Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

Welcome to my Monday Minis where I share shorter reviews of books I’ve read.

Today’s book is one from my holiday list. So cute and fun.

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The Tannenbaum Tailors and the Secret Snowball

by JB Michaels

27877098

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Genre: Holiday / Adventure / Children’s Book

My Review

Strap yourself in. It’s going to be a bumpy ride aboard the Icicle ship. Will Captain Brendan and the Tannenbaum Tailors be able to save Christmas from the Spiritless Elves?

Wouldn’t it be super if these wee folks were real? Imagine tiny elves scampering on your Christmas tree, making sure there’s no faulty wiring that will cause a fire and polishing the bulbs to make it merry and bright.

And with any good adventure, there’s usually a bad guy or two. The Spiritless elves try to ruin the festivities and that’s where the action really begins.

 This was such a fun, action packed adventure and a whole new look at Christmas. I’d say it’s aimed at middle grade readers but don’t let that stop you mature readers from jumping in. I think you’ll find this joining your holiday reading list.

4 Stars

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Synopsis

They are the Tannenbaum Tailors: elves charged with maintaining Christmas trees in homes around the world. Without the Tailors’ efforts, families might lose their Christmas spirit. And this year, one team of Tailors will be tested like never before.

With the North Pole itself under attack, newly promoted Captain Brendan is assigned a special mission: conceal the source of Santa’s power within a Christmas tree in Chicago. On Christmas Eve, Santa will pick it up.

The job would be simple, but the Tailors find themselves facing a serious threat””the thieving Spiritless elves, already responsible for sabotaging the North Pole Home Tree, will do anything to gain control of the very thing that makes Christmas possible.

Equally bad, Christmas spirit is at an all-time low in the Chicago home where Brendan’s assigned.

The family’s mother even wants to take the tree down before Christmas Eve! To save Christmas, Captain Brendan and his Tailors will have to use every spirit-raising trick they know””and possibly even bend a few rules to pull it off.

 Combining holiday cheer with action and thrills,

The Tannenbaum Tailors and the Secret Snowball reads like Raiders of the Lost Ark in a Christmas tree.

Amazon / B&N

I got this as a free download. Click on the links above to grab a copy.

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Thanks so much for visiting fuonlyknew!

For a list of my reviews go HERE.

For a list of free eBooks updated daily go HERE

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YOU asked for it!

Christmas Horror Movies

Merry Christmas To ALL!

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What’s Christmas without William Shatner! LOL

A Christmas Horror Story

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And a slasher…

Black Christmas

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or two….

Silent Night

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And one I haven’t seen yet..

Once Upon A Time At Christmas

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I’m curious about this one.

Lake Alice

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Got this one waiting for me on Netflix. Watching it tonight. Dee Wallace stars and I’m sure you’ll recognize her. We’ll see how it goes.

Red Christmas

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Can’t forget killer snowmen can we? Here’s an oldie but a goodie. LOL

Jack Frost

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And I liked the second one a whole lot more. It’s got killer snowballs!

These movies are so bad yet so fun. LOL

Jack Frost 2

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Now, here’s….

Krampus

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And now for ACT II.

Krampus 2: The Devil Returns

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And how about this one. Haven’t seen it yet.

Mother Krampus

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Now, I feel these guys haunt me all year round, always causing mayhem. LOL

Gremlins

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Maybe not officially a Christmas movie but….

The Snowman

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Almost forgot this one.

The Elf

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And coming in 2018….

Elf On A Shelf

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And so you’ll forgive me for a bloody Christmas….. KITTENS

Santa Claws

Have you seen any of these? Do you have some favorites?

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Thanks so much for visiting fuonlyknew!

For a list of my reviews go HERE.

For a list of free eBooks updated daily go HERE

To see all of my giveaways go HERE.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Posted: November 23, 2017 in Holidays
Tags:

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Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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Thanks so much for visiting fuonlyknew!

For a list of my reviews go HERE.

For a list of free eBooks updated daily go HERE

To see all of my giveaways go HERE

Looking for some creepy holiday reads? Look no further.

I have some fun ones for ya. Who wants zombies for Christmas?

A Zombie Holiday Trilogy

by Anthony Renfro

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Amazon

Synopsis

Find out what it takes to save Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve in a Zombie Apocalypse.

A Zombie Thanksgiving

My Review

They say the holidays are no longer celebrated because of the zombie apocalypse.

