothing he’d learned of subtle romance and courtly manners. All he could think of was making her his, now until the end of time.

What an embarrassment he was, to his sainted mother, to his upbringing, to the gentleman he was reared to be. An embarrassment to every Irish bard who ever sang songs or wrote poems about women who were doves, and lilies, and other things he couldn’t remember.

He did remember that they were fragile and easily startled. Easily driven away.
Next time, I will be slow. I will slowly and gently explain things to her. Unusual things. Highly unusual, uncanny, frightening, nigh incomprehensible things.

Sure, now, Patrick, me boyo, that’ll be a stroll along the banks of the Shannon.

By the right hand of God, but she was beautiful. Slumbering on the stone floor, her skin smooth ivory but gilded, as though the sun had kissed her once and then fallen in love, unable to leave. She’d lost her cap, and her hair—rich, deep brown and burnished with red, like brandy—tumbled around her neck and shoulders. Her sun-brushed skin, high and perfect cheekbones, the delicate slant of her eyes, the plump swell of her br**sts above the top edge of her bodice, the curves of the body he could imagine pressed to his own aching and lonely one…

Beauty itself, she was, not only of body but of mind. In the weeks before she’d seen him, he’d watched her exercise that beautiful mind among the slower thinkers of the Castle, who doubtless envied her. She was stubborn, spirited, and quick-witted—he liked that.
He crouched over her crumpled form, not touching, only taking in her scent. Rose attar and mint—he liked that, too.

The only thing he didn’t care for was the name she went by, See-see. What sort of name was that? It was something you called a canary. He would never call her that, not when the French name with which she’d been christened was just like her.

Céleste, meaning heavenly.

She was waking now. He rose and backed away. Time for him to depart, as he must, and breathe a prayer. Not for himself, there was no point to that. If God had ever listened to him, he wouldn’t be where he was, and he deserved no better. His prayer would be for her, the angel who defied or escaped God’s curse to light his endless night.

Come back, Céleste Gowdie. Please come back.

About the Author:

Annie R McEwen is a career historian who’s lived in six countries, under every roof from a canvas tent to a Georgian Era manor house and driven herself to work in everything from a donkey cart to a vintage Peugeot. For her, it feels perfectly natural to create stories of desperate love and powerful secrets in faraway times and places.

Winner of the 2022 Page Turners Award, Genre (Romance) Category, Annie also garnered the First Place 2022 RTTA (Romance Through Ages Award from Romance Writers of America; Post-Victorian to WWI Category), the 2023 MAGGIE Award, and the 2023 Daphne du Maurier Award. Her Regency murder mystery “Death at Dunarven” appears in the 2024 Murder Most International Anthology. 

Annie’s books are published by Harbor Lane Books (US), Bloodhound Books (UK), and The Wild Rose Press. When she’s not in her 1920s bungalow in Florida, Annie lives, writes, and explores castles in Wales. 

Author Interview Questions from Deal Sharing Aunt.

ANSWERED BY Annie R McEwen, author

1.      What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?

I spend a few months in the UK every year. I’d have to say my trips there are all literary pilgrimages; each of the three books of the Bound series (which I began writing years ago) is set in the UK. Whether I’m exploring castles in Wales (Bound Across Time), Jacobean theater history in London (Bound to Happen), or Cornwall’s smuggling coast (Boundless), the landscape and history inspire me endlessly.

2.      What is the first book that made you cry? That would be Black Beauty by Anna Sewell.

3.      Does writing energize or exhaust you? Both, by turns.

4.      What is your writing Kryptonite? Arrrghh! That would be promoting myself and my books on social!

5.      Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym? I write now under a pseudonym. I’ve a WIP for which I may need a different nom de plume: it’s a police procedural in historical setting.

6.      What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?  I’m IG buddies with Bianca Marais and Louisa Morgan. They have different approaches to a subject on which I also write: the evolution and definition of “witchcraft” in the context of women’s identity/social positioning. The three of us handle the subject quite differently, but our sisterhood is empowering.

7.      Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book? Each of the books in the Bound series can stand alone if a reader discovers them that way, but there are intriguing and sustaining connections—familial, historical, magical—between the books that make the series much more captivating when read in order.

