Book Review: The Big Score By Og Maciel

The Big Score By Og Maciel

A Young Adult Action/Adventure Novel published by Og Maciel (10/12/21)

First reviewed through Reedsy Discovery as an ARC


Kate won’t let being new in town stop her from trying to fit in as soon as possible. She joins the local underground car emblem stealing contest to prove herself worthy but tensions are high as rivals Torres and Abby are tied with a few more emblems to go to win the race. One big score could determine the King or Queen of the emblems.


Car Emblem, High School, Competition, Stealing, Friendship, Thieves, New in Town, Skateboarding

My Review:

Maciel has a clean and efficient writing style that is easy and fun to read. This particular book proceeds immediately to the main plot and intrigue of the story. The book is on the shorter side, which didn’t leave much room for subplot development or deviation from the main plot. The core idea of this book, a contest where teens steal car emblems was fresh and interesting.

The characters are in high school and they act like they are teenagers, but the length of the story and the simple aspect of the plot, the stereotypically bad guy villain, and lessons learned make it seem like it’s intended for a younger audience. It’s as if this is a book written for middle schoolers wanting to read about kids older than themselves.

Kate is agonizingly outgoing. She is all in for excitement. She participates in a talent contest the day after she arrives in a new town. As an introvert myself, I wish I was more like Kate. To me, she seems fearless.

I love how we get the range of communication types of the teens. Kate has been taught by her software QA mother how to have an open dialogue and communication using communication techniques. While Abby is so blinded by her emotional reaction to something that happened last year that she won’t even talk to the person she’s upset with about it.

The big showdown climax was super exciting and the last chapter “Closing Time” reminded me of the way movies end with some text on the screen saying what happened to the characters after the movie ended. In general, this book, full of action and dialogue between the characters reminded me of a teenage TV drama show or PG movie that is interesting enough to watch as a teenager or adult.

If you enjoy over-the-top teen action movies or books, you will get a kick out of this fast YA read.

This novel was published by Og Maciel on 10/12/2021 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.25

Links for more information:

Og Maciel’s Website

Book Review: Highland Games (Kinloch Series, #1) by Evie Alexander

Highland Games (Kinloch Series, #1) by Evie Alexander

A Comedic Romance Novel published by Emlin Press (10/15/21)


“Zoe had never seen such perfection before. He was made by mountains, forged by fire, washed by oceans and blessed by the gods.” (Kindle Edition, 31%).

Zoe suddenly inherits a cabin in the woods near a small town in the Scottish Highlands when her great-Uncle dies. Without hesitation, Zoe leaves behind her safe life as an accountant in London as soon as her lease is up. Her childhood summer with her Great Uncle was the greatest, happiest time of her life. But the cabin isn’t the same as it was back then. It’s in less habitable shape than she remembered, with no electricity, water, and no toilet. Not to be deterred, Zoe won’t let anything or anyone get in her way of fixing it up. Rory thought the cabin would be his and his plans to fix it up before the end of the year come to a halt when he finds a surprise city woman claiming it as her own. What can he do to get her to leave?


British Humor, Comedy, Romance, Scotland, Castle, Earl, Sex Scenes, Steamy, Renovation, Cabin, Family, Enemies-to-Lovers, happy Ending, Dual POV

My Review:

I love books where the heroine is out of place, new, and facing a big project when she unintentionally meets the love interest in a surprising meet-cute. The odds are stacked against her succeeding and problems seem to crop up right and left (along with the handsome hunk). Highland Games really delivers exceptionally on some tried and true rom-com tropes such as Fantasy Location, Monetary Leaps of Faith, Kindly Townspeople, Shirtless Hero, Almost Losing it All, and the Central Project is a Metaphor for Their Love. This book reminded me of the Netflix movie rom-com Falling Inn Love. It’s a steamy feel-good casual beach read.

The romantic element is what makes this book so good, especially the slow buildup of the enemies-to-lovers romance that makes the eventual romance so very satisfying. After at least half the book waiting in suspense for the first kiss, the first touch, you will be rewarded with quite a few steamy sex scenes. These scenes were well written and held my attention throughout (I’m known to skim through sex scenes).

The author has the romance beat structure down solid and the pacing is excellent. Every scene was satisfying from beginning to end. The climax felt real and well integrated into the plot of the story and the ending was very satisfying.

I loved all the characters. They were all so well written. The main characters, Zoe and Rory, seemed like such amazing people, but still relatable as humans. I couldn’t get enough of both Rory’s POV and Zoe’s POV and I really enjoyed the switching POV between Rory and Zoe as they each told their side of the story. The way Zoe describes Rory, especially at first, is hilarious.

Both Zoe and Rory have a purpose outside of the slowly building romance. They each also had their own backstory that made them very compelling. I really liked how both main characters were completely independent people and didn’t need the other to complete themselves, which made their love even more compelling.

This novel was published by Emlin Press on 10/15/2021 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.00

Author Bio:

Evie Alexander is the author of sexy romantic comedies with a very British sense of humor. She takes a method-approach to her work, believing her capacity to repeatedly fail at life and love is what has given her such a rich supply of material for her writing.

Her interests include reading, eating, saving the world, and fantasizing about people who only exist between the pages of her books. She lives in the West Country with her family.

Links for more information:

Book Review: Sex & Sours (The Cocktail Series Book 2) by Dani McLean

Sex & Sours (The Cocktail Series Book 2) by Dani McLean

A Romance Novel published by Set the Mood Publishing (10/05/21)

First reviewed through Reedsy Discovery


“I learned three important lessons in that time; learn the recipe but always cook from the heart; always say f*** you with a smile, and there was nothing more impressive than someone with a kind soul.” (Kindle Edition 19%).

Tiff has been the head bartender for years. She basically runs the place. That is, until owner Henry hands over the keys and the reigns to his older brother Sam. Sam has a lot to prove after losing control of his own business back in New York. When it comes to making decisions, Sam is in total control, but he’ll have to get Tiff on board and she is definitely not a yes-person! Will their bickering be the end of the bar or will they be able to work together to save what they both love?


Steamy, Sex, Romance, Cocktails, Drinking, Best Friends, Dual POV, Overworked, Relationship, Acceptance, Owner, Head Bartender, Boundaries, Communication, Boss/Employee Relationship

My Review:

All throughout the first book Love & Rum, I was entranced by Tiff. She is one of those larger-than-life people that makes me yearn for my own best friend just like her. She is one of a kind, honest, true to herself, beautiful, and talented. She also has her own set of unique flaws and backstories. As an introvert, I’m in love with Tiff and her charm. I don’t want to just have a best friend like her, I also want to be her. I want to be confident in who I am, hardworking, and clever. I can also relate to Tiff and her problems, some of them growing out of her flaws and some of the outcomes of her reactions to the situations she’s thrust into. She can be a hothead, speaking her mind, even when she knows there will be blowback and I love her for this.

I absolutely love how the author is able to show bisexuality through Tiff, her relationships, and her thoughts about those relationships. As someone much closer to the heterosexual end of the spectrum, the way the author cleverly wrote about Tiff and her romantic relationships really helped me empathize. I will never truly understand or be able to sympathize because my own experience will also be lacking. Through powerfully written characters like Tiff, I can put myself in her shoes and begin to appreciate the difficulties, triumphs, stresses, and prejudices a bi person may face. That’s why characters like Tiff and books like Sex & Sours are so important.

Sam has his own distinctive personality (and POV chapters) but is sometimes overshadowed by the force of nature that is Tiff. He has his own set of flaws and is a fully fleshed-out lead interest which I very much appreciated.

The world of The Cocktail Series continues with the characters Jackson and Audrey from book one but doesn’t much advance their story as this second book is all about Tiff and Sam and their journey.

The style of this book two in the series is true to the tone set in book one Love & Rum. This romantic comedy will appeal to most romance readers who enjoy dual POV, lots of steamy sex scenes, and a happy ending.

I can’t wait to read the next novel by this author and/or in this series. Not only did I feel like I learned something, but it was also a very enjoyable book to read.

This novel was published by Set theMood Publishing on 10/05/2021 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.00

Links for more information:


Dani McLean’s Website

Book Review: Miss Cast and the Headhamster (Miss Cast! Book 1) by LJ Pickles


Miss Cast and the Headhamster (Miss Cast! Book 1) by LJ Pickles

A Middle-Grade Fantasy Novel Independently published (05/25/21)

First reviewed through Reedsy Discovery as an ARC


“I didn’t need a crystal ball to know that having a witch as a teacher could spell trouble for my innocent classmates” (Page 27).

There’s something odd about Gareth’s new schoolteacher but none of the other children seem to notice. Miss Cast must be a witch! Maybe Gareth can use this knowledge to his advantage unless Miss Cast accidentally or on purpose does something that can’t be reversed. Like, turn all the children into frogs!


Middle Grade, Humor, Sword & Sorcery, Fantasy, Witches, Class, Learning, Frogs, Magic, Spell, Revenge, Lessons, Transformation

My Review:

The tone of this middle-grade children’s book is light and humorous. The writing style reminds me of Roald Dahl or the Wayside School children’s books by Louis Sachar. Even after twenty years, I remember the delightfully funny humor of Dahl and Sachar, even if I’ve forgotten the books themselves. Miss Cast and the Headhamster will definitely leave an impression on the reader. Even the title is amusing if you look closely.

The very first chapter ends with some very exciting action and you won’t want to put the book down. The pacing kept me hooked, even though the beginning half was dialogue-heavy. Miss Cast talks a lot! She doesn’t know much about teaching, schools, or kids. She’s a witch in disguise but Gareth can’t be spelled. The way she talks will catch you off guard. Miss Cast says the funniest things in the funniest of ways. She doesn’t talk much like an adult – more like she’s a grown-up child – which is rather hilarious when you picture her as a pointy chinned, green-skinned, and warty witch with a bat in her hair and a wand up her sleeve.

If this was a book you were reading to your class or your own kid, you would be just as amused as your young one. Adult readers will be fascinated by the way the adults in the book continuously insult children as if it’s normal, calling them “squashed face” and “know-it-all” as if this story was written by a kid. The children in the book don’t seem to notice these insults. Gareth is much too preoccupied and obsessed with having been cheated by Brian in the egg-and-spoon race. He brings it up again and again!

I think it’s fun that Miss Cast, being over three hundred years old, is the witch in all the fairy tales – the wicked witch in Snow White and the wicked witch in Hansel and Gretel and the wicked witch in Ariel to name all the stories Miss Cast told during class.

My favorite parts were the turns of phrases like “brain of a hashed brown.” (Page 53) sprinkled throughout the book which really gave the book a whimsical and imaginative quality.

I loved the cute illustrations here and there throughout the book.

This novel was Independently published on 05/25/2021 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.75

Links for more information:


2021 Q3 Spending and Goals Progress

After moving in June I’m finally building up a new list of local cat-sitting clients. I’m settling in at my dance studio. I’m applying to all the usability studies possible. I’m no longer saving much money – but I’m still investing every month. I finished two challenges in September – reading and reviewing books as well as celebrating the National Day Calendar through Instagram.

2021 Goals Progress Update:

Goals for 2021

Q3 progress

Notes and Q4

Take floorwork advanced series

Not on the calendar for 2021

Keep checking the schedule

12 chin-ups

8 chin-ups

5 pull-ups

Started doing 3x2x1 sets 3 times per day and varying types of pullups

Look into different types of training. Get advice from a professional?

1 handed pullup

Take that Dad!

Tried once and just swung in a circle – will research technique

Freestanding Handstand

Took 1 handstand (arm balancing) class at Ascendance

Schedule 1 handstand focused class

 Donut making class  Only online  Continue to check back for classes
 Mochi making class  Didn’t see any  I could try this via an online tutorial…

Handspring Ayesha

Took 2-hour workshop with Divine – learned good techniques

Schedule my 1-1 private as handspring, pullup technique, etc for 60 minutes

1000 lifetime ebike miles

390 miles in 2020

63 miles in Q1, 133 miles in Q2, 64.2 miles in Q3

July – 2.6

August – 39.8

September – 21.8

Bike at least 4 times this quarter (winter is coming!)

Take 500-lifetime pole classes

April – 463

May – 469

June – 475

July – 480

August – 483

September – 490

October – 4

November – 4

December – 4

Learn to walk in pole heels

I own a pair. 

Take 2 classes in Q4 – Ascendance offers basic heels fundamentals

Floor Limbo?

Saw this at the Pokemon party

Research technique and bodily ability requirements

Take goat/bunny yoga class

No classes on schedule yet – table until the spring/summer

Still interested and will keep checking

Pole Expo/Convention

No local in-person events yet

 Possible Divine retreat summer 2022 (figure out budgeting)

Corgi Con 2022

Postponed until 2022

Sad but the scheduling seems to conflict with other events

Build up $10k in my emergency fund


Automatic savings of $250/month – need 8 more months unless having an influx of extra cash.

Make $5000 side hustle funds

~$3428 so far

I can asily make $500 in December for holiday animal sitting. Reduce goal to more manageable $4000 for the year?

Career development – MDR training, RAPS2022

Watched some online webinars

RAPS 2022 is in Arizona 9/10 – 9/13 – in the budget? Value add?

