Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Book Tour/Giveaway - The Missing Sister by Elle Marr

The Missing Sister
by Elle Marr

About The Missing Sister

The Missing Sister
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (April 1, 2020)
Paperback: 299 pages
ISBN-10: 1542006058
ISBN-13: 978-1542006057
Digital ASIN: B07QYMXX41

In Paris, her twin sister has vanished, leaving behind three chilling words: Trust no one.

Shayna Darby is finally coming to terms with her parents’ deaths when she’s delivered another blow. The body of her estranged twin sister, Angela—the possible victim of a serial killer—has been pulled from the Seine. Putting what’s left of her life on hold, Shayna heads to Paris. But while cleaning out Angela’s apartment, Shayna makes a startling discovery: a coded message meant for her alone…

Alive. Trust no one.

Taking the warning to heart, Shayna maintains the lie. She makes a positive ID on the remains and works to find out where—and why—her missing sister is hiding. Shayna retraces her sister’s footsteps, and they lead her down into Paris’s underbelly.

As she gets closer to the truth—and to the killer—Shayna’s own life may now be in the balance…

About Elle Marr

elle marr 

Originally from Sacramento, Elle Marr explored the urban wilderness of Southern California before spending three wine-and-cheese-filled years in France. There she earned a master’s degree from the Sorbonne University in Paris. Now she lives and writes outside Portland, Oregon, with her husband and one very demanding feline. When she’s not busy writing her next novel, she’s most likely thinking about it. Connect with her online at ellemarr.com, or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Author Links

Website - ellemarr.com

Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/ellemarr1/

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/ellemarrauthor/

Twitter - https://twitter.com/ellemarr_

Purchase Links - Amazon - B&N - IndieBound
a Rafflecopter giveaway


March 25 – I'm All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

March 26 – Baroness' Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT

March 26 – The Book Diva's Reads – SPOTLIGHT


March 27 – Elizabeth McKenna - Author – SPOTLIGHT

March 28 – A Wytch's Book Review Blog – SPOTLIGHT

March 28 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

March 29 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 30 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

March 30 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

March 31 - Gimme The Scoop Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 31 - The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT

April 1 – Christy's Cozy Corners – REVIEW

April 1 – Laura's Interests - SPOTLIGHT

April 2 – eBook addicts – REVIEW

April 3 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

April 3 – Maureen's Musings – REVIEW

April 4 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

April 5 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW

April 6 – That's What She's Reading – REVIEW

April 7 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

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Sunday, March 29, 2020

Book Review - Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton

Strange GraceStrange Grace by Tessa Gratton

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Once, a witch made a pact with a devil. The legend says they loved each other, but can the story be trusted at all?

Synopsis: Long ago, a village made a bargain with the devil: to ensure their prosperity, when the Slaughter Moon rises, the village must sacrifice a young man into the depths of the Devil’s Forest.

Only this year, the Slaughter Moon has risen early.

Bound by duty, secrets, and the love they share for one another, Mairwen, a spirited witch; Rhun, the expected saint; and Arthur, a restless outcast, will each have a role to play as the devil demands a body to fill the bargain. But the devil these friends find is not the one they expect, and the lies they uncover will turn their town—and their hearts—inside out.

My Thoughts: This book had such a great synopsis what with a village making a bargain with the devil and witches being involved and so on, I just knew it was gonna be action packed and magical but instead it bored me to tears! I was just determined I was not going to DNF it so I struggled thru and found parts of it to pick up and get real at times but then it would start a slow drag again. It started out so good and I even enjoyed the characters and the world building but it jut took so long for things to happen I would lose interest. It's really Not a bad book just slow or something.

View all my reviews

Friday, March 27, 2020

Book Review - Unearthing The Past by W.L. Brooks

We're thrilled to host the virtual book tour for UNEARTHING THE PAST by romantic suspense author W.L. Brooks. If you would like to follow her tour, visit Pump Up Your Book!


By W.L. Brooks

Romantic Suspense

A single mother and owner of the town diner, Charlie McKay couldn’t be happier with her life in Blue Creek. Taking care of everyone around her is a labor of love, but the secret she’s keeping about her daughter’s parentage lurks beneath the surface. With the scars of the past still not healed, Charlie isn’t interested in adding a man to her
life, even if that man is the oh-so-tempting Craig Sutton.

Determined to own his own bar, as his father had, Craig Sutton is a man on a mission. But wanting to enjoy small town life is only one of the reasons he moved to the mountains of North Carolina. Whether meaning to or not, Craig can’t keep from getting involved with the McKay
family, and the closer he gets to Charlie and her daughter the more entangled he becomes.

