Auschwitz Syndrome: Review & Guest Post.

46868160. sy475 Publication Date: October 11, 2019
eBook & Paperback; 364 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction



Germany, 1947.

A strange case scheduled for the Denazification Court lands on the desk of an American psychiatrist currently serving in Germany, Dr. Hoffman.

A former Auschwitz guard, Franz Dahler, is set to appear in court, and he has requested to bring the most unexpected witness to testify in his defense – one of his former inmates and current wife, Helena.

As soon as one of the newly emerging Nazi hunters and former Auschwitz inmate, Andrej Novák, recognizes the officer’s name, he demands a full investigation of Dahler’s crimes, claiming that the former SS man was not only abusing Helena in the camp but is also using her as a ploy to escape prosecution.

Silent, subdued, and seemingly dependent on her husband’s every word, Helena appears to be a classic victim of abuse, and possibly more of an aid to the prosecution instead of the defense.

As she begins giving her testimony, Dr. Hoffman finds himself more and more confused at the picture that gradually emerges before his eyes; a perpetrator is claimed to be the savior and the accuser, the criminal.

The better Dr. Hoffman gets to know each participant, the more he begins to question himself; whether he’s facing a most unimaginable love story, or a new and still-nameless psychological disorder affecting the very manner in which Helena sees the events of the past.

Partially based on a true story, this deeply psychological, haunting novel will take you back in time to the heart of Auschwitz and post-war Germany, and will keep you guessing the true motive of each side.


Firstly: my deepest apologies to Ms. Midwood for the lateness. I’ve only had mobile internet for the last few days. -_- 

The Holocaust is something that I think everyone should take the time to reflect upon. It’s something I do after I read a book based on World War II; always mindful of that horrible event. I can’t imagine, despite all of the stories, the proof, everything, how horrible it truly was. The older I get, the more I learn. I had the honor of visiting the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC back in 2001, months before 9/11. It’s stayed with me. As time goes on, of course, the emotion fades slightly, the awe, the wonder, the horror…and it all came back as I read this story.

I’m not going to rehash the synopsis for you. To do so would be useless, but I will tell you, it’s a true story. You can look on YouTube and other books to read it. It was definitely a book that got you thinking about a lot of things. In a Death Camp, how is it possible that love can grow? How is it possible that love could change a heart that was hardened by hatred? The story here is multi-layered but is still remarkable for the simple truth, love trumps all. I never in a million years would have thought such a thing possible. I have only come to know as I grow older that small acts of kindness did occur in such dire places. It’s awe-inspiring if you think about it. The Holocaust was, and remains, one of the biggest tragedies (and even that word does not seem vast enough to encompass it.) the world has ever seen. Yet, to know that love grew there, and even saved some lives is utterly remarkable.

Helena gives the impression that she is reliant upon her husband, but she is there in his defense. It baffles those present and makes one wonder if she’s suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. Was she insane? Were her memories of that time twisted? Had Franz made her believe this so she would live? Given that it’s 1972 and after the war ended, he spent two years looking for her…I tend to believe it was genuine love. There’s so many questions and whilst they are answered, you still wonder, deep down, if it was the truth. I do believe it. I have to believe that love really can overcome any obstacle.

This is not a light read. There is no getting around that. I would suggest taking breaks, but I assure you that you’ll find it worth it to read this. Ms. Midwood is an astounding talent; writing in detail and honesty, never faltering from the truth. I thought this was one of the best reads of 2019 and I know it will stay with me. I’m also certain that whatever she puts out next, I will be most assuredly reading it because this was absolutely brilliant.

If you’re interested in her process….I’ve got a guest post right here for you!

One of the questions readers ask almost all authors is; “where do you get inspiration for your stories?” Most authors usually reply, “imagination” or “this character just popped into my head and I just had to tell their story.” I have written some books the same way; when a character just appears out of nowhere and starts nagging me to write about them and positively refuses to leave me alone until I do but my favorite inspiration sources, if I’m entirely honest, are real people. As a historical fiction writer, who spends a lot of time researching WWII and the Holocaust, I often come across the most unbelievable stories that leave me speechless and which keep me up at night, as I try to process them and think what possessed people to act this way; what were they feeling when they were risking their lives for someone else; why one person acted this particular way and yet that person’s best friend – in the complete opposite way; why did someone chose oppression and yet someone else died, in the name of freedom?… 

When I first heard about Franz Wunsch and Helena Citrónová’s story, I was a bit stunned, as a researcher. I mean, it’s not every day that you hear about an SS guard in Auschwitz falling in love with a Jewish girl who worked under his charge and when that guard then goes as far as saving, not only her but her sister also, from the gas chamber and later gets arrested by the camp Gestapo for that, that’s definitely one hell of a story, which I knew right away I just had to write about. I wrote the first draft of “Auschwitz Syndrome” in just under two months because their story inspired me to the point where I was waking up each day and thinking only about writing. I read everything I could find about them and was obsessing to get every single detail right. I was fortunate enough, as Helena gave quite a few interviews to the BBC and Franz’s testimony from his trial was also available, during which, he told the story from his point of view, so that definitely made my job easier, research-wise. In the end, I felt like I knew these two people personally and their story became something that just needed to be told. 

I think what inspired me the most about it, is not actually the mere idea of the possibility of romance existing in such horrifying circumstances. What moved me the most was learning about the changes that Franz underwent under Helena’s gentle influence, affecting him so profoundly that he’d later on, actually gotten physically sick while escorting people toward the gas chamber, according to Ernst Müller’s account (you can read more about it in H. Langbein’s study, “People in Auschwitz”, which was one of my primary sources of research) and made him risk his freedom – and life, since Rassenschande (race defilement) was a grave offense for any German, let alone an SS man – for his beloved. Is it true that love is indeed stronger than hate and can change a person if only that person allows themselves to open their eyes – and heart – to the possibility of such a change? It’s such true stories that inspire me the most with their powerful message. If an SS-man could risk his life for a Jewish inmate and if that former Jewish inmate could later come and testify, in his defense, during his trial, we, society in general, can find it in ourselves to be kinder to each other; to learn how to love, instead of hating our differences; to learn forgiveness instead of seeking revenge; to choose light instead of darkness. Such true stories are and will always be my biggest inspiration. 



TTT: Halloween/Autumn ‘Freebie’.


Given that it’s autumn…and it’s just about Halloween…I thought I’d make this a list of books/authors I love to read at this time of year. For me, since I live in Florida, and autumn is basically unheard of here…I have to recreate the feeling from when I lived up in Pennsylvania and New York. Some are geared towards Halloween, others just because I think they fit the autumn season. I hope you enjoy my list!


1. Edgar Allan Poe. Somewhere in my closet is a box that my copy of a collection of his stories is resting in. It’s all the way in the back and I’ll say it plain–I’m not a neat person. I’m rather messy. So I know it’s in there, but finding it at the moment…a challenge. Anyway…Edgar is totally perfect for this time of year. His stories make the hair on the back of your neck stand up and get you into the deepest recesses of your mind. I don’t know about you, but whenever I see a raven (or a crow), I think ‘Nevermore!’ I love ‘The Raven’, but I think if I had to pick my favorite Poe story, it’d have to be…’The Tell-Tale Heart‘, with ‘The Cask of Amontillado‘ at a close second.

2. Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. I’m sure you guys know I have a serious love/hate relationship with these books. (Read below, I give a summary of my thoughts.) But, given that it’s Halloween time…a good vampire novel is always a plus, I find. I think the first two are the best.

Interview with the Vampire [Louis! I will always adore Louis de Pointe du Lac, no one will ever replace him in my top characters. I read this after I saw the movie and yes, the book is infinitely better, but the movie is still good too. Louis is a beautiful creature, despite his suffering. Yet, his despair makes you either love him or wish he’d buck up and move ahead with his immortal life. This and The Vampire Lestat will always be my favorites of the series.]

The Vampire Lestat (1985) [ALL HAIL LESTAT DE LIONCOURT. I love the hell out of this book. Anne was at the top of her game when she wrote this. (I mean, Lestat was. ;)) It’s lush, fascinating, deeply researched, emotional…you’re in for a treat when you read this one. Also, Lestat is notoriously sassy. I appreciate a narrator who inspires me to aspire to his level of sass.]

