ARC Review: "Once Upon a Forbidden Desire: Fairy Tales and Other Stories" An Anthology

Once Upon a Forbidden Desire: Fairy Tales and Other Stories by H.R. Moore
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary from GoodReads

When it comes to true love, rules are meant to be broken …

Dark forests and locked doors, poisoned apples and forbidden lovers ... Bold heroines and swoon-worthy heroes break all the rules in this enchanting anthology of the fairy tales you thought you knew.

Once Upon A Forbidden Desire features 20 enticing fairy tale retellings by a diverse selection of fantasy romance authors. From sweet true love’s kisses to sizzling passion, from the streets of Seattle to enchanted forests, and from poor scullery maids to a winged Prince Charming ...

If you enjoy spellbinding romance, enthralling new worlds, and stories with a taste of the forbidden, these happily ever afters will leave you spellbound. Give in to the temptation and grab your copy of Once Upon A Forbidden Desire now.

With a foreword by Grace Draven and Jeffe Kennedy, this limited edition anthology celebrates the variety of the fantasy romance genre. It contains stories ranging from sweet to steamy and is recommended for an adult audience.



I received an e-ARC from author Maria Vale in exchange for an honest review. 

I have developed a carving for anthologies this year. For some strange reason, I get to enjoy reading multiple stories that also include my favorite authors but also get me to discover new ones, making me squeal from joy and my wallet moan in despair.

So when Maria Vale approached me with this chance I jumped into it (whom I had the joy to meet at Apollycon and she is the sweetest person EVER). So the anthology as you guessed contains fairytales with a twist some are familiar like Rapunzel and Cinderella and others, like the one Maria Vale wrote are myths.

Hers is inspired by Cernunnos, the Celtic horned keeper of wild places, but placed in the fictional land of Summerhouses where the Keepers exist, humans who tattoo demons on their skin, and everyone live in a capitalistic tourist city with an old forest that is threatened. Idara is such a demonkeeper and when she takes in yet another demon, adding to the many others she already carries, she will soon discover that the being inside her is not something to be contained.

The other one I enjoyed was C. M. Nascosta who wrote a spicy yet very emotional version of Beauty and the Beast. And if you follow her Instagram you'll understand why some will like her version lol.

Overall yes this will satisfy all those who like some good fairytales with all the spicy stuff :P

About the author:

Maria Vale is a journalist who has worked for Publishers Weekly, Glamour, Redbook and the Philadelphia Inquirer. She's a double-Rita finalist whose books have been listed by Amazon, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, ALA Booklist & Kirkus among their Best Books of the Year. Trained as a medievalist, she persists in trying to shoehorn the language of Beowulf into things that don't really need it.

Other authors included in the anthology: HR Moore, Zoey Ellis, Kathryn Ann Kingsley, AJ Lancaster, C.M Nascosta, Kristin Gleeson, L Penelope, Colleen Cowley, Maria Vale, Lisette Marshal, Vela Roth, Erin Vere, Trish Heinrich, S. L Prater, Elsie Winters, November Dawn, Mimi B Rose, Jennie Lynn Roberts, Jaycee Jarvis, Dani Morrison

Summer Reviews: Aliens, Ghosts and Wishes!

The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary from GoodReads

A disillusioned millennial ghostwriter who, quite literally, has some ghosts of her own, has to find her way back home in this sparkling adult debut from national bestselling author Ashley Poston.

Florence Day is the ghostwriter for one of the most prolific romance authors in the industry, and she has a problem—after a terrible breakup, she no longer believes in love. It’s as good as dead.

When her new editor, a too-handsome mountain of a man, won’t give her an extension on her book deadline, Florence prepares to kiss her career goodbye. But then she gets a phone call she never wanted to receive, and she must return home for the first time in a decade to help her family bury her beloved father.

For ten years, she’s run from the town that never understood her, and even though she misses the sound of a warm Southern night and her eccentric, loving family and their funeral parlor, she can’t bring herself to stay. Even with her father gone, it feels like nothing in this town has changed. And she hates it.