In Blue Creek secrets have always run deep, and someone is now trying to expose Charlie’s in a disturbing way. She isn’t the only one with something to hide, however, and deception threatens a possible relationship between her and Craig. As hidden truths are revealed and danger increases, Charlie must find a way to face the past or lose everything.

My Thoughts:  I wanted to read Unearthing the Past because not only did I like the synopsis but it was set in the Carolina's and I love reading books whether fictional places or not from the Carolina's.

Unearthing the Past takes off and grabs you with the very first paragraphs and doesn't hold back keeping you enthralled and entertained until the end. I recomend reading this story when you have enough time to try to complete it because once you begin, it flows so well you will not want to put it down.

A great msytery and a heated romance between Charlie and Craig kept me flipping the pages well into the night to finish up. You wont need to read the first books in the series to enjoy this one so that's another plus!

Amazon → https://amzn.to/2FTlM3J

Twenty minutes later, she put the finishing touches on her meatloaf. She

cranked the timer for another fifteen minutes and went to set the table. She
had just put out the forks when she remembered the box. Maybe one of her
sisters had sent them something. Out on the porch, Charlie took a few minutes
trying to figure out how to get the thing inside—it weighed a ton. Finally, she
decided to open the package right where it was. From the smell, something had
gone bad. There was no way she was bringing it inside her house, much less her
kitchen. Maybe if she hadn’t forgotten about the darn thing, it wouldn’t have
had a chance to spoil. “It’s freezing out here, so it isn’t my fault,” she told
the box. Shaking her head, Charlie used a paring knife to cut the tape. She
opened the flaps, wincing at the stench, and looked inside. Charlie rushed to
the porch railing and emptied her stomach. She closed the box, her hands
shaking. It couldn’t be! Oh, God.

W.L. Brooks was born with an active imagination.  When characters come into her mind, she has to give them a life- a chance to tell their stories. With a coffee cup in her hand and a cat by her side, she spends her days letting the ideas flow onto paper.  A voracious reader, she draws her inspiration from mystery, romance, suspense and a dash of the paranormal.

A native of Virginia Beach, she is currently living in Western North Carolina. Pick up her latest novel, The Secrets That Shape Us- available now!



Book Review - The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

The UnhoneymoonersThe Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Synopsis: Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Ami, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancĂ© is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.

Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.

Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of... lucky.

My Thoughts: Oh my gosh this was so doggone funny! A genius idea for a story! I loved how Olive and Ethan were the only ones who didn't get sick and wound up going on the honeymoon vacation in spite of how much they loathed each other! It didn't take rocket science to figure out how the story was gonna go somewhat from here but the adventure and the mishaps in between sure were fun! Although the real fun actually started when they got back home and everything had changed between them. If you haven't already read this what are you waiting for?!!!

I posted a video review for this so feel free to check it out on YouTube! You Tube Video Review for The Unhoneymooners

View all my reviews

Book Review - Flash by Dr. Anne Watson

We're thrilled to be hosting the virtual book tour for FLASH! The Science Behind Intuition by parapsychology/ESP author Dr. Anne Watson. Scroll down to find out how you can pick up a copy of her book!

FLASH! The Science Behind Intuition

By Dr. Anne Watson


If we have intuitions (and we do) where do they come from? Where, in
us, do they arrive? What, in us, allows us to receive and interpret
them? And why? Why do we get them?

Fourteen years of research, often waiting for the science to catch up
with a vision sent to me by the Universe, these questions are answered
in lay terms for the wonderment and affirmation of those interested in
energy from another plane.

My Thoughts: Intuition which is called by many names, for example, a hunch you may have or a feeling of dread like something bad is about to happen, we all have it but where does it come from, and where does it go, and why do we have it?

Dr Anne Watson walks us thru these questions and explains things by telling stories that she has experienced or witnessed making them more easier to understand and interpret.

I found Flash to be quite interesting and maybe a little bit creepy because speaking just of myself I've had similar things happen to myself at one time or another but never really understood it was intuition at work! The next time that hair raises on the back of my neck or I get a feeling something bad is about to happen I know I will remember this book!

I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Amazon → https://amzn.to/37U1Fi7


The more scientifically sophisticated the machinery to look inside the brain and body, the less scientific and the more spiritual we become.

Chapter 6. How Do We Receive Messages From Light?

