Posted in reviews

Appreciation and Meaning Journal by Andrew Eltes Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Author Andrew Eltes takes readers on an emotional and mental journey to find appreciation and meaning in their life in the book “Appreciation and Meaning Journal”.


The Synopsis

Is there something missing in your life? Are you seeking to live a more appreciative and meaningful life? In Appreciation and Meaning Journal, author Andrew Eltes guides you to feeling gratitude while focusing on what matters most every single day. Through a series of ten empowering questions, this journal is designed to help you: ? deliberately feel positive; ? focus on and feel gratitude for what is going well in your life; ? concentrate on how you can better yourself while growing and giving to others; ? be centered and prioritize what matters most each day while feeling the core reasons for these actions; and ? connect to the essence and enjoy the feeling of accomplishing a goal before it is physically completed. The Appreciation and Meaning Journal helps you ask yourself empowering questions, feel the benefit of empowering and meaningful answers, and have the best start to the day possible while also being centered and focused on what matters most that day. It should be a day that feels and looks how you want it to.

The Review

What a profoundly simple yet moving and impactful read. The author expertly brings readers into the message of this book right away, leaning into the self-help genre enough to educate readers while remaining personable and relatable enough to feel like the author is speaking to you and not “at” you. 10 Simple questions drive this message home, asking the reader to examine not what we don’t have in our lives but what we do have and the gratitude and content that brings us. 

What really makes this book unique however is the fact that it serves as both an educational tool for self-improvement and as a tool in general, with the majority of the book’s pages filled with journal entry pages for the reader to fill in themselves. With a memorable quote to draw the reader into each new day, the author encourages readers to practice the lessons they taught at the beginning of the book and utilizes these 10 questions each day to help the reader track and improve on their daily quest for meaning in their lives. It’s the kind of self-help book that so many others lack because it actually leaves room for readers to do the work after being encouraged by the author as the book draws onward. 

The Verdict

A fantastic, expertly crafted, and highly educational and thoughtful read, author Andrew Eltes’s “Appreciation and Meaning Journal” is a must-read and must-use tool for self-improvement in our daily lives. A soul-searching and thought-provoking read, the balance of reading and working the author puts into the structure and tone of the book is felt throughout its entirety. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

Over the years I have learned coaching strategies and techniques from Professional Life coaches. I am a graduate from Robbins-Madanes training. A course taught by teachers including Tony Robbins, Cloe Madanes, Mark and Magali Peisha.

Posted in Interviews

Interview with Author Kathy Martone

1.  Tell us a little bit about yourself.  How did you get into writing?

I am a Jungian psychologist, mostly retired.  As such, my specialties have included dream interpretation, shamanic journeys, and women’s spirituality.  I never saw myself as an author and only accidentally found my way into writing.  (However, as a young child, I used to love writing stories especially ones with fantastical themes.)  Once I picked up my author’s pen again, so to speak, I felt compelled to continue and Victorian Songlight was born.


2.  What inspired you to write your book?

As it says on the cover of my book, Victorian Songlight is based on a true story – my story.  The story of Kate and her love affair with Grandfather, the ghost with the large golden eyes, is loosely based on my own relationship with a disembodied spirit who goes by the same name. It was a relationship that changed my entire life – just as it changed Kate’s life in the book.

3.  What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

I think the most important message would be to know that we are all capable of re-imagining ourselves, of stepping into lives that are much bigger and more profound than we could ever imagine, that magic is real.  No matter what our human failings or humble beginnings, we are all spirit beings at our core and thus, we all carry within ourselves Divine Light.

4.  What drew you into this particular genre?

Having a relationship with a spirit or ghost just automatically sets the stage for fantasy.  Beyond that, I have always enjoyed an active imagination and have loved pushing the boundaries of what we call reality.  I have studied shamanism extensively as well, and this spiritual practice easily lends itself to visionary fiction.

5.  If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

Well, first of all, most of the characters in my book are based on people I know personally, even though I have changed details and descriptions to hide their identity.  Having said that, I think I would want to ask Grandfather how he feels about the way I portrayed him.  Because he has been, and always will be, the singularly most significant relationship in my life, I would never want to misrepresent him, even in a work of fiction.

6.  What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Gosh, I am not sure how to answer this one.  I am not very savvy with social media and I don’t really know how to determine the extent of social media’s influence on my work.  I do post a lot on Facebook and just a little on Twitter.

7.  What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there? 

I think I would tell aspiring authors that the most important thing is to enjoy what you do.  So if you enjoy writing, you should write, regardless of whether you publish anything.  I would also say that publishing should be an act of joy, not a task. 

8.  What does the future hold in store for you?  Any new books/projects on the horizon?

About the time I published Victorian Songlight, I began another fantasy novel but had to put it down in order to complete the publication process.  And when the pandemic hit, I lost most of my motivation and interest in finishing it.  However, just lately I have picked it up again and I’m looking forward to re-engaging with the process of writing.  I continue to work on art projects as well – pictures of my velvet tapestries whose images are based on my own dreams can be seen on my artist/author Facebook page: best way to view my art work on my FB page is to scroll down to “Photos” and then click “See All” in the top righthand corner.



Dr. Kathy Martone is currently an author and artist living in a small Victorian town in the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas.  She and her husband also manage two small BnB’s in their charming turn of the century village.

Before retiring in 2015, Dr. Martone was a Jungian psychologist in private practice specializing in dream work, women’s spirituality and shamanic journeys.  Prior to this, she was the director of a small mental health clinic and then she served as company psychologist for Southwestern Bell Telephone.  She taught classes at Colorado Free University, The Jungian Ministries International, Naropa University, and Iliff School of Theology.  For the past 35 years she has studied with Richmond K. Greene, past chair of the New York Jungian Institute.

