Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday's Film Adaptions: No Bed of Her Own by Val Lewton


Summary:
Winter 1931. New York is in the grip of the Depression. When Rose Mahoney loses her typing job, the peppy, hardboiled blonde believes she will quickly find another. But soon, meager savings dwindling, she is homeless, cast alone into the underbelly of the cold, dark city . . .

Val Lewton is remembered for his magnificent 1940s horror films, most famously Cat People, but before movies, Lewton was a prolific novelist. First published in 1932 and unavailable for over half a century, this racy, fantastically readable pulp-noir offers a strange and vivid snapshot of its era as it follows Roses's attempts to survive a world of despair, decadence, hypocrisy and greed, with only her wits to protect her.

Preface by Val E. Lewton
Afterward by Damien Love

Film
A card sharp on the run falls for a beautiful librarian.

Release Date: December 30, 1932
Release Time: 85 minutes

Cast:
Clark Gable as Jerry 'Babe' Stewart
Carole Lombard as Connie Randall
Dorothy Mackaill as Kay Everly
Grant Mitchell as Charlie Vane
George Barbier as Mr Randall
Elizabeth Patterson as Mrs Randall
J. Farrell MacDonald as 'Dickie' Collins
Tommy Conlon as Willie Randall
Walter Walker as Mr Morton
Paul Ellis as Vargas
Lillian Harmer as Mattie - The Librarian (uncredited)
Charley Grapewin as George - The Clerk





Author Bio:
Originally named Vladimir Ivan Leventon, Lewton immigrated with his sister and mother to the United States in 1909. He was raised in Port Chester, New York. He was nephew to the famous actress Alla Nazimova.

He studied journalism at Columbia University and authored eighteen works of nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. His 1932 novel No Bed of Her Own was a bestseller and made into the film No Man of Her Own starring Clark Gable and Carole Lombard in 1932. Lewton went to work for famed Hollywood producer David O. Selznick in the early 1930s and was involved in many of his most successful and famous works of the period including David Copperfield (1935), A Tale of Two Cities (1935), and, as an uncredited writer, Gone With the Wind (1939).

In 1942 he accepted a position as head of the horror unit at RKO studios. Over the next four years in collaboration with such directors as Jacques Tourneur, Robert Wise and Mark Robson he produced some of the most influential horror films of all time including Cat People, I Walked With a Zombie, The Leopard Man, The Seventh Victim, The Ghost Ship, The Curse of the Cat People, Isle of the Dead, The Body Snatchers, and Bedlam (the last three with Boris Karloff). Lewton, like his famous former boss, was a hands on producer. His influence can be seen in almost every aspect of his films regardless of director. He is perhaps most famous for creating suspense in his films by what is not seen and his use of sound was revolutionary at the time. Val Lewton died of a heart attack in 1951 at the age of 46. A documentary film Val Lewton: The Man in the Shadows, narrated by admirer Martin Scorsese, premiered on Turner Classic Movies on January 14, 2008.


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Caring for Riggs by Bonnie Dee

Summary:
Love dogs and smoking hot men? The Love Off Leash series is for you. Different authors. Unrelated stories. Shared theme of new love and pets.

Love, loss and finding a forever home.

After years abroad, Kyle Skelton returns to New York to plan his grandfather’s funeral. Weighed down by guilt about neglecting the prickly old man who once looked after him, Kyle is determined to find a good home for Gramps’s senior dog. The last thing he needs as he confronts his complicated past is the distraction of the handsome next door neighbor who’s been taking care of Riggs.

Darrell Baines is prepared to despise his neighbor’s grandson on sight. He believes this stranger is only interested in valuable things Vince may have left behind. But after witnessing the renewed bond between Kyle and Riggs and learning more about the unhappy teenager who fled New York years earlier, Darrell’s hard stance softens. It’s easier to forgive when Kyle is heaping blame on himself.

Darrell is almost too comfortable in his quiet routine, while Kyle has never found a place that felt like home. As these opposites walk their dogs together, unexpected friendship grows. A late night adventure adds passionate fuel to the fire, but Kyle is only passing through so a chance for anything more than a fling seems impossible.

When Kyle’s never-met father arrives for the funeral and Rigg’s health takes a turn for the worse, Kyle’s emotional turmoil reaches critical mass. Will his fragile new bond with Darrell be the powerful lifeline he has always needed?