While I was receiving the visitor’s message, I knew that the lights, the vibrations, and the humming were not incidental; they all were vital to the message I was receiving, they all had something to do with how we get messages from light, including how I was currently getting the vision itself. What, inside me, was ready to receive messages from light?

I needed to find something that could take unwritten and unspoken messages from the energy field which our brain is tuned into, and turn them into usable information. Here is a quote from the physicist Nassim Haramein

"There's a fundamental field of information that is the source of our consciousness. Consciousness is not an epiphenomenon of your brain, it's actually something that your brain is tuned into like a radio is tuned into a set of information." 

I am not a radio. I do not have antennae or dials. But something in me acts as if I was a wave receiver. Let’s see what the candidates are for that function.

Obviously, my eyes receive information from light, because when I close them, I can’t see: I cease getting the picture. But wait! If I closed my eyes while looking at the vision projected on my bedroom wall, I could still see it. Also, whenever I try to invite my intuition to come to me, I close my eyes for greater viewing success in case it plans to send me visuals to support its answers. So, I don’t think messages come to us from light via our eyeballs, although some may.

Where, then?

When first I read about the pineal gland, located in the brain, I got excited. This gland is often called the third eye. Many believe the pineal gland to be the receptor site for non-sensory information. That is, information that comes to us not from our five senses. You may recall Descartes’ belief that the Pineal gland was the interface between the mind and the brain, the mind dealing in non-sensory information. Non-sensory information comes to us from insight, from intuition. If you believe that some thoughts arrive through insight, or intuition, then they have to arrive in our minds somehow and the Pineal gland was the only thing I discovered to be up to the task. It is not, however, located on the surface of our brains, ready to receive light messages. It’s situated deep inside the brain, parallel to the space between our eyebrows. (On the cover of this audiobook, you can see a rudimentary diagram of where the pineal gland is located inside our brains.)

 If we are having messages sent to us from light as energy, then within our bodies, something must be ready to receive the vibrations of the energy, the electromagnetic oscillations of it……….

Anne Watson is a Canadian author and educator and co-author of So You Have to Go to Court! A Child’s Guide to Testifying as a Witness in Child Abuse Cases
with Wendy Harvey. She was raised in England, trained as a teacher, and
after starting teaching in Canada at Thistletown Regional Centre School
for Emotionally Disturbed Children, she then taught in the Cayman
Islands, the Bahamas, and in Palm Beach County USA. Just before
beginning doctoral studies in Special Education Psychology at U. of T.,
she travelled right around the world. Once a doctor, she became a Prof
at UBC and later at Trent U., then switched to doing psychoeducational
assessments (CSI of the brain!). After 30 years of midnight oil reports
and early morning parent meetings she retired to concentrate on writing
and art. Her calling is to help people contact their Inner Voice – the
Universe – by fast tracking open brain states using EEG devices, some of
which can be glimpsed in a couple of scenes in her just finished movie,
“A Thousand Reasons.” She has two successful adult kids and one almost
grown up granddaughter.

Twitter Link: @Post_Hypnotic



Blurb Blitz/Giveaway - False Light by Claudia Riess

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Claudia Riess will be awarding a set of Art History Mystery Books, Stolen Light and False Light (US only) to three randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour.

Academic sleuths Erika Shawn, art magazine editor, and Harrison Wheatley, a more seasoned art history professor, set out to tackle a brain teaser. This time the couple—married since their encounter in Stolen Light, first in the series—attempt to crack the long un-deciphered code of art forger Eric Hebborn (1934-1996), which promises to reveal the whereabouts of a number of his brilliant Old Master counterfeits. (Hebborn, in real life, was a mischievous sort, who had a fascination with letters and a love-hate relationship with art authenticators. I felt compelled to devise a puzzler on his behalf!) After publication of his memoir, Drawn to Trouble, published in 1991, he encrypts two copies with clues to the treasure hunt. On each of the title pages, he pens a tantalizing explanatory letter. One copy he sends to an art expert; the second, he releases into general circulation. The catch: both books are needed to decipher the code.

When the books are at last united 25 years later, Erik and Harrison are enlisted to help unearth their hidden messages. But when several research aides are brutally murdered, the academic challenge leads to far darker mysteries in the clandestine world of art crime. As the couple navigate this sinister world, both their courage under fire and the stability of their relationship are tested.

Read an Excerpt

“You must try a crostini,” came a vaguely familiar voice from above. Harrison looked up, surprised to encounter the striking figure of Aldo Fabbri pressing forward a fair young tray-bearer, his hand at the small of her back.

