Thursday, December 18, 2014

Olivia Dunst Shares Her Opinion {+ Giveaway}

9780425268254 Spell Booked by Joyce and Jim Lavene - Thoughts in ProgressOne of the protagonist from SPELL BOOKED (by authors Joyce and Jim Lavene) visits today with a little insight into her current circumstance.

SPELL BOOKED is the first installment in the Retired Witches Mystery series by the Lavenes. Olivia Dunst is one of three witches featured in this brand new supernatural series. To celebrate the release of this new book, thanks to the lovely Danielle at Penguin Group, I have a print copy to giveaway. Please see the end of the post for more details.

First, here’s a brief synopsis ….

Once upon a time in Wilmington, North Carolina, three witches ran a curio shop named Smuggler’s Arcane. But as the years passed, their magical powers started to fade—leaving them no choice but to conjure up a retirement package…
        Before they could blink their eyes or twitch their noses, Molly, Elsie, and Olivia somehow became eligible for AARP. But they can’t fly off to Boca Raton just yet. First they must give up their magic, recruit and train three new witches, and pass on their cherished spellbook.
        They’ve barely begun to consider potential practitioners when Olivia winds up dead and their spellbook is stolen. To honor their friend and reclaim their spells, Molly and Elsie are about to go wand-to-wand with a dangerous young witch more powerful than the trio was in their prime. And this time they’re going to need more than magic up their sleeves…
Now please join me in welcoming Olivia as she shares her opinion with us. Welcome, Olivia.

I know the world can’t always be the way you want it to be, but come on! It doesn’t seem fair that I should be the one to die early out of the three of us. I wouldn’t wish anything on my friends, Molly or Elsie—although Elsie IS the oldest! I really wouldn’t want them to die alone in a dark alley as I did.

But I had just discovered my daughter. After all these years, there she was at the New Hanover Public Library. She’s a strong witch too, though she doesn’t know a thing about it. It’s not going to be easy training her, not like the way the three of us were trained by our mothers and grandmothers. But I had to make that decision for her sake. Her father would have taken her away in a heartbeat and I would never have seen her again. Not to mention that he probably would have taught her to be evil.

Yes, he was an evil, possibly immortal witch, but he was so handsome and had such an air about him. We had a wonderful time together. I came down from my pink love haze quickly when I found out I was pregnant. It was one thing for me to have a short dalliance with him and another to give him our daughter. Naturally some sacrifices had to be made. I must say that I think I choose to give up the worst part of her life, completely missing the poopy diapers and awkward teenage years.

Now she’s a beautiful young witch—and I’m dead. How is that fair? I was supposed to be there to teach her and watch her grow wise, and possibly more fashionable, each day. We should have been able to travel the world together. Now I’m a moldy old ghost who can’t even change my dress. 

Oh there are some advantages. I could eat whatever I want and never gain weight. I wouldn’t have to worry about having Elsie’s matronly figure. But I can’t eat at all! I have a chip on my nail polish that I’m going to have to live with for the next hundred years. That’s the lifespan for a ghost.

Maybe it’s not all bad. I can’t do magic anymore but I’ve known a few ghosts who had some amazing powers. There was this wonderful ghost of a handsome Revolutionary War captain on Fifth Street at the bed and breakfast. He had some smooth moves! I hated when they tore that place down.

I have to reinvent myself. I have to learn how to be a ghost. Not a puny, pathetic ghost like those young girls looking for a ride home in every town. I want to be a strong ghost. A dashing, sexy ghost. It’s time that I took charge of my afterlife.

As soon as I figure out how to get through this door!

“Elsie? Molly?”

Olivia, thanks for sharing your dilemma with us. It’s a shame you had to die, but I’m sure you’ll make everything work just the same. Smile


Joyce and Jim Lavene have written more than forty novels together. They also write short stories, non-fiction articles and teach writing workshops. They also use the pseudonym J.J. Cook. Their hobbies include gardening — they are certified Master Gardeners — and photography.

For more on the Lavenes and their writing, visit their website.

Now for my thoughts on SPELL BOOKED ….

This is an enchanting story with protagonists of a certain age many readers can relate to. The secondary characters add depth to the story. Overall the characters are likable and well-developed.

The story flows at a steady pace holding your attention as twists keep you guessing. The setting draws you in as the magical becomes believable.

Authors Joyce and Jim Lavene have crafted a fascinating new series that will have readers wishing for more. The story is magical and the characters are mesmerizing.

Spell Booked by Joyce and Jim Lavene, Retired Witches Mystery series Book #1, Berkley Prime Crime, @2014, ISBN: 978-0425268254, Paperback, 304 Pages 

FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.


This giveaway is for one print copy of SPELL BOOKED. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end at 12 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 28. 

To enter, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and following the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load, so please be patient. The winner from this giveaway will have 72 hours to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. The email will have ‘Thoughts in Progress Spell Booked Tour’ in the subject line, just so you know what to watch for (in case it goes into your spam folder).

Thanks so much for stopping by today. What do you think of Olivia’s situation? Do you think a ghost can be of help to the witches?

*This post contains affiliate links.
  a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I love that cozy-spooky cover. Witches + mystery sounds like a great combination.

  2. Love the witch theme on this series; thanks for the chance to win :)

  3. Bummer she's dead.
    Four cats - this cover might be the winner...

  4. This is going to be such a fun series! "Old" witches + AARP = must read.

  5. Thanks for hosting us here today!

    1. Joyce, it's always fun having y'all visit. Love the new series and wish you much success.

  6. Mason - Thanks for introducing us to this series and to the Lavenes. It's certainly an interesting concept for a series. I wish the Lavenes success with it.

  7. Well, I think if there's any way for Olivia to connect from the ghostly world, it would be to her good friends Elsie and Molly. This looks like a great premise for a new series. Thanks for the chance to win.

  8. I've read other books by the Lavenes and loved them—thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of this book!

    skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

  9. This sounds like a wonderful book! I also am of a certain age :-)

  10. The premise sounds SO cute. I love the idea of this. I'll have to look into this author.

  11. This books sounds so different. Can't wait to read about old witches and their antics.

  12. I love all the cats hanging around on the cover and that the witches are like me, retired!!!!

  13. I love the cover, as for Olivia, I think that it would be interesting to have a ghost hanging around with witches, she sounds aggravated enough to come back and do some haunting. I think Olivia should be able to have some input.

  14. It sounds like a heap of fun, and right up my alley (though preferably not an alley I die in). Thanks for the heads up.

  15. I'm sure the ghosts can help the witches. Sounds like a cute book. The cover looks great!

  16. This captivating and unique book is very special. Thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  17. Oh this sounds delightful. I can't wait to see how a ghost trains a witch!

  18. I'd love to start reading this series. I'm always interested in stories that include a ghost! Thank you!

  19. This series is definitely my cup of tea!


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.