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Book Review: A Witch in Winter by Ruth Warburton

A Witch in Winter
by Ruth Warburton

Published 1/5/2012 by Hodder Children’s Books

From Goodreads: 
Anna Winterson doesn’t know she’s a witch and would probably mock you for believing in magic, but after moving to the small town of Winter with her father, she learns more than she ever wanted to about power. When Anna meets Seth, she is smitten, but when she enchants him to love her, she unwittingly amplifies a deadly conflict between two witch clans and splits her own heart in two. She wants to love Seth, to let him love her – but if it is her magic that’s controlling his passion, then she is as monstrous as the witch clan who are trying to use her amazing powers for their own gain.
Although a perfect fit for the paranormal romance genre, A WITCH IN WINTER avoids fangs, excessive body hair and submissive female leads, and tells the heart-wrenching story of a couple meant to be together, but being forced apart. Seth is utterly irresistible and Anna is an empowered, proactive young woman with unimaginable magic inside her. This is fast-paced, sensuous writing with believable incantations inspired by Warburton’s research into witchcraft legend and old English.

I thought:
Anna Winterson is less than thrilled to have been moved from her cushy life in London to the cold, dusty interior of the Winter house set amidst the Winter Woods. The kids at school lovingly referring to her new home as the ‘Witch’s house’ is doing nothing to ease the frustration and anxiety that seems to be building inside her since they moved in.

When Anna and her new friends work a love spell from the book Anna’s father found while doing renovations, Anna never dreamed that it would actually WORK. Until Seth (the super hot school bad boy) breaks up with his long time girlfriend and seemingly falls desperately in love with her.

“Anna, I know this sounds crazy but- I love you.”

In desperation she tells him that what he feels isn’t his actual feelings but something she enchanted him to feel… He doesn’t believe her, but I mean really- would YOU? So she PROVES that she is indeed a witch and he freaks out. But now she fears the wrath of the Ealdwitin (like a witch’s council) if he tells anyone about her.

Seth decides it couldn’t possibly be a spell making him love her and he comes knocking at her window in the middle of the night. Turns out there are more witches in Winter than Anna could’ve imagined… And one extremely heinous one whom doesn’t seem content to just leave Anna be.

A Witch in Winter is very descriptive and beautifully told! Book 2 will hopefully hold the answers to all the questions raised in this installment of the trilogy! I thought some of this story was a tad predictable, but most was very exciting!


Interview with Aaron Patterson, #1 Kindle Selling Author

Aaron Patterson

Aaron Patterson is a #1 Amazon Kindle best-selling author and the Publisher of Stone House Ink and StoneGate Ink publishing houses… He was on Indie Frenzy not too long ago, and actually had me do a DO and DO-NOT list for authors on HIS blog. So basically… he’s probably pretty tired of me asking him to do things for me


1. Airel was your first cross over into writing YA right? What made you jump from Adult/Mystery into Paranormal/Young Adult?

I love YA and I had a ton of teens reading my other books so I decided to give it a try. I find it
much more fun to write and I plan to keep writing for both, YA and Adult thrillers.

2. Airel is also the first book you’ve written from a female perspective if I’m not mistaking… How different was it writing from a TEENAGE, chick POV compared to your other books?

It was a little different but I grew up with girls as my friends and kind of GOT them, if you can ever get a girl. The best advice was another author (K.C. Neal) told me that, you do not write a teen by the way they talk—unless it is an evil chick. So I just wrote her as a smart yet real character, she does some stupid things and even does the opposite of what she wants to do, but we all are like that.

I do believe I’d like to be the villain in someone’s story… Just sayin.

3. What was your inspiration behind writing Airel?

To start I wanted it to be a tragedy… a book that made you cry. I also wanted to have an ending to the series that pushed everything to the limit. I do not care about the “rules” and so anything goes… I think it makes for good reading when you have no idea who can be killed or what might happen.

4. Describe Airel (the book) in 140 characters #TweetWhore :

#TweetWhore Fallen Angels-check Demon Hordes-check Epic Battles-check Strange Abilities-check Creepy Villains-check Killer Ending-check.

(hehe… I don’t think he realized he didn’t have to used the hashtag #TweetWhore… How unprofessional. *giggles uncontrollably*)

5. WHEN will Michael, book 2 in the Airel Saga be released???

Spring of 2012

Uuuuum. I find this unacceptable! “Spring” could mean MAY!

6. The ending to Airel completely left me DYING to know what was going to happen next… Can you give us any hints as to what’s in store for Airel, Kim, Michael & Kreios?