The magical world of dreams has fascinated and intrigued Kathy for as long as she can remember. Inspired by a dream in 2005, she began making velvet tapestries imprinted with the image of one of her own dream figures and embellished with ribbons, rhinestones, feathers, glass beads, Swarovski crystals, antique jewelry and semi-precious stones.  As a Jungian psychologist and shamanic practitioner, energy and depth of meaning are very important to her.  So frequently she will accent the tapestries with symbolic objects, such as old pieces of jewelry, the lining from a purse that belonged to her grandmother, or a piece of ribbon she wore as a little girl.  Layering these materials into a meaningful image evokes for her the multi-layered realms of dreams, myth and metaphor.  Like the magical nets of ancient shamans, these colorful tapestries ensnare the features of her dream spirits as they stare back at her from their watery dimensions.  Her work has been displayed in galleries in Denver, Colorado  as well as in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

In 2006 Dr. Martone self published her first book titled, Sacred Wounds: A Love Story.  The book chronicles the author’s relentless quest for self understanding and provides a blueprint for other seekers who are looking for spiritual enlightenment while grappling with painful life experiences.  Written in easy to understand language, the book explains how various spiritual and psychological practices were brought together in an alchemical blend to produce a potion of timeless healing.  Weaving its way through such healing practices as psychotherapy, shamanism, Buddhism, Jungian thought and dream work, the reader is given a clear map for psychological and spiritual change.;jsessionid=55ACE2AF79811832054FE012FFDB1A27.prodny_store01-atgap14?ean=9781947381162

Posted in Blog Tours, Book Events, reviews

The Longblood (The Longblood Series Book 1) by Charmin Blazier Audiobook Tour and Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A promising young musician getting ready to the life he’s always dreamed of finds his world turned upside down as he discovers another life he never knew he lived, and soon he is drawn to Ainsley Fairfax, who works in the shadows to discover the truth behind both their fates in author Charmin Blazier’s “The Longblood”, the first in the Longblood series. 


The Synopsis

Love will make him a better man. If it doesn’t kill him first.

Nineteen-year-old Daniel Marco is about to start the life he’s always wanted. But when he blacks out and etches a mysterious code on his arm, it changes his plans in ways he never imagined.

The code leads him to the grounds of an ancient British asylum housing a secret society where he learns the unthinkable – he’s lived before. As his past life begins to resurface in unpredictable and terrifying ways, Daniel seeks answers and learns his life is in danger.

And he’s not alone.

When he meets bold Ainsley Fairfax, who is working in the shadows to solve a mystery tied to both their fates, Daniel is intensely drawn to her in ways he can’t explain. Ainsley believes Daniel is the key to solving the mystery and keeping them alive. But the more time Daniel spends with Ainsley, the deeper he’s drawn into danger. And the more he begins to lose control…

Together, they must solve the mystery before it’s too late. Will he prevail? Or will all he cares for be destroyed?

Be on the lookout for the second audiobook in this paranormal new adult romance – Lost Longblood: The Longblood Series, Book 2 (coming soon).

The Review

The author does a great job of balancing a blooming romance with the mystery and suspense of the novel’s narrative. Perfectly capturing the New Adult genre in this story, the plot is both creative and original, giving readers a new paranormal romance series to dive deeply into. 

The narrator does a great job of bringing these characters and their story to life. Readers instantly feel connected to Daniel and Ainsley, as both come at this mystery from two very different points of view but soon find themselves drawn together. The novel jumpstarts immediately with shock and awe with Daniel’s introduction into this dangerous world and the mystery within, giving readers an instant connection to the overall narrative. 

As someone with a keen interest in the past life theory and the paranormal, I found myself drawn to the narrative immediately, and the narrator himself does a great job of capturing the amazing cast of characters that fill out this large plot and mystery.

The Verdict

A memorable, entertaining and engaging audiobook, author Charmin Blazier’s “The Longblood” is the perfect start to a brand new paranormal romance New Adult series. The characters are engaging and the story adapts perfectly to the audiobook format, creating a narrative that lends itself to some cinematic style imagery within each chapter. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


Author: Charmin Blazier

Narrator: Alex Black

Length: 12 hours 1 minutes

Series: The Longblood Series, Book 1

Publisher: Charmin Blazier

Released: Feb. 12, 2021

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Add on Goodreads

Love will make him a better man. If it doesn’t kill him first. Nineteen-year-old Daniel Marco is about to start the life he’s always wanted. But when he blacks out and etches a mysterious code on his arm, it changes his plans in ways he never imagined. The code leads him to the grounds of an ancient British asylum housing a secret society where he learns the unthinkable – he’s lived before. As his past life begins to resurface in unpredictable and terrifying ways, Daniel seeks answers and learns his life is in danger. And he’s not alone. When he meets bold Ainsley Fairfax, who is working in the shadows to solve a mystery tied to both their fates, Daniel is intensely drawn to her in ways he can’t explain. Ainsley believes Daniel is the key to solving the mystery and keeping them alive. But the more time Daniel spends with Ainsley, the deeper he’s drawn into danger. And the more he begins to lose control… Together, they must solve the mystery before it’s too late. Will he prevail? Or will all he cares for be destroyed? Be on the lookout for the second audiobook in this paranormal new adult romance – Lost Longblood: The Longblood Series, Book 2 (coming soon).
Buy Links
Buy on Amazon Buy on Audible

