Book Review Alert: Claiming Marcus by Jocelynn Drake

Reviewed: June 23rd, 2022
Released: October 31st, 2019
Genre: MM Paranornal Romance

Ethan wants revenge.

Vampires slaughtered his family.

When a job opening comes up for suspected vampire Marcus Varik, Ethan is sure fate is finally smiling on him.

Except his new boss is nothing like he expected.

Shy, awkward, incredibly protective, and so perfectly sexy.

Ethan was definitely wrong about Marcus and the Variks, but is it too late to stop the deadly events he has set into motion? Will he lose the love shining in Marcus’s eyes? Read More…

Book Review Alert: Midlife Magic School by Nicole Wells

Reviewed: June 21st, 2022
Released: June 20th, 2022
Genre: Paranormal Midlife Fantasy

Going to magic school at fifty is the least of Chloe’s worries.

A magical inheritance. A dog with an attitude. A sexy headmaster. And people trying to kill her.

When Chloe receives a bolt of magic out of the blue on her fiftieth birthday, she’s cast into an exciting but tumultuous world filled with Shifters, Elementals, Witches, and one very hot headmaster Witch. In order to return the inheritance to its rightful owner, and satisfy her curiosity at the same time, she must go to the Universal Magush Academy and learn all about the magical community while keeping one big secret—she’s human.

Or is she?

Threats to her life and those she holds dear lurk in every corner. As if that wasn’t enough, students and teachers alike hate her on sight.

As she digs deep to discover who she is, she finds herself in the middle of two battles: one for the fate of humanity and one for the peace of the magic realm. Soon these twisting fates have Chloe questioning everything she thought she knew.

But maybe, with the help of a sexy sidekick and a handful of misfit friends, she’ll teach this magic world a thing or two.

And she might just turn both worlds on their heads while she’s at it… Read my Thoughts…

Book Review Alert: Silent Melody by Alice Ivinya

Reviewed: June 21st, 2022
Released: June 11th, 2021
Genre: Fairytale Retelling

When the Pied Piper came, only three children remained. One was deaf and one was blind.
Being deaf meant life was hard for Adelaide in thirteenth century Germany. However, it also saved her from the Pied Piper’s music. When the children were stolen, she was left behind. Now she and her blind friend risk everything to free the children trapped in an eternal dance. But to rescue them she must face the Heartless Queen, who will do anything to keep them, and survive her twisted games. Adelaide finds she has no choice but to trust the man she should hate and hope he is not playing games of his own.

If she fails, the children will be lost forever. Read my Thoughts…

Author Interview – ES Fein

Author of A Dream of Waking Life.

Join me as I chat with ES Fein about his psychological thriller which released on May 6, 2022. Interested in lucid dreaming and existential discussions? Then check out his podcast.

Helen: Welcome Eric. I am so happy to be speaking to you today about your new book. It sounds so cool, and definitely a little mind bending!

Eric: A Dream of Waking Life is a philosophical, psychological thriller that tells the story of one man’s journey through space, time, and mind to not only discover his true identity but also the love of his life—a woman who keeps slipping through his fingers and into another reality. A thought-provoking meditation on the thin line between what is real and what is not, A Dream of Waking Life will leave readers questioning how far they would go to understand the nature of their own existence and how much they would sacrifice for love. 

Helen: Oh, that sounds deep and very intriguing. As is your cover. Can you tell us a bit about it?

Eric: The cover represents the three predominant dreams/worlds/realities (part of the grand mystery of the story is the uncertainty of what is real) that the protagonist is stuck in. I wanted the cover to appear as if these realities are blending into one another. The two figures standing and looking at the large tower, called “The Tower of God” in the story, are the main characters. You will also notice a small figure in the sky watching over them. I won’t say who that is. You’ll have to read the story to find out!

Helen: It is an interesting cover, you want to flip it around and inspect the alternate view to see what is different, because it is not a true reflection. What made you write such a complex and thought provoking book?

Eric: I wrote this book as a reflection on my lifelong experiences with lucid dreaming, existential confusion, bipolarism, thousands of psychonautical trips using DMT and other potent psychedelics, and the most important thing in existence: love.

Helen: I’ve never even heard of lucid dreaming, so colour me interested. I’m definitely going to be checking that out, when I find the time lol! I’m knee-deep in editing at the moment and my deadline is looming. You have some great reviews for your book already, and ‘unputdownable’ is the clear message. What genre does this book fit into?

