So, I’ve gone domestic… HA!!! Syke 🙂 but, I will say this is one of the funniest, cutest, most domestic reads I’ve read and I just loved it! 🙂 So, I think everyone should really check this one out. 🙂 And wait till I tell you about it in my review! And, I not only get to post my review to my regular spots but also to netgalley 🙂 I like when this happens! Now, lemme show you 🙂
What’s A Witch To Do?
A Midnight Magic Mystery #1
Genre: Paranormal Mystery/Romance
Publisher: Midnight Ink
Date of Publication: March 2013
Number of pages: 336
Mona McGregor’s To Do List:
• Make 20 13 potions/spells/charms
• Put girls to bed
• Help with Debbie’s wedding
• Lose 30 pounds before bachelorette auction
• Deal with the bleeding werewolf on doorstep
• Find out who wants me dead
• Prepare for supernatural summit
• Have a nervous breakdown
• Slay a damn demon
• Fall in love
With her to-do lists growing longer each day, the last thing Mona McGregor—High Priestess and owner of the Midnight Magic shop in Goodnight, Virginia—needs is a bleeding werewolf at her front door. Between raising her two nieces and leading a large coven of witches, Mona barely has time for anything else. Not even Guy, the handsome doctor who’s taken an interest in her.
But now there’s Adam Blue, the sexy beta werewolf of the Eastern Pack who’s been badly hurt, warning Mona that someone wants her dead. Hell’s bells! A demon is stalking her, and Mona starts to suspect her coven members and even her own family could be responsible for it. With two attractive 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.
Judging from the twenty voicemails, and house phone ringing off the hook, I’d say the demon woke up the whole town. Every witch he came within fifty feet of felt him. I know this because it’s in the book right in front of me Auntie Sara brought over. I sit at the kitchen table with Cora curled up in my lap as I scan the pages. She hasn’t let me go since I retrieved them from the office. Sophie was throwing ingredients into the cauldron as Cora watched. I think it was a protection spell. I just grabbed them and brought them downstairs with me into the kitchen where we’ve set up camp.
Adam hands Auntie Sara a cup of coffee, which she takes with shaky hands. Sophie sits across from me staring at her sister, face made of stone. Adam plops down in the empty chair beside me, sliding a coffee cup over. “Thank you,” I say.
He nods. “So…a demon. I thought they were just myths.”
“Says the werewolf,” I say with a crooked smile. It’s all I can muster right now.
“I cannot believe you lied to me,” Auntie Sara says to me.
I had no choice but to tell her everything. “I’m sorry.”
“What do you know about demons?” Adam asks me.
“Not a whole lot. It’s not something I ever thought would come up. They’re rare, at least the kind I think this one is.”
“There’s more than one type?” Adam asks.
“There’s the kind you summon and the kind that just sneaks through the dimensional cracks,” Auntie Sara instructs. “With the latter you get your basic demonic possession. They’re too weak, so they need a host body. The summoned kind is a specific demon. They have specific traits and powers, depending on who was called.”
“What do they look like?” Adam asks.
“Human,” Sophie says. All eyes dart to her in surprise. “He’ll look like whoever gave the blood for the ritual.” Auntie Sara, Adam, and I all share a concerned look, and Cora grasps me harder. “The murder of something innocent, usually an animal, helps open the doorway. It comes out of the portal, looking like a demon. It’s…” She shakes her head and winces. I get a chill. “It’s unnatural. It doesn’t belong here and can’t survive, so the witch gives her blood and it takes human form.” She looks down at the table away from our stares. “Um, it’ll look, sound, act, even bleed like us. I guess it sort of is us. Just…a little more. And powerful.”
“So it can be killed,” Adam says.
“It’s not as simple as that,” I say. “It’s like a psychic on steroids. If she summoned the demon in charge of fire it can make you spontaneously combust from twenty yards away. If it can read in its dimension, it can invade your mind and trap your consciousness inside yourself.”
“And it’s strong,” Sophie adds. “Probably as strong as you. And it heals fast too.”
My stomach clenches again. “What—what else do you know about them, honey?”
“People can’t tell what they are, but we can because we’re from here and they’re from there. They don’t like us because of it. And they don’t like it that they have to listen to the person who brought them here. But they only have to do one thing, and they’re free. We can trap them, though, with sigils and spells. They can’t hurt us then. Not even with their brains. And they don’t like certain smells, and silver hurts them real bad.”
“An—anything else, honey?” I ask, trying to keep my voice steady.
She just shrugs.
I clear my throat. “Okay um, girls why don’t you go in the living room and pop in a movie?”
Cora burrows deeper into my chest. “No, I don’t want to leave you,” she cries.
