This Side of Paradise by TK Olsen Review

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

Once in a while you come across an author who is able to engage an audience in a matter of just a few simple pages, and that’s what we have today. Author TK Olsen has brought to life an incredible story of two men from very different cultures who find their own personal paradise in the short story This Side of Paradise. Here’s the synopsis:

“Huritt looked gorgeous in his suit, albeit very out of place. He had lovely tan skin, a color only Jin could dream of achieving, and dark brown eyes, lighter than Jin’s almost black ones. They both had short, messy dark-brown, almost black hair, and Huritt was just a tad taller than Jin; however, that wasn’t much as Jin was blessed with being almost six feet in the height department. Huritt also had calloused hands and strong lines of his face, smoothed out by the softness of his skin and slight roundness of his cheeks. Jin hadn’t really experienced races outside of his own, this really was his first time meeting a Native person in real life; however, he was drawn to the male in ways that made his heart soared and his father’s legacy cry. Huritt was beyond gorgeous and Jin’s father was going to kill him.”

The story of two boys and how they found their side of paradise.

The story was very thought-provoking and entertaining. The story of Jin and Huritt is amazing to watch unfold, bringing a natural and emotional LGBTQ romance to life while exploring two people who fall in love despite their very different cultural upbringings. It showcases the struggle members of the LGBTQ community go through when living in a culture or family that abhors people who simply want to love who they love, and the struggle to find happiness and peace while living in that kind of hostile environment that forces young people to repress who they really are.

It’s a very impactful story that is also a quick read, coming in at only 18 pages or so. Yet in that short amount of time you come to know Jin intimately and see his struggle and his passion for Huritt come to life. These characters are so engaging that you will be left wanting to explore their lives even more, and that’s what true storytelling is all about. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copies of TK Olsen’s This Side of Paradise today!

Rating: 10/10

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Right Now by Sarah Baethge Review

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

A private investigating firm finds themselves in the middle of a strange phenomena in author Sarah Baethge’s novel Right Now. Here’s the synopsis:

Lilly Aldern finds herself without a job,so she is hired to work as a secretary for her brother and his partner. When investigating the workings of an aerospace company, Legacy Towers, they come across a strange man named Joe that should have his own knowledge of their workings; yet his memory of the past has somehow been almost completely taken away.

Strangely, this seems to have enabled a brief glimpse of the future for him.

This short read was a great way to delve more into the works of author Sarah Baethge. With her recent release The Illumination Query, it was fun to explore the creative force behind that novel in this short story. Exploring a unique twist on the time travel/seeing the future storyline, we get to see a man who’s memories are replaced with visions of the future, and one person’s struggle to accept that reality. It was full of strong imagery, and left things on a cliffhanger of sorts that begged for more story to be told.

Overall I loved the story. It was a very quick read, but is worth the purchase if you’re looking for a quick, gut-punch of a science fiction thriller. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copy of Right Now by Sarah Baethge today!

Rating: 10/10

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1521049904/ref=x_gr_w_glide_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_glide_bb-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1521049904&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

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Book Blitz/Release: A Bleak December by Author Hanleigh Bradley

Author: Hanleigh Bradley

Genre: Romance, Contemporary Romance, New Adult Romance,

Release Date: 1st May 2018

Price: 99c / 99p

Key Words: Romance, Contemporary Romance, New Adult Romance, Short Story, Novella, Christmas, Death of a Parent, Loss of a Loved One, Office Romance, Depression, Grief,

Length: Just below 20K

Availability: Amazon, iBooks, Barnes and Nobles, Kobo, etc.

 

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2oTOGJg

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38943078-a-bleak-december

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Blurb:

Her Christmas list isn’t long. It is the shortest it has ever been. She doesn’t want a pretty new pair of shoes or a new dress to wear to her work’s New Years Eve bash.

All Ella wants is a Christmas Miracle.

