Books I’ve Read | September 2020

Books I’ve Read | September 2020

I’m recapping the books I read in September 2020.

📚 BOOKS DISCUSSED 📚

Her Night with the Duke by Diana Quincy (TW: sexual assault, racism)

Fable by Adrienne Young (TW: death of parent, violence, murder)

Namesake by Adrienne Young (TW: death of parent, violence, murder)

Sister of the Chosen One by Colleen Oakes & Erin Armknecht (TW: violence, depression, suicidal thoughts)

The Haunting of Beatrix Greene: Vol. 1 by Rachel Hawkins, Ash Parsons, & Vicky Alvear Shecter (TW: violence, murder, death of loved ones, gore)

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix (TW: violence, murder, rape, death of a child, death of loved one, suicide, domestic abuse, gore)

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My October TBR:

  • The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
  • Howloween Murder
  • The Inheritance Games, Hush
  • The Curse of Misty Wayfair
  • This is Not a Ghost Story

Abney Kelly & The Yuletide Shenanigans Playlist

Abney Kelly & The Yuletide Shenanigans Playlist

To celebrate the release of Abney Kelly and the Yuletide Shenanigans, author SamiJo McQuiston has shared a spotify playlist inspired by the novel.

Check out the synopsis for the novel and playlist below and don’t forget enter in the tour giveaway for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card.

About the Book

Abney Kelly & The Yuletide Shenanigans
by SamiJo McQuiston
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: October 9, 2020

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Summary

Abney Kelly seems like your typical thirteen-year-old trying to find her place in the world. She’s shy, awkward, has no friends, and is bullied constantly. However things are not always as they appear, after being pushed into a clover patch, a creature who says he’s her assigned guardian whisks her off to a school in Tìr na nÓg, called Yule.

Turns out she’s a Changeling, and it’s time she learns what that means. Between making new friends, discovering that all the monsters in her nightmares are real, and starting at a new school, Abney didn’t think life could get any harder as she splits her time between the human and Fae realms.

That is until her house matron warns them about Nicholas Kringle. He is stalking his prey throughout realms and collecting the hearts of those on his so-called nice list. At a New Year’s Eve party, Abney and her new gang use an Ouija board and discover that one of their friends is on Kringle’s list.

Determined to stop their friend’s death, Abney and company set off on a chilly adventure, to try to change fate, but only one thing is for certain… This year they’ll end up on the naughty list or die trying.

About the Author
About the Author

SamiJo is a first-class shenanigator, decorated coddiwompler, narrator, and author of, The Abney Kelly series. She lives in Wyoming with her dog, two cats, and four chickens. She participates in tomfoolery frequently and plans to get into waggishness in the future. Vive La Pete!

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Giveaway

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Blog Tour organized by YA Bound Book Tours

Books Remaining on My 2020 TBR

Books Remaining on My 2020 TBR

We are now into the last quarter of the year and I wanted to share which books I want to read by the end of 2020.

Let me know what is on your TBR lists for the rest of the year. I might be able to squeeze in a couple more.

Please note that this post contains affiliate links and any sales made through such links will reward me a small commission – at no extra cost for you.

Curse of Misty Wayfair book cover

The Curse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright

Christian Fiction, Mystery

January 22, 2019

Goodreads | Bookshop

Synopsis

Left at an orphanage as a child, Thea Reed vowed to find her mother someday. Now grown, her search takes her to Pleasant Valley, Wisconsin, in 1908. When clues lead her to a mental asylum, Thea uses her experience as a post-mortem photographer to gain access and assist groundskeeper Simeon Coyle in photographing the patients and uncovering the secrets within. However, she never expected her personal quest would reawaken the legend of Misty Wayfair, a murdered woman who allegedly haunts the area and whose appearance portends death.

A century later, Heidi Lane receives a troubling letter from her mother–who is battling dementia–compelling her to travel to Pleasant Valley for answers to her own questions of identity. When she catches sight of a ghostly woman who haunts the asylum ruins in the woods, the long-standing story of Misty Wayfair returns–and with it, Heidi’s fear for her own life.

As two women across time seek answers about their identities and heritage, can they overcome the threat of the mysterious curse that has them inextricably intertwined?

Year of the Witching book cover

The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson

Young Adult, Fantasy, Horror

July 21, 2020

Goodreads | Bookshop

Synopsis

A young woman living in a rigid, puritanical society discovers dark powers within herself in this stunning, feminist fantasy debut.

In the lands of Bethel, where the Prophet’s word is law, Immanuelle Moore’s very existence is blasphemy. Her mother’s union with an outsider of a different race cast her once-proud family into disgrace, so Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father, follow Holy Protocol, and lead a life of submission, devotion, and absolute conformity, like all the other women in the settlement.

But a mishap lures her into the forbidden Darkwood surrounding Bethel, where the first prophet once chased and killed four powerful witches. Their spirits are still lurking there, and they bestow a gift on Immanuelle: the journal of her dead mother, who Immanuelle is shocked to learn once sought sanctuary in the wood.

Fascinated by the secrets in the diary, Immanuelle finds herself struggling to understand how her mother could have consorted with the witches. But when she begins to learn grim truths about the Church and its history, she realizes the true threat to Bethel is its own darkness. And she starts to understand that if Bethel is to change, it must begin with her.

Howloween Murder book cover

Howloween Murder by Laurien Berenson

Cozy Mystery

August 25, 2020

Goodreads | Bookshop

Synopsis

As the town of Greenwich, Connecticut, counts down to a spooky celebration on October 31st, a horrifying murder leaves Melanie Travis pawing for clues in a hair-raising game of trick-or-treat . . .

With just a few days left before Halloween, everyone at Howard Academy is anticipating the guaranteed sugar high they’ll experience from gorging on Harriet Bloom’s famous marshmallow puffs. The private school’s annual costume party revolves around the headmaster’s assistant and her seemingly supernatural batches of gooey goodies. So, it’s a shock when Harriet’s elderly neighbor is suddenly found dead with the beloved dessert in his hand. In a snap, police start questioning whether Harriet modified her top-secret recipe to include a hefty dose of lethal poison . . .
 
Melanie knows her tenured colleague would never intentionally serve cyanide-laced puffs to a defenseless old man. But as explosive neighborhood gossip reveals a potential culprit, it also brings her closer to sealing her own doom. Because on an evening ruled by masked revelers, bizarre getups, and hidden identities, Halloween might just be the perfect opportunity for a cold-hearted killer to get away with murder once again—this time sending a nosy, unsuspecting sleuth to an early grave!

