Release Day: First Impressions by Alicia Chumney

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Happy Release Day To:

Author: Alicia J. Chumney
Publisher: Alicia J. Chumney
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Jane Austen Variation, Pride & Prejudice Retelling
Found: Amazon

Synopsis

Lizzy
Focused on getting as many scholarships as possible, running and academics are the bulk of Elizabeth “Lizzy” Barnes’ life. When Liam becomes her newest teammate and classmate, she begins to wonder if there is more to life than her pursuit of a debt-free college experience.

Liam
When William “Liam” Davis’ parents are killed in a car accident, he’s sent across the state to live with his overbearing Aunt Catherine Delgado.

Starting over during his Senior year of high school was not something he ever expected to happen and he finds himself in uncertain territory as he struggles to adapt to the changes happening in his life.

Meeting Elizabeth Barnes happened to be an added bonus.

As they grow closer, Aunt Catherine gives Liam an ultimatum that disrupts their friendship: Liam and his sister can get the therapy they need if he stops being friends with ‘that Barnes girl.’

Can they overcome the obstacles in front of them or will graduation be the end of their time together?

First Impressions is the first book set in a modernized and loose adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. This story follows Liam, Lizzy, and their friends and family through their Senior Year of high school. The complete trilogy follows Liam and Lizzy through high school and college, through the trials they experience during six years of their lives.

Release Day: The Olympus Trinity by Brian Coggins Jr

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Happy Release Day To:

Author: Brian Coggins Jr
Publisher: Brian Coggins Jr
Genre: Mythology, Fantasy Adventure
Found: Amazon

Synopsis

Zeus, the King of the Gods, fears no man, being, or anything of nature in the universe except one thing . . . the loss of family. Opposed to the cruel ways of his vicious father, Kronos, Zeus has strived endlessly in instilling the traditions his mother Rhea taught to him—Family is Everything. In spite of all his protection over his children, destiny ignores no one.

When a mysterious figure comes to his home, Zeus discreetly turns to his reticent brother Hades, God of the Underworld, for answers. Unfortunately, the rebellious and uncontrollable Ocean God, Poseidon, seeks for the answers his way that collides the troubled lives of the forefathers.

Needing to cast aside their differences, the Olympus Trinity must work together if they are to unravel the threads of a perilous mystery of their past.

— — —

Interested in my review? You can find it on my blog here.

Book Review: The Olympus Trinity by Brian Coggins Jr

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Author: Brian Coggins Jr.
Publisher: Brian Coggins Jr.
Genre: Mythology
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Release Date: April 11, 2022

Synopsis: When a mysterious figure comes to Zeus’ home, he turns to his brother Hades for answers. But Poseidon is seeking answers too, and his way clashes with Zeus’. The three will need to put aside their differences if they are going to unravel the mystery that’s tied to their past.

Review:
Note: I’m going to try and keep it as spoiler-free as possible because this is a new release. Also, I was given an ARC copy of this book and am leaving my honest review.

I love mythology and grew up deep in some of the Greek Myths, so when I was asked to review the book I was really excited to do so.

The setting of the universe for this novel was interesting and incredibly unique, with there being different planets that the gods travel to. The descriptions, for the most part, do well is helping me be immersed in the area we were in at various times. As well, the plot of the book was incredibly interesting in the way they weaved various myths through the novel as a whole.

The personalities for the gods were an interesting choice and like the dialogue seemed to shift occasionally between formal and having a more royal sense to it and occasionally sliding into being a little more casual and what you’d expect to hear today. However, the tension between the brothers was well done and kept you hooked on watching their interactions unfold.

The writing in the book kept the story moving forward and kept you well immersed in the novel, though at times I had to reread sections because occasionally it got a little clunky. But overall, the plot and the big theme of family kept me going to the end. Some of it, in my opinion, could be a little more smoothed out, but as a whole, the story is a good read and it’s a great start to what will clearly have more to come.

Release Day: Raven’s Cry by Charlie Nottingham

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Happy Release Day To:

Author: Charlie Nottingham
Publisher: Charlie Nottingham
Genre: Dark Paranormal, Reverse Harem
Found: Amazon

Synopsis

Everyone has skeletons in their closet, but Rain’s are learning to open the door.

Rain’s lost everything in the last decade. Her grandmother, her brother, and her family home might be next. All she has is Graham – a powerful Fae who illegally escaped the Fae Realm and has been her best friend ever since.

Until Ezra – the sexiest Vampire she’s ever seen – commissions her for one hell of a job. Cleansing dozens of vengeful spirits from an abandoned mansion for a life changing amount of money.

All Rain wants is to focus on her budding relationship with Ezra, but the ghosts in the mansion have awoken the ones Rain has spent a decade trying to keep locked up.

