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Son of the Serpent

Son of the Serpent (Fantasy Angels Series Book 2) by [Quiroz-Vega, Vashti]

Son of the Serpent by Vashti Quiroz-Vega is a fantasy novel of vengeance and revenge told from the dual perspective of Dracul, the Son of the serpent, and Lillith, his mother.

Dracul arises in a cave and discovers that he’s encased in a demonic body. He’s filled with agony and confusion as he pieces together his memories to determine how he arrived there. In a painful and shocking epiphany, he realizes that he is the son of Lilith, and that Lilith had tried to kill him. He vows to find out what happened and avenge himself. On this bloodthirsty journey, he faces death, destruction, and betrayal. People, encounters, and events further cement his determination for revenge. The author breathes new life into a host of fantastical characters, often from Biblical settings. Their lives and stories are familiar, yet enshrouded in darkness.

What I found most striking about the book was the depth of its darkness and morbidity. Vivid, gory scenes of slaughter left me uncomfortable, but totally engrossed. Lilith’s sections were almost unbearable. Scenes of Lilith’s cruelty towards others was always accompanied by a fascinating glimpse into her psyche. There’s a lot going on in her and just a surface glimpse was enough to leave me mesmerized. It’s been a while since I encountered such a well-portrayed and dislikable antagonist.

Dracul was just as well-written. His struggle to be good in the face of his own destiny was oddly inspiring. To fight where he came from, to whom he belongs, and the core of his being- his pain and loneliness were palpable. The ending was unexpected, but upon consideration, entirely perfect. Maybe it’s not inherent to him, but it’s clear that Dracul is a good creature.

The Biblical settings and references provided a whole new perspective on the worn-out stories. From angels to Cain and Abel, the otherworldly features heavily in this book- and not always in a favorable light. The Biblical events portrayed from a first-person and real-time perspective were super imaginative. I think it would be difficult to assign a genre to this book. Although it is set primarily in a fantasy world, the dashes of horror, romance, and the occult would make it an interesting read for nearly anyone. The world created by Vashti Quiroz-Vega is totally immersive. I was glad for the escape from reality and I would definitely visit again.

Pages: 303 | ASIN:  B07HS4C3B7

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I, Claudia: A Novel of the Ancient World

I, Claudia: A Novel of the Ancient World by [Wilder, Lin]

The somewhat untold fictional story based on real historical events during one of the most infamous times in human history. This novel explores the story of the persecution of Jesus Christ from the perspective of the wife of the man who ultimately sentenced him to death, Pontius Pilate. 

This story does a fantastic job of showing that despite history painting Pilate as a villain, he was actually a very wise and valiant man who, with the support of his patient and earnest philosophical wife Claudia, did everything to try and save Jesus from the High priests.

This story is a fantastic retelling of one of the most famous times in history. You get to explore the rise of Pontius Pilate and see the human side of him that the gospels leave mainly untold. Plus, much of the story focuses on his wife and her upbringing and events that led her to becoming the woman beside one of the most vilified rulers in the bible. 

This story goes into the heart and mind of the man history has held responsible for the fall of the son of god, and the woman who many believed sat idly by and allowed it to happen. Whilst being technically historical fiction, the plot line and events are very believable and with the fantastic background stories of the main characters being explained properly, you begin to really connect with Pontius and Claudia very early on. 

There is a good dose of suspense and romance sprinkled through the adventure and by the end of it you actually feel genuine sorrow for Claudia and Pontius Pilate because the author did such a remarkable job of making these historical villains into suffering humans just like all of us. 

With the weight of the world on their shoulders, they managed to make the right decisions time after time and you are rooting for them the entire way through the story, hoping for them to succeed and not let the problems of the Empire destroy the idealistic world they created.