King of Wands book cover

King of Wands by Anna Durbin

Historical Romance

September 8, 2020

Goodreads | Amazon

Synopsis

An unconventional widow with a secret . . .

Lady Julia Lacey’s world collapsed when her abusive husband dragged her from India back to England after a tragic loss. Following his death, she turned her palatial home into a sanctuary for battered wives while she withdrew to quiet seclusion. When a letter bearing joyous news arrives from Calcutta, she vows to return to India to reclaim what she lost, but moving there requires funds. She won’t liquidate her estate, though, until she finds a new refuge for her guests. The insufferable, albeit attractive, vicar she grudgingly appointed to the parish living, has reluctantly offered his help, even though he considers her a raging heretic. She accepts his assistance warily because that means spending time with him. And unfortunately, he’s the one person who reminds her that she’s still a woman.

A devoted holy man with a broken heart . . .

Mr. Charles Rodman’s heart was ripped from his chest years ago by his unfaithful wife. When she died, he resolved to bury his pain with her memory. Now, the staid widower wants nothing more than to minister to his new flock, including his exasperating but beautiful patroness. Though he’s given up trying to convince the impertinent apostate to return to the fold, he still finds himself entangled with her when he’s unexpectedly volunteered to help her raise money for a shelter for abused women. As a servant of God, he must help her, but the last thing he wants is to be around her because she’s the one person who makes him uncomfortably aware that he’s a man.

Can they work together without getting burned?

Despite their mutual antagonism, Charles and Julia’s equally mutual attraction heats up when a fiery kiss unleashes a searing passion. Can she allow him into her heart, or would he only break it if he learned her secret? Can he ever trust another woman again, especially this one, or is she too much like his late wife?

Inheritance Games book cover

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Young Adult, Mystery

September 1, 2020

Goodreads | Bookshop

Synopsis

A Cinderella story with deadly stakes and thrilling twists, perfect for fans of One of Us is Lying and Knives Out.

Avery Grambs has a plan for a better future: survive high school, win a scholarship, and get out. But her fortunes change in an instant when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves Avery virtually his entire fortune. The catch? Avery has no idea why–or even who Tobias Hawthorne is. To receive her inheritance, Avery must move into sprawling, secret passage-filled Hawthorne House, where every room bears the old man’s touch–and his love of puzzles, riddles, and codes.

Unfortunately for Avery, Hawthorne House is also occupied by the family that Tobias Hawthorne just dispossessed. This includes the four Hawthorne grandsons: dangerous, magnetic, brilliant boys who grew up with every expectation that one day, they would inherit billions. Heir apparent Grayson Hawthorne is convinced that Avery must be a con-woman, and he’s determined to take her down. His brother, Jameson, views her as their grandfather’s last hurrah: a twisted riddle, a puzzle to be solved. Caught in a world of wealth and privilege, with danger around every turn, Avery will have to play the game herself just to survive.

Midnight Library book cover

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Fantasy, Science Fiction

September 29, 2020

Goodreads | Bookshop

Synopsis

‘Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices… Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?’

A dazzling novel about all the choices that go into a life well lived, from the internationally bestselling author of Reasons to Stay Alive and How To Stop Time.

Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?

In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig’s enchanting new novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.

Hush book cover

Hush by Dylan Farrow

Young Adult, Fantasy

October 6, 2020

Goodreads | Bookshop

Synopsis

They use magic to silence the world. Who will break the hush?

Seventeen-year-old Shae has led a seemingly quiet life, joking with her best friend Fiona, and chatting with Mads, the neighborhood boy who always knows how to make her smile. All while secretly keeping her fears at bay… Of the disease that took her brother’s life. Of how her dreams seem to bleed into reality around her. Of a group of justice seekers called the Bards who claim to use the magic of Telling to keep her community safe.

When her mother is murdered, she can no longer pretend.

Not knowing who to trust, Shae journeys to unlock the truth, instead finding a new enemy keen to destroy her, a brooding boy with dark secrets, and an untold power she never thought possible.

Midnight Bargain book cover

The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk

Fantasy, Romance

October 13, 2020

Goodreads | Bookshop

Synopsis

Beatrice Clayborn is a sorceress who practices magic in secret, terrified of the day she will be locked into a marital collar that will cut off her powers to protect her unborn children. She dreams of becoming a full-fledged Magus and pursuing magic as her calling as men do, but her family has staked everything to equip her for Bargaining Season, when young men and women of means descend upon the city to negotiate the best marriages. The Clayborns are in severe debt, and only she can save them, by securing an advantageous match before their creditors come calling.

In a stroke of luck, Beatrice finds a grimoire that contains the key to becoming a Magus, but before she can purchase it, a rival sorceress swindles the book right out of her hands. Beatrice summons a spirit to help her get it back, but her new ally exacts a price: Beatrice’s first kiss . . . with her adversary’s brother, the handsome, compassionate, and fabulously wealthy Ianthe Lavan.

The more Beatrice is entangled with the Lavan siblings, the harder her decision becomes: If she casts the spell to become a Magus, she will devastate her family and lose the only man to ever see her for who she is; but if she marries—even for love—she will sacrifice her magic, her identity, and her dreams. But how can she choose just one, knowing she will forever regret the path not taken?

Plain Bad Heroines book cover

Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth

LGBT, Gothic

October 20, 2020

Goodreads | Bookshop

Synopsis

“Brimming from start to finish with sly humor and gothic mischief. Brilliant.” —SARAH WATERS

The award-winning author of The Miseducation of Cameron Post makes her adult debut with this highly imaginative and original horror-comedy centered around a cursed New England boarding school for girls—a wickedly whimsical celebration of the art of storytelling, sapphic love, and the rebellious female spirit.

Our story begins in 1902, at The Brookhants School for Girls. Flo and Clara, two impressionable students, are obsessed with each other and with a daring young writer named Mary MacLane, the author of a scandalous bestselling memoir. To show their devotion to Mary, the girls establish their own private club and call it The Plain Bad Heroine Society. They meet in secret in a nearby apple orchard, the setting of their wildest happiness and, ultimately, of their macabre deaths. This is where their bodies are later discovered with a copy of Mary’s book splayed beside them, the victims of a swarm of stinging, angry yellow jackets. Less than five years later, The Brookhants School for Girls closes its doors forever—but not before three more people mysteriously die on the property, each in a most troubling way.

Over a century later, the now abandoned and crumbling Brookhants is back in the news when wunderkind writer, Merritt Emmons, publishes a breakout book celebrating the queer, feminist history surrounding the “haunted and cursed” Gilded-Age institution. Her bestselling book inspires a controversial horror film adaptation starring celebrity actor and lesbian it girl Harper Harper playing the ill-fated heroine Flo, opposite B-list actress and former child star Audrey Wells as Clara. But as Brookhants opens its gates once again, and our three modern heroines arrive on set to begin filming, past and present become grimly entangled—or perhaps just grimly exploited—and soon it’s impossible to tell where the curse leaves off and Hollywood begins.

A story within a story within a story and featuring black-and-white period illustrations, Plain Bad Heroines is a devilishly haunting, modern masterwork of metafiction that manages to combine the ghostly sensibility of Sarah Waters with the dark imagination of Marisha Pessl and the sharp humor and incisive social commentary of Curtis Sittenfeld into one laugh-out-loud funny, spellbinding, and wonderfully luxuriant read.

Haunting of Beatrix Greene book cover

The Haunting of Beatrix Greene by Rachel Hawkins, Ash Parsons, & Vicky Alvear Shecter

Historical Fiction, Horror

October 28, 2020

Goodreads | Amazon | Serial Box

Synopsis

In Victorian England, a savvy spiritual medium must outsmart the most important client of her career: a scientist determined to expose frauds like her.

But their game of wits has fatal consequences when a vengeful spirit answers their summons. If they cannot put aside their prejudices—and growing passion—and find a way to banish the ghost together, one of them could be its next victim.

Get a sneak peek of The Haunting of Beatrix Greene by bestselling authors Rachel Hawkins, Ash Parsons, and Vicky Alvear Schecter.

Written in the Stars book cover

Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur

LGBT, Contemporary Romance

November 10, 2020

Goodreads | Bookshop

Synopsis

With nods to Bridget Jones and Pride and Prejudice, a charming #ownvoices queer rom-com debut about a free-spirited social media astrologer who agrees to fake a relationship with an uptight actuary until New Year’s Eve—with results not even the stars could predict!

After a disastrous blind date, Darcy Lowell is desperate to stop her well-meaning brother from playing matchmaker ever again. Love—and the inevitable heartbreak—is the last thing she wants. So she fibs and says her latest set up was a success. Darcy doesn’t expect her lie to bite her in the ass.

Elle Jones, one of the astrologers behind the popular Twitter account, Oh My Stars, dreams of finding her soul mate. But she knows it is most assuredly not Darcy… a no-nonsense stick-in-the-mud, who is way too analytical, punctual, and skeptical for someone as free-spirited as Elle. When Darcy’s brother—and Elle’s new business partner—expresses how happy he is that they hit it off, Elle is baffled. Was Darcy on the same date? Because… awkward.

When Darcy begs Elle to play along, she agrees to pretend they’re dating to save face. But with a few conditions: Darcy must help Elle navigate her own overbearing family over the holidays and their arrangement expires on New Year’s Eve. The last thing they expect is to develop real feelings during a fake relationship.

But maybe opposites can attract when true love is written in the stars?

A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Mayhem book cover

A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem by Manda Collins

Historical Romance

November 10, 2020

Goodreads | Bookshop

Synopsis

An intrepid female reporter matches wits with a serious, sexy detective in award-winning author Manda Collins’ fun and flirty historical rom-com!

England, 1865 : As one of England’s most notorious newspaper columnists, Lady Katherine Bascomb believes knowledge is power. And she’s determined to inform and educate the ladies of London on the nefarious-and deadly-criminals who are praying on the fairer sex. When her reporting leads to the arrest of a notorious killer, however, Katherine flees to a country house party to escape her newfound notoriety-only to witness a murder on her very first night. And when the lead detective accuses Katherine of inflaming-rather than informing-the public with her column, she vows to prove him wrong.

Detective Inspector Andrew Eversham’s refusal to compromise his investigations nearly cost him his own career, and he blames Katherine. To avoid bad publicity, his superiors are pressuring him to solve cases quickly rather than correctly. When he discovers she’s the key witness in a new crime, he’s determined to prevent the beautiful widow from once again wreaking havoc on his case. Yet as Katherine proves surprisingly insightful and Andrew impresses Katherine with his lethal competency, both are forced to admit the fire between them is more flirtatious than furious. But to explore the passion between them, they’ll need to catch a killer.

This is Not a Ghost Story book cover

This Is Not a Ghost Story by Andrea Portes

Young Adult, Horror

November 17, 2020

Goodreads | Amazon

Synopsis

Nothing is as it seems in this chilling, twisting tale by bestselling author Andrea Portes, perfect for fans of Madeleine Roux and Danielle Vega.

Rife with dark humor and chilling twists, This Is Not a Ghost Story is American Horror Story meets There’s Someone Inside Your House. It will have readers flipping back to the very first page after the shocking finale.  

I am not welcome. Somehow I know that. Something doesn’t want me here.

Daffodil Franklin has plans for a quiet summer before her freshman year at college, and luckily, she’s found the job that can give her just that: housesitting a mansionfor a wealthy couple.

But as the summer progresses and shadows lengthen, Daffodil comes to realize the house is more than it appears. The spacious home seems to close in on her, and as she takes the long road into town, she feels eyes on her the entire way, and something tugging her back.

What Daffodil doesn’t yet realize is that her job comes with a steep price. The house has a long-ago grudge it needs to settle . . . and Daffodil is the key to settling it.

Layla book cover

Layla by Colleen Hoover

Paranormal Romance

December 8, 2020

Goodreads | Bookshop

Synopsis

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover comes a novel that explores life after tragedy and the enduring spirit of love.

When Leeds meets Layla, he’s convinced he’ll spend the rest of his life with her—until an unexpected attack leaves Layla fighting for her life. After weeks in the hospital, Layla recovers physically, but the emotional and mental scarring has altered the woman Leeds fell in love with. In order to put their relationship back on track, Leeds whisks Layla away to the bed-and-breakfast where they first met. Once they arrive, Layla’s behavior takes a bizarre turn. And that’s just one of many inexplicable occurrences.

Feeling distant from Layla, Leeds soon finds solace in Willow—another guest of the B&B with whom he forms a connection through their shared concerns. As his curiosity for Willow grows, his decision to help her find answers puts him in direct conflict with Layla’s well-being. Leeds soon realizes he has to make a choice because he can’t help both of them. But if he makes the wrong choice, it could be detrimental for all of them.

Last to See Her book cover

The Last to See Her by Courtney Evan Tate

Suspense

December 15, 2020

Goodreads | Bookshop

Synopsis

A woman disappears into the dark city night…

Gen is on the verge of a divorce from her cheating husband. When her sister, Meg, has a convention to attend in the Big Apple, she invites Gen along to celebrate her newly found freedom. But the perfect sisters’ getaway quickly goes awry when a tipsy Gen defiantly throws her wedding ring off the hotel room’s balcony. Then, wanting some fresh air, she decides to take a late-evening walk alone and vanishes without a trace.

The investigation that follows uncovers secrets—and betrayals—between sisters and spouses that will twist the truth in on itself until nothing is clear.

What really happened to Gen and who, besides Meg, was the last to see her?

The Trapped Daughter by Jay Kerk | Blitz

The Trapped Daughter by Jay Kerk | Blitz

The Trapped Daughter by Jay Kerk

Psychological Thriller

September 22, 2020

285 pages

Goodreads | Amazon

Blurb

Have you ever been trapped somewhere? I have.

Have you ever found that the world does not believe you? I did.

I have been betrayed by the people I trusted the most. They coil around me like snakes, lulling me with whispers about protection and safety and for your own good.

They offer up pills like sweets, promising me relief. Just take the meds and everything will be fine, Belle – the meds, Belle, the meds.

Everything will not be fine, and it never will be again. Justice is gone from the world. I have been wronged by Gabe, the man I loved most, and when I turned to others for backup, they sided with him because he’s a star. When I ran to my father for safety, he locked me up in his great big mansion and threw away the key. Now I drift like the ghost Gabe pretended I was, my bare feet tasting the coldness of rich tiles, my breath turning to ice.

Gabe isn’t real, they tell me. They insult me, they spit at me, then smile and pretend that they wish to help. Meanwhile, Gabe is out there, luxuriating in all that I won for him, and I suffer and burn.

Jay Kerk

Dr. Jay Kerk uses his medical background to research and create captivating psychological thrillers. His main driver is his fascination with the human mind and its vast capabilities.  

You can find and contact Jay Kerk here:
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Giveaway

There is a tour wide giveaway for the bookstagram blitz for The Trapped Daughter. Two winners will each win a $25 Amazon Gift Card.

You can enter the giveaway here: https://smarturl.it/GiveawayTrapped 

Or use the rafflecopter below:

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This bookstagram blitz was organized by Lola’s Blog Tours.

Death Island Duology | Cover Reveal

Kelsey Ketch’s newest novels will be releasing soon in December. To celebrate, I’m happy to share with you the beautiful book covers for the Death Island duology.

Also read an excerpt for The Journey below!

Death Island: the Journey book cover

Death Island: The Journey by Kelsey Ketch

Genre: New Adult Adventure/Fantasy

Release Date: December 2020

With her family name tainted by her great-grandfather’s crimes, Meriden Cummings could only dream of fleeing her oppressive life. Then she unearthed a piece of tanned skin, and her blood revealed an ancient map adorned with Mayan glyphs, launching her on the journey of a lifetime. However, she finds herself bound to the map, and there is a cost to her newfound freedom. One that will torment her mind as well as her soul.

After being shanghaied by pirates, Gregory Wilson escapes to a small English village where he runs into an obnoxious auburn- haired beauty. When he learns she is about to set sail on dangerous waters, he signs up to join her crew, hoping to defend her from the pirates seeking her great-grandfather’s treasure. But, will he be able to protect her from the ghost that haunts her or the curse running through her veins.

Add to Goodreads


Death Island, the discovery book cover

Death Island: The Discovery by Kelsey Ketch

Genre: New Adult Adventure/Fantasy

Release Date: December 2020

After arriving at Death Island, Meriden Cummings became haunted by dreams of a young Mayan woman’s death. A death, Meriden fears, foreshadows her own. And she soon discovers that in this tropical paradise, there are many ways to die. On top of that, the pirates after her great-grandfather’s treasure are not far behind. Can she and her crew stay one step ahead of them and the Mayan god that inhabits the island?

Meriden is not the only one haunted by the young Mayan woman’s death. Gregory Wilson has had similar dreams the moment he stepped foot on the island. In addition, he has seen the Mayan god of death, Ah Puch. Will he be able to protect Meriden from the earthly dangers as well as the supernatural forces seeking her demise?

Add to Goodreads

Death Island: The Journey Excerpt

Tucker barked at something that had recently washed up onto the shore. Curious, I walked toward the obvious tangled mess. “What do you have there?”

I pushed him aside and grabbed the green and grey mass. I peeled off the debris and seaweed and rinsed the mud and sand off in the Mouth of the Severn. From the mess appeared an object, which I could only describe as an elaborate golden coin, about four inches in diameter. Yet, the slightest touch caused three outer rings of glyphs—similar to the ones painted on the map—to rotate around a sitting man with a long headdress, bowl, and club. His face profiled, and his legs crossed. The most outer ring consisted of nineteen complicated glyphs, including an eagle’s head, a goat-like face, and a demon face; the middle ring held twenty square glyphs with three curls underneath, some depicting things like hands, skulls, and faces; and the innermost ring had a series of dots and lines—much like Roman numerals—that counted up to thirteen. On the other side of the coin, the same skeletal figure from the map sat in the center while nine teetered glyphs were spaced out along the outer rings—five on the outer ring and four in the middle. Among the glyphs of the middle ring were four arrows pointing in what I would call the cardinal directions. Overlapping the middle and inner rings were three large arrows. Much like a compass pointing north, east, and west. And to the south, two skulls faced each other, leaving a microscopic gap.

My mind spun with disbelief. This had to be related to Death Island. I was sure of it. But how? And where did it come from? How did it get here?

The breeze carried my hair off my shoulder, a shiver ran down my spine, and goose bumps unraveled across my arms when I sensed a presence nearby. I turned to spy a man as pale as ash with a beard as white as snow watching me. Black veins stretched throughout his exposed flesh. His eyes nothing but two black pieces of coal. The mere sight of him made me jump in my own skin, nearly causing me to drop the Mayan coin as I gasped in fright. In an attempt to regain my composure, I took my eyes off the man for a second to steady myself, only for them to fall back on the gardener, or ghost, I met at the Railings’ home.

About the Author
About the Author

About the Author
Kelsey Ketch is a young-adult/new-adult author, who works as a Wildlife Biologist in the state of North Carolina. During her free time, she can often be found working on her latest work in progress. She also enjoys history, mythology, traveling, and reading.

For more information, please visit her site at kelseyketch.com.

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Cover Reveal Organized By: YA Bound Book Tours

The Cursed Kingdom Series by Aimee Shaye | Excerpt

The Cursed Kingdom Series by Aimee Shaye | Excerpt

The second novel, The Dead Daughter, in Aimee Shaye’s Cursed Kingdom series has recently released. To showcase this launch I have been granted excerpts to each novel and the link for an awesome giveaway. Read below to find more about this new adult fantasy series.

The Broken Daughter book cover

The Broken Daughter 

The Cursed Kingdom #1 

Aimee Shaye 

New Adult Fantasy 

July 26, 2020

ebook

400 pages

Goodreads * Amazon 

Summary

Long ago, magick filled the land of Dramolux. But one sorceress delved too deep into dark sorcery and tainted the creatures inhabiting the land. In an effort to save all creatures, a noble sentinel locked the dark powers away. For generations, the dark ones were controlled, passed down to those who ruled the sentinel kingdom. All is peaceful until the newest sentinel queen is murdered and all the magick is released back into the world. It is now up to her daughter, Princess Aymeri–who has no knowledge of what she truly is–to recapture it. But another dark sorceress is on the rise. She wants to lay claim to the magick and wield it herself, in an effort to take all of Dramolux under her control. The odds are against Aymeri and the magick the sorceress wants is evil. Aymeri must prepare to battle or die fighting for the survival of her people.

Excerpt

Sighing, she straightened her clothes, adorned yet again in the colors of mourning, then found herself parchment and a fountain pen—the ink clearly fresh; she’d have to thank Ser Parzival for that—and folded her hands as she had seen her parents do countless of times as they waited.

It wasn’t too long before Ser Parzival knocked on the door, then introduced her to Prince Drystan of Bréîn. She could not fathom why it was so urgent for him to meet her today.

After dismissing Ser Parzival, she held out a hand toward the seat opposite her and waited for Prince Drystan to get comfortable before leaning forward. “Ser Parzival informed me that it was crucial we meet today, though I cannot fathom what you could possibly need me for that is more urgent than laying my dead mother to rest.”

Prince Drystan briefly bowed his head before looking directly at Aymeri. “I am profusely sorry about the beloved Queen’s untimely death, Princess Aymeri.”

 “And yet, how sorry can you truly be if you have called for this appointment on the day when you knew my mother was to be laid to rest.” Easy Princess, he is an asset. Aymeri rolled her eyes at the voice in her head, who clearly did not know what she was talking about. What asset could a narcissistic prince, of some unheard-of country, be? 

 “The matter is such, Princess, that I must put my people before all else.” 

Aymeri tried to size him up. His answer seemed genuine and his tone posed no threat. Nor did his body language. He was sitting squarely in his seat, his eyes making constant contact with hers. Her gut gave her no warning, no inkling that he was up to no good. But still there begged a question: “What do your people have to do with me, Prince Drystan? We owe you nothing.”


The Dead Daughter book cover

The Dead Daughter 

The Cursed Kingdom #2 

Aimee Shaye

New Adult Fantasy

September 19, 2020

ebook

Goodreads * Amazon 

Summary

She was born an ill-fated princess. She was destined to be a savior.

Princess Kumud Maudlin of Treoles is a rescued prisoner of her own castle after twenty-three years of seclusion. Now that she has a second chance of life, thanks to her rescuer–and sister-Queen Aymeri, she must learn to speak with her words and control the wayward magick inside of her.

Meanwhile, the evil Empress Dimia is advancing toward Treoles with a vengeance for the magick guarded by Kumud’s sentinel sister, and ruler of Treoles.

Will Princess Kumud control her magick and help Treoles retaliate or will Treoles fall before it even stands a chance?

Excerpt

No! Go away! Don’t touch me! Her muffled, almost incoherent screams jerked her out of her sleep. Electricity jolted across the room, breaking various ceramics in its wake. Her dark hair was plastered to her face by the salty tears and sweat which coat it. She heard nothing but the pounding of her heart and her ragged breaths loud in her ears.  While night terrors were nothing new to her, it had been some time since the last one. Though it had not been nearly as tense nor as long as what she just experienced. What is wrong with me? The question constantly crossed her mind. For her actions and thoughts to be as cynical as these, something had to be wrong with her. She knew she was out of harm’s way, and yet fear still weaved itself into her thoughts. Still grabbed hold of her. 

She clutched her hand to her nightwear and sat up in bed, her back against the smooth headboard. You are no longer in that hell, she reminded herself. You are free now. Surrounded by people who love you. Although she knew this, there was ever the notion that something terrible would happen at any moment and ruin the happiness they all found. 

For the first time in twenty-three years, she was amongst people. She could hug them. She got to know them. She finally sat with her sister and conversed with her. She had to admit it, Aymeri’s ability to learn was quick; she was able to talk in full sentences using only her hands. While she would speak aloud on occasion, it was only to help Kumud form words. They were taking it easy, but she got the hang of small ones. She was able to say her name and those of the people who surrounded her: Jorlyn, Breya, Drystan, and Madam Bheva. Those were the ones who mattered the most. 

“Kumud!” Aymeri crashed through the room door in her nightwear, immediately using her magick to light the candles in the room, and gathered Kumud into a hug. Kumud hugged her sister in return, thankful for the familiarity of her touch as her sister smoothed her hair and tucked the loose strands behind her ears. “Are you okay?” 

Kumud pulled out of the hug to use her hands to answer her sister. I had another nightmare. I was chained to the bed again. She paused as tears spilled out of her eyes. When will these dreams stop? 

Excerpts ©2020 Aimee Shaye. Reprinted with permission.

About the Author
About the Author

“I am many things but normal is not one of them,” says Aimee Shaye when asked to describe herself. She is a novelist whose genres include Fantasy and all its subgenres. When asked what drives her, Aimee says, “The world around me. The people I know. The love and support of my family.” Aimee is a family-driven person and enjoys meeting and getting to know her readers. She is full of life and down-to-earth. She has a personality that fills the room. More than that, Aimee is someone people easily open up to. Her passion for life, reading, and writing are evident in her novels and she leaves no stone unturned in showcasing real emotions even in a fantasy world.

Readers from all of the world enjoy reading her novels which are suitable for all ages, despite her characters being in their late teens and early twenties.

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Enter to win a signed copy of The Broken Daughter & The Dead Daughter and a Princess Survival Pack with two costume grade tiaras, princess-style garter, & princess themed wine glass.

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3rd Quarter Wrap-Up 2020

3rd Quarter Wrap-Up 2020

And that’s a wrap on another quarter. I can’t believe this year is almost over. In the last few months, I got a lot of reading done. I still read quite of bit of romance, but fantasy seemed to be creeping in more. So let’s get on with this wrap-up. Let me know if you’ve read any of the titles mentioned and what you thought about it.

This page contains affiliate links and any sales made through such links will reward me a small commission – at no extra cost for you.

JULY

chasing cassandra book cover

Chasing Cassandra by Lisa Kleypas

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This was a cute historical romance. I thought that the main characters, Tom and Cassandra worked well together. You got to see their connection evolve throughout the book and it made sense why they would end up together.

Bookshop | Amazon


The Duke Effect book cover

The Duke Effect by Sophie Jordan

Rating: 4 out of 5.

If you’re looking for a historical romance with a strong female character, a brooding male lead, and a little bit of steaminess, then look no further. Overall this was a satisfying read. By the halfway point, I didn’t want to put this down. The novel included many tropes romance readers will be familiar with and the two main characters were an interesting match.

See full review here.

eARC provided by NetGalley

Bookshop | Amazon

AUGUST

The Multi-Hyphen Life book cover

The Multi-Hyphen Life by Emma Gannon (audiobook)

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This was an interesting book and overall I enjoyed the content. I like the idea of redefining work goals and creating a job you love. It is easy to overwork or be in a position one hates, so this book offered insight into changing that. I felt that the author was authentic and believed in the words of the book. This audiobook was narrated by the author and was easy to listen to and got the right tone across.

Audiobook provided by NetGalley

Bookshop | Amazon


Give Yourself Margin book cover

Give Yourself Margin by Stacie Bloomfield

Rating: 3 out of 5.

First, let me say that the art in this book was beautiful. I would love to frame some on my walls. But in terms of content, I think that this brushed the tip of self-help and unblocking obstacles. This book was only about 100 pages and much of that was filled with art and illustration. Dispersed throughout were snippets of motivational talk. I felt that I was reading a bunch of Instagram captions. I liked where the content was going, but it wasn’t enough to really inspire. The author’s voice was well received and I am interested in hearing more.

eARC provided by NetGalley

Bookshop | Amazon


Mexican Gothic book cover

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I thought I had the twist figured out and I was wrong. I love a good gothic novel and this book delivered. The novel started off slowly, but once you get halfway, the pace ramped up. All the major tropes were used. Darkness. Madness. Dreams. Eroticism. Isolation. It was nice to see. I was confused at a few points, but then maybe that was the point.

See full review here.

Bookshop | Amazon


Guardian's Grace book cover

Guardian’s Grace by Rebecca Zanetti

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This was a pretty typical paranormal romance. Many of the themes/tropes can be found in several series. That being said, this was an entertaining read. I liked the characters and there was a good development of their relationship. Both appreciated the other for their strengths, interests, and pushed through obstacles. Although this is part of a series, you can read it as a standalone. However, it is probably a good idea to read the other novels and there is a backstory left out. I liked the pace of the novel and it has my interest to read others in this series.

eARC provided by NetGalley

Amazon


When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole (audiobook)

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This was an interesting read and I’m glad that I listened to it. I found the overall plot interesting and liked that this thriller took real-life issues. What makes this story scary is how realistic the problems are. I did find the plot slow-moving in the beginning. It took about half to the book to establish characters and for more thriller aspects to be displayed. 

See full review here.

Audiobook provided by NetGalley

Bookshop | Amazon


Follow Me Darkly Book Cover

Follow Me Darkly by Helen Hardt

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This was a quick read and definitely sexy. I would say this is a typical contemporary romance. You have the powerful, mysterious billionaire and a young, innocent female. You can feel the tension between both characters, and this is definitely lusting at first sight. This novel starts to touch on the dominant/submissive relationship and includes a little bondage. We don’t learn much about the character’s backgrounds, so I’m hoping it comes up more in the series. There are definitely secrets. I’m also not sure I like the whole Instagram influencer aspect, but it isn’t too distracting. Overall, this book has what any erotica reader is looking for and I can’t wait for the second book to come out to continue the story.

eARC provided by NetGalley

Bookshop | Amazon


Midnight Sun book cover

Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer

DNF

I will admit that nostalgia influenced my purchase of this book. After waiting so many years I had high hopes that this novel would be a new take on the original story. However, I DNF’d after about 250 pages. I honestly found this boring. Edward was not an interesting character and I didn’t feel that any new insight to him or his family was given. It was hard to relive scenes in almost the exact same way. I also think that this book made me dislike Edward and his stalker tendencies more. He seemed to dislike everyone around him. Maybe I am just too old for this now.

Bookshop | Amazon


Machiavellian book cover

Machiavellian by Bella Di Corte

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I found myself devouring the novel and couldn’t put it down. Although long, the pace was well balanced, and I didn’t lose interest in the slower moments. I thought that the author did a good job creating the world around the characters and I developed an interest in many of the side characters as well.

See full review here.

ebook provided by author through Xpresso Book Tours

Bookshop | Amazon


Didn’t See That Coming by Rachel Hollis

Rating: 2 out of 5.

This book was written about grief and how to go through the hurting process. My takeaway from this is that the author wants you to choose an optimistic mindset. To choose happiness. Easier said than done and this book didn’t offer much advice. I honestly don’t remember much of what is said in this book. There are so many unnecessary anecdotes thrown in, that it becomes difficult to remember what the original topic was. Also, there seemed to be a lot of self-promotion. I also didn’t feel like this book contained actionable advice, which I’m sure readers would like. I also couldn’t understand how some chapters related to the main topic of grief. Overall, I felt lost in the writing and don’t feel like I’ve learned anything.

eARC provided by NetGalley

Bookshop | Amazon


the switch book cover

The Switch by Beth O’Leary (audiobook)

DNF

I was interested in this book after reading the synopsis. A granddaughter/grandmother duo swap homes for two months. The characters learn a little about themselves and find love along the way. Sounds cute right? However, I had to DNF after the first couple of chapters. I honestly found the granddaughter’s character annoying. I’m sure that her character traits improve as the novel goes on, but I couldn’t listen anymore. This is not the narrator’s fault. I actually thought both narrators did a wonderful job. Even so, I had to turn this off.

Audiobook provided by NetGalley

Bookshop | Amazon

SEPTEMBER

Fable by Adrienne Young book cover

Fable by Adrienne Young

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I really enjoyed this story. Although fantasy, I think that readers of many genres will enjoy this book. The pacing was spot on and there was a nice balance between action and character development. The author did a good job world building. I could imagine what each of the places and people looked liked. Fable also didn’t feel like an introductory novel. I think because it is part of a duology, not too much time was wasted explaining things.

See full review here.

eARC provided by NetGalley

Bookshop | Amazon


Namesake book cover

Namesake by Adrienne Young

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I very much enjoyed the conclusion of this duology. My only complaint is that there are only two novels in this series, as I would love to read more about these characters. This novel picked up right where the last one finished. I felt that there were more action and plot in this story. New characters were added, for good reason, but we also learned more about characters from the first book. This cleared up some confusion and offered insight that was much wanted. I thought the story had good pacing and there were many twists and turns. The main character, Fable, continued to be a strong female and held her own. The romance plot continued nicely without distracting from the other story arcs. This is a series I would recommend and everything was wrapped up nicely by the end.

eARC provided by NetGalley

Bookshop | Amazon


Her Night with the Duke book cover

Her Night with the Duke by Diana Quincy

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This was a fun read and had all the elements expected for this type of romance. I was invested in each of the characters and hoping they would find happiness. Our lovers in this novel fight their feelings and societal expectations to find a way to be together. There are also familial complications. Overall, I enjoyed reading this novel. It kept my interest and the pacing was steady. I also liked that the main character was Anglo-Arab and she embraced that cultural identity. I do wish I saw more growth from the male lead. Although he does change, I feel like it wasn’t enough and he still said disparaging words at the end. But, I thought that the characters fit together. I also enjoyed the side characters and thought they rounded out the story.

eARC provided by NetGalley

Bookshop | Amazon


The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This book was fantastic. It did well balancing horror with social issues. The characters felt real and were going through relatable issues along with the fantastical mystery. This book had me laughing and crawling in my skin.

eARC provided by NetGalley

Bookshop | Amazon


Sister of the Chose One book cover

Sister of the Chosen One by Colleen Oakes & Erin Armknecht

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I was drawn to this book by the cover, but the synopsis also sounded interesting. I’m glad that I gave this a read because it was wonderful. The authors blended action without taking away from character development. I think that many readers will be able to relate to the main characters. Their struggles were real and it added so much to this story. This was a fast read that had me hooked from the beginning.

See full review here.

ebook provided by YA Bound Book Tours

Bookshop | Amazon

Sister of the Chosen One by Colleen Oakes & Erin Armknecht | Review

Sister of the Chosen One by Colleen Oakes & Erin Armknecht | Review
<strong>Sister of the Chosen One</strong> Book Cover
Sister of the Chosen One Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy Curtis Brown Studios ebook 277 pages Goodreads

“Action-packed, empowering, and comic-book vivid, Sister of the Chosen One will have you cheering.” – Natalie Mae, Author of The Kinder Poison

Valora Rigmore understands pressure. As the Chosen One (resident telekinetic, superstar and model girlfriend) her life revolves around it. According to an ancient prophesy, Valora is destined to fight Erys, a terrifying individual with the power to control monsters. Valora is worshipped at school, in the press and by her parents, but as the battle with Erys looms near, the cracks in her perfect façade are beginning to show.

Her twin, Grier Rigmore understands disappointment. A curvy bookworm perpetually in the shadow of her sister’s legacy, Grier’s life is one long humiliation after another. However, as Valora’s fandom reaches an unbearable fever pitch, an interesting new boy and a clever teacher spark Grier’s curiosity about her own powerful gifts.

When Grier’s star begins to rise, so do more questions, like: who is truly the Chosen One, and will two sisters at odds survive long enough to understand the answer?

Best described as Harry Potter meets Mindy Kaling, Sister of the Chosen One is a darkly funny, female empowered YA epic about siblings struggling to connect with each other, free themselves of labels and save the world in the process.

Purchase This Title (affiliate links) : Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop

I was provided a free digital copy of this novel through YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Review

Initially drawn to the cover of this book, and then the synopsis, I decided to give this book a read. I am so glad I did because I loved this novel.

Told from the perspectives of twin sisters, Valora and Grier, Sister of the Chosen One masterfully weaves an action story with personal struggles. As time passes, we see events unfold through the eyes of both sisters. Sometimes scenes slightly overlap, which was interesting, but I think it worked with the narrative.

The heart of this story is the sisters. Both characters are well-rounded and extremely relatable. Even with the fantastical elements, these are two teenagers who are looking for understanding. I felt for these characters and found myself relating to their feelings.

The people in this story have magical powers, to a degree, and are gearing up for a fight with the big bad. Although this has fantasy elements, I think that many readers would enjoy it. It was an exciting look into different abilities and a world filled with magic and monsters.

I did find some plot points predictable from very early on. However, since this wasn’t part of the central theme, I’m willing to overlook it.

Overall, I think this was very well put together. It kept my interest from the beginning and brought forth many emotions. I wish I had a book like this when I was a teen. I’m sure this is a standalone novel, which makes me sad because I would be very interested in reading more about these characters and their adventures.

About the Authors

Colleen Oakes
Colleen Oakes

Colleen Oakes is the bestselling author of books for both teens and adults, including The Black Coats, Queen of Hearts Series, and The Wendy Darling Saga. She lives in North Denver with her husband and son. You can visit her at http://www.colleenoakes.org, on her Author Colleen Oakes Facebook page, on Instagram (@colleenoakes), or on Twitter (@ColleenOakes_).

Erin Armknecht
Erin Armknecht

Erin Armknecht lives in St. Louis with her husband, son, and rescue dog. Sister of the Chosen One is her debut novel. You can find her Twitter @EisforErin and on Instagram @erinarmknecht.

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Veil of Secrets by G.A. Charnock | Review

<strong>Veil of Secrets</strong> Book Cover
Veil of Secrets Secrets of the Veil #1 Paranormal Romance ebook Goodreads | Amazon

Everybody has a past. Some just don’t know what it is yet…

Alice has long been intrigued by the couple she serves in Amo Mangiare every Friday.

There’s an unsettling tension between brooding, multi-millionaire businessman, Victor Davies, and his glamorous companion that she can’t put her finger on.

So when she receives a hand-written cry for help from the mysterious Eva, Alice knows she can’t ignore it.

As events and coincidences conspire to lure her deeper into Victor’s territory – a strangely bewitching world full of luxury, intrigue and unanswered questions – Alice is never sure who she can trust.

But it’s only when Alice’s past comes calling and a long-buried secret is finally unearthed, that she must confront the ultimate truth.

You can never escape your destiny…

I received a digital copy of this novel through Reedsy Discovery in exchange for an honest review.

Review

This story was a wild ride.

Alice, a journalist by day and waitress by night, finds herself in the middle of a mystery when a woman asks for her help one evening. This woman happens to be the dinner companion to Victor, a millionaire and a businessman. Alice soon finds herself entering Victor’s world, and it is full of secrets. Torn between unsettling occurrences and her growing feelings, Alice must decide if she can trust Victor or run in the opposite direction.

This story is challenging for me to review because I enjoyed the novel and had issues with it. I would categorize Veil of Secrets as paranormal suspense with romantic elements. The romance level was low. The main characters had an attraction to each other, but it took most of the book for them to act on it.

Alice and Victor work well together as a couple. They respect each other. Even given the tension and unease in their situation, you could see the potential in their relationship. Misgivings about Victor eased as the mystery unraveled. However, I want to know more about these character’s backstories. The side characters tell a little, but I wanted to learn more, especially given the ending.

Veil of Secrets had three different mysteries going on, and although concluded by the end of the book, it was almost too much. I felt that the central mystery was intriguing enough to carry the novel. Even so, the pacing was steady, and the multiple plotlines intertwined nicely. Many secrets came out in the last third of the book, and with those answers came many more questions.

Overall, I enjoyed the novel and think readers of romantic suspense will as well. As the first novel in a series, the plot serves to develop our characters and the mystery elements that will carry over into subsequent books. The ending grabbed my interest, and I want to know more about these characters and their continuing journey. 

Originally Published on Reedsy Dicovery.

Author Interview with Jordan Riley Swan

Author Interview with Jordan Riley Swan

Hey everyone, please welcome to the blog author Jordan Riley Swan. Their newest book, The Heart’s Bidding was published earlier this month and is a fun contemporary romance. Get to know this author a little better and don’t forget to check out the novel (links below).

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

According to my first one-star review, I should have changed the entire book. Hahaha. But seriously, I’m proud of what I ended with. If left to my own devices I would rewrite it into eternity, but at some point, you have to release it into the wild.

Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?

Holy crap, the whole thing was a learning experience from beginning to end. I only hope I learn as much every time. We should always be getting better at our craft, and I think this one proves it (if you compared first draft to last draft I’d hope you’d agree.)

If your book were made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?

I don’t know enough actresses’ names to answer that. But I can say I got my dream narrator to agree to read it (Xe Sands) and that makes me happier than it being turned into a movie would.

Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

This isn’t a typical romance. I don’t really hit the tropes like most people would want, just keep that in mind as you go through it. Whether that makes the book better or worse I leave to you.

What is your favorite part of this book and why?

The van ride in chapter three. It was fun to write. A lot of my later work in other novels resembles it more than the other chapters inside this one.

If you could spend time with a character from your book who would it be? And what would you do during that day?

I’d hang out with Bridgette. She’s the kind of no-nonsense woman I’d totally date if she were my age (and you know, real). We’d go to a concert and she’d belittle the fact that I have no idea who the singer is and ask me why I even bothered to come. 

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

There is a seed of a real person in every character. Usually, it’s a mixture though. I might take a personality trait from one person and combine it with a trait from another person and then describe the physicality of a third person. A few of them were made up whole cloth as I don’t really know anyone like my true love in this book, Bridgette. LOL

Do your characters seem to hijack the story, or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story? 

I felt like we worked together. They pushed me into storylines I wasn’t suspecting and I threw them for some curves that they didn’t like in response. But at the end of the day, I felt like I was in charge.

Convince us why you feel your book is a must read.

Every so often a book enters into a genre that is of the genre but doesn’t follow the rules exactly. This is that book. Maybe you’ll find it frustrating, but the readers who want to try something a little different may just find this a perfect match for them.

Have you written any other books that are not published?

About ten or so. Three from my misspent youth. Several recently, but a few of those will eventually be published.

If your book had a candle, what scent would it be?

I’m allergic to strong scents. LOL. But I imagine with Kay doing so much painting and furniture repair it would smell like sawdust and milk paint.

What did you edit out of this book?

About 30k words. Hahaha. The first draft was nearly the size of an epic fantasy. I had to drop several subplots and dial back some of the background characters. Did it hurt? Yeah. Is it a faster, better read now? Absolutely. Will I overwrite my next novel like that again? Probably. I guess I didn’t learn enough after all. 

The biggest subplot that got sacrificed was about a male character who was also crushing on the main hero but couldn’t confess it because the said character has to hide the fact he’s gay because of small-town and old men at auction prejudices. It had to go for multiple reasons, but I will reward him with his own book down the line.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?

I have been blessed with the opportunity to pick a few brains of my real-life hero’s for advice after meeting them at conferences. I can say with certainty that there are few, more rewarding things, then having a hero be as cool in person as they seem in their writing.

Fun Fact?

Fact (not sure how fun it is): I chose my Pen name based on its androgynous nature. I researched the top hundred names shared by both boys and girls and picked Jordan and Riley out of them. I did this because I knew I’d be writing in both romance and fantasy and wanted the reader to associate my gender with whatever preconceived gender they assigned to the genre. Besides, I doubt too many people would buy a romance novel with the name Bernie on the cover. I mean, that does make me sound like I’m a Jewish sex machine, but might not be the best sales tactic for sweet romance…

About the Book

The Heart’s Bidding by Jordan Riley Swan 

Genre: Clean Contemporary Romance 

Published: September 7, 2020

304 pages

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Kaylee Heart would rather run through a roaring fire than endure even a minute of public speaking. Put in an eighty-hour workweek? No problem. Shut down her grandfather’s gold-digging girlfriend? Easy peasy. Stand in front of an auction crowd and call for bids? Show her the exit.

So she has no idea how Gerald, the golden-voiced auctioneer she’s been crushing on at the local auction house, can find the courage to stand on stage every week, with all those eyes on him. But as cruel fate would have it, she is about to find out.

Her family antique shop, the Vintage at Heart, has tripped over one financial hurdle too many and Kay is propelled, full speed, into her biggest phobia—the spotlight.

With terror chasing her, she’ll have to fight to keep the family business from closing forever. Even if the battle takes place in front of a live crowd.

About the Author


Jordan Riley Swan is a wild word hunter living in the far and dangerous reaches of rural Ohio. He spends his nights tracking down big-game stories, capturing them in paper cages, and training them to be better tales.

The Heart’s Bidding was the first novel he’d dared to use the keys of his typewriter to release back into the wild.

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