Book Review

“Fake to Fate” by Anastasia Austin (Book Review)

Looking for a fun, easy read to get you back into the swing of reading again? Looking for a book filled with laughter, fun, and a happily ever after? “Fake to Fate” by Anastasia Austin is just right for you!

Admittedly, this is the second book in Anastasia’s Fate Series that I have read. The first was…

Oh yes, you read that correct! “Call of Booty”! A book that not only had me laughing (and purchasing) it on sight but also three other members of my family group who were at the event (Romance Rendezvous Book Blast – if you want to meet Anastasia in person!). I fell in love with the little prequel novella that I knew I had to purchase book one, “Fake to Fate”.

While in the same universe, the books were standalone, so you could read them in any order. I found them both unique and lovely reads, perfect after a hard day at work. There is such hilarity, especially in “Fake to Fate”. Who would have guessed a wrong number, plus a funny answering prank, plus an ex-bf would cause such chaos and love.

“Fake to Fate” was genuinely heartwarming and it left me grinning from ear to ear (though a little sad it ended so quickly!). Our leading lady, Stephanie, is an introvert who just wants some food – I can relate. When she calls for takeout, she is met with a rather interesting greeting from Roland, a sweet cinnamon roll character that makes you swoon.

These two work together so wonderfully, even though they are rather different individuals. Through a series of hilarious and sometimes unfortunate events, romance blossoms and leads to a steamy happily ever after.

What I loved about “Fake to Fate” and “Call of Booty” is how easily it was to fall into the story. I felt like I knew the characters before, as I resonated with their personalities or their personal struggles. Anastasia Austin wrote a wonderful story and I can’t wait to read book 2 of the series!

Be sure to check out Anastasia Austin and her other works. You can find her at her website, Facebook, and Instagram.


Get to know Anastasia Austin better from her interview below!

Question 1: “Fake to Fake” and “Call of Booty” are wonderful reads that make you smile and giggle along the way. What inspired you to write this story?

Fake to Fate came from an idea that I had tucked away. Originally, Stephanie worked in a call center and Roland’s number came up. But it was too unrealistic that she would have access to his phone number to call him back, so they met IRL and recognized each other’s voices. Which was cute, but also not super likely after only one short call. So, I changed it to the wrong number and had her call him back when she needed help getting rid of her ex. Call of Booty grew from the scene when she walks in on him gaming and she ends up spending late nights up with him as his good luck charm.

Question 2: Who was your favorite character to write? I know you aren’t supposed to pick your favorite…but let’s be honest…who’s your favorite? 

Of all my characters? Apollo. He’s probably the most like me. Talks a lot without thinking first. In Fake to Fate, Roland was a lot of fun to write. My first time writing in a male POV and I loved it! He’s the reason I wanted to keep writing romance.

Question 3: I loved the chance meeting and then follow up calls between the characters. How did you decide that a accidental typo led to a wonderful romance? Have you ever had a wrong number be hilarious like our main characters?

Whoops! I think I already answered this in your first question. Unfortunately, I’ve never experienced this myself. Not that I can remember. My memory is garbage! 

Question 4: Writing a series isn’t easy, even if all the books stand alone. How do you keep track of all those details, names, and characters?

So… garbage memory and yet I keep terrible notes! 😂 It’s a wonder there’s any consistency in my series! I do my best using Evernote. A notebook for each series and several notes for each book. I’ve tried making series bibles… But I procrastinate too much and get overwhelmed and give up. 😂

Question 5: Do you have any upcoming releases? What can we look forward to seeing from you in the future?

I just had a release on April 30, 2022! CANDY was my first dark romance. It’s not super dark but certainly darker than my other books. But always a happily ever after! Up next? I’m not sure. I have a lot of things going. Some sequels to stand-alones I’ve already released. Some shifter and omegaverse stories! I think it all depends which characters are the loudest to get their book finished first!  

Be sure to check out “Fake to Fate”, “Call of Booty”, and all of the other wonderful novels by Anastasia Austin!

Happy Reading!

Book Review

“Stalked by the Kraken” by Lillian Lark (Book Review)

I know what you’re thinking. “Shanna, what kind of books have you been reading?” AMAZING ONES! And no, this isn’t the only monster romance. I know a few of you may see the cover or title of this book and immediately put this book in the category of “not for me-I see those tentacles”. If you do, you’re missing out on one of the best monster romances I have ever read. No, that isn’t hype – it is genuinely one of the best I’ve read… LET ME TELL YOU WHY!

“Stalked by the Kraken” covers a lot of ground in romance-landia. Monster Romance. Fated Mates (Soulmates). Kinks. Shifters. All of these on their own can be a big genre to write for, with a lot of expectation. But Lillian Lark balanced them all beautifully and hit each one with an expert level of storytelling that had me sunken into the book for hours (yes, that was a ship joke…get it…because of the Kraken?).

Lillian tells a beautiful story of a matchmaking witch (Rose) trying to find herself again after an emotionally damaging relationship and an ancient Kraken (Gideon) who has finally found the one he’s been looking for. Each character is wholly unique and give so much to the story and each other.

What I found especially amazing in this book, was how Lillian Lark handled sexual preference, needs, and healing from the past. She didn’t shy away from any conversation or hard moment. There is no line or dialogue wasted in the book. Each one is dedicated to show character growth, healing, and acceptance. It isn’t rushed. The characters take their time to get to know each other, listen to their needs, and set healthy boundaries. It was very refreshing to read.

I was fully enraptured when Gideon listened to Rose’s fears and allowed her space to determine the pace of the relationship. I adored the moment when Rose accepted Gideon for who he was, and what he was. Each moment they took just one small step further into their own desires and needs was wonderfully written and captured my heart. This book has not only romance, but mystery, twists, and some looks at characters later in the series.

This book had so much heart! It’s one that when you finish, you will close the book and wrap your arms around it as if you were the kraken and it was the ship-a new favorite on your shelf.

Read “Stalked by the Kraken” by Lillian Lark. You won’t be disappointed! Be sure to grab your copy today by clicking the link under the image above!

As a special treat, here is a special interview with the amazing author of “Stalked by the Kraken” – Lillian Lark!

Question 1: “Stalked by the Kraken” is a fantastically unique story that captures your heart and ignites the imagination. What inspired you to write this story? 

I was actually procrastinating writing the next harpy book, Pair of Fools, when I started “Stalked by the Kraken”. I was really struggling to get into the mindset of the main character and with the project as a whole so I brainstormed a novella-length project to help me out. It’s mentioned in my first harpy book that the main character of Pair of Fools was banned by a bathhouse rumored to be accepting to all and as a part of developing that character I had to be all… wait, why did she get banned? In the end, the characters of Stalked by the Kraken rejected the idea of the story being novella-length and the book took on a life of its own.

Question 2: Each character in this story was wonderfully unique and had such amazing growth throughout the story. I fell in love with each one, even the background characters, and when we talked about it in my book club, we struggled to pick an all time favorite. So I’m curious…who was your favorite character to write?  

I think Gideon has to be my favorite just with the way he’s totally gone for Rose and how sneaky/not really sneaky he is about it. I especially loved writing scenes in Rose’s POV featuring Gideon’s seductive charms.

Question 3: The Kraken is one of my favorite mythological creatures, but there are so many amazing ones out there. Are there other mythological creatures you are hoping to write in the future? 

Oh definitely! All the books in my Monstrous Matches series will feature creatures of legend. I’m currently gearing up to start a book with basilisks in it and have many requests to someday do a dragon.

Question 4: Every writer had a different process and ritual. What does yours look like? What helps keep you in the writing zone? 

Sometimes it feels like every book I work on has its own ritual of me learning what way works best for that book. Whether it’s having a super strict outline or needing to wake up early in the morning to write. The consistent parts of my ritual are to do a Pinterest board, a Spotify playlist, and to turn my WIFI off.

Question 5: Do you have any upcoming releases? What can we look forward to seeing from you in the future? 

Yes! Thank you for asking. I have a preorder currently up for Found by the Lake Monster, which is a standalone novella that features a lake monster in heat and the human woman who stumbles into his woods.
https://books2read.com/FoundbytheLakeMonster

And I’m thinking the book featuring Emilia from Deceived by the Gargoyles will be out sometime in fall 2022, but I’m not far enough into the writing process to have set a preorder. https://books2read.com/DeceivedbytheGargoyles

Keep up with Lillian Lark’s future books by subscribing to her newsletter!