Harrison’s love fest with Florence was instantly tarnished. “Good to see you,” he said nevertheless, extending his hand to Aldo before plucking an hors d’oeuvre of bread and chicken liver pate from the waitress’s tray. “Come sit down,” he suggested with a near-genuine smile.

“Certamente,” said Aldo. “But first we must request the wine—from the Fabbri vineyard, of course.” Aldo turned to the waitress. “Per favore, a bottle of the Chianti Classico riserva,” he slickly commanded, with a proprietary ogle. “As you might recall,” he said, turning back to Harrison, “it’s our signature wine, made from the Sangiovese grape. This year’s crop”—he glanced heavenward—“supremo!” With a nod, he dismissed the waitress, then pulled out a chair.

“I didn’t see you at the conference,” Harrison said, trying not to recollect in vivid detail Aldo’s play for Erika’s affections at their encounter in Tuscany over a year ago. The seduction attempt had taken place when he and Erika had visited the Fabbri estate as part of their art recovery mission. Erika had not succumbed to Aldo’s efforts, but her moment of hesitation had caused Harrison great consternation. What a presumptive asshole! he silently hurled at himself. Erika had been in the initial stages of breaking free of her mistrust in men because of what she was beginning to see in Harrison, and he had not shown her the least bit of empathy in response. “The lecture hall was rather crowded,” he said, thrusting his attention to the subject at hand. “Perhaps you were hiding in the rear?”

“Alas, I arrived too late to attend the talks,” Aldo said, smoothing back his coal black mane.

He’s lost the golden highlights, Harrison realized. Gives the bastard a less flighty look.

“However, I did hear your talk on Gericault was admirable—ah, here’s our wine,” Aldo noted, at the waitress’s approach.

The wine was uncorked; the glasses filled; hearty samples downed; Harrison’s authentic praise begrudgingly delivered.

“To a successful book tour!” Aldo sang, raising his glass. “Salute!”

As they clicked glasses, Aldo cocked his head, as if at a sound in the distance. “I’m wondering. Whatever became of that woman you were with—Erika Shawn was her name, una donna molto bella e special! As I recall, a free spirit finding herself tethered to Puritanism, or merely conflicted by it. Either way, a pity.”

“Tethered to me, if you must know,” Harrison said, as coolly as his clenched jaw would allow. “As my wife.”

“Ah, lucky man to have tamed her!” Aldo looked about. “But where is she? Another toast is in order!”

“Back home, in New York. Working.”

“Yes?” Aldo gave him a bemused smile. “Quite a long tether, I’d say.”

About the Author:

Claudia Riess, a Vassar graduate, has worked in the editorial departments of The New Yorker and Holt, Rinehart, and Winston and has edited several art history monographs.








Buy the book for only $0.99.


Claudia Riess will be awarding one $50 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter via rafflecopter during the tour, and a set of Art History Mystery Books: Stolen Light and False Light (US Only) to three randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review - The Knowing by Brit Lunden

We're thrilled to kick off the virtual book tour for THE KNOWING by Brit Lunden. If you would like to follow her tour, visit Pump Up Your Book!


By Brit Lunden

Fantasy Anthology

Bulwark- a wall or stockade that protects or sometimes hides the truth from the outside world. Bulwark, Georgia, isolated, hidden. Who knows what strange things can happen when the rest of the world can't see you? JB Stratton is alone in the world, and all he has left are the memories of his beloved Ellie. Dirt poor JB and wealthy Ellie feel an instant connection that is as intense and primal as the blood red earth of their home. Unseen roots connect them, pulling them into an impossible relationship. Will the memories of past lives help or hinder the path of their love? Based on the original novella Bulwark, by Brit Lunden, The Knowing continues the story of a town isolated from the rest
of the world where the impossible becomes plausible, and logic is determined by reality.

My Thoughts:  I totally read these all out of order but I have enjoyed them all! I do think this one pulled more at my heart strings than the others. I really love these short novella type stories and Brit's writing is so smooth and flowing. Very quick read!

I was given a free copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.