Try telling that to Dawn. All she wants is to bring a little bit of normalcy into their lives. To remind them they are human, that they are still alive, that there is hope.

Guns and knife in hand, Dawn sets off to the grocery store to see if she can find a turkey. I know, this sounds nuts. But people get desperate for the old days, the easy days.

As Dawn stumbles over dead bodies and crashed, abandoned vehicles, she inevitably runs across some shufflers. She takes care of them coldly, efficiently. This is the new way of life.

Meanwhile, back at the safe place, George is handed a note by another survivor in their group. It appears Dawn has left to get food. Fool girl. Doesn’t she know there are zombies out there. What is so important she’d risk this by herself?

I can’t quite put my finger on it, but somehow the author had me feeling the warmth of Thanksgiving. Even As Dawn and George fought off the ravenous zombies that want them for dinner.

Dawn’s fierce determination has me adding her to my list of top female protagonists. She’s not going to stop until she finds that bird!

And George is just as determined. Determined to find Dawn and get her safely back where she belongs. All limbs attached. I liked how his initial frustration turned to alpha male, to lover, as he set out to find her.

I had my fingers and toes crossed for these two. The ending was not set in stone just because it’s Thanksgiving. Maybe the zombies got a nice dinner. Nobody told them they don’t celebrate the holiday.

Synopsis

A woman risks life and limb in a Zombie Apocalypse in order to keep the Thanksgiving tradition alive.

A Zombie Christmas

My Review

He waited until the zombie messed with Rudolph to take him out. No one messed with his Christmas display. The loud crack of his gun brought more and he took care of them too. Then all was quiet again.

Relaxing in his living room, enjoying the lighted Christmas tree, the silence is shattered by the doorbell. Mike can’t believe his eyes. It’s four zombie carolers, singing songs. Or grunting them. Once he quits laughing he quickly dispatches them too. Their noise would bring others.

The loud knocking on his door is welcome. He’s been waiting for Jim and Fred. He needs them if his plan is to succeed.

The plan. Fight a way through the zombies to reach the mall. There, they will grab goodies for the kids in their neighborhood.  Everyone is struggling to make it through the apocalypse and the winter is brutal. A little something on Christmas morning for each child would bring smiles to their sweet faces. Would help them forget, for a time, what was happening outside.

Fred and Jim had taken some convincing, but when Mike explained his plan and they realized he’d do it alone if he had to, they were in one hundred percent.

As gruesome as this story got, it also cracked me up. Those zombie carolers were too funny. And the zombie shoppers, shuffling in and out of the mall with their packages, I could just imagine that scene, and laughed out loud. Nobody told the zombies they couldn’t have a Christmas.

I really liked Mike. He didn’t hesitate to take out the zombies yet kept his sense of humor. And by selecting the only other single men in the neighborhood, he didn’t risk leaving a family without a father and provider.

I think these three gents got as much joy as the children from their plan. It must have brought a small measure of hope and joy to them, playing Santa when the world was falling apart.

While I was writing my review, I happened to glance up at my Christmas tree, and what I saw cracked me up again. Sitting nestled on a branch was a little zombie mummy I had been given. I swear it winked at me.

Synopsis

Three men risk life and limb in a Zombie Apocalypse in order to bring happiness to surviving kids on Christmas Morning.

A Zombie New Year’s Eve

My Review

This short story is also offered in the authors collection, A Zombie Holiday Trilogy.

It is the longer of the stories and really hit home. Just how important is tradition when an apocalypse has occurred? How far would you go to keep a promise? Is there time for love when the world has crumbled?

Becky and Joe become separated during the zombie apocalypse. Both find themselves in dangerous situations as they strive to get to Acorn Drop, the place they first met, and share their promised New Years kiss.

Becky awakens surrounded by men in fatigues. A rough lot. They make their wants known and she tries to stall while making up a plan of escape.

You now that saying, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend?” Sometimes it’s true. These guys should have thoroughly cleared the house before letting their minds listen to their lower parts.

Zombies stumble out of one of the bedrooms and in the tussle, Becky makes her escape, only to have to fight her way through the ones outside.

Some of the men,  still pumped up on testosterone, pursue her and she must find a way to lose them. She doubts when they finish with her they’ll just let her go. And she has some place to be. Someone to meet. Something to do. Acorn Drop. Joe. Kiss.

