Tag Archives: dark fantasy

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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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

 

Other Worlds Ink logo

Lipstick Asylum by Nzondi Review

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

After being bitten by a shapeshifting she-wolf, a young woman who was hired to animate the dead for a zombie cruise finds herself instead working to find a cure for the human-extinction virus before it can spread beyond the point of no return in author Nzondi’s “Lipstick Asylum”.

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The Synopsis

The Scream Teens are hired to raise the dead as the necro-tainment for a zombie cruise, and the eighteen-year-old animator, Cozy Coleman, is bitten by a shapeshifting she-wolf. To Cozy’s surprise, she survives and with the aid of her friends, helps the government stop a human-extinction virus from spreading. Unfortunately, Cozy uncovers a secret so haunting, that her death is only the beginning of her problems.

The Review

This was a brilliant deep dive into the dark fantasy genre. The complex and engaging evolution of protagonist Cozy was a huge draw for the narrative. Although struggling with her own deep-seated issues, including grief and a complex relationship with her mother, the strength and courage for which Cozy throws herself into the path of danger to try and protect not only the people around her but those she loves as well makes her such a beloved protagonist, even when she struggles with her moment of darkness that threatens to consume her. 

Yet it was the atmosphere and shifting perspectives that really sold this narrative. The horror elements of the narrative added a depth of mythos to the novel, while the vacation setting makes this feel like a blockbuster film waiting to happen. The way the author was able to shift locations and settings around Cozy as her story progressed really spoke to both the general discussion surrounding mental health and the shifting nature of reality and perspective as a whole, keeping readers on the edge of their seats as the novel progresses.

The Verdict

Thrilling, entertaining, and action-packed, author Nzondi’s “Lipstick Asylum” is a memorable and brilliant dark fantasy and horror read! The twists and turns Cozy’s story takes, and the captivating mythology that drives this YA read will have readers hanging off of the author’s every word. With twists that include calls to some of the author’s previous work, readers will be eager to read more of this incredible author’s projects. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!


Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Nzondi (Ace Antonio Hall) was born Acemandese Nzondi Hall in Queens, New York on July 4th. Hall received his BFA from C. W. Post, Long Island University. His science fiction/horror work, Oware Mosaic (Omnium Gatherum, September 2019), is the 2019 Bram Stoker Awards® Winner for Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel. Hall is a two-time Honorable Mention winner of the Writers and Illustrators of the Future Award. He is also the author of the novel, Confessions of Sylva Slasher, (Montag Press, April 2013) and a non-fiction book, Lord of the Flies: Fitness for Writers (Omnium Gatherum, April 2017).

https://www.aantoniohall.com/

Knight in Retrograde (Dynamicist Trilogy Book 3) 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.

Four students who had hoped to change the world with mathematically based dynamics find their world instead of on the brink of war, as violent protestors rise and a series of hangings around the city grips them all in author Lee Hunt’s “Knight in Retrograde”, the third and final chapter in the Dynamicist Trilogy.

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The Synopsis

Would you trade uncertainty for stagnation, chance for god, invention for inertia, thought for dogma?

Four years have passed since the events of Dynamicist and war is on the horizon. Robert, Koria, Eloise and Gregory went to the New School, hoping to change the world. They thought that mathematically based dynamics, the enlightened age’s answer to wizardry, would give them the power to make everything better.Their hopes were naive.

Protestors are condemning the creation of a new vaccine. The city is seeing a series of hangings; is it murder or sacrament? The cloaked man is back stalking students. The long-absent demons Skoll and Hati reappear and begin slaughtering whoever they meet. But the real question is, will Nimrheal return? If he does, who will die first?

Uncertainty is inspiring fear, and inventions are not making the world better, only more complicated. The terrified civilians don’t want dynamics and reason. They want the word of Elysium and the return of the Methueyn Knights.Koria fears the world faces an awful conundrum: that if the Knights return, Nimrheal will stay.

Will Robert, Koria, Eloise and Gregory choose to transform into angelic knights or, at the cost of such heavenly communion, instead banish Nimrheal? What price will be paid? If a new Methueyn Knight rises, will the age of invention disappear forever?

The Review

What a dynamic and fast-paced final chapter in this gripping epic fantasy! As a relative newcomer to the series, I was highly impressed with the amount of world-building and magical realism the author poured into the narrative. The unique twist of using mathematics as a means of finding control of the magical system this world is governed by was so brilliant and spoke to me as a way to explore how modern science treats our ancient culture’s viewpoints on magic itself, and how the world would look if the two could both exist together. 

The captivating characters were such a powerful force of nature in the narrative, fleshing out the story and keying into the emotional depths that the reader feels towards this series. The reader should be prepared for some shocking twists and turns that will rock the fandom of this growing series, and the way the author wasn’t shying away from the brutality and visceral nature of this world’s events, as well as the fast-paced action the narrative has become known for, made this a gripping story to behold.

The Verdict

Memorable, heartbreaking, and entertaining, author Lee Hunt’s “Knight in Retrograde” is a must-read narrative and the best way to end such a powerful dark fantasy horror and magical realism series. The engaging way the author brought these characters to life both on the page and in the audiobook’s narration was well complimented by narrator Craig A. Hart really elevated the main story overall, and the haunting final chapter in this series will have readers on the edge of their seats. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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Lee Hunt’s epic fantasy book Knight in Retrograde is now available in audiobook format, in addition to eBook and paperback. And there’s a giveaway!

Would you trade uncertainty for stagnation, chance for god, invention for inertia, thought for dogma?

Four years have passed since the events of Dynamicist and war is on the horizon.

Robert, Koria, Eloise and Gregory went to the New School, hoping to change the world. They thought that mathematically based dynamics, the enlightened age’s answer to wizardry, would give them the power to make everything better. Their hopes were naïve.

Protestors are condemning the creation of a new vaccine. The city is seeing a series of hangings; is it murder or sacrament? The cloaked man is back stalking students. The long-absent demons Skoll and Hati reappear and begin slaughtering whoever they meet. But the real question is, will Nimrheal return? If he does, who will die first?

Uncertainty is inspiring fear, and inventions are not making the world better, only more complicated. The terrified civilians don’t want dynamics and reason. They want the word of Elysium and the return of the Methueyn Knights.

Koria fears the world faces an awful conundrum: that if the Knights return, Nimrheal will stay.

Will Robert, Koria, Eloise and Gregory choose to transform into angelic knights or, at the cost of such heavenly communion, instead banish Nimrheal? What price will be paid? If a new Methueyn Knight rises, will the age of invention disappear forever?

About the Series:

The Dynamicist Trilogy examines the difficulties of change in a fantasy setting. This challenge manifests itself through a rigorous magic system where thermodynamic cost is accounted for, and an inventor killing god. Most realistically, the challenge of creating a better world is illustrated by the many mistakes and miss-steps of the well-meaning and intelligent characters. The power and importance of memory, love and hope are ever present.

Universal Buy Link | Amazon


Giveaway

Lee is giving away a $30 Amazon gift csrd with this tour:

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Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47224/?


Excerpt

Knight in Retrograde Meme

As their eyes met, Heylor found himself abruptly pulled away from the handshake and whirled around by the strong hands of his mother on his shoulder. “What in Leylah’s long night happened to your face, Heylor?”

This again.

“It looks like he got trampled across the gizzard by a team of oxen,” said Herevor in a deadpan voice, rubbing his long narrow jaw with his right hand. His fingernails were black with dirt.

“He wouldn’t tell me what happened!” Shelley yelled from the kitchen table.

I don’t want to talk about it.

“Who’s there?” came a new voice from the couch. It was grandma’s broken, warbly twitter. Heylor peered into the den again and saw her slouched low on the half-collapsed couch. Beside her, perched primly with a straight back, sat Constable Lynwen, hands on lap. Heylor had not seen the young woman cross the room and sit down. He had forgotten about her completely, and now there she was beside his grandma.

“It’s me, Grandma. Heylor.”

The old lady squinted at him. She seemed little more than a bundle of thin, wrinkled skin, looking as if she had lost another two inches of height in the months since Heylor last saw her. Looking at her, spine hunched like a question mark and eyes rheumy and clouded with cataracts, felt like a stab in the gut.

“I thought you were out there across the line.”

“I was.” Heylor looked at Lynwen again, sitting beside his grandma. What is she thinking? “I’m back. Where are Heyden, Scrandeyn, and Helloise?”

Jesteyn crossed her arms. “They’re out farm-handing, Heylor. We told you that at the beginning of the season.”

“Sorry, I forgot about the farm work,” Heylor mumbled. “It’s probably a good thing they’re not here.”

“Why’s that?” Jesteyn asked, eyes narrowing. “They’d love to see you. You know that.”

“Why would they?” Heylor spread his arms wide in a surge of frustration. “They must be glad to be away from here. I can’t believe all the junk you have here.”

Herevor flinched for a microsecond before breaking into a mad grin that exposed every one of his missing teeth. “One knight’s junk is another knight’s armor.”

“Oh, for knights’ sake,” Heylor exclaimed, “why is there a wheelbarrow full of cats in the fireplace? What knight is going to make plate out of that? The cat would be better armor! And isn’t that Shelley’s sextant on the bookshelf? She lives in the orchid now. I do remember that. And isn’t that my old cooper’s kit spread out on the shelf yonder? And why do we have three busted telescopes? I’m sure I threw away the bronze one after second year. What isall this stuff doing here?”

“I needed a place to store my spare things,” Shelley replied evenly. “My room in the Orchid isn’t big enough.”

“Those rooms are huge!”

“Nope.” Shelley was not flustered in the least.

Heylor clenched both fists so hard his face hurt where Skoll had gripped it. “What about the cooper’s kit?”

“Heygard thought we should hold on to it for him until harvest is done,” his father answered nonchalantly

“Oh, of course,” Heylor whispered. “What about the telescope I know I threw away?”

“I think I can fix that,” Grandma piped up.

You? You can barely stand up!

“Well, that accounts for one telescope. How about the other two?”

“That’s me,” jumped in Herevor. “I thought I would see if I could make a small version of an Eindarch Eye.”

Heylor blinked. “Did you succeed?”

“Nope.”

Heylor shook his head. Of course you didn’t. “How about the old wheelbarrow?”

Herevor rubbed his jaw again. “Scrandeyn didn’t want it anymore. I figured it could come in handy. Someday.”

“Of course! Of course it could. Someday,” Heylor almost shouted, angrier than ever. Everything about his family reminded him of himself, of his own failings, of killing his friends. In that moment, he despised them like he despised himself. “It’s come in handy for the cat at least. Whose cat is that anyway? No, don’t answer, I know it came from a cousin or was thrown away by someone somewhere. Everything is useful, everything comes back. From everyone. Nothing is trash. It’s all worth something. My hand-me-down clothes probably got handed back and used for another cat’s nest.” He whirled around. “You know what this family is? Sick, crazy hoarders. It’s an illness. You’re so bad that, even when one of you finally throws something out, it gets thrown back by some other member of the family. When they throw something out, you take it. It’s a circle, a circle of junk, a knights-damned hoarding circle! We should study it in the New School. It’s a mathematical singularity for trash. Nothing ever leaves that doesn’t re-enter. There’s no escape from the entropic pull of the Style family’s hoarding circle vortex! No junk is abandoned, no mistakes are left behind, nothing is forgotten or moved on from.” Heylor held his hands up and whirled slowly around. “This might be a big new house, but we’re still just the same old peasants.”

Smack!

Heylor’s jaw rung for the second time that day, this time from the big hand of his own mother.

“My face already hurts, Mom! Don’t hit me.”

“I love you, boy, but I know that hurts less than what you’re carrying.” Jesteyn had hit him, but she did not look angry. Her liquid eyes betrayed a different emotion. “What mistakes aren’t you leaving behind? What pain are youhoarding? What happened to your face? It’s your family here. The only way yer gonna get rid of whatever it is, is to share it.”

Heylor started laughing. “That’s so clever, Mom.” He kept laughing and didn’t stop until his nose started running because he was actually crying. Through blurry eyes, he looked over at Lynwen, sitting silently, watching. “I’m sure you want to leave now, Constable.”

“Nope.” Lynwen smiled.


Author Bio

Lee Hunt

Ever try to do things you were really not well suited to? Lee Hunt understands. He was born with only one working lung, but has gone on to be an Ironman triathlete, a sport rock climber, and a professional geophysicist. The poor lung function has been an excellent excuse for his unimpressive triathlon performance—he is among the worst of those able to complete the Ironman under his own power—and is of some service in eliciting a modicum of sympathy for his average at-best skills as a climber. Actually no one on a rock wall really cares about excuses. It’s a climb-or-fall kind of thing.

His marginal ability to breathe is of no use whatsoever in explaining his career as a geophysicist. He was good at that. Lee published close to fifty journal papers, articles or expanded abstracts, has been awarded numerous best paper awards, and was even sent on a national speaking tour to Canadian universities by the Canadian Society of Exploration Geophysicists. He was born on a farm but grew up near the giant oil sand mines of Fort McMurray and is interested in discussing the environment and the amorality of science. He is also useful at parties in explaining the physics around why, or why not, fracture stimulation might be a risk to manmade structures and the fuzzy cuddly things of nature. Lee’s career helped him appreciate the difficulty in predicting outcomes, the dangers of arrogance—such as thinking you can predict even the smallest thing—and the exigent need to try anyway. He was comfortable and happy being a geophysicist, so after twenty-eight years, he quit to go do the things he was less well suited to.

If you want to hang out with Lee, look for him hiking, cycling, floundering in a lake, clinging desperately to a wall, or at his desk trying to write an entertaining story.

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 Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lee-Hunt/e/B082YFTMCK?ref_=dbs_p_ebk_r00_abau_000000

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A Demon’s Trade (Damned If She Does Book 1) by Kathrin Hutson Review

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

A magical bounty hunter finds herself discovering aspects of her power she never saw coming, and a case she refused to take becomes the one case that she never should have given up on in author Kathrin Hutson’s “A Demon’s Trade”, the first book in the Damned If She Does series. 

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The Synopsis

Demons might not be real. But she is.

As a tracker of curse magic, dark artifacts, and forbidden netherwork, Kali Sullivan is one of a kind, and not just as a bounty hunter. They think she’s a demon. What they don’t know can definitely kill them—and worse.

It only takes one slip to throw a curse into utter chaos. So when an overconfident target gets himself killed before Kali can take him in, she’s left to pick up the pieces. And to figure out which magical nutjob had the bright idea to start tattooing casting circles on their victims.

When staking out another dark-magic suspect reveals far more than who’s behind the attacks on humans, the ghosts of Kali’s past come calling in an unexpected way. Their messages give a whole new meaning to who and what she truly is, and it’s darker than she thought. Especially when the one job Kali refused is the one she really should have taken.

Fans of Patricia Briggs and Kim Harrison will love this action-packed Urban Fantasy Adventure from International Bestselling Author Kathrin Hutson.

*Set in the same universe as Kathrin Hutson’s Accessory to Magic series.*

The Review

Immediately I was drawn into this narrative. The author did such an incredible job of crafting a powerful and captivating protagonist and heroine. Kali is the kind of take-charge hero that readers are instantly drawn to, and the dark nature of not only her character but the world she works in perfectly reflects her conflicting nature as well. The first third of the book immediately draws the reader into the narrative, crafting a job for Kali to take that starts out as a simple dark curse extraction and turns into something far more complex than she could have imagined. I also loved seeing her bond with Heath, how they came together amid her horrifying upbringing at the hands of her father, and how these elements played into the central narrative overall.

The fast-paced action in this novel and the atmosphere the author crafts from the dark urban fantasy genre add to the air of mystery and suspense that this series of murders associated with Kali’s jobs has on the reader. The way Kali’s backstory and her personality as a whole come into play later into the narrative are so unique and perfectly mirror how trauma can follow us well past the moments we experience it, and if we aren’t careful to confront that trauma it can hold a grip on us all until we do so. 

The Verdict

A memorable, entertaining, and beautifully written novel, author Kathrin Hutson’s “A Demon’s Trade” is a must-read urban fantasy story. The twists and turns in the narrative and shocking revelations in the book’s final chapters will have readers hooked instantly, eager to learn more about the next entry into this brand new series. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

International Bestselling Author Kathrin Hutson has been writing Dark Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and LGBTQ Speculative Fiction since 2000. With her wildly messed-up heroes, excruciating circumstances, impossible decisions, and Happily Never Afters, she’s a firm believer in piling on the intense action, showing a little character skin, and never skimping on violent means to bloody ends. Kathrin is an active member of SFWA and HWA and lives in Vermont with her husband, daughter, and two dogs.

For updates on new releases, exclusive deals, and dark surprises you won’t find anywhere else, sign up to Kathrin’s newsletter at kathrinhutsonfiction.com/subscribe.

https://www.kathrinhutsonfiction.com/

Father Daniel’s Compendium of the Undead (A Cry in the Moon’s Light) 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.

Author Alan McGill brings readers an exclusive and truly inspiring new collection of the history, the characters, the lore, and the information you’ve been waiting to get your hands on as he takes you into the world of his fantasy and horror series, (A Cry in the Moon’s Light), with this brand new collection, “Father Daniel’s Compendium of the Undead”. 

The Synopsis

Father Daniel and his Right Hand of God Order are a secret society fighting hideous creatures of the night. Gathering relics and creating weapons for decades at a place called The Forge. The Forge was built at the face of a silver mine below the Abbey on Feldberg mountain. The monks there compiled this Compendium at the Abbey in hopes it may help you understand the story that is A Cry in the Moon’s Light. Dispelling myths, retelling legends and digging deeper into the characters and places you love from the story. There are over 75 illustrations from various artists along with detailed descriptions and some spoilers where the past and future collide! Everything you need to fight evil.

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The Review

The author did such a brilliant job of taking readers into the world that he created. From the incredible artwork that brought so many of these characters and settings to life for the readers to enjoy, to the complete breakdown of the character’s histories, along with the various myths and legends that made up this fantasy narrative, made this companion book to the first novel in this series such an important and integral book within itself to have. 

The way the author incorporates historical figures, iconic myths, and local legends within the Eastern European setting into the background as subtly as possible was such an inspired and instrumental choice when developing this entire mythos. These established elements added weight and genuine curiosity to the narrative, allowing readers to delve deeper and deeper into the newly crafted history this story employed and getting fans eager to jump head-first into more stories if the author should add more to this vastly grown world.

The Verdict

An informative, fun and exciting new compendium and partner read to an already amazing fantasy horror series, author Alan McGill’s “Father Daniel’s Compendium of the UnDead” was a must-read collection for fans of the first book in this A Cry in the Moon’s Light series. The detailed approach to this mythology and the emotional connections established to this world will have readers on the edge of their seats wanting more, and that is always the sign of such a truly talented writer and gripping fantasy series. If you haven’t yet, 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 multi-genre 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/

A Cry in the Moon’s Light (Book 1) 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.

A young woman’s journey to be at her grandmother’s side proves deadly as she must cross the Dark Forest, and finds gruesome village murders, dangerous wolf packs, and a castle that holds more secrets than answers in author Alan McGill’s “A Cry in the Moon’s Light”, the first book in the series of the same name. 

The Synopsis

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?

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The Review

I was hooked immediately with this book. The author did such an amazing job of crafting a narrative that was both emotionally investing and chilling at the same time. The story was written in a way that felt like historical fiction meets Brother’s 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 to 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 to, 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.

The Verdict

A brilliant, shocking, and immensely engaging read, author Alan McGill’s “A Cry in the Moon’s Light” is a must-read paranormal fantasy and romance reader. A fantastic blend of gothic horror meets iconic fairytale lore, the author crafted such heart and connectivity into the narrative that readers will be eager to want more, and the fact that the author had turned this into an audiobook-style podcast as well made this such an interactive story that holds so much promise for more stories within this universe. If you haven’t yet, 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/

Slewfoot by Brom Review

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

A young Englishwoman who moved to a Puritan Colony alongside her new husband finds herself quickly a widow and must learn to survive in a patriarchal society. At the same time, a powerful spirit awakens, and together with the woman they must discover who they are and how to survive in this judgmental and deadly world in author Brom’s “Slewfoot”.

The Synopsis

A spirited young Englishwoman, Abitha, arrives at a Puritan colony betrothed to a stranger – only to become quickly widowed when her husband dies under mysterious circumstances. All alone in this pious and patriarchal society, Abitha fights for what little freedom she can grasp onto while trying to stay true to herself and her past.

Enter Slewfoot, a powerful spirit of antiquity newly woken… and trying to find his own role in the world. Healer or destroyer? Protector or predator? But as the shadows walk and villagers start dying, a new rumor is whispered: Witch.

Both Abitha and Slewfoot must swiftly decide who they are, and what they must do to survive in a world intent on hanging any who meddle in the dark arts.

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The Review

This was such a brilliantly written novel. The author did an incredible job of finding a balance between the historical fiction aspect of the narrative by exploring the Puritanical society of that era and the way it mirrors modern-day sexism, and the mythology and culture of the land settled originally by the Native American people, and later taken over by the Puritans. This clash of cultures allowed for the exploration of magic, nature spirits and so much more in this dark fantasy and horror read. 

What really stuck out as awe-inspiring though was the character growth of the cast of characters. The strength and evolution of protagonist Abitha were fantastic to read, as she represented the women who were mercilessly targeted in this society for daring to go in any other direction other than “God’s Will”. The villainous townsfolk who target Abitha is complex yet gripping as the protagonist’s foil in this narrative, while the mysterious and powerful being of many names, including Slewfoot, gave a challenging performance that straddled the line between hopeful ally and bloodthirsty demon. 

The Verdict

A remarkable, magical, and entertaining read, author Brom’s “Slewfoot” is a perfect horror read this Halloween. The folklore, mythos, and chilling atmosphere and tone will thrust readers into this haunting historical fiction and dark fantasy thriller, and the author’s incredibly chilling artwork will keep readers up at night for sure. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Born in the deep dark south in the mid-sixties. Brom, an army brat, spent his entire youth on the move and unabashedly blames living in such places as Japan, Hawaii, Germany, and Alabama for all his afflictions. From his earliest memories, Brom has been obsessed with the creation of the weird, the monstrous, and the beautiful.

At age twenty, Brom began working full-time as a commercial illustrator in Atlanta, Georgia. Three years later he entered the field of fantastic art he’d loved his whole life, making his mark developing and illustrating for TSR’s best-selling role-playing worlds.

He has since gone on to lend his distinctive vision to all facets of the creative industries, from novels and games to comics and film, receiving numerous awards such as the Spectrum Fantastic Art Grand Master award and the Chesley Lifetime Achievement award. He is also the author of a series of award-winning illustrated horror novels: Slewfoot, Lost Gods, Krampus the Yule Lord, The Child Thief, The Plucker, and The Devil’s Rose. Brom is currently kept in a dank cellar somewhere just outside of Seattle.

https://www.bromart.com/