Charmin Blazier is a writer of paranormal romance and a mother of chihuahuas. She lives in Northern Virginia with the most amazing sister and blue-eyed pup on earth. Her poetry was published in the Heart 11 Poetry Journal, and she holds a Master of Arts degree in Philosophy from George Mason University. Additionally, she’s currently working on the next installment in The Longblood Series. Be on the lookout for Lost Longblood: The Longblood Series Book Two (coming soon)!
Narrator Bio

Alex Black is a professional audiobook narrator who has performed and produced over 75 audiobooks. Many of his audiobooks have made the top 20 Amazon best sellers list within their category. He has received hundreds of 5 star reviews across various genres. Audible listeners have this to say: “Fantastic narration! The narrator weaves a spell reading this book!” “I felt all the emotions these characters experienced through his voice and I was totally pulled into this story!” Location: Vermont, United States
Guest Post
Author Charmin Blazier’s Reasons Why You Should Give Audiobooks a Listen
You deserve to hear a great story. And how long has it been? For some, far too long. As we grow up, we often leave great joys behind. We forget to play, lose interest in drawing for the fun of it, and no longer ask those in our lives to crack open a book and read us a story. I mean, why would we do that? We can read it ourselves, right? Yes, but in our quest to be silently independent in the presence of books, we’ve lost something vital. We’ve lost a realm of creativity, a place like no other, a place that belongs to us. It doesn’t have to be this way. The realms we leave behind might be forgotten for a while, but they don’t disappear. And though we have tight schedules, bills to pay, and doings to do, we also have a way to reclaim long-forgotten joys even as we speed through our over-tasked lives. Enter audiobooks. Glorious, magical, irresistible audiobooks. For me, they’ve done the impossible—made otherwise hideous commutes enjoyable. And that’s just the beginning of their talents. Audiobooks change our relations to stories; they expand our creative collaborations. After all, when you engage with fiction, you become a creator of worlds. When you read, you and the writer come together to craft something utterly unique in your mind. And when you listen, you, the writer, and the narrator come together. Voice brings another layer to the collaboration, another soul to the story, another existential form via external sound. The jump from book to audiobook is more subtle than the one from book to movie. It’s a mid-way point—a zone of twilight that retains intimacy and imaginative engagement yet draws the inward nature of reading ever so slightly outward. And all this is done with just a bit of breath and sound. People sometimes ask whether listening to a book is as good as reading it. Some even suggest that listening equates to “cheating.” Such notions miss the larger point. It’s not about what’s as good or better. It’s about you as a creator and what a different artistic collaboration can bring to your life and imagination. It’s about fun, expansion, and learning that in the best possible way, you and I are not so different than we used to be. So, go ahead. Give an audiobook a listen and reclaim your forgotten creative realm. Your collaborators are waiting. Happy listening. -Charmin Blazier Top 10 List
Author Charmin Blazier’s Top Ten Perks of Being an Author
  1. The possibility that your story might bring a little lightness and joy into a reader’s vacation/rainy day/train ride/life in general. There’s nothing better than that.
  2. Being able to collaborate with other creative people such as cover artists, narrators, and bloggers.
  3. Being able to dedicate your work to all the people who’ve supported you along the way.
  4. That moment when you hold your paperback book for the first time.
  5. That moment when you hear your audiobook for the first time.
  6. Creating story worlds where the impossible becomes possible.
  7. The sense of accomplishment when you learn a new writing skill (and there’s always more to learn!).
  8. Being able to connect with your audience in so many ways.
  9. The joy of creating characters out of your imagination.
  10. Having an excuse to spend countless hours in Starbucks.
  I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Charmin Blazier. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Plugging you into the audio community since 2016.

Sign up as a tour host here.
Posted in reviews

Unknown 9: Revelation: Book Two of the Genesis Trilogy by Layton Green Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A astrophysics PhD candidate and an investigative journalist must go on yet another globe-trotting adventure filled with ancient history, secretive societies at war with one another, and mind-blowing physics and technology in author Layton Green’s “Unknown 9: Revelation”, the second book in the Genesis Trilogy.


The Synopsis

The mystery, intrigue, and globetrotting suspense continue in this second installment of the Unknown 9: Genesis trilogy.

After escaping from a watery dungeon in Venice, astrophysics PhD candidate Andromeda “Andie” Robertson and investigative reporter Cal Miller are whisked to Bologna by a member of the mysterious Leap Year Society. A deadly confrontation with the Society’s bitter rivals, the Ascendants, sends Andie and Cal on the run once again, desperate to solve the Star Phone puzzle so they can reclaim their lives and rescue their loved ones.

Brilliantly juxtaposing a modern-day thriller with a historical search for a missing physicist, REVELATION probes ever deeper into the mounting mysteries surrounding Andie and her past.

What is the source of her strange hallucinations?

What are the true origins of the Leap Year Society and the Ascendants?

How are her mother and her mentor, Dr. James Corwin, involved?

From Italy to India and New York to Buenos Aires, Andie and Cal risk their lives to probe a secret world hidden in plain sight, drawing closer to answers that will determine not only their own fates, but who controls a new frontier of knowledge.

From the author of the bestselling Dominic Grey novels, Genesis is a mind-bending thriller about how far two people will go for answers, and to save the ones they love. 

The Review

Much like in his first book in this series, (and in every book I’ve read from this amazing author), this second entry into the multi-media series does an amazing job of crafting the perfect pace for this narrative. The air of mystery and suspense that comes from this cat and mouse game both in the past and the present is fantastic to read, while the author’s writing style definitely invokes a cinematic quality to it. 

The layered approach to the narrative the author takes creates a truly tense and mysterious atmosphere within the novel, and the character growth develops a rich plot that spans the entire globe and beyond. The style of this narrative and its overall contribution to the multi-media series makes this novel even more engaging, as it creates a mythology that not only readers can get lost in, but evokes nostalgia for fans of properties like Assassin’s Creed, The X-Files, and The Da Vinci Code. 

The Verdict

An engaging, entertaining, and highly action-packed thriller and sci-fi novel, author Layton Green’s “Unknown 9: Revelation” is a must-read novel of 2021. The story is intense and has a steady progression for both the narrative and characters that readers won’t be able to get enough of. By the book’s end, the shocking revelation of the mysterious “Archon” will have readers floored and eager to learn more about the next chapter in this series. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

Layton Green writes in multiple genres and is the author of the upcoming Genesis Trilogy, the Dominic Grey series, the Blackwood Saga, and other works of fiction. Layton’s work has been nominated for multiple awards (including a two-time finalist for an International Thriller Writers award), optioned for film, and has reached #1 on numerous genre lists in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany. The Shadow Cartel was a #2 overall bestseller on Amazon UK.

In addition to writing, Layton attended law school in New Orleans and was a practicing attorney for ten very long years. He has also been an intern for the United Nations, an ESL teacher in Central America, a bartender in London, a seller of cheap knives on the streets of Brixton, a door to door phone book deliverer in Florida, and the list goes downhill from there.

Layton lives with his family in North Carolina. You can visit him on Facebook, Goodreads, or on his website (

Posted in reviews

Winning Streak: Tales and Trivia of the 40 Most Popular Board Games by John-Michael Gariepy Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

How did some of our worlds most popular board games come to exist? And how do they continue to earn their legendary status? Find out in author John-Michael Gariepy’s “Winning Streak: Tales and Trivia of the 40 Most Popular Board Games”. 


The Synopsis

Did you ever wonder:

♞ What makes Clue the best movie based on a game franchise?

♝ What does the doubling cube in backgammon do?

♜ How trains are even supposed to operate in Ticket to Ride: Antarctica?

♛ How the designer of the board game Pandemic feels now that he’s lived through an actual global pandemic?

♚ Whatever happened to the Monopoly game show from the 90s?

Based on Ranker’s poll of almost 400,000 votes, these games define us. From multiple-award winning masterpieces of the past decade, to indestructible classics still going strong after 5,000 years of play, these are the games you must play before you die. Well, except for Sorry!. That game is a blight upon this list and mankind as a whole.

Excuse me. What I’m trying to say is that I wrote this book about games, and I thought you might like it.

The Review

This is one of the more unique and fascinating non-fiction reads you will find out in the world right now. So many of us take for granted the power that a really good board game can have on us. The feelings of nostalgia or the power of diversion they can cause in our lives as we escape into made-up realms like Candy Land or the fun yet the cutthroat world of real estate in Monopoly, all-cause us to turn to board games at one point or another in our lives.

What really stood out to me was how it became so clear that the author not only had done extensive research into the games listed here but had evoked a sense of passion in the writing itself. The book flows naturally and yet hits readers with a zeal for life and a touch of humor that keeps the reader planted firmly in the book. The history and purpose behind some of these games are incredibly neat to dive into and give off a sense of history as well, at least the history of these games and as a result the culture of the times. As a fan of history, this speaks to me immensely. 

The Verdict

An entertaining, engaging and evenly-paced read for fans of board games and history, author John-Michael Gariepy’s “Winning Streak” is a must-read nonfiction title. The concept of board games and gaming, in general, is not only a passion of mine and clearly the authors, but the book is well written and easily captures the raw essence and power behind the history of these iconic games. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

Hi!  I’m John-Michael Gariepy.  Over the past decade I played and reviewed over four hundred board games for three podcasts: The Myriad Games Session Impressions, Power to the Meeple, and the Nerd Fountain.  On occasion, I also put together a game review for my blog, DialD4DM.  I also produce the movie/media conversation show, Popcorn Roulette.

I also just edited a jewelry and photography art book/memoirdesign fake Magic: the Gathering cards, and am the director of a medical audio drama called Say Hello to Black Jack.  I have a wide range of interests, a tremendous love of learning, a goofy sense of humor, and attack problems from multiple angles.  It shows in my writing.

Posted in reviews

Part of Me: Lost and Found by Cisel Ozbay Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

The painful process of losing oneself can often lead to some pretty insightful discoveries, as readers are sure to find out in author and poet Cisel Ozbay’s “Part of Me: Lost and Found”. 


The Synopsis

A journey of self- discovery involves completely losing yourself in order to find yourself again. This collection of poems captures all the ways the author has lost herself, and all the truths she has found in doing so.

The Review

The author has managed to blend the artful and emotional side of poetry with the more thoughtful and engaging aspect of philosophy, with readers taking a journey into the author’s process of eliminating all preconceived notions about herself and the world and making new discoveries. 

Each poem is equal parts creative, equal parts philosophical. An early poem that stood out to me was “Ash”, as it speaks to the troubles in our lives that quickly give way to feelings of anger, and yet burning out that anger can lead to the rebirth in a way of our new selves. It speaks to the Phoenix of mythology, which sees rebirth in the aftermath of a great fire, the perfect metaphor for feelings of anger or rage that could easily overtake us if we let it. 

Meanwhile, poems like “Rare” explore the realization that comes from thinking outside of what’s considered the norm, as it can lead to isolation and loneliness, major contributors to feelings of fear and dread. It is about finding a balance and seeking out those who understand your particular approach to life, making these poems incredibly powerful and insightful.

The Verdict

A momentous, emotional, and thought-provoking read, author Cisel Ozbay’s “Part of Me: Lost and Found” is a must-read book of poetry. The last year and a half especially has been hard on us all and has given many of us moments to pause and reflect on our lives. The author captures this enlightening moment of her own and creates a powerful connection with the reader through their profound words and creative approach to the genre. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

Cisel Ozbay is an author from London who began writing during her time at University in Aberdeen. She was inspired by her own life experiences and the turbulent times in her life. Acknowledging the benefits of writing on her own self growth she now writes regularly. Her Parts Of Me: From Me to You, and Parts Of Me: Lost of Found books contain poems written during this same period in her life.

Posted in reviews

Go the Distance (A Twisted Tale: Hercules) by Jen Calonita Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

After Hercules defeated Hades and saved Mt. Olympus, he was welcomed back as a god. Yet when his immortality threatens to keep him away from his true love, Meg must navigate a treacherous road of untold dangers in a quest to gain immortality herself in author Jen Calonita’s “Go the Distance”, the next entry in the “A Twisted Tale” series.


The Synopsis

What if Meg had to become a god?

After Hercules proves he’s a true hero and regains his godship, all seems right in the world. That is, until Zeus tells Meg that she can’t be with Hercules because she’s, well, mortal. Luckily, Hera has a solution, offering Meg a chance to prove herself worthy of a spot on Mt. Olympus–as a god. All Meg has to do is complete a mysterious quest.

The mission? Oh, just to rescue her ex’s current wife from the Underworld. The ex-boyfriend she saved by selling her soul to Hades. The ex-boyfriend who immediately moved on to someone else while she was stuck in the Underworld. Can Meg put her past behind her and use her quick-wit to defeat monsters and gods alike, including the nefarious Hades? Will she finally figure out her place and contribution to the world? Or will her fear of commitment have her running away from an eternity of godhood with Herc?

Written by the author of Mirror, Mirror and Conceal, Don’t Feel, Jen Calonita’s latest twist is sure to delight and surprise.

The Review

Thank you to Disney-Hyperion for this arc, because wow this was an incredible journey. As both a major Disney fan and fan of Greek Mythology, this book was the perfect blend of them both. Getting to explore a scenario where Meg and Herc had to fight for their happy ending together was great to see unfold.

Immediately the author delves even deeper into Greek Mythology than the Disney film had done originally, exploring a variety of new monsters and even various new locations that longtime enthusiasts of the mythology will be well aware of. Readers even get a chance to better explore the realm of the gods, as the narrative introduces the gods to Meg along her journey.

However, it is Meg who takes center stage and makes this story shine. The author brilliantly explores Meg as a character and explores why Meg became involved with Hades in the first place. From the tragic past with her mother to the shocking untold truths behind the boyfriend who betrayed her and the near-impossible journey to open up her heart to Hercules and those around her, Meg’s character evolution is the most gripping and engaging aspect of this novel, and expertly adds a new and much-needed chapter to the story began in the film.

The Verdict

A masterful, entertaining, and epic story, author Jen Calonita’s “Go the Distance” is a must-read YA Fantasy and Romance tale. The book is evenly-paced and perfectly captures the magic of the Disney film with the darker side of Greek Mythology and all of the amazing levels to that complex part of history. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

I’m Jen Calonita, a MG and YA author who loves what I do because it lets me connect with all of you (and no, I wasn’t intending for that to rhyme!).

I’ve been writing ever since I can remember, but it was fourth grade when I put my “three wishes” for a genie down on paper. They were:

#1. Buy all the Cabbage Patch Kids in the world and give them away for free (because apparently that was how I rolled).

#2. I wanted a mansion, limo, lake house, pool and speed boat (still sounds quite nice).

#3. I wanted to be an author for young readers, which I am!

I love writing novels for teens (and for savvy grown ups who know that YA rocks at any age). My first series was “Secrets of My Hollywood Life” and it followed a teen star named Kaitlin Burke who struggled with the fame game. I have also written the stand-alone novels Sleepaway Girls, it’s companion book, Summer State of Mind and the Belles series.

I’ve been writing middle grade too and am having so much fun with my series Fairy Tale Reform School! The fourth book in this series about a school run by former villains is called Tricked and will be out March 2018. Ever wonder what it would be like if your parents got a job with someone like Taylor Swift? My other middle grade series, VIP, follows super fan Mackenzie Lowell as she tours with her favorite band, Perfect Storm.

I promise to give book updates here, and on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or my website. I hope I hear from you!



Posted in reviews

The Path to Sunshine Cove (Cape Sanctuary #2) by RaeAnne Thayne Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Jessica Clayton must contend with a haunted childhood and the challenge of letting people get close to her as she attempts to get a better relationship with her sister and her family, along with her latest client and her client’s son, in author RaeAnne Thayne’s “The Path to Sunshine Cove”, the second book in the “Cape Sanctuary” series. 


The Synopsis

She knows what’s best for everyone but herself…

With a past like hers, Jessica Clayton feels safer in a life spent on the road. She’s made a career out of helping others downsize—because she’s learned the hard way that the less “stuff,” the better, a policy she applies equally to her relationships. But a new client is taking Jess back to Cape Sanctuary, a town she once called home…and that her little sister, Rachel, still does. The years apart haven’t made a dent in the guilt Jess still carries after a handgun took the lives of both their parents and changed everything between them.