Caring for Riggs is the second book released in the Love Off Leash series of standalone contemporary romances.  Caring is only the second contemporary work of Bonnie Dee's that I've read but it won't be the last.  It may not be as light as the first in the series, Hot Under the Collar by Summer Devon, but it's also by no means dark but it is certainly as fun and entertaining.

Some might say that Caring is about second chances since Kyle returns after the death of his grandfather and meets the dog-loving neighbor that's been caring for Riggs the dog.  Personally, I don't know as I would tag it "second chances", instead I would say it's about realizations and readjusting to what is important in life.  Kyle hasn't forgotten his grandfather but he did take for granted that there would always be a tomorrow to come back to.  Unfortunately there wasn't and with the help of dog-loving neighbor Darrell and Riggs the dog Kyle talked his grandfather into bringing home all those years ago those realizations lead to readjusting.

You don't have to be a dog lover or even a pet lover to enjoy Caring for Riggs, all you have to do is love a great story.  As I started off with, Caring may not be super lighthearted but it is packed full of heart which is not always easy to do in a novella.  When you reach the final page you know you have experienced something amazing and it just might help you to realize or remember who or what is truly important at the end of the day.  If you can learn a lesson without actually being taught one all while enjoying a wonderful romance story, well that's the mark of a good book and a talented author.

RATING: 


As Kyle looked around the decaying apartment—although, surprisingly, the kitchen was clean and the refrigerator stocked with healthy foods—his simmering anger boiled up. How could David have allowed Gramps to live this way? Annaliese could’ve arranged a caregiver long distance from California. She handled all the minutia of their lives, everything outside the sphere of her husband’s all-important business life. But it was a waste of energy to hate. Ron would never change, and once the funeral was over, Kyle never again had to have any contact with the man who’d spawned him but made little other impact on his life.

Kyle set his suitcase in an alcove between stacks of vintage National Geographic magazines. He’d get Riggs from the neighbor’s apartment, which was where the dog must be. Old Riggs would have long since lost the bounce of the stray pup Kyle had begged Gramps to take home from the park. Gramps had been playing dominoes with one of his pals while Kyle threw a parachute man up in the air and tried to catch him before he reached the ground. When a mottled mutt intercepted the toy and ran off with it, Kyle had chased him down. They’d wrestled for possession of the parachute man, and it had been the start of a beautiful friendship. Good old Riggs. How could years have passed with Kyle hardly thinking of him?

The sound of toenails scrabbling on bare floor came from the hallway before the apartment door opened. Two dogs burst into the room, followed by a tall, stoop-shouldered man wearing a Chicago State University hoodie. A tan-and-black Yorkshire terrier raced toward Kyle, took a stance, and barked himself silly at the intruder. Following at a much more sedate pace came Riggs. Kyle dropped to his knees, ignoring the Yorkie and the neighbor, and held out his hands. “Remember me? How’ve you been, buddy?”

The gray-muzzled dog walked straight into his arms. Kyle scooped him up and hugged him—not too hard since his body felt as delicate as bird bones. Had the neighbor even been feeding him?

Kyle looked up. The CSU alum appeared even taller towering above Kyle. The man must be well over six feet and had the permanent slouch some lanky men adopted, as if stooping to avoid hitting their heads on doorways. His skin was dark cacao and his hair shaved to stubble on his nicely shaped head. A handsome man, except his eyes were glittering bits of jet that glared at Kyle as if he were a criminal he’d caught breaking in.

Kyle gently put down Riggs and stood up. He stuck out his hand. “Hi. I’m Kyle, Vince Skelton’s grandson. I think my stepmother told you I’d be coming to take care of Riggs and arrange for Gramps’s funeral.”

“Mm.” The stranger grunted, not sounding at all friendly or neighborly. “So, you’re him.”

Gramps had talked about him to this man? “Thanks for taking care of Riggs,” Kyle replied.

“No problem. I liked Vince. He was an interesting guy.” He continued to eye Kyle suspiciously but finally took his hand in a bone-crushing grip. “Darrell Baines. I live next door.”

Kyle didn’t wince at the hard grip, but his hand tingled after Darrell let go. “Again, thank you for taking care of Riggs. And Gramps too.” He nodded toward the kitchen. “Did you get him groceries?”