In other news…

Painted Pokemon specific rocks

Put together R2-D2 and an At-At Lego model

Said goodbye to this cutie we boarded over the summer!

Went to downtown Seattle for Pokemon Go Fest

Harvested some giant cucumbers from the garden

Made it to the last level I’ll probably ever attain in Pokemon Go

Bought a second-hand stage pole for home practice (yay virtual classes and conditioning)

Crashed a cake tasting (I was invited) like I’ve always wanted to

Harvested multiple handfuls of tomatoes (there’s still green ones on the vine today)

I’ve been taking Lyra classes with my new studio Ascendance and I absolutely love them!

Joined in the fun at a Pokemon picnic party

What are your goals and how are you meeting them?

Book Review: Love, Comment, Subscribe (Ponto Beach Reunion #1) by Cathy Yardley

Love, Comment, Subscribe (Ponto Beach Reunion #1) by Cathy Yardley

A Romance published by Brilliance Audio (10/01/21)


Lily always wanted to be popular. Even as an adult with a mildly successful beauty Youtube channel, the impressionable rejection by two members of the in-crowd in high school is still on her mind. She’s still proving to herself and to them in her mind that she’s made it. Her agent; however, thinks she’s hit a plateau and unless she can reach a milestone of five million subscribers, she won’t have the success of her own makeup line.

Tobin has always been part of the Nerd Herd and now capitalizes on that as part of his Gaming Youtube channel. Lately, though, he’s felt burnt out and he’s been having a hard time thinking of exciting new content. He’s just tired.

Can Tobin and Lily, after years apart, team up for some video collaborations or are they too different? Even though their current goals align – make good content, they have entirely different styles and will clash at every turn. But the internet thinks they have insane chemistry. When will the two of them realize they really do compliment each other?


Influencer, In-Crowd, Pressures, Videos, Youtube, Gamer, Beauty Influencer, Collab, Romance, Friendship, Popular Crowd, Contemporary, Swearing

My Review:

I love Cathy Yardley romances. I love how very contemporary they are. This book, especially, is very much contemporary as it deals with influencers on social media. I also love a good enemies-to-lovers romance trope, even though this book isn’t entirely an enemies-to-lovers cliche. What I love most about a well-written enemies-to-lovers book is how slow the buildup of the romance is, how much time it takes for the main characters to get over their prejudices against each other and ever so slowly fall in love (and oftentimes don’t realize they’re falling for each other until they have to finally admit that they are in love).

For anyone fixated on social media or interested in the day-to-day life of an influencer, this book will satisfy that craving. I like to learn something when reading casually and enjoyed the influencer-heavy descriptions and explanations and focused scenes in this book. For some, it might be overwhelming, but I really liked this theme.

The two main characters, Lily and Tobin, were relatable and likable. I loved getting to know them through each others’ eyes. Both are on the outside of popularity growing up and break into their own niche popularity through their social media accounts as adults. I, too, was part of a fringe clique in high school and related very much to Lily and Tobin’s experience in high school. It was interesting and heartbreaking to get Lily’s perspective as she experienced rejection as both a teenager and an adult.

This novel was published by Brilliance Audio on 10/01/2021 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.0

Links for more information:


Cathy Yardley’s Website

Book Review: Pip and Kitten and the End of the World by David Congreave

Pip and Kitten and the End of the World by David Congreave

A Middle Grade Dystopia Novel published by David Congreave (09/15/21)

First reviewed through Reedsy Discovery as an ARC


Pip has never even been to the grocery store himself but when every other person suddenly vanishes he’ll have to figure out which direction the supermarket is along with solving a host of other new problems. At least he isn’t completely alone. His pet cat, Kitten, and all the other animals have survived this potentially global apocalypse. Pip loves this new freedom to eat what he wants and read all day, but when the water stops running and the lights don’t turn on anymore, he’ll have to figure out how to survive in this new world.


Dystopia, Middle Grade, Alone, Reading, Scavenging, Learning, Cat, Survival, 8-year-old, Humorous

My Review:

What I enjoyed above all else in this delightfully cheeky middle-grade novel was the tone. Though the subject matter could have been dark, foreboding, or scary the author approaches the story through a humorous lens. This humorous style was very similar to that of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I noticed some other delightful similarities between the two – very different – novels. Both are humorous and fun. They are both quick reads. Some of the dialogue will catch you off guard with its wittiness. Both feature the main hero and his unique sidekick. For Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the main characters are Arthur and the android Marvin. In Pip and Kitten and the End of the World, the only characters are Pip and his protective cat Kitten. The POV is written from a third-person point of view from that of a narrator. This ultimately makes these two books much funnier. The most obvious similarity between the two sci-fi novels is that the plot centers around the destruction of Earth and/or its inhabitants.