While Jess couldn’t wait to put the miles between her and Cape Sanctuary, Rachel put down roots, content for the world—and her sister—to think she has a picture-perfect life. But with the demands of her youngest child’s disability, Rachel’s marriage has begun to fray at the seams. She needs her sister now more than ever, yet she’s learned from painful experience that Jessica doesn’t do family, and she shouldn’t count on her now.

Against her judgment, Jess finds herself becoming attached—to her sister and her family, even to her client’s interfering son, Nate—and it’s time to put everything on the line. Does she continue running from her painful past, or stay put and make room for the love and joy that come along with it?

The Review

This was a perfect read for those who enjoy feel-good, emotionally driven women’s fiction with a touch of romance. The relationship between Jess and Nate evolves at a great pace, and the progression of Jess’s relationship with her sister Rachel makes the character growth between these characters shine brightly.

The story itself has an air of relatability to it, speaking to the trauma children can endure throughout their childhood and how it can influence the behavior of us all as adults. The walls we put up in the aftermath of trauma can affect relationships, and Jess showcases the painful but rewarding journey to overcome those walls. 

The Verdict

A heartwarming, connective, and engaging read, author RaeAnne Thayne’s “The Path to Sunshine” is a must-read women’s fiction novel. The balance of family and romance within the narrative makes for a gripping tale, and readers won’t want to miss the emotional final chapters of this story. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

New York Times bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne finds inspiration in the beautiful northern Utah mountains where she lives with her family. Her books have won numerous honors, including six RITA Award nominations from Romance Writers of America and Career Achievement and Romance Pioneer awards from RT Book Reviews. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at

Social Links:

Author Website

Twitter: @raeannethayne

Facebook: @AuthorRaeAnneThayne

Instagram: @raeannethayne






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An Excerpt From “The Path to Sunshine Cove”

Chapter One 

If not for all of the emotional baggage cluttering up her Airstream, this wouldn’t be a bad place to park for a few days. 

As Jess Clayton drove through the quiet streets of Cape Sanctuary on a beautiful May afternoon, she couldn’t help being charmed anew by the Northern California beach town vibes. 

She had been here before, of course. Several times. Her sister lived just down that street there, in a large two-story cottage with gables, a bay window and a lush flower garden. Rachel loved it here. Every time Jess came to town, she was reminded why. What was not to love? Cape Sanctuary was a town defined by whimsical houses, overflowing gardens, wind chimes and Japanese fishing balls. 

And, of course, the gorgeous coastline, marked by redwoods, rock formations, cliffs.

 She drove past Juniper Way, her sister’s street, but didn’t turn down. Not yet. She would see Rachel, Cody and the kids soon, after she was settled.

 They were the whole reason she was here, after all. She didn’t see her nieces and nephew enough, only on the rare holidays and birthdays that she could arrange a visit. When a prospective client reached out from the same town as Rachel and her family, Jess saw it as a golden opportunity to spend more time with the kids. 

And her sister, of course.

 She sighed as she made her way to her destination, Sunshine Cove, still a mile away, according to her navigation system.

 Rachel was the reason for all that baggage she was towing along. Jess loved her younger sister dearly but their relationship was like a messy tangle of electric wires, some of them live and still sparking. 

She would be in Cape Sanctuary for two weeks on this job. Maybe she would finally have the chance to sort things out with Rachel and achieve some kind of peace. 

The road rose, climbing through a stand of redwoods and coastal pine, with houses tucked in here and there before the view to the ocean opened up again

. In five hundred feet, your destination is on the right: 2135 Seaview Road. 

She couldn’t argue with Siri on this one. That was a spectacular view. The Pacific glistened in the afternoon sunlight, with only a few feathery clouds above the horizon line. She turned at the orca-shaped mailbox Eleanor Whitaker had told her to seek. Through more coastal pine, she could see the house. She recognized it from the pictures her client had sent. One level, made of stone and cedar, the house looked as if it had grown out of the landscape fully formed. 

She knew the house was more than five thousand square feet, built at the turn of the century by a wealthy ranching and logging family in the area. It featured seven bedrooms and eight bathrooms, all of which she would come to know well over the next two weeks. 

From the picture Eleanor had sent, Jess knew Whitaker House was beautiful. Elegant. Comfortable. Warm.

 The kind of place where Jess had once dreamed of living, free of shouting, chaos, pain.

 She could see, tucked into the trees overlooking the ocean, a smaller house on the property that was almost a miniature of the big house, with the same cedar and stone exterior as well as windows that gleamed in the afternoon sun. 

A big dark blue pickup truck was parked there but she couldn’t see anyone around. 

Jess pulled her own rig over to the side of the driveway in case anyone needed to come in and out, then scouted around for a place she could unhitch.

 From their phone call earlier that morning as she was driving, she knew Eleanor wouldn’t be here, that she had taken her teenage granddaughter into a nearby town to an orthodontist appointment and then to catch a movie they had both been wanting to see. 

Make yourself at home and set up anywhere that works, Eleanor had said. 

As she cased the property, she instantly found the spot a hundred yards from the house that would give her a perfect view of the water, almost as if it had been created exactly for her twenty-four-foot 1993 Airstream, affectionately nicknamed Vera by Jess’s business partner. 

This job was meant to be. She had already bonded with Eleanor Whitaker over their weeks of email and phone correspondence. This view sealed the deal. 

When she was done working each day, she could go to sleep to the restful sound of the ocean. She climbed back in her pickup and backed the trailer with the ease of long practice. Some people struggled with trailering but Jess didn’t. The seven years she had spent as a driver in the military still served her well. 

When the Airstream was in a good spot, she hopped out and was reaching in the back of the pickup for the chocks when an angry male voice drifted across the manicured lawn to her. 

“Hey. This is private property. You can’t park that here!” 

She instinctively wrapped her hand around the chock. Angry male voices always brought out the warrior princess in her. She could blame both her childhood and those years in the army when she had to go toe to toe with people twice her weight and a foot taller. 

The chock was heavy and could do real damage in the right hands. 


“I have permission to be here,” she said, her voice cool but polite.

 He frowned. “Permission? That’s impossible.” 

“I assure you, it’s not.” 

“This is my mother’s property. She would have told me if she had given somebody permission to camp here.”

 Ah. This must be Nathaniel Whitaker, Eleanor’s son. Her client had mentioned that he lived in another house on the property and would probably be in and out as Jess went about her work.

 Hadn’t Eleanor told him Jess was coming? 

She relaxed her grip on the chock but didn’t release it. “You must be Nathaniel. Eleanor has told me about you.” 

Her words didn’t have an impact on his expression. If anything, his glower intensified, his frown now edged with confusion that she knew his name. 

Despite his sour expression, she couldn’t help noticing he was an extraordinarily good-looking man. Eleanor hadn’t mentioned that her son had dark hair, stormy blue eyes, a square jawline. Or that his green T-shirt with a logo over the right breast pocket that read Whitaker Construction clung to his muscles. 

Jess found it extremely inconvenient that Nathaniel Whitaker happened to hit every single one of her personal yum buttons.

 “Who are you?” he demanded. “And how do you know my mother?”

 Ah. This was tricky. Eleanor was her client. She must have had her own reasons for not telling her son Jess was showing up. Jess felt compelled to honor those reasons. Until she could talk to the woman, Jess didn’t feel right about giving more information to Nate than his own mother had

. “My name is Jess Clayton. Your mother knows I planned to arrive today. I have her permission to set up anywhere. I thought this would work well.”

 Beautifully, actually. The more time she looked around, the better she liked it. A twisting path down to the ocean started just a few yards away, leading down to what looked like a protected cove. 

“Set up for what? Why are you here?”

 “You really should ask your mother,” she said. It would be so much better if he could hear the explanation from Eleanor.

 “I just tried to call her when I saw you pulling in. She’s not answering.” 

“Probably in the middle of the movie. She told me she and Sophie were going to a matinee after the orthodontist.”

 If she thought this further knowledge about his family would set Nate’s mind at ease, she was sadly mistaken. His gaze narrowed further. “How the hell do you know my daughter had an orthodontist appointment?”

 “Your mom happened to mention it.”

 “Funny, the things my mother told you. I talk to her several times a day, every day, and she hasn’t said a word to me about a strange woman setting up a trailer in the side yard. Tell me again what you’re doing here?”

 She wanted to be finishing her trailer setup so she could unhitch and go into town for groceries. She would rather not be engaged in a confrontation with a strange man, no matter how hot, who didn’t need to know every detail of his mother’s life. 

Why hadn’t Eleanor told him already? It’s not as if the woman could keep their efforts a secret for long.

 Still, it was not up to Jess to spill the dirt. 

“I’m afraid that’s between me and your mother. You really need to get the answer to that question from her.”

 “Sorry, ma’am, but that’s not good enough. Right now, you’re trespassing. If you don’t move this out of here, I’m calling the police. The chief happens to be a good friend of mine.” 

“Yes, I know.” Done with this discussion, Jess reached down to wedge the chock behind the passenger-side wheel. “You play poker with him every other Friday night. Your mother told me.” 

“What else did she tell you?” He had moved beyond suspicion to outright hostility. She probably shouldn’t have said anything about the poker. She certainly wouldn’t want someone she didn’t know poking into her business. If he hadn’t been so blasted good-looking, she might have been able to handle this whole thing better. 

She forced a smile, trying to take a different tack. “I assure you, Eleanor knows I’m coming, as I said. She told me to settle in and make myself comfortable until she gets home. You can try calling her again.”

 Or you can accept that maybe I’m telling the truth and give me a break here. I’ve been driving for hours. I’m tired and hungry and I would really like to make a sandwich, which I can’t do with you standing there like a bouncer at a nightclub in a bad part of town. 

“I’ve tried multiple times. She’s not answering. You’re probably right, her phone is probably on silent.”

 “Look, when Eleanor and Sophie come back from the movie, she can tell you what’s going on. Until then, I would really like to finish setting up here.” 

“No matter what I say?”

 She didn’t want to challenge him but she was starving. 

“This is your mother’s house and she invited me here,” she said simply. “It will be easy enough to prove that once Eleanor returns. If I’m lying for some unknown reason and just happened to make an extraordinarily lucky guess about your mom and a daughter named Sophie who had an orthodontist appointment today, you and the entire Cape Sanctuary police force can boot me out.”

 He didn’t look at all appeased, his features still suspicious. She couldn’t really blame him. He was only trying to protect those he loved. She would probably do the same in his shoes.

 “Would you like a sandwich?” she said, trying another tack. “I make a mean PB and J.” 

For the first time, she saw a glimmer of surprise on his expression, as if he couldn’t quite believe she had the audacity to ask. “No, I wouldn’t like a sandwich.” 

“Suit yourself. I’ve had a long day already and I’m ready for some food. And I need to see how Vera survived the drive.” 

As she might have expected, his frown deepened. “Who is Vera?” 

She patted the skin on the Airstream. “It was, um, a pleasure to meet you, Nathaniel.”

