Hi, I’m Aishlar Snow and I’m here to talk about my new release, I Experimented Once in College. Thank you to Divine Magazine for giving me the opportunity to share!
I Experimented Once in College is a romance novel on top of a comedic fantasy. I like to think of it like spiking lemonade with tequila – you start with silly humor, plenty of magic, and an upbeat atmosphere and add in a whole lot of sexual tension. It has its dramatic points, but it’s a light read that won’t bring you down.
In fact, William, PhD student and aspiring magical researcher, spends most of the book fighting against the upbeat atmosphere. He’s the scholarly type who enjoys books and quiet places, and he stands firmly by the principle that he’s better off alone. At a colorful university in a vibrant kingdom with more festival days than not, he keeps trying to reject everything celebratory and social. William has been hurt before and he’s certainly not going to trust his feelings to other people.
Archmage Taliesin Karsus turns this principle on its head when he persuades William to accept a position as his research assistant, a job that is insultingly secretarial in nature. Forced to work with an unpredictable boss who constantly tests his patience, William has to learn to be flexible. More than that, when trouble arises at the college, William has to learn to take charge and act on his feelings.
By the end of the Fall Semester, William will find out if he has what it takes to foil a plot against the school, face down a powerful enemy, and maybe – maybe – start on his dissertation.
PhD candidate William Yderis comes to Efeldon University to teach and finish his degree in charmcrafting. For methodical, sedate, and scholarly William, the school defies his expectations—and not in a good way. The biggest surprise comes when William meets his boss, absent-minded Archmage Taliesin Karsus, a man as infuriating as he is sexy.
As William struggles to carve out his place at the university, he is drawn in to Tal’s chaotic experiments… and drawn to Tal despite his logical mind’s protests. And if Tal’s wavering affection isn’t enough to complicate William’s studies, he uncovers a plot involving an ambitious staff member, brainwashed students, sexual assault, and a threat to the lives of everyone on campus. When it comes time to face the danger, William is on his own. For the first time in his life, he’ll have to trust in his heart instead of his head.
Review by Elaine White
Book – I Experimented Once in College
Author – Aishlar Snow
Star rating – ★★★★☆
No. of Pages – 103
Cover – Gorgeous, but misleading.
POV – 3rd person, past tense, 1 character POV
Would I read it again – Yes.
Genre – LGBT, Fantasy, Magical, 18
** I WAS GIVEN THIS BOOK, BY THE AUTHOR, IN RETURN FOR AN HONEST REVIEW **
To start with, I have to admit that I feel misled by the cover. It portrayed an 18-25-year-old person and, along with the description of a college student, that’s what I expected. However, our main character William reads more like a 30-year-old, prim and proper professor, rather than a student.
I also want to take umbridge at the suggestion that William went through all this alone, stated in the blurb – “When it comes time to face the danger, William is on his own.” He’s not alone. In fact, on Guy’s behalf, I’d like to say that he’d be mindlessly warped and clueless without him.
Despite that, I loved this story. Actually, it’s probably because of those things that I love it. William wasn’t a moon-eyed college kid, setting his sights on an older professor. He was a smart, sophisticated, slightly weird guy, who wasn’t really all that likable in the beginning. And the man he falls for is not his professor, but a powerful authority figure, and he is definitely as sexy as the blurb claims.
I really loved Guy, too. From the start, he was this lovely, slightly naïve and innocent boy, who was nothing more than a poor farm boy elevated to a position that he didn’t feel comfortable in. Then he became William’s friend and I only grew to love him more.
There was something slightly odd about the sentence structure, at times, that confused me. I couldn’t decide if it was a matter of spelling/grammar mistakes, missing words or just the author’s style of writing. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t what I’m used to. It didn’t interfere with the story, however, so that’s a plus.
There was a lot of description at the start, about the surroundings and William’s complaints about the decor and expensive furnishings. He was a bit of a complainer at the start of the story and it wasn’t until he met and became familiar with Archmage Karsus that his disposition improved.
Overall, I had to remove 1 star for the fact that I spent half the book disliking William and the other totally rooting for him. It was confusing and disconcerting. The other reason I removed this 1 star was for the Epilogue. In no way did it tell me everything I wanted to know. In fact, it made me panic about Guy, who was mentioned only briefly as being once again chased off for his gift.
Unless there’s a second book (hopefully covering Guy’s story) then I’ll be sorely disappointed. The end just didn’t do the story justice at all. There was so much more that I wanted and needed to know, before the story could be considered finished.
Regardless, I loved everything else about it. From William’s instincts, Tal and Guy, to the exploration of a magical world that pretty much worked like any other college or university.
Aishlar Snow has been writing gay romance since high school, where a trusted teacher read one of her first works and encouraged her to pursue writing. Since then, she has earned a Masters in Library Science and has worked in a number of public libraries while writing. Aishlar presently works in an academic setting, from which she draws inspiration for her works.
The way to Aishlar’s heart is an easy one and includes pastries, coffee, and bad jokes. On her days off she can be found lounging in her royal harem-inspired room, watching Xena: Warrior Princess, or playing video-games. She cosplays casually, draws and paints (badly), and plays both the piano and ocarina.
Most of all, Aishlar enjoys fantasy settings and immersing herself in new worlds and characters. Her favorite worlds include those of Discworld, Wheel of Time, Star Wars, and Warcraft. She is always looking for a new book, show, or podcast to enjoy.