Reader's Favorite Book Review

Lit Amri over at Reader's Favorite wrote an amazing review of "The Bruja" this week. Not only was thrilled to hear the positive feedback, I felt it did a better job of describing "The Bruja" than I ever could! One of my dark secrets -- I'm terrible at writing book descriptions and personal bios!

Head over to Reader's Favorite and read the review now. I've cut & pasted the content, word-for-word, in this blog entry as well. Enjoy!

Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite

In The Bruja by Michael Molisani, the dystopian world after the Collapse sees magic as part of survival and key to winning wars. Ghosts and ancient spirits are no longer superstitions. Witches become a vital part of the army. Crafton city-state, a quarter of land of the old Pittsburgh, is under threat from the Federals. Their djinn-controlled army is bigger in size and harder to kill. Maggi, a respected witch in Crafton, must find a way to defeat the enemies that have been haunting her for a long time. She’s ready to die for that goal, but she might not be ready to face her past.

While the concept of witches is not new, the way it is developed into a story premise gives The Bruja a fascinating dark quality. It evokes our perception of morality, guilt, sacrifice, and love. Molisani builds an unforgiving dystopian era in the near future, weaving in myths, the paranormal and the supernatural as reality. Readers are given the first taste of this harsh world at the start of the story, when the protagonist Maggi Lopez makes a bargain with an ancient entity for power. The characters’ complexities, opinions, and personalities are well fleshed out, making their conflict, growth, and relationships credible. Molisani drip feeds the characters’ information as the story progresses, making it intriguing in getting to know them, particularly Maggi’s son, Alexander, who remains elusive but important until the latter part of the book. That said, I gravitated more towards Jennifer Winslow and her sense of integrity.

Despite slight repetitions, the narrative switches deftly between the present and Maggi’s past in California. Every scene is vivid-from the smoked cigarettes, the smell of bloodshed, to the unnatural whisper or screech of the ancient inhuman beings. The Bruja is an evocative dark tale of a flawed and conflicted woman fueled by her desire to protect the ones she loves. It’s a solid read and I look forward to the sequel.

Athena Driscoll

If you've followed my author Blog in 2018, you're probably familiar with who Athena Driscoll. She's my best friend & the craftswoman behind Leanans' Boon. She also acted partially as the inspiration for Maggi's friend Aubriana.

She's also the Content Editor for "The Bruja" and "Dread Harvester." If you think that means she was heavily involved in all the terrible things that happened to her fictional doppelganger, Aubree Harvester, you'd be completely correct.

What exactly is a Content Editor? It's a type of language professional. Someone who works with an author to throw gasoline on the kindling of their work. Behind every bestseller you love is someone like Athena -- suggesting different words, pressing the author to re-write a specific paragraph or chapter over and over again until its just the right shade of perfect that the content demands.

Working with Athena Driscoll is both a pleasure and a pain (and having been friends with her for nearly 10 years I can promise you that this is true of just about any activity she's involved in.) She's incredibly talented at what she does, a life-long reader and artist she has a keen eye for the dramatic, the narrative, the characters. More importantly, Athena & I have a similar vision for horror. Neither one of us is interested in monsters or jump scares or pointless gore. We both want to dismantle your mind & imagination, take out all the moving pieces and show them to you. Do you have any idea how lucky I am to work with someone who thinks that way?

Inversely, of course, Athena is also a relentless stickler for perfection. She is, absolutely dedicated to details, and she will not let a single aspect "slide." The second chapter of "Dread Harvester" was re-written twenty-four times at her demand. Halfway in, I was feeling pretty sick of this. I was tired, my brain couldn't parse the needs of the chapter anymore, and my imagination was running dry. I just wanted to be done, I wanted to cast the Novella aside and move on to other challenges. Athena would have none of this however and pressed me forward until the fiction could stand up to the rest of the content. "Good enough" wasn't good enough -- it had to be the "best."

This is the power of a Content Editor. They press us (as authors,) to ignore our very human demons (or at least put them on paper,) they force us to be our "best," and they never listen to our excuses. That being said, working with Athena Driscoll is a pleasure and a pain, but absolutely a blessing.

Please purchase yourself a copy of "The Bruja" & "Dread Harvester" this weekend, and make sure to follow Athena on Instagram, Etsy, and Facebook!