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Elizabeth Franklin: Sisters of Three – Book Trailer

Having destroyed Griselda, the war the High Priestess predicted between Hell and the newfound Sisters of Three proved to be inevitable. Aurelia, a Goddess of Witchcraft herself and an ancient to Mount Olympus, was appointed to take the place of the fallen Queen of the Underworld. Hades, determined to seek revenge for his wife’s death, has no idea that his new Queen has her own agenda that could ultimately cost him the throne. In the second installment of the Franklin series, Elizabeth is faced with a startling revelation of her past…one that makes her question her own existence and whether or not she belongs to the darkness after all.

Shacklady – Book Trailer

At the end of the 19th century, Silas Shacklady was obsessed with his mine in the Snowdonia mountains. Digging ever deeper in search of a Motherload, Silas disturbs dark secrets and powers hidden for centuries within that subterranean world. In 1897 the mine was sealed after a cave-in buried Silas and over two hundred men, caught forever within its black maw.

The mystery of how this happened and the strange presence of The Lady Emily, an ancient steam engine, draws Nick, Wendy and Alan into a dangerous underground adventure. One which finds them trapped in a battle between malevolent forces, risking all their lives and creating profound consequences for many.

Grasp of Erebus

Grasp of Erebus is the first book of The Devan Prodigy series by Sebastian Dax. It begins with a premonition by John, the main character’s father, and within the very first chapters there is an uncanny similarity to what is about to unfold in Tom’s own life. Tom and his mother never imagined that his nightmares were anything more than horrible visions of violence caused by some unknown ailment. But as Tom’s empathic capabilities continue to expand dramatically, even he isn’t entirely sure what to make of his experiences and everything seems to be pushing him towards services offered by The Clinic. As Tom makes his way through the workings of the Shadow Cult and its members, one thing is certain: he is both a gift and a curse to Shadow Creatures and they intend to harvest Tom for his power.

Author Sebastian Dax’s character development is a highlight of this thrilling novel. I really enjoyed the slow evolution of each character and the deep lore that is methodically laid out. I was fascinated by the way fear of the unknown is explored in the story and the interesting ways it manifests on the page.

Although the first third of the book feels a bit frantic and is a blend of the conscious and unconscious mind, it adds as a complex layer to this story that is ultimately intriguing. This places the reader into the same panic Tom is experiencing by being unable to control these out-of-body travels.

Readers will encounter a diverse cast of characters throughout this dark fantasy novel. They are all easy to keep track of as they are all given a distinct feel. Ben was the much-needed bridge between the chaos; his function as the seed for unravelling the truth was pivotal in the success of this novel. I think the progression and understanding of Tom’s prime empath powers would not have flowed as effortlessly and would have lacked structure in the storyline without his presence.

This is a riveting occult horror story that consistently builds tension and conveys a sense of fear in a way that feels more intriguing than terrifying. I was enthralled by the nightmarish mystery at the heart of this story. Readers who enjoy dark tales with imaginative supernatural worlds and well conceived lore will find Grasp of Erebus a stimulating novel and a fantastic start to a series.

Pages: 641 | ASIN: B09QY1C69Y

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Ashes, Ashes

Jessica Goeken’s Ashes, Ashes centers around teenage monster slayer, Adrienne Young, as she navigates family drama, high school crushes, and magical responsibilities. Adrienne has more on her plate than your average seventeen-year-old — trying to strike a balance between attending classes and battling creatures from the Shadow Plane isn’t easy. But when her guardians come under attack by an unknown entity, Adrienne must put her life on the line to save them. With the help of her adoptive siblings, Adrienne is duty-bound to solve the mystery surrounding her guardians’ disappearance, alongside the death of several schoolgirls — and it’s going to take all her strength to do it.

Reminiscent of young adult adventure stories like the Percy Jackson series, Ashes, Ashes is an action-packed rollercoaster filled with fights, tears, and humor. While some may find the high school romance plot less compelling than the magical battle Adrienne becomes embroiled in, overall this novel strikes a balance between high-stakes conflict and more lighthearted concerns.

This story does make use of some well-worn tropes, such as the popular boy falling for the outcast girl (who, we are led to understand as readers, is beautiful but unaware of it). However, the world-building is immersive and exciting — the author has clearly put a lot of thought into the existence of her magi, with their uniquely turbulent lifestyle and varying skills and abilities.

The concept of creatures existing within different planes, and the relationship between our world and these planes, is also intriguing and employed to good effect. It is both thrilling and amusing to watch Adrienne leap between fighting malevolent creatures and returning to the Mortal Plane in time for school. I would recommend this book, particularly to any young adult who enjoys a mixture of supernatural horror and teen drama, as life-threatening events coincide with the typical trials and tribulations of growing up.

Pages: 344 | ASIN : B09YY333XL

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Round And Round It Went

James Hodge Author Interview

The Yellow Sign follows a traumatized FBI agent that has to figure out what is real and what is in her head in order to save her friend that has gone missing. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The inspiration for the story is a little cliche: I was struggling to fall asleep one night a few years ago after reading The King in Yellow by Robert Chambers, and a scene kept playing in my head of a doctor racing to a college campus to help an (unknown to him) dead patient. Her revival, her mad zealotry, and her turning the tables on the doctor (“He told me your name”), the scene wouldn’t let me go. Round and round it went, as more details filled in.

Eventually, around 02:00, I had to get up and write down the scene, just to get it out of my head. Most of the opening of TYS is straight from those first notes, that punch-in-the-face pulpy hook.

After that, it became a question of what made that scene important. Some parts of the setup were natural storytelling (a friend of the doctor tries to find and save him), while others came much later and with much staring at a blank screen (Blaine’s struggles with… everything).

Erica Blaine has suffered a great deal but still risks it all for a friend. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Blaine is a very flawed character; she has made plenty of mistakes, suffered much, and we meet her at her lowest. Some of the driving ideals in her development include her willingness to jump into danger for those she loves, showing how sometimes the best way we can help ourselves is to help others, despite our own (sometimes literal) internal voices telling us how worthless we are.

Blaine presents as an extreme loner, but when push comes to shove she becomes very protective of those she becomes close to (e.g. Amber). These actions help her to begin moving towards the road of recovery, but alas, when your therapist is the leader of a cult, are things really going to get better?

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

The themes most dear to my heart are all of the struggles Blaine goes through: deep depression, fighting through trauma, and the courage it takes to face those pains. Everything around the inner voice was very important for me, allowing me to shape the story in a unique direction. I’ve always loved cosmic horror tropes, and they allowed me to play with themes of narration and motivation in ways I rarely see.

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

I am currently working on The Knife that Bites, a story set in a far-future hive-city of ten billion souls, as famine runs rampant; it will be more sci-fi than The Yellow Sign, but will still have plenty of horror. I just can’t resist. Give me red and raw and ruining any day.

I am hoping to get The Knife that Bites out to everyone in 2023. Fingers crossed.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads | Mailing List

FBI Agent Erica Blaine has suffered more than most. After narrowly escaping being at the center of a cult sacrifice she’d been tasked with infiltrating, Erica has spent the last few months hitting the bottle, trying to avoid dealing with the trauma of what she experienced and those she couldn’t save. Her ruined hands, always gloved, are an unavoidable reminder of her pain and anguish.

As is the voice that won’t allow her a moment of peace.

But when her old Army buddy goes missing under suspicious circumstances, Erica is pulled back into the Lovecraftian world of cult infiltration. The Yellow College welcomes her with open arms, but as her sanity crumbles beneath the weight of hallucinations, old traumas, and lost memories, how can she expect to save her friend when she can barely tell what’s real and what isn’t?

Have you seen the shores of Carcosa?

This Is a Coming-Of-Age Story

Joseph Stone Author Interview

A Perfect Night follows a young girl who witnesses her mother’s death and discovers that her family has paranormal abilities and dark secrets. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Over cocktails, a dear friend of mine named Fran once revealed how she and several of her family members have been haunted all their lives. Some siblings are more attuned to the spirits than others, but all have had multiple encounters with them. Growing up in her aunt’s home, several angry spirits caused so much havoc that Fran won’t return to the house even for a visit to this day.

What struck me most about Fran’s stories was her insistence that her mother’s spirit has been with her ever since the woman died. She plays pranks on Fran, hiding trinkets for days or weeks, only to return them somewhere unmistakable, like on Fran’s pillow before she goes to bed. I’ve always been interested in ghosts and the occult, but the idea of a parent remaining on earth to guard over their child struck a unique chord with me.

Frances is traumatized at a young age and as she grows learns more about herself and her family’s past. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

This is a coming-of-age story, and if the challenges of puberty aren’t a great set-up for a horror novel, I don’t know what is. Frances must learn to become a successful adult while shouldering heavy baggage. She’s lost her mother, her father has abandoned her, and she finds herself planted in her aunt’s house with other children and zero privacy for the first time. Further, she’s dealing with a ghost who does terrible things to discipline her, all of which Frances condones because she believes they are her mother’s loving and deserved punishments.

This story focuses on how someone in these unique situations finds her voice in the chaos. My ultimate goal for Frances is to overcome her fears and take charge of the legacy she’s about to be handed by the other haunted women in her family.

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

I wanted to approach themes of misogyny and women’s rights in the early 1970s. Aunt Laura gives Frances quite an education about women’s sexual identity and the mores of the times they live it. There’s an entire chapter where she schools her niece on the word ‘slut.’ Laura insists Frances understand what it truly means when she calls another girl (or woman) a slut, and how she will not tolerate its use by a member of her household.

Several young readers have pointed out to me how strange they found that conversation. To modern youths, that stigma feels like it belongs to a different universe. Much of Generation Z has not only embraced the term, but they’ve also turned it into an honorific title. They feel ‘slut’ now represents feminine empowerment from the patriarchal dogma the word once harbored for their grandmothers.

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

I am presently writing the third werewolf book in my Lykanos Chronicles for early next year. After that, I will head back into Frances’ mind to write the second Haunted Women novel.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Some family secrets must be kept hidden for generations.

Frances Tarantino has felt her mother’s spirit by her side ever since the woman’s tragic death. Fran’s mother sends beautiful ladybugs to land on her dress whenever she feels lonely or afraid. The little red and orange jewels always bring a smile to the girl’s face. And on those rare occasions when Fran misbehaves, her mother disciplines her. As Fran falls in love for the first time, she learns how dangerous a parent’s discipline can be.

Fran’s grand aunt, Aurora Ciconne, vowed never to take another husband when she became widowed at twenty-two. To a chorus of would-be suitors, she insisted her heart could never belong to another. And now, at fifty-eight, Aurora insists she does not need a man. But in secret, she has always been a bride.

When Fran develops their family’s gift of sight, Aurora searches for a way to free them both from the diabolical enslavement they can speak of to no one else.

The first book of The Haunted Women series follows the lives of two extraordinary women capable of seeing the spectral world—and all they must sacrifice to free themselves from it.

**WARNING: Contains scenes of sexual violence and abuse.**

The Younglings: Fire & Magic

The Youngling gang of supernaturals is back in the second installment of Helena M. Craggs’ series. This time Quinn and his friends are more experienced, more determined, and have even more troubled spirits to clean up after. A wannabe vampire on the loose, stalkerish witches and the pressure cooker of first years of college mean that their break from the supernatural realm has well and truly come to an end.

The Younglings: Fire & Magic picks up from where it left off, continuing the journey of first loves, sexuality, friendship, loyalty and familial unity. The ongoing guidance of demon nanny Mrs. D was the feel-good stability and wisdom that can often lack in the young adult genre.

Narrated predominantly from Quinn’s perspective Helena M. Craggs has done well to maintain his humorous and charismatic character. The addition of storytelling from multiple perspectives created the perfect amount of angst to keep the reader feverishly turning pages and builds upon the logic and reason of characters the reader has already had the opportunity to understand.

The natural progression of the original characters truly shines through in this second installment. Eve and Quinn have matured immensely; tougher and more direct, they set the tone of the novel to be logical and infallible, genuinely growing into the ruling roles so heavily focused on in book one. An outstanding friendship dynamic with purposeful powers and personalities, Craggs has taken her time to evolve relationships through real-life themes young adults face. The romantic subplot solidified this novels place in the workings of a brilliant young adult read.

The Younglings: Fire & Magic is a lighthearted paranormal fantasy that takes young adult readers on an action-filled adventure. The supernatural characters are engaging and will have readers hooked from the start.

Pages: 340 | ASIN : B09YHMTV4Z

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The Yellow Sign

After what FBI Agent Erica Blaine has gone through, you’d think she deserves a long and restful vacation. After fruitless therapy sessions, copious amounts of booze, and her gloves that cover her scars, it’s only logical to give her all the time in the world to recover. But when her old army buddy, Dr. Feinstein, goes missing without an explanation, she packs up the flask and goes undercover to uncover the secrets of The Yellow College, where Feinstein was last seen. Thus begins The Yellow Sign, a novel of occult and cosmic horror by James Hodge.

The Yellow Sign has a straightforward plot that allows the readers to follow the character’s actions without keeping track of an assortment of subplots. As a plot-focused novel, the narration marches on at a smooth pace. Blaine, as a character, is easily a relatable hero with just enough personality for readers to root for.

Readers will immediately be immersed in the horror of this novel, making it hard to put down. The reader is constantly reminded of a traumatic event in Erica Blaine’s past, but we are never given more than a subtle glance. I feel that the theme of overcoming personal demons through facing actual monsters is a horror trope that is acutely utilized in this novel. However, genre veterans will love how Hodge brings the situations to life with his graphic details and impressive worldbuilding.

The Yellow Sign promises a dark descent into the depraved world of a mysterious cult, and it delivers. You’ll find yourself zipping through the pages, wanting to get to the flesh and bone of things. This all begins in the prologue, with the deliciously pulpy encounter between Dr. Feinstein and Alice. There also seems to be a charming encounter with her henchmen, the humorously named Thin and Thick.

The Yellow Sign is a good place for readers new to cosmic and occult horror to start reading and get a feel for the genre. The charismatic characters and the strong plot will give readers a great novel to segue into darker occult fiction.

Pages: 242 | ASIN : B09VWY7D9Y

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