"THE KNOWING is a wonderfully written
romance, a time-hopping supernatural mystery, and an all-around good time--a worthy addition to Brit Lunden's Bulwark anthology." - Lisa Butts for IndieReader

"Lunden's characters feel real, and their interactions make the story work quite well. Her plot is engaging and suitably dark, making this an entertaining urban fantasy tale. The Knowing: A Bulwark Anthology is a well written and engrossing read. It's most highly recommended." - Jack Magnus, Readers' Favorite

"Romance devotees looking for a quick, colorful read should consider The Knowing, which might spark interest in checking out the preceding novella and other installments in the Bulwark Anthology, all of which are currently available in paperback and ebook." - BlueInk Reviews

An interesting read and wonderful first addition to what seems to be an anthology with much promise. - Insatiable Readers (blog)

The skillful storytelling brings the characters to life and provides a highly immersive reading experience... I strongly urge you to read Brit Lunden's original novella Bulwark as well, which sets the stage for all the characters in the anthology and offers more excitement for fans of paranormal thrillers. - Ice Fairy's Treasure Chest (blog)

"The Knowing, as its title suggests, makes a compelling pull in such a short space of pages, absolutely filled with emotion and conveying a powerfully romantic story line in sharp contrast to the previous book, but also very fitting of the town and its tone. Readers seeking an immersive new series where they can experience all different story types within the same, dark mysterious world are certain to love The Knowing and the Bulwark Anthology in general." - K. C. Finn, Readers' Favorite

"The story is brief yet impactful as the details included and the images they paint are emotionally evocative. The wisdom of characters such as Bear Bryant shines through and adds a beautiful touch to the already delightful love story. The intensity of JB and Ellie's relationship plus the paranormal aspects of their story makes it even more enthralling. The Knowing by Brit Lunden is a well-told tantalizing read." Edith Wairimu, Readers' Favorite

"It is a beautifully written love story encompassing the present, past, and even past lives. It is a romance with a hint of the supernatural. It is well written with a level of area building and character development often unseen in shorter books. It was easy to read this in one sitting; the story is sweet, intriguing, and sometimes moving. It has certainly piqued my interest in other books by this author, especially the Bulwark, from which this story stems. " K.J. Simmill, Readers' Favorite

"The engaging tale's centerpiece is the teens' romance, with a Southern setting the author masterfully captures... The unadorned prose and concise descriptions make for a quick read all the way to the
bittersweet ending... A short but undeniably charming love story." - Kirkus Reviews 

"When two people find each other and then lose each other, it sometimes takes extraordinary happenings to bring them back together. "The Knowing" is a quick little story underwritten with the paranormal, and this keeps readers guessing. What could possibly go wrong in this strange world?" - Long And Short Reviews

"For those readers looking for a fast-paced paranormal mystery novel with excellent, vivid descriptive elements, this is a great choice for you. I believe that Brit Lunden's works are destined to become a classic in paranormal short story fiction." - Patricia Lynn Dompieri, Lemon Bee & Other Peculiar Tales

Amazon → https://amzn.to/39skWYJ

 Barnes & Noble → https://bit.ly/38gvppU


JB closed the door gently, glad to have the place to himself again. Sheriff Clay Finnes had taken the injured couple to the hospital.

The only sound in the cabin was the creak of the wooden floors settling and the tick of the antique regulator clock that hung on the wall.

It was an old clock and had never worked very well. JB smiled, thinking Ellie would be pleased to see the ornate second hand traveling around the parchment-colored face and the great brass pendulum swinging again.

It must have been set off when he slammed the door shut after he had escorted that ungrateful wretch out of his house. What a creep, calling his wife a witch, of all things. Didn’t she know not to speak ill of the dead?

He recalled that there was a key lying around somewhere. His wife used to wind that clock every so often and then stand next to it pleading hopefully, “Tick, pretty please!”

The old mechanism would give a muffled gong, move a minute or two, and then stall, making his diminutive wife steam up like a teapot.

It was her great-great-grandmother’s, the only piece of her family history willed to her. The rest went to her brother, who married a Northerner and didn’t disappoint the family.

That old clock was made by none other than George Mitchell of Bristol, Connecticut, at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

JB concentrated on the etching painted on the reverse glass of the case. It was a pastoral scene, with women holding parasols and men wearing pantaloons and beaver top hats. He noticed the mahogany case was layered with a coating of dust. He ran a crooked finger down the top, leaving a trail. It’s been neglected, he thought and shook his head. His right knee twinged, and he chuckled, like me.

JB had seen many clocks like this one in his day. Despite its Yankee past, every family around here worth their salt had a similar one in their home, to be handed down through the ages.

Every family except his, perhaps. His family had left him nothing.

JB grabbed a rag on the way to the living room, wiping the water rings from the surface of the coffee table. He’d given the victims of the car accident coasters, but they had carelessly placed them on the surface of the furniture. He’d made that piece for his wife from a tree felled by Hurricane Agnes in ’72.

