Book Club Mom’s Author Update: Tammie Painter

Author name: Tammie Painter

Book to feature: The Undead Mr. Tenpenny, The Cassie Black Trilogy Book One

News to share: I’m thrilled to announce the launch of The Undead Mr. Tenpenny, the first book in my new series, The Cassie Black Trilogy. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but the novel — which is full of dark humor — first came to mind while I was waiting for my grandmother’s funeral to start.

The book begins when Cassie Black, who works at a funeral home, finds her “clients” waking up.

Cassie thinks she has the problem under control, until her latest client (Mr. Tenpenny) insists he’s been murdered and claims Cassie’s responsible thanks to a wicked brand of magic she’s  been exposed to. The only way for Cassie to get her life back to normal is to tame her magic and uncover Mr. Tenpenny’s true killer.

Simple right? Of course not. Because while Cassie works on getting her newly-acquired magic sorted, she’s blowing up kitchens, angering an entire magical community, and discovering her past is more closely tied to Busby Tenpenny than she could have ever imagined.

The novel earned some happy kudos from a branch of the American PEN Women when it won first place in their novel excerpt contest, and again from Apple who selected it as one of their Most Anticipated Books of 2021.

But what’s truly brought a smile to my face are the responses from my early reviewers who have loved the characters, the humor, and the overall premise of the book.

Anyway, If you like contemporary fantasy with snarky humor, unforgettable characters, piles of pastries, and a little paranormal mystery, you’ll love the Cassie Black Trilogy…a fish-out-of-water tale that takes you from the streets of Portland to the Tower of London.

Brief bio and other books: I’m an award-winning author who turns wickedly strong tea into imaginative fiction. With a creative and curious mind, my stories run the gamut from historical fantasy to modern-day paranormal, and magical realism to humor-laced dark tales.

Besides the new trilogy, I’ve got two, complete historical fantasy series under my belt: The Osteria Chronicles and Domna, plus a fair number of short stories.

Website and social media links:
BookBub: @TammiePainter
Instagram: tammiepainter
Twitter: @tammie_painter

Are you working on a new book? Have you won an award or a writing contest? Did you just update your website? Maybe you just want to tell readers about an experience you’ve had. Book Club Mom’s Author Update is a great way to share news and information about you and your books.

Email Book Club Mom at for more information.

Open to all authors – self-published, indie, big-time and anything in between. Author submissions are limited to one per author in a six-month period.

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Audiobook Review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Carry On
Rainbow Rowell


Here’s an example of how my reading tastes may get in the way of a proper review. I downloaded this book on a whim. I knew it was Young Adult, a genre I usually like, but I didn’t read about what Carry On was about ahead of time.

Carry On is a teen love story that takes place at a magic school outside of London. The magic people are at war because the Insidious Humdrum is eating holes into the atmosphere. If the Humdrum goes unstopped, the world of magic will disappear.

Simon Snow is in his last year at Watford School of Magiks and he is the chosen one, the only mage who has a chance of defeating the Humdrum. He’s an orphan and is under the tutelage of the school’s director, The Mage. But Simon is clearly not ready to take on his predetermined role in defeating the Humdrum. He is often clueless and his spells need work. At Watford, he has a girlfriend, Agatha, a best friend, Penny and his nemesis roommate, Baz, is a vampire. Despite their magic, the four are typical teenagers with the usual problems and angst.

The story begins in the fall of the kids’ last year at Watford. Simon is glad to be back after a summer with the Normals. When Baz is late returning to school, Simon is both relieved, but strangely worried. It’s the first sign that something is going terribly wrong at Watford. Will Simon and Baz be able to get past their problems and will the friends be able to stop the Humdrum? Can they count on The Mage, who’s often away, to help them?

I don’t want to spoil the story for fans of this type of book. Rainbow Rowell is a popular writer in this genre. Simon is also a character in another one of her books, Fan Girl, a fanfiction story. But Carry On is written in the first-person point of view of each character, so it’s a separate story. I must also mention the obvious similarity to Harry Potter. There are heated debates about whether this is okay. I’m not at all into Harry Potter (I know, sorry…) or fanfiction, so I will only just mention it. I also found the audiobook a little confusing because the subtle changes in the narrator’s voice made it hard to know who was talking.

But I thought the story was well developed, with good building tension in the plot. There are clear good guys, villains, some I was unsure about and plenty of lesser characters that make important appearances later on. For me, the plot was a little too crazy and the finish was really out there. Fans are guaranteed lots of magic and vampire stuff, plenty of romantic twists and an action-packed conclusion. I thought the wrap-up was good because it gave me a clear view of how the characters will move on with their lives in the second book of the Simon Snow series, Wayward Son.

So for me, just okay, but I’m clearly not the designated reader. I was glad to learn more about the genre, however, and think those who like books about magic and vampires would enjoy Carry On.

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Book Talk – The Magician’s Assistant by Ann Patchett

Image: Pixabay

Welcome to a new and occasional feature on Book Club Mom called Book Talk, home to quick previews of new books that catch my eye.

I love reading stories about secrets and the chaos they create. Keeping secrets is one kind of story, but dealing with the mess when secrets are found out is the best kind. That’s why The Magician’s Assistant by Ann Patchett caught my eye. It’s about a charming magician whose sudden death reveals a secret past and family. And this is the mess his widow/assistant has to face.

When Parsifal dies, Sabine discovers that he has been living under a false identity. The family he claimed had died in an accident is alive and are named as heirs in Parsifal’s will. It’s up to Sabine to figure things out.

I’ve had The Magician’s Assistant on my shelf for a few years. Ann Patchett is such a talented writer, I have to get back to her soon! Commonwealth has been waiting patiently on my Kindle and I’ve already read Bel Canto and State of Wonder.

Can someone work a little magic on my schedule to make room for this one?

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Book Review: We Hear the Dead by Dianne K. Salerni

We Hear the Dead
Dianne K. Salerni

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is a very readable and interesting recounting of Maggie, Kate and Leah Fox, three sisters who claimed to be able to communicate with the dead.

I had never heard of the Fox sisters and their influence on American thinking in the 1850s. I did not know that the Fox sisters were responsible for launching the popular Spiritualism movement.

I thought Dianne Salerni did a great job showing how many people during that time period longed to reach out to their departed loved ones and how many influential members of the community believed in or supported the Fox sisters, including Amy and Isaac Post, who were part of the Underground Railroad, and President Franklin Pierce’s wife, who was desperate to communicate with their lost son. Salerni also gives the reader a good look at life in the mid 1800s, with her use of language, references to women’s rights, slavery and the abolitionists, Quakers, explorers and forward thinkers. She also shows the hard impact diseases such as consumption, rheumatic fever and cholera had on the population.

Equally interesting was Maggie’s relationship with explorer Dr. Elisha Kane and his efforts to pull Maggie away from spiritual “rapping.” I also liked reading about Kane’s arctic explorations and the dangers that went with trying to map out unknown areas of the world.

Small Spoilers:

Some of my favorite parts include all the referenced tricks the Fox sisters and others used, particularly the candles, and the way the Posts help Maggie and Leah escape danger in their wagon.

This would be a great book for a middle school syllabus.

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