Tag Archive | fantasy

Review: Between the Spark and the Burn

Title: Between the Spark and the Burn

Author: April Genevieve Tucholke

Date of Publication: August 14th, 2014

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Goodreads Summary:

Freddie once told me that the Devil created all the fear in the world.
But then, the Devil once told me that it’s easier to forgive someone for scaring you than for making you cry.
The problem with River West Redding was that he’d done both to me.

The crooked-smiling liar River West Redding, who drove into Violet’s life one summer day and shook her world to pieces, is gone. Violet and Neely, River’s other brother, are left to worry–until they catch a two a.m. radio program about strange events in a distant mountain town. They take off in search of River but are always a step behind, finding instead frenzied towns, witch hunts, and a wind-whipped island with the thrum of something strange and dangerous just under the surface. It isn’t long before Violet begins to wonder if Neely, the one Redding brother she thought trustworthy, has been hiding a secret of his own . . .

My Review:

After loving book one so much, I was wondering what I was going to get with the sequel. And fear not, it was just as good as book one with weirdness, awesomeness, and coolness!

I liked that Violet felt like a real teen. She was indecisive, questions her actions, protective, and loving! And Neely was seriously the best!

Each of the side characters have their own quirks and we get to meet some new ones as well as reminisce with the old ones!

April just has a way of writing that is addictive and beautiful and perfect! This duology is just what I needed!

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Have you read this series?

Review: Cadaver & Queen

Title: Cadaver & Queen

Author: Alisa Kwitney

Date of Publication: February 27th, 2018

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Goodreads Summary:

When Lizzie Lavenza enrolled at Ingold as its first female medical student, she knew she wouldn’t have an easy time. From class demands to being an outsider among her male cohorts, she’ll have to go above and beyond to prove herself. So when she stumbles across what appears to be a faulty Bio-mechanical–one of the mechanized cadavers created to service the school–she jumps at the chance to fix it and get ahead in the program.

Only this Bio-mechanical isn’t like the others. Where they are usually empty-minded and perfectly obedient, this one seems to have thoughts, feelings… and self-awareness.

Soon Lizzie realizes that it is Victor Frankenstein–a former student who died under mysterious circumstances. Victor, it seems, still has a spark of human intelligence inside him, along with memories of things he discovered before his untimely death.. .and a suspicion that he was murdered to keep that information from getting out. Suddenly Lizzie finds herself intertwined in dark secrets and sabotage that put her life, and the lives of Victor and their friends, in danger. But Lizzie’s determined to succeed–even if that means fighting an enemy who threatens the entire British Empire.

My Review:

I love anything having to do with Frankenstein, but am super picky when it comes to retelling stuff and usually am like NOPE! But this time, I was like YEP!

First, I was drawn into that cover, and then that title, and then the blurb! I really loved the twist on this especially since Victor was the monster. It brought something completely new to the table!

I also really liked Lizzie too! She was relatable, smart, and caring. Also, I loved the romance here so much. I want to give this two characters a big hug!

The world was unique and I seriously was all about the writing in this one, too! Very fun spin on things and I can’t wait to read the companion!

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Are you a Frankenstein fan?

Review: The Queen of Nothing

Title: The Queen of Nothing

Author: Holly Black

Date of Publication: November 19th, 2019

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Goodreads Summary:

He will be destruction of the crown and the ruination of the throne.

Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold onto. Jude learned this lesson when she released her control over the wicked king, Cardan, in exchange for immeasurable power.

Now as the exiled mortal Queen of Faerie, Jude is powerless and left reeling from Cardan’s betrayal. She bides her time determined to reclaim everything he took from her. Opportunity arrives in the form of her deceptive twin sister, Taryn, whose mortal life is in peril.

Jude must risk venturing back into the treacherous Faerie Court, and confront her lingering feelings for Cardan, if she wishes to save her sister. But Elfhame is not as she left it. War is brewing. As Jude slips deep within enemy lines she becomes ensnared in the conflict’s bloody politics.

And, when a dormant yet powerful curse is unleashed, panic spreads throughout the land, forcing her to choose between her ambition and her humanity…

My Review:

First, can I just give Cardan ALL the stars! I love Holly’s writing and her worlds so much! I would love to bask in them for an eternity if I could!

Now, let me just say that I really, really, really wish this one would have been dual POV between Jude and Cardan. A lot of the book was lacking my boy and I needed more of him! But! There were some amazing scenes that were so perfectly and emotionally written!

