Jezebel is used to being alone. It might not be ideal, but she has grown accustomed to keeping her thoughts to herself, staying busy when she isn’t working, and distancing herself from others. It’s a life she wouldn’t necessarily choose, but it’s what she knows. And then came August. An innocent meeting on the beach leads to what Jezebel believes is the opportunity to work for a wealthy local. When she can’t help but be mesmerized by the very thought of his attention, she quickly begins to realize there is much more to August than meets the eye and much more to the relationship he desires.
Awakening, by Jennifer Leigh Pezzano, is a supernatural romance novel for the ages. Jezebel, the book’s main character is the perfect mix of an unlikely heroine lacking a certain amount of self-confidence and a woman ready to take on the world. Her encounter with the mysterious but incredibly desirable August is one that takes even the reader by surprise.
From the first chapter, Pezzano’s writing is striking and flows beautifully across the page. Whether it’s her main character’s inner voice or the narrative that fills the space between the unique encounters between Pezzano and August, her words are simply breathtaking. The more intimate moments between the two characters are touching without being overtly sexual and explicit.
There is a profound sadness to August’s story, and I loved the bits of history Pezzano includes in her work. These elements of reality only serve to deepen the reader’s involvement in the plot. Pezzano knows how to engage readers, pull them into her characters’ dilemmas, and feed them just enough reality to make them question whether her story is born of real events–she is just that good–she makes the reader feel like a meeting De Sanguine might be a distinct possibility.
I encourage any fan of vampire romances to give Pezzano’s work a try. It does not fit the mold. It does, however, offer readers a new and fresh take on an old genre. I was thoroughly impressed with the depth Pezzano is able to give her characters and the extent to which she is able to take a story set in recent years and make it feel so refined, so detailed, and so stunningly beautiful.
Pages: 344 | ASIN: B08P5SMG3M
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Awakening follows a woman with a tragic past who meets someone who expands her heart and soul and opens a new world to her. What were some sources that informed this novels development?
Well, I have always been fascination by the vampire archetype, but was never fully satisfied with how they were portrayed. I wanted to explore another avenue of possibility with this story, to pull in more elements of spirituality, sexuality, and healing because I believe that these things are all so intrinsically connected to one another. The character of August, and of him “being of sacred blood” in my book, in a way represents the aspects of wholeness held within us. We all have the profound ability to tap into a deeper way of living. To discover something richer and more meaningful in our lives. But we have to let go first… and love is the ultimate letting go.
Jezebel and August have a deep and enthralling emotional connection. What were some ideas you wanted to explore with their relationship?
All of my work dives into the human condition, the darker and more fractured aspects of ourselves, the things we are hiding or running from. But beneath all that lies so much beauty. I wanted to explore all the different layers of rebirth that can occur when two people learn to surrender to one another. Love is the driving force in everything that we do, whether it is romantic, platonic, or familial. It is the glue that binds us together and gives us purpose.
I really enjoyed the various ideas shared in the book, and how intricately it was all woven together. Was the novel planned before writing or did things develop organically?
This novel originally started out as a short story of sorts, but then evolved and grew into something much more. I had no idea where this story was going to go beyond part 1, and it was such an exciting journey for me to go on, one in which I became both the writer and the reader. How I managed to wrap it all up cohesively without plotting is still beyond me. Writing is a lot like alchemy.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
My next book is very different than this one. I’m a bit of a genre bender, and I enjoy exploring all avenues of narration, but I always keep the central theme of love in place. My current novel “Light Among the Shadows” is more of a contemporary romance about a woman trying to live after the loss of her child, and a blind man trapped in the darkness of his disability.
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Awakening is a beautifully written and emotionally rich tale that weaves together the past and the present. Jezebel is a cleaner with a tragic past but life takes an unexpected turn upon meeting a new client, one Mr. August De Sanguine. Jezebel discovers that there is more to our world than she previously believed, but August seems to both pull her in and push her away. He has his secrets, but she does too, and she hopes to reach beyond the mask he has formed. Their fates are bound somehow, but their paths are tangled and winding, twisting together in ways neither of them could have foreseen.