“He was eating pizza all the time, so I made sure he had a fresh vegetable now and then.”

“Well, I truly appreciate you looking out for him.”

“Someone had to.” Darrell’s tone was just short of icy.

Clearly, Kyle was in the doghouse for neglecting his grandfather. Fair enough.

A snap of those long fingers summoned the Yorkie from the direction of the kitchen. “Come on, Lacey. Quit nosing around Riggs’s dish.”

Dark eyes returned to Kyle, measuring him and finding him lacking. He stooped to unhook Riggs’s leash and handed it over. “He’s been out for his afternoon walk. He won’t need to eat again till this evening, but you shouldn’t give him more than a few tablespoons of food. He doesn’t digest well anymore and will vomit if you feed him too much at a time. Also, don’t expect him to hold his urine all night. He has to have an evening and a late-night walk. Poop bags and leash go on the hook right above his food dish.”

Darrell picked up Lacey’s trailing leash, bright pink decorated with a pattern of bones. “If you’re going out, let me know. I have to walk Lacey anyway. I’m used to taking Riggs too.”

Kyle bristled at his tone. “Thanks. But I’ve got this. Riggs and I are old pals. I know how to take care of a dog.”

Again Darrell drilled him with that do you? stare. “All right, then. Let me know when you set Vince’s funeral. I want to be there.” He turned to go.

“Wait!” Kyle was suddenly desperate not to be alone in this apartment with all its memories and the ghost of Gramps accusing him of being a shirker. He could have made the time to visit if he hadn’t been such a selfish prick.

Darrell half turned, pulling Lacey to a halt. “What?”

“How did he…? Annaliese told me Gramps died, probably of a heart attack, but she wasn’t sure, and there’s not going to be an autopsy. Can you tell me more about what happened? I can’t quite wrap my head around the, um, circumstances.”

“Yeah. I can tell you. I was the one who found him,” Darrell said in a cool, level tone.

*****

Darrell was half inclined to ask for the guy’s ID when he found him inside Vince’s apartment. But there was no doubt it was the infamous Kyle. There were traces of the handsome teenage boy from one of Vince’s few photographs in the grown man. The angles of his face were sharper with the curves of youth worn away. Honed by time and experience to make him even better looking, Darrell thought before pushing the unwanted sizzle of attraction away.

Kyle Skelton was a jerk. He’d been the center of Vince’s world, but after leaving home at age seventeen, school unfinished, destination uncertain, Kyle had hardly looked back. Vince had a few well-worn postcards he’d received over the years that he kept in a pile beside his chair. In his typical tough way, he’d tried to shrug off how much he missed the grandson he’d raised, but Darrell could see his pain when he spoke about Kyle.

Poor old Vince had no one to care about but Riggs—and maybe Darrell, a little. He’d gruffly complained all the time, but Darrell thought he secretly appreciated being harassed about his bad diet and having Darrell take him to doctor appointments and walk Riggs when it became too hard for Vince to go up and down stairs. Caring for his elderly neighbor had been kind of a burden, but now Vince was gone, Darrell felt a crotchety-old-man-shaped hole in his life.

Darrell pressed his lips tight to keep from demanding why Kyle Skelton hadn’t bought Vince a cell phone so they could at least keep in touch by text.

“I came in yesterday morning to get Riggs for his walk. Your granddad was sitting in his chair just like usual, but he didn’t answer when I talked to him.” Darrell paused, reliving the horror of that moment, the icy chill that had gone through him when he realized he had to feel for a pulse. “It must have just happened, because he’d already started his coffee in the kitchen.”

“I’m sorry you had to be the one to find him,” Kyle murmured. “That must have been hard.”

“Yeah. It was.” Darrell tugged at Lacey, who was still trying to head toward home to check out her own food dish. “I called the coroner and the cops and eventually found your dad’s phone number in an old address book. Vince never talked about his son. I didn’t know if the number would still work. But it did. After that, Annaliese took over.”

A hank of flaming red hair fell over Kyle’s forehead when he nodded. He needed a trim. No. Scratch that. He looked pretty damn fine a little shaggy and with two days’ growth of pale ginger stubble on his jaw. He kind of glowed.

