Posted in reviews

The Vice Chairman’s Doctrine by Ian Domowitz Review

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

Author Ian Domowitz takes readers on a journey to explore a company as a product in the business, non-fiction read “The Vice Chairman’s Doctrine”.

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The Synopsis 

There are books about product and companies but no books about a company as a product.

After 19 years in academics and 17 years on Wall Street, Ian Domowitz arrives from orbit around the top of a corporation with a mindset of leadership without authority. Author of over 100 publications, the public company Vice Chairman and CEO offers a no holds-barred treatment of influence and leverage complete with coaching, mantras, and tales of leadership. Change management is a lifestyle. Transformation is a calling card and his product is the company itself.

Wrapped inside a series of vignettes, some humorous, some elevating, research and stories show how process and culture converge as competitive advantage. Company priorities of innovation, branding, and culture are refashioned through unorthodox lenses focusing action through design thinking and transformation within a social system. Domowitz blurs lines between self-reflection, philosophy, and management science and makes insightful excursions into the trees and branches of corporate life and decision making.

The Vice Chairman’s Doctrine is a transformative tale of leadership without authority, a perspective suiting a new breed of entrepreneurs and corporate warriors who reject control, live in a world of influencers and aspire to become one. 

The Review

What a unique and inspired new direction for non-fiction, business-driven books. The author does a great job of creating a new direction for business-led storytelling, opting for personal and transformative stories and experiences rather than cold hard numbers and figures. The concept of creating a company as you would a product is such a fresh and interesting concept. 

The balance of research and development mixed with the author’s unique wit and charm is what really sold this narrative. The concept that people in a company will follow those for whom they perceive to be a leader rather than who they are told is the boss is such a unique concept. It adds to the idea in business that a sense of community and partnerships is essential to the continued success of any company. This and so many other lessons await in this well-written and fascinating read.

The Verdict

A masterful, thought-provoking and engaging non-fiction read, author Ian Domowitz’s “The Vice Chairman’s Doctrine” is a must-read business book. A brilliant deep-dive into business growth and the balance of leadership and power, the author’s unique writing style, hopping back and forth between the voice of The Vice Chairman and the author himself, added humor and wit into the business-led book, creating a tone that could benefit readers of all backgrounds. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Change is a Lifestyle

The Vice Chairman lives to play the game.

At first, there were physical games.  Wrestling, tennis, swim meets, and billiards were interspersed with more cerebral pursuits like chess.  Music became a game of invention and discipline with time-outs in the gymnasium of mathematics.  A term in national security promoted contests of strategy. Exploration and exploitation found expression in the game of ideas. In the ivory tower, the litmus test for success was influence, a battle of credibility.  Moving into a corporate environment, influence became the key to the game of leverage.  

A good manager knows the Great Game is not about control.  It is all about leverage.  

I recently retired as Vice Chairman of Investment Technology Group [NYSE: ITG] and CEO of ITG Solutions Network Inc., a leading trading analytics and workflow subsidiary. During nineteen years in academics and seventeen years on Wall Street, I published more than 100 journal articles, chapters in books, and magazine articles.  

It’s time for another career as an independent writer of books and stories on business, leadership, and technology.  I still have a few things to say. 

My working experience spans Northwestern University, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the Pennsylvania State University. I have had the privilege of testifying in front of Congress, Senate, federal regulatory bodies, and the International Organization of Securities Commissions.

It wasn’t always that way 

Career choices followed after a few years spent as a chef in restaurants and institutional kitchens, followed by a stint with one of those three-letter agencies, and then some time as a tractor-trailer truck driver.  Driving trucks subsidized a career initiative in rock music.  Just didn’t have the ear.  I reluctantly went to college and moved on.

That was then, this is now

I currently serve on the Board of Directors of McKinley Capital Management and am a Fellow of the Program in the Law and Economics of Capital Markets at Columbia University. 

https://www.iandomowitz.com/

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B098TNT371/ref=x_gr_w_glide_sin?caller=Goodreads&callerLink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodreads.com%2Fbook%2Fshow%2F58515275-the-vice-chairman-s-doctrine%3Fac%3D1%26from_search%3Dtrue%26qid%3DQm8kFb02Ap%26rank%3D1&tag=x_gr_w_glide_sin-20

Posted in reviews

The Eternity Knot (Celtic Magic Book 4) by H.R. Conklin Review

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

A teen girl continues her exploration of humanity’s connection to nature and the world of the Fae as she is tasked with proving humanity’s worth to the Queen of the Unseelie Fae before the Earth is plunged into chaos in author H.R. Conklin’s “The Eternity Knot”, the fourth book in the CELTIC MAGIC YA series. 

