CJDaley avatar CJDaley author

C. J. Daley lives in New York. He has written a full-length debut novel, as well as a full accompanying short story collection. BestGhost is his first sampler on the road to releasing the novel. He hopes this won’t be the last you hear from him!

https://linktr.ee/ConnorJDaley

Indie Ink Awards 2023 Judge




Stories

BestGhost: A Novelette

BestGhost: A Novelette by C. J. Daley

The world's best ghost hunters, the town's most haunted mansion, what could go wrong? A debut sample from the forthcoming Tales From Cemetery, this novelette is a FREE SAMPLE from the author's site! The Old Mayor’s Mansion sits just a few miles outside the town of Cemetery. When best friends Sean and Devon want to increase views on their ghost investigation channel, they know the mansion is the perfect spot to film. Armed with a slew of new equipment, the buddies set out to capture the paranormal hotspot that will make them famous—just maybe not in the way they were hoping.


Reviews

A Killer and A King

A Killer and A King by Tom Dumbrell

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: Did some research after reading
Cover: Matches the story well

This was so good!

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The Black Sun (Tales of Askalon #1)

The Black Sun (Tales of Askalon #1) by Sebastian P. Melang

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Engaging
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

While the opening is huge, the climax of the story is much more about the culmination of threads from earlier and the alleviation of the mystery, than any set of action beats. With that there is additional mystery, as well as room for so much more.

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Cutting Your Teeth

Cutting Your Teeth by Caylan MacRae

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Adequately represents the story

The ending had stakes, the emotional connect was well made, and the somewhat supernatural explosion at the end read as warranted. This is not a typical read for me, but boy did I enjoy it. It was refreshing and different.

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The Tickle Monster

The Tickle Monster by David Washburn

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Balanced
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Engaging
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

I really love horrors that take childhood fears/monsters and turn them into real, flesh and blood nightmares. My main gripe with this one (while small) is that it didn’t actually do that, not entirely.

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The Naughty Corner

The Naughty Corner by Mark Towse

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Balanced
Immersion: Satisfying, fulfilling experience
Emotional Response: Engaging
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Adequately represents the story

Personally a 4/5*, the first was definitely a favorite. But this is a great showcase of the author’s skills, as there are three very different stories on display.

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When the Devil

When the Devil by Emma E. Murray

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Adequately represents the story

This novelette is short, a little sweet, and kind of a lotta dark. A tale of abuse, both from a husband and grandfather, this story showcases some of the horror stories women face daily.

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Undead Samurai

Undead Samurai by Baptiste Pinson Wu

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: Did some research after reading
Cover: Matches the story well

I loved Wu’s obvious research and dedication to historical accuracy. Several of the characters even being real themselves.

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Someone Else’s Horror Story

Someone Else’s Horror Story by Rebecca Crunden

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: Did some research after reading
Cover: Adequately represents the story

This is a 26 page short story, and somehow it packed in a solid and unique plot! Although this isn’t for children, it did have kind of Goosebumps vibes to it! That could be because of its bite-sized format though, making it feel like a TV episode.

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Marshbank

Marshbank by Josh Hanson

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: Did some research after reading
Cover: Matches the story well
Content Warnings: Child kidnapping/death

This novelette is like a visual smorgasbord, with rich descriptions and heavily described characters and set pieces. One that stuck out to me the most was the witches favorite mug, something so simple, yet so effective.

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The Fall Is All There Is

The Fall Is All There Is by C.M. Caplan

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: Did some research after reading
Cover: Matches the story well

So let’s get the obvious out of the way. This is one of the most unique novels and genre blends I’ve ever read. It mixes science fiction aspects with a fantasy world, dialogue that feels more modern, and horror elements too.

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Head Like a Hole

Head Like a Hole by Andrew Van Wey

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Some more thought out than others
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

A story of mistrust, mistreatment, jealousy, and deceit, Head Like a Hole, is a powerhouse of revenge and regret.

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We Are the Origin (Wrath of the Gods Book 1)

We Are the Origin (Wrath of the Gods Book 1) by C.M. Lockhart

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Mostly clear
Characters: Some more thought out than others
Storytelling: Balanced
Immersion: Satisfying, fulfilling experience
Emotional Response: Engaging
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

This one features great representation as well. Black fantasy with lush character designs and cultures. Dreads and braids as well as great descriptors on the variety of skin tones really sells the world as diverse and rich.

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We’re All Monsters Here

We’re All Monsters Here by Amy Marsden

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Engaging
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

For me, I would say this is horror first, with its graphic violence and descriptions. And honestly this just read as really grounded for a huge chunk of it. Anna’s choices in dinner felt kind of like Dexter meets vampirism.

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The Choice of Weapons

The Choice of Weapons by Alex Valdiers

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Mostly clear
Characters: Some more thought out than others
Storytelling: Balanced
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Engaging
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Adequately represents the story

There is a setting with carriages that does feel very fantasy western, but with the samurai references, and katana fights, I feel like mentally I leaned more into that aspect.

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Your Blood and Bones

Your Blood and Bones by J. Patricia Anderson

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: Did some research after reading
Cover: Matches the story well

I believe this was a well done examination on the loss of hope, and what happens when those that have lost it see a spark of it returning. It is quite bleak, but there are glimpses of warmth and happiness that carry the reader through.

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From the Ashes

From the Ashes by B. S. H. Garcia

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: Did some research after reading
Cover: Matches the story well

This is the prequel to The Heart of Quinaria series, and in my opinion, it does operate quite well on its own. It’s a little sparse of descriptors, but it is very focused on the story it’s centering on, so it still works.

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Don’t Bloody the Black Flag (Malitu #0.5)

Don’t Bloody the Black Flag (Malitu #0.5) by James Lloyd Dulin

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: Did some research after reading
Cover: Matches the story well

I really appreciate the juxtaposition between Isála’s sort of idealized naivety and Rione’s steadfast jaded heart. Her brusque attitude is presented as knowing better, but she’s just haunted in a different way. Teshun was of course the perfect middle man as well, turning to humor

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Christmas Night of the Scurry Furry

Christmas Night of the Scurry Furry by E. Reyes

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Engaging
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

Great creature feature

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Blackcap

Blackcap by Benjamin Aeveryn

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: Did some research after reading
Cover: Matches the story well

I love that our detective’s journey involved researching mythology and folklore from the world’s past in the library. He is not naturally knowledgeable or gifted and winning without trials. He struggles with a penchant for sipping from his flask.

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A Christmas Truce

A Christmas Truce by Emma Bennet

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

I read approximately one romance a year, and only if they are Christmas based. Romance isn’t really my thing, but it’s the season of love, so I let it slide. I enjoy the cover art, so I grabbed a copy.

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Merry Fuckin’ Christmas: And Other Yuletide Shit

Merry Fuckin’ Christmas: And Other Yuletide Shit by Kevin J. Kennedy

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Mostly clear
Characters: Some more thought out than others
Storytelling: Balanced
Immersion: Satisfying, fulfilling experience
Emotional Response: Engaging
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Adequately represents the story

This is a gruesome and no holds barred collection. The author takes you through a murder-fueled nightmare and does not slow down for a second. As the blurb claims, this really is a multi-sub genre horror collection, with varying lengths that made it go by pretty easily.

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Death of a Christmas Tree Salesman

Death of a Christmas Tree Salesman by Patricia Meredith

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

I’m really not sure how, but this is somehow like a warm blanket, a cup of warm coco, and a hug. All while investigating murder. It’s cozy, and feels kind of safe even though it’s mysterious at the same time. It also didn’t read as ‘cozy’ in the kind of corny sense

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Dust and Deliverance

Dust and Deliverance by Benjamin DeHaan

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Mostly clear
Characters: Some more thought out than others
Storytelling: Balanced
Immersion: Satisfying, fulfilling experience
Emotional Response: Engaging
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well
Content Warnings: Drugs, drug abuse, violence

This examination of grief, the loss of a loved one, and the lack thereof that follows, were really the pieces that glued this together for me. The author’s grasp on human nature is showed off really well.

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Christmas Creepers: A Flash Fiction Horror Story Collection

Christmas Creepers: A Flash Fiction Horror Story Collection by Justin Schenker

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Mostly clear
Characters: Some more thought out than others
Storytelling: Balanced
Immersion: Satisfying, fulfilling experience
Emotional Response: Engaging
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

Found this amongst my kindle while putting together a folder of Christmas related reads and decided to give this a go as it fits the horror holiday kick I’m on.

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A Tricker-Treater Christmas

A Tricker-Treater Christmas by Briana Morgan

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Some more thought out than others
Storytelling: Balanced
Immersion: Satisfying, fulfilling experience
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Adequately represents the story

The Tricker-Treater as a character was terrifying and his description had me thinking of him speaking with a proper Englishman’s accent (that might just be the top hat) with a skeletal demonic visage.

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Candy Cain Kills

Candy Cain Kills by Brian McAuley

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Some more thought out than others
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Satisfying, fulfilling experience
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

A Christmas from the past has shocking repercussions on one in the future. The same house, two different families, one hell of a Christmas stay. I enjoyed that the story linked back to the Christian side of Christmas, as that is somewhat absent at times, and can be creepy

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Hanging On

Hanging On by Iseult Murphy

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Satisfying, fulfilling experience
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Adequately represents the story

This was a lot darker than I expected from the blurb to be honest. I expected a fast paced home invasion story, and instead I got a ghost story featuring kidnapping, infatuation, absolute control, and conditional love.

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I Found Christmas Lights Slithering Up My Street

I Found Christmas Lights Slithering Up My Street by Ben Farthing

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

As soon as I saw this cover, I immediately grabbed a copy and started reading it. Christmas horror is 100% my style this year.

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It Haunts the Mind and Other Stories

It Haunts the Mind and Other Stories by Nick Roberts

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

This collection features 15 short stories, some of which have been published elsewhere before, but were entirely new to me. One of the cool things about them being from other anthologies is that you are getting a slew of locales and types of horror in this single collection

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Santa Claus: The Beginning

Santa Claus: The Beginning by Terry Broxson

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Mostly clear
Characters: Some more thought out than others
Storytelling: Balanced
Immersion: Satisfying, fulfilling experience
Emotional Response: Engaging
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

This is a reimagining of the story of Santa Claus. It starts with an immigrant toy maker and his toy shop. He eventually adopts two orphans that have good carving skills, and makes them his apprentices. One of the children ends up being Santa.

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Mark’s Merry Mayhem

Mark’s Merry Mayhem by Mark Tufo

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Mostly clear
Characters: Some more thought out than others
Storytelling: Balanced
Immersion: Satisfying, fulfilling experience
Emotional Response: Engaging
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Adequately represents the story

The first story opens up with the author writing his family and home into a zombie apocalypse. As he is an apocalyptic writer, it makes sense, but I also thought it was a really cool idea too. They barricade themselves upstairs and fight to keep the hoard at bay.

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With a Blighted Touch

With a Blighted Touch by J. Todd Kingrea

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Mostly clear
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

The town of Black Rock was always referred to as cursed, but what if it actually was, genuinely? This is a horror novel that features a dark, ancient entity plaguing the town with disappearances, surprising deaths, and bad luck.

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The World-Maker Parable

The World-Maker Parable by Luke Tarzian

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Mostly clear
Characters: Some more thought out than others
Storytelling: Balanced
Immersion: Satisfying, fulfilling experience
Emotional Response: Engaging
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Adequately represents the story

Perhaps just not my style, writing taste, or the wrong story for me, as I actually highlighted quite a bit that I thought was fantastic. Quotes and odds and ends that hit me as profound. As I received this to review, it wasn’t an actual kindle version, so I couldn’t upload them

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KJK Presents: Vampires

KJK Presents: Vampires by Kevin J. Kennedy, Graham Masterton, Greg F. Gifune, Lee Mountford, Nick Roberts, Richard Chizmar, Michael Bray, Simon Clark

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Mostly clear
Characters: Some more thought out than others
Storytelling: Balanced
Immersion: Satisfying, fulfilling experience
Emotional Response: Engaging
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Adequately represents the story

This collection features a take on the vampire by each author listed above. Some are straight forward, while some of the others sought a new approach to the horror favorite. Perhaps it’s my fault, not only because of the cover, but I was expecting something gothic

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Blades of the Ice: Age of Rekindling: A Prequel

Blades of the Ice: Age of Rekindling: A Prequel by Luis Falcao De Magalhaes

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Some more thought out than others
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Engaging
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

This novella features a gritty fantasy world and focuses on a group of assassins. They moonlight as s*x workers, blacksmiths, medical stall workers, all with the aim of collecting information on their marks and raising a little funds.

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The Hunt of the Pumpkin King

The Hunt of the Pumpkin King by Rowena Andrews

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

I wish this had been available for my spooky season reads, but it was good nonetheless. This felt like it had the same vibe as Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge, while being entirely different. Maybe it’s just the pumpkin heads.

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The Revenge of Thousands

The Revenge of Thousands by Michael Roberti

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Engaging
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

It opens right into a very morally grey set of characters, and as with all wars, they are on both sides. I enjoyed all of the perspectives and the ways in which they were different. And the author definitely has a deft hand with written intrigue.

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Cthulhu's Car Park

Cthulhu's Car Park by D.S. Ritter

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Engaging
Thought Provoking: Did some research after reading
Cover: Matches the story well

This was an interesting mix of kind of slice-of-life styled mundane work and then urban fantasy-ish blended cosmic horror and action. A car park. Creepy lights and darkness. The car park workers. Discovering a cistern that’s slowly churning out multi-dimensional monsters.

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Blood For Coins

Blood For Coins by Cam Wolfe

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Mostly clear
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Balanced
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Engaging
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

This novella is a lot of fun. It’s quick with wit, humor, and a handful a really great characters. At first I went into this blind, so I was surprised by the blurb because the most notorious prison break is actually just the opening sequel, and quite short.

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The Exile

The Exile by Ryan Cahill

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

The author yet again does a fantastic job making a novella feel like a full length novel. Also again, there is amazing emotion, locations, and action, much like The Fall. From paragraph to paragraph your blood may be pumping, or your eyes may be tearing up

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Of Darkness and Light

Of Darkness and Light by Ryan Cahill

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

This sequel does a fantastic job of amping up everything that started in the first. It opens directly following the events of the first and continues straight through. There is next to no dull moments

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The Fall

The Fall by Ryan Cahill

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: Did some research after reading
Cover: Matches the story well

I think something this novella does really well is the perspectives. In this sense, it’s giving you the lives of four individuals during the fall of the dragon order. Therefore, it’s not 100 pages of lore and world building dump, it’s actually showing you through the people

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The Dragon’s Reign: Heart of the Depths

The Dragon’s Reign: Heart of the Depths by Tim Mullins

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

This is an action-packed, gut-punching novella. Written simply, but written well, and it’s one hell of a good ride! Also, even though it’s only 100 pages, the author somehow makes a crazy twist work???

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One Road In

One Road In by Hannah R. Palmer

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

I will say this is a very supernatural/paranormal mystery. Think of a ghost-like mystery. Parts of the ending made me think of the Fear Street Netflix trilogy. Hopefully that will narrow it down for you in terms of taste

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Embers We Struck

Embers We Struck by Jeremy Martin

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: Did some research after reading
Cover: Matches the story well

Gods, devils, demons, ferals. When the stakes are godly, what exactly can humans do? Do they even deserve to do something? To change? This sequel shows us some political intrigue, unbeatable violence and war, betrayal, paranoia, and pain. Perhaps a small sliver of hope?

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Foreign to You

Foreign to You by Jeremy Martin

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: Did some research after reading
Cover: Matches the story well

Honestly, I was sold on this novel in like the first five pages. Actually, the author and I had previously talked about how much I loved the watercolor-style cover art, so I was kind of sold on it before even starting it.

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The Visitor

The Visitor by Sergio Gomez

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Mostly clear
Characters: Some more thought out than others
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

This novella takes place during a terrible snowstorm on Christmas Day. What starts as a possible misfortune-to-celebration story turns dark before you know it. One of my favorite things about the story is the otherworldly scifi feel

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The Yellow Oak

The Yellow Oak by Victor Vahl

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Satisfying, fulfilling experience
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

The story starts out as what I thought would be a kind of monster jump-scare, discovery kind of novel. However it quickly turns into something different, worse. To me, one of the scariest kinds of horror is good psychological horror. Something that can get inside your head

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The Gatherings

The Gatherings by Jeremy Ray

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

What would you do if something that was meant to bring the world together, actually destroyed it? How would you cope, how would you survive? This is only a single persons tale of what they did, but now it’s time to GATHER.

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Petrified Women

Petrified Women by Jeremy Ray

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

This novella is very fast paced and adrenaline inducing. I was sucked in immediately and I honestly couldn’t put it down. I read it, in its entirety, while lying down in the dark in bed. Definitely spooky!

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The Exorcist’s House

The Exorcist’s House by Nick Roberts

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

The author does some cool references/Easter eggs. For the new family he kept saying the Hill’s house, which I took as a possible ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ nod. There’s also the obvious name for the exorcist, Merle Blatty, which is a nod to the author of ‘The Exorcist’ William

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Blanky

Blanky by Kealan Patrick Burke

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

I also enjoyed how the author gives us a supernatural/paranormal story, but with the stages of grief on display, the level of alcohol being consumed, and the character being in the bowels of despair, it could also be entirely imagined…maybe even personally caused? Enjoyable

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Sour Candy

Sour Candy by Kealan Patrick Burke

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Some more thought out than others
Storytelling: Balanced
Immersion: Satisfying, fulfilling experience
Emotional Response: Engaging
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

Phantom

Phantom by Helen Power

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Mostly clear
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: Did some research after reading
Cover: Matches the story well

Would you sell your hand for a million dollars? I have to be honest, I thought “it wouldn’t be that bad” more than once. You’d still have a hand to use! And you’d have $1,000,000! What could go wrong?

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The Ghosts of Thorwald Place

The Ghosts of Thorwald Place by Helen Power

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

Author does a great job subverting a lot of the expectations around paranormal activity—what a ghost can do, and can not do, may surprise you a lot. It is much more along the lines of someone normal trapped in the in between of life and death, than it is like a malignant spirit

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The Queen Protocol

The Queen Protocol by Gregory Benson

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: Did some research after reading
Cover: Matches the story well

This book definitely has a lot of the things I wanted from the first book in it. The pace is fast, the characters have better growth, the Tolagon-orb power is explained and shown more. We get new enemies, further explanations of the old ones, and new crisis

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Tolagon

Tolagon by Gregory Benson

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Some more thought out than others
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Engaging
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

The world building was on a grand scale, with both past and present mentioned, and even some in-world mythology gone into as well

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Legacy (Scion Book 1)

Legacy (Scion Book 1) by Jay Reace

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

I feel like this book had a lot of heart and it has the guts to be even expounded upon into a full novel if he wanted to. All of the preliminary work is there to be bulked up, but it also functioned well as an action packed novella just the same.

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Foundations

Foundations by Richard Holliday

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Engaging
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

This is a prequel novella to Nightmare Tenant, and although you could totally read it separately, I believe it’s best enjoyed together. Also, you can support and read for free by signing up for the author’s newsletter (which is how I got it)!

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Nightmare Tenant

Nightmare Tenant by Richard Holliday

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Engaging
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

What would you do if the place you called home turned against you, hostile? Wouldn’t let you leave? Wanted you to stay…forever?

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Price War

Price War by Richard Holliday

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: Did some research after reading
Cover: Matches the story well

The characters are believable, as are the relationships that intertwine between them all. Some dialogue was beyond me and my American brain, but that somehow read as especially authentic to me.

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Broken Wings and Buried Secrets: A Short Story Collection

Broken Wings and Buried Secrets: A Short Story Collection by Bethany Votaw

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: Did some research after reading
Cover: Matches the story well

This is 25 short stories. Some are a few hundred words, while others are a few thousand. The important thing here with each, is that they’re all good! A year or two ago I wasn’t really a fan of short stories, my complaint was usually that they were too short, but not these!

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Tracker

Tracker by Bethany Votaw

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Engaging
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

The tale that the author wove is a good one. It’s concise in its style, to the point and neat. Not that more length would have hurt it, but at 170 pages, there is nothing but suspense. Dark pasts and dark futures abound in this edge-of-your-seat adventure.

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Fauxville

Fauxville by D.K. Pike

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: Did some research after reading
Cover: Matches the story well

To me, this definitely felt like it was pulling from elsewhere out in the world, but not at all in the negative way. It is like a futuristic-Slaughterhouse-Five, with elements of Fight Club, Otherworld, Ready Player One, 1984, I, Robot. It touches upon all diff elements

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Elendil

Elendil by Andrea Rose Washington

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: Did some research after reading
Cover: Matches the story well

Elendil is a scifi/fantasy coming of age story. Along with some great Tolkien-inspired names, it’s unbelievably action packed and it has a lot of heart. As a first entry into a new world, it’s definitely short (I would gladly have read twice as much!) with an incredibly fast pace

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Legends of Andolin: Rising Tides

Legends of Andolin: Rising Tides by A.M. Portman

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: Did some research after reading
Cover: Matches the story well

Adella is a fierce main character that is still the bleeding heart of the story. Her actions have consequences that carry over into this second novel, and she processes them in real time. Some of the things she survives though have me feeling like she’s almost Lara Croft-level

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Legends of Andolin: Adella of the Campos

Legends of Andolin: Adella of the Campos by A.M. Portman

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

The author writes believable and enjoyable characters that had me following along and rooting for them (and their survival) the entire time. They are dynamic, with ups and downs, and every single one progresses as people throughout the story. A personal favorite for me was Arman

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When Stars Become Shadows

When Stars Become Shadows by Emmie Hamilton

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Engaging
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

This is a pirate-y based dark fantasy. The author does a good job of leading right off with a content warning, I’ve said before that I don’t see this very often, but I like it every time I see it. This novel goes pretty deeply into things, plus there is strong sexual content.

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Meshkwadoon

Meshkwadoon by Alex Tilley

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Balanced
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Engaging
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Adequately represents the story

This is a medium paced, stream-of-consciousness horror novel that focuses on a highly diverse set of Canadian characters in a folklore filled landscape. Each character is touched by what is going on in a different way, and yet they are all pulled together towards a similar end.

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The Invisible Tether

The Invisible Tether by JP McDonald

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: Did some research after reading
Cover: Matches the story well

In a perhaps near future world where cloning humans has not only become a possibility, but a truth, where would you go? What would you do? Beings that are as strong as us, smart as us, look just like us, probably won’t take lightly to being a lesser science experiment for long…

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The Cavern

The Cavern by Alister Hodge

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Engaging
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

Still, a good monster horror. The beast itself is described but left for your imagination for the most part which I appreciated. It’s creepy and dangerous, and the novel has some good gory beats.

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The Headsman

The Headsman by Christina Mîrzoi

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

This is a short story collection that is interwoven to tell a somewhat singular tale. The gloomy village is filled with people, all carrying their own secrets. The author weaves them so that we get the bigger picture through the eyes of each strange character

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Duckett & Dyer: St. Nicks For Hire

Duckett & Dyer: St. Nicks For Hire by G.M. Nair

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Mostly clear
Characters: Some more thought out than others
Storytelling: Balanced
Immersion: Satisfying, fulfilling experience
Emotional Response: Engaging
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

This was fun, unexpected, and absolutely unhinged. The story features a blizzard, amateur sleuths turned Santas-for-hire, a police sanctioned Santa Claus Killer investigation, the multiverse, oh, and THE Santa Claus. It’s like a holiday scifi mystery action explosion. And quick!

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Envoy

Envoy by Andr Moș

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Satisfying, fulfilling experience
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: Did some research after reading
Cover: Adequately represents the story

This book takes place in the future. It is a science fiction based novella, and as it’s the future, there have been many shifts in the countries of the world and the major powers. This leads to an incredible amount of new names, as well as many abbreviations. This felt authentic

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Scribbles and Scrawls: A Short Story Collection

Scribbles and Scrawls: A Short Story Collection by Bethany Votaw

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

I’m really impressed, especially with my struggle with short fiction, that the author was able to keep me hanging on with every page.

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The Long Lost War

The Long Lost War by Jeff Walker

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: Did some research after reading
Cover: Matches the story well

When wanting more is a death sentence, John might just find out that there really is more to life than what he’s been offered, but will he live to get it?

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Sleeping Celeste

Sleeping Celeste by Alana K. Drex

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: Did some research after reading
Cover: Matches the story well

This is a story of desire, loss, grief, guilt, obsession, and sacrifice. This was a bit bone chilling honestly. It’s short and to the point, but manages to be elegant and eerie at the same time? The writing is great and pulled me right in.

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Gold, Lock and Key

Gold, Lock and Key by E J Doble

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Engaging
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

The world is dark and gritty and I really enjoyed the set up, as it appears the mini-series will all take place within the confines of what the author has already created with this one.

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The Crescent Moon

The Crescent Moon by E J Doble

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: Did some research after reading
Cover: Matches the story well

I’ll be honest with you, if you’re not prepared for an emotional rollercoaster, this book is going to knock you on your ass. Actually, it will anyway, and it’s not really sorry.

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A Pale Box on the Distant Shore

A Pale Box on the Distant Shore by P.J. Nwosu

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Adequately represents the story

Gripping, horrifying, and strong throughout. I enjoyed every page. And I still have so many questions! I can’t wait to get into the novel next.

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Snow Merry Red

Snow Merry Red by Nadya Frank

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

This was an interesting take on a thriller. It features chapters with Zoya, which are third person, but also first person chapters as Viola tries to recall the night that she was taken. It mixes Catholic Christmas with Russian New Years/Christmas, which was cool

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The Naughty or Nice Clause

The Naughty or Nice Clause by Kate Callaghan

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

I requested this from NetGalley for a seasonal read, and because I saw that it was an indie release. As usual, I was not disappointed.

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The Yuletide Butcher

The Yuletide Butcher by Mike Duke

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Satisfying, fulfilling experience
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

I definitely think there was enough here to make a full length novel, but there’s nothing wrong with novellas. Short, easy to read, and devilish.

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The Faded Dragon

The Faded Dragon by Cameron Michaels

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: Did some research after reading
Cover: Matches the story well

One thing in particular that stuck out to me was the ending battle scenes. Each perspective gives it a wider scope, making the battles feel large, epic, and terrible. The largest of which gave me Pelennor Fields vibes with siege towers and mayhem.

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Out on a Limb

Out on a Limb by Luis Paredes

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Engaging
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

I found the general idea of this story to be a cool one. It was handled well with its magical shift in the world kind of à la The Witcher’s Continent (minus the previously fantasy world). It was unique and enjoyable with a distinct voice that felt very noir. Magical noir maybe?

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3

3 by T.P. Theyson

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: Did some research after reading
Cover: Matches the story well

This is a thriller novella with a strong concept and great execution of the plot twist. What I thought was an obvious twist actually wasn’t the twist at all, and that’s how you know it’s good. I didn’t see it coming and neither will you.

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Titan’s Nest

Titan’s Nest by T.D. Orel

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

This is a dragon rider novel that features an underdog, found family, academy-like training, and uneven odds. The characters are fleshed out and the world feels real. I particularly liked that the novel does not tell you which side is the “correct” one to root for.

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Stag

Stag by Lane Oliver

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: Did some research after reading
Cover: Adequately represents the story

Well written, and well executed, and also not without real horrors too. This is a quick read that is worth checking out and supporting.

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Divinity’s Twilight: Remnant

Divinity’s Twilight: Remnant by Christopher Russell

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: Did some research after reading
Cover: Matches the story well

To reference my comments from my review of book one, this book definitely delivers on character development. It does still take about another 400ish pages to get there, but it delivers in spades. Lots of it. The characters grow and groan in believable and rewarding changes.

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Divinity’s Twilight: Rebirth

Divinity’s Twilight: Rebirth by Christopher Russell

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: Did some research after reading
Cover: Matches the story well

This is one of the best fantasy and science fiction blends I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. The prologue starts with swords, shields, axes, and the remainder of the novel progresses further with firearms, ships, and futuristic technologies.

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The Worthy

The Worthy by Anna K Moss

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: Did some research after reading
Cover: Matches the story well

This novel is filled with political intrigue, maneuvering, betrayals, treachery, and backstabs. All of which is spread out within a crumbling society filled with rage-filled zombie-like soldiers and citizens

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Megalodon: Bloodbath

Megalodon: Bloodbath by Michael Cole

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Mostly clear
Characters: Some more thought out than others
Storytelling: Balanced
Immersion: Satisfying, fulfilling experience
Emotional Response: Engaging
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

I first came across these ocean horror books a while back, and I think my brother might actually have gotten this for me off my wishlist. I might not have shared this before, but I love shark stuff of any kind. So naturally that includes shark horrors. (Especially).

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Thresher

Thresher by Michael Cole

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Some more thought out than others
Storytelling: Balanced
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Engaging
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

This novel uses a bigeye thresher specifically, and I was really interested as to what the author was going to do, as they are not considered a threat to humans like whatsoever. They do however, get their name from their thresher (or scythe) like caudal fin

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Disseverment

Disseverment by Z.C. Krol

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

This is well written, and precise in its word choices. There is not a single piece of unnecessary content in this novella. It starts off quickly, setting the stage where the main character is in a good place. The kind of vibe that is just immediately eerie to me

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Bad Grains

Bad Grains by Susanne Schmidt

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Balanced
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

The 1st person POV of Jo is very authentic, reading as real in both age and personality. I loved the issues with making friends, having a mean brother, and reading as an escape. All things that we’ve dealt with on some level.

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Hotel Fen

Hotel Fen by Meri Benson, Marie Sinadjan

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Mostly clear
Characters: Some more thought out than others
Storytelling: Balanced
Immersion: Satisfying, fulfilling experience
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Adequately represents the story

This book meshes hotel horror with Norse mythology. It starts with Victor arriving at the hotel after receiving a free trip from a radio show he can’t seem to remember participating in.

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The Training Grounds: Mystery of the Immortals

The Training Grounds: Mystery of the Immortals by Jason Clark

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: Did some research after reading
Cover: Matches the story well

This book is honestly a wild ride. It’s long, but it doesn’t end up feeling long enough. It starts in a somewhat grounded fantasy world. There is magic, but it comes with the landscape of the world. Then however, it turns into a full on science fiction / fantasy mix

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Harvest Nights

Harvest Nights by Ahmed H. Alameen

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Mostly clear
Characters: Some more thought out than others
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Satisfying, fulfilling experience
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

This novel starts off at a pace that’s 100% right from the first sentence. At only 81 pages, this novella packs in horror, both bodily and monstrous, a masterful twist, action, and heart. It is both retelling the mythology for a new age, and also still tackling the race issues

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Arcranium

Arcranium by Mark Towse, Daemon Manx

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Some more thought out than others
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

With this being a novella, it reads like one giant climax. Going in and out of their stories is the only short reprieve, but each is high intensity from the get go. I absolutely loved this factor

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Nana

Nana by Mark Towse

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Engaging
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

This novella has virtually ruined my view of elderly people for the rest of my life, irrevocably. It is gross, gruesome, horrifying. The worse part being that my grandmother goes by Nana too. Now I’m not sure if I can ever view her the same…what has this world become.

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The Sun Prince

The Sun Prince by L. R. Schulz

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: Did some research after reading
Cover: Matches the story well

The climax is huge, the combat is written clearly and beautifully. Yet it’s gritty and horrifying as blood and guts tend to be. The illustrations peppered throughout give life to the words in the page, and each one is uniquely wonderful.

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Worse Than Dying

Worse Than Dying by Brett Van Valkenburg

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

To me, this novella is exactly what I loved about the early The Walking Dead, the anxiety of learning the world and understanding that it only takes one single zombie to end your life. That the more comfortable and adept you get, it still only takes one mistake, one slip up

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Jenni’s Boy

Jenni’s Boy by Lewis J. Lewin

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Adequately represents the story

To put it plainly, the ending of this book is f***ed. I just knew I was going to cry, and I did. It's so very worth reading.

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A Night at The King's Inn

A Night at The King's Inn by Alec Arbogast

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Mostly clear
Characters: Some more thought out than others
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Satisfying, fulfilling experience
Emotional Response: Engaging
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

This book is very elegantly written, with flowing prose, beautiful vocabulary, and wonderful imagery. It can be a shock to get into, because most books are not written in this style, but it’s very worth it!

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Awakening: The Commune’s Curse Book 1

Awakening: The Commune’s Curse Book 1 by Lucy A. McLaren

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

This journey originally started with me pretty much spamming the author’s page with likes because of how much I loved this cover. I was then very graciously offered an e-ARC, so how do you like them apples. Still love the cover, now I get to love the novel.

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A Sea of Cinders

A Sea of Cinders by Adam R. Bishop

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

The author sets up a world where humans and elves haven’t really ever been able to get along. The humans would much rather eradicate them instead. The elves, who are the more peaceful of the two, are still brutal warriors. I’ve been waiting for this kind of story

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The Soul's Aspect

The Soul's Aspect by Mark Holloway

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Adequately represents the story

This novel is like a more-adult version of a coming of age story, with all the typical nostalgia you’d want to feel from one. It still gives you new romance, and the prospect of love and growing up, but to me the heartbreak and death just rang as more real than some others.

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Starbinder: An Eye of Eternity Novella (The Eye of Eternity)

Starbinder: An Eye of Eternity Novella (The Eye of Eternity) by Mark Timmony

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Mostly clear
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

So per the author’s note at the back of this prequel novella, this story takes place approximately 2000 years before the events of book one. After seeing that I’m rather impressed at the author’s ability to write such a poised, concise story that has action, heart, emotion,

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Lipstick Covered Magnet

Lipstick Covered Magnet by Amber Herbert

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Adequately represents the story

This is a daring and heartfelt debut from an author that’s not afraid to share some of their past on the page. This is heartwarming, sickening, and not without hope all at once. Grow through what you go through, as a friend of mine likes to say, and this is definitely a testament

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Cold from the North

Cold from the North by D W Ross

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Mostly clear
Characters: Some more thought out than others
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Satisfying, fulfilling experience
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

This novel does a lot of exposition and dialogue throughout. The author does a good job with it though, because the characters are really important. The characters shine here.