But Rain isn’t the only one with secrets. Ezra has a few of his own.

— — —

Interested in my review? You can find it on my blog here.

Book Review: Fried Chicken & Fangs by Bella Falls

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Author: Bella Falls
Publisher: Evermore Press
Series: Southern Charms Mystery
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Cozy Mystery
Rating: 4 Stars
Medium: Audio Book

I fell easily into book two of this series straight after finishing the first. It was great to continue Charli’s story as she settles back into her home in Honeysuckle Hollow. Just like the first one the characters are engaging, the plot is thick with a wanting to get into it enticement, and the mystery of it is well paced throughout the book so it doesn’t feel like we’re stalling with a bunch of fluff to tied us to the end of the book itself.

Potential spoilers from here on.

We’re still having Charli pulled between Mason and Dash, though for a good part of the beginning of the book it seems like Dash is definitely winning. Meanwhile, while he’s interested in her and she’s definitely interested in him, Mason’s started to be snippy, sharp, and pushing her away. There are a few teasing hints at an event that went down, the full actions of which were fully revealed in this book. I was able to get enough that I knew some kind of event happened and Mason was embarrassed about how he acted at the event, figuring that it completely changed and potentially hurt his relationship with Charli.

Full disclosure, I’m listening to the audio book and I purchased the books 1-3 bundle so I hadn’t looked at the series list to see that there is, in fact, a short story that falls between the first two books about a singles mixer – which I’m assuming is the referenced event. However, I haven’t purchased or read it at the time of writing this review. And while I do love shorts and novellas that fall between books and explain events we might not have focused on in the full series, this one was a little jarring because it directly affected Mason’s relationship with Charli – to the point that I was honestly really confused as to why he was being such a giant ass to her when the last I had left off with the pair, all she’d done since was dance with Dash – something he allowed to happen by letting the Shifter cut in – and then Dash licked some frosting off her fingers at a town event. So relationship wise, that definitely threw me a little bit to try and figure out what had happened or was happening.

Mystery wise, I love the play of having one of Charli’s friends fall for the vampire who was visiting town and turning the two friends against each other a little because Charli didn’t like the guy but her friend was definitely at the point of wanting to date him. It’s definitely a relatable situation. And while I do love how the mystery played out, including some of the red herrings that we were given because they were set up, I’m hoping that the over all person at the center of the whodunit doesn’t continuously be the same in being the one person from out of town. It’s going to make the who extremely obvious if the series continues that pattern.

All in all, definitely going to be continuing book three. And definitely going to be checking out that short I apparently missed.

Book Review: Raven’s Cry by Charlie Nottingham

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Author: Charlie Nottingham
Publisher: Charlie Nottingham
Genre: Dark Paranormal, Reverse Harem
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Release Date: April 4, 2022

Synopsis: Rain has lost everything in the last decade. Frist her brother, than her grandmother, and the house Gran left her might be next if she can’t get some more jobs walking through the door. At least she has Graham, a Fae who escaped the Fae Realms and has been with her for half her life. Best friends with a history tightly woven in romantic crushes and nightmare inducing trauma.

In walks Ezra, a sexy vampire looking to commission her Gram – and her when he finds out that Gran has passed, to cleanse a mansion of vengeful spirits for a lifechanging amount of money.

But things start to change when she takes the job, not just with her heart but her past starts to become unburied as well.

Review:
Note: I’m going to try and keep it as spoiler free as possible because this is a new release. Also I was given an ARC copy of this book and am leaving my honest review.

As a whole, I really enjoyed this book. I hit the halfway mark and literally couldn’t put it down until I’d finished it. And my only disappointment is that it’s an arc so I have a while to wait until the next one so I can see where the series as a whole will be going.

The world building in this book (and Charlie’s series across the board because they all share the same world and lore) is interesting and it’s definitely making me want to pick up her other series to experience more of it in the interim while I wait for book two of this series.

Our main female character, Rain who has learned all her magic from her late grandmother. She’s not part of a coven, but from what I picked up in the book neither was her grandmother with the references to poaching clients as the reason most in covens snubbed Rain as well. She’s also had a crush on her best friend Graham since they were younger but it never went anywhere because of some communication glitches between both of them.

Ezra is a vampire who’s looking for the right witch for a job, but what he doesn’t expect is to lose his heart when he decides to risk asking Rain out. Nor do any of them expect the cloud of emotion that tangles them all together, especially with the secrets that Ezra is holding onto until later in the book.

