Tuesday, November 29, 2022

The Poison Season by Mara Rutherford

Outsiders are always given a choice: the Forest or the lake.

 Either way, they’re never heard from again.


Leelo has spent her entire life on Endla, coexisting with the bloodthirsty Forest and respecting the poisonous lake that protects her island from outsiders who seek to destroy it. But as much as Leelo cares for her community, she struggles to accept that her younger brother will be exiled by his next birthday, unless he gains the magic of enchanted song so vital to Endla.

When Leelo sees a young outsider on the verge of drowning in the lake, she knows exactly what she’s supposed to do. But in a moment that will change everything, Leelo betrays her family, her best friend, and Endla by making an unthinkable choice.

Discovery could lead to devastating consequences for both Leelo and the outsider, Jaren, but as they grow closer, Leelo realizes that not all danger comes from beyond the lake—and they can only survive if Leelo is willing to question the very fabric of her society, her people, and herself.



Things that grab my attention...when the antagonist is an ancient forest that requires blood to survive. This book was not what I expected.

The atmosphere of Endla is almost like religious zealotry when it comes to their thoughts and feelings of the Wandering Forest. Protect the forest, and the forest will protect them is what they believe. For some, the sacrifices they make to live the life they are used to becomes too much.  Leelo's emotional struggle was so raw when her brother is sent across the poisonous lake to the mainland because he doesn't have magic. Then followed by moral decision when she finds an outsider on the island shortly after.  Does she do what she's been taught to do, and kill him, or does she listen to her heart and help him survive? What I don't think she expects, is the very sweet, and slow way both her and Jaren fall for each other. 

If you're looking for a sweet, emotional fantasy read with a clean slow burn romance be sure to add this one to your list! 

The Poison Season is available on Amazon and Bookshop beginning December 6th!

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book free for review.  This however does not affect my opinions, as I do not leave a review for each book I receive. There are links to Amazon, clicking these links won't cost you anything but any purchase helps support this blog.  Thanks!

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Flip the Script by Callie Crown


  Please enjoy this guest post by Callie Crown, and be sure to check out her personal links to follow this amazing aspiring author!

Flip the Script by Callie Crown

Do you have a book or series you just adore? Perhaps, you enjoy the author’s style of writing. Perhaps, it's the way they tell a story. Perhaps, it’s the stories they tell. Do you think you’d notice if one day that author’s style started to change? 

I want to be completely honest with you dear reader. I love to read series, I typically can’t put them down. A few years ago I was gifted The Secret Circle by L.J Smith, and I finally got around to reading it. The book follows a young teenager, Cassie Blake, through her adventures of moving to a new town and finding out she was a witch. The series is made up of a total of six books. Three of these books were written in 1992 by L.J. Smith, and three were written in 2012 under the name L.J. Smith using a ghostwriter. 

You may be looking at the author’s name wondering, “where else do I know her from?” L.J. Smith wrote the now-famous, Vampire Diaries series. Well, she started the series at least. L.J. Smith has been vocal about her contract with her publisher noting that she was young and naive so she didn’t realize she was selling the rights to her stories and her pen name. This leads me to ghostwriting, unsolicited by the author. 

I have never read the Vampire Diaries but as I stated before, I am reading The Secret Circle. I loved the first three books, they were an easy read with a reader-pleasing storyline. It made sense that the books ended where they did, left for open-ended interpretation. However, I was horrified when I picked up the fourth book in the series. The characters felt toyed with. They weren’t important to this new author, nor was the prior storyline. The ghostwriter got simple details wrong (possibly on purpose). The previous novels talked about how powerful witches Cassie and her friends were only to make them quiver in fear in the next three novels at problems they had already faced fearlessly.

So, I want to pose a question to you, how would you feel if another author took over your favorite book series without input from the current author? In this case, I believe it was not worth the continuation of the series. It felt as though the new author was writing fan fiction, and not the good kind. I was very bummed reading these books since I felt they frankly took a big dump on the originals. Spoiler Alert, the ghostwriter quite literally killed the old characters just to replace them with her own. I understand some characters may be killed off in a series, but this just felt cruel since there was a clear lack of respect for the 1992 story. I will say this isn’t always the case with ghostwriters, but I feel the original author should have some input with their beloved characters. 