Pages: 301 | ASIN: B07LB8NKN4

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Love and Happiness

Love and Happiness by [Burgess Jr., Ben]

Anyone who has been or is married knows that it is work and often the perspective of one partner is completely different from that of his/her partner. This book delves into the difficult topic of two married partners who are not on the same page, which leads to the wife, Karen, seeking what she needs, both physically and emotionally, outside of the marriage.  As the old adage says, what is done in the dark will come to the light! The infidelities are revealed, and Karen and her husband Chris must deal with the fallout. The interesting part about this story is that the reader gets to experience their marriage from both perspectives. This is so revealing about the way that two partners can see things completely differently. It also gives us a better understanding of the complexities of a relationship. Just because someone is unfaithful does not mean that they do not love their partner, which is sometimes counter-intuitive.

The characters in this book are raw, honest, and truly flawed, which often makes them more relatable. It is too easy to wrap up characters in pretty packages that often feels more comfortable to the reader, Burgess is not afraid to show the human side of the people he creates.  As a reader, I found myself often shaking my head at Karen’s behavior, but I also appreciated the real, honesty with which she was portrayed.

I’ll tell you one thing for sure, that woman gets some major action in this book! Burgess is not scared of a sex scene so be prepared for some very descriptive erotic moments. I felt that this added to the realness and rawness of this book rather than detracting from it. Don’t worry, Chris gets some action too!

I also really enjoyed the supporting characters in this book. Chris and Karen’s different set of friends are flawed in their own ways and not always the best influences. They are great additions to the story and a part of helping the couple along in their conclusions. There are times that they definitely added fuel to the fire, but, again, this is a realistic reflection of life and friendships and how they can impact your decisions in your own life.

This book has a fantastic and unexpected arch. It is so realistic and raw! I really love the journey this author takes us on through the perspective of these two people. It really shows how life’s difficult twists and turns can turn out to be exactly what we needed to get where we need to be. I highly recommend this read for anyone who has ever experienced the drama of a loving relationship falling apart and how it can actually lead to the right path.

Pages: 304 | ASIN:  B07V4G3BL8

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A Poignant Visionary Fiction

Lali A. Love Author Interview

Lali A. Love Author Interview

Heart of a Warrior Angel follows Lilac in her twilight years as she recalls her journey through life crossing literal and metaphorical oceans. Why was this an important book for you to write?

Writing Heart of a Warrior Angel as my debut novel was a passionate process for me that began 4 years ago. I wanted to relay an inspirational and character-driven narrative that embodied a metaphysical fantasy about an incarnated angel’s journey on earth but also sought to humanize the protagonists’ experiences in a way that readers would be able to relate.

This story touches on some sensitive subject matter of childhood trauma and fear-based conditioning through the eyes of the main character, Lilac Noble, as she struggled to liberate herself from the shadows of her past and the evil entities that had plagued her bloodline for generations. From the systemic abuse and repression that had long scarred Lilac’s family tree to post-traumatic stress symptoms and the battle between traditional healing and modern therapy, this story relays some of the most challenging issues people face today. By removing the veil of secrecy and shame, the story recounts how the protagonists heal from their past through self-actualization, in a vulnerable and authentic manner. I wanted to write a thoughtful, empowering and challenging novel about perseverance, resiliency, compassion, forgiveness, and portray a story that transcended pain into unconditional love.

Since embarking on my own awakening journey 4 years ago, I was motivated to write an emotionally invoking thriller where I could raise awareness on these relevant issues through the characters and share some philosophical insights into epistemology, quantum physics and energy healing. I am humbled to be able to tell this heart-wrenching tale that reflects the realities of many brave warriors who have survived various forms of violence, giving them a voice through my characters. It was important to relay a poignant visionary fiction that may resonate with readers and perhaps also serve as a catalyst for changing conversations.

Lilac is an intriguing character that captures so many emotions. What were some driving ideals behind her development?

This was a story that needed to be told, and it started to flow organically as I began to develop the qualities of the main character. Lilac is a compilation of many incredible, resilient women that I have met throughout my life, who have found the courage and their own inner strength in the face of life’s mounting hardships. Lilac’s captivating tale facilitated this inspiring and empowering story of love, compassion, and forgiveness.

