News, Featured Author

Featured Author: Raquel Herrera

Meet Raquel Herrera, author of Hunters I: The Mission.

About Raquel Herrera

Raquel is a 25-year-old student of Classic Philology. She fell in love with books when she was in high school and her literature teacher made her read The Hunger Games for her final test, soon after that she found her passion to write too. Her first attempt to write was around 2016 on Wattpad, with a story called “Just one heart” but for some personal situations she stopped writing back then. Also, she is a huge fan of Jennifer L. Armentrout. She has been following her for years. Besides writing she loves traveling and music, and she actually play bass and transversal flute.

So let’s talk a bit about Hunters I: The Mission.

First things first, tell us a little bit about Hunters I: The Mission:
Hunters is a high fantasy world, with seven kingdoms and each of them hunt a specific type of animal or creature. In the first book (The Mission) we meet Akane, she is a huntress/crown princess, who has to do a mission for her to become queen. But the day before she starts her mission, a bunch of different things happen, from a prince showing up to an ancient legend, her world will soon turn upside down.

When did you start writing Hunters I: The Mission? What inspired you to write it?
I start writing hunters back in 2018. That’s when the first idea came up. I believe I got it from a dream, this princess hunting in the woods. Back then I was living in New York alone, away from my family and I was homesick so I started writing it as a way to escape. I’m sure the sad/angry/tense scenes where the first ones I ever wrote.

Who is your favorite character?
People are going to be upset about this, but it’s actually Killian. He is not the main character at all, he is in just 2 or 3 chapters but I just love him so bad.

What was your favorite part to write?
Probably the scenes where Killian and Ashton are together (that’s around chapters 29-30) I love the chemistry of those two characters together.

What is the general message you hope readers pull from Hunters I: The Mission?
Even though the situation might be hard, or what’s in front of you seems impossible, with friends and family you can make it through. Also, not giving up, writing the book was hard for me as well this mission is hard for Akane, but we didn’t give up. People should follow their dreams.

Can you give us an out-of-context spoiler?
There’s a face-to-face dragon scene

What is ONE reason readers should pick up Hunters I: The Mission?
Well, who doesn’t like a badass warrior crown princess with a sarcastic and funny sidekick friend? Plus, there’s a bit of an enemy to lovers.

Hunters I: The Mission sounds like so much fun, and I love how it has been influenced by your life.

So speaking of your life…let’s dive a bit more into your writing life…

If you could sit down with your favorite author for an hour, what would you ask them?
I’ll probably have time just for 1 question because I’ll freak out (no joke, this already happened, I got into the same elevator as her, and I didn’t know what to do so I got out on the wrong floor) so I’ll ask her any tip she can give me to grow as an author. Or about her mistakes in her journey so I can try to avoid them

What does your writing routine look like, if you have one?
Let’s say it includes a lot of procrastinating, but there’s something I always do, and it’s setting a daily writing goal, I even do a chart where I can keep track of it. I can’t really write without it because I need to see that I’m in fact making some progress.

Who do you consider your biggest support when you are writing?
My parents and brothers hear me talking about my own nonsense all the time, they aren’t readers and of course, they don’t have any idea what I’m talking about, but they still support me. My parents even read my first book, even though it took them months to finish it. And I’m sure that was the first book my dad ever read completely. 

How do you define success as an author? Is it the number of book sales? The number of reviews? The fact your story made someone smile? Or something else?
For me, success is being able to inspire people, for me publishing my first book was a long journey, and the fact that there are people out there telling me my book inspired them to follow their own dreams, is more than enough for me.

What have been some of your biggest successes as an author?
There are two things I can think of right now, the first one is that my book was the most sell book in my local bookstore back in June 2021. And the second one is that I got an invitation to be one of the authors signing in ApollyCon 2022, which is a really big signing event in DC, organized by Jennifer L. Armentrout. Basically, I’ll be signing books along with other amazing and popular authors like Brigid Kemmerer and Danielle L. Jensen. 

