Tag Archives: dark fantasy

Macbeth’s Spinners by Justine Johnston Hemmestad Review

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

The legend of Macbeth gets a Greek Mythology twist when the three Fates merge to become one powerful woman as they flee the powerful gaze of a heartbroken god in author Justine Johnston Hemmestad’s “Macbeth’s Spinners”.

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The Synopsis

Macbeth’s Spinners is a love story. And like most love stories, things surrounding the lovers can both influence and be influenced by the lovers and their emotions. You know the fallout that can happen among friends when a couple has a spat in the real world.

Now imagine if they were gods? Imagine if the lovers had the ability to influence time and fold the land and sea, and steer the course of a nation’s history?

What if Macbeth was guided to become king not by three elderly witches — but by the Three Fates of Greek Mythos that were transformed into a single woman of remarkable power?

The Review

This was such a powerful and well-done story. The author found a way to bridge the gap between gothic dark fantasy storytelling and epic mythological themes in a very natural way. The twist in Macbeth’s iconic story was such an inspired direction to take the narrative, as it directly spoke to the idea of fate and destiny (quite literally) in ways the original could only hint at. The historical context of the story mixed well with the mythos that the other half of the narrative embodied. 

The character development and imagery played the largest roles here in this story. The game of cat and mouse played between the Fates, Apollo, and their pawn Macbeth all play well into the almost dismissive nature of these godlike figures to the everyday men and women, especially given the Fate’s desire to find a home and take care of its people, much as they did in their old lives. The redemptive nature of the narrative as time goes on and the heartfelt emotions that these powerful gods display help keep the story grounded in such a fantasy-driven world. 

The Verdict

Thought-provoking, imaginative, and entertaining, author Justine Johnston Hemmestad’s “Macbeth’s Spinners” is a must-read gothic dark fantasy read. The expanded upon and new twist on both the iconic Shakespearean tale and the memorable Greek mythology was a pairing that fit together so well that it felt like reading a brand new story much of the time. The imagery and atmosphere the author created spoke to the grand stakes of the novel and the raw emotions that these powerful figures conjured up. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Justine Johnston Hemmestad is an editor, the author of three novels, and is included in several anthologies, including Chicken Soup for the Soul: Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injuries (after having been in a car accident that left her severely brain injured at 19). She is a graduate of The University of Iowa and has also graduated from the English Literature Master’s Degree program with distinction at Northern Arizona University. Her personal webpage is at https://know-your-craft.webnode.page/ , her amazon author’s page is at https://www.amazon.com/Justine-Johnston-Hemmestad/e/B01DHSLN0M?ref_=pe_1724030_132998060 and she’s on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JustineJohnstonHemmestadauthor 

My publisher and I are donating part of the profits to Laughing at My Nightmare charity https://www.laughingatmynightmare.com/         

A Cry in the Moon’s Light: Special Edition by Alan McGill Review and Showcase

It’s not often that I get the rare opportunity to reexamine a special book I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing before, but my friend and fellow author Alan McGill have just released a brand new special edition of his book, A Cry in the Moon’s Light, and I thought I’d share some of my thoughts on the new edition. First, here’s a synopsis.

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The Synopsis

Includes special sneak peek of the next book in the series!


In a time of castles, muskets, and hideous creatures of the night, a beautiful woman travels across the treacherous Dark Forest to be by the side of her dying grandmother. With only a young carriage driver to protect her, she must use her wits and all of her courage to cross the wild country—and to evade the mysterious beast who stalks her.

What follows is a tale full of horror, mystery, and romance: gruesome murders at a village hidden deep in the forest, a castle that holds dark secrets, and a black wolf leading a deadly pack. Nothing is as it seems, and this journey has only just begun. The beautiful lady in the carriage will learn that only love can defeat evil, but is it love or danger that cries out to her in the deceitful light of the moon?