Callie Crown is an aspiring author who is looking to have her first book published by the end of 2023. You can find out more about her and her upcoming book as well as other publications on her website, You can follow Callie’s writing journey on her instagram @calliecrown_author where she provides tips to other aspiring novelists.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Where Oceans Burn by Casey Bond



With these three virtues, we shall rise. With these three, we shall conquer.

Truth. Honor. Blood.

To my people, the sky-reigning Empyreans, Intention Day is sacred…

To me, it’s the day my carefully crafted lie crumbles and my truth gives way to my ruin. The intense power surging through my veins is revealed, immediately coveted by those eager to exploit me for what they deem a greater good. If they have their way, the future I long for will be ripped away. But I am a warrior born to fly. To fight. Not to be caged and controlled.

The great scale of the goddess Neera has tipped out of my favor. The pans teeter between weighty punishment and deadly opportunity. My choices? Capture my most formidable enemy before next Intention Day, or forfeit my wings.

But life’s loftiest plans are often a breath away from disaster, and tragedy strikes as unpredictably as a bolt of lightning. When I find myself at the mercy of my greatest enemy, the terror known as the Shark of the Sea, the monster who killed the person I loved most, I accept my fate. My death. But the Shark does not lash out in revenge for all I’ve done. He tells me his true name is Crest. And while he calls me a Scourge, he honors his orders to guard me.

Forced together, Crest reveals that the truth only exists in the place between our perspectives and shares his hope to garner peace before the land is further soaked with the blood of sky and sea. The longer I am among his kind, the more I wonder if he might be right. Could an alliance be the salvation of both our peoples?

I am Elira, great Scourge of the Sky.
He is Crest, cunning Shark of the Sea.
Together… we could be unstoppable.


This was my first Casey Bond experience, and it won't be my last.  She joins my very short list of authors who are on my now insta-buy list.  First of all, I read this as an e-book and it might possibly be the most beautiful e-book I've ever read. I can't wait to see how gorgeous the physical book is.

The world building is deep and immersive with out feeling like an info dump. Things are gently laid out as we go, and we learn how complicated Elira's world is, with political games, and intrigues that mean life and death to those within the city. Those with power want to keep it, and no one wants to join the ranks of the clipped.

I loved Elira. I cried with her EVERY. TIME. I shared her grief, her frustration, and her successes.  I don't know how Casey Bond did it, but her enemies were my enemies, friends were my friends, and I couldn't set this book down until I finished it. Such a contrast in cultures between the Elyreans and Kehlani's add to the depth of the vivid storytelling. 

The romance in this story was the slowest of slow burns.  Usually I'm not a fan of enemies to lovers, but this was done so well that now I'm wondering if I have a new favorite.  Crest and Elira have much to overcome, and their cultural differences make the development of their relationship difficult. Even what it means to be someone's partner is completely different in each culture. They have a lot to learn about each other, and each other's cultures to make that connection and to hopefully bring peace to their two warring societies.

If you like fantasy romances, with slow burn, enemies to lovers tropes then you would really enjoy this book. Prepare yourself for the book hangover. It's all well worth it.

Where the Ocean Burns is available on Amazon and Bookshop.

Disclaimer: I purchased this book on my own, and freely wrote this review.  There are links to Amazon, clicking these links won't cost you anything but any purchase helps support this blog.  Thanks!

Monday, November 14, 2022

Beyond the Filigree Wall by Melissa Wright


A clean, slow burn, enemies to lovers YA Romantasy


Antonetta Ostwind is about to get everything she’s ever wanted. If all goes to plan, she’ll end the fae, steal back what was stolen, and win the post she’s dreamed of since she was a girl.

There’s just one problem. His name is Gideon Alexander.

Gideon holds the key to her coveted post. He’s fantastic with a sword, looks amazing in uniform, and commands even the adoration of his great, beastly dog. He’s living the life Etta needs.

Gideon doesn’t believe Etta should have any of it. In fact, he’s planning to make sure she never does. And that’s a real problem, because if Etta can’t take her post as marshal, how can she have her vengeance and save the kingdom from the prince of the fae?

Slip into clean, slow-burn romance with a properly stabby heroine and the low commitment of a standalone series in this light regency fantasy romp for fans of Enchantment of Ravens and Little Thieves.


