Review: The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel: A Story of Sleepy Hollow by Alyssa Palmobo

The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel: A Story of Sleepy Hollow by Alyssa Palombo

When Ichabod Crane arrives in the spooky little village of Sleepy Hollow as the new schoolmaster, Katrina Van Tassel is instantly drawn to him. Through their shared love of books and music, they form a friendship that quickly develops into romance. Ichabod knows that as an itinerant schoolteacher of little social standing, he has nothing to offer the wealthy Katrina – unlike her childhood friend-turned-enemy, Brom Van Brunt, who is the suitor Katrina’s father favors.

But when romance gives way to passion, Ichabod and Katrina embark on a secret love affair, sneaking away into the woods after dark to be together – all while praying they do not catch sight of Sleepy Hollow’s legendary Headless Horseman. That is, until All Hallows’s Eve, when Ichabod suddenly disappears, leaving Katrina alone and in a perilous position.

Enlisting the help of her friend – and rumored witch – Charlotte Jansen, Katrina seeks the truth of Ichabod Crane’s disappearance, investigating the forest around Sleepy Hollow using unconventional – often magical – means. What they find forces Katrina to question everything she once knew, and to wonder if the Headless Horseman is perhaps more than just a story after all. In Alyssa Palombo's The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel nothing is as it seems, and love is a thing even death won't erase.

Review: I have always been enamored with The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and when The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel: A Story of Sleepy Hollow landed at my doorsteps I was thrilled. There was this dark seductive yet haunting vibe throughout the whole book and with the gloomy rainy weather we were having here in Seattle the mood was set just right for me to get into this novel.

The book grabbed my attention from page one when it started with "Washington Irving got it wrong." I was all in. I knew I had to know Katrina's side of the story what really went down and I was not disappointed. I feel Palombo gave Katrina's character depth something even the original classic never accomplished, we learn so much about Katrina and I really did love her through her struggles and heartbreaks and hard decisions, I loved her through and through.

Another character that surprisingly stood out to me in the novel was Charlotte, Katrina's dearest friend. Without Charlotte, I don't see how Katrina could have managed the whole ordeal with Ichabod.  I found Charlotte to be a quiet strength and a loyal friend I would have loved to see things from her perspective as well.

If you go into this novel expecting it to be heavy in the supernatural realm of things, it's not. It really is a story of Katrina and how she met Ichabod and what transpired between them with tidbits of the supernatural thrown in giving it the right amount of eeriness. 

Overall The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel: A Story of Sleepy Hollow couldn't be released at a better time with us being knee deep in Autumn now and Halloween upon us soon, I highly recommend it especially if you loved the original classic this is a great addition to your collection.


$50 Blast Giveaway - Something About Forever by Kimberly Loth

Something About Forever by Kimberly Loth 

Boys. They are bound to be the death of me. Especially one with blue eyes, perfectly Mormon cut hair, and probably the inspiration for the girl’s camp song "Hot Priest". Why the heck did he have to be the bishop’s son? Cause here’s the thing. While I’m Mormon, I don’t really belong. I mean, I want to, but I just can’t seem to keep on the straight and narrow. Seriously, look at me. I’m not even supposed to use the name Mormon anymore, but Latter-Day Saint is a mouthful. So I’m sticking to Mormon. Sorry, Prophet. The bishop knows my past. He knows my problems. There is no freaking way he’s going to let me date his son. Yet, Nate comes after me anyway. And I fall hard. But eventually….I will have to tell him about my past. And I know, he’ll run far, far away from me when I do.

