It is already Thursday! One more day until the weekend. Hope you all are having a good week. I have a fun Urban Fantasy book for you today by Jennifer Harlow called What's a Witch To Do? I had a great time with this one as I especially liked the romance. I invited Jennifer here today to share with you her inspirations for being a writer. First, here is Jennifer's bio:
Jennifer Harlow spent her restless childhood fighting with her three brothers and scaring the heck out of herself with horror movies and books. She grew up to earn a degree at the University of Virginia which she put to use as a radio DJ, crisis hotline volunteer, bookseller, lab assistant, wedding coordinator, and government investigator. Currently she calls Northern Virginia home but that restless itch is ever present. In her free time, she continues to scare the beejepers out of herself watching scary movies and opening her credit card bills. Jennifer Harlow is also the author of Mind Over Monsters, the first in the F.R.E.A.K.S Squad paranormal mystery series. You can follow her blog, “Tales From the Darkside” (get it?) visit her website, Also find her on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and Pinterest.
Here is Jennifer:
Tales From the Darkside by Jennifer Harlow
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
I was never what one would call a normal girl. Apparently when I was six weeks old, my mother gazed down at her bundle of joy only to find that joy staring up at her with fierce determination (her words, not mine), and Mom got a chill. Even as a babe I was scaring people. This got worse as I got older. When other girls were playing with My Little Pony, I was making She-Ra Princess of Power and her minions go on quests to stop slavery or conquer my brothers' He-Men and Transformers. Growing up with only brothers did not help me find my inner girlie girl. I don't think I ever had a tea party or played house (unless it was a fortress made of skulls), but ninja princess and assassins were standard after school. (I have been killed approx 124 times by various brothers who loved to come up behind me, run their finger across my throat or point a Nerf gun to my head, and inform me I was dead. Don't worry, I gave as good as I got.)
Then at the ripe age of eight I was introduced to horror movies. It all started with Tremors. For those of you not into cult classics, Tremors is a movie starring Kevin Bacon where giant underground worms attack a small desert town. It's way better than you think. My best friend's brother showed us this film, and I spent the next five years sleeping on the top bunk in case the worms happened to show up in Virginia and Florida in search of a little girl Happy Meal. (It could have happened!!!) It scared the beejepers out of me, but triggered something deep inside me. I loved being scared, it was thrilling. Thus began my love of all things gory and horrific. (Thank you Ned and Susan Hannon). Horror is my favorite genre of book and movies. Zombies, Freddy Kruger, demons, I love them all. Then, as pedophile fever began on all the news shows, I got into serial killers as well. I was the only pre-teen who knew who Dahmer and Bundy were. The fact that life could turn on a dime, that pure evil can show up in the least likely places not in the form of a preternatural monster but your next door neighbor was fascinating. It still is. It’s why I was a psychology major. Needless to say not many of my peers or even family members felt the same.
As you may have guessed my parents were pretty liberal when it came to their children. As long as we weren't in physical danger to ourselves or each other we could explore the world and learn the consequences. (See top bunk incident). They got a lot of crap from other parents and relatives for my strangeness. My grandmother actually pulled my mother aside one day to voice her concern about me "going over to the darkside." She was worried I would be influenced by all these dark ideas and either kill someone or invite real darkness into my life. She even put this concern into painting form, which still hangs in my hallway to show how close I came to being engulfed by the darkness. (Yeah, me and Darth Vader).
I got the last laugh, though. I did not become a serial killer or suicidal cutter as many worried…at least not in real life. Yet. No, I became something worse. An author.
My first book, Mind Over Monsters, features zombies, werewolves, vampires, a mass murderer, and a machete named Bette. My third, What’s A Witch To Do? is all about witches and demons with a werewolf thrown in for flavor. I still watch horror movies, I still engage in more masculine activities like shooting and going to comic book stores with my bros instead of the salon. So the strange child did grow into a strange adult. With a book deal. I’m still that six-week-old filled with fierce determination, though now I scare people on a massive scale while laughing manically all the way to the bank. Sometimes going over to the darkside can be a good thing. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, or I’ll get my machete.
What about all of you? Horror for girls has gone far more main-stream since my time thanks to urban fantasy and Twilight. Do you still get crap for liking vampires and werewolves? Are there things you like that make you feel like an outsider? Discuss.
I can totally relate, Jennifer. My parents were pretty liberal with us as well and I used to love horror movies and all things scary. As I have gotten older, I don't enjoy the horror as much but I am always up for a good Paranormal/Urban Fantasy read and of course, I still avidly read everything by Mr. Stephen King! Jennifer is offering you a chance to enter her giveaway. Just fill out the Rafflecopter. Please note, this giveaway is not hosted by Rainy Day Ramblings. Good Luck! Thanks to Jennifer for stopping by!a Rafflecopter giveaway
Here is my review:
What's A Witch To Do? By Jennifer Harlow
A suspenseful brew with a dash of passion High Priestess might sound like an ’80s hair band, but its Mona McGregor’s life. She runs the Midnight Magic shop in Goodnight, Virginia, and leads a large coven. She’s also raising two nieces and hasn’t been with a man for fifteen years…until a handsome doctor takes an interest in her. But Mona’s life really heats up when Adam Blue, a sexy werewolf, arrives at her door. Adam informs her that someone wants her dead and he is there to protect her. Hell’s bells! When a demon begins stalking her, Mona has to suspect her coven members, and even her family. With two handsome men and a determined demon after her, Mona teams up with Adam to find out who really wants her dead . . . and who really wants her. Paperback, 336 pages Published March 8th 2013 by Midnight Ink (first published March 1st 2013)
Four stars: A fun new UF series with a terrific romance!
