“Falling Light” by Crystal L Kirkham | Review

My Review of “Falling Light” by Author, Crystal L Kirkham

 

  • This is the first book in the “Shadows of Fate” series. 
  • Book 2 will be out next year!


 

Back-of-book description:

Samir Amin has dedicated his life in service of the Nergal, an ancient organization that polices the inter-dimensional beings on our world and the magic that summons them. When an old friend reaches out for help against the wishes of his superiors, Samir must choose between love and duty-and it could cost him his life.

 


 

Genre: Fantasy, contemporary, supernatural

 


 

My review:

First off, I’d like to thank the author, Crystal Kirkham, for letting me review this book as an ARC. Because I liked it so, so much! The cover and the title were catchy… and so were the font styles! – both inside and on the cover!

The opening was great – even though it was not the character I was expecting after reading the description – it felt like a prologue. It was very mysterious and a bit confusing, but it was clear that the book was something supernatural… or at least, not a regular contemporary fantasy novel. Fantasy, but on so much higher level! A very unique book!

Though a few pages in I was confused, I still went on reading it, because the writing and the dialogue were very witty. There was no aspect that felt boring to me.

However, I gave this book four stars, because there were some problems that I found:

1. I spotted a few grammatical mistakes. Some I could overlook, but a few really distracted me. This intensified in the middle of the book. Some mistakes, though, suited the different writing style very well!

2. I felt that the author could’ve used a few dashes or so to make the reading more effective instead of a lot of commas… but that’s probably just me!

3. The show-don’t-tell aspect failed at a few places and may have crossed the line to over-narration. ‌

4. Sometimes, the movements described of the characters seemed a little confusing, which hampered my imagination a little.

5. ‌I wish the location of the settings for this story were made more clear in the first quarter of the book, rather than random mentions in the second half.

Nonetheless, I pressed on – went on reading, because I was already invested in the beautiful characters that Kirkham created. I fell in love with the god-like creatures that Samir was acquainted with! I already wanted to know how it all ended – oh, that mad magician! – and what kind of decisions Samir would make, because of the awkward circumstances that kept hitting him from every direction!

What I felt truly refreshing was the constant shifting of perspective. It was very apt! This book was unique in more ways than one!

‌I loved the ending and would love to read more of this story!!

I’d definitely recommend this book to lovers of fantasy and the supernatural genre. Right now, I cannot think of any book that I can compare it to… perhaps because of the ingenuity of the plot! I felt good reading it!


 

Find Crystal L Kirkham’s “Falling Light” on her profiles on: Amazon.com, Amazon.in, and Goodreads.

Find Crystal’s new releases and updates about her writing and books on her website!

 

Have a great day!

“Witch on Ice” by Cat Lason | Review

My Review of “Witch on Ice” by Author, Cat Larson

 

  • This is Book #1 of “A Bigfoot Bay Witches Paranormal Cozy Mystery”. 
  • More books have been released!!

 

Back-of-book description:

I’m a witch in love with a frog. And you thought you had problems.

Hi, my name is Sammara Eve Hain and I don’t admit that to just anyone.

Especially the witch part.

If it were up to me, I would’ve been born into a nice, normal family. One that went camping on weekends and played board games and watched television.

Not one that spent their Saturday nights cackling around a cauldron and turning people into frogs.

Okay, that’s an exaggeration. They don’t cackle.

But they’re definitely not normal. And the frog thing?

May I introduce my fiancé, Fernando? Mr. Short, Green, and Bewitched.

Courtesy of my sister.

All I ever wanted when I left my small town of Bigfoot Bay thirteen years ago was to disappear into the big city and lead an ordinary life.

I never expected to return.

And when I stumbled upon my childhood nemesis frozen solid inside a wall of ice, I never expected I’d be forced to stay.

With my betrothed frog at my side and no sister in sight.

** Witch on Ice is the first in a new humorous cozy mystery series. Suitable for all ages. **


 

Genre: Fantasy, new adult contemporary, mystery

 


 

My review:

I read this book a few weeks ago and here’s my review.

So! I totally LOVED THIS BOOK!! Kudos to Cat Larson for publishing this and making it available for people like me! I spent a few weeks reading heavy books continuously, so I wanted to read one that was more relaxing to the mind. This was just the one for me – right book at the right time!

Now, let me explain in detail what I liked (which were a LOT) and what I didn’t like so much.

The blurb was what led me to get this book and give it a try. I absolutely adored the sense of humour in it and I hoped to find the same and more inside. And boy, was I left not disappointed!

‌The narration was very humorous and enjoyable! ‌The narrator seems to be ecstatic in both directions, giving the beginning a comical twist! I liked her sense of humour and sarcasm – they kept me giggling every single time!

‌In the beginning, it felt like a fairy tale with an adult twist. Which is really awesome! You don’t see stories like this – they’re always about teens!

‌The show-don’t-tell aspect has been done quite well! I liked how the descriptions were given at just the right amount. Even the narrator fit in right well for this.

‌The magic with the phone kept killing me each time… until I came to the end of the story. I have my suspicions about it and I want to read more to find out! Also, about Fernando – his story didn’t even begin in this book and that was hilarious!

There were, however, a few small mistakes, but nothing that hindered the flow of my reading. And I mean this as a compliment!

‌The pacing seemed rather slow in the first few chapters, but it’s definitely required to set the scene. Nothing in the book has been overdone, which is an aspect I loved a lot.

‌The mystery starts right from the beginning, when Eve tells us how she and Fernando got engaged – the fact that they never spent so much time dating and that they had been together only six months. That rose my suspicions about Fernando and I wanted to know what kind of a person he was. Especially after what his brother said…

Generally, what I’ve observed with first person narratives was crossing into the danger of over-description. Sure, heavy narration is required, but it has a limit. That hadn’t been crossed in this book. There’s still so much room left for imagination! Well done, Cat Larson!

And oh – what incredible cliffhangers!! I’m more than invested to buy the remaining books in the series and read them all!

When I was reading this book, I felt a little like I was reading an Agatha Christie… but unlike hers, “Witch on Ice” was simpler – the plot was not very complex, it was light and fun to read. It gave ‌me all the feels of a mystery novel and that is another aspect I loved a lot!

Hence, this book deserves all five of the stars I gave it!

Overall, “Witch on Ice” is a book for those readers who are fans of mysteries and thrillers with a slice of magic. I would definitely recommend this! I liked way more things about this book than I disliked any… really, the only issue I found was with the minor grammar errors I mentioned earlier. That’s it. I absolutely loved the cover. Though Eve didn’t really fly on a broomstick, it does link to the book a lot.


 

Find Cat Larson’s “Witch on Ice” series on her profiles on: Amazon.com, Amazon.in, and Goodreads.

You can also find my review already posted on Goodreads.

 

Have a great day!

What to Expect When You Decide to Self-Publish

It’s time I did a post on this. I’ve come across far too many people who expect a lot in the field of creativity, only to be disappointed by the rejections, unable to get back up again. (Some do – good for them!)

I write this article, because, believe me, I’ve been there. I may not have “done that” – all of that – because I’m not big on marketing anything, but I eventually learnt what to expect. And with that, how to go about marketing.

This article highlights some pointers to keep in mind when you decide to become a self-published author. I know I did. It’s up to you to keep them in mind, really. Also, some of the points here are applicable even for those looking agents and publishers.

 

WARNING: The following list contains bitter truths and stories you don’t want to hear. Please proceed with caution.

 

Your books are not going to sell like hot cakes. This almost never happens in self-publishing. If it does, it’s either because you’re already a world-renowned celebrity or good luck just happened to be by your side. If you lose either of them, then your sales will go down, even though you still may have some loyal fans.

Even if you’re popular, people will not want to read your books. This is something I don’t understand that happens on social media. Like, ninety percent of the time, this is what happens. I can understand not being able to afford, but this used to happen to me on Wattpad. Where, I had tons of friends, but not many of them ever wanted to read my stories that were available for free. Anyway, even if one were popular on free stories-reading sites like Wattpad, remember that it will NOT translate to sales and royalty in the outside world. Because I faced rejection on Wattpad, I was able to see this truth with clear eyes. I can see those who used to be popular on Wattpad and Inkitt struggling to get readers for their books – struggling to sell their books – when they published them for a price.

Keep in mind that nobody really cares about your book. This point is especially important for those who took the self-publishing route. Including me. Sure, there are some who do, genuinely, but when people come across you as an author for the first time, they won’t look at you a second time. Unless you’ve done something in their lives that they remember. That is why interaction with people is very important. To be frank, I’m an introvert – I legitimately cannot talk to people, even if my life depends on it. Normally. But even people like me need to talk to other authors to be able to relate. Sure, I have friends, but they’re not serious writers like me. It’s nice to have people I can relate with. Find these people, build a community, interact frequently… and not just because you need to make a sale. Forget about making revenue out of your self-published books and make heart-felt interactions with people. Go, find some interesting users on social media and connect with them!

Don’t badger people to buy your books. This almost never works. Keep advertising your books as and when you can; people will see it and those who are interested will buy it. If they want to post a review, they will do it. They will especially not do when you go badgering them to do – I know I won’t. I just don’t tolerate it; I’ll delete the messages or if taken too far, block the person.

Have the least of expectations. Do not have a set quantity of sales to make in a certain period of time. It is always subjective. Always varies. Because people are people. Would you like to buy a book you don’t like? Sometimes, I don’t buy it even if it’s for free. Trends keep changing – your book may be in the most-demanded genre, so it may sell quickly; once that demand decreases and you don’t do anything about it, the sales just drop. On the flipside, I’ve seen books selling even when they weren’t in the trending genres.

Everything in life takes time, including generating love from others for your book. That does not mean you should hate your book or yourself.

Love your book. Love it with all your heart.

As a self-proclaimed grammar Nazi and reviewer, let me tell you this: When I reject a book, it’s because I know I won’t be able to give a fair enough review of it. If it’s hardcore sci-fi, my interest is already gone.

Remember: It’s okay to expect – to market your book as much as you possibly can and more.

To yield results out of self-publishing takes a long time, sometimes years. If you want quick results, traditional is the way to go – but even that takes time to be validated by an agent or publisher. If you want to write what you want and not what the trend wants, then self-publish. You can’t have both – at least, in my experience. Not so soon. In traditional publishing, you can outsource marketing of your book, but you cannot have both. 

Told you you didn’t want to hear it. 

