1st Quarter Wrap-Up | 2020

1st Quarter Wrap-Up | 2020

Happy New Year! Plus, three months. To be honest, I have been in a reading slump lately. It’s not for lack of reading material, I just can’t seem to get in the mood. I’m sure you can relate.

So, this quarter I only read two books. I’m happy to have read anything at all. There was also a DNF, which happens.

Twenty-One Truths About Love book cover

Twenty-one Truths About Love by Matthew Dicks

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I really loved this book. It was different and cute and kept my attention. I’ve never read a book that was only written in lists, but it worked here.


Stop Missing Your Life book cover

Stop Missing Your Life by Cory Muscara

DNF

I like the author’s intent with this, but I couldn’t connect. The author speaks beyond meditation and mindfulness to help readers find fulfillment. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get into it or connect with the writing and that’s important with this type of read.


We Met in December book cover

We Met in December by Rosie Curtis

Rating: 3 out of 5.

It’s a cute book and easy to read. I just didn’t feel that it offered anything special and added new elements. However, I think most romance readers will enjoy this.

Thank you NetGalley for providing digital copies of these books in exchange for an honest review.

4th Quarter Wrap-Up | 2019

4th Quarter Wrap-Up | 2019

I took it easy the last few months of this year. It was hard to fit in time to read among all the holiday festivities. Apparently I was in a romance and peaceful living mood.

Seeking slow book cover

Seeking Slow by Melanie Barnes

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Seeking Slow is a small book and easily read in one day, but don’t let the size fool you. This book is beautifully crafted and provides useful information. It is well organized and I liked that each section had takeaways and main points to focus on. The content provides a lot to think about and the images are stunning.


The Body Painter book cover

The Body Painter (Master of Trickery Duet #1) by Pepper Winters

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I have mixed feelings about this novel. This is definitely more in the realm of dark romance. I find it hard to like the lead male. There are also plenty of moments that make me dislike the female lead as well. The relationship is push-pull and at times (especially at the beginning) was very repetitive and little depth was given to the relationship. I found myself losing interest in the middle, but then the story really picked up after that. I enjoyed the premise for this book and I wanted to see how this story would end, which happens to be with a big cliff hanger! Overall, I like the direction of the plot and very interested in how the next book will finish out, but I find it difficult to root for this couple. Honestly, they should go separate ways.

Also, be warned there is abuse, violence, and rape in this novel – so if that can be a trigger you may not want to read this one.


Twice in a Blue Moon book cover

Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This was a cute romance novel but didn’t create a lasting impression. The story kept my attention, but I would have liked to see a bit more character development. Maybe more focus on the present story than the past.


Find Your Glow, Feed Your Soul book cover

Find Your Glow, Feed Your Soul by Emily Silva

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This book was beautifully crafted and a wonderful read. I thought it had plenty of helpful ideas and will go through it multiple times.

Thank you NetGalley for providing digital copies of these books in exchange for an honest review.

3rd Quarter Wrap-Up | 2019

3rd Quarter Wrap-Up | 2019

We’re into the second half of the year and I’m happy to be on track with my reading goals. Here’s a quick overview of what I read this quarter.

In at the Deep End book cover

In at the Deep End by Kate Davies

Rating: 2 out of 5.

I wanted to like this book, but I didn’t. The idea of someone exploring and finding their sexuality is a great book premise. There were some great moments at the beginning and I felt that that tone should have lasted throughout. The main characters is very likable and relatable. However, I don’t understand the point of the extreme/abusive relationship that evolves. Having extreme relationships is very common in erotic novels, but honestly it is getting boring. What was the point? What did the character learn from the experience? I don’t want shock value, I want substance and I don’t think this novel delivered that.


Wilder Girls book cover

Wilder Girls by Rory Power

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This novel wasn’t what I thought it would be. I was very surprised by the story and journey of the characters. This novel is beautifully written and very descriptive. Reluctant readers may have a hard time getting into this book, but it is well worth the read.


Normal People book cover

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A sweet and interesting book about relationships. It was easy to relate to this novel from both of the character’s perspectives. I also liked the realistic ending.


