My Birthday Book Haul

My birthday was back in November and my online writer friends clubbed together and got me an Amazon voucher. I didn’t spend it right away. I wasn’t sure if I might get books for Christmas. Plus my book Wishlist is insane so I took my time narrowing down my choices.

This post includes affiliate links. Check out my Affiliate Disclosure page for more info.

Here’s what I got:

Fiction

This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron

The Weavers by Ania Whiteley

World for the Broken by Elexis Bell

And The Stars Were Burning Brightly by Danielle Jawando

PREORDER: When Our Worlds Collided by Danielle Jawando

Non-Fiction

Romancing the Beat by Gwen Hayes

The Rural Setting Theasarus by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi

The Urban Setting Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi

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[kofi]

Book Review: The Hiding Place by Simon Lelic

This post contains affiliate links. Please check out my affiliate disclosure page for more information.

About the book

My thoughts

Detective Fleet is on a cold case following the discovery of a body that is missing boy Ben from over 20y ago. The story is split between Ben and Fleet’s point of view, giving insight into what happened back then and now.

I don’t usually read this genre but I really enjoyed it. Every chapter unravelled more clues, it was fast paced, with chapters ending in a way that left you needing to read more.

The body is found at a private school and during the investigation more bodies turn up. This amps up the feeling of danger and urgency. We all the twists and turns I didn’t see the ending coming but it is was brilliant. I loved how it linked back to the hiding place.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Buy The Hiding Place on Amazon

[kofi]

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Book Blitz: Perilune by Karri Thompson

Perilune
Karri Thompson
(The Legend of Tena, #2)
Publication date: March 8th 2022
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

A truce has brought the Grove peace—but things are not as they appear.

Deep within a secret rainforest, live the keepers of unknown spells—a lost Landaffen colony with the power to keep Laura from fulfilling her fate by setting a trap and using Prince Brell as bait.

But Laura has become more Landaffen than human, her abilities sharpening as she infiltrates the forgotten and unforgiving Grove. She must learn to control the colony’s magic before their powers are at their peak.

If she fails, Prince Brell will die, and the joining of both worlds will be incomplete. It is Laura’s duty. Her calling. Faith must be restored, and the enemy defeated.

With a broken treaty and imminent conflict bringing death and war, Laura must build trust and bring order . . . before the PERILUNE!

Goodreads / Amazon / iBooks / Kobo

EXCERPT:

“You’re not supposed to be doing this!” I warned. “You’re breaking an agreement between kings.”

“An arrangement concerning a half-race is not a contract to keep,” Daveen said.

“What do you want?” I asked and took two steps backward, stretching out my arms to catch my balance as I lifted my feet from the snow.

“This is not about what we want,” Reenk said. “It is about what we need.”

I reached behind my back to grab the door handle, but I was too far away from the door.

“Why are you here?” I asked again. “What do you―?”

“You are to come with us,” Reenk said. She patted her sword through her jacket.

Daveen pulled a coil of rope from his backpack. He pulled his feet through the snow and stood next to her.

I readied my right foot to push off while keeping my eyes on theirs. With one leap, I reached the door. Daveen sprung forward, catching me by the arm with one hand and prying my fingers from the handle with the other.

I kicked behind me, tugging to jerk free, and fell to my knees. My backpack landed in the snow. Daveen yanked my arm, and I pulled him to the ground next to me. I rolled on top of him. Holding him down with one hand and using all my weight, I worked to get to my feet.

My coat collar wrenched hard against my throat, cutting into my skin. Reenk had me by the hood, and as she pulled, it became harder for me to breathe. I shoved my fingers between the top of the zipper and my neck, twisting away as I rose to my feet.

From behind, Daveen grabbed me around the arms and waist, holding me with such force, I was unable to move my arms or raise my feet.

The door flung open, but neither Laramiss moved.

Todd walked from the building. “Hey! What are you doing? Let go of her!” Todd screamed.