When I developed the main character, Lilac, I had to imagine how an incarnated angel’s true identity could be stripped away in modern day society, by humanizing the fantasy. I wanted to make her real, authentic and vulnerable, relaying raw emotions and internal conflict that readers could relate to as she struggled to understand her Soul purpose in the face of darkness.

As readers vicariously wade through Lilac’s past experiences of financial hardship, pain, cruelty, and the long-term effects of post-traumatic stress, it was essential to relay her sheer determination to protect her loved ones from harm. She was broken, far from perfect and layered with her own scars, but accepting of her emotional volatility as she actively sought healing techniques to expand her consciousness and discover her true identity.

I wanted to portray Lilac as a multi-dimensional character, compelled by pure, unconditional love, giving her layers of emotional and spiritual depth throughout her self-realization journey, as she discovered her warrior wings and began to conquer the evil entities that have been sent to derail her divine mission of breaking the generational bloodline curse.

The story creates a beautiful tapestry of emotion and metaphysical visions. Was this a planned direction for the novel, or did it develop organically while writing?

Heart of a Warrior Angel is the first metaphysical thriller in a trilogy that is based on the journey of three spiritually connected incarnated Angels brought together in the third-dimensional existence, to realize their Divine Feminine Soul purpose. Each of them is a Light carrier and have to experience unique self-realization journeys through the awakening process, to discover their true authentic self and overcome the obstacles and dark entities that are meant to destroy their inner light. As Lightkeepers and Empaths, their primary mission is to help uplift humanity to higher dimensions by transmuting negative vibrational frequencies into positive light energy, expanding the state of unity consciousness.

This was always the planned direction and vision for my debut novel as I wanted to blend the metaphysical philosophy as part of the protagonists’ healing and awakening process. There is an element of supernatural suspense as Lilac faces the traumas of her past to vanquish the evil entities that have consumed members of her family lineage for generations. On this epic journey, Lilac undergoes the destructive process of spiritual enlightenment to lift the veil of darkness and shame that has obscured her youth. As Lilac unlocks painful memories of abuse, suppressed in her subconscious from years of fear-based conditioning, she uncovers menacing secrets feeding the evil within her generational bloodline. In an attempt to vanquish the sinister energies, Lilac finds the courage to discover her inner truth, vulnerability and authenticity, as she awakens her divine light and overcomes her debilitating fears of the past. Her unequivocal love of her family guides them through a journey of self-awareness, healing, spiritual enlightenment and transformation.

Through metaphysics and energy transmutation, Lilac exposes the evil out of the shadows and brings their truth into the light with self-love and acceptance, to live in freedom, peace, and in harmony with the universe. Everything Lilac experienced in her youth had been a culmination of events to prepare her for the most devastating incident she never could imagine – a real test of her authenticity, courage, and sacrifice. Lilac is thrown into the most epic combat of all time – good vs. evil, fighting to break the bloodline curse of her heritage, where darkness has lurked and fed on the low-frequency vibrations of humans that were conditioned by fear and lived on the lower realms of existence.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

My current work in progress is the second book of the trilogy, The Art of Rose, which is also a metaphysical thriller exploring the concept of reincarnation. The main character, Rose, is Lilac’s youngest sister, who is on a quest to find her mirror self and twin soul flame. She’s on a mission to discover her own Soul purpose by activating her past life memories as she time travels back into ancient Egypt. Rose is plagued with sinister entities that shape-shift throughout her travels, to derail her divine mission. Through a journey of self-love and kundalini awakening, Rose overcomes early childhood trauma and feelings of abandonment to blossom and live a life of creativity, passion and in service of the Light. I’m hoping to have the second book available for publication by 2021.