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  Praise for Something About Forever: Something About Forever hit me directly in the feels. I haven’t read a book in a while that’s made me cry but this one got my tear ducts flowing. Lauren and Nate’s story is very reliable. I completely recommend this book if you haven’t read it yet! ~Brianna

While this book could have been preachy, it is far from it. Religion isn't forced on you, even though it plays a major role in the story. It is simply one part of what helps Lauren turn her life around. I liked the way Lauren struggled to overcome her past and forgive herself. It was realistic. This story is unlike any I've read by Kimberly Loth. She moved in an entirely new direction with her writing. The result is a story well worth reading. I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to the next book in the series. ~Donna

Being not so perfect either, this book resonated deeply within my soul. The power of forgiveness for yourself and in giving to others can change your life. What a masterfully told story of love, acceptance, and forgiveness that is appropriate for teenagers and adults alike. ~Alie

I'm not really someone who is big on books with religion, but I really loved this story... This is such a sweet and forgiving story that the entire time I read it I felt light-hearted and happy. I really enjoyed the adventure of Lauren and Nate. ~Ruby

A different genre than normal, I was totally enraptured by this tale. This author truly breathed life into these characters and captured the very essence of forgiveness and redemption. ~Patty

A heartbreaking love story. It was hard for me to get passed the specificity of religion but I feel it could fit into any Christian setting. It's a good story. Well written. I hope that you enjoy it too. ~Richard

This book draws you in from the beginning and keeps you enthralled in Lauren and Nate’s story. It’s a real tear-jerker, so make sure the tissues are handy when you read it. It has great characters that you soon become invested in and an emotional plot that keeps you turning the pages. ~Rabid

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Hi, yeah, it’s me, Lauren. I’m breaking the fourth wall. Nate would be appalled. He hates it when people do this in movies or TV shows. He won’t even watch Ferris Bueller’s Day Off with me for that very reason. He’s nuts, but cute, so you know, I guess it all works out in the end. Anyway, I wanted to let you in on a few things.
I have no idea why you’re here. Maybe you want to hear about my journey to find eternity. Maybe you want to know if I’ll ever speak to my dad again. Or maybe you want to know why my mother married a guy who smokes a pack a day. Or maybe you just think Nate is hot. It’s okay. I do too. (You did see Nate, right? He’s on the cover. If you missed him, or even if you didn’t, go look. Sigh. So hot.)
Now I’m all flustered. Nate does that to me.
Where was I? Oh yeah, why are you here? I bet it’s the music. I’m all famous on YouTube and you wanted to see how it all started. Snort. Yeah, that was not my fault.
Anyway, whatever your reason, I feel I must make a disclaimer. This is my story. I’m not terribly funny or clever, but I do have a lot of obscure thoughts, and I promise I will break this wall again cause there are things that must be explained.
I’m a Mormon, so if that bothers you, you might want to stop reading now. But maybe you’re curious. That brings me to my next disclaimer. I’m not a very good Mormon. So if you’ve come here expecting me to quote the prophet or recite scriptures, you’ve come to the wrong place. I mean, I don’t even go to seminary.
Let’s talk about that for a second. What teenager willingly gets up a whole hour earlier than they are supposed to every single day? Not only that, but go to a class that is basically just reading the scriptures. Talk about a snoozer. They must be insane. Certifiably—we did already establish that Nate was nuts—I can’t even stay awake during Sunday School. How do people do it every stinking day of the week? Sorry, not my thing.
I don’t remember what else I wanted to say to you. Au revoir. Enjoy my story. You’re going to be examining my every flaw and thought. I do find that rather creepy. Good thing I never have to see you again after it’s over.
Hugs and kisses. Just kidding. I’m so not a hugs and kisses kind of girl… unless you are Nate. Which you’re not, cause I would never let him read this.
I’m out.

Author Kimberly Loth Kimberly Loth has lived all over the world. From the isolated woods of the Ozarks to exotic city of Cairo. Currently, she resides in Tucson, Arizona with her family including an old grumpy cat named Max. She’s been writing for ten years and is the author of the Amazon bestselling series The Dragon Kings. In her free time, she volunteers at church, reads, and travels as often as possible.
$50 Blast Giveaway Winner's choice of a $50 Amazon Gift Code or $50 in PayPal Cash Ends 10/29/18 
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
 The giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway


Review & Giveaway: Hot Winter Nights by Jill Shalvis

Hot Winter Nights by Jill Shalvis

  • Pub. Date: September 25, 2018
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publisher
  • Pages: 384
  • Series: Heartbreaker Bay #6
  • Rating:4/5
  • Goodreads/Amazon
Who needs mistletoe? 