I knew where this was going romance wise when I picked up the ARC because I knew it was a reverse harem – as well the author was kind enough to put a note in the front of the book before you even start to express the fact that it’s a MMFM – so watching all of it evolve to where it settled at the end of book one was wonderful. As well, there’s a scene where one of the characters explains his relationship as a bi and poly male and I think the author explained it incredibly well. Too often it’s hard to explain being bi, but being poly as well adds an intricate thread that can often times be done poorly or not explained in a way that does it justice. But this scene was honestly perfection in how the main character listened, and how the man explained it.

I’m also pretty sure that our woman in black knew what she was doing near the end and as much of a risk as it might have been, she did it as a way to tighten the bonds in preparation for what’s coming in book two. Because how better to rally the troops, as it were and get people over hurt feelings. (if you’ve read the book, you know what I’m referencing – apologies for those who haven’t read it yet who are like, WHAT – but I’m trying really hard to stay spoiler free. Also if the author reads this – I see you and what you did there.)

They mystery aspect with the dead, including Rain’s brother’s part in the story was done well and I found the lore interesting. I loved the way she weaved Celtic lore through the fae and the book, I especially loved Graham going through some of the lore when he and Rain were trying to find answers and getting his world sense of, yeah this is right or close, or no this is such crap where did humans ever get this. As well as his use of Gaelic words when he speaks, it’s a nice touch to give his character in the book some personality – as well I’m not going to lie but I love his push and pull with Rain.

If you’re looking for a reverse harem that has an interesting weave of magic and a good plot that we’re really just starting to get into in book one, I’d highly recommend giving this book a chance.

Book Review: Golem by PD Alleva

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Author: PD Alleva
Publisher: Quill & Birch Publishing
Genre: Psychological Horror
Rating: 4 Stars

“Golem – The devil is in the details” is not for the faint of heart. It is a battle between good and evil, humans versus demons, and exploring the dark side of the human mind.

The story opens on Halloween eve 1951 and follows three main characters and the conflicts in their lives. John Ashto, a WWII Vet, has just been promoted to a New York City detective and his first case is to re-investigate an old case file of the District Attorney’s missing daughter.  Alena Francon, a high society socialite and sculptor whose family owns the New York City Hotel where much of the action takes place. And finally, Annette Flemming is a recently married housewife dealing with her husband’s constant travel which leaves her alone most of the time.

John and Alena are brought together because Alena is sure that she’s seen the missing woman John is looking for, and the tale she weaves about the DA’s daughter and how it ties to the ClareField Hotel that caught fire. As fantastical as her story is, his hope is that it will lead him to answers to solve the case and mystery.

PD Alieva draws the reader into John, Annette, and Alena’s individual story and their conflicts incredibly well. The characters are well-rounded and thought out, coming alive as you read. The book slowly teases each of their stories out and reveals how they are all related to the events in the New York City hotel. It’s not just their lives that we’re drawing into but the horror of it all as well. The use of the old folklore and that some of the locations in the book were based on real places and events only added to the horror and creepiness of the book and read. 

This story is what nightmares are made of. Each of the main characters is so believable that by the middle of the book, I needed to take short breaks between chapters as each chapter revealed one horror after another. One is left at the end with the question: Is Golem real and can this fantastical story be true? 

Note: If you like a book that ends on an up note, this is not the book for you. This is a true psychological horror, not for the faint of heart, and sure to leave you thinking about the events and messages in the book for weeks to come. But if you feel brave enough, it’s definitely a wild ride to embark on.

Book Review: Moonshine & Magic by Bella Falls

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Author: Bella Falls
Publisher: Evermore Press
Series: Southern Charms Mystery
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Cozy Mystery
Rating: 4 Stars
Medium: Audio Book

Favorite line from the book:
“I swear, you don’t go looking for trouble. You hunt it down, tackle it to the ground and claim it as yours.”  ~ Mason

Moonshine & Magic is the first in a cozy mystery series that takes place in Honeysuckle Hollow – a town full of the magically inclined. It starts off as we follow Charli Goodwin as she comes home after being away for a while, and while she didn’t really seem to tell most where she was going we do find out it was so she could better learn her magic. Though, she left behind not just her family but a fiance she turned down as well, which makes her nervous about the homecoming she’ll receive.

Potential spoilers ahead.

As a whole, I really enjoyed this book. With Charli coming home it was a good introduction into the world Charli lived in, Honeysuckle Hollow, and how things worked both for humans and for the magical community. Honeysuckle Hollow is a special town, in that it’s made up entirely of the magical community. Humans who accidentally start to cross into its borders are given a sleep spell and settled somewhere far away so they don’t actually make it into town. It’s kind of interesting to have a whole town that’s carefully tucked away so that it can be a safe haven for the magical community.

On her first night back, Charli has the unfortunate pleasure of both walking into her ex-fiance proposing to her cousin but then ending the night finding her uncle dead. Even worse, she’s tied to the death curse he’d weaved on himself, which means that she needs to find out who killed him so the curse can settle on the rightful person and fast.

