Thursday, May 13, 2021

Catnapped (+ Giveaway)

 

Catnapped
By R.J. Blain
(Magical Romantic Comedies, #14)
Publication date: May 11th, 2021
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Urban Fantasy

When someone steals Diana’s cat, a former lab animal rescued from death’s door, she calls on one of the most dangerous beings in the universe for help. Cutting a deal with the devil isn’t the smartest move, but there’s no way in hell she’ll abandon Mr. Flooferson the Magnificent to his fate.

Teaming up with the son of a demon, an angel, and one hell of a woman might push Diana to the limits of her courage and sanity. Unless she wants to sell her soul to the devil, she must cope with her new partner, make the most of a bad situation, and find out who stole her cat and why.

What she learns will forever change humanity–and lead to a battle destined to forever change the heavens and the devil’s many hells.

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Here's an excerpt for your reading pleasure.

 Someone had taken Mr. Flooferson the Magnificent, and when I got my hands on the culprit, they would know the true meaning of fear. As my cat was terrified of the outdoors, strangers, and anything that reminded him of his former life as a lab animal, there was no way in hell he would’ve left the comforts of home without the use of force. I couldn’t even convince him to meet me at the door. He cried pitifully from the safety of the couch, some ten feet away, until I came into his domain and he could reassure himself I hadn’t left him like every other human in his life.

No, unlike every other human in his life, I showed him love without pain. In the shelter hosting the retired lab cats, he’d been the saddest of the lot, so terrified of everyone and everything that the shelter operators had considered putting him out of his misery. No one wanted the scared ones, the ones who couldn’t charm unsuspecting humans into adopting them.

Mr. Flooferson should have been on the couch waiting for me, but my door had been kicked in, the lock broken beyond repair. Worse, someone had torn the place apart and left with my cat and his fleece-lined carrier.

Had the bastard left my cat’s carrier, I might have believed my baby had run out of fear.

I cracked my knuckles one by one, scowled, and considered my options. The police would need to come over and check everything over. After the police flailed about and accomplished little, for they had more important things to do than investigate the loss of my cat, I would begin using every contact I could. While I was only a secretary within the CDC, secretaries held power.

Every day, I talked to the big wigs, the wealthy, and the powerful, and I earned their respect so I could smooth paths for my bosses, who needed to work with people all around the world.

I had the Devil on speed dial, and I wasn’t afraid of using his wife to get what I wanted. While I wouldn’t cut a deal with the Devil, I’d find a way to make him do my bidding.

Well, maybe I’d cut a deal with the Devil, but I wouldn’t bargain away my soul.

Nobody, and I meant nobody, would hurt my cat and get away with it.

I retrieved my cell from my purse and called the non-emergency line for the police, explaining that my home had been broken into and the thieves had stolen my cat and his carrier. My concern about my pet made the cop laugh, but he said he’d send a patrol over as soon as there was one available.

I’d been around the block often enough to understand nobody would be available any time soon.

All right. If the cops wanted to play games, I’d play.

I dialed the Devil, and if Satan gave me a hard time, I’d go straight to his wife and show him his little layer of hell had a new owner until my cat was safely home.

“Good evening, Diana. It’s after hours, and you never work from home unless the world is at a literal risk of ending. We aren’t scheduled for the End of Days at this moment. As I’m far too lazy to peek right now, what can I do for you?”

“You can help me find who stole my cat, flay the flesh from their bones, toss them into the nastiest pit of your hells, and give me a fiery whip so I can have some fun with the fuckers.”

Silence.

I gave the Devil as much time as he needed to realize he spoke to a crazy cat lady on a mission to murder some thieving assholes.

“Have you forgotten who I am, Diana?”

“I absolutely called you fully aware of who and what you are, and if you could put Darlene on the line if you’re not willing to help me find my cat, it would save me making a few other phone calls and knocking on your door in an hour. If I have to knock on your door in an hour, I’m going to redefine misery through hellfire for you. And if someone, and by someone I mean you, says it’ll be a cold day in hell first, I’ll come there and break all of your windows.”

Thanks to Darlene, I’d learned the Devil enjoyed his air conditioning, his hells followed a disturbing number of scientific rules, and only some serious magic on his windows and walls kept the heat outside where it belonged.

“That’s harsh for my electric bill.”

“As if you actually pay it. Assistance or put Darlene on the phone, Lucifer. Jack shit is up for negotiation today. Someone stole my cat.”

“This is the most fun I’ve had in a week. Since I call my daughter Cupcake, you’re just going to have to be Cookie.”

“No. I will have Darlene kill you if you start calling me Cookie. And once I send Darlene after you, I’m going to call Kanika and tell her. Once I’m done with her, I’ll go through every single one of your brothers until one of them agrees to help me put you in your place.”

“Don’t ruin my fun,” the Devil complained. “I need some fun today. Darlene made me clean up the dungeon this morning.”

“I will ruin every part of your life if you don’t help me find my cat.” I meant it, too. Maybe I was only a secretary, but I had three of the Devil’s brothers on speed dial, and I’d play the hardball. I would play so hard the entire planet tilted on its axis if necessary.

Nobody fucked with my cat.

Meet the Author: R.J. Blain

RJ Blain suffers from a Moleskine journal obsession, a pen fixation, and a terrible tendency to pun without warning.

In her spare time, she daydreams about being a spy. Her contingency plan involves tying her best of enemies to spinning wheels and quoting James Bond villains until satisfied.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Thanks so much for stopping by today. What would you do if someone stole your cat?

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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

A Ghost and His Gold (+ Giveaway)

Today’s I’m delighted to be participating in author Robbie Eaton Cheadle’s Great Escape Virtual Book Tour for her latest release, A GHOST AND HIS GOLD.

A Ghost and His Gold

By Robbie Eaton Cheadle
Supernatural Historical
Stand-Alone Novel
Publisher: TSL Publications (1/27/2021)
Number of Pages: 264 pages
ISBN 9781914245039

After Tom and Michelle Cleveland move into their recently built, modern townhouse, their housewarming party is disrupted when a drunken game with an Ouija board goes wrong and summonses a sinister poltergeist, Estelle, who died in 1904.

Estelle makes her presence known in a series of terrifying events, culminating in her attacking Tom in his sleep with a knife. But, Estelle isn’t alone. Who are the shadows lurking in the background – one in an old-fashioned slouch hat and the other, a soldier, carrying a rifle?

After discovering their house has been built on the site of one of the original farms in Irene, Michelle becomes convinced that the answer to her horrifying visions lie in the past. She must unravel the stories of the three phantoms’ lives, and the circumstances surrounding their untimely deaths during the Second Anglo Boer War, in order to understand how they are tied together and why they are trapped in the world of ghosts between life and death. As the reasons behind Estelle’s malevolent behaviour towards Tom unfold, Michelle’s marriage comes under severe pressure and both their lives are threatened.

A GHOST AND HIS GOLD is available at the following links: Paperback: https://tslbooks.uk/product/a-ghost-and-his-gold-roberta-eaton-cheadle/ - https://amzn.to/3sqtkBH

Ebook: https://www.lulu.com/en/us/shop/robert-eaton-cheadle/a-ghost-and-his-gold/ebook/product-d858km.html?page=1&pageSize=4

Now here’s a recipe from the book for your enjoyment, along with an excerpt for your reading pleasure.

Recipe for South African melktert

History

Melktert is popular in South Africa and you will find it for sale at every church bazaar, bake sale, home industry, supermarket, or bakery in this country. A version will feature on every South African food blogger’s blog.

Melktert stems for the Dutch settlers in the Cape in the 1600s. The original recipe is believed to have been derived from a recipe for Mattentaart which was included in Thomas van der Noot’s book “Een notable boexcken van cokeryen” (A notable Book of Cookery).

Recipe for melktert (serves 8)

Ingredients – pastry

500 ml plain flour

1 egg

125 ml castor sugar

10 ml baking powder

125 grams butter (softened)

Pinch of salt

Method – pastry

Cream butter and sugar together. Add the beaten egg and mix well.

Add the dry ingredients mixing until a stiff dough forms.

Press into two small or one large pie dish, taking the dough up the edges.

Blind bake in the oven (pre-heated to 180 degrees Celsius) for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Ingredients – filling

1 litre plus 125 ml of milk

2 ½ tablespoons of cornflour

2 ½ tablespoons of plain flour

250 ml castor sugar

3 eggs

Pinch of salt

5 ml vanilla essence

30 grams butter

Method – filling

Beat eggs and add sugar, flour, cornflour and salt and beat well.

Bring the milk to the boil. Remove from heat.

Add the egg mixture to the boiling milk and whisk to remove lumps.

Return to the stove and whisk gently until the mixture thickens.

Add the butter and vanilla essence.

Pour into cooked shell and allow to cook.

Refrigerate until required. Decorate with cinnamon.


Extract from A Ghost and His Gold

“Look, Papa, look,” Estelle whispers, pointing towards a patch of veld grass near their camp.

Two green lights shine in the dark, close to the ground. The hairs on his arms stand on end. It must be an animal of some sort.

Grabbing his Mauser, Pieter aims it at the eyes, ready to fire. The eyes stop moving forward. They stay still in the dark, looking at them.

Is it a hyena?

Nothing moves in the vast stillness of the African night. The animals are nonchalant and continue to graze peacefully.

Pieter picks up a stone and throws it in the direction of the eyes. The eyes do not move. No wild cackling of a hyena feeling distressed, or snarls of a lioness felling threatened, fill the air.

“It can’t be a wild animal,” he says quietly.

The tension in Estelle’s shoulders relaxes slightly.

Mosiko stands up and moves towards the eyes which slowly draw towards him and, into the firelight, comes the blocky head and welldeveloped body of a Boerboel dog.

The dog is clearly used to people and seems pleased to see them. Pieter sees the wide smiles of his daughters. They love dogs and have missed having one around the house. Even Marta looks pleased as the dog stands there with his tongue hanging out. He looks like he is grinning.

Pieter gives the dog some of the leftover meat and he wolfs it down hungrily. He then lies down near to the fire and sighs a long sigh.

“He reminds me of Hansie, he has the same trusting eyes. I miss that dog,” Pieter sighs deeply. “Shooting that dog was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, but what other option did I have? He’d gone blind from the snake venom and a blind dog cannot survive in the veld.”

Estelle visibly shudders. Since Hansie was hit in the eyes by the venom of a Mozambique spitting cobra, she has developed a horror of snakes and won’t go anywhere near them.

Pieter had desperately tried to save the dog’s eyesight by washing his eyes out using water and milk, but he had gone blind anyway. Marta has mentioned several times that she missed knowing Hansie was there to protect them while Pieter was away. His loud and frantic barking acted as an excellent warning system if any humans or wild animals approached the farm.

“We could use a good dog. He must have come from one of the farms around here. If he’s still here in the morning, he can come with us. Now it’s time for bed, girls.”

Pieter swings Suné into his arms and carries her towards the wagon and her bed.

The dog is still there the following day and takes his place under the wagon when it moves off on its way towards Oom Willem’s farm. Everyone is pleased that the dog, who they name Karel, has stayed with them.

Meet the Author: Robbie Eaton Cheadle

Robbie Cheadle has published nine books for children and one poetry book. She has branched into writing for adults and young adults and, in order to clearly separate her children's books from her adult books, is writing for older readers under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle.

Robbie Cheadle's Sir Chocolate children's picture books are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions that children can make under adult supervision. Her books for older children also incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.

Roberta Eaton Cheadle's supernatural stories combine fabulous paranormal elements with fascinating historical facts.

Children's picture books - available as a square book and an A5 book (co-authored with Michael Cheadle):
Sir Chocolate and the strawberry cream story and cookbook
Sir Chocolate and the baby cookie monster story and cookbook
Sir Chocolate and the sugar dough bees story and cookbook
Sir Chocolate and the Condensed Milk River story and cookbook
Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Crystal Caves story and cookbook
Sir Chocolate and the Fondant Five story and cookbook
Sir Chocolate and the Ice Cream Rainbow Fairies story and cookbook

Middle school books:
Silly Willy Goes to Cape Town (includes five fun party cake ideas)
While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with Elsie Hancy Eaton)

Poetry book:
Open a new door (co-authored with Kim Blades)

Supernatural fantasy YA novel:
Through the Nethergate

Supernatural historical adult novel:

A Ghost and His Gold

Horror Anthologies (edited by Dan Alatorre):
Spellbound
Nightmareland
Dark Visions
Wings & Fire

Paranormal Anthologies (edited by Kaye Lynne Booth):
Spirits of the West
Whispers of the Past

Murder mystery Anthology (edited by Stephen Bentley)
Death Among Us

For more on the author and her writing, you can connect with her on the following links:

Website https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog https://wordpress.com/view/robertawrites235681907.wordpress.com

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19631306.Roberta_Eaton_Cheadle

Twitter https://twitter.com/RobertaEaton17

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/robertawrites/?modal=admin_todo_tour

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Roberta-Eaton-Cheadle/e/B08RSNJQZ5

Thanks so much for stopping by today. You can follow the tour by visiting the blogs listed below. Be sure to enter the giveaway. If the Rafflecopter widget doesn’t appear, you can still enter by clicking HERE.

Doesn’t the recipe sound interesting? Do you collect recipes that you find in books you read?

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

May 3 – Maureen's Musings - SPOTLIGHT

May 3 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

May 4 – This Is My Truth Now - REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

May 4 – Dodi Oviatt Author – REVIEW

May 5 – I'm All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

May 5 – ebook addicts – SPOTLIGHT

May 6 – Ruff Drafts – GUEST POST

May 6 – Sapphyria's Book Reviews - SPOTLIGHT

May 7 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

May 8 – Brooke Blogs - REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

May 8 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

May 9 – Kyrosmagica– REVIEW

\May 9 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

May 10 – Novels Alive – GUEST POST

May 10 – Baroness' Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT

May 11 – Christy's Cozy Corners – GUEST POST

May 12 – Carla Loves to Read - REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

 
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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

A Special Place for Women

Today I’m happy to tell you about a book that is released today by author Laura Hankin, A SPECIAL PLACE FOR WOMEN (Berkley Hardcover; On Sale May 11, 2021).

This is scandalous fun that can best be described as “The Wing” meets “The Illuminati” -- the story of a New York journalist who goes undercover to tease out the secrets of an elite women’s-only social club.

It’s a club like no other. Only the most important women receive an invitation. Or at least, that’s what the rumors say―no one has yet to confirm the existence of Nevertheless, New York’s most secret, female-run society that seems to have inordinate influence over the city and its biggest scandals. People in the know whisper all sorts of claims: membership dues cost $1,000 a month. The women even handpicked the city’s first female mayor. But no one knows for sure.

Jillian Beckley, a native New Yorker and recently laid-off journalist, makes it her mission to prove the existence of this top-secret club.

It’s not long before Jillian manages to find an “in” at Nevertheless―and is captivated by the billionaire “girlbosses” who mingle with the astrology-obsessed and the trendiest of New York influencers. While it’s hard to ignore the sense of confidence and belonging that Nevertheless seems to provide―for its up-and-coming young members, and for Jillian, too―Jillian can’t help but keep a watchful eye on the club’s founders, who seem to be hiding something beyond the secret of the group’s existence, and who are just a little too fond of calling themselves “witches.”

As Jillian dives deeper into the inner circles of Nevertheless, it becomes apparent that bad things happen to those who dare to question the club’s motives―and its leaders may be far more powerful, and dangerous, than she ever imagined.

Meet the Author: Laura Hankin

Laura Hankin is the author of Happy & You Know It. She has written for publications like McSweeney's and HuffPost, while her musical comedy has been featured in The New York TimesThe Washington Post, and more.

She splits her time between NYC, where she has performed off-Broadway, and Washington D.C., where she once fell off a treadmill twice in one day.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Have you ever heard of any type of club like this elite women’s-only social club?