3. The Stuart Vampire. Since we are on the subject of vampires, I thought it fitting that I mention The Stuart Vampire by the Seventeenth Century Lady herself, Andrea Zuvich. I did a review on a blog tour a few years ago, which is how we were introduced. (I can’t find my review, it must have been one of the posts that didn’t save when my page was deleted. -_-) Andrea was even the first guest blogger here! She’s taken her love of the Stuarts (the family after The Tudors) and made a deliciously dark story. It’s quite perfect for this time of year. At present, I’m doing a reread–and listening to the audiobook! If you’d like to read Andrea’s guest post, you can do that here.

4. Stephen King. I confess…I’ve only ever read one of his books. I’ve seen the movie adaptations and well…if those are any indication, the books are perfect Halloween reads. I have IT on my bookshelf. (It’s a bit ironic…because I am absolutely terrified of clowns. I don’t like them, don’t want to see them. The only clown I’m semi-good with is Ronald McDonald. And even then..just give me my McNuggets and let me go in peace.)

5. Frankenstein. Frankenstein is the doctor, not his creation. I swear I repeat this ad nauseaum around this time of year. I love the story and I love the movies, though I do find the story to be sad. The first time I read it, I was 9 or 10…and it scared me. But as I’ve gotten older…I’m no longer scared. I think him a creature who is cursed because of the small-mindedness and cruelty of humans. What do you think?

6. Dracula || Dracul. Back to vampires, I know. Now, I have said that I didn’t particularly love Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but this is the perfect time of year to read it. Dracul, however, by Dacre Stoker, I loved it. It’s a prequel to Dracula and it is a frightening story. I definitely felt chills a number of times. It keeps you on your toes and it keeps you fascinated until the very last page. It sets up the original perfectly. (I posted a review here.)

7. Harry Potter. There’s something comforting about rereading (or reading for the first time) the Harry Potter series. Perhaps it’s because witches and wizards give Halloween feels, or because the series is just one that always invites you back. It’s hard to place it. I just know that around this time of year? A Harry book is being reread.

8. Stalking Jack the Ripper. The title alone ought to say it. A serial killer on the loose? That’s pretty damn frightening. If memory serves me correctly, the murders took place in September/October of the late 1880s, so the timing is right. I loved the whole series, but since this was the book that grabbed my attention…voila! Besides…#Cresswell! (Am I right?)

9. Little Women. It’s just something about Autumn that makes me want to reread Little Women again. Perhaps it’s because I can envision entering the March’s home and it’ll smell of cinnamon, apples, and have a warmth that can only be appreciated after being outside when autumn breezes give you a little bit of a chill. I think I’d summarize Little Women as being autumn between covers. Autumn is, to me, a time of nostalgia. I’m not entirely sure why. I try to reread once a year; this is usually around when I do it.  Perhaps it’s that nostalgia thing.

10. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. My personal favorite. I think I saved the best for last here. Who doesn’t love the tale of the Headless Horseman and Ichabod Crane? It’s such a perfect read for this time of year. If you’re interested; there is an audiobook edition available read by Tom Mison, who played Ichabod on the Fox series ‘Sleepy Hollow’. It’s a short one, only about an hour and a half…but a perfect way to spend some time.



(Tour Stop) Angel Mage: Spotlight.

Image preview

Hardcover: 560 pages
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publish Date: October 1, 2019

A new fantasy masterpiece from Garth Nix, bestselling author of the Old Kingdom series.

More than a century has passed since Liliath crept into the empty sarcophagus of Saint Marguerite, fleeing the Fall of Ystara. But she emerges from her magical sleep still beautiful, looking no more than nineteen, and once again renews her single-minded quest to be united with her lover, Palleniel, the archangel of Ystara.

It’s a seemingly impossible quest, but Liliath is one of the greatest practitioners of angelic magic to have ever lived, summoning angels and forcing them to do her bidding. Four young people hold her interest: Simeon, a studious doctor-in-training; Henri, a dedicated fortune hunter; Agnez, a glory-seeking musketeer; and Dorotea, icon-maker and scholar of angelic magic.

The four feel a strange kinship from the moment they meet but do not suspect their importance. And none of them know just how Liliath plans to use them, as mere pawns in her plan, no matter the cost to everyone else . . .

Fans of Cassandra Clare, Holly Black, and Leigh Bardugo will fall in love with Angel Mage, a feminist fantasy that takes place in an alternate European world ruled by fearsome magic and deadly passions.


Garth Nix has worked as a bookseller, book sales representative, publicist, editor, marketing consultant, and literary agent. He also spent five years as a part-time soldier in the Australian Army Reserve. A full-time writer since 2001, more than five million copies of his books have been sold around the world and his work has been translated into 40 languages. Garth’s books have appeared on the bestseller lists of The New York Times, Publishers Weekly (US), The Bookseller(UK), The Australian and The Sunday Times (UK). He lives in Sydney, Australia, with his wife and two children.



October 21

Dazzled By Books – Book Review, Creative Content
Library of a Book Witch – Book Review
The Layaway Dragon – Book Review + Favorite Quotes

October 22

Moonlight Rendezvous – Book Review + Favorite Quotes
Books_andPoetrii – Creative Content
@tea.books.magic – Book Review

October 23

Bout-a-Book Blog – Book Review
Kait Plus Books – Creative Content

October 24

Novel Nerd Faction – Book Review, Creative Content
Becky’s Book Blog – Book Review
Story-eyed Review – Book Review, Creative Content

October 25

evelynreads – Book Review
The Book Bratz – Spotlight
Sometimes Leelynn Reads – Book Review, Creative Content
Clarissa Reads It All – Spotlight

October 26

The Reading Corner for All – Book Review, Creative Content
biblioxytocin – Book Review + Favorite Quotes, Creative Content

October 27

Popthebutterfly Reads – Book Review
Life With No Plot – Book Review

October 28

Book Blog London – Book Review + Favorite Quotes
Utopia State of Mind – Book Review + Favorite Quotes
Nay’s Pink Bookshelf – Book Review + Favorite Quotes

The Killing Fog: Spotlight.

Lovers of Fantasy, I think I’ve got one that you guys are going to love. I know I’m excited about it. I actually had never heard about this book, it was a surprise in my mailbox and I’m quite thrilled about it, it looks like something I’ll enjoy.  Not only is it Fantasy, but it also has Asian representation, historical aspects; and it sounds quite intriguing. I’ll let you read the synopsis below! Let me know what you think! 

Click to pre-order. 🙂


  • Series: The Grave Kingdom (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 412 pages
  • Publisher: 47North
  • Publish Date: March 1, 2020

The Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Kingfountain series conjures an epic, adventurous world of ancient myth and magic as a young woman’s battle with infinite evil begins.

Survivor of a combat school, the orphaned Bingmei belongs to a band of mercenaries employed by a local ruler. Now the nobleman and collector of rare artifacts has entrusted Bingmei and the skilled team with a treacherous assignment: brave the wilderness’s dangers to retrieve the treasures of a lost palace buried in a glacier valley. But upsetting its tombs has a price.

Echion, emperor of the Grave Kingdom, ruler of darkness, Dragon of Night, has long been entombed. Now Bingmei has unwittingly awakened him and is answerable to a legendary prophecy. Destroying the dark lord before he reclaims the kingdoms of the living is her inherited mission. Killing Bingmei before she fulfills it is Echion’s.

Thrust unprepared into the role of savior, urged on by a renegade prince, and possessing a magic that is her destiny, Bingmei knows what she must do. But what must she risk to honor her ancestors? Bingmei’s fateful choice is one that neither her friends nor her enemies can foretell, as Echion’s dark war for control unfolds.

If you’re interested in learning about The Grave Kingdom, Mr. Wheeler has an entire section of his website featuring in-depth information about it. 


Jeff WheelerJeff Wheeler is the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Harbinger and Kingfountain series, as well as the Muirwood, Mirrowen, and Landmoor novels. He took an early retirement from his career at Intel in 2014 to write full-time. He is a husband, father of five, and a devout member of his church. He lives in the Rocky Mountains and is the founder of Deep Magic: The E-Zine of Clean Fantasy and Science Fiction. Find out more about Deep Magic at http://www.deepmagic.co, and visit Jeff’s many worlds at http://www.jeff-wheeler.com.


Want It Wednesday: And They Called It Camelot

I’m so delighted to be able to share Stephanie Marie Thornton’s newest book! As you well know, if you’ve been following me a whole, I’m a big fan of Stephanie and I’ve covered her previous books here. Earlier this year, I featured ‘American Princess‘, a novel about Alice Roosevelt. Stephanie is continuing on with American History and has taken on the wife of our 35th president, John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (later Onassis).

