Book Review: The Steel Princess by April Grace

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About the book

My thoughts

This story is told through two POVs. The MC is Silver, and the other is Eden. Their missions are similar – to find their mother – but their journeys are different.

Silver is a very loveable character. She is a gynoid that was raised within a human rebel camp. She knows very little about her kind, and embraces her mission and all the challenges it encompasses. Her training involves rooms with virtual scenarios but real life consequences.

Eden is a human with a mechanical heart. He grew up within the cruel gynoid queen’s castle and trained as a tinker. Although he isn’t in a jail or guarded, he isn’t free. When he finds himself outside the castle walls, he takes the opportunity to escape and find his mum. This leads him on an adventure of pirates, sirens, and man eating giants – just to name a few.

If you love fantasy and adventure, and want something a little different, this is well worth checking out! Plus, the cover is stunning and there is character art inside.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

You can buy this book from Amazon: Steel Princess

[kofi]

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Mermaid Marathon Reads – Week two

I joined Maci Dierking’s Instagram challenge with a mermaid bookish theme. Her Instagram is thebrightsidegirl and I felt the prompts were fun and would encourage me to post more.

Mermaid Marathon Reads

Click here to see my posts for Mermaid Marathon Reads week one. The challenge encouraged me to post everyday and that continued into week two (almost).

Current read

In hind sight, I could have used this for my Wednesday post as I currently have a few books on the go.

Vacay vibes

Boat read

Mermaid on the cover

Still to post…

Pirates

Island read

Fave read of the week

So that’s it for this challenge. But now would probably be a good time to remind you that Ocean Heart is currently half price in the Smashwords Summer Sale (July 2022).

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[kofi]

Book Blitz: The Indigo by Heather Siegel

The Indigo
Heather Siegel
Publication date: June 1st 2022
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Jett Hart, a 16-year-old girl from New Jersey, refuses to accept the diagnosis that her mother is brain-dead. Yes, Mom’s long-comatose body seems like an empty shell. But there was that split-second, weird time Jett swears she lifted out from her own body and travelled to an indigo-colored, starry space, where she felt Mom’s presence.

Now, as Jett’s caretaking Aunt threatens to pull Mom’s life support, Jett must find this mysterious indigo place again and return her mother to her body before it’s too late. The bad news is that only her schoolmate Farold — who may or may not give off a more-than-friends vibe — believes she can do this. The good news is that he’s an amateur quantum physicist in training and has some ideas about how to help Jett get back “up there.”

Even if Jett manages to find Mom in the “indigo,” can she bring her back to her body? While also staying connected to her own “empty shell” below? And, what if . . . someone is trying to stop her?

A teen thriller offering astral projection cosmology, life cords, parallel universes, and wormholes, THE INDIGO is a wild trip through one person’s consciousness “above,” her interconnected reality “below,” and the psychological and potentially fatal dangers of being disconnected from both.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

Quantum Club Meeting. 2:30. Cafeteria.

“I didn’t know the school had a Quantum Club,” says a girl passing by. Popular. A junior, in black Lululemon leggings.

“What the hell’s ‘quantum’?” a familiar voice says. “Oh . . . that explains it.” I turn to see my cousin Meghan looking in my direction. Hair highlighted blond. Glossy pink lips. We are nearly the same age, and worlds apart.

“Don’t know and don’t care,” a beefy senior guy says. “Let’s go eat.”

“Oh, Matty, all you care about is food.” Meghan giggles as they continue walking.

Truthfully, I don’t know what quantum is either, but a quick Google search gives me the answer:

The study of physics that allows for particles to be in two states at the same time.

“That’s weird,” I say out loud to no one.

I head for the cafeteria, intrigued…

There are three people seated in the sea-foam-green cabbage-smelling room. No surprise Mickey Mizner and Brian Leonard are two of them.

“My problem is I’ve got everything prepped for ampage past 27MHz,” Mickey says, blowing dark bangs off square-framed glasses. “I just need to hit ionosphere at the right angle—” He taps a black box on the table, the size of a breadbox, with knobs and buttons. From here, I make out the words Galaxy Torchlighter 825.

“—Sweet, isn’t she?”

“Sweet and illegal to jack up,” Brian replies.

The new guy swigs from an Orangina and scribbles in his notebook, his white braided bracelets scratching against the Formica tabletop. He’s wearing an MIT sweatshirt, and peeking out from the neckline is a black rope necklace. At the ends of his hair, gold beads catch the fluorescent light.

“It’s not a bad start,” he says, looking up and taking a swig of orange soda. “But can you get someone on the other end of the world to receive the signal? The antipode must be, what, Australia?”

“That’s what I told you,” Brian says. He’s wearing a uniform from the ice cream store Sunset Scoops: a brown wavy smock made to resemble dripping hot fudge, and a maraschino cherry hat.

“Wait, the what is Australia?” Mickey asks.

“It means ‘opposite,’ ” I say, reaching the table. “Geographically, right?”

The new guy grins at me, his eyes twinkling with approval. And I’m not going to lie: I can’t help but grin back. I slide into the end seat.

“Farold,” he says.

“Jett.”

“Well, now that we got that out of the way,” Brian cuts in. “I’m thinking Electromagnetic Induction. The hypothesis is that a current can create a magnetic field.”

“Also not bad.” Farold scribbles again and glances up. “But you’d have to check if it’s already been done.” He has a singsong quality to his words. I like the way “realize” is “real’izze.”

Mickey shoulders Brian. “That’s what I told you.” He turns to Farold. “Anyway, if I find someone across the world, in an antipode” — he glances to me — “think it’s worth seeing if my radio’s skip is capable?”