Meanwhile, Joe is out in the open and vulnerable. The zombies are everywhere and he’s been spotted. Searching, he finally sees a house that looks safe and dashes inside.

First things first, he searches the house finding no immediate threat of zombies. Next, he checks the garage and finds a car. Could the keys be in the house? He reenters to search for them. There’s not much time as the zombies will eventually find a way in.

Joe soon discovers he’s not alone in the house. But it’s not zombies and it’s not people. Of all the houses, of all the streets, he had to choose this one. This is one battle he wasn’t prepared for.

He keeps his mind on his goals. Get to Acorn Drop. Find Becky. Kiss her like it’s the end of the world. But New Years is almost here and he’s got a long way to go.

I believe love is all we have when the world falls apart. Even if it doesn’t. Who will mourn you when you die? Who will fight for you, with you? What will keep you going when all seems hopeless?

The dynamics of people when faced with the thinkable has always fascinated me. Sometimes, the threat by man is every bit as deadly as the threat outside.

I’ve read many zombie books and I know there isn’t always a happy ending, but I have hope for Becky and Joe.

Synopsis

Becky and Joe are separated in a Zombie Apocalypse and risk life and limb in order to reunite for their New Year’s Eve kiss.

Bonus Short Story: The Dead of Winter

My Review

You never know what you’re going to get when you meet this author’s zombies. In one book, they were singing Christmas carols. LOL At one point in the story I thought I knew what they’d be doing. But nope, it was something else. Still made me laugh, until I took the time to picture them. Then it was pretty creepy.

The story beings with two strangers meeting on a brutally cold winter’s day. They decide to stick together. The odds are better for survival that way. Two pairs of eyes and ears to warn of approaching zombies.

It’s not long before they run into trouble, narrowly escaping with their lives. It’s now become vital that they find a place to hole up. The zombies don’t get tired. They don’t feel the cold. And they do not stop coming.

From the mind of Anthony Renfro comes a new kind of zombie,. A smart zombie, kind of. They do think, but that doesn’t necessarily make them that smart. Several scenes have me laughing and cringing.

The characters are few. Just two men and a cat. Not including the hoard of zombies.

It’s these characters and their struggles to survive that drive this short story. Make it a deep experience.

The harsh environment of cold winter makes their struggles even harder. It’s bad enough they have to worry about food and warmth. There’s also those zombies who don’t feel the cold.

Not one to shy from gory details, you get plenty here. And the author’s macabre sense of humor shines in the end. You won’t see it coming. Just like one of the characters didn’t. Since it made me laugh, I guess I have a macabre sense of humor too.

Synopsis

A short story about an apocalyptic nightmare in a crisp frozen landscape filled with winter and living corpses.Two men try to find safety in this dead world. Hoping to ride out the night. Hoping to find warmth and shelter. Hoping not to become food for the zombies.

Bonus Short Story: A Vampire at Christmas

My Review

The story opens in a tomb. All is calm. All is bright. The little Christmas tree in the corner casts a dazzling display reflecting off of the large coffin.

If you put your ear right up against the coffin, you might hear Jimmy Buffet singing Margaritaville. This handsome vampire loves being a vampire, loves Christmas, and is a fan of the southern artist and has been to many of his concerts. His powers enable him to fly to any location and blend into the shadows to enjoy the the shows.

He’s been waiting 364 days for this night and he grabs his bag of goodies and heads out. But first he must feed.

When he was a new vampire he killed at random. But after many years and witnessing the miracle of Christmas, the warmth and cheer of it, he became more selective. Only killing those who deserved it.

I am amazed at the power of this character with the story being just over 20 pages.

He coldly stalks and consumes his prey, yet he’s also gleeful and excited, like a child. He really gets into the Christmas spirit and spreads hope and joy. Not to his prey, of course, but to those who are in need.

I live in the south and have seen Jimmy Buffet in concert. Been to his restaurant. Met him a few times.  While I was reading this story, I hummed Margaritaville and thought, this vampire would like it here.

Synopsis

A short story about a Vampire who uses his riches and immortal skills to bring joy to those in need during the Christmas Season.

Bonus Short Story: The Lot

My Review

Looking for a Christmas tree? Come to The Lot and find the perfect one. Never heard of the place? Don’t worry about it. They have the best Christmas trees, even though the price is high.

What a creepy little tale. It comes out of left field and that’s something Anthony does so well.

I think I’ll stick with artificial Christmas trees, thank you very much.

