Three Tips – For Free or Cheap Books

With the recent closure of a major pirated book site, I’ve seen so many people on social media in outrage. I get it. Books can be expensive, especially when you’re on a low salary, but piracy is still illegal and affects all authors.

My mum and I often complain about book prices, mostly from bigger authors and publishers who still charge a fortune years after a book’s release. Maybe they deserve to be pirated. I dunno. But the indie authors I follow on bookish social media definitely don’t deserve this.

Rather than rant and moan more, I thought I’d share some tips for free or cheap books to support the deserving authors. 

  1. Be an ARC or beta reader for pre-releases. Not only are they free, bit you get to read the book before anyone else in exchange for a review or feedback.
  2. Free/discount days on ebooks. Most ebook apps have them. A lot of self-published authors have flash sales of offer their own discounts at their discretion.
  3. Subscriptions. Kindle unlimited has countless indie books in their library. Audible also have a great subscription where you get to keep one book per month as well as access to their subscribers catalogue.
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Out of Ashes Release Date February 14th

From my new author website.

Emilia Dashfire

My debut novel, Out of Ashes, is now available for pre-sale on Amazon Kindle and will be available in paperback nearer release date on February 14th.

If you don’t know what my book is about, you might think from the date that it’s a cute romance for Valentine’s day. You’d be wrong. It’s the anti-valentine, but I chose this date for personal reasons relating to what drove me to write this book. 

Yes, I know there’s a silly mistake. I fixed it and added the trigger warnings.

It’s been three years since I started it, and it’s been an emotional journey writing it. I have worked on another project in the meantime while I let the ideas float around, but I was talking with my colleagues the other day about it, and they said… “Why don’t you just do it if it’s ready?” So I did.

With Amazon KDP, I…

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Book Review – Unbound by Holly Huntress – 5 stars

Warning: May contain minor spoilers, but opening comments are spoiler-free. Check out my Reading Ranting page for more.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I was super excited to read this and that feeling carried on through the book. 

Milah is given a mission by the king to infiltrate a neighbouring kingdom to learn about their weaknesses. But Milah has her own mission to find her parents’ killer. Once there, she learns not all is as it seems. 

What I liked…

Not particularly important, but I loved how the title and cover made sense from the beginning. 

I also love the time jump from Milah losing her parents to when she goes on her mission. It gives her time for the shock to wear off and lean to live with the grief but still have it meaningful in the present because of the way they died. 

I loved not knowing who to trust. Don’t worry, not spoilers on specifics, but the whole book had me wondering who was genuine and who had an agenda and who was out to get Milah for their own reasons. 

Romance was fun to read. Definitely YA romance, but on the upper end.

I love the word building with the book, the magical creatures and the magical powers. 

What I didn’t like…

I thought Milah was too forgiving to a couple of people she should have been angry at. Sure, she can forgive them eventually, but it was a little too quick for my liking. 

Final thoughts…

If you like fantasy espionage, revenge, romance, found family, and badass female MCs, then you should try this book.

Book Review – Hunting Adeline by H.D. Carlton – 4 stars

Warning: May contain minor spoilers, but opening comments are spoiler-free. Check out my Reading Ranting page for more.

If book 1 was hard to read in traumatic content, then this was a serious struggle. I had to skip a couple of scenes but I was too invested to stop. Addie goes through a lot in the beginning, but it becomes a story of healing and taking her life into her own hands. 

What I liked…

I still love how Addie and Zade’s minds work. They’re such a curious couple that sound horribly wrong in reality, but when I adjust my thinking to match theirs… they just work.

I love how Addie didn’t give up and fought every minute in this book, for her freedom, her recover, and her happiness. 

I love how Addie wanted to get her own revenge and help take the trafficking ring down. 

What I didn’t like…

Things got a bit silly and overdone towards the end with the declarations of love.

I felt that the epilogue should have actually been the last chapter since the official last chapter ended with something unrelated to Addie and Zade. I think it relates to the book set before these two, which I didn’t read, but this is Addie and Zade’s story and should end properly with them. 

Final thoughts…

I was very surprised at how much I enjoyed this story having heard some scary things about it. But I’m not one to shy away just because it’s a dark story. 

3 Tips For Choosing You’re Next 5 Star Read

I’ve been getting super frustrated with people complaining about books they didn’t like that they found via social media. But what’s super annoying is that they didn’t even look beyond the recommendation. I admit I’ve had a few disappointments myself, but I genuinely thought I’d like those based on mutual tastes and reviews. 

Despite a few failures, I’ve given mostly 4 and 5 stars in the past couple of years because I did all the things below.

  1. Don’t just accept a recommendation. Look at the blurb on Goodreads or through the official author’s website.
  2. Reviews. Read a range of ratings for a full picture and lean more towards people with similar tastes. I read a low, mid and high review for a full picture.
  3. Read an ebook sample even if you plan to buy the physical book. All ebook apps have them, so there’s no excuse to complain about a writer’s style or tone when you can read the opening chapters for free.

I hope this helps other find their 5 star books and we can all enjoy the books written with readers like us in mind.

Writing Ranting – NaNoWriMo – The Viper’s Library

I’m please to announce my NaNoWriMo project for November 2022. I actually started this for last November’s NaNoWriMo, but it grew into a trilogy, and I was polishing up another novel for publication

This month, I hope to get the final 30k done based on my estimated word count. Either way, I will finish this draft.

I have a playlist on YouTube and cosplay (see featured image) for my main character on my TikTok and Instagram stories. I’ll also be posting regular updates.

Zelenka, a new breed of vampiric viper, has been in hiding for 200 years. When a group of hunters chase vipers who know Zelenka into her quant town, word gets back to her sisters and sire. Now Zele has a choice: run, fight, or play her sister’s twisted games.

Dante and his companions, Killian and Nolan, are skilled viper hunters who are more than happy to make a deal with Zelenka to help protect her lands in exchange for the secrets of her kind.

But the deal becomes more than Dante and Zelenka bargained for when they’re forced to play along with Zelenka’s sisters’ games.

3 Tips – For NaNoWriMo

National Novel Writing Month starts tomorrow, and I thought I’d share some tips for a successful month. 

Also, I’ll be including videos on more of my posts.

  1. Don’t feel like you have to stick to the 50k goal if that’s too daunting for you. You can edit your goal or create a new goal for the same project. Also, your outline and summary counts if you’re working on that too. It all goes towards that final book.
  2. Keep your inspiration flowing with some good wiring playlists, whether it’s your favourite artists, or some emotional, instrumental music. My YouTube and Spotify has some playlists if you want to check them out.
  3. Writing sprints are a great way to help keep you focussed, so be sure to find some sprints either via the site or through other writing groups.

I’ll be announcing my project tomorrow.

Book Review – Monthly TBR Update October 2022

Books I read this month…
  • Gleam by Raven Kennedy – 4.5 stars.
  • Kingdom of the Feared by Keri Maniscalco – 5 stars.
  • The Awakening, As Told by the Boys, by Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti – 5 stars.
  • Haunting Adeline by H.D. Carlton – 4.5
Mini non-spoiler reviews…

Gleam is book 3 in The Plated Prisoner Series and… pfff, things get wild in this one. I love how Auren doesn’t just flip from one thing to another. She takes her time, plans her next move, and does it for herself.

Kingdom of the Feared is the finale of Kingdom of the Wicked trilogy and was worth the wait. Emilia discovers the truth about her past, her supposedly dead sister, and the people she through she could trust.

The Awakeneing (book 1 of Zociac Academy from the Heir’s perspectives) was phenomenal. It just makes so much sense now and I’m glad I didn’t read it sooner like I’d planned. It also works better after reading Ruthless Boys since Gabriel makes a few appearances. There aren’t any spoilers, but it’s funnier when you’re in the know. 

Haunting Adeline is super dark, but I found it fascinating from a psychological perspective.

Books I plan to read next month…
  • Hunting Adeline. I’ll get that started today probably. 
  • Unbound by Holly Huntress. I started it last month but got distracted.

Book Review – Haunting Adeline by H.D. Carlton – 4.5 stars

Warning: May contain minor spoilers, but opening comments are spoiler-free. Check out my Reading Ranting page for more.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

This is very dark, with a dash of mystery, psychological thriller, and some spooky goings on. I enjoyed this book far more that I expected to since it’s not my usual genre, but I read a lot of dark fantasy so it wasn’t too much of a leap.

Trigger Warning: This book has a lot of triggering content in relation to non-consensual acts, graphic sex and graphic violence and child abuse. It was probably darker than I was prepared for.

What I liked…

Adeline isn’t some weak-minded MC who needs a man, but she’s also realistic that she wants one.

Zade is… a psychopath. Like, hardcore psycho. But that’s what makes him interesting from a literary perspective. His reasoning for what he does to Addie, effed up as it is, makes a twisted sort of sense.

Both MCs have particularly interesting inner conflict over their actions compared to what is appropriate or “normal” behaviour. I’m conflicted myself over how much I liked this book.

I listened to this on audible, and when we were in Addie’s POV, any male voices were done by the male narrator and vice versa. 

I love the snippets from Gigi’s diary and how history is repeating itself with Addie, but in a much darker and twisted way.

Random thoughts…

It did baffle me how Addie’s friend reacted to what was going on with Addie and Zade. If I found out some guy had done things like that to my friend, I’d be dragging her to as far away as possible. 

The police sucked too. I get that they can’t do everything, especially when someone’s tampering with their system, but they were just so… unbothered on Addie’s behalf.

What I didn’t like…

I can’t really complain about this since it’s a huge warning, but… some moments in this were too much and I found myself skipping. The number of times I had to remind myself it was just fiction…

Final thoughts…

I definitely wouldn’t recommend this to just anyone. If you’re into dark and twisted minds playing fucked up games with each other, with a dash of spooky and history repeating itself, then I might recommend it to you if you can handle this.

Book Review – The Awakening, as Told By the Boys by Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti – 5 stars, obviously

Warning: May contain minor spoilers, but opening comments are spoiler-free. Check out my Reading Ranting page for more.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

We all know the Heirs are jerks to the twins in book 1 of Zodiac Academy, but why? Why did they go so far? We get our answers from Darius and Orion, with sprinklings of Seth, Caleb, and Max.

What I liked…

I already loved this book and series, but going back and seeing the Heirs’ reasoning makes me love them even more. 

What I didn’t like…

There wasn’t much of Max. I moaned about his random POVs in the later books, but I expected more in this one. 

Final thoughts…

I don’t recommend reading this unless you’re on at least book 4 or 5 of ZA. It doesn’t exactly spoil things, but there are some fun moments that make more sense.