They meet a new character and Airel comes into her own and is one on fire chick. Oh… and one of the group has the Seer’s Bloodstone… hee hee

Ooooh I bet I know who it is!!!! Wicked twist in the story… Love it!!!

7. After I had Claudia McKinney of Phatpuppy Art , and the cover designer of the Airel series, on last week- you mentioned that she ALSO did the cover of the third book in the series!! In addition to being a Tweet Whore, I’m also a cover whore… I NEED to see the third cover, and I must know what it will be titled and who it will be about!!!

I am looking at it now… it is SO cool. I mean I think one of the best of the three… as in melt your mouth, eye watering, need to see it amazing! BUT, I can’t show you until Michael comes out in the spring =) Yeah… I rock like that! lol

*cough*cough* Cover tease *cough* … I must be coming down with something!!!


Aaron’s book Sweet Dreams is currently FREE on Amazon right now!!! You should grab a copy!!


INDIE FRENZY features Michelle Muto

Michelle Muto

Michelle Muto lives in northeast Georgia with her husband and two dogs. She loves changes of season, dogs, and all things geeky. Currently, she’s hard at work on her next book. 

With movies, we often get glimpses of things that went on behind the scenes. Have you ever wondered what was going through an author’s head? Who or what was their inspiration? Who’d play the lead roles if the book were made into a movie? Does the author have a playlist that corresponds to the book? What research did they do?

Today, I’d like to give you a little glimpse of just that for my latest book, Don’t Fear the Reaper.

Cover art: A lot of people will recognize the cover as artwork from the fabulous Claudia McKinney at PhatPuppy art. What few people know is that the girl holding the raven is her daughter.


Inspiration: I was tired of agents telling me they wanted something darker, more dystopian. I couldn’t think of anything darker or more dystopian than having my character commit suicide in the first chapter, or later, visit her body in the morgue. But how to pull it off? I needed to relate to my character somehow. Without it, I didn’t think the story would feel real, believable. I was far from suicidal. What I drew on was loss — my parents’ deaths years ago and more recently, that of my beloved dog, Jack. Harder still was the idea I could sympathize with my main character. To do that, I had to relive the deaths of everyone I’d ever loved and lost. I poured through photos and keepsakes, letting the pain back in after years of trying to bury it. I came across a poem that I’d written ten years after my father died of cancer in a hospice center – Tell Me About Heaven. The title of that poem made it into the book.

That simple line, my grief, and the desire to know if my loved ones were okay —  and what I’d do for such knowledge fueled so much of the story. Don’t Fear the Reaper was the hardest book to write. I’m so glad I have The Book of Lost Souls as a fun, light series to run in tandem with Reaper’s because wow. It’s so emotional for me. By the way, those agents? Although they responded with the most humbling of praise, most thought Reaper was too dark and not something they felt they could successfully represent during these ‘economic times.’ In an odd twist of fate, The Book of Lost Souls was considered too light.


Casting Call! Oddly, my main character, Keely, wasn’t the first one who I saw clearly in my head. It was Banning, her Reaper. If Don’t Fear the Reaper was ever made into a movie, I see Simon Baker as Banning and Claire Foy (Season of the Witch) as Keely. While writing the draft, I modeled Banning to look just like Simon Baker. To this day, I still don’t know who I’d chose to play Daniel, the demon sent to escort Keely to hell.


Research: The strangest research I did for Don’t Fear the Reaper was calling the local morgue and asking them all sorts of questions. They even offered to give me a tour. I also did a lot of research on exsanguination. Yeah. Talk about squick factor! But, I had to be sure the opening chapters and the later scene where Keely’s visits her own corpse would seem realistic.


Music. Because every movie has a score, right? Clearly, Blue Oyster Cult’s iconic 1976 song Don’t Fear the Reaper made the list – it’s the title of the book. What you might not know is that it’s the last song in the playlist. Random author fact: I need complete silence while I write the first draft, so I don’t usually come up with a playlist until I’m well into second or third drafts. While BOC’s song has the strongest influence, there are others that I found oh-so-fitting. The opening chapter’s song is My Immortal by Evanesence. And yes, just for the record, the sequel will also have a classic rock title. 
Last but, not least, Dear Reader, you’d need a teaser. I don’t have a trailer for Don’t Fear the Reaper, so how about the first chapter?
I repeated my version of the psalm as I watched the ribbon of blood drift from my wrist. I’d hoped it would be a distraction—something to stop me from wondering what my sister’s dying thoughts had been. Exhaling slowly, I let the emptiness consume me.
Jordan had kept my secrets and I had kept hers. In the end, it came down to just one secret between us that took her life. Now, it would take mine. I should have said something, but nothing I said or did now could bring her back or make anyone understand what she meant to me.
Are you here, Jordan? Are you with me? Tell me about heaven…
I told myself Jordan was gone, never coming back, but her memories continued to haunt me. I had no idea if there even was an afterlife. If God existed, I was convinced he had given up on me. Not once did I sense he’d heard a single one of my prayers. I wasn’t asking for the world—I only wanted to know if my sister was safe and at peace. What was so hard about that?
She should still be here. It wasn’t fair.
I’d been the difficult one—much more than Jordan. For a while, I’d even gotten into drugs. Mom and Dad had worried I’d get Jordan into drugs, too. But I wouldn’t. Not ever. Besides, that part of my life had been over long before Jordan’s death. A small gargoyle tattoo on my left shoulder was all that remained of my previous lifestyle.
Mom and Dad started treating me differently after Jordan’s funeral two months ago. She and I were twins, so I understood how hard it was for them to look at me and not see her. Sometimes, they wouldn’t look at me at all. Mom went to the psychiatrist, but no one asked if I needed to talk to someone about what happened. No one asked if I needed sleeping pills or antidepressants. Yeah, sure. Don’t give the former addict pills of any sort.
Not one person saw the all-consuming suffering that gnawed at my soul. Why couldn’t anyone see? Jordan had been more than my sister—she’d been my Samson, my strength. I would have done anything for her, and yet, I’d failed her. I wasn’t the one who’d killed her, but I might as well have been. How could I ever live with that? My heart had a stillness to it since her death.
I shall fear no evil.
I couldn’t very well recite the first part of Psalm 23 because it said I shall not want, and I did want. I wanted to go back in time. I wanted my sister back. Clearly, goodness and mercy were never going to be part of my life ever again. In my mind, I saw myself walking through the iron gates of hell with demons cackling gleefully all around.
I didn’t want to die. Not really. I was just tired and didn’t know of another way to stop the pain. Doctors removed a bad appendix. Dentists pulled rotten teeth. What was I supposed to do when my very essence hurt, when the cancer I’d come to call depression made every decent memory agonizingly unbearable?
Before I’d gotten down to cutting my wrist (I managed to only cut one), I’d taken a few swigs of Dad’s tequila—the good kind he kept in the basement freezer. I’d used another swig or two to chase down the remainder of Mom’s sleeping pills in the event I failed to hit an artery or vein. Then I’d set the bottle on the ledge of the tub in case I needed further liquid encouragement. Instead of using a knife or a razor, I attached a cutting blade to my Dad’s Dremel. The Dremel was faster, I reasoned. More efficient.
It would have been easier to OD, I suppose. But I felt closer to my sister this way, to suffer as she’d suffered.
I recited the line from Psalms 23 again. It had become my personal mantra.
The words resonated in my parents’ oversized bathroom. I’d chosen theirs because the Jacuzzi tub was larger than the tub in the hall bathroom. Jordan and I used to take bubble baths together in this same tub when we were little.
Innocence felt like a lifetime ago. I searched the bathroom for bubble bath but came up short. Soap might have made the laceration hurt more so it was probably just as well. Besides, the crimson streaming from my wrist like watercolor on silk was oddly mesmerizing.
The loneliness inside proved unrelenting, and the line from the psalms made me feel better. I prayed for the agony inside me to stop. I argued with God. Pleaded. But after all was said and done, I just wanted the darkness to call me home.
I tried not to think of who would find my body or who’d read the note I’d left. I blamed myself not only for failing Jordan, but for failing my parents, too.
My lifeline to this existence continued to bleed out into the warm water. Killing myself had been harder than I’d imagined. I hadn’t anticipated the searing fire racing through my veins. I reached for the tequila with my good arm but couldn’t quite manage. Tears welled in my eyes.
Part of me foolishly felt Jordan was here. The other part feared she wasn’t.
Give me a sign, Sis. Just one.
I imagined seeing my parents at my funeral—their gaunt faces, red-eyed and sleepless. How could I do this to them? Wasn’t the devastation of losing one child enough?
No. Stop. A voice in my head screamed. Don’t do this. Don’t. Please…  
I shifted my body, attempted to get my uncooperative legs under me. I could see the phone on my parents’ nightstand. I could make it that far. Had to. The voice was right. I didn’t want to do this. I felt disorientated, dizzy. Darkness crept along the edges of my vision. Focusing became difficult. A sweeping shadow of black caught my attention. Someone stood in the bathroom—not my sister. A man. Had I managed to call 911? I couldn’t remember getting out of the tub. And why’d I get back in? Did I use a towel?
Mom is going to be pissed when she sees the blood I’ve tracked all over the bedroom carpet.
“I’m sorry,” I told the man in black.
“It’s okay, Keely. Don’t be afraid.” Not my father’s voice. It was softer, with a hint of sorrow. Distant. Fleeting. Later, I’d feel embarrassed about this, but for now I was safe from the nothing I’d almost become. My teeth clattered from the chill. My eyelids fluttered in time with my breaths. The tub water had turned the color of port wine. The ribbons, the pretty, red watercolor ribbons were gone.
Dull gray clouded my sight.
A voice whispered to me, and my consciousness floated to the surface again.
“—okay, Keely.”
Cold. So cold.  
“I’m right here.”
There was no fear in me as the man bent forward, his face inches from mine. He was my father’s age, and yet strangely older. His eyes were so…blue, almost iridescent. The irises were rimmed in a fine line of black, and the creases etched at the corners reminded me of sunbeams as he gave me a weak smile. The oddly. Dressed. Paramedic. A warm hand reached into the water and cradled mine. My fingers clutched his. I sighed, feeling myself floating, drifting. Light—high and intense exploded before me. No! Too much. Too much! I shuddered and labored to catch my breath, but it wouldn’t come.
Finally, the comfort of darkness rose to greet me.