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An Ocean of Others

An Ocean of Others by Joshua Scott Edwards

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: Did some research after reading
Cover: Matches the story well

First and foremost, I’m honestly just super impressed. The author’s writing is fantastic, his world is rich, the characters are believable and real, the pacing is perfect, and the action is top notch. Instead of just giving us his version of worlds we’ve seen before

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Of Blood and Fire

Of Blood and Fire by Ryan Cahill

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Mostly clear
Characters: Some more thought out than others
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Satisfying, fulfilling experience
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

I have seen this all over bookstagram of course, and many of my friends have sent it to me as a phenomenal indie. After giving the audible audio a sample, I decided to go with it, and Derek Perkins did a good job with it.

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Bonds of Chaos

Bonds of Chaos by Zack Argyle

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: Did some research after reading
Cover: Matches the story well

Firstly, this book is brilliant, and a wonderful conclusion to the trilogy. If you remember or check out my review of book two, I said the author had amped up the action, dialogue, and emotion…well he’s done so again.

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Stones of Light

Stones of Light by Zack Argyle

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

No smack talking, but I did find the sequel to be leaps and bounds better than the first! There was amped up action, dialogue, and emotion. The writing was a nice step up as well. Certainly an improvement on what was already a great start. The author did a great job of continuing

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Voice of War (Threadlight Book 1)

Voice of War (Threadlight Book 1) by Zack Argyle

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Mostly clear
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

This is a multi-perspective debut in the fantasy word. It definitely teeters between epic and high fantasy. It is absolutely character driven, but the weight of nations/worlds is most definitely in the balance

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Dream of Death City: A chilling fantasy mystery (Red Kingdom Book 1

Dream of Death City: A chilling fantasy mystery (Red Kingdom Book 1 by Pj Nwosu

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: Did some research after reading
Cover: Matches the story well

Let me start by saying that this is one of the most original fantasies I’ve ever read.

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Where Shadows Lie

Where Shadows Lie by Allegra Pescatore

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

The cast of characters is incredibly diverse, and the narration doesn’t miss a beat with accents and personalities. There’s everything from Irish to Middle Eastern, and they’re all done well. I was super impressed and it was very enjoyable.

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Lesser Known Monsters

Lesser Known Monsters by Rory Michaelson

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: Did some research after reading
Cover: Matches the story well

Good vs evil here, as most stories are, but with love and loss, grief and guilt, friendship and hardship, all mixed in. I was pleasantly surprised by the light tone and voice in the writing. Personally a 4/5* for me. Would gladly continue on with more!

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Heroes

Heroes by Ashley Hutchison

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Mostly clear
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Balanced
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Engaging
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

This is an anthology featuring retelling of myths and legends. The introduction states the main idea behind the choices was hope.

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The Garden of the Golden Children

The Garden of the Golden Children by Ashley Hutchison

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Some more thought out than others
Storytelling: Balanced
Immersion: Satisfying, fulfilling experience
Emotional Response: Engaging
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Adequately represents the story

The setting is a cool/silly take on the idea that everyone is somewhere, therefore the town is called Somewhere, while other places are Somewhere-Else. The children go to the Academy, and at this academy they are overseen by the headmaster. He’s a little off

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Eleventh Cycle

Eleventh Cycle by Kian N. Ardalan

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Adequately represents the story

This is book one of the dark epic fantasy series ‘Mistland’ and it’s a chonky one. The author definitely smacks you right in the middle of a very diverse and deep world. Minethria is suffering from darkness and rot. The Elders remain silent, the eleventh seed may be too late

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Obsidian: Awakening

Obsidian: Awakening by Sienna Frost

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Adequately represents the story

This novel is about the battle of two sides of the desert. Those that want freedom to do as they please, and those that want to unite and control everything. It’s less about good and evil than other stories, as both sides have things that they’ve done that are far from perfect.

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Wistful Ascending

Wistful Ascending by JCM Berne

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: Did some research after reading
Cover: Matches the story well

For fans of Guardians of the Galaxy with some real grit like Watchmen or The Boys. These ‘superheroes’ will save the galaxy, but they will also snap your neck for looking at them wrong.

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Of Honey and Wildfires (Songs of Sefate #1)

Of Honey and Wildfires (Songs of Sefate #1) by Sarah Chorn

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: Did some research after reading
Cover: Matches the story well

The author’s Twitter says, “Books on Amazon. They’ll break your heart,” and I don’t know for sure if she meant her own, but she’s certainly still right. This is one of the most heartfelt, and heartrending stories I have ever read. Every sentence is like a gut punch. Destroying.

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The Price of Power

The Price of Power by Michael Michel

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Mostly clear
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Engaging
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

So good: “Belara straightened. “Peace is what happens when enemies fear each other enough to avoid the uncertain results of attempted conquest.””

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Isla's Reach

Isla's Reach by Francisca Liliana

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Balanced
Immersion: Satisfying, fulfilling experience
Emotional Response: Engaging
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

The author is possibly best known as WitchKingReads for great reviews, and I was so excited when I saw she was writing! This is book 1 of The Breaths and Depths and there’s definitely more to come. Not sure how they can top this cover though!

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Down Below Beyond

Down Below Beyond by T. A. Bruno

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: Did some research after reading
Cover: Matches the story well

This is my first read from this author, but it certainly won’t be the last. This is a scifi fantasy novel that heavily features found family and friends. It really is at its core about choosing your people and making the best of things.

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The Briar Crown

The Briar Crown by Helen Rygh-Pedersen

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

Now there is a bit of spice…the author teases it several times without going there, but then it finally does. Spice is not for me, but I thought the use of it was in the correct places for sure. And great author narration!!!!