With a sick mum in hospital and a little brother at home, she struggles to maintain order in the chaos that is quickly engulfing her. If she doesn’t get her miracle will her entire world fall apart? And if it does, who will help her put it back together again?

Excerpt:

He’s my boss. That doesn’t stop me though. It doesn’t stop my mind from picturing him naked standing in my shower, water cascading down over his toned, muscular flesh. No. It doesn’t stop my inappropriate thoughts, and it definitely doesn’t stop me having them at the most inopportune of moments. It’s not like I just think about him when I’m lying in bed late at night. No, I fantasise about him during staff meetings, when he’s being a pain in the arse bossing us all around and when he’s reprimanding me yet again for being late.

Do you want to know the worst bit? It’s not the thoughts. I can deal with my dirty mind; it’s always been that way. Dirty thought after dirty thought, wrapped in a world of dirty thoughts. No. The thoughts are fine; it’s the things that come out of my mouth. The actual words that I apparently have an equal lack of control over. Like right now, the whole room has gone silent in shock because of my stupid, big mouth. As if I just said that. I can feel my cheeks redden with embarrassment and my best work friend is laughing under her breath beside me. The bitch.

Tristen had asked me why I was late. It was a reasonable enough question but why, oh, why couldn’t I give him an equally sensible response??? No. Instead, I only went and gave him the most ridiculous cock and bull story known to man.

“Why are you late?” Tristan Riggens, my boss had asked in that deep, authoritative, yet almost disrespectfully uninterested voice of his. It’s a voice that threatens to destroy you while drawing you in, keeping you walking some imaginary tightrope.

“My dog ate a condom.” Why that sentence made it passed whatever filter I have, I will never know. Sometimes my mouth does unexplainable things, embarrassingly unexplainable. It’s a problem I’ve had since childhood and it shows no sign of improving.

The room goes silent, but he doesn’t react at all. His face remains expressionless except I think I can see humour in his eyes, or at least I hope I do. He’s not exactly easy to read and right now I really have no idea what he thinks. “Well, I hope your dog is okay now.”

“He’s absolutely fine.” I’m probably the colour of the Christmas tree in the corner. I think I might throw up my breakfast from the sheer embarrassment that I now feel.

“Someone should call the RSPCA.” A voice says from somewhere behind me.

“You might want to reconsider where you stash your condoms.” Another of my colleagues laughs.

My best friend, the one who’s supposed to be on my side is in fits of hysteria. In fact, she’s laughing so hard she’s close to choking. I hope she chokes.

“Okay.” Tristen tries to divert their focus from me and my condom eating dog, back to the meeting. “New Year – we’ll be having an office party.”

If he thinks talk of a party might divert their attention from my poor imaginary dog, he is wrong and he clearly doesn’t know his team that well. “How on earth did your dog get a hold of a condom?”

“Did it still have the foil wrapper on?”

“Eww, it wasn’t used, was it?”

I’m shrinking into myself. Massively embarrassed. Eyes on the floor. Cheeks burning hot. Head pounding. Heart palpitating. How the hell will I get out of this one? I have an uncanny knack for getting myself into a bit of a pickle and absolutely no skill at getting myself back out again. “That’s enough – I’ve heard more than enough about condoms and dogs for one day. Back to work.” He’s shaking his head as he dismisses us all before leaving the open offices of our floor of the TRW Advertising building. Walking into his office, he closes the door behind himself. Lucky sod. At least he has a door he can hide behind.

“Fuck.” I say under my breath.

“Only you Ella.” Sadie laughs beside me. “I don’t know how you do it.”

“I just open my mouth…” I sigh.

“You don’t even have a dog!”

“I know.” I’m groaning in mortification. “We should get back to work before Tristen gets all shitty.”

“Or worse,” Sadie whispers, “Delos might come out of her office and have at us.”

“As if – Clara’s too nice for that.”

“To you. She hates me.”

“That’s not true.” I laugh gently. The door to Tristen’s office opens once more, and he pops his head out. “Winthrope. Reed. Do I need to find you something to do?”

“No sir.” Sadie nods her head before turning back towards her cubicle.

I move to follow her, but Tristen is still talking. “Winthrope, in here please.”

“Shit.” I grumble before following him into his office. This is the moment when he finally tells me that enough is enough and I need to start being on time, or worse look for a new job. The new job scenario is probably more likely. My tardiness is my biggest failing. I’m lucky I haven’t already lost this job.

 

He’s sat behind his desk; calm and composed in a way I have never been. He motions a hand towards the leather chair in front of him, and I take it gratefully because my legs are like jelly. My mouth is practically glued shut because I can’t trust myself not to say something completely absurd. His eyebrow is raised. “Your dog ate a condom?”

“Yes.” My sister Tia says when you lie you have to own it.

“Have you taken him to the vets?”

“No. He… he just coughed it up.” I tell him, desperately hoping that he doesn’t see through my lies.

“You do need to make a better effort to be on time for work in the morning.”

“Sorry Sir.” I tell him honestly. It’s not exactly news to me that I need to get my shit together.

Author Photo

About The Author:

Hanleigh loves books more than nearly anything in the world; whether its reading them or writing them, Hanleigh just can’t get enough. She relishes in the way authors can create worlds with the words they put in their books. She loves the way your imagination introduces you to a new world when you read a book. It may well be a world completely foreign to the one you live in. That world is brought to life; inspires you to dream, captivates your imagination, entices your senses.

Hanleigh first took to reading as a small child reading Dr Zeus. She then fell in love with romance literature when she first read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen; when she first swooned over Mr Darcy. She’s read more books than she can count and owns more books than some libraries.

Although born in Scotland, she sometimes wishes she could live inside the world that she can create inside her mind, but since that isn’t possible she puts pen to paper and shares that world with this world instead. There is something addictive about being able to mould your words into something that causes the reader to fall into your mind. When you put pen to paper and create a world, it’s exhilarating. Every word has meaning. You know every character intimately. You know every secret, every whisper, every smell, every look; as the author you know the world you created and more so than even the most avid of readers you can get lost in your own creation.

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The Cottontail by Jennifer Renson Review

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

An exciting prequel explores the dark origins of a monstrous villain and the impact he had on the emerging story in author Jennifer Renson’s The Cottontail. Here’s the synopsis:

Victorio is one of few children blessed to live in the palace under the rule of the King and Queen of the small but prosperous Kingdom of Lucca. The palace is a prison in the young boy’s eyes, as he desires to see the world and be of greater service. What Victorio doesn’t realize is he’s become the interest of the mysterious Feletti, who’s looking to expand his collection of dolls. The clock is ticking, and Victorio must escape the clutches of the mysterious doll maker as his influence spreads and another unforeseen danger approaches

This incredible prequel to Carousel, (read my review of that here), was an immensely impactful short story. The tale of Feletti and his dark deeds enraptured me as a reader. Getting to see life before Feletti and his rise of power in the kingdom of Lucca was fascinating to read. Getting to see life inside the former royal palace through the eyes of Victorio was a masterful choice, allowing players to see the privilege the royalty felt and how they viewed the commoners, and how this ultimately led them to their fates. Your heart went out to the children of the palace, who fought against this mindset but found themselves bound by law and tradition.

The setting was beautiful, bringing Lucca to life in such a short amount of time and making the reader feel as if they could walk through these larger than life palaces. The eerie nature of Feletti seeped through every page of his story, painting a vivid image in the reader’s mind as if it were playing on a television screen.

Overall I loved this story. Although a quick read, the story itself was both fun and an exciting new entry into this wonderful world of Lucca the author has created. It leaves me wanting more to say the least. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copies of author Jennifer Renson’s The Cottontail today!