Synopsis

This short story is about a Christmas Tree lot that has evil intentions.

5 STARS for this collection.

*****

A Zombie Christmas 2

by Anthony Renfro

32605810

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Amazon

My Review

Twas the night…. Well, it was not too long until Christmas and Mike Beem is at it again, rescuing someone in distress.

Last year Mike ventured out to get presents for all of the kids in his safety net. This year he needs to find one small boy and bring him home to his parents.

You’d think it wouldn’t be that hard. Zombies don’t do cold very well. Or do they? What about the ones that ski? Or drive a zomboni, oops, a zamboni? Some of the zombies are smart and have all kinds of deadly tricks. You just never know what they’ll do next.

This short story is a continuation in the Mike Beem Chronicles. I couldn’t wait to read it and it lived up to all of my expectations. Lots of zombies and the requisite gore that comes with them, plus some genuine new characters that you come to care about.

For all of you zombie lovers, add this to your list.

Synopsis

The Mike Beem Chronicles Volume 2

Can Mike save Christmas again?

This short story is about a boy lost. A family desperate. It’s Christmas in a Zombie Apocalypse and Mike Beem is once again aiming for another Holiday miracle. His goal this year isn’t toys for the kids in the neighborhood. His goal this time is trying to save one small life so another family doesn’t have to suffer the way he suffered. Can Mike save Christmas once again?

Bonus Short Story: The Lot

My Review

Looking for a Christmas tree? Come to The Lot and find the perfect one. Never heard of the place? Don’t worry about it. They have the best Christmas trees, even though the price is high.

What a creepy little tale. It comes out of left field and that’s something Anthony does so well.

I think I’ll stick with artificial Christmas trees, thank you very much.

Synopsis

A short story about a Christmas tree lot that may have hidden and deadly secrets.

Bonus Short Story: Fear of the Scarecrow

My Review

They say that vengeance comes at a price. One man sure learns that the hard way when he calls something up from hell to to his bidding. And so do his targets.

This would be the perfect campfire tale. The author sets the tone. Gives you the plot. Then scares the crap out of ya.

As this is a short story, there’s not a lot of character development. Not much is needed. You get the picture pretty quick.  It’s all over in about 15 minutes. If you like small bites of good old fashioned horror, you”ll enjoy this one.

Synopsis

This short story is about a desperate man hungry for revenge. Sometimes revenge comes with a price.

5 Stars for this collection.

*****

Author Anthony Renfro

Anthony Renfro

Anthony Renfro lives in Apex, North Carolina. He is a reader, writer, runner, husband, father, and stay at home dad – one of the toughest jobs anyone could ever do. He was born in Bristol, Tennessee, and is a graduate of UNC-Greensboro.

You can find him at many spots on the web, but if you really need to find his center in the social media storm it would be at his blog, apoetryjourney.wordpress.com.

Now reach out, just beyond the light, right into that big black space, and let him take your hand on a journey into cold dark places. You will be scared, and you may even be terrified, but in the end you might just find you liked the ride.

Find him on:

Blog ~ Amazon ~ Goodreads

*****

Thanks so much for visiting fuonlyknew!

For a list of my reviews go HERE.

For a list of free eBooks updated daily go HERE

To see all of my giveaways click on the lucky Flamingos below!

heartbreak-thief

 

No matter which holiday you observe at year’s end, they all share something in common: traditions. 

I grew up in the four seasons of northeast Pennsylvania, where Decembers were snowy and cheer-filled. We wore skiddoos and went sleigh-riding and came in the door pink-nose and snow-crusted. 

On Thanksgiving night, the borough would light the holiday street decorations for the first time. We’d sit at the front windows, cheeks against the glass, straining to see down the block to the main street, waiting for the moment the bells and candy canes would light up. 

Those lights meant one thing:  Christmas was almost here!

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Some of my fondest memories are from our family Christmases, which were brimming full of special traditions. 


Many of them came from my Polish grandparents, involving the crèche and the special Christmas Eve dinner. I think that I will forever see Christmas through the lens of my dad’s old 8mm camera, sounds of laughter and singing replaced by the whir of the projection reels and the occasional comment about our early-seventies fashion sense. 


Holidays have always held sentimental value, a sense of community and family and simple togetherness—not just for my Pennsylvania family in the plaid-stricken seventies, but for so many people and places, across the span of centuries.

