#BadMoonRising Ghostly Interference by Jan Sikes #ghost #supernatural

Today’s author is here with her award winning novel, the first in a series (so you can get started now!). The only reason you’d find her with a haunted doll is if she was attempting to exorcise it. What a Good Samaritan she is. Welcome Jan Sikes!

Which Stephen King novel unsettled you the most?

Hands-down, “Misery.” The thought of being trapped in an isolated, remote location with a deranged psychotic person who loves you to death is about as unsettling as it gets for me. It was such a great story premise, and the movie was equally as good as the book.

Would you buy a doll that you knew was haunted?

Not only NO but Hell No! Why invite trouble when life is hard enough! I might try to find a way to destroy the haunted doll and release the spirit, but I’d never knowingly bring one into my home.

Do you believe in any ‘mythical’ monsters like chupacabras or shadow people?

Yep. Myths and legends get started from somewhere or someone’s experience. So, I definitely believe some of these myths and legends come from actual occurrences. I haven’t seen any mythical monsters, but I have seen ghosts and UFOs.

How do you use social media as an author? 

I think my response would be what most authors would say, and that is to forge connections and gain readers. I use Twitter exclusively for all things author-related. I use Facebook for personal reasons, as well as authorly. But ultimately, all social media platforms need to serve a purpose, or I won’t use them. My favorite social media platform is my blog.

Have you ever traveled as research for any of your books? 

Yes! In May, I took a trip to a certain part of Missouri to learn about the area and to actually lay eyes on the landscape. I utilized a local library to go through reels of microfiche from the time period my story takes place. I found some pretty coincidental things such as a death notice for a person with the same last name of my character, which I adopted as my character’s father. It was also helpful to see the price of items in 1947.

What are you working on now?

This question goes hand-in-hand with the traveling for research one. The book I am currently working on is Literary Fiction or Historical Fiction set in 1947 in a tiny town in Southwestern Missouri. The title is “A Beggar’s Bargain.” And I am past the 50,000 word mark, so it is coming along. This is different from anything I’ve ever written. There are lots of challenges to staying true to the time period, but I am loving everything about this story!

Jag Peters has one goal in his quiet, comfortable life—to keep his karma slate wiped clean. A near-miss crash with a candy apple red Harley threatens to upend his safe world. He tracks down the rider to apologize properly. Slipping into a seedy biker bar, he discovers the rider isn’t a “he”, it’s a “she,” a dark-haired beauty.

Rena Jett is a troubled soul who lives in a rough world. She wants no part of Jag’s apology, but even while she pushes him away, she is attracted to him. When he claims to see a ghost—her brother—can she trust him? And could her brother’s final gift, a magical rune stone with the symbol for “happily ever after,” have the power to heal her wounds and allow opposites to find common ground—perhaps even love?

BUY LINKS:

AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/Ghostly-Interference-White-Rune-Sikes-ebook/dp/B08KW1KFMW/

BARNES & NOBLE: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ghostly-interference-jan-sikes/1137871003?

KOBO: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/ghostly-interference

iTUNES: https://books.apple.com/us/book/ghostly-interference/id1535082886

GOOGLE PLAY: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=PCwNEAAAQBAJ

AUTHOR BIO AND SOCIAL MEDIA

Jan Sikes writes compelling and creative stories from the heart.

She openly admits that she never set out in life to be an author. But she had a story to tell. Not just any story, but a true story that rivals any fiction creation. The entertaining true story comes to life through fictitious characters in an intricately woven tale that encompasses four books.

And now, this author can’t find a way to put down the pen. She continues to write fiction and has published numerous award-winning short stories. She published her debut paranormal romance novel, Ghostly Interference, Book 1 in The White Rune Series, in 2020, which won a bronze medal award from Reader’s Favorite. Jagged Feathers was released on January 31, 2022, as Book 2 of that series and garnered an Honorable Mention from Reader’s Favorite, plus won 4th place in the North Texas Book Festival Book Awards.  Saddled Hearts, Book 3,will release on October 19, 2022.

She is an active blogger, an avid fan of Texas music, and a grandmother of five. She resides in North Texas.

