Awake Awhile

Beautiful writings. Always in great praise of you dear Anouska. : )


The follow-up to Haunting Melissa

Haunting Melissa has returned with a sequel, Dark Hearts. Director Neal Edelstein changed the way we consume digital storytelling, especially on the iPad. He crafted such an intriguing canvas. An experimental horror, and succeeded. Now comes Dark Hearts.

After having experienced the earlier chapters of DARK HEARTS, the intensity has been elevated. A special mention to Neal and the team of #HauntingMelissa. Neal’s sense of direction is potent, dark with intrigue. The long shots are captured effectively as you step into each chapter with trepidation, I mean that as a compliment. It reminds me of William Friedkin or Alfonso Cuarón.

The series heads into a darker territory. A must experience.



Who is Neal Edelstein?


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Neal Edelstein the producer of Mulholland Drive, The Ring, The Invisible, The Straight Story.
Director & creator of #HauntingMelissa & it’s sequel.

Sneak Peak at WIP Little Dove—Book 1 of My New Fantasy Series

But my #dearest friend and mentor! 😊

Dionne Lister - Author

Sorry it’s been so long between posts. With work, kids, and running Booktastik, life has been hectic. I’ve also, finally (after much angst because I wasn’t writing) started working on the first book in my next fantasy series. I’m hoping the first draft will be finished by February with a release date at the end of March. So please cross your fingers for me :). I hope you enjoy this little teaser first chapter.

Laney is a princess dispossessed. Sworn to protect her world as a caretaker for the long-disappeared dragons, she lives a relatively idyllic life with her royal parents. But darkness is closer than they realize. After Tyrk the Destroyer kills her family, she is forced to flee to a neighbouring kingdom, revenge in her heart. But there are secrets even she isn’t privy to, and she is likely to learn about them the hard way.  Because now that…

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Six – Under the Open Sky

By a #dearest friend! : )

Thoughts Unspoke

It was a long and quiet walk to Cora’s house. Armie walked ahead of me, impatient with my slow pace. Every so often he would hold a branch back for me, or help me over a fallen tree, but he did so silently.

“I thought you said Cora’s house was up ahead? We’ve been walking for hours,” I complained. I was putting a lot of faith in him. The least he could do was be patient.

“We’re nearly there.”

My eyes desperately searched the forest. I waited to see some sort of clearing or outlet, a place where a cottage could rest. I don’t think he knows how to judge distances very well, I thought spitefully.

Small patches of sunshine streamed through the branches above. I could hear birds chirping softly amongst the bushes lined with berries. Sub Caelo had a fairytale quality. I began to whistle hi…

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Five – Under the Open Sky

Thoughts Unspoke

The intensity of his stare made me nervous. I didn’t want to talk about my life. If I started to remember, I would feel, and I didn’t want to feel. He tilted his head to the side, and waited patiently for me to respond.

Honesty, I reminded myself, and took a deep breath before laying it on him. “I tried really hard to make my life work, but somehow I always fell short of everyone’s expectations.”

He nodded as if he understood. “May I ask why you force yourself to wither in the contemporary, when you were clearly born to stand out?”

“Society, I guess.”

“Excuses,” he snapped, sounding irritated with my lame explanation.

“I like to please people, so crucify me!”

“Did you make it a habit to please people at the expense of your own happiness?”

“Sometimes,” I blustered, becoming aggravated. “What about you? You lost…

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Siren Suicides Bk. 2; My Sisters In Death REVIEW — Spoilers

Ksenia Anske—the new breed of emerging authors— returns with the second installment in the Siren Suicides trilogy. Along with Ailen Bright, the once troubled teenager-now-turned soulless siren. If you’ve read the first book, which you need to by the way, it picks up right after the finale. Ailen is desperately struggling to come to terms from her siren transformation, emotionally, but physically, she’s a whole lot stronger. Superhuman.

Surprisingly, Canosa, the siren leader of the group has been teaching Ailen siren-hunting skills. How to harness her untapped powers. Being a siren is menacingly exciting it seems. Ailen’s ability to consume a string of souls, that call out to her in a melody, each distinguished by its timbre and sound waves and tone. It’s like food, souls taste sweet, sour, or even worse. Food is something that is constantly on her mind, one soul at a time. It keeps her rejuvenated. I found this to be one of the most intriguing ideas elaborated throughout the narrative.

But could Ailen really trust Canosa? After learning the truth concealed within her past, but now revealed to her by Canosa, Ailen finds herself in a strange dilemma. She fears Canosa but also confines into her like she were her big sister. And even saved her siren form, but does that qualify enough to trust her.

But all does not seem well with Ailen once again, she’s also learnt of her Papa’s secret agenda. It turns out that he’s a siren hunter afterall. But without a soul, Ailen cannot sense or detect sound waves from him. She can easily detect food souls, but not her menacingly mocking Papa. And there’s a secret to this too, which once again connects to Canosa, and Ailen’s pot-smoking buddy, Hunter. As she finds herself escaping from confronting her tormenting-but-now-known-to-be-siren-hunter father, welding a sonic gun and a whip, she is accompanied by Hunter. Who despite having feelings towards Ailen, has actually been hired to kill her. Agreeing to do so, due to his personal and financial conditions. Within this exploding chaos, Ailen Bright battles to keep herself sane, with new waves of questions and choices. Who can she confine into, or trust? This is for the readers to find out.

As with the first, Ksenia has crafted some of the most amazing and original ideas. She takes Ailen’s spiralling journey even deeper. Ailen’s willpower to survive or surrender in the face of death is heartily enduring. Her transformation was only the tip of the iceberg. Ailen is changing, she can feel within stem from inside, transforming into a true siren, and in the process, about to or has lost her real self. It frees her but also haunts her at the same time. A cold-blooded siren with glowing skin, her realisation that she’s turning into a horrific monster. A body of seawater. Questioning her existence once again, and this time, being a siren is never going to change her back.

Humming to water calms her, de-cluttering a constant flood of thoughts. Some of the most impressive display of Ailen’s powers add freshness and originality to this book. When she hums to the sea and on one occasion creates towering waves of tsunami. Converting rain particles into a wave of raining crystals. Did I mention boat-racing, only Ailen pilots it lying in a plank position, only by humming. Some of the few examples of her learnt extraordinary powers. If you read this, you’ll also learn a siren’s weakest point of pain, Canosa has experienced this twice.

Ailen Bright is fighting to embrace herself as a siren, but within which, their still remains a trapped troubled, lonely and suicidal teenager. She yearns to be human again. It makes her even more relatable. And like her, Hunter — a polar opposite— is faced with the same circumstances. Vulnerable human beings destined to be converted to sirens or siren hunters, with supernatural attributes.

Ksenia reminds the reader throughout the narrative that is a personal, human story of survival. And the importance of our existence. Especially Ailens, and the difficult choices she has to make. Including her confrontational, humiliating, degrading showdowns with her father. Papa knows how to pull at her heartstrings at the exact times, like she were his puppet. Pulling at her strings like he were playing a piano, metaphorically speaking. Ailen finds her emotions being manipulated.

Ksenia effectively plants a narrative that stays with you after you’ve read it. The readers get to know and learn more about every character. There is a beautiful moment when Ksenia shares with the readers —in the previous book we learn only that Ailen’s mother had committed suicide by leaping off the Aurora Bridge six years ago— but here Ailen shares a beautiful memory of her mother that stayed with her when she was a child. It taps into you, emotionally. Ksenia Anske’s strength as an emerging author deserves great praise.

Like the first, illustrations have been crafted by Ksenia’s daughter, Anna Milioutina, brilliantly. Editing by Colleen M. Alberts, is truly amazing, you are glued. Beautifully written, the effective use of metaphors sound like lyrics of poetry. The series deserves to be adapted in the style of Day Watch, it’s very imaginative, in the minds eye. Quite cinematic. Emotionally driven, Ailen Bright is one of the finest characters ever devised in modern literature. Not to be missed.

Spellbinding. 5/5

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Who is Ksenia Anske?

Ksenia Anske has been a full-time writer for 2 years now. Her very first fiction, Siren Suicides gained her a huge popularity and a surge of fan followers around the globe. A true inspiration for readers and emerging writers. She has offered free digital version of the books, via Kindle and iBooks.

Her works include, the SIREN SUICIDES trilogy, ROSEHEAD, and work in progress, IRKADURA.

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The cover image has been taken from the following link below. A fantastic and highly imaginative emerging artist Rosie Hardy. In great praise of her work. Represents what Ailen Bright would look like. Selected by Ksenia.