8.      What authors did you dislike at first but grew into? I had a hard time at first with Charlaine Harris. I blame that on starting with her Lily Bard mystery series which, for some reason, didn’t appeal to me. Then I began the Southern Vampire (Sookie Stackhouse) books! I became a huge fan. I even have a Fangtasia bumper sticker on my car and an Alexander Skarsgård (Eric Northman) key chain!

9.      What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel? Not just one but the whole Spymaster series by Joanna Bourne seems to be fading from collective memory. That’s unconscionable, to me; Bourne was the absolute queen of historical romantic suspense. As both an HR writer and a career historian, I’m also sad that so few people know about Jane Austen’s longer-lived contemporary: Maria Edgeworth. Overshadowed by Austenmania for 200 years, Edgeworth’s books are keen social commentary, sneaky and wonderful humor, with more straightforward writing than Austen’s. Mind you, I adore Miss Jane! But when readers grouse about her highly mannered prose style, I always suggest they dip into Castle Rackrent by Edgeworth.

10.  As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal? A cat. Any cat, but especially a striped tabby.

11.  How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? Oh, lordy. I’ve traditional publishing contracts in place for eight books, four of which are written. That leaves four in various stages of writing/editing/marketing. In addition, I’ve got four novels either partly or mostly written but not sent out on query. One is a romance novel set in late 1800s New Orleans, another is a paranormal (time travel) historical romance set in 1912 Boston, New Orleans, and Wales, the third is a police procedural/murder mystery in 1910 Ybor City, Florida, and the fourth is a novel of romance and smuggling set on the Kentish coast in the mid-1700s. All of those have won awards for their opening chapters, so I better finish them! If I live to 120, I might get to an additional few books I have in early draft stages.

12.  What did you edit out of this book? I had initially devoted a lot more content to a secondary character, but shaved him to something between a tertiary and a secondary. He was always a good excuse for the MMC to show off his jealousy and protective instincts toward the FMC, but a little goes a long way toward that. As interesting as I found the handsome and affable forensic conservationist, I reduced his “face time” to a handful of pages across the novel.

13.  If you didn’t write, what would you do for work? Well, as anyone who knows me will tell you, I’ve done just about everything, from professional dancer/actor/singer to college professor to vintage goods dealer to historical museum curator to magician’s assistant to owner of a chain of tattoo studios and, now, a writer. But, you know, I’ve never been a midwife, and I think I’d like that.

14.  Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find? I’m a career historian. Secrets from the past are my idea of huge fun. But they wouldn’t be secrets if I told you what they are, would they? Hint from Bound Across Time, Book One of the Bound series: “Uncommonly good.”

15.  What is your favorite childhood book? National Velvet. I read it four times—in a row.


My Review:
This was a great book. I loved everything about it. I loved that it had time travel, romance, witches, a ghost, and history. It even had Latin grammar and sayings in it. I really enjoyed translating the Latin before the author did. Patrick was a very virile man. He was definitely who you imagine on the cover of a romance novel. CeCe was a woman who loved history and was living in the past via her tours of an old castle. She was not ready to find out her family history, much less fall in love. CeCe learned so many things from her childhood that became pieces of a puzzle in her present life. Especially towards the end of the book when she realizes that she inherited what her mother had. I would have liked to learn what happened to her mom, but I have the feeling that she is living happily in the past. The epilogue also gives us insight to the next book in the series. Perhaps we can get a prequel somewhere down the road. I am giving this book a  5/5. I never give 5's but this book deserves it. I was given a copy, all opinions are my own. 

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Friday, May 10, 2024

Whiskey with Wolves by Erica Spray Teaser & Giveaway

Whiskey with Wolves
Erica Spray
Publication date: May 7th 2024
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Sadie Crowe is a runaway hoping to make a better future for herself, but she soon discovers what it means to truly be on her own. While trying to survive bartending in the middle of nowhere, Sadie is swept away by promises of money and an easy life by an enigmatic stranger. The grown-up world makes one dark turn after another, and Sadie must find her way through torment into the light of her future.

Goodreads / Amazon

Author Bio:

Born and raised in Southwest Louisiana taught me how to spin stories naturally. The culture, the flair, and the people really made it a magical place as a child. In a lot of my writings I still use Louisiana as the location because in a place as wild and tight-knit as Southern Louisiana, the possibilities are endless.