“I’ll be in here. I’ll be able to see you the whole time, okay?”
“Come on,” Sophie says as she stands. “We’ll watch Toy Story 3.”
I manage to extract the child from my body and get her to her feet. A stoic Sophie takes her hand and leads her into the living room. Oh hell, what on earth am I going to do? “Mona, how did she know all of that?” Auntie Sara asks. “You don’t think—”
“Auntie Sara, that is a not now question, okay?” The telephone starts ringing again, sending splinters into my already throbbing temples. “Can you just field calls for me?”
“And what am I supposed to tell them?”
“The truth?” My brain is swimming. I rub my temples to focus. “Tell them we’re having an emergency meeting in the morning, time and location in an e-mail to follow.”
“Okay,” Auntie Sara says as she stands. She grabs the portable phone and walks out.
I glance at the girls sitting on the couch, then at Adam. He plays with his cup but his weary eyes stay on me. “Are you okay?” he asks.
I don’t know what it is about those words, or maybe it’s his gentle expression, but I almost burst into tears. Tentatively, he places his hand over mine, squeezing it. No, not now. I gasp and cover my mouth but a few tears make it to my eyes. I shut them. Using all my willpower, I push them away. If I break now I won’t be able to pull myself together again, so I do what I do best. I swallow my emotions so deep an archeologist couldn’t find them. I pull my hand away and wipe the stray tears off my face. Problem. Fix the problem first. “Um, what did you find out from Cheyenne? What time did she get to the bar?”
“She was there when I got there at 10:30. We talked until about 12:30, when I walked her to her car. We woke at 4:30, so she had plenty of time to summon it.”
“What did she say?”
“About you? Not a lot. She thinks you’re prissy, unimaginative, and holier than thou. Her words, not mine.”
“I don’t give a shit what she thinks about my character flaws! In between the make-out sessions did she give you any indication she hates me enough to do all this?”
“I don’t know. I couldn’t get much out of her, I’m sorry.”
I stand, practically making the chair fall back. “Well, I can’t do much with sorry, can I?”
I can’t breathe in here. I need to breathe so I can think. I stalk into the backyard, taking in huge gulps of air. Instantly, I feel like a jerk. I can’t keep doing that. He is in no way, shape, or form deserving of mu ire.
Even still, a second later he steps outside to check on me. “Mona?”
“I’m sorry,” I say, “I’m so sorry. I don’t mean to speak to you like that, I really don’t. I’m not normally like this, I swear.”
“I have no idea what I’m doing, Adam. A killer? Now a demon too? What the hell am I going to do?”
“We’ll figure it out.”
“How? I can’t think. I can’t…” Shit, the tears are trying the damndest to get out. I take a ragged breath. “I am so scared.”
“I know.” He steps toward me, and the next thing I know his arms are around me, pulling me into his warm body. Dear goddess does this feel wonderful. He’s so solid and even smells good, like hyssop and soap. “I know,” he whispers. He simply holds me, my head on his shoulder and hand against his racing heart. I just want to melt into him. For a fleeting instant all the world fades except for me and him, and I can actually believe everything will be okay as long as he never lets me go.
But only for an instant. I’m too realistic for false hope. Lust, be gone. I pull away, my back straightening to gain some respectability back. “Thank you. That helped.”
“Happy to oblige,” he says, for some reason unable to look at me.
I step away and turn my back to him. Okay, I can think now. This is good. “So, um, I have a request to make of you.”
I knew he’d say that. “I need you to take the girls away from here. Take them to Jason’s or your house or wherever, and keep them safe for me.”
“That’s not a good idea.”
I spin around. “The hell it isn’t! There is a fucking demon here to kill me!”
“Then you come with us.”
“I can’t! I can’t leave everyone here with a demon on the loose. Just take them and go!”
“I am not leaving you alone here!” he says with enough force to punch through a wall.
“This isn’t your fight.”
“Yeah, it is.”
“The game has changed. It’s far too dangerous around me now. Just take them and go! Please!”
“No. I made a promise and I take promises very seriously.”
I throw my arms up. “I absolve you! Take them and go!”
“No!” Sophie shouts from the door. I turn around as she leads her sister toward us. “If you send us away, we’ll just come right back! We will!” she says, voice shaking. “I can protect you! I can! I know what to do! Please!” She looks at Adam, eyes wild. “Don’t take us away. Please, don’t take us away.”
“Sophie—” I say, my voice breaking along with my heart.
“We are not going anywhere,” Adam says to Sophie. “I promise.”
“You can’t—” I say.
He grabs my arm and yanks me away from the girls, all but dragging me to the other side of the yard. “Now, you listen to me,” he says in a low voice. “You are letting your fear cloud your judgment, and you are scaring the hell out of those girls there. More than even the demon is. Is that what you want?”