Daveen tightened his grip, and he and Reenk threw confused glances at one another.

Author Bio:

Karri Thompson, a native of San Diego, attended San Diego State University where she earned her bachelor’s degree in English and master’s degree in education. When she’s not writing novels and teaching high school English, she can be found nerding out at San Diego Comic-Con and cooking delicious meals for her family. Karri is the recipient of the San Diego Book Awards Best Published Young Adult Novel for 2014.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram


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Catch up with a cuppa Ko-Fi (Jan 2022)

As I post more on Ko-Fi, I don’t want you to miss out so here’s a brief summary of what I posted over on Ko-Fi in January.

My 2021 Reads

https://ko-fi.com/post/My-2021-Reads-M4M77UIM1

This post had a link to my YouTube video that show cased the books I read last year and included a link to the template I created in Canva for you to use.

My 2022 Goals

I really struggled to set my annual goals. We had a lot of germs in January which demotivated me. I kind of surprised that I’ve already completed 66% of my goals for the first quarter.

Want to see my goals? Visit here: https://ko-fi.com/post/2022-Goals-X8X47WTD9

Editing Sky Heart

I had to give an update on how book two is progressing. Publishing Sky Heart is my big goal for this year. If you want to find out how it’s going, visit here: https://ko-fi.com/post/Editing-Sky-Heart-G2G27Z8K9

All The Twos

https://ko-fi.com/post/All-The-Twos-H2H17WTJI

I invite you to join in on my all the twos challenge. Read the second book in a series, or a second book by an author you’ve only read once. I thought this would be a fun way to celebrate Sky Heart (hopefully) releasing this year!

However, currently all my reads are first books.

Website Evaluation

I know my website needs updating. I evaluated how it currently looks, compared it to other popular authors sites, and made a plan to improve it. Check it out here: https://ko-fi.com/post/Author-Website-Evaluation-C0C085ZXN

Follow me on Ko-Fi

It’s free to follow me on Ko-Fi and be sure you don’t miss out on my latest news, or any freebies. You can buy me a virtual cuppa or merchandise from my shop, including a signed copy of my book.

[Ko-Fi]

More on Blessed Darkness by Elexis Bell

Did you see my previous post about Elexis Bell’s imminent release?

As a fan of her writing, I wanted to make sure you didn’t miss out on the giveaway ending 24 Feb and I wanted a chance to share more about Blessed Darkness.

Filled with grit and magic, this literary romantic fantasy will take you on a ride. A Blessed Darkness by @elexis_bell is out NOW! Get started on it today ➞ https://amzn.to/3HPvzq9⁣

A Blessed Darkness
Elexis Bell
Publication date: February 22nd 2022
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance

A dark connection. A deadly responsibility.

Sparks fly when Elairie, a mixed-blood elf living on the edge of society and serving as a night guard, meets her latest prisoner. Strange auras surround them, and a magical gravity draws her to him, despite what her associates might say about his race. But the connection they share comes with a dark side.

When Beluroan learns that he and his guard are Blessed Ones, hand-crafted by the Gods to stop a madman from recreating the Blood Magic of old, his veins run cold. Threatened with a return to the magical slavery such magic commands, fear grips him, and memories of his childhood Master fill his mind.

But together, their potential power frightens even the Gods. Can they overcome the prejudices marring their land and master their new magic in time to stop the man trying to enslave their country? Or will they succumb to their own power?

Filled with grit and magic, this literary romantic fantasy will take you on a ride.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Author Bio:

I’m a nerd with a lot of hobbies and enough sarcasm and swear words to make a sailor blush, though, you’ll never hear a word of it if I’m not comfortable around you. I’ve been an introvert since birth. When I’m writing, though, words come easily.

At the end of the day, I just want to write stories that make people feel something.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Newsletter


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Meet the main characters:

𝑩𝒆𝒍𝒖𝒓𝒐𝒂𝒏⁠
His life has been… difficult. To say the least.⁠

Born a slave to the Blood Magic, serving an especially brutal Master, he has a lot of scars, both physical and emotional. The worst of those scars come from the night that brought him freedom but stole his parents’ lives… and almost his.