(I cannot wait to get a copy. Seriously. Just…time, hurry up. Haha. Gimme!)

Without further ado…

This cover though!!  Click the pic to Pre-Order.

“Don’t let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment, that was known as Camelot.”

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley
  • Publish Date: March 10, 2020

An intimate portrait of the life of Jackie O…
Few of us can claim to be the authors of our fate. Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy knows no other choice. With the eyes of the world watching, Jackie uses her effortless charm and keen intelligence to carve a place for herself among the men of history and weave a fairy tale for the American people, embodying a senator’s wife, a devoted mother, a First Lady—a queen in her own right.

But all reigns must come to an end. Once JFK travels to Dallas and the clock ticks down those thousand days of magic in Camelot, Jackie is forced to pick up the ruined fragments of her life and forge herself into a new identity that is all her own, that of an American legend.

Barnes & Noble || Amazon || BAM || Indie Bound || Target


Stephanie Thornton is a writer and history teacher who has been obsessed with infamous women from ancient history since she was twelve. She lives with her husband and daughter in Alaska, where she is at work on her next novel.

“The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora,” “Daughter of the Gods: A Novel of Ancient Egypt,” and “The Tiger Queens: The Women of Genghis Khan” and “The Conqueror’s Wife: A Novel of Alexander the Great” are available now.  “American Princess: A Novel of First Daughter Alice Roosevelt” hit the shelves in March 2019 and in March 2020, ‘And They Called It Camelot’ will join the others.

For more information please visit Stephanie Thornton’s website. You can also find her on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.


The Importance of Arcs.

I had a friend asking me questions about ARCs recently and as I sat about, answering said question, I decided to put my answers into a post to share here. I suspect that other bloggers may respond in comments and I would love that. I think a joint posting would be splendid. However, she was curious as to if an ARC is just a free copy. Whilst it is a free copy, its a copy given in exchange for a review and feedback. It gives the publisher an idea of how the book will be received and it’ll also help them gauge what people are enjoying, not enjoying. What to keep, what to edit. It’s more than just a free book. There are also spots where editing hasn’t been finished quite yet, so it isn’t uncommon to spot spelling and grammar errors. You may also notice that page numbers aren’t done yet.

An advance review copy is a free, promotional copy of a book that’s in the process of being published, but has yet to be released. It may be printed and bound or in electronic format. The ARC usually includes cover artwork, although it might not be the final version. A disclaimer is printed on the cover that identifies the book as an ARC. This notifies readers that the book isn’t in its final version yet, so it could differ from the published version. The disclaimer also lets readers know that the ARC is not for resale (although some people do illegally sell ARCs).  [More found here.]

In this picture that I’m showing here, you can see that the cover images are different. You can also see that a quote from another author has been included. That’s what they call a blurb. Other authors ask other authors, and I’m not 100% sure, but the publisher might ask too. 

You can also see the difference in the number of pages.  There’s more on the version on the left than there are on the right. This means there have been things edited out or just taken out, as they feel it wasn’t pertinent to the story.   


It’s an interesting process; it’s also a lengthy one. What we read now may not be in the final edition. We might get a book in September that doesn’t come out until February, for example.  It’s really cool to say, as a blogger, your work is helping this book become what others are going to read and hopefully, enjoy. It’s beneficial to the author as well; they get an idea of what we, as readers, are enjoying and what we want to see more of. It also helps us to build excitement. We talk about it, we get other people excited. The hype will help them sell books. It also encourages booksellers to take on their books and such.

I very much enjoy getting to do what I do. I love grammar and spelling and things of that nature. Whilst I could never be an English teacher or anything like that, this is an outlet for me and I get to enjoy doing that whilst doing something else I enjoy. It also lets me get to help authors in some way. It’s very humbling when you get to help an author. But it’s also very cool because they may occasionally seek you out and let you know that they have a new project coming out. Or just to say ‘hello!’ It can be a very positive experience. It can also be quite negative; I don’t know if you guys heard about the author going after a reviewer…but that happens too. (Please don’t do that. Not cool.)

It’s a cycle that is exciting and whilst some people think we’re in it, just because we get a free book, it’s more than that. I like knowing that in some very small way, I’ve gotten to help promote a book. Granted, some I don’t enjoy. But in such a case, I’ll do a spotlight post. It helps get the word out anyway, even if I didn’t love the book. It’s polite and creates goodwill. I think it’s ultimately being a team player. 