Until she finds a ghost standing at the funeral parlor’s front door, just as broad and infuriatingly handsome as ever, and he’s just as confused about why he’s there as she is.

Romance is most certainly dead . . . but so is her new editor, and his unfinished business will have her second-guessing everything she’s ever known about love stories.



Oh boy, I am almost 1 month later trying to write a review on this gem. I knew that from the moment ghosts were introduced here I'd cry. Call it my experience with the movie Ghost (with Patrick Swayze) or in general something consistently eerie that tugs my heart, this book had it all.

But let us backtrack a little because this IS A ROMANCE.

Florence is a ghostwriter for one of the most famous authors in the industry. Of course, all are fictional characters but the way she describes the workings of the industry, you can hear Ashley Poston murmuring in your ear that YES THOSE THINGS HAPPEN. And not only that Florence fears that she has lost the will and motive to write as for her...romance is dead.

Meeting with Benji her new editor-in-chief is not an experience she was expecting...neither was the call she got much later about the death of her father.

Who had a funeral home.
Who also had the ability to see ghosts.
Like Florence.

Yup. And so Florence travels back to her hometown not only to confront her family issues...but also to help an unexpected ghost who appears when she least expects it to.

I can not write spoilers on this. This was so good! Funny, emotional with the touch of the supernatural! Ashley Poston was known for her YA titles but this Adult one? I loved it so much! What I can advise is to go into this book blind and let the surprises carry you.

Oh yes, I bawled like a baby towards the end (like how Patrick Swayze was leaving at the end of Ghost? Yes that crying.) but there was a subtle bittersweet knowledge here. That love can overcome death, that those who love us never are truly gone because we are left behind to remember them and maybe just maybe we can see them again.

I think as of now this is the best book Ashley wrote and it is definitely recommended.


About the author:

Ashley Poston’s is a part-time author and full-time fangirl. She was born in rural South Carolina, where you can see the stars impossibly well...

Tweet her at @ashposton and read her inner-most rambles at

Taken to Evernor by Elizabeth Stephens
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary from GoodReads

I've made quite a few mistakes in my life. Agreeing to go into outer space in the first place, waking up surrounded by aliens, running from said aliens and crash landing on a gladiator planet where I'm not asked to compete, oh no, but where I'm the prize.

One alien in particular keeps showing up. Four arms and utterly insane, I watch him vanquish opponent after opponent. I'm going to have to find a way to escape because there's no doubt in my mind he's going to win.

And I won't make another mistake – I won't trust him, no matter how how good his silver skin tastes.

I've made just a few mistakes these past solars. I probably shouldn't have opened the human's cage prematurely, or followed her across the cosmos, or let her get captured by that psychopath bounty hunter...

But I'm drawn to her...and I follow her to Evernor where there's no shroving way I won't compete against the other gladiators to win her. But there are others who are just as drawn to humans as I am. Others, who'd do terrible things to her if they got their claws on her.

So, I won't make another mistake – I'll win her and her trust, no matter the stakes.

Taken to Evernor is a full-length (90k words) SciFi gladiator romance featuring a four-armed alien and his human heroine mate. This is an enemies-to-lovers romance with fantastical world-building, action, steam and an HEA. Set in the Xiveri Mates universe, this book can be read as a standalone, but will be better enjoyed after reading Taken to Lemora.



I received an e-ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.

I thoroughly enjoyed this new book! This amazing world Elizabeth has created full of different alien species and galactic politics is thrilling wild and violent. Nadia and Herannathon were a great couple to read...and very very smutty.

I do recommend going into this with an open mind? Because, boy was it hot. I also recommend reading first the other books of the series or else you will not understand half of the alien words spoken or some characters who make cameos here.