Most people wouldn't think of a bad Santa case as the perfect Christmas gift. Then again, Molly Malone, office manager at Hunt Investigations, isn't most people, and she could really use a distraction from the fantasies she's been having since spending the night with her very secret crush, Lucas Knight. Nothing happened, not that Lucas knows that — but Molly just wants to enjoy being a little naughty for once...

Whiskey and pain meds for almost-healed bullet wounds don't mix. Lucas needs to remember that next time he's shot on the job, which may be sooner rather than later if Molly's brother, Joe, finds out about them. Lucas can't believe he's drawing a blank on his (supposedly) passionate tryst with Molly, who's the hottest, smartest, strongest woman he's ever known. Strong enough to kick his butt if she discovers he's been assigned to babysit her on her first case. And hot enough to melt his cold heart this Christmas.

Review: Hot Winter Nights was my first Jill Shalvis book and boy was it a fun ride, it is the sixth book in the Heartbreaker Bay series but for someone who has not read the previous books, Hot Winter Nights can easily be read as a standalone since every book focuses on a new couple.

Going into the book I expected a Christmas romance and from the blurb I knew there would be some type of suspense but what I didn't anticipate was falling adorably in love with Molly and Lucas, these two made such an awesome pair and had me smiling ear to ear so many times not to mention I found myself laughing out loud at quite a few of their antics as well. Shalvis couldn't have written a better pair, the chemistry between the two was off the charts and they just gave me all sorts of feels.

I also really liked how Shalvis had two heavily flawed characters, both Molly and Lucas have their own baggage and scars to deal with, things that happened in the past that neither one of them have fully dealt with which prevents them from getting close to anyone. So it was interesting seeing the two grow and trust and eventually love again.

Overall I really enjoyed reading Hot Winter Nights it was a perfect blend of romance, suspense, and humor and I'm actually looking forward to the next book in the series and might even go back and read a few of the previous novels, I'm especially curious about Archer so definitely going to pick that one up.

About the author
Jill lives with her family in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters (Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is mostly coincidental). She does most of her writing on her deck surrounded by more animals than humans. Which is quite astonishing considering she’s a city girl who was plucked from the wilds of L.A. to the wilds of the Sierra’s. Most of her books come from a combination of hard work, cookies, and hot guy pics, and not necessarily in that order.

Jill often travels to reader weekends & conventions where she LOVES getting to meet and hang-out with readers. The only problem being she tends to get lost in her hotels. So if you ever see NYTimes Bestselling author Jill Shalvis roaming the halls, someone please return her immediately.

Connect with Jill
Facebook: @JillShalvis
Twitter: @JillShalvis


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Giveaway & Excerpt: Ruin of Stars by Linsey Miller

Ruin of Stars
Author: Linsey Miller
ISBN: 9781492647522
Release Date: August 28, 2018
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

·        Praise for Ruin of Stars:
“Sal’s strong-willed personality and rich emotions create a protagonist who continues to shine” —Booklist

“Sal is intriguing and their genderfluidity adds depth to their personality. The narrative deals with issues of mystery, self-identity, and revenge. The ending provides a sense of closure, while leaving the door ajar for further adventures.” —VOYA Magazine

·        Summary:

The thrilling conclusion to the Mask of Shadows duology that weaves a tale of magic, shadows, and most importantly, revenge.

As one of the Queen’s elite assassins, Sal finally has the power, prestige, and permission to hunt down the lords who killed their family. But Sal still has to figure out who the culprits are. They must enlist the help of some old friends and enemies while ignoring a growing distaste for the queen and that the charming Elise is being held prisoner by her father.

But there’s something terribly wrong in the north. Talk of the return of shadows, missing children, and magic abounds. As Sal takes out the people responsible for their ruined homeland, Sal learns secrets and truths that can’t be forgotten.

