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Raise the Dead

A doctor who happens to also be a necromancer named Emilio finds himself in the presence of his queen, but she is no longer alive. Queen Marisol has been murdered. Her spirit finds its way to Emilio, so she can finally be at peace. First, however, the truth must come out to those nearest to her as someone, or something, is impersonating her.

Raise the Dead by Tony Fuentes and C. S. Kading takes readers on an adventure that Emilio is unsure of, but he is willing to do anything to help his queen. The pair encounter skeptics of his work, shades, and other undead creatures as they search for a way to help Queen Marisol uncover the truth and share it with those nearest to her. However, during this time, unexpected feelings are growing between Emilio and Marisol.

The authors have created a unique, riveting dark fantasy novel with a slow-burn romance. The chemistry between the two main characters is subtle and sets readers up for a more extended storyline beyond this one novel. I found myself anxious to get to the moment when they would finally be together. The slow pace works with the story, as there is more at stake than love. The narrative and plotline flow smoothly, giving readers a complete picture of what is happening. Bringing the truth into the light comes off as the story’s focus and romance complement it perfectly.

Raise the Dead is a gripping dark fantasy and paranormal romance novel that takes readers into the world of necromancers. With richly developed characters, magic and adventure, there is something for readers of all fantasy to enjoy. This novel has a lot of potentials to be a fantastic series. I look forward to seeing how Tony Fuentes and C. S. Kading develop this budding romance.

Pages: 243 | ASIN : B0BKJP16PX

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Return to Hardscrabble Road

Return To Hardscrabble Road by George Weinstein is a southern-based coming-of-age novel. This is the sequel to the critically acclaimed Hardscrabble Road, picking up where the first book left off. George Weinstein interweaves themes of hope, redemption, loss, revenge, heartache, and family into a beautifully southern gothic story. When you open the pages of Return To Hardscrabble Road, prepare yourself for a wild ride, an intense journey, and memorable wisdom found along the way. By intricately combining these themes, Return To Hardscrabble Road is an unforgettable reminder of what it feels like to grow up and make your own way in the world while navigating everything you leave behind in the innocence of your youth.

This story captivated me from start to finish. While putting together the pieces from the first book, Hardscrabble Road, I immediately fell in love with the characters and their conflict-resolution faced as I poured over the pages. This book left me reeling with engaging characters, memorable dialogue, and a fascinating narrative. With exciting plot twists and compelling details, Weinstein’s writing left me able to put myself in the story.

Due to the themes and setting of this novel, the story may not be for everyone. George Weinstein covers many complex topics but has a quality in his writing that allows for a relatable and engaging story that audiences everywhere can appreciate. However, I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a quality narrative about family, loss, and redemption. Due to the content, this book is mesmerizing and intriguing. If you are looking for something that is heartfelt and has a great story, grabs a copy of Return To Hardscrabble Road. 

Pages: 316 | ASIN : B0BJ7DLCGM

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Having To Contend With Her “Otherness”

Alyssa Charpentier Author Interview

The Myrk Maiden follows a young woman whose life is shattered when she’s thrust into the realm of a society of sorcerers who look to her as their salvation. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

This novel was conceived when I was a wee high school freshman being sped away from everything I knew. We were relocating from our lifelong roots in the Pacific Northwest to the East Coast in the middle of the school year, and as we crossed the state lines, I imagined a frustrated young girl who felt like a pariah having to contend with her “otherness” and an upended life. This concept was too simple, however. I wanted it to have a magical, fantastical flair – hence the evolution of that troubled young girl into a shapeshifting hybrid human. Fueled by my nascent knowledge of the “sorcerer” residents in the town I had just spent seven years growing up in, I decided to blend some facts among the fiction and create as authentic of a fantasy story as I could.

Twilight is an interesting and well-developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character’s development?

My protagonist is not easy to root for in this story. Infused with monstrous powers and a murderous nature, Twilight offers readers a raw, realistic glimpse into evil. Connecting with readers and exploring and empathizing with their inner darkness became a vital element of Twilight’s journey. I wanted anyone who immersed themselves in this twisted tale to understand that their evil inclinations are not the exception, but the rule, and that despite this troubling fact, hope never dies as long as we live… and it is light that devours darkness, not the other way around.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Identity, understanding one’s true nature, and the importance of wisely wielding gifts are some central themes in the first book. Twilight is blessed with tremendous potential, but potential does not always translate to beautiful “actual.” Those who struggle with the yoke of their own intensity are dangerous. They are capable of incredible, wondrous things… but these creators, if their hearts are darkened, can also become destroyers. People who have been chosen for extraordinary tasks must be mindful of how they handle them; will they use their gifts to restore or destroy? How many mistakes will they stumble over along the way, and is there a purpose for any of it? The Myrk Maiden Trilogy navigates these existential questions and many more.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

My next release is approaching quickly! On December 10th, 2022, I am publishing Daughter Dusk, Book #2 in the Myrk Maiden Trilogy. Look for it on Amazon!

Author Links: GoodReads | Website

What if you were born to destroy the world…not save it?

15-year-old Twilight dreams of a better life away from her uncaring family, longing for purpose and adventure. When her humdrum existence is soon shattered forever, she is thrust into the wickedly enticing realm of the Shadows, a society of sorcerers who look to her as their living salvation from the light. As darkness seeps into Twilight’s soul, she comes to live by three words – “maim and kill.” In this brutal coming-of-age tale, young Twilight finds herself tangled in a twist of existential crises, divine dangers, and monstrous mishaps as she navigates the various bends and turns of her new life, always wondering whether she should obey her “true nature” and remain in the dark – or fight for a glimpse of light beyond the Shadows’ compound walls.

Book 1 in The Myrk Maiden Trilogy.

Rosemary for Remembrance

Rosemary for Remembrance, an alluring book by Nikki Broadwell, is a fictionalized account of a war-torn love story. The author tells readers the story of a couple who has to face many troubles due to the World War. The conditions soldiers are forced to live in and how the soldier wives lived back home are shown. In this story, our protagonists, Rosemary and Dylan, wade through the waters of war, trauma, and distance between themselves to conquer their fears and insecurities.

The writing style of this book is fast-paced and captivating. Readers are drawn into this story from the beginning. I could finish this in a single day because the storyline was engaging, and each chapter left the reader wanting to know more. The natural and supernatural events filled the narrative with suspense and anticipation of what thrilling event will come next.

The mental exploration of the Prisoners of War and their post-war trauma has been explained in detail. From Rosemary’s point of view, we can witness the struggles and problems of the soldier’s family left behind without any contact with their loved ones. This book also explores the impact of soldiers’ traumas on their families and relationships. Fallouts and Divorces were common, but no one was to blame.

The journal entries by Dylan from the Prisoner of War camps made me feel the pain and anguish which coursed through those soldiers. The helplessness and cruelty of the war are being laid bare through those journals. As the author has mentioned, those journal entries were the actual journals of their grandfather. This makes them more realistic and horrific to read.

There is a parallel plot running in this book. In that story, the eighteenth-century dilemma and struggle for love are shown. The condition of women at that time has been described in a way that left me uncomfortable and angry. The story of Rebecca and Edgar reflects the story of Rosemary and Dylan, yet they are drastically different.

This book took me into the midst of the horror that was felt by the soldiers as well as their families. The simple and captivating writing style paired with a headstrong female protagonist makes this book a brilliant read. Some mature topics are presented in this storyline due to the brutal nature of the time and war. I recommend this book to people who want to read about the conditions of war and a love that’s being tested by time and troubles.

Pages: 286 | ASIN : B0711FL8T8

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Pushed Through Extraordinary Circumstances

Dylan Madeley
Dylan Madeley Author Interview

The Fate of Lenn continues to expand the world created in the Gift-Knight series with a focus on Duke Lenn Wancyek. What motivated you to write a book exploring this character?

Lenn and Zinnia appear in “flashback time” of The Gift-Knight’s Quest and they never got a complete story until now. In their first appearance, they represent intense action experiences to break up the longueurs of Derek riding to ruins, riding from his old home to his new one, and chewing the scenery. The same is true to a lesser extent for King Jonnecht the First and General Conrad, who both get a fuller story told in Prince Ewald the Brave. But the point is, an entire time period and situation were presented there that set the stage for the original trilogy. There was enough going on to deserve its own book. This time, instead of presenting a Lenn and Zinnia who are combinations of myths and legends and disputing historical records and whatever Derek might imagine them to be, I wanted to show you the reality that later got mythologized. Duke Lenn Wancyek, with a widow’s peak, a tummy, doubts and depression, well-liked but not exactly suave, and just handling life and responsibilities as best he can. A human being pushed through extraordinary circumstances.

What were some driving ideals behind Duke Lenn Wancyek character and evolution?