Now, when it comes to ARCs, I mentioned that it’s illegal to sell them. It is. And the more people who get approved for them and then just sell them; it makes it harder or us bloggers who follow the rules. Without us getting those copies–be they digital or physical–it makes it hard for us to do our ‘jobs’, the publishers don’t trust us and they’re not as keen to approve us for them. (This is an opinion of mine. Correct me if I’m wrong/right/you agree/disagree!) 

So as you can see…it’s more than just a ‘free’ book.

I hope this helps! xx 



Storm Front: A Review.

So as I sit on this rainy afternoon, listening to Linkin Park, I realise I’ve not written much in the last few days. So here I am! I actually read something! Even more surprising is that it was something not in my usual wheelhouse of selections. My friend nudged me towards this book (and the series of them). He said that I would absolutely love it. I confess that I am not usually one to take my friends’ suggestions on books because I like historical fiction and other books like that. I have yet to forgive some of them for raving over 100 Shades of Criminal Minds, er 50 Shades I mean. (I can’t help but be insulted that they would think I’d enjoy reading that, lol. Sorry, not sorry.)

Anywho. I suspect he’ll be delighted to hear that I read this book in three hours. I’m a fast reader, what can I say? He’s away for the weekend for his anniversary, but I’m sure he’ll enjoy reading this on Monday or whenever. But I thought you guys would be impressed for me to have read something different.


Print Length: 332 pages
Publisher: Roc; 1st edition
Publish Date: April 1, 2000)

In the first novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling Dresden Files series, Harry Dresden’s investigation of a grisly double murder pulls him into the darkest depths of magical Chicago…

As a professional wizard, Harry Dresden knows firsthand that the “everyday” world is actually full of strange and magical things—and most of them don’t play well with humans. And those that do enjoy playing with humans far too much. He also knows he’s the best at what he does. Technically, he’s the only at what he does. But even though Harry is the only game in town, business—to put it mildly—stinks.

So when the Chicago P.D. brings him in to consult on a double homicide committed with black magic, Harry’s seeing dollar signs. But where there’s black magic, there’s a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry’s name…

Harry Dresden is a wizard for hire. Unsurprisingly, he’s a wizard in debt and one who needs to pay his rent. When his phone rings and a woman inquires about his services, we’re treated to a bit of his wit– “No,” I thought. “It’s Harry Dresden the, ah, lizard. Harry the wizard is one door down.”– and he’s asked if he can help find her missing husband, he’s initially hesitant but he needs the cash. He invited her to his office and at that time, he gets a call from the cops, for whom he consults.

When it rains, it pours.

It’s a case that eventually became more than expected. There’s a missing person, murders, the Mob, magic…they all tie together, and Harry’s witty narration makes this an unexpected gem of a book. He’s telling you the story, recounting it with honesty, self-deprecation, sarcasm…but behind it all, Harry is a good man, a great wizard, and one who has a Warden determined to catch him breaking a law…did I mention the White Council? Remember that name as you read. #PainInTheDerriere

There were a number of passages that had me rolling. Here are a few quotes that I loved.

-Never let it be said that Harry Dresden is afraid of a dried, dead bug.

-We blue-collar wizards just have to sling a few spells out where we can and hope they don’t go stale at the wrong time.

-We wizards are terrific at brooding.

I loved the world-building, the characters and the way the narration isn’t monotonous or boring. I expected there to be cliches all over, but there weren’t. The characters are quite lifelike and it’s amusing some of the characters you meet. I liked Harry’s interaction with a fae (who really likes pizza, by the way.) and Bob. (Who is literally a talking, horny skull. He’s a spirit who inhabits a skull…there’s more to him than meets the eye, that is all I’ll say.) It’s going to be fun to read about the Vampire Courts, the White Council, different types of werewolves and all manners of creatures from the supernatural realm.

My only complaint is… actually, I don’t have one!

It’s really an unexpected gem..and I can’t wait to read more!


Blog Tour! The Vine Witch!