I liked Nadia; despite everything that happened to her she embraced her new life, unbothered by human norms as she had to adapt to the new world she found herself in. And Herannathon the wild space pirate, tried to redeem himself since he should have not done...what he did :P

I can not wait for the next book because I know the next couple and I am very curious to see how all their banter-hate-will turn to love relationship began.

About the author:

Elizabeth Stephens writes romance of the SciFi, paranormal and suspenseful varieties. Her favorite trope is enemies-to-lovers and she loves to world-build so much so that she sometimes gets lost in places that don't exist.

One year into her author journey, she's been shocked to see her books listed among Amazon's bestsellers in their categories. Still, her favorite pieces of fanmail are from BIPOC women expressing surprise and gratitude that they've found an author who looks like them and (does her very best!) to write books that make them feel included.

When she isn't tip-tap-typing away, you might find her getting her hands dirty on a pottery wheel, traveling as much as she can, or learning a new language. A Seattle native, after over 15 years spent in Johannesburg, Cairo, Beirut, Geneva, Addis Ababa, and Berlin, she's made her way back home with her loving husband and doggo, King Louis.

To find out more about her projects and upcoming releases visit her website at

How to Date a Superhero by Cristina Fernandez
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Summary from GoodReads

With humor and heart, debut author Cristina Fernandez tells a wholly original origin story, proving that you don’t need a superpower to be the hero in this romantic coming-of-age story about growing up, falling in love, and surviving life—all set in the world of superheroes.

Falling for a superhero is dangerous. You have to trust that they’ll catch you.

Astrid isn’t a superhero, not like the ones she sees on the news, but she has something she thinks of as a small superpower: she has a perfect sense of time. And she’s not going to waste a single second.

Her plan for college is clear—friends, classes, and extracurriculars all carefully selected to get her into medical school.

Until Max Martin, a nerdy boy from her high school, crashes back into her life. Things with Max were never simple, and he doesn’t keep to her schedule. He disappears in the middle of dates and cancels at the last minute with stupid excuses.

When a supervillain breaks into her bedroom one night, Astrid has to face the facts: her boyfriend, Max Martin, is a superhero. Double-majoring as a premed was hard, but now Astrid will have to balance a double life. This wasn’t part of her plan.



I received an e-ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. 

I liked the premise of the book. And the fact that I got it from Edelweiss as also the new (at the time when I got this e-copy) had to do with the upcoming The Boys series.

Astrid is dedicated, to the point of obsession, an overachiever who tries to be the perfect college student. And she has a good boyfriend Max. But when she discovers that Max is a superhero she will be thrust to the super world with all its ups and downs and the drama and danger that comes with it.

I have some mixed feelings. True I liked the plot and some nods to other mainstream superhero-related content but it was slightly off in the development. Christina as an author does a great job trying to write a character whose whole world crashes down literally as she has to deal with the consequences of dating a superhero but overall there were some fun moments and some serious moments.

Best quote of the book? This one: "give it three months and if they don't turn up alive again, then start to worry"

If you like superheroes then this is for you, it just didn't quite work well for me as a person but that does not stop you from enjoying this good debut.

About the author:

Cristina Fernandez is a recent graduate of Johns Hopkins University, where she studied creative writing and film and media studies. This is her debut novel.

Wishtress by Nadine Brandes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary from GoodReads

She didn’t ask to be the Wishtress.

Myrthe was born with the ability to turn her tears into wishes. It’s a big secret to keep. When a granted wish goes wrong, a curse is placed on her: the next tear she sheds will kill her. She needs to journey to the Well and break the curse before it claims her life—and before the king’s militairen track her down. But in order to survive the journey, she must harden her heart to keep herself from crying even a single tear.

He can stop time with a snap of his fingers.

Bastiaan’s powerful—and rare—Talent came in handy when he kidnapped the old king. Now the new king has a job for him: find and capture the Wishtress and deliver her to the schloss. But Bastiaan needs a wish of his own. When he locates Myrthe, he agrees to take her to the Well in exchange for a wish. Once she’s fulfilled her end of the deal, he’ll turn her in. As long as his growing feelings for the girl with a stone heart don’t compromise his job.