“We are not leaving, do you hear me? Do not mention it again.” He takes a deep breath to regain his composure. “Look, I know you’re used to doing everything on your own, but you cannot do this alone. You can’t. So, I am here to protect you and those girls so you don’t have to. But to do that, we all need to be here. Together. A cohesive unit working together. A pack, okay? And since you aren’t thinking clearly right now, I’ll do it for you. If you die, who will take care of them? They need to be near you, a strong you. If they go away, and you die, they will never ever recover. They have lost too damn much already.”
“It could kill them to get to me,” I whisper.
“Mona, if that thing wants them, and is as powerful as you say it is, it won’t matter where they are. It will find them and use them anyway. At least here they have you, and me, and an entire army of witches in this town to go through first. And I will die before I let anything happen to any of you. Do you believe me?”
I absolutely do. I shake my head.
“Good. Then trust me on this. Then we’re sticking together. We will be cautious, but we will not let fear rule our lives. We stick to the plan. We fortify this place and ourselves as best we can, we find who summoned this thing, and stop her. Together. You…and me. I am not going anywhere. I swear it to you.”
I have the strongest urge to hug him again, among other things I won’t admit to. He’s so sincere I can’t help but feel…relief. At least that’s what I think it is. It’s a new sensation. Take me awhile to get used to it. “Okay,” I whisper. “Okay.”
“Then let’s get started.” He turns away from me and walks over to the girls, picking up Cora as if it was the most natural thing and holding his hand out for Sophie. She looks at it, but after a second of indecision, puts her hand in his. He leads them inside, off to find a way to save my life.
This time I let the tears flow. Because I can.
Let’s talk about how cool this book is! First, it’s not only a mystery, BUT it’s got some romance, and some fantasy/paranormal- which to me is just awesome! Plus I absolutely LOVE that this main character is perfectly flawed-which makes her even more awesome. There’s so many good things about this book to talk about, a HAWT piece or two, a very busy witch, two hilarious little girls, and the HILARIOUS crazy Auntie Sara! 🙂 I knew when I saw this on goodreads, it sounded interesting, and I when the tour came up, I was hesitant, but I decided to go for it. I AM SO GLAD I DID! I know I’m normally all about the crazy things, but this little domestic ramp was perfect! 🙂 It also reminds you that sometimes things could be worse….
Mona reminds me of myself in the fact that she actually calls herself fat, except her self esteem is lower than mine. However, I am SO glad, that though she may not think she is pretty, she values herself and she knows she’s worth something. Not only to those two beautiful little girls who rely on her now, that she’s inherited them from her crazy sister, but the community and the other witches of her coven, and even her crazy Aunt, who lives next door. She has a butt load of cousins- again like me-and her Aunt never lets a single thing escape her sight- again I have one of those too- and their relationships are just plain funny. I think the reason I loved Mona so much was because even when she doubted herself, she would stop and try to think about others and how it effected them. I should wish we all have more friends like Mona.
Adam is my dream dude! Seriously!! First, he’s a werewolf- I really want one of these! He’s HAWT! He’s sweet- but sometimes moody. He cooks, he cleans, he’s VERY handy, he has a smile to die for, and even most important, he treats Sophie and Cora like princesses and the most important people on Earth! Those two little girls needed him and he was a little miracle! He’s got some serious issues to deal with, poor guy. I had a feeling at the beginning of the book, and I had a part of that feeling right, but I was not expecting the fall out. It gets complicated, but what relationship isn’t. 🙂
The secondary characters are phenomenal. Sophie and Cora are Mona’s two nieces, who are precious, and infuriating all at the same time- typical children. Her Auntie Sara has made me giggle like you wouldn’t believe, probably because she reminds me of my own family SOOOO much! Mona’s sister Debbie, her friend Clay, her friend Tamara, the other witches in the coven. There are so many wonderful people in here! Trust me, you will not be lacking!
The mystery part is woven just perfect. You think it’s one person, then another person, then another, and trust me, you will NOT guess who it really is. I was pretty devastated. UGH! The writing is absolutely amazing. I will forever be a fan, and now I will have lots to catch up on to read her other works. The to do lists are so funny- I mean, her to-do lists say things like ~ be subject to hours of tourture in the name of beauty and ~Operation: Hoochie House… it’s even a chapter title! How do you not laugh at this! And it’s even funnier in context! I can’t say how much I enjoyed this book and If you haven’t figured out I loved it… then I dunno what else to say to you! 🙂 I hope you guys all check this new series out! a MAGICALLY PHENOMENAL 5 PAWS!!!
WELCOME!! First, tell me a little about your book ….