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The Synopsis

Mairi has been shown the future and knows humans must change their ways. Continuing on their path of disconnect with Nature will cause the destruction of human life. Tasked by the Seelie Fae to save the human world, Mairi and friends seek out ancient wisdom in the stories of old. The Queen of the Unseelie Fae decides humans have to prove themselves worthy of the Earthly Realm, or die trying. Dark magic makes Mairi push harder to find the answers she needs, but the Undersea Faerie Queen is weighing in and Mairi is uncertain whose side she is on. When young people representing cultures from all of the continents share their knowledge, Mairi finally feels the seeds of hope. Deadly faerie magic is working against humanity, but humans and faeries are working together like never before. As humans begin seeing the earth through ancient views, they are waking up to their dormant powers. Now Mairi must put all the pieces together before time runs out for human life on Earth, and for once she’s starting to feel worthy of the task. Join Mairi and friends in this exciting conclusion to the Celtic Magic series. 

The Celtic Magic series is a unique tale connecting modern day California to the Scotland of centuries ago. Join Mairi during a life-changing year in this eco-heroine’s journey, following the Celtic wheel of pagan holidays through the seasons and time as she meets druids, witches, and faeries of both Light and Dark. Discover what role mythic stories play in saving the Earth from imminent destruction, and what happens when the world is inclusive of all people. This series includes The Trinity Knot, The Witch’s Knot, The Faerie Knot, and just finished is book 4, The Eternity Knot! 

This book is perfect for teens and adults of all ages who enjoy a 

modern take on myths and fairytales! 

The Review

What a truly incredible read. As a newcomer to the series, I really appreciated the way the author wrote that both keyed in longtime readers of the series and presented this narrative and the series as a whole in a way that newcomers like me could jump on immediately. The protagonist, Mairi, is so endearing and does an incredible job of bridging the gap between the past and her ancestry with the present and who she is as a person, and her determination to fight for both the environment and humanity was incredible to see.

This novel does an incredible job of balancing history and mythology with the environmental-driven narrative of humanity’s impact on the world as a whole. As a fan of history and mythology, I was blown away by the incredible YA approach to detailed Scottish and world cultures and the impact mythology has had on the various cultures around the world, while the action and suspense of the narrative really pulled attention to the horrors humanity has unleashed on the environment, and the need to reconnect to our planet and take care of it was felt in every chapter.

The Verdict

A brilliant, entertaining, and thoughtful new chapter in a wonderful YA series, author H.R. Conklin’s “The Eternity Knot” is a must-read novel. The perfect blend of mythos and environmental supernatural thrillers, the narrative draws readers in with an explosive opening chapter and keeps the readers hooked with strong mythology and a powerful cast of characters. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

H. R. Conklin grew up in the rural mountains of Northern California where her mother gardened and her father played the bagpipes, as well as spending long hours in the theater where her parents were a dancer and an actor. This undoubtedly led to her overactive imagination and love for nature. She currently lives in San Diego with her husband, two adult children, and three dogs. She used to teach kindergarten at a public Waldorf charter school in which she told many fairy tales to the children, and made up stories in her spare time. Now she is a Story Circle Leader and guides parents in homeschooling at a private Waldorf school.

 Keep in Touch – Sign up for Conklin’s Newsletter! 

Find out more at: 

Website:  https://wildrosestories.com/welcome

Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/wildrosestories/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/wildrosestories

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wildrosestoriesandcircles/

Purchase The Eternity Knot on AmazonWaldorf Books, and/or H.R. Conklin’s website: Wild Rose Stories. Be sure to also add this to your GoodReads reading list.

