Sunday, August 28, 2022

#NEW: VICTORY WRITING SHOP - Gifts and Tools for Book Nerds & Authors


Here's a special treat for both authors looking for practical advice on writing and editing as well as great ideas for author swag gifts. 


I've reviewed Ms. Victory's book, "How to Polish Your Manuscript in Ten Days" and found it immensely helpful.

Anne Victory bio:

You've probably already guessed that I adore books. Hell, I edit books for a living. 🙂 I also teach classes about writing, give presentations at conferences and to local writers' groups, and run a group that distributes ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) for authors. If it involves books, I'm here for it.

But the story of how this shop came to be and the things I sell is a bit of a winding road. 

Obstinate, Headstrong Girl journal

First—I've always wanted to do something creative that would also bring a smile to anyone who enjoys pretty things. That led me to designing illustrated journals. Books that let me express myself when creating them but would also let you enjoy an experience as you write, not just jot things down on some plain lined paper. 

The next thing on my list–I use flip-top notebooks for jotting down notes, figures, pretty much anything on my mind. But all the ones I found were… ugly. There, I said it. So I started making little notepads that would bring me a touch of joy as I work. And I wanted to share them with you. 

A pretty flip-top notepad.


Well, all that's well and good, you might be thinking. But what about the rest of it?

I'm a firm believer in "going wide." This is basically when a self-published, indie author decides to not just use Amazon as their platform but to also utilize other book retailers and maybe even sell books directly from their website or at conferences. And okay—confession time.

I have a love/hate relationship with Amazon.

My cute Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Bella

On the one hand, they indirectly put food on my table by helping my clients make money, which is how they pay for editing. My animals gotta eat. 😆 I also love the convenience of shopping on Amazon.

But on the other hand, I hate how big corporations drive out the mom-and-pop shops, and I'm not a fan of the soul-sucking way they treat their workers either. So I made the decision to go it on my own.

And it occurred to me that if I wasn't depending on Amazon to sell my books, then I could sell other things too. Makes sense, right? And I thought of how happy I'd be to walk into a shop that was dedicated to all things writing, reading, and freelancing. I'm only sorry my shop doesn't have some comfy chairs for you. 🙂 

And, finally, I love to serve and teach. That's why I started my Academy, that's why I have a NetGalley co-op, and that's why I present at conferences. So don't be surprised if you find resources on the craft of writing and planners to help with productivity and organization. 

If you love books as much as I do, you've definitely come to the right place. Bring your own comfy chair and browse as long as you'd like. 

Friday, August 26, 2022

#SALE: .99 August 26-28, THE DUKE AND THE BLUESTOCKING by Debra Elizabeth


The Duke and the Bluestocking, Book 7

Can the duke convince the one young lady who doesn't want to marry that he's perfect for her?

Miss Emma Bainbridge is in danger of being labeled a bluestocking much to her mother's horror. With her love of reading and outspoken opinions, her views on marriage are not hard to predict. The last thing she wants is to give up what little independence she enjoys to the whims and demands of a husband. She'd rather be a spinster.

William Davies, the Duke of Richmond, met Miss Bainbridge when he escorted her and her sisters to the British Museum. He was intrigued with her intelligence and zest for learning. She's a stunning beauty and would make a perfect duchess. But there's a big problem, Miss Bainbridge does not want to marry anyone, not even a duke. Somehow he must convince her that she's the perfect woman for him. Will she finally relent and let him ignite the passion lingering just below the surface?

#Excerpt: SHADOWS AND TWILIGHT by Jamie A Waters

Shadows and Twilight
Jamie A. Waters
(The Dragon Portal, #4)
Publication date: August 25th 2022
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance

The only way for darkness to thrive is to destroy the light…

Sabine owes her life to the two demon brothers who helped keep her hidden from the Fae for the past ten years.

When she learns Dax has been forced back to the underworld to stand trial for his treasonous crimes, Sabine races to their volcanic home to save him. What she discovers is a long-hidden truth that has the potential to shape the future of their world or destroy it.