The Review

Now for those of you who didn’t see the first book review I did, you can read the full review here, but here’s a snippet:

I was hooked immediately on this book. The author did such an amazing job of crafting a narrative that was both emotionally invested and chilling at the same time. The story was written in a way that felt like historical fiction meets Brothers Grimm meets folklore all at once. The nods and homages to classic fairy tale style storytelling elements and themes were felt immediately, but then did such a great job of taking readers immediately into a right turn that held gruesome mayhem and terrifying creatures, and then made a completely new turn into heartbreaking and heartfelt romance and drama. 

The character growth in this narrative made the story everything it was. The horror, the scares, the heart, all of it wouldn’t have been possible without such strong characters and their bond with one another. From the young woman seeking to care for her grandmother to the loyal carriage driver hoping to protect her, and the creatures she shares a mysterious connection with, each of these characters felt dynamic and grand in their design, and yet very human and emotional in their motives and interactions with one another, making this such a superb read.

However, one thing that really makes this special edition stand out is the new chapters that the author previews from book two in the series, Undead Wars. The new book promises to flesh out this magnificent gothic world, even more, introducing new creatures and delving into the decade after the emotional ending of book one in the series. The stakes are raised immediately, honing in on the chaos these creatures are bringing to the European continent and even showcasing the conflicts emerging between the different European nations and kingdoms of this period of history. 

The Verdict

This is a masterclass special edition of one of my favorite gothic horror reads of the last few years. The author’s work and ability to world-build are unparalleled, and the promise of a fantastic new chapter in this gothic universe will have readers clamoring for more from this stellar author’s work. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy of this special edition today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Alan McGill is an American author who lives in an old farmhouse with a clowder of cats. Alan was close to his grandparents, who grew up during the Great Depression. They were married young and remained together until his grandmother’s passing. His grandfather served in the Navy during WWII and was a gifted storyteller who wove humorous tales about tough events. Alan grew up listening to these stories of right and wrong and watching fictional heroes–such as the Lone Ranger, Adam West’s Batman, and Captain America–stand up to bullies and protect those who count not protect themselves. This inspired him to always do what was right in his own life and shaped his love of storytelling. He is a multigenre author whose debut novel, A Cry in the Moon’s Light, combines horror, romance, and mystery. As with all his books, A Cry in the Moon’s Light centers on characters who strive to do the right thing regardless of the adversity they face. The book focuses on the theme of love–a pure and deep love that defeats all evil.

Interview with Author Jason Goss

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


I’ve always been creative. I have an over active imagination.  And often times I’ll read a story and think the ending could have been better, or something else would have made more sense.  So I eventually decided to write my own stories.

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2) What inspired you to write your book?


Specifically with this book, I was sick of most vampire stories featuring vampires falling in love with a whiney neurotic teenager.  Vampires see us as food, not lovers.  I’ve never lusted after a big mac. So why would a vampire lust after his food.  So I decided to write a dark vampire story with an actual monster who has a complete disregard for human life.

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


That’s a tough on.  The theme itself is about revenge.  But at its heart…the story explores the vampires broken heart.  He loved someone who turned on him.  It drove him mad. And most of the book focuses on his madness.    I guess that’s the take away…women drive men mad 

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

Honestly…a facebook vote lol.  I wanted to write several different genres.  And I asked my followers which of several ideas they liked most based off 3 line pitches…and this one got most likes lol.

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


This is a hard one.  I get into the head of all my characters as I write them.  Good or bad, I try to write from his or her point of view.  So in essence…I’m already a part of all of them.

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


Id say facebook has been most influential.  I have a decent following from my days as a former youtuber.  My old YouTube channel still has 25k subs…and I haven’t yet released a video on the channel to get sales for my book.  But im debating advertising on my old channel.  So if I do…YouTube will likely be most helpful lol but as of now…its facebook.

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


Just do it.  Don’t do it for fame or money.  Just write what you enjoy.  Tell a story you would want to read. And get it done.  If people like it great.  If not…who cares.  You did it.  The most satisfying part so far…is being able to say I wrote a book.  The fact so many people who’ve read it….like it…is just a bonus.

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


This book is a planned trilogy.  So I’m really excited for people to find out what happens to Alaric after the cliffhanger ending. After that I want to do a autobiography. I’ve lived a crazy life and want to document it in case I die one day lol

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About the Author

I’m Jason M Goss, and I’m a huge nerd 

Love anything sci fi or fantasy. I have a million ideas in my head and finally decided to start putting some down on paper.