That tree had nearly killed them all, landing on the back of the cottage and taking out the kitchen and half of the dining room with it. JB had gotten his wife and kids out just in time, hiding in the underground root cellar until the worst of the storm had passed.

His eyes smarted now, and he swiped them with a gnarled hand, his loud sniff filling the silence.

He glanced up, blinking several times to clear his eyes, and focused on the picture of Ellie. He picked it up, his hand caressing the face, wishing he could feel her skin.

How dare she? he thought again, bitterly. How dare that woman say his beloved was a witch?

Ellie Straton was the sweetest woman to grace the earth, and JB missed her with every fiber of his being.

JB shut his eyes, too tired to think. His mind kept replaying the earlier part of the day over and over again.

He wanted to go back in time and ignore the sound of the blaring horn.

He could still recall the commotion outside that had interrupted his late-afternoon news program.

Grabbing a shotgun, he had thrown on an old sweater and navigated the rickety steps out of the cottage. He had struggled down the path leading to the main road, gripping his gun tightly.

A cold snap in the weather had made his old injury act up, slowing his movements and leaving him sleepless at night. Still, he had hefted the gun close since one couldn’t be too careful. He had paused for a minute to give the clearing by the woods a good look. It was only yesterday he had seen a wolf lurking in a thicket at the end of his property.

He’d have to remember to tell the sheriff about it.

JB was sure that wolves were extinct in this part of Georgia.

At first, he had reckoned it might be a stray. He knew Bobby Ray and Trout Parker kept a pack of mongrels that annoyed most of the local farmers. Those mutts were known to raid the chicken houses, wreaking havoc on the best layers in the county.

He thought about the animal he had seen yesterday. It could have been a dog. He felt himself wavering. No it was definitely a wolf. He shook his head. It was one big, bad-looking wolf.

Frankly, he wasn’t used to seeing much of anything on this side of town.

Most people stayed on the other end of Bulwark, especially since that smelly, green puddle had appeared out of nowhere.

He had reported stagnant water as soon as he had noticed it about ten days ago, but nobody cared.

It was on the Old Jericho Road that folks didn’t travel anymore. Everyone knew the street had fallen out of use when the mill shut down years ago.

JB shook his craggy head. People had no business traveling in that direction. Strange stories had always come from that end of the county, even before he was born.

Some claimed spirits walked the woods and meadows; others said evil lurked there. Either way, from the time he was knee-high and the size of a tree stump, he knew to stay away.

Even talking about it gave him the willies, and that took a lot.

There was very little that frightened JB Straton, but for as long as he could remember, going into that neck of the woods was considered forbidden. Not that he believed in mumbo-jumbo. But somehow he had always taken those warnings seriously. Damn, if he couldn’t explain it, nobody could.

JB Straton considered himself a rational man most of the time. However, there were those instances that gave him pause, especially with Ellie.

JB surveyed the growing pond filling the roadway, the shrill blast of the car horn making his heart beat a little faster in his chest. That sound could only mean someone was in trouble.

JB had looked for a source of the spreading water but didn’t see where it started.

He knew the puddle was far from the creek that ran parallel to the back of his home. It was apparent it wasn’t coming from there. Besides, that water was pure and clean, and this looked like sewage to him.

Only last week it had started as a puddle, and today, it looked like it had grown into a small pond, he grumbled. The smell was intolerable, the greenish color made it look like industrial waste.

Clay Finnes should have come earlier and investigated, he said to himself at the time.

He liked Clay well enough, had even voted for him. But maybe taking on the top job as sheriff was too much for the man. JB knew Clay was understaffed from budget cuts, and of course, there was that business about his child and his disintegrating marriage. Sad stuff, kidnapping, right here in safe little Bulwark.

Cries mixed with the discordant sound of the horn had brought him back to himself. JB slid down the embankment, landing in ankle- deep ooze.

He had slipped, catching himself but feeling the tight tendons on his leg protest. Cursing strangers, overgrown puddles, and his own bum knees, he had made his way resentfully toward the water. He had halted at the edge, considering his options.

A lone car, a Ford Fusion, was stuck in the middle of the quagmire. City folk, he muttered under his breath. Any sensible country person would never attempt to drive through deep water like that unless they had a truck.

A woman calf-deep in the water was trying to pull a man from the driver’s side. JB shook his head grimly. The origin of the noise was her companion’s head pressed against the steering wheel.

“Hey!” JB had called. “Hey, is everything okay?”