Only an ancient weapon of power can shatter the portal bindings…

The demons secretly recognize Sabine as the true queen of the Unseelie, and they’re determined to keep her for their own purposes. With her magic, they can escape the underworld and declare vengeance on those who oppose them.

But first, they must destroy all her ties to the light, including the man she loves.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play


Another scream drew Malek’s attention back to the tunnel. His hand tightened around the hilt of his sword.

“We’ve got company. There’s not enough space here for me to shift without bringing down the tunnel.”

“Then prepare to fight,” Bane said, his silvered eyes turning to stare at the dark tunnel. “The hellhounds are

part of the Hall’s defense. They’re driving those creatures to us. They won’t stop until every living thing in their path is dead, including us.”

“Stay close and fight defensively,” Sabine said to Rika.

Dozens of large arachnoid creatures scuttled forward. They were nearly the size of wolves. Their exoskeletons were a deep black color, while yellow ooze dripped from their fangs.

“Spiders?” Blossom shrieked. “Spiders shouldn’t be that big! What kind of garden do those suckers live in?”

Malek sliced through the first one, leaping back as one of its sawtooth legs tried to swipe at him. He spun toward the next, narrowly missing a spat of the yellow ooze it had shot at him. Using his magic to fuel his strength and speed, he took the head of the creature.

“Watch their venom,” Bane warned, swiping his claws down one of the arachnoids’ necks.

Sabine threw shimmering orbs of condensed power. Each one burst apart, expanding like a magical explosion to cut down dozens of creatures at once. It was effective, but Malek wasn’t sure how long she could keep up the attack.

“Die, evil fiends!” Blossom shrieked and darted in between their legs, tripping the creatures as they tried to catch the pixie. One after another, they toppled over and then scrambled back to their feet.

Rika shouted a battle cry and lifted her short sword, hacking at the legs on the creatures Blossom targeted. Malek grinned at their teamwork and turned his attention toward the nearest attacker. He quickly cut it down before facing the next, each one brandishing its sharpened legs.

A creature struck out at Malek, but Sabine shot her hand out and speared the creature with another burst of magic. His gaze met hers, and in that moment, the connection between them flared to life. Love and undeniable need surged within him, mirroring the emotions in her eyes.

Sabine gave him a teasing smile. “Try not to die, will you? I have plans with you later.” “I wouldn’t dream of disappointing you,” Malek said with a grin.

Author Bio:

Jamie A. Waters is an award-winning fantasy romance author and dragon enthusiast. Weaving together magic, intrigue, and some delicious romance, she creates memorable and immersive worlds that provide the perfect escape. Her books feature strong, capable heroines and their swoon-worthy heroes who will stop at nothing to save the day.

Jamie currently resides in Florida with two neurotic dogs who enjoy stealing socks. When she's not pursuing her passion of writing, she's usually trying to learn new and interesting random things (like how to pick locks or use the self-cleaning feature of the oven without setting off the fire alarm). In her downtime, she enjoys reading, playing computer games, painting, or acting as a referee between the dragons and fairies currently at war inside her closet.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Bookbub

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Wednesday, August 24, 2022

#Review: THE SCOUNDREL FALLS HARD by Sophie Jordan


 4 of 5 stars

Gwen Cully was a female blacksmith, the last of her family, but her livelihood is threatened when another blacksmith with two strapping sons moves into their village. She's barely holding on because her uncle and father have passed away and she's all alone. When a man bursts into her smithy, she's not sure what is going on until the villagers come and drag him away, bent on hanging him for his deceptions and thievery. Gwen could not stomach such blood-thirsty actions and claimed to love the man to save his life. Little does she know her life was about to change when she finds herself betrothed to Kellan Fox, the most handsome man she'd ever seen. Kellen could not believe his luck when a magnificent woman saves his life although he now finds himself betrothed to her. They make a pact that they'll remain just friends after their marriage, but that turns out to be impossible when sparks fly between them.

This was such a unique plot. I was intrigued by Gwen and Kellan trying to keep their hands to themselves especially after that first scorching kiss. Ms. Jordan slowly teases out the details of Kellan's past with his thieving father and how Kellan finally realized what he wanted and that was Gwen. There were no fancy balls or Society rules, and that was a nice departure from the usual books in the genre. This was my favorite book of the series so far and I look forward to reading the next book.

I voluntarily read the advanced reader copy and all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

#Review: BLAME IT ON THE EARL by Jane Ashford


 2 of 5 stars

I've only read the second book in the series, but it didn't seem to matter as "Blame It On the Earl" can be read as a stand-alone book. When I read the blurb, I thought it would be an interesting and engaging book weaving in the different legends surrounding King Arthur, but that didn't turn out to be the case. The hero, Kenver, wasn't much of a hero, more of a wimp who couldn't stand up to his parents. He was so weak that even when his mother's final malicious plans were revealed, he thought the best thing would be to work with her. Really? 

There's no comeuppance for how mean and cruel this woman was all through the book?? It seems to be a common theme as it also happened in book two. That doesn't sit well with me at all. I did like Sarah. She was unique and kind, almost to a fault. There isn't much action - all the bad things that happen are in the earl's home. I forced myself to finish this story hoping the mother would get her due, but unfortunately, that didn't happen. 

I don't think I'll bother to read any more in this series. I voluntarily read the advanced reader copy and all opinions are my own.

Friday, August 19, 2022

#FREE: Aug. 19-22, THE SILVER CROSS by Debra L Martin


Book blurb:
There are two things Boston detective Lacey Gardner knows about killing vampires. Slicing off a head or a hit directly to the heart are the only surefire ways to kill one. Silver is their Achilles heel. A vampire never wears silver.

When she meets bartender extraordinaire Damon Harte, her heart does a quickstep for the dark, hunky guy. She's learned the hard way that having a love interest in her line of work can be heart-wrenching. She's kept to herself for years, but something about Damon captivates her and draws her to him. When she learns Damon's devastating secret, she knows what she has to do: kill the man who has stolen her heart. 

Buy links:

Reviewer Comments: 

5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
By Lisa A. Markson  

"When tragedy happens it can put your life in a tailspin. That is exactly what happened to Lacey Gardner after the death of her sister. Lacey is a detective in the Fringe department which is the division of the police department that deals with things of the paranormal and the regular department doesn't want to deal with. Lacey is really good for this job with the mess of her life she is able to connect with her job on a level most couldn't. The controversy between Damon and Nic gives us a story that we are unable to put down from the first page to the very last page. I love how the authors gave the background to who and what Damon was and the history of the Silver Cross he wore and why. Thank you for such a intense and amazing story. I highly recommend if you like a paranormal romance that has you on the edge of your seat."

By mooselise "never bookless" 

"I loved the action right from the beginning of the book. It definitely got me hooked, and then I met the heroine, Lacey & absolutely loved her. It's nice to see a main character who is a strong assertive female. This book has action, adventure, romance and rich, well developed characters. I will be waiting for the sequel, cause I know it's coming!"

 5.0 out of 5 stars Phenomenal
By Amanda 
"I loved this book! It had an awesome mix of mystery, action, and romance. Lacey was a fierce. strong-willed, lead female and I also really enjoyed getting to know her partners. Through them, you learned a little more about her too. Her and Damon had a great energy together and you could tell from the beginning that he wasn't like the other vampires, the ones that Lacey made a living getting rid of. I can't wait to read the next in this series and everything else from these authors!!"

 5.0 out of 5 stars Exhilarating and Exciting
By Athena L Nagel "Athena L Nagel - The Stuff of... 
"The Silver Cross was an excellent read. Not too slow at all - the pace was exhilarating and exciting. I read it in one (long) sitting. I found I just could not put it down. I needed to know what was going to happen next with Damon and Lacey - together or separately." 

Monday, August 15, 2022

Interview with Justin Newland, THE GENES OF ISIS

Give a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?

The Genes of Isis is a stand-alone novel that speculates on the genesis of today's human race, Homo Sapiens. 

The backstory is that the Fallen Angels, aka the Helios, have mated with the daughters of men and spawned a race of genetic hybrids and monsters.  

