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Machiavellian by Bella Di Corte | Blog Tour

Book Name: Machiavellian (Gangsters of New York, #1)
Author: Bella Di Corte
Genres:
 Adult, Romance, Suspense
Publication Date: May 8th 2020
Book Acquired: ARC, Xpresso Book Tours
Ratings: 4 stars! 

Synopsis:

I hungered to be seen.

There were three things I knew about Capo Macchiavello:

He was gorgeous.
He was reclusive.
He was considered one of New York’s most savage animals.

And he wanted me as his wife. A simple arrangement – you do for me, I do for you. Nothing owed, no expectations. Except for one: never leave.

Life was never that simple, though. By the age of twenty-one, I was parent-less, jobless, and homeless, and I had come to learn the hard way that nothing was ever free. Even kindness comes with strings.

Capo might’ve been the only man to ever see me, but I had made a vow to myself: I would never owe anyone anything. Most of all, the man I called boss.

I killed to stay hidden.

Mariposa Flores thought she owed nothing to no one, but she owed everything…to me, the ghost the world had once called The Machiavellian Prince of New York.

Machiavellian is the first of three books set in the savage world of the Gangsters of New York series.

My Review: 

It’s been a long time since I read a mafia book. The younger version of me enjoyed reading her fair share of Mafia books on Wattpad. But this is a different time. 

I was captivated by the book in the start itself. The introduction of the characters is done remarkably. I connected with Mari instantly and sympathized with her situation. the step she takes to help her self is taken in desperate measures and seems weird in the start but I kind of warmed up to it by the end. 

Capo’s persona is very strong and manly. That makes him very desirable and of course, he notices Mari when no one will. He wants to protect her at all costs. Instead of starting a relationship normally, Mari and Capo make a deal and I enjoyed watching their chemistry grow with each passing chapter. 

Given the situation both Mari and Capo are in, we see the gentleness towards each other and the eagerness to learn about the other come alive. The short and sweet moments are not what you generally expect in a Mafia novel, but the author has done a great job at adding them in a way that flows perfectly.

Although, the book is a bit too long, I didn’t feel it as I was so intrigued by it. The lies, secrets, deception, action all make the book an even better read. I loved this book and would highly recommend! 

Jax by MLJ Quigg | Blog Tour & Author Interview

Book Name: Jax (Knight Attack Book One)

Author: MLJ Quigg

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Date of Publication: 2nd September, 2020

Book Description: 

Rock royalty.

That’s what people call me.

But all it took was a single phone call to bring me to my knees.

Five years later, my life has changed irrevocably forever.

Though someone lurks in the shadows threatening to tear all that I love apart. 

An obsession of the worst kind. 

Can I keep the woman I love safe?

Or will everything burn to ash… 


My interview with the author MLJ Quigg:

1) Tell us something about yourself.

I am a married mum of 3 adult kids. I live in a smallish country town between Sydney and Australia’s capital Canberra. I have 6 brothers and 1 sister and a half sister. I am a survivor of domestic abuse. Not much more to say. I am me!

2) What made you start writing?

A dream. That’s what started it all. 

3) If given a chance to co-author a book with another author, who would it be and why?

Oh boy, so many choices. I honestly couldn’t say. Either Penny Dee or Leah Sharelle. I’d love to just get in Sherrilyn Kenyon’s brain one day, don’t know whether I’d be worthy to write with her though, I can always dream.

4) If you could be any character from the book world, who would you choose?

Ushara from Born Of Legend by Sherrilyn Kenyon… Oh my god, that girl is awesome!

5) Paperbacks or digital copies, what’s your preference?

For everyday reading – digital

For looking and not touching – Paperback.

6) What was one important lesson that you learned while writing Jax? Any writing tips that you can share with us?

Take your time and make sure you like the story. If you have to go back and re-write, that’s okay. A subpar book is not okay.

Writing tips, research editors. Find one that fits your personality and even talk to other authors they have under them. These are essential, can’t say that enough.

7) Are you working on any new projects? When will we see them?

I am. Writing Dozer (Thorny Devils Book 3) and I hope it comes out soon. Life is crazy at the moment, and I can’t write as much as I’d like to.

8) What is your favorite quote from Jax?