The stranger had looked in his direction, her eyes unfocused. She waved her hands. She was shouting something, but he could barely hear her.

He had squinted at her, turning his better ear in her direction to try to catch what she was saying.

She had screeched about her children and witches.

Witches? He had huffed. Another nutjob looking for entertainment at the expense of the locals. Last year, a film crew all the way from Hollywood had camped out on the edge of Sam Holsteam’s farm, searching for the ghosts from a Civil War battle said to have occurred there.

The cast and crew had skedaddled quickly enough, screaming bloody murder. Everybody in town knew the film crew had left pasty-faced and hungover from Sam’s peach moonshine. City slickers, he had snickered, couldn’t handle a good jug of’shine.

“Do you need help?” he had shouted to the woman.

This time, when she had looked at him, he had noticed a thin line of blood trickling from her hairline.

JB had patted his back pocket. He had hissed under his breath, calling himself five kinds of fool.

He’d forgotten that blasted cell phone his kid insisted he keep on him at all times in case he fell or something.

JB had bent awkwardly, placing the gun on the dry part of the incline and then gingerly stepping into the slimy puddle. He had realized that he had never changed into boots as his slippers filled with cold water.

Gritting his teeth, he had fought the urge to leave. Why hadn’t he removed the slippers? Ellie had bought those slippers for him their last Christmas together. Now, they’d be ruined; his jaw twitched with resentment.

JB had waded toward the vehicle as the woman grew increasingly incoherent. As he had moved her out of the way, one of her flailing hands had caught him on the side of his head, and JB swore he heard bells ringing.

“No, stop it, woman. I’m here to help.”

He had held her by both her shoulders, trying to reason with her, but she had looked as dazed as Johnny Gottfried had when he collided with a linebacker and suffered the worst concussion the NFL had ever recorded.

Her eyes had rolled in their sockets, and he saw her face drain of what little color it had. He had shaken her gently. “Now, don’t go and faint on me, ma’am. I can’t carry you both.”

This had seemed to reach her, and she had whimpered.

She had grabbed the collar of his sweater, her bloody fingers poking holes in the fragile weave.

“My children . . . my children. Wicked, wicked place.” She had looked like a wild woman, her mouth stretched in a soundless scream.

She had snagged a thread on his sweater when she grabbed him, loosening it. JB had watched it unravel and fought the urge to brush her away. Ellie had knitted this sweater. How much more was this day going to cost him?

JB had taken a steadying breath and then patiently turned the woman in the direction of his house. He had given her a poke to the center of her back. “Go there.” He had pointed up the embankment. “I’ll get your husband out.”

He had watched her slog through the water to the other side, her head lowered.

Satisfied she was making progress; he had turned back to the man. His head rested against the steering wheel, his eyes were closed, and his skin had a faint bluish cast.

“Mister?” JB had called over the noise of the horn. He had touched the skin of the man’s neck, recoiling at the clammy feel. This was not looking very good.

JB had wavered with the idea of moving him. He realized the water was now inching up over JB’s thighs.

Again, he had looked for the source of the water, but had seen nothing except a widening greenish body of muck.

The door to the car was open and rapidly flooding with water. JB reached in, and using his upper body strength attempted to move the man. He couldn’t budge him. JB placed his shoulder under the victim’s arm and half dragged the man from the vehicle. He had been rewarded with a low groan, but the victim had definitely been nothing more than dead weight.

He had managed to get the couple into his cottage, wrap them both in blankets, and call the sheriff.

Tea with brandy had revived the wife enough for her to notice her surroundings.

It was then that she had focused on his Ellie’s picture on the mantle and had accused his wife of stealing her children. Sheriff Clay Finnes had arrived just then, as his patience was wearing thin, along with that pushy news reporter Dayna Dalton. The injured couple was taken away, and he was left to the thick silence that felt like a comforting old blanket.

He was well rid of the intruders and now looked around his peaceful home, wishing his unwanted guests a speedy recovery along with the hope that he never had to set eyes on them again.

JB shuffled over to his recliner, his worn knees protesting.

He had changed his clothes after the whole hullabaloo but still felt chilled to the bone. Took a long time to warm this old body, he remembered ruefully.

He rubbed the skin of his thigh, the site of another football injury so horrible the bone had snapped and torn through his skin. What was it, forty-four or forty-five years ago?

He remembered waking from surgery, Ellie’s hand brushing his forehead, her soft voice assuring him his football career had not ended.