Mona has little time to worry about love and romance. She is the high priestess of a large coven, she has two nieces to raise, a busy magic shop to run and an endless supply of problems that come with being the coven leader. However, she is a might bit attracted to the handsome new doctor in town. Late one night, an unexpected knock in the middle of the night brings Adam Blue, a werewolf, beaten and badly bruised to her doorstep. Mona barely knows Adam, but that doesn't stop her from letting him and bandaging him up. Adam has some terrible news, he was informed of a covert plot to kill Mona, and he insists on staying and protecting her. Can Mona find out who is trying to kill her?
What I Liked:
- I am always on the hunt for a fun new Urban Fantasy series, and I am happy to report that What's A Witch To Do? ended up being a fantastic read for me. It has a mystery, witches, werewolves, demons and vampires, and a dash of romance. This book kept me entertained with the story, but it was the romance that totally won me over. If you like your UF books to have a nice splash of romance, definitely give this one a read.
- The romance was just perfect. It is a slow bloomer and it is a bit unexpected. At first, it appears Mona is falling for another man, but then it slowly builds. It starts out with those furtive glances, and startling new feelings, and then it bursts open with an unexpectedly romantic confession that certainly left me giddy, and then it is passion. I loved that it caught me off guard and I especially enjoyed the little twist. If you like the slow burning romances that finally explode with fiery heat, this is the book for you! Do not worry about the romance overtaking the plot if you are not a huge fan of heavy romance in your UF. The romance is subtle and it blends perfectly into the story, and it doesn't ignite until the final portion of the book. I thought this book did a great job balancing the romance with the action and mystery.
- I really enjoyed the heroine Mona. She is a gal who has endured a lot of tragedy in her life, and she is always putting others ahead of herself. She is curvaceous and a bit plump, and doesn't consider herself overly attractive. She is courageous, kind, capable and a bit frenzied. She is always making these crazy to-do lists that head every chapter. Her life is definitely busy and at times chaotic. What I loved the most was that she found love when she was least expecting it! Mona is definitely a character that I can get behind and I look forward to reading more about her escapades in future installments.
- I cannot complete this review without addressing the totally swoon worthy, werewolf Adam Blue. He is sexy and smoking hot, but he is kind and considerate, and good grief he can cook and even hem a skirt! He is a handy man to have around! He won me over with the way he stepped in and helped Mona take care of her nieces and he did the domestic chores as well. Seriously, what girl wouldn't want a smoking hot werewolf around who cooks and cleans and all that? That makes him doubly sexy!
And The Not So Much:
- I was a bit disappointed in that I didn't feel like I got enough detail and description as far as the paranormal stuff was concerned. Mona is a highly talented witch, but there is little discussion on her powers and how she uses spells and such. I wanted to know more about her powers and spells. For instance, there is a tiny snippet where she grabs a ley line and uses its power, if I hadn't read other witch books, I would be completely lost. I felt like this book needed to spend more time explaining the witch abilities.
- The werewolf aspect was also a bit glossed over. There is very little mention on what the werewolves are like when they transform. Are they dangerous and completely feral or do they retain some of their humanness? Do they have any powers? Can they transform at will or only during the full moon? Again, if I hadn't read other werewolf books, I would be clueless.
- I was expecting this to have a cozy small town setting, and while the book is set in a small town, the town itself never really comes alive for me. I didn't get that small town cozy feel that I was expecting. This is not a big issue, but I was hoping that I would get that cozy small town feeling that I love.
- I was a bit frustrated that the reader never learns what happened to the two nieces, Cora and Sophie. They were certainly traumatized in their past before there mother dumped them off on Mona's door steps. Why did they know about demons? What happened to their mother? Why were the girls so scared? I am guessing that this will be addressed in future books, but I wanted a bit more development on this storyline.
If you are eagerly looking for a new UF series that has a terrific romance and features witches, I would highly recommend giving What's A Witch To Do a try. I was pleased with the mystery storyline, and I absolutely loved the romance in this one. It has everything you love in a good UF book. I am excited to have a new witch series that I can read while I await the next installments of Kim Harrison's The Hollows.
"I've read enough mystery novels to formulate a plan. I can do this. What would Stephanie Plum do? Sleep with two gorgeous guys then have her car blow up. Okay not applicable."
"Why is it that everyone assumes when a man and a woman inhabit the same space for a period of time they'll fall into bed with one another?"
"If that girl's skirt was any shorter I'd be able to see what half the men in town already have."
"I will always be there when you need me. Through thick, through thin, through sickness and health, through crazy relatives, and burst pipes, and whatever else life throws at us. Because I love you."
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.