Buy Links: 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Eternity-Knot-Celtic-Magic/dp/B096TTR9PK/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=celtic+magic+h.+r.+conklin&qid=1625601403&s=books&sr=1-2

Waldorf Books Online: https://earthschooling.info/thebearthinstitute/product/celtic-magic-book-4-the-eternity-knot/

Wild Rose Stories: https://wildrosestories.com/shop

Blog Tour Calendar 

July 19th @ The Muffin

July 21st @ The Faerie Review 

Join Lily at the Faerie Review as she shares her review of H.R. Conklin’s latest book The Eternity Knot; part of the Celtic Magic Series. This is a great book for anyone who enjoys a modern take on myths and fairytales! 

https://www.thefaeriereview.com/

July 29th @ The Knotty Needle 

Judy at the Knotty Needle shares her review with readers after reading H.R. Conklin’s The Eternity Knot – part of the Celtic Magic Series. Don’t miss Judy’s insightful review! https://knottyneedle.blogspot.com/ 

July 31st @ Author C.K. Sorens 

Fellow Author C.K. Sorens shares her review of The Eternity Knot – the latest release by H.R. Conklin and part of the Celtic Magic series. Don’t miss today’s peer review! 

https://www.cksorens.com/blog

August 1st @ Bring on Lemons with Cathy Hansen 

Wisconsin entrepreneur and educator, Cathy Hansen reviews the latest novel in the Celtic Magic Series – find out what Cathy has to say about The Eternity Knot as she shares her thoughts with readers at Bring on Lemons. 

http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/ 

August 2nd @ Author Anthony Avina 

Fellow author Anthony Avina shares his review of H.R. Conklin’s The Eternity Knot. This book is part of the Celtic Magic Series – readers of all ages will delight in this special story! https://authoranthonyavinablog.com

August 3rd @ A Storybook World 

Readers at A Storybook World will hear from guest blogger H.R. Conklin on the topic of Symbolism in Fairytales. Conklin just release The Eternity Knot – another 5 star book in the Celtic Magic series, but she’s taking time to share her author expertise with readers today! Don’t miss this fabulous opportunity to learn from Conklin! 

http://www.astorybookworld.com/ 

August 4th @ Author Anthony Avina 

 Earlier this week, readers at Author Anthony Avina’s blog read Anthony’s review of H.R. Conklin’s The Eternity Knot. Today readers will hear from Conklin herself as she shares a guest blog post titled:  “Symbolism Reflected in Stories from Around the World” . Don’t miss this fantastic opportunity to learn more about The Celtic Magic series! https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

August 5th @ The Knotty Needle 

 Judy at the Knotty Needle shares her review of The Eternity Knot by H.R. Conklin. This is book 3 in the Celtic Magic series and it is guaranteed to delight readers of all ages! Don’t miss Judy’s review! https://knottyneedle.blogspot.com/

August 6th @ Beverley A. Baird 

 Today’s guest post for readers at Beverley A. Baird is written by H.R. Conklin. Conklin is the award winning author of the Celtic Magic Series and she recently released her latest title: The Eternity Knot. Don’t miss a chance to read today’s guest post titled: “Parenting Wisdom Shared Through Storytelling”.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

August 7th @ World of My Imagination with Nicole Pyles 

Nicole just finished reading The Eternity Knot by H.R. Conklin and can’t wait to tell readers at World of My Imagination all about it. Don’t miss today’s review by Nicole to find out more about this title as well as the others in the Celtic Magic Series! 

https://worldofmyimagination.com/

August 8th @ Word Magic; All About Books with Author Fiona Ingram 

 H.R Conklin pens today’s guest post about fairies and mythology as she visits fellow author Fiona Ingram at Word Magic. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from Conklin and find out more about her latest release: The Eternity Knot; part of the Celtic Magic series! http://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/

August 9th @ Bring on Lemons with Crystal Otto 

 WOW! Blog Tour Manager, Crystal Otto reviews the latest novel in the Celtic Magic Series – find out what Crystal has to say about The Eternity Knot as she shares her 5 star review with readers at Bring on Lemons. 

 http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

August 10th @ Bring on Lemons with Libby 

 Libby is a young artist who enjoys many genres of books – she shares her thoughts with readers at Bring on Lemons today – her deep thoughts about The Eternity Knot by H.R. Conklin. This book is part of the Celtic Magic series and Libby is excited to read all the books. Readers will delight in her youthful perspective and her energy! 

 http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

August 11th @ Lisa Haselton 

 Lisa Haselton interviews H.R. Conklin about the Celtic Magic series and her latest release The Eternity Knot. Don’t miss a chance to become better acquainted with this talented author! 

https://lisahaselton.com/blog

August 18th @ Jill Sheet’s Blog 

 Today, readers at Jill Sheet’s Blog will hear from H.R. Conklin on the topic of “How Symbolism in Fairy Tales of Old Help Us Today”. Stop by to learn more about The Eternity Knot (part of the Celtic Magic Series) and learn from this talented author. 

http://jillsheets.blogspot.com/

August 19th @ Wildwood Reads with Megan 

 Readers at Wildwood Reads will hear from Megan as she reviews The Eternity Knot by H.R. Conklin. Don’t miss an opportunity to learn more about The Celtic Magic Series and this latest release!

https://wildwoodreads.com/

Posted in reviews

Shadows of Rebellion (Four Territories Book One) by L.M. French Review

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

A half-human sentinel and a bearer of one of the seals of the Four Territories must go on the run after rumors of an unstable half-breed cause The Order to begin hunting her down, as well as her homicidal half-brother, in author L.M. French’s “Shadows of Rebellion”, the first in the Four Territories Urban Fantasy series. 

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The Synopsis

This is not a happily ever after. This is where it all went wrong. Our king is missing and the last link to him is broken. Terrifying breeds that disappeared centuries ago have returned and are waging war on the Territories. And I am becoming… something.

An unknown power grows inside me and rumors of an unstable half-breed threaten my very existence. It seems outrunning my homicidal foster brother isn’t enough. I’m now on the run from the Order that would see my kind extinct.

Our allies need me to find our king, but is it enough to keep me alive?

My name is Veda Grey and I am the half-human sentinel and seal-bearer of the Four Territories. And if my current predicament is any indication, I’m about to be executed for treason.

Shadows of Rebellion is an Urban Fantasy novel with adult language, situations, and violence.

The Review

This was a fantastic and exhilarating new urban fantasy read. The maturity and intensity of the narrative when blended with the witty and sometimes humorous dialogue between the characters felt like a blend of True Blood meets The Elder Scrolls. The protagonist, Veda, is such a complex and engaging character to follow, and the alternating chapters between characters made the world feel more alive and larger than life. 

What stood out in this narrative was the well-rounded mythos that the author crafted for this series. The Four Territories are a unique world of supernatural creatures, ancient magic, and twists and turns that see friends become foes and monsters into heroes. The world itself felt so alive that it becomes almost like its own character.

The Verdict

A memorable, entertaining, and thrilling new Urban Fantasy read, author L.M. French’s “Shadows of Rebellion” is the perfect first chapter of this brand new series. An enticing new world and shocking twists and turns will keep readers hooked, as will the cliffhanger ending that will leave the fate of several characters up in the air. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

L.M. French is a baby indie author of urban fantasy residing in the Lone Star State with the love of her life, eight-year-old Jack. While she dreams up misadventures with uncooperative participants, he keeps her inspired with his own stories villains and anti-heroes. Where they live, imagination is a superpower. Connect with them via Facebook, email, or carrier pidgeon.

Just kidding.

Birds are mean.

www.lmfrench.com

Posted in reviews

A Season in Lights by Gregory Erich Phillips Review

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

Two people who dream of glory through their musical and theatrical careers learn the sweetness of new love and the painstaking process of chasing one’s dreams in author Gregory Erich Philips novel “A Season in Lights”.

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The Synopsis

Passion, ambition and escape in the colorful artistic underworld off-Broadway, Cammie, a dancer in her mid-thirties, has just landed her first part in a show since coming to New York City. Yet the tug of familial obligation and the guilt of what she sacrificed to be there weigh down her dancing feet. 

Her lover, Tom, an older piano player, came to the city as a young man in the 1980s with a story eerily in tune with Cammie’s own. Through their triumphs and failures, both learn the fleeting nature of glory, the sweetness of new love, and how a dream come true isn’t cherished until it passes. The bright lights of the stage intoxicate, while degradation and despair lurk close behind the curtain. 

Their sagas are marred by two pandemics, AIDS in the 1980s and COVID-19 today, which ravaged the performing arts community, leaving a permanent scar on those who lived through them. The poignant intersection of their stories reveals a love affair unbound by time, reaching across decades through the notes of a piano’s remembered song. 

The Review

A truly emotional and heartfelt, character-driven narrative. The author has done a masterful job of blending the backstories and backdrops of both protagonists in this narrative, mirroring their experiences and personalities as they grow not only as individuals but as romantic interests as well. The need to protect and care for a sibling, the pursuit of their dreams, and facing health crisis on a global scale mark the familiar paths both characters walk in this narrative.

What really stood out to me was the novel’s connection to New York City. The novel expertly delves into the nooks and crannies of not only the city itself but the people who live within it, painting a very vivid image of the novel’s setting in our own minds. It got to be like the city itself came alive and become a character, which I have found to be an enduring trait of some of the best New York-led narratives. 

The Verdict

A masterful, driven, and engaging read, author Gregory Erich Philips’s “A Season in Lights” is a must-read novel. The breathtaking scenery described in the author’s brilliant writing and the emotional impact of both character’s stories and struggles really made the narrative come alive, drawing the reader in further and further into the narrative. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

From a prolific literary family, Gregory Erich Phillips tells aspirational stories through strong, relatable characters that transcend time and place. Living in Seattle, Washington, he is also an accomplished tango dancer and musician.

http://gregoryerichphillips.com/

https://www.bookbub.com/books/a-season-in-lights-by-gregory-erich-phillips

Posted in reviews

Wasted Youth: A Flint Punk Rock Memoir by John Ribner Review

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

In a bid to escape toxic and abusive surroundings, Flint, Michigan native J.P. Ribner found solace in his pursuit of Punk Rock glory, and in this memoir the author holds no punches as he explores his journey to find self-worth and in the end discover himself in the memoir, “Wasted Youth: A Flint Punk Rock Memoir”.

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The Synopsis

In Flint, Michigan, the water isn’t the only thing that’s toxic!

Growing up in Flint left its mark on J.P. Ribner. Punk rock offered an escape from his abusive surroundings. At 16, he set out to become the singer in a punk rock band.

In this gritty, hard-hitting memoir, Ribner shares his experiences with:

  • Dysfunctional family dynamics,
  • Back-stabbing band politics,
  • A drive-by shooting,
  • Being de-platformed,
  • A drugged drink,
  • Violent identity politics,
  • Divorce,
  • The loss of friendships,
  • And much more.

Ribner’s writing pulls no punches. He daringly shares the blistering details of his desperate search for self-worth. He ends with a brutal deconstruction of his fiery disaster.

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, he offers hope by sharing life lessons he’s learned along the way.

The Review

This was such an insightful and gritty memoir! The author does a fantastic job of painting a picture of life growing up both personally and as a whole in Flint, Michigan in the 1980s and beyond. The detail and the emotion that the author puts into his writing as he describes some of the harrowing moments of his life, from his first betrayal from a former band member to the abuse both verbally and physically he suffered at home and even the shocking events that led to the author losing the friends who had always been in his corner. 

What really stands out in this narrative is the expertise with which the author balances setting with a theme in this memoir. The town and era for which this story takes place really capture the real experience of not only life in Flint, Michigan but the familiar but crucial nature that drove so many young people to embrace and love the punk-rock scene. As a fan of the rock genre overall, it’s always fascinating to see the path that brought musicians of all kinds to the bands and genres they loved. This, blended with the introspective nature of the memoir’s narrative that saw the author examining not only the foundation for his youth’s hardships, but his role in both his failures and his successes later in life, made this a true one-of-a-kind read.

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The Verdict

A brilliant, honest, and engaging memoir, author John P. Ribner’s “Wasted Youth” is a must-read nonfiction book. The relatable and memorable way the author delivers the heartfelt and at times brutal reality of his life growing up, and the lessons that led from heartbreak to hope found, made this a mesmerizing and enlightening read. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Born in Flint, Michigan. Raised by narcissists. Novelist. Singer. Songwriter. Martial artist. Social critic. Victim of a drive-by shooting. Author of “Wasted Youth: A Flint Punk Rock Memoir” and four other books.