It’s entitled, What’s A Witch To Do? and it’s the first in a new series called Midnight Magic. It’s an offshoot of my other series, the F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad. This one follows the most powerful witch in America who, on the busiest week of her life, finds out someone wants to kill her and take over her coven. There’s romance, humor, Southern hospitality, and plenty of suspense. Sales pitch over.
PS, I can’t wait for more of this series! Do you recall how your interest in writing originated or did you always just know?
I’ve always been a storyteller in some shape or form. I used to fake being sick to stay home from school and play with my dolls. When I got too old for that around age thirteen I moved onto putting pen to paper. I started with really terrible novellas, then since I was living in Southern California, I thought I’d try my hand at screenplays. Most of them were pretty crap too, think Lifetime movie bad. With that more or less mastered, I woke up one day and was like, “Huh. Maybe I’ll try writing a book.” And I did. Nine and counting.
What inspired you to write your first book and what was it?
My “first” book is called Mind Over Monsters. I wish I could say it was divine inspiration, but really I’ve always been inspired by other people’s works. I got the idea after seeing the movie Hellboy. I walked out thinking, “Hey, I could do that.” I also read comics as a child, especially the X-Men, so the team dynamic they had also heavily influenced the book. And since I’m a huge horror buff I wanted to play with vampires, werewolves, and zombies so I added them to the pot. Stir, sprinkle with my own fear of getting a real job after college, bake at 350, and out pops the F.R.E.A.K.S. I just added my own flavor with witty dialogue and fresh, flawed characters.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I didn’t mean it to. I didn’t even realize it until I had finished my third FREAKS book (out next year) that my main character Bea’s life trajectory was following my own, though mine is minus zombies and vampire. I wrote the first FREAKS book Mind Over Monsters while I was in college. Deep down I was scared to death to have to go out into the world and get a full time job, to grow up. So my subconscious, who is far smarter than my conscious that’s for sure, forced me to subject my main character to the worst job I could think of. Nothing Jennifer Harlow could face would ever measure up to being attacked by hordes of zombies. This trend continued, still unknown to me, into the second To Catch a Vampire. When I was writing it I was in the process of moving cross country. Alone. So poor Bea had to leave the safety of her new home with an unknown element, Oliver, to face new challenges and meet new people, vampires in this case. I think maybe this is why so many people can identify with Bea and her adventures. And with What’s A Witch To Do? I’ve always been super responsible and always taking care of people who often didn’t return the favor. I repaid my heroine Mona’s similar problem as sort of wish fulfillment in a way. Here’s hoping an awesome werewolf is approaching my horizon too.
Oh, I sure hope I get one of those werewolves too! Who do you look up to as a writer?
Without question Janet Evanovitch, Laurell K. Hamilton, and Jennifer Crusie. From Evanovitch I learned how to incorporate humor, mystery, and sexual tension while keeping a quick pace in the story. Hamilton showed the perfect was to combine two genres effectively, thriller and paranormal, and that a heroine doesn’t have to always be a sweet, perfect woman. She can have a hard edge and still be likable. From Jennifer Crusie, I learned the art of a romance novel without a clear formula. Her characters aren’t perfect, they meet in strange ways, and struggle with real compatibility issues. I just hope I did my heroes justice.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Descriptions. I learned the basics of writing during my screenplay years, so dialogue and pacing are like second nature to me now, (helps that I’m a wise ass too). Descriptions, not so much. I either put in too much or too little. I hate writing them because I know I’ll have to go back a trillion times in the editing process to fix them until they’re readable. Show not tell is the bane of my bloody existence. I’ve written seven books, and I still have a problem with it.
What book are you reading now? Or what genre?
All zombies all the time. I read both compendiums of The Walking Dead and the Woodbury books. I’m also obsessed with books about superheroes, real books like Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman and Batman: No Man’s Land by Greg Rucka. The older I get the more I turn into a teenage boy. Oy.
Did you learn anything from writing your books and what was it?
For this book I had to delve a little into witchcraft. I had to learn what herbs signified what, what colors meant what, and even some Latin. I love doing research so I didn’t mind.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Besides, I’m awesome, buy my book? Just keep on reading. Give new authors a chance and if you like something, spread the word. Oh, and thanks for having me!
You’re very welcome and you’re welcome back ANYTIME!!! Like say, when a certain second book comes out LOL 🙂
About the Author:
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.
Tales From the Darkside Blog http://blog.jenniferharlowbooks.com
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Thank you so much for stopping by and hangin out with me! And a special thanks to Ms Jennifer and Bewitching book tours! I hope you guys enjoyed today and I wish you all GOOD LUCK! 🙂 Happy Reading everyone and Later Gators! 🙂