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The Fear of Moncroix

The Fear of Moncroix by Bryan Asher

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

This is a vampire-led dark fantasy that is scifi-linked to the author’s other works via the Intercontinents. Regardless of that, on its own, this is one of the most unique novels I’ve read in years

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Never Die (Mortal Techniques #1)

Never Die (Mortal Techniques #1) by Rob J. Hayes

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

This was amazing. You get sucked right into a world utterly different from ours. It makes you want to know more and more. It’s transformative with action that lights up visually. The world is very Asian inspired. Kind of like ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’-esque with the action

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Spirits of Vengeance

Spirits of Vengeance by Rob J. Hayes

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Mostly clear
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Balanced
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

This one was a bit drawn out for me. The opening felt overlong and towards the middle of the book it still only had a singular plot point. I don’t necessarily think books need a reason to exist though, I just didn’t find the ‘why’ for a while.

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The Century Blade

The Century Blade by Rob J. Hayes

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Some more thought out than others
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

The Century Blade must assemble a team of heroes to withstand the might of Orochi, the king of the dragons. In Orochi’s anger, he has ordered the other dragons to destroy humanity itself. This team of heroes must stop them.

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Pawn's Gambit

Pawn's Gambit by Rob J. Hayes

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

This one follows the Art of War, now referred to as Yuu, as she hides from the repercussions of her miscalculation at the end of Never Die. It takes place five years later, but is written to be read as an entirely independent story. Which is good because it has been nine months

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Under the Lesser Moon

Under the Lesser Moon by Shelly Campbell

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: Did some research after reading
Cover: Matches the story well

I received an audible code from the author, and boy am I glad, because the narration by Ryan Haugen is top tier. This story has a unique world. The somewhat nomadic Hunter-gatherer communities definitely made me think of American Indians. But it’s also an incredibly bleak world

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The Demon's Dagger: A Noir Urban Fantasy Novella (Alexander Southerland, P.I.) P

The Demon's Dagger: A Noir Urban Fantasy Novella (Alexander Southerland, P.I.) P by Douglas Lumsden

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

Can be read as a standalone, but probably best ingested along with the rest in the series. Still enjoyable on its own!

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A King's Radiance

A King's Radiance by L. R. Schulz

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: Did some research after reading
Cover: Matches the story well

This is an epic fantasy novel, and it is just that, EPIC (EPIC EPIC). It has everything you’re used to loving in a fantasy novel, and even better, it’s also done well. The writing is slick and intelligent, I wasn’t bored with a single page.

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The Legend of Black Jack

The Legend of Black Jack by A. R. Witham

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

The author does a phenomenal job of having the reader learn and grow with the character. It’s one of the things that resonated with me the most in the feel-good, middle grade way, even though the writing and content is most definitely young adult.

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Jack Forest, Soul Collector

Jack Forest, Soul Collector by E. Reyes

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

Grabbed the paperback to give a go, as this is perfect for Spooky Season. I love the author’s shared universe of Devil’s Hill, so I always come out and support, as I am doing (trying) similar with ‘Cemetery.’

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Devil’s Hill II

Devil’s Hill II by E. Reyes

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Satisfying, fulfilling experience
Emotional Response: Engaging
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

This is an 8 story horror anthology collection. Right off the bat I liked that they are a little lengthly, it reminded me of being in the same vein as Josh Malerman’s ‘Goblin’. The stories are all interconnected through the 8th story

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Devil’s Hill: Stories

Devil’s Hill: Stories by E. Reyes

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Engaging
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

I grabbed this one during the Velox Books rerelease, but decided to also grab the audio so that I’d have time to get through it for Hispanic Heritage Month. Horror anthologies are my jam and this one didn’t disappoint.

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Christmas in the Empty Cabin

Christmas in the Empty Cabin by E. Reyes

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Mostly clear
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Satisfying, fulfilling experience
Emotional Response: Engaging
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

The author is the self-proclaimed Clark Griswold of Halloween and it shows. All of his work is horror or Halloween related, and he does a great job of it besides.

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Evening of the Mutated Undead

Evening of the Mutated Undead by E. Reyes

Worldbuilding: Piqued curiosity
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Some more thought out than others
Storytelling: Balanced
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Engaging
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

Reyes delivers exactly what his blurb promises. UFOs, a monsoon-style rain, and zombies covered in mutated eyes. The zombies seem to have been created by the UFOs, but they still act, eat, and spread like a normal apocalypse zombie.

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A Dagger in the Dark

A Dagger in the Dark by Tom Dumbrell

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

The author surprise attacked us with this novella’s release, but I ain’t mad at it. This is a prequel novella that takes place 20 years before the events of The Look of a King. It follows a much younger Roscoe, and his journey to being the pirate/semi-King’s man that we know

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Where Heroes Were Born

Where Heroes Were Born by Tom Dumbrell

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

This is the third and final installment in the Pillars of Peace trilogy. As many of you know I’ve been following along (quite loudly) since book one, and I still firmly believe every person on earth should give these a read!

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No Place for Peace

No Place for Peace by Tom Dumbrell

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

Tom Dumbrell takes every bit of the first book and just amps it up for the full effect in the sequel. This book carries heart, wonder, excitement, surprise. Get ready to be on the edge of your seat from page one. You’ll get to see some characters you know and love, and meet new

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The Look of a King

The Look of a King by Tom Dumbrell

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

When reading the back of the book, I found myself interested right off the bat. I mean, this stuff is right up my alley anyway, but I did wonder how it would stand out from the rest too... To me, this has a very medieval, crusader-style England/Europe feel to it

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No Heart for a Thief

No Heart for a Thief by James Lloyd Dulin

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: Did some research after reading
Cover: Matches the story well

I loved the cover, so I signed right up for the ARC team and I was happy to be approved. Liked it so much I purchased a copy too! Let me start with saying, WOW, that is how you write an ending! The climax is just so incredibly epic and beautiful and dark at the same time.

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No Safe Haven

No Safe Haven by James Lloyd Dulin

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Descriptive
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Strong emotions
Thought Provoking: Did some research after reading
Cover: Matches the story well

If you’ve seen my review for No Heart for a Thief, than you know this sequel was up against some strong competition. The author has yet again managed to set up an incredible ending—where not only are threads being tied, questions being fu

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