I knew I wanted to be a writer since I was in middle school. When i was in my thirties I knew that writing was my true calling in life. Just for the record, if something is your true calling, it will never stop calling you. Writing never stopped calling me and i'm glad that I finally listened and decided to take that leap.

You'll learn pretty quickly that my novels are mysterious and thrilling. I hope to always bring that element of surprise in each book ending. Think you have me figured out? Think again.

Website / Facebook / Instagram

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Saturday, April 20, 2024

The Deadly Daylight by Ash Harrier Review

12-year-old Alice has a hard time making friends. Maybe it's because she works in a funeral home and receives messages from the dead.

While the kids at school taunt her and call her “Alice in Zombieland," Alice England finds refuge at her father’s funeral home, where the dead tell her stories. As she arranges the deceased’s personal mementos, an item will hum with meaning–resonance–and Alice will see the story of their life.

When she "meets" George Devenish, a man who died of a rare sunlight allergy, Alice knows George was murdered. Her only leads are George’s niece, “Violet the Vampire,” who shares her uncle’s allergy and a friendly, but secretive boy named Cal.

As a determined Alice investigates, she is surprised to find Violet and Cal become more than just suspects, but allies—maybe even friends. However, Alice soon finds navigating her first real friendships might be harder than solving a murder.

Clever humor and twisty clues abound in this cozy middle grade mystery about a group of misfits finding courage in the truth and friendship in each other. Delightful, dark, and quirky, The Deadly Daylight is perfect for fans of Nancy Drew and Winterhouse.

Goodreads and Amazon 

About the Author: 
Ash Harrier lives in Perth, Western Australia. She is an Ambassador for the Books in Homes Australia charity, which helps children in disadvantaged circumstances build their home libraries. Ash has a great fondness for puzzles, scientific facts, birds and the smell of dried tea. Some of her favorite pastimes are reading, daydreaming and spending time in the garden with her small flock of hens.

This was a fun read that kept me interested. I was interested in the who the killer was and in the victims illness. I also liked how all the characters were intertwined. Violet and Alice are not popular kids, and they make a bond that that is everlasting. Alice is fun because she works in the funeral home, and has some special abilities. I also really liked the secondary characters like Cal and Alice's dad. I can tell that there will be many more mysteries and adventures for these kids! I am giving this book a 4/5. I was given a copy to review, however, all my opinions are my own. 

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Who was waiting for the circus?

 I can not wait to see the new acts!

Sunday, February 18, 2024

The Witches Protection Program by Michael Okon Review


Wes Rockville, a disgraced law-enforcement agent, gets one last chance to prove himself and save his career when he’s reassigned to a 232-year-old secret government organization.

The Witches Protection Program.

His first assignment: uncover a billion-dollar cosmetics company’s diabolical plan to use witchcraft for global domination, while protecting its heiress Morgan Pendragon from her aunt’s evil deeds. Reluctantly paired with veteran witch protector, Alastair Verne, Wes must learn to believe in witches…and believe in himself. Filled with adventure and suspense, Michael Okon creates a rousing, tongue-in-cheek alternate reality where witches cast spells and wreak havoc in modern-day New York City.

About the author:

Michael Okon is an award-winning and best-selling author of multiple genres including paranormal, thriller, horror, action/adventure and self-help. He graduated from Long Island University with a degree in English, and then later received his MBA in business and finance. Coming from a family of writers, he has storytelling in his DNA. Michael has been writing from as far back as he can remember, his inspiration being his love for films and their impact on his life. From the time he saw The Goonies, he was hooked on the idea of entertaining people through unforgettable characters. 

Michael is a lifelong movie buff, a music playlist aficionado, and a sucker for self-help books. He lives on the North Shore of Long Island with his wife and children.






My Review:

I really liked this book. It reminded me of great classics from Dahl. Only for an adult audience. I loved that Salem was in this book, I went there on my honeymoon. Salem is the home of witchcraft. Wes was an interesting character to read about. He became a believer and it was fun to watch his character grow. He was ready to prove his father wrong. There is a fun parallel between Wes's and Morgan's families. They are both outcasts. The fight scenes were magical and I wish I could see them on the big screen.  This is a fun, fast, young adult, read that even adults will enjoy. The ending was not expected and I am waiting for a sequel. Wes definitely has a lot to learn about the Witches Protection Program. I am giving this book a 5/5. I was given a copy, however all opinions are my own.