Check out Hunters I: The Mission below…and be sure to follow Raquel Herrera to discover more of her work!

Featured Author, News

Featured Author: R.T. Cole

Meet R.T. Cole, author of Genesis of War (Book One of the Realm of Aeron).

About R.T. Cole

R.T. Cole is a fiction writer and the author of THE REALM OF AREON series. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and son.

He has been a fan of fantasy since the days of Willow, Conan the Barbarian, and The Princess Bride. When he was a teenager, he saw The Fellowship of the Ring in theaters; After that, he knew that he wanted to write epic stories and turn them into books for a new generation of fantasy fans. R.T. now spends his days working to bring life to his own worlds.

He grew up reading science fiction & fantasy, from Star Wars to Harry Potter, and writing fan-fiction Transformers stories. He was, and still is, a gamer that prefers RPGs for their intricate plots and detailed magic systems. If there’s ever time left in the day, he can also be found reading the latest issue of DC’s The Flash.

So let’s talk a bit about Genesis of War.

First things first, tell us a little bit about Genesis of War:
Genesis of War is the first book in a 5-part epic fantasy series called The Realm of Areon. It tells the story of three brothers who are thrust into a new war with a vengeful sorcerer. While the siblings are together in the beginning, they’re quickly separated by duty, and we then follow each of them on their unique journeys.

When did you start writing Genesis of War? What inspired you to write it?
Technically, I started writing it in 2002. By “writing it”, I mean I jotted down a notebook full of ideas, lol. After spending years compiling more notes—never fully taking it seriously until I was older—I finally took the plunge and wrote the whole novel in 2017.

As for the inspiration, the reason I began writing down notes in early 2002 is because I had just seen “The Fellowship of the Ring” in December 2001. I will always credit that film for giving me the realization that I wanted to tell stories.

Who is your favorite character?
I have a lot of characters, lol. But if I had to choose one, I’d say Thasus Palidor. He is the oldest of the three brothers I mentioned before. It’s a lot of fun writing him because he’s the one character who has taken on a life of his own in the story—meaning he has turned out completely different than what I had envisioned in my outline. It has actually worked out for the better.  

What was your favorite part to write?
Any part where there was a battle, or when I had the opportunity to describe one of the many abilities used throughout the book. For example, the first time we find a character utilizing the ability to read minds, I wanted to give the reader a perfect glimpse into what that would be like.

What is the general message you hope readers pull from Genesis of War?
All heroes have flaws, and all villains have at least one redeeming quality.

Can you give us an out-of-context spoiler?
The evolution of one character may surprise you.

What is ONE reason readers should pick up Genesis of War?
It’s an easy read for a first-in-a-series.

Any other things you want us to know about Genesis of War?
While there’s talk of different locations, history, and people called Sages, there’s a map at the front of the book and appendices at the back to make things a lot easier to follow.

Genesis of War sounds like an amazing first book to a series! I just started reading and can’t wait to dive into it more!

So speaking of writing…let’s dive a bit more into your writing life…

So tell me…why do you write?
I just want to tell stories. Books, movies, TV shows, comic books, and video games have all shaped me with the amazing stories they tell. I hope my stories reach just one person at that level.m out of my mind. 

Do you prefer physical books, eBooks, audiobooks or all of the above? Why?
I prefer physical books. Not only do I love the smell of a new book, but also it’s easier for me to stare at over a screen any day of the week.

How do you define success as an author? Is it the number of book sales? The number of reviews? The fact your story made someone smile? Or something else?
Book sales are great. Reviews are even better because they can lead to more sales through word-of-mouth. But I consider myself a successful author if my stories resonate with the readers. There’s no greater feeling than seeing one of my books mentioned in a social media post, or receiving a message from a reader with positive thoughts.

What have been some of your biggest successes as an author?
’ve had two that come to mind: 1) I’ve sold over 1,000 copies of Genesis of War since it was published in 2018; and 2) My third book, Shards of the Sun, received the #1 New Release banner on Amazon in January 2021, and the banner remained for the entire first week of publication. That last one was a bit of a big deal because the book could’ve lost the banner after the first day, due to lack of sales, but it thrived for its first 7 days in the world. I was shocked!

What has been one of your biggest mistakes on your publishing journey?
Rushing my first two book releases. In that regard, I mean that I didn’t know the ins and outs of obtaining ARC readers, sending out newsletters, marketing for months leading up to the day of release, etc. I did well enough with Book 3, but I’m hoping I can perfect the process when I come out with Book 4.

Check out Genesis of War below…and be sure to follow R.T. Cole to discover more of his work!

Book Review

Scythia Protostar – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★.5  (3.5 / 5 stars)

When an ambitious bureaucrat wants to rise to power, what does he do? Simple: hire a bunch of rogue minions to get the job done. Yet this is not the usual group of criminals: there’s Raza, a beautiful and cunning leader, Uthrairth, a deadly headhunter, Djaem, a hive-master rogue, and Scythia, a broke psychic. Can they put their differences asside to complete the assignment? Or will it all be for naught?

I had the pleasure of speaking with Author Jesse M. Harvey earlier this month. What a wonderful individual, and it really did help me with understanding the world of Scythia Protostar (pronounced Scythe-ee-uh, not Sith-ee-uh). This novel, short and action packed, is in a way the “pilot episode” of an ongoing series. You’re thrust into the action, getting a taste of the world (or…galaxy) at large, in a way reminiscent of the show Firefly. It may take some time to figure out exactly what is happening, but once it all clicks, you see the uniqueness of each character, as well as the strange beauty of the hive world unseen in many other stories.

Yet the speed of the story is probably one of its faults…at least for me. I like books that take a bit longer (although not too long) to establish things. I’m not the biggest fan of being thrown directly into the action. If the story took some time to set the scene a bit more, or perhaps slowed down just a little bit, I may have connected with the characters somewhat more…especially when it came to Raza and Uthraith. I loved Djaem’s and Scythia’s dynamic, I just wish I had a chance to understand more.

But no doubt, the next books in the series will help establish more about these characters and built upon the fight they will endure. Will they stay loyal this bureaucrat? Or will they rebel? What will happen?

I guess I’ll have to wait for book 2 to find out.

What’s it about?

An ambitious bureaucrat has brought together an unusual team to help him rise in power. In a world so dark that the only way to get ahead is by taking them. He has worked hard to gain the loyalty of the cunning and beautiful, Raza. He has found Uthraith, the deadliest headhunter from the far feral reaches of space. It took months of searching but he finally caught Djaem, the best hive-master rogue in the inner-sectors. And at last… he found it… His secret weapon. Scythia, a broken psychic from the Citadel.
Can this batch of imperial criminals, cooperate long enough to complete an assignment? Only time will tell.

Join them on their first mission, as they are sent to a hive mining colony to gather Intel and contain a Tyrling demon. Now he just as to hope that they will return intact with the colony still standing.

Book Review

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★★✰  (4 / 5 stars)
Audio Book Performance: ★★★★✰  (4 / 5 stars)

We all know the story: Dr. Jekyll created Hyde, the embodiment of the darkest depths of his soul. It has forever left its mark on popular culture, inspiring superheroes (looking at you, the Incredible Hulk) as well as songs such as The Stranger by Billy Joel. Even if you haven’t heard the original tale, without a doubt, you have seen the inspiration.

This is a tale about the darkness inside all of us. Even though Dr. Jekyll undergoes a horrific transformation, the truth is, Hyde is always there. Jekyll realizes this, and as he leaves his last confession, he goes as far as to admit he was scared of himself all along. Perhaps, really, we need to be aware of our negative sides, take stock of the impact they leave, and remember they are part of human nature. Then, our Mr. Hyde’s will not be as gruesome. Perhaps, they’ll learn to live in harmony with our true selves.

