Tag Archives: fairy tales

Interview with Author Valeri Stanoevich 

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

I am a former engineer and forensic expert from Bulgaria. I prefer silence and loneliness.

From what I read over the years, I realized that some books are like portals to other worlds, and that these worlds become real when they meet the deep thought of the author and the imagination of the reader. I started writing because I decided I could create my own worlds that I didn’t find in the books I read.

Advertisements

2) What inspired you to write your book?

My book is an attempt to answer the question of whether it is possible to overcome the limitations of existing and creating a new world of dreams comes true. My characters are not looking for excuses but for a path (sometimes wrong) to their own identity.

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

Some of the themes in my book are: change as a path to salvation or destruction, the clash between being and mind, dream as a path to one’s own unknown worlds.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

My great addiction to fairy tales and fields of imagination. I try to reach the limits of my imagination and express the inexpressible.

Advertisements

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

Each of my characters is part of my imagination, but at the same time an independent subject. I would not like to ask them questions. They themselves choose the questions they seek answers to.

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

Any site that broadens their horizons. One of my favorite sites, for example, is the Online Etymology Dictionary.

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

They must first understand what they want. If they want to please the audience — to follow the prevailing fashion in writing. If they think they have a voice of their own that needs to be heard, they should start studying themselves and assess whether they have the strength to endure the inevitable disappointments in their path.

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

It would be a weird story collection about new challenges such as virtual reality, artificial intelligence, loss of identity and their collision with a human mind.

Advertisements

About the Author

Valeri’s is a moody and particularly well written book.  His prose is eloquent and artistic, as he shares his intriguing tales of mystery, melancholy and perhaps macabre.  Despite a wide variety of genres, which seem to range from horror to sci-fi to historical fantasy, there is a common style throughout, and at times, as he moves from one narrative to the next, it becomes a little difficult to discern between them.  That said, each of these little anecdotes is a distinct work of art and character.

He is a gifted author, with a talent for atmosphere.  This collection of short stories is best read of an evening, ideally by candlelight, while fully immersed; in any other setting, the metaphorical and philosophical feel of it may be a touch more difficult to engage.  They deserve no less than to be absorbed and indulged, and to do that you really need to get onto the author’s wavelength, which can best be described on occasion as abstract.  I realized very quickly into the first tale that there was concentration and commitment required to optimize the full experience of this wonderful piece of work. 

https://www.instagram.com/valeristanoevich/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/valeri-stanoevich-30bbb81b7/

Rython Legacy by Mandy Eve-Barnett Review

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

A newborn child in a magical kingdom promises to be the powerful protector the people have been waiting for in author Mandy Eve-Barnett’s “Rython Legacy”, the sequel to the author’s first book, The Rython Kingdom. 

Advertisements

The Synopsis 

Juliana held her granddaughter in her arms; it was a bittersweet moment. The child was a delight but also her replacement; she was the new sorceress who would protect the kingdom if called upon. At that precise moment, Maralynn opened her golden eyes – there was such intensity in them that her observers were taken aback at the obvious power the new little being held. A thin thread of cyan mist floated and twisted above the happy group… unobserved., a portent of things to come. Maralynn’s reign as Eldenma would be fraught with challenges, but could her exceptional power ultimately overcome?

The Review

The author did such an incredible job of crafting a story that felt both new and familiar all at once. The way the story was able to delve further into this magical world and the mythos it contained was inspired, and the amount of story the author was able to fit into such a short read was truly creative. The overall narrative felt very much like a fairy tale, embedding the classic themes of romance, the hero’s journey, and a child who grew up to become a powerful force of nature facing an ancient evil all into one story. 

The rich character development within this narrative was spectacular. The evolution of the protagonist from her youth spent as a curious child with great power to a beautiful young woman seeking to heal a broken-hearted king and finding love in the process was beautiful to watch unfold, while the villain hiding in plain sight aspect of the narrative really elevated the tension and shock as the story’s climax arrived. 

