Book Spotlight: Double Life

By: S. Usher Evans

For my first ever book spotlight, I’d like to introduce you to the captivating world of Razia. By day, she’s a droll scientist that studies and records planets. By night, she’s the galaxy’s only female pirate, and a damn good bounty hunter. Of course, she struggles with proving herself in a man’s world, while trying to balance her day job. What ensues is an enthralling tale about a young woman going after what she wants most in the world, while slowly building herself along the way.

So, I first discovered this book at Florida SuperCon almost four years ago. I was looking at releasing my own book at the time and was scouring the author tables for advice about what to do.

Enter: S. Usher Evans.

She talked with me for about an hour, detailing how she went from having a sturdy day job, to pursuing her dream of being a full-time author. (Spoiler: she’s been incredibly successful at it. Check out her website and her books here)

Of course, after our lengthy conversation, I wanted to buy one of her books. And she directed me to Razia. I had been going through a tough time with books then, finding a lot of YA work dull and predictable. So, when she told me the protagonist was in her early twenties, and therefore not subject to falling into the tropes and clichés of YA, I was sold.

Some sci-fi novels are difficult to comprehend, are dry, and plain. This is not the case for the Razia series. Sush’s writing is descriptive and enjoyable. The characters are relatable, the world is imaginative, and everything feels attainable. You can understand exactly what the characters are doing, though their technology is foreign to us. The banter is witty; the dialogue reads like real people having real conversations. Nothing is stilted.

This series is a great read. But if sci-fi isn’t your thing, Sush has an incredible array of books to choose from, in a number of different genres. Give her a chance. You will not be disappointed.

Harley Merlin and the Stolen Magicals (2018)

By: Bella Forrest

This is the third book in the series. This time around, Harley and her ragtag group of friends must try and save the magical children the Big Bad, Katherine, has kidnapped, and must unearth Katherine’s plan for utter destruction.

This book was fascinating with an added P.O.V. I loved learning more about Santeria magic (cue the Sublime song) and thoroughly enjoyed delving into djinns with a Jekyll and Hyde twist. This world gets more and more interesting with every iteration. And the relationships unfold in a real-world kind of way, instead of a love at first sight, YA romance way.

Seriously, check out this series. I’ve already told all my friends about it. I’m quickly moving on to book four and cannot wait to see what happens next.

Harley Merlin and the Secret Coven (2018)

By: Bella Forrest

Nineteen-year-old Harley discovers she’s a witch, or as the coven calls them, a magical. She has telekinetic powers, empathy, and can exert control over all four elements! When she’s brought into the San Diego coven, she unearths more that she bargained for. Is she capable of facing up to her familial history and the monsters gunning for her?

This was the first book I read in quite a few months that I couldn’t put down. I loved Harley’s spunky personality, her strength, and her determination. Plus, this world is similar enough to other sorcery novels to allow you to connect, but different enough to keep the world alive. It’s a great mix of boarding school, magic, and mayhem. I highly recommend these books. I’m reading them as quickly as they come out. They’re beautifully crafted.

Harley Merlin and the First Ritual (2018)

By: Bella Forrest

The fourth book in the “Harley Merlin” series finds the group trying to prevent the Big Bad, Katherine, from taking the next step to becoming a Child of Chaos. Of course, there are some road bumps, and shocking familial revelations, along the way. I wont give any spoilers away, because I highly recommend reading this series. But, there’s some really cool magic and lore in this book.

I enjoyed the second P.O.V., this time from Astrid, the one human in the group. However, I’ve found that many of Forrest’s P.O.V.s sound like the main character. Save for the last book with the chapters in Santana’s point of view. I don’t find this a detriment, seeing as each point of view gives a new perspective on the story. But I did find that I was eager to get back to Harley’s chapters, rather than read more of Astrid’s.

By now, I’m sure you all know how much I enjoy this series. I cannot wait until the final book comes out this month—I’ve already preordered it! Honestly, do yourself a favor and check out this series. It’s got a spunky heroine, cool magic, and interesting lore.

PSA: I recently found out, when I was checking Forrest’s site for her other books, that I’ve read novels by her before. The reviews on many of them are negative, and I have to say, I didn’t pick up more of the series I’d read by her previously. That being said, Harley Merlin’s story is quite different from her other works. So, ignore the trash reviews of her other novels and give this a shot. I’m certainly not disappointed I did.