Createspace (print books outside of the US)


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My Own Blogger Apocalypse

Dude. Worse than the zombie apocalypse? It’s quite possible. So, as you can imagine- I had bouts of insanity and in between crying hysterically and swearing vengeance on all those responsible (which obviously includes them being fed to the vicious hordes of walking dead… duh.) 

AnyYEAHtheBrunetteisCRAZY… It seems that sometimes my site is up and working as it should and sometimes it isn’t. One minute I log in and I’m all like,

“Uuuum shhhhyea! I’m soooo back.” 

Then TEN minutes later I log on to a ‘This site blah blah *BLEEP*‘message…

So until this gets all settled and I’m back online for at least 24 hours without incident- I’m on another hiatus. I know right? As if I didn’t have things that needed to be posted, deadlines ans such…

HOWEVER, this actually has put a LOT of things into perspective for me. So when everything is situated- there will be some changes around here…

A few are:

  1. I’m no longer accepting reviews requests at this time.
  2. After the few AWESOMELY fabulous Indies scheduled in the next few weeks- Indie Frenzy is going to be a bit more sporadic… and kinda whenever it happens.
  3. I’m possibly looking for an associate reviewer. I’ll make a list of all the books and ebooks (mostly will be ebooks –just so you know– they are so much easier to work with, especially when it comes to me and going to the post office. If you are interested, shoot me an email with the subject line “Associate Reviewer” or “I’m trying to save your ass because you’re half insane already.” Either one works!!!
  4. I’m going to RELAX. You know breathe and such… not get so worked up about everything and NOT put so much pressure on myself. No one else pressures me- I SERIOUSLY do it all to myself. I know, I’m a FREAK. 

I’ll be announcing the winners for all the contests next week! I think that’s everything… Hopefully this will actually POST… *sigh*


Review: Legend by Marie Lu

Legend (Legend, #1) 

Expected Pub: 11/29/2011by Putnam Juvenile

From Goodreads:
What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths – until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills


The Bookish Brunette thought:
Day is a criminal, or at least that’s what the The Republic proclaims as they flash his WANTED poster on the JumboTrons a few times a month. They know very little about him, so this makes him the MOST-WANTED criminal in The Republic because he’s basically a wraith to them… Really he’s just a kid caught in a government game that he has no chance of winning.

June is a military prodigy that The Republic has been grooming for years to be the best after she was the only person EVER to score a 1500 on her Trials. Problem is, she’s a bit of a trouble-maker. When we meet June, she’s been ‘caught’ scaling a building off campus training grounds.

“They couldn’t get me off the side of the building by scaling it themselves, so the pulled me off with a net.”

Hehe… I LOVED June!

Then one night Day watches as what’s left of his family is marked for death. Knowing he has save his family at any cost, Day decides to infiltrate (love that word right?) the hospital and steal the vaccine his family will need to survive the plague…

But after he’s IN… they’re out of the curing vaccination and security puts the hospital under lockdown before Day has time to get out! Going all Dirty Harry- without the guns of course, in a stand off against Metias, June’s brother… Even wounded and weak, Day manages to get away, only to collapse a few blocks from safety.

And… Metias is DEAD.

June has made it her goal to take Day down… The government’s best student vs. the government’s most uncatchable criminal… She goes deep under cover, living on the streets as one of the Lake sector citizens in hopes of smoking Day out. After days of endless dead ends, she stumbles into a Skiz fight (which is basically a street fight)… that Day is betting on.