The main character is Akasha, a young girl living in a world where the oceans circulate in the sky waters. She dreams of releasing the Surge, the next evolutionary step for an embryonic human race, but it's dormant, a genetic seed trapped inside every human. 

Horque is a Solarii, a tribe of angels who manifested in human form and settled in Ancient Egypt. Horque is desperate to return home to the sun but can only do so by unravelling the chaos left behind by the Helios, who have left humanity on the brink of extinction. 

When Akasha foretells the falling of the sky waters and falls in love with Horque, her life becomes an instrument for apocalyptic change. 

Do you have a favorite character?


Akasha is my favorite character. The story tells of her coming-of-age journey from apprentice to priestess and from maiden to mother. She is a precocious girl, and composing her character arc was a great challenge.  


Have you joined any FB author groups to inspire and help you along the way?

These groups are really important as part of a support structure. I joined a writing group, and they offer great face-to-face support and feedback. I found it also helps to go to Writers Cons. Get on panels, give readings, go on courses, submit short stories for publication, talk to other writers, and get involved with the writing process as often as possible. Work with professional editors wherever possible. 

Remember, there are two kinds of writers, those who gave up and those who didn't. Dedication and discipline are two essential ingredients of success - in anything. 

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish your book(s)?

I worked on the novel for a long time and wanted to move on to a new project. But I also felt I needed to see some fruit from the six years of labour. At first, I tried to find a traditional publisher in the U.K and even approached some in the U.S. I submitted to large print houses and small indie presses. When I felt I wasn't getting anywhere, I looked at self-publishing. 

Having self-published four novels, I have learned a lot about the publishing process, from editing to proofreading, and cover design, all the way through to the final print. I now feel confident enough to stay with self-publishing because I am familiar both with the process and the people. From the last edit to holding the paperback in my hand can be as little as six months – that’s a really good time frame which I don’t think can be matched by traditional publishers.

What’s next for you?

I’m working on a two-book series set in Elizabethan times that explores two of the most formative events in English history: Francis Drake’s circumnavigation of the world and the repulse of the Spanish Armada. 






Akasha is a precocious young woman who lives in a world where oceans circulate in the aquamarine sky waters.

Before she was born, the Helios, a tribe of angels from the sun, came to Earth to deliver the Surge, the next step in the evolution of an embryonic human race. Instead, they left humanity on the brink of extinction and spawned a race of monstrous hybrids. 

Horque is a Solarii, another tribe of angels, sent to Earth to rescue the genetic mix-up and release the Surge. 

When Akasha has a premonition that a great flood is imminent and falls in love with Horque, her life becomes an instrument for apocalyptic change. But will it save the three races - humans, hybrids and Solarii – from the killing waters?



AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Justin Newland 
is an author of historical fantasy and secret history thrillers - that’s history with a supernatural twist. His stories feature known events and real people from history which are re-told and examined through the lens of the supernatural. He gives author talks and is a regular contributor to BBC Radio Bristol’s Thought for the Day. He lives with his partner in plain sight of the Mendip Hills in Somerset, England. 

His Books

The Genes of Isis is a tale of love, destruction and ephemeral power set under the skies of Ancient Egypt. A re-telling of the Biblical story of the flood, it reveals the mystery of the genes of Isis – or genesis – of mankind. ISBN 9781789014860.

The novel is creative, sophisticated, and downright brilliant! I couldn’t ask more of an Egyptian-esque book!” – Lauren, Books Beyond the Story.

The Old Dragon’s Head is a historical fantasy and supernatural thriller set during the Ming Dynasty and played out in the shadows the Great Wall of China. It explores the secret history of the influences that shaped the beginnings of modern times.  ISBN 9781789015829.

The author is an excellent storyteller.” – British Fantasy Society. 

Set during the Great Enlightenment, The Coronation reveals the secret history of the Industrial Revolution. ISBN 9781838591885.

“The novel explores the themes of belonging, outsiders… religion and war…  filtered through the lens of the other-worldly.” – A. Deane, Page Farer Book Blog.

His latest, The Abdication (July, 2021), is a suspense thriller, a journey of destiny, wisdom and self-discovery. ISBN 9781800463950.  