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· Excerpt from Ruin of Stars:

Chapter One
hand snuffed out the light. I leaned over the edge of the greenhouse trellis, wooden beams creaking beneath me. The guards, as they had done every night I’d been spying, left soon as Lord del Aer tucked his daughter in, and they followed him through the halls of his estate. His daughter’s room was left unguarded except for the ones patrolling the grounds. He couldn’t comprehend someone killing his child to get at him.
I could.
I could because of him.
Lord Mattin del Aer was a good father and a terrible leader.
North Star. Deadfall. Riparian. Caldera. Winter.
The five secret names of the Erlend nobles who allowed Nacea to be destroyed by shadows. I knew only North Star, Caldera, and Winter by their real names—Gaspar del Weylin, Mattin del Aer, and Nevierno del Farone. I heard his name in my nightmares of the massacre he’d caused. I felt it on my skin every time I wore my Opal mask. I tasted it every time I muttered the last words my targets would ever hear.
Caldera. Caldera. Caldera.
The fourth Erlend lord on my list to kill and only the second one to die.
I had carved their names into the inside of my mask. Our Queen had named me Opal, her assassin and protector, and given me leave to kill my list. I’d the whole of the Igna court to help me hunt them down.
And the hunt was on.
He was predictable as an Erlend. He rose at dawn, flipped through reports sent to him from the other traitor Erlend lords who’d seceded from Igna barely two months ago, woke his daughter for breakfast, and spent the day with a series of advisers, guards, and tutors, each more boring than the last. He did not hear his citizens’ concerns or worries.
He didn’t talk to them at all, just told them war was upon us and the time to take up arms and reclaim Erlend was now. Didn’t even speak to them in person to draft them. The flyers went up overnight, and the rangers from North Star’s stronghold up north went out hunting for dodgers the next day.
War. Again. Always. Never ending so long as North Star and his Erlend lords still clung to power and greed. There’d been no attacks yet. Only the dead, stripped of clothes and skin and life, strung up across the trees near the border.
We figured they were folks speaking out against the war. Wasn’t much left of them to identify.
Wouldn’t be much of Caldera left either after I was done with him.
Caldera’s daughter snored. I slid a knife from its sheath, slipping the point beneath the glass pane of her window. She slept on, and I pushed the window up, the oil I’d squeezed into the tracks last night keeping it quiet. A paper shade or shutters would’ve been easier, but this worked just as well. They’d wonder how I entered with no shades cut or shutters broken. They’d think the killer a shadow.
I looked like one at least. The Left Hand of Our Queen—Emerald, Amethyst, Opal, and Ruby—were her royal assassins and named for the rings she wore. And I, the new Opal, had been gifted six masks. Three of bone white and three of pure midnight blue, the sort of purplish black that made you think of deep caves and missing stars. I’d carved my list into each one.
North Star. Deadfall. Riparian. Caldera. Winter.
The Erlend nobles who’d let the shadows tear my family to shreds, who’d ten years to atone for hundreds of thousands of deaths and done nothing, would know me as I knew them.
Bitterly. Painfully. A wound so raw it still ached in the night when the dark twisted like mage shadows. They’d made my whole world a nightmare.
And I would be theirs.
Caldera’s daughter shifted, blankets tumbling to the floor, and I crawled into her room, knife slicing through the leftover smoke of her reading candle. The key to her father’s study, one of only two, hung from the chain round her neck. I unhooked the chain from her head and took the key. I had to return it.
It would be better, Our Queen had said to me, one hand clutching my chin, if Caldera’s fellows thought no doors or locks or guards could keep them safe.
“Let Erlend think we have made shadows anew and sent them after the nobles who betrayed us,” she’d said. “After all, they made you the same way they made the shadows—through violence and fear.”
I’d not given her an answer, didn’t think she’d deserved one yet, not with so many deaths staining her soul, but she was right.
I was Our Queen’s Honorable Opal, and I would kill Caldera as she saw fit.
If I did, she’d let me have the other lords on my list, and I wasn’t passing that up.
North Star. Winter.
They would be mine and mine alone.
I tucked the blanket back around Caldera’s daughter and left. I could comprehend killing his kid to get at him, but I wasn’t him. Caldera’s daughter was no more at fault for her father’s deeds than Elise was for hers, and only Caldera was dying tonight.
The hallway outside her room was empty. I pressed my ear to the door of his study, the only room with a lock on the outside and inside. Nothing. Too thick for me to hear through and too thick for folks to hear Caldera scream. I unlocked it, muffling the click with my hand, and darted inside. The mechanisms reset behind me.