“The instant the new girl steps into the circle and I see her stance… I know I’ve made a big mistake. Kaede strikes like a bull, a battering ram.
This girl strikes like a viper.” -Day

And if Legend was knock your freaking socks off AWESOME before this… Ha! After the Skiz fight, I DARE you to try and put this book down. Now June is WITH Day and neither one of them has any idea… And Day, well he is breaking all of his own rules for June…

“I almost kissed the girl last night. But nothing good can come for falling for someone on the streets. That’s the worst weakness you can have, right up there with having a family stuck in a quarantined zone or a street orphan needing you.”

Seriously, this book is FREAKING AMAZING! If you haven’t read it yet- you need to RIGHT NOW! Its romantic, smart, funny and sad- yeah… you’ll totally cry at the end! Five stilettos all the way across the board, and with Legend as a debut… I expect many great things from Marie Lu in the future!!!

TOXIC by Jus Accardo Cover Reveal!

Holy FREAKING COW… I LOOOOVE this cover, seriously- like you guys don’t even know! How flipping awesomely GORGEOUS is it????? What do you guys think?


by Jus Accardo

Expected publication: May 1st 2012 by Entangled Publishing

When a Six saved Kale’s life the night of Sumrun, she warned there would be consequences. A trade-off. Something taken for the life they gained. But Dez never imagined she’d lose the one thing she’d give anything to keep… And as if it’s not enough Dez finds her immunity to Kale fading, the Six brought in to help Kale learn to control his killer touch starts drooling on him the moment they meet. Worse than that? Jade can touch Kale. But bimbo Barbie is the least of Dez’s problems.

After Dez and Kale got away at Sumrun, her father lost not only his most powerful weapon but an important piece of the Supremacy project. Forced by Denazen to remedy the situation, he poisons Dez and offers her a choice—surrender to Denazen for the cure…or die. Determined to find a solution that doesn’t involve being bagged and tagged—or losing someone she loves—Dez keeps the poison a secret. But when a rash of Denazen attacks hit a little too close to home, Dez is convinced there’s a traitor among them. Jade.

Sacrifices, broken promises, and secrets. Dez will have to lay it all on the line if there’s any hope of proving Jade’s guilt before they all end up Residents of Denazen. Or worse, dead…


Touch (Denazen #1)
I’m totally dying for Toxic’s release…*sigh* in MAYI adored Touch, it was one of my 2011 FAVS, so if you haven’t read it- GO NOW!!!!! It’s required reading. I swear- true story.

UNTOUCHED (#Denazen 1.5) from KALE’S POV will be here next week!!!!! *SQUEE*


Top 10 Books I’m looking forward to in 2012


This is Not a Test
by Courtney Summers
Expected Pub: 6/19/2012 by St. Martin’s Griffin

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Something Strange and Deadly
by Susan Dennard
Expected Release: 5/24/2012 by Harper Teen

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Sweet Evil
by Wendy Higgins
Expected Pub: 5/1/2012 by Harper Teen

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Masque of the Red Death
by Bethany Griffin
April 24, 2012 by Harper Teen

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by Rhiannon Frater
Expected Pub: 3/27/2012 by Tor

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The Selection
by Kiera Cass
Expected Pub: 4/24/2012 by HarperTeen

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by Anna Davies
Expected Pub: 5/1//2012 by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing

 Add book to Goodreads

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Social Suicide (Deadly Cool, #2)

Social Suicide
by Gemma Halliday
Expected Pub: 5/1//2012 by Harper Teen

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byPhoebe Kitanidis
Expected Pub: 4/17//2012 by Balzer + Bray

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Darkness Before Dawn

Darkness Before Dawn
by JA London
Expected Pub: 5/27/2012 by Harper Teen

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The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden, #1)

The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden)
by Julie Kagawa
Expected Pub: 4/24/2012 by Harlequin Teen

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byHeidi Ayarbe
Expected Release: 5/1/2012 by Balzer + Bray

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13. Monstrous Beauty

Monstrous Beauty
by Elizabeth Fama
Expected Release: 8/23/2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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Embrace (The Violet Eden Chapters, #1)


by Jessica Shirvington

Expected Release: 3/1/2012 by Sourcebooks Fire

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Girl of Nightmares (Anna, #2)

Girl of Nightmares

by Kendare Blake

Expected Release: 8/7/2012 by Tor Teen

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Yearly Totals…

I read:
    126 Books
    40,571 Total pages
(this is really only since April… when I started keeping track of what I was reading!)