I hope you like them, and I’m always open to feedback!

Life is about growing and become better than we were previously, and that’s what my goal is!

Tome of the Vampire by Jason Goss Review

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

An unstable vampire may hold the key to the survival of the human race against an unstoppable plague in a post-apocalyptic world filled with magic and horrors in author Jason Goss’s “Tome of the Vampire”.

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The Synopsis

For over one thousand years after the world was nearly destroyed by the calamity known as Sinfall, the church has helped people recover. The recovery and safety the church gave came at a steep cost. Technology has been lost to the ages and banned by the church.

The land is plagued by a terrible curse that threatens to wipe out all life, and the church has no idea how to stop it. Until a chance encounter with a mentally unstable vampire offers an unlikely solution….

Tome of the Vampire Vol 1 is a dark fantasy story set in a post apocalyptic fantasy world filled with magic, dragons, and mystery surrounding the secrets the church has banned people from knowing, and what caused the calamity.

The Review

This was a brilliant and powerful new direction of the vampire lore and mythos. The action and suspense were brought to life perfectly through the world-building and atmosphere the author developed. The imagery really did an incredible job of capturing the almost otherworldly nature of the setting, as magic and mystery became part of the norm in this post-apocalyptic world.

Yet it was the author’s mythos and character growth that really set it apart from other fantasy and dark gothic fiction. The religious iconography and power that resides over the human population is a stark contrast to the magic and supernatural power that has taken over throughout the world. The humor and wit that the vampire exudes helps cut through the natural tension that keeps the reader glued into the fictional world the author has crafted.

The Verdict

Haunting, entertaining, and wildly inventive, author Jason Goss’s “Tome of the Vampire” is a must read mystery, gothic horror, and fantasy novel! The atmospheric thriller has just the right balance of humor and action to keep readers engaged, and the unique world that comes to life on the pages of this novel boasts some thoughtful and compelling mythology that will have readers clamoring for more. If you haven’t yet be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

I’m Jason M Goss, and I’m a huge nerd 😉

Love anything sci fi or fantasy. I have a million ideas in my head and finally decided to start putting some down on paper.

I hope you like them, and I’m always open to feedback!

Life is about growing and become better than we were previously, and that’s what my goal is!

Red Door (A Cry in the Moon’s Life) by Alan McGill Review

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

Three childhood friends find themselves at a crossroads filled with dangers lurking in the shadows as they find their lives changed forever in author Alan McGill’s “Red Door”, the prequel to the author’s novel A Cry in the Moon’s Light”. 

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The Synopsis

This is the story of a beautiful peasant girl and a farm boy who fall in love in the South of France, years before she becomes mi Lady, the Duchess of Harcourt and he becomes . . . something else. It is also the story of William de Parlimae, their childhood companion, whose path takes a different turn.

As children, the three played together. But when the Lord’s son embarks on an important mission with his two closest friends, they find that they’ve stepped past the threshold of youth and into a long, dark night filled with nightmares, cruelty, and vicious beasts.

In the darkness, the two lovers seek refuge at an abandoned village deep in the Dark Forest. But will the moon’s light be enough for them to tell friend from enemy, poison from perfume, and the stuff of dreams from the horrors around them?

The Review

This was an incredibly vivid and atmospheric read. The gothic setting and tone the author struck immediately kept me invested in the book, and the rich mythology and European culture the author infused into this story helps build upon the equally compelling mythos that the story this prequel plays into began. 

Yet it was the character development that truly kept me hooked on this story. The tension and chemistry these characters exhibited, especially the love story of Seth and Alessandra. The connection that their story had to the development of William as a villain and the way their story mirrored the larger mythos was incredible to behold. 

The Verdict

Gripping, entertaining, and chilling, author Alan McGill’s “Red Door” is the perfect gothic horror and fantasy novel for the spooky season and a definite must-read of the year! The brilliant world-building, haunting imagery the author infused into their writing, and the captivating characters made this a stellar novel that readers won’t be able to put down, and I can’t wait to see what comes next in the A Cry in the Moon’s Light series. If you haven’t already done so, be sure to grab your copy today! 