So much I didn't see coming in this book.  Including how I was suddenly almost finished with it with out realizing it. It's not often I inhale a book in a day. The storytelling was immersive and vibrant, and I was able to picture what was going on easily. I really loved Etta, and felt like I could relate to her. She was independent, and rash, but she also grew in the story. Gideon I didn't like at the beginning.  He was stuffy, a stickler to rules, but as the story was laid out it made sense he was the way he was, and I loved how he softened towards Etta. Going to be honest, I'm not usually a fan of enemies to lovers, mostly because many are written in a toxic way...and this one refreshingly was done beautifully.

When Etta returned from being a way, I wondered if she was acting like the spoiled child of a monarch. Her father had sent her away for training to become marshal, learning sword fighting and other tools that would make her a good leader of the kingdom's law enforcement. There may have been a bit of spoiledness to her, dispite the hardships she had in life, but the fae prince's curse and having to learn how to overcome that pushed her to become even more resourceful.

If you're looking for a great coming of age fantasy story, with a very light side of clean romance be sure to add this to your shopping list.  

Beyond the Filigree Wall will be available on Amazon beginning December 6th.

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book free for review.  This however does not affect my opinions, as I do not leave a review for each book I receive. There are links to Amazon, clicking these links won't cost you anything but any purchase helps support this blog.  Thanks!

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Lost Long by Rochelle Wilcox



The Norse God of Love Freyr doesn't want to drag Lia into the strange world of Gods and giants hidden in humanity’s midst. But after Lia witnesses the impossible in the sky above her on a dark Los Angeles morning, he has no choice. Hoping to save her life from members of his family determined to end it, Freyr takes Lia to the other side of the world, into the realm of dragons and monsters far below, and finally to the mythical land of Asgard. Along the way, as Freyr discovers a love he couldn't have anticipated and didn't want, he must decide how far he will go to protect Lia from the fight that his brothers started, and he will end.


Two things that really made me want to read this book.  First was that GORGEOUS cover, and secondly I'm such a geek for Norse mythology. I really enjoyed how the author tied in lots of details from these old stories, bringing in characters that many might not of heard of, like Hnossa, Magni, and many more.

The world building is gentle, and we slowly learn why Freyr and Freya have had a falling out with the Aesir. There is an exciting journey to get to Asgard to seek an audience with Odin.  This could have easily become a TV show, with all the trouble this group managed to get into. The book does leave you on a bit of a cliffhanger, but no two and three are already available.

If you're looking for an exciting, action packed read, with just a touch of romance you should get this book.

Lost Long is available on Amazon!

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book free for review.  This however does not affect my opinions, as I do not leave a review for each book I receive. There are links to Amazon, clicking these links won't cost you anything but any purchase helps support this blog.  Thanks!

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Raven Unveiled by Grace Draven


Congratulations to Grace Draven on the release of Raven Unveiled! 

I can't wait to dig into this book! Here's a snippet. 

Gharek held a small lamp aloft to illuminate the path ahead. He didn't worry that the fragile light might be seen in the distance and alert someone. His mount's hooves crushing sticks and brittle deadfall would accomplish the task long before the light did.

The music of insects and bird calls had been loud just before he crossed the tree line, a cacophony of whistles, rustles, and chirps. Those sounds died away the closer he rode to the ruins of the dead city until the silence itself held its breath and only the gloom shrouding the trees breathed. His amiable mare stopped suddenly then pranced backward, tossing her head and snorting. Gharek tapped his heels against her sides to coax her forward. She'd have none of it, fighting the bit in her mouth as she pivoted on her hooves to trot back the way they'd come.

Gharek reined her to a halt, considering whether it was wise to continue his scouting in another direction or make camp nearby and wait until morning to resume his hunt. He'd lose time with camping but trying to find anyone in this darkness while riding a spooked horse was an exercise in futility. Besides, he could make up the time in daylight. Siora was on foot, he on horseback.

He'd cover far more ground in less time than she would, and the chance she'd outrun him if he spotted her was nonexistent. He guided the mare to retrace her steps, and this time she readily obeyed the command, eager to put distance between them and the city that squatted like a pustule on the landscape. But she'd taken no more than a pair of steps when something wrapped icy fingers around Gharek's spine and wrenched him backward. He flew off the saddle as if lassoed from behind and landed on his back. The ground beneath him vibrated from the beat of his mare's hooves as she bolted past him into the labyrinth of trees.

