‘You’re Not A Goth Until You Sack Rome’ by Jeffery Cook and Kathleen Perkins

As unpleasant as the experiences may be, it is often when experiencing persecution or encountering conflict that people make surprising discoveries about themselves.

That is absolutely the case for Rae Schwarz when she discovers that there is much more to her life than homework, preparing for Halloween and avoiding the school bully. What ensues is a story of resilience, friendship, loyalty, discovering new talents and looking beyond the surface to recognise what is hidden underneath.

This story is refreshing and original, written with a very comfortable style and personal tone that makes it very relatable and highly engaging. The characters are interesting and varied, each complementing the others in ways that are not immediately obvious to the reader at the outset, and demonstrating the it is entirely possible to be ordinary and extraordinary at the same time. 

A book laden with positive messages and values, ‘You’re Not A Goth Until You Sack Rome’ demonstrates a profound acceptance of differences and individuality and encourages the reader to recognise their own unique combinations of personality, ability and talent, and to learn to see others in the same way. 

This is a most enjoyable and entertaining story, written for a YA audience but suitable and appealing for all ages. 

Author Interview: Nicole Coverdale

Welcome to my author interview with Nicole Coverdale, author of paranormal and urban fantasy novels.

Welcome, Nicole. It’s great to have you here.

Thanks, Book Squirrel!

What inspired you to write?

Writing is something I have always loved to do. Growing up, you could always find me with my nose stuck in a book and I was in awe of those who could bring such amazing things to life, just with words and I just knew that’s what I wanted to do. In English class, I loved everything about it, grammar, writing, sentence structure, etc and one day I decided I was going to write a story and I did. It was childish, something I would never share with anyone, but it was special to me and eventually writing became like a therapy to me. Growing up in a house of divorced parents, and being the middle child of three daughters I needed some way to get my emotions out, especially since I was very quiet and shy. Writing gave that to me.

What are you working on writing now?

Right now I am working on the 5th book in my The Wiccan Way series. A series about magic, and a group of sister witches who are struggling with their destiny. This book, titled Bound by Magic follows the sisters as they search for an ancient sapphire that has been scattered throughout the world, before the demons get to it first. 

Do you have a favourite food or drink that helps you write?

I like to snack. Peanuts tend to be my go-to, and I do like a glass of wine to help calm my thoughts.

Who designs your book covers?

I follow a lot of different designers, many who have created covers for my books. Kristyn from Drop Dead Designs, Tara from Fantasia Frog Designs, and Michele from Captivating Covers and Plots just to name a few. They’re amazing, and so easy to work with. I’m lucky to have found them.

What’s your favourite kind of music?

I love my 80’s rock music, or hair bands as some may call them. Poison, Motley Crue, Def Leopard, Aerosmith, etc. I haven’t been able to find a music genre that moves me as much as the hair bands do.

Forest, country, beach or city?

Country! There’s just something so soothing and calming about the country. Being with your own thoughts, and of course, getting to watch the wild life. There’s nothing quite like it.

What’s your favourite TV show?

I have two. For comedy and good laughs, I love watching  Brooklyn 99. I could binge that show a hundred times and never get sick of it! For drama, Grey’s Anatomy. I’ve watched it since the beginning, and love how much it’s grown. Plus it’s been on for so long, I just can’t not watch it!

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Honestly, I wanted to be so many things! I wanted to be a teacher, a lawyer, a doctor, even a cop, and finally, yes, an author. But you know the cool thing about being an author? You get to put yourself in so many different character’s shoes that I get the chance to be every one of those. With a little help from some research, of course.

What’s your favourite season? Why?

I love the fall. The colors of the leaves changing is one of my favorite things to watch, plus it means football season is here and I love watching football!

What’s your favourite quote, ever?

I’ve always loved the quote, “when one door closes, another opens.” It just always helped me remember that whatever life throws at you, there’s always more. And even in the face of our darkest days, there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel, and good things will come. But sometimes you do have to be patient for it to come.

What would you like people to know about being an Indie author?

That it’s not easy. While I love  getting the chance to do what I love, write and share it with so many readers, being an Indie author is tough! You not only have to find the time to write and set strict guidelines for yourself, you also have to make sure you find a good editor, a good cover designer, get the book’s interior formatted, not to mention knowing where and how to promote your work. It can get exhausting! But it is so worth it as well.

Where can readers find your books?

My books are on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Where can readers follow you on social media?

I’m on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Thanks for chatting with me today, Nicole!

Thank you for having me, it has been fun. Bye for now!

New Release: ‘Kennedy Awakens’ by Greg Alldredge

‘Kennedy Awakens’ is Book 1 of the brand new Boston: An Urban Fantasy Series by Greg Alldredge. 

If you love books where magical and earthly realities merge in dangerous and exciting ways, you won’t want to miss this. 

Magic and Fae are real…
… Most times Kennedy wished they weren’t.

327 years is a long time for any person to keep the peace, but doing it in the body of a child is beyond the pale.

Light, Dark, Outcasts, the Fae come in many flavors, and each family syndicate pursues a different agenda.

She didn’t even want to consider the Authority and the agents ready to crack heads to keep the secret world under wraps.

If you love Urban Fantasy where spell slingers fight to keep humanity safe, you’ll adore where this tale takes you.

Book Review: ‘The Pursuit of Trust’ by Sarah B. Meadows

‘The Pursuit of Trust’ is Book 2 in the author’s Discovering Kia paranormal/urban fantasy series. 

Following on directly from where ‘In Pursuit Of Light’ left off, this book continues to explore questions about not only Kia, but also the individual pasts and stories of the men who have become her protectors, Once again, these men share the role of narrator, but it is also significant that Kia has more agency in this book and communicates her thoughts and feelings through more than gesture and action. 

Kia is still a mysterious character, although the reader definitely feels as though they grow to know her better throughout the second book. Answers to the questions about her nature and abilities remain elusive, however, which is also true of her companions.  

It is interesting that this book is titled ’The Pursuit of Trust’ because the lack of trust, and the inability of the central characters to have absolute confidence in one another, are central drivers of the storyline. In fact, the only character who has any implicit trust in anyone is Kia herself, thanks to her innate ability to know the truth and integrity of one’s character.  The different characters’ insights through their narration of parts of the story is a key means of exploring notions of trust and distrust, and the associated experiences of loyalty, jealousy and resentment that either nourish or poison the feelings of each character toward the others. 

This is an intriguing story that moves at a good pace, with a satisfying balance between action, suspense and development.

While the book finishes with the very strong sense that there is more of the story to come, it also provides a brief glimpse into one of the characters’ former lives, of which he has no memory, and which raises as many questions as it provides insights. This adds further mystery and complexity to the story, and increases the reader’s desire to read on and discover the truths that underpin the nature and personality of each of the central characters. 

New Release: ‘The Next Phase Outcasts 2’ by J.S. Frankel

The Next Phase: Outcasts 2 is the sequel to J.S. Frankel’s YA urban fantasy novel Outcasts. The same characters return in another adventure in which they must fight for their lives.

If Frankel’s previous novels are anything to go by, readers can expect a great story full of action, suspense, danger, and surprise. 

Mitch Kessler, gargoyle, is back, along with his girlfriend, Callie, a former gender shifter, his best friend, Joe Chambers, a spinning top, and Neil, their rock-man sometime ally. 

Mitch and Joe help the police force of Independence, Oregon, fight crime, but their efforts go totally unreported by everyone. While that bothers Mitch, what bothers him more is his best friend’s rapid aging. Joe is dying, and no one seems to know how to stop it.

Except one person—Harmon Carson, an army general. Carson promises Mitch, Neil, and Joe, a cure for their condition, contingent on them finding a renegade scientist who carries the secret with him. The four volunteer, but soon find out that Carson has his own agenda going on—and it is not a friendly one.

With time running out, Mitch has to find the scientist who may be able to help them, assist another mutant called Niles, rescue his girlfriend, and fight the hordes of the unholy that Carson calls forth. Once again, the Outcasts are the underdogs, and only time will tell if they can prevail.

Outcasts is available on Amazon or via the Devine Destinies website.

Book Review: ‘In Pursuit of Light’ by Sarah B Meadows

‘In Pursuit Of Light’ focuses on the experiences of a close-knit group of men, a ‘band of brothers’ so to speak, each of whom is gifted with some form of special ability. These characters share the role of narrator, giving the reader intimate insights into the events of the story but also into each one’s thoughts, emotions and reactions. 

Kia is a most mysterious character, who hooks the reader first with her vulnerability and then with her independence. The author makes fascinating use of  the narrative device in that the reader gets to know Kia through the perspectives of the narrators rather than through her own experience and point of view. 

The story combines elements of paranormal and urban fantasy, with strong post-apocalyptic overtones which come partly from  the settings and world-building, and partly from the activities and behaviour off the men. While their actual occupation is really only hinted at, the reader does feel as though they are involved in some sort of resistance or paramilitary activity in a world that has survived an undefined but significant trauma.  

The writing is powerful, telling a compelling story and making use of some almost poetic imagery at times. However, it is also true that the book as a whole would also benefit from more thorough editing to remove errors that, while individually minor, frustrate the reader as they accumulate.  

This is an interesting and often suspenseful story. It does end with a cliffhanger designed to motivate readers to advance to the second book, but the story has sufficient resolution to give the reader a sense of having been provided answers to at least some of the residual questions posed by the story and its underlying premise. 

There is adult content in this book, so it’s recommended for readers aged 18+ only.

‘In Pursuit Of Light’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here

Book Review: ‘Inspector Hobbes and the Blood’ by Wilkie Martin

The first book in Wilkie Martin’s ‘Inspector Hobbes’ mystery series, this is a highly original contribution to the genre. It is at different times suspenseful, macabre, darkly humorous, and quirky, while maintaining a well-developed and interesting mystery storyline. 

The cast of characters is delightful, made up of mismatched and very different personalities that one might not expect to get along with one another at all, and yet they are oddly complementary. In that sense, there is much in this book that challenges the ways in which people often perceive others based on looks, occupation or social status.  Inspector Hobbes is an enigma: beneath the intimidating exterior and generally gruff presentation lies a good heart and a very literal sense of humour. Still, he is clearly not your everyday local police inspector, and the questions about his past and his otherworldly nature are both puzzling and captivating. That many of these questions remain unanswered is a point of continued intrigue that holds strong appeal for the natural curiosity that is common among readers of mystery novels. 

Similarly, Mrs Goodfellow is both kind and terrifying at the same time, providing yet another contrast to Andy, whose trademark quality is his mediocrity: he wants to be ‘more’ than he is but never quite manages it. It is his profound sense of disappointment in his unrealised dreams and his helplessness when the events of life conspire against him that make him relatable to readers and have them silently hoping for better things for him. When he falls in with Hobbes and discovers life beyond his less-than-stellar career in journalism, the unlikely friendship between the two provides a frequent source of both amusement and fascination.

The oddities of the characters and the macabre elements of the story add further layers of mystery and curiosity to the story, which is well-developed and proceeds at a good pace. Unlike some other mysteries, there is nothing predictable or formulaic about this book. 

A most enjoyable dark urban fantasy mystery story, Inspector Hobbes and the Blood has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Find your copy here