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Alan McGill is an American author who lives in an old farmhouse with a clowder of cats. Alan was close to his grandparents, who grew up during the Great Depression. They were married young and remained together until his grandmother’s passing. His grandfather served in the Navy during WWII and was a gifted storyteller who wove humorous tales about tough events. Alan grew up listening to these stories of right and wrong and watching fictional heroes–such as the Lone Ranger, Adam West’s Batman, and Captain America–stand up to bullies and protect those who count not protect themselves. This inspired him to always do what was right in his own life and shaped his love of storytelling. He is a multigenre author whose debut novel, A Cry in the Moon’s Light, combines horror, romance, and mystery. As with all his books, A Cry in the Moon’s Light centers on characters who strive to do the right thing regardless of the adversity they face. The book focuses on the theme of love–a pure and deep love that defeats all evil.

https://www.instagram.com/alanmcgill14/

https://cryinthemoonslight.podbean.com/

Interview with Author Holly Rhiannon 

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

Well, when I say I’m a lifelong writer, I really am. I can’t remember a time I was not writing! My parents are both artists and writers so I grew up around art and literature. We all read aloud to one another long past the point most kids would read with their parents, and I still pick up that tradition again sometimes when I’m with one or the other. I have fond memories of my Mom making up fairy stories on the spot for me while we were running errands, and the excitement of seeing creators at the comic conventions I’d attend with my Dad whenever he was a guest. It was a very creative and inspiring upbringing so it’s really no surprise I wanted to tell my own stories quite early on.

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2) What inspired you to write your book?

It’s kind of funny. As someone who has been writing for so long, I have quite a few projects that have been in the works for years and years… decades even. But, when it came to getting my first full indie novel out there, A Time When Demons was a very new idea. I came up with it during Preptober of 2020 as my first NaNoWriMo novel, completed the first draft in November 2020 then spent the next year editing it, querying for a bit, then self publishing. 

Because of this, the “inspiration” process was a bit formulaic because I was working quickly, and experimentally and didn’t even expect to finish it. First, I picked witches. Then the big idea that pushed the story further was the concept of The Dreaming. I think I just thought that one up lying in bed one night fretting about mortality. Like with many of my stories, they’re inspired by classic teen horror and fantasy. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a huge influence on me during my formative years so I think I’m always trying to attain some level of storytelling that can be on that level. The Dreaming is one of the things in this novel that I’d like to hold on to for future works and experiment with more.

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

If you put the work in and stay true to yourself, you can find redemption. When I write, I rarely have a message I want to convey from the start, but rather let it come out as I write. A Time When Demons is very much a coming of age story, and redemption is a major theme of it.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

It’s all I know, really. Ever since I sat down in my Dad’s studio and he played through the entirety of Alice Cooper’s “Welcome to my Nightmare” when I was about twelve, my life has revolved around horror and theatrics. As I mentioned before, Buffy only added to this. I’ve always been a spooky weirdo. That’s what I know best, so that’s what I write. That being said, I do have goals to explore other genres and challenge myself more in the future! 

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

Good question! As the author, I know all the inner workings of my characters. So, I’m going to pretend I’m in the novel myself, as a friend of my characters and take the chance to grab coffee with Kami. Dearest Kami, how on earth do you put up with having a best friend who’s a witch when you are a mere mortal? I think I’d lose my mind from jealousy! Or at least push a lot harder to find out more about the Wicca world and what other paranormal stuff might be out there. Vampires? Are they real? Can we find one to bite me?

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

Twitter has been a really fun and welcoming community. I know, kind of the opposite of what most people say about it but I’ve never had a bad experience. The writing community is really supportive and friendly and the algorithm hasn’t been completely obliterated so it is still possible to get interactions and bring in new followers, readers, and friends. Aside from that, I have had a lot of fun building my Discord community. It’s a bit more of an intimate/concentrated space with deeper conversation as there are about 50 of us at the moment which is quite different from the large buzzing hive of Twitter.

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

First of all – there is no such thing as an aspiring author. Aspiring *published* author? Sure. But if you’re a writer, you’re a writer. Establish that first. If you’re a writer, you aren’t going to have any other choice but to do it, and, if that’s you, that is exactly what you have to do. 

Sit down every day and write something, even if it’s one sentence. Don’t wait around for inspiration to hit – creativity is very much driven by that magical feeling, but it is also a lot of work. Find your community. Watch interviews and educational videos on YouTube. There’s a massive amount of support out there for authors these days and we want to help you tell your story!

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

Right now I am working on launching a small publishing company. I’m not going to say much on that yet, but definitely keep an eye on my social media and YouTube channel as there will be announcements coming out before the new year. In addition to that, I’m always writing! It’s NaNoWriMo season at the moment, and I’m a Municipal Liaison so there’s a lot going on there with prep, helping new writers, and getting my own novel finished. This year I’m doing “Rebel WriMo” so will be finishing an old project called “Eternity” which is very exciting.

As for my next published work… it’s likely going to be the first novel in my fantasy epic “Synterra”. Again – watch my social media for updates on that! 

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About the Author

Holly Rhiannon is a life-long writer who has previously self published one novella and two graphic novels. After becoming certified in photography, attending a few years of Fine Arts at the University of Manitoba and running a successful alternative art event in her hometown of Winnipeg, she moved to Montreal to pursue the field which has always been closest to her heart: literature. A Time When Demons is her debut full-length novel for young adults.

https://www.hollyrhiannon.com/

https://www.instagram.com/stygianpen/

https://www.facebook.com/hrhiannon

https://www.youtube.com/c/HollyRhiannonWrites

Interview with Author Yasmine Maher 

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

I think I’ve always been a storyteller, even before I learned how to write. My parents used to keep cassette tapes of the six-year-old me narrating stories I made up with imaginary characters and colorful worlds. During middle school, I started experimenting with writing, video creation, and drawing anime mainly because I had so many stories to tell. Though I didn’t create anything serious until much later in life, it all put me on the right track.

Growing up with social anxiety, I had a lot of trouble expressing myself. I have never really been an eloquent speaker, but writing gave me an opportunity to put my thoughts and feelings into words and helped me become more confident.

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2) What inspired you to write your book?

Honestly, I wrote the first draft of Echo so long ago that I can’t remember how it all started. But I do know that I’ve always been passionate about magic and superheroes. At that time, most female superheroes I knew were “too cool,” if I may. I couldn’t relate to them, and I wanted to write about a hero that was just…ordinary. A clumsy, sometimes naive character who’s always trying to do her best despite her own insecurities. That was how Echo was born. 

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

Everyone has a choice. In the battle against evil, the hardest part is to fight the demons inside. Whether it was Echo, Doyle, Ebba, or any of the characters, it was always up to them to choose redemption, even when it wasn’t the obvious choice and when it wasn’t easy.

There’s evil and good in all of us, and we get to choose which side will win. 

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I’ve been a fan of witches and witchcraft since I was a child watching Sabrina The Teenage Witch on the Disney channel. So, my first serious book had to be a fantasy. 

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

If I could, I’d sit down with Vanna, drink tea, and ask her about life in general. What she has learned in her long life and what she has read in her books. Vanna has always been the one who didn’t say much, yet she thought a lot and had surprising opinions about everything.  

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

It’s a bit too early to judge that since I’m still starting, and my book isn’t even out yet. Like many authors, social media is a great challenge for me; however, I’m more comfortable using Twitter than FB or Instagram, and many people know me from there.

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

Keep writing. It’s the only way to get better. Ask for professional feedback if you can (and as soon as you can). And stay strong. Writing is not for the faint of heart, and the path to authorship is full of rewrites, rejections, and redirections. 

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

Yes, I’m very excited about moving on to my new books. I’ve already plotted the planned the first two. They’re going to be different from Echo, and I hope they’ll live up to my readers’ expectations.

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About the Author

Yasmine Maher is the author of Echo: The Curse of the Blackwood Witches and Director of Fables and Facts Publishing. As a passionate wordsmith and an active member of the Twitter writing community, Yasmine loves to weave captivating tales that inspire her readers with whimsical adventures, magic, and larger-than-life characters.

https://yasminemaher.com/

A Time When Demons by Holly Rhiannon Review

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

A rebellious teen witch hoping to avoid the patriarchal pitfalls of Wicca society finds herself drawn into a dark world after a magical prank goes horribly wrong in author Holly Rhiannon’s “A Time When Demons”.

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The Synopsis

Life as a witch isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

While it’s true that Aeres Cadogan has inherited a host of powers other young women could only dream of harnessing, these abilities come with a heavy burden: the burden of Wicca society.

Wicca society’s got it all: standards set by an ancient magickal patriarchy. Arranged marriages. Even familial expectations to care for dangerous paranormal anomalies which would otherwise terrorize the mortal population.

Rebellious and head-strong Aeres has managed to avoid these aspects of her society for 19 years.

But one fateful night at the club, a magickal prank goes terribly wrong.

When a man nearly dies, Aeres is plunged into a dark new domain where betrayal and death are all too real. To get out, she must harness her abilities and set her world right once again… all while avoiding an impending marriage and facing off against one of the greatest serial killers the world has ever known.

Trigger warnings:

Death and graphic depictions of murder

Self harm and near-death (for magickal, not suicidal purposes)

Drug and alcohol use, incl. mention of GHB

Temporary non-consensual imprisonment in a small space

The Review

This was such a rich and beautiful story. The author did an incredible job of balancing world-building with thoughtful character development. The imagery and rich settings the author brought to life on the page felt alive in the reader’s mind and allowed the mythology of the author’s story to feel more natural and engaging overall. The balance didn’t stop there, however, as the author found a great harmony between the horror and fantasy elements of the mythos with the YA drama and emotional character growth that made the reader truly care for this story. 

As someone who is greatly interested in different cultures, history, and true magick and Wicca society in my personal life, I was in love with the character development and mythos that the author built up in this novel. The way the magical society of Wicca reflected so many things in life, from family expectations to a more patriarchal society and the need to adapt and grow as a people so everyone feels represented, was so refreshing to see in this type of story. Aeres in particular was such a well-rounded protagonist, and the steady evolution of her character over the course of the story kept me entranced as a reader.

The Verdict

Creative, entertaining, and mesmerizing, author Holly Rhiannon’s “A Time When Demons” is a must-read occult horror and fantasy drama of 2022. The rich chemistry between these characters, along with the chilling atmosphere and shocking twists and turns in the narrative all lead to an explosive conclusion that will leave readers eager and wanting more from this incredible author. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Holly Rhiannon is a life-long writer born in the frozen climate of Winnipeg, Manitoba. There, she spent her formative years hiding out indoors avoiding colder-than-Mars temperatures and tearing through multitudes of notebooks, constantly creating.

During her time in Winnipeg, she became certified in photography, attended a few years of Fine Arts at the University of Manitoba, ran a successful alternative art event and self published one novella and two graphic novels.

In the vein of other artists hailing from this strange Canadian city, Holly attributes much of her skill to regular hibernation and introvert tendencies. Also like many artists from Winnipeg, Holly moved away.

The year 2015 brought with it the opportunity to relocate to Montreal – a move which brought fresh inspiration into Holly’s life and allowed her to hone and rediscover her creative brand. Most importantly, the field which has always been closest to her heart: literature.

These days, Holly is a NaNoWriMo Municipal Liaison, a promoter and marketer of romance authors, and devotes as much time as she can to helping fellow writers succeed via her YouTube channel and Discord community.

A Time When Demons is her debut full-length novel for young adults.

https://www.hollyrhiannon.com/

Bed of Rose and Thorns by Lee Hunt Review

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

A warrior returns to the Queendom he was banished from over a decade later to find the Queen he has dreamed of for years is isolated and alone, and the nation in rebellion as he searches for the truth and his Queen in author Lee Hunt’sBed of Rose and Thorns”.

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The Synopsis

Sir Ezra is an Elysian Bell; he has a frightening potential that he keeps hidden deep beneath tight layers of steel armor. He secretly loves a dark Queen whose touch would mean his death.

Banished for brutally slaughtering the Prince of Erle and husband to the Queen, Sir Ezra can only dream of seeing her again. Every night, his soul travels to distant lands, remembering the Queen, her deep convictions, brilliant mind, unending work, hidden loneliness, and a single night of horrific bloodshed.

Recalled to the Queendom after eleven years, Ezra hopes to catch at least a fleeting glimpse of the woman he was sacrificed for. Instead, he finds a nation in rebellion and the Queen to be an elusive phantom. His only friend, Sir Marigold, challenges his presence and tells him that he is not needed in the capitol. Looking for both the truth and the absent Queen, Ezra finds only more secrets and enemies.

Ezra’s armor is dented, scarred, and ruined by friend and enemy alike; his secret potential is about to become unbound.

The Review

This was such a fantastic read. The author did an amazing job of capturing the raw magic of the dark fantasy realm while also developing rich mythos for the narrative. The dark and tense tone the author instilled into the novel was felt early on, and the almost medieval-like setting came to life on the page and in the author’s mind through some pretty incredible imagery used by the author in their writing.

However, the heart and soul of this read was character growth, especially for the protagonist, Ezra. The tormented warrior finds his world flipped once more, and the staggering height of his passion and love for his Queen is phenomenal to read. The secrets and mystery that build as he searches for her and her evolution as a character became central to the mythology and narrative as a whole. 

The Verdict

Action-packed, dark, yet powerfully romantic, author Lee Hunt’s “Bed of Rose and Thorns” is a must-read dark fantasy and LGBTQ-driven novel of 2022. The captivating characters, blood-soaked battles, and intrigue the narrative sets up move the reader into the depths of the emotional pull of these characters, and the beautiful way the author incorporates poetry and an almost lyrical style of writing throughout the narrative will have readers invested into this darkly magical world. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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Bed of Rose and Thorns - Lee Hunt

Lee Hunt has a new dark fantasy/fairy tale out: Bed of Rose and Thorns. And there’s a giveaway!

Sir Ezra is an Elysian Bell; he has a frightening potential that he keeps hidden deep beneath tight layers of steel armor. He secretly loves a dark Queen whose touch would mean his death.

Banished for brutally slaughtering the Prince of Erle and husband to the Queen, Sir Ezra can only dream of seeing her again. Every night, his soul travels to distant lands, remembering the Queen, her deep convictions, brilliant mind, unending work, hidden loneliness, and a single night of horrific bloodshed.

Recalled to the Queendom after eleven years, Ezra hopes to catch at least a fleeting glimpse of the woman he was sacrificed for. Instead, he finds a nation in rebellion and the Queen to be an elusive phantom. His only friend, Sir Marigold, challenges his presence and tells him that he is not needed in the capitol. Looking for both the truth and the absent Queen, Ezra finds only more secrets and enemies.

Ezra’s armor is dented, scarred, and ruined by friend and enemy alike; his secret potential is about to become unbound.

Amazon | Universal Buy Link


Giveaway

Lee is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour:

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Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47240/?


Excerpt

Bed of Rose and Thorns meme

A man alone, thirsty, falls asleep.

***

“Where am I?” asks the man. He seems to be bobbing high in clear aquamarine water. All he can see is a vast expanse of ocean and a clear crystalline structure that floats nearby. Something seems familiar. He had been in a desert, travelling with friends, but now he swims upon an endless ocean.

“Have I been here before?” he asks. The tug of oceanic currents and the endless blue horizon pull on some memory . . . something important.

“You are in the sea of Eydos,” says the crystalline structure. It has been floating toward him, quietly, its approach, until then, unnoticed.

“And you are an iceberg,” the man says, smiling, unconcerned, unsurprised by the nearness of the mountainous structure. He does not know what Eydos is, but he thinks he may recognize this vast icy creature. Something tells him that he may have seen her before, though his memory is as difficult to make out as a words written on water.

The iceberg shakes from side to side, creating little ripples and dancing waves. “I suppose that I am.”

“Your sides are so smooth,” says the man. “I like you.”

The iceberg shakes again and glides right up beside the man. He floats high enough in the water that her ripples of laughter do not threaten to drown him. “You are brave, aren’t you?”

“I am not afraid to look upon that which I like. And say so.”

“Look down then, man, and tell me what you see.”

The man dives down a few body lengths, searching. When he resurfaces, he is smiling even more widely than before. “You go down and down, out of sight, beyond light and reckoning.” He shakes his head at her. “Most of you is down below, unknowable. How vast are you?”

“Never ask a lady her size,” the iceberg says, creating even bigger waves as she shakes the waters, laughing. “My size is my depth, and my depth is my size.”

“Well, I like it. I am just a man. Not vast or mysterious like an iceberg.”

“An amusing man, I think,” replies the berg.

The man asks, “Where are you going?”

“On currents that are my own, on purposes that are my own, for reasons that are my own.”

“I don’t know what I am doing here or where I am going,” says the man.

“Typical,” replies the iceberg lightly. “Most do not.”

The man, swimming hard beside her, says, “You are certainly moving fast through this ocean.”

“Indeed,” says the iceberg. “I am an agent of my own destiny.” After a moment, she adds, “If you come around back and swim in my eddy, you will be pulled along. You can rest while we talk.”

The man looks at the smooth surface of the iceberg. “Can I not just slide up onto you and rest there?”

“No!” says the iceberg, firm. “I am hard and cold. I would burn you. If you touch me, you will be undone.” Her voice softens as she adds, “It is nice in my eddy. Swim there, man.”

He shrugs and does as she says.

“Oh, this is nice,” says the man. “I can look at you and talk at the same time.”

“Glad to help you do two things at once,” giggles the iceberg, making tears of water jiggle and parade.

And they talk on through the day, the man endlessly curious about the magnificent creature of the waters.

***

“I love you, iceberg,” declares the man.

“That’s nice, but you don’t even know a tenth of me.”

“Good point,” laughs the man. “I need to dive deeper.” He takes a deep breath and dives into the dark again.

Missing completely the iceberg’s cry of “No!”

The water starts at a clear color, or is it green? Then it turns light blue, and then to deeper and darker shades. The man pushes and kicks, fighting his buoyancy, feeling the weight of water build and build, following the clean lines of ice down into oblivion.

Heavy, crushing pressure begins to squeeze him. It is like the weight of memory, everywhere pushing, everywhere trying to change and deform him from his human shape, trying to make his courage fail and shatter his hope. But he loves the iceberg and he needs to follow her down.

At the utmost point of indigo darkness, he finds a new light. It shines from a clear chamber in the ice where a figure waits. Lungs bursting, he pushes deeper, drawing level to the translucent walls and the woman who lies inside.

She is naked but for her long, tawny hair. Like a lion’s mane, it frames her long, pure face and spills over her delicate, perfect shoulders. She looks at peace. Her eyes are closed, but she is smiling.

This is the heart of the iceberg, the man thinks, in the crushing pressure of the deep. So beautiful.

Then he sees that she rests upon a bed of long, sharp thorns.


Author Bio

Lee Hunt

Born with only one working lung and having had the last rights read to him and dying of an influenza related viral pneumonia, 25-year-old geophysicist Lee Hunt experienced several near-death dreams. The power of communication and the need to both understand and be understood was at the heart of each. He had already found that nothing was more important than being able to cross the distance between people.

Lee’s interests are eclectic. He is an Ironman Triathlete, hiker, traveler, and an enthusiastic sport rock climber. Lee also continues to work as a geophysicist on Carbon Capture and Sequestration projects, and is a writer for BIG-Media.ca.

The dream of understanding and being understood has never left his mind, and Lee continues that in his works of fiction through metaphor. His works include The Dynamicist Trilogy, Last Worst Hopes and Bed of Rose and Thorns.

Author Website: https://www.leehunt.org/

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100052376555360

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/DynamicistAuthor

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1196106.Lee_Hunt

Author Liminal Fiction (LimFic.com): https://www.limfic.com/mbm-book-author/lee-hunt/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lee-Hunt/e/B082YFTMCK

 

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