He cleared his throat noisily, tears smarting his eyes, happy that Ellie wasn’t here to witness it. How dare that woman accuse his wife of being a witch? Not his Ellie, his soul mate, his life.

Brit Lunden is a prolific author who’s written over 50 books in assorted genres under different pen names. Bulwark was her first effort in adult fiction and was chosen by several of her fellow authors as the basis for a new series, A Bulwark Anthology.  Using her characters, they are creating new denizens in spin-off stories to this bizarre town. Brit Lunden lives on Long Island in a house full of helpful ghosts.


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/britlunden


Book Review - Hollywood's Victory Lap by Anthony G Puzzilla

We're thrilled to kick off the virtual
book tour for HOLLYWOOD'S VICTORY LAP by  Anthony G. Puzzilla. If
you would like to follow his tour, visit Pump Up Your Book!

By Anthony G. Puzzilla

Film historians generally agree that 1939 was a banner year for Hollywood movies during its Golden Era (1915-1963), including such
classics as Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, Gunga Din, Stagecoach, and many more.

Author and film buff Anthony Puzzilla wouldn’t argue that point, but he has published a new book, HOLLYWOOD’S VICTORY LAP: THE FILMS OF 1940, which sets out to prove that the following year was just as exemplary. In essence Puzzilla says, Hollywood took a “victory lap” in 1940, a year that produced its share of films that have become iconic classics due to its continuance of the superlative cinematic productions, creative
strides, and technical advances realized in 1939.

Puzzilla’s short list of great movies from 1940 includes The Grapes of Wrath, The Philadelphia Story, Rebecca, The Great Dictator, Yankee Doodle Dandy, Knute Rockne: All American, Fantasia, and The Letter.

An astute film historian and an unabashed movie fan, Puzzilla also expresses a fondness and deep appreciation for 1940’s serials such as Flash Gordon; the hilarious shorts made by the Three Stooges, including A Plumbing We Will Go; animated cartoons produced by Warner Bros., such as You Ought to Be in Pictures; and the animated, full-length features created by the Disney studio, which released Pinocchio and Fantasia that year.

“Although 1939 was undoubtedly Hollywood’s greatest triumph during its Golden Age, much of the directorial vision and skill, profound and talented acting, superb writing, and technological advances witnessed in the films of 1939 continued unabated in those produced in 1940,” Puzzilla says.

The ideal readership for HOLLYWOOD’S VICTORY LAP: THE FILMS OF 1940, Puzzilla notes, would be composed of “people who appreciate the way movies were made before special effects, car chases, and unabated violence became the main reasons the general public attends movies today.”

But Puzzilla’s accessible, non-academic writing style makes the book equally user-friendly to a wide, general readership. To sweeten the pot, Puzzilla has profusely illustrated his history with evocative photos of “old” Hollywood, as well as scenes from classic movies, shorts, and animated features.

Both in subject and style, HOLLYWOOD’S VICTORY LAP: THE FILMS OF 1940 would easily lend itself to film adaptation for theatrical or cable/streaming service release.

My Thoughts: Oh WOW this is a gem of  a book! It's one of those beautiful books you'd love to have on display on your living room tables for everybody to walk in and pick up and explore! It has so much fun information and it's filled with beautiful photo's and images from the films of the 40's.  My absolute favorite chapter was 6 of course which is The Animated Short Films! I enjoyed catching up on some of my favorites like Porky Pig and Donald Duck.

Amazon → https://amzn.to/2OxyhXM

It is the general consensus that in the history of motion pictures, the year 1939 was undoubtedly Hollywood’s greatest triumph during its Golden Era. However, much of the same winning confluence of circumstances and events that made 1939 such a monumental and productive year for Hollywood
continued into 1940.  Despite this fact, the overwhelming and enduring
popularity of the movies of 1939 have often overshadowed the importance of
cinema’s superlative productions, creative strides and technical advances realized in 1940. This book talks about the movies, the directors, the actors, and the screenwriters whose talent and creativity so ably continued the excellence in
movie making so clearly established in 1939.

Anthony Puzzilla was born and raised in upstate New York. He holds a
master’s degree in economics. After retiring from a 43-year career with
the federal government, he became a writer, publishing two books about
railroading before turning his eye to another lifelong love, the movies.
Puzzilla’s first book in the genre of film history. Puzzilla is a
member and supporter of the Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study and
the Fairbanks Center for Motion Picture Study, both in Los Angeles; a
supporter of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures; a member of the
American Film Institute; and a supporter of the AFI Silver Theatre and
Cultural Center, in Silver Spring, MD.