I’m also working on the third book of the trilogy, The Code of Joe, where I will be transitioning into the Young Adult fiction. This metaphysical fantasy explores the transitional impacts on humanity as the world begins to shift into higher dimensions, exposing all the darkness that has been buried in the shadows by generational conditioning. As the collective consciousness evolves, these shadows begin to emerge into the Light, propelling humanity from the age of spiritual oppression into spiritual independence and responsibility. The sixteen-year-old protagonist, Joe, is Lilac’s youngest daughter who grows up in the New Age of technology and the insurgence of artificial intelligence. Her journey to enlightenment uncovers the truth about accessing the infinite power and wisdom of the Akashic Records, recognizing her true identity as an incarnated angel early in her youth. With Lilac’s help, she discovers her inner magical powers to fight off the sinister shadows and help uplift humanity through the era of the Matrix, into the New Age of ascension. I hope to have this novel available for publication by 2023.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterInstagram | Website

Heart of a Warrior Angel: From Darkness to Light by [Love, Lali A.]Award winning Author Lali A. Love provides a supernatural thriller of metaphysical and visionary fantasy with her own revolutionary philosophy and unique narrative skills to produce this emotionally invoking, heart-wrenching and gripping tale of a family’s rise from poverty, oppression and abuse.

Lilac Noble must face the traumatic experiences of her childhood before she can conquer the dark entities that have wreaked havoc on her family. On this epic journey, Lilac undergoes the destructive process of spiritual enlightenment in order to lift the veil of darkness and shame that has obscured her youth. As Lilac unlocks painful memories of abuse, suppressed in her subconscious from years of fear-based conditioning, she uncovers menacing secrets feeding the evil within her generational bloodline. In an attempt to vanquish the sinister energies, Lilac finds the courage to discover her inner truth, vulnerability, and authenticity, as she awakens her divine light and overcomes her debilitating fears of the past. Lilac’s unconditional love for her family guides her through her process of healing and transformation, fuelling her instinct for survival and her burning desire to illuminate the world.

Spanning two continents and three generations, this inspirational novel portrays the best and worst of humanity and shows how the “tiniest spark of light can overcome the darkness of any magnitude,” through forgiveness, compassion, and the most powerful force in the universe – Love.

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The Struggles Between the Light and Dark Court

Tarrant Smith Author Interview

Tarrant Smith Author Interview

Kept Darkly is book three in The Darkly Series. What were some new ideas you wanted to explore in this book that were different from the first two books?

In Enchanted, book one, the reader is introduced to the fey race but all the action happens in the human realm. In Bound, book two, the action is split between the human realm and Tir na n’Og, the realm of the fey. I spent a great deal of time exploring the conflicts between the two fey courts and what life is like in each in Bound. I also suggested that the fey race and the struggles between the Light and Dark Court is the source material of our Arthurian Legends. Most of my writing inspiration comes from Celtic mythology and so it was easy to incorporate this idea into the books. In Kept Darkly I run with the idea by sending Sel, Riona, and Crank into Annwn, the Celtic underworld to recover Arthur—also known as the Absent King. The first mention of the Absent King occurred in Bound Darkly. In Kept Darkly, I get to reveal to the reader his ultimate fate. Of course, this quest is all just a backdrop for Sel and Riona’s love story.

Kept Darkly follows the unlikely pairing of Riona and Sel. Their relationship kept me guessing and hoping for a happy ending. What was the inspiration for their relationship?

Once again I wanted to pair the most unlikely of couples together, play with the idea of blending the two courts—light with dark—and continue the themes of trust and acceptance, of fate and choice that all my characters tend to wrestle with. In Sel, I had someone who was all about duty. He’d lived his entire life in service to his queen and her court. He’d abandoned any thoughts of having a family beyond his daughter Sinnie long before the reader meets him in book one. The mystery of who Jennifer MacKell is to Sel is a secret that must be forced out of him by Hueil. The Seelie Queen also has to force Sel to embrace life beyond her and duty to the Light Court. Sel is a character who has limited himself by choice. In contrast, Riona is a character whose limitations were forced on her by others; by her abusive father, by her tenuous position in the Unseelie Court, and the Seelie Queen’s dubious protections. How does Sel learn to embrace a larger life? And how does Riona manage to rise above her past and abuse by others to become the master of her own life’s direction? These were the questions and conflicts I had to solve while writing Kept Darkly.

This novel does a great job of describing the unique struggle between the seelie and unseelie groups. Were these groups predefined before writing, or do they develop organically while writing?