I’ve struggled a lot to stand out as a writer on Wattpad – hasn’t happened yet. Wattpad hasn’t even looked my way, unless I filled a form or something. The most I achieved was getting into reading lists of ambassador profiles. And even then, not more than three people, maybe, ever read my books. (I’ll be leaving Wattpad soon, so I stopped caring about that. The reason is a whole other story.)

It’s a rough path to go, writing is. But all we should do is wait and watch. Go and try to sell your book door-to-door, so to speak. Spread the word relentlessly. Don’t spam DMs, though. Do everything that you possibly can and more. 

In short, it’s this:
  1. Do not ever give up on your writing and your stories, no matter what people say. You may improve them based on suggestions, if need be.
  2. Rejection is not the end of the world. You can cry for some time and then find ways to get over it.
  3. Not getting any reviews or sales? Don’t go around crying about it. Instead, keep writing and publishing more. Promote your books as much as you can, but don’t clog people’s spaces. It’ll happen slowly.
  4. If you’re going to self-publish, marketing ain’t going to be easy. You need to have lots of patience and your courage shouldn’t waver. But it’s not a bad path – all paths are good in their own ways. It’s up to you – whether you want to be able to go through it till the end or not.
  5. Other people on social media are just as human and seeking attention to their books as you are. Have more personal interactions with them. If they like your book, they’ll buy it; may or may not tell you or leave a review. Again, that’s not the end of the world. Also, everyone has a life outside of the book worlds.
  6. Everything in the writing world takes time. Have a lot of patience. If you think you cannot, then please, this world is not for you.

 

If I’ve hurt your feelings in any way, I’m sorry, but this is the truth we as artists must face. Every one of us will learn this one way or another – some time if not already. We must press on and hold on to what we love. We must believe in ourselves and the world around us. Then, everything will fall in place, though slowly.

See y’all in my next post!!

 

Reviews For My Book!!

Hello!!

Sorry, no piece of prose or poetry to-day! But I’m very, very happy!!!

This latter half of the month of August 2020 had been the greatest for me…….. because I got three five-star reviews for my fantasy adventure book, “The Young Foreigner”!!!

You can read Niranjana’s review on Goodreads here!

You can read Judy Ferrell’s review on Goodreads here!

You can read Judy Ferrell’s review on Amazon.com here!

I really couldn’t believe it!! When they told me they were reading it and were going to leave a review, I was very excited. But when they told me they’d posted their reviews… well, I was very, very nervous! I’ve had rejections before and for just this book. Publishers didn’t want to publish it because it wasn’t for them. And then, I got a form from another; when I saw a space for how much I think my book’s worth in the market is… well, I decided then and there that I couldn’t treat my books and its characters like they’re some non-living thing. I love my stories a lot and I cherish them a lot. But other people’s validation also matters sometimes. It’s not mandatory, for I’ll still love what I create, but we’ll be happy if we get them.

I couldn’t believe when I got my first five-star review. For that matter, I couldn’t believe, when I did a free promotion again this month, that so many people would actually care to buy my book. I’m not in this for the money, though I do appreciate when people buy it. My stories matter more to me. And when I share them with the world, it’s great to see miracles like these reviews!

I have so many people to be thankful for! This month had been very eventful!

A Fresh Start

A fresh day,
A fresh start –
Quarantine’s teaching me lessons like never before.

A fresh t-shirt,
A fresh splash of oil on my hair –
In the famous words of Jessica Day: “This is the Year of Us!”

Conquer the world, it’s yours to take,
Win all the trophies you’ve always deserved, but never been given –
Seize your life, before someone else decides to rule it for you!

Once Upon A Book – Chapter 05 | The Awesome Cricket

Chapter 04 | Cinderella and the Missing Prince

 

Chapter 05

The Awesome Cricket

 

    “I can’t believe I agreed to come with you,” said Catherine in exasperation. “This place is just as creepy as the rumour says!”

    She stood in the beginning of the woods at the edge of Fairy Heights. The winter sun was preparing to set; it was around four o’clock the same evening, when Catherine had sneaked out of her house. Now, about thirty minutes later, she stood in the middle of a forest with Jeremy the talking magic cricket on her shoulder. He said nothing; just stared straight ahead at the wide uneven rubble path surrounded by trees.

    “I – I can feel the pull of s-something stronger just – just by standing here,” she went on, shivering suddenly in fear. “Something stronger… something evil…”

    “Calm down,” said Jeremy.

    Catherine stopped sputtering and blinked, her gaze going as far as she could to see him on her shoulder. “S-sorry?”

    “Just try to gather yourself and calm down,” the cricket went on. “Relax. Breathe in, breathe out. Just like that… one more time. Yes… good. Now, do you still feel afraid?”

    “Uh – y-yes – uh – sorta.”

    “All right. The pull you feel – can you describe it to me?”

    The young teenager frowned, trying to find the right words. “Maybe,” she muttered. “Something… well, evil. I don’t think I have any more words than that.”

    He nodded slowly and thoughtfully. “All right then. Do you feel attracted to it or repulsed?”

    “Huh?”

    “Do you feel like you want to go towards it or you feel like you want to go away?”

    “Huh… good question.” She pondered over it. “I feel… I feel like I want to see what it feels like – to have that much power.”

    Jeremy frowned—he hadn’t expected such an answer. “Are you… are you sure?” he stammered, fear creeping slowly up his tiny body.

    Catherine nodded slowly, a determined expression on her face.

    ‘She’s definitely a witch with a great potential,’ he thought. ‘But, potential for what, is the question. Oh, Jiminy, please help her choose the right path.’ Aloud, he said, his voice showing no sign of his inner turmoil, “So, do you want to?”

    “Yes.” Catherine’s voice had turned trance-like.

    ‘Oh no, just like I feared. I shouldn’t have brought her here.’ Aloud: “I… Should we go?”

    “Ye…” Suddenly, the girl stopped speaking. She shook her head and her face returned to normal. She looked around her and her fear of the woods came back. “Hey, what are we still doing here!? I thought we agreed to go back!”

    The cricket was confused now, but he didn’t voice it out loud. Instead, he nodded. “Yes, of course. I just wanted to check out something. One last question: Do you think you should go and check out this great power?”

    She shuddered. “Whatever for?! I won’t gain anything by doing that, will I? I might even get hurt, which isn’t my piece of chocolate, thank you very much!” She paused and frowned. “What… what will happen if I do?”

    “You’ll know how that story ended.”

    Catherine abruptly picked up the cricket by his neck and held him in front of her. “You’re not serious, are you?”

    The cricket folded its tiny forelegs and closed his eyes, a very earnest expression on his face. “Very serious, indeed!”

    “No.”

    “Yes.”

    “No, you’re not.”

    “Yes, I am!”

    “No!”

    “Yes!”

    “Argh! You don’t get confused, do you!” yelled the girl at last in frustration. “What’s up with that awesomeness!?”

    The cricket proudly held his head. “I’m cool that way, thank you very much!”

    She sighed. “All right. Look, can we leave now? I’m getting scared the more I stand here.”

    “Sure. Let’s go back. There are always other ways to find our answers.”

    “What do you mean?”

    “You still haven’t realised it, have you?”

    Catherine put him back on her shoulder. “I don’t get you.”

    Jeremy snorted. “Typical humans! So clueless about everything! How you hung around for all these millennia I’ll never understand!” He shook his head as if at a lost cause.

    She frowned as she turned to go. “What do you mean?”

    “Well, you know, Charles Darwin said that when there’s change, only the fittest survive. ‘Survival of the fittest’ – he said. When human don’t have the knowledge that’ll help them survive… I’m surprised your species is still around!”

    She hissed under her breath. “And I never knew crickets lived more than a year, annoying or not,” she retorted.

    “Oh well, that’s fair, I suppose. Now – we seem to have come to the edge of the forest. Is that the main road there?”

    “Ye… yes, I think so. Although…” Her voice trailed off.

    “There’s something wrong,” he finished for her. “There’s something out there just waiting for us to arrive.”

    “Oh yea? What do you think that is?”

    “How should I know?”

    “You’re older than me!”

    “That doesn’t mean I should know!”

    “It sure does!” she yelled back. “Besides, what were you saying about knowledge for survival?”

    “That’s different!”

    “It’s not! You should know if you’ve survived for so long!”

    “No!”

    “Yes!”

    “No!”

    “Yes!”

    “No! I mean, really, Catherine, don’t take another steeeepp!” The last syllable came out drawn as Jeremy and his companion fell through the air.

Catherine decided that landing on her butt was the worst kind of landing ever.

    She’d fallen down trees before, fallen while trying to ride her bicycle as a young child, and fallen while playing with classmates at school.

    But, she’d never landed on her butt. Always on her knees or back. Never on her buttocks.

    “Ugh, this sucks!” she groaned. Her body felt like it was fire and her bottom felt paralysed—she could no longer feel it. A sharp pain seared through her spinal cord and she gasped.

    “There, there,” she could hear Jeremy speaking, but couldn’t see him anywhere.

    “Where?!”

    There was silence for a few seconds.

    “Jeremy!?”

    “No need to panic, Catherine. I’m right on top of you. And when I said ‘There, there’, I was trying to reassure you, comfort you, so you’d not go into an ultra-alarm mode like this.”

    Some of what he said sank into her mind and she forced her heart to stop racing so fast. She frowned, trying to get bearings. Where on Earth was she? She managed to lift herself up to shoulder-level by pushing her hands, palms down, onto the ground beneath her and look around. The place was completely dark, except a ray of light shining down through an opening somewhere – probably the one she fell through. She grunted in annoyance.

    “Which idiot had the bright idea to dig a hole at the edge of a forest road?” she commented.

    “That’d be a world-class idiot, yes,” came the voice of the cricket. “Who shouldn’t be very hard to find, I imagine.”

    “Say, could you possibly help me up?”

    “What do I look like to you – a sumo wrestler?!” Jeremy’s voice sounded incensed.

    “Well, you’re magical, live for longer time than you should – much longer – and so, it’s to be expected that you can turn yourself into a giant and help me up.” She paused to clear her throat. “Also, I cannot see you.”

    She could hear him grunting in exasperation. “Whatever. Now that you know I can’t help you up, come on, try to get up yourself.”

    Catherine was fallen flat on her stomach. She felt her whole body aching as she tried to lift it up with her hands. She could feel the loose gravel and stones under the skin of her palms and tried not to cry as they grazed and bruised over them. It took some time, but she finally sat hunched over against the wall of the hole, her legs stretched completely. Jeremy was sitting a few feet ahead of her.

    She titled her head to look up. The opening of the hole she fell through seemed to be several miles away. How was she going to get through to there—climb?

    ‘Not that I’m such a good climber,’ she thought. ‘But, maybe I could take Jeremy with me and try.’ She turned to the little guy hopping around, what for she couldn’t tell. ‘Gosh, it’s rather hot in here – almost makes me regret wearing this woollen coat.

    “So, what about the story?” she asked him. “How are we going to find it? You said you had an idea?”

    “Huh?” The cricket seemed to be only half-listening to her.

    She cleared her throat and spoke a little louder, “Something about we humans being so dumb?”

    That did it. Jeremy stopped dead in his tracks and turned around to look at her. She had a victorious expression on her face.

    “All right, all right.” He hopped towards her and sat on her right knee. “Look, the way we were going that time, just before we turned back towards the road, was the path that leads to old Tremaine. She’s a witch in her own right and very persuasive – she can charm any creature to come within her territory and do her bidding.”

    “Oh.” Catherine remembered faintly the nice cool feeling she had felt in her chest when she was going that way, and then, the aching when she turned and walked away. “I get it now.”

    “Right. So then, I was going to take to Cinderella herself to see how her story ended. So, you can try and figure it out for yourself, while we wait for the story in the book to continue.”

    “Ella,” she muttered.

    “Pardon?”

    “Her name is Ella. She’s not Cinderella in this story.”

    The cricket regarded her with a piercing look. “We’ll see about that.” He cleared his throat. “Anyhow, we should cross this hurdle.” He hopped off her knee and onto the ground.

    “Get out of this hole. Right.” It was easier for her to get up on her feet now, holding on to the slippery wall for support. “Hey – it feels like this hole has been dug very recently.” She brushed her fingertips over it. “Yes, it certainly has been!”

    “We’ll think about why later. For now, we have to hurry, before your family finds out you’re gone and begins a search!”

    “You’re right.” With both her hands on the wall, she tried to get a good grip, but it was no use. Her fingers kept sliding over the loose gravel, which terrified her about climbing it and falling down worse than the first time. No use going like that. “All right. Looks like I have to use my magic.”

    She spread her arms before her and commanded Jeremy to hold onto her. He leaped towards her and climbed up, until he was sitting on her shoulder.

    “Not there. I’ll be using my hands a lot. Climb onto my head.”

    The cricket obeyed and the young girl concentrated on her magic, eyes closed.

    Slowly, she felt her feet lifting up. It was a gradual process; she wasn’t yet experienced enough to teleport herself to the surface. She had to have patience.

    And though she felt losing it and therefore her control over her magic, she managed to gather herself together again and keep up her power.

    Finally, they had levitated above the pit. She thrust her palms towards the road in front of her and managed a near-perfect landing on it. For, at the last minute, she lost her hold over her magic and fell hard on the gravel road on her legs.

    “That’s excellent – you managed it!” cried Jeremy in excitement.

    “No need to be so surprised!” she grumbled under her breath.

    “Now, go, go, go – before the person who opened this pit comes back!”

    Catherine didn’t wait for him to elaborate. She took off in the direction back towards the town of Fairy Heights.

    Only a pair of gleaming bright blue eyes watched them race away from behind the bushes near the hole.

End of Draft


Wattpad | Pinterest | We Heart ItAva’s Quill and Parchment | Goodreads | InstagramTwitterParchments of the Times Past.


Very sorry for posting this chapter late!! I suppose I should’ve posted it sooner, seeing as how it was already ready. But I was focussing on finishing another story that had been kept pending before I started this!

Once Upon A Book – Chapter 04 | Cinderella and the Missing Prince

Chapter 03 | Opening Ceremony for the Book

 

Chapter 04

Cinderella and the Missing Prince

 

Catherine Heywood couldn’t believe what she was reading.

    The old book she had found in the locked part of her mansion of a house sat before her ten in the morning, post-breakfast. Jeremy Cricket sat on her bedside table, gazing at her with some interest.

    She finally looked up at him. “I don’t believe this,” she whispered. “The title this… this doesn’t make sense!”

    “Oh? What’s it say?”

    She turned back to the book. “‘Cinderella and the Missing Prince’. Whoever wrote this story? – or, this book, for that matter.” She held the edge of the page and tried to turn it, but it wouldn’t budge. She didn’t try harder for the fear of tearing the delicate-looking paper and instead, held down the current page and turned back. “Nothing to say about the author or the publisher of this book. How strange!”

    The little cricket nodded thoughtfully. “Strange is one way to put it, all right.”

    She looked at him again. “Why – how else would you put it?”

    “Magic.”

    Her mouth formed an O. “Right, I forgot,” she muttered. “So – what do we do now?”

    “Simple – the only thing we can do, actually: read it. Out loud.”

    Catherine swallowed, nervousness getting to her. Just like yesterday, she and Jeremy were all alone in the great mansion—her mother had gone to attend to a restaurant the family owned because of some problems that came up last week and her father went to work in the court; he was the judge.

    The young girl, however, didn’t feel quite so alone now that she had someone to talk to, albeit he was still a little suspicious to her. It wasn’t like she told him her deepest darkest secrets—yes, she had those—but, he was a good listener and never seemed to openly judge her immediately.

    Now, three days after her most important birthday, she finally decided to open the magical book again and found just one story in it, with the rest of pages apparently stuck to the end of the book.

    At Jeremy’s behest, she began to read the story:

Once upon a time, there was a young girl who lost both her parents. Her name was Ella. She lived in a small village just outside the capital city, where the king and his son lived. When her parents died, her neighbour took her in. This neighbour was a widow with twin daughters. Even though she was given food and clothing, and treating like the two daughters, Ella still felt alone, because she missed her parents very much.

    On the evening of her eighteenth birthday, the widow’s daughters burst into the cottage after their routinely walks round the village and exclaimed:

    “Mother! Ella! The king is hosting a ball!”

    The widow and the young foster girl came out of the kitchen, where dinner was almost ready. The four of them set the table and sat around. Amidst eating, the twins explained that there was a ball held by the king of their land for his eldest son, and that they intended to go. They invite Ella along with them and with some encouragement, she accepts.

    The ball came in five days and the three girls were ready; the mother fished out three old but very beautiful costumes for them to wear at the ball. The eldest twin had a yellow outfit with diamonds glittering off it, the youngest wore a shimmering violet dress, and Ella wore a blue laced dress. Satisfied and with a promise that they’d be midnight, the mother sent them all to the king’s palace in the carriage that came to the village to take them.

    During the ball, the twins soon lost interest in the prince as they found other men to dance with after their turns with him. Soon, it was Ella’s turn.

    Ella was very shy to be in such a huge grand place with a lot of people; she wasn’t used to being around so many people. This chamber was packed. But, when she saw the prince and he requested for a dance, amidst hesitation, she finally accepted.

    And oh, when she was dancing, all she could see was the prince before her, smiling and looking truly happy. It seemed that for just that moment, there were only the tow of them in their own world.

    Their bubble burst when the song came to an end, but the prince didn’t let go of her hand, though he stopped dancing. He gazed her longer than was appropriate, before realised and let her go.

    He bowed low. “Thank you for this dance, my lady. It was wonderful.”

    Ella curtsied the best she could, for she wasn’t used to doing that in the village. “The pleasure is all mine, Prince.”

    “I hope we shall meet again.”

    “Me too.”

    “My lady, may I know your name?”

    However, just then, she heard a terrible sound coming from somewhere in the palace: the gong of a grandfather clock. It rang so loudly that she couldn’t hear anything else in the ball chamber.

    Suddenly, she felt a yank at her arm and she started into alertness. It was the twins pulled her, fear written all over their faces.

    The loud gonging stopped just as the three young girls made out of the palace. Ella’s hand was free now, but she was not a very good runner. Every now and then, she stumbled and tripped, but the others always ensured to help her and let her move. One time, she thought something below her gave way, but she didn’t turn back to see what it was. For, by now, she realised why her companions were in such a hurry: the clock had struck twelve times, indicating midnight!

    Finally, they found a carriage that was filled with other young women and girls who had come to the ball and was about to leave. They stopped it, got in, and the carriage left.

    When Ella could finally gather her thoughts, she realised that the prince had asked her for her name and she hadn’t given him a response.

    ‘Oh well, he’s a prince,’ she thought. ‘I’m no royalty. I’m sure there’s another woman out there who’d be best suited for him. Not me – an orphan from a village.

    The next day, the twins went out for a walk around the village as usual, but now, they took Ella with them. In a silent place where nobody was around – inside the bark of a tree – the twins began to bombard her with questions at the same time:

    “You danced so long with the prince!”

    “What did you talk about?!”

    “Did he ask you to marry him!?”

    “Did he step on you while dancing?!”

    “Hey, hey, slow down – one by one, please!” Ella waved her hands. “I’ll tell you all about it.” And so, she proceeded to tell her foster sisters about how she had spent her time with the prince. “Also, I noticed this morning that I lost my slipper somewhere on the way.”

    “Oh, is that why you asked to borrow mine?” asked the elder twin.

    Ella nodded.

    “Well, so he doesn’t know anything about you,” remarked the younger twin. “How do you expect he’ll find you now?”

    Ella shrugged. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Anyhow, a prince always looks for a princess, not a common girl like me!”

    “Hey, that sounds familiar!” interrupted the cricket.

    Catherine stopped abruptly and blinked at him. When she realised what he said, she frowned. “It was mentioned as a thought a few lines ago – that’s why!”

    Jeremy shook his head. “No, no, I don’t think so. It struck me as familiar when you said it the second time.”

    She rolled her eyes. “Whatever. Should I read the rest or not?” She really hated being interrupted.

    “Yes, yes.” He waved his little foreleg dismissively. This gesture ticked her off, but she chose to ignore it and go on:

    “No, no, that’s not true,” said the elder twin. “If that’s the case, then why did he invite girls from small towns and villages? Of course, he doesn’t mind commoners!”

    Ella was on the verge of tears, but when she heard this, she sniffed and said, in a quiet voice, “You think so?”

    She shook her head. “I know so. Listen, we can only do our duties and hope for the best. You did well there, Ella. You did well.”

    Ella blushed at the praise. “Thank you. But, I’m competing against the both of you now, aren’t I?”

    Both the twins shook their heads.

    “No,” replied the younger one, “the prince’s good, but there are better men – men who aren’t royalty.” She exchanged smiles with her sister. “We don’t need royalty to be happy.”

    “Me neither…”

    “But, it’s the man you want, right?”

    Ella nodded.

    “Well then, we’ll just have to wait.”

    “Actually… he doesn’t even know my name.”

    “What?!” cried the twins in shock.

    “We can’t expect the positive now, can we?” asked the younger sister.

    “No, there’s still hope,” said her older sister, thoughtfully. “What are the chances that she lost her shoe in the palace?” This question she directed at her younger sister.

    The latter frowned. “I don’t know. It’s likely. Do you remember where you lost your shoe, Ella?”

    Ella looked thoughtful, but shook her head. “I don’t think so.”

    A few days passed and the three friends eventually forgot about this conversation. They laughed, played, sang, danced, and did everything they used to do before they went to the ball.

    One fine day, when winter passed and spring hit, one of the villagers coming back from selling his wares rushed to the plaza and rang the temple bell as loudly as his sore arms allowed. This brought all the villagers to the spot; for, the ringing of the bell signified one thing: there was an important announcement or visitor passing by. So, naturally, there was excitement all around:

    “What’s the matter? Who rang the bell?”

    “That must be the man who did it!”

    “Hey, Will, did you see or hear anything?”

    The man named Will, who rang the bell, rang it again. This time, everybody fell silent at once.

    “The prince of the kingdom is visiting this village!” he announced. “I saw him speaking to one of his men and they’re all headed in this direction! They’re sure to pass by this village!”

    Instantly, the chatter picked up again:

    “Oh my – the prince?!”

    “The prince who conducted the ball – that prince?! Why is coming all the way here?”

    “But, I was sure I heard rumours about him choosing a woman already! Did he perhaps change his mind?”

    The three young friends who were the only ones to have attended the ball suddenly perked up at this announcement. They speak anything, but glanced at one-another as if in conversation.

    Not till they went home did they speak again:

    “The prince!” cried the younger twin. “He’s not found his woman, after all! – he couldn’t have!”

    Ella didn’t say anything, but she knew quite well what was going on in the girl’s mind.

    The older twin, however, was frowning in thought. “Or, maybe he’s just passing by,” she reasoned, “on his way to the port. This is a sure-shot way in his path.” But, even she knew this wasn’t the case at the moment.

    When the prince arrived, they all knew. From the window of their cottage, they could see him dismounting his horse and making his way towards where the houses stood.

    What was most astonishing was that he didn’t knock on any of the doors. He directly came to theirs and rapped smartly on it.

    “I’ll get it!” whispered the elder sister and rushed to the door. She opened it with a polite smile.

    “Ah!” the others could hear the prince remarking. “We’ve met before, haven’t we?”

    “Indeed!” replied she. “I came to the ball with my sisters the other day! Oh, what a marvellous time we had! Thank you ever so much!” She curtsied gracefully.

    “Thank you for coming,” he said, ever so charmingly. Ella’s face burned as she heard his voice. It was so familiar, even after meeting him for just a day, it still managed to make her heart flutter. “May I ask to meet one of your sisters? See, she was dancing with me at the ball, before she was suddenly whisked away. Here, she left her slipper behind.”

    “Oh! Yes, yes! This does belong to us! Please wait here, will you?”

    The elder twin closed the door though she left it ajar and went to where her sisters hid.

    “We heard it!” the younger twin exclaimed in a fierce whisper. “And I’m going!”

    “Wait!” The older sister stopped her with a hand on her shoulder. “It’s Ella’s shoe.”

    “But, we can’t let him have her that easily now, can we?” winked the younger sister, before kissing Ella on the cheek and dancing away to the door. She opened it with a look of absolute delight and exclaimed, “Ah! My shoe! Did you find it?! I was looking all over for it for several days!”

    “I’ll admit, she’s a good actress,” commented the elder sister to Ella. “Don’t worry, we won’t let you go so easily to him. We love you too much for that!”

    Ella blushed gracefully but remained silent, wishing to hear the conversation:

    “Ah, but, pardon me, you aren’t the woman who left this shoe, I’m sure of it! It was another woman! Perhaps your other sister?”

    “You mean, the one who opened the door first?”

    “Oh no. The other one.”

    “Ohh! You mean, Ella! Right! Hold on.” She turned around to where the other sisters stood quietly. “Ella! Somebody’s here to see you for a shoe!”

    Suddenly, Ella’s heart began to thud violently in her chest and she didn’t want to go. But, at the same time, she wanted to see the prince one last time. Of course, it would be her last time, since which prince in his right mind would marry an orphaned pauper like her?

    But, the twins wouldn’t hear of it. They pushed Ella directly in front of the prince. He stumbled back a little and Ella at once felt guilty.

    “Oh goodness, did I do something? – step on your shoe?!” she exclaimed.

    The prince suddenly laughed and waved his free hand in dismissal. “Oh no, absolutely not. I was simply stunned at seeing you again – I honestly never thought I would! How have you been?”

    Warmth began enveloping Ella and she smiled. “I’m doing good, thank you. I’ve been wondering about you, too.”

    “Well, I suppose this belongs to you.” He held up the shoe he had been holding in his right hand.

    Ella gasped and nodded. “Y-yes. I lost it sometime on the night of the ball, but didn’t know where. Glad you found it. Thank you.” She accepted the shoe with a curtsy.

    This time, it was Catherine herself who interrupted her own narration: “Why are they curtsying so much!? Don’t they have any other ways to do things?!”

    Jeremy chuckled. “Now, now, it’s a custom in some places of the world. You mustn’t judge people with their cultures! Read on!”

    With a grumble and a mumble about how she could never understand the ways of the world, she read on:

    It would a great thing at this point to say that they lived happily ever after. However, a nightmare was to befall Ella, her two adoptive sisters, and the prince. The day Ella and the prince were to marry, a year after their joyful reunion, the prince disappeared.

    Catherine turned the page, but it wouldn’t budge. She tried harder, before realising that it just didn’t turn.

    “Hey, what’s with the book!?” she cried.

    Jeremy had his foreleg under his tiny chin in thought. “The story probably ends there.”

    “What?! How am I supposed to know what happens next!?”

    “We should find out.”

    “Find out? How?”

    “I’m starting to wonder if this story – all the stories in this book, as a matter of fact – are about actual people and not just some fairy tales. You know what I mean?”

    The young girl shook her head.

    “Well, have you ever read the story of Cinderella?”

    “Of course – who hasn’t?”

    “Can’t you see how similar this story is to it?”

    A moment later, Catherine’s eyes went wide. “Oh goodness! I thought it pricked my brain with the orphan and the ball and the missing shoe –”

    “Exactly! So, we need to find these people and see how their story ends.”

    “But, can’t we just read it in the book here? More pages might open tomorrow or the day after.”

    “But, what if they don’t?” The young girl frowned, but the cricket went on: “What if their story didn’t actually end? What if… it has been frozen? And what about the men the twins found? Did they find them again?”

    Catherine frowned thoughtfully now. “That makes sense – in an insane kind of way.”

    “Exactly! So, now, it’s time to find the prince!”

 

 

Chapter 05 | The Awesome Cricket


Wattpad | Pinterest | We Heart ItAva’s Quill and Parchment | Goodreads | InstagramTwitterParchments of the Times Past.


Very sorry for posting this chapter late!! I suppose I should’ve posted it sooner, seeing as how it was already ready. But I was focussing on finishing another story that had been kept pending before I started this!

Life Update – 07/08/2020

Hello August!

This Life Update post should’ve gone up a week ago (last day of July, to be exact), but you know me – I was too lazy!

But seriously, though, work really got me going sleepless nights and sleepy days. I just got barely enough time to write a chapter each day and edit a chapter each day. That, too, I had to force myself to pause my work and do these things, so that my mind could be refreshed. You know?

Anyway….

I have officially completed my new adult time-travel novel, “Stuck in Time”, at 40,836 words. I am also halfway through editing my old novel, “M For Maria”. I started writing the sequel, too, but I probably won’t be posting it on Wattpad or any other such website. It will mostly be available only to buy. I never intended to post it in the first place and I want to go through with that decision.

I’m still contemplating removing my stories from Wattpad. Forget the security breach, I had very few people whom I actually liked – and whose stories I actually liked. It’s only for my readers that even after finally declaring removing myself, I stayed back.

On the other side, I had been reviewing books, especially indie novels, on Goodreads; I started posting these reviews on my website also, to hopefully give them more exposure. I love these books so much! – and the authors are such incredible people!

Oh, and speaking of, “Midnight Sun” released in the US and Kindle all over on 04 August. I had already pre-ordered my paperback several weeks ago, but it’ll only release in India on the 14 August… so it will be arriving in the second half of the month. No matter – I’ve waited for ten years, what is ten more days?

The release of “M For Maria” has been officially delayed, due to some professional reasons. It may still remain on Wattpad/Quotev/Inkitt for free reading after 02 August – haven’t decided yet. But I’ll definitely not be posting the edited version.

Through an acquaintance on Wattpad, I’ve acquired another way of making paperbacks of my books available for my Indian readers – and consequently, for myself. I like to keep a stash of my own books that I’ve personally published with so much blood, sweat, and tears…!

So! – a few months from now, my books will be available not only Amazon, but also on Pothi.com!

I’ve also started some new projects since my last news update:

1. Withering Hearts– about the events leading to Indian Partition, friendship, and family. It’s a fiction, about two friends. It’s an epistolary novel.

2. Coincidence?– I got the idea for this book more recently and already started writing it offline. It’s a YA romance, about two teens going their separate ways after meeting in India and then, meeting again in a place least expected by anybody. The title of this book was taken from a dialogue by Phoebe in “Friends”… ring a bell?

However, I may change the titles at some point, depending on where the stories are going. For now, I only have a couple of starter ideas.

I’ve been slowly but surely completing my other projects. “Ellie Jordan and the Cursed Love”, “The Royal Sceptre”, “The Value of Love”, and “The Valley of Shards” are halfway through and will be completed by the end of this year or quicker.

“Once Upon A Book” and “The Goodacre Lodge” will be side projects for now.

I’ll be continuing “Time For Marriage” after a break.

I’ve been working on revamping “The Kiss of Love” offline by combining it with its other version that I’d written. It’s coming out nicely! I don’t plan on publishing it anywhere, though. Bits may be published on my Goodreads profile, but the whole book will only come out as a published version on Amazon and Pothi.com.

My real life is fine. Getting by, as much as I can. I like what I’m doing – it’s just that I’m learning way too many things in a week, sometimes rendering me confused…! Also, the depression is at bay, now that my life feels a little more worthy. It’s true that I do get into depressed states from time-to-time, but I feel it is considerably less often than before.

Ooh – and my short story, “Nicole’s Choice”, won second place in a collaboration contest on Wattpad!! If you’re a fan of cute romance stories, do check it out!!

That’s all for now. See y’all in my next update!

“Tales of Mundane Magic: Volume Three” by Shaina Krevat | Review

My Review of “Tales of Mundane Magic: Volume Three” by Indie Author, Shaina Krevat

 

  • As the name suggests, “Tales of Mundane Magic: Volume Three” is the third book of a young adult fantasy series set in the contemporary world. 
  • The first two books have been out. 
  • The fourth is on its way!

 


 

Back-of-book description:

Gertie and Bridget have a mission.

After sorting through the odds and ends they found at a yard sale, they’ve found a buyer for an unusual statue. The only problem is the buyer is on the other side of the country.

With no alternative methods available, Gertie, Bridget, and their friends hop in a purple minivan and set off across Crescyth. Of course, any road trip has its problems, but between a chaotic gas station stop, a dangerously malfunctioning zoo, and an enigmatic campsite encounter, Gertie and Bridget are starting to think they’ve bitten off more than they can chew.

And, of course, there’s the little matter of actually delivering the highly sought after package into the right hands.

It’s just supposed to be a routine road trip, but of course, adventures are never as mundane as they first appear.


 

Genre: Fantasy, adventure, young adult contemporary

 


 

My review:

I hadn’t read the first two books when I got the opportunity to read this third volume of “Tales of Mundane Magic”. Honestly, the magic word to get me to read books is “magic”. “Fantasy” does, as well!

Anyway, not having read the previous two installments did not, in any way, hinder my reading of this third volume. I really liked Shaina Krevat’s writing style – it reminded me of the good old days of reading Enid Blyton’s books back-to-back! Honestly, if I could, I’d read Shaina’s books like that, as well! And the magic system in Shaina’s book reminded me of the one in Narnia. I fell in love in the first few pages itself, which is several points right there! Very interesting to read – I couldn’t put it down until I came to the end of it!

The story is actually a car-ride, with Gertie and Bridget on their way to deliver a magical item that they cannot understand. They enlist the help of their friends and an entire gang end up going. The struggles and problems during the road-trip are very comical, especially when modern gadgets are involved and one or the other makes a silly mistake. And the best part, is they’re very realistic! I liked how natural they were – and for a fantasy, things also made sense. Like, the magical gadgets – a concept that, for me at least, was very different; I’ve never come across it before.

To be honest, at one point, the events became repetitive to the point of being almost predictable, but it was uniqueness and ingenuity striking at the right point that really saved them from being boring.

A feel-good story. I had an awesome time reading it! All five stars for “Tales of Mundane Magic: Volume Three” by Shaina Kravat!

Altogether, I loved the story very much! I would recommend it to any other fantasy reader out there – fans of “Magic Tree House” series, “The Faraway Tree” series, and “The Chronicles of Narnia”.


 

Find Shaina Krevat’s “Tales of Mundane Magic” series on her profiles on: Amazon and Goodreads.

You can find Shaina Krevat on: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Amazon, and Goodreads.

Find Shaina Krevat on her website: Shaina Krevat – Author of Tales of Mundane Magic

You can also find my review already posted on Goodreads.

 

Have a great day!

“Nocturnal Farm” by Villimey Mist | Review

My Review of “Nocturnal Farm” by Indie Author, Villimey Mist

 

  • “Nocturnal Blood” is the first book of a paranormal horror series set in the contemporary world. 
  • “Nocturnal Farm” is the second book.
  • The third is on its way!

Find the review of “Nocturnal Blood” here.

 


 

Back-of-book description:

Leia Walker has been training to protect her family from vampires ever since her best friend died six months ago. That humans are disappearing all over Europe is a distant worry—

Until her little brother goes to Amsterdam, meets a Sangue—a vampire familiar—and disappears.

Leia knows she can’t save him alone. To bring him home, she must take arms with the Owls, a group of vampire hunters, without her vampire protectors or the Owls becoming aware of each other.

Under Amsterdam’s streets, she discovers dark secrets, a vampire who is immune to sunlight, and a threat that turns humankind and vampires alike into feral killers.

Can Leia hold on to her belief that everybody can be saved while she fights to bring her brother home—

Or will she end up as a human blood bag on the farms?

 


 

Genre: Paranormal, horror, new adult contemporary

 


 

My review:

I have read the first book a few months ago – and when given the opportunity to review the second one, I was like, in the famous words of Jessica Day, “I am all in!”.

In a lot of ways, this book was better than its predecessor. For one thing, I could actually feel that Leia Walker’s character had grown a lot – and it may have been a product of her sister’s death. She was more cautious and less reckless… of course, she didn’t fare all that well in the men department! But all in due course, I’m sure!

Also, I felt that there was some humanity still left in Grigori. At any rate, I think I got to know him better now. I look forward to knowing more about him in the next book.

What I found about this book was, it went deeper into the vampire story – like the author, Villimey Mist, herself mentioned, “Family is everything to Leia. So, why not let the world of vampires affect her other sibling as well?” That’s exactly what happened here. It also showed us another side of Leia, like Mist said: the part of her that strongly holds on to her family. I don’t think it had been stressed on before. In the previous book, she left her family without informing them to run away for Sophie’s sake. Of course, it’s not like she had a choice. But what I’m saying is, she cared more than she did back then. It is all probably because of finding out Sophie was literally her family, before immediately losing her. That would’ve scarred anybody in her shoes.

In short, I was able to sympathise more with Leia now than I could in the first book. I feel that she was able to adapt to change more now than before.

The cover, as usual, was fantastic! Kudos to the person responsible for it!

The plot twisted and turned a lot in this book, just like the previous one, and there was a lot of gore and horror elements, as well, as warned in the beginning of the book. I reacted to it like Leia did, really!

Chapter-length was great! It didn’t feel forced at all – it was just the right length to fit the mood and the feel of the novel. Well done there, Villimey!

I found a couple of mistakes here and there, obvious overlooked despite having, what seemed to me, a team of beta-readers and editors reading it over and over. Not sure if that’s what happened, but the book is definitely well-refined and that aspect shows clearly. But no problem at all—they were almost unnoticeable!

The narration was very smooth and did not hinder my reading in the least bit. I only put it down for real-life purposes.

But I did find one problem: I think I was fortunate to know a little bit of German to decipher or at least have a translator in my phone to understand what Elisa was saying. I understand that the German words were few and far between, and it was important to make readers realise that whenever Elisa spoke in the language, Leia couldn’t understand. But if I hadn’t known German at all, I seriously would have got frustrated. So, my suggestion to you, Villimey, is that, at the end of the book, you could list out all the German words and their translations. It can likely hinder reading to those who do not know the language.

Otherwise, the flow of the story was pretty smooth. The end was expected, but very dramatic nonetheless – I’m sure that’s largely because of the narrator! I think Leia will have a few words to say to Kenji in the next book!

Speaking of the next book, I have an inkling of what is in store for us readers there!

I was ecstatic to see how Kenji was so protective of her! And oh, when Adam came into the picture… that man was a character of his own style! He is unique not just because of what he is, but also his personality in itself! I’m sure we’re going to be seeing him in the next book again – his story likely isn’t over! I’ll definitely stay tuned to the release of Book 3!

Mr Mousy is more of a simpleton than I had ever expected! I laughed every time Leia encountered him to escape from the hotel, at the questions he asked her!

Bottomline: I really, truly enjoyed this book and can say I’ve fallen more in love with Leia and all the other characters in the story. I give it all five stars and more, if I could!

Well done, Villimey! Yet another book I want to shout out to the world about!


 

Find Villimey Mist’s “Nocturnal Blood” on: Amazon and Goodreads.

Find Villimey Mist’s “Nocturnal Farm” on: Amazon and Goodreads.

You can find Villimey Mist on: Twitter, InstagramAmazon, and Goodreads.

You can also find my review already posted on Goodreads.

 

Have a great day!

“Nocturnal Blood” by Villimey Mist | Review

My Review of “Nocturnal Blood by Indie Author, Villimey Mist

 

  • “Nocturnal Blood” is the first book of a paranormal horror series set in the contemporary world. 
  • The second book is out and the third is on its way!

 


 

Back-of-book description:

Anchorage, Alaska. A place where people don’t care if someone goes missing. A place where Leia Walker tries her hardest to hide from the world, wanting a normal life without anxiety and OCD.

But Leia’s bubble pops when an old friend is back in town and twists Leia’s reality . A bloody event proves what Leia is scared to learn—Sophie Gardner, her old high school friend and saviour from the bullies, is a vampire.

Forced to run away with Sophie, Leia’s life takes a terrifying turn when vampires and hunters come after them.

The only thing preventing them from losing themselves is their friendship..

But will it be enough to escape the inevitable blood bath?

 


 

Genre: Paranormal, horror, new adult contemporary

 


 

My review:

I rated five stars for this story because I loved it so much!

Villimey Mist captured my attention right from the cover. When I opened the book after buying it on my Kindle account, I saw the trigger warning and thought I could handle it. Maybe. Perhaps. Never done it, though. I wanted to read it anyway because the blurb I’d read was very promising. At such times, I usually ignore these warnings.

The book began as a prelude to the actual story, about how the main character/narrator, Leia Walker, met Sophie Gardner and how, after the latter moved away, they eventually lost contact. I had a feeling there was a great dramatic twist to that story and I was right–Sophie comes back to save Leia yet again, but as a bloodthirsty and dangerous vampire.

Their reunion is almost comical, with Leia being so afraid of Sophie, whom she had once trusted so much and depended upon for surviving high school. Leia as a character was largely relatable, though she has problems beyond my imagination; I admit I scoffed at a lot of her anxieties, but it’s something I’ve seen for real before, so no surprises there. She acted naturally as she should have in the story and so did Sophie. I particularly liked the way the two of them felt naturally bonded, as though they were somehow destined to be with each other. I was wondering what kind of connection they had as I read the story and what Sophie revealed in the end made complete sense.

The story was overall very good. There was just one thing that I didn’t understand: After the ordeal with Miss Madden, the first motel owner, there are buckets of blood left over – why didn’t Sophie collect them for later, when she knew that her blood supply is over? That would’ve given a lot of relief to both her and Leia, right? Unless, that didn’t occur to them. I get that it didn’t occur to Leia, but what about Sophie? Surely she must’ve smelt all the blood when she went back to get food from the pantry? Anyway, this is just the one. I especially liked their sibling-like banter and Sophie’s sarcasm and YOLO-like way of life.

Other than that, the story pacing was fantastic, the fighting was cool, despite all the gore and violence – it all fit right in. Leia and Sophie showed their immaturity in the beginning, but also, they develop a lot through the course of the book. I like Leia’s determination, Sophie’s strong will to ensure her safety, and their friendship and trust for each other. They really were the best team. The climax broke my heart and I literally cried, but I suppose it had to be done. As a writer myself, I get it. I hope that your new book, whenever I buy it, will be just as great as this one or at least closer!

Hats off to the author! Another horror author emerging in the 21st century! I highly recommend this book to any lover of “Dracula”, “The Vampire Diaries”, and “The Morganville Vampires!”


 

Find Villimey Mist’s “Nocturnal Blood” on: Amazon and Goodreads.

You can find Villimey Mist on: Twitter, InstagramAmazon, and Goodreads.

You can also find my review already posted on Goodreads.

 

Have a great day!

“A Voice That Thunders” by Cully Mack | Review

My Review of “A Voice That Thunders” by Indie Author, Cully Mack

 

  • “A Voice That Thunders” is the first book of a high fantasy series set in the ancient world. 

 

Back-of-book description:

A BROTHER DESTINED * A SISTER CLAIMED
A GOD WHO CAME BETWEEN THEM

Mirah watched her brother Gabe place his inky hand on the rock shelter wall and transition into manhood. Needing no one outside their small clan, freedom and friendship promised a peaceful future. That was life until the god, Shemyaza, sent his sons to slaughter them all.

Of those who survived, Mirah is captured and Gabe is missing.

United with a host of Giants, and Chimera, Shemyaza has one enemy, the destined Voice of Thunder. In a bid to destroy him, Shemyaza is building an army of Wielders and insists Mirah joins them.

Through magic, Mirah gains secrets. As she attempts to hide her powers and the mystery behind her wielding, Shemyaza’s stepson offers to train her but can she trust him with her heart?

Her old and new world collide and Mirah is torn. War is coming. Whichever path she chooses Mirah knows the Shadow is near, and only she can hear it whisper.

A Voice That Thunders is the first in an epic fantasy series set in the ancient past when monsters crept into our world, myth was born, and magic first breathed.

 


 

Genre: High fantasy, historical fiction

 


 

My review:

The cover for this story was very catchy. That red hair really stands out – and I don’t see a lot of main characters with such bright red hair. I think that’s what made me take a look at the book when I found it on Twitter. And the description, too, when I realised the story was set in the ancient world. I’m a sucker for History!

A great beginning! Stories like this that I’ve read always have the capture as Prologue and the quest for finding the captured as the rest of the story. This reversal was a little unsettling at first, but I’ve really came to love it!! A very nice twist to the cliche!

I give five stars for this book. Let me list out why:

1. The narration is heavy where new characters are introduced. Not at all overdone.

2. Ammo’s story was introduced at just the right point, when Mirah was out of commission for two days. Very well placed! I also loved how the story kept shifting from one character to another, even when they were all together. Gives perspective.

3. The show-don’t-tell aspect had been done very well.

4. Lovely cliffhangers! Absolutely Page-turning!!!

5. I also loved how natural all the characters seemed – even when it didn’t seem apparent in the beginning, especially Nate and Meciel’s behaviours.

6. The descriptions were poetic and fantastic!

7. The villains are scary, but they were epic! I’ll never forget them, just like I’ll never forget Sauron and the White Witch!

8. I love the names of all the characters!! That’s one of the best parts of any fantasy – as is for this one!

9. Also: memorable dialogues!

“A Voice That Thunders” was in fact just the kind of fantasy story I wanted to read for a long time. I mean, I could pick my copies of “The Hobbit”, “The Lord of the Rings”, and “The Chronicles of Narnia” any time, but in these days, one doesn’t find such high fantasy stories written by contemporary authors – they’ve always been mixed with contemporary issues. Which is not a bad thing; it just gets cliched at a point.

I liked how, despite the darkness, there are still some elements of humour maintained, which balanced out the story.

My only issue was there could’ve been more punctuation – as a reader, I find it more appealing that way. Also, there were a few grammar errors. But they don’t lower my rating in any way whatsoever, because the plot and the style and the author’s voice managed to captivate me so much that these errors stopped bothering me early on! I was actually fangirling by Chapter 6! The only reason I had to stop reading was for work and real-life stuff.

The chapter-length has been maintained fantastically – even if some chapters are longer than I’d like, they’re not forced – they feel natural – I didn’t feel bored at all. In fact, I didn’t even feel the length of the chapter most of the time.

Nate’s behaviour gets easier to understand when we start seeing his perspective. It was introduced earlier on in the book, which makes it all that better. Not too soon, not too late!

The ending was fantastic and I simply felt like I wanted to read the next book right away! Unfortunately, though, that will take time. But – here’s the fact: Cully Mack, you’ve got yourself a fan! All five stars! – because, the positive aspects more than outdo the negative ones.

“A Voice That Thunders” is an excellent read and I’d recommend this to lovers of LOTR and the Narnia Chronicles!

 


 

Find Cully Mack’s “A Voice That Thunders” on: Amazon and Goodreads.

You can find Cully Mack on: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Amazon, and Goodreads.

You can also find my review already posted on Goodreads.

Have a great day!

P.S. I haven’t notified my readers before, but I have decided to do reviews, too, on my blog.

A Love Like No Other

’Twas a love like no other—

Dull, dark, and every other colour,

Full of depth and mystery

That she couldn’t for the life of her figure.

 

’Twas a love like no other—

Moody, mysterious, and shadowy,

Slipping down the hallway in the dark

Without anybody given a chance to notice.

 

He rare spoke to her,

Never whispered sweet nothings

Like she saw other couples do—

But he still managed to capture her interest,

So she could never give up on him.

 

’Twas a love like no other

She’d ever witnessed,

Even without parents to guide her—

Only a guardian to defend her innocence.

And yet, she had crimes she can ne’er undo,

Words she couldn’t unspeak…

 

Yet, here was another willing to silently take it all in

And accept her for who she had been.

 

’Twas a love like no other—

Light and glory that filled her heart,

Rainbow and light that drove away the shadows

That clung to her for years together.

 

’Twas a love like no other—

Intensity and warmth that filled her soul,
Forcing her dark thoughts out of her mind

And bringing back the smile of her past.

 

He always cherished her,

Put her above all others,

Listened to her like she was his heart,

And pouring sunshine in her darkest corners,

Filling her soul with intense desire.

 

’Twas a love like no other

She had ever witnessed,

With her parents no more around,

Her sister forgotten,

Leaving her with a guardian—

Many things she had never seen before…

 

Yet, she knew she would be the one to break his soul

And undo his being, until he breathed no longer.

 

 

Once Upon A Book – Chapter 03 | Opening Ceremony for the Book

Chapter 02 | Ancient Runes and a Book

 

Chapter 03

Opening Ceremony of the Book

 

Moments after finding the ancient runes and the book out of thin magical air, Catherine was back in her bedroom, laying on her stomach on the bed, the book in front of her.

Jeremy the cricket sat on the headrest of the bed, peering down at the book in curiosity.

Finally, he cleared his throat and asked, “We’ve been sitting like this for several minutes now; do you think it’s time to actually open the book?”

“Hush!” she whispered. “The time hasn’t come yet.”

“Time?” he mocked. “What – you want to hold some sort of an opening ceremony for it?!”

She turned to him with a blank, most neutral expression on her face. “Yes.”

He blinked. ‘I was just joking,’ he said to himself. Aloud, he said, “I think now is as good a time as any.”

She shook her head. “Nah-uh.”

“Okay then, I’ll do it.” And he hopped beside the book.

She at once reacted by placing her hands on it. “No!”

“Well then, you open it. Now.”

“What are you so much in a hurry for?!”

“The title of the book says, ‘Fables for the Young’. Doesn’t that sound suspicious to you?”

She snorted. “Now, this is too much! How is it suspicious!? Okay, so it’s a book for –”

“Just open it.”

“Fine!” She held the edge of the hardcover of the book and thrust it open with more force than she probably had used before with other books. “Wow,” she gasped, all anger gone.

“What is it?” The cricket peered into the book. “Some writing I can’t read it – it’s big and upside down.”

“It says, ‘To whoever finds this book next, good luck.’ What is that supposed to mean?” She flipped the first page over and the next. “No mention of the author anywhere.”

“Perhaps it’s a compilation.”

“Then, there should be the names of the authors or the publication company – Why are you so stiff and wide-eyed all of a sudden? It’s true, you know.”

He nodded slowly. “Go on.”

Now, growing more interested herself, Catherine turned the leaf of the book and saw a blank page. She turned around and another page, and only encountered blank pages.

“This has nothing,” she said, surprised. “How can this be possible?”

Jeremy stooped thoughtfully towards the book. “I thought something like this might be the case,” he remarked. “I’ve encountered magic like this before. I bet a thousand rupees that the stories will start showing up from tomorrow.”

“Are you sure?”

“Absolutely. Different magical objects have different rules.”

“Okay then. So, we have nothing else to do. Or… do you want to search more in that room?”

“No… I don’t think we should go there again, at least not so soon.”

Catherine gazed carefully at the little cricket. After retrieving the book from the old, unused room, Jeremy had stopped breathing and turned around so quickly, she turned, too. His gaze was locked on the door, his face looking as if he had just seen a ghost – so pale was it. She didn’t find anything out of the ordinary, except that the door they came through was closed. But, that could’ve been the work of the wind; or, the door could’ve swung closed by itself. Obviously, he didn’t believe any of these logical solutions.

He’s been fidgety ever since,’ she thought. Aloud, she cleared her throat and said, “Jeremy, are you okay?”

The cricket abruptly turned his head up to her and blinked. “Yes, of course. Why do you ask?”

She stared at him a few more seconds, but couldn’t discern anything from his expression. ‘Yet,’ she told herself. Outwardly, she shook her head. “Nothing.”

“Good.” He fell silent.

“So, what do you propose we do next? Go outside?”

Jeremy’s mouth fell wide open in shock. “What?! And risk our lives!? No, thank you very much – very satisfied right inside! – no need to play with Death!”

“Well, okay. Want to play Ludo?”

“Ludo? Oh yes, I know that game – used to play that all the time with my brothers when they were still interested in me!”

“Oh, you have brothers? I have sisters. Are you the youngest?”

“Most certainly. Isn’t that the best?”

“Well, no, not really. Being the youngest, everybody ignores me and no one wants to listen to my wise words – not that I’m wise to begin with, but, you know –”

“Everybody thinks you’re too small to have any say?” The cricket nodded. “I hear ya.”

They shared a laugh over this.

“Wow… you and I actually have something in common,” remarked Catherine. “We actually might become friends.”

Jeremy nodded. “When Lena came to me and asked to be her sister’s friend, I was sure I was going to hate every moment of the slavery, but I’m starting to feel glad I came along. You’re not such a bad person yourself.”

Catherine smiled. “Thank you. Say, how come you’re here, anyway? I thought your family didn’t trust humans.”

“Long story,” he sighed. “I’ll tell it to you another day.”

She suspected he was hiding something, but push it. “Can you at least tell me how old you are?”

“Oh yes, that I can. I’m thirty years old.”

“Thirty? Wow… in mortal terms, that’s old.”

“I agree. But, I don’t think it’s very old for witches like you. But, it depends on their speciality and what they’re capable of.”

“Really? Oh, tell me more about it, please!” Despite her earlier resentment and dislike for the magical cricket, Catherine found herself genuinely interested in what he had to say.

“For that matter,” he added, “we crickets don’t normally live beyond the span of a mortal year. But, my family has been blessed with magical abilities and Jiminy’s extraordinary help to the gods earned him favour among them and granted him and his descendants immortality.”

The young girl’s eyes widened. “Oh! – you meant to say that Jiminy Cricket is still alive? Can I see him?”

“Unfortunately, no. I should’ve added more to the blessing: we could choose our date of death.”

Her nerves twitched at this and she tried to settle them down. “Oh… is that a good thing or a bad thing?”

He winked at her and hopped back to the top of her bed’s headrest. “That’s for you to decide,” he told her. “Besides, you don’t have to, because it’s not a blessing you’ve been granted. Speaking of” – he glanced at the window at her right – “it’s dusk; I should be leaving now.”

Catherine suddenly felt sad all over again and a feeling of loneliness began to fill the hole that was reforming in her heart. “Oh no, do you have to?”

The cricket turned to her; tiny though he may seem, his eyes gave away his wise nature – something he had inherited from being a descendent of Jiminy Cricket.

“Unless,” he added, “you want me to stay.”

Now, Catherine felt conflicted. On the one side, her heart was growing heavy with pain and the loneliness she had had to endure for most of her life. On the other, she still felt that the cricket being here willingly made no sense – how her sister was able to find and befriend the magical crickets of the ancient lore she couldn’t understand. But then, Jeremy was already making her cheerful, with just being an hour or so with him; he was also a good companion to talk and listen to.

Oh, what was she going to do?

At long last, the corners of Catherine’s mouth turned up ever so slightly. Below her, she could hear a door banging somewhere in the house – or, was it a window? Perhaps it was the wind, because neither her parents nor her sisters could be back home so soon. The threat of exposure to the collision of the Light and the Darkness remained well into twilight.

Catherine spoke up: “I want you to stay with me.”

 

Chapter 04 | Cinderella and the Missing Prince


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Once Upon A Book – Chapter 02 | Ancient Runes and a Book

Chapter 01 | The Day the Darkness and the Light Became One

 

Chapter 02

Ancient Runes and a Book

 

“Are we actually searching for something here?” asked Catherine with a frown.

Jeremy the cricket, still sitting on her shoulder, turned to her. “What makes you think so?”

She turned her narrowed gaze at him. “Because you knew that we had to come to this exact spot – whatever this is.” She looked around her. “A vast chamber that might’ve been used as a… study?” There were several built-in shelves in the walls that led her to believe this. They were now in the unused, locked section of the house.

“Well, let’s search these shelves.” The cricket hopped off her shoulder and towards the top of the nearest shelf. “Let’s begin!”

He had meant it when he said they didn’t need keys to enter the locked doors with him around. Jeremy went right to the other side through the built-in keyholes, unlocked them for her to walk in without a hassle. When asked how he did it, since the locks and bolts were surely rusted, he simply shrugged and said, “Magic”.

This is so suspicious,’ she thought now, standing in the entrance to the third room that the cricket unlocked. ‘Wait… this thing is a descendent of the original Jiminy Cricket – a family of species that hide out in the deepest, most inaccessible part of the forest outside the town. Now that I think about it, I did ask Lena where she got him from and she… never answered my question. And now, he’s evasive, too. Did she somehow find out their hiding place? And if so, how come he’s being so friendly? I didn’t think –

“Are you helping me or not?” Catherine’s thoughts were interrupted by the cricket in question.

She looked up at where he stood to her right, a tiny paw on the enormous shelf below him, staring at her like she just sleep-walked. She shook off her daze and went towards him. Suddenly, she felt a curious buzzing in her ear that became louder as she neared.

“What’s that noise?” she asked him. “Do you hear it, too?”

Jeremy blinked at her and tilted his head. “I… don’t think so. Why? How does it sound like?”

“Some sort of… buzzing, I think. Wait, it stopped.”

“Okay then. Hurry up and open this cupboard for me!”

Catherine didn’t really want to do it, but for some reason, she felt as if she absolutely had to. Like her subconscious was trying to search for something. She opened the cupboard and saw that it was empty, except for a few cobwebs and maybe a bunch of other insects nested in it.

“Nothing unusual,” she told him. “You don’t see anything either, do you?” The cricket was hanging to peer into the cupboard.

He straightened up and shook his head, forelegs crossed across its chest. “None. Next!”

She frowned in annoyance. “You sure do order about a lot!” she mumbled, but proceeded to the next shelf and opened it. “Nothing in here, either.” She paused, gazing for a second into space. “But, here comes the buzzing again – ugh! It’s so loud!” She hunched forward instinctively and clutched her ears with her hands, as if trying to keep out from hearing something annoying.

Jeremy looked on thoughtfully as he hopped over to where she stood. “You say a buzzing noise, huh?”

“Ugh, it’s getting so loud!” she exclaimed. She obviously didn’t hear what the cricket said. Her face had scrunched up, too, eyes closed tight.

He frowned in thought. “Um, a buzzing sound, getting louder and louder… Aha!” He hopping onto her shoulder once more and began to sing a lullaby.

For a whole minute, nothing changed, but as the cricket sang on – and let me pause here and tell you that it was absolutely fantastic to listen to: any baby would fall right asleep listening to it or quiet down, whichever the singer wants – she calmed down, gradually. Even when she stopped yelling and her hands fell to her sides, he didn’t stop until the song was over. For, there were rules when it came to magical spells and songs imbued with them.

When the song ended, silence fell across the room.

It was broken a few seconds later by Catherine’s whisper: “Thank you.” She seemed to have understood that the cricket did something to help her.

Jeremy looked up at her with a small smile. “You’re welcome. But, I think know why you’ve been hearing it.”

“Actually… I still do – it’s just more tolerable now. But, do go on.”

“It’s probably because of a certain something I want to find. You’re right, I came here specifically for something. Until I entered this room, my directions had mostly been on instinct and general reading of magic, but the after that… Well, I suppose it must be left to you to find this thing.”

“Well then, what do you know about it?”

He shrugged. “Just that it’s magical. And I know that somehow, you’re linked to it.”

“Is that the buzzing noise? Like, how in the TV, in magical shows, they show the light of some jewel glowing stronger as it nears something it’s been attracted to? Is the noise like that, too?”

“Yes, that’s what I suspect. Especially since only you can hear it.”

She blinked at this, stunned. “Only me?!”

He nodded. “Only you. Not sure how you’re linked, though. Well, we’ll just have to see.” He cleared his throat and bloated out his chest importantly. “Now, heed my words, young Catherine, though it might be difficult for you to do.”

Her head hung in remorse. “Let me guess: you want me to go in search of that buzzing?”

“Wow, yes, exactly! How did you know!?” Jeremy looked genuinely excited. “Wow, you can read my mind!”

“Well, it’s pretty much written all over your face,” she muttered before letting out a sigh. “All right, fine, I’ll do it. But, just this once. In fact, I’m never coming to this creepy place ever again! – no wonder it was completely closed off from the rest of the house!”

Despite her words, Catherine took a deep breath and let it out. She rubbed her hands together like she usually did when doing something she didn’t want to but had to.

This is probably the most exciting thing I’ll ever be doing in my life,’ she thought. ‘And that, too, on my most important birthday—the day I turn sixteen! Better to just get it over with and now!

She concentrated on the buzzing in her head. She could feel the calming sensation of the song fading away slowly and she decided she had to find the object before it completely wore off. She walked slowly to the other side of the room and a cupboard in the middle. The cricket watched these proceedings carefully. She held the handles of the cupboard and blew them open.

They were both sure, absolutely sure, that the object they sought would be in there. After all, she was almost deaf with the buzzing now and he could feel intense magical energy.

It turned out that they were both wrong: the cupboard was empty.

“What?!” Jeremy exclaimed as he hopped up and down on the young girl’s shoulder. “And I was so sure this was the one!”

“The buzzing certainly left my ears.” She frowned. “Well, it isn’t here. In fact, nothing is here… Wait, except for this.” She leaned forward and when the cricket felt himself sliding, he hopped off of his perch and onto the shelf she was peering into. “What’s this writing in here? Wait, I think I can read it – it’s in ancient runic language.” She had learnt to read it all of her life.

“Well then, read it out.”

“Right!” She cleared her throat. “Just in case this is actually a spell, which you can’t get wrong. Otherwise, you’ll suffer consequences. Okay, so let’s see…” She examined the runes engraved on the wall carefully. “’My name is Rue and I call upon thee to hand over your book to me’.” She blinked. “What does it – Ah!” For, a bright light blinded her and she pulled the cricket from where he was standing – he could’ve been engulfed by the light otherwise – and they watched from a safe distance, several feet away from the shelf.

When the light faded away, they glanced at one-another, before nodding in mutual agreement and walking back towards it.

In the shelf, underneath the writing, was a book.

 

Chapter 03 | Opening Ceremony for the Book


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A Quiet Date | June 16 Genre Prompt Challenge

The following one-shot is based on the prompt challenge by Teresa Grabs on her blog. You can find the prompt here, if you, too, want to join in the fun! 


 

A Quiet Date

 

Ellie couldn’t believe that she was on her first date with two-year boyfriend, Joseph.

For the first time since she’d met him, things were quiet and nothing went wrong. She could feel it in her bones that today would stay that way. Of course, for all she knew, it could be another series of roller-coaster rides from tomorrow, lasting several weeks as usual.

But right now, she wanted to savour this peaceful moment. And the fact that Joseph looked so incredibly handsome in his Mystical Adventurers guild’s dark blue robe.

Just then, the waiter arrived with their orders. Being five o’clock in the evening, they had resorted to a couple of veg sandwiches, one for each. Joseph began to devour into his; when he saw that she was gazing at him with a fascinated look in her eyes, he rose his eyebrows in question.

“Nothing,” she shook her head and dug into her sandwich as well. “Umm, this is so good!” she exclaimed as she chewed, her cheeks growing red in excitement.

He grinned. “Told you I know the best cafés in town.” He winked at her.

“You sure did!” She took another large bite of her sandwich. “So! How does it feel to be one of the Mystical Adventurers?” She stuck out a fist at him pretending to be holding a microphone.

Joseph laughed. “It feels great!” he replied. “And I feel a lot like I’ve finally achieved something!” He paused and smiled warmly at her. “Ellie, thank you so much for pushing me into this.”

The young girl shrugged, as if nonchalant. “Somebody had to!”

“Then, I’m glad it’s you.” He paused. “So. You up for everybody to know our secret now?”

Life Update – 15/06/2020

Life changed drastically since I posted my last Life Update.

Literally.

I got a job that I always wanted since graduating last year. That’s it. That’s my big news.

So far, I’m loving it. It’s a big company, so there’s a lot of pressure, but I have people to ask questions and find out processes, so I’m doing okay. And a job I simply love. I don’t have too many complaints.

I’ve put my fiction-writing aside and have been working only once a day, at most, rather than a few times a day. I think I may have found some form of balance between the two. My depression bouts have decreased in frequency; maybe because I have more work to put my mind to now. I treat it as a good thing. I’m also reading a lot more now than I did the past few months and I’m happy with what I’m reading. I just finished reading a novel for review. It’ll be available on my Goodreads profile once the book gets released. I love this author’s work, so I’m going to promote it!

I used a little of my first salary to buy a couple of books: “Midnight Sun” by Stephenie Meyer and “Forged in Fire” by Daniel Bylsma. The former I’m obviously yet to get, but the latter is on my Kindle and I shall be starting it very soon! I shall post a review on it when I’m done, so I’ll be promoting that, as well!

I’m also contemplating making some major life-changing decisions as far as my fiction-writing is concerned. No, not abandoning it or anything silly like that – if that’s what you thought when you read my last statement. No. I’m thinking of quitting a few websites. Specifically story-writing websites. I’ve not made my decision yet, so I’ll not say anything else on the matter.

I know I’ve made such statements before – talked about quitting, I mean – but, this time, I really mean it. I mean, I’ve found so many wonderful alternatives… I don’t need the toxicity from some websites. I don’t mean to say I’m being bullied, but… you know, other forms of toxicity. I’m not about to go public about them now – I already vented it all out in tweets.

So, yea, that’s the news I’ve got for y’all. I hope you’re inside and safe. Try not to catch any infections or make yourself vulnerable to the virus in any way. Stay home, stay safe. And if you have anything to talk to anybody, please do reach out to the people you love and care about and speak to them. DO NOT HESITATE. Life is too short to hesitate, people, you must come forward and speak! They’re people who care about you – why would they not listen to you? All you have to do is approach.

I know I should probably not speak like this to people suffering from depression, but sometimes, they need to be hit like that – drop a bullet on their heads – to get the point across. I know I did. Depression is a phase in our lives that we can overcome! Yes, it’s true!! It’s NOT incurable!!! You CAN and you WILL cure it!! I know it feels like nobody is listening, but take some time out to come out of your shell and look around you! Please do it!

Thank you. That’s all I have now.

Take care and stay safe. And, please, for heaven’s sake, stay alive. We all need you!

Once Upon A Book – Chapter 01 | The Day the Darkness and the Light Became One

Blurb

 

Chapter 01

The Day the Darkness and the Light Became One

 

Catherine May Heywood turned sixteen years old on the 31st December, a day that was known in her town of Fairy Heights to be the day when the Darkness and the Light collided.

    She was left all alone, just like she always had been for most of her life. Despite having four older sisters and rich parents with lots of servants, she still could not get any of them to pay her attention for more than five minutes. However, there was one section of the large manor – it was the only one in the entire town – that was converted into a library; it was said that in the olden days, it was more of a book store. Now, people came in to borrow books rather than buy them, and paid a minimal price for it, set by the librarian, who happened to be Catherine’s third sister, Lena.

    Lena was more engaging with her youngest sister than the others were, although she, too, sometimes was too caught up in her work to free up her time for Catherine. So, when this happened on her most important birthday, Lena gave her a gift after lunch that afternoon.

    “A cricket?” asked the youngest sister, her face blank. “What do I do with it?”

    Lena shook a finger at her in negative. “It’s not just a cricket. It’s of the family of the special ones that speak – a descendent of the great and wise crickets.”

    This planted the seed of interest in Catherine’s mind and a wide smile burst forth her lips. “Oh wow, that’s wonderful! Where did you get them, Lena?! – aren’t they supposed to be hiding out in the deepest areas of the forest?”

    The elder sister only grinned and winked at her, before attending to the customers who just entered the library. Catherine had no choice, but to accept the gift and go back to her room. Her parents would’ve been there, but they received an urgent call from the mayor, saying that she was calling an emergency meeting and off they rushed, as soon as they could after lunch.

    What had they been doing before lunch? – you may ask. Well, they had been planning their day for after lunch.

    Now, it was almost four in the evening and Catherine lay on her bed, her back pressed to the soft mattress, her head hanging to its side, staring directly out the window. She could see the semi-dark sky and hear the silence of the town. 31st December was the day that everybody stayed outside their homes for as little time as possible. It was a public holiday in the town of Fairy Heights and so, workers stayed at home on this day; readers, however, spent most of their time in the town’s only library. She couldn’t even hear the birds chirping or the animals calling to one-another—such was the effect of the day that the Darkness and the Light collided and became one.

    “You’re a special girl, you know.”

    Catherine started violently and would’ve fallen off the bed, had she not had a strong instinct that saved her at once: her arms threw themselves out to hold the mattress hard and, when she was conscious and calming down, to heave her body aright.

    She turned to her bedside table, where she had placed the cricket. It was the one who spoke to her.

    “What did you say?” she asked it. “Also, what’s your name?”

    “Ah, what excellent questions!” declared the cricket. It raised its chest proudly before bowing low. “My name is Jeremy Cricket and I’m a descendent of Jiminy Cricket, the Great and Wisest. And I’m here to be your constant companion and friend, as your sister has said I should be.”

    Catherine blinked, bored. “I know that already. My sister told me, didn’t she?”

    “Yes. And what I said to you earlier was, precisely, ‘You’re a special girl, you know’.”

    She narrowed her eyes at this and crawled slowly towards the cricket. “Oh? And what do you mean by that?”

    The insect shrugged. “What do I know? I only glimpse the future when I’m allowed to.”

    She snorted. “Convenient.”

    “It is, isn’t it? We still have to work and live just as we would. Now, what’s the problem? Wait – isn’t it your sixteenth birthday to-day?”

    Catherine wanted to be suspicious some more, but her energy gave out like a fuse and she slumped back with a sigh. “Yes, well, that’s true.”

    “And you have not got anybody but me to spend it with?”

    She rolled her eyes in slight irritation. “I would’ve if my parents didn’t decide to waste the whole morning planning what to do now!”

    “I see. Well, what of your other sisters? I know Lena is working in the library and she usually has a lot of customers on days like this – but, you have three other sisters, don’t you? Where are they?”

    Catherine shrugged. “Angelika just got married and she’s on her honeymoon with her new husband. Sarah-Beth is renovating an old house for an old couple. Cordelia has kids to take care of, besides her work. Also, she doesn’t step out of her house on my birthday.”

    “Which falls on the day the Darkness and the Light collide. Makes sense. It’s not exactly the best day to be outside – the exposure could be harmful to humans, like you, magicians or not.”

    “Well, I’m not a mere magician. I’m a witch – I could conjure up a spell to create a ball of protection around myself. And if you’re wondering whether I’m capable –”

    “That I most certainly am not. The exposure is so harmful that the most powerful sorcerer couldn’t protect himself against it.”

    That shut Catherine up and she pouted. “All right then. What do you propose we do the rest of my birthday?” She pronounced the word with distaste.

    The little cricket – though, really, it was several years older than the girl in reality – put an appendage under its head in thought.

    “Why don’t we do some exploring?” he said after a bit. He looked around the room. “This house seems huge.”

    Catherine frowned now, as something occurred to her: “How do you know so much about me?”

    Jeremy didn’t seem to hear as he hopped off the table and all the way towards the door. Indeed, that’s like walking a thousand miles for a human, so it was a great feat for him!

    “Follow me! I think I know just where to start our treasure-hunt!”

    The young girl narrowed her eyes. “You’re not serious, are you? And anyway, what about my question? Are you answering it or not?”

    It was precisely at this time that she realised the cricket was no longer in her room – or indeed, within her sight. She rushed towards the door to peek out.

    “Where did you go?!”

    “I’m right here!”

    The rather deep voice in her ear freaked her out and she jumped a mile in the air, before she realised it was only Jeremy. The little guy was sitting on her left shoulder, quite quiet and innocent.

    She blinked at him, before she could find her voice again:

    “What the hell!?” she cried. “Where did you run off to?! And what did you want to show me?”

    “Isn’t there a part of this house that’s been locked off since you were little?” asked Jeremy.

    Catherine’s eyes narrowed to suspicious slits. “How do you know that?”

    “Yes or no?”

    She rolled her eyes. “Guess I’m going to have to let you have your way for a while. Yes, there is. But, I don’t have the key.”

    He hopped once on her shoulder – she didn’t even feel his weight all that much, she realised – and a wide grin spread on his tiny green face.

    “Who cares about keys when I, Jeremy the Great, am here!” He winked.

Chapter 02 | Ancient Runes and a Book


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