In my voracious research of the Victorian era (while writing my historical fantasy THE HEARTBEAT THIEF), I encountered an entirely new world of Yuletide traditions. 

Some are still widely celebrated (thanks to Doctor Who Christmas specials, my kids adopted a love for crackers) while some have largely fallen out of practice (such as a parlour game called Snapdragon, which seems like a good way to get a burned finger! Talk about dangerous drinking games…) 

One Victorian tradition that has always appealed to me is Wassail. A verb, to wassail means to go singing door to door, after which one is invited to drink punch from the family’s Wassail bowl. 

A noun, wassail is the punch itself—and every family had their own recipe (kind of like Boilo recipes here in northeast PA). The punch was served in a wassailing bowl. A greeting, “wassail” was a wish for good health to those we cherish. 

Everyone would drink the hot spiced cider together, fostering a lovely sense of community and togetherness, which is the truest spirit of the holidays.

Since immersing myself in the culture and traditions of THE HEARTBEAT THIEF, I wanted to find a recipe for my own family and promptly found about six million different versions (thanks, Google).

They all seem to have a few elements in common, though: apples, spices, and warmth. Some contain ale or wine while others are more kid-friendly; some involve baking whole apples and placing them in the punch bowl; some even contain a whipped egg mixture (like this one from Alton Brown. Considering he is the Einstein of food, I would NEVER refute his wisdom.) 


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I like this one the best, though—the tanginess of orange juice and the lemony zing of fresh ginger make my mouth water just thinking of it. 



Plus, the convenience of a slow cooker is a must with my crazy schedule…not to mention that it’s like potpourri you can drink while warming your hands! All wonderful things, especially when the weather turns chilly and grown-ups are stuck in the house, too old to go sleigh-riding or playing outside in the snow. 


Recipe from A Spicy Perspective



Ingredients: 


• 1 gallon Musselman’s Apple Cider

• 4 cups orange juice 

• 4 hibiscus tea bags 

• 10 cinnamon sticks 

• 1 tsp. whole cloves 

• 1 Tb. juniper berries 

• 1 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, cut into slices 

• 1 apple, sliced into rounds 

• 1 orange, sliced into rounds 

Directions: 


1. Place all the ingredients in a slow cooker and cover. 

2. Turn the slow cooker on high heat and cook for 3-4 hours, until the color has darkened and the fruit is soft. 

Remove the tea bags and serve hot. 

Maybe when my kids are older, I’ll adjust the recipe to a more adult version. For now, I’d like to make something the whole family can enjoy. It’s tradition, after all, and where’s the fun in a tradition that excludes some of us?

Happy holidays, everyone. Be sure to raise a glass to your loved ones!

Wassail…Drink Hale!


My Victorian fantasy THE HEARTBEAT THIEF follows the journey of the Forever Girl, Senza Fyne. Terrified of death, of growing old, of being forced into an arranged marriage, she makes a deal with the mysterious Mr. Knell and learns the secret of eternal youth and beauty…
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I can picture Senza at a Christmas ball, in high London society, her hair upswept in a pile of curls the color of winter fire, her forever 18-year old figure trimmed out in a luscious gown of emerald silk and taffeta.

 
She’d be the girl with whom every gentleman must dance, the one with whom everyone sought introduction. If you were lucky enough to speak with her, she might treat you a glimpse of her wit and wisdom, far beyond her years…to the sound of her charming laugh…and perhaps she’d touch your hand in a personal gesture.
 
 One touch, and your heart might skip a beat. An entire dance and you just may be left reeling, your senses spinning. Senza Fyne tends to have that effect on a person… 
 
Soon it would be time to gather around the wassail bowl, the spicy sweet scents of apple warming the air, reminding us all of the bounty of harvest and fortune, the cheer of friends gathered for Yuletide. 
 
You might be tempted to raise a glass to her in particular…but your wish for good health would be better spent on someone else. Senza Fyne had no need for wishes, not when her immortal youth, beauty, and perfection were secured by the strongest of magicks. 
 
 But you wouldn’t know that because it’s a secret she’d never tell. If she did, the heartbeat thief would be caught.

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Seek out THE HEARTBEAT THIEF

Haunted by a crushing fear of death, a young Victorian woman discovers the secret of eternal youth—she must surrender her life to attain it, and steal heartbeats to keep it.

