Tag Archives: fantasy

Vorodin’s Lair (Book Two of the Warminster Series) by J.V. Hilliard Review

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

An elven princess and a young keeper of the citadel blessed (or cursed) by visions must seek out an ageless sorcerer and escape a fallen keeper bent on revenge as the realm of Warminster teeters on the brink of war in author J.V. Hilliard’s “Vorodin’s Lair”, the second book in the “Warminster Series”.

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The Synopsis

Ominous Omens

Daemus, a low Keeper of the Cathedral of the Watchful Eye, isn’t the only one having visions. His nightmares speak of the ageless sorcerer, Vorodin, who may be able to help. But the answers he seeks may bring him—and the realm—to the brink of war.

Elven princess, Addilyn Elspeth, must discover why she’s receiving visitations from a mysterious creature that shouldn’t exist. She combines forces with Daemus on their harrowing journey to the scholar city of Abacus, where Vorodin’s Lair awaits.

A Plot of Revenge

Their powerful adversary and fallen Keeper, Graytorris the Mad, continues to chase the young Keeper throughout the realm, seeking vengeance against his order while trying to find a cure for his own affliction.

Explore the realm of Warminster, as fantasy and magic mixes with epic adventure and romance. Omens, battles and plot twists await you in the pages of Vorodin’s Lair. 

The Review

This is an epic fantasy just bursting with potential for a live-action adaption. The cinematic imagery layering the writing of this incredible author’s work and the grand atmosphere that brings balance to this narrative felt alive on the page. The balance of magic and sorcery with the iconic epic journey and romance that defines great fantasy series was great to see here, and added depth to the growing mystery surrounding the ageless sorcerer himself.

Yet as with the first book, the emphasis on character development and world-building was the true heart and soul of this narrative. The dynamic that grows between Daemus and Addilyn was fantastic to see here, as was the growing depth to the villainous Graytorris. Combine this with the sheer volume of detail that went into bringing Warminster to life on the page and the mythos surrounding the magic and creatures of this world made this one of the most original fantasy series I’ve read in a long while.

The Verdict

Captivating, magical, and entertaining, author J.V. Hilliard’s “Vorodin’s Lair” is a must-read fantasy novel of 2022 and a great addition to this growing epic saga. The inclusion of Nordic mythos and iconography with this classic sorcery-driven narrative and the engaging story between the two protagonists made me enthralled with this story to the point where I didn’t want to put it down. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Born of steel, fire and black wind, J.V. Hilliard was raised as a highlander in the foothills of a once-great mountain chain on the confluence of the three mighty rivers that forged his realm’s wealth and power for generations.

His father, a peasant twerg, toiled away in industries of honest labor and instilled in him a work ethic that would shape his destiny. His mother, a local healer, cared for his elders and his warrior uncle, who helped to raise him during his formative years. His genius brother, whose wizardly prowess allowed him to master the art of the abacus and his own quill, trained with him for battles on fields of green and sheets of ice.

Hilliard’s earliest education took place in his warrior uncle’s tower, where he learned his first words. HIs uncle helped him to learn the basics of life—and, most importantly, creative writing.

Hilliard’s training and education readied him to lift a quill that would scribe the tale of the realm of Warminster, filled with brave knights, harrowing adventure and legendary struggles. He lives in the city of silver cups, hypocycloids and golden triangles with his wife, a ranger of the diamond. They built their castle not far into the countryside, guarded by his own two horsehounds, Thor and MacLeod, and resides there to this day.

https://www.jvhilliard.com/

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Distant Fantasy: The Return (Book One) by Anthony C. Wray Review

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

A soldier in the Iraq war finds himself and his team responsible for the defense of a planet on the other side of a wormhole as the life he once knew begins to bleed into this new reality in author Anthony C. Wray’s “Distant Fantasy: The Return”, the first book in this new sci-fi and fantasy series!

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The Synopsis

One minute, Colonel John Locklear was in an ambush in Iraq, and the next he was home and his entire team was MIA. In his dreams, he’s drawn into another world where past, present, and future are all happening at once. There are high-seas pirates negotiating with sentient robots and people who feed off of nature’s light energy. Natasha is a leader in this other world and she keeps calling John by the name “Zac.” Then, it isn’t a dream anymore and John becomes Zac, accepting that he—and his team—have a role to play in Lunia, the world on the other side of a black hole, the world Zac needs to save.

The Review

The world-building and storytelling in this book are superb. The engaging story and atmosphere the author builds both in our world and the world of Lunia are spectacular to behold, as the imagery the author uses in his writing allowed the reader to feel the wonder and emotions the characters were feeling during the events of the book.