As a Blood Elf (formerly known as Fox Elves), he’s tolerated in small doses in society. Blamed for the Blood Magic and the atrocities it wrought during its reign, mistrusted because maybe there’s still a Master out there controlling them all, he’s often denied the means of earning an honest living.⁠

Even his Earth Magic, useful in construction and farming, only gets him so far. He earns less than Light Elves and often resorts to theft in order to provide for himself, his sister, and her two children.⁠

Meeting someone, let alone having a family of his own, hasn’t really been possible. Scrounging a living, stealing food, and hiding from Guards doesn’t allow much time for dating, and anyway, how could he hope to help provide for them when feeding his nephews is already a struggle?⁠

But when he gets thrown in jail for his thievery, he accidentally meets someone he could never dream of walking away from.⁠

Elairie and Beluroan are inescapably linked, created as one entity then split into two for the mortal realm because their united powers are too much for any one mortal to control.⁠

But the gift of their bond has a cost, a destiny written in blood.⁠

Blood Magic, that is.⁠

𝑬𝒍𝒂𝒊𝒓𝒊𝒆⁠
She’s unusual in her village. Of mixed blood, she has attributes of Light Elves and Fox (aka Blood) Elves.⁠

All thanks to a Blood Elf rapist taking a liking to her Light Elf grandmother during what came to be known as the Blood War. Given all the prejudices that carried over from the war, her mixed blood means she lives on the edge of society.⁠

She’s not completely ostracized. She even has a decent paying job, but it’s one that keeps her on the fringes of society. As the night guard at the local jail, most everything in her village happens while she’s asleep.⁠

Not that she minds. Interacting with other people is often exhausting, also thanks to her mixed blood. From one conversation to another, she has to gauge whether to fade into the background or let herself be seen depending on who’s around, and she’s gotten good at reading a room.⁠

Of course, her Aura Magic helps with that, too.⁠

She lives with her mother, having lost her father to the Blood War and her grandmother to old age. Though she’s not opposed to the idea of finding a partner, especially now that she’s in her early twenties and most everyone else her age has partnered up, no one has ever drawn her in.⁠

Until now.⁠

Until Beluroan.⁠

Until they meet, and sparks fly. Literally. In a strange, shared aura that burns and jolts around them.⁠

But neither of them know the truth of their bond. Or the sacrifices it may require.⁠

Excerpt 2

I spur my feet to action, dragging myself into the room. Again, my heart falters at the sight of him, at the strange familiarity of him. I barely keep my jaw from falling open.

Leaning back, propped up on one elbow, he sits with one foot drawn up to the edge of the cot. Oh so casually, he examines his nails. His vest gapes, falling open to the side, and his shirt clings to him.

Gods…

But realization dawns on me.

He’s messing with me.

His chest rises with a deep breath, and he glances up, rewarding me with a coy smile and confirming my suspicions. I balance the tray in the only horizontal opening in the bars. Without a word, he gets up and slinks toward me with an almost feline grace.

He takes the tray gently and sits back down on his cot.

Settling in at the desk, I take a long drink of the cool water. We eat silently, and I’m thankful for the time it affords me to calm my nerves. But I glance at him too many times as I eat.

And more often than not, his eyes linger on me.

He eats slowly, controlling his pace. But it makes me wonder.

Does he not usually get this much food in one meal?

My heart clenches, though I’m sure he’d bristle at the pity.

Then, it hits me, as if all the stone and earth Luxitore ever created were falling down upon me, as if Jemarie were taking all the wind from my lungs…

Does he have a family?

No necklace of eternal bonds peeks out from the open neckline of his shirt, but given the scar on his chest, it may have broken when the magic hit him. My stomach plummets, and I tell myself it’s only out of concern for his possible family. With him here, they may not have food.