As with a lot of classics, sometimes I find myself waiting for the story to speed up. In this case, I’m not sure if I can blame the writing or author, or possibly the audiobook narrator. Ultimately though, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is exactly the story I knew, but now…I know it at the source.

I’m so glad I read (well, listened) to this book at the start of the year. It really is the starting point for so many tropes about the two sides of every coin…and how we must learn to embrace our darkness in order to tame it.

What’s it about?

Robert Louis Stevenson presents the suspenseful, eerie and captivating story of a ruthless scientist who sets out to liberate his inner demon from the firm clutches of his conscience.

Upon bearing witness to the extent of Mr Hyde’s violent nature, Jekyll is horrified by his callous disregard for the welfare of others and greatly ashamed by the unstoppable nature of his ambition.

Eager to redeem himself, Jekyll sets out to capture and stop the bloodthirsty Mr Hyde, by any means necessary. However, in keeping with true gothic tradition, Dr Jekyll must now face a race against time as damning evidence is uncovered, and the investigating detectives and interested parties are brought right to his door.

News

Amending My Review System

If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you know that I average a 3 to 4 star review on most books. I really do reserve 5 stars for the absolute best and 1 stars for irredeemable stories. This is not changing.

However, with my average review being 3.5 stars, I have decided to amend how these reviews appear on Goodreads and Amazon.

Starting this year, 2022, any book that is rated 3.5 stars will be rounded up to 4 stars on Goodreads and Amazon. For the past few years, since I started actively reviewing books, I rounded these down to three stars. While I personally still consider 3 stars a decent review, I know not everyone feels this way.

I feel that, especially since I am featuring 50 small authors this year, that rounding up is more fair to ALL authors – whether big, small, or in between. While I will still mention in my reviews that I am rating the book 3.5 stars (which has always been the case), increasing the rating to 4 stars on these websites will provide a more honest review to how I felt: I enjoyed it – just there were things I also didn’t enjoy.

Hopefully this makes sense and will further support authors in their endeavors. One thing I want to do is help small authors shine…because really, we’re all in this together.


For reference, my review system is as followed:

★★★★★
This book is absolutely spectacular. I could not find any flaws in it and will be thinking about it for years! Everyone should add this to their shelves!

★★★★☆
This book was great! I really enjoyed it despite a few minor things. Definitely recommend this book!

★★★☆☆
This book was good. I enjoyed it and definitely think others will as well. There were some issues that prevent me from rating it higher though.

★★☆☆☆
While this book wasn’t necessarily the greatest book and there were some pitfalls in it, it definitely has its merits and I can see why people should check it out. Don’t let my review sway you from not taking a look.

★☆☆☆☆
Very rarely do I give 1 star reviews. These are typically reserved for books that I find completely and utterly irredeemable. This is rare.

☆☆☆☆☆ (DNFs)
I won’t rate a DNF unless I make it half-way through the book. If I do not reach that point, I will still leave a review WITHOUT a star rating explaining why I did not finish the book. I do not think I can give an honest opinion on a book unless I reach that 50% mark.

Featured Author, News

Featured Author: Jesse M. Harvey

Meet Jesse M. Harvey, author of Scythia Protostar (Book One of the Dark Stellar Legacy).

About Jesse M. Harvey

Jesse M. Harvey debut book is ‘Motherhood at the End of the World.’ She writes many types of fiction, including science fiction, space fantasy, supernatural, thriller and mystery. She graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor’s degree in history.

Jesse currently lives in Syracuse NY. She is married with three school age children. Her family comes from a military background, and her husband is a veteran.

Through all her work, Jesse includes underlining themes of hope, compassion, courage and determination. She believes that fiction shapes the future. Jesse wants to help inspire a more diverse and inclusive world.

So let’s talk a bit about Scythia Protostar.