I enjoyed the world-building of the book and the magic system – including that magic users, of all kinds be they witch or vampire, tend to have a particular thing they’re good at that usually travels down the bloodlines. I actually really liked that while she was under the death curse and striving to figure out who killed her uncle that the curse actually did affect her. It weakened her, it was made worse by using her magic or by being touched by other magic, which slowed her down and made her rely on some help from both the new warden (detective), named Mason, in town as well as a wolf shifter, Dash, in town.

I will say, she kept making the distinction whenever Mason called Dash a werewolf, that he wasn’t a werewolf, he was a Wolf Shifter, without any context to us, the reader, for what the difference might actually be. So I’d have loved a little more context into why the two are very different. Because there was a reference to something happening in Mason’s past that’s tied to werewolves and thus gives him a bias against them – so clearly they’re technically two separate creatures? But I’m not entirely sure what the difference is because while she’s quick to correct him, I didn’t really get a reason why or how they’re different.

While I saw a little of the whodunit when we meet him originally on the night of Charli’s homecoming, I do like that the mystery was stretched out because it’s not just about the whodunit but the why as well that is important and I like how they weaved the why in. As well, who might have had a hand in helping or being involved. I think the wrap-up at the end was handled well also, and liked the conclusion of the book.

Currently, I’m curious if this is going to end up with her picking one of the two men interested in her (technically three since her ex isn’t over her but she’s firmly put him in the rearview mirror with a conversation at the end of the book) or if this will slide into more of a shared/reverse harem ish kind of playout since we currently have both Mason and Dash interested in her and she’s interested in both of them at the moment. We’ll find out because I do plan to continue this series.

New Year, New Goals

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So how are we all feeling now that 2022 has fully set in?

My Holiday season was filled with family, a friend that came for a visit, and some rest. My Aunt was kind enough to grab the Self-publishing Marketing books I requested for Christmas and my Cousin got me some more things for my Cricut so I need to get back into doing the coasters and mugs. I still haven’t actually set up my mug press in my Craft Room.

With the new year, and having a friend over for the Holidays, it made mom and I even more aware that we need to reorganize the Craft Room – with some shifting of the stuff in there we can fit a day bed in it and make it a guest room as well – because right now any guests have to sleep on the pull-out couch which 1) I didn’t realize how hard it was for sleeping all night and 2) is in the living room so barely any privacy.  But I’ve been wanting an excuse for a deep clean anyway, so this gives the perfect reasoning.

So that leads well into 2022 and my goals. I have a few, but I’m trying to keep them to a manageable amount.

  1. Clean the Craft Room and set it up as a partial Guest Room.
  2. Finish Book 2 of the Ragnarok Trilogy with my co-author and publish in July.
  3. Finish editing Into the Faerietale and get that out this year – thinking September-ish for it.
  4. Finish writing, edit, and get a short novella-length story out on my other pen name.
  5. Get my Ko-Fi shop running a little better both with book merch, books, and the necklaces I’ve been making.

All in all, it’s a manageable list, I think. A secondary goal is to create some more merch for both Hotel Fen and Into the Faerietale. I have the bookplates that I need to get up on the shop – so if people buy the physical book through Amazon or B&N and want our signatures on them, they can grab one. I also splurged and made pins:

Which I think came out amazing! They’re metal and enamel with butterfly clasps on the back. And I made special pin backings for them that match the bookplates the signatures are on.

But yes, those are my 2022 goals. What are your goals for the year? I’d love to hear them!

To DYI or not to DYI

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For Holiday gifts that you give to family and friends, I always find myself wondering if I should try and make something or if I should try and find a gift that either makes me think of them or off a list they give me.

For a few years just out of college when I was still trying to find a job some of the DYI was because I just couldn’t afford to purchase gifts for everyone I needed to – even five years ago things are expensive at times. However, I’m crafty enough and I enjoy doing it a lot, so making my gifts has been kind of fun over the years. I’ve made blankets, baked goods, and this year I decided to expand my scope a little and use an annual tradition with my one aunt and uncle.

Every year, I give my aunt and uncle an ornament for their tree. It goes back far enough I couldn’t even tell you what year I started doing it, because for as long as I can remember, it’s been part of my gift to them. This year, especially with all the painting I’ve been doing, I decided I wanted to try my hand at making an ornament for them.

Though, that lead to questioning what color I should be making the ornament in. Which prompted me to try out a few colors in my process – as well as testing out both glass ornaments and plastic ones. Overall, I think they came out really well. Though I’m still no closer to trying to choose which one to give them.

Do you like doing DYI gifts for family and friends? If so, what do you make for them? I’d love to know what other crafters enjoy making, especially as gifts.