Awakening is such an emotionally touching romance novel because of the way it addresses the human experience through characters and experiences that are more than human. The author touches on trauma, love, desire, sorrow, sex, and so many other aspects of the experiences of life. Even though many of the characters are otherworldly in some aspect, it is the deep emotional connection that the author weaves that allows the reader to relate to these characters and see our own sorrows, traumas, and desires in them.
Despite the sometimes quite heavy sentiments discussed by the narrative, Awakening also has an intricately layered plot that starts out relatively simple but grows increasingly complex and detailed. The world-building and mythology of the book is original and unique enough that it seems to outdo many popular franchises. Additionally, the story covers both past and present in a way that fleshes out the innate connections between the two. I found the extended flashback both enjoyable and informative as to the connections that make Jezebel’s and August’s story so magnetic and fateful. The story starts out what what seems to be a fairly simple love story but goes on to reveal some of the secrets of the universe and the origins of humanity as well as the power that lies within each individual.
Awakening is written in such a way that readers will forget that the story is fiction. Although the book is not action-packed, it is rich, well-imagined, and will keep readers turning pages. I highly recommend this book for those interested in romance and provocative philosophical ideas and theories.
Pages: 344 | ASIN: B08P5SMG3M
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The Pearl Territory follows the survivors of the Earth that seek a life outside their restrictive colony and may find it on an enigmatic planet. What was the inspiration for the setup to this compelling novel?
I would prefer to call them the chosen survivors because most of them (advanced and primitive) left the Earth before the gamma-ray hit it. Their escape was calculated; they had been preparing for that kind of situation.
It’s true, they are looking for the ninth planet in the hope of building the new world, the place of their dreams. The advanced are looking for new territory; the people of power – for crystal, the sacred gate between different dimensions and universes; the primitive, or people of resistance – to break free from AI. Everybody has their own agenda, but there is only one planet – the beautiful, full of water, green Pearl. How would they share it, if they ever did? Is it possible for them all to live in peace? Is Pearl a habitable place? Or is this planet only an illusion?
The story is the sketch of our society, filled with murderers, doctors, religious fanatics, kids with superpowers, mutants, demons, famous painters, witches, Egyptian Kings, magical books, AI-police, addictions, and endless sexual (often ridiculous) rules.
I’m also trying to peek into the future by analyzing such sensitive theme as partition into two primary races: advanced and primitive humans. Who knows, it might be our reality in 2718 (if we survive until then), when the worlds and the planets will be divided between nano-people (conscious robots with feelings) and good old homo sapiens.
Please don’t take this novel too seriously – this is a surreal, absurdist, and grotesque fiction full of adult humor.
Ah, about the inspiration! It is always the silence. Every novel of mine is always born from the silence…
I enjoyed the array of characters you’ve created. Who was your favorite character to write for?
I don’t have a favorite character.
The book consists of 60+ heroes. It might be challenging to follow; that’s why I’d advise you to read it in two or maximum three sittings, preferably as a paperback, in the span of a week. It shouldn’t be that hard, the book is only 200 pages long.
I’d like to mention, though, the character called Mara – the Queen of the Surreal Kingdom, hidden beneath the murky waters of Pearl (the ninth planet). She or He, or both, is the ruler of the demonic powers, the yin and the yang of the Magical Universe, the catcher of Time. I often ask myself, what would I do to stop the time? Would I be as cruel as Mara? Who knows?
Unfortunately, the most powerful people are often showing signs of cruelty, especially when they are too close to achieve or find something they dreamed of for so long…
There’s also a couple of funny metaphysical characters in my book: Mister Time himself – a horny old man who is spending his eternal life locked inside of the closed zone; and his lovely Elsa-chair, which is an actual chair that can talk, walk, and joke.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
As I already mentioned, this novel is a sketch of our society. I tried to glimpse into the future without going deep into psychology, relationships, political fights, and the danger of artificial power. I tried to show as many typical characters of the Earth as possible.
One of the themes, of course, is the search for happiness. People are always searching for something, they are never satisfied, and this kind of dissatisfaction, as we see, leads to a lot of problems.
It doesn’t matter which theme or question you are going to pick, there’s an answer or a hero to that in ‘The Pearl Territory’.
The book is written in two formats: 50% private journals and 50% dialogues.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I’m working on a book called ‘The Secrets of A-Ria’, the second book in the trilogy Child of Illusion, for young adults. Genre: metaphysical fantasy, absurdist. I’m writing humorous fiction for adults, so I find it quite challenging to write for teens.
I see it as a separate book, which means you don’t need to read book 1 to understand or follow the story in book 2. The plot revolves around Codes’ land, called A-Ria – the place unseen and inaccessible by humans. The main character, Aileen, is the Code of Death, who regulates the normal flow of life on Earth. But, as always, the Earth is in danger, as well as the Land of A-Ria. The Black Creeper is coming…
The message of this book: monsters don’t always look like monsters.
It will be available in the summer of 2021.
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The Pearl Territory is a suspense filled; sci-fi, surreal drama written by Victoria Ray. The Pearl Territory is the story of 1,296 people that survived the near annihilation of earth after a gamma ray hit the earth. Living inside a colony called Netericus, on Titus, people are becoming frustrated with the huge number of rules and restrictions. A group of six Titanians are sent to explore the Pearl. They hope to find a new home that humans can live in.
The novel has a variety of settings, ranging from newly discovered Pearl to Netericus, to flashbacks of earth- in city’s such as San Francisco. The story is predominantly set in Pearl. Author Victoria Ray provides the reader with vivid descriptions of its water covered land, and unique formations that can only be seen if they can be imagined. Flashbacks provide melancholy descriptions of earth, and the towns they miss and love. The time also ranges from the present day (2718) to the 1980’s on earth. These setting changes (both geographical and time) are easy to distinguish by the in-depth descriptions Ray writes.
The majority of the novel is structured as a series of private journals, written by various characters. The journals are easy to follow, entitled with the character’s name, and detailing whereabouts the character is living. This structure makes the novel easy to follow, despite its many characters and settings.
There is a large cast of characters in The Pearl Territory. Thankfully, Ray provides a list of characters at the start of the book. There are some more prominent characters in the novel, such as Pain, Rai, Mr Time, Pastor Hoff and Bou. The character cast is made even more complex by the different types of characters, for example the Titans (primitive and advanced), the heroes, mutants, Hreens, those from the past, those from earth, from Nirvana, and beyond matter. These characters are defined and distinguished by their dialogue – both inner thoughts and dialogue with others, and their actions. An interesting array of diverse characters, sprawling the spectrum of good and evil.
The Pearl Territory had an interesting premise and a compelling story and with intriguing twists and turns. This is a thought-provoking dark fantasy novel with deep commentary on society that’s sometimes satirical but always entertaining.
Pages: 191 | ASIN: B08KY44TBJ
Hel to Pay is a paranormal erotica novel that is unlike any story that I had read before. This is a supernatural romance story that deals with werewolves and tackles the structure of packs and alpha’s. Right from the beginning the novel creates a dark and violent atmosphere the permeates the entire novel. Marrok has to witness his parents’ murder and vows from that day on to never allow someone to hurt him emotionally by never falling in love. At just fourteen years old Marrok is portrayed as mature as he attempts to free his sister from a dangerous alpha named Woodroe by becoming will bound to him and serving him. As a reader we can’t help but empathize with him. When we meet Helena, we begin to see similarities between her and Marrok and can guess what will ensue between the two. As her parents became caught up in drugs, Helena had to work several jobs as a child and it continued on to her adulthood. She took on the burden of her parent’s debt. Much like Marrok, one could easily tell that Hel was mature and strong given everything she had endured because of her parents. As our main character, I definitely grew to love and admire Hel. The relationship that grew between Marrok and Hel was powerful and sexy, despite Marrok’s overprotective nature and hesitation at first.
If you’re looking for something that is more advanced than your average romance book, I definitely recommend picking up this riveting novel. The paranormal aspect heightens the drama of this romance story. From the beginning to the end of the book the narrative is full of tragedy, intrigue, romance and action that ensure there is never a dull moment in the story. If you’re also into romances that include erotic scenes, this is perfect for that as well. The writing is straightforward and allows you to easily get wrapped up in the steaminess of the intimacy–not to mention that you also get easily wrapped up into the drama between Marrok and his troubling relationship with Woodroe. Hel to Pay is a compelling supernatural erotica that is consistently entertaining.
Pages: 145 | ASIN: B08NSNSB65
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Follow My Lead by Hannah Blowers is a romance novel featuring a steamy love triangle in the small coastal town of Waterville, Massachusetts. Elisa Roberts is a professional ballet dancer returning to her hometown from New York after sustaining a life changing injury that impedes her from continuing her dancing career. Her otherwise peaceful and nostalgic return gets complicated when she runs into her childhood crush, Christian, who has only ever seen her as his cousin’s best friend; something Elisa is desperate to change. When she runs into sexy gym owner Derrick, who just so happens to be secretly in love with her best friend, they form a fake relationship to inspire jealousy in their respective crushes. What she doesn’t expect is to actually catch feelings for the arrogant yet sweet Derrick who pushes her to the limit and equals her level of humor and intellect. Both of them share a special connection that they’ll soon have to admit. Sometimes what we really want is closer than we think.
I think that Follow My Lead is a charming book. This is something that I think many people will call a comfort read. The plot is simple and easy to follow as it consists of only the love triangle between Elisa, Christian, and Derrick. Elisa is a great character, funny and witty when need be but relatable in most aspects. She is just like any other girl looking for love. Though the story is filled with fun descriptions and humorous banter between the characters, the plot itself is a bit reminiscent of other new adult romance novels, or the heartfelt loves stories found on the Hallmark channel.
Overall, Follow My Lead is light and fun to read, despite the predictability of the story. The characters are well developed and distinguishable in their personalities. While I would have appreciated one or two good twists, the light humor and fluid storyline makes this book perfect for a beach read. This is a book that will easily be enjoyed by fans of contemporary romance stories, and is perfect if your looking for a book that will leave you smiling.
Pages: 265 | ASIN: B08M7KBH34
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Slaves to Desire is composed of 11 short stories that are as insightful as they are erotic. By weaving fictional tales around some of the most successful European artists of all time, she manages to find that storytelling sweet spot between fact and fiction.
The book talks of George Sand, Salvador Dali, Antonin Artaud, Anna Karenina, Romeo and Juliet, and even Hamlet and Ophelia as if they were here with us today. The poetic and emotional way in which this book is written left me with a deeper understanding of what it means to be an artist.
As I progressed from page to page, I was confronted by melancholy, mania, and deep love. Great was the love of one character that they cared for their ill lover till death took them away, leaving her without enough strength to attend the funeral.
Another character, crushed by the pain of being separated from their ailing lover for years, suffers a stroke and struggles to learn how to paint again. But of all the stories, the one that resonates with me the most is the one of the artist plagued by relentless loneliness and melancholy that seems only to be cured by painting.
But even then, they prefer solitude over the company of others. As a writer who spends a lot of time alone, this story is deeply relatable to me and forces me to think more deeply about my life. Ultimately, Slaves to Desire is much more than a book about sex, it discusses complex issues that are inherent to the human condition.
Apart from love, some of the running themes include the need for belonging, the importance of sacrifice, the influence of religion on sexual exploration, and the grief of mourning a loved one’s death. This book is beautifully written, with tons of descriptive language and even quotes from some of the greatest literary pieces of our time. It is clear that the author is a lover of literature and that she poured her heart and soul into this piece.
But it was not lost on me that even these scenes have a deeper meaning to them, giving us more understanding of the psyche of the characters. Slaves to Desire is a well-written and thought-provoking work of art.
Pages: 216 | ASIN: B07SS5D8KR
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