He lay there for a moment, stunned and winded. The ice shard wedged against his backbone remained, though whatever had ripped him from horseback didn't press him into the dirt. A few more breaths and he lurched to his feet, unsettled by his unusual clumsiness, alarmed by the violence of an invisible force that had so thoroughly unhorsed him. There'd been no trip rope to clothesline him, nor had he been riding fast when he fell. The lamp he held had fallen when he did, lost somewhere in the underbrush when its flickering light had guttered. Darkness hungthick enough to scoop with a spoon.

His muttered curses sounded loud to his ears as he peered into the sepulchral black, hoping he might spot the mare standing nearby or at least find a partially cleared path that led back to open pasture. He took a step only to suffer a hard clamp on his backbone, as if the icicle there had suddenly transformed into a shackle locked around his middle. Invisible tethers seized his arms and legs and he was jerked to one side and then the other as if by a drunken puppeteer with their hands on the strings.

Gharek staggered, struggling to keep his feet, struggling to free himself from the bonds that held him in an unbreakable grip that both dragged and yanked him in the direction of Midrigar's walls. He careened through the dark, along a jagged path that propelled him into tree trunks before spinning him away to tear through the underbrush. He tried planting his feet in the dirt to no avail, his boots carving skid marks as he was pulled along like a cur on a leash. His palms left bloody smears on the bark of those trees he tried to grip for purchase and was wrenched away with little effort.

The iciness slithering down his spine spread in creeper tendrils throughout his body, wrapping around his lungs and heart, his liver, even his tongue so that his curses and snarls slowly ebbed away and his struggles waned. Speaking was an impossibility, breathing a challenge, and he was reduced to nothing more than a grunting, shambling mute driven inexorably toward an ancient city of the damned and a fate he could not know but feared with every part of his soul.

I hope you enjoyed this excerpt from Raven Unveiled!!

You can purchase Raven Unveiled on Amazon and Bookshop.

Excerpted from Raven Unveiled by Grace Draven Copyright © 2022 by Grace Draven.

Excerpted by permission of Ace. All rights reserved.

Sunday, November 6, 2022

The Dark of Letum by Julianne Kelsch

Book one of the Countess of Letum series.



Her world has fallen to the Master of darkness, the souls of men consumed by death. Now, death wants her.

It began with rumors whispered in secret and carried on the wind. The whispers spread, gaining power, until they became desolate houses with dark, wide-eyed windows and doors hanging agape, bewildered at their sudden emptiness.

The rumors grew. The villages bled. The darkness spread.
Then, it was too late.

The night she realized her life was over was the night her mother died at the hands of a monster. One look at him and Kyra knew: this was the demon that fueled nightmares.

Years later she’s trained, she’s skilled, and she’s ready to fight.
She finds other refugees like herself. She forms partnerships and joins alliances. Some will betray her. Others, defend her. All of them have their own goal – to bring about the world they desire.

But the darkness has its own agenda, and humanity has already fallen.

Death secures the bait and sets the trap. When Kyra finds herself ensnared by its grasping claws, can she stand against the darkness that destroyed humanity or will she succumb to the destruction of her soul?



I thought there was a really good story to tell here, but the way the story was laid out for me made it very difficult to follow. The mulitude of short chapters that went back and forth in time were very jarring. I had a hard time settling into this story because the narrative felt like it was constantly getting interrupted.  This book wasn't very long but it felt like I took me forever to get through it because of these interruptions. 

I also felt like the characters were very superficial. I was never able to feel any connection with them, or their relationships to each other. This book felt like a list of events, instead of immersive story-telling. This is the first book in a series, so I'm hoping this book's purpose was to lay out a plot for further books ahead.  

If you're looking for a dark fantasy read, that keeps you on the edge you might enjoy this book!

The Dark of Letum is available on Amazon.

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book free for review.  This however does not affect my opinions, as I do not leave a review for each book I receive. There are links to Amazon, clicking these links won't cost you anything but any purchase helps support this blog.  Thanks!