First things first, tell us a little bit about Scythia Protostar:
It is a Science Fiction/Fantasy adventure. It’s the first in a series. Evil Galactic Empire, where a group of misfits are brought together. They are sent on their first mission together and it does not go as planned.

When did you start writing Scythia Protostar? What inspired you to write it?
I started writing it about five years ago. It started as a NaNoWriMo challenge. My husband and I were discussing working together on a book. We originally talked about writing a Romantic Comedy. Somehow, we went from, Bad guys need love too; to what if the henchmen fell in love. Then, too what if they were really bad at being bad guys, ending up with a group of morally grey characters inadvertently becoming heroes as they try to survive a very dangerous world. It was a wild ride honestly.

Who is your favorite character?
Djaem is my favorite. He is the sneaky, brilliant master mind, and manipulator. I love the super smart characters, like Sherlock Holmes, or Loki. But he is also the physically weakest of the group, so he must be very clever to not get hurt. It also means that when he does put himself in harm’s way it is even more of a sacrifice.   

What was your favorite part to write?
I really enjoy writing the descriptive scenes. I feel that this book lets me get a little more poetic with some of the descriptors because it is in space. I also really like the funny parts. They still make me laugh.

What is the general message you hope readers pull from Scythia Protostar?
Scythia is written in a pulp style. So, it is supposed to be fast and fun. I hope they feel a little inspired, a little hopeful. The darker it is the, brighter our little light becomes.

Can you give us an out-of-context spoiler?
Uthraith is one of the smallest people from his tribe. He was sent from his tribe to the Inner Ring of the empire because he was the smartest and spoke the most languages. He only keeps and decorates the skulls of the enemies he finds worth.

What is ONE reason readers should pick up Scythia Protostar?
It is a wild ride, and it will make you smile.

Any other things you want us to know about Scythia Protostar?
We didn’t get rid of the Romantic idea. In fact, we decided to make the romance and unlaying theme. Each book is like an episode, each episode is a beat to the romance plot. Book one is boy meets girl. Book two will have book boy realizes he likes girl. Etc.  

Scythia Protostar sounds like an amazing and fun book! I love that you enjoy writing descriptive scenes…I feel like a lot of writers don’t.

So speaking of writing…let’s dive a bit more into your writing life…

So tell me…why do you write?
I have been writing since I was 11. I joke that if I don’t write the people and worlds in my head will make my brain explode. It helps to tell their stories. It clears them out of my mind. 

Ok so you must have more hobbies outside of writing. What are they? Do they influence your writing in any way? Oh I collect hobbies. I love puzzles, and games. I play roleplaying games, as well as video games. I also do cross stich, and pain by numbers. I love baking and stuff like that. I think it helps a lot with my writing. It helps give ideas, and keeps my calm, it also gives my brain a way of sorting through things while I do the hobby and relax.

What is your favorite word? Why?
I don’t think I have a favorite word because there are so many. But I do have a favorite curse word. I love the word Fuck. Because it is so diverse, and I can use it in so man different ways.

Ha! That’s great! It really is quite a diverse word…it can be used as a verb…adjective…noun…oops! I’m getting carried away.

Anyhow, who do you consider your biggest support when you are writing?
My Husband really is my biggest support. As I said I have been writing since I was a teen. But I didn’t think I would ever publish. I wasn’t even going to try. I was writing to get the stories out of my head, and to share with friends. He was the first person to keep pushing me to send out samples of my work. To finish a novel, to do the edits. He has always been the one to keep me working. He never lets me quite and always keeps me believing in myself.

I love that! It is so important to have support. But it is also important to meet our goals. So with that being said, how do you define success as an author? Is it the number of book sales? The number of reviews? The fact your story made someone smile? Or something else?
Success for me I guess it hard to really explain. I absolutely love when someone enjoys my books, or stories. And I get so excited when someone leaves a review. But I have a dream. It is to walk into a bookstore and see My books on the shelves. Or on a display. Like at Barnes and Nobles or the library. That is my dream.

I think that’s a common goal for all of us. So I’m sure you always need to remind yourself to keep pushing. So, with that in mind, if you could give one piece of advise to your past self, what would it be?
Write. Just keep writing. Different genres, different styles. Just write.

Thank you so much for answering these questions Jesse! I think it will help readers really get in touch with your writing. Do you have anything else you want to say before signing off?
Thank you, and I hope you enjoy my book. I have many more in the works.

Check out Scythia Protostar below…and be sure to follow Jesse M. Harvey to discover more of her work!

Book Review

Amulet of Scion- Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★★✰  (3.75 / 5 stars)

“Keep it secret.”

“Keep it safe.”

“Don’t take it off.”

These are the final words that Bailee’s mother utters to her before her untimely death. For years, this is exactly what Bailee does…that is, until her best friend Asher has an accident that costs him a leg, and leads to an eviction notice on his door. In hopes to help, Bailee goes to Fossil Park to sell her amulet, but when she goes to give to someone else, it glows. With the secrets of her amulet unlocked, Bailee must uncover the mystery and race against the clock to save both her professor and her friend…or it could mean an untimely demise for them all.

In a fast paced story that combines both mystery with fantasy, readers of all ages will join Bailee as she tries to uncover the secrets of her amulet, as well as her family’s past. Her curiosity will resonate with readers. Ultimately though, the message is not just about magic and witches, but about friendship, betrayal, and interwoven history. Each person plays a key part in Bailee’s story, and no one is there without reason.

Yet, with these interwoven characters, I do feel like the story might have benefited in being a bit longer. We are immediately thrown into witch’s lore and introduced to a handful of characters. If we knew a bit more about Bailee’s relationship with these characters, as well as a chance to explore the lore just a bit more, I think this book would have been even better.

But, I do know I am not the target audience either, and potentially having this much additional detail might overwhelm the children reading it.

Amulet of Scion, as my first read of 2022, was still a wonderful book that not only takes readers on a magical journey, but also through relationships and friendships. It’s definitely worth the read for young and old readers alike.

What’s it about?

At a Fossil Park, ancient relics go on display – a golden cat, a witch’s broom, mysterious twig-people. A child wearing an amulet enters, unaware of the mayhem she’s about to cause.

Bailee Paxton wants to help raise money for her friend, Asher. When she takes her amulet for appraisal, it glows the moment the professor touches it. Before long, he’s found in a trance and the relics from his display are missing. Meanwhile, someone… or something, spies on her from the shadows

News

2022 Author Features

If you’ve been following me for a bit, you’ll know that I used to regularly feature authors on this site.

While that has dropped off over the past year, I am picking up again in 2022. I have selected fifty authors who I will be featuring over the course of the year, as well as reading their books. Some of these authors have made appearances on this blog before, but so many of them I have never read or interviewed.

This page will serve as the master list that I will update regularly with both the book reviews and the interviews with these authors.

Below, you can find all the authors with their books in alphabetical order. These will be reorganized as I finalize the features…but for now, make sure to check out these authors.

AUTHOR FEATURES COMING SOON…

A day at the park (warm-blooded vampires) by Gaz R Galey
A Realm of Stones and Whispers by Ginevra Mancinelli
Archaic Deception: The Guardian of Emblems by Joe Dayvie
Awakened by Elizabeth J. Rekab
Awakened: Book 1 of the Lightbearer Chronicles by Dan Kenner
Awakening by Kris branham
Being The Dead Girl already out on Amazon by TM Perkins
Breakaway: The Blighted Trilogy Book One by Dezarea Dunn
Breaker by Amy Campbell
Bulletproof by Monica T. Rodriguez
Clarity Castle by Marie-Hélène Lebeault
Contained in Darkness by Amberly Henning
Curse of the Gods by R. L. McIntyre
Cursed Legacy by H. Everend
Dance of the Elements Ignited by A. M. Deese
Derailed and dispersed Volume 1Stranded in the wilderness by Samuel J white
Destiny by Olivia Ali
Dragon Tempest by J.E. Taylor
Everlong by R. Raeta
Flowers For Fara by Amara Lynn
Forbidden Healing by Rachael Watson
Free Me by Kat Winters
Genesis of War by R.T. Cole
Hunters I: The Mission by Raquel Herrera
Little Hood by Joanna G. Holden
Lucky: A Novel by Kristina Parro
MARTHA BLOOM AND THE GLASS COMPASS by Estelle Grace Tudor
Moonshadow’s Guardian by Dianna Gunn
Myths, Legends & Dreams: A Worldsmyths Anthology by Ally Kelly / Worldsmyths Publishing
Perfect Piece by Molly Jones
Piker’s Retribution by Amanda N. Newman
Rejected (Book 2 in The Delivery Company series) by Lane Northcutt
Scorched Feathers by Bri Mooney
Scythia Protostar (Book One of the Dark Stellar Legacy) by Jesse M Harvey
Sleepwalker by Mikel J. Wisler
Sophie & the Bookmobile by Kathleen M. Jacobs
Summer of ’77 by Rebecca Amiss
Tetarul Parallel by Emé Savage
The Coming of Jack Walker by Chrystal Lee Stevens
The Deep Space Between by Cassandra Stirling
The Goddess & The Bee by Jill Jenkins
The Magi Menagerie by Kale Lawrence
The Pen Pal A West Virginia Mystery by Storm Young
The Stars Plot Revenge by L.J. Kerry
The Taking of Persephone Series: Kore by Ambrosia R Harris
The Vult by Katelyn Young
The White Witch’s Daughter by J.C. Wade
Two More Lives, Card Holders Book 2 by Kaitlyn Legaspi
Voice of a Stranger by Ellie DaKaye
Where the Gulls Fall Silent by Lelita Baldock
Book Review

Switching Time: A Doctor’s Harrowing Story of Treating a Woman with 17 Personalities – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★✰✰  (3.5 / 5 stars)
Audio Book Performance: ★★★★✰  (4 / 5 stars)

When Karen shows up to Dr. Baer’s office in 1989, she is frightened, confused, and at a breaking point. Dr. Baer initially believes she is suffering from depression, but as their patient-doctor relationship grows, he discovers she has at least 17 distinct personalities living within her. In this documentation, Dr. Baer talks about his time treating Karen, as well as how they ultimately dealt with her trauma and distinct personalities.

A fascinating story, really, I initially discovered Switching Time after getting sucked into the Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) side of TikTok. I grew fascinated with the disorder, although I am also aware of how rare it is and how some individuals on the app might not actually have it. Of course, as someone who is not a mental health professional, I cannot say if these creators on TikTok are lying or not. So, ultimately, I wanted to learn more. DID is villainized so much in media (such as in Alfred Hitcock’s Psycho) that I wanted to learn what it was and why.

Switching Time does this by delving into Karen’s story. And while the story was both fascinating and heartbreaking, like many readers, I did go in with skepticism especially upon researching Dr. Baer. How much did he make up, if anything? How much did his patient make up? We can’t be sure, if any at all. If, as Dr. Baer wants us to believe, this is a 100% true story, then it is fascinating. Even at 80% it is fascinating. But, while reading, you also have to take into account the criticisms from others in the mental health field. Some go as far as to say DID doesn’t exist. Others say it is not possible for Dr. Baer to have “cured” Karen so easily. In addition, others have also said that he had too close of a relationship with Karen and that clouded his judgment.

I am not one to say.

What I do know is that the story is fascinating, even if it is just a story. People do suffer, whether from DID, psychosis, schizophrenia, etc. Whether what happened to Karen is 100% true is hard to say. Whether it is true or not, there are some evident content warnings readers should be aware of: Dr. Baer describes in detail some of what Karen told him (with the patient’s permission), and it is dark. Karen was very much abused, her family supposedly a part of the satanic cults of the 70s. So go in expecting so very vivid descriptions of abuse. In fact, they were so vivid, I would take a month between listening to different chapters, just because it was so heavy.

As I said, I’m not one to judge the truth behind Karen’s story or Dr. Baer’s encounter. So, I’m willing to also give it some benefit of the doubt, while also listening to what others have said. It was still a fascinating journey into the mind of a lost woman…and whatever happened, I happy to see she is thriving.

What’s it about?

In 1989, Karen showed up at the author’s (a psychiatrist) practice, terribly frightened and at breaking point. The author realized that he was dealing with a severe case of Multiple Personality Disorder. He encountered 17 distinct personalities, all living inside Karen since she was a child. ‘SWITCHING TIME’ chronicles his years of work with Karen.

Book Review

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow- Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★★✰  (4 / 5 stars)
Audio Book Performance: ★★★★✰  (4 / 5 stars)

Since the day Morrigan Crow was born, she has been cursed. Everything always goes wrong, all because she was born on Eventide. With her death predicted on her twelfth birthday, Morrigan has become resigned to the fact that her life will end. That is, until she receives bids on bid day that offer her a chance to avoid the Hunt of Smoke and Shadows…and hence her death. In a spur of the moment, she joking accepts Jupiter North’s bid…and she is whisked away to Nevermoor and entered into the Wundrous Society trials. But Morrigan is convinced that, other then her curse, there is nothing special about her. How could she join the Wundrous Society if there is nothing wonderful about her? Yet the temptation to belong is too great, and Morrigan grows more determined to join…even if she has no clue what she is doing.

The Trials of Morrigan Crow is reminiscent of a handful of different stories: Alice in Wonderland, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland, The Graveyard Book, and many many more. It takes all these wonderful elements and creates a world that is both believable and unbelievable, with its own unique touch. Each character has their own unique knack, and personally Jupiter’s knack resonated very much with me (although I won’t go into how in case it spoils the surprise). As well, the world is painted with such pristine direction that it makes you feel like you are right there in Nevermoor.

Yet, despite how much I enjoyed Morrigan’s adventure and her plight, the one thing I didn’t like was how much was outside of Morrigan’s control. She was just pushed from one objective to the next, and in the final trial…I was kind of left with “oh…that’s it?” Granted, I had a feeling that what was revealed would be what was so special about her (not every reader or child will pick up on it though), so perhaps that was why it was sort of a let down. I hope that Morrigan will gain more autonomy in the next books…which I have full intention of reading.

The Trials of Morrigan Crow is wonderful story, filled with unique creatures, different magic, and hints of your favorite stories. I think both children and adults alike will enjoy it, and I cannot wait to pick up the sequel.

What’s it about?

A cursed girl escapes death and finds herself in a magical world – but is then tested beyond her wildest imagination

Morrigan Crow is cursed. Having been born on Eventide, the unluckiest day for any child to be born, she’s blamed for all local misfortunes, from hailstorms to heart attacks–and, worst of all, the curse means that Morrigan is doomed to die at midnight on her eleventh birthday.

But as Morrigan awaits her fate, a strange and remarkable man named Jupiter North appears. Chased by black-smoke hounds and shadowy hunters on horseback, he whisks her away into the safety of a secret, magical city called Nevermoor.

It’s then that Morrigan discovers Jupiter has chosen her to contend for a place in the city’s most prestigious organization: the Wundrous Society. In order to join, she must compete in four difficult and dangerous trials against hundreds of other children, each boasting an extraordinary talent that sets them apart – an extraordinary talent that Morrigan insists she does not have. To stay in the safety of Nevermoor for good, Morrigan will need to find a way to pass the tests – or she’ll have to leave the city to confront her deadly fate.