WEBSITE: http://www.jansikes.com

BLOG:  https://jansikesblog.com/

TWITTER:  https://www.twitter.com/jansikes3

FACEBOOK:  http://www.facebook.com/AuthorJanSikesBooks

BOOKBUB:  https://www.bookbub.com/profile/jan-sikes

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00CS9K8DK 

#BadMoonRising Dog Meat by Priscilla Bettis #thriller #dystopian #TuesdayBookBlog

I’ve been waiting for this author to make her BMR debut, and the stars aligned in 2022. She’s already had one new release this year, The Hay Bale (unsettling and full of creepy imagery), and today’s featured book will be released next month. According to her, there are some strange things afoot in Alaska. Welcome Priscilla Bettis!

Have you ever said Bloody Mary three times in front of a mirror?

No, and you can’t make me!

Would you buy a doll that you knew was haunted?

What, are people nuts? Who’d buy a haunted doll? See now, THIS is how horror stories get written!

Do you believe in any ‘mythical’ monsters like chupacabras or shadow people?

Okay, serious answer here: I grew up in Alaska, and I saw some things that can’t be explained, like stacked rocks MILES away from any people or trails, and trees yanked out of the ground (also in the middle of nowhere) with no tell-tale machinery marks, turned upside down, and shoved vertically back into the ground. So if you ask me if Bigfoot exists, I’d have to say yes.

How do you use social media as an author? 

An experienced author once told me that for every one Tweet promoting my books I need to Tweet nine times lifting other authors and their books. I think that’s good advice. Whether or not it sells any of my books is secondary to spreading good vibes.

Have you ever tried to write a novel in a genre you rarely or never read?

Nope. I believe you have to know your genre inside and out in order to both meet readers’ expectations and surprise them. 

Do you feel like you’d be a better writer if you wore sparkly socks during your writing sessions?

Tried that. It didn’t work. I haven’t tried writing nekkid yet, though. I hear it worked for Ernest Hemingway.

Kalb Ward slaughters dogs for the Colony, a closed, dystopian society where resources are tight, free speech is nonexistent, and those in power have eyes and ears everywhere. Ward desperately wants to quit his grisly job, but he knows he’ll be arrested, or worse, if he tries.

In the Colony, a citizen’s future is determined by a placement exam. Score high, and you’re set for life. Score low, and you end up living a nightmare–like Ward.

Li Ling, the love of Ward’s youth, scored high, and she’s a local celebrity now, far out of his reach. Meanwhile, his neighbor’s son is making a series of disastrous decisions as his own exam rapidly approaches.

Can Ward bridge the social divide and win back Li Ling? Can he help the neighbor’s son avoid a future as grim as his own? Can he escape the Colony’s oppressive rule and, if he’s very lucky, bring down the whole horrific system in the process?

You know what they say: Every dog has his day.


And Ward’s day is coming.

Purchase Link

Amazon

Author Bio and Social Media

Priscilla Bettis is an avid horror reader and passionate horror author. She’s also an excellent swimmer, which is good because vampires are terrible swimmers. Priscilla’s 2022 works include The Hay Bale and Dog Meat (coming November 8th from Potter’s Grove Press). Priscilla shares a home in the Northern Plains of Texas with her two-legged and four-legged family members.

Blog: priscillabettisauthor.com

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Priscilla-Bettis/e/B08R97Z63M

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PriscillaBettis

#BadMoonRising San Miguel’s Treasure by Armand Rosamilia #horror #thriller

I didn’t go back and check, but I’m pretty sure today’s author has been with BMR from the start, and I look forward to his posts every year. Afraid to write a novel in a genre you rarely/never read? Not this guy. He’s done it before and plans to try it again. Welcome Armand Rosamilia!

Which unsolved murder fascinates you the most?

The Zodiac Killer immediately comes to mind, and it is still unsolved despite a couple of groups claiming they’ve solved the case, figured out the cyphers and point a finger at someone. I don’t think this will ever be solved, and it is such a crazy case.

Would you buy a doll that you knew was haunted?

