Archive for August 25, 2015



Family Magic by Patti Larsen is a young adult paranormal novel that won 1st place in World’s Best Story contest and is published by Premiere. The tour runs August 3-31 with mostly reviews as well as author interviews and guest posts. Check out the tour page for more information.


Family Magic

The Hayle Coven Novels #1

by Patti Larsen



My Review

This is a story about a sixteen year old girl. She wants what everyone wants. To fit in. To find her place. But being a teen, she’s dealing with all of that angst, those hormones. Being bullied at school, responsible for her insane grandmother, and clashing with her mother have Syd all torn up inside.

She must find herself. Discover what she wants. She thinks she doesn’t wanted her magic. Doesn’t want to be a witch. And she keeps her demon half locked down inside her. All of this frustration and anger find a way out sometimes, like a pot boiling over.

It seems like every time Syd makes up with her mother, something else happens and she’s screaming how much she hates her, the family, the coven, her powers, and witches. She wants out and doesn’t want to wait until she’s 18 to give up her power.

After a huge blow out with her mother, Syd’s dad is waiting for her. When she enters the basement, both of her parents are there, but her uncle butts into the family meeting. He insists they stop lying to Syd. Tell her the truth. She needs to get control of her demon now more than ever.

Syd’s never whiney. She grows strong as she learns more, faces herself and her demon. Embraces her power. The author keeps her in character, genuine and believable. She’s a teenager and stays one, showing her growth, her confusion, her determination, and her doubts.

As the end of the book drew near, I became worried. I couldn’t see how it would all work out. I was worried, afraid for the characters.

The very first sentence in the last chapter is to telling and true. I wish I could share it with you, but you’ll see what I mean when you read it. So insightful. So powerful. As strong as the characters and magic displayed in this book.

5 Stars



Her mom’s a witch, her dad’s a demon and she just wants to be ordinary. But, when an insidious evil comes after her family, Sydlynn Hayle has to choose to be the normal girl she craves or step up, embrace her magic and save her coven from disaster.


Available for sale at:



About Patti Larsen


Patti is an award-winning author with a passion for the paranormal. Now with multiple series in happy publication, she lives in Canada with her patient husband and six demanding cats.

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5 paperback copies of Family Magic (US/CA) and a $25 Amazon gift card (INT)
Ends September 6th

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Below the Water Line banner

Title: Below the Water Line:Getting Out, Going Back, and Moving Forward in the Decade After Hurricane Katrina
Author: Lisa Karlin
Publisher: Centennial Publishers
Pages: 376
Genre: Memoir
Format: Paperback 14.97/Kindle 9.99/Audio 22.99

Below the Water Line 2


My Review

I was listening to the morning news while finishing up my review of this book when I happened to overhear the newscaster mention it was the 10th anniversary since Hurricane Katrina made landfall.

I’m sure everyone remembers that day. Whether you were in the path of the storm or not, all eyes and ears were tuned to the storm.

I live on the Gulf Coast and have been through many hurricanes. We were hit by Ivan the year before Katrina. I ran from that storm and when they allowed us back in, I held my breath as I neared my home. I knew something was wrong when I could see our pool. Shouldn’t have been able to. Luckily it was because of the many downed trees. I lost nine, with the huge pecan tree taking out my porch and the neighbors barn. I had to cut a path though the branches to enter my house. I was lucky.

The people in Louisiana were not so lucky. The storm and it’s surge were bad enough. But when the levees broke, it was a disaster of epic proportions.

I was fascinated to read of this families ordeal, from the night of the storm up til now. Imagine running from the storm, finding a safe place to wait it out, and seeing the devastation after those levees broke. Not knowing if your house is even still there. Not being allowed back in. And seeing all of those people, trapped and helpless.

Not only did these people have to leave their home, they had to find somewhere else to live and find a school for their two young children. Even once they are allowed home and find their house still intact, they can’t stay there. There’s no running to the grocery store, because they are closed or gone. No schools for the same reason.

Relying on friends, family, and the kindness of strangers, they found adequate housing and food. Now, they just have to figure out what comes next.

I couldn’t begin to imagine what it was like. Sure, they didn’t lose their home, but they now had no jobs, not much money, and had to keep paying the bills, plus pay for two homes.

