Fancasts/Dreamcasts

My Fancast/Dreamcast: These Wicked Lies series by Miranda Joy

Image from my bookstagram account: @goodyreads

Alright fellow booklovers, I’ve got another fancast/dreamcast that I’m excited to share with you all, this time it’s going to be for a lesser known title, but is brand-spanking-new as I type this casting up, and is definitely worth checking out all the same! I finished this book shortly prior to the making of this post, and its a fun debut novel that fans of Sarah J. Maas, Jennifer L. Armentrout, Holly Black, and Danielle L. Jensen will surely enjoy too.

The Synopsis:

When a princess with the ability to absorb and transfer life force energy discovers her mother, the queen, is manipulating her, she works with unexpected allies to steal the throne, battling magic-induced anxiety and unexpected attractions along the way.

Astrid is a vygora—a rare being that can absorb one’s life force energy and transfer it to another with a touch. Only two people know what she’s truly capable of: her best friend, Ilona, and her mother, the Queen of Hakran, a powerful myndox.

When foreign royalty and their handsome guard, Dashiel Dargan, show up unexpectedly with the ability to mute myndox manipulation, Astrid discovers she’s been a prisoner to her mother’s power her entire life, and she’s not the only one. Faced with a lifetime of memories built on lies, she’s caught between the story she thinks she knows, and the one she doesn’t remember.

But when she can’t trust anyone, how can she figure out which story is true?

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To see my full review of book 1 – These Wicked Lies – Click HERE

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Here is my official Fancast/Dreamcast of the “These Wicked Lies” series:

Astrid Sylano: Lauren Jauregui

Image courtesy of last.fm

Lauren may be known more for her vocal chords than any acting chops; she was one of the members of the popular girl group, Fifth Harmony. She’s gone on to singles success, but with a Cuban background in her family history, she could also fit the role for Astrid if a tv show or movie ever came out so long as she’s cool with cutting her hair to a pixie cut, but I think she’d rock that look!

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Ilona Palmetto: Madeline Ford

Image courtesy of the actress’s IMDB profile

Madeline has the perfect sweet and innocent vibe that Ilona gives me, but you can also tell there’s a tiny spark of mischief in her smile that I think Ilona also has. Madeline is a model and actress who’s best known for being in Chicago Fire.

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Queen Enira of Hakran: Salma Hayek

Image courtesy of instyle magazine

Okay….who doesn’t know who Salma Hayek is??? If you don’t, Google is your best friend.

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Dashiel Dargan: Merayad

Image courtesy of the influencer’s TIKTOK profile

Yep, I’m turning to social media influencers for my fancasts now, I’ll give you a second to roll your eyes and moan in annoyance…………..so glad that’s over with! This guy, who’s full name is not known at the moment but I respect the privacy, and he definitely came to mind as I got to know Dashiel in this book. He is suave, he is smooth, and he is red hot both in photo and video form! Lets turn him into one of my new book boyfriends too!

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King Emman Vannyk: Taye Diggs

Image courtesy of thewikifeed.com

Taye Diggs has got a smooth AF voice that is just so nice to listen to, and I pictured the King looking like him with all smiles and calm, smooth voice and being the voice of reason. Taye Diggs is another actor who’s been around for quite awhile, and should be fairly well known.

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Queen Josselyn Vannyk: Adina Porter

Image courtesy of thewrap.com

I pictured the queen kind of being this tall but quiet presence in her scenes, but I sensed a calculating and observant mind beneath the surface. Just because someone doesn’t say much, doesn’t mean they’re not a threat! I love this actress who’s been in a lot of seasons of American Horror Story and kills it every time!

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Prince Zale Vannyk: Lucien Laviscount

Image courtesy of cheatsheet.com

Lucien has a fantasy-esque name in itself, and he could totally pass off as a royal prince if he wanted to! He’s even got a British accent to boot too! He’s been in season 1 of Scream Queens, and even now can be seen in the Netflix show, Emily in Paris!

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Gianna: Bianca Santos

Image courtesy of spoilertv.com

There wasn’t a whole lot of description of this character, but she does make quite a few important appearances in the book, so she’s definitely worth mentioning! With the lack of description given, choosing a face for Gianna is a little more up in the air, but Bianca is a Brazilian/Cuban actress who’s best known for being in the show, The Fosters.

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Cedrik, The Healer: Daniel Sunjata

Image courtesy of the actor’s IMDB profile

Okay this guy (the actor) has been all over the place and has actually been in quite a few shows. I’ve seen him in Grey’s Anatomy, Graceland, and he was even in The Devil Wears Prada! I was forgetting any particular descriptions if they were mentioned pertaining to this character, so I could be way off on this one!

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Callan: Giovanni Bonamy

Image courtesy of thesocialitelife.com

Let’s add some shirtless male eye candy to this fancast, and I pictured this French model was who I imagined when Callan entered into the scene. If he looks like this, hopefully we see PLENTY more him in the next book *wink*wink*

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Loisia (a.k.a. “Lo”): Urassaya Sperbund

Image courtesy of stringfixer.com

Urassaya is a Thai-Norwegian actress and model I discovered while looking into this character and who I could picture playing her! I’ve personally never seen her in anything and I’m not sure if she even speaks English as a language, but I can for sure say that she is stunning and looks like how I imagined this character.

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Sora: Kenta Sakurai

Image courtesy of theguysworld.com

Kenta is a Japanese-Mexican model who’s also been on Mexico’s edition of Survivor, and when Sora was described as having incredibly sharp cheekbones, Kenta was exactly who I pictured him looking like.

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Jamell: Woody Harrelson

Image courtesy of chron.com

I could be totally off base with this one, but once Jamell was described as having a toothy smile, for some reason my mind went to him looking like Woody Harrelson. I have no other way to describe this, just a friendly reminder to laugh and possibly ignore this one!

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Lex: Alfredo De la Cruz

credit to owner of photo: N/A

The hair, the eyes, the body……yeah, this model fits the look of this character PERFECTLY in my mind! If he wanted to make his facial hair even more present, I suppose I’d be okay with that too…

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So there you have it FOR NOW! This is based off just book 1 in this series, so expect more characters to be added as the sequel releases! Be sure to check back when that happens and I’ll have this updated ASAP!

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

Fantasy, New Adult, New Adult Romance

My Review: These Wicked Lies (These Wicked Lies #1): by Miranda Joy

Publish Date: June 22nd, 2022
Number of Pages: N/A
Publisher: Self Published
Genre(s): Fantasy, New Adult Romance

Total Star Rating: 4 Stars

I’m not in the mood to murder someone tonight, but I must.

– Miranda Joy, “These Wicked Lies”

What It’s About:

the official synopsis:

When a princess with the ability to absorb and transfer life force energy discovers her mother, the queen, is manipulating her, she works with unexpected allies to steal the throne, battling magic-induced anxiety and unexpected attractions along the way.

Astrid is a vygora—a rare being that can absorb one’s life force energy and transfer it to another with a touch. Only two people know what she’s truly capable of: her best friend, Ilona, and her mother, the Queen of Hakran, a powerful myndox.

When foreign royalty and their handsome guard, Dashiel Dargan, show up unexpectedly with the ability to mute myndox manipulation, Astrid discovers she’s been a prisoner to her mother’s power her entire life, and she’s not the only one. Faced with a lifetime of memories built on lies, she’s caught between the story she thinks she knows, and the one she doesn’t remember.

But when she can’t trust anyone, how can she figure out which story is true?

~~~

This book actually already holds a special place in my heart because I’ve actually become a friend with the author on #bookstagram! NO, she’s not bribing me with this review in any way, shape, or form either…in fact, with this information I’m actually feeling more pressure NOT to make this a simply glowing review of the book.

BUT I can admit it’s become so cool to meet someone who’s published a book and that it’s totally a book you wanted to read too!

Okay so back to this review: For a debut novel, this was a pretty impressive story to get into. It was so easy to get wrapped into this world and meet Astrid, who’s more than just a regular Princess. She’s got some depth to her, and some morally gray traits to her personality. She’s got some fire to her spirit!

She’s feeling very conflicted in her position: Princess by day and lifeforce sucker by night. She disguises herself in a veiled costume and takes the life of a willing victim as a sacrifice in order to pass it to her mother in order to keep her alive and keep their whole island safe. The seeds of doubt were already planted that something more nefarious may be going on with all this, but it takes some foreign company visiting their lush island home to really set things in motion.

I’ll be honest, I got some major From Blood and Ash/A Shadow in the Ember vibes from this book, which isn’t a bad thing! If anyone reading this has followed my reviews on here, they should know the FBAA series is a big favorite of mine! I wouldn’t say this even comes close to copying it , TWL definitely still feels like it’s own entity, but I can definitely see some comparisons between the two or possibly the author even drew some inspiration from the story! Who knows?

Reading this book, I was easily sucked in to the exotic and tropical world the author created, and created fun and familiar dynamics between the cast of characters. Dashiel and Astrid had some great chemistry and lots of playful banter—think a similar vibe to Cassian and Nesta in the Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas—and I really got into their slow burn romance throughout. Dash was an easy guy to like, and Astrid wasn’t afraid to humble him and put him in his place when he (maybe) needed it.

The midpoint got a little slow for me, only because we already knew about the Queen’s manipulation of Astrid and her people because it’s in the synopsis, so that part wasn’t all that shocking to see develop. There is a question of which side everyone is on exactly, and the unknown of what everyone’s intentions are definitely keep you interested. Astrid and her friend Ilona grow closer to Dashiel and Prince Zale, but also more weary of them as questionable behavior shows; there’s definitely more going on beneath the surface.

You meet Lex later on in the story, and once again complete and total mystery surrounds him, but he’s a major character believe me! He’s not just a random addition to the story at all…

The ending sequences are the piece-de-resistance of the whole book. I’ll admit I didn’t see it coming, and it certainly leaves you with a brow-raising expression, and the final page ends on a dark and sexy way that leaves you yearning to see what could possibly happen next, and also wanting the next book, like, yesterday.

Once again, even if I didn’t get to personally know the author, I’d say this is a pretty remarkable debut novel that shows so much promise for bigger and better things! Miranda Joy is certainly a name to remember if she keeps this up!

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I hate how alluring his accent is. I hate how everything sounds good coming out of his mouth, even my impending death.

– Miranda Joy, “These Wicked Lies”

What I Liked:

  1. Astrid is a Morally Grey Heroine! I love it when the MC’s have a dark side to them, they just become so much more interesting of a character. Everyone complains that Superman is boring because he always takes the moral high ground, and I have to agree. Astrid has dangerous magical abilities, and she also isn’t afraid to get violent when needed. the anxiety of all that happens to her and all that everyone isn’t telling her really wears on her psyche, and even I can agree sometimes it can just drive you a little crazy and want to pull a dagger on someone *shrugs*
  2. That Twist Towards the End! I totally didn’t see this twist coming towards the end, and the best ones are like that but they also totally make sense when you think about it afterwards. Bravo to the author, it was wonderfully done!
  3. Dash! Helloooooo new addition to my book boyfriend list! Dash was hot, not much more to say. I will however say that I’m curious what kind of decisions he’s going to make in the next installment in this story. It will be a determining factor as to how this relationship between us is going to continue and if we can stay together…we’ll see!

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. You Don’t Meet A Major Character Until Much Later In The Book…Their appearance into the story raised a lot of questions, which I suppose is a good thing to get the reader to keep with the book, but part of the questions had me wondering if he really was an important character at all to be begin with. Part of me wonders if maybe this character made more appearances throughout the beginning a little more, even if they were short and brief, that this could’ve made the last minute addition feel less confusing?
  2. The Twist With The Queen…Part of got a little bored with the middle because the mystery of the queen wasn’t really even a mystery: we knew she was evil/the villain even from the synopsis of the book. With that already revealed, part of the allure wasn’t there, and I feel like it would’ve made the story stronger if we (the readers) discovered it for ourselves.
  3. I Want More Spice…This isn’t really a critique, but more a hope/request/plea: book two needs more sex. And don’t worry, I did say this to Miranda, and she confirms there will be 😉

Conclusion:

Overall, this was such an entertaining read that I for the most part really enjoyed! The warm and tropical climate and how things get heated in more ways than one makes for a fun book that I think fans of Sarah J. Maas, Holly Black, and Jennifer L. Armentrout would enjoy. It definitely shares a lot of the similar elements that these ladies of romantic fantasy used to put their names on the map!

I will definitely be reading the next book in this series; Miranda Joy ended it in such a juicy way, how could I not?

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell