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 – 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...

Realm of Darkness Author Spotlight – Fight for Darkness by Susan Stradiotto

We continue to reveal some amazing covers in the run up to the launch of the Realm of Darkness Anthology on October 4th, 2022. I am delighted to share Susan Stradiotto’s Fight for Darkness.

Exclusively available as part of the Realm of Darkness Anthology.

Have you preordered your copy yet for the insane price of 99c/77p?  I can’t wait to read these wonderful books. See all the covers revealed so far here

If you order via Apple iBooks or Barnes and Noble during May – you can claim three free books – find out more here!

Fight for Darkness

He must feed his beast. She is bent on revenge.

On the way to the club after the big fight, Kane MacLeod stumbles upon a fight in the depths of a dark alley. But he’s never seen a fight like this. What are they using? Mirrors? Lasers? Magic? No way! He tries but can’t turn away. Sure, the small woman is holding her own, but how can he leave her at the mercy of the three large men attacking her? What if that was his sister?

Malin has one purpose, to destroy the beast who took her sister. Every night she enters the Daylight realm to hunt. She walks among the humans unseen, searches for the slime who betrayed her, and slips back into Darkness before the Light. Her mother and her friends beg her to accept her sacred duty to the coven, but she owes her dead sister for the worst betrayal possible. She carries the burden. She’s been on this mission for years, and until she slays Godric, she cannot, will not, rest.

Preorder Realm of Darkness Boxset

Only available as part of the Realm of Darkness Boxset available for preorder now on Amazon and other retailers for only 99c/77p!


About the Author:

My life in Eden Prairie, Minnesota revolves around my husband, three children, and our calamity, a Bernese Mountain Dog named Delaunay. I’ve been a Technology Project Manager for more years than I’d like to admit, but stories are my passion. I have always been a voracious reader, lover of worlds, and a “werd nerd.” My infatuation with well-developed characters sometimes rivals my relationships with real people. My free time is spent writing, networking with other writers, and occasionally camping “up-north.” If you’re from Minnesota, you’ll get the reference along with “hot dish” and “grey-duck.” If you’re not from Minnesota, you probably don’t want to ask. I’m originally a Texan, and that just never leaves you!

My writing is typically Fantasy. One of my fans called it Social Science Fantasy, and I think that’s about the best way to describe it. I’m a huge fan of all things world building and what that entails…the people, the creatures, the politics, the language, the maps, and more. My major work still focuses on The Caeteran Tales, but there are other ventures in my near future as well. Stay tuned!

Also by Susan Stradiotto:

The Serpentine Throne series

Call of the Storm Sorceror

Call of the Syrensea

Call of the Ryu Dragon

Call of the Scorched Empire

Call of the Maelstrom

Anthologies

Once Upon a Name

Twice Upon a Name

Book Review Alert: Steal the Wind by Jocelynn Drake

Reviewed: May 12th, 2022
Released: October 29th, 2021
Genre: MM Fantasy

Everything Caelan knows about his world is a lie.

A war is brewing. As the crown prince of Erya, it’s only natural that Caelan is sent on a secret diplomatic mission to support one of the kingdom’s allies. With his advisor, his bodyguard, and his best friend as traveling companions, what could go wrong?

Everything. 

Everything goes wrong. 

Now they are on the run, dodging assassins, setting secret meetings, and even making deals with a sleeping god. 

So this is probably a really bad time to cave to feelings he’s been fighting for his best friend. But Drayce has owned his heart for more years than he can count, and if he’s going to die, shouldn’t he have just one kiss? 

The fate of the world is on the line, and only Caelan holds the power to save them all. Read my thoughts …

Book Review Alert: To Wield A Plague by Derrick Smythe

Reviewed: May 10th, 2022
Released: May 9th, 2022
Genre: YA Fantasy

There will be no victory here for anyone but those who thirst for blood.Forced to choose between his mother’s life and his own exile, Dwapek embarks upon a journey wrought with trials no ordinary Renzik could hope to survive. Relics of legend, plagues of old, and monsters of unthinkable dread all collide in this epic fantasy adventure as a weapon capable of destroying an entire people is set to be unleashed.

Companion novel to Passage of Dawn series. Read my thoughts …