Caldera was talking to himself. He gestured to the windowless walls, hands flying through the air and back to me. A map twice as tall as me and even longer detailed the continent in deep forest greens, wheat yellow, and spring-water blue. The sliver of coastal land to the east of Erlend was labeled as Erlend too, but instead of rolling green hills, the cartographer had scratched it out in black and labeled it Fallow. Only the northernmost tip of Nacea, the little snaggletooth of land embedded in North Star’s mountain range home, was green. It was labeled as Erlend.
“Absurd!” Caldera flung the letter he’d been reading aside and ran his fingers through his long, light hair. “That woman is absurd.”
I walked up behind him till I was close enough to taste the gold-cold scent of his gilded form and the lantern behind me cast three flickering shadows against the wall. He froze.
“Don’t worry,” I said. “You won’t have to deal with her much longer.”
He shrieked and tried run. I grabbed the back of his shirt and yanked him down, sending him flailing to the floor.
“No one can hear you, Caldera.” No windows. No guards. No threat of being interrupted since the only two keys to the door were in this locked room. “No one is coming to help.”
He crawled to his knees and pulled a chair between us. “How did you get—”
I pulled out his daughter’s key.
“How well do you know your daughter?” I dropped it, let it clatter between us, and pulled out a second knife. “I watched the shadows you let loose in Nacea flay my family. I know every bloody part of them. Do you know what your daughter’s bones look like?”
He whimpered and I lived, furious and alive, Sallot Leon, auditioner Twenty-Three, and Opal all crushed together by his hands. He didn’t know fear like me. He didn’t know anything.
“Please,” he said. “Please, I don’t know anything. Don’t kill me.”
I leapt over the chair and grabbed him, dragging him to the center of the floor. He was tall and broad, healthier and heavier than most folks I’d fought, and he ripped from my grasp once. I let him know freedom for a breath.
“Help!” He stumbled into the wall, knocking over a lamp and leaving the room at the mercy of one single candle. “Help me!” He pounded against the door.
I laughed, and it echoed between my mouth and mask. The sound died too quick to be natural.
“You’re Caldera. Your old flame Lena told me. No one likes you.” I leaned over him, and my two shadows flickering at my feet followed. “She only nodded when I said you’d been responsible for killing a whole country. Said it sounded like you. Was it you?”
Lena was one of the only Erlend nobles to stand with Igna and pledge her loyalty to Our Queen again, and she’d given me Caldera’s name. He’d tried to marry her once, to get ownership of her land back when they’d both been Erlend and Erlend land could only be inherited by Erlend lords, and he’d told her his secrets to make her fall in love.
“It wasn’t my idea.” He choked on the words.
I stepped on his ankle. “But you agreed to it.”
“I’m sorry.” He flinched. “I’m sorry. I am. I have been since it happened, all those people. I didn’t want to, but they made me.”
“Who?” I asked, and when he shook his head, no names ready, I pulled out my knife. “Who went by the names Riparian and Deadfall?”
“I don’t know.” He raised his arms like a shield. “I don’t know. Other than North Star, we never shared.”
He took my silence for consideration. “I’ve regretted it since. What do you want? Whatever you want, it’s yours.”
“You’ve nothing I want.” I took his tear-streaked face in my hands. “Apologies won’t bring my family back. They won’t clear the shadows from my mind. They won’t change anything at all except the weight of your guilt.”
I pulled him up.
“And it’s not heavy enough for what you did.”
I jammed my knife into his chest, watched his last breath leave his lips, and dropped him.
“If you were sorry,” I said to his corpse, “you’d not be doing it again.”
The gaping wound in my soul that never healed and ached with each breath only grew deeper at the sight of him. Each breath was cold and empty, a sharp pain between my heart and ribs. I was split—the Sallot Leon that could’ve been if Nacea stood whole, one that knew all of their nation’s rituals and words, and the Sallot Leon that was, one that knew only the press of five names against their face and the fractured bones that came from offering mercy. I’d let Winter live at Elise’s request, and he’d thrown me from a window. Folks devoted so deeply to themselves never changed.
They stole and stole and stole.
“Nothing can fix this.” I rifled through his desk and shelves, turning over every scrap of paper for anything Our Queen would find useful. “Nothing can help me, but I can help the world.”
Erlend had reduced us to nothing, to casualties in a ledger. They would do it again. I couldn’t let that happen.
A fake wall shifted under my fingers. I pried the thin wood away from the bottom of his desk drawer and shoved my hand into the space. Papers crinkled. I grabbed them all.
Scraps and envelopes heavy with broken seals tumbled to the floor. I bent to pick them up.
Not seals. Not wax. An ear.
A tattered, runed human ear.
·        About the Author:

​​A wayward biologist from Arkansas, Linsey previously worked as a crime lab intern, neuroscience lab assistant, and pharmacy technician. She can be found writing about science and magic anywhere there’s coffee. 

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Review: Seafire by Natalie C. Parker

Seafire by Natalie C. Parker

After her family is killed by corrupt warlord Aric Athair and his bloodthirsty army of Bullets, Caledonia Styx is left to chart her own course on the dangerous and deadly seas. She captains her ship, the Mors Navis, with a crew of girls and women just like her, whose lives have been turned upside down by Aric and his men. The crew has one misson: stay alive, and take down Aric's armed and armored fleet.

But when Caledonia's best friend and second-in-command just barely survives an attack thanks to help from a Bullet looking to defect, Caledonia finds herself questioning whether or not to let him join their crew. Is this boy the key to taking down Aric Athair once and for all...or will he threaten everything the women of the Mors Navis have worked for? 

Review: I love books having to do with pirates and when I heard about Seafire, an all girl crew pirate ship I knew it was a must read. I flew through Seafire it was incredibly fast paced with characters I grew to adore. The book is advertised as a female empowering novel having to do with sisterhood and loyalty and it did not let me down, the message was clear throughout the entire novel. I can't sing enough praise about how well Parker did on that front.

We are told the entire story from Caledonia's point of view and talk about a deeply flawed character because Caledonia is just that. She is very haunted due to something that she was the cause of in her past and at times she could be frustrating but not in an annoying I can't stand her way, more of a okay I see how she has to go through this for character growth and you do love her more as the book progresses.

What would have made me love Seafire even more would have been another point of view, I feel that Pisces the girl who has been with Caledonia since the very beginning deserved her own point of view I loved her equally if not more than Caledonia and I feel we deserve to know her journey just as much as Caledonia's,.

Okay now on to the reasons why I couldn't give the book a full five stars. Two things the world building and the romance. The writing was beautiful but the world building lacked depth, we are told about the Bullets and their tyrant ruler and we see the Bullets in battle but we still don't know much of anything then there was the actual world they were living in it was very unique but not much history was given at all about how and why things are the way they are. Then there was the romance which felt forced upon us towards the end, there was no chemistry between the two and then all of a sudden we are supposed to believe they have feelings for each other which they act upon out of nowhere. It would have been better off if there was no romance in the book, it literally felt like it was put in there for the sake of putting it in the book.

Overall I did enjoy Seafire and I will recommend it to anyone looking for a book having to do with strong women who are loyal and fierce. I am very excited for the next book especially with that cliffhanger we are left with at the end.

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