In 1860 Surrey, a young woman has only one occupation: to marry. Senza Fyne is beautiful, intelligent, and lacks neither wealth nor connections. Finding a husband shouldn’t be difficult, not when she has her entire life before her. But it’s not life that preoccupies her thoughts. It’s death—and that shadowy spectre haunts her every step.
 
So does Mr. Knell. Heart-thumpingly attractive, obviously eligible—he’d be her perfect match if only he wasn’t so macabre. All his talk about death, all that teasing about knowing how to avoid it…
 
When her mother arranges a courtship with another man, Senza is desperate for escape from a dull prescripted destiny. Impulsively, she takes Knell up on his offer. He casts a spell that frees her from the cruelty of time and the threat of death—but at a steep price. In order to maintain eternal youth, she must feed on the heartbeats of others.
 
It’s a little bit Jane Austen, a little bit Edgar Allan Poe, and a whole lot of stealing heartbeats in order to stay young and beautiful forever. From the posh London season to the back alleys of Whitechapel, across the Channel, across the Pond, across the seas of Time…
 
How far will Senza Fyne go to avoid Death?

 


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About
the Author:
 
AJ (Ash) Krafton writes because
if she doesn’t, her kids will…and NOBODY wants that. A speculative fiction girl
through and through, Ash writes paranormal romance and urban fantasy novels as
well as poetry and short fiction. Her work has won a bunch of awards and was
even nominated for a Pushcart Prize. When she’s not writing, she’s practicing
Tai Chi, listening to loud rock and metal, or crushing on supervillains.
 
Most recently, she’s re-released
her urban fantasy trilogy THE BOOKS OF THE DEMIMONDE because she never really
left the world of Sophie and her Demivamps.
 
Find out more when you visit www.ashkrafton.com
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Thanks so much for visiting fuonlyknew and Good Luck!

For a list of my reviews go HERE.

For a list of free eBooks updated daily go HERE

To see all of my giveaways click on the Southern Christmas below!

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Nuttycracker Sweet

by Megan O’Russell

Genre: Sweet Romance

Publisher: Fiery Seas Publishing

Date of Publication: 12/08/2015

ISBN: 978-0-9904757-8-1 / ASIN: B018DDKLR2

Number of pages: 64 / Word Count: 17,000

Cover Artist: Jess Small

Synopsis

Pointe shoes, tutus, and a snowy road trip with the man she hates. What could possibly go wrong?

The plan was simple. Get to Portland, dance The Nutcracker, and don’t murder your dance partner. And most definitely, do not, under any circumstances, fall in love with him.

A snowy road trip strands Elle Grant in a tiny cabin better suited for serial killings than rehearsals for two professional ballet dancers. With no one but the incredibly talented, excruciatingly handsome, and notoriously terrible Zachary Benson and a few taxidermy woodland creatures for company, Elle’s Christmas plans are officially ruined. Can she and Zach learn to like each other enough to dance together? And can Elle get home without losing her heart to the Christmas Cavalier?

Amazon    BN    Kobo    iTunes

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I’ve been an elf, a tap dancing
reindeer, a teddy bear, a showgirl, the Virgin Mary, and Mrs. Cratchit. All for
the joy of Christmas onstage.

I’ve spent my entire life
onstage. Not like every moment of every day, but it’s how I spent all my free
time as a child and how I’ve made my living as an adult. The stage is my home,
the lights are my sunshine, and the cast is my family, even if only for the run
of the show.

Life under the stage lights is
glamorous but hard. And it gets hardest around the holidays.

Just like retail workers and
plenty of other professions, the holiday season is crunch time for performers.
I’ve performed on Thanksgiving for I don’t remember how many years, and on
Christmas Day for five out of the past nine years, and always far away from
home. Don’t get me wrong. I love it. I spend my Christmas Day performing for
either people who have nowhere else to go or who have theatre for Christmas
ingrained in their holiday traditions. (Thanks for keeping me employed,
theatregoers!)

But when you go to the Nutcracker
and see a performer from New York City that is there to lead the local ballet
company, that means that performer packed up her life, braved the elements, and
is trusting in the world that the show will turn out well. That her dance
partner won’t be a terrible human, and that when it’s all over the paycheck
will clear. It’s a life of tiny Christmas trees in hotel rooms, hoping you get
to see your family before New Year’s, and finding someone nearby to make your
Christmas merry and bright. No one wants to be alone for the holidays, even
those of us who live our lives with dance shoes and glitter.