No. Dolls creep me out. Now, if a Funko Pop was haunted but worth money, I might be tempted. My mother has a collection of really creepy dolls and she says they sometimes move from room to room. No thank you.

Do you believe in any ‘mythical’ monsters like chupacabras or shadow people?

I definitely do, although I think they are just normal creatures. We discover dozens of new jellyfish each year like it is nothing. There is so much of the planet still unexplored. Do I think Bigfoot is out there? Probably not. But a Chupacabra would be cool, as long as it doesn’t attack me.

What is your kryptonite as a writer?

Depression. It sidetracks me, sometimes for days. I start to think I’m not good enough, that what I’m writing is awful, and then imposter syndrome kicks in and floors me. It is very hard to fight and I’ve learned to ride the wave until I can trigger something positive that gets me back into the positive zone. Not fun.

Have you ever tried to write a novel in a genre you rarely or never read? 

I have and I will again in the future, because I want to see how far I can go as a writer. If I’d stuck to the same old same old I’d still only be writing horror stories and never have gotten into writing a lot more crime thriller ones, which I love to read. I’ve written some science fiction and fantasy stories, even though I haven’t read either genre in more than twenty years. Maybe I’ll write a romance series someday. Who can say?

If you could be mentored by a famous author, who would it be? 

Dean Koontz, who is the reason I write to begin with. His books really changed my life when I was a teenager, and I devoured all of them. I couldn’t get enough of his work. While most people will say King was their influence, I say it was Koontz for me. I still get excited and read every new release as soon as it comes out.

An ancient curse lies dormant at the bottom of the ocean for over 450 years…

The San Miguel shipwreck has eluded treasure hunters for centuries. Some say it is cursed, others say it can only be found by those with a firm bloodline to the lost crew.

Intensely horrific and thrilling, the hunt for San Miguel’s Treasure will test the mettle of not only the salvagers but the ruthless drug cartel who seek the secrets of the sunken vessel as well!

Will they unwittingly unleash this curse upon themselves and perhaps the world?

Purchase Link

Amazon

Author Bio and Social Media

Armand Rosamilia is a New Jersey boy currently living in sunny Florida, where he writes when he’s not sleeping. He’s happily married to a woman who helps his career and is supportive, which is all he ever wanted in life…

He’s written over 200 stories that are currently available, including crime thrillers, supernatural thrillers, horror, zombies, contemporary fiction, nonfiction and more. His goal is to write a good story and not worry about genre labels.

He is also a successful podcaster, too!

The Mando Method Podcast with co-host Chuck Buda – talking about writing and publishing

He also loves to talk in third person… because he’s really that cool.

You can find him at https://armandrosamilia.com for all of his information as well as random things he enjoys.

https://armandrosamilia.com

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Armand-Rosamilia/e/B004S48J6G/ref=aufs_dp_mata_dsk

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ArmandAuthor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorArmandRosamilia

Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/armand_rosamilia

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@armandrosamilia

#BadMoonRising The Ice Witch of Fang Marsh (Minstrels of Skaythe #3) by Deby Fredericks #fantasy #thriller

Today’s author is no stranger to BMR, and she’s here today with the third book in her Minstrels of Skaythe series. It’s unconfirmed, but members of her family may have come in contact with Sasquatch. Welcome Deby Fredericks!

Have you ever said Bloody Mary three times in front of a mirror?

I have heard the words Bloody Mary many times in bars, does that count?

Do you believe in any ‘mythical’ monsters like chupacabras or shadow people?

Recently I learned there is actually a family story about Sasquatch on my husband’s side. His mother and sister were riding horses in a densely forested part of the Idaho mountains and their horses spooked. When they tried to ride forward, they heard strange noises. The horses bolted uncontrollably. So, I’m open to the possibility of Sasquatch.

If you could have a spooky Halloween pet (black cat, owl, bat, rat, wolf, etc.), which would you choose?

I have had both rats and cats as pets, and I love them. But if we’re looking for something more exotic, I’d go with the owl. The big eyes are so striking, and I love that they can fly so silently.

What books did you grow up reading?

Like a lot of girls, I started with horses and dogs. Jim Kjelgaard and Walter Farley were two of my favorite authors. As I got older, I discovered Andre Norton, Anne McCaffrey, and other SF/Fantasy authors in my school libraries.

Have you ever tried to write a novel in a genre you rarely or never read?

Yes, accidentally. I wanted to write a fantasy/murder mystery and had read lots of fantasy but not much mystery. That made it harder for me, although eventually The Magister’s Mask was published by Dragon Moon Press.

What are you working on now?

The Tale of the Drakanox is my current project. It is the finale to my Minstrels of Skaythe series. Although the previous volumes in Minstrels are novellas, The Tale of the Drakanox is going to be a full novel to tie up all the plot threads. I hope to finish the first draft by the end of 2022, do revisions, and release it in May of 2023. We shall see!

Meven is a renegade, hunted by the cruel regime of master mage Dar-Gothull. Her desperate desire is to lose herself in the treacherous Fang Marsh. Only there can she live the life she wants, in freedom and safety. To reach the marsh, Meven must sneak through the town of Eshur, where her old enemy, the wicked Countess Ar-Torix, commands dozens of spies and guards. It should be no problem!

What Meven doesn’t know is that she’s already being tracked. Ozlin was thrown out because of his emerging magic. Now he’s starving on the streets of Eshur. Caught stealing, he’s about to be imprisoned in the brutal temple school.

Until Meven recognizes his power and intervenes. Suddenly she has a new, desperate desire — to save this mageling boy, and maybe save herself as well.

Purchase Link

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B087JTB6HR

Books2Read https://books2read.com/u/mVwx56

Author Bio and Social Media

Deby Fredericks has been a writer all her life, but thought of it as just a fun hobby until the late 1990s. She made her first sale, a children’s poem, in 2000.  

Fredericks has six fantasy novels out through two small presses. Her short work has been published in Andromeda Spaceways and selected anthologies. More recently, she self-publishes her fantasy novellas and novelettes, bringing her to 18 books in all. Her latest project is The Minstrels of Skaythe series.

In addition, she writes for children as Lucy D. Ford. Her children’s stories and poems have appeared in magazines such as Boys’ Life, Babybug, Ladybug, and a few anthologies. In the past, she served as Regional Advisor for the Inland Northwest Region of the Society of  Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, International  (SCBWI).

Wyrmflight blog, http://wyrmflight.wordpress.com

Twitter, www.twitter.com/DebyFredericks

Instagram, www.instagram.com/debyfredericks/

Pinterest, www.pinterest.com/debyfredericks/

Shepherd, http://shepherd.com/best-books/20th-century-fantasy-centering-on-powerful-women

Amazon author page, www.amazon.com/default/e/B00J6UA4UQ/

Books2Read author page, www.books2read.com/ap/nzkBJ8/Deby-Fredericks

Facebook author page, www.facebook.com/authordebyfredericks

#BadMoonRising Inheritance Accepted (Inheritance Series #2) by Cheryl A. Hunter #paranormal #vampires

It’s the first day of October, and you’re in the right place – welcome to Day One of Bad Moon Rising! Today’s author made her BMR debut last year with the first book in her series, Inheritance Revealed, and is here today with the sequel to that novel. She also shares a spooky ghost story set in a Massachusetts cemetery that might curl your toes. Welcome Cheryl A. Hunter!

Would you rather visit a haunted house or a haunted graveyard?

I would rather visit a graveyard. Graveyards are fascinating places, and there are so many stories in a graveyard.

What is the spookiest ghost story you’ve ever heard?

This is probably not the spookiest of ghost stories, but it is one that fascinates me and that I use in my classes at Halloween time. It is the story of Witch Bonnie. Her grave is in the cemetery in Lowell, Massachusetts. The legend says Witch Bonney stands guard over the grave of Clara Bonney Lilley, a woman who died an untimely death in 1894 at 39 years old. The statue over her grave is of a woman with outstretched arms, and her hands clutch a veil that falls down behind her body. Her eyes are holes that stare at the sky, and the area under her left eye has a black tear stain through the greening tarnish. Urban legend says Witch Bonney stares toward the Avery lion statue (another famous statue in the cemetery) that guards her. According to legend, the bodice of her dress falls a little lower each day throughout the month of October until her chest is exposed on Halloween. Then, liberated from the bronze and granite prison, her ghost runs free through the streets of Lowell.

If you could have a spooky Halloween pet (black cat, owl, bat, rat, wolf, etc.), which would you choose?

I would have an owl. I love owls. My husband counted the owls that I have in the dining room alone (statues, drawings, plates, etc) and there are forty. My office has many more.

Have you ever traveled as research for any of your books? 

Yes and no. I like to travel, and majority of my settings are places that I have visited or based on a place I visited. I believe it allows me to add more details and description if I have been to a place.

What books did you grow up reading?

I read a variety of genres growing up. My favorite book when I was quite young was Little Wind, about a young Native American boy. I believe the book is long out of print. When I was a little older, I read the Alfred Hitchcock and the Young Investigators series before progressing to the Hitchcock novels. I have always enjoyed fantasy novels including The Lord of the Rings, and the Pern novels by Anne McCaffrey. I also read a lot of “popular” literature. I remember reading Jaws before vacation on Cape Cod and then I was nervous about going in the ocean.

What are you working on now?

I have two works in progress. I am completing the final revision of the third book in the Inheritance series: Inheritance Quest. I am also working on a sequel to my contemporary women’s fiction novel.

Arianna and James’ happiness is once again threatened by the mystery in Arianna’s past surrounding her great grandfather. When a new opportunity to uncover answers comes along, Arianna, James, and Giovanni head to Montana. Now, with new threats, wolf shifters changing the balance of power, and the growing need to find answers, Arianna must decide if she will finally accept her role in the supernatural world.

Purchase Link

Amazon Inheritance Accepted

Amazon Inheritance Series

Author Bio and Social Media

Cheryl A. Hunter is an author and artist. Her books span multiple genres including historical fiction, contemporary fiction, paranormal fantasy, and nonfiction. Cheryl is also an artist who works in glass, ink and watercolor, and photography. When she is not writing, taking pictures, or creating glass art, she loves to travel. Her interest in Ancient Greek and Roman cultures has taken her to many Archeological sites and museums in several countries.

Twitter: @CherylAHunter4

Instagram: Cherylahunter101

FaceBook: CherylAHunter101

Website: http://www.cherylahunter.com/

#BadMoonRising Author Preview #horror #paranormal #thriller

It’s that time again! Cooler weather (finally!), horror movies (woohoo!), candy/caramel apples, pumpkin carving, and Halloween costumes. If you’re looking for reads to get you in the autumn mood, I have thirty-one authors who can certainly help you with that. Drop by daily throughout the month of October to meet horror, paranormal, and thriller authors in the children’s through adult genres. I guarantee you’ll find fun interviews, lots of books, other bookish folks, and maybe even make some new friends.

Below are the participating authors this year. The party starts tomorrow, so I hope to see you here – and don’t forget to share on your social media!

Cheryl A. Hunter

Deby Fredericks

Armand Rosamilia

Priscilla Bettis

Sue Rovens

Jan Sikes

Shari Sakurai

Victoria Zigler

Michael McGovern

John W. Howell

C.S. Boyack

Robbie and Michael Cheadle

Matt Doyle

Georgia Rose

Meaghan Curley

David Radman

Jonathan Pongratz

Mae Clair and Staci Troilo

Teagan Riordain Geneviene

Marcia Meara

Paula Cappa

Joan Hall

Dan Klefstad

Steven Rigolosi

Joseph Lewis

Terry Tyler

Darlene Foster

Chuck Buda

Wayne Turmel

Steve L. Clark

Steve Stred

Silver Under Nightfall by Rin Chupeco and Daphne by Josh Malerman #bookreview #horror #asianmyth #vampires #LGBTQ

I know I’ve been featuring more reviews than usual lately (and you’re probably getting a little tired of them), but I’ve been trying to get the September releases posted before Bad Moon Rising takes over the month of October. The fun starts tomorrow with the preview of BMR authors!