They are on a journey that can only end one way: with her death.

Everyone seems to need a wish—the king, Myrthe’s cousin, the boy she thinks she loves. And they’re ready to bully, beg, and even betray her for it. No one knows that to grant even one of them, Myrthe would have to die. And if she tells them about her curse . . . they’ll just kill her anyway.



I received an e-ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. 

This was such a beautifully written book! A girl with the power to turn her tears to wishes, beautiful descriptions, and teary moments! I really enjoyed it!

I loved the magic system! Somehow the author still managed to add so much depth and detail to it even though the story was already full of other elements and the characters fitted right in. This is also a book I'd prefer you go in without reading the summary so you can discover how beautiful it is!

About the author:

NADINE BRANDES once spent four days as a sea cook in the name of book research. She is the award-winning author of FAWKES, ROMANOV, and the Out of Time Series. Her inner fangirl perks up at the mention of soul-talk, Quidditch, bookstagram, and Oreos. When she's not busy writing novels about bold living, she's adventuring through Middle Earth or taste-testing a new chai. Nadine, her Auror husband, and their Halfling children are building a Tiny House on wheels. Current mission: paint the world in shalom.

(See her dorkiness on fully display on her Instagram and her YouTube) 

ApollyCon Recap+Giveaway: An unforgettable experience...and all the feels!

Hello lovelies! Here I am back again wondering how August came and how we are...close to 4 months from ending this year...but summer is still hot in this small side of the world in Greece and I am finally back from Apollycon!

It was an unforgettable experience! I got to meet some of my favorite authors, meet with new ones and also finally get in touch with my awesome friends and fellow Jennifer Armentrout fans. And for those of you who were not able to attend stay tuned for I have some goodies giveaway for you! 

But let us backtrack and talk about the event that I will describe as...the Odyssey. 

I was preparing my suitcase when I got an email that my plane tickets were canceled. Meaning that there was a 50-50 chance of not being able to attend in the case they would not be able to rebook the tickets. I was not a good sight preparing the books but also crying at the possibility. But thankfully Seth made his miracle and I would be able to reach Washington after first flying to San Fransisco, then to New York, and then to DC.

Leaving Greece

Somewhere over Europe

But alas I made it after moving back and forth in time and time zones lol. I have to give major thanks to my bookish family of AoA who waiting for me at the airport after I had a small issue with my luggage and the excitement we all shared as we finally met each other. Kim, Tammy, Pia, Mica, Mariana, Eirini, Vonneta, Lisa, and Autumn are a few of the amazing people I had the joy to meet and gush over JLA men.

As a Titan Pass holder, I had some extra activities and items which came with registration. Like the exclusive edition of A Shadow in the Ember and the From blood and Ash edition that was given during the brunch event.

Night 1: The Sourcebooks Casablanca event.

This was a very fun experience! I got to meet various authors and even have some sit with my friends like Amalie Howard! There were cocktails, cookies and ice cream, the best combination. And then I had the joy of meeting some of my favorite authors!


Our table name (because yes we love steamy books)

The gorgeous Maria Vale, author of the Legend of All Wolves series

My beloved Laura Thalassa, author of the Four Horsemen series 
and other amazing books

(Ignore my face it's me trying not to cry)

Day 2: Titan Signing

This day was filled with amazing books and moving around tables and chatting with different authors. I got to sign my JLA books and also my copy of The Love Hypothesis by freaking ALI HAZELWOOD! There were other ticketed authors too in order to keep a system because we are all crazy with books here. 

Barnes and Noble had set up a small bookstore inside the hotel with also Harry Potter-related candies!
It was also amazing because a day earlier I had finally visited the bookstore and was awed by the fact they had a Starbucks with tables inside? A book lovers dream.

Waiting for the signing in the queue along with my besties. Each one of us with piles of books to be signed.