Once more, Darrell shut down his unwanted interest in the stranger’s appearance. “So, I guess your folks will be coming from California for the funeral?”

“Who knows. My father might send Annaliese to represent him. He can find an excuse to be too busy. And my mom is dead. But I suppose Gramps told you that.”

Kyle’s bitter tone almost touched Darrell, who understood about fractured families. Almost. But then he recalled that the man had ignored his grandfather when the man needed him most, and Darrell smothered his sympathy.

Lacey started whining and pulling again. Darrell scooped her up and held her in one arm like a baby. She gazed at him with imploring brown eyes. When are we going home? Can’t you see I’m starving to death and will soon drop dead if you don’t feed me? Have you no heart? As always, he couldn’t keep from smiling at his little darling, who could evaporate a bad mood the way the sun dispelled early morning fog. She was a bouncing bundle of pure joy.

His smile lingered as he regarded Kyle with a little more compassion this time. “I’m sorry about your grandfather. This must be really hard for you.”

“Because I haven’t seen him in years. Yeah. Too little too late, but I’m here now.”

Maybe the handsome grandson did have a heart. Then he added, “I’ll arrange the funeral and dispose of his stuff. Do you know if he kept a will anywhere in this warren?”

So much for a heart! He probably hoped to find something worth sorting through the junk. Perhaps he imagined his grandfather had secret wealth or a stash of valuables, or maybe he’d was just eager to inherit this rent-controlled apartment in a newly gentrified neighborhood.

“I wouldn’t know,” Darrell answered coolly. “Good luck with your search.”

He gripped Lacey, who was squirming to get down, and headed for the door.

Closing it behind him, he realized this might be the last time he’d ever be in Vince’s apartment. His two years of taking care of the old man and his dog were over, and what a sad, bitter note to end on. Part of him wanted to claim Riggs and take him home to live out his days with someone who loved him. Certainly Kyle Skelton wasn’t the man to care for a senior dog’s special needs. But Darrell really couldn’t afford vet bills for a second pet. Unless it seemed like Skelton was going to put Riggs out on the street, Darrell would force himself not to offer to take him.

That’s what he promised himself as he unlocked his apartment and put down Lacey, who raced inside.

Author Bio:
I began telling stories as a child. Whenever there was a sleepover, I was the designated ghost tale teller. I still have a story printed on yellow legal paper in second grade about a ghost, a witch and a talking cat.

Writing childish stories for my own pleasure led to majoring in English at college. Like most English majors, I dreamed of writing a novel, but at that time in my life didn't have the necessary focus and follow through. Then life happened. A husband and children occupied the next twenty years and it was only in 2000 that I began writing again.

I enjoy dabbling in many genres. Each gives me a different way to express myself. I've developed a habit of writing every day that's almost an addiction. I don't think I could stop now if I tried.


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Lady of Sherwood by Molly Bilinski

Title: Lady of Sherwood
Author: Molly Bilinski
Series: Outlaws of Sherwood #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fairytale
Release Date: April 24, 2017
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
Summary:
Robin of Lockesly was neither the son her father wanted, nor the daughter her mother expected. When she refuses an arranged marriage to a harsh and cruel knight, the deadly events that follow change her destiny forever.

After a night of tragedy, Robin and the few remaining survivors flee to Nottingham. With a newfound anonymity, they start to live different lives. There, she and her band make mischief, robbing from the rich and giving to the poor. But charity isn’t the only thing she wants–she wants revenge.

As the sheriff draws his net closer, Robin’s choices begin to haunt her. She’ll have to choose between what’s lawful and what her conscience believes is right–all while staying one step ahead of the hangman.

Lady of Sherwood is a unique young adult retelling of the beloved Robin Hood legend. Filled with action and romance, this new series follows a teenage heroine through her fantastic, yet dangerous adventures.

Chapter Five: Much, the Miller’s Daughter
“That still makes it murder. It doesn’t change that. Nothing changes that.”

“You’re an outlaw, then.” Maggie shrugged. “You’re the Lady of Lockesly. You’re a warrior woman from the old tales. None of those things mean we don’t want you to stay with us.”

"You came back to the manor,” Kitty added. “You came back for us. To find Gisborne and protect us. You could have abandoned us.”