The Verdict

Hauntingly beautiful, magical, and entertaining, author Mandy Eve-Barnett’s “Rython Legacy” is a must-read sequel to The Rython Kingdom! The fast-paced tempo of the narrative and captivating characters helped elevate the magic and wonder of this kingdom and world and made the story shine brightly. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

Mandy currently lives in Alberta, Canada but is originally from England. Her background is diverse and gives her rich experience to utilize in her writing. Mandy has been a nursing professional, a business owner, and a sort after administration expert. She has traveled throughout Europe, parts of America and Canada and was born in Africa.

Mandy is passionate about writing to the point of obsession and she succeeded in becoming a published author in record time. Mandy’s venture into freelance writing has been successful and she regularly contributes to Strathcona Connect, an e-zine and the Never Been Better page in the Sherwood Park newspaper as well as well as holding the position of Secretary for her local writing group, Writers Foundation of Strathcona County. She is also Secretary of Alberta Authors Cooperative.

Writing in various genres, Mandy has been published in anthologies, on numerous web sites as well as regularly blogging about her writing journey.

https://mandyevebarnett.com/

The Rython Kingdom by Mandy Eve-Barnett Review

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

A famed troubadour set to tell a tale in the King’s court finds himself the pawn of a powerful witch, and must work to outsmart her and save the kingdom in author Mandy Eve-Barnett’s “The Rython Kingdom”. 

Advertisements

The Synopsis

Unaware he is a pawn in a vengeful plan, Guillem’s actions may release an evil witch from her entrapment.

The famed troubadour attends the king’s court to recite a marvelous tale but his suspicions are raised by a strange servant. With the help of a wizened old woman, and her beautiful granddaughter, Guillem attempts to outwit the witch to save the kingdom from murder and mayhem.

He then finds himself part of a ritual for life everlasting with the entrancing and mysterious Juliana.

The Review

This was such a fun and engaging fantasy read. The story read like a brilliant new fairy tale, with a rich tapestry of characters that made the world the author created to feel alive and breathtaking. The action and the suspense that the author utilized in this narrative made the characters feel like they fit into this magical world, and the unique backstory of the protagonist and his turn as a hero and the hero’s journey he went on were so brilliantly written.

What stood out to me however were two things: the world-building and the mystery. The natural way this kingdom came to life and built upon a rich history within just a short amount of pages really captured the magic and wonder that the author was going for. Meanwhile, the inclusion of mystery and suspense elevated the narrative ten-fold, with an increased level of intrigue that kept the reader hooked throughout the narrative.

The Verdict

Masterful, captivating, and entertaining, author Mandy Eve-Barnett’s “The Rython Kingdom” is a must-read fairy tale! The fantasy and intrigue the novel brings will keep readers hooked, while the memorable cast of characters and epic fantasy action and romance will delight and engage readers who love adult fantasy reads. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

Mandy currently lives in Alberta, Canada but is originally from England. Her background is diverse and gives her rich experience to utilize in her writing. Mandy has been a nursing professional, a business owner, and a sort after administration expert. She has traveled throughout Europe, parts of America and Canada and was born in Africa.

Mandy is passionate about writing to the point of obsession and she succeeded in becoming a published author in record time. Mandy’s venture into freelance writing has been successful and she regularly contributes to Strathcona Connect, an e-zine and the Never Been Better page in the Sherwood Park newspaper as well as well as holding the position of Secretary for her local writing group, Writers Foundation of Strathcona County. She is also Secretary of Alberta Authors Cooperative.

Writing in various genres, Mandy has been published in anthologies, on numerous web sites as well as regularly blogging about her writing journey.

https://mandyevebarnett.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?

Advertisements

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

Advertisements

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/

QWYRK (QWYRK Tales #1) by Tim Rayborn Review

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

A member of the Shadow folk must help a young girl who witnesses a terrifying supernatural event, and soon finds herself joining the girl and a band of misfits in order to confront ancient magic and a web of villainy in author Tim Rayborn’s “QWYRK”, the first in a brand new fantasy series.

Advertisements

The Synopsis

Qwyrk is having a bad day; several, in fact. One of the Shadow folk tasked with keeping an eye on humanity, she’s ready for a well-earned break in Yorkshire, but now she’s (literally) run into a girl, Jilly, who just saw something quite supernatural and truly awful happen in her town. As Qwyrk tries to unravel the mystery, layers of villainy are exposed, and she’s stuck with an assortment of unlikely folk that she’d rather not have helping her. Together, they confront ancient magic, medieval conspiracies, and the possible end of the world (that again?). It’s not the holiday Qwyrk was hoping for!

QWYRK is the first in a series of four novels about the adventures of a group of misfits at the edge of reality in modern northern England, a world of shadows, Nighttime Nasties, sorcery, intergalactic councils, tacky nightclub attire, Monty Pythonesque humor, and even elves… though they are a bit silly.

amzn_assoc_ad_type = “banner”; amzn_assoc_marketplace = “amazon”; amzn_assoc_region = “US”; amzn_assoc_placement = “assoc_banner_placement_default”; amzn_assoc_campaigns = “audible”; amzn_assoc_banner_type = “category”; amzn_assoc_isresponsive = “true”; amzn_assoc_banner_id = “0S6C9RC4J0QCW7HD2PG2”; amzn_assoc_tracking_id = “authoranthony-20”; amzn_assoc_linkid = “54e48b08cb5048486fcc1cc628e64538”; //z-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&Operation=GetScript&ID=OneJS&WS=1

The Review

This was a truly well-developed first entry into a brand new fantasy series. The author doesn’t waste time delving into this supernatural world, where the creatures of myth and legend live hidden in the shadows of our own world. The balance of mythology that the author has crafted and brought to life through the characters of this narrative and the unique humor that helps define the relationships between these characters was exciting to read.

The action of this novel was perfect. Jilly was a great character, as she served to bring humanity into the larger-than-life supernatural mischief that the protagonists faced along this journey. Personally, it was the author’s setting that really had me hooked. While I am a huge fan of YA Fantasy and LGBTQ-driven narratives, as well as mythology, I am an even bigger fan of the UK and loved seeing the interactions and the way the setting impacted the character’s personalities as well. 

The Verdict

A beautifully written, engaging, and mesmerizing YA Fantasy and LGBTQ-Supernatural tale, author Tim Rayborn’s “QWYRK” is a must-read first entry into a brand new, modern-day fairy tale series. The action and mythology really helped to bring this narrative to life, and the characters kept the reader invested as the villain and hero rose to light. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy of this incredible read today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements
Qwyrk - Tim Rayborn

Tim Rayborn has a new bi urban fantasy book out, book one of the Qwyrk Tales: Qwyrk. And there’s a giveaway!

Qwyrk is having a bad day; several, in fact. One of the Shadow folk tasked with keeping an eye on humanity, she’s ready for a well-earned break in Yorkshire, but now she’s (literally) run into a girl, Jilly, who just saw something quite supernatural and truly awful happen in her town.

As Qwyrk tries to unravel the mystery, layers of villainy are exposed, and she’s stuck with an assortment of unlikely folk that she’d rather not have “helping” her.

Together, they confront ancient magic, medieval conspiracies, and the possible end of the world (that again?). It’s not the holiday Qwyrk was hoping for!

Aboyt the Series: Qwyrk is the first in a series of four novels about the adventures of a group of misfits at the edge of reality in modern northern England, a world of shadows, Nighttime Nasties, sorcery, intergalactic councils, tacky nightclub attire, an abundance of sarcasm, and even elves…though they are a bit silly.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CAN | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Booksamillion | Blackwells | Liminal Fiction | Goodreads


Giveaway

Tim is giving away an Amazon gift card with this tour:

a Rafflecopter giveawayhttps://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47191/?


Excerpt

Qwyrk Meme

Qwyrk and her friends sat on the slanted rooftop of the Ecklesons’ large old home a little later on, quite annoyed. Now they were just trying to avoid all of the clatter and the obnoxious human adults stomping around below. Jimmy’s second outburst had no doubt earned him a grounding for the next month. Mr. Eckleson had let out a few stern words that were decidedly inappropriate for young Jimmy’s ears.

So Qwyrk, and her mates Qwypp and Qwykk, sat and surveyed the scene. It was a nice detached Edwardian home, with a lovely yard. Well, it would have been lovely except that it needed more tending than the Ecklesons were prepared to give it.

An old rosebush had grown to quite a size, such that its thorny branches often grabbed people as they walked by, often to gasps of surprise that then turned to annoyance as new victims found themselves unable to walk any farther until they became untangled. Those that ventured forward to smell the roses risked never being seen again.

At least twice a month, Mr. Eckleson threatened to hack the whole thing down, but somehow, he always got distracted by other weekend activities, such as football on television. And secretly, he harbored a slight fear of the thing, as if it were watching him. He worried that if he cut it down, a mob of rosebushes might return one night to enact a brutal vengeance. Mr. Eckleson needed a bit more fresh air.

Yes, it could have been a charming entryway to an old house, even with the disagreeable rosebush. But the plastic pink flamingos that Mrs. Eckleson had brought back from their Florida holiday and displayed with pride out front ensured that “charming” was not a word on the lips of guests. So did the bright blue ceramic garden gnome.

So, the trio looked down on the yard now: gnomes, flamingos, petulant rosebushes, and all. Humans could only see them as shadows with glowing red eyes, but up here, all alone, they saw each other on their natural form, which was basically like humans, except for their pointed ears. Humans would probably be disappointed by that. The occasional human—like a witch, a druid, a shaman, or some such—who could see them in their true form called them elves or fairies, which the Shadows resented. Elves were pretty silly, after all.

“So… what are we looking at?” Qwypp asked. Her bright red bob haircut clashed with her blue overalls and purple Doc Marten boots in a noticeable way.

“The rosebush,” Qwyrk sighed, as she ran her hands through her short but oh-so-stylish blonde hair.

“The rosebush,” Qwypp repeated. “And we’re looking at this rosebush because…”

“Shhh! Did you see that?” Qwyrk interrupted.

“What?” asked Qwykk, curling a strand of her long, wavy brown hair around her finger, and smoothing out wrinkles in her new designer exercise outfit. She obviously prided herself on being the glamorous one of the three.

“One of the branches moved.”

“Oh. My. Goddess!” Qwypp exclaimed. “You mean they have… wind up here in the north? We got here just in time!”

Qwykk stifled a giggle.

Qwyrk shot both of them an angry look. “It bent a little, like an elbow, you idiots! The rosebush is taking on anthropomorphic qualities. I’m sure I just saw it.”

“Anthro-what?” Qwykk asked.

“It means it’s becoming animated, moving like a bipedal being,” Qwypp answered, looking quite proud of herself, and smiling a smug smile.

“I don’t care what its sexual orientation is! That’s its own private business,” Qwykk answered in an equally snooty voice, clearly trying to sound impressive.

Qwyrk sighed and rolled her eyes. “Look, let’s just focus on it for a while, all right? It may do something else. We have to find out.”

“I wonder how that would work?” Qwykk mused after another minute of the three of them watching in silence.

“How what would work?” Qwyrk knew she’d regret asking.

“I mean, if you was a rosebush, how would you know who you fancied? Like, what if you had a knob with thorns? That wouldn’t be very pleasant! And even if you did know, what could you do about it? I mean… suppose you liked the rosebush on the other side of the street, how would you know if it fancied you back? And even if you knew it did, how would you actually get over there to get a snog? It’s not like you could move or anything. And how would you actually snog? Like, with what? Rosebuds on your branches? And suppose you actually fancied the oak tree next door instead, well, that opens up a whole new set of problems!”

Qwyrk almost put her face in her palms. Almost.

“Why can’t we just go downstairs and do some yoga?” Qwypp interjected, and for once, Qwyrk was glad for her whining.

“I told you…” Qwyrk started.

“You didn’t, though!” Qwypp said, annoyed. “Just that you’ve got a job up here to do, because of some funny reports.”

“Yeah, Qwyrk, what’s up? You dragged us all the way up here from London, when we were going clubbing this weekend, and we have a right to know why.”

Qwyrk assumed a mock pleasant voice. “Look, here it is again, in small words, so you’ll understand: that big rosebush has been doing some strange things over the last couple of weeks. It’s been moving like a human, and people have also been seeing things like ghosts, goblins, strange lights, and apparitions in the neighborhood; there was even a little earthquake a few days ago. When a plant starts moving by itself, it’s usually not a good thing, and if there’re ghosts and goblins involved, and the earth starts rumbling, it doesn’t usually lead to snogs and chocolate. All clear now?”

“But what are we supposed to do about it?” pouted Qwykk. “Now I can’t use my VIP pass to London’s ‘Club Nitro Ibiza Hedonistic Fun Dome’ this weekend.”

“The council wants us to keep an eye on it for a bit, to watch over everything. Our mate Jimmy down there is making that a bit difficult and making me question the wisdom of that order. I’ve a good mind to gag him tomorrow night.”

“The fact that we’re the ones that scare the bejeesus out of most kids who see us is somehow lost on the council, eh?” snarked Qwypp. “I don’t make the rules,” Qwyrk answered. “I just follow them.”

Qwyrk did ponder the irony of it all. “Well, what can I say? Sometimes kids are up far past their bedtimes and spot us. Then they get more scared of us than of the dangers we’re supposed to be watching for.”

It’s time for a change in policy.


Author Bio

Tim Rayborn

Tim Rayborn is a writer and internationally acclaimed musician. He plays dozens of unusual instruments that many people of have never heard of and often can’t pronounce, including medieval instrument reconstructions and folk instruments from Northern Europe, the Balkans, and the Middle East.

He has appeared on over forty recordings, and his wanderings and tours have taken him across the US, all over Europe, to Canada and Australia, and to such romantic locations as Marrakech, Istanbul, Renaissance chateaux, medieval churches, and high school gymnasiums.

On the writing side of things, Tim lived in England for nearly seven years and has a PhD from the University of Leeds, which he likes to pretend means that he knows what he’s talking about. He has written several books and magazine articles about music, the arts, history, and business, and undoubtedly will write more (whether anyone likes it or not).

He currently resides in Northern California amid many books, antique music reproduction devices (i.e., CDs), instruments, and with a sometimes-demanding cat. He’s also rather enthusiastic about good wines, single-malt Scotch, and cooking excellent food.

Author Website: https://timrayborn.com/

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/timrayborn

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

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/Tim_Rayborn

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rayborn.esoterica

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3160656.Tim_Rayborn

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/entity/author/B00DWY5J8E

Other Worlds Ink logo

Cold Hearted (Villains #8) by Serena Valentino Review

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

The true origin of one of the most notorious evil stepmothers is revealed in author Serena Valentino’s “Cold Hearted”, the eight book in the VILLAINS series.

The Synopsis

It’s a familiar tale: A kind and beautiful young girl, reeling from loss. A doting father, frantic to bring a mother’s love back into his daughter’s life. And the selfish, cruel woman who insinuates herself into that family―a woman so unfeeling, so cold hearted, that when her new husband dies, she makes the girl a servant in her own home.

But who is that evil stepmother, that icy lady of the house? How did she become so closed off that, in the face of a child’s grief, she thought only to seek wealth and power for herself and her abhorrent daughters? Before that fateful ball, before the glass slipper and the prince, there was another story―a story of love and grief, of hope and of dreams dashed. It is the story of Lady Tremaine.

Even the coldest of villains are sometimes wives and mothers, women who loved and lost and hoped for

something grander for their lives . . . once upon a dream.

The latest novel in Serena Valentino’s deliciously devious Villains series introduces the most famed and hated wicked stepmother of them all―but turns everything you know about her on its head.

The Review

A truly haunting and engaging story, the author has masterfully brought to life the story of Cinderella in a whole new light. Seeing the story through Lady Tremaine’s eyes was amazing, not only showcasing who she was before her marriage to Cinderella’s father, but showcasing how all the girls of the household became victims of his cruel nature. Even Cinderella, beloved by her father, found herself a pawn in his game of control. The pacing of the novel really helped draw readers in, while the setting changes from London to the Many Kingdoms highlighted the change in magic and it’s effect on those not of that world.

The character growth was definitely the highlight of the narrative. The story helped balance the original characters and gave them more dimension. From Cinderella inadvertently giving her father the means to push Lady Tremaine over the edge to the inclusion of the Fairies and their dark counterparts, The Odd Sisters, and even the tumultuous path that put the step sisters in the path of villainy, readers won’t be able to help feeling sympathetic towards the women.

The Verdict

A brilliant, entertaining, and chilling take on a classic fairy tale, author Serena Valentino’s “Cold Hearted” is a must read YA novel of the summer. Capturing the essence of classic fairy tales and elevating the narrative to include much more well rounded characters, the book is one readers won’t be able to put down. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

About the Author

Serena Valentino has been weaving tales that combine mythos and guile for the past decade. She has earned critical acclaim in both the comic and horror domains, where she is known for her unique style of storytelling, bringing her readers into exquisitely frightening worlds filled with terror, beauty, and extraordinary protagonists. The books in her best-selling Villains series are best enjoyed when read in the following order: Fairest of All, The Beast Within, Poor Unfortunate Soul, Mistress of All Evil, Mother Knows Best, Odd Sisters, Evil Thing, and Cold Hearted.

https://www.serenavalentino.com/

https://www.twitter.com/SerenaValentino

https://amzn.to/3qS8knn

Myosotis by Noor Ashour Review

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

A young girl finds herself lost in a magical realm, but the magic and wonder she always read about turns into a fight for her life when forces beyond her control seek her end in author Noor Ashour’s “Myosotis”. 

Advertisements

The Synopsis

She thought it would be magical. An adrenaline-sweeping adventure with magnificent creatures and scenes. After all, that was how many fantasy novels went, no?

So Ellina leapt into the hole, into another world of mysterious and questionable rulers. It was not magical, really, but an elaborate game of cat and mouse glittering allure.

Perhaps it was a mix of both. Why don’t you see for yourself?

The Review

This was the perfect blend of fantasy meets classic fairy-tales, with an atmosphere not unlike Lewis Carrol’s “Alice in Wonderland”. This world that the author has crafted is beautifully imagined, utilizing imagery and atmosphere brilliantly to make the reader feel like they are traversing this new and exotic world. 

The character growth here is superb for a fairly short read. The bond formed between Ellina and the giant cats known as Rhea and Titan is humorous and heartwarming, as the quick change of pace from a magical journey to a life and death mission could easily escalate into a full-on war. Yet the narrative itself makes this book shine, elevating the tension and conflict quickly to make a really engaging story.

The Verdict

A memorable, entertaining, and awe-inspiring read, author Noor Ashour’s “Myosotis” is a must-read fantasy-driven novel. The expert way the author weaves new mythology into a perfectly fantasy-led world and created characters that would invite the reader into the narrative from the story’s start makes this a fun and exciting new read for 2021. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

Spellbound Under The Spanish Moss: A Southern Tale of Magic by Connor Garrett and Kevin Garrett Review

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

A young man who grew up on his father’s stories of witches and magic finds himself on a magical journey of his own in an effort to save his father’s life in authors Connor and Kevin Garret’s “Spellbound Under the Spanish Moss: A Southern Tale of Magic”.

Advertisements

The Synopsis

Young Gareth Greyfin must find a way to save his father Samuel after he is bitten by a one-eyed snake. With little time before the venom will reach his father’s heart, Gareth follows his father’s instructions to bring him to a cabin in the swamps outside of Savannah, Georgia — the home of a witch with a fearsome reputation.

The witch sends the fearful young man on a quest for five ingredients for the potion that offers the elder Greyfin’s only hope. Accompanied by the witch’s raven as a guide, Gareth’s desperate journey leads to encounters with a cast of characters that defy imagination. The duo is joined by an old banjo player, and they learn that heroes come in unexpected forms.

Along the way, Gareth learns a family secret and a deception threatens to destroy his budding friendship with the Raven and possibly the life of his father. Will his bargain with Evangeline pay off or will Gareth be the one to pay the price?

The Review

What a truly entertaining and incredibly written novel! The authors do a masterful job of bringing to life a wildly inventive and creative new fantasy and fairy-tale narrative, exploring the concept of finding magic and adventure in our lives while also highlighting the depths of bravery and love one will go to in order to save those that mean the most to them. Gareth is a memorable protagonist, acting as the gateway of the audience as they are thrust into this magical world. Rediscovering the magic and wonder of childhood in order to rescue his dying father speaks to the inner child within us all. 

The theme of a child overcoming great odds to rescue a parent or sibling is well represented here and is one that I personally am a huge fan of in fantasy and sci-fi novels, (a longtime fan of Stephen King and Peter Straub’s The Talisman, for example). Yet the greatest thing the authors do here is to balance the fantasy-level magic of a fairytale with the strong imagery that brings this adventure to life in the author’s minds, making for a truly engaging read.

The Verdict

An entertaining, short-yet thrilling deep-dive into magic and fairy-tales with a Southern twist, authors Connor and Kevin Garret’s “Spellbound Under the Spanish Moss” is a must-read fantasy novel. The heartfelt emotion that goes into the protagonist’s journey blended with the incredible character development and fantasy themes make this a truly memorable adventure, and a book that fans of the genre will not be able to forget. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Authors

Connor Garrett 

Connor Judson Garrett left Atlanta with $1,500 to his name and moved to Los Angeles right after college with the dream of becoming a professional writer and an entrepreneur. After winding his way through the Venice Canals and the fantasy of LaLa Land, he ended up working for ZipRecruiter as a content writer and an SEO specialist, and subsequently joined a team of world class copywriters at Golden Hippo Media. He loved that Mad Men-like experience and leveraged it to launch his freelance writing career, which was ignited when he won the inaugural Edward Readicker-Henderson Travel Classics Award for emerging writers. He has penned travel, entertainment, and profile pieces for outlets such as Private Clubs Magazine, South Magazine, 30A Review, Georgia Hollywood Review, Simply Buckhead, Blue Mountain Review, and Built in LA. Connor writes books and runs a small, bespoke publishing company Lucid House Publishing with his mother Echo Montgomery Garrett to give authors a better avenue than the traditional model. Connor’s debut novel Falling Up in The City of Angels has a Californication meets Catcher in The Rye feel to it and earned him a place speaking on a panel at the January 2020 International Pulpwood Queens and Timber Guys Book Club’s annual conference. He has written two poetry books, co-authored a self-help book The Longevity Game. But what he is most proud of is the southern fantasy novel Spellbound Under the Spanish Moss: A Southern Tale of Magic, the first book in The Spellbound Series. While in Lebanon with his girlfriend, Connor co-authored it with his father Kevin N. Garrett. The novel was selected as the International Pulpwood Queens and Timber Guys Reading Nation’s January 2021 Book of the Month Selection. It’s also a finalist for the 2001 Books of Excellence Awards for Young Adult Fiction.

https://www.instagram.com/connorjudsongarrett/

https://www.connorjudsongarrett.com/

Kevin Garrett

Growing up in rural south Georgia, Kevin N. Garrett loved books and music. He regularly drove 40 miles to buy albums and a copy of BillBoard Magazine. In college he was sometimes be so engrossed in the latest Robert Ludlum thriller that he would skip class. As a travel writer and photographer, his work has appeared in Condé Nast Traveler, Delta Sky, Town and Country, Forbes, Vogue, Outside, Boulevard, Entrepreneur, Inc., Atlanta Magazine, Coastal Living, Islands, Atlanta, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Virtuoso Life, among others. For more than two decades, Kevin and his wife Echo Montgomery Garrett specialized in and co-authored several guidebooks on the Caribbean, including Caribbean for Dummies and Rum and Reggae. Kevin’s fine art photography has been shown in galleries in New York City, Atlanta and Nashville, and his work hangs in many luxury resorts and hotels. He is working on a forthcoming fine art photography book. Kevin co-authored Spellbound Under the Spanish Moss: A Southern Tale of Magic with his son Connor Judson Garrett. It was the Pulpwood Queens Book Club’s January 2021 Book of the Month Selection, and the father-and-son duo were the opening speakers of the virtual Bluffton Book Festival in 2020. It was also named a finalist in the 2021 Book Excellence Awards in the young adult nonfiction category.The duo plans to release the second book in the Spellbound Series February 14, 2022. Set in Puerto Rico, Fragrance of a Shadow: True Love and Other Legends. The fantasy novel following that one moves the action to New Orleans.

Soraia, Child of the Sea by Leen Lefebre Review

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

A young girl who dreams of life outside of her castle walls finds solace with a new friend whom she hides her true identity from, but soon discovers another adventure awaits her in Leen Lefebre’s “Soraia, Child of the Sea”. 

Advertisements

The Synopsis 

On an island in the Atlantic Sea lives Soraia, Princess of the Azores. Father cleaves through the waves with his war fleet but she is never allowed to go along. From her balcony, she dreams of one day sailing those waters herself. Out of sheer necessity, she now finds joy in a book with hero stories.

Soraia soon falls ill with a desire for adventure. The lady-in-waiting and jester agree that she may go explore. A chance to be free presents itself. In the dale, she meets a shepherd boy. After a day together in the mountains, they are in love. But then, totally unexpectedly, King Netuno returns home.

The Review

This was a beautiful and memorable new fantasy tale like no other. The author does an incredible job of crafting a wholly unique story with a classic fairy tale vibe and memorable characters that keep the reader invested throughout the narrative.

Soraia is a fantastic protagonist, who portrays the classic princess stuck in her castle who dreams of a life beyond the home she’s forced to live in. Readers can instantly sympathize with the protagonist as she dreams of adventure and finding her place in the world. The irony of her journey and how it brings her to her dream of life beyond her island and castle, but comes at the cost of losing the relationships she has built over the long years isolated on the island, showcasing that destiny and life often come at the cost of the past we all hold dear to us. 

The Verdict

A short yet beautifully written fairy tale come to life, this Norse-driven mythological story is a must-read for middle graders and up. The characters are wonderfully written, and the theme of isolation, dreams and destiny are explored in-depth and honestly in this tale, making for a truly incredible reading experience. If you haven’t yet grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

Leen Lefebre grew up in West Flanders where she works at the Local Heritage Service. As a kid, she threw herself upon each book that was available. Later, she turned around and settled on the worldwide web. She then emerged as a true explorer of literature, music, and sports. Leen is a dreamer and a doer – and this is how her stories rose up as charming and lively fairy tales for adventurers of all ages.