I leave with a light heart,

I don’t feel bad that we’re apart.

My good wishes are with you,

May you reach where you wish to.

You expect me to be sad I don’t have your love,

But I’m returning it to you with a shove.

And I know that must really suck,

But I don’t really give a fuck.

9) Which author do you look up to?

So many. Sherrilyn Kenyon. She is going through hell at the moment and she still keeps a positive attitude and she writes awesome books.

10) A few words for our reader? 

Thanks for taking the time to listen and I hope you enjoy your time here and my books. Peace out.


About the Author:

Australian author MLJ Quigg – lives in NSW, Australia, with her husband, three adult children, and six cats—yes, you heard that right, six. Growing up in a huge family of eight kids was always noisy and didn’t give her enough alone time to unwind. Books have always given her an outlet from the craziness that is her life. Nothing is better than curling up with a good story to take her mind off her surroundings. As a new author, she hopes you enjoy her stories and helps you get out of your world and into hers for a few hours.

The Witch with Nine Lives by B. Austin | Blog Tour

Book Name: The Witch with Nine Lives

Author: B. Austin

Genre: Paranormal, Urban, YA, Horror

Publisher: Spellbound Books

Date of Publication: August 27th, 2020

Tagline: The Tie Between Two Powerful Sisters is Tested when Secrets, Lies and Magic is Revealed in a Dysfunctional Family of Witches.

Book Description:

Medea turns into a cat at night, due to her mother’s curse. Her mother, Dima, has a shape shifting stone. She is 130-years-old but appears to be 18, nearly the same age as her two daughters.

Nikki works as a maid, rather than in the family witchcraft business of fortune-telling, seances, and other witchery-for-hire. She was born a Marilyn-Monroe lookalike. Despite her beauty, jealousy eats away at Nikki because her mother and sister have magic. Nor is Nikki allowed near the books of spells, enchantments, and potions Dima stole from Russian monks.

Medea is tortured by a secret that can destroy the sisterly tie between her and Nikki.

Unknown to her family, Nikki, is developing a magical gift which she cannot control, a sorcery that will threaten Medea and pit two powerful sisters against each other.


Excerpt: 

PROLOGUE

Nikki held her dead sister in her arms, a cat named Medea. It was only because of her youngest daughter, well now her only daughter, that their mother attended this makeshift funeral. Dima should be working. Luke Air Force Base in Glendale was open. There was money to be made dancing with solders. Most paid good money for Dima to gaze into a crystal ball and tell the men their futures. 

Bah, this is a waste of my time, having a funeral for Medea. Dima frowned at the dead Abyssinian cat. The different-colored eyes were glazed over in death and the tongue was hanging out. Dima turned her head away. She felt guilty for having cast a spell on her oldest daughter to begin with. It was for her own good. She may have been just a teenager, but the mafia wanted her dead.

Almost 24 hours passed since Nikki found Medea dead in the backyard. The girl had run into the house screaming, carrying her dead sister in her arms, the cat’s arms dangling and the head hanging. The eyes were open and still. Nikki had been hysterical until Dima slapped her.

Once more, Nikki cried over her furry sister. The girl seemed to like her sister more now that Medea was dead.

Dima yanked a shape shifting stone from her pocket. She ordered the stone to shape shift into a shovel. She then dug a small grave.

Nikki gently placed her sister in the small, shallow grave.

The emotional upset of seeing her eldest daughter lying dead with a pile of dirt beside the open grave, caused Dima to transform from a sexy, 18-year-old to her true self, a 130-year-old hag. Quick, she grabbed the shovel which then melted into her hands and reformed as the shape shifting stone. She clutched the stone and spun until she was once more an 18-year-old beauty.

It was almost midnight at the small, private Russian Molokan Cemetery located at 75th and Maryland Avenue in Glendale, Arizona. There was a full moon, so there was plenty of light shining on the grave.

“Why couldn’t we have a coffin?” Nikki again asked.

“Your sister always liked the dirt. Remember how she would dig with her claws?” Dima said.

“Yes, but that was so she could use the bathroom outside,” Nikki pointed out.

“Well, you really shouldn’t cry over a sister who used her tongue as toilet paper,” Dima said. “Medea was inferior.”

Nikki glared at her. “Medea was a cat because of you.”