And when the doors opened? We got to move between tables and see them all. Some examples below. (ignore my poor tired eyes, jet lag caught with me)

      With Steffani from Art by Steffani who had an amazing art print and enamel pin collection!

With Amalie Howard.

With Elise Kova who recognized me from her Tower of Guard group!

The beautiful table set with Maria Vale's books

With author Amanda Bouchet! I assisted her with my mythology knowledge and Greek for her upcoming book, A Curse of Queens, coming out on October 2022! (review of the ARC here)

Images from one of the signing rooms

My goddess Jennifer Armentrout at work (her lines were huge but she stayed till late in order to sign everything)

Later at night at the Sparklr event with author Avery Flynn! (she commented on my shoes and we ended up chatting about her books)

Day 3: General signing day for all ticket holders

The third day started with the attempt to get my Book Beau Apollycon special edition signed. This was a book sleeve which had a silver sharpie which you could use to get it signed if you didn't have books, a genius idea for me which I'd love to see in future Apollycon events too (in the last pictures you can see it). I also got to see the Historical Romance triad: Sophie Jordan, Tessa Dare and Sarah MacLean and we chatted about their books being translated to Greek.

Waiting with my besties: (from left to right) Eirini, Mariana, Kim and Mica

Le chaos

With Laura Thalassa, Eirini and her Pestilence

And thank you so much Tarrah for making my day! I sincerely apologize if I looked like a deer in the headlights because I've never been recognized due to the blog. Being a fan means a lot to me so thank you for all the love! You were very sweet and I hope we'll meet again!

With Tessa Dare. I seriously wanted to hug all of them

With my dear Sarah MacLean who was very generous with her readers and also I hope to get the chance to meet again

With ALI FREAKING HAZELWOOD! You can't see my face but I am smiling like a maniac (also my book beau at the bottom right). She signed my copy of The Love Hyposthesis and as a fellow woman in academia we got the feel and shared our fellow obsession over Kinder chocolate.

Later tonight at the After Party

Day 4: The Brunch and Q/A event

This last day of Apollycon found me and my friends first table right in front of Jennifer and Blue Box Publications. Before the Q/A we were treated to a nice brunch and also we got the Apollcon edition of FBAA along with the Book Beau.

And then the QUEEN came! They spoke about the writing history of the series, hoe COVID messed up their plans and also about possible (?) adaptations of Jennifer's books. She was absolutely hilarious on her commentary and how much respect between authors and fans is essential because toxic people also exist.

After that there were some questions answered and I braved my introvert self and asked if we may ever visit The Titan series so we may have a Seth sequel (she recognized me from the JLanders and I almost fainted from feels.) She didn't say no? But at the time no, maybe in the future (which is true since she writes like two series at the same time). And yes I am a Seth fan, deal with it :P

And after that I had a few hours with my friends in Washington walking our way around Capitol which was also amazing! It was a bittersweet ending: I wanted this to last more days, I wanted to stay with my friends but at the same time I had the chance to spend a few days with similar-minded people who get my love for books and reading; to see authors who I have bee reading their books for close to a decade and talk with them, to have fun after these challenging years with the pandemic.

And for those days I am deeply grateful.

My book haul: I ledt Greece with two books...and came back with an extra suitcase, because nothing would fit plus I had swag!

From left to right: The wedding date disaster by Avery Flynn, the two Book Beaus Apollycon special editions and you can see the one signed, Brazen and the Beast by Sarah MacLean, The Nightingale Anthology, the Apollycon special edition of ASITE, the Apollycon social edition of FBAA,, my copies of Lux Beginnings and The Love Hypothesis, the Bargainer bundle and the Horsemen series by Laura Thalassa, A Wolf Apart & Forever wolf by Maria Vale.

An addition below from the JLA shop were the tote bag of Apollycon and the mug while the other tote bag was part of the Titan ticket. The mug/tumbler has a handle which I prefer and the quote: "Mmm caseroles".

The signed books. I admit it: I teared up when I went back to the hotel room.

A close up of ASITE




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