Aunt Nellie B by Dixiane Hallaj

Aunt Nellie B

by Dixiane Hallaj

Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction

Five stars


Aunt Nellie B plunges us into the life of Charli as a girl, a young woman, and an old woman. Through the latticework of time Dixanne weaves Charli’s tale of discovery, adventure, trial, and family. As a child, Charli watches her mother and aunts battle a mysterious curse that destroys their marriages. Through her creative eavesdropping, the girl tries to discover how to break the curse for herself and ensure her happily ever after, chronicling her discoveries in her journal. As a young woman, Charli has failed to escape the curse for the first time. We watch her frightening flight from her prince and the inner and outer struggle to break free. Through these times she finds comfort in her childhood journals. As an old woman, she strives to hold together her connections to her family through her daily efforts and attachment to the journals of her childhood. She now strives to rescue her child and other family members from the curse. Is the curse real or a child’s imaginings? Does it matter?

Dixanne took on a very challenging method of storytelling for Aunt Nellie B and triumphed. This story could have so easily become lost in the confusion of when an event happened or how it fit in with other events, but Dixanne handled the complexities with mastery. Her separation of child voice, young woman voice, and old woman voice continued to be both separate and unified in the character speaking them. I could believe that young Charli wrote the diary and the voice of old Charli came out just as distinct as her older self. Instead of confusing me, the style increased my anticipation of what came next and in what timeline.

I loved the personal dynamics and relationship of the all of the characters in Dixanne’s story. She crossed social and cultural boundaries with fluid ease. Charli’s family felt like real, dynamic people, and the main character’s insights into their personalities gave them a lot of depth. When the author introduced a fantastic element of her story, the characters all expressed their doubts and disbeliefs. I found that delightful! Their little quirks such as switching to Spanish when discussing secrets, or fears that divided them, made them feel like a real family.

Dixanne has written a fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable story of personal tragedy, courage, and redemption.  I approve this title for Awesome Indies.

I received this book from the author for the purposes of an unbiased review.

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Scars of a Survivor by Katherine Pearsall on Wattpad

I’d like to introduce Kathryn Pearsall and her short-story, Scars of a Survivor.

Scars of a Survivor is a chilling look into the world of a girl enslaved and Sage, who is there to save her. Their interaction just begins to move past fear and distrust, as we see her appalling life and learn of his compassion for her.

This is a PG-13 title with some disturbing themes, so be sure you’re ready for it.

Since Wattpad stories are unedited and short, I am going to leave it at a mini-review and tell you some more about the author and her writing. Kathryn is 14 years old! She’s right at the beginning of her writing career, and boy does she have talent! She isn’t ready for publishing yet, and so she is honing her craft online. Wattpad holds all of her current works, including poetry.

Here are Katherine’s  story links: (My only complete story) (Short story)

She plans to make “Dear Mom” a complete work as soon as possible. Katherine is a busy girl, balancing school work, sports, etc., so she plans on having in finished within the next year or so at the latest, writing one “letter” per month for a year. Once she finishes, she will keep it on Wattpad. She writes her stories on paper mostly, then types them onto her laptop, copy and pasting it from Microsoft Word to Wattpad.

To see her entire works on Wattpad, visit her profile

Keep writing, Katherine! You are a really talented young woman and I encourage you not to let anyone turn you away from pursuing this talent.

The Warden War by D.L. Morrese

The Warden War

by D.L. Morrese

Genre: Science Fiction

In this second leg of Prince Donald’s adventures, he is older, wiser, and he knows most of the details about the threat to Westgrove. But he needs proof. Now how does he stop it? The Gotroxians are not going to magically animate the giant Warden statue to attack Westgrove. The information is false, it is manufactured by Chief Advisor Horace Barter to manipulate King Leonard into war for his own reasons. Will young, inexperienced, overlooked Prince Donald be able to convince the king of the deceptions of his father’s closest and most trusted advisor? Will he survive to obtain the proof he needs to convince him? With his friends from the first book, Kwestor and Muce, along with Trixie and Nash and a dog named Moe, they will certainly try.

This book had less humor but more substance than The Warden Threat, the first book in the series. There was lots of guy stuff in this book too–descriptions of military operations and battlegrounds, and strategy. Also fighting, kidnapping, and Androids.

D.L. really makes a world you can believe in with his writing. I kept thinking to myself, “They wouldn’t have used the term ‘dating’ back then!’ or ‘women wouldn’t have asked the men to dance!” but then I remembered that this wasn’t medieval Earth! This was a Science Fiction tale with Androids mixed in. I had just read the section about Androids and then believed this was a historical tale! This is because the story is so engaging and plausible that I really felt like it could have happened.

Prince Donald is becoming a man, learning how to control his emotions (sort of) and how to take responsibility for his kingdom. His genuineness is endearing and his valor is impressive. I really appreciated the moral messages about responsibility and loyalty included in the story, and I would let my 11-year-old boy read both books if he could get his homework done first. (Don’t get me started about that.)

If you read The Warden Threat, you pretty much have to read The Warden War. You can’t leave poor Prince Donald and all of Westgrove and Gotroxia hanging!

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The Lustre by Kate Policani

The Lustre

by Kate Policani

Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy

Read reviews of The Lustre here:

Cassandra Rivera’s review:

“The Lustre is an easy read for anyone who wants to curl up in an easy chair with their favorite cup of hot chocolate. It has enough action to keep you motivated not to put it down, but is not threatening. Though perhaps not a good story for children due to its sexual overtones, it’s a great book for an adult to enjoy. The writer is seasoned and knows how to pace her material well.”


Hidden within Human society is an entrancing race of beings who look just like us. They are the Akataromai. Originating on Earth, they conceal themselves, blending within the Human population. Though they appear to be Human, mature Akataromai live for centuries and feed upon negative Human emotions. Angelina Quorra is an Akataromai, a Human-looking girl who might never die. But Angelina is unique among her people, absorbing pain as well as emotion and giving anyone who feeds her overwhelming pleasure. This is her story, told by the men who adore her. Her talent is called The Lustre, bringing her great fame, and great trouble.

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The Lustre at Goodreads