“Well, if Medea had not been an outdoor cat, but stayed indoors, she might have lived a few years longer, if not for you,” Dima said.

Now, it was Nikki’s turn to look guilty.

The moon moved directly above them, signaling that it was now midnight.

Dima screeched and pointed at the grave. Moonlight was shining on the cat, which had transformed from a brown Abyssinian cat into a black kitten.

“Medea’s come back to life!” Nikki clapped her hands with joy.

Dima, on the other hand, was so shocked that she dropped Pompeii, her shape shifting stone. She again transformed from a young woman to an ancient one. Her boobs were sagging past her waist. Her hair was but a few sparse white hairs. Dima lifted her head so that she could see because her wrinkly eyelids blurred her vision, not to mention the cataracts; oh, the cataracts, and the arthritis in her gnarled hands. Her back was hunched over. Dima ached with more than a century and a quarter of living, and none of it as the granddaughter of Catherine the Great of Russia. Dima was born with signs that she would be a witch, which freaked out her royal family, so her bastard mother threw her away.

Well, enough of bad memories. Medea was reborn!

The kitten sat up and stretched, arching its back. She wasn’t exactly a newborn kitten. Medea appeared to be the size of a four-month-old kitten.

Dima stooped to pick up the shape shifting stone.

The kitten was faster and jumped on the stone, sitting on the rock.

Dima jumped out of the way because the kitten scratched at her ankles.

Dima growled low in her throat. “I see dying hasn’t improved your bad manners, Medea. You are still headstrong though you must weigh all of three pounds. Move, or I’ll smack you with a newspaper.”

Seventeen cats, some old, some young, surrounded them, hissing at Dima. Of course, the cats attended Medea’s funeral. She was their leader.

Traitors, Dima thought. The older cats had once been loyal to her, but that was before she turned her daughter into a cat.

Dima took a step back. Medea may have been reborn as a black cat, but her eyes were still the same, one eye being amber in color and the other eye emerald-green. The two different colors were a sign of magic. Medea was still a witch and power still flowed in her kitty veins.

The kitten laughed. “Come now, mother,” Medea said in a kittenish, human voice. Medea apparently had the memories of her past life. “It won’t hurt you to stay your own age, for an hour or so. This is my wish for my birthday.”

“You don’t get a second birthday,” Dima snarled.

“Yes, she does,” Nikki protested. “Medea has now been born twice.”


About the Author:

Belinda has fun creating both researched and original magic in her books. She grew up in New Mexico, a Southwestern state known as the Land of Enchantment with a long history of Native American and Spanish witchcraft. Growing up, she heard spell-binding tales about magic and real witches, magic sometimes witnessed by family members. Belinda has a friend in Albuquerque who is a modern-day witch. Belinda is a former Software Engineer / Web Applications Developer. She has a degree in Applied Mathematics. She did not have to do research when it comes to dysfunctional families. Her father was a bigamist with two wives and two sets of children.

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The Name of Red by Beena Khan| Blog Tour

Book Name: The Name of Red
Author: Beena Khan
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Literary Fiction, Romance
Publication date: May 15th, 2020
Book Acquired: ARC, Xpresso Book Tours
Ratings: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Synopsis:

Two strangers on the same path.

Survivors. Companions.

They will be each other’s salvation.

On a rainy, winter night, a mysterious woman in a red dress seeking shelter comes inside the restaurant Kabir was busy working in —primarily the bar— and night after night, drink after drink, she comes back to the same spot. That is where he sees her for the first time.

Hundreds of patrons around her try to speak with her daily, but she dismisses them. It appears she wants to remain in a blissful peace alone with her booze and books. After seeing the mysterious woman reading a book, and because of his shy nature, Kabir gains entrance into her life by anonymously leaving books with notes for her.

The Name of Red is the story of two strangers, two different personalities who meet on a winter, rainy night who challenge each other. They have a connection which blossoms into a friendship due to their fondness of books. But they both have secrets that can bind them together or threaten their newfound relationship forever.


My Review:

To be really honest, I felt really happy signing up for this blog tour as it’s written by a South Asian writer. Being a South Asian myself, I was super excited to read this book. I love the Asian names and the culture that the author has used. Something that is very relatable for me.