The Grace Year book cover

The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The cover of this novel caught my attention. It is beautiful. Then I read the synopsis and know I had to read it. Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was a fast read and kept my attention throughout. I think this novel will be very popular when it come out. I like the premise of feminine bonding and strength. The middle section of the novel through me for a bit and almost feels out of place. I am still reflecting on the importance of the romance as part of the overall story. Some of the pacing seemed off and several times months were skipped, when I wanted nothing more to read about what occurred in those times. I hope there will be a follow-up to this novel. Although it could work as a standalone piece, I’m very interested in seeing how the relationships grow and the societal shifts that are sure to come.


Saturday Night Ghost Club book cover

The Saturday Night Ghost Club by Craig Davidson

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This was an interesting read. The main character is a brain surgeon and each chapter uses a story based on his surgery experience that has a mirrored theme with the events that occurred when he was twelve. I found this book to be beautifully written and loved the themes that arose. The ending wasn’t a surprise, but I don’t think it was meant to be, there were strong hints throughout the novel. I loved the depth of each character and their differing personalities. Very well written, but short. I wanted a little more.


Uncommon Paper Flowers book cover

Uncommon Paper Flowers by Kate Alarcon

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I thought the tutorials in this book were easy to follow and the flowers included were interesting. I appreciated that this didn’t just reuse the same types of plants found in every other craft book.

Thank you NetGalley for providing digital copies of these books in exchange for an honest review.

2nd Quarter Wrap-Up | 2019

2nd Quarter Wrap-Up | 2019

Can you believe it has been three months? Time is flying by. This quarter I read 6 books all of which were eARCs. I also had two DNFs.

Sewing Shirts book cover

Sewing Shirts with a Perfect Fit by David Page Coffin

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I was looking for a book about this and it delivered. As someone who is learning, this was a tremendous help. Informative and easy to follow, I would highly recommend.


Brave Not Perfect book cover

Brave, Not Perfect: Fear Less, Fail More, and Live Bolder by Reshma Saujani

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This book was amazing and inspirational! I keep recommending it to everyone I talk to. The author makes a lot of good intellectual points that will make you look at gender social cues and breaking down barriers. Would love to see more like it.


30-Day Money Cleanse book cover

The 30-Day Money Cleanse by Ashley Feinstein Gerstley

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Not exactly what I thought it would be. It has some useful information and could be more beneficial to young adults or those who really know nothing about money.


The Minimalist Home book cover

The Minimalist Home by Joshua Becker

Rating: 2 out of 5.

I am very interested in minimalism and have read several books on the subject. Unfortunately, I could not get into this book. I didn’t like the tone and felt that it wasn’t organized very well. I’m actually a bit disappointed.


Namaste the Hard Way book cover

Namaste the Hard Way by Sasha Brown-Worsham

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This was a beautiful story. I was much invested and could not put the book down. What I love is that you don’t have to be a yogi to appreciate the overall message.


The Immmortalists book cover

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

DNF

I really tried, but just couldn’t get into the book. I love the description and found the premise interesting, but I guess it wasn’t for me.


Slay Like a Mother book cover

Slay Like a Mother by Katherine Wintsch

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I loved this book. It was exactly what I needed for a bit of self-reflection and motivation. The book was well paced and I enjoyed the voice used. It was also nice to have activities spread throughout. I would recommend to any parent out there.


The French Girl book cover

The French Girl by Lexie Elliott

DNF

I tried to get into this a couple of times, but I couldn’t get past the first few chapters. It just wasn’t for me. However, I did find the description intriguing.


Don't keep your day job book cover

Don’t Keep Your Day Job by Cathy Heller

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I was not familiar with the Don’t Keep Your Day Job podcast prior to reading this book. I have listened to a few episodes since. Listeners of the podcast will be familiar with the tone and structure of each chapter. It is very similar to the way episodes are formatted. Heller uses a very conversational tone and often talks about her journey as a music writer, consultant, and motivator. Some of the information is redundant, especially if you’re a listener. That being said, I enjoyed the book and thought that it had an uplifting and motivational tone. It was nice to hear about the successes of the author, as well as others her listeners and interviewees. I like that each chapter provided key takeaways and that there were reflective exercises. Whether or not you have listened to the podcast, I think you would get something out of this book.


Thank you NetGalley for providing digital copies of these books in exchange for an honest review.

4th Quarter Wrap-Up | 2018

4th Quarter Wrap-Up | 2018

This quarter I challenged myself to read books I normally wouldn’t. I’ve been in a comfort zone and want to be sure to try new authors and genres. There were some surprisingly good reads in this group.