Eric: I predominantly read and write scifi. A Dream of Waking Life isn’t pure scifi, but it definitely fits into the category. I love scifi stories because they are constantly forcing readers to wonder about reality and ask the big questions of existence: Who are we? Why are we here? What’s the purpose of reality? What the heck is going on?

Helen: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, it is such an achievement. What made you first put pen to paper and write a book?

Eric: I’ve been writing and telling stories for as long as I can remember. I remember in preschool, I used to have kids laughing and jumping in excitement as I made up wild and zany stories about what I had gone through on my way to school. The other kids called it “Eric story time,” and it felt as natural as breathing to me.

Helen: When writing do you prefer silence? or do you surround yourself with music?

Eric: Always! I listen to jazzhop or lofi hip hop when I write.

Helen: Is there anything random you would like share about yourself?

Eric: I was born without a right pectoral muscle. It used to cause incredible depression and self-hatred, even leading me to attempt suicide several times when I was young. Now, at 33, I see it as a blessing that has taught me how to accept imperfection and find beauty in all forms.

Helen: I am so sorry to hear you had to deal with such issues, but really happy that you found your way out and have embraced who you are and can appreciate all that is around you, and that you channelled your emotions and creativity into writing. What is the most useful piece of advice you have found about writing?

Eric: The author, Robert Heinlein, said in a book of writing tips something along the lines of: “Throw it all up! The only way to write is to throw up everything until it’s a complete mess. Once it’s all out, then you can go back and sift through the barf to find the actual story you’re looking for.”

Helen: Thank you Eric, for spending time with me today, I’ve loved chatting with you. Just to close out, is there any advice you would like to share with any aspiring writers?

Eric: Don’t expect to succeed in the traditional sense. If you aren’t writing because you enjoy writing, this will almost undeniably be a heart-breaking experience for you.

About the Author:

Reader, author, and purveyor of top-shelf science fiction, speculative fiction, and fantasy. My favorite subjects to read and write about include transhumanism, esotericism, cosmological ontology, existential ontology, Eastern philosophy, hard sci Fi, soft sci Fi, time travel, space exploration, psychological exploration, pansexualism, religion, mythology, space opera, experimentation with entheogens, and more. I like strange characters dealing with strange situations. Check out some free short stories on my site: Officialesfein.com

For all the latest news:

You can preorder A Dream of Waking Life from Amazon:

UK: eBook | Paperback

USA: eBook | Paperback

As an Amazon Associate I may earn commission from purchases made using these links.

If you enjoy fantasy books then you will love my epic fantasy Sentinal series. As a new threat against Remargaren is discovered, only one man can wake the ancient guards who can protect them, only he doesn’t know how. Start the adventure and stay for the journey. Sign up to my newsletter and download a free novella called Sentinals Stirring and keep up with progress on my next books are published.

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Author Interview – Edith Pawlicki

Author of Trials of Fire and Rebirth

Today I am chatting with epic fantasy author, Edith Pawlicki, about her new novel Trials of Fire and Rebirth, which is a standalone novel in her Immortal Beings world and released, June 14th, 2022.

Helen: Welcome Edith! Congratulations on the release of your new book! I’m so excited to be chatting to a fellow epic fantasy author. Tell us a little about your latest book.

Edith: Trials of Fire and Rebirth is a standalone in my Immortal Beings world. The whole series is epic fantasy, but this book is much more intimate than the first two – it focuses on the complicated histories of an young immortal who cannot remember her past and a powerful god who is ashamed of his. Of course, their mysteries and regrets are tied together, and both come to the fore as they deal with a very unpleasant mortal cult.

Helen: I love your cover, the imagery is very clever, especially the person within the butterfly. But you have chosen to have two covers haven’t you?

Edith: The Kindle cover reflects book’s magic, which is based on color. Karana, the God of Destruction, has red and white magic, and An Ning, the Peace Bringer has black magic. Butterflies are tied to redemption and rebirth in my mind, and when I saw this premade art with the butterfly and the person inside, I thought it matched the themes of the book and the interior motif. I edited it to be red and black and added the white smoke, hopefully evoking fire!

The physical book cover shows Karana, the God of Destruction, and An Ning, the Peace Bringer, with one of their pet Bulgae (aka a firedog). The series marker is actually a red ink stamp, the material is scanned and color-edited rice paper, and washi origami paper is behind the artwork. This is a character-driven epic fantasy – thus the artwork – and a pan-Asia influenced world, so I tried to echo the style of antique Chinese epics.

Helen: Both covers are lovely! How did you come up with the title?

Edith: All the titles in the Immortal Beings series follow the — of — and —- format, to tie them together. For this book, the God of Destruction is dealing with fire, the Peace Bringer is dealing with rebirth, and both of them go through some really wretched situations – trials! – together.

Helen: What inspired you to write this book?

Edith: Recent world events had led me to ponder objective versus subjective truth, and I realized that since the magic of the Immortal Beings is shaped by belief, it would be a great way to explore the way they interact and influence each other. There’s a temptation to assume everything is either true or false, but the power of the human imagination is such that if enough people deeply believe in something (i.e. that paper printed with faces and numbers is valuable) it becomes so. And yet, it’s also possible for thousands of people to believe something and yet it remains a lie that is dangerous to humanity as a whole. Anyway, I set this story up with a character who was facing her own internal contradiction (gender dysphoria) and a human cult with theirs (burning people alive to reincarnate), and set off to find the lines between truth and lie, denial and acceptance.

Helen: Oh my, what an interesting and deep concept. You would need some resolute characters to shoulder such heavy burdens. Tell us about them.

Edith: This book started with Karana; he’s a side character in the first two books, and I became intrigued by his contradictions. He embraces his bad reputation, and he has done terrible things, but he’s genuinely kind and clearly regretful. I wanted to understand him better and also give him a path to redemption. Since he starts as a deeply cynical character who’s running from his mistakes, he had to be balanced by An Ning, an optimistic character with an over-developed sense of personal responsibility. She is strong and compassionate character – a joy to write. Since Karana was in the middle of condemning a mass delusion with the cult, I wanted An Ning to have a “delusion” of her own, something deeply personal that had no effect on others but hurt her when denied. I saw an interesting way to explore gender identity within the magic system, so that just clicked, contrasting and complementing the cult arc.

Helen: They sound amazing and so rich. You’ve created a complex world. What genre do you typically like to write?

Edith: I write speculative fiction with a strong focus on characters and romance. The Immortal Beings fiction is epic fantasy, my YA series is light sci-fi set in a nuclear winter. Characters and relationships (romantic or not) are really what fascinate me, and when I first started writing, I actually leaned into romances. However, I found it really difficult to keep the tension high for a whole novel because I have no patience for angst or miscommunication! I realized that when I start with a speculation, a conflict that is larger than the characters, and then grab an internal conflict that echoes it, I have no problem keeping the tension high for a whole book, and I enjoy it more! Why I do fantasy instead of an adventure or a mystery… well, I don’t know! It’s just the way my brain works!

Helen: Thank you so much for chatting with me today. I wish you all the best with your books. Just to close, if I asked your characters why we should read this book, what would they say?

Edith: If you asked Karana, I think he’d tell you the book was none of your business! He’s pretty standoffish. But if you asked An Ning, she’d say you should read the book because it’s terribly romantic and because it shows that it’s never too late to change – redemption is always there for those who choose it and that we can all be more ourselves.

About the Author:

Edith Pawlicki lives in Connecticut with her husband, twin sons, dog, and two rabbits. She fell in love with words in fourth grade and finds writing necessary to free the worlds and characters in her head. When she isn’t busy being a mom and author, she enjoys cooking and crafts. In addition to the Immortal Beings series, she has also written a YA science fiction novel, Minerva.

You can order Trials of Fire and Rebirth from Amazon:

UK: eBook

USA: eBook

Papaerback preorder -release 16th September 2022.

As an Amazon Associate I may earn commission from purchases made using these links.

If you enjoy fantasy books then you will love my epic fantasy Sentinal series. As a new threat against Remargaren is discovered, only one man can wake the ancient guards who can protect them, only he doesn’t know how. Start the adventure and stay for the journey. Sign up to my newsletter and download a free novella called Sentinals Stirring and keep up with progress on my next books are published.

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Book Review Alert: Inked by Rachel Rener

Reviewed: June 10th, 2022
Released: March 15th, 2022
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy

When Zayn, your smoking hot boss, tells you never to touch the cache of deluxe tattoo ink locked away in his office, you listen to him… until the day you run out of your own ink, your squirming client is on the verge of peeing his pants, and your boss is nowhere to be found. Desperate times call for desperate measures, right?

I fully expected Zayn to yell at me when he returned to the shop. What I didn’t expect was the fresh cobra tattoo on my client’s butt magically springing to life. Or the interdimensional filing cabinet hiding in the back of Zayn’s office. And, oh, did I mention that my gorgeous, magic-ink-hoarding boss is actually an incubus?

Now – through (mostly) no fault of my own – we have to venture into a strange and distant land where a never-ending list of lethal flora, fauna, and fae await us. When you add in my Jewish mother’s string of poorly-timed, hysterical phone calls, there is one thing I’m grateful for: there’s no cell service in the fae realm. Read my Thoughts…

Book Review Alert: The Obsidian Son by Shayne Silvers

Reviewed: June 2nd, 2022
Released: October 12th, 2012
Genre: Urban Fantasy

To do list: Cow-tip the Minotaur. Cure a reptile dysfunction.

My name is Nate Temple, and I’m secretly a wizard. I ride a foul-mouthed unicorn, I drink with Achilles, and I’m pals with the Four Horsemen. I’ve even cow-tipped the Minotaur. I understand the theory of following the rules…I’m just not very good at the application.

Because rules were meant to be broken.

Especially when I find out a monster just murdered my parents. Now all I can hear is the sweet, soothing song of vengeance in my ears, playing on repeat.

But when shifter dragons come to town, I’m forced to step away from hunting down the scumbag murderer. Because I know the cure for a reptile dysfunction, and the dragons aren’t going to like it.

This fight soon opens up Pandora’s Box, and suddenly every flavor of supernatural thug is after me. The only way out of it—to save my city—is to murder my best friend.

I didn’t want, ask for, or start any of this. But I will finish it. It’s time I show St. Louis that magic is very, very real. And that an angry wizard is truly something to see—at least once in your life.

You know, right before he puts you and everyone you’ve ever met in the grave… Read my Thoughts…

Book Review Alert: The Binding Day Truce by Allegra Pescatore & JP Burnison

Reviewed: June 1st, 2022
Released: January 13th, 2021
Genre: Epic Fantasy Short Story

The end of centuries of war is looming. 

Ilyas of Vine, War Leader of the armies of the Mad Queen Maevian Oriset, is sent off once again to hunt the deadliest foe he has ever faced: Willow of Herb. Tired of the fighting, but with too much on the line, Ilyas knows that this will be their last fight. This time, failure is not an option. This time, he will kill that damn monster, or die trying. 

Willow of Herb has fought against Vine all of his life. Ever since the day the Mad Queen’s forces killed his parents, he has revelled in the bloodshed of war. As the only one with a hope of matching Maevian’s power, it is up to him to find a way to put an end to her reign of terror. Only one thing stands in his way: Ilyas.

In a war where neither side is truly good or evil, and shades of grey run rampant, who will be triumphant when these two forces meet again for the final time? Read my thoughts...

Book Review Alert: Heartstopper by Alice Oseman

Reviewed: June 1st, 2022
Released: February 7th, 2019
Genre: Contemporary YA LGBTQ+ Graphic novel

Charlie and Nick are at the same school, but they’ve never met … until one day when they’re made to sit together. They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn’t think he has a chance.

But love works in surprising ways, and Nick is more interested in Charlie than either of them realised.

By Alice Oseman, winner of the YA Book Prize, Heartstopper is about love, friendship, loyalty and mental illness. It encompasses all the small stories of Nick and Charlie’s lives that together make up something larger, which speaks to all of us. Read my thoughts...

Book Review Alert: Accidental Fae by Jessica Wayne

Reviewed: May 29th, 2022
Released: April 5th, 2022
Genre: Fantasy Romance

A life on the verge of death isn’t living.

When the doctors mention hospice, I know it’s time to take my life—or death—into my own hands. Stumbling through a portal into the fae realm wasn’t part of the plan.

But then I see him–the man who claimed my dreams with glimpses of his piercing golden gaze and sculpted body slick with sweat as he fought bloody battles. Seeing him once gave me strength; now, he gives me hope.

The creatures here claim he’s a rebel. A murderer. A traitor to their crown–a crown they say I’m tied to in irrevocable ways. I say he might be my only path to salvation.

I refuse to waste another life waiting for answers to secrets no one dares speak. It’s time for me to break free of my prison and claim the life that was always meant to be mine. My warrior has been broken by circumstance, though, and if I can’t give him a reason to fight, it could mean the end for both of us. Read my thoughts…