The beginning of the book had me intrigued from the moment I started reading. The entrance of Red was very well written and the mystery that came with it, made me want to read the book asap. What I loved more, is that romance was found in the midst of book exchanges.

The interesting way in which Kabir get’s Red’s attention is a dream for all book lovers. Oh, how I wish that I got a secret book recommendation too! What started as being complete strangers, book exchangers to friends, and then close friends seem like a perfect relatable love story that is very enjoyable to read.

The author has brought on a lot of topics on the table that are well introduced in the book and are given justice with how they make every character’s life more tangible. It not only shows us that there can be change but the whole story revolves around second chances and how important it is to grab it when it comes our way.

I loved the structure of the book and the third person narration gives a perfect view into every characters life. The details are immaculate and captivating to read. I yearned to read what happened next to Kabir and Red and for that, the suspense and mystery that the author builds around Red had me at the edge of my seat.

Overall, the shy boy meets the mystery girl and falls in love was very entertaining to read. The various topics of assault, alcoholism, and mental illness is spoken about very skillfully. I definitely recommend this book to those who want to read a romantic story as this one has a different style to it.


Beena Khan lives in a suburb in Queens, New York in her apartment. She’s a Literary Fiction Novelist and Poetess. She is 27 years old and from Azad Kashmir, Pakistan. She’s an immigrant who moved to New York when she was five years old. She currently holds a Masters Degree in Developmental Psychology from Cuny School of Professional Sciences. She enjoys reading, writing, and Netflixing.

The Name of Red is her debut novel.

Her website is http://www.beenakhan.com.

Sign up for her newsletter below where you can subscribe for book news, writing tips, and exclusive content such as upcoming releases, cover reveals, ARCS, giveaways, and book trailers!

Tribulation by Jaydeep Shah| Blog Tour

Book Name: Tribulation (Cops Planet #1)
Author: Jaydeep Shah
Genres: Adult, Suspense, Thriller
Publication date: June 15th, 2020
Book Source: ARC, Xpresso Book Tours
Ratings: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Synopsis:

When a couple celebrates their eleventh marriage anniversary at their old mansion far from the city of Naples, Florida, they begin experiencing paranormal events. While trying to find out the truth of what’s happening, they encounter a girl wandering in the mansion.

She is the girl whom the couple never wanted to see again in their life.

Surrounded by their sinful past and the girl’s deathly traps, the couple tries hard to escape the mansion. But they are stuck. There is no way out of the mansion. Every second, they approach their end.

There are many secrets buried in the mansion—about the girl, about the couple, and about their past.

Tribulation is a masterpiece of suspense, a thriller with some mild elements of horror from the imagination of Jaydeep Shah.

My Review:

What happens when a murderer gets murdered by the person they tried to murder? Did you get it? If not, please read Tribulation by Jaydeep Shah so everything makes sense and you’ll know what I’m talking about. 

The story is fast-paced, and every chapter shows a new edge to the story. All the characters are shown to do their job well and play out in the most captivating way. We learn about Alex and Casie, as a couple who are celebrating their marriage anniversary at their mansion when things start going wrong. At first, I didn’t understand what was happening and got pretty spooked with the beginning itself. But what everyone thinks is a joke, turns out to be more important and spooky by the chapter. 

Ana, the murderee is back for revenge and is going all out to get what she wants. She wants to see Alex and Casie fall. For a while we see Ana winning and then Alex has control but then Emily enters and it is chaotic but intriguing to read. 

Although the book was a short page-turner, I would have enjoyed a more detailed run-through. I couldn’t connect with the characters and I wish there was more depth to their backstory. The author sticks to the plot and doesn’t deviate from it to give us any details. I’m someone who enjoys her fair share of descriptive books and this one got over too soon. This is something that can be seen as a pro and con whichever way you want to take it. 

The cliff-hanger at the end, is definitely not what I expected and now I’m eager to read the next book in the series. Excuse me, I need more answers! If you like a short, suspense book with good plot twists and appreciable cliff-hangers, then this book is for you! 