And that is where the holiday
showmance comes into the picture.

In case you’ve never heard the
term “showmance,” it’s a romance that happens during the run of a show. You’re
away from home, living and working with the same people, in a profession where
you are meant to touch your co-workers, and emotions are bared under the
spotlights. It happens all the time. Two people come into a show, play love
interests, get close in cast housing, and fall madly in love.

Sometimes they end up married.
Sometime there’s drinking and sobbing when they break up on closing night.
Sometimes the rest of the cast takes bets to see which way a showmance will go.

But add in the romance of the
holidays—fireplaces, snow, and warm fuzzy feelings—toss in a dash of the normal
human desire to be with those you care for the most for Christmas, and you just
might have the makings of a Christmas romance. Or devastating heartbreak.

From tap dancing soldiers to
beautiful Christmas ballerinas, whomever you watch on stage this Christmas just
remember they are far from home for the holidays so they can bring joy to their
audiences. But don’t worry. It is, in fact, a glamourous life, and while the
stage lights bring warmth and beauty to the show, they can also bring a little
holiday romance along with them.

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About Author Megan O’Russell

Megan O’Russell is the author of the young adult fantasy series The Tethering, and Nuttycracker Sweet, a Christmas novella. Megan’s short stories can also be found in several anthologies, including Athena’s Daughters 2, featuring women in speculative fiction. Megan is a professional performer who has spent time on stages across the country and is the lyrist for Second Chances: The Thrift Shop Musical, which received it’s world premier in 2015. When not on stage or behind a computer, Megan can usually be found playing her ukulele or climbing a mountain with her fantastic husband.

Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Website

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 a-very-scary-christmas-banner-oubliette-2
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Have a Very Scary Christmas
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This time of the year is often
happy, filled with cheer and the spirit of giving. For those who enjoy
something a little darker, though, there are plenty of thrills on the movie
front.
If you like things that are
twisted and dark, then here are the top five scary holiday movies you can
watch:
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Jack Frost
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Nothing like a killer snowman
named Jack Frost to get you in the mood for the holidays, right? This 1997
thriller is a classic holiday romp you are sure to enjoy. The movie takes place
in the fictional town of Snowmonton, where a truck carrying serial killer Jack
Frost to his execution crashes into a genetics truck. The genetic material
causes Jack’s body to mutate and fuse together with the snow on the ground. As
you can imagine, what happens next is pretty freaky and fun!
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Gremlins
 

As cute as those little buggers
are when they are soft, fuzzy Mogwai, they are delightfully evil as Gremlins.
They wreak havoc during Christmas when a boy inadvertently breaks three
important rules about getting his new pet wet. This is a family favorite and if
you’ve never seen it, now it is the season.

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Silent Night, Deadly Night



A slasher flick that brings us
all back to the 80s, this film is perfect for fans of serial killer movies.
It’s tehe story of an escaped maniac who returns to his childhood home on
Christmas Eve, which is now a sorority house, and begins to murder the sorority
sisters one by one. There is lots of blood and gore, watch this one with the
lights low after the kids are in bed.

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Krampus
Released last year, Krampus is
based on a German legend and takes the notion of St. Nick and spins it in a
whole new direction. It’s about a boy who has a bad Christmas ends up
accidentally summoning this festive demon to his family home. Lots of jumpy
moments make this a must-watch during the holidays.
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The
Nightmare Before Christmas
Okay, this is considered a
Halloween flick, too, but it certainly crosses over and spans two of the best
holidays of the year. You see, Jack Skellington, king of Halloween Town,
discovers Christmas Town, but doesn’t quite understand the concept. Can you
blame him? Tim Burton is a master and this film can be enjoyed by young and old
anytime during the season.
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Oubliette: A Forgotten Little Place
Vanta M. Black
Genre: Fiction, Thriller, Paranormal, 
Historical Fiction, Genre-Fiction, 
New Adult, Horror
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Publisher: Black Chateau Publishing
Date of Publication: March 2016
ISBN: 978-0-9964488-2-6 / ISBN: 978-0-9964488-1-9
ISBN: 978-0-9964488-0-2
Number of pages: 566 / Word Count: 247,912
Cover Artist: Black Chateau Enterprises
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My Review
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This is a rather long book but reads quickly as the author transports you back in time and forward to the present, giving you multiple perspectives that enrich this tale of historical horror.  And it all starts with a ten-year-old girl, Veronica, suffering from what everyone believes are night terrors.