Brian shoves back. “Mine may be done, but there’s nothing yet on what can and cannot escape the said magnetic field. . . .”

“They’re both solid starts.” Farold draws his fist to rest beneath his sculpted jaw line, looking suddenly like the art room’s knockoff sculpture of Michelangelo’s “The Thinker.” “But since this is going to be a competition for MIT, the best science institution in the country, we’ll have to shoot beyond the rudimentary. . . . Any other ideas?”

Three faces turn to me. One cute as hell. But I’m here to listen. Besides, I can’t take the rejection again.

“Every idea has merit,” Farold says.

“He’s dope, Jett,” Mickey says, which coming from him sounds anything but dope.

“If she doesn’t have any ideas . . . ” Brian says.

“I don’t . . . I mean, I thought . . . I don’t know, maybe we were going to talk about quantum physics or whatever, not enter a competition.”

“You study quantum physics?” Farold asks.

“No . . . but it sounds interesting.”

“Which part?”

I could feel defensive, but there’s something about the way he asks, earnestly, and the way he looks at me, so open and curious. “I . . . guess . . . I liked what your flier said. It made me think. Wonder, really. Something I’ve been thinking about. The idea of things being in two separate places at the same time?”

He smiles again, right through me, sending a tingle along my neck. “I’m actually working on something that poses that exact question. But it’s hard to prove. I mean, so far, no one has . . . supported it.”

“I hear that.”

“I had a feeling you might.”

“How would you have a feeling about that?”

“Your hesitation.” Our eyes affix. Is it my imagination or is there something palpable between us?

“Tell me your idea,” he says.

“Tell me yours.”

“You guys know we’re in the room, right?” Brian says.

Farold turns to him. “Two particles in separate boxes.”

“Following,” Mickey says.

He waves his hand, drawing us all in. “It’s proven they can communicate with one another and influence each other’s physical spin. Well, I propose they relate to one another in a nonscientific way. In a way we can’t really yet name. That they can speak to one another . . . by sensing one another.”

His eyes meet mine, alight, full of possibility. “Your turn.”

And like that, I find myself blurting the story I promised I’d stop telling people:

“There was an accident. . . . I could tell my mother wasn’t there. . . . And then this thing happened at the hospital. . . . But I’ve tried everything and can’t get back. . . .”

“What have you tried?” Farold asks.

“You name it. Re-creating the events. Dreaming and setting an alarm. I’ve tried something called the rope technique, and the ladder technique. Also, rolling out, driving out, rotating, and yo-yo’ing, which is basically trying to climb, drive, or shimmy out of my body. I’ve tried the point-shift method and the picture technique, in which I’m supposed to envision myself hovering at the ceiling, looking down at my bed. I’ve even sent away for this—”

I pluck the envelope from my bag and tear it open.

That’s when Mickey and Brian call it a day.

“Next Thursday?” Mickey asks, gathering his CB radio.

“Yeah, I gotta split too,” Brian adds. “You’re awesome, man. . . . Uh, good luck, Jett.” Brian tips his ice cream cone hat and exits the cafeteria, leaving me alone with Farold, my heart sinking at the sight of the DVD on the table between us.

It’s not the cheesy clouds against sky on the circular sticker adhered to the DVD that rushes blood to my cheeks, but the airbrushed, ethereal angel flying through those clouds.

At $39.99, this cost me more than four hours of librarian work. Why did I think this was a good idea to share — or buy?

Farold slides the disc into his laptop, turning the device for both of us to see. Even the digital quality is pathetic. Two women wearing flowing garb and seeming to float on a cloud discuss how they came to learn under the tutelage of the Dr. Reflexology guy, the art of soul travel by aligning their chakras — what they can help me do for the next hour. Though if I want to learn the nine secrets to launching myself, I will need to send away for the DVD package. For a mere $69.99 more.

I want to crawl under the table.

“I didn’t know it would be this—”

“—cheapjack.”

“What’s that?”

“It’s what we say in Trinidad. Or in English, ‘cringe-y.’ ”

And that’s my cue.

I stand, slinging my backpack on, and extend my palm for the DVD, even knowing as pathetic as it is, I am going to watch it — a thought that makes my cheeks even hotter. Because that’s how desperate I’ve become, and I hate myself for it. “Anyway . . . if you can just keep everything I said earlier to yourself.”

He pops out the DVD and walks around the table to stand before me, a foot taller. “What happens in Quantum Club stays in Quantum Club.” He edges close enough for me to smell a delicious vanilla scent wafting from his sweatshirt, to feel those tingles again, and to see in his pupils gold flecks that look like stars.

“Could be a multiverse, you know. That Indigo place?” His hand grazes my wrist as he places the plastic disc back in my palm. “Alternate realities are always taking place. The name for it in quantum mechanics is the Many Interacting Worlds.”

Prickles down my neck. “Are you saying . . . you believe me?”

“There are no absolute proofs in quantum theory. It’s about what we can measure, and to what precision.” He seems to have an idea, darts back to his notebook, and scribbles.

“We’re going to need to know what’s been documented on the theory so far, and under what conditions.” More scribbling. “Oh, and what laws govern these . . . phenomena. So . . . maybe that’s not a total waste?” He nods to the DVD.

I place it on the table, suppressing tears, and take a seat.

Author Bio:

Heather Siegel is the author of THE KING & THE QUIRKY, and OUT FROM THE UNDERWORLD. She teaches academic and creative writing, holds an MFA from The New School University, and lives with her family in Southern Florida.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter


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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

If you enjoyed this, you might like:

[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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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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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

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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]

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