Calypso’s Heart by M.C. Solaris | Blog Tour

Book Name: Calypso’s Heart

Author: M.C. Solaris

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Publisher: MC Solaris LLC

Publication Date:15th May 2020

Book Acquired: Bewitching Book Tours

Ratings: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


When I first came across this book, the name had me interested from that moment on. You all know I’m fond of Greek mythology and Calypso is the famous Greek nymph, and to start with this mysterious and unique name is alluring. Next, came the book description which involved wolves, shifters, vampires, and other supernatural species, so I thought, why not? I haven’t read any werewolves/vampire books in a while so this one should be fun!

The introduction of Caly is pretty unique and through her mysterious ability of dream travel. Obviously, in the beginning, I didn’t know it’s Caly’s ability but the dream shows Caly’s unrecognized power. Not only that, but Caly’s characteristics are relatable and lovable. The internal monologue of her coffee, her job, and her cat, Felix. It’s a significant touch of normality within the paranormal setting of the story. I also loved the Crazy Caly Condition alliteration, its pretty catchy!

When Blake’s introduction is made, the alpha male nature of Blake stands out in the way he behaves and treats his fellow pack mates. The responsibility of a pack with different species and leadership suits him to the T. His pack mates are different yet carefully selected for their ability and we can see the years worth of understanding and undying friendships between them.

What I liked the most is the multiple POV’s that makes it so easy to understand the behaviour, feelings, and emotions of the characters. The author has flawlessly incorporated the third-person narration with the voice of each character. It’s done so effortlessly that while reading, I didn’t find any awkward pauses or breaks in the narration. The story and plot flow with immaculate details and descriptions which made me feel like I was right there, present in every situation.

The book is pretty long and it takes a good amount of time to get through. The steamy scenes are well written and showcase the primal, raw, and unadulterated bond of a werewolf and his mate. The playful banter between Rhyland and Rhyker with the other members is hilarious to read and on the outside seem like they’re just a bunch of university friends chilling and living together but on the inside, they are a skilled group of feline hunters. The use of the species imaginative world is done well with mystical and rare abilities that Caly discovers she has. The hunt for The Ghost and The Mastermind also gives a good action and thrill narrative which kept me glued to my seat.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the story. Calypso’s Heart is perfect for those who love a werewolf-human mate bond, shape-shifting hunters, humans with abilities, and a good steamy romance with a perfect revenge plot. I was given this book as an ARC and have voluntarily given my review in exchange for the book as part of the blog tour.

Buy the book: Kobo | Apple | Google Play | Amazon 

Want to get the latest scoop, sneak peeks, and short shares all about the author’s imaginary friends? Go to www.mcsolaris.com and sign up for the newsletter.

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The Bridesmaid by Vic P. Victory | Blog Tour

The Bridesmaid

by Vic P. Victory

Genre: Adult Romance/Comedy

Release Date: April 2020

Summary:

May I introduce Emma to you?

Emma, early thirties, a dependable magnet for mishaps, “screw-ups”, and small to medium catastrophes, trusting victim of womanizers, and a newly minted frustrated single. Nachos with cheese sauce, frozen chocolate tarts, family packs of vanilla ice cream, a little too much red wine, and a gigantic serving of self-pity are helping her drown her misery.

When her friend Olga chooses Emma to be her bridesmaid amidst her own personal crisis, she would rather burst into flames. After an initial period of stagnation, she begins to accept the task thrust upon her and fully dedicates herself to the project “Wedding”.

If only it wasn’t for the bride, who slowly mutates into a self-righteous, megalomaniac, obsessed with perfection and allergic to any well-meant criticism. In other words, a bridezilla. Despite Olga’s unrealistic expectations and unabashed fits of rage, Emma resists the thought of a jumbo-sized Kentucky fried chicken bucket, straightens her 3-buttons-blouse, pulls herself up, has another sip of red wine, and charges into the fight to save a wedding and a friendship.

The August Fog by A.L. Goulden | Book Blitz & Interview

August Fog
A.L. Goulden
(August Fog, #1)
Publication date: August 1st, 2020
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Women’s Fiction

Monica Waters has 31 days to choose between the love of her life or her soulmate. Juggling an unglamorous Hollywood career and a clumsy injury with an endless cocktail of antidepressants and dull daily routines, Monica moves through her thirties in a fog, avoiding the pain of her damaged marriage, broken body, and fragile mind.