The author then flashes to the present. Veronica is all grown up and struggling to make it on her own as an interior designer. A mysterious invitation to come to France for the summer and do a complete makeover at the historical Le Chateau du Feu Ardent, which means The  Castle Of Blazing Fire, sounds like a dream come true to her. But she could never have imagined the nightmares that await.

Veronica invites her sister, Nikki, to come along. Nikki is a bit spoiled and self-centered but I still found her a delight. She adds that light- hearted humor that provides a break in the suspense, allowing you to fully connect with these two sisters. But all isn’t light and laughter as the two are exposed to something dark, insidious. It will be a summer they’ll never forget, and maybe won’t survive.

Oubliette is filled with historical fact that blends the real and fictional. The author’s ability to do this shines in her descriptions of the different periods. You feel like you’ve stepped in a time capsule and are actually seeing the places she reveals.

The cover was what first caught my attention. I thought I was getting a horror story. And I did. But I also got much, much more, and I highly recommend this tale.

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4 Stars
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Book Description
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Veronica knows the monsters aren’t “just in her head”, but no one listens to the headstrong ten-year-old as they tie her to a hospital bed every night.
Years later, after being dumped by her business-partner/boyfriend, Veronica finds herself on the verge of bankruptcy. Then a late-night call promises the perfect solution — a job opportunity decorating a castle in France.
Will Veronica risk what little she has left to chase a fairytale?
When the shadowy things that once terrorized her come back, Veronica must decide how much she’ll sacrifice for them, for her sanity, and for her life.
This epic book consists of interwoven stories with paranormal twists. A horror-filled historical fiction adventure, it spans nearly two millennia.
You’ll be transported to an ancient Pagan ritual, Roman-ruled Gaul, the bloody Inquisition of the Knights Templar, France as it’s ravaged by the Black Death, the duplicitous Reformation, the Paris Catacombs, and the gory French Revolution, while you unravel Oubliette’s cryptic layers.
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Amazon    BN    Author Website
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Excerpt One from Oubliette—A Forgotten Little Place by Vanta M. Black – From the Prologue to Veronica’s Story
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Veronica didn’t understand why they looked for the monsters in her head, that’s obviously not where they were. Instead of listening, the doctors stuck pads with wires to her temples and increased the dosage of an IV that dripped into her veins.
They also told the nurses to tie her down with thick, leather belts every night.
The tethers didn’t matter though, because when the monsters came, she wouldn’t be able to move anyway. The only thing Veronica could ever do was scream.
The doctors called them “night terrors”. The pudgy lady who talked funny –– she told Veronica it was her accent –– said they were “spirits”. Mommy used the term “shadow people”. Veronica just called them “monsters”, and wished they’d stop scaring her when she slept. 
They wanted her. Deep inside, on a primal level, Veronica knew the monsters –– or whatever they were –– craved her, and if given the chance, they would do something very, very bad to her. 
The little girl tried to explain this to the doctors, the nurses, the accent-talking lady, and her mother, but none of the adults really listened. Instead they argued and shouted at each other, and huffed in and out of the room –– but the thing that frightened Veronica the most, is when the adults would simply shrug their shoulders, and admit that they really didn’t have any idea what the monsters were at all.

 

 

 

 

About the Author:
Vanta M. Black, author of Oubliette—A Forgotten Little Place, enjoys uncovering the dark mysteries of our Universe.
In addition to writing,  she enjoys traveling to provocative places and studying all things esoteric.
Black has degrees in English, communication and art. She resides in Southern California with her husband and two pug-mix dogs, and spends her time in support of causes that empower women and advance science and technology.
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HORROR WRITING PROMOTION
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 The Oh Lá Lá Oubliette Fan Fiction Contest gives writers the opportunity to win a trip to France! This is ideal for horror fans who love to read and write. 
 
The criteria is simple. Writers are asked to submit between 500 and 10,000 words. 
 
Any of the many story lines or characters from the book may be used for inspiration. A judging panel will evaluate fan fiction submissions on story structure, creativity, and authenticity to the book. 
 
Entries can be flash fiction, biographical, historical, poem, or 
nearly any other narrative format.
 

 

 

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Thanks so much for visiting fuonlyknew and Good Luck!

For a list of my reviews go HERE.

For a list of free eBooks updated daily go HERE

To see all of my giveaways click on the lucky Flamingos below!