Rating: 10/10

https://www.amazon.com/Cottontail-Jennifer-Renson/dp/154710399X/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1524113813&sr=8-5&keywords=Jennifer+Renson

 

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Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Jennifer+Renson

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Happy Holiday Homicides By Micah Minnefer Review

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

What should be a day of celebration turns into a deadly game of espionage and mayhem in author Micah Minnefer’s novel, Happy Holiday Homicides. Here’s the synopsis:

Murder is on the list of gifts this holiday season. At least it is when you’re apart of the deadliest gang in town. When young Anuaka’s family discovers her involvement with the local criminals, they give her an ultimatum. Get out of the gang or get out of their lives. However, removing herself from the gang is inconceivable. The only way out is death.

Anuaka must choose between her loving family and a new family promising something she truly desires. A life out of poverty. On the surface the decision is unimaginable. Underneath lies something more sinister. Anuaka is powerful, stunning, and downright conniving.

Happy Holiday Homicides takes you to the land of Serenium. An island of gods, pharaohs, and ancient power. An incredible short, that releases and action-packed opening to Anuaka’s twisted world.

This short story was an explosive introduction into a fantasy driven world of mythological beings. Anuaka’s story is one that reflects the struggles of our own world’s lower class people, who struggle day in and day out and sometimes feel forced to become something they never wanted to become. The story also has quite a few shocks in store for the reader, as the true story of who Anuaka is and what she truly desires slowly gets revealed through the amazing character development of this story.

Overall I loved the tale. The origins of a high stakes, action fueled world like Serenium is a breathtaking story that fantasy readers will devour immediately. The imagery used create this magical and surreal environment you can easily picture playing out across a television screen. As the introduction to a larger story, readers will immediately be drawn into the story of Anuaka and want more. If you haven’t yet pick up your copies of Happy Holiday Homicides by Micah Minnefer today!

Rating: 10/10

Interview with Author I. Ashmawey

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?
Since a young age, I’ve always imagined the world differently. Asked strange questions. Pictured how things could be rather than how they are. Writing is my way of capturing that imagination and documenting it. When I have a thought, I write it. It’s my way of allowing that thought to leave my mind and instead, possibly go into the minds of others. If people like my thoughts, wonderful. If not, I have plenty others!
2) What inspired you to write your book?
I don’t know anyone who reads regularly in my circle of friends. Perhaps that means I need new friends 🙂 But it also means that in general, my generation is not one of readers. My generation gets a ridiculous amount of screen time. Whether it’s TV, YouTube, or whatever else, it’s all the same. First of all, it limits the kinds of opinions they will hear. Second, the mind simply doesn’t work when it is receiving content through a screen. It’s a lazy method, and breeds even more laziness. Even those who laud themselves as people who read the news, do they really read it? Or just the gist?
I wrote this book to encourage my generation to spend more time with an open book in front of them, rather than a screen. The hope is that with only five minutes a day, people can escape their lives and take a small glimpse into a life that once was, or could someday be. And perhaps they would gain something positive from this insight.
3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
The themes in the book are plenty, as every short story aims to take the reader somewhere different than the one before. If I was to summarize all the messages and concoct a common theme that connects them all, it would simply be: think differently. If society runs things in a certain way, that way may be entirely wrong. There may be a far better way that is waiting for someone to discover it. There may be a way far worse, that’s still worth trying in order to feel more assured of society’s way. There is always something to be gained when thinking differently and questioning everything.
4) What drew you into this particular genre or genres?
Writing a book of short stories was never my intention. I actually finished a sci-fi novel and had sent it to my editor for editing which usually takes a few months. In the meantime, I couldn’t sit idle. So I decided to put some ideas down, which turned into short stories. I then wanted to challenge my creativity: 30 stories in 30 days. I was able to do it, a story a day. Then I added ten more, and thought to myself, “Why not publish?”
5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?
That’s an extremely tough one given that there are 40 shorts with 40 main characters. But I think I would choose Apolena Kipp from the story “Before the Beginning.” A space explorer who takes humanity’s first trip back to before the Big Bang. There was a moment while writing that story that I truly felt scared for her. I couldn’t imagine the courage it would need to take such a trip. Being the first to ever do anything requires courage, but especially to cross that threshold where there are no safety precautions, that’s something else. I would want to ask her what this trip means to her personally. Why does she so desperately want to know what happened before the Big Bang? And more importantly, how did she feel about what she found?
6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?
I have to be honest, I don’t have social media. I used to. I was one of the first to join Facebook back when it required a .edu address and you needed to put in which classes you were taking. But on a specific day, I found myself with my 1-yrld daughter at Disneyland, and I was fighting with someone I didn’t know on Facebook about some political opinion. It hit me then, and then I deactivated my account, and vowed never to return.
I don’t deny however that social media can tremendously help marketing a book. So that’s something I’m currently working on, but without social media 🙂
7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?
The most important thing any writer can do, is write. It doesn’t matter how bad the writing is initially. It doesn’t matter if t hey don’t have a fully fleshed story. Start writing, and write everyday. One’s writing is a muscle. If it’s not exercised it, it will become weak. To write is to find the characters, then the characters will build the story. Just start, that’s the most important thing. Start!
8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?
The soft sci-fi is currently out with agents! The book is titled, “ETA: the Trial of Logan Gruver.” The story talks of Logan, a traveler on a commercialized time-travel trip to the Pliocene epoch, who finds purpose and love when he meets Giselle, a fellow traveler in the past. Together, they discover that humanity will mysteriously cease to exist in the future. The newly discovered Canvas of Time, a fabric that covers the universe and also lends way to time travel, will begin to deteriorate. Logan and Giselle understand their devotion, the consequences of their actions, and why humanity may have to pay the price.