“In Topeth, Tula confronts the truth, her faith in herself, faith in a higher purpose, and ultimately, what it means to abdicate that faith.”

Amazon buy link:



Justin Newland will be awarding one signed copy of the paperback (US or International) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Friday, August 12, 2022

#Excerpt: THE ACADIAN SECRET by Tammy Lowe

The Acadian Secret
Tammy Lowe
(The Acadian Secret, #1)
Published by: The Wild Rose Press
Publication date: August 10th 2022
Genres: Action, Adventure, Time-Travel, Young Adult

Nova Scotia has kept an incredible secret for centuries. In 1795, sixteen-year-old John Smith, convinced he’s found buried treasure, digs down into a mysterious pit on a small island.

In present day Nova Scotia, twelve-year-old Elisabeth London knows there’s no such thing as magic, but when she finds herself in 17th century Scotland, she no longer knows what to think. While under the guardianship of a kind-hearted Highlander, Elisabeth discovers his ancestral home holds a mystery of its own.

As John continues to dig the strange pit, he inadvertently begins the longest running, most expensive, and deadliest treasure hunt in history. Now, Elisabeth London and John Smith each try to unravel the secrets consuming them, unaware that a tormented young man holds the string weaving all of their lives together.

For Elisabeth, the adventure is just beginning. Unless her parents discover she’s time-travelling. Then…she is so grounded.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo


As the evening sun wandered behind the mountains, it cast an emerald glow across a glen. The valley was dotted with boulders, rocks, and drifts of bright yellow flowering bushes that blanketed the rolling hills, perfuming the air with a coconut scent. A small river twisted its way toward a distant forest. Overhead, a hawk screeched while soaring across an endless blue sky, declaring its vast territory to other hawks.

A dog yelped, over and over and over again.

Awakened by the barking, Elisabeth’s eyes narrowed in confusion. Her chest tightened as she sat up. “What the—?”

A huge, hairy boar, with razor-sharp tusks, lunged into the nearby brambles.

With a gasp, Elisabeth scrambled behind a large rock. Her breath hitched as her mind raced to make sense of the surrounding scenery.

That’s when a hunter, with a short beard and wild black hair that gave him a crazed look, came galloping over the crest of a hill on horseback. “Good boy, Talbot,” he yelled when the dog lunged into the brambles after the wild pig. The angry grunts of the boar filtered through the thick shrub.

Elisabeth leaped back, ducking low to hide behind the boulder. One hand pressed tight across her mouth.

The clip-clop stomping of the horse’s hooves sounded closer. Then, the hunter’s voice rose in pitch as his piercing blue-green eyes stared down at her, crouched in the heather. “What the devil…?”

A cold chill ran up her spine when he dismounted. His head cocked slightly to the side, and she realized his hearing focused on the dog and the boar as he drew closer.

Bending to peer at her, the hunter scratched his cheek. “You all right, lass?”

Elisabeth’s muscles tightened and she drew her head back sharply. “Yep. Fine.”

“Then…what are ye doing out here?” he asked in an uncertain tone while helping her to her feet. “Dressed in naught but…that?”

Elisabeth’s mouth opened, but nothing came out.

“Well, you’re lucky I found you before—” The silence in the valley now broken, Talbot howled, the boar squealed, and Elisabeth backed away with quick, jerky steps.

“Dinnae move, lass,” he ordered in a steady, low-pitched voice while reaching for his dagger.

Elisabeth gasped for air, watching the enraged boar desert its hiding spot in the brambles and charge toward the dog, its lethal tusks ready to kill.

Talbot seemed well-trained so, instead of turning tail and running, he danced backward, facing the pig, luring it away from his master. With the boar now in pursuit of the dog, the hunter ran at the beast as if he were a wild animal himself. Jumping on the boar from behind, he grabbed its ear, yanked its head up, and slashed its throat.

Elisabeth’s heart pounded, and she gripped the sides of her head.

The hunter jumped off the boar as it fell limp at his feet and cleaned the blade on the carcass before putting it away. He then walked toward Elisabeth, his bloody hands held in front of him.