And the ripples of Hurricane Katrina are still being felt. I’ve seen footage of the progress that’s been made on rebuilding. But I know a few families that never went back. They lost everything.

I’ll be visiting New Orleans next month for the first time since Katrina. I’ve never been there before so I can’t see a before and after, but I’m sure I’ll see plenty of the after evidence even after 10 years.

I was riveted from beginning to end, and applaud Lisa Karlin and her family for sharing their story.

5 Stars



Below the Water Line provides a gripping account of a family’s hurricane evacuation experiences and all that followed in the decade after Hurricane Katrina. The story begins in August 2005, when author Lisa Karlin, her husband, thirteen-year-old daughter, eleven-year-old son, and two dogs evacuated New Orleans for what they thought would be a two-day “hurrication.” The day-by-day account of the weeks that follow vividly chronicles the unprecedented displacement of thousands of Americans, and on a personal level, describes how her family makes the trifecta of major life decisions: where to live, where to work, and where to enroll their children in school. Below the Water Line provides a first-hand commentary on how everyday life has been impacted by Katrina’s aftermath and how, a decade later, there are still lingering effects of one of the most devastating events in American history.

For More Information

  • Below the Water Line: Getting Out, Going Back, and Moving Forward in the Decade After Hurricane Katrina is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.


Book Excerpt:

The pool water is bathtub warm, and the sky is postcard-perfect, clear and blue.

Thirteen-year-old Samantha floats on a raft near me. My daughter has carefully positioned herself with her arms extended by her sides and her chin tilted up toward the sun. Since school started last week, her tan has faded and she is determined to preserve it. She lies perfectly still; her only movement is the subtle rise and fall of her chest as she breathes.

A major hurricane named Katrina lurks just a few hundred miles away, out in the Gulf of Mexico, but we are not concerned. Landfall predictions are still uncertain, and I’m expecting that this hurricane will turn to the east or west and spare New Orleans, just like all of the hurricanes in the past forty years have done.

I take notice when I come in from the pool, turn on the television, and see the satellite image showing that Katrina has increased in intensity, and is now bigger than the state of Texas. Even so, the hurricane watch area extends all the way from western Louisiana to the eastern edge of the Florida panhandle. Anything can happen with this hurricane at this point.

Late in the afternoon, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin calls for a voluntary evacuation. He says he’s adhering to the state’s evacuation plan, and will not order a mandatory evacuation until thirty hours before Katrina’s expected landfall so that people living in low-lying surrounding areas can leave first and avoid gridlocked escape routes.

My eleven-year-old son calls and tells me he’s ready to be picked up from his friend Colin’s house. On the stoop outside their house, Colin’s father asks if we are evacuating, and I tell him my plan is to watch the news and The Weather Channel and then decide. If Jim Cantore shows up in New Orleans, then we’re going to skedaddle, since he always seems to broadcast from the bulls-eye of a storm. Colin’s father says he plans to see how things look in the morning. And I have jury duty on Tuesday, I tell him. Can’t miss that!

My son John and I make a quick stop at Breaux Mart on the way home. Cars circle the parking lot, competing for the few open spaces. The store is clogged with people, and many shelves already are bare. I dispatch John to see if there are any hamburger buns still on the shelf. He reports back that just a few packages remain and like a fisherman, proudly holds up his catch. I see a few scattered packages of ground beef lying in a refrigerator case, and speed up to get there before anyone else does.

There’s nervous chatter in the long checkout line as people debate hunkering down or getting on the road. Older folks recall evacuating in ’92 after Hurricane Andrew blasted across southern Florida, and then entered the Gulf of Mexico and headed toward Louisiana. Andrew made landfall as a category 3 hurricane a couple of hours west of New Orleans, so we dodged that bullet. Hurricane Alberto in ’94 looked like it was headed for New Orleans, but veered off to the Florida Panhandle. And no one could forget evacuating for Hurricane Ivan last year and the arduous, tortuous process that was.