Robin’s expression morphed into something stricken, and her eyes widened. “Why would I have done that? You’re—you’re family. You’ve always been as much family as my mother.” True, Jemma was the sister she’d never been gifted with, but the others had a spot in her heart all the same. One that was rapidly growing by the second.

“Then come with us.” Maggie’s tone said she wouldn’t take no for an answer. “Be an outlaw, but come with us. Even outlaws need friends.”

"I’m an outlaw, same as you,” Jemma murmured when Robin looked meaningfully at her. “I went with you to kill him, and I attacked his men.”

Robin locked eyes with each girl in front of her and she found nothing but tempered steel staring back at her. All of them might have been younger than her and Jemma in physical years, yet they showed a resilience and a courage born from the night’s events.

Robin knew she’d been right earlier to call them smart. Nottingham was large enough for them to all blend into new crowds, and if they kept their wits about them, no one would ever have to know the last survivors of Lockesly Manor were harboring two outlaws.

“All right,” she said. “We stay together and head for Nottingham tomorrow at dark. We don’t want to be seen,” she added. “Not if any of Gisborne’s men are still in the village.” And looking for revenge if he was dead.


Bonus Scene
Robin stood in front of Much, Jemma’s staff in her hands and raised as though she were going to swing for Much’s head. Much, with a look of intense concentration on her round face, gripped a stick and let Jemma reposition her feet and hands as necessary.

“Steady your weight,” Jemma said quietly. “You want to have a strong base, but you need to be able to move quickly.”

“If I bring this down, you almost want to rise to meet it instead of letting it push you back,” Robin added.

“Stay ahead of it, then.” Much braced, and Robin brought the staff down slowly enough for Much to anticipate the movement and react accordingly.

“Balance.” Jemma adjusted her elbow. “The last thing you want is to be knocked on your arse because then you’ve got to dodge the attack and get back on your feet, which is tricky.”

Much smiled wryly. “Is that why Robin shoots them from a distance?”

She giggled. “Probably, but have you seen her when she’s got to use her bow like a staff?”

“It’s a good, solid yew bow.” Robin put a little more pressure against Much’s stick to see what would happen, and grinned brightly when the younger girl stayed strong and balanced. She even pushed back a bit, and Robin’s grin sharpened.

Robin leaned away, slid the staff down her palms to a different grip, and drew back in preparation to jab for somewhere in Much’s midriff.

“Now, if you’re very quick and confident, then you can swing down and knock it aside.” Jemma guided Much’s hands and arms into the movement, and used the stick to deflect Robin’s attack. It happened slowly, so Much could ease into it.

“That’s going to hurt if you get hit with it,” Robin said, snapping her arms back as though she were going to try stabbing forward again. “It’s going to crack or break your ribs if it connects, and there’s no shame in jumping out of the way.”

Jemma put her hands on Much’s waist and helped her swerve her hips to the side and out of the line of fire from the staff in Robin’s hands. “Swerve first, and then try to knock it out of the way. If you can somehow knock it out of her hands, that’s great, but usually you won’t get someone to part with their weapon.”

“Especially men,” Robin added. “That’s who you’ll be against, most likely.”

Much froze.

Robin lowered her staff and rested one end of it on the toe of her boot like she frequently did with her bow. She rubbed the side of her nose and softly said, “It’s…it’s ugly. There’s nothing dignified about it because someone is actively trying to hurt you and your focus is on making sure they can’t.”

She lowered the stick. “And you want to hurt them back.”

“Only to give yourself enough time and space to get away,” Jemma added gently. “If it comes down to it, whether it’s them or you, we’d always rather have you.”

“It’s a difficult choice to make, Much.” Robin reached out and wrapped her fingers around Much’s wrist. “We’d rather none of you lot – you, Kitty, and Maggie – have to make it.”

The implication sunk in a bit, and Much took a deep breath only to blow it out again. “Right.” She readjusted her grip on the stick and raised it once more. “Again?”

“Absolutely,” Jemma said. “Remember what I told you about your elbows.”

Robin smiled sharply and tightened her fingers around the staff.

Author Bio:
Molly is a 2013 graduate of William Smith College with a bachelors in chemistry. She puts her science powers to use by day and is a novelist by night (and weekend...and any five minutes she can find). When she's not writing or working, she's scoping out coffee shops, exploring her new city (Buffalo, NY), taking day trips to Canada, and putting together puzzles.