Book Review

“Christine” by Marie Piper (Book Review)

I’m back again with another book by Marie Piper, and she did not disappoint! I knew I would love the book when I learned it was a “Phantom of the Opera” inspired romance, but this book blew my expectations out of the water!

Though, I do have to preface this…If you are a lover of Erik (aka the Phantom), as I am…and wish Christine (in the original) ended up with that mysterious man…then you will LOVE this book. #TeamPhantom. It will make you swoon and squeal with every interaction they have.

If you aren’t #TeamPhantom, and preferred Raoul as the love interest, then I think you’ll still like the book, just not as much as I did. Though, Raoul is the bad guy in this one (a REAL bad guy), so approach with caution!

“Christine” is the first in the Monsters and Maidens series. It takes place in a little Old West town in the middle of nowhere. I feel this change of venue for the story makes it feel even more genuine and special, as it doesn’t take place in an old Opera house, mansion, castle, or other classic locations. This new twist on an old story made it fresh and unique. I’m also really excited to see how this location and the secrets it holds ties into the other books.

I do have to give a huge shout out to Marie Piper, for a moment. Even though she made this story 100% hers, she also added little sprinkles of the old story in, in the most hilarious of ways. Such as a name here, a joke there. There were times I barked out laughing when a little Easter Egg popped up from the classic story or the rock opera. Well Done, Marie Piper! Well Done!

Overall, “Christine” is a great, quick read for those who love the classic gothic stories but wished the heroine had ended up with the antagonist instead. I’m not sure what the other books will be inspired by, but I have theories… I’ll keep them to myself for now.

Be sure to pick up a copy of “Christine” today, especially if you are a lover of the monsters of gothic stories. It won’t disappoint!

Even better, you can get a copy of “Christine” for FREE! All you have to do is sign-up for Marie Piper’s newsletter! I have a button below to do so! Her books have never disappointed, so it would be a great one to join!

I hope you enjoy the book just as much as I did!

Happy Reading,

Shanna Pikora

Book Review

“Tin Man” by Ava Cuvay (Book Review)

Being an avid fan of Ava Cuvay’s books, I’m always excited when I see she has a new release. However, when I saw the title “Tin Man”, I was even more excited. Cyborgs! Is “Tin Man” searching for his heart (Oz reference)? And that cover!!! Needless to say my expectations were high, and this book didn’t disappoint.

“Tin Man” follows the life of two individuals, Adam Lehmann and Eve Myer. Adam is our silver cyborg; an ex-cop who deals with discrimination, anger, and hatred merely for accepting his cybernetic implants to save his life. Eve on the other hand is a kind woman looking to do good in the world and release information on the truth behind recent cyborg attacks.

They are two very different individuals who come together to make one spicy romance! From page one to the end, I loved each moment. There were amazing quips that made me laugh out loud, moments of genuine heartbreak, and a hot burning love that will make you blush. Not to mention an amazing automaton named Arthur!

I can’t give enough praise for this book! My only complaint…it ended too soon! But don’t worry, it is only book one of Ava’s new series!

If you love a grumpy bad boy, a genuinely kind heroine (who’s also realistically awkward), and want to dip your toe into a bit of sci-fi romance, “Tin Man” is for you! Although it is a sci-fi romance (Cyborgs!), it doesn’t bog you down in the science jargon or explanations. A great read for a Sunday evening with a good glass of whiskey.

Check out “Tin Man” today, or any of Ava’s other works, and find yourself falling in love with each and every character!


Read an exclusive interview from the author herself, Ava Cuvay!

A special thank you to Ava Cuvay for participating in the interview and giving us even more to love about “Tin Man” and the rest of the series!

Question 1: Tin Man is a wonderfully sexy romance, but it also has a hard edge of dealing with very real issues of bias, hatred, and fear. What inspired you to combine those into this fantastic story? 

Let’s be honest, history is rife with proof that society doesn’t readily accept people who they deem “different.” That uncertainty often manifests itself as fear, hatred, derision, and even violence… as evidenced by the Trail of Tear, the Holocaust, and racial lynching’s, to name just a few. My cyborgs represent the early stages of the cybernetic-human integration, and society is still learning how to deal with humans who are also part non-organic technology. And the fear of who controls who in the cyborg dynamic: man or machine. From an author standpoint, that makes for great conflict!