Full of court intrigue, queer romance, and terrifying monsters—this gothic epic fantasy will appeal to fans of Samantha Shannon’s The Priory of the Orange Tree and the adult animated series Castlevania.

Remy Pendergast is many things: the only son of the Duke of Valenbonne (though his father might wish otherwise), an elite bounty hunter of rogue vampires, and an outcast among his fellow Reapers. His mother was the subject of gossip even before she eloped with a vampire, giving rise to the rumors that Remy is half-vampire himself. Though the kingdom of Aluria barely tolerates him, Remy’s father has been shaping him into a weapon to fight for the kingdom at any cost.

When a terrifying new breed of vampire is sighted outside of the city, Remy prepares to investigate alone. But then he encounters the shockingly warmhearted vampire heiress Xiaodan Song and her infuriatingly arrogant fiancé, vampire lord Zidan Malekh, who may hold the key to defeating the creatures—though he knows associating with them won’t do his reputation any favors. When he’s offered a spot alongside them to find the truth about the mutating virus Rot that’s plaguing the kingdom, Remy faces a choice.

It’s one he’s certain he’ll regret.

But as the three face dangerous hardships during their journey, Remy develops fond and complicated feelings for the couple. He begins to question what he holds true about vampires, as well as the story behind his own family legacy. As the Rot continues to spread across the kingdom, Remy must decide where his loyalties lie: with his father and the kingdom he’s been trained all his life to defend or the vampires who might just be the death of him. 

I’m a fan of Chupeco’s YA books and jumped at the chance to read their first foray into the adult genre. I nearly did a happy dance when I learned the story involves vampires.

Remy’s life hasn’t been an easy one. He’s a vampire hunter but is shunned by other hunters because of rumors his mother ran away with a vampire – and Remy might be half vampire. His father, a human and former hunter, is ambitious, power-hungry, and constantly demeans Remy. He also pimps Remy out to the wives of men who hold strategic positions in society in order to gain information. Trust me, no Father of the Year trophies will ever grace this guy’s mantle. As a result of all this, Remy doesn’t think highly of himself and believes he’s not worthy of kindness from anyone. He’s definitely an easy character to root for.

When a new breed of vampire shows up, Remy finds himself teamed up with an engaged vampire couple, both of them high up in their respective courts. Having read several vampire books, I liked this different take on a mutant strain of vamps. I also enjoyed seeing a human and vampires working alongside each other, encountering plenty of obstacles along the way, in order to discover who’s behind the Rot. What Remy lacks in self-esteem he more than makes up for as a hunter and can hold his own in a fight. And there are plenty of bloody ones in this story. It’s also full of gothic atmosphere, and the polyamorous relationship that develops between the three of them is pretty amusing at times because of differing personalities. Seeing Remy begin to realize he’s worthy of love and kindness also comes with some heartfelt moments.

At over five hundred pages, this is a chunk of a novel that moves at a brisk pace. It’s not listed as a series on Goodreads, but the ending makes me believe a sequel will be coming – and I’ll absolutely be reading it. HIghly recommend to fans of supernatural mystery.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

It’s the last summer for Kit Lamb: The last summer before college. The last summer with her high school basketball team, and with Dana, her best friend. The last summer before her life begins.

But the night before the big game, one of the players tells a ghost story about Daphne, a girl who went to their school many years ago and died under mysterious circumstances. Some say she was murdered, others that she died by her own hand. And some say that Daphne is a murderer herself. They also say that Daphne is still out there, obsessed with revenge, and will appear to kill again anytime someone thinks about her.

After Kit hears the story, her teammates vanish, one by one, and Kit begins to suspect that the stories about Daphne are real . . . and to fear that her own mind is conjuring the killer. Now it’s a race against time as Kit searches for the truth behind the legend and learns to face her own fears—before the summer of her life becomes the last summer of her life.

Mixing a nostalgic coming-of-age story and an instantly iconic female villain with an innovative new vision of classic horror, Daphne is an unforgettable thriller as only Josh Malerman could imagine it.