“You’ve got a knife.” Elisabeth whimpered as her gaze darted from the enormous man dressed in a skirt to the ragtag group of hunters who came cantering over the crest of the hill.

“Aye, and a sword.” He smirked while pointing at it. “I’m not going to harm you, though. I’m hunting.”

“Hunting what? Little girls?” Not waiting for an answer, she bolted, heading for the distant forest.

The hunter took a step back and chuckled as Elisabeth made her great escape in slow motion, hindered terribly by bare feet.

“You’re completely mad!” he shouted while mounting his horse, motioning to the arriving men to deal with the boar carcass.

The black warhorse was as large and intimidating as the hunter and the animal’s powerful legs kicked up tall grass and thistles as it galloped along. The sound of its hooves seemed amplified as it neared Elisabeth.

Without needing to slow his horse, he reached down, scooped Elisabeth into his arms, and placed her in the saddle in front of him. She let out a sharp scream.

“There. Now be a good lass. I promise I’m not going to hurt you. You’re on my land so I know you’re not from these parts. I cannot leave you alone out here. It’s not safe and will soon be dark.”

A wave of coldness caused Elisabeth to tremble. She had no idea where she was and no recollection of arriving. When the hunter wrapped her in his plaid and nudged his horse on, Elisabeth’s shoulders tightened. She remained silent, bringing a shaky hand to her forehead while trying to figure out what the heck was going on. This definitely wasn’t Mahone Bay anymore.

Author Bio:

An adventurer at heart, Tammy has explored ruins in Rome, Pompeii, and Istanbul (Constantinople) with historians and archaeologists.

She’s slept in the tower of a 15th century castle in Scotland, climbed down the cramped tunnels of Egyptian pyramids, scaled the Sydney Harbour Bridge, sailed on a tiny raft down the Yulong River in rural China, dined at a Bedouin camp in the Arabian Desert, and escaped from head-hunters in the South Pacific.

I suppose one could say her own childhood wish of time traveling adventures came true…in a roundabout way.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

#SALE: .99 August 10-15, THE UNEXPECTED WEDDING by Debra Elizabeth


Lady Elizabeth Tyndale has endured a string of bad dates. She’s not sure if sharing her opinions and business sense scared potential boyfriends away, but what’s the point of having an opinion if she never expresses it? When her brother and sister-in-law invite her to join them on a trip to San Diego, she reluctantly agrees. Besides, what does she have to lose? She’s certainly not burning up the dating scene in England.

Computer Programmer Jackson ‘Jack’ Stanfield doesn’t date much. He’d rather bury himself in code because computers are simple, but people are complicated. When his college buddy invites him to a BBQ, Jack reluctantly agrees to attend. He’s not prepared for his intense reaction when he meets Elizabeth Tyndale. Can the British beauty draw Jack out of his shell and open his heart to love?

Amazon buy link:

Reviewer's Comments:

5 stars:  Absolutely loved this book!! It was truly a lovely, whimsical, delightful, engaging, heartwarming, romantic read!! Amazon customer

5 stars: What an adorable and heartwarming story! I loved this fun and funny little romance so much. The characters were captivating and the story was refreshing! Amazon customer

5 stars: I enjoyed this book and read it in one sitting. It had laughs and sorrows and a Clean romance which I appreciate in a book. It flowed seamlessly from one scene to another. Characters were well defined and the writing was very smooth and unpretentious. Amazon customer


Jack walked toward the back door. When he was almost there, he saw a vision—a stunning young woman with blonde curls cascading down her back. When she turned at his approach, the last rays of the sun enveloped her silhouette, giving her an ethereal, dreamy quality. She was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen, and he felt the breath leave his body as he stood staring open-mouthed. He’d never had such a reaction to a woman before. It was new and an unnerving experience.

“Did you want something?” she asked.

Jack continued to stare, totally captivated by this woman and her beautiful cornflower blue eyes. He knew she was talking, but he didn’t hear a word, just a lyrical melody.

The young woman waved her hand in front of his face. “Hello, can I get you something?”

That broke his trance, and Jack felt heat climb up his neck. “Huh? Oh god. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to stare,” he stammered.

“It’s quite all right. Now do you want something, a beer perhaps?” she asked.

“You’re British?”

The young woman’s eyes traveled down to her feet and back up again before she looked at him. “Last time I looked, yes,” she chuckled.

What an asinine thing to say! 

 “Shall we start again?” she asked. “I’m Elizabeth and you are?”

Jack gave himself a mental shake. “Oh, please forgive me. I’m not used to making a complete fool of myself before I’ve even uttered a single word. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Elizabeth. I’m Jackson, um Jack, that is.”

“Well, Jackson um Jack, it’s a pleasure to meet you. Now, would you like a beer?”

He chuckled. “Yes, please. That would be good.”


#Review: BEAUTY IN THE BEAST by Emily-Jane Hills Orford

  4 of 5 stars

When I read the blurb for this book, I thought it would be a retelling of the classic Beauty and the Beast tale, but this story is far from that. The author creates a dark tale full of mutants, aliens, and superior technology that the human race is not advanced enough to have developed. The is a modern story that follows Priya who lives a somewhat sedate life until she's offered a job in remote northern Canada. She believes she'll be categorizing a library of books, but what she discovers couldn't be further from the truth. What she finds is a castle full of human/animal mutants including her long-lost brother Amell. Finding out a secret lab has manipulated human genes and she's one of those creations sends her on a spiral of disbelief until she starts to realize her own gifts are indeed lab-created. She's outraged that these beings were doing this to humans and that they continue to experiment and refine their procedures. Now, these beings are after Priya, but Amell and his band of mutants vow to take the fight to them. 

The author weaves many "legends" into this story and the plot moves along nicely with descriptive world-building. The cast of characters is interesting and offers a rich background about the full scope of what these alien beings have created. While this book was not what I expected in the more historical sense of the fairytale retelling, it is nonetheless an engaging and intriguing tale.

I voluntarily read an advanced reader copy and all opinions are my own.



Priya, a name that suggests beautiful. Amell, a name that suggests all powerful. One is a beautiful young lady; the other a beast. Their paths have crossed before, only Priya doesn’t remember Amell from her past. Or does she? And what does it all mean? The Amell she meets is part beast. So are the others at Castle Mutasim. Is she one of them, too? How can this be? What manner of creature would experiment on other living creatures, to mutate them into something bizarre and, sometimes, downright dangerous? Priya has to know. She wants to know. And she wants to make things right.



AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Emily-Jane Hills Orford
 is a country writer, living just outside the tiny community of North Gower, Ontario, near the nation’s capital. With degrees in art history, music and Canadian studies, the retired music teacher enjoys the quiet nature of her country home and the inspiration of working at her antique Jane Austen-style spinet desk, feeling quite complete as she writes and stares out the large picture window at the birds and the forest. She writes in several genres, including creative nonfiction, memoir, fantasy, and historical fiction.



Twitter: @ejhomusic

Amazon buy link:

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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

#Review: THE BEAUTY AND THE THIEF by Shana Galen


 4 of 5 stars

This is the first book in a new series, The Royal Saboteurs, and it was quite enjoyable. I loved Callahan Kelly, the charming conman who is recruited by the Baron to serve the Crown. All Cal wants is the money he's promised, but when he's paired with the prim and proper Bridget Murray for a dangerous mission in Ireland, he begins to rethink what's important. Bridget knows what kind of man Cal is. He's just like her father, a gambler and drinker, who thinks of no one but himself and she wants nothing to do with him. While posing as husband and wife for their mission in Ireland, Bridget begins to see a different side of Cal and begins to rethink her original assessment of the charming Irishman.

Cal was delightful and I instantly liked him. I knew there was a wealth of strength in him, but without anyone ever believing in him, he rarely shows his inner reserve. I wasn't enamored with Bridget in the beginning, but as Ms. Galen begins to tease out her back story, it's easy to see why she is so proper all the time. The fact that she can't resist Cal much against her better judgment only added to the angst in the story. There were numerous twists and turns in the story with some factual history thrown in that kept me turning the pages. It's a great start to this new series. 

I voluntarily read the advanced reader copy and all opinions are my own.