Blog Tour (Book Review): Once Upon A Winter: A Folk and Fairy Tale Anthology


Today I am delighted to be helping kick off the blog tour for Once Upon A Winter: A Folk and Fairy Tale Anthology which is out from Macfarlane Lantern Publishing tomorrow. This is a wonderful wintery read, and I hope that you will check out both it and the rest of the blogs helping with the tour.

Disclaimer – I received a copy in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts are my own.

Book Summary:

A shape-shifting spirit haunts a family in England during the depths of winter. 

A woman must locate a snowflake for a magical trickster to save her frozen true love. 

A witch knocks upon a young man’s door to take his life on Christmas day. 

A small boy meets a faerie housed within a snow drop.

Once upon a time stories travelled from place to place on the tongues of merchants and thieves and kings alike. Under the blanket of night they were exchanged between children, and passed on to their children, and their children after them. Details were altered from one generation to the next until thousands of tales existed where once there were few. 

In the spirit of these age-old stories comes Once Upon a Winter, a seasonal anthology of folk and fairy tales from 17 authors across the globe. It covers the Gothic, the romantic, the whimsical, the frightening and everything in-between, and features both intriguing twists on classic tales and exciting original stories.

The first of four planned seasonal anthologies from Macfarlane Lantern Publishing, Once Upon a Winter is sure to have a story for just about everyone. Grab your copy in time for Christmas today!

Inside this anthology: 

The Biting Cold by Josie Jaffrey

The Match Girl by Rebecca F. Kenney

Santa Claus is Coming to Town by Bharat Krishnan

A Pea Ever After by Adie Hart

The Snow Drop by H. L. Macfarlane

Silverfoot’s Edge by Ella Holmes

The Storm Hags by Caroline Logan

The Boggart of Boggart Hole Clough by Jake Curran-Pipe

Around the Hawthorne Tree by Jenna Smithwick

The Best Girl this Side of Winter by Laila Amado

The Snow Trolls by S. Markem

Lord of the Forest by Katherine Shaw

Queen of the Snows by Joyce Reynolds-Ward

Long Meg and the Sorcerer’s Stones by M. J. Weatherall

The Frost of Mercy by A. J. Van Belle

Wintercast by R. A. Gerritse

You Can’t See Me by Kate Longstone

Continue reading “Blog Tour (Book Review): Once Upon A Winter: A Folk and Fairy Tale Anthology”

A Writing Update


This was a post I considered making back at the end of September when I lost an entire month in my timeline for working on The Ravyn’s Words due to illness and a bereavement, but at the time while busy I still had a clear schedule.

However, the situation has changed – particularly with work which has become untenable at this point. Covid hit our team hard, we had a lot of older volunteers and between concerns about covid and the long months of lockdown many of them decided to retire – which is more than fair and, it means that we’re operating at bare minimum capacity and they just keep removing resources one after the other, while expecting us to do more and more – and in the busiest period as well. I will be leaving as soon as I find another job – which has increased the pressure on doing job applications, and while I am hoping to do this without relocating I haven’t taken it off the table although I love where I live.

This along with some other personal stuff – including another bereavement in October, has meant that while I’ve been working away on getting the book ready for publication, the stress has been building up and this past week it has manifested with exhaustion and being generally unwell. This has the knock on of slowing everything down because I’m so tired, and I’m at the point where it’s also making me struggle with my dyslexia more than normal and I can see myself making more mistakes.

To top of the general chaos and mess that life is at the moment, I’ve also had it confirmed this week that I now also have arthritis in my right hip in addition to both knees. While it’s nice to know why I’ve been in additional pain for the last few months, it still sucks – and is another reason for moving up the timeline for looking for a new job, as my current one is very physically demanding and my pain levels are starting to get unbearable more often. It has also made sitting down to work more difficult.

I could possibly press through to meet the deadline, but it would be incredibly close, it would be compounding current issues and ultimately more mistakes will be made. I love this book with all my heart, and I want to do it justice – but something is going to break, and I would rather it wasn’t me. So, I am going to take the extra time, have a rest for a few days and then finish the last bits with a fresh mind and hopefully a little less stress.

I want to say a massive thank you to everyone who has cheered me on, pre-ordered The Ravyn’s Words and made the stress a bit more bearable, and I wanted to do this post before changing the date. I will be updating on KDP tomorrow to reflect this change. At present I am looking at the 28th December as the new release date, as I do not want to clash with some other books that are coming out at that time that I want to shout about.

Aside from a review later today and one tomorrow which is part of a blog tour, the blog will be quiet this week as I take a break, work on job applications and try and just breathe.


Book Review: The Laughing Heart (Shadow Twins) – Luke Tarzian


Today I’m reviewing The Laughing Heart by Luke Tarzian. This was originally a story in the Dark Ends Anthology, and is currently one of the amazing books available in this Indie Fantasy Giveaway. The Laughing Heart is part of the Shadow Twins series, and you can read my review of the first book Vultures here – and I am so excited to see what Tarzian is going to do in the next book House of Muir.

Also, The World Breaker Requiem, the second book in the Adjacent Monsters series is out next month and it’s going to be bloody fantastic, so n

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Book Summary:

THE LAUGHING HEART follows the early years of one Cailean Catil, introduced initially in VULTURES. Still reeling from the death of his husband Bar, a young Cailean takes up arms against the fallen angel Galska Nuul in an effort to release the city of Harbanan from the monster’s hold. But as Cailean quickly learns, things aren’t exactly what they seem. Once marked, always marked.

Continue reading “Book Review: The Laughing Heart (Shadow Twins) – Luke Tarzian”

Book Review: Tainted (A Tainted Dominion Novella) – Krystle Matar


For the third and final review for today, I’m reviewing Tainted by Krystle Matar. This was originally a story in the Dark Ends Anthology, but has been expanded into a full novella here and is set in the same world as her stunning debut Legacy of the Brightwash (Review here), and is currently one of the amazing books available in this Indie Fantasy Giveaway. This was a fantastic novella and reminded me just how much I love Matar’s characterization.

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Book Summary:

Glaen must choose: the woman he loves, or freedom. Does he comply with the law of the Authority, or does he continue to see Gianna, the only light of his life? The consequences of his choice will ripple through more than he realizes. Revolution can start with a single shot.

Continue reading “Book Review: Tainted (A Tainted Dominion Novella) – Krystle Matar”

Book Review: The Fall (The Bound and the Broken 0.5) – Ryan Cahill


I broke my book drought to devour this book last week and I loved it. I read Of Fire and Blood earlier this year, and I had been meaning to pick up The Fall for ages and I am glad that I did, because this was a fantastic novella. And today is an auspicious day to be reviewing it, because the e-arc for the next book in the series Of Darkness and Light landed in my inbox today and I can’t wait to dive in.

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Book Summary:

The Order have watched over the continent of Epheria for thousands of years. But there are those who believe The Order has had its day. That it is corrupt, indulgent, and deceitful – that it is ready to fall.

The City of Ilnaen is on fire.
Dragons fill the skies.
Traitors fill the streets.

The Fall is a prequel novella that takes place four hundred years before the events in Of Blood and Fire – book one in The Bound and The Broken series.

Continue reading “Book Review: The Fall (The Bound and the Broken 0.5) – Ryan Cahill”

Book Review: Nothing But Blackened Teeth – Cassandra Khaw


The first of three reviews today as I am once more playing catch up. This is one of the books I got for my birthday, and that I had been waiting to read for months, but unfortunately ended up as one that left with me very mixed feelings.

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Book Summary:

A group of thrill-seeking friends in search of the perfect wedding venue plan to spend the night in a Heian-era mansion. Long abandoned, and unknown to them, this mansion rests on the bones of a bride, and its walls are packed with the remains of the girls sacrificed to keep her company.

Their night of food, drinks, and games quickly spirals into a nightmare, as the house welcomes its new guests. For lurking in the shadows is the ghost bride with a black smile and a hungry heart.

And she gets lonely down there in the dirt.

Continue reading “Book Review: Nothing But Blackened Teeth – Cassandra Khaw”

Blog Tour (Book Review): Gravitas (A Tale of the Constella) – Christopher Russell


Today I’m delighted to be reviewing ‘Gravitas’ by Christopher Russell as part of the blog tour organised by Storytellers on Tour. I really enjoyed Divinity’s Twilight: Rebirth when I read it last year, so I’ve been excited for this one ever since it was announced, and what a deliciously dark book it turned out to be.

I hope that you will check out the book and the author, and enjoy the rest of the tour with the schedule in the banner below or (HERE).

Disclaimer – I received a copy in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts are my own.

Book Summary:

History has weight behind it. The power to crush an empire . . . or birth it anew.

Nowhere is this more true than the Republic of Lestadt, an island nation founded upon the bones of tyrants and sustained by the might of Gravitas. This magic is the manifestation of the past, drawing upon the heritage of relics and heirlooms to bend the forces of nature. The more storied an artifact, the more power it commands.