Posted in reviews

The Cursed Fae (Accessory to Magic #2) by Kathrin Hutson Review

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

Jessica Northwood must deal with a magical storm of sorts as magical beings seek her out, her past threatens to catch up to her, memories she thought she’d had removed begin to come back to her, and a fugitive Fae seeks her aid, risking her returning to the witch she used to be, in author Kathrin Hutson’s “The Cursed Fae”, the second book in the ACCESSORIES TO MAGIC series. 

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The Synopsis

The bank is a dud. The past is a joke. And the customer is always right. Until they’re not…

Jessica Northwood thought she could handle running Winthrop & Dirledge Security Banking. Turns out she doesn’t even have a handle on herself.

The bank has lost its mind, magicals hunt Jessica down to ask when she’ll open the Gateway, and both her criminal and personal pasts are catching up to her. In the worst way possible. Now she has to fix the bank and its serious attitude problem as the memories she paid someone to remove slowly seep back into her mind. Which was supposed to be impossible.

While her present unravels and the magical world prepares for the task Jessica has no idea how to complete, the fae Leandras returns to add to the chaos. In return for her help, he promises answers. But aiding and abetting another magical fugitive means Jessica must be the witch she swore she’d never be again. And this time, there’s no turning back.

Ilona Andrews’ Innkeeper Chronicles meets The Magicians in this snarky, fast-paced Urban Fantasy Adventure from International Bestselling Author Kathrin Hutson. 

The Review

This was an engaging and brilliant next chapter in this LGBTQ-driven fantasy. The novel does an excellent job of peeling back the layers of protagonist Jessica’s backstory more and more in this sequel, highlighting not only her haunted past and her relationships outside of the Bank before her job there, but mirroring her relationships being built inside of the Bank as well, including newcomer Leandras. The Fae is not only a welcome addition to the cast but his mystery and level of suspicion about his loyalties makes him an intriguing part of the narrative moving forward in the series.

The maturity and humor found in this novel were a major hook and the balance that the author found was quite appealing. As a fan of series like The Magicians, it was great to dive into the mythology and magick of these stories while also balancing out the character interactions and wit that the writing had with more mature storytelling. 

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The Verdict

A wondrous, masterful, and entertaining next chapter in this LGBTQ Fantasy series, author Kathrin Hutson’s “The Cursed Fae” is an excellent next chapter in the ACCESSORIES TO MAGIC series. The balance of suspense that the protagonist’s past and her interactions with former friends and foes alike really set the tone for the narrative, while the growing mystery surrounding this Gateway and her role in the mysterious upcoming events really keeps readers hooked on this narrative. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

International Bestselling Author Kathrin Hutson has been writing Dark Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and LGBTQ Speculative Fiction since 2000. With her wildly messed-up heroes, excruciating circumstances, impossible decisions, and Happily Never Afters, she’s a firm believer in piling on the intense action, showing a little character skin, and never skimping on violent means to bloody ends. Kathrin is an active member of SFWA and HWA and lives in Vermont with her husband, daughter, and two dogs.

For updates on new releases, exclusive deals, and dark surprises you won’t find anywhere else, sign up to Kathrin’s newsletter at kathrinhutsonfiction.com/subscribe.

https://www.bookbub.com/books/the-cursed-fae-accessory-to-magic-book-2-by-kathrin-hutson

Posted in reviews

Cryptic Clockwork by Renley N. Chu Review

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

One writer attempts to cope with the trauma of his past in late author Renley N. Chu’s autobiographical book of poetry and prose, “Cryptic Clockwork”. 

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The Synopsis

Cryptic Clockwork is an autobiographical series of prose and poetry he wrote through difficult experiences.This begins with the loss of his parents, and continues through his experiences in his abusive adoptive family, the loss of a close friend through suicide, and a toxic, abusive relationship with his ex-boyfriend. They give a glimpse into Ren’s internal state as he processed through past and ongoing trauma, his grief, inability to speak, struggles with mental health, and homophobia.