Also, I still have a ton of questions that I do not have answers to!! However, I do love the way the book wrapped up, but I still want a spinoff series!

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Have you started this series yet?

Author Interview: Gwendolyn Kiste

The Invention Of Ghosts Twitter

From the Nightscape Press Charitable Chapbooks line. One third of all sales of this chapbook will go to support the National Aviary.

It starts with rapping in the ceiling and spirit boards that know them a little too well.

Everly and her best friend aren’t your typical college students. Instead of raucous Saturday night parties, they spend their weekends conjuring up things from the beyond. Ectoplasm, levitation, death photography—you name it, and Everly knows all about it. But while this obsession with the supernatural is only supposed to be in good fun, the girls soon discover themselves drifting deeper into magic and further from each other. Then when one evening ends with an inadvertently broken promise, everything they’ve ever known is shattered in an instant, sending them spiraling into a surreal haunting. Now Everly must learn how to control the spectral forces she’s unleashed if she wants any chance of escaping a ghost more dangerous than all the witchcraft she can summon.

A tale of the occult, unlikely phantoms, and complicated friendships, The Invention of Ghosts is the latest strange vision from the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of The Rust Maidens.

Original art work by Carrion House

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Author Interview with Gwendolyn Kiste:

Can you tell us a little bit about The Invention of Ghosts?

GK: The Invention of Ghosts is my forthcoming novelette due out in November. The story follows Everly and her best friend who have been inseparable for as long as they can remember. Now in college, however, they find themselves at a crossroads in their friendship, as Everly becomes increasingly entangled in the occult, intrigued with everything from Victorian mourning rituals and ectoplasm to spirit boards and other methods of divination. Soon both girls discover they’ve gotten more than they bargained for, as their friendship and reality start to unravel around them. It’s a story not only about spirits and the supernatural but also about growing up and complicated friendships and learning how to become yourself and let go at the same time.

The Invention of Ghosts is part of the Charitable Chapbook Series from Nightscape Press, and a third of all the proceeds will go to the National Aviary, a bird sanctuary in Pittsburgh which is one of my very favorite places in the world. Creepy fiction for a good cause!

What inspired you to write The Invention of Ghosts?

GK: My work often explores complicated females relationships, and this story in particular really focuses on friendships and how they can go awry.

With this story, I also wanted to research and explore the occult a bit more than I had in my previous work. I’ve always had an interest in the paranormal, ever since I was a kid, so finally having an opportunity to delve into all the background and history on it and incorporate that into a longer work of fiction was so much fun.

Do you have a favorite character you’ve written and why?

GK: That would probably be Phoebe from The Rust Maidens. That book really changed my career and my life in so many ways over the last year since its release, and I spent a lot of time crafting her character, so she’s definitely the one who’s my favorite. At least at this point anyhow! Perhaps another character will come down the line in the future and usurp her position as the favorite child.

What is your favorite horror book and movie?

GK: This is a tough one! My favorite horror book is probably We Have Always Lived in the Castle. It’s not a typical kind of horror, but it’s got that quiet dread permeating every scene, which is exactly the sort of vibe I love in horror.

As for my favorite horror movie, that changes often, but right now, I’ve been thinking a lot about Daughters of Darkness, so let’s go with that one. From 1971, it’s one of the strangest and most beautiful vampire films I’ve ever seen, and it’s so razor-focused on the female characters. There’s a bit of a Carmilla vibe to it, but it’s very much its own story as well. For anyone who hasn’t seen it, I highly recommend it!

What genre do you prefer to write in and why?

GK: Definitely horror. It’s the genre I’ve always loved the most. I grew up with the books of Ray Bradbury and Edgar Allan Poe, with Hammer and Universal Horror films on practically constant rotation in our house. My parents got married on Halloween, back in the 1980s when nobody was really doing that. As a result, horror has always felt like home to me. It’s the genre that runs through my blood and always will.

When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?

GK: On some level, I feel like I’ve always wanted to be a storyteller. As far back as I remember, I used to make up stories and have my stuffed animals and dolls act them out. Learning to read was one of the most wonderful experiences because I got to explore so many new worlds. That only enhanced my desire to create and tell more stories of my own. I wrote a lot of short stories growing up, and I did a decent bit of screenwriting as well over the years, but it wasn’t until my late twenties when I finally decided to go back to my first love of fiction and start working on becoming a published author. I wasn’t sure how it would go, but I wanted to really give it a try. Flash forward a little over five years later, and I have dozens of short stories out, three books, and a couple more on the way soon, so despite some early trepidation, I’m definitely glad I came back to it.

What’s your favorite color?

GK: Green without a doubt. It’s been my favorite color since I was a kid. It reminds me of forests and spring and pumpkin stems and walking barefoot in grass. Almost every permutation of green delights me: sage, emerald, forest green, spring green, chartreuse. It’s such a versatile and lively color. It feels like being alive.

Do you plot or pants when writing?

GK: A little bit of both. Especially for longer fiction, I like to have at least a vague outline to help guide me along like sign posts on the road. My short fiction, however, is more likely to take a free form approach. It’s fun to just let a story take me as the author on a journey, figuring out those beats and all those turns as I go along. I probably prefer simply allowing a story to form as I write, but as I continue to work on more novels and novellas, I’ve definitely found it’s easier to have an idea of where I’m headed. Otherwise, I’m perpetually like a lost traveler in my own work.

What other new things are you working on?

GK: I’m finishing up my second novel right now and in the planning stages for my third. I’m also working on finishing up some new short fiction, and my longer term plan over the next year is to put together my second collection. I already have enough previously published stories for it, and it’s starting to take shape thematically. So if all goes well, readers will have several new books from me in the foreseeable future. Consider yourself warned!

If there was a zombie apocalypse, what three things would you want to have?

GK: A huge supply of fresh water, a bow and arrow, and my husband. The water is obviously an essential, and the bow and arrow is like a renewable zombie-fighting resource (note: I’m not particularly good at archery, but since this will be the apocalypse, I suppose I’ll just have to learn!). For anything else I might need, I have no doubt that between me and my husband, we could figure out some strange and creative solution, so that’s why he’s the third “thing” I’d have to have!

Do you have any advice for other writers?

GK: Find what works for you. Every writer has a different style, so figure out what makes you happiest. Some authors write every day, and some only write when inspiration strikes. Some have daily word counts, and some loathe word counts. Figure out what you like as a writer, and don’t let anyone else’s advice derail you and your process.

Also, above all else, keep going and keep writing the stories you want to tell. Don’t feel the need to shoehorn your style into what’s popular or what you think others want to read. So long as you’re authentic to your own voice and you keep working on your craft, you’ll continue growing as a storyteller, and you’ll figure out how to get your stories out to the world.

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Gwendolyn Kiste is the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of The Rust Maidens, from Trepidatio Publishing; And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe, from JournalStone; and the dark fantasy novella, Pretty Marys All in a Row, from Broken Eye Books. Her short fiction has appeared in Nightmare Magazine, Black Static, Daily Science Fiction, Shimmer, Interzone, and LampLight, among others. Originally from Ohio, she now resides on an abandoned horse farm outside of Pittsburgh with her husband, two cats, and not nearly enough ghosts. Find her online at gwendolynkiste.com

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What was your favorite part of the author interview?

Review: The Boneless Mercies

Title: The Boneless Mercies

Author: April Genevieve Tucholke

Date of Publication: October 2nd, 2018

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Goodreads Summary:

Frey, Ovie, Juniper, and Runa are the Boneless Mercies—girls hired to kill quickly, quietly, and mercifully. But Frey is weary of the death trade and, having been raised on the heroic sagas of her people, dreams of a bigger life.

When she hears of an unstoppable monster ravaging a nearby town, Frey decides this is the Mercies’ one chance out. The fame and fortune of bringing down such a beast would ensure a new future for all the Mercies. In fact, her actions may change the story arc of women everywhere.

My Review:

This was a fabulous and whimsical read with a Beowulf vibe to it! I loved the band of girls … and boy. Their connection was so incredibly beautiful!

The mercy killings were sad yet incredibly right in the way they were done. I seriously loved Frey and reading from her perspective! I actually would have loved for this one to have been multiple POV. But that’s okay!

I’ll just say, wonderful writing, world building, story, and characters! I can’t wait to read more by this author!

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What is your favorite journey story?

Cover Reveal: Shadowed By Despair

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Shadowed By Despair is the final book in the Laith Trilogy! I hope you guys enjoy it!

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Perin expected eternal darkness after his death, yet the land of Laith has other plans for him. Snapped awake with a desperate hunger for flesh, he fights the urge to feed, knowing that once he gives into temptation there is no turning back.

Tavarra’s deepest desire had always been to be human. When she received her one true wish, the journey had already claimed those she cared about. Now, all alone, she fights through each day, taking her anger out anyway she sees fit, while forgetting how to truly live.

To strip away his new curse, Perin needs to retrieve an enchanted liquid and bring it back to the Stone of Desire. Despite Perin’s unpredictability, and him being the monster this time, Tavarra chooses to help. Tied by fate and loneliness, they must cross the sea into a deadly part of Laith and find the fluid before Perin’s hunger grows even stronger.

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Veiled By Desire Release Day + Giveaway

 

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Today is Veiled By Desire’s release day! Veiled By Desire is the second installment of the Laith series and will be available on November 19th!

Read on for an exclusive excerpt and a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card, AND a digital copy of book #1, Clouded By Envy!

Veiled By Desire Cover

Veiled By Desire: A Laith Novel

Publication Date: November 19, 2019

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: The Parliament House Press

In Laith, when the moons are high, Tavarra is allowed to walk the land as a human for one day, losing her seahorse-like tail. But should she remain out of the water, a curse will overtake her, turning her into a beast with sharp fangs and long claws. A beast that, on some nights, takes the shape of a rampaging, uncontrollable monster.

Rhona, along with her village, are under a sinister leader’s control. Their leader has taken Rhona from the boy she loves, stripped away her abilities and, under the threat of killing everyone she loves, forces her on a dangerous task to retrieve a dark prism that will increase his already massive powers.

When Tavarra and Rhona cross paths, they discover they need each other. Rhona knows how to help the cursed sea creature, while Tavarra knows where to find the dark prism. They embark on a mission that could help them break Tavarra’s spell and save Rhona’s family and village. But with an untamable beast inside Tavarra, nothing is certain..,

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Excerpt

Seven years of this. Tavarra closed her eyes and gripped the chains around the tree that bound her wrists together. She howled with urgency, screamed, and bared her fangs. As she stared up at the twin moons in the darkening sky, she knew her fate was coming. A fire spread throughout her entire body with a wicked touch, and she shook violently.

“The chains will hold this time,” her friend Eza said, landing on Tavarra’s shoulder. If Tavarra killed the pesky bat, there would be nothing, no one, and she had grown to love Eza after all these years.

“Get out of here, Eza! Now!” Tavarra screamed.

“I’ll be right here,” the bat murmured and flew up into the tree above. Eza looked incredibly similar to a fairy except for the thin blackened wings, fangs, and sharper-pointed ears. She was a little taller than the size of Tavarra’s hand from wrist to the tip of the claw on her middle finger.

Tavarra was trying to fight the change. She would win this time. As she breathed in the scents of Laith, Tavarra knew it was a lie, and indeed, she knew she’d failed when her skin began to stretch. She could feel her face taking on a new shape, and that was when the terror came because the night would be unknown to her. That was what haunted her the most. Tavarra held back the tears, unwilling to break, unwilling to bend and show weakness.

All that remained in her soul, heart, and existence, was hunger. She yearned and thirsted for blood, meat, and bones.

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Clouded By Envy (Laith #1)

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Brenik has always been envious of his twin sister, Bray. Growing up as fairy-like creatures, known as bats, everything came easier to Bray. While Brenik spent his time in her shadows, never feeling he was enough. After escaping their world of Laith, and living on Earth for ten years, Brenik attempts to strike a deal with the Stone of Desire to become human. Though true humanity is not an option, he will accept the curse that will alter him to get as close as he can.

Living in a tree trunk for the past year hasn’t been easy for Bray, more so after her brother disappears again. When a human boy and his brother, Wes, find her, a new friendship is struck. Through Wes, Bray learns there can be more to life than waiting within a tree. But worrying over where Brenik has vanished to always remains in the back of her mind.

When Bray reunites with Brenik, she realizes she must help him break the curse after she discovers the need for blood is beginning to overpower him. The curse not only damages those who get close to Brenik, but it could also destroy whatever is blooming between Bray and Wes.

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Giveaway: Click the link below to enter for a chance to win a digital copy of book #1, Clouded by Envy, and a $10 Amazon gift card (North America Only)!

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About the Author

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Candace Robinson spends her days consumed by words and hoping to one day find her own DeLorean time machine. Her life consists of avoiding migraines, admiring Bonsai trees, watching classic movies, and living with her husband and daughter in Texas—where it can be forty degrees one day and eighty the next.

Candace Robinson | Literary Dust | Twitter

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