Yet after 300 years of prosperity, Lestadt is crumbling. Revolutionaries gather in the docklands, seeking restitution for the crimes of the ruling oligarchs. A mysterious augury pronounces the nation’s doom.

Desperate to save themselves, Lestadt’s Court of Magisters turns to Lord Fixer Scraw for salvation. The deformed man may be ruthless in his methods, but he has never failed them. With a powerful Gravitas relic in his scarred hands, unlimited resources at his disposal, and a depraved plan taking root in his mind, can Scraw stop the revolution and save Lestadt?

Or will the cure be worse than the disease?

Continue reading “Blog Tour (Book Review): Gravitas (A Tale of the Constella) – Christopher Russell”

Blog Tour (Book Review): Born of No Woman – Franck Bouysse, Lara Vergnaud (translator)


Something a little different today, as I am reviewing Born of No Woman by Franck Bouysse and translated by Lara Vergnaud as part of the Random Things Blog Tour, and I hope you’ll check out the rest of the blogs on the tour as well as this impactful book.

Disclaimer – I received a copy in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts are my own.

Book Summary:

Nineteenth-century rural France.

Before he is called to bless the body of a woman at the nearby asylum, Father Gabriel receives a strange, troubling confession: hidden under the woman’s dress he will find the notebooks in which she confided the abuses she suffered and the twisted motivations behind them.

And so Rose’s terrible story comes to light: sold as a teenage girl to a rich man, hidden away in a old manor house deep in the woods and caught in a perverse web, manipulated by those society considers her betters.

A girl whose only escape is to capture her life – in all its devastation and hope – in the pages of her diary…

Continue reading “Blog Tour (Book Review): Born of No Woman – Franck Bouysse, Lara Vergnaud (translator)”

Blog Tour (Book Review): Every Star a Song (The Ascendance Series #2) – Jay Posey


Today I am delighted to be part of the blog tour for ‘Every Star a Song’ by Jay Posey. This is the second book in The Ascendance series. I reviewed the first book in the series ‘Every Sky a Grave‘ last year and it was a book that caught me by surprise and I loved it, so I was delighted to get the chance to return to this series.

Disclaimer – I received a copy in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts are my own.

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Book Summary:

Far in the future, human beings have seeded themselves amongst the stars. Since decoding the language of the universe 8,000 years ago, they have reached the very edges of their known galaxy and built a near-utopia across thousands of worlds, united and ruled by a powerful organization known as the Ascendance. The peaceful stability of their society relies solely on their use of this Deep Language of the cosmos.

Elyth—a former agent of the religious arm of the Ascendance, The First House—is on the run after the events of Every Sky a Grave, when she and the fugitive Varen Fedic exposed the darker side of Ascendance hegemony on a planet called Qel. Though she just wishes to put the past (and Varen) behind her, she is soon tracked and cornered by the Ascendance agents. Surprisingly, they aren’t there for punishment. Instead, they offer her a deal in exchange for her help in exploring a new planet that seems to have appeared out of nowhere. If she agrees, her sins against the Ascendance and the First House will be forgiven.

Elyth reluctantly agrees to join the team of elite agents (including some former allies-turned-enemies) but almost as soon as they touch down on the planet’s surface, things start to go awry. Strange sounds are heard in the wilderness, horrifying creatures are seen stalking the forests, and even the landscape itself seems to change during the night.

But as expedition members start dying, two things become clear: the planet is conscious, and it’s trying to kill them.

Continue reading “Blog Tour (Book Review): Every Star a Song (The Ascendance Series #2) – Jay Posey”

Blog Tour (Book Review): Creation (Why Odin Drinks #1) – Bjørn Larssen


Today I’m delighted to be reviewing ‘Creation’ by Bjørn Larssen as part of the blog tour organised by Storytellers on Tour. This is the first in the Why Odin Drinks series, and the second book ‘Wisdom’ is now available for pre-order. This was a delightful read, and the perfect way to kick of Norsevember on the blog.

I hope that you will check out the book and the author, and enjoy the rest of the tour with the schedule in the banner below or (HERE).

Disclaimer – I received a copy in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts are my own.

Book Summary:

In the beginning there was confusion.

Ever woken up being a God, but not knowing how to God properly? Your brothers keep creating mosquitoes and celery and other, more threatening weapons. What can your ultimate answer be – the one that will make you THE All-Father and them, at best, the All-Those-Uncles-We-All-Have-But-Don’t-Talk-About?

“FML! The answer’s why I drink!” – Odin

Perfect for fans of Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury, and Mrs Brown’s Boys.

Continue reading “Blog Tour (Book Review): Creation (Why Odin Drinks #1) – Bjørn Larssen”