It isn’t because he’s attractive. It’s because his family might be starving.

But I know better. It’s both. The two concerns mix, curdling in my stomach.

I finish my food shortly after Beluroan. Gathering my tray and cup, I move to take his. “Would you like more food or water?”

The simple question surprises him. After a moment’s hesitation, he says, “Just some water, please.”

Has no one ever shown him simple kindness?

The lightning scar glares up at me in answer, making my own upbringing seem privileged. People turned their backs on me all the time, but no one turned their magic on me.

He hands me the tray, then drains the remainder of his water in one long pull. My eyes linger on his neck, but I force myself to look away. Reaching through the bars, he passes me the cup. Our fingers brush, and gentle warmth flows between us. His hand lingers, and my breath hitches. Swallowing, I pull away.

But I still feel his touch.

Heat rushes to my face, and he drops his gaze quickly.

I dart from the room, tripping over myself to get to the relative safety of the cold storage, or even just out of this room. I barely notice when I bump into the desk in the front lobby.

I rush down the stairs and drop everything on the table in the corner. My hands shake, sloshing a few drops of water over the rim of Beluroan’s cup as I refill it.

I need to get myself under control.

What is this?

Blessed Darkness by Elexis Bell

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Blessed Darkness by Elexis Bell

A Blessed Darkness
Elexis Bell
Publication date: February 22nd 2022
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance

A dark connection. A deadly responsibility.

Sparks fly when Elairie, a mixed-blood elf living on the edge of society and serving as a night guard, meets her latest prisoner. Strange auras surround them, and a magical gravity draws her to him, despite what her associates might say about his race. But the connection they share comes with a dark side.

When Beluroan learns that he and his guard are Blessed Ones, hand-crafted by the Gods to stop a madman from recreating the Blood Magic of old, his veins run cold. Threatened with a return to the magical slavery such magic commands, fear grips him, and memories of his childhood Master fill his mind.

But together, their potential power frightens even the Gods. Can they overcome the prejudices marring their land and master their new magic in time to stop the man trying to enslave their country? Or will they succumb to their own power?

Filled with grit and magic, this literary romantic fantasy will take you on a ride.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

EXCERPT:

The vision whisks us away from the cottage, and our spirits fly to a tiny camp deep in the forest. We stand with hands joined, staring at four Elves gathered around a campfire.

Fortune magic whispers through my mind, telling me these are the Elves who took my mother. My blood boils, and I grit my teeth.

One of them, a young woman with a shaved head, has the faraway look of someone in the grip of a vision. The others wait, staring into the flames.

When her eyes focus on the world before her, she hisses, “Fetch her.”

A form beside her separates from the shadows. A malicious smile spreads over his features, but darkness hides sunken eyes. He disappears into a tent only to return, dragging my mother along behind him.

My heart twists in my chest.

Dirty ropes bind her hands. A gash on the side of her face sucks in the light, and dried blood coats her skin.

“Mother!” I scream, voice breaking.

But she doesn’t hear me.

The woman with the shaved head steps closer to her. “What do you know and who did you tell?”

“All I know is that Gourmaht wants to renew the Blood Magic, and he’s somewhere in the Cargam Mountains. That’s it.”

The bald woman looms over my mother, leaning close. “Who did you tell?”

“No one.”

The woman steps back and motions to the shadowy man. His hand flies out, slamming into my mother’s face.

She stumbles backward, nearly toppling into the flames, and I gasp. Cold horror sweeps through me.

But my mother doesn’t make a sound.

She squares her shoulders, lifts her chin. A single tear trickles over her cheek, and blood flows from the gash on her face, now weeping once more, cascading to her tattered shirt.

The bald woman shouts, “Who did you tell?”

Mother’s words come out a whisper, “No one. I told no one. I couldn’t bear to speak of it.”

Finally, this satisfies them. The bald woman enters another vision. But fortune magic tells me it isn’t by choice. Waergou triggered it. The same man who traced Mother’s location.