When you’re told not to think about a certain thing, see how well you do. It’s not easy. At all. In this novel, if you think about Daphne, she comes for you. And you won’t survive the visit.

Daphne is kind of an urban legend in this town. Seven feet tall, the owner of a muscle car, and rumored to be a murderer, she was an outcast in high school, but has been dead for many years. Or has she? When one of the basketball players tells a ghost story about Daphne to the team, the body count begins a couple days later. With her friends dying one by one in horrific ways, Kit is sure it’s only a matter of time before Daphne pays her a visit. Can she be stopped?

If you’re a fan of both basketball and horror, you’ll be thrilled with this book. Basketball isn’t one of my interests, so I skimmed over a good bit of those parts. But when Daphne is on the page? I couldn’t look away. Those scenes are creepy, bloodcurdling, and exactly what I’d hoped. For me, this had the feel of an 80s slasher movie, and it was something I really liked. As a KISS fan, I also appreciated them being mentioned, but chuckled over Kit not knowing who they were.

Daphne is a chilling blend of horror and psychological thriller that may keep you awake at night. Just try not to think about her. Good luck.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

The Sunbearer Trials by Aiden Thomas #bookreview #YA #fantasy #LGBTQ

Welcome to The Sunbearer Trials, where teen semidioses compete in a series of challenges with the highest of stakes, in this electric new Mexican-inspired fantasy from Aiden Thomas, the New York Times bestselling author of Cemetery Boys.

“Only the most powerful and honorable semidioses get chosen. I’m just a Jade. I’m not a real hero.”

As each new decade begins, the Sun’s power must be replenished so that Sol can keep traveling along the sky and keep the evil Obsidian gods at bay. Ten semidioses between the ages of thirteen and eighteen are selected by Sol himself as the most worthy to compete in The Sunbearer Trials. The winner carries light and life to all the temples of Reino del Sol, but the loser has the greatest honor of all―they will be sacrificed to Sol, their body used to fuel the Sun Stones that will protect the people of Reino del Sol for the next ten years.

Teo, a 17-year-old Jade semidiós and the trans son of Quetzal, goddess of birds, has never worried about the Trials…or rather, he’s only worried for others. His best friend Niya―daughter of Tierra, the god of earth―is one of the strongest heroes of their generation and is much too likely to be chosen this year. He also can’t help but worry (reluctantly, and under protest) for Aurelio, a powerful Gold semidiós and Teo’s friend-turned-rival who is a shoo-in for the Trials. Teo wouldn’t mind taking Aurelio down a notch or two, but a one-in-ten chance of death is a bit too close for Teo’s taste.

But then, for the first time in over a century, Sol chooses a semidiós who isn’t a Gold. In fact, he chooses two: Xio, the 13-year-old child of Mala Suerte, god of bad luck, and…Teo. Now they must compete in five mysterious trials, against opponents who are both more powerful and better trained, for fame, glory, and their own survival. 

I’ve been wanting to read this author for quite a while. I’ve had one of his books, Cemetery Boys, in my TBR for quite a while, but just haven’t gotten to it yet. When I was approved for an ARC (audiobook version) of The Sunbearer Trials, I knew it was time to get acquainted with his work.

Similar to The Hunger Games, competitors are chosen and must complete several trials. But in this case, only the competitor with the least amount of points should die. Teo isn’t worried for himself. He’s a Jade, and for more than a century Sol has only chosen Golds to compete. He’s more concerned for his best friend Niya, a strong competitor. Golds have trained for the trials their whole lives, so when the names of two Jades are announced, everyone is shocked. Teo is an underdog and not expected to do well against the Golds, but he has no choice but to compete. I liked that he’s a go with the flow kind of guy, but also possesses a rebellious streak that tends to get him in some trouble.

The competitions are exciting, dangerous, and highly creative. Participants face both physical and mental challenges. After each was completed, I was as anxious to hear the ratings as the characters. I loved the relationships between them whether they were friends, siblings, or parent-child. All are so well-portrayed and heartwarming. As expected, some competitors form alliances, but by the end most of them support each other in some way. And that twist at the end! Not many books surprise me, but I didn’t see that one coming. It’s brilliant.