Stories That Are Short Vol 1: A Collection of 5-Minute Short Stories To Read Before Turning On The TV by I. Ashmawey

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

Have you ever wanted to jump into a reading session but realized there aren’t enough hours in the day to really get into a full on novel? That’s where I. Ashmawey’s Stories That Are Short Vol 1 comes in. This collection of 5-minute short stories is the perfect way to get a meaningful, fun and entertaining story with rich characters in without having to dedicate a lengthy amount of time to the art of reading. Here is the official synopsis:

How likely is it that you will unearth a hidden treasure in an Egyptian Pyramid that would change the course of humanity? How about grow up with extraterrestrials on Jupiter? Travel to before the big bang occurred? Invent feminism in medieval times, attend Dracula’s secret dinner party, experience Star Trek in real life, have dinner with Marlon Brando, take part in the signing of the Declaration of Independence…each in just five minutes?

These short stories will take you the same time to read as listening to a song. In a world where people only read summaries and headlines and get nothing out of them, here is a collection of forty stories that are short to tickle your intellects and arouse your emotions. From sci-fi to comedy, from romance to drama, from love to exploration to horror, enjoy these stories that promise to take you to different worlds, all in under five minutes.

This collection of short stories was really engaging. Delving into a wide range of genres that will entertain everyone, the stories are not only fun and exciting, but are very thought provoking as well. Touching on themes such as advanced technology, socializing and individualism, this collection is meaningful and incredibly well written. It proves that genres like horror and sci-fi are not meant to be strictly entertaining or shocking. They can be equally powerful with their message and share a unique view of the world that other genres can’t provide.

Overall this was a wonderful collection that everyone should read. They are quick reads and doesn’t require you to dedicate hours to read. However the stories are so engaging that you may just find yourself losing time as you become engrossed in author I. Ashmawey’s incredibly original and creative writing style. It’s an incredibly powerful read and has me excited to see where the author’s career will take them next, so if you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copy of Stories That Are Short Vol. 1 today!

Rating: 10/10