When she snaps out of it, she says, “Gourmaht believes that she told no one. She has no one, after all, so who would she tell? Such a pitiful, lonely existence.”

Turning to the remaining two figures, she says, “Make it look like an animal attack. Provoke one if you can.”

Then, she vanishes into the tent behind her.

The shadow man shoves Mother to the ground, and my mouth falls open. Beluroan’s grip on my hand tightens.

Don’t let them do this.

The remaining Elves, two faceless figures, drag her to the edge of the firelight. Shadow wraps around them, hiding their faces.

I reach for a stick, anything to use as a weapon, but my hand passes through. Only my spirit stands here.

The Elves pull knives from within their cloaks and slash my mother’s arms, her stomach, her legs. A terrible scream erupts from me, but they hear nothing.

Mother bites her lip, silent and still. Blood trickles from her mouth where teeth pierce flesh.

I tug at Beluroan’s arm, desperate to go to her, to save her, but he pulls me into his arms.

“Elairie, we can’t do anything,” he gasps, voice cracking as he tucks my head against his chest.

They drag her past us, leaving a trail of blood glistening on leaves and broken twigs.

Author Bio:

I’m a nerd with a lot of hobbies and enough sarcasm and swear words to make a sailor blush, though, you’ll never hear a word of it if I’m not comfortable around you. I’ve been an introvert since birth. When I’m writing, though, words come easily.

At the end of the day, I just want to write stories that make people feel something.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Newsletter


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Blitz Wide Giveaway (INT)

Don’t miss out on author Elexis Bell’s Giveaway for Blessed Darkness. For you chance to get an eBook copy of A Blessed Darkness + swag (bookmark, signature plate, and a sticker), please enter in Raffle copter.

Hurry! Giveaway ends on 24 February.

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Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d04251234743/

[kofi]

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Romance Reads

With February being the month of romance it’s the perfect excuse to make a list of some of my favourite romance novels:

Forever by Judy Blume

YA Romance

This was a high school favourite, and certain pages were well read. I keep meaning to buy it so I can read it again as an adult. Would I love it as much now as I did then?

Night Flame by Catherine Hart

Historical Romance

I loved this story when I was younger. The main character is a redhead. I’m not sure how historically correct the Native American Indians are portrayed but Night Hawk was hot!

Bridget Jones Diary by Helen Fielding

Comedy Romance- Diary

Bridget is struggling with her weight, trying to cut down on wine and smoking, a disaster at work, and desperate to find her Mr Right. Her confessions told via her diary entries is a relatable and entertaining read.

The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

Romantic Comedy

I read this book when I too was struggling with store cards. It not only was an entertaining read but it got me to deal with my problems before things got out of control like in this book.

Stray (Faythe series) by Rachel Vincent

Fantasy Romance (werecat shifters)

I loved every book in their werecat shifter series, and the spin-off books. The relationships are pretty steamy but I also loved the world building.

Silver Silence (Psy Changelin series) by Nalina Signh

Fantasy Romance (Psychic abilities)

This series was pretty steamy and unique. The characters had psy abilities and I really enjoyed how they were described and brought to life.

A Court of Thorns & Roses

Fantasy Romance

This story was like a beauty and the beast retelling, where the beasts were the dangerous fae. It had a great romance and the deadly games at the end were brilliant.

Agent Undone by Cassidy Reyne

Romantic Suspense

I read this whilst following the Epstein trial of human trafficking. The story has an agent trying to catch a trafficking ring, and a love interest that is a girl on the run from the trafficking ring.

Joy’s Summer Love Playlist

YA Romance

This book blew me away how the most tiny details were used to bring emotions and feelings to life. It was so vivid. The characters were so well developed and real.

Blind Date by Debbie Ioanna

Comedy Romance

This light hearted story about disaster dates was even more entertaining because of the cat. I have book two on my reading Wishlist for this year.

There are so many more books I could add to this list, but I shall end it here. Have you read any of these? What’s your favourite romance read?

