10 Questions with Ewa Zwonarz

Helloo everyone, today I have got another interview with an author, this time I have questions with Ewa Zwonarz, author of Moonchild. You can check out my review here, I absolutely loved Moonchild and I so excited when Ewa agreed to an interview. Ewa’s writing is always so captivating and I loved reading her answers! I hope you enjoy…
1. Where did the inspiration for Moonchild come from?
E- The myth of the fallen angels of course was a huge inspiration with its haunting element of forbidden love between male angles and human women and its consequences that according to some sources, can still be felt today. I wanted to explore avenues to understanding what might have actually happened there and create an alternative to the tragic ending the myths tend to highlight. There is certainly an aura of warning contained within them as well as irresistible temptation. I wanted to bring my readers face to face with the surge of emotions that surfaces when we fall in love with someone we shouldn’t, and struggle with the tension that arises between feelings and reason.
Music and ancient history also played a significant role in inspiring many scenes. Since I was a teen, much like the protagonist of the story, I was constantly looking for clues that would point me in the direction of unraveling the mystery of our human heritage. Who are we really? What do we look the way we do? Questions like these would fill my mind and pages upon pages of my journal. When my best friend Greg brought me a tape of Fields of the Nephilim and later books filled with occult knowledge, and Sumerian and Egyptian texts, I instinctively felt I had found a significant trace to something that would take me deeper towards something significant. Realize, that this was before internet and I lived in a very small town, so finding these sorts of gems in my native language was an almost impossible rarity. So I started pulling on that thread. As we listened to the music, I would get visions of flying over sand dunes of ancient cities shrouded with mystery where the echoes of forbidden love still lingered. That was the beginning, the conception. It took twice that many years until the book finally materialized.
2. If Eve had a blog, what would she blog about? 
E- If Eve had a blog…wow, what a cool question! Back when the story takes place (mid 90s) the internet was not yet available to most people in Poland. But if we were to assume that it was available, since Eve was a voracious reader and writer, mostly in her private diaries, I would say if she had had the opportunity, her public posts would concern her explorations of myths and the occult, sprinkled by stories excavated from dusty vaults of forgotten libraries and colored by her own imagination. She would also likely write about the new music she just stumbled upon, ruminate about the complexities of life and share Daniel’s pearls of wisdom. Her posts would also contain stories of forbidden love and perhaps giving the readers a peek into her extraordinary relationship with Sariel. And of course, she would document her journey of discovering her own secret family legacy that in the end connected all the dots.
 
3. A lot of characters in Moonchild were inspired by your family members, but if your family had to choose a book character to describe you the best, who would they choose? 
E- If my family had to choose from amongst the characters in Moonchild, it would be the character of Eve. Her story and mine are intertwined and in some places quite parallel. As a matter of fact, most of what’s described in part one of the book actually took place, just in a much more spread out sequence. However, if they had a choice from other books, I think I could be likened to Sebastian (yes, I know, he’s a little boy!) from “Neverending Story.” I can very much relate to his way of thinking of being so completely absorbed in a story, where the barrier between reality and fiction blurs and the latter begins to seep into the former.
4. What character in Moonchild would you aspire to be more like?
E- Daniel is a character that is largely idealized, because he is so wise. His wisdom, however, comes at a hefty price. This boy had suffered so much in his life. The pain of abandonment, facing death and a host of other dealings with the harshness of life, polished him the way water polishes a stone. In my own life, I aspire to be a deeper, more understanding and compassionate person, without having to face all the challenges that Daniel did. However, I also liked the lightness of being that surrounds Punk. He has an edge to him and is much more prone to laughter and letting things just fall off his shoulders, less than Daniel. He is also very sharp and confrontational, while Daniel is ethereal and supremely gentle. They compliment each other in a way, each one possessing valuable qualities I’d like to keep growing within myself. Thank you for asking – great question! Next time I face a challenge in my personal life, I might ask myself what would Daniel/Punk do now?
5. If Moonchild was made into a movie, who would play the lead roles?
E- We would need to find a rock star with long black hair and a chiseled body to play Sariel. If Peter Steele was still alive, I think he would fill that role quite well. I think that Douglas Booth would make a great Punk, a Polish actor Jakub Gierszal as Daniel would be amazing, Max Irons could be Ben, and Jamie Campbell Bower could very well portray Crass. For Eve, I am thinking Lily Collins, Abigail Breslin, or if a Polish choice – Joanna Kulig. Now, wouldn’t that be a dream come true!
6. What character in Moonchild do you relate to most?
E- Again that would have to be Eve, as I know her so well. She is a daring spirit and crosses barriers that would frighten most people because of her unquenchable curiosity and a stubborn pursuit of what is true. But I could as well relate to Punk. He is almost like an extended version of Eve – while she gets most of her experiences from exploring her mind, he lives though them. I think that during their first encounter Eve is drawn to him precisely because he embodies what is possible when you life on the edge, an incredibly alluring quality to Eve. Punk externalizes her internal self.
7. What was the hardest scene to write?
E- The most complex scene was the climax, because it was meant to tie all the loose strings together, explain lingering questions, which by then were copious, and resolve the mystery, just enough to satisfy the reader, but while still leaving enough room for further contemplation. I wanted the story to be poignant in the end and for the readers to become enchanted with the myths of our origin and continue to mine them. Writing about Eve’s night with Daniel required a lot of concentrated effort, as it was filled with so much deep emotion. And finally, bringing the angel to life and making him seem as real as possible was an ongoing task. Sariel embodies that forbidden element, that gray mixture of virtue and sin, which can be challenging to write about because it is inherently so complex, not to mention that he is not human. I received a letter from a reader recently who said that she was weary to turn off the lights at night, afraid that Sariel might come to haunt her in that semi-dream state. While I certainly did not want to create too much angst in my readers, I must say that this was such a rewarding thing to hear!
8. Were there any specific books/authors/songs that influenced your writing in Moonchild?
E- Many songs influenced the story, and I made sure to list the most impactful tracks on my website, so the readers can dive in and hear what I used to listen to when I was Eve’s age as well as while writing the novel. The list is of course condensed, as there were many more songs that I did not include. The title song by Fields of the Nephilim naturally sparked some of the concepts I explored in the book, although the saga of the fallen is much deeper explored the band’s “Zoon” album, which I could not list, as the LP came out a year after the story took place. As for other authors, I’m a huge fan of Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s writing. He is a Spanish author my mother found whose words are tinged with gothic flavors and poetic depth. “Shadow of the Wind” definitely influenced “Moonchild” and if you read it, you should be able to spot exactly how.
9. What do you hope readers can take away from reading Moonchild?
E- My hope is that the story will first and foremost be an entertaining, thrilling adventure. If we were go a layer deeper, I’d hope that it could serve as a catalyst for individual exploration of themselves and our ancient origins. I believe that records exist, some perhaps shrouded in secrecy though most are likely lost, yet indecipherable or still buried, that contain clues to what happened on our planet many millennia ago. Based on some of the texts I’ve been exposed to, that primarily include Sumerian, Egyptian, Nordic, East Indian and and Meso-American creation myths and of course the Bible, something cataclysmic took place around 13 thousand years ago. Some say that it was the ice sheets melting, but I am tempted to question that because melting of glaciers, while no doubt unleashing massive powers of nature, does not annihilate entire species such as mammoths in an instant. Such changes unfold more gradually. So when I was reading the war stories of the Sumerians or the Mahabharata text from India, it becomes apparent that the civilizations that lived on earth during those forlorn epochs were quite advanced and using technology capable of wiping out entire cities. I do not have answers to what exactly had happened but this is where I like to employ my imagination and use such findings as launchpads for creating entertaining stories that hopefully inspire the next generations to dig deeper.
10. Are you planning on writing/releasing another book?
E- Yes! I am currently working on two stories simultaneously. One is a sensual adventure drama with thriller elements that exposes the lures and perils of the show business world. It follows a young girl’s quest towards finding her own truth and sovereignty among the ensuing chaos. The second is a science fiction story about a crew of young prodigies on a mission to explore how space and the mind are linked. They get lost in the folds of spacetime and my protagonist is on a search to locate their ship. Little does she know that in the process, she will discover not only the key to her own psyche but also the meaning of true love.
Thank you for reading, and thank you Ewa for writing such detailed and interesting responses! Have a wonderful day.
Stay beautiful,
Ayesha xx
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Review: Lorali by Laura Dockrill

Review: Lorali
Author: Laura Dockrill
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publication Date: 2nd July 2015
Pages: 208

Synopsis (via Goodreads):
Colourful, raw, brave, rich and fantastical – this mermaid tale is not for the faint-hearted. Looking after a naked girl he found washed up under Hastings pier isn’t exactly how Rory had imagined spending his sixteenth birthday. But more surprising than finding her in the first place is discovering where she has come from. Lorali is running not just from the sea, not just from her position as princess, but her entire destiny. Lorali has rejected life as a mermaid, and become human. But along with Lorali’s arrival, and the freak weather suddenly battering the coast, more strange visitors begin appearing in Rory’s bemused Sussex town. With beautifully coiffed hair, sharp-collared shirts and a pirate ship shaped like a Tudor house, the Abelgare boys are a mystery all of their own. What are they really up to? Can Rory protect Lorali? And who from? And where does she really belong, anyway?

Monisah’s thoughts:
*This review may contain slight spoilers*
I was sent an ARC of this book from Hot Key Books via lovereading.co.uk in return for an honest review. Lorali had been on my summer TBR, so when lovereading gave me a chance to review the ARC I couldn’t reply fast enough!

Where do I start? This book blew me away completely. I haven’t read a mermaid book before, but Lorali was everything I imagined and so much more. Goodness, I’ve been missing out. Dockrill’s writing is honestly out of this world. Her poetic skills are portrayed beautifully in her writing, and she has you hanging off every word leaving you mesmerised. It was such a pleasure to read.

One of my favourite things of the book is that it was written in 3 voices- Rory, Lorali and The Sea. The great thing was, all the voices were distinctly different. Each voice had a particular style of writing which made the book so refreshing to read. At first I was a bit wary of 3 voices, because from my experience, multiple voices tend to blend into one but that did not happen when I was reading Lorali. I enjoyed every voice, but I have to say The Sea was definitely my favourite. I mean, what an amazing idea. I loved how Dockrill portrayed The Sea to be really sassy but wise all at the same time. She did an amazing job of writing from The Sea’s perspective, and it was so darn clever!

I loved how as the book went by, Dockrill gave you more and more information about Lorali’s past leaving you to piece together what happened at her resolution. Lorali was a great protagonist that really left you empathising with her and her situation. As the story unfolded, I found myself rooting for Lorali and loving her as a character. Her love for “The Walkers” and her bravery were so wonderful to read about. I loved reading about Lorali’s experiences out of the mermaid world. Her reactions to normal human experiences such as eating cake were so heart-warming to read about.

As for Rory… He was such a kind hearted soul. Dockrill accurately wrote in a perspective of a 16 year old boy. For example, when worrying about his date ordering an expensive bottle of wine, Rory replied with “who does she think I was, bloody Jay-Z?!” I loved Rory’s voice and the humour he brought to the book. The pirates were also a wonderful part of the book, and I loved how scary and brave pirates cared so much about their cuticles and conditioning their hair.

The book was so fun to read as it contained newspaper clippings and chatrooms as well as the 3 voices. I especially loved the chatrooms that were created when Opal swam into the river Thames and demanded to speak to the Prime Minister. The whole world blew up; fandoms were created for Opal, and Vogue and Elle both wanted her on their covers. The chatrooms were so hilarious, there were people sharing tips on how to grow a tapestry and how to get Opal’s perfect waves.

As I’ve said before, Dockrill’s writing was absolutely beautiful, so I’m just going to leave you with some of my favourite quotes from the book: “You have to live your life like you’re pretending. An actor living in a character’s life. Otherwise you won’t take the risks. You won’t live.”

“When I’m older I want to be a unicorn.” (This is me all day every day.)

“Her hair flowing like music.”

“Ghosts of our laughter haunt the air like a waft of a burnt matchstick.”

Rating: 5/5

Thank you for reading everyone! Do you have any mermaid book recommendations for me? Please leave them in the comments!

Stay beautiful,
Monisah xo

The Disney Book Tag!

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The wonderful Katytastic over on Youtube basically put our favourite things together (books and Disney) and came up with this amazing tag! We were so excited when Kristin @ SimplyBookishThings tagged us and we apologise it has taken us so long to post it!!!! But anyways, let’s get into the questions!

The Little Mermaid: A character who is out of their element, a ‘fish out of water’
For us, this was definitely Cath from Fangirl. A quiet, shy girl who writes fanfiction moving into her dorm room in College, it’s enough for anyone to feel like fish out of water! It’s scary to think that this is probably going to be us next year… except we don’t write fanfiction, we read it.

Cinderella: A character that goes through a major transformation
The first person that came to mind was Twylla from the Sin Eaters Daughter. From acting like the Queen’s slave at the start of the book to taking her life into her own hands at the end of the book… her transformation was huge and we loved reading about her growing as a person and finding herself.

Snow White: A book with an eclectic cast of characters
There is no other adjective to describe the cast of I’ll Give You the Sun other than eclectic. From crazy artists, to “bad boys”, gay couples and the ghost of Grandma Sweetwine, the character list covers a whole range of people. I honestly think that is the reason why so many people loved this book, because so many people were able to relate with the vast range of characters.

Sleeping Beauty: A book that put you to sleep
The Immortal Series by Alyson Noel. The first two books were good, but then Ever kept making stupid decisions after stupid decisions and it kinda got boring, and very annoying.

The Lion King: A character who had something traumatic happen to them in their childhood
Even though Cammie is basically living our dream by being a teenage spy, she had quite a traumatic childhood. Her father never came back from a spy mission, and she had to live her life not even knowing if he was dead or alive. We can’t even imagine what that would feel like.

Beauty And The Beast: A beast of a book (a big book) that you were intimidated by, but found the story to beautiful
We read the Twilight Saga when we were quite young, so Breaking Dawn was very intimidating. At 756 pages, we are pretty sure this book can qualify as a beast, but we loved it. Sorry not sorry.

Aladdin: A character who gets their wish granted, for better or for worse
Rudy from The Book Thief got his wish granted. He finally got his kiss from Liesel… Oh god. We’re getting emotional.

Mulan: A character who pretends to be someone or something they’re not
Mr Gatsby from The Great Gatsby pretends to be something that he isn’t to please Daisy. Not quite sure it worked out for him though..

Toy Story: A book with characters you wish could come to life
Yep, you guessed it, the cast of Harry Potter. We’re sorry for giving such an un-original answer, but is there even another answer to this question??

Disney Descendants: Your favourite villain or morally ambiguous character.
Caleb Prior from Divergent, does he even count? Well we both had a bit of soft spot for him (probably because he was played by the gorgeous Ansel Elgort).

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Thank you once again to the lovely Kristin @SimplyBookishThings for tagging us, and we would like to tag Angelina and Brianna @ otakutwins and The Candid Cover.

Stay beautiful,

Ayesha and Monisah xxx

Review – The Next Together by Lauren James

Title: The Next Together
Author:
Lauren James
Publisher:
Walker Books
Publication Date:
3rd September 2015
Pages:
368

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Goodreads Synopsis

How many times can you lose the person you love? Katherine and Matthew are destined to be born again and again, century after century. Each time, their presence changes history for the better, and each time, they fall hopelessly in love, only to be tragically separated. Spanning the Crimean War, the Siege of Carlisle and the near-future of 2019 and 2039 they find themselves sacrificing their lives to save the world. But why do they keep coming back? What else must they achieve before they can be left to live and love in peace? Maybe the next together will be different… A powerful and epic debut novel for teenagers about time-travel, fate and the timelessness of first love. The Next Together is told through a mixture of regular prose, diary entries, letters, “original” historical documents, news reports and internet articles.

Ayesha’s Thoughts

I received this ARC edition for The Next Together from lovereading.com in return for an honest review!

Okay, I don’t even know where to start, I was expecting this to be a soppy love story (which honestly I wouldn’t have minded) but The Next Together definitely surprised me! The storyline was so much more than I was expecting, there was action, a little bit of history, humour and Lauren James’ take on what life would be like in 2039.

The storyline was centred around a love story between Matthew and Katherine, in different time landscapes, 1745, 1854, 2019 and 2039. I felt as though I was hooked from page one. I always found myself wanting to keep reading, whether it was to explore the personalities of Matthew and Katherine in each time landscape, or to unravel the cleverly crafted storyline Lauren James has put together.

As for the characters, I fell in love with them. Katherine had a very witty sense of humour and she was utterly hilarious, I just wanted to be best friends with her! Matthew was just so adorable and nerdy and he definitely pulled at my heart strings. I found myself always rooting for them to get together and fall in love no matter what they had experienced or despite their backgrounds. They both felt like real people that I could relate to.

Now for the writing, Lauren James was born to write. She can write in any time period. Whether it is re-writing her take on historical events or writing about the future. Another original and personal detail were the little snippets of articles or letters at the start of every chapter (my favourites were definitely the refrigerator notes written between Matthew and Katherine in the time landscape 2019).

On a minor down side, I did find it a little unrealistic that the Matt and Kate in 2019 were the aunt and uncle of the Matt and Kate in 2039, but let’s just ignore that small detail because this book was honestly just perfect. It was everything I looked for in a book, fun, exciting and gripping. Oh, and the ending… I was turning the pages to try and find more, I hope with every bone of my being that there is a sequel.

I would recommend this book no matter what genre you normally read! This is such a versatile story that I will be recommending to all my family and friends! I would definitely recommend everyone pick it up when it is released on the 3rd September 2015. The Next Together has been one of the best books I’ve read so far this year!

Rating: 5/5

I hope you all enjoyed reading, and please let me know your favourite books that you’ve read this year in the comments! Have a wonderful day!

Stay beautiful,
Ayesha xx

Review: Someone You Already Know – Sarahbeth Caplin

Title: Someone You Already Know
Author:
Sarahbeth Caplin
Publisher:
Createspace
Publication Date: October 1st 2012
Pages:
268

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Two teenage girls, two experiences with sexual assault: one committed by a stranger, the other by a relationship partner. Neither girl quite believes the other when she shares her story: wasn’t she ‘asking for it’ by walking home alone so late at night? Why didn’t she just end the relationship if he really treated her that way? Someone You Already Know is a raw, emotional book that explores the impact of rape culture on modern society. Told in alternating perspectives from two survivors, it unpacks the common myths of sexual assault, revealing important truths that every woman needs to know.

Ayesha’s Thoughts

Today I am reviewing a book I was sent from an author in return from an honest review. Thank you Sarahbeth for sending me this book to review! I wanted to pick up this book because it was totally different from anything I’ve ever read before.

The story was told in two perspectives, Katherine and Elisabeth, both girls who experience sexual assault in different ways. Katherine, who was raped by a stranger and Elisabeth, who experienced assault from her relationship partner. I thought the idea of this story told in two perspectives was very original and it gave the book even more meaning. As a reader, I could see the different perspectives of the two girls as they had both experienced different things. Reading this story was so inspiring, to see how Sarahbeth took a negative experience and told it in such a raw and emotional way. It was intriguing to see how the girls dealt with their experiences and how this affected their friendship. Sarahbeth used their friendship to portray the different views of rape, shown in the story as Katherine and Elisabeth’s friendship suffered as a result of their experiences.

The book did an amazing job of raising awareness of sexual assault. I learnt so many new things, and my perspective of rape culture in general has definitely changed. As for the characters, I loved the way they both showed feminism and strength for women. It was lovely to see strong feminine characters in a contemporary book. Every character stood for something different, and explored a new area of rape and rape culture.

Although the story did really well in raising awareness of this subject, I felt as though nothing really happened in the story. I felt like everything mentioned in the blurb of the book was everything that happened. It wasn’t really what I was used to, but I know the main point of the book wasn’t the storyline, but to raise awareness of sexual abuse. Also, I read this while I was sitting exams and the short chapters were really helpful to read while revising.

Overall, I am very happy I picked up this book! I learnt so many new things, and the story raised certain issues concerning women and society which has always been an important issue for me. I would give this novel a 3/5. I would have wanted more from the storyline, to engage the reader with more of a busy storyline, because I felt like the story was predictable, it was everything I was expecting.

If you are interested in any of the issues mentioned in the book, I would definitely recommend it! Thank you for reading, I hope you have a lovely day!

Rating: 3/5

Stay beautiful,

Ayesha xx

 

10 Questions with Ana Huang!

Hello everyone!

I have something really exciting to share with you guys! As you know, I recently reviewed All I’ve Never Wanted by Ana Huang (which you can read here), and I absolutely loved it. I wanted to know more about Ana and her characters, so I asked Ana if she would be interested in an interview, and she said yes! This is the first time we’ve ever done anything like this, so I’d like to thank Ana for being the sweetest person ever, and making the process so easy! I hope you guys enjoy reading Ana’s answers as much as I did!

  • Where did the inspiration of All I’ve Never Wanted come from?
    Ana- I was actually inspired by a Japanese manga called Hana Yori Dango. I never read the manga, but I saw some of the TV show adaptations and was intrigued by the premise and basic plotline. I decided to create my own story off of that and voila, All I’ve Never Wanted was born.
  • Your book has over 17 million reads on Wattpad, did you ever expect it to become so popular?
    A- It was definitely unexpected! Before Wattpad, I’ve never shared the stories I write in my free time to anyone–not even my mom. When I discovered the site, I was intrigued and decided to take a leap of faith. There are a lot of stories on there, and a lot of great authors, so I was surprised that my story received so much attention. I cannot help but be amazed and humbled by all of my readers and fans. They’ve given me invaluable support, advice, and motivation, and without them, I wouldn’t have had the courage to continue writing and sharing my works.
  • What was your favourite scene to write?
    A- It’s hard to choose just one, but I would have to go with the scene where Maya’s grandmother finds Roman in the house. That scene was actually completely unplanned. It just sort of happened as I was writing the chapter, but at the time, I thought it fit perfectly. I was grinning by the end. I love the grandmother because she is so completely ridiculous and over-the-top, even though she’s based off my real grandmother. Some people are a little offended by how stereotypically I portrayed her, but honestly, I created her as almost a spoof character–besides, let’s face it, Roman needed to be taken down a notch, and the fact that a tiny old lady did it just made it all the better.
  • Which one of the Scions do you think you would be more likely to go on a date with? Why and where would you go?
    A- In real life, Carlo would be the best fit for me, although the Roman type is what I usually look for in a “book boyfriend.” However, realistically speaking, Carlo is just what a girl needs–sweet, smart, sensitive, but not overly so. Plus, he’s gorgeous! I envision our perfect date as something very romantic, intellectually stimulating but down-to-earth. For example, a visit to the museum followed by a picnic, or maybe something on the beach.
  • Out of all the characters in All I’ve never Wanted, who do you relate most to and why?
    A- I relate most to Maya. She’s probably a bit more confrontational than I am, but she has a lot of the same insecurities and goals that I do.
  • Which one of your characters would be more likely to have a blog, and what would they blog about?
    A- Definitely Venice! If there’s someone who just loves to interact with people and share stories, it’s her. I can already picture her running some type of gossip blog. Watch out, TMZ!
  • One of my favourite characters was Maya’s grandmother because she was so hilarious! Was the comedy hard to write at times or did it come naturally when writing?
    A- The comedy came pretty naturally. I didn’t even intend for it to be comedic at the beginning. I thought it would be more of a romantic drama, but as I started writing, the humor elements just wrote themselves, and in the end, I’m happy it ended up that way.
  • You wrote “All I’ve Never Wanted” when you were 16. What advice would you give to other young writers?
    A- Don’t give up! It sounds trite, but I think one of the greatest problems young and new writers have is finishing a story. Unless you’e an established author who makes their living off books, it can sometimes be hard to follow through on an idea. You get writer’s block, or you just get distracted by life, and it can be pretty discouraging. However, there’s nothing like the feeling of actually finishing a story. It’ll be worth it in the end, I promise!
  • I’ve become so attached to all the characters in All I’ve Never Wanted, is there any chance of a sequel?
    A- At the moment, I am planning a sequel that focuses on Carlo’s story. I am not sure when it will be released, as I have some other projects I want to wrap up before that one. However, it will definitely happen sooner or later.
  • All I’ve Never Wanted is one of my favourite books I’ve read this year. Have you read anything recently that you absolutely loved?
    A- First of all, thanks so much! I am so happy you enjoyed it. As for myself, I’ve been on a paranormal romance binge, and I loved Gena Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld series. They’re geared towards older readers–they can get pretty steamy–but at the core, they are based on Greek myth with some pretty unique twists. I love Greek mythology-based fiction and the books have just the right amount of romance, action, and fantasy for me.

You can read more about Ana on her Goodreads page here.

Thank you everyone!

Stay beautiful,
Monisah xo