Celtic mythology provided a fairly clear idea of who and what the seelie and unseelie were, their characteristics and what the aim of each court might be. The idea of a caste system in each court developed organically as I thought about this world. And because the two courts are a mirror image of each other, what exists in one by definition must also exist in the other. At the top of the caste hierarchy are the nobles. These are elven like beings. They’re beautiful and make up most of the population at court. Then there is the warrior caste. In the Seelie Court this is represented by the queen’s guard; they’re orderly, driven by duty, and a little pompous. On the unseelie side, there’s Hueil’s caste. Unseelie warriors are an unruly lot. They love a good fight and they follow the law that the strongest always rules. The next caste in both courts is made up by the craftsmen. This group is by far the most diverse and I don’t spend much time exploring them in the books. The lesser fey make up the bottom of the fey caste system. These are the sprites, fairies, boggarts, and assorted elemental spirits that most humans think of when the term fey (fae) is used.

What can readers expect in book four of the series, Surrendered Darkly?

As I was writing the Darkly books it became apparent that alongside the mythology, the conflicts of the two courts, and the individual romances that I was recording the rise of the House of Caw, specifically of Hueil and his family’s attempts to unseat King Melwas in order to correct the perceived ills of the Unseelie Court. So, in book four I took a hard look at Neb, Hueil’s younger brother. Neb’s true talent is his ability to remain relatively unscathed while his remaining brothers scheme and fight among themselves. In the past, Hueil had always looked after Neb and I wanted to know why. In Surrendered the reader discovers that Cora and Neb had known each other in their youth and that it was the ending of that relationship that shaped them. Can you return to a past love? Can you see beyond betrayal and who they once were to the person they’ve become? And just for the fun of it I threw Neb and Cora squarely between the conflicting desires of two very different goddesses.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookWebsite

Kept Darkly (The Darkly Series Book 3) by [Smith, Tarrant]As the Seelie Queen’s champion and captain of her guardsmen, Sel, son of Selgi, has lived a life ruled by duty and honor. For centuries, his Queen’s wishes have dictated his every action. Not once has he questioned the legendary seer-queen’s edicts or flinched upon receiving a new mission—that is, until now. The Queen has ordered him from her side and from her court so that he might take an unseelie as his mate, fulfilling the requirements of an ancient fey law long ignored. As if that weren’t bad enough, the Queen has named the unseelie girl. It is Riona, the dark and hauntingly beautiful bastard daughter of the morally corrupt Unseelie King. What the hell could the Queen be thinking?

Riona has lived most of her life hiding from her powerful father. She is the unwanted issue of a despised king and his lusty courtesan, a political pawn her father is determined to use to his advantage. But King Melwas can’t use what he can’t find. Riona, who has grown used to betrayal in the Unseelie Court, is grateful for the timely intervention of the Seelie Queen in escaping her dreary fate—that is, until she learns that the Queen intends to reward her captain by formally binding Riona to him. She knows Sel by reputation only. He is said to be cold, unfeeling, and frighteningly powerful. He is also rumored to be desperately in love with his sovereign. There is no chance that the Queen’s most loyal defender will ever truly love her, so why, then, cannot Riona steel her heart against him?

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A Proven Warrior

Tarrant Smith Author Interview

Tarrant Smith Author Interview

Bound Darkly is an exciting paranormal fantasy novel. What was the initial idea behind this story and how did that transform as you were writing the story?

After I finished writing Enchanted Darkly, the question of Hueil’s backstory wouldn’t leave me alone. Why was he exiled by King Melwas and how was he going to step back into a life and a world he’d been forced away from after so many years? I knew his exile and Jennifer had changed him on a fundamental level and I wanted to explore that dilemma. Sinnie’s character and the close connection to Jennifer was a secret that I also wanted to explain. Why did Jennifer, a light court halfling, make such an impression on Hueil? And how was Hueil’s courtship of Sinnie, a seelie, going to play out? All these characters were so well defined for me that Bound Darkly was one of the easiest books for me to write. For the most part, all I had to do was stand back and let the characters tell me what happened next.