Question 2: This story has so many amazing characters that I just fell in love with, even ones that only appeared once or twice. I know you’re never supposed to pick your favorite…but let’s be honest…who was your favorite character to write?  

So many choices! Well, I absolutely fell in love with Betty the librarian (hence why I decided to make her the lead in Book Two!), but I also really liked writing Arthur the bartending automech. I think he’s a great counterpoint to my cyborg bouncer Adam, with possibly more of the non-judgmental, accepting qualities we’d like to see in ourselves as a society.

Question 3: “Tin Man” is the first in the Silver Cyborg Series and sets up for major plot conflicts and world growth in future books. Could you give us a little sneak peek behind the curtain (I had to make wizard joke, since the book is called Tin Man, sorry!) of what we can expect from future books in the series? Or perhaps who we can expect to see happily ever after’s for? 

Lol! “Tin Man” definitely is a nod to the Wizard of Oz character 🙂 Book Two is “Tin Toy” featuring Betty the cyborg-spy-turned-librarian. She dresses like a pinup model, kisses like an angel, and fights like trained assassin. And I love writing her! She’s the epitome of what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. She’s a fighter, but also kind-hearted to those less fortunate. I can’t wait to bring her a hero who she can trust with her heart. The series will wrap up (except for maybe a side story or two) with “Tin Soldier.” Like the Hans Christian Andersen tale, our hero lost his leg in battle, and now has a weaponized cybernetic appendage. He’s ordered to track down a former lover who has gone MIA, and is suspected of espionage. She will be dealing with the pain and bitterness of having lost her breasts to cancer. I have a cousin dealing with this at the moment, and the possibility of getting it is a fear which hangs over most women… and I don’t foresee a near future where this issue goes away or is easily fixed with cybernetic boobs 😦  So some heavy stuff coming up. But also Happily Ever After’s! ❤

Question 4: Diving into writing Sci-fi can be terrifying at times with all of the research and technical language and knowledge. How did you prepare for writing “Tin Man”, especially for getting down all the mechanical jargon and parts? 

I admit, I’m horrible at research. Knowing I was going to write a cyborg trilogy, a read several cyborg romance stories by a variety of authors, decided those cyborgs didn’t have much in common with mine, and then I made sh*t up. Lol. Truthfully, though, the biggest challenge was to determine how much of my “cyborg” was mechanical Terminator-like machine and how much was more integrated computer-like wiring. Then a googled cyborgs to find enough jargon to make me sound fancy.

Question 5: As an avid Ava Cuvay reader, and I know many of my friends are as well, we would like to know… What future projects can we look forward to seeing from you in the future and do you have any events coming up where readers can meet you?

LOTS of future projects!! Finish the Silver Cyborg series, dive into my dragon-shifter series (I have four more hawt Viking brothers who need their story!!) And get back into my Heart Nebula series (I have at least five more books planned in that series). I just need more hours in the day and days in the year!! Waaaah! And yes come see me! I have several signing events around the Midwest this year! From Michigan to Ohio to Tennessee to Illinois and Iowa… it’s all listed on my website:  https://avacuvay.com/events/. All my books are also listed on my website, but https://books2read.com/Ava-Cuvay is also a great one-stop location for my books.

Check out Ava Cuvay’s Platforms


Book Review

“The Homegrown Café Book Club” by Mellanie Szereto (Book Review)

“The Homegrown Café Book Club” by Mellanie Szereto has been one of my favorite reads in November. It’s a collection of five novellas following the different members of the Homegrown Café Book Club in a small town setting.

What I loved most about this series was the portrayal of each character. All of the women are older and wonder if love wasn’t in the cards for them. Even through their doubts and worries, these women are fierce, loyal to their friends, and have a sense of humor when it comes to the chaos of their lives. I love this as it makes their story even more special when they are struck with cupid’s arrow.

Each new story had me falling more in love with each lady and her love interest. The stories were unique for each couple and show how love comes from unexpected places. Whether the relationship bloomed from a lifelong friendship or a happenstance meeting, the love that follows is true and absolutely heart warming.

I won’t be sharing which characters you read about in which book — because of spoilers — so you will just have to purchase your own copy, either as a print book or ebook. I promise you it is wonderful read (especially around the holidays) and you won’t be disappointed!

Be sure to pick up your copy today!


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