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Enchanter by Kristy Centeno

Title: Enchanter
Author: Kristy Centeno
Series: Giver of Life Trilogy #1
Genre: Young Adult, New Adult Paranormal Fantasy
Release Date: May 12, 2017
Summary:
They have a past. But will they have a future?

Leah Parker is resilient and hardworking. She’d always prided herself in maintaining a level head, even under pressure. Everything changes when she begins to see strange apparitions and hear ghostly voices on the morning of her birthday.

In a blink of the eyes, Leah’s life takes a drastic turn that spirals her into the unknown. Something is out to get her, but she’s unsure if she’s losing her mind, or the faces and demands of the dead are real. Unable to find the answers she needs, she has no choice but to rely on ex-best friend, Brandon Morris, for help.

But as she will soon discover, Brandon has his own secrets. Some of which defy logic and only add to the mystery surrounding Leah. And mix feelings between the two complicate matters by getting in the way of what they really want, and what they must do.

Can Brandon lighten the load on her by figuring out what or who wants her dead? Or will their past history get in the way of the storm brewing just beyond Leah’s grasp?


#1
“Are you scared of me? Is that it?” As if to make a point, he covered the distance between us in three short steps, and backed me off into the landing to the stairwell behind me, stopping only when our bodies were a few inches from coming into physical contact. The invigorating scent of his cologne invaded my nostrils, causing my mind to go into total and complete turmoil.

I shut down, unsure how to react. I hadn’t anticipated being cornered in a vulnerable spot where we were shielded from view. Normally, I was a sucker for guys who smelled as good as he did, but this was Brandon Morris. I couldn’t decide whether to lean closer and inhale slowly, or scream and push him away.

“Are you?”

I wanted to deny his accusation, but he could see the truth in my eyes. It was pointless to pretend as if he hadn’t just sent my heart into a race. By then he could see how badly I shook. I could not disguise it fast enough for him not to notice.

“Should I be?” I asked softly, fear forcing my voice to quake.

#2
Fighting the nausea threatening to consume me, I made a mad dash for alleyway’s entrance. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something move. I shrieked and sprinted faster, almost colliding into the thin man who appeared out of nowhere in front of me. I managed to stop in time to crash into him, but as soon as I caught sight of his profile I regretted not plowing right through him.

He looked like something straight out of a sci-fi movie. Tall, long, and lanky, with shoulder-length white hair, unnaturally pale skin, and eyes that gave the impression of missing irises, he was no less horrifying than the black figure I’d seen at the stairwell or the ghostly woman in my bedroom. He was clad from top to bottom in dark clothing, which gave him all the more menacing feel. As he stood, staring at me in a way that communicated I was about to become food, I could have sworn my stomach dropped to my feet. This was no ordinary attacker. He didn’t have rape or mugging in mind, but something much more sinister.

#3
Movement several yards behind him caught my attention and I glanced around his left shoulder to the woods, noting the quick blur of a figure darting from behind one tree to another. Something was off about the way this person rushed by. It sparked a sense of familiarity that horrified me.

“Brandon, I don’t think we’re alone anymore,” I murmured as another flash of white scurried ever closer. It was too dark for me to determine who it was, but I was certain of one thing: we were being watched.

“What…?” The meaning of my words didn’t immediately dawn on him.

“Someone’s out there.”

Brandon spun around abruptly. He scanned the area briefly as he backed into me while sucking in air. His suddenly rigid posture warned me whoever was out there was not friendly.

Without a single word of explanation, Brandon turned to me and took my hand in his, pulling me down the path we’d used to get to the gazebo. He towed me along in a haste, leaving me no room to protest, or figure out what the hell was going on. A weird, high-pitched hissing sound emanated from somewhere behind us. It startled me and I was tempted to glance over my shoulder, but Brandon’s next words stopped me.

“Don’t look, Leah!” His tone was as serious as I’d ever heard it, which freaked me out even more. What was he so scared of?

Author Bio:
Kristy Centeno is the author of the Secrets of the Moon saga and Keeper Witches series.

She has always had a passion for books and after years of being an avid reader, she decided to transform her desire to write into a reality and thus, her first novel was born. When she’s not busy taking care of her five children or holding down the fort, she finds time to sit and do what she loves the most: writing.


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