What was one of the hardest parts in Bound Darkly for you to write?

The hardest parts of Bound Darkly to write were the scenes where Hueil’s self-destructive nature gets in the way of his and Sinnie’s budding romance. His doubts and inability to trust all things seelie were reoccurring obstacles for him. There were times I, like Sinnie, just wanted to slap him when his stubborn nature kicked in. But next to Crank, whose story is told in the fifth book, Hueil is my favorite Darkly Series character. His story arc is the longest in the series. He goes from being the villain in Enchanted to redeemed hero in Bound. And then in Kept Darkly, he rises to become the Unseelie king.

How did you create Sinnie and Hueil’s characters in a way that contrasted yet still supported the characters development?

Since Hueil’s character was fully formed by the time I started Bound, it was Sinnie’s character that I spent the most effort in creating. She needed to be as unusual a seelie as Hueil’s unseelie character. She also needed to be a challenge to win, on both a social and personal level. I wanted her strong enough to stand up to Hueil and a proven warrior in her own right. Someone whose skills he could learn to respect. They needed to meet as equals. I knew that a damsel in distress would never appeal to Hueil. I also wanted Sinnie’s backstory to contrast sharply with the struggles of Hueil’s unseelie life. In the end, Hueil has to learn to trust while Sinnie has to find a way to see beyond the crimes of his past, past her right and wrong thinking to a place of understanding and acceptance.

This is book two in the Darkly series. What can readers expect in book three?

Book three, Kept Darkly, is where I explore Sel’s story. From the first two books, readers know that Sel is the Seelie Queen’s captain and Sinnie’s father. But what they will discover is that the captain has secrets and suppressed longings that have been pushed aside in the name of duty to queen and the Seelie Court. I will also take the reader into one of the many god realms in book three, delve deeper into the conflicts of the fey courts, and reveal the final fate of the fabled Absent King.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookWebsite

Bound Darkly (The Darkly Series Book 2) by [Smith, Tarrant]

Sinnie has lived a secure, uniquely privileged life in the Seelie Court of Tir na n-Og. For as long as she can remember, her doting father, Sel, son of Selgi, has been the Captain of the Queen’s Guard. She cannot imagine the dark warrior prophesied for her future by the meddling goddess Blodeuwedd. Nevertheless, Sinnie’s fate is forever sealed the day the goddess whispers the riddle into her child’s ear. He would be a warrior born of the dark, raised by the despised, and tempered by the unlikely – and he would be Sinnie’s only chance at true love.

After spending nearly a thousand years exiled in the world of men, Hueil, son of Caw, has returned to the Dark Court of the unseelie to find much has changed in his homeland. The restoration of his name and his new duties at court should have brought him satisfaction, but the many years of banishment and Jennifer Mackell have changed him. Unable to name the yearning that now plagues him, Hueil travels back to Jen’s cottage to seek answers. What he finds is Sinnie, a seelie warrior who is both fire and flame, and a woman who might very well be the death of him – if he is lucky.

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Slaves of Fools

Slaves of Fools: Book Three in the "Antebellum Struggles" Series by [Erman, Dickie]

When Collette Winters finds herself a widow with a hotel and a plantation to maintain, she is overwhelmed and at a loss for words. Enter Tolivar: a “trusted” overseer and Mr. Winters’s choice to run his plantation and guard his finances. Mr. Winters might not have made the best decision in selecting Tolivar. Any one of the slaves on the Winters’s plantation could testify to the fact that Tolivar is in everything for himself and only himself. When Tolivar’s purchases begin to mount and Collette fails to see the danger in allowing Tolivar to carry on unchecked, all of their lives take a turn no one could have predicted.

Slaves of Fools is the third book in Dickie Erman’s Antebellum Struggles series. Again, readers are treated to the dramatic dynamic between Trent and Collette Winters. Theirs is a complicated love story born out of the antebellum time period. As with book two, readers find that Trent is unfaithful to Collette who remains by his side and is somehow able to forgive even if she isn’t willing to forget.