André Santana is a wonderful narrator, and I’d highly recommend the audiobook version if you enjoy them. With the competitors having various powers and the competition, Percy Jackson and The Hunger Games are perfect comp titles for this book. I’d advise fans of those series to jump on The Sunbearer Trials.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Bone Weaver by Aden Polydoros #bookreview #fantasy #supernatural #LGBTQ #TuesdayBookBlog

A haunting fantasy following Toma, adopted daughter of the benevolent undead, making her way across a civil war-torn continent to save her younger sister as she discovers she might possess magical powers herself.

The Kosa empire roils in tension, on the verge of being torn apart by a proletarian revolution between magic-endowed elites and the superstitious lower class, but seventeen-year-old Toma lives blissfully disconnected from the conflict in the empire with her adoptive family of benevolent undead.

When she meets Vanya, a charming commoner branded as a witch by his own neighbors, and the dethroned Tsar Mikhail himself, the unlikely trio bonds over trying to restore Mikhail’s magic and protect the empire from the revolutionary leader, Koschei, whose forces have stolen the castle. Vanya has his magic, and Mikhail has his title, but if Toma can’t dig deep and find her power in time, all of their lives will be at Koschei’s mercy. 

I think I’ve read all of this author’s books, and I can always count on incredible world-building. His previous novel, The City Beautiful, is set in Chicago during the World’s Fair and features a Jewish main character possessed by a dybbuk. The setting of Bone Weaver is very similar to Imperial Russia, and its monsters come from Slavic folklore.

Toma remembers little from her early life, other than her mother’s death after telling her to run. She does know they were running from someone, and it was extremely important that she not lose her mother’s rushnyk (an embroidered tapestry), which seems to have some magical properties. Fortunately, Toma was taken in by a family of upyri (undead, but they’re nice). When her six-year-old upyri sister (her age when she died) is captured by soldiers, Toma travels across a war-ravaged continent to find her. Along the way she teams up with Vanya, who possesses magical powers, and Mikhail, the dethroned tsar whose magic was stolen. It’s an adjustment for Toma as her home is very secluded, and she hasn’t lived among humans for many years.

Vanya is a prankster at times, but he’s also outraged at how commoners are treated. Those who possess magic are branded as witches and killed since magic should only belong to the elite. While trying to regain his throne, Mikhail has the rare opportunity to experience the reality of what’s going on in his country and vows to change things. With very different personalities, Mikhail and Vanya tend to clash at times, and I especially enjoyed their banter.

Soldiers aren’t their only threat. These three encounter dangerous creatures at nearly every turn and have to fight for their lives more than once. Learning about Slavic folklore was both enthralling and horrifying. Once a person is killed in this world, there’s a chance they may return as upyri. To prevent that, they’re dismembered, their body parts scattered, and their mouths filled with dirt and moss. Not all upyri are like Toma’s family – some are prone to feasting on flesh.

This story deals with difficult topics of war and religious and cultural persecution. But it also features strong found family vibes, friendships, and discovering where you belong. This is a quote from the book that struck a chord with me. “And wherever you go from here, always remember – all that you love will return to you.”

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

#HeartlandBookFestival and #BadMoonRising

Today is a total promo post both for myself and other authors, but that’s part of the job. So let’s get started.

I get to meet and talk to readers this week! If you’re in the Elizabethtown, KY area, I’ll be participating in the Heartland Book Festival this Friday and Saturday. I was also at their first festival in 2019, and then we all know what happened after that, so it’s been postponed for a couple years. Friday is Student Day, but it’s also open to the general public, and Saturday will be full of workshops, panels, and signings. The hours are 9 am to 3 pm EST both days. Go HERE for the schedule and a list of participating authors. Hope to see you there!

It’s almost here! Bad Moon Rising starts this Saturday, October 1st – thirty-one days of horror, paranormal, and thriller authors – woohoo! I’ll post a list of participating authors this Friday, but this year features children’s up to adult genres, so there’s something for the whole gamut of readers. Hope you’ll stop by to join in the fun!