Until he comes along.

When emerging artist Quinn Matthews moves next door, just coping with the downward spiral of life is no longer feasible. Their powerful connection ignites a relationship that will tip the boundaries of their perfectly balanced lives, sparking a mutual obsession and life-altering affair.

Monica tosses her prescriptions, striving to be free of their control, but with each passing summer day, dangerous secrets seep into their quiet suburban life, inching toward disaster. Sometimes the truth is hidden for a reason.

“This is a contemporary tale of a woman’s struggle to navigate love and mental illness, while defining where and how she will land on her own feet.” –Independent Reader

“A raw and honest look at the ugly secrets behind a flawed marriage and the stigmas of depression.”

In talks with Hayley Reese Chow

It’s been a great time reviewing books and I thought why not share a few things about their authors as well. Here’s one of my first author interviews with Hayley Reese Chow, author of Odriel’s Heirs.

Hayley Reese Chow has short and flash fiction featured or upcoming in Lite Lit One, The Drabble, Bewildering Stories, Teleport Magazine, and Rogue Blades Entertainment’s omnibus, AS YOU WISH!

Until recently though, she’s mostly done a lot of things that have nothing at all to do with writing. Her hat collection includes mother, wife, engineer, USAF veteran, reservist, four-time All American fencer, 100-mile ultramarathoner, triathlete, world traveler, voracious reader, and super-nerd.

Hayley currently lives in Florida with two small wild boys, her long-suffering
husband, and her miniature ragehound.

But at night, when the house is still, she writes.

Here’s my really fun interview with Hayley! 

  • Tell us something about yourself.

H – I am the runt of a litter of some pretty cool people. I have three sisters: the one with the Ph.D. in Aeronautical Engineering is an international adventure racer (look for her on Amazon Prime’s 2019 Eco-Challenge), the industrial engineer will be racing in the US Olympic Trials for the marathon this year (@sarahbishopruns), and the nuclear engineer graduated from MIT at 20-years-old, fluent in Mandarin.

So basically, when the universe got to me (the fourth daughter), they were all out of brains and brawn, and I’ve been winging it ever since.

  • What made you want to start writing?

H – After I graduated undergrad, I worked part-time for 6 months before I started my career. I didn’t really know what to do with myself, so I read until I had words coming out of my ears. But still, I just couldn’t find the story that I really needed. Finally, tired of me moping about the house, my father told me to create something. It was like a lightbulb came on—and I finally wrote the story that I had been looking for.

Life got busy after that (career, Master’s, marriage, kids), but six years after putting away the first draft, I decided to try to revise and publish. Then the twitter writing community sucked me in, and I haven’t looked back since.

  • What can readers expect from your book?

H – A fast-paced young adult fantasy with themes of self-doubt, inner strength, and growing up, mixed with a healthy dose of magic, a dash of romance, and a horde of undead to round it out.

  • What is the story behind the imaginative world that you have created?

H – Okarria is a mix of all my favourite fictional places. A land with creatures that seem both familiar and extraordinary and filled with magic that can be both wondrous and dangerous. A continent you could walk for centuries and still find surprises. A place full of diverse peoples with a million stories left to be told.

  • If given a chance to co-author a book with another author, who would it be and why?

H – Oh my gosh, just thinking about this makes me feel nervous—so much pressure! Naomi Novik would be amazing though. Her stories are so beautifully told—I am forever on the lookout for her next book. Her characters are always interesting and the world so perfectly woven. Co-authoring with her would be an absolute dream (and also probably give me a panic attack.)

  • What is your all-time favourite book or series?

H – The Abhorsen series by Garth Nix definitely holds a special place in my heart. Garth Nix’s The Old Kingdom is so unique and vivid, and his magic system is incredibly intriguing. Discovering his books in middle school really opened my eyes to the darker depths that you could delve into in YA Fantasy.

  • If you could be any character from the book world, who would you choose?

H – Hermione from Harry Potter. Seriously, who wouldn’t want to get a Hogwarts letter from an owl?! And she’s brilliant AND brave, so that’s hard to pass up. Even though… I’m not sure I would’ve ended up with Ron. Just saying.

  • Can we expect a sequel or a new novel soon?

H – 2021. My goal as a writer is to publish 1 novel a year. Although Odriel’s Heirs works as a standalone, it is also part of a planned trilogy. I actually started drafting the sequel, Idriel’s Children, as soon as I finished the first book, but then I was advised to wait and see how OH was received. To be honest, I told my husband if even one complete stranger likes it, I’m going to finish the sequel. (Check! 😊) But now, of course, it’s not an only child anymore and has two other WIP’s to compete with! Still, all the positive feedback on OH really has me super excited to get back to the world of Okarria. I’ve grown *so* much as a writer since OH, and I’m definitely looking forward to IC’s planned release in 2021.

  • A few words for our readers.

H – First of all, thank you so much for reading! If you’d like to reach out, you can find me @hayleyreesechow on Twitter or Instagram. I’m always up for a chat about books! And lastly, I’d just like to say: never underestimate the power of your words. A review or comment can be so crucially encouraging or constructive for any type of writer, and we want to hear from you, so don’t hesitate to give a shout!

  • Your favourite quotes.

H – Finally! An easy question! My second most favourite quote is a Banksy line that another writer shared with me on twitter:

“Learn to rest, not quit.”

I feel like this totally revolutionized my writing mindset. I love writing, but it does have to come after my family, my health, and my job that supports us. So, some days, I just don’t have the energy to finish the next chapter. I use this as a mantra to pause and take a deep breath. Taking a break isn’t quitting, and the story will still be there waiting for me tomorrow.

And my absolute favourite quote of all time is from Albert Camus (translated):

“In the depths of winter, I found there was, in me, an invincible summer.”

Isn’t it just amazing? I love reading stories about the resiliency of the human spirit, and I feel like Camus’ words just capture it perfectly. I very much believe that we are all capable of so much more than we know. And if you’re ever pushed to that limit, you’ll find a strength you never knew you had. To me, even the thought of that just seems like… magic.

You can follow Hayley here –

Twitter: @HayleyReeseChow

Instagram: @hayleyreesechow

Facebook: @odrielsheirs

Sirens, Pirates, Mermen and More…

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

“A prince may be the subject of myth and legend,” he explains, “but he can’t live in them. He should live in the real world, where he can create them.” He looks solemn. “You should pay less mind to fairy tales, Elian, or that’s all you’ll become.”

When he leaves, I think about whether that would be awful, or beautiful. Could it really be such a bad thing, to become a story whispered to children in the dead of night? A song they sing to one another while they play.

The literary fiction world is being dominated by YA authors popping in on the scene left right and center. Amidst this overcrowded genre, the sub-genre of retold fairy tales has carved a niche for itself and authors like Sarah J. Maas and Renee Ahdieh have ensured that mark won’t fade away with the passing of time.

While eloquent authors have deftly embedded plots of Cinderella, Beauty & the Beast and more in their works, the story of Ariel was overlooked by many.

Not anymore.

Alexandra Christo‘s debut novel To Kill A Kingdom will steal your heart with the emotions it brings forth. She beautifully creates a world where sirens, mermen and mermaids exist along with humans. Midas is the mightiest of the hundred kingdoms on land and the sea is ruled by one Sea Queen.

Sirens that steal human hearts with nothing but cruelty in their own and a prince that has vowed to end the deadliest siren of all. A mother that prides her crown over her daughter and a father who’s considerable riches aren’t enough to keep his son home. A princess with no land to call home and desire to be queen in the middle of it all. All tied together with the thirst to know more of the legend that promises an end to The Prince’s Bane and bring peace between the land sea.

It’s so easy to get swept by the brilliance of Christo’s writing that I overlooked the lack of development in the novel. It definitely feels too short. Too many characters that haven’t been given the attention they deserve. The novel focuses on singular aspects of the siren princess Lira and pirate Prince Elian of Midas throughout the book. Elian’s advisors aren’t given enough space to develop and as he travels through the seas, the very few characters introduced are portrayed with importance yet not given the same gravity in their time in the novel. Elian’s ace – Princess Yukiko in my opinion is another novel just waiting to happen (Alexandra Christo if you ever read this – HINT).

While the story feels rushed, Christo’s writing style and the plot itself makes the book an interesting and fun read. How did the battle between the land and sea end? We recommend reading the book to find out!