1,000 books to read book cover

1,000 Books to Read Before You Die by James Mustich

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This is a great book for any reader and those who might need guidance. It is simple to follow and has a ton of great reads included. This is a straightforward book with descriptions for each novel suggested. The author really knows his stuff.


the library book book cover

The Library Book by Susan Orlean

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Orlean masterfully weaves the events of the Los Angeles Public Library Fire in 1986 with her own feelings and recollections of libraries. This is a great book for library lovers and historical enthusiasts. It really brings to light the community role libraries play and their evolution in time. This book was hard to put down and was entertaining and informative.


dear heartbreak book cover

Dear Heartbreak by Heather Demetrios

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Dear Heartbreak contains letters written by teens to Heartbreak and are answered by various authors. The letters cover a variety of topics all within the individual’s feelings toward heartbreak and interpretations of situations. Some letters (and responses) are lengthy, while other cut straight to the point. Everyone has dealt with heartbreak and this book showed how humans respond to it. I love that the letters come from teens of different ages that have experienced different situations. I also appreciated the diverse tone and responses throughout.

Although targeted at teens, I feel that this book could be useful (and definitely appealing) to adults as well. As an adult, I could remember my experiences that matched what these current teens were writing about. It was equally fascinating to understand the author responses and their aged reflective and introspective wisdom.

This book was diverse, raw, and honest. Thank you for that.


a messy, beautiful life book cover

A Messy, Beautiful Life by Sara Jade Allen

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I really enjoyed this book. It was smart and funny and sad. This book had everything you’d expect from a good young adult romance, but also included deeper elements and tackled the hard issues.


7 laws of enough book cover

The 7 Laws of Enough by Gina LaRoche

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I really wanted to like this book, I just couldn’t connect with it. For books on this topic, it is important to feel like the author is talking to you personally. I appreciate the message and believe this book can be helpful for others, unfortunately it just wasn’t for me.


creating things that matter book cover

Creating Things that Matter by David Edwards

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I thought this was an interesting book with a lot of thoughtful information and musings. However, I didn’t find it to be an easy read and feel like that might deter readers.


Thank you NetGalley for providing digital copies of these books in exchange for an honest review.

3rd Quarter Wrap-Up | 2018

3rd Quarter Wrap-Up | 2018

This quarter, I read nonfiction. I have a good mix of self-help and creativity. This was an interesting mix of books and I learned a lot from them. Some I liked so much, I ended up purchasing a print copy.

Hand Made book cover

Hand Made by Melissa K. Norris

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I really enjoyed this book. Norris seamlessly share recipes and connects to life experiences. I found it interesting and connected with the stories.


Make Art Every Day book cover

Make Art Every Day by Katie Vernon

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I love the idea of bullet journals, but don’t always have time to fill it out. That’s why this planner is perfect. Not only does it already include boxes for daily entries, but it is informative and provides ideas for doodles and other creative activities. I love the colors and the stickers are so cute.


Give a Sh*t book cover

Give a Sh*t by Ashlee Piper

Rating: 3 out of 5.

When I became interested in this title, I thought it would have more exposition. Instead, it was not a memoir and really only included lists. That is not what I wanted from this book and felt that the information was the same as other books on this subject. The information provided was good, I just think I was disappointed in the lack of personality.


Handmade Houseplants book cover

Handmade Houseplants by Corie Beth Hogg

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Creating paper plants is one of my favorite crafts, so I was excited to see this book. One thing that separates this from others, is that it focuses on greenery, instead of flowers. There aren’t a lot of books out there that cover this aspect. I found the crafts to be fairly simple and easy for beginners to create. I also loved the detailed instructions and tips.


Natural Dyeing with Plants book cover

Natural Dyeing with Plants by Franziska Ebner & Romana Hasenöhrl

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This was a beautiful book and perfect for any level of natural dyers. Mostly focusing on wool, the concepts could be applied to most types of textile. I love the variety of plants introduced and colors.


Decluttering at the Speed of Life book cover

Decluttering at the Speed of Life by Dana K. White

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I don’t have a lot to say about this book. It offers insight and techniques to declutter your home, but I really didn’t get anything extra. I feel like I have heard this information before.


Thank you NetGalley for providing digital copies of these books in exchange for an honest review.

4th Quarter Wrap-Up | 2017

4th Quarter Wrap-Up | 2017

As usual, most of my reads were romance. I’m finding this to be my go-to genre now. It is nice to escape and explore situations I probably won’t find myself in. Overall I was satisfied with these novels and I was able to fit in a fairy tale retelling, which I always look forward to.

