Dark & Darker Faerie Tales by Two Sisters Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

If you thought the fairy tales of the Brother’s Grimm couldn’t get any darker, then you thought wrong. In Dark & Darker Faerie Tales by Two Sisters, the stories we all grew up on are twisted in shocking and creative ways. Here’s the synopsis:

Inspired by Brothers Grimm and other sinister tales, Dark & Darker Faerie Tales is a collection of dark stories about evil faeries, corrupted heroes, vengeful innocents and malicious monsters. Delving into the darker side of fairy tales, each story offers a twisted journey that’ll make you wish for a happy ending.

Written and illustrated by Two Sisters, witness an unlikely friendship in “The Woodcutter and The Oak Tree,” discover what happens next to Little Red Riding Hood, and learn why it’s so important to be wary of who you meet in the woods.

This is one of the most unique story collections of 2018. The dark twist on tales like Red Riding Hood made for highly entertaining and nostalgic reading all at once, while tales of evil witches and heroes turned villains made the stories become even creepier than you could have ever imagined. The writing fit perfectly in line with the classic fairy tale style, while bringing a much darker horror twist into the genre. The stories are rich with vivid imagery, each page dripping with twisted characters and surreal settings that only a fairy tale world could bring to life.

Overall I loved this story. In fact so far it’s one of my top reads of 2018. The stories managed to be original and unique while paying respects to the fairy tale classics. Taking these stories in fantastically unexpected ways, this is the fairy tale collection horror fans around the world have been waiting for. If you haven’t yet, be sure to pick up your copy of Dark & Darker Faerie Tales by Two Sisters today!

Rating: 10/10

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Book Trailer Reveal: Onions by Cy Young

We have a brand new book trailer for author Cy Young’s Onions, a YA novel. Here’s a synopsis along with the trailer! Enjoy.

 

Onions has just been sent to his 16th foster home, Despondent, he steals the purse of Sandrine, a retired circus performer. Instead of turning him in to the police, Sandrine enlists the boy in her fight against City Hall. In the process, Onions learns the importance of reading, having a worthwhile life-goal, and how to play the trumpet, his ultimate redemption. Sandrine is a strong role-model for pre-teens through 18-year-olds as she helps Charles Wesley Onions find meaning in life. A tragic event leads to the powerful, uplifting, and inspiring ending. Finally, Onions is a modern-day Holden Caulfield .. without the swearing.

 

Awake Under The Night Sky by Vanya Sharma Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

It’s a story as old as time itself. Two people from very different worlds meet by chance and find themselves falling madly in love, only for fate to intervene in their happily ever afters. Yet in author Vanya Sharma’s novel Awake Under the Night Sky, we get to feel the raw emotions and the powerful way that love impacts the lives of these two young people. Here is the synopsis:

Witness to the ravages of poverty and neglect, Vivian is driven by a purpose, in a world that seems to have lost its conscience. In the fires of loss, a young and fierce Andre has forged an iron will to succeed. His journey halfway across the world does not deter him, but only strengthens his determination.

Two people on the threshold of their lives, touched by love but driven by duty, following separate destinies. He has a past to restore, she has a future to change. Are their paths destined never to converge, or might the vagaries of fate unlock the buried dreams of two proud hearts, and offer a new beginning?

I loved this story. It was incredibly emotional throughout the entire read. Its an interesting concept, as it showcases that we do not always know when or if we will find love, and how that love will impact the dreams we once had. It makes us as readers question what is more important in life: one’s dreams or true love? It also showcases how outside forces can intervene and cloud our minds in the face of love, and how our lives are forever impacted by that found love, both good and bad.

The only small critique I have is that the book ends surprisingly abrupt. This may be a creative choice by the author, but it was shocking as you expected a final scene to play out and instead were left to draw your own conclusions on how things played out in the end. While readers will have a good idea of where things go from there, you become so invested in these two characters that you are left breathlessly wanting more, or at the very least to have confirmation as to these two lover’s fates. Other than that the author does a wonderful job of drawing the reader’s emotions out through this powerful romance. As the Valentine’s Day holiday passes, this book is a great way to keep romance alive and witness the way love changes us forever.

Overall this was a wonderfully written book with a beautiful story and rich characters throughout. Exploring various cultures and backgrounds, the story does a great job of connecting people from different worlds through one singular and purposeful thing, and that’s love. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copies of Awake Under the Night Sky by Vanya Sharma today!