What makes Pip and Kitten and the End of the World unique is that the sole survivor of this global apocalypse is an 8-year-old boy (who has very little understanding of electricity or other everyday necessities/luxuries). Pip has never been to the grocery store himself – let alone built a fire or used a weapon. The stakes are huge for Pip even if he doesn’t realize them at first. If he gets hurt, there’s no one to drive him to the doctor. There is no doctor! Pip has to teach himself everything needed to survive. He even needs to learn what he needs to survive, which makes this such a great book. I would probably not be as helpless as Pip in this situation, but if the internet wasn’t available I’m not sure I’d be able to figure out electricity either. Pip is very relatable in that aspect. He is also caring and conscientious. He is the perfect underdog to rally around. Each time disaster strikes, I was anxious about Pip and whether he was going to make it!

The pacing was excellent in this book. The balance between action and moments of reflection and learning was great. I really appreciated the elevated language and think this characteristic makes the book appealing to all ages. For young readers, they can grow their vocabulary with the seamless use of more challenging vocabulary words. For older readers, the writing style was absorbing and paired with the humorous tone and third-person writing style, a fast and fun read.

This novel was published by David Congreave on 09/15/2021 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.00

Links for more information:


Book Review: An Affair to Dismember (Matchmaker Mysteries, #1) by Elise Sax

An Affair to Dismember (Matchmaker Mysteries, #1) by Elise Sax

A Cozy Mystery Novel published by 13 Lakes Publishing (01/16/17)


Gladie Burger, granddaughter to small-town Cannes’ matchmaking extraordinaire Zelda, usually don’t stay in the same place or do the same job for that long. It’s been three months since she moved back in with her grandmother and she’s been floundering. Can she take over the Burger matchmaking business, especially as a single person herself with a terrible record in the romance department? A series of odd incidents and murders will sweep Gladie up in the drama and she can’t seem to keep her nose out of trouble. She seems to have more knack for detective work than matchmaking, even though the local police chief and her hunky new neighbor have their sights set on her.


Mystery, Psychic Suspense, Relationships, Humor, Murder, Nosy, Neighbor, Blondes, Family, Drama, Matchmaking, Cozy Mystery, Contemporary

My Review:

This book was as odd as Gladie. As a person, she acts very counter to an actual human in many circumstances. This makes her more unbelievable as a person, but also more intriguing to read about. What will she do and how will she react next?! I wanted to like Gladie but I couldn’t quite relate to her or her hijinks. Hot guys fall into her lap easily, and all of a sudden, even though she’s been in town for three months straight. She keeps talking about how she wears sweats and has gained weight since all she seems to eat is junk food with her grandma and yet both the police chief and the hunky neighbor of mysterious origins and employment can’t resist her. What is her pull if they don’t know her and see this comedic woman around town? Even Gladie can’t believe all the attraction she’s getting.

It wasn’t just Gladie that was an over-the-top character. The police chief, the hot neighbor, Zelda, every single member of the family across the street, and then some all are larger-than-life characters. It’s fascinating to watch such loud personality characters for pure entertainment. Don’t try to get more than entertainment out of this cozy mystery or you will be disappointed. This stupidly funny book won’t make you smarter, but it will amuse you for a few hours.

I loved the short and to-the-point matchmaking advice from Grandma Zelda at the beginning of each chapter, tailored as if written directly to Gladie on the page.

This novel was published by 13 Lakes Publishing on 01/16/2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.00

Links for more information:


Elise Sax’s Website

Book Review: A Court of Honey and Ash (The Honey and Ice Series Book 1) by Kelly St. Clare and Shannon Mayer

A Court of Honey and Ash (The Honey and Ice Series Book 1) by Kelly St. Clare and Shannon Mayer

A Fantasy Novel published by Hijinks Ink Publishing (07/06/21)



“Pride and iron. Both destructive to the fae in ways I knew all too well.” (51% Kindle edition).

Alli is half-human and half-fae. She is an outcast in the fae society and grew up in the orphanage after her human mother died. She won’t let the prejudices of the fae keep her from training to be one of the best fighters so she can place highly in the fae society. She is on an upward trajectory in life, overcoming the circumstances of her birth, when the ancestral home of the fae disappears and she’s the one being blamed. She has no choice but to flee. The only way to clear her name is to find out what really happened to Underhill.


Fantasy, Metaphysical, New Adult, Folklore, Fairy, Fae, Alaska, Friendship, Romance, Fighting, Power, King and Queen, Realm, Magic

My Review:

I almost put this book down in the first few chapters. It was written like the middle of a book, a movie’s musical montage of a hero’s final test. I really, really wanted more intriguing sensory details and character building in these first few chapters. Because the narrative moved so fast, I didn’t feel like I really connected with Allie, nor did I understand or empathize with her. The author tells me that Allie is somewhat of a loner, an outcast in society, but she has some very loyal friends – a best friend even. Allie is supposed to be an underdog, someone to root for, someone with a lot to overcome and prove to her society but she didn’t feel like much of an underdog. She has amazing fighting skills, great friends, and the fae/humans who aren’t prejudiced immediately like and help her. I didn’t feel much of a connection to Allie.

I didn’t like how Cinth was described every time she appeared. The sexualization/overly physical descriptions were disconcerting. Most of the physical descriptions were concentrated on her chest. Cinth seemed like a simplified character and I wanted more personality and background on her. I wanted more character building in general from this novel.

The way the plot is revealed slowly as Allie tries to figure out what happened to Underhill and the mystery behind all the secrets of the fae kept me reading until the end. The hint of romance was the most intriguing part of the book. I think my favorite character was Drake. He seemed like he had the most interesting backstory and I really, really enjoyed every scene with him and Allie.

I really liked the plot twist that connects Alli to Underhill and thought this twist was very creative and gave the plot a deeper level of fascination.

This novel was published by Hijinks Ink Publishing on 7/6/2021 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 3.75


Links for more information:

Kelly St. Clare’s Website

Shannon Mayer’s Website



Book Review: The Marionettes (The Marionettes #1) by Katie Wismer

The Marionettes (The Marionettes #1) by Katie Wismer

An Urban Fantasy Novel published by Ahimsa Press (08/17/21)


“Kirby scowls, then shoots a loving glance at the pink cowboy boots shoved in the back of my closet. She gifted them to me forever ago, and they haven’t seen the dark of night since.” (page 83).

Valerie is one of a long and dwindling family line of blood witches. At her academy, it’s almost time for the initiation test into the league that protects the vampires, except she can’t seem to muster her magic or the energy to keep up. What secrets and truths will she uncover while trying to survive the trials of the initiation into the Marionettes?


Urban Fantasy, Vampires, Witches, Paranormal, Romance, Sacrifice, Blood, Attack, Mystery, Friendship, Family, Love

My Review:

It’s difficult to impress me with an urban fantasy novel. The Marionettes, a quick read by one of my favorite YA authors, more than impressed me. I couldn’t put this book down. My favorite part about the book was the tone of the world-building and the writing style. Even down to the word choice and phrasing, the tone was uniquely presenting a Halloween-esque vibe. The world in The Marionettes is so clear and unique and interesting. The editing was superb, with no unnecessary fluff. I had to read every word. This is the type of book I would read again, just to notice the clever wording that I missed the first time around because I was so enchanted by the plot and taken by the characters. The author has taken such care with this book in almost all aspects – the words, the plot, the characters, the scenes, the world-building. I’m impressed by the level of detail that the author uses to create the world of The Marionettes.

It’s almost disturbing, the naturalness of blood and cutting to this world and to the main character. It is a part of her life and so natural and the author has so cleverly built up this world but yet it’s still chilling to read about it and the normalcy of blood witches.

The book is short – at just over 200 pages, but it’s not just the length of the novel that makes it such a quick read. The author weaves in mystery and intrigue in every scene. There are so many surprises and secrets. I had no idea where this book and the plot were going, and I couldn’t stop until I had all the answers. Except, the book ends on a cliffhanger that is more than just a cliffhanger. I don’t feel like there’s enough ending and I wish this wasn’t a two-part series. I think it would have been better to have one long 400-page novel than to break it into two parts and leave the first book without a fulfilling ending that felt much too abrupt to be complete. Perhaps when book two is available and you can read them in sequence with no stopping, it won’t feel as jarring. For such a satisfyingly written book, I was disappointed with the route the author took for the cliffhanger ending in book one.

This novel was published by Ahimsa Press 08/17/21 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.25

Links for more information:

Katie Wismer’s Website