 “Nate,” he muttered. “Nobody but my mother calls me Nathaniel.” 

“Nate, then.” 

She nodded and without waiting for him to argue, she slipped into the trailer and closed the door firmly behind her.

 The curtains were still closed from the drive and she didn’t want to open them yet to the afternoon sunlight. Not when Nate Whitaker might still be lurking outside.

 Instead, she sank onto the sofa that doubled as her office, dining room and guest space, astonished and dismayed to find her hands were shaking.

 What was that about? She had a familiar itchiness between her shoulder blades and could feel a little crash as her adrenaline subsided. 

Nate Whitaker wasn’t a threat to her. Yes, he might be angry right now but he wouldn’t hurt her. She already felt like his mother was an old and dear friend. Eleanor surely couldn’t have a son who was prone to random violence.

 Instinct told her he wouldn’t physically hurt her, yet Jess still had the strangest feeling that Nate posed some kind of danger to her. 

Ah well. She likely wouldn’t have much to do with the man. She was here to help Eleanor, not to fraternize with the woman’s gorgeous offspring. 

She only had to make sure she didn’t lose sight of her twin objectives here in Cape Sanctuary—spending time with her sister’s family and helping her client—and she would be fine. 

Excerpted from The Path to Sunshine Cove by RaeAnne Thayne Copyright © RaeAnne Thayne. Published by HQN Books.

Q&A with Author RaeAnne Thayner

Q:  I’m a fan. I love your novels, especially your holiday books. How are you able to write so many books?

 A: Thank you so much. I don’t feel like I’m a very fast writer, if you want the truth, I have just been around forever so have a big backlist! My first book came out in 1996 and I just finished my 68th book, so that works out to not quite 3 books a year. I try to write 10 pages a day, five-six days a week. I find consistency, sticking with it every day, is really the key when it comes to being productive.

Q: Are you a plot driven writer or character?

 A: Ooh. Both! I would say first, characters. All of my books start with the characters. I have to know their goals, motivations and conflicts before I can even start thinking about a plot. Once I have figured that out, I definitely spend a long time thinking about what journey they need to take to find their happy ending.

Q: Any special message you hope your readers get from The Path to Sunshine Cove?

 A: Life is hard and messy and imperfect but the relationships we nurture with those we love can help smooth away all the rough edges.

Q: Do you outline or just go for it?

 A: I have to plot extensively or I find myself wandering through the weeds trying to figure out where to go with the story. I spend a long time at the beginning of a book in the planning process, including writing each scene on an index card that contains the point-of-view character, the goal of the scene, the setting and important plot details of the scene. It helps me stay on track.

Q:  How did you start writing? Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

A: I come from a family of voracious readers, thanks to our mother who loved to read. Because I loved to read, I learned to love words and writing but it was never my dream until high school when I took a journalism class and learned to love telling stories. I pursued a career in journalism and worked as a newspaper reporter and editor but still dreamed of writing a book. I started my first novel when I was on maternity leave with our oldest daughter, who is now 30. This year marks my 25th anniversary of being a published author!

Posted in reviews

This Golden Flame by Emily Victoria Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young woman desperate to find her lost brother awakens a long thought lost automaton, and with him the secrets of a powerful country in author Emily Victoria’s YA Fantasy, “This Golden Flame”. 


The Synopsis

An Ember in the Ashes meets Mask of Shadows in Emily Victoria’s #ownvoices debut YA fantasy, This Golden Flame, in which asexual Karis, a servant to the mysterious Scriptorium, accidentally awakens long-dormant automaton Alix, initiating an epic adventure full of magic, rebellion, and finding where you truly belong.

Orphaned and forced to serve her country’s ruling group of scribes, Karis wants nothing more than to find her brother, long ago shipped away. But family bonds don’t matter to the Scriptorium, whose sole focus is unlocking the magic of an ancient automaton army.

In her search for her brother, Karis does the seemingly impossible?she awakens a hidden automaton. Intelligent, with a conscience of his own, Alix has no idea why he was made. Or why his father?their nation’s greatest traitor?once tried to destroy the automatons.

Suddenly, the Scriptorium isn’t just trying to control Karis; it’s hunting her. Together with Alix, Karis must find her brother…and the secret that’s held her country in its power for centuries.

The Review

What a brilliant fusion of sci-fi and fantasy within the YA genre. The world-building that the author has done here allows readers to witness a world where they can seamlessly see where magical runes and magic itself end and technology and advanced science begin. The fictional setting that the characters find themselves in harkens back to a similar time as Ancient Greece, adapting many of that era’s way of life and the pursuit of knowledge while at the same time observing ancient customs and beliefs. 

The thing that stood out the most for me as a reader was the amazing character development the author brought forth to this read. The protagonists in this story, Alix and Karis, are both fantastic as readers get to see from both perspectives. However, Karis was an especially inspired choice for the protagonist, as her status as one of the heroes of this tale not only gives representation to the asexual community within the larger LGBTQ+ community but inspires young asexual people to embrace their identity no matter what. This is an extremely important territory the author has entered, and it adds to more representation within the YA genre. 

The Verdict

A stunning, engaging, and breathtaking world of magic and wonder, author Emily Victoria’s “This Golden Flame” is a must-read YA sci-fi and fantasy read. The author brilliantly brings an important LGBTQ+ character to the narrative and creates a fascinating world of science and magic that astounds the reader and creates a world that is brimming with possibilities but haunted by corruption. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author


Emily Victoria lives on the Canadian prairies with her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, works at her public library, and has just finished her Masters of Library and Information Studies.




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