I desperately want Trent, a businessman and plantation owner, to be smart, but he misses the mark. His desire to put Tolivar in charge of his trust is clearly a mistake but makes for a nice story line leading to the devastation of characters who begin to fall like so many dominoes as the book progresses. Colette’s love for Trent is really his one saving grace.

It’s difficult to find a character as loathsome as Tolivar. Erman has created a fantastic antagonist in this greedy and vile overseer-turned trustee. I believe I released some audible gasps of frustration and disbelief as Tolivar moved through the Winters’s money with lightning speed. Many villains have at least one redeeming quality–not Tolivar. From the extravagant jewelry purchase to asking the creepy, unwanted doctor to take up residence, Tolivar is as intolerable as he is predictable.

I was disappointed to see that Amana, a beloved character from the second book in the series, did not have as prominent of a role in this one. She is my favorite character and has a heart of gold. Her backstory is classic, and she is proof that perseverance is not easily achieved but is worth every second spent trying to achieve it.

Erman masterfully works humor into his writing. Twice I found myself guessing incorrectly and wondering what tone the book was about to take. Without giving anything away, I can say that I was pleasantly surprised both times at how misleading the author is and how well he uses humor to bring the story back around.

I had a few concerns regarding grammar choices, mechanics, and word choice. In addition, I found myself questioning some of the verbiage used as it didn’t seem to fit the time period. Throughout the book, I struggled to discern the characters’ thoughts from their dialogue. A few tweaks in this area would improve readability quite a bit.

Erman has created an engaging and quick read with relatable characters and protagonists the reader will inevitably cheer for.

Pages: 207 | ASIN: B07TDNPMW2

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An Extraordinary Pioneer Woman

Don Gutteridge Author Interview

Don Gutteridge Author Interview

Lily Fairchild details the life of a young woman through the challenges of her youth and her quest to have a family of her own. What was the inspiration for the setup to this intriguing story?

 

My purpose in creating Lily was to follow an extraordinary pioneer woman through the various phases of her long life.

Lily’s character is refreshing, she is blunt and many times quite curt as she proves her point. What were some driving ideals behind her character?

The ideals behind Lily are here fortitude in the face of adversity, the insight that comes with embracing challenges, and the pervasiveness of love in her life.

The story takes place in 1850’s Ontario. Why did you choose this time and place for your story?

The book is set in the 1850s and beyond because I have always been interested in the history of my birthplace (Point Edward, Ontario) and the tumultuous historical events that impinged upon it and its citizens.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

My fiction writing days are over (after 22 novels) and I now keep myself occupied writing poetry abut Point Edward and my upbringing there.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

Lily Fairchild by [Gutteridge, Don]

Lily Fairchild follows the life of a pioneer woman, born in the backwoods of Lambton County in 1840, throughout her long life, ending in 2019. During that time, she is witness to historical events that impinge on her life: the Underground Railroad, the coming of the railways, the discovery of oil, the Fenian raids, the first and second Riel Rebellions, the construction of the tunnel under the St Clair River, the Great War, and the flu pandemic of 1919. Lily struggles against the forces of history and the small tragedies besetting a nineteenth-century woman and, against the odds, bearing children, marrying three times and taking part in the founding of the village of Point Edward and its steady growth as a port and railhead. Hers is a heroic story.

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Resurrected Darkly

Resurrected Darkly (The Darkly Series Book 5) by [Smith, Tarrant]

Ena and her father are coping with multiple sudden changes in life as they have known it for centuries. They are giving up Ena’s younger siblings, and they are watching as the age-old practice of the pleasure dens are done away with. Nothing is as it should be in their world. When Ena is approached by Blodeuwedd, the matchmaking goddess, to run what she describes as a simple errand, Ena takes the opportunity. Little does she realize that agreeing to help Blodeuwedd will lead her to some of the most challenging moments of her life while opening her eyes to her true self.

Tarrant Smith jumps right into the action with Resurrected Darkly. From the first pages, the reader is swept into Ena’s world and given a myriad of clues as to her origins. Ena’s willingness to appease the goddess, Blodeuwedd, and venture into a strange castle alone make her an appealing character and one worth calling a favorite. Readers following Smith’s Darkly series will be pleased to see that Ena, in previous books, is the focus of this installment. As intriguing as her character is in the previous books, Ena endears herself to readers with the unique characteristics she possesses as both a dragon and fey.

I was excited to see Crank as the male focus in this book. I tend to gravitate toward secondary characters in novels, and Crank is one who caught my eye in previous books. His gruff demeanor and bluntness add an element of humor to Smith’s books. Crank, however, takes a dark turn in Resurrected Darkly. Readers will hurt for him as he faces a struggle beyond anything he has faced before. The guilt he bears is overwhelming and has grown into a burden that is almost more than he is able to bear.

Smith includes descriptions of “the enchanted” in her work; humans who have been taken into the fey realm to serve the fey. They seem to live simple lives, almost robotic, but their roles are quite complex. Ena, who has more of an affinity for the enchanted than most, shows actual emotion over the enchanted.

I found Resurrected Darkly to be the most engaging of the books in the series. The dynamic between Ena and Crank is simply enchanting. The impact that Ena, a hardened soul herself, has on the tormented Crank is just short of miraculous. I enjoyed watching the growth that took place between the two.

Smith brings together a multitude of characters from the first four books of her Darkly series as she heals one of her most engaging characters from an unspeakable trauma. Readers who enjoyed the first four Darkly books will be more than pleased with Smith’s fifth installment–a fantastic addition to the romantic fantasy series.

Pages:282 | ASIN: B07NMKM7CH

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Surrendered Darkly

Surrendered Darkly (The Darkly Series Book 4) by [Smith, Tarrant]

Cora, not part of the upper crust of society, is considered a low ranking fey. A handmaiden with an iron-clad memory, Cora has not forgotten Neb and the hurt he caused her in the past. Neb is as unseelie as he is unsavory in Cora’s mind, but he has other plans for the two of them–plans over which he has no control. While a romance is the furthest thing from Cora’s mind, she has no way of knowing that Neb will be the one to make plans for so very much more than a fleeting romance. Neb is about to change the course for both their lives no matter what it may take.

Tarrant Smith has added yet another colorful book to her Darkly series. Surrendered Darkly follows Cora and Neb on their journey back to one another and along a tumultuous and unlikely courtship. Cora is a strong-willed fey with a mind of her own, and Neb is determined to figure out why he feels so drawn to Cora, a woman he is convinced he should remember.

Blue, a mother figure to Cora and a goddess in her own right, is a truly interesting character. She has many layers Smith reveals throughout the book. Perhaps Blue’s most striking characteristic is her tendency to mother over Cora. As with all of Smith’s characters, I am always amazed and somewhat taken aback by their appearances in human forms. Sometimes I feel as if I am reading two different books.

Smith shows readers a little more of the reactions given by mortals. When Neb finds himself in town, readers are able to witness along with Neb the reactions of the humans around them when Neb isn’t quite in his full human form. It’s refreshing to see that the mortals around the seelie and unseelie are not totally oblivious to them. I find that adds a nice layer of believability to the fantasy being woven by Smith.

Of the Darkly books, I find this one to be the most steeped in romance though it lacks the frequent love scenes. The basis of this installment is the relationship, or lack thereof, between Neb and Cora. The entire plot centers around deep feelings taking over Neb and how he will deal with them. Cora, on the other hand, has a battle to wage within herself as she faces Neb a second time following her previous heartache. Readers who are fond of deep-seated romances will enjoy this fourth book in the series.

I am always intrigued by Smith’s abilities to write characters who are tied together emotionally and by their abilities.

From the first page, this romantic fantasy engages readers with the lives of colorful characters and explores realms via two headstrong main characters, Neb and Cora. Theirs is a story fans of romance won’t want to miss.

Pages: 266 | ASIN: B005ZWIIWK

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