With ample time in the checkout line, many evacuation stories are told, eliciting nods of recognition from the people standing in the adjacent lines. We know all too well what it was like to batten-down the house, creep north along the interstates, spend a sleepless night out, and return a day or two later to sunny, intact New Orleans to start reversing the process. “Here we go again,” another “hurrication,” seems to be the sentiment of many in line. A number of people say they’re waiting to see how things look in the morning.

It’s inconceivable that a major hurricane is headed this way. The sky is clear, the air is still, and the sunset is spectacular. Buddy, our 80-pound yellow Lab, takes a leisurely swim in our pool while we eat dinner on the patio. It’s just another ordinary day.

All evening long, we wear down the television remote jumping from station to station. We, too, have decided to see how things look in the morning, knowing that a lot can happen in twelve hours. I’m still predicting that fateful turn that hurricanes take at the last minute, the turn that produces a collective sigh of relief from the people in their initial path.

We watch evacuation footage and see that even with the contraflow on the interstate this year, it’s no better than last September when about half of the people in New Orleans evacuated for Hurricane Ivan. Despite six lanes of traffic all heading westward, the traffic on Interstate 10 does not move at all. People are standing beside their cars, an impromptu and odd social gathering of sorts. Good thing we didn’t leave tonight, I tell my husband, Rich. We’d be stuck out there on the highway in the dark. I can’t imagine our family—two adults, two kids, and two dogs—inching along the interstate all night.

John plops down on the couch and announces that it would be fun (fun?) to evacuate at night. He tells us he would bed-down in our car, tell the dogs goodnight, and go to sleep. Rich raises his eyebrows. He knows our two kids would be squabbling before we back out of the driveway. And there’s no telling how Buddy and John’s 12-pound Jack Russell Terrier, which he named Jack, would handle a long car ride. We have trouble driving around the neighborhood with our dogs, and with our kids for that matter.

A news announcer casually mentions that Pat Sajak and Vanna White, who are in town taping New Orleans-themed episodes of Wheel of Fortune, have cut production short and are leaving. The “Wheelmobile” and eight tractor trailers of equipment are being readied for departure. It is the first time in its thirty-year history that the long-running game show cancels taping.

I silently pray that Katrina weakens and changes course, but the latest information indicates that this hurricane is strengthening and coming our way. Local weatherman Bob Breck pronounces that “the water will be so high that you’ll be on the roof with the cockroaches!”

Around 10 p.m., we are surprised to see Mayor Ray Nagin back on TV. He looks just as surprised to be on TV; earlier today, he said he would issue his next statement in the morning. The mayor says he received a phone call from Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco, who in turn had received a call from the National Hurricane Center Director. The news is not good. As Nagin puts it, “Ladies and gentlemen, this is not a test. This is the real deal.”


About the Author

Lisa Karlin

Lisa Karlin is the author of Below the Water Line: Getting Out, Going Back, and Moving Forward in the Decade After Hurricane Katrina. She is an oncology nurse who, unlike weather chasers who look for storms to track, has had the weather chase her, and these experiences are described in her memoir. Lisa lives in New Orleans, Louisiana with her husband, daughter, son, and Yellow Lab named Buddy.

For More Information


Got a hurricane story? Tell me about it!

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm.


Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page.
•Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


My Teaser for this week is from

The Hybrid

  The Hybrid Series #1

by Venus Morales



My Teaser from page 70 in the Paperback.

I was going to kill him and it was all my fault.

  All because I wanted to kiss him….



Ari is the daughter of Ares, the God of War. Half goddess and half Phoenician, she is raised by her father in secrecy until her 18th birthday, when he is forced to return to Olympus.

She chooses not to follow her father, and decides to venture out into the mortal realm. There, Ari crosses paths with the archangel Julius, who bears a message from a seer. Ari must return to the Bayou to her late mother’s coven to regain her family crown, she is soon fighting for more than just the crown; she is fighting for her life, and the inner darkness that’s consuming her.

With 7 days to prepare for her trials and 7 days to fight for her life, Ari does the one thing she must do to survive; she forges herself into the weapon she was born to be.

What wouldn’t you do to save those you love? How much of yourself are you willing to sacrifice to save the mortal realm, the heavens and Olympus?


Thanks so much for visiting fuonlyknew!

How about you? Got a tease? Tell me!

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