Saturday 28 November 2020

KINGDOM OF THE WICKED by Kerri Maniscalco


Emilia and her twin sister Vittoria are streghe - witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Vittoria misses dinner service at the family's renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin . . . desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to find her sister's killer and to seek vengeance at any cost-even if it means using dark magic that's been long forbidden. 

Then Emilia meets Wrath, one of the Wicked-princes of Hell she has been warned against in tales since she was a child. Wrath claims to be on Emilia's side, tasked by his master with solving the series of women's murders on the island. But when it comes to the Wicked, nothing is as it seems . . .

I've had my eye on this book for a while and as soon as I started reading, I was hooked.

Emilia and her twin sister Vittoria are witches hiding what they really are from humans to avoid persecution. They're close and have been warned about the Wicked since they were little.

One twin loves to cook in her family's restaurant. The other loves to keep secrets. When Emilia finds her sister's mutilated body, she vows to get revenge on the killer. Even if it means teaming up with the demon Wrath, and everything that entails...

This book turned out to be well written, mysterious and contains some very intriguing worldbuiding. It also deals with the demonic, which happens to be one of my favourite subgenres.

The location and setting is lovely, lush and the descriptions so vivid I felt like I was transported to Italy. Every meal Emilia mentions is done in a way that is guaranteed to make the reader hungry. And the sense of strong family ties seem tight at first, but are soon revealed to be full of secrets that hurt the twins in the worst way possible.

I liked Emilia because she's stubborn and determined to find out what happened to her sister. I liked Wrath because he's mysterious and cheeky enough to entice any summoner. But I didn't like them together. Unfortunately, I didn't buy the romance between them, so I couldn't invest in their connection as a couple.

There are a lot of things I enjoyed about this book, but I also had some issues with the events leading to the end, and how Emilia conveniently stumbles into some of the more important answers.

Kingdom of the Wicked is an addictive story that captivated me from the start and most of the way through. This world of witches and demons is interesting and fully developed, but led to a disappointing conclusion.

Thank you Hachette Australia for sending me a copy! 

Kingdom of the Wicked, November 2020, ISBN 9781529350456, Hodder & Stoughton

Friday 27 November 2020

THE BONE FACTORY is now available!

That's right! It's the 27th, and that means that my Murder! Mystery! Mayhem! novella is now available from Demain Publishing.

Max Patella just wants to do her job, which includes dealing with cases the corrupt police don't want to dirty their hands with.

When she stumbles on a bunch of skeletons found in different warehouses, all wearing mysterious rings, Max finds herself in a dangerous and deadly situation that leads back to her...

You can grab a copy from:

You can also:


I REALLY love the cover Adrian Baldwin made for Max's novella because it's absolutely perfect for several reasons. You'll understand what I mean after reading it. 😁

THE BONE FACTORY is a thriller noir featuring a dark supernatural crime, a very wicked city, some shady characters and plenty of horror.

Max Patella is a mysterious detective who wants to help the forgotten victims in her corrupt city and ends up in the middle of something very dark. 💀

I'm so excited about this story, and even more excited about being included in another awesome Demain Publishing series alongside some great authors.


Wednesday 25 November 2020

NaNoWriMo is (finally) officially over!

Today, I validated DESTINY

Like last year, there was no actual word count validation necessary. BUT, even after I reached 50k and finished my WIP, there was no clear way to access my WINNER badges. I had to mess around with the notifications, which fellow writer Crystal-Rain Love told me about, before finding where I could downloaded my certificate, etc. 

Yay, I suppose. 😁

Anyway, here's what my November progress looked like:

Quite a steady rise to the finish line, right? 😀👍

Well, that's NaNoWriMo for another year. Hope you all had as much fun writing your novel as I did! I got so caught up in Destiny's story that I've already started a Revision List and plan to expand on what I have, plus change a few things. 

Like every NaNo project, I wrote this story for me, because Destiny's adventure is something I wanted to read. Something this persistent character deserved. And also, because I hope she'll find an audience one day.

Have a great week!

Wednesday 18 November 2020



The Ballad of Black TomThe Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a novella I've had my eye on for a while because that cover is great. And today was the day I finally picked it up.

Charles Thomas Tester is a bit of a hustler and not much of a singer, though he carries a guitar case with him. He lives with his sick father in Harlem but often finds himself in other places across New York.

The day he delivers a strange book to a strange woman in Queens, Tom's life is never the same...

Okay, this is quite an interesting story and I enjoyed it for several reasons. It's well written, has some great characters, the sense of location is really cool, and the Lovecraftian angle is very interesting.

I thought Thomas Tester was such a fascinating character and I really enjoyed spending time with him. His story was a combination of sad and engaging, with a mix of mystery that kept me interested.

Unfortunately, the cop Malone wasn't any of these things. Actually, I was very disappointed when Part 2 started and it was in his POV. He was such a boring guy. I just didn't care about anything he had to say or do, so the second half of the novella failed the beginning.

I was glad it ended with Thomas and loved the last line. I just wish we'd gotten the chance to follow him from start to finish and experience some of the wonders that were skipped over.

It's an entertaining read.

View all my reviews

Monday 16 November 2020

NaNoWriMo: Week Three

Hey! How are you today? Well, this week's NaNoWriMo post is quite close to the last one, right? I mean, I just posted last week's update yesterday. 😬

BUT, I finished my WIP today, so I thought I'd blog about it.

Yep. The first draft of DESTINY is finished, and I'm SO excited. Yay! 😁🎉

This is the 14th time I've won NaNoWriMo!

So, here's this week's word count:
  • Monday: 65,560 (added 2071w)

I actually reached the end of this first draft yesterday but because it was such a whirlwind of words and felt bare bones, I went back and re-read the last three chapters + epilogue.

Writing this story turned out to be a great and fun experience! It started out as a small horror idea featuring a character who's been renting space in my brain for several years now, and became something so much bigger. It features a love story I didn't expect, included a lot of supernatural goodness, and led to a very cool and unexpected adventure.

I'm really happy with Destiny's story. I just need to revise it and find a cool title. 😬

Well, there you have it. My NaNoWriMo 2020 WIP is done. I managed to write one more novel before the end of the year, and that's always awesome. 

I'm super excited right now and am looking forward to taking a mental break. And that includes some overdue reading time. 😁

Have an awesome week!

Sunday 15 November 2020

NaNoWriMo: Week Two

Well, the second week of NaNoWriMo has come to an end, and I'm still very happy with my progress... because I reached the 50k-word target. Yay!! 😃🎉

That's right. I got to 50k in 12 days, which really isn't a surprise because I write fast first drafts quite often. Actually, I did the same thing back in August when I was writing my slasher novel

Meeting 50k is really cool but the story isn't done, so of course I'll keep writing until I reach The End.

Here's how this week's word count turned out:
  • Monday: 37,418 (added 2929w) 
  • Tuesday: 41,702 (added (4284w)
  • Wednesday: 46,027 (added 4325w)
  • Thursday: 50,350 (added 4323w)
  • Friday: 54,691 (added 4341w)
  • Saturday: 59,036 (added 4345w)
  • Sunday: 63,489 (added 4453w)

I love taking part in NaNo, but even more than that, I love writing a story that's been living inside my brain for this long. Especially when so much of what I expected has actually hit the page, along with a LOT of unexpected things. There are so many surprises popping up all over the place and I'm really looking forward to finding out where Destiny's adventure ends.

Like last week, I didn't have enough time to do any actual reading but we did squeeze in some yoga workouts, daily walks and quite a bit of watching. Even bought a whole bunch of books because there are just too many deals--both in eBooks and print. Oh, and I even (somehow) wrote a short story.

I'm really looking forward to getting stuck into a book or two when I finish this draft. But for now, I'm going to keep following this story until there's no more to tell...

Hope your WIP is going well too. 😊

Have an awesome week!

Sunday 8 November 2020

NaNoWriMo: Week One

Well, the first week of NaNoWriMo is over and I'm really happy with my progress.

Since the 1st of November--which was actually last Sunday--I've spent the week getting stuck into my story. I'm having a great time writing my latest WIP because this character has been waiting for her shot at adventure for AGES

Here's how this week's word count turned out:
  • Sunday: 5,124w
  • Monday: 10,101 (added 4977w) 
  • Tuesday: 14,163 (added 4062w)
  • Wednesday: 18,268 (added 4105w)
  • Thursday: 22,349 (added 4081w)
  • Friday: 26,376 (added 4027w)
  • Saturday: 30,889 (added 4513w) 
  • Sunday: 34,489 (added 3600w)

As you can see, writing every single day has resulted in a great word count total. I'm probably on track to reach 50k by the end of next week (yay!), but I'm not sure if that'll also be the end of the story. 😬 

I have a feeling it's going to be longer. How long? I'm not sure yet. It's not important because I'll keep going until it's done. LOL.

A lot about this WIP is turning out exactly how I imagined it would. But there's even more stuff I didn't expect. Like the importance of several characters, and how they're reacting and/or interacting with my MC. Not to mention the unexpected emotional entanglements... I'm having a great time with this adventurous horror story, of the demonic (and monstrous) kind. 😈

Like usual, I'm getting so caught up in my own story that I haven't been able to read anything. It's not about finding the time, because we've still managed to squeeze in yoga, walking and watching. It's just that I'm totally wrapped up in my own story.

Well, that's it. That's my update for now.

Have a great week!!

Sunday 1 November 2020

NaNoWriMo is here!


That's right! It's that time of the year and I'm EXCITED!!

Today is the first day of NaNoWriMo 2020 and I got stuck into my story first thing this morning. 😃 

My plan for the first day was to get stuck into the first chapter and get a feel for the main character and where the story was going, so I didn't have a particular word count in mind. 

I've had a great time with NaNoPrep but I've been itching to get started... 

And this is how I did: 

I wasn't expecting or planning to write this many words but as soon as I sat down, my main character started talking and wouldn't stop. I forced myself to stop mid-Chapter Two because there was more to tell but it's great to stop in the middle of something so it's easier to get stuck into it tomorrow.

There you go, there's a first draft tip I always use.

Anyway, about the actual story. This is an idea I've been carrying around for a while and it's FINALLY time for Destiny to go on her road trip to solve a weird case and discover a bunch of other (shocking) stuff along the way. 

Yeah. It's another story featuring monsters. 😉

If you're doing NaNo too and want to be buddies, my name is YolandaS

Well, good luck! Happy writing! And have a good one!

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