He is best known in the original trilogy for being a historically important figure who is willing to risk everything for a people not his own and a lover he only knows for a brief time. He recognizes that something terrible is in progress, and he expects nobody else to do much about it, yet he has the power, the privilege to do something. I needed him to be someone who understands that leadership is a role of service, one which comes with privileges that enable his work and compensate him for the burdens it places on him; Prince Ewald seems to understand the same, it is a running theme among my leader characters who have good intentions. I needed people’s lives to matter to him, not just people in his dukedom or the broader kingdom but people in general. He needed to be expertly capable of using deadly force yet reluctant to do so, because it’s a decision he can’t take back, and it tends to occur in situations that risk his own life as well. He always reaches for lofty ideals but has to work within the real, and the disparity between the two frustrates him, comparable to his descendent Derek–someone he must posthumously inspire. Most importantly, Lenn had to be the kind of person where even if it seems to be too late for him, if his situation looks no-win, he still finds the people who look like they have a chance, people he loves and people in need, and he does what he can for them. He is not the kind of person who says, “It’s too late for me, so I don’t have to care about anyone or anything else anymore.” And if it’s not too late for him to help a noble cause, perhaps it’s not too late for him after all.

What scene in the book did you have the most fun creating?

This is a tough call because I present a variety of scenes where I enjoyed different aspects for different reasons. Sometimes it’s simple: I like to choreograph a good barehanded fight because it lets me think back to my decade of commercial martial arts experience and how I would describe moves that I practiced and sometimes successfully executed in training. I also liked the entire arc of the musicians coming together to make something unique and beautiful, because I have spent so much of my spare time in the past twenty years hanging out with musicians, seeing them build something together, and always feeling like I could witness history in the making just by being their friend–yet it was so satisfying to produce this fictional account where people with completely different backgrounds and sounds figure out how to coexist and produce something brilliant. Lastly, I will admit my visceral gratification any time I got to write someone taking the piss out of Sir Wolter, whose reputation as a ridiculous man is so widespread that General Conrad took time to throw him some shade in the previous book of the series (Prince Ewald the Brave). Sadly, all the jokes in the world can’t exorcise the toxic mindset he represents and the legacy it has left/the influence it still has on the world today, but sometimes humour is the most scathing weapon I have.

Do you have future books planned for your Gift-Knight series?

At the moment, I do not. I will say this: there are two significant loose ends left between this book and its predecessor which suggest that more story could be told, and the words of Alathea herself in The Crown Princess’ Voyage summarize how those loose ends are tied together. But could it be wrapped up in a few short stories or a novella? The main reason I’m not looking at a full seventh book to the series right now relates to something you pointed out in your review, that these books do not just read like historical accounts. They are supposed to be more than that. I always have messages and ideas in mind, even if the reader doesn’t agree with them or if I don’t present the message clearly. The Gift-Knight Trilogy is about two people who have reasons to hate each other finding a way to work together because greater things are at stake, and the series has opinions about different people finding ways to coexist respectfully, without losing any of the variety and uniqueness that makes the world such a beautiful and interesting place. The prequel trilogy has a lot to say about service-minded leadership versus entitlement, and also the power of young people to either save or ruin their world depending on what guidance and support are available to them; also, the power of their elders to shape what’s to come, and how that’s a complicated process fraught with peril. But, returning to the idea of a seventh book. If I wrote one to tie up those loose ends, which would primarily be about Jarek (the reader may wonder what happened to him and there’s a reason it went unsaid) and Elcimer (the man to whom King Jonnecht offered to sell weapons and soldiers’ services) and the drama surrounding each of them before they meet on the battlefield, all I know right now is a history. “Here’s what happened, here’s the final groundwork of the world we see by the time Derek and Chandra get to have their story.” I don’t know what the intended message is or how it could be any different than what’s already presented. Or how it even upholds the messages already presented, for that matter. Idea-wise, it could easily become “a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing”, and I’m not currently interested in writing a book where I don’t even know what the broader message is. Maybe one day, if I find myself with a large fandom that craves it, I will bring that out for them. But right now it’s not even close to happening. I did release two books in a year and knowing little else of the situation someone might imagine I can pump another out, but my first drafts tend to sit for years before I know what they need. I don’t currently have any complete rough drafts ready for reworking.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Future generations will mythologize Duke Lenn Wancyek, but he is a person like any other. He feels hope, worry, loss, pain, and the weight of a kingdom on his shoulders. When his responsibilities place him in a catastrophic situation from which he may not escape, his values will resonate through his actions more thoroughly than any speech he could ever make.

You will meet everyone who looks to him and you will see their struggles which run concurrent with his: a friend and adviser who wishes to steer him right; three musicians who think they have landed the greatest job in the kingdom; a gardener who does so much yet asks so little; a woman who works to free her people. The list goes on, but time grows short.

You will meet the man who becomes the legend. You will know the fate of Lenn.

Roots in Gothic Fiction

Terry Lynn Thomas headshotThe Spirit of Grace is a murder mystery story set in the 1940’s against the backdrop of WWII-era California. I thought the detail in this story did a great job in capturing that era. What research did you do to understand the backdrop for your story?

My father fought in World War II, and he and my mother moved to the San Francisco Bay Area when he mustered out of the Navy. As a child, I was regaled with stories of my father’s time in the war, and of their time as a newly married couple in San Francisco. Those stories inspired me set the series in this era and location. As for research, once I decide exactly when my story will take place (Grace takes place in October 1942), I read the newspapers from that time, along with magazines (such as Life and The New Yorker), I read novels on the best seller lists at that time, and have discovered a passion for old time radio shows, which I listen to as well. When I am writing a novel, I don’t read anything that is not period appropriate. I really try to capture what it felt like to live during that time period. The beauty of setting a story in San Francisco is that it is easy for me to be in a certain place (Ocean Beach, the Legion of Honor, The Cliff House, to name a few) and really conjure up the past. I hope my readers will be transported to 1940s San Francisco, and love it there as much as I do.

Sarah is the only witness to her mother’s murder and is under suspicion, but has amnesia. What was your inspiration for Sarah’s character and the situation that she was in?

I knew when I wrote this book that Sarah needed to have some flaw that isolated her from her family, while at the same time casting suspicion on her. I wasn’t sure how to capture that exact scenario, so I stepped away from the story for a few days, and viola, this situation presented itself. I am also seeding the backstory so the reader knows that Sarah has issues, and these issues become apparent to the reader as the story unfolds.

I enjoyed the romantic relationship between the handsome writing assistance Zeke and Sarah. How did their relationship develop while you were writing it? Did you have an idea of where you wanted to take it or was it organic?

A little bit of both, actually. I don’t write romance per se, but Sarah needed someone to help her, a partner, if you will, who had his own issues. I especially wanted her to have a man around who was interested in her and who ignored her gorgeous mother in law. But Zeke and Sarah’s relationship unfolded organically, and it is still unfolding now, as I write book three. Zeke is a man who is way ahead of his time. You have to remember that during this time period, women couldn’t open a bank account, or rent an apartment (to name two examples) without the help of a man, be it a husband, father, or brother. Zeke—as the reader will discover—gives Sarah her freedom. He believes in her, and helps her grow by giving her freedom and honoring her as a person.

I think that the story has roots in the Gothic romance tradition. Do you read books from that genre? What were some books that you think influenced The Spirit of Grace?

Grace does have its roots in Gothic fiction. Most of the books I read are British, and are written before 1960. I love Dorothy Eden, Mary Stewart, Daphne Du Maurier, Patricia Wentworth, and—of course—Agatha Christie. I think that I pull from the vast reading I’ve done in this genre, especially because it is my intention to write in the style of these old-time Gothics. It’s interesting because I know these books are not terribly popular right now, but I have connected with so many readers who remember these books, and love these stories. It’s also a pleasure to write during a time when there wasn’t Internet or cell phones. While I embrace our modern way of communicating, I do think technology disconnects us from each other. I like to remember what it was like before we were so connected, and I hope that my stories are able to help my readers remember that, too. I have a secret passion for Gothic mysteries from the 1940s through the early 1970s, such as those published by ACE Gothics. The covers are fabulous, and I find those stories to be so beautifully written, but often disregarded as women’s pulp fiction. When I created the Sarah Bennett Series, I intended on paying homage to those old stories, and to that particular style of writing. Hopefully modern readers will relate to my heroine, who doesn’t wait for someone (her romantic interest, for example) to save her. She saves herself, and becomes strong in the process.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter | Website

Sarah Bennett doesn’t remember the night her mother tumbled down the stairs at Bennett House, despite allegedly witnessing the fatal fall. There was talk of foul play, dark whispers, and sidelong glances, all aimed at Sarah, prompting her family to send her to The Laurels, an exclusive asylum in San Francisco, under a cloud of suspicion. Now, on the one-year anniversary of her mother’s murder, Sarah has been summoned home. Convinced of her innocence, she returns to Bennett House, hoping to put the broken pieces of her life back together. But when another murder occurs shortly after her arrival, Sarah once again finds herself a suspect, as she is drawn into a web of suspicion and lies. In order to clear her name, Sarah must remember what happened the fateful night her mother died. But as she works to regain her memory, the real murderer watches, ready to kill again to protect a dark family secret.

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