[kofi]

Book Review: Forever Burn by Trinity Lemm

This post contains affiliate links. Please check out my affiliate disclosure page for more information.

About the book

Blurb for Forever Burn by Trinity Lemm

My thoughts

Tatum & Axel have a complicated past. This bad boy romance is a rollercoaster ride of their ups and downs as they figure out if they work or make things worse. On top of that, girls are throwing themselves at Axel, and Tatum has a persistent creep.

There were points when I thought they’d never get a happy ending, but I kept turning the page after every drama. It led to a satisfying ending that definitely left me wanting book two!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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[kofi]

The Unfinished Books

This article contains affiliate links. To learn more, please visit my Affiliate Disclosure page.

There were a few books I started in 2021 that I never got around to finished. It was nothing wrong with the books, I just had a lot going on and then I lost where I was.

I hate the idea of logging a book as a DNF. It feels like quitting , especially as I really was enjoying some of these books. Some I still consider myself as currently reading. Hopefully, I’ll finish them in 2022.

Fish Bone Alley by David F Burrows

A satire historical detective novel. This isn’t my usual read but the author is a lovely person, and it is quite funny. The chapters feel like short stories so I feel this will be easy to come back to.

Court Out by Deb McEwan

This is marketed as YA Fiction but it didn’t feel like YA too me. It wasn’t what I was expecting, and that made it difficult to get into. I might try again with fresh eyes…

A Choice of Essence by Katelyn Uhrich

This MG Fantasy book is incredible. What I’ve read so far is amazing and I restarted it with my son. I have the eBook but I love it so much I might buy a physical copy too. 😍

Fate of the Blue Moon by H B Lynn

This shifter fantasy book ticks all my boxes. It feels well researched and is a good grounding to the series. I have all the books so I want to get into this.

Forever Burn by Trinity Lemm

This complex college romance kept me entertained with my broken ankle. I stopped at a point where I was angry at the love interest, but as I have book two waiting for me, I’ll have to give him a second chance to make it right.

Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff

This is truly the book I am currently reading. It’s really good but it’s a big book and as a slow reader it’ll likely take me until the end of 2022 to finish. 😅

[kofi]

If you like this, you might like:

New Releases for 2022!

This post contains affiliate links. Visit my Affiliate Disclosure page for more information.

Every year billions of books are published. Here is a mini shortlist of some I am closely following and excitedly anticipating their release.

The Weavers by Ania Whitely

Ania is known as LondonGirlWrites on Instagram. I’ve been following her journey to publication for over two years and somehow missed the release during the December holidays. As soon as I realised, I ordered it.

Released 22 December 2022

A Garden of Pawns by Katelyn Uhrich

I am still reading book one, A Choice of Essence, as an eBook. It’s so good I’m thinking of buying a physical copy and want to get my hands on book two!

Releases February 2022

When Our World’s Collide by Danielle Jawando

I discovered Danielle via Net Galley and was fortunate enough to ARC read her Debut novel And The Stars Were Burning Brightly. I loved it so much I bought a physical copy. I have also applied to ARC read her new release & preordered the book.

Releases 31 March 2022

The Guidal: Discovering Puracordis by Roxy Eloise

Roxy was a PitMad success story. We met via Instagram and collaborated together on a post to help people with pitching their books called 7 Secrets to PitMad Success.

Releasing 2 April 2022

Wolf Bait by Ciara Delahunt

Ciara was one of the authors that joined my Street Team to help spread the word for Ocean Hearts release. Now she is working on the release of her debut shifter novel, Wolf Bait. But, if you cannot wait, you can sign up to her news letter to get the sequel Killer Instinct.

Sorceress of Flame by J.D. Groom

Following Jodie’s story publishing her debut novel Sorceress of Truth inspired me to go indie, and she’s been very supportive answering my questions, and even was part of my Street Team. I’ve waited over a year for this book and I’m desperate to read it.

[kofi]

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