What really stood out to me was the way the author honed in on themes of PTSD in soldiers returning from or back to war, family, and how trauma impacts us all. The backstory of John’s character and how his experiences shape his world and mission as “Zac” are so raw and emotional, and to see this reflected in his teammates added depth to the lore and mythos of this world. Combine that with a beautiful inclusion of Native American culture and language and readers are treated to a one-of-a-kind story.

The Verdict

Captivating, mesmerizing, and impactful, author Anthony C. Wray’s “Distant Fantasy: The Return” is a fantastic entry into a brand new series and a must-read sci-fi and fantasy novel! The twists and turns of the story are enthralling, and the balance of world-building and meaningful storytelling made this one book I couldn’t put down. If you haven’t already be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Anthony Wray’s writing began with stories about other worlds, but a high school writing exercise challenged him to tap into his emotions. He began writing emotional narratives that became psychological thrillers. He now dives into speculative fiction, combining it with psychological thrillers to blend reality and imagination into tales that balance the two worlds.

After military service, Anthony reintegrated into society using imagination to process deep emotion and believes it may present opportunities for those suffering from PTSD. Anthony has a BFA in Creative Writing and lives in Texas where he writes the Distant Fantasy series.

Stay up to date with Anthony at www.anthonycwray.net and on Facebook @AnthonyC.Wray and Twitter @Anthony_C_Wray.

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Interview with Author Opëshum

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

 Thank you for this question. Actually, when I ponder this I would say it was writing that got into me. I focused early on around being a filmmaker and fashioned myself standing somewhere between the Director and the lead camera person, cooking up visual recipes for words that were trapped on paper. Although I still have a penchant for writing screenplays, I have found myself so focused on creating written content that writing now feels like home.

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2) What inspired you to write your book?

 People often ask this question, and they are often uncomfortable with my answer. But I am wedded to the truth. This entire series is my interpretation of a conversation I am honored to be having with extraterrestrial beings.

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

 Book 1, Beyond the Father, is meant to be a key. I am hoping it will not only unlock the door through which readers can enter into the world of Xżyber, but I truly hope it gives readers a chance to dive into areas in which they may otherwise be uncomfortable: pondering the imperfections of a god, examining the face of death, creating alternative meanings for what it may in fact mean to exist. I hope readers of Beyond the Father will come away with the confidence that they were born with the right to question…everything.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

 The endless possibilities within both SciFi and Fantasy writing is a very rewarding space for a writer, and before I starting working in this space I was a huge fan of what SciFi and fantasy offers both writers and readers. It allows one to meander out past the guardrails of what we believe reality is. It’s is on the outskirts of “reality” where writers in this genre are given the chance to create their most interesting work.

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

 I would have to pose one question to Flexix, who has been jealous ever since I was selected by the Xżyberians to tell their story. He has not agreed with my treatment of the Book, and his envy has caused him to be mildly disruptive. If he would agree to sit down with me, I would ask him what it will take to calm him down!

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

 The strong reading community on Goodreads, and it’s variety of platforms is a world all of its own. My publisher, 1iR3 Publishers LLC, has really appreciated that and they introduced me to the platform.

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

 Definitely connect with readers on a personal basis whenever possible. When a reader reaches out and tells you that your book broke through and reached them, take the time to thank them and let that reader know how very much their thoughts and opinions mean to you. At the end of the day, the writing that matters most is not about the number of books we sell. It’s more about the quality of our work and our ability to connect with humanity.

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

 I will be releasing Book 2 of this series at the end of next year, and I am currently refining Episode 4 of that volume. Readers who follow me on Goodreads will have the benefit of seeing an iterative cover reveal ceremony that will span over several months leading up to the launch of Book 2. I hope they enjoy this upcoming journey with me!

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About the Author

Opëshum has been writing since she was a child, and believes that authors are selected by their characters to bring their stories to the world. Incredibly shy and introverted, Opëshum does not make public appearances. She prefers to remain behind the scenes as the characters in her books take center stage. Her current work, the 8-Book SciFi Epic gods on Trial: The Series™ kicks off with Book 1, BEYOND THE FATHER.  

Opëshum calls Sheridan, Wyoming her home, where she is currently writing Book 2 of this series. She lives in a modest Cape Cod dwelling on 3 acres of land where she lets a robust variety of sunflowers grow wild and untamed, while Aloe Vera and other succulents decorate almost every ledge within her house. An avid writer in the early morning and late at night, Opëshum often works on her manuscripts in rooms lit only by homemade candles.

She enjoys nature walks, full moons, and open spaces where she can stare up at the stars. 

“I live my life in the shadows, and I am shy. For I know that my appearance is not pleasing to the eye.” – Opëshum Patroz

Beyond the Father (gods on Trial: The Series Book One) by Opëshum Review

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

As a mysterious god on a distant planet watches as conflict arises in multiple sectors of this alien world, a far great threat looms and one young prince’s vision quest may change the course of their story in author Opëshum’s “Beyond the Father”, the first book in the gods on Trial series!

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The Synopsis

Beyond the Father” sets the scene for the 8-book Sci-Fi Epic “gods on Trial: The Series,” delving into life’s determination to transcend all limitation.  Set on the planet Xżyber, citizens of the Sub-Median Region, imperfectly reborn into metal, oppress those who are organic.  Elsewhere, in the Central Kingdom, religion supports royalty’s brutal domination of the lowest class.  War over scarce resources is coming, revolution within each region is brewing, and none know of the eccentric god who created them. This being watches, has fascinating conversations with his often-wiser companion, occasionally learns, and rarely intervenes.  The many levels and threads of struggle distract nearly all from a far greater threat.  Meanwhile, the young Prince Anglid’s vision quest into the unexplored Area X may ultimately change everything.  However, just when you think you know the direction of the story, the author has yet another surprise.

The Review

This was such a rich and captivating read. The author did an incredible job of building a unique and layered narrative with the equally layered mythos. The multiple POVs from such different characters and entities in this narrative allowed the reader to really get a sense of the struggles and power dynamics that this world held. The amount of detail and backstory the author poured into this story within such a short amount of pages was astounding, including the glossary of terms the author procured to make this world feel even more alive on the page.

Yet it was the beautiful fusion of sci-fi and fantasy along with the powerful themes of religion’s influence on politics, the improper balance of the class systems, and our place in the world as a whole that made this story really come alive. The varying arcs of each character allowed not only for this dynamic world to come alive, but to highlight the problems and emotional weight of each faction highlighted in this narrative. The blend of sci-fi tech and the alien world with the more epic elements of fantasy and mythology was great to see, but at the end of the day, the way the author highlighted how despite our class systems separating us, we are all individuals at our core, and each suffers from our own sources of distress and worries, was amazing to read.

The Verdict

Captivating, engaging, and thought-provoking, author Opëshum’s “Beyond the Father” is a fantastic first book in the gods on Trial series and a brilliant sci-fi and fantasy fusion. The twists and turns this narrative takes and the shocking twist ending will have readers clamoring for more, and the dynamic world the author has crafted leaves an incredible wealth of room for future installments in this series. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Opëshum has been writing since she was a child, and believes that authors are selected by their characters to bring their stories to the world. Incredibly shy and introverted, Opëshum does not make public appearances. She prefers to remain behind the scenes as the characters in her books take center stage. Her current work, the 8-Book SciFi Epic gods on Trial: The Series™ kicks off with Book 1, BEYOND THE FATHER.  

Opëshum calls Sheridan, Wyoming her home, where she is currently writing Book 2 of this series. She lives in a modest Cape Cod dwelling on 3 acres of land where she lets a robust variety of sunflowers grow wild and untamed, while Aloe Vera and other succulents decorate almost every ledge within her house. An avid writer in the early morning and late at night, Opëshum often works on her manuscripts in rooms lit only by homemade candles.

She enjoys nature walks, full moons, and open spaces where she can stare up at the stars. 

“I live my life in the shadows, and I am shy. For I know that my appearance is not pleasing to the eye.” – Opëshum Patroz

A Virtue’s Calling by Lexi Cook 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 has her world turned upside down when an ancient power from centuries earlier long thought sealed by time is claimed by her and with it the connection to a young man who once tried to use that power to stop a powerful threat in the aftermath of his father’s passing in author Lexi Cook’s “A Virtue’s Calling”. 

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The Synopsis

Nothing Can Stop Fates From Crossing, Even Time.

With his father now dead, Choska is next in line to inherit the Virtue of the Sea, one of two divine powers given by their god. With possession of this, Choska must do something no Virtue holder has ever done: kill the two Hazen’s Beasts plaguing their land. With little hope and many against his wishes to risk his life, the tribes are torn on how to function. Later seeing how the Virtues have been misused, the tribes decide to seal the powers forever.

A thousand years later, Marie is on a beach in her hometown when she starts hearing voices, calling her to go to the ocean. By doing so, she accidentally claims the Virtue of the Sea, meeting Choska in her dreams. Neither is certain why she has the Virtue or who the voice was, but they know one thing—she needs to figure out her destiny and fight for it.

The Review

I was immediately struck by the brilliant world-building and mythos the author was able to establish in this novel. The rich dynamics between the cast of characters and the heavy fantasy-driven narrative both worked in tandem to create a beautiful chemistry between action and emotionally-driven fantasy themes. The imagery and tone the author utilized made this story flow smoothly, and the relatability of the characters and their struggles showcased the complexity of their arcs and journey overall.

Yet for me, it was the mythos and themes that really made this novel stand out. The establishment of this fantasy world and the cultures that resided within it brought the themes of legacy, justice, and vengeance to life so naturally and beautifully that it allowed the narrative to really shine brightly. These themes also added greatly to the characters and how the reader was able to relate to them, allowing their evolution throughout the narrative to be seen clearly, something aided by the multiple POVs heading each chapter of this excellent story.

The Verdict

Captivating, entertaining, and thought-provoking, author Lexi Cook’s “A Virtue’s Calling” is a must-read fantasy read for this fall season. The rich mythos and culture the author establishes in this novel will have readers fully invested in the character’s journey, and the shocking twists and turns will have readers hanging onto the author’s every word as the fate of certain characters hangs in the balance. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Lexi Cook is a fantasy author with a love of psychology and philosophy, leading to her novels that ask questions that take time to ponder. Publishing A Virtue’s Calling at the age of eighteen, she possessed a love of literature from an early age, later becoming a fascination with the publishing industry. Currently, she resides in Atlanta, working endlessly to earn her Managerial Sciences degree at Georgia State University. On top of being an HR Manager, she plans to publish more books that reach readers’ minds and hearts. In her free time, she likes to garden and expand her candle collection.

Tome of the Vampire by Jason Goss Review

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

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

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The Synopsis

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

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

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

The Review

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

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

The Verdict

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

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Synopsis

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

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

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

The Review

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

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

The Verdict

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

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

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

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

https://cryinthemoonslight.podbean.com/

Interview with Author Holly Rhiannon 

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

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

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2) What inspired you to write your book?

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

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

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

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

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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About the Author

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

https://www.hollyrhiannon.com/

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

https://www.facebook.com/hrhiannon

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

Bravely by Maggie Stiefvater 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 responsible for the protection of her kingdom and family must find a way of changing her family’s ways and saving her world from utter destruction in author Maggie Stiefvater’s “Bravely”. 

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The Synopsis

Merida goes on an all-new, life-changing adventure in this original YA novel set several years after the close of Brave!

What if you had one year to save everything you loved?

ONE PRINCESS. Merida of DunBroch needs a change. She loves her family—jovial King Fergus, proper Queen Elinor, the mischievous triplets— and her peaceful kingdom. But she’s frustrated by its sluggishness; each day, the same. Merida longs for adventure, purpose, challenge – maybe even, someday, love.

TWO GODS. But the fiery Princess never expects her disquiet to manifest by way of Feradach, an uncanny supernatural being tasked with rooting out rot and stagnation, who appears in DunBroch on Christmas Eve with the intent to demolish the realm – and everyone within. Only the intervention of the Cailleach, an ancient entity of creation, gives Merida a shred of hope: convince her family to change within the year – or suffer the eternal consequences.

THREE VOYAGES. Under the watchful eyes of the gods, Merida leads a series of epic journeys to kingdoms near and far in an attempt to inspire revolution within her family. But in her efforts to save those she loves from ruin, has Merida lost sight of the Clan member grown most stagnant of all – herself?

FOUR SEASONS TO SAVE DUNBROCH – OR SEE IT DESTROYED, FOREVER. 

The Review

This was a great read. The author excelled at continuously building an atmosphere and tone that reflected both the magic and historic nature of the narrative. The world-building was excellent here, as the author built upon the storied setting of Castle Dunbroch and the kingdom that Disney established in the film Brave and managed to craft enough new narrative to make the world feel even bigger and more alive. 

The mythos, history, and imagery are all that really drove this narrative forward and elevated the characters to the heights that they reached. The way Scottish mythology and mythological figures played into the story, as well as the emotional storyline that was brought to life through Merida and her family, made for a brilliant story overall. Yet despite instances of magical action and adventure featuring ancient gods and mythological figures, the real emphasis on history that this story brought to life allowed for a really well-balanced novel that kept readers invested in this world.

The Verdict

Rich in world-building, heartfelt character growth, and entertaining mythology, author Maggie Stiefvater’s “Bravely” is a must-read YA Historical Fiction and Fantasy novel of 2022. The deep dive into Scottish mythology and history blended so well with the established Disney storylines and characters that Brave introduced, and yet the author’s unique twist on the character’s new story and the atmospheric world that the author brought to life through imagery and tone made this one of the year’s best YA reads. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

New York Times bestselling author of The Shiver Trilogy, The Raven Cycle, and The Scorpio Races. Artist. Driver of things with wheels. Avid reader.

Maggie Stiefvater plays several musical instruments (most infamously, the bagpipes) and makes art in several media (most generally, colored pencils).

She lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her husband, their two children, many dogs, a bunch of fainting goats, and a mating pair of growly tuner cars.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09D8RJX93/ref=x_gr_w_glide_sin?caller=Goodreads&callerLink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodreads.com%2Fbook%2Fshow%2F58854953-bravely&tag=x_gr_w_glide_sin-20