The Billionaires book cover

The Billionaires (Lover’s Triangle #1) by Calista Fox

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This novel was an interesting read. I enjoyed it and felt that the plot moved along at a nice pace. I feel that some character development is lacking and the end game was quite predictable. However, I appreciated the family twist and backstory to give an added element. Also, you don’t read about trio relationships very often. Thanks for the good read!


Ensnared book cover

Ensnared by Rita Stradling

Rating: 2 out of 5.

I enjoyed the premise of the book – a futuristic retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I thought the concept and main plot were very interesting, however I feel that additional editing could improve the book overall. I wish there was more backstory about the “beast.” He is an interesting character and I felt that divulging more into the past could give more insight towards that character. It could also be a good way for Alainn to relate on a personal level. There were chapters that felt unnecessary, such as chapter 13. It introduces Alainn’s ski friend, but focuses on him checking out another ski patrol member. This chapter focuses on a non-essential character and has zero plot relevance. I have found instances like this happen on numerous occasions. The ending felt rushed. I would like to hear more about Rose’s motives and the impact this situation on society. Also, does no one want to help Mr. Garbhan overcome his illness, especially if children will be involved? I believe this novel has potential, but it just isn’t there yet. I hope you will continue to edit and revise before the December publication date.


The Bad Boy's Girl book cover

The Bad Boy’s Girl (The Bad Boy’s Girl #1) by Blair Holden

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I mostly enjoyed this novel. The story has a lot of potential. I felt that the characters could have been built upon a bit more. The author hints at the main character having an eating disorder and then the problem just disappears. This is highly unlikely and I would have appreciated more insight or solution. I also wanted to learn more about Cole’s backstory. There is a lot about him that feels hidden. Overall, this story kept my interest, but feel that it could benefit from some edition and rewrites.


Superhero Sewing book cover

Superhero Sewing by Lane Huerta

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This was a cute project book. If you have kids and want to create for them, this is a great book to use/start with. The patterns were easy to follow and there were varying degrees of difficulty.


Blood and Ink book cover

Blood and Ink by Stephen Davies

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I enjoyed this novel. I like the complexity of the characters and appreciated a background setting usually not used. It was nice to see Muslim representation. This novel also mixed real life events with fiction.


Thank you NetGalley for providing digital copies of these books in exchange for an honest review.

Spotlight | Tattooed Angels by Valerie Willis

Genre: Paranormal Urban Fantasy


Rebirth (Tattooed Angels Book 1)

High school life is almost over, but Hotan’s life as an immortal has only just started…

Already struggling with a mountain of hardships, Hotan is just trying to get his diploma as his mother had always insisted. Friends know if he’s not at home or at the club playing in his band, you can always find him thinking of the old broken-down church. Basking in the moonlight, Hotan finds himself under attack by an immortal named Geliah, the element of Fear. Talib, the element of Judgment, interrupts the fight, furious that Geliah would force Hotan to awaken his own abilities and immortality. Normally when pulled out of the reincarnation spell, an immortal would remember who and what they were, but he is not the Hotan from the Past. Walk beside him as he struggles to keep his chaotic life in order as he tries to break the secrets of his own element, Rebirth.

Goodreads | Amazon | Facebook


Judgment (Tattooed Angels Book 2)

Coming Soon…


Talib and Hotan find themselves facing off with the element of Death, Iapetos. Failing to take him out, Talib’s life starts flashing before him. As he experiences thousands of years, things that were once forgotten begin to emerge. Will he find the answer in his past in time to aid Hotan?


About the Author

Valerie Willis, a sixth generation Floridian, launched her first book, Cedric the Demonic Knight, at the start of 2014 on Amazon.com. Since then, she has launched the second book to The Cedric Series, Romasanta: Father of Werewolves (2015), with several installments to come in this high rated Fantasy Romance Series. She pulls in a melting pot of mythology, folklores, history and more into her work with a remarkable amount of foreshadowing that makes reading her books a second time exciting. Also she recently published Rebirth the first book in her Teen Urban Fantasy, the Tattooed Angels Trilogy. Currently on the table to be completed is book two for the Tattooed Angels Trilogy, Judgment and book three in The Cedric Series, The Oracle.

Website | Amazon | Smashwords | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Enthrall Secrets by Vanessa Fewings | Review

Enthrall Secrets Book Cover
Enthrall Secrets Enthrall Sessions (Book 7) Fiction, Erotica Audiobook 6 hours and 57 minutes

ENTHRALL SECRETS tells the long-awaited story of Scarlet Winters, the infamous, fiery dominatrix from the exclusive Los Angeles BDSM club Enthrall.

The Obsession of the Forbidden.

The promise of salvation.

That was his offer. If I surrendered completely. I’d be rewarded with nothing less than my very own salvation.

And I needed it. Quite simply, I was drowning until billionaire Danton Belfort swept me up into his world.

His unmatched reputation for mastering submissives was legendary. His methods cruel, yet beautiful. Commanding, yet delicate. He was willing to do whatever it took to reach beyond my veil of pain and ensure a transformation that would render me reborn as the most dazzling of dominatrixes.

If the process didn’t obliterate me.

All I had to do was survive. Survive him. Survive myself.

Audible | Amazon | iTunes | Goodreads


Review

This novel was really two stories in once. We follow Scarlet in the past and present through two different relationships with Danton and Ethan. It was interesting that Fewings uses the conflicts of one character to connect with the past of another. Both are instant love connections, but intimacy appears genuine.

Although this novel was about a dominatrix, I found the erotic scenes to be quite tame. This novel was about Scarlet’s personal life with a sprinkle of her profession. Based on the description (which, completely leaves out Ethan), I was expecting more intense sequences. I’m not disappointed with what was produced, I just thought it would be more.

I enjoyed Hart’s sultry voice as the narrator, however, I found the narration to be a bit robotic, especially at the beginning of the novel. I had a difficult time getting past this until I became absorbed in the story. Hart did create a character but they fell a bit flat.

Overall, an enjoyable romance which includes erotic scenes throughout. Enthrall Secrets is an easy read and fits nicely within the contemporary romance genre.


Meet the Author

Vanessa Fewings is the bestselling romance author of the highly acclaimed Enthrall Sessions.

Vanessa is also the author of The Stone Masters Vampire Series. Prior to publishing, Vanessa worked as a registered nurse and midwife. She holds a Masters Degree in Psychology. She has traveled extensively throughout the world and has lived in Germany, Hong Kong, and Cyprus.

Born and raised in England, Vanessa now proudly calls herself an American and resides in California with her husband.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Newsletter | Google+ | Pinterest | Instagram

 

I received a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

 

Blitz | The Limbo Tree by T.N. Suarez

The Limbo Tree book coverThe Limbo Tree
Author: T.N. Suarez
Publication date: October 10, 2016
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

Synopsis

An accident. A secret. The truth.

Something is wrong with Samantha McCallister. Her baby brother is dead, and she has only one memory of the accident: the canned version her parents impressed upon her. But piece by piece, Sam struggles to make sense of it.

Cast aside by her self-involved family, Sam seeks out a friendship with the next-door neighbor, Hazel, until Hazel inexplicably goes missing, leaving nothing but a note and a jar of jam.

Determined to uncover the truth about Hazel’s disappearance, Sam finds out more than she bargained for. Bizarre episodes and nightmares consume her, vicious and unstoppable.

Meanwhile, an adolescent muse moves into Hazel’s abandoned home. Sam is immediately drawn to him—discovering the beginnings of true love—when the unthinkable occurs. Sam is alienated to a world in which she no longer feels she belongs. Try as she might, Sam cannot escape these nightmares or the truth behind them—the truth that lies in the Limbo Tree.

Brilliantly crafted, shimmering with uncertainty, The Limbo Tree is as mystical as it is moving.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo


Excerpt

How did I get here so quickly? The moon cracked a smile over my shoulder as I stood in the entrance to Hazel’s grapevines. My bare feet imprinted the damp, cool ground below me as I watchfully made my way down the path. The night sky dimly lit the passage to her back steps.

The twisting greenery surrounding me tugged at my pajamas along the way. It was quiet—too quiet. The atmosphere was absent of any ambient background noise. Strange, I thought, making it to Hazel’s rickety stairs to her porch.

The house was dark.

I cautiously crept up to the screen door. With each step, the decayed wood argued, echoing in the silent night. I waited for a moment to make sure that no one heard me before opening the screen door to Hazel’s porch. The door let out a piercing groan, like the sound of a rusty swing. The penetrating noise dug deep into my eardrums. I instinctively clapped my hands over both ears, letting go. It slammed shut, reverberating in the floor below me.

I stood in the moonlit darkness listening, expecting to feel my heartbeat in every extremity, but I didn’t. I waited for someone to come and answer to the noise, but no one came.

Nobody’s home, I thought.

I ran across the rough decking to the house then lassoed my fingers around the iron handle of the double doors. Hazel’s necklace hung on the doorknob behind the screen. It’s here. As I propped it open to slyly snatch it, a stream of light presented from the door behind it, which creaked open, inviting me in once again.

“Hello?” I whispered.

The rest of the house was dark, except the glimmering light from Hazel’s pantry.

“Hello, anyone here?”

“Sssam…” the voice said, whispering in one ear.

“Who’s that?” I pressed my face against the open door, propping the other open.

“It’s me, Sam, come in.”

“Hazel?”

“Yes, Sam. It’s me.”

“Where are you? It doesn’t sound like you.”

“I’m down in the cellar,” she hollered, but the words were unclear.

“In the cellar?” I stepped into her kitchen, letting the screen door shut behind me.

“Yes, in the pantry,” she replied, sounding breathless, accompanied by the sounds of bottles clinking together.

“Why, why, are you down there?” I questioned, thinking about the reek that occupied it. How could she stand it down there?

“I’m taking the rest of my jam that I left behind,” Hazel echoed from beneath me. “Do you mind giving me a hand, dear?”

How could I say no?

The pantry door was partially opened. When I opened it the rest of the way, a wall of putrid vapor hit my nostrils. I folded my arm over my face, nearly dry-heaving. The gaping hole in the floor wafted its decaying air across my bare legs and feet, giving me the chills.

A ladder crept over the edge.

“Sam, no need to be scared. The ladder is safe.” I was sure Hazel saw my shadow dancing around the edge of the small room.

“I—I’m not.” I kept my arm over my face and nose and moved in closer to the unnerving gap in the floor. I peered down; a soft light glowed in the corner of the underground room and a single case of jam sat at the bottom of the stairs. I heard Hazel fumbling around in a corner that was out of view.

“I put a case on the floor. You can start with those.”

“Okay,” I answered—my enunciation hindered by my forearm. I released my arm, getting another whiff of the revolting fumes, gagging. My stomach knotted and released in quick successions. I quickly tossed my oversized T-shirt over my head, covering my lips and face. How could she not smell that? My hot breath bounced back at me as I tied the shirt tight behind my head. Having only a tank top and shorts on underneath, I could feel the moist frigid air encircling my nearly naked body and I shivered uncontrollably. The floorboards groaned as I leaned over to climb down the ladder.

“I’m coming down now.” I took my first step.

“Okay, dear.” Hazel’s voice ricocheted off the stone and clay wall, distorting it.

The flicker of candlelight bobbed around the room, casting strange shadows while I climbed to the bottom. My toes tingled as they pressed into the silty earth. A row of shelves, as old as time, stood crookedly next to a plank and stone wall. The wooden shelves were thick and jaggedly holding other antique items, dusted with a film of Mother Earth’s musty scent. A bucket candle sputtered its lonely light, illuminating only the corner where I stood. The rest of the room fell victim to darkness. A slight hissing noise slithered out of the shadows to greet me.

I whipped around. “Hazel?” I squinted into the dark.

“Come closer, dear. It’s been so long since I’ve seen you.”

Her honeyed voice sent a chill down to the marrow. My breath curled out in front of me toward the unknown.


Meet the Author

Chicago-born author Tania Nicole Suarez, best known as T.N. Suarez, does her best writing on her backyard patio, as well as at the charming coffee shop around the corner with free refills. When she isn’t glued to her laptop, she spends time with her magical family, binge-watches Netflix, paints with acrylics, and tries very hard not to be the worst tennis player in the burbs.

Tania began her writing career while working as an art director for an advertising agency. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Graphic Design and is an internationally published photographer. Her work has been featured in USA TODAY, Fox News, ABC News (Australia & New Zealand), New York Magazine, New York Post, Fuji Television Network (Tokyo, Japan), Asahi Television Network (Tokyo, Japan), EuroNews (Lyon, France), Huffington Post (Osaka, Japan), and Les Journal de Montréal (Montréal, Quebec, Canada).

Additionally, Tania is an active member of the Chicago Writers Association (CWA), Poetry Society of America (PSA), Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA).