Friday 29 December 2023

Review of The Painted Queen by Monica Boothe

The queen is dead. Isadora is the only person alive who knows this. And she needs to keep it that way.

As the decoy queen, Isadora has spent her entire life training to mimic the queen of Caspar, all so that, in case of disaster, she can die in her place. But when an assassination attempt goes horribly wrong and the real queen is accidentally killed, Isadora is left the only survivor who knows that she is
not the real queen.

To keep the kingdom from collapsing into civil war, Isadora must navigate a world of politics and intrigue that she was never prepared for. That includes marrying the prince of the mighty Irodian Empire, solidifying an alliance that could bring generations of peace to her kingdom. Making this marriage work, however, turns out to be just as difficult as holding together her splintering kingdom.

To maintain this new and fragile peace, Isadora must make sure her new husband never finds out her real identity. But with the kingdom crumbling around them, keeping secrets is becoming more and more difficult.


My Review: 5 STARS

I’ve read stories by Boothe before and so when I saw this one, and read the blurb, I was desperate to read it. From the start, the world and story pull you in. Isa Dora and the real queen were so familiar but also different in many different ways that their distinctive personalities shone through from the first page. I adored the premise, the way the story twisted and turned and held some similarities to the real world, while also being a world that stood out in its own right. I fell in love with the characters, the love story went a different way than I thought it would and adored the way Boothe pulled it all together. A series to follow and very much recommended!

Join Joey here on the blog on Fridays for interviews, reviews and guest bloggers. If you'd be interested in doing any of those, you can contact Joey here

Tuesday 26 December 2023


Zack can definitely understand why Angelina did what she did...


[ID: A teal background with the title WAITING ON YOU at the top and out now in ebook & paperback just below the excerpt. The except reads:

What teenager hasn’t wished something was different about their lives at some point? At any rate, I knew that she wasn’t going to blurt out the truth just because I asked her some probing questions. I had to gain her trust, and the only way I could do that was to convince her that I liked her for her, not because she’d told me she had some perfect life with a few hundred friends at school.

At the bottom is Joey Paul and just below that the website, in the bottom left corner is the Readers' Favorite review seal, and in the bottom right corner is the logo for Bug Books. END ID]


Monday 25 December 2023

Planning Your Year - The Creative Process


Firstly to those who celebrate, I hope you have a great day with friends and family. I'm planning to have a quiet day at home, which is pretty much the only reason there's an actual post today and next week. I also didn't wanna leave those who don't celebrate with nothing to read from me. So with that said, let's move onto the post!

There's a week left of the year and of course those of us who plan are looking to get goals set, and deadlines pencilled in and things to get done when and where, and I wanted to give you my thoughts and some tips, on planning your year. For those who don't know, I do a mixture of digital and paper planning. I have a planner where I do all my monthly spreads and the like, but I also love using my ipad calendar as a way to have a longer look at things throughout the whole year itself.

I don't generally plan out my year in one go, but I will do a few months in advance on the ipad just because it's a lot easier to work out what goes where if things are to change, and it allows me to see, at a glance, just how busy each month is going to be. I do make yearly goals on my Authortube channel (found here) and I will do a check in here on the blog around June/July time to reach see how I'm doing on those goals. They'll feed into my monthly spreads, my weekly goals and all the like, as well as get put onto my monthly to-do list that I keep on a private blog.

So with a week left, I have to be pretty much set up, right? Yes in some ways, no in others, because everything is subject to change. I have my January all planned out in my planner, and I have planned on the ipad up until May I think because of some deadlines that are coming up. So what are my tips when it comes to planning out on a large scale like a year?

This might seem like an obvious one. It might seem like I'm teaching my grandma to suck eggs, but you'd be amazed at how many times I see people planning everything down to the day of the week they're going to get things done by, when they either don't know really if that's feasible, or whether they'll even have time to get it all done. I'll talk more about starting small in a moment, but for now you  have to remember that a year is a very long time. I know it doesn't always feel like it, it can feel like the days are whizzing past but twelve months has a lot of time for things to change, for things to happen that you couldn't plan for, and for hiccups to come along the way that knocks all that careful planning out of the window.

So my first tip? Keep it simple. Plan the things that you know aren't going to change, and keep things flexible as well, which I'll go into more detail about in a moment. The last thing you want to do is overwhelm yourself and end up a crying mess by January 15th or something. Take what you know has to get done, and add in a few bits and pieces here and there, while also keeping in mind other things that can't be missed, moved, or avoided.

This is always a tip I give when it comes to planning. I know that I come across as highly organised and in some ways I am, but I also know that I only got there by starting small. I didn't ever do more than set goals that I might be able to reach, and I didn't overload my plate because I knew that doing that would just leave to upset, stress, and the possibility of me falling flat on my face when the next year came around.

You don't want to pile up stress upon stress upon stress, and while I get that you want to actually get things done, there's nothing wrong with starting small and then when you have a handle on things, adding bit by bit to allow yourself to expand your reach. There's no rule that says goals and plans can only happen in December/January, they can be started or added to at any point, so even if you want to achieve more than you feel or know you're capable of right now, start small, get used to it all, and then add from there.


We've all done this where we're pretty sure our plans are not going to change and we make plans, big ones or small ones, and then something huge lands in our laps and we have no choice but to cancel or adapt our original plans. When you're talking about planning out a whole year, you have to remember that nothing about that huge time-frame is set in stone. You could get sick, you could have problems that you've not thought of yet, and that's why as well as starting small, you should always leave yourself some breathing room.

I've done this. I've told myself that I would release this book then, and then had something massive come along to change things. I managed to pull things off, but the stress of it all really tainted the end result and left me with a bad taste in my mouth about how things had worked. So take it from me, don't assume that everything is going to go to plan, because like I said, twelve months is a very long time, and things can, and do often, change at a moment's notice.

So there we go, those are my tips and thoughts on planning out your year. I hope you have a good rest of the year, and I'll see you all in 2024! Happy writing!

Any questions? Lemme know in the comments!

Follow Joey here on her blog, or on Facebook or Tumblr to be kept up to date with the latest news regarding Joey and her books.     

Friday 22 December 2023

Review of Robin's Flight by Breanne Leftwich

Robin Hayes is just a normal teenage girl trying to navigate through her high school years while juggling family drama, a broken relationship, and her boisterous best friend. But that all begins to change when a mysterious new student, Matthew, arrives at Milton High and sends paralyzing chills through her every time he’s nearby. Around the same time, she starts having recurring nightmares about a haunting woman screaming at her. As she struggles to figure out her unusual reaction to Matthew and make sense of the dream she keeps having, strange events start to occur, causing Robin to question everything she thought she knew about herself and the life she led.

One of these events is seen by a witness who leads her to discover the truth about herself—she comes from a secret world full of people who possess supernatural powers, and she is no exception. Now, Robin must learn to keep herself and her loved ones safe from the lingering threats associated with her newfound knowledge . . . Even if protecting them means losing them forever.


My Review: 5 STARS

I picked this up because it sounded like a book that I’d enjoy. I loved the normalcy, the love story sub-plot, the way Robin and Ben were drawn back together even with the mystery of Matthew. I adored the imagery and the way the story wove through the words making you feel like you were right there along with the characters. The twists and turns had you guessing and hoping, and hooked on turning page after page until the book is done and you’re left wanting more. Leftwich has a way of telling a story that leaves you hungry and thirsty for the resolution. Very much a series I will follow and an author to watch. Recommended! 

Join Joey here on the blog on Fridays for interviews, reviews and guest bloggers. If you'd be interested in doing any of those, you can contact Joey here

Tuesday 19 December 2023


It feels like death follows Tara no matter where she goes...


[ID: A green background with yellow follows on top with the title DYING THOUGHTS - THIRD WISH at the top and out now in ebook & paperback just above the title. The except reads:

“I have to input new cases, update the ones already on the system and close the ones where people have died,” I explained.
“Right, sounds like fun,” she said, rolling her eyes.
“Yeah, it’s a right barrel of laughs,” I told her. “Anyway, yesterday I came across a file of a girl in her late teens, who had kidney cancer, and with her file was an old baseball cap with the Sunflower Wishes logo on it, and me, being totally stupid picked it up and wham! You know what happened.”

At the bottom is Joey Paul and just below that the website, and in the bottom right corner is the logo for Bug Books. END ID]


Monday 18 December 2023

Ending The Book Right - The Creative Process


We all know that when it comes to writing a book, sometimes it can be easy to get caught up in the process itself and not want it to end. When I wrote my debut, I was desperate to stay with those characters and do it all again, and it's actually one of the reasons that I started writing a series next because I wanted to create a world as such and get to come back to it time and time again. My best friend told me that I couldn't write a sequel to Blackout without it seeming completely ridiculous, and she was right. I'm so glad I had her to steer me through those early days of writing!

But the point is that sometimes you can get a little too caught up in the beginning and the middle, and the climax, that you kinda don't end the book right. I can, off the top of my head, think of one completed series I did in the past few years where I completely flubbed the ending. It's something that plays over and over in the loop in my head because I completely forgot to write the epilogue. At the time I told myself: oh this doesn't need another chapter, all the loose ends are tied up, done!

And then, later, at night when I'm trying to sleep a few weeks after this I realised: poop, what about this character arc? Or this point? I'm gonna need to, at the very least, write an epilogue because if I don't tie up that plot point then my readers will come for me while I sleep and I will never live through it! I'd gotten so caught up in writing the end, that I just completely missed the huge problems with leaving the book right after the climax.

If you think about it, the end is a really important part of the story. If you don't do it right, then you've basically left the story in a way that can be unsatisfactory to readers. You have to hit that end point right, and especially if it's the last in a series, you have to tie up as many of the loose ends as you can. There's nothing wrong with leaving a few dangling, but the big ones? The ones that have caused the characters so much upset and angst? Nah, you gotta tie those up, especially if you already know what they are!

Going back to past Joey, when I was finishing off my longest series, the one I started writing because I didn't really want to ever say goodbye to characters and the world, I had the epilogue and ending go one way. That same best friend read it and was like: uh, do not leave it like that! Not after eight books and everything the characters have gone through. While yes, part of it was the way it would go, I had gone to an extreme that I could understand why best friend was telling me to change it. So I did, and I actually ended up agreeing with her because I think if I had left it like that, it wouldn't have been doing the story justice. It wouldn't have been giving the characters, and readers, the closure they needed to move on.

My point is all of this is that while there is a lot of pressure when it comes to the end, as there should be, just because you wrote it one way does not mean it can never change. Yes, you need to be true to the story, but sometimes getting a second point of view, a second look at it from someone you trust can be the reason that the story ends up better than it would've been without it.

Take care of the ending, and it will take care of you. Happy writing!

Any questions? Lemme know in the comments below!

Follow Joey here on her blog, or on Facebook or Tumblr to be kept up to date with the latest news regarding Joey and her books.    

Friday 15 December 2023

Review of The Bycatch Principle by Kath Morgan

On a lonely moor, an isolated security complex hides a dirty secret. After six years of being held captive without charge, sixteen-year-old David Jessop is forced to make a desperate strike for freedom. Somebody wants to hide the truth. Somebody wants him dead. Just what is the Unit? In order to survive, David must discover why the Unit exists and the real reason he was taken away all those years ago. Alone and on the run, he needs answers. Fast.


My Review: 5 STARS

I picked this up because the cover and title sounded interesting, once I read the blurb, I wanted to know more. Diving into it, I was hooked from the first page. The whole premise sounded very intriguing and the story was well-written enough to pull you in straight away. I loved getting to know David, getting to see how life treated him and how everything had shaped him. The twists and turns left me guessing until the very end and overall it was a book I thoroughly enjoyed and would be happy to read again. Highly recommended!

Join Joey here on the blog on Fridays for interviews, reviews and guest bloggers. If you'd be interested in doing any of those, you can contact Joey here

Tuesday 12 December 2023


Lynne doesn't quite know what to say to that...


[ID: A pale pink background with the title LYNNE & HOPE at the top and out now in ebook & paperback just below the title. The except reads:

“What the hell, Jack? Are you telling me that the police actually think I’m a suspect? Because of one sample that was probably planted, anyway? This is ridiculous!”
“Can you blame them, Lynne? You have information about the cases that hasn’t been released and no one in the lab knows about it and then your DNA turns up on the murder weapon – exactly how isn’t that suspicious? Christ, Lynne, what were you thinking?” .

At the bottom is Joey Paul and just below that the website, in the bottom left corner is the Readers' Favorite review seal, and in the bottom right corner is the logo for Bug Books. END ID]


Monday 11 December 2023

Spoonie Writer: It's Okay To Take Time


As we approach the end of the year and the holiday season, I thought it would be a good idea to really talk about how much pressure you can be under to do this and that before the end of the year, and even setting huge goals for the coming year. I've learned over my many years as a writer, and a spoonie as well, that sometimes it's hard not to get caught up in the thrill of what everyone else is doing.

Now that's not to say that as a spoonie you can't set goals, or you can't do a million different things. It's more that you have to be more mindful of what pressure you're applying to yourself and why. I've been someone who has taken a lot of time to get myself into the right mindset, someone who has taken a lot of time to get myself to the position that I'm now in. That said, there are still some times when I find myself playing the comparison game and trying hard to keep in mind that no one's journey is the same, and it's okay if you need to take time to get things done.

There's that old saying about how it's better to do something right than it is to do something fast, and there's some truth to that. While deadlines and the like can, sometimes, be immovable and it's a case of having to buckle down and get the things done or you'll run into issues, there is always, always time to stop and take a breath and reassess things.

I've been an indie author for over 18 years now. I've released 21 books and none of them have been done fast. I know that it might seem that way with the speed at which I draft new ones (I have more than the same amount released finished as first drafts) but, and here's the big but, the time from first idea to published book is between seven to eight years.

The books I'm drafting now? They won't be out for at least eight years, maybe longer. I still take my time. The books that are going to the editor this year? They were written in the 2010's. It takes time to write and revise and edit and all of that. It takes a lot of time, for me personally, and for other writers. You have to remember that while it might look fast from the outside looking in, you don't always get all the background stuff. You don't get to see how bad those first drafts are, and how long the revisions take. You don't get to see that sometimes I will spend literal years revising a book before it's even seen by betas. It all takes time, and that is completely and utterly okay.

It doesn't matter if this author you know does things faster, if you physically can't, that's okay, and even if you physically can, but things are popping up and stopping you, also okay! We are all on this journey and while we can support each other and help each other through, we do not have to race each other to the finish line. It's okay if it takes you years to get from first idea to published book. Despite what you might have been told or think, there is no time limit on publishing. No one is going to come and take away your writer status or author status because you took however much time you needed to get there.

Take your time. Look after yourself, and remember to stop every so often to breathe. It's not optional and it's the only way to get through this with yourself intact. Happy writing!

Any questions? Lemme know in the comments!

Follow Joey here on her blog, or on Facebook or Tumblr to be kept up to date with the latest news regarding Joey and her books.   

Friday 8 December 2023

Review of A Warlock In A Cursed Kingtom by Nathan Taylor

“You won a battle today, but the war is far from over.”

Declan Moore is a Warlock. He doesn’t know what that means, he doesn’t know how to use his power, but he has hopes that the people of Vedmark do.

Armed with the knowledge of what he is, Declan’s only chance is to harness his unique power and stop the Fatesmiths for good. But in a Kingdom where he is neither welcome, nor wanted, finding a willing teacher seems an impossible task.

Who can you trust in a land where every question comes with a cost? In a country where enormous eagles prowl the sky, and a Deathless Demon inhabits the forests?

As Vedmark grows more dangerous, Declan grows more desperate. There are things he must learn. His parents may be gone, but he can still save his best friend.

Euryma needs him.

Even if it doesn't want him.
My Review:  5 STARS
I picked this up having read the first book and was desperate to find out what happened next. Declan, the world, the magic and all the many twists and turns had me hooked from the first page. I went along for the ride, and found myself unable to exit until I knew what lay ahead for Declan and the others. There were many reveals that I’d not seen coming and couldn’t help but feel lie I’d missed some pretty big clues along the way. I adorable the rich worldbuilding and the way everything seemed to interconnect. Overall an amazing book, and a series that I will continue to devour when possible! Highly recommended! 
Join Joey here on the blog on Fridays for interviews, reviews and guest bloggers. If you'd be interested in doing any of those, you can contact Joey here


Tuesday 5 December 2023


Tara is pretty firm on who she shares her secrets with...


[ID: A blurred sky with a branch with green leaves in focus background with the title DYING THOUGHTS - SECOND SIGHT at the top and out now in ebook & paperback just above the title. The except reads:

“I am not telling Cassie. End of discussion,” I snapped, before taking a bite out of my sandwich.
“What aren’t you telling Cassie?” Cassie said, appearing behind me. Obviously whatever meeting she’d been dragged away too hadn’t taken too long.
“I’m er…” I stumbled.
“Well, come on Tara? I’m waiting,” Cassie said, adopting a tone that was almost identical to Mr. Andrews this morning. Kaolin snorted and almost choked on her sandwich. Good, I hope it hurts. This is all her bloody fault.

At the bottom is Joey Paul and just below that the website, in the top left corner is the Readers' Favorite review seal, and in the bottom right corner is the logo for Bug Books. END ID]


Monday 4 December 2023

The Trials Of An Indie Author: Taking Time Off


It's come up to the end of the year and if, like me, you celebrate holidays then, you might be thinking about taking some time off. You might also just be getting to the end of the year and thinking it'd be a good idea to take a break from writing and work for a bit because this year has been super busy and a whole lot to deal with. All of which is valid, and I am right there with you!

That said, when it comes to being an indie author, it can be hard to really find time to take off from work because your work is kinda constant, and if you don't keep up with the promo and the like, it'll be really hard to capture attentions when it comes to restarting in January and the like. This is where I come in, both in telling you that it's okay to take time, however long that may be, and also that some things can be prepared in advance to allow you have a proper rest time.

So how do you do that? I'm going to take you through what I do when it gets close to the end of the year and am getting ready to take some time away from writing, work and all of that!


I know that sometimes that is a big time suck, and it can be tempting to think: oh it'll only take me a minute or two to post this, or share that. But it's not how it ends up going. You end up with several things to post and before you know it, it's been an hour and you're kinda thinking you should respond to comments and the like while you're there and then scroll through and watch stories, oh and answer this email. NO!

You need actual time off and for those of us who can't afford to hire someone to do it for us, there are ways to schedule posts. Now there are some sites that don't have this, and for that you might just have to go dark for a week or however long you plan to be gone, because unless you're relaxing and not working, it's too easy to get sucked into the work that comes from socials.

Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, they all allow you to schedule posts. My blog here will let me schedule posts, and I know it works because I use it all the time. You might have to spend a little time preparing everything before you head off, but once it's done, you can switch off and know that's taken care of, just be sure to make it clear that you're taking time off so people don't assume you're still there and will be responding as quickly as you usually do.


I don't use this as much as I should, but I know the most email providers have a way to set a message so that any important emails coming through get a response that tells the sender that you're taking a break for however long. It means you don't have to worry too much about work emails being left unanswered while you're away.


By this I mean there will be some people who do kinda need to be aware. If you are meant to be talking and you won't, or hosting a live or the like, or any number of things, then let people know that this time block will be your time off and make sure they're aware that you won't be responding, or around should they need you to be. Everyone needs breaks and anyone saying differently is just plain wrong!

So there we go, those are my three tips when it comes to taking time off at the end of the year. I will be doing the same, taking the last week off and just chilling and relaxing, and very happy about it!

Any questions? Lemme know in the comments!

Follow Joey here on her blog, or on Facebook or Tumblr to be kept up to date with the latest news regarding Joey and her books. 


Friday 1 December 2023

Review of Veil Of Synnor by Scott Thompson

 When lifelong friends Acalan and Iverissa are forced to choose between each other and safety in the city of Synnor, nothing will ever be the same.

The Elemental Titans watch over Synnor, the only haven from the surrounding wasteland. In return for their protection, citizens are selected to compete for their lives with bows and arrows.

Acalan and Iverissa are happy until the Titans demand that they compete against one another, where only one can survive. Evading their selection means fleeing the city that they once called their sanctuary.

As they traverse foreign lands and meet unexpected allies, all that matters is staying together.
With each step beyond the boundaries of Synnor, they inch closer to uncovering the harrowing truth that lay hidden beneath the city's deceptive charm.


My Review: 3 STARS

I picked this up because of the cover and the blurb. I was in the mood for some dystopian and in that regard the book did not disappoint. The world building was rich, but I did feel like there could have been more expansion on it. The characters were relatable and pulled you in, but there were times when I felt like they were a little stiff. The story was well-written but it lacked some of the depth I would have hoped for. Overall it was a good read, and the story came to a satisfying ending, but did feel like the story as a whole could’ve been longer and more engaging that way.

Join Joey here on the blog on Fridays for interviews, reviews and guest bloggers. If you'd be interested in doing any of those, you can contact Joey here


Tuesday 28 November 2023


Tara doesn't make friends easily...


[ID: A cracked yellow wall background with the title DYING THOUGHTS - FIRST TOUCH at the top and out now in ebook & paperback just above the title. The except reads:

“You missed a good party, Friday,” Jody told her, totally missing the fact that Kaolin didn’t care.
“Hmm,” Kaolin mumbled.
“Why don’t you sit with us?” Jody asked,
“No, thanks.”
“Come on, you don’t know what you might catch from Tara.” She turned to look at me. (Don’t look directly into her eyes – you’ll lose your soul!) “What is wrong with you anyway? I hope it isn’t contagious.” You see? This is what I mean about her – she’s a total bitch. The fact is that she actually takes pleasure in saying things like that. I’ll tell you something, she’s lucky Mr. Miller appeared at that moment because otherwise I would have had to resort to violence.

At the bottom is Joey Paul and just below that the website, and in the bottom right corner is the logo for Bug Books. END ID]


Monday 27 November 2023

The Trials Of A Crime Writer: Knowing Who To Kill


I have been writing crime for a number of years, I've been reading it for even longer, and I gotta say that while some writers will think that you can just kill anyone for no reason other than maybe trying to shock the reader, or make them sad for that loss, that it very much not the case. I'm sure you've heard it from other places, how you need to make sure that every death is done for a reason and means something, and you're gonna hear that a bit from me too.

The reasoning behind this advice is that killing anyone for no reason has no impact on the characters or the plot. If the death doesn't make sense, if it's just death for deaths sake, then readers are going to know about it. They're going to work out that you're after shock value rather than any plot related reason, and that does not have any kind of impact on the reader, if anything, it makes them question the plot more, and wonder if you even really know what you're doing, which is not what anyone wants.

So how do you decide who to kill? How do you weigh up that choice and make that death mean something? I'm glad you asked because I'm going to give you some of my tips when it comes to this topic. I've killed a lot of characters over the years, some had affected me as the writer more than others, and all of them have died to serve the plot and there has always been a meaning behind their deaths.

Ask yourself this. If the answer is, that there needs to be a death and they're not the main character or their not someone that adds much to the plot, then you're probably doing it wrong. I'm not someone who likes to say that someone is writing 'wrong' because my thinking is that there pretty much is no wrong way to do it, but in this case, killing someone because there needs to be a death and they're disposable, it's not going to have the same impact because if a character is disposable to you, they are also that to the reader.

Now if there's a plot based reason that someone needs to be sacrificed for reasons I can't think of right now, then yes, that is a necessary death, but you need to be making sure that whatever character you choose is someone that has, at least, had some other impact on the plot. If you have side characters that can be removed without it having any impact on the story, then that's a sign you've not developed them enough, which is a whole different problem.

So keep in mind, that if a character is disposable, or can be removed from the story completely and nothing changes, you need to be thinking about why, and working out the answer to how to either make them into a more fully fleshed out character, or remove them, and have someone else have that hard choice of being sacrificed to further the plot.

I know that a lot of the memes around writers are along the lines of making our readers cry by killing off their favourite character, but there are a whole ton of stories, crime and otherwise, that don't have any character deaths. You don't have to kill someone if the plot doesn't need it, and you don't need to kill just for killing sake. While yes, a good death can have a massive impact, just killing someone because you think you have to will not have that impact.

Sometimes death can not be avoided, but when that happens, it should always be the right character who dies. There are numerous ways to decide that and I do not have the time or energy to go into all of them, but for just a quick breakdown. The character should be someone who makes the biggest impact, it should make sense for them to be in that situation. They should be unable to, by whatever means, get out of it. The death should be pretty much unavoidable, and it should always, always, be someone that matters to the story itself.

So there you go, those are my two tips. I will just clarify that I am talking about main characters and side characters who mean something to the main. Obviously there are minor characters who die all the time, but that is the nature of the beast. When it comes to a death that your readers are going to really feel, it needs to mean something and not just be because you thought you had to.

Good luck with writing!

Any questions? Lemme know in the comments!

Follow Joey here on her blog, or on Facebook or Tumblr to be kept up to date with the latest news regarding Joey and her books.  

Friday 24 November 2023

Review of The Non-Magical Declain Moore by Nathan Taylor

“We are special. You are not.”

Declan Moore knows he’s not the chosen one. In a modern nation controlled by witches and wizards, he has nothing but a famous surname. All he needs is an inkling of power to dampen the disappointment of being a LAMP—one Lacking All Magical Potential.

Then the world falls apart.

Overnight, every witch and wizard he knows—his parents included—is turned to iron and captured. Declan avoids the same fate thanks to a mysterious girl who seems to know more about him than he does himself. As he searches to save his parents, an uncomfortable reality bubbles to the surface.

Declan isn’t helpless. He’s dangerously powerful.

And using that power to save his parents could kill them all. 

My Review: 5 STARS

I picked this up because of the idea of a completely not chosen one. I love to see some tropes inverted and turned on their heads and I fell in love with Declan from the first page. He was a delightful and relateable character, one you could empathise with and get to know through the many twists and turns throughout the story. I loved the worldbuilding, the way the magic worked and ending the way it did, I’m very glad I bought book two and can dive right back into that world and the next stage of Declan’s story. All the characters were expertly crafted and this is a series to watch. Very much recommended!

Join Joey here on the blog on Fridays for interviews, reviews and guest bloggers. If you'd be interested in doing any of those, you can contact Joey here


Tuesday 21 November 2023


Coming back to reality has never been more mortifying...


[ID: A deep purple background with the title BLACKOUT at the top and out now in ebook & paperback just above the title. The except reads:

“Oh look, it’s my dream girlfriend,” he announced to the class.
“Oh great,” I muttered.
“Hey Tally, did we have sex? I don’t remember, so you can’t have been very good!” he said. If looks could kill I swear he’d be dead. The whole class was laughing at me and before I could think of witty comment to make, Mr. Leonard walked in. I hated Cal at that moment. I can’t believe I almost slept with him. I KNOW, it was a dream! Even though Mr. Leonard had started the lesson, it didn’t stop the stares and whispered comments. I hate my life.

At the bottom is Joey Paul and just below that the website, in the bottom left corner is the Readers' Favorite seal, and in the bottom right corner is the logo for Bug Books. END ID]


Monday 20 November 2023

Book Releases: Do They Get Easier?


Last Tuesday, I released my 21st book, Invisible (buy here) and I've had this same question asked of me many times in the years that I've been publishing. I've been doing this for eighteen years now, and while my first publishing experience was more excitement and backseat (because I didn't know what I was doing and focused on the being published rather than marketing and the like) every single one since has been more intense and more about getting the word out and making sure everything is done on time and in the right place.

I have to say that while some things have changed and gotten more streamlined, other things have stayed the same and are always stressful. If you think about what you have to get done to be published, then it's a lot of stuff, and it all has to be done by a certain date and in a certain way. I find that I always get more stressed and anxious once the hard work, namely editing and such, are out of the way because there is nothing I can do to change the book and it's in the state it's in and that's all final.

For me, the publishing process has never gone smoothly. I personally don't think it ever does go smoothly, but I can only ever talk about my own experiences. There's always a deadline missed somewhere, or ARC readers who don't follow through, or a problem with the paperback, and on and on it goes. I could spend a very long time laying out the many ways things have gone wrong over the years, but I won't do that because I really don't have the energy nor do I want to put people off.

But when it comes to things getting easier, they do and they don't. You get more used to dealing with delays or issues. You have a better understanding of how things work in indie publishing, you might have a bigger following and therefore attract more pre-orders and the like, or you might just have better contacts when it comes to getting the word out. I think it might feel easier for some because you have all this knowledge and understanding about it all that makes that part of it less stressful.

Think about it, someone first starting out won't know all about the deadlines and blips along the way, and since this is their debut, they're going to want things to go as smoothly as possible. Now they may have mitigated the issues of not knowing by doing a whole ton of research, which is something that I highly, highly recommend doing, but some blips come from places where you can't research and know ahead of time. Sometimes you're thrown into the deep end and you just gotta work out how you're going to keep your head above water.

Like I've had editors abandon my project mid-way through, and then had to scurry around to find a brand new editor, and hope they can get things finished in time. Of course you can avoid that problem by not setting a release date and the like until the book is completely done, but I hadn't done that because I'd used this editor for a number of projects and felt like I could rely on them to get things done in time. Long story short, I did find a new editor, and I did make the deadlines, but it was a lot of stress, and anxiety for all involved, and it's not something I'd ever want to happen again.

Now I don't want to give the impression that publishing a book is always a train ride along the stress and anxiety track, it's not. Invisible was actually the first book to give me fewer stress moments. The edits were done in time, the ARCs went out early. Pre-orders are up, I had my paperbacks before release day, and the promo has all be scheduled and is ready to go. So in that respect, it has been easier, but I do wonder if that's just because I was due a break there!

All in all, my answer is both yes, it does get easier, and no, it doesn't, because there are so many different ways for things to go wrong with publishing that you just have to roll the dice and hope you get the numbers you want!

Any questions? Lemme know in the comments!

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Friday 17 November 2023

Review of To Defy A Dream by Mary Mecham

What if Sleeping Beauty pricked her finger on purpose?

Princess Aurelia’s kingdom is plagued by the Eternal Slumber, a disease progressively ensnaring the minds of her subjects. After Aurelia wishes for the means to revive her brother, her sinister fairy godmother presents an ominous solution: Aurelia must stab herself with a poisoned spindle.

Accepting this fate plunges Aurelia into a nightmare where victims of the Eternal Slumber are being held hostage by a dark djinni. However, Aurelia’s brother isn’t the only familiar face she finds herself reunited with; Everett, the love of her life who mysteriously disappeared years ago, is there as well. As the djinni’s power grows, Aurelia must decide who to save before the djinni escapes and enters the waking world.

Failing on her quest could trap her in the dream world forever. Will she forgo her chance at a happily ever after and protect her brother, or will she choose to rescue herself and the man she loves?

No matter who she chooses, someone will be doomed to remain in the nightmare that never ends.


My Review:  5 STARS

I picked this up because the blurb and cover drew me in. I loved the idea of Sleeping Beauty but with a differing twist to it and before long I was completely immersed in the story and the world. At first I was a little concerned with it being the fourth in a series that I would have missed important things, but it seems to have been standalone in that. Overall I loved the plot, the characters, the many twists and turns along the way and that final reveal left me reeling. An amazingly, beautifully crafted work and one that I very much recommend!

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