Rating: 8/10

 

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https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36281528-awake-under-the-night-sky?from_search=true

Interview with Author I. Ashmawey

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?
Since a young age, I’ve always imagined the world differently. Asked strange questions. Pictured how things could be rather than how they are. Writing is my way of capturing that imagination and documenting it. When I have a thought, I write it. It’s my way of allowing that thought to leave my mind and instead, possibly go into the minds of others. If people like my thoughts, wonderful. If not, I have plenty others!
2) What inspired you to write your book?
I don’t know anyone who reads regularly in my circle of friends. Perhaps that means I need new friends 🙂 But it also means that in general, my generation is not one of readers. My generation gets a ridiculous amount of screen time. Whether it’s TV, YouTube, or whatever else, it’s all the same. First of all, it limits the kinds of opinions they will hear. Second, the mind simply doesn’t work when it is receiving content through a screen. It’s a lazy method, and breeds even more laziness. Even those who laud themselves as people who read the news, do they really read it? Or just the gist?
I wrote this book to encourage my generation to spend more time with an open book in front of them, rather than a screen. The hope is that with only five minutes a day, people can escape their lives and take a small glimpse into a life that once was, or could someday be. And perhaps they would gain something positive from this insight.
3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
The themes in the book are plenty, as every short story aims to take the reader somewhere different than the one before. If I was to summarize all the messages and concoct a common theme that connects them all, it would simply be: think differently. If society runs things in a certain way, that way may be entirely wrong. There may be a far better way that is waiting for someone to discover it. There may be a way far worse, that’s still worth trying in order to feel more assured of society’s way. There is always something to be gained when thinking differently and questioning everything.
4) What drew you into this particular genre or genres?
Writing a book of short stories was never my intention. I actually finished a sci-fi novel and had sent it to my editor for editing which usually takes a few months. In the meantime, I couldn’t sit idle. So I decided to put some ideas down, which turned into short stories. I then wanted to challenge my creativity: 30 stories in 30 days. I was able to do it, a story a day. Then I added ten more, and thought to myself, “Why not publish?”
5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?
That’s an extremely tough one given that there are 40 shorts with 40 main characters. But I think I would choose Apolena Kipp from the story “Before the Beginning.” A space explorer who takes humanity’s first trip back to before the Big Bang. There was a moment while writing that story that I truly felt scared for her. I couldn’t imagine the courage it would need to take such a trip. Being the first to ever do anything requires courage, but especially to cross that threshold where there are no safety precautions, that’s something else. I would want to ask her what this trip means to her personally. Why does she so desperately want to know what happened before the Big Bang? And more importantly, how did she feel about what she found?
6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?
I have to be honest, I don’t have social media. I used to. I was one of the first to join Facebook back when it required a .edu address and you needed to put in which classes you were taking. But on a specific day, I found myself with my 1-yrld daughter at Disneyland, and I was fighting with someone I didn’t know on Facebook about some political opinion. It hit me then, and then I deactivated my account, and vowed never to return.
I don’t deny however that social media can tremendously help marketing a book. So that’s something I’m currently working on, but without social media 🙂
7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?
The most important thing any writer can do, is write. It doesn’t matter how bad the writing is initially. It doesn’t matter if t hey don’t have a fully fleshed story. Start writing, and write everyday. One’s writing is a muscle. If it’s not exercised it, it will become weak. To write is to find the characters, then the characters will build the story. Just start, that’s the most important thing. Start!
8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?
The soft sci-fi is currently out with agents! The book is titled, “ETA: the Trial of Logan Gruver.” The story talks of Logan, a traveler on a commercialized time-travel trip to the Pliocene epoch, who finds purpose and love when he meets Giselle, a fellow traveler in the past. Together, they discover that humanity will mysteriously cease to exist in the future. The newly discovered Canvas of Time, a fabric that covers the universe and also lends way to time travel, will begin to deteriorate. Logan and Giselle understand their devotion, the consequences of their actions, and why humanity may have to pay the price.

My Interview with Author Claire Gem

I was fortunate enough to work with author Claire Gem recently on her novel Spirits of the Heart, and she was kind enough to offer me a chance to do an interview for her website as well. So be sure to check out my interview with Claire over on her website, and don’t forget to follow her while you’re there!

 

via Welcome Author Anthony Avina

Interview with Author Claire Gem

 

Interview for Claire Gem, multi-award-winning author of contemporary romance, women’s fiction, and supernatural suspense.

 

  • Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

 

I’m a native New Yorker who grew up in a small town about 60 miles northwest of Manhattan. Mother of three, I’ve been married to the same wonderful man for 39 years. I think it’s why I chose romance as my genre—I’m living it, so I feel qualified to write about it.

 

I’ve always loved to write as a form of expression. Therapy, really. In the seventh grade I had an excellent English teacher who took me aside one day and said, “You have an exceptional talent for writing. Don’t waste it.” I never forgot her words, and they inspire me and give me confidence to this day.

 

But I’m dual-sided: by day, I work in the field of scientific research. When I come home from work, I let the creative side of my brain come out to play. I didn’t start writing seriously until about ten years ago, when the business of life and raising children allowed me the extra down time to nurture the passion.

 

 

  • What inspired you to write your book?

 

Spirits of the Heart is set on the grounds of an abandoned mental asylum that really exists in the town where I grew up. I remember as a child feeling very haunted by the majestic old buildings and wondering what went on inside them. When I was about eighteen, I dated a young man who was a nighttime security guard at the facility before it closed down in the 1990s. He became my inspiration for Miller, although he and Miller are nothing alike.

 

When I decided to write the book, my sister (who is a photographer and still lives in the same town) spent a day driving around the mostly abandoned campus, taking pictures for my cover and book trailer. That’s when I decided on Talcott Hall—mysteriously, two weeks after that photo session, the building caught fire and burned to the ground. A local fireman took the fire photos and gave me permission to use them.

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  • What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

 

In every one of my books I try to address real life, big issues and show how my characters overcome them. Miller lives in the shadow of his alcoholic father and beats the addiction himself. Laura learns to accept her parents’ divorce and her father’s new choice of a mate. By the end of the book, both characters have not only fallen in love, but have grown as individuals.

 

  • What drew you into this particular genre?

 

I have always been fascinated by the paranormal, and really do believe in ghosts—spirits trapped between this world and the next. For some strange reason, I love to wander in old graveyards—it’s called taphophilia. The histories of the lives commemorated there intrigue me. So, it’s only natural I would choose to write supernatural suspense.

 

 

  • If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

 

That’s a difficult question because in developing my characters, I get to know them so well that I know what all their answers would be. It’s my way of making them real. To me, they become real people who I actually miss when I’ve finished writing the book. My process of character development involves me asking them every question I can think of—by the time I’ve written The End, I know them intimately.

 

 

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

 

I’m active on many social media sites but have found Twitter to be my most helpful. I have 21.6K followers, and it’s easy for me to put up snippets from my books with buy links, or teasers from the book I’m working on next. I have my Twitter account linked to Facebook, so my ~1000 Facebook fans automatically see what I post on Twitter as well.

 

 

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

 

READ. Whatever genre you want to write in, read as many books as you can. I also highly recommend listening to audiobooks. I always have three books going at the same time: one in print, one in eBook, and one on audio. I believe an aspiring author can learn something different from consuming the same book in different formats—what you see with your eyes will be different from what you hear with your ears. I have some titles I have listened to and read multiple times. I learn something different every time.

 

Also, write what you are passionate about. At one time an editor at a conference suggested I write something in the YA genre because it as “hot” at the time…I’m not a fan of YA, and just couldn’t muster up the enthusiasm to write something I didn’t love. If you are passionate about what you write, that passion comes through on the page. If you love it, there will be other readers who will love it too.

 

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

 

I just completed another supernatural suspense, CIVIL HEARTS, which is set in an abandoned antebellum home in rural Alabama. The idea for this book came to me in a dream, as many of them do. My heroine is a widow whose husband died from a dreadful form of brain cancer, and the hero suffers from epilepsy. The house my heroine buys is haunted by a Confederate soldier who’s come home from war looking for his bride.

 

Next is Sirens of Salt, another idea that came to me in a dream. This one is set on the Atlantic coast of Florida and revolves around some theories I have about the mysterious underwater stones off the island of Bimini. I’m in the research process right now . . .

Author Links:

Website         Facebook        Twitter     Smashwords        Amazon       Book Gorilla

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The Dragon Dreamer Series by J.S. Burke Promotion

Today I have a fun YA series that is on sale now that you guys should check out. It’s the Dragon Dreamer series by J.S. Burke. Check out all the info/press release below!

 

Now Available on Sale from Jan 20th – 25th

DRAGON LIGHTNING TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpOMIn09AzI&feature=youtu.be

DRAGON DREAMER BOOKS ON TV 1st time:  http://news4sanantonio.com/sa-living/time-to-hit-the-books     

DRAGON DREAMER BOOKS ON TV 2nd time:  http://news4sanantonio.com/sa-living/great-book-picks  

 

THE DRAGON DREAMER by J.S. Burke

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The Dragon Dreamer is a fast-paced adventure with flying dragons, an undersea world, and an unlikely friendship. It’s a science fantasy layered for readers age 9 to 99.

 

Arak is a misfit dragon called “Dreamer”. Determined to prove himself he leaves on a dangerous quest, is caught in a fierce sea-storm, and crashes on ice. Wounded and alone he faces death. Then a fearless undersea shape-shifter named Scree heals him and an unlikely friendship begins. When an undersea volcano erupts it triggers a towering tsunami and a deadly chain of events. Can Arak use his unique talents to save the dragons?

 

The Dragon Dreamer is the first book of the award-winning Dragon Dreamer series. These science fantasy books are connected, but each can be read as a stand-alone. The Dragon Dreamer won the IAN Award for Best FIRST NOVEL and was an IAN Finalist for Best FANTASY, Best SCIENCE FICTION, and Best CHILDREN’S Book. It’s an upbeat story with deeper meaning, for all ages.

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PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon Universal:  http://authl.it/B00K9DHTU2?d

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22886684-the-dragon-dreamer

Nook:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-dragon-dreamer-j-s-burke/1120629824

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-dragon-dreamer

ITunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-dragon-dreamer/id933034842

 

DRAGON LIGHTNING by J.S. Burke

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Drakor seems like a normal young ice dragon with a talent for making lightning swords. But he alone feels the changing heart of his island Volcano. It destroyed his beloved sire. Now he foresees their doom, but none will listen. As he seeks proof, the Volcano shakes him off into the frozen sea.

 

Arak was mocked as a worthless dreamer until he and Scree, a fearless undersea misfit, saved the dragons. Now dragons and octopi sail north in search of mythical ice dragons. They find Drakor and a terrifying reality. When Scree enters the abyss to check his volcano, she discovers everyone is in peril. Can this crew of unlikely friends save three realms?

 

Dragon Lightning is book 2 of the award-winning Dragon Dreamer series. These science fantasy books are connected, but each can be read as a stand-alone. Dragon Lightning won the Pinnacle Award for Best Science Fantasy and the IAN Award for Best Science Fiction. It was also an IAN Finalist for Best Fantasy and Best Children’s Book. This fast-paced adventure is layered for readers age 9 to 99.

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PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon Universal:  http://authl.it/B01MA1ZOJ6?d

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32598789-dragon-lightning

Nook:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dragon-lightning-j-s-burke/1124857029

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/dragon-lightning

ITunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dragon-lightning/id1166420789

 

FANTASY SNOWFLAKES COLORING BOOK by J.S. Burke

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De-stress and unwind with hand-drawn mandalas. These original snowflake designs are created from animals and plants, with a nature theme. Color 24 pictures and 24 ornaments. Let your imagination soar! Drawings range from simple to detailed. Learn to fold and cut out lacy paper snowflakes to hang as unique decorations. The Fantasy Snowflakes coloring/activities book was inspired by the award-winning Dragon Dreamer series: Science Fantasy Adventure with dragons and an undersea world.

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PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon Universal:  http://www.relinks.me/0996042555

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36677251

 

GOODREADS GIVEAWAY (free to enter): https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/269108-fantasy-snowflakes-coloring-book

Rafflecopter giveaway: ​​

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e73fc5bf0/

AUTHOR BIO

  1. S. Burke is an author, artist, and marine biologist, studying creatures of the dark abyss and diving on coral reefs. The award-winning Dragon Dreamer series grew from her years at sea, a fascination with clever, alien octopuses, and a love of dragons. It’s Science Fantasy Adventure with dragons and an undersea world, layered for readers age 9 to 99. Burke’s stories blend imagination with real science and author experiences. The deadly sea storm that threatens Arak is one she survived.

 

J.S. Burke was a Georgia Author of the Year Nominee. Dragon Lightning won the IAN Award for Best Science Fiction and was an IAN Finalist for Best Fantasy and Best Children’s Book. Dragon Lightning also won the PINNACLE Award for Best Science Fantasy. The Dragon Dreamer won the IAN Award for Best First Novel and was an IAN Finalist for Best Fantasy, Best Science Fiction, and Best Children’s Book.

 

Fantasy Snowflakes Coloring Book has original, hand-drawn snowflakes that her dragons grow, with designs woven from wildlife. There’s a Unicorn flake, Dolphins, Tree-of-Life, Seal-of-Approval, Turtles, Dragons, and more! Burke and her dragons love chocolate!

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AUTHOR LINKS

AMAZON Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/J.-S.-Burke/e/B00NVRVHWE/

FACEBOOK Author Page:  https://www.facebook.com/Jenny-S-Burke-721518861218158

GOODREADS Author Page:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8283255.J_S_Burke

WEBSITE:  http://www.jennysburke.com

BOOKBUB:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/j-s-burke-49b143b6-fbae-4b3a-a5c0-7571b588de62

TWITTER:  https://twitter.com/TheDragonDreamr​