Print Length: 263 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1542008387
Publisher: 47North (October 1, 2019)
Publication Date: October 1, 2019
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English 

See the source image

It starts with a toad. A slimy one, too, warts and all. But as you may have guessed, with witches involved, this toad just happens to be enchanted. This toad, in fact, is the witch—and now that she’s free, she’s out for revenge against whoever has cursed her.

Elena Boureanu, a former toad, is a vine witch. Her magic is responsible for creating some of the best wine of the age, and her legacy is all but ruined when she finally returns home. The vineyard’s new owner may be handsome, but he’s a city man of science who knows nothing about the valley’s vine witch tradition. And on top of that, Elena can clearly detect dark magic surrounding the estate. She knows her own curse must be connected to the hex on the fields, and she vows to put her world back into balance.

Elena’s story of redemption may be fantasy, but it feels real enough to touch. Reading this novel is like falling into an Instagram picture—atmospheric, and surrounded by the smells and tastes of the natural world. I hope you’ll fall with me. ―Adrienne Procaccini, Editor

See the source image

This was a quick read, but don’t let that deter you. It may be less than 300 pages, but it packs a lot in. It was such a delight to read, honestly. It’s quite like a fairy tale, where a toad is a person…but in this case, it’s not a prince/princess kissing them to restore them. In fact. our girl saves herself. So if you like a little girl power, you’ll like that. If you like world-building? You’ll love this. Rich, vibrant, descriptions that pull you right in? Yup, right here. I told you; this book has a lot, despite its small page count. There’s a number of quotes that are memorable; though I admit this one is a favorite. The author is a truly gifted storyteller in that she can bring this story to life, not be dull, and is poignant. It’s magic in itself to be such a talent. Each character felt human, the scenarios, despite there being magic involved, were realistic in a lovely way.

What the eye couldn’t see, the imagination-filled in. We put names to the unexplained. Cast it as something to either fear or worship. And yet just because a thing can’t be seen doesn’t mean it isn’t real.

There are several types of witches, apparently, though this book focuses upon the Vine Witches. I suspect that if the series continues, we’ll be introduced to more and I’d be quite happy with that. Fantasy novels weren’t always my cup of tea, admittedly, but I find the allure of them to be quite delightful. I like being able to suspend reality for awhile. I also love to travel back to different eras; Belle Epoque France? Yes, please! (Oui, s’il vous plait!) I think what I especially liked was the rich descriptions. This particular passage got me as I love those flavors. To me, they are autumn. (The brandy isn’t as grand to me, I don’t drink, but still, doesn’t this sound delicious?

The fresh-baked smell captivated him, and he reached for the sticky tart. One bite and the full complexity hit him. The pastry tasted of fruit and nuts, butter and brown sugar, and the rich spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom, all heat-seared by fire. Sweet, yes, but also sophisticated, heightened by a hint of salted brandy. 

Even though this is the first in a series, it finishes in such a way that if you didn’t want to read the next one (and why wouldn’t you?), it’s a complete read that leaves you satisfied. It’s a refreshing change in a world where it seems like everything has cliffhangers and the like. SOmetimes you just want a good read and you want it to end. I could go on, as I do, but occasionally there’s magic in knowing when to shut my mouth and let you guys read. So…off you go!

Oh! If you’re a wine person? Grab a glass. It’ll be a perfect accent to this historical fantasy. ❤

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A young witch emerges from a curse to find her world upended in this gripping fantasy of betrayal, vengeance, and self-discovery set in turn-of-the-century France.

For centuries, the vineyards at Château Renard have depended on the talent of their vine witches, whose spells help create the world-renowned wine of the Chanceaux Valley. Then the skill of divining harvests fell into ruin when sorcière Elena Boureanu was blindsided by a curse. Now, after breaking the spell that confined her to the shallows of marshland and weakened her magic, Elena is struggling to return to her former life. And the vineyard she was destined to inherit is now in the possession of a handsome stranger.

Vigneron Jean-Paul Martel naively favors science over superstition, and he certainly doesn’t endorse the locals’ belief in witches. But Elena knows a hex when she sees one, and the vineyard is covered in them. To stay on and help the vines recover, she’ll have to hide her true identity, along with her plans for revenge against whoever stole seven winters of her life. And she won’t rest until she can defy the evil powers that are still a threat to herself, Jean-Paul, and the ancient vine-witch legacy in the rolling hills of the Chanceaux Valley.


You can purchase The Vine Witch at the following Retailers:



Photo Content from Luanne G. Smith 


Luanne G. Smith is the author of THE VINE WITCH, a historical fantasy novel about witches, wine, and revenge set in early 20th century France, and the forthcoming second book in The Vine Witch series, THE GLAMOURIST. She’s lucky enough to live in Colorado at the base of the beautiful Rocky Mountains, where she enjoys reading, gardening, hiking, a glass of wine at the end of the day, and finding the magic in everyday life.

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OCTOBER 15th TUESDAY Insane About Books REVIEW

OCTOBER 15th TUESDAY Clarissa Reads It All REVIEW

OCTOBER 16th WEDNESDAY Movies, Shows, & Books GUEST POST

OCTOBER 17th THURSDAY Crossroad Reviews REVIEW





OCTOBER 19th SATURDAY Random Bookish Banter REVIEW







OCTOBER 23rd WEDNESDAY Two Points of Interest REVIEW


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Hey guys!

I took the plunge and I made an actual #Bookstagram account. I am quite excited about it. I just made it last night and I’ve gone on a following spree, but I’d love to get some new followers. So if you are on insta, please feel free to follow me. The link is below and I took a screengrab. Obviously, not a lot of posts, but I plan to get there. I hope you’ll take a look! ❤

My #Bookstagram!


New Release Day!

It’s that time of the week! You know what I mean. It’s New Release Day!! I’ve been so excited about these two titles and I’m delighted to say–they’re available NOW.



  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Flatiron Books
  • Publish Date: October 8, 2019

The mesmerizing adult debut from Leigh Bardugo, a tale of power, privilege, dark magic, and murder set among the Ivy League elite

Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug-dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. In fact, by age twenty, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most prestigious universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. Their eight windowless “tombs” are the well-known haunts of the rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street’s biggest players. But their occult activities are more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive. They tamper with forbidden magic. They raise the dead. And, sometimes, they prey on the living.


Leigh BardugoLeigh Bardugo is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of fantasy novels and the creator of the Grishaverse. With over three million copies sold worldwide, her Grishaverse spans the Shadow and Bone Trilogy, the Six of Crows Duology, The Language of Thorns, and King of Scars—with more to come. Her short stories can be found in multiple anthologies, including The Best of Tor.com and the Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy. Her other works include Wonder Woman: Warbringer and the forthcoming Ninth House. Leigh was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Southern California, and graduated from Yale University. These days she lives and writes in Los Angeles. For information on new releases and appearances, sign up for Leigh’s newsletter: http://bit.ly/bardugonews.



  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
  • Publish Date: October 8, 2019

New York Times bestselling author Renée Ahdieh returns with a sumptuous, sultry and romantic new series set in the 19th century New Orleans where vampires hide in plain sight.

In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans is a safe haven after she’s forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent in the middle of the carnival season, Celine is quickly enraptured by the vibrant city, from its music to its fancy soirées and even its danger. She becomes embroiled in the city’s glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group’s enigmatic leader, Sébastien Saint Germain.

When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in Sébastien’s own lair–the second dead girl to turn up in recent weeks–Celine battles her attraction to Sébastien and suspicions about his guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

After a third murder, New Orleans becomes gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose–one who has now set Celine in his sights. As the murderer stalks her, Celine finally takes matters into her own hands, only to find herself caught in the midst of an age-old feud between the darkest creatures of the night, where the price of forbidden love is her life.

At once a sultry romance and a decadent, thrilling mystery, master storyteller Renée Ahdieh embarks on her most potent fantasy series yet.

Renee AhdiehRenée Ahdieh is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In her spare time, she likes to dance salsa and collect shoes. She is passionate about all kinds of curry, rescue dogs, and college basketball. The first few years of her life were spent in a high-rise in South Korea; consequently, Renée enjoys having her head in the clouds. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband and their tiny overlord of a dog. She is the author of Flame in the Mist and Smoke in the Sun as well as the #1 New York Times bestselling The Wrath and the Dawn and its sequel, The Rose and the Dagger.

In addition, I thought it’d be fun to share that they’ve released the cover for the follow up to ‘The Beautiful’. I won’t post the synopsis yet as I don’t want to put…



Click to Pre-Order! [Beware of Spoilers though!]