The Review

This was quite an incredible and moving read. The author was truly talented, having found a way to expertly and subtly traverse the complex emotions of his own heart and mind and somehow managed to tie his experiences into the greater experience of life overall. The tragic and heartbreaking beginning of loss and memory speaks to those who have ever lost someone truly special in our hearts, while the hope that the author found after years of neglect and abusive relationships will easily speak to the spark of hope we all hold in our hearts in the darkest of times.

The writing was quite eloquent in its approach. The balance of poetry and prose was profound in this autobiographical work of art, and the way the author seemed to tap not only into our own emotions but into complex emotions that really defies definition really showcased the complexity of his own mind and heart, showing what a true writer and creative soul he was.

The Verdict

A heartfelt, thought-provoking, and memorable book of poetry and prose, author Renley N. Chu’s “Cryptic Clockwork” is a must-read autobiography. The beauty and heart that shines through in this narrative are impossible to ignore, and while fans will be hard-pressed to not have a tear in their eye, they will definitely have difficulty putting the book down as well. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Author of Cryptic Clockwork, an autographical collection of prose and poems, and Melody of Your Heart, a short story anthology about life, love, and loss. These works were compiled after his death by Tiffany Chu, in hopes they bring hope and encouragement to anyone going through dark times.

Born in England as Leonel M. M. Santiago on May 14, 2003, Renley lost both his parents in a fire that permanently damaged his vocal cords and lungs at the age of five, leaving him unable to speak. He became Justin Steele at the age of eight when adopted into the Steele family.

Through a shared love of writing, Renley met Tiffany Chu in 2020 and they formed a close friendship. At the beginning of 2021, even as his health rapidly deteriorated, he prepared to move to the U.S. and become part of the Chu family.

On May 18, 2021, he changed his legal name to Renley Nicolas Chu.

About a week after his eighteenth birthday, Renley suffered a severe attack leading to lung and heart failure; he passed away on the morning of May 25, 2021, three days before he would have left for the U.S.

Renley’s last wish to come home was fulfilled on June 1, when his ashes were brought to San Diego and scattered at Los Penasquitos Canyon.

He left behind numerous samples of his writing, both personal as well as fictional. Each piece he wrote exudes the rawness and authenticity of his heart, his emotions, his experiences. His style tends to be stream-of-consciousness and metaphorical with a sense of immediacy and strong emotion.

Rest in Peace, Renley Chu (May 14, 2002 – May 25, 2021) 

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https://linktr.ee/renleynchu.author

Posted in reviews

Melody of Your Heart by Renley N. Chu and Tiffany Chu Review

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

A short collection of short stories take center stage as themes of love, loss, and hope come alive in co-authors Renley N. Chu and Tiffany Chu’s “Melody of Your Heart”.

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The Synopsis

Melody of Your Heart is a short story anthology that we wrote together. They are stories with themes of love, loss, and connection, exploring different kinds of love.

The Review

What a compelling and moving short story collection. This group of stories really does an amazing job of weaving together stories of love lost, love found, and the hope we find in the wake of loss. The chemistry between the authors and their writing style is felt in every tale, highlighting their shared experiences while also delving into the bond they built with one another.

One story, in particular, stood out to me right off the bat, and that was Walls. The story of a man sent to prison suddenly and forced to be separated from the person he loves, only to feel her slip away and the world starts to forget him entirely, really did an amazing job of highlighting the walls we often force ourselves into or are forced into when fighting for love. We try so desperately to hold onto what we had, that sometimes we lose sight of who we’ve become until you are the only one left behind in a world that moved on without you long ago. It’s a thought-provoking and mesmerizing tale that touches just the tip of the iceberg in this collection. 

The Verdict

An engaging, heartfelt, and thoughtful collection of short stories, authors Renley N. Chu and Tiffany Chu’s “Melody of Your Heart” is a must-read collection. The passion and eloquence with which the authors approached the narratives within these stories really showed the depth and love that the two authors brought from their own lives and into the tales. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Author of Cryptic Clockwork, an autographical collection of prose and poems, and Melody of Your Heart, a short story anthology about life, love, and loss. These works were compiled after his death by Tiffany Chu, in hopes they bring hope and encouragement to anyone going through dark times.

Born in England as Leonel M. M. Santiago on May 14, 2003, Renley lost both his parents in a fire that permanently damaged his vocal cords and lungs at the age of five, leaving him unable to speak. He became Justin Steele at the age of eight when adopted into the Steele family.

Through a shared love of writing, Renley met Tiffany Chu in 2020 and they formed a close friendship. At the beginning of 2021, even as his health rapidly deteriorated, he prepared to move to the U.S. and become part of the Chu family.

On May 18, 2021, he changed his legal name to Renley Nicolas Chu.

About a week after his eighteenth birthday, Renley suffered a severe attack leading to lung and heart failure; he passed away on the morning of May 25, 2021, three days before he would have left for the U.S.

Renley’s last wish to come home was fulfilled on June 1, when his ashes were brought to San Diego and scattered at Los Penasquitos Canyon.

He left behind numerous samples of his writing, both personal as well as fictional. Each piece he wrote exudes the rawness and authenticity of his heart, his emotions, his experiences. His style tends to be stream-of-consciousness and metaphorical with a sense of immediacy and strong emotion.

Rest in Peace, Renley Chu (May 14, 2002 – May 25, 2021) 

 InstagramFacebookGoodreads.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58298765-melody-of-your-heart

https://linktr.ee/renleynchu.author

Posted in reviews

Year of the What? By Jennifer Lieberman 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 reeling from a romantic betrayal finds herself ditching her “good girl” lifestyle and instead going on an adventure of sexual discovery in author Jennifer Lieberman’s “Year of the What?”. 

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The Synopsis

Dana has only been with one man and hasn’t given herself a chance to explore her own curiosity. She feels ashamed of her desires, and keeps trying to squash them in order to be a ‘good girl’. Her roommate, Kelly, on the other hand, has none of Dana’s hang-ups.

Kelly is unabashedly promiscuous, with an off the charts IQ and a full ride to NYU. But Kelly can’t stand the monotony of school, so she drops out to become a dominatrix and pursue an alternative lifestyle where she makes ‘lawyer money’ working in a dungeon in Chelsea.

After months of searching in vain for Mr. Right, Kelly’s lust for life and insatiable quest for adventure finally rub off…Dana embarks on an outrageous adventure of sexual discovery where she finds her inner power and confidence, all while taking charge of her erotic exploration. Through her exploits Dana realizes she will never find what she is looking for, until she finds herself.

The Review

I absolutely loved this novel! This coming-of-age, adult-oriented women’s fiction novel pushes the envelope in the best way possible. The narrative explores the theme of female sexuality and allowing readers to glimpse a much-needed story that shows women being free to explore their own sexuality freely without judgment that often overtakes our society’s view on women and sex. 

The balance of character development and humor is what really sells this novel’s story. The protagonist, Dana, is not only someone that a lot of readers can identify with, but her bond with her more free and sexual friend Kelly and the various men and women she meets throughout her sexual journey really felt both funny and relatable. The panic and fear that comes from not having had any sexual exploration before are felt early on in this novel, and the openness for which Dana frees herself to explore more really felt like a triumph that overcame the sexual judgment so many have placed on our society.

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The Verdict

A masterful, sensual, and humorously entertaining read, author Jennifer Lieberman’s “Year of the What?”, is a must-read novel of 2021! The character growth and humor really draw the reader in, and the overall theme of female sexuality and freedom really made this story feel both relevant and innovative in the face of a history of male sexual oppression. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Jennifer Lieberman is from Maple, Ontario, Canada and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from York University in Toronto. Jennifer has appeared in over thirty stage productions in Toronto, New York City, Los Angeles, Europe and Australia; including her Award-Winning Solo Show Year of the Slut, which was adapted into to novel “Year of the What?” In addition to her performance career she has penned a number of screen and stage plays including the wacky web-series “Dumpwater Divas” and the short films “Leash” and “Details” which both screened at the Festival De Cannes’ Court Métrage among other international film festivals. Other books by Jennifer include “Make Your Own Break: How To Master Your Virtual Meeting in Seven Simple Steps” and “Make Your Own Break: How To Record & Publish Your Audiobook In Seven Simple Steps.”

http://www.jenniferliebermanactor.com/

https://www.instagram.com/